Friday, February 02, 2007

Friday's Off The Wall/Super Bowl Preview Blog

Yes, I know it's late in the day but that still doesn't mean that I can't get around to getting to the Happy Friday Blog. Indeed it is a happy Friday, in fact it is a Super Friday. Unfortunately (or fortunately) there will be no off-the-wall stories this week, but there will be a Super Bowl preview. The way I see it, once every 20 years something comes around that makes the football fan inside of me relatively happy. And since I was not born to this world when the Bears won Super Bowl XX, I might as well enjoy Super Bowl XLI. So, here's my preview.
  • BEARS OFFENSE VS. COLTS DEFENSE- I understand that the Colts defense has been playing well since the playoffs have begun and haven't allowed a 100 yard rusher in the last three games. However, in the 16 games before that they allowed a 100 yard rusher in each of those games. FS Bob Sanders is the key to their D. The Bears have one of the more talented back field duos in 1,000 yard rusher Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson, a former 4th round pick looking to explode on the big stage. Yes, the Bears passing game does have its deficiencies, especially when "Bad Rex" shows up. However, QB Rex Grossman's familiarity with the Cover 2 defense coupled with the lack of a Colts blitzing scheme should keep a clear line of vision for Rex. Establishing the ground game with TJ and Ceddy or establishing a passing attack with Desmond Clark, Muhsin Muhammed and Bernard Berrian will be key for the Bears. Edge: Bears.
  • COLTS OFFENSE VS. BEARS DEFENSE- The Colts are lead offensively by all-world QB Peyton Manning. The Bears are lead by all-world MLB Brian Urlacher. The Colts running game is no slouch with perennial second stringer Dominic Rhodes and rookie Joseph Addai. The Colts have a clear advantage over the Bears when it comes to the receiver position with Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison and TE Dallas Clark. However, it's not like the Bears don't have stars on their defense with D-linemen Alex Brown, Adawale Ogunleye and rookie Mark Anderson. They also have physical defenders that historically give the Colts problems in CBs Nathan Vasher and Charles "Peanut" Tillman. Oh, did I forget to mention the tackling machine? The wild card in this game could be the play of nickelback Ricky Manning Jr. The Bears play more of a Cover-3 than a Cover-2 come to think of it. Edge: Even.
  • SPECIAL TEAMS- Colts K Adam Vinatieri has a slight edge over first-time Pro Bowler Robbie Gould. Vinatieri has championship experience and ice water running through his veins. However, it was Vinatieri who taught Gould his two-step kicking style and that might come back to haunt him if it's a field goal battle. This might be the only area the Bears have a clear advantage over the Colts thanks to the explosiveness of All-Pro KR/PR Devin Hester. If you saw the AFC Championship game, you saw Patriots KR Ellis Hobbs almost return a few to the house. The consensus among media-folk is that if it was Hester returning, those turn into touchdowns. Edge: Bears.
  • COACHING/INTANGIBLES- Another place in which the teams are evenly matched. Everyone knows the story between Colts coach Tony Dungy and the leader of the Bears Lovie Smith, so no need to beat a dead horse (unless it's a Colt of course.) What few are talking about is the assistant coaching staffs. Dungy's right hand man is offensive genius Tom Moore. Lovie's sports one of the most complete coaching staffs in the NFL from top to bottom. Offensive Coordinator Ron Turner is underrated, but sometimes his play calls are head scratching. Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera (the first Puerto Rican defensive coordinator in the Super Bowl by the way) has been a perennial head coaching candidate the last few years and this might be his last hoorah as Bears DC. The Colts are playing that "Team of Destiny" card along with the "Peyton Manning is Steve let's get the monkey off his back" card as well. No one has played the "Nobody respects us card" like the Chicago Bears, heck they're coached it to a tee. As much as I'd like to give this to the Bears, the two teams are too similar to choose one over the other (LoL, I used three different terms for the word two/to/too.)
  1. A successful running game that will enable them to control the clock and keep Peyton Manning off the field.
  2. Rex Grossman limits his mistakes and is able to stretch the field enough to allow the running game to be successful and allows his receivers (specifically deep threat Bernard Berrian) to be playmakers. Rex Grossman may need to be a playmaker in this one, and I think he's up to the task!
  3. The Bears defense lives up to its smashmouth billing. Yes, DT Tommie Harris and SS Mike Brown are out, but Tank Johnson and Todd Johnson are filling in quite admirably. Tank should be the most motivated Bear not named Rex Grossman on the field (hopefully he can stay on the field.) I'm hoping the Bears go New England Patriots (circa 2004) on Manning and his receivers.
  4. X-FACTOR: Devin Hester's ability to give the Bears good field position, if not his ability to put the ball in the end zone himself. He hasn't had a TD return in a while.
  1. Peyton Manning's offensive line keeps the pass rush away from him. If their offensive line is stout against the Bears defensive line, Manning may be able to pick the Bears defense apart if given enough time.
  2. Rex Grossman plays like an idiot. I understand that this is the Colts keys to victory, but it's simple. If Rex Grossman decides not to show up and decides he'd rather throw completions to the defense, the Bears have no shot.
  3. Speaking of showing up, the Bears defense must show up to stop the #2 offense in the NFL. They did an amazing job against Drew Brees and the Saints. However this game is at a neutral site with fair weather conditions. We'll see if the good Bears D shows up.
  4. X-FACTOR: Adam Vinatieri. He's the best in the business. He's the best clutch kicker in football and if the game comes down to #4 and a game winning field goal, I won't be able to watch.
WHO I GOT: It'd be absolutely wrong for me to pick against the Bears. So I won't. This might be a very close game, potentially it has the makings of one of the best Super Bowl games in recent history. PREDICTED FINAL SCORE: BEARS 24 COLTS 16. How'd I come up with that score? BEARS SCORING: A rushing touchdown a piece for Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson to go along with a Rex Grossman TD pass to WR Bernard Berrian, and a Robbie Gould field goal. COLTS SCORING: A Peyton Manning TD pass to Reggie Wayne to go along with three Adam Vinatieri field goals.

