You’ve got mail!

7 07 2010

To my pleasant surprise I have a couple readers, and they  sent me a couple questions.

Polydad – SLC, Utah

Q: What do you think of Utah and Colorado joining the conference?

A: One thing is for sure, the Prius to pickup ratio is going to drop. The Pac-12 prides itself on being the Leader of the Pac on and off the field so when it comes to being environmentally conscious it is no surprise that the Pac-12 cities own more Priuses and Smart Cars than all other BCS conferences combined. I don’t have data on that, but it’s a fact.

The positives are that we will expand to the #28 and #38 television markets which should give the conference greater leverage in negotiating a new TV contract. Larry Scott is also thinking long-term and our expansion to the midwest will be easier by having some presence there. Utah has also had a couple undefeated seasons this decade so they’re more than capable of holding their own.

Ms. Cullen – Forks, WA

Q: Team Edward or Team Jacob and what did you think of Eclipse?

A:Just like Jules in Pulp Fiction having a girlfriend that’s a vegetarian, my girlfriend is Team Jacob, which pretty much makes me Team Jacob. Eclipse is like the Yankees playing the Red Sox and how you want both teams to lose if at all possible. Eclipse had one of the best fight scenes I’ve seen this year, and the flashbacks were much cooler than the romance. I don’t know who does the makeup for these movies but the Cullen’s look like mannequins and the tent scene with Edward and Jacob was the PG version of Brokeback Mountain.  I would be much happier if they asked Megan Fox to play one of the vampires in the next movie.

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Team Twilight vs Pac-12

30 06 2010

If you’re like me and your girlfriend is forcing you to go watch the new Twilight Eclipse movie at a 1PM matinée on Thursday, the only manageable way to watch the film will be to appreciate what it means to women. The Team Edward vs Team Jacob obsession that is running rampant among teenage girls (and mid-twenties like my gf) parallels what Pac-12 fans go through with their rivals. It got me wondering whether their fans were more dedicated than ours, or just plain crazy.

In the past few weeks I’ve been subjected to Oprah interviewing the Twilight  cast, reruns of the first two movies, and listening to my roommates ask each other how excited they are for Eclipse: The Twilight Saga every single day. Despite it giving me flu-like symptoms I was still able to pick up on some similarities in their behavior and Pac-12 fans.  Both fans deck themselves out in their favorite team apparel and wear it proudly. Twilight fans are more harsh than Pac-12 fans, because they actually care about superficial things like fashion, which makes the banter even more intense. If it’s the wrong time of the month (and we get lucky) then it could potentially lead to a cat fight like the Miller Lite great taste, less filling advertisement. Despite Twilight fans having a greater interest in fashion, the Pac-12 fans look significantly better in their apparel so we have to give the edge to the Pac-12.

Both fan groups get irritated by their significant other if your criticize their team’s performance. I was almost castrated after I said True Blood is superior to Twilight in dialog, sexual content, and the overall ability of the actors.  When the ole ball-and-chain questioned the Pac-12’s dominance compared to the SEC, I just shrugged it off as if she didn’t know what she was talking about. In sports we call them rabid fans, in Twilight they’re called TwiHards or as I like to refer to them, TwiTards, but whatever you call them they are more territorial and win this category.

I also have to give credit to the thousands of of girls willing to camp out for a terrible movie premier, which is their version of tailgating. Twilight fans crush Pac-12 in the girl-to-guy ratio so they get extra cool points for that, but Pac-12 fans enjoy beers and BBQ at their tailgates while the TwiHards are stuck outside of the movie theater with popcorn and Sour Patch Kids. Pac-12 fans also tailgate about a dozen times a year compared to just once for Twilight, so this proves the Pac-12 loyalty is greater.

Every sports enthusiast and Pac-12 fan reads about their team on blogs and the internet, but meeting their favorite player or taking pictures with them would be the ultimate prize.  Twilight fans take this a step further by creating cardboard cutouts of their favorite Team (Team Edward or Team Jacob) and make-out with them. Normally this would be considered even more desperate than what Bella Swan does in Twilight, but this is Twilight fans taking it to a different level. For this they get the title of Twidiots (Twid-e-its) and actually lose cool points.

