Monday, August 25, 2008

Michigan Know Your Foe: Utah

Michigan opens its season, and a new era, by hosting the University of Utah, a powerhouse team in the Mountain West. This is the second time the two schools will meet. Michigan won the first meeting 10-7 in Ann Arbor. How will Michigan fare in the first game of its new era? Well, the first thing you have to do is KNOW YOUR FOE.

History: The U of Utah was founded in 1850 by none other than the man who founded Salt Lake City: the famous Bringham Young. This is pretty ironic, consi founded. He had a st the school in Provo that's named after him. Well, this is the one heake in BYU but didn't found it. In fact, BYU was originally a part of the U of Utah system. He initially called it the "University of Deseret," which to an untrained eye sounds like some idiot misspelling "Desert." But in fact it actuallydering you'd think he founded is a term that refers to "honeybee" in the Book of Mormon (if you didn't know, Bringham Young was the second real Mormon leader). The school was a failure and had to move underground, but was reopened as the University of Utah in 1894 and located to its current location in Salt Lake in 1900.

Location: Salt Lake City. The capital of Utah and home to some damn good skiing (go to Solitude. I'm sending you RIGHT NOW). It's actually a very diverse city and is very friendly to GLBT people, which is also ironic, considering Utah is the most conservative state in the country (well, there IS the rest of Utah). The city is, of course, located next to the Salt Lake, but I've seen it from a plane and it honestly looks almost as bad as, say, the Mississippi River. There are lots of fun things to do as well, such as Sundance in nearby Park City.

Nickname: The Utes. They were named after the Ute Tribe of the Rocky Mountains (which is also the source of the name "Utah." This is ironic considering a lot of the Native American mascot controversies around the country, most infamously the Illinois Fighting Illini. They also call their teams the "Running Utes." I like this nickname because of its local and unique flavor. They also have permission from the Ute Tribal Council to use the nickname.

Mascot: It's sort of hard to portray a Ute and not get controversial, so they use a bird named Swoop. When I first saw this, I thought "Yawn, another Eagle." But Swoop is a red tailed hawk, which is a bird native to the state of Utah.

Colors: Crimson and white. This will be the first of five schools Michigan will be playing this year that uses some form of red as their school color. In I-A football, five other schools use some form of this color combination, although they call their white by different names. Indiana and Oklahoma call it crimson and cream. Washington State calls their white "gray," although I see no gray on Wazzou's logo. Only Alabama and New Mexico State call their white "white." Harvard also uses this color combination.

Logo: The logo is a block U inside a circle with a Native American style headdress coming out the back. I don't know if the Utes actually dressed like that, because that's an old stereotype about eastern tribes, and the Utes are a southwestern tribe. Sometimes they just use the block U without the headdress. Since 1975, the football helmets incorporated the logo incorporated this logo onto the helmet.

Fight Song
: The fight song is called "Utah Man:"

I am a Utah man, sir, and I live across the green.
Our gang, it is the jolliest that you have ever seen.
Our coeds are the fairest and each one's a shining star.
Our yell, you hear it ringing through the mountains near and far.

Who am I, sir? A Utah man am I A Utah man, sir, and will be till I die; Ki!Yi!
We're up to snuff; we never bluff,
We're game for any fuss,
No other gang of college men
dare meet us in the muss.
So fill your lungs and sing it out and
shout it to the sky,
We'll fight for dear old Crimson,
for a Utah man am I.

And when we prom the avenue, all lined up in a row,
And arm in arm and step in time as down the street we go.
No matter if a freshman green, or in a senior's gown,
The people all admit we are the warmest gang in town.

Who am I, sir? A Utah man am I A Utah man, sir, and will be till I die; Ki!Yi!
We're up to snuff; we never bluff,
We're game for any fuss,
No other gang of college men
dare meet us in the muss.
So fill your lungs and sing it out and
shout it to the sky,
We'll fight for dear old Crimson,
for a Utah man am I.

We may not live forever on this jolly good old sphere,
But while we do we'll live a life of merriment and cheer,
And when our college days are o'er and night is drawing nigh,
With parting breath we'll sing that song:
"A Utah Man Am I".

Who am I, sir? A Utah man am I A Utah man, sir, and will be till I die; Ki!Yi!
We're up to snuff; we never bluff,
We're game for any fuss,
No other gang of college men
dare meet us in the muss.
So fill your lungs and sing it out and
shout it to the sky,
We'll fight for dear old Crimson,
for a Utah man am I.

