Author: sammano

I'm just a guy...just a man trying to survive in this wacky world, stay true to myself (whatever that means), maybe have some fun, have a positive influence on people and events, and navigate this curvy, bumpy road called life.

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 4

I am so mad at myself. Sometimes something is so obviously staring one right in the face that we too easily look past it. Such was the case last week. There was a fantastic opportunity for me to go 5-0, which I think would have been the very first time in three years that has happened. I am far too lazy to research the archives in order to verify that fact. At any rate, instead I ended up going 3-2. Why?? Well, first of all, the Green Bay Packers only beat the NY Jets by 7 points. The spread was 8. That one wasn’t so much my fault as it was a Packers team who basically phoned it in and may have actually lost were it not for the inexplicable ineptitude of the Jets coaching staff. Then there was the major upset…the San Diego Chargers defeating the Seattle Seahawks. I should have seen it coming. There was no way the Seahawks were going to go undefeated. That just doesn’t happen. I am the guy who said in my NFL Preview that “Super Bowl Champions oftentimes slip a little the following season” while predicting a rather pedestrian 10-6 record for Seattle. At the same time I called the Chargers “sneaky good” and also predicted a 10-6 record as well as a playoff berth. The Seahawks had dismantled Green Bay in the opening game of the season while San Diego lost a heartbreaker to the Arizona Cardinals. Seattle-San Diego was a home game for the Chargers & a classic trap game for the Seahawks, and they fell into the trap. I should have seen it coming but I didn’t. The good news for me is that while I went 3-2 Zach went 1-4, which means our season thus far looks like this:

Me = 7-9
Zach = 7-8

********************

Iowa at Pitt (-6.5)
iowaI ranked Iowa 14th in my pre-season Top 25, but after a last second loss to in-state rival Iowa pittSt. they have some work to do if they’re going to fulfill that prophecy. Meanwhile, the hated Pitt Panthers have gotten off to a solid 3-0 start, including a victory at Boston College. Heinz Field isn’t much of a home advantage for the Panthers since there are usually only a few dozen people there on Saturdays, including vendors and homeless people hoping to score some scraps from discarded Primanti Brothers wrappers. Most folks in The ‘Burgh wait to spend their hard earned money on Sunday at the Steelers game. Pitt seems like they may be the real deal, but who knows?? I think this will be a close game and it is undoubtedly pivotal to both teams’ seasons. I’m going to support my own pre-season prediction by going with the Hawkeyes. Using the logic that Boston College beat USC and Pitt beat Boston College so therefore Pitt must be a legitimately good team (which actually does make sense) Zach is picking the Panthers to pound the ball with their rushing attack and win easily.

My Pick = Iowa
Z’s Pick = Pitt

-

Florida at Alabama (-14.5)
Where is the love for ‘Bama?? Are we just so use to them being a top team that we don’t even feel the need to discuss themflorida gators image anymore?? Is there a bit of Tide fatigue amongst the masses?? The answer is probably yes on both counts. However, this game should receive a fair amount of attention. Florida isn’t back to its Spurrier/Urban Meyer heyday just yet, but they are 2-0. Yes it took them 3 overtimes to beat Kentucky last week. I think they may have been looking ahead just a bit. Anyway, if this game were at The Swamp it’d be really intriguing, but alas it is in Tuscaloosa. Therefore I believe there is probably not much of a doubt that Alabama will win. The question is by how much?? I am probably going to regret this, but I guess maybe I am one of the doubters. I think the Tide rolls, but by less than 14 ½ points. Zach has a man crush on Nick Saban but agrees with my assessment that this will be a close game.

My Pick = Florida
Z’s Pick = Florida

-

Clemson at Florida St. (-20)
There are no shortage of folks who already have had the #1 ranked Seminoles on upset alert. They were less than clemsonimpressive in a season opening victory over Oklahoma St., a game in which the Cowboys narrowed their deficit to within a touchdown with 2 minutes remaining but ran out of time to make anything else happen. Add in the fact that Florida St.’s quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner, upstanding citizen, scholar, gentleman, & all around class act Jameis Winston is suspended for the first half of this game because he is a moron. Meanwhile, the Tigers are 1-1 after a season opening loss to Georgia followed by dismantling an overmatched junior high team last week. I honestly don’t know how Clemson is still in anyone’s Top 25. They certainly haven’t earned such accolades. However, that could change with this game. Heck, if the game were being played at Memorial Stadium in South Carolina I might actually give them a puncher’s chance to win. However, it is in Tallahassee. The point spread does concern me just a bit. Florida St. has put up only 37 points in each of its first two contests. I think Clemson will be overmatched but motivated, while I am not sure the apprehension of the doubters has reached enough of a crescendo for Florida St. to pay much attention…yet. Zach not only agrees but is boldly predicting an outright Clemson victory. That boy has a set of brass ones. He gets it from his mother’s side of the family.

My Pick = Clemson
Z’s Pick = Clemson

-

Denver at Seattle (-5)
For anyone who may have been hiding out in one of those bomb shelters from the 60’s recently, this is a rematch of last denverseason’s Super Bowl. In that game the Seahawks’ defense made living legend Peyton Manning look like…well…Eli Manning and cruised to a 43-8 victory that was even more underwhelming than Bruno Mars’ halftime show. But the beauty of the NFL is that every season is new and teams can change…both for the good and the not so good…at the drop of a hat. The Broncos made notable improvements to their defense, while Seattle lost a few pieces, although I don’t think it’s had a significant impact so far. Adding intrigue to this game is the fact that the defending champions, as previously mentioned, were upset last week. Could they really lose two games in a row?? Is Denver as good as their 2-0 record indicates?? The revenge factor for the Broncos cannot be overlooked, but neither can the anger of the Seahawks after a tough loss. This is a hard game to figure out, but I’m going to roll the dice on Manning and go with the underdogs. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Denver
Z’s Pick = Denver

-

Chicago at NY Jets (-2.5)
Jets-Pin-ProThe Bears spoiled the opening of their brand new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers last chicago-bears-logo13Sunday night and looked pretty good in doing it, especially in the 4th quarter. But let us not forget that they lost their season opener at home in three OTs to the Buffalo Bills. The Jets are 1-1 as well. So basically no one really knows what to expect in this game. New York gets the nominal home field advantage but I’m not sure that means much. This is the story of two quarterbacks. The Bears’ Jay Cutler is, in my opinion, overrated. The Jets’ Geno Smith…a former WV Mountaineer…has potential and occasionally shows flashes but has been disappointing to some. I look for this to be a defensive battle defined by turnovers and lots of smashmouth football. Which QB will make the least mistakes?? Which one will make a blunder at the worst possible time?? Whose running game will dominate?? This is the Monday night game so I suppose I’ll stay up past my bedtime to find out. In a flip of the proverbial coin I’m going with the Jets. Zach disagrees and is picking the Bears.

My Pick = NY Jets
Z’s Picks = Chicago

About these ads

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 3

Better late than never. Simmer down. No worries. Our first game doesn’t kick off until 10pm EST Saturday night.

There are few things more frustrating than being right and still losing. However, when I began doing these picks I decided that it would be far too prosaic to just do straight win/lose, that the element of the point spread had to be incorporated to increase the complexity of the challenge. Unfortunately, as I am sure hardcore gamblers know all too well, this also means that sometimes the spread can reach up and bite one in the butt. Such was the case last week when the Denver Broncos beat the Indianapolis Colts by 7 points instead of 7 ½ points. Even more infuriating is the fact that at one point the Broncos led the game 24-7. Denver letting their foot off the gas resulted in a loss for me and a win for Zach, making me 2-3 for the week and him 3-2. I am rather competitive so this kind of ticks me off. Thanks a lot Peyton Manning. At any rate I suppose I just need to move on and hope for better things this week. The season thus far shapes up like this:

Me = 4-7
Zach = 6-4

**********************************

Nebraska (-10.5) at Fresno St.
The Huskers barely escaped what would have been a devastating loss to 1-AA (I kick it old school) McNeese St. last week. Meanwhile, the normally solid & nebraska-cornhuskersentertaining Bulldogs come into this game 0-2, having been hammered by an average of 35 points. Double digit spreads make me nervous, but I’ll go with the favorites here. Zach thinks Nebraska will win by 4 TDs.

My Pick – Nebraska
Z’s Pick – Nebraska

 

 

Nevada at Arizona (-15.5)
nevadaThe Wolfpack are one of those teams that no one likes to play. They are usually a solid bowl team and seem to play “bigger” teams tough, pulling off the occasionalcollege_arizona_90 upset. They did go 4-8 in 2013, but come into this game 2-0, including an impressive victory over the PAC 12’s Washington St. Cougars last week. The Wildcats….as much as it physically & emotionally hurts me to say it…have been pretty decent under head coach Rich Fraudriguez and come into this game 2-0 as well, although they had a difficult time defeating Texas-San Antonio last week. It is likely that Arizona holds serve on its home field this week, but the large point spread gives me pause. For that reason I’m going to pick Nevada. Zach, apparently unware of Nevada’s 2-0 record, thinks they suck and reluctantly picks Arizona, even though he hates their coach as much as I do.

My Pick – Nevada
Z’s Pick – Arizona

 

 

Miami at Buffalo (even)
Buffalo_Bills_HelmetNo result from the first week of NFL action was as shocking to me as the Dolphins upsetting the New England Patriots. But the Bills pulled off Miami_Dolphins_Helmeta pretty big surprise themselves by beating the Chicago Bears. Now look, let’s be honest…the Patriots are still winning the division. However, both of these teams (as well as the New York Jets) ae looking to make the jump up to a solid wildcard contender that wins 9 or 10 games. This game will tell us a lot about both teams. The folks in Vegas seem to think they are evenly matched, which both simplifies and complicates things. I’m going with Buffalo because of the home field advantage. Zach doesn’t believe that Miami’s victory last week was a fluke and believes they will be a serious playoff contender.

My Pick – Buffalo
Z’s Pick – Miami

 

 

Seattle (-5.5) at San Diego
The defending Super Bowl champions looked quite impressive in their season debut, soundly defeating the Green Bay Packers. Meanwhile, the Chargers lost a seattle-seahawks1heartbreaker last week to the Arizona Cardinals. As much as I’d love to go with the underdogs here I just can’t pull the trigger. I thought Seattle might ease off the throttle and fall back just a little bit this season, but so far that prediction looks like it might be wrong. Zach concurs.

