Category Archives: The Media

The case against Scott Wolf

WordPress.com’s UI is fantastic. This really is one of the better blog services out there: excellent editor, a helpful public base providing custom themes, a healthy system encouraging inter-wordpress.com-traffic, a great group of coders, etc. The only real drawback is the drawback of every single other blog provider: the ability to save drafts. This is a necessary ability, but it also forces me to stare at posts I once thought viable for years on end. Some of the titles are still pretty funny to me even now: “Texas Tech to feature all Tesla coil offense”, “Tennyson on the Orgeron”, “Ohio State AD files XBox Live restraining order against Florida AD”…. Some are confusing, like “Saban launches invasion from orbital station”.

The title of this post is a draft I’ve had saved for more than two years now. Two years, nine months and eleven days, actually. But I’ll get to that.

Scott Wolf is the Daily News’ beat writer for USC football. He has a blog. On the sidebar of this blog he’s included, probably proudly, the following description of himself:

Scott Wolf has covered USC for the Daily News since 1996. A USC graduate, he covered his first Trojan game in 1984 for the Daily Trojan. Scott is known as the “scourge of the Internet message boards,” according to radio host Petros Papadakis. Despite this moniker, there’s no truth to the rumor he takes pleasure in antagonizing the “Internet geeks.”

It’s about the only thing on his blog that doesn’t have regular typos.

***

The part, above, about Wolf including that description of himself isn’t backed  by any evidence. He doesn’t run the site, so it’s possible the person or persons who do run the site included it for him. Wolf strikes me as the type who gets a hard-on writing about himself in third person. He also strikes me as the type to put quotations around the words “Internet geeks”, but not because he wishes it to be known that this term is an accusative appellation and not necessarily how he feels about college football fans who gather online; rather, Wolf is the kind of guy who likes misquoting. Did Petros call them “Internet geeks” during one of his radio shows? Is this actually Wolf’s term for such people? If so, this is a case of accurate quotation by the person who maintains his blog. Take note, Scott: it can work.

Also, the part about acknowledging a lack of evidence.

***

This is not to say he should be acknowledging a lack of evidence. Such acknowledgment ought to come in the form of not writing a mind-witheringly stupid sentence based on God-knows-what-but-whatever-it-is-it-isn’t-evidence. This is the job of the college football beat writer. It is in almost direct opposition to the job of the college football opinion columnist. I’ve never wanted to ask Bill Plaschke for his sources; I just want him to occasionally include more than one sentence in a paragraph.

Scott Wolf does commentary, by the way. It’s just hard to distinguish it from his reporting.

***

I don’t consider Scott Wolf the “scourge of the internet message boards”. The scourge of internet message boards can mainly be found on YouTube, posting racist screed using “u” in place of the second person singular and generally ruining my viewing of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze clips. Scott Wolf is not even the scourge of internet college football message boards. That honor is reserved for anyone who takes part in a debate about the Pac-10 and SEC.

USC fans do hate him, though. Many for the wrong reasons – and by now it must be apparent I feel there are right reasons – but at least their hearts are in the correct place.

I would venture to guess they hate him because he seems  overwhelmingly against everything they hope for in a season: unity, success, confidence in one’s chosen team and its staff. Frankly, I kinda like Scott Wolf because he’s a dick. (Also because he champions Matt Grootegoed whenever he gets a chance.) Anyone who has to cover Pete Carroll on a regular basis needs teflon to resist Carroll’s unending pseudo-but-sometimes-real philosophy of upbeat rainbow dappled unicorns competin’ on jacked up Competition Tuesday. Unfortunately, Wolf’s teflon happens to be his ability to throw out journalistic objectivity and write things like this:

But going your own way can be risky business: So far, none of Carroll’s disciples demonstrated they could be successful head coaches.

Holt and Ed Orgeron were abysmal failures at Idaho and Ole Miss, respectively.

Carroll’s one-time close friend and college mate, Greg Robinson, was a disaster at Syracuse.

It’s way too soon to judge Sarkisian or Kiffin (at least with Tennessee) or DeWayne Walker, the first-year coach at New Mexico State.

Waitwhat?

***

He got paid to write that, too.

***

I won’t go over how ridiculous it is to include Robinson (an obvious failure at Syracuse but also never a “disciple” of Pete Carroll – with whom Robinson did coach in New York from 1990-93, and in 1994 in Carroll’s only year as the Jets’ head coach; I don’t think the two years spent at North Carolina St. as an assistant to the then-assistant-Carroll is too relevant  – and, if he was indeed a “disciple”, he could also be described much more accurately as an “‘actual, real, using the description provided by Oxford’ disciple” of  Terry Donahue at UCLA and Mike Shanahan in Denver since Robinson spent more years on both their staffs and at more formative periods in his career, i.e. the eight years in Westwood right before Robinson’s first NFL job, during the Bruins’ most successful period ever – seven consecutive bowl wins (three of those in Pasadena), four Pac-10 titles and three ten win seasons – and the six years under Shanahan that included back-to-back Superbowl wins with a guy named Elway, all of which seems much more in line with the “disciple” talk especially when paired with names like Holt, Orgeron, Sarkisian, Kiffin and Walker, all of whom were actual disciples of Carroll in that they are known for coaching under Carroll and were awarded bigger jobs directly after their association with him due to a presumption of the distributive property’s effectiveness in football hiring processes, the above all of which Wolf vaguely acknowledges with the terms “one-time close friend and college mate” in an almost endearingly opaque attempt at transparency as if those words justify Robinson’s inclusion in a list he doesn’t belong in but is a part of because the author wishes to either extend his data set at all costs, further prove Carroll’s now tenuous reputation as a giver of gifts and leader of  men, or both… and, shit, the only one talking about Carroll’s now tenuous reputation as a giver of gifts and leader of men is Wolf himself since he’s certainly the only one who considers Greg Fucking Robinson a disciple of Pete Carroll), because, frankly, it’s beneath me.

