Friday, August 18, 2006

The "other" Manhattan

Forget speaches about burning ships and canibals. Forget running off 3 of your 5 scholarship QB's within a single offseason. Forget the new coach who's never seen a camera he won't talk too. Forget recruiting every 5'8" 150lb running back in the entire midwest. The most embarassing thing to come out of Manhattan, KS is [THIS] abomination.

"Yeah, Willie's gonna make it happen!"

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Only Analysis That Matters - SEC Part #2

As promised, here's the rest of the SEC rankings - which will complete all the major conferences. I'll do a wrap up with some independant and small conference mascot in addition to announcing the conference OMG WINNAR!!111! in a soon to come final column on this subject.

Louisiana State Tiger

Strengths: He's a tiger. A fully grown tiger with fangs and all. The current "Mike" is only the fifth tiger that has represented LSU since 1936, which is very impressive when you think of it - they take good care of their tigers down in the bayou. Mike stalking in his enclosure on a sweaty deep black night in front of 90,000 drunken crazy cajuns in Death Valley is one of the premiere home field experiences in all of college football. Nobody other than cajuns would have a live 500lb+ predator on the sideline, but for some reason it seems a natural fit with LSU.

Weaknesses: None. Even the generic "Tigers" is excusable when you are named after a Civil War unit from New Orleans that wore uniforms like [this].

Rating: Not even possible of sucking. Mike the Tiger is the best mascot in all of college football.

Ole Miss Rebel

Strengths: Well, there isn't a mascot since Colonel Reb was banned from sporting events by the school. (you can read the whole saga [here])

When you have 40,000 people qualified to vote for a new mascot and only 2,400 actually do ... either nobody cares, or you have terrible choices like [this] and [this].

Rating: Sucks beyond belief. Get with the program Ole Miss, with some of the best looking women on the planet - just get one in her Sunday best and make her the mascot. That would instantly vault you up the list.

Mississippi State Bulldog

Strengths: Again, another live bulldog. While Uga gets all the attention, it's hard to remember that there's another live bulldog in the same conference - and just as cool.

Weaknesses: Bully might be an even lamer and unimaginative name than Uga.

Rating: Very cool. Starkville might not have the same renown and name recognition that Oxford and the Grove have, but it's home to the best mascot in the state, that's for sure.

South Carolina Gamecock

Strengths: Besides being the stuff of Col. Sanders dreams? It's unique, and this rating system is skewed that way. I'm not aware of another Gamecock at any level of sports, so that's gotta be going for it. Violent mascots are always preferable to placid ones as well, and birds trained to kill each other with razors strapped to their legs are cool by me.

Weaknesses: Seriously, the costume sucks. It's a big bag/skirt thing with a goofy head, and a really unoriginal name - "Cocky".

Rating: I know it won a national mascot of the year competition recently, but it still sucks. The whole hoop skirt thing went out in the '80's. The 1880's. Cockabooses though? Those don't suck.

Tennessee Hound

Strengths: Since there's two bulldogs in the SEC alone, a bluetick hound gets the nod as the most unique live dog mascot I know of. "Smokey" makes a splendid sight in his checkered blanket and with his loud and dinstinctive howl is one of the reasons why gameday in Neyland is such a treat.

Weaknesses: Is surrounded by people from Tennessee, which frankly isn't the poor dogs fault.

Rating: Great mascot. A bit light on tradition compared to one like Mike the Tiger, but still in the upper tier of college mascots.

Vanderbilt Commodore

Strengths: Commodores is a cool name!

Weaknesses: Everything about this abortion of a costume from the creepy oversized head to the wierd angle the hat is at and the gloves and tuxedo pants that look like sweats. The "oversized head on a human body" mascot costume style is the one we dislike the most, and this is one of the worst offenders.

Rating: Unlike the school, this mascot really sucks.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Blogpoll, It's Back and Better Than Ever!

Brian over at mgoblog did a fantastic job with the Blogpoll last year, and this year he's done yeoman's work in revamping the interface and adding features making it easier on us voters to, you know ... vote. What hasn't changed though is that crazy homerific bloggers with strong regional preferences are picking the top 25. Suprisingly, this makes us only half as biased as the professional sportswriters and coaches who contribute to the "real" polls.

So without further ado, here's my first ballot of the season. It's not due to be finalized until Wednesday - so if you think I'm a complete moron putting Navy and Arkansas in the top 25, feel free to tell me so, I'm willing to consider anyone for 20-25.

1 Texas 25
2 Ohio State 24
3 Southern Cal 23
4 Auburn 22
5 Notre Dame 21
6 Louisiana State 20
7 Florida 19
8 Florida State 18
9 Cal 17
10 West Virginia 16
11 Louisville 15
12 Miami (Florida) 14
13 Oklahoma 13
14 Virginia Tech 12
15 Clemson 11
16 Iowa 10
17 Penn State 9
18 Oregon 8
19 Michigan 7
20 Arizona State 6
21 Georgia 5
22 Boston College 4
23 Georgia Tech 3
24 Navy 2
25 Arkansas 1

Dropped Out:

Sunday, August 13, 2006

It's the Awesomeist!

