2022 PIGSKIN PICKS OF PROFUNDITY…WEEK 1

They’re calling this Week 0 in college football circles, probably because it’s not a full schedule and none of the matchups are that appealing. However, we play by our own rules here, and I choose to believe that a few games might turn out to be more entertaining than anyone thought they’d be. Ultimately any football is better than no football at all, right?? We are glad to be back for another season, and in case y’all need your memory refreshed I scored the overall victory last year with a 57-69 mark, while Zach was 49-77. Obviously we’d both like to improve this season, but we’ll see how it goes. Enjoy.

Nebraska (-12) vs. Northwestern 

When I was a kid the Cornhuskers were a force to be reckoned with, winning three national titles as recently as the mid 1990’s. However, they haven’t had a ten win season in a decade and haven’t posted a winning record since 2016. Moving to the Big Ten in 2011 probably wasn’t the smartest decision. Head coach Scott Frost is 15-29 in four years at the helm, and I have to think he needs to do much better this season. Conversely, the Wildcats has had some solid years since Pat Fitgerald became the coach in 2006, although they’ve finished 3-9 two of the past three seasons. I’m intrigued  by the fact that the game is being played in Dublin. It’s a 12:30pm kickoff here, meaning that it’ll be 5:30pm in Ireland. The points scare me a bit, but I’m rolling with the favorites. Zach agrees that Frost is on the hot seat and thinks Nebraska will win, but foresees a close contest. 

My Pick: Nebraska 

Z’s Pick: Northwestern 

Charlotte at Florida Atlantic (-7.5)

It’s a battle of C-USA foes, which doesn’t matter to me anymore since my Thundering Herd has migrated to the Sun Belt Conference. I suppose I’ll still watch the game though if I’m not doing anything more exciting Saturday night. The 49ers have only had one winning season since resurrecting the football program in 2013, while the Owls had a couple of good years under Lane Kiffin until he bolted for greener pastures. Willie Taggart enters his third year with only a 10-14 overall record in Boca Raton. Atlantic has the home field, and I think they’ll win…by less than a touchdown. Conversely, Zach thinks the home team’s high powered offense will lead them to a decisive victory.

My Pick: Charlotte 

Z’s Pick: Florida Atlantic 

Wyoming at Illinois (-10)

Occasionally these two programs will have a successful campaign, but they’ve both been mediocre at best in recent years. The Cowboys have won ten games since 1996, while the Illini last achieved that mark in 2001. I foresee a close, hard fought game decided late in the 4th quarter by a turnover or fantastic special teams play. Zach thinks Wyoming will win easily. 

My Pick: Illinois

Z’s Pick: Wyoming 

North Texas (-1) at Texas-El Paso

Don’t be fooled…they may both be located in the state of Texas, but the two schools are about a nine hour drive apart. Does that matter?? Not really…I just thought it was interesting. The Mean Green had a couple of nine win seasons not long ago, but have had losing records three years in a row. The Miners have only won more than six games twice in the past decade. I will not be watching this game since it is only available on an obscure streaming platform I won’t bother downloading. It’s essentially a pick ‘em and in those situations I like the home team. Zach likes North’s passing game to rack up the points. 

My Pick: UTEP

Z’s Pick: North Texas

Vanderbilt (-6.5) at Hawaii 

A few years ago I would have been pumped for this game because it kicks off at 10:30pm on the CBS Sports Network. Sadly it seems that I am far less of a night owl than I once was, so whether or not I make it thru the entire contest is a real toss up. At any rate, the Commodores are the forgotten member of the SEC for a reason…they’ve only had a winning record twice in the past decade and won five games total in the previous three seasons. The Rainbow Warriors aren’t great either, but they did have a ten win season as recently as 2019. Perhaps the oddsmakers know something the rest of us don’t, but I’m going with the home underdogs. Conversely, Zach doesn’t like Hawaii’s terrible defense and sees Vandy getting the easy win. 

My Pick: Hawaii 

Z’s Pick: Vanderbilt 

2022 College Football Pre-Season Top 25

As we head into a new football season I will admit to having mixed feelings. Things like conference realignment & NIL have exposed college athletics as the big business that it is, which has eroded much of its charm & virtue. Tradition means nothing when billions of dollars are at stake. That being said, for the next four months I’ll be spending most of my Saturdays vegged out in front of the TV from the time the pregame shows start at 9am until the final west coast games end around 1am, and I’ll love every second of it. I’m a pretty low key guy who is easily entertained, and there’s nothing better than autumn weekends & hours upon hours of gridiron action. So, as we have done for more than a decade now, let us take a peek into the ol’ crystal ball and see if we can predict with some degree of accuracy what may unfold between now & the end of the year. As always I discourage any kind of gambling based on what you read here. I’m not an expert and sometimes have no idea what I’m talking about, so enjoy my pontification in the spirit in which it is intended. 

25 Michigan

Last Season: 12-2

Key Games: 10/15 vs. Penn St., 10/29 vs. Michigan St., 11/26 at Ohio St.

Jim Harbaugh allegedly flirted with some NFL teams this offseason but ultimately returned to Ann Arbor. I do not think that will affect the season, but I also don’t believe the Wolverines will be a playoff contender in 2022. 

24 Oklahoma

Last Season: 11-2

Key Games: 10/8 vs. Texas, 10/29 at Iowa St, 11/5 vs. Baylor, 11/19 vs. Oklahoma St. 

The Sooners lost their head coach & multiple players, including two star quarterbacks. That’s alot to overcome, and I think we’ll see a slight drop under new head coach Brent Venables. This may or may not be their final season in the Big 12, but that’s a discussion for another day. 

23 Houston

Last Season: 12-2

Key Games: 9/10 at Texas Tech, 10/22 at Navy

Can Dana Holgorsen continue last year’s success and keep on winning?? The Cougars will be joining the Big 12 in a season or two, so it would behoove them not only to build momentum, but also take advantage of playing lesser competition while they still can. The September clash in Lubbock against the Red Raiders will provide an indication of how Houston stacks up against their future conference brethren, and it’s also a must win for this year.

22 Oregon 

Last Season: 10-4

Key Games: 9/3 vs. Georgia, 9/17 vs. BYU, 11/19 vs. Utah 

Head coach Mario Cristobal bolted to return to his alma mater Miami (FL), so former Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning is in charge now. That makes the season opener against the Bulldogs even more interesting. The PAC 12 eliminated divisions, so the top two teams will play in the conference title game, meaning the Ducks will need to be better than Utah or USC. They go head to head with the Utes in Eugene in mid-November.

21 North Carolina State 

Last Season: 9-3

Key Games: 9/17 vs. Texas Tech, 10/27 vs. Virginia Tech, 11/25 at North Carolina 

The ACC has become a muddled mess of mediocrity. Only one team is considered playoff worthy…the rest are jockeying for bowl position. Of course only half of the league are likely to find themselves in that hunt, so the question becomes which teams will rise?? 4 out of the past 5 seasons have had the Wolfpack winning eight or more games, and I think we’ll see more of that in 2022. 

20 Pitt 

Last Season: 11-3

Key Games: 9/1 vs. West Virginia, 9/10 vs. Tennessee, 11/26 at Miami (FL)

Quarterback Kenny Pickett is now plying his trade with my Steelers, and such a key loss would normally be cause for concern. However, thanks to the transfer portal the Panthers will now have former Southern Cal QB Kaden Slovis under center. I don’t believe they’ll be quite as successful as a year ago, but 8 or 9 wins seems achievable. I’m really looking forward to the long awaited renewal of the Backyard Brawl to open the season. 

19 Michigan State

Last Season: 11-2

Key Games: 10/8 vs. Ohio St., 10/15 vs. Wisconsin, 10/29 at Michigan, 11/26 at Penn St. 

I’m never quite sure what to make of the Spartans. In the past six seasons they’ve been  3-9, 10-3, 7-6 (twice), 2-5 (in the Covid shortened year), and 11-2. The Big Ten is stacked, so it’s pretty easy to get lost in the shuffle. They’ll need to win atleast a couple of the key games noted above, which won’t be easy, and may go into Happy Valley at the end of November in a must win situation. 

18 Tennessee

Last Season: 7-6

Key Games: 9/10 at Pitt, 10/24 vs. Florida, 10/15 vs. Alabama, 11/5 at Georgia

It’s time. I remember when the Vols were consistently one of the top teams in the SEC, but that hasn’t been the case since the late 90’s. Occasionally they’ll show signs of life with a 9 or 10 win season, but that has not happened in about five years. I have no evidence to support my optimism. I may look back at this prediction in shame. However, I believe they’ll pull off atleast one stunning upset this season. 

17 Arkansas

Last Season: 9-4

Key Games: 9/3 vs. Cincinnati, 9/24 vs. Texas A&M, 10/1 vs. Alabama, 11/12 vs. LSU

Not every SEC team will finish ranked, but more of them will receive benefit of the doubt than programs from other conferences. Can the Razorbacks continue their momentum from last year, or will they fall back into the abyss they’d been in the four seasons before that?? They can get things off to a good start by beating last year’s favorite underdog story, the Cincinnati Bearcats, and hosting other key games on the schedule at home could prove beneficial.

16 LSU

Last Season: 6-7

Key Games: 9/4 vs. Florida St., 10/1 at Auburn, 10/8 vs. Tennessee, 10/15 at Florida, 11/5 vs. Alabama, 11/26 at Texas A&M

The Ed Orgeron Era is over in Baton Rouge, and former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has taken the reins. Keep in mind Kelly was not fired…he chose to make the move, and I assume he believes this team can be elite. Certainly it’s a tough road in the SEC, but we can’t overlook the fact that the Bayou Bengals won a national championship as recently as 2019. I don’t think it’ll take long to turn things around.

15 Iowa

Last Season: 10-4

Key Games: 9/10 at Iowa St., 10/1 vs. Michigan, 10/22 at Ohio St., 11/12 vs. Wisconsin 

It seems like the Hawkeyes are always good. They’ve won 8+ games in seven of the past nine years, and that’s including the Covid shortened season of 2020. Unlike the PAC 12 the Big Ten has not abandoned its divisional setup, so Iowa doesn’t have to be better than Ohio St., Penn St., or Michigan to get into the conference title game. Eight wins & a Rose Bowl berth is certainly possible.

14 South Carolina 

Last Season: 7-6

Key Games: 9/17 vs. Georgia, 10/22 vs. Texas A&M, 11/26 at Clemson 

This is a big wildcard. Shane Beamer enters his second season in Columbia with a little more familiarity of the SEC, and I expect to see some maturation. They’ll need to score atleast one huge upset, but that’s not out of the question. 

13 Southern California 

Last Season: 4-8

Key Games: 10/15 at Utah, 11/19 vs. UCLA, 11/26 vs. Notre Dame 

I toyed with placing the Trojans much higher, but decided to be conservative. Lincoln Riley’s defection from Oklahoma along with QB Caleb Williams and the transfer of former Pitt receiver Jordan Addison grabbed a lot of headlines in the past several months, and expectations are high. However, perhaps it’d be wise to pump the brakes just a bit. Games at Utah and against Notre Dame in L.A. won’t be easy, and I expect USC to lose atleast once…maybe twice. Fear not Trojan fans…Riley will have his team in the playoff discussion soon…but not quite yet.

12 Notre Dame

Last Season: 11-2

Key Games: 9/3 at Ohio St., 11/5 vs. Clemson, 11/26 at USC

Credit where it is due…the Irish don’t have an easy path. Oh sure, they play a couple of gimmes (one of which will be the season opener against my alma mater…Go Herd), but they’ll need to win atleast one & maybe two of the key games noted above to climb this close to the Top 10, and that’s not going to be a a walk in the park. I am impressed with new head coach Marcus Freeman thus far, but he’s going to have to prove his worth with some big victories. 

11 Clemson

Last Season: 10-3

Key Games: 10/15 at Florida St., 11/5 at Notre Dame, 11/19 vs. Miami (FL)

After winning two national championships in six traight playoff appearances the Tigers fell off just a bit last year. And by that I mean they still had ten victories but didn’t win the ACC title and finished 14th in the final rankings. It’s the hallmark of an elite program when that is considered disappointing. Will they be back in the playoff picture this season?? I don’t think so. No one respects the ACC anymore, and I won’t be surprised if two SEC teams & two Big Ten teams are in the playoff. The only shot Clemson has is to go undefeated in convincing fashion & lay a smackdown on Notre Dame in South Bend.

10 Texas A&M

Last Season: 8-4

Key Games: 9/17 vs. Miami (FL), 10/24 vs. Arkansas, 10/8 at Alabama, 11/5 vs. Florida, 11/26 vs. LSU

Head coach Jimbo Fisher talks a good game, but can his team get it done on the field?? When you sign a ten year contract worth $75 million finishing third in the division simply isn’t good enough. Fisher’s feud” with Nick Saban has been a highlight of this offseason, but what matters is what happens between the lines. I don’t expect A&M to defeat ‘Bama in Tuscaloosa, but anything less than ten wins will be a huge disappointment, and that seat might start to get pretty hot for my man Jimbo.