Here's hoping I'm right.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

It's February 1st, Do You Know Where Your Mind Is?

Sorry folks, that's the best title I could come up with. I guess I'm not in much of a headline writing mood, but whatever. But I know I did come to post a blog tonight for a reason. That reason is to spread the word that Valentine's Day is coming. A sign at the Student Center bookstore said it best, and I'm taking it as my own little motto for the pseudo-holiday "Valentine's Day is February 14th. Consider Yourself Warned." I first noticed that when I went to pick up my books, standing in the super long line. Of course I was stopped in front of the Valentine's Day display of books and stuffed bears that sang. And of course some idiot decided it'd be cool to make everyone of those stupid little bears sing and then film it on his phone as I heard him mutter "my girlfriend would enjoy this." Personally I wanted to take my basket of books and knock him in the forehead.

I digress.

Valentine's Day is the bane of my existence. Okay, maybe I'm going a little too far with that, lemme try it again. I hate Valentine's Day with an undying passion rivaled by few things. Of course my hatred for Valentine's Day takes a back seat to:
  1. The St. Louis Cardinals
  2. Duke basketball
  3. Ohio State football
  4. Creighton basketball
  5. The Chicago White Sox
I'm sure there are things I'm missing but as of now that's my not-so-happy list.

Valentine's Day is a horrible day (for me) let's just face facts. It's never been a good day for me. As a child, I got the least amount of Valentine's Day cards. I never had a girlfriend on Valentine's Day, you know how much it sucks when everyone else does? Then there are the times that I just go out of my way to fuck up Valentine's Day (i.e. "I really, really, you.") for example. Oh and then there's the times I actually made efforts and got rejected in a way Dikembe Mutumbo would envy. Don't forget, you're talking about Mr. Cursed, Mr. "I Believe In Black Cats & Billy Goats", Mr. I Can Pull A Sports Reference All The Time When I Talk About My Love Life....

