Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Maryland

I want you to know up front that I am truly sorry. My sports curse is infectious and it is spreading RAPIDLY. First we had #USMNT not qualifying for the World Cup. Then Aaron Rodgers shatters his clavicle on a hit that isn't technically dirty but still sucks because the ball is clearly out and GODDAMNIT THAT'S AARON RODGERS YOU'RE MANDHANDLING. The Cubs are on the ropes and to add insult to injury, UW's top hoops recruit for next year de-commits a month before signing day.

Every team I like is going to shit and there's really only one team left that hasn't been infected yet.

I'm so afraid that it's coming. I don't quite feel it in my bones yet, but it does feel like something bad is brewing. If it happens, I'm sorry. I can't say it's not my fault because maybe it IS my fault and I should go hide in a cafe in Alaska until college football season is over. I don't want to be the one to derail UW's glorious season.

IT ALL SUCKS.

PS - I'm just now realizing I wrote about an Alaskan cafe instead of an Alaskan cave, and I think the message remains clear. Not like they carry BTN in the Moosejaw Cafe in Anchorage.

PPS - What's the capital of Alaska? Anchorage? Nome? Alaska City? It's gotta be Anchorage... JUNEAU! DAMNIT!



WHO/WHERE/WHEN


TV: FOX
WEATHER: 70 AND SOME SUN, CLING TO THESE PRECIOUS DAYS


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Purdue

Oh I am feeling RANTY this week:

THE GODDAMN UNITED STATES NATIONAL TEAM DID NOT QUALIFY FOR THE WORLD CUP. Your reaction to this is most likely one of two feelings: complete indescribable anger or 'soccer is dumb who cares'. I really don't know how you find a middle ground there. And there is NO way to spin this. It is indubitably unspinnable. To be honest, I'm still struggling to just wrap my head about all of the implications:

1) I've spent the previous 3 years thinking I could take my sabbatical at work during the World Cup and go to Russia. That idea is now officially dead and my dream of going to a World Cup in person is now on hold until 2026, which sounds like the year the Jetsons took place in. Will probably be robot soccer by then. Ugh.

2) Remember how much fun it was watching the US games at bars where even soccer haters were on the bandwagon? There was so much HYPE. Faced with nothing but baseball, the World Cup gave us the intense sports fixation we craved. Now we get to hope Iceland does something cool.

3) Here's what I don't get: why is the US women's program the best in the world while the men's program is shit? Is it just less competition for the athletes to play other sports? Are more of our better female athletes sticking with soccer instead of spinning off to hoops/hockey/baseball/everything else? Does the women's program emphasize skill and tactics more than just relying on athleticism? WHAT IS THEIR SECRET, WHICH IS TECHNICALLY OUR SECRET? Give the women the @ussoccer handle, hire a female president of the US Soccer Federation, and build a men's program that SNIFFS the level of skill and success the women have.

4) Poor Christian Pulisic. We finally have a building block WORTH building around, and the best thing we could do for him was get him World Cup reps before he's old enough to drink. What do we do? Watch Jozy and Bradley and the rest of the vets come out flat and STAY flat against one of the worst teams in the entire world. Hopefully CP10's experience with Dortmund will keep him moving forward to superstardom, and hopefully he doesn't quit soccer and start playing football.

5) I'm done. I'm just so done. That was the most infuriating sporting event I've ever watched. I'm not joking when I say I've never been angrier after one of my teams lost a big game. After the UW/Duke title game I was depressed. After the '03 Cubs I was young and dumb and there's always next year. But this is in a class of its own, and that's a class I hope never grows.

Fire everyone. Burn it to the ground. Empower all the women. Embrace Pulisic. Go Iceland.

UGH.

UPDATE: A commenter by the name of Aubrey has shed some light on why the women's program is a juggernut:


