Thursday, January 29, 2009

NCAA Recruiting

Northwestern delivered a less than convincing win over cellar-dwelling Indiana in Evanston last night. It truly is a remarkable reversal that any Northwestern victory over the storied Indiana program could be seen as unsatisfying. It seems like it was only yesterday that Bobby Knight was prowling about the Indiana sidelines in his red sweater freshly stained with the blood of impertinent freshmen, hurling candy at Northwestern students in a bizarre show of rapprochement after blowing up at Northwestern hecklers. Not that he is the only Big Ten coach to have a problem with the Wildcat faithful. I remember, although cannot find, an article where Gene Keady specifically lamented Northwestern's sharp heckling that raised the hackles of his comb-over. Paleontologists currently speculate that Keady's comb-over is used for internal temperature control, much like the non-dinosaur Dimetrodon's fin.

I talked briefly with Keady once. And,
you know, the thing about a Gene Keady,
he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a
doll's eyes. When he comes at you, doesn't
seem to be living until he bites you, and
those black eyes roll over white and
then you hear that terrible high-pitched

As much as I enjoy watching a former Big Ten power get its teeth kicked in, it's hard to gloat over Tom Crean's lot after reading this SI piece about the fall of the program in the wake of the Kelvin Sampson dismissal. After Sampson left, IU lost six scholarhip players on top of Eric Gordon, who has been punished by joining the L.A. Clippers. Sampson certainly existed in the thick of college athletics' seedy underbelly with his numerous NCAA violations and his recruitment of players with weak academics and problems with pots. As the article describes:

"A Sampson recruit, Holman had been suspended for a season in high school for shoving a ref; his short temper surfaced in Crean's office. At one point, according to Crean, Holman became so animated that he grabbed a potted plant and threw it against the wall, triggering a call to campus police."

Kelvin Sampson and his assistants hit the recruiting trail in Indiana

It's clear that Sampson violated several recruiting violations in the intricate code that governs interactions between players and recruits, but the current NCAA rules basically institutionalize bizarre and seemingly arbitrary boundaries.

The NCAA recruiting regulations are
somewhat reminiscent of the Lever
ceremonies at Versailles, where the rigid
social hierarchy was clearly delineated by
one's proximity to the Sun King's person.


While Kelvin Sampson's gross recruiting violations have certainly upset basketball at Indiana, he could have been up to more nefarious crimes. In particular, Indiana fans can take comfort in the fact that Kelvin Sampson is most likely not a pirate.

Modern connotations of piracy involve doubloons, chin stubble, parrots, the word "arrr," and truly inept baseball organizations. These romanticized notions of piracy come from several sources. One of the most notable is Captain Charles Johnson who authored A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pyrates first published in 1724. The volume publicized the exploits of several pirates such as Blackbeard and Black Bart and contains the word "sloop" roughly 27,000 times. The most interesting part of Pyrates is the unknown author: no one has identified a Captain Johnson in 1724 that could have published this book; literary scholars, or in this case people who research people who write pseudonymous accounts of eighteenth century pirate books which is probably one particularly tweedy man from a a corner of Britain so remote that his house is still fueled by coal and orphans, believe that Daniel Defoe is a potential author.

The other major source of piratical tales is of course Robert Louis Stevenson, whose Treasure Island is the standard text of the flintlock and cutlass set.

Robert Louis Stevenson (far right) took to the seas himself on this
apparently mustache-themed yacht in 1888


Piracy has been much in the news lately involving the seemingly out of control pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden in Somalia. Piracy has experienced a boom since the collapse of the government in 1991, and the rise of the pirate society in Boosaaso is chronicled in this excellent New York Times article:

"The pirates use fast-moving skiffs to pull alongside their prey and scamper on board with ladders or sometimes even rusty grappling hooks. Once on deck, they hold the crew at gunpoint until a ransom is paid, usually $1 million to $2 million."