....oh yeah and then there was this....(see below)

I think the worst Valentine's Day was in 1998, when I heard on the news that my idol, Cubs announcer Harry Caray, suffered a heart attack while at dinner with his wife Dutchie in Arizona. Harry died soon thereafter. Think about it, my idol fucking dies on Valentine's Day; I think that's a sign of a day that's not meant for me to be happy. I cried when I found out he died. But this blog isn't about Harry Caray (R.I.P. Uncle Harry, you're still missed.)

But for once, this Valentine's Day is different in a way. For the first time in a long time (if ever) there is no girl that I'm head-over-heels in love with. There is no girl that I am willing to go out of my way to make her mine. Well, technically there is one girl but she's kinda taken. Damn you Tony Romo, damn you to hell! (Ha! you thought I was gonna play a certain card didn't ya? I know you did...I almost did, but damn Tony Romo for taking my Carrie Underwood!) Anyway, this year, she (being the single version of the girl of my dreams) doesn't exist, and to be honest it's kinda weird. Usually it's quiet nights like this in which I plot my Valentine's Day mission and I'm all giddy and happy and hopeful and all that stuff that leads to major let down when you get the cold shoulder. I tell you what, there's nothing like rejection on Valentine's Day.

So what's Lu gonna do for Valentine's Day this year? To be honest, I have no clue. I can't get super drunk because I have a major writing assignment due the next day. The beneficiaries of this of course are my roommates who won't have to deal with "lonely/depressed/drunk about being single Lu" and my computer chair that usually gets tossed in rage/anger/depression. Since V-Day falls on a Wednesday this year I have two classes; hopefully I won't be stuck on campus too long so I won't have to deal with the potential of happy couples. As for Wednesday night, an early dinner followed by a night of writing a paper for POLS 352I. You know, if I get it done early, I can still get completely trashed on V-Day. I guess that'd be pretty sweet.

The safest bet for me on Valentine's Day is to stay away from the radio, the telephone stay off instant messaging services (or the internet as a whole) and to trap myself in my room, only emerging to use the restroom and cook food (and of course go to class.)

My hopes for Valentine's Day are small. All I want is my mom to send me Fannie Mae chocolates from Chicago because if not for them Valentine's Day would just be officially the worse day in the history of mankind. Even ranking below "Bartman Day."

To be honest, a part of me wants to get that assignment done A.S.A.P. so maybe I could have a chance to go drinking at the bar, in hopes for a Valentine's Day special. Nah, let's not get my hopes up.

*Sighs* For Valentine's Day there will be no act of defiance towards V-Day lovers. I'll try to get on with my day on a normal schedule, nothing special and try to act like it's just another day; because really it is. It shouldn't even be a holiday cuz I still have to go to school!

And of course, the Cubs fan in me will get the final word in this all. I know it's cliche to say "with every cloud there's a silver lining," but this year I believe it. With the gray cloud of Valentine's Day hovering, February 14th brings one positive. It is the day where Cubs pitchers and catchers report to Mesa, Arizona for Spring Training and it is the first day in a season that hopefully ends with a World Series championship in October. February 14th: The 1st Day Cubdom Strikes Back.

I guess it won't all be bad...until I find out that Mark Prior and Kerry Wood are out for the season already. But let's hold off on that for a while.

Hope you enjoyed my rant that makes absolutely no sense, but it felt good to write it!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

So, It's A Few Days Late, But This Weekend Was TOTALLY Blogworthy!

Alright, I guess I should explain myself before I go off on my weekend recap blog. First of all, there was no blog Sunday because I was recovering. There was no blog on Monday because I was getting sick again. So that leaves now as the best time to blog about this weekend. Should I be doing homework? Probably. In fact, I should be doin' my homework for my JRNL 310 class and my POLS 352I class, both have paper assignments due on Thursday. But that can wait 'til later tonight. Well, let's get crackin' on the weekend recap blog.

