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    As Russell Wilson backed out, then sprang forward, and then back out again and into open field, I thought something I usually don't think when watching the NFL: this is ... fun? Fun is not part of the equation in the NFL, at least not during plays, grimly executed canon schemes descended from Perkins, Walsh, or if you're really crazy, perhaps Don Coryell or the ghost of the run-and-shoot. June Jones was once in charge of an NFL team with Jeff George at quarterback. Don't ever tell me the impossible can't come true, and stay true for hundreds of days at a time.

    How the Pistol offense is changing the NFL

    Russell Wilson is also fun, but note that Wilson is a short kind of fun: 5'11 at best, taller than the average American male, and a dwarf in a league of quarterbacks as tall as NBA power forwards. This may be the only fault with Russell Wilson as a prototypical football player at any level, or even as a human being. Russell Wilson probably has great handwriting and remembers to floss, too.

    Russell Wilson is really so beautiful you should hate him is what we're saying, which some NFL analysts take to heart by actually hating him and one of the plays that has made him so good: the dreaded "gimmick" of the zone read.


    The zone read is one of the most college-y of college plays, a staple of the spread run game championed by Rich Rodriguez that will never, ever work in the NFL thanks to lightning quick defenders and the potential of injury. It is certainly not the play that Colin Kaepernick rode to 181 yards rushing against the Packers, nor the one that opened up gaping holes in the Packers' secondary off play-fakes. It cannot work in the NFL, and that is most certainly not Colin Kaepernick running down your street, free and untackled by any mortal hands on a Monday morning two days after an NFL playoff game.

    This would be the point where I would usually turn to slagging the NFL as being a boring league with an intelligence apparatus incapable of adapting to their incoming labor pool's changing talent set. There are reasons for this besides "HURR NFLS ARE STOOPID." There's money riding on teams, and money and profits and corporatism tend to make people conservative, risk-averse, and unwilling to change things that work and get them sweet rivers of flowing cash.

    Profits can, however, point you in the other direction. The direction NFL teams like the 49ers, Seahawks, Washington, and others have embraced is pragmatism: using the ingredients available in the draft to their maximum potential, and then adapting the systems on the field to what they can do best. In an era of spread offenses and players brought up in seven-on-seven leagues, this means embracing the concepts that got them there: the zone read, the pistol offense, the precepts of the Air Raid, and yes, even some option thrown in from time to time against murderous NFL defenses.

    That adaptation is a gradual one, for the most part, and comes with widely varying degrees of success. Kaepernick's pistol experiment has by far been the most successful mostly because of the ideal marriage of personnel and plan. 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman went to the source itself, Nevada coach Chris Ault, Kaepernick's college coach and the architect of the pistol attack. They've been choosy in using Kaepernick as a runner, but the QB run in the pistol under Ault has always been a choosy, selectively utilized option. In 2010, Kaepernick averaged just 12 carries a game, and still rushed for 1200 yards of offense. Russell Wilson, too, has a surprisingly low number of carries for all the excitement over Seattle embracing the zone read: 10 carries against St. Louis in week 16 was his high, and his only double-digit game in rushing attempts.

    The obvious failures of the new wave have come when plan doesn't match personnel. Cam Newton struggled with Rob Chudzinski's hodgepodge spread attack in Carolina, but by all accounts that's as much a matter of bad design and a player clearly unhappy with his surroundings than anything else. Robert Griffin III ran the ball sparingly as well, and likely did way more damage to his knee in the four years of football preceding his rookie year than in his final, hobbled game of 2013. Designed runs weren't the issue with Griffin, but rather the undesigned improv on passing plays that can shorten any NFL quarterback's career.*

    *The management of Griffin in the final game of 2013 is a well-worn topic open to debate in another forum. Prior to that game, the Redskins had done a decent job of protecting him. Not great, but better by sacks than a lot of teams, including Baltimore, Green Bay, and Seattle. RG3's knee is the issue, and has been since college. The offense, in comparison to the horrors dropback passers can suffer getting rolled up or crushed in the pocket as a sitting duck, is not the issue.

    There is no gimmick at work here because adaptation by necessity is never a gimmick. That is what, with surprising effect and speed, some NFL teams are now doing quite successfully. Mind you, no one is going to hire Chris Ault as their offensive coordinator, nor steal Urban Meyer away from Ohio State, but it's there, and it is not going away so long as the produce continues to require new recipes in order to keep the dining room full.*

    *That's a long kitchen metaphor, I know, so if you're lost just know that Tim Tebow is the weird slice of meat the chefs just gave up on and sent down the street to the CFL taqueria for use as side meat.

    I would love to lean on the notion that the NFL remains the brutal, airless Costco league to college football's homegrown shambles of a farmer's market. I really would. It would feel so right, and so good, yet be so very inaccurate. The truth is that the NFL is no longer struggling with the mismatched talent it sees coming up from the college ranks, and is no longer insistent on sawing off Colin Kaepernick's legs to fit him into a Steve Young mold. They're doing so judiciously, even carefully, and having success with it at the highest levels possible.

    In fact, even the stodgiest NFL teams don't seem to be too invested in making anyone a stick figure anymore, even their most prototypical dropback passers. Example of examples: on Sunday at the goal line in an NFL playoff game, Matt Ryan faked the shotgun toss right, one of the Falcons' offensive staples throughout the 2012 season. Ryan held the ball, though, and shoveled it forward to fullback Jason Snelling for a crucial second half touchdown in an eventual Falcons victory. It is both an old play and a new play, one with origins in the 1950s at Utah, and in more current use as a standard of the Urban Meyer spread option attack. It's weird, not anything you'll find in your standard NFL playbook. It also works, something the NFL prizes above all else.

    Until it stops, you'll have to deal with the neverending gimmick that is the future.

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    We pick up where we left off in our countdown of America's most edible college mascots at #41. Previous installments of the series follow:





    We continue below.

    41. Boston College Eagle. At first you feel uneasy about killing and eating a national symbol, but then it starts telling you that Magic Johnson and Tino Martinez had to have been gay lovers and suddenly it's ok.

    40. Southern Miss Golden Eagles. By "golden" I assume they mean "eagle with cheese," which while still "nasty-ass stringy raptor meat" is still "eagle covered in cheese," which beats regular eagle every day anywhere but especially in fatass delicious diabetic Mississippi.