Do not bring your florins here

As the author Jeffrey Gettleman who is, I gather, the Times's number one man on the spot for all pirate related information notes, the pirates are not going anywhere:

"The pirates are sea savvy. They are fearless. They are rich and getting richer, with the latest high-tech gadgetry like handheld GPS units. And they are united."

Gettleman then, I presume, donned a colorful bandanna before throwing a smoke grenade and making off with a barrel full of spices from the Orient and the Spanish Crown Jewels.

The most brazen attack came in September, when pirates seized a Ukrainian freighter filled with military hardware including 33 T-72 Soviet-designed battle tanks, 150 grenade launchers, and 6 antiaircraft guns. The crew was unable to fight back due to the apparent difficulties in using tanks in naval battles, and the fact that grenade launchers lose their value when taken out of their collector packaging. In November, the Indian Navy declared that it had sunk a pirate mothership, which I found exciting because it marked the first time that the word "mothership" had been used in popular media since Jeff Goldblum was inexplicably a sci-fi action star in the mid-1990s. Unfortunately, it appears as though the pirate mothership was actually a Thai fishing boat.

For those who want even more information about piracy in the Gulf of Aden, UNOSAT has provided a series of informative hi-res maps charting the 2008: the year in piracy and density of pirate attacks. Do yourself a favor and use these wallpaper your house or van.


International cooperation has failed to crack down on pirates for a number of key reasons including the vast expanse of sea in which the tiny pirate vessels operate, the lack of a stable government in Mogadishu, and the continued operation of the mythical pirate mothership which presumably dictates all pirate movements under the control of a single pirate mastermind.

In the mid-nineteenth century, pirate raiders flourished in the river networks within Sarawak in the Borneo portion of what is now Malaysia.

British adventurer James Brooke brought his ship The Royalist, flying the menacing colors of the Royal Yacht Squadron, to the aid of the Sultan of Brunei. Brooke gained control of Sarawak as a gesture of gratitude from the Sultan and also because he trained his ship's guns on the royal palace and threatened to blow it asunder if his demands were not met. Once established as the White Raja of Sarawak, Brooke dedicated his rule to fighting piracy and taxing the hell out of the Chinese population.

Brooke was an early advocate of gunboat .
diplomacy. He reportedly developed an interest
for the strategy immediately after purchasing a

Though Brooke acted in the interests of Britain and occasionally used British vessels on his ongoing attacks on Sarawak's pirate community, he never gained official recognition from Britain as the bona fide Raja of Sarawak. In fact, Parliament led by self-appointed Victorian conscience Richard Cobden staged an inquiry into his prize-taking in 1850, but he was exonerated of the charge of inhumanity, which apparently was on the books in Britain in Victorian times despite the metaphysical implications.

Of course, the British Empire is out of white rajas to high-handedly seize territory and menace pirates with top of the line cannon technology. Perhaps to atone for his recruiting sins, Kelvin Sampson can get himself a fighting yacht and use his mastery of cell phones to get in touch with the Sultan of Brunei.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Shuffle Update

It is particularly generous of the NFL to give everyone a bye week before the Superbowl so that players can rest, coaches can hone their strategies, overzealous mayors can work out inane bets, and bookies' henchmen can order new bats. The weekend paves the way for the NFL hype juggernaut in an attempt to ruin football to the point where our desire to spike things or pour icy gatorade on each other seems pointless. Even if an opposing ballcarrier were to brazenly run through our homes or places of businesses, we become less inclined to stop them with a bone-crunching helmet-to-helmet hit.

Although they existed for centuries as part of the the Rath Yatra, juggernauts today form
only the second deadliest parade vehicle


Needless to say, the Bears will not be in the Superbowl this year. The Bears did not even make the playoffs thanks to a truly horrific showing by the defense. I admit that I have no football coaching experience, and I have never played in a football game that did not end with a hapless participant limping off the field shouting "my valve!" or suffering compound nerd fracture, but from my layman's perspective, the something about the defensive scheme seemed off.