I love a good ranting. 
In regards to why the US women are so much more successful, there are a couple reasons. While men's soccer was becoming immensely popular through the late 19th Century in Europe and its colonial empire, women were still told their place was in the home. In fact, with a few exceptions for war (think a League of their Own), Euros did not want women playing soccer as it was viewed to be unfeminine. Organized women's leagues were banned in the UK and Germany until ~1970. The German soccer organization (DFB) stated: "this combative sport is fundamentally foreign to the nature of women" and that "body and soul would inevitably suffer damage". Further, the "display of the body violates etiquette and decency". So while the world has developed their men's programs for over 100 years, women's programs have lagged behind, creating less of a gap for us to overcome. 
The gap in men's soccer was largely caused in part because we were developing our own successful sports (football, baseball, even basketball and hockey). We also weren't part of the Europe colonial empire so it wasn't really impressed on us. 
Football and baseball aren't really sports that women are encouraged to participate in, so while many of our best men pursued those sports, women found their own favorite sports.  
Title IX is the real huge advantage for US women's soccer. When schools needed to add women's sports, soccer was a natural fit due to its affordability, the same reason it enjoys such success even in the third world. Title IX essentially created a developmental program for women that was unheard of in other countries. This gave us a significant advantage in the sport, which led to our first World Cup championship. As they say, success breeds success, and soccer exploded in popularity amongst American girls. In addition to school programs, travel teams and organizations blossomed and development became even more regimented. Europe has only begun to create developmental leagues for its women (they are getting better you might notice) somewhat recently.  
So... TL;DR: our women started on even footing, don't get to play football/baseball instead; Title IX; a history of winning



WHO/WHERE/WHEN


TV: BTN
WEATHER: LOOKS LIKE SOME RAIN, GON' BE A WET ONE


Thursday, October 5, 2017

at Nebraska

I'm not yet sure how I'm going to balance the incredible sports landscape this weekend. We've got simultaneous #USMNT World Cup Qualifier and Cubs/Nats game 1 Friday, Cubs/Nats game 2 rolled into UW/Nebraska Saturday, and then Packers/Cowboys for dessert on Sunday. October is off to a FLAMING hot start. Buckle up and strap it in.



WHO/WHERE/WHEN


TV: BTN
WEATHER: 60s AND DARK


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Northwestern

Non-conference observations as we gear up for a visit from the NERDS:

1) Taylor is the real goddamn deal. It's time to just accept that he is by FAR the best running back on this roster and feed him. Studly college running backs will not make it 4 years, so you have to just ride them every week. This kid passes the eye test by a million, grades out like a champ with all the nerdy sabermagician metrics, and is just looking a damn baller out there with the 23 on his chest. Give him the rock and watch him do his thing.

2) We've FINALLY evolved beyond the one trick pony wide receiver stable. Hard to remember the last time we actually had more than one receiver we could reliably throw to. I'm sure coming into the year, we were all expecting Yazz Peavy to dominate the target share, but that hasn't been the case at all. Q Fresh Cephus and Danny Davis are both over 100 yards, and have shown a nice mix of finishing and big play ability. Those two, Yazz, and Foomz give Horn Dawg a pretty damn good arsenal to deal to.

3) Speaking of the Horn Dawg, that was a very comforting performance in Provo. I'm sure there were some nervous folks out there wondering if he was regressing, but those nerves should be unnerved (what) after his utter dissection of the BYU defense. Maybe BYU sucks, but I'm feeling pretty good about our passing attack going forward. Yay.

4) The defense sure seems to keep plugging the injury holes with minimal pain. Injuries suck. No one denies this. In many sports and many positions, a key injury or two can absolutely DOOM an entire season. Hell, the right injury could doom an entire franchise (I have no idea if that's true). With Cichy going down in the preseason, there were all sorts of pieces out there about how devastating that was to Wisconsin's Playoff hopes. BALDERDASH. Our system is divine, our coaching is sublime, our backups just fine, look at me I can fucking rhyme.

5) Favorites in every game from now until TBD. And deservedly so. I'm a stupid fan with a laptop so I'm allowed to look ahead without LOSING FOCUS ON NERD STOMPING. So allow me to say: collision course with Penn State in Indy. I'm assuming the B1G Championship is still in Indy? Or is it at Yankee Stadium to keep chipping away at that East Coast media market? Whatever. 12-0 Wisconsin meets 12-0 Penn State and someone is going to be CRUSHED. We all know which football program deserves only the worst things to happen to it, so if we apply Game of Thrones expectations then you can bank on us losing on a hail mary. Fiddlesticks.

PS - if we lose this week it is not my fault.



WHO/WHERE/WHEN


TV: ABC
WEATHER: 60s AND SUNNY-ISH AGAIN YAY GOOD WEATHER


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

at BYU

Remember last week when I said the Utah State game was the ultimate game no one will remember in a few months? I'd like to update that to replace it with the FAU game. I almost had to check a schedule to confirm it was indeed FAU that we played last week.

Part of that is that I was in Omaha for a wedding, and due to some domestic compromises I was not able to watch the entire game. But that's okay! I think I mentioned a few years ago that as much as I love Badger sports, I no longer feel the driving need to schedule and revolve my life around games.* There are only so many weekends before it gets arctic in the Midwest, and dedicating every one of those to a sport where 80% of the time we'll just roll over inferior teams is a young man's game.

