Tuesday, August 28, 2007
More than you ever cared to know about: The San Jose State Spartans
Name: San Jose State University
Location: San Jose, CA
Established: 1857, as Minns’ Evening Normal School
Motto: Powering Silicon Valley
Colors: Gold and White
Stadium: Spartan Stadium, capacity 30,456
Conference: Western Athletic (WAC)
San Jose State University is celebrating their sesquicentennial this year and proud we are of all of them. They pride themselves on being an incubator for the fucking yuppie interns of the local corporate scene, hence their motto “Powering Silicon Valley.” SJSU also wants to make sure you know that they are the oldest institution of higher education on the West Coast, lending to their other motto “where tradition meets tomorrow” even though it ought to be THIS IS SPARTAAAAAAH!!!
SJSU has a historical correlation with Arizona State as both were founded in the 19th century as Normal schools to educate frontier teachers. Tower Hall is considered the most recognizable building on the SJSU campus since their “Old Main” was destroyed in 1906 by…you guessed it, an earthquake.
Lindsey Buckingham & Stevie Nicks
OJ prosecutor Christopher Darden
Sissyboy NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia
Amy Tan, author of the unreadable The Joy Luck Club
The Smothers Brothers
John Carlos and Tommie Smith- shame on you for not knowing who they are.
The late great Bill Walsh
Krazy George Henderson, inventor of the wave
Current student Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, human hot dog vacuum
Fulmer Cup Champion Ellis T. Jones, III
Joe Trippi, Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign manager who let this happen:
SJSU boasts a bitchin’ judo program that has claimed 40 out of 44 possible National Championships. From their site, check it out:
SJSU Judo head coach Yosh Uchida — who also was the coach of the first U.S. Olympic judo team in 1964 — has established his Spartans program as a mecca for judo hopefuls. Over the years his SJSU teams have won 40 out of 44 national collegiate titles.They’re also pretty thrilled with their recent gridiron success, having just returned from their first bowl game in 16 years as they defeated New Mexico 20-12 in the 2006 New Mexico Bowl. The team is supported by the Spartan Squad, an organized student section club with their own website, t-shirts, and such. Those dicklickers have SJSU listed as playing motherfucking Arizona on September 1, so I hope somebody gives every single one of their beloved Spartans the DeSean Jackson treatment. They have this wacky tradition of putting three fingers in the air, not unlike our pitchfork, but its significance isn’t written anywhere on their websites. Fucking posers.
Coach Keith Nakasone was captain of the 1980 Olympic judo team, and Coach Mike Swain received the bronze medal in judo at the 1988 Olympic Games. Former team member and Olympian Ben Nighthorse Campbell, became a United States Senator representing Colorado.
Head to head
The Sun Devils and Spartans last squared off in 2001 at Sun Devil Stadium and ASU gave the visitors a 53-15 smack. Surprisingly enough the Sun Devils only hold a 18-11 all-time record against the Spartans but have taken the last 11 dating back to 1967 and all but one of SJSU’s wins in the series came before 1961. Current SJSU head coach Dick Tomey is 9-5-1 lifetime against ASU, earning a 1979 victory as head coach of the University of Hawaii and the rest while coaching at the University of Arizona.
University of the Pacific is the school’s most genuine and oldest rival, as the two schools first played against each other before 1900 (no exact date given). They play each year for “The Bell” a bell-shaped trophy (duh) painted SJSU colors on one side and UP colors on the other. It is one of the oldest in collegiate sports as some believe it to have been introduced in the early 1900’s but again, no one seems to know for sure. Campus lore tells of a game in the late 1940’s where a fire truck was on the field before the game. (Why? I don’t have a fucking clue, just roll with it) The clouds rolled in and torrential rain ensued, so much so that the truck became stuck at centerfield and was unable to be moved. The Spartans triumphed after playing the entire game with the fire truck sitting on the 50-yard line. Pacific discontinued football in 1995 for unrelated reasons.
Fresno State is considered one of the Spartans' chief rivals and their football series dates back to 1921. FSU holds the series edge 35-33-3 but a more lopsided feel has been created in recent years due to the Bulldogs’ streak of 14 straight wins from 1992-2006. The SJSU campus hosts “no red” days whenever they host the Bulldogs and ask that the students and faculty wear as little red as possible. The teams meet annually as they are both WAC members.
A forced rivalry was formed with nearby Santa Clara in 2002. They play each other in all sports on a points-based system and compete for an unnamed trophy, basically because they’re only 4 miles apart.
Phil Steele says…
The Spartans were bowl eligible last year and despite losing their top three wide receivers and three of their top four tacklers this should be a better team, even though their record may not show it. Their schedule is a lot tougher with only 5 home games this season and Steele has his doubts since they benefited from +9 turnovers last year. Even with these challenges, he expects them to go bowling again in 2007. SJSU is 2-16 in their last 18 road openers and based on his outlook I don’t think he expects them to be successful against the Sun Devils.
Tomey scares the shit out of me. He’ll come to town with a hard-hitting defense, a bevy of trick plays, and confidence in the knowledge that he has owned ASU for the better part of his career. The Spartans are going to be pumped for this one and will want to make a statement against a BCS conference team. ASU will take Frank Kush Field for the first time in the Erickson regime, dealing with new schemes on both sides of the ball along with a new long snapper and kicker. I don’t know enough about the Spartans, so I’ll defer to Phil Steele's positive outlook on this one because after all if he says it, it’s gotta be true.
The University’s official site
The Spartan Squad student association
The wikipedia page
The College Football Data Warehouse page
Friday, August 24, 2007
Not good. Very not good.
who is referenced by this sign:
picked the Arizona State Sun Devils as his sleeper team for the 2007 season. This is as sure as Ol' Gil not making that sale even though he's soooo close. It's rock solid wrong. Sunrise, sunset. Death and taxes locked. 4-8, here we come.
