Sunday, December 31, 2006

Bowl Picks, Part 4 (and Bowl Ratings)

As promised, the last round of non-BCS bowl picks, along with corresponding bowl ratings.

These bowls are the appetizers for the more prestigious BCS bowls. These bowls feature conference runners-up as well as teams with recognizable names. New Year’s Day is not what it once was, but it’s still a good day to hang out in front of the tube and watch TV.

Outback Bowl at Tampa: Penn State vs. Tennessee. Penn State had a decent year, but more importantly, has a lot of fans and a coach that coached when Jesus turned water into wine. Tennessee was having a good year, before losing late games to Arkansas and LSU. Tennessee, on paper, should win big. Pick: Phat Phil’s Big Orange
This is a relatively young bowl, having begun in the 80’s. It pays well, is in a great location, and is played in the Pirate Ship, the Bucs’ state-of-the-art NFL stadium. They have the 3rd pick from both the Big Ten and the SEC, giving them quality teams and large traveling fan bases. This is not the best bowl out there, but is far from the worst. Rating: 3.4
AT&T Cotton Bowl at Dallas: Nebraska vs. Auburn. Nebraska comes into this game as champions of the Big XII North. This is better than winning District 8-5A, but is not anywhere close to winning something like the NFC East, or even the Big XII proper. Still, Nebraska will show up. Auburn was picked by many to win the national championship, but got their fannies kicked in a couple of home games by Arkansas and Georgia. If War Eagle shows up to play, they win. There's not a whole lot of excitement for this one, as $95 tickets are selling for as little as $12. Pick: Auburn
This game is a shell, or even a caricature, of its former self. This bowl has a great history, and is one of the original New Year’s Day bowl games. It is now the laughing stock of the Big XII. The breakup of the Southwest Conference accelerated its decline, but the bowl made a devastating choice by staying in the decaying Cotton Bowl stadium in Fair Park. The bowl had a chance to join the original Bowl Coalition, but would have had to move to Texas Stadium. The poohbahs in Dallas nixed that idea. Now, it is a second-banana bowl. It still pays well, and gets the second choice from the Big XII, against an SEC team. It also suffers from an outrageously early starting time, at 10:30 AM local time (formerly 10 AM), mandated by the SEC’s contract with the Capital One Bowl. The SEC has a no-compete clause in their contract with the Capital One Bowl, keeping any other conference team from playing opposite that bowl. The Cotton Bowl is forced to play at breakfast to have a better chance at a decent matchup. Between the stadium, the neighborhood, the unpredictable weather, and the starting time, this bowl has become a joke among fans in the Big XII. Still, the bowl pays well, and has oodles of tradition. They need to get on the phone with Jerry and get into the new Cowboys stadium when it opens. Rating: 3.6
Gator Bowl at Jacksonville: West Virginia vs. Georgia Tech. West Virginia was a contender for the BCS for most of the season, but suffered an inexplicable loss to South Florida late in the season. Georgia Tech won their division in the ACC, but lost an ugly ACC championship game. Now, senior QB Reggie Ball is academically ineligible for the bowl game. West Virginia is celebrating the retention of coach Rich Rodriguez, who is one of the 6,000 coaches to turn down the Alabama job. Pick: West Virginia
This bowl has been around for a long time, and has had many great games. It is played in a quality NFL stadium, and gets a good matchup between the ACC and the Big East. They will get to choose a Big XII team two of the next three years, as well. The bowl is on CBS this year, after a long run on NBC. There are worse places than Jacksonville. Overall, this is a pretty good bowl. Rating: 3.8
Capital One Bowl at Orlando: Arkansas vs. Wisconsin. Great matchup between two high-powered teams. Wisconsin would be in the BCS, but Ohio State and Michigan are there, and BCS rules only allow two teams from the same conference. Wisconsin’s only loss is to Michigan. Arkansas won 10 games in a row, before losing to LSU and Florida at the end of the year. Darren McFadden is the real deal at running back. Wisconsin won this bowl last year, and they win it again. Pick: Wiscy
This bowl has been known as the Tangerine and Florida Citrus Bowls, before losing their sponsorship from the Florida citrus growers. Now, it bears the name of a credit card company/bank. That’s just about the only drawback to this bowl. The stadium is starting to fall apart, but Orlando is a great place to visit. They get the second pick from the Big Ten and the SEC, so they are guaranteed two good teams and two large traveling fan bases. Rating: 4

Friday, December 29, 2006

Bowl Picks, Part 3 (and Bowl Ratings)

This is my last installment of picks and ratings for non-New Year’s Day bowls. Later, there will be picks & ratings for the New Year’s Day bowls, and for the BCS bowls.

Meineke Car Care Bowl at Charlotte: Boston College vs. Navy. Boston College had their chances to win their division of the ACC, but didn’t come through. After the season, coach Tom O’Brien took the N.C. State job. Navy now has the best program of the service academies. BC has the nation’s longest bowl winning streak at six, but that will come to an end here. Pick: Navy
This game is played in a state-of-the-art stadium, and from what I know, Charlotte is a nice city. I’ve only been to the airport there. You can’t go see Elvis there, but the NASCAR garages aren’t too far away. Weather can be an issue, as this bowl has also been played in sub-freezing temperatures. It’s a newer bowl, and Meineke is a half-step up from Continental Tires, the original sponsor. It’s not as bad to go to the Car Care Bowl as it was to go to the Weed Eater Bowl, but almost. Rating: 1.6
Alamo Bowl at San Antonio: Texas vs. Iowa. Texas went from a possible trip to the Fiesta Bowl to Fiesta Texas, a San Antonio theme park. The Horns are making their first appearance in this bowl. QB Colt McCoy has been cleared to play in this game. His injury helped lead to the Horns’ end-of-year slide. Iowa went 2-6 in the Big Ten, but 6-6 overall. The Hawkeyes travel well, so the Alamo Bowl jumped all over them. Pick: Texas
San Antonio is a great place to go, with plenty to see and do, and most of it in the downtown area. The Alamodome is not fancy, but is functional, especially for a college bowl game. If you can’t get sent to a BCS bowl, or one near an ocean, this is a very good place to end up. They like their matchup of a middle-rung Big XII team (local conference) and a middle-rung Big Ten team (travels well). Rating: 3
Chick-fil-A Bowl at Atlanta: Georgia vs. Virginia Tech. The Bulldogs endured quarterback problems for most of the season, but scored big wins over rivals Auburn and Georgia Tech to close the season. The Hokies closed the season as well as anyone in the ACC, especially as they thumped conference champion Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. The Hokies win as they always have-playing defense and special teams. This is a virtual home game for Georgia, but the Dawgs lost the Sugar Bowl there last year. Pick: VT
This bowl, formerly known as the Peach Bowl, has been a very good bowl since it moved into the Georgia Dome in the 90’s. They always get a good SEC-ACC matchup, and Atlanta is a very good location for fans in both conferences. This game is usually pretty good on the field, as well. Rating: 3.2
MPC Computers Bowl at Boise: Miami vs. Nevada. The Canes finished 6-6, fired coach Larry Coker, and struck out on a nationwide search for a replacement before hiring defensive coordinator Randy Shannon as the new coach. So, it’ll be pretty unstable in that locker room, as coach Coker coaches his last game and his replacement is right there in the room. Miami is closer to a good chunk of South America than it is to Boise. This will be the biggest game in the history of Nevada football. The 8-4 Wolf Pack ambush the Canes. Pick: Nevada
This bowl is traditionally the laughing stock of the bowls. Boise can be a cold, snowy place in December, and the game is played on the blue turf at Boise State’s stadium. But, the game continues to survive, as the people in Boise treat their out-of-town visitors well. This is also a chance for some players from warmer climates to see snow for the first time. Rating: 1.6
International Bowl at Toronto: Western Michigan vs. Cincinnati. Western Michigan went 1-10 two years ago, but now the Broncos are 8-4. Cincinnati welcomes new coach Brian Kelly, who won the MAC this year at Central Michigan, before taking the Cincinnati job. The Bearcats have spent the last month learning a new offensive and defensive system. The Bearcats have an upset victory over Rutgers this year. Pick: Cincy
This is a brand new bowl game, played indoors at Rogers Centre in Toronto. The game’s location in Canada adds some novelty. Problem is, it’s in January. It’s cold in Toronto in January, so it becomes another Detroit. Toronto is a little nicer than Detroit, but it’s still cold. The MAC and Big East need bowls, so this one will probably last in some form or fashion. Rating: 1.4
GMAC Bowl at Mobile: Ohio vs. Southern Miss. Ohio makes their first bowl appearance in 38 years, as Frank Solich has rebuilt the Bobcats’ program in two years. Southern Miss appears in yet another bowl, this one close to their home in Hattiesburg. Pick: Southern Miss
This bowl has developed a niche, and has obtained some stability. There are worse places than Mobile, and the stadium has received a bit of a facelift. I’d rather go to a bowl sponsored by GMAC than by Ford Credit. This bowl doesn’t pretend to be the Rose Bowl, but has been good for the teams that have gone there. It remains to be seen how the January date will affect the bowl. Rating: 1.8


Did you know the Tennessee Titans have a basketball team?

