Thursday, December 27, 2007

Studicus Selects 2007

It is always en vogue this time of year to do a "best of" or "worst of" list, be it badly-behaved athletes, out-of-control celebs, or jaw-dropping sports plays. I attempted this back in 2005, when I did a 2005 Scrooges and a 2005 Studicus Selects. This time I'll just combine all my best and worst moments into one, long-overdue post.

And apologies dear readers for our long hiatus. Do we have an explanation? Of course not. It's laziness and other distractions.

Most satisfying cinematic experience. Transformers! I went back home to see it with my brother and my dad...and we abso-freaking-lutely loved it. There's just something about hearing the voice, the real voice of Optimus Prime that sent chills up and down my spine. Great battle sequences, some well-placed humor, a super-hot Meghan Fox...terrific.

Biggest holiday disappointment. Also related to the Transformers. I held off getting the DVD thinking it'd be the perfect stocking stuffer from my parents or my wife. Apparently, everyone thought I already had it or assumed another party would purchase it for me. I guess that's why they invented holiday spending cash.

Biggest disappointment, sports. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish. I didn't think ND would be very good this year, but I didn't expect the complete joke of a team that took the field every week. Geez, they were terrible. I can't even look at their record, I will not speak of it here, and I hope things get better next year. I'm talking about everything from special teams to the offense on down to the defense. We should've known we were in trouble when three quarterbacks played in the opener.

Best holiday purchase. Screw the iPod, I bought a Zune! I took the MP3 player plunge, picking up the 30-gig Zune for $89 (plus free shipping, thanks buy.com!). I'm in love with this thing; I've got nine full-length movies and hundreds of songs on it...and I still have 13 gigs left to fill.

Most unlikely mild obsession. You know, while toying around with my Zune, I used some errant Microsoft Live points to buy the Dropkick Murphys' "Shipping off to Boston" (you may have heard the song in The Departed). That inspired me to buy a couple more songs from the Zune store (which, I will admit, pales in comparison to iTunes). Then, I checked out some similar groups, and found a group called Flogging Molly. I guess it's technically "ska," but I refer to it as "Celtic thrash music." The Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly are getting a lot of play from me. A LOT.

Most surprisingly touching song from the Dropkick Murphys. Search YouTube for "Green Fields of France" and see if you can listen to it without getting a little misty-eyed. Beautiful song from an unlikely source.

Best purchase, Xbox 360 game. Oooooo...this one is gonna hurt a few people out there. You'll notice my last blog post was on October 31st. Several posts before that, I had declared my allegiance to Halo 3, including my attendance at a kickass Halo party from K-Fife. Before that, I extolled the virtues of NCAA 2008 prior to moving up to gunnery sergeant, investing time into the Bungie website, then proceeding to have the special edition of Mass Effect delivered to my mailbox. Halo 3 has made a great paperweight since then. Bioware, ye be honored. For Mass Effect is terrific, although, like Knights of the Old Republic before it, the game has a few bugs (notably, a crappily-managed inventory system and some problems with the frame rate). Still, it's a beautiful game, a great story, and I love it. And...oh...those Asaris!

Biggest disappointment, Xbox 360 game. MLB 2K7. Oh, yeah, I played a whole 162-game season. And oh, yeah, I couldn't advance to the postseason because of a stupid glitch that 2K Sports never fixed. If teams have unplayed games when you end the season, your system locks up while trying to move to the playoffs. All those games, down the toilet. I emailed four times, never got a response, and am determined never to play/buy products from 2K Games ever again. I guess that means no BioShock for me either, since it's a 2K Games product (though not under the 2K Sports label). The whole point of playing a season? Getting to the playoffs! So what's the point of playing the regular season if you can't advance to the World Series? It's inexcusable.

Best deal, DVD. Best Buy sold the Marvel animated movies for $3.99 each. I couldn't pass up Invincible Iron Man, Ultimate Avengers, and Ultimate Avengers 2. I even bought Krildog copies of them. You can't beat a price like that for high-quality entertainment.

Strangest movie obsession. I had a stint where I really got into Kingdom of Heaven. So much, in fact, I wanted to see the four-hour Director's Cut. I eventually bought it. Which leads me to...

Worst oversight, Netflix queue. If you rent the Kingdom of Heaven Director's Cut, you only get the first disc of the four-disc set. The problem: the main feature is split amongst two discs! So I saw half the new cut, without the possibility of seeing the rest through Netflix! This inspired me to buy the whole set, which is loaded with special features. You know, if you can take four hours of Orlando Bloom.

Biggest disappointment, movie. Spider-Man 3. It was a godawful mess of glitzy special effects, too many characters, and the evil Emo Peter Parker. The latter was enough to ruin it for me.

