Each year, week five of the NFL season exposes which team is a legitimate contender vs which will be wallowing in self pity for the next ten months. Yesterday at the Meadowlands was no exception, as the New York Giants were exposed as pretenders in spite of three victories against a single loss going into the game.
Squeakers over a bad Arizona Cardinal team a week following an equally unimpressive win over an unimpressive Eagles team, the Giants needed to make a statement against their third crappy team in a row. This time it was the Seattle Seahawks, who two weeks prior had been mutilated 24-0 by the Pittsburg Steelers before losing to a decent Atlanta Falcon team off a missed last-second field goal last week in Seattle.
A perfect time to excel, especially when the Seahawk’s starting quarterback Tavaris Jackson, a Vikings cast-off and bad one at that, went down in the third quarter with a shoulder injury while trying to stretch an 11 yard run into 12. A move that had head coach Pete Carroll still muttering and complaining in the post-game.
But when backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (who?) came in and looked like a metamorphosis of Peyton Manning, mid-way through the third quarter, the vaunted Giant defense looked more like something you might find at an average high school. Whitehurst absolutely tore apart the Giants, giving the sluggish Seahawk offense exactly what they needed as they blew away New York’s squad of soon-to-be waivered has-beens.
Seattle started the game with an Oregon Duck lookalike effort featuring no huddles and a confused New York contingent, that ultimately yielded seven points in under three minutes. Not-to-worry, as the Giants answered with their own quick seven play drive as Eli Manning nailed Jake Ballard in the end zone to tie things up.
And after the Seahawks floundered and punted, New York decided to bequeath the Seahawks the ball and the game, with a generous gift on their own 17 when Manning was sacked and fumbled. But two plays later Seattle returned the favor and fumbled back to the Giants, who put together a pathetic three and out before a two play Seattle scoring drive which landed the visitors a quick 14-7 lead with three minutes left in the first.
It could have easily been a four touchdown lead had things broken differently. As was, the Giants floundered again, Seattle put together their best drive of the day, a 12 play beauty that consumed almost six minutes off the clock and could have all but ended the game right there, had they not coughed up the ball again at the Giant’s two yard line.
Really ugly football followed for the rest of the half, until Manning finally woke up the crowd with a bomb to Hakeem Nicks down the right side, followed by a quick TD strike to tie things up at 14 with only seconds remaining in the half.
With FOX announcers Thom Brennaman and Troy Aikman carrying on about how surprising it was for Seattle to be tied at halftime with the mighty New York Giants, things were about to get a bit nutty. It started when Seattle’s starting quarterback got nailed trying to stretch a run and left the game.
Following a pretty punt to end the same drive that was downed at the five yard line, Seattle’s Anthony Hargrove nailed New York’s DJ Ware in the end zone on the right side on a first and 10. Hargrove had slipped around the line unnoticed and Ware had no chance at going anywhere other than to the end zone carpet, and Seattle had a 16-14 lead from a improbable safety.
Several punts later Seattle kicked a 51 yard field goal seconds into the final period to take a 9-14 lead, but it was short-lived when the Giants got their first real break of the game. Manning dropped back and threw a sideling bomb to Victor Cruz, which was batted straight up in the air by Seattle’s cornerback Richard Sherman.
But sometimes luck dictates the day, and on this play Cruz won the lottery when the ball fell right into this hands with nothing but an open field in front of him. What should have been a routine incomplete pass turned out to be a 68 yard TD strike and the first New York Giant lead of the day, 22-19 with just over 12 minutes left in the game.
Cruz, and unrecruited out of high school and undrafted into the NFL, demonstrated why with a cheesy shuffle dance following the score that deserved a clothesline cheap shot from anyone nearby (including his own teammates)
But Seattle came right back after the kickoff sailed into the end zone thanks to that dopey rule change moving kickoffs up five yards. Whitehurst hit Doug Baldwin on a perfectly executed screen play for a quick 20 yards, but followed it with a no-huddle mess that resulted in another punt.
Three plays later Seattle’s Walter Thurmund, demonstrating skills learned while pummeling Pac10 opponents at Oregon, stripped Manning of the ball when Manning was distracted while fighting for additional yardage.
Seattle had the ball on the New York 25, which they did nothing with, but it was close enough to salvage a 43 yard field goal to tie the game at 22 with ten minutes left. Whitehurst looked terrible, missing receivers by dozens of yards for no particular reason, while newly acquired wide receiver Sidney Rice didn’t bother looking back and missed a sure catch on the following play to force a punt.
At which the Giants answered with their own seven play 80 yard drive, with Manning absolutely picking apart the Seattle defense. In fact the Giants singed the Seattle defense with three big gainers in a row, and had the ball with a first and goal. But when Tight End Jake Ballard got whistled for a knuckeheaded false start, the Giants never recovered.
Manning threw the next short pass into a huddle for no apparent reason, and the Giants would end up settling for a field goal to take a disappointing 25-22 lead. But the drive only consumed a couple minutes off the clock.
Still with seven minutes left and a three point lead, things appeared to be going the Giant’s way with a revved up home crowd and all the momentum. Seattle, back in their no huddle scheme, struck quick when Whitehurst hit Doug Baldwin for a quick 22 yard gain to the Seattle 42.
But the Giants looked like they had the drive stopped until managed to throw a miracle to Doug Baldwin on a 3rd & 7 for another first down to the Giant’s 47. Followed by what turned out to be the game-ender. Whitehurst found a wide open Doug Baldwin on blown coverage for touchdown and a 29-25 lead that would prove fatal.
The Giants Defensive End Osi Umenyiora gambled and came rushing in as Seattle faked a screen pass, which also got every single Giant defensive back to bite on the play, thereby leaving Baldwin all my his lonesome with nothing but open field in front of him.
