An upside to repeated losing?

We’ve all been there. Head in hands, swearing off fandom for good. It’s the nature of sports; something we can only fault ourselves for getting so invested in.

Our heart has been ripped out and trampled by two teams: the 2002 San Francisco Giants and the 2005-06 Washington Huskies basketball team.

In the first few months of our freshman year, the Giants were making a run we had never seen. They blew through the National League and took a 3-2 lead into Game 6 of the 2002 World Series.

Then this happened.

We’re not sure if we, or the Giants, have ever recovered.

As a fitting end to our college days — some of that full-circle bullshit — our beloved Husky hoopsters were in the Sweet 16 for a second-straight year. There was no way the Dawgs could beat tourney-favorite UConn, right? No way. But it’s so tempting to look ahead, and UW fans knew that if the Dawgs could pull the upset, they could very well then beat Cinderella George Mason and make the Final Four.

Then this happened.

Really, it was a strange reaction to a gut-wrenching loss. When the Giants blew that five-run lead, we tore apart our dorm room. When Rashad Anderson made a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left to send the game to OT, there was no sound. Standing up in anticipation of an Elite Eight appearance, we just crumbled to the floor.

After the game, of course, we drenched our pillow in tears. Don’t laugh. It’s OK to cry in sports.

But this horrible decision to recount our lowest moments in fandom is leading to a point.

Lately, our teams have been fucking miserable. The Giants can’t hit, the Huskies can’t hit free throws, the 49ers don’t have a quarterback…the list goes on.

But rooting for terrible teams has been uplifting; we’re not angry all the time! We don’t break windows now when the Giants lose a July game to the Pirates. Or when the Dawgs miss a free throw to lose the game a la Darius Washington Jr.

Are we nuts? It’s not that we want our teams to suck, but sucking has its perks. Really. We don’t think a Royals fan would skip a party with strippers and blow to watch KC take on Minnesota in June. A die-hard Cubs fan might. To have a conference hoops game ruin your Saturday night is not fun, but it’s the reality of a Duke fan. When Florida loses on the football field, Gators fans feel like the world is coming to an abrupt end.

Sports just set you up for heartbreak anyway. Unless you live in Boston, where teams are rarely mediocre.

Boston. Fuck.

For how fun conference tourneys are, they make little-to-no sense

As an objective, sports-watching fan, we love conference tourneys. Especially the small ones. They’re fun, they’re exciting, and it’s two teams battling so hard to get their lunch handed to them by UNC or Memphis.

As a believer in sports justice and fairness, we think conference tournaments are more flawed than those Ernest Goes to (blank) movies. (As an aside, we would think much higher of those films if they made one titled Ernest Goes to Hell, Ernest Goes to an Asian Massage Parlor or Ernest Goes Number Two.)

Conference tournaments only make sense in one scenario: A league with two divisions. (i.e. Big 12 or SEC). Then the league has a tournament to crown a true champ. OK, fine.

Here’s why we don’t like conference tourneys:
  • Why does the top team need to prove itself again?
  • It provides extra games for teams to help (or hurt) their NCAA Tournament standing.
  • They’re poorly attended.
  • The major conference tourneys are in NBA arenas, which are like watching games in a giant cave.
We’ll use the Pac-10 as an example to illustrate those bottom two bullet points.

The Pac-10, a one-divison league, has a conference tournament to give the top team a chance to fuck up and to give the league an opportunity to make money.

It’s played on a “neutral court” at the Staples Center, home of the Lakers and the other LA team. The Pac-10 tourney being played in the Staples Center is flawed on other multiple levels:
  • It’s like watching a game in a giant cave
  • It’s poorly attended
  • It’s not neutral
We’ve said for years that there’s absolutely no reason for it being in Staples except someone thinks money can be made on it being there. But everyone knows that LA has terrible sports fans, evident by the fact that LA has no football team and, well, the Clippers.