Bob Babich's "Cover 2" zone defense

Instead, it will of course be the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals in Tampa Bay. The mayors are already at it, with the mayor of Glendale putting up a cactus, deftly finding a crappy gift that grows indigenously. My favorite part is that it's the mayor of Glendale stepping up. If the Bears had moved to Gary, I guess that the Gary mayor would have had to offer up an extraneous Jackson.

Even though the Bears have not won a Super Bowl since 1985, their legacy of terrible rap videos lives on. No doubt everyone has already seen the original, although I do want to call attention to Steve Fuller, who's inexplicable presence and terrible rapping often escape the attention and analysis he truly deserves. First of all, why does the backup quarterback get an entire verse? The Superbowl Shuffle already goes on far longer than humans should be able to endure, and includes an unnecessary saxophone solo. This would be like the 2008 Bears giving Rex Grossman his own verse, except that Steve Fuller was probably not at the time the funniest person in all of professional football.

Grossman lost his job in the preseason when a
pass attempt somehow ended with him throwing
a bucket full of glitter all over a confused Desmond

Fuller's verses from the Shuffle include the lyrics:

They say Jimmy is our man
If Jimmy can't do it, I sure can


We're not here to feathers ruffle

Mercifully, whatever twisted soul composed the Super Bowl Shuffle must have already passed up lyrics such as "we're not here to root for truffle" or "we're not here to cause kerfuffle."

The Shuffle lyrics were heavily inspired by an obscure
Sir Walter Raleigh poem where he compares settling
Roanoake to "making romance," boasts to "bring
on the Papists, bring on the Spanish, this one 'tis for the
Queen, tho' she doth look mannish," and declaring that
"I'm just here to sport this ruffle"


The Bears Super Bowl created a template in the NFL for winning which included a suffocating defense, a possession offense geared around a hall-of-fame caliber running back, and an abysmal rap video. Taking this to heart, both the L.A. Raiders and the L.A. Rams released rap videos in an unprecedented rap video arms race that ended with Al Davis pounding his shoes on the table in Paul Tagliabue's office, claiming that our grandchildren will wear spiked shoulder pades. The Raiders' video is most notable for the random Matt Millen appearance, while the Rams' questionably titled "Ram It" blows all the other videos away with solid Pointer Sisters dance moves. Unquestionably, the only way for the Rams to have improved on their choreography would have been to add elements of the boogaloo and camel walk as demonstrated by an expert:

My favorite part of the video is James Brown's semi-deranged grin as he randomly throws out dance moves off the top of his head while listening to James Brown. The video cuts off before we see him leaving the room, but I'd like to think that James Brown could not successfully leave a building without Bobby Byrd appearing out of nowhere to drape him in a cape as he finishes writing a check at the grocery store or returning some James Brown DVDs or leaving a drug-addled TV interview where he keeps shouting the names of his own songs.

The video craze seemed to have died in the early '90s when the Miami Dolphins' "Can't Touch Us" ended with half the roster out with strained zubaz. But the problem has extended beyond football. Recently, the Bradley basketball team came out with their shuffle for the 2008-9 season. More disturbingly, non-sports related enterprises unleashed horrifying shuffle attempts, such as this effort by the Southern Food Brokerage. Before we all laugh at these unluckily recorded people, let's remember that this is clearly the result of a hostage situation where a maniac forced the southern, mulleted, and elderly to rap for his amusement or else he would flood the market with generic Teddy Grahams and dunkaroos.


On the basketball front, Northwestern notched perhaps the programs' greatest victory last Wednesday on the road in Sparta, thanks to a miraculous ability to hit 30-footers. The Mantis led the Wildcats with 31 points against #7 Michigan State, and the 1-3-1 zone defense forced 18 turnovers. Unfortunately, the 'Cats were unable to build on that momentum, dropping a tough one to the hated Wolverines in Ann Arbor, and falling to 2-5 in a surprisingly tough Big Ten. With home games against Indiana, a struggling Wisconsin, and Chicago State, the 'Cats still have a chance to make a push to the NIT.

