T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times used to (and I assume still does) have these page 2 columns where he would just write random one or (if he was feeling particularly literary that day) 2 lines on some current – or close to current – sports topic of the day. Simers is a snarky guy who is under a 30-year delusion that local professional athletes care about him, so often times his columns would read something along the lines of “Eric Gagne apparently didn’t like my last article. Perhaps he was going through roid rage at the time…So Kobe Bryant is accused of rape. Couldn’t of happened to a nicer guy…Slot machines at Hollywood Park? I’m more interested in the glue machines…” Before we go any further, yes I am accusing someone else of being snarky and I don’t find that the least bit ironic – unless you’re using the Alanis Morisette definition of the word.
I think the most famous of these laziest of lazy-type columns come from Larry King, who may or may not still have a syndicated column. But unlike Simers, who like the comedians I used to sit with in the green room at The Comedy Store walk around with a constant impending aura of doom, King is positively Henry Winkler-like in his optimism. Even his attempts at biting political commentary came off as…toothless. Columns would read such as “Don’t sleep on Walter Mondale. He’ll be President one day and you can say you heard it here first…My latest child is 49 years younger than my oldest. You know what they say…Senator Rockefeller has a food stamp reform bill in committee now. I once had duck with him and his lovely wife. She’s a fine woman and a better cook. So I fucked her….”
These columns really are the worst of the worst. In the case of someone like Simers, he’s almost flaunting his apathy whereas King actually seems to believe he’s accomplishing a journalistic achievement that combines Dave Barry, Molly Ivins and a sober Jimmy Breslin. I don’t know which is worse, but I can’t respect any writer, blogger, or journalist who would engage in such nonsense. Which is exactly why this blog entry will be my version of those columns. Except, as my loyal readers know, I’m far too verbose to cut down my thoughts to just a few lines. Still, since I’m obviously far too lazy this Sunday evening to form full thoughts, I’m hoping these half-thoughts will create something of a readable experience. Let’s find out, shall we…
Let’s start off with the topic that has America talking…San Diego State Athletics. Let’s give it up for Steve Fisher and his 7-1 SDSU Aztecs. Sure they hit a road block during ESPN’s 24-hours of madness against a too-big to defend Baylor team, but their win versus ranked Arizona flanked by victories against two good Big West teams – Long Beach State and the Drinking Gauches of UC Santa Barbara – means SDSU should be sneaking into the Top 25 any moment now. Last year’s lone returning starter – Chase Tapley – is lighting it up like Richard Pryor in ’82. Super-talented Jamal Franklin will likely emerge as the 2012-13 Mountain West player of the year (if the Mountain West actually still exists in 2012-13), and James Rahon hasn’t even found his sweet caucasian stroke yet. The Aztecs have 3 tough games left against ranked Creighton and revenge-minded Cal plus cross-town rivals USD before going into the easy part of the schedule for 2 weeks and then its conference play beginning in mid-January. Yes, they are very thin in the front court so my conservative prediction for the fighting Aztecs…29-1.
Meanwhile, Rocky Long’s first year in Aztec Mesa has gone okay. That Wyoming loss stings and quite frankly it would have been nice if we didn’t hand games over to TCU and Boise State before they really even began, but with their win over lowly UNLV Saturday night, the Aztecs are 7-4 and bowl bound regardless of their on-again, off-again rivalry game with Fresno State this Saturday. I’d like to go to that game at Qualcomm, but unfortunately I’ll be at the Mint for Elisa Grace’s Album release party. Who’s Elisa Grace…you jest?
I’m not going to talk about the BCS mess because my next blog this week will specifically address that issue. But I will comment on the Heisman Trophy race which is the most wide-open competition going in America today, easily beating out the race to become the 2012 presidential nominee for the Republican party because that contest is being brought down by Michele Bachman…and Rick Santourum…and Ron Paul…and Herman Cain…and Rick Perry…and Newt Gingrich…and Mitt Romney. Did I forget anyone? Is Huntsman still in the race? Is Mike Johnson in a debate? Is Buddy Roemer really a Republican? Is Fred Karger really gay?
