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Date Title Body
07/19/2018 - 4:25pm Elvis Grbac and Desmond…

Elvis Grbac and Desmond Howard are conspicuously absent here. 

07/19/2018 - 4:22pm Stop being a yob, Rob. 

Stop being a yob, Rob. 

07/19/2018 - 4:05pm What's the optimal formation…

What's the optimal formation for this roster? What are games going to look like?

07/19/2018 - 2:40pm BTW the rest of this team is…

BTW the rest of this team is fantastic. What a group of players.

07/19/2018 - 2:37pm Love both Devin and Drew…

Love both Devin and Drew. Drew left early.

But he also did this.

drew um osu win.jpg

I was there. It was wonderful. We still haven't replicated it, not even once. Edge to Henson.

07/19/2018 - 2:25pm No.

Speight regressed when…


Speight regressed when he should have grown (remember him playing way more snaps than expected in the spring game?) but he knew the whole playbook and was the best QB at executing it.

Peters was not ready to run the whole offense when he came in and was even further behind at the beginning of the season. He did not rise to the challenge when he wasn't the first out of the blocks in preseason. He wasn't ready. 

He responded pretty well later, and you could tell that he earned the respect of his teammates by the Wisconsin game, but he wasn't ready to go at the beginning of the season. 

07/19/2018 - 11:44am And Thomas wins in a 5-up…

And Thomas wins in a 5-up sprint. Great stuff.

07/19/2018 - 11:41am Froome caught by Domoulin (!…

Froome caught by Domoulin (!)

Now it's four guys attacking each other. This is fantastic. Froome, Thomas, Bardet, Domoulin, all taking shots.

07/19/2018 - 11:34am All at once, Froome catches…

All at once, Froome catches and passes Bardet who was leading by 10", Nibali crashes, Thomas dropped. Froome is about to pass Kruisjwijk and take over the stage lead.

07/19/2018 - 11:20am Two main goals, as I…

Two main goals, as I understand it:

1. Most top-level teams have commitments to multiple races at the same time. In May, for example, teams send squads to both the Giro D'Italia and the Tour of California. Combine that with riders that are peaking at other times and it's hard to get enough riders. This does, indeed, reduce financial stresses a bit.

2. Competitively, reducing the number of riders per team ostensibly limits how much control a single team can exert over a race by removing a bullet from the chamber. The idea is that the races can be more open.

Interesting test of that today; Sky and Movistar still seem to have good numbers.

07/19/2018 - 11:11am Real confusion about the gap…

Real confusion about the gap to the lead. It looked like Kruijswijk's lead was plummeting, but then it got posted back up to a respectable 3:30. At the foot of the climb he could afford to lose 18" a km and win. 

07/19/2018 - 10:59am Kruijswijk starts up the…

Kruijswijk starts up the climb with 4:19 on the field. It'll be pretty bananas if he has a good lead at Dutch Corner. Also pretty bananas if the field has detonated and he's been swept up, though.

07/19/2018 - 10:53am Pretty good, 8/10. Need…

Pretty good, 8/10. Need something about doping to get the perfect score, though.

07/19/2018 - 10:42am Spitballing here, but it…

Spitballing here, but it could be that the thing about football in our country is that it both has large roster sizes and attracts people across a wider range of body types and socio-economic / family backgrounds. Basketball has a much tighter cap on how many people can play it; sports like soccer and tennis tend to be populated by athletes with the kind of socio-economic profile that makes them more inclined to go to college.

Football by nature needs lots of people, including guys who might not have the skills to step right into a different sport and make the team. A geeky guy who's a bit pudgy and gets Bs and Cs in class can still go out for football and get into shape and learn to play guard. A kid with a rough family situation and some athleticism but no real skills can find discipline and some guidance playing LB or TE. And those guys may find at the end of high school that the military is both available and attractive.

07/19/2018 - 2:01am I don't know if these…

I don't know if these comments actually have any correlation to the likelihood that he is the first head coach fired mid-season, as discussed in a recent thread.

But I sure feel better about picking him to be first up to the guillotine.

07/18/2018 - 2:17pm Texas also takes a shot at A…

Texas also takes a shot at A&M in their song "Texas Fight" ("Texas Fight, Texas Fight, and it's goodbye to A&M"). The best feature of A&M singing is the swaying, which is really fun with their 99% participation.

I'm kind of a mark for Rocky Top, honestly, or I was back in the days when Tennessee didn't stink. 

