Monday, October 30, 2006

Blogpoll: I'm Gonna Make it Through This Year if it Kills Me

1 Ohio State --
2 Michigan --
3 Auburn 1
4 Florida 1
5 Tennessee 1
6 Notre Dame 1
7 Southern Cal 4
8 Texas --
9 California 1
10 Louisville 1
11 Boise State 3
12 West Virginia 3
13 Boston College 1
14 Wisconsin 2
15 Arkansas 6
16 Rutgers 1
17 Texas A&M 2
18 Georgia Tech 6
19 LSU 1
20 Oklahoma 2
21 Wake Forest 4
22 Virginia Tech 4
23 Clemson 10
24 Oregon 3
25 Tulsa 1
Dropped Out: Missouri (#20), Nebraska (#23).
And down goes Southern Cal! Many of you are probably wondering if I was disappointed when Oregon State deflected the game-sealing two point conversion at the line of scrimmage, effectively killing Notre Dame's (albeit cosmically imperceptible) chances to weasel their way into the BCS championship game with a win over an undefeated USC. Your question would have been answered immediately, when I stripped down to my underwear and ran around Milwaukee Avenue clanging pots and pans together and singing "Me and Bobby McGee" in a hoarse falsetto.

It kind of looked like this, only drunker, paler, and nakeder.

So... right. Long story short, you can't really control your primordial impulses when you're watching a football, no matter what sinewy logic dictates otherwise. Our slim-as-hell title hopes might have drowned hand in unlovable hand with the Trojans, but I'm a tough kid, really. On a personal note, Southern Cal has only lost three games since 2003, and on both of those previous two losses, I totally got lucky later that night. Did the streak continue? Sadly, you my loyal readers will never know.

Ultimately, it's a positive thing that this insane streak of invulnerability came to a conclusion, as the closer the Trojans ascended toward football Nirvana, the more irreversible their hold on the power in the league became. Maybe this show of human vulnerability will be able to tip the scales in the long-term a tiny bit. Still, a hell of a run for the Trojans and a polite doff of the cap to their outstanding success.

So, now what to do with these now-mortal Trojans in the rankings? Well, gather round and listen to my breakdown:

  • One and two. Obvs. Die, bastards.

  • Next up, the wheel of death in the SEC. Florida, Auburn, and Tennessee are all pretty damn good, and are close enough to one another to deserve a sequential ranking in accordance to who beat whom. Where are the Big East banditos and Texas? Keep reading...

  • Welcome to the one-loss cafe, Southern Cal. Texas, Notre Dame, USC, and Cal are hanging out in "Top 10 Purgatory", stuffed in the lower half of the Top 10 on the strength of some wins against quality competition smashed up agains the maddening dissonance of crushing losses. Southern Cal is kind of the odd man out in the group, since their loss was to unranked Oregon State while the other teams dropped their games to higher-ranked teams. Shuffle these around how you want, frankly I don't care. Any argument you can make against one of these teams (for example, calling me out for being a homer ranking ND quite a bit higher than I presume the rest of the blogpoll will) can be made against the rest. Embarassingly close games to inferior competition? USC's last three wins were razor-thin against the middle to lower-middle of the Pac 10. Humiliation in a big game? Yo, California and Texas. It's a grab bag, and I feel justified putting the Irish on the top of the pack because I feel they'd fare well in a game against any of the rest. We'll see in a few weeks if I'm an idiot for thinking that or not when they hash it out on the field.

    Pull up a stool and make yourself comfortable. You're on the outside looking in, kiddo.

  • Bye, Arkansas. Why the hell are you playing 1-AA Southeast Missouri State and Sun Belt bottom feeder Louisiana-Monroe in the middle of November. Shame on you. Go to bed without dessert. Beat Tennessee and LSU and we'll talk.

    ...and some crap I threw together. A hearty Wilkommen to the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa. Gots to show that mid-major love.

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    Vote Brady Quinn for Heisman... or Vote John Linnell

    Joy of joys, every college football fan in the world now has a way to have an influence on the Heisman race! Nissan has launched a voting site on ESPN that is auctioning off their Heisman vote to the winner of their Internet popularity contest. Make your voice heard here.

    Naturally, this brings up a few concerns. First, how the hell does Nissan have a vote for the Heisman? It seems kind of arbitrary to give a vote to an inanimate object, and doubly so when you know what they're going to do with it (i.e., auction it off).