My Pick – Seattle
Z’s Pick – Seattle

 

 

NY Jets at Green Bay (-8)
The Packers began the season on the receiving end of the previously mentioned beatdown at the hands of the Seahawks. The Jets took care of the Oakland Green_Bay_Packers_HelmetRaiders. I like Green Bay to rebound here, especially in the friendly confines of the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. The points are a bit much for my taste, but if Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense are firing on all cylinders it shouldn’t be a problem. Zach agrees.

My Pick – Green Bay
Z’s Pick – Green Bay

Winning & Musing…..Volume 2.14

I know that this blog has become very sportscentric lately…again. That always happens during football season and I have apologized on previous occasions. Rest assured that there is other non-sports stuff in the hopper. However, there have been some really interesting things happening in the sports world recently, things that I cannot ignore and must opine about. Unfortunately they are, for the most part, of the off-the-field variety and the kind of subject matter which makes me sometimes wish I was more like some of my friends who are blissfully ignorant of almost everything that the folks on ESPN drone on about for hours every day. But I am who I am…a guy who’d probably rid myself of every other form of entertainment on the planet before being forced to give up my ball games and sports talk shows only if my life was in peril. At any rate, sit back, relax, and indulge your humble Potentate of Profundity as I whine & moan about things that have no direct effect on my life and over which I have no control.

 

 

 

Ray Rice. Oh where to begin?? Halfhearted kudos to the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL for dismissing Rice from the team and suspending him indefinitely from the league. However, I find it strange that all of this occurred months after the initial incident happened and only after TMZ released video footage from inside the elevator where Rice knocked out his girlfriend/wife. Originally the only video we saw was Rice dragging the woman’s unconscious body out of the elevator and into a hallway. But what did people think happened inside that elevator?? Why all of this fresh fury and long overdue action from the Ravens & the NFL?? Now granted…actually watching the video is disturbing, yet I can’t help but wonder why intelligent people couldn’t use reason & logic to assess the situation in the first place and also be a bit flummoxed at folks who act like the this new video riceprovides some kind of revelatory information. We all knew that Ray Rice was a punk who hit a woman. Why is anyone surprised by what is on that video?? Rice’s release by the Ravens and laughable suspension by the NFL (which is kind of like putting a bullet in a guy that’s already dead) are too little too late and simply a PR move by people who got caught being neglectful of their duties in the first place. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell…already an assclown of epic proportions…has embarrassed himself and the league by his woefully inept handling of the situation in which he originally suspended Rice for only two games and then instituted a domestic violence policy after the fact and only because there was such public outrage about his stupidity. Allow me to join the chorus calling for Goodell’s ouster. He has already ruined the game of football with all of his silly rules in an effort to make a violent collision sport safer. Now he has made it clear that he believes it is a far more heinous offense to smoke weed or tackle a quarterback a little too hard than to smack the snot out of a female, and he has also proven to be one of those inept wimpy types that makes bad decisions and then backtracks on them after people call him out on his incompetence. That’s not leadership. I don’t know who this moron slept with or paid off to get his job, but he needs to go…not next year or next month or next week – immediately. Roger Goodell might be the single most embarrassing human being to ever draw breath. He’s disgusting.

 

Let’s talk about Janay Palmer Rice. She is Ray Rice’s wife…the one who he knocked out in that elevator. Now I’m venturing out on a very sensitive rice-wifelimb here. I do not blame the victim. A man should never strike a woman no matter what the circumstance may be, and the newly released video makes it clear that she did not hit Mr. Rice first or at all so not even that argument can be utilized. However, what I cannot wrap my mind around is the fact that this woman MARRIED Ray Rice a few weeks AFTER the incident in which he knocked her out. I cannot fathom that. I am not an expert on domestic violence and God knows I’d never claim to know all that much about women, but it saddens me to think that a person would have such a lack of self-respect, such a dearth of self-worth, & such low self-esteem that she’d marry a man after he abused her. I can, on an intellectual level, understand how a wife would stay with a husband who has become abusive. Maybe she feels trapped. Maybe she has nowhere to go. Maybe she is tied to her husband financially. Maybe she stays for the kids. All are poor excuses to remain in an abusive relationship but atleast they are reasons that kind of make sense in some way. But to make the conscious decision to go forward into a marriage where the guy is abusive before you’ve walked down the aisle?? I don’t get it. So no…I don’t think it is right to blame Janay Palmer Rice for Ray Rice’s abuse. However, I think it is fair to question her judgment & intelligence for choosing to not only continue with the relationship but to take it to the next level by marrying an abusive man.

 

I couldn’t help but wonder, in the midst of all of this Ray Rice controversy, what Pete Rose may be thinking. A strange thought?? Comparing apples to oranges?? Maybe. But here is a guy that is a legit baseball Hall-of-Famer but who has been banished from the game for over 25 years (with no end in sight) and for what?? Yes he gambled. He gambled on baseball. He gambled on his own team. He lied about it for years. Pete Rose is no saint. But pete-rose1there is no evidence that he ever bet against his team and purposefully tanked any games. Yet he is treated worse than guys who took drugs therefore indirectly affecting the outcome of games and altering baseball’s sacred record book. He is treated worse than players who are allegedly responsible for other peoples’ deaths. And until now he was treated worse than a scumbag who punched a woman in an elevator. Heck, Ray Rice may still end up getting a better deal than Rose. It would not surprise me at all if, in a year or two, Rice does some sort of teary-eyed interview (probably with Oprah) claiming to be a changed man and some NFL team (probably the Raiders or Cowboys) signs him. And when that day comes Pete Rose will likely still be waiting for his second chance.

 

What is the deal with this dude who owns the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks?? Bruce Levenson, who has been the Hawks majority owner for a decade, “self-reported” a “racially insensitive” email he sent TWO YEARS AGO and has decided to sell his stake in the team. There is a fine line between honorable and insane and I think maybe this situation skews toward the latter. Levenson stated “If you’re angry about what I wrote, you should be. I’m angry at myself, too. It was inflammatory nonsense. We all may have subtle biases and preconceptions when it comes to race, but my role as a leader is to challenge them, not to validate or accommodate those who might hold them.” This guy has apparently been watching way too much MSNBC and probably likes The View. The email in question was a discussion about attracting more fans for the team and Levenson wondered if “the black crowd school_debatescared away the whites” in racially diverse Atlanta and theorized that “there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base.” He further noted that the typical arena crowd was “70% black, the cheerleaders are black, the music is hip hop, the bars are 90% black, there are few fathers and sons at the games, & we are doing after game concerts to attract more fans and the concerts are either hip hop or gospel” and indicated that “I want some white cheerleaders and the music to be music familiar to a 40 year old white guy”. Look, are Levenson’s concerns awkwardly articulated?? Of course. But are they legitimate concerns of an owner trying to make his business as successful as possible?? I think so. The sad thing is that he will sell the team, make a boatload of cash, & go away quietly while the NBA tries to sweep all of this under the rug. However, I can’t help but think that this is a textbook opportunity for an honest discussion of cultural issues. Are white folks really that turned off by black culture, i.e. hip-hop, rap, etc.?? And if so why?? Are those feelings valid?? If I don’t like that kind of thing and choose to spend my entertainment dollars elsewhere does that make me racist?? Whenever I go into any kind of office setting where there is music playing it is almost always the all-everything pop/rock station that plays hits from the past 4 or 5 decades. It isn’t a rap station. It isn’t a country station. It isn’t a station playing classical, big band, or heavy metal. The audiences for those genres are varying degrees of narrow, so the doctor’s office or whatever kind of business it is plays music that has wider appeal and probably won’t be offensive or unpleasant to any of its employees or patrons. It seems to me that that is what Bruce Levenson, in a rather clunky manner, was trying to do. But we live in a hypersensitive society where the Thought Police are becoming more powerful every day, so instead of having an intelligent debate on the merit of these issues we’ll just make the troublemaker shut up & go away.

 

I can admit when I am wrong and I was wrong about NFL rookie defensive lineman Michael Sam. I was absolutely convinced that he’d make the St.samgarrett Louis Rams’ roster or atleast their practice squad. Mega kudos to the Rams for having the courage to cut Sam loose and face the public backlash. But of course that wasn’t the end of the saga. The suits in the NFL office (that damn Goodell again) and the liberal media just can’t seem to accept the exceedingly simple fact that maybe Michael Sam just isn’t good enough to play in the NFL. It isn’t all that unusual for a great college athlete’s talent to not transition well to the NFL or NBA. It happens all the time. Heisman Trophy winners like Matt Leinart, Jason White, Chris Weinke, Eric Crouch, Ron Dayne, Danny Wuerffel, Gino Torretta, & Andre Ware were all failures at the pro level. Naismith Award winners Jimmer Fredette, Andrew Bogut, Jameer Nelson, TJ Ford, Elton Brand, Calbert Cheaney, & Johnny Dawkins were all underwhelming in the NBA. It happens. But apparently it isn’t allowed to happen to openly gay Michael Sam!! NFL officials reportedly called teams in an effort to persuade them to sign Sam after he was released by the Rams. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says that his team’s decision to sign Sam had nothing to do with pressure from the league. Maybe he’s telling the truth. Maybe he’s a filthy liar. Either way, the idea that the NFL tried to coerce teams into signing a player who probably doesn’t have the skill or talent level to play professional football because they are more concerned with their sociopolitical ideas than the integrity of the game is reprehensible.

 

So I guess it is back to business as usual at Penn St. The NCAA handed down a stiff penalty a couple of years ago in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation debacle, including a 4 year bowl ban and a significant limiting of football scholarships for four years. Now, halfway thru that penalty the NCAA has basically said “Ehhh…never mind”. Many are applauding the decision. There are those that feel that Sandusky is in prison, legendary coach Joe Paterno is dead and stricken from the record books, & others associated with the scandal are long gone from Happy Valley, and that it is psuunfair to punish current players, coaches, & fans for sins they didn’t commit. I understand but disagree. The problem at Penn St. was systemic. The football program became bigger than everything else and protecting it became more important than protecting innocent children from a sexual predator. Fans surely didn’t molest those children and neither did they participate in the cover-up. However, they were complicit in making Penn St. football & Joe Paterno into a bigger-than-life entity whose importance in relation to other aspects of life became completely cock-eyed. I thought the program was fortunate to escape the dreaded “death penalty” and that the bowl ban and loss of scholarships (which can cripple a football team for years) was entirely reasonable and a great way to make the folks at Penn St. get their priorities in order. Players who chose to matriculate there would be going in with their eyes open and with no right to complain about not having an opportunity to play in the post-season. But now all of that is out the window. Penn St. football is back. And once again Pete Rose…who simply bet on baseball and did not molest any children…still waits for his second chance.

