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07/22/2018 - 10:58pm Rewatch the 2nd half of that…

Rewatch the 2nd half of that football game. Georgia lost that game a lot more than Bama won it. To his credit, he made some plays but a LOT of good things happened for him in that football game that aren't very replicable. 

In any case, a) he's not the guaranteed starter, and b) not going to have great QB stats even if he is the starter because that's not what Bama does. Jalen Hurts threw for 2000 yards and 17 TDs last year. Even with his 800 or so yards rushing, that doesn't win the Heisman.

07/22/2018 - 5:42pm Can you bet AGAINST guys? I…

Can you bet AGAINST guys? I'd take a lot of guys over Tua.

07/21/2018 - 4:25pm So Ohio State isn't a good…

So Ohio State isn't a good team after being drubbed on the road by an average, at best, Iowa team?

Shit happens in football. One game doesn't define a season, team, or program. 

07/21/2018 - 4:23pm I think they'll upset a team…

I think they'll upset a team in that top 4 group (OSU, UM, MSU, PSU), but I think they are a year or two away from getting in the mix where they have a chance when the calendar turns to mid-November.

07/20/2018 - 2:11pm Friendlies are exhibitions…

Friendlies are exhibitions. A chance to tinker with lineups and such. I put very very little credence into those results as team motivations can be vastly different.

We won't know much more until the middle of 2019, but this new Nations League event should provide more opportunities for matches that count (albeit against mostly weak CONCACAF teams) than the typical friendly schedule would.

 

07/19/2018 - 11:26pm "There is very little that…

"There is very little that Croatia did technically that our pool could not replicate."

Huh?

Watching a veteran Croatian team control the ball against an incredibly talented French team was remarkable. In comparison watching the USMNT, at least this past cycle and frankly in general, has been like watching a bull in a china shop. Sloppy first and second touches, poor clearances by defenders, poor movement and spacing, etc. And this was against teams like Panama and Trinidad and Tobago, much less France and Belgium.

If you're making the argument that all these young guys are all going to be much more technically proficient with the ball at their feet, I'm very skeptical. I hope I'm wrong as I think that's the key to actually improving the results of US soccer.

07/19/2018 - 11:10pm He didn't have the team on…

He didn't have the team on the doorway of going up 23-3. The special teams and defense had the team on the doorway of going up 23-3. Michigan kicked 3 FGs in the first half despite great field position because of poor QB play. He was god-awful in that football game.

And you are really going to give him credit for his first 3 starts when he threw 14, 13, and 18 passes respectively while the team ran for nearly 900 yards!! Any QB on the Michigan depth chart could have won those games.

07/17/2018 - 10:37pm While hindsight is 20-20,…

While hindsight is 20-20, qualifying was hardly in the bag at that point and that was the ultimate goal. For this particular group it was a down cycle to say the least. Hell it was a down cycle for CONCACAF outside of maybe Mexico. Panama was awful and Costa Rica was a shell of its 2014 self.

You hire somebody for 18 months to steer you to qualification because a) he had done it before, b) putting someone without national team experience in that spot isn't fair to either the new coach or the players on the team. Arena knew that team and those players. 

07/17/2018 - 1:56pm Our defense has stunk for…

Our defense has stunk for decades now. It's been masked by mostly excellent goalkeeping.

Guess the number of shutouts the USMNT has had in their World Cup matches since 1990?

07/17/2018 - 1:51pm So would you have fired…

So would you have fired Klinsmann after the first two "Hex" games and if so, who would you have hired instead?

07/17/2018 - 1:48pm Actually we wouldn't be…

Actually we wouldn't be dominant at all because the rest of the world cares about soccer as well.

The problem which has been touched upon in the main post and by some commenters is that the US system of sports (most of them anyway) runs through our university system. If you want to develop great soccer players, taking arguably their prime development years to play 25 college games in a span of 3 months with a concern only on winning games, is a TERRIBLE way to do it.

