Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Talking About the Winter Classic and the Last Post of 2008!

Traveling around Christmas and New Year's Day are problematic. I spent four full days trying to get to Portland, OR from Manchester, NH from December 20-23 and now, on New Year's Eve, I'm sitting in a Las Vegas airport hoping to get home in time for...midnight to celebrate the New Year with friends and family? Nope; that one's not possible. I want to be home for the Winter Classic.

It's the best team known to man, the Detroit Red Wings, versus their resurgent little rivals in the Central: the Chicago Blackhawks. Hmm....on any other day this might just end in a 4-0 blowout and the 'Hawks would be sent home with the spanking they deserve ( maybe yesterday?). But this game is at Wrigley Field. This game is outdoors. This game is on national television. This game has been hyped up and talked about by Blackhawks fans and Chicagoans for months. "Chicago hockey is back!" and "Kane and Toews are leading the best team in the NHL!" are only some of the false utterances I have heard regarding the subject. Has everyone forgotten that the defending champion Detroit Red Wings are also playing in this game? That they have better skill players, better defensemen, and a better coach than Chicago? That the Wings have four Stanley Cups in the past 11 years while Chicago hasn't managed even one in almost 50 years?

Fine, I get it. The Blackhawks' return to above-mediocrity is a feel-good story. They haven't made the playoffs in six years but they will this season. Awesome. Good for Chicago and the Original Six. But don't leave out the Champs. That's all I'm sayin'.

As for my thoughts on how the actual game will play out...I do think it will be closer than the game last night, where Detroit steamrolled 'em. I'll say it right now: I won't be surprised if the Blackhawks win. I just won't. Now, don't get that confused with "I won't be pissed as hell if the Blackhawks win" because I most certainly will be. But I won't be surprised. Nope. Much to my chagrin, the 'Hawks are a good team and it's always hard to beat a team two consecutive times. Let alone when the second game is in front of a full Wrigley Field of Red-Wings-haters (thanks Gary Bettman for selling 90% of the tickets to Chicago fans, ass). But I'll go ahead and predict something like a 4-3 win for the Wings anyway, since I'm a homer. It'll come down to the third period though, I'm almost sure of that.

I'm going to leave now, since sitting against a pole on the floor of Gate C12 is getting rather uncomfortable and I'm just so excited to sit on a bench ten feet away for another hour before my plane finally leaves. It's scheduled to land in Manchester at 4am and that would put me home by 6am, which is fine with me (despite that meaning that I've undergone another full 24 hours of travel since I got up at 6am this morning) as long as I'm in front of my HD TV in the basement for the Winter Classic at 1pm tomorrow. If I don't make it home in time, check the news. You might see my picture being plastered around as the main suspect for an insane felonious crime spree that will surely happen if I miss this game.

Until 2009....Happy New Year Everybody! And GO WINGS!

First, and Last, Bueller Results

As I sit here spending my sixth hour in the Las Vegas International Airport, I decided to cut off the deadline for the Bueller Awards that I introduced a few weeks ago and retire the charade as a gimmick that didn't go as planned. I came up with some good categories and some bad ones and I doubt I'll do it again next year. I was satisfied with the number of votes, some as high as seven for one category, but just feel like it was a pointless endeavor. It was mostly just moving away from the overall goal of my blog, which is to write about what I enjoy and write it the way I want. So, without furter ado, here are your victors:

The Best Team of 2008 Bueller Award goes to...the Detroit Red Wings by a wide margin!The Best Performance of 2008 Bueller Award goes to....Michael Phelps by a close 3-2 vote over Henrik Zetterberg!The Best Album of 2008 Bueller Award goes to....the Counting Crows!The Best Blogger of 2008 Bueller Award goes to....Abel to Yzerman!The Best Movie of 2008 Bueller Award goes to....the Dark Knight!The Best Columnist of 2008 Bueller Award goes to....Rick Reilly and John Buccigross in a tie!
The Biggest Bonehead of 2008 Bueller Award goes to....Sean Avery in a landslide!So there ya have it. The Bueller Awards. Fun fun. I'm done with this post because I want to start talking about the Winter Classic.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Stuck in Chicago...

A canceled flight is not as bad as you might think when it's -30 degrees outside! We took this here fun photo inside the Chicago Museum of Art in an effort to replicate the famous photo from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

I'll be back later once we finally get to Portland, Oregon like we originally planned!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Worth a 1,000 Words...

