Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ducks Unveil New Uniform for Vegas Bowl

If you can't beat 'em on the field, then beat 'em with your fashion sense, that's what Phil Knight always says. After an up and down year for the Oregon Ducks, one certainly has to worry about the team's morale heading into their showdown in Las Vegas in bowl season. Well, fear not Ducks fans. What better motivational tool is there than busting out snazzy new jerseys? Check out these Nike-designed getups that will dazzle the spectators in Sin City this December:

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Indisputable Evidence: Ride that Coaching Carousel

The mighty hammer of vengeance has fallen heavily this last week, cleanly cleaving inept, incompotent, and downright unbalanced head coaches from their jobs with voracious fury and nigh-indiscriminate bloodlust. As we enter the weeks of obsessive plane-watching, rumermongering, and of course the obligatory Gary Barnett withdrawing his name from consideration, it's important that we take a second to look back on those fallen coaches who are soon to be unemployed, dead in a bathtub, or, worse yet, locked in a studio with Bob Davie for hours.

Alas, we here at the House Rock Built thought it would be a fitting tribute to the washouts of the big show to gather them together, pretty them up, and have a bachelor auction for fired coaches, Indisputable Evidence style. So get your checkbooks ready, because it's time to meet our bachelors. Remember, all proceeds go to charity, so dig deep people. Let's have a look-see, shall we?

Mike Shula

Larry Coker

John L. Smith

Chuck Amato
Done in by:

Crusty octogenarian with sunburnt jowls Mal Moore.

Batty-looking disciplinarian and Clinton employee Donna Shalala

Mustachioed hockey coach and ne'er-do-well Ron Mason

Lee Fowler, another long in the tooth Athletic Director with a silver stache.
Advantage: Larry Coker
Sweet Cheese Buyout:
$4 Million
$3 Million
$1.5 Million
Advantage: Mike Shula
Tasty Arm Candy:

The alarmingly fertile blonde bombshell Shari Shula.

Squiggles, a charming hairless cat that has been his lifelong companion.

Naive yet spiritually-connected squaw from the Powhatan Nation*.

Definitely not these girls. Which is sad.
Advantage: Mike Shula
Nickname I'd Give Him if he Coached Notre Dame:
The Masked Geneticist
The Hairless Wingnut
The Great White Hate from the Potato State
The Big Molly from Raleigh
Advantage: John L. Smith
Celebrity Doppleganger

Brick Tamlin
(HT: Orson)

Uncle Fester


Ironically, Donna Shalala
Advantage: Chuck Amato

* Editor's Note: Our research team indicates we may have him confused with another John Smith

So there you have it, ladies and germs. It looks like Mike Shula squeaks out a win with two points to everybody else's one. I'm serious about that Chuck Amato - Donna Shalala thing. Take a serious look and tell me they're not... like, at least fraternal twins. It's spooky.

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Blogpoll: When There's Nothing Left to Burn, You Have To Set Yourself on Fire Edition

1 Ohio State --
2 Southern Cal --
3 Michigan 1
4 Florida 1
5 LSU 5
6 Boise State 1
7 Louisville 6
8 Arkansas 2
9 Auburn --
10 Oklahoma 8
11 Notre Dame 6
12 Wisconsin 4
13 West Virginia 3
14 Virginia Tech 3
15 Tennessee 4
16 Wake Forest 6
17 Rutgers 6
18 Nebraska 3
19 Georgia Tech 7
20 Brigham Young --
21 Hawaii 2
22 California 2
23 Texas A&M 3
24 Texas 10
25 Oregon State 1
Dropped Out: Boston College (#15), Houston (#25).
The general theme of this week's blogpoll is torching the pretenders who hobbled on the big stage at the end of the year. And, yes, when there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.

It's interesting how the difficulty of ranking teams changes over the course of the year. At the beginning of the season, you can mostly wing it on your prejudices, the small sample size of games you can easily keep in your head, plus the stray head-to-head matchup which neatly form a heirarchy of teams. As the year progresses, you have to start judging quality of wins, quality of losses, subjectively judge "improvement", and deal with agonizing circuitous victory chains (LSU beat Arkansas, Arkansas beat Auburn, Auburn beat LSU. All teams have two losses now. Auuuughh!!! Fightinamish angry! Fightinamish smash things!)