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 2

I’m not going to sugarcoat it…last weekend was a brutal start to the season for me. I went 2-4. South Carolina completely let me down. Ohio St. Facepalm computercovered the spread (barely) while Florida St. did not. Boise St. got hammered. It wasn’t pretty. Zach fared a little better, going 3-2. Clemson & Navy let him down. This week the NFL season begins so we have a mix of some good games on both levels. Here’s hoping for a better weekend for all of us.

 

 

 

 
Michigan St. at Oregon (-13.5)
The Ducks are a legit Top 5 team and took care of business in week 1, hammering South Dakota 62-13. Meanwhile the Spartans had no problems in a 45-7 victory Oregon Ducksover Jacksonville St. Now that the Little Sisters of the Poor have gotten their big payday and went home we can get down to serious football. Michigan St. is a solid Top 10 team but they must travel to Eugene for this contest. I think it’ll be competitive for the first three quarters but Oregon will eventually pull away and cover the spread, winning by 2 or 3 touchdowns. Their speed is just too much to handle. Zach concurs.

My Pick: Oregon
Z’s Pick: Oregon

 

 
Michigan at Notre Dame (-5)
The Wolverines began what feels like a make or break season for head coach Brady Hoke with an easy 52-14 defeat of Appalachian St. The Irish had an equally michigan-wolverines-fan-gearimpressive 48-17 victory over Rice. 4 of the past 5 games between these two have been decided by 7 points or less so the spread seems right on. Football games between these elite programs go back to the late 19th century but will end..for now…after this game. It isn’t the first time the rivalry has gone on hiatus and I am sure it will return at some point, especially if Notre Dame is ever compelled to do the right thing and join the Big Ten (which has 14 teams). For now though let us savor this one last bit of gridiron goodness. I’m going to go against the grain and predict an upset. Not surprisingly Zach…a noted Michigan fan…agrees wholeheartedly.

My Pick: Michigan
Z’s Pick: Michigan

 

 
Green Bay at Seattle (-5.5)
There’s probably no better way to kick off the NFL season than with a matchup of 2 of the last 4 Super Bowl Champions. This is expected to be hard hitting defense Green_Bay_Packers_Helmetvs. prolific offense. The problem with that scenario is that the powers-that-be…under the guise of “safety”…have continued to neuter defenses and appease the masses’ desire for video game offense and fruitful fantasy numbers. That gives the Packers the edge in my opinion. Once again Zach agrees.

My Pick: Green Bay
Z’s Pick: Green Bay

 

 

Carolina at Tampa Bay (-1)
The Bucs have been receiving a lot of love this offseason and get the nominal home field advantage. The Panthers lost their entire receiving corps in the offseason carolina_panthers_logo-14336but I expect big things from rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin. Both teams will likely rely heavily on their running game. I like both defenses. Carolina’s fate rests almost entirely on the arm & legs of QB Cam Newton. This will be his 4th year in the NFL and it is time to find out whether he can fulfill his potential by carrying a solid yet unspectacular team to the next level. I think he can and we’ll begin to see that in this game. Zach isn’t buying the Tampa hype at all and thinks Newton will lead the Panthers to a blowout.

 My Pick: Carolina

Z’s Pick: Carolina

 

 

Indianapolis at Denver (-7.5)
denverWe know about the quarterbacks in this game. They’re both really good. One is a living legend and the other is the next big thing. But what Indianapolis_Colts_Helmetelse do we need to look for in this game?? Well, for one thing Denver’s defense, which looked old & slow in the Super Bowl, has been completely revamped. DE Demarcus Ware and DBs Aqib Talib & TJ Ward are all upgrades over those whom they replaced. The Broncos also picked DB Bradley Robey in the first round of the draft. Offensive tackle Ryan Clady returns to the Denver line after missing most of 2013 with a foot injury. Indianapolis is looking to answer questions on offense. Can Browns reject Trent Richardson, a former 3rd overall pick in the 2012 draft, become the franchise RB everyone expected him to be?? Can receivers TY Hilton, Hakeem Nicks, & rookie Donte Moncrief become reliable targets for Andrew Luck as 35 year old Reggie Wayne enters his 14th and maybe final year in the NFL?? What about the Colts’ offensive line that gave up 42 sacks last season?? My vibe is that Indy has potential but Denver is already where they need to be. Zach disagrees. He thinks this will be a really close game that Indy wins late in the 4th quarter.

My Pick:     Denver

Z’s Pick:     Indianapolis

 

 

<

p style=”text-align:center;”>test

2014 NFL Preview & Prognostications

laces-football-grassAllow me to be bluntly honest. Not that I am usually dishonest, but I am rarely blunt. At any rate, I’m not as excited as usual to do goodevil-copythis preview. The NFL is becoming harder & harder to watch thanks to that moron Fidel Goodell. I look at professional football suits, including the league office and team front offices, kind of like I do the government. I believe they should interfere with the game as little as possible. Unfortunately nowadays, with Goodell’s “personal conduct policy” and the pathological need to make a violent collision sport “safe”, all the talking heads ever yap about (whenever they aren’t slobbering all over rookie defensive end Michael Sam, indulging Browns “backup” QB Johnny Manziel, or being offended by the Washington Redskins name) are penalties and suspensions. Defense used to win championships, but the NFL has neutered defenses to the point that they might as well not even take the field. I sincerely believe we are only a few years away from flag football. Goodell is a succubus that has almost singlehandedly ruined what was once the greatest sport and the best pro league in the world. Thanks a lot jackass. So anyway, I suppose I will move forward with this preview and I’ll watch the games. I might even enjoy myself on occasion. But it’s not the same. It never will be unless Goodell is run out office and is replaced by someone with the cahonas to reverse nearly every bad decision that has been made in the past 8 years.

 

 

 

NFC

East
Philadelphia Eagles
(10-6) 14-2
Dallas Cowboys
(8-8) 7-9
NY Giants
(7-9) 6-10
Washington Redskins
(3-13) 6-10
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly didn’t have quite the growing pains in his rookie season that I expected, and I believe Philly will be even better this year. The rest of eaglesthis division is mediocre at best. The Cowboys defense isn’t any better than it was in 2013. The Tom Coughlin era in New York will likely end in the next couple of seasons with a whimper instead of a bang. And the Redskins backup quarterback may be better than their vastly overrated starter.

 

 

North
Green Bay Packers
(8-7-1) 13-3
Detroit Lions
(7-9) 8-8
Chicago Bears
(8-8) 7-9
Minnesota Vikings
(5-10-1) 7-9
Another mediocre division. The Packers, despite losing defensive tackle BJ Raji (to injury not free agency), should run away with the crown behind QB Aaron Green_Bay_Packers_HelmetRogers and RB Eddie Lacy. The Lions may show some improvement but aren’t ready to break thru just yet. Bears QB Jay Cutler is even more overrated that RGIII in Washington. And Minnesota won’t contend until they decide to let Teddy Bridgewater take the reigns as the franchise signal caller he was drafted to be and stop pussyfooting around with Matt Cassel.

 

 

South
New Orleans Saints
(11-5) 10-6
Carolina Panthers
(12-4) 10-6
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(4-12) 9-7
Atlanta Falcons
(4-12) 7-9
Now we’re starting to have some fun. Until Drew Brees shows that he just can’t do it anymore he has to be considered one of the few elite quarterbacks in the 10_new_orleans_saintsleague. I’d feel a little bit better if the Saints had a franchise RB (no…Mark Ingram, Khiri Robinson, & Pierre Thomas don’t count), but as long as TE Jimmie Graham is around to catch touchdowns from Brees and the defense is atleast solid the Saints must be considered the favorites. Carolina probably takes a bit of a step back this year since their all new receiving corps consists of Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant, & rookie Kelvin Benjamin and they lost cornerstone left tackle Jordan Gross. I look for Benjamin to grow into a big time receiver, but let’s not rush things. The brief Greg Schiano era is over in Tampa and Lovie Smith…inexplicably canned by the Chicago Bears a couple of years ago…takes over a team with a solid defense, a potentially very good receiving corps, and a decent running game. I understand why the Bucs are receiving a lot of buzz. But neither Josh McCown nor Mike Glennon inspire much confidence in the quarterback position, so until they remedy that issue Tampa can’t be considered serious contenders. I look for the Falcons to bounce back a little bit from an abysmal 2013, but this is such a tough division that I still think they draw the short straw.

 

 

West
Seattle Seahawks
(13-3) 10-6
San Francisco 49ers
(12-4) 10-6
Arizona Cardinals
(10-6) 9-7
St. Louis Rams
(7-9) 3-13
Super Bowl Champions oftentimes slip a little the following season. They have a huge target on their back, spend a little too much of the offseason in celebration seattle-seahawks1mode, and tend to lose a few players to free agency who are understandably cashing in on the team’s success. Seattle is no different. However, luckily for the Seahawks their main rivals…the 49ers…are having a rough offseason with the 9 game suspension of troubled defensive tackle Aldon Smith as well as not having the services of linebacker Navorro Bowman, who tore up his knee in the NFC championship game. I like the Cardinals a lot but I’m not ready to say they are better than Seattle & ‘Frisco just yet. I might regret not venturing out on that particular limb. The Rams’ season was probably going to be forgettable anyway, but with the loss QB Sam Bradford…again…to another knee injury they are likely looking at a top 5 pick in the 2015 draft (which they’ll probably use on a quarterback to replace the disappointing Bradford).

