Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All right, guys, let's talk about Units

What does this post have to do with Michael Kramer's infamous declaratory faux pas from the first floor meeting of our sophomore year in Taylor Tower (nerds!)? Not a damn thing. But since this post has no unifying theme, topic, or sense of fashion, I decided to title it with one of my favorite inside jokes from our personal lexicon. Deal with it.

First of all, I avoided talking about the Tigers during their KimProbable run because I'm a superstitious bastard and an idiot. Just a couple of bullet points after the fact, about shit I thought or think or both now that everything is said and done:

  • All that "Team of Destiny?" bullshit the media was spouting before the World Series began really pissed me off. I feel like it was cheapening the accomplishment the Kitties made in going from abysmal to AL champs -- it was good pitching and timely hitting, which is the exact formula that, let's see, yes, EVERY TEAM THAT EVER GETS TO THE DAMN FALL CLASSIC USES. Claiming that it was some kind of divine plan is a cop-out that lessens what the team was doing. Also, it looked totally stupid once the games actually started being played.
  • Thanks to Todd and Evan for asking how I felt about the Series. I said it to them and I'll say it again: I appreciate the ride, and it was unexpected (I was just hoping they'd be .500 this year and play meaningful games late in the year) and a helluva lot of fun, but ... well, it would be one thing if they made it that far, but their best foot forward, and just gotten beat by a better team. But boy oh boy did that not happen. The guys pitched and played like crap after a friggin' full week of rest, and let an inferior team sneak in and lay the smack down on them. Ridiculous errors, a return to their free-swinging ways of the regular season, and an astonishing amount of bad luck conflated to bog the Tigers down in a melange of strikeouts, overthrowns, and slips. So, I'm glad they got this far, and I enjoyed it. But they were probably better than St. Louis, and the number of times you get to the World Series and are relatively clearly better than your opponent are few and very far between.
  • It was, like, the lowest-rated World Series of all-time. No one watched, and I've noticed a few ESPN shows try and talk about this fact. Mike & Mike were marvelling at the low ratings going into Game 5, and said that if baseball has gotten to the point where no one will watch if the Yankees or Red Sox aren't involved, then that's pretty sad. Well, I agree, but I would also say that if we have indeed gotten to that point as a baseball culture, the blame should go squarely on the metaphorical shoulders of the WorldWide Tyrant, the media giant most responsible for SHOVING THE RED SOX AND YANKEES DOWN OUR THROATS FOR OVER FIVE CONSECUTIVE YEARS. People are stupid, and an astonishing number will watch what ESPN tells them to watch and think what ESPN tells them is true (which is one reason why LD's constant analyzation of The Network's college football coverage is so vital), and you idiots tried to make the entire sports world jack off all over the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry for years on end. Do not be mistaken into believing that YOU aren't responsible for this monster.

There will be no Michigan-Ohio State talk on here -- at least not from me -- until and if we get to the week of the game and both teams are undefeated. Until then, I am mum. Except to say that yes, I think the two teams are relatively clearly the two best in the country.

Going into the season I firmly believed that Louisville was a better team than West Virginia. After the way the Cards have played the last several weeks and the Bush injury and the receivers and everything, I have to say that I think the 'Eers are gonna win somewhat comfortably Thursday night. I think it will be very interesting to see what the winner of that game will do in the polls if they win it in a semi-blowout.

Lastly, fun Halloween-ish stuff, from The 614 and the Passion of the Weiss. "And Frog." NOW GIMME SOME CANDY.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

GVGOAT 5 - 1

Well, it's finally here. The greatest five games of all time. It's been a fun trip down memory lane and there's a few people I'd like to thank for making it happen. Ahem....me. Thank you.

I hope you've enjoyed it, as I've enjoyed bringing it to you, both of you loyal readers.

5) Super Mario Bros (NES)

I remember the first time I ever played a nintendo, launching this game, and being blown away. The first 8-bit system was such a step up, it was unreal. The amazing thing about the Mario games, is that they're usually launch titles with that console, yet they still manage to be one of the best games for the life of that system. SMB was no exception and actually invented the trend.

Above: The Legend

I'm not saying it made since that red mushrooms made you grow, green ones gave you extra life or flowers made you shoot fireballs, but the age of video games truly began with this game.

Fun Fact: I always thought it was weird that Mario sprung out of the Donkey Kong series as a bit characters, only to become the greatest 8-bit hero ever.

4) Final Fantasy III (SNES)
Actually the sixth release in the series, but only the third in the US, FFIII was a wonderfully thought out game. It's greatest attribute: the story line. A dozen characters that were ALL developed through back story really added to the gameplay. I'm usually not that big of fan of story, but this game's was too fantastic to deny.

