This was originally a response to the Fiesta Bowl What thread, but obviously became too long. It may be blasphemy to some and undermine what little credibility I may have around here but here goes nothing...
I must admit, I feel a sort of pity/sympathy for our Scarlet-haired stepchildren. Though we may beat them furiously from time to time, their unwavering obsession with the University of Michigan is somewhat flattering and has, over time, garnered a slight bit of empathy from me. After all, they would be nothing without us and so the question we must ask ourselves is basically, should we wish for the total humiliation of our ingrate, bastard stepchildren? This is purely a judgment call. Personally, I find it very entertaining to behold but simply cannot muster enough spite to actively wish for its occurrence.
In considering this, I am compelled to philosophize. Bear with me at your leisure. Is it not the lot of resentful, bitter losers to wish misfortune upon their enemies? In particular, enemies who happen to have had a recent victory? Consider: Having lost to Oohi U this year, a victory for them in the Fiesta Bowl would, in a small way, vindicate our loss (conversely, should we have won the day, their other successes also add to our glory). Despite gains in prestige and respect that would come from an Oohi U victory, shall we, in irrational contempt, invest our energies in hopes for them to lose? This may be the role of a fan, in the minds of some. But how, then, would we be different from Dantonio, in that case of his dismissing a Rose Bowl opportunity due to his hate, or the Browneyes themselves, who, throughout history, have been looking up at the mountainous glory of MICHIGAN with hatred and venom in their hearts, always guided by the will to destroy that which is more beautiful and powerful than they? Shall we too succumb to that fevered state of mind? Shall we reduce ourselves to petty herd animals, simply reacting to an increasingly adverse environment with hostility and resentment?
Though we may have lost significant games in recent history, I vouch that we should not let our pride, our dignity, or our sense of nobility diminish. That is the ultimate battle -- do not let ourselves be reduced to their level! The greatest victory for them would be to fill our hearts and minds with resentment and hatred; reducing us to their level of pettiness, that is, to perceive of ourselves as dependents, as subservients, as subjugated, as they do perceive themselves. That, I say, is the most crucial contest of all.
In these times I always remind myself of the ultimate truth: No matter what, WE ARE BETTER THAN OOHI U. We are superior. We, the mighty Michigan Wolverines, are ALONE masters of our destiny! Our greatness is self-sustained, outwardly-imposing, self-perpetuating and independent of favorable or unfavorable outcomes of specific contests. That is, ultimately, what separates us from the Browneyes, the Spartines, and the rest of the unworthy -- they depend on their tangible, short-term successes against US to determine their sense of self-worth. WE, on the other hand, generate our sense of self-worth for ourselves and from ourselves because we know in our hearts that WE are Wolverines, and no one else is (except in Helsinki, home of our noble Finnic namesakes who, at least, have demonstrated supremely good taste). At the very least, we have the option to take the higher path of power while the unworthy are forbidden from it, due to their inherent ...unworth. And why, then, should we opt to trod upon the path of smelly herd peoples who are only able to react to the will of the strong?
One final point; I hope that my condemnation of hatred is not understood as a condemnation of a feeling more befitting men of power and wisdom, which is cruelty. Indeed, though I do not actively wish ill toward our quasi-educated and unhygienic bastard imitators from the southron valley most foul, I still delight in their suffering as they get their asses handed to them by the likes of Florida, LSU, USC, and so on. Cruelty, in moderation, allows us to enjoy the failure of our enemies without lowering ourselves to their level; for to hate something is to give it legitimacy because in hating, you invest energy and concern in a particular outcome. Cruelty is neutral in this regard, as there is no need to feel threatened by or even hostile toward something to savor the sweet fruit of its ruin. And if its ruin is prolonged for another day (until our next encounter!), then so be it. Our greatness remains.