As if that's not enough, Rudy Carpenter threw a dicktacular 2-10 for 56 yards during last Wednesday's scrimmage, and 50 of those precious yards came on a single throw to phenom and now starting receiver Kyle Williams. Shhesh, 2-10? Before anyone goes jumping off the Mill Avenue bridge, we went through this last year. Some would have said that Carp was under too much pressure thanks to the Sam Keller ridiculousness, but Rudy was no more impressive last year after Sam went Nebraska-ward. The fact is that Carp has show no reason for any of us to believe that the Rudy.V.2005 is anywhere near Tempe, but rather we'll see entirely too much of that asshat who threw for 33 God damn yards against Oregon. I keep hearing how good the offense looks in practices but every time a game-like situation comes up and people start keeping track of things, Rudy has absolutely abysmal numbers. To wit:
Date Comp/Att Yards TD
8/22 2/10 56 1
8/18 11/20 141 1
8/12 8/17 156 1
TOTAL 21/47 253 3
The 45% completion rate is the one that's jumping out at me, and that's against ASU's pass D with pressure applied from ASU's front four, the two weakest position groups on the team. What happens when conference play begins, or for that matter what happens when All-American corner Dwight Lowery comes to town this Saturday night?
While we're piling on, Rudy's accolades as the 2005 Insight Bowl MVP need to be divvied up among his receivers, because after further review most of his deep balls were waaaaaaay off target and guys like Terry Richardson and Matt Miller had to come back on their respective routes to make the catches and in the process make Carpenter look disproportionately good.
Having said all of that, I feel a little bad raking all of this muck after reading the story of an ASU "fan" who threw a soda at him. Throwing drinks at Carpenter is for UA fans after another loss in Tucson. Not cool.
But we're still fucked.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Hey man, wanna go to a party tonight?The Tucson spin machine is going apeshit tonight after wide receiver/defensive back recruit Jarrell Barbour decommitted from Arizona's 2008 recruiting class and committed to ASU. Barbour hails from Peoria (AZ) Centennial High School, the same school that produced fellow 2008 Sun Devil commit Zach Schlink. The wildcat faithful are now denouncing their once prized signee, saying that 1) he's not that good anyway, 2) he wouldn't have even gotten in to UA. Barbour is that good, having also received scholarship offers from Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Michigan, but he apparently is somewhat of an academic risk.
I heard there'll be babes there.
Barbour cited ASU's academics one of the biggest reasons for the switcheroo, noting that Sparky had a better plan for getting him into school. The UA community is flipping the fuck out right now and they fully believe this is the elusive yet concrete proof that UA is a better academic institution than ASU, even though the two schools have identical admission requirements handed down from the Arizona Board of Regents. I'd like to submit into evidence this quote from someone on Devils Digest who claims to have been CB Omar Bolden's academic advisor before he was admitted to ASU.
Dennis Erickson and company have got the very best academic people in the world at ASU. I was Omar's academic advisor last year and when ASU got involved with Omar he had a 1.85 gpa and a 710 test score. However, we had a plan and were taking classes at two (2) Southern California JC's. When we presented it to the ASU people they immediately (within hours) gave us a green light and some contingency advice. At that point, Omar had the offer from ASU and the ball was rolling. Furthermore, we presented the same plan to USC and they continuously balked at jumping the broom with the kid. Same thing with the UW. I, as an academic advisor to at-risk kids, will never send a kid to UW if he is being recruited by Trent Miles.Bolden, you may remember, was also an academic risk.
ASU has been recognized as having one of the top academic support systems in the Scholar Baller program, which was designed to reward student-athletes who make good grades and spend extra time studying. Arizona on the other hand ranks at or near the bottom of most academic categories, and not just in the Pac-10 either. They have lost four football scholarships due to poor APR scores, the most of any school in the BCS. APR measures things like grades, graduation rates, etc. and penalizes schools that are not cutting it in the classroom. But you know they, like have a medical school or something, so like we're supposed to be, like, totally in awe of them or something. The story is ludicrous.
The term to note here is ASU's plan. While ASU has the Scholar Baller program, Arizona has hired 40 new tutors (bringing the total to 70) for their football program, but where is their organization and the incentive for their athletes to participate? When Erickson agreed to be the coach of the Sun Devils, many haters were quick to point out that during his tenure as head coach at the University of Miami players were prone to taking the field without making the required grades. He rebutted this criticism by pointing out that the rules at Da U allowed for a player to do so while his case was on appeal and that the academic programs, requirements, and procedures at ASU would not allow such a thing.
It sounds to me that these systems truly are in place in Tempe, and that the coaches are using them on the recruiting trail. This can only lead to the recruitment of a higher caliber person to Tempe, and we got that going for us, which is nice.
Even head groundskeeper Carl Spackler could get a 2.0 with ASU's academic support systems.
*Note: Big E wrote all of this much better than I did and you can read it here.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Regular Old Crackers played pop warner
This is Colin too, 5 years earlier. Wait for it...
* Dan Zeiger of the East Valley Tribune unearthed this melancholy story from the Fresno Bee on the departed Derek Shaw, former Arizona State uber-recruit that transferred to Texas Tech only to leave Lubbock without so much as ever attending a single practice. It's good to hear that a kid with such a hellish background and head full of crap is finally starting to put things into perspective and figure things out for himself. It's not "just football," Derek.
* Tight end Dane Guthrie, who transferred from Florida and has yet to impress, has been moved to defensive end and has regained the form that had him so highly regarded coming out of Miami's Killian High School. Erickson notes his natural instinct and ability for the position, adding that his "great hip explosion," among other things, will make the switch permanent. The move came out of desperation after losing DE Luis Vasquez, DE Tranell Morant, and DT Saia Falahola to injuries that will threaten each of their respective playing time over the first month of the season.