Rather, the Pac-10 Tournament should either be:
  • At Sacramento’s Arco Arena (still a cave, but a neutral one). The closest set of schools are Cal and Stanford, about an hour and a half away.)
  • Rotated between West Coast NBA arenas. The Oakland Coliseum, Staples, the Rose Garden, KeyArena and wherever the Suns play. It’d still have the cavernous feeling, but it keeps it neutral. Sort of.
  • Rotated between home sites. Neutral and not cavernous! Yay! Imagine this year’s tourney being at Oregon’s Mac Court. That might give the Ducks the wins they need to get off the bubble.
  • At the No. 1 seed’s home site.

And that last bullet point is really the problem with all major conference tourneys. (To be fair, many of the small mid-majors’ top seed has home court throughout).

If a team already has won its conference outright, and then has to prove its dominance again in a conference tourney, at least there should be an advantage of being the No. 1. (This is sort of moot in the Pac-10, since UCLA has won the regular season title like 27 years in a row (more like three) and the Bruins virtually get home games at Staples, anyway.)

So, ugh, yeah. Fuck conference tournaments. (Sorta, kinda). All we need now is for the Huskies to take out Cal, UCLA, and two more teams and go to the NCAA Tournament. Then we’d consider blowing Pac-10 commissioner, Tom Hansen.

It’s instances like these where being wrong is fantastic

Who said the Giants didn’t have a chance?

Certainly not us. We called this upset weeks ago and predicted a 17-14 final score, Eli Manning would be the MVP and Plax would score the game-winning touchdown.

Elsewhere, we’ll put money that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. Mark that shit down.

Was This The Biggest Super Bowl Upset Ever?

We talked to our dad before the game and he was all like, “Hey, the Giants played New England heads up in the last game of the regular season and could pull the upset, yada, yada, yada.”

We said, “Niners vs. Chargers in ’95.”

For two weeks, people were talking themselves in to thinking that San Diego had a chance to beat the heavily favored 49ers. They thought that maybe, just maybe, things break right and the Bolts pull the big one.

You know what happened: 49ers: 49, Chargers: 26.

We really thought Sunday’s game would’ve been the same story. People were looking for reasons to give New York a chance, but did anyone actually think they were going to win?

It’ll go down as one of the biggest upsets ever — not just in football. And, in our opinion, deservingly so.

Manning was great, Giants defense was better

Eli Manning was superb. He was elusive, he made great throws and, perhaps most importantly for Young Manning, he made good decisions.

But for how good Manning was, the most valuable person Sunday was Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

He drew up a phenomenal game plan, constantly harassing Brady and putting more pressure on the Pats offensive line and QB than they’ve seen all season.

When the New England had the ball with about 30 seconds left, we though for sure the Pats would move the ball. Maybe get a few first downs, maybe get in field goal range, maybe even win it right there.

But Spagnuolo stuck with the game plan. He didn’t fuck around with the Prevent defense and kept the pressure on. Four and out and a World Championship for the Giants.

Did this get him the Redskins job?

For How Good the Defense Was, Where the Hell Was New England’s Offense?

On the second to last drive of New England’s season, the Patriots marched the ball down the field and scored the go-ahead-TD. Where was that the rest of the game?

For that one drive, New England looked like the 18-0 Patriots. Moving at ease and taking no shit from the defense.

But the rest of the game, the offense stalled, the front line couldn’t handle New York’s pressure and Brady looked out of sync and frustrated.

Did the Giants change the defense on said drive? Not as much blitzing? We don’t know enough about Xs and Os to say, but whatever the Pats were doing (or Giants not doing) on that drive worked.

A Horribly Disappointing End to the Season; It Couldn’t Have Happened to a Better Team

Asshole coach, Playboy QB who has everything, and the douchiest fans in America.

For how devastated the Pats and their fans are, it couldn’t have happened to a better bunch. Hell, Boston already has a World Series champ, it’s good that the city could be denied a Super Bowl title.

