Monthly Archives: March 2007

USC Trojan Football Analysis: no longer a pipe dream

ArtofTroy is a semi-legend on the portions of the internets patrolled by cardinal and gold wearing maniacs. He dishes out thick prose, astute analysis, numbers, charts, pie graphs, strategery and strategery accessories and, occasionally, a delicious casserole or two. He is the epitome of, for lack of a better word, outstandellence.

College football message boards are creatures that operate at their peak between the months of August to February, or from the beginning of the season to the end of recruiting. Outside of that period they are unreadable, unapproachable and unhealthy. The only thing keeping them from completely sinking are handfuls of people like ArtofTroy: the kind who put forth posts so thoughtful, so professional, and so good they reduce the keening sorrow of our empty, broken, football-less lives by a fraction – not much, but just enough.

ArtofTroy now has a blog named USC Trojan Football Analysis. Pause for fanfare.

No, actually. This fanfare:

Yes, that’s Rome. Yes, the TMB rocks.

Anyway, there are plenty of USC football bloggers out there but I don’t think we have a Brian or an SMQ: the kind of guy who’s willing to crunch numbers and stare at zig zagging lines and actually go over snaps and plays, and then record them, and then provide helpful pictures and exploded diagrams. I’m talking he’s-got-beakers-and-Tesla-coils-back-there obsessed. From the looks of things over at Trojan Football Analysis, ArtofTroy is starting strong. And that means two things:

  1. In depth USC football analysis is no longer a pipe dream.
  2. I don’t have to pretend to be even remotely objective anymore. Huzzah!

A hearty welcome, Art.

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NSA, CIA: “West Virginia may have the forward pass”

LANGLEY, VA – A leaked memo detailing a joint National Security Agency-Central Intelligence Agency operation indicated that the West Virginia Mountaineers “may have the forward pass”.

Neither the NSA nor the CIA would comment on the matter, citing policy to not address sensitive issues currently unfolding.

President Bush was also unwilling to answer questions on the Mountaineers and the possibility of their having weapons of mass yardage. White House Press Secretary Tony Snow did not immediately deny or affirm the veracity of the memo and its claims, but he did say that caution was necessary.

“At this point, [caution] would be advisable,” said Snow. “We’ve all seen satellite photos of their practices, so we know they’re already experimenting with forward pitches and playbook enrichment. The international community, NATO and the Big East all know this. Right now the ball is in West Virginia’s hands. Let’s just hope they don’t know how to throw it yet.”

A West Virginia Mountaineer, above, attempts to split the atomic structure of the pass-run barrier. Satellite photos indicate that the experiment ultimately resulted in a run.

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Filed under Big East, Big XII, Fake news

SEC to phase out Pac-10 by 2012

BIRMINGHAM, AL – Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive ended the league’s Spring Media Day by announcing the conference would begin preparations to officially phase out the Pacific-10 by the 2012 season.

Slive stressed that the change “would not happen overnight” and that players, coaches and fans needed to be patient.

“We’re working on this thing to get it right. It’s gonna happen, but not immediately. We’ve been taking steps in this direction for decades. The groundwork is there. We just need to see it through to its proper conclusion,” said Slive.

Even USC, considered by many to be the “black sheep” of the Pac-10, has seen flashes of crazy obsession LSUoverUSC BCS champ go suck it condoms!

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Filed under Fake news, Pac-10, SEC

Dirk Koetter’s wife names Dennis Erickson as starting husband

TEMPE, AZ – Former Arizona State head coach Dirk Koetter’s wife, Kim, announced that current ASU head coach Dennis Erickson would be her starting husband. The decision comes less than 24 hours after the Koetters renewed their marriage vows in a private team ceremony.

Dirk Koetter, left, is reportedly “confused” and “devastated” by the switch, and is expected to transfer to a new location in a few weeks. Speculation is centered around nearby Scottsdale where Koetter would have a good shot at becoming a starting significant other after sitting out the NCAA-mandated one year transfer period.