* Sunday Morning Quarterback, the pinnacle of intelligent CFB blogging (journalism?) anywhere, is in the midst of Pac-10 Week where he lists ASU finishing 5th in the conference in his Binding Picks piece. Also be sure to check out how those enigmatic Oregon teams live life "On the Margins," why UA won't go bowling despite what they tell you, and "guest columnist Leo Tolstoy's thoughts on UCLA." It's like watching PBS- you will get smarter, or at least feel smarter.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
3. West Virginia
9. Virginia Tech
11. Ohio State
17. Penn State
19. Florida State
24. Boise State
25. Texas A&M
Others receiving votes: Missouri 128, Georgia Tech 94, Boston College 75, Oregon 73, South Carolina 69, Miami 68, Alabama 66, Oregon St. 42, Wake Forest 40, South Florida 28, Arizona St. 17, Brigham Young 14, Southern Mississippi 12, Notre Dame 11, Virginia 7, Clemson 6, Oklahoma St. 3, Texas Tech 2, Houston 1, Kentucky 1, North Carolina St. 1, Purdue 1.
Upon further review, I need to revise my preseason to make up for the gross oversight of Wisconsin. I had the Badgers in a pool of teams for consideration and somehow skimmed over them. The original can be found elsewhere, but here's the revised list:
2. West Virginia
7. Virginia Tech
12. South Carolina
13. Florida State
15. Ohio State
17. Penn State
19. Boston College
20. Oklahoma State
25. San Jose State
With more on ASU, it's probably better for them to be on the outside looking in. The rankings mean nothing until the first BCS rankings are tabulated in week six, and even then they're not that huge of a deal. Here's how the Devils fared in the polls for the last ten years:
Year Pre Post Record
1997 NR 14 9-3
1998 8 NR 5-6
1999 25 NR 6-6
2000 NR NR 6-6
2001 NR NR 4-7
2002 NR NR 6-6
2003 22 NR 5-7
2004 NR 19 9-3
2005 20 NR 7-5
2006 24 NR 7-6
You'll have to ignore the dismal era of the Snyder/Koetter turnover where the Devils were ranked in neither poll for three straight seasons, but otherwise Arizona State has started five of the last ten seasons in the AP Top 25, never finishing there in any of them. Conversely, the only two times ASU has had Top 25 finishes since the magical 1996 season they were unranked in August, making the writers wrong wrong wrong about the Devils in seven of the last ten polls. I put this erroneous voting on YOU, east coast media bias.
The soft early schedule will aid the Sun Devils to climb the rankings as others drop games, but it will be on the team to stay there after October 27 when the schedule drastically increases in difficulty. If any of that matters to you.
Friday, August 17, 2007
A night at the cinema
So I just finished watching the movie Invincible for the first time. You know, the one with Marky Mark. Totally unbelievable, and not in the oh my God 1980 Olympic hockey beat the Russians! unbelievable, I mean I just couldn’t get in to it. The main reasons:
• Thanks to it being a Disney movie, there wasn’t one single F-bomb in the whole flick. This is a movie about Philadelphia sports, the Eagles no less, and not one foul word. Bye bye, realism. I use pottymouth as a hollow attempt to make myself sound edgy and funny, but in Philly it’s simply part of the vernacular. It’s even more surreal than fellow mouse movie Remember the Titans not having a single N-word.
• Along the same lines, there was not a single drop of blood shed when those traitor fucks took a Giant fan to the upper deck of Veterans Stadium. I don’t care if she is a chick, the few Eagles fans I know would have gang-raped her AFTER beating her senseless.
• Speaking of the Vet’s upper deck, it’s a good thing they filmed this rag in a CGI-created fake stadium because the same thing would have happened to the actress playing that stuck up Giants fan bitch that wouldn’t put out.
• According to this collection of dicklickers the Vet had Field Turf in 1975, amazingly some 25 plus years before it was invented. Now I’ve never been to Philly, but based on the handful of games I’ve watched on tv there has never been as much perfect sunlight in that city’s history as there was during the one home game shown. Did they play the entire game on a perfect autumn afternoon between 5:45 and 6:15? Stupid fucking computers fucking everything up.
On the other side of things, I totally bought Greg Kinnear as Dick Vermeil, but I guess it’s not hard to play emotional and sappy when you’re emotional and sappy. Plus, the bonus feature “making of” piece is better than the actual movie. It’s narrated by the new NFL Films guy (not John Facenda OMG that would be teh hottness) and has plenty of clips featuring the real Vince including grainy game footage from way back when. I must also acknowledge the sexy factor of the aforementioned female Giant fan tending bar and talking football at a Ron Jaworski/Mark Malone* level. Yummy.
Look at that, I even worked an ASU reference in there for you.
In summary, it’s an ok watch if you’re Jonesing for football as bad as I am. If you’re an Eagles fan, pass on it entirely or you run the risk of having to purchase a new tv because you people are fucking crazy, like the Alabama of pro football. If you can’t get your hands on a copy in the next 14 days, you might as well wait until February because it’s not worth missing any real football games or coverage.
*- Mark Malone was a three year starter at quarterback for ASU from 1977-1980. He was also a damn fine studio host before the espn brass let Stu Scott fuck everything up.
This isn’t a prediction of how teams will finish, and schedules were not examined. This is simply my perception of the country’s top 25 teams as they stand right now. There’s obviously a lot of guesswork here, and I made a special effort to not look at other preseason rankings. It seemed like there were a few teams that belonged in the top 10 but that there was an abundance of teams that should be in the 10-20 range. Here goes…
A very easy one here with essentially the entire defense back from a damn good team. JD Booty has a year of experience and the offensive skill players are a group of plug-and-play 5 star blue chippers.
2. West Virginia
A dangerous offense returns all of the skill players and the best running back recruit in the nation in Noel Devine.
Absolutely incredible depth to offset losing the #1 NFL draft choice.
Many schools have “triplets,” but none are better than Henne, Manningham, and Hart.
No QB? No problem. OU has superb talent at every position and a new QB will make their margins of victory smaller, that’s all.
They had a hiccup year after the 2005 MNC, but things seem to be coming back together in Austin. Everything is bigger there, after all.
7. Virginia Tech
On top of being everyone’s sentimental favorites, the running game and defense are going to be top notch, especially with one of the best linebacking corps in the country.
