Monday, December 31, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Top Ten of 2012

Honorable Mentions

Predicting My Own Death

Relationship Advice

Illini Go 10-0

True Story

Non-Sports Brackets

10. Mark Fever
Mark came to town.

9. Lyrical Analysis of Take Me Out To The Ballgame
Baseball coverage!

8. Fantasy Football and Advanced Probability
I had to break out some real maths for this one.

7. Revamped NFL Logos
Collected a bunch of interesting logos.

6. Essay: Miracle That Almost Wasn't
Short piece about the Miracle on Ice

5. Curling Championship Run
Our 4-0 season capped off by losing on the last shot.

4. Fixing NHL Math
I have lots of good ideas.

3. Avalanche OT Winner In Person
I'm Landeskoging right now.

2. Fixing the Electoral College
I seriously have too many good ideas.

...and what defined 2012 more than any other blog post...?
Number One

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fantasy Football Trophies

We've been handing out fantasy football trophies for six years now. But it's not the same trophy every year. Each trophy you win, you level up. Let me show you.


This is the first trophy you collect. 5" Runner Male on white base.

Mark 2006
Dave 2007
Harlan 2010
Mac 2014


After that you get the 5 1/2" Receiver on white base.

Dave 2008*
Mark 2009

*= earned but never ordered, so I don't actually own this. 


Now we're in rare territory. The 5" Jr. Runner on white base.

Mark 2011

Here's a picture of levels 1-3, the highest in-hand to date.


Unprecedented. We ran out of white base trophies. So now it's...

The 5" runner on black marble. Holy shit.

Mark 2012

At this rate, Mark will complete level 6 before anyone else gets to level 2. And that's a problem because I don't know what level 7 is, but I'm guessing it starts getting more expensive.

Here are the links for future reference:

White Marble Trophies

Black Marble Trophies

Thursday, December 27, 2012

BCS 2012-2013: 2-team, 4-team, 8 team playoffs

Actual 2012-2013 BCS Schedule
Rose: Wisconsin (Big Ten) vs Stanford (Pac-12)
Orange: Northern Illinois (non-AQ) vs Florida State (ACC)
Sugar: Louisville (Big East) vs Florida (At-Large)
Fiesta: K-State (Big 12) vs Oregon (At-Large)
Championship: #1 Notre Dame (indy) vs #2 Alabama (SEC)

4-Team Playoff
The new system won't be based on computer rankings but rather an independent committee. So I can't presume to know what they would pick. However, I found this interesting article from SI that mocked the process. And although they went against the rankings in not having K-State in their top 8 under consideration, their final four went exactly as the BCS has them:

Semifinal #1: Notre Dame (1) vs Oregon (4)
Semifinal #2: Alabama (2) vs Florida (3)
Championship: tbd

8-Team Playoff 

This is my Fymbo Formula 1.1a, based on BCS rankings, restricting each conference to maximum two teams, and including at least one non-BCS team if they are in the top 12.

January 1st
Fiesta: #1 Notre Dame (indy) vs #8 Florida State (ACC)
Sugar: #2 Alabama (SEC) vs #7 Oklahoma (At-Large)
Orange: #3 Florida (At-Large) vs #6 Stanford (At-Large)
Rose: #4 Oregon (Pac-12) vs #5 Kansas State (Big 12)

January 12th

Semifinal #1: Notre Dame vs Oregon/K-State
Semifinal #2: Alabama vs Florida/Stanford

Championship: tbd

- - -

Is the 4-team an improvement from the current schedule? I say yes. Perhaps a small one, but I think it's better. It's certainly not a downgrade. I think there are enough doubters about ND, that forcing them to play Oregon is a good thing. And Alabama and Florida both had one loss. So why not let them duke it out?

What about the 8-team? It's pretty similar to the 4-team. Though because the BCS rankings are so SEC-heavy, I had to dig down deep to find Oklahoma and Florida State--they probably don't deserve a shot at the title. But if we assume they lose, now it's a 6 team field with a chance for Stanford and K-State to prove they belong. Not a bad thing in my book.

In the end I'm happy that the 4-team playoff will be coming our way and I'm not too sad about the 8-team being too impractical for now.

Embracing the 4-Team Playoff

I looked at this last year, but I think that I was too hung up on not getting an 8-team playoff that I wasn't as excited as I should have been about getting a 4-team playoff.

Of the previous 8 years, only once was it a downgrade from the current system (2005). And overall it was a big help, usually adding that third team that was left out.

And when you factor in the reality that conferences aren't about to cut games (money makers) and an 8-team playoff would ask a SEC team to possibly play 16 games, this 4-team playoff might in fact be the perfect situation. At least for now.

Now then, let's a take a look at this year's schedule and what could or should have been... (to be continued)

sports vacation / bowl schedule

Aside from Illinois basketball, I've sort of taken a sports vacation.

I couldn't tell you who's secured an NFL playoff spot without checking my Calcutta shortcut.
I have no idea what bowl games have been played and for a second I thought that I had missed New Year's Day already.
Hockey is in a coma.

I watched the Illinois-Missouri game. That was a bummer. But at least competitive. We were up 3 with under seven minutes to play. Sure you'd like to close that out, but it's better than being down ten the entire second half.

Other than that, I couldn't tell you what's going on.

The NFL Playoffs will be easy enough to jump into, especially with our Calcutta teams on the line.

So I figured I'd look at the bowl games and see if there's anything interesting.

- - -

A quick scan here and it seems as I haven't missed anything big yet. 

Here are the games that I could see myself watching:

Jan. 1 - 11am MST: Georgia/Nebraska: Capital One Bowl on ABC
Jan. 4 - 6pm MST: Texas A&M/Oklahoma: Cotton Bowl on FOX

I would turn on the Rose Bowl (Stanford/Wisconsin) or Fiesta Bowl (K-State/Oregon) but I don't have ESPN.

However, I plan on heading over to the in-laws to watch the title game on ESPN.

Monday, Jan. 7th at 6:30pm MST.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

the last sandwich we built on the podcast

Thick Layer Of Cream Cheese
Dill Pickles
Grilled Onions
Pepper Jack
Spicy Mustard
Brownberry Oatnut Bread

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

New Book: Milestone

I have completed the rough draft of all thirty essays. (If you don't know what I'm talking about.)

The editing process should not be overlooked, so it's hard to say exactly when it will be published. But it's safe to say that at the absolute latest, it will be November 2013.

Aside from editing, I still need to decide on a title and create the cover. Also there will be significant formatting for both an e-book and paperback.

But hey, the rough draft is the hardest part. It's currently clocking in at almost 43,000 words which is about 80% as long as Autopilot.

As a sneak peek for loyal HC readers, here is the working titles and order of the individual essays.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Top Ten, 10-0

Worth it for the block:

Worth it for the celebration:

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Second Turkey

So last year was my first turkey. This makes two.

I did things a bit differently this year. 

I got a 20 lb bird and put in the fridge to thaw Friday night.

Brining is all the rage but I read this year that you shouldn't brine a turkey that comes injected with a saline solution, as that is already pre-brined. Of course, all the frozen turkeys I've ever seen are like that. So I'm not sure how everyone and their mom is talking about brining--is everyone really paying big bucks for a fresh turkey?

