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Monday, September 19, 2005

Well, that's certainly a way to put it. Check out this disgraceful "unbiased" AP article on the Cal-Illinois game. Though the thing is littered with stuff that screams OMG I WRITE FOR THE CAL DAILY BEAR OR WHATEVER, the passage that is most divorced from reality and clearly from the pen of an addled Cal undergrad:

Cal already lost starting quarterback Nate Longshore to a broken leg in the season opener, but the injured players' replacements have been uniformly impressive. That's gratifying to Tedford, who has spent four years building a roster with depth comparable to rival USC and the nation's best teams.
Er. Joseph "Booya" Ayoob completed a whopping eight passes against Illinois after going hilariously 0-11 against Sacramento State. Cal trailed this thing in the fourth quarter. At this point in the season, how can you claim that the Tedheads are anything approaching good?

Joey on the ball. Straight Bangin' has links to the halftime show if you missed it and are inclined to fix that issue. It's Monty Python, so some sort of dorks-only disclaimer should be issued. But you're reading a blog; I figure you knew that already. Blue Cats and Red Sox goes into extensive detail as well. Photos included. Yes, way too much emphasis on the halftime show, but it was Eastern Michigan, and this halftime show was even better than that one years ago when they did the Titanic music and then various bits of the band formed into a large, clearly boat-shaped object and other members formed into a large, clearly iceberg-shaped object and rammed into the boat, causing it to split and crumble. Which was also cool. But not as cool as a Bridge of Death re-enactment with Sparty forced to answer the question "HOW do you lose a seventeen point lead in six minutes?"

Roundtable Roundup #7 can be found over at Eagle In Atlanta; a fine job all around. I heartily agree with EDSBS about Brad Nessler, by the way. With Keith Jackson on a long, painful decline he's clearly the best play by play guy in college football. He's not Keith at his peak, but no one is. It helps that his partners, Bob Griese and Lynn Swann, are also amongst the best at their jobs, Swann in particular, who is actually a useful, intelligent sideline reporter and not some faux "babe" for middle-aged married guys to fantasize about when they're going about their monthly wife Xing. Now that Adrian Karsten is strangely and tragically departed from this mortal coil, there's not even a second place.

At least we aren't... Pitt. Man, the Wannstache honeymoon was cancelled due to suck, wasn't it? Pitt Sports Blather tries to cope by wallowing in the misery of others, and I have to admit that when I saw this:
1. That A Few, Brilliant Michigan State Spartans took post-game celebrations to a whole new level: More than anything else, watching Michigan State upset Notre Dame at home (thus beating the Irish five times in a row in South Bend) helped pick up my spirits again after the Pitt-Nebraska debacle (especially given the Domer a-hole who sat behind us in Heinz Field two weeks ago). But even that was nearly topped by the post-game celebration, during which a few Spartans took the Michigan State flag from their cheerleaders (green with a white block "S"), ran out on to the field, and planted the sucker on the fifty yard line while thousands of Notre Dame fans booed and howled. Call me sophomoric (and I am), but I thought it was laughing-till-my-sides-ached hilarious. Why hasn't anybody ever thought of planting a flag on an opponent's field before? It clearly beats jumping around on his logo. And of all places to invent the practice. Almost immediately, Lou Still-A-Domer Holtz was nearly jumping out of his seat on ESPN demanding that MSU "show some class" and "act like you've been there before." Admit it, Lou. It was funny. Especially because they did it to your Irish.
I heartily agreed in amazingly hypocritical fashion, and it's even funnier because they did that same thing two years ago. Sort of a painful funny given that we can't beat Notre Dame and manage to look like UC-Davis Stanford whenever we play them, but funny nonetheless. The fact that a lot of Domers who came on here and flamed about me being a "whiner", etc., immediately got a foot in the ass from Providence Itself, had a touchdown stolen by bad refereeing (and questionable review), and then immediately started complaining about how MSU lacked class? Maybe there is a God after all. A God that enjoys playing cruel tricks on everyone, but a God nonetheless.

Also newly on the God-believing platform: Orson of EDSBS, who continues to write stuff that I read despite not particularly giving a damn about the events that produce the contents. 16-7, ugly to neutral observers and Pac-10 sophistication fetishists, but beautiful, beautiful, beautiful to the jean-shorts aficionados of the CFB blogosphere. There's something to be said for these grinding, bloody games which feature teams that "would punch the other team in the throat until one of them died in the effort," as Orson pithily summarizes. That 10-7 Miami-Florida State game was another example of an objectively terrible game that by the end was terrifically, mindbendingly tense, closer to a soccer game than a football game, every first down a precious diamond to hoard. You can keep your 38-35 shootouts. I'll take the streetfight every time.

The difference between dull (Pitt-Nebraska) and brutal but strangely attractive (UF-UT, Grace Jones) has everything to do with the stakes, the screaming insanity at the swamp, the lumbering moose presence of Phil Fulmer on the sidelines, and the fervrent hopes of a fanbase coming off a Zook hangover it would like to forget. The game's better because people care more, which is why no one really gives a damn about the Pac-10: 50k for UCLA-OU, USC still scraping to sell out, etc. If you can't convince your own locals you matter, how do you expect to convince anyone else?

More on the game can be found at Fanblogs. Mr. Donahue reasonably suggests that the Urban offense didn't exactly set fire to everything. This garnered a hilarious riposte from CFR: "At this point some are trying to justify their fears by piling on early." Wow. That's a spicy meatball of projection.