Amidst the college bowl games, the potentially historic NFL game between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants is currently underway. The powers-that-be at the NFL conveniently came to their senses earlier this week, and it is being broadcast on both NBC and CBS along with the much-maligned NFL Network. It’s the same feed for all three, so it doesn’t really matter which one you pick (commercials are the same too, so you’re stuck with the same annoying commercials, no flipping between, although you could swap to the Alamo Bowl to watch JoePa’s 500th game).
Despite speculation that one or both teams might rest their starters, it appears all the big guns are out for both teams, and it’s paid off so far for the Giants, as they have a 7-0 lead part way through the first quarter.
UPDATE: It’s been a battle so far but the Giants are still on top 21-16 thanks to some great plays and a few mistakes by the Patriots as we go to the half.
Strickland picked Penn State in the evening’s final game, the Alamo Bowl against Texas A&M. But he will stay in first place at the end of the night even if the Aggies win.
Mark Gardner and 2005-06 pick ‘em winner Brian Dupuis are tied for second place, one point behind Strickland. They also picked Penn State, as did Scott Fort, Courtney Tawresey and D. Brooks, who are tied for fourth place, two back of Strickland.
All of the bowls for the remainder of 2007 are worth two points each; the non-BCS New Year’s Day bowls are worth three apiece; and the BCS bowls are worth five each. Current standings after the jump.
Tennessee 82, Gonzaga 72, final. D’oh!
ESPN’s announcer for the Meineke Car Care Bowl just stated that the AP is reporting that UCLA has hired former Washington coach and Bruin alum Rick Neuheisel, who left a trail of recruiting-violation carnage in his wake at both UW and Colorado, as its new head coach.
The score, by the way, is Wake Forest 17, UConn 10 in the closing seconds, with the Demon Deacons running out the clock.
UPDATE: Wake wins, 24-10. Hal Strickland and Mark Gardner are now tied for the lead in the Irish Trojan Bowl Pick ‘em Contest. One of them will take sole possession of the lead depending on who wins the Liberty Bowl: Strickland if Mississippi State wins, Gardner if UCF wins.
Meanwhile, here’s an article about Neuweasel.
And in basketball, Tennessee and Gonzaga are underway. Go Zags!
Hurricane season has been “officially” over for almost a month now, but Alan Sullivan notices a borderline tropical-ish storm out in the eastern Atlantic that the National Hurricane Center has apparently chosen not to name. He agrees with the decision to keep the storm nameless. He also compares it with Tropical Storm Zeta, which formed on my wedding day two years ago — and which, I gather, Sullivan believes was an example of NHC count-padding. Whatever. If nothing else, Zeta made for an interesting footnote to my own personal history. (And hey, maybe the NHC will belatedly name this one, too, and the baby will be born on the same day. Wouldn’t that be something?)
P.S. FWIW, Pablo would be the name. (Of the storm, not the baby.)
UPDATE: Right on cue…
A SURFACE LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM CENTERED OVER THE EASTERN ATLANTIC OCEAN ABOUT 950 MILES SOUTHWEST OF THE AZORES HAS BEEN GRADUALLY ACQUIRING SOME SUBTROPICAL CHARACTERISTICS DURING THE PAST DAY OR SO. THIS SYSTEM HAS BEEN PRODUCING GALE-FORCE WINDS…MAINLY TO THE NORTH AND EAST OF ITS CIRCULATION CENTER…AND IT COULD BECOME A SUBTROPICAL STORM LATER TODAY OR TOMORROW AS IT REMAINS NEARLY STATIONARY.
I said before that “Pablo would be the name,” but actually, that depends on when the storm is named. If it doesn’t get a name until after midnight on January 1, it would be Arthur — the first storm of the 2008 season.
Mitt Romney, the serpentine former governor of Massachusetts, has unleashed a negative advertisement targeting John McCain, hoping to prevent the Arizonan from becoming the “Comeback Kid.”
McCain has the perfect rebuttal — and it was produced by Romney’s own media whiz-kids, Stuart Stevens and Russ Schriefer. They made the ad six months ago, before they defected and joined the Romney camp. (They were for McCain before they were against him!) But it was never aired, as the McCain campaign didn’t want to “go negative.”
It remains to be seen whether the McCain campaign will actually run the ad, but they’ve already leaked it to Slate. The ad uses Romney’s own words to paint him as the craven flip-flopper he is. See for yourself:
UPDATE: Here’s the anti-Romney ad that McCain is actually running, apparently:
(Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan.) I’m not sure the McCainiacs’ strategy of relying on newspaper endorsements to sway Republican voters is the best idea; being “the MSM’s favorite candidate” is not necessarily a good thing.
