Before we start to look for the future coach of America's Biggest College Football team (Kirk Herbstreit's pronouncement on College Gameday that Notre Dame was an 'irrelevant' program was absolute rubbish - do you hear us talking this much about Al Groh, Steve Kragthorpe, or Bobby Bowden??), we'll look at the past.
Penn State faced Notre Dame during Charlie Weis' reign. Brady Quinn took us apart in South Bend in 2006, and Penn State returned the favour in front of the legendary 'White Out' crowd on a beautiful fall evening in 2007.
Notre Dame's record against USC was an 0-5 disaster, but the first game and final games of that series were incredibly close.
He ended the Irish's woeful bowl record with a hammering of Hawaii earlier this year, and he's made Jimmy Clausen potentially a top five pick (hell, Cleveland, St Louis and Buffalo all need a Hawaii), and Golden Tate and Michael Floyd will also be choice first rounders, too.
The problem with Weis is that Notre Dame fans have this unbelievable expectation that they should be challenging for a National Title every year. And considering that they play USC every year - plus Michigan (if they are doing well it's a nightmare), that's not easy. They manage to avoid playing SEC teams - or do SEC teams avoid playing the Irish?
And if we're honest, this season, we could well have been talking about a National Title. Every game the Irish lost was a heartbreaker (or made you giggle - depending on your sympathies).
The coach with the biggest future is, sadly, the coach who can persuade Notre Dame's academic staff to loosen up the rules a little for their athletes. Why? Because players would rather go on a four-year SEC, Texas or USC vacation where they can concentrate on playing 'ball' rather than actually go to class and do difficult classes.
I'll say this: Notre Dame fans need to be good. But College Football needs Notre Dame to be good, too.
Anyway, here's a memory of the greatest game of Charlie Weis' career - in 2005 against USC. And it's no surprise that Notre Dame lost the 'close one' was it?
The result of much testing was a diagnosis that we had less than 1% viable sperm and our chances of conceiving children in the manner that most people conceive children was less than 1% if we continued trying in "that way".
This was a huge blow to us both and we were devastated. Truly devasted.
Not ones to give up easily we took our referral to the fertility clinic and went to see what our next course of action would be.
The fertility clinic did more tests and confirmed that we would never be able to have children the "normal" way. It was highly recommended that we do in-vitro fertilization (IVF). So we scraped up some savings and wracked up some debt and managed to pull together the $10,000 that it cost to have this procedure done.
In 2006 I started taking pills and giving myself daily injections. I went through the painful and emotional procedures that are part of IVF. I was sure it would work for us - there was no reason for it not to.
Except it didn't work for us. And it was devastating. I was so emotionally distraught that I didn't think I would ever pull through. It was one of the worst times of my life. There was so much to think about and to process. We were facing the very real possibility of never having children.
It took a year for me to be ready to try it again. One last time. I knew I could never go through it again, especially if it failed again - which was a very real possibility. Days before I was to find out if it worked or not, I was sure that it hadn't. And I vowed that I would never go through IVF again. I could not handle it physically, emotionally, or financially.
But this time, it did work.
And we were overjoyed.
We welcomed Ruby into the world in December 2008, and she has changed my life and our life so much for the better that I couldn't even put it into words. I cannot imagine that I came so close to never having her. My world is a much better place with Ruby in it.
After I had Ruby, my midwife told me that I was amazing during labour and delivery. She said that my body was meant for having babies. I thought that was ironic since it was so hard to get there in the first place and I knew the chances of me ever being there again were quite slim.
At my last midwife appointment my midwife asked what I wanted to do about birth control. I scoffed at her and to be quite honest, I was annoyed. She KNEW my history. She KNEW that we couldn't get pregnant the natural way. The thought of me needing any sort of birth control was a joke to me. I was a smart ass to her in my answer.
And friends would ask me about having more kids and I would be equally snarky with them - after all, everyone KNOWS what we went through to get pregnant in the first place. Those comments weren't meant to be hurtful but they can be very hurtful to a couple who cannot concieve naturally.
In the months after having Ruby the topic of having any more children was gingerly discussed between Steve and I. We knew we wanted more kids, but after what it took to have Ruby I was coming to terms with the very real possibility that she would be an only child. I knew in my heart that I never ever wanted to do IVF again. Steve would have willingly done it again in a heartbeat. He wanted more kids no matter what it took. But since my mind and body were the ones to have to endure the treatments, I had the final say. And after one particular heart to heart, I told him that I was done. I would have loved more children but doing IVF again was out of the question. I couldn't imagine putting up $10,000 for a 50% chance of getting pregnant again. And by the time we could scrape together that kind of money, I would be well over 35 - the magical age when your reproductive system is supposed to go for a nose dive. And I could NOT imagine enduring treatments while having a toddler to care for. It was hard enough to care for myself during that very trying time.
And so Steve agreed (however reluctantly) that we were done. Ruby was going to be an only child. End of story. Time to move on with our lives. Sad, yes. But that is life, and I had to deal with it.
I moved past it. It bothered me sometimes but I know that life doesn't always turn out how you plan it and you have to accept the hand you are dealt and make the best of it. And I was indeed going to make the very best of it. I felt very blessed to even have Ruby to begin with.
Life was good. We were happy. We were grateful to have our little family.
Then the unthinkable, unimaginable, most unexpeted thing happened.
I found out I was pregnant.
It happened the "normal" way.
There was a lot of shock. Awe. Disbelief (still a bit of disbelief). Shock. Oh, and more shock.How? I will never know. It is truly a "miracle".
People have said to me, "I've heard of that happening!" So before you say that, let me tell you how truly annoying those comments are. Yes, it's true that women can get pregnant more easily after they've had a baby. However, whatever my body went through with having a baby - that doesn't cure the thick scar tissue that my husband carries around in his body due to a botched surgery as a child to repair a common childhood problem. I could be the most fertile woman on the face of the planet and that wouldn't make a lick of a difference to our dismal sperm count. So yes, maybe sometimes this does happen, but not usually in a case such as ours.
We are overjoyed that we will be welcoming another little miracle (a miracle of a different kind) into the world in June.
We won the infertility lottery.
It's now important to champion people 'doing good things'. No, this is not another blog proclaiming the brilliance of Joe Paterno, but it's another blog proclaiming the kindness that one person shows to another.
That's why we've called it the 'Kindness Championship'. In other words, if we find out about good deeds, we'll look to try and enter it into the table - rather the opposite to the Fulmer Trophy, which gets 'given out' to teams with the worst-behaved student athletes.
We realize that there are sportspeople out there that probably belong in jail. But then again, there are a lot of sportspeople out there who deserve a bit of recognition for going that extra yard.
If you know anyone who's done anything 'Championship-Worthy', then let us know and we'd glad to put something up on our new blog!
If you know of a story we can publish, then add it as a comment to the KC website or the VFA and we'll look at publishing it.
We want to know about good people doing good things. And please - this shouldn't be an opportunity for you to tell the world how another school sucks. There's enough of that already.
Watching the game next to me was someone close to Jordan Norwood's family- then a PSU wide receiver - Annie Laurie Harris, who suffers from cerebral palsy. It was an incredible experience.
Annie's now written a book and is a champion of being able to do normal stuff - despite having a disability. If you get the chance to see her speak, then go.
If you didn't catch ESPN's piece on Jake Olsen, a kid who had cancer early on in his life which blinded him in one eye early on in his life and took the last one out before the USC-Stanford game this year, then here's the clip below.
I tried hard not to cry. And I bet after watching this, you will, too.
While we kinda wish Kragthorpe had been given a little more time- Louisville aren't a long time away from the loss of Bobby Petrino, who wandered off to Arkansas, but Al Groh?
Every season Virginia had been talked about in the wrong terms - Groh's survival rather than a potential ACC winner.