Two-and-a-half minutes left, and the Giants needed to make something happen. Manning hit Ware for a quick 22 yards, then drilled Manningham to get to their own 44 yard line. But when Manning threw to Victor Cruz in the red zone, Cruz almost made a spectacular one-handed catch at the five yard line, only to have Seattle’s Brandon Browner grab what looked like a Cruz handoff, and raced 95 yards for Seahawk touchdown with just over a minute left.
The second freak play of the day involving Mr Cruz, only this time it turned out catastrophic to the Giant effort. What should have been a 32-29 lead with no time left, ended up being a 36-25 Seahawk lead with no chance for a comeback. And when Kam Chancellor intercepted Manning’s pass for the 8th turnover of the day in this slopfest, it was lights out for the Giants.
The Seattle Seahawks, who looked so lethargic and uninspired against the Steelers two weeks prior, had just managed to march into the New York palace and snatch a win that few believed possible. The Giants hence left looking like a pretender, while the Seahawks head into a bye week with new-found reason for optimism.
The youngest team in the league, lead by the greatest cheerleading coach since perhaps the great Vince Lombardi of the Packers a century ago.
Who woulda thought?
But there are plenty others out there in other cities who suffer with us, and nothing rubs salt in our wounds like watching the team with twice the money excel in the post season.
We’re fed up. We’re angry. But let me explain why.
Ten reasons why I would rather sit through six hours with a life insurance salesman than endure one more at-bat watching the New York Yankees!
No. 1 Mariano Rivera
How long has this nimrod been pitching for the Yankees anyway?
The main problem I have with Mariano Rivera, other than the fact that nobody can hit the guy, is that it’s un-American to not sign with another team for at least half of your career! This is how capitalism is supposed to work!
As a young man you are supposed to establish yourself with hard work and many hours of training in warehouses. Then later in the spring, most superstars have a “breakthrough moment” where they do something miraculous and astound the masses. Soon thereafter your rookie contract is played out and another rival team makes you an offer you cannot refuse.
You being the highly ethical guy you claim to be, you tell the fans you’re happy where you are, and then you promptly jilt the devoted. You make empty excuses like “well they didn’t respect me” and “I was insulted by their offer” but nobody believes you.
This is how it’s supposed to work, Mariano. This is what all good athletes do. This is what we fans expect from our stars.
Not so with Riviera. This guy has been pitching for the Yankees ever since my grandfather was a small child. He’s like those spooky people on NBC’s “The Event” that never age.
I am not making this up. I looked up the roster of the 1929 Yankees and you know who the closer was? That’s right. Mariano Rivera. Same guy.
Quit already Riv, would ya?!?
No. 2 Alex Rodriquez
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Hating Alex Rodriguez is like hating cancer or rabid postulates growing randomly on your body. You don’t need a reason to hate despicable things. You just do.
As a very young player this Yankee superstar was adored by young Seattle Mariner fans. He was on the bench when Junior scored in “the game” against the Yankees in 1995.
But then he got older and became a starter, then eventually a big stud with a huge batting average, and then arrogant (not necessarily in that order).
There was, however, a small problem with Alex Rodriguez when he played in Seattle. Every single time he came to bat during a big game that we simply could not lose, he choked like strangled chicken. And not just little choke, but BIG HUGE choke with us down by a run in bottom of the ninth one game out of first.
This is what I remember about Alex when he did NOT play for the Yankees. His last September in Seattle, every time Alex came up to bat against the Yankess he struck out with men in scoring position. One game at Safeco against the Yankees, I remember this vividly. Alex came up and struck out seven times in four at-bats. I’ve never forgiven him for this. On the other hand, he had an amazingly high batting average and a ton of solo shots during 10-0 routs where nothing mattered!
Little kids enjoy chucking beer bottles at him. I too, enjoy chucking beer bottles at Alex Rodriguez. In fact I’m chucking beer bottles at him right now as I write this.
Which reminds me of what else I hate about the Yankees…
No. 3 George Steinbrenner
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Ok I realize the guy is gone and perhaps I may be lightning-bolted for scoffing at his image, but they built that statue for him at Yankee Stadium this last summer. I hate that.
See in Seattle, we don’t like statues unless they’re Marxist statues of Vladimir Lenin. If the statue is of Lenin, then we LOVE statues! We have them mounted in the Fremont district where lovers of that ideology can ponder wistfully the good old days of communism. But if the statue is not of Lenin, we see that as worshipping false gods.
Steinbrenner was everything communism was not, so for that reason alone we always hated the guy. Plus Lou Pinella (a moment of silence please for the Pinella years) didn’t care much for good old George either. We like Lou. We don’t like George.
Actually Steinbrenner did provide some humor once in these parts. A long time ago in a stadium long since imploded, during the “glory month of October” (we don’t have “glory years” here in Seattle. We have “glory weeks”) during the 1995 ALCS there was a hand-painted banner that said “Beavis and Steinbrenner.” Giggle. We liked that.
But we hated Steinbrenner, and it’s because he was a big bully who pushed people around. The opposite of what people in Seattle are like. We much prefer ballet and men in tights with embarrassing bulges in inappropriate places. We adore sensitivity and little pink unicorns skipping through the forest with butterflies. Those types of things.
No. 4 Johnny Damon
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Johnny Damon was the original pirate. He had the pirate “look” thing going long before Jack Sparrow ripped it off.
Kids thought Damon was cool. Parents thought Damon was cool. Shoot, even Grandparents thought Damon was cool.
Then he signed with the New York Yankees and like all things they touch, they ruined him. He became boring and lost his sparkle. Shorn were the locks, replaced by a boring lawyer look with lots of shaving. He could have been teaching first grade Sunday School at very conservative churches when he played for the Yankees.