Academics: U.S. News ranks Utah at 127th in the country. Utah is one of the leading pioneers in genetics. Many attribute this to the fact that the LDS Church always placed this at a high priority. Utah also has a good political science program, although despite Utah's being the most conservative state, neither Utah nor BYU produce an army of politicians. The Utah medical school is also very well known.

Athletics: Urban Meyer got his head coaching start at Utah and brought the football team onto the national stage in recent years. Utah consistently performs very well both in and out of conference. In fact, the Utes have the second longest active bowl winning streak after Boston College. This includes a win over Pittsburgh in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl. The quarterback at the time, Alex Smith, would go first in the '05 NFL draft. The Utes play at Rice-Eccles Stadium on campus, which has been used since 1927.

The Runnin' Utes men's basketball team is a source of pride. The school played in 28 NCAA tournaments, which is seventh most all time. They won the national championship in 1944 and played in three other final fours, including as late as 1998. And in 2005, Andrew Bogut won the Naismith Trophy.

Utah also has a stellar women's gymnastics team and because of its location, has a ski team. Utah has been talking about getting a lacrosse team, and I will push and push and push them to do it.

Rival: Bringham Young University. BYU-Utah is one of the great in-state rivalries in college sports. Almost everyone in Utah attends one of these schools, and the rivalry can often divide families. The rivalry is called the "Holy War," which is another irony, considering only one of the schools is religious. The schools began play in football in 1922, and are only about an hour away from each other. The rivalry can get brutal at times, like when several baseball players from Utah vandalized BYU's "Y Mountain." This shows that the rivalry is intense in all sports. Few rivalries can be intense in both football and basketball. This is one of the few.
Famous Alums: A lot of Mormon clergy went to Utah, probably out of convenience to the center of LDS life in Salt Lake. But not everyone who comes out of this university is pure. Karl Rove went here, although he never graduated. A lot of CEOs went here, including the founders of Marriott and one of my favorite programs of all time, WordPerfect (screw you, Steve Balmer).
The Game: This will be a very important game for Michigan to win. If they win, it will be a HUGE victory over one of the most underrated teams in college football. Utah is no light task, and can easily beat Michigan if inexperience shows its light. R2 will have his team ready, but it won't be enough. Utah 27, Michigan 24.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Georgia Know Your Foe: Georgia Southern University.

Benny Friedman used to do a segment on his blog called "Know Your Foe." It was a favorite of mine. It told all about a history of all the schools Michigan played in football. Well I'm gonna continue on the tradition and tell you all about the schools Georgia and Michigan (and Maryland and Cuse) are playing. You need to remember to play your games one at a time and not eyeball the Floridas or Ohio States in your life. So today I'll talk a little bit about: GEORGIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY.

History: Georgia Southern was founded as an A&M college in 1906. And it was created because of politics. Georgia's first congressional district wanted a school. But they named it the "First District A&M School." That name sounds like something like "OMG we're the first district look at our pretty school that only we have because we're the first district!" So a delegation traveled to Savannah (where all Georgia politics seemed to be done back then) to get the school, and they won. In the 1920s the school began an expansion to focus on education and became the Georgia Normal School ("normal" meaning educating teachers. "Normal" is a word that has, like 38 meanings). It became integrated into the University of Georgia system in the 1950s and was granted University status in the 1990s.

Location: Statesboro, Georgia. The town was created in 1803 for the sole purpose of being a county seat for a largely agrarian county. During the Civil War it was the center of the controversial march through Georgia. Afterward it became a large producer of Cotton. It has a population of 22,698 people, most of whom are affiliated with GSU. Sadly, Statesboro is home to the world's largest Wal-Mart as well (I hope you Statesboroites reading this are embarrassed at this). Famous people include anti-everything-I-stand-for-especially-New-York-culture and all star pitcher John Rocker, and running back Adrian Peterson (no, not that one).

Nickname: Eagles. A bland nickname. In fact, 60 schools use it. They used to be called the "Blue Tide." Why not stick with that? That will at least make you known for something. Although the Eagle is better than, say, the Tiger. At least the Eagle is at the top of the food chain or....something.

Mascot: Gus the Eagle. He's basically a humanoid eagle with a unibrow and a GSU tee. ESPN loves him, and he's often at the Georgia state capitol. In addition, a much cooler, live eagle mascot named Freedom flies around the stadium prior to each home game. He also flies over the school's graduation.

