Somebody shoot me.

Is today the perfect day to go insane? I submit to you that it is.

Here's the scene: It's another boring Tuesday afternoon here at work. I'm doing a lot of staring out the window at a snowstorm that is threatening to make this afternoon's commute home unbearable, and wondering why they haven't let us go yet. My wife's at home because of this storm, but not even a delay here. I just read Bill Simmons' latest article, and now I'm in the mood to make some witty observations about sports. But here's the thing--

There's absolutely nothing interesting going on with any of my teams right now.

1. The Vikings
After an astounding losing streak that saw the Vikes fall to such mighty foes as San Francisco and Green Bay, they somehow manage to avoid giving another game away against the lowly Arizona Cardinals. (Believe me, though, they tried.) Now it looks like my team is destined for an 8-8 season at best, hanging around the fringes of the NFC playoff picture and holding onto the delusion that they can make the postseason. Now I've got to wait until next September to see Tarvaris Jackson play in a game that actually means anything, and I have to keep cheering for a team that at any moment could implode around the uber-mediocre Brad Johnson. Yippee.

1b. Fantasy Football
Who am I kidding? I'm not good enough to be an elite team (or even break 100 points), not crummy enough to be in the basement. Is it a bad sign that I'm spending half-hour chunks thinking about which players to keep for next year? Yes? Perfect.

2. The Wild
They started hot, that was great. Now it's just a matter of waiting until the playoffs start in... well, when is that? April? Regular season NHL just doesn't do it for me. Maybe in a year or two, but not yet.

3. The Huskies
After pro football, college hockey is what sustains me through the winter. And St. Cloud State, my alma mater, is putting together a pretty good year. It's been a while since they've been a top ten team. They've played great for the past three weeks, hanging two ties on the Gophers and blowing away all other comers. They're entering the soft, chewy middle of their schedule, featuring Michigan Tech, Colgate, and Alaska-Anchorage. Things should be pretty smooth until their grueling gauntlet for the last month and a half of the regular season. And yet, they aren't coming to play CC, I can't see them on TV, and there's only one website that has any information on them. It's just not that easy to get jacked up about it.

4. The Timberwolves
Just kidding. I don't pay attention to them. Just trade KG already and be done with it.

So I'd like to be a huge sports fan today, but let's be honest. It ain't happening.


Me vs. ESPN braintrust, week 12.

Hey all, back from my extended Turkey Day vacation. It's been a mixed couple of weeks. I lost the office pool for week 11, going 7-9, but made it up by winning week 12.

Allen 109-67 (14-2)
Schlereth 109-67 (11-5)
Accuscore 109-67 (9-7)
Jaworski 108-68 (11-5)
Golic 107-69 (12-4)
Salisbury 107-69 (11-5)
Me 106-70 (13-3)
Hoge 104-72 (11-5)
Mortensen 96-80 (10-6)

This is getting a bit on the frustrating side, what with only five games separating first from next to last. Good thing Mortensen blows, he's bringing down the curve.


Me vs. ESPN braintrust, week 10.

Sometimes I just hate football, and would rather just skip a couple days of talking about it.

Accuscore 89-55 (10-6)
Jaworski 89-55 (8-8)
Schlereth 88-56 (10-6)
Golic 87-57 (9-7)
Me 86-58 (8-8)
Hoge 85-59 (8-8)
Allen 84-60 (9-7)
Salisbury 84-60 (8-8)
Mortensen 77-67 (9-7)

I need a big week. This is getting ridiculous.



This is why I can't yet make the leap to the big time. I completely missed an obvious point about a big game, one that dominates the matchup and is impossible to argue against. (And in this crazy season, there aren't many of those.) As noted by Bill Simmons:

Rex Grossman on the road.

That being said, I'd like to revise that line of my post yesterday to read:

NEW YORK GIANTS (-2 1/2) over Chicago

EminemsRevenge sleeps a little better tonight. Forgive me.


Week 10 picks.

Are the Pittsburgh Steelers the most overrated team in the NFL? I submit to you that they are.

MINNESOTA (-5 1/2) over Green Bay
They say to throw out the record books when these two teams get together. I will leave them in. Favre sucks in a dome, Vikings have beat the Pack three straight times (including twice last year when they sucked even more). But even though I'm predicting a runaway victory for purple and gold, I'm going to make the bold prediction that this is the week we see Tarvaris Jackson take some snaps. It probably won't actually happpen, but if I really hope hard enough and believe with all my heart, there might be enough magic in the air in the North Star State to muster this "National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day" miracle.

I have to say, though, that I'm not nearly as worked up about this game as I should be. Packers in the Dome is usually the biggest non-playoff game of the year for Vikings fans. I just can't get excited coming off such an embarrasing loss.

Kansas City (-1 1/2) over MIAMI
There are a lot of snoozers this week, so many that picking five interesting games becomes a chore. Enter this one. Let's all admit to ourselves that the Dolphins played way beyond themselves last week against a team that finally got bit phoning it in. Their record still stinks, the still have Joey Harrington at the helm, and they're still facing (arguably) the most dominant running back in the game this week. No choice.

