Archive for January, 2007

Week Off & Hot/Not
January 26, 2007

In honor of the NFL taking the week off between the championship games and the Super Bowl, I’ve decided to do the same. I’ve got some things I need to accomplish — nothing major, just some tattoo removals, our “Supernanny” application tape, and finishing up a Judas Priest CD I’m burning for my cousin.

Anyway, here’s what’s hot and what’s not this week. See you next week:

Hot: Peyton Manning
Not: Eli Manning

Hot: Thomas The Tank Engine
Not: Tank Johnson

Hot: Serena Williams
Not: Barry Williams

Hot: Lovie Smith
Not: Jaclyn Smith (A hairstyling reality show? A new low in reality TV, and that’s saying something after Armed & Famous)

Hot: Return of The Police
Not: Return of The Super Bowl Shuffle

Not: George Bush
Not: Reggie Bush
Not: Billy Bush
Hot: Sorry, I got nothing

Hot: That 16-year-old golfer Tad Fujikawa
Not: That new Wiggle

Hot: Everything in relation to the NHL
Not: The NHL. Duh.

Hot: Bo Ryan
Not: Ryan Leaf. That was a cheap one.

Hot: WKRP in Cincinnati
Not: Cincinnati Bengals

Hot: Wisconsin Badgers basketball
Not: Milwaukee Bucks basketball. But you knew that.

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They’re Going To Show The Pandas What?
January 19, 2007

The question I keep hearing these days as I travel the state conducting my unofficial “listening sessions” (I’ll be at the Subway in Tomah this weekend; again, nothing official, I’m just there for the Subway B.M.T. and to lay down some smack talk on the unsuspecting Sandwich Artists) is “can the Badgers go undefeated in the Big Ten?” People seem to forget that the college basketball season is very different than the college football season (not to mention the postseasons are different with a decided advantage going to hoops) — unlike in football, where one game can cost a team its season, there isn’t that kind of pressure in basketball. Barring a complete collapse that at this point in the season seems almost unfathomable, the Badgers will be seeded high enough in the field of 65 to make what should be a very deep run in the men’s tournament. And they won’t have to win every game in January and February to do it. As we’ve seen over the last couple of games, teams are giving the Badgers their best shots and wins over Purdue and lowly Northwestern have been anything but easy. It wouldn’t stun me at all if the Badgers lose Saturday at Illinois or at the end of the month in Indiana. It would stun me if people groused about it. While I would have liked to have seen more convincing victories in the last two games, it’s tough to grouse much about these Badgers. We should all be enjoying this ride.

What I’m not enjoying is the absurd “Favre Watch” that can be seen everyday in one of the local daily papers. Didn’t we all get enough of this last year and the year before that and what seems like every year since Bush Jr. took office? And even though there is no story or controversy at all this year — Favre is laying low quietly weighing his options instead of waffling in the press and the Packers’ front office has made it very clear that they want him back unlike last year when they seemed as indifferent as my Senior Prom date — some insist on throwing this in our face on a daily basis. For me, there is no story here and there will not be a story even when he announces he’s coming back, as I fully expect him to. The only story will be when he announces his retirement. Then get set for the biggest sports media saturation not seen since the words “steroids” and “baseball” were first grouped together.

Not to sound like a bad stand-up comedian, but what’s the deal with the Wisconsin women’s basketball team? Oh, I know. They’re lousy. They have a recent tendency to get breathlessly far behind in games — they missed 20 of their first 22 shots in their most recent loss — and can’t dig themselves out of the holes they make for themselves. What’s worse is when — like the last two games — they get so far behind while playing at the Kohl Center, which quickly and thoroughly quiets the home Badger crowd. What’s to blame for the slow starts? Seems more and more like how junior guard Jolene Anderson goes, so goes the team, and Anderson’s first half numbers have lately been about as impressive as Charles Nelson Reilly’s film career. Let’s hope the team can pick it up for the Minnesota “Raise the Roof” game on January 28 if not before . . .

Oh, aren’t there a couple of football games this weekend? You’re hearing plenty about these games from other people, so I’ll keep things brief. I like the Patriots and since I can’t in good faith pick both road teams, I’ll take the Bears. Wait. The Bears barely won last weekend and the Saints are playing a hell of a lot better than the Seahawks. I’ll take both road teams. I’d like to see Peyton get the monkey off of his back, but I also can’t find any reason to root against the Patriots. They’re just really hard not to be continually impressed by. And New Orleans? Who can root against them? Well, Barack Obama for one . . .

Week in Review
January 12, 2007

I’ve been listening to a lot of satellite radio lately, which I consider — along with the digital video recorder, to be the greatest invention since the White Castle hamburger. A question has been crossing my mind — Culture Club or Duran Duran? Back in the day, I would have said Duran Duran, but now I think I would say Culture Club. Significant? Probably not.

Anyway, after watching the Badgers victory last Tuesday over Ohio State, I’m convinced that the biggest pitfall for the Badgers throughout the rest of the Big Ten season is their overconfidence. You saw it towards the end of that game as they almost let what seemed to be an insurmountable lead slip away. But knowing that they almost blew it gave Bo Ryan some talking points this week and will help to guard against taking it easy on Northwestern on Saturday afternoon, a team that they should beat handily. Me, I’ve already circled the Buckeye/Badger rematch on Sunday, February 25 in Columbus. It will be the next statement game for the Badgers before they head into the tournament with a very high seed.