Biggest surprise, movies. 300. Wow. I love epics, counting Gladiator, Braveheart, Troy, Kingdom of Heaven, and King Arthur among my DVD collection. I was floored by 300. The visual style was awesome, and Gerard Butler is awesome. Also, he seems, in real life, like a perfectly pleasant fellow. Search YouTube for him...and see if you find a story about a kilt and a wedding particularly amusing.

Most shocking revelation, movies. Had to be when I realized that King Leonidas moonlights as the Phantom of the Opera. I still have to repress a shudder.

Most satisfyingly inexpensive gadget. With my new Zune, I wanted to find a way to listen to music through my car stereo. I don't have an auxiliary jack in my car stereo, which is a factory set from 2003 (you know, before iPods hit it big). So, I shopped around and found a car cassette adapter for $5.99 at Wal-Mart. It's cheap, but it sounds terrific. Why a cassette adapter? Reviews of Zune-related radio tuners are terrible, and I didn't want to risk dropping at least $50 on one. So, I went with the cheaper alternative, and am pretty pleased thus far.

Worst performance, NFL. Had to be when the Colts went on the road in Sunday Night Football against San Diego and pissed their game away. Six interceptions from Peyton Manning, plus a missed chip-shot field goal from Mr. Clutch, Adam Vinatieri, and you really don't need to say anything else.

Best performance, NFL. I'd be lying if I even tried to pass off the Colts' Super Bowl performance here. We ALL know what the real game of the year was...Colts/Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. I was ready to kill myself in the first half...until God finally smiled upon his favorite Volunteer, who led the greatest comeback in Colts history. Oh, how sweet it was.

Most productive seven days of his life, Studicus. I entered a writing competition on Amazon.com about two months ago. The site was taking 5,000 entries for full-length book manuscripts. Once you registered, you had seven days to submit your entry. I registered, but only had my book about 1/3 of the way done. So, over the next seven days, I worked my regular job and then came home to write about six or seven hours a day. By the time it was all over, my sanity was gone, I didn't want to see a keyboard, and my eyes and mind burned from staring at the computer screen and using all that creative energy. I did get the word count I was working toward, and finished it. The entry was accepted, I'm now waiting to see if anything comes of it.

Worst use of a cable channel. Two lucky cable networks share the honor: Big Ten Network and NFL Network. I'm not going to blame them solely, because we all know the cable operators have a lot to do with this, too. I can live with missing IU & Purdue football games. I'm having a much harder time with basketball season, however. So far, IU's BTN games haven't been spectacular; it's really going to suck once we hit the conference season. The NFL Network, meanwhile, caved in on the whole Giants-Patriots thing. I'm glad we'll all be able to see that. However, the NFL Network isn't all bad. It gives me an excuse to visit Krildog, who has it at his apartment. Just figure it out, guys. For the fans.

Best deal of the year. I'm not opposed to heralding the great $89, 30-gig Zune from buy.com. However, the real best deal of the year comes from Finish Line. The one here in Greenwood is selling hooded NCAA sweatshirts (I refuse to intentionally use the word "hoodie" unless Bill Belichick is involved) two for $30. I took advantage of this for the holidays, getting my brother a UNC one, my wife a Notre Dame one, a Notre Dame one for Krildog, and an IU one for his Lady Krildog. Sadly, no one bothered to snag an IU or Notre Dame one for Studicus! Yeah...that last comment was a little selfish. I feel like George Costanza in the Festivus episode. George had given a friend Yankees tickets as a gift; in return, the friend made a donation in George's name to a children's charity. George remarked, "Don't you see how wrong that is?! Where's your Christmas spirit? An eye for an eye!"

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Evil Set to Invade Indianapolis

Hoodie is coming.

So is Tom Terrific.

Wow, it's going to be a battle this weekend!

The Colts have started off the season in a great way once again. So have the Patriots. They've done it in completely different ways...the Colts have eked out a couple of wins and relied on a good defense and running game. From what I've seen, the Pats have passed, passed, passed their way to an undefeated record. Of course, that New England defense isn't bad either! The AFC Championship Win last year was one of the most incredible things I've ever seen. In some ways, I can't really believe it happened at all.

This is a different year. I think the Colts are better. Their defense is healthy and physical. They've still got a one-two running back combo and terrific receivers. Their focused, unwavering, and they don't get rattled. They're the gentlemen of the NFL, though that distinction may not be the best thing to hold in the brutal & manly world of pro football.

The problem? Well...the Patriots are better, too. Anyone who says otherwise is insane. They already had a good offense, now they have a dynamic one. It's amazing how potent they are. Don't get me wrong, I hate them. I hate Brady, I hate Rodney Harrison, I hate their sadistic coach. But I can't deny they're good. They're scoring points in bunches, and Washington was supposed to be a "defensive test" for them last week.