Groh lasted nine seasons and with a Hokie boot in his behind - a 42-13 home slaughtering by Virginia Tech - he only beat them once in nine attempts. Nothing annoys the local alumni - the most powerful thing in college football (and make no mistake about it) than getting your ass handed to you by your local rival. And Al Groh managed it. A lot.
Tyrod Taylor says goodbye, too.
We've got a lot to talk about in a little time, bearing in mind that's we've been watching football all day and we're a little tired.
This couldn't be a better rivalry week - or more's the case, rivalry evening.
At the end of it, the only coach crying was Charlie Weis (well, he probably wasn't, but there we go). On fourth-and-job, Jimmy Clausen's Hail Mary was batted down by a Stanford secondary that had done its best to hand the Irish the game, and the Cardinal beat the Catholics 45-38. If Stanford running back superstar Toby Gerhart (dear God did I take a long time to get that name right!) doesn't go to the NFL, then we're pretty sure he'd be a good minor league baseball player, or any college should take him about as future running backs coach or head coach. He's all heart baby.
We also got to see some redemption, which is always nice on a rivalry week where smack is talked from start to finish.
So here's the list:
LSU coach Les Miles With over a minute on the clock in regulation, needed a minute to tie to the game against Arkansas, and instead of royally screwing up like he did against Ole Miss, the Tigers coaching staff and offense managed to get its head together and force overtime. They then played poorly in OT, but thanks to the closest 'wide right' field goal miss you'll ever see by Arkansas, the Tigers won, much to the joy of around 92,000 people, some of whom were seen (to my laughter) using the 'F' word opening in front of ESPN cameras to question Miles' coaching efforts. I only wish we'd been there.
Georgia's Reshad Jones: The talented safety missed a tackle in the 2008 home loss to Georgia Tech that essentially gave the nerds a rare victory in Good Old Fashioned Hate. Jones was brilliant on Saturday night, making a last-gasp tackle to force a player out-of-bounds with seconds on the clock to essentially save Georgia's 30-24 victory over 15th-ranked Georgia Tech at the high school stadium known as Bobby Dodd. Best sign goes to the Tech fans though: "And The Nerds Shall Take Over The World".
South Carolina: No-one could have given South Carolina more crap than we did throughout the year - especially quarterback Stephen Garcia. Don't get me wrong, we still think he's one of the SEC's poorer quarterbacks, but he - and a tremendous defense - helped to engineer an upset of hated rival Clemson.
Georgia defensive co-ordinator Willie Martinez: He might well be out of Athens by Monday, but boy, his 'D' battled today - especially against Georgia Tech's tremendous running game, which was stifled all night long.
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen. For all intents and purposes, Mississippi State had been a laughing matter when talked about as a possible SEC West destination for good recruits. At the start of the season, we didn't expect MSU, with their new head coach, to beat Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl this year. They did, and we can shut up now.
And a quick bit of love for Mississippi State's band, who may just get into the VFA's top ten cheerleading squads for 2009 - if a band is indeed cheerleading (which we think it is). I love the copy of "Rammer Jammer". It's not been sung very often.
Yesterday we at the VFA made the point that winning rivalry games was often a question of who 'wanted it more'.
Now, we'd like to correct ourselves. We're quite aware that both sides 'want' to win. It's obvious- college football players don't exactly go out to lose, do they? But get this - if you impress during a rivalry game, then everyone gives you the thumbs up on Thanksgiving Weekend - even if you were playing a defense as horrific as Florida State's was.
Florida State's problem isn't about speed. The speed that Florida State (as a team) has - in our view from watching an awful lot of teams this season - is second to none in the country. But defense-wise, it's second to about everybody. I think that even Indiana would be disappointed with scoring under 30 against the 'Noles if the two met up. That is the poverity of FSU's defense.
Mind you, Texas A&M and Auburn's weren't great either. But it was Florida who exploited the weaknesses of Florida State's - as they did last year - and you have the feeling that had the 2009 match-up been in Doak Campbell, the result would have been exactly the same. And to make matters worse for the Bowdeners, Florida's defense was dominant - if you discount the drive in garbage time that gave FSU a spectacular touchdown (worth Youtubing).
And Tim Tebow, was, well, Tim Tebow. There was one horrible fumble late on in the game that the Tebow-haters enjoyed (and we still can't believe that the SEC officials didn't call him for an offensive facemask too), but otherwise, you can hardly complain with 17-21, 221 yard, 3 touchdown effort, could you? We doubt that he'll put up the same gaudy numbers against Alabama going against a fearsome defensive front, but we think he'll do pretty well.
Steve took Ruby and I out for dinner (very sweet but risky move considering her mood). She was a bit snitty and he was sucking back beers - which means I was on edge. What's worse than sitting next to the table with the cranky kid and the drunk husband (how about sitting AT the table with the cranky kid and the drunk husband worrying about the people at the next table). Ok, so Steve didn't get overly drunk at the restaurant and we managed to escape before Ruby's bad mood escalated. However, Steve did feel the need to pick up a 6-pack on the way home. Now he's got the music on. And he wants to talk about work. His work. And Ruby is hanging off my pant leg, whining.
I just want quiet. Peace and quiet. After a long day of trying to keep the little person happy and under control, I just want everybody to sit quietly and entertain themselves or each other and leave me alone. Of course I would appear to be the selfish, mean mommy and nasty wife if I express these wishes. So I grit my teeth and nod my head and wait for everyone to go "night-night" and/or pass out.
In fact, it wouldn't have been easy to sort out this BCS mess if Alabama had lost, because then if they beat Florida (who we can confidently predict won't play as badly as Texas or Alabama did over the last two days), who would face Texas (who we confidently predict will hammer Nebraska next week) in the National Title game? Would Boise or TCU have their wish? Or would it be Cincinnati? Or...? Or....?
Anyway, we know about rivalry games that they are always going to be battles. They generally aren't won by 400 points by either side, and it's all about passion and, as we Brits say, 'wanting it more'.
There's no question that both teams wanted it more. The tackles were flying from all directions.
The problem with Auburn is that they couldn't stop Alabama in the final fourth quarter drive, and quarterback Chris Todd, who had played very well up to around the second quarter, finally ran out of 'playing well' gas.
But let's get this straight: did ANYONE see an Alabama team that might beat Florida in the SEC game?
Alabama was held to just 73 yards rushing by the Tigers, with fairy dust around Mark Ingram suddenly eliminated in the game that really counted. Ingram looked second class against a distinctly second class (for most of the year, anyway) Auburn front.
Auburn battled like Tigers, but it was not to be. But does anyone seriously think that Alabama's going to win the SEC Championship Game after this performance?
But while Texas A&M will feel once again disheartened by losing to Texas, Texas will also be disheartened.
Because while that sort of defensive performance can work against the Big XII - including Big XII North opponents Nebraska on Saturday week (are we being a little unfair), it won't wash against Florida or Alabama.
The Longhorns couldn't stop the throw all night. Think Blake Gideon & Co are going to deal with Riley Cooper better he did with the Aggies?
They weren't great against the run either. Early on, it looked as though the Aggies would get roasted on the line of scrimmage. The 'horns were awesome. But as is the case in college football, the game rolled on, and the 'D' tired. By the end of the game Christine Michael (we only wish we were joking about his first name, but seriously - he's called Christine (parents wanted a boy apparently), had 83 yards to his name, and the runs were getting bigger each time. They also had trouble stopping Aggies' QB Jerrod Johnson, too. While Texas will have fun against Greg McElroy, think Tebow won't barge them out of the way?
On the good side....Colt McCoy was a star for the Longhorns, and he's playing the best 'ball of his career.....Jordan Shipley will be a thorn in anyone's side for the last two games of his college career (he's not coming back for a seventh year is he? IS he?).....kickers against Texas will have to 'pick their poison' against Jordan Shipley or Marquise Goodwin, who can both fly.