A hoops team not doing as well as the Wisconsin Badgers, the Milwaukee Bucks, made a smart move this week in acquiring point guard Earl Boykins from the Denver Nuggets. The Bucks need to try to keep things together until they get some of their starters back from injury. Unfortunately, it may be too late come March, when Michael Redd returns, to dig themselves out of the hole the Bucks are unavoidably going to slip into. But making the trade sends the right message to the team and its coaches that general manager Larry Harris isn’t giving up on the season. The fans shouldn’t either.

Surprising no one, Mark McGwire didn’t get voted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. In my mind, the class of probable cheaters — McGwire, Palmeiro, Sosa, Bonds — should be voted in. We’ll never know exactly what they did and what they didn’t do, and even if they did everything they’ve been accused of, the fact that they had all have some degree of athletic skill can’t be denied. Not to mention the fans they brought back to the game, even if now it looks like the fans were duped like I been repeatedly duped waiting for that new Guns N Roses album. Does Axl Rose know that Abbey Road was recorded in the time it takes him to commission yet another press release announcing the future of the band?

On a side note, what’s with that band Hinder? Who are they, where did they come from, and can they go away? “Lips Of An Angel” is probably the worst song I’ve heard since Johnny Hates Jazz.

Oh, the NFL playoffs. Best weekend of the year for football. Four games, great ones should they be all. (Sorry, I forgot how to construct sentences all of a sudden.) I don’t like any surprises. Baltimore will beat up on the soft Peyton Manning, who I think is a better commercial actor than quarterback anyway. New Orleans will end the resurgence of Philadelphia Eagles back-up quarterback Jeff Garcia, who will have to go home to his Playmate of the Year girlfriend. Poor guy. Chicago will beat Seattle, if only because both teams have looked completely inept of late. If you have to miss one game, this is the game to miss. Brian Griese will be playing by the second half, but it’ll be like an upgrade from the Atari 400 to the Atari 800 — no one will notice much difference and they both will suck. In what will be the best game of the weekend, I look for New England to beat San Diego on the road. At first I liked the Chargers, what with LT and all, but New England’s got Brady and that poorly-dressed coach who just happens to be an idiot savant when it comes to sizing up and destroying football teams. San Diego’s got the untested Philip Rivers and Marty Schottenheimer, whose been about as successful in the playoffs as I’ve been learning how to play the mellotron.

Enjoy your weekend and the games. I’m off to re-assess the career of another 80s giant, Adam Ant. Was he better solo or with the Ants? Fascinating . . .

Don’t You Feel Dumb?
January 9, 2007

So Tony Romo probably isn’t the only person who feels dumb this morning.

Admit it, you complained and whined about the BCS title game. You said no way should Ohio State and Florida should be playing for the national title. Well, you were half right. Turns out it shouldn’t have been Ohio State and Florida. But it certainly shouldn’t have been Ohio State and Michigan either. It should have been Florida and Boise State.

Ohio State embarrassed itself and the Big Ten on Monday night, being thoroughly dominated by Florida 41-14. Take away the opening kickoff that Buckeye Ted Ginn Jr. returned for a touchdown and the game wasn’t even that close. The Gators ran up 370 net yards to the Buckeyes’ paltry 82. Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith looked less like someone set to graduate to the NFL and more like someone set to graduate montessori school, completing 4 of 14 passes for 35 yards and one pick. Not that he had much time on the field, as Florida bested Ohio State in time of possession by a whopping 40:48 to 19:12.

Meanwhile, as Ohio State was looking for the fastest way out of Glendale, Arizona, the Broncos of Boise State were watching at home, knowing that they could have taken their 13-0 record into the Frito-Lay Baked Tostitos Scoops BCS Championship Game Sponsored by New Tostitos White Corn Chips With A Hint of Lime and certainly have given Florida a better game than Ohio State had. Florida coach Urban Meyer himself expressed relief at not having to take on the Broncos after whipping the Buckeyes, saying. “I love Boise State. We don’t want to go play them. We’re done.”

Actually, Boise State certainly isn’t the only team that could have given Florida more of a game Monday night, a fact confirmed by Flordia defensive end Jarvis Moss who said after the title game of Ohio State, “Honestly, we’ve played a lot better teams than them [Ohio State]. I could name four or five teams in the SEC that could probably compete with them and play the same type of game we did against them.”

Note Moss didn’t say “four or five teams in the Big Ten.” So after a Bowl season that saw the Big Ten go a lousy 2-5 in Bowl games with the two supposed best teams in the conference, Ohio State and Michigan, both getting blown out in high-profile matchups, is Big Ten football just lousy? Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s obvious it ain’t as good as we thought either.

Unfortunately for Ohio State, the school is about to be handed another blow, this time on the basketball court at the hands of your Wisconsin Badgers. Should be a great game Tuesday night and I’m anxious to see how OSU stand-out rookie Greg Oden handles the heat of the Kohl Center. I’m guessing it’s gonna be rough for him. But not as rough as Monday night was on Troy Smith.