Key and Peele take their recurring “funny player names” sketch to its logical conclusion. As with the original, stay with it through the end.
In a new settlement with Penn State, the NCAA announced that they have restored the bulk of Joe Paterno’s wins formerly vacated as part of punishment for covering up Sandusky’s child rape hobby. He regains his position, officially, as the winningest coach ever in college football, and I think we can all agree that’s
justice exactly what we should expect from an organization as venal and corrupt as the NCAA.
That’s it. Fuck football. it’s a goddamn cancer.
I’m paying a lot less attention to football this year, but I couldn’t help but notice Ole Miss getting upset by LSU yesterday. That’s a weird sentence to type, because for a long time Ole Miss has been pretty miserable, and LSU has been a threat in the conference since Saban coached there, but here it is: Ole Miss was undefeated going into yesterday’s game against a two-loss LSU, and couldn’t get the job done.
In the wake of the loss, though, this stat got my attention, as presented by ESPN on Twitter:
LSU is 24-23 under Les Miles when trailing in the 4th quarter, the only FBS team with a record over .500 in that scenario since 2005.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 26, 2014
Holy. Fucking. Shit. That’s some serious voodoo right there.
They’re trying to prevent Lance Armstrong from riding in a charity noncompetitive Gran Fondo organized by George Hincapie.
Way to go, guys. Clearly, this is all about cycling and not about you guys being vindictive fuckwits.
I mean, seriously.
Do not give them your money.
43-year-old Jens Voigt was successful in his Hour attempt, and blew the prior record of 49.700 kilometers out of the water with 51.115. That’s 31.761 miles.
Just by way of comparison, I’ll add a stat of my own. I am an enthusiastic amateur, nowhere nearly the fastest person I ride with, but I’ll put this out there: GarminConnect tracks a few metrics, and one of them is your best time over 40km, which is 24.85 miles.
My PR over that distance, set during the Katy Flatland ride in July, is 1:14:46, at an average speed of 19.9MPH. Voigt covered 40 kilometers today in a hair under 47 minutes.
He’s going for the Hour.
The Hour record in cycling is simple: how far can you ride in a single hour on a track bike? It’s done inside, alone, on a velodrome, and is more than a little bananas. Eddy Merckx set a record in 1972 that stood for twelve years; the current record is 30.9 miles, set in 2005 by Ondrej Sosenka, is only about a fifth of a mile farther than Eddy.
Velo News has more, including his playlist.
Sometimes, outcry produces the right outcome, but it only really happens BECAUSE of outcry.
When this happens, it’s not an example of moral leadership or even moral fiber. It’s the logical equivalent of expressing regret that you got caught, not that you did something wrong in the first place. And that’s exactly where the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens are today.
Sure, Ray Rice has been fired after TMZ (no link) released video that there is no way the NFL hadn’t already seen. Sure, the NFL has finally suspended Rice “indefinitely,” which probably means for at LEAST a year, or however long it takes for people to forget.
But they knew all the facts well before TMZ forced their hand with the video. Their actions now are because they couldn’t get away with the wrist slap anymore, not because they’re strong moral people.
Nobody gets pissed off like Olbermann, and so for this I’ll just direct you to his incendiary rant. (Doesn’t it sort of seem like “incendiary rant” is a term Keith just fucking OWNS now?)
That’s the inevitable takeaway from the NCAA’s announcement yesterday that Penn State is off probation.
USC got popped with a 2 year bowl ban and lost 30 scholarships after Reggie Bush took money as a student. Penn State’s ended up with the same bowl ban, but a loss of only 20 scholarships.
What IS it about football that makes people lose their goddamn minds?
The Times has a cool, short bit up about Ji Cheng, currently in last place (“the Lanterne Rouge”) in the 2014 Tour de France, and the first Chinese rider to ever compete therein.
I must note that his position in the race’s General Classification is also irrelevant; races like the Tour are complicated team events with multiple “classifications” beyond the notion of a simple “first guy to Paris” prize, and these other competitions are sometimes a team’s primary focus.