This ticks me off because the guy was a rock star wearing a baseball uniform in his early years. If Keith Richards played baseball, this was how Keith Richards would have looked! But now look at the poor pathetic fool! He hasn’t played for the Yankees since last season, but he still dons that dopey corporate IBM image thing. Another forgettable ex-Yankee who could be running any hedge fund business or corporate scandal.
Don’t blame Damon. Blame the stupid Yankees for forcing this on him! Blame their ridiculous policy on the military look for all formerly badass ball players.
The New York Yankees force the corporate image on their ball players because they ARE the corporate image.
The Yankees are what all of us hate about baseball in the 21st century. They are a billion dollar cable TV contract playing games in a billion dollar television studio. And that’s all they are. It’s not about fun anymore, it’s about making money.
Do you think the Yankees would have ever tolerated a Al Kaline or Ty Cobb? Not a chance for these stiffards!
Look, I suppose I’ll have to tolerate the Yankees signing players for three times what anyone else can pay again this off season, but do you have to root out the personality while you’re at it?!? This isn’t 1953 for crying out loud! This is baseball in the modern era!
No, 5 New Yankee Stadium
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
After decades of being humiliated by the Yankees, the rest of the league got even by building new retro parks with restaurants, kiddie amusement parks and lots of bathrooms. We were all feeling great about this because we could finally compete with the dollars of the Yankees and sign our own pack of free agents. And since New York owned one of three famous historic baseball stadiums this country could not live with out, we all knew you were stuck. Surely you would never dishonor the baseball gods by tearing down this historic icon.
Unfortunately New York tore down this historic icon.
Then you built yourselves a new cooler stadium than any of us have that earns the Yankees more than our stadiums earn us. And what’s worse, you charge half the price of a new house to sit in the seats behind home plate, which means the only ones that can afford those seats are Wall Street jerks.
Now every time the TV camera shows a close-up of a hitter, we fans across the nation have to endure smug Wall Street jerks in very wide leather seats eating lobster and drinking 100-year-old scotch.
Look New York, if you have to put these dullards somewhere close to the field, why not hide them behind mirrored bulletproof glass that doesn’t show on TV? Sell advertisements on those mirrored panels. I’d much rather look at two side-by-side bathtubs of naked retirees than these smug pinhead bankers behind home plate!
Hey here’s an idea: Since the seats are usually empty anyways, why not fill them with Playboy super models in skimpy outfits? This I could support. But I do not want to see middle-aged overweight guys in three piece leisure suits with flapping gowels and hot towels, every time they show Derek Jeter from the right side!
No. 6 1995 American Division Championship Seattle Mariners Vs New York Yankees
How on earth could anyone from Seattle hate the Yankees after that wonderful blissful series in 1995 that saved baseball for Seattle and still has us all skipping merrily because for once we beat the crap out of you money-grubbing scumbags?!?
There’s still buildings here in Seattle with painted scenes from that one game. Remember? At the Kingdome? Mariners, best-of-five, Game 5. We lost the first two games in New York, then they came back to Seattle and after trailing in all three games the Mariners came in all three games to win walk-offs? Game 5, Randy Johnson came in as a reliever and shut down the Yankees for several innings. Then he gave up a run. We all cried and weeped and were near suicidal. But then in bottom of the same inning beloved Seattle hero Edgar Martinez hit the double down the right field line, Junior scored! Tears me up just thinking about it.
Well here’s the problem: 15 years later that one game is STILL the greatest moment in Seattle Mariners history. And this after winning 116 games in 2001. It just goes to show how absolutely pathetic Seattle Mariner history is.
Dogs have been born, trained, fetched, and died in that much time.
Yes we beat the hated Yankees and we’re all still happy about that. But it was 15 years ago for gawds sake, and we need to be making new memories already.
I blame the Yankees.
No. 7 Tino Martinez
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
See this is what I really hate about the Yankees.
Seattle’s Tino Martinez lit up the Yankees during that very same series of 1995. So what happened three months later? The Mariners traded him to New York for a couple of lawn chairs and a half empty bottle of Corona.
Anyone outside of New York knows what I’m talking about here, right? If your guy does well against their guys, they’ll sign your guy in the off season or force your team to trade your player to them for nothing.
Our teams have a total payroll of several thousand dollars. Our guys drive used Volkwagon busses. Meanwhile the hated Yankees build aircraft carriers for fun. This is not fair.
And it happens every single time with any opposition player that shuts them down. They do good, and the Yankees steal that player by offering hookers and huge contracts and tv stardom.
Well except for one guy. Ken Griffey Jr. Remember him? Junior absolutely hated the Yankees and God bless him for that! Because years ago a very young Junior got tossed from the Yankee clubhouse during a Cincinnati Reds visit. For that, Junior usually hit dozens of home runs against them to teach them a lesson. He tormented the Yankees in the outfield too. Leapt up and stole a couple of clear homers from them, once in New York. We liked that.
What we don’t like is how the Yankees have signed all our good guys. Like Luis Soho, Jeff Nelson, Tino, Randy Johnson, and this other short stop we used to have.
This has been going on for decades too. Remember when the Sonics were trying to sign Bob McAdoo in 1973? Nope, He went to New York. The Yankees signed him. And he was a basketball player. This is how bad it’s gotten.
You get my point right? Somebody does good against these jokers and the next thing we know, the hated and detested Yankees have signed him. They have all the cash. We don’t. What’s not to hate?
No. 8 Alex Rodriguez
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Yes I know I already mentioned Alex but I’m telling you, we really don’t like this guy.
Alex guy gave Seattle this big huge con job by saying how much he loved the Mariners and how he would never leave because “he wasn’t about the money.”