And now let us return to the original question: To hate or not to hate. Specifically, "should we wish for the total humiliation of our ingrate, bastard stepchildren?" Alas, though we have traversed through many considerations, I fear many shall divide over the answer to this. Thinking of "hatred" as a state in which cruel desires are dominant, a question of simple economics can reveal a great deal. What is the worth of gaining prestige from an Oohi U win compared to the sheer entertainment value of their loss? How much do you value pride, and how much do you value cruelty? Although my delight in the misfortunes of the god-forsaken Browneyes is truly enormous, personally I find myself following my ancestors' way and seeking greater pride. Cruelty will just have to wait ... until the 2009 football season.
So, either way, I will be smiling tonight. It's a good way to be. Whatever your valuation may be in this regard, I urge you to be mindful of our overall position as Wolverines. That position, in a word, is simply this: Superior.
Wassup bitchez! It’s the Subcommandante back to take his place as the rightful place as Buckeye Master of mgoblog. That shifty hippie from up north tried to relocate his base of operations, but luckily my WoW clan got on a group mission to find this shit. Today I’m here to tell y’ll about why you guys should represent with THE REPUBLIC OF UZBUCKISTAN in tonight’s Fiesta Bowl! The Subcommandante won’t be making it to this year’s bowl game. Kinkos dropped the Subcommandante after the third unsuccessful stint with them. I mean what’s the point in random drug testing anyways?
Reason #1 should be obvious enough. BUCKEYES RULE! We’ve pwn’d you guys for the last eleventy billion years. Anyone facing that domination should obviously be enslaved to their conquerors. That said, big daddy Tressel dictates you root for the buckeyes you half-wit pusserines.
Reason #2 is the Beanie. Like my mom says every night when we gather around the television downstairs, you can’t hate a man named Beanie. Then again, I occasionally hear her scream his name in the middle of the night during the offseason right before I hear a door slam and some dude outside yell “You wasn’t that good bitch!” But yeah, Beanie Wells is the shit, as proven by 15 carries for 8.9 yards per carry in yet another The Ohio State blowout of your crappy excuse of a team. If I didn’t get such a massive hard on for watching the Loserines suffering so much, me and Jimmy T probably would have jumped ship in my Grand AM and hit up Vanessa for a wicked threesome. No way I’d miss that shit though.
Pwning Michigan N00bs Since '08
Reason #3 is Pryor. Hell yeah you want him, but he chose The Ohio State University instead of that crap school up north. But you know what, you want him more than I want to Wendy Cook from Bristol’s baby while getting a BuckNut job from Sarah herself. Ain’t nothing like it my friends. And there ain’t nothing like Terrelle Pryor either.
Reason #4 is Texas is land of steers and queers. And while these guys appear to be some sort of steer, or ball-less male bull of some sort, they most certainly are not. Don’t let them fool you with names like Colt. Hell, that kid in Three Ninjas was named Colt and he wasn’t a steer either. They’re all queers. You can’t love queers or that makes you a queer? Get it queers?
Love me, men of America
Reason #4 is the spread. You know you miss the Hall of Fame Cooper years when we let you guys win a few here and there just because you ran a respectable offense. A run oriented smash mouth football offense. You guys used to at least be respectable in that. Now you guys are wasting away like my buddy Doug down in Franklin County. You guys are depressed and getting taken behind the barn by less criminals like that other crappy school from up north. You guys are becoming Michigan State. You know you want the spread to die, and the best way to kick that off is The Ohio State beating the Blowhorns.
Reason #5, hell, we don’t need a reason #5. Hell, we don’t even really need you. You guys SUCK. When you see Coeckman and Pryor hook up for that first touchdown pass in the first minute and never look back, you’ll know that the Buckeyes are the shit and you will always just be that school that used to be decent, but always less than The Ohio State University.
Alright I got to get back to the WoW clan because we’ve got to get this quest objective finished, something that can’t be done without my Level 201 Tauren Druid.
GO BUCKEYES!!! I’m gone as fast as you’re team’s bowl streak.