9 Wisconsin

Last Season: 9-4

Key Games: 9/24 at Ohio St., 10/15 at Michigan St., 11/12 at Iowa

I’ve always been a big fan of Badger football. They’re not flashy, but they are fundamentally sound and win in the trenches. Having said that, the Big Ten is looking awfully difficult, and it is entirely possibly that Wisconsin could be a middle-of-the-pack program right now. All three of the key games I’ve noted are on the road, which is a daunting task. I’m going to venture way out on a limb though and predict they’ll pull off massive upsets in two of those games, paving the way for double digit victories & a Top 10 finish. 

8 Penn State

Last Season: 7-6

Key Games: 9/17 at Auburn, 10/15 at Michigan,  10/29 vs. Ohio St., 11/26 vs. Michigan St.

Is it likely that two Big Ten teams outside the state of Ohio finish in the Top 10?? No. So I guess I’m hedging my bets. An out of conference battle at Auburn & a home game against Michigan St. are must wins for the Nittany Lions.

7 Baylor

Last Season: 12-2

Key Games: 9/10 at BYU, 9/24 at Iowa St., 10/1 vs. Oklahoma St., 11/5 at Oklahoma, 11/25 at Texas

The Bears won the Big 12 title and were victorious in the Sugar Bowl a season ago, and I believe it is entirely possible they’ll be just as good in 2022. However, they’ll need be road warriors to achieve that level of success. With Texas & Oklahoma ditching the Big 12 in the not-so-distant future there is a vacuum at the top of the conference, and Baylor has an opportunity to become the new standard bearer (pun unavoidable). Don’t miss their visit to Norman, OK in early November…I think it’ll be a really great game. 

6 BYU

Last Season: 10-3

Key Games: 9/10 vs. Baylor, 10/15 vs. Arkansas 

This is BYU’s final year as an Independent before joining the Big 12, and they’re ending their independence with a bang. It’s a hell of a schedule. I do not expect them to beat Notre Dame or Oregon on the road, but if they can upset Baylor & Arkansas, win all the games they’re supposed to win, and get to ten victories once again they might actually be in the playoff discussion. There’s no chance they’ll actually be invited to participate, but sometimes getting the respect of simply being mentioned is enough.

5 Alabama

Last Season: 13-2

Key Games: 9/10 at Texas, 10/1 at Arkansas, 10/8 vs. Texas A&M, 10/15 at Tennessee, 11/5 at LSU, 11/26 vs. Auburn 

Freakin’ Nick Saban actually had the nerve to say that 2021 was a rebuilding year for the Tide…a season that saw them win 13 games, beat the snot out of Georgia in the SEC title game, and inexplicably fall by two TDs in the National Championship Game. The sad part is he might be right. Still, the fact is that ‘Bama always receives every opponent’s best shot, and things happen in such a scenario. I don’t know which one it’ll be, but I have a feeling an opponent listed above will have everything fall into place just perfectly, and Alabama will have a rare off day. Will that be enough to derail their playoff aspirations?? God I hope so.

4 Utah

Last Season: 10-4

Key Games: 9/3 at Florida, 10/15 vs. USC, 11/19 at Oregon 

USC has gotten all the PAC 12 attention the past several months, but Utah might be the team to beat right now. We’ll learn a lot when the Utes venture into The Swamp, and playing the Trojans in the cozy confines of Salt Lake City could be quite beneficial. I expect the winner of the mid-November clash in Eugene, OR to take one spot in the conference title game. 

3 Ohio State

Last Season: 11-2

Key Games: 9/3 vs. Notre Dame, 10/8 at Michigan St., 10/29 at Penn St., 11/26 vs. Michigan 

The Buckeyes have essentially become an NFL farm team. Quarterback CJ Stroud returns for his sophomore season after finishing 4th on the Heisman ballot last year. He’ll be considered a front runner for that award as long as his team is winning. I don’t believe the season opener against Notre Dame will be much of a challenge, and they have Michigan at The Horseshoe, so anything less than a playoff berth would be a huge disappointment. 

2 Oklahoma State

Last Season: 12-2

Key Games: 10/1 at Baylor, 10/22 vs. Texas, 11/12 vs. Iowa St., 11/19 at Oklahoma 

The “experts” all seem to slot the Cowboys about ten spots lower than this, so I’m really rolling the dice. The two biggest games on the schedule are both on the road, which makes the task that much harder. QB Spencer Sanders is a senior, which is good, but there was also some turnover in the coaching staff, which makes me nervous. It’s a “go big or go home” kind of thing really. Despite the fact that the TV folks (who really run the business of college sports, in case you didn’t know 😉) would undoubtedly love to see a playoff totally comprised of SEC & Big Ten teams (or USC if they can win the PAC 12), I think a Big 12 team will be in the mix, and given all of the offseason drama don’t believe it’ll be the Oklahoma Sooners. Keep an eye on the October 1st game at Baylor…the winner of that one might have an inside track to a playoff berth. 

1 Georgia

Last Season: 14-1

Key Games: 9/3 vs. Oregon, 10/29 vs. Florida, 11/5 vs. Tennessee

“To be The Man you’ve got to beat The Man”. That’s what wrasslin’ legend Ric Flair always said, and I think it’s good advice. The Bulldogs defeated Alabama to win the National Championship, and I don’t know of any reason to expect a decline. If Georgia comes out of the gate fast and beats Oregon badly then it’s on like Donkey Kong. Most people are likely expecting a rematch against The Tide in the SEC title game, and they’re probably right. I think Georgia wins that game, which will cost ‘Bama a playoff opportunity. 

2021-22 COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL-A-PALOOZA 

Annnndddd we’re back!!!! After a COVID-induced hiatus a year ago we have returned to make mostly uninformed & generally random picks of bowl games involving a bunch of teams about which neither of us know all that much. I read a quote years ago something akin to “golf & sex are the only things one can enjoy without being very good”, but I would include picking football games as well. As noted a couple of years ago, I have evolved from being one of those cranky old dudes ranting about too many bowl games to rather enjoying obscure & totally inconsequential weekday afternoon gridiron battles. These picks are separate from our weekly Picks of Profundity, no point spreads are used, & we don’t pretend like we have any clue what we’re talking about for the most part. I’ll leave it to The Manoverse to find the dates, times, & specific locations of these games. Most of them will be on the ESPN “family of networks”, though there are exceptions. As always I discourage wagering of any kind. I have broken down the games into three tiers: Bronze are the games that I have very little interest in and may or may not watch, Silver are games for which I have a modest level of enthusiasm and will probably try to check out, and Gold are the Must See contests. Sadly there are way too many in the first group and far too few in the last, but the cool thing about Bowl Season is that there are always surprises…games that’ll be tied in the fourth quarter and you suddenly find yourself invested for no apparent reason. I love that, and I appreciate the fact that we have once again been able to enjoy such compelling yet ultimately meaningless entertainment in 2021. I hope The Manoverse is staying safe & warm, enjoying the holiday season, and appreciating every second of this amazing life. 

Bronze

Bahamas Bowl

Middle Tennessee vs. Toledo 

How cool is it that these college kids get to travel to The Bahamas for free?? That alone is worth the blood, sweat, & tears of playing football. It’s an experience they’ll truly appreciate two or three decades from now. I’m not sure how many fans can afford to make the trek, but hey…life isn’t perfect, right?? The Blue Raiders represent C-USA and are 6-6, while the Rockets are out of the MAC and come into this game 7-5. 

My Pick: Toledo

Z’s Pick: Toledo

Celebration Bowl

South Carolina State vs. Jackson State 

This is a game specifically for “historically black” colleges, which seems like kind of an outdated concept in the 21st Century, but whatever. The SC St. Bulldogs are 6-5, while the Jackson St. Tigers (from Mississippi in case you are curious) are 11-1 and coached by Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. On paper it really looks like kind of a mismatch. Zach feels like momentum is on the Tigers’ side.

My Pick: Jackson State

Z’s Pick: Jackson State

New Mexico Bowl

Fresno State vs. UTEP 

The 9-3 Bulldogs faced some pretty stiff competition in the Mountain West and went toe to toe with the Oregon Ducks, while the Miners were 7-5 out of C-USA. I don’t think this game will be particularly close, and Zach concurs.

My Pick: Fresno State 

Z’s Pick: Fresno State

Independence Bowl

BYU vs. UAB 

I had high hopes for the Cougars, and they did go 10-2. September victories over Arizona St. & Utah seem especially impressive. Unfortunately, playing as an independent and having no direct access to conference bowl affiliations means you end up playing the 8-4 Blazers on a Saturday afternoon in Shreveport a week before Christmas. Perhaps I’m selling this game short, but I don’t believe it will be all that competitive. Zach likes the game to be a little closer but ultimately believes BYU will get the victory. 

My Pick: BYU

Z’s Pick: BYU

LendingTree Bowl

Liberty vs. Eastern Michigan 

This is the old GMAC Bowl, aka Dollar General Bowl, aka GoDaddy Bowl. Y’all know I despise corporate bowl names. Anyway, the 7-5 Flames dipped significantly from their 10-1 season a year ago, which saw them finish in the Top 20. Meanwhile, the 7-5 Eagles out of the MAC are appearing in their fourth bowl game since 2016 (they are 0-3 in previous efforts). I don’t foresee this being close or interesting at all. Zach agrees, opining that Liberty might win by 40 points.

My Pick: Liberty 

Z’s Pick: Liberty

Fenway Bowl

SMU vs. Virginia 

It’s like people in Boston were whining “Hey…there’s a bowl game at Yankee Stadium!! We want one too!!”, and someone somewhere acquiesced. Honestly though…is playing football in Boston at the end of December a reward for these players?? I’d much rather go to Hawaii or the Bahamas. At any rate, the Mustangs are out of the AAC and currently sit at 8-4, while the ACC’s Cavaliers are 6-6. Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall has already announced his departure after the game, having been at the helm in Charlottesville for six years. He’s only 55 years old so one has to assume he’ll have a final act somewhere, but for now his exit provides a motivational storyline. Zach predicts both offenses will put up big numbers, with SMU ultimately prevailing.

My Pick: Virginia 

Z’s Pick: SMU 

Sun Bowl

Washington State vs. Miami (FL)

ESPN dominates bowl coverage, but the Sun Bowl remains on CBS, which is kind of refreshing. It is one of the oldest bowl games, having first been played way back in 1935. The 7-5 Hurricanes underachieved tremendously in three seasons under head coach Manny Diaz, who has already been shown the door. The 7-5 Cougars faced coaching turmoil themselves back in October when their head coach & several assistants were fired for refusing to kneel & bow to Nazi-esque vaccine mandates, which means there is no way in hell I can cheer for a school that engages in that kind of foolishness. Zach is rolling the dice on State. 

My Pick: Miami (FL)

Z’s Pick: Washington State 

Arizona Bowl

Boise State vs. Central Michigan 

It was an off year for the 7-5 Broncos, who were competitive against UCF & Oklahoma St. and actually beat BYU, but nevertheless failed to live up to previously set lofty standards. Conversely, the 8-4 Chippewas out of the MAC continue to bounce back from the nadir of a 1-11 season in 2018. I don’t know why, but I feel like this game could exceed expectations. Conversely, Zach predicts an easy Boise win. 

My Pick: Central Michigan 

Z’s Pick: Boise State 

Myrtle Beach Bowl

Tulsa vs. Old Dominion 

The Golden Hurricanes out of the AAC are 6-6, as are C-USA’s Monarchs. This is one of those 2:30pm Monday afternoon kickoffs that theoretically no one will be watching, but who knows…perhaps we’ll be pleasantly surprised. I suppose I’ll pick Old Dominion in a coin flip. Zach notes that Tulsa suffered several close losses and is probably a better team than the record shows. 

My Pick: Old Dominion 

Z’s Pick: Tulsa 

Potato Bowl

Kent State vs. Wyoming 

Potatoes may not be the sexiest vegetable, but I can dig a game named after spuds instead of some mortgage broker. The 7-6 Golden Flashes lost the MAC title game, while the 6-6 Cowboys started strong but went 2-6 in the back end of their Mountain West schedule. I’m guessing the folks in Vegas would favor Kent, but I’ve got to go with the upset. Zach foresees a dominant defensive effort leading to a convincing Wyoming win. 

My Pick: Wyoming 

Z’s Pick: Wyoming 

Frisco Football Classic 

North Texas vs. Miami (OH)

Once upon a time there was something called the Redbox Bowl, which was cancelled in 2020 because of The Sickness then scrapped again this year. Actually it wasn’t a new game, having formerly been known as the Emerald Bowl & Fight Hunger Bowl, amongst other things. At any rate, the NCAA was left with too many bowl eligible teams for the available slots, so they literally created this game last week. I’m not even kidding. Making things even weirder is the fact that there is already a Frisco Bowl, so I’m not sure how this little Dallas/Fort Worth suburb is being awarded a second post-season matchup, but whatever…we’ll just go with it. Both teams are 6-6, and it is essentially a home game for the Mean Green since their campus is a half hour down the road. Credit to the RedHawks for making the trek, but it’s gonna be a tough day for them. Conversely, Zach likes Miami to snag the victory. 

