Friday, October 19, 2007

Off Topic For the Off Week

I was discussing this topic with a couple of buddies the other day and was actually surprised to find that we had many of the same answers. So, I pose to you: What are the greatest inventions of your lifetime?

First, we need to set a few parameters:
--This list will have no particular order. I’m not in the business of ranking.
--We won’t be using exact dates. It’s just too hard to find out when things were patented or first appeared on the market to the general public.
--We’re going to essentially look at 1980 as a starting point. That was the year that I was born, plus it’s just a good round number to start at.
--We are going to look at an approximate time when things became overwhelmingly popular. I understand that AT&T was talking with the FCC about cellular phones as early as the 1940’s but we’re going to be calling the birth of cell phones the early 1990’s (when Zach Morris started using his).
--We will also be discussing our “favorite” inventions, not necessarily the “best” inventions. I know that their have been great advances in the fields of technology and medicine over the past 25 years but that doesn’t negate the fact that at least 70% of my television viewing is ESPN.
--The internet as a whole cannot be mentioned because it has changed the world in way that no other invention has. The creation of the internet ranks up there with penicillin and the wheel.

So, let’s get this list started (at least the first seven that I can really think of):

-Digital Camera
The ability to take pictures, look at them, decide that the way that you were standing made you look fat, erase the picture, then take it again...all without using any film at all? Sorority girls across the country went berserk the day that they got their first digital camera.

-Cellular Phone
Don’t get me wrong, I still find this item evasively obtrusive. That being said, I don’t know how I ever found people in a crowd before I owned one. I even remember the moment that I figured out that cell phones were genius…July 4, 1998. I borrowed my dad’s cell to track down my friends at Lenox Mall so we could watch the fireworks. Now, I freak out if my cell leaves my pocket for more than five minutes.

-DV-R / TiVo
I’m not going to lie to you – I got in late on this phenomenon. I hooked up a DV-R in my house for the first time just a little less than a year ago. I was told how great it would be and even knew how great it would be. It turned out that it was even better. I don’t miss my favorite shows anymore. I don’t even miss the crap that I don’t want to see.

-High Definition Television
Going along the same lines, HD-TV. Just unbelievable. Action shows are absurd and sporting events are ridiculous. I remember watching The Masters in HD on CBS with my buddy O.C for the first time. We could have actually caddied for the players from our living rooms. We could read breaks in the green from the couch.

-The iPod (and for that matter…digital music)
I jumped on this bandwagon late too. My buddy Billy and I went to a bar in downtown Athens the other night (before Guster took stage at The Georgia Theatre). We started discussing the concept of digital music and realized that this was just an absurdly great concept. It just changed the way everyone listens to music. No tapes. No CD’s. No wires. No anything. Plus, iPods kind of look like they should have come from another planet, making them infinitely more cool.

-The yellow first down marker
I think that people underestimate this one. This invention single-handedly changed the game of football for women. Tell me, did you ever try to watch a football game with your girlfriend BEFORE the yellow line was developed? Of course you didn’t. Because she couldn’t figure out what was going on and didn’t want to be a part of it. Now she has a point of reference. If nothing else, she can chime in on crucial third downs and give you the ol’, “I don’t know, honey. I don’t think he got the first down.” She’s happy because you’re letting her participate and you’re happy because you think that your girl knows something about football. In the end, everyone’s a winner.

When I was eight years old, my parents made the great purchase of cable television. It took me a while to peruse all the channels but then one faithful day I discovered ESPN. Sports, all the time? It was amazing. The monumental discovery was made one morning when I got up to eat breakfast before school and stumbled upon SportsCenter. Back then it was a 30-minute show that ran on repeat for approximately 5 hours (this is not an exaggeration). SportsCenter immediately became my viewing choice before school. It’s as important to me as Good Morning America is to old people.
So, there they are. The best stuff to come around over the past 25 years. If you agree, great. If you don't, then I just don't know what to say...I've given everything that makes up our daily lives (except for video games which is an entirely seperate conversation all together).
The sports world is about to hit a pretty exciting couple of weeks coming up. We have professional football in full-stride, college football closing in on the "rivalry" weeks, the World Series, and hocke and basketball about to get under way.
Brace yourselves!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Three Of These Things Aren't Like The Others...