CINCINNATI (+1 1/2) over San Diego
I wouldn't care about this game at all except it's my fantasy starting quarterback (Palmer) versus my fantasy backup quarterback (Rivers). Here's some rationale for you: 1. San Diego is not nearly as good on the road. 2. Merriman is out, so look for a lot of touches for Rudi Johnson. 3. The pressure is on for a team that suddenly has expectations on it. 4. There's been news of Carson Palmer's mechanics problems. This means he's definitely going to have a big game. I don't know if this one will be close or not, but it should be fun to watch at the very least.

Denver (-8 1/2) over OAKLAND
Last week I joked to DJam, "You should pick Miami over Chicago, you'd look like a genius if they win." I, however, didn't pull the trigger on that call and can't actually make the claim that I'm a genius. But I have the same feeling this week. I won't actually pick Oakland over Denver, just keep in mind that the Broncos are coming off two big weeks, and they might be too tired to get worked up for the Raiders (odd as that sounds). And despite what happened last Monday night, Oakland is better than what they let on. They're capable of putting together a big game, especially against a division rival at home. So while it can't be said that I'm a football genius, it can at least be said that I don't have the cajones to own up to an upset pick.

New Orleans (+4 1/2) over PITTSBURGH
There are three teams with 2-6 records who are hosting teams with 6-2 records this week. Tennessee is hosting Baltimore, Oakland is hosting Denver, and Pittsburgh is hosting New Orleans. Only one of these 2-6 teams is favored, however. I really can't, for the life of me, understand why the line on this game is the way it is. Let me make this perfectly clear:


Watching last year's Super Bowl, I sat there saying to myself, "The bias towards this team is ridiculous." I chocked it up to a "somebody's gotta get the hype, and it sure won't be Seattle" theory. But this whole stinkin' year, Pittsburgh has had overly kind lines. Bet against them with everything you have. I mean it. The bias has reached surreal proportions.

Other games:
Baltimore (-7 1/2) over TENNESSEE
JACKSONVILLE (-10 1/2) over Houston
NEW ENGLAND (-10 1/2) over New York Jets
San Francisco (+6 1/2) over DETROIT
PHILADELPHIA (-6 1/2) over Washington
INDIANAPOLIS (-12 1/2) over Buffalo
ATLANTA (-7 1/2) over Cleveland
SEATTLE (-4 1/2) over St. Louis
Dallas (-6 1/2) over ARIZONA
Chicago (+2 1/2) over NEW YORK GIANTS
CAROLINA (-9 1/2) over Tampa Bay


I'll smack you in the mouth!

Slow sports day. In memorial to the Republican party, let's throw in a hilarious sketch.

I can remember busting a gut with Joe back in college over this sketch. There are so many quotable lines, it's best to learn them all. Football picks tomorrow!


Me vs. ESPN braintrust, week 9.

Accuscore makes its glorious appearance. I have no idea what it is or how it's calculated, but it scored 6-8 this weekend. Chumps. I, however, had a relatively good week.

Jaworski 81-47 (9-5)
Accuscore 79-49 (6-8)
Me 78-50 (8-6)
Schlereth 78-50 (6-8)
Golic 78-50 (6-8)
Hoge 77-51 (5-9)
Salisbury 76-52 (6-8)
Allen 75-53 (5-9)
Mortensen 68-60 (7-7)

I'm thinking that with the advent of Accuscore, Mortensen is now on official notice. He's seven games out of second to last place. He has three weeks to get that down to five games, or I'll toss him. I'll do it.


On Ted Haggard.

Nothing more needs to be added to what has been incessantly reported and opined upon by everyone with an internet connection. But because I'm a self-proclaimed born again Christian, it only feels appropriate that I throw one more opinion on the pile.

As usual, the cover up is just as bad as the sin. And it's sad that mild surprise and disappointment were the strongest emotions I felt at any point in this scandal. I guess it goes to show that the world and everyone in it--and me in particular--knows that nobody is safe from slipping up. I feel really bad for Ted and his family. Sins don't let go very easy, and they can easily ensare any of us. I'm glad that he stepped down and is dedicated to working past this.

The thing is, this didn't catch God by surprise. He didn't wake up one morning last week and go, "oh, SNAP!" (Because God definitely keeps up with his street lingo.) When Ted Haggard started New Life Church in his basement twenty years ago, God saw this coming. God already knows the absolute worst sin any of us will ever commit. Yet he chose to bless Ted's church anyway. For twenty years he saw fit to allow Ted's church to grow by leaps and bounds, knowing the day would come when he would have to resign in disgrace. It should give us hope that God still chooses to bless and guide us, even in light of our worst evil lurking just around the corner.

New Life Church has rallied around their former leader, I've seen countless clips and quotes of congregants going on about foregiveness and redemption, love and compassion. This is all really great. But let's, just for a moment, try to think of the number of people who aren't pastors in a church that have had their own fall from grace even since this story dropped. How many people in your life need just as much support and compassion from you? Foregiveness isn't only for the high-profile. We can all learn something from this.


Week 9 picks.