    Secondly, the Heisman committee seems to be demonstrating an unshakable faith in the Internet Poll thhat, franky, I feel is unwarranted. I guess they're not up-to-date on these stories, but it was an online poll that voted They Might Be Giants frontman and accordion player-extraordinaire John Linnell one of People Magazine's 10 Sexiest People (ten sexiest people, mind you. He was competing with both men and women). Never, ever doubt the power of throngs of nerds on the Internet and their ability to conquer logic and reason through voting.

    It looks like Chris Leak is enjoying a John Linnell moment right now, as he is in a very comfortable second place right now. That's right, the same Chris Leak whose own fans gave him the torch & pitchfork treatment after his collapse against Auburn. Yay Democracy!

    Anyway, fight fire with fire and stuff the box for Brady.

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    Two Minutes on College Football by Andy Rooney

    So after I watched Charlie Weis' piece on 60 Minutes last night, I stuck around and caught Andy Rooney's segment on "What's the Deal With Cities With Crazy Names?" And, of course, inspiration struck. That's the kind of hard-hitting journalism we need here at the House Rock Built! A few e-mail exchanges later, and Andy politely agreed to guest blog about college football. Here is his (the consiglieri informed me this would be a good time to disclose this is fully made up and completely not Andy Rooney, since he's a bit touchy about internet wackos ripping off his image) totally real and not at all phony bit on college football: Enjoy!


    By Andy Rooney
    Famous reporter and crusty curmudgeon.

    Two Minutes on College Football

    College football is a game played by collegians. In France, when you talk about "football", they assume you mean a bunch of fruitcakes with long hair and mustaches kicking around a round ball. It's probably best not to start an argument with a Frenchman over this, because it will only lead to further frustration.

    Some teams have nicknames. Some are Lions, some are Bears. Some are Nittanies or Bruins, which are just needlessly fancy ways of saying Lions and Bears.

    You don't get one point each time you score, each time it's worth something different. Sometimes you get six points, sometimes you get three points, and still other times, for no reason at all, you get an "extra point".

    Have you noticed that there are some coaches like Joe Paterno who are very very old? Then, there are other coaches like Pat Fitzgerald who are very young. However, most of the coaches in football fall somewhere between those two in terms of age.

    Every conference thinks that they're the best, and even the teams that aren't in a conference think they're better than teams that are in a conference. Since it's not possible for all of them to be right, it's very likely that none of them are.

    And doesn't it seem strange that every college football team is composed of dozens of full-grown adult coaches and several dozen college students, and yet for some reason they're all obsessed with "impressing" a bunch of "computers". With all the education on those sidelines, you'd think somebody would point out the implicit absurdity of that very train of thought.

    Football is a physical, agressive sport, and sometimes the players get into fights. When things get really heated, a player will take off his helmet and swing it around. Does it strike you as strange that their first instinct is to remove their most vital piece of safety equipment? I don't care if you're out of ammo in a foxhole, the last thing you'd want to use as a weapon is your bulletproof vest.

    I've been told that they don't sell beer in college stadiums, so I probably wouldn't want to go to a game. However, I'm also told that people drink it in the parking lots, so there are clearly two sides to every issue.

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    Sunday, October 29, 2006

    F-bombs, Emasculation, and Gay Stuff. Ah, the Pagentry of College Football.

    Here's a quick multimedia-friendly post for you crazy kids out there. First up is the extended footage from the 60 Minutes piece on Charlie Weis that aired tonight. I was stunned by how much of a "puff piece" it was, ultimately. I get this weird nervous twitch in my eye every time I hear that a television show is doing a piece on Weis or Notre Dame, as I begin to smell that inevitable hatchet swing and some sidelong reference to the phrase "tarnished dome". You can imagine my surprise when I saw how complimentary (or perhaps I should say ass-kissingly) it was, especially with the scandalous promos that were being shown all week.

    Watch the wired up segment, it will be, like, the best five minutes of your life. If you close your eyes, you think you're listening to a Tarantino film.

    Next up is a YouTube clip from the Iowa-Northern Illinois game that has been making the rounds through Deadspin, The Wiz, and The Fanhouse. Not exactly sure who to Hat Tip on this, so a blanket huzzah to the Internet Tubes. Anyway, the announcer gets a little sidetracked explaining the tender, sensitive touch necessary to catch a pass, and then kind of outs himself. A weird and funny awkward pause immediately follows.

    Hopefully that will tide you over for the morning. I've got the Blogpoll and a Special Guest columnist coming up later today.