07/18/2018 - 2:10pm Saw the title and did a Ep…

Saw the title and did a Ep III "Noooooooooooo" in my head but I like this format better. Thanks guys. 

Also, OSU keeps getting guys at the top of these lists; crootin matters. Ugh.

07/18/2018 - 2:10pm Saw the title and did a Ep…

Saw the title and did a Ep III "Noooooooooooo" in my head but I like this format better. Thanks guys. 

Also, OSU keeps getting guys at the top of these lists; crootin matters. Ugh.

07/18/2018 - 1:59pm I guardedly agree, though I…

I guardedly agree, though I don't mind the idea of an old guy or two to provide some mentoring and to fill a key hole if there is one. The 2026 WC is more important, but the World Cup is never just a building exercise; it is an event that stands alone. 

But if the choice is Bradley or a guy who is very slightly less optimal than Bradley but will be around in four years, I want the guy that will be around in four years.

07/18/2018 - 1:56pm Barring a revelatory run at…

Barring a revelatory run at CM for Pulisic, I'm sure he'll be acceptable, but that idea doesn't move the needle much for me. It is, to me, a plus when a guy can play at the position for which they are naturally gifted and trained, maximizing the talent they have. Kludging a guy in can fill a position, but it significantly reduces potential if the guy's skills are really honed for use elsewhere.

I have some relatively uneducated opinions about tactical usage that are so bereft of actual evidence that I'm just not even going to bring them up here. 

07/18/2018 - 1:48pm One bad play makes up for an…

One bad play makes up for an entire career? I'm not a huge Claudio Reyna fan but he was pretty good in 2002. His club career was decent but unspectacular and he often played roles that didn't use his modest creative abilities. 

It's not like there were a ton of better players floating around for USA soccer in 98 and 02 to get attention. 

07/18/2018 - 1:38pm Last had Zing on a lunch…

Last had Zing on a lunch date with my wife a couple of years ago when we were in town. It was a lot of fun. I couldn't afford to eat there any more frequently than I do now.

Also I really like the Roadhouse.

Football is coming.

07/18/2018 - 1:27pm The surge of youth on this…

The surge of youth on this list suggests to me that the USA is going to have to qualify for Qatar with a set of players that might be significantly different from the best available players when the WC actually comes around. And that might leave them in a tactically poor situation, where players who can play efficiently in a better way are stuck in an older system adapted for the previous generation. 

Reyna, for example, could peter out. But his passing in that video was terrific, and he could easily develop into a solid deep-lying playmaker, making the passes that Bradley never could. But there's no way the team will be ready to adjust to that kind of style after qualification is over.

One advantage, though: The later World Cup time will allow MLS to complete a full season just before things kick off, which may help a young guy or two emerge over the course of a year and solidify their spot. In contrast, European league will be just kicking off. Kind of the opposite of the current (normal) arrangement.

07/18/2018 - 1:06am Brian has probably started…

Brian has probably started his usual 60,000 word season preview opus, a barrage of top-quality football content that somehow remains under-appreciated. Probably. He's got Seth to take care of the web stuff.

07/18/2018 - 1:03am I think the idea that the…

I think the idea that the proprietors don't care about user experience, and by extension the readers, is unfair. In fact, they've made a lot of effort to be more forthcoming about the site and the updates. You were one of the ones at the front of the boat asking for the new site, and Brian and Seth (after a lot of time not really talking about it) started discussing exactly where they were.

This is, indeed, Brian's non-biological baby. He built a lot of the original stuff himself, finally farmed out the building of a new site to a contractor, got burned, farmed it out somewhere else, and after a looong time the new site is up. And it's not great yet. 

To me, the takeaway here is that this is, like Brady Hoke's offensive lines, a blind spot that was supposed to be a strength and is actually a weakness. It's not for lack of caring, but the execution has been bad. 

But we'll see how it goes. The site needed to be updated. Perhaps refinements will smooth this out.

I don't feel "unwelcome" because the site is still clunky. I'm just ready to get on with football season and get a couple of features that are an important part of the user experience. 

The political stuff is getting a bit old, though.

07/18/2018 - 12:49am Tickets between Ohare and…

Tickets between Ohare and NYC (Newark being the obvious airport choice) are often economical. I'd recommend checking out Airbnb for good lodging options if you don't mind some of its unique characteristics; you can save a lot of money that way. 

Depends on how much adventure you want and what you want to pay for, really. I have a hard time imagining a visit there without a trip into NYC, but YMMV. Of course, one can make the trip into the city without mortgaging a first-born child if one uses transit and plans ahead. 