Making a blogpoll: Half art, half primate destroying computer with a cattle femur.

As we get to this late part of the season with its crazy and inconsistent data sets, you lose the luxury of having an objective resume-based system and more or less have to turn it into pure opinion, especially with the bottom 15 of the rankings. At this point in time, I think there's a pretty solid consensus between the top five or eight teams, but then you delve into a muckety-muck of also-rans, all of whom have had brief moments of glory combined with some collosal failures and glaring weaknesses exposed by the teams in the top of the pack. At the end of the day, you have to suck it up and go with your gut with their rankings. Some more subtext:

  • Two teams have shown they're the best of the best. Michigan, I love you guys, but what USC has accomplished this season makes it impossible to deny them of the crown for best one-loss team. A big hat tip to USC's Athletic Director, who, sensing that the team would draw the typical criticisms from east coast media types for playing in a "soft conference", just went out and scheduled (and beat the pine tar out of) Arkansas, Notre Dame, and Nebraska. All three of their out of conference games were teams that have a shot to be in a BCS bowl.

    Brian @ mgo did the heavy lifting and broke down the resumes of the three contenders for the number two slot, and there's really no logical way to argue against the Trojans being in that number two spot.

  • LSU + Auburn + Arkansas = Pollster Insanity. No clue what to do with them... all 3 teams beat each other and all have two losses. I had to go to the dreaded "win when it counts" axiom to break this nutbuster. Forgive me, polling gods.

  • I can't in good conscience rank Wisconsin above Notre Dame. I'm trying to be as realistic as possible with ranking the Irish, who have taken care of business with their lesser foes, but really haven't made a statement in a big game all year (or, perhaps more appropriately, have made loud, embarassing statements in their big games this year). With that in mind, I have moved up teams that have proven a bit more, but after taking another look at Wisconsin's schedule, I simply cannot put Wisconsin ahead of Notre Dame. The Badgers' best win? Penn State, which happens to be Notre Dame's second best win. And whereas the Badgers scraped by a 13-3 victory, the Irish mangled and disfigured the Nittany Lions to the tune of 41-3 before the second string came in. The Badgers' second best win is Purdue, which is the Irish's third best win, and the margin of victory is pretty much the same (save for cosmetic touchdowns). After that, Wisconsin's slate is like a who's who of rural midwest liberal arts colleges. Say what you will about Sagarin's rankings, the 85th toughest schedule is the 85th toughest schedule, no matter how you slice it.

    If Wisconsin played a few more football games and a few less ultimate frisbee games, maybe it's a different story.

  • As you can see, Western Illinois' football team was not up to the challenge. Hell, they didn't even bring pads or footballs to the game.

  • And, again, a shit salad at the bottom. Why do they even make a "Top 25"? Is it that painfully important to honor the 25th best team in the country when everybody after about 20 or so is completely interchangeable? I shall never know.

So there you have it. Enjoy.

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Back From Compton

Good to be back, ladies and gentlemen. I spent today in a medically-induced coma attempting to reset my internal clock after time zone changes, turkey naps, brown liquor benders, and football-induced post-traumatic stress. As your loyal Notre Dame blogger and witness-slash-active participant in this weekend's football game, I certainly do owe the readers my take on the game, the season, and the general standing of the team today. Alas, that's going to wait a couple days as my perspective begins to heal with further removal from the game in LA. Also, I have to call Enterprise and explain to them why I torched their rental car. Thank god for the damage waiver insurance.

For my instant analysis, you can scoot over to the fanhouse, where I pitch in my two cents and link up some more verbage on the game. If you're desperate for a soundbite, then how about this: USC is really, really, spooky good. When Pete Carroll can get his hands on gobs of defensive talent, he can do some frightening things that make you want to cry. This Irish 2006 squad is a big-hearted group, but ultimately you can't ignore that it's a patchwork job in terms of overall talent and depth on both sides of the ball. There's enough good coaching to make these deficiencies a non-issue against more middling barely-bowl-eligible opponents, but when it's time to dance with the big boys, it's a lot harder to hide what's flapping in the breeze.

