Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Football Fashion Police Pt. 4

Yay! Football is back. How many of us were très bored these past few months? I know I was, because summer is kinda yawn city in sports, ammiright?

Anyway, this weekend college football came back in full swing. More exciting than the debut of FSU quarterback Jameis Winston (ridiculous....that kid is ridiculous), more exciting than the now-traditional FCS upsets, and more exciting than drinking beer before noon sans judgement is the debut of new uniforms for the season. Some are awesome. Some are awesomely horrific. So let's dive in for this third edition of a football fashion police, shall we????

DO just update a classic color scheme and make it modern with muted tones like the Cal Bears. Plus, the bear watermark is like totes symbolic of playing with a bear mentality or some shit like that.

DON'T have your uniforms be so garish that a person trying to enjoy their shrimp and grits on a Sunday afternoon keeps looking at the TV in horror. Yes Florida A&M Rattlers, I'm talking to you. 

DO go shiny with the season's new helmet of choice: chrome. The Baylor Bears are rocking some fantastical new helmets in their dark uni scheme, and I heart it. 

DON'T go with helmets that look like a kindergartner just scribbled on them during coloring time ala Miami of Ohio Redhawks. Saturdays aren't "Take your favorite five year old to work" day, mmmkay?

DO take a bold color and go classic. Sadly, I won't be in attendance in two weeks to see the Georgia State Panthers take on my Mountaineers, because I'd love to see these beauties in person.

DON'T take bold color and go head to toe if it's going to burn people's eyes out. Oregon State, what were you thinking? That's a LOT of orange.

DO make up for having a hideous head-to-toe uni in bright orange by having a gorg uniform in white and black with an orange accent. Well done, OSU, well done.

and finally, DON'T, and I mean for the love of God DON'T, let Flo Rida come anywhere near your uniform designs. Otherwise, you'll end up with a Native American sprawled across your crotch like these poor poor boys from Carol City High School

What uniforms have impressed you so far that I left off the list? TCU? North Carolina? Oregon? Which ones have you screaming for the hills? Let me know! And if you want more delicious uniform monstrosities, check out the Football Fashion Police parts 1 and 2 here!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Welcome to the Pirate Ship

I recently emailed a good friend of mine the following question:

"Do you like how everyone is jumping on the Pirates bandwagon these days?"

His response:

"Don't mind one bit. Welcome aboard."

And really, that pretty much sums up the city of Pittsburgh and how they feel about their white-hot Pirates: the more fans, the merrier. Because, let's face it, it's been a long, long time.

While both the Steelers and the Penguins are constantly in the championship hunt, the Buccos haven't been in the playoffs in 20 years. Only the Kansas City Royals have a worse drought going. From a team that has five World Series titles and have seen greats like Bill Mazeroski, Willie Stargell, and Roberto Clemente, that drought seems even harder to swallow.

But this season? This season has been special from the get-go. Even through the fretting and rationalizing by die-hards that it's only a matter of time before their beloved Pirates crash and burn just as they did in 2012, the Bucs have held strong.

Last night's devastating 13-0 loss to division foes St. Louis Cardinals nonwithstanding, Pittsburgh currently boasts both the best division record and National League record.

Not only that, but 3B Pedro Alvarez leads the National League in Home Runs with 27. The pitching staff, led by Francisco Liriano, Jeff Locke, and A.J. Burnett, have pitched 14 shutouts, have the lowest combined ERA, and the lowest batting average against.

LF Starling Marte is his own stats machine: Marte has 30 stolen bases, 21 doubles, 9 triples, and 10 homeruns. If he gets another triple, he'll be the first Pirate to have 10 doubles, triples, and home runs in the same season since 2004.

And then there's manager Clint Hurdle. If there's a stereotypical blue collar manager to go along with a blue collar city, Hurdle would be it. The affable Hurdle laughs off advice of other general managers while embracing conversations with well-meaning fans. And crazy or not, the Pirates have flourished under his guidance.

No wonder folks are so eager to jump on the pirate ship that stands sentinel over the banks of the Allegheny River. Welcome aboard, grab your peanuts and cracker jacks, and fasten your life vests.

It's going to be a fun and exciting ride to the playoffs.

Image provided by bleacherreport.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Picking the Field

This is my third Kentucky Derby preview post, and in that time span I've learned a very valuable lesson: previewing a horse racing field is about as relevant as the points on "Who's Line is it Anyway?". Horses do what horses are going to do....that is to say, usually not what you think they'll do. Plus, there's the weather to consider, the unpredictability of the break from the starting gate, and yes, the late scratches. Damn you late scratches!

Regardless, my whole universe would unalign if I failed to talk about my picks to win the Roses, so let's just pretend everything will go according to planned and get on with it, shall we?

