Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bo Knows How To Kill Bears, Alienate Fans

Have you been wondering what Bo Jackson is up to? Neither had I, until I read this article at ESPN.com. The first few 3 paragraphs are phenomenal. If he can take down the Boz at point blank range, why not a bear? The rest of the article is good, too. If you're like me -- and pray to your God that I'm not -- you were in awe of Bo Jackson when he was still playing, whether it was baseball or football. Aside from the bear-killing part of the article, I especially enjoy the fact that his wife wished to keep the name of the hospital where she works out of the article "because some of her colleagues do not know she is Bo Jackson's spouse." Nice work.

Co-worker: "Hey, Linda Jackson, why do you have that picture on your desk of Bo Jackson? Is he a relative of yours?"
Linda Jackson: "Who? I don't have any pictures on my desk. And if I did, they certainly wouldn't be of someone I've never met, heard of, or been married to for over 20 years."
Co-worker (pointing to picture): "But that picture right there is Bo Jackson. Number 34. Auburn."
Linda Jackson: "No it's not. I've never owned a picture of, met, or married anyone who was a Heisman winner and who ran a 4.18 40-yard dash at the 1986 NFL combine, but who then postponed his NFL career a year to play Major League Baseball."
Co-worker (pointing to picture): "But what about that one right there? He's wearing a tuxedo and you're wearing a wedding dress."
Linda Jackson: "What? No. No I'm not. It's one of those old-timely novelty pictures. Jackson's a common last name. That's not Bo Jackson. That's not me. I'm not married. Bo Jackson is probably dead. The man in the picture is a different Bo Jackson than the famous one, even though they look, talk, and act the exact same and are both former professional two-sport athletes who broke bats over their knees and rushed for 221 yards against the Seattle Seahawks in a Monday Night Football game on November 30, 1987. Is it hot in here? My name isn't even Linda. My husband's name is spelled B-E-A-U. He's a white French sculptor by day who hunts humans with compound bows by night. And you will be next on his list if this inquisition continues, that is, if I had a husband."

Here is another solid excerpt:
You want to see that anger bubble and boil? Go up to Bo and put your arm around him. He hates that -- strangers touching him, strangers who want to arm-wrestle, strangers who think they know him because they saw an advertisement 20 years ago. At one point, to demonstrate, he took my wrist in his hand and twisted, ever so gently.

It was enough.

"You've really got to get under my skin to get me to snap," he says. "But if I snap, God help you."
After reading this article, I am scared shitless of ever meeting Bo Jackson. I wouldn't know what to do. I mean, it's Bo fucking Jackson -- probably the greatest pure athlete our generation has known -- so I would have to at least say hi. At that point, though, things could go sour. I could try to run away, but there's no point because he would undoubtedly either (1) shoot me through the skull with a poison-tipped arrow (interesting tidbit: the poison is actually his own blood), or (2) catch me, since I'm guessing that, even at 45 and with a replacement hip, his 40 time is at least a half-second better than mine (I'm fast, but not that fast), and once he caught me, in his words, "God help [me]." I'm guessing he would -- in one swift and fluid movement -- palm my head, toss me in the air and catch me on the way down sideways, then literally snap me in half over his knee, and before so much as a drop of blood appeared, he would have already crushed my remains into a diamond with his bare hands. By the way, I think I know the Chicago suburb and gated community where he resides, and if you think for a second that I'm not going to the grave with that information, please look at this picture:
The man hunts in three-piece suits, people.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

All I Want For Christmas Is Taylor Townsend

Ahhh, The OC, how I miss thee. Jaleh sent me this link to a lengthy TV Guide online interview with Josh Schwartz. Among the topics discussed are the brand new The OC complete series box set. That's right, all four seasons and a ton of bonus features, such as a booklet, documentary, bloopers, bonus scenes, and commentary, all wrapped in a sharp-looking package that screams, "welcome to The OC, bitch." Possibly the greatest line in television history.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Movember

In the interest of ridding the world of prostate cancer, Christoff has decided to complete his "creepiest guy in the bar" look by growing a handlebar mustache. This, he feels, should be enough for you to donate money to fight prostate cancer. Since I generally support mustache-growing-centered events and generally refuse to support cancer of the penis, I think you should help the "Men of Movember." Here are the details, from the child-molesting fingers of the man himself:

"For those of you who aren't Australian, a 'Mo is Aussie slang for Moustache, and during the month of Movember, men from around the globe are being encouraged to grow moustaches in an attempt to raise awareness, and more importantly money, for the fight against prostate cancer.

So if you hate the uncontrollable growth of cells as much as I do, head to www.menofmovember.com, take a look around, and make a donation. Feel free to check back often as pictures are taken daily to chart the inverse relationship between the quality of our 'staches and our remaining dignity.

All kidding aside though, for those of you who don't know, my dad actually went through the treatment for prostate cancer highlighted in the "What is Movember" link a little over a year ago. Thanks to the treatment developed through research funded by this kind of donation, he is in excellent health right now. So if you're looking for a Karmic boost, or you're in need of a new calendar for 2008 (yours free with a $10 donation), head to www.menofmovember.com and put your money where your clean shaven mouth is.

Thanks,
Ryan"

So if you like cancer, then don't donate. I bet National Wine & Spirits doesn't donate.

The Return of Bell's to Chicago, Kind Of, Maybe

After over a year of being out of Illinois, Bell's Brewing, Inc. is trying its damnedest to return to Illinois. I think I speak for Bell's lovers everywhere when I say that National Wine & Spirits can burn in the depths of hell right next to Bill Wirtz if they prevent Bell's from returning. Has no one at National Wine & Spirits ever sat in a beer garden on a warm July afternoon in Chicago and sipped an Oberon? Because I have, and, outside of a heroin-induced orgasm, there is not a much better feeling in the world. For the love of God, just let Bell's come back.

The Beginning of The End

Riot Eternally Quieted

Hair band aficionados, such as myself, are in a state of mourning today. As I'm sure you know by now, Kevin DuBrow, former lead singer of Quiet Riot was found dead yesterday in his Las Vegas home. Thanks to Tradd for the link and ruining my life.

Bowl Scenarios, Part III

Some good things happened this past week for IU's bowl scenarios.

The big talk now is what will happen if Oklahoma beats Missouri in the Big 12 title game, since that could push Ohio State into the BCS title game and possibly move Illinois into the Rose Bowl. As absolutely horrifying as both of those possibilities sound, it could mean good things for IU, as it might push them up to the Champs Sports Bowl.

Since bowl bids will likely not be given out until after the BCS bowl bids are handed out (12/2), we have a week to speculate.

The main thing that IU has to worry about now are 7-5 teams that have been shut out of their conference bowl slots. Currently there are only 2 non-Big-Ten at-large teams that are 7-5: Western Kentucky and TCU. In addition, Florida Atlantic can become 7-5 with a win at Troy.

Several teams have accepted bowl bids already.

Here are the leagues that have bowl tie-ins that might not have enough bowl-eligible teams, and the teams that are bowl eligible or that can still become bowl eligible:

ACC (8 bowl tie-ins)
8 bowl eligible: Virginia (9-3), Virginia Tech (10-2), BC (10-2), Clemson (9-3), Wake Forest (8-4), FSU (7-5), Georgia Tech (7-5), Maryland (6-6)
0 at-large teams

Unless the ACC gets 2 BCS berths (which is unlikely), all of the ACC's bowl slots will be taken. However, they will not have any 7-5 at-large teams.

Big East (6 bowl tie-ins, although 2 are shared with the Big 12)
5 bowl eligible: Connecticut (9-3), West Virginia (10-1), Cincinnati (9-3), South Florida (9-3), Rutgers (7-4)
1 team that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games)
Louisville - 5-6 (Rutgers 11/29)
0 at-large teams

West Virginia will go to the BCS, leaving 5 slots for 4 teams. Louisville has a very tough home game against Rutgers to clinch a bowl berth. The five current bowl-eligible teams are the only teams from the Big East likely to go to a bowl. As noted above, the Big East and Big 12 share some bowl affiliations (the Sun Bowl and the Gator Bowl). The Sun Bowl can choose a Big 12 team twice or a Big East team (or Notre Dame, but that's not an issue) twice between 2006 and 2009. The Gator Bowl can also choose a Big East team, a Big 12 team, or Notre Dame, but doesn't appear to have any restrictions on who it chooses.

Big 12 (8 bowl tie-ins)
8 bowl eligible: Kansas (11-1), Missouri (11-1), Oklahoma (10-2), Texas (9-3), Texas Tech (8-4), Texas A&M (7-5), Oklahoma State (6-6), Colorado (6-6)
0 at-large teams

Between Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, the Big 12 could get 2 BCS bids, which will leave 7 other bowls for 6 remaining currently bowl-eligible teams. Thus, the Texas Bowl (reserved for the #8 team from the Big 12) should be able to take an at-large team.