    39. Iowa Hawkeye. Herky is technically a hawk, so stringy, nearly inedible, and just butt-nasty without sauce. Like Kirk Ferentz, it will cost you $18 million to order something else. You better learn to like it.

    38. Miami RedHawk. THERE'S NO ROOM FOR A SPACE BECAUSE THIS BAD BOY IS PACKED WITH FLAAAAAAAAVOR (and also prions like so soooo many prions ow)

    37. Temple Owls. Preparation in live Temple Owls is a skill. You'll know it's done when its flesh yields to a fork, or perhaps the UMass offense.

    36. Louisville Cardinal. They said you couldn't replace a bird's blood with garlic butter. But they were wrong, and now we are taking balut to a whole new level.

    35. Louisiana-Monroe Warhawk. "Warhawk" is actually what people in Ouachita Parish call broccoli. Louisiana is weird, man.

    34. Rice Owl. Todd Graham once called it the "most surprising delicacy in American cuisine" shortly before throwing a whole plate of it out of a car window at 95 miles an hour.

    33. South Carolina Gamecock.


    That's right - he can rap AND make awesome coq au vin! Why, what were you thinking?

    32. Louisiana Tech Bulldog. Injected with cajun butter his entire life for flavor. By himself. At the cost of his personal fortunes and career. Cajun butter injection: not even once.

    31. Georgia Bulldog. BARGAIN HUNTERS ALERT: Short life spans automatically qualify every UGA mascot as dog-veal under USDA regulations.

    30. Air Force Falcon. No, I haven't seen Chance Harridge lately. Yes, of course this is poultry. You ask a lot of questions. So do cops.

    29. Miami Hurricanes (Ibis). It's not the cocaine that makes ibis meat special, but it is why customs would like to have a word with you immediately, sir.

    28. Kansas Jayhawk. Little-known mid-American staple with the unusual twist of being harmless and edible outdoors, but fatally poisonous indoors.

    27. UAB Blazer. Sure, it's a dinner jacket. But it's smoked for eighteen hours and then smothered in a pearl onion chutney, all for only $7.99 with two sides.

    26. Bowling Green Falcon. Like chicken you can be imprisoned for eating. (Plus MACtion is really a codeword for "BLIND FROM 'SHINE," so embrace pleading drunk to the judge.)

    25. Wisconsin Badger. The hardest part is remembering to not eat the sixer ringer. Guh, it's like apple stickers for warren-meats.

    24. Western Michigan Bronco. Your first mistake was deciding to buy your daughter a pony. Your second mistake was going cheap and purchasing from Now you've got a dead horse and a sad daughter. But this cloud has a silver lining, and it is CHICKEN TROT PIE.

    23. SMU Mustangs. Pretty good if you're okay with eating a horse that's had too much plastic surgery. INESCAPABLE TASTE OF SPRAY TANNER.

    22. North Texas Mean Green. Code for Ecto-cooler.


    21. Tulane Green Wave. Also Ecto-cooler, but spiked with booze, liquid GHB, and whatever else we just found in this satchel randomly stashed under a ceiling tile in the Quarter. Don't be a pussy, this label has a real doctor's name on it.

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  • 01/15/13--07:09: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 1/15/2013
  • 159083524

    TEAM EX-SLAVES AND INBREDS. It is delightful for Alabama fans to turn the tables on the usual, scrounge the internet, and find insanity just as deep or deeper in the bowels of the Notre Dame hivemind. We mean as crazy as Alabama fans, and no really, just as fucking crazy and racist, if not more so:

    Good Lord their running backs are unreal. Why couldn't we have had forced breeding back in the Civil War. I want guys like this on our team

    [backs away from this comment while wearing lead apron and tongs]

    [runs like there's a fluorine fire in the lab]

    NO. Planking is not back, but we'll make exceptions for planking on a bronze wolf.

    PUT THE MAN IN MANZIEL, HURR HURR. He's being told to be more mature in his sophomore year as a returning Heisman winner. We hope he responds by not getting arrested, and continuing to floss so hard dentists are like owwww bro you should let up on them thangs.

    GODSPEED, SIR. T. Kyle King is leaving DawgSports, and the most ironic tribute possible would be to simply say: thank you.

    ABOUT THAT TAUNTING. Doug's on the case re: SEC championship taunting as a group.

    CHANNING CROWDER SHOWS A CHILD HOW TO CATCH A WHOLE CAR IN THE CANALS OF MIAMI. You don't know what's on the end of that line, and it doesn't matter because Channing Crowder is going to beat the living hell out of it with a twelve pack. Please remember: Crowder liked to stay fresh by tackling wild boar.

    ETC: Bobby Hill is America. If you are a year late to the wonders of El-P's "Cancer for Cure," you should really fix that right now. Lookin' good, Instagram! Pakistan seems chill about right now. Lincoln, you bastard. The bit at 1:10 is the finest slice of this Youtube poop.

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    At long last, we arrive at the end of our Mascot Edibility Rankings, and not without some controversy because when you get two English majors writing something involving 124 things, we're going to miscount and skip a number. We mean, GET THINGS TOTALLY RIGHT AND RANK TWO TEAMS AS PRECISELY AS GOOD AS THEY SHOULD BE.

    Previous installments go like so:







    20. Baylor Bear. Oily but filling meat best suited for low, slow cooking. CRUCIAL COOKING TIP: serve on tarp after allowing at least ten minutes of rest.

    19. Michigan Wolverine. RECIPE: Purchase a french bread pizza and leave it in your freezer for 76 years. Microwave it according to the directions on the box. Cover with shavings from a first edition Hemingway novel. Eat only during daylight hours.

    18. Oregon State Beaver. No, for real, it's not only edible, but pretty good as long as you do it right:

    Beaver meat is dark red with a strong flavor. Only young beavers, under the age of 2 should be cooked, as old beaver is said to taste like the underside of a Mexican saddle.

    If you have tasted the underside of a Mexican saddle recently, please seek immediate medical attention. Also stop licking saddles of any origin or nationality whatsoever.