One issue that hurt Twilight fans in this competition is that they were torn when their team was out of character. Taylor Lautner is almost as big of a douchebag as Tom Cruise, but he plays a better role in the movie. Robert Pattinson is charismatic and witty in interviews, but his role in Twilight is an overprotective hipster vampire with an inexpressive girlfriend. Conversely, the Pac-12 fans have no trouble identifying with their team in every situation. This was a pretty even battle overall and my respect for their passion has grown substantially, but the Pac-12 is still the Leader of the Pac when it comes to having the best fans.

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Pac-12 Championship

30 06 2010

This is what it all comes down to, a playoff championship. The Pac-12 should disband from the NCAA and form its own conference so it can have one of these every year. With Cal and USC playing for the championship on the same day as the Twilight Eclipse premier I noticed that each team shared some characteristics with the rivalry between Team Edward and Team Jacob. Both the Pac-12 championship and Twilight have the good vs evil, favorite vs underdog (or underwolf), and competition for the love of the fans.

USC fans are notoriously known for their pretentious attitude, which happens to be the same way Edward Cullen carries himself in Twilight (at least the first two movies). Edward and the Cullen’s are in the same tax bracket as USC fans, and like USC coach Lane Kiffin and Athletic Director Mike Garrett, their condescending tone gets old quickly. Like USC, Edward has the speed and power that make men want to be him, and the women want to be with him. He has been sitting in his room and thinking about 16 year old girls since Abraham Lincoln was President, which makes him like one of those three guys in high school that’s pulling tail left and right, but with 100 years of experience to hone his craft. In a similar fashion, USC has a long-lasting tradition of Rose Bowls, National Championships, and Heisman Winners. Edward’s advantage is that he can read minds, USC’s advantage is that they buy their star players houses in San Diego and give them cars with ridiculous looking rims.

Cal fans desperately want what USC has the way Jacob wants Edward’s girlfriend Bella. Bears and werewolves are both fetid creatures like Cal hippies, and you’ll probably find Cal fans wearing the same jorts & birkenstocks as Jacob Black and his buddies. The pack that Jacob rolls with is native american and these tree-sitters that delayed the Memorial Stadium upgrade tried to make a case that the land surrounding the area was a sacred Indian burial ground. Luckily for the Bears, this is football, not fantasy. The games actually have to be played instead of dancing around and flirting with each other.

The Trojans came in as seven point favorites, but you couldn’t tell based on how the teams were played inthe first half. The Bears received the kickoff and gashed the USC defense for an 8 play 73 yard drive that was capped by a 12 yard Anthony Miller TD in the corner of the end zone. Matt Barkley would march his troops all the way into the red zone before a tipped pass was intercepted by Sean Cattouse in the middle of the field. With the Cal offensive line holding its own, Kevin Riley was able to find Marvin Jones on a play-action pass for a 36 yard pickup to put the Bears past midfield. After a Jeremy Ross reverse and HB screen to Shane Vereen the Bears went up 14-0. The Trojans would come right back though with Allen Bradford plowing over Cal freshman linebacker Chris Martin to pick up 15 yards. Matt Barkley started to find his groove completing 3 of 5 passes with a beautiful over the shoulder pass to fullback Stanley Havili on a wheel route that resulted in a touchdown. The Bears struggled the rest of the half as the Trojan defense started to get more aggressive. Devon Kennard and Jurrell Casey each notched a Kevin Riley sack with Casey’s resulting in a fumble and recovery for USC. The final score of the half was USC freshman Dillon Baxter’s 25 yard TD out of the wildcat to cut the halftime score to 20-17 in favor of the Bears.

The Trojans came out in the second half and looked undisciplined offensively by racking up two false start penalties in the first five plays. This set up a 3rd and 12 for Kiffin in his own territory and he played it conservatively with a delayed hand off only to see CJ Gable hit in the backfield by Cameron Jordan. After a Trojans punt the Bears drove right down field in 6 plays, but failed could only manage a field goal to go up 23-16. USC looked like they were about to tie it up on their next possession, but a Matt Barkley fumble at the Cal 6 yard line shifted the momentum to the Bears.  Just when Cal fans thought Jeff Tedford would go to his classic we-only-have-a-one-score-lead-but-will-play-ultra-conservative strategy, Kevin Riley was throwing on 3 consecutive downs to move the chains back into Trojan territory. Shane Vereen would have a 15 yard TD called back on a Jeremy Ross holding call and the Bears would have to settle for another field goal to put them up ten points. Trojan wide receiver Ronald Johnson finally got into the mix with a 47 yard completion to get them back in the red zone. Two plays later Matt Barkley would hit Bryce Butler in the middle of the field for a 19 yard touchdown to get within three with 6 minutes to play in the game.