***

I considered, many times over the past two years, making this post a blow-by-blow take down piece using every error in grammar, judgment, morality and what-have-you Scott Wolf has perpetrated on me during his tenure at the Daily News.

(I say me because I don’t care much about what he does to the others who read his stuff and reel at the ugliness of it all; too often they call him a fag, or make fun of his lisp, or change his name to Benedict Wolf or something equally asinine. This offends me, but so does Awbarn and Kal and all the other crimes against humanity committed everyday, online, at those internet message boards Scott Wolf believes he is the scourge of.)

I’ve never been able to block off the five years of my life necessary to commit myself to such a task, though. And the thought of having to wade through all those… ugh. Can’t do it. Cannot do it.

***

I was sorta kidding when I said I kinda like Scott Wolf because he’s a dick. His kind of insouciance makes me waffle about hating something so obviously wrong. I firmly believe one of the most American qualities one can have is the willingness to defy authority. It gave birth to our nation, after all. But I’m not sure Wolf plays the devil’s advocate because it needs playing; assuming that means I’d have to assume he has our – as in his readership’s – best interests at heart, and that means the truth. I don’t think the truth is his goal, and that might be the worst thing someone could say to me if I worked at a newspaper.

Scott Wolf is great at reminding us of Pete Carroll’s faults, whether that be wasting a redshirt year or burning bridges with Norm Chow or not having Reggie Bush on the field during 4th-and-2. He loves bringing up USC’s shortcomings in all sorts of things like Song Girls tryout transparency or the money-grubbing nature of the athletic department (yeah, seriously: because no other athletic department in major college sports tries to milk alumni for all they’re worth). But he doesn’t do these things to keep the subjects on their toes and thus more likely to mend their ways. Nor does he do these things to remind us not to march in lockstep. He’s not even doing them to say, “Hey, Mr. Best Coach In College Football, don’t think you’ve got everyone ready to eat your pablum.”

I think Scott Wolf does these things because he is a dick. That’s the only conclusion I’ve been able to come to over two years, nine months and eleven days.

***

Sometime slightly before two years, nine months and eleven days ago Scott Wolf wrote that USC kicker Mario Danelo’s death was an “apparent suicide”. He never divulged his source(s) on this error, nor should he have. What he should’ve done is fact check. The emergency workers would be a good start. Close friends and family are next. The police assigned to the case are also viable leads.

I hope that he was simply too stupid to bother verifying the case’s designation as an “apparent suicide”, or that some of the sources he cited were in fact the ones he consulted to verify this. Certainly there were several wire reports that carried the following…

Police Lt. Paul Vernon said Sunday there “didn’t appear to be a crime involved,” and “it was fairly apparent that this was either an accident or suicide.”

… which is a reasonable assumption once you rule out foul play. Maybe Wolf was too stupid to notice the words between “apparent” and “suicide”. I actually do hope that.

The alternative is that Scott Wolf rushed off to write an attention grabbing article.

Either way I’ve never forgotten that, nor forgiven it.

***

This post is fractured out of necessity. I’m not sure why Wolf’s article about Carroll’s coaching tree set me off, but it did… and out came all the little injuries Wolf’s inflicted on my soul over the years. There are simply too many grievances to try and focus.

The obvious question is, “Why don’t you just not read him?” The obvious answer is that I read everybody, and everything, related to USC football. The less obvious answer is that Scott Wolf offends me in a way not even Skip Bayless is capable of: he continues to get paid to write, poorly, about my first love. And I feel like it’s my duty to be there when he fucks up, if only to say, “Hey. Dick. You fucked up. Stay the hell away from my baby.”

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Filed under The Media, USC

A review of What Happened On The Sideline Between Stacey Dales And Chris Long

Nobody has written for the stage with as much power and verve as ABC/ESPN, and yet the venerable playwright has been for some time now regarded as a relic of the past. This seems only fitting given a recent output whose high water mark is Comin’ To Your Citay, or, A(n) (A)Moral Tale (2006), an odious play which still featured the signature rat-a-tat dialogue made so famous in years past.

“ABC/ESPN,” wrote David Mamet in a guest review of Citay in The Economist, “may be slumming it right now, but the rest of us could only wish we were so gloriously dilapidated. This may be bad, but it’s still viscera. It’s blood and guts. It’s bone marrow. I wanted to smash my own face in shame knowing that even in repose, even in winter, ABC/ESPN could put this on a stage. Some day the truth will flare out and expose us all for the hacks we are, but until then I will continue going to the theater because I have no choice: it’s either ABC/ESPN, or the ledge.”

Though Mamet was a bit effusive in his praise of a minor work, he struck the chord: we were wrong to ever doubt ABC/ESPN’s ability to again seize the stage. Witness What Happened On The Sideline Between Stacey Dales and Chris Long (Nederlander Theater, 208 W. 41st St., 212-921-8000), a return to form so stunning in scope and audacity, so replete with energy and abandon, so utterly ABC/ESPN it makes the entire preceding decade’s worth of theater gray and dull in comparison. This new work is nothing short of the finest piece of American drama since we lost Arthur Miller to Marilyn Monroe. It demands to be seen. Like all great drama, it insists.