Conference USA (6 bowl tie-ins)
6 bowl eligible: UCF (9-3), Tulsa (9-3), Houston (8-4), East Carolina (7-5), Memphis (7-5), Southern Miss (7-5)
0 at-large teams

C-USA will fill all 6 of its slots with no extra at-large teams. In fact, three teams have already accepted bowl bids: Memphis (New Orleans Bowl), Houston (Texas Bowl), and Southern Miss (Papajohns.com Bowl).

Independents
2 bowl eligible: Navy (7-4), Western Kentucky (7-5)
1 at-large team: Western Kentucky

Navy has already accepted a bid to the Poinsettia Bowl. Western Kentucky will not likely get a bowl bid.

MAC (3 bowl tie-ins):
5 bowl eligible: Bowling Green (8-4), Central Michigan (7-5), Ball State (7-5), Miami (OH) (6-6), Ohio (6-6)
2 at-large teams: Miami (OH), Ohio

The MAC will get its 3 bowl-eligible teams, but will not have any 7-5 at-large teams.

Mountain West (4 bowl tie-ins)
5 bowl eligible: BYU (9-2), Air Force (9-3), Utah (8-4), New Mexico (8-4), TCU (7-5)
1 at-large team: TCU

The MWC will have more than its 4 bowl-eligible teams, and one at-large team with a 7-5 record or better.

Pac-10 (6 bowl tie-ins)
6 bowl eligible: Arizona State (9-2), Oregon (8-3), USC (9-2), Oregon State (7-4), Cal (6-5), UCLA (6-5)
1 team that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games)
Arizona - 5-6 (at Arizona State 12/1)
2 teams that can become 7-5 (with remaining games)
Cal (at Stanford 12/1)
UCLA (at USC 12/1)
0 at-large teams (currently)

UCLA's win over Oregon made it bowl eligible, although it will not likely get to 7-5. There is still an outside shot that the Pac-10 will get 2 BCS bids between Arizona State and USC. If the Pac-10 gets 2 BCS bids, that will leave 4 teams for 5 slots, thus opening the Armed Forces Bowl for an at-large bid.

SEC (8 bowl tie-ins)
10 bowl eligible: LSU (10-2), Georgia (10-2), Florida (9-3), Tennessee (9-3), Auburn (8-4), Arkansas (8-4), Kentucky (7-5), Mississippi State (7-5), South Carolina (6-6), Alabama (6-6)
1 or 2 at-large teams: South Carolina and/or Alabama

The SEC will likely get 2 BCS bids (probably LSU and Georgia), leaving 7 bowl slots for 8 bowl-eligible teams. However, there will not be any 7-5 at-large teams from the SEC.

Sun Belt (1 bowl tie-in)
1 bowl eligible: Troy (8-3), Florida Atlantic (6-5), UL-Monroe (6-6)
1 team that can become 7-5 (with remaining games):
Florida Atlantic 6-5 (at Troy 12/1)
2 at-large teams: FAU, UL-Monroe

Not that we would need to worry about an at-large FAU team, but it looks like they won't get to 7 wins anyway.

WAC (3 bowl tie-ins):
3 bowl-eligible: Hawaii (11-0), Boise State (10-2), Fresno State (7-4)
2 teams that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games):
Nevada - 5-6 (Louisiana Tech 12/1)
Louisiana Tech - 5-6 (at Nevada 12/1)
1 at-large team: either Nevada or La Tech


If Hawaii finishes undefeated and goes to a BCS bowl, that will free up a WAC bowl if they don't have 3 other bowl-eligible teams, meaning that the WAC's bowl slots will be full if Nevada or La Tech wins a 6th game. Given that they play each other, it is mathematically impossible for both teams to end up at 5-7. However, the winner of that game will be 6-6, so an at-large berth is not an issue on the off chance that Hawaii doesn't finish 12-0.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Wurst of Times, Bonus Feature: Bavarian Eavesdropping

During our week in Munich, the combination of beer and being surrounded by Germans and German shit made for some good eavesdropping. Rather than conform to the anonymous strictures of Midwestern Eavesdropping, Bavarian Eavesdropping will just come right out and tell you who said what.

Jester at the Augustiner (upon seeing some roses): "I don't want any, but if I was a horse and I won a race I would want all of them."

Drunk Virginia Tech guy at Augustiner, discussing the Hofbrauhaus with other Americans: "Yeah, it's over by the church. It's like this big beer hall, and everyone gets drunk."

Kyla: "What's your name?"
Norwegian man: "Toto."
Kyla: "Wait, that's your name?"
Norwegian: "I'm not a fucking monkey."

Kyla at Oktoberfest: "I'll give you a shot of penis."

Liz: "I wish I knew what 'give it to me' in German was."

Sarah, discussing waitress's bosom at Braurosl tent: "Those are the most impressive things I've seen this trip."

Kyla: "We want to have fun; we want to show you our boobs."

Liz: "I never knew what guilt was until I had it."

Ari, walking down main promenade near Marienplatz: "Act like you're German. Act like you hate me or want to shoot me or hang me by my wrists."

Jester: "I'm built like a 14 year old boy and I'll take it."

Toto: "In the shower, you must bend over."

Kyla, discussing out waiter Gunther at the Augustiner tent: "He has a wealth of knowledge. We need to tap that."

Leslie: "I don't think I can fit that much in my dirndl."

Kyla: "If meat were fruit I could order whatever I wanted."

Jer, about Brazilians and AIDS: "They may not have started it, but they spread the shit out of it."

Kyla: "It's so sour."
Someone: "What's so sour?"
Kyla: "Sauerkraut."

Sarah, discussing Christmas: "There's Scrooge and then there's me."

Kyla, after discussing the fact that she had sex twice: "Man, I gotta stretch my legs. My butt's sore."

Kyla: "We should have a shart-off."

Kyla: "Wait, don't the Germans make chocolate? Is Fannie Mae German? (several seconds later) Feels like vagina."

GMYH, when asked if he would care if Christoff were to have sex with GMYH's eldest sister-in-law: "I wouldn't care if Christoff fucked her. It's not my pussy."

Kyla: "Am I gonna be that girl like on Flavor Flav who shits herself onstage. I've been close."

Kyla (discussing dirndls): "I'm gonna give Alex some dirndl head once I get on."

Gregerson: "My piss has a head on it."

Kyla: "My passport was in my back pocket, and it's wet from me sweating last night."

Sarah, with Chandler bouncing her on his knee: "You felt like my mother there for a second."

It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Wurst of Times, Epilogue

I took Monday 10/1 off, so I could regroup and such. Jester and I had an excellent wurst-and-pork-knuckle-free breakfast at the S&G Diner. As expected, on my L ride to work Tuesday morning, the woman standing next to me fainted and pissed herself.

After a week in Munich during Oktoberfest, I make the following suggestions:
1. Bring multivitamins because there are no vegetables in Munich.
2. If you are a female, buy a dirndl and wear it indiscriminately (technically this applies whether or not you are in Munich or it is Oktoberfest).
3. Drink stillvasser.
4. Always carry a hotel key.
5. Drinking contests are encouraged and should be videotaped.

In conclusion, if you like beer and you like fun, then Oktoberfest is for you. It's definitely something everyone who likes beer and fun should do once in their lives. Or maybe twice. You see folks, 2010 is the bicentennial for Oktoberfest, and I smell a return visit. Evite pending. Hopefully the 35 months' notice will give those of you with children plenty of time to find a babysitter and those of you without the ability to reproduce plenty of time to harden your liver in anticipation.

It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Wurst of Times, Part IX: Sunday 9/30

Sunday morning at 9:30, we checked out of Pension Seibel and headed for the flughafen, although this time we took a tram to the S-Bahn, rather than once again disrupt Bavarians' day by traipsing across cobblestone with rolling suitcases.

Not everyone was going back to the States. Chandler went to Amsterdam (maybe) for business (maybe). 19 1/2 years after first seeing Bloodsport, Jer left for Brussels, finally completing his long-awaited pilgrimage to Jean-Claude Van Damme's birthplace. As it is the underworld, you gotta keep your balls protected. I can only hope he threw some dust in some Belgian's eyes. Inspired by Jer's often deafening praise for Van Damme, Liz also went to Brussels, choosing to stay several miles from Jer on the off chance that associating with him would result in her once again being sucked into the world of the Kumite, or forced to fight some dude with a shaved head and an ass-length braided ponytail with fists covered in broken glass, or, worse yet, turned into a cyborg. No word on whether Jer was discovered in his hotel room doing the splits sideways, feet resting on two chairs, while he calmly read a book on Flemish history.