The nation’s best drop-back passer is surrounded by a big, physical team. I wouldn't want to play them.
The pairing of the best player in college football and the most underrated running back in college football will be a tough tandem.
20 starters back on a strong defensive team. Skill players a-plenty, too. Consistency will be key considering the blowout loss that followed the upset of USC.
11. South Carolina
The ‘Cock defense has had some growing pains but almost all of them are coming back and they’ve gelled as a unit. Losing Cory Boyd will hurt, but you can count on Spurrier to find decent receivers.
12. Florida State
I tried to ignore coach change hype (see ASU) but this team is loaded to the gills with talent and they were probably held back by jump-ball Jeffy. Watch out for a brewing QB controversy, too.
They’ll always have a good line and run game, but Erik Ainge has matured and seems ready to lead this year’s Vols.
14. Ohio State
Tressel will do just fine with a green RB and no passing game, just like he did in 2002.
They’re losing some absolute badasses on defense, but DeSean Jackson has a skill for making people look bad and he’s complimented by another great Tedford back in Justin Forsett.
16. Penn State
This is Penn State at it’s finest: Good QB, good linebackers, and average skill players. It will leave them looking up at Michigan and Ohio State in the Big 10, however.
A good team last year that lost focus in a few games and it cost them. Stafford is a year better but a lot of little question marks on both sides of the ball keeps them from being higher.
18. Boston College
Matt Ryan has been anointed the best QB in the ACC and they bring a ton back on defense.
19. Oklahoma State
Here comes the offense! They can play some D, but they’ll be this year’s Texas Tech and beat a few teams by simply outscoring them.
The Hawaii Bowl taught me that these guys can actually play. They’ve got a mean, physical defense and some quarterback named Colt.
Ray Rice, all day long. Schiano built this program the right way and depth is developing everywhere.
Losing nine defensive starters and a starting QB leads to a mid-20s mercy ranking for the champs.
One of the better running back tandems in the country with Spiller and Davis. They could get over the hump this year and challenge for the ACC title.
24. San Jose State
Ahhh, a sexy mid-major upset pick! Everyone else is jumping on USF’s jock but this Spartan squad is good. Dick Tomey has a solid defense and some big athletic receivers that are raising eyebrows on the West Coast. The more I read on them the more I like them.
A defense returning a lot of playmakers and an offense with Jonathan Stewart could overcome Belotti’s QB flip-flopping.
I’m well aware of ASU’s absence, but a team with so many defensive questions does not deserve such a ranking. Add to that, last year’s quarterback play wasn’t exactly lights out and the receivers were downright terrible.
Who got left out and why:
Alabama: I’m not convinced Saban is the second coming of the Bear…yet. Arizona: Offense
Arizona State: Defense
Auburn: Cox isn’t that great of a QB and a lot of starters are gone
Kentucky: Defense and last year’s luck (+15 TO margin)
Maryland: they won 9 games last year, but against whom?
Missouri: I’ve heard the have a great QB, but I haven’t heard anything else
Nebraska: Sam Keller can’t do it alone… or can he?
Oregon State: They’re going to miss Matt Moore A LOT
South Florida: Sorry, I’m just not buying it.
TCU: SJSU got my sexy mid-major pick. Sorry.
Texas A&M: the coach Fran unexciting factor
Texas Tech: Yarr, defense matey
Wake Forest: Last year was luck, luck, luck. And a weak ACC.
EDIT: As an observant reader was quick to point out, I totally forgot about Wisconsin. The Badgers have to replace QB Stocco but they have another one of those huge yet mysteriously quick backs and you know Wiscy is always powerful in the trenches. They probably deserve to be wedged somewhere in between Michigan and Penn State, but damn if I know who to bump.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
The pre-school party: a lost art
They were the best of times, they were... I think they were the best, hell if I remember. Today marks move-in day at ASU, the first day the dorms are open for thousands of wide-eyed, hormone-filled 18 year-olds. It's important for these n00bs to get socially acclimated and to network, because ASU is a big place and it's easy to get lost in the fold. (a VTech joke is tempting, but not now)
During my beer bong-filled days in Tempe, our fraternity set the standard for these bashes, commonly called pre-school parties. The prefix "pre" indicating that it happened before school started, not that we dressed in diapers and drank out of sippy-cups, you sick fuck. (can't wait to see what pervs google brings to this site now) On move-in day, our brotherhood "volunteered" our services to help these poor young folks move their crap into their state-issued cells, and as an additional service to them we extended a warm welcome into our home, but only after their parents left.
We then proceeded to Osco, the best stop for wicked-cheap domestic beer. Of all the rules we broke, the only one we always managed to follow was the no-keg rule. Still baffles me. Osco usually had one of the lowest rung beers absurdly cheap- Red Dog, Icehouse, Keystone Light, Milwaukee's Best. Multiple brothers with pickup trucks and SUV's caravanned around town to several Osco's, buying their entire stock of whatever was on special. We always skipped Jerry's Drive-Thru because no matter how much beer we got ahead of time, we always had to make another run around 11 pm and that was the closest stop.
We would unload everything back at the house into our galvanized horse trough and crank the stereo. Kids would start flowing through the door in no time flat, and if the numbers weren't good enough we'd go dormstorming. The Manzy smoke circle was usually a good place to find kids looking to get fucked up, and several of those kids became fraternity brothers. The cops usually showed up at 2 am to break the thing up, but by then over 1,000 people (no shit) had come and gone and we were out of free beer anyway.
These parties were home to some of the most outlandish things I've ever seen, and I've been to Bonaroo. Naked girls dancing on tables, two-story beer bongs, fistfights, crowdsurfing, and a close friend of mine had sex with three chicks at the same time (didn't even have a million dollars). If anyone reading this came and had a good time, you're welcome. I hope you got laid. We would clean up the empty cups and cans with a pushbroom and drink our private stashes of booze until dawn.