At times its blatant sexuality is overpowering, a kind of unctuous musk that leaves the theater dim and ungraceful. But that is rare. For the most part ABC/ESPN handles the scenes between Dales and Long with a light hand, letting the tension build slowly until even the audience is practically gasping for release. It is a pleasure to watch and be a part of: a vision so audacious one wonders how a nation founded by Puritans could possibly countenance this kind of out-and-out carnality in a place the Greeks considered sacred. But don’t let the talk of angry protesters fool you: this is art, High Art, and we can only be grateful that at long last ABC/ESPN has returned.

An excerpt from What Happened On The Sideline Between Stacey Dales And Chris Long:

DRAMATIS PERSONAE, in order of appearance

BRAD NESSLER, a perfum’d Rasputin with the voice of Bacchus.

STACEY DALES, the golden haired Amazon of the sidelines and daughter to the king of the WNBA.

CHRIS LONG, the number two pick of the draft and herald to Teri Hatcher.

BOB GRIESE, deposed king of Florida and father to the son of Bob Griese.

PAUL MAGUIRE, a crazed pauper.

PRINCES, COUNCILMEN, BARONS, GUARDS, MEN-AT-ARMS, SOLDIERY, SQUIRES, CITIZENS, LAWYERS, MUSICIANS, FISHMONGERS, etc.

Act One, Scene One

A stirring war-like processional is sounded. A video montage lights the back of the stage, showing CHRIS LONG in sudden, shocking violence: decapitating a quarterback, bending iron to his will, holding aloft the skulls of his enemy. It is impossible to turn away from this spectacle. Enter BRAD NESSLER. He is wearing a purple chiffon bath robe, with the belt only halfway done. We can see his gleaming mahogany chest and his dark curling chest hair with ease, and he knows we can. NESSLER takes his time in lighting a long black cigarillo. The theater is filled with the smell of week old bananas and coco butter, and something darker and sinister underneath. He inhales and exhales luxuriously, watching the brutal footage of LONG. NESSLER seems to approve.

NESSLER: Well, Virginia lookin’ for stars like they had last year. In Chris Long they certainly had a super star last year. First team All-American. Number two draft choice in the NFL draft. He was Mr. Everything, Mr. Hustle. And he created havoc in a lot of ACC backfields last year as he led this team in sacks. And he’s here on the old stompin’ grounds with Stacey.

Enter STACEY DALES. She is impossibly tall. She wields a triangular mace with ease in one hand. At her back is a retinue of naked Amazonian HONOR GUARDS, their hair cropped short and their nakedness contrasted with the spears and shields they wield. They dance slowly behind her, a warrior dance: aggressive, dangerous, razor-sharp. DALES is unconcerned with their movements. She is focused.

DALES: Well Brad I’ve got Chris standing here with me. Now Chris, obviously you’re an integral part of this program. How has life changed though going into the NFL?

The center stage pit opens and, as Richard Strauss’ Thus Spake Zarathustra plays, CHRIS LONG emerges from beneath. LONG is wearing the half beard of a warrior gone to ground, unsure when his next respite may come. He is also, for some reason, wearing a backpack.

LONG: You know, it’s changed a lot. You know, I’m adjusting to it pretty well, uh, but having a weekend off and being able to come back here is really great.

DALES: What adjustments would you make with the defense right now, up 21 points for USC?

LONG, clearly irritated: Well you know, they’re doing their thing in there, running some zone plays. But, uh, I think the offense just has to get ‘em out of the hole a little bit. They’ll catch up.

DALES: Alright Chris, I have something. I always come bearing gifts. It even has a little grass in it.

Fire shoots up from the back, and the lighting focuses on DALES’ hand as her HONOR GUARD writhe like serpents, undulating and bowing to what she holds. It is a SANDWICH. It is glistening unhealthily. Enter BOB GRIESE and PAUL MAGUIRE. GRIESE absentmindedly kicks MAGUIRE whenever the latter gets too close. MAGUIRE is dressed in tatters, and is very obviously unhinged. They both stare at the SANDWICH and the HONOR GUARD hungrily. LONG is trying not to stare, but he can’t help it.

DALES: Now this is Little John’s Chris Long sandwich.

NESSLER chuckles. It is an unpleasant chuckle, and he makes it even more uncomfortable by undoing his bathrobe even more. Now there is only the tiniest of material between the audience and NESSLER’s flesh.

DALES: Yes, that’s right folks: he’s got his own sandwich, the twelve inch steaker.

Everyone freezes and stares at DALES. The light turns a voluptuous crimson and the music acquires a low bass rumble. From here on in everyone moves with a slow lushness, a knowing kind of half samba, half tango.

DALES: Um. Well first of all, do you want the sandwich?

LONG: Uh, uh, I don’t eat the sandwich before ten at night. It tastes better late at night.

NESSLER, MAGUIRE and GRIESE cackle, throwing their hands up in supplication and delight. A thudding basso drum is struck once, twice, three times.

DALES, slightly unbelieving: It tastes better late at night.

LONG grins and gyrates.

DALES: Now, what happens if I give it to you? Do you think a fan might want it?

LONG: I think I can find a fan. I mean there’s 60,000 people, somebody’s hungry. We’ll give ‘em a sandwich, yeah.

In the background is the low sussuration of 60,000 voices desirous of a sandwich, of the SANDWICH and all it represents. DALES cannot help but be affected. She moves in the trance state of the hunter and the hunted.

DALES: And lastly, did you choose the ingredients? Because I gotta be honest with you: I dunno if I’m eatin’ this.

LONG: I didn’t choose the ingredients, but hey Little John’s they make good sandwiches. Uh, you know a lotta people tell me it’s actually alright.

DALES: Alright, thanks for taking the time, Chris. Back to you Brad.

NESSLER bows to DALES. He swishes his bathrobe belt, and sticks his hip out to one side.

