Rams -Cardinals 2011 in St. Louis

Ok, this wasn’t exactly a preview of the NFC championship game. 🙂 But I love high level football and I got decent tickets fairly cheap; they were on the goal line, on the first row of the upper deck. They were high up enough to provide a good game perspective but low enough to where I really didn’t use my binoculars. One worry: my short wife had trouble seeing over the rail though I didn’t (she is 5′ 2″ whereas I am 6′ 0″).

I’d go to more games, but it is about a 3 hour drive to the Jones Dome from my house.

(photos from yahoo)

The game started reasonably well; though the offense didn’t do much, the Rams struck first blood with a spectacular punt return for a touchdown.

From then on, save some turn overs, the Cardinals controlled play with their ground game (268 yards!). They had a ton of success with power sweeps. Still they were held to a first half field goal, and they made some mistakes that the Rams failed to take advantage of. An interception gave the Rams the ball on the Cardinal 31, but on third down a blind side sack (the defensive end beat the offensive tackle) caused a fumble, which the Cardinals recovered.

In the second quarter, the Rams ended the half with a nice 63 yard drive which got them down to the 3 yard line with a 1’st and goal; about 1:20 was left in the half. But an illegal motion penalty followed by a sack pushed the Rams back…and then the Rams deliberately let the clock tick down instead of trying a couple of shots at the end zone. Instead, they let it tick down to 12 seconds, tried an end zone pass, and then kicked a long field goal to go up 10-3 at the half.

The Cardinals won the 3’rd quarter; they started with a long drive (lead by a spectacular run) which lead to a field goal.

The Rams promptly fumbled the ball away, and that lead to a Cardinal touchdown.

The Rams had to punt and that lead to a punt return for a touchdown; the kicker kicked the ball down the middle whereas the Rams had prepared for “half field” coverage.

And the end of 3, it was 20-10 Cardinals. The Rams did drive for a field goal to cut it to 20-13 early in the 4’th.

On the Cardinals first possession of the 4’th, they threw an interception. But though the Rams started at the Cardinal 37, they could do little with the ball and ended up missing a field goal attempt (50+ yards).

After an exchange of punts, the Rams got another fumble at the Arizona 43; they converted this one into a touchdown (pass) to tie the game 20-20. But the Cardinals returned to their strong ground game and went up 23-20 following a long drive.

The Rams still had time to win the game, but ended up with 4’th and 1 at their own 37 yard line with 3:15 to go. They had to punt (I thought) and the Cardinals ended up running out the rest of the clock; the Rams couldn’t stop them from running.

The opportunities were there, but too many were wasted.

Note: running back Steven Jackson is a workhorse and has had a fine career. But he seemed a 1/8’th of a step slow; he was an inch or two from busing a big play man times but got brought down by shoestring arm tackles. 2-3 years ago he would have broken off big plays.

November 30, 2011 Posted by | football, NFL | , | Leave a comment

My Favorite Football Fight Songs and War/Pep Chants

Workout notes Slept in; 2 mile warm up run on the treadmill (19:30), Deek 4 x 800 with 200 float + 200 workout: 27:33
8:45, 8:47, 9:00 (26:33), 1:00 (27:33). Then, I ran 1 cool down mile (9:45) on the treadmill.

Then squats (3 sets; 2 were 10 x 135 on the Smith), leg presses (3 sets), lunges (2 sets), hip hikes, 10-15 minutes of yoga on my own.

Football Fight Songs/Chants
Of course, I follow Illinois, Navy, Texas and Notre Dame and will therefore be partial to these fight songs/chants. But I have to admit that there are some fight songs from some bitter rivals that I actually like. I’ll start with the non-fight songs:

My favorite Rally Chants

Let’s Go Blue (Michigan, but Navy uses this too)

Illinois War Chant (usually on 3’rd down when the opposition has the ball)

Go ‘Horns Go; whenever the team needs a boost.