Well guess what? He was about the money.
He convinced the Mariners to wait until after the season to negotiate his new contract by claiming he loved the team and the players. Hall of Famers like Edgar Martinez meant so very much to him. What a wonderful moment.
The Mariners didn’t trade him like they should have because of all this. And the Mariner ended up getting nothing because of it, when he signed with Texas and bankrupted that team. Now he’s on your team.
After he had left, Alex popped off about how he never liked Seattle much and wrote a nasty letter trying to convince Boeing employees in Seattle to move to y’allsville with him. That’s fine Alex. But you can’t mouth off about Boeing and expect anyone in Seattle to ever like you again.
Oh and there was that other thing about divorcing his wife and going for Madonna.
Actually we didn’t get too excited about that rumor here in Seattle, because when you think of it, hanging out with Madonna is punishment enough. In fact I would wager that any Al Qaeda operative ensconced by authorities would gladly spill his guts if the alternative was a few hours in an eight-by-10 cell with Madonna.
No. 9 Seattle Has More Public Golf Courses
This has nothing to do with the argument other than I need something to prop me up because I’m an emotional wreck after writing this.
Think about it. The US Open in 2015, we can play it whenever we want, and no six-hour rounds here you suckers!
Twenty bucks gets you a pretty nice golf course on the weekend, and there’s 150 public courses within an hour’s drive of me. Except for this one, which is about $185
Plus our tap water is not flammable like it is in New York!
No. 10 27 World Championships
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Ok I’ll admit it. The real reason I can’t stand the Yankees is because every year you’re in the playoffs and we are not. The same reason all of you hate Microsoft and Real Networks.
The Yankees have been in the World Series several hundred times while the Seattle Mariners just rolled out their second 100-loss season in three years. And we have lots of other 100-loss seasons before that to brag about.
In Seattle, we hang banners for every year we’ve won our division or done anything remotely impressive, and there’s only three other teams in our division. We have five banners hanging at Safeco Field, and we awarded ourselves two banners for the same year. Twice.
You wonder why Seattle folks are such huge fans of Lenin? Because communism preaches equality and…well do I really have to explain this for you?!?
Nearly a year later, Washington Husky fans are still whining about the Oregon Ducks running a hurry-up offense while holding a 39-16 lead with only 10 minutes left in the game
So when LaMichael James went down to an injury against the California Golden Bears Thursday night in Eugene, cheers of job erupted in frat houses and bars across the Western Hemisphere!
Rival fans have oft-accused super Duck coach Chip Kelly of deliberately padding scores during garbage time in an effort to make his uniform-challenged squad look deceivingly lopsided and dominating.
Perhaps pundits across the east, sawing logs by the time these games are over on the West Coast, wouldn’t notice that the Ducks had actually piled on several touchdowns long after the opponents had all but given up.
Even in the game they lost this year, the Ducks piled on a late touchdown to make an otherwise 40-20 loss look a bit more respectable at 40-27 with a scant 13 seconds left.
Against Nevada with only 3:56 left in the game and a 55-20 lead, Oregon piled on an additional 14 points when most teams would have been taking knees and doing anything to keep from further embarrassing the opposing coach.
Against Arizona two weeks later, sporting a 49-31 lead with only six minutes left in the game, the Ducks still had James in the game, rushing five straight times, as the Ducks piled on another late touchdown to make it 56 total points.
What, pray tell, was James doing in the Arizona game with six minutes left and a three-touchdown lead?
So, when the same James went down against the California Golden Bears in the fourth quarter, with the Ducks already holding a 36-15 lead and driving, there seemed to be a bit of Karma-tic justice when the stud running back was carted off the field with his arm in a sleeve.
Why was he in the game?
Were the Ducks still miffed that the Golden Bears only lost by two points the previous year during the undefeated Pac-10 romp?
Still ticked off about players faking injuries to slow down the hurry-up? Was this revenge, to have a Heisman-candidate running back racking up cheap yards long after this game had been decided?
The Ducks averaged 52 point a game in their first four games this season, so why was James in the game? Did Kelly really feel 36 points weren’t quite enough?
Frankly, the Ducks got exactly what they deserved to have a key player injured due to running up the score during garbage time. It’s about time!
Not many rivals in the Pac12 will be dropping tears over this one.
I may end up getting myself cast off Bleacher Report for good with this rant, but what the heck. Taking risks are what makes life exciting!
Bleacher Report is one of the great stories of the “new journalism” era. It is a place where young writers trying to get started, can advance up the writer chain with a “points system.” It’s great.
It’s also a place where some of us older guys finally have the freedom to cut loose and write what we really feel. There’s none of the business politics holding us back that is so rampant and routine at every single newspaper in the country. B/R is a young company started by young guys, most of whom don’t even know about the battles common, where writers have daily punching bouts with their editors.
Sadly things are changing at Bleacher Report, but it was bound to happen. It cannot be avoided.
A couple weeks ago I wrote a totally sarcastic and absolutely hilarious (<–note witty sarcasm) article about the Texas Longhorns. Now I’m not a Longhorn-hater particularly, but I found it interesting how Texas just may find themselves on the outside looking in when all these new NCAA football leagues are finalized. Nobody wants Texas in their conference, because of the reputation they enjoy as being fiscal bullies with special rules. I wrote a nice long, sorta fast-moving piece about that very subject.
Well after about 2500 reads in a couple days, an Oklahoma fan got all offended. He said it was because I was hostile to women in the piece because of a quip (I said something like Sooner women have leather skin and tend to lose the razor in places where we’d prefer they keep using it). Something like that. Totally me horsing around like I do when I write.
