This exercise is always fraught with a variety of pitfalls & unknown wildcards. Coaching changes. Players sitting out to “prepare for the NFL Draft”. Injuries. Teams that are disappointed with their season. And now we can add the freakin’ transfer portal to all of that. A slew of players have already entered into the portal, which obviously changes team chemistry & depth. It is unusual for a star player to go elsewhere, but football fans know how valuable that extra receiver, offensive lineman, or cornerback can become, so it’s certainly a factor. All of these things are why we don’t pay attention to point spreads or take these picks too seriously at all. Instead, we choose to sit back, relax, and simply enjoy a month long football feast. As always, I discourage wagering since we have no idea what we’re talking about with most of these games, but you do you. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, & Buon Natale. 

FRI. 12/16

Bahamas Bowl
Miami (OH) vs. Alabama-Birmingham 

I love the fact that two very average teams from two second rate conferences get a trip to The Bahamas as a reward for their mediocrity. God bless those kids. However, just in case the lads begin to get a little cocky, the fact that they’re kicking off at 11:30am on a Friday should bring them back down to Earth. I’ve got to pull for Miami simply because it’s the alma mater of my man Ben Roethlisberger. Conversely, though he believes the teams are evenly matched, Zach likes UAB’s ground game to pound out a victory. 

My Pick: Miami (OH)

Zach’s Pick: UAB

Cure Bowl
Troy vs. UTSA
3pm/ESPN – Orlando, FL

The 11-2 Trojans are the Sun Belt Champions, while the 11-2 Roadrunners rule C-USA. There’s a chance it could be a sneaky good game, but I think Troy is the better team. Zach foresees a shootout, but thinks it’ll be UTSA quarterback Frank Harris who makes the difference.

My Pick: Troy

Zach’s Pick: UTSA

Sat. 12/17

Fenway Bowl
Cincinnati vs. Louisville
11am/ESPN – Boston, MA

This is a weird one because former Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield was just hired to be the new coach at Cincinnati. Odd. Anyway, the 9-3 Bearcats finished third in the AAC, a far cry from a season ago when they faced off against Alabama in The Playoff. Meanwhile, the Cardinals were a solid 7-5 in the ACC and just welcomed former quarterback Jeff Brohm home as their new head coach. Brohm left Purdue for the job, which seems like a step down, but perhaps he knows something we don’t. Anyway, these new coaches won’t be on the sidelines until next season, so I’m not sure what that means for the bowl game. Cincy isn’t the team they were last year, but I think they’ll channel some of that old mojo and snag a victory. Zach concurs.

My Pick: Cincinnati 

Zach’s Pick: Cincinnati 

Celebration Bowl
Jackson State vs. North Carolina Central
Noon/ABC – Atlanta, GA

The Tigers have received plenty of attention the past few years thanks to soon-to-be former head coach Deion Sanders. Despite being named the new head coach at Colorado Coach Prime will lead Jackson in the bowl game, and he deserves kudos for that. Jackson is actually undefeated, which many of y’all might not know. The Eagles are 9-2, so let’s not overlook their achievements. That being said, I can’t imagine Prime Time going out a loser. Who knows what may lie ahead in Boulder, but in this situation Sanders gets his proper farewell. Zach agrees.

My Pick:  Jackson St.

Zach’s Pick: Jackson St.

New Mexico Bowl
2:15pm/ESPN – Albuquerque, NM

The 7-5 Cougars certainly didn’t live up to my expectations, but there were some highlights. A double OT win over Baylor in September had everyone dreaming big, as did a narrow win on the blue turf at Boise. Unfortunately going 0 for October doomed any Top 10 dreams. The Mustangs have an identical 7-5 record, with a tough out of conference slate not turning out well for them. I’ll be surprised if BYU doesn’t roll big in this one, but that belief is based on very little. Zach thinks BYU is the more physical team. 

My Pick: BYU

Zach’s Pick: BYU

LA Bowl
Washington State vs. Fresno State
3:30pm/ABC – Los Angeles, CA

I assume that whenever a Mountain West team gets a shot against a PAC 12 opponent it’s a big deal. So can the 9-4 Bulldogs hang with the 7-5 Cougars?? I think they can for awhile, but depth means a lot in the 4th quarter. Zach believes in Fresno’s defense. 

My Pick: Washington St.

Zach’s Pick: Fresno St.

LendingTree Bowl
Rice vs. Southern Mississippi
5:45pm/ESPN – Mobile, AL

Am I missing something when it comes to the state of Alabama?? Why are there three bowl games being played there?? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do have information concerning something else about which you may be curious. How are the Owls playing in the postseason?? Well, apparently when there aren’t enough six win teams there is something called Academic Progress Rating used to choose amongst 5-7 teams, and Rice tops the list. Student athletes earn one point for staying in school & one point for being academically eligible. APR is calculated by dividing a team’s total points then multiplying by 1000. It’s a bit convoluted, but I’m cool with rewarding kids for staying in school & doing well academically. That being said, I don’t believe it will translate to a victory over the 6-6 Golden Eagles. Zach is on the same page. 