I put all the blame on Ohio State and the BCS for the piss poor performance of the Big Ten in this season’s bowl games. I’m sure I am like the rest of you, in that I share an ever-burning hatred for OSU, but after the Fiesta Bowl tonight, the Big Ten will be the laughing stock of college football for the first time in history. Ohio State has no right to play in a BCS bowl this year. They went 0-2 versus BCS teams; one of which was over before halftime. What made the BCS selection committee think that OSU would be able to win a game against a top 3 team? Take a look at how much better the bowl games look if OSU went to the Capital One bowl where they belong.
Penn State vs. USC – Obviously a loss
OSU vs. Georgia – OSU -7 to -10
Michigan State vs. South Carolina – Even Money or State +3
Iowa vs. Missouri – Even Money or Iowa -3
Northwestern vs. Florida State – Even Money or NW +3
Wisconsin vs. Kansas – Even Money or Wisconsin -3
Minnesota vs. Central Michigan – Even Money or Minnesota +3
With these matchups, the Big Ten has a much better chance of going 5-2 instead of what looks to be a 1-6 campaign. Not only has OSU tarnished the reputation of the Big Ten with humiliating national championship losses the past 2 years, the can single handedly ruin the chance of the Big Ten playing for a national championship for years to come, with a loss tonight to Texas.
I thought I'd run down the All-American game rosters to compare teams total number of players in both the Army and Under Armour games. I thought maybe some other people would be interested in this too.
Top All-American Teams:
1. Texas - 12
2. USC - 10
3. Ohio State - 10
6. Georgia - 9
***5. Michigan - 8***
6. Florida - 8
7. Notre Dame - 7
8. Oklahoma - 6
9. North Carolina - 6
10. Miami (FL) - 6
* Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, and LSU all have 5
Here's the full list of schools who have recruits playing in either All-American game, in alphabetical order. The list works like this:
School - (Total # of All-Americans) # of Army/# of Under Armour
Alabama - (5) 4/1
Arkansas - (1) 1/0
Arizona State - (1) 1/0
Cal - (3) 1/2
Clemson - (5) 3/2
Florida - (8) 4/4
Florida State - (5) 1/4
Georgia - (9) 3/6
Illinois - (3) 2/1
Iowa - (1) 0/1
LSU - (5) 2/3
Maryland - (1) 0/1
Miami(FL) - (6) 2/4
*****Michigan - (8) 5/3*****
Michigan State - (2) 2/0
Minnesota - (2) 0/2
Mississippi State - (2) 1/1
Missouri - (1) 1/0
North Carolina - (6) 5/1
Notre Dame - (7) 6/1
Ohio State - (10) 5/5
Oklahoma - (6) 3/3
Oklahoma State - (1) 1/0
Oregon - (1) 1/0
Penn State - (3) 1/2
Rutgers - (1) 1/0
South Carolina - (3) 0/3
South Florida - (2) 0/2
Stanford - (4) 1/3
Tennessee - (1) 1/0
Texas - (12) 7/5
Texas A&M - (1) 1/0
UCLA - (3) 0/3
USC - (10) 6/4
Virginia Tech - (1) 1/0
Wake Forest - (1) 0/1
West Virginia - (2) 1/1
So what does this all mean? Nothing we didn't know already really. Getting Will Campbell obviously helped us out alot. It's good to see with all the decommits we still rank among the top classes. If we had kept Newsome/Beaver/Mcneal we'd have an elite class. Hopefully we can fill those spots in with some high quality recruits and end up somewhere in or near the top 5 classes. North Carolina really surprised me here, especially once they picked up Brennan Williams during the game. Texas dominated everyone but there could possibly be a slight bias to Texas high-schoolers selected for this game seeing as the game is played in San Antonio. Florida nabbed two commits during the game, placing them near the top of the list.
All-Americans by conference:
SEC - 34
Big Ten - 29
ACC - 25
Pac-10 - 22 (10 from USC)
Big 12 - 21 (18 combined from Texas and Oklahoma)
..this is sad for the Big East more than anything else...