Look, we know it was a rivalry game. But rivalry games probably come second to National Championships in terms of games everyone will talk about when careers are done and dusted.
No-one wants to be known as the team who went unbeaten during the regular season and then got smacked about during the National Championship Game.
Here's a bit of "Midnight Yell" for y'all. Ignore the first 47 seconds....
Oh if it were just me, I would totally go anyways. But the thoughts of bundling up Ruby and making sure she's dressed properly and then carting her in and out of stores and loading and unloading her stroller in the torrential rain - just not appealing to me.
So.... once again I am trapped inside my house.
On the bright side: the house is tidy, the laundry is done, dinner is cooked, etc. etc. etc. blah, blah, blah.
If I was Penn State' AD Tim Curley, I'd stop scheduling trash and go for a 30-year home and home series against Pitt, or Notre Dame. Penn State Nation needs it.
Anyway, back from all that talk, because it's Thanksgiving Weekend, which means that we're all getting our hate on this weekend (and the weekend after, if you're an Oregon or Oregon State fan, who battle it for the Pac-10 title in a week's time).
So here we go:
The 'Saw Varsity's Horns Off' Game: Texas vs Texas A&M
Texas is going to walking into a world of hate at Kyle Field. Aggies fans have had this pencilled in since January, and the Longhorns, who are playing as well as anyone this year, have to come to play a Texas A&M which has been fun to watch AND inconsistent this year. How else do you explain dumping 50 on Texas Tech on the road? We watch with bated breath while munching turkey.
Prediction: Texas wins, but in a squeaker.
Bedlam: Pittsburgh vs West Virginia
Stoke up the coal and get the couches ready, people, because Pittsburgh's coming into Morgantown. These two Big East rivals really, really dislike each other, and this should be Friday fun for all.
Prediction: Go to Ikea and get a couch! West Virginia in the upset.
'Good Ole Fashioned Hate': Georgia vs Georgia Tech
Georgia can't stop the run, and Georgia Tech are run specialists. Sound like a recipie for disaster for Bulldogs' fans? Does to us. The 'high school stadium' as Georgia fans rudely - and rightly - refer to Bobby Dodd Stadium - will be rocking.
Prediction: Georgia Tech. By 21.
The Baja Georgia Game: Florida State vs Florida
Now that the 'Noles are bowl-eligible for 27 straight years, Bobby Bowden's shut up the critics yet again. Greg Reid is an incredible defensive back/punt returner, and could cause trouble for the Gators on Saturday. But really, this one's about Tebow and running through a Florida State defensive that's not a lot better than Florida International's.
Prediction: Good job you beat Maryland, Bobby, because you ain't beatin' the Gators, dadgummit! Florida by 28
'The Go To Hell' Bowl: Alabama vs Auburn
"Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer Let's Go Alabama/ Go To Hell Alabama!" If anyone's dumb enough to get married in the State of Alabama this Saturday, then don't expect many people to be attending. Even the groom. Or the bride. Or the priest. Game-wise, Mark Ingram and the Crimson Tide defense should shut down Auburn, but Auburn can pride themselves on a pretty good season.
Prediction: Alabama wins by 10, and starts chanting their version of the song. Which I'm not going to go into.
The 'Hot Bowl': Arizona vs Arizona State
We've ramed this epic desert classic because there's so much eye-candy on show in this one. Arizona and Arizona State constantly battle each other to be Playboy's top party/co-ed/Pac-10/cheerleaders school (Arizona won the cheerleader battle last week, we'd like to note), and Tempe-Phoenix-Scottsdale area is going to be jumping. We can't wait. Oh, and there's a football game on too, which has been great over the past few years.
Prediction: Arizona wins by 7 in a classic
The 'Disappointing Bowl': Oklahoma State vs Oklahoma
Both teams have been disappointing this year. The Sooners have been plagued by injury and horrible defense, while the Cowboys have been plagued by Dez Bryant and his ghost. The Sooners will be coming off an ass-handing by Texas Tech, while O-State has got to stop laughing and reload.
Prediction: Oklahoma State in a high-scoring, Oklahoma-style shootout.
The 'Al Just Go' Bowl: Virginia vs Virginia Tech
If all things are right, this should be Al Groh's last game in charge of the Cavaliers after an indistinguished tenure. We don't see a lot of hope for his Virginia side at Lane Stadium, although if we're honest and thinking Penn State BCS chances, we're hoping for a UVA victory.
Prediction: Virginia Tech by 31
The 'Cockfight': Clemson vs South Carolina
This deeply-felt South Carolina rivalry is a throwdown every year - including the game where both sets of players brawled in out! South Carolina haven't been bad this year, but will they be able to deal with CJ Spiller?
Prediction: South Carolina in a monster upset.
The 'Hollywood Bowl': USC vs UCLA
With USC on its knees, the time could not be riper for UCLA to score an upset on their Los Angeles neighbours. It's strange, because at the VFA we've hardly mentioned Rick Neuheisel's side this season apart from the (still laughing!) win over Tennessee this year.
Prediction: USC gets it done.
The 'Hate Bowl': Missouri vs Kansas
Missouri HATES Kansas and Kansas HATES Missouri. Mangino might be the inspiration, but a loss to the Jayhawks' biggest rival might be inspiration enough for the Jayhawks administration to boot Mangino's rotund behind out of Lawrence.
Prediction: Roll out, Mike. Missouri by 14
'The Charlie Weis Bowl': Notre Dame vs Stanford
No game will be more intriguing than this one, people. The Irish are on their knees. Jimmy Clausen was cold-cocked after the Irish lost to UConn. Charlie Weis will probably get fired on Monday. Stanford needs to win to have any hope of a BCS/high-Jan 1 bowl/high ranking after losing 'The Game' to California in a loss that was basically their fault. Toby Gerhardt is the best running back in college football (we think he's better than Alabama's Mark Ingram), and Notre Dame is poor at stopping the run. Oh dear Charlie?
Prediction: Stanford wins by 10. And Charlie Weis hands in his notice. With a little shove from 'Irish Universe'.
And very quickly.....Ole Miss will beat Mississippi State; BYU will win a tight one against Utah; Cincy will thrash Illinois; LSU will beat Arkansas in a track-meet; North Carolina will win the battle of Tobacco Road against North Carolina State; and if Miami lost South Florida we'll laugh, and then laugh some more.
If you didn't think Rammer was loud....
And the Auburn version
For Penn State Nation, the [add word here] 10-2 season is over, with the good hammerin' of Michigan State. Gosh we played well. Life is good at last. We'll take the Land Grant Trophy. Thanks, Staters!!
Anyway, here's some awards we are dolin' out.
The Pink Slip Award for Hapless Coaching
1. Charlie Weis. Cry all you want Charlie, it probably won't save your job. If you do stay another year, it'll be the greatest resurrection since [Touchdown] Jesus.
2. Al Groh (Virginia). Goodbye already!
3. Mike Mangino (Kansas). If the racist remarks are worse-than-they-appeared, then it won't matter what we think. Fat man is going to get his butt kicked out of hippieville.
4. Mark Richt (Georgia). We know the fate of Georgia's defensive co-ordinator Willie Martinez, but after the Kentucky game, could we be saying goodbye to Richt in the shock firing of the year? If we do, you heard it here first!
5. Joe Paterno (Penn State). Just joking. Really - he'll leave when he wants to.
Games Of The Week
1. Oregon 44, Arizona 41. What an atmosphere and what a game. Oregon wasn't at its best, but it survived. Oh, and Arizona won the best cheerleader awards. Sorry Ducks.
2. UConn 33, Notre Dame 30. It wasn't the win that moved us, it was the tears of both Coach Weis and Randy Edsall. Football's about emotion, and regardless of the result, this was pretty emotional.