Last week hit us all hard, so let's try to put that behind us and move ahead. (Hard to do with some of the matchups on the docket this weekend.)

Minnesota (-6 1/2) over SAN FRANCISCO
This is an easy one, unless Minny is hung over. The short week shouldn't affect things too much, and look for Chester Taylor to get a lot of touches in a ball-control type of a game. From the Niners' side, they'll definitely try to pick apart the Vikings through the air, but let's face it, Alex Smith is no Tom Brady.

Kansas City (+2 1/2) over ST. LOUIS
I initially took the Rams on this one, I figured they're at home and underrated. Then I remembered that they're awful against the run. And I think I heard that the Chiefs have a decent running back...

SEATTLE (-8 1/2) over Oakland
Ok, I'm past saying "duh" to every Raiders game. This isn't as much of a gimme as it should be for Seattle, but Seneca Wallace did fill in adequately last weekend in a hostile Arrowhead Stadium. At home he should be able to do enough for the W, even against a stout Oakland defense. But if you bet, take the silver and black on the points.

Denver (+2 1/2) over PITTSBURGH
You don't think the Broncos are a little fired up for this game, do you? Name me the last time a 5-2 team was two point dogs against a 2-5 team. I've been taking a lot of enjoyment from the sports radio talk shows in Colorado this week. Everyone seems to be cheerful about only losing by three to the Colts. And while I can certainly understand this sentiment (the Vikes only lost by three to Chicago ealier in the year and I was happy), it's always funny when someone's criteria for happiness is "we didn't lose by as much!"

NEW ENGLAND (-2 1/2) over Indianapolis
As much as I didn't enjoy last Monday night's game, the Patriots really looked good. For more insight on this game, Google the phrase "hype machine."

atl (-5 1/2) over DET
cin (+3 1/2) over BAL
dallas (-3 1/2) over WAS
BUF (-3 1/2) over gb
NYG (-13 1/2) over hou
CHI (-13 1/2) over mia
no (-1 1/2) over TB
JAC (-9 1/2) over ten
SD (-12 1/2) over cle

In your face, Widefield!

First, let's discuss Ted Haggard. He's the head pastor of New Life Church, which sits just across the way from where I work. This is a monster church, boasting 14,000 members. Not only that, but he is (or at least was) the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals. Very high profile.

Then on Wednesday a male escort accused Ted of paying him for sex over the last three years. Gulp.

The interesting part of this story to me isn't another Christian leader under fire. It's actually about time all the sexual misdeed allegations started landing on Protestants too. No, the thing that gets me is the timing. Next Tuesday, Colorado will be voting on an amendment to the state constitution that denotes marriage as being between one man and one woman. There has been a lot of hulabaloo over this recently.

Don't you think it's odd that these accusations come out now?

One week is not enough time to seek out the truth of this matter. Call me sinister, but I think somebody pulled the trigger on this right now because they know that it'll still be hanging over peoples' heads come voting time. It's like that book, Tempting Faith, it was supposed to come out early next year. But oh, woops, let's push that up to come out mid-October. Political schemers, I tell you...

If these allegations are true, then this will obviously be a big scandal and really I don't know what will happen then. But if these allegations are completely baseless, it marks a new low for American politics.

Second, I went and saw Coronado High School take on Widefield High School last night. One of the guys in the high school Bible study I co-lead plays for Coronado.

11.2.06 Coronado v. Widefield

The Cougars dug deep and came up with a gutsy performance to edge Widefield 17-9. It was pretty fun. I enjoy high school football much more when I know I'm not running into anybody I know and I can just bring my iPod and camera. There's something about freezing your nips off on some metal bleachers that just feels nice. I can't explain it. Go Cougars!


Random Thursday Thoughts

1. You never realize how much you love technology until it craps out on you, much like my iPod. Yesterday on the drive home it stopped playing and I freaked out!!! I nearly crashed twice trying to figure it out. Well, I restored it this morning and everything is fine. Nobody needs to die today. And I'm not worried that I'm so attached to my little white, music-playing friend. It's actually encouraging a little.

2. Is YouTube the best thing ever? I submit to you that it is. Another example: Sifl & Olly. I looked for clips for so long, and there's a plethora on YouTube. This takes me back to freshman year of college, but in a very good way. Indulge yourself.

3. Well this backfired. I was planning on buying a case of this calendar I designed to give to everyone one of them when I went home for Thanksgiving. It's pretty much (and I'm not exaggerating) the best thing I've ever done. Only, we sold out of them. All 37,000. And they won't be in stock again until after I get back. Woops.

4. Ya like the new template? I totally didn't make this myself!


Me vs. ESPN braintrust, week 8.

Wow. I took it in the shorts this time. How bad was week 8? I tied with Mortensen. I guess it's true what they say, pride comes before a fall. Time to bounce back.

Golic 72-42 (5-9)
Hoge 72-42 (8-6)
Schlereth 72-42 (7-7)
Jaworski 71-43 (7-7)
Me 70-44 (5-9)
Allen 70-44 (8-6)
Salisbury 70-44 (7-7)
Mortensen 61-53 (5-9)