Should the 'Cats make a postseason, I expect a proper NIT shuffle by the Bill Carmody Rhythm Galaxy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Congratulations to the Northwestern hoops team for beating #18 Minnesota in their first win over a ranked opponent since the Vedran Vukusic era, when Northwestern defeated Iowa, which incidentally was not this game. Carmody and assistant coach, former NU starter, and headband enthusiast Tavaris Hardy have put together an exciting young team that can put up points. Scoring for Northwestern is an impressive feat because Carmody runs his deliberate Princeton offense, which limits scoring chances, leading to the football team memorably outscoring the basketball team on the same day in 2000, and a win over Purdue by the ghastly score of 40-39 over Purdue in 2004 (take a look at the box score from that game. No Northwestern player scored in double figures, and the 'Cats made no free throws in the entire game, with no player even attempting more than one freebie. Purdue's Kenneth Lowery scored 20, which astonishingly accounted for more than half of the Boilers' total offensive output).

If the Princeton offense were an animal, it would be the hippopotamus, docilely lazing about in rivers or mudpits before springing into violent action in a backdoor cut layup combination.

A typical Princeton play. Incidentally, the hippo
is one of the most deadly animals on the planet,
supposedly causing more carnage than sharks,
crocodiles, and truckasauruses. I've been
unable to successfully unearth a species-by-species
breakdown of animal related human deaths,
although it would probably end with a statistic
showing man as nature's most savage killer did I
totally just blow your mind right there or what


Northwestern's basketball program is even more futile than its football team, which is a fairly impressive feat considering the football team's pre-1995 historical ineptitude. Northwestern has never gone to the NCAA tournament, and has only reached the postseason three times. The 'Cats have, of course, won Big Ten Championships in 1931 in 1933, although in those lean times Northwestern was able to win games by bribing referees with bindles full of stew.

Northwestern's Big Ten Championship basketball

Northwestern has had five All-Americans in basketball, most notably legendary quarterback Otto Graham. Perhaps Graham's two-way success can inspire more cross-sport participation because I'd like to see the football team stocked with gangly 6'9" guys and former Yugoslavians.

The 2008-9 'Cats are led by Senior 3-point specialist Craig Moore and spindly forward Kevin Coble, who desperately needs a nickname like "The Mantis" in order to further intimidate opponents who are already rattled by the support of thousands of visiting fans in the friendly confines of Welsh-Ryan Arena. Failing that, he can just go by apparent Illinois default nickname "Juice," which has been taken by point guard Michael Thompson, Illinois quarterback Isiah Williams, and Russian Lit professor Gary Saul Morson. My favorite player on the team is gigantic freshman center Kyle Rowley, who at 7 feet and 280 pounds fills up the lane like two Aaron Jennings or multiple Vince Scotts.

Kyle Rowley (left) and Kevin Coble combine power and
finesse in Northwestern's frontcourt

Hopefully, Rowley will give Northwestern the sort of physical big man they've been lacking since former Duke transfer Mike Thompson did not pan out (not to be confused with current point guard Michael "Juice" Thompson-- I apologize for the whirlwind of Mikes and Thompsons and Juices, but I've included a diagram to straighten everything out).

Fig. 1: Figuring out what the hell was going on in that last paragraph

So far, Northwestern is 1-4 in conference play, including a strong first half against powerhouse Michigan State, two heartbreaking losses coming off blown leads against Purdue and Penn State, and an absolute stinker against Wisconsin, where Northwestern's basketball team did a passable impression of virtually every Northwestern basketball team with the exception of the 1930s Hooverville Heroes. Let's hope that the 'Cats can pull out a big upset at Michigan State tomorrow night and maybe get some NIT momentum.

