Archive for December, 2006

Gally’s Bowl Picks

December 21, 2006

Here is the ultimate bowl guide. Find out who is going to win and why. Well, the why part is really only included in a few. Enjoy!

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Dec. 22, 8 p.m. New Orleans
Rice vs. Troy
Pick: Troy
Speaking from experience, if your team is playing in a bowl game in New Orleans, GO. It really doesn’t matter who you’re playing or if you win. JUST GO.

Papajohns.com Bowl
Dec. 23, 1 p.m. Birmingham, Ala.
South Florida vs. East Carolina
Pick: South Florida
Both teams played WVU, but only USF pulled out the victory. Funny how less intimidating Mountaineer Field becomes at noon on a Saturday while listening to Pam Ward call the game.

New Mexico
Dec. 23, 4:30 p.m. Albuquerque, N.M.
New Mexico vs. San Jose State
Pick: San Jose State
Considering the bowl is named after a participant, I think SJ State will be feeling disrespected. Also, does anyone think that Albuquerque would be the town it is today without Bugs Bunny?

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces
Dec. 23, 8 p.m. Fort Worth, Texas
Tulsa vs. Utah
Pick: Utah
If you are a helicopter company, is it really in your best interests to sponsor a bowl game? A lot of football fans buying helicopters these days?

Sheraton Hawaii
Dec. 24, 8 p.m. Honolulu
Hawaii vs. Arizona State
Pick: Hawaii
Another bowl named after a participant. I think Blacksburg should start the Virginia Tech Bowl. 2nd place in the ACC goes and plays in Lane Stadium. Completely neutral though. But if you are Hawaii, where else would you want to travel for a game? You live in freaking Hawaii.

Motor City
Dec. 26, 7:30 p.m. Detroit
Middle Tennessee vs. Central Michigan
Pick: Central Michigan
Congrats, you get to spend Christmas in Detroit. I hear the half-time show is a rap battle. All kidding aside, this battle is really between what to call the area between the Western and Eastern parts of your state. Is it middle or central? The ensuing bloodshed should be astronomical.

Emerald
Dec. 27, 8 p.m. San Francisco
Florida State vs. UCLA
Pick: UCLA
Anyone notice the downfall of Florida State coincides with Jenn Sterger “graduating” to do marvelous writing for CNNSI.com? Is anyone aside from FSU fans actually rooting for Bowden to get more wins than Paterno? Does anyone not either love or hate about FSU? And what’s the deal with the razor blade slot in airplane bathrooms? Are people actually shaving in there? And shaving so much, they are using up razor blades?

PetroSun Independence
Dec. 28, 4:30 p.m. Shreveport, La.
Oklahoma State vs. Alabama
Pick: Oklahoma State
There are 60-some kids at Alabama that pretty much feel like shit right now. No one wants to coach them. Hell, Miami and Florida International found coaches faster.

Pacific Life Holiday
Dec. 28, 8 p.m. San Diego
Texas A&M vs. California
Pick: Texas A&M
Seriously, does anyone travel for bowls any more? I picked the Aggies because I can completely relate to their plight. The taunt “What the hell is a (insert school mascot not an obvious animal or person)?” just isn’t that creative anymore. Yeah, we came up with something better than Wildcats or Eagles or Tigers.

Texas
Dec. 28, 8 p.m. Houston
Rutgers vs. Kansas State
Pick: Rutgers
Maybe it’s the ACC in me, but I’m pretty sure the Coach of the Year shouldn’t be playing in the Texas Bowl. Schiano is definitely Coach of 2004-2006, but not Coach of This Year. Grobe took a Wake Forest team to the Orange Bowl. Wake Forest. The freaking Orange Bowl. Schiano beat Louisville, at home. Last time I checked, one big win often fell into the Blind-Squirrel category.

Gaylord Hotels Music City
Dec. 29, 1 p.m. Nashville, Tenn.
Clemson vs. Kentucky
Pick: Kentucky
Must be pretty emasculating for the players when the game they are playing in is named Gaylord. The only way this would be acceptable is if it included “Focker” in the title. Despite the fabulous orange and purple uniforms, I think Clemson will be taken down by the Fighting Lorenzen’s.

Brut Sun
Dec. 29, 2 p.m. El Paso, Texas
Oregon State vs. Missouri
Pick: Oregon State
A bowl named after a cologne. Apparently the bowl system has decided to try that to hide its smell like the French.

AutoZone Liberty
Dec. 29, 4:30 p.m. Memphis, Tenn.
South Carolina vs. Houston
Pick: South Carolina
Just wondering how many cars will be broken down after the game. Do they get free service?