    17. Boise State Bronco. Chris Petersen hung up the phone. A salary twice as high as Saban's, and full control over Longhorn Network programming...but no. The thirst was upon him, and the horsemeats of Boise were waiting.

    16. Maryland Terrapin. Cracking the shell is difficult. The fitted hat and basketball jersey are inedible and can be removed with ease. For a small fee, the University will sell them to you themselves, because they need money.

    15. California Golden Bear. Delicious ursine filet dipped in a chocolate fountain. This is where BEAST MODE comes from, and Marshawn Lynch is only using Skittles to throw you off the path to glory.

    14. UCLA Bruins. Contrary to common belief, this Tibetan Mastiff is not a bear and never has been. He's also not Jewish, but in Hollywood who doesn't have a story to tell, really?

    13. Marshall Thundering Herd. It turns out it's not cannibalism when you eat an ESPN radio personality, because he is marzipan. Super racist marzipan, but still.

    12. Alabama Crimson Tide. The value hunter's pick: order one elephant steak in Alabama, and they will claim fourteen are on your plate.

    11. Syracuse Orange. Fruit is good for you, sure. But this is upstate New York, so local custom requires that you accuse the orange of fucking your sister and then split it open with a crescent wrench.

    10. Colorado State Ram. Mmm, delicious RAM-GHETTI. Will hunt tastier meat for you:


    9. Minnesota Golden Gopher. This is actually what Prince calls meatless lasagna but you try telling Prince otherwise.

    8. Arkansas Razorback. "I think we need to take a moment and thank this animal for giving its life for us. And Steve, our hunting guide, and his assistant John, just barely a man himself. And that shed full of orphans. And my brothers, sisters, and all who lost their lives in the hog's family's long night of backwoods country vengeance against me, everyone I love, and even total strangers who just happened to get in the way. Innocent, sweet strangers. Dear sweet Jesus why did I ever, ever kill this animal? What immortal, unbudgeable hubris wrought this tragedy, and when will the bodies indeed stop hitting the floor? Amen, and may God have mercy on all of our souls."

    7. Akron Zip. Carefully, Terry Bowden made a notation in the kangaroo page of his Audubon guide. "Tender, and paired well with a construction hat full of rainbow sprinkles." Now it was time to find a school that would fund his Dodo a l'Orange project.

    6a. USF Bull. Raised in a trailer by Jim Leavitt without sunshine for ten years. The steak so hard it can cut you with a fork!

    6b. (tie). Buffalo Bull. Exactly like its Florida counterpart except it's actually Toni Kukoc found dead in a municipal building.

    5. Florida Gator. The batter-fried variety is the best, particularly if it's been freshly sliced to ribbons by Chef Teddy Bridgewater. And it is.

    4. Oregon Duck. Crispy and fatty in perfect harmony, it's more versatile than the traditionalists would have you believe. Please note that you can no longer purchase this dish with a check, credit card, or traceable paper currency.

    3. Texas Longhorn. Would be at two, but for some reason Mack Brown used the filet for sausage, and the lips and assholes for steaks, and someone please get Mack Brown away from the grill.

    2. Virginia Tech Hokie. Bud Foster only makes it one way, and one way only, son.


    You also have to finish the recipe by watching Bud Foster finish all 23 other beers in the suitcase and watching him rip the shit out of some "Green Grass And High Tides" on Rock Band. Just like our forefathers did.

    1. Colorado Buffalo. Lean, flavorful - the buffalo is truly one of Nature's most delicious animals. The Native Americans used every part of it, and so does Dan Hawkins, which is why Dan Hawkins is no longer allowed to sell things on Etsy.

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    No, it's no big thing. Just the attack ostrich Colin Kaepernick in winter, just shredding the gnar-gnar in between NFL playoff games while he's got a spare minute. Colin Kaepernick does look like an ostrich, though: a jacked, tattooed ostrich capable of running a 4.4 40 yard dash and throwing a football forty yards on a rope.

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    Logan Thomas is returning to Virginia Tech for his senior season, and should. Like a glorious souffle of athletic potential, Thomas rose in 2011 to unexpected heights, and then collapsed in the stove in 2012 and became a scapegoat for Virginia Tech's worst season since the first Bush administration. The chefs running around the kitchen looking for the fire extinguisher were Virginia Tech's offensive staff, and yes, they did panic, grab for the baking soda, and threw a shovelful of coffee creamer into the oven with disastrous results.

    Logan Thomas needs another year in college, and the person guiding him through this will be Scot Loeffler, late of Auburn University. He was, in some part, responsible for the Auburn's fart party on offense, a mismashed series of concepts, desperate swipes at a passing game, and a pro-style run game incapable of not tripping over the legs of its pulling guards. If this sounds like the Virginia Tech offense of 2012, it is not. The Virginia Tech offense was better in every imaginable and quantifiable way, and that is a very, very bad thing out of context.

    Context always matters, however, and it's not like Loeffler was working alone in vacuum since everything at Auburn (save Corey Lemonier's efforts) was working in a vacuum, an infinite void of suck starting at the top with the vacancy that was the great shacket. Loeffler's record, like most 38 year old professionals, is a mixed one. For instance, he was good at what Temple wanted to do under Steve Addazio: run the daylights out of the ball, and give their quarterback limited, calculated shots with the ball downfield.

    And in another example, this:



    Anyway, prior to any of this he played some role in grooming a long list of NFL draftees at Michigan. You cannot take this away from him, nor can you say Charlie Weis didn't have something to do with Tom Brady, as in they were both in the room, and perhaps shared bites off the same stale office pastry. That is not a euphemism, because if it were we would be throwing up thinking about Charlie Weis gettin' it on with any pastry, much less Tom Brady's leftover confections.

    What we're trying to tell you, Virginia Tech: Loeffler is the hardest kind of hire to evaluate, and that is an adequate to decent hire. He's in the middle of his career, and runs an offensive system that will have no one confusing the Hokies for Oregon. He'll run the ball, and work Logan Thomas into the run game with the zone read, something he did quite effectively with lesser ingredients at Temple.