Ji’s team, Giant-Shimano, isn’t really contending for the big win, but are absolutely in the running in the points classification. Ji’s role is to set things up for his sprinter, Marcel Kittel, who is currently 4th in points. Kittel has also won 3 stages, including the first one, which put Kittel in yellow for a day — something that doesn’t happen often for sprinters. That doesn’t happen without a solid team behind him, including the so-called Lanterne Rouge.
I really, really love this guy.
The World Cup begins shortly, but I’ve got no plans to give it any time whatsoever. I watched a bit last time around, and it was enough to give me the idea — since reinforced — that big-time soccer is an enormously corrupt institution (example: when an in-stadium replay showed a ref had badly erred, the official response was to discontinue in-stadium replay). But that’s really just the tip of the shit iceberg where FIFA is concerned.
John Oliver has more, and you should watch it. Oliver, tragically, is British, and therefore unable to see soccer for what it is (a sport apparently invented to make baseball look exciting), so he’s planning to watch anyway. Not so us.
The NLRB has said that athletes at Northwestern can form a union, which is likely the beginning of the end for big-time college sports.
Even if this decision doesn’t stand, this is the beginning of the end. The whole system of college sports is going to have to change or collapse. The problem is that, in their shortsightedness and their greed, the NCAA and the college presidents it represents almost have guaranteed that the process will be sudden and bloody. If they had worked with their athletes toward some sort of soft landing over the past 20 years, all of that might have been avoided. I always has reminded me of how Bill Veeck once warned his fellow baseball owners that the reserve clause was blatantly illegal and that it would one day fall and, if they were smart, they’d abandon it so that they could better control the fallout. If they didn’t, Veeck cautioned, then some judge would strike it down all at once and baseball would be thrown into chaos. The other owners ignored Veeck, and his scenario came to pass, and we were treated to 30 years of labor strife because of it.
The current system of college athletics is doomed. It is untenable, and now it’s under assault from too many directions. There’s the O’Bannon case in Los Angeles, and Jeff Kessler’s anti-trust suit against the NCAA, and now this. Somebody better seriously start thinking of negotiating the terms of the inevitable surrender.
Look. I don’t watch TV news. It’s been a dead letter for a long time. I sure don’t watch TV sports coverage — I’ve got little use for the nattering foolishness that usually qualifies as sports broadcasting, and find reading stories on ESPN completely fills what needs I have for information from that world.
So I skipped Dale Hansen’s commentary on Michael Sam until just now. That, gentle Heathen, was a mistake.
Dale Hansen is the sports anchor for Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA. It should without saying, then, that Hansen is an older, straight, white man (I checked; he’s 65). So what Hansen says about Michael Sam caught me a little flatfooted even though I knew, as you must by now as well, what his position was.
Remember that, for reasons passing understanding, the NFL is an untaxed nonprofit. Yes, this is bullshit.
If that’s not enough, consider that they stuck New Jersey with effectively all the costs associated with hosting the Superb Owl, and then also more or less prevented NJ from picking up any additional revenue for having done so.
Fuck. The. NFL.
Last night we got a (delicious) smackdown of a SuperBowl. Heathen Central didn’t have a normal dog in the fight, but ended up rooting for Seattle for two reasons:
- The weird shameful racist reaction to Richard Sherman; and
- The fact that Seattle has more Alabama players than Denver.
Add in a little bit of underdog-ism — Seattle’s never won the Super Bowl, but playing in one and winning is old hat to Peyton and the Broncos — and it’s good enough for us. (And enough to overcome a distaste for Pete Carroll.)
Turns out, a more smashmouth, old-school style of football — dare we call it “SEC”? — still works in the NFL, and that was nice to see. As they say, defense wins championships.
However, it made me wonder about the SuperBowl and margins of victory. I thought I remembered a time when the big game was almost always a blowout, but over time there’s no real clear trend. Most of the Super Bowls have been fairly close — 56% of them were won by two touchdowns or less. Increase the margin to three touchdowns, and you’re over 77%.