For the US Airways group (and all others traveling internationally at the airport), the trip through the flughafen was long and arduous. There must have been 43 different security checkpoints. Fucking Nazis.

The flight back was nearly ruined by technical problems with the in-flight entertainment system. They had to reset it several times, much to the dismay of every single passenger. Mutiny was avoided, luckily. I watched Blades of Glory again, as well as the Spartan propaganda film, 300. I was pleasantly surprised at the carnage and bare breasts 300 offered. Nice work, US Airways.

In addition, I actually arose from my seat on at least one occasion on the flight back. Over the course of the week, the DVT lobby had sufficiently indoctrinated me. And good thing I listened, too, because it's been nearly two months and I STILL have no blood clots in my legs.

We arrived in Philly right before 4pm local time, which was key, since the late NFL games were all about to start. Of course, my trusty Blackberry, which finally worked for the first time in a week, informed me that the Bears managed to let the Lions score not 1, not 2, but 34 points in the fourth quarter. No, not actual lions, either. I'm talking about the Detroit Lions. Nice work.

Not knowing what else to do, most of us went to a sports bar and ordered some beers. Bohmann even had the balls to order Sam Adams Octoberfest.
The layover was several hours long, which wasn't so bad given the aforementioned football. We arrived in Chicago around 9:30, and Gregerson, TG, and I took a cab back to my pad. I cried myself to sleep that night, but I once I was out, I slept like a fetus, dreaming of dirndls, wurst, and stillvasser. What a week.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bucket


Oh, what a weekend for the IU fan.

Saturday, Jester and I headed down to Bloomington for the sold-out Old Oaken Bucket game. As I'm sure you know by now, IU beat Purdue to bring their record to 7-5 and all but secure a bowl bid for the first time in 14 years, realizing Terry Hoeppner's dream of playing a 13th game. I am pumped, as you might imagine, and you better damn well believe that I am going to whichever bowl the Hoosiers play in.

Here is an accurate representation of the energy in Memorial Stadium when Austin Starr kicked the game winning 49-yard field goal:


As if that wasn't enough of a kick in the proverbial dick for the Boilermakers, on Sunday, in the NCAA women's soccer tournament, IU beat the #2 seed Purdue in West Lafayette to advance to the Sweet 16. As with every weekend, it was a bad weekend to be a Boilermaker.

Then, thanks to a very nice IU fan named Aaron who emailed me with complimentary things to say about my "I Hate Purdue" post, I learned that if you Google "fuck purdue," Give Me Your Handrew is the very first result. I've never been more proud of anything in my life. Fuck Purdue.

And to top it all off, Jester roasted one hell of a chicken tonight for dinner. Things are finally looking up for me.

New Poll: IU Bowl

Despite the angry backlash from last week's "favorite season" poll, a record 28 people chimed in, with fall being the clear favorite, taking 67% of the votes, compared to 14% each for spring and summer and 3% for winter.

Anywho, now that IU finished the regular season at 7-5, the Hoosiers are going bowling. It's just a matter of where. So, where do you think they will end up? The Insight Bowl, the Motor City Bowl, the Armed Forces Bowl, the Texas Bowl, or the Las Vegas Bowl?**

**Sorry to the non-IU fans, but IU hasn't been in a bowl since 1993, so I'm obviously a bit excited about it.

Bowl Scenarios, Part II

Well, IU beat the Purdouchebags, securing a 7-5 record and Coach Hoeppner's dream of playing a thirteenth game. But where, you ask? Loyal reader, that's what I'm trying to figure out myself.

Here are the final Big Ten standings (with the teams' Big Ten records and overall records):
1. Ohio State, 7-1, 11-1
2 (tie). Michigan, 6-2, 8-4
2 (tie). Illinois, 6-2, 9-3
4. Wisconsin, 5-3, 9-3
5 (tie). Penn State, 4-4, 8-4
5 (tie). Iowa, 4-4, 6-6
7 (tie). Indiana, 3-5, 7-5
7 (tie). Michigan State, 3-5, 7-5
7 (tie). Purdue, 3-5, 7-5
7 (tie). Northwestern, 3-5, 6-6
11. Minnesota, 0-8, 1-11

For those of you who don't know, here are the Big Ten bowl tie-ins:
1 - Rose
2 - Capital One
3 - Outback
4/5 - Alamo
4/5 - Champs Sports
6 - Insight
7 - Motor City

Ohio State (currently 5th in the BCS) will go to the Rose Bowl (unless several losses occur and it ends up playing in the BCS title game). However, for the remainder of the Big Ten's bowl, the finishing place does not necessarily correspond with the bowl game because all it means is that the respective bowls get to select Big Ten teams in that order. Thus, the Outback bowl doesn't have to choose the 3rd place Big Ten team; it just gets 3rd choice of the Big Ten's bowl-eligible teams. In addition, a bowl must choose a 7-5 team over a 6-6 team, regardless of the teams' finishing position. Thus, IU, MSU, and Purdue must be chosen before Iowa, even though Iowa finished with a better Big Ten record.

Currently, CBS Sportsline, SI.com, CollegeFootballNews.com, and the Chicago Tribune have IU going to the Insight Bowl. ESPN.com's bowl projections don't come out until Tuesday, but last week they had IU going to the Motor City Bowl.

Bowl bids will likely not be given out until the first week of December, after the BCS bowl bids are handed out. Thus, we have 2 weeks to speculate.

Also, bowl-eligible teams that do not finish in the top seven of the Big Ten standings have a chance to go to non-Big-Ten-affiliated bowls if there are not enough bowl-eligible teams from the conferences affiliated with those bowls. For instance, the #6 team from the Pac-10 goes to the Armed Forces Bowl, but if there are only 5 bowl-eligible teams from the Pac-10, then the Armed Forces Bowl can give a bid to any bowl-eligible team. In addition to the Armed Forces Bowl, here are a couple other bowls that may have open slots:
-International Bowl (Big East vs. MAC)
-Texas Bowl (Big 12 #8 vs. C-USA #6)
-Independence (Big 12 #7 vs. SEC)
-Humanitarian (WAC vs. ACC #8)
-Las Vegas (Pac-10 #5 vs. MWC #1)

With respect to the BCS bowls, the champions of selected conferences are contractually committed to certain bowls, unless they are # 1 or 2 in the BCS: ACC - Orange; Big Ten - Rose; Big 12 - Fiesta; Pac-10 - Rose; SEC - Sugar). If a BCS bowl loses a host team to the title game, then the bowl gets first choice at a replacement team. Non-BCS schools can earn bids if ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS Standings or ranked ahead of a BCS conference champ.

The main thing that IU has to worry about now are 7-5 teams that have been shut out of their conference bowl slots. Currently there are 14 teams that are either 6-4, 6-5, or 5-5 (as well as Western Kentucky, which is an Independent and 7-4), all of which can still possibly become 7-5 and put themselves into the at-large mix.

Here are the leagues that have bowl tie-ins that might not have enough bowl-eligible teams, and the teams that are bowl eligible or that can still become bowl eligible (i.e., these are the teams you should all be rooting against in hopes that IU goes to a bowl):

ACC (8 bowl tie-ins)
7 bowl eligible: Virginia (9-2), Virginia Tech (9-2), BC (9-2), Clemson (8-3), Wake Forest (7-4), FSU (7-4), Georgia Tech (7-4)
3 teams that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games):
NC State - 5-6 (Maryland 11/24)
Miami (FL) - 5-6 (at BC 11/24)
Maryland - 5-6 (at NC State 11/24)
0 more teams that can become 7-5

The ACC will get at least one more bowl-eligible team because NC State and Maryland play each other. Thus, unless the ACC gets 2 BCS berths (which is unlikely), all of the ACC's bowl slots will be taken. However, they will not have any 7-5 at-large teams. If you're wondering -- and I know you are -- the last time IU had a better record than Miami was 1979.

Big East (6 bowl tie-ins, although 2 are shared with the Big 12)
5 bowl eligible: Connecticut (9-2), West Virginia (9-1), Cincinnati (8-3), South Florida (8-3), Rutgers (7-4)
2 teams that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games)
Pittsburgh - 4-6 (South Florida 11/24; at West Virginia 12/1)
Louisville - 5-6 (Rutgers 11/29)
0 more teams that can become 7-5

The winner of this Saturday's UConn/West Virginia game will go to the BCS, leaving 5 slots for 4 teams. Pittsburgh will likely lose at least one of its final two games. Louisville has a very tough home game against Rutgers to clinch a bowl berth. The five current bowl-eligible teams are the only teams from the Big East likely to go to a bowl. As noted above, the Big East and Big 12 share some bowl affiliations (the Sun Bowl and the Gator Bowl). The Sun Bowl can choose a Big 12 team twice or a Big East team (or Notre Dame, but that's not an issue) twice between 2006 and 2009. The Gator Bowl can also choose a Big East team, a Big 12 team, or Notre Dame, but doesn't appear to have any restrictions on who it chooses.