Insight
Dec. 29, 7:30 p.m. Tempe, Ariz.
Texas Tech vs. Minnesota
Pick: Texas Tech
Don’t you long for the days when this was referred to as the DotCom Bowl? That truly showed what a crappy game it was. Apparently, Insight got news of the tech crash. Papa John’s did not.

Champs Sports
Dec. 29, 8 p.m. Orlando, Fla.
Purdue vs. Maryland
Pick: Purdue
I have a problem with Purdue and Maryland playing in anything with the name “Champs” in it. Quite a fall from grace for the Terps. Win their last game over Wake Forest, and they have a shot at the BCS. They lost, and are now playing here. Dagger.

Meineke Car Care
Dec. 30, 1 p.m. Charlotte, N.C
Navy vs. Boston College
Pick: Navy
Question: Who has the longest bowl winning streak? No, ESPN, it’s not Notre Dame. BC does. No real major wins in their 6 game stretch, but they are on another streak. Look at the words that have appeared in their bowls for the past 3 years: Meineke, Tire, and Computer. Fruit makes sense to go into bowls. Tires and computers do not.

Alamo
Dec. 30, 4:30 p.m. San Antonio
Texas vs. Iowa
Pick: Texas
Now we are into some good bowls. Texas is going to win this bowl because Iowa almost lost to Syracuse. Period.

Chick-fil-A
Dec. 30, 8 p.m. Atlanta
Georgia vs. Virginia Tech
Pick: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
So let me get this straight. The bowl that has been called the Peach Bowl for almost 40 years sells out to Chick-fil-A?? Are you kidding? Virginia Tech will win because we’re awesome. The North End Zone would like to be there, but we will have to curse Stinespring the Evil Offensive Coordinator from afar. We will be taking a shot for every draw play that goes for no gain, and every play inside the 5 that doesn’t get in the end zone.

MPC Computers
Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m. Boise, Idaho
Miami vs. Nevada
Pick: Nevada
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Will anyone not enjoy seeing Miami play in 20 degree weather on blue turf? I know I will! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Outback
Jan. 1, 11 a.m. Tampa, Fla.
Tennessee vs. Penn State
Pick: Tennessee
Not that anyone will be up at 11 a.m. New Year’s Day, but this could be a good one. This may be the best sponsored bowl name ever. Honestly, if Outback wasn’t a restaurant, this could still be called the Outback Bowl. You’d have to move it Australia, but that’s cool.

AT&T Cotton
Jan. 1, 11:30 a.m. Dallas
Auburn vs. Nebraska
Pick: Auburn
Ok, so this game is starting at 10:30 local time?? Tell me this bowl system isn’t screwed up. Just try. Oh, and Nebraska is horrible. They may be the first team to ever be ranked out of process of elimination.

Toyota Gator
Jan. 1, 1 p.m. Jacksonville, Fla.
West Virginia vs. Georgia Tech
Pick: WVU Update: Georgia Tech will win!
2 teams with disappointing years. Bobby Bowden was coaching the last time WVU beat an ACC team in a bowl… he was coaching WVU. WVU is also 0-4 in the Gator Bowl. With what should be a walk in the park in this year’s game, WVU will have won 2 bowl games in a row. This is all but incredible considering the years of Don Nehlen. 4-9 in bowl games, losing 8 in a row from ’87 – ’98.
Update: After hearing of Reggie Ball’s ineligibility, I have officially changed my position. With Ball out, GT will certainly have the advantage. There is no longer anyone on the Yellow Jackets that will throw the ball to WVU defenders.

Capital One
Jan. 1, 1 p.m. Orlando, Fla.
Arkansas vs. Wisconsin
Pick: Arkansas
Why does Capital One strike me as a legitimate sponsor? I don’t feel that bad saying “Capital One Bowl”. Must be the vikings. Worst part about watching this will be hearing what’s in your wallet about 50 million times.

Rose Bowl presented by Citi
Jan. 1, 5 p.m. Pasadena, Calif.
USC vs. Michigan
Pick: Michigan
Here are the big boys. I love how one argument against using the big 4 bowl games as a playoff is that it would diminish the meaning of those bowls. Pretty sure neither of these teams are happy to be playing in the Rose Bowl right now. I pick Michigan because I may break the TV if I hear that freaking USC fight song one more time. Congrats, you gained a yard and a half. I don’t need to hear it again. You guys are like the Little Giants.

Tostitos Fiesta
Jan. 1, 8 p.m. Glendale, Ariz
Boise State vs. Oklahoma
Pick: Oklahoma
I picked Oklahoma, but no one really wins in this game. The Fiesta Bowl people must be hating life right now. 2 years ago they get treated to Utah vs. Pittsburgh. Now they get 2 teams who’s only nationally known player hasn’t set foot on a field for 2 months. Oh, there is the guy that knits on Boise State. Grandmothers all over the country will be tuning in.

