Thursday, December 06, 2007

Things I Don't Understand #2

...why must I, as a college football fan continue to be forced to put up with the BCS and not be allowed to wallow in the majesty that a playoff would be? Or, how many times will I have to write this particular post? Yes, it's that time of year. The point where I tell you how it should actually work, you agree, and then we all look at how great it would be.

First, if you don't think we need a playoff system after this most recent incarnation of college football then I guess you don't care about college football or you've ceased to produce brainwaves. Just one more argument, though, just to make me feel better. Am I the only one that detected an odor of fishiness when LSU ended up in the championship game by winning in a lackluster effort that somehow enabled them to jump over three teams that didn't lose, and one that actually had a more impressive win? The more obvious reasons? One, most years we seem to be a little too iffy on who the champion should be. Two, the current system essential locks out smaller schools or traditionally weaker conferences. A playoff system would kill like eight birds with one stone. Now to my plan.

I want to apologize to some that have been following along the whole time, but I'm going to go over the entire thing again. First, it will have 16 teams. Eight can't work because you still have some conferences automatically locked out. And any less than 8 (4 or the "Plus 1" option) still leaves us with a good probability of the same problems we now seek to alleviate. Second, and this may be the most controversial aspect of my plan. All conferences will get an automatic bid. There are currently 11. The one that you can't think of is called the Sun Belt. Yes, I would give them an automatic bid, too. I will add one caveat...more than four losses and you're out. Just in case one of those lowly conferences champions has a rough non-conference record. I include every conference because if they're in Division I, excuse me, the FBS (aka Football Bowl Subdivision) they should have a chance to win. If you don't think they should be included, then get them out of Division I...I mean the FBS. Next, I will limit each conference's participation to three teams. With only 5 at-large bids, it would rarely be implemented...but just in case. We would still use some sort of BCS poll to get our at-large teams and then seed them accordingly. Now, before we get to our mythical playoff bracket there's a couple of things I want to go over.

There are still some people out there that throw out arguments that we don't need a playoff system because each week of the regular season is it's own playoff. That is just patently false. As you can see from this year, both of the teams playing for the title lost their second to last game of the season. Which also just goes to show you that the whole, "It's okay to lose early in the season but not late," is just a sports myth. I just think a little more objectivity needs to be added to the situation. So finally the bracket. Look just look at how glorious this would be.

Oh, the Sun Belt champ. stays at home because Florida Atlantic finished the year at 7-5. That's more than 4 losses folks, so there's one extra at-large bid (Illinois celebrates).

(1) Ohio State - Big 10 Champ (BCS #1)
(16) Bowling Green - Mid-American Champ (NR)

(8) Kansas - At large (#8)
(9) West Virginia - Big East Champ (#9)

(5) Georgia - At large (#5)
(12) Florida - At large (#12)

(4) Oklahoma - Big 12 Champ (#4)
(13) Illinois - At large (#13)

(3) Virginia Tech - ACC Champ (#3)
(14) BYU - Mountain West Champ (#17)

(6) Missouri - At large (#6)
(11) Arizona State - At large (#11)

(7) USC - Pac 10 Champ (#7)
(10) Hawaii - WAC Champ (#10)

(2) LSU - SEC Champ (#2)
(15) Central Florida - Conf. USA Champ (#27)

So that's what it would look like. Just think of how magical that first week would be. With eight games, they would probably have to be played over two days. But what a glorious two days they would be. Honestly, there's probably only 3 first round games that you might be ok with missing. Oh, and the first team that got left out of the playoffs? That would Boston College at 14. As I've said before, wouldn't be better if the argument was over who was the fourteenth best team in the country instead of the third best team?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Things I Don't Understand #1


Yes, it's been awhile. I would apologize, but I know you wouldn't accept it so...let's just say I've been away. So hello to everyone, with a special shout-out to the "6 or betters". If it makes you feel any better, I've missed you too.