A nasal spray containing a drug called “Orexin A” could eliminate sleepiness.
Hey, I could use some of that for the first few months with the baby. Where can I sign up for a clinical trial?
Tomorrow at 4:00 PM, Tennessee plays Gonzaga in Seattle. The Vols are ranked #11 in the AP poll; the Zags are second in the “others receiving votes” category (so, effectively ranked #27). The game will televised on ESPN2. Go Zags, Beat the Vols!!
After Boston College’s win over Michigan State in the Champs Sports Bowl, there’s a four-way tie atop the Irish Trojan Bowl Pick ‘em Contest among Gerry deSimas, Mark Gardner, Anthony H. and Hal Strickland. All four picked Oregon State over Maryland in the currently-underway Emerald Bowl, but in the also-underway Texas Bowl between TCU and Houston, deSimas picked Houston while the others picked the Horned Frogs. So deSimas will take sole possession of the lead if the Cougars win. If TCU wins, it’ll be either a three-way tie among Gardner, Strickland and Anthony H. (if Oregon State wins) or a six-way tie among those three and JLR, Chris Healey and Lane Buchan (if Maryland wins). Both games are currently tied in the third quarter.
UPDATE: TCU wins, 20-13. So it’ll be either a three-way or six-way tie. Oregon State leads Maryland 21-14 with 6:39 to go.
UPDATE 2: Beavers win! Finally, the Pac-10 pulls one out. Latest pick ‘em contest standings here and after the jump. Also after the jump, scenarios for who will have the lead at the end of the day tomorrow.
Did Darren McFadden just ruin one of the few intriguing-on-paper matchups of this wretched bowl season by rendering himself ineligible?
UPDATE: Apparently it ain’t so. The TV station that initially reported the story has retracted it and apologized.
UPDATE: Here’s the key part of the video:
Up 21-0 it looked like Texas was about to put the nail in the coffin with a recovery of a backwards lateral and return by the Longhorns, until, that is, the instant replay showed that as the ball was bouncing backwards towards the Texas sideline, a Texas coach/ballboy reached out for the ball and tipped it with his thumb before he drew back his hand*. The result? A unsporstmanlke conduct penalty that resulted in the ball being given back to ASU plus half the distance to the goal, 4 and 3 on the 7 yard line. Carpenter tossed a short pass for a touchdown on the ensuing play, and proceeded to hold texas to a 3 and out on the next drive to get the ball back on the Texas side of the field. WIth 10 minutes remaining in the first half, plenty of time for the Sun Devil’s to make a comeback.
* Some may dispute whether the ball touched the young man’s hand or not, it was tough to tell from some of the angles, however there were clearly Texas players and coaches on the field which would also have been an unsportsmanlike penalty anyway.
UPDATE BY BRENDAN: Aaaand Arizona State lays a massive egg for the Pac-10, committing five turnovers en route to a 52-34 Texas win. Dammit, Sun Devils!
In the Irish Trojan Bowl Pick ‘em Contest, it’s now a six-way tie for first place among Gerry deSimas, Hal Strickland, Mark Gardner, Chris Healey, Anthony H. and D. Brooks. Updated standings here and after the jump.
Anonymous Liberal makes an interesting analogy that rings true to me:
If you believe, as I do, that it is imperative that a Democrat be
elected president in 2008, you have to consider how media coverage will
shape the election. If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, I suspect that
the dominant media narrative will be the dynastic element of the
election (Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton). I suspect the media dynamic will
be very similar to campaign 2000, where press coverage was overwhelming
tilted in favor of the Republican candidate. If Obama is the nominee,
however, I suspect that the dominant media narrative will be the
historic nature of the election. Coverage will revolve around America’s
willingness to take a giant leap forward as a country and elect its
first black president. And I think the mainstream press corps–who are
political junkies at heart–will be rooting for that outcome, in much
the same way sports fans rooted for the Red Sox in 2004. They wanted to
see history being made. The Republican candidate, whoever it turns out
to be, will have to try very hard not to be seen a merely a footnote to
I realize that many of my readers will respond that the "mainstream press corps" will "root" for the Democratic candidate anyway, as they always "root" for the Democrats. And there’s some truth in that. It is an undeniable fact that journalists overwhelmingly tilt to the left, and it is similarly undeniable that, because journalists are human beings, their personal biases impact their work product. However, I have long believed, and continue to believe, that, conspiracy theories aside, the effect of the MSM’s liberal bias on elections, especially national ones, is — for the most part — far less pronounced than its impact on the coverage of issues, particularly issues where there is a strong belief among liberals that their belief is the only moral one (immigration, gay rights, the environment, etc.). The MSM bias in covering those issues, as issues, is barely concealed at all. But when it comes to covering elections — and indeed, in general, to covering individuals — most journalists make an effort (somewhere between concerted and cursory, depending on the journalist) to keep their biases out of the picture, and play it down the middle. (I said "most," not all. I’d venture to say the percentage is declining. But I think it’s still "most.") Sometimes this results in overcompensation, and thus reverse bias; sometimes it fails utterly, and the liberal worldview still shines through; often times, and worst of all, it results in the elimination of all nuance from a discussion (because everything must be either "left" or "right," which must be kept in perfect "balance") and/or the dumbing-down of politics into what Mickey Kaus calls "Neutral Story Lines" (or "NSLs"), which may or may not have anything to do with the issues that actually matter (usually not), but which are convenient for lazy journalists to focus on.