Anyway, like I said, there's going to be some detailed analysis coming later this week, but also some fun stuff too. Alas, it's silly season, so we can step aside from our heated weekly battles and pay attention to the funny stuff that really makes college football great. Like, for example, comparing the hotness of the wives of recently-fired coaches. Sneak preview: John Bunting's better half, Dawn, wins some killer points for her ability to pound down beers like a filthy truck stop call girl.

She might not win in a beauty pagent, but she sure as shit could brain Shari Shula with an empty Bud bottle.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Off the Southern California!

Well, I'm heading out to SoCal today for some turkey, some fun, and then... then, my friends... bloody vengeance. I'll try to do some more posting, but it's going to be dodgy as I bounce around from place to place. At any rate, those of you watching the game at home should keep an eye on the field in the postgame handshake, because when the Irish win, I'm going to storm the field, steal Traveler, and joyride around the streets of Los Angeles a la Marshawn Lynch, knocking over USC fans and flinging horse manure at the non-believers. Glory. Stone. Rack me, I'm out.

Coccyges heal, glory is forever. Dangerous is nothing.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Bulletin Board

It's Hate Week. If you're not hating, you're not trying. A-B-H. A - always, B - be, H - hatin'. Hate hate hate hate hate.

In the event that you do need a little more help, this post will be the official House Rock Built bulletin board. I'm going to collect up all the trash talking I've found and consolidate it here. I figure reading over this with the Pete Carroll flash intro music playing in the background should be enough to make any rational person run out and kick a puppy in the face. Hang onto that feeling. It will make you strong.

The House Rock Built's Official Bulletin Board

  • How does it feel, Irish fans, to be pwned by a poodle? Like this, apparently. Woof. - The Irish Trojan
    (Editor's Note: If you don't understand what "pwned" is, go ask the kid working at starbucks with the bad complexion and horrible haircut.)

  • You guys are kidding right? Have you even tried starring at your own goddamn coach for five minutes?! What a fat ass. Makes me want to barf. [S]eriously, is there are a less attractive coach in D-I sports than Charlie Weis? I'm being dead serious. - anonymous

  • If [Charlie Weis] has balls he can't see them without a mirror, that's for sure. He's already doing 60 minutes interviews taking credit for being the best coach in college football and the guy has done nothing in 2 seasons, but lead Notre Dame to their most embarrassing home-loss in 50 years, beat a bunch of below .500 teams a top program SHOULD beat, and kept it close in a loss to Pete Carroll. Go Irish!!!... right to your 14th straight year without a bowl win. - sandyunderpants

  • [Charlie Weis] may cry a few emphathetic tears for Brady Quinn’s familiy when, in his anger over Notre Dame’s blowout loss, and in order to feed his insatiable hunger, he eats Brady Quinn on the flight home. - The Irish Trojan
    (Editor's Note: Brave soul "Joe" goes where most of us wouldn't dare in his retort in comment #19. The gloves come off in hate week)

  • Charlie "fat-fuck" Weis is the most disgusting arrogant coach ever. After administering a beatdown this year, we are going to show Jimmy "emu" Clausen what D-I football is all about next year. - anonymous

  • LMFAO!! Notre Dame is so overated. Who do they play? They have not beat a top 25 team in how long?...Thank You!! - anonymous
    (Editor's note: OMG ROFL, twice in September this yr which was totally 4evar ago! LMA!O!)