Actual blowouts — which we’ll define as four touchdowns or more — have actually been pretty rare: only 6, or about 13%. Yesterday’s was the first such victory in 20 years. They were (SB record in bold):
- 29 points in Super Bowl XVIII, in 1984 (LA Raiders 38, Redskins 9)
- 36 points in Super Bowl XX, in 1986 (Bears 46, Pats 10)
- 32 points in Super Bowl XXII, in 1988 (Redskins 42, Broncos 3)
- 45 points in Super Bowl XXIV, in 1990 (49ers 55, Broncos 10)
- 35 points in Super Bowl XXVII, in 1993 (Cowboys 52, Bills 17)
- 35 points in Super Bowl XLVIII, yesterday (Seahawks 43, Broncos 8)
It’s clear where my sense of “blowouts are the norm” comes from, considering that 5 of the 6 blowouts happened when I was in high school and college and was paying attention as a quasi-adult for the first time. Overall, the game is usually close(ish), as the data shows.
Anyway, because I’m a dork, here’s a graph:
Note: There are two 27-point victories since 1993: XXXV (Ravens 34, Giants 7) and XXXVII (Bucs 48, Raiders 21), which almost count — but even the most recent of those is 11 years ago. Since 2003, the margin of victory has only been as high as 14 once, and is only over 10 three times.
Bois tried to simulate a Super Bowl, but with a total beatdown. The stated goal was a 1,000 to nothing, and he set about creating teams that would allow it.
It’s fair to say that Madden didn’t adapt well to this chicanery, but it’s still funny as hell.
They’re released new footage of Felix Baumgartner’s record-setting freefall. Go and watch, but (as IO9 points out) be aware it gets pretty intense early on, during his spin.
It’s also interesting to watch the stats; he goes very, very fast initially, but loses speed almost as quickly as the air thickens up around him.
Born in 1937. Parents were a rhinoceros, a Sherman oak, a wheelbarrow full of graphite, a ray of light that shone through the clouds, a fulfilled prophecy, a buried time capsule full of set-and-baited mouse traps, and a real big ol’ dude.
Was encouraged to play football at age 10, when he chanced upon a mannequin at the clothing store wearing a shirt with the words “FOOTBALL GAME” and a drawing of a football on the front. He talked to it for hours, and it never told him he was too round for this world or that he shouldn’t eat the plastic bologna rings.
Played college football at DeVry, where he studied poetry. He finished with a GPA of reddish-gray.
Dislikes taking the subway, not because of any particular phobia, but because whenever the car stops and nobody gets off, he feels terrible for the train operator.
Refers to liquids in plural, i.e., a glass of milk is “a glass of some milks.”
Just go read this long-form story about Manny Pacquiano. Boxing is a completely fucked up enterprise.
The White House has announced that the President, First Lady, and the Vice President will not be attending opening ceremonies for the Sochi Olympics, citing “travel schedules.”
Instead, President Obama is sending a delegation that includes, as its highest ranking member, a former (not current) Cabinet official. For context, this is the first opening ceremonies since 2000 that did not include at least someone of Cabinet rank.
Also included are two very prominent retired atheletes.
It should escape no one that this comes the same week Bill O’Reilly pronounced Putin “one of us” in re: his stance on homosexuality.
Coach Kevin Kelley of Little Rock’s Pulaski Academy can tell you. His team also almost always uses an onside kick, too.
Turns out, there’s a good reason to reconsider the automatic 4th down punt. And maybe the mechanics of kicksoffs, too. Kelley’s done very, very well with his unorthodox approach, and has some data backing him up.
(This reminds me of the New Yorker story about the girls’ basketball team that always did a full court press, which was (of course) written by Malcolm Gladwell. The girls’ success was ended not by spectacular tactics, but by a ref who decided he didn’t like the clearly legal approach, and started penalizing them; obviously, this isn’t happening to Kelley.)
Roll Bama Roll has their Tuesday meltdown post up, which includes delicious, delicious LSU tears, though this time around there’s a shocking amount of realism vs. magical thinking, e.g.
BAMA owns us….it is what it is….
as long as Saban is there they will continue to own us…
LSU makes mistakes in big games.
Bama doesn’t.They are better. Better players. Better coach. Better recruiters. Better program. it was fun while it lasted.
Well…being elite was nice while it lasted. Back to mediocrity.
and the delightful
We could not win a street fight against a mini-van full of nuns.
but my favorite also says volumes
[Alabama QB AJ] McCarron speaks so coherently. Wish we had that somewhere.