 

 

Playoff Teams: Philadelphia, Green Bay, New Orleans, Seattle, Carolina, San Francisco
NFC Championship: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Green Bay Packers

 

 

 

AFC

East
New England Patriots
(12-4) 13-3
Buffalo Bills
(6-10) 8-8
NY Jets
(8-8) 8-8
Miami Dolphins
(8-8) 7-9
Good Lord when will the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era end?? Ateast the Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl in awhile. But they shouldn’t have any problem winning New_England_Patriots_Helmetthis division. I think the Bills are headed in the right direction and we’ll find out this season if QB EJ Manuel is the real deal. The addition of rookie WR Sammy Watkins will help. Jets coach Rex Ryan did enough last year to keep his job, but I don’t believe we’ll see any improvement this year. I am sure the Geno Smith/Michael Vick battle at QB will be the dominant story all season in The Big Apple. The Dolphins are likely to remain insignificant. Don’t be surprised if head coach Joe Philbin finds himself on the hot seat by the end of the year.

 

 

North
Cincinnati Bengals
(11-5) 10-6
Baltimore Ravens
(8-8) 9-7
Pittsburgh Steelers
(8-8) 7-9
Cleveland Browns
(4-12) 6-10
As much as it breaks my heart I have to admit that I don’t have much confidence in my Pittsburgh Steelers. A quarter of their draft picks didn’t even make the team. Cincinnati_Bengals_HelmetClearly something is amiss in the Steelers front office. I don’t think the Bengals will get very far in the playoffs but they should win the division. The Ravens are no longer a serious Super Bowl contender but they’ll be competitive. The quarterback situation in Cleveland is murky at best and I’m not at all impressed with new head coach Mike Pettine who seems ill prepared for the job.

 

 

South
Indianapolis Colts
(11-5) 12-4
Jacksonville Jaguars
(4-12) 8-8
Tennessee Titans
(7-9) 8-8
Houston Texans
(2-14) 6-10
Is Andrew Luck just an above average quarterback or is he an elite transcendent talent on par with Manning (you know which one), Brady, & Brees?? I think we’ll beIndianapolis_Colts_Helmet better equipped to ponder that question after this season. I like the direction the Jags are headed, but they need to stop this Chad Henne silliness and make rookie Blake Bortles the starting QB. Sure he’ll make some mistakes, but he’ll also grow & learn and do some good things that Henne just doesn’t have the talent to achieve. Tennessee and Houston are treading water, although if the Texans make newly acquired QB Ryan Mallet the starter sooner rather than later they might have some potential.

 

 

West
Denver Broncos
(13-3) 11-5
San Diego Chargers
(9-7) 10-6
Kansas City Chiefs
(11-5) 7-9
Oakland Raiders
(4-12) 8-8
This is probably it for Peyton Manning. The window is closing fast. The Broncos upgraded their defense a lot this offseason and the offense should be as good or broncos-4759better than 2014, so anything less than a Lombardi Trophy would be a huge disappointment. The Chargers are sneaky good and could be a scary team to face in the playoffs. I think the Chiefs fall back a bit from their surprisingly successful season of last year. The Raiders will run like the wind with Maurice Jones-Drew but it won’t be enough. Look for rookie QB Derek Carr to emerge as the starter, but head coach Dennis Allen might be the first to lose his job this year.

 

 

Playoff Teams: New England, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Denver, Baltimore, San Diego
AFC Championship: Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts

 

 

 

 

Denver Broncos 31 sbGB Packers 28

<

p style=”text-align:center;”>        

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 1

Football is back!! It kind of snuck up on me. I have been watching NFL pre-season games, but had no idea that real football_goalcollege games that actually count started tonight. Then when I found out that information a few days ago I wasn’t feeling well. So I am kind of under the gun here and will make this quick & dirty. That’s okay because I am still not quite up to par.

This is the third season for these picks and the second where I am going head-to-head with my nephew Zach. In 2013 I went 45-46, while Zach was 41-49 in his inaugural campaign. I am sure both of us will do better this season. We pick 5 games each week and use point spreads just to make it challenging. I do NOT condone gambling. I don’t think it is the epitome of evil or anything like that, I just believe that there are many many many other things…better things…on which folks should spend their hard earned money. These picks are just a fun way for two diehard fans to entertain ourselves and hopefully others as well. So…onto the picks. Y’all get a bonus pick this week since I am so excited for the return of football and there happens to be an unusual amount of intriguing games for the first week of the college season.

 

 

 

 
Texas A&M at South Carolina (-10.5)
gamecocks-logoThe Aggies begin life without Johnny Football. He’s the Cleveland Browns’ problem now. A&M suffered other losses as well that leaves them texas_am_01in rebuilding mode. The Gamecocks will be starting a new quarterback, but I expect big things from them under the leadership of head coach Steve Spurrier as he enters his 10th year at the helm in Columbia. Zach thinks replacing Jadeveon Clowney will be atleast as difficult for South Carolina as replacing Manziel will be for A&M. He is predicting a very close South Carolina win…close enough for A&M to cover the points.

My Pick: South Carolina
Z’s Pick: Texas A&M

 

 

 

Ohio St. (-16.5) vs. Navy
I have no doubt that the Buckeyes will win this game. Until recently they were thought to be legit national title contenders, but the loss of QB Braxton Miller to a navyshoulder injury has cooled that talk. Meanwhile I think the Midshipmen are a solid team that can hang tough and cover the spread. Zach concurs.

My Pick: Navy
Z’s Pick: Navy

 

 

 

Clemson at Georgia (-7.5)
georgiaThese look like two solid 7-9 win teams that will hang around the lower tier of the Top 25 most of the season but won’t be in the national titleclemson conversation. Georgia has the home field and their defense is probably a little bit better. Zach likes Clemson’s speed & passing game. He’s predicting big things for the Tigers.

My Pick: Georgia
Z’s Pick: Clemson

 

 

 

Florida St. (-17.5) at Oklahoma St.
The Seminoles are the pre-season #1 in most polls and return Heisman winning QB Jameis Winston. I have no doubt that Oklahoma St. will be athletic, fast, andFlorida_State_Seminoles prolific on offense…but they aren’t beating Florida St. However the point spread gives me pause. Can the defending national champions cover the points?? If they don’t will people begin to doubt them?? Zach apparently has so little interest in this game that he doesn’t even care to make a pick *lol*.

My Pick: Florida St.
Z’s Pick: none

 

 

 

Ole Miss (-10.5) vs Boise St.
boise-state1The Rebels are getting some pre-season attention. I am sure there are legitimate reasons for that, though I am far too lazy to find out what theyole miss are. I just think the SEC is too stacked for a team that has finished 21-29 over the course of the past four seasons to all the sudden be title contenders. Meanwhile everyone seems to have forgotten about Boise St. after they won “only” 8 games last season and head coach Chris Petersen left for the Washington Huskies. My vibes…unreliable as they may be…are telling me that Boise St. is better than people think and Ole Miss won’t live up to expectations. Zach isn’t at all excited about this game but thinks Ole Miss will use defense to win easily.

My Pick: Boise St.
Z’s Pick: Ole Miss

 

 

 

LSU (-4.5) at Wisconsin
I fully expect this to be one of the best games of the opening weekend. The Tigers are nominal favorites despite Wisconsin having the home field. That surprises WisconsinBadgersme. I just think that LSU having to break in a new QB is enough of a disadvantage that the Badgers’ brand of smashmouth football will prevail. It may not be pretty but it can be effective. Look for RB Melvin Gordon to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 125 yards and atleast a couple of touchdowns. Zach concurs.

My Pick: Wisconsin
Z’s Pick: Wisconsin

 

<

p style=”text-align:center;”> 

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 3.14

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

 

 

 

I wasn’t alive in the 50’s & 60’s, plus I am white. Therefore I can’t say that I truly understand racism or its effects on one’s life & psyche. However, I feel BoJfairly confident in making the assumption that folks from that era and before (including slaves from a few hundred years ago) would be appalled at the way the term racist is so flippantly thrown around these days. The media, politicians, and anyone else with a public forum to espouse their opinions play the race card as effortlessly as a NASCAR driver downshifting thru turns at Daytona. If a white person disagrees with or dislikes another individual and that second person just happens to be a minority then batten down the hatches because accusations of racism will be hurled. It’s sickening. It makes people hesitant to even argue their point, which of course is the idea…to crush debate. Liberals know that allegations of racism are intellectually vacant at best, but they also know that no one likes being called a racist. It’s a shrewd yet effective tactic, one that is now being utilized by the “LGBT community”, which should also offend anyone who has experienced true racism or oppression since being gay and being black are two completely different things.

 

 

FUI have taken a vow of silence…of sorts…on Facebook. Why?? Well, as citizens of The Manoverse know I can be rather opinionated. My sense of humor could rightly be described as sardonic…maybe even snarky. Those who know me understand that and know that I am, for the most part, a polite & introverted person who just happens to have a low tolerance for BS but unfortunately smells too much of it in our modern society. I have had to be mindful of my emotions on social media and have truly made an attempt to tone it down in the past year or two. Unfortunately, even though friends may get me, friends of friends often do not so when I express my (usually right) opinion in certain threads I have gotten into some intense tete-a-tetes with people I don’t even know. To be honest my dark side can come out in those instances and I can be easily irritated by ignorance or willful stupidity. There is one particular woman who has been a thorn in my side. She is ultra-liberal and, quite frankly, rather mean. She apparently went to college with me (I don’t ever recall meeting her) because we have a couple of friends in common. They are also raging liberals but they’ve never been mean to me so I have little reason to be disgusted by their presence on this planet. This nemesis of mine though…let’s call her Herb (she does actually make Rachel Maddow look like a Playboy centerfold…I’ve seen pictures)…is a disgusting piece of crap that has been repeatedly vicious to me. She has called me fat, lazy, and a bunch of other horrible things despite never having met me personally (that I recall). Ironically the last straw wasn’t anything political. Our mutual friend…who can be just as snarky as me despite being a bleeding heart left winger…had posted a humorous comment about Taylor Swift’s latest song. I simply replied that I didn’t think Taylor Swift is all that talented…or something to that effect. Herb jumped on my comment like Lindsey Lohan pouncing on a liter of vodka. I politely replied that I wasn’t going to get into another pointless argument with her, to which she replied that all my arguments are pointless. It was at that moment that I decided that I’ve had enough of idiotic bitches like Herb bringing me down. That’s what liberals do…they bring other people down to make themselves feel better about their own pathetic lives. I Herbdon’t know this woman. I don’t know if she is married. I don’t know if she has kids. I have no idea what she does for a living. I don’t care. All I know is that she is an evil shrew who I wish nothing but pain & misery. And I know that it isn’t worth the aggravation to engage such wretched wastes of space because they aren’t capable of intelligent debate, which is why I will no longer be posting much of anything on Facebook. Oh I will still upload photos & click on the “like” button occasionally, and I will post links to stuff I write for The Manofesto. But there will be no status updates, no articles posted with my witty comments, and certainly no opinions expressed on my page or anyone else’s. There is no benefit for me. Only agony & frustration await, and I am no longer willing to put myself through that just to argue a point with people who aren’t capable of understanding it anyway.