Above: HA! I'm in my robot suit, I don't care how many magicite you have.

The game also featured a great final area in which all the characters came together and you had to split them into groups in order to finish the castle. You might say, it was uber-cool. I wouldn't, but you might, you effing nerds. Also, one of the characters, Edgar, got to use tools, which included a drill and scooter. It also included getting the chainsaw, which RULED.

Fun Fact: This game also contained the most irritating character of all time. A girl who's skill is painting. They seriously tried to include painting as an attack skill in an RPG game. I wanted sodomy as a move, but they went with "happy cloud" instead. Twats.

3) World of Warcraft (PC)
Listen closely noobs, I'm saying this once: simmer down or I'll WTFPWN your ass straight back to elwynn forest. I don't care how many boars you killed or how many pieces of your tier 3 raid set you have, I rule you like Thrall.


It's already been a Jeopardy question and a South Park episode, I'm not sure where it can go from here. This game has single-handedly killed every other MMORPG on the market. 7 million strong and still growing, it is the online sensation. Up until this game, the longest a single game has been able to keep me interested was about 6 months. This game is the only game I've played in the past year. Seriously, just WoW. Hehe.

Fun Fact: LF1M Your Mom, need tank

2) Goldeneye 007 (N64)
Every loyal reader of the blog.net is fully aware of the greatness of Goldeneye. This game completely revolutionized multi-player action games on consoles. Sure you could blow someone up through a wall, but that's what made you a noob and me the effing master.

Above: Not playing "License to Kill"? You sissy.

The game also had a very good single player mode which included attempting to unlock various cheat abilities. Unlocking invincibility in this game still ranks as one of the 5 greatest moments in my life.

Fun Fact: The daily 4-man game of myself, Fu, scooter, and wakefield, at it's peak, might have been the greatest skilled game that existed in the world at that time that didn't involve a single asian. We were the big leagues. You didn't just sit down at our game, you had to earn a spot, bitches.

1) Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
Zelda has the market cornered on mastering the action/RPG game. And NO game does it any better than the only zelda title released for the SNES. A perfect blend of story, graphics, action, and items, it stands the test of time. My only real complaint is that there weren't enough side people involved in the storyline of the game, but that's really just being picky.

Above: You'd think eventually Zelda would just stay in her room.

Great music, and fantastic dungeons also added to the charm of the game. It also featured a very solid ending with good use of the zelda music. But the single reason this game takes the top spot: replayability. This game is over 10 years old and it's still great. Not only that, but I could name off all 3 world bosses, all 9 dungeon bosses, and tell you where to find all 20 quarter-heart containers. I'm not saying I'm proud of it, but if I can still do that over 10 years later, well, you get to be number 1.

Fun Fact: When you obtain the master sword, it's impossible to kill any of the squirrels or rabbits that run. Trust me, I tried long enough.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Jack Fu, Esquire

That's right, kids: yours truly passed the July 2006 Ohio Bar Exam, as did Reader Wise. Huzzahs all around! Now where's my appletini?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

GVGOAT 10 - 6

The Top 10 has finally arrived. We've come a long way, and I think we're all a little bruised and juicy. Honestly, 10-6 could just as easily been 5-1 that's how close these games are. But since I'm doing a RANKING, I suppose I have to order them. Enjoy...

10) Super Mario World (SNES)
I still don't feel satisfied where I had to rank this game. Incredibly game play, lots of replayability factor, and fun hidden areas like star road all added to a fantastic game. It seems like it should be higher, but I can't put it ahead of the other nine. It need to move on....

Above: What sound do the Mario Bros. make going down stairs? Dago wop wop wop.

This game also marked the beginning of Yoshi, Mario's lovable dinodog. The fun thing about Yoshi was that he came in 4 colors and had abilities according to the colors. [Insert Racism Joke] Also, you get to wear a cape!

Fun Fact: To this day, I could tell you how to unlock all the star road zones and beat the sequence of 10 levels to change the game colors. For some reason, I'm proud of this.

9) Sim City 2000 (PC)
The Sim[game] franchise has been wonderful, with very few letdowns. But the series peaked with SC2000. The transition from SC to SC2000 was dramatic. The graphics went WAY up as well as the options. No game has ever been more successful at forcing you to keep track of 8000 things without the game feeling cumbersome. Also, the game felt like the designers/programmers had fun making the game. Sure it's possible they were locked up in North China forced to work 21 shifts for Maxis and are now WoW gold farmers, but it FELT like they had fun.

