November 24, 2011

Tim Tebow and the Scourge of Fantasy Football




“This game is setting football back 50 years, offensive play calling 40 years, and soccer back 20 years.” -Steve Braband, on Twitter, during last week’s Jets/Broncos matchup
It’s funny, I don’t remember the media working themselves up into a tizzy over Ronnie Brown circa the Miami Wildcat days about whether or not he was going to make it as an NFL quarterback, but here we are with Tim Tebow running the same offense, not as successfully, with about the same amount of passing ability and less running ability as Brown, having to hear about how he could be the one to finally lead the Broncos back to the Promised Land, to the top of Mount Elway.

Oh, yeah, I keep forgetting Tebow is Different. Special.

Tebow is averaging, in his five starts, about 105 yards passing. That is bad. Now, I don’t think stats are necessarily the end-all-be-all in football, but if you believe that Tebow is destined for NFL greatness -- or even averageness -- then you believe that in a league in which every rule change and tendency of the last ten years has been to favor high-octane passing games, there is room to excel for a quarterback who can’t throw.

If that isn’t blind faith, I don’t know what is. So it makes sense that he’s a fan favorite of the Jesus crowd. Both disciplines require a belief in something for which there is absolutely no evidence of.

Just like the Jesus people largely ignore what Jesus actually (supposedly) said, Tebowites are amazingly able to completely ignore anything that happens on the field, selectively choosing a play or two out of context and claiming it means Tebow is a “winner,” or a “leader.”

Do you think, for instance, that if Mark Sanchez had gotten the ball back last Thursday night with a minute left and led the Jets to a game-winning touchdown that the Tebowites would have become Sanchez disciples? Would that have made Tebow a loser?

The truth is, no quarterback has less of an impact on his team’s fortunes right now than Tebow. They are using the strategy made famous by Yinzstachio’s Pitt teams: Make no effort to score, keep the game slow and ugly, hopefully close, and try to get lucky in the final five minutes.

It didn’t work out too well in Pittsburgh, and it will end up even worse for the Broncos. That is no way to win consistently in Major College Football, and certainly not in the NFL.

Some of Tebow’s popularity must have something to do with Fantasy Football stats. FF is Idiot America’s way of following our National Pastime without having to know anything, or even care, about the sport. And there is an unsurprising correlation with Idiot America as a whole and Tebow Nation.

Fantasy Football is scourge on Sports that threatens to drown out Real Fans forever. Thanks to FF, we’ve had to endure arguments from otherwise reasonable people that Peyton Manning, the most uncreative player in NFL history, is the best quarterback ever, despite empirical evidence that he’s been no better than the third best quarterback in his own CONFERENCE for at least the last six years.

The average Fantasy Footballer will look at their league scoring and see Manning’s name at the top and think it means something. They don’t have to watch any games, or know that when things start to deviate from what is expected he crumbles like a cookie. All that matters is that he gets the most Fantasy points, so he is the best.

Having to hear over and over again that Manning is the best ever, or Tebow has a chance to ever be a better than middling quarterback is like being told that Kim Kardashian is famous: It’s only true if you believe it first.

...As for my picks this week, it was another sad struggle. I couldn’t line up a set of whole-numbered spreads, for one, giving me only three Push opportunities, or “Pushtunities.” The actual picks? I hate them. I want to tie them up in a bag full of cats and drown them in the river.

Looks like another 1-4 week, if I’m lucky. Anyone want to join me in my Shame Hole?

Packers v. Lions OVER (55.5)
Aren’t there about 70 points scored in any given Lions or Packers game this year? According to my recreationally-ravaged memory, yes. My track record on picking Thanksgiving NFL games is pretty awful, so I suppose I shouldn't hold out much hope for this one.

Texas v. TEXAS A&M (-7.5)
If I said I know why I’m picking this, I would be lying.

Louisville v. South Florida UNDER (43)
This is going to be an absolute suck-fest, a ride on the Suck Bus, a journey deep into far reaches of the suckiverse. In other words, it is the quintessential Big East match-up.