    It is not a bad hire, and it is certainly not a shoe-knocking hammer throw of a signing, either. It's adequate, and will do nicely enough for what Virginia Tech is under Frank Beamer: a defensive team that scores points through field position and, at one point in the past, through special teams. The Hokies bought a four door sedan because dammit, what would they do with a sports car? Wrap it around a telephone pole like Tommy Tuberville did when he tried to go up-tempo and spread at Auburn? Or whatever the hell the identity crisis is that Mack Brown's having in Austin?

    Nah, Frank's fine with the Celica.* Or Scot Loeffler. Whatever the hell you want to call it. It gets them where they want to go, and gives Logan Thomas a reliable way of getting from point A to point B on the football field. It's easy to say a hire is bad or good. It is hardest to explain the average to okay hire, i.e. someone like Scot Loeffler. You'll probably be average to competent on offense this year, and given what happened to Logan Thomas last year, that would constitute improvement.

    You'll probably be okay. And that, when you've got so many other things going for you, is decent enough. Here's a modest thumbs up for that.


    P.S. He is not Brian Stinespring. Just say this to yourself when things go badly.

    *Shit. A Camry or Corolla, more like it.

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  • 01/16/13--07:19: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 1/16/2013
  • 158838528



    James Franklin is now starting a trend that will end up with Will Muschamp handing out survival knives with his contact information written on it. And Auburn? Oh, Auburn's totally going to try and call an iPad a business card. Watch it happen, and call us gypsy seers for calling it so far ahead fo time.

    THIS IS ENTIRELY SHOCKING. Or not, because Brent Musburger has never, ever given a shit, and never will.

    FIGHTIN' IN DA CLUB, KIFFIN EDITION. A postgame brawl in the locker room, you say? We're sure Ed Orgeron had nothing whatsoever to do with this, save taking his shirt off, wading into the middle of it, and confusing the hell out of everyone by yelling WILD BOYZ and assuming it was a team building exercise.


    FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE IS NEVER A GOOD IDEA IS MASS COMMUNICATIONS. When Shane Beamer was talking about recruiting a QB, he was talking about Logan Thomas returning for another year in Blacksburg, not committing an NCAA violation. Still, let this be a lesson that being creative in anything you say ever is a risk, and should be discouraged in all football coaches ever except Steve Spurrier. (He is a master of the English language, and also use of the belly putter during work hours.)

    ACE SANDERS BACK? No, actually. Ace Sanders, decidedly not back, and headed to the NFL.

    PUSHING THE BALL, YOU SAY? Things are not going swimmingly for Collin Klein at the East-West Shrine Game.

    YOU SHOULD RE-READ THIS THING FROM 2007. Pete Carroll has been insane for years, and will not cease his insanity for some time.

    ETC: You should just never, ever New York, ever. George Carlin: a man ahead of his time.

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    WAIT WHAA--- Yup. Weeks after Chip Kelly effectively ended his flirtation with no fewer than three NFL teams, Chip Kelly has left Oregon for the Philadelphia Eagles. Remember when every NFL INSIDER said that Chip had ruined his chance to become an NFL coach by turning teams down? Ah, that was fun being right for 10 days or so, wasn't it?

    But he said he was staying and-- Evidently not. Maybe the delays came down to negotiations over his powers in Philadelphia, or Kelly's indecision, or the fickle demands of attorneys hammering out the details in a darkened conference room. Whatever the delay between Kelly's initial interview and today's announcement was, it's done. The era of the Blur offense at Oregon under Kelly is over.

    Oregon fans react

    This is making me sad. It should. As much as the spread option offense has been replicated at the college level and beyond, Kelly's brand was its most aggressive, creative, and entertaining, a machine in the truest sense in that its parts were interchangeable, its production was constant and its pace was simply inhuman. Names came and went--LaMichael James, LeGarrette Blount, Dennis Dixon, Marcus Mariota, De'Anthony Thomas, Colt Lyerla, Kenjon Barner--but the beast breathed on no matter who filled the roster slots. Kelly went for it on fourth down, popped early fourth down conversions without breaking a sweat and pressed the game to its limits.

    Will it work in the NFL? The official college perspective is: "Who cares." Your guess is as good as ours, though, "up-tempo offense that relies on a zone run game and utilizes a running quarterback judiciously," sounds a lot like a good quarter of the teams that made the final eight in the 2012-13 NFL Playoffs. Chip Kelly is not an avant-garde hiring, at least not in this respect. Whether or not he can get used to working with pro athletes versus underpaid amateurs is a far bigger question than the issue of his playcalling or strategies. (See: current college overlord and NFL washout Nick Saban.)

    And for Oregon? The plan of succession all along was to promote offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich to the position, so the overall disruption to Oregon's immediate power structure is as minimal as a head coach leaving can be. Defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti predates Kelly, and Helfrich has been on staff since 2009. The program falls into the hands of those who have been running it under the departed Kelly.

    Will that change things? Of course. Kelly's attitude, as much as his playbook, permeated the way Oregon did business. Helfrich will change little of what they do offensively, but with Kelly's playcalling gone the Ducks can't possibly be as aggressive, since no coach in the recent history of college football was as nakedly aggressive as Chip Kelly. Helfrich can't replace Kelly, he can only be himself, a coach with a genial attitude, relatively wide open offense, and a veteran staff to carry Oregon forward.

    That staff includes the massive support of Phil Knight and luminaries like Mike Bellotti, two of the forces that turned Oregon from a backwater into a national power. Oregon has lost a piece of the machine, and an important one at that. But let's be clear on this, too: Chip Kelly was a piece of a larger machine at Oregon, and is himself a replaceable part among many in the Ducks football machine.

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    Jessamen Dunker, Florida offensive lineman, is 6'4" and 301 pounds. Now please imagine him attempting to steal a moped, as he is alleged to have done by the crack policemen at the University of Florida Police Department. Imagine him trying to be stealthy about it, creeping up on little three hundred pound cat feet, and then yelling like Niko Bellic as he notices the three badge alert going off in the corner of the screen, and looks for a paint spray shop to lose the cops and get back to achievement whoring.


    For an alleged theft of moped, Jessamen Dunker gets the dreaded Grand Theft Auto charge, a rare four point felony count in Fulmer Cup scoring. An additional point on charges is given for driving on a suspended or revoked license. as for bonuses, the Florida Gator homer's bonus is a point, and seriously you are a 300 pound man accused of stealing a moped. You get a point for that alone, Jessamen.