I should also tell you the blog is in for a change, or maybe we'll just call it a takeover. For the foreseeable future all posts will entail things I don't understand in no particular order. The list is obviously quite long, so I suspect this could last...well forever. Good times. With all that preamble out of the way, let's just get to it. Things I don't understand #1:

People on airplanes sitting by the window but acting like they don't want to look out.
Let me speak directly to that person. "Come on, are you serious. We're 35,000 feet up, hurtling through the air at 500 miles per hour and you're not interested at all? Surely you jest. In case you haven't noticed the view up here is kinda cool. I mean, we were just IN a cloud! That car down there on the country road looks so tiny it's has to be fake. But it's not! It's all real! Despite what Leonardo and professors and physics might suggest, 200 people in a metal tube should not be flying. But were doing it! Also, lightning up here is really a whole different experience. And if you don't think getting a look at a city at night from the sky is worthwhile I don't really know what can done for you. You might already be dead. Yes, I see that you are a professional traveler and you're really busy and you're already counting the minutes until these insufferable fools realize how important you are and let you turn your blackberry back on, but does that mean you have to deny all those seated down the aisle the knowledge of whether that noise was actually the wing falling off or not?" Ok, back to me.

I guess it could just be me. I just can't believe that anyone wouldn't want to see what was going on out there at all times. I guess I just can't grasp how anyone, young or old, doesn't find the birds-eye view completely fascinating. I guess it's possible that I'm the only one who fights the urge to resort back to being a two-year old every time on anything that actually goes up in the air. Even so, I still don't understand those people.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

My New Mancrush

...Juan Pablo Toja
He was acquired by FC Dallas at the beginning of the season. He's 22, got rock star hair, and a great game. He always hustles(in soccer they call that an excellent work rate), has great skill on the ball and generally makes you glad you showed up for the game. Earlier this week I watched him steal a ball, then as he tried to break free from a defender get knocked down, but still found a way to pass the ball from the ground with his knee. It also doesn't hurt that he's 6'1", 175. That may not sound that big, but in soccer--especially when you're not a defender-- it's practically huge. He tends to run over people and generally cause havoc to the opposing team. What makes him great is that he's a scrapper that actually has size and skill. Rarely do you see those together. Below is a video of the Columbian made by FC Dallas on his announcement to the All-Star team that might give you some idea what I mean.

That last goal in video? The one that might have you asking how he scored it. I don't know either. If you go HERE and click on the video for "06/09: Juan Toja punches ball into net" you can get a little better view of it, but I'm not sure you'll have any idea how he did it.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Friday, April 20, 2007

For Bryan

Below is video of Lionel Messi and a goal he scored earlier in the week. Messi is only nineteen and starting for one of the best soccer clubs in the world, Barcelona, along side Ronaldinho. Messi has often been called the next Maradona, which is soccer's equivalent of being called the next Jordan in basketball. Oddly enough, this goal looks scarily similar to one of Maradona's greatest goals, which you can see as well. Oh, BTW a great or very impressive goal is typically referred to as a golazo.

No, I don't know what's wrong with the play-by-play guy, I think he really likes soccer and Messi. Which reminds me, the title of the today's post is such because this is Bryan's favorite player. I will not even go into the depths that Bryan's man-crush for Messi delves. But I don't think it's normal. I think it involves bodily fluids, and I'll leave it at that.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Death of Pretty

I know I'm probably sealing my fate as single on every questionnaire for the rest of my life by evening mentioning this, much less writing about it, and ensuring those few members of the fairer sex that don't hate me already will join the throng, but hey what do you really care? Oddly enough, this observation stems from my trip to Germany but has nothing to do with soccer. A recent conversation with a friend reminded me of it and turned into something for you to read (and then become disgusted with me over). Are you ready for me to get to it? Fine, I will. It is simply this. Women, girls, females...basically all the people I come in contact that cause immediate confusion...Ladies, here in the U.S. of A.... they don't wear dresses anymore.

It's a little odd really, I go to stores and I see dresses. I see women looking at dresses on the rack and gasping, "How cute!" I think I might have witnessed a woman buy a dress before. I've even seen a woman's closet a time or two, they own dresses. But were it not for the fact that I go to church regularly, I'm not sure I would ever see them. I brave to bring this up for a myriad of reasons but really only one. It's sad. And honestly, it's probably not as sad for the ladies as it is for the men.
I will now speak for all men whether they permit it or admit it, and I'm talking to all the non-men. We like it when you wear dresses. You look good when you wear a flowy skirt... or even a not-so-flowy-one. We're not saying you don't look good in jeans, or shorts, or maybe even jorts (that's jean shorts) but when you wear something sans cuffs we are reminded where we stand. We are reminded that you are the attractive ones and we are the ugly ones. We are reminded what wars are actually fought over. We are reminded why we go through whatever it is we might respectively go through to just be in close proximity to you for long periods of time though it seems somewhat counter-intuitive. We are reminded that you are a woman.