3. Ole Miss 25, LSU 23. Late LSU comeback fails. We're still exhausted watching this one.
4. Penn State 42, Michigan State 14. Because at last the Nittany Lions brought the wood out. A great performance on both sides of the ball.
5. Northwestern 33, Wisconsin 31. After getting their Big Ten hopes shredded last week, Wisconsin then loses to a loser-ish team (sorry Wildcats!). But we're all sad it's over.
Best two-tool player in the nation
1. CJ Spiller (Clemson): Can run, throw and catch. The kid's the real deal.
2. Jordan Shipley (Texas): He might be 85, but his punt returner's second to none and we love his wide receiving skills.
3. Tim Tebow (Florida): He's Superman. He's Jesus. He's Florida's quarterback. His walking on water skills might be needed if the FSU game on Saturday is as wet as last week's.
1. Connecticut's Randy Edsall. Finally gets a win for dead player Jasper Howard. Not a dry eye in the house.
2. The College Gameday guys. They finally picked a game that they would actually show. And boy, was it great. The 'student shots' made you want to sign up and take another four years of college in Tuscon.....Mama! I'm comin' home!
3. Nebraska (Big XII North Champs): The title's coming home to Lincoln, Children of The Corn, it's coming home!
4. Clemson (ACC Coastal Champs): We have to say that after the Georgia Tech game it all looked a little unlikely, but well done all!
5. Florida and Alabama. Because one of you will end up in the National Championship. And one of you will end up in the Sugar Bowl. And you'll win both games.
Quote of the day
"Jordan Shipley had a senior day with Tommy Nobis" - Rece Davis, College Football Final. We laughed anyway. BTW, CFF had a picture of Colt McCoy hugging his family on Senior Day. Anyone else noticed that his mother is smoking hot? How did he come to look like such a, well, alien?
Wish we were.....
In Tuscon last week for the Arizona game. Hot girls, lovely temperatures, and an atmosphere in Arizona Stadium that was, to die for. We would ask you to go to your recording of the U of A game and watch for the crowd shots in the fourth quarter for the reasons why.
3. Ole Miss
5. Arizona State (We can't WAIT until the Arizona-Arizona State game)
Had this song in my head...
Well... I have a few secrets, but there's one I'm gonna let you all in on right now.
I'm kind of excited about Christmas this year.
I know. I'll wait for you to pick your jaw up off your lap.
If you know me at all, you're probably a little shocked. But really you shouldn't be. So much has changed for me over the past year or two. Not only do I have the coolest little girl in the whole world, but I am more at peace with myself and my life. Maybe the two are related. Probably.
The stores nearby put up Christmas lights recently. And when I saw them I got strange happy and excited feeling inside - instead of the usual burning urge to go all Grinch and rip them down in the middle of the night.
I bought some new pyjamas for myself the other day. They are flannel and they have reindeer on them. Shocking because I would NEVER wear seasonally inspired anything before, and also because it's still NOVEMBER!!!
I've got some of my Christmas shopping done already - and this year it's not because I'm pressured into doing it early for fear that I will go into labour before my shopping is done and everyone on my list would have to get scratch tickets from 7-11. This year I willingly started shopping early because I was excited about it.
I have been itching to go out and get some new decorations. Last year I decorated my tree in all black decor (hey, we should all just be happy that I actually had a tree in my house). This year I'm looking for some serious red, sparkly shit.
I don't have much money this year - but I don't really care. I don't feel like I need to spend a lot to make it good.
And yes, a big reason for all of this is my baby girl. Having her puts everything into a new light and a new perspective - one that I never thought I would ever get to see. So I'm pretty excited and happy and looking forward to all of it this year. I think we're going to have fun.
It's the Land Grant Trophy, given out to the winner of the Penn State vs Michigan State game.
The Penn State fans love playing Michigan State for one reason really: it's not a bad rivalry (ie Michigan or Ohio State), and Penn State has a pretty good record against the Spartans (more than you can say than, for example, Penn State or Michigan).
Since it's the last day of Penn State's season, when I can cry slowly as I say goodbye to my Penn State gear for a month-and-a-bit, and thank Jesus that it's all over for one more season (I can't deal with the heartache), I'll make a prediction. Penn State by 14. There you go.
Yale vs Harvard
The Geek squad are out in force for this one, working out over cocktails how to make the next dumbass business decision that will cost millions of people their jobs, homes, and incomes.
Prediction: Harvard by 10. Why? My cousins went to Harvard. My aunt and uncle live near Harvard. My father went to Harvard Business School. I'm not bright enough.
Cal vs Stanford
Geeks vs Hippies for this one. And guess what? The geeks are playing pretty darned well at the moment. Jim Harbaugh's team beat the crap out of USC and Oregon and (I dare to say it) deserve a Rose Bowl spot. It's do or die for the Cardinal against a Bears team trying to work out if Jeff Tedford should really get fired.
Prediction: Go computer buffs and Tiger Woods lovers. Stanford wins by 21.
Virginia vs Clemson
Clemson's knack of self-implosion couldn't possibly happen against Al Groan and his Cavaliers, could they?
Prediction: No. Clemson in a laugher.
Connecticut vs Notre Dame
If Notre Dame loses to Connecticut, Charlie Weis won't be fired. He'll be shot outside Touchdown Jesus.
Prediction: Weis wins....finally. Notre Dame by 10
Oregon vs Arizona
Personally, we at the VFA are pretty glad Oregon and Arizona are getting together. Great cheerleaders on both sides? Check. Great co-eds? Check. Great teams? Maybe.
Prediction: Who cares? I'm hoping for great sideline shots! Oregon in a thriller, by three.
Texas vs Kansas
If there's ever a game which should show the gulf between the Big XII North and Big XII South, it'll be this one. If KU actually wins this game - and stops Colt McCoy being the winningest game in NCAA history - we'll run naked down the Streets of Austin screamin' "I've got a critter in my butt!" Betcha rootin' for Kansas, ain't ya?
Prediction: Texas bludgeons Kansas.
Minnesota vs Iowa
Iowa can perhaps blame themselves for the loss at Ohio State. They played well - rather like Wisconsin did in the 'Shoe a few weeks back - but shot themselves in the foot at important times. But Iowa's a Big Ten Powerhouse that's here to stay beyond 2009, folks.
Prediction: Iowa. By 21
Mississippi vs LSU
If LSU is as bad as they were in the 'emotional' victory against Louisiana Tech, they'll lose. If Jevan Snead is as a bad as he's been for most of the year, Ole Miss will lose. Regardless of the result, these teams are a lot worse than Alabama.
Prediction: Ole Miss by damn!
Ohio State vs Michigan
Michigan=awful and Ohio State=not great but still good enough to win Big Ten. Rich Rodriguez to go? The boots will start to get warmed up if he loses this one.
Prediction: Closer than people think, but Ohio State still wins.
Oh, and here's our favorite rivalry song:
The Fun Award for Great Games
1. Georgia 31, Auburn 24. A ballsy, exciting that changed momentum every time. A superb atmosphere played in great spirit.
2. Ohio State 27, Iowa 24. Usually we'd have an OT game at the top, but both sides displaying stunning decisions NOT to go for it in FT.
3.Pittsburgh 27, Notre Dame 22. Watch to see how a chop block and a terrible fumble call changes momentum. And may provide pink slips.
4.Stanford 55, USC 21. Because we didn't see the bloodbath happening. The hottie co-eds will be upset.