Big 12 (8 bowl tie-ins)
7 bowl eligible: Kansas (11-0), Missouri (10-1), Oklahoma (9-2), Texas (9-2), Texas Tech (8-4), Texas A&M (6-5), Oklahoma State (6-5)
4 teams that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games):
Kansas State - 5-6 (at Fresno State 11/24)
Colorado - 5-6 (Nebraska 11/23)
Nebraska - 5-6 (at Colorado 11/23)
2 teams that can become 7-5 (with remaining games):
Texas A&M (Texas 11/23)
Oklahoma State (at Oklahoma 11/24)

Between Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, the Big 12 will likely get 2 BCS bids, which will leave 7 other bowls for 5 currently bowl-eligible teams and the 3 other possibly bowl-eligible teams. The winner of the Colorado/Nebraska game will go to a bowl, while the loser will not. If K-State loses to Fresno State (which is currently 6-4), then the Texas Bowl will be able to take an at-large team. Given that Texas A&M and Oklahoma State are already slated to go to bowls, and that there will not be more teams from the Big 12 than bowl slots, there is no worry about 7-5 at-large teams from the Big 12. In case you're wondering -- and I know you are -- the last time IU had a better record than Nebraska was 1968.

Conference USA (6 bowl tie-ins)
6 bowl eligible: UCF (8-3), Tulsa (8-3), Houston (7-4), East Carolina (6-5), Memphis (6-5), Southern Miss (6-5)
0 teams that can become bowl eligible.

C-USA will fill all 6 of its slots with no extra at-large teams.

Independents
2 bowl eligible: Navy (7-4), Western Kentucky (7-4)
0 teams that can become bowl eligible or 7-5.

Navy has already accepted a bid to the Poinsettia Bowl. Western Kentucky will not likely get a bowl bid, despite its 87-0 drubbing of West Virginia Tech in Week 2. If you're wondering -- and I know you are -- the last time IU had a better record than Notre Dame was 1986.

MAC (3 bowl tie-ins):
4 bowl eligible: Bowling Green (7-4), Central Michigan (6-5), Miami (OH) (6-5), Ball State (6-5)
2 teams that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games):
Toledo - 5-6 (at Bowling Green 11/23)
Ohio - 5-6 (Miami (OH) 11/24)
3 teams that can become 7-5 (with remaining games):
Central Michigan (at Akron 11/23)
Miami (OH) (at Ohio 11/24)
Ball State (at Northern Illinois 11/24)

The MAC will get its 3 bowl-eligible teams, and if all 3 6-5 teams win their final games (which is very possible), then the MAC will have one 7-5 at-large team. There is not much worry, however, because it is highly unlikely that a MAC school would get an at-large bowl berth over a BCS conference school.

Mountain West (4 bowl tie-ins)
5 bowl eligible: BYU (8-2), Air Force (9-3), Utah (8-3), New Mexico (7-4), TCU (6-5)
2 teams that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games):
San Diego St. - 4-6 (TCU 11/24; BYU 12/1)
Wyoming - 5-6 (at Colorado State 11/23)
1 team that can become 7-5 (with remaining game)
TCU (at SDSU 11/24)

The MWC will have more than its 4 bowl-eligible teams, but only one possible at-large 7-5 team (if TCU wins its final game). If TCU does win, there is the possibility that one of the bowls in Texas would take them. The Armed Forces Bowl is played on their home field (I think), and the Texas Bowl is just down I-45 in Houston.

Pac-10 (6 bowl tie-ins)
5 bowl eligible: Arizona State (9-1), Oregon (8-2), USC (8-2), Oregon State (7-4), Cal (6-5)
2 teams that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games)
UCLA - 5-5 (Oregon 11/24; at USC 12/1)
Arizona - 5-6 (at Arizona State 12/1)
2 teams that can become 7-5 (with remaining games)
Cal (at Stanford 12/1)
UCLA (see above)

UCLA and Arizona will likely lose their remaining games, knocking them out of bowl contention. Thus, there will only be 5 bowl-eligible teams from the Pac-10, with possibly 2 BCS bids between Oregon, Arizona State, and USC. If the Pac-10 gets 2 BCS bids, that will leave 3 teams for 5 slots, thus opening the Las Vegas Bowl and the Armed Forces Bowl for at-large bids. Obviously, since the Pac-10 will not be able to fill its bowl slots, there is no worry about 7-5 at-large teams.

SEC (8 bowl tie-ins)
10 bowl eligible: LSU (10-1), Georgia (9-2), Florida (8-3), Tennessee (8-3), Kentucky (7-4), Auburn (7-4), Arkansas (7-4), South Carolina (6-5), Alabama (6-5), Mississippi State (6-5)
1 team that can become bowl eligible (with remaining game):
Vanderbilt - 5-6 (Wake Forest 11/24)
3 teams that can become 7-5 (with remaining games)
South Carolina (Clemson 11/24)
Alabama (at Auburn 11/24)
Mississippi State (Ole Miss 11/23)

The SEC will likely get 2 BCS bids (probably LSU and Georgia), leaving 7 bowl slots for 8 bowl-eligible teams. Even if all of the teams that can become 7-5 do so, then only 1 or 2 SEC teams would be at-large and 7-5 (depending on whether 2 SEC teams get BCS bids). Most likely, though, Alabama will lose to Auburn, dropping them out of the at-large mix. Mississippi State should Ole Miss. South Carolina/Clemson will be a good game as always. If the Gamecocks win, that will put them at 7-5, leaving Alabama as the only at-large team in the SEC, but the Tide will be 6-6, so it won't matter. If you're wondering -- and I know you are -- the last time IU had a better record than Alabama was 1987 (not counting 1993, when Alabama's 9-3 record was wiped out due to NCAA sanctions).

Sun Belt (1 bowl tie-in)
1 bowl eligible: Troy (7-3)
1 team that can become 7-5 (with remaining games):
Florida Atlantic 5-5 (at FIU 11/24; at Troy 12/1)

Not that we would need to worry about an at-large FAU team, but it looks like they won't get to 7 wins anyway.

WAC (3 bowl tie-ins):
3 bowl-eligible: Hawaii (10-0), Boise State (10-1), Fresno State (6-4)
2 teams that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games):
Nevada - 5-5 (at San Jose State 11/24; Louisiana Tech 12/1)
Louisiana Tech - 5-6 (San Jose State 11/17; at Nevada 12/1)
2 teams that can become 7-5 (with remaining games)
Fresno State (Kansas State 11/24; at New Mexico State 11/30)
Nevada (see above)

If Hawaii finishes undefeated and goes to a BCS bowl, that will free up a WAC bowl if they don't have 3 other bowl-eligible teams, meaning that the WAC's bowl slots will be full if Nevada or La Tech wins a 6th game. Given that they play each other, it is mathematically impossible for both teams to end up at 5-7. If Nevada and Fresno State finish 7-5, one of them would be a 7-5 at-large team. As with the MAC, it is unlikely a bowl would give a berth to a WAC team over a BCS conference team.

In case you're wondering -- and I know you are -- the last time IU had a better record than Alabama, Miami (FL), Nebraska, and Notre Dame all in the same season was 1967, when IU went to the Rose Bowl and finished with a 9-2 record, while Alabama went 8-2-1, Miami went 7-4, Nebraska went 6-4, and Notre Dame went 8-2.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I Hate Purdue

"I don't like to use the word 'hate,' but I'm not a fan of that school . . ."
--IU senior fullback Josiah Sears, when asked what the IU/Purdue game means to him
"Hate" is okay to use here, Josiah. The Old Oaken Bucket game is coming up on Saturday. For the first time since 1980, both IU and Purdue have winning records coming into the Bucket game, and the game actually has bowl implications for both schools. While thinking about all of this, I was reminded of something: I fucking hate Purdue. Unlike Josiah, I love using the word "hate" when appropriate, and it's very appropriate when it comes to Purdue. I hate Purdue more than the Packers, more than Hinsdale Central, more than Illinois, more than Notre Dame, more than the Cubs, more than Steely Dan, and yes Hess, more than AIDS. This primal hatred is sometimes overpowering. Shepley and the many pint glasses and file cabinets that met their fate at his hands during IU/Purdue basketball games know what I'm talking about, and it's time you did too. The simple fact is that there is nothing to like about Purdue.

