Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Quote of the Day (and why the only place to watch sports on television is in a noisy bar)

"Do these announcers ever shut the fuck up? Don't ever say stuff just because you think you should. That's the definition of an asshole."

--from @shitmydadsays, 27 September 2009

In my hotel room last week I watched parts of what seemed to be the women's team handball World Cup from Denmark on Eurosport and one of the things that made it interesting (other than trying to figure out what the fuck the rules were) was that there was no commentary at all.

There were the sounds of the (very sparse) crowd and the players and screaming coaches, and during the timeouts they had microphones in the sideline huddles (speaking in Russian, French, Norwegian, and German), but there were no talking heads in the booth telling us what we should be watching or regaling us with the brilliance of their past athletic exploits (or announcing their relatives' birthdays, or talking about last night's steak at the hotel, or plugging their network's awful new sit-com). When's the last time an American football or baseball game was broadcast without a non-stop announcer, and sidekick, and sideline reporter? Wouldn't you love to see just one game in which you had only the crowd noise to tell you what's going on?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I leave the country for nine days and look what happens

The only sports news I specifically sought out over the past week (two days after the fact) was the Rutgers-Maryland score, so I was surprised this afternoon when I got home after nine days of electronic isolation to see the carnage in the top ten last weekend.
Here, just before the final deadline, is my contribution to the Week 5 BlogPoll (see all the other voters' choices here).
1 Florida
2 Texas
3 Alabama
4 Boise State 6
5 Cincinnati 3
6 LSU 3
7 Southern Cal 4
8 Virginia Tech 5
9 Iowa
10 Ohio State 2
11 TCU 3
12 Oklahoma 3
13 Houston 3
14 Oregon
15 Penn State 11
16 Oklahoma State 2
17 Michigan 4
18 Georgia 4
19 Kansas 6
20 Miami (Florida) 13
21 Brigham Young 2
22 Georgia Tech 2
23 South Florida
24 California 19
25 South Carolina
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Mississippi (#6), Florida State (#17), Pittsburgh (#20), North Carolina (#23).

The attached scan will show that I tried to do this week's update by building on my previous poll with the scores from the past weekend rather than by looking at anyone else's poll when I got off the plane from my secret vacation location this afternoon.
Next weekend I'll be in the States and I promise to pay closer attention to the games, file a prompter ballot, and give some reasons for some of my individual moves. But if four of everybody's top ten teams lost last week, maybe we'd just all be better pulling names out of a hat this year.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The 4th 2009 BlogPoll Ballot of Beat Visitor dot com

The tradition is to post a preliminary ballot and solicit your comments and suggested changes so that I can finalize the list before the final compilation on on Wednesday morning. You can still add whatever comments or changes you want by clicking below, but I won't be able to read them until September 30th, and I won't be revising this list. As soon as I post this, I'm going offline and leaving the country for over nine days.
1 Florida
2 Texas 1
3 Alabama 1
4 Penn State 1
5 California 2
6 Mississippi
7 Miami (Florida) 11
8 Cincinnati 4
10 Boise State 1
11 Southern Cal 9
12 Ohio State 1
13 Virginia Tech 3
14 TCU 3
15 Oklahoma
16 Houston 5
17 Florida State
18 Oklahoma State 4
19 Brigham Young 11
20 Pittsburgh 3
21 Michigan 4
22 Georgia 2
23 North Carolina
24 Georgia Tech 14
25 Kansas
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Nebraska (#14), Texas Tech (#19), Utah (#20).

You can click on the scribbles reproduced to your right to see my brilliant reckoning of the new top 25. For those of you who don't want to try to decipher code, my biggest movers in a downward direction this week are USC, BYU, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Utah, and Georgia Tech, the biggest mover in an upward direction is "Da U", and my newcomers to the list are Kansas, North Carolina, and Florida State (with the last two actually being returnees who were prematurely ejected from my poll in earlier weeks).
Sorry if this seems rushed, but I've got to finish packing and get to Newark aiport.
Na shledanou.