Above: I wonder where "The Incredibles" got their idea for the robot monster?

Fun Fact: I always had fun building a road that led to nowhere, and yet it would still get traffic. Yes, I had no life.

8) Legend of Zelda (NES)
Most great games end up defining or shaping how a genre of games will be. Shooters, Platformers, RPGs, etc all have their beginnings. But Zelda is a rarity. The Action/RPG genre IS Zelda. That's it. There's no one else that's even come close to what this series has accomplished. Sure the first Zelda was filled with typos and engrish, but it made zero difference. The game was unreal. Also, the Zelda theme is the BEST song in video game history. It is not up for debate.

Above: I Linked to this picture.

It's a secret to everybody! One of the weirdest choices you have to make in video games is when you find a heart container in Zelda. You can either:
1) Take the heart container which increases you max life forever and ever.
2) Take a potion which will refill your entire life one time. Also, these same potions can be purchased.

So, there is exactly ZERO situations you would want a potion. I'm not even sure why they would do such a thing.

Fun Fact: The single most irritating monster in video game history come from this game: Master Hand. Actually, panake monster makes a close second, since he eats your shield.

7) Grand Theft Auto (III - San Andreas)
Once GTA turned into the 3D sandlot world, gaming has never been the same. Sure, there's been imitators, but no game can match GTA on sheer gaming options. Racing, check. Explosions, check. Sex with hookers, check. And the list goes on...

Above: Gunman here, HELLO!

I'd give my vote for the best of the series to Vice City. However, to be fair, they had the best era to work with. I'm still amazed at how vast the San Andreas world is, I'm not sure how big the next one will be.

Fun Fact: I think the most fun I ever had with this series was flying around on a jet pack and assassinating guys on motorcycles. Seriously, top that.

6) Perfect Dark (N64)
The next generation of Rare's Goldeneye engine, this game took every great thing from Bond, left those alone and added incredible features on top. Sims, secondary weapon functions, and multiplayer challenges were all fantastic additions. You could also finally fall off ledges, have your screen beaten to death with punches, or attack mine onto people. I'm ready to play.

Above: Joanna's gonna pwn you.

Look, I don't care if you think it's cheating, laptops guns were the only way to go. If the AI was smart enough to use them, I don't think I could have beat them.

Fun Fact: The game was purchased by Wakefield, but he had a midterm or final the next day. So, Jack and I played the game for about 10 straight hours, only breaking to get pizza rolls and cream soda. We didn't pick up many chicks.

Only the final five to go....

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

GVGOAT 17 - 11

Let if be known, we're getting close. Also let it be known that things get ugly here, and games become increasingly difficult to separate.

17) Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)
Having to put this game this high is one of the bigger surprises on the list. However, it's hurt by the replayability factor. It's not one of the elite games that I'll be playing forever. It is one of the best NES games ever made, but there was something about it that just didn't lend itself to elite status.

Above: I'm running a screen play...think about it.

I did enjoy the shoe in the cloud world. I just wish it would have made a larger appearance.

Fun Fact: One of the game's best easter eggs was getting the coin ship to appear. Once you boarded it you were awarded the coin purse. Hehe.

16) NCAA Football (PS)
The gameplay is great sure. Created teams are fantastic. Being able to design a league and uniforms and players, all wonderful. However, the single achievement of this game: recruiting. There are people who only play this game to recruit. That should tell you how fantastic it is.

The game also provided the fun of the merlin ball. Granted, they've made great improvements since the 2002 version. That's when QBs could make 50-yard money passes while being sacked and facing the wrong direction. But we all loves phil's option QB pitching the ball around himself with the wrong hand. Good times.

Above: Pause for the cause.

While maybe my most played sports game ever, I couldn't make it the highest rated ever. It was slightly overtaken by....

Fun Fact: I want to say the most fun I ever had was beating Phil 77-7 or coming back from 28-7 at the half to win 31-28, but it's not. Beating Jack, on a 2-pt conversion with no time left still ranks #1. He was totally in!! YOU KNOW IT!!

15) Tecmo Bowl (NES)
Congrats TB!! You win the honor of being the highest ranked sports game on the list. It was an insanely tough call between Tecmo Bowl and NCAA football, but I think the crazy fun of picking the same plays and unstoppable players just slightly edged out NCAAFB. There's not much else I can say about it, so, I won't.

Above: You just got Thurmanated.

Fun Fact: Everyone always says how unstopped Bo Jackson was, but Walter Payton might have even edged him. I'm not saying it's a fact, but a possibility.

