Illinois Football: ranked behind HARVARD in the power ratings!

Illinois has a power rating of 64.53, last in the Big Ten (Sagarin Power ratings)

Only ahead of Wake Forrest in the ACC.
Dead Last in the Big East.
Only ahead of Kansas in the Big 12.
7’th in Conference USA.
5’th in the MAC
6’th in the Mountain West.
Only ahead of Washington State and Colorado in the Pac 12.
Dead last in the SEC.
5’th in the Sun Belt
4’th in the WAC.
4’th in the Missouri Valley…a FCS (aka I-AA) conference, barely ahead of Illinois State!
Behind HARVARD in the Ivy League! (no, I am not kidding)

Oh boy. I didn’t expect this.

September 30, 2012 Posted by | college football, football | 4 Comments

Bridge to Bridge: a slow one but….

Well, I am not over my illness (completely anyway) but was recovered enough to complete the distance safely.
Besides, it was my chance to run with Tracy; this is something we haven’t done in a while.

So I went and managed to squeeze in a 7-8 minute warm up jog.

The skinny: 8:09, 8:07, 10:25 (?), 8:47 for 35:29 (my watch; a few seconds slower “by the gun”). Note: during the 10:25 “mile”, I held my position relative to the others. Note: I finished 184 out of 695 and the winning time was listed as 25:30 (which makes no sense for a winning time for a race this size, unless the course was long).

What happened: I had been sick (sick as a dog on Thursday, a little better on Friday, better on Saturday) so I knew that I wouldn’t be at my best. But upon warming up…well…I was ALREADY out of breath but my legs felt fine. I had a “bounce” in my step. So, I figured that I’d have to start off slowly; I lined up right in front of the 10 minute per mile pace.

The start got us winding around and onto the road to the Bob Michael Bridge; I was surprised that my mile 1 was 8:09. I was also surprised to move past some that I had been racing. I told myself: “this effort, the whole way”.

We then got on a bike path and I got in behind a threesome of 30 year old women and followed them for a bit. This was sort of “back and forth” time and mile 2 came at 16:16; I didn’t feel that bad. I thought “under 33, maybe?”.


Then came the Cedar Street Bridge. That was quite the climb (86 feet above the water) and the hill comes in three stages: up ramp, gradual climb, then an extra hump in the middle. Yes, I train on hills all of the time and I managed to move ahead of my “threesome” but got passed by others. But imagine my surprise when I got to the mile 3 marker; 10:25??? I’d imagine if I were really that slow I would imagine that I would be getting passed; instead I held my own.

But my quads were trashed and I felt it; the downhill was nice but then there was a mild upramp and I spent the last mile talking myself out of walking. I kept at it but lost some ground and got passed by my threesome again.

We turned left into the baseball field and ran around the warning track of the outfield and finished on the 3’rd base line between third base and home plate. I believe my last mile time (8:47) as I was pretty tired and my last 800 meter time. I wonder about the total length though; Garmin results I heard were 4.23, 4.2, 4.19, etc. (and these were from those who ran the tangents).

1. I enjoyed going with Tracy (who finished in 54 minutes; slow for her)
2. I got a good work out and was faster than I had anticipated (given my cough, weakness, etc.)
3. I finished either even with or slightly ahead of those I normally race (even with this bug) I still have an annoying cough.

1. My last mile was still weak; I didn’t have the internal courage to really go hard and take a risk.

One of my favorite rivals wore spray painted on spandex tights (albeit with the dreaded “long shirt”) but wasn’t interested in running fast today; hence she wasn’t there to pull me along in that last mile when I was running out of gas.

September 30, 2012 Posted by | illness, time trial/ race | 7 Comments

Penn State 35, Illinois 7: lack of discipline?

Well, I went to the Penn State vs. Illinois game. It ended 35-7 Penn State, and yes, it was that bad; not that Illinois didn’t have chances or give away multiple chances.

The opening series of the game and the two closing series of each half told the story.

Opening series: the Illini defense gets a 3 and out stop and force a punt. Illinois fumbles the punt. Penn State recovers. Illinois forces a field goal attempt, which they make (more on that later). But they rough the kicker, giving Penn State a first down. They eventually punch it in; 7-0 Penn State. It was that kind of day, all day long.

Illinois goes nowhere on offense, punts, then Penn State drives the ball….easily. 14-0 Penn State and it is midway though the first quarter. Illinois gets that “here we go again” feeling.

Illinois punts again but the defense stiffens and holds Penn State on downs at the Illinois 34. Then a potential momentum swing: the Illini break a 52 yard run off of misdirection to the Penn State 15! But Illinois stalls…and misses a short field goal. The stadium groans in unison.