Friday, January 16, 2009

BCS Must Crown Champion of Champions

College football has ended with another BCS controversy: Florida defeated Oklahoma, but of course Texas, Utah, and USC's bloodied, victorious charioteer all have vaguely legitimate claims to the title as well. The repeated claims on the title have become as tiresome as the endless nineteenth century rancor about the Schleswig-Holstein question, although I don't believe any coaches can use it as leverage to upset the balance of power in Europe in as dastardly and monacical way as Otto von Bismarck, with the possible exception of Nick Saban. Incidentally, I'm coining the word monacical, which means committing a dastardly deed while likely wearing or in possession of a monacle.

Saban comforts a humiliated and defeated Phil Fulmer, who was deposed by a
Knoxville mob days later.

Palmerston once quipped that "Only three people understood the Schleswig-Holstein Question. The first was Albert, the Prince consort and he is dead; the second is a German professor, and he is in an asylum: and the third was myself - and I have forgotten it." There are probably three similarly qualified people who came up with a reason for the BCS formula as a way to crown a football national champion, and hopefully one of them is rakish enough to be called "Lord Cupid" well into his 70s by society gadflies, the horse-racing set, and uppity footmen. I'm sick of the inevitable bleating about the BCS and the discord will end, as it did in Schleswig-Holstein, with a series of Prussian military victories and the eventual rise of the hated Kaiser with Bismarck.

On an unrelated note, one of my favorite Bismarckian intrigues involved seizing the kingdom of Hanover and using its assets to create the so-called "Reptile Fund" which he used to smear his enemies.

Bismarck's outrages included his Reptile Fund and his


The Football Bowl Subdivision clearly needs a playoff system in order to come up with an undisputed champion. At the same time, playoffs could potentially be bad for Northwestern if they mean the end to other bowl games. Right now, the college football bowl system is corrupt, money-hungry, and venal enough to rival the IOC, Serie A, and the court of Cardinal Riechlieu, but at least we know how it works. Because of Fitzgerald's commitment, recruiting, and the scheduling of Chicago Dental College on its out of conference schedule, Northwestern will get to its fair share of bowl games of varying caliber in the forseeable future. I want more crappy bowl games to increase the odds that Northwestern can play in them even if they eventually take place cold areas without a strong football tradition, such as the former Soviet Union, and I will not support any change to the BCS that jeopardizes NU's shot to play in any and all crappy bowl games.

Northwestern fans in the Belarus Industrial Borscht and Tank
Processing Plant Bowl accidentally spark a purple revolution.

The FBS needs a playoff, but let's not forget that it also needs its NIT of Humanitarian Bowls, Motor City Bowls, and defunct bowls to reward good but not great seasons and continue to give us the opportunity to watch middling teams teams play games that end with basically no consequence.


College football may be the only major competition that struggles so mightily declare a champion. For example, when British sausage makers want to find the best sausage, they do so in a proper manner, as this helpful link from explains:

"Butchers from across the UK travelled to London’s famous Butchers Hall near Smithfield Market to take part in the ultimate sausage competition – Champion of Champions."

And the butchers do not use a byzantine number of polls, computer averages, and coaches' harried assistants to come up with a winner:

"Organised by Meat Trades Journal, Champion of Champions takes award-winning sausages from around the UK and pitches them against each other in a bid to discover the ultimate champion sausage."

If you have a problem with the Champion of Champions, you can take it up with English Cricket Legend and Apparent Meat Enthusiast Phil Tufnell, who was on hand to present the trophy and, presumably, scatter any dissenting rabble with his cricket bat.

Phil Tufnell, the "Bad Boy of English

For those of you who do not passionately follow cricket, I've gleaned important information about Tufnell from Cricinfo, which I've copied here in order to give you the benefit of the writers' masterful prose.

