The Barrister et al.
Hey all. It's the day before Thanksgiving, we're all trying to concentrate on work while day dreaming about all the scotch we're going to drink tomorrow, and sports? Well, sports are sports which means they're terrible and awesome and disheartening and inspiring and all of it.
We did this last year - with some reasonable success, I guess?
- and when I emailed the crew yesterday to gather the things for which our dreadful lot are thankful this year, well, I feared the thing I always fear when I ask for things from the rest of the guys... no response whatsoever. That these assholes responded at all is a pretty amazing thing, and I thank them for it. Thanks, given. From The Scizz, our resident disproportionate responder:
This year I'm thankful for many things, but that doesn't seem very DGWU, so here is everything I hate.
I hate James Dolan. I hate him so much it hurts. This arrogant cock had the nerve to say in an interview that it doesn't pay to be impatient in the NBA, meanwhile he has a constant revolving door of players, coaches, and front office staff because he cares more about his ego and his shitty blues band than he does actual success. Fuck him and his 70's porn bush beard.
I hate Darcy Regier. So in a way, I'm thankful he is gone I suppose. But mostly I want to focus on how much I hate his face and the fact that he made Ville Leino and Steve Ott a thing I have to deal with. Also, if you were against his firing I hate you too. And your family. I hate your family.
I hate anybody who still thinks Stevie Johnson is a #1 receiver in the NFL. He isn't and he won't be. He is a solid player who has the ability to put up big numbers, but lacks any kind of consistency. This is called a #2 receiver. Go Bob Woods.
I hate every single American who still watches American Idol, America's Got Talent, X-Factor, or The Voice. Bring back Perfect Strangers and Dinosaurs.
I hate Obese people on the subway. No, I will not scootch over for you to sit down. You obviously had seven Whoppers this morning for breakfast and deserve nothing but the inevitable heart attack headed your way.
I hate seriousness on Twitter. As much as I'd love to see 14 straight tweets about your thoughts on somehow still defending Obamacare or gun rights, I'd rather you go post on a yahoo message board with the rest of the lonely people who have nobody to talk to in real life.
Now that you probably all hate me, Happy Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for being shitfaced by 2pm and wolfing down a turkey sandwich with Wasabi mayo before passing out on the floor.
From The Outlander, who can basically fuck himself until the end of all creation for this:
For the second year in a row I'm the only one here who had a team win a championship. Now I would trade them back in a second for a championship we could all dance and shotgun beers over, but unfortunately it doesn't work like that so I'll have to enjoy it largely alone. I'm thankful for the 2013 Boston Red Sox.
Thanks to modern technology and the fact that my Center Ice package turned into two months of free extra innings, I was able to follow this team closer than I had followed them in previous seasons. There's no need to dissect what made the team successful, which signings were the most important, how big a difference a new manager can provide, that's the dry analysis that makes reading Jonah Keri feel like chewing on wet cardboard. What makes me so thankful for this Red Sox team is that they were able to wake me from the stupor of ambivalence and detached incredulity that watching my favorite two teams had become. Outside of a couple weeks in 2010 and 2011, that passion had disappeared; the moments where you watch with your chin buried in your hands, your fingers over your mouth, your heart pounding against your rib cage as if you just ran a 5k when in reality you haven't gotten up from your seat since you took a piss after the sixth inning. The moments where the unthinkable happens, where your heart leaps into your throat and you find yourself standing and screaming without remembering consciously leaving your seat. Think about when you last felt that way. Was it Drury's goal in 2007? Pominville's the year before? For all of us it has been too long, and in baseball, where the only percentages that define success are ones that always come with a majority of failure, those moments- when the ball flies off the bat toward Citgo sign, or the right field bullpen, or when the most feared hitter in baseball swings through a sinker with the tying run on third in the eighth inning- feel all that more unexpected. Add to the fact that no matter where our baseball, basketball, soccer and college teams call home, we will always find ourselves expecting the worst because we're from Buffalo and dammit that's just how it goes.
Except when it doesn't.
This team was supposed to finish at the bottom of their division, not win it going away. It was predicted from August on that midnight was about to arrive, whether in a series at the Dodgers, a series at Yankee stadium, a series against the Tigers, and then later in the playoffs, certainly there. The prognosticators kept waiting, and even as a fan so did I, right up until they beat Scherzer, Verlander and Sanchez and found themselves returning to Fenway a game away from the World Series, that's when I finally new.
I was at a wedding North of Boston for that game, at some retreat in the woods outside Glochester. The type of retreat where the "couples" bedrooms had separate twin beds and three dozen flies on the inside of the windows. After drinking a remarkable amount of whiskey and ciders at the reception, followed by a considerable amount of craft beer at the afterparty bonfire, I found myself in that lovely area between half and fully in the bag. A bunch of us- some still clad in their suits, some hurriedly changed into hoodies and jeans- found ourselves in a small dining area watching the game on an old 16 inch screen. The Red Sox trailed 2-1 with two outs in the seventh, the bases loaded and one of the MANY guys underachieving in the series, Shane Victorino up. He had hit a huge grand slam in the 2008 NLCS for the Phillies; my friend who had just gotten married had the call as his ringtone our entire 3L year at Penn State. Now it was my time to watch the unthinkable.
I don't know why, maybe it was the location, being somewhere different, surrounded by friends, drunk as all hell, celebrating the feeling of something finally coming together, that YES, this WAS our year, but it reminded me of this.
Someday, my friends. We'll all suddenly remember what that feels like. And we'll dance, and all of us at the Deeg will be stuck being thankful for the same goddamn thing. I don't think we'll mind. Awww, that's nice, buddy. But still, fuck you forever. Go Mets.