    Thus does the Fulmer Cup scoring for 2013 open with the home team, Florida, receiving seven points in the first documented score of the year. Having found seven points early, the Florida offense should shut down for the next two quarters at least before frantically coming to life in the fourth quarter.

    THUS IS IT RULED. You know why a moped is like a fat girl, right? Because if you steal either one, the police will arrest you, and possibly imprison you for a while because that's totally against the law and violates the basic precepts our legal system is built upon in America. Our dear old dad! So full of factual jokes like this one, and "Why did the chicken cross the road? Existential dread, and the never-ceasing fear of death."

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    The following is a list of organizations and people who, to varying degrees of incompletion, never bothered to check to see if Manti Te'o's girlfriend was real.

    1. Us.

    2. You (Jack Dickey and Timothy Burke excepted)

    3. Sports Illustrated.

    4. ESPN

    5. The South Bend Tribune

    6. Bleacher Report

    7. The Chicago Tribune

    8. The Chicago Sun-Times

    9. The Sporting News

    10. USA Today

    11. The Boston Globe

    12. CBS Sports

    13. The New York Post

    14. NBC Sports/Notre Dame

    15. Yahoo

    16. The Associated Press

    17. The Palm Beach Post

    18. The Miami Herald

    19. The Tampa Bay Times

    20. Grantland

    21. The Los Angeles Times

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    I understand that given recent events, we may all be questioning a few things. You don't even know what's real anymore. You go on the internet. Just people making their whole lives up!

    It's crazy, just plumb crazy. In my day you could have a few things for sure. A quick cigarette without the health police puttin' the cuffs on you, a few drinks before you hit the road, and the knowledge that that lady on the end of the line was real, or at least a man pretending to be a woman.

    We knew how to deal with that back then, too. You sat down, had an honest conversation with the troubled young man, and just asked him if this was really what he wanted to be doing with his life. Offered a word. A handshake. Maybe a beer and some understanding, and then a few bills from the jelly roll if they needed it. I helped one young man whose face I still remember: young, scared, confused, and with a suntan like an Okie who spent his nights sleeping facefirst on a running engine block.

    Barry gave that confused young man a hand, and today they call him Mike Shanahan.

    So in the interest of full disclosure, I'd like to detail and document everyone Barry every called "Girlfriend." This is not to boast. In fact, Barry won't even get close to the whole list. That's not bragging. My fingers just get tired after a while, and it's been a long wagon ride in this life. You go through a lot of oxen on that trail. Not every name makes it into the ledger on the way to the happy valley.

    Just some highlights from a life full of love.



    Beautiful girls, every last one of 'em. The greatest introduction to the feminine mystery a twelve year old could ask for. Their coordination still reminds me of a fine offensive line moving the ball down the field. All of them married drunkards but only hunters and hoochslingers stay in Arkansas past sproutin' time.



    A fine middle school principal. A great town fire marshal. A superlative lover. After our dalliance, she bid the town farewell and went to work on an oil rig somewhere south of Denton, Texas. Can't look at a butterfly without thinking about her arms, or pass a burning school without smiling and remembering her touch.



    I don't talk about her much. The words catch in my throat. She was wonderful and we were too young and the drink and no money and hard livin' the coach's wife life did to her just took too much out of us both. I'm sorry, Lorraine. You deserved more than I could ever be.



    Strapping woman. Taught me never to mix aviation and passion, though. I still regret that, but when the woman who sang "I Fall To Pieces" asks you to fly a plane, you do your damnedest to fly that plane. (Tip: a DC-7 has one parachute, and it's located under the pilot's chair. Use it.)



    MANILA, 1974. Ferdinand can't hold his liquor or his cards right, and that's how Barry walks out of a cockfighting club in Tondo with the deed to Mindanao in one hand and a key to a suite at the Mandarin Oriental in the other. I know she wasn't a good woman. I know she did a lot of evil. I know about the shoes. But I've never seen a woman do what she did that night, Tapioca balls are a mystery to a lot of people. But not to me. Not after a night with Imelda.



    I always did recruit Texas pretty well. The important thing in a matchup with Ann was hydration. The conditions were gonna be hot, and it was gonna come down to the fourth quarter every time. You could say we hung fifty on each other. Probably my toughest opponent, and a classy, classy lady. She even left money on the dresser. She always laughed about that, but I took it. Wasn't like I didn't earn it.



    No, not together. I can't many task, multitask, whatever. One was a young Oklahoma City reporter who wanted one magic night on the Red River on my party barge, the Adolphus Santangelo. The other was a woman with a broken heart on a Carnival Cruise, mooning at the sky and looking for a shoulder to cry on. Both special ladies, but only one of them has four nipples and a night-screaming disorder I found more appealing than you'd think. Think the world of them both.



    1993, Washington D.C. The Clinton Inauguration. Got off to a rough start when my close personal friend Mick Fleetwood got stuck in an air vent looking for his lost chinchilla in his hotel room. I filled in on drums wearing a wolf mask. No one noticed, and Mick's still not happy about that. Never understood the emotion jealousy, and never will.

    We met at the bar. She was talking to Ban-Ki Moon, and I was trying to lose J.C. Watts. Wattsy's a nice man but he's like shark repellant for lady makos on the hunt. Could never explain it but some men just can't catch an ass in a rain of donkeys. She lost the Korean dork and I told Watts to go pull the fire alarm, and soon Lady Poet and I are at the Washington Plaza working on our pentameter.

    To this day Robert Deniro hates me for it, but he can eat a turd blossom off these boots if he thinks I care. Lady Calypso had one call that night, and she made it to the Sooner Schooner himself. Made me feel like a President.

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    You should know this edition of NMAWorldNews is about Manti Te'o. You should also know that it includes an image of leprechauns at a club funneling booze into the business end of Manti Te'o, a practice known as "buttchugging" made infamous in a 2012 incident at the University of Tennessee.

    You should know this might be considered NSFW, and that no one following this story has any idea what to make of humanity, facts, lies, fiction, truth, sense, decency, or the digital world of imaginary ladies, leprechauns, and virtual buttchugging Notre Dame linebackers anymore. Consider this a warning, and not just about the video, but about life in general.