We are incredibly successful in the sporting world (outside of soccer) because we have a good sporting culture, have more resources and money than anyone, and have a huge population base. You can add Title IX for women's sports success as well. And yet, in my opinion, our nation underachieves, because our development system dates back to a time when a few Ivy Leaguers started to play football against each other back in the 1800s. 

07/16/2018 - 10:43pm You also fire guys in mid…

You also fire guys in mid-season or towards the end so that they don't have a chance to turn it around. I don't know how KU's schedule aligns but if he were to win 2 of his last 3 after starting 1-8 there might be momentum for him to buy another year.

There isn't one scholarship I-AA conference Kansas could win. Not one.

07/16/2018 - 10:39pm Lovie is a very bright guy,…

Lovie is a very bright guy, but at the heart of it he's a pro coach and just not cut out for the various non-coaching hats the college coach has to deal with--mainly recruiting and dealing with boosters/alumni.

Illinois hasn't been able to land consistent Chicago talent for nearly 50 years. It's like their white whale. And one of the main reasons is that Illinois south of I-80 is a completely different world than Chicagoland. You might as well be going from south Chicago straight to rural Tennessee.

07/15/2018 - 9:08pm Usually a few other (non…

Usually a few other (non-playoff) bowl games pop onto this list: Alamo Bowl (TCU-Stanford), the no defense bowl (Wake-A&M) would seem to be good enough to get into the top 10.

07/15/2018 - 7:15pm The Griezmann foul was harsh…

The Griezmann foul was harsh, but you know what? Croatia could actually learn how to defend set pieces. They've sucked the entire tournament at them and today it finally cost them. 

The PK is preventable if the defender puts his fucking hand on his fucking nutsack and doesn't let it hang out away from his body. It's a harsh call (as almost any penalty is), but it's also the right one.

07/15/2018 - 7:11pm And other than Nigeria they…

And other than Nigeria they are also the youngest squad in the entire tournament. 

Their "potential" is just that right now--potential. They have moments of greatness, but young players also make mistakes. Deschamps got this French team to buy into a defensive posture and knew he had enough individual offensive brilliance to get the scoring he needed for the French team to win games. 

That's how you win soccer games. Hell, it's Italy's entire soccer philosophy which seems to have treated them well over the years.

07/15/2018 - 7:02pm That half is Italian…

That half is Italian football since Mussolini was running the country. The Italians get lauded for it and the French crucified for it.

07/15/2018 - 9:47am So if he had asked on July 3…

So if he had asked on July 3, it really would have been too late?

I don't get the deadline thing. You could have just asked him.

07/08/2018 - 3:24pm An offense that runs the…

An offense that runs the ball for 7 yards a chunk SHOULD ONLY throw deep balls. LBs and safeties cheat up and you have 1-on-1 matchups (and maybe 1 on none with some well designed play action passes). 

What they should NOT do is throw 3-step hitches for 5 yards a pop or complicated 5-step patterns.

07/08/2018 - 3:21pm I agree with you 100%…

I agree with you 100% although what is often forgotten is that to often throw a 30+ yard a team has to protect the QB for more than a nanosecond. 

The pros definitely don't throw it downfield enough although the protection issue is even more acute.

 

07/01/2018 - 5:07pm I get that, at that point,…

I get that, at that point, it's just survival for the players. But at least the game was won or lost by playing actual hockey as opposed to a shoot out.

 

07/01/2018 - 2:27pm The issue is the structure…

The issue is the structure of soccer in and of itself. It's not a game that is remotely suited to a knock out format. The chance of a tie match, even after extra time, is too high. The Champions League solves this by having teams play home and home after the group stage (until the final). That's not an option in the World Cup. The World Cup used to solve this problem by having replays and then in 74, 78, and 82 a second group stage. Since 1986 however, we've had this 16 team knock out format. And it's going to move to a 32 team knock out format in 2026 at the latest.