And now from The Wild Card, the new guy who is generally letting law school deny you all from his hot fire takes:
I'm thankful for an awful lot you guys. An AWFUL lot. An AWFUL LOT of Sabres players that miiiight just, fate permitting, be awful to get a #1 pick... but remember it's a fucking lottery now so even if we're the worst in history it's still pretty likely that the native Americans buried in the soil beneath the city of Buffalo who cursed our existence in exchange for a horrific genocide despite the initial warmth and caring they showed our forefathers in the fabled original Thanksgiving will prevent us from receiving that #1.
Full circle guys. See how I did that?
Mmmm. Airport coffee. Mmmm. This girl next to me at the JetBlue hotspot. She seems really cute and nice. But her hair is covering most of her face from this angle. That must be why I think she's cute and nice. Either way, I'm thankful for her too, and the fact that she hasn't given me the stinkeye even though I took off my shoes to cool off my rancid feet. 100+ minutes on the train with a suitcase takes its toll folks.
I'm thankful for the fact that I'm at JFK and not in any real danger of missing my flight. FACT: this is the first time that's happened since I moved to NYC.
I'm thankful for Geno Smith too. I don't care that he's looked good in a couple games. The NFL is about consistency. He hasn't shown it. Ton of talent/physical skills. Bad attitude. He's the perfect successor to Mark Sanchez. Though I doubt he'll ever buttfumble. Oh, I'm thankful for him and that too. Like, VERY thankful.
I'm thankful (I guess?) for this weather which convinced JetBlue to waive change fees for all flights today. Their generosity gave me about 3 hours extra sleep.
I'm thankful for the ESPN Playoff Doo-Hickey
(sp?) and for the word of the day: "permutation" because when you put them together you get: excitement; a headache; about 100 different ways for the Steelers to make the playoffs; and the Bills beating the Pats in week 17 cuz... ha, you know.
I'm thankful that my girlfriend got that job and has to stay home so I get to go to Buffalo myself and deal with my family's disappointment because they like her way better than me.
Oh, and naps. Naps on my grandmaw couch >> Turkey >> Cran sauce >> fresh Cran sauce >> my aunt making fun of my dad >> stuffing ... yeah it's way better than all that shit. No blankets grandma, please. What am I 4? From the Apologist:
I'm thankful for Miley Cyrus and camels.
Welp. That got weird real fast. Thanks, Aps.
Let's all forget this happened... From The Commander:
Asking a Buffalo sports fan what they’re thankful for right now is a daunting task. Most of the stuff in my life that I’m thankful for has very little to do with sports right now, I have a decent job, a cool as fuck girlfriend, I don’t ever have to see snow or freezing temperatures, I can talk to my Xbox One and make it do shit, we have rad cats and dogs...my life is pretty fucking awesome! Which is why I can continue to tolerate Buffalo sports. If I didn’t have a bunch of other cool shit going on, I’d have slit my wrists or overdosed on pills for sure.
Xbox, make me look more miserable
It’s been really fucking difficult as of late to be thankful about ANYTHING Sabres related. We were sold a promise of youth and watching kids learn at the NHL level, and now that’s pretty much up in smoke with most of the “blueprint” being sent back to the minor leagues. So let’s just scratch all Sabres shit from my list.
I’m pretty thankful for the Bills. I realize they don’t have a winning record and probably won’t make the playoffs again, but they’re selling me on the promise of their youth successfully. Plus the team itself is very likable. This is the first time I can remember being this invested in them as December rolls in. Usually by now my routine was to play hockey in the morning on Sundays, come home, shower, and pass out sleeping by the end of the first half. So let’s run the fucking table and get there already. I’m on board, I’m not going anywhere…let’s do this shit.
That’s really it for me, I don’t do soccer, I’ve just started to get into the NBA (where my team, the Sacramento Kings, may as well be from Buffalo too), and baseball is for 75 year old white men.
However, I’m thankful that I have an outlet to express my fucking misery with a good group of assholes like myself here…as well as the other snarky motherfuckers on the Twitter. We’ll all get through this together.
Enjoy your turkey or ham, enjoy spending time with your families and friends, enjoy massive amounts of booze, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
From the long-silent Yachtsman!! ...
I'm thankful for Matt Harvey electing to have Tommy John Surgery, Rye Whiskey, portable Marijuana vaporizers, Marcel Dareus' abuse of Geno Smith, and key bumps.
Par for the course, you handsome sonofabitch.
And finally, my thanks:
I am thankful for Kiko Alonso being amazing and always looking high. For the renewed chance that Jairus might stay in Buffalo after all. For Patty Lafontaine investing himself in our city again. For Ralph Wilson being one more year closer to dying. For EJ Manuel for looking like the goods. For Doug Marrone for being a boost to this team, for being honest about his work, and for bringing in a defensive coordinator who has his squad playing like fucking beasts. For the hope that persists in my heart as I watch my squads keep failing to get their shit together. For the hope that sustains me and keeps this fun.
And, yeah, I am thankful for this place at this URL and the people who have made it great and written things here that have been simply amazing. Holy shit, this website is a hilarious piece of my life. I started here two and a half years ago, have largely taken the reigns of keeping at least some trickle of content going while the OGs deal with the big shit going on in their lives, and have seen the Dear God Why Us? #becauseitsbuffalo theme get traction with all you dear readers who inexplicably come here to debrief the fun and misery of watching our teams. We won a kind of nice award from a website we kind of hate, we've seen our traffic steadily increase since rebooting in 20011 and we've been lucky enough to have some of you say kind things and some really mean things about what we do here.
It is really goddamned great.