 

 

Speaking of racism…..
I didn’t watch the Emmy Awards. It was wrestling night and I have my priorities. Plus, out of the 12 nominated shows for Best Drama & Best Comedy I’ve only ever watched one. However, the next day I did search online for video of Billy Crystal’s lovely tribute to the late Robin Williams. Now, apparently, that tribute is being called racist. After Mr. Crystal’s warm words about his long-time friend they played a montage of Williams moments from various TV appearances. The clip in question was from an episode of Inside the Actors Studio when Williams was taking questions from the audience. I RW3remember watching it. At one point he takes a scarf from a woman and improvs several characters using the scarf as a prop. One of those characters was an Iranian woman who says “help me”. This is what is being called…by a few idiots on Twitter…racist toward Muslims. First of all, Muslim isn’t a race it is a religion. Secondly the bit was commentary on the way the Iranian government oppresses women. It is ridiculous that anyone’s takeaway would be that Robin Williams was racist. Most comedians make fun of everybody…black & white, male & female, rich & poor, straight & gay, Democrat & Republican, Christian, Muslim, Jew, & any other religion under the sun. Oh sure like most anyone associated with Hollywood many may lean a certain way, but if they only made fun of certain groups and let others completely off the hook they’d run out of material pretty quick. Robin Williams’ career lasted nearly 40 years. I am quite sure at one point or another he made jokes about a plethora of “controversial” topics. As a long-time fan of both Williams and Billy Crystal it really ticks me off that such a classy moment is being tainted by a bunch of spineless pantywaists whose main purpose in life is to get offended over nothing and cause trouble. Get a life losers.

2014 College Football Pre-Season Top 25

football-introducing-the-science_1The time has finally come!! After decades of mythical national champions and BCS (emphasis on the BS) silliness college football finally gets a playoff. Is the system perfect?? I don’t know…probably not. But I will reserve judgment until I see exactly how it works out. One thing we know for sure…there is no longer a race to be #1 or even the runner-up. Four teams will earn an opportunity to be in the playoff mix, so as long as a team is amongst those final four they’ll get their shot. Any “controversy” will be a debate as to which team deserves that 4th spot, and I am sure there will be a few teams staking a claim. But at the end of the day my vibe is that the argument will be rather muted & somewhat trivial and that fans will be mostly satisfied with the outcome.

 

 

 

1 Florida State
Last Season: 14-0
Key Games: 8/30 vs. Oklahoma St., 9/20 vs. Clemson, 10/18 vs. Notre Dame
Defending national champions. Returning Heisman winning quarterback. Former wrestling champion Ric Flair used to say “To be the man you have to beat the man”FloridaStateSeminoles1 and until a team comes along and knocks the Seminoles off their perch I think they have to be given this top spot. Two out-of-conference games against Oklahoma St. & Notre Dame as well as the always entertaining ACC clash against Clemson are all in Tallahassee. I’d be stunned if this team isn’t in that final four.

 

 

2 Oregon
Last Season: 11-2
Key Games: 9/6 vs. Michigan St., 10/11 at UCLA, 11/1 vs. Stanford
Quarterback Marcus Mariotta likely could have been a first round pick in the NFL Draft but chose to return to Eugene for a shot at the national title and a run at the Oregon-DucksHeisman Trophy. I think he has a strong chance to snag both. Head coach Mark Helfrich didn’t miss a beat after taking the helm last season when Chip Kelly moved on to the Philadelphia Eagles. The PAC 12 is one of the toughest conferences in the land, but I think we’ll see the Ducks overcome both UCLA and Stanford to once again be in the national championship conversation.

 

 

3 Alabama
Last Season: 11-2
Key Games: 11/8 at LSU, 11/29 vs. Auburn
Let’s be clear…the inaugural 4 team playoff will, come hell or high water, include the Crimson Tide. The major players in the SEC are probably going to spend the AlabamaCrimsonTide2season beating up on each other, but that’ll just endear them all to the lapdog media even more. ‘Bama must replace quarterback AJ McCarron who is now patiently awaiting the inevitable implosion of fellow signal caller Andy Dalton as a Cincinnati Bengal. I don’t think it matters who ends up with the job for the Tide. Their calling card is a tenacious defense and a virtually unstoppable running game.

 

 

4 South Carolina
Last Season: 11-2
Key Games: 8/28 vs. Texas A&M, 9/13 vs. Georgia, 10/25 at Auburn, 11/29 at Clemson
Do not be surprised if the powers-that-be contort themselves into a pretzel trying to get two SEC teams into the playoff. How does that happen?? Simple. First of all,Gamecocks the Gamecocks don’t play Alabama during the regular season. It is entirely conceivable that both teams go into the SEC title game undefeated. Maybe ‘Bama is #1 and South Carolina is a Top 10 team. South Carolina wins a close game and rightfully ascends into the top 4. The collective hard-on the masses have for Alabama means they tumble…but not much. It’s possible. You heard it here first.

 

 

5 UCLA
Last Season: 10-3
Key Games: 10/11 vs. Oregon, 11/22 vs. USC, 11/28 vs. Stanford
I really like the PAC 12, but in the scenario described above it could be their runner-up that gets left out in the cold. Let’s imagine this. Oregon beats the Bruins in the ucla_bruins2season opener and goes undefeated. UCLA overcomes the loss and doesn’t lose the rest of the regular season. The two meet again in the conference title game and the Ducks prevail in an epic contest. There is no way that UCLA beats out the SEC runner-up to get into the playoff.

 

 

6 Oklahoma
Last Season: 11-2
Key Games: 11/8 vs. Baylor, 12/6 vs. Oklahoma St.
The Big 12 only has ten teams and no championship game. That really hurts their chances of having a playoff team. It doesn’t help that the conference is relatively weak. oklahomaEntertaining?? Sure. But the Sooners defeating the likes of TCU, Iowa St., West Virginia, & Kansas by three or more touchdowns won’t impress anybody. It is more than possible that Oklahoma could run the table and still not even be in the playoff discussion. If they drop a game to Baylor or in-state rival Oklahoma St. then they’re toast.

 

 

7 Wisconsin
Last Season: 9-4
Key Games: 8/30 vs. LSU, 11/15 vs. Nebraska
Other pundits may be picking a different Big Ten (which now has 14 teams) team to prevail, but I think the Badgers will pound their way to the conference WisconsinBadgerschampionship behind 6ft.1 207lb. junior running back Melvin Gordon. Whether or not they win their season opening out-of-conference matchup with the LSU Tigers is irrelevant, although that game being in Madison certainly helps. A mid-November clash with Nebraska is also at home and will likely decide who represents the division in the conference title game.

 

 

8 Baylor
Last Season: 11-2
Key Games: 11/8 at Oklahoma
Senior quarterback Bryce Petty returns to lead what was a prolific and dominating offense in 2013. The Bears have the same issue as any other Big 12 contender inbaylor that they are unlikely to receive as much respect on a national scale as teams from the SEC or PAC 12. An out-of-conference schedule that includes SMU, Northwestern St., & Buffalo isn’t going to help. Basically the whole season comes down to an early November clash with the Sooners in Norman. The winner of that game probably plays in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day. The loser will end up in something depressing like the Advocare Texas Bowl.

 

 

9 Boise State
Last Season: 8-5
Key Games: 8/28 vs. Ole Miss, 10/24 vs. BYU
They’re baaaccckkk. The Broncos have long been college football’s Little Engine That Could. They have consistently been a double digit win team over the past 15 boise-state-logoyears. After a lot of rumors and flirting with other gigs in the past decade former head coach Chris Petersen moved on to Washington and has been replaced in Boise by Bryan Harsin, a former Broncos offensive coordinator who also spent some time coaching under Mack Brown at Texas. After going 8-5 in 2013 no one is really talking about Boise St., which will make it all the sweeter when they win 10 or 11 games. Their season opener is an out-of-conference contest against an Ole Miss team that seems to be getting much love this pre-season despite the fact that they play a murderous SEC schedule. I’m betting people will remember Boise St. is still around afterward.

 

 

10 Michigan State
Last Season: 13-1
Key Games: 9/6 at Oregon, 10/4 vs. Nebraska, 11/8 vs. Ohio St.
The Spartans all too often get lost in the Big Ten (which has 14 teams) shuffle. But if you look at their success over the past few seasons they have been remarkablyMichigan_State_Spartans consistent, winning 11+ games three out of the past four years. This is another team that wins with good old-fashioned smashmouth football and a tough defense. Even if they lose 2 out of 3 key games and finish 10-2 they could have a legitimate opportunity to be in the conference title mix.

 

 

11 Ohio State
Last Season: 12-2
Key Games: 11/8 at Michigan St.
Losing QB Braxton Miller for the season virtually eliminates the Buckeyes from the championship picture. They have an unimpressive & weak schedule with neither Ohio_State_BuckeyesNebraska nor Wisconsin anywhere in sight. All it will take is a loss to Michigan St. to end the dream. And let’s be honest…if they were to somehow make it to the playoff they’d get beaten like a government mule.

 

 

12 Nebraska
Last Season: 9-4
Key Games: 10/4 at Michigan St., 11/15 at Wisconsin
I fully expect a logjam at the top of the Big Ten (which has 14 teams). There will probably be 3 or 4 teams finishing somewhere around the 9-3/10-2 mark. The nebraskaCornhuskers’ out-of-conference schedule, which includes Miami, FL & Fresno St., isn’t bad. If they can split their two key games they will almost certainly be a solid Top 25 team.