I think this turkey was around $14 and it was a Honeysuckle premium brand and huge. 

Brining is a pain in the ass, spilling liquid everywhere. Plus, I heard that trash bags aren't good to use as they can leach chemicals, so I didn't really have a plan for doing it in the fridge anyways. 

So no brine. Also, no roasting bag. Going old school. But with an Alton Brown twist. 

The night before I opened the turkey, pulled out the crap, and let it sit in the fridge overnight exposed. The idea was to let the skin get nice and dry so it would crisp better. 

In the morning, I pulled it out, rubbed canola oil all over, salt, pepper, a little herbed chicken rub. Put it in the oven with the legs to the back. And put in at 500 degrees. For half an hour. That's the Alton Brown method.

After 30 minutes, drop the temp to 350 and add foil to cover the white meat. At this point the turkey's already got a nice color. I roasted it for another 3 hours. I did flip it over with twenty minutes to go to brown the bottom a bit. 

I pulled it out before the thermometer popped up as Mr. Brown says you can't trust it. That by the time it's popped it's already drying out. 

Let it rest for a long time, then carve. Then top it with hot cider/butter/honey glaze right before serving. 

Turned out excellent, without the need to brine. Easy peasy. 

Though I do need a roasting pan, as the shallow pan I used was overflowing with grease and burning on the bottom of the oven, making a bit of smoke. So yeah. Turkey was great though.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

state of sports

Chiefs 1-10 (virtually a shoe-in for the #1 pick now, but there's no good qbs this year)
Illinois Football 1-10 (can't count non div 1-a teams)
Fantasy Team 2-9
Brit's Fantasy Team 3-8 (despite being 2nd out of 8 in scoring)
Avalanche [season canceled]

- - -

Fucking yikes.

- - -

And then there's Illinois basketball. Good wins against USC and Butler, close wins against Hawaii and Garnder-Webb. By default, I'm all in on Illinois basketball now. The Big Ten is super tough this year, but I would love a strong conference season, maybe a sweet sixteen run. And I want to beat Missouri on 12/22.

- - -

Back to Illinois Football. Here is the list of seasons where a Big Ten team didn't win a conference game in the last 15 years:

Illinois 1997 
Northwestern 1998
Iowa 1999
Illinois 2003
Illinois 2005
Indiana 2011
Illinois 2012

No other team has two, and we have four. Jesus, two of them we were in school for. Since I became an Illini, we've done it three times and only one other school has done it once.

And I hate our coach. He got a flag for running into the ref, although he was the one that fell down. He got an infraction for using chewing tobacco on the sideline. Our team wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for penalties and turnovers, signs of a poorly coached team. He's awful. He and Romeo Crennel can go take a cruise together and get out of my life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Illinois is the greatest team in the history of basketball

This video is so good it can't be contained by my usual width.

bands I like that sing about Colorado

311 - "Six"
Like a drive through Estes Park, you savor the sun
But when the clouds come, make animals

Ozma - "Rocks"
I've been trying to find a way to finally up and find you
Climbing every boulder in my way
To throw me off your trail you moved to Boulder, Colorado
A hop, a skip, and one long jump away
I finally found a way to find a way to finally find you
Down where Colorado Street meets Hill
Pick a rock and throw it way across the Rocky Mountains
And pray to God it hits your window sill

Bowling For Soup - "Surf Colorado"
Remember the first time, Goddamn we got so high
She held me so close that I thought that I might break
And now she's a mile high and I'm on Texas time
She traded rattlesnakes for bunny runs in Colorado Springs
Yeah, there's no surf in Colorado anyway
And it's a shame to hear you're happy
And you still look at me that way

The Hold Steady - "Multitude of Casualties"
She drove it like she stole it
She stole it fast and with a multitude of casualties
She said I shipped it out from Boulder
Packed in coffee grounds and wrapped around in dryer sheets
We spent a few months just wandering the Sonoma
High as hell and shivering and smashed
We were trying for a vision quest 
We opened up three buttons
And all we saw was desert trash

The Hold Steady - "Don't Let Me Explode"
He said what about Los Angeles?
She said we never really made it that far west
We scored big in Denver and thought it might be best
To go hang around in the upper Midwest

The Hold Steady - "Cattle and the Creeping Things"
Don't it all end up in some revelation with four guys on horses and violent red visions
Famine and death and pestilence and war?
I'm pretty sure I heard this one before
You in the corner with a good looking drifter, two cups of coffee and ten packs of sugar
I heard Gideon saw you in Denver
He said you're contagious

Still waiting on video highlights.

New Book: An Announcement

I am proud to announce a new book that will be available in the next year.

After writing fiction exclusively for over a decade, this will be my first collection of essays about my own life. The yet-untitled book will cover everything from odd jobs to failed romances, from sleep loss to a camping trip.

The plan is to publish a collection of 30 personal essays on (or by) my 30th birthday. To date, I've completed the first draft of 23 already. I am committed to having this published for the public by November 22, 2013. Though there's a chance that I'll finish it sooner.

It will be available on Amazon Kindle and paperback via

Thank you. End transmission.

Monday, November 19, 2012

big 14

Thoughts on the new Big Ten? I hate it.

Maryland and Rutgers?

The logic behind it goes against the very notion of conferences. The logic is that with a wide geographic reach, the Big Ten can charge more money for their cable package, since they're in more homes.

If that's such a great thing, why not have a conference with teams in every state? Who cares about rivalries and tradition when you can make more money with the Big Ten Network? I'm sure the product won't get watered down and people will still tune in for a fucking Maryland-Minnesota football game.

As for how it affects the Illini:

So obviously, Illinois is now in the much tougher division. A Lion Eye was all over it, calling it a "death blow to Illinois football." (He had it first on twitter.)

My reaction was that it doesn't change things. In order to win the conference, Illinois will have to be good again, and it shouldn't matter who you're playing.

But then I realized that college football is not like every other sport. College football has bowls. And a 7-5 season with a bowl game is much better than a 5-7 season without one. So even if neither of those two seasons had you in serious contention for a conference championship, a favorable schedule is a good thing.

- - -

As I was thinking about the last point, I struggled a bit. Because every sport I thought of has its own benefits for having a favorable schedule. Let's run through them real quick.

Division winners make the playoffs. So if you're in a crappy division like the NFC West over the previous 8 years, you could get in with a 8-8 or 7-9 record. And then win a playoff game. Meanwhile, a 11-5 Patriots team can miss the playoffs.

With over half the league making the playoffs, it doesn't matter for the top teams. But if you're a team like the Islanders and your division is full of 4 other playoff teams, while the Capitals and Senators get to play divisional games against weaker teams, it matters.

I think this effect is minimal. If you play an easy schedule, your resume on the surface might seem shinier. But the committee looks at schedules when slotting tournament teams, so I don't think you'll reap big rewards.

The lesson here and point I was trying to make is that favorable divisons/schedules don't matter to Ohio State or Michigan. So while Illini fans hope to one day be in a place where they don't matter, right now they certainly do.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

sorting out the national championship

Notre Dame is the new #1. They have one game remaining, on the road against USC. If they win, they're in.

The SEC Championship Game is set: Alabama vs Georgia.

They still have to play Auburn and Georgia Tech respectively.

