Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Penn State - Ohio State: A Belated Story

Definitely make sure to read Pat's recap below, I tried to shy away from anything he already covered. His Morrelli = Kordell analysis was spot on.

Rodney Kinlaw going in for the score. Friend from home Ryan being tossed in the air 7 times, a tradition often reserved for girls, but I didn't tell him that. The thought crept into my head that the perfect weekend might actually be perfect, that maybe, just maybe, it could be 2005 all over again. Slowly and methodically, with each Chris Wells stiff arm and Todd Boeckman laser, the thought was erased.

That's not to say it was a bad weekend. 7 of my friends came up to visit, so there was no way the weekend could have been ruined. The only two noticeable absences were PiSoNC and Wannstache, who were sorely missed not only for their alcohol drinking abilities but the overall fun they would have added. I had gone to the past two OSU-PSU matches at both the horseshoe and the Beav' with PiSoNC, and it was weird without him there. You've read the reports of the game, so I won't even get into that. The colors of the site, as I'm sure you know by now, were due to a promise about a guaranteed PSU victory that never happened. Don't worry, the eye sore will be gone by tomorrow, although I have to admit a different logo may be in the works to replace the 3 second paint job that I thought would only be temporary when we started the site.

I don't often write full length articles about Penn State, actually only one really
comes to mind. The reason? Penn State is a rather polarizing figure in the Pittsburgh landscape. Often, either you love them or hate them, and the Pitt vs PSU rivalry inevitably comes up. Seems like good material for a blog, right? True, but when the rivalry game has not been played since 2000, it gets old debating the merits of both programs and really no definitive answer is given.

But it's my senior year at Penn State, and this past weekend was the last time I would sit as a student in the student section during a night game at the biggest game of the year at Beaver Stadium. Plus theres the beer throwing attack, which is about half of what this article is based on. So here is the full story of the weekend. This may turn into a small book, just to warn you.

Friday

My friends, including Pat, started showing up around 2 o'clock. One of the first words out of Pat's mouth after the drive through the strip malls and strip clubs of Route 22: "Get me a beer". A good indication of the weekend. While everyone else went to go hear JoePa mumble at Rally In the Valley, Pat and I went to pick up some cases. Pat was also there when we had to pick up the last two tickets, and almost convinced a scalper to give us some extra cash on a deal. Pat, like Larry Murphy, is there when it counts.

We went out that night to a Tony's Big Easy to enjoy the $1 well drinks, fully aware of the mandatory 8 AM wakeup time. At least I was.

Saturday

Woke up at 6 AM, had to finish a few things, then loaded up my car with 98% of the pieces for my ladder golf set (oops), 4 cases of beer, the cooler, and steely determination to fully enjoy the 10 hour tailgate. I made the mistake of taking with me a giant 1-liter beerfest-esq mug to the Wisconsin tailgate two weeks prior. While the tailgate was shorter, I still ended up taking a halftime-third quarter nap back at my apartment. The mug was left behind this time.

Ryan, who goes to a much more pompous school then Penn State, graciously helped me out. We met up with the other 5 cars in our tailgate and headed off to the cow fields. When we pulled out to go on our way, a red GMC truck with Buckeye flags cut in front of me. Never once did I think that "Hey, maybe they are part of our tailgate". Instead, I floored it down Beaver Avenue and cut the guy off in order to make sure all the cars were parked together, only to find out that, yes, they were part of our tailgate. A nice awkward way to start off the morning.

At the tailgate I began to assemble the ladder golf set and realized 1/3 of one ladder leg was missing. Luckily, I got my roommate to give it to the lazy ones who didn't wake up until 9:30 or so and it all worked out, until on a magnificent ball-buster, one of the bolas broke. This was a result of not having a drill to make them correctly, instead relying on gorilla glue. I had been preaching the merits of gorilla glue from the past two weeks of ladder golf playing, only to see it fail at the most inopportune time. An omen for the game? Perhaps.

Pat arrived before the others around 8:30, and when the others did get there the cloudy roof must have opened, and the gods smiled down, as the sun emerged on a day supposedly to be overrun by rain. Normal tailgating ensued, beer was drunk, songs were sang and I got to know the Ohio state fans pretty well. Then something akin to this happened:



If you have not seen it already or do not have youtube at work, its a video of a tailgate on the lawn of a frat house, where two Ohio State fans have full cans of beer chucked at them by a mob of young PSU fans. It was disturbing, especially the commentary, the pleased reactions, and, most damning, the fact they were so proud of it that they put it on youtube. It made me sick. The sad part was that we saw a similar scene at the tailgate.

The cow fields we were in are $10-$20 for parking, easily the cheapest you can find. This results in an influx of young people and opposing fans, who often find more available parking in this area. For that reason, this tailgating area is easily the most rowdy. The fields stretch along Park Avenue, providing a nice view of anyone walking or driving around the stadium. All of a sudden we heard shouting, a general ruckus, that was a bit louder than the normal chants and cheers. Walking down Park Avenue were 4 Ohio State fans, late 20s to mid 30s, with the lead guy bearing a 4'x 3' Buckeye flag.

When I turned my head to look at the source of the noise, there were about 3-4 beer cans in the air, and that number only increased as they walked squarely in front of an out of control tailgate. It was only one tailgate that threw cans, and the OSU fans were out of their range within ten seconds. One tailgate too many, though. We were too far way to see if any other tailgates tried to stop the insanity or if there were any repercussions. But I was embarrassed to be a PSU fan more in that moment than any other until I saw that video. The tailgate assault was bad, but it wasn't the firing line that the video showed. Both acts are reprehensible, and hopefully they'll find the kids in the video and do something about it.

As Penn State fans we take pride in our fandom, claiming we have the best fans in the nation. No doubt we may be the loudest, and we may sustain that noise longer than anybody during a defensive series, but we're not the best fans. I'm sure 97% of the Penn State faithful are as classy as JoePa, ranging from offering opposing fans beer and a burger at a tailgate to simply not saying anything at all. But there are those 3%, those who have begun to change the image of the fans at Penn State. It's an immense amount of passion for football gone horribly wrong.

Penn State needed this though. There is a problem with the younger generation, mostly students, acting like asses on gamedays. I wish I could say these were entirely isolated incidents this past weekend, but every year it seems like we treat opposing fans worse. The general reaction of blogs and the media will be an assault on Penn State, assumptions will be made that everyone acts like this, and who is really to blame anyone that says so? What have we done to prove them wrong? We say we are classy, the best tailgaters, and the best fans in the nation. It's time to hold ourselves to that standard.

If I was President Spanier, I would allocate the same amount of police presence they have downtown during arts fest and nights after games to the area around the stadium, complete with the 20 cops on horses inevitably make all the roads smell like shit, and the helicopter. That's what they did after the riots in '01, and thats the same reaction they should have now. It will inevitably come down to a fans starting a movement to stop the idiocy. If THON and the VT symbol during the spring game are any indication, we'll have a shot.

Up until 2000, the PSU football was a premier program in the nation. From 2000-2004, we had a combined record of 26-33. We were knocked down, and rightfully so. No one should have been subjected to the Zack Mills era, but we were. And in 2005 when everything came together, when we established a new identity and Tamba Hali made Troy Smith do a headstand, the sports euphoria was unmatched due to the down and out feel of the previous 5 years.

When I thought that last Saturday could be 2005 again, I was wrong. Even with a victory, the feeling of being that low to going that high could never be topped. Just like in football we've hit our low as fans with the two beer throwing incidents. But only by recognizing how low we've fallen can we get back to what we were once proud to be.

End of Post

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Penn State Experience: Realizing that Anthony Morelli is Kordell Stewart

How do you acquire nine tickets to one of the biggest football games of the year and sneak nine people into the same spot in the student section (7 of whom arent event students at Penn State)? Well, for starters, you become friends with Sam in third grade and continue that friendship throughout college. I wont go into the details of how he pulled it off since there is a possibility that some of it could get him in trouble, but I take my hat off to you Sambo - that was some high-wire ticket manuevering.

This is remarkably late, mostly because it has taken me this long to recover from my weekend at Penn State. Penn State obviously got hammered down the stretch while Ohio State looked efficient in every aspect of the game. I was rooting for Penn State (a rare occurrence) and even though they lost, it was one hell of a weekend. Some random observations not pertaining to any of the hilarity that took place among old friends...

- Sam woke up at 6:30 to complete some transactions and get us a spot in the tailgating parking lot. Sam=man.

- Tailgating from 8AM to 8PM is more of a physical challenge than running a marathon.

- If the 'S' in the student section looked a little off, well....blame us. We snuck a few too many people into one row and it was noticable at times that the 'S' was a little misshapen.

- 110,000 people is a lot of people. An amazing student section to say the least (this coming from a Pitt Perspective). I've been to Beaver Stadium and Cameron Indoor Stadium in the last year and it is tough to say which has a better atmosphere. I'm tempted to give the edge to Cameron just because of the building's unique layout, but my ears are still ringing from Saturday night so I am going to have to call it a draw.

- The only thing that really bugged me about the game was how the student section decided to rip apart their white pom-pom thingies and toss them into the wind. I hope the TV announcers made a big deal about this. I was shocked that the patrons of Happy Valley felt the need to entertain themsevels by throwing frilly white pom-poms into the air. You have the number one team in your house with the Big Ten Title possibly at stake - watch the freaking game! How can't you be entertained by that and that alone?!