Think hard about how you want to get around. I have no idea what transit is like to Piscataway but as you know from living in Chicago there are certain areas where you save a lot of money and hassle by skipping your own car and just hodge-podging it with transit and ride-sharing.

07/17/2018 - 6:25pm One of the things the new…

One of the things the new site has fixed is the ability to go to the main board page and see multiple pages of posts. On that page this is a "sticky," stuck right at the top. It gets bumped every few weeks to the front page. I'm not sure what else you want them to do. Bump it every day? Clog up the front page, permanently, with a few sticky threads so that you can barely see others? I don't think those are better options.

07/17/2018 - 6:12pm Yes, but this is mostly…

Yes, but this is mostly correlated with the doldrums of the offseason, always the deadest and often the least pleasant time on the board to begin with. 

There are some tertiary causes--other people are certainly posting less, which means less drive to check in and see what news is out there--but some (not all, probably) of this will be remedied simply by the resumption of daily news with the onset of camp and then the overpowering gravity of football season now not too many weeks away.

I'm waiting to see how the site feels when it's football season, but I confess I have no idea how it will play out. For example, the board may resume normal levels of activity... but then I might find it awkward to have threads buried off of the board so quickly with the smaller message board field. 

Also, while it's clear that staff are putting work in to correct issues, it's an open question how many issues will be resolved by opening day. And improvement will probably slow down when the season gets here for obvious reasons. Certain features regarding the organization of comments and the ability to see which posts are new are pretty vital to the ease of holding long discussions that make this place enjoyable, and if they're not back by September 1, that's going to sting.

07/17/2018 - 4:51pm "Hard-care optimists." I…

"Hard-care optimists." I trust I've properly captured the spirit of your remark in that I am darkly chuckling with you and not laughing at you.

07/17/2018 - 4:16pm Thanks for the update.

Thanks for the update.

07/17/2018 - 3:10pm What sort of player? They…

What sort of player? They weren't pursued by Arsenal or AC Milan or PSG as the key to winning a championship. They were good enough to start on a top division (albeit not a top-table) team. That's it.

It's not bad, but there's a big gap there that hasn't yet been bridged.

07/17/2018 - 2:40am Good luck setting up your…

Good luck setting up your new channel, I look forward to watching it. I'm sure you'll find a better source of video of Michigan games from the pre-DVR era.

Really weird that WH hasn't been as active of late, given that he's got almost every historic big game loaded and given how many big games Michigan has won in the last ten years. You'd think he'd have TONS of stuff to put up there every fall. 

07/17/2018 - 2:36am He's good and he's an asset…

He's good and he's an asset. He scored 4 goals in the Bundesliga and tallied another 4 assists last season. By no means is he finished developing, but he's not a superstar right now, either.

That's fine. He's an excellent player. But getting one or two guys good enough to actually play in top-flight divisions in a big 4 European league isn't quite going to cut it. It's nice, and it is (sadly) progress, but it's just the beginning. I'm looking forward to a player or two emerging not just as a guy with a consistent starting position but a guy that dominates from his position against all comers.

Hasn't happen yet. But it can. I believe it will. 


07/16/2018 - 6:27pm Where it hurts is when you…
Where it hurts is when you have a good athlete who prefers to be an average defensive back or an average point guard, instead of potentially an elite soccer player.


This response doesn't have much to do with most of your post, but this point is something continually fail to understand about athletic success across sports:

A star basketball player would not be a star soccer player if he played soccer. A star soccer player would not be a star baseball player if they played that sport instead.

True excellence in a sport requires a combination of high quality and high quantity training, and innate abilities that cannot be trained. Some of those skills are more obvious than others (speed is obvious, the ability to process multiple peripheral events quickly in a way that translates to making reads as a QB not so obvious) but they do matter.

Lebron James wouldn't be an elite soccer player if he played soccer, and constant repetition of this point aside probably not a particularly notable football player, either. He's one of the greatest basketball players of all time because he works hard and because he is born to be one.

The elite, Messi/Ronaldo-level soccer players in the USA aren't playing basketball for Duke or Football for Alabama. They're playing single-A baseball in Beloit and Division II basketball in New Hampshire and backup TE in the Sun Belt and beer league hockey in Westland. 

07/16/2018 - 6:19pm Beaty is obvious fire-bait…

Beaty is obvious fire-bait after the season with that kind of record, but a mid-season firing seems excessive when you're Kansas. You let the guy finish the job, give him his last couple of games to either fix things or at least go out on a high note, and then quietly ax him and hire a new guy to get things moving. 