NESSLER: Somebody would probably want him to autograph the bun, if he took it out in the crowd.

MAGUIRE and GRIESE giggle uncontrollably. MAGUIRE begins scratching himself as if he’s covered in a thousand bugs, but GRIESE is there to slap him and return him to the present world. NESSLER turns to them as if to ask, “Do you want something you wretches?”

MAGUIRE and GRIESE: [Indecipherable mumbling.]

A beat.

MAGUIRE: Put, put some mayonnaise on that baby!

Exeunt all.

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How could I have forgotten?!

Many thanks to Sunday Morning Quarterback of Sunday Morning Quarterback, who showed me around downtown Austin and got me drunk and let me sleep on his couch and, generally, acted as a universal solvent to the intractable problem of, “Hey, idiot. You just got arrested in Texas. What the fuck are you still doing in Texas now that you’re out?”

SMQ was much quieter than I expected. The key to that sentence, however, is the word was. SMQ got quiet vocal once alcohol was introduced into the equation. SMQ eventually got around to waxing poetic on the Falstaffian-level of comedy represented by Cincinnati and South Florida eclipsing Southern Miss, the categorical imperative that Kant really meant to talk about which is “Drink the beer before you, and do not complain”, the vagaries of ESPN’s Greatest 25 College Football Players of All Time (Ali: “Of all time!”), the bland meh-ness of Kirk Herbstreit and the awesome “Wow, he really wants to hit someone”-ness of Chris Spielman, Stewart Mandel and Dennis Dodd’s punchability, sushi and its almost diametrical opposite the Chick-fil-A sandwich (but the fried sandwiches, none of that grilled shit), blogging, journalism, beards, women, television, movies, the geopolitics of Mississippi, good, evil, and the truly awesome Spectacle of Bruins Nation and its ilk, which, though he never verbally agreed, is exactly like watching a wounded carnivore devour its own young: which is to say horrific, but entertainingly horrific, and the question afterwards still remains, “So. Now what?”

SMQ also described his blog as somewhat disappointing to himself, noting that he didn’t really do any film analysis – he described it as “essential” to any good football blog, which rules out pretty much everyone except Brian – and that his stuff was based almost entirely on stats. True. But to say that sundaymorningqb.com is just a bunch of stats is like saying War and Peace is just a bunch of names. Whoa! Whoawhoawhoa, I know. Jimmy Carter, before his 1976 miracle run to the presidency, gave a speech at Georgia’s school of law in which he talked about reading Tolstoy’s novel as a young man and its impact on him, and he said that War and Peace isn’t really about Napoleon or the generals of either army or the Tsar of Russia… it’s about the peasants and the students and the soldiers and the farmers and the women, about the grand tide of humanity whose collective will was made manifest through the actions of the individual, but, like, lots of them. And much more important than guys with medals and big fuck off hats. Except Carter said it a lot better, and without using the word fuck. So, basically: It isn’t simply big quotes about history and momentum and destiny and gap blocking… it’s the numbers, man, from one to 120, which is the number of teams SMQ foolishly set out to preview this season and will probably foolishly set out to preview next season, and, shit, when does Western Kentucky become official? Only peanut farmers and guys like SMQ would be able to tell you that, and I saw WKU play.

I’m not sure how to tie all that together now, except to say that if ever there was a guy I wanted coordinating the analysis of the aftermath of the defense of Napoleonic Russia, it’s SMQ.

So thanks again man.

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Filed under One CFB Road Trip to rule them all, The Media

Columbus man saddened, overjoyed by wife’s affair with Kirk Herbstreit

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Police officer Jerry Dunlaw, 39, described the process of divorcing his wife of nine years Tracy Dunlaw (née Winters) on the grounds of adultery as “almost unbearably sad,” noting that it was only her affair with ESPN College GameDay analyst and former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit that “made things bearable during a difficult time.”


Herbstreit.

“No one can understand the sadness of a marriage that seems to be going strong only to be suddenly dissolved. You have to experience it first,” said Dunlaw. “I was ignorant about a lot of things. Maybe I was even too innocent. I believed this [marriage] would last forever.”

“Hey, check this out,” the 14-year veteran of the Columbus Narcotics Bureau added as he leafed through the former couple’s financial paperwork. “It’s a Varsity Club receipt signed by Kirk Herbstreit! How cool is that?”

Dunlaw then sobbed quietly for several minutes, making sure to keep the receipt dry and uncrumpled.

The Varsity Club, a local favorite for almost half a century, was one of several bars infrequently visited by Winters and Herbstreit over a period of “at least four years, but probably five,” according to Jack Stanislaw, a private detective hired by Dunlaw in July to investigate his then wife’s “suspicious behavior.”

Stanislaw said that Winters, 33, and Herbstreit, 38, first met in 2002 following a September 14 GameDay appearance in Columbus for a matchup between eventual national champion Ohio State and eleventh ranked Washington State.

Dunlaw recalled the incident.

“I remember it like it was yesterday. That was a good Wazzu team. We were so drunk after the win, and then we saw Herbie at the Varsity. I asked him to sign her [chest],” said Dunlaw. “It was pretty sweet.”

Winters and Dunlaw have agreed to joint custody of their two children, with each parent alternating weeks. The two also agreed that holidays will be spent together “or with Kirk Herbstreit, if possible.”

“There’s a lot about this situation that’s pretty messed up, obviously,” said Dunlaw. “But we’ve got kids and they’ve got to come first. Even though we don’t agree with each other, we could at least agree on that. Making sure the children can lead normal lives was the first priority. Plus, you know, they really love Herbstreit. So that was pretty simple.”

The only point of contention revolves around their Ohio State season tickets.