This is Wisconsin’s “Hot Time” that they play after touchdowns:

Now for the Fight Songs

Teams I follow
I am a bit partial, but Anchors Aweigh is my favorite

I still get fired up when I hear “Texas Fight”; I’ve watched Texas far more than any other team (2 years in while in high school, 1 year after college, 6 years as a grad student, then whenever I can)

Notre Dame: I’ve been a life long fan and can’t shake the habit; however I’ve only seen them play a handful of times in person (3 times against Navy, twice against Purdue, once against Texas A&M).

The Illinois Loyalty/Oskee Wow Wow is often done prior to the game and at half time.

Note: I had Illinois State season tickets for a couple of years; they have a decent fight song too:

Bitter Rival Songs
I should dislike these songs as these teams are my team’s top rivals. Nevertheless….I enjoy them. They really are catchy tunes.

USC’s song: it is hard for me not to think of football excellence when I hear this. Of course, this song also gives me nightmares. 🙂

Another Notre Dame (and Illinois) nemesis: Michigan. They have one of the all time classics.

There is not a team I dislike more than Texas A&M. I like nothing about the Aggies…except for their song and yell traditions. They really are cool..and the Aggie War Hymn still gives me chill-bumps.

Oklahoma is perhaps the most bitter rival of the University of Texas and they have a dominant football program. And yes, I get sick of hearing their song when they are pounding UT. Nevertheless, it is a catchy one and one I find myself humming.

Certainly Army is Navy’s top rival…by far. Air Force is a distant second though we still love beating them. Of course, there is a ton of mutual respect between these institutions. They have cool fight songs too.

Air Force

Fight Songs of Non Bitter Rivals

I sometimes find myself humming the Minnesota Rouser

Rocky Top Tennessee, along with the Rouser, is one of my favorite fight songs from a team that I don’t follow. I find myself humming this one too.

When Illinois plays Wisconsin, I hear this way too much. Nevertheless it is a classic.

My best friend is an Ohio State graduate. Their song is one of the most recognizable:

Alabama’s song is also heard frequently; it is another that I recognize upon hearing.

Who could mistake one of Georgia’s fight songs for another schools?

UCLA’s song is very distinctive.

My wife has a doll that plays the Arkansas fight song; it is a fun one.

November 29, 2011 Posted by | college football, football, running, time trial/ race, training, weight training | 1 Comment

Final Push, 2011 Fall Semester

Workout notes
Weights and 1000 yard swimming; I had some catching up to do prior to class.
Weights: the only thing somewhat different is that I got 5 x 170 in the bench press. Physically, I am getting stronger.

Now back to work; I didn’t do anything over break and am now paying the price.
I enjoyed the Rams-Cardinals game though the Rams lost.

November 29, 2011 Posted by | swimming, weight training | Leave a comment

Illinois-Minnesota Football liveblog

Ok, I just watched the exciting Ohio State vs. Michigan football game which Michigan won 40-34; the game was sealed when OSU failed on 4’th down with 39 seconds to go.

One weird play: with 2:38 left, Michigan evidently scored a touchdown which would have put them up 44-34 (after hthe PAT). But a video review showed (maybe) that the knee was down when the ball was just outside the end zone. So on 3’rd and goal from the one inch line, the Michigan quarterback scored….but then the touchdown was called back by a holding call…and then it was followed by a dead ball personal foul. Michigan lost 25 yards! They made the field goal to go up by 6, leading to the exciting conclusion.

What surprised me: Ohio State’s passing game. It is MUCH imrproved from a few weeks ago.

Michigan out gained Ohio State 462 to 368, but a fumble and a dropped punt snap lead to Ohio State scores. OSU threw one interception on their last possession of the game.

Illinois vs. Minnesota

I picked Illinois to win this game; the reason is that Minnesota’s Sagarin rating is 61.76, which fits right in with the Sagarin ratings of Illinois first 6 opponents (average 66.7; highest was Arizona State at 77; next was Arkansas State and Northwestern at 71).

But Coach Zook’s job is in jeopardy. Here is the main reason why (I think)

This was right before Kickoff at the Illinois-Wisconsin game. Note that Wisconsin came in ranked and the day was in the 50’s; not bad for November in Illinois. 45,000 fans in a 60,000 seat stadium isn’t going to cut it.