- And now, for the realization from which this post gets its name. Quick outs...TE dumps over the middle...random deep throws...a refusal to throw anything over the middle or even remotely close to the slot...a painfully ineffective stutter-step...who am I talking about? Anthony Morelli? Kordell Stewart? How about both! It was like some sort of voodoo deja vu watching Morelli in Happy Valley. I couldnt help but notice the similarities with the old Kordell-led Steelers offenses, right down to the awful hanging interception to seal the deal towards the end. If you agree with this sentiment, let me know in the comments, cause I feel like I am taking crazy pills. I swear that Morelli put forth an exact replica of a big-game Kordell Stewart performance.
End of Post

The End of the Ricardo Colclough Era

So the news has come today that the Steelers have signed CB Anthony Madison, and have released one Ricardo Colclough from the roster. Honestly, it was going to end after this year anyways because Rico was a free agent, and with the depth we have at CB it made no sense to re-sign him. Still, I never thought he'd go out during the middle of the season.

I have many memories of the Colclough era. Most of them involved me closing my eyes as a punt sailed towards him, because I knew there would be a good chance he would mishandle it. The worst memory, of course, was last year when I was in the house at Heinz Field for the early season matchup between the Steelers and Bengals. That was the game that Colclough mishandled a punt that turned into 7 points for the Bengals and catapulted them to victory. I remember as Colclough jogged out on the field to get ready to return the punt, you could hear the groans in the stadium and there was a palpable sense of doom. I can't explain it. There was just this buzz that something bad was going to happen. Mind you, the previous punt I believe he had also juggled but managed to retain possession.

In all, it's a disappointing end. Remember, this is a guy we traded up to choose in the 2nd round. But it was a clear case of a guy being more athlete than football player. Colclough just didn't have the football smarts or instincts. I can't count how many times he had decent coverage, but allowed the receiver to make the play because of a lack of awareness. Football instincts. It's what separates the Ricardo Colclough's from the William Gay's. One's more athletic, and one has the football smarts. Gay wasn't blessed with blazing speed, but he's been able to come in and have an impact as a rookie. Colclough, on the other hand, leaves the Steelers having done pretty much nothing.

End of Post

The Stache Report: Steelers vs. Bengals

In order to streamline my thoughts, I’m going back to the format I used for the preseason games rather than go position by position.

- Yesterday, we saw good Ben. The guy who refuses to be taken down and can make play after play. Time and time again, he eluded rushers to buy some time and find the wide-open receiver. The comparisons to Favre are legit. He’ll wow you most of the time, but every now and then he’ll make a boneheaded pass (see his INT to Deltha O’Neal in the 2nd half. The three points would have been valuable there)

- I guess Hines heard my gripes in the last Stache report. I thought his lackluster game against Denver was a sign that he was slowing down, but maybe Sam was right when he said it was just rust. He absolutely fooled Leon Hall out of his jock strap on the first TD, and then Hines did what he does best on his 2nd, finding the open spot in the defense.

- Kenny Watson and the Bengals running game had some success on the ground, and the reason could be two-fold. Either we really missed the presence of Aaron Smith, or it was because the Steelers were predominantly playing the cover 2 to thwart the Bengals deep passing game. I tend to think it’s the latter more than the former. Many times we only had 6 in the box to stop the run, and I find it hard to believe that one player can cause that big of a drop off.

- Let me state that I love Mike Tomlin. Think he’s a fantastic coach and is going to be one for a long time. That said, I don’t think he’s proved himself to be very good at challenging plays, at least from what I’ve seen thus far. Sunday’s challenge of a 4th down Chad Johnson completion is the latest example. It was clear from the replays that Johnson probably caught it, and even if he hadn’t there were no conclusive views to prove so. Yet Tomlin went ahead and threw the red flag. When he’s thrown it, it seems like it’s been a hasty decision without considering the replay evidence available. I don’t know if it’s someone upstairs telling him to challenge, or if he’s doing it himself, but this needs to be rectified.

- Sunday’s game reminded me of why I like Anthony Smith so much. With Ryan Clark out, Smith filled in more than capably. He was all over the field and he made sure the Bengals knew it. He was the one responsible for Chad Johnson bouncing his chin off the turf, and then later on he absolutely laid the wood to the Douche on a sideline route. The best was it was such a big hit that they played the requisite replay with the sound, and after the hit, as the Douche is laying on the ground, you can clearly hear Smith yell “BITCH!” I think Smith needs to take over the starting FS spot permanently. He brings a much-needed swagger to the defense.

- Cincinnati is an absolute mess. Marvin Lewis has lost control of that team, and you could have figured that out a while ago if you listen to the shit his players routinely spew. Suddenly, the offense isn’t what it used to be. I’ve always held the belief that Palmer is a “paper champion”, to use Lee Flowers words. He puts up great stats, but when the game is on the line I don’t want him quarterbacking my football team. The offensive line isn’t what it used to be, and the defense is just terrible. The sieve-like defense falls squarely on Lewis. Season after season it’s a weakness, and offseason after offseason they fail to address it properly. Sorry, but drafting an overrated cornerback from Michigan in the 1st round doesn’t qualify as fixing the defense.

- LaMarr Woodley needs to see the field more. Tomlin talked about incorporating him more in the defensive gameplan, but he actually ended up playing less this week. Even as a rookie he’s probably one of our most gifted pass rushers, and against the Ravens O-line if given the chance I think he could apply some much needed pressure against Boller or McNair.

- Watching the entire game yesterday, I got the distinct impression that CBS “analyst” Randy Cross is anything but. He was atrocious. Here is a recap of his gaffs yesterday:

1) On a replay showing James Harrison getting pressure on Palmer, he referred to Harrison as “#92 Jason Gildon.” I shit you not. Jason Gildon. The guy’s been off the team for four years!

2) Called Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, “Marvin Harrison”

3) On a replay showing a Carson Palmer completion, he referred to Palmer as “Ben”

4) After saying that the Steelers were up 11 points, he followed that up with “that’s two touchdowns.” No Randy, it’s not. It’s a touchdown, 2-point conversion, and a field goal.

5) After a graphic came up showing the Steelers next few games, including the Dec. 9 game at New England, Cross mentioned how that should be a marquee game and claimed the game was in Pittsburgh. Mind you, this was seconds after the graphic came up that clearly stated “At New England”

6) Referred to next week’s Patriots-Colts game as “New Indy”

- Finally, now comes an even bigger game next Monday night at home against the Ravens. I’m anxious to see how the offensive line performs. It’s one thing to have success against the weak Bengals front seven. It’s another to do it against the Ravens. Their D-line and linebackers routinely abused our O-line last year, so a solid performance by our guys in the trenches would do a whole lot to ease my mind. The Steelers should have success rushing the passer against the Ravens nicked up offensive line. I think the way to beat the Ravens is spread them out. They’re going to stack the box, and you are not going to run against them. I’d coming out throwing to loosen the D up, and then pound Parker and Davenport. Teams have had success using the no-huddle offense against Baltimore this season, so for all that talk out of Latrobe about using it, this is the week. The key will be the pass protection. If they can hold up, we should be fine. The Ravens offense doesn’t scare me. I don’t think you’ll see too much cover 2 this week, but rather more pressure from LeBeau. The Ravens don’t have the weapons to attack us vertically. Gotta watch out for Todd Heap though, who always shows up to play the Steelers. Harrison against Heap is a bad matchup for us. Ideally, you could use Timmons to cover Heap some, as I think he has the size and speed to stay with him. But I don’t think Timmons is ready. The line is currently at Pittsburgh –9, which to me is entirely too high. I can’t figure that one out. No matter, it’s going to be a tough, hard fought game.

End of Post

Monday, October 29, 2007

Inhaling Too Much White Out?



I didn't really have a good day on Saturday. My Ohio State Men's Club Volleyball finished tied for 5th in our home volleyball tournament, the same tournament that kept me from making the trip to Happy Valley for this year's game. Even following an Ohio State win over Penn State, I was still in only a slightly average mood.

But that's what they made alcohol for...and I'm sure the Penn State faithful know exactly what I mean. For me, it was an easy choice, a forty of Steel Reserve...the choice of homeless people around the world.

I made sure each of my three volleyball roommates had one their own. If you haven't ever tried Steel Reserve, please do yourself the favor...it's an experience of a lifetime. One that only homeless people seem to know about...

Anyway on the football...I was skeptical to start this season, and I would of told you Penn State had the edge going into the 2007-2008 PA-OH showdown. However, following OSU's game at Washington, I was starting to believe this team was more than just a great defense.

Ohio State might just be better than they were last year... It's the same defense, older and stronger, with an offense that will keep them off the field longer. Chris "Beanie" Wells may very well be the best RB behind Darren McFadden, and hes only a Sophomore! Hes a complete package RB with speed, power, and a body that NFL scouts will salivate over. Believe me... I walked right next to him when he was a freshmen, and if I wasn't as educated on Ohio State sports, I would of thought he was a linebacker.
People can talk all the shit they want about this year's Ohio State team, and just college football in general, but when it comes down to it Ohio State is going to be playing in New Orleans come January. OSU vs LSU...I hope that's the game, right there on LSU's home turf, the SEC will get a well deserved whipping that will bring pride back to the Big Ten.