Keep its powder dry

My least favorite change in the expanded Rutgers Stadium is a selfish objection, the cannon location.
The cannon being prepared for yesterday's 23-15 victory over the FIU Golden Panthers.

My seat location in Section 123 no longer allows me to hear it or see it directly (only on the TV screen) when it fires after a score. In its old location on the hill next to section 101, it was right in my sightline and a big part of my Stadium experience. I miss seeing the flash and smoke rings. I also loved the way that on a still night when the cannon was firing with regularity, there would be a pall of smoke hanging over the open end of the Stadium. Now the smoke goes out through a hole in the fence above the new seats, so the best view may be from just on the other side of the Raritan River, where the Stadium, on a busy night for the Rutgers offense, may look like an approaching Pirate ship.
But the important thing is that it fires regularly. It could have fired a few more times last night without the imposition of will in the second half by the Foot Locker employees who had been grabbed to referee the game (does anyone know what conference they were from?? Like I said, my guess is Foot Locker). And it was disappointing to watch the defense let their shutout of FIU disappear in the fourth quarter, but the main thing is the win. A dubya is a dubya. Florida International will shock someone someday soon. I'm just glad it wasn't my Knights.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

FIU's most famous football moment

H/T to @RUFanJerry

In case you missed it . . .

I happened to catch the odometer on Beat Visitor dot com turning to all zeroes early this afternoon. Exciting, no?
OK, I know there are college football blogs that get tens of thousands of hits an hour and that our grand total of 20,000 seems laughable in comparison, but allow us to pause on our way to 25,000 visitors to admire the view. When my car passes milestones I always seem to notice it when it's already at 40,009 or 80,021. It's rare to look down and catch the zeroes, though it's easier here than in the car; even though the Site Meter has picked up speed in the last couple of months thanks to more frequent updates, Twitter, and our BlogPoll membership, it still doesn't move quite as fast as an odometer in a car going 75 or 80 mph (not that we ever speed).

Or you can simply call them The (other) Panthers

Get your game preview from an FIU perspective by clicking here.

Get your 17 pages of FIU Game Notes by clicking here. Learn about the players, FIU's short football history, and get tidbits like the one illustrated to your right. Who knew that you can call them FIU, but not Florida International, or Florida International University, or FI, or Fla Int'l, or Flintl, or Floridint, or any other variation? I guess it's like KFC running away from their former identification with Kentucky chickens or ESPN standing for nothing but ESPN.
And, of course, you know that you can get your official Scarlet Knights information for Saturday's game by clicking on these Preview and Game Notes links.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Why so glum?

Anyone surfing around the web for any news or comment about our favorite football team is sure to see a lot of "commentary" from various Gloomy Gusses about the sorry state of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in 2009 (and let's be brutally honest, does anyone love to complain more than a whiny North Jersey a**hole?). As an answer, I give them this picture taken on Labor Day.

Of course Gloomy Gus will see only the "45" and the "7," but I love this picture despite the score. This one image shows the debut of the ginormous new HDTV screen above the new south endzone seats, it shows people still in those seats despite the score, it trumpets the one honor -- "THE BIRTHPLACE OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL"-- that no school will ever take away from Rutgers, and it shows the debut of Rutgers' quarterback of the future (and the present) in his first quarter of action for the Scarlet Knights, before he threw his first touchdown pass and his first 2-point conversion pass (and before he gave up a safety to give those 2 points back to the Bearcats).
If Tom Savage continues to throw the ball against Florida International this weekend the way he did against Cincy and Howard, and if Cincinnati wins again against Oregon State (in the Beavers' home) showing that they are who we think they are, then they are going to be moving up close to the top ten in everyone's polls next week and Rutgers' first-week loss to them with our second-string quarterback (and Dom Natale didn't even show he could move the ball against Howard in the second half on Saturday) will start to look like an aberration.
The most important game for Rutgers this Saturday is obviously the game against the FIU Panthers, but the second most important game for Rutgers football is the game being played by the Pitt Panthers against Navy. Pittsburgh is lurking just below the bottom of most polls right now; a few stumbles among the top 25 and a stellar performance by Pitt could put them on the lower rungs of the national rankings next week. There would be nothing better than to see a highly-ranked and undefeated group of Panthers entering Rutgers Stadium on October 16th to meet a Scarlet Knight team that has had a chance to gel around Tom Savage's leadership. If the Bearcats are still undefeated they will be in the top ten at that point; nobody would have a problem putting the Knights into the rankings if they beat a ranked Pitt and their only loss was to a top-ten team in week one. Well, maybe by "nobody" I mean that I would have no trouble placing them there in my BlogPoll compiled on October 17.
I just want to note that I hope to be able to get a BlogPoll posted here early on Sunday, but then I'll be out of the country for nine days (in a place where football is played with the feet, and where the players wear shorts instead of pads and helmets) and I'll be computer-free while I'm in that land of beer and castles. I won't be around for the Maryland game or the post-Maryland poll, so I will either miss that week or get it in just before the Wednesday-morning deadline on June 30th. Don't completely abandon Beat Visitor dot com while I'm observing radio silence.