Then an exchange of punts…and another good drive by the Illini! The get the ball to the 13 and on 4’th and 1: they go for it and…get stopped. Penn State responds with a long drive and it is 21-0; Illinois has blown two great scoring opportunities.

But they get the ball back and go for it on 4’th and 10 from the Penn State 40…and make it! They drive down…and eventually have it 4’th and goal at the 4 with 20 seconds to go. This is the THIRD scoring opportunity. So….Illinois throws and interception and the linebacker runs it almost all the way and gets tackled on the ONE YARD LINE as time expired…but it didn’t. Penn State first and goal at the Illinois 1 with 1 second. They try a field goal: BLOCKED. 21-0 at the half with a wild finish. Momentum?

Second half: Illinois gets it and there is an exchange of punts.

Illinois pins Penn State at their own 1 with a punt and the defense gets a stop. Then after a running play, a 22 yard pass sets up a trick play: lateral pass to a running back who hits an open receiver in the end zone! 21-7 and Illinois has life!

Penn State drives and turns it over on downs at the 31 (no field goal kicking). But they force a short punt and Penn State responds with a drive
and a touchdown. 28-7. Fans start to leave. Illinois throws an interception. More fans leave. Penn State drives it 50 yards. It is now 35-7 and the stadium starts to empty though almost 1 quarter remains.

Another punt lead to a Penn State drive which ground out clock and Penn State turned it over on downs at the Illinois 18; I was a bit surprised they didn’t practice their field goal given that only 6 minutes remained and the game was in hand.

But Illinois had one more drive left. They really tried….and they got the ball down to the 1 yard line with a few seconds to go. Time for one play at the 1; the people left in the stadium cheered: Illinois fans wanted the game ending TD; the Penn State fans wanted a stop.

What’s new: running play into the middle of the line: stuffed. That is 4 times deep into Penn State territory with zip to show for it (two downs, one interception, one missed field goal).

The total yards were close: 384-366 Penn State. But Illinois had 3 turn overs; Penn State zero. Illinois made repeated mental errors and two stupid personal fouls. None for Penn State.

Where Penn State is an average football team right now, Illinois is terrible.

True, Louisiana Tech is 4-0 after being Virginia 44-38 (up 44-24; UVa. scored with 2:30 left to make it interesting) Arizona State is 4-1 but still lost to Missouri. Penn State lost to Virginia by 1 point (missed several field goals) to Ohio by 10 at home and beat Navy and Temple. So those teams that blew us out are “good but not great” teams.

Until we get a bit of discipline in our play, we’ll remain at the level of a middling Sun Belt or MAC team.

The positives: Illinois moves the ball well “between the 20’s”.

Photos: via University of Illinois football website.

September 30, 2012 Posted by | college football, football | | Leave a comment

More toward the end of the race

Yes, that says what you think it says. My guess: I got on Crazy Rick’s (Santorum) list when I gave him a small donation.

I haven’t opened it yet. 🙂

My prediction:

And I think that Intrade is close to having it right:

Could Mitt Romney still win? Sure; after all 70 percent free throw shooters miss free throws all the time, and I’d guess that Mr. Romney’s chances of winning the election are about the chances of a good NBA shooter missing a free throw. Not likely, but possible.

Here Nate Silver describes how he thinks that it could happen (his model gives President Obama about an 81 percent chance of winning):

Speaking of silver linings: Friday’s poll numbers were a bit more hopeful for Mitt Romney, at least as compared to his extremely poor numbers over the past week or so. A number of swing state polls congregated at a lead in the low- to mid-single digits for Mr. Obama, but we weren’t seeing as many polls with him ahead in mid- to high-single digit leads.

Mr. Obama’s lead also declined by one point in the RAND Corporation’s national tracking poll, and by two points in the Ipsos online tracking poll, and in a poll published by United Press International. It held steady at six points, however, in the Gallup national tracking poll.

Our “now-cast,” which looks at the polls alone and does not account for the economic data, held steady on Friday, suggesting that it would be premature to make too much out of these shifts. A couple more days’ worth of polls like this, however, and Mr. Romney might be able to make the case that Mr. Obama’s momentum has abated some.

The smart money is that Mr. Obama’s standing in the polls will erode some between now and Nov. 6, especially if we continue to see the mediocre economic data that we did on Friday. It is probably too late in the election cycle for the economic data alone to prevent Mr. Obama from being favored in the race, unless the numbers are poor enough to give voters the sense that the economy has reached some new state of acute crisis. But it could soften the ground a bit for Mr. Romney down the stretch run if he can find some other ways, like the debates, to also make gains.

Why I trust what I am seeing: the stuff I am getting from the Obama campaign is “hey, we could still lose. Don’t get complacent” From the Romney campaign: “don’t give up, this is still winnable!”.