My Pick: North Texas 

Z’s Pick: Miami (OH)

Armed Forces Bowl

Army vs. Missouri 

To clarify, the Armed Forces Bowl is played in Fort Worth, TX, while the Military Bowl is contested in Annapolis, MD. I take no issue with the redundancy since our folks in uniform deserve all the kudos they get & more. The 8-4 Black Knights are going for their fourth season of 9+ wins in the past five years, while the SEC’s Tigers are 6-6 and probably wishing they wouldn’t have left the Big 12 a decade ago. I can’t go against our soldiers, although I realize it’ll be an uphill climb. Zach loves Army’s triple option and believes Missouri’s defense will have a difficult time stopping it. 

My Pick: Army 

Z’s Pick: Army

Hawaii Bowl

Hawaii vs. Memphis 

Is it fair that the 6-7 Rainbow Warriors get a home game during bowl season, or that they’re playing in the postseason despite a losing record?? Probably not, but I assume the 6-6 Tigers won’t complain about a free trip to paradise. The home team is 2-1 in the past four years in this game, and I don’t think Memphis is remarkable enough to overcome the advantages their opponents will enjoy. Zach predicts a close game with Memphis winning with a late field goal.

My Pick: Hawaii 

Z’s Pick: Memphis 

Camellia Bowl

Ball State vs. Georgia State 

I know I’ve taught y’all this before, but it’s been a couple of years, so…a camellia is the state flower of Alabama, which is why this game is contested in the state’s capital of Montgomery. The 6-6 Cardinals represent the MAC as well as talk show legend David Letterman’s alma mater. The 7-5 Panthers are out of the Sun Belt and have only been playing football since 2008. I might be undervaluing this game a bit, and I’m hoping it’s a Christmas Day surprise that’ll tear me away from Ralphie’s pursuit of the elusive BB gun for a couple of hours. Zach likes Georgia St. to score a late 4th quarter win. 

My Pick: Georgia State 

Z’s Pick: Georgia State 

Quick Lane Bowl

Western Michigan vs. Nevada 

Quick Lane is exactly what you’d imagine it to be…a auto store where you can get your vehicle inspected, have the oil changed, & get your tires rotated. The game was previously known as the Motor City Bowl & Little Caesar’s Bowl and is still played at Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions. It may not be The Bahamas or sunny Florida, but perhaps it’s a step up from Boise, ID, home of the Potato Bowl. Atleast the venue has a roof so weather won’t be an issue. Anyway, the 7-5 Broncos out of the MAC only have to travel a couple of hours from Kalamazoo, while the 8-4 Wolfpack obviously have a much more significant trek. I don’t know how much of a difference that kind of thing makes in bowl games, but it’s got to mean something, right?? Conversely, Zach thinks Nevada wins big and the game will essentially be over by halftime. 

My Pick: Western Michigan 

Z’s Pick: Nevada

Military Bowl

Boston College vs. East Carolina 

The 6-6 Eagles have always bored me, as far back as the 80’s when they played in the Big East and faced my WV Mountaineers annually. There were those few years when they had QB Doug Flutie, but other than that a BC game is similar to watching paint dry. The 7-5 Pirates have cool purple uniforms, but kind of get lost in the shuffle since no one gives a damn about the AAC. Kickoff is 2:30pm on a Monday, but it’s two days after Christmas so maybe there won’t be any better options on TV since all the holiday films will be over. Honestly just thinking about this game makes me want to lay down and go to sleep. Zach agrees on all counts.

My Pick: East Carolina 

Z’s Pick: East Carolina 

First Responder Bowl

Air Force vs. Louisville 

Okay, so honoring first responders with a bowl game is cool. The matchup?? Ehhhh. The Falcons are 9-3 with competitive losses to San Diego St. & Utah St. and a win over Boise St., while the 6-6 Cardinals have dropped off considerably since QB Lamar Jackson won the Heisman Trophy in 2016 before heading to the NFL. Fingers crossed that this will be a great game, but I’m not assuming anything. Zach is optimistic that it will be close & exciting and likes Air Force to win. 

My Pick: Air Force 

Z’s Pick: Air Force 

Liberty Bowl

Texas Tech vs. Mississippi State

This is the game I wanted WVU to play in, but that didn’t happen. The 6-6 Red Raiders are playing for an interim coach since they fired their head coach in October, while the 7-5 Bulldogs beat Kentucky & Auburn this year but faced an uphill climb in the SEC. I suppose I’m a little bitter about the ‘Eers’ exclusion because this is probably going to be more fun than I’m giving it credit for. Zach thinks depth might be an issue for Tech and likes State to win fairly easily. 

My Pick: Mississippi State 

Z’s Pick: Mississippi State 

Silver 

Cure Bowl

Coastal Carolina vs. Northern Illinois 

The Cure Bowl is so named to promote awareness & research of breast cancer, with proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The Chanticleers are 10-2 (the second straight year they’ve won 10 games) but didn’t even win their division, which says a lot about the Sun Belt Conference. The Huskies are the 9-4 MAC Champions. This is a 6pm Friday kickoff, and I’ll be watching. We both expect a high scoring shootout and like Coastal to secure victory late in the 4th quarter. 

My Pick: Coastal Carolina 

Z’s Pick: Coastal Carolina 

Boca Raton Bowl

Appalachian State vs. Western Kentucky

My Marshall Thundering Herd might’ve been playing in this game if they’d made it to the C-USA title game, but kudos to the 8-5 Hilltoppers for doing that instead. The 10-3 Mountaineers lost the Sun Belt title game but won 9+ games for the seventh consecutive season. This one kicks off at 11am on Saturday a week before Christmas, and I’m glad because I have plans that night. I feel like this is one of those times when everyone will be expecting a shootout but instead we’ll be treated to a hard hitting defensive struggle, probably decided by a late field goal. Zach thinks the Mountaineers are more experienced in big games. 

My Pick: Appalachian State  

Z’s Pick: Appalachian State 

LA Bowl

Oregon State vs. Utah State 

This game has the potential to be sneaky good. It is the inaugural contest and will be played on the home field of the NFL’s Rams & Chargers. The 7-5 Beavers almost slid in the back door of the PAC 12 title game, but a loss to their in-state rivals doomed those chances. Meanwhile, the 10-3 Aggies are the surprising Mountain West Champions. It’s a 7:30pm kickoff on 12/18 so unfortunately I will miss it. Ah well…c’est la vie. I’d like to think it’ll be a close & exciting contest, but it could just as easily be a blowout. I have no idea what to expect. Zach likes Utah St.‘s running attack behind a stout offensive line.

My Pick: Utah State 

Z’s Pick: Utah State

New Orleans Bowl

Marshall vs. Louisiana 

This is what the 7-5 Herd gets for not making it to their conference title game. It is essentially a home game for the 12-1 Ragin’ Cajuns, winners of the Sun Belt. Marshall will be joining that conference in the not-so-distant future, so we’ll see plenty of rematches. It’s another game on the crowded 12/18 schedule, but kickoff isn’t until 9:15pm so I’ll actually get to see most of the action, which is cool. I can’t pretend to be unbiased, but to be honest the only thing that gives me hope is the fact that Louisiana will be playing for an interim coach making me somewhat hopeful for an upset. Zach thinks my alma mater comes into this game disappointed with the ending of the regular season and believes that hangover will lead to a Louisiana blowout. 

My Pick: Marshall 

Z’s Pick: Louisiana 

Frisco Bowl

UTSA vs. San Diego State 

Earlier I referred to Frisco, TX as a “little Dallas/Fort Worth suburb”. To put that in context, the population of Frisco is 177k, making it about triple the size of West Virginia’s capital city of Charleston. Everything is bigger in Texas. The 12-1 Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners won the C-USA title, while the 11-2 Aztecs were beaten soundly in the Mountain West Championship Game. It’s nearly a five hour haul from San Antonio to Frisco, but UTSA should still enjoy a notable home field-esque kind of advantage. Kickoff is at 7:30pm EST on the Tuesday before Christmas, so it’ll be an evening of channel flipping between Clark Griswold, Ebenezer Scrooge, & football. That’s a fun night in my world. I hope it’s a competitive game, but with battles against Utah & Boise St. (both games that they won) under their belt, it feels like SD St. is probably the superior squad. Conversely, Zach likes UTSA’s offense a little better and thinks they’ll get the job done.

My Pick: San Diego State 

Z’s Pick: Texas-San Antonio 

Gasparilla Bowl

Florida vs. Central Florida 

I’ve explained this is previous years, but it’s a cool story. This game is named in honor of José Gaspar, an apocryphal Spanish pirate. “The Last of the Buccaneers” allegedly lived in the Tampa area, plundering & pirating across The Caribbean & The Gulf of Mexico during the late 18th to early 19th century, amassing a huge fortune by taking prizes & ransoming hostages, and died by leaping from his ship rather than face capture by the U.S. Navy, leaving behind an enormous and as-yet undiscovered treasure. That tale alone makes this a badass bowl game no matter who is playing in it. The 6-6 Gators had high hopes but encountered choppy waters this season, ending with firing their coach last month. 8-4 UCF’s “uncrowned national championship” from a few years back is about as spurious as the story of Jose Gaspar, but head coach Gus Malzahn (who previously had tremendous success at Auburn) has kept them in the conversation as one of the best Group of Five programs and will soon lead them into the Big 12. This would be a huge win for the Knights, an opportunity to defeat an in-state “rival” that’ll always receive more respect whether they deserve it or not. Zach isn’t sure the Gators will be into this one mentally as much as their opponents. 

My Pick: Central Florida 

Z’s Pick: Central Florida 

Birmingham Bowl

Houston vs. Auburn   

Rarely will I be all that complimentary toward former WVU Mountaineers’ head coach Dana Holgorsen, but credit where it is due…he has the 11-2 Cougars headed in the right direction in his third season at the helm. They’ll be a problem in the Big 12 soon enough. Conversely, the 6-6 Tigers didn’t fare as well in head coach Bryan Harsin’s first season as they would have liked, but there’s no reason to think they can’t be good again in the near future. Kickoff is at Noon on a Tuesday, which is unfortunate because this matchup probably deserves better. I think the talent disparity between a mid-level SEC program and the AAC will be apparent, and it helps that Auburn is playing only two hours away from home, so they’ll have a lot of fans in the stands. Zach thinks Houston is solid but not spectacular, while Auburn is inconsistent. He likes Auburn’s defense to be the difference maker. 

My Pick: Auburn 

Z’s Pick: Auburn 

Holiday Bowl

North Carolina State vs. UCLA 

It looks good on paper, but will it be as interesting in reality?? The Wolfpack went 9-3 with wins over Clemson, Florida St., and in-state rival UNC, while the 8-4 Bruins would like to have a redo on a couple of early season stumbles. This is a prime time game during that week between Christmas & New Year’s when no one really knows where they are, what day it is, or what exactly is going on. I think UCLA probably has a deeper bench, so they’ll pull away in the 4th quarter. It’s a tossup for Zach but he feels like NC St. has dealt with a tougher schedule and that experience will pay off. 

My Pick: UCLA

Z’s Pick: North Carolina State 

Texas Bowl

Kansas State vs. LSU

Ed Orgeron won’t be on the sidelines for the 6-6 Bayou Bengals, who’ll be led by an interim coach before Brian Kelly takes the reins. In comparison the 7-5 Wildcats are rather stable, which is a difference maker in my eyes. Zach feels like all the upheaval might actually provide motivation for LSU. 

My Pick: Kansas State 

Z’s Pick: LSU

Guaranteed Rate Bowl

West Virginia vs. Minnesota

As a Mountaineer fan this is kind of a letdown. A mediocre Big Ten opponent & a 10:15pm EST kickoff on a Tuesday night isn’t much to get excited about. This game was formerly known as the Copper Bowl, Insight.com Bowl, Cactus Bowl, & Cheez-It Bowl, but now bears the name of a Chicago based mortgage company, which is indicative of everything wrong with collegiate sports. The last time WVU played in it about five years ago they snagged a thrilling win over Arizona St., but I was in the hospital and fast asleep before the action heated up. Perhaps I can manage to stay awake this time. Zach thinks Minnesota will run the ball easily against the WV defense and win big.

My Pick: West Virginia 

Z’s Pick: Minnesota 

Pinstripe Bowl

Virginia Tech vs. Maryland 

They’ve been playing a bowl game at Yankee Stadium since 2010 and I’m not sure I’ve ever watched it except the time in 2012 when WV got embarrassed by Syracuse. In a college football world that had an ounce of sense this matchup would be an annual rivalry between two East Coast/Mid-Atlantic schools, but in reality they play in different conferences and haven’t met on the football field since 2013. The 6-6 Hokies fired their head coach last month so they’ll be led by an interim coach, while Maryland is also 6-6 having lost 4 games in the second half of the season. I feel like it should be a much more compelling game than it is, but the 2pm Wednesday kickoff sort of characterizes the general interest level most will likely have for it. Zach concurs. 

