blueollie

Penalty on Abdullah wasn’t about Muslim prayer (the NFL did make a mistake of interpretation though)

Here, Husain Abdullah got a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty. Why? The knee slide was interpreted as, well a knee slide celebration:

kneeslide1kneeslide2

instead of merely getting into a position to pray. Yes, American football players have done this before.

This is a knee slide in soccer:

This was not intentional “Muslim prayers are not ok, Christian prayers are” type of thing.

Of course, people LOVE the good old self-righteous outrage. But it helps to actually know what you are talking about.

September 30, 2014 Posted by | football, NFL, religion, social/political | | Leave a comment

Football remarks

College
Navy’s loss to Western Kentucky surprised me a little. Navy doesn’t appear to be quite as sharp as last year, though Ohio State is a good team and Rutgers is respectable. But WKU: lost to Illinois and…

navywku2014

Illinois: the 45-14 loss to Nebraska was all-too-expected. Expectations are so low that the Champaign Newspaper gave the Illini team a C- for being…competitive in the first quarter? The reality is that Illinois would be a strong Sun Belt or Conference USA team; we don’t have the over all team talent to compete with Big Ten teams ….save perhaps…perhaps Purdue.

nebraskaillinois2014

But Purdue has at least played well against Iowa and Notre Dame; I am not so sure that Illinois would have stayed that close.

Texas: Kansas is not a good team; Texas winning is hardly a surprise.
Screen shot 2014-09-28 at 4.40.07 PM

Note: Kansas fired their coach Charlie Weis:

On-field results, however, weren’t the only factor that cost Weis his job. Kansas announced an attendance of just 36,904 for Texas, even after Weis pleaded with fans leading up to the game to fill Memorial Stadium.

Ugh…I know of a team that I follow that is having that sort of attendance at home games.

Notre Dame: quietly having a good season. But how will Notre Dame do against a strong Stanford squad next week?

ndsyracuse2014

Other notes: though my pick of Duke over Miami was a miss, my pick of Minnesota over a reeling Michigan team was right on.

minnesotamichigan2014

I was also surprised at how easily Northwestern handled Penn State. I saw that one; they physically whipped them.

northwesternpennstate2014

NFL
The Rams were off. The Bears reverted to form (38-17 loss at home to the Packers) and Tampa Bay rebounded from a 56-14 defeat last week to beat the Steelers 27-24; the defense got the ball back in the final minute and the offense scored with 7 seconds to go.

September 28, 2014 Posted by | college football, football, NFL | | Leave a comment

Ranking my top teams in College Football (and an NFL quip)

College Football

Of the teams that I follow (more or less):

1. Notre Dame (easy) 3-0 Predicted record: 10-2 (loss to Florida State and one other stumble somewhere)
2. Navy (two tough losses to Big Ten teams though) 2-2, Predicted record: 8-4 (loss to ND, one upset along the way)
3. Texas (38-7 over UNT, played UCLA tough) 1-2 Predicted record: 5-7: losses to Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and one more.
4. Illinois 3-1 (probably the nation’s worst “power 5 conference” 3-1 team) Predicted record: 5-7. Purdue (home), and possibly either Minnesota (home) or Northwestern (away) are the possible wins down the stretch.

Now if we are talking about the nation, as a whole: right now, I’d go with

1. Oregon
2. Alabama
3. Florida State (played tough opposition)
4. Oklahoma
5. Texas A&M

But there is a lot of football to be played..

NFL quip
How tough is NFL competition? Three weeks into the season, and there are THREE undefeated teams. THREE. Winning an NFL game is hard, no matter who you are playing.

September 23, 2014 Posted by | college football, football, NFL | | Leave a comment

Football on the brain…

Yes, there is more to talk about, but right now, I’ve got football on my mind.

Actually, I won’t actually watch any high profile games this weekend as I am traveling to my daughter’s “family weekend” at Baldwin-Wallace University. I’ll see a live football game; they are playing Bluffton. This is division III action (non-scholarship). But there will be some other games that I am interested in that I won’t be watching:

College:

Navy plays at Texas State (San Marcos, TX). Obviously, I am a Navy fan having graduated from there in 1981, but in the 1990’s, I lived near San Marcos, TX and saw some of the then Southwest Texas State games. In fact, Dennis Franchione, the current Texas State coach, coached there prior to leaving to coach at New Mexico.