The south campus landscape has drastically changed since our reign- and we did reign, if only for one week per year- but where do the kids go now? The fraternity houses are gone, so are the n00bs having keggers in the dorms? Secret house parties? ASU Resedential Life went so far as to ban solicitation during move-in thanks to us, so how do you find these soirees? ASU slipped from Playboy's #1 to #3 party school after I left town, is this why? With an already weak Greek system and a president that frowns on that sort of thing, how do people get involved in the scene? Fake ID machines or something? I guess I am truly out of touch.
In honor of this glorious holiday, I'm drinking ferociously and watching PCU, trying to vicariously relive the glory days of partydom. If you're an undergrad and reading this, ru away from the computer, find a bum to buy you some booze, find a chick, and get ripped together until your clothes fall off. It's the one true Sun Devil tradition.
Regular Old Crackers
Camp Tontozona is over and the team has headed down the hill for the start of school. Post-camp awards are too pansy for the new coaching staff, but both Devils Digest and the Trib have their accolades listed, and it's a concensus that Kyle Williams and Kerry Taylor are studs and it's not out of the question that both could start. The Republic has a breakdown of the entire squad by position group, showing which ones stagnated and which ones have improved since the start of camp.
Portland State of division 1-AA replaced the University of Idaho on the 2010 schedule, because for some reason the schools don't want to play each other anymore. I wonder why...
Photo ripped off from: Losers with Socks.
In the sad, sad, dear God that basket full of kittens is on fire sad department, Julio's Too is apparently closing so that a new burger joint can fail in the shadow of the almighty Chuckbox. May mini chimichangas, $1.50 all-the-time drafts, and some of the best damn chips and salsa in town rest in peace. Speaking of food...
Holy carne asada! Get Out published their "Devil Picks" today for the best of shopping, eating, and drinking in the 85281. They were surprisingly dead-on with a few things, especially Dilly's Deli, Harlow's, and Chuckbox, but to no one's surprise I'll throw out a few nitpicks.
* I've never been to The Salty Senorita and I don't have to, because the best margarita on the motherfucking planet is at Z-Tejas, the legendary CHAMBORD MARGARITA WITH A SILVER PATRON FLOATER. Learn this and we can be friends. 6th and Maple, chump.
* I've also never been to Restaurant Mexico on Mill, but as many who read this page know I'll shiv someone for saying anything is better than Filiberto's, or whatever the hell it's called now. Someone please tell me the new name because I feel like a schmuck for not knowing. And one more thing- nice original name, Restaurant Mexico. I have more taste in my penis.
* I have to admire the inclusion of Cheba Hut because the mention of a footlong Jamaican Red and a magic rice crispy treat will bring me to tears most days, but the top value in terms of price goes to YC's Mongolian BBQ at Southern and McClintock. Also a good cheap date, too.
* I know Dos Gringos has relocated to the site of the old Thirsty Beaver, but if it's anything like it's former self across from Architraz it should at least warrant a second place standing in the running for Best Gay Bar, because that place sucked and was constantly full of dudes.
Happy eating, bitches.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
The injury bug strikes
This will be a recurring post as an easy to digest way of looking at the Sun Devils' health, and it'll be a lot easier now that Dirk Koetter and his no-injury-info-policy are in Jax-Vegas. Listed in order of importance:
Luis Vazquez, DE: High ankle sprain, out 2-4 weeks.
Troy Nolan, S: Shoulder strain, currently practicing (non-contact).
Saia Falahola, backup DT: partial triceps tear, out for the first four games.
Tranell Morant, backup DL: Knee (cartilege tear), out 2 months.
Eric Tanner, backup DL: bruised knee bone, out for one week.
Omar Bolden, CB: sprained ankle, day to day.
Jeremy Payton, S/CB: sprained ankle, day to day.
Brandon Smith, WR: sprained ankle, day to day.
Bolden, Smith, and Payton are already taking limited reps at practice, even though they're not at 100%. Rudy Burgess also fell victim to a sprained ankle but is back practcing at full speed. A huge gasp swept over Camp Tontozona when the highly-touted Bolden went down, but luckily it was a minor injury. Smith's injury was almost inconsequential because of the developing depth at wide receiver and the emergence of true freshman and rising superstar Kerry Taylor, who Coach Erickson said "will definitely play and may start."
Nolan practing this week is a huge surprise after a minimum prognosis of a two-week absence. Nolan was one of the stars of spring practice and caused Jeremy Payton to switch to corner, even though he'll probably be backing up both positions once the season begins. He's wearing a non-contact jersey for now, but should probably let it heal a bit more before really getting after it.
The injuries to Falahola, Morant, and Tanner would be low on the threat level pole if only one occurred at a time, but all three together plus the loss of projected starter Vasquez really hurts an already thin defensive line. Luis Vasquez was looking like he was going to be an anchor at defensive end opposite Dexter Davis, so hopefully he won't miss more than a game or two. Falahola has played well since switching over from the offense and looked like he was ready to contribute with the 2nd stringers, so his loss is probably the biggest ofthe three. Morant and Tanner have yet to show their value, but D-line is one place ASU can't afford to lose what little depth exists.
It's very disheartening to see so many of these injuries occurring on the defensive side of the ball where there is little room for error, even with everyone healthy. Coach E noted that this is the most ankle sprains he's seen in such a short period of time in his career, but would not aknowledge the Camp T turf as the cause, even though Rudy Carpenter pointed out that there are holes-a-plenty on the field- and he's not referring to the defense, either.
Someone who is referring to the defense is Coordinator Craig Bray, who let his guys have it in Scott Bordow's Friday column in the EVT. A few quotes from Bray, first on last year's much improved Devil D:
“I saw a lack of overall athleticism and speed, especially in the front seven. I was disappointed. As you visualize a place like this you would assume the one thing you can recruit is speed because speed likes warm weather and we get plenty of warm weather. So I was disappointed in that.”Here's what I hear: Y'all suck, and you're slow. The fact that you won seven games with this bunch is pushing miracle status. And it's fucking hot out here.