So while I believe one should minimize the amount of knockout games in any given tournament, your idea of taking players off the field to make the end result fairer in any given knockout game is an interesting one.

07/01/2018 - 2:07pm I don't disagree with your…

I don't disagree with your opinion about the punitive nature of a PK, but Russia wasn't given a free goal. It was a clear hand ball in the box.

Was Russia fortunate that a defensive strategy ended up paying off? Absolutely. And the better team certainly didn't win the game. But it's not like Spain got a bunch of great shots off and they just couldn't find the net (a la Germany). They just held the ball forever and didn't do much with it. To paraphrase the BBC commentator I was listening to, "they tiki-taka'd there way out of the World Cup."

07/01/2018 - 11:06am I don't know how we go 80+…

I don't know how we go 80+ comments before someone mentions Napoleon Bonaparte. he completely changed the political geography, economic framework, and legal framework of most of Europe which eventually spread through much of the world. 

06/28/2018 - 10:47am Just wait for the 48 team…

Just wait for the 48 team World Cup with 16 groups of 3. That format is just begging for shenanigans.

06/28/2018 - 10:45am I'm not sure Austria let…

I'm not sure Austria let West Germany score, but once they did the game effectively ended.

06/28/2018 - 10:41am They have looked good but…

They have looked good but Tunisia and Panama have looked just completely outmatched. It's one of the most lopsided groups I can remember in World Cup history.

I was hoping to see more quality from Panama, but alas no.

06/28/2018 - 10:36am Sweden is most underrated…

Sweden is most underrated team in this tournament. They're the only team that beat France in qualification, they helped eliminate the Dutch, they beat Italy to qualify, and they just won a very difficult group! They are going to be a very difficult out.

Agreed about the names. Argentina isn't very good. They were quite lucky just to be in Russia with their poor qualification campaign. France has 1 goal in open play in 270 minutes. Mexico's win over Germany looks a lot more mediocre a week later (and they can't finish good chances). Portugal is one guy. Uruguay won the easiest group in history. Brazil at least seems to be rounding into form.

I wouldn't be excited about playing Brazil in the quarters, but there is none of those teams at the top of the bracket that would scare me if I was Belgium or England.

06/28/2018 - 10:27am France has scored one goal…

France has scored one goal in open play in 270 minutes in a very, very easy group. I have not been impressed by them and neither has the French media.

06/27/2018 - 9:24pm Germany in transition is…

Germany in transition is still traditionally one of the 8 best teams in the world. They've finished in the top 4 in 12 of the last 16 World Cups. 

They didn't defend well and their finishing was un-German like.

06/27/2018 - 9:17pm The old Yugoslav countries…

The old Yugoslav countries have some of the tallest people in Europe. Serbia, Croatia, and particularly Montenegro.

06/15/2018 - 6:32pm Thank you.

Thank you.

06/14/2018 - 11:09pm What diet do you recommend…

What diet do you recommend for someone who wants to eat healthy and increase energy, but has no need to lose any weight? 

06/14/2018 - 4:40pm Back in the days when there…

Back in the days when there were fewer conference tournaments, the ACC had always had theirs. Fans who weren't really aligned often had tags or banners or whatnot displaying ABC on them. It stands for Anybody But Carolina. You could probably make it ABCD these days.

Anyway, in that vain--ABE. Anybody But England.

06/14/2018 - 4:36pm I've dated Russian girls. I…

I've dated Russian girls. I couldn't agree with this more. And not to get too political, but they've been a political adversary of the United States since WWII. Why are we upset they are still trying to upset the US/Western Europe apple cart? That's what they do.

06/14/2018 - 4:33pm The United States and…

The United States and England have the exact same amount of top 3 finishes in the World Cup:

1

USA--Third place 1930

England--Winners 1966

They get so much hype for being so mediocre.

06/13/2018 - 11:36pm Have you seen the match? It…

Have you seen the match? It wasn't even a game. West Germany scored early (11th minute I think) and then they just kicked the ball back and forth the rest of the game like a practice drill. It was an absolute fucking disgrace. I believe both the German and Austrian media lambasted their own teams. The fact FIFA did squat about it means it can happen again.

