COMMENTS FROM THE PEANUT GALLERY
Wriiten by: Mike in DA/The Crier/SR Crew
Date posted: 1/4/2011
WHAT'S WORSE: THE TEXANS OR THEIR FANS' SPELLING?
COOLEST SPORTS NICKNAMES: #21 - MINNESOTA FATS
This pool hall "hustler’s" nickname is only half correct. Rudolf Wanderone, Jr. wasn’t from Minnesota; he was born and raised in New York City. He was, however, pretty heavy, so that part of the name makes sense. During the 1940s and 50s, his fellow players called him "New York Fats" in honor of his big posterior and his hometown.
When the Paul Newman pool-shooting movie, "The Hustler" came out in 1961, though, "New York Fats" decided to start referring to himself as "Minnesota Fats", the name of the billiard ace hustler played by Jackie Gleason in the movie. He began spreading the story around that the character was based on him, though the novelist who wrote the book denied it the rest of his life.
In spite of the fact that "Fats" never won a major pool tournament, he was perhaps the most publicly recognized pool player in the United States – not only as a player, but also as an entertainer. In 1984, the Billiard Congress of America inducted him into its Hall of Fame for "Meritorious Service" in recognition of his contributions to helping popularize the game of pool.
For those who would like to educate themselves on this "urban legend", I suggest you "google" Rudolf Wanderone on Wiki.
FROM THE VIDEO ARCHIVES:
1. RACE “HOARSE” CALL OF THE YEAR:
2. EXCESSIVE PING PONG CELEBRATION:
3. EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE!:
4. THE DESTRUCTIVE CHINESE HURDLER:
5. THIS OLD WIZARD FAN HAS DANCE FEVER ON THE DANCE CAM!
GIRLS DON'T LIKE TO BE CALLED CONN'TS
"NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN"
Has anyone actually heard Brett Favre emphatically state that he is retiring from the NFL? Don't believe the headlines such as, “Brett Favre Says He Played His Last Game After Watching Vikings’ Loss,” because there is no quote yet from Favre that says, “I have played my last game.”
And even then, you have Bill Parcells’ book, “The Final Season: My Last Year as a Head Coach in the NFL,” as an example of how self-centered, egomaniacal football personalities just do and say what they fuckin' want to say whenever they want to, whether it’s the truth or not. "Big Tuna" Parcells came back to coach again within three years after writing the book.
Favre retired, cried because it was so sad (to him, not the Packers, who were secretly dancing), yet came back to screw two head coach coaches – Eric Mangini with the NY Jets and Brad Childress with the Vikings over a span of just three seasons. The 2010 regular season is over, but nobody can say for sure that the last of this weirdo MOFO has been seen in uniform.
I expect him to eventually end up in an announcing booth or in the studio in the future; you can bet on that. He’ll find the best position and take it down, too.
And speaking of Brett, now that his consecutive game streak is over and people have begun the ludicrous process of comparing his streak with Cal Ripken Jr.’s streak, let me toss into those meaningless conversations one more streak for streak-obsessed people to ponder over: NHL goalie, Glenn Hall, started and finished 502 consecutive games for more than seven full seasons (1955 – 1962) without wearing a face mask.
DID YOU ORDER YOUR SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 7-9 NFC WEST DIVISION CHAMPION TEE SHIRT YET?
FLUB OF THE DAY
Last Friday (12/31) in the Houston Chronicle on page C-1, Jerome Solomon had a very amusing column entitled, “Show fans meaningful appreciuation" (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/solomon/texans/7360647.html).
Here is an excerpt from it:
“On Sunday, at the season finale against Jacksonville, the Texans will host their annual, fun-filled Fan Appreciation Day.
The team will give away a whopping $15,000 worth of merchandise, gift certificates and prizes to make you feel appreciated.
Yep, for a sold-out stadium, the appreciation of your loyalty amounts to less than $5 a person, which would get you little more than a swig of beer at a Reliant Stadium concession stand.” END
We have a math problem here. Assuming a sold-out stadium of roughly 70,000, $15,000 divided into 70,000 gives me about $.21 and not $5. For 21 cents, you can't even get a swig of beer at Reliant Stadium.
PS – Though the newspaper went out with the $5 amount, the online column amount was later changed to 21 cents, so we'll give Jerome credit for half a flub.