Tell me you can watch this and resist not immediately sending an application letter in to Clemson:

There has to be a wiley Gamecock fan behind this - to whoever you are, well done.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Only Analysis That Matters - SEC Part #1

Yikes. Don't ever move to NYC from half way across the country under the following circumstances: You don't know anyone in the city to help you, your wife is out of the country and unable to assist, and you have exactly two days between the end of your job in KC and the start of your job in NYC. Trust me on this. Did I mention finding an apartment within walking distance of Columbia that isn't a student dump and/or isn't in the hood? When the first thing every broker says as you approach an apartment is "this area has become quite gentrified in the past couple of years, don't believe what you've heard about it" ... be afraid. Very afraid.

So anyways, I'm back blogging again. Thankfully all the havoc in my personal life happened during the summer, so I didn't really miss anything with my absence from the internet (withdrawl shakes not withstanding). Practice has started, guys are fighting and there's already a debate raging in Tech circles on how well the new offense is going to work and how well Reggie fits with it. My position? It can't be worse, so bring it on. The House Rock Built will have a piece I did for them previewing Tech and answering some offbeat questions about the school - you can check that out for more Tech related football stuff here in the near future.

Most importantly though, here's the long awaited first half of the SEC mascot review ... you wouldn't believe the amount of mail in my inbox about this. Seriously, I can't even comment on without someone bringing it up. So, without futher ado ... here we go.

Alabama Elephant

Strengths: Well, he's an elephant, and that's pretty cool. Certainly unique as well. "Big Al" is a great name, and while the mascot costume is a bit cutie fruitie - it's also one that's certainly fun and family friendly.

Weaknesses: That trunk is pretty flimsy looking - seriously, it looks like a sock hung over one of those red plastic Solo cups on his face, and overall it's a bit too cute for my tastes

Rating: Doesn't suck

Arkansas Razorback

Strengths: I'll let this piece speak for itself, I can't sum it up any better

The live mascot tradition dates back to the 1960s. A number of hogs have proudly represented Arkansas through the years. In addition to their presence on the sidelines, some also gained a reputation for their activities off the field.

Big Red III, for instance, escaped from an animal exhibit near Eureka Springs in the summer of 1977 and ravaged the countryside before an irate farmer gunned him down. And Ragnar, a wild hog captured in south Arkansas by Leola farmer Bill Robinson, killed a coyote, a 450-pound domestic pig and seven rattlesnakes. Ragnar died in 1978 of unknown causes.

So um, yeah, Razorbacks are pretty badass. I'm trying to think of another school's mascot who had to be gunned down after leaving a swath of destruction and coming up with nothing.

Weaknesses: Arkansas can't leave well enough alone, and not only has a family of costumed mascots but also one of those gawdawful inflatable ones.

Rating: Doesn't suck, solely on the strength of the live one. The wretched costumed family (wtf - "pork chop" the kid?) and the even worse inflatable one nearly torpedoed this ranking, but the thought of a big raging pig on the warpath in the Arkansas countryside is too good to be ruined by those.

Auburn Tiger

Strengths: Had his tail ripped off by crazy GT freshman - "RATS on the field!" in his first appearance in Atlanta. While Aubie doesn't have much excitement in the costume or nickname, his antics and routine are pretty cool. Aubie has been nominated for the mascot hall of fame, as a member of the spirit squad he does a very good job.

Weaknesses: Pretty generic tiger costume. When you've got a common "every high school" mascot, you need a sweet costume (or live mascot) to push you over the top. Aubie doesn't bring that. I love Calvin and Hobbes, but I'm not sure I want a crazy kid's imaginary tiger as my mascot.

Rating: There would be no question about this if the eagles were in the rating (one of the best pregames in all of college football). Unfortunately, the school is very clear that the eagles are NOT the mascot ... and thus poor Aubie gets a suck rating.

Florida Gator

Strengths: Was the star character in one of the 5 best "This is SportsCenter" ads of all time. Again, much like "Big Al", "Albert" is a unique mascot with a cool name. The costume looks sort of like a giant stuffed animal, but when you are trying to make a costume out of an animal with 18" tall legs you get a bit of a pass if it looks a tiny bit goofy.

Weaknesses: Again, a bit too cutsie for me - and "Alberta"? The whole family of mascots things has to go, this is a trend that is threating college football all over the country and needs to be nipped in the bud.

Rating: Doesn't suck - though this would be clinched if "Albert" showed up to a game wearing a pair of jorts.

Georgia Bulldog

Strengths: Man, it kills me to say this but I like Uga. He's got tons of character, he waddles around like he owns the place (which he basically does) and he attacked an Auburn WR who had the audacity to score in his end zone. I'm a sucker for dogs and for live mascots, Uga is both of them.

Weaknesses: Uga is the best they could come up with for a name? Of course, this is Georgia we are talking about - so I guess they had to choose something easy to both remember and spell. Also, Uga has to share time with the horrendous "Hairy Dawg" costume, which should be burned. One of the worst costumes in college athletics. Uga is also responsible for legions of rednecks "barking" at each other in the state of Georgia, which is a crime against humanity.

Rating: Hairy Dawg sucks, sucks, sucks. Uga doesn't.

Kentucky Wildcat

Strengths: Um, the school logo with the wildcat is cool?

Weaknesses: This costume is straight from the corner costume store generic "wildcat, tiger, bearcat, puma, leopard" rack. This is beyond generic, he doesn't even have a name.

Rating: Sucks. A lot.

Part 2 of the SEC will be later this weekend, and then we'll unveil the best conference in America winner - and it's not like our criteria are any worse than whatever 90% of the writers in sports pages around the country are using right now.