Well the article got pulled. And although the reason given was that the B/R staff (who will remain nameless) felt the content was “trollish,” because I was flipping too much crap at Texas and Oklahoma fans. I felt it was because this guy didn’t like me making wise cracks about his favorite team. In other words, I was giving them too hard a time with my article, and we can’t have that. We can’t offend these very important people of higher-ups at institutions. We can’t have guys taking shots at other football programs just for fun. Especially when it’s at the Oklahoma Sooners (all stand up and salute please). You can’t take cheap shots at the Oklahoma Sooners you idiot. Do you know how many big bucks are there are down in the flat-lands of Oklahoma?!? Ever hear of oil wells?!?
Which is interesting, because what attracted all of us veteran writers to Bleacher Report in the first place, was the fact that here was a new website that was sorta “Wild-Wild-West.” Unlike crusty old newspaper editors, here you could write anything, and you didn’t really have to worry about your editor pulling the piece, because you took cheap shots at a sacred football institution that just happens to have a whole bunch of wealthy alumni, some of whom provided start-up funds for your site.
That’s precisely what was so attractive about Bleacher Report! Fans could be fans. Fans could bait the other team’s fans, raging debates would break out, insults would fly, and it was one big tailgating party in print. A hootenanny of epic proportions. But we’re all having harmless fun here so what’s the big deal?? College football teams. We don’t know these guys other than their names. Why NOT take cheap shots?! This is where cheap shots live and breathe. College football forums by college football fans.
See that was what was so cool about Bleacher Report, and the concept of the site. That’s what got B/R the hits in the first place. B/R was doing this sports thing from a new young angle, that hadn’t been seen in the more traditional media. And guys like me, who have long-since gotten over the notoriety of seeing our names in print, could sorta air it out here, like we can’t everywhere else. But that’s what made Bleacher Report so unique.
Now it appears, Bleacher Report is maturing (unlike me), and we’re now seeing a bit more hesitance to allow classless boobs to write wise cracks. They’d like to see this more traditional. Lose the T-shirts, let’s go back to the white shirts and ties and sell life insurance. This isn’t the Boston Red Sox, this is the NY Yankees. Corporate-style media, so now it’s time to stifle these undisciplined punks, and let’s get this group of renegades house-broken and back to the confines of semi-boring reading material without jokes.
Now I totally understand why Bleacher Report feels the need to tighten up the writing standards (ie: more profits from more exposure, which you can’t do if you’re taking cheap shots at the Texas Longhorns).
But I would argue you’re also killing the freshness and the attraction that led many of your readers to the site in the first place. Fans like to argue and pop off about their teams. But now suddenly we can’t write certain things about certain teams? Really?!
Let’s go back to my Texas example again. Do I hate Texas? Well no, I didn’t. But now that my article got pulled because some of my funnies got Texas alumni sideways ….. well let’s just say cheap shots may have to find their way back to the between-the-lines method, like we’ve done for years in the traditional print media. You can still get your shots in, but it’s not like the NY Media anymore. Nope, now it’s like the Duluth, Minnesota media, where everything is polite and politically correct and unoffensive.
Me quipping to the B/R staff during this exchange “Well it looks like the Big12 isn’t the only place where Texas gets special rules.” probably didn’t earn me an invite to the B/R Christmas Party at the end of the year, either.
“Hey you punk! You can’t say Texas is like an uninvited guest showing up with a plastic blond on his arm while everybody else rolls their eyes!! This is Texas!! The Texas Longhorns!! Everybody LOVES the Texas Longhorns!! And if they don’t, we’ll have them censored so fast it will make the critic’s keyboard melt!”
My point is that yes, I admit it, some of my stuff can be crass and tends to tease certain groups of fans. But that’s why we read Bleacher Report. It was different than all the other boring CBS.comand FOX.com stuff. That’s precisely what made it so attractive to your readers, and yet now it appears the goal is to kill that freedom and go back to stuffy frowning editors refusing to let us write witty and cheap-shot rhetoric.
Now what fun is that??!
Who says karma is only for balding hippies wearing bed sheets and hanging around city parks?Following a relaxing bye week with summer-like weather enticing a sea of Utah Ute fans donned in red, this first-ever Pac12 game at Rice-Eccles Stadium (where?) would be Utah’s chance to snap a dreaded six game losing streak to the hated Dawgs of Seattle after waiting since 1979 for the opportunity.And yet on the opening kickoff, the newcomers did their impression of a Bishop Sankey kickoff reception in Nebraska.
The Ute’s Ryan Lankey coughed up the ball with only seconds gone to start the game, after Husky Garret Gilliland drilled him and shook the ball loose, which wandered and squiggled right into the arms of a streaking Jamaal Kearse, who graciously raced the gift 10 yards without breaking his stride for a quick UW touchdown.
That, as it turned out, would actually be a highlight for the newly-come-hither Utah Utes of Salt Lake City.
Especially when Husky defensive end Josh Shirley, starting in his first-ever collegiate game, raced around the line and splattered Utah starting QB Jordan Wynn for a six yard loss in their first snap from scrimmage. Followed by another stinker up the middle for a one yard loss.
A pass completion later it was fourth down and a punt and an ugly three-and-out for the Utah Utes in their sorta-cool packed out stadium, with houses peeking over the far end zone and sun shining brilliantly. Fans across the Root Sports network were getting their first look at Uteville.
It shone more brilliantly for Dawg fans when the Huskies got their opening drive and quickly stampeded downfield on two pass completions and four Chris Polk runs, before finally running out of gas on a failed 4th-and-1 at Utah’s 32.
Polk appeared to stumble over his own feet, and by the time he recovered, momentum had suddenly shifted to the home squad, who took over at midfield.