My Pick: Southern Miss 

Zach’s Pick: Southern Miss 

Las Vegas Bowl
Oregon State vs. Florida
7:30pm/ABC – Las Vegas, NV

Vegas baby!! Vegas!!!! God bless these youngsters for turning a solid yet underappreciated season into a free trip to Sin City. The 9-3 Beavers lost close games to USC & Washington, and there’s no shame in that. They actually beat in-state rival Oregon, costing the Ducks a conference title opportunity. Meanwhile, the 6-6 Gators have had a roller coaster year, and starting QB Anthony Richardson has declared for the NFL Draft & won’t be playing. That’s not good news. Zach thinks the Beavers have been solid all season and looks for that to continue. 

My Pick: Oregon St. 

Zach’s Pick: Oregon St.

Frisco Bowl
Boise State vs. North Texas
9:15pm/ESPN – Frisco, TX

The 7-6 Mean Green play their home games in Denton, TX (a Dallas suburb known for being the home of pro wrestling’s Von Erich family & the birthplace of legendary rocker Meat Loaf), which is only a half hour away from Frisco. So basically this is a home game for them. The 9-4 Broncos are used to much bigger stages than this, although they haven’t played in a New Year’s game since 2014. This one kicks off at the end of a pretty full day of action, and I’m not sure the matchup is compelling enough to make me change the channel from a plethora of Christmas movies that’ll probably be on that night. Zach is impressed with the Mean Green offense, but believes they’ll fall short in this game.

My Pick: Boise St.

Zach’s Pick: Boise St.


Myrtle Beach Bowl
Marshall vs. Connecticut 
2:30pm/ESPN – Myrtle Beach, SC

I’m a Marshall alum, so y’all know I’m not picking against my guys. After a monumental September upset of Notre Dame in South Bend the Herd lost three out of the next four games, ultimately finishing 8-4. Perhaps my expectations are too high, but I find that record slightly disappointing. The 6-6 Huskies got off to a rough start but improved in the second half of the season. The TV ratings probably won’t be great, but I’ll be watching. Zach thinks UConn’s defense is terrible & the Herd will have a field day.

My Pick: Marshall

Zach’s Pick: Marshall 


Potato Bowl
Eastern Michigan vs. San Jose State
3:30pm/ESPN – Boise, ID

I feel bad for teams playing in this group of bowl games. The initial postseason fun factor has worn off. It’s the week of Christmas and folks are busy with last minute preparations. The time slots aren’t great. Even hardcore football fans need a breather before the really good matchups start. I suppose being in a bargain basement bowl game is better than being shut out of postseason play altogether though. The 8-4 Eagles out of the MAC and the 7-4 Spartans out of the Mountain West met in the 1987 California Bowl. Eastern Michigan won that game 30-27, and they haven’t won a bowl game since. I think 35 years is long enough. Conversely, Zach foresees an easy Spartan victory. 

My Pick: Eastern Michigan 

Zach’s Pick: San Jose St.

Boca Raton Bowl
Liberty vs. Toledo
7:30pm/ESPN – Boca Raton, FL

The 8-4 Flames already lost head coach Hugh Freeze to Auburn and hired Jamey Chadwell away from Coastal Carolina, although I assume neither will be on the sidelines for this game. The 8-5 Rockets won the MAC title, and I expect them to score another solid victory. Zach thinks we’re in for a low scoring defensive struggle that favors Liberty. 

My Pick: Toledo 

Zach’s Pick: Liberty 


New Orleans Bowl
South Alabama vs. Western Kentucky
9pm/ESPN – New Orleans, LA

I suppose The Big Easy is another pretty cool landing spot. The Jaguars are 10-2 and riding a five game winning streak, but didn’t even play in the Sun Belt title game because of an October loss to Troy. The 8-5 Hilltoppers played an extra game this season, per an NCAA rule that awards teams for traveling to Hawaii. I don’t foresee this being much of a contest, and expect South ‘Bama to win easily. Zach, on the other hand, believes WKU will score a last second victory.

My Pick: South Alabama

Zach’s Pick: Western Kentucky 


Armed Forces Bowl
Baylor vs. Air Force
7:30pm/ESPN – Fort Worth, TX

After going 12-2 & finishing in the Top 5 last season the Bears were a very mediocre 6-6 this year. The Falcons are a very solid 9-3, but had the misfortune of finishing a distant second in their division of the Mountain West. I think Baylor’s speed & athleticism will be too much, and they’ll pull away in the second half. Zach makes note of Baylor’s big game experience, and likes them as well.

My Pick: Baylor 

Zach’s Pick: Baylor


Gasparilla Bowl
Wake Forest vs. Missouri
6:30pm/ESPN – Tampa, FL

It’s time for your annual history lesson. José Gaspar was 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. Hence the name of this bowl game. As far as the matchup, the 7-5 Demon Deacons are another team that fell back to Earth after going 11-3, appearing in the ACC title game, and winning the Gator Bowl a season ago. The Tigers are 6-6 but gave most of their opponents, including #1 Georgia, all they could handle. I expect more of the same…a fun & competitive game that Wake ultimately finds a way to win. Zach predicts the same result in a low scoring battle. 