Colors: Blue and white. The official school colors are very similar to Penn State blue and white. But the logo seems to have a little gold on it, and not just on the eagle's beak. The color is different on each version of it. The large version seems to have Cal gold, while the smaller logo seems to have Notre Dame gold.

Logo: GSU has two logos. Its major logo is an eagle gripping the words "Georgia Southern" with its talons. Its smaller logo has the letters "GS" on top of an eagle's beak. It's your typical I-AA logo. There's no trace of the logo on the football helmet though. It basically looks like an inverse of an old Penn State helmet, as you'd expect. Part of the reason for this was the lack of an athletic budget when they started, and they were successful, so they stuck.

Fight Song
: It doesn't have a name (or at least the GSU web site says so). Here it is:

Wave the blue, wave the white
Hold the banner high
The Eagles are on the wing.
Sound a cry to the sky,
As we look for glory.
Victory now we sing.
Hail the blue, hail the white
Hail the team that's soaring
Upward to bring us fame;
Georgia Southern Eagles
Fight on to victory and
Win this game!

Blue and white-fight, fight!
Blue and white-fight, fight!
Georgia Southern-Eagles!
Fight, fight, fight!

GSU also has a "Georgia! Southern!" question-and-answer style thing. Many opposing teams feel this chant is compared to some of the loudest venues in the country. Clearly they haven't been to Happy Valley or Columbus.
Academics: GSU is a liberal arts school. It's not ranked, but it does have the only school of economic development and the only school of information technology in the South. It's one of the top institutions in the country in terms of degrees given to African-Americans. Interestingly, it's also home to the world's largest collection of ticks. I'd stay away from GSU if you're allergic or just don't want lyme disease. As far as rankings go, it's in the top 262 colleges.
Athletics: The Eagles compete in the Southern Conference (or "SoCon.") Football was dead from World War II to the '80s when local legend Erik Russel from UGA rebuilt the program. He won three I-AA national titles with them, and the Eagles would go on to win three more in the '90s. The team plays at Paulson Stadium, the "Prettiest little stadium in America" (according to Russell). The football team had a slump during the early 2000s, but are now back in action.

The men's basketball team hasn't had much success, and it only reached the NCAA tournament three times (1983, 1987, 1992), and the NIT three times, most recently in 2006. The baseball team was in two college world series in 1973 and 1990.
Rivals: Furman State is GSU's biggest rival, and surprised the world by beating them handedly in only their second year of existance. Although with Appalachian State's recent success on the gridiron, most of their SoCon brethren look to the school in Boone, North Carolina, as something to fear.

Famous Alumni: The only real alum of note is the guy who founded Chik Fil-A.

The Game: We all know the Appy State-Michigan fiasco last year, so if Georgia wants to win the title, it will be key to put up a lot of points on this team so they can outperform the other contenders in Week 1. And it will be tough with a lot of suspensions and injuries, but at least UGA will win. GEORGIA 38 GSU 7.

Tomorrow, I will do the Michigan-Utah game if I have time.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Has Pryor set a new standard for top recruits?

Well, according to the latest, the #1 basketball recruit in the nation Brandon Jennings ditched Arizona for Europe.

But considering Zona is now in the "I don't like you until the circumstances change" position right now (because they, a team worse than to play in the tourney this past March and my beloved Orange didn't), I'm a little relieved.

Normally, I'd be upset at all this though. Why? Because I think players shouldn't rely on their basketball skills to get them places. What if Jennings is a failure in Europe? What if this will start a trend?

And more importantly, what will happen to recruits signed by the likes of Tubby Smith, Jim Calhoun, Bob Huggins, Billy Donovan, Ben Howland, Tom Izzo, Bruce Pearl, and most importantly (in my eyes), Gary Williams and Jim Boeheim? And what about those recruits who promised to help rebuilding programs such as Georgia and Michigan (especially since it seems to be taking forever in both cases)?

As a Syracuse fan, I know what it's like to have people pretty much shit on your school. Both Carmelo Anthony AND Donte Green said they'd stay, but they turned their backs on us.

So I feel a little sympathy for Olson's bunch right now.....until basketball season starts up and I'll be waiting for the next Pac-10 school worse than Cuse to take a spot in the tourney ahead of Cuse.

And to top it all off, why the hell are these top recruits waiting until the very last minute to make these decisions? Terrelle Pryor kept all of us in suspense for a long time when he finally announced he'd be heading for the University of Ohio State (and of course, pissing off Michigan fans in the process). Is this gonna happen every year from now on both in football AND in basketball?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

You are....completely screwed!