Starting at their own 32, Wynn threw a surprise sideline bomber to Ute wide receiver pal Devonte Christopher, who made a spectacular catch and 68 yard touchdown romp before it was ruled he stepped out of bounds back on the Husky 32. But by just a hair.
Not to worry, because Wynn tossed a drifter to Dres Anderson in the end zone several plays later to knot the score at 7-7.
And after the Huskies suddenly looked lethargic and frat-party tired in route to a three-and-out, seven plays later Utah failed on their own 4th-and-6 after marching downfield to the Husky 37.
But alas, bad things continued to happen to good people, when a snappy low pass from Keith Price skipped off the fingertips of 5-Star recruit Husky freshman Seferian-Jenkins, and into the lap of the Ute’s JJ William at the Utah 34.
Suddenly, what looked to be a 14-0 Husky lead, was dangerously close to morphing into a 14-7 deficit, especially when John White nailed back-to-back 6 yard scampers to the Utah 40 to end the first quarter, and followed with eight straight successful plays which was finally snuffed when Sean Parker picked off a Jordan Wynn pass at the 4-yard line.
Three plays and a first down later from deep in goalpost shadows, things nearly turned Cornhusker bad when Chris Polk, running for his life, fumbled on his own 6-yard line but managed to pounce on it.
A Keil punt later combined with a brain-dead kick receiver penalty, and Utah was in business starting at the Husky 40-yard line. Desmond Trufant, who was being picked on for some reason, aided the drive with a mutilation of Dres Anderson in the red zone.
But on the very next play, Trufant both forced and recovered a Ute fumble on the 6-yard line. A clear momentum-changer for the Huskies, since what easily could have been a 21-7 Utah lead was still tied 7-7 after two critical Ute turnovers deep in the red zone.
The Huskies kept the ball the remainder of the half, helped by two knucklehead Ute 15 yard personal fouls, and finally finished the half with a 44 yard Erik Folk field goal and an undeserved 10-7 lead at the last two ticks of the first half.
At halftime, things would take a dramatic turn in Washington’s favor.
After an opening touchdown drive making it 17-7 Huskies, Utah went three-and-out, but pined the Huskies deep in the red zone again when Kayson Williams unwisely attempted to return the kick and was dog-piled at his own 6-yard line.
Chris Polk took over, with runs of 10 and 12 yards, finally ending at midfield after blowing a 3rd-and-1 when Price heaved a wayward desperation pass on a busted play action. Fans across the nation wondered why that play had been run, when Chris Polk was running like a mad man and chewing up both time and yardage at will.
But when Utah finally got the ball back with seven minutes left in the third quarter, Gregory Ducre picked off Utah’s replacement QB John Hays’ first pass with a brilliant over-the-top sideline pick.
And with Kieth Price imitating wooden-legged pirates due to his on-going knee-gone-bad, he drilled a bullet barely past the fingertips of Utah’s Brian Blechen for a game-dominating 24-7 lead, when Kearse scampered the remaining 23 yards for a UW TD.
It was now 24-7 with seven minutes left in the third quarter, and the game was effectively over.
And when the Huskies opened the fourth quarter with a 14 play touchdown drive that consumed almost eight minutes, what had been a Utah-dominated game was suddenly a Husky laugher.
Polk rushed for 143 yards on 17 carries in the second half alone, as the Huskies piled on 24 unanswered points since the field goal ending the first half.
The Ute’s backup quarterback, a transfer from the defunct Nebraska-Omaha program, did his best, including a nifty suicide hurdle into Cort Dennison for a desperation first down.
But with Chris Polk gaining strength as the Utah defense grew more winded with each drive, there was little they could do. Especially when Kieth Price kept nailing time-consuming short passes that finally ended with the Huskies up 31-7 with 9:17 left in the game.
For Husky fans still wheezing from the stench of the Kieth Gilberson recruiting classes, it was a welcome sight to see the Huskies finally back doing what Husky teams do. Dominate in the third quarter and draining the clock in the fourth for the kill.
Utah would manage to score again with seven seconds left in the game, but by that time the vast majority of Ute fans had been sipping beverages and drinking away the pain of it all, in their favorite sports bars for an hour.
It was a surprising win for a suddenly powerful-looking 4-1 Husky Dawg squad, and with the hapless Colorado Buffaloes coming off another loss against WSU this afternoon, Washington fans haven’t been this happy in over five years!
When California’s Zach Maynard hit a wide-open Keenan Allen for a 90-yard pass-touchdown three plays into the opening California Golden Bear’s drive in the UW Pac-12 opener, a collective gasp from the purple-clad 60,437 about blew down the decrepit and soon-to-be razed south stands at Husky Stadium.
It was an unlikely strike too, because Allen was so wide open on blown coverage that the stunned multitudes apparently had little to say. Other than creative angry chants about defensive coordinator Nick Holt, which embarrassed the crack Root announcing duo.
Craig Boilerjack and Joel Klatt, still marveling at the hundreds of small boats lazily swaying several hundred yards away on the glistening waters of Lake Washington, wondered aloud how long fans were gong to tolerate coverage that bad; somewhat a Husky tradition of late.
The Dawgs had managed to reach midfield after receiving the opening kick, but were forced to punt six plays later, and Will Hahan’s high kick pinned California back on their own 9-yard line. But after Isi Sofele ripped out an 11 yard gain to the 20, Cal briefly had breathing room until Zach Maynard coughed up the ball on his own 11.
UW came right back three plays later with a Keith Price to senior Devin Aguilar for a quick 44 yards to the California 20, followed by Price to all-world freshman Austin Seferian-Jenkins for a game-tying touchdown with just over five minutes burned.
Suddenly, the game felt eerily like the week prior vs. Nebraska, with very little defense giving way to two squads with potent offenses.