Georgia v. GEORGIA TECH (+6)
I haven’t paid attention to ACC football at all this year (by design), and anyone who’s not LSU or Alabama gets drowned out in the SEC. What better time to catch up with all these old friends than Thanksgiving weekend? Maybe their birthdays.

Clemson v. South Carolina OVER (50)
Wow. I made these picks about thirty-six hours prior to getting around to writing this, and I’m dumbfounded as to why I picked this. Did I have some fleeting hankering to watch this game? I guess it seems like an Over..., 11:36 PM MST, Tuesday, Goddamned right.

Robb Witmer Full is the Tim Tebow correspondent for SPORTS-THRUST!! Follow his second-rate material on Twitter.

November 17, 2011

Horsebeef Meme




After going on a run of 15-9-1 to get himself back into the thick of things in the PushMaster Invitational, the most exclusive football pool in the history of the Interwebs, the author’s Week Ten mark of 1-4-0 sank him into a tie for twenty-second place out of twenty-five Players.

While this effectively ends his bid for a second Invitational Championship, he remains in the lead for the title of PushMaster, bestowed upon the Player with the most number of Pushes for the season.

I’m afraid it’s time to admit it’s over, that the dream is dead. In a make or break week, I sputter out a 1-4 record and slip into Invitational oblivion. Last week was my Tim Tebow pass to the flat: elbow-first and floaty.

There comes a time in almost every player’s season when it becomes more of an extended requiem than a race to victory. For serious Players it’s like watching, helplessly paralyzed, as the vultures overhead swoop down and eat you alive, feet first, all the way up to the brain.

Not to be melodramatic. There are still things to play for. The Integrity and Sportsmanship instilled in the Invitational and its Players runs much deeper than a single season, or even monetary winnings. Success can be found in every cranny of the PushMasterverse.

Going for the PushMaster crown goes without saying. Not only is it the only conceivable way to make a little Football Dough this year, the Glory associated with it is second only to that reserved for Reality-TV champions, and with far less degradation to go along with it.

And I’ve got RJ in my sight. That’s right, Reej, I’m gunning for you and your monstrous 52.0 lifetime winning percentage. (I am, however, humbled by your thirty lifetime Pushes. You, Sir, are truly a PushMaster!)

My last goal for the year: PushMaster: The Musical!

JETS (-6) v. Broncos
Two completions last week? In a win? There’s no way that’s right. Will someone please re-watch the game tape and count them again. I’m thinking Tebow will have to complete at least three passes to beat the Jets, but that could be asking a lot of the guy. The only way it happens is if the Broncos return to their dump-off based offensive strategy, which worked to perfection against the Dolphins. The Jets are up and down, but you have to think the Defense is licking their proverbial collective chops at the chance to play against a quarterback who can only throw the ball fifteen yards down the field... See how I wrote all that like I watch the NFL or something.

Nebraska v. Michigan OVER (51)
It seems like at least half of Michigan’s offensive possessions end in either an amazing Denard Robinson touchdown, or an embarrassing Denard Robinson turnover. Their games never stop being fun because the ball is always rolling, flying, or bouncing into somebody’s hands... A three-and-a-half point spread means the books are making this out to be about 27-24... I’m thinking more like 45-42.

Lsu v. OLE MISS (+29)
This is a total mis-match, but a four touchdown victory would be enough to satisfy the Tigers, and I’d still get a win, though a twenty-nine point Push would be a tough Nutt to crack. Get it?

Usc v. Oregon UNDER (67)
It feels like Overs are a little played-out these days. I hate how any time you go out to get coffee, or a beer, and the place is filled with ironic mustaches, skinny jeans, and Overs. Fuck all that. My Contrarian roots are starting to grow back out. Plus I lost on two Over picks last week, so fuck ‘em.

Cal v. STANFORD (-18)
If Stanford hadn’t gotten shit-hammered by Oregon last week this number would probably be a smidge higher, rivalry game or not. The Cardinal did get exposed a little last week, but it’s also true that the team that beat them is exceptional, and sometimes that stuff happens. Nevertheless, I did destroy my Andrew “Horsebeef” Luck shrine in the PushMaster Command Center. My messiahs are bound to a strict what-have-you-done-for-me-lately policy., 1:36 PM MST, Wednesday. Can we make “Horsebeef” Andrew Luck’s nickname? It just fits him so well. Wouldn’t it be great if an NFL star had the nickname “Horsebeef,” and that nickname started here, on the PushMaster Invitational? I’m going to need your help, Players. Internet Meme starts......... NOW!!