FedEx Orange
Jan. 2, 8 p.m. Miami
Louisville vs. Wake Forest
Pick: Louisville
Pretty sure Wake Forest will still sleep at night after losing this game. Quite the season. Despite being destroyed by Virginia Tech. At home. Just saying, you know? Anyways, another blah BCS game that I’ll still watch because I’m addicted to college football. I think ESPN has been putting nicotine in their broadcasts for the past 10 years.

Allstate Sugar
Jan. 3, 8 p.m. New Orleans
Notre Dame vs. LSU
Pick: LSU
The last senior class to see Notre Dame win a bowl game are now 34 years old. I could say that all day. Their average margin of loss since their last bowl win: 16.5 points. They beat exactly one ranked team this year. That was an 8-4 Penn State team. Oh, and they lost 2 games by 20 points or more. They totally deserve to be here. I hope LSU makes Brady Quinn cry like he’s JJ Redick. I can’t wait until all the sportswriters born before 1960 become bedridden and retire so we can ship Notre Dame to the back of the line.

International
Jan. 6, Noon Toronto
Western Michigan vs. Cincinnati
Pick: Cincinnati
Yeah, that thing I said about the big boys, forget it for a few days. You know bowls are getting out of hand when 2 Directional Michigan teams are in bowls. I can’t even dignify this bowl with anything further. It’s in Canada!

GMAC
Jan. 7, 8 p.m. Mobile, Ala.
Ohio vs. Southern Miss
Pick: Ohio
Its Ohio and Southern Miss. In Mobile, Alabama.

Tostitos BCS Championship Game
Jan. 8, 8 p.m. Glendale, Ariz
Florida vs. Ohio State
Pick: Florida
See, here’s the thing. I hate Florida. I don’t really care for Ohio State, but I’d root for them over Florida. Except for this time. I want Florida to give us Ohio State, Florida, Michigan/USC, and possibly Louisville and Wisconsin with one loss. Plus, a possible Boise State undefeated team. Who wins? Hopefully the fans, with a better system than this.

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How the Hokies will make the NCAA Tournament

December 18, 2006

Virginia Tech Corner

Virginia Tech has not made an NCAA Tournament since 1996. At this, the 10 year anniversary, it’s time we came back. We have sat through years of Ricky Stokes and Luke Minor, but our time has come. Despite losses this season to Western Michigan, Southern Illinois, and George Washington (who isn’t any good any more), we still have a very doable road to the field of 64.

(On a tangent, we have never beaten Western Michigan. Are you freaking serious? I can understand the first time during the 1976 NCAA Tournament, but 4 straight since 2001? Granted, they have been a 20-win team a few times in those years, but still. It’s directional Michigan. Hell, we have a better record against Duke in that time period.)

So to have a shot at the tourney, a team would need to at least get to 19 wins in the regular season. Disregarding the conference tournament, we will go with 19. Currently, we are 7-3, leaving a need for 12 more wins in our next 20 games. A tough task? You bet, but its can be done.

Despite our record of losing to crappy teams early in the season, let’s assume we become a good foul-shooting team for a few games and can finish off the gimmies. The following 4 should be easy wins:

  • Campbell
  • Marshall
  • Richmond
  • UNC Greensboro

This puts us at 11-3. We also have a game in there against Seton Hall, who is tough to figure out. They are the Pirates, which as a Pittsburgh fan means they suck. (Another tangent: if my team was called the Pirates, I would definitly do my entrance to the theme from Pirates of the Caribbean.)

With the Seton Hall game and 2 against Miami, if we can come out with 2 wins from those 3 games we’ll be at 13-4 As long as Seton Hall doesn’t use the Pirates of the Caribbean Theme and Miami doesn’t stab one of our players, we could come out with 3 W’s.
13 more conference games, 6 wins needed. Let’s assume we lose to UNC twice and Duke once, putting us at 13-7. We’ll need to win 6 out of our 10 remaining games:
  • @FSU
  • Maryland
  • NC State (2 games)
  • @Georgia Tech
  • Boston College (2 games)
  • UVA (2 games)
  • Clemson

Here’s the Blueprint:

  • Beat 2 out of Clemson, Maryland, Georgia Tech, and FSU
  • Split 2 of the home-and-home sets
  • Sweep one of the home-and-home sets
There it is. 19 wins, and a shot at the tourney. An extra win in the season or in the ACC Tournament would all but lock it up. The toughest part will be getting a 2 game sweep over NC State, BC, or UVA, but it can be done. To wrap this all up in a nice neat package:
  • 4 gimmie wins – take care of business
  • 2 out of 3 against the Pirates and Thugs
  • Beat 2 out of Clemson, Maryland, Georgia Tech, and FSU
  • Split 2 of the home-and-home sets
  • Sweep one of the home-and-home sets
All of that equals dancing in March. I don’t even care what seed or how far we go. The first step is to make it… for the first time since it was still called Virginia A & M.