 

 

13 Marshall
Last Season: 10-4
Key Games: all of them and none of them
Marshall is my alma mater. I know that expectations are high in my old stomping grounds in Huntington, WV. Here is what I expect. I expect an undefeated season. I herdexpect QB Rakeem Cato to be invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony though he doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in Arizona of actually winning. I expect that undefeated season to mean diddly squat as far as the national playoff. And I expect that if…if…the Herd screws the pooch in any game…including a C-USA championship game…they will tumble very quickly from the rankings.

 

 

14 Iowa
Last Season: 8-5
Key Games: 11/22 vs. Wisconsin, 11/28 vs. Nebraska
The Hawkeyes are another team that can always be dangerous even in a down year. Head coach Kirk Ferentz is one of those names that always gets mentioned iowafor “better” jobs, whether in the NFL or elsewhere in college. At age 59 and going into his 16th year at the helm in Iowa City it looks less & less likely that he will ever actually make the jump and will instead be one of those lifers like Bobby Bowden or Frank Beamer that sticks around for three decades. Having said that, a close examination of Iowa’s “success” under Ferentz shows that they’ve only had four double digit win seasons during his tenure. If they can split the two key games above…both of which are at home…they could add another in 2014.

 

 

15 Bowling Green
Last Season: 10-4
Key Games: I have no idea
Someone’s got to win the MAC, right?? Actually I like watching MAC football. Their games are usually quite entertaining. The problem is that they are all kind of just bowling greenrandom teams from Ohio (and a couple of other midwestern states). It reminds me of eating at McDonald’s…you know there are better options available and you aren’t quite sure exactly what you’re consuming, but in the moment it is sort of tasty and mostly satisfying. At any rate, the Falcons won the conference title game in 2013, upsetting a Northern Illinois team that was ranked in the Top 20. They seem to be getting some “others receiving votes” love in other polls, and since the entire Top 25 can’t be SEC, PAC 12, & Big Ten (which has 14 teams) I’ll give this team a fighting chance to win 10 or 11 games (they’ll get mauled at Wisconsin), win the conference, and earn this spot.

 

 

16 LSU
Last Season: 10-3
Key Games: 8/30 vs. Wisconsin, 10/4 at Auburn, 11/8 vs. Alabama, 11/27 at Texas A&M
The Bayou Bengals seem to be one of those teams that just reload and have tremendous success year after year. However, I am a bit nervous about their chances lsu_logo-9547in 2014. First of all they have to replace a quarterback, running back, & wide receiver (as well as about a half dozen other players) that were all taken in the NFL Draft. Secondly their out-of-conference schedule includes the season opener…a neutral site clash against Wisconsin. And of course the biggest issue…they play in the SEC. I realize that the wet dream of the powers-that-be is probably an all-SEC four team playoff for the national title, but that ain’t gonna happen. Someone will be on the outside looking in. If LSU can overcome all of that and still have a Top 20 team it will be a remarkable feat.

 

 

17 Stanford
Last Season: 11-3
Key Games: 9/6 vs. USC, 10/4 at Notre Dame, 11/1 at Oregon, 11/28 at UCLA
Stanford has the same issue as LSU. They play in a tough conference where the law of averages dictates that not everybody can be a Top 10 national photo.stanfordtreechampionship contender. The schedule is brutal. If this team can somehow get to 9 wins they will deserve a solid ranking.

 

 

18 Navy
Last Season: 9-4
Key Games: 8/30 vs. Ohio St., 11/1 vs. Notre Dame
Call me crazy, but I think the Midshipmen have a puncher’s chance in their season opening neutral site game against Ohio St. Okay okay…I’m not going to rush to navyVegas or Atlantic City and actually put money on that, but the rest of the season looks pretty decent. There is a November contest against Notre Dame that is also winnable. But even if Navy loses those two games they could still end up in this spot by going 10-2 and being very competitive (within two TDs) against the Buckeyes and Irish.

 

 

19 Oklahoma State
Last Season: 10-3
Key Games: 8/30 vs. Florida St., 11/22 at Baylor, 12/6 at Oklahoma
The Cowboys open their season at the Palace in Dallas against #1 Florida St. Ouch. If they pull the upset it’ll turn college football on its collective ear on the very firstoklahoma_state_cowboys_iphone_wallpaper weekend of the season. However, even though that is unlikely, the truth is that the whole season comes down to the final two games against Baylor and Oklahoma. Split those two games and this ranking looks golden. But even if Oklahoma St. loses all three of their key games they can still get here by being very competitive in those games and beating their other nine opponents into oblivion.

 

 

20 Central Florida
Last Season: 12-1
Key Games: 8/30 at Penn St., 9/13 at Missouri
Quick…tell me what conference UCF plays in. Now tell me three other teams in that conference. Give up?? The American Athletic Conference is the very definition 2007-UCF-Knight-headof mediocrity, comprised of refugees from C-USA and the old Big East that just didn’t have enough to offer for a more well-respected conference to invite them to play with the big boys. It is somewhat surprising that UCF finds itself in such a hot mess given that they are the 2nd largest university in the country. Let that sink in for a minute. UCF is bigger than Florida, Florida St., & Miami, FL…all of whom have had tremendous success on the gridiron. Will such success eventually occur for the Knights?? Maybe. Until that happens though they will be satisfied to win their conference and be a solid Top 20 team. I am a bit concerned that they must replace QB Blake Bortles who is now plying his trade in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars. But at the end of the day I think this is a team that will overcome adversity, win 9 or 10 games, and secure another conference title.

 

 

21 Arizona
Last Season: 8-5
Key Games: 10/2 at Oregon, 10/11 vs. USC, 11/1 at UCLA,
There are a handful of other PAC 12 teams that get all the love, but don’t forget about the Wildcats. Head coach Rich Fraudriguez seems to be much more college_arizona_90comfortable in Tucson than he ever was in Ann Arbor, MI. I think lower expectations and staying off the beaten path suits him well. If Arizona can pull off just one big upset and win 9 or 10 games they are a solid choice to sneak into the rankings.

 

 

22 Notre Dame
Last Season: 9-4
Key Games: 10/4 vs. Stanford, 10/18 at Florida St., 11/29 at USC
The Fighting Irish can’t cheat as much on the football field as they apparently do in the classroom because…well…television cameras. The question is can theyNotreDameFightingIrish recover from the loss of atleast 4 players (and who knows what other shoes may drop) and meet always lofty expectations?? I assume they’ll hang around and be good enough to be a solid 8/9 win bowl team. Brian Kelly is a good coach and QB Everett Golson returns from his 2013…hiatus…which means the offense should be decent. Pulling an upset in any one of the three key games would almost assure sneaking into the final rankings.

 

 

23 Virginia Tech
Last Season: 8-5
Key Games: 9/6 at Ohio St., 10/4 at North Carolina, 10/23 vs. Miami, FL
Florida St. will win the ACC. But who will win the other division and be chum for the Seminoles in the conference title game?? Most “experts” are picking North Virginia_Tech_Hokies2Carolina or Miami to fill that role. I’m playing a hunch and going against the grain. Head coach Frank Beamer has a ton of experience and his team plays in a relatively mediocre conference. I don’t think they’ll beat Ohio St., but that isn’t where the focus should be anyway. It’s a three horse race for the Coastal Division and it’ll all come down to October contests against the Tar Heels and Hurricanes.

 

 

24 Auburn
Last Season: 12-2
Key Games: 10/4 vs. LSU, 10/25 vs. South Carolina, 11/8 vs. Texas A&M, 11/5 at Georgia, 11/29 at Alabama
An old saying tells us that sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, and the Tigers were very very very lucky last season. Oh they were good too…but being lucky auburntook them from going 9-3 and playing in the Cotton Bowl to going 12-1 and coming up short in the national championship. They won’t be as fortunate this season. I’m not concerned about players lost to the NFL. Teams like Auburn just reload, and QB Nick Marshall returns for his senior year as a viable Heisman candidate. But the schedule is ridiculously difficult and I don’t think this team will win more than a couple of the key games noted above.

 

 

25 Georgia
Last Season: 8-5
Key Games: 8/30 vs. Clemson, 9/13 at South Carolina
A 8/9 win season and a Top 25 ranking might not seem good enough for an upper echelon SEC team, but I say it’d be a pretty decent finish all things considered.georgia The Bulldogs must replace QB Aaron Murray, but they still have junior RB Todd Gurley, a 6ft.1 232lb. brute with 4.2/40 speed. He’ll be a legitimate Heisman candidate, but the defense will have to step up and new signal caller Hutson Mason…a senior who has sat behind Murray for four years…will have to become comfortable really quickly. I won’t be a bit surprised if 4 or 5 SEC teams end the season ranked, but logic dictates that they all can’t finish in the Top 10.

Contributing A Verse: A Somber Farewell to My Captain

O Captain! My Captain! Your fearful trip is done
The prize you sought is won
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still
He does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will
I, with mournful tread
Walk the deck where my captain lies fallen cold and dead

 

 

In the past 24 hours I have seen a lot of warm & genuine tributes on television and online. Many of them have words in common.

 

Legend. Genius. Laughter. Brilliant.

 

Sadness. Addiction. Depression. Heartbreak.

 

There really aren’t any additional words that I can throw into the mix.

 

I am not ashamed to admit that I cried Monday night. That occurs more often and with less provocation as I get older. I don’t know if it is a natural progression or if there is something off kilter inside me, but I am okay with it either way. Regardless, the death of a celebrity rarely elicits such a reaction. Sure I may become somewhat wistful at the thought of a piece of my formative years slipping into the great beyond, but that is usually as far as it goes. This time though…this time I almost feel as if I am saying goodbye to an old & cherished friend.

 

I first became aware of Robin Williams as a young boy. I have briefly mentioned here & morkthere in this space my somewhat isolated childhood. Because of my disability I wasn’t able to go outside and do many of the things that most kids did…ride bikes, play ball, hang out with friends from school. So I watched a lot of TV & movies and read books. Mork & Mindy was one of the shows I watched and Robin Williams always made me laugh. We also had illegal HBO in the early 80’s (shhh…don’t tell) and I distinctly remember watching some of Williams’ standup. My Dad probably shouldn’t have let a grade schooler watch programs with such…salty…language, but what I remember more than any F-Bomb or sexual innuendo was Robin Williams singing Bruce Springsteen’s Fire…as Elmer Fudd. I’d still rather hear the Williams as Fudd version over Springsteen’s original and really funny impressions are one of my favorite forms of comedic expression.