“We’ve got four of them,” said Winters. “Obviously the kids get two, but what about the other two? Jerry wants them both. I think that’s unreasonable.”

“I’m sure Kirk can get her in,” Dunlaw responded.

He paused.

“Speaking of which, I wonder if he can get me extras for the [Ohio State-Michigan] game? I’ll have to get Tracy to call him and ask.”

Though Herbstreit occasionally expressed regret regarding the affair, specifically its secretive nature and the guilt over cheating on his own wife of nine years, he was always “willing to sign memorabilia after our lovemaking,” according to Winters.

“Kirk’s so generous. It’s one of the things that really attracted me to him, I think. He’s got so much to do but he takes his time to interact with a fan like me. I knew Jerry would love stuff like signed footballs and jerseys. He [Jerry] always used to ask me how I got them, and I would just wink and smile and say ‘I think you’ve got a secret Santa somewhere,'” said Winters. “He’s just a great guy. We’re all so proud he’s a Buckeye.”

Dunlaw agreed.

“Kirk’s a Buckeye through and through. He’s always been there for us, for the school and the team. He just does everything right. He represents himself and the university well. He always knows what to say and how to say it.”

Added Dunlaw: “I wish he was here right now. I think he’d know how to help me pick up the pieces of my life.”

This isn’t the first time Dunlaw has crossed paths with Herbstreit. The two were both undergraduates at Ohio State at the same time. In fact, Dunlaw regulary sat “two or three” rows behind” Herbstreit during a shared business class.

“I saw him at a couple of parties, too. We kinda hung out with the same people, and he dated one of my best friends, Janine,” Dunlaw recalled.

“Well, ‘dated’ isn’t the right word for it. They hooked up a couple of times after I introduced them. Man, she was great. Easy to talk to, funny, smart, beautiful. Just the perfect girl. She even liked football! Loved it, actually, which is probably why she and Kirk ended up in the bathroom at parties. I wonder what she’s up to now?”

Mike Knox, Dunlaw’s best friend and a detective for the Columbus narcotics unit, was Dunlaw’s roommate at Ohio State.

“He was in love with [Janine],” said Knox. “Everyone knew it. He was pretty devastated when she first hooked up with Herbie. The only thing that got Jerry through it was the [13-13] tie with Michigan [in 1992].”

“Great game,” said Dunlaw. “[Michigan was] really good that year. I think Kirk set a passing record against them. Something like 28 or 29 completions against a team with Ty Law and Corwin Brown. Herbie really deserved that MVP award.”

“[Screw] Michigan,” he added.

Dunlaw has sought counseling for his grief but says psychiatrists have not helped so far.

“They’ve kinda helped me understand the situation. Coping with it is something entirely different,” the police officer said. “The pain’s still there. I don’t know if it’ll ever truly be gone. I think it’ll get less and less worse until maybe one day I’ll wake up and it’s not there anymore – but that day is still far away.”

Dunlaw’s watch alarm then went off, reminding the Ohio State alumnus ESPN’s SportsCenter was coming on.

“The GameDay crew’s breaking down the BCS situation today,” he said excitedly.

As the nightly program wound through several non-college football segments, Dunlaw reflected on the surreal nature of his situation: “I still can’t believe Herbie’s sleeping with my Tracy. It’s so unreal. I feel like I should be texting Knox right now. Y’know, something like, ‘Oh my god. You won’t believe this! This is amazing!'”

Dunlaw’s eyes settled on his wedding picture still mounted on the wall above his television.

“I asked Tracy to marry me after the ’98 Michigan game. We had finally beat those [guys], and I dropped to my knee right there and then. I was the happiest man alive when she said ‘yes’. Now I just feel like a shadow.”

“There he is!” Dunlaw exclaimed, pointing at Herbstreit’s televised face. “My wife totally slept with him!”

“Ex-wife,” Dunlaw corrected.

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Filed under Big Ten, Fake news, The Media

Quick hit

The Worldwide Leader is many things, but genuinely funny? Apparently so: ESPN Page 2’s New Rules for College Football.

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“Special teams” expresses anti-normal sentiment

I hate it when people use the words hullaballoo, fracas, uproar, etc. to describe what is obviously only a hubbub. Yesterday’s uproarious fracasing hullaballoo kicked hubbub in its nuts, though, simply because it allowed newspapers and blogs to push headlines like “USC football players form online White Nation group” – which is a truthful headline, but man does it clamor tumultuously of race scandalizing. And not in that wholesome hue and cry way, either.

[Hint: the above is how not to employ journalism.]

[If it wasn't already obvious, since I get paid nothing and am, in fact, probably losing money on this venture somehow.]

[Damn.]

Anyway, the Los Angeles Times reported the following:

“White Nation” was coined by running backs coach and special teams coordinator Todd McNair, a black former NFL player. He first used the term affectionately during game films, according to accounts, after watching some white members of the kickoff team make a spectacular play.

“I made the name. The White Nation,” McNair said. “Just playfully, man.”

Other than an irrepressible wish that the editors at Time had taken a nap for a bit and overlooked accidentally calling McNair a “former black NFL player” simply for the delicious hullaballoo that would’ve ensued, I can’t take issue with this at all.

McNair goes on:

McNair noted the irony of “a brother, a black guy, a coach” being the so-called founder of the Trojans’ “White Nation.”

“I love having fun,” he said. “I gave them a nickname. I call the black coaches on our staff the Brojans. Brothers and Trojans. We’re the Brojans. Playfully. Because the locker room is colorless.”