Fuck Boston.

Other Random Thoughts

-Didn’t hear too many mentions of Don Shula. He’s probably thrilled. Or thrillicious. What a terrible ad campaign that was.

-Tom Petty opening with “American Girl” was seen from miles away. But not closing with “Free Fallin'”? That came out of nowhere. C’mon Tom, you always close with your biggest hit. What the fuck was that?

-Joe Buck was his usual, monotone self. If Mike Patrick was calling that game, he might’ve had a minor heart attack because he would’ve been so excited. He would’ve been fun to listen to.

-Artichoke jalapeƱo dip is the chronic.

-Belichick’s red sweatshirt? That’s a slap in the face to superstition.

-There was one camera shot that panned over the back sides of the Patriots cheerleaders. Squats and lunges do wonders, people!

-We were watching with a girl, who said after a commercial about obesity, “If my kid was obese, I’d drown it.”

-She was not talking about Jordin Sparks.

-We imagine the shots of Peyton Manning in the luxury box weren’t popular. But we liked them. We thought it was nice to see him showing some emotion and cheering on his little bro.

-What was with all the animals in the commercials? For that many animals, we half-expected some bestiality.

-A few of those SalesGenie ads were pretty racist. Same goes for that Bud Light one — “Give me a Bud Light.”

-As far as Super Bowls go, that one was pretty enjoyable. A good way to send out the 2007-08 season. Until next year…

Enjoy it now, Giants fans

Remember what happened last time the Giants were in the Super Bowl?

Yeah. Ravens 34, Giants 7. And that was a Baltimore team that didn’t have an offense. One’s gotta think that New England, on its quest to piss off the rest of the country and go undefeated, is going to make short work of New York.

Unless Brady gets picked off six times, the defense only goes hard for two downs at a time and a few guys get arrested in Phoenix, this game won’t be close.

So enjoy it now, Giants fans. There won’t be much to cheer about on Feb. 3.

Archie Manning has it good these days

Fuck. Two kids go to the Super Bowl in back-to-back years? He’s like the Father of the Decade. You know Archie lives through his two NFLers, so to see each reach the Super Bowl in consecutive years, he’s got to be creaming himself.

In fact, you’d think he’s taking frequent trips to sperm banks to get more winners out in the world.

Another reason for Bostonians and New Yorkers to want to jab each other in the eye with a pencil

There doesn’t seem to be as strong a Boston-New York hatred in football as there is in baseball. But here we are again: a huge game between the two most obnoxious fan bases in the country. The shit talking will be going on for two weeks while the rest of America just sort of shrugs its shoulders and turns the other way.

The happiest Giant? The long snapper.

The only time the long snapper is mentioned is when he fucks up. And he did. But he (and kicker Lawrence Tynes) righted the ship and got the Giants the win.

Thing is, read just about any recap of the game, and we dare you to find the long snapper’s name. We just tried and failed. That’s why we’re not referring to him by name because we don’t know who the fuck he is!

Had the Giants lost in OT after missing the very makeable game-winner in regulation, we bet the long snapper’s name would’ve made most articles. Better believe he’s happy in his anonymity.

Joe Buck can lie in the middle of the fucking freeway

We know we rip on Buck a ton, enough to merit his own tag, but c’mon, this was the NFC Championship Game, and a fucking good one at that. And we might as well be watching preseason amateur bowling.

Holy fuck is Buck hard to listen to. We had the game on in the background for a while because we had some work to do. The only way we knew what happened was based on the crowd reaction. That’s not right.

Does this get Eli off the hook?

It should. Maybe he’s taken too much heat all along. But don’t think for a second The Hater Nation will let up. No way.

Patriots cross the line; and other cheap thoughts without much thought

Bill Belichick and the Patriots pushed us further than we’ve been pushed in a while. We can’t remember the last time a game with no direct ties to our rooting interests bothered us so much. Sure, there were some fantasy football implications (which, lately, has been the cause of instant anger), but this time it was beyond that.