14) Dragon Warrior 3 (NES)
It took everything that was great and bad about DW1 and made it better. Ability to pick several characters, you had a bank, it was wonderful. Plus, toward the end of the game you switched to a new land mass which was the exact shape of the DW1 world. I'm a sucker for that shit.

Above: I put on my robe and wizard hat...

Fun Fact: I always found it very strange that you fight very few dragons in the Dragon Warrior series.

13) Mega Man 2 (NES)
Mega Man is a long running and incredibly popular series. Everyone is familiar with the hero and knows about the game. But here's the dirty secret: The series of games isn't that good. Mega Man 1 was "meh", Mega Man 3 was decent, but all the other ones pretty much stink. However, there's always MM2. Great bosses, mostly useful weapons (sans the leaf shield, honestly), the Dr. Wily chain is great, and FANTASTIC music.

Above: Always do Metal Man first. ALWAYS!

Fun Fact: How many other people used to have hand-written bingo-board passwords?...Right, me neither.

12) Command and Conquer: Red Alert (PC)
When the first line of RTS games came out, there were very good, but left you wanting a little more. Then, C&C RA came out, and blew my world. An absolute glorious game. The mission modes were great, and multiplayer (even against the CPU) was a blast. Whether it was blowing shit up, squishing guys with tanks, or zapping them with a tesla coil, there were always fun ways of winning and killing.

Above: Ok, fine, it's RA2, shutup I know.

Fun Fact: I set up my first home network so I could play C&C RA against another person. I've got your IP right here, bitch!

11) Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)
This game, this right here, is the single biggest upset of my list. How this game didn't make the top 10 simply blows my mind. Yet, when I got right down to it, I just couldn't put it above any of the top 10. The single reason: replayability. I don't think I've played this game 5 times since I beat it. The other thing about the game I didn't like, the ending. Don't get me wrong, I think this game has the best handling of any action game ever made, but the end sucked. The boss was fantastic, but after it was over I felt jipped, and it me pisses off.

Above: Link has a nice chat with Erin.

Otherwise, it's everything you expect from a Zelda title: fun story, lots of items, semi-difficult puzzles, and fantastic gameplay. Plus, you switch from little boy to bigger boy at various points in the game. NAMBLA is all over that.

Fun Fact: The Dungeon boss (1st dungeon once grown-up) where you have to shoot guys running out of pictures is one of the most clever bosses I've seen.

Top 10...You're on deck...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

“You know, I’ve never ridden in the Jeffmobile...”

…and now you never will. That’s right. The Jeffmobile is no more, leaving this dimension at the tender age of 19. The end of an era indeed. That it happened is no surprise. But how it happened definitely warranted a blogpost. More on that in a minute.
The last week and a half were spent looking for & acquiring a car, which was a giant pain in the ass I’ve never experienced before. It had all the charm of looking for a job, but at the conclusion of the process you had to give up a ton of money instead of the other way around. Super. But I do have a new car, or at least a car that’s new to me, and that's good.
Now back to the death of the Chevy. Naturally, I blame Jackson. Here’s why. It’s the evening of September 30, 2006. I’m driving my car, alone, and on my way to Jimmy John’s and the liquor store (how awesome is it that these 2 establishments are next door to each other?) before I head to Torgo’s place to catch the Iowa game. I’m on Northwest at a red light, waiting to turn left onto 5th. Out of nowhere, Jackson runs into the intersection and in front of my car, screaming like a lunatic. I have abso-fucking-lutely no idea where he came from or where he went to. But he seemed pretty excited about something. Seeing me and the imminent Iowa game I assume. Now believe it or not, I was not the least bit surprised. (“Let him go, Ralph. He knows what he's doing.”) The same could not be said for my car. The exact second that Jackson appeared in front of my windshield, my car’s brakes went out. It was as if Jackson snuck up behind a 90 year old with a heart condition, and the nonagenarian proceeded to clutch his chest and crap his pants. That is in essence what happened to my car. A $1400 brake estimate later, and it was pretty obvious that the Jeffmobile’s time had come. But all’s well that ends well, and I hold no resentment toward the executioner. R.I.P. Jeffmobile.

Okay, onto some semi-sports-related matters:
- Fu, Mrs. Fu, and I are dominating hundreds of other idiots in BGS’s Pick Six

- The Blue Jackets started the season with 2 wins and an overtime loss. And while Zherdev’s here now, all of that was done without Fedorov. This can’t possibly last, but I am extending an open invitation to all MWB readers, regardless of previous NHL affiliation (this means you Winged Wheel fans), to hop aboard the Blue Jacket Bandwagon now. The water’s nice and warm. Because it’s in a wagon…umm… yeah… metaphors.

