Sunday, November 29, 2009

Badgers, Bowls, Basketball

Last week's cliff-hanging thriller against Wisconsin to clinch an eight-win season, fifth place in the Big Ten, and set off wild bowl speculation by Henry Bienen's most elite unit of bone diviners (while Bienen has retired from Northwestern in order to serve as Vice Chairman of Rasmussen College, Inc. and chair the executive committee of the UFL as the only man who can control Tim McGarigle's terrible vengeance upon ball-carriers, BYCTOM sources reveal that he remains in charge of NU's secret department of all sports-related occult activities-- for example did you know that the Rebecca Crown Tower turns purple after Wildcat victories not through the use of cheap plastic veneers that are not quite purple as it appears but through a terrible ancient sorcery).

Bienen, shown here in garb reserved for academics and the black arts, prefers
divination by oracle bones, as preferred in Shang Dynasty China. Thankfully,
Wikipedia's page on divination has a helpful section on other types of divination
that may be used for bowl projection-related purposes that you can do in the privacy
of your own home or coven including tasseomancy (by tea or coffee grounds),
rhabdomancy (by rods), hydromancy (by water), and gastromancy, which apparently
involves divination by using ventriloquest techniques to convince people that sounds
made by the stomach represent the voices of the dead

The 33-31 thriller continued Northwestern's trend of turning Ryan Field into an impenetrable fortress against invasion from the north, which I chalk up to a clever ruse luring Wisconsin into a false sense of security by flooding the stands with red-clad fans in a move that can best be described as a Reverse Trojan Horse after several blows to the head and exposure to mild psychotropic substances. A road team has not won in this unfortunately not annual contest since the 'Cats claimed the crazy double-OT thriller in 2000.

Bucky Badger certainly ranks tops in the world-wide Badger Mascot ratings, just
above Fulham FC's Billy Badger, shown here delaying the start of a half with his
break-dancing antics, and this generic badger costume described on this website
as the way to have a "fierce, spunky badger to represent your team, school, or
business" although it is unclear what business would be rushing to purchase this
badger unless its mission statement specifically involved terrifying children or
rival board members

Though Northwestern's bowl position is technically in the air, consensus seems to point towards the Champs Sports Bowl in Miami. The bowl selection process seems less rife with intrigue than last year, although I do enjoy that speculation about bowls involves the fact that Wisconsin has been to Florida too many times, a theory that posits that corporate executives who choose bowl pairings operate not unlike a cabal of warlords collaborating on an evening's gladiatorial festivities and dismissing teams with a "send them away they no longer amuse me" gesture.

Penn State LB Paul Posluszny looks to the Capital One executive
suite for guidance on a sack during this 2003 bowl contest


With all of the doom and gloom surrounding the basketball team after the Ryan and Coble injuries, the young Wildcats have been lining up to take over games. After a tough loss to Butler, the best team in the state, Northwestern rebounded with a 31 point explosion by "Juice" Thompson against Tennessee State and 22 from freshman Drew Crawford against Liberty University in the first round of the Chicago Invitational Tournament. But it has been all about John Shurna in the C.I.T.-- the sophomore led Northwestern to an upset against Notre Dame in the second round of the tournament with 25 and 8 against the nationally ranked squad. Northwestern's 1-3-1 zone stifled Irish All-American and possible anthropomorphic tree trunk Luke Harangody and limited Notre Dame to 31.7 percent shooting. And just like that, the switch on Northwestern's basketball program has been turned back to feisty. Just look at this typically understated post from that does not have a byline but was written by someone who is clearly being mentored by Skip Myslenski:

Mark Twain once stated that, "reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." The same holds true for the Northwestern men's basketball team.

The 'Cats went on to defeat Iowa State Cyclones in the tournament championship game, avenging themselves against teams named for violent natural phenomena after last year's NIT loss to the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Shurna again led Northwestern with 23 points to claim the tournament's most outstanding player award and serve notice that injuries have not ended the Wildcat season, as Bill Carmody continues to assail opponents with a seemingly limitless army of skinny white guys that shoot threes.

This factory churning out malnourished forwards has replaced the Former
Yugoslavia as Carmody's primary recruiting ground

Sure, the Chicago Invitational Tournament is not exactly the Final Four, or even the preseason Chicago-area tournament in the best of possible worlds, but it is also the first trophy a Northwestern basketball team has won in recent memory. The young 'Cats went through two legitimate teams, and it looks like the hoops program is in good hands with the Shurna and "Juice" tandem until the return of Coble to menace the Big Ten.


Fortunately, the Big Ten Network managed to muscle in on the game which means that there are video highlights available for the Notre Dame and Iowa State games, the latter featuring an ending so exciting that it evidently derailed the overmatched announcer enough to expect chastising from an unexpectedly materializing Arnold Schwartzenegger.

Online sports highlights have become a crucial part of the twenty-first century sports fan experience, so it is important that they are done properly. The NFL did its highlights best at first, short recaps of every game narrated by a stern-voiced announcer and punctuated by jaunty music taken from albums of free use music used to advertise summer camps in the 1980s. They replaced this system several years ago with radio calls, and now offer either radio calls or the catastrophic result of an NFL board meeting where a misguided executive decided that there are people somewhere in the country that actually want to hear Deion Sanders talk for an extended period of time. Sure, the video quality is better now and streaming more efficient, but does anyone actually believe that this is better than this?

Fortunately for Bears fans, puts out its own highlight reels narrated by John Spindle who dips into a proper NFL-level of hyperbole to describe the Bears's lackluster efforts:

For Chicago, and primarily their defense, four days of soul-searching had led to this night, no help was on the way, no cavalry was coming, only they could change their course, only they could give the people reason to believe again.
Unfortunately, the Bears have provided mainly highlights for other teams' defensive backs and wide receivers, but as the late John Facenda would have possibly said, it is better to have watchable football highlights, even if they are of Jay Cutler throwing around interceptions the way that Natty Bumpo would spray buckshot into Native Americans and the French.

BYCTOM fully supports any voodoo programs that resurrect John Facenda to
save highlights on the belief that his dulcet moans would be better
than the current setup which is like trying to watch football while being
serenaded by a veritable chorus of Menards Men

The NBA is even worse, as someone has evidently pumped some sort of amphetamines into their drinking water supply to the point where their highlights are essentially 90 seconds of random basketball activities and nicknames when all I want is a vague idea of how the Bulls are playing and whether or not Brad Miller has reason to raise his arms in triumph.

The new goal of this blog is to become a clearing house for victorious Brad
Miller images

1 comment:

DL said...

Please note that we Boston College fans also enjoy a similar fate at the hands of bowl executives. I believe the ACC guidelines now include a "BC rule" that would have potentially kept a BC team at the Emerald Bowl (even had we beat UNC two weeks ago to push to 9-3).

Who's excited for that 2011-12 BC-Northwestern Home and Home now!