The Pats, late in a rout, were showing no signs of sportsmanship, no signs of remorse, no signs of fucking humanity. They were disrespecting a good team with a better coach. They saw the line, laughed, and crossed it by a fucking mile.

The Pats shouldn’t have had Brady in at the start of the fourth quarter. Up 38-0, they certainly shouldn’t have had him passing. Then, on fourth and one, you kick the fucking field goal. And once you convert said fourth down they shouldn’t have been attempting in the first place, do not keep passing. Fucking ridiculous.

New England then went for it again on fourth down, up 45-0. Forty five to fucking nothing! Call the Mercy Rule or something. And even with Brady out, the Pats were still throwing the ball. We don’t give a fuck if they wanted to give the backup work. Run the ball up the middle for three plays and then punt the ball. Anything else is bullshit. Motherfucking, ass-raping bullshit.

In college, where running up the score actually matters for something, you won’t see coaches passing up by 40 points. Those collegiate coaches certainly wouldn’t go for it on fourth down.

We kept watching, glued to the TV expecting something big to happen. New England’s antics were the type that would result in the ‘Skins starting a brawl. Seriously. We were waiting for a cheap shot, late hit, helmet-to-helmet. Something. We were curious if Gibbs would still have enough class to shake Belichick’s hand after the game. (He did, quickly).

You know — you just fucking know — that those cock-sucking Boston fans were rooting for the Pats to run it up too. They wanted 100. There probably wasn’t one person in the state of Massachusetts who was thinking that Belichick was taking this one too far.

The statement was made by halftime. When the game was really out of hand late in the third, put in the backups, call dives, off-tackles and fucking QB kneels.

We’re very disappointed, and that’s not a common emotion of ours. Usually it’s as simple as happy, angry or horny. But this went too far. The Patriots used to be a classy organization. Now they’re callous assholes who couldn’t tell sportsmanship from arrogance.

Fuck you Mr. Belichick. You should be ashamed. May you get hit by a car. Scratch that. Bus. A big fucking bus.

(Here’s an article by our former colleague Les Carpenter, now with the Washington Post [Registration required, but do it. It takes 30 seconds and it’s worth it]. It hints at what we feel, though most of the players and Gibbs gave the quotes you’d expect, and blamed themselves more than anything).


-The lady pictured is British hottie Keely Hazell. After watching the National Football League from London, it’s clear that there is only one attractive person in all of England.

-Tony Siragusa’s meat of the day: salami.

-Be honest. You thought Cleo Lemon was white.

-Two teams heading in the right direction: Saints and Chargers. Looks like natural disasters can have their positive effects, after all.

-Did David Carr start hanging out in San Francisco’s Castro District? That long hair and glove has Lance Bass wet.

-Shannon Sharpe said 11 words clearly during halftime off the Colts-Panthers game. Last week: nine.

-That fucking obnoxious FOX robot? Really Terry Bradshaw.

-Oh, the 49ers have seemingly forgot how to play football. Young Alex Smith and David Carr would be a cute couple.

-With the Pats up by 600, we’re still at Gillette Stadium. And while Jacksonville-Tampa is the only legit game going and it’s on CBS, you’d think that FOX would at least mention that there is competitive football being played Sunday.

-Vinny Testaverde joke of the day (no, not his stats or us foolishly starting him in one fantasy league): Testaverde hurt, Panthers turn to “Western” medicine.

-At a dinner party next week, when Bob Griese is asked how his son is, he’ll reply, “what son?”

-Willie Parker, after multiple 100-yard-no-TD games, has decided that scoring is cool too and got in the endzone. Elsewhere, man walks on moon.

-Were the Brits booing the Giants taking a knee or Eli Manning throwing for 58 yards?