Founded by a man who was denied a professorship at IU, Purdue offers nothing of value to society. The piss-yellow jerseys, the chronic underachievement in every facet of life, the inability to comprehend the word "facet." Frankly, Purdue annoys the shit out of me. It's the less-talented, bastard younger sibling of the Indiana state university system; the Edward M. to IU's John F.; the Ashlee to IU's Jessica; the Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County to IU's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; the World According to Jim to IU's late 70s era SNL. By state charter, IU gets a law school, a med school, a world-renowned music school, Olympic heroes, a beautiful campus filled with buildings made from the same limestone that built the Empire State Building and the Pentagon, a completely ambiguous mascot, and gorgeous women, while Purdue gets an engineering school, an agriculture school, an aviation school, a vet school, inferior athletes, a train as a mascot, and a campus enveloped in industrial smog and the overpowering stench of pig shit and broken dreams. Sure, they have a wonderful animal husbandry program, and a few astronauts have managed to avoid suicide long enough to graduate, but let's not kid ourselves. Purdue is little more than a glorified two-year technical college located on a plat of flat, desolate land where the sun simply does not shine.

Have you ever been to West Lafayette? As the saying goes, walk north until you smell it, and walk east until you step in it. It's obvious that Purdue does not have an architecture program, and it's unclear if they've ever hired an architect to design anything. The buildings are as drab, uninspired, and depressing as the overfed engineering and ag students they house. Ross-Ade Stadium -- which is basically a larger high school stadium -- is a horrible place to watch a football game, although a great place to go if you want to see what is proudly (and incorrectly) hailed as "The World's Largest Drum." Holy shit, Purdue, are you kidding me?

On the other hand, the only reason Mackey Arena is a tolerable place to watch a basketball game is because there are no NCAA championship banners to block your view. Although, if you talked to one of these slovenly creatures that went to Purdue, they might lead you to believe that their men's basketball program has some sort of storied tradition. Technically they're right, if you consider a tradition of consistent underachieving, zero NCAA championships, and not a single Final Four since the Carter administration to be storied. I guess that's why, in 1999, they rioted after they won the women's NCAA basketball championship. Yes, you read that right. They rioted after winning the women's NCAA basketball title. And who could blame them? After all, they had waited 38 long years to finally double their NCAA championship count. For all sports.

Around this time every year, a rush of IU/Purdue-related football memories -- both good and bad -- overload my brain: losing 15-14 in the '89 Bucket game, thus preventing IU from going to a bowl and costing Anthony Thompson the Heisman; getting knocked to the ground by a Purdue linebacker while rushing Ross-Ade after IU won the Bucket in '96 to send Bill Mallory out on a winning note (and finally put Jim Colletto out of his misery); watching in 2000 as those bastards clinched their first Rose Bowl since 1966; Martin "The Killer Québécois" Lapostolle stopping Montrell Lowe in 2001 on 4th and goal from the 1 to seal a rain-soaked victory for the Hoosiers in Randle El's senior year (and verbally depantsing a Purdue student during a halftime IU/Purdue-based argument so badly that his fellow Purdue friends ended up on my side); last year's 9-point loss, where 4 turnovers cost us a bowl bid. The common thread in these memories -- win or loss -- is absolute, unabashed hatred for that abomination they call a university. A win makes the season. A loss ruins my week.

A lot of people -- we'll call them "idiots" -- think Purdue is a private school. As if a private school would pride itself on the size of a percussion instrument. And people that ugly generally don't go to private school either. Carson Cunningham, Brian Cardinal, Kyle Orton. Need I say more? Hell, Drew Brees even got a tattoo of the State of California on his cheek to distance himself from any association with Purdue. The school had a basketball coach for two decades that looked like Mama Fratelli's uglier older brother. Speaking of Gene Keady, Sporting News once named him the best college coach never to have made the Final Four. That's adorable. Isn't that about as prestigious as being the best virgin never to have gotten laid? Certainly something to hang your hat on.

And I don't mean to be an asshole, but a hot chick at Purdue is about as common as a lucid basketball fan at Kentucky or Illinois. Sweet mother. Things are so bad that a Purdue sophomore a couple years back wrote (yes, some of them CAN write) into the student newspaper to complain that there are too many fat women at Purdue. At IU, all we had to complain about was a legend-replacing coach who had been to more Final Fours by the end of his second season at IU than Gene Keady had been to in his entire coaching career. This whole "ugly" thing shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, given that West Lafeyette's "best" bar is called Harry's Chocolate Shop, whose slogan is "Go Ugly Early." I guess the inclusion of "early" shows that someone in West Lafayette understands the concept of irony. While still an IU student, my wife once made the mistake of visiting a friend at Purdue. They went out to the bars, although it is unclear whether a chocolate shop was involved. She was not dressed in a manner differently than she would be in Bloomington (or any other city, for that matter). A guy came up to her at a bar, stunned and confused, and asked her if she was from Europe (which he probably thought was somewhere in California anyway). Why? "Because you sure ain't from around here." That was the last time she visited.

Hopefully that's the last time anyone close to me visits. My kids will not go to Purdue or apply to Purdue, even if that's the only school they can get into. (Although, if that's the only school they can get into, I have bigger problems than whether they're going to Purdue.) God willing, none of my descendants will ever step foot in West Lafayette, other than to rape and pillage and maybe get gas right off I-65.

In conclusion, fuck Purdue. Fuck Purdue's football team, fuck Joe Tiller, fuck Purdue Pete, fuck Purdue's drum, fuck Purdue fans, fuck Purdue students, fuck Purdue alumni, and fuck Purdue women, but never literally, of course. I have, do, and always will hate Purdue, and so should you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Wurst of Times, Part VIII: Saturday 9/29

I don't usually get really bad hangovers, but for one reason or another, I woke up around 8 Saturday morning with a RAGING headache -- the kind of headache that makes you pray you can fall back asleep so you don't puke, even though you know damn well there's no way in hell you'll be falling back asleep before rocketing last night's dreams all over the back of a cold, foreign porcelain basin. So, I got up and made my way to the bathroom. When combined with the ingestion of only beer, pretzels, wurst, and bacon double cheeseburgers, an entire day without water apparently has negative effects on the human body. Everything I had consumed the day and night before had been completely absorbed into my body, and that fucking sparkling water didn't exactly grease the pipes, so there was simply nothing to puke up. Lord knows I tried. As I'm sure you're aware, dry heaving does not make a hangover any better, nor does it make a pleasant sound.

I managed to down two Excedrin Migraine, even though I knew this was a Category 5, and no matter how many boards I put over the windows, the house was getting razed. Defeated, I crawled (figuratively, but also literally) back into bed, and was eventually harassed by Jester, Kyla, and Alex when they awoke. My muted screams of "stillvasser" (which, of course, is German for impossible-to-find non-sparkling water) went generally unnoticed. My organs, which were on the verge of rejecting themselves, suggested that I stay in bed while the other three got breakfast and stood on their feet for any period of time. For the next several hours I wavered in and out of consciousness. I guess a caffeinated painkiller is not a good idea when you want to sleep, and especially in circumstances where it kills no pain. Now and then I attempted to drink from a liter bottle of Evian, which was standing tall in the middle of the bed, mocking me. Hydration is exceedingly difficult in the prone position.

Eventually, I was able to flip onto my side and splash some stillvasser all over my face and the bed, and then flip over to the supine position and drip some stillvasser into my bone dry mouth. The snowball effect took hold, and I was able to sit up and drink properly. By the time the other three returned, I could form rudimentary sentences, and I carefully suggested that I was ready to try to stand up. Dennis Byrd himself wouldn't have been more proud.

But enough about that. As soon as I was able to walk, we headed to the beer tents. Just kidding, people. I'm not THAT much of an alcoholic. Plus, we woke up too late.

A group of us went to the Munich suburbs to visit Schloss Nymphenburg, which, despite it's name suggesting otherwise, is not a burg full of chicks who are addicted to sex. If you recall, a schloss is a castle.

Schloss Nymphenburg is a nice little palace on grandiose grounds, stocked with swans, random royal buildings, and dimly lit forest paths that would make a serial rapist salivate.

The only of the aforementioned random royal buildings we visited was the hunting lodge, which was painted a manly pastel pink. As we were joking, Prince Leopold, upon commissioning the construction of said hunting lodge, probably suggested to his architect (in a hilarious German accent), "Okay, Rudolph, I want a building that says, 'This Prince Leopold, he is a hunter,' buuuuut I don't want to come across as too seveeeeere. The last thing I need is for people to think I am some sort of savage." (Remember to read the previous sentences in a slightly gay 18th Century German accent. I guess you had to be there.) While in the hunting lodge, Alex tried to eat a 140-year-old painted deer.

We were ejected from the palace grounds. Apparently swan kicking is only legal in the U.S. Undaunted, we decided to go to a nearby bier garten called the Hirschgarten, yet another of Munich's several gigantic outdoor bier gartens in the middle of a public park (Mayor Daley, please take note -- I'm sure there's a "public beer garden tax" you can dream up). It looks a lot closer and easier to find on a map, so it took us a solid hour to get there.