  • Bunch of mid-west jack-asses [sic], the grass won't be 3 ft high this year! you bringing rudy with you? i don't know who whines the loudest... espn of [sic] the irish we all know the whole big ten whine [sic]. but not like the irish. when you can knock off a michigan or a ohio st. who the fuck is army/navy/air force? you would never see a team with that kind of callibur [sic] on our field. - anonymous English professor (I presume)

  • I can't wait for our linebackers to remove Brady QUinn's head from his body. If I played for Notre Dame, I would feel like a piece of shit knowing that the only reason they go to bowl games is because of their fan base and not their talent on the field. I can't wait till Saturday when we get a good look at USC's depth chart, as the Trojans should gut the Irish early letting some new blue chippers into the game. Stafon Johnson, a 5-star recruit is looking for garbage time, and I expect him to get it in the second half when we are up by more than 2 td's. - anonymous

  • Oh and speaking of gutsy, I'm trying to remember who won the game last year at your house. Or just what bowls your team has won in the last 13 years. Or what exactly the score was between you and Ohio State last year. Anyway, I'm a little worried for you guys, worried that your coach may die from a heart attack from eating too many cheeseburgers during Thanksgiving. - Jeff in LA


  • I wouldn't say I hate the Irish. They are a novelty. Like the old sexual predator in "Family Guy." Potentially viscious in theory but mostly impotent and laughable. ND is like the little dog with three legs that everyone seems to root for but laughs uncontrollably when they get too excited and fall on their face. - Jam

That's installment number one. If you see any other good smack, give me a heads-up in the comments. Trojan fans? You're more than welcome to add as much of your own smack talk in the comments. Hey, you've earned the right to be a bit braggadocious. Just remember to make sure it's littered with spelling errors and broken syntax... wait, who am I kidding? Of course you'll remember to do that.

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Blogjammin': The Boi From Troy

While it somewhat flies in the face of the spirit of Hate Week, I did keep up with my tradition of reaching out and chatting with an enemy blogger about the upcoming throwdown. Decked out in leather helmets and protective cups, the Boi From Troy and I had a civil chat about the game and used the opportunity to answer some burning questions about our rivals.

And then to fulfill our obligations as enemy fans during Hate Week, we both dressed up like pirates and had a heated slap fight.

I do it for the fans.

Anyway, you can read the other half here (link pending), and here's my interview with BFT:

  • Okay, take a step back and pretend that Pete Carroll is the coach of another team... perhaps even your rival team. Would you hate his guts? I mean, have you seen the man's website?

    If Carroll were able to do for UCLA, Cal or anyone else, I would hate him as much as Irish fans hate Ty Willingham or Bob Davie.  I also hate USC's websites, which, I promise, will have some kind of flash animation before the season is done touting the unprecedented, history-making 2006 football team.  That said, as a person, I really like Pete Carroll.  His optimism is so uplifting, I think I'd like him to run for Governor when Arnold is termed out.

    Think big, man... President Pete Carroll.

  • This clearly isn't the same juggernaut Trojan team from the previous few years, and yet here they are with a Pac 10 title in hand and two wins away from a national championship game. How has this team managed to sustain their level of success despite undergoing a major face lift?

    Whereas Notre Dame front-loaded its schedule, this Trojan team has a back-loaded schedule.  That has allowed them to improve over the course of the season to the point that they've been able to beat teams that would have grossly out-matched them in September. The other major factor is the defense.  Because the offense has been more methodical in years past, the defense has a chance to rest, make adjustments and game-plan--thus holding two of the most productive offenses in the nation--Oregon and Cal--to ten points or less.

  • Which part of this Trojan team scares you the most? That is to say, what weakness or vulnerability keeps you up at night worrying?

    Two things scare me, especially as this Trojan team matches up against Notre Dame.  Despite improvements to the Special Teams, our punt coverage leaves alot to be desired.  Had they not given up a return for a touchdown against Oregon State, we would not be talking about a Michigan-Ohio State rematch right now.  Likewise, the offense's inability to finish drives this year is frustrating.  While Booty's numbers are comparable to Leinart and Palmer--if not better--we're just not punching the ball in for points.  Against a team like Notre Dame, that could spell trouble. 

    This man is very, very disappointed in you.

  • How do you see this game going down? A "last one to score wins" shootout like last year? A surprisingly low-scoring grindout? As a follow-up, which type of game do you think would give Southern Cal the best shot at winning?