If odds meant anything in horse racing (besides betting, obvs), then trainer Todd Pletcher would have this race in the bag. Pletcher is saddling 25% of the field, including the favorite (and undefeated) colt Verrazano, and two other strong contenders in Revolutionary and Overanalyze. Despite this, Pletcher has a 1-31 record in the Derby. Most times, in fact, his horses under perform to the point of finishing at the bottom.

But this is a new year, right? Even the Red Sox broke that streak eventually. While Verrazano has been trouncing the field with ease, my money would be on stablemate and Louisiana Derby winner Revolutionary. The colt has rallied as of late from a disappointing start, and he has a secret weapon that Verrazano doesn't: three time Derby winner Calvin Borel as a jockey.

Then there's Orb, who has won four straight for trainer "Shug" McGaughey, including an impressive win in the Florida Derby. The colt has been trained specifically for this distance, which is always a plus, and he dazzled the crowds at Churchill Downs on Monday during his workout.


Don't forget about Doug O'Neill's horse Goldencents. O'Neill found success twice last season in Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another. Winner of the Santa Anita Derby, Goldencents could be the one to watch with a good post draw and clean break.

I'd also watch out for Normandy Invasion, who finished second to Verrazano in the Wood Memorial. "Invasion" is the first horse to race in the Derby for owner Rick Porter since his filly Eight Belles finished second to Big Brown in 2008. After the tragedy with Eight Belles, Porter stated that he didn't want to race another horse in the Derby unless he was sure he had a contender.

Normandy Invasion
Finally, trainer Tom Amoss's horse Mylute could be the dark...err..horse. Though only 2-9 in his career, the colt will be ridden by fan favorite jockey Rosie Napravnik. If he can find that killer instinct, he might have a shot.
Mylute and Rosie Napravnik

Who will you be rooting for on Saturday? And more importantly, do you have your hat ready? Let me know!

Images provided by bloodhorsedrfnbcbayareadrfkentuckyderby, and drf.

Friday, April 26, 2013

I Feel a Cold Draft

The NFL Draft....the event where a "nobody" from Central Michigan can be picked first, and a superstar QB can have his misery at not being taken documented for all the world to witness. Or as I like to call it, good times.
At least this guy is happy.

Last night's first round of the 2013 draft certainly had its shocking moments. Like, the fact that the first seven picks were all linemen, led off by OT Eric Fisher of Central Michigan. That set the pace for the night, with production players getting the sideline bench. Most notable was that only ONE QB was taken (EJ Manuel at #16 to the Buffalo Bills) and NO running backs were selected.

Last time that happened? 1963.

Of course, one lineman who didn't enjoy the share of the first round love was Manti Te'o- ND defensive linebacker once considered a Heisman hopeful (you know, until that whole National Championship and imaginary dead girlfriend debacle). Whether it was still a negative public perception or just a realization that maybe Te'o was slightly overrated, the former Fighting Irish is still on the board headed into Friday's second round.

Another big name still on the list? WVU QB and one-time top five (hell, top one even) projected draft pick Geno Smith. Smith had to endure a Brady Quinn-esque draft night yesterday, watching player after player take his "spot" on the podium. All the while being filmed looking dejected by camera crews and being mocked by draft specialists. Today's headlines questioned Geno's toughness and capability after it was rumored that he was leaving NYC . Turns out, not the case.

If Geno's night was tough, then perhaps Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib's was even tougher. Although not the top of the QB list, Nassib had an advantage that no one else did- his former coach is now the head honcho at the Buffalo Bills. Yet, Doug Marrone chose to break his Survivor alliance and go with Florida State Seminole EJ Manuel. Sorry, Nassib...the tribe has spoken.

Consequently, big names are still floating around on the board going into today's second round. Along with Te'o, Smith and Nassib, USC QB Matt Barkley is still available for the taking. As are Alabama RB Eddie Lacey, Florida State DE Cornelius Carradine, and Stanford TE Zach Ertz.


What was your feeling on the draft? What surprise snub or pick jumps out at you? Let me know! Meanwhile, I give you my favorite selection yesterday....Center Travis Frederick from Wisconsin taken by the Dallas Cowboys at #31. Or, as I will now refer to him, Paul Bunyan.

You're welcome.

Images provided by csmonitor and oaklandraidersdraftwatch.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Welcome to the Dance

Confession time: I haven't followed one iota of  D1 college basketball this season. Whether it's a continuation of my fall sports slump, or the fact that my alma mater...err...sucked, I just haven't tuned in. My blase attititude got so bad that I was ready to just call this season a wash and forget the tournament all together. Which is pretty sad, considering I adore March Madness. Then something happened last night that caught my attention and dragged me kicking and screaming from my doldrum. No, not the Big 12 tournament or even the impending end of an era in the Big East tournament. It had nothing to do with a top 25 team or a future NBA draft pick. This was something that took place farther south, the Richmond Coliseum to be exact, at the lowly CAA Conference final.