First of all, I'd like to say this is (probably) the first weekend since the weekend my friends came down from Chicago in which I had uber-amounts of fun on both Friday night and Saturday night. That's the key to my weekends, two consecutive nights of happy thoughts. Usually it's either one or the other. In actuality, it's usually Lu being pissed off on Friday and then having a good Saturday.

Friday was pretty sweet, I must say. I napped most of the afternoon/evening after taking some meds, but after I woke up my roommate Steven and I went to Moe's. Moe's is a fast-food Mexican joint from the South that comes with lotsa acclaim. I had to check it out for myself and it definitely lived up to its billing. I had a basket of nachos engulfed with steak, cheese, salsa, black beans; it truly was amazing. After that we walked (yes, walked) to Gatsby's to shoot some pool and have a few drinks. There we saw a whole slew of people that we knew. We saw a buncha people we lived with on Floor 14 of Mae Smith over the last two years. We even saw our RA from last year who encouraged us to party it up with her when we were done with pool cuz, well, we could now cuz she's not our RA anymore. Actually, she heads a residence hall of 300 girls at Ole Miss. I dunno about you, but that sounds like my dream job. Where do I sign up to hang out with 300 hot Southern girls. Puts a smile on my face just thinking of it. However, when we went over there to find her and her friend, we couldn't. But I did roam around the dance floor and while I was aimlessly wandering, a really cute girl danced on me. She just randomly started dancing on me, then eventually with me. That never happens to me, ever. Unfortunately I was unable to get her name or number and I barely got my name out of my mouth when I was trying to talk to her (mostly out of shock that a cute girl is willing to dance with me lol) but yeah, that was fun while it lasted. When I told my roommie's, they were proud of me. Baby steps for Lu.

With a happy Friday out of the way, Saturday couldn't disappoint. It didn't, even though SIU did struggle in the first half of their game against ISU, they pulled ahead in the second half with masterful defense and shooting 64% in the second half of play. Later that evening, it was off to Pinch's Polar Bear Party. Basically it's Corona's for $1.50 and everyone drinks in the cold outside in the beer garden. It was my first Polar Bear and I had so much fun, I wish that every weekend could be a Polar Bear weekend. Heck, I even got sprayed in the face with a Corona by a football player (dude was huge) and I didn't flip and neither than he, instead we struck up a conversation about the Bears and the Cubs (I was wearing my Bears NFC North Division Championship Hat and my Cubs hoodie.) I also cut my hand on the wall, totally weird how that turned out. And then I saw one of my favorite SIU basketball players at the bar, Jamaal Tatum, and I just had to have a picture with him so I went up to him and asked him if I could have a picture with him. He didn't object, he seemed kinda enthused (though I'm sure other drunk Saluki fans made the same request throughout the night) but yeah, that totally made my night. Oh and I spent a lot of the night dancing with this girl who's a suitemate of a friend of mine. And though she told me she had a boyfriend and all I said a night of dancing isn't gonna hurt anyone and she agreed so we danced, a lot. Heck, I even sang Justin Timberlake's "My Love" when dancing with her when it came on over the speakers. I'm proud cuz I remembered every fucking word for once. That's my next trick, is to make a drunk dial and sing "My Love" to some girl. That'll be fun, 'cuz of course I'm trying to incorporate drunk singing with drunk dialing to add some spice to drunk dialing.

That was it, that was my totally awesome weekend. I still can't believe that through all of that I'm still happy about this weekend. Usually, when I have a weekend where I can't even speak to a girl, and then dance with a girl all night who has a boyfriend, I usually come back to the apartment sad, depressed, angry and in the mood to throw chairs and hit beds with baseball bats. Nope, not this weekend. The consensus is that everyone likes "Happy Lu." I like him too, it's good to have him back!

Picture Caption: Me & JT3....he totally rocks! Go Dawgs! Bring another MVC Championship home to The 'Dale!!!