Now back to the game

So far, Minnesota has had 3 full possessions and 3 first downs and three punts. Illinois has had zero first downs and Scheelhaase has been sacked twice…already! The bright spot is that the Illinois punts (3 of them) have been effective.

The line has opened no holes and has not given time to throw.

First quarter: -9 yards rushing; 6 yards total offense and zero first downs. Ugh.

Next possession: sacked again! Scheelhaase is taking another beating; he has been sacked 3 times. Well…we got a fumble so this time Illinois fumbled before they could punt.

Touchdown Minnesota; quarterback keep up the middle for 16 yards. 7-0 gophers. Total yards: 83-3 in favor of the Gophers.

Well, progress for the Illini on the next series: 3 plays and no fumble, though Scheelhaase got sacked again (4 times!).

Minnesota IS moving the ball however. 46 yard drive, touchdown Gophers. 14-0;
Total yards: 131 to ZERO. Good gracious.

Illinois puts in O’Toole as quarterback. Uh, quarterbacks don’t block. Hey, Illinois picked up all of 8 yards on that drive; that is progress, I guess.

Oh goodness; their quarterback is running on us, scrambling and making passes. I am beginning to think that they wish that they could play us every game.

Well, the defense held them to a field goal. Total yards: 192 to 8, Gophers. 17-0.


Best play of the half for the Illini; Pollard makes a nice kickoff return to the Illinois 31.

Illinois FIRST DOWN…first one with 50 seconds to go!!!!!

Dropped pass. Illegal procedure penalty. Well…zero yards on the second series of downs. That last play was so poorly blocked it looked like a screen pass. Now they have the ball at their own 40.

They move it 26 yards and hit a 51 yard field goal. 20-0 Gophers.
Note: the announcers said that Minnesota looks like a 9-2 team. Well, look at who they are playing. Total yards: 218-19.
We are making them look like LSU.

Second Half
One first down so far , all on running. The line is opening some holes for a change. Well…ONE first down. When Illinois went to passes, the quarterback had no time to throw.

Hew Minnesota took 4 minutes to move 57 yards and score a touchdown. 27-0 Gophers. Egad.

Next possession: fake punt was well executed; Illinois first down. There haven’t been many.

Another first down; Illinois is at their own 45. That is as deep as they have gone. OMG, another first down; in Minnesota territory for the first time. The no-huddle seems to work.

Personal foul on Minnesota…late hit out of bounds. Illinois has its first threat!

Touchdown; Pollard on the ground. The line tends to block better from the no-huddle.

Hey, Illinois gets a stop; Mercilus got a sack and the special teams force a bad punt.
There is hope; I had thought that when it went to 27-0 that the team had quit.

Goodness; the offense went backwards; 4’th and 28. Now they have it at their 40.

End of the third: total yards are now “only” 270 to 119, but the lead is still 20 and the Gophers are driving.
The bright spot: the fake punt for 9 yards, and 76 rushing yards in the third quarter.

Minnesota dropped a pass and so had to punt; Illinois ball on the 15. Will there be another long drive or the usual?
One first down on the ground. Unfortunately we are at a place where everything has to go right, and they seldom do.

Break on a punt; now Illinois starts in Minnesota territory but a pass receives a dubious “no call for interference”. Scheelhaase played one play, now O’Toole comes in?

First down at the Gopher 22….still some hope.
Down to the 10…another first down! The hurry up offense is working.

But only 7:08 is left.

Got it to the 10; then on 4’th and goal from the 4, the team executed poorly and the quarterback was trapped for a loss. Now Minnesota has drove it a bit and there are 3:00 to go.

At least the Illinois coaching staff hasn’t quit; they called a time out with 2:49 to go.

Well, the quarterback called a keeper and have got it to the Illinois 48. Minnesota is just running the ball now.

Final: 27-7 Gophers. This is by far Illinois worst loss of the year.

(photos mostly from yahoo)

November 26, 2011 Posted by | college football, football | | Leave a comment

Stats, cells and ice

Great Scientists: not always right about every science issue. Jerry Coyne presents a great example of this.