Assuming Notre Dame, Alabama and Georgia all win next week, it will be clean and easy. Notre Dame vs SEC Champ in the title game.

But if Notre Dame loses, it opens a can of worms. And if the SEC Champ loses next week, then it's anybody's guess.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Favorite Holiday

Mrs. Hoagie Central loves holidays. And her favorites are Christmas and Halloween. I'm generally not big into holidays. But I do have a favorite.


It puts all other holidays to shame. Let's count the ways.

1. It's the best meal of the year. Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, various family favorites. And multiple pies. Somehow this meal is huge and yet strikes that balance between delicious and not junk food.

2. Getting stuffed and watching football. Is there anything better than eating too much and sitting on the couch to watch football. The one time a year it's okay to fall asleep watching football. And it's glorious.

3. I appreciate that this holiday is not about gift giving or going out to party. This is about family coming together, saying what they're thankful for, and cooking together. It's the most genuine of the holidays. And it's a uniquely American holiday.

For a long time, I've never really enjoyed opening presents. It's always sort of awkward and it feels cheap. I do enjoy giving presents and now that I have a kid, that's what Christmas is going to be all about, so Christmas will probably get better and better.

But New Years? Halloween? I don't really care for any of them.

Thanksgiving will always be a winner.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Curling: subbing week one

So I didn't sign up for the current 5-week session. It's $120 and I figured with the holidays coming and a major purchase on the horizon, it wasn't worth it. I can still play in the session after New Year's.

However, it seems that I might get to play a majority of the session anyways, as team members have some conflicts. Tonight I was asked to sub.

We lost 8-6. We were down one, in the final end with the hammer, but couldn't get it done.

I played like crap all night. There was another sub on our team, and since he had a lot of experience he was the skip. He's a good player but I didn't like the shots that he called for me. And as vice-skip, I should have been calling the shots for him, but he called his own. So that was annoying. But not as annoying as...

Our opponent was McSerious.

He is the fucking worst. Here's all the annoying shit he does:

  • he is always the loudest person on the ice, unnecessarily so
  • he makes a big deal about pointing with his arm extended to line up his shot, as if he's Babe Ruth calling his shot
  • he coaches the other people on his team as if he's a curling legend, but he's not that great at shot-making
  • i found out his name is Barry--what a dick name
  • during a lull, I asked McSerious and our skip how long they've been playing. our skip said seven years. McSerious said nothing. So I asked him again, "And how long have you been playing?" He pretended not to hear me. And then finally said, "Thirty five." Now he looks like he's in his early forties. At first I wondered if he as maybe 50, and had been playing since he was 15. But then I realized he meant he started when he was thirty five. But since I don't know his age, that doesn't tell me how long he's been playing. My skip mentioned he thought Barry had been playing for about seven years too. Which checks out that he looks like he could be 42. So he could have said seven, but said 35. The reason it matters, is this is a rookie league for people playing under three years. I understand if someone is looking for a sub...but he was on this team last session. So it doesn't seem like he's subbing. And even if he is, he should realize this is the rookie league and tone it down
  • He's the only one who uses a stopwatch to measure the speed of the stones. This isn't the fucking Olympic qualifiers dude. 
  • Oh yeah, and of course he takes forever, so we only got to play 7 ends instead of the full 8

Anyways, we couldn't beat him tonight, but we beat him two weeks ago. He's a dick.

Friday, November 09, 2012


Brit's Fantasy Football and Advanced Probability

Brit is in an 8-team fantasy football league. If every team played every team every week, these would be their records:

Possum 44-19
Brit 38-25
lily 36-27
Bellabloo 30-33
Colts 29-34
Lauren 29-34
Texan 28-35
Chad 18-45

Not bad. A solid second place.

So what are the standings through 9 weeks?

Possum is where you'd expect, but Brit and Lily drop 4 and 5 spots. Lauren, a team with a losing record in totality, is 6-3, just one game off the leader.

So what are the odds of a 38-25 team having a 3-6 record after nine games?

I tried to figure it out. I really did. And got stumped. So I asked

And their answers were way over my head:

I have no idea what to do with that. Other than to say it's probably around 8 or 9%.

For the record, here is her roster this week:

Steven Jackson, Harvin, Sproles, Eli all on the bench. I think Big Ben and Heath go bananas on the Chiefs D. Todd Haley running up the score.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The amount of stupid comments here is rage inducing.

I'm shocked and dumbfounded that there are people who would get mad at a father for missing a game for his child's birth.

Daylight Saving visually

The red lines mark my approximate waking hours.
The orange lines mark my approximate commute.

Year-round, my morning commute is never in the dark. Yet because we just went off DST, my evening commute in the winter is in the dark.

As for waking hours, in the morning I'm never outside so it doesn't affect me. But during the evenings, I enjoy the long summer days. I would like if the days went longer in the winter too.

To sum up, I like daylight saving time. So much so, that I wish it went year-round, which is the same effect as just shifting all time zones by one hour.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Math of a Victory, part two

Two months ago I posted this. 

I said that we could start with 237 Obama, 206 Romney, which leaves 95 tossup votes. With Romney needing 64 out of those 95.

He got zero.

Two months ago, I said he needed a semi-miracle. He didn't get it.

And yet for the last two months, all the media could report was that this was a tossup. And despite Nate Silver's name being all over everything, it seemed that no one with a microphone could go to and see that this wasn't a tossup.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

What To Watch Tonight

via Deadspin

Monday's Sunset

Unretouched, straight out of my crappy point and shoot.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Curling: Championship Game

We were 4-0. They were 3-1. Their only loss was to us.

We won the toss. Got the hammer first. We were red.

Nobody scored in the first end. It was the only blanked end that I've ever seen--I've played over 100 ends.At this point, I felt good.

Then they scored 3, and 2.

It's Yellow 5, Red 0 with five ends to play. Yikes.

We scored in the fourth, to cut it to a four-point lead with four to play.

Then in the fifth, they were sitting pretty and I hit the shot of the year. A double takeout. Removed both yellow and left my red right in the middle of the house. Our skip added a red. Yellow 5, Red 3. Three to play.

In the sixth, they had a huge cluster up front. We had a couple shots at the end, but no place to put them. We were lucky they only got one out of it. Yellow 6, Red 3. Two to play. I told the team let's get two and two.

We dominated the 7th. With each skip having one shot left, we had three in the house. And we had the hammer. And this time we had the stones up front, so they didn't really have a shot. They had to go wide around the corner, and managed to knock one of our red stones out. Our skip couldn't add anything. So it's Yellow 6, Red 5. One last end. For all the marbles.

My shots sucked. With each skip having one shot left, we were sitting one point. I figured a tie was basically a win, because we owned the better record. But sure enough our skip put one more right in the house. So now we're down one point, but sitting two in the house. Except they have one last shot. I'm standing by, ready to sweep it through the house if it crosses the line that runs through the button.

She lets it go...and I can't tell. At one point I thought it might be heavy, then I thought it might be light. And it finished right in front of our red stone. The yellow was the only one touching the four-foot circle.

Yellow 7, Red 5. Final.

So we finished 4-1. And so did they. Except they got their picture taken, a trophy, and their names on a plaque.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


That's the probability of both me and my wife facing Doug Martin this week. What have we done to deserve this?