This season, Navy hung with Ohio State prior to going down 34-17, and beat Temple 31-24. Texas State easily beat FCS foe Arkansas Pine-Bluff 65-0 and so has not been tested.

Of extra interest: Texas State travels to Illinois the next week! So, this game interests me on many levels.

Illinois is at Washington. If one just looks at this season’s results: Washington beat Hawaii 17-16 and beat FCS foe Eastern Washington 59-52; last season EWU was in the semi-finals of the FCS playoffs and got knocked out by Towson State. So, this season, Washington’s performance and Illinois’ performance have been comparable. Last year, a stronger Washington team beat Illinois 34-24 in Chicago.

But: over the past few years, Illinois has been a horrible road team; I just don’t trust them.

Purdue plays Notre Dame in Indianapolis. ND is 2-0 and beat Michigan 31-0 and Rice 48-17; last week Purdue got blown out at home by Central Michigan. Should be a blood bath.

UCLA plays at Texas
UCLA beat Virginia 28-20 and Memphis 42-35. Texas: beat a decent Sun Belt North Texas team 38-7 and got slaughtered 41-7 by a strong BYU team (outscored 35-7 after halftime). It would be tempting to say “easy UCLA win” but UCLA has not been that dominant this season. UCLA deserves to be favored but, well, let’s just say that BYU exposed UT’s weaknesses and UT is young on the offensive line and at quarterback.

Professional
Rams at Buccaneers: The Rams got drilled 34-6 at home by the Vikings; the Buccaneers lost 20-14 to the Panthers. The Rams are missing an all pro defensive lineman and are scrambling to find a solution at quarterback; they did beat the Buccaneers last season. But this is a different year, and the Rams are reeling.

Let’s put it this way: the Rams-Cowboys game originally had the cheapest tickets selling for 67 dollars. Now the cheap tickets are being offered for 27 dollars.

Bears at 49’ers: are you kidding me? No contest.

September 12, 2014 Posted by | college football, football, NFL | , | Leave a comment

Why I am indifferent to the Ray Rice NFL incident…

Of course, I am opposed to domestic violence; people who commit domestic violence have committed a crime and that crime should be prosecuted.

It turns out that an NFL player was seen on tape punching his then fiance (now his WIFE) and, while he had a 2 game suspension prior to this, has now been cut from his team.

Yes, his fiance hit him first, prior to them getting on the elevator. He then hit her, but did so in the elevator. Clearly, his blow wasn’t an immediate retaliation or an reflexive punch back. She assaulted him (weakly) and he cold cocked her, but later.

So, he committed a crime (so I’d think).

And the Ravens made a PR move (and probably a team cohesion move as well) to release him.

Fine, so far. Yes, there are some screamers going on about how the NFL is “misogynistic”, blah, blah, blah, but there is no evidence that NFL players are more criminally violent than other males of the same age and socio-economic background.

I’ve discussed the ethics of retaliatory striking back here.

But overall, my attitude is “what does his being an NFL player have to do with anything?”

Think about it: the vast majority of those who beat their spouses (or partners) are people that few have ever heard of. Do you do a background check to ensure your garbage man isn’t a wife beater? How about your waiter, clerk, bank official, secretary, plumber, doctor, lawyer or office coworker?

The bottom line: in our day to day lives, we judge those we interact with by how well they do the jobs we contract them to do, so why should it be different for entertainers (which is what a professional athlete is anyway)?

To me, this incident is far more troubling.

September 9, 2014 Posted by | NFL, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Football: full week…

NFL: disaster. Bears lose to the Bills in overtime 20-17 and the Rams got blistered at home by the Vikings 34-6. So much for this being a promising season. :-)

Right now: it is 28-3 49’ers over the Cowboys late in the 3’rd; not sure why Fox considered this a national marquee game. The 49’ers are among the NFL’s best; the Cowboys are, at best, mediocre and have been that way for years and years. Ok, make that 28-9, pending the extra point.

Now the colleges:

I rambled on about Illinois yesterday. I was able to follow the scores in Navy’s 31-24 win at Temple.

navytemple

Then I had time to watch either Notre Dame vs. Michigan or Texas vs. BYU; I chose the latter as Texas games aren’t as easily seen here; FS-1 carried it.

At the half it was only 6-0 BYU; the defenses dominated.

But then came the second half and that was a massacre. BYU just beat up UT at the line of scrimmage (UT had some inexperienced linemen) and it ended up being a 41-7 beat down. Here, the athletic BYU quarterback hurdles a hapless defender.

byutex2014

It was as bad as the score would indicate.