    I'd like to say that I think it will play out alot like last week's Cal game--a defensive battle opened up late by the Trojans--but I know better.  I think Notre Dame will put Quinn in the shotgun to avoid him getting pressured and making mistakes like he did against Michigan.  USC will try to take Samardzija out like they did with Cal's DeSean Jackson, by having Cushing jam him at the line--especially now that Carlson is out of the equation--which will lead to lots of screen passes to Darius Walker...which will allow Notre Dame to get some long drives, but not necessarily score touchdowns in the red zone.

    Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the ball, USC is going to try to run C.J. Gable for a hundred yards or more--regardless of whether they succeed--which means the game will come down to John David Booty's ability to find Steve Smith or Dwayne Jarrett on third or fourth down.

    I also expect Charlie Weis to do an onside kick after halftime.

  • Do you think that this game should be a play-in for the BCS title game? More to the point, if Notre Dame should somehow find a way to win this game, who would you put in the second spot against OSU?

    Sorry, but that loss against Michigan gives the Wolverines an advantage head-to-head.  However, I'd put Florida or Arkansas in the title game before wanting to see a rematch.  Imagine what would happen if Michigan were to win the BCS game--the winner of a Notre Dame-SEC Champion Sugar Bowl could lay a fair claim to a national title as well.

    Stupid us, not losing to an unranked team.

  • You have lots of connections in the USC athletic department, so do you know who killed Nicole and Ron?

    By "connections" you must mean "cancelled checks"...  While I know the BoiFromTroy is read at Heritage Hall, I do not think the Boi is all too welcome.  As far as Ron and Nicole are concerned, I have to plead the fifth...just like O.J.

Solid answers from BFT. You may now resume your regularly-scheduled hate.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Blogpoll: Too Obsessed With Southern Cal to Come Up With Good Snark Edition

1 Ohio State --
2 Southern Cal 2
3 Florida 2
4 Michigan 2
5 Notre Dame 2
6 Arkansas --
7 Boise State 3
8 Wisconsin 3
9 Auburn 4
10 LSU 2
11 Rutgers 8
12 Georgia Tech 4
13 Louisville 5
14 Texas --
15 Boston College 4
16 West Virginia 1
17 Virginia Tech 7
18 Oklahoma 2
19 Tennessee 4
20 Brigham Young 2
21 Nebraska 2
22 Wake Forest 13
23 Hawaii 2
24 California 6
25 Houston 1
Dropped Out: Maryland (#21).
Do me a favor right now. Go down to your basement or crawl space or wherever it is you store all your cardboard boxes from when you moved into your current residence. Gather them all up and pile them up in the center of your living room. Now, get violently, violently, violently drunk off of the brown liquor of your choosing. Now, off with those pants. Done all that? Allright, now throw Dropkick Murphy's "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" into your stereo and crank it as loud as humanly possible. The intro is a little slow, so get yourself psyched up by slapping yourself as hard as possible in the face on every downbeat.

The second you start hearing screaming, take off at a full sprint and jump onto your couch, catapult yourself in the air with the natural springiness of the cushions, do a triply Lindy, and come crashing down onto your pile of boxes with the full unearthly force of the great girth God gave ya.


It's fucking USC week.

Which reminds me... blogpoll...

    Enjoy that number two ranking, bitchfaces.

  • Michigan drops down to 4 after the loss. Michigan is a great team this year, but I think it's pretty clear to everybody they got completely outclassed by Ohio State. Despite what the final score said, it wasn't even all that close. Ohio State rolled up 500 yards of offense. Michigan scores a purely cosmetic touchdown and conversion aided on a phantom pass interference to end all phantom pass interferences. And Ohio State still enjoyed a double-digit lead despite three gift-wrapped turnovers that must have been caused by the invisible hand of Bo Schembechler reaching up onto the field.

    It's silly to put Michigan at number 2 right now, because a rematch would be pretty pointless. Although, quite frankly, I'm getting the feeling that the BCS Championship game is pretty pointless at this time.

    (yeah, I said "up")

  • Not particularly interested in the rest of the poll. I kept the Rutgers-Louisville-West Virginia chain intact, which apparently all the other pollsters are too cool to do. Seriously, how is West Virginia ranked ahead of Louisville? Are you going to give me the "They're clearly not the same team that they were a few weeks ago" shtick?

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