My Pick: Wake Forest 

Zach’s Pick: Wake Forest 

Independence Bowl
Houston vs. Louisiana
3pm/ESPN – Shreveport, LA

The 7-5 Cougars are going to have to kick it up a notch moving into the Big 12 next year. The 6-6 Ragin’ Cajuns fell off considerably after three straight double digit win seasons. You may think this looks like a home game for Louisiana, but Houston isn’t that much further from Shreveport than Lafayette, so that isn’t the case. This has potential to be a sneaky good game, and since most of the country will be off work & finished Christmas shopping (😉🙏🏻😂) perhaps there’ll be some eyeballs glued to their TV. It’ll be close, but I think Louisiana will grind out a victory. Zach wants all the gamblers out there to take the over, and thinks Houston will prevail. 

My Pick: Louisiana 

Zach’s Pick: Houston 


Hawaii Bowl
Middle Tennessee State vs. San Diego State
8pm/ESPN – Honolulu, HI

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day, or in this case, Christmas Eve. If my calculations are correct an 8pm kickoff here in the eastern time zone means it will be a 2pm start on the big island. I think alot more people will be watching Ralphie Parker, George Bailey, & Ebenezer Scrooge (or the Steelers game on NFL Network) than paying attention to the this, but hey, have fun on your Hawaiian vacation of a lifetime kids. The Blue Raiders are a 7-5 middle-of-the-pack CUSA team, while the Aztecs are a 7-5 upper middle tier Mountain West team. This might be one of those games that nobody watches but everybody wishes they would have after seeing the highlights on Sportscenter. I think SD St. will win a shootout.  Zach agrees.

My Pick: San Diego St.

Zach’s Pick: San Diego St.


Quick Lane Bowl
Bowling Green vs. New Mexico State
2:30pm/ESPN – Detroit, MI

No, the NCAA isn’t altruistic enough to skip having ball games on Christmas out of respect for Jesus & family. Christmas is on Sunday this year so there are NFL games on the schedule. Anyway, the 6-6 Falcons versus the 6-6 Aggies is about as prosaic as it gets, and I can’t put a shiny happy spin on it. I think Bowling Green gets the victory, but I doubt if I’ll be paying attention. Zach concurs. 

My Pick: Bowling Green

Zach’s Pick: Bowling Green 


First Responder Bowl
Memphis vs. Utah State
3:15pm/ESPN – Dallas, TX

ESPN is looking to cure our post-Christmas blues with a full day of gridiron action, but I’m a bit skeptical. The 6-6 Tigers had a tough second half of the season, while the 6-6 Aggies were the opposite, starting slow then improving in the latter stages. I know absolutely nothing about either team, but The Voices are telling me to lean toward Utah St. Zach foresees the same result, mostly because of Utah St.’s offensive line.

My Pick: Utah St.

Zach’s Pick: Utah St.

Birmingham Bowl
Coastal Carolina vs. East Carolina
6:45pm/ESPN – Birmingham, AL

Whoever is running the state of Alabama, could y’all throw some advice toward the dolts who’ve been ruining West Virginia for decades?? Coastal recently lost head coach Jamey Chadwell to Liberty, which seems like an odd move on his part. QB Grayson McCall is gone as well…into the transfer portal. The Pirates are an inconsistent 7-5 so who knows what to expect. My vibe is that East Carolina wins comfortably, while Zach thinks some time off is exactly what Coastal needed. He believes they’ll be ready to win the Battle of Carolina.

My Pick: East Carolina 

Zach’s Pick: Coastal Carolina 

Camellia Bowl
Buffalo vs. Georgia Southern
Noon/ESPN – Montgomery, AL

Montgomery to Birmingham is an hour & a half drive, so theoretically you could attend two bowl games in one day. As a matter of fact, I’d be willing to bet there will be people doing that exact thing. It could be a fun post-Christmas adventure. Both teams are 6-6, though it wasn’t long ago that both had ten win seasons. It’s a pretty even matchup, but I think the Eagles will win late, with a turnover or big special teams play being a deciding factor. Zach thinks GA Southern’s option attack is a difference maker.

My Pick: Georgia Southern

Zach’s Pick: Georgia Southern 

Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Oklahoma State vs. Wisconsin
10:15pm/ESPN – Phoenix, AZ

Now here’s a sneaky good treat. I picked the wrong horse in the Big 12, as it was TCU to emerge from the formidable shadow of Oklahoma & Texas to earn a playoff berth, while the Cowboys finished 7-5 after a 5-0 start. I can’t criticize the Badgers too much for finishing a pedestrian 6-6 in the Big Ten. There’s no shame in losing to Ohio St., Iowa, and Michigan St. Head coach Paul Chryst was fired barely a month into the season, and former Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell will take the reins next year. It’s a late night kick for us here in the east, but I might just have to sneak in a nap so I can stay up to watch. I think OK St. is probably slightly better, though I expect a close contest. Zach is looking at another low scoring slugfest, which he believes favors Wisconsin. 

My Pick: Oklahoma St. 

Zach’s Pick: Wisconsin 

Let’s take a break. We’ll be back soon with the rest of the bowl games. Happy Holidays everyone!!


Our first edition of W&M in 2022 is football heavy as usual, but that’ll change in the not-too-distant future. For now it is time to bid farewell to goal posts & penalty flags and say so long to QB sacks & onside kicks. Enjoy. 