ESPN did a poll prior to this Saturday’s games which amazingly showed the Tide’s Trent Richardson as the front-runner. And then some clown on Game Day justified this silliness by stating that Richardson was the only one of the top candidates who “performed” in a game that “counts” referencing his deceiving stats in Alabama’s LOSS to LSU. How can you name Trent Richardson the best player in college football when he couldn’t help his team get into the endzone once in the most important game of the college football season? Don’t misunderstand me, Richardson is terrific college back and worthy of being in the discussion. But so is Houston’s pin-wizard QB Case Keenum and he shouldn’t win either. People seem to penalize Andrew Luck for Stanford getting perducked by Oregon, but why don’t they mention his comeback against USC? Or Matt Barkley’s performance against Oregon? Or RGIII’s performance in every game Baylor’s won and lost this year. I simply ask you this. If Matt Barkely, Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III was the QB for Alabama against LSU (and Trent Richardson wasn’t there), do the Crimson Tide win that game? The answer is ABSA-FRIGGIN-GOOGILY-GOO-GOO-LUTELY…to the 3rd power. Word. To Your Baby Daddy. Yuh-Huh.
If Trent Richardson is on USC but not Barkley do they still beat Oregon (or come out on top against Stanford)? If Richardson is on Stanford instead of Luck, would the Cardinal have beaten Oregon (or still beaten SC)? Does Baylor even have a winning record this year if Richardson is their marquee player instead of Bobby Triple G? The answer to all of those questions is NO. Or, for my Guatemalan readers – NO.
I’m well aware quarterbacks are different than running backs, but you want to know something: I saw players like George Rogers at South Carolina and Barry Sanders at Oklahoma State and those guys carried their football squads in a way that Trent Richardson simply doesn’t carry ‘Bama. If Richardson wins it’ll be a bigger travesty than when Charles Woodson beat out Peyton Manning in ’97; a bigger joke than when Crash won the best picture over the gay cowboy movie; a bigger crime than when Ian Folke Svenonius beat BK out for Sassiest Boy in America in 1990 just because he refused to use capital letters. All that joker has done since is release 15 albums, a scant 15 more than BK has released in the same period of time. But BK has used his time to edited shows about fashion while making questionable real estate investments in Los Angeles area condos – so who’s sassy now Svenonius?!? You Fuckin’ tool.
Back to whatever it was I was writing about, I’m not making a judgment on Richardson’s as a player (he’s very good), or as a person (although he used far too many “hey man’s, no man, yeah man” in his Dan Patrick interview). For all I know he’ll enter the NFL and break Emmitt Smith’s all-time rushing record. Well actually I do know – he won’t break that record and as my past NFL Draft predictions have proven I’ve only been wrong once before (why Ethan Horton, couldn’t you learn to lower your shoulders!) But if Barkley and Luck end up splitting the West Coast vote and Baylor’s lack of national exposure results in Richardson winning this year’s Heisman…well frankly that would really suck.
Roger Federer was great in this week’s Barclay’s Championships in London. He didn’t lose a match and was clearly the best player on the court in every match he played – even the two 3-setters against Jo-Willie Tsonga, who looks poised to possibly join Andy Murray in 2012 in the “Almost but never quite good enough” category of player that Robin Soderling looked ready to join before injuries and an uninventive game derailed his hopes. What was more interesting, though, was how tired both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic looked. Nadal just looks so dejected these days after going through a season where he was completely unable to get over on Djokovic and each match they played he seemed farther away. I’m calling my shot right now – Argentina, behind a surpise Juan Monaco victory over David Ferrer – will win this year’s Davis Cup against Spain as Del Potro beats Nadal in a thrilling final match. And if it doesn’t happen, well who’s really going to be watching or care enough anyway. As for Novak, how does he lose to his inferior countryman Janko “I’ve never seen a match I couldn’t possibly quit in” Tipsarsvic. Obviously Djokovic’s shoulder isn’t 100% or even 85% but I thought more than anything he looked mentally exhaused, like he was sort of obligated to be in the tournament but didn’t really have the heart for it. It’s kind of a shame because it would have been nice for him to complete one of the most dominant season’s in tennis history with a victory but I think his gas tank sort of hit empty after the U.S. Open and hopefully the one-and-a-half month rest prior to Australia will not just rest his shoulder but also his psyche. And speaking of psyche, how hot is Tomas Berdych’s wife or girlfriend or whatever she is. I don’t know what that has to with any definition of the word “psyche” but she’s sweeter than Popeye’s Sweet Tea on the front porch of a Bulgarian Tug Boat. Finally, I’m calling another shot – Roger Federer will win the 2012 Australian Open. And here’s another shot I’m calling…Alex Bogomolov, Jr. will not win the 2012 Australian Open.