Nonetheless, it was still a bier garten, so it was awesome. The ladies left earlier than the gents, probably to go make out with each other or pet some deer or shop or bake pies or make babies.

For dinner, we got the whole gang together and tried to go the Hundskugel, Munich's oldest restaurant, but there was not enough room and some Wiccans with torches ran us off.

Thus, we went to the Ratskeller, which is a totally badass restaurant in the basement of the Rathaus (city hall, if you recall), with limestone and dark wood. Very gothic.

Luckily Nick's Blackberry was able to get some college football scores because it allowed me to learn that IU had beaten Iowa. John felt up a lion.Feeling invincible, we all went back to the Lotter Leben one last time. We got two large tables, and our waiter, who we nicknamed Bruno, was both extremely hammered and gay (not that there's anything wrong with that). There's not much funnier than a flaming drunk German man wearing tight lederhosen shorts, a cutoff button-up shirt with sleeves removed, unbuttoned halfway down, who has no qualms with dancing on tables when he should be taking Americans' drink orders.

One of the highlights while there was when a song came on that was entitled, "Who the Fuck is Alice?" (which also happens to be the chorus). Everyone in the bar sang along during the chorus, but we all thought it was "Who the Fuck is Alex?" Thus, Alex (and those around him) got a kick out of it. Even better was when Alex stood up and yelled "I'm Alex" to a table of confused Germans who probably thought he had gender confusion issues.

After Lotter Leben, we scattered Bruno's severed body parts throughout Munich and went to bed knowing that we gave Munich our all that week, but sadly, we had to leave in the morning.

Monday, November 12, 2007

IU Bowl Scenarios

As threatened, I will now have more about IU's bowl possibilities. Here are the current Big Ten standings with the teams' Big Ten records, overall records, and remaining opponent (all remaining games are Saturday 11/17):
1 (tie). Ohio State, 6-1, 10-1 (at Michigan)
1 (tie). Michigan, 6-1, 8-3 (Ohio State)
3. Illinois, 5-2, 8-3 (Northwestern)
4 (tie). Penn State, 4-3, 8-3 (at Michigan State)
4 (tie). Wisconsin, 4-3, 8-3 (at Minnesota)
6. Iowa, 4-4, 6-5 (Western Michigan)
7 (tie). Purdue, 3-4, 7-4 (at Indiana)
7 (tie). Northwestern, 3-4, 6-5 (at Illinois)
9 (tie). Indiana, 2-5, 6-5 (Purdue)
9 (tie). Michigan State, 2-5, 6-5 (Penn State)
11. Minnesota, 0-7, 1-10 (Wisconsin)

For those of you who don't know, here are the Big Ten bowl tie-ins:
1 - Rose
2 - Capital One
3 - Outback
4/5 - Alamo
4/5 - Champs Sports
6 - Insight
7 - Motor City

Assuming the Big Ten champ has 9 or more wins, it goes to the Rose Bowl (unless it's playing in the BCS title game). However, for the remainder of the Big Ten's bowl, the finishing place does not necessarily correspond with the bowl game because all it means is that the respective bowls get to select Big Ten teams in that order. Thus, the Outback bowl doesn't have to choose the 3rd place Big Ten team; it just gets 3rd choice of the Big Ten's bowl-eligible teams. In addition, a bowl must choose a 7-5 team over a 6-6 team, regardless of the teams' finishing position. Thus, a team that was 6-2 in the Big Ten, but 6-6 overall will lose out to a team that was 3-5 in the Big Ten and 7-5 overall.

Also, bowl-eligible teams that do not finish in the top seven of the Big Ten standings have a chance to go to non-Big-Ten-affiliated bowls if there are not enough bowl-eligible teams from the conferences affiliated with those bowls. For instance, the #6 team from the Pac-10 goes to the Armed Forces Bowl, but if there are only 5 bowl-eligible teams from the Pac-10, then the Armed Forces Bowl can give a bid to any bowl-eligible team. In addition to the Armed Forces Bowl, here are a couple other bowls that may have open slots:
-International Bowl (Big East vs. MAC)
-Texas Bowl (Big 12 #8 vs. C-USA #6)
-Independence (Big 12 #7 vs. SEC)
-Humanitarian (WAC vs. ACC #8)
-Las Vegas (Pac-10 #5 vs. MWC #1)
-Hawaii (WAC vs. C-USA #5)

With respect to the BCS bowls, the champions of selected conferences are contractually committed to certain bowls, unless they are # 1 or 2 in the BCS: ACC - Orange; Big Ten - Rose; Big 12 - Fiesta; Pac-10 - Rose; SEC - Sugar). If a BCS bowl loses a host team to the title game, then the bowl gets first choice at a replacement team. Non-BCS schools can earn bids if ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS Standings or ranked ahead of a BCS conference champ.

Essentially, IU must win on Saturday to go to a bowl. At 7-5, even if they were not able to secure a Big Ten tie-in bowl, they would likely be chosen for one of the other non-Big-Ten-affiliated bowls.

Here are this Saturday's match-ups, with my predictions:
Purdue at Indiana (W)
Northwestern at Illinois (W)
Ohio State at Michigan (W)
Wisconsin (W) at Minnesota
Penn State (W) at Michigan State
Western Michigan at Iowa (W)

If those predictions play out, the Big Ten finishing order will be (with likely bowls):
1. Michigan 7-1, 9-3 (Rose)
2 (tie). Ohio State, 6-2, 10-2 (Capital One/Outback)
2 (tie). Illinois, 6-2, 9-3 (Capital One/Outback)
4 (tie). Penn State, 5-3, 9-3 (Alamo/Champs Sports)
4 (tie). Wisconsin, 5-3, 9-3 (Alamo/Champs Sports)
6. Iowa, 4-4, 7-5 (Insight)
7 (tie). Indiana, 3-5, 7-5 (Motor City/Other)
7 (tie). Purdue, 3-5, 7-5 (Motor City/Other)
7 (tie). Northwestern, 3-5, 6-6 (Other)
10. Michigan State, 2-6, 6-6 (Other)
11. Minnesota, 0-8, 1-11 (N/A)

Here are a couple alternate scenarios that would affect IU's bowl position. All assume IU wins because if IU doesn't win, then they are pretty much screwed:

Alternate scenario #1: Iowa loses at home to Western Michigan. Iowa would then finish 6-6, and even though it is 4-4 in the Big Ten, the Insight and Motor City Bowls would have to choose either IU or Purdue because those teams would be 7-5. Go Broncos.

Alternate scenario #2: Northwestern beats Illinois:
1. Michigan 7-1, 9-3 (Rose)
2 (tie). Ohio State, 6-2, 10-2 (Capital One)
3 (tie). Illinois, 5-3, 8-4 (Outback/Alamo/Champs Sports)
3 (tie). Penn State, 5-3, 9-3 (Outback/Alamo/Champs Sports)
3 (tie). Wisconsin, 5-3, 9-3 (Outback/Alamo/Champs Sports)
6 (tie). Iowa, 4-4, 7-5 (Insight/Motor City/Other)
6 (tie). Northwestern, 4-4, 7-5 (Insight/Motor City/Other)
8 (tie). Indiana, 3-5, 7-5 (Insight/Motor City/Other)
8 (tie). Purdue, 3-5, 7-5 (Insight/Motor City/Other)
10. Michigan State, 2-6, 6-6 (Other)
11. Minnesota, 0-8, 1-11 (N/A)

Here, the Insight and Motor City Bowls would have four 7-5 teams to choose from. IU and Purdue would likely be left out of the mix, given their inferior conference records. However, Northwestern could be left out because they don't have as many fans as Iowa, IU, or Purdue.

Alternate scenario #3: Michigan State beats Penn State:
1. Michigan 7-1, 9-3 (Rose)
2 (tie). Ohio State, 6-2, 10-2 (Capital One/Outback)
2 (tie). Illinois, 6-2, 9-3 (Capital One/Outback)
4. Wisconsin, 5-3, 9-3 (Alamo/Champs Sports)
5 (tie). Penn State, 4-4, 9-3 (Alamo/Champs Sports)
5 (tie). Iowa, 4-4, 7-5 (Insight)
7 (tie). Indiana, 3-5, 7-5 (Motor City/Other)
7 (tie). Purdue, 3-5, 7-5 (Motor City/Other)
7 (tie). Michigan State, 3-5, 7-5 (Motor City/Other)
7 (tie). Northwestern, 3-5, 6-6 (Other)
11. Minnesota, 0-8, 1-11 (N/A)

Here, the Motor City Bowl would have to choose between IU, Purdue, and MSU, likely going with MSU, since it's only a short drive from Detroit and obviously there are a ton of MSU fans/grads in the Detroit area anyway.