- So, Cory Lidle’s a terrorist. Didn’t see that one coming.

Sizzling bacon!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

GVGOAT 24 - 18

You might be thinking...wait, what happened to #25. Well, I'll tell you, if you'd just wait a second. JEEZ!! When I was compiling the new list, I noticed that I had inverted #32 to #23 and therefore my ordering was wrong. Therefore, I have moved #32 to it's correct place and you can check out the previous list to see it. Everything from #32 - 26 therefore moves up on spot. Congrats Mario Kart, you're no longer in the "also receiving votes" section. On with the list...

#24) Half Life 2
A graphical masterpiece and one of the best FPSs ever, HL2 really explored the space of using PC abilities for a shooter. Challenging with a great story line, you really felt immersed in the environment. However, the greatest aspect of this game: the gravity gun. You could use it to pick almost anything and throw it. Any game that you can rip off a ceiling fan, throw it at an alien, and cut it in half...well, you make the top 25.

Above: Is that manifold man?

Fun Fact: I bought this game over a year ago and love it. However, I've almost never played it due to another game taking up all my time....hmmmm.....

#23) Doom
Once upon a time, the idea of a first person shooter was that of a crappy game. Then along came Doom. It revolutionized an entire genre and gave birth to other great games coming up on the list. It was fast paced, with lots of great, violent action. All sorts of weapons and enemies to kill, the game was great for any amount of time. It's only downfall: graphics. We all ignored it at the time, but it was SO pixelated. It was still one bad-ass game.

Above: A 3-D masterpiece.

Fun Fact: Ever heard of ID entertainment? Well, they made this game, and well.....they made Doom.

#22) Dragon Warrior (NES) & Final Fantasy I (NES)
That's right, BONUS GAME!! For whatever reason these games have always been linked in my mind. So, they get to share a spot in the list. It's my present to you!

DW: Most of you never cared to kill a slime, a red slime, or even a metal slime (you should, the metal ones gave mass exp) But guess what, I did, and this game was awesome. Granted you kept trying to find all of Ederik's crap, I mean honestly, if it was so good, why's he dead? But still it ruled.

FF: The beginning of the most successful RPG franchise ever. It's greatness came from allowing you to chose a party of 4 characters of various skills. I don't care what anyone says, the thief sucked, he did!!! Plus, you got a boat. That was fun, yay boat!

Above: A graphical text adventure of rather large proportions.

Fun Fact: At the end of DW, the main boss talks to you and asks you if you wish to join his cause. Of course, I said yes. Which means, you die. C'mon, could that be more lame? I wanted to go kill the king!!

#21) Super Smash Bros. (N64)
PICA!!! A game made with stoners in mind. It's 3 minutes of non-stop chaos and complete focus. A non-experienced player has NO freakin idea what is even happening, just ask Evan. The characters are somewhat balanced, but everyone enjoys Jiggly Puff's worthlessness. But the phrases of Kirby and Picachu, take it to the next level.

Above: For some reason, my picture search resulted in this pic. I'm not complaining.

Fun Fact: I cry when I think how much Super Smash Bros Melee for the gamecube sucks. Seriously, I do.

#20) Mortal Kombat II (Arcade)
Bringing this game over from the arcade an onto consoles saved my parents more quarters than you can ever imagine. Also, MKII an SFII transition from arcade to console also, IMO, marked the very end of the arcade experience. Nonetheless, it worked out great for me. Plus, MKII was superior to SFII in these ways:
a) Back, Back, B
b) Grabbing scooter with Scorpion's harpoon, and seeing how angry he got with me as I taunted his character
c) Fatalities! It spurred congressional action! The best part is, it gave MKII more pub, which paved the road to make even MORE graphic games. Good work Congress.

Above: Baraka as Scott Peterson in "You wouldn't give me head, so I'm taking it."

Fun Fact: Honestly, I don't think anyone EVER bothered with single player mode.

#19) Mike Tyson's Punch Out (NES)
Who among us doesn't remember trying to time up Bald Bull's rush attack, or hitting King Hippo in the stomach? I always struggled with Soda Popinski. He was a bitch! I the early rounds, I always tried to see how swollen I could get Lil' Mac's face in the cut-a-way scene. And ANYTHING can happen in a cut-a-way.


I know people always claimed there was a pattern to Tyson's fighting style, but I never saw it. That is probably also the reason I could never beat him. Prick.