My Pick: Maryland 

Z’s Pick: Maryland 

Cheez-It Bowl

Iowa State vs. Clemson 

Okay, stick with me here. Once upon a time the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix was known as the Cheez-It Bowl, but sponsorships changed as they often do. This game, emanating from Orlando, FL, used to be the Blockbuster Bowl, Carquest Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl, & Camping World Bowl. Anyway, we all know that it’s been an odd season for the 9-3 Tigers. Let’s be honest, that’s a record so many teams would give anything to have, but for a program that’s used to going undefeated & being in the playoff it is a disappointing year. The 7-5 Cyclones had higher expectations as well, but the Big 12 ended up being pretty competitive. This could be the sleeper game of the entire postseason, and with a 5:45pm Wednesday evening kickoff it is situated perfectly to provide ample entertainment value. I have a lot of faith in Dabo Swinney and believe his team will end their campaign on a high note. Zach agrees. 

My Pick: Clemson 

Z’s Pick: Clemson 

Alamo Bowl

Oklahoma vs. Oregon

They could called this the What Might’ve Been Bowl or the Dashed Hopes Bowl, as both teams were in the playoff conversation right up until the end. The Sooners are 10-2, but head coach Lincoln Riley has already bolted for USC. Similarly, the Ducks finished 10-3 and also lost their coach Mario Cristobal, who has returned to his hometown & alma mater Miami Hurricanes. I’m not familiar enough with the inner workings of a college football team to know exactly what kind of chaos such upheaval causes, but it has to be unsettling. Nevertheless, I am expecting a fun game with lots of big plays & offense, and I think Oregon will win by a touchdown. Zach, on the other hand, thinks Oregon is overrated and their defense lacking. He likes Oklahoma, under the temporary guidance of former head coach Bob Stoops, to win easily. 

My Pick: Oregon 

Z’s Pick: Oklahoma 

Duke’s Mayo Bowl

North Carolina vs. South Carolina 

I’ve never tasted Dukes, although I’ve heard it’s good. I’m a lifelong Miracle Whip guy. This is the Charlotte based game formerly known as the Continental Tire Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl, & Belk Bowl, and seems tailor made for a Battle of the Carolinas. The Gamecocks were 6-6 against a rather challenging schedule, while the 6-6 Tar Heels failed to live up to lofty preseason expectations. This will be the swan song for UNC quarterback Sam Howell, who is likely to be a first round NFL Draft pick. I am expecting a close game decided by a late turnover or special teams play, and I give the edge to Mack Brown’s guys. Zach thinks there is a possibility that Howell won’t even play on the game, but still believes UNC can get the job done. 

My Pick: North Carolina 

Z’s Pick: North Carolina

Music City Bowl

Purdue vs. Tennessee 

I have to think that both teams will come into the game with a chip on their shoulder seeking to gain attention & build momentum for next year. The 8-4 Boilermakers get lost in the shuffle of a stacked Big Ten, while the 7-5 Volunteers continue trying to get back to enjoying the kind of success they had during the Peyton Manning era 25 years ago. This is damn near a home game for the Vols, as Knoxville is less than three hours from Nashville. That’s enough for me to pick Tennessee to win comfortably. Conversely, Zach believes Purdue’s defense will shine and lead the team to victory. 

My Pick: Tennessee

Z’s Pick: Purdue 

Peach Bowl

Michigan State vs. Pittsburgh

Perspective is a word that pops into my mind. I wonder how differently these teams might be viewing the same opportunity. The 10-2 Spartans won eight games before losing two of their last four, all while watching in-state rival Michigan (who they beat at the end of October) win the Big Ten and end up in the College Football Playoff. Conversely, the 11-2 Panthers just won the ACC title & quarterback Kenny Pickett was a Heisman finalist. This feels like a consolation prize for State and the culmination of an immensely successful comeback for Pitt. Zach doesn’t have much faith in State’s defense and thinks Pickett will put up big numbers in victory, while I believe Sparty has something to prove. 

My Pick: Michigan State 

Z’s Pick: Pitt 

Las Vegas Bowl

Wisconsin vs. Arizona State 

I expected so much more from both teams. The 8-4 Badgers simply faced too much supremely talented opposition in the Big Ten, losing 3 out of 4 to begin the season. The 8-4 Sun Devils had similar problems in the PAC 12. This is a 10:30pm EST kickoff on New Year’s Eve Eve, which is a tough proposition. I suppose I could stay up for it then snooze most of the next day in preparation for the festivities. Anyway, it feels like a pretty even matchup that’ll end up being a hard hitting, low scoring defensive struggle decided by penalties & turnovers, and in that scenario I can’t go against my guy Herm Edwards. Conversely, Zach thinks Wisconsin’s ground game makes the difference. 

My Pick: Arizona State 

Z’s Pick: Wisconsin 

Gator Bowl

Texas A&M vs. Wake Forest 

Now that LSU has put all those Jimbo Fisher rumors to rest he can concentrate on coaching the team that’s actually paying him to do so. It’s probably unfair to call an 8-4 season disappointing, but when someone is making bank like Fisher the fact is that anything less than a playoff berth isn’t good enough. Conversely, though they lost the ACC title, no one in Winston-Salem is going to complain about 10-3 & a New Year’s Eve bowl game for the Demon Deacons, a team that’s only won 9 or more games in a season twice before now. I think Wake will give a great effort, but the talent disparity will show itself in the second half. Zach agrees.

My Pick: Texas A&M

Z’s Pick: Texas A&M

Outback Bowl

Arkansas vs. Penn State 

Originally known as the Hall of Fame Bowl, it feels like this is a game that’s been around longer than it’s 1986 debut. The 8-4 Razorbacks started strong before losing three straight October games, while the 7-5 Nittany Lions did pretty much the same thing. If it were possible I might be tempted to predict that both teams could lose this one, but someone’s got to come out on top. I’m going to venture out on a limb and say that this will be one of those games where something screwy or controversial occurs…a penalty, turnover, blocked kick…that decides the outcome and becomes the subject of much debate on all the sports talk shows. Zach likes Penn St.’s defense to be a difference maker.

My Pick: Arkansas 

Z’s Pick: Penn State 

Citrus Bowl

Kentucky vs. Iowa 

Congrats to the Wildcats on a stellar season. Kentucky has always been a basketball school, but after going 9-3 with wins over LSU & Florida they’ve got the attention of football fans everywhere. Conversely, the 10-3 Hawkeyes are probably a bit disappointed after dropping two consecutive contests in October that torpedoed their playoff hopes then getting obliterated by Michigan in the Big Ten Championship. I feel like most “experts” would say Iowa is the more talented team, but it seems like Kentucky has come up big when it really counted this year. Conversely, Zach predicts Iowa will win a close game.

My Pick: Kentucky 

Z’s Pick: Iowa 

Sugar Bowl

Baylor vs. Ole Miss

11-2 Baylor won the Big 12 title, but an inexplicable November loss at TCU cost them a playoff berth. The 10-2 Rebels have quarterback Matt Corral, whose Heisman invite got lost in the mail, something he’ll feel better about when his name is called very early in next spring’s NFL Draft. This game has the potential to be great, but I think the Bears have more athletes across the board at more positions, and they will assert their dominance in the 4th quarter. Conversely, Zach really likes Corral and thinks Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffen might have a few tricks up his sleeve. 

My Pick: Baylor 

Z’s Pick: Ole Miss 

Fiesta Bowl

Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma State

I really thought the 11-1 Irish would be a playoff team, but that October loss to Cincinnati was a killer. The 11-2 Cowboys had a legit playoff shot as well, but Baylor was just too tough in the Big 12 title game. I’m probably selling this game short…it should be a Gold Tier level matchup, but it just seems like both teams underachieved. I think State will have more big plays and snag a 5-10 point victory, while Zach believes Notre Dame will be motivated & inspired to win a close one. 

My Pick: Oklahoma State

Z’s Pick: Notre Dame 

Cotton Bowl

(1) Alabama vs. (4) Cincinnati

I admit that it is unfair to not have a playoff semifinal in the Gold Tier. Having said that, I have been clear about my opinion of the Bearcats. They deserve all the kudos for going undefeated. The fact that they went into South Bend and beat Notre Dame cannot be overlooked. However, the rest of their schedule being opponents like Temple, Tulsa, & South Florida shouldn’t be glossed over either. The NCAA needs to consider separating the Power 5 and the Group of 5 into different divisions, each with its own National Championship. The 12-1 Crimson Tide just beat Georgia by 17 points to win the SEC Championship…what do you think they’re going to do to Cincinnati?? I would love to be wrong, but I think ‘Bama will win this game by four TD’s, and that’s after Saban calls off the dogs in the second half, which is why I can’t get too excited about it. Zach has a bit more respect for Cincy, but still thinks they lose by 10 points. 

My Pick: Alabama 

Z’s Pick: Alabama

Gold

Rose Bowl

Ohio State vs. Utah

I don’t care if the Buckeyes lost two games…they should be in the playoff. I get it. I know the committee couldn’t put them in with two losses ahead of undefeated Cincinnati. It would’ve been the ballsy move, but a PR nightmare. It didn’t help that Michigan absolutely trucked their archrivals by two touchdowns. Still, I believe if Ohio St. played Cincy five times they’d win atleast four games quite easily. It is what it is though, and the consolation prize for fans is pretty great because 10-3 Utah might be the hottest team in the country. Two of their three losses came in September, and they’re riding a six game win streak that includes annihilating Oregon to win the PAC 12 Championship. Honestly, I think the Utes would beat the snot out of Cincinnati too. At any rate, this should be a fantastic game, but I think Ohio St. might be too fast & athletic for Utah to overcome. Zach hates Ohio St. so obviously he’s picking against them 😂.

My Pick: Ohio State

Z’s Pick: Utah 

Orange Bowl

(2) Michigan vs. (3) Georgia

I know I shouldn’t be surprised by anything Alabama does, but I did not expect them to beat Georgia by 17 points in the SEC title game. Having said that, it is a testament to the 12-1 Bulldogs and the immense respect they’ve earned that they’re still amongst the Final Four. The 12-1 Wolverines only have a late October loss to in-state rival Michigan St. as a blemish on their record, but it seemed to have awakened them because they’ve been on fire ever since. I’m not sure even the most passionate Michigan fans would’ve considered them a playoff contender a month ago. This is The Irresistible Force vs. The Immovable Object and has Game of the Year written all over it. As far as predictions, one can’t help but allow a little wishful thinking into the process. Would you rather see an Alabama-Georgia rematch or an Alabama-Michigan wet dream for all the marbles?? I know which one I prefer. Your mileage may vary and that’s okay. Zach knows Georgia’s defense is extremely tough, but he thinks his Wolverines have what it takes to push the game into overtime and get a victory. 

My Pick: Michigan 

Z’s Pick: Michigan

National Championship 

Alabama/Cincinnati vs. Michigan/Georgia 

So we are both predicting and/or wishing for an Alabama-Michigan National Championship Game. When Jim Harbaugh got the job in Ann Arbor in 2015 I said he’d have them in title contention in three years. It’s taken a little longer than I thought, but here we are. I think ‘Bama will beat Cincinnati easily to get to this point, while it’ll be much more difficult for the Wolverines to overcome Georgia. How will that affect the Championship Game?? I don’t know. There are just so many variables that can make a difference and alter the entire landscape in the space of a month. Given what we know at this moment in time I will predict a very close, very exciting, rather historic Michigan upset to win the title…their first since 1997, back when the National Championship was “mythical”, a quaint notion nowadays. Zach thinks Michigan has what it takes to compete, but in a Saban vs. Harbaugh coaching duel he simply has more faith in Saban. 

My Pick: Michigan 

Z’s Pick: Alabama 

WINNING & MUSING…VOLUME 4.21  

Again?? So soon?? As previously mentioned, these months are consumed by football games & weekly picks to the point that I purposely avoid bombarding The Manoverse with other sportscentric content. However, the old saying “circumstances alter cases” applies because there are a few things that need addressed in a timely fashion. 

I’m sure that young kids dreaming of a career in sports journalism think of ESPN as the pinnacle of professional success, but I hope those future talking heads are paying attention to The Flagship in Bristol’s recent treatment of Rachel Nichols & Sage Steele and considering other options. Actually, I pray that Nichols & Steele themselves are seeking alternative employment. I know I would be if my bosses at any job had treated me like those two ladies have been by ESPN. I trust that The Manoverse is resourceful enough to research the details, but suffice to say that neither woman has a damn thing to apologize for, and their company (which is owned by evil empire Disney) has proven that contrary to their statement that “we embrace different points of view” they absolutely do not. ESPN also said that “we expect that those points of view be expressed respectfully, in a manner consistent with our values and in line with our internal policies”, which essentially means that their values & policies are completely abhorrent yet they expect total assimilation. 

I couldn’t help but look at the recent Alabama-Texas A&M game from a little different perspective. Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher became the first of Nick Saban’s former assistants to defeat their old boss. Both Saban & Fisher hail from northcentral West Virginia. Saban grew up just outside Fairmont, which is about 20 miles up the road, while Fisher grew up right here in Clarksburg. West Virginians are proud of the success of our native sons, but it is an inescapable fact that they both did what so many from here have to do…go far away to achieve success. Much like the Pittsburgh Pirates have become a farm team for the rest of MLB our state is an incubator, its best & brightest growing up in safety & comfort only to flee elsewhere and blossom. Every time there is a coaching vacancy at WVU there are fans that hope & wish for either Saban or Fisher to return home, but it’s a pipe dream. Never going to happen. To their credit both men moved on long ago and would diminish their legacies by coming back here. So, while most fans watched and felt about it one way or another how a football fan feels about a great game, I saw it as a microcosm of real life and its oftentimes unfortunate realities. 