5. Cincy 24, West Virginia 21. Provided a ton of Friday Night highlights. The heart attack Bearcats continue on.
6. Michigan State 40, Purdue 37. If you get the chance, watch it again. An absolute cracker
The Appalachian State 2007 Award for Unexpected Results
1. Cardinal hammering Trojans
2. UCF 37, Houston 32- Case Keenum for Heisman?
3. TCU battering Utah 55-28. We thought it would be closer. Hello BCS!
4. Penn State to be so incredibly awful in the first quarter of the Indiana game. The special teams were, er, special.
5. Florida State beating the crap out of Wake Forest. From the way College Gameday was talking, you'd have thought Bobby Bowden was dead.
The Mark Ingram Players of the Week Award
1. Dexter McCluster - Over 300 all-purpose yard and FOUR TDs in win over Tennessee. Wow.
2. Toby Gerhart - 178 yards rushing all over USC. He's a big boy
3. Ingram - We're bored of the Heisman chat. Give it to him already!
4. TCU's offense - 549 yard put up in woodshedding of Utah
The Al Groh Pink Slips Award for Those Coaches in Trouble
1. Al Groh (Virginia) - End his tenure already!
2.Weis - Great comeback, Charlie, but you still lost.
3. Rich Rodriguez (Michigan) - Suddenly the locals are getting very unhappy. We are though!
The SEC Officials Award for Crap Refereeing
1. 'The Fumble' at the end of the Notre Dame game. Turned the ball over to Pitt and effectively won the game for the Irish. Problem was - Clausen's arm was going forward. After replay, a terrible turnaround call.
2. Wisconsin's John Clay getting the TD call in Wisconsin's beatdown of Michigan. Completely changed the game. On a replay, the ball didn't cross the plane. Awful
The Lee Corso Best College Gameday Moment Award
Chris Fowler on the Tennessee Situation: "Tennessee players.....holding up a convenience store....one wearing team gear....". Everyone laughs. So do we.
The Penn State Award for Good Fans
The silence when Georgia player Dacarri Rambo was hit and lay on the ground motionless in the Auburn game at Sanford was deafening. No-one - not even the ESPN commentators - said a damned thing. In other countries, you would probably have heard cheering or talking as the player lay on the ground. But on this night, you heard nothing. A pin dropped, and I'm sure we heard it. Both Georgia and Auburn fans get a standing ovation for both sets of fans from the VFA. Makes you realise why you love college football. The game wasn't bad either.
The Michigan 2008 Award for Terrible Performances
1. Syracuse 10, Louisville 9. I'm asleep. Seriously. To the tune of the punter's boot.
2. Penn State's first half against Indiana. Truly. Sucked. On. Senior. Day.
3. Almost all 60 mins of LSU's tight win over mighty Louisiana Tech. Jarrett Lee should never quarterback again. Seriously.
4. Utah's first half against TCU, when they were 38-14 down at the break. Thanks for showing up Utes.
5. USC. We've said everything, right?
By the numbers
0. How many Penn State fans bothered to show up to the student section for Seniors Day against Indiana (not really zero, but you get my sentiment)
42. Colt McCoy has evened David Greene's NCAA record for wins after slapping Baylor. After the Longhorns slap A&M, the record will be all his.
55. Points 'That' USC defense gave up. Giggles.
10. Florida has now gone PERFECT in SEC play for the first times since 1996. Pretty impressive huh?
80. Tons of trash they probably picked up on the North Campus at Georgia from tailgaters at the Auburn game (maybe that's a little high!)
$3 Probably the price of a 50-yard line ticket to the USC-UCLA game now that both teams suck.
$300 Suddenly a terrible seat for the SEC Championship Game's looking pricey
$3,000 As is the weekend in LA with flights, booze, tickets and gear for the National Championship Game
103,000 - How many showed up - and bribed their way- into the Horseshoe again?
And last but not least, the Loving the Southland Cheerleaders of the Week
3. Mississippi State
4. Ole Miss
5. Pitt (I'd never normally, but did well this week)
Next week, we're looking forward to
1. Oregon vs Arizona. Oregon loses, then it'll Stanford stepping up to the Rose Bowl. Wow
2.Penn State vs Michigan State. Sniff! Sniff! Last game of the regular season
3. Virginia vs Clemson. Tigers can wrap up spot in ACC title game. They'll make it look tough. They always do.
4. Cal at Stanford. Suddenly the hippies are out in force again. A Stanford win could get them into the Rose Bowl if Oregon loses to Arizona
And in Two Weeks....
But now, it's trouble.
Before I get to the Penn State, I was pretty stunned to find out that a Red Sox fan had been reprimanded for using the 'S' word when his beloved pitcher gave up a dinger at Fenway Park.
What is the world coming to when you can't use the odd epiphet when being at a game. In the UK, it's all part of the chanting! OK, there are some people who go over the top (nobody's perfect when it comes to bad language - particularly at a sports event in which you are passionately involved in), but isn't that part of the game. It shouldn't be, but isn't it?
Anyway, back to the boys at State College. According to ESPN - "Penn State police, who provided bar charts in team colors with similar cross-tabulated figures, reported 397 incidents in 2008, 62 percent of which involved alcohol. That's more than double the estimated 177 incidents in 2006. Over those three years, the highest number -- 101 incidents -- came on Oct. 27, 2007, during a game against Ohio State."
Behavior at the 2005 game wasn't great, either. And certainly not the frat house in 2007, which saw OSU fans bombarded with cans.
Those are the sort of things which let us down, Nittany Nation.
Stunningly, the ESPN report paints the Buckeyes fans are whiter than driven snow - fewer than five arrests per year and five ejections per game - obviously they didn't catch the Buckeyes fans who threw buckeye nuts at a friend of mine who went to the Illinois vs OSU game in 2007 and the Penn State fan who had their car smashed up at the Horseshoe. Having said that, the Buckeyes HAVE been cleaning up their image with the Good Sportsmanship Program - something that ought to be encouraged across every single NCAA campus.
Georgia fans are pretty awful too, according to ESPN, with 300 people ejected per game. One can suspect most of that is for bringing illegal booze into games (not that that would ever happen in a college football game), because I've been to Athens twice and both times the language certainly hasn't been poor (unless you count the screams of rage after the SEC officialling call in 2009!).
Listen, bad language is always going to be a part of the game. It shouldn't, but it is. Unfortunately We at the VFA can understand the authorities if they boot fans out for bringing booze into games, because it's their fault. Fighting should end up in a lifetime ban. But swearing? Can they not turn a blind eye, and UK stewards and police do every Saturday because they are happier that there's no crowd trouble if fans can blow off steam a little?
And West Virginia fans? Apparently couch burning's in with a victory. And being an away player??
We could go on and on, but let's face the facts: if you're an away fan, it's never going to be fun rooting for your team in the home stand. To be fair, you shouldn't really be there in the first place. You should be with your own fans. But if you are an away fan sitting in a home end, then expect to get heckled. But if someone throws a missile - be it a bottle or anything else - then make sure he or she gets their butt thrown out of the game. That's bang out of order. But consistent and funny heckling?? That should only be admired. And you should leave sharpish if your team wins on a last second, B.S. call. You can always go and find your fellow away fans by darting over to their end when the stadium empties.
And one other thing before we sign off: Remember a few things: 1)If you're a visiting fan in a home section, you're lucky if you get away with the odd '****hole' chant or a finger or 10 thrown in your direction. In the some UK soccer grounds your butt would be booted out of the stadium, and secondly, The actual percentages of those getting thrown out to those who attend the games week in, week out? I'd say college football has it pretty good.
Now, back to Penn State. This amused me, anyway.