Just kidding. It's the Utah Jazz. I couldn't remember if these guys still had these jerseys, then I saw them last night on Sportscenter. The Jazz wore these powder blue things last night in San Antonio.

Powder blue went out in the 1980's, and were mainly limited to baseball uniforms. In the NBA, the New Jersey Nets briefly wore powder blue. The Tennessee Titans experiment with it in the NFL.

This is a bad look. The Jazz need to stick with the purple. Save the powder blue for retro baseball jerseys.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

NFL Picks-Week 17

It’s the final week of the season in the National Football League. Going into the weekend, only two games have no playoff implications, and one of those involves a team that has clinched a division, but cannot move up or down. Pete Rozelle would be proud.

This is such a good week, the NFL is allowing doubleheaders to be shown on both CBS and Fox. If you live in a city not hosting a game Sunday afternoon, you get four games this Sunday afternoon. If you live in a place like Houston, Dallas, or New Orleans, you still get three. It should be a great weekend of football.

The NFC presents an interesting situation. There are five teams tied for the 6th playoff position: NY Giants, Green Bay, St. Louis, Atlanta, and Carolina. None of these teams play one another this week. All of these teams have records of 7-8. At best, a team will qualify for the NFC playoffs at 8-8. If all five teams lose, there will be a team in the playoffs with a losing record of 7-9. I’m cheering for that to happen. It would be a riot.

16 big ones, coming up…

Last Week: 7-9 Season: 144-97

Detroit at Dallas: The Lions are horrible. They have won two games all year, and are in line for a top two draft pick. The Cowboys came up flat once again last week, getting spanked by the Eagles. Terrell Owens spent the day before the game hanging out at the Iggles’ hotel, then complained after the game about not being thrown the ball early enough. He makes plays, but has had his share of drops, as well. Tony Romo, in two months, has gone from carrying a clipboard on the sideline to dating country diva Carrie Underwood, she of similar rags-to-riches fame. I like the Cowboys, but they need to get their heads right with ball. Dallas wins this week, and hopes like crazy for the Falcons to help them. Pick: Dallas
New York Giants at Washington: Here’s a team coming apart at the seams. The Giants are Team Turmoil, but still control their own destiny for the playoffs. The Redskins are still competing every week, and would like nothing better than to send the Giants home for the off-season. I like Washington here. Pick: Redskins
Carolina at New Orleans: The Panthers need a win to retain hope for that sixth playoff spot. The Saints are locked into the 2nd spot and a first round bye. Jake Delhomme is back for the Panthers. The Saints aren’t going to lay down, by any means, but the Panthers take care of business on this trip. Pick: Carolina
Cleveland at Houston: The one game this week between two teams totally knocked out of the playoffs. Cleveland is down to their third quarterback, as Ken Dorsey will be starting for the Browns. He hasn’t started in three years, when he played in San Francisco. The Texans are coming off a big, big win over Indianapolis. The Texans close out the season with a win, and fall down several notches in the draft as a result. Pick: Houston
Jacksonville at Kansas City: Call this one the Help Bowl, because both teams have a slight chance to make the playoffs, but need help. This is in Kansas City in December, and the Jags are a questionable road team. Pick: Chiefs
New England at Tennessee: The Patriots are playing well heading into the playoffs. I wouldn’t want to go to Foxboro next week. The Titans have caught lightning in a bottle, as they have won seven games in a row with Vince Young at quarterback. Tennessee needs a lot of things to happen to make the playoffs, but they do their part. Pick: Titans
Oakland at New York Jets: The Jets need a win to make the playoffs. They get a gift with a home game against the woeful Raiders. The Raiders are playing for the top pick in the draft. The Jets are one of the good stories of the year. The Jets cruise in this one. Pick: J-E-T-S
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati: The Bengals lost a heartbreaker last week in Denver on a botched snap on an extra point with less than 30 seconds left in the game. The Steelers came up flat in a big game and were drilled by the Ravens. The Bengals need this one to have a chance to make the playoffs. The Steelers are spoilers, and nothing else. Cincy comes up big at home. Pick: Bengals
Seattle at Tampa Bay: The other game with no impact on the playoffs, but Seattle has already clinched the NFC West, in spite of a three-game losing streak. The Bucs are a shell of their former selves. The Seahawks get enough back this week to end the season on a winning note. Pick: Seattle
St. Louis at Minnesota: Don’t look now, but the Rams have a chance to make the playoffs. They need a win and some help, but they have a chance. The Vikings had a chance to be in this gaggle of teams, as well, but have been too mediocre for even the NFC. Rams take care of business. Pick: St. Louis
Atlanta at Philadelphia: The Eagles were given up for dead, but, four Jeff Garcia wins later, they have a chance to win the NFC East, and the #3 seed in the playoffs. The Falcons can make the playoffs with a win and some help, and can also help the Cowboys with a win. Yeah, right. Garcia, Brian Westbrook, and a bunch of guys do it one more week, big. Pick: Philly
Buffalo at Baltimore: The Bills lost a heartbreaker last week, knocking themselves out of playoff contention. The Ravens find themselves in second place in the AFC, and can clinch a bye in the first round of the playoffs with a win. Steve McNair has resurrected his career in Baltimore. The Ravens are tough to beat. Pick: Baltimore
Miami at Indianapolis: How many times does Nick Saban have to say he’s not going to take the Alabama job? The Dolphins are having injury and performance problems at quarterback, and are starting Mister Cleo Lemon at QB this week. The Colts lost one they should have won last week in Houston. They now need a win and some help to get a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The Colts win here, but don’t get the help they want. Pick: Indy
Arizona at San Diego: A coronation for the Chargers. Arizona lost QB Matt Leinart last week to injury, so Kurt Warner returns as QB for the Cardinals. It doesn’t matter, as the Chargers give the ball 40 times to LaDainian Tomlinson, and earn home field advantage throughout the playoffs. At this point, the Chargers are the team to beat for the world championship.
San Francisco at Denver: The 49ers have been respectable this season, winning six games. The Broncos have won two in a row with new QB Jay Cutler, and find themselves in the same position they would have been in if they hadn’t changed QBs. The Broncos need this one to sew up the 5th seed in the AFC, and should get it. Pick: Denver
Green Bay at Chicago: Call this one the Might Bowl. Green Bay might have a chance to make the playoffs, depending on results earlier in the day. This might be Brett Favre’s last game, depending on what he decides later regarding retirement. The Bears might bring an A game with nothing to play for except pride and an ancient rivalry. The Pack has more to play for here. Pick: Green Bay


Today's UUOTD is nominated by The Wife.

She has been grossed out by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' uniforms ever since they came out a few years ago. The pewter pants really bother her. From my perspective, the pants do match the helmet, but they are a little much with the red jersey.

In my opinion, though, they are an improvement over the orange Creamsicle uniforms worn under the previous ownership.

At least the jersey is all one color, and they don't have a silly stripe on the side of the uniform. Still, the pewter is a little more than I can handle.

College Bowl Picks, Part 2 (and Bowl Ratings)

It’s another weekend, and time for another batch of bowls. Or, at the Mother Ship in Bristol, Connecticut, it is Capital One Bowl Week. Time to pick more bowls, and also to cast judgment on the quality of the bowl.

Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl at Nashville: Clemson vs. Kentucky. The Tigers were very up and down this year, and had the talent to win the ACC in a down year, but didn’t pull it off. Their high point was a win at conference champion Wake Forest. Kentucky is rebuilding their program from the depths of probation, and coach Rich Brooks has been on the hot seat for two years. The Cats have beaten all the teams they are supposed to beat. Clemson has more talent. Pick: Clemson.
Nashville isn’t a bad place, especially if you’re into music. It can be cold in December, though, and this bowl has had games in sub-freezing temperatures. It’s an 11:00 AM kickoff on ESPN, so it’s not the most glamourous of bowls. As long as the locals get an SEC team, though, they’re happy. Rating: 2
Brut Sun Bowl: Oregon State vs. Missouri: Oregon State has notable late season wins over USC and Hawaii. Missouri started strong, but finished inconsistently. The Beavers are hot, and I’ll pick them. Pick: OSU-West
Brut? I think my dad has some in his bathroom cabinet. El Paso isn’t a garden spot, but this is one of the longest-running non-New Year’s Day bowls. It has also been on CBS for four decades, which says something in this cable-dominated universe. They get middle-rung teams from the Pac 10 and, this year, the Big 12. This bowl has loads of tradition, which helps its rating. Rating: 3
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Houston vs. South Carolina. The Gamecocks are in their second bowl game in a row under the Old Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier. The Cougars come in as champions of Conference USA. The Gamecocks play in a tougher conference, but I don’t expect them to totally stop Houston’s high-powered offense. Pick: Coogs
Any bowl game where you can go see Graceland isn’t too bad. Memphis has good ribs, as well. This bowl has been around for a long time, and has weathered a lot. They scored a coup this year by signing a deal with the SEC to provide a team to oppose the Conference USA champion. As far as non-New Year’s Day bowls go, this one is pretty good. Just as in Nashville, though, the weather in Memphis can be iffy in December. Rating: 3
Insight Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Minnesota. The Red Raiders had to endure the dalliance of their coach with the Miami job at the end of the regular season. They went 7-5, which is now unacceptable at Tech. They throw the ball all over the place. Minnesota rescued their season, closing out at 6-6 after starting slowly and nearly losing to North Dakota State. Pick: Tech
This was originally the Copper Bowl, played in Tucson. It then moved to the former Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix, and has now replaced the Fiesta Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. That gives the Valley of the Sun three bowl games this year. The game this year is on NFL Network, meaning most of the country will not have access to it. It’s a bowl, though, and Tech and Minnesota would rather go there than to not go at all. Rating: 2
Champs Sports Bowl: Purdue vs. Maryland: Purdue had an above-average season this year, but was not anything special. Maryland, after getting pounded by West Virginia in September, went on a winning streak and was in contention for the ACC title at the end of the season. Pick: Maryland
This was formerly known as the Blockbuster, Carquest, and Micron PC Bowl in Miami, and was moved to Orlando and took the name Tangerine Bowl, before Champs bought the name. The payout has gone way up, and the game has moved to the week after Christmas. There are much worse places for a bowl than Orlando, though the Citrus Bowl stadium is starting to fall apart. Rating: 2.6