Statistics This is a cute little article about the normal distribution that should be understandable by the non-mathematically inclined.

Economics Paul Krugman points out that it really isn’t the 99 percent vs. the 1 percent but rather the 99.9 percent vs. the 0.1 percent.

Frogs and Toads The Texas wildfires are endangering the rare Houston toad.

Death in the sea: there are conditions by which the cruelly cold conditions above the sea can seep into the lower, warmer depths via “brine-cicles”.

I wonder how this affects the water currents around these things. But this is a classic case in which there can be localized variations leading to non-homogenous situations.

November 26, 2011 Posted by | biology, economics, economy, evolution, mathematics, physics, science, statistics | Leave a comment

FOLEPI 4 Mile race: 2011 edition

I did this race in 2008; my time for that one was 31:26.
Note: I was in the lower 24’s for the 5K during this era.

Today: rainy. I got to the race later than normal; they didn’t have my bib number nor shoe tag so I had to get that fixed.
I took one of the later buses to the start line; this race is point to point and features about a 300 foot elevation drop.

The day was chilly (high 40’s-low 50’s;(10 C)) and rainy.
The bus was crowded and a spandex clad young woman sat next to me. She told someone else: “there is room for three on this seat” and pressed up against me. That bothered me sooooooo much. 🙂 (she is a newer runner who is working up to a half marathon).

I had time to jog about .7 of a mile or so; I needed some warm up, but I wanted to avoid going out too fast. Evidently, I went out too fast anyway, though that wasn’t clear until the last .7 miles or so when I got worn down.

I was closer to Lupe Martinez than prudent and I was ahead of Mike Rucker for a while; that was a mistake. Still, I really didn’t feel THAT bad; those 8 x 400 with 200 meter float workouts are paying dividends. But I don’t have the “running strength” that comes from doing longer tempo runs and those 8-10 milers. I need to work up to those if I want to be effective in distances over 5K.

Back to the race: I started gently and moved out to 7:59 for mile 1. The course really started to drop and I did the second mile in 7:44 (15:44); I felt as if I were staying within myself. The next mile didn’t have as steep of a drop but I kept the turn over up and I hit that in 7:49 (23:32 for 3 miles; roughly 24:22 for 5K). I felt ok but was tiring….then about .2 miles into it I gave in and walked…started up and walked again. Finally I made myself go slowly and then gradually picked it up; it was here when I lost places…a lot of places.

Mike Rucker got me back and Lupe was out of sight.

I picked it up again and saw the clock under 32; I started to pick it up. An XC coach yelled “look at the clock” and I tried to get 32 but had no “sprint”. That last mile took me 8:22 and got me into 31:55 (my watch) and 32:02 official. I did take a few counts to get to the start line as it was a flag start and I didn’t get to the start line right away.

So, I wish that I could have toughed it out; looking back on it I would have take an few “short easy strides” before walking.

But this represents another improvement; evidently my body is starting to “get” running again.

Fun: Theresa joked with me that I’d beat her by at least 5 minutes; it turns out that the margin was about 5:30. That surprised me a bit; she was ahead of me this summer .

November 26, 2011 Posted by | running, time trial/ race | Leave a comment

Peoria Trot for Tots 2011

This is a 2 mile run along the parade route. Last year, it took me 17:02.

Yes, this is me:

This year saw an all-but-perfect day and I was out there. I lined up slightly further up and went after people. I caught a few at about 9 minutes, but got nailed a few times down the stretch; the ultimate “insult” is when a young girl outkicked me at the finish line. 🙂

Nevertheless, I finished in 15:16 which is much better than I’ve done in the recent past, though this used to be my half marathon pace.

Note: this was a hard effort for me; I could NOT have kept this up for 5K. At the end I was seriously talking myself out of walking; being on the parade route and having some wind at my back at the end helped.

November 26, 2011 Posted by | running, time trial/ race, training | Leave a comment


Texas 27, A&M 25.