First off, I love T-Mac, as he is often referred to. At 2005’s Salute to Troy he showed up on the podium with an umbrella. McNair’s job was to introduce the running backs but, mainly, to introduce LenDale White and Reggie Bush. He rambled on and on and we all wondered what the hell he was doing with an umbrella. Then he made a big show and declared that we ought to be ready for some Thunder and Lightning.

Cricket. Cricket.

Actually, no, the crowd erupted. But they should’ve been aghast at such a buildup for a monumentally dull joke. It was like the Aristocrats without the incest or bestiality. As for me, I was secretly impressed that McNair could go on with the gag for so long, and it does not surprise me in the least that he’s now at the heart of a joke gone bad.

He is right, though, about the colorless locker room. I’ve certainly seen it. I’ve had teammates of every race and the only universal constant was to bag on them no matter their race. No one gets a free pass, unless it’s to the food stamp line.

*roll on snare drum*

See? That was a joke made by a Mexican linebacker friend of mine, and I’m not even sure he knew what a food stamp line was. I mean, is it a line where you go to collect food stamps? A line in which to wait in order to use food stamps? I didn’t know, and he – driving around in his huge, custom Escalade – answered my unspoken question by driving us after practice to 7-11.

So when McNair nicknames the white players who kick ass during kickoff coverage (which is the only thing I can think of, since Dan Deckas and David Buehler are both on that squad) “White Nation” I absolutely believe it was affectionate. And, like his umbrella joke, a little bit stupid. But it’s a locker room, and you don’t get to be affectionate without being stupid. And also crass. And a mooch, because if you can get your food stamp-joking Mexican linebacker buddy to buy you a slurpee then sweeeeet.

So, once again, Clay Matthews did not express anti-black sentiment. He simply expressed anti-Clay Matthews sentiment, in that he was incredibly stupid. And also crass. Not sure on the mooch part yet, though.

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ProFootballTalk.com is pro-Nazi

Follow closely…

  1. Godwin’s law says “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”
  2. ProFootballTalk.com is a type of online discussion.
  3. As the online discussion at ProFootballTalk.com grows longer, the probability of a Pete Carroll to [insert NFL franchise here] rumor approaches one.
  4. Those reading a Pete Carroll to [insert NFL franchise here] rumor take the event at face value, conveniently forgetting the cumulative evidence of past crimes (untruth).
  5. Citizens of pre-1945 Germany took each action of Hitler and the Nazis at face value, conveniently forgetting the cumulative evidence of past crimes (untruth, suspicious moustaches).
  6. ProFootballTalk.com is pro-Hitler and pro-Nazi.
  7. We must invade ProFootballTalk.com with a two pronged attack through North Africa and Italy, and the coasts of Normandy. Also, maybe get PFT to besiege Stalingrad.
  8. Band of Brothers is really, really good.

How did I arrive at these conclusions? Number 8 is pretty easy since it’s absolutely true. The preceding seven are a little harder to come by, but they sprang fully formed into my mind after reading this post by FreeMethomps of WeAreSC.com:

The Pete Carroll Principle

I’m sure most of you have heard of the Peter Principle: “In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” Well, I’m about to (re?)introduce you to a principle that will hopefully attract lots of grant money for me to live off of: The Pete Carroll Principle.

I haven’t gotten it down as succinctly as the Peter Principle yet, but basically it goes like this: “If you repeat a rumor over and over, it may eventually come true and make you look like a genius for ‘calling it’.”

Today’s example of the Pete Carroll principle comes from Profootballtalk.com, an NFL rumor site that has been humping the “Pete Carroll to the NFL” rumor since…well, you’ll see. Now, here are most of his excerpts about Carroll to the NFL. I have omitted a couple entries where he only briefly mentioned it (which happened a lot when Leinart was going pro). Pay attention to the dates. He’s talked about Carroll to San Diego for several years.

Note, this is really long, but you can get a sense of it by just skimming the headlines if you want the quick gist.

POSTED 12:10 p.m. EST, LAST UPDATED 1:47 p.m. EST, January 11, 2004

CHARGERS TARGETING CARROLL?

Although USC coach Pete Carroll’s name has surfaced in the Oakland Raiders’ fruitless search for a new head coach, we’re hearing rumors that another AFC West team might have genuine designs on the head coach of the true national champions.

Chargers G.M. A.J. Smith announced last month that coach Marty Schottenheimer will return for his third season with the team. But, as we said at the time, we won’t believe it until we hear it from a member of the Spanos family.

And the Spanos clan still isn’t fully sold on Marty Ball, especially after the team has limped through the past two seasons — in the face of increasing expectations.

So with Carroll, who has coached (and been fired by) two other AFC teams (the Jets and the Pats), suddenly becoming the hottest head coaching prospect west of Louisiana, the Spanos family is intrigued about the possibility of swapping out Schottenheimer for Carroll.

Of course, the process would be far from simple, given the minority hiring guidelines. With each passing day, a decision to fire Schottenheimer would be met with greater speculation and/or skepticism regarding whether the Chargers already have their sights set on their new coach, which could make it hard to line up minority candidates.

Also, if the Chargers cut Marty loose and then can’t pry Carroll away from the Trojans, where would they turn? Sure, there would be options, but it’s hard to identify many candidates who give them a better chance at winning than if they venture forward with year three of the Schottenheimer experiment.

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Fucking USC signs another goddamned top-ranked recruiting class

LOS ANGELES, CA – The USC Dickwads capped their fifth straight double digit win season under head liar Pete Carroll by signing another goddamned ridiculous top-ranked recruiting class on National Letter of Intent to Sell Your Soul to the Condoms Day.

Sources say Carroll, above, uses the same methods for both cheerleaders and blue chip recruits: charm and Rohypnol.