Awful Illini

We lost to Indiana. At home.


But wait. We had 80 more offensive yards. We had more time of possession. How did we lose by 14?

Short answer: We had more penalties and turnovers.

This was the first Illinois game I got to watch this year, so here's the long answer:

1. Up 7-0, personal foul on our defense. Instead of 3rd and 5 from the ILL 41, it's 1st down at our 26. Hoosier touchdown four plays later.

2. Up 14-7, personal foul on our defense. Instead of 4th and 6 at the IND 31, its 1st down near midfield. Hoosier touchdown three plays later.

3. THIS WAS THE FUCKING WORST. At 14-14, Illinois defense forces a punt. Illinois muffs at it the Illini 22, Indiana recovers. Our defense doesn't let them get a first down on three plays. On 4th and 1, Indiana lines up to go for it, except everyone in Memorial Stadium knows they're just trying to draw us offsides. And what do we do. We jump offsides. Give them a first down. Hoosier touchdown on the next play.

This doesn't deserve a bullet point, but down 14-21, with 40 seconds to go until halftime, Illinois faces a 4th and 11 at the Indiana 36. I know it's 4th and long, but there's so little time left that if you give them the ball at their own 36, what can they do with it? Not anything more than we could do with it at their 36. What do we do? Punt. Touchback. Gain of 16 yards. And the kneel to halftime.

4. Down 14-21, we fumble at the ILL 22. Defense holds again, and they only get a field goal.

Down 14-24, we have first and goal at their 7. Rush to the 6. Rush to the 1. Rush to the 3. Field goal. Cut  the deficit to 7. We had two more chances to get a touchdown but couldn't move the ball. Our defense finally bends too far and allows another Hoosier touchdown.

Except for the penalties, our defense played well enough for us to win.
Our turnovers basically gave them ten points and our offense was not good enough to overcome that.


Curling: Week Four

The skip on the opposing team was one of those guys that takes everything too seriously. Before the game even started he made a comment about one of members warming up, he said that we weren't supposed to warm up on the sheet we'd be playing on. Never mind the fact that they were warming up on the sheet one over, it's a really dick thing to say. This is the rookie curling league. Relax.

And then I found out that he isn't even on this team--he's subbing. Also, I think it's weird to be a sub and play skip, especially when you act like you own the joint. Anyways.

We were red.

We scored a point each in the first two ends, they tied it with two in the third. (In the first end, we had to get out the measuring device and McSerious thought it was one point for yellow. Very sastisfying to be proven right.)

In the fourth end, I was up and hit two perfect draw shots to the four-foot, curling in behind some guards. McSerious threw two down the middle, and before our last shot I couldn't tell if we were sitting two red or just one. Our skip threw the hammer and it bumped his closest yellow, making it a definitive three red. (As the vice-skip, I called her shot well and called the sweeping perfectly, so I felt really good about those three points.)

We added another point in the fifth. Red 6, Yellow 2.

They scored in the sixth. Red 6, Yellow 3.

At this point, the other teams are finishing their eight and final end. So I asked if we were going to play seven, or the full eight. I got a noncommittal answer from the other team's vice, "We'll see how what we can fit in." But I knew with us up three, it would affect our strategy if this was the last end.

The reason we were so behind? You guessed it. McSerious takes forever, even walking down to the house between his shots.

We had the hammer. And they got two in the four-foot, including a nice take-out. With just a couple shots left, the other teams were putting their stones away. So I confirmed that this was the last end. On their last shot, McSerious couldn't get to the house. We had the hammer, and I wanted our skip to just burn it. Worst case scenario, she bumped a yellow into the house, and gave them a three to tie. She insisted on shooting, but it was short. We gave them the two points in the last end, but we got the win. Red 6, Yellow 5.

So now we're 4-0.

They didn't post the standings, so I'm not sure who we're facing in the championship. My guess is the team from last week. Stay tuned for next week's recap. Should be a good one.

Friday, October 26, 2012

ESSAY: The Miracle That Almost Wasn't

What follows is an essay that I wrote for an upcoming book. In the editing process, I realized that it didn't fit with the rest of them. Instead of leaving it on the cutting room floor never to be seen, here it is.

- - -

Herb Brooks, Mike Eruzione and even Al Michaels have probably never heard of Dick Lamm. But they should shake his hand. If it weren’t for him, the Miracle on Ice never would have happened.

On May 12, 1970, the International Olympic Committee awarded the 1976 Winter Olympics to the United States. Denver, Colorado would host the Games.

16 years prior, Aspen and Colorado Springs launched a joint effort to bring the 1960 Olympics to Colorado. Those Games were hosted in the United States, but at Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe.

After having Olympics in Austria, France and Japan, the Games were ready to come back to America. Denver beat out Switzerland in the final vote. When the Denver bid committee returned home they were greeted as heroes. A brass band and motorcade toured through the Mile High City.

The glory was short lived. Thanks to a member of the Colorado General Assembly named Dick Lamm. He didn’t want the Olympics in Colorado. And he set out to turn the public against them. Some were worried about the impact on the environment. Others were worried that the state would become overcrowded. Mostly, as it always is, it was about money.

And on November 7, 1972, the voters spoke. 59.4% of Coloradans said they weren’t willing to spend their tax dollars on hosting the Olympics. And like that, the Games were gone. Without funding, the IOC moved the Games to Austria, the host in 1964.

Denver did what no other city or country has ever done to this day: turn down a successful Olympic bid.

The Games went on. Franz Klammer represented the host country well, winning gold in downhill skiing. Dorothy Hamill took home the figure skating gold for the U.S. Everyone had a good time.

The story of the 1976 Winter Olympics ends there. But this is just the beginning. What those Colorado voters didn’t realize in 1972 is that vote created two timelines. A no vote created the timeline that we’ve lived in ever since.

But a yes vote would have created a timeline where the 1976 Olympics are held in the United States. Meaning the 1980 Olympics would have not been held in Lake Placid, New York.

In the timeline we know, Vancouver and Lake Placid were the only bids for the 1980 Games. But in the other timeline, there’s no chance North America would receive back-to-back Olympics.

Some people might think where the Olympics were held wouldn’t have affected the outcome. That the 1980 team of American college hockey players would still have upset the Soviets if the game was played in Finland, Japan, or Yugoslavia. I don’t buy it for a second.

How life unfolds is fragile.

The U.S. had requested to move the medal round game from 5pm to 8pm so it could be shown live in prime-time. The Soviets declined because that would have been a 4am start in Moscow. If that puck drops three hours later, I don’t think Schneider ties the game 14:03 into the first. Or that Johnson puts a rebound home one second before the first period buzzer. Even a simple change of the time of the game and I don’t think Johnson and Eruzione score two goals in the third and hold on for the victory.

So if the game was held in a different country with different flags waving and different fans pounding on the glass, I don’t think the game unfolds the same way.

What some consider the greatest moment in sports history would never have happened if it weren’t for some penny-pinching Colorado voters. We would never have known it was possible. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chiefs 1-5
Illini 1-5 (can't count non 1-A teams)
Fantasy 0-7

Total 2-17

And one of them was against Western Michigan.

Though I'm considering drafting Matthew Stafford every year just to ruin the Lions' season.