THE STATE OF GEORGIA MUST HAVE A LOT OF "HOMERS"!
WHY RON FRANKLIN WAS BENCHED FOR THE FIESTA BOWL!
ESPN announcer, Ron Franklin, was pulled off ESPN’s Saturday Fiesta Bowl radio broadcast by ESPN after an incident involving the veteran broadcaster and ESPN-TV sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards.
Scheduled to work on the ESPN-TV broadcast of the Chick-fil-A Bowl Friday, Franklin and Edwards were part of a production meeting before the game that was also attended by ESPN announcers Ed Cunningham and Rod Gilmore. During the meeting, the subject of Gilmore’s wife, Marie. being elected Alameda (CA) mayor came up.
As Gilmore, Cunningham, and Franklin discussed the subject, Edwards tried to join the conversation. When she did, Franklin said to her, “Why don’t you leave this to the boys, sweet baby.”
Edwards responded to Franklin by saying, “Don’t call me sweet baby, I don’t like being talked to like that.”
Franklin then said, “okay then, asshole.” After the meeting Edwards reported Franklin’s comments to ESPN management.
Once ESPN college football coordinating producer Ed Placey confirmed Franklin’s comments to Edwards with Cunningham, ESPN executives made an attempt to pull Franklin off the Chick-fil-A Bowl broadcast the same day. Because of the late notice, no replacement for Franklin was found and the play-by-play announcer called the game - without incident - with Cunningham and Edwards.
With Edwards and Franklin scheduled to work together the next night in Arizona, top ESPN programming executives - including Norby Williamson and Mark Gross - were involved in the decision to pull Franklin off the Fiesta Bowl radio broadcast, as Dave Lamont filled in for Franklin.
WAS THE RAM-SEAHAWK PLAY-IN GAME SPONSORED BY THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS OR IS THAT SIGN JUST A COINCIDENCE?
BUCKEYES' STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE NOT LOOKING SO HOT NOW!
Last week here, it was mentioned that Dr. E. Gordon Gee, President of Ohio State University, discredited the non-BCS Conference champions’ worthiness for participation in the BCS Championship Game because they played the “Little Sisters of the Poor” and Ohio State did not.
FYI - The Big 10, which is the majority of Ohio State’s opponents played in five games on New Year’s Day. They lost all five of those games. Three of them were blowouts where the opponent scored 45 points or more. In another game, Penn State lost to Florida by 13 points, but it was a 6-point game until a very late pass interception for a TD by Florida. That game was close, but Penn State still gave up 37 points.
The only really close game involved a defeat by the Big 10 “champion”, Wisconsin, in the Rose Bowl. And to whom did they lose? Wisconsin lost to TCU, which is a school not worthy of BCS consideration because of its “Little Sisters of the Poor” scheduling.
Looking ahead to the 2011 season, Ohio State’s first two opponents are at home vs. Akron and Toledo, which are non-conference teams meaning that the Buckeyes can choose to play them or someone else.
FYI - Akron finished 1-10 this season and was one of the worst teams in Division 1-A and Toledo lost to Florida International in the Little Caesars Bowl.
It appears "The Little Sisters of the Poor" might give Ohio State more competition than it gets in its current football schedule.
Hopefully, for its own sake and the Crier's, Ohio State will have an impressive victory over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.
THIS POLE VAULTER HAS A WEDGIE!
IS POSTPONED NFL GAME SETTING A PRECEDENT FOR FUTURE NFL PROBLEMS?
Last week, the NFL moved a Sunday game between the Vikings and Eagles to Tuesday because of a forecast of bad weather in the Philly area, as a potential blizzard was on the weather scope and there might have been a safety hazard for the fans going to the game.
Is the NFL asking for trouble in a future similar situation. Let’s say there is going to be a playoff game in New England or Chicago and there is a forecast of 15-18 inches of snow on that day. So now you go to the NFL to ask if they are going to play today. The commissioner says, "Sure we are. This is the playoffs. We are going to play."
Now someone going to the game drives off the road and has an accident injuring a couple of people and possibly even killing somebody. A lawyer comes and says, "You canceled the December 26 game in Philadelphia because it wasn't safe. These conditions were at least as bad, if not worse than they were in Philadelphia."