* I love the feeling that I get from getting in my car... alone... and driving into the city with the music blaring as loud as I care to have it and not having to worry about damaging anyone's hearing except mine. And being free to yell at other drivers while using "industrial" language to describe how I feel about the guy who is driving 65km on the freeway while he sends a text. And then arriving at my destination, which happens to be my hairapist and being able to sit in the chair and relax while she works her magic on me and not having to be on edge, hoping little fingers don't grab ahold of the curling iron cord and yank it to the floor, or for a little mouth to start whining - causing my hairapist to rush through my hair cut (I suspect this is why my last haircut was not so flattering on me). And then after my haircut, being able to browse through the snooty, gourmet supermarket and take my time. And then driving home again in traffic, in the dark and not having to worry about the idiot who is turning left on a green light, waiting for 7 miles of clear space before he feels safe enough to turn while I wait impatiently behind him with white knuckles and gritting teeth because someone is crying for a bottle from the back seat. And then arriving home to have dinner almost ready to eat and the baby almost ready for bed.
* I love the attitude of my good friend Holly. Holly was diagnosed with a chronic illness at the young age of 16. She has been through many, many, many medical procedures including numerous hip replacements, a shoulder replacement, thyroid surgery, chemotherapy and a kidney transplant. She has had to adjust her lifestyle completely. She takes a pharmacy of pills everyday. And she is now facing yet another major surgery to replace a broken hip. And through all of this, she has never, ever had a "poor me" attitude and has always been the most perky and positive person that I have ever met in my life. I feel ashamed of myself to think of the wussy little things that I have whined and complained about in my life when I have never had to deal with a fraction of the shit she's been through, and all without feeling sorry for herself and usually with a smile on her face and always with a positive attitude. This is not to say that she never has bad days, I know that she had some really bad days - but it's how she deals with them that is different from most of us (me, anyways). Holly has a fantastic sense of humor and is truly a special person whom I love dearly and am thinking of on a daily basis lately. If we could muster up even half of the positive attitude that she has always held, we would all be better people.
Anyway - my Week 11 predictions
West Virginia vs Cincinnati
Over the years, it would have been easy: West Virginia by 14 or more. But now, Cincinnati's got an offense to die for, and they are scoring points like it's going out of fashion. West Virginia haven't been briliant this year, but they've got a game changer in the speedy superfreak Noel Devine. This is going to be fun.
Prediction: Cincy wins by 14 in a high-scoring game that puts the Saturday schedule to shame.
Utah vs TCU
Utah was the non-BCS team of 2008, TCU is the non-BCS team of 2009. They've got a better schedule than Boise State - and the road wins at Clemson and BYU are pretty impressive. In front of a College Gameday crowd (they probably want to see how Christian the Horned Frogs actually are), TCU is going to be on the map.
Prediction: TCU win in tight one.
Indiana vs Penn State
Indiana were unlucky to lose to Michigan and Iowa and despite what the bookies think, will give Penn State a real battle this weekend. I expect the Nittany Lions to overcome the problems of last week (ie lack of scoring due to an ineffective offensive line), and I'd like to see a little more Kevin Newsome. There are also worries that Evan Royster could skip to the NFL. Here's the VFA's take on that: Evan! Horrible, horrible idea!
Prediction: Penn State doesn't excite, but they win by 21. Shame that it'll be on the Big Ten Network.
Iowa vs Ohio State
If Gameday hadn't been to Columbus for the USC game, they probably would be in the Centre of things for this one. It's going to be a doozy. With Ricky Stanzi out the Hawkeyes are going to have to go into the cauldron of hate known as The Horseshoe. Not easy.
Prediction: Even if Stanzi was still in, I'd call an Iowa loss. This make it easier. Ohio State by 14.
Stanford vs USC
If there's a mouthier coach than Jim Harbaugh outside of the SEC, we'd like to see him. But you know what? He's been spot-on with his recruiting. The Cardinal dumped on Oregon last week, and how sweet would a victory be in the Colliseum? Probably not very to the USC home crowd!
Prediction: USC win, but it's going to be as tight as those Song Girls' tops.
Alabama vs Mississippi State
The romantic in me is calling for a win for MSU, but my head says that they can't play nearly as well as they did against LSU and Florida. Mark Ingram's looking all the way a Heisman winner, and yes, Alabama is rollin'.
Prediction: Alabama win. But it's going to be close.
Florida vs South Carolina
South Carolina shocked anyone who didn't think Ole Miss was totally overrated when they beat the Rebels on Thursday night, and they were unlucky not to knock off Georgia. The 'Cocks' erratic offense hasn't been that fun to watch, but defensive future Columbian shirt retiree Eric Norwood may still eat Tiim Tebow alive on Saturday. Will that stop the Gators?
Prediction. No. Florida has too much damned talent.
Auburn vs Georgia
Another night game in Athens, and my buddies won't be complaining. It'll be Jack Daniels from the early hours, and a lot of cheering using the words "War Tiger!" just to confuse the Auburnites. They are Dawgs fans, by the way. This game is going to be hellish entertaining because a) UGA vs AU games always are; b) The two teams hate each other and c) Because both teams can't defend worth ****, to use a Southern colloquial term, y'all.
Prediction: Georgia! Bulldogs! By 14, by the way.
Miami at North Carolina
Ever since they lost to Virginia Tech, the Hurricanes have been somewhat under the radar. So get this: Jacory Harris can play. Miami has a ton of speed. But Butch Davis, the UNC coach, is a good coach - and the last time the Heels played a ranked opponent, they beat 'em.
Prediction: All signs point to Butch Davis.....and a classic. Miami on a last-second field goal.
Georgia Tech at Duke
Great opportunity for the BSCers to watch the option at play, which we've renamed the 911 Option. Why? Because the triple option has broken so many freaking hearts this year, we're calling the police for murder and the ambulance to help mend.
Prediction: Dial 1-800-TECH-WIN-BY-21
Texas at Baylor.
Jordan.Shipley. Heisman. Colt McCoy. NFL?
Prediction: Texas by 31. This team's playing well kids.
And the Game Of The Week.....
Notre Dame at Pittsburgh
If there's one team fighting for its life at the moment, it's Notre Dame. If the Irish ***-up, then Charlie Weis is out of a job. Period. But if the Irish win, Fat Charlie and the Archangel won't be filing for a divorce (it's a Paul Simon reference, people!), because they've beaten a top 10 team. If they do, they'll have to stop Pitt RB Dion Lewis, who's sharp.
Prediction: Weis in Wintry Upset. Irish by 10
Now back to that Paul Simon song.....it's fan-freakin' tastic!
Wow. That went fast.
It feels like just yesterday I was gloating and being a smart ass about leaving all those schmucks at work behind and going on to live the glorious life of a stay at home mother.
And now, all too soon I will be back in the Land of the Schmucks. I will be one of those schmucks.
But in all honesty, I think I'm ready. I love my baby girl more than... well... there are no words to describe it - but I think it will benefit us both to get out there into the world and see different things and converse with different people, play with new toys, bite new people, put our brains into use for more than figuring out if that rash requires diaper cream or what to make for dinner or how many Cheerios you can throw on the floor before your mother loses her mind.
Not to mention a decent pay cheque. That will certainly benefit all of us.
So the countdown is on, with less than 4 weeks left to enjoy my current glamorous lifestyle. I am going to try to pull myself out of the little funk that I've been in and enjoy every last minute that I have with my girl before we both go out into the Big Girl World and live the life of the regular working Joe.
Anyway, there were plenty of surprising things:
1. Stanford 51, Oregon 42 - Some picked Stanford, but not by 9, for crying out loud
2. Ohio State 24, Penn State 7 - Penn State fails to show up. Some say it was over at 10-7.
3. Florida 27, Vanderbilt 3 - It wasn't the Gators win, it was the struggles.
4. Boise State 45, La.Tech 35 - Entertaining, wasn't it?
5. Cincinnati 47, UConn 45 - Wow. Anyone want to play any 'D'.
'You Should Be Ranked Lower' Award
1. Florida (Should be ranked 2nd)
2. Alabama (Should be ranked 1st - they've beaten LSU, Tennessee and Ole Miss - what more can you ask?)
3. Penn State (Shouldn't be ranked at all)
4. USC (Oregon BEAT them and they are ranked above Oregon??? What??)
5.Ohio State (OSU above USC but lost to the Trojans at home. More head-scratching)
'Everybody Hates Me. But I don't Care' Award
Terrelle Pryor (Ohio State). No-one likes you in the State of Pennsylvania. Maybe the people you're related too. But you came to Penn State and played brilliantly. Respect, you ****head.