Oh and Sam said it... "Guaranteed Penn State win on Saturday. If we lose, I'll change the color scheme of this site to scarlet and gray for a day."

I want my Scarlet and Gray ...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Weekend Picks

I don't want to call this a weekend post because I did not have time to fully cover the weekend. I did have time to make the pick table, however, complete with the picks for the big match up tomorrow.



The 'Stache Says:

Home team in caps

ST. LOUIS (+3) over Cleveland

The Rams are hurting. Their O-line is in shambles, and as an added bonus, their best defensive player, Leonard Little, will be out. But they have to win a game at some point, and they have played their last two opponents tough at home. Sure, the Rams will probably add another L to my loss column, but I’m going back for my crack fix.

Detroit (+5) over CHICAGO

Brian Griese saved the Bears season last week as he engineered a 97-yard drive in the closing minutes. Still, the Lions are getting the same number of points the Vikings got when they played the Bears at Soldier Field, and Detroit is a better team than Minnesota. The Bears defense got it together last week, but they’ll be facing a much better offense this Sunday.

Indianapolis (-7) over CAROLINA

At Sportsbook.com you can see the betting trends for each game. 99% of the money bet at Sportsbook’s website has gone on the Colts. 99%! Astounding. Maybe they should move the line up a bit. You have to outscore the Colts to win, and I’m not trusting either David Carr or Vinny Testaverde to outscore Peyton Manning. The Colts will play the cover 2 defense to keep everything in front of them and not allow the long ball to Steve Smith.

NEW YORK GIANTS (-10) over Miami

Technically, the Giants are the home team even though this game is being played in London. In the span of one week, the Dolphins lost their top two offensive weapons (Ronnie Brown to injury and Chris Chambers to a trade). Meanwhile, the Giants are playing some of the best football in the NFL. Look for Osi and Strahan to wreak havoc on Miami’s suspect offensive line.

Oakland (+7.5) over TENNESSEE

Vince Young will be back, but how mobile will he be. The ½ point is big here, because I could definitely see the Titans winning this game by a touchdown. This game will be a defensive struggle, which means I’m taking the points.

MINNESOTA (+1) over Philadelphia

The Eagles are getting too much respect from Vegas. They’re not a very good team, yet they are road favorites. That loss last week has to be deflating, and they’ll be traveling to the Metrodome which is a tough place to play. As an added bonus, Brian Dawkins is out for this game, which is good for the Vikings. Tarvaris Jackson also may not play, which is also good for the Vikings.

Pittsburgh (-3.5) over CINCINNATI

This is a game I expect Tomlin to have the team fired up for. They just got embarrassed on national TV, so I think he’ll use that to light a fire under their ass. The Bengals D is awful. We should be able to run the ball at will against them. Pound the ball, then hit them over the top with the play-action. Cincinnati has a lot of gamblers in the secondary, so they’re susceptible to the play-action pass.

NEW YORK JETS (-3) over Buffalo

Much like the Rams, the Jets are another team I pick every week that’s always good for a loss. Yet I come back for more. Pennington was actually playing decently last week before falling apart at the end. Buffalo is a much better team at home. If this game was at Ralph Wilson Stadium and the Bills were favored by –3, I’d probably take them. But it’s not.

Houston (+9.5) over SAN DIEGO

Who knows where this game is going to be played. You have to figure the Chargers are dealing with a lot of distractions, and lest I remind you again, they’re being coached by Norv Turner. Give me the Texans and the 9.5 points.

TAMPA BAY (-4) over Jacksonville

Quinn Gray will get the start for Jacksonville, and anyone who watched him fill in for David Garrard Monday night knows that he sucks. Jeff Garcia, on the other hand, is playing great football, and the Buccaneers are home.

New Orleans (-3) over SAN FRANCISCO

The 49ers offense is terrible. Just awful. The Saints didn’t exactly play inspired football last week, barely eeking out a win against the lowly Falcons. Slowly but surely the Saints are building a little momentum, though, and I think their offense can outscore the 49ers lame offense by more than three.

NEW ENGLAND (-16.5) over Washington

I learned my lesson. Never bet against the Patriots. These lines are getting ridiculous, though. Giving 16.5 points to the Redskins? If it were anyone else but the Patriots I’d be jumping all over the Redskins. I look back at the week
1 lines, and I can only laugh that the Patriots were only favored by 7 against the Jets and all of us, save for Sam, took the Jets.

Green Bay (+3) over DENVER

Are the Broncos back? I don’t think so. I think they just got lucky that we had such a shitty gameplan. I still don’t know how Cutler shredded us, but I don’t think he’ll do the same to the Packers, who have a quality cornerback duo in Al Harris and Charles Woodson.


Hope everyone has a great weekend. Look for Pat and I in the student section. We'll be wearing white.

End of Post

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Premature Summary

Well, there are still 6 minutes left in the game, but I don't think the Penguins are capable of scoring 4 goals and knotting it up tonight. I was unbelievably excited for the 3rd period tonight: 1-1 game, Pens finished the 2nd period with an enormous amount of enthusiasm, Fleury is playing alright...and then the wheels flew off.

[Editor's note: ok, well, it's 5-2 now, Gonchar just scored on the power play, making Bob Errey look like a genius. I'm still writing the summary prematurely. Prove me wrong, Pens.]

Toronto played a very patient game tonight - they didn't have any of the exciting flashes exhibited by Malkin's sweeping drives or Staal's remarkable vision - playing well down low and creating some traffic in front. It's simply another October game in the NHL, so there shouldn't be any over-arching declarations gleaned from the game. But here is one man's brief observations...

- There were some deflections, and there was an awful defensive zone turnover...but four 3rd period goals is not something we want to be seeing from MAF. Fleury's consistency level is starting to look a lot like Big Ben's.

- Malkin is a beast. Plain and simple. More on this in a future article.

- First line tonight: Malkin, Crosby, Recchi. Why not just throw the 'stache out there? It's about the same as having Recchi play with those two. I know, it is early, and tonight was only one game, but he couldn't finish in front, he was repeatedly knocked off the puck, his forechecking was counterproductive (he often fell down and was taken out of the play, producing several odd-man rushes), and he can't keep up with our two studs. The lines keep shuffling...and Recchi keeps staying on the first line. Who is he paying to keep his first line spot?

- At the end of the second period, Roberts was abusing someone in the corner. I loved every second.

- Could we get another article about Sid's lack of scoring from the local paper? One of those a day for the rest of the year should keep his goal totals up.

Off to Penn State I go for the big showdown this weekend with half of the DAI writers. See you soon Sambo.

End of Post


I know I've been slacking this week, but I've been busy trying to acquire a few tickets for the Penn State demolition of Ohio State on Saturday. Three things to note:

1.) Most college students are greedy bastards. When you pay $25 for a ticket, quintupling the price for a fellow fan is a bit obnoxious. When you go to a branch campus and buy tickets for the sole reason of selling them for 5 times the price, you are an entrepreneurial asshole.

2.) Some college students are reasonable. They know they have the hottest ticket in town, and still sell it for about $100 dollars, but at least they feel the pain of the person who didn't get tickets because their credit card information stored on Ticketmaster was expired, thus causing him to have to get out of line and change his information, which took all of 3 minutes but still was too long before 21,000 people got in front of him. Sucks to be that guy.

3.) Guaranteed Penn State win on Saturday. If we lose, I'll change the color scheme of this site to scarlet and gray for a day.

Other News:

-The Steelers revealed their all-time team today. Current players on the list: Troy Polamalu, Hines Ward, Alan Faneca, and Joey Porter, who by my count is still a Steeler because there is no actual football being played in Miami.

-Staal took the plea deal for underage drinking.




-Game preview for tonight's Pens game: Empty-Netters

Back to the grind, Weekend Post coming tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dig the Grave, Folks


Sports Illustrated will always hold a special place in my heart. I flipped through it looking at pictures when I was 4, started reading it as soon as I was able, and have been a subscriber for as long as I can remember. Those who have read it cover to cover throughout the years know that it has taken many a subtle shot at the increasingly ESPN-dominated sporting scene and the way that the sports media has changed for the worse. At the same time, it has unfortunately turned to many of the same cheap gimmicks that ESPN has shoved down the publics' throat more and more these past few years. For me, it has been interesting to watch the magazine grapple with these changes and try to flailingly recapture its prominence in the world of sports media.
Well, that quest for return to prominence took a definitive, image-crushing blow yesterday.

I do not consider myself a huge Rick Reilly fan. He is funny and without question has found his niche in the sporting world. Regardless of what you think of him, it is I-M-P-O-S-S-I-B-L-E to deny that he has an enormous chunk of clout in the sports journalism world. You could even argue that no one has more pull or has more defined what a "sports columnist" can be than Rick Reilly. He WAS the backpage of Sports Illustrated, and as they have lost more and more writers over the past year or two, it is arguable that he WAS Sports Illustrated.