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Rating The Bowls

The division formerly known as 1-A has a quirky and antiquated post-season system, driven by tourist dollars, guys in loud-colored blazers, TV executives, and commissioners of power conferences. There has, in recent years, appeared a preponderance of bowl games. This year, there are 32 bowl games, including the BCS national championship game. As I've watched parts of them, I've often wondered: What's the use of all this? Wouldn't these cities be better off bidding on playoff games?

Before I go any further, I will make the following statement: As long as the bowl system is in place, any city/chamber of commerce/corporation/conference that can come up with the NCAA minimum of $750,000 per team should be allowed to have a bowl. If the folks in Shawnee, Oklahoma want to have a bowl game in Jim Thorpe Stadium (built in the WPA era, capacity 5,000), and they can come up with $1.5 million to pull it off, then more power to them. That's a bit extreme, but anyone that can do it should be able to have a bowl game in their city. With that being said, I have developed a rating system for bowls.

I rank bowls based on: payout, conference tie-in (prestige of conference and bowl's place in picking order), TV contract (network and time of game), location/stadium, and tradition. A newer, lower-paying bowl will obviously be rated much lower than bowls such as the Rose, Sugar and Orange. Each bowl will have a rating based on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the best.

I will rank the bowls for which I have already picked winners. I will also have bowl ratings with future installments of bowl picks.

Why rank bowls? To have fun with the warped system that we have. Each of these cities have their fine points, and some are better places to live than others. However, some bowls do nothing more than fill some hotel rooms and fill TV time.

Here are the ratings for bowls to date:

Poinsettia: San Diego is a great place, to which I have never been. From what I've heard, Qualcomm Stadium is beginning to fall apart, and the Chargers want a new stadium. This is a new bowl, the lower-paying of the two San Diego bowls, but a needed bowl for the Mountain West conference. They also have a deal for Navy to appear periodically. If there is a place that can handle two bowls, it's San Diego. Rating: 2.2
Las Vegas: Folks usually don't go to Vegas to catch college football. But, it's a nice diversion for traveling fans. This is the home of the Mountain West champion. The stadium is a little old, and is way off the Strip, in Henderson. Being close to Utah & BYU, it works for the Mountain West. Rating: 2.6
New Orleans: This bowl was created for the champion of the Sun Belt Conference. Conference USA provides a middle-rung team as the opponent. The Sun Belt has won this game twice in six years, but it gives their conference to shoot for. The Superdome is usually about a third full for this one. As long as the Sun Belt would rather aim for this game instead of the 1-AA playoffs, this game is fine. New Orleans doesn't need another bowl, but the Sun Belt does. Rating: 2 Birmingham got back into the bowl business this year. Legion Field, formerly known as the Football Capital of the South, is falling apart. Birmingham has hosted two other bowls: the Hall of Fame Bowl, and the All-American Bowl. They love football there, but there's a big difference between Alabama-Auburn and a couple of also-rans from the Big East and Conference USA. This is like having a bowl in Oklahoma City. A great place to live, but a questionable place for a bowl. Rating: 1.2
New Mexico: A brand new bowl, designed to give the Mountain West another bowl, and to promote the state of New Mexico. This year's title sponsor is the New Mexico Tourism Department. If it works for them, more power to them. Ultimately, though, another case of good place to live, questionable bowl destination. The MWC vs. WAC matchup isn't a lot to write home about, either. However, San Jose State enjoyed Albuquerque last week, a lot. Rating: 1.6
Armed Forces: Formerly known as the Fort Worth Bowl, this is played at TCU's aging Amon Carter Stadium. Fort Worth is a great place to live, and is underrated as a tourist attraction. However, the weather can be iffy, the MWC-CUSA matchup isn't the greatest, and one can only spend so much time in the Stockyards. This bowl has overcome it's birth pains, though, and is on the way to success. Rating: 1.6
Hawaii: This game was organized to give the University of Hawaii a place to go when bowl eligible. It is a roaring success when the Warriors are in it. It's also entertainment for Christmas Eve. Hawaii is always a good place to go, but you don't want to mess with the Warriors if you have to play them there. Rating: 2.4
Motor City: This bowl was created for the MAC champion. The bowl benefited from the construction of Ford Field, giving it a first-class venue. Problem is, outside the stadium, you're in Detroit in December. Brrr. Rating: 1.4
Emerald: San Francisco, with all its quirks, is a tourist attraction. This game is played in a baseball park, gets a low pick from the Pac 10 and ACC, and is a candidate for cold weather. However, they hit a home run this year with Florida State and UCLA. Rating: 2.4
Independence: You could say that if Shreveport can pull a bowl off, anyone can. This bowl was in Shreveport long before casinos were. They've struggled with sponsor names (Weed Eater), snow (the 1999 freak snow storm game between Mississippi State and Texas A&M), and the various other issues that a mid-tier bowl faces. Still, they press on. This is the little bowl that could. The Big XII and SEC like it. Rating: 1.8
Texas: This is the latest incarnation of the Houston Bowl, formerly known as the bowl. The Houston Bowl needed help, as TCU and Iowa State have still not received total payment from last year's game. So, enter the Big XII, the Houston Texans, and the NFL Network. Those entities saved and restructured the game, believing that Houston was too large a city and Reliant too nice a stadium to not have a bowl game. Good luck. Rating: 1.6
Holiday: Easily the best of the pre-New Year's bowls. San Diego is a great place, and this bowl gets the second pick from the Pac 10 and the third pick from the Big XII. This has been a great game for just about all of its 30-year history, including several barnburners as home of the WAC champion. The only things this bowl doesn't have are a New Year's Day date, and a new Chargers stadium. Rating: 3.6

More bowl ratings to come, along with more bowl picks..


It's been a few days since there has been an Ugly Uniform of the Day, so I figured it's time for another one...

In many ways, the World League of American Football, now NFL Europe, has been good for the NFL. It has helped build the game of football overseas, and has given players the opportunity to jump-start their careers. However, that league has also given birth to some uniform trends that have hit the NFL, which have not been good.

The Buffalo Bills have caught this NFL Europe bug with their road uniform. Their home unis are still ok, because they are still one color. These road jerseys, though, break the rules. I cannot stand it when a jersey has a one color for the shoulders and nameplate, and another one for the rest of the jersey. This Bills jersey has a navy blue shoulder, and a white body. All it is lacking is a logo from a German beer company, and it is good to go for NFL Europe. The Arizona Cardinals have also adopted this style, with red shoulders to go with the white jersey.

The Bills have had some cool uniforms over the years. Their AFL throwbacks are great, and the ones they wore in four Super Bowls in the 90's weren't bad, either. These road jerseys, though, are hideous.

Do away with the colored shoulders!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Clash of Cultures

An interesting preview of the upcoming Holiday Bowl between the University of California, Berkeley, and Texas A&M University.

Berkeley is known for war protests and counterculture activity.

A&M is known for the Corps of Cadets, and recently lost its president to the Pentagon, where Robert Gates is the new Secretary of Defense.

A&M has a military-style band made up of Cadets. Cal has a traditional-style band, in contrast to hated archrival Stanford's non-traditional oddball band.

It should be interesting in San Diego.

You Know You're Addicted to Football...

....when Central Michigan vs. Middle Tennessee State is on TV, and you're watching it.

These teams would be first-round fodder for Florida and Ohio State in my playoff proposal.

Props to the little guys!

Monday, December 25, 2006

NFL Week In Review, Week 16

With two games to go later today, the NFL finds itself in a dogfight for playoff position as it leaves Week 16.

In the AFC, San Diego needs one more win to clinch home field throughout the playoffs. Baltimore needs one more win to clinch a bye in the first round. Indianapolis and New England have a chance at a bye, if either of them win and the Ravens lose next week. The wild card race is a dogfight, as Denver has a leg up for one spot, and the New York Jets have a an inside track at the other one. Cincinnati, Tennessee, Jacksonville, and Kansas City have an outside chance at the playoffs in the AFC. The Jets are set to play the Miami Dolphins in rainy south Florida as I write.