52-7 was the final score, and that was only because Washington scored a late "F-You" TD at the end. The Patriots are running it up like USC.

I know there's another end to the spectrum. There are people out there who don't live in the greater New England area who hate Peyton Manning. But the ESPN mouthification that Brady is receiving is legendary. Aw, hell. It's a media wide mouthification. In fact...here are a few things you may have missed:

-while running up the score against Washington, Tom Brady laid his hands on a lame man who walked again
-while running the score up against the Dolphins, Tom Brady fed the entire crowd with only fishes and loaves
-Tom Brady uses a rattlesnake for a condom; wait...no that's Chuck Norris; Brady doesn't use those things...just ask Bridget Moynahan
-as evidenced by the atrocious hat he wore during postgame interviews over the weekend, Tom Brady likes to play Sherlock Holmes, solving crimes in his spare time
-Tom Brady has the ability to cure cancer, AIDS, and syphilis just by thinking about it, but Coach Bill Belichick won't let him do it because Hoodie is pure evil
-Tom Brady is single-handedly responsible for ending the Cold War
-Tom Brady takes a lot of heat off his offensive line by generating a protective forcefield around
himself
-Tom Brady faced off against Chuck Norrs, Master Chief, and Jack Bauer at the same time and still won
-if Tom Brady is ever injured while staying in the game too long, it won't matter because he can heal himself with his divine powers

Dang it...I hate the Patriots.

So dear friends and Anti-Patreeites, remember these words of wisdom from Christopher Walken...



A Tribute...1933-2007

First of all, a warm tribute to the one and only Robert Goulet. He's one of my boys, one of the guys I listen to a lot. If you haven't heard, he has passed away after failing to get a lung transplant. He needed one because of a rare and debilitating lung disorder. His booming voice and warmth will be missed for a long time to come. Don't know who "GOULET!" is? Well, pick up a Best of SNL Will Ferrell DVD, Beetlejuice, or Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear. Even better, visit http://www.robertgoulet.com/ to send a message to his family or check out his biography. His storied career includes stage, screen, and vocal performances. And, if you fall asleep at work, he messes with your stuff. It's true. I even saw a commercial on this.

And, if anything, check out these awesome ESPN college basketball commercials he did...if just to look for the young Coach K.

Why does Robert Goulet matter to me?

In college, I had a radio show on our low-powered station at Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana. The show featured crooners, those legendary performers like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Perry Como, and of course Robert Goulet. I think it was in 2002 that I decided I wanted some promos from some of the artists I featured. I did some hunting on the internet, found his website, and submitted a simple question, "Would you be willing to do some spots for me?"

Within a few hours, I had a reply from his wife Vera, telling me to send a script and an address. A few days later, I received an audio cassette. Not only did Mr. Goulet do my scripts, he improvised a couple of his own. Now, many of my college contemporaries didn't think it was that big of a deal; I was in my early 20s at the time, and of course many of my friends didn't know much about Robert Goulet unless I mentioned Beetlejuice or The Naked Gun 2 1/2. But it meant so much to me to have Robert Goulet, THE Robert Goulet, saying, "This is Robert Goulet and you're listening to the Saturday Morning MattPack on 89.5 WFCI."

I was able to get about three or four promos from the tape he sent. You could tell he was having a great time doing it. It probably wasn't a big deal to him, but it said a lot about his character: he didn't care it was a small radio station, he was unassuming and took it with class, humility, and a grand sense of humor.

And that's why I will always be a fan of Robert Goulet, and why the loss hits home for me.

Plus, I enjoy the fact the U.S. and Canada haggle over which country should be considered his home! Mr. G was born in Massachusetts, but moved to Canada early in life (his parents were Canadian). Yet his voice is considered a National Treasure here in the U.S., to Canada's dismay.
Sing on, Mr. G.
Sing on.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

TFT Update

Okay...I've been negligent. I haven't even lived up to doing Colts observations consistently. I blame a lot of things: Halo 3 (after getting fragged repeatedly, I finally became MVP of a match!), Netflix, the new TV season (specifically, The Office, Heroes, Chuck, Journeyman, and 30 Rock), and Halo 3 (did I mention the MVP thing?).

Oh...I also wrote a book for a contest on Amazon.com...that took up six straight days of my life.

So.....

I'll try to do better. You know, like I always say here on TFT. I make no promises of new and exciting content. Maybe I'll try to edit some pictures or something.

And when I have the time, you'll enjoy the Netflix Movie of the Week. You know...the weekly feature that's run ONCE so far.