Remember when everyone was worried about ESPN's Page 2? Whitlock left, Wiley and Hunter S. Thompson passed away, and people thought Simmons might leave too (before he signed his new contract). Well, they nabbed Chadiha and Adande, found a nice role for Jemele Hill, and now they have Rick Reilly. Someone at ESPN.com knows what they are doing. As the article mentions though, Reilly will be used in a variety of roles. This is just a hunch, but if you think Stephen A./Bayliss/Mike and Mike/any ESPN personality has been over-exposed in the past, I have a feeling that Rick Reilly might take it to a whole different level.

It can't be a happy day in the SI offices today. Hopefully they will cheer up when they realize that the DAI writers are still unrestricted free agents.

End of Post

The Stache Report: Steelers vs. Broncos

QB: I don’t think Ben played as bad as many people think he did. Does he hold onto the ball too long sometimes? Yeah, and that’s something I’d like to see rectified. It leads to him taking too many unnecessary shots. While he had 3 turnovers yesterday, I think only one was his fault (that being his first INT to Dre Bly.) The second INT clanged off Ward’s hands, and the fumble was the result of a low snap by Mahan. Had it been a good snap, Ben would have been able to keep his eyes on the defense and see that Ward was wide open from the slot because of a Denver blitz from that side. In the second half, Ben was awesome, leading the charge to tie the game. He continually found open receivers, even under the duress of heavy pressure.

RB: Many thought Parker would rush for 200 yards. Instead he ended up with a relatively meager 93, through no fault of his own. Denver routinely had 8 guys in the box. When the box is stacked, and you don’t loosen up the D on early downs, it doesn’t create much running room. Parker made due with the shitty gameplan, and came pretty close to breaking off a few long touchdown runs but couldn’t shake the last defender. Davenport didn’t get much work, only carrying the rock 2 times.

WR: This is the first time I’m beginning to wonder whether Hines is slowing down. He dropped multiple passes during Sunday’s game, passes he normally would always catch 2-3 years ago. It’s not the first time it’s happened this season, either. He’s had quite a few drops. At this point, I think you can say Santonio is #1 and Hines is #2. Speaking of Santonio, what a grab he had to hold on to the touchdown after getting rocked. What’s not to like? He has great hands, runs great routes, can stretch the D, and can run block pretty effectively. Washington and Wilson each had big catches. Nate’s came at the outset of the game, on a sky high pass from Ben that Washington was able to run under and corral even as a defender was draped all over him. Another one of those tough catches that Nate likes to make. Cedric’s came on the final Steelers drive, on a quick slant that needs to be incorporated more into the gameplan. With the shitty pass protection Ben routinely gets, quick passes like these are needed.

TE: Maybe the most surprising group thus far. Miller is making these big games routine. The Denver defender had no chance on his game-tying TD grab. Heath is now on pace for 59 catches, 777 yards, and 11 TDs. Astounding for a Steelers tight end. Spaeth seems to be an upgrade over Tuman. He was wide open for his TD pass, and his size makes him more of a matchup problem for linebackers trying to cover him.

OL: I honestly don’t even want to spend time writing about this group. So I won’t. Here’s your summary: Marvel- awful, Faneca- mediocre, Mahan- bad, Colon- mediocre, Simmons- wouldn’t be starting for the local peewee football team (translation: He fucking sucks. I can’t even put into words how bad he was. I specifically focused on him multiple plays. It was a potpurri of shit. Getting bullrushed, holding penalties, being flat out juked, even falling flat on his ass while blocking no one. I swear this happened. He was blocking NO ONE, and he proceeded to fall flat on his ass. I want to find video of this so I can post it. Rest assured, if I find it I will.)

DL: Aaron Smith left the game early with a knee injury, and he’s going to be tough to replace. I don’t think you want Nick Eason getting extended playing time. Henry rushed for only 51 yards on 17 carries, which means the D-line did their job for the most part. They failed to contain Cutler on his 31-yard scramble though. On a more humorous note, check out Hampton trying to chase Cutler on the aforementioned scramble. Click on this link, click the video, and then scroll to :25. I don’t know why it’s funny. I guess it’s just the way he runs.

LB: On the outside, James Harrison was a beast pass rushing. I distinctly noted two times where he was blatantly held by the left tackle, and yet no call. I’m sure it happened a few more times. He finished up with 9 tackles and a sack. I noticed Haggans was pretty active as well rushing the passer. Woodley had a great sack and strip that unfortunately was recovered by the Broncos. I’d like to see him more, with the added benefit of giving Harrison and Haggans a breather from time to time. Foote had an INT that was eerily reminiscent of the one he had against Denver in the 2005 AFC Championship game. But he was slow to react on both of Cutler’s final 2 TDs to Sapp and Scheffler. In the Steelers defense Farrior is tasked to cover the middle of the field. It was open far too many times, most notably on Scheffler’s 26-yard catch on the Broncos opening drive.

DB: What a difference a week (or in this case, two weeks) make. This group absolutely shut down Seattle, but had trouble Sunday night. I blame it more on the scheme. Way too many soft cushions against the receivers. Ike didn’t have his best game, nor did Deshea who was tooled multiple times by Stokley. Anthony Smith had a great interception on a deep ball, but Clark was way too quiet. I don’t understand why they try and rush Troy up the middle, which they tried to do quite a bit yesterday. Why make him go up against guards and centers with no room to maneuver. Blitz him from the outside where he can use his speed and elusiveness to get to the quarterback.

Special Teams: Blah. Not much to discuss here, although for a split second I thought Reed’s 65-yard field goal had a shot.

Coaching: Shabby all around. The team came out flat, which is on Tomlin. I hated the challenge of Ward’s incompletion. It was way too hasty, and if Tomlin had looked at the replay he would have seen it was an obvious incompletion. At least he didn’t pussy out like Cowher and kick the field goal down by two touchdowns late in the game. Arians gameplan was a bag of shit. I pretty much detailed it already. No quick hitters to mask the sieve-like pass protection, and no adjustments to Denver crowding the box. Lebeau’s defense was soft all night long. I don’t need to see anymore quick slants and outs to Stokley or Marshall. Also, why play the prevent defense on the Broncos final drive? Does it ever work? A lot left to be desired in this area.

Summary: This Sunday’s game against Cincinnati just got a whole lot bigger. Win, and you take back control of the division. Lose, and all of the sudden you’re tied with Baltimore and potentially Cleveland, with the Bengals lurking only a game back. The soft defense won’t work against the Bengals. Give Palmer, Johnson, and Houshmandzadeh all day, and they’ll kill you. If we don’t score at least 30 points against the Bengals D, I’ll be disappointed. They are awful. Hopefully, this group responds the same way they did after their previous loss.

End of Post

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday Banter with Mark Anthony and Dave Wannstache

This idea for a blog post came out of nowhere, as myself and Mark Anthony were online earlier today for about an hour discussing the games this Sunday. I don't know how often we'll do this, or if we'll ever do it again, but here is the portion of the transcript relative to game discussion. If the conversation feels choppy, it's because I had to cut some stuff out that, let's just say, revolve around some things that college kids do on the weekend.