Isi Sofele would collect the ensuing kickoff for the Bears and take it all the way back to the Cal 43 yard line. We were certain that Jeff Tedford would milk his lead, but he came out with play-action on first down that he tossed it to the H-back Spencer Ladner for a 13 yard gain and a first down. Two out of the next three plays were out of the wildcat formation, but Shane Vereen would only gain seven yards and failed to get a first down. The Bears were forced to punt with 3:45 to play and Bryan Anger delivered by pinning it at the five yard line. With the Trojans 95 yards away from victory, everyone expected a drive similar to the one Matt Barkley had the year before against Ohio St. With the Bears dropping eight into coverage to prevent the long-ball, CJ Gable took a screen pass 8 yards. Freshman WR Robert Woods and caught a  10 yard pass to give them a first down. Matt Barkley then hit Kyle Prater on the sideline for a 25 yard pass, but it was called by on a holding penalty and resulted in an 8 yard loss. Matt Barkley shook it off and went right back to business hitting Ronald Johnson on a slant play resulting in a 15 yard gain. On second and three Lane Kiffin tried to keep the defense honest by running the ball one more time, but Bradford failed to pick up positive yards or run out of bounds and it kept the clock running. With only 60 seconds to play the Trojans started to feel desperate and pick up the pace, but two incompletions by Matt Barkley would end the USC’s drive. Cal fans stormed the field and the band was on the field!

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Pac-12 Playoffs: Down 2 Party

28 06 2010

#1 USC vs #6 UW

The last time the Huskies faced the Trojans, Lane Kiffin was taking jabs at Urban Meyer like a younger brother vying for some attention. This time Steve Sarkisian filled in that role by tugging at big brother’s sleeve.

Sarkisian accused Kiffin of violating NCAA recruiting rules at a Washington Booster breakfast at the Seattle Convention Center.

“I’m going to turn USC in right here in front of you,” Sarkisian told the crowd. “As Sione Potoae was here on campus, his phone keeps ringing. And so one of our coaches is sitting in the meeting with him and says,’Who is that?’ And he looks at the phone and says, ‘Lane Kiffin.’

“Just so you know, you can’t call a recruit on another campus. But I love the fact that Lane had to cheat and still didn’t get him.”

USC came out determined to run the ball, and the Trojan horses were galloping right through the porous Husky defense. The opening drive featured six straight runs for USC and ended with an 11 yard CJ Gable touchdown. Jake Locker struggled to hit open receivers in the first half and was seen getting yelled at on the sideline by his wide receiver Jermaine Kearse. Locker would blame his inaccuracy on seeing flashes of Edward Cullen popping up when he was dropping back to pass. The Trojans piled on 150 yards rushing in the first half to go up 31-7. The second half was another dosage of CJ Gable reminding Kiffin why he was the starter back in 2006 by tearing off 120 yards and another TD to finish the Huskies at 52-17.

#4 Cal vs #8 Arizona

Mark Stoops came out of the tunnel looking five years younger. He was screaming and yelling at his players like he did when he first arrived in Arizona. Erin Andrews spoke to him briefly before the game started and he was all flustered because of the US losing in the World Cup. His sentiments were rooted much deeper in hatred for the Ghana team, and he even suggested that next time the US team take his WR Deleshaun Dean to send a message. The Arizona players didn’t respond like the coach expected and they couldn’t get on track. Nick Foles was sacked six times in the game and finished 13-31 for 111 yards and a TD. Cal quarterback Kevin Riley seemed to gain confidence after some early success that featured a 47 yard TD pass to Jeremy Ross three plays into the game. He finished the day with 286 passing yards on 17 of 24 passes and three TD’s. The Bears linebacker, Mike Mohamed led the way for the defense with 15 tackles and an INT. Rolling along the Bears cruised in this game to a 34-16 game.

The Pac-12 Championship will feature #2 USC vs #5 Cal, a match up that can only be paralleled by Team Edward vs Team Jacob. Who will be victorious and become the first Pac-12 Playoff Champion? Early line has the Trojans as 7 point favorites.

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