Though the Florida Gators were ranked number one by both Scout and Rivals – two of the biggest recruiting services in the nation – media giant ESPN proclaimed USC’s class as tops. And that means validity for the attention starved and little known Trojans.

“Scout blah blah Rivals blah blah blah. We’re ESPN. [Rivals recruiting analyst] Jeremy Crabtree can lick my sack and grab me a danish, because what we say gets heard by a million people for each of their manic-obsessive recruiting freaks,” Scouts Inc. national director of recruiting Tom Luginbill said.

Luginbill continued: “The Trojans really added firepower offensively and defensively with running backs Joe McKnight and Marc Tyler, and defensive end Everson Griffen and linebacker Chris Galippo. We’re gonna go out on a limb and say that USC is going to be really good at football for the next few years.”

“You can’t stop watching ESPNU, can you you poor fuck? Today you are at my mercy. I laugh at the piecemeal destruction of your soul,” he added.

Louisiana State recruiting website Tiger Rag’s Matt DeVille was not surprised by ESPN’s ranking of Southern Cal’s recruiting class, noting that the list of gullible blue chip recruits foolish enough to sign with Sodom and Gomorrah looked “like a death row of our best, our brightest stars. Those poor fools.”

McKnight, a Louisiana native, chose the Trojans over LSU on signing day.

According to DeVille, “Carroll can lie like a greased up weasel in a corner. I’m talking those Pixar weasels, the really talkative ones. Add that to the knobcockery going on between ‘The Worldwide Leader in Sports’ and USC and you get a top-ranked recruiting class.'”

DeVille cited USC’s running back situation as evidence that the nation’s best recruits appear to be “on fucking crack and glue and illusions made of stupidity and cotton candy, goddamn shitass, what the fuck was McKnight thinking?”, adding that Carroll’s prowess at selling his program’s infernal temptations have damned more souls than all of Hollywood.

“Just think about it,” said DeVille. “You’ve got five star running backs like Stafon Johnson, CJ Gable, Allen Bradford. Add in four stars like Emmanuel Moody and Michael Coleman. And they sign the top two rated running backs in McKnight and Tyler? And another four star guy named Broderick Green? And their starter is probably going to be redshirt senior Chauncey Washington? Is Carroll telling these kids USC gets four balls on offensive plays now? Blue Steel? Ferrari? Le Tigra? They’re the same face! Doesn’t anybody notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”

NCAA officials confirmed that USC’s recruiting day haul makes them eligible for at least three more years of juvenile malpropisms, preserving the nation’s ability to refer to the Trojans as “SUC”, “Toejams”, “Condumbs” and “stupid shithead Gucci fucks”.

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Sources say Carroll interviewing to be first guy in line to punch Reggie Bush’s stepfather in face

LOS ANGELES, CA – According to several sources USC head coach Pete Carroll interviewed yesterday for the first spot in a line that would ultimately lead to punching LaMarr Griffin in the face. Griffin – the stepfather of former Southern California and current New Orleans star tailback Reggie Bush – is in the middle of an ongoing investigation about receiving improper benefits during the 2004 and 2005 seasons while Bush was a key member of the Trojans’ run to two consecutive BCS title games. According to a close associate of Carroll, the Griffin-punching position is “exactly what Pete wants, the kind of situation he’s been very enthusiastic about from day one.”

Carroll, above, is 65-12 in six seasons with the Trojans.

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SOS: Save Our Shitty-Home-Opener

That SOS can also stand for Strength of Schedule which, under Pete Carroll, has maintained a fairly steady balance between solid (2004) to BCS Death March (2002). SOS is no longer an official part of the BCS formula but it still figures into several of the computer components, and if you don’t have it in a close year it’ll force you to accept the world’s worst consolation prize. In Carroll’s six years the Trojans have played the following out of conference (OOC) games, with season end rankings listed:

2001
San Jose State, unranked
Kansas State, unranked
at Notre Dame, unranked
Utah (Las Vegas Bowl), unranked

2002
Auburn, 14th
at Colorado, 20th, Big XII North Division Champions
at Kansas State, 7th
Notre Dame, 17th
Iowa (Orange Bowl), 8th, Big Ten C0-Champions

2003
at Auburn, unranked
BYU, unranked
Hawai’i, unranked
at Notre Dame, unranked
Michigan (Rose Bowl), 6th, Big Ten Champions

2004
Virginia Tech (BCA Classic at FedEx Field, Maryland), 10th, ACC Champions
Colorado State, unranked
at BYU, unranked
Notre Dame, unranked
Oklahoma (Orange Bowl), 3rd, Big XII Champions

2005
at Hawai’i, unranked
Arkansas, unranked
at Notre Dame, 9th
Fresno State, unranked
Texas (Rose Bowl), 1st, BCS Champions

2006
at Arkansas, 15th, SEC West Division Champions
Nebraska, unranked, Big XII North Division Champions
Notre Dame, 17th
Michigan (Rose Bowl), 8th

If you’re counting, that’s a total of 7 non-BCS teams and 15 BCS teams scheduled in six years, with a 5-1 ratio of BCS-to-non-BCS in bowl games. That’s also 12 home games, 9 away games and one game at a neutral site (2004’s BCA Classic in Maryland). In 2006 the NCAA officially moved to a 12 game regular season; the Pac-10 went from an 8 game schedule to a true round robin with each team playing all nine conference opponents.

And now:

2007
Idaho
at Nebraska
at Notre Dame

Nebraska should be ranked in the twenties with the loss of Zach Taylor offset by former ASU quarterback Sam Keller. Notre Dame should be unranked. And Idaho? Idaho is a holdover from the period when Nick Holt, former linebackers coach and current defensive coordinator for USC, was the Vandals’ head coach. Idaho is filler material. Idaho is Idaho.