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    Friday, October 27, 2006

    Charlie Weis is Scottish, Navy Guys Need to Get Laid

    HT: Orson

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    Blogjammin': Pitch Right

    In this week's Blogjammin', I meet up with Adam Nettina, a fine Navy blogger who writes primarily at my stomping grounds over at the Fanhouse. He is also the purveyor of a Pitch Right, but primarily does his writing for the paying gig at AOL.

    Anchors aweigh:

    Now, you're not an alumnus of Navy, but you are a lifelong fan. Out of curiosity, how did you go about becoming a die-hard Navy fan?

    I guess the most ironic thing about being involved in the whole college football blogging scene is that I haven't even been to college. For the record, I'm a senior at a High School in the Baltimore area who has been going to Navy football games all my life. Considering my first Army-Navy game was only a few days before my birth, I don't think I'm making too much of an exaggeration. I am, first and foremost, a fan of football and a fan of the United States of America, so I guess the whole Navy football fanatic thing came easily. My love affair with Navy football only intensified once Paul Johnson arrived. Believe it or not there was a day when I was on track to become the next great defensive star at Navy. I attended the 2003 High School camp, and actually played with some of Navy's top recruits for that year. However, my short-lived football career ended the year afterwards when I realized 5'5 people can't tackle 6'5 people. Since then, I've been quite content to lend my support from the stands every Saturday. At the risk of alienating my own readers, I have expressed interest in attending a certain Midwestern Catholic Institution with a perpetually overrated football team on an NROTC scholarship.

    A fine choice for a five foot-nothin', hundred and nothin' weakling.

    So the biggest story about Navy is that they will be breaking in a new quarterback. Do you know anything about this kid other than that he's Hawaiian? If you don't, then you can just spend a while talking about how awesome Hawaiians are at football.

    Kaipo likes to smile, which can either be really encouraging or straight up annoying. Because I've actually met him, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt because he seems like a nice young man. I like his enthusiasm and from what everyone says he's apparently the Hawaiian version of Michael Vick. That being said I've already jumped on the Jarod Bryant bandwagon. JB was a running back at HOOVER HIGH (mandatory MTV shout out) before John Parker Wilson was injured his senior year. The guy has great pocket presence considering the experience he's had, and does an excellent job checking down to his second and third reads. He throws a nice ball and can put it right on the money, and has the vision and leg drive needed to run the option and pick up tough yards. Don't be surprised to see Byrant come into the game if Kaipo struggles. And yes, the Pacific Ocean and its islands are home to some of the sickest athletes in the world.

    There is simply no denying the awesome hip swivel ability of the hula girl bobblehead on the dashboard of my 86 Camaro.

    So, generally, the Irish enjoy a great physical mismatch against the Navy defense. Is this still the case this year, or do you think that this year's Mids defense can challenge the Irish and stop them from moving the ball?

    Well from what I've seen your O-Line is horrible so I don't think that's going to be an issue either way. Yes our defensive linemen may tip in at under 250 lbs, but they're fairly quick off the ball and do a decent job against the run. Will they get pressure on Quinn? Probably not, but I'm sure Coach Green will throw in a ton of linebacker blitzes (they're all the rage these days.) The secondary is, talent wise, decent, but those deep zone drops they've got going on probably won't work well against the Irish passing game. The key for Navy will be the linebackers. Rob Caldwell and David Mahoney lead a talented group which can play stout against the run and does a great job stripping the football. If Navy's defense can't force any turnovers and/or put pressure on Quinn, the Irish offense is going to go through the defense like Patton through the Siegfried Line.

    Or like General Guglielmo Nasi's sweeping invasion of British Somaliland.

    So what's your over/under for passes attempted by Navy on Saturday?

    [Somewhere between 10 and 20], and only because Navy is going to need to pass the ball if the team is to have any hope Saturday. I imagine the Irish will stack the line with an eight man front, and I've seen enough of the Domer defense to know they can fly to the football. With that in mind the only way to create some breathing room is to establish the pass. Over-Under on completions is a much different and much more frightening story.

    Personally, I think Paul Johnson is a phenomenally underrated coach. Do you think he will eventually move up to a more high-profile coaching job, or do his loyalty and unusual offensive philosophy indicate that he will be with Navy for the long haul?

    To tell you truth I just don't know. I've only spoken to him once, and it was more of a "holy hell your Paul freaking Johnson" conversation on my part. I'm sure he'd love to test his system out at the BCS level, but would be going to say a North Carolina really be a step up? I tend to think that Johnson has it pretty good in Annapolis . Word on the street is he makes good money, and if he can have success at one of college footballs most storied institutions why take a job at some middle of the road BCS school? That being said, I think he'll move on eventually. His offense isn't as obscure as most people tend to think, and could be adapted at a number of places. Just don't ask me where.