Kudos to the Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams. As a Steelers fan I wasn’t about to cheer for the Cincinnati Bengals, and I’m beginning to get a little uncomfortable with the sports media’s blatant attempts to position Cincy QB Joe Burrow as Tom Brady 2.0. The kid seems a bit too big for his britches (shout out to my late Grandma P.), so perhaps it’s best he was brought down a peg or two. Also, after wasting over a decade with the hapless Detroit Lions one can’t help but be happy for Rams’ QB Matthew Stafford (I bet Calvin Johnson wishes he would’ve gotten an opportunity to play football somewhere other than Detroit). The game itself was rather prosaic, although thankfully it wasn’t a blowout. I have no opinion about any of the commercials because I had company who is literally unable to STOP TALKING for longer than ten seconds at a time (it’s exhausting). I’m not going to crown the halftime show featuring nearly every old school rapper that hasn’t been shot yet as “the best EVER”, but it was sufficiently entertaining. That kind of music was never my jam back in the 90s, but if it was yours then you probably enjoyed the show way more than me. 

After an atrocious 1-7 record for each of us in the final week of the season, our Pigskin Picks of Profundity ended with yours truly scoring the season victory at 57-69, while Zach was 49-77 on the year. Although I wish we were more skilled prognosticators, as always it was so much fun doing these picks with my nephew, an annual tradition I’ve come to really appreciate.

In the wake of an ultra exciting weekend of playoff football a few weeks ago fans were calling the Chiefs-Bills clash that KC won in overtime one of the best football games they’d ever seen while lamenting the lame NFL OT rules that essentially allow a coin toss to decide the outcome. I don’t necessarily disagree with those sentiments, but I also have an alternative view. If I were in charge of the NFL overtime would follow the general idea of the current college football OT rules (more on that below), but let’s focus on defense. Y’all remember defense right?? We used to believe that “defense wins championships”, but that no longer seems to be true. Buffalo was up by three points in that game with thirteen seconds remaining. 13 seconds!! Yet they allowed Kansas City to get into field goal range with just a couple of long passes, which gave the home team an opportunity to execute the game tying field goal. While it is undeniably fun to watch great skill players & elite QBs throw haymaker after haymaker like what transpired between the Buffalo Bills & Kansas City Chiefs, let’s not get it twisted. The “Bills Mafia” can blame stupid overtime rules all they want, but the fact is that all their team had to do was stop the opposition from going 44 yards in 13 seconds and they failed. 

Congratulations to newly minted MLB Hall-of-Famer David Ortiz, who will be enshrined in Cooperstown this summer. Big Papi won three World Series with the Boston Red Sox, was a ten time All-Star, and had a .286 career batting average with 541 home runs in 20 seasons. Sadly, Ortiz’s moment was overshadowed a bit by hand-wringing over Barry Bonds & Roger Clemens not being selected in their final year on the ballot. I find it interesting that so many will passionately defend known defrauders of the game like Bonds & Clemens, yet they’re perfectly fine with Curt Schilling being excluded from the Hall of Fame. Schilling’s alleged mediocrity…6 time All-Star, 3 time World Series Champion, 3000+ strikeouts…is a weak excuse since we all know the real reason the powers-that-be don’t like him is because of his very candid political opinions. 

Y’all, I didn’t even keep track of college football’s bowl season while it was happening, but I did go back & check the numbers. Zach edged me by a couple of games in our Bowl-a-Palooza picks, going 18-19 while I was 16-21. Five bowl games were canceled altogether, while two games were played with altered matchups so those results were tossed aside. Between COVID, the transfer portal, star players opting out to prepare for the NFL Draft, & the coaching carousel, bowl season didn’t seem like very much fun this year. When the playoff is expanded something is going to need to be done to make the other games matter for fans and apparently players & coaches.

Okay, so let’s talk overtime. The current college football OT rules allow each offense to have the ball starting on their opponent’s 25 yard line, meaning they’re essentially in field goal range already. No matter what Offense A does Offense B gets the ball (also on the opponent’s 25 yard line). The wildcard is what does Offense A do with the ball?? At worst they’ll have an opportunity to kick a 41 yard field goal (unless they turn the ball over). That’s not a chip shot, but it’s more than makable in most circumstances. At best they’ll score a touchdown & put the pressure on the opposing team’s offense. Now here’s where it gets weird. If both teams trade matching scores and there is a second overtime, any TD must be followed up with a 2 point conversion instead of an extra point. Then, if we make it to a third OT, the teams just alternate 2 point plays (that start on the three yard line), which is basically a football variation of penalty kicks in soccer. I despise the two point conversion rule for overtime. In contrast, the NFL does have a kickoff (after a coin toss, with the winner of that always choosing to receive…obviously), and if Offense A scores a touchdown the game is over. If they score a FG or don’t score at all Offense B gets an opportunity. If Offense B matches what Offense A did then it becomes sudden death, and if the teams are still tied at the end of 10 minutes the game ends in a tie. My proposal would be a hybrid of the two differing systems, and would ideally be implemented on both levels…college & pro. Give Offense A the ball on the 50 yard line. I’m not usually a proponent of minimizing special teams, but in this case I believe it works best. The offense isn’t already in field goal range and has some work to do, while the defense has a legit opportunity to do their job. No matter what happens Offense B will get a chance to possess the football. Unlike the current college system I would have a time clock, but, as opposed to current NFL rules, I’d bump the extra period back up to 15 minutes (I don’t like ties but can live with the theoretical yet unlikely possibility that it could happen). No team would ever be forced to attempt a two point conversion unless they choose to do so. 