We like that. We also like that fact that we're not a woman but that's a completely separate post. I might just be stricken with some odd good-ol-days syndrome, but the fact that we've come so far from the days where my mom was required to wear dresses to school everyday until she graduated has me flustered and forlorn. Listen ladies, I'm not saying you have to wear one everyday, I'm just saying every once in while reach past the capris or stretch pants and throw on a sundress...or little black dress...or maybe an a-line pleated skirt. Whatever you choose will be fine, I'm sure. There, I'm let the hate begin.



Monday, February 19, 2007

One last thing

Ok, I thought I was finished with the World Cup, but there was one day left unaccounted ... What's up America? The last day of our trip--well not counting the next morning we left for the airport-- was allotted for the last first round (and overall) game for the US. They would be playing Ghana in Nuremburg. It's a quaint little town. See (view photos).

Unfortunately, we only had about an hour to explore because we had to leave for the damn Fan Fest. I'm sorry, did I say damn. Anyway...Most, ok all, of this time was spent searching for and then purchasing souvenirs. Since this was the last day, no more room for procrastination.

So we went to Fan Fest and were so underwhelmed that we almost perished before we were able to get through security. We stopped long enough to replenish our life force via some Polish dish and made our way to the stadium for the game. The highlight of that trip would have to be when I looked up and realized we were walking on the infamous Nazi parade stand. Creepy. We arrived at the stadium in anticipation of a great game. Keep in mind that with a U.S. win, the Americans were almost guaranteed to go through to the next round and that the same U.S. team were overwhelming favorites in the game.

So, imagine the feeling when after 22 minutes and a fairly rough tackle/steal of Claudio Reyna the ball hit the net behind Kasey Keller and Reyna's World Cup career ended. O.K. Reyna limped around for about 10 minutes before being substituted out, but you know what I mean. Oddly enough, I think I had said before the game if Ben Olsen ever saw the field during the World Cup that would mean the U.S. was either in big trouble or winning by 4 goals. Guess who substituted for Reyna...yeah. Despite all that, our spirits were quite lifted when Clint Dempsey pounded in the equalizer with just a couple of minutes until half time. Unfortunately, a couple of minutes was more than enough time for the German referee to make one of the worst calls in the history of the sport and screw the entire United States of America. Ironically, I had been happy to hear that the referee was German when he was announced at the beginning of the game. I was not as happy after he awarded one of the worst penalty kicks (that turned into the deciding goal) to Ghana.

I go through all that to let you know that after the game ended I had one more of my soccer hooliganism attacks. Well, maybe not a full out attack, but I was yelling things and wishing evil. I was even mad at the cops. Yeah, I don't know. Let's just say it one of those times I got caught up in the moment.

The other thing from the game I wanted to mention was the seating. Once again, why the heck can't the Germans get this seating organization down? Instead of just having one seat separated from the rest, the Krauts decided to kick it up a notch for our last game. Please note that we had 3 seats in the same section on the same row with consecutive seat numbers (Block: 24 Row:13 Seats: 30-32). OK? Got it? So that would mean the three of would be sitting together, right? Uh...not even close. The picture you see is of Lisa taking a picture from her seat as Bryan and I sit in ours. So in between Bryan and Lisa's seat is an aisle. Between Bryan and myself? That would be the ramp into the stadium. Oh, and there's a aisle right on the other side of my seat just to bring the point home. How much German beer do you have to drink to ever think this would meet with any one's approval?

So we left the game, I had a chocolate croissant and rode the train back to Munich. I had a tense and almost heated confrontation with a German girl who refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of my seat reservation. But who cares about that?

That was it...I hope. And just in case your still wondering, yes, I had a good time.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Munchen is where we party

...It's not like we didn't party in Heidelberg...but...anyway.