The NBA is about to end their lockout and start playing on Christmas Day. They were going to start 5 days earlier on the first night of Hannukah, but that would prove to be just too controversial. My wife asked me, upon hearing the news “Oh, so they went with the 50-50 split” of which I replied “Who the fuck cares.” Still, that’s some shrewd negotiating by the player’s union. They not only agreed to exactly what they didn’t want, but they lost 2 months of pay to boot. I haven’t seen smooth deal making like that since Barak Obama agreed to a series of budget cuts he didn’t really want in exchange for raising the debt ceiling – or in other words absolutely nothing. We’ll talk more about the NBA in a future blog but that 16 days from 12/9 to 12/25 when free-agents can be signed and trades made will make the NFL free-agent frenzy look as calm as Bill Murray in Broken Flowers…or Lost In Translation…or Low Down…or….
So Monday night’s Sing-Off is a fait accompli as Penatonix will easily walk away against the over-matched Darmouth Aires and the less than original Urban Method. I was hoping for more this season, including but not limited to a Sara Bareilles/Ben Folds sex tape video release, but instead we were treated to the most dominant performance by a singing group since Ministry shocked the world and overwhelmed the Chili Peppers, Soundgarden and a not-quite-ready for prime-time Pearl Jam at ‘palooza ’92. Congrats to Penatonix.
And congrats to the New York Giants, who as I write this are a mere 24-hours away from completing a 63-19 white-washing of the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome in a game that will have America saying “Who dat Da’rell Scott.”
Until then, though, Tim Tebow is the story again in the NFL this week – which must irk the Raiders who are a game ahead of the Broncos in the AFC West. I almost feel bad blogging about Tebow because it’s just too easy. Saying negative things about Tebow is as sure a way to get my click-throughts up as when Joanna Angel tweets “I got DP’d again and here are more pics.” But how long can I criticize the burly Born-Again Christian and how long can Joanna Angel stay popular by insisting James Deen be in every scene with her?
However, before I talk about the Broncos’ victory in San Diego, how bad have the Chargers become? If Norv Turner keeps the job he never should have been given in the first place than all the 9/11 conspiracy theorists will abandon that fruitless pursuit and focus their attentions on how the Matt Millen of coaches is still employed (and it can’t just be because he’s got a good-looking local sportscaster daughter).
The Chargers looked like they were going to march the ball up and down on the field aganist the Broncos Sunday which would finally give Tebow-haters what they wanted – how could the turkey-armed QB possibly bring his team back if they ever fell behind by more than 10 points and had to abandon their offensive scheme, which seemingly is right out of Army’s 1957 playbook. But that lasted all of a quarter and then suddenly we were right back to where we were when the Broncos played the Dolphins…and the Chiefs…and the Jets. The Broncos defense keeps the team in the game (and by the way – just how good is Von Miller), Tebow can’t do anything and Denver punts. Then, all of the sudden, Willis McGahee and friends suddenly start finding holes created by that once shitty offensive line, unheralded wide-receivers start making diving catches and Tebow starts moving the team down the field.
So since I’ve been so negative towards big Tim – and I still stand by my prediction he’s out of the league 2 years from now (just like I still stand by my prediction that The Blake Babies are the break-through band of 1989) – I will say this. He’s got great vision and instincts when running, even more so than a guy like Michael Vick who is just so fast and explosive that no one can catch up to him. I also agree with Phil Simms’ assessment that I don’t think Tebow is so inaccurate (although he is inaccurate) as much as he’s so scared about throwing an interception that he often just gives up and throws the ball away. Still, as someone who watches a lot of Eli Manning, sometimes not turning the ball over is better than completing 10 passes in a row if the 10th is to the other team.