    What's the best Navy-themed movie? Personally, I'm a big fan of Hot Shots! Part Deux.

    Beware the chicken in the crossbow. Yet another old Navy trick that Paul Johnson might have up his sleeve this weekend.

    The 1997 remake of McHale's Navy was, as far as I'm concerned, a work of Cinematic genius. Not only does it reflect an accurate depiction of real-world terrorist scenarios, but the special effects were far and above whatever Steven F. Spieldberg or Clint Eastwood could muster in their respected movies. I mean think of it Brian! The world's second best terrorist (who is of course a Russian) moves a rogue nuclear arsenal onto the baseball-loving island of San Marino and threatens to obliterate the Pentagon! If this movie doesn't break the stereotypes of post-Cold War, pre-9/11 terrorism, I don't know what does.

    On a serious not I'm a big fan of The Enemy Below, Midway, and The Hunt for Red October.

    Thanks for stopping by! Good luck this weekend, and try to stay dry.

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    Blogjammin': House Rock Built Talks Pirates With the SMQ

    Lucky you, today you get a double dose of Blogjammin' (like the name? I do), where I bash melons together with another college football blogger about an upcoming game. I'm currently formatting my Blogjammin' with Navy blogger Adam Nettina, where we go over 43 year streaks and, of course, Hot Shots! Part Deux.

    Additionally, I enjoyed a savory catered meal on the SMQ's yacht and talked some football. You see, the SMQ needed an expert on East Carolina to preview the Southern Miss-ECU tilt this weekend. As no such individual exists on this earth, I graciously volunteered my time to share my wisdom about ECU, as well as everything I know about pirates (i.e., a lot). Just be warned, a lot of my answers might be slight exaggerations or slight complete fabrications, as I'm a little bit rusty on my East Carolina knowledge. For example, I didn't even know it was a state until this afternoon.

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    Thursday, October 26, 2006

    The Ultimate Tailgating Weapon: Pope Benedict Beer

    In a story far, far, far too perfect to be ignored by a respectable Notre Dame football blogger, a Bavarian brewery has just released a new, profoundly awesome pope-themed brew. Papst Beer, as it is called, is brewed in Mainz, Germany to commemorate Pope Benedict XIV's return to his hometown on a European tour.

    This is an absolute must-have at any respectable Notre Dame tailgate. Beg, borrow, steal, and pay any amount of money to fly some of this out to South Bend. You will be a tailgating legend.

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    Wednesday, October 25, 2006

    Dink & Dunk: Heart Attack Saturday Edition

    Everyone has a catchy nickname for a week of college football. Wink Dinkins & Buck Dunkowitz have officially dubbed it "Crap Your Pants in Terror Week". That's a trademark, bitches.

    • Lost in the pandemonium of the last-minute heroics by Jeff Samardzija and the Irish offense is the fact that UCLA has a freaking juggler in their marching band. How dare you tempt the football gods that way? You got what you deserved.

      Sadly, their hackey-sack and "devil sticks" performers were physically unable to make the trek to South Bend due to a really, really, really harsh trip, dude.

    • In the Texas-Nebraska tilt, Mack Brown totally tried to rip off Houston Nutt by running the exact same "fumblerooski to the midget" play that Nutt ran to perfection against Auburn a few weeks ago. This time, a very aware linebacker spotted the tiny guy crouched behind the line of scrimmage and smashed him into a flapjack. Better luck next time.

      He did pull out the stops with the timeless "lucky as hell fumble while the other team is icing the game". Actually, he stole that from Lloyd Carr, who called that play for Anthony Thomas against Northwestern in 2000

    • Two ridiculously awesome things happened in the Washington-Cal game. First, Washington completed an incredibly ridiculous hail mary pass at the end of the game to force overtime. Second, Marshawn Lynch went crazy and drove an injury cart around the field, trying as hard as possible to kill as many people as possible.

      Third, massive schaudenfreude for Notre Dame fans. Oh, right, that's uncouth. Don't worry, Husky fans, once Willingham "gets his players", the wins will start rolling in. (stifles laughter)

    • I wrote a lot of letters while watching the Clemson-GT game in an Irish pub in South Bend.

      • Dear CJ Spiller,
        You remain very fast.

      • Dear Reggie Ball,
        I wish I was good enough with words to craft a sonnet that wholly captures how much you freaking suck. And, look, you just fell on your ass and took a sack without being touched. Sweet muse!

