Just a reminder: the International Bowl — the first bowl game ever played in Canada, the first played outside the United States since 1937, and the least significant college-football game ever played in the month of January — takes place tomorrow at noon EST. It pits the Big East’s fourth-best team, Cincinnati (7-5), against the MAC’s third-best team, Western Michigan (8-4).
If Cincy wins, it will complete a perfect bowl season for the Big East. But because head coach Mark Dantonio left for Michigan State in late November, and Cincinnati’s newly hired coach, Brian Kelly, was with Central Michigan until the Motor City Bowl on December 26, the Bearcats will take the field under the direction of a man who is still learning the basics about a team he’s effectively been coaching for just over a week. Whether that affects their performance remains to be seen.
As for the Irish Trojan bowl pick ‘em contest… the significance of this game was explained here. Basically, Brad Miller and Bill Reising will be mathematically eliminated if Cincinnati wins, Brandon Minich will be eliminated if Western Michigan wins, and neither Kevin Hauschulz nor Ben Sloniker can be eliminated by this game (but a Cincinnati win would help them both).
In other, more significant athletic contests, all three of my favorite basketball teams are in action Saturday, and all face big games. #17-ranked Notre Dame (13-1), on a 12-game winning streak, heads to D.C. after a long homestand for a major Big East road test against Georgetown (10-3) at noon EST. Unranked, reeling Gonzaga (9-6), on a four-game losing streak, returns home after a long, brutal nationwide road trip to face WCC foe Loyola Marymount (8-8) — picked to finish #2 in the conference this year — at 4pm EST. And USC (12-4), fresh off a huge win over previously undefeated Oregon, heads to Corvallis looking to keep its momentum going against Oregon State (8-7) at 6pm EST.
The town council of Roseland, a tiny community just north of Notre Dame, has been embroiled in controversy for some time. Roseland’s Wikipedia entry explains: “For the past several years, the 3-person Roseland town council has been largely dominated by the husband and wife pair of David and Dorothy Snyder. This caused a number of controversial issues that led to dramatically increased press. Since the pair had a majority of votes, they could pass any legislation they both agreed on. Issues included pricey sign ordinances [and] abrupt zoning changes.” But now Dorothy has been replaced; more here.
One day after the new town council officially takes over, council member David Snyder apparently beats-up the man who replaced his wife on that council, Ted Penn.
It happened at the conclusion of a town council redevelopment meeting at the town hall.
After the incident, Tedd Penn, who was recently elected Town Councilman, was taken to the hospital by ambulance.
He has an injury to the back of his head, and a cut on his lip.
David Snyder was transported to the St. Joseph County jail by Roseland Police.
He has been taken in for battery.
Heh. (Hat tip: Nick.)
The Superstitions were gorgeous at sunset this evening, even by their regular standards.
More photos here. (Scroll down to the bottom.)
Domersphere reactions to Notre Dame’s Sugar Bowl loss — from The Blue-Gray Sky, Rakes of Mallow, Kanka Sports, Kelly Green, Classic Ground and The Catholic Packer Fan — run the gamut, as one might expect, from calmly philosophical to cooly analytical to blindly homerish to short-sightedly reactionary.
BGS’s comments are probably the most philosophical:
The shortcut return to glory has proven to be a dead end, and now ND is going to have to work hard to start a new run to the top with a different cast of core characters. I confess to thinking the road back to the top would be a fast and easy one. I was wrong.
Still, while the next few years might be a bit of a roller coaster ride, I have faith in the program and the big guy leading it. I’m excited about what the future will bring. Go Irish.
The most homerish, as always, is KG (e.g., still insisting that Brady Quinn is the “best QB in college football” — I like Brady, and he’s a very good QB, better than I gave him credit for earlier in the season… but the “best”? At what point does wishful thinking yield to objective proof? How many times must Brady fail to perform against a top-notch defense before the hype gets toned down just a notch? And the statement that he’s the “best” isn’t even accompanied by an argument, it’s just asserted as if it’s an obvious fact that everyone must naturally agree with.) That said, I do agree with the end of his post:
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m also seeing a lot of claims to the tune of Ã¢â‚¬Å“ND didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t deserve to be in a BCS game.Ã¢â‚¬? Are these people really that stupid? The BCS has nothing to do with which teams deserve to go to what bowl games. The BCS was designed to pit the #1 team against the #2 team for the national championship. The other games are meaningless exhibitions sponsored by various corporations. In their greed, the BCS conferences established guidelines that guaranteed revenue on an annual basis. … Notre Dame, lacking a conference affiliation, must meet a set of criteria to be considered eligible. The bowls are not obligated to pick the Ã¢â‚¬Å“bestÃ¢â‚¬? teams, or the most Ã¢â‚¬Å“worthyÃ¢â‚¬? teams. They simply select, from the list of eligible participants, the teams that will generate the most revenue. Notre Dame, with its national following, generates more revenue than any other team. Thus, the Irish are an attractive choice for these exhibitions when they are eligible. Is that so hard to understand?
But letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s say that the BCS was designed to accept the top-10 teams in the country, as so many seem to believe. Let us further assume that the BCS composite ranking system was an accurate and agreed-upon method of ranking the top-10 teams. Notre Dame was ranked 11th by the BCS. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not our fault that the conferences demanded a two-team per-conference limit, eliminating #7 Wisconsin from the BCS altogether and placing us squarely in the top 10. I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t understand why anyone would blame us for a stupid rule that was crafted by a group of greedy conferences that we have no affiliation with whatsoever.
Notre Dame didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sneak in. Notre Dame accepted an unsolicited invitation. Believe it or not, we didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t choose to play an awesome team in their home stadium … In short, get over it. The BCS is not a merit based system. Got a problem with that? DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take it out on Notre Dame, because it sure as hell wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t our idea.
Here’s the best video yet from the Boise State-Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl. It shows the entire end of the game, with no interruptions, from Oklahoma’s tying touchdown straight through to the end of the game and beyond. It’s 32 minutes, 29 seconds long.
To download a copy for posterity, go to this website and paste in the URL “http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4290184382815369007″ (without quotation marks) where it says to do so. Click “Submit,” and you’ll be given three download options: .flv, .avi, and .mp4. Download the .mp4 version. For whatever reason, it’s the best quality of the three in this particular case, and moreover, it’s iPod-compatible! So if you have an iPod with video, you’ll be able to watch the end of the Greatest Game EverTM whenever you want to. :) It’s 94.8 MB, so it’ll take a while to download, and it’ll take up a fair amount of space on your hard drive — but it’s worth it. [UPDATE: I’m not sure if this will work, but here’s a direct link to the downloadable MP4 file.]
Of course, if you’re feeling less cheap than I am, you could always just buy the DVD. Or you can download the whole game from iTunes (2.2 GB). You have to buy the $6.99 Fiesta Bowl “season pass” to get that. The “season pass” also comes with two “preview shows” and a 20-minute “short cut” video (407.9 MB) that contains every play from the game without the in-between commentary. Alternatively, you can buy the “short cut” separately for $1.99.
…here’s my video of our countdown to the New Year on Sunday night/Monday morning.
Actually, there are two countdowns. The first is conducted only by me, as I look at my atomic-synchronized clock and count down the final five seconds before midnight. The second countdown, by the whole crowd, occurs one minute later. For some reason, the folks in Tempe were fully 60 seconds late with the “official” countdown — so really, everyone was counting down to 12:01 AM, not midnight. (No, my clock was not wrong. I double-checked it later against my computer’s clock, which is also centrally synchronized. My clock was right; the official clock was wrong.)
When I pointed out that midnight had come and gone, my brother-in-law Casey — who, um, may have been a wee bit inebriated :) from a few trips to the beer gardens — began repeatedly yelling to no one in particular, “DROP THE F***ING FLOWER!!!,” referring to the flower-like object (actually a “sunburst“) that was supposed to drop at midnight. Heh. His yells were audible in my live audio blog, and they’re very audible in this video, so I have to put a Warning: Profanity! label on it. But if you don’t mind the swearing, it’s quite funny. Enjoy:
(For a profanity-free version, showing only the final five seconds of the “official” countdown and then the beginning of the fireworks, click here.)
As you can see, we were quite a distance away from the stage. For a much closer view, check out this YouTube video:
That same YouTuber, “weener09,” has a bunch of other videos of headline act Third Eye Blind performing various songs earlier in the evening.
Anyway, you can also view my photo gallery of New Year’s Eve 2006-07. A few highlights:
Shortly before midnight, in a totally unexpected pleasant surprise, we ran into Diane Huffman, my former next-door neighbor with whom I’m been friends since infancy, and her fiance Josh. They just happened to be in Arizona using up free miles that they got during the trip out for our wedding. So, this is a picture of Diane, me and Becky. Note also the stranger sticking his Boise State cap into our picture. Heh. As I noted in this post, there were a TON of Broncos fans there.
Again, here’s the full photo gallery. ‘Twas a fun night. And somehow, I have a feeling that yelling “DROP THE F***ING FLOWER” at some point on New Year’s Eve is going to become a new Zak/Loy tradition. :)