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    Oh, Vols-themed Fiat 500. You tell no lies. You make up no stories, and offer only mysteries. Was this owned by Derek Dooley? (Certainly, let's just assume so without checking.) Did he drive it to work until the end, with Bubbas shaking their heads along the way as they disdained its miniscule frame, its espresso machine styling, and the bumper rolling into the distance without a trace of a trailer hitch to be seen on it? Did he do this while wearing orange pants, orange pants he would spill an entire espresso onto while screaming nasal profanities to an indifferent silence?

    Did he, pulling into his parking space, have a brief cry, and then pick himself up while dabbing his ruined slacks with Shout Wipes?

    We hope he did, because Derek Dooley deserved a cry after this season, and also because nothing makes you feel like a dirtier, more hopeless human being than spilling coffee on yourself even when you know damn well you're going to do it and take every goddamn precaution in the world against it. God, it makes you want to peel the flesh off your skull, because why do you try anything? WHY DID YOU BUY SUCH A TINY CAR, AND YET SUCH A HUGE FUCKING CUP OF SCALDING LIQUID POSSESSED BY A DESIRE TO RUIN LIGHT COLORED FABRICS?

    Where was this going? Oh yeah, that's a picture of a Fiat 500. Before we got unusually angry over this random Derek Dooley we just made up: it tells no lies, spills no coffee where it shouldn't, and makes up no fake girlfriends. You're pretty great like that, random SEC paint job Fiat. Keep doing what you do.

    (HT: Justin)

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  • 01/18/13--07:24: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 1/18/2013
  • 20121129_pjc_ss1_453

    THIS DAN IS ON FIYAAAAAHHHHHH. It all seems so complex until Dan lays it out on the whiteboard of truth.

    And that anagram for Nick Saban may seem inaccurate, but we assure you that it works out if you know your math well enough. Ooh, look, a grossly inconsistent but insanely detailed manuscript! Something something Pete Thamelis out to destroy Mantucky Teosketball.

    AS LONG AS HIS NAME IS NOT TED ROOF WE SHALL BE FINE. Will Muschamp promoted linebackers coach D.J. Durkin to the position of defensive coordinator following the departure of Dan Quinn for Seattle, a well-deserved promotion for a coach who ground his way up the ladder and is well-liked by players and staff alike. Also, Will Muschamp still runs the defense no matter what his title may say, so we remain not overly concerned by the transition.

    NO THANKS. Oregon's longtime defensive coordinator Nick Alliotti politely declined an invitation to become USC's new DC, perhaps because the thought of being Lane Kiffin's new dad seemed more disturbing than you could possibly imagine.

    ROLL TIDE. Taking the cellphone during recruiting season? Oh, that's a veteran move, Alabama agent.

    HEAD TRAUMA AND BEING REALLY NONCHALANT ABOUT IT IS THE LATEST AND COOLEST THING. Patrick Hruby's piece on the NCAA and head trauma in football confirms your shocking suspicions that the schools are going to have to figure it out for themselves, because the NCAA is just concerned with insuring itself and avoiding liability.

    METAPHORICALLY THIS HAS BEEN NEYLAND FOR A DECADE AND RUNNING. Covered in snow, desolate and devoid of all life. (via

    YOU'RE NOT ALONE, NOTRE DAME. Well, you're sort of alone in the football-specific charges, but feel a bit less alone anyway.

    ETC: Dad Rock podcasts are pleasant enough on a Friday. We could not agree more, random GIF. WOOOOO ATL.

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    Illustrations by Celebrity Hot Tub

    You may already believe a few things about the X's and O's of college football. You may believe that four vert is the greatest passing play ever as a complete concept, and at this moment you would be right. You may also believe in the option, the simplest and yet most indefensible of run plays. You may even believe in the run and shoot, the Air Raid, or not believe in offense at all.

    If you believe that last one, you are a terrible person. Stop reading now and do something else.

    These are all beliefs, and no one can dissuade you of belief. We're not priests, and never have been, no matter what those court records in Loudon County, Maryland say. We deal in facts, and the most relevant fact in the world is this: the wheel route is the greatest route in the history of football, and works every time, all the time, against any coverage ever.

    A quick dash to the flat and then a burst upfield along the sideline? More than mere schematics, friend. Physics and science and football stuff has shown us that every person, no matter their skill level or physical ability, no matter how rag-armed and hopeless their quarterback may be, becomes a full ten miles per hour faster and three times the athlete when told to run a wheel route.


    How does it work? No one's really sure: some strange gravitational distortion between player, ball and sideline? The inability of defensive backs to run sideways, then backward, and then correct to forward? The difficulty of running and laughing at the same time when a 260 pound fullback begins trucking upfield with a really, really determined look on his face? The causes are mysterious, but the effects definite: the ball in the air, the hands extended for the catch, and a fat man busting his ass down the sideline while his defender might as well be running on a treadmill.


    Some are so bold as to run two wheel routes, thus creating two completely open men on one play. While it is not by rule possible to score two touchdowns on the same play, we propose that it is theoretically plausible, and will occur, most likely during a Big 12 conference game, but definitely against a Big 12 defense.

    The time has come for us to push the game of football forward, though. While some may be happy with two wheel routes, we deny the commonly accepted Pythagorean truth that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. That distance is a WHEEL ROUTE, and there should be as many of them on the field as possible at all times for maximum production in the passing game.


    "But you simply clog the sidelines and mess up your other wheel routes," the skeptic says. Untrue, and refuted below with devastating clarity and simplicity.

    1. The wheel route is by definition always open.
    2. The wheel route is the most open route every time.
    3. Furthermore, the only thing that would be more open than two wheel routes is three wheel routes, and so on and so on unto infinity.
    4. This is true no matter where you put them.
    5. 70 points a game.

    The math is just that simple. Behold: QUAD WHEELS.


    Fact: you can also read out your credit card and social security number to a DB during the route, and they cannot steal your identity, nor even understand your words as English or even human speech.

    Like all simple machines, the effect can be chained for maximum effect, and in theory without end.


    Name another simple machine that scores touchdowns. You cannot. Iowa ran "Inclined Plane" sixty-three times this season. "Inclined Plane" is a punt that goes backwards.