I-A Independents (Notre Dame) - 7
Big East - 5
So some unbalance in the Pac-10 and ridiculous amount in the Big 12. These numbers give hope to the Big Ten coming back soon, and point to a possible demise of the Big East. All in all, 14 different schools have as many or more all-americans than the entire Big East (including us!).
Important to remember that players don't have to attend an All-American game or even perform well in that game to be good in college.
You really have to be proud of Rodriguez and our recruiting class right now. Just trying to keep hopes up for next year :)
Update - 1/5/09:
-Added 6 commits from UA game, updating top ten and conference totals
-This list is derived from rosters on Rivals.com, from these links:
-Updated the list during the Army game with the recruits who committed during the broadcast, plan to update tomorrow after Under Armour game as well
Sitting alone, in a dark corner of The Knickerbocker, sat West Layfayette's saddest man. He drained the remaining ounces of his Pabst, and less than gently set it back down, and slid it into the pile of his other empties.
"Fuck this place," he muttered, drawing breath through clenched teeth.
He knew his dream was done. Four years prior, he was hearing stories of how he would be the next Bob Greise, the next Mike Phipps. He spent his high school nights dreaming of glory, of winning...
Now, in 1973, that had all faded. The end was nigh. It just wasn't fair. He knew he deserved greatness, but why didn't it happen? No bowls, no championship, not even a winning season. He slumped a little further down into his chair. It all started down hill when his hero, his role model, got beaten out by some quarterback from Florida.
As the waitress swung past the table, Gary made eye contact with her, and motioned for another beer.
He continued to rack his brain. Who's fault was it? It couldn't have been his. DeMoss's perhaps? That would make sense, he supposed. He shook his head. That shouldn't have mattered, he thought. He was following behind two men who almost won the Heisman, he, of course, should've done the same... should've been just as good.
And then that word struck him: 'Almost.' They weren't good enough either! He suddenly knew why: The reason for his complete failure to even throw a third as many touchdowns as interceptions, the reason why that 'Spurrier' kid beat out Greise for the Heisman... It was all Purdue's, no, not even that, it was all the BigTen's fault!
How could he have missed this until now? He was set up for failure by the system. He could never beat someone from the South. No, he would never be good enough, no one from the BigTen could be, not if HE couldn't. Then and there, he finally understood. Those guys in the south. Those SEC teams, and especially those Florida quarterbacks, they will always be the best.
For the rest of the night, Gary sat back in his chair thinking of all the bad things that had happened in his life, using his new enlightenment to finally understand them:
"Of course my father beat me... he knew I would never be good enough to play for an SEC school."
"So that's why I got gonorrhea from that toilet seat."
As he became comfortable with his new world view, he took out his pocket knife, and etched into the table a heart, and inside he scratched:
Now, 35 years later, if you were to go back to that same West Layfayette bar, you can go look around and find that same table. The heart has faded, but initials remain. That same spot, is where a man's inferiority complex blossomed into a life long relationship felicitating the SEC. Ahhh, true love does exist children, and that God Damn South Eastern Conference knows it.
Is it 2010 yet? Perhaps I can get a mulligan, at least, on starting this new year?
I had a great bowl season going until the last 48 hours came in like a plague of locusts and infected my entire profit margin.
Trutfully, I cant blame a new year's haze, locusts or, sadly, being distracted by the ending of a Michigan game leading me to confused, head scratching decisions. Seriously, I think that's how I ended up taking Piit in the 2004 Fiesta Bowl against Urban's Meyer monster Utah team. The furious closing moments of the Texas-UM Rose Bowl that day are fuzzy at best, amid a fog a Vodka drinks, reefer and, of course, a typically gut wrenching Michigan fourth quarter. Somehow I picked up the phone and uttered the phrase, 'gimme the Panthers.' Ah, sweet memories.