I smell a lawsuit, so where does the NFL draw the line. In a few years, the NFL is going to have the Super Bowl in an outdoor venue, the New Meadowlands Stadium, in New Jersey. What is the NFL going to do if the forecast is for some treacherous weather?
NON-MILLIONAIRE BOWL GAMES
THURSDAY'S GAME, JANUARY 6:
GO DADDY.COM BOWL
Ladd-Peebles Stadium – Mobile, AL
MIDDLE TENNESSEE vs. MIAMI-OH
The RedHawks of Miami-OH have already made the largest improvement from last season to this season in college football, and topped it all off with a New York Jets over Baltimore Colts Super Bowl-size upset win in the MAC Championship Game. What do they have left to prove? That they can beat the Sun Belt’s third-best team, a month later?
That’s not necessarily something anyone would go out of their way in a big way to get done. Miami’s win in that title game came not-so-coincidentally close to the announcement that the opposing head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators were bolting that program. Draw your own conclusions about how that may have affected the preparation and outcome. While you’re at it, draw your own conclusions about how Miami beat Temple in their prior game while Temple’s head coach was talking to Miami-Florida and his coordinators were calling the moving companies.
What goes around comes around. Miami-OH’s coach and coordinators have said, “Our work is done here,” after two seasons, and have bolted for Pitt (or so they thought, but that’s another story altogether!). The RedHawks’ championship season, for all intents and purposes, is history. But they have to play this game regardless, against an opponent whose season never got untracked after Middle Tennessee’s #1 quarterback was suspended in September for four games in a bizarre online poker staking scenario.
It’s never too late to have a happy childhood, and Middle Tennessee gets a chance to put their turnover messes (-16) behind them and play some real football. Triple-threat quarterback Dwight Dasher (Run, Pass, Turnover) can best be compared to the Ohio U. quarterbacks who triple-threated their way past Miami by the score of 34-13 in October. MIDDLE TENNESSEE, 27-23.
FRIDAY'S GAME, JANUARY 7:
Cowboys Stadium -- Arlington, TX
TEXAS A&M vs. LSU
LSU likes to recruit in Texas, but the reality is that they have only 13 players from the state on their roster. A&M has only 13 non-Texans on their team. So you think that the only game on the NCAA schedule being played in their state might be a big deal?
LSU’s strategy here will be the same as it was all year - defense + special teams + running game = non-sexy victories. Coach Les Miles will look to play a field possession game and the Mad Hatter has proven tough in bowl games. The Tiger return game plus a weak A&M punting unit should help Miles accomplish his field position goals.
That said – his offense generally sputters and averaged only 64 offensive snaps per ball game. A&M won’t make it any easier on ’em, as their defense gave up only 117 yards rushing per game. On the other sideline, the Aggies averaged 81 offensive plays per game due to their balanced attack and ability to convert 3rd downs. QB Tanneyhill is generally good with the football and his running game should open things up for the passing game. This will be close throughout with A&M’s ability to move the chains in the 4th quarter setting them up to take the Cotton crown. TEXAS A&M, 26-23.
SATURDAY'S GAME, JANUARY 8:
Legion Field – Birmingham, AL
PITTSBURGH vs. KENTUCKY
Swan-songing head coaches are 2-0 SU, ATS so far this bowl season. Poor Dave Wannstedt of Pittsburgh replaced a head coach who went to the Fiesta Bowl (a BCS Bowl) and never got Pitt back to one, although the media repeatedly stated that he’d “turned the program around.” Which is why you don’t trust too many things you read.
During his tenure, Pitt backers often benefitted from a refusal by bettors to back a Wannstedt-coached team, dating back to the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins (at times, they also did not benefit). Wacky Wannie’s tenure at Pitt, however, yielded ATS results a lot better than most coaches who get fired: 38-29 ATS, including 14-7 ATS the last two seasons. Wannie’s last wackiness is adapted from a tired but true coaching strategy: withholding the identity of the starting – not quarterback – head coach until just prior to game-day. Most feel that he’ll show, but we don't think so. When they aren’t turning the ball over, Pitt has a nice, run-based, play-faking pass game, with a quarterback who could use more seasoning.
Kentucky has a new defensive coordinator. Rick Minter is a solid football guy, but regarding the transition, head coach Joker Phillips says, "A lot of them are having a hard time with it." With Kentucky’s senior QB Mike Hartline suspended, soph Morgan Newton gets the call. "Last year when Morgan was out there and dropped back to throw, you knew there was a chance somebody's band was going to play," said a Kentucky assistant last week. "You just hoped it was your team's band and not the other team’s band.” PITTSBURGH, 28-23.