The Results of the 2000 Presidential Election if the Electoral College Awarded All States Proportionally

So a few days ago I posted How to Fix the Electoral College. I couldn't let it go.

Before I was sure that it was a good idea I needed to run the numbers and see what it would look like.

Here is the 2000 election showing state results comparing what happened to a proportional vote:

In 15 out of 51, due to rounding and 3rd party candidates, there was a leftover electoral vote. I awarded this to the candidate that won the state and marked these spots in teal. In Minnesota, due to rounding, there was an extra electoral vote. I deducted it from the candidate receiving the fewest votes, Nader.

(Also in 2000, DC had 3 electoral votes. One abstained in protest. So it's not on the chart above, but I've included it below in Gore's totals for math purposes.)

The popular vote totals:
Gore: 50,999,897
Bush: 50,456,002

Gore v Bush ratio = 50.268
Bush v Gore ratio = 49.732

Gore v Bush EC ratio = 267/538 = 49.628
Bush v Gore EC ratio = 271/538 = 50.372

Gore v Bush Prop ratio = 269/532 = 50.564
Bush v Gore Prop ratio = 263/532 = 49.436

So the EC was off the popular vote by .64
The Prop was off the popular vote by .296

It's more than twice as loyal to the popular vote, but I'm surprised it's not more so...there is quite a bit of rounding in this plan. Still mimicking the popular vote is not the main goal of this system. If it were, we could just use the popular vote.

- - -

Also, note that this system gives Nader 6 in the EC, compared to the 0 that he actually got in 2000. Not much but a truer representation that people actually voted for him.

- - -

Without running the numbers I am quite sure that in the 2008 election, Obama would have still won but it wouldn't have been as big of a blowout.

Quick analysis:

Obama's EC count: 365/538 = 67.844% of the nation's electoral votes
But Obama received 53.68% of the popular vote for the two main candidates.

- - -

What I love about this is that each state is no longer characterized as red or blue. Our states hold a mix of people and states like California and Texas that are solidly one way or the other, in reality are more nuanced. Not only would this create a better campaign season but it might not be so divisive on the country.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fixing the Electoral College

I really thought I had already written this solution. But my search comes up empty. I'll try and keep this brief.

Current Problems with Electoral College
1. Most of the country doesn't have an incentive to vote as their state is already leaning one way or the other.
2. The candidates spend all their time and money in the swing states that matter

Problems with using the National Popular Vote
1. While every vote "counts," I predict that many people would think that in race of 130 million votes, their vote is insignificant
2. It's more complicated to count on election night and if there's a recount, it would be a disaster
3. Critics claim that candidates would spend all their time and money in big cities

The Obvious Solution
Keep the Electoral College but award all states proportionally, instead of winner take all.

Does it even make sense that in a state like Ohio that is split 50/50 every election, that all 18 electoral votes go one way or the other?

California has long been a solid 55 for Democrats. But that state's vote is only 57/40. If you're a Republican in CA, you must feel like it doesn't matter, but it's not like you're alone.

Plus, it would give third party candidates a chance to at least appear respectable, which is the first step toward building a viable third party.

If I had a ton of free time I'd love to go back and look at the last three elections under this system...but I don't. My guess is that each race would be even tighter.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Curling: Week Three

All week I was thinking about how big this game was...

Friday I get an email from our skip. She's not going to make it and has asked for a sub. So now I'm going to be skip. I've never been skip. I've only played two games as vice-skip. I'm not ready.

Saturday I see another email. Our first isn't going to be there and has asked for a sub.

I left for the game not knowing if we'd even have three. You can play with three, but if you only have two, it's a forfeit.

I show up and don't see any of my team members. I ask the people waiting on our sheet what team they're from, expecting them to say Dream Team, our opponent.

Woman: I'm on Hammer Time.
Me: Oh great, me too.
Woman: Oh, hmmm, I guess that makes five of us.
Me: (wtf?)

So I guess we won't be forfeiting. Turns out we had three subs show up, so we sent one of them to another match that needed one.

So we had four. I was the skip for the first time. We were yellow. Game on.

I start off awesome. In the first end I had the hammer and I knocked out a red one so they only scored one.
In the second, I get the hammer again and turn it from a red point to a yellow. 1-1 after two.

We get in a groove and score one point each in the third and fourth. 3-1 after four. The game goes quick when you're the skip.

In the fifth, we had four in the house prior to their hammer shot. I tried to lay a guard to protect our three, but it carried into the house. So I was thinking this is either four yellow or one red. And with a 3-1 lead, this would make it 7-1 and basically put us in the championship, or it would be 3-2 and a nailbiter.

The red skip nails it, right down the middle, perfect takeout and score. 3-2 after five.

(I've always considered the sixth a key end. Because you want the hammer in the eighth. So you don't mind if they score in the seventh. So you do whatever you can to score in the sixth. If you end up scoring in the sixth and seventh, great. But if they score in the sixth, now you need to score in the seventh and give them the hammer.)

So we've got the hammer in the sixth and we get a point. I didn't need to do anything as we had one in the house and it was well guarded.

So now we're up 4-2. By the time I get up, it's a wide open sheet with two yellow in the house. I place another in the house, but high enough to act as a guard. The red shot sails through and now we're up 7-2 with only one to play. Fuck yeah.

Halfway though the last end they had four out of play, so I knew that we had won. On my last shot I hit exactly what I aimed for, bumping a yellow back to takeout a red, the only stone in the house.

Final 8-2.

I won the first game I was skip against a 2-0 team. Now we're 3-0 and in the championship. Holy crap.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Album Release List

I've always wanted a service that would email me when one of my favorite bands releases a new album. A friend at work told me about iConcertCal. It didn't work. Then I tried some other shitty thing and it didn't work. Anyways, I made this so I can quickly check if any of my bands have anything new and I can easily add to it.

Alkaline Trio
Brand New
Childish Gambino
Dashboard Confessional
Forever the Sickest Kids
The Get Up Kids
The Hold Steady
Jimmy Eat World
Motion City Soundtrack
The National
Panic at the Disco
Saves The Day
The Strokes
Vampire Weekend

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Curling Standings

Remaining Schedule:

Hammer Time vs Dream Team
Hammer Tive vs Smith
Week 5: Championship

So a win this week would guarantee that we would finish in the top two.
But what if we lose this week? We would have to beat Smith.

So it makes it pretty simple. Two games left. Win one and you're in.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Baseball Playoffs

For Hoagie Central's coverage of the 2012 regular season, click here.

Once I saw the Giants and Cardinals and Tigers and Yankees, it felt like these teams had all won recently. So I wanted to check the last time each of the playoff teams won.

St. Louis Cardinals: Last WS appearance and Win: 2011
San Francisco Giants: Last WS appearance and Win: 2010
New York Yankees: Last WS appearance and Win: 2009
Atlanta Braves: Last WS Win: 1995. Last WS appearance: 1999
Cincinnati Reds: Last WS appearance and Win: 1990
Oakland A's: Last WS Win: 1989. Last WS appearance: 1990
Detroit Tigers: Last WS Win: 1984. Last WS appearance: 2006
Baltimore Orioles: Last WS appearance and Win: 1983
Texas Rangers: Last WS appearance: 2011
Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos: never

8 of the 10 playoff teams had already won a World Series.
3 of the 4 current teams have won the last three Series.