“I’m sorry for the way this had to happen but this is the right decision. It took me a long time to make, longer than it should have. The repercussions and the responsibility are mine. This is on me,” Kim Koetter read from a statement.

“I just hope we can put this past us and get ready for the 2007 redecorating season,” she added. “I feel that we have a promising team of drapes and accented furniture, and I look forward to what Dennis can bring to the table with his proven leadership abilities and his paycheck. Hopefully some kind of centerpiece of cut crystal. A decanter, perhaps.”

The husband switch comes on the heels of one of the nation’s most highly anticipated marital battles in several seasons. As the initial starter many figured that Dirk Koetter would have the edge, but Erickson’s numbers (148-65-1 in 18 years as a college head coach, an undisclosed salary from ASU) beat out Koetter’s (66-44 in 9 years, a non-existant salary from ASU).

At least, that’s the current story.

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Filed under Fake news, Pac-10

Pac-10 to phase out defense by 2012

WALNUT CREEK, CA – Pacific-10 commissioner Tom Hansen ended the league’s Spring Media Day by announcing the conference would begin preparations to officially phase out football defense by the 2012 season.

Hansen stressed that the change “would not happen overnight” and that players, coaches and fans needed to be patient.

“We’re working on this thing to get it right. It’s gonna happen, but not immediately. We’ve been taking steps in this direction for decades. The groundwork is there. We just need to see it through to its proper conclusion,” said Hansen.

Even USC, considered by many to be the “black sheep” of the Pac-10, has shown flashes of non-defense in the past.

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An Absurdly Premature Assessment of SMQ’s Absurdly Premature Assessment of my Absurdly Premature Assessment of SMQ’s Absurdly Premature Assessment of UCLA, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Recursion in Post Titles

If SMQ decides to respond to this post by adding onto the title, the internets and their series of pipes shant never be the same again.

So. This is the Absurdly Premature Assessment of SMQ’s Absurdly Premature Assessment of my Absurdly Premature Assessment of SMQ’s Absurdly Premature Assessment of UCLA. That’s a whole lotta absurdity. Unfortunately, only SMQ seems to be doing any assessin’.

Warning! What follows is pure masturbatory quotage and self-referential referencing. Likely the only two people interested in the next few paragraphs will be SMQ and myself, and I’m not even that sure about SMQ. To the pain!

First, a big thanks to SMQ for his awww-shucks praise of your’s truly. He goes so far as to equate me with Our Dumb Century, a book so hilarious pretty much my only memories of junior year high school lunches revolve around reading the book and laughing. And the blow. Oh, the blow. It’s hard to forget enough cocaine to kill a pachyderm.

SMQ moves on, though:

Maybe it’s to be expected, but in his absurdly premature assessment of SMQ’s Absurdly Premature Assessment of UCLA, Tu falls into a similar trap of perspective – in this case, he agrees with SMQ’s predictions for the Bruins (7-6, meh) but substitutes many of his own biases as catalysts for this conclusion.

And:

Per that rule [“losing is your team’s fault” -Ed.], Tu’s premature assessment of SMQ’s premature assessment makes two fundamental flaws of allegorical appropriation: it paradoxically refers to UCLA as “a friend” of USC (to be beaten to death, a fate he bizarrely deems appropriate only at the hands of a friend) and, second, equates USC with the popular character Rocky, the “anthropomorphic embodiment of all that is good in America,” where UCLA is his indefatigable nemesis, Ivan Drago, “a force to be reckoned with.” In fact, those roles could not be more mismatched: it is USC, not UCLA, which is often considered “unbeatable,” like the film’s Drago, “the Soviet-bloc produced superman whose punching power, Achilles physique, psychotic single-mindedness…[and] vaguely steppes-ish Valkyrie bride” render him seemingly invincible. When USC crushed UCLA for more than 650 yards and 66 points in 2005, it effectively scowled of the Bruin defense, “If it dies, it dies,” a performance so thorough in its unrelenting cruelty, so reeking of hubris, that UCLA’s stunning revenge last December stands as perhaps the preeminent “Rocky” moment of the decade. Outside of USC, it was the Trojans who “killed” UCLA, in the most literal fashion provided within the limits of football, and only a USC partisan could see the analogy otherwise. Or mix up the entire analogy by inserting elements of Ghostbusters.