Nope. I cant even blame it on a similar situaiton. The last 48 hours have been on me and my reckless strategy. Up on the house, you should reduce your bets in size and quantity. I did neither, and the House, like Charlie Wies at a Chinese Buffet, gobbled up darn near all the cash.
The fact is I got hoodwinked in the number of games on the slate. Even during the year, I do so well on those midweek games, while running in place when the board is full on a typical Saturday. When I can focus on a singular game, I do fine. When the board has multiple games and endings are crossing over with beginnings, I become a spastic, sugar-addicted kid in a candy store. Sound reason gives way to emotional, from-the-heart picks. How else can you explain backing obvious overmatched teams from the Big 10 in recent days? Or, forgetting my seven-year-old rule about betting against USC, especially in big game? Or fading a Virginia Tech program that has done nothing but win me cash since I began this hobby? Or forgetting my own golden rule--that being, after taking dogs for a full week of bowls, always hop on the big favorites, come New Year's Day--about betting bowl season?
I have been winning all my big bets. That tells me my overall analysis is sound. However, I've been unable to resist the tempation and have frittered most of it away. Like I said, reckless I am. My resolutions for the new year ought to be moderation, dont bet any more totals (seriously, I wish they would just stop posting these. Between Big 10 Picks and Bowl Chronicles, I think I've won maybe two of these all season) and learn to hate the Big 10. That last one will come in handy, I am sure, in non league showdowns. We'll see if any of those take form.
Sigh. A gambler's money, indeed, knows no home.
I guess I could toss some blame onto my girlfriend. She's gone through tomorrow on a family vacation, but we did catch up a bit on the phone yesterday morning. She does a great job of helping me cut through the emotion of college football when it comes to making selections.
Yesterday, when we talked, she asked about the games, who was playing and, of course, what the spreads were. She laughed at the prospect of MSU having to play Georgia. As for the Rose Bowl? If Michigan's greatest teams cant touch USC in Rose Bowls (she was recalling the fun I dragged her family through while watching the 2007 Grandadday), how will Penn St? Interesting takes. And, right all the way.
I'd like to think that had she been around yesterday, she would have needled me so much about my Big 10 bias. I would have been convinced to go the other way in those contests, or ignore them all together. In the moments up to the Rose Bowl kick, she would have dialed the phone for me to get off of PSU and buy into some of that USC action. So, yeah, its clearly her fault for not being around.
(And, for those of you who feel its not wise to lean on someone who cant even name a person on Michigan's roster, even though she goes to half the home games, trust me, this is smart on many levels. She's basically a casul fan, but what she does pay attention to is the spreads, mostly because she's a good woman who is into her significant others, uh, hobbies. In a related note, I like cross country skiing. She has helped me cut through the fat of all the information I have and find a winning investment on several occassions. Do I get pissed if I follow her quirky guesses on a game? Hardly. After all, there is nothing quite as steamy as "sorry, I lost you a bet and money" sex. It's like fat girl sex. They just try a little bit harder than the rest.)
Phew! Now that I've found a way to blame someone else for my losses and addiction, i feel like I am a true gambler again. You know what else would make me feel like a true gambler, I mean, besides pointing fingers at my enablers? Wagering on today's bowl tripleheader, that's what. Besides, I am still up almost two units and still playing with house money. Without further adieu:
Cotton Bowl, Dallas, 2pm
Ole Miss vs Texas Tech. Lines, Tech -5, O/U 66
The famed Cotton Bowl. My worst Cotton Bowl memory? New Year's Day, 1987. As Ohio State put the finishing touches on Texas A/M, the announcers trumpeted the victory by saying the Bucks were the first school to win all of the major bowls. In my mind, it was a shady accomplishment at best because most schools at the time had no chance to play in the Rose Bowl. And, Michigan had never been to the Cotton Bowl, so who cares? Oh, but the Bucknuts I was with that day kept celebrating the fact and when UM dropped the Rose Bowl to ASU (A John Copper-led squad, ironically), they became insufferable. In the final Coach's Poll, OSU was actually one place ahead of UM, despite the Wolverines beating them in Columbus 26-24. Those aforementioned jokers taped several copies off the poll onto my locker. Such is the topsy-turvy world of this backyard rivalry. Here's hopnig 2009 brings a big dose of topsy-turvy to this series.