Curling: Week Two

Tonight was a 3 on 3 match as both teams were missing a person. We were red.

After the first end, one of their players disappears. And in comes...Pam, the President of the Curling Club. Her name is hanging on a banner in the hall, 1990 National Champions. And now she'll be shooting 3 stones, opposite me. Umm...isn't this supposed to be a rookie league (under 3 years experience)? Now we can have a former national champion playing against little old me that learned how to curl in 2012?

Anyways the score was Yellow 2 after the first end when she subbed in.

After four ends it was Yellow 4, Red 3. It should have been tied, but our skip threw a shot that advanced one of their stones so we only scored 1 instead of 2 in the third. I remember thinking that I hadn't hit a good shot yet, but we were only down one.

The Fifth End:

By the time I came up there were two yellow just on the front right of the house.

My first shot (4th of 8 in the end) was short and to the left.
Pam's shot (5th) landed nicely in the house, left side, 8-foot ring.
My second shot (5th) was a perfect takeout of the previous shot, sticking right there.
Pam's next (6th) was a perfect takeout of my shot, sticking right there. (Which always fucking happens. I hit a great shot and it's gone on the next one.)
My last shot (6th) looked like it might zoom through the house, but just clipped the previous yellow stone, sending the yellow out and to the left, spinning my red stone to the back right of the house, now protected by the two yellow stones that were there the whole time.
Yellow skip's next (7th) was short.
I was now ready to call the shot for our skip. She wanted to come in to the house via a window on the right side, but it was too risky--too many yellow stones she could have advanced. So I changed the call and brought her on the left, far outside. It had a good line and reached the house, but was just farther away than the closest of the two yellow in the house.
Yellow's last was also short.
Hammer time. (Which is also our new team name.) I called for the same shot. And sure enough, she hit it, advancing her previous shot closer.

So that's it. To me it looked like two red were closest. Pam takes a look and says, "Three red?" So I said yes. She was counting the 8th stone which had somehow spun forward. She was already clearing her yellow stones away so I couldn't have even tried to argue for them. But anyways, she was conceding the points.

So now it's Red 6, Yellow 4 after five.

I had some more good shots in the sixth. We ended up having two in the house. I called for a guard to block the only window, since they had the hammer. She tried but it still left an alley. So they have the hammer. If he can draw between all the guards, it will be 6-5. If not, 8-4. A three-point swing, which this late would basically be the game. It looked good coming out, but drifted right toward the end, bumping into guards harmlessly. Red 8, Yellow 4 after six.

Basically the same thing happened in the 7th. Toward the end we had three in the house. They had the hammer, but the ice was tricky to come in on the right side. Virtually all the stones were on the left, except for two way far out right. So there was a window, but no one could hit it. The hammer failed.

Red 11, Yellow 4 after seven. And that's when Pam started shaking hands. We had time for the 8th, though it was borderline. But my guess is since the score was basically out of reach and the time was a factor, that she called it.

So last week Hammer Time won 16-2. This week 11-4. We went on an 11-2 run once Pam came in the game. And a 8-0 run after being down 3-4. Good curling.

Monday, October 08, 2012

ESPN vs Fans of the Kansas City Chiefs

I didn't think it was a big deal yesterday, but apparently ESPN decided to make this into the biggest story of the week.

First let me address the four possibilities of why the crowd may have cheered after that play:

1) They were excited about a first down in a close game.
2) They were trying to pump up Brady. (I know his last name is Quinn, but I feel better calling him Brady. Positive associations.)
3) They didn't want Cassel to be hurt, but they wanted him benched. They were happy that one way or another, a QB change was coming.
4) They were made at Cassel for performing consistently poor over his career in KC and were glad that he got hurt.

So let's go deeper.

1) This was probably everyone at first, but then they realized what happened. This doesn't explain the duration of the cheering or the shouts of Bra-dy, Bra-dy.
2) This is unlikely and not the right time while your starter is down. I doubt many were thinking this way.
3) I don't have a problem with this. This is not a cheer for an injury. This is a cheer for a change in personnel, the same way a crowd might cheer a new pitcher coming into a game.
4) I seriously doubt there were more than a handful of idiots thinking this.

- - -

To me this is not a big deal. If not for a questionable McCluster penalty call, Brady to Bowe would have taken the lead late in the game. The fans had a right to be excited about the QB change.

So I'm pretty surprised when I load up and see an article from Snoop Jackson on the homepage. Seriously? Snoop Jackson? I thought he got shitcanned years ago.

The title: Fear and self-loathing in Kansas City

Quotes from the article: "So here we are, America. Facing the truth of our internal hate; facing the depths of how low we can go." "Cassel and the rest of the Chiefs found out that loyalty between players and fans can sometimes be a one-way street."


For lifetimes, the loyalty between teams and fans has been a one-way street. When teams can abandon cities over money and stadium upgrades and leagues will lockout canceling games, knowing the fans will come crawling back.

And yes, he said between players and fans. But the reality is that players come and go. They get traded. They leave as free agents. They retire. They get hurt and can't play anymore.

So fans have to be loyal to the team. But they're also loyal to the players because they're loyal to the team. I'm still happy for Tony Gonzalez, knowing how much he gave to this team.

The idea that players are more loyal to fans than the other way around is ludicrous.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

WTF Chiefs?

If you told me the Chiefs would hold the Ravens to 9 points at Arrowhead I would have been ecstatic.

So how did this team lose again, and at home no less?

This team is so bad that even though it was on tv, I chose to spend time with my family instead of watching the game. So I'm not sure. Time to break down the Chiefs possessions:

1: 3 and out. Punt on 4th and 2.
2: Punt on 4th and 11.
3: Fumble on a HB toss to Gray.
4: Cassel interception.
5: After getting to BAL 7, field goal from BAL 12.
6. Punt on 4th and 1 at BAL 43 to end half. ???
7: 1st and goal from BAL 1. Bad snap on QB sneak, fumble.
8: 3 and out. Punt on 4th and 5.
9: Cassel interception.
10. Punt on 4th and 15.
11: Cassel injured. Brady Quinn takes over at midfield and drives down the field. Touchdown pass nullified by penalty. Field goal.

The Ravens would convert two third downs and run the clock out.

- - -

So let's see. 11 possessions.

4 turnovers
5 punts
2 field goals

Both Cassel INTs were on tipped passes by his receiver.
The first fumble was a pitch that was blown by Gray. The second was a bad snap from a guard who's replaced our center who's out for the year.

So none of the 4 turnovers were really Cassel's fault. But it doesn't look good.

Hoagie Central takes you deeper.

2nd posession: 3rd and 8 from the BAL 46. Shotgun formation. Handoff to HB Draughn. Loss of 3. From their 46, shotgun handoff? It wasn't even a draw to Charles. If you surprise the d-line there's still no way you can get 8 yards running it on a simple handoff. Showed a complete lack of trust in Cassel.

With 12 seconds to go in the half, the Chiefs had a 4th down from the BAL 43. Why isn't this a hail mary? If it's picked, Baltimore will take a knee to go into the half. If it's incomplete, the Ravens have a 57 yard hail mary attempt. Instead of taking a shot, they punt.