Kansas KNOWS they're going to be bad this year. You don't fire a guy for starting 1-4 when you expect that at the outset.

07/16/2018 - 6:14pm That's a good point, though…

That's a good point, though such moves also require the quick hire of a successor to be effective, and thus a good lackey interim coach like Brady Hoke that nobody feels is getting the short shrift in the hiring process. 


07/16/2018 - 6:12pm When Beekman was hired as…

When Beekman was hired as the interim, I defended the hire, since what they needed at the time was just a guy to stay at the helm, make sure various administrative things were done, keep the department going so that Tom Izzo wasn't literally the highest-ranking guy in the building. I felt a lot of people jumped the gun in criticizing early.

So, now that they've just made this a permanent hire, I feel obligated to drop in and say: This is a terrible decision. The reprehensible MSU board, the administration, and Engler should all be ashamed of themselves. Disgraceful.

07/16/2018 - 6:06pm One of these years the USA…

One of these years the USA will develop a real top-end player that they can build the rest of their attack around, a guy like a Platini or a Pirlo or a Xavi that changes the gravity of the field and makes everyone around them better. That alone isn't enough to assure a deep run in the World Cup (just ask Lionel Messi--put USA colors on Argentina this season and nothing from their run this year looks out of place at all) but it can be the hinge around which a well-built team can swing to victory. 

Would also have the advantage of attracting real attention to the sport if the player is good enough. 

For now, though, it's all about putting pieces together. But who knows? We may be a few years from our own golden generation that we haven't heard of yet. 

07/16/2018 - 5:46pm solid footy contentNot…
solid footy content
Not really expecting Brian to break down Aussie Rules Football on this here blog, but you never know.
07/16/2018 - 5:45pm I'm sure Brian would rather…

I'm sure Brian would rather write about that, too. A one line post saying "Nothing much happening today, 48 days till the season kicks off" is pretty easy to write.

07/16/2018 - 5:26pm Maybe, but that won't happen…

Maybe, but that won't happen until the end of the season unless something really crazy comes out. Or he loses every game or something.

07/16/2018 - 5:16pm Once again, people address…

Once again, people address this question all wrong. Sione provides a nice service by including the link to last year's thread, and it's a bit instructive (fwiw, I made a good call that Butch Jones was a mid-season firing candidate, but my prediction that the ND-UGA game would be between two teams that people thought were good and turned out to be bad was less impressive).

The question is not, which coaches are in the most danger; the question is, which coaches have the biggest chance to be fired DURING THE SEASON, an event that is incredibly rare in college football.

Mid-season firings are bananas events that programs generally want to avoid at all costs. Any coach currently employed is expected to at least have a chance to redeem themselves, and that typically takes a full season to determine. It is also a significant disruption to things like recruiting. It takes a pretty unique set of circumstances for a mid-season firing to even make sense, and many programs just won't do it no matter how bad their coach is (e.g. Michigan in 2014).

Coaches at generally bad programs are not likely candidates for this barring total personal meltdowns. These are programs where a late push to finish .500 or beat a big rival is enough to save a job, and as such they will get a chance to do so. DJ Durkin and Chris Ash aren't going anywhere; Lovie Smith has been a disaster, but Illinois already has experience with chaotic coaching changes and I'm confident they'd rather avoid another one if they can help it. 

Tennessee last year had a frustrated fanbase, off-field issues, and a tough schedule that quickly put the team in an untenable position. They also had a guy on the staff in Brady Hoke who was the perfect interim coach, a man who had experience coaching a major team but who was (contra his own texts) in no way a legitimate candidate for the permanent job.

This year the choices for mid-season firings will be guys who were retained but under unsteady circumstances, guys whose seasons have a chance to be really disastrous, guys who have off-field issues that make them less secure. The sole exception here is if a catastrophic off-field event comes to light, but those are impossible to predict.

Helton is less than two years from a Super Bowl victory; he won't be fired midseason. Neither will Mike Leach, whose weirdness is already priced into the stock and who gets way better on-field results than Washington State can reasonably expect. Guys who are building or rebuilding programs have a lot of leash to at least show improvement through the season.

I find discussion of Larry Fedora to be persuasive; I concur with others who have mentioned him. Nobody else really jumps out to me, in part because a lot of the guys that were teetering last year got fired and replaced. Ed Orgeron, maybe, if things really fall apart down there, but that's about it. 