And now:

ESPN is brokering an arrangement in which the [Hawai'i] Warriors might open the season Sept. 1 at Southern California. In order for that to occur, USC would have to get out of its scheduled game against Idaho that day.

It’s from The Honolulu Advertiser, and it’s a blurb at the end of an article about a game between Washington and Hawai’i. As in the Hawai’i team featuring Brennan Colt. As in the guy who declared for the draft on the last day possible, then waited 72 hours to undeclare at the last possible minute. As in the guy who threw for 326 touchdowns in one season, 208 of those against Arizona State in the Hawai’i Bowl. As in the guy who’ll be an early season Heisman dark horse behind Darren McFadden, Steve Slaton, Henne/Hart, Brian Brohm, Desean Jackson and (YES) John David Booty.

I say early season Heisman candidate because I am confident that Hawai’i would lose at the Coliseum on Sept. 1 if the game should happen, derailing Colt’s no doubt cute campaign as the kid-who-could-(throw-for-a-bajillion-TDs-against-you). The Warriors return pretty much all of the wide receivers who helped Colt become Division I-A’s single season touchdown leader (58 TDs in 14 games), and the same applies to the offensive line. (Not really: they lose two starters, but as a program heavily stocked in Pacific-Islanders I think we can rightly assume the Warriors will find a few large men to replace the departed.) Offensively, the biggest loss in my opinion is 5’9″ 240 lbs. “wide receiver” Nate Ilaoa, who looked like a svelte bowling ball every time he had the rock. I was a big fan of Ilaoa and his amusing status as a WR.

I am confident USC would beat Hawai’i because the Warriors were 93rd in total defense last season, 105th in pass defense. I’m not trying to pull those numbers out of my ass just to support my homerism. Hawai’i’s schedule was a big meh: it featured such offensive heavyweights as Alabama (65th in total offense), UNLV (84th), Utah State (114th) and, of course, Idaho (94th). It also featured the curious (New Mexico St. at 2nd in the nation in passing with 399 yards/game), the surprising (San Jose St. with 175 rushing yards a game, good for 20th in the nation and a good toss up as to why the Spartans came closer than any other team to beating Boise State) and the miraculous (the aforementioned Broncos of the Smurf Turf).

Numbers are nice, but I’ve seen Hawai’i play twice. In person. They’re losing their best defensive player (safety Leonard Peters, he of Troy Polamalu-ish hair style) and they’re notoriously undisciplined on the defensive side of the ball. In 2005 they held the ball pretty much the entire first quarter against USC and the Trojans scored 63 anyway. Yes, that was with Bush and Leinart and White and Jarrett. But with 2007’s defense I’ll take my chances against any one-dimensional team.

I may be exaggerating my confidence in USC beating Hawai’i. When you can throw for five touchdowns in one half like Colt did to the Sun Devils you should believe you’ll win any game. And the Warriors would be a wee bit excited to play USC, whom they’ve never beaten in six tries, in the Coliseum in front of a national audience – and since ESPN is pushing for it, it’ll be a national audience. Throw in the fact that the Warriors really would have a legit shot of being the first team in six years to beat USC at home and you’ll have a formula for good football watching. For the love of all that is good in this world please don’t make me watch Southern California-Idaho. Please.

And for any (hypothetical) Vandal fans, I’m not mocking you. I’m just stating the truth. This would be mocking you.

However, despite my taking the time to write the above the chances of this deal happening appear to be somewhat slim. Hawai’i-USC has been in the works for a long time now. Both Idaho and USC have been trying to get out of their “game” ever since Holt left Moscow to coach in Los Angeles, but the Trojans have had a hard time convincing teams to give them a single home game. The schedule is full until at least the next decade with Syracuse being added to the 2008 and 2010 seasons, thanks to former Trojan and current Orangemen athletic director Daryl Gross. (Don’t go by the official schedules at the USC athletic website; they haven’t been updated because the deal is a handshake one so far. I’d still say it’s a 90% chancer.) The Trojans don’t have much room to negotiate a true home-and-home and are looking for a one year thing at the Coliseum to balance out six games on the road in 2007. Under NCAA rules Hawai’i can schedule up to five non-conference games a season. The only thing I’ve found is a brief blurb here:

Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier said they [remaining non-conference games] will be Division I, and is leaning toward home games after Brennan announced Wednesday he will return for his senior season rather than go pro.

C’mon! First rule of athletic directors at mid-majors hoping to push a Heisman candidate: clever is nice, schedule is nicer. Sure, you can try putting together a DVD and sending free copies to all the voters. You could even erect a 100-ft. billboard in downtown New York – but then you’d be Joey Harrington, and no one wants that. Not even Joey Harrington. Heisman voters are stupid, archaic beings who belong to a silly group that hands out an overrated trophy… but they also pay attention to the schedule a candidate plays. If Frazier is worried Colt’s campaign needs a boost by adding home games, he’d do better by the former Mater Dei High quarterback if he asked himself what kind of boost Colt would get by beating the pre-season top ranked Trojans in Los Angeles. In a race featuring at least three or four candidates with better chances than him, a good game against USC is Colt’s best hope for a ticket to New York. Will any of that change what appears to be a foregone slaughter of (yawn) Idaho in the Coliseum? Probably not. Am I gonna get anything out of a couple thousand words advocating USC putting a Heisman candidate on the schedule in a season in which the Trojans have a good shot at the national championship? Probably not.

Boo.

This doesn’t really belong at the end of the post, but 2004 Auburn Tigers? I liked you. I really did. Still: HA-ha.

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