But when Cal went three-and-out and drilled UW’s Kasen Williams milliseconds after catching the ball on the ensuing punt, it became evident that college football had returned to the traditional receiving rules so prominently known until a week prior.
No call, Huskies with the ball.
Eight plays and 65 yards later, it was 14-7 UW.
California came roaring back down the field but settled for a Giorgil Tavecchio 29-yard field goal to make it 14-10, and UW quickly answered with their own sustained drive of 78 yards, finished by another Seferian-Jenkins TD to make it 21-10 with 8:51 left in the half. Cal again drove the length of the field but again settled for a 36-yard field goal trailing 21-13 with just over five minutes left in the half.
Again, the game was feeling disturbingly similar to the prior week in Nebraska, especially when Husky QB Price got chopped from behind by Cecil Whiteside while carelessly carrying the ball single-handedly on a scamper to his own 33.
Price had been doing that all game long and had narrowly managed to avoid the same on several earlier plays. This time luck ran out. California’s Mychal Kendricks promptly fell on it, transforming what could have been a game-dominating UW drive into a hair-puller.
California tried to take advantage of the momentum swing with a quick line-drive pass down the right side, but Desmond Trufant made a brilliant defensive play at the goal line to knock the ball away.
Two plays later a wide-open Keenan Allen dropped a ball that most grandmothers could have caught, but made up for it on a duplicate follow-up play on a risky 4th-and-4. This time Allen took it to the UW 20.
Three plays later, CJ Anderson punched in a one-yard dive to make it 21-20, and when UW’s Erik Folk kicked a half-ending 52-yard field goal only 51 yards, the Huskies left the field up only a single point up.
Coaches grumbled to sideline reporters about missed opportunities and squandered defensive coverages.
Sark was still cranky about his defensive play following the half, and about ripped off sideline reporter Petro Pedackus’ head when he asked about it, in spite of his snazzy black suit that looked like it belonged in a wedding party.
California nearly gave the game back to the Huskies with nine minutes left in the third, when the ball squirted out of Cal Maynard’s hand at UW’s 12-yard line and straight up the air for no apparent reason. Once the dog pile had been cleared, the Golden Bears miraculously retained possession.
Cal had to again settle for a field goal, but with a 23-21 lead in game where they easily could have been suffering a blow out, they had to be feeling giddy knowing they had put up 13 straight points at exactly the time they needed it.
The Huskies followed with their own 13-play drive and a 25-yard field goal. The drive included a lovely 4th-and-1 pitch to Jermaine Kearse to the left side, but when Porter was flagged for a 15-yard chop-block penalty, the Huskies had to settle for a three-pointer too,
24-23 with five minutes left in the quarter. Again, what could have been a game-changer was handed away by knuckleheadedness.
When California finished the third quarter with a punt, the ultimate outcome of the game would be determined with the next Husky drive.
It started with a nifty pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins down the right sidelines to the 40-yard line, but was called back by a painful holding call. UW was forced to deal with a 1st and 20 from their own 5-yard line instead of a 1st and 10 from the 35.
Chris Polk ran a nothing play up the middle to make it 2nd and 18, but Washington was suddenly bailed out when Cal’s Aron Tipoti was flagged for roughing the passer. It gave UW an unexpected 1st-and-10 at their own 32.
Two plays later California broke through for an ugly sack of Keith Price. But Price followed up with a high-lofter to Chris Polk over the middle for a touchdown, and the game suddenly swung back in the Huskies’ favor.
Polk had managed to sneak out of the backfield undetected while both defensive backs collapsed to cover Sefarian-Jenkins cutting across ten yards deep of the line. Polk easily caught the ball and lazily jogged into the end zone, thereby potentially sealing the deal.
UW enjoyed a 31-23 lead with just over 12 minutes left. And when California went three-and-out on their next drive, things were looking bleak for Bay Area’s Golden Bears.
But UW, not prone to making things easy on themselves, promptly coughed up the ball again on the Cal 37, when Austin Seferian-Jenkins was stripped of the ball after being stood up, following a nice catch and scamper to the Cal 44.
California had the ball again in great field position, trailing by only eight points. But again matching the Huskies in sloppy play, Zach Maynard barely managed to fall on his fumble (his third of the game that was recovered by his own guys), leaving them with a 3rd-and-17.
Two plays later on a 4th-and-3, UW’s Cort Dennison knocked the ball loose from Cal’s Savai’i Eselu. Just over six minutes were left in the game and the Huskies could end it right here with a long sustained drive.
But the Huskies quickly went three-and-out, and California had yet another chance to get back in the game.
Keeping the ball for 15 plays as the Huskies used two safeties to keep from getting burned long, the “bend not break” defense barely managed to keep California out of the end zone. Finally, when Cort Dennison and Evan Zeger stopped the Golden Bears’ Isi Sofele for a one-yard loss with just over 37 seconds left in the game, it allowed for one final desperation play amidst a sea of worried Husky fans. Another win that could turn to a heartbreaking loss.
Cal QB Zach Maynard tried to loft a sneaker high to WR Keenan Allen, but the ball sailed hopelessly out of bounds to the left side and fell harmlessly to the turf. One play later, the game was over, and Husky fans felt very fortunate to escape after blowing countless opportunities to put this game to rest.
Final score 31-23. California’s perfect start was ruined, while the beloved Huskies are off to their best start in six years after winning seven of their last eight games.
Nevertheless defensive coach Nick Holt and head coach Steve Sarkisian were clearly both cranky following the game.
A win yes, but a win that should have been nailed down a quarter earlier when the Huskies had the ball and an eight point lead with six minutes left. It should have been easier.
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With all the talk this week of the Pac-12 Conference adding schools in Texas and Oklahoma, count me as one college football traditionalist that hates the idea.