Sure this post is about 6 months late, but I always fulfill my promises and finish what I started, not matter how absurb. So we rolled into Munich on a Sunday, I think. And let me just say that if you ever get a chance to take a summer train ride from Heidelberg through the lush hills of Bavaria to Munich, you should at least consider it. So we arrived at the train station, excuse me...the Hauptbahnhof, around noon and found our hotel. Almost a little too easily if you ask me. Once again we experienced the greatness of being on the top floor of a hotel without elevators (yea us!), but it was only the 4th floor. Well, except for the fact that they don't count the first floor, so it was actually the 5th (yea Germany!).

We had already decided that Sunday would be a rest day of sorts, no actual activities planned, but we wanted to get a lay of the land so embarked to grab something to eat and see what we could see. We quickly discovered that our hotel was mere feet from Karlplatz (yea us!) and not much further, obviously, from Marienplatz, home of the famous glockenspiel. We found a restaurant, Italian, and returned to the hotel by way of gelato (yea gelato!). We begrudgingly decided we needed to do laundry (boo dirty!). Unfortanatly, being German not only means you can't give decent directions in English; it also means you can't properly write an "X" on a map. After about 45 minute of wondering around in the hot sun (boo hot sun!), we decided we would try again the next day. After some rest, we undertook the daunting task of not only finding a suitable place to eat, but one where we could watch the game. By the game I meant the Brazil-Austrailia game, of course. By the time we wondered in and out of several establishments, including the famed Hofbrauhaus, tensions were rising. Luckily my keen ears honed in on the sound of sports announcers and we realized we were standing right outside just the place for which we were looking (yea me!). A good German beerhouse with good German food and bitter German women serving us. I feel like I should mention this was the first time on our trip that we encountered the "What language are you speaking?" face. We had heard Bavarians were hard-core about their Germaness (it's probably a made up word, but you can deal) and we found that to be true as we encountered this over and over again. We settled in with our food and our litres (that means beer) (yea litres!). We had a decent viewpoint of the makeshift screen and plenty of interested fans. BTW, and I guess I send this out to all the single guys, there are worse places to be than the same room with a number of Brazilian and Austrailian chicks...just sayin (yea hot chicks!).

**We must now take a break from our normal trip coverage to play a round of "Gay/not Gay":
You're in a foriegn land (Germany), in a public restaurant and you decide that your "mate" (you're Austrailian) needs face paint. He needs it now. And you need to give it to him. And by give it to him, I mean you need to sit on his legs while stradling them to make sure you have the proper angle to apply said face paint.
Yeah, I know. It's the supergayest thing I've ever seen. BTW, taking that picture and not getting beat up by a bunch of drunk Aussies was not easy.

Where were we? Oh yeah, Brazil won and that was that (yea Brazil!). Day 2 was the day of the (fanfare) walking tour (yea walking tour!). First we did our laundry, but then we got right to the walking tour (yea walking tour!). We saw Karlplatz, Frauenkirche, Marienplatz (see photo above), Neues Rathaus (New town hall - same photo), and Altes Rathaus (Old town hall). Of course we had to stop and have some lunch at the Marienplatz, but we got right back on the horse. Next was Peterskirche, where I actually stopped and prayed. Oddly enough, we walked out the church and almost immediately came upon this woman. Now, I want to be absolutely clear and say that in no way did my prayer have anything to do with photogenic woman who happen to be scantily clad in traditional German garb. But who am I to question God? I've been told He works in mysterious ways (yea God!). We went on to see Alter Hof (it was actually under complete
construction so all you could see was scaffolding and plastic sheets), the National Theater, the Residenz, Feldherrnhalle, and then Theatinerkirche. I must say, that eventhough all three churches we visited that day were impressive, this was by far the best. From there we headed through the Hofgarten to our final destination of the day, the Chinesischer Turm beer garden in the Englischer Garten. We made our way through Englischer Garten, which is no easy task considering it's bigger than Central Park and features such distractions as cricket matches, nude sunbathers and surfing. Yes, you read that right, I said surfing. Anyway, we and our weary legs finally made it to beer garden (yea beer garden!).