SUNDAY’S GAME, JANUARY 9:
KRAFT FIGHT HUNGER BOWL
AT&T Park - San Francisco, CA
BOSTON COLLEGE (+7.5) over NEVADA
Those tuning in can expect to hear the “Nevada run vs. BC run D” tag line at least 100 times in the pre-game show. That is an important matchup, and we’ll get to it, but equally important will be Boston College’s generally inept offense moving the football and putting points on the board. The Eagles are a run first, second, and third offense that leans on a huge offensive line.
Nevada has been tough against the run, but consider the competition….much smaller, pass-oriented WAC teams. Given the Pack’s ability to move the football, BC will ask their tailbacks to chew up grass and clock. Starting RB Harris might play after end-of-season knee surgery, but even if he doesn’t, freshman Andre Williams went over 100 yards in the last two games…including a 42-carry performance against Syracuse.
QB Chase Rettig also improved big-time as the season progressed and the bowl practice time will only help. The BC coaching staff has slowly opened up the playbook for Rettig and you can bet that Nevada will see some offensive plays for the first time this Sunday. Even if the offense stalls, Coach Spaz won’t mind punting the ball and making Nevada drive long fields. Why? Because his defense is tough…cue the Nevada offense vs. BC defense tag: Boston College will certainly have their hands full with QB Kaepernick, RB Taua and the Wolfpack offense.
It will help to have the best LB corps in the country. This BC D gave up just 80 yards per game on the ground – good for #1 nationally. They did not give up more than 141 yards rushing in any one game this season, and while Nevada will likely top that mark, they won’t come close to the average of 306 yards rushing per contest. Kaepernick can chuck it pretty well, too, and the BC secondary has been burned at times this year – but they also have 19 picks and are aggressive to the football.
The Boston College goal is simple on both sides of the football - pop Nevada in the mouth early and see if they get off the mat. Historically, when teams smack the Pack, they wilt back into their corner and eventually throw in the towel (see Hawaii this year, SMU and Notre Dame last year, Maryland 2 years ago). History repeats itself this Sunday. BOSTON COLLEGE, 31-27.
MONDAY, JANUARY 10:
BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, AZ
OREGON (+2.5) over AUBURN
In the last 35 bowl games the Heisman Trophy winner has participated, bettors backing his team are 9-25-1 ATS. Bettors going against his team are 25-9-1 ATS. Cam Newton, the Heisman Trophy winner, plays quarterback for Auburn. Backing bowl favorites that go into their bowls off at least three straight point-spread covers would have resulted in 36-58-1 ATS over the last 20 years; 58-36-1 ATS for those playing against such a team, which in this case would be Auburn. Those historical numbers are interesting, but certainly not the be-all and end-all.
There are multiple unit match-ups involved. Regarding the Auburn offense, an Associated Press sportswriter says: "The pace isn't as quick, but the Tigers pack more punch." That’s also interesting, in that Oregon has out-yarded Auburn 538 to 498 yards per game and features the nation’s leading running back, LaMichael James. With 21 rushing touchdowns at just 5’9’’, 185, the Oregon offense can get James home from anywhere on the field and three other running backs have scored 5-6 rushing TDs.
Newton is the leading rushing TD-getter for Auburn, and along with his 28-6 TD-INT ratio and 67.1% completion rate, you have to wonder how Auburn can get by if something not good happens to his body during the game. As early as, say, the first quarter when quarterback Colt McCoy had to leave last season’s title game for Texas? Banking too heavily on one guy can get you in trouble. If Newton plays the entire game, then Oregon’s defense that is famous for bending and not breaking can make a stop or two here and there and pretty much say that it has done its job.
Auburn’s defense played against SEC offenses and Clemson that plodded along compared to Oregon: a range of 62 plays per game, to a high of 70 (Kentucky). They eked past Kentucky, 37-34. Theoretically, the 79 plays per game Quack Attack can squeeze two more scoring drives out of that 9-play difference. The Oregon defense has intercepted 20 passes to Auburn’s 10. OREGON, 42-33.
MIKE IN DA/THE CRIER/SR CREW
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