In the NFC, Chicago has clinched home field all the way throughout the playoffs. Good thing for Bears DT Tank Johnson, because he needs a judge’s permission to leave Illinois. The New Orleans Saints have now clinched a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Philadelphia can win the NFC East with a win, and Seattle has won the NFC West, and is locked into the #4 playoff position. The wild card race is a zoo, as Dallas has clinched one of the spots, at 9-6. There is then a gaggle of 5 teams with records of 7-8: New York Giants, Carolina, Atlanta, Green Bay, and St. Louis. None of those five play one another in Week 17, and there is the slight chance that all five could lose, placing a team with a 7-9 record in the playoffs. As it stands now, there will be at least one team in the NFC playoffs with an 8-8 record.

The Dallas Cowboys got kicked all over the field by the Philadelphia Eagles, losing 23-7. Andy Reid is a genius, for picking up Jeff Garcia as a backup quarterback to the injury-prone Donovan McNabb. The Eagles have picked it up a notch, winning four in a row, including three in a row on the road in the division. The Cowboys are going to be in the playoffs, but are not playing like a Super Bowl team. At the same time, going in as the 5th seed earns them a trip to Seattle to face the reeling Seahawks. The way the Cowboys are playing at home, it may be worth taking a chance on a road game in Seattle.

The once-mighty Indianapolis Colts came to Reliant Stadium, and lost to the Houston Texans, 27-24. Peyton Manning had three touchdown passes, but the Colts’ rush defense made Ron Dayne look like the Heisman Trophy winner that he is. Dayne had 153 yards and two touchdowns, as the Texans scored their biggest win since their inaugural game against the Cowboys in 2002. The Colts are staring a first-round playoff game in the face, unless the Ravens lose to Buffalo next week.

Speaking of the Ravens, Baltimore manhandled Pittsburgh, 31-7. Pittsburgh still had a chance at a playoff spot, but chose to not show up on Christmas Eve, and got kicked by the Ravens. The Ravens are looking tough to beat. I wouldn’t want to go the City By Chesapeake Bay during the playoffs, if I were the Colts or anyone else.

Another AFC team that lost a big opportunity was the Jacksonville Jaguars. New England went into Alltel Stadium and came away with a 24-21 win. The Pats have clinched the AFC East, and have a slight chance to finish in higher playoff position.

The Cincinnati Bengals had their hearts broken. Down 24-17, and playing in the snow in Denver, Carson Palmer threw a touchdown pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh with :41 left in the game. The Bengals then botched the snap on the extra point, and lost 24-23. The Bengals missed a chance to clinch a playoff spot, and the Broncos are now in line to finish as high as fifth in the AFC race. That’s too bad. I like the Bengals, though their uniforms are a little much. The Bengals still have a chance to make the playoffs, but will need some help in Week 17.

Don’t look now, but it’s Week 17, and Vince Young and the Tennessee Titans can still make the playoffs. The Titans are now 8-7, after a 30-29 win in Buffalo. The Bills are now 7-8, and would dearly love to be in the NFC right now.

The San Diego Chargers staged a comeback, as Phillip Rivers threw a 37 yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson with 29 seconds left, giving the Chargers a 20-17 win in Seattle. The Chargers can clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win next week. The Seahawks have lost three games in a row, but clinched the NFC West title, thanks to San Francisco’s loss.

In the NFC, the Carolina Panthers rose from the dead, keeping their playoff hopes alive with a 10-3 win over Atlanta. Chris Weinke finally got off the schnide, winning the game as a starter for the first time in 18 games. Hey, a backup QB job in the NFL still pays well.

There was a wild one in St. Louis, as the Rams used a Steven Jackson TD run to beat the Washington Redskins in overtime, 37-31. The Rams are 7-8, but can still make the playoffs with a win and some help.

The New York Giants are still in command of their own destiny for the sixth seed in the NFC playoffs. However, they got kicked around by the New Orleans Saints, 30-7. The Saints have clinched a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The Giants, as bad as they have looked recently, can still make the playoffs with a win.

Last Thursday night, in the NFL Network special, the Green Bay Packers won a 9-7 snoozer over the Minnesota Vikings. All the Pack needed were three field goals from Dave Rayner. The Pack also finds themselves in that group of five teams at 7-8 with a chance to make the playoffs.

Also on the NFL Network, the Kansas City Chiefs got a win on Saturday night in Oakland, defeating the Raiders, 20-9. The Raiders are just plain putrid. The Chiefs have an outside chance to make the AFC playoffs.

A Christmas Gift

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6, New International Version

This blog is normally about sports, and I have no intention of changing that. With today being Christmas, I want to extend to everyone in blogworld my wishes for a very merry Christmas, and a happy New Year. I also would like to write a few thoughts regarding Christmas.

Christmas is a lot of things. It is parties, shopping, giving, and receiving gifts. It is Santa Claus sliding down the chimney. It is staying up into the night, as I did last night, putting gifts together for the kids. It is watching faces light up with joy and happiness. There are a lot of good things about Christmas.

Christmas, though, is ultimately about God's gift to mankind, His Son, Jesus Christ. We celebrate a lot of things, but, most of all, we are to celebrate the birth of His Son, and the hope that comes with that. At the end of the day, or life, it is ultimately about what we choose to do with God's gift to us. It's not about good works, church organizations, or denominational background, though those are good things. It's also not about fallen leaders, broken relationships, or political parties. It is ultimately about God's gift, Jesus, and Him alone.

To learn more about God's gift to us, click here.

I will now go back to blogging on sports. Once again, I wish you a very merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cool Uniform Of The Day

I've had some fun throwing some teams under the bus for some pretty gross-looking threads. I'll do more of that later. Today, in the spirit of Christmas, I want to call attention to a uniform I noticed today, that I think is pretty cool.

The Indianapolis Colts have worn pretty much the same road white uniform ever since they were in Baltimore. They wore a little darker shade of blue in Baltimore, but, other than that, the unis are pretty much the same. The home unis aren't bad, but the road uniforms are just plain classic-looking. These are pretty much the same ones worn by Johnny Unitas, Alan Ameche, and Bert Jones in Baltimore, and by Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, and Peyton Manning in Indianapolis. Just a white helmet with the horseshoe, a solid blue stripe, two blue stripes on the shoulders, a couple of simple stripes on the pants, and some blue numbers. No black alternate jerseys for these guys. Just a simple, classic uniform, not too generic looking (see Penn State), but not too wild looking, like their cousins down I-74 in Cincinnati.

These are cool-looking uniforms.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


One of the alarming trends over the last few years is the number of teams that do not have black as a school color, but use it as part of one of their basketball uniforms. Duke is the most high-profile program to do this, but schools such as Tulsa, Baylor, and others are guilty, as well.

This is so unstable. Duke's teams are the Blue Devils, not the Black Devils. Blue Devils are supposed to wear blue, not black. Black is not their color. I know they have blue trim and numbers on the black unis, but the black uniforms are just plain inconsistent. When Duke goes on the road, they should wear blue.

Schools like Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, with black as a primary color, are more than welcome to have a black uniform, in my opinion.

The black uniform needs to go, unless it is an official color.

NFL Picks-Week 16, Continued

Last Week: 12-4 This Week To Date: 1-0 Overall: 137-88

It’s time for the playoff push in the National Football League. Division titles and playoff berths are on the line. The wheat is being separated from the chaff. At the same time, teams that stunk last week become this week’s version of the ’85 Bears. It’s a crazy league, one that Pete Rozelle would be proud of.

On with the picks….