 

Of course Robin Williams went on to “bigger & better” things and gave us a plethora of really great performances in feature films. Good Morning, Vietnam. Dead Poets Society. Aladdin. Awakenings. Mrs. Doubtfire. Jumanji. The Birdcage. Good Will Hunting. Even some of his “bad” movies were good to Robin Williams’ fans simply because he was in them. Hook. Popeye. The Best of Times. The Fisher King. He proved to be equally as gifted in drama as in comedy and gave us many hours of pleasure in all sorts of escapist entertainment.

 

His battle with drug & alcohol dependence has been well-publicized. Williams himself never shied away from the topic. I will not pretend to understand addiction and rwdepression. I have called myself depressed at different points in my life but whatever issues I was facing never took me to the point of seeking medical or psychiatric treatment and certainly never took me to the brink of suicide. There are those that deem suicide as a cowardly act, taking the easy way out while leaving loved ones behind to sort through the collateral damage. I think that is a harsh assessment. Perhaps on some level it is selfish, but when pain & anguish reach such altitude I am not sure it is fair for anyone to make such a simplistic analysis. It could just as easily be concluded that the person believes that they are a burden and will make the lives of those in their orbit easier by going away. Intellectually we understand that is not true, but that’s easy to conclude when one isn’t clinically depressed.

 

It is also unfair for people to compare Robin Williams’ death with anyone else’s…especially those valiant soldiers that die almost daily on foreign battlefields. I am usually the first in line to vilify intellectually vacuous and morality challenged celebrities. I am also an overtly devoted patriot with a tremendous admiration for our troops that put their lives on hold and on the line to fight for the just cause of freedom & liberty. Is it right that a person who chose to end his own life and had abused drugs & alcohol for most of his life is being celebrated and so publicly mourned while the sacrifice of true heroes remains largely anonymous?? Probably not. All I can say is that folks like Williams have the benefit of a bigger and much more communal stage. His contribution to society is visual, tangible, and recorded for posterity. That doesn’t make his death more tragic or his life more appreciated. It just means we treat it differently…right or wrong.

 

Only God knows what was in Robin Williams’ heart. I don’t know where his spirit is headed in the afterlife. He didn’t come across as a particularly religious man, but some would say the same thing about me so there is that. I’d like to imagine that one day when I walk thru those Pearly Gates Williams will be up there on a stage doing that thing he does (sans the language) making people like Moses, Joseph, Noah, & Paul double over in laughter. Those guys deserve to have some fun.

 

As for me, you, and all of Robin Williams’ fans still here there is no shortage of material for us to enjoy for decades to come. I am told that there are 3 or 4 films “in the can” that will be released over the next year or so. One of them is a Christmas film and y’all know how I love those. I wish I had Netflix so I could enjoy a Robin Williams movie marathon right now, but I suppose I will have to wait for AMC, TCM, or some other cable channel to jump on that particular bandwagon. I suspect I won’t have to wait long.

 

In the meantime, this situation opens the door for discussions about addiction and rw2depression. It very clearly illustrates that things like money, fame, success, & popularity do not automatically translate into happiness. I do not have any answers. As a matter of fact I just have more questions. I do know that each day is a gift from God, an opportunity to “sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world”. I know that somewhere in California there is a wife, kids, and an assortment of friends & loved ones probably wondering what else they could have done to prevent this from happening. And I know that I will miss my friend…that no matter how many times I am able to watch one of his movies and enjoy the memories the fact that he no longer walks this Earth with the potential to create more magic leaves an indelible scar on the landscape.

My Life (More or Less) in 60 Questions

I love stuff like this. A Facebook friend posted it and encouraged others to answer the questions as well. Not only is it an opportunity for others to get to reflectionknow a person just a bit, but it is a fun little opportunity for self-reflection, which I believe is always a good thing. Since I have this awesome forum I decided that I wouldn’t just reply to my pal Samantha but would unleash my thoughts on the entire Manoverse. I believe this is the longest ditty I have ever written here, so be prepared. I have included a few links back to things I have written in the past when the subject matter seemed fitting. I pondered splitting  into two entries but decided against it. You’ve been warned.

 

 
1 Are you an animal lover or would you avoid keeping animals at home?
I have a 6 year old pug named Rocco who is the light of my life. I would love to have more dogs but my current living situation prohibits that.rocco

2 Do you like summer or winter?
Definitely summer. I despise winter except for Christmas & football season.

3 Would you diet or would you work out?
Ideally I’d do both, but I am too lazy to work out and not disciplined enough to diet. I did lose 30lbs. a couple of years ago with the help of a nutritionist but I became bored with the program. I felt much better at a lower weight and know, on an intellectual level, that I’d be better off eating healthier & exercising. Unfortunately knowing what one should do and actually doing it are far different things.

4 What do you wear to bed?
Shorts or sweatpants. Come & get me ladies…lol.

5 What’s your favorite clothing brand?
I am not brand loyal at all. If I like how it looks, can afford it, & it is comfortable then I will wear it.

6 When was the last time you cried?
I honestly don’t recall. I am a bit more emotional as I get older so sometimes a memory or something I see on TV will make me a bit misty. For example, I hate those damn ASPCA commercials with that Sarah McClachlan song!! They get me every time!!

7 Which color reflects your personality and why?
According to one quiz I just took it is green because “You’re very in tune with the rest of the world. You put others before yourself, but you strive to be a better person.Rainbow Sometimes you aren’t satisfied with the gifts you have so you envy the gifts of others, but people admire you when you don’t realize it.” A second quiz says it is pink because of a bunch of stuff: “is the color of peace…in a blissful state or looking for one…try to see the best in others…quietly study the best way to approach problems…see the world through rose colored glasses…shy, intelligent, hard working people who wish they were more a part of the mainstream but may be frightened of moving too quickly…watch what they do or say because they are afraid others might see them in harsh light…want everyone to be happy.” So I have no idea. Personally I like blue & purple.

8 In the animal kingdom, which animal would you be?
An eagle because it symbolizes freedom, honor, nobility, & a little bit of mystery.cropped-blue-light-eagle1.jpg

9 Do you like tattoos and body piercing?
No, not a big fan. A woman with tattoos or piercings (other than the ears) immediately becomes less attractive to me. I am not saying such things would automatically preclude a relationship (or a friendship if we’re talking about guys), but it’s just not my thing.

10 How much PDA is acceptable?
Moderation is the key. There is a fine line between appropriate affection andpda slobbering all over each other. Keep it classy.

11 How often do you take a shower?
Almost daily, especially if I am going out & about. However, there are those occasional vegg days when it’s not a priority.

12 What are your favorite magazines?
I was never a magazine person. And now with The Internet magazines are nearly obsolete.

13 What are your favorite books?
I’m a bookworm. I have lots of books that I love. I like classics like Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, & The Old Man and the Sea. I love biographies. I love sports books, especially about old time baseball. I like fantasy stories like The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. I’m pretty open-minded when it comes to books.

14 What’s your favorite movie?
I spent about 2 years here at The Manofesto writing about my 100 Favorite Movies. There is lots of good stuff in there if you are so inclined to check it out.

15 What’s your favorite music you’re listening to these days?
My taste in music is very eclectic. I love classic rock. Sometimes I get in the mood to listen to classical (Chopin is awesome if you’re looking to relax & unwind) and musicwould like to become more knowledgeable about it. I don’t detest all country music but it’s not really my thing. Jazz & blues are both really cool. I’m a big fan of crooners like Frank Sinatra (and The Rat Pack) & Tony Bennett. I hate rap and don’t really consider it music. I think the past 10-15 years has seen a sharp decline in the quality of music. Maybe that is just a reflection of my age, but there were just so many great songs in the 70’s & 80’s, and even the 90’s had its moments. 21st century music has no class or gravitas.

16 What’s your favorite alcoholic drink?
I’m really not much of a drinker anymore. I left that all behind…for the most part…after college. Back in the day I was a big fan of screwdrivers. If someone forced me to drink an adult beverage today I suppose I would lean toward the mojito, but I’m perfectly content with iced tea, skim milk, or water.

17 What’s your favorite vacation idea?
I’ve been dying to go to Vegas for several years…I just can’t get anyone to go with me. I’m not even a big gambler. I just want to see the sights, eat some tasty food, vegas& maybe see a show or two. I’ve never been to the beach and would love to check it out. If money were no object then I would jump at an opportunity to visit Italy. I’d also like to go on a cruise someday.

18 What’s your favorite food?
Do I have to pick just one?? I love chocolate. Sweets are my Kryptonite. I am Italian so of course pasta is a favorite. I also enjoy good old-fashioned comfort food…meatloaf, mac n’ cheese, fried chicken, soup, burgers & fries. I’m not really all that picky. I just love food.

19 Who’s your favorite actor?
Again I can’t pick just one. I think Jimmy Stewart is the best actor of all time. I also like Tom Hanks & Al Pacino a lot. Paul Giamatti has become a more recent favorite.

20 If you found a briefcase of money on the street, would you keep it?
No. I’d turn it in to the cops. Would I be tempted to keep it?? Of course. But, though I do succumb to the occasional pitfall and I’m not always the person I’d like to be,money ultimately I do usually end up doing the right thing. I blame my parents.

21 Are you religious?
I have become a relationship over religion kind of guy. One of my Undeniable Truths of Life is that “Faith and religion are two different things. Religion is a public show too often put on by hypocrites, while faith is a deeply personal thing that can change your life. Share your faith, not your religion.” Jesus is the way, the truth, & the life. Unless one is born again they will not see the kingdom of God. I realize that there are those that believe otherwise and I respect their freedom to go in a different direction.

22 Are you a gizmo person?
I’m not exactly sure what this means, but judging from my pal Samantha’s answer to this query I assume it is referring my-gadgetsto gadgets. I suppose I am middle-of-the-road on this one. I love my laptop and my iPhone. I’d probably buy an iPad if I could afford it. On the other hand I see the negative aspects of such things. Life was much simpler and people were more…interactive…before all these electronic toys began to consume society. Like many other things they are a double edged sword…both a blessing & a curse.

23 What kind of sport do you like?
I’m a big sports fan. I love football primarily, but also baseball & basketball. Nascar is pretty cool. I haven’t been able to get into hockey & soccer though I have tried.