Fun Fact: The password to start just past Piston Honda was also hexadecimal ASCII code to say, "Praise be to Allah"

#18) Halo [2] (XBox)
I'll be the first at admit, I haven't done a lot of monstrous boxing. However, no one can deny how bitchin' this game is. While Halo 2 is the better game, it's basically just the original with solid improvements. And any game with a Sword of Obedience, deserves a top 20 ranking. The game also takes on new life with the Red vs. Blue series. Yeah, like a puma.

Above: The flag is all and holy!

Fun Fact: Evan and I once play Halo for 2 hours doing co-op mode, but all we did was gun slap each other in the back. Then, we giggled like school-girls. Yes, ladies, we're both single.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Back from the NYC

Yes, I spent this past weekend on the isle of Manhattan, an interesting place to have a frivolous vacation. Kristin and I saw Avenue Q, which was fantastic, and Evil Dead: The Musical, which ... wasn't so much. Not that it was bad, but it was nowhere near as good as "Q," which isn't horrible for a niche show like this -- I mean, I don't see how anyone who hasn't seen all three "Evil Dead" movies could get 4/5s of the jokes in the show. But Kristin enjoyed it, and the tickets were half-priced, so it was totally worth it.

I'd never been to New York, so it was neat if for no other reason than to be in a new place. And it is friggin' huge -- we never came close to leaving Manhattan, and it's less than 1/5 the total area of that city. You can do and find pretty much anything there, and I can understand people who say that they could spend their whole lives there and never have to leave. I could never live there though: I can't imagine having to go through that kind of hassle just to get 150 short miles away. I love being able to jump in my car and go wherever the hell I want. But generally we did a lot of what you do when you go to NYC, I guess: we ate, saw shows, shopped, and looked at shit. Good times. And it led to me calling Todd Saturday afternoon and completely mindfucking him, because he had no idea we were in New York, so my "I'm at a bar in Times Square watching Florida-LSU, Texas-Oklahoma, and Michigan-Michigan State. Also, Jeremy Bonderman has a perfect game through five" really threw him off. As it should've. Other things on my mind:

I tell you what, words can't describe how awesome it was to watch my team eliminate the Yankees in the middle of a packed bar full of Yankee fans, saying stereotypical Noo Yawk shit like "Not even Jeetuh can hit disguy." I still have a hard time believing the Tigers are good; it's just surreal. I recently read that 11 guys from the 2003 roster that lost 119 games played for them this year -- while new blood was brought in and made a huge difference, a lot of guys just flat-out got better, like Jeremy Bonderman, who lost like 17 games that year (at the age of 20. 20!).

Speaking of that series, I can't believe how noone thought the Tigers would win. Look at this list of "experts" picks -- zuh? And then after the series they're all saying to themselves "Oh, that's right. The team with the better pitching staff usually wins playoff series'." Gosh, I can't believe you all forgot about that. Although I have to admit that I sure as hell didn't see Rogers and Bonderman being that dominant against that Yankee "fantasy baseball" lineup in games 3 and 4. Now all of a sudden something like 50% of the users at ESPN.com think the Tigers will win the World Series now that we're down to four teams. Beating the Yankees cures all perceived ills, apparently (although it must be stated that AM-1270 cobbled together a list of 20 baseball "experts," and 2/3 of them are picking the A's to win).

Apparently the NHL season started; I think Nips may have mentioned it in a conversation. I don't care -- I'm just pissed that Brendan Shanahan is on the Rangers, because now my only Wings jersey is totally useless. Along those same lines, I think the NBA preseason is on the verge of starting. And again, I couldn't physically care any less than I do.

Being in NYC reminded me of The Turk. If anyone didn't know, sophomore year in the dorms I lived across the hall from a turkish guy who demanded that we call him "Turk" or "The Turk." He was from New York City, and what's interesting about him is that those two facts about him -- "From New York" and "Turkish" -- encompassed the whole of his personality. He apparently viewed himself as those two things exclusively, and as a result, so did everyone else. "The limit does not exist."

I fucking hate The Gap right now. Them and their skinny pants. For one, women all over the place are wearing them, and that cut of pants is only flattering on about 2% of women in the world. For second, that ad with Audrey Hepburn and that AC/DC song really gives me the creeps. Seriously, it's ruining Audrey Hepburn for me.

On to CFB:

I didn't watch the Bucks, as they were relegated to regional ESPNPlus and I was outside of the greater Columbus area. I saw maybe one five or six minute clip on one of the bar TVs that was on ESPNNews. So I have nothing -- at all -- to say about the game.