I wanted to update the blog but I was drawing a blank in every way possible in trying to find a topic. So, I decided to make a fun video slideshow of my fall semester at UNH. It includes pictures from the Weezer and Vampire Weekend concerts, various good times with friends, Halloween, and Barack Obama's incredible run to the presidency. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Much to Discuss...

Vote in the Bueller Awards...if you've taken the time to visit the site I'm sure you have time to assess your options and click your favorite nominee in each category (in the polls on the left).
Now that you've done that (or simply ignored me and kept reading as I probably would have done were I in your position) there are plenty of things I'd like to write about.

First up, the BCS breakdown now that the college football season is over and all the bowl games have been laid out.

I'm happy to see that there are plenty of great match-ups in store for the holiday season but the realization that Michigan's not playing is depressing me by the minute. I know for a fact that I will not be able to take this kind of pain two years in a row so...get it in gear RichRod.

Anyway, I like the Texas-Ohio State match-up in the Fiesta Bowl for two reasons. One, because Ohio State will get their asses kicked (I think/hope) and two, because a strong Texas victory might put them at #1 in some of the polls and give them reason to be co-national champions with whoever wins the BCS National Title Game (especially if the winner is Oklahoma). The Alabama-Utah game is also very enticing and although I think the Rose Bowl will be lopsided in USC's favor, I'd like to see JoePa and Penn State give the Trojans a close game. Some other interesting bowl games include Michigan State vs. Georgia in the Capital One Bowl, Missouri vs. Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl, Oklahoma State vs. Oregon in the Holiday Bowl, and Iowa vs. South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. On New Year's Day I will most certainly be watching the Red Wings play the Blackhawks at Wrigley Field in the Winter Classic but I'm sure I'll be flipping through the bowls during commercials and intermissions. I feel bad for Boise State though, since they had an impressive 12-0 record given their schedule and were left out of the BCS while undeserving teams like Cincinnati and Virginia Tech get to duke it out in the Orange Bowl. Especially after the program's victory over Oklahoma a couple years ago, the blue-turfed Broncoes deserved better than a San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl berth against TCU. (And yes, that's the full name of the ridiculous is that?)

Turning towards hockey now, I figured it was time to check in on those Red Wings.
  • Could Chris Osgood be playing any worse right now? I mean yeah...the Wings are still racking up wins but Ozzie is posting a blimp-sized 3.17 GAA and an abysmal .876 SV%. Are you freaking kidding me? His hefty goals against average ranks 38th out of 43 goalies in the entire league and his save percentage is tied for absolute worst in the league at 43rd. Jeeeeez Ozzie, you better find whatever it is you're missing come playoff time because otherwise, the Wings will be out in the first round.
  • How good is Marian Hossa? Whipped cream out of the can good. Soft, fuzzy, warm, new socks good. Pairing him with Pavel Datsyuk is simply unfair.
  • Is Nicklas Lidstrom giving all other defensemen a chance to catch up in the Norris trophy race? He's played quite mediocre so far this year (for still best in the league but by a slimmer margin) and I'm wondering if guys like Phanuef or Chara can step up and snatch away his birthright at the Awards show next June. I wouldn't bet against Captain Nick though, he'll step things up a notch as the season goes along.
  • The Wings are 18-4-4 and as far as I'm concerned, they don't even look like they've played that well all year. That's crazy. Watch out, rest of the league.
And my final sports topic of the night...the atrocious, the barbaric, the winless Detroit Lions ladies and gentlemen!

Seriously? A professional football team playing with a squad full of players that get paid to do nothing but play a sport every day of every year is going to win a total of ZERO games this season? I predicted it early in the year after they started the season with some dreadful games (including a 48-25 loss to the Packers when they were winning 25-24 with five and half minutes left in the fourth quarter) but I never thought it would actually happen. With three games left (at Indy, vs. New Orleans, and at Green Bay), I hiiiighly doubt the Lions will even come close to stopping history. They're going to be the first-ever 0-16 team; the worst team in professional-sports history. Wow...that's staggering. I mean...I can't reeeally call myself a fan because my mood has never been lifted or brought down by the result of a Lions game but since I root for the rest of Detroit's teams, I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon. Baaaaaad decision.

I'm done. This was basically just a few quickwrites thrown together since I haven't written anything just for myself in a little while. I did attend an awesome concert Sunday night in Boston at the Orpheum Theater though. I saw Vampire Weekend and they were so much fun. Their songs just make me smile and enjoy life because of their upbeat melodies but seeing them in concert increased that feeling tenfold. I took a bunch of videos and they're all on YouTube, and linked throughout this paragraph, including one embedded below.