On the D-line:
“We’re not big and we’re not quick. Probably the only legitimate guy up front where you could say he’s a Pac-10 guy is (tackle Michael) Marquardt.”Davis is too small, Smith is too slow, and Vasquez still plays like a JuCo. The rest are too young.
On the #2 corner spot:
“We need a guy like Chris Baloney to finally say, 'Hey, I want to be the guy.’ That’s something he hasn’t done. I don’t know if he’s going to.”Not solely an attack on Baloney. It sounds like it speaks to the level of hunger and desire of the position group as a whole, something that may be related to the previous coaching staff. Funny that CB coach Al Simmons was retained from Koetter's staff. Hmmm.
And finally on how long it will take for ASU's defense to improve:
“I think we’re a couple of recruiting classes away.”This basically says to me that these guys suck and that they're not physically up to the challenge presented by USC and the other big boys of the Pac-10, but maybe they'll get lucky. It's also an indictment of Koetter's offense-heavy recruiting and the toll that Brent Guy took on the Sun Devil defense, although the new staff has been fairly polite when it comes to that sort of thing. Some would argue that he did it to motivate his guys before the Saturday scrimmage- which the defense dominated, oh by the way.
Coach Bray ain't takin' no shit from nobody.
Soak it up you junkie
Not having DirecTV is looking like a really bad idea right now. Mad props to Brett Hansen of Fox Sports Net for sending me the schedule of this weekend's delirious college football preview. For those of you in the Grand Canyon State, I am jealous. Per Hansen's email:
The 2007 college football season is close to beginning once again and this Saturday, Aug. 18, FSN Arizona gets its viewers set for kick-off by airing seven-and-half consecutive hours of programming devoted strictly to the Arizona State University and University of Arizona football programs.
It’s FSN Arizona’s first-ever “Rewind Marathon,” featuring replays of each of last season’s Qwest Wildcat Rewind and Qwest Sun Devil Rewind shows that showcased wins for the two teams. The half-hour shows will air in their entirety in back-to-back fashion and conclude with respective 2007 season preview shows. The Rewind programs are FSN Arizona’s popular productions that condense the team’s previous football game into a half-hour review with exclusive field level camera angles and locker room access while using the UA and ASU home radio calls.
...FSN Arizona has the same type of marathon planned for ASU football when it airs four consecutive hours of programming devoted to only the Sun Devils. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. the network will replay every Sun Devil Rewind show from 2006 that showcased a Devils wins, including triumphs over NAU, Nevada, Colorado, Stanford, Washington, Washington State and Arizona. The seven show marathon concludes with the 2007 Arizona State Sun Devils College Football Preview show that starts at 10 p.m.
I obviously cut the part about the UA programming because I don't want to promote anything of theirs. And not to nitpick or anything, but I wouldn't call very many of ASU's wins "triumphant." Actually I think Nevada (8-4 in 2006) was the best team that fell to ASU...were we really that bad last year?
Labels: the offseason sucks
Sunday, August 05, 2007
It looks like we lost a reader
“I used to see that stuff all the time, and coming into this season I decided I wasn’t going to pay attention to that stuff anymore. The only blogs that make me mad is they always want to talk about me and Matt Leinart and Brynn Cameron. I don't understand why that's a big deal.While this blog has been less than admirable of Carpenter's on-field performances in the last 13 months, I make it a rule of life to stay away from the baby momma drama, whether it's mine or somebody else's. Carp had plenty more to say after Saturday's practice, and the Trib's Scott Bordow offers this piece on Rudy's duality and the fun he's finally having.
There's plenty of special interest bukkake surrounding the first week of practice. Keegan Herring's personal struggles are front and center at the AZ Republic:
It's impossible to see through his megawatt smile to what the 20-year-old is feeling inside.Rudy Carpenter has said publicly that he's going to do everything in his power to get Keegan the season's first touchdown. Other players and coaches have been supporting him, making sure he doesn't travel down the wrong path:
His father, Freeman, died Feb. 14 at age 47. His 23-year-old sister, Denisha Washington, died June 17. His aunt died two days after his sister, and he recently lost one of his best friends.
"Life is not easy right now," Herring said Saturday.
"I remember how I was, and I didn't handle it very good," said [ASU running backs coach Jamie] Christian, then a fullback at Fresno State. "I did a lot of bad stuff because I couldn't deal with the loss. I am keeping an eye on him. He's 10 times better than I was, the way he's handling it. It's hard, but the kid has got so much spirit. There's going to be days he'll be up and days he'll be down. I understand that."Some may remember former Sun Devil Daryl Lightfoot, a young receiver with a ton of talent that unexpectedly lost his father in 2002. D-Light was suspended from and eventually quit the team for rules violations within months of the incident, so it's good to see everyone rallying around Herring. Every personal account I've heard or read states that Herring is a class guy with a lot of character, hopefully that will translate to success in life in the wake of these terrible tragedies.
* Coach Erickson spoke at length about the team's progress in the early stages of fall practice and addressed his relationship with ASU's director of football development, Frank Kush:
“Well I have to go up to the sixth floor from the third to see him. That ride up there is scary sometimes because you know that you are going to get either punched or hit or blocked or tackled, and you better make sure your technique is correct. Being around Frank Kush is the greatest thing that can happen to me. I have been an idol of his…he has been an idol of mine (laugh), I’m starting to sound like Michael Irvin. He has been an idol of mine for years and years. Ever since I started coaching I watched his teams."Those in attendance at the press conference got a kick out of Eazy-E's self correction regarding the idol remarks and they were mentioned in both papers on Sunday, but no one has said diddly about the fact that he's afraid of getting punched or hit by Kush, a man who lost his job for assaulting a kicker. Even in jest, you know Kush is still pissed about that scumbag kicker and he's not a man I would mess with, even in his old age. I still think it's great that the pope of ASU football still gets a seat at the table.