'Didn't show up Award'
1. Oklahoma's offense in the loss to Nebraska
2. Florida State's defense for the 75th time running
3. Some team from State College, Pennsylvania. Their offense, anyway.
4. LSU's ability to win close games against Nick Saban (in the last two years).
5. Oregon's 'D'. I don't care if Jim Harbaugh reckons Stanford's QB's the best in the country, you've gotta stop him!
'No defense Award'
1. Florida State gives up 40. Again.
2. Notre Dame can't stop Navy.
3. UConn (vs Cincinnati)
4. Cincinnati (vs UConn)
5. Boise State (giving up 35 points at La Tech doesn't help the voters love you)
Let's talk Heisman
1. If CJ Spiller ISN'T in New York, it's a tragedy.
2. Jimmie Clausen's got a fantastic arm, and if wasn't for him, Charlie Weis would get a pink slip.
3. Mark Ingram is still carrying the Alabama Crimson Tide....
4. Rather like Jordan Shipley (253 all-purpose yards? Are you kidding?) for Texas....
5. Some guy called Tebow knows how to win.
Let's talk pink slips
1. Al Groh (Virginia). Sorry Mr Groh, for you this Charlottesville should be over.
2. Bobby Bowden (FSU). The pressure's back on. Need. Some. Defense. Fast.
3. Charlie Weis (Notre Dame). Because a win against Washington State is NOT a marquee win.
4. SEC Officials head. The fact that the replay official in the LSU vs Alabama game is from Birmingham, Alabama is ASKING for trouble. And was there trouble? Boy, was there.....
5. Jeff Tedford (California). Producing wonderful running backs and receivers year after year is great. Falling apart in the second half of the season? Perhaps not.
What we're looking forward to this Saturday:
1.West Virginia vs Cincinnati. Big, Big East implications. Pittsburgh will be rooting for WVU. Who would have thunk it?
2.Notre Dame vs Pittsburgh. Dion Lewis could put another nail into Fat Charlie's coffin.
3. Iowa vs Ohio State. If Iowa wins, it's game on again. Unlikely though.
4. Auburn vs Georgia. The pick of the unranked game. These two hate each other - even if it won't have SEC implications.
5. Utah vs TCU. If TCU win this one, they'll be unbeaten for the rest of the year.
Somewhere in the future we're looking forward to:
1. Some sun when Penn State play in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day. LSU would be nice. Pitt would be nicer.
2.Penn State at Alabama in the second week of the 2010 season. Not that I think the Lions will win, mind.
3. A year when Penn State's offensive line shows up against a quality, top 15 opponent.
4. More heartbreak involving the Nittany Lions. Last year Iowa, this year Iowa. 2010?
5. Kevin Newsome as a junior. The kid's quick, boys and girls.
Quickly: Is this an interception? You decide!
And it's all because of a very, very weak offensive line. We KNOW that the offensive line was weak going into the year - Joe Paterno told us that he had worries about them before a pass was thrown in anger.
Plain and simple people - Ohio State destroyed the Nittany Lions' defensive line. We thought we'd have trouble - we found it against Iowa and the Lions were found out against Ohio State.
Let's not get too upset, Penn State fans, we SHOULD see the Nittany Lions play in a Jan 1 bowl this year. But after the loss against Ohio State and Iowa, it's hardly been satisfying.
But then again, we did beat Michigan!!! This should make you feel better.
diaper bag satchel/overnight bag. Found this in a little boutique and had to have it. Love the colors and the size and the pockets. It's reversible to black and it came with a matching cooler bag for baby bottles keeping your beer cold and a plastic lined bag for puke saturated onesies your toiletries when you are out on the town for the night.
*This hat. A very fashionable way to hide the fact that I desperately need to see my hairdresser, ASAP. (Yes I do realize I'm not fooling anybody but myself.) In my defence, a complete stranger in the grocery store gave me a lovely compliment about the hat. At least I think she was complimenting me, her english was not so good...
*Shiny, sparkling clean floors. Unfortunately I could not post a picture of my floors in this condition because... they were so sparkly clean that the shine was preventing my camera from taking a good picture. Yeahhhh... riiiiight....
*Bumble Bees. We had a serious hornet problem here this year and spent much of the summer trying to terminate them. But Bumble Bees are different. Especially this one. I also really like when I take a kickass picture like this.
If I didn't hate Michigan so much, there would be a team in the Big Ten I could dislike more than the Buckeyes. Why? Because it's a smashing rivalry and ALWAYS a competitve and good game between two teams that dislike each other.
The great thing is for Penn State and Ohio State fans is that while people respect Jim Tressel and Coach Paterno, they really, really dislike Penn State and Ohio State fans, basically because they are obnoxious and rude. Which - if you're ever been to a game between the teams - is probably true (the complaints are too big to mention from both sides about the treatment an opposing fan will get in Columbus or State College).
To win, Penn State's going to have to:
1) Keep the crowd onside
Easier than you might think. When it because apparent that Iowa wasn't going to defend in the same way as it did in the first PSU offensive play of the game when it let in a touchdown, the crowd was slightly taken out of it. Even if Penn State goes behind early - an easy thing to do against these Buckeyes- they need to keep the roar relentless.
2) Stop Terrelle Pryor
People talk about sputtering offences, but Terrelle Pryor - in his second biggest game of the year - is going to be hard to stop with his legs. Last time I looked, the Nittany Lions weren't good at stopping a mobile quarterback, and nearly came unstuck against Northwestern before Mike Kafka got injured. Pryor's better than Kafka. Oh, and there's always the chance that Pryor might get into it with the Penn State crowd, who want blood.
3) Keep the defense scoring points
The biggest factor of the Nittany Lions' defense has been their ability to score points and stop people. They battle for every minute they are on the field - evidenced by their eagerness to score a shut-out against Minnesota a couple of weeks ago, and unwillingness to let Michigan score another point in the Big House. Terrelle Pryor IS going to make a mistake - the 'D' just needs to capitalize. And with Jack Crawford, Navarro Bowman and Jared Odrick ready to cause mayhem, you've got three people quite happy to do it.
4) The offensive line's got to hold up
The offensive line's held up pretty well over the last few weeks, but then again, they haven't had a big challenge since Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham tore them apart. The line needs to hold to stop Ohio State, who aren't a poor defensive team.
5) Darryl Clark, keep on doing what you're doing
I haven't a clue what Darryl Clark is doing at the moment, but he's playing pass-and-catch with his receivers rather well, and he's fun out of the pocket. If he's anything as good as Michael Robinson was in the 2005 game against Ohio State, Penn State's going to have some fun.
Here's what happened Penn State got together with Ohio State in 2008.
As usual, we’re not going to make a call about the Ohio State – Penn State game, safe to say that the Lions better stop out-of-the-pocket quarterback Terrelle Pryor, or it’s going to be a long frickin’ day.
Virginia Tech vs Eastern Carolina
This game’s turning into one of the funner small rivalries in football. Well, we enjoyed 2007 and 2008. 2007 was the iconic game, when we saw college football for the first time after the shootings at Virginia Tech. Chris Fowler made one of the best speeches ever (see below), and we all had a tear in our eye. The next year, East Carolina beat Virginia Tech and shocked the world.
Prediction: Virginia Tech by 21
Boise State vs Louisiana Tech
Boise State is playing brilliantly, and La. Tech just ain’t that good.
