Tuesday, December 29, 2009

This Week's Picks!

Here we are for the last This Week’s Picks of the year.

I cannot go without commenting on the soap opera called, “As Urban Turns”.

Saturday I was listening to Leonard Cohen, of all people, when my wife told me that Urban Meyer had resigned. Health problems. Then Sunday he decided to take a unspecified leave of absence. By the end of the week, I'm betting he’ll just take a PTO day.

Urban stopped to smell the roses and decided that was over-rated.

All of that seems reasonable compared to the Mike Leach Head Trauma Unit at Texas Tech. The latest is that Leach, who was suspended by the University for placing the son of a high profile Texan in a small electrical closet due to a mild concussion, is filing suit to be able to coach in the Alamo Bowl. This can’t be good.

Last year, I made a pick in every single bowl game. I did okay. I think I might have been 50-50. This year, my schedule got the best of me with I decided to just go with the Big Five Bowl games.

This Week’s Picks!

The Ruse Bowl: Oregon vs The Ohio State University. Every single blessed year you have the Buckeyes going to Pasadena to lose in the Rose Bowl. This year should not be any different. Ducks win.

The Sugah Bowl: Florida vs Cincinnati. Timmah’s last game as a Gator has been over shadowed by whatever movie is going on in Urban’s head. Meanwhile, Cincinnati is the high powered offense, but, it has never seen a defense like Florida’s. Florida win and Timmah gives all the praise to the Lord.

The Cop-Out Bowl: TCU vs Boise State. The Aroused Frogs and The Blue Carpet Bunch both play in a conference that is not a ‘BCS’ conference so instead of having them play a BCS school, the powers that be decided to have them play each other. Whatever. Both are good teams and this may be the best bowl game of the bunch. I’m going to with the Toadies on this one.

The Urange Bowl: Georgia Tech vs Iowa. Last year, the Bees got killed in the Chick-fil-a Bowl by LSU. The people that know this sort of thing think that a team can prepare for the Triple Option if they have a month. Iowa is not LSU. Bees win.

The Mythical National Championship: Alabama vs Texas. Can Texas win this game? Sure. Bama had some scares this year and Texas is not a bad team. If Utah had not stomped Bama so bad last year, I might have thought Texas could pull an upset. I just cannot see Nick Saban letting that happen again. Alabama’s defense is just too good. Bamy wins.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas In The Heart

You are a rock and roll legend. You rushed through middle age by constantly touring. You are now past retirement age of the people you grew up with and you have tried everything that show business has to offer. But there is one thing you have not tried. This is what you think (translation is offered for the Bob Dylan impaired)

“A Crismus albem (Christmas Album). Yeah, just like that ones they sold at Westurn Otto (Western Auto), with jangle buells (jingle bells) and background singers like Bang C’sby (Bing Crosby) and Per Cumo (Perry Como)”.

The legend of all legends, Bob Dylan, has recorded a Christmas album titled, Christmas In The Heart, and to say the least, it is different. Because when one thinks of Christmas, Bob Dylan does not leap to mind.

Christmas is comfort and joy. Christmas is merry and bright. Christmas is about hope and light.

None of these things are close to the image of Bob Dylan. Dylan has become very rich by being sarcastic, moody, pessimistic, and snarky. When you think of Nat King Cole, you think of a man smiling about the thought of chestnuts roasting on an open fire. When you think of Bob Dylan, you think of a man scowling at the thought of those stupid chestnuts having the nerve to roast on an open fire while people aren’t allowed to be free.

You cannot understand Bob Dylan without understanding that he is all about music. It’s the only true love of his life and he likes all of it. As with the last three or four albums, Christmas In The Heart, is a tip of the hat to the songs and the songwriters that he heard as a youth in Hibbing, Minnesota.

While it is great that Dylan is acknowledging the poetic work of “O Little Town Of Bethlehem”, it must be noted that most Bob Dylan fans want to hear him song his own songs. It has to do with his voice, which, like cappuccino, is an acquired taste. I like Dylan singing “Like A Rolling Stone”. Dylan singing, “Ave Maria” would be another matter.

I need to stop right here and confess that I am a Bobcat. I have been with Bob every step of the way since Slow Train Coming. I liked some of Budokan and I was there for Empire Burlesque. I think Love and Theft ranks right up there with all the great rock and roll albums.

However, his version of “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” (or as he says, “Hurk The Harawld Anjells Sing”) should be used to torture prisoners at Gitmo. This is not a track to listen to-this is a track to avoid. If someone behind you at church sounded like this, you would drop your hymnbook, turn around and stare at him.

The pattern Dylan uses in Christmas In The Heart is a “secular” song followed by a hymn or religious song. Dylan does better with the secular songs like “Christmas Blues” and “Christmas Island” than he does on the religious songs, although his version of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and “Little Drummer Boy” are surprisingly good, considering what he did to the Herald Angels.

The best performance on the album, “Must Be Santa”, provides another one those patented Dylan surprises: a polka that rocks.

Dylan is accompanied by his band, led by bass player Tony Garnier (my nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize since he has worked for Dylan for twenty years) who prove that they can just about play anything, anyway, at any time. The background singers, who have taken some heat in the Dylan internet world, are great. There are times when you wish Bob would lay down his weary tune and let them sing.

Only Bob Dylan could record a “controversial” Christmas album. It should be noted that all of his royalties from Christmas In The Heart are going to the charity Feeding America.

Just for fun, here is a link to the video for "Must Be Santa". Yes, Dylan is wearing a wig.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This Weeks (Heisman) Picks!