First possession of the second half: qb sneak on 1st and goal from the 1. It's a bad snap. So it's on the center. But they were doing a hurry-up. Ed Reed said after the game he knew it was a sneak from the way they were hurrying to snap it. If the play works, the Chiefs take the lead and there's no questions. It's not an awful call. But still, don't you owe it to Charles to give him a shot from the 1?

Last possession: Quinn drives down the field and gets it to Bowe in the end zone, but penalty takes it back. This is with 5 minutes to go. Would have been 10-9. Flacco would have probably been able to drive into field goal range anyways, but still, would have been great.

- - -

Chiefs fans cheered when Cassel left and Brady Quinn came on.

I'm not happy that Cassel was injured. I would never be that kind of fan.

But I am happy to give Quinn a chance. Because literally, we have nothing to lose. It almost has to be better.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Curling: Week One

Curling is back in session.

I signed up for the first fall session, five Saturdays. Four round-robin games and one championship/bowl week.

On Friday night I subbed for a team in the non-rookie league. It was a tight one. The team I was playing for ending up losing 5-4. But that’s 9 points in 8 ends, just one more than the expected minimum. The loss was no skin off my back. I had some good shots. Of course one of them was wiped out on the very next shot. But that’s curling for you. I got some good practice in. They let me shoot second.

Tonight I showed up on our league team. Our team lineup changed and I’m now a secure vice-skip (3rd position). Which is ideal for me. Skip is awesome but I’m not ready.

Tonight we were yellow.

1st end: Yellow 1
2nd end: Yellow 2
3rd end: Yellow 2
4th end: Red 1

So halfway through, we’re up 5-1.

5th end: Yellow 2

That was a big one. 7-1 is much different than 5-2.

6th end: Yellow 2

Now we’re up 9-1 with two to go. Can breathe easy.

7th end: Red 1

9-2 going into the last one, but we have the hammer.

As the vice skip, I get to call the shot for the skip. For her first shot, I called a takeout of a red stone. Yellow was sitting one, then one red, and then a bunch of yellows around. So I was hoping to takeout the red one and get a multiple score. But the takeout didn’t work. It was short. Then red had their last shot that didn’t go anywhere.

We could have called it one yellow for a 10-2 win. But we had the hammer, one last chance to add more points. So I called for a draw to the button, why not? It comes in looking good, and wouldn’t you know? It hits the red stone, knocks it out of the back of the house. So I’m looking around and all I see is yellow stones now. Too many to count. Someone shouted seven. We scored seven out of eight possible stones. An 8-ender is of course the best you can do in an end and is rare and legendary. Getting a 7-ender in our first game? That’s crazy.

Final Score: 16-2.

I had joked before the last end that the other team needed an 8-ender to win.

I hit a bunch of great shots, all draws with good weight and did good on the calling end as well. Playing for our team is 100 times better than being a sub. You’d think it would be about the same, but for some reason, I didn’t enjoy subbing. But this game was awesome.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Chiefs are currently losing 27-13, and they look terrible, so I know it won't matter.

But when they got a touchdown to cut it to 6-20, they apparently tried a fake.

This makes no sense.

They were down 14. The sure PAT cuts it to 13. A risky fake would cut it to 12.

Is 12 better than 13? Of course smaller is better, but not significantly better.

Is 13 better than 14? YES. Given that we're down that much, we'll need touchdowns to get back in this game. I would much rather be down 13 than 14 going into the second half.


Edit: I finally was able to find video and it was a botched snap. Sorry for the rant.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hilton SuperContest Picks

I tried this a couple years ago and was TERRIBLE.

Let's try again.

Saints +7.5 over Packers
Titans +12 over Texans
Dolphins +6.5 over Cardinals
Raiders +6.5 over Broncos
Chargers +1 over Chiefs


I want to do everything. But I don't have the time. People usually say that they don't have time for certain things, or that they wish they had more time. I'm going to breakdown my current situation.

Here's a list of everything that I want to do, broken into tiers:

Things That Come First
trying to be a good father and husband
trying to be a good copywriter

Things That Fight For My Free Time
designing book covers
watching TV/playing video games
writing personal projects

Things That Get Left Out Completely
eating healthy/getting in shape

Here's a basic workday:
Work + commute = 9.5 hours
Father time = 4.5 hours
Sleep (in chunks) = ideally 7 hours

That leaves 3 hours.
In that time I'd like to do book covers, watch tv and play games, and do personal writing. But there's also some basic cleaning, cooking, whatever.
Sometimes it's bedtime and I have to choose between playing a video game or going to sleep. Sometimes I have plans to work on something at home and Brit wants to watch a movie. So I don't usually get to do everything I want in that middle tier.

Which leaves the bottom tier in the cold. It's not that eating healthy takes up more time. It's just that I'm sort of burning the candle at both ends and not in the mood to be hungry or settle for healthy food. And I would feel better if I made the time to play sports/work out, but I just don't do it. That's an inspiring slogan.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Red and Gold Comeback Special

After watching the Chiefs and Saints play for 3 hours and 20 minutes, after seeing the Chiefs come back from down 24-6 to cut it to a 3-point deficit on their final drive, after seeing them convert a 4th and 5 and get into field goal range...

the CBS feed in Denver switched to the kickoff of the Broncos-Texans game.

I understand. There's not really a good solution. I would be ticked if I was in Kansas City and I couldn't watch the first quarter because some other AFC game was in overtime. And with a game going into overtime, there's not really anything CBS could have done. But it's a shame that the reason the game was dragging was because the officials took forever and had five challenges overturned. And it's defeating to invest your entire Sunday afternoon into a game that is now tied in overtime and you can't watch it.

So I kept an eye on my fantasy window. I saw the Chiefs punt to the Saints 3. And force a 3 and out. I saw they had the ball at their 47. And then I saw Saints touchdown. Fumble. 57 yard return. Game over. 30-24.

So I went to the basement. I played with H. I thought about how the comeback was such a waste. I blamed the Chiefs for all the times they kicked field goals instead of getting touchdowns. I blamed them for not even trying to score on their last possession, settling for a long field goal attempt to go to overtime.

And I thought about how the Chiefs were 0-3.
My fantasy team would be 0-3.
My college team is 1-2 against Division I, and their only win was against a MAC team. And their two losses were blowouts.

I told myself: You need to get a new hobby. Football just isn't for you.

After a good 15 minutes I came upstairs. I checked my latest fantasy loss in progress. And I saw that the Chiefs had won, 27-24.

- - -

And suddenly, the Chiefs are tied with the Lions in the burger standings. They're tied with the Broncos, who just two weeks ago had the local news thinking Super Bowl plans. And they have a home game this Sunday for first place in the division.

Peyton seems human. The Raiders haven't impressed. And the Chargers started strong but showed up flat on Sunday. Beat them and all of a sudden things are different.

So two questions.

1. How did the Chiefs struggle to score touchdowns?
2. How did they come back to win?

- - -

Let's look at the Chief's possessions.