I would be remiss not to mention the retirement of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Thankfully it wasn’t a surprise, and it was time. I don’t know if all the blame belongs with offensive coordinator Matt Canada, or if Big Ben just didn’t have an arm anymore, but the offense had become painful to watch. I enjoy an occasional screen pass, and realize “bubble screens” specifically have become part of football, but I just don’t believe throwing the ball five yards or less downfield constantly is productive, especially when defenses are expecting it. To be clear, I am aware that the Steelers’ offensive line was abysmal this past season & needs a major overhaul. I’m not completely sold on the receiving corps either: Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, & JuJu Schuster aren’t nearly as great as they believe themselves to be. Aside from those issues though, an aging quarterback with zero mobility & a weakening arm simply doesn’t bode well, especially when the AFC boasts young guns who can move like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, & Joe Burrow. Roethlisberger was never fast, but he always had tremendous escapability that allowed him to scramble & extend plays. That escapability had noticeably diminished, and when combined with a poor offensive line & questionable play calls the Steelers offense was doomed. So, as the Steelers & all the fans prepare to move forward, right now I want to give one last shoutout to Ben Roethlisberger. It has been a joy to watch you, from the moment I gathered with co-workers at a local sports bar on that spring day 18 years ago & watched my Steelers draft you with the eleventh pick, thru two Super Bowl victories, all the way to a bitterly decisive playoff defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs last month. More importantly, it has been delightful to see you evolve from an impetuous young man into a mature & responsible husband, father, leader, & adult. People still like to bring up the past & criticize you for mistakes made 15 years ago, but I’d tell those people to clean their own house first. None of us are perfect, and you’ve gone thru your battles very publicly. From a football perspective I wish you’d have gotten atleast a couple more opportunities in the Super Bowl, but so many factors play into that. You got us two Lombardis & provided many other great memories. I don’t know if coaching or ownership or anything football related is in your future, but as a fan I sincerely hope to have you as part of the Steelers organization in some capacity down the road.

2021 Sammy Awards: Part Deux

Welcome back to The Sammys!! If you missed out on Part 1 please check it out then join us right back here. Give a rousing ovation to our host, renowned comedian Dave Chappelle!!

After some thought-provoking comedy from our host it’s time for our next award, and making his debut on our stage is a driver in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series. He has won only one race in 119 starts in the course of six years, but he’s only 28 years old and we feel like his future is bright. It was that single win in October 2021 that made him marginally famous, albeit not for the reason he likely preferred. Y’all know what to do as we proudly introduce Brandon Brown!! Let’s go Brandon!!!! And the nominees are:

The Thrill of Victory Award

Brady Wins Another Super Bowl

On February 7, 2021 Tom Brady’s decision to leave New England after two decades paid off, as he led his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, to a convincing 31-9 victory over the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. Brady earned his seventh Lombardi Trophy and was the game’s MVP for the fifth time.

The Tide Rolls…Again

On January 11, 2021 the Alabama Crimson Tide won their sixth National Championship in twelve years by administering a 52-24 beatdown to the Ohio St. Buckeyes, who shouldn’t have been in the playoff in the first place.

Baylor’s Madness

After COVID forced the cancellation of March Madness in 2020 the tournament returned a year later, with Gonzaga, Houston, Baylor, & UCLA ending up in the Final Four. The Baylor Bears beat the previously undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs on April 5, 2021 to earn their first ever National Championship.

Helio’s 4th Indy 500

COVID also affected the Indianapolis 500 in 2020, causing it to be delayed until August. I missed it because I completely forgot about it being rescheduled. Thankfully the Indy 500 returned to its familiar Memorial Day Weekend spot in 2021, with dynamic 46 year old Brazilian Helio Castroneves following in the footsteps of legends AJ Foyt, Al Unser Sr., & Rick Mears by capturing his fourth Borg-Warner Trophy.

Milwaukee Wins NBA Title

In July 2021 (because the season was delayed slightly & reduced by ten games) the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns in six games (4-2) to win their first NBA title since Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) had led them to a championship in 1971. “The Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo was named Finals MVP, fulfilling the potential so many had seen in him throughout his nine year career.

Braves Win Another World Series

Selective memory is funny. I really thought the Braves had won several World Series back in the 1990’s when I truly despised them. However, it turns out that in five appearances they only won once in that time span (they’d won the Series two previous times decades before I was born). That made their 2021 victory more palatable, and it also helped that they defeated the Houston Astros, who I still consider cheaters that should’ve been stripped of the championship they “won” in 2017. To be honest I didn’t watch much of this Series, which the Braves won in six games, 4-2.

and the Sammy goes to…..

Milwaukee Bucks. It was just nice to have a Finals that didn’t include the LA Lakers, Golden St. Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, or Miami Heat. Lebron James was nowhere to be found. It was a fresh matchup involving teams that aren’t usually around at the end. The Bucks hadn’t won a title in fifty years, so kudos to them.