Oh hey, speaking of being canceled, Jon Gruden needs Rachel Nichols & Sage Steele to hold his beer…..

I’ve had some time to reflect on this one and modify my initial gut reaction. But first, a story. A couple of years ago a tenant was evicted from my apartment building. The people that run the place had been trying to get rid of him for years to no avail, until he was dumb enough to do the one thing he absolutely could not do. This idiot (allegedly 😉) did a drug deal in full view of security cameras. So, after years of evading efforts by the powers-that-be who simply didn’t like him for whatever reason, this guy did it to himself. How does that relate to Gruden?? My knee jerk response was to rail against cancel culture, which I despise. However, upon further reflection the fact is that Jon Gruden should’ve known better. Yes, some of the emails that cost him his job stretch back to 2011. Yes, all of it occurred before he was even rehired as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders in 2018. I’ll even go so far as to say that I don’t completely disagree with some of the points he made (my disdain for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is well documented). Having said that, the fact is that almost any kind of communication can potentially become public. That’s especially true now, but was also the case in 2011. Jon Gruden is a grown, middle-aged man who has been in the public eye for many years. He should have been smart enough not to openly express some of the things that he did. I think we’ve all learned by now that anything electronic…voicemails, texts, emails, social media posts…are forever. Hell, I started the original incarnation of The Manofesto on MySpace in 2008 and someone could probably come after me for a long forgotten sentence or paragraph. Is it right for a person to have their life wrecked for things that happened years ago?? Probably not, but those are the current rules of engagement, which means the prudent course of action is to lay low, play your cards close to the vest, and keep that big mouth shut. Of course it also helps if you avoid racism, sexism, & derogatory slurs of any kind. That seems like a good place to start. 

Winning & Musing…Volume 1.21

Hey sports fans…we’re back. I’ve already been more prolific in January than I was all of last year, and it feels good. I didn’t like much of anything that happened in 2020, so it’s nice getting the new year started off in a better frame of mind. Anyway, let’s talk about balls. Well, you know what I mean 😉.

 

 

 

 

I’ll be honest…I dozed off & missed most of the CFP National Championship Game, and I’m okay with that. Ohio State should’ve never been there after playing only half of a season, and I’m beyond tired of Alabama. You’re mileage may vary & that’s okay.

 

 

A couple of weeks ago on Highly Questionable ESPN talking head Israel Gutierrez actually suggested that it would be “crazy powerful” for Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers to skip his team’s first playoff game in response to the unfortunate events that had taken place in Washington DC a couple of days before. Now I’ve heard some real head scratchers on that channel the past few years (a big reason sports fans like myself & many others have stopped watching as much as we once did), but that statement from Gutierrez might be one of the dumbest things uttered by anyone anywhere in my 40+ years on the planet. He should’ve been fired immediately and dragged out of the building in a straitjacket…it was that incomprehensibly stupid. To suggest that an MVP level quarterback whose team has a very real opportunity to win the Super Bowl should sit out to make a political statement is just…insane?? Ridiculous?? Pathetic?? All of the above?? You tell me.

 

Hot Stove Time…

My Pittsburgh Pirates were in the news recently after signing 16 year old outfield prospect Shalin Polanco from the Dominican Republic. One might assume something like that would elicit cheers from the Pirates’ faithful, but you’d be wrong. Understand, we’ve seen this movie before. One of two things will happen…a) the kid will be a total bust, or b) just as he’s entering his best years as a player Pittsburgh will trade him for a bunch of prospects and he’ll go to the World Series with his new team. Those of us that have been rooting for the Bucs for any length of time suffer from what I call Battered Fan Syndrome. We don’t believe anything great is on the horizon for them and if it is we’re pretty sure they’ll screw it up. You may call it cynical, but really it is just self-preservation. 

 

Y’all may want to record this for posterity because I’m about to say something nice about Tom Brady…

I never want to hear the phrase “Patriots Dynasty” ever again. If this football season has proven anything it’s that the New England Patriots needed Tom Brady a whole hell of a lot more than Brady needed the Patriots. New England went 7-9, while Brady has Tampa (who went 7-9 last season) in the NFC title game. I hope this doesn’t happen, but IF Brady wins the Super Bowl with another team everyone should start using the term “Brady Dynasty”.

 

I’m a sucker for a happy ending. Perhaps I’ve watched too many movies, but I like the idea of an elite player winning a championship then retiring…going out on top. I fancy the notion of a guy hitting a home run in his last at bat or making a buzzer beating three-pointer in his final game. But that’s not usually the way it goes, is it?? Professional athletes often have a hard time recognizing when their skills are diminishing. They want one more opportunity to get a ring, so they stick around for a season or two or three too long. Oftentimes they play those years with different teams than the one that made them a household name. They sacrifice their legacy chasing one last shot at glory. The good thing is eventually we are able to put aside that sad limp to the finish line and focus on the highlights, but how cool would it be if our sports heroes never had that heartbreaking end that we need to erase from our memory?? Unfortunately that’s not how it works.

Winning & Musing…Volume 2.20

Greetings sports fans…what a strange year it has been, right?? No March Madness. The Masters, all three Triple Crown horse races, & the Indianapolis 500 postponed. And now, with COVID-19 spiking again, there are serious questions about whether we’re even going to have a football season. I hate all of it, but atleast the whole mess gives us a few things to discuss.

 

 

 

 

Kudos to NASCAR & the PGA for giving us a little bit of entertainment. To be honest I don’t even miss the live crowd when watching a car race, and golf is almost as entertaining without a gallery, except in those moments when someone makes a spectacular shot & there would normally be a roar from the crowd. NASCAR especially has stepped up, altering their schedule to have races on the occasional random weeknight. Perhaps that doesn’t mean anything to anyone else, and maybe a lot of people actually hate it, but in my particular circumstance at the moment I have really appreciated the distraction.

 

 

So I guess Major League Baseball will be playing a 60 game season beginning in a couple of weeks. That’s cool, and I’ll watch (especially if I can manage to find any Pirates games on where I am), but we’ll need to put an asterisk on the 2020 season. I don’t believe whichever teams make the playoffs and whoever ultimately wins The World Series can ever consider those to be legit accomplishments, but I’ll give them credit for doing something to provide us with some much needed entertainment.

 

 

The NBA & NHL had already played a majority of their season when everything shut down, but both leagues will be concluding their seasons with a few additional regular season games and then the playoffs. I’m not even going to dive into the details because I’m not necessarily sure I even understand all of it, but I will opine that the champions in both sports will aleast be more authentic than whatever goes on in baseball.

 

 

Speaking of NASCAR, I understand why they caved to the PC Police about the Confederate flag, and truly I’m kind of tired of all the arguing. I recognize where we are as a nation, and it’s just not a battle those of us opposed to such pandering & virtue signaling are going to win right now. However, I was disgusted with the whole Bubba Wallace/”noose” controversy. Even after the “noose” was discovered to have been a garage door pulley that had been there for years Wallace & the sports media refused to admit the mistake and doubled down on the whole victim angle, which is pathetic. I hope Wallace enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame, because now he’s back to being a mediocre driver who hasn’t actually won anything.

 

 

Strangely enough I don’t even get ESPN where I am right now, but I’m not sure I mind all that much. The last time I was able to tune in they’d essentially abandoned talking about sports and had gone all in on being “woke”, which isn’t why I watch their programs. And now I find out that The Flagship in Bristol is essentially tossing my man Mike Golic aside in favor of a more diverse morning show starring Keyshawn Johnson. Trust me folks…no one was jonesing for Keyshawn Johnson to get more airtime. It’s just another example of how out of touch ESPN has become. Y’all will recall my deep & abiding affection for Mike & Mike and how upset I was when that show ended, but atleast Golic & Wingo was a reasonably entertaining facsimile. Now there will be absolutely no reason to watch ESPN in the morning. Look, I don’t give a damn about a person’s race or ethnicity. If you’re intelligent, entertaining, & good at your job you have an opportunity to earn my fandom. Mike Golic had done that. Mike Greenberg had done that (although he’s far less tolerable without Golic). I’m not a supporter of change for the sake of change. If ESPN had an ounce of sense they’d reboot Mike & Mike, but sadly that doesn’t seem to be their plan.

The 2018 Sammy Awards – Part II

Welcome back to the 2018 Sammy Awards as we continue our fond farewell to the past year. After some amusing observations from host Michael McIntyre it’s time to move forward with the show.

 

 

 

 

 

The Sammy Awards doesn’t shy away from controversy, and we tend to lean in a rebellious direction. So to present our next award please welcome two of the more successful actors in Hollywood. First, he’s a two time Academy Award winner and has come out as gay, although that may have possibly been a weak PR attempt to divert attention from “sexual misconduct” allegations (for which he was fired from his successful TV show House of Cards). Please give a pensive & slightly confused round of polite applause to Kevin Spacey!! Joining him is a young man who has starred in about a dozen lightly regarded & easily forgotten alleged comedies in the past few years. He was all set to host this year’s Academy Awards until politically incorrect jokes that he tweeted several years ago were suddenly discovered by ill-humored old curmudgeons who compelled him to quit. Give a warm welcome to Kevin Hart!! And the nominees are:

 

 

The Twitter Award for Most Interesting Water Cooler Topic

 

Tide Pods

I love Tide Pods…to do my laundry. But in 2018 some folks had a different idea & decided they’d make a good snack. Stupid people are the best job security doctors will ever have.

 

Stormy Daniels

She’s a stripper & a porn star, and apparently she got busy with Donald Trump many years before he ran for President. Those of us with critical thinking skills couldn’t possibly care less, but the media has made Ms. Daniels famous. No one is saying Trump is a saint, but that’s not really breaking news. Everyone knew about his shortcomings from Day 1, and the vast majority of folks outside of the heathen strongholds of New York, California, & Chicago decided he was still a better choice than Hillary Clinton. But kudos to Ms. Daniels for making the most of her 15 minutes.

 

Roseanne Barr

I was never a fan of Barr or her eponymous 90’s sitcom. The reboot of that show didn’t interest me in the least, despite her “coming out” as a Trump supporter. The reboot did monster ratings, but ABC cancelled it in a fit of self-righteous rage after Barr tweeted a comparison between Obama disciple Valerie Jarrett and a character from the recent Planet of the Apes films. The tweet was deemed racist, even though it clearly wasn’t meant to be. Jarrett actually does look eerily similar to the movie character. At any rate, ABC quickly realized their mistake and gave the show new life, albeit without Barr. The Conners has struggled in the ratings and will likely be cancelled, meaning no one in this unnecessary melodrama wins.

 

Mueller Investigation

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election almost as soon as the results were announced. Nearly two years later a handful of indictments & a few convictions have occurred, but as far as the election goes it seems like the best he can come up with is that the Russians may have posted some anti-Clinton propaganda on social media. Oh the horror!! If that kind of thing is deemed “interference” then perhaps all campaign advertisements & TV commercials should be banned. The simple truth is that The Establishment hates Trump and has conducted a witch hunt to destroy him since the day he became a legitimate threat to their power, and the sad part is that someday their plot just might work.

 

iHOB

Last summer people were legitimately stunned when restaurant chain IHOP announced they were changing their named to IHOB. Of course what many seemed to miss was that the restaurant was never actually going to change their name at all. It was simply a marketing campaign to promote a renovated lineup of burgers on their menu. About a month later the chain announced that they were “changing their name back” to IHOP, and still a lot of folks just didn’t get it.

 

Fleetwood Mac

Lineup changes & squabbles amongst bandmates are nothing new to music, so I suppose that it shouldn’t be a total shock that 70’s supergroup Fleetwood Mac recently tossed aside longtime guitarist Lindsey Buckingham after he’d been with the band for four decades. One would expect more mature behavior from 70 year olds.

 

Fortnite

I don’t know. It’s some sort of video game that the kids are into. I don’t care.

 

Bill Cosby

Cosby was nominated for this same award back in 2014, at which time it was stated that “nothing has been proven and it never will be because the things that allegedly occurred happened far enough in the past that statutes of limitations have all run out”. That was wrong, because in April 2018 he was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault and sentenced to 3-10 years in prison. What a sad fate for the 81 year old comic legend.

 

Water On Mars

Back in the summer researchers discovered a lake about 12 miles wide under the south polar ice cap on Mars. Previous research found possible signs of intermittent liquid water flowing on the Martian surface, but this is the first sign of a persistent body of water on the planet in the present day.

 

Papa John

John Schnatter, founder & CEO of the pizza giant, stepped down about a year ago after allegedly controversial comments made about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his poor handling of the infamous anthem protest. He then landed in hot water again last summer after using a racial slur in a conversation about the anthem protests. The truth?? Schnatter is a Republican & a Trump supporter, and the things he said wouldn’t have been that big of a deal if he wasn’t.

 

Yanny or Laurel??