Sean Salisbury was on Battlebots

December 11, 2006
Here at The North End Zone, we don’t particularly care one way or the other about Sean Salisbury. Granted, we almost always rooted against him when he faced off against John “Live from the Clayton Cave” Clayton, but no deep rooted animosity. However, as will be the tradition every year, we will be reminding the millions of our readers that Sean Salisbury used to be on Battlebots.

Not only was he on Battlebots, he got his broadcasting career started on Battlebots. Battlebots, for those not familiar with the best robot-fighting television show on Comedy Central between 2000 – 2004, has a slue of A-list stars that can call the show their alma mater:
  • Sean Salisbury
  • Bill Dwyer – Famous for his insightful commentary on “The Sports List” with Summer Sanders, seen Sundays during football season from 1pm – 6pm on Fox Sports.
  • Carmen Electra – Famous for having some fine work on “Singled Out” with Chris Hardwick.
  • Traci Bingham – Not real sure why she’s famous…
  • Sklar Brothers – Famous for having the most watched show on ESPN Classic.
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy – Our hero. Period.

With the future success of that lineup, I guess you could call the Battlebots crew the second coming of the “Not Ready for Primetime Players”. I hadn’t seen sports announcing that good since Mike O’Malley was on GUTS.

Before Deadspin came along, we thought we were the only people in the world screaming at the television every time John Clayton did not use the argument, “Sean, you were on freakin’ Battlebots.” Now we know that others noticed, and we are proud to be the beacon of truth. In a year’s time, assuming we’re still here by the grace of God, we will once again pronounce to the masses that Sean Salisbury really has no right to analyze football. He used to analyze fighting robots.

The box is locked. The lights are on. It’s robot fightin’ time!!

The only thing ESPN can’t overhype: The Jimmy V Foundation

December 6, 2006

Last night was the annual Jimmy V Classic. It is a couple of basketball games hosted at the MSG. However, that is not the real story. The real story is what the Jimmy V Classic is for. It is for The Jimmy V foundation: a foundation that promotes cancer research.

I digress to why I am writing this blog today. In between the two games played throughout the course of the Jimmy V Classic, ESPN airs the ESPY speech of Jimmy Valvano from 1993. If anyone ever watches this 13-minute speech, in full, they will be emotional touched by it. I know that I make it a point to be home every year to watch it, and every year it chokes me up a little bit. It is just him talking to the crowd about life in the face of his impending death.

I remember the first time I saw this speech as a kid. My dad sat me down when it was happening live and said, “Listen to this man; he is about to die from cancer.” As a kid I did not realize what was really going on. But, I understood about 6 years later when my father was diagnosed with the same cancer that took Jimmy Valvano’s life. So, every year I watch and I listen to a man who is trying to be so strong in the face of his own death and all he wants to do is make people’s lives better. And every year I get sad, shed a few tears, and a couple of days later I donate to the Jimmy V fund (after the website stops getting overwhelmed). So Jimmy, wherever you are, I hope you know that we are still fighting the good fight, in your honor, for everyone who has suffered and will suffer this illness after you. Jimmy, we “will never give up” trying to find a cure for a illness that took you away from so many people so soon.

 

If you would like to donate to the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research please go to www.JimmyV.org.

The Fightin’ Calculators will surely rise!!

December 4, 2006

From the “Too Good to be True” Department, we are proud to announce the kickoff of the “Find Carnegie Mellon a Mascot” contest.

The school’s nickname is the Tartans, which according to the website: “may bring to mind kilts, bagpipes and an assortment of Scottish Terriers.” (To us it brings to mind some sort of breakfast food.) So rather than settling for Groundkeeper Willie, the school is looking for good ideas from dedicated fans.

With the mighty popular reference to the Carnegie Mellon Fightin’ Calculators in a previous post, we feel obliged to send in our recommendation as well as spread the word. We are officially endorsing the Calc as our pick, but feel free to clog the CMU inbox with great suggestions. Don’t worry, the computer kids probably already have super CMU filters to send the bad ones to the junk mail. Here are a few other third-party canidates:

– Some crazy random anime character

– Cartman’s dwarf character from the World of Warcraft

Test Opscan

As you can see, nothing really stands up to a calculator. “Calcy” will win it all, we are sure. Sorry to any CMU people out there for playing to the dorky perception, but we are pretty jealous of your sweet post-graduate jobs and all. And that Steve McQueen went to your school. And that he was so cool, he got kicked out for riding his motorcycle through the liberal arts building. Maybe the mascot should be a guy in a turtle-neck riding his motorcycle like the FSU Seminole.