To present our next award we are happy to welcome a young lady who has been enjoying her freedom the past few months. She may never recapture the success or popularity that she enjoyed two decades ago, but seems to be in a good place in her life. She’s a pretty decent follow on Instagram and we sincerely hope her loneliness is no longer killing her. Get on your feet for Grammy Award winning pop princess Britney Spears!! And the nominees are:

Favorite Podcast or Viral Videos

Broken Skull Sessions w/ “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

Former WWE Champion “Stone Cold” Steve Austin has segued nicely from opening up a can o’ whoopass in the wrestling ring to a variety of entertainment projects that keep him in the pop culture consciousness. While I don’t particularly care for his Broken Skull Challenge on CMT or Straight Up Steve Austin on USA Network, I do like his Broken Skull Sessions, which is just a conversation between Austin and another wrestling legend or current star. I you’re a wrestling fan it’s not a bad way to spend 60-90 minutes of your evening.

Tipsy Bartender

Bartender Skyy John is still slinging drinks online. Sometimes his creations are kind of wacky, and lately he’s altered his format a bit, but I still must give him a shoutout. If he eliminates the stupid music that’s all the sudden become a thing and gets back to entertaining us with his infectious personality while preparing those crazy concoctions that’d be nice.  

Oral Sessions w/ Renee Paquette

Formerly known as Renee Young in WWE, Paquette has moved on but hasn’t totally escaped pro wrestling. That’s probably not going to happen since she’s married to AEW star Jon Moxley (aka Dean Ambrose) and the couple welcomed a baby girl just a few months ago. Oral Sessions differs from Austin’s show in that occasionally Paquette will interview someone outside of the wrestling realm, usually an MMA fighter, although she had her mother on once as well.

Men with the Pot

Calm down, it’s not what it sounds like…it is a cooking show, but can’t be compared to anything you’ll see on Food Network. These are simple, brief, minimalist videos made by two Polish dudes in Ireland. They’re usually about 5-10 minutes in length and show some tasty vittles being cooked out in the wild, almost like a virtual camping trip. Unlike most food-centric programs that focus on the personality of the host (I’m looking at you Guy Fieri, Emeril Lagasse, & Bobby Flay) Men with the Pot doesn’t even show us who’s cooking. Perhaps we’ll see a hand or a leg, but otherwise there is no talking, no music, and no other sounds besides veggies being chopped, meat sizzling in an iron skillet, the gentle flow of a babbling brook, and the lovely chirping of birds. Oh, and the food always looks amazing!!

Food Dolls

Another cooking show that’s also rather austere & oddly soothing. The two hosts are lovely Egyptian-American sisters who would most certainly thrive as phone sex operators if this gig ever falls thru. The videos are usually a minute or less, meaning you’ll need to hunt down the recipe if you actually want to make the dish yourself. That being said, I don’t know about y’all, but as much as I enjoy watching other people cook on television or online I rarely attempt to actually cook the food they make. I don’t know why I enjoy such programs, but I do.

and the Sammy goes

Men with the Pot. I’m going to contradict myself. With Tipsy Bartender it’s all about the host and his extroversion. However, sometimes the direct opposite is a nice change of pace. Have you ever listened to ambient music to fall asleep?? Thunderstorms. A crackling fireplace. Gentle rain. Men with the Pot is exactly like that, only with food. Its charm is the lack of a host…no one talking or laughing or yelling or drawing attention to themselves. The food is the focus, and it’s mesmerizing.

To present our next award we thought “what the hell” and decided to utilize NASCAR driver Brandon Brown for a second time. Let’s go Brandon!!!! And the nominees are:

The Agony of Defeat Award

Simone Biles

I don’t generally pay attention to gymnastics, and I assume I’m not alone. It’s something we notice every four years when The Olympics come around. If you were to ask me who the best gymnast of all time is I’d throw out names like Mary Lou Retton (total WV bias) & Nadia Comaneci (because I’m old), but this past summer talking heads really tried to sell the idea that the title should belong to 24 year old Simone Biles. I guess recency bias is a real thing. But something odd happened on the way to immortality…saying she “felt the weight of the world” on her shoulders (which is sort of the whole point of Olympic competition), Biles withdrew from the team finals, individual all-around finals, and almost all the individual event finals that she’d qualified for, although she did end up winning a bronze medal in the balance beam competition. Team USA won the team silver, which likely would have been a gold medal had Biles led the group like she was supposed to do. Every talking head & soccer Mom jumped to the defense of Simone Biles and discussion of mental health issues came to the forefront (the only good thing to come out of the situation), but the only thing I could think was how I had never seen a world class athlete fold like a cheap suit on such a grand stage. Quite frankly it was embarrassing. We’ve all heard the phrase “if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen”, and Simone Biles couldn’t so she did. She quit on her team & her country. I wish the young lady well in her future. I’m sure she’ll be fine, but sadly her legacy is forever tarnished.

The Cleveland Guardians of the Galaxy

The PC Police continue to destroy American culture piece by piece, and in 2021 it was MLB’s Cleveland Indians turn to be cancelled. The franchise announced that they’d be abandoning the Indians nickname and become the Cleveland Guardians, which is about as stupid of a choice as they could have possibly made.

Urban Meyer

He may be a good football coach, but to call Urban Meyer enigmatic would be kind. He’s well-travelled, which is a nice way of saying he’s an unreliable job hopper who bolts at the first sign of trouble. However, his departure from the Jacksonville Jaguars before the end of his first season at the helm was not Meyer’s choice. In October video of the coach being a bit too cozy with a woman other than his wife in a Columbus, OH restaurant went viral. To make matters worse, the Jags had just lost a game in Cincinnati, but Meyer didn’t go back to Jacksonville with the team, which is why he was in Columbus. Then in December accusations of mistreatment of players emerged, most notably former kicker Josh Lambo saying that Meyer literally kicked him in the leg. That was the final straw and the team decided to cut its losses. Will Urban Meyer land on his feet?? Probably. Some college team will give him another chance eventually, or he’ll land a TV gig.