No picks on games this week. Just too busy with Jingle Bell rocking around the Christmas tree at my wife office’s party. Plus, the boy is coming home from his first semester in college. Plus, Christmas shopping. Plus getting my wife’s car fixed. Plus a million other things.

Aside for the Army-Navy game, the Division One season ended last week. Division Two is having their championship in Florence, Alabama! If there is one thing that says, ‘well done’ it is a trip to Florence, Alabama. Grand Valley will play Northwest Missouri. Actually, it is a pretty fun game, but I wouldn’t know who to pick.

The FCS is in their semi-final round with Appalachian State facing Montana and William & Mary playing Villanova. Just a hunch, but I think Appy State will crush Montana, simply because of speed. I think Nova will beat Bill and Mary

It is now time for me to give my Heisman pick! (The sound of trumpets).

First of all, let me say of all of the awards that are given in this world, the Heisman has always been the one that never made a lot of sense. It is supposed to be for the “best player”, if that player happens to be a quarterback or a running back.

This year there are five candidates. Two of them are on it for the career, not their season stats. One is someone most of the nation has never seen play and another has a name nobody can pronounce. Additionally, there is one player, C.J. Spiller of Clemson, who not even on the list, but should be.

The two quarterbacks, Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy have had incredible careers, but this year, they just haven’t been the dominant player that the winner of the Heisman should be. McCoy damaged his chances last week against Nebraska. Frankly, the Tim Tebow show has gotten a little stale. He’s a great everything, but it is just not his year.

Toby Gerhart of Stanford is second in the nation in rushing and first in scoring. He goes to Stanford, which is a Brainiac school, plus he is a rare White running back (I just thought I’d throw that in for the haters). However, he plays in the Pac 10, which brings him down a notch for me.

What do you do with a problem like Ndamukong Suh? He is the dominate defensive tackle. The Heisman, however, has a bias against defensive players. My solution: if the Heisman is the best player, make all of the winners of the various position awards (Like the Johnny Unitas award, and Butkus award, etc) on the stage of the Heisman. That way, the average fan could appreciate the career of an Ndamukong Suh as much as he would a quarterback)

That leaves Mark Ingram of Alabama. He was the best player on the best team. That to me equals the Heisman Trophy.

There seems to be a push from the media for Gerhart. He might win it. I don’t know if the Heisman voters have been able to watch a lot of his games. If this were the Oscars, I would think Gerhart and Ingram would split the halfback vote with McCoy and Tebow splitting the qb vote. That would make Suh the first defensive lineman the winner.

I just don’t see any of that happening. I think Ingram will win with McCoy somehow coming in second.

On a personal note, I must comment on the resignation of Scott Jones as the Head Football Coach of the Kennesaw Mountain Mustangs. The Mighty Mustangs had a poor record this year and they have never been to the playoffs. So it wasn’t quite unexpected. However, Scott is a good guy and he treated my son well.

I hope for him and his family all the best. Our time in the program was enjoyable and I was able to see first hand all of the work that goes into being a head coach. It is easier to criticize a head coach than to be a head coach.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

This Week's Picks!

As a lot of you already know, this week was Cardiac Catheterization week here at Picks Central. It seems my annual EKG showed something called a “left bundle block”, which is not something out of Lombardi’s Packer days. As people say, it’s complicated and leave it at that.

Anyway, during my catheterization, I saw bright light. I walked closer to the light because I heard…..barking. Out of the light came UGA VII!

I said, “Where’s the Lord?” UGA said, “They didn’t even put you to sleep, Alan, or should I call you, Adam Lambert? Anyway, The Lord, Momma, Daddy, and Elvis all told me to tell you that it is not your time and to stop being such a big baby”.

I asked our late four legged friend, “How’s Heaven?” He said. “Oh, it’s great. Three squares a day and you get to sit on a block of ice next to a cheerleader. Wait that was my life. Anyway, I get to peer into the future. Did you know the next Palin grandbaby is going to be named, ‘Popcorn’?”

“So UGA”, I continued, “You can help me with This Weeks Picks!”

He said, “First of all, I’m a dog, not a genie, so don’t think you’re going to get something out of me besides the Palin grandbaby thing and that President Tebow’s wife has triplets and he resigns the Presidency to become a missionary to Cambodia and that each one of the triplets eventually goes on to win the Heisman trophy”. “Tim Tebow becomes President?” I asked. UGA shrugged and said, “Yeah, the future is really ruff.”

This week’s picks!

Division Two Playoffs: It’s down to four teams in D2: Carson-Newman, Grand Valley State, California (PA) and Northwest Missouri. Grand Valley and Northwest Missouri wins.

Division Three Playoffs: Let’s just say Mount Union and UW-Whitewater Six Flags will be playing for the championship and skip this next week.

Huskers of Corn vs. Texsas: It would make things interesting if Nebraska would beat the Longhorns, but it is not going to happen. Texas wins big to set up a chance at the Mythical National Championship.

Hippie vs. Hippie State: The last time an Oregon-Oregon State game mattered to anyone outside of Oregon was….never. All I know is that uniform-wise, you don’t watch this game in HD or you will get motion sickness. Ducks fly to the Rose Bowl.

The Only Game That Matters: Florida vs. Alabama. You know, you could make a case for either one. I tend to think Florida is the better team, but not by much. If Mark Ingram plays like the Heisman contender he is, Bama just might beat the Gators. But, if Florida stops him like Auburn did, it will be a long night for the Tide. Florida wins, but I’m not thrilled with it.