Last May social media & other outlets were abuzz due to an audio recording in which a person heard a voice say either the word “Yanny” or the word “Laurel”. I heard “Laurel” clear as a bell, as did the majority of my friends & family, though there were exceptions. The whole thing is an auditory illusion, as both sounds are on the recording. Some people focus on the higher frequency & hear “Yanny”, while others zero in on the lower frequency of the word “Laurel”. At any rate, it was a frivolously fun bit of conversation for a day or two.

 

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

Roseanne Barr. Do I care that her show was cancelled? Not at all. Do I care about the fate of The Conners? Nope. However, I do believe it is sad how overly sensitive we’ve become in America. I think Barr should have been smarter, more aware of how tenuous her position was (given her “controversial” political opinions), & mindful of the fact that comedy has…unfortunately…been put under a politically correct microscope. I don’t consider what she tweeted to be the least bit offensive, and it actually has elements of truth, but one must understand how The Game is played in 21st century America. One must be ready to conform or suffer the consequences. Social media is a minefield, and the punishment can be swift & harsh…or even catch up to a person many years later. The rules are rather fluid.

 

 

 

To present our next award we are proud to introduce a young lad who became somewhat famous this past year after being discovered by talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. He is a YouTube sensation whose brutally honest videos critiquing odd recipes are absolutely hysterical. Jesus take the wheel…it’s Kalen Allen!! And the nominees are:

 

 

 

The DB Cooper Award (For the Person Who Most Needs to Disappear)

 

Don Lemon

Is there a bigger douchenozzle in the media than CNN’s Don Lemon?? Since he’s black AND gay he is beloved by leftists everywhere, but what strikes me is just how angry & bitter he seems. The man is 52 years old, has a great TV gig, & the world is his oyster. What’s his freakin’ problem?? Remember the days when the folks reporting the news were atleast pretty good at hiding their bias?? Those days are gone, and Lemon is the poster child for everything wrong with his profession.

 

Samantha Bee

Full disclosure…I’ve never watched an episode of Bee’s TBS show Full Frontal. However, I watch enough reruns of The Big Bang Theory on that channel to have seen multiple ads for the show, and I just don’t get it. Okay okay…I understand political humor and the fact that Jon Stewart made such shows cool, and I can be as snarky as anyone. I have no issue with any of that, even if I disagree with the views being expressed. But humor…like great music & good food…requires a certain dexterity & finesse. Bee’s brand of bombastic sarcasm seems to be turned up to 11 all the time, and I can’t imagine sitting thru thirty minutes of that is enjoyable for anybody. It’s the same issue that has ruined late night talk shows. You want to go after President Trump?? Okay, that’s fair. But full throttle?? Every day?? At some point the beatdown becomes tedious and people want to laugh at different jokes.

 

The Obamas

Most former Presidents & First Ladies fade away into the sunset, shunning the limelight & letting their successors do their thing, whether or not they agree politically. Not these two. They seize every opportunity to soak in the adulation that people still inexplicably shower upon them, and never miss a chance to criticize & undermine the current Administration. It’s disgusting.

 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

I cannot believe that the people of New York actually voted this imbecile into Congress. Let’s face it…there are two political parties, and depending on one’s education, background, lifestyle, etc. there are going to be some politicians that we agree with & some we don’t…but generally we can all concede the fact that the folks representing us in cities & states nationwide as well as those populating Washington DC are reasonably intelligent people regardless of philosophical differences. I’m not sure that’s the case with this one. She’s the youngest person ever voted into the United States Congress and it shows. She seemingly has a very tenuous grasp on economic reality, common sense, & critical thinking, and appears to have the maturity level of the drunken sorority babes that I used to chat up in bars at 1am twenty-five years ago. I’m not familiar with Ms. Cortez’s district or the circumstances that led folks there to believe for a single solitary second that she was a reasonably good choice, but it is difficult to fathom that they could’ve have had worse options.

 

Robert DeNiro

Not only did DeNiro stop making good movies over a decade ago, but now he fancies himself a political commentator & socioeconomic expert. The truth is that he’s just a foul-mouthed, washed up, angry has-been like so many of his Hollywood friends. Stay in your lane Bobby.

 

Omarosa Manigault-Newman

I don’t watch reality television, and that includes Trump’s old show The Apprentice. Apparently this woman was a controversial contestant on that program over a decade ago, and then she became a staffer on the Presidential campaign a few years back. After Trump won the election he hired her to be part of his staff at the White House, but she lasted less than a year before resigning or being forced out (depending on who you believe). Since her departure from The White House Omarosa has gone completely off the rails, publicly turning against her old boss, releasing tapes of private conversations, & writing a “tell-all” book that the President’s staff has said is basically a load of poppycock. I have always been amazed by how some reality TV “stars” are successful at remaining in the spotlight far longer than they deserve, and in this case President Trump has to share part of the blame for helping the woman retain a shred of relevance before she used his kindness against him for her own gain.

 

Oprah Winfrey

For a brief moment in 2018 there was actually a movement afoot to persuade Oprah to run for President in 2020. Please…give me a freakin’ break. She’d be ten times the nightmare Donald Trump has been at his very worst.

 

Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, & Jimmy Kimmel

I’m over the whole late night TV thing. Oh sure I get a bit nostalgic occasionally & miss the good ol’ days of Carson, Letterman, Leno, Snyder, Costas, & Ferguson. I might even tune into Fallon for 5 or 10 minutes once in awhile. But for the most part I have become quite comfortable spending time after the late local news reading a bit, watching a movie, playing a game on my phone, catching up on whatever I’ve DVRed, chillin’ with some tunes, or even going to sleep at a decent hour. And it’s all because of these guys. Sadly they are all young enough that they’ll probably be hosting their shows for another two or three decades, but it’d be nice if they’d all just disappear from television and be replaced by hosts who would return the format to its former glory and decide that being funny is more important than being a political hack.

 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I wish no ill will toward Justice Ginsburg. I hope she lives until she’s 150. But the fact is that, at 85 years old, she no longer has the mental capacity to sit on The Supreme Court. A Supreme Court justice should be one of the sharpest individuals with one of the keenest minds on the planet, and there are very few people that age that meet such criteria, no matter how brilliant they once were. I am a strict constructionist when it comes to The Constitution, so I hesitate to advocate for a mandatory retirement age or term limits for The Court, but one would hope that Justice Ginsburg will do the right thing sooner rather than later, despite what she may think about the current President or feel about his power to replace her with someone with whom she might not agree.

 

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

All of Them. Y’all know the drill by now. These people just need to shut their pieholes. Go away. Get out. Good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you.

 

 

 

 

 

To present our next award we are honored to welcome a big screen legend who began his career on television and has the perfect voice for radio. He is an Academy Award winning actor who has starred in classics like The Shawshank Redemption, Deep Impact, Now You See Me, Christoper Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, & Bruce Almighty. Let’s raise the roof for Morgan Freeman!! And the nominees are:

 

 

 

 

Favorite TV/Radio Program

 

This Is Us

After winning this award in its first two seasons I feel like This Is Us has kind of slacked off in its third year. Now that the mystery of how & when patriarch Jack Pearson met his demise is in the rear view mirror some of the luster has worn off for me. It’s still a well-written & performed program, but I must admit that I lost interest a few episodes into Season 3 and still need to do a bit of catching up before the show returns from its “winter break” this month.

 

Pardon the Interruption

Tony & Mike continue to represent curmudgeons & cantankerous old fogeys everywhere in the glut of sports debate programming. One or both are absent with some frequency, but “Fill In” Frank Isola has become a decent substitute.

 

The Young & the Restless

I’m really going to be interested to see the direction Y&R heads in during 2019, because this past year was a bit of a roller coaster. Too many new characters, too many familiar characters absent without explanation, and plots that drag on far too long are some of the key issues the show faced in 2018, although it was still entertaining enough for me to DVR on a daily basis and catch up on late at night at a time when I used to be watching talk shows that were once funny.

 

WV MetroNews Hotline

Dave Weekley is back!! The original host of West Virginia’s late afternoon statewide radio show returned in 2018, and he hasn’t missed a beat. The program is still a potpourri of sports, news, current events, entertainment, & whatever else one might deem interesting. I need to make more of an effort to catch the podcast this year…it’s not like I have anything else better to do.

 

Highly Questionable

The only other show on ESPN besides PTI that is worthy of space on my DVR. Dan, Papi, & a rogue’s gallery of co-hosts offer intermittently biting, mostly irreverent, & always entertaining commentary on hot sports topics, and they throw in the occasional goofy video of random people doing something completely stupid. It’s a great formula with the right personalities.

 

General Hospital

I love my DVR, and one of the few shows that I record on a daily basis is GH. A big reason that I have been unable to pull the trigger on giving up my soap operas completely is because GH is still such a well-written & entertaining program with solid performances & compelling stories.

 

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…..

 

 

Highly Questionable. This might be considered somewhat of an upset, but amongst the competition HQ has become the most consistently entertaining program on a daily basis. I think what I like best is that it is a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The problem with ESPN the past several years is that so many of its reporters & hosts want to make sports more important than it really is. I love sports. Football, baseball, basketball, golf, & all the rest of it has been an essential part of my life, but at the end of the day it’s a game…frivolous fun designed as a distraction from the rigors of real life. Dan, Papi, & their revolving door of itinerant co-hosts understand that. They are comfortable with their relatively low spot on the television totem pole and have fun with it rather than try to convince the masses that the next thirty minutes will be life changing. I respect that, and more importantly, I laugh almost every single day at a goofy video shown on HQ or the hosts’ reaction to it. Shouldn’t that be the goal of a good TV show??

 

 

 

 

 

This seems like the appropriate place to take another break. Please join us soon for the exciting conclusion of the 2018 Sammy Awards!!

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 5.18

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

 

 

 

 

I don’t necessarily have a dog in the fight on this whole Roseanne Barr situation. I never watched the original incarnation of her sitcom, and wasn’t the least bit interested in the reboot. Her sense of humor just isn’t my cup o’ tea, and I was bemused by the support the new show received from my conservative friends. Roseanne Barr isn’t conservative…but of course I suppose the same thing can be said about President Trump, who has been all over the political map in his lifetime. I voted for Trump a) because I thought he was a better choice than Hillary Clinton, b) I’m all for “draining the swamp” and trying something new instead of the same ol’ out-of-touch politicians who aren’t the least bit interested in actually accomplishing anything meaningful, & c) I knew the hissy fit from the leftist elite in Hollywood, the media, & elsewhere would be delightfully entertaining. Having said all of that, it is undeniable that both manifestations of Roseanne were critically acclaimed & wildly popular, making ABC’s sudden decision to cancel based on a tweet from the titular star quite stunning. The cancellation doesn’t affect my life one way or another, but I am fascinated by the hypocrisy. Truly vile things are said daily on ABC’s daytime talk show The View, and that network’s own Jimmy Kimmel has been a huge contributor to making late night television unwatchable…but that’s okay because their politics toe the company line. In its statement about cancelling Roseanne ABC spouted off some kind of poppycock about her Twitter remarks not being consistent with their values. ABC & ESPN are both owned by Disney, and anyone who has been paying attention knows what those values are. The quick trigger finger displayed in this particular execution indicates that the powers-that-be were just looking for an excuse to cancel the show, just like the reasons given a year ago for axing Tim Allen’s conservative leaning sitcom Last Man Standing were weak at best. Another network probably won’t resuscitate Roseanne like they did Last Man Standing…especially since some of Roseanne Barr’s castmates have already thrown her under the bus…and I honestly couldn’t care less. I just think it’s sad that we’ve come to a point that everyone is so damn sensitive & phony.

 

 

Good information…..

 

 

What is the difference between a cookout, picnic, & barbeque?? Most of us use the terms interchangeably, but they do vary slightly. A picnic is a meal prepared or assembled in one place and enjoyed somewhere else…typically outdoors. Heck, sometimes one doesn’t even prepare the food themselves. Just hit the grocery store for some potato salad, baked beans, cole slaw, watermelon, & cold drinks, make a quick stop at KFC for a bucket of fried chicken, then head outside to your favorite spot…BOOM…picnic. Conversely, at a cookout the food is prepared on the spot and eaten right away. A cookout involves any kind of food that is cooked on a grill…burgers, hot dogs, chicken, veggies, steak, fish. It’s all good. A barbeque has a more narrow focus on food that is slow cooked…ribs, brisket, a whole pig or deer. At a picnic you’ll consume previously prepared chicken. At a cookout you might eat chicken breasts that have been grilled for 5 or 10 minutes. At a BBQ there’ll be a whole chicken that’s been smoked or roasted for hours.

 

 

 

Call it…validation…..