 It's been almost 20 years, but the James Madison Dukes are going back to the big dance.

The Dukes, who last saw their name on a bracket in 1994, battled through an intense semi-final match-up against the Delaware Blue Hens to win their way into the championship game on a pair of free throws by Devon Moore.

Who says free throws aren't important, people?

Thankfully for the Dukes, last night's game wasn't nearly as nail-biting. Even though the Northeastern Huskies erased a 20 point deficit to cut JMU's lead to 8, their comeback would stall out. Guard A.J. Davis's 26 points ensured that the 2013 CAA champ would be represented by the Purple and Gold.

Let's be honest, Head Coach Matt Brady's squad has some big shoes to fill in the tournament. Both CAA champs George Mason and recently-departed member VCU have become tremendous Cinderella success stories. The Patriots made an illustrious run to the Final Four in 2006, while Shaka Smart's Rams went to the Final Four in 2011 and to the Sweet Sixteen last year.

I don't know if this team has that streak of magic in them, but that's what's so great about March. You just never know.

One thing's for sure, though. Come tournament time...this girl will be ready to chant J.M.U.....DUUUUUKKKKEEEESSSS.

Image courtesy of Kathy Kushner, JMU athletics photography.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Super Bowl 47. What a roller coaster ride and a train wreck all at the same time.

We thought that much would be made about the brothers Harbaugh coaching against each other. We thought that Ray Lewis would cry more times than he would tackle. We also thought he'd mention God at least twice as many times as he'd cry.

We thought that Colin Kaepernick would outshine Joe Flacco. We thought that the Ravens defense wasn't quite as good as the 49ers' offense. 

We thought that after the inauguration debacle, Beyonce wouldn't dare lip sync. We thought that Jay Z would come out and perform. And hell, we even hoped that JT would show up (although, I'm not sure he's allowed within two states of a Super Bowl halftime show). 

What we DIDN'T think was that the Ravens would look like they had one foot in the Magic Kingdom before the second half kicked off. We didn't think that Joe Flacco would drop an F Bomb on live television after being named MVP. But then again, we probably didn't think Joe Flacco would tie Joe Montana's record for most postseason touchdown passes thrown (11) with no interceptions.

We didn't think that the lights would go out in the Super Dome mere minutes after halftime ended. At least, I don't think we did. 

We didn't think that after the lights came back on, the Niners would score consecutive touchdowns to cut a 22 point deficit to five with 3:10 left in the 3rd quarter. We didn't think that it would come down to a two point conversion in the 4th to prevent a tie game. And we didn't think that a late safety, after a potentially controversial no-pass interference call on a San Fran 4th down, would make the final score 34-31.
Yet, what we thought and didn't think would happen was just mere speculation...and most of it was wrong. It's why a game is played, and why fans love to watch. The unpredictability of sports is entertainment at its finest.

Colin Kaepernick settled into the second half to play lights out, shining once more like the bright star he's been all post-season. But despite that, Joe Flacco shined brighter. Case in point, the beautiful bomb thrown to Jacoby Jones. That in itself warrants incurring the FCC's wrath.

Our girl Beyonce...she got around that pesky lip syncing bizness by...you know...not really singing. Still, her dancing was off the hook. Though Jigga and his new partner in crime JT didn't make an appearance, the ladies of Destiny's Child did. And let's be honest, you can never go wrong with a Destiny's Child reunion.

Although having a power outage that resulted in a 34 minute delay wasn't probably what the NFL envisioned for its championship game, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. San Francisco had their switch flipped back on with the rest of the stadium lights, and a new game was born.

But most surprising is that Ray Lewis only mentioned God once in his post-game speech. I mean, seriously, did any of us see that one coming?

All in all, Super Bowl 47 had enough drama to last us until August, when NFL returns to pre-season action. Until then, we're all undefeated.

Image provided by huffingtonpost.

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Little Birdie Told Me: Super Bowl edition

I promise I'll give you my thoughts on that spectacle which was Super Bowl 47 sometime later in the week. For now, though, I wanted to pay homage to all twitter had to offer on the subject. From Ray Lewis to Beyonce to the blackout, the twitterverse was in rare form. And I salute you.



Oh, I see what you did there. 

He's a feelings kind of guy. GET OVER IT.

I mean, seriously. We can all relate.


Agree completely.

Truer words, my friend. Truer words....


Destiny's Child tried to warn us.

Really, no caption needed.

The Power Outage just wanted more halftime. Is that too much to ask?

Again, no caption needed.

Especially if you don't want your life thrown to Steve Tasker after a commercial break.

                   Thanks for calling me out Mark Titus.


And finally...this....

            that movie gets me every time. EVERY. DAMN. TIME.


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