Monday, September 14, 2009

If Mohamed Sanu doesn't make the catch, watch out

Even if true freshman Mohamed Sanu doesn't make the reception on any given play, he still is very into the play. The defensive backs from Florida International should note this video clip from the opening game against Cincinnati and keep their heads on the swivel looking for the wide receiver wearing number 6 next Saturday:

And they might also find this block from last Saturday's Howard game of more than academic interest:

Speaking of high-impact true freshmen, that's also not a bad pass from Tom Savage to Tim Brown in the Howard clip.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Beat Visitor's 3rd BlogPoll of 2009 is up for your comments and/or accolades

Here's my third BlogPoll ballot of 2009. There are no changes in my rankings until you get to #7 and #9, where the top-ten spots that had been held by the "O" States (Oklahoma and Ohio respectively) have been vacated. Oklahoma State dropped the most precipitously, from #7 to #22 because of their 45-35 loss to previously unranked Houston. Ohio State dropped only 4 spots from #9 to #13 because of their close loss to #2 USC. Ohio State is now the highest-ranked 1-loss team on my ballot. Georgia, which narrowly beat the other USC yesterday is the lowest-ranked 1-loss team here because their loss in week one to Oklahoma State now looks even worse because of OK State's precipitous drop.
2Southern Cal
5Penn State
7California 1
8Brigham Young 5
9LSU 1
10Georgia Tech 2
11Boise State
12Cincinnati 5
13Ohio State 4
14Nebraska 4
16Virginia Tech
17TCU 3
18Miami (Florida) 5
19Texas Tech 2
20Utah 2
22Oklahoma State 15
24Georgia 10
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: North Carolina (#19), Iowa (#24), Notre Dame (#25).

You can see the sausage being made by clicking on the scribbles to the right that I made on my Week 2 ballot. The most important handwritten note, of course, is the line to the left of #4 Alabama. For those of you who can't read my chicken scratchings, it reads "RU needs to beat FIU by more than 25 pts next week!" If a Tom Savage-led Rutgers team can beat Florida International by a wider margin than that rolled up by the Crimson Tide yesterday, then maybe the Scarlet Knights will start getting more notice again -- beginning their comeback from the first week's collapse under another QB.
The dropping from the poll of #25 Notre Dame (and their replacement by Michigan) needs no explanation after the Wolverines' 38-34 victory over the Leprechauns, but North Carolina's 12-10 victory over the University of Connecticut Huskies on the strength of a safety (awarded because of a holding penalty in the endzone) did not show that the boys in baby blue deserved a place in my poll for now. New #21 Houston and #25 Michigan have moved into the top 25 for obvious reasons already mentioned. #23 Pittsburgh's entry is more of a gut feeling move for me (and if I can be accused of homerism for favoring a second Big East team, then every SEC voter can be accused of the same thing).
As always, please feel free to savage or praise this week's entry in the Comments section (no registration required).