And now I've moved to the suburbs and I have a kid and I don't see the other guys listed as contributors very much anymore. But this is the thing I do to try and keep myself close to them; to pretend for a few moments when I can that we're sitting at a bar, talking our asses off about the teams we love and hate. Let's get drunk and bro hug soon.
Happy Fucking Thanksgiving.
The Outlander Top moment of season until today
I really didn't know when I was going to write another post here. The Red Sox season- while for me magical and enthralling- has been described in many different publications and blogs by many different writers than myself in much more satisfying ways. Not to mention our readership's approval rating of the Red Sox has got to be hovering in the same ballpark as Congress' and I don't need to put something out exhalting my joy just for all you to shit all over it.
You're not my real dad dammit.
As for our local teams, up until about 9:15 this morning, what could really be said? Our Bills weekly previews and reviews capture this season's varying degrees of optimism and hopelessness, especially now that we just got clocked with the 2x4 of reality watching the Pittsburgh game. The best Sabres forward of the past fifteen years got traded and the team has embarked on a journey that many fan bases have endured but virtually no one who has ever watched this team has had to witness: the laughingstock year. The year of catching shit from every friend or coworker who roots for other teams or generally enjoys the despair of others; the season of watching them in numb resignation, too indifferent to yell at the television, not because the team didn't look terrible but because you knew that they simply couldn't do any better. They're a cast of guys who may be perfectly likable and able to contribute to the right team (except Stafford, fuck him), but to watch them skate around for two and a half hours chasing their own tail just simply wasn't a good use of our time.
The constant theme to make us want to tear our hair out- those of you with any considerable remaining scraps anyways- was the decision-making of the coach regarding lines, scratches and ice time, really the only things that a coach does that are pretty easy and straightforward. A coach watches the players and puts the best ones on the ice, with the most offensively skilled players matching up with others of their like. It's literally the only thing that someone playing NHL '14 can do as well as a real coach. And somehow, someway, this team managed to place a man in this position who could not even be passable at this task. These are not mistakes - as Doug Marrone, for instance, freely admits to making when they appear - it was a failure of philosophy; a flaw in Ron Rolston's hockey DNA that poisoned the entire franchise in a matter of months and has at the very least set back the development of young talent and possibly derailed it permanently. It's easy to not care about who wears the "C" when they're in the rightfully earned position for their skill set. It is much harder to ignore when that same player is being double shifted in the third period of a game you're being outshot by thirty.
So where did this get us, or me more specifically? I was offered tickets to last night's game and had not even the slightest bit of interest because there was a UB FOOTBALL game on television. Tickets were hovering in the low teens and I didn't even consider heading down to the FNC to take in the carnage. The overhead of attending a game (traffic, new security measures, parking, a late bedtime on a weeknight) had become too much to see what has been my favorite local team since well before I was a teenager. I've spent thirty bucks on weeknights just to yell at Patrick Lalime about how much he sucks, but I could no longer be bothered. A 3-7 Bills team appeared light years ahead of their NHL counterpart and it wasn't close. Any optimism for the future, be it trades, draft picks or free agents could be dismissed simply by mentioning those who were in charge of acquiring talent and developing talent. I am confident in saying there has not been as dark a time regarding the cumulative future of our professional teams, and while the Bills have had bright spots in the midst of an objectively dismal record, what did we have to look forward to regarding the hockey team? The jersey retirement of a guy who hasn't played for them in a dozen years? The failure of the young kids to ultimately develop and trigger the long overdue firing of Rolston some three years down the road? The hope that maybe the third time the seemingly immovable General Manager failed at rebuilding a team from the ground up, it would be his curtain call?
Over six years removed from their last playoff series victory that distant hope for the future was too far off for many, including myself.
News happened yesterday. We blew the conch, gathered, and produced this. Enjoy.
Music by, well, I won't ruin the surprise. You're welcome.
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Ever since the loss of Drury and Briere began the long death march into obscurity for the franchise, I have come across many Buffalo fans who take pride in saying to me some variation of "I don't give a shit about the Sabres until the BIlls season ends." This can mean its literal end around New Year's, or its figurative end which typically comes sometime between Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. Regardless, this has always struck me as strange, like people who say things like "I don't follow the news," that prideful ignorance that they believe conveys honor and a hip aloofness when really it just repels others as if they'd spent the last hour rolling around in raw sewage at the Ralph. Obviously, I am not one of those people, notably because I can concentrate on more than one sporting event in a given week and unlike the ignorant boobs you'll encounter above, I can understand a piece of writing longer and more complex than a fantasy football injury report.
I scrolled through my twitter before sitting down to write this, in an attempt to ascertain what was being said about the captain selections as well as any general predictions for the season considering it officially starts tonight. I was able to scroll back eight minutes before I exited out in frustration. Between the government shutdown and the start of the Sabres season, I highly recommend sealing your phone in a heavy duty freezer bag and burying it in your backyard for at least a few weeks because the terrible jokes about the fomer and the crippling negativity about the latter (yes, from TBN and WGR MUCH more than any of us lowly bloggers or simple minded fans) could totally ruin October.
The Bills have shown how far a little change can go as far as goodwill with the fan base and the media. Sure, you have Sullivan's personal vendetta against Mario and the professional animosity between the WGR afternoon show and Stevie Johnson, but the fans for the most part can see these conflicts as what they are, not as anything respectable to take into a debate you may have with friends, family or coworkers. The caricature of the combative, crotchety reporter with a smartphone instead of a pencil and pad is simply too spot on to be missed. Meanwhile twitter during Bills games is generally enjoyable because after so many years we're all on the same page. There's jokes, there's the ebb and flow of hate and despair that comes from watching four one-possession games come down to the final drive or two. It's jovial. There's less nonsense.