At no point, really, in Heathen Central’s life as an Alabama fan have we had the sort of lightning-in-a-bottle quarterback that people immediately call a star. There’s been no Johnny Football in crimson. Other SEC schools grabbed showy players like Tim Tebow and Cam Newton, but not us. We probably even envied Tennessee (sssssh!) for Peyton back in the day. But only a little; success at Alabama, when it comes, has always been much more of a team effort than is usually on offer at programs that build their teams around a star QB. No Alabama quarterback has really made a splash in the NFL since, arguably, Kenny Stabler, and even the Snake didn’t get drafted until the second round. (The lion’s share of them aren’t even notable enough for a Wikipedia article.)
It’s not really different now, except it sort of is: AJ McCarron, now in his final year, may well play for his third national title as Alabama’s quarterback this January (he was red shirted for the 2009 season, so he was “on” another title game, too). Nobody else has done that. Few are ever as reliable and error-free as AJ. A stat I’m sure opponents find alarming is that, when you review his career as a starter at Alabama, he’s got just as many championship rings as he has losses. Alabama is 30-2 since AJ took over at the beginning of the 2011 season, and they could very well run the table again this year.
But for some reason, folks keep dismissing his NFL prospects. Grantland takes a look, and finds the arguments wanting.
LET THE HATE BUILD:
(Incidentally, last year they found this guy. His name is Irvin Carney, and he moved to Cincinnati after graduation. Mr Carney, we should note, continues to hate Tennessee.)
MeFi points us to this excellent piece at the Atlantic that points out all the completely indefensible sweetheart deals the NFL gets for, well, no good reason. Taxpayers fund the stadiums. They get an antitrust exemption. They get treated as a nonprofit. The list goes on, and it’s all a load of horseshit.
Let the owners run these teams as a business, subject to the normal rules of businesses, and have them sink or swim on that metric alone. Fuck new stadiums, fuck goofball broadcast deals, and fuck government handouts to millionaire owners. Forever.
So, during Alabama’s predicted beatdown of Kentucky on Saturday, ESPN went to draft analyst Todd McShay to talk about why Alabama’s AJ McCarron wasn’t likely to be a top draft prospect despite his BCS titles and other records.
During McShay’s bit, McCarron was, basically, doing pretty much all the things McShay said he couldn’t do in a 4 play, 80-yard drive down field that took only 1:50 off the clock. The drive:
- Handoff to Yeldon for 12;
- 21 yard pass to Yeldon;
- 27 yard pass to Kent;
- 20 yard pass to White for the TD.
So, yeah, whatever, McShay.
Heathen Faithful: “How rough is it?”
Glad you asked! The Golden Buzzards haven’t won a game this year. Sure, they scheduled a ranked Nebraska as well as Arkansas, but their most recent loss came at the hands of otherwise winless C-USA powerhouse Florida International.
No, I’m not making this up.
To find a Southern Miss win, in fact, you have to go back to their last bowl game.
Which was in December.
Of 2011. That’s right: the Eagles lost every contest in 2012.
That’s a long time in college football. I’m sure there ARE some players on the USM squad who played in that game, but given that accomplished Div-I teams are usually comprised of upperclassmen, it’s entirely reasonable to say that almost nobody on the team now knows what winning looks like, and an even smaller number were actually active contributors to a team with more wins than losses.
Bower, for his part, led the team to an unprecedented streak of winning seasons and bowl appearances before being shown the door at the end of the 2007 season because, apparently, that wasn’t good enough. I hate to pick on my hometown school, but I do indeed feel like this is a bed the trustees made for themselves, and I feel no sympathy whatsoever.
Up next for the Eagles: East Carolina (4-1, 2-0 C-USA), North Texas (2-3, 0-1), Marshall (3-2, 1-0), Louisiana Tech (2-4, 1-1), FAU (2-4, 1-3), Middle Tennessee (3-3, 1-1), and UAB (1-4, 0-1). You’d think they could pick up a W from one of these teams, but I sure wouldn’t bet on it.
The 2013 East West Bowl bit may not be quite as funny as the original (“Hingle McKringleberry”!), but it’s got some great moments nevertheless. As with last year, stay with it through the end.