And:

Beating UCLA becomes not only a means to an end – securing a Pac Ten or mythical championship – or even a heated but ultimately good-natured competition among geographic rivals, but a moral imperative to set right specific injustices of the universe. In his mind, a world where such a result is possible is evidence of “mass hysteria,” and UCLA must not only be defeated, but actually destroyed for its perceived insubordination of the natural order, cast into “utter ruination.” The rhetoric becomes nearly religious in tone.

And:

Moreover, UCLA is, to quote Tu, “meh.” Its status is more akin to Don Flamenco, the well-tanned, good-but-not-great champion of Spain in “Mike Tyson’s Punchout!!” who is usually ripe for defeat, but occasionally knocks your championship-bound Little Mac/USC out in weaker (or drunker) moments. Still, you will always have another chance for retribution following a shocking loss. Flamenco, like UCLA, is also much tougher when you have to beat him later on to reach the peak, the World Circuit championship, where his defense is much improved. But LA is by no means the killer Drago.

What SMQ probably doesn’t know, however, is that I proposed my own UCLA-as-Don Flamenco analogy a full two and a half moons ago:

I’m not sure if there’s one overarching theme to the Rose Bowl. Despite the increasingly confusing loss to UCLA most everyone agrees that USC is still Punch-Out!! Mike Tyson-ish, except the ‘06 Trojans had a tendency to drop a game or two to Piston Honda (or maybe Don Flamenco). Still, “scary” is probably the word I’m looking for. The final score was kind of surprising but, as many have probably pointed out already, it’s Southern California.

Besides that, SMQ is as usual right on. He uses words like “biases”, “fundamental flaws”, “paradoxically”, “partisan”, “the rhetoric becomes nearly religious in tone” and “to be beaten to death, a fate he bizarrely deems appropriate only at the hands of a friend”. All of that describes me perfectly. In fact, my inbox will soon be flooded by emails from my best friends wondering if I have a new best friend who is also familiar with my “tough love” version of friendship, aka, physical attacks. And that biased partisanship stuff is also pretty right on.

I must point out two of SMQ’s own fundamental flaws, however. Firstly, I penned this:

I know there’s danger in mixing Ghostbusters and Rocky IV, and even more danger in comparing UCLA football to Ivan Drago and implying that USC is an underdog. Which USC is not. But if I didn’t do any of that it would mean that statistical analysis would be needed, and no one wants that.

… which ought to have foreseen his own confusion about UCLA-as-Drago and USC-as-Rocky. And that last sentence in particular does a swell job of summing my existence up.

Secondly, this paragraph of SMQ’s:

More disturbing is Tu’s treatment of the character Apollo Creed, who in this equation is reduced from an actual dramatic personage – a champion, at that – to a mere representation of the ambition of his “friend,” in this case, the “BCS title hopes” of the nominal protagonist, USC/Rocky, which have been subsequently “killed” by the rival, Drago/UCLA. This, from Tu, especially in light of recent controversy surrounding the racial environment of USC football, is a rather shocking minimization of the African-American role model from equal to accomplice in the eventual success of the white hero. Creed’s actuality is reduced to a form of deus ex machina in order to facilitate the contrived dramatic triumph of “the underdog,” which, as demonstrated above, is already a fundamental partisan misappropriation.

… is totally, like, mine! The confused jumble of deconstructionalist post-modernism buzz words, the random Latin, the race baiting… these techniques are copyrighted for a reason! I insist that SMQ cease and desist his reprehensible use of said above lest I invoke habeus corpus via nunc pro tunc forthwith up to and including all contractual obligations, or, as the Romantics would’ve put it: “Hey! Stop that.”

/Pure masturbatory quotage and self-referential referencing.