As I'm writing this I realize how lame this sounds. I can ASSURE you I still enjoy drinking 17 High Lifes in a sea of red before the sun goes down. That hasn't stopped being fun. I promise. And I WAS super hyped for this game a few months ago... until BYU came out looking like basura, and now our only chance of a decent non-conf win is thwarted. At least the game is at 2:30. That's late enough to roll the good times right into the evening. Take advantage of that.


*Obvious exceptions exist. Not all games are created equally, and I will certainly go out of my way to make sure I have unimpeded viewing for big conference games, games with playoff implications, etc. But you reach a point in life when FAU in September is not must-watch appointment viewing. Life... finds a way.



WHO/WHERE/WHEN


TV: ABC
WEATHER: 60s AND SUNNY-ISH, GOOD SOBER WEATHER


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Florida Atlantic

Now THAT'S how you have a 59-10 blowout with a little bit of character. You let Scrub University come out and take a lead, you look a little skittish, and the unseasoned Badger fans out there start to kinda sorta worry. 'OH MY GOD IS THIS A JOKE?'

I can guarantee wherever you were watching, at least 3 people actually thought that. They actually thought we might be in trouble. Like we were actually going to get handled by Utah State at Camp Randall on opening night.

The veterans amongst us know the only thing to do when the game is not going the way it should is to head to the bar and order a round of #RallyYamos. This is a patent-pending procedure that guarantees success. I'm not sure what special power Jameson has, but it is scientifically and empirically proven to take a bad situation and flip it upside down right on its stupid ear.

What happened after the #RallyYamos came out last Friday?



#HornDawg started slangin', Taylor announced his arrival on the scene, and this game became the soon-to-be forgotten blowout we all anticipated. Fun stuff.

PS - Does there really exist some kind of scenario where Wisconsin doesn't win here?


Utah State is down 49 points with 5 seconds left and somehow our win probability is not 100%. At what point do the damn statistical models just shut it down and acknowledge IT AIN'T HAPPENING, EVER. Unless Utah State possessed the ability to bend the laws of physics in our known universe, it is utterly impossible for them to win. And even if they could alter time and space, they still ain't crossing that goal line again. Figure it out, nerds.



WHO/WHERE/WHEN


TV: BTN
WEATHER: 70, SUNNY, WELCOME BACK TO 11 AM BROADCASTS ON BTN


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Utah State

Hello.

Did you enjoy your summer? Sweating every day? Getting sunburn just checking the mail? Not being able to wear anything from your arsenal of Patagonias? SUMMER SUCKS. There you go. I'll say it. It is, on a good day, the third best season:

1) Fall. Comfortable weather, football returns, Cubs on a 1 World Series winning streak, Halloween, quarter zips (the new thermals), I don't even drink them but I'm sure approximately 50% of you flip your shit over pumpkin spiced everythings, Halloween candy for sale for pennies on the dollar in November.

2) Spring. ESCAPE FROM THE LONG NIGHT, NCAA Tournament, quarter zips, Revolution A Little Crazy guzzling, those random days where it's like 75 and sunny in late March, St. Patrick's Day.

3) Summer. Air Conditioning, patio drinks for an hour before you'd rather be inside with the previously mentioned A/C, praying your Cubs seats are in the shade for the Saturday afternoon August game against the Pirates you got tickets for, waiting an hour for Jeni's ice cream even though Bobtail in Lakeview is better, Lollapalooza and everything that's terrible about it.

4) Winter. Freeze outside, sweat on public transportation, eating ice cream is somehow considered weird because it's so cold, salt gets stuck in my dog's paws and she does this sad little hop thing until I fish it out with my bare fingers even though it's 3 degrees outside, those random blocks on heavily trafficked streets that don't bother shoveling so all the snow gets packed down and walking on it feels like part of an American Ninja Warrior course, even Jon Snow is shedding any association with it.

So whatever. I'm a #SummerHater and I've come to terms with it. That's ok because it's basically Fall and I'm ready to FEAST on all the wonders Fall has in store for us. That starts Friday night in Madison.

PS - Couldn't be more #AllInOnHornDawg after finding out he's been eating 6,000 calories a day. GUNSLINGER STATUS CONFIRMED



WHO/WHERE/WHEN


TV: ESPN
WEATHER: 60, DRY, 100% CHANCE OF NIGHTRAGE