07/15/2018 - 1:01am Do people actually think 2…

Do people actually think 2 months salary is a good choice?

I suppose there might be some sweet spot where that is both financially practical and not absurd, but I can't think of any. A guy who is just getting started with a career making 30-40k isn't going to have the spare cash to be able to make that work. As you say, a man who already has a good income would wind up buying something that's way too much.

If someone can scrape that kind of money together, use a varying fraction for a ring and put the rest to something else. 

07/14/2018 - 11:56pm My wife would give her left…

My wife would give her left arm for this. 

I wouldn't, but that's because I'm cheap. I've hit my head in the basement doing laundry plenty of times.

07/14/2018 - 11:54pm Had a power outage for over…

Had a power outage for over a week two years ago during the hottest week of summer. It was brutal. But we have city water and that made a big difference.

Although even in 90 degree temps cold water showers are no fun at all. But at least I could take them.

07/14/2018 - 11:50pm Good for you!

For starters,…

Good for you!

For starters, have some conversations. You two should be able to have some "hypothetical" conversations about future things, what your shared goals are, what sort of thing "hypothetically" she might like in a proposal. At least enough to gauge her feeling about the idea and general and what she likes.

Generally speaking, it's wise to have a pretty good idea what the answer will be before you ask.

Assuming you do, within reason, don't go overboard. A nice ring, sure. Don't buy the first thing you see--it's more important that you work hard to find something you believe she will enjoy than that you spend a lot, IMO. Unless you're made of money, I think it's wiser to be judicious and not spend a huge sum for something showy. 

Pay some attention to the proposal. Some of the proposal videos you find on youtube are way overboard, but if I had it to do over again I would have worked a bit harder at that. Doesn't need to be elaborate, but planned and recorded is good. 

But, most of all, pay attention to the relationship and the marriage. Rock size does not equal commitment level. It doesn't build a strong marriage. It doesn't carry you together through hard times. 

Our culture is very much obsessed with throwing money at jewelry and ceremonies and is not very good at working at the actual marriage that comes after. But a good marriage is wonderful, exciting, long-lasting. It matures and grows over time. Love deepens, memories are created, children are reared. Life is shared. Not a life of bitterness and conflict, but a rich tapestry of experience and joy. 

I can tell you that I was crazy about my wife when I proposed to her. I remained crazy throughout our six-month engagement (that was plenty of time btw). We were nuts about each other when we got married, and it was great. But our love has deepened and matured and grown since then. We have grown together. We've been through the battles and through the dark valleys of life together. We work and serve together, we rear children together, we enjoy life together. It's absolutely wonderful. And for those who claim otherwise, the physical relationship remains fantastic.

The ring will be nice. But work on that other stuff.

07/14/2018 - 5:23pm Froome is the obvious pick,…

Froome is the obvious pick, assuming he gets through the cobbles in one piece (didn't last time). He has a Giro in his legs, though, and it's been a long time since someone has been at their best after running a Giro. 

Cav is old, and while I haven't done any sort of study on it, I wonder if the rest of the field have caught up to him--one of his big advantages in his heyday was superior aerodynamics, and if other guys have mimicked his approach with better physical condition, he's got nothing to fall back on. Tough to see, but it is what it is. The young guys are really putting the old sprinters out to pasture. 

Sagan, OTOH, is in his prime and is incomparable at what he does. 


07/14/2018 - 2:47pm Only time I heard the…

Only time I heard the stadium louder (keep in mind this is pre-2005) was the '97 OSU game, and I was in the student section for that one.

My wife was worn out and asking if it was time to exit. I said, "let's see what happens on this drive." Bomb to Braylon, field goal, not decisive either way, let's see what happens next...

Onside kick.

2 hours later we were headed to the car, hoarse but happy.

07/14/2018 - 1:18pm Tomorrow will be just absurd…

Tomorrow will be just absurd, with the men's final at Wimbledon, the TdF stage going through cobbles (almost invariably a crazy day when the Tour makes such an excursion, gripping stuff) and of course the World Cup Final. 

Less known, but local: The short course off-road races at ERX in Elk River, MN. Affordable and fun. Took my kids to the first day yesterday, we had a blast. 

07/13/2018 - 1:50pm The problem with the drama…

The problem with the drama of a match like this is that it's all in the tension, not in the action. Basically waiting for someone to string a couple of mistakes together to lose their serve.

But it's still riveting. 17-16 now.