Anyway, I hope all one of you enjoyed reading that. I’m tired of all this non-fake stuff. Next post is going to be something both premature and absurd, but thoroughly lacking in assessment – or, as the late, great Hunter S. Thompson once said, “[Gonzo Journalism] is a style of ‘reporting’ based on William Faulkner’s idea that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism – and the best journalists have always known this.”

Or something like that.

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Filed under Pac-10, USC

Beat the Vandals! And apathy! And ED!

College football fans enjoy repetition. We know where we stand with repetition: wherever it was we were standing ten minutes ago. USC fans enjoy several things on repeat: the V, Conquest, the 2005 Orange Bowl, recruiting, and shouting/typing “Beat the (insert opposing mascot here)!!!” as loud as possible and as much as possible. Except in this case we are all stuck listening to/reading “Beat the Vandals!” during the entirety of the off-season. The Idaho Vandals.

I just can’t get up for Idaho. Sorry, spud state. This is pretty much how I feel:

Internal monologue: You wooed me into the schedule using a combination of close friends, a lack of other options and a big whopping whiskey straight, but now that we’re in bed together the machinery is not working. My lack of college football Out Of Conference (OOC) enthusiasm for this encounter translates into a serious priapic void, and you, Idaho… well, I just hope you have a battery powered backup. Maybe you shouldn’t have bought me that whiskey. Skank.

External dialogue, sans the di-: Sorry. Seriously, this never happens. I am so sorry. Maybe if you… just… here, let me help. No, no. Kinda move… yeah…

Shit. This just isn’t going to happen. Sorry. It’s just a bunch of different things going on right now, you know? I’ve had a rough time what with three losses in three years, losing the BCS title game and then getting knocked out of the picture a year later. I’m in a weird place right now. It’s not you, it’s me. Idaho. Look at me. I’m not lying to you or anything. It’s all me.

Yeah, I know. I definitely thought we had something going.

Speaking of connections, your friend back at the bar. Moscow? No, not Moscow. Something with an “o” though. Boise! Boise. I had a great conversation back there. We must’ve talked for almost an hour. Maybe you could put in a good word for me with Boise State? I don’t wanna sound like a total douchebag, but I think there was a connection. Anyway, how do you know Boise?

Really? That little acting studio on Lankershim? Yeah, I totally get coffee by there all the time. Weird. I’m surprised I haven’t seen Boise State there before. And you too, of course. Have you ever had the bagels from the corner? Oh, totally. They’re like crack. I’m sure you and Boise must’ve totally just gone to town on them during Saturday morning hangovers.

Huh. No hangovers. Must be nice. Boise must be a puke and rally-er, then.

So you’ll put in a good word for me? Really? You are so sweet. Thanks, Idaho. Now, listen, I’ve got this thing tomorrow. Interview. It’s an interview at 9, 8:30 in the morning. It’s a big one, the third call back, and I am useless without a good night’s sleep. So if you want me to like call a cab or something I would totally be happy to do it. Not that you need to leave now or anything, but…

Really? You sure you’re okay to drive? OK, cool. Hey, it was great seeing you. Good luck with the whole making a bowl game thing. Actually, speaking of that… hold on, I know I have that number… here… the MPC Computers Bowl. And the New Mexico Bowl. That’s in New Mexico. They’re good people, and I think you would get along with them real well.

Oh. Hah. Don’t forget your coat. And I seriously appreciate you returning Coach Holt and my Children of Men screener. Drive safe! Yeah, you too! Night!

At this point I’d take pretty much anything over Idaho. Hawai’i has been discussed before, and after Boise State’s incredible run at box office schmaltz I am sweet on the Broncos, too. In fact, the WAC is populated by a number of intriguing schools: the spittoon led Fresno State Bulldogs, Dick Tomey’s Fightin’ Lazarii aka San Jose State, Nevada of the Nevada Pistol formation, etc. But Idaho? I am less than tumescent for Idaho.

Beat the Vandals? Beat ED first, and then maybe the Vandals.

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