EXCEPT: we've had a few conversations in the past about how, in Troy Smith, we may be watching the best quarterback in OSU history. Well, as MotSaG pointed out, Smith is now number one in the Big Ten in career pass efficiency. First. All-time. And I think the guys are right in saying the most impressive thing about Troy's play is how he's talented AND doesn't make bad decisions. Craig Krenzel made great decisions, but was only marginally talented. Steve Bellisari and Stanley Jackson were extremely ath-eh-letic, but the sight of a heave into double coverage became all too familiar in the five out of six years where one of those two was the primary quarterback. Now we've got a guy who is doing it all. Let's keep enjoying Troy while we've got him.

I watched most of LSU-Florida, and that game was way more competitive than the final score indicated. One could even argue that LSU carried the play for most of the first half, but was done in by self-inflicted wounds (Russell fumbling on a QB sneak at the 1 that would have put the Bayou Bengals up 14-7; two muffed punts that were both lost and both led to points) over a 20-minute stretch of the game in which Florida scored all its points. Florida is putting a helluva resume together.

Texas-Oklahoma was completely uneventful. Because of ABC regional programming, this was the second time I had seen this game in the last seven seasons. If they're all as boring as this relatively close game was, I have no desire to watch any more.

I don't have any data to back this up, but I'm 99% sure that the Cal-Oregon game Saturday night featured the most combined "ugly uniform-age" of any sporting event since the ABA was still in existence. Plus they're wearing helmets, so we get the ugly uniforms of the ABA but without the gigantic afros that accompanied them. Humbug.

Todd, ever gonna get back to the video game list?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Thoughts in the aftermath of...

Ohio State 38, Iowa 17

Well, I didn't see that one coming. Yes, I know that Iowa had largely been playing like crap coming into this game. Yes, I know that we were better than them at pretty much every position on the field. But while I was reasonably confident that the Bucks would pull through, I was more in line with Todd's thinking than I was with the majority of other Buckeye fans who were predicting multi-TD wins. Granted, as long as the game wasn't played in a mudpuddle like PSU, I didn't think there was any way in hell Iowa would hold OSU under 21 points; what I was worried about was Drew Tate pulling his Brett Favre Jr. act, scrambling away from pressure a few times and turning broken plays into big-gainers (as evidence that it happens: against Cincinnati OSU gave up 5 plays of 20+ yards in the first half alone, and all five of them were the result of the Cincy QB breaking out of the pocket and making a big play against a scrambling Buckeye D). So I figured that if we were gonna end up losing, it would be something in the neighborhood of 28-24 or something. Also, under Ferentz, the Hawkeyes have a track record of starting each season extremely slow, then really putting things together by late September or early October. So basically I was worried that this would be the sparkplug game the Hawkeyes needed in order to really sharpen their focus.

Didn't so much happen.

On to crap about the actual game:

When Ohio State had the ball

Last year Iowa primarily tried to cover Anthony Gonzalez with linebacker Chad Greenway. It didn't work at all, as Gonzo was open all day, scoring two TDs and leading the Bucks in receiving yards. This year was hardly any different, as Gonzo was rarely covered by a solid cornerback, sometimes facing LBs and oftentimes sitting down in the pockets of zone coverage, which he is better at than almost anyone. Huge game again, thanks primarily to...

Teddy Inge was essentially double-covered the entire game. And I love it, because Gonzo can absolutely murder people in that situation (note to people who thought the offense might be worse than we thought, based on the PSU game: that 30-yard catch-and-run for a TD is the kind of thing these receivers can do when the game isn't being played on a slip-and-slide). Teddy didn't hit any big plays, and he's getting on my nerves a little bit with his cutting and indecision on kick returns and WR screens, but the threat of him flat-out running past your cornerback is perpetually on the minds of every defensive coordinator we will face all season. Second possession of the game, Troy overthrew him on first down on a fly pattern where he had two steps on the DB. Even though it didn't connect, the ability and the willingness to hit huge plays like that if teams leave Teddy in single coverage alters the opposition's thinking for the rest of the game: "shit, we have to have two guys over there on every play." That leaves Gonzo, Robo, and - hey! - Roy Hall even more open than they would be otherwise. Heavens to mergatroid, even.

Not much can be said about Troy that hasn't already been slobbered. He is poised, calm, and above all, supremely confident in both his abilities and the ability of all of his weapons to get open and make things happen.

Above: I'm gonna pwn you, and then I'm gonna pwn you...

Speaking of, did anyone else notice the blond-mulletted Iowa defensive lineman who was talking shit to Troy after, like, every single play in the first half? Did I dream that? Was it an Appletini (lucky drink?) induced hallucination? Note that the jawing didn't seem to continue into the second half, for obvious reasons.