Philadelphia at Dallas: This is, for all intents and purposes, for the NFC East championship. The Cowboys clinch with a win, while the Eagles move into a tie with the Cowboys with a win, and the subsequent tiebreaker. The Eagles were given up for dead when Donovan McNabb was injured. Jeff Garcia has stepped up and led the Eagles to the brink of the playoffs. The Cowboys have recovered from the spanking by the Saints, going to the ATL and getting a big win last week. The Cowboys are in the playoffs, but want more. Pick: Dallas, of course.
Kansas City at Oakland: The best rivalry from the old AFL, but the Raiders totally stink. The Black Hole is more than a section of their stadium, it is the entire franchise. This team needs a new owner. The Chiefs have an outside chance at the playoffs, but need lots of help. The Chiefs take care of business this week. Pick: Kansas City
Chicago at Detroit: The Bears have clinched home field throughout the playoffs. The Lions are playing for the top pick in the draft. Do the Bears bring their A game? Do the Lions have an A game? Pick: Chicago
Carolina at Atlanta: The Panthers have been a huge disappointment. The Falcons took a major blow to their playoff hopes last week with their loss to the Cowboys. Atlanta bounces back this week. Pick: Atlanta
Baltimore at Pittsburgh: The Ravens need this game to stay in the race for a first round playoff bye. The Steelers have put themselves in a position to make the playoffs, with a lot of help. The Ketchup Bottle turns into a tomb for the Ravens. Pick: Pittsburgh
New England at Jacksonville: Which Patriots team shows up? The one that got skunked in Miami, or the one that drilled the Texans? Similarly, the Jaguars are also a Jekyll and Hyde team, as they play awesome at home, and mediocre on the road. Pick: Jacksonville
Indianapolis at Houston: The Colts looked awesome last week against the Bengals. The Texans looked awful against the Patriots. Does anything change this week? The Texans will be a bit more competitive at home, but the Colts win the game. Pick: Indy
New Orleans at New York Giants: Huge game in the NFC. The Saints lost a winnable game last week to the Redskins. The Saints need to win out to get the #2 seed in the playoffs. The Giants need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Weird things happen on top of Jimmy Hoffa’s grave at the Meadowlands. Pick: Giants
Tampa Bay at Cleveland: How would you like to be stuck in Florida or Ohio and have to watch this clunker of a game? Both teams are well on their way to top 10 draft picks. That’s the best you can say for either of them. Pick: Cleveland
Washington at St. Louis: The Redskins play their second dome game in two weeks, having defeated the Saints in New Orleans last week. The Rams are coming off a win in Oakland. This is the first blackout in St. Louis since the Rams moved there in 1995, as the game did not sell out, and will not be on local TV. The Rams don’t give the locals a whole lot to cheer about in this one. Pick: Washington
Tennessee at Buffalo: These teams have a playoff history with each other, as they will go down together for the Houston Oilers’ choke on a 35-3 lead in the 1992 playoffs, and for the Music City Miracle in Nashville eight years later. This isn’t a playoff game, but both teams have an outside shot at the playoffs. Vince Young is a hot quarterback. His stats aren’t always great, but the Titans are winning. Pick: Titans
Arizona at San Francisco: The Niners are 6-8, and have slight playoff hopes. They have improved a ton this year. The Cardinals have shown flashes of hope, but, at the end of the day, are still the sad sack Cardinals. Pick: Frisco
Cincinnati at Denver: Huge game for wild-card hopes for both teams. Cincinnati was a hot team before last week’s trip to Naptown. The Broncos are starting to get it together with rookie QB Jay Cutler. The city of Denver is still digging out of a blizzard. The Bengals are just a little better than the Broncos, even in Denver. Pick: Cincy
San Diego at Seattle: Another huge game. San Diego is playing for home field throughout the playoffs. Seattle is holding on for dear life in the NFC West, having lost in consecutive weeks to Arizona and San Francisco. The Chargers simply need to give the ball 40 times to LaDainian Tomlinson, and they win. Pick: San Diego
New York Jets at Miami: The Dolphins are a little mediocre, but are playing at home. The Jets are a surprising playoff contender, riding the arm of Chad Pennington. The Jets should have enough to hold off the ‘Phins. Pick: Jets

Friday, December 22, 2006


The football programs at California and at Oregon are joined at the hip. Head coach Jeff Tedford came from Oregon, where he was the offensive coordinator. Not coincidentally, the Oregon program began to slip, while the Cal program took off. The only thing Cal hasn't done in the Tedford era is make it to the Rose Bowl, or another BCS bowl. That will happen, eventually, as long as he is still the coach. Cal is lucky to have Jeff Tedford as coach.

Cal also has Nike as their uniform supplier. They use an alternate uniform that is a copy of the Oregon yellow jersey. To my knowledge, they haven't worn yellow pants with it. However, the yellow jersey is looking pretty loud. If they had yellow pants with it, they would look like bananas.

Note to Cal: Wear the blue, wear the white, but keep those yellow/gold jerseys in the laundry room.

College Bowl Picks, Part 1, continued

Bowls to Date: 2-0 Season: 188-84

I have some time to review a few more of the early bowls. These bowls primarily exist to fill some hotel rooms and to provide programming for ESPN. However, they’re a big deal to the coaches and players. I’d rather have a playoff, but the system is what it is. So, here it goes:

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl at New Orleans: Troy vs. Rice. The Owls are in their first bowl game since 1961. First-year Rice coach Todd Graham has performed a miracle down on South Main, taking his team from one win last season to seven this year. At this rate, he will be able to take a higher-profile job in the next few years, if he wants one. The Men of Troy, Alabama, are champions of the Sun Belt Conference, and have been competitive in games against higher-profile competition. Troy has played in more big games, and I give them an edge. Pick: Troy Bowl at Birmingham: South Florida vs. East Carolina. The inaugural game in Birmingham, former host of the Hall of Fame Bowl and the All-American Bowl. I like Pizza Hut pizza better. East Carolina is bouncing back nicely, but the Bulls should win this one. Pick: South Florida
New Mexico Bowl at Albuquerque: New Mexico vs. San Jose State. Another new bowl. I like Albuquerque, but do they deserve a bowl? If you can come up with the money, you, too can host a bowl in your city. As for the game, New Mexico won their normal six games this year, and became eligible to play in a bowl on their home field. San Jose State is one of the better under-the-radar turnaround stories of the year. Dick Tomey took one of the worst coaching jobs in America (decaying stadium, low budget, astronomical cost of living for staff) and built a winner. They have won eight games, and came the closest to knocking off unbeaten Boise State. Pick: SJSU
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl at Fort Worth: Utah vs. Tulsa. I love Fort Worth. I lived there for fourteen years. With that being said, I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to have a bowl there. But, if Shreveport and Birmingham can have bowls, then by golly, Fort Worth can have one, too. Now, it would be a coup if they could move it to the new Cowboys stadium in Arlington in four years. It is a nice touch to name the bowl in honor of our armed forces, as new title sponsor Bell Helicopter has done. As for the game, Utah peaked when they beat TCU in September. Tulsa went into a tailspin at the end of the year, but they are in their third bowl in four years under coach Steve Kragthorpe. Pick: Tulsa
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl at Honolulu: Arizona State vs. Hawaii. Arizona State is playing under a lame-duck coach, having fired Dirk Koetter in November. Hawaii is led by record-setting QB Colt Brennan. The Warriors score a ton of points. Hawaii is a nice trip. The problem is, a team like Arizona State has to play a good team when they get there. Pick: Hawaii
Motor City Bowl at Detroit: Middle Tennessee vs. Central Michigan. Middle Tennessee got thumped by Oklahoma, Louisville, and South Carolina, but beat seven other teams to qualify for a bowl. Central Michigan won the MAC title, then lost head coach Brian Kelly to Cincinnati. This is the first time a team from Michigan has played in this bowl. This is also the first time the Blue Raiders have appeared in a Division 1-A bowl game. Pick: Central Michigan
Emerald Bowl at San Francisco: Florida State vs. UCLA. This lower-level bowl got two big names for their game, as reeling Florida State goes to the West Coast to face UCLA. Florida State is 6-6, and is here thanks to the 12th game allowed this year by the NCAA. Otherwise, they would be 5-6. The last time we saw UCLA, they were dancing on the floor of the Rose Bowl after knocking USC out of the national championship game. Florida State has a better name, but UCLA has a better team. Pick: Bruins
SunPower Independence Bowl at Shreveport: Oklahoma State vs. Alabama. Both teams come into this game at 6-6. Alabama fired coach Mike Shula, and has spent the last month being turned down by various coaches. OSU beat three creampuffs in their non-conference schedule, won three conference games, and got to a bowl. It’s really hard to figure Alabama out. My gut says OSU, but my head says Bama. Pick: Tide
Texas Bowl at Houston: Rutgers vs. Kansas State. After an epic double-overtime loss at West Virginia, Rutgers stumbles onto the South Loop, when they had a chance to be on South Beach. K-State got a big win late in the season against Texas. If this were a regular season game, Rutgers would win by two touchdowns. This is a bowl game, though, and anything can happen. Rutgers should still win. Pick: Rutgers,SUNJ.
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl at San Diego: Texas A&M vs. California: Earth to Desmond Howard: Texas is not playing in this bowl game. Texas A&M is. The Ags parlayed their upset of Texas into a trip to sunny San Diego. Cal is an enigma, as they lit up the scoreboard earlier in the year, but struggled against teams like Tennessee and USC. This is the ultimate clash of cultures, as Berkeley is the traditional home of the anti-war movement, and gave six percent of their votes to George W. Bush. Texas A&M is home of the Corps of Cadets, and is the home of the George Bush library. Off the field: A&M. On the field: A&M.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Oregon's ugly uniform combinations would make great fodder for an entire web site. I wonder if is available?

Tonight, the guys from Nike unveiled a psychedelic-looking new helmet for the Ducks. It is gold and/or green, and appears in multiple shades depending on the angle and the lighting. In tonight's Las Vegas Bowl, the Ducks wore green uniforms with those steel-looking things on the shoulders and pants. Ugly. says it would be cheaper for Oregon to simply buy LSD for everyone in the crowd. I don't endorse drug use at all, but it is obvious that someone at Nike was under the influence of an illegal substance when they designed these things.

I like green and gold. They are the colors of my alma mater, probably a polar opposite of the University of Oregon. Oregon and Nike are doing some really ugly things with these colors, and are bringing shame to them. It's really sad.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

College Bowl Picks, Part 1 (continued)

The bowl season marches on...

Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl: BYU vs. Oregon at Las Vegas: BYU had a great season, winning a conference championship. Is this all they get? A pre-Christmas bowl game? Oregon's season went downhill after the questionable call in the OU game. BYU is a pretty decent team. Oregon is inconsistent. Pick: The Y

NFL Picks, Week 16, Part 1

There is a game Thursday night, and I won't pick 16 big ones here, but I'll pick tomorrow's game.