I suck.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Colts Observations, Week Four

But at what cost victory? Sure, the Colts beat Denver 38-20, and sure it was laughable by the end. However, five pretty big-time Colts players suffered injuries: Marvin Harrison, Rob Morris, Joseph Addai, Bob Sanders, and Ben Utecht. We've got strained and bruised knees, banged up shoulders, broken ribs...a cornucopia of injuries. Some look serious, others don't. Let's just hope this doesn't come back to haunt the Colts down the road.

A really bad run. Colts looked pretty bad on run defense in the first half. A lot of missed tackles, overpursuit...the kinds of things that made the defense a complete joke last year. Even All-World Bob Sanders was missing tackles left and right. They cleaned it up in the second half, thankfully. To be fair, the Broncos did give the Colts a lot of interesting looks and formations.

Ready to run. Kudos to the offensive line for controlling the line of scrimmage. Whether your name was Joseph Addai, Kenton Keith or even Luke Lawton, chances were you had a pretty good game on the ground. Very dominating performance.

Fletch lives. I've used this title a lot. But with Ben Utecht out, Bryan Fletcher brought a little instant offense with a couple of questions. I love all the Colts' tight ends, but I'm sometimes befuddled as to why the Horseshoes stick with Utecht when Fletcher tends to be the big-play guy.

This week on Dallas...Dallas Clark had another solid week. Another two touchdown catches. The dude's a machine, and I think he's been Manning's favorite target this season. I also loved how the Colts moved him around...on the line, in the slot, even split out wide! Yep, I saw a formation with Clark split out right, Harrison in the slot, and Reggie Wayne to the left. No matter who covered him (safeties, linebackers, corners), he was open and able to make a big catch.

Productive but not prolific. We've seen Peyton light up the Broncos time and time again. This time, he was productive, but didn't put up eye-popping numbers. The Colts have been so firmly ingrained in the Broncos' heads, that it reminds me of how the Patriots seemed to have the Colts' number for years (that curse is now broken, thank goodness). But the Colts have dominated the Broncos...even embarrassed them...time and time again. Whether it's the playoffs or the regular season, the Broncos can't seem to beat Indy. You'd think Mike "the Mastermind" Shanahan would've figured something out by now. It's just that...no matter what they do...the Colts do it better. This game was set up perfectly...run, run, run, control the clock, keep Manning off the field. Yet...it's 14-13 at halftime. Amazing.

Super subs. Very nice performances put in today by a variety of backups, whether you're talking about Matt Giordano, Kenton Keith, Aaron Moorehead, or Rocky Boiman. With injuries, the Colts proved they actually have a lot of depth. If some of those injuries turn out to be serious, then they're really going to need to call in the reserves.

Ugoh, I go. One thing Tony Ugoh's got going for him: even if he's not a mountain of a man like Tarik Glenn, he brings a lot to the table. Loved seeing him and Jeff Saturday running 20 yards downfield to block the Broncos. Simply awesome.

Booing Brandon. Did the boo birds come out for Brandon Stokley? C'mon Colts fans! I mean, yeah, he's not with the Colts anymore. But it's not like he went for the money. In fact, the Colts cut him! So give him a break.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Colts Observations, Week Three

Houston, we have liftoff or We love to Addai and it shows. One of the most breathtaking and amazing plays of the year came courtesy the Colts' very own Joseph Addai. The second-year pro launched himself into the endzone for a short TD run that included some major hangtime. I watched the game this week with KrilDog and his roommate, and wow, we were amazed.

Drops of Gonzo. That Gonzalez kid is quickly becoming a part of the Colts offense. There's only one problem so far: he has the tendency to drop the ball. He missed out on a couple of huge plays because of this. One thing I like about Manning, though, is that he didn't hesitate to throw right back to Gonzo, even after the drops.

Omniscient? Nah, just lucky. At the end of the game, when the TV announcers were talking about how the Texans needed to get the ball to the sideline, and could possibly run two or more plays, I said it could end real quick-like with a sack. Robert Mathis comes around the left side, and BOOM! Game over, man. Game over!

Clock killing 101. Last week I bemoaned the Colts' decision to throw the darn ball while trying to run down the clock. It resulted in some incompletions and left too much time on the scoreboard. This week, they ran the ball. When the Texans got the ball back, they didn't have any timeouts or time to do anything. That's exactly what Indy should've done last week vs. Tennessee.

Stump the Schaub. It sure is easy to say the Texans got the better end of that Matt Schaub deal. I like the kid; he looked really good for Houston. He was pretty hard to sack, too. The Colts put pressure on him, but had a hard time bringing him down (though the D did force some fumbles that Houston recovered). Still, nice to get a couple of interceptions from linebackers like Gary Brackett and our favorite red-headed stepchild of an outside linebacker, Rocky Boiman.