24 Clubbing or candlelight dinner?
Definitely the candlelight dinner. I’m not into the bar scene anymore. It was fun in college but that was mostly because I was always hanging out with my friends.

25 Earth Hour or Fourth of July fireworks?
Earth Hour is some kind of environmentalist wacko crap. Independence Day, on the other hand, is a real holiday celebrating America’s birth as a free nation. Plus fireworksfireworks rule!!

26 Backpacking or a luxury hotel?
My idea of roughing it is when my AC quits working or I have a spotty wi-fi connection. I think backpacking is something hippies do in Europe. I only wish I had the means to spend a few days in a luxury hotel occasionally.

27 Christmas or Halloween?
I have nothing against Halloween. Unlike some religious folks I don’t think that some little kid dressed like a cowboy is doing Satan’s bidding. That being said, I gotta go with Christmas. Citizens of The Manoverse are quite familiar with my unwavering love for everything about Christmas. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

28 Are you a morning person?
Yes & no. Mostly no. I can be a morning person when necessary. If I have to get up early and go to work or keep some other kind yawnof appointment I am more than capable of doing so. However, I am a bit of a slow starter and function much better later in the day. I am a night owl.

29 What’s your philosophy in life?
Tough question. I’m not sure I have a single philosophy that can be expressed in one pithy statement. Throughout our lifetimes I believe we learn things, are shaped by our experiences, and can be influenced by many people with whom we interact.

30 When was the last time you were happy you lied?
Never. I’m not going to say I’ve never lied, but I know it’s wrong so of course I am bothered when it occurs. None of us are perfect, but the older I get the more I have a desire to be the best person I can be.

31 What comes to your mind when you think of your exes?
Ummm…I wish I had a few?? lol

32 Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
I am kind of in the middle. Probably more of an introvert. I can lead and I can speak in front of people when necessary, but I’m certainly not charismatic or inspiring. Plus more often than not people tend to annoy me. I spend a lot of time alone and I think I’m mostly okay with that.

33 What’s your idea of romance?
Hmmm. I suppose most women wouldn’t consider me very romantic. I haven’t really had much opportunity to flex those particular muscles. In my mind though I romancethink of romance as being completely comfortable with someone. A deep philosophical conversation can be romantic. Laughing at a silly movie together can be romantic. A text or a phone call “just because” can be romantic. Holding hands & snuggling can be romantic. Intelligence is romantic. Roses & champagne & chocolate are just fine, but people need to realize that a) those are just things and things are temporary, and b) they are empty gestures unless there is that level of comfort & respect that I mentioned. Women are sold a line of BS from time they are little girls about the ideal of a tall, dark, & handsome prince sweeping them off their feet and making their lives a fairy tale. I believe this is part of the reason that the divorce rate is so high. No man can live up to those lofty expectations…especially if he is a misogynistic drunkard with issues like jealousy, insecurity, & a need for control, which sadly describes far too many men. Cynical?? Yes, but nevertheless true. Aim high ladies. There’s nothing wrong with that. But stop thinking life is a Reese Witherspoon movie or anything like Sex & the City because you will be disappointed.

34 Would you like to live in the countryside or in a metropolitan area?
My preference would be a somewhat secluded country-esque spot with access (i.e. less than an hour away) to a city with some culture and entertainment options.

35 When did you lose your virginity?
Right after college. And actually I wish I still had my virginity.

36 What’s your favorite body part of the opposite sex?
Do you want the romantic answer or the horndog answer?? The former would be a woman’s eyes and her smile. The latter would be the boobies!!

37 What’s the wildest thing you’ve done sexually?
I can honestly say that I don’t think I have ever done anything that would be considered wild or weird…especially in today’s “anything goes” culture.

38 Do you think money can buy happiness?
Yes & no. I think financial security alleviates a lot of stress & pressure. Having money is a nice thing that comes in handy on occasion. But there are a lot of folks money-equal-happinesswho, as my grandmother would say, don’t have a pot to pee in that are perfectly content, while conversely there are many people with ample fundage (I’m looking at you Hollywood) that, to paraphrase U2, seem as if the still haven’t found what they are looking for. Love, friendship, peace, honor…all are much more important than money.

 

39 The world would be a better place if…?
Reality TV would go way…immediately.

 
40 Do you have any social causes that are close to your heart?
I’m not really a cause kind of guy. I bear no ill will toward dolphins, spotted owls, those little kids in Africa that Sally Struthers apparently steals food from, the adorable puppies that need adopted from the animal shelter, or anyone who suffers from the various diseases that can seemingly be cured by wearing little ribbons of various colors…but you probably won’t see me out crusading on their behalf. I do serve as the President of my local literacy organization’s board of directors, so education is something I admire, and I am involved with various ministries thru my church.

41 What do you do over the weekends?
It varies. I usually go to church on Sunday then come home and watch baseball & Nascar. Sometimes on Saturday I just vegg out (especially during football season), but a lot of times I’ll go to the grocery store or go see a movie. Sometimes I go out to dinner with my family. If there is something going on at my church I am usually involved. This coming weekend I’m going to check out an indy wrestling show and will probably spend an evening at one of the better fairs & festivals that pop up this time of year.

42 Would you mind if I had a best friend of the opposite sex?
This question, I am assuming, is theoretically speaking of a potential romantic partner. No I wouldn’t mind. I have known a lot of women who seemed to have more guy friends than female friends. As long as you aren’t cheating on me it’s all good.

43 Which was the worst phase in your life?
I have had a few valleys. I moved back to my hometown 6 months after graduating college, and I still consider it the worst mistake of my life. I lived at home with my parents for 5 years, and as much as I love my family it sucks to be living under your Mom & Dad’s roof when you’re in your mid-20’s. My mother died in 2000 and honestly I don’t think my life has ever been the same. In 2006 I began a 2+ year journey that I refer to as The Unfortunate Incarceration during which I had an ulcer on my tailbone that resulted in me spending six months in a “skilled” nursing facility, over a year homebound, and a couple of stints in the hospital.

44 What was the happiest moment in your life?
I didn’t realize it at the time but my childhood was pretty great. However I think the gold medal has to go to my college years. I probably spent a bit too much time having fun rather than studying, but since a college education doesn’t seem to mean diddly squat anymore (especially in WV) I am perfectly fine with how I spent those awesome years.

45 Do you judge a book by its cover?
Of course we aren’t supposed to but as human beings it is undeniable that we do so more often than we’d care to admit. The key is getting past that initial judgment and finding out what’s underneath the outer surface. Sometimes we find out that someone we overlooked or found fault with is actually pretty great, while there are occasions when we discover that someone we thought was OMG hot is actually nuttier than a damn fruitcake.

46 What’s your political stance?
I am very very very conservative.

47 Do you watch porn and what’s your view on it?
Let’s be honest…as a red-blooded American male of course I have watched it. I don’t find it particularly compelling though. The acting is atrocious and the storylines are stupid. I once took my friend Greg to a strip club for his 21st birthday. At some point in the evening I said to him “You look bored”. He replied “Well you can’t touch them and you can’t take them home with you, so what’s the point??”. Two decades later I still think it may be one of the more profound statements I’ve ever heard.

48 Do you believe in karma?
Ehhh…kinda sorta not really. I believe that sometimes people get what they deserve both good & bad, but I think it is more a function of the way a person leads their life funneling them down a certain path. If you are mean to people you may get away with it for awhile but statistically speaking you will probably cross the wrong person eventually. And if you are a decent person who treats people fairly and tries to do the right thing more often than not then at the very least you can look at yourself in the mirror every day knowing you did your best.

49 Do you plan your life or live for the moment?
I am by no means an obsessive planner, but neither am I all that spontaneous. There are reasons for this.

50 Do you think life is fair?
Hell no.

51 If you were marooned on an island, what are the five things you would take with you?
This is one of my favorite questions of all time. I have seen it in various surveys. I think a person could go one of two directions with the answer based on whether or islandnot there is a chance you can somehow work your way back to civilization. If yes then of course the items selected should be more practical & useful in the effort to get off the island. But I prefer the other scenario in which it is assumed that you’ll be on the island for the long haul and whether or not you ever escape is completely out of your control. I will also not cop out and assume that this island magically has Internet access or cable TV. Therefore, I will allow myself one work of fiction which would be the complete works of Sherlock Holmes. I would also want a Bible. Of course I’d want my dog Rocco by my side. I’d assume we could find stuff on the island that he could eat. A solar powered radio because music, in the words of Plato, “gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” Oh…and a big ol’ knife. A guy’s gotta eat.

52 Would you sulk or would you confront?
I am a very non-confrontational person.

53 Are you addicted to anything?
Chocolatechocolate

54 Any current news that’s caught your attention?
I haven’t been paying as much attention to the news lately. It’s just too depressing most of the time. And there is way too much leftist bias.

55 What are your favorite apps that you use often?
I play a lot of air hockey on my phone. And of course there is Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, & ESPN. I also like Words with Friends and Paper Toss which is exactly what it sounds like.

56 Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
I am a Samist.

57 What do you have for breakfast?
I love breakfast food although I don’t always have it for breakfast. I can’t eat really early in the morning when I first get up. When I do eat breakfast the food varies. I Breakfastlike cereal. I like sausage & eggs. I am a big fan of anything with syrup…pancakes, French toast, waffles. I’ve been trying to eat more oatmeal because it is healthy and it actually tastes pretty good. When I go out for breakfast I like sausage gravy & biscuits.

58 How often do you make your bed?
I’ll just say that my unique circumstances make this question moot.

59 If you knew you were right, would you take a stand even if you know you would make a scene in public or would you let it go?
I have finally figured out that arguing with people is a pointless exercise that just leaves me frustrated. That’s fine since I am non-confrontational anyway. They’ll either figure out the truth or go thru life wallowing in ignorance. I know what I know, think what I think, & believe what I believe. It’s not my job to enlighten the masses.

60 What’s an absolute no-no in a relationship?
I’m not sure I have many deal breakers. I’d like to think that if I’ve made the decision to be with someone that I’ve also made the conscious choice to overlook minor flaws and compromise about conflicts. Honesty is important. I don’t think I could get past cheating. I probably wouldn’t get involved with a drug user. I think any potential mate would have to atleast respect my faith and sociopolitical views even if they didn’t completely agree.