Minnesota at Green Bay: Could this be Brett Favre's last home game? The Vikings enter Lambeau Field with rookie quarterback Tarvaris Jackson set to start against the Pack. I had never heard of him until yesterday. I wonder if this is the first guy named Tarvaris to start an NFL game at quarterback. The Packers are trying to make a run at respectability, and play their last home game Thursday night. The Pack has not been a good home team, but they will be in this one. Pick: Green Bay

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Mid-Major Win of the Night

The Cuse is in the house! Unfortunately for Syracuse, Drexel was in the house, also. The Dragons, better known as the odd man out of the Big Five in Philadelphia, went to the Carrier Dome and upset the Orange, by a score of 84-79. Frank Elegar scored 27 points for the Dragons.

Drexel plays in the Colonial Athletic Association, the same conference that gave us George Mason, Old Dominion, and Hofstra. Drexel has wins this year over cross-town rivals Villanova and St. Joseph's.

Remember Bruiser Flint, the guy that followed John Calipari at UMass? He's now the coach at Drexel.

Look out for Drexel in March..


No series of ugly uniforms is complete without mention of the Oregon Ducks. Their main benefactor, Phil Knight of Nike, uses them as a testing lab for multiple styles and types of uniforms. Knight is a graduate of UO, and donates millions of dollars each year to the school.

The uniforms come in multiple ugly combinations. The worst of the bunch is flourescent yellow. With the green helmet, yellow jersey, and yellow pants, they look like a bottle of dishwashing soap.

You have to take your hats off to them, though. Their ugly uniforms have brought a lot of attention to the school, and many look for their broadcasts and highlights just to see what threads they are wearing that day.

If it walks like a duck, and smells like a duck....

Bowl Picks-Part 1

Bowl season starts tonight. I'm not picking all 32 bowls at one time, but I can't forget tonight's bowl....

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, San Diego: TCU vs. Northern Illinois The Frogs are rolling, after losing their first two conference games to BYU and Utah. The Frogs are now 10-2, while the Northern Illini (oops, they're the Huskies) are 7-5. While NIU didn't win the MAC, they got the best bowl trip, as the other MAC bowls are in Detroit, Mobile, and Toronto. I hope they like San Diego, because they won't like the hurting TCU will put on them tonight. Pick: TCU

Monday, December 18, 2006

Stay Tuned

I am out of town on business, and currently only have access to the public hotel computer. Therefore, there is no UUOTD, or NFL Week In Review today. I should be in a position to have something up tomorrow.

Off to watch the impending point-fest between the Colts and the Bengals....

Sunday, December 17, 2006


I am on the road for work this week, so I can't promise an ugly uniform every day. However, I have received a nomination.

The NCAA Division III championship game was on yesterday. My wife saw the uniforms that Mount Union College was wearing, and was grossed out by them. She said I should post on it, so I will.

Mount Union's football team has been absolute greatness, as they won their record ninth national championship yesterday over Wisconsin-Whitewater, 35-16. The Purple Raiders have been a well-oiled machine for over a decade. All nine championships have been won since 1993. Any loss they have suffered in that time period can be considered an upset. They have dominated Division III in a big way. At their level, they are awesome.

The Wife pointed out some flaws in their uniform. The main problem she had is that the helmet, the numbers, and the pants are different shades of purple. That is a big deal to her, as she always has to tell me that a black shirt and black pants do not always go together. She is applying this principle here. I asked her about the purple circle "Raiders" patch on the shoulder, and she didn't have a problem with it. The two shades of purple clash, in her opinion. I tried to take up for the guys at MUC, as it is a small school, most likely with a low budget. She was still grossed out by the multiple shades of purple.

Congratulations to the Purple Raiders. I'm sure they would wear plaid if it meant winning another national championship. Hopefully, they'll get the purple problem worked out before next year's appearance in the Stagg Bowl.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


There seems to always be an ugly, out-of-the-norm uniform on SportsCenter, seemingly every night. Last night was no exception, as they showed highlights of the Warriors and the Suns.

The Golden State Warriors have a red jersey this year. I did not know red was one of their colors. They were always a blue and gold team. They have some classic unis with the circle and the cable car on the front. These red things, though, just aren't the ticket.

Maybe this is the real reason we rarely see the Warriors on national television.

At least Don Nelson is getting a lot of money to go back there and coach.

Friday, December 15, 2006


I was flipping channels last night, and there was a Fathead commercial, with Ocho Cinco, also known as Chad Johnson. They showed some action, and The Wife said: "Who is that? Those uniforms are ugly." It's the striped uniforms of the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bengals have several different combinations, most of which are pretty repelling, in my opinion. This is one of the worst ones, modeled by Carson Palmer. Coincidentally, this is the play where he was injured in last year's playoff game. The orange and black tiger-striped helmet, the black jersey/black pants, and the tiger stripes on the shoulders and pants are an awful combination. It is a little better with white pants, but the black pants are a no-go in my book.

The Bengals have come a long way from the uniforms that founder/former head coach Paul Brown brought to the team. Brown wanted to mimic the look of his Cleveland teams, so he had a black jersey with an orange helmet. The orange helmet had no stripe, and said "Bengals" on the side. Simple, but classic. However, I don't think that would fly in the 2000's.

I Learned Something Today

Syracuse blogger MariusJanulisForThree, in his blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, calls attention to the Syracuse appearance in UUOTD. I appreciate his comments, and his link.

I did not know that Orangemen was an Indian nickname. I can appreciate, though, the difficulty in calling a women's team the Lady Orangemen, and in having a ton of different logos.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

UUOTD (Ugly Uniform of the Day)

A special shout out to Zee for pointing me in this direction.

This is an alternate jersey worn by one of the worst franchises in the NBA, the New York Knicks. What is up with the horizontal trim? Yeehhh! What is Isiah Thomas thinking? This is similar to that Syracuse football uniform featured yesterday.

Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis are shown wearing these for the Knicks. Interestingly, Jason Kidd is wearing the Nets' classic ABA threads in the background.

Back to the Knicks. This is a bad jersey for a bad team.

It's better, though, than the green jersey. I had never seen it before I saw it on the Knicks' website. Nate Robinson is wearing it here. This was worn on St. Patrick's Day. St. Patty's Day is a really big deal in New York. It's still really ugly, though.

Remember: The center of fashion in the civilized world has given us these threads.

A Giant Is Gone

The NFL has lost a giant. Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, passed away in a Dallas hospital today, from complications due to prostate cancer. He was 74.

Lamar Hunt was a founder of the American Football League, and was the key figure in its merger with the NFL. He was owner of the Dallas Texans, and moved them to Kansas City after winning the AFL championship in 1962. The Texans and the Cowboys shared the Cotton Bowl, and Hunt chose to move the team for the good of the AFL, rather than continue to fight the Cowboys for status in Dallas. His wisdom paid off later with the merger. A little-known fact is that the Texans outdrew the Cowboys two of the three years they both played in Dallas. The AFC championship trophy is named after him, and he came up with the name "Super Bowl" for the AFL-NFL championship game.

Hunt was also a founder of Major League Soccer, and owned FC Dallas, the Columbus Crew, and the Kansas City Wizards. He was instrumental in the rise of soccer as a spectator sport in the United States.

Another little-known fact is that Hunt was an original investor in the Chicago Bulls, and owned 11 percent of the franchise when he died. He attended games, but is said to have never met Michael Jordan.

The Dallas Morning News has more on this story. It is a sad day in Dallas and in Kansas City.