If there was any week for me to skip a college football post, last week was the right one. There may have been a couple of games worth watching and Boise St-Fresno St was as fun a game as we've seen this year but otherwise it was as barren a slate of games as we've seen thus far. In other words it was the right weekend to fall into a drunken netflix wormhole until six am on the morning you were planning on posting, or to attend a Saturday wedding instead of being stuck watching games out of sheer boredom. Luckily, not only is this week not a repeat of that, it could arguably be the best slate of games this season. While you're all enjoying the action, I'll be tailgating at the UB game with a few friends, my stepdad and a few of his fellow buddies from their college days. I haven't been to a UB game in approximately fifteen years but after watching their instant classic against Stony Brook, I intend to tailgate this in a similar manner to Bills games- get hammered in order to make the sport taking place on the field (football in name only) more palatable. My agreement to go to this game simply shows that us at the Deeg will indeed tailgate anything, and if you're for some reason attending this grudge match against UConn, let's have beers.
Also, after forcing oneself to sit through last week's Bills game, I cannot urge tuning into college football on Saturdays enough. It really is remarkable to see what the sport is supposed to look like sometimes.
Now onto the games.
These college football previews are pretty much the one concentration at the deeg that keeps me sane. This past week began with the usual autopsy of another cockpunch from the Bills against New England with the general consensus being this one was much better because the cast was different. Then there was the realization that the first Bills blackout wouldn’t come in week ten but week two because I don’t know, you all love redzone too much? Now Sabres camp has started and I’m reminded that the Civil War in the fanbase makes Syria look capable of conflict mediation. Aside from the USA win in Columbus on Tuesday and the fact that my baseball team is currently going gangbusters on hapless assholes in the American League, it’s the usual September nonsense, albeit nonsense subject to change.
That’s what makes college football so enjoyable. Whether you have a favorite team or not, whether that team is the alma mater of yourself, a loved one or no one, the disassociation to the rest of our teams only helps our enjoyment of it. Not to mention the faster play and lack of soul-sucking television timeouts and extended replay breaks give the games a greater flow. Hell, for what it’s worth I certainly don’t encounter such confusion and idiocy in deciding what a catch means in the college game, which is good for something.
While I didn’t get to post last week for family reasons, I did get to watch some games, namely the Penn State victory and the Michigan- Notre Dame game, so long as drinking heavily with Scizz, JoeBuffaloWins and Jambrones while Yachtsman screams at the television counts as watching. Heading into this week I am assuming the entire discussion of the slate of games will center around one game since the media is generally unable to focus on more than one thing at a time, so my goal is to remind you all that there are many games this week for us to enjoy.
Let's do this
Brought to you by Jeff Tuel
To quote President Andrew Sheppard, I haven't done this in a really long time. For him that's jumping between the sheets with Annette Benning, for me that's posting on the blog, especially about college football. Not to mention the fact that the last time I discussed college football it meant addressing the fact that two of my most hated programs were facing each other for the National Championship. In hindsight I can't believe I kept myself from gleefully addressing the fact that Manti T'eo is dumber than the empty Keystone Light box that sits atop the mountain of empty cases in my apartment, especially given the fact that once again his family, his school and the media were able to explain away the whole thing by chuckling, shrugging and saying "aw shucks, he's just a simple kid from Hawaii." First off, IF he is just stupid, that stupid should not be used as an excuse but should be documented, analyzed and certainly mocked and insulted. Our view as a society toward idiots is disturbing and is yet another sign of the sure-fire decline of American society. Idiots should be treated with disdain, vilified, and as an object of scorn. They should not be cornerstone of one television station's programming lineup and the target audience for many others. This idea that it's okay to be stupid, to wallow in ignorance and shun both book and street sense is appalling. The Military Channel, my Waterloo of non-public broadcasting, aired a show last night called "Nazis vs. Aliens." I did not watch the show, which may have been a poor decision because if there really was a battle between Nazis and Aliens, then fuck those history professors who glossed this over because that battle must have been EPIC.
Buzzfeed idea: twenty-two reasons the battle between Nazis and Aliens was the most OMG battle of EVER.
Oh, and since I said "first off," the secondly of that is that if T'eo isn't stupid, then he completely made up said girlfriend with an accomplice in order to drive the narrative and create buzz around his Heisman credentials, draft stock and to a much lesser extent, his rapey teammates. For the record, I ascribe to this theory.
Well, there's 300 words you'll never get back. I am certain you've missed my contributions very much.
Anyway, this offseason has seen college football discussed at a level rarely seen before, certainly at a level I don't remember seeing before. Of course, almost none of this discussion revolved around the chances of the actual teams; you know, the minutiae that happens on Saturdays between existential discussions about the future of the game, who should get paid for what, how much the NCAA sucks and "what does it all MEAN, bro?" Don't get me wrong, I have my opinions on the business of college football and from what I've garnered, approximately 90% of fans and those who cover the game have one opinion whereas old white men- nay, VERY OLD WHITE MEN -and the NCAA have another view. As usual, 6% will answer "I don't know" because there's always an percentage of the population that fails to grasp the question. I'm in the 90%, but who the fuck cares? The NCAA is going to do what it does, players will get popped for bullshit and change will only come at the relative pace of continental drift. You know what is fun?