Not quite clicking yet. As we've seen several times, the Colts offense isn't quite in midseason form. They looked great on their first couple of drives, but Peyton missed a few throws, including a high toss to a wide-open-in-the-endzone Marvin Harrison. That doesn't happen often. Bob Kravitz wrote today that this Colts team is better than last year's. On defense, that certainly seems to be the case. We'll see how it holds up over the next few weeks.

Bad start. Visions of Super Bowl XLI when the opening kickoff was returned for a TD. They stopped Jerome Mathis on the first play of the game, but a stupid penalty nullified that. On attempt #2, a squib, Mathis came up big. Definitely not how you want to start off any game, especially one on the road. Thankfully, a long, measured drive tied the game right back up.

Big hitters. This year's defense sure as heck likes to hit. Whether it's Kelvin Hayden, Bob Sanders, Tyjuan Hagler, Freddy Keiaho, Matt Giordano, Antoine Bethea, or anyone else, the Colts know how to make people go down. And the run defense? 40 yards on 17 attempts for a meaty 2.7 average per carry. I realize Ahman Green went down early, but that's still impressive.

Hall of a Killings. I thought Roy Hall took the brunt of the collision with Cedric Killings. After seeing the replay several times, I still think Hall should've been the one knocked out because it looks like he took a lick on the helmet. I sure hope Killings gets healthy again.

Dialin' up DC. Dallas Clark had another TD grab to go along with three other catches. Manning didn't focus on the tight ends this week like he did against Tennessee. Then again, he didn't have to. Really liked the Colts' game plan this week. They really mixed it up and kept Houston guessing.

Protect the franchise. Amobi Okoye had a sack. For the most part, though, the Colts did a much better job of keeping #18 clean this week.

Workhorses. Gary Brackett had a solid game, finishing with 9 tackles. That's pretty good. Marlin Jackson also kept busy...he had 15 tackles on the day. A lot of those were in pass coverage, some were in run support.

Rushing to return. I saw a couple of nice kick returns fom T.J. Rushing, including a big 47-yarder that set up a field goal.

Special again. Welcome back, Adam Vinatieri. After taking us on a trip to the Bizarro World, #4 got his act together and showed us why he's one of the best kickers in league history.

On that note...The Colts left some points on the board again this week. The defense was stout enough to cover for it, however. I'd just like to see the horseshoes come up with a few more touchdowns in the red zone. It'll come, it'll come.

And I realized, hey, I'm so all about Halo. Krildog has me all hyped up over the release of Halo 3. After years of Xbox gaming by myself, I'm taking the leap to Xbox Live Gold. And I'm going to play the crap out of Halo 3!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Death and Return of Superman

Gotta admit: I was stoked for the release of Superman Doomsday, the new animated Supes pic from DC. A straight-to-DVD tale, it's based on the obscenely popular comic book from 1993. Comic philes would know it simply as issue 75.

I am not a traditional comic book geek; I didn't have many comic books growing up, and I certainly never read the Death of Superman upon its original release. I caught up to it all by reading "The Death and Life of Superman," the adapted novel of the epic comic book story arc. It's one of my favorite reads, and I have been known to read it once or twice a year (especially around Christmas, oddly enough). So, though I don't possess the firsthand "comic knowledge" of Superman's demise, I am certainly and unquestionably in tune with the story, and thus, qualified to review a film "inspired by" the epic story.

I will warn you here that I'm not pulling any punches; SPOILERS LIE AHEAD in my review. This is necessary because I'm going to discuss some of the key changes I noticed between the book I've read several times and the DVD I watched yesterday. If you want to go into Superman Doomsday unfettered, then I suggest you read the following line, and then move away: I liked the movie a lot, but was disappointed by how it was reworked.

The movie starts off just like one would expect: all the world seems fine, Superman's around, and then Doomsday comes. Instead of being tucked away in a suit to contain his strength, Doomsday emerges from captivity completely free of restraints. He's completely homicidal and without remorse. I'm not even sure he knows what he's doing. Losing the suit is no big deal. What does stink, and I know this is to condense the story line (some characters' rights issues may be involved here as well), is that there's no appearance from the Justice League of America. If there's one thing that made the threat of Doomsday all too real, it was the fact that America's greatest team of superheroes (even with its flawed members like Maxima and Guy Gardner) was powerless (you could even say comically inept, even) and couldn't slow him down. I really wanted to see that, even though this is primarily a Superman movie. That was my first disappointment.