    Yet the WHEEL ROUTE movement belongs not just between the lines of the gridiron. As a philosophy, we believe its applications are boundless, and sound in theory across an endless number of disciplines.



    In the quest for personal growth and development:


    And even for the survival of planets that do not wish to be destroyed by the impending supernova and heat death of our universe:


    In summary: you should run nothing but wheel routes all the time, both in football and in life. It is one of the universe's perfect curves, and cannot be defended or stopped in any scenario, ever. Placing three in a thermos with electrodes attached to it could power a small city for ten years, but BIG OIL doesn't want that to happen, either. It would also make Lane Kiffin an energy baron, so yeah, let's not actually let that get out, ever. (Kiffin crony Ed Orgeron, future 2032 Governor of Texafornia, is one of the most horrifying images to ever cross our mental horrorscope.)

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    To assist in the run-up to your Super Bowl festivities, we have enlisted Atlanta chef, consultant, and former Top Chef: Las Vegas contestant Eli Kirshtein to answer some basic questions about cooking. Today's basic thing you might be screwing up: burgers.

    I have been asked to give a survival guide to basic culinary issues that tend to arise for sports-minded individuals during the Super Bowl time of year. Let's start with the most basic of basics, burgers, then take a few questions from y’all.


    I put burgers into two basic different types: burgers you cook to temp (fat patties), 
and burgers you cook well done (skinny, patty melt types). Don’t be arrogant. If you like your burger well done, make thin patties and stack them up, as many as you want. This will really help prevent them from coming out dry.

    For big patties, make them much wider than you think you should, like a good 4-5 inches across. This will help prevent them from shrinking up and becoming more than the shape of a ball.

    If you want to cook them to temp. Here is a general guide for knowing when you are there (all temps are in Fahrenheit):

    • Rare - 120-130
    • Med Rare - 130-135
    • Medium 135-150.
    • If you go under 120, the thing will still be mooing.
    • If you go over 150 you're going to get something pretty dry. But do as you wish.

    For the meat itself: you can go all out elaborate and grind your own. I recommend equal parts chuck and brisket for that, or buy something pre-ground. If you grind your own you can get creative also, add some bacon to the grind if thats your style, or a piece of Andy Reid’s walrus fat if you have good resources (I hear it tastes like a 13-year-old Philly cheesesteak covered in KC Masterpiece).

    If you buy pre-ground I usually worry less about the cut and more about the fat content. Don’t go with lean meat, please. Get the one that has the highest fat content, since thats the whole point here: making it tasty and juicy.

    Want to keep them from falling apart? Start by mixing the meat a little bit more with your seasonings. Developing a little "stickiness" will help them hold together a good bit more. Don’t over work it, but the extra mixing helps a lot.

    In terms of cooking, there are two basic ways. The fancy way (and I think far superior way) is to do it over charcoal. I know it sounds clichéd, but the flavor is much better.

    The other way, which is great in a tight home/fancy downtown loft type use, especially for a small number of people: get a panini press, or in a real pinch a Foreman Grill. Hell, maybe just because you're lazy and because it's an amazing creation, go with the Foreman. I know it sounds weird, but if you cook the patty directly on the press, you will get a nice crusty sear on both the top and bottom. Plus the cleanup is easy.

    Either way don't be scared of the heat, you want a little bit of crunchies all over the patty. These are a good reference point for almost anything like sausages, chicken, etc. Same techniques, same results.

    Lets talk about buns. The fancy way is to go to a bakery and get a nice beautiful brioche bun. The ghetto-ass dirty south style is to go get a potato bun at the quickie mart. I am personally more a fan of the latter. Make sure you get a potato bun and not just some generic brand of buns. I like Martin’s brand myself.

    Do toast the bun. That will help keep the overall burger together. It's basic engineering.

    When people are dressing up burgers they usually make the mistake of just tossing stuff on haphazardly. Think about what you want and get creative. I think you gotta have onions, cheese, and mayo. Those are my only mandatories, mainly as two of them represent adding more fat to it. You can get all fancy and put more fattening things on, also: think bacon, a fried egg, slice of foie gras, or another piece of Andy Reid. Pickles are nice too.

    If you buy the pre-made burgers at the meat counter with weird cheese and nuggets of broccoli or whatever they put in it, I am not responsible for your burger sucking. You gotta realize that a great burger is about the flavor of the beef, not a bunch of other crap, so if it doesn’t add to to the fattiness and beefiness of the burger, cut it loose. -

    Don’t be that guy. Don’t be the dude telling everyone in the house how you make the best burgers in the world. News flash: you don’t and most likely never will. If you make a good burger let it speak for itself; it doesn’t need to be an extension of your ego. In Atlanta it's Holeman and Finch's burger, in Napa it's Taylor's Refreshers, and in NYC it's possibly Burger Shack. But really, the perfect burger is a unicorn. It doesn't exist.

    Misc questions from y’all:

    RT @CowboyCane "how to cook a steak on a gas grill, because i don't have enough money for your GD Big Green Egg!"

    Cook it the same way, just make sure you let it sit nice and long on each side to develop a good brown. Or just do it in a cast iron pan on the stove. Gas grills are kinda boo boo.

    RT @TomFornelli "I have trouble understanding why non-Italians even bother trying to cook."

    I have trouble understanding why people in Chicago think that deep dish is real pizza.

    RT @PMGabby "how do you effectively scoop off the fat from your homemade stock (chicken, beef)?"

    Actually a good question. Strain the stock and let it cool overnight and scrap it off the top, or if you’re in a rush, get a tall narrow container (think like a big gulp 520oz cup or something) and pour it in. The fat will rise to the top in a thicker layer and it easier to take it off. You could even use a turkey baster for that.

    RT @Jordan_Clark "How can I cook pork cutlets in a pan and not have them turn out like shoe leather?"

    Well, you’re almost for sure just overcooking them. Don’t be scared to serve pork medium, this isn’t the 1800’s and botulism really isn’t around that much any more. And also try brining them: they might end up with more of a "ham" like texture, but they will be juicier.

    RT @tamattes "Cutting board sanitation! Wood, plastic, other?"

    Very important: I go thick plastic every time. Clean well between uses with hot water and soap.