Then, you know, there's Bad Running Back Antonio Pittman, who kept the chains moving time and again, racking up 117 yards. Plus he got some assistance from Chris Wells, who seriously needs a much better nickname than "Beanie," and as soon as possible. Todd, you can occasionally come up with nonsensical nicknames that are funny, or sort of funny (11:30 update: I just got done watching "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," a show that I like a lot for the writing and the characters, but one pretty big thing is bugging me: these guys are writing a friggin' comedy show that is apparently pulling in tons of viewers now, but the problem is that what they show us of that show-within-the-show isn't fucking funny. Come up with funny stuff for it or don't bother giving us glimpses of the show-within-the-show.) But, as per usual with the running game, I think the lion's share of the credit needs to go to the offensive line. I know I made mention of it during the game, but it bears repeating: Alex Boone has been shaky at best in pass protection, drawing false starts and holding calls at an alarming pace in the Texas and Cincinnato games. But he is a devastating run blocker. I mean, he plows his guy backward almost every time. A lot of the excellent results we got on the ground were behind that mammoth left side, featuring Boone and Rehring. That's a goddamn metric ton of prime man-beef to run behind. Sexy. It must also be mentioned that Troy is getting all the time in the world to throw -- quite simply, this is the best OL of Tressel's tenure, and it isn't particularly close.

When Iowa had the ball

I loved our gameplan of coming after Tate from the get-go. On two of the first three offensive plays for Iowa, we brought Laurinaitis on delayed blitzes, and the pressure kept up all night. Although the defense only finished with two (I think) sacks, they clearly set up shop in Tate's mind. He didn't spike the ball, but he did get in some amusing tongue-lashings for his linemen, once again coming dangerously close to crossing the line between "fiery competitor" and "asshole."

That injury to Anderson Russell is scary. I've read in a few places that it's probably season-ending, which means we're in Jamario O'Neal territory until further notice. That could be dicey considering jamario's penchant for missing tackles this far this year. Also, he was the guy who got beat on that 30-yard wheel route on third down during Iowa's first scoring drive. Let's all cross our fingers, for multiple reasons. O'Neal's safety-mate (... gross ...?) Brandon Mitchell continues to be all over the place, which is fantastic, because not a lot of 35-year-old quintuple-redshirts get a shot at this level. Good to see him making the most of it.

Once again, the numbers show a "vulnerability" against the run that my crazyblindbiased eyes just aren't seeing. But yes, Albert Young and Damian Sims combined to average about 5.3 yards per carry, proving once again that you can use stats to prove anything that's even remotely true. Stats schmats.

Laurinaitis got another pick. I'm befuddled. The guy just makes plays, big ones, every damn game. Huzzah.

It's tough to say for sure, since Iowa's receiving corps essentially exists of a bunch of guys Kirk Ferentz picked up at the Iowa City YMCA, but the corners still seem to be a lot better than we had any earthly right to expect. I can't hear Antonio Smith's story enough, and the fact that he's playing great out there just makes it better. Malcolm Jenkins, Andre Amos, and Donald Washington are all turning in solid efforts, week after week.

Now for the D-line. I know it probably comes off as arrogant, biased fanwankery, but seriously: I'm not sure I've ever seen a group of defensive linemen get held so much, so egregiously, and with so few flags thrown against the opposition, in my life. Vernon Gholston gets bearhugged on almost every play (but still has enough freakish arm strength to do shit [douche it?] like this one-armed clothesline takedown, all while -- hey! -- being held); ditto Quinn Pitcock. Yet these hilariously obvious calls are rarely made by the officials, and it's gotten past the point of being infuriating, moved all the way through being funny, and is back around the spectrum into anger-inducing again. As Keith over at BC has pointed out, OSU has the least-penalized opponents in the Big Ten (about halfway down, titled "opponent penalties"). Same thing happened last year. This means that, when teams play OSU, they just flat-out don't get called for penalties. And it sucks. I took the liberty of going through each of OSU's games, and comparing the penalties and yardage that teams accumulate against OSU to what they get called for against other opposition. The numbers, they here:

Northern Illinois6.8 for 60 yards4 for 35 yards
Texas7.3 for 63 yards4 for 39 yards
Cincinnati7.5 for 64 yards6 for 28 yards
Penn State5 for 38 yards3 for 20 yards
Iowa6 for 56 yards0 for 0 yards

I'll just let that speak for itself. Mostly because I'm tired and that's gotten me all bent out of shape after a win about which we should all still be gleeful.

FYI: WoW headed South?

This is something we all needed to happen.