-Seen the movie Smoking Aces? The day a hit is put out for Brady or Belichick the same way it is for Buddy Israel, rain drops will turn to fucking jelly beans.

-We didn’t see pictures from the Minnesota-Philly game, but word has it that Kelly Holcomb was playing, so we’ll just assume an Eagles win and 78 carries for Adrian Peterson.

Shouldn’t Oregon State’s CWS victory be considered a huge upset?

Maybe it’s a good thing that Oregon State won its second straight College World Series title. We get to say Beaver a lot more than usual today. Beaver. Hehe.

After beating North Carolina for the second-straight year in Omaha (‘Heels/Beav a new baseball rivalry?), most folks who are actually talking about this (over/under set at six people) are mentioning the whole repeat factor.

And while that’s good and cool and neat and spiffy, there’s a bigger deal to be made of this. Oregon State winning the College World Series seems, to us, a big fucking upset.

The Beavers are the first team in like the history of college and baseball to win a CWS crown after having a losing record in conference. OSU was 10-14 in the Pac-10 and tied for sixth. The Beav also lost six of eight position players and two thirds of its pitching rotation from last year’s championship squad.

That’s crazy. Oregon State coach Pat Casey would agree.

“It’s crazy. It’s just crazy,” he said.

Yeah. Crazy.

Crazier is that the Beavers won the damn thing as a No. 3 seed, which is about the equivalent of a No. 9 or 10 seed winning March Madness. Villanova, as a No. 8 in 1985, is still the lowest seed to win the Dance.

Sure, OSU’s been here before and all that shit, but c’mon, this team wasn’t expected to make it past the first round.

We tend to get a bit preachy when it comes to college baseball, but it’s a fun game, good end-of-the-year tournament and now we have a dynasty (sorta) to talk about. So hail the Oregon State Beavers, who, undoubtedly, will be pulling beaver for the next few days.

Yesterday, in the best tournament no one’s talking about

Those there are a bunch of Michigan baseball players who are getting more touch-y than normal after a thrilling extra-innings win over National No. 1 seed Vanderbilt.

The Wolverines bounced the Commodores from the NCAA Tournament (NCAA Tournament?) and advanced to the Super Regionals.

If you’re thinking something along the lines of “Who the fuck cares,” then, well, you might want to stop reading. Because this tournament is hands down the most exciting sporting event going on right now and for certain reasons (like ESPN showing the Yankees for like the 14th straight day) nobody’s talking about it.

That’s where we’ll step in. So Vandy’s the top overall seed, and while the Commodores losing in sports is about as obvious as telling people that Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, this is a big-time upset. Probably the equivalent of a No. 8 knocking off a No. 1 in the second round of March Madness.

Not only did Vandy go down, but eight other top seeds didn’t advance to the Super Regionals, including Texas (National Seed No. 4), Florida St. (No. 6), Arkansas (No. 7) and San Diego (No. 8). In all, over half of the No. 1 seeds (16 total) went down, and five of the eight National Seeds lost. Crazier than a conversation between Paris Hilton and that Kardashian broad.

Check out the full bracket here. It’ll make the above paragraph make more sense.

Of course ESPN is burying this tournament. It’ll starting getting some media attention come the College World Series, when we’re down to eight teams. For now, there’s little-to-no mention on Sportscenter or the .com, let alone the games actually being televised.

But that’s like saying:

Producer 1: Hey, so whaddya think about not televising the first weekend of March Madness?
Producer 2: Love it.
Producer 1: Figure skating instead?
Producer 2: I was thinking trick pool.
Producer 1: Bingo.

OK, college baseball doesn’t quite have the same following as college hoops. But they’re missing some great games, big upsets, and more story lines than a season of 24.

Just think if this tournament got the same exposure as March Madness. The brackets and office pools would be brilliant. It really makes you think what the College Baseball Tourney could be with proper marketing.

Until then, all sorts of great games and upsets will fly under the radar.