I thought Tebow played his best game so far in San Diego because after a miserable 1st quarter, he looked okay throwing the ball and stood in the pocket. Even though he only averaged 3 yards a carry, the way he runs the option makes those runs effective. “They” used to say that the option couldn’t work in the NFL because A) athletes were too good in the NFL and they’d be able to stop it and B) quarterbacks would get hit too much. The latter might be true, Tebow gets hit a lot and he’s an unusually big guy for a quarterback. It is hard to imagine how Tommie Frazier or Scott Frost could take that much pounding and perhaps over time Tebow won’t be able to either. Still, Tebow’s moderate level of success makes one wonder if NFL teams have just been flat-out wrong-headed by not considering option-attacks. The first – and really only time – I recall the option attack being used regularly was a series in a 1987 replacement game between the 49ers and the woeful replacement players that made up the New York Giants that year. The fake 49ers blew away the fake Giants and at one point, Bill Walsh plugged in QB Tony Stevens who ran an option attack that marched the 49ers down the field. Walsh looked over at Bill Parcells and they both laughed. Not just at the absurdity of replacement games but of the fact that the option was being run. “Only in a BS game like this,” you could imagine them both thinking “could you get away with that college bullshit.”
Yet when you look at Tebow’s success – along with the mild amount of success Miami had a few years ago with the wildcat formation – is it possible NFL coaches have been missing out all these years?
Oh wait…does completing less than 50% of your passes, not scoring 20 points and beating teams the last 3 weeks with a combined record of 14-19 really qualify as success? I mean I know San Diego is hurting on the defensive side of the ball, but the actor on Suburgatory who likes like Tim Tebow could have completed passes with the amount of time Timmy was given to throw.
I realize the Chargers didn’t want to be beat off the corner by Tebow the way the Jets were the week before, but did they forget what the Lions did to Tebow…they crushed him in the pocket. The Broncos have since adjusted their game plan and the Chargers don’t have the Lions front but the lack of pressure Tebow was given was ridiculous.
Listen, Tim Tebow is already a more effective player than I or very many other people thought he would be. I never hear from Tebow’s rabid fan base after he does poorly – but hear a lot from them when he does well – and we all know that’s lame. So I won’t wait for Tebow’s next bad game to post an “I told you so” blog. He’s finding a way to lead his team to a win and even when he’s not moving the ball he’s sort of fun to watch – which I never really thought when I saw him at Florida just because so many of those games were white-washes against the likes of Kentucky and Vanderbilt and watching one college team beat another 50-0 is not fun (if you don’t believe me, ask Rick Neuheisel). But while Tebow is still a champion of mediocrity on the pro stage, look at the NFL today. There’s really only one game this year that promises to give Tebow real trouble (New England in Week 14) as the Bears defense (which Denver also faces this year) will feast on him but their anemic offense minus Jay Cutler will likely make that game a carbon copy of the Dolphin and Jet games. And maybe Tebow could hang in there as a 6-10, 7-9 even 9-7 quarterback in this league and then Bronco fans will really be put to the test. If he’s awful, you have no choice to get rid of him. And if he’s great, you have no choice but to keep him. But how do you handle it when your chosen one leads your team to being merely so-so; to being more or less competitive; to being almost good enough to lose in the first round of the playoffs. Ask Indiana Pacers fans about being always good enough to challenge for a playoff spot but never good enough to actually win a playoff series. It’s no fun. Then again, those poor saps are stuck living in Indianapolis so they’ve asked for a life of misery anway.
BK-O-Meter: With a Pie & Burger pumpkin pie in his gullett and a $4.50 hot dog in his right hand, BK made his first NFL Draft notes of the year. “I like this Mike Martin from Michigan” beamed a suger-rushed BK. “I saw two plays of the Michigan-Ohio State game and on one of them he looked good.”