Deadspin’s 2013 Hater’s Guide to the Top 25 is, as always, a thing of beauty. Some great moments are below, but go read the whole thing.
- Ohio State (#2)
“Any time someone tells me he’s from Ohio and involved in football in some way, I double lock my car and put a cork in my asshole.”
- Georgia (#5)
“This state has winning pro teams like the Falcons and Braves, and yet the people there choose to spend all their fan capital on a college team that can’t even win its own conference. Are you people fucking stupid? [...] Alabama fans are justifiably batshit crazy for the Tide because they win stuff. You win nothing. It makes no sense.”
- Texas A&M (#7)
“Football Bieber. It’s not even close. Before Johnny Football arrived, A&M was just a boot camp for ugly people and aspiring arsonists. Now it’s home to a sniveling, whiny, alcoholic redneck brat who deserves to have his name dragged through the mud. Five years from now, Johnny Football will be run out of the NFL and will be pissing in buckets and spitting on roadies backstage at Keith Urban concerts.”
- Louisville (#9)
“If the school were renamed The University of Phoenix II presented by ESPN as told to Papa John, it would be more accurate. Rooting for Louisville is like rooting for a marketing brief.”
- Notre Dame (#14) (About which: Seriously? — Ed.)
“Everything. The single most hateable thing about Notre Dame is its inherent Notre Dame-ness: the arrogance, the false piousness, the halo the program has placed over itself. It’s all disgusting, which is why you deserved not only to get steamrolled by Eddie Lacy on national television, but to then have your empty-headed sweetheart linebacker publicly embarrassed for being stupid enough to fall in love with an imaginary pen pal. I wanna watch David Blaine street-magic videos with Manti Te’o, just to see him accuse Blaine of witchcraft.”
- Michigan (#17)
“The reason 100,000 Michiganders go to those games is because they have nowhere else to go.”
- USC (#24)
“And yet, in Lane Kiffin, they have found the perfect amalgam of arrogant lowlife: deluded, snooty, overprivileged, completely unqualified, transparently insincere, and destined for a bombastic personal downfall. If it came out that Lane Kiffin had an ex-girlfriend bound and thrown into the sea, would you doubt it for a second? Of course not. He goes the extra mile to be a miserable bag of shit.”
This GQ profile is paints a picture of Coach Saban that’s easy to read as accurate. A bit:
Saban fully admits that his father’s perfectionism informed the process, even if it took decades for him to codify it. Big Nick’s influence also has something to do with why, even after a big victory, Saban feels less joy than relief. Saban is reaching for a standard, so there are only two possibilities: Either you did what you were supposed to do, or you fell short. If you fell short, you go work harder and better to try to meet the standard next time. And if you met the standard, you go work doubly hard to fight off complacency—a fatal disease transmitted by pats on the back and post-game confetti—so you have a shot at meeting it again. The process, then, is never over. Wins are not ends but merely data points that help Saban assess the state of the process at a given moment.
Emphasis mine. That last sentence says volumes.
Grantland: The Further Adventures of Johnny Football.
It’s a bizarre phantasmagoric alt-future by way of @DadBoner:
Week 1: Home vs. Rice
The Thursday night before the game, Johnny Football shows up at the school pep rally with his good pal Six-Pack. Six-Pack’s well known around campus because he’s 300 pounds, nobody’s ever heard him talk, and he wears only ponchos. The students go nuts when they see Manziel, and start chanting his name until he takes the stage. Six-Pack comes with him, and when the crowd finally quiets down, Johnny Football grabs a trumpet from one of the band members and tells Six-Pack to play. “You’re all going to listen to him!” he screams at the crowd. “This is art!” The students go quiet, but Six-Pack has never played the trumpet before, and he just kind of blows into it randomly while Johnny Football does a swervy hip dance and shouts a song whose only words are “Where are my chiquitas at?” When it’s over, he disappears into the crowd and shows up for an 8 a.m. lecture the next day wearing a fake mustache and smelling like soil. Weird thing is, it’s not even his class.
It gets more gloriously weird. Via my attorney, naturally.