147th Kentucky Derby

In 2020 the Kentucky Derby was another sporting event impacted by COVID, as it was delayed from its usual spot on the calendar in early May until September, and even then there were no fans in the stands, which was weird. 2021 saw a return to relative normalcy (Churchill Downs allowed 60% capacity). Unfortunately the outcome was marred by controversy, as winner Medina Spirit tested positive for an illegal substance after the race. An investigation is still ongoing (why such a process takes more than eight months is baffling) and sadly the horse died in December.

The Olympics

The “2020” Summer Olympics in Tokyo were delayed until 2021 (I’ll give you three guesses as to why and the first two don’t count), and the event was made even less interesting than usual by the fact that no spectators were allowed at the venues. I don’t think I watched one second of The Olympics, and I don’t feel bad about that.

NIL & The Transfer Portal

In case you’ve been curious, NIL stands for “name, image, & likeness”. Last summer the NCAA instituted new rules that allow collegiate athletes to be paid thru marketing deals in which they can now take advantage of whatever level of fame they have achieved. The transfer portal was actually created in 2018, but didn’t cause much of a buzz until 2021 when additional rules went into effect allowing any athlete to transfer without having to sit out a year. For now they’re allowed to transfer once, but I expect that to be tweaked in the future. Essentially this is collegiate free agency, with the additional carrot of getting paid being dangled just to make things interesting. And while I believe that these rules were created with the best of intentions what we are now seeing are unintended, chaotic consequences, like Oklahoma’s freshman QB Caleb Williams entering the portal despite having supplanted a presumed Heisman candidate under center and leading his team to an 11-2 record. There are so many tentacles to this thing that recruiting has been rendered moot. It doesn’t matter what team lands a kid out of high school because that player can ditch his team for a better deal, whether that means more playing time, a higher profile program, or a better marketing deal. College sports are farm clubs for the NFL, NBA, & (to a lesser extent) MLB now. That’s probably been true for awhile, but they aren’t even pretending to hide it anymore.

MLB All Star Game

Thanks to ESPN and other sports media the worlds of sports & politics collide more & more these days. The 2021 All-Star Game was scheduled to be played in Atlanta, but then Georgia had to go & pass an election integrity law requiring voter ID and other measures to ensure fair elections. Integrity & fairness are abhorrent ideas to liberals, so heads exploded. Somehow this turned into MLB moving the All Star Game to Denver. I didn’t watch, I don’t know who won, and I don’t care.

Tiger Woods

We all know it’s been a rough decade for Tiger Woods. His personal life got messy and various ailments derailed his legendary golf career. At one time it seemed like a lock that he’d shatter Jack Nicklaus’ record of winning 18 major titles (U.S. Open, The Masters, British Open, PGA Championship). When everything imploded for Tiger in 2009 he had won 14 majors in twelve years. He had begun to make a bit of a comeback, culminating in winning his fifth Masters in 2019 at age 43. That victory provided a glimpse of the old Tiger and made us believe that maybe…just maybe…he still had an opportunity to catch The Golden Bear. Unfortunately, on February 23, 2021 Tiger rolled his vehicle near Los Angeles and suffered significant injuries to both of his legs. Even Woods himself admits now that his days as a full-timer on the PGA Tour are over and, though he’ll likely still play in as many majors as possible, his pursuit of Nicklaus will probably fall short.

and the Sammy goes to…..

NIL & The Transfer Portal. The guise of “student-athletes” has been laughable for a long time, but it was still fun to pretend that these young people were amateurs. That’s finished now, atleast when it comes to football & basketball. High school quarterback Quinn Ewers matriculated to Ohio St. and was so highly touted that he signed a $1.4 million NIL deal. He got into one game with the Buckeyes…two snaps in garbage time…and was beaten out for the starting gig by redshirt freshman CJ Stroud, who was a Heisman finalist. So Ewers took his ball & went home to play for Texas, where he’ll probably be the starter next season. But don’t worry, cause he’s sitting on a million Gs after accomplishing literally NOTHING. Does anyone see an issue with that?? NFL legend Deion Sanders is now the head coach at 1-AA/FCS Jackson St., and Coach Prime made waves by recruiting five-star cornerback Travis Hunter. To the surprise of almost everybody Hunter chose Jackson St. over Florida St., Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma, and others. Rumors have swirled that he also has a $1.5 million NIL deal on the table, although that is unconfirmed. Does anyone actually think the young man will stay more than a year at Jackson St.?? I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t enter the portal a year from now and end up at one of the elite schools that recruited him in the first place. It’s crazy. It’s a free-for-all. And I don’t think any of it is good for collegiate athletics.