Prediction: Broncos buck another victory. Boise by 28
Florida vs Vanderbilt
The PTI guys were spot-on when they said that regardless of what Georgia RB Washaun Ealey says, Brandon Spikes should have been suspended for that eye gouge. It’s not cool, ladies. Spikes did the right thing for suspending himself for the Vanderbilt game. It won’t matter. The Gators will kill the Commodores.
Prediction: Gator Bait. Florida by 35
Oregon vs Stanford
Stanford don’t make many mistakes, and Oregon just beat the crap out of USC. This is a better Cardinal than the start of the season – but then again, so are the Ducks. This could go to the wire.
Prediction: Oregon by 7
UCF vs Texas
Texas is playing the best football out all the BCS Contenders right now. Texas defense is absolutely frightening – and so is the Longhorns’ offense.
Prediction: Texas by 41
Northwestern at Iowa
Iowa may go down early in this game, but they won’t after 60 minutes. We all hope they’ll leave the losing to the prime-time game against the Ohio State Buckeyes. As a PSU fan, I’m hoping they lose both. Unlikely, though.
Prediction: Iowa by 21
USC vs Arizona State
After the Sun Devils lost in heartbreaking fashion to Cal last week, a lot of ASU fans are talking about the improvement in this team instead of the big letdown. It’s funny, because they are saying the opposite about Pete Carroll’s boys, who took it to the woodshed against Oregon, and everyone’s talking about how crappy USC is. Don’t get us wrong, the Trojans aren’t great this year, but ASU are hardly an offensive powerhouse. But they can stop you.
Prediction: Monster upset in Sun Devil Stadium. ASU by 3
Army vs Air Force
It’s great that College Gameday will be saluting the armed services in Colorado Springs, and it's only sad that we're not seeing the Notre Dame vs Navy game. This is going to be a lot of fun.
Prediction: Air Force by 21
Navy vs Notre Dame
The Midshipmen scared the beejesus out of Ohio State with their triple option threat, and we expect them to do the same to Notre Dame in South Bend. But Notre Dame finds ways to win - but don't expect this one to be a walkover.
Prediction: Notre Dame by 4 on a last-ditch drive. Again.
LSU vs Alabama
If there’s two teams that really, really hate each other, it’s Alabama and LSU. To Alabama fans, Nick Saban’s God. To LSU fans, Nick Saban’s The Devil. LSU fans had better get their running game sorted out if they can stop Alabama’s rather brilliant defensive front, and then stop Heisman candidate Mark Ingram on the other side of the ball. This is going to be a war, ladies and gentlemen.
Prediction: Alabama by 3.
Oh, and did I mention the Penn State - Ohio State game?
We've still got SEVEN unbeatens, which is almost unheard of going into the final games of the season.
The good news is that one of those unbeatens will definitely be knocked off by season's end - the Florida vs Alabama SEC Championship Game is looming large (although 'Bama still have to play LSU (so let's not count 'em in just yet), but that still leaves six.
Here are our rankings so far.
1) Florida - Survived against Arkansas and Mississippi State, and then hammered the non-tackling school known as Georgia
2) Texas - The form team of October. Look unbeatable in the Big XII. Which isn't that hard, if you consider what that conference is like now. Especially the Big XII North - which truly sucks.
3) Alabama - The offense is sputtering. The defense is fantastic. Stop Mark Ingram and you give yourselves a chance, Tide opponents. Look for LSU to let him for 3 TDs and 700 yards, then.
4) Boise State - They've beaten Oregon, who've beaten USC and Cal.
5) Iowa - Heart attack central every week. But it's a lot of fun. The heart attacks may turn to despair against Ohio State, though. But then again, didn't we say that about the trip to Happy Valley?
6)Cincinnati- Doesn't matter what QB the Bearcats have, they can put up points.
7) TCU- The road victories at Clemson, BYU and Virginia are beginning to look less and less impressive. But don't get us wrong - these Frogs are GOOD.
Who's going to lose first?
Half of thinks that Alabama could lose first this weekend in their monster rivalry game at home to LSU, while the other half thinks that Iowa will walk into The Horseshoe and lose.
We'll go with Iowa, simply because we flipped a coin and it came out that way.
But if you aren't keyed up for Alabama and LSU's get-together after this video, you don't have a heart beat.
In Steve's case, all I had to to was turn on a movie (Rocky Horror Picture Show! - little did I know I would have my own horror show in a couple of hours) and he was out in 15 minutes. Must be nice. Jerk.
So I lay in bed, skittish and jumpy and nervous at every BANG! SIZZLE! BOOM! POP!
Throw in nervous barking from our tenant's dogs in the basement (who are usually non-barkers, but they were scared like most animals during fireworks) and my chances of sleep were slim.
Throw in a street lined bumper to bumper with cars from the party going on next door and people wandering around the street yelling and shooting fireworks off at passing cars, and hooting and hollering coming from the neighbors back yard and I was one pissed off old broad. (Did I ever feel like an old broad) Even
Finally around 11pm, things quieted down enough for me to fall asleep.
But then the phone rang at midnight. That's never a good thing.
And it was our downstairs tenants. Oh god, I thought, what the hell do they want. This can't be good.
Steve took the call. Seconds in, he flew out of bed and ran out of our room into Ruby's room. From there he yelled out, "OH MY GOD!!"
At that point I was pretty sure that my worst fears had come true and someone had crawled through the window in the night and stolen my baby, or they were still in her room holding a knife over her body, or some other horrible scene. I flew out of bed grasping my heart saying, "What's wrong?! What's wrong?!"
It was then that I could smell the burning and saw the orange glow coming from outside.
Steve said, "Grab Ruby and get out of the house!!!" He then yelled out the window to our male tenant and told him to meet him in the front of the house. He then said something about getting the garden hose to start spraying down our roof.
I scooped Ruby out of her crib (while she laughed because apparently this was all hilarious to her) and ran out the back door. That is where I was greeted by a huge towering fire lighting up the neighborhood. The neighbor's 25 foot cedar hedges were ablaze. It was HUGE and bright and it was loud. Fire really does roar.
And the embers were floating over our house.
I am thankful to our tenants who I would have previously complained about for keeping late hours - but thanks to their late hours they were outside for a cigarette when they first heard, then saw the fire. They called 911 and then went and pounded on the neighbor's door and phoned us to get everyone out.
The fire department were there way faster than I could have imagined. They were able to get the fire under control within a few minutes. (Unfortunately it took much longer for me to get my anxiety attack under control). We were able to go back in our house and try to settle down and get back to sleep. Not easy for me since I was sure that there were embers sitting on my roof smoldering.
Now, I love a man in uniform. And firemen are probably my favorite. But I would prefer that maybe they come by in the daytime when I'm not in my pyjamas with my hair up in rollers (oh it might as well have been!), and when I could get a better look at them (two truckloads of them to be exact). And I would also prefer that they stop by to perhaps help a kitten out of a tree, instead of because the idiot neighbors who some years previously, had been unable to live in their house for two years because IT CAUGHT ON FIRE, had a fireworks party and were too stupid to clean up afterwards and make sure all sparks were out and therefore just about burned down the neighborhood.
I did however, very much enjoy watching the policemen in uniform showing up the next day to have a "discussion" with the neighbors and to take pictures of the damage.
I wish I had thought to get pictures of the fire while it was burning. Bad blogger that I am, I could only think of getting my baby out of the house safely. I did get a picture of what was left of the neighbors back yard the next day. Doesn't really do it justice - but those pretty green hedges to the right? They used to go right across. And those ugly, black, charred sticks poking out of the ground? They used to be pretty cedar hedges.
I hope the neighbors are on good terms with their neighbors behind them. And I hope they don't mind sharing their yard with the pit bull that lives behind them who is now going to enjoy his newly expanded roaming area.