This ESPN Magazine profile takes a look at the weird fishbowl this guy lives in — and the pressures that come with it.
He’s not the second coming, but he IS an obviously talented player, and he’s gotten enormously famous very, very quickly. The article notes something pretty amazing: early last season, it was still possible for him to use a fake ID.
Building private stadiums with public money is a stupid idea. We should stop doing it.
Brutal and spot on: Dying Kid in Houston Holding On Until Astros Develop Player Worth Meeting.
The year is 1988. Weird things happen.
It appears Saban’s gridiron success is resulting in a dramatic uptick in applications to UA, and the upshot is a LOT more out of state tuition revenue:
Since 2007, Tuscaloosa has swelled its undergraduate ranks by 33% to over 28,000 students. Faculty count has kept pace: up 400 since 2007 to over 1,700. But it’s more than growth — it’s where the growth is coming from. According to the school, less than a third of the 2007 freshman class of 4,538 students hailed from out of state. By the fall of 2012, more than half (52%) of a freshman class of 6,397 students did. Various data from US News and the New York Times shows that the school’s out-of-state tuition cost — nearly three times higher than the rate for in-state students — rose from $18,000 to $22,950 a year during that period.
Add it all up — more students from outside Alabama paying ever-increasing premium tuition bills — and the school realized $50 million more in out-of-state tuition revenue for last fall’s incoming class than it did for the same class in 2007 ($76 million vs. $26 million).
It’s not just money, either:
For the admissions office, more applications mean more selectivity. Six years ago, 64% of students applying to the University of Alabama were accepted. By 2012, the acceptance rate had dropped to 53%. About one in four students from the 2012 freshman class carried a 4.0 high school GPA. The class also includes 241 National Merit Scholars, more than any other public university in the U.S.
The Paris-Roubaix episode of How The Race Was Won is a bit bike-nerdy, but still captures the fundamental madcap chaos of last week’s race.
Stay with this video long enough to see them deploy, and use, the shock collars.
Also: you are in NO WAY surprised that it’s in German, are you?
Apropos of yesterday’s comment:
In the “girlfriend” category.
On one hand, we have AJ McCarron’s no-shit beauty queen girlfriend Katherine Webb — famously so attractive as to get ESPN’s on-air talent in trouble, and gain over a 100,000 Twitter followers over the course of the game. As we will see, however, it’s not her pulchritude that wins the day here.
On the other hand, we have Manti Te’o's Stanford-grad companion. Lennay Kekua was famously and tragically struck down earlier this season by leukemia only days after he lost his grandmother, and the double loss became a key piece of his myth and narrative — and, indeed, of the “team of destiny” story increasingly told about the Irish this year, right up until last Monday night.
Te’o, unfortunately, loses this race by an even wider margin than the Heisman balloting, and not just because AJ’s gal is Miss Alabama. It’s not even that Kekua is dead. As it turns out, it appears she never existed at all. Pictures of her circulated in the media are of a completely unrelated woman who has never met Te’o, and is alive and well.
Manti Te’o did lose his grandmother this past fall. Annette Santiago died on Sept. 11, 2012, at the age of 72, according to Social Security Administration records in Nexis. But there is no SSA record there of the death of Lennay Marie Kekua, that day or any other. Her passing, recounted so many times in the national media, produces no obituary or funeral announcement in Nexis, and no mention in the Stanford student newspaper.
Nor is there any report of a severe auto accident involving a Lennay Kekua. Background checks turn up nothing. The Stanford registrar’s office has no record that a Lennay Kekua ever enrolled. There is no record of her birth in the news. Outside of a few Twitter and Instagram accounts, there’s no online evidence that Lennay Kekua ever existed.
The photographs identified as Kekua—in online tributes and on TV news reports—are pictures from the social-media accounts of a 22-year-old California woman who is not named Lennay Kekua. She is not a Stanford graduate; she has not been in a severe car accident; and she does not have leukemia. And she has never met Manti Te’o.
Deadspin’s story on this is long, but the reporting seems pretty solid, and paints a picture where it’s very, very hard not to see Te’o as part of the hoax.
There is no comment as yet from Notre Dame, Te’o, or his family, but this story is bound to get more interesting.