The fight between Superman and Doomsday was not disappointing, however. It's an epic, gritty, nasty, and exciting fight. Superman coughs up blood at one point, buildings shake and some collapse, there's carnage everywhere. As vapid a character as Doomsday is, there's no denying he's a scary looking dude with an innate hatred for, well, pretty much everything. The Man of Steel's final act, flying Doomsday into space, only to crash in tandem in Metropolis, is stirring, especially the musical score. With Doomsday dead, Superman has saved the day, though he's unable to save himself. With the iconic scene from the comics in mind, Lois Lane cradles Earth's Greatest Hero as he dies.

It's a powerful, sad, and moving moment. Never mind the fact it's a cartoon! My only gripe here is that, when Superman died in the comics, Lois was fully aware of his duel identities. In this movie, she suspects Clark Kent and Superman are the same guy (how you couldn't has always eluded me), but doesn't know, even though she's been shacking up with the Big Blue Boy Scout for six months. It seemed to be an odd choice, although there is a payoff at the end of the film.

Superman's funeral remains as stirring as ever. I really missed the cameo appearances from the comic/novel. In those versions, we saw brief glimpses of Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and the whole spectrum of the DC Universe. It made Superman's sacrifice seem even larger and more resonant. That sense is still here, but it's muted. That would've been really neat to see after having read the book.

This is a story about sacrifice and resurrection. You can't ignore these undertones. Although he died, Superman comes back. In the book, a visit from Jonathan Kent brings Big Blue back. Here, Pa Kent is deceased, leaving Ma Kent behind to grieve on her own. Another important distinction: it was heartbreaking in the book to read how Ma and Pa Kent couldn't even attend their son's funeral, since no one knew they were Superman's parents. Thus, they weren't able to fully mourn their loss. In this movie, Ma Kent travels to Metropolis to see her son off. It's still effective, just a different take. In fact, the whole film is a kind of "bizarro world" version of the Death of Superman storyline.

Without Superman, crime goes sky-high . The city needs someone. Its hero has fallen. For me, this is the single most disappointing part of the film. I loved The Reign of the Supermen arc! It's where four Super pretenders descend upon Metropolis, each one representing a different version of the Man of Tomorrow, each one claiming to be or mistaken for Superman. There's the Cyborg, who looks exactly like Superman, except for that whole Terminator face thing. There's the Man of Steel, a huge figure clad in a glistening silver steel suit who carries a giant hammer. There's Superboy, who we find out later is a clone of the original. He's brash, egotistical, and still hasn't fully grown into his powers. Finally, there's the Man of Tomorrow. He's basically what Superman would be if our hero were more like Batman. He's a brutal figure with a mean streak and a perverted sense of justice.
These are all great, fun, visually dynamic characters.

None are in this film.

That's my biggest disappointment! I wanted to see the Reign of the Supermen! I understand time constraints, but for me, the four different Supermen were the biggest draw of it all. Can anyone replace Superman? Are any of them real? It's a great conspiracy!

Each character draws upon a part of Superman's soul. The Cyborg represents how Superman is more than man. The Man of Tomorrow harkens back to his Kryptonian roots. Superboy exhibits Superman's youthful spirit. And the Man of Steel...well...do I really need to say it?Instead of these fine characters, the producers did the best they could. They had Lex Luthor clone Superman, stealing his body to finally get control over his great nemesis. Obviously, this perverse tribute goes very wrong. Everyone is thrilled to have Superman back. But he's emotionally cold toward Lois (like the Cyborg and Man of Tomorrow in the book) and fond of extremely brutal examples of justice (a real vigilante, like the Man of Tomorrow). In addition, he's a clone, a trait he shares with Superboy. And, like the Man of Steel, he also takes it upon himself to protect Metropolis.

Actually, it's a pretty shrewd solution. It's ironic: while the comic went four different ways to "replace" Earth's Greatest Hero; the movie version condenses elements of those four figures into a single cloned Superman. Wow.

Of course, Superman comes back, yes, with longer hair and a truly awesome black-and-silver suit. Despite the fact he's only at 67%, he challenges his clone, fighting once again for Metropolis. At the end, Superman wins because, well, Superman always wins. His clone even begs him to "protect the people of Metropolis" with his dying breath.

So, while I was put off by some of the creative decisions, this is a good movie. Great animation, some very good voice acting (most of the time), and a great score (even if John Williams' triumphant theme is missing).

Extra features include a commentary that I haven't listened to yet, a tremendous feature on the comic book storyline that really helps underscore how big of an undertaking it was to kill Superman. Funny thing about that documentary, though. You won't find an image of Superboy. Apparently, legal wrangling over the character means DC no longer owns it! The picture of Superboy here is from a Superman archive website. All other images are from the DVD.

There's also a fantastic preview for an upcoming DC animated film. It looks excellent.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Something different...