Alternate scenario #4: Northwestern beats Illinois and Michigan State beats Penn State.
1. Michigan 7-1, 9-3 (Rose)
2 (tie). Ohio State, 6-2, 10-2 (Capital One)
3 (tie). Illinois, 5-3, 8-4 (Outback/Alamo/Champs Sports)
3 (tie). Penn State, 5-3, 9-3 (Outback/Alamo/Champs Sports)
3 (tie). Wisconsin, 5-3, 9-3 (Outback/Alamo/Champs Sports)
6 (tie). Iowa, 4-4, 7-5 (Insight/Motor City/Other)
6 (tie). Northwestern, 4-4, 7-5 (Insight/Motor City/Other)
8 (tie). Indiana, 3-5, 7-5 (Insight/Motor City/Other)
8 (tie). Purdue, 3-5, 7-5 (Insight/Motor City/Other)
8 (tie). Michigan State, 3-5, 7-5 (Insight/Motor City/Other)
11. Minnesota, 0-8, 1-11 (N/A)

Here, the Insight and Motor City Bowls would have five 7-5 teams to choose from. IU, Purdue, and MSU would likely be left out of the mix (certainly for the Insight Bowl) because they had inferior conference records. Again, Northwestern might be left out because of its small fan base. And, again, MSU might have the advantage for the Motor City Bowl, given its proximity to Detroit.

Alternate scenario #5: Western Michigan beats Iowa, Northwestern beats Illinois, and Michigan State beats Penn State.
1. Michigan 7-1, 9-3 (Rose)
2 (tie). Ohio State, 6-2, 10-2 (Capital One)
3 (tie). Illinois, 5-3, 8-4 (Outback/Alamo/Champs Sports)
3 (tie). Penn State, 5-3, 9-3 (Outback/Alamo/Champs Sports)
3 (tie). Wisconsin, 5-3, 9-3 (Outback/Alamo/Champs Sports)
6 (tie). Northwestern, 4-4, 7-5 (Insight/Motor City/Other)
6 (tie). Iowa, 4-4, 6-6 (Insight/Motor City/Other)
8 (tie). Indiana, 3-5, 7-5 (Insight/Motor City/Other)
8 (tie). Purdue, 3-5, 7-5 (Insight/Motor City/Other)
8 (tie). Michigan State, 3-5, 7-5 (Insight/Motor City/Other)
11. Minnesota, 0-8, 1-11 (N/A)

Here, the Insight and Motor City Bowls would have four 7-5 teams to choose from (Iowa would be knocked out of the picture because of its 6-6 record). This scenario would be interesting, given Northwestern's small fan base. The Insight Bowl could very well take IU, Purdue, or MSU because they would travel better than Northwestern, even though Northwestern would have a better conference record than all three. And, again, MSU might have the advantage for the Motor City Bowl, given its proximity to Detroit.

Here are the leagues that have bowl tie-ins that might not have enough bowl-eligible teams, and the teams that are bowl eligible or that can still become bowl eligible (i.e., these are the teams you should all be rooting against in hopes that IU goes to a bowl):

ACC (8 bowl tie-ins)
7 bowl eligible: Virginia (9-2), Virginia Tech (8-2), Clemson (8-2), BC (8-2), Wake Forest (6-4), FSU (6-4), Georgia Tech (6-4)
3 teams that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games):
NC State - 5-5 (at Wake Forest 11/17; Maryland 11/24)
Miami (FL) - 5-5 (at Va Tech 11/17; at BC 11/24)
Maryland - 5-5 (at FSU 11/17; at NC State 11/24)

The ACC will get at least one more bowl-eligible team because NC State and Maryland play each other. Thus, unless the ACC gets 2 BCS berths (which is unlikely), all of the ACC's bowl slots will be taken.

Big 12 (8 bowl tie-ins)
6 bowl eligible: Kansas (10-0), Missouri (9-1), Oklahoma (9-1), Texas (9-2), Texas Tech (7-4), Texas A&M (6-5)
4 teams that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games):
Kansas State - 5-5 (Missouri 11/17; at Fresno State 11/24)
Oklahoma State - 5-5 (at Baylor 11/17; at Oklahoma 11/24)
Colorado - 5-6 (Nebraska 11/23)
Nebraska - 5-6 (at Colorado 11/23)

Between Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, the Big 12 will likely get 2 BCS bids, which will leave 7 other bowls for 4 currently bowl-eligible teams and the 4 other possibly bowl-eligible teams. The winner of the Colorado/Nebraska game will go to a bowl, while the loser will not. Barring a huge upset by Baylor, Oklahoma State will also be going bowling. K-State has the toughest road, likely losing to Missouri at home before heading to Fresno State, which is currently 6-4. If Oklahoma State and Kansas State both lose out, then 2 bowl slots come open.

Conference USA (6 bowl tie-ins)
4 bowl eligible: UCF (7-3), Tulsa (7-3), Houston (6-4), East Carolina (6-5)
3 teams that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games):
Memphis - 5-5 (UAB 11/17; SMU 11/24)
Southern Miss - 5-5 (at UTEP 11/17; Arkansas State 11/24)
UTEP - 4-6 (Southern Miss 11/17; at UCF 11/24)

Unless the entire Memphis team comes down with SARS, it's safe to assume they will win their last 2 games (although they only need to win one to become bowl-eligible). Southern Miss will likely give C-USA 6 bowl-eligible teams, needing only to win one of its last 2 games. UTEP will likely lose to UCF, so the Miners probably won't be going bowling this year.

MAC (3 bowl tie-ins):
2 bowl eligible: Bowling Green (6-4), Central Michigan (6-4)
6 teams that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games):
Miami (OH) - 5-5 (Akron 11/14; at Ohio 11/24)
Ball State - 5-5 (Toledo 11/13; at Northern Illinois 11/24)
Toledo - 5-5 (at Ball State 11/13; at Bowling Green 11/23)
Buffalo - 4-6 (Bowling Green 11/17; at Kent State 11/24)
Akron - 4-6 (at Miami (OH) 11/14; Central Michigan 11/23)
Ohio - 5-6 (Miami (OH) 11/24)

The MAC will get its 3 bowl-eligible teams. Fucking MAC.

Pac-10 (6 bowl tie-ins)
5 bowl eligible: Arizona State (9-1), Oregon (8-1), USC (8-2), Oregon State (6-4), Cal (6-4)
3 teams that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games)
UCLA - 5-5 (Oregon 11/24; at USC 12/1)
Arizona - 4-6 (Oregon 11/15; at Arizona State 12/1)
Washington State - 4-6 (Oregon State 11/17; at Washington 11/24)

UCLA and Arizona will likely lose their remaining games, knocking them out of bowl contention. Washington State will need to win both of its games, which probably won't happen. Thus, there will only be 5 bowl-eligible teams from the Pac-10, with possibly 2 BCS bids (Oregon and whoever wins the Arizona State/USC game on 11/22). If the Pac-10 gets 2 BCS bids, that will leave 3 teams for 5 slots, thus opening the Las Vegas Bowl and the Armed Forces Bowl for my beloved Hoosiers.

WAC (3 bowl tie-ins):
3 bowl-eligible: Hawaii (9-0), Boise State (9-1), Fresno State (6-4)
4 teams that can become bowl eligible (with remaining games):
Nevada - 5-4 (Hawaii 11/16; at San Jose State 11/24; Louisiana Tech 12/1)
Louisiana Tech - 4-6 (San Jose State 11/17; at Nevada 12/1)
San Jose State - 4-6 (at Louisiana Tech 11/17; Nevada 11/24)

If Hawaii finishes undefeated and goes to a BCS bowl, that will free up a WAC bowl if they don't have 3 other bowl-eligible teams, meaning that the WAC's bowl slots will be full if one of Nevada, La Tech, or SJSU wins a 6th game. Given that they all play each other, it is mathematically impossible for all three teams to end up at 5-7. That's WAC.

Work was slow today.

Weekend Recap

Happy Veterans Day, you war-fighting bastards.

So, I haven't done a weekend recap in a while, but this weekend was full of enough ups and downs to merit discussion on the World Wide Web.

On Friday, I left work a little early to get a haircut. Jester was acting all weird and said she needed to go help Tracey take her car to the shop, or some shit like that. I wasn't really listening.

So there I am, minding my own business doing squat thrusts to take out my frustration over the backlash from my "favorite season" poll, and Jester opens our back door and says, "Honey, I have a surprise for you." Knowing her family's pension for dognapping, I legitimately said, "it better not be another dog." Twas no dog, indeed. But rather, a daaawwwwwgggggg. That's right, the surprise was none other than former Room 217 roommate Kevin "Y to the Izay, Yeh to the Dizay" Yeh, who had flown up from North Carolina (aka, North Cakalaki, as people down there call it) to see the final performance of "No Offense, Assh*le." A pleasant surprise, indeed, and I didn't have to strangle a dog. Again.