Dave Wannstache: you're killing my productivity
Mark Anthony: It's no shirt Sunday.
Anthony: lol
Anthony: what's up
Wannstache: i like procrastinating anyways
Anthony: don't worry, i'm doing the same thing
Wannstache: nothin, i hate gambling
Anthony: i know you do...hold on i got a quote for u
Anthony: "I said I wouldn’t pick against New England until they lost against the spread, but a home underdog getting 17 points is pushing it too far. The Dolphins always play the Patriots tough, and you never know what can happen in division games."
Anthony: This could definitely backfire on me, but I cannot in good conscience bypass a home underdog getting this many points."
Wannstache: my asshole hurts from the patriots fucking me up the butt
Anthony: I think Brian Belichick said that
Anthony: lol...
Wannstache: i have a 2 team teaser today, saints at -1.5 and bucs at +8.5
Wannstache: i'm going to lose... again
Wannstache: what the fuck, it's byron leftwich and he's tearing shit up
Anthony: nah u'll win that...
Wannstache: meanwhile, garcia is 19/20 and they're still down 6
Anthony: no will come back
Anthony: don't worry
Anthony: New orleans*
Wannstache: nothing has gone right for me this season
Wannstache: so i'm not getting my hopes up
Anthony: lol start using mark Anthony's picks
Wannstache: no, i need to make my picks, then do the opposite. i'd go 10-3 every week
Anthony: lol
Anthony: that'd be an awesome technique
Wannstache: i might just try it next week
Anthony: it'd be a better story if i told you i took your picks every week, reversed them...and then won hundreds of dollars
Wannstache: hahaha
Anthony: finally willis mcgahee did something for my fantasy team
Anthony: a 46 yard TD...i didn't know he did those
Wannstache: is that the game you're getting? it's brutal to watch
Anthony: no i'm not getting it...are u?
Anthony: i'm not even getting a CBS game
Wannstache:yeah, and was-arz on fox
Anthony: i'm getting giants vs san fran
Wannstache: you'll probably get one at 4 then
Anthony: yeah i am...cinci
Anthony: cinci and then the dallas game...
Wannstache: yeah, i don't get a cbs game at 4
Wannstache: i get the dal-min game though
Wannstache: i love trying to get work done during these games... it never works
Anthony: i love how they are talking up adrian peterson all over the place now
Anthony: oh yeah...didn't u read my article...
Anthony: i sit on the couch all fucking day...and todya is the worst day possible
Wannstache: yeah, "no shirt sunday"... great concept
Anthony: steelers playing at 8 o clock
Wannstache: yep, no work done for us today
Anthony: nope....
Wannstache: i don't even care anymore... a C or D is not going to affect my gpa much
Anthony: nice ..
Wannstache: god damnit, payton better go for this
Wannstache: 4th and 1 for no at midfield
Anthony: man...they are hurting for a squirting this year
Wannstache: haha, i think they teased me with their performance last week
Anthony: they were probably like "lets fool the stache'"
Wannstache: i think that's what the entire nfl is doing... they got together before the season and was like "let's fool the stache, he had too much success gambling last year"
Anthony: yeah...i bet they did
Wannstache: i feel like we could make this into a blog post, just a running conversation about the days games
Anthony: we should...
Wannstache: i could just copy and paste it and post it when we're done
Wannstache: of course, editing the names and such
Wannstache: call it "Sunday Banter with Mark Anthony and Dave Wannstache"
Anthony: i like the idea
Anthony: good name too
Wannstache: by the way, is it in the NFL bylaws that the Bills aren't allowed to score touchdowns?
Anthony: i don't know...i just want to know how the ravens continue to suck nuts...all they have to do is hand it to mcgahee 40 times a game and their defense will do the rest
Anthony: but no...they think they can pass the ball
Anthony: the think derrick mason is the second coming of steve smith
Anthony: they*
Wannstache: it's because brian billick is a moron
Anthony: yeah tampa isn't gonna cover...
Anthony: but new orleans is...
Wannstache: yeah, one team gets their shit together, and then the other ones starts faltering
Wannstache: i have +8.5 with the bucs though
Wannstache: bills are about to violate nfl league rules and score a touchdown
Wannstache: td lynch
Anthony: the ravens suck
Anthony: randy moss is fucking carrying my fantasy team right now, with a little teaser from mcgahee and his rare 46 yard TD
Anthony: then it never hurts to have new englands kicker...6 XP's..
Wannstache: it's like brady and moss are playing against high school kids, it's ridiculous
Wannstache: brady has 25 td's and 2 int's
Anthony: don't worry, once they meet up with ike taylor and deshea townsend, they are fucked
Anthony: there is a lot of sarcasm in that comment
Wannstache: i actually think ike can take him... he definitely has the physical skills to do so... not deshea though
Wannstache: ike has shut down guys like owens and chad johnson before
Anthony: yeah deshea can stick with stallworth
Anthony: or maybe welker
Anthony: so i started earnest graham today...he had a nice little first half, but i dont know what hes gonna due for me now that tampa is down by nine
Wannstache:i'm losing both my bets right now
Wannstache: by 1/2 point each
Wannstache: is this really happening?
Wannstache: 1/2 a fucking point?
Anthony: don't worry earnest graham has ur back...
Wannstache: haha, makes me feel better. he's actually running pretty well it seems
Anthony: 64 rush yards, 55 receiving...who does that cat think he is?
Anthony: if he threw in a touchdown or two, he might get his own segment on every NFL pre-game show next week
Anthony: "Adrian peterson is god...."
Anthony: that's all i heard this morning
Wannstache: this other blog started calling him "purple jesus" which is an awesome nickname
Anthony: lol that is tight
Anthony: i wonder if he ever did anything stupid in college....like pee on a girls face, or shit in a hamper
Wannstache: makes me wonder whether r. kelly and najeh davenport are tight
Anthony: lol i'm pretty sure r kelly likes to pee on girls when hes sober...
Anthony: and najeh was just really drunk
Anthony: there is a difference there
Wannstache: true
Anthony: that'd be an awesome friendship though
Anthony: they could make a rap about it
Anthony: " i pee, you poop... look at my penis droop"
Wannstache: hmm... i smell a grammy in your future for "best songwriter"
Wannstache: and your boy mcgahee is out
Anthony: no way...
Anthony: u mean hes hurt?
Wannstache: all they said is he is getting an IV in the locker room
Anthony: good...
Anthony: that means hes cramping
Anthony: is mcgahee back in the game yet?
Anthony: i want him to get this TD
Wannstache: not sure, they haven't been back on offense
Wannstache: oh my god
Wannstache: i'm gonna throw up
Wannstache: garcia fumbled at the one fucking yard line
Anthony: on his own one yard line?
Wannstache: no at detroit's
Anthony: fucking idiot...earnest could of gotten a TD
Wannstache: and the falcons are in the red zone... FUCKING MOTHERFUCK
Anthony: i picked them to win...i told you to use mark Anthony's picks
Wannstache: would you still have picked them if it was NO -1.5?
Anthony: they're the best team in the NFL....why not
Wannstache: yeah, you're sleeper pick... i forgot
Anthony: miami is trying to cover ...
Anthony: down 21 now...
Wannstache: yep, going for the cheap backdoor
Anthony: gotta like where their head is at...
Anthony: joey porter is probably playing offense, i bet he has money on this game
Anthony: i wonder if players are ever like "i'll bet you 10,000 dollars we beat you"
Anthony: can they bet with each other ?
Anthony: and tampa is not covering anymore...
Anthony: ur done son
Wannstache: i need a TD from them
Wannstache: of course, they'll go for the two and miss it and lose by 9
Anthony: hah yep
Anthony: what's funny ...those guys on NFL today and Fox...
Wannstache: and NO is going to kick a field goal and win by one
Anthony: they can't even pick winners without a spread
Wannstache: it's tough this year man... i never had this much trouble last year
Wannstache: i don't know what it is
Wannstache: i still have a shot... i need a TD from the saints and a TD and two from the bucs
Anthony: oh sports betting...ok i'm gonna try to go make something of my life before the steelers game
Anthony: i'll ttyl
Wannstache: yeah, i'll post portions of this
Wannstache: peace
Anthony: sounds good

Well, I'm happy to report the gambling Gods smiled on the Stache today. New Orleans covered the -1.5 and like I said Tampa Bay went for two and missed it. But they got the onside kick, managed to get into field goal range, and Voila! cheap backdoor cover. It's about time.

End of Post

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pittsburgh Sports Weekend

If there was ever a must win week for a blog, this is it. A computer simulating the 2002 season is threatening to overtake all of us, and if Wannstache doesn't come up with a way to generate a few bills this week he may have to start a new blog about cement shoes and the bottom of the Monongahela.

Pat's lead has slipped to one game above the Dreamcast, with Marc Anthony 5 back and Sam and the 'Stache 6 back. And yes, that is a NJ Nets logo in Pat's column. In his picks he selected the "NY Nets", which is a few years too early but I thought I would be a dick about it. On to the table:


The 'Stache Says

As I stated in the weekly lines e-mail I send out to my fellow Doubt About It contributors on Wednesday, I'm ready to pick some more losers. Folks, your best bet is to read my picks, and then do the opposite. In fact, if you see that all four of us are unanimous in our pick for a certain game, you should run to your bookie and place a bet on the other team. We have been that bad in picking games this year. Onto the week 7 picks.

Home teams in caps

Arizona (+8) over WASHINGTON

Yeah, I know Tim Rattay is starting this game at quarterback for the Cardinals. I think Arizona maybe got a reality check last week against the Panthers when a 43 year old QB beat them. Expect Ken Whisenhunt to have his team ready to play after the egg they laid last week, and while they probably won’t win, they’ll keep it within eight.


NEW ORLEANS (-8.5) over Atlanta

The Falcons will try Byron Leftwich at QB, but guess what, he’s not the answer. As I mentioned in my NFL thoughts post, I think the Saints are capable of making a run, and what better team to face to build up momentum than the Falcons. Brees and Colston will have their way with one of the most overrated players in the league, DeAngelo Hall (remember last year when the Steelers WRs torched him last year?), and even though the Saints secondary isn’t all that great, the Falcons don’t have the weapons to exploit it. When you combine Leftwich’s slow delivery with a porous offensive line, that spells disaster.


Baltimore (-3) over BUFFALO

Trent Edwards will go up against the best defense he’s faced all year. While they’re not their usual dominant self, the Ravens defense is formidable. Edwards looked pretty good against the Cowboys, but the Cowboys can be passed on because their safeties (read: Roy Williams) struggle in pass coverage. Not so with the Ravens and Ed Reed back there roaming around. Willis McGahee will have a chip on his shoulder as he comes back to Buffalo and will carry Baltimore to a victory.


Minnesota (+9.5) over DALLAS

It’s tough to go with Tarvaris Jackson on the road, but it’s a little easier when you have Adrian Peterson on your side. The Cowboys have been shaky the past two weeks. They had no business beating Buffalo, and then got pasted in the 2nd half by the Patriots. If you can’t beat em then join em, so I’ll cast my lot with Peterson and the Vikings after they ripped my heart out last weekend.

MIAMI (+17) over New England

I’m going against the grain here. I said I wouldn’t pick against New England until they lost against the spread, but a home underdog getting 17 points is pushing it too far. The Dolphins always play the Patriots tough, and you never know what can happen in division games. Cleo Lemon played fairly well last week, and Ronnie Brown is having a spectacular season, so much so that Bill Belichick called Brown “the most impressive player he’s seen on offense this season.” This could definitely backfire on me, but I cannot in good conscience bypass a home underdog getting this many points.