FOOTBALL!!!!! Football on Thursday's and Tuesday's and Friday's, football played by genetic freaks and frat bros born after the last Bills Super Bowl appearance, driven on by another blend of freaks who can manage to merge twenty-hour days with sociopathic pursuit of a goal that might get "stripped" from them some two years in the future anyways. I bet Sepp Blatter peruses college football messages boards to tell himself he's running a legit sporting operation. The NFL may have one guy who murdered some folks in cold blood, but I'm fairly certain every SEC coach has some mouthy assistant or snooping local reporter dissolving in acid in their bathtub as we speak. College football is the fucking tits.
With all the narrative given to one player, did you even know the season starts today? Can you name the top three teams in the AP poll? I know for sure I couldn't because until an hour ago I had the 3 and 4 flipped in my head. It's gotten to the point where not only, in a world with ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, NBCSN, FS1 and FS2, do we have to rely on ourselves to educate ourselves about the rosters, matchups, and (real) news in sports, we have to fucking rely on ourselves to be aware of when the goddamn GAMES are played. I'll be impressed in ESPN actually airs the full games this year and not a split screen with the game in one box and seven rich hyenas talking about the perils of being poor in 2013, but let's cross that river when we get to it around week five.
It's lamentable that's it's come to this because ultimately there's plenty of things to be excited about when it comes to the 2013 season. Will Alabama suck the excitement out of it again? (No.)Will Ohio State go from probabtion to national champs? (No.) Will Stanford, Georgia, or South Carolina take the next step? (Yes, no, yes.) How long until Teddy Bridgewater is the only thing about which anyone on telvision is able to form coherent sentences? (Sunday, 3:45pm) Will Notre Dame go back to disappointing their fans? (Yes.) Holy shit Northwestern is ranked? (Yes.)Will we get to say goodbye to the non-playoff era with one last clusterfuck between four undefeated or one-loss teams, the only send-off this time in the history of the sport deserves? (Christ I hope so.)
On to the Week one preview!
North Carolina at (6) South Carolina, 6pm ESPN
Does anyone know if this qualifies as a rivalry? Like, are people in South Carolina pissed that their nothern neighbor now has more oppressive voting laws than them? That has to sting, to fly that confederate flag for all these goddamn years only to find a state that voted for that damn Kenyan in 2008 is now doing a better job at telling students, the poor and minorities to go fuck themselves. Buck up South Carolinians, you'll always have Fort Sumter, Strom Thurmond and Jadeveon Clowney. I didn't catch much of him last year and if you're like me, this game is not only college football's opening day, it's your chance to see who this monster is and if he lives up to the hype through your own eyeballs. For once, my guess is he will, if only because I haven't seen a sniff of dissention from the consensus that is everyone buying into Clowney as a generational talent. Remember, we live in a time of sports commentary where everything is a debate; "who would win, Blackhawks or Heat," was an actual debate topic this season, yet I've not seen a soul willing to claim Clowney is overrated.
A couple weeks ago I joked that the first asshole to come up with some glib slogan to endorse a Bills tanking operation like "Clowning for Clowney" needs to be identified and exiled to Nunavut, but in the era of Tuel Time I suppose that would be harsh. If the only option for positivity come fall is watching Clowney and hoping for a 2-14 record, whatever, I can support that, especially given the state of the Bills defense.
South Carolina starts the season highly ranked yet in the SEC they always find themselves tripped up. They may lose to Georgia or Clemson, but it won't be both, and it would be the only loss they'll encounter this season.
Utah State at Utah, 8pm Fox Sports 1
I don't have much of a reason to support watching this game outside of the fact that the game above will be over, there's no CFL and college football is back. Utah is easily the non-southern state I either hate the most or would get into the most arguments with locals (or both). I honestly have no idea how they manage to manipulate non-Mormon 17 and 18 year-olds to submit themselves to Utah for a semester let alone a year or four. My guess is these schools attempt to use the Orthodox nature of BYU to make themselves appear to be the "hip" schools of Utah, which is like calling Blue Moon and Yuengling craft beers just because Bud Light Platinum is at the same serving station. Anyways, watch this game because the Utes have sharp uniforms and to see if FS1 can air their first college football game without fucking it up.
Buffalo at (2) Ohio State, 12pm, ESPN2
Of course you have to watch this game. UB has kind of made a niche of opening its season on the road and committing seppuku; it's been a thing for so many years I'm starting to wonder if it's less about the money and more about a masochistic athletic department. I mean, these games pull in a hefty payday for the visiting squad right? Theoretically, at some point this ploy should amass enough money for the athletic department and the football program that they won't have to embarrass themselves anymore and can play an opponent against which they would be more competitive and able to adapt to their future MAC opponents, right? Also, given the fact that the Bulls are supposed to be somewhat competitive and competing for their first bowl game since 2008 and perhaps even one played in the United States, maybe destroying their confidence against the future Big Ten champs isn't necessary. All that said, my Mom is marrying her long time boyfriend in Vegas this week and I told him to throw twenty on the Bulls to beat the spread. A 42-10 loss would get it done.
Rice at (7) Texas A&M, 1pm, ESPN
I'm almost certain I've never seen Rice play a football game before, or any other sport. I think Rice was involved in that play from the 50's where someone ran off the sidelines and tackled someone on their way to a sure touchdown, but I doubt their uniforms look the same. Probably some white helment that says "RICE" in cursive or something boring. A&M is favored by four touchdowns and I am certain some ESPN producer was going to end up running his car in the garage if Manziel didn't play, but of course he's going to play, and sitting a half in a game where you're favored by twenty counts. There is no way that a school, an entity built on making money and growing it's footprint in the SEC and Texas, sits their meal ticket a full game or more in order to prove a point, a stupid point at that. The NCAA created these stupid rules, they should be the ones forced to enforce those rules which then draws more attention to the sheer stupidity of those rules. Why should the school do the NCAA's dirty work? They would disappear into the margins of the SEC and suddenly those bros-in-training don't think College Station is that fun anymore.