    Eli Kirshtein is a chef and consultant who lives in Atlanta. You may also know him from Top Chef: Las Vegas. He can be found at Twitter at @EliKirshtein. He would like you to cook at home, and also not to kill anyone while doing it, and therefore encourages you to use online resources with sound information about cooking safely. Resources like this:

    DJ Paul and Eli both wish you bon appétit!

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    The sleepy start to the Fulmer Cup season can be blamed on the frosty weather. Presumably, people are committing criminal acts just as our founding fathers intended: discreetly, and in the privacy of their own well-insulated homes. You say, "Well, it's only fifty degrees in Athens, Georgia?" Fifty degrees is enough to kill the thin-blooded Georgian, and leave them as frozen on their mopeds as foxes in the Scandinavian wastes. Floridians exposed to such temperatures simply shatter.

    Hardier types like Kansans dare to venture out in such brutality. This has to make you angry, at least angry enough to get a misdemeanor charge when someone suggests you leave the comfort of a fine establishment like Tonic in Lawrence, Kansas. Kansas linebacker Ben Heeney made that exact decision, and receives one point in the Fulmer Cup for getting all fussy in da club in Lawrence.

    As with all things, we blame Charlie Weis. Tonic, though, seems like a pretty great place per Yelp reviewers, who are compiled below in free verse poem form.

    Once I had my drink

    I proceeded to the raised platform by the DJ

    and spent the rest of the time

    watching drunk sorority girls

    dancing on a small table,

    flashing their cooters a la Paris Hilton

    while drunk frat guys desperately humped their legs.

    Maybe I just expect more from a night out.

    This place just feels....vapid.

    I'm not without a sense of humor

    but if you have a customer of size

    or someone who probably has a great personality,

    don't you think

    it's kind of screwed up

    to potentially turn a customer away

    with these kinds of things?

    Some creepy, fat, bald guy

    kept waving at my girlfriend

    and I was told

    that he was there every weekend

    ... wow.

    It took me 30 minutes

    to get one drink,

    and at one point

    the guy behind me


    to grope

    my ass.


    In summary: that's one point for the Kansas Jayhawks, endless unfair blame for Charlie Weis, and a definite EDSBS field trip to Tonic when we visit Lawrence, Kansas.

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    You could stay sad, Tom Brady, or you could remember what you do have in life. You have money, fame, your health, and the most important thing of all, a loving family and children who adore you.

    And, as Pitbull would remind you, you have the party, and the capacity all humans possess: the ability to have a real, real good time.


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    This is a solid hour plus of Jim Harbaugh, onetime University of San Diego coach and current Super Bowl-bound 49ers coach, teaching his philosophies on quarterback play. You don't have an hour to watch it, so I'll just help you through the highlights.

    3:20 Jim Harbaugh teaches an important lesson about throwing motion using a clip from The Sandlot. Harbaugh asks if anyone recognizes it. Someone answers, "The Sandlot." Harbaugh responds by yelling "SANDLOT!" Jim Harbaugh yells single words for emphasis more than even most coaches do.

    17:00 Harbaugh, to illustrate proper QB hand placement, says a quarterback must place the second knuckle of his index finger "right on the center's asshole." He then repeats this several times like the word "asshole" is a scientific term, and without giggling. Jim Harbaugh is more mature than I am.

    22:00 Harbaugh mentions a discussion he had with "my man Les Miles." I would pay thousands of dollars for a recording of this conversation, and spend years mining it for meaning.

    27:00: Harbaugh pounds an overhead projector while yelling "I MUST WIN." He does this so hard he breaks the overhead.

    There's lots of "THAT'S HUGE" and "BAM!" and "Jim Harbaugh looking a little like Uncle Rico simulating plays," but a few things are clear. It's clear that Jim Harbaugh is a very good football instructor. It's also clear he's so intense that he'll break equipment during a simple coaching clinic demonstration. Finally, it's clear that Jim Harbaugh is insane, and that this seems to be nothing but an asset in his line of work.


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  • 01/22/13--07:18: THE CURIOUS INDEX, 1/22/2013
  • Screen_shot_2013-01-22_at_10


    We did this same thing when our computer we played SimCity 2000 on finally died. It's basically the same thing, except SimCity 2000 was real. (AND STILL IS, DAMMIT.)

    LET'S ALL YELL AT ALABAMA. Except for the bit about at least eleven other schools offering grayshirt scholarships, including Colorado. Who the smoking hell do you think you are, Colorado?

    AND THAT IS HOW THE MIAMI SCANDAL IS GOING TO END, WITH A WHIMPER. If you're looking for a fall guy in the Miami NCAA case, you're going to need pluray "guys." On the football side, that's gonna be Clint Hurtt, current Louisville assistant and recruiter who's getting rule 10.1 dropped on him. On the basketball side, it'll be Frank Haith, who is currently the basketball coach at Mizzou. If this holds and Miami skates lightly away from the case, this marks a shocking "trend" in NCAA practice by going after coaches, not institutions. (This being a trend means you should expect the exact opposite, because the NCAA really, really has no idea what they're doing, and likes to keep it unpredictable.)

    SOMETIMES IT'S HARD....TO BE PAT HADEN... Givin' all your love, to just one plan, but when that plan is Lane Kiffin, you're standing by it because someone who fires their own dad is truly serious about success. He left to pursue other opportunities! And Chip Kelly still followed him, because Chip Kelly REALLY HATES MONTE KIFFIN.

    JIM HARBAUGH IS EXCITABLE. Watch the highlights of the Harbaugh coaching clinic video for the LOLZ once, and then again as you note that as insane as he may seem, every single cue he gives sticks in your brain. (Especially the one about the quarterback putting his knuckle in the center's asshole.) (Because now YOU'LL remember that one forever.)

    TYRANN MATHIEU IS REALISTIC. He thinks it may take until he's 30 for people to trust him fully again. We would so much rather watch the story of Mathieu's twenties fleshed out than Lena Dunham's, or better yet watch Mathieu drafted by the Giants, and then become a character on Girls. ("Would you read my essay, Tyrann?""Coach Coughlin forbade reading.""YOU DON'T REALLY LOVE ME.")

    ETC: Jump in the pool, the water's fine until you get to the bottom and then you die instantly.

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