The Bad Boy of English cricket in the 1990s, but the best spinner - left-arm or otherwise - as well. With a kick of the back leg, a skip and a jump, he had an approach to the wicket that is all his own, but Tufnell had great control of flight - he talked of his "ball on a string" - and tended to beat batsmen in the air rather than off the pitch. And the arm ball was hard to spot. His batting was more straightforward, and consisted of the shuffle to square leg when facing the fast bowlers or the optimistic waft outside off stump. Known as The Cat because of his love of dressing-room naps, he purred into action in his fifth Test against West Indies at The Oval in 1991, and produced another matchwinning performance in Christchurch that winter. But a troubled private life, a strained relationship with the establishment, and some uninspired captaincy meant he has been in and out of the team since then. Only occasionally has he returned to his mischievous, attacking best, although his Middlesex career, kickstarted by an irresistible partnership with John Emburey, never stalled. In April 2003, however, he abruptly retired from first-class cricket, to become the unlikely star of a reality TV show. Rarely seen without a beer and a fag, Tufnell has always been something of a folk hero, and he milked that to the full to carve out a successful career on TV and radio.
Don't let the cricket jargon confuse you; when you break it down and watch a game, you realize that it's basically baseball with white uniforms, square bats, and the global subjugation of various peoples.

Vital cricket equipment includes the annexation bat, the subjugation wicket, and the
treaty muttonchops

Incidentally, Tufnell is not the only major athlete with an apparent feline nickname:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Reviewing the Big Ten Bowls

The Big Ten football season has come to a disappointing close, which is bad news for a conference on the ropes in desperate need of some redemption, but good news for those who enjoy watching conference rivals humiliated by vastly superior out of conference competition in the manner of a rakish Duke absconding with the conference's marriageable daughters and spices from the Orient.

This is to therefore give you all notice, reptiles,
scoundrels, ragamuffins, poltroons, lank-jaw'd
herring-gutted plebians, that if you, or any of
you, set foot in my boats, or any part of my
property, I will send my myrmidons, like Tritons,
who shall assail you in the deep or plunge you into
the great abyss known as Aul'shole.

Wisconsin got the ball rolling particularly poorly with a 42-13 drubbing at the hands of the Florida State Seminoles. The Badgers' play in this game resembled the Bucky Badger kept at Madison zoo: listless, complacent, engorged on ground-dwelling rodents. Incidentally, badger baiting was made illegal in Britain in 1835, although the game of "drawing the badger" became immensely popular, where a dog was unleashed into a simluated badger den and the badger and dog become locked in a festive biting exhibition. The owner of the dog then pulled the dog out of the den, with its jaws hopefully clamped on the badger's tale, and owners attempted to see how many times the dog could draw the badger in a minute. A capital sport for a more civilized age.

According to this drawing, a standard badger-bait included either biting the dog's
tail or inflating it like a kiddie pool while a top-hatted henchman stood in the
corner simulating the illusion of forward movement

Thoughts on this game have already been noted at great length, so let's pull an ESPN and show a gratuitous picture of Chase Daniel's family.

Chase Daniel's great-great-great-great-great grandfather
signs a letter of intent to enter His Majesty's Service in the
Hindu Kush.

Kansas clobbered Minnesota in the last season of Gopher football in the Metrodome. I'm going to miss the Hubert Horatio Humprey Metrodome for Minnesota football, and I think the Gophers will as well, since it will be difficult for the Brewster-led spread offense to function in November without a full complement of Sherpa guides and because they'll lose the noise advantage of several thousand Minnesotans spelling the state name at the end of the Minnsesota Rouser as the O continues to linger in the dome for weeks at a time. I will miss the Hubert Horatio Humprey Metrodome not only because it was home to two of the greatest plays in Northwestern history (Victory Right and the crazy Brendan Smith interception-touchdown from this year) but also because Humphrey is forever linked in my mind with the 1972 presidential election and Hunter S. Thompson's claim that Edmund Sixtus Muskie was hooked on Ibogaine. Incidentally, googling the terms muskie hunter led to this unexpected result.