Not so much the idea of expanded conferences and 16 team divisions. That could work, and could be fun. It’s this idea of expanding the Pac-12 into states and regions that have nothing to do with the tradition of the west and it’s on-going insecurity of being snubbed by the east. It’s what fuels the passion for many of our teams!
Having the name “Pac” in the title suggests west, as in Pacific Ocean, but Oklahoma and Texas suggest “flat dust storms, lots of cows, and too many tornado’s!” Not exactly tourist attractions that would motivate fans from out west to visiting games.
For Texas and Oklahoma fans on the other hand, it would mean finally something to live for. Something to yearn about as you sit sizzling in triple digit heat during the dog days of summer waiting for football. The prospect of visiting cities where sun glasses don’t melt off your face.
Pristine with snow-capped mountains! The Pacific Northwest with it’s water, Utah for it’s skiing, and Southern California with it’s warm climates and white sand beaches.
Texas and Oklahoma? Nobody goes to Texas and Oklahoma, we go through Texas and Oklahoma, as fast as we can in most cases!
Nope, the new conference should be based on localized tradition. It’s what sets college football apart from the professional leagues. Natural rivalries work best when they are from similar regions!
Four teams that could help improve all of this in the Pac-12, instead of stretching it to areas of the country that are far removed from the west!
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They have that putrid blue field that they just love so very much there in Boise. The rest of us, not so much.
Entire flocks of Canadian Geese have dropped dead from the sky after flying over it. A fluorescent bluish hue that induces headaches and extreme dehydrating diarrhea to most fans, especially when viewed on television for several hours.
But there is hope. It could be changed back to normal field grass green for the right deal.
Well membership in the Pac12 is the right deal!
Boise State is constantly on the outside looking in come the end of the season. No matter how many games they win in a row, when it’s all over the pundits doubt their strength of schedule. Pac12 membership would change all of that.
Even with their uniforms rivaling Oregon in terms of cornea-searing designs, membership in the Pac12 ends the debate. If they win here, they’d be in.
Some question the academic strength, but the school is up-and-coming according to recent publications, and who can argue with the football team’s performance over the past decade?
The team is flat-out good. They are consistently ranked in the preseason Top 10, which is more than you can say about 10 of the current Pac-12 football teams.
Two years ago, Oregon learned how difficult road games to Boise State are, when the bucking Broncos of Boise State did what the rest of the teams in then Pac-10 could not do: they beat the hated Ducks.
The team is a natural rival to four separate teams in the Pac-12. Student-fans could drive to the games, just like all the other traditional NW teams, unlike long airplane trips required for Texas and Oklahoma.
Furthermore, the skiing and recreational activities in Idaho are just a trifle better than they are in Texas and Oklahoma!
Alumni provides the money for football programs due to how they travel, and most sane alumni would rather it be Idaho than the barren plains of the south-Midwest!
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Not exactly the mecca for stellar football programs, but the Hawaii Warriors of the WAC are an attractive choice for all Pac-12 teams, evidenced by the number of preseason games scheduled against them year after year.
And although the stadium and fan support leave much to be desired, it’s still Hawaii. It’s warm when it’s raining sideways in the north, and rival fan bases would thus flock to the islands for these annual games.
In terms of potential tourist dollars for Hawaii, the Pac-12 offers by far the most lucrative deal.
Allowing the Warriors in the Pac-12 could wreak havoc for teams who routinely overpower the islands in terms of recruits. But Hawaii, already with a consistently potent offense that gives visiting teams fits, the defense would likely also evolve into a powerhouse manned mostly by locals
Nationwide, what kid wouldn’t dream of playing football mixed with surfing lessons in the offseason?
And with their uniforms already among the coolest-looking in college football, they seem to be the most logical of the sub-west teams to convert to the big time!
B Y U
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Ever since BYU ripped off the national championship from the University of Washington in 1984, Husky fans have had it out for Utah’s most elite Mormon institution.
And why not? BYU consistently has put out teams that can play with anyone. Just last week we saw the arrogant and pompous Texas Longhorns barely manage to squeak out a one-point win against this team of upstarts from one of the most beautiful areas in the United States.
Brigham Young University makes sense from a rivalry perspective too. The Utah Utes have played the Cougars 87 times, making these two teams not only one of the longest rivalries in the nation, but also a natural rivalry that the Pac-12 so dearly loves.
And lets not forget that NFL greats Steve Young and Jim McMahon are grads of this school, as is 1990 Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer. Danny Ainge played basketball at BYU, as did golf’s Johnny Miller and Mike Weir.
BYU is a proven athletic power that could easily keep up in the Pac-12.
San Diego State
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The fourth nominee may be surprising, but San Diego State provides the rivalry for Hawaii that would need to happen for this to be feasible, and they just so happen to be located in an area attractive to most traveling fans.
Playing their first football game clear back in 1921, the Aztecs, like their former WAC rivals the Hawaii Warriors, have wreaked havoc on larger schools who foolishly scheduled them for “warm up” games.
Already this year they pulverized WSU with a 42-24 thrashing, and have jumped out to quick 3-0 start with victories over Army and Cal Poly too. And with so many high schools in Southern California with so many blue-chip recruits, rising to the top of the heap of a new Pac16 would be merely a matter of time.
Furthermore there is no better place for frigid fans in the North to visit, than the city of San Diego.
With it’s pristine beaches and near-perfect fall weather, San Diego State would help the Pac-12 cover the entire state of California, and is the logical choice for the 16th member of the new Pac-16!
6 of 7
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With four teams located in the West, the new Pac-16 could be divided as follows:
Oregon State Beavers
Washington State Cougars
Boise State Broncos
San Diego State Aztecs
Arizona State SunDevils
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