NFL Picks: Week 15

Last Week: 8-8 (again) Overall: 124-84

Dallas at Atlanta: The Cowboys were brought back to earth, way back to earth, last week against the Who Dats. The Falcons are missing their top two running backs, Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood. Atlanta is also still in the hunt for a playoff spot. The Cowboys bounce back here. Pick: Dallas, of course.
San Francisco at Seattle: The 49ers have lost three in a row after breaking even for the first ten games. The Seahawks lost a narrow one last week in Arizona, but return home with Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander back in the lineup. In the Thursday night special, give me Seattle. Pick: Seahawks
Jacksonville at Tennessee: Vince Young is approaching immortal status, and he's just a rookie. Well, not quite, but he's working on it. He's off to an awesome start, including his game-winning 39 yard touchdown run in Houston last week. The Jags are coming off of a butt-kicking of the Colts. The Jags need this one badly for their playoff hopes. The Titans are flying high. Pick: Tennessee
Detroit at Green Bay: Yuck. Detroit is terrible. Green Bay has been terrible at home this season. But, they haven't played the Lions at Lambeau. That will cure some ills for the Pack. Pick: Green Bay
New York Jets at Minnesota: Just when you thought the Jets might be a playoff team, they laid an egg at home against the Bills last week. The Vikings, at 6-7, still have playoff hopes in the NFC. This is the NFL, and weird things happen. So, I'll do the unexplainable. Pick: Jets
Houston at New England: The Texans lost the heartbreaker of all heartbreakers last week against the Vince Youngs. The Pats were skunked in Miami. But, the Pats are still a good team, and the Texans are not. Pick: New England
Cleveland at Baltimore: Do the new Browns have a chance against the old Browns? No. The Ravens are a much better team. Pick: Baltimore
Miami at Buffalo: The Dolphins venture into the Great White North of Buffalo, just in time for Santa Claus. Warm weather team in frozen Buffalo? Not this team, not this time. Pick: Buffalo
Washington at New Orleans: Who Dat Say Gonna Beat Dem Saints? Not the Redskins, that's for sure. The Saints keep marching in. Pick: New Orleans
Pittsburgh at Carolina: Before the season, this was supposed to be a pretty good game. Now, it's just a game between two mediocre teams. Carolina is at home. I'll go with the home field here. Pick: Panthers
Tampa Bay at Chicago: Warm weather team visits Great White North in December. Warm weather team isn't very good. Cold weather team is good. Game won't be pretty at all. Pick: Da Bears
Denver at Arizona: Homecoming game for Jake Plummer. Only thing is, he's no longer the starting QB for the Broncos. The Broncos are unpredictable. The Cardinals are finding their way, finally, with rookie QB Matt Leinart. Pick: Arizona
St. Louis at Oakland: Yuck. The Greatest Show On Turf was so long ago. But, they are playing a team masquerading as the Greatness. There's nothing great about these Raiders, at all. Commitment to Excellence? Yeah, right. Pick: Rams
Philadelphia at New York Giants: Winner gets bragging rights to the Molly Pitcher Travel Plaza on the New Jersey Turnpike. Seriously, this is a huge game in the wild card race. The Giants bounced back with a big win in Carolina. The Eagles are making a run with Jeff Garcia, who is 2-0 as the starting quarterback replacing the injured Donovan McNabb. He is making Andy Reid look like a genius. Pick: Philly
Kansas City at San Diego: The Chargers are looking really special. The Chiefs have a chance for a wild card. But, you can't stop LaDainian Tomlinson. You can only hope to contain him. The Chiefs can't do that. Pick: Sandy Eggo
Cincinnati at Indianapolis: This is going to be a fun one. Whatever the over/under is, take the over. Never go against the Colts in a shootout, especially at home. Pick: Indy

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ugly Uniform of the Day

Today's UUOTD is from college football. Syracuse attempted to go retro this year, by breaking out these Ernie Davis-era uniforms, in blue and orange with no white trim whatsoever.

If it weren't for that swoosh, and that Big East logo, you'd think they got these straight out of an old abandoned locker room. I'm sorry, but only some schools can get away with old school. Penn State can get away with it, because they've never changed. Alabama can get away with a number on the helmet. Syracuse, on the other hand, moved away from this type of uniform, only to go back. Granted, they never had a design on the helmet until they put the numbers on these helmets. But, this is just an attempt to be hip gone awry. Just a little bit (not a lot) of white trim would go a long way. Instead, they have these odd-looking things.

Plus, they made the silliest name change last year, going from the Orangemen to the Orange. Did they think they were offensive to Dutch men? Did they think they were offensive to orange people? I can understand wanting the women's teams to have the same nickname as the men's. I don't know if their women's teams were previously known as the Lady Orange, or the Orangewomen, or the Lady Orangemen, or the Syracuse Orangemen women, or what they were. This is the only possible reason they could have for changing that name. They weren't the Syracuse Senecas, or the Syracuse Fighting Iroquois.

Plus, how do you send a team called the Orange out in blue jerseys? They're not the Syracuse Blue, or Blues, or Bluemen. They're not Blue Man Group, either. They are the Syracuse Orange, presented by Nike.

Dallas Texans? Houston Mavericks?

The Houston Texans began play five years ago, and assumed the nickname of one of the original AFL teams, the Dallas Texans. The original Texans moved to Kansas City, and became the Chiefs.

Did you know the Mavericks used to play in Houston? Not the current Dallas Mavericks, who came into the NBA in 1980 as an expansion franchise, but a different team.

The Houston Mavericks were one of the original teams in the old ABA, and played two years at the Sam Houston Coliseum. More can be found on the old Houston Mavericks here and here. The Houston Mavericks struggled to gain support, then moved to North Carolina, and became the Carolina Cougars. This franchise later moved to St. Louis, became the Spirits of St. Louis, and disbanded when the ABA merged into the NBA in 1976. On a side note, the owners of the Spirits got a sweet deal, on which they cash in to this day.

What about the Rockets? The San Diego Rockets of the NBA moved to Houston in 1971.

So, Dallas has had a team called the Texans, and Houston has had a team called the Mavericks. Now, Dallas has a team called the Mavericks, and Houston has a team called the Texans. Go figure.

I don’t look for Dallas to have a team called Astros, or for Houston to have a team called Cowboys, any time soon.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ugly Uniform of the Day

Today’s ugly uniform comes from the world of baseball. The San Diego Padres have a history of bad uniforms. It’s debatable if they’ve ever had a good uniform. They might take up a whole week of “Retro Ugly Uniform Of the Day” if there ever is one.

Their current road threads are putrid. I don’t like mustard on my burgers, nor do I like it in baseball uniforms. Wear gray, wear powder blue, wear a baseball color, but don’t wear this yellow thing. Blech!

Save king Trevor Hoffman models the current Padres road jersey. Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?

Coaching Carousel Comments

This is the time of year when the real estate agents are active, and the moving companies are busy. It's coaching change season, where coaches and staffs are fired, and others are hired to take their place. Some searches are more public than others. Alabama, for example, has been turned down by Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban, and Rich Rodriguez, thus far. The more accurate question is: Who hasn't turned down the Alabama job? The LSU guys at have a running thread on this that is hilarious.

There is no way I can comment on every hiring and firing. There are a couple, though, that come to my attention.

The Mean Green of the University of North Texas announced today the hiring of Todd Dodge as head coach. Dodge has lost one game in the last five years at Southlake Carroll High School, and stands two wins away from a fourth Class 5A state championship. There are those that will laugh at this move. However, if you're North Texas, what do you have to lose? The Mean Green are at the bottom of the worst Division I-A conference in the country. Any publicity they generate is good publicity, and this will generate a lot of buzz in the Metroplex. The hire cannot hurt recruiting, nor will his high-powered passing offense. There is a big difference between high school and college, even at the highest levels of high school football. However, a program like North Texas is well served by thinking outside the box. This move definitely does that. Do you believe in the Mean Green? Todd Dodge does.

Dennis Erickson has taken the job as the new head coach at Arizona State. This is his third stop in the Pac-10, after having coached at Washington State and Oregon State. He's now in his 60's, so it may be too late for him to try to coach at all 10 schools, but he's off to a good start. Erickson won two national championships at Miami, and has also won at other places such as Idaho and Wyoming. He is also a former coach of the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. Arizona State is a sleeping giant, located in a major metropolitan area with a large undergraduate enrollment and in reasonable proximity to recruiting in southern California. The area has grown so quickly that there is not the homegrown support for the program that other large schools enjoy, and there are now four professional franchises providing competition. However, the Fighting Sun Devils still have every reason to finish at or near the top of the Pac-10 consistently. This is a good move for both parties.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Ugly Uniform of the Day

I trust my wife for fashion advice. She has a good eye for what looks good, what goes together, and what does not look good. From time to time, I'll ask her what she thinks about a particular uniform. I refer to her sometimes as the Uniform Czarina. This weekend, I asked her for some input on some ugly uniforms. The first one she mentioned is the Tennessee Titans' alternate jersey.

The Titans rolled this out a few years ago to honor their history as the Houston Oilers. They wear it once or twice a year. Most recently, they wore them in their home win over the Indianapolis Colts. I'm not a fan of any of the Titans' uniform combinations, though I do like the white helmet. This Columbia blue uniform, though, is the worst of the bunch. And, they wore it with blue pants the last time out. Note to owner Bud Adams: This is the NFL, not powder puff football.

NFL Week In Review-Week 14

There was a little bit of separation in the race for playoff spots yesterday, as the batches of teams in contention for wild card berths were split in both the AFC and the NFC. In addition, there is a new king of the league, and favorite to win Super Bowl XLI.

In the AFC, the San Diego Chargers clinched the West division title, and now have the best record in the league at 11-2. The Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens lead the South and North divisions at 10-3, and the New England Patriots remain on top of the East at 9-4. If the season were to end today, Jacksonville and Cincinnati would have wild card spots, at 8-5. Close behind, at 7-6, are the New York Jets, Denver, and Kansas City.

The NFC is in similar shape. The North division champion Chicago Bears are 10-2 with a game tonight in St. Louis. The New Orleans Saints helped themselves greatly Sunday night, and lead the South at 9-4. Seattle and Dallas lead the West and East divisions at 8-5. Seattle has the tiebreaker over Dallas due to a better conference record. The New York Giants, Philadelphia, and Atlanta are fighting over two wild card spots, all at 7-6.

There is a new king of the regular-season hill, and it resides in San Diego. The Chargers crushed the Denver Broncos, 48-20. LaDainian Tomlinson had two touchdowns, to break the record for touchdowns in one season. Denver attempted a comeback, and closed the margin to 34-20, before two turnovers led to two Chargers touchdowns. At this point, the road to the Super Bowl leads through San Diego. However, Marty Schottenheimer is their coach. Take that either way: either he gets a long-awaited Super Bowl trip, or they follow the pattern of past Schottenheimer teams-an upset loss in the playoffs. However, if the Chargers play the Colts in the AFC championship game, take the Chargers. The reason is to follow…

The Colts are in big trouble. They gave up 375 yards rushing to the Jaguars, as Jacksonville pounded the Colts, 44-17. Maurice Jones-Drew scored three touchdowns, including a 95 yard kickoff return. He helped one of my fantasy teams, but killed one of my others, as my opponent had him. Indianapolis needs to fix that rushing defense, and quickly, before they see L.T. in San Diego in January. The Jaguars improved their wild card chances in a big way.