For the record I love Johnny Football, and encourage all of you to watch as many games of his this season as possible. I could do a full post on him alone, but that's been done to death, turn on fucking Around the Horn if you want more. I will say this: I cannot desctribe how happy I am twitter didn't exist when I was in college.
Penn State v. Syracuse (at Metlife Stadium), 3:30pm, ABC
This is one of only two matchups between unranked teams in this week's preview and as per usual it goes to Penn State (if you're new here, PSU will always be featured in my weekly previews because fuck you that's why). I will be DVR'ing this game because I'm attending Wingfest this weekend and as I found out during the Cardiff City-Man City game last Saturday, I will have to go to semi-extreme levels to avoid the spoiling of this game until I get home to watch it.
There are numerous reasons to watch this game, especially to see how both teams do after losing their quarterbacks to the NFL and in Syracuse's case losing most of their coaching staff. Penn State opened last season losing to Ohio, then Virginia in a game where their kicker missed four field goals then rebounded to finish 8-4 including a loss to Nebraska on the final drive. Whether that was overachieving or not remains to play out over the final three years of the sanctions.
First, they have to settle on who replaces Matt McGloin at quarterback. Well, Bill O'brien has stated he's made up his mind but refuses to tell anyone so I guess it is settled. Somehow, true freshman Christian Hackenburg, the nation's top ranked quarterback recruit, kept his verbal commitment to Penn State even after finding out he would be unable to play for a bowl-eligible team until his Senior year. While I wouldn't be surprised for him to win the starting job later this season, my money is on JUCO transfer Tyler Fergeson starting Saturday in New Jersey, if only because he has been with the team since the spring. I am biased towards all things Penn State, which can then bleed into my Sabres bias, but I truly wouldn't be surprised to see the Nittany Lions in the top 25 at the end of the season. They won't beat Ohio State as usual, but 9-3 is certainly possible and after watching ESPN's mini-series surrounding the players and coaches summer preparation in State College, I am confident that even without some veteran leadership they will improve over last season.
Not to mention you have the two closest, biggest programs facing off in what dumb people call New York and the opportunity to say "see, Doug Marrone and Hackett were geniuses, Syracuse is LOST without them!" to help ease your Bills depression.
(1) Alabama v. Virginia Tech (Atlanta), 5:30pm, ESPN
I don't know, most people like watching the highest ranked team and defending national champion play, right? Well, for you there's this, the nation's best team sandwiched in between two games that I find far more intriguing. I suppose there's an off chance of a battle between Alabama and Virginia Tech hillpeople (seriously, if you're driving to Blacksburg from Buffalo and not from, say, Rochester or Syracuse, the drive is scary as all hell. Whereas with the latter, you get to take I-81 literally the entire way down and bypass all but a mile or two of West Virginia, the Buffalo route immerses you in far more of Appalachia than any good hearted northerner should be subjected to in a lifetime. Just make sure you get to Blacksburg during daylight because the last six hours are terrifying enough without the acute awareness that if you encounter car trouble you will likely not be heard from again), and there's nothing better to watch on television than hillpeople since you're in the safe confines of your own home.
Seriously, outside of McCarron and Yeldon I don't know anyone on the Crimson Tide, but I'm sure they'll win. Check back next week to see if I learned anyone else.
(5) Georgia at (8) Clemson, 8pm, ABC
Every year there is some week one matchup between a pair of top ten teams, and there's nothing more for me to add but my undying love for these matchups. Oddly despite my anti-Dixie views, I like both of these teams. Clemson caught me young because a) I didn't know where they were located until my 20's and b) I absolutely love the orange, the tiger paw, everything about it. Like George Costanza in velvet, I would ensconce myself in Clemson orange were it socially acceptable. Georgia on the other hand, while I do dig their jerseys, has been an "enemy of my enemy" situation for some time. I rooted hard for them in the SEC Championship last year and hated to see them fall just short, likely creating a BCS Championship clusterfuck which is always fun. Anyways, if Georgia wins this game I can see them landing in the championship this year. However, despite the fact that Clemson always seems to drop a game at home early on to torpedo their title hopes, I don't think that'll happen this year. Clemson wins in Death Valley.
(12) LSU at (20) TCU, 9pm, ESPN
TCU seems to always find themselves in the top 25 yet only get on national television when they find themselves up against a more highly ranked opponent. It has to be tough down there in (google search) Fort Worth, being the fourth most popular school in a football crazed state and handicapped by the fact that your "college town" is the fucking twin shitpiles of Dallas and Fort Worth. They're going to win all the games against bad teams, then lose all the games against good teams and possibly another in some random Thursday night upset. TCU lost to Michigan State by a point in the Buffalo Wings Bowl which is exactly the result I picture in such a bowl. LSU is back to being not just regular competitive but possibly SEC-competitive which is nice if only for the Alabama game where you ultimately hope for a bunch of injuries to avoid the inevitable glaucoma another LSU-Alabama BCS championship would bring.
(19) Boise State at Washington, 10pm, Fox Sports 1
Finally, the rematch of last season's Las Vegas Bowl that we've been waiting eight months for! I feel kinda bad for Boise State; they beat Oklahoma in one of, if not the best college football game I've ever seen several years back, blew a BCS bowl birth against Nevada a couple years later, and now find themselves in the large pool of talented teams that no one pays much attention to because they never threaten to shake up the BCS computers or polls. One of these years they, or another mid-major will grab a four seed, beat Alabama only to lose until Georgia in the championship and leave every crotchety, racist SEC pushing jackyl clammoring on about how the other schools just aren't as talented. It'll probably be true, but you'll just want to shove an ice pick into your ear when you're hearing it. Anyways, Washington isn't bad, it's a 10pm game and one of the best things of college football is that unlike baseball, there is always a late night west coast game to watch on a night where you don't have to get up in the morning. Sign me up all day for these games, the games where you get too invested in because you're 12 beers deep and you think this running back on the Huskies is suddenly a Heisman dark horse. These games are the fall lush's fantasy.