There were some big upsets this weekend. Colorado knocked off #3 Oklahoma, the Tiger-Plainsman-War Eagles of Auburn defeated #4 Florida (on the road and at night no less), Kansas State popped #7 Texas, Maryland took care of the “wood-choppin’” boys from #10 Rutgers and the Ramblin’ Wreck beat the #13 Clemson Tigers.

These were all good things that made for a great week in college football. It also made for an odd looking AP poll come Sunday afternoon. I mean, let’s look at your top five:

1. LSU
2. USC
3. California
4. Ohio State
5. Wisconsin

Okay, I’ll buy into that. That seems like it could be a top five on any given year over the past decade or so. But then…

6. South Florida
7. Boston College
8. Kentucky

These three schools are like those three random freshman girls who show up for their first big fraternity party of the year. They look great on the surface – they’re trendy and no one really knows anything about them so they have that “air of mystery” going for them. The thing is, they’ve just been nursing on beers so far and not really hitting the “hard stuff.”

Boston College, you did beat, a then ranked #15, Georgia Tech in Atlanta a couple weeks ago but we found out that the Jackets, despite beating Clemson, are not nearly as good as we all thought. That’s pretty much it…that’s all you’ve accomplished.

Kentucky, you beat Louisville a few weeks back when we thought that they would be vying for trip to the National Title Game…then the Cardinals fell to Syracuse and we all said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa! These guys can play offense but their defense is just dreadful.” The win the Wildcats had at Arkansas was decent but they still gave up a lot of yards and 29 points.

South Florida…hmmm…you’re like the leader of the trio. You actually have some things going for you. You went into Auburn and beat them and then this past weekend you beat the speedsters that were #5 West Virginia. I’ve got to admit, you’re looking kind of hot right now.

Well, ladies, the bar just ran out of beer so if you want to continue to hang out then you’re going to have to turn it up a notch. It’s nothing but mind erasers and tequila shots from here on.

The first half of Boston College’s schedule isn’t exactly a gauntlet. They have gone through Wake Forest, NC State and Georgia Tech in conference and have tangled with Army and UMass over the past two weeks. They have Bowling Green and Notre Dame (and don’t even get me started on the Irish right now) for the next two. They should have a 7-0 start. Then it’s time to line up the shots – at Virginia Tech, Florida State, at Maryland, at Clemson, and Miami. Yowza!

Kentucky has played some stellar offense and has put up at least a 40-spot in each of their first five games but the Wildcats are about to hit it hard. This week, on Thursday night, the cats travel to #11 South Carolina. They’ll follow that up by hosting top-ranked LSU and #9 Florida. Later on they have to go to Athens to take on the Dogs and then host Tennessee. Yikes!

What I’m saying is that as good as those girls looked entering the party, we all know that they are going to end up doing too many shots, get trampled on the dance floor, break the heel on their left shoe, tear their shirts and end up throwing up all over themselves…they’ll end up back in obscurity.

The only thing that frightens me is that South Florida might end up looking great at the end of the night (like the girl who just calls a cab for her sloppy friends and then heads back up to the bar). The rest of South Florida’s schedule looks like this:

-at Florida Atlantic
-Central Florida
-at #21 Rutgers
-at UConn
-#20 Cincinnati
-at Syracuse
-at Pittsburgh

This isn’t tough. South Florida could do this. Their toughest game is at Rutgers. They have Louisville at home and Cincinnati is ranked despite not having played anyone at all. South Florida may be sitting there at the end of the season with an undefeated record.

Is the nation going to be okay with South Florida playing for a National Title if they run the table? I’m just not okay with it at this point.

The Betting Man Update:
Week 4: 1-4
Overall: 8-12 (I really need to turn this ship around soon.)

Pics of the week:

It was a beautiful day for football in Utah this past weekend.

Mike Flynt, 59, plays linebacker for Sul Ross State...Now that's old man strength.

Hey Coach Stoops, how did your Sooner's look this week?

SEC fans everywhere were cheering for Auburn.