September 29, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social | Leave a comment

Is it good to ridicule someone’s ignorance?

I think that there is no shame in ignorance, per se. After all, we are all ignorant of something. In fact, most of us are ignorant of most things.

But what drives me to anger is what I wall “unaware” ignorance. For example, I know that I am ignorant of particle physics, genetic biology, and of day to day life in, say, rural China. But I don’t pretend to know anything about those topics.

On the other hand, I get irritated when I hear people speaking as if they KNOW what is going on, when in fact they haven’t a clue.

I am thinking about things like this:

I admit that the first video makes me cringe; the second one makes me angry.

But is it a good idea to make fun of these morons people?

My wife doesn’t like it when I do that.

Now, I am fine with exposing the ignorance of political candidates though; after all they are running for office.

September 28, 2012 Posted by | political/social, politics/social, social/political | Leave a comment

Feeling even better…

and I’ll hope to actually jog a mile or two tomorrow morning.

Note Some conservatives are laughing about the “Obama phone”:

Now clearly this woman is, well, lacking in education and is probably mentally retarded (mild case). But as far as “Obama phones”: they don’t exist:

There is one problem with the Obama Phone: It doesn’t exist.

Since 2009, there has been an urban myth that Obama created a program to provide free phones to low-income Americans at taxpayer expense. There is, in fact, a government program that will provide low-income people with a free or low cost cell phone. It was started in 2008 under George W. Bush.

The idea of providing low-income individuals with subsidized phone service was originated in the Reagan administration following the break-up of AT&T in 1984. (It was expanded and formalized by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.) The program is paid for by telecommunications companies through an independent non-profit, not through tax revenue.

Yes, we make fun of idiot tea party types all of the time, so we have to expect them to make fun of our idiots too.

Will this give Mr. Romney a “bounce”?

(hat tip: Brotherpeacemaker)

September 28, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, political humor, political/social, politics | Leave a comment


No workout this morning. I slept off and on from roughly 1:30 pm yesterday to 6 am this morning. When I walked to work I broke out into a moderate sweat.

We’ll see; if I feel even better this afternoon I’ll be confident of making the game this Saturday. This Sunday’s 4 mile race: probably easy jog it just to see the course.

September 28, 2012 Posted by | illness | Leave a comment

In denial: it wasn’t “allergies”.

I woke up this morning with watery eyes and a burning nose; I’d had some dripping the day or two prior.

“Allergies”, I told myself, and went for a pleasant 5 mile run (51:28 for 5.1; last mile in 9:42). I was a bit heavy legged; I told myself it was from pushing the pace the day before. I even planned to lift over lunch.

Wrong. I barely made it through my classes. I went home and went to bed.

Symptoms: fatigue, body aches, old injuries hurting (anything that I’ve hurt in the past decade or so).

But this made me feel better:

Of course, the Republicans claim a media conspiracy. Hey, if your neighbors and your fellow Cracker Barrel diners aren’t voting for him, then he couldn’t possibly be ahead, right?

September 27, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, illness, republicans, republicans politics, running | Leave a comment

Is Mitt Romney even trying? Plus: a free speech comment.

Workout notes
AM: 4 mile run (4.2 in 40:07; Cornstalk course) with a 8:44 last 1.03. It felt fine; no cars on the park loop, though it was dark.
I followed it by a 2 mile walk (Moss). Stretching and free squats after.

PM: lunch: 1800 swim (no Tracy today); 500 warm up (9:50), 10 x 50 on the 1, 10 x (25 side, 25 free), 4 x (25 3g, 25 free), 2 x (25 fly, 25 free).
I felt tired prior to the swim; better after. The water was nice and cold.

I like Randazza’s article about free speech and what a government run metro service can decline or decide to accept. I might take issue with his characterization of the groups in conflict; after all I can criticize the Bible without worrying that a Rabbi might to impose some death sentence for “being insulted”. Islam, as practiced in many parts of the world at this time in human history, is relatively backward.

But this isn’t to say that the other religions are at all reasonable; after all how much bloodshed has their been over parts of Jerusalem which, really, are not much more than a pile of rocks. And you have two groups of people of roughly the same size on one parcel of land, so the best solution is, well, rather easy…provided you take religion out of the equation.

2012 election
Today on Intrade: President O is at 75 percent.


One wonders if Mr. Romney is even trying to win.

Yes, he still might; a 25 percent chance is NOT a zero percent chance.

September 26, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, civil liberties, free speech, political/social, politics, religion, running, swimming, walking | Leave a comment

20 Muslim Scholars speaking on faith issues…

It takes 25 minutes. Hat tip: Jerry Coyne.

September 26, 2012 Posted by | religion | Leave a comment