Enjoy the SEC, Aggies. 🙂

Texas, aided by a questionable personal foul call, drove it for the game winning field in the final 1:48 after falling behind 25-24. A&M raced to a 13-0 lead and the UT offense did nothing; UT scored on a trick play after an interception. But it was 16-7, Aggies at the half.

In the second half an interception return got UT to withing 16-14, then a punt return got UT to the Aggie 9. UT couldn’t move but kicked the field goal to go up 17-16.

Another interception set UT to go up 24-16.

The Aggies got it back, drove the ball and kicked a field goal to cut it to 24-19.

The Aggies won the battle of field position, got the ball back at the 40 and took it in to go up 25-24, but missed the 2 pointer. That set up UT’s comeback.

(photos from Yahoo)

November 25, 2011 Posted by | college football, football | Leave a comment

Republicans: this is why I think that you are emotionally retarded.

Fox News: they are complaining about President Obama’s Thanksgiving Address.

Why? He didn’t “mention god”.

The president said the “most American of blessings” is the “chance to determine our own destiny.”

He called the very first Thanksgiving a “celebration of community”

“We’re also grateful for the Americans who are taking time out of their holiday to serve in soup kitchens and shelters, making sure their neighbors have a hot meal and a place to stay,” he said. “This sense of mutual responsibility – the idea that I am my brother’s keeper; that I am my sister’s keeper – has always been a part of what makes our country special.”

The president said that belief is “one of the reasons the Thanksgiving tradition has endured.”

But nowhere in the 11-paragraph address does he mention the Almighty.

Gee, no mention of the invisible man; instead he talked about real people.

True: on a global scale, humans are doing better. There are fewer genocides, less war, fewer victims of violence.

But thanks to the internet, I am more in tune with what our stupid, superstitious segment of our society is thinking…and in that case I’d rather remain ignorant. 🙂

November 24, 2011 Posted by | Fox News Lies Again, morons, religion, Republican, republicans, republicans political/social, social/political | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving 2011: Gene Distribution and Other Topics

Workout notes 7 am yoga class with Ms. Vickie; we moved constantly and I ended up dripping with sweat. Then I lifted at the Riverplex:

Rotator cuff
Pull downs: 12 x 137.5, 2 sets of 7 x 150
Rows: 15 x 90, 2 sets of 10 x 110
curls: 20 x 50, 2 sets of 10 x 80 (pulley)
bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 170, 2 x 170 5 x 155, 9 x 155 (lost concentration on middle 2 sets)
incline bench: 4 x 135, 9 x 125
dumbbell military: 2 sets of 15 x 40 (seated)
Sit ups: 4 sets of 30 at the highest incline.

ThanksgivingBarbara made sausage and rice and we went to the UU Church potluck.


Evolution and genes
This is an interesting post at Sandwalk (Larry Moran’s blog). It talks about genetic variation and how future gene pools come from a population that is considerably smaller than the total population; hence if you trace back our gene lines, we run into others sooner that we might realize.

It’s estimated that half the population of Great Britain claims to have descended from William the Conqueror who defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Not all claims meet the rigorous standards of professional genealogists but it’s quite reasonable that there are millions of direct descendants of William.

Back in 1400 it was less likely that you were a descendant of William because there were fewer generations and fewer descendants. This was a problem for aspiring nobility and minor landholders so they tended to settle for the next best thing—they claimed descent from one of the companions of William who accompanied him from Normandy and fought at the Battle of Hastings. Gradually the list of companions grew and grew because if you couldn’t prove you were related to an existing companion, you just made one up. […]

Let’s assume that there are 20 well-documented companions. Only one of these (William Mallet) has possibly passed on his Y chromosome to the present time and even that male line of descent is disputed. This is fully consistent with our understanding of genetics when you consider that most male lines are likely to die out in a few generations. Those that survive ten generations or so are unlikely to become extinct since there will likely be several male lines at that time.

This is another post about quantum states: are these just a calculation device or do these represent “real” states?

Susan Jacoby doesn’t believe that overcoming suffering with the help of an invisible man is a credential to be president.

The nerve! 😉

November 24, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, atheism, evolution, nature, politics, republicans, science, superstition, weight training, yoga | Leave a comment