      • Dear James Davis,
        You, as well, are quite fast.

    Another good week, boys. Keep making me proud

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    Monday, October 23, 2006

    So I'm Talking to this Girl from the UCLA Nation...

    So UCLA's running back's name is Chris Markey (pronounced Marquee). Just reading it, it seems like a pretty normal, non-comical name. But wait, not so fast my friend. Every time he had a carry (19 of them for 34 whopping yards), the PA announcer in the stadium came on and said:

    Chris Markey rushes for two yards.

    The funny thing is, he would say it so fast that it sounded exactly like he was saying:

    Biz Markie rushes for two yards

    This, naturally, was a hysterical happenstance which caused the Irish Outsider and I to immediately burst into a rousing round of "You! You got what I neeee-eeeed!". Every. Single. Time.

    Maybe there's something wrong with me, you know, psychologically. But if howling out the greatest anthematic song in history at the top of our lungs is wrong, goddammit, I don't want to be right.

    Fast forward to 1:34. Turn up volume. Sing as loud as you can. Drink 40 ouncer. Repeat.

    UPDATE: Holy crap popsicle! Is Biz Markie wearing a Notre Dame shirt?

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    Blogpoll: Wheat vs. Chaff Edition

    RankTeamD elta
    1 Ohio State --
    2 Michigan --
    3 Southern Cal --
    4 Auburn --
    5 Florida 1
    6 Tennessee 1
    7 Notre Dame 1
    8 Texas 3
    9 Arkansas --
    10 California --
    11 Louisville 6
    12 Boston College 6
    13 Clemson 6
    14 Boise State --
    15 West Virginia --
    16 Wisconsin 5
    17 Rutgers 3
    18 LSU 2
    19 Texas A&M 7
    20 Missouri 6
    21 Oregon 9
    22 Oklahoma 3
    23 Nebraska 6
    24 Georgia Tech 11
    25 Wake Forest 2
    Dropped Out: Georgia (#22), Pittsburgh (#24).
    Ladies and gentlemen, I have officially sobered up enough to put together this week's blogpoll. Enjoy kiddos.

    • Three undefeated teams with real resumes, so top three is pretty self-explanatory. What are three historically great teams with jerkoff fanbases? I'll take "Teams I'm Eagerly Waiting to See Fail" for $200, Alex.

    • Next up, the self-flaggelating wheel at the top of the SEC standings. Not particularly knowing what to do with these teams, I pretty much stuck them all together in roughly the order of who beat whom. I still have Arkansas at the bottom of the pile despite the immutable law of transitivity, but I feel somewhat justified in doing so. While they had an impressive game against Auburn, I'd like to see the Hogs play one more good game against the top half of the SEC before I consider them one of the big dogs as opposed to a scrappy underdog who pulled out a big win.

    • Notre Dame, Texas and Cal round out the top ten as good-intentioned squads with a humiliating loss. You can kind of shuffle these three around any way you want, as they're all pretty similar. All three came within a hair's breadth of losing on Saturday, and they've all shown that, while quite capable, they've got some demons that can rear their ugly heads at the most inopportune times. Texas has made quite the catapult in recent weeks after beating their first two truly legitimate opponents of the season, so good on ya.

    • Up next, the cream of the ACC, Big East, and WAC. You know, the mid-major love. Louisville stumbles a bit after a few weeks of their eye-rollingly bad Big East schedule. They were riding some momentum from their win over Miami, but subsequent weeks have made me think that derailing that clown car in Coral Gables isn't quite the historical accomplishment that it used to be. As such, they're joining the cluster of WVU, Rutgers, and Boise State in the "whoopedy fuck, you're undefeated" club near the center of the rankings.

      BC and Clemson have shown they're clearly the cream of the ACC, but that's somewhat of a dubious honor. I know I'm rigidly and nonsensically clinging to a narrow overtime victory by the Eagles in standing firm on ranking BC ahead of Clemson each week, but I just don't think there's enough evidence of Clemson being so superior to BC that they should be ranked ahead of them despite the loss. Although C.J. Spiller's quantum runs (where he passes through every spot on the field simultaneously en route to the end zone... yeah, he's that fast) are building up a case.

    • And now, some one and two loss teams that are kind of okay! Hooray! Everything else is a grab bag. Teams with good records who have played some kind of okay games slot themselves in pretty arbitrarily. Some of these teams are capable of doing something memorable in the second half of the season that will warrant a ranking hike, but for now they're all pretty much equally anonymous. I'm not going to quibble too much with where they land, since they're all pretty interchangable at this point.

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