Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Weekend in Review

"I'm Actually Doing My Own Work" Edition

NCAA Football

Division 1-AA Final: James Madison 31, Montana 21: The Chattanooga sod was in terrible condition, and in the end power pulled the train. James Madison won their first 1-AA championship when their running attack bested the passing attack of those perennial powerhouses from Missoula. It was like a video game, I kid you not - James Madison went entire drives without passing, and The Griz went entire drives without rushing. Ah well, at least Monte is still in the Capital One Mascot Challenge for another year.

Division II Final: Valdosta State 36, Pittsburg State 31: Pittsburg is not a state, and it's not located in Pennsylvania (it's in Kansas). They also didn't win the game.

Division III Semifinal: Mary Hardin-Baylor 38, Mount Union 35: Perennial DIII powerhouse Mount Union suffered just the third loss in their last 123 games. UMHB scored 17 points in the final quarter, including a go-ahead TD with 35 second left to advance to the finals. The last two losses for the Purple Raiders of Mount Union both came in playoff games - in the 1999 semifinals against Rowan and in the 2003 finals against St. John's Minnesota. Mary Hardin-Baylow fell to Linfield 28-21 in the DIII finals.


Chargers 21, Browns 0: Well, is it time to look toward next year and try to find positives? Lee Suggs had 105 yards rushing in his first game back behind a line that had 1 opening day starter playing. Luke McCown, who Hal Lebovitz tabs as a potential starter in 2005, went 11-27. But, considering he played in temperatures that were probably 50 degrees colder than the Lousiana Tech product has ever seen (-10 with windchill), and considering the number of drops the Browns receivers had.

Vikings 28, Lions 27: By now, you probably all know that this game was lost on a botched extra point snap. Steve Mariucci did the class thing and consoled his rookie long snapper, but of course the media "experts" went the "that's his job, and he didn't do it." Oh really? Well, would you agree that a wide receiver's job is to catch passes. The Lions' snapper has only "not done his job" once, but here's a look at how many times the NFC's top receivers have "not done their jobs."

Texans 24, Bears 5: Mike, at least I understand how you feel when it comes to a Revolving Door of Suck at QB.

Colts 20, Ravens 10: It was amusing to watch Peyton Manning and Ray Lewis try to out-audible each other on each play. Of course, I'm still not sure if Lewis was trying to audible, or just running around screaming like an idiot. My vote is "idiot." On another note, my sense of credibility in ESPN dropped another 6 notches when Stuart Scott pointed out that, after the game, class guy Manning shook hands with Lewis, "another class guy." Wow, so I can have four illegitimate children and be involved in a double murder, and that's still classy? Bring on the women, let's start makin' babies!

Dolphins 29, Patriots: Charlie Weis obviously can't handle ND and New England coach at the same time, especially since he was the defensive coordinator and special teams coach for this game, and also personally threw 4 interceptions. Wait, what?

Transaction Wire

A's trade Tim Hudson to the Braves for Ps Jose Cruz and Dan Meyer and OF Charles Thomas. Well, this is a great trade for the Braves, but the A's don't come out too badly. Meyer is supposedly a great prospect. Cruz has been inconsistent, but Oakland does need bullpen help and can obviously develop someone with Cruz's potential. Thomas came on like gangbusters last year, and is a great Timo Perez-esque backup outfielder on a playoff team.

A's trade Mark Mulder to the Cardinals for Ps Danny Haren and Kiko Calero and C Daric Barton. Well, St. Louis's lack of an overpowering starter really came out in last year's world series. The A's get a starter with huge upside and a solid reliever. Plus, they needed a catcher.

Red Sox sign Matt Clement and Wade Miller. Grumble grumble. Does this mean we can add Boston to the list of teams with bottomless pockets? They're underdogs no more.

Angels sign Orlando Cabrera and release David Eckstein. Anaheim was once the poster child of a small payroll that succeeded. Now, they're spending like there's no tomorrow. Could someone convince the Indians to pick up Eckstein?

Giants sign Moises Alou. He was a great match next to Sammy Sosa in the lineup. The Giant lineup featured no pop outside of Barry Bonds, so this is a good pickup.

Dodgers sign JD Drew and reportedly pull out of the Randy Johnson blockbuster. Vasquez and the two prospects (3B and C, the two positions LA needed to fill) are actually good additions, but when you look at what the D-backs and Yanks got, this wasn't a great deal for the Dodgers. Meanwhile, we'll have to see if Jim Tracy can properly manage things so Drew's injuries don't occur at the same time as Milton Bradley's suspensions.

Miscellaneous Ramblings

  • So, apparently the winner of "The Apprentice" was Kelly Perdew. Who forgot to tell runner-up Jennifer Massey that she was supposed to Beat Perdew!?

  • VH1 recently held their "Big in '04" awards ceremony. Included was an award for "Big Catchphrase in '04." Wait, and I wasn't invited to be the presenter? Of course, getting that close to Paris Hilton (winner of the award for "That's hot.") would probably make me even stupider than I already is.

  • Ugh, after watching the last Browns game, I'm convinced that the NFWW would make a better GM than Butch Davis.

  • Indians GM Mark Shapiro pulled out all the stops while trying to recruit Mark Clement. Clement's agent jokingly accused Shapiro of cheating when Clement got a phone call from LeBron James extolling the virtues of Cleveland fans.

  • Back to the Nick/Lou Saban thing. Lou, if you remember, was a coach for the Bills in the 60s. It turns out that Nick's middle name is "Lou," and the two are related. Various websites list Lou as a cousin, uncle, or "distant relative" of Nick. My guess is that Lou is a cousin of Nick's dad, or something similar.

  • After mass on Saturday, my parents, sister, grandparents and I went to a local restaurant. As soon as we're seated, the restaurant's owner walks over carrying three bottles of booze and shotglass-sized paper cups. After speaking to my granpa in Polish for a bit (my grandparents know the owners of all the area ethnic restaurants), the owner offers to have a shot with all of us. (Apparently, he does this every year at Christmastime.) "Appetizers!" the owner shouts in joy, of course in a European accent you can't quite put your finger on. After we finish, the owner moves to the next table to have a drink with the patrons who have just been seated there. Ah, good times.

  • On Monday night, Al Michaels described the weather in Miami as a "chilly 55." Tuesday morning, I took the dog out before work, and it was a "warm 24." (Compared to the arctic front that came through over the weekend, 24 really did feel warm.)