NEW YORK GIANTS (-9) over San Francisco

Two teams going in opposite directions. The 49ers are among the league leaders in sacks allowed, and this week they’ll be facing pass rushing beasts in Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan. Couple that with Trent Dilfer getting the start at QB for the 49ers, and the Giants at home, and that’s enough for me.

Tampa Bay (+2.5) over DETROIT

Vegas still isn’t giving the Bucs credit. I really thought they would be slight favorites in this game, but instead they’re the underdog. Garcia can and will play efficient football, moving the chains and keeping the potent Lions offense on the sidelines. Last time we saw Detroit they were getting spanked by the Redskins 34-3, and the defense needs to play better than that for my sleeper pick to come to fruition.

Tennessee (-1.5) over HOUSTON

This is a tough game to pick, because we have no way of knowing if Vince Young starts or not. He’s questionable with a quad injury, and if he can’t go it will be Kerry Collins instead. I’m going under the assumption that Young plays, but even if he doesn’t, I have faith that Collins can at least keep the Titans afloat while the defense picks up the slack. The Texans really miss Andre Johnson, and their defense is starting to show some holes.

Kansas City (+3) over OAKLAND

The Chiefs are building some momentum. I have to say I’m a bit surprised. I thought they would be one of the worst teams in the league this year, and I felt the same way last year as well. Herm Edwards seems like the type of coach who can get you 9-10 wins every now and then, but you’ll never win a Super Bowl with him. I really don’t have much else to say about this game.

CINCINNATI (-6) over New York Jets

Here’s why I’m worried about the Bengals. At some point, you have to figure that this offense kicks it into gear. It could happen any week, and when it does, regardless of how bad their D is, they will be a tough opponent to handle. It seems like I pick the Jets every week and they never deliver. Pennington sucks, and I made the mistake of backing him last week. It’s time for Kellen Clemens. This week, as much as I hate him, I’ll take Palmer over Pennington every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Chicago (+5) over PHILADELPHIA

Why are teams still kicking to Devin Hester? I can’t figure this out. I’m not as high on this Eagles team as others are. This is one of those “hunch” games. My mind is telling me to go with the team that is playing better football and is at home. But for some reason I can’t explain, my heart is telling me take the Bears and the points.


SEATTLE (-8.5) over St. Louis

And I’m done with the Rams. Damn, what a shitty offense they have without Bulger and Jackson. Come to think of it, they weren’t playing that well with them. Looks like Bulger will be back, but he even is admitting he’s not fully healed. Plus, this game is at Qwest Field, which is one of the toughest places to play in the NFL, and I doubt they lose two in a row there.


Pittsburgh (-3.5) over DENVER

Javon Walker will be out for this game, and there’s a chance Champ Bailey will join him. I liked the Steelers to cover before I knew that, and this just reaffirms my position. Expect the Broncos to crowd the box in an effort to stop Willie Parker, so taking advantage of this and hitting Holmes deep, Ward over the middle, or Miller down the seam will be paramount. I REALLY like the Steelers this week. So much so that I’m considering placing money on them. But if I do, they’ll probably lose. So I don’t know.

JACKSONVILLE (+3) over Indianapolis

Wow, will the Jacksonville crowd be fired up. The Jaguars defense is exactly the type that will give the Colts fits, and they always play them tough. If you remember last year, Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor ran all over the Colts defense. I don’t know if they’ll have the same success this year, but I think they’ll be able to move the ball against the Colts D, and I think the Jaguars have enough to at least limit Manning and the Colts O. The boozed up Jaguars crowd will push them over the top.

Just Chillin' Competition: Steelers vs Broncos

This Week: Cornerback


Champ Bailey

VS.

Ike Taylor
(Picture Courtesy of PSaMP)


I swear I'll pick the other team eventually, just not this week. Although Champ looks aware of his surroundings while Ike looks positively catatonic, its all about the ladies in these pictures. The two with Champ probably have no idea who he is, assuming "Champ" is a title and not a name and that when he was talking about "covering that tight end" he meant something else. The two with Ike probably know his career stats and only wanted a picture with him because they knew he would eventually emerge as a solid #1 DB. Ike wins based on association.

Winner: Steelers

Recommended Purchase of the Week

Pittsburgh Steelers Solid 14K Gold Logo With Colored Stones Ring Size 11

The ring is a must have for any sleazy Steelers' impersonator, who could easily trick an unsuspecting lady yinzer into believing it is the 2005 Super Bowl ring. And at the price of $1,145.99 you'll be the only creeper who could afford one. The only true justification for buying this ring would be to walk around Cincinnati punching unsuspecting Bengals fans and leaving an imprint of the hypocycloids on their forehead.

3 Things to Know About Raleigh/D.C./Denver

1.) Raleigh is suffering through an "exceptional" drought and is limiting water consumption by not allowing people to water their lawns. I wonder if this applies to watering the rink.

2.) The Capitals are the only team in the NHL with a High Definition Jumbotron. They have their priorities straight.

3.) Game 5 of the World Series is scheduled for Monday night, October 29th in Denver. Also scheduled for that time slot is a Monday night football game at Invesco Field. If the Rockies could clinch the World Series with the win, how many people do you think will be at the Broncos game?


End of Post

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Penguins Fall


Frustrating.

For me, that is the only way to describe last night's game. They're playing well enough to win, yet could not find a way. The horrible officiating and the long wait between the games makes it especially excruciating.

I refuse to be pessimistic this early though, and there are 5 positive things we can take out of this game.

1.) Every team will be screwed over by the refs once or twice this season. Better to have one of those games in October rather than April.

2.) Talbot scored his 4th goal of the year, all of them coming in the last 3 games. A 20 goal year out of Max may be reasonable, and a huge boost to the depth on offense.

3.) The Pens are third in the league right now with 34.6 shots/game, a nice improvement over the 28.9 from a year ago. Goals are obviously more important, but there were too many times last year where they got cute with the puck and passed up scoring chances.

4.) Did anyone else see John Madden huffing and puffing in the penalty box after taking a hooking penalty at the end of the third? That's what happens when you have to chase Sid for an entire period.

5.) The loss will not get a chance to linger with the next game on Friday.

For everyone outside the Pittsburgh area, Seth at Empty Netters found out that you'll be able to watch the game live on Yahoo. A great find. Could you ever imagine the NFL allowing this? The NHL is for the people.

End of Post

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Random NFL Thoughts From the Stache

Since there was no Steelers game this past week (and hence no Stache Report), I’m going to just post some random NFL thoughts. I may continue to do these every now and then, depending on time issues.

- Want one more reason to despise the Patriots? Their recent penchant for accumulating garbage touchdowns and running up the score is a good one. What the hell are you doing attempting to score a touchdown when you’re up 17 points with 19 seconds left? Of course, the national media will gloss over this fact. If any other team were doing this, we’d be hearing cries from the talking heads of “Where’s the sportsmanship!?” and Joe Buck’s head would probably explode.

- Speaking of the talking heads, I love how all of them are now saying that the Ravens defense is back. Listen, the last two weeks they have faced an anemic 49ers offense led by Trent Dilfer and an even worse combo in the Rams and Gus Frerotte. I still worry about the Ravens, because I think their front 7 can give our O-line fits, but I feel more confident about how we matchup with them than I did at the beginning of the season. I just hope Kyle Boller starts when we play them. Say all you want about Steve McNair, but that guy almost always plays lights out when facing the Steelers. I really don’t need to see another 25-30, 305 yards, 3 TD performance from McNair against our defense.

- Who would have thought the Browns would be on their way up and the Bengals on their way down. We were lucky to face the Browns in week 1, when they still didn’t have an identity and the incomparable Charlie Frye was at the helm. Now, with steady quarterback play from Derek Anderson and explosive targets in Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow, the Stains offense doesn’t look so bad. A defense heavy draft next year, and they could be back in the playoff hunt. As for the Bengals, it’s amazing the sense of entitlement these guys have. One good season, and they think they are kings of the NFL. After their loss to the Chiefs on Sunday, Douchemanzadeh felt it was necessary to state that the Bengals were better than the teams they were being beaten by. Newsflash, dickhead. You’re not. You’re defense sucks balls, and you’re players have no discipline. Please Anthony Smith, lay this motherfucker out one more time when we play them two Sundays from now.

- The AFC South is the best division in football. We all know about the Colts, but the Titans and Jaguars are capable of beating anyone on any day with their defenses. And the Texans will start to play much better once they get Andre Johnson back. Would anyone be surprised if both wildcard berths come from this division? If you’re going to assume that the Patriots and Colts will gets byes, then the Steelers could very well host either Tennessee or Jacksonville on Wild Card weekend.

- I like the move by the Chargers to trade for Chris Chambers. He’ll add a vertical threat to their offense and take off some of the pressure from LT and Gates. But I just can’t get past the Norv Turner factor. I don’t think that team is going to the playoffs, and it isn’t because of lack of talent, it’s because of Norv.

- Can the Giants make a run at winning the NFC East? They’re sitting at 4-2, with games coming up against San Francisco and Miami. That leads up to a week 10 tilt with the Cowboys. With how putrid the NFC is, it wouldn’t be all that shocking to see the Giants in the Super Bowl. I don’t think it’s going to happen, and if they did they would just get creamed by whatever AFC opponent they face, but it shows how far they’ve come since that week 2 pasting at the hands of the Packers.

