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:


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.

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.


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.


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)


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.

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)


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.

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.

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

Now it gets real: spring 2014 duties, Sherman post game interview, etc.

Workout notes I got it done in 75 minutes. Highlights: I did the pull downs on a different machine and finished my workout with dumbbell supersets of military, one armed bent over rows, upright rows, curls.
5 sets of pull ups (sort of weak), 10 x 135, 4 x 180, 7 x 170 bench, 10 x 140 incline. etc.

My university is having a visit program today so the gym is closed for 3 hours; and in 3 hours I meet with some prospective students and then there is a department meeting.
That is reality of a professor’s life at a non-research intensive university: much of your job has nothing to do with teaching and scholarship. There are upsides too; every job has its unique characteristics.

There is an interesting article called the Death of Expertise. In some ways, I am shielded from this since my Ph. D. and research is in mathematics; I don’t have “the man on the street” telling me that I am wrong about a mathematical fact. But you see this a LOT in public policy discussions: “is this law constitutional”, “is there evidence that Keynesian economics works”; “is climate change real and did human activity affect it?”, “evolution” and “GMO topics” among many others. And yes, people get their feelings hurt when you tell them that you have no reason to take their opinion seriously.

I enjoyed last nights Seahawks vs. 49’ers slugfest; it was quite the rock-em, sock-em game. And yes, the 49’ers did have a couple of outrageously bad calls go against them, though the “non-fumble” didn’t cost them as they got the 4’th down stop the play after.

The game wasn’t sealed until 18 seconds to go, when a Seahawk cornerback deflected a fade route pass into the arms of a fellow defender. Afterward, the defender gave an epic interview (the emotions were still raw)

Personally, I LOVED the interview; it was fun to see a non-sanitized interview given right after the “heat of battle”; emotions were raw and the “PR app” had yet to load. No, I never played football at this high of a level; I was able to start on year of varsity football for a small high school and was, at best, minimally competent. The future division I prospects whipped me soundly. But I remember the motions….

So, this young man got some heat from many of the fans for a variety of reasons. I happened to like this take on it though.

January 20, 2014 Posted by | football, NFL, social/political, weight training | , | Leave a comment

It IS a game of inches: 49’er field goal almost blocked

Screenshot from the television feed:


This field goal was good…but literally went through the arms of the Green Bay defender.

Note: an alert reader pointed out that the defender was offside on the play and had he made the block, the 49’ers would have been able to try again, this time 5 yards closer.

January 6, 2014 Posted by | football, NFL | 2 Comments

Doing nothing all day

I did an 8 mile treadmill walk (1:03/37; took a break after 5 miles) and then shoveled snow. We had maybe 4-5 inches and there was some blowing.

Fortunately, what I shoveled at the start of the Bengals vs. Chargers game is only covered by a light dusting. So the “second shift” might not be such a chore.

The second game might be interesting (Green Bay vs. San Francisco); the temperature will be single digits. Will we see this?


January 5, 2014 Posted by | NFL, walking | , | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 656 other followers