06/13/2018 - 11:32pm And none of that means squat…

And none of that means squat if the Americans hadn't played like shit. They controlled their own destiny and pissed it away. That's on the USMNT not on anyone else in the Conferederation.

06/13/2018 - 11:29pm We're talking semantics here…

We're talking semantics here. The Meadowlands isn't the greatest place in the world, but it is by any definition a close suburb of NYC. If the game were in CitiField, for instance, would that feel like NYC to you? What if the game were held at Wien Stadium at the tip of Manhattan? Neither of those have a "Manhattan / NYC" feel to them.

06/13/2018 - 2:06pm The commenter wasn't…

The commenter wasn't complaining about the transportation system. He was complaining because the final was in New Jersey. 

It's not like traffic won't get heavy anywhere in the US for a game of this magnitude regardless of transportation mode.

06/13/2018 - 2:03pm Have you seen the format for…

Have you seen the format for this shit? What a disaster waiting to unfold. 16 groups of 3 teams each. Top 2 advance creating a 32 team knockout bracket.

So in the first stage, some teams will have knowledge of exactly the results they need in order to advance (2 games can't be played at the same time in the last group games with only 3 teams). This harkens back to the Germany-Austria fiasco in 1982 that completely fucked an Algeria team that had upset Germany earlier in the tournament. 

And if any sport needs less knockout tournament games it is most certainly soccer where the low-scoring tends to increase the flukiness of any individual game.

32 teams in groups of 4. Top 2 advance. Regroup the advancers into 4 groups of 4. Top team in each group advances to the semifinals. You can design it where it only adds a couple of days to the current format. This isn't that fucking hard.

06/13/2018 - 12:54pm So I guess you were upset…

So I guess you were upset when France 1998 held their final in Saint-Denis as opposed to Paris?

The Meadowlands in NJ is roughly 3 miles from the west side of Manhattan. The final is going to be held in metropolitan NYC.

For those who aren't aware Saint-Denis is a northern suburb of Paris where the 1998 Final was held in the Stade de France.

06/10/2018 - 5:06pm Well if you're nostalgic for…

Well if you're nostalgic for the 80s, let's get that red banner with the hammer and sickle back on your avatar!

06/10/2018 - 3:00pm Rafa's best case would be to…

Rafa's best case would be to get to 21+ with at least 3 in each major (say 12 French, and 3 of the others). This is something that would give him the breadth that people think he is missing because he has so many French titles and I think he'd be the first male ever to win 3 of each.

The problem is he lost to Wawrinka some 5 years ago and to Fed in 2017 in the Australian Open finals, both matches he probably should have won. I also don't see another Wimbledon in his future.

I'm a big Rafa fan, but I give Fed a lot of credit for resurrecting his career these last 2 years when his days of winning majors looked over.

06/09/2018 - 6:24pm It's always the distance at…

It's always the distance at this race. I agree with you. I don't which horse will win, but I'd take the field over Justify.

06/03/2018 - 11:27pm Serbia and Croatia

are two countries who have a long history of not liking each other. That's not just a soccer issue with hooligans.

06/03/2018 - 9:07pm I couldn't agree with this more

Ohio State played man defense virtually the entire game. You know who else plays man defense? Michigan. They may not have known it, but they had been preparing for this game since fall camp.

Secondly, while O'Korn missed some easy throws, people forget he made some very good ones--often making up for the bad ones on the same drive. 

 

06/02/2018 - 1:55pm Thank you

for setting us straight John McLaughlin.

06/02/2018 - 1:53pm Yes

You haven't lived until you've seen "Ice Castles"

06/02/2018 - 1:51pm Cyndi Lauper

is ridiculously talented!! Great call.

Watch the video of her in "We are the World." She blows that entire 80s All-Star crew away.