- As for the Packers, I’m not going to buy into them until they show they can run the ball. You are not going to win in January if you can’t run the ball. And the Packers can’t. Brett Favre is playing great, as is the defense, but name me the last Super Bowl winner that had no threats in the run game. Many felt that Green Bay should have addressed the issue before the trade deadline passed today by acquiring Chargers RB Michael Turner. However, it would have likely cost them a first round pick and a brand new shiny contract. Not worth it in my opinion. Marshawn Lynch would have been perfect for them if the Bills hadn’t snatched him up before the Packers got a chance to pick.

- I don’t think the Saints are out of it. Yet. At 1-4, they’re still 2.5 games back of division leading Tampa Bay and Carolina. But let’s be honest. If Carolina is forced to go with Vinny Testaverde for a long period of time, it’s not going to end well. As Peter King noted in his MMQB column, yeah, it’s a great story. But he’s still 43 years old, and that’s going to catch up with him when defenses start bringing the house. The Buccaneers are playing solid ball, but they’ll be starting Earnest Graham at running back for the foreseeable future. If teams start to double cover Joey Galloway, will the Bucs have enough offense to stay competitive? The Saints absolutely have to win both of their remaining games against these two teams though to have a chance. It’s a long shot, but if their performance on Sunday night is any indication, they’re not dead yet.

- The NFC West is a mess. The starting quarterbacks in this division, as of now, are: Tim Rattay, Gus Frerotte, Trent Dilfer, and a struggling Matt Hasslebeck. The Rams and 49ers are all but done, which means it’s a two horse race between the Cardinals and Seahawks. I’ll take the Seahawks, only because Rattay is now entrenched as the starter in Arizona with the injuries to Leinart and Warner. But make no mistake, the Seahawks stink and do not deserve to make the playoffs.

- As of this posting, this is the poll that is currently up on the NFL.com homepage. I love it. Keep disrespecting the Steelers. They play much better when they’re the underdogs.



- Discouraging gambling note of the week: As some of you may have read in the comments section of another post, the Stache is downright struggling this year in his NFL gambling endeavors. Last year, I could do no wrong, going seven straight weeks with positive gains to end the season. This year, I feel like I’ve been stabbed in the chest with a rusty, serrated knife. Almost a month ago, I placed money on the Colts at –6.5 against the Texans. The Colts won by 6. Last week, for the Bills-Cowboys Monday Night tilt, I placed money on the Bills money line. We all saw what happened. This week, I put my faith in the Bears, at home giving 4.5 points against the Vikings. Down 31-17, the Bears come back and score two touchdowns in the closing minutes to close the gap. I think I’m heading to overtime, with a chance at the cover. But then, Adrian Peterson returns the kickoff to the Bears 38, and Ryan Longwell nails a 54-yard field goal as time expires. I hate gambling.

- Finally, today (or depending on when you are reading this, yesterday) is the one-year anniversary of one of the greatest coaching rants in the history of sports. I’m talking, of course, about the now infamous Denny Green “THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!!!” rant. As soon as it happened, it immediately joined Herm Edwards “You play to win the game” speech and Jim Mora’s “PLAYOFFS!?” diatribe in the pantheon of coaching tirades. I can’t even tell you how many times Pat and I have referenced this legendary moment from the career of Denny Green. As a gift, here is the video. Enjoy:



End of Post

Monday, October 15, 2007

What If....?

As the NLCS and ALCS are well under way, I sit here and wonder..."What If"....What if the Pittsburgh Pirates were in the playoffs...What if I cared enough to watch playoff baseball....? Well I would certainly fail out of college, because I can't lie, College and Professional Football already engulf my weekends.

My roommates and I like to call it "No Shirt Sunday". We wake up from a night of drinking, sit on the couch without our shirts on, and watch football until 8 o clock at night. At this point we finally realize that we are in college, and that Al Michaels and John Madden didn't get to where they were without a little bit of hard work. It's probably the toughest thing I do all week, pulling myself away from that Sunday night football game. Unfortunately enough, when the Steelers play on Sunday night, I don't get up from the couch.

So that brings up the question of "What If...?"

What if the Pirates were in the Playoffs
?

Well I already told you...I'd fail out of school. I already procrastinate enough watching college and professional football, and at least those games are broadcast on the weekends. (Unless you consider Pitt vs Navy a college football game...I did for about an hour last week).

What if girls had "No Shirt Sunday"?

Well...I'd probably watch the game at their house...and when I say game, I mean...no I wouldn't watch the game at all. Girls "No Shirt Sunday" would ride my fantasy football team into retirement , and I'd no longer have any clue as to what "LT" exactly stood for.

What if I could watch the Penguin games in Columbus, Ohio?

This pretty much goes for Dai.com writer Pat and I. God probably knew what was best for us, because I know for sure that what worked in high school for me, just wasn't going to cut it in college. Now when I say that, I mean watching every single Penguin game, and "attempting" to do homework during the intermissions. At the college level, the intermission just isn't going to cut it. Lets just hope I don't jump on the Blue Jacket's bandwagon anytime soon.

What if they put NFL Football on, every day of the week?

America would enter it's second Great Depression.

What if Pittsburgh had an NBA Team?

Ehh...I still wouldn't care until playoff time. The NBA regular season blows...

What if Stan Savern was a SportsCenter Anchor?

We'd never have to hear "Stan, I love the show" ever again...

What if we didn't win the Crosby Lottery ?

I don't even want to think about it... Rico Fata anyone?


Thank God for Sidney Crosby.

End of Post

Some Quick Week 6 NFL Thoughts

- I can't stress this enough: all gambling websites need to have a Surgeon General's warning ala cigarettes that reads Just so you know, a 43 year old Vinny Testaverde led a road underdog to an outright win in week 6. I could give a bunch of stats like Bill Simmons about underdogs and the unpredictability of the league, but I think that statement tells you all you need to know. I didn't toss any money around this week (thankfully), but as for the 'stache...wow. Last year the 'stache cleaned up down the stretch, and I jumped in with him to pick up a few extra bills. We had been looking forward to this season all summer, and now I think the 'stache needs to join some sort of help group. The man is hurting folks.

Anyways, the point is, unless you are betting on the Patriots to cover or the Rams not to cover, dont gamble kids.

- Is it me or have Tom Brady and Peyton Manning switched identities? Brady is now getting all the SportsCenter attention pertaining to undefeated seasons and TD records while Peyton just keeps grinding out win after win. In the same way that no one ever cared that Brady was fresh of a Super Bowl win and would just talk about Manning's assault on records, everyone is all in a twitter over Brady while everyone forgets that Peyton has more recently won a Super Bowl. If I am Colts fan, this lack of attention makes me very, VERY happy. For once Peyton doesn't have all eyes on him. Here is hoping that the Colts do better than the Pats in January.

- I can't decide if I am worried or excited about the Bengals game in two weeks. Yes, they suck, but they can't possibly keep losing and at SOME point they have to play with a little fire. A hated rival might be just the medicine for their struggles. Or we might just curb-stomp them. Ok scratch that I can't wait for this game.

- On an unrelated note: big week for the Pens this week. Devils, Canes, and Capitals. I for one am waiting to see a little more from them before I start evaluating the team, although it is readily apparent to anyone watching the games (ThePensBlog and Sam keep harping on this) that Mark Recchi belongs in One from the Heart and not one of the Penguins top lines.
End of Post


70s Steelers on Youtube

Wow.

I doubt there has been a worse performance by 4 people in picking NFL games on the same table in a long time. Thus far, Pat has 4 wins, the 'Stache and I have 3, and Marc "I'll cut your fingers off" Anthony has 2. The Dreamcast is blowing everyone away at 7. Josh in the comments section has 6 correct out of his hubris inspired picks. At one point, the 'Stache had one win with the Patriots and Cowboys close and the Saints game yet to play. Needless to say, I was rooting for the Cowboys and Seahawks. It was nothing against the 'Stache, it was just that a 1-11 record is as phenomenal and rare as an 11-1 record. It did not work out but I'm still glad gambling is illegal, or we may not be hearing from Wanny ever again.

Thankfully, the weekend was a success with the Penguins' win and a youtube find that helped me make it through the Steelers bye week.

For a Steelers' fan who missed out on the 70s heyday, watching footage from that era is a big deal. Although I could never recapture the feeling in the city or the roller coaster ride that is a full season, getting to watch unedited videos of the 4 70s Super Bowls along with the 1978 Championship game against the Oilers would at least give me an idea. One youtube user decided that this needed to happen.

I want to post every single video, but the the Doubt About servers might crash and it would take 20 minutes for the page to load, so here are all the links to the pages with all the videos: (Each game is broken into around 14 parts, but it's worth the navigation)

1974 Super Bowl

1975 Super Bowl

1978 AFC Championship Game

1978 Super Bowl

1979 Super Bowl

My personal favorite was the '78 AFC championship game, simply because I had never seen any clips before, the game was absolutely remarkable, and it was at Three Rivers with horrible weather conditions. If you're going to watch two videos, watch segments 8 and 9 of this game, which has the Steelers scoring 17 points in 48 seconds.