Dear Penn State:

You used to help keep college football popular here in the Northeast.

You used to bring in great recruits, and you have the legendary Joe Paterno as your coach, who will probably finish his career as the winningest coach of all time (suck it, Bobby Bowden). And after Michigan, you guys are my second favorite Big Ten team (even if Syracuse is your rival, too).

You had your chance to join the Big East Conference with all your traditional rivals, including Pitt (yes, I know we rejected you because of your lack of competitiveness in basketball), but considering all of our football powerhouses left to the ACC (and tanked along with that conference), we need you here today.

You chose the not-so-bright-lights of the rust belt, and were forced to make your chief rival.....lowly Sparty...... NOT Pitt, NOT WVU, NOT Syracuse, but Michigan State.

And as the Big East gained a lot of credibility from its new guys (and Rutgers to boot), you only won the Big Ten title twice (and one of them was a shared title) in a tanking conference that only gets multiple BCS berths nowadays because of the Rose Bowl committee's inability (along with just about every other bowl committee, but particularly the Rose Bowl) to move forward to the next era of college football.

If you joined the Big East, you could add another level of depth to college football's second best overall conference now (after the SEC, and I'm not saying this lightly, and no, the Little creampuff Twelve and USC and the Nine Dwarves don't count). We'd love to have you. We really would. But it's too late. You missed your chance when we got about, 48 more basketball teams than we need.

Nevertheless, I will keep bringing this up. You'll be playing both Syracuse and Michigan this year, so you'll be in this blog's hot seat a lot.

Anyway, we hope you learned your lesson.


The Big East Conference and East Coast Bias.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The return of the Buckstache!

So, a tUOS (that stands for THE University of Ohio State) defensive back, Eugene Clifford, is charged with assault by punching two bar employees.

Let's take a look at him:

Oh, look! He has a Buckstache!

In case you didn't know what this is, the Buckstache Postulate, formed by former blogger Yost (who shut down his amazing blog a few weeks ago), says that if a tUOS player, fan, student, or alum grows a mustache, his or her chances of committing a crime rise dramatically. Yost illustrated the case in point with many examples.

Apparently this wasn't the first time Clifford got in trouble. Every Day Should Be Saturday (EDSBS) reported that he was suspended from last season's title game for violating team rules.

Sucks to be Eu, Gene. (Oregon fans, I'm sorry for this incredibly horrible joke. Don't worry, I'd like to see you kick both USC AND ASU's asses this year).

The "top ten" "rivalry" games for this year

Okay, so these guys rated the top ten football rivalry games for this upcoming season, or what they are supposedly. This is what they said:

10. Pitt-WVU (Needs to be higher....MUCH higher, especially since I have WVU in the title game right now)
9. Auburn-Georgia
8. Kansas-Missouri
7. Auburn-LSU
6. Notre Dame-USC

Wait...Notre Dame-USC? Where the hell did that come from?

I'll be the first to tell you USC is overrated once again, but as every college football fan knows, Notre Dame is pretty much the dog show of college football
. First of all, USC may be overrated, but Notre Dame is the one team more overrated. And ESPN's Schlabach pretty much gave them the benefit of the doubt, ranking them at 25 in his most recent poll and putting them in a New Year's Day bowl (in which they'd easily get an ass-whooping). If the Irish are lucky, they'll go 8-4, the same record Michigan will probably have, and he has them soaking in the Champs Sports Bowl. There's no way in hell the Irish are better than the Wolverines, even with the coaching change (ND will also lose to Sparty and Purdue, and if they're playing Boston College this year they'll go seven wins if they're lucky).

So yeah. This game means nothing. Nothing at all. All the pundits like to claim the Irish are "rebuilding" and bringing in "top recruiting classes." Yeah. Ty Willingham had more success there than Cheeseburger Charlie. Now I have to go read up on the SEC.

And the list rounds out with:

5. Illinois-University of Ohio State (I have the Illini winning the Big Ten)
4. Illinois-Missouri
3. Utah-BYU (Now THIS one I like....BCS buster, anyone?)
2. Texas-Oklahoma
1. Georgia-Florida (I understand this one)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Uga VI is dead

How sad to see a sudden death of one of college sports' greatest traditions.

My hearts and prayers go out to the Seiler family, and to all of Dawg Nation. As usual, Uga will be buried with his ancestors in the mausoleum in Sanford Stadiu, on the Georgia campus.

Hopefully his nine years of service will not be forgotten, and now we need to bring on Uga VII, wherever he is.