I'm going to bed now. Hope you enjoyed the reading...I'll be back, back, back, gone sometime soon.

Vote for the First Annual Bueller Awards!



Yes, I'm referencing one of my all-time favorite movies once again (for which this blog is named) to call out to the reader(s) of this blog to help vote for the winners of the first annual Bueller Awards.

First off, what are they? Well, these awards are to recognize the best teams, players, people, and events of the year in completely arbitrary categories decided by me. In this post, I will announce the categories, the nominees for each category, and give a short description of each nominee. And sometime in early January, I will take into account the votes from the polls (located on the left side of the blog) and award a shiny new Bueller to each victor. And if you don't like any of the nominees, just pick your favorite one of the choices I give you. Hey, it's what happens when I'm bored at college How exciting! So without further ado, here are your categories and nominees for the 2008 Bueller Awards!

Best Team of 2008, Nominees:
Detroit Red Wings (won Cup in June, great start to 08-09 season)
Boston Celtics (won NBA championship with dominating playoff run)
Philadelphia Phillies (won World Series on a diet of pureed cheese steaks)

Best Performance of 2008, Nominees:
Tiger Woods wins U.S. Open on bum knee
Henrik Zetterberg stops Sid the Kid from tying the game in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals
Michael Phelps wins 8 Gold Medals in Beijing

Best Album of 2008, Nominees:
The Killers - Day & Age
Coldplay - Viva la Vida
Counting Crows - Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings
Kings of Leon - Only By the Night
Weezer - Weezer (Red Album)

Best Blogger I Constantly Read of 2008, Nominees:
Abel to Yzerman
Maize n Brew
Michigan Against the World
The Triple Deke

Best Movie of 2008, Nominees:
The Dark Knight
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Quantum of Solace
Tropic Thunder

Best Columnist of 2008, Nominees:
Mitch Albom
Rick Reilly
John Buccigross

Biggest Bonehead Athlete of 2008, Nominees:
Plaxico Burress (Accidentally shoots himself at nightclub with concealed weapon)
Sean Avery (Calls out ex-girlfriend, refers to her as "sloppy seconds")
Daunte Culpepper (Comes out of retirement to play for the soon-to-be 0-16 Lions)

That's all I can really come up with at the moment...and I've made the executive decision of being able to make up the categories each year so they might not be the same next December. I'm going to follow up this post (which I wrote mostly last week) with another very shortly afterward so I bid you adieu and I hope you all vote in the Bueller's!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Let's play a little Guess Who...

I said I'd be back for the weekend but man oh man...this was too good to pass up. So, see if you can guess who this person is:

He once dated the hottest woman on the planet. He once showed signs of promise and looked like he might be a great hockey player in the future with both skill and toughness. He once played for the might Detroit Red Wings dynastic Cup-winning team in 2002.

In the 2008 playoffs, he turned around and waved his arms in front of Martin Brodeur while his team was on a 5-on-3 power play, paying no attention to the game but only trying to draw Brodeur's attention (something so unsportsmanlike that the NHL made a new rule about it the very next day). And today, he made comments about his ex-girlfriend, still one of the hottest women on the planet, and her relationship with Calgary Flames star defenseman Dion Phaneuf. For the comments, he has received an indefinite suspension from the NHL, which has created plenty of controversy across the many blogs and news networks reporting the story. Still can't figure out who it is? Oh, well here you go then...

His name is Sean Avery, and he plays with dolls and can "certainly admire a nice purse."

There are many people who have said that it's ridiculous for Avery to be suspended indefinitely while a player is only suspended three games for a blatant hit to an opposing player's head. I would agree with them had Avery simply said this after having asked a question, but he didn't. He called over all of the reporters in the room, made sure they had a camera, and then embarrassed the National Hockey League. It is entertaining because Avery is such a complete tool but there is no denying that his comments are completely disrespectful to all players, fans, and administrators of the league. He brought this on entirely by himself and I don't blame the league for suspending him: it's probably for his own safety, since tonight they play the Calgary Flames (Phaneuf's team, if you remember) and I can guarantee you Dion would have given him a concussion something to wipe that smirk off his face.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Time to Address the BCS Mess

I've tried to avoid it. I tried to use Michigan's eye-gouging season as an excuse for not writing about it. I've even closed my eyes, scrunched up my face, and hoped for that perfect season. The perfect season where everything works out and there are no legitimate arguments for teams left on the outside looking in. When will I learn? It's only happened once: 2005-06, when Texas and USC met for the National Title and no one else had any reason to argue. But every other season since its inauguration in 1998, the BCS has carried controversy. This year is no different, and it's about time to address it.