My wife and I just signed up for Netflix about a week ago. Our trial period expires at the end of the week. So, I thought I'd try something a little different. Yes, I write a lot about sports. Sometimes, I write about Star Wars. Sometimes I combine the two (see the "Maized and Confused" cover for proof). I'm going to branch out to movies, specifically DVDs. Call it the Studicus Netflix Movie of the Week. If I think of a better title, trust me, I'll use it in the future.

This week's feature: The Departed (2006)

Plot: A fake real cop (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a real fake cop (Matt Damon) match wits to bring down and protect an Irish mobster (Jack Nicholson), respectively.

My thoughts: Hey, it's a Scorsese film. Expect lots of blood, copious amounts of swearing, and lots of "law-abiding" citizens. I originally went to see this at a movie theater in Scottsdale, Arizona with my wife on our honeymoon. She didn't exactly like it that much, mostly due to the aformentioned lots of blood and copious amounts of swearing.

I, on the other hand, have been wanting to rent it again for a while now. This is really a fantastic film, as long as you don't have overly sensitive ears. The cast is superb, from the main leads to the supporting characters (Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, and Mark Wahlberg). There's great atmosphere and a wonderful conspiracy. I loved it how the characters of Damon and DiCaprio overlapped in their lives in so many ways (both worked for the police and for Nicholson's character, although their motivations were different; both had previous family connections with Nicholson's character; both had romantic relationships with the same girl; both teetered on the edge of losing their sanity and fell into paranoia).

Upon my second viewing, I recalled how great of a twist the ending had before it actually ended (you know, when Wahlberg took care of business). And, like the first time I saw it, I wanted to shoot Matt Damon myself after he recommended DiCaprio for a medal of distinction. I hated his character before that; after that I literally wanted to punch through my TV screen. I mean, for the love of God, he killed Jack Nicholson's character to protect himself, offed another snitch in his unit, and then had the audacity to "honor" DiCaprio with an award!

Favorite scene: I would say the very last one, when Damon gets his comeuppance. I really think, however, that my very favorite scene is when Matt "the prick" Damon and Mark "badass" Wahlberg exchange pleasantries following the death of Martin Sheen. Go get 'em Mark!

And the "winner" is...

The great cover contest was no contest whatsoever. I guess "Maized and Confused" was the cover for week one or week two of the NCAA season; "Onward to Oh-and-Three" sure fits the Irish right now. Will they even be almost competitive this season?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Colts Observations, Week Two

Not so special teams. A blocked XP, a field goal that was for all intents and purposes blocked, and a "wide left" from Adam Vinatieri. Not very special at all.

Throwing the game away, almost. I don't want to question my favorite all-world quarterback. I will anyway. Why in the world are the Colts throwing not once, but twice with less than two minutes in the game remaining? Is Joseph Addai such a crappy alternative? Run the ball, make the Titans burn their timeouts, and let the defense do its job with less time on the clock.

Opportunities lost. Five red zone trips, one freaking touchdown. You have to give a lot of credit to the Titans defense. But this game should've never been this close, should've never needed a heroic stand from the defense at the end.

Those boys and me are tight. 12, count 'em, 12 receptions for tight ends Dallas Clark and Ben Utecht. Peyton loved hitting the big guys. And, no reason for caution, yes, Ben Utecht did fumble.

Dierdorf and Peyton sitting in a tree, P-A-S-S-I-N-G. Listen, I love Peyton Manning, even when he frustrates me (like, say, at the end of the half). But Dan Dierdorf's awestruck treatment of Peyton was getting on my nerves. He was mouthifying #18 something fierce, and everytime Peyton completed a pass, I got the uncomfortable feeling that something was stirring in Dierdorf's loins.

Short stuff. Saw a lot of Tim Jennings today. He finished with five tackles, but his height made him a liability. Not that the other corners are that big, but Jennings looked awfully tiny out there.

Upon review, it was lack of effort. First time I saw Peyton's interception (breaking a streak of 190 consecutive throws without a pick), I thought Reggie Wayne pulled something, explaining why he didn't finish his route or go after the intercepting defensive back. Now I know what happened: Reggie got bumped, didn't like it, wanted a flag, and pretty much gave up on the play. I hate it when my team sulks.

A lot of drops. Marvin dropped a key pass (although the situation shouldn't have warranted a passing play) and Dallas Clark dropped several, including one that would've given the Colts some breathing room from their own endzone.

Super subs. Tyjuan Hagler and Rocky Boiman did an admirable job filling in for Freddy Keiaho and Rob Morris. I still can't wait to have the starters back in their normal positions.

Bob Sanders: Sacks Machine. The Hitman was everywhere, and the Colts moved him around a lot on defense. He finished with 2 1/2 sacks and more big defensive plays than you can shake a (hit)stick at.