The dynamics of political journalism are, admittedly, changing drastically and rapidly in this New Media age. But for at least this cycle, the old MSM dynamics still have a good bit of life left in ‘em — and those dynamics are such that, IMHO, liberal bias matters much less than is commonly supposed, and Neutral Story Lines matter much more. And that’s why I find the Obama-Red Sox analogy so compelling. Although the "first black president" meme seems obviously nonneutral on its face, as it focuses specifically on the (hypothetical) Democratic nominee, it qualifies as a NSL because there’s nothing overtly ideological or even really issue-related about asking, "Will America elect its first black president?" (just as there’s nothing ideological about asking, "Will America perpetuate the Bush-Clinton dynastic cycle?"). I absolutely agree that the MSM would eat that storyline up, and focus on it a great deal — much moreso than the "first woman president" issue, because the media is far more race-obsessed than it is gender-obsessed. And it would certainly help Obama and hurt the Republican candidate.
In sum, I think Anonymous Liberal is right: entirely aside from the liberal bias issue, journalists will be "neutrally" rooting for Obama, if he’s the nominee, because of the first-black-president NSL, and that "neutral" rooting will probably impact the dynamic of the race a lot more than any ideological rooting ever could. A brilliant observation. (Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan.)
P.S. By the way, in case anyone was wondering, I find myself, in terms of the Democratic race, increasingly souring on Hillary and leaning grudgingly in Obama’s direction. I don’t trust him on national security, at least not yet, but I think he might be able to win me over, especially if he picks the right running mate (Biden!!). With Hillary, I increasingly feel like the upside just isn’t as big as I thought it was, and the downside — well, the downside is obvious, starting with the dynastic thing. But I can’t fully articulate the logic behind this change of heart; I’m just reporting that it’s happening. It’s by no means fully crystallized yet.
I’m very much an undecided voter, both among the parties’ choices and between the parties, but if you put a gun to my head and made me rank them right now, I think the outcome would be something like: Biden, McCain, Obama, Clinton, Giuliani, Romney. (Don’t ask me to defend those rankings intellectually; I can’t. That’s just my vague sense of things right now.) I don’t know where to rank Thompson; haven’t really formed an opinion of his candidacy. Same goes for Dodd and Gravel, though they’re far less consequential, obviously. Edwards, Richardson, Huckabee, Kucinich, Hunter and Paul are non-options. Is that everyone? Oh, and Keyes. Heh. Yeah, also a non-option.
No, the baby’s not here yet, and yes, I did deliberately choose that headline in order to momentarily startle my readers into thinking this is the announcement. :)
In fact, this is a comparatively minor announcement. It concerns the issue of the baby’s blog nickname. In spite of her initial objections, I have managed to convince Becky to go along with the super-cute moniker suggested by Nadine. Thus, Baby Loy will henceforth be known on the blog as "Loyette."
Er, that’s assuming she’s a girl, as expected. If not, a) we’re going to be severely annoyed at our ultrasound techs; b) we’re going to have to figure out what to do with all these pink clothes; and c) the baby will need a new blog nickname. :)
In other news, Becky’s bored, and wants some advice from other mothers who have gone through the "waiting game." You know: you’ve gotta get everything ready for the baby by Week 37, so you do, and then Week 38 comes, and Week 39, and even though you’re not even technically due yet, nevermind overdue, you feel like the baby oughta be here by now — and you don’t know what to do with yourself in the meantime. Any suggestions for how to pass the time? We’re both a little sick, and she’s a lot pregnant, so we’re not in any particular mood to go out… we’ve watched about a zillion Law & Order reruns on our TiVo… the entire house is clean and organized… Becky’s read like ten thousand baby books… and, well, we need ideas. Specifically, she needs ideas. I’ve got some work-related stuff I need to do, but Becky’s going increasingly nuts with boredom. Thoughts, anyone?