A couple of years ago I made a quiet promise to myself to refrain from sociopolitical “debates” on social media. It took me awhile to get the hang of it and for a time I still found myself engaging on occasion, with such “discussions” leaving me with nothing but elevated blood pressure & increased disdain for the human condition. However, this year I’ve been quite proud of myself, having passed on numerous opportunities to jump into the fray, and on the rare occasions when I do comment I keep my thoughts abbreviated & respectful. Last year…when I was still intermittently falling off the proverbial wagon…I “unfriended” & blocked someone who’d been a friend for over two decades. I realize that some may think of such an action as immature or silly, but for me it was a healthy choice. Unbeknownst to my old friend I unblocked him quite some time ago, and his privacy settings are such that I am able to lurk or troll. I recently ran across a lengthy thread on his page that confirmed to me that I had done the right thing. What this person does is purposely post inflammatory thoughts & opinions then sit back and enjoy the show. Inevitably there is atleast a person or two unable to stay within the lines of courteous & intelligent conversation, and that’s when the name calling, foul language, & even threats begin. And then my friend has the unmitigated gall to make a weak attempt at being the even-tempered, “can’t we all just get along” Voice of Reason. It’s a sick game that he’s been playing for years, deriving vile pleasure from all the attention he is receiving & the trouble he has stirred up, all the while trying to present himself as blameless & innocent. I look back at all the times that I fell into the trap, the instances when I was among those acting crazy & saying nasty things in the midst of the fray, and I am deeply ashamed. A person has the right to post what they want (within legal & decent parameters) on social media. That’s freedom of speech. That being said, others can choose if or how to react, and personally I have become more inclined to just keep scrolling. Your mileage may vary.

 

 

And that’s all I have to say about that.

 

 

Speaking of phony…..

I mentioned awhile back that I thought the “veracity of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement(s)” were “almost mortally wounded” after a really stupid story about comedian Aziz Ansari. And now surely the death knell has to be sounded after a provably false accusation was made against legendary actor Morgan Freeman by an insipidly idiotic “reporter” on CNN. Here’s a tip ladies: if you’re going to slander someone…especially a person who is respected & revered by millions…you might want to make sure there aren’t any video cameras around. I’ve thought almost from the beginning that for every legit claim of “sexual misconduct” there were probably five more that were absolute nonsense, but of course most of the accusations have been from many years ago and had no witnesses one way or another, so far too many people fell into the trap of just believing the allegations of a “poor innocent victim”, and thus careers have been destroyed. Billy Joel once sang “she’ll carelessly cut you and laugh while you’re bleeding”, while Ricky Nelson crooned “she’d play around and tease me with her carefree devil eyes…she’d hold me close and kiss me but her heart was full of lies”. Men are finally getting fed up with the garbage being hurled at them by women. Pack a lunch ladies…it’s on like Donkey Kong!! I hope Freeman sues CNN into oblivion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winning & Musing…Volume 2.18

Finally…Spring has sprung here in The Mountain State!! It’s been 80+ degrees the past couple of days, with plentiful sunshine. However, as happy as that makes me I must temper my enthusiasm since preliminary indications are that next week will begin with a “wintry mix”. I am exercising similar caution with the sports calendar because, while some things are pointed in the right direction it is far too early for a victory lap. Let’s discuss.

 

 

 

As per usual I haven’t paid all that much attention to the NBA season. Actually I’ve probably been even less invested than usual (if that’s possible) for reasons I have covered previously. However, that all changes with the start of the playoffs, which look like this in the Eastern Conference:

Toronto Raptors                    vs.     Washington Wizards

Boston Celtics              vs.     Milwaukee Bucks

Philadelphia 76ers      vs.     Miami Heat

Cleveland Cavaliers    vs.     Indiana Pacers

Ideally we would see either the Celtics or 76ers emerge to represent their conference in the NBA Finals. All eyes will be on a Raptors-Cavs second round series if/when it happens, and I must admit that, as patriotic as I tend to be (USA!! USA!!) I am more than sick of Lebron James. He is NOT better than Michael Jordan, and some of the things he has said off the court have revealed the kind of person he really is, which isn’t positive. When one lives by the sword one dies by the sword, and since the NBA has spent decades marketing individual personalities over teams they shouldn’t be surprised that many fans react negatively when some personalities are pompous, self-righteous, & tediously egotistical. Which brings me to the Western Conference:

Houston Rockets                  vs.     Minnesota Timberwolves

Golden State Warriors         vs.     San Antonio Spurs

Portland Trail Blazers           vs.     New Orleans Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder       vs.     Utah Jazz

I am beyond thrilled that the Warriors & Spurs play each other in Round 1, because that means that one of the world’s biggest blowhard coaches will be eliminated quickly (hopefully either Portland or New Orleans will take out the remaining trash in the second round). I’d be fine with the Rockets making it to the NBA Finals, although I think the Pelicans could be a sleeper. A Philly-N’awleans Finals would be fresh & intriguing, wouldn’t it??

 

 

Congratulations to the Villanova Wildcats for winning their second National Championship in the past three seasons. The 2018 edition of March Madness will mostly be remembered for the impressive run to The Final Four of the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers, with their Gryffindor scarves and elderly nun Sister Jean, and for the history making 16th seed UMBC Retrievers’ huge upset of #1 Virginia, something that had never happened before. However, though there had been numerous teams atop the polls throughout the season and no dominant force emerged as a clear favorite to cut down the nets, hindsight is 20/20 and Villanova was always lurking near the top and seemed to be the most consistent program thru the season.

 

 

Sunday at The Masters was delightful fun as usual. Though Tiger Woods & my man Phil Mickelson made the cut and played on the weekend they were never legit factors, but luckily for fans & the folks at CBS guys like Rory McIlroy & Rickie Fowler were entertaining, and Jordan Spieth’s -8 final round of 64 was fantastic even if it came up a bit short. Initially I had no issue with winner Patrick Reed, but post-victory stories have emerged that paint him in a rather negative light. Apparently he hasn’t spoken to his own family for several years because they disapproved of his marriage. I’m not married, but I cannot imagine ever choosing a woman over my parents or sibling. From what I’ve read the family seems conciliatory and willing to resume a relationship with Reed, but he (and his wife) aren’t interested. That’s pretty sad in my humble opinion.

 

 

The NHL Playoffs are underway, but y’all know my tepid feelings about hockey. If my Pittsburgh Penguins make it thru the first couple of rounds perhaps I’ll become interested. Somebody keep me posted.

 

 

 

I know I know…pro wrestling isn’t a “real” sport. I get it, but indulge me. My neighbor & I watched last weekend’s WrestleMania 34 event, and it was an enjoyable evening. The “mainstream” media was all over former MMA champion Ronda Rousey’s participation now that she has officially segued into a career in the WWE, and I’ll give credit where it is due…Rousey looked good in the ring. She still needs a lot of work doing promos, and the powers-that-be should keep her as far away from interviews with outlets like ESPN as they possibly can since they’ve proven to be bizarrely detrimental, but inside those ropes she acquitted herself nicely on absolutely the biggest stage she has ever been on in her entire career. People like to make fun of “wrasslin’”, but there were 78k in the Superdome, and millions watching on PPV or the WWE Network. As popular as MMA might be it can’t match those numbers. I was happy that Rousey’s mixed tag didn’t get a main event spot (Lawrence Taylor once main evented a WrestleMania, which was a slap in the face to full time wrestlers) and was instead on the mid-card where it deserved to be. Overall it was a well-constructed show and a great way to spend a Sunday evening.

 

 

I’m not emotionally invested in baseball quite yet, but I’ll get there. I think it’s hilarious that games have already been cancelled because of snow. Several years ago I proposed a plan for a shorter baseball season…maybe it’s time to take such suggestions seriously.

 

 

I’d been watching…off & on…ESPN’s Golic & Wingo on weekday mornings the past few months, but lately have given a fair opportunity to the brand new Get Up, starring Mike Greenberg, Michelle Beadle, & Jalen Rose, to wow me. Neither show is horrible. Golic & Wingo is predictably chill, while Get Up isn’t as obnoxious as it had the potential to be. Having said that, both are like buying overpriced but watered down drinks at a bar. Greeny & Golic specifically aren’t nearly as entertaining as they were while together on Mike & Mike. Neither mix is necessarily bad now, but the new shows are lacking…something. I stated awhile back that the late night shows no longer interest me and I am more likely to turn my television off at 11:30pm now than watch any of the garbage spewed forth by Kimmel, Colbert, et al. And now I no longer turn on my TV first thing in the morning to check out what Greeny or Golic have to say about sports. It wasn’t broke, but ESPN decided to “fix it” anyway. Way to go morons.

The 2017 Sammy Awards – Part 2

Welcome back to the 2017 Sammy Awards. If you missed Part 1 of the show please take a few moments to go back & catch up. We’ll be right here waiting patiently for your return, and then we will continue taking a fun look back at the previous year.

 

 

 

After a few brief comments from our host Andy Cohen it’s time for our next award. Please give a warm welcome to a 70 year old man who still thinks an app is something one eats before the main meal. He’s a legendary comedian and star of films like The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, & City Slickers, as well as the nine time host of The Academy Awards and a former host of The Sammys. The man is a national treasure, and we are happy to welcome back Billy Crystal!! And the nominees are:

 

 

 

App of the Year

 

Words with Friends

Basically it is Scrabble, and I’ve always loved Scrabble. I’m all about word games rather than shooting/war type games. I almost always have three or four games going, and though my record isn’t as good as I’d prefer I enjoy it tremendously.

 

Pinterest

I always thought Pinterest was something thru which women traded recipes, but I was wrong. There are tons of “pins” available on a plethora of subjects…almost anything you can imagine (books, food, history, religion, humor, & a bunch of others). I’m not sure about how much people actually get out of the whole thing since it’s pretty easy to scroll thru stuff, pin something to one of your “boards”, and then move on. That describes my process anyway…others may actually take time to go back and study what they’ve saved. Pinterest atleast has the potential to be useful, and it’s pretty user friendly, which are two great qualities in an app.

 

HQ Trivia

HQ is the new kid on the block, and it’s a bit different than other games one might play on a smartphone. HQ is a live game show that offers its players the opportunity to win real cash. The game is played twice daily…3pm & 9pm EST, and is usually hosted by the self-proclaimed Quizz Daddy, Semitic Sajak, Woke Woolery, & Regis Trill-bin…comedian Scott Rogowsky, who refers to the audience as HQ-ties and seems familiar to me for some reason. There are twelve questions of increasing difficulty, and the prize is generally $1000-1500, which sounds awesome until you realize that there are a couple hundred thousand people playing, which means that even if you win the payout might not even be enough to buy a popcorn & soda to snack on during a matinee. Plus, you only have a very rapid ten seconds to choose the correct multiple choice answer, and the questions are pretty tricky. I love trivia and feel like I’m reasonably intelligent, but I don’t think I’ve gotten past Q6 or 7. HQ & I are on a break right now because the game is rather wonky, with noticeable lag time and occasional crashes. I became dismayed when I answered a question correctly but was nevertheless disqualified, so the app was deleted from my phone in a fit of irritation, but I kind of miss it and will resume playing soon.

 

Word Cookies

In my world there’s not a much better combination than food & word games. The App Store describes Word Cookies as “a fun & exciting word puzzle game” in which the object is to “find hidden words” with the benefit that it will “improve vocabulary, concentration, & spelling skills.” It’s a modern spinoff of Boggle, and you aren’t playing against anyone but yourself. I can amuse myself for hours with Word Cookies, though what usually happens is that I play for a few minutes at a time at halftime of the game or during commercial breaks if I’m watching television.

 

 

 

And the Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

Word Cookies. One of the reasons I’ve always enjoyed watching the game show Jeopardy! is that I feel like I might have learned a thing or two in that half hour. I’m not sure that Word Cookies improves vocabulary since most of the words you find are rather short & very basic, but I’m on board with the spelling & concentration benefits. It’d be unfair to call it mindless fun. However, it doesn’t feel like there’s unnecessary effort involved…I actually find playing it very soothing. Word Cookies is exactly the sort of time waster that’s not a complete waste of time that all phone apps should aspire to be.

 

 

Before we continue with the awards we have time for another exciting musical interlude. We are turnt to welcome to the stage a five time Grammy winner who has raised the roof during two Super Bowl halftime shows. Get up on your feet and show some love for Bruno Mars!!

 

 

 

That was da bomb diggity!!  Thank you Bruno!!

 

Presenting our next award is a highly regarded comedian and occasional actor who has been known to go off the grid for long periods of time. But now he’s back with two brand new comedy specials on Netflix, which we are contractually obligated to mention as recompense for his appearance on this show. Please give a warm welcome to the allegedly funny Dave Chappelle!! And the nominees are:

 

 

The DB Cooper Award (For the Person Who Most Needs to Disappear)

 

Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, & Seth Meyers

It wasn’t that long ago when I adored late night television. There was nothing better than winding down after a long day with some funny jokes, amusing comedy bits, & vapid celebrity interviews. But things steadily began to change a few years ago. Letterman started going political, but I was willing to overlook it because he was a lifelong institution. And then he retired. After that the incomparable Craig Ferguson left the late night arena and was replaced with James Corden, who just doesn’t cut it. Letterman was replaced by Stephen Colbert, while Jimmy Fallon had been replaced at 12:30 with SNL alum Seth Meyers when Fallon took over The Tonight Show. Jimmy Kimmel has been hosting his show since 2003 and had been reasonably amusing. He was growing on me. And then Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. Colbert’s show was straight up political propaganda from Day 1, which is why I’ve rarely watched. It didn’t take Meyers long to become a liberal hack, on occasion campaigning in such a way that one knows that he isn’t even trying to be funny. It’s like watching CNN or MSNBC. In 2017 Kimmel went completely off the rails, using his show to expound on issues like health care & gun control, complete with crocodile tears. Look, I’m sorry that his baby was born with a heart defect and sincerely hope the boy will be okay, but I don’t watch late night comedy shows for political discourse. If I’m in that kind of mood I’ll tune into one of the 24 hour news channels. Fallon was the last holdout…until Monday August 14, 2017. Following the tragic events in Charlottesville, VA The Tonight Show did a cold open in which Fallon went all in on the divisive rhetoric that has infested our nation. I haven’t watched his show since, and I don’t foresee that changing in 2018. These men killed late night TV with their sociopolitical agenda, and Johnny Carson must be doing somersaults in his grave.