Errant google search for the terms Muskie Hunter
inadvertently provides video trolling excitement

Michigan State managed to keep Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford in check for the first half, but was unable to contain him in the second half. Georgia also did a pretty good job of bottling up Javon Ringer, who only rushed for 47 yards. This game failed to be a good enough effort to bolster the conference's flagging reputation or a spectacular enough failure to make this guy take to the airwaves in a display of berserker rage. I've always been disappointed that State is in East Lansing rather than Sparta, Michigan, which eschews the ancient city-state's ethos of militarism and helot slavery, instead boasting on its website that "The Village of Sparta is nestled near the big city lights which contain the entertainment districts and shopping venues of Grand Rapids, yet is tucked into the traditional way of life with friendly neighborhoods and traditional community values." This is Sparta.

An East Lancing

Laugh it up, Iowa. You're the only Big Ten team to win a bowl game this year, stomping on Steve Spurrier's South Carolina juggernaut 31-10. Iowans also traveled in droves to the game, as their traditional hunting and forage routes took them to Tampa Bay and the Hillsborough County area. The last thing we need is a resurgent Iowa football program, not with Drago's development of the largest corn head in the world. Joe Bollig, the DragoTec director of marketing, claims Iowans "are turning to Drago to reduce ear bounce, butt-shelling and overall shelling loss."

An Iowa fan enjoys the Hawkeyes'
butt-shelling of South Carolina

Another Rose Bowl, another clobbering at the hands of USC. This time, it was Penn State who lost 38-24. Similar one-sided results have resulted in the end of football at the Rose Bowl. In 1902, Michigan beat Stanford 49-0, resulting in the replacement of football with chariot racing. This Sports Illustrated article from 1968 chronicles the development of chariot racing in the Tournament of Roses. My favorite character is the sublimely named Ed Off, whom SI describes as "chariot racing's Man of La Mancha." Of course, any article that has a sentence start with the phrase "When his rampaging horses finally were brought under control" is worth reading. I suggest, therefore, that the Tournment of Roses bring back chariot racing. Since the Big Ten can no longer compete with USC, they should allow two current players to fling themselves around the Rose Bowl with bull penis whips and those spikes that come out of wheels in gladiator movies. This year, for example, it could have been Penn State DE Aaron Maybin versus USC's Rey Maualuga. Or, they could have let JoePa take on Pete Caroll, with JoePa negating Caroll's youth and fully functioning hips with his first-hand knowledge of chariot combat. I would pay to see this, although USC would probably still win every year.


Another "moral victory" for the Big Ten as Ohio State hung with the Longhorns until a heartbreaking touchdown with sixteen seconds left sealed the victory. Ohio State could not handle the Horns' hurry-up offense, short passing game, and inspired mullet dancing, and lost their third BCS game in a row. Texas, is, of course, led by Colt McCoy, who has been largely celebrated for his astonishingly Texan name, a name so good that he forced Jevean Snead out of Austin. Yet, in my opinion, Colt's teammate Lamarr Houston has him beat with a name celebrating Republic of Texas presidents Sam Houston and Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar.

Lamar's middle namesake loses at Risk to his
archenemy Bill S. Preston, esq.

Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar was president of the nascent Republic, which, by 1840, was in dire financial straits. Houston, Lamar's predecessor and rival, pushed for the passage of the Franco-Texian Bill, which would have granted the French rights to colonize and develop parts of Texas while maintaining a military garrison. The problem lay with the self-proclaimed Comte de Saligny, a French diplomat who took up residence in the French Legation in Austin. De Saligny took exception to a neighbor's pigs who ran rampant through the legation grounds, and the legation nearly became the site of a violent altercation between De Saligny's butler and the neighbor. Needless to say, the pig grazing quickly became an international incident. Eventually, de Saligny took his poofy wigs and toher French finery with him and went home, which led to the halting of diplomatic relations between Texas and France for a year as part of the Austin Pig War, one of two Pig Wars in the U.S. in the nineteenth century, proving that pigs cause more wars than Jenkins' body parts.