The East Valley Tribune has a brief piece on sophomore defensive end Dexter Davis, who was expected to be little more than a warm body coming into last season but surprised many by leading the team in sacks and tackles for loss. Brandon Rodd talks about lining up against Davis everyday in practice:
After a year of going at each other, Rodd has an idea of what’s coming when Davis lines up opposite him. Rodd simply calls it ‘The Move,’ when Davis bursts around the edge, leaving the offensive lineman flailing. Rodd might not be able to stop it every time, but at least he knows what’s coming.Defensive line coach Grady Stretz was skeptical of the undersized Davis' talent when he came to Tempe two years ago, but his work ethic coupled with his speed and leverage have proven Stretz and the rest of us wrong. Stretz had this to say:
The younger players have no chance.
“He does The Move on me every day,” Rodd said. “I see it now, because I’ll watch film and say ‘That’s The Move.’ In practice I’ll walk up to him when he’s going against the rookies and I’ll tell him to do it. He knows that move is deadly.”
“He’s unbelievably quick,” Rodd said. “You wouldn’t even imagine just looking at him how fast he is. He’ll turn on the juice on the edge, and if you’re a big ol’ offensive lineman, you’re not keeping up with him.”
“He had some tools, but he was just extremely raw. Early on in spring, in all honesty, I questioned how good a player he would end up being here.”
A few quick practice notes:
• Of the WRs, Erickson has been most impressed by Mike Jones, but he's been a practice all-star in the past without carrying it over to games.
• Eazy-E said that Kerry Taylor “is as polished of a receiver out of high school as [he has] been around in a long time” and he may not redshirt.
• Since Troy Nolan and Josh Barrett have the safety spots locked down, Jeremy Payton is getting some practice reps as a nickel back and at corner. CB Jarrell Holman is being moved to a backup safety role to make room for Payton.
• Kyle Williams was planning on playing baseball throughout spring practice, but after the coaching change he felt he owed it to the new coaching staff to concentrate full-time on football, even at the expense of ASU's College World Series losses.
I've done a little touching up around thanks to Mark, who started a brand spankin' new ASU blog, Pitchfork Nation. It's well written, looks professional, and it's promptly updated- it's basically everything this page isn't. Thanks Mark, hopefully we can push each other to be better like the running backs and not compete where one of us quits like last year’s quarterbacks. Lord knows I need the help.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
The mainstream gets some love
Even though the mainstream media gets a lot of flack here in the blogosphere, the Valley outlets have been on the ball and done some impressive stuff. In addition to everything mentioned yesterday, Dan Zeiger of the East Valley Tribune does a preview of fall camp and addresses the top 10 questions facing the Sun Devil program. I was actually very taken by this quip of original thought from the first question, addressing the transition from Koetter to Erickson:
Something to watch — though, if it emerges, it will likely not be during the preseason — is how the Sun Devils respond to their coach’s let-players-be-players philosophy. Although Erickson preaches accountability, could ASU choke on the freedoms he gives?It lends itself to the preconceived notions that Erickson runs a thug program and that trouble brews out of his jetwash after he leaves a particular program, but the point is very valid. I could make the argument that one of the reasons my Fall '98 g.p.a. was a robust 0.67 was that I had too much free time to swill Killian's at the Vine and (theoretically) do bong hits on the roof of my house until 5 am. Just sayin'.
Over at the big paper, Jeff Metcalfe does an excellent job (as usual) of previewing some of the newer faces that will be big-time contributors this year including both newcomers and guys who have worked their way up the depth chart. He also pens a short piece on the coaching change and notes that Omar Bolden, the potential savior of the #2 corner position, will be allowed to practice. Per the same article I'm also stunned to find that the nephew of the O.G. Rudy is an ASU baseball recruit.
I don't know if it's the coaching change bringing new life to the program or that everybody really hated Koetter for being a jerk to the media, but even the local radio shows are getting on the Sun Devil bandwagon more than usual. KTAR has archived interviews with both Rudy Carpenter and Coach Erickson, and XTRA 910 has an additional hour-long interview with Carp (it's in 4 different parts). For the record I think XTRA's Bickley and Jurecki are twits and KTAR's Doug and Wolf are even worse, but it's nice to hear directly from the guys that are putting the work in to make things better on Saturdays this fall.
Coach E (can we start calling him Eazy-E?) is charismatic and easy to like, but I feel like I'm being set up for a letdown- the more I admire him, the more I know he's going to break my heart even worse, like retiring and leaving us on double-secret probation. Oh well, a smarter feller than myself once said, "tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all." Just get ASU to the BCS, that's all I ask. You can get more of Eazy's charm and wit by watching the video of Pac-10 Media day. After the link, click on "archived video"underneath Sparky and the site may require a brief and free registration.
Rudy comes off... like Koetter I guess- not to be insulting, but he's very cerebral and calculated. He sounds like he's coming to grips with who he is and who he needs to be as the leader of this team. He has a fragile psyche reliant upon confidence, which it sounds like he has regained after working with Eazy-E all spring and summer and attending the Manning Passing Academy as an instructor, where NFL scouts told him he has one of the most accurate balls in college today. He said he also really valued being able to pick Peyton Manning's brain at every available opportunity. That confidence will have time to solidify thanks to the home-heavy and soft early season schedule. What will be important is how he rebounds after a bad game or a loss. The playbook will be easier for players to grasp (I'm looking at you, wide receivers) since there's only one for the entire season- apparently Koetter used a different one for each week depending on the opponent.
Erickson's offense allows Carpenter to be more instinctive and quick-thinking as a quarterback rather than over-scheming and removing that intuitiveness that makes good quarterbacks great. Carp's also extremely happy that Offensive Coordinator Rich Olson isn't trying to change his throwing mechanics. He says he wants to “go back to how I was, how Jake [Plummer]was- just playing football.”
The interviews aren't all nuts and bolts. Rudy joked that he and the receivers have been working on end zone celebrations and that new kicker Thomas Weber needs to get ready to kick 35-yard extra points. On the upcoming season, he's looking forward to redeeming himself after last year's piss-poor performance against Cal and the Thanksgiving game against USC is circled on everyone's calendar, although they are all aware of the importance of the in-state rivalry.