First, let's assess the BCS rankings as far down as I care to list, leaving out #10 Ohio State of course:

#1 Alabama (12-0), #2 Oklahoma (11-1), #3 Texas (11-1), #4 Florida (11-1), #5 USC (10-1), #6 Utah (12-0), #7 Texas Tech (11-1), #8 Penn State (11-1), #9 Boise State (12-0).

Everything appears to be fine. Some big-time schools with great records at the top and a couple undefeated small schools (Utah and Boise) a bit further down. What these rankings don't tell you, is the chaos that can ensue with one week left in the regular season.

Spinach in the teeth: No big upsets. Alabama wins against Florida in the SEC Championship and Oklahoma wins against Missouri to clinch the Big 12. That would create a good title game (Alabama vs. Oklahoma) and still leave plenty of exciting bowl games. Only one problem: Texas. So...Oklahoma wins this weekend and goes to the title game while Texas is left out even though the Longhorns beat the Sooners by 10 points this year at a neutral site? Doesn't sound fair to me. And that's the best possible scenario for the BCS? Yikes...wait 'til you see what's cooking down below.

Red wine on a brand-new white shirt: Florida knocks off #1 Alabama and wins the SEC while Oklahoma still bests Missouri in the Big 12 Championship. Now, it will probably be Florida vs. Oklahoma in the title game (still a good match-up) and we're left with the same Texas problem. BUT, if Florida doesn't impress voters enough in their victory, it's possible Texas could keep their spot above Florida and play Oklahoma for the title in a Red River Rematch. If that scenario were to play out with the amount of good teams in the SEC this year, I think the South might secede again.

A shaving-cream pie to the face: Florida and Oklahoma both win but USC loses and creates a three-way tie atop the Pac 10. Now, we have the Texas problem, the possibility of the Oklahoma-Texas rematch title game problem, annnd the 20-something ranked team playing in a BCS game problem. If USC loses and either Oregon or Oregon State goes to the Rose Bowl to play Penn State (keep in mind Oregon State already lost to the Nittany Lions earlier this year 45-14), there will be a feel-good story in Corvallis or Eugene but uproar everywhere else. That would definitely leave Boise State out of the BCS games altogether and might even exclude Utah if the voters still want USC to take an at-large bid. Two undefeateds being left out of the biggest five bowls compounded with the two aforementioned problems? Storm's abrewin...

Eating wet dog food with your hands behind your back: Missouri wins the Big 12. If that happens, it doesn't matter who wins the SEC because they'll be in the title game against Texas, in all likelihood. Then, you'd have people pissed about Texas being in the title game without having won their conference championship, you'd have people pissed about Missouri being in the BCS at all (another 20-something ranked team playing in a BCS game), and you'd still have people pissed about Utah and Boise State not getting a chance to play the big boys. I can't even imagine the repurcussions of Oklahoma losing the Big 12 Championship this weekend: since the BCS rules say that only two teams from any given conference can be in the BCS bowls, if Missouri wins, then it's Missouri and either Texas, Oklahoma, or Texas Tech. How do you even begin to sort that out?

Biting a cactus while Tanya Harding creeps up behind you with a TaylorMade: Where in the world am I coming up with these images and disturbing references? No idea...they just keep coming to me. Anyway, this particular insane scenario happens if all hell breaks loose: Missouri upsets Oklahoma, UCLA upsets USC, even Virginia Tech beats BC in the ACC title game. The world erupts with animosity and although the title game would still be good to watch (Alabama/Florida vs. Texas), all the other BCS games would be lopsided matchups. Penn State would play either Oregon or Oregon State in the Rose Bowl, Missouri would probably play Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, and Virginia Tech would play Cincinnati in the Orange-you-glad-you're-not-required-to-watch-this-game Bowl. Oy vey.

So...where does this leave us?
Nowhere, really. It's purely speculation and rambling thoughts from my innermost objective college football mind (now that Michigan's out of the picture of course). The system's been an issue for ten years now and if we're lucky, it will only be a problem for ten more. ESPN just signed a contract for the TV rights to the BCS bowls from 2011 to 2015. We're stuck. Then again...maybe good ol' Barack will enact some Presidential mandates to force a playoff. Wouldn't that be sweet?

Alright, well I just wanted to make some bad jokes, ramble about college football, and update my blog. Now that I've done that, it's about time I did some reading and went to bed. So farewell, I'll be back again once I find something to write about for the weekend.