 

The Ball Family

I’m sure Lonzo Ball is a talented enough basketball player, otherwise the Los Angeles Lakers wouldn’t have selected him with the #2 overall pick in the NBA Draft. But is he transcendent?? Is he on the same level with Magic, Bird, & Jordan?? Is he as good as Kobe, Lebron, & Durant?? I don’t believe he is, and if he’s not then is he worth the hassle since the entire family is a cancer?? Younger brothers LiAngelo & LaMelo have already been banished to Lithuania. LiAngelo was arrested back in November when he was a freshman for UCLA after shoplifting in China. He’d still be rotting in jail there if President Trump hadn’t bailed him out. LaMelo is only 16 years old but has already dropped out of school to play pro ball in Lithuania, and last summer used the “N Word” during an appearance on WWE Raw, although since he used the “street” version of the word ending in “a” instead of “er” perhaps it was socially acceptable. Who knows the rules nowadays?? And of course the patriarch of this clown show is LaVar Ball, a man that makes Darth Vader look like Father of the Year. It baffles me that outlets like ESPN continue to give that man any sort of coverage.

 

Bill Nye The Science Guy

Not only does this “scientist” think anyone who doesn’t buy the climate change hype should be put in jail, but a few months ago he produced a bizarre video promoting the transgender agenda, saying that “sexuality is a spectrum and everyone is on it”. The truth is that Nye has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, making him less of a “science guy” than Star Trek’s fictional Mr. Spock.

 

Steve Kerr & Gregg Popovich

Not only are actors & talk show hosts doing it, but now NBA coaches feel the need to contribute their wisdom to the political discourse. The issue I have with these people is that a) their fanbase consists of people of varied ideologies, so it makes zero sense to alienate a big chunk of them, & b) their opinions are full of ignorance. Kerr, the coach of the Golden State Warriors, and Popovich, longtime coach of the San Antonio Spurs, clearly think they’re smarter than the average bear and enjoy lecturing those they feel are beneath them. Here’s the thing…both coaches are actually good at what they do for a living, and their teams will be amongst the heavily favored title contenders, but unfortunately I and many others will be rooting against them because they refused to keep their big mouths shut.

 

Maxine Waters & Sheila Jackson Lee

Waters has been representing California in Congress since 1991. Lee has been representing Texas in Congress since 1995. My question is…how?? Lee once said “I am a queen, and I demand to be treated like a queen”, and complained that hurricane names were “too lily white”, opining that “all racial groups should be represented” while suggesting future natural disaster names like Keisha, Jamal, & Deshawn. Waters has plainly stated that “this liberal would be about socializing, basically taking over and the government running all of your companies”, a disturbing idea to say the least. She also called the 1992 race riots in Los Angeles “somewhat understandable”, and said that “calling it a riot sounds like it was just a bunch of crazy people who went out and did bad things for no reason…so I call it a rebellion”. These are just a few examples of the stupidity these two have exhibited. It seems like every time they’re in front of a microphone they say something that makes one legitimately question their sanity. Look, folks can elect who they want, but come on California & Texas…I’m pretty sure you can do better.

 

Commissioner Fidel Goodell

Roger Goodell became NFL Commissioner in 2006. In the ensuing decade+ we’ve seen his “personal conduct policy” issue a plethora of random fines & suspensions for off field issues, which is kind of like your boss holding you accountable for what you do with your free time off the clock. On the field the game has become a shell of itself, with what used to be perfectly legitimate tackles now resulting in penalties and even more fines & suspensions, and instant replay becoming an albatross that has redefined what used to be the fairly simple process of catching a football. Goodell has bungled things like DeflateGate and the Ray Rice investigation, among other things. In 2017 he lost total control of the league as a bunch of spoiled rich thugs decided that they hate the country that has given them the freedom & opportunity to make a fantastic living using their God given athletic skills. It is simply time for Goodell to go. He has become the story, and the league commissioner should never command that kind of spotlight.

 

The Hollywood Elite

I love television & movies. I always have & always will. But good Lord do they make it difficult. I’ve been aware for many years that morality is in short supply in Tinseltown and made my peace with it, but in 2017 the hypocrisy became too much to overlook. They lecture the masses about gun control while making a ton of violent movies and having armed security protect them at all times. They whine & cry about equality & respect for women, and then we find out that sexual harassment has been rampant in their “community” for decades. They promote the “LGBTQ” agenda while being totally dismissive of anyone who might believe in a book you may have heard of called The Bible. They allegedly stand up for the little guy, but live a life of opulence so out of touch with those in flyover country that it’d be laughable if it weren’t so pathetic. They make speeches about environmentalism & climate change but then hop on their private jets to go home to their mansions, in the process making a larger “carbon footprint” than any ten people. They want you & I to give up our rights & live without modern conveniences while they enjoy the high life and sacrifice nothing. They believe that we should open up the floodgates and welcome all kinds of criminals & miscreants from all over the world into our nation, but rest assured none of them would let a family of refugees sleep in one of their spare bedrooms. And then Donald Trump happened, and the entire Hollywood community has had a yearlong hissy fit that I assume will continue into the foreseeable future. Just like pro athletes that have expressed their strong opinions in the past twelve months these actors, actresses, directors, producers, etc. have every right to their beliefs, but given their hypocrisy and lack of ethics we have the right to not give a damn what they think.

 

 

 

 

And the Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

All of them!! Y’all know the drill by now. These people just need to shut their pieholes. Go away. Get out. Good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you.

 

 

 

To present our next award it is our pleasure to introduce two of our favorite performers. She is the star of films like Mean Girls, Wedding Crashers, & The Family Stone, while he is an SNL alum who has hosted talk shows, been in a few movies, and has had a long & successful career as a stand-up comedian. Please welcome Rachel McAdams & Dennis Miller!! And the nominees are:

 

 

 

Most Entertaining Program (Radio or TV)

 

The Big Bang Theory

Is it showing its age after eleven seasons?? Yes. But is it still a well-written & funny show?? Absolutely. It’s odd to think that we’ve now spent over a decade watching this group of characters and all of their zany adventures.

 

The Young and the Restless

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but a year ago I did seriously ponder giving up my soap operas. Alas, I just can’t quit Y&R. My father watches it too, which makes me chuckle. The writing isn’t always as tight as I’d prefer, but the performances are mostly outstanding given the material with which the actors are working.

 

Designated Survivor

I knew when Designated Survivor premiered that it might have a limited shelf life. Once the initial mystery that was the entire foundation of the show was unraveled it had no choice but to morph into a 24/West Wing hybrid in which there’s a different crisis to resolve each week. That’s not necessarily bad, but it’s not as compelling as the original premise. I began to lose interest early on in the current second season and actually need to go back and stream the episodes I’ve missed.

 

MetroNews Hotline

From 3-6pm each weekday afternoon here in WV we have the opportunity to listen to a statewide radio talk show that covers everything from current events & sports to pop culture & the financial markets. It’s comfort food radio, which in my book is a great thing. A year ago the original host stepped down to pursue other opportunities, but the new guy has grown on me. I don’t listen to all three hours every day, but if I happen to be in my truck when the program is on I’ll usually listen. God knows it’s better than the garbage the music stations are playing.

 

WWE Raw

Monday night is still wrestling night in The Manoverse. Sometimes I’ll flip back & forth to the Monday night game during football season, but generally I am all about my wrasslin’ for a few hours, although these days I actually doze off occasionally, mostly because my internal clock is jacked up for various reasons. WWE has made a concerted effort to become more family friendly in recent years, which is a blessing & a curse. Pro wrestling has always had its ebbs & tides, and right now seems to be a bit of a lull. Still though, there are weeks when it’s really fun to be a wrestling fan.

 

Highly Questionable

Dan LeBatard & his Papi (along with whoever is co-hosting) have slowly risen up to become my favorite ESPN talk show. If I’m home I’ll watch, and if I’m not going to be home I utilize the DVR. It’s irreverant, occasionally silly, sometimes informative, & always easily palatable.

 

General Hospital

I can’t seem to quit GH either. I’ve been watching since grade school. There are certainly better things I could be spending time on, but I suppose there are worse things as well.

 

The Rush Limbaugh Program

El Rushbo is still going strong after three decades on the radio. I’m not as into politics as I once was and don’t listen often, but always enjoy the show when I do. I understand that he doesn’t frost everyone’s cupcake, and that’s alright. It’s rather amusing to me that two decades ago he was thought to be so provocative, but these days, amongst the plethora of contentious sociopolitical rhetoric from so many media outlets, Rush Limbaugh has actually morphed into the “harmless loveable fuzzball” that he has always proclaimed himself to be.

 

Jeopardy!

Some may disagree, but I contend that Jeopardy! is the best game show of all time. It actually rewards people for being intelligent, and really, who could have an issue with that??

 

This Is Us

Entertainment Weekly calls This Is Us “a refreshing respite from the relational violence and pessimism that marks other buzz soaps that have bubbled forth from a culture of divisiveness”. In other words, it’s not about violence, sex, or a social agenda. The show is an old-fashioned family drama with a unique twist that is particularly well-written & performed.

 

Pardon the Interruption

In contrast to its ESPN brethren Highly Questionable, PTI is proudly & audaciously cantankerous. Hosts Tony Kornheiser & Michael Wilbon like to shout at each other for no apparent reason, but it kind of works. It’s appointment TV for me, and I usually record it if I’m not going to be home. Every once in a great while Tony & Mike will go political (Wilbon loves to talk about “plantation mentality”), and sometimes I have to change the channel. However, thankfully that doesn’t happen too often so I’m willing to overlook it.

 

 

 

And the Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

This Is Us. I rarely get excited about anything on television anymore. Perhaps that is indicative of age, maturity, & refined taste. Or maybe it’s just that Hollywood truly has gone to hell and rarely produces anything worth one’s time & effort. This Is Us is an exception. To call it a home run somehow feels inadequate. The cast is top notch, and the writing is unrivaled.

 

 

Our next award is a very special honor for a long time presence on our show. To make the presentation please welcome comedian & master impressionist Frank Caliendo!!

 

 

 

The Duffer-Herrell Lifetime Achievement Award

 

Mike & Mike in the Morning

November 17, 2017 was a gloomy day for sports fans. For 17 years many had spent atleast part of their weekday mornings with former NFL defensive lineman Mike Golic and nerdy sportscaster Mike Greenberg, as well as an immensely deep roster of in-studio & call-in guests. It began as a radio show and at its heart remained so, but from fairly early on in its run was simulcast on ESPN2. I was a little late to the Mike & Mike party, first becoming aware of it somewhere between 2006 & 2008 (my memory is a little fuzzy), but quickly became hooked. I’ve heaped plenty of praise on the program over the years, and offered some constructive criticism as well. Rumors of its demise began as far back as two or three years ago, but this past spring it became official. Whether it was ESPN’s decision to break up the duo and attempt to double their success with two shows instead of one, or Greeny felt compelled to spread his wings and do something different is unknown to the masses. Perhaps the truth is a concoction of those and other reasons. Greeny & Golic publicly put to rest any rumors of a rift between the two of them, and unless they are gifted actors on par with Al Pacino & Tom Hanks I have no reason to doubt that claim. I think they were more upset about how the situation was handled, which isn’t surprising given how poorly ESPN has dealt with various other matters recently. At any rate, Mike & Mike was nominated for six Sammys over the years, winning four straight at one point. I believe I once called it “comfort food television”, because watching two guys discuss sports (with a healthy dose of pop culture & general merriment on occasion) for four hours was a fantastic way to begin the morning. Golic is now doing essentially the same show with Trey Wingo, while Greeny will be getting a TV only program called Get Up beginning in April with co-hosts Michelle Beadle & Jalen Rose. I like Golic & Wingo just fine, though it is…thus far…a tepid reproduction of Mike & Mike, while I’m not at all excited about Get Up since neither Beadle nor Rose frost my cupcake. It’s all about chemistry, and Mike & Mike was lightning in a bottle. Greeny & Golic complemented one another spectacularly. There were times when the first thing I did when I woke up or returned home from my midnight shift was turn on Mike & Mike to get their take on the latest sports news. Since it ended a couple of months ago my television now usually stays off until much later in the morning. Kudos to all involved for creating great memories and producing something entertaining & informative enough to spend time on at 6am. Mike & Mike is greatly missed, and I feel like ESPN made a huge mistake.

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s take another break. Stay tuned for the sensational conclusion of the 2017 Sammy Awards…coming soon!!