As expected, we immediately cracked open some beers and played some Madden on the Wii. You'll be happy to know that the '85 Bears defeated the '01 Rams (inaptly named "The Greatest Show on Turf") 85-44.

A little after 6, the D-town crew arrived: Holt, Katie "I, For Some Reason, Find a Way Not To Have Fun When I Come to Chicago" Miltner, and Dan "Piss and" Binegar. We soon all headed to Second City for the show.

I don't like to boast about the Second City student show that I wrote approximately 1/6 of, but I was overjoyed (and surprised) that No Offense, Assh*le sold out all five weeks, which makes it at least tied for the most successful Donny's Skybox show of all-time (and with the 7:30 time slot, no less). This last show sold out by Wednesday morning. WTF?

Thanks to everyone who came out to the show over the five weeks it ran, even the people who came to the second show and for some reason didn't laugh. Hopefully everyone thought the show was funny. This last show was videotaped, so hopefully we'll be able to put it up on YouTube within the next couple weeks.

In addition to Yeh, the D-town crew (and Binegar's friend Brian), and Jester, also in attendance at the last show were Christoff, Gregerson, Chenandler Bong, the Lutzows, the Brothers Weeser* (minus Greg, of course), Noreen, Andy "ATPW" White, his wife Andrea, and an army of people they brought (including, but not limited to, at least one Horan). Thanks for coming, and hopefully for laughing.

After the show -- which went pretty well -- we all headed across the street to Corcoran's for some drinks and eats (as has been the normal procedure over the past 5 weeks), and we left relatively early (midnight or so), since we were getting up for the IU/Northwestern game Saturday morning.

Upon our return home, Yeh and I had a rematch on the Wii. He was the AFC Hall of Fame team, and I was the NFC Hall of Fame team. It was a back-and-forth battle. I went up 24-17 late in the 4th, and he marched down the field and scored with less than 30 seconds left to make it 24-23. Rather than risk a Herb Adderley kickoff return for a touchdown or an inevitable overtime loss, he went for 2. It turns out that Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, and Ray Nitschke cannot stop Earl Campbell from 3 yards out. The final score read 25-24, AFC. I kicked Yeh out of my house, and then went to bed.

Saturday morning came, and with it the possibility of unrealized dreams: a seventh victory for IU, thus securing a bowl bid. A large group of us was going up to Evanston for the game, and we were to meet at my house at 8:45. The Gemkeezis, "Crazy Legs" Hirst, and my dad all showed up, as expected, and we headed north on the L to the game.

The game itself was a fucking catastrophe. Up 14-3 with about 5 minutes left in the first half and driving, Kellen Lewis got the wind knocked out of him and had to sit out a play. Rather than call a time out to get Lewis back in on a crucial 3rd and 6 from about midfield, IU put in backup QB Ben Chappell, a freshman. Rather than not call a play that would lead to an interception return for a touchdown, IU called a play in which Chappell locked his eyes on James Hardy and threw a ball in Hardy's general direction in the flat, right into the arms of a Northwestern defender, who scampered into the endzone. Chappell was in for one play and he did the only thing he absolutely could not do.

The second half was not much better. Northwestern went up 24-14, then IU came back to make it 28-24 with 5:34 left, then Northwestern marched down the field and scored with 44 seconds left to make it 31-28. IU was driving and was at the Northwestern 34 (i.e., probably within field goal range), when Kellen Lewis got sacked and tried to throw the ball away. Even though his arm was coming forward, they called it a fumble, and IU lost on what was about the eighth huge bad call by the refs. It was more annoying than when you go to the bathroom at work and one ply of the industrial 2-ply toilet paper is staggered half a square off from the other ply, so nothing ever lines up when you tear off the toilet paper, leaving you to either rip one of the plies in the middle of the square or try to deal with a dangling extra half-square of one of the plies, neither of which is a satisfactory option. Seriously, 2-ply toilet paper assembly line worker, it's your only fucking job to make sure both plies line up. For most people, the only thing they have to look forward to during their entire work day is the solitude that comes with the one to five times they take a dump. Don't take that away from us.

But I digress. Essentially, everything that could have gone wrong for IU's bowl hopes did go wrong on Saturday. If IU had won, it would have been IU's 7th victory, assuring itself of a bowl berth. However, Northwestern's win gave it 6 victories, thus making it bowl eligible. Michigan State won at Purdue, giving MSU 6 victories, making it bowl eligible. Illinois's victory over Ohio State means that the Big Ten will not be getting 2 BCS bids (which would have freed up another bowl spot for Big Ten teams). Now there are 10 bowl-eligible teams in the Big Ten for 7 bowl tie-in slots. Sweet. Leave it to IU to become bowl eligible for the first time in 13 years and still not make a bowl. (There will be more about this in a later post.)

After the game, Holt went out boozing with his law school peeps, Binegar went to Wicker Park to mug some hipsters, Katie (who didn't even go to the game) went to dinner with some gregarious middle-aged Greek men and then later went to a board game party with twentysomthing non-Greeks of both genders, and the rest of us went to Tradd's special ladyfriend Kara's house for Turkey Day -- a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving style feast, which has since been renamed Fakesgiving. (Nice work, Cowie -- AbbreviNation appreciates your efficiency.)

As you can imagine, Fakesgiving is awesome: a 29-pound turkey, seemingly unlimited mashed potatoes, gallons of gravy, various other side dishes and casseroles, and several different pumpkin-based desserts. We gorged ourselves as only Americans truly know how to do.

After Fakesgiving, Yeh, Jester, and I headed back home, where Holt met us. The three gents headed out to Wrightwood Tap to meet Gregerson (also fresh from Fakesgiving) and his buddy Nick. It was slammed, so we only stayed for one beer, and Yeh, Holt, and I headed to Rocks, which was even more slammed, so we headed to Paddy Long's, where we watched some rugby and drank some Tetley's. I felt so damn British, or at least like an ex-pat.

Neither Yeh nor I were satisfied with leaving our Madden series at a 1-1 tie, so we all left Paddy Long's after a couple beers and headed back to my house, where Holt fell asleep on one couch while trying to watch the Hawai'i/Fresno State game on the second TV as Yeh and I battled it out on the main TV. Thus, Holt didn't get to see Colt Brennan get annihilated by Fresno State linebacker Marcus Riley. This time Yeh and I switched up teams, and I was the AFC Hall of Famers, while he was the NFC. This was a much more high-scoring affair than the first AFC/NFC match-up, and I came out on top. I don't remember the final score, but I do know that I scored more than 60. When I triumphantly crawled (read: jumped) into bed, Jessie was so proud of my win that she screamed at the top of her lungs.

Sunday morning, I drove Yeh to Midway, then returned and went back to bed for a while. Around noon, the D-town crew, Jester, and I went to S&G for some breakfast and subpar service, after which they headed back to Dayton, and Jester and I headed over to the Lutzows for some chili and Bears game watching. Rex "The Sex Cannon" Grossman appears to have regained his starting position, at least for a quarter or two.

All in all, aside from the IU debacle, it was a hell of a weekend. And I promise I'll get to the long-overdue final installments of It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Wurst of Times this week.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New Poll: Favorite Season

With fall firmly upon those of us in season-changing climates, the age old question: which season is the best?

Spring has the NCAA tournament, the promise of better weather, witch hunting, and the as-yet-undestroyed dreams of a successful baseball season.

Summer has baseball, skimpy clothing, beer gardens, shitty overhyped movies, a higher crime rate, homeless hunting, and the opportunity to wear white pants without violating social mores.

Fall has football, changing leaves, the World Series, Oktoberfest, Halloween, All Saints Day, Thanksgiving, more thorough and reckless witch hunting than in the spring, my birthday, and absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Winter has college bowls, New Years, Boxing Day, penguin hunting, weather that hurts your face, the distinct possibility that going outside will result in the permanent loss of extremities, and the Super Bowl.

What's your favorite?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Thank You

So tonight was my 30th birthday party at Rocks. I can honestly say that I have the best friends of all-time. I want to thank everyone who came out tonight, especially everyone who came in from the burbs -- I love you guys. And to everyone else, thank you too. I had a blast tonight, and I hope you did too. I tried to play as much Thin Lizzy as possible, but I was informed at some point that I was not allowed not to go home. What?

By the way, motherfuckers, IU is going bowling. I've waited a long time for this.

Roll me over and turn me around
Let me keep spinning till I hit the ground
Roll me over and set me free
Cowboy's life is the life for me.