Robb Witmer Full is the football picks-league corespondent for SPORTS-THRUST!!. If you would like to defend Joe Paterno against his merciless attacks, do so on Twitter. You wouldn’t be the first..

November 10, 2011

Occupy JoePa!!




Anybody want to touch the Penn State game this week? Not me. Not with Cochran’s dick.

The weird thing is, JoePa asked to be part of the PushMaster Invitational this year, and if we hadn’t been smack-up against the Strict Twenty-Five Player Limit, he forshuradly would have been admitted. He seemed to have both the Sportsmanship and the Success required of us, the Select Few. Alas, he turned out to be no better than the goddamn Pope.

Paterno’s best alibi is that he is a bumbling coot that doesn’t really have any idea what’s going on around him -- a believable scenario -- but even that won’t cut it in this case. This is is a prime example of why it’s a good reason to have someone in charge who DOES have some sort of idea of what’s going on around him.

It’s perfectly conceivable, for example, to imagine this sort of thing could have gone on in Bill Stewart’s breakfast nook and he’d have no idea about it, so it’s probably best he’s moved on to greener pastures, literally.

Maybe ol’ JoePa does have a few marbles left upstairs afterall, not that he’d want us to know about them now. That would bring the parallels to the Catholic Church and Penn State Football further into focus.

As I type this, the students in State College are marching in the streets and flipping news vans, supposedly in the name of Paterno and his legacy. But I used to frequent State College around the turn of the century. Not as a student, but more as a, um, let’s say tourist.

In my experience, State College is on the brink of being burned to the ground at every moment the students are in town. I have personally been a part of no less than a dozen riots in and around the campus.

While only a handful involved flipping over news and/or police vehicles, all of them had two big things in common: 1. Fire, and lots of it; and 2. the fact that the riot was about absolutely fucking nothing.

Penn State is just one of those schools where the students like to get Ripping Drunk and toss around a little furniture, maybe some hot-dog carts. That’s just how it is. The fact that two-hundred TV cameras were already in town just made this week’s Wednesday Riot that much more fun.

Not too many of these fuck-heads care whether or not JoePa is fired. Most of them are so blacked-out drunk they won’t remember how raging their night got after 50-cent pitchers down at Shooters.

It’s probably for the best, though. Instead of just embarrassing themselves like usual, they’re managing to embarrass an entire University. With the help, of course, of the media missing the mark. Big surprise.

Oklahoma St. v. Texas Tech OVER (79.5)
Sweet merciful crap, this is a lot of points. As in a touchdown every 5.3 minutes. That’s almost too much to keep up with, but thankfully I plan on drinking two-and-a-half gallons of coffee while I’m watching this game. That will end well.

West Virginia v. Cincinnati OVER (66.5)
The Big East is living down to its potential, which is saying a lot. An interesting play here would be West Virginia, whatever the spread is, since the conference has a long and consistent history of its best team laying an egg the first chance they get. I can’t jump that emotional hurdle this week, so I’ll take Big Points. West Virginia’s defense keeps managing to surprise me with their suckiness, and the offense can keep it together sometimes. Cincy? They just beat Pitt by three. Sounds like they suck.

ARIZONA (-10.5) v. Colorado
The Wildcats are 2-7, with one of those wins coming against Div-1AA Northern Arizona, and they’re on a two-game losing streak, so naturally they are laying ten-and-a-half on the road. Against Colorado this seems reasonable.

Oregon v. STANFORD (-3.5)
I have to take this pick because I’m picking Stanford until they do me wrong, but this one was tough. Ah, what the hell. With the whole Andrew-Luck-is-my-Jesus thing, this will probably be a four-point win for the Cardinal in 75 overtimes. Figure that out.