Anyway, on to today's Cotton Bowl. I'm grabbing the points with the Rebels. This is an underrated program and may be primed for bigger and better things next season. I love this team in both trenches. Ed Ogeron recruited well and left the Rebels surprisingly strong with NFL prospects on both defensive and offensive lines. In their upset of Florida and near miss against Bama, the Rebels owned the lines of scrimmage. This will catch Tech off guard today.
Ole Miss traditionally is a solid underdog bet, logging a 30-20 ATS mark in its last 50 when catching points. This number has been trending upward in recent seasons, covering 13 of its last 20 and seven in a row as a pup, the last six on the road. The Rebels covered all four games this year when catching points (Wake, Florida, Alabama and LSU), including a pair of outright upsets. They are also 8-2 ATS vs teams with a winning record.
Meanwhile, the Raiders have struggled to a 2-6 ATS mark as bowl favorites and are just 4-9 ATS as favorites from 3.5 to 10 points. They've always been a dicey play away from Lubbock.
Can Ole Miss keep up with Tech? Why not. They've moved for more than 350 total yards in 11 games this season and are 38th in the country in total offense. And they're ranked 14th in both total defense and scoring defense. They might not have to keep up as much as you think in this one. Its safe to say Ole Miss will outrush Tech, making the one good piece of advice I passed on yesterday in play: Bowl teams who outrush their foes covers the spread at a 79% clip.
The Pick: Ole Miss +5, 1 Unit......another tipping point in this game. Consider half the roster from Tech is returning home to the Dallas area. How many of them have broke curfew this week to hang with their boys during various New Year festivities. I'll take the Over on that one. This feels like a pleasure trip for the Red Raiders and business trip for the Rebels.
Liberty Bowl, Memphis, 5pm
ECU vs Kentucky. Lines, ECU -3, O/U 44
Last year in the Liberty Bowl the team from mighty SEC, in this case Mississippi St, took down the plucky CUSA Champ, Central Florida, in a bone crunching 10-3 final. Back when I used to play totals (see, this resolution thing is going well so far), it was the easiest Under bet I had ever won.
I think the opposite is going to happen in this one. No, not a shootout, per se, but I think the mid major is coming out of this contest with at least the win.
I like how the Pirate program has performed under Skip Holtz when the spotlight is on. Whether its taking on high end programs from BCS leagues (VT and WVA in September), playing a league title as significant underdog (Tulsa, last month) or going up against a allegeldy superior bowl team (Boise St, last year), East Carolina has always been up to the task. Did they struggle a bit this year with the bullseye on their back? Yes, but mid majors always do that, but the good ones find a way to rebound and close strong. That is exactly what ECU is doing.
I'll take the QB Pickney is this one. I dont trust the UK offense. I'll take Skip Holz over Rich Brooks anyday.
ECU comes in hot, having won 6 of their last seven, including a great performance in winning their league title game against Tulsa. In this stretch, they've allowed less than 17 points. Pickney, the offense and the playcalling of Holtz can clear that scoring bard with no problem.
The Cats are not hot. They've only won twice since September, both single point wins over non-bowl teams. Yes, the SEC slate did get harder as the year wore on, but this team seemed to get worse as well. UK may be the biggest bowl fraud this side of Hawaii or Minnesota. They went 0-5 against fellow bowlers this year.
They may not cover, but I expect ECU to notch the win. I will play them on the moneyline.
The Pick: ECU moneyline, -145, 1 Unit......Under Holz, the Pirates are 23-8 ATS as a dog or favored by 5 or less points.
I'm working on the Sugar Bowl while watching the start of the Libery Bowl. So, if you want to see who to fade, check back a bit later.