“The biggest game for me every year is always UofA” Carpenter added, but after speaking of the emergence of the running game as a strength, he made the quote of the week: “I might not have a lot of TD passes this year but I’ll probably have about 5 or 6 against UofA.” Yippee!
See, the mainstream isn't so bad. I'm a total linkwhore for Everyday Should Be Saturday, but their site is down right now since they have server issues. Do you think espn ever has that problem? I think not. Eh, fuck that shit. On a final note, I have a new must-read-daily fanboy crush on another blog, Kissing Suzy Kolber. It takes "crude" to an artistic level and it's good enough that it actually makes me care about the NFL and fantasy football. Their pop-culture references make me look like a boorish 50-something golf-playing husband and they host a weekly reader's mock draft that's fucking spectacular. Pothead Simpsons fans really make the best journalists, after all.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Woooo football content!
PRACTICE SCHEDULE (August 2-26)
Thur., Aug. 2 - Practice #1 (helmets), 6:40-9 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Fri., Aug. 3 - Practice #2 (helmets), 6:20-9:30 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)Sat., Aug. 4 - Media Day, 1-3:30 p.m. (Dutson Theater, Carson Center) and Practice #3 (shells), 6:05-8:20 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Sun., Aug. 5 - Practice #4 (shells), 5:30-7:50 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Mon., Aug. 6 - Practice #5 (pads), 7:15-9:15 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Tues., Aug. 7 - Practice #6 (shells), 8:45-11 a.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility) and Practice #7 (pads), 7:15-9:15 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility) ... (depart for Camp Tontozona at 10:30 a.m.)
Wed., Aug. 8 - Practice #8 (pads), 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Thur., Aug. 9 - Practice #9 (shells), 8:50-11:05 a.m. and Practice #10 (pads), 4-6:15 p.m.
Fri., Aug. 10 - Practice #11 (pads), 3-5:15 p.m.
Sat., Aug. 11 - Scrimmage, 11-1 p.m.
Sun., Aug. 12 - Practice #12 (pads), 3-5:15 p.m.
Mon., Aug. 13 - Practice #13 (shells), 8:50-11:05 a.m. and Practice #14 (pads), 4-6:15 p.m.
Tues., Aug. 14 - Practice #15 (pads), 3-5:15 p.m.
Wed., Aug. 15 - Practice #18 (shells), 10:05-12:15 p.m. (depart for Tempe at 3:30 p.m.)
Thur., Aug. 16 - Practice #19 (pads), 7:15-9:15 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)Fri., Aug. 17 - Scrimmage, 7-9:30 p.m. (Sun Devil Stadium)
Sat., Aug. 18 - No Practice
Sun., Aug. 19 - Practice #20, 5:45-8 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Mon., Aug. 20 - First Day of Classes, No Practice
Tues., Aug. 21 - Practice #21, 5:45-8 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Wed., Aug. 22 - Practice #22, 5:45-8 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Thur., Aug. 23 - Practice #23, 4-5:30 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Fri., Aug. 24 - Mock Game, 6:15 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Sat., Aug. 25 - No Practice
Sun., Aug. 26 - Practice, 5:45-8 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
As always, interviews will be held after all of these practices/scrimmages. Media are allowed to shoot all of these workouts until the team returns to Tempe from Camp Tontozona. Then, beginning Thursday, August 16, media can shoot the first 30 minutes of non-team drills.
I've always wanted to take the trek to check out a Camp Tontozona scrimmage with grill and keg in tow, but rumors have swirled that there is a strict no alcohol policy in place and that space is very tight, all assuming that the famous Payson summer rains don't cancel the whole thing.
The best damn fall practice in town!
If you head up the hill to Camp T, get there early if you want a good view since there's no bleachers. And for chrissakes, don't let Rex Banner catch you having too much fun.
* The aforementioned no alcohol policy may be in jeopardy if Coach Erickson and Peter O'Toole have their way judging by this masterful piece at EDSBS, highlighted by this gem: "Got this boss gig at Arizona State. We’re gonna kick some ass."
* The official site has it's release from Pac-10 Media Day posted. They're also selling 2007 Media Guides for $20 a pop, but I think I'll stick with the good ol' free interwebs for team information. There's probably more content on Facebook and Myspace than can be found in that overpriced rag. Speaking of media day, here's a short interview with boss-man Erickson.
* the mainstream media is on top of practice too, led by Jeff Metcalfe's piece on the start of the season. Erickson pointed out that playing well in the opener against SJSU is important, but not that important.
Some hack from Tucson tried to spin the same story into wildcat bukkake using the headline "Erickson worried about facing Tomey." Maybe you shouldn't have fired him, then.
Dennis Erickson plucks a score from one of his 310 games as a college or pro head coach to make a point about his 25th season at some team's helm.
Oregon State 21, Eastern Washington 19.
From that unimpressive start of the 2000 season against a Division I-AA opponent emerged a juggernaut that finished 11-1, crushed Notre Dame 41-9 in the Fiesta Bowl and was fourth in the final Associated Press poll.
* As usual with the big papers, there are a couple of insightful player pieces on workhorse RB Ryan Torain and incoming frosh Jonathan "Tank" English, one of thousands displaced by Hurricane Katrina two years ago. After reading the article, Tank appears to have the mental maturity to step in and contribute at defensive tackle right away. At 6'0" and 330 pounds, he also has a pretty solid set of physical skills, too.
* Geting back to references about cartoons, if you haven't made it over to the Simpsons Movie website to make yourself into a Simpsons avatar you need to do so right now.Moe's sucks, I'm headin' to The Vine!
* Lastly on a somewhat serious note, I've avoided taking shots at the current situatoin at UCLA. I'm taking the high road for once, and Conquest Chronicles put it better than I ever could. This eloquent summary comes from the Bruins' crossown rivals, and you know I wouldn't be able to resist if this sort of thing happened in Tucson. Bravo to Paragon SC on this one.