Ohio at Louisville, 3:30pm, ESPN
I'm guessing this is the first and only week ESPN can pull this crap with the NFL coming a week later. Of course come November if the options are a blacked out Bills game, a Nick Foles Eagles game or Bridgewater, I'd go Bridgewater. We definitely did not get many Louisville games last year and the few we did found their way to ridiculous weeknight schedules. I am confident that the monoliths that control college football programming will ensure that this temporarily unranked team does not repeat that fate this year. Louisville schedule is hilarious. If they don't go undefeated, the blame that will fall on him will certainly be hilarious and likely unjustified, it's just that no one else can name another guy on the Louisville roster. I can't wait for the Bills to go 2-14, get the second pick of the draft and then have Bridgewater decide to stay in college. Berls Mafia would egg that kid's house. The mafia are collectively that guy in Anchorman who says "nobody talks about my city that way!" except instead of a scary biker guy, they're a twibbon. Also, how long has the Bills mafia logo been painted on a house adjacent to the enterance road to the Fieldhouse? That is the worst thing I have ever seen, something that makes this athiest break down and pray that the Bills never get good if it means the camera of a national sports broadcast shows that abomination.
CFL Game of the Week:
Montral at Toronto, Tuesday, 8pm, NBCSN
This is only the game of the week because it's the only game nationally televised here. NBCSN loves to air Argos games, likely because they are the reigning Grey Cup champions and have Canada's biggest city and a bunch of other media nonsense but I hate watching games at the Rogers Centre. While many teams play either in smaller college stadiums or homey stadiums taylor made for their city's respective franchise, Toronto continues to plop the Argos down in one of the only multi-sport stadiums still in existence. It makes the crowds look smaller, takes them away from the action and generally makes watching them aesthetically less pleasing. Nevermind that since this is a Toronto game the stadium is filled with Colts, Steelers, Bears and other random NFL gear. It's as if Toronto fans feel that so long as is the same sport (which it arguably isn't), they can wear their jerseys. This was embarrassing when the Bills played there for obvious reasons but even more so when it's actually their own team, and a title holder at that.
But seriously, watch some CFL, it's hilariously entertaining shit.
Outlander's Predicted Conference Champions Without Explanation Because he's 3,500 Words in and Wants a Sandwich (Vanquished Championship Game Team in Parenthesis)
American Athletic (LOL): Louisville
ACC: Clemson (over North Carolina)
B1G: Ohio State (over Northwestern)
Big XII: Oklahoma State
Conference USA: Tulsa (over MIddle Tennessee State)
MAC: Northern Illinois (over Buffalo)
Mountain West: Boise State (over Fresno State)
Pac 12: Stanford (over Arizona State)
SEC: South Carolina (over Alabama)
BCS Championship: Stanford over South Carolina
Enjoy! And if you haven't yet, please check out yesterday's post by The Scizz and if you can, #SupportSally.
I see it has been some two months since I last posted, which is utterly unacceptable especially given the fact that I have more "free" time than I had back then. Of course there's also little movement from both of our professional sports teams and even college football season is a full two months away. This is a time for outdoor drinking, golfing and camping, not sitting around complaining about the Sabres and the draft or the Bills schedule. However, I'd like to think we won our little Trending Buffalo vote for reasons that didn't involve going months without posting, and when The Scizz even finds time to make a couple of posts, it's time for me to step it up, even if this disjointed post turned into complaining about the Sabres draft.
I'd like to talk about a team; a team with only a couple aging veterans with any memory of playoff success; a team filled with prospects barely removed from the minors; a team forced to cut ties with it's most loved and most successful coach, a team for which 2007 seems exponentially farther in the rear-view mirror than it has in six years; a team chosen by the local and national press, not to mention its die-hard fans, to find themselves chained to the basement of the division for years to come. This is a team that claimed to make offers to the top-flight free agents but for whatever reason continued to be turned down, as most speculated that the team brand had been tarnished, or at least that other franchises held much more appeal. Although the stars of this team are still capable of showing their brilliance when not struck by injury, it had become apparent months ago that those players were unhappy with management as well as the direction they felt the team was headed in. It's a team that is coming off their most disappointing season in well over a decade, whose fans were approaching this season just hoping for any reason to believe the team was heading in the right direction and maybe, two or three years down the row could simply return to the postseason. As for success there, well, let's not get ahead of ourselves.
As if you couldn't tell, this is obviously a post regarding the American League-leading Boston Red Sox.
Tomorrow night the longest lockout shortened season in the history of sports is coming to an end. Seriously, it’s only been three months; I have the schedule in front of me and everything. If you want highlights only, this will be a quick read for you: season opener, three Boston wins, comeback against Montreal, snapping Pittsburgh’s win streak. There, you can go back to whatever it was you were doing before you got here; I’m only writing this because the Wild Card is some sort of wunderkind and I’m feeling inadequate. Actually I’ll give you one more highlight: waking up at the gate in JFK at 7:30am after Occupy Newark, surrounded by dozens of people with only hazy recollection of how I got there. Probably should have just taken Scizz’s couch invite instead of taking a cab to the airport at 4am, but I am thankful for whatever TSA agent kindly let me through security.