To present our next award The Sammys are turning to a trio of actors known primarily for their television work, specifically in daytime dramas. Two gentlemen left their longtime roles on ABC’s General Hospital after Disney (perhaps the world’s most evil corporation, ironically) imposed silly vaccine mandates and they refused to bow to the pressure. They are joined by a beautiful young lady whose departure from General Hospital in 2020 was not her choice. She has since become one of my favorite follows on Instagram, especially after her family adopted a beautiful pug puppy that reminds me so much of my dearly departed Rocco. You may know them as Jasper Jacks, Jason Morgan, & Lulu Falconeri, but we’re pretty excited to give it up for Ingo Rademacher, Steve Burton, & Emme Rylan!! And the nominees are:

Favorite Movie

Coming 2 America

The long overdue sequel to the 1998 classic starring Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, & James Earl Jones finds Prince Akeem of Zamunda returning to New York City to find the son he never knew he produced. Hilarity ensues…kind of. I didn’t hate it, but it doesn’t measure up to its predecessor. Is nostalgia a good enough reason to create…anything?? I don’t know, but it’s an interesting question to ponder. At any rate, Murphy isn’t as funny as he might have been three decades ago, but I’ll take Eddie Murphy at half speed over most of the people kids believe are funny nowadays.

The Addams Family 2

The Addams Family has spawned TV shows, cartoons, movies, and just about everything else you can imagine. In 2019 they returned to the big screen in computer animated form, and this is the sequel to that film. It’s mildly entertaining but mostly forgettable. My perspective is biased by the fact that, right around the time this movie hit theaters, our local community theater produced a high quality stage production of The Addams Family Musical that had been nominated for a Tony Award in 2010. The musical I saw (twice) was far superior to this movie.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

The third installment of Marvel’s Spider-Man franchise dives into something called The Multiverse. I’m not a comic book nerd so I can’t give you a detailed explanation, but I’ll just say it’s pretty trippy. I have never seen any of the MCU movies other than the Spider-Man flicks, all three of which I have enjoyed immensely. At this point I am sure most everyone has either seen the movie or read spoilers, but I won’t go there. Suffice to say that it is well-written with fine performances, has a lot of action, and isn’t a bad way to spend a couple of hours. It is exactly what good popcorn cinema should be.

American Underdog

I’m a sucker for a good biopic, and I understand why some would think Kurt Warner’s story is interesting enough to be made into a movie. That being said, despite the fact that Warner is an NFL Hall-of-Famer, two-time League MVP, and one time Super Bowl MVP, my initial reaction to hearing about the film was “They made a movie…about Kurt Warner??”. That’s a good thing though because I set the bar low and didn’t have any kind of grand expectations, making it that much easier for the finished product to exceed them, which it did. American Underdog isn’t going to be remembered in the same conversation with the greatest sports movies or even the best biopics, but it’s entertaining enough.

King Richard

As much of a sports nut as I am tennis has never frosted my cupcake. I know just enough about the game & its personalities to carry on a reasonably intelligent conversation, but that’s about it. However, you’d have to have been living under a rock the past couple of decades not to have heard of Venus & Serena Williams, who have become two of the best players of all time. The movie isn’t about them though…not really. Their father, Richard, is the ultimate helicopter parent, but he is portrayed in such a way that we don’t hate him. He dreams up a life plan for his girls when they are just babies, and he’s hellbent & determined to follow thru. He wants them to be professional tennis players and is willing to make sacrifices to make that happen. We’ve seen similar stories, but usually the parents are depicted as self-centered & borderline abusive. Richard Williams isn’t either of those things really…he’s just doggedly single-minded and sort of crazy, but in a sympathetic, non-threatening way. Is the film an accurate portrayal of Richard?? Who knows?? It is a really good movie though, and if Will Smith doesn’t win the Academy Award for Best Actor it will be a crime.     

Tom & Jerry

If you are of a certain age and grew up watching Tom & Jerry cartoons you’ll enjoy it well enough, but that’s as far as I can go. The technology is cool, putting the titular twosome in real world places & backgrounds that are not animated. The issue I have is that Tom D. Cat and Jerome A. Mouse are supporting characters in their own movie. The plot revolves around a down-on-her-luck 20-something who deceives her way into a job at a swanky hotel just as it is preparing to host a lavish celebrity wedding. The whole thing could’ve been a lighthearted rom-com without any critters and not changed all that much. But their cat & mouse game (I could NOT help myself) does drive the story to the point that the wedding is destroyed (literally), so I suppose that’s the idea. At the end of the day though there is way too much humanity for an alleged animated film.

In the Heights

Lin-Manuel Miranda could retire as the dude who gave us Hamilton and that would be enough, but he’s back with what can best be described as a love letter to the Latino community, specifically Washington Heights in New York City’s Upper Manhattan. The music is lively & fun, and the performances are fantastic. I am sure those from a similar background that identify closely with the story love the movie more than me, and I mean that respectfully. I enjoyed it and liked the music, but understand completely that I am not the target audience. Miranda set the bar impossibly high with Hamilton, and while In the Heights tries mightily, it falls short of the mark.

and the Sammy goes to…..

King Richard. I’m not really a huge Will Smith fan. His filmography is hit & miss for me, but when he hits he knocks it out of the ballpark. I think it helps that I’m not really into tennis, know very little about the lives of The Williams Sisters, & had no preconceived notions about Richard Williams. That being said, I found Smith’s performance enthralling and the tale itself fascinating. Rotten Tomatoes has it rated 91% fresh, and I have to agree.

It’s time or another break, but we’ll be  back soon with the exciting climax of the 2021 Sammys!!