What a sight, I'm guessing there were between 500-750 people settled into picnic tables under the cheastnut trees enjoying soccer and beer, not necessarily in that order (yea soccer, yea beer!) We found an empty table and then quickly found some beer (yea beer!). As you might be able to see from the picture, the beers were quite large(yea litres!). So we enjoyed our heffes, the game, and I made eyes at some girl a couple of tables over (we would have had a picture of her if the only member of the traveling party who supposedly wasn't drinking hadn't forgotten all the sudden how to focus a camera). Ok, so we had some beer (yea beer!) and I also had the greatest roasted chicken and potatoes ever created (yea food!) So, after about 2-3 hours and 2 beers we had our fill (for the time being). Keep in mind those beers were a litre in size. Let's just say that fact, in combination with my fairly short drinking resume my have resulted in a an all-time first. But you have to wait to the end of the post to decide that for, now, don't jump ahead. I might have also confiscated a litre mug as a keepsake(yea stupid American teenage girls who don't know what a deposit is!). I then lead us back to the hotel by way of gelato (yea gelato!) despite my alcohol intake(yea superior orientation skills).

Oh, I should mention that on the way back we had a couple of other encounters. One, all throughout town that day we continually ran into lions. Not real ones obviously, but the fiberglass variety in various stances, colors, and commercial allegiences. Lisa had decided earlier in the day that someone one have to pose with each one we saw. It seems like we found about half of them on the trek back. Here's some pics so you know what I mean:

The other encounter occurred when we came about a smaller beer garden and some people leaving after the game. As we approached I first noticed the three fairly attractive ladies. I then noticed that they were Australian(at this point in the trip it was pretty easy to do). I also noticed they were with some guys, but who cares about that. At that point I decided to start a cheer and see what would happen. So I (possibly with some influence of the two litres) yelled, "Aussie Aussie Aussie!", and on cue and without pause the ladies replied, "Oi Oi Oi!" I raised my stolen glass and gave a final "Woo-hoo!" in salute as we never broke stride. Unbeknownst to me, at the same time two feet away, a debate was raging when Bryan thought about doing the same thing. Unfortunately for him, he ran it by Lisa. And since the debate on my side was between me and myself (with some fine points from the two litres), I blurted it out before a consensus had been reached.

That was day two in Munich. I proclaimed then and will do the same now. The greatest day of the trip. No question. The next day wasn't bad either. We traveled to Prien am Chiemsee home to one of Mad King Lugwigs castles, Herrenchiemsee. He attempted to build an exact replica of Versailles, unfortunately he ran out of money. I was still cool. We also got close enough to see the Alps (yea mountains!). We headed back into town and after dinner that night and watched the Germans root against England at another beer garden closer to the hotel.

Day four was a little more somber, at least early on. We went to see Dachau. Nothing says happy day like a visit to a concentration camp. I'm glad I went. I think it's something everyone should do. I just don't know if I ever need to do it again. To follow that up we wondered aimlessly around the town for about and hour and half. That could have been my fault, but I'm going to give a big assist to the street signs "pointing" to the train station. If only they had all been pointing the same direction. We dropped Lisa off at the hotel and then headed for the Fan Fest in Munich just to prove that they all were lame. Success! Bryan and I then made the decision to try to recreate some of the magic of days past and returned to Chinesischer Turm (yea beer gardens!). We each had a litre but it wasn't the same. Mainly because we had to leave, I think.

We then returned to the hotel and hatched a plan to have dinner at Hofbräuhaus and then possibly watch the game that night at a separate hall or beer garden since we didn't think there was a TV there. We left and were confronted with quite a rain storm. We got to Hofbräuhaus relatively unscathed and discovered that finding a table might not be a given. Despite its size, we realized there were no empty tables in the main dining hall. Since that's where all the action was, we found a booth with only 3 people (they would seat between 6-8) and asked if we could join. They obliged and we soon found out that not only were they Americans, but were from Austin ("It a Small World" starts playing in the background). We enjoyed hours of eating, drinking (yea more beer!), conversing and singing with our new friends whose names we never got (boo us!). Because we were having such a good time, and because it was raining cats and dogs, we never made it anywhere else. We took one last walk trough the Marienplatz since it would probably be our last day in Munich as the next day we would be traveling to Nuremburg to watch the U.S. lose (that's all I'm saying about that day).

Obviously, Munich was great. I hope to go back. What else can I say? I just whipped you with like 10,000 words about it. What's that? Oh yes, the "all-time first". Well, I usually use this space to impose my will and poke fun and kick others in crouch. But today, for you dear reader, I will take assume the position and take a wide stance....Enjoy.