Why I stayed with this game: remember, it was only 6-0 at the half; ND was up 21-0 on Michigan at the half (ended 31-0)

ndmich2014

September 7, 2014 Posted by | college football, football, NFL | | Leave a comment

What kind of football fan I am

Workout notes cool morning; great running weather but I was heavy legged and my right heel hurt just a bit. I ran the W. Peoria course (flat); 40:38 (20:15/20:23) so it was pretty evenly paced, if slow.

Then I went to the Illinois game.

What sort of fan I am: Many know more about football than I do, especially in which team is better than which other team. I am the son of an old football coach, and a former incompetent high school football player. I started two years on the JV and one on the varsity but fared poorly against those headed to play at the next level.

So, I do know the game but not as well as some.

Many who know the game better than I do enjoy watching on the television: they have the comforts of home and can see more games; it takes time to drive to see live football.

Many who go to the game are mostly there for the experience (the music, tail gating, etc.; they want their team to win, but for some, that is almost secondary.

I am one of those who likes the game of football itself; I very much care about the action on the field.

On the other hand, I love the trappings of a game. For me, there is little better than walking into the stadium, past the vendors with program in hand, taking in the sights and smells of the cooking food.

I like watching the game and seeing the stuff that the camera doesn’t show you (e. g. that lineman who was previously out limping..and calling to be replaced, or a coach correcting the mistake made by an individual player, etc.).

For me, there is nothing like being there. :-)

September 7, 2014 Posted by | college football, football, NFL, running | , | Leave a comment

My reaction about Michael Sam

This isn’t it:

But even with the bad apples getting a LOT of publicity, NFL players are less likely to be violent criminals than other young men of the same age and socio-economic status. But I digress.

About Michael Sam:

1. He was the Rams 7’th round pick. I am actually more interested in picks 1, 2 and the pick earlier in the 7’th ground (all linemen) and note that one of the draft picks (a running back) may have already made an impact on the team. A former starting running back has been let go.

2. My reaction to seeing Sam was “OMG, he must be a babe magnet…and he is wasting that ON A GUY???” Seriously. :-) I know…I am not gay so, on the gut level, I don’t “get it”. But being stuck with nothing but guys just seems….sad and depressing.

I suppose it is like if someone really likes, say, Indian food, and can’t understand (at the gut level) why others don’t.

Football
I hope to make 3 Rams games this year (later in the season), which might include a couple of night games: 49’ers, Cardinals, Giants….maybe Broncos too.

Last year, I made the Titans, Saints, Bears and Buccaneers games.

May 17, 2014 Posted by | football, NFL, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Post Superbowl

In a way last night’s Super Bowl was like some of the previous ones; an expected close game was a rout.
I didn’t expect a blowout either. Kudos to the Seahawks. It was fun watching that defense dominate ..and the offense was far from shabby too.

What was as much (or more fun) was seeing conservative heads EXPLODING over this commercial:

(for the record: I thought that it was a good commercial, though I didn’t know what it had to do with soda-pop)

The Coca-Cola boards were attacked by outraged right wingers. So we had a little fun with them (and I threw in a “why are they singing it in Ben Ghazi) here and there, and added some misspelled tea party signs and an “English was good enough for Jesus” line)

cocacolaadmuslin

February 3, 2014 Posted by | football, NFL | , , | Leave a comment

Cold, NFL and science

Jerry Coyne has an interesting post about how he sees science being “dissed”. I’ve been over much of this; one reason is that sometimes non-replicated studies are loudly presented as break throughs when, in fact, they are merely false positives.

Cold
That jet stream appears to be stuck, thereby subjecting us to repeated blasts of cold air and others to severe drought. View the maps presented here.

Many schools were cancelled yesterday; the University of Illinois was not. That we were: kind of silly; it was actually COLDER today. But some of the Illinois snowflakes were less than pleased that they had class and vented on the internet.

Again, big school; small sample size.

NFL
It is interesting how the players are decried as “thugs” by many; some say that football promotes a “rape culture”. So I went online to look for statistics; in fact, even when one considers ALL violent crimes, there is zero evidence that NFL players commit them at a higher rate than other males their own age and race. In fact the evidence suggests that they commit such crimes at a LOWER rate. Here is the non-technical study from Duke University; “arrests, charges and conviction” data is presented and discussed.

January 29, 2014 Posted by | education, NFL, science | , | Leave a comment

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