#1. Advanced to 1st and 10 at NO 11. Run. Pass. Incomplete. Field goal.
#2. Three and out. Punt.
#3. Advanced to midfield. Penalty. Punt.
#4. Advanced to 1st and 10 at NO 30. Run. Incomplete. Incomplete. Field goal.
#5. Advanced to 1st and 10 at NO 45. Cassel sacked and "fumbled" with two seconds left in the half. (I was convinced that it should have been an incomplete and the Chiefs should have gotten another chance at a hail mary. But the refs ran to the locker room and that was that.)

#6. Fumble.
#7. Advanced to midfield. Punt.
#8. Interception.
#9. 91-yard touchdown run on 1st down.
#10. Advanced to 1st and 10 at NO 13. Run. Pass. Sack. Field goal.
#11. Advanced to 1st and 10 at NO 15. Penalty. Run. Incomplete. Penalty. Incomplete. Field goal.
#12. Three and out. Punt.
#13. 2nd and 4 at NO 33 at the two-minute warning with one timeout. Run. Def penalty. Sneak. Run. Run. Field goal on 3rd down from NO 25.

Scoring summary:
1 touchdown from own 9
3 field goals from red zone
2 field goals from outside red zone

I can't sit here and argue against the playcalling in the red zone, that a pass would have been better. But just generally when you get the red zone three times and score 0 tds, that's not a recipe for success in the NFL. (Aside: The networks always show red zone scoring percentage and I HATE that stat. That stat is worthless. Red zone TD percentage is 100x better. I would rather my team get two td's and turn the ball over on downs once, then get three field goals.)

But the other thing that irks that shit out of me, is the playcalling after the two minute warning. 4 run plays. No sense of urgency. Not trying to get the touchdown at all. You have a chance to win the game. Try for it. At least get your kicker closer. In two minutes you picked up 8 yards. 5 of those yards was an offsides penalty. It's almost as if the Chiefs forgot why you play the game.

- - -

How did the Chiefs win?

Play #1: The Saints are up 10-6 in the 2nd. This play happens. It was called a touchdown on the field. You tell me if there's indisputable visual evidence that it wasn't a touchdown. Because I don't see it. Anyways it was overturned. The Chiefs sack Brees for an 11-yard loss and Hartley pushes a 38-yarder wide.

The Saints were jobbed out of another touchdown in the 2nd half, but got it back five plays later, so no big deal.

Play #2: The Chiefs are down 24-6 in the 3rd. Then #25 goes untouched 91 yards. The only touchdown on the day for KC. Good thing they didn't get into the red zone.

Play #3: On the ensuing drive, new CB Routt picks off Brees at the goal line.

Play #4: The fourth quarter defense. Here are the Saints posessions in the 4th and OT:
3 and out.
3 and out.
In overtime: 3 and out.

When the Chiefs couldn't afford any mistakes, the defense stepped up and SHUT THEM DOWN.

Play #5: The Chiefs are down 24-21 with only 2:26 to go in the game. They have a 4th down and 5 at the New Orleans 46. They line up to punt.

Are you serious? They have two timeouts and a two-minute warning, but you're in New Orleans territory. The time is now. Crennel calls timeout. And sends the offense on the field. Don't convert this play and the game is over.

Cassel to Bowe for 7 yards.

The drive stays alive and Succop hits the 43-yarder to go to OT.

- - -

1st win of the season? Let's hand out some game balls.

#3: Ryan Succop

Their kicker: 1 of 2.
Our kicker: 6 of 6.

43-yarder to tie. 31-yarder for the win.

#2 Justin Houston and the 4th quarter defense

I already elaborated on the 4th quarter D. Houston, in his 2nd season, had 3 sacks on the day. The first to push the Saints back that led to a missed field goal. The second was on 3rd down on the drive before the safety. And the third was the safety. We should keep this guy around.

#1: Jamaal Charles

Here are the all-time Kansas City Chiefs single-game rushing records:

3. 211 yards - Larry Johnson
2. 233 yards - Jamaal Charles (Sunday)
1. 255 yards - Jamaal Charles (2010 vs Broncos)

His 91-yard touchdown run was the longest in franchise history and sparked the comeback.

He scored 37 fantasy points.

All the people that won this game for the Chiefs, RAISE YOUR HANDS.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

holy shit, is it 5773 already?

Looking for hot shofar-on-shofar action?

Monday, September 17, 2012

illini basketball 12-13 preview

Basketball recruiting is still foreign to me. It's not that hard of a concept, but it's strange to me that in September we get all excited about recruiting news...and then they don't play for another year. It would be like holding the NFL Draft a week before the college football season starts, but for the following year.

Further complicating things is that sometimes you get junior commitments. Case in point, a year ago SG Malcolm Hill committed to Illinois. And I missed the fact that he was a junior in high school. I wrote a full year ago that he would be playing for Illinois come fall 2012. Of course he's still in high school and won't be donning the orange and blue until fall 2013. So this article was getting excited about a player that was two years away from being an Illini.

Anyways, let's take a look at our 2012-2013 Illinois Basketball Team:
(with their Rivals national scouting rank)

Seniors: Richardson (38), Paul (42), Griffey (120)
Juniors: Bertrand (128), Rice (NR), Berardini (NR)
Sophomores: Henry (39), Abrams (58), Shaw (59), Egwu (97), Djimbe (NR)
Freshmen: Langford (NR), LaTulip (NR walk-on)

After Weber was fired, Jalen James (89) and Michael Orris (NR) decommitted from Illinois. They would have been freshmen on the 2012-2013 squad.

2013 Recruits: Kendrick Nunn (42), Malcolm Hill (64), Maverick Morgan (148)
Still in the hunt for Xavier Rathan-Mayes (25) (Edit: XRM chose FSU over Illinois) and Demetrius Jackson (27) (Edit: Jackson chose Notre Dame over Illinois)

- - -

And I know that rivals recruiting rankings are not the be all end all determination of a player, but it's about all I can go on.

Here's a forecast, even though it never happens like this:

2012-2013: Groce's first year, with two seniors who combined for 25 points a game last year, should fare pretty well.
2013-2014: A weak senior class opens to the door to lots of playing time for our deep junior class and our super awesome freshmen recruits. Perhaps a bit of a step down in performance.
2014-2015: Time for a deep tournament run. Led by a strong group of seniors and super awesome sophomores, Groce's third year puts it all together. Start booking your Indianapolis hotel rooms now.

What do the futures look like to win the 2013 National Title?

Indiana 8/1
Ohio State 18/1
Michigan 20/1
Michigan State 25/1
Wisconsin 50/1
Minnesota 65/1
Illinois 100/1
Purdue 100/1
Iowa 150/1

For completeness here were the 2012 Futures with conference finish and tournament status:

Ohio State 17/2 (1st, Final Four)
Michigan State 25/1 (2nd, Sweet Sixteen)
Indiana 30/1 (5th, Sweet Sixteen)
Michigan 35/1 (3rd, 1st round*)
Wisconsin 55/1 (4th, Sweet Sixteen)
Illinois 75/1 (10th, did not qualify the motherfucking NIT)
Minnesota 75/1 (9th, Title Game in NIT)
Purdue 75/1 (6th, 2nd round)

*lost to Groce's Ohio team which reached the Sweet Sixteen

Looking at this, I would say the pre-season futures were a better indicator than I would have guessed. Pretty darn close on the finishing of the top 5 schools and accurate on bracket finishes as well.

/looks back at 2013 Futures.