That still-intoxicated confusion amongst the chaos of a crowded airport terminal is indicative of the season we just watched. What happened? Why was everything so terrible? Why am I still wearing this Vanek jersey? Well, I watched nearly every game and I don’t have the slightest goddamn clue. All I know is this is the first season I didn’t see a win in person since 2003-2004 and I’ve spent nearly all of those seasons in between living hours away. Well that, and that there were many specific things that came together like some sort of horrifying, malevolent Captain Planet to ruin our evenings three times a week.
At first I was just going to list all the things that were horrible about this season but as I got to eleven it struck me that first, with enough time this list could go on perpetually as if I was writing out the decimals in pi, looking for an end, and second, I wanted to identify what was worse than all the others; what, when matched up against the other “worst” things on the list, made the others look better. Think of this like a Bill Simmons' NBA trade value column, except you’ve heard of these names and I don’t get paid for it. To properly settle this, I decided to seed the eight worst entities about this season and match them up in a tournament format to see what exactly would come out on top (bottom?), along with my analysis.
To the seedings: 9 (Honorable Mention): John Scott
- I definitely bitched about his presence on the ice more than some of the things found below, but when compiling this list I felt he may have gotten a bad rap from me. First, we all knew coming in he wasn't skilled at hockey. Two, it wasn't his decision to put him in the lineup constantly, leaving talented- err, less awful
players scratched. However, he would have cracked my top 8 if it wasn't for his photobombing post-game interviews
late in the season. So, thanks to some stellar off-ice moves, Scott does not make the most hated tournament. But seriously, get the fuck off my team now. 8) Jochen Hecht:
I’m not sure what I hate more, his complete ineptitude on offense, the rare moments when that ineptitude disappears, or the fact that everyone involved in making organizational decisions loves this guy for reasons beyond understanding. Ruff, Regier and Rolston have raved about this statue and I haven’t the slightest fucking clue. Giving Hecht top line minutes was effectively hoping for a 1-0 win or a 2-1 overtime loss, and despite this I STILL don’t trust them to cut ties after this season. He’s a fucking 80’s horror villain. Go away. 7) Drew Stafford:
Fuck Drew Stafford. Thanks for those two shootout goals I guess, dickface. 6) The Buffalo News:
This is primarily a credit to their belief that all the teams ills would have been solved if the owner had commented about Regier or the Pominville trade. Watching them slowly melt down during the season into petulant children was pretty funny when I wasn’t annoyed by the pettiness and lack of professionalism by people who actually do get paid to write for a living. Plus they’re fucking creepy. Solid dark horse as a six seed
Tonight the Buffalo Sabres take to the ice in the land of meth labs and man-eating sinkholes to attempt to do something they haven’t done once during this mercifully shortened season: win their fourth hockeypucks game in a row. If Winnipeg and Philadelphia win their games in regulation, the Sabres will suddenly find themselves one point removed from the final playoff spot with a game in front of 13,000 empty seats on deck Thursday night in the Everglades. Ten of their final fourteen games will be played at home and, despite all of this, some of you are despondent, downtrodden, terrified that they might win, that they might turn that puncher’s chance into a playoff berth.
Why is this case? Well the prevailing logic seems to be that the team is better served by finishing with a top three draft pick, buttressed by the sweeping assumption that if the Sabres sneak into the playoffs, Darcy Regier will be rewarded with keeping his job and this team will be thrown into some sort of perpetual mediocrity as true as our orbit around the sun. I can’t say I don’t understand this logic; the idea of giving this general manager a second crack under Pegula at assembling a roster would accomplish little more than hemorrhaging the fanbase and leaving us a few more years closer to death without a sniff at a cup. What I don’t understand is how people are willing to assume that this is black and white, that wins equal the general manager staying. Because drive-time radio pronounces it true? Because a WGR beat reporter who spent the entire football season telling you Chan Gailey wasn’t going anywhere is now saying the same about Darcy? Because TBN staff members that haven’t broken a team story since the Ford administration pronounce it true? For shame.
I don’t know what the owner thinks about the general manager’s future. Neither do you and neither do any of the local media. What I do know is management espoused a three-year plan to win a Stanley Cup (that has been shot to shit) and pledged to win multiple Stanley Cups under the new owner. I know the owner allowed or ordered the firing of a coach that had been involved with the team for the better part of three decades. I know that perennial eighth place finishes and first round exits are quite removed from the sixteen wins that it takes to win a championship. I know that no one who builds a business worth more than a billion dollars does so by accepting continuous underachievement and incompetence.
I also know that telling the fans that they’re being neglected, ignored and mistreated sells papers and ad space, and allows fans to wallow in the “woe is us” attitude that gets ingrained into your DNA at conception in this region. I know it’s the safe column to write, the safe position to take. I know Pominville, Vanek and Miller have contracts that expire after next season and the general manager himself has already bucked tradition and stated to local and national outlets that any changes that will be made will be focused on next season.
My point is that there’s at least enough empirical evidence to argue that the general manager is gone no matter what happens short of a conference finals appearance, right? There’s more than enough evidence to support the idea that columnists and radio hosts are trolling the fanbase by using Darcy as a boogeyman to get you to tune in or use one of your ten free page views (I’m not silly enough to assume any of our readers are also TBN subscribers).
Making it harder to accept even a slight run of success is the fact that we had finally embraced, welcomed the idea of hitting rock bottom. After half a decade of mediocrity this was going to be the year we finally said “fuck it,” and took the losses laughing instead of crying. We were ready, and then these, these ASSHOLES had to go and start winning! God can’t they do anything right!?