Part 8


Part 9


3 Things I love about these two videos:

1.) The conditions made the 17 point outburst possible by causing three fumbles, but they also made the touchdown catches by Swann (29 yards) and Stallworth (17 yards) seem almost inhuman. The rain caused 12 fumbles in this game, yet Stallworth and Swann managed to make the catches look easy. Unbelievable.

2.) Mike Webster and others are not wearing long sleeves under their jerseys, even though it's 32° and raining. The cold does not even seem to affect these men.

3.) The spine tingling sound of "Here We Go, Steelers, Here We Go" echoing throughout the stadium reminds you of what was lost when Three Rivers was torn down. The open end of Heinz Field needs to be closed.

The videos don't stop there, however, as the complete Stanley Cup clinching game 4 from '92 is also available, which was originally found by Seth at Empty-Netters.

'92 Stanley Cup Finals - Game 4 (24 Parts). Or you can just go to EN which has all 24 posted on one page.

Segment 1


The music at the beginning is reminiscent of a Sonic the Hedgehog game. Amazing.

Really, if you're ever depressed from a Steelers or Penguins loss, or from the Pirates as a whole, these are the video form of Paxil.

End of Post

Friday, October 12, 2007

Pittsburgh Sports Weekend

Just because there isn't a Steelers game doesn't mean we won't be covering the picks this week. By the way, if you have not already, make sure to read Pat's article below. He captures the meaning of last weeks poll a lot better than I ever could.

Since the Steelers are on a bye this week we'll be covering the Penguins game against Toronto in this post to go along with the picks. The goal, eventually, is to make this post the definitive weekend post covering everything the weekend in Pittsburgh might bring.

Denzel's buddy Marc Anthony in the post below claimed a 9-4 record last week. I counted a 7-7 record. Then the 'Stache proved his worth to the blog, and found we were both wrong and it was right in the middle at 8-6. The table is now fixed below with the correct records. If I had to wager at this point in the season, my money would be on the Dreamcast.

On to the picks:



The 'Stache Says

Cincinnati (-3) over KANSAS CITY

The Bengals are coming off a bye week and should be well rested. Marvin Lewis had a lot to say to his team after they got whipped by the Patriots, so I’m guessing that carried over through the bye week and the team is sufficiently motivated. The Chiefs play tough at home, but the Bengals defense has found an offense they just might be able to stop.


Houston (+6.5) over JACKSONVILLE

I underestimated this Jaguars team last week. Slowly but surely they are creeping up in most power rankings, and their defense is becoming more formidable each week. Houston is coming off an inspiring win last week over Miami, and while I’m not sure they’ll win the game, they’ll keep it close.

Miami (+4.5) over CLEVELAND

I don’t think I’ve picked the Browns once this year. It hasn’t been by design. I’m not really sure what it is. I’m don’t know if Trent Green starts this game after he got his brain scrambled again last week. If he doesn’t, Cleo Lemon gets the nod, and I’d actually feel better about this game if Lemon does indeed start. The Dolphins are hungry for their first win, so I’m going to go with the points.

CHICAGO (-5.5) over Minnesota

If Brian Griese can play every week like he did last week, then the Bears still have a chance to save their season. If they can get mediocre play out of the quarterback spot, they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak NFC conference. Tarvaris Jackson is back, and if you think I’m taking Tarvaris Jackson on the road at Soldier Field, you’re crazy.


NEW YORK JETS (+3) over Philadelphia

Many fans in Jet land want Chad Pennington benched in favor of Kellen Clemens. This could make for an uneasy day for Pennington at home. But the Jets have the talent to make a run. They just keep shooting themselves in the foot. A stupid Pennington interception in Bills territory prevented them from tying the game two weeks ago, and then three turnovers by Pennington last week caused a loss to the Giants. I feel a bounce back game from the former Marshall University star.

St. Louis (+9.5) over BALTIMORE

See what happens when you stick to it? Good things happen. The Rams finally rewarded me with a win, albeit barely so on a successful two point conversion in the closing minutes. I just can’t go with that Baltimore offense and lay 9.5 points. They scored 9 points total last week, and that wouldn’t even be enough to cover the spread this week.


TAMPA BAY (-2.5) over Tennessee

Jeff Garcia has thrown zero interceptions this year. Impressive. He’s had success in places where a west coast offense is employed (49ers, Eagles, Buccaneers) and failed where there wasn’t (Lions, Browns). So he’s a good fit for Tampa Bay, and his quality play is one of the main reasons I’m taking the Buccaneers. That, and the Titans have been turning the ball over too much lately. The Buccaneers defense should take advantage of that this week. You can turnover the ball 5 times and beat the Falcons. You can’t turnover the ball 5 times and beat the Buccaneers.

Washington (+3) over GREEN BAY

Jason Campbell is slowly making a believer out of me. I didn’t like him much coming out of Auburn, but he seems to have a firm grasp of the Redskins offense. I think the Redskins have a shot to go pretty far. They can run the ball with Portis and Betts, play good defense, and stretch the field vertically with a pretty good receiving corps (Moss, Randle El, Cooley). I never really bought into the Green Bay hype. They can’t run the football, and you don’t go far in the NFL when you can’t run the ball.

ARIZONA (-4) over Carolina

Recently signed QB Vinny Testaverde could end up starting this game for the Panthers. He is approximately 147 years old. If David Carr is healthy, he gets the nod. Either way, it’s a losing proposition against a decent Cardinals defense. If confirmation comes on Saturday that Vinny is starting, this line might jump to –100.

New England (-6) over DALLAS

Like I said last week, until the Patriots lose a game against the spread I’m going to continue picking them. I absolutely loathe Belichick and Brady, but placing money on them is one of the safest bets you can make. I don’t expect the Cowboys to play as poorly as they did Monday night. Actually, that performance will probably inspire them to play better ball on Sunday. Won’t matter though.

Oakland (+10) over SAN DIEGO

It’s a rule to live by. Never bet on a Norv Turner coached team while laying double-digit points. It’s a recipe for disaster. Sure, every now and then the Chargers might blow out their opponent 41-3 and you’ll win your bet, but more often than not Norv’s teams disappoint. I don’t think Vegas is giving Oakland nearly enough credit. It’s like night and day between this year’s Raiders and last year’s. Kind of paints a picture as to how bad of a coach Art Shell was.


New Orleans (+6.5) over SEATTLE

Is the Saints offense really this bad? How can you go from being one of the best offenses in the league one year to being one of the worst the next? Does losing Joe Horn really make that much of a difference? I know they lost Deuce, but it’s not like they played well on offense the first few games they had his services either. Eventually, they’ll get out of their funk and I was less than impressed with the Seahawks last week. They’ll be without Deion Branch, so I don’t know if they’ll have the personnel to attack the Saints weak secondary. New Orleans keeps it close.

New York Giants (-3.5) over ATLANTA

The Falcons are a mess. Nice sleeper pick Mark Anthony. Does it really matter if they start Joey Harrington or Byron Leftwich? The Giants have reeled off three straight, and don’t show signs of stopping anytime soon.

Just Chillin' Competition: Penguins vs Maple Leafs

This Week's Matchup: Center


Matt Stajan

vs


Max Talbot


Stajan has the girls, but if Max was anywhere in the area you know who they would be with. Plus, although Stajan was more highly regarded, he's been mostly a bust, failing to score more than 20 goals in any of his three full seasons. If you can't score 20 goals you better have been in at least 1 fight in your career, and Stajan has no major penalties to his credit. Max had 5 last year. What does this matter to the pictures? Stajan is more concerned with staying pretty for the ladies, Max is more worried about dominating in everything imaginable, including poker. I'll take the poker playing badass over the guy just parlaying his profession into womanizing.

Winner: Penguins

3 Indirectly Related Things to Know About the Toronto Maple Leafs:

1.) Areas of Canada, and particularly Toronto, do not particularly like Sid. A lot of that feeling comes from Don Cherry, who has taken it upon himself to scold him for pretty much everything, like going down after getting speared in the ribs.

2.) Toronto boasts the World's biggest phallic object, the CN Tower, standing at 553 meters tall. Other than the observation deck, the thing looks fairly useless.



3.) One of the Leafs' top bloggers, according to ballhype, is Raking Leafs. I have never read the blog before this week, so I'm not going to pass judgment on the quality, but their reaction post to Jason Blake having cancer appeared to be a bit cold, being more concerned with how it would affect the team and speculating that Blake may have known he had cancer but signed with the Leafs anyway. Makes you appreciate some of the better run hockey blogs.

Enjoy the weekend and the Pens game.

end of Post

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Don't Fuck with Mark Anthony


John Anthony...Mark Anthony...Brandon Lang...whatever you want to call me, it doesn't matter. I'm picking winners baby. For my debut as Mark Anthony, I went 9-4, and made the Stache' look like a punk. The fact is, while Stache' and Sam thought it was funny to play on my John Anthony name, they had no idea that I had Denzel "I'm gonna kill your entire family" Washington protecting my ass.

I tried to find a YouTube clip to paste in right here, but unfortunately Twenty First Century Fox puts a copyright on their movies. Instead, everyone just think of Denzel Washington cutting off Stache's fingers, as he asks

"Where's my money man..."


"Where's my money..." ::cuts off finger::