The Colts may not even see San Diego, as there is another formidable defense in Baltimore. The Ravens sacked Kansas City quarterback Trent Green four times, and the Ravens defeated the Chiefs, 20-10. Baltimore became the first visiting team to win in Kansas City in December since 1995. The Ravens are the real deal, and are setting themselves up for a titanic second-round playoff game with the Colts.

The New England Patriots are in grave danger of becoming a pretender to this throne. The Pats were shut out by the Miami Dolphins, 21-0. Tom Brady was sacked four times, and lost two fumbles while throwing for just 78 yards. The Dolphins are becoming a good team, but their timing is just a couple of weeks off. They will not be able to overcome their slow start.

The Cincinnati Bengals put themselves on the inside track for a playoff spot, with a 27-10 win over the hapless Oakland Raiders. Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes, and Rudi Johnson rushed for two touchdowns for the 8-5 Bengals. Cincinnati will be a tough out for someone in the playoffs.

Out in the desert, the Seattle Seahawks were ambushed, as the Arizona Cardinals held on for a 27-21 victory. Two Seattle fumbles led to 14 Arizona points. The Cardinals are quickly moving down in the draft order, and will most likely not have a top two pick.

The New York Giants overcame their turmoil for one week, and throttled the Carolina Panthers, 27-13. Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes for the Giants. The Panthers lost their second game in a row to playoff contenders, and will now lose playoff tiebreakers to both the Giants and Eagles.

Are you sure Philadelphia wants Donovan McNabb back? Just kidding. However, Jeff Garcia is performing well as a stand-in, throwing two touchdown passes as the Eagles held off Washington, 21-19. This is the first week of the NFL’s revenge on the Eagles, as Philly has three consecutive road games at division opponents. The Iggles next go to New York, before hitting the road for Dallas on Christmas Day.

The Atlanta Falcons are still a player in the playoff picture, as they went to Florida and defeated the sad-sack Bucs, 17-6. Tampa Bay committed two turnovers which led to 10 Atlanta points. The Falcons lost their top two running backs to injury in the third quarter, but were able to hold off the Bucs for the win.

The leader for the top pick in the draft has to be the Detroit Lions. The awful Lions lost at home to the mediocre Vikings, 30-20. The Lions were on the verge of a comeback, but came up short on a 4th and goal play with six minutes to go. Someone named Artose Pinner was the star, gaining 125 yards on the ground with three touchdowns. He was one of the Lions’ final cuts, and was picked up later by Minnesota. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Look for him to be picked up in a ton of fantasy leagues this week. The Vikes maintain slight playoff hopes, at 6-7.

Out on the West Coast, the Green Bay Packers continued to play well on the road, defeating the 49ers, 30-19. Green Bay has won four road games this year, while winning only one at home. Brett Favre threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns, showing that he isn’t quite ready to retire just yet.

In New York, the Jets blew a chance to improve their playoff position, as they lost to the visiting Buffalo Bills, 31-13. Willis McGahee overcame a game-time illness to break a 57-yard run for the Bills. The Jets had a post-game illness, as their playoff chances took a serious hit.

In the often-forgotten Thursday night game, the Pittsburgh Steelers rolled over the Cleveland Browns, 27-7. Willie Parker rushed for a team record 223 yards on a cold night in Pittsburgh.

The Power of a Playmaker

This year’s NFL draft was all about two playmakers: Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush, and national championship quarterback Vince Young. Both are making their mark in the NFL. Sunday was no exception.

Who Dat? Who dat say gonna beat dem Saints? The Saints are all Dat, that’s who. Not Dat Nguyen, either. The Saints went to the Stadium with the Hole In The Roof and beat the stuffing out of the Dallas Cowboys, 42-17. The Saints went to the no-name offense, as fullback Mike Karney scored three touchdowns, and WR Jamal Jones caught a touchdown pass. Drew Brees threw five touchdown passes for the Saints, including a 61-yard pass to the electrifying Reggie Bush, who keeps making plays. The Saints found themselves sitting on the ball with 1st and goal and more than two minutes left in the game, in order to not embarrass the Cowboys any further. The Saints are the real deal. The Cowboys will still win the NFC East, but face tough playoff road trips to Chicago and/or New Orleans.

Vince Young is the man, not in the future, but right now. Number 10 made the Houston Texans regret not picking him in this year’s draft, as he made a 39-yard touchdown run to help the Tennessee Titans defeat the Texans, 26-20 in overtime. Once the Titans won the coin toss in overtime, it was curtains for the Texans, who led for most of regulation. Vince Young finds ways to win. The Titans are not going anywhere this year, but they are a fun team to watch, and have won six of their last eight. The saying in Houston today is: “We could have drafted a star, but instead we have a Carr”. David Carr is on his way out of Houston, as he will probably be a decent NFL quarterback somewhere else, but not in this town, with this team. The natives are restless in Houston.

More NFL review later…..

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ugly Uniform of the Day

I can't promise an ugly uniform every day, but I have one for today.

The Minnesota Vikings rolled out these threads this year that are just plain ugly. The jersey is the opposite color of the pants, and they have that curse of the 21st century: the wide stripe on the side of both the jersey and the pants.

Uggggly. Gross. What happened to the classic uniforms that Chuck Foreman used to wear?


In an earlier post, I referred to Arkansas running back Darren McFadden as Dwight. That is my mistake.

Dwight McFadden was a star running back in the early 90's at Lawton Eisenhower High School in Oklahoma, and went on to play for USC.

Darren McFadden won the Doak Walker Award as the top running back in the nation this season, and finished second in the voting for the Heisman trophy. Barring injury, he will be playing on Sundays in two years.

My apologies to both DMacs.

Mid-Major Win of the Day

There was one notable win yesterday by a mid-major over a team from a power conference. The Trojans of Arkansas-Little Rock went to Minneapolis, and defeated the reeling Minnesota Gophers, 67-66.

Also, the Butler did it. Lost, that is, as the Butler Bulldogs suffered their first defeat, losing 72-65 in Terre Haute to the Sycamores of Indiana State. Ok, these guys beat Indiana and Notre Dame, but lost to Indiana State. Go figure.. It’s college basketball, where most teams can beat most other teams on a given night.

Coming in January: Weekly NCAA Tournament projections..

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Ugly Uniform of the Day

I am beginning a new feature today. From time to time, there are uniforms out there which redefine the word ugly. When it comes to uniforms, I'm pretty old school, with a few exceptions here and there. I believe teams ought to have one home uniform, and one away uniform. There are some decent-looking alternate uniforms out there, but most are a useless waste of thread, designed to suck money out of customers.

The Washington Wizards broke out this putrid-looking alternate uniform this season. Gilbert Arenas is shown wearing it here. It is gold, with white numbers, a white shoulder, black stars down the side, and black shorts. It may be the worst basketball uniform I've ever seen. The only two that come close are the silver ones the Mavericks wore for one game last year before Mark Cuban got smart and pulled them, and some old, old unis that Byng High School in Oklahoma made their JV team wear in the early 80's, which were supposed to be gold, but had worn out to the point where they looked puke green.

Stay tuned for more ugly jerseys...

Bison Stampede

My alma mater, Oklahoma Baptist University, is currently considering adding football to its athletic program. OBU is a school with nearly 1700 undergraduates located in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The school dropped football during World War II due to budget restraints, and never brought it back. The Bison currently compete in the NAIA, and are national powers in men’s and women’s basketball and track.

I believe the addition of football would be a benefit to the university, providing increased enrollment, student retention, donations, and school pride. I have seen the benefits of football in recent years at schools of similar size and mission, and would love to see these things happen at OBU.

Small college football is a totally different animal from the BCS conference schools we see on TV every week. The budgets are much lower, and coaches, more often than not, teach classes during the week. In truth, a 5A high school program in Texas will often have a larger football budget than a small college program. Attending a game in person is similar to attending a high school game. However, athletes, students, alumni, and the community at small schools have the same amount of pride in their programs, and the universities often benefit more than their larger counterparts. Football would benefit OBU in so many ways.

The school is currently studying the addition of football. They are currently taking a survey on their website. Whether you are an alum, a friend of an alum, an interested observer, or someone who is surfing around in blogland and has never heard of the school, please click here and vote for the addition of football.

With our help, Bison football can become a reality in the future.

Thank you!


Millions of football addicts will go through serious withdrawal today. The college football regular season is over, and the Saturday afternoon NFL games have moved to Thursday nights on the NFL Network.

In this area, there are only two football games on TV today. One of them is the Pilgrim's Pride Bowl, a junior college game from Mount Pleasant, Texas between Blinn College (TX) and Pearl River Community College (MS). Pass the chicken. The other is the semifinal of the former Division 1-AA between Youngstown State and Appalachian State.

This would be a great weekend for the first round of a Division 1-A playoff. If it's too good to be true, it usually is.

I need to find something productive to do today.