Ravens v. SEAHAWKS (+7)
This makes no sense, which means it makes GOBS of sense. The Ravens put so much juice into their games against the Steelers that I’m thinking they don’t have enough juice to beat the Seahawks convincingly. The Seahawks don’t have much in the juice department, but how will their juice stack up against the Ravens’ juice? Only the Jesus of Juice knows for sure. [Author’s note: the Jesus of Juice is Wilford Brimley.]

Lines procured from the charming gentlemen (and -ladies, presumably) at, on Tuesday, at eleven of-the-clock, in the PM, during the dawn of this year’s Mountains’ Standard Time.

Robb Witmer Full is at 20-22-3 in the PushMaster Invitational Football Pool, a football pool which has stood the Tests of Time to remain the Premierest of All! Follow him on Twitter. It's totally worth it.

November 3, 2011

Carving Horse-Shit Into Discobolus




Following a 1-4-0 record in Week Seven of the PushMaster Invitational Football Pool, the author decided to abandon his so-called Strategy of Assery for his Week Eight picks and go back instead to using his superior Football acumen, which has led to one Invitational championship already.

It worked to the tune of a 4-1-0 record, and while he remains deeply entrenched in the bottom-half of the Invitational’s considerably talented pack, the author’s confidence has begun to rise.

Unfortunately, it looks like Big East football is going to find a way to hang on for a few more years, albeit in a very sad iteration. The departing West Virginia is the only perennially competitive program the conference has, and both Pitt and Syracuse have enough history that it always at least seemed like they should, or could, be consistently top-25 teams.

Those three schools were the only reason Big East football has been taken as seriously as it has, which is not very. Losing them should have finally given the conference the Gift of Death that sports enthusiasts all across the country have been praying for.

Not so fast, says John Marinatto. He’s going to carve this lump of horse-shit into the Big East version of Discobolus if it fucking kills him. And it will.

Without Boise State -- which, in my opinion, should run away from the Big East like it has airborne leprosy -- the most impressive program in the conference becomes... Um... Who exactly? Rutgers? Cincinnati? Connecticut? Louisville? South Florida?

Yeah, that’s all that’s left, and those teams have won a grand total of Jack and Shit. South Florida and Connecticut have about twenty combined years of Division 1-A football between them. Any new additions that aren’t named Boise State play in C-USA and its ilk for good reasons.

There is no way in hell this conference should keep its BCS AQ spot. How exactly is a Big East with Boise State that much more prestigious than a WAC or Mountain West with Boise State?

I guess it all comes down to what ESPN thinks about it...

USC (-21) v. Colorado
About once a year, Colorado manages to get up for a game and surprise somebody, but what I’m thinking is that they already had that game when they were competitive with Washington State for almost a whole game. Yeah, this team is that bad. Lane Kiffin will probably be using this game as an opportunity to work out some Personal Bullshit, which he has by the truckful.

Northwestern v. NEBRASKA (-17.5)
Didn’t look into this game or these teams too closely, it just seems like Nebraska should cover this.

STANFORD (-21) v. Oregon St.
Andrew Luck pulled out a miracle cover for me last week, so I’m sticking with my own personal Jesus H. (Horsebeef; little known fact) Christ. If last week’s game isn’t proof that Stanford is on a Mission From God, then I don’t know what is. [Author’s note: There is no God.]

Kansas St. v. Oklahoma St. OVER (69)
Oklahoma St. scores a lot of points, so this pick comes down to whether or not K-State can keep up and stay in this one. Unless it’s a 24-20 type of game, in which case this pick comes down to me being a dumbass.

Broncos v. RAIDERS (-8)
The only thing I’m worried about here is that Tebow gets yanked around half-time or so, giving the Broncos a chance to keep it close. Carson Palmer has had a few more days to remember how to play football, so the Raiders should play better than their last time out. And let’s be honest here, a team doesn’t lose 45-10 just because their quarterback sucks.

Lines courtesy of Caesars-Hilton, 10:58 PM MDT, Wednesday

Robb Witmer Full is on a hot streak now, so look out! Get a peek into his brain, and find out why many call him “The Sensemaker," on the Twitters.