Forever Young. Well, Dan Dierdorf loves Peyton. But he loves Vince Young, too. I thought the Titans QB played a pretty well, even showing some nice touch on a couple of passes. He had his share of misfires too, and the dude simply won't go down. It's like McNair, only he's younger and I don't hate him yet.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Find your fate...

One of these covers will win out this weekend, when we find out which team will remain winless.

Will it be the Michigan Wolverines, whose season ended two weeks ago, and became ever more embarrassing last week against the Oregon Ducks?

Or will it be the mighty and proud Notre Dame Fighting Irish, reeling from a youth movement, an unimaginative offense, and a wunderkind quarterback who's being treated with kid gloves?

Only this weekend's head-to-head matchup will tell. I'm not a big Michigan fan, as some of you may know. I almost, almost feel sorry for them. You know, since everyone came back for one last year, only to watch it go down in flames in stunning fashion. It takes me just seconds to realize that feeling empathy here should be impossible.

Yet, it's there because I feel the same thing for Notre Dame, my favorite college football team. the Irish are a joke this year. I can only hope better days are ahead for the Fighting Irish, that "genius" is a label we can actually stick on Charlie Weis. The way this team has looked so far, it'll be a miracle if the Irish are within a game of becoming bowl eligible.

I'm not sure what this season holds for either of these teams. What I do know is neither will win a National Championship, and that fans are anticipating next season.

The Patriot Games We Play



Did they or didn't they?

That's the question everyone's been asking. Apparently, they did. I haven't heard what the punishment will be, but the Commissioner has floated several ideas, including penalizing the Patriots a few draft picks.

Ouch.

Was it really worth it to videotape the Jets sideline?

Was there really much of an advantage to doing that?

And is there any doubt Bill Belichick is an evil man whose conspiracies make Washington politics look like an episode of the Wonder Pets?

I've heard the old saying a lot this week: "it ain't cheating if you don't get caught."

Well, the Patriots got caught. I can't wait to see how they try to weasel out of this one. Will they take their three Lombardi Trophies and blind the Commish with their self-aggrandizing greatness? Don't bet on it.

Then again, don't bet against it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Colts Observations, Week One

Football is back, baby! The Colts looked pretty darn impressive last night. It was nice to see...

Thursday the Sixth: Jason Returns, Gets Burned Alive. It was a horror movie for former Colts corner Jason David. He reminded fans early why they had a love/hate relationship with him: he got burned by Harrison for a touchdown, then stripped Reggie Wayne and returned it for a score. He had a similar pattern of good Jason/bad Jason while in Indy. Of course then he got burned repeatedly in the second half by Colts wide receivers. For many people, like my friend Bill, it all had a familiar ring to it. We saw Jason David get burned a lot.

Banner day. I heard Irsay say something along the lines of "the banner will remain here forever." And then I thought, wait a second...they're tearing the RCA Dome down really really soon! Forever really isn't as long as it used to be!

It still counts...Robert Mathis' "sack n' strip" in the fourth quarter was about as cheap as they come. He barely batted the ball from Drew Brees, who fumbled it, and then Mathis jumped on top of it. But, hey, it still counts, right?

It's not delivery, it's Giordano. I swear this is the truth: I saw Matt Giordano make a tackle on the field, and I thought to myself: if I were to get an odd-ball Colts jersey that few people would have, I'd get #43, Matt Giordano. What happened after that was just scary: Giordano picked off Drew Brees' pass and scored an unnecessary but entertaining 83-yard touchdown in garbage time. Love that guy.

Addai Another Day. I was totally freaked out when Joseph Addai went down on the first play from scrimmage. I was reassured when I saw the replay: there was no knee buckling, ankle rolling, or helmet-to-helmet contact. I knew he'd be okay, but man, did he take a shot! Of course, he came back into the game and had 100+ plus yards and a touchdown. It's just bad when it's the kickoff game and Kenton Keith's already in during the first quarter.

Watching history. It's awesome to know that every time we hear Manning-to-Harrison, it's something historic. Great to see the first TD of the year go to #88. And what a fine catch it was.

That Wayne guy's not bad either. Reggie Wayne is a great complement to Harrison, and he's gotten scary-good. He scored three touchdowns in the game, one was for the Saints. But Wayne did everything else so well the rest of the game, he almost made up for that bonehead play. Almost.

And then The Madden thundered something almost insightful. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Madden most of the time. And this year he didn't so much as utter the phrases "WHAM! Block" or "The Eraser." But he did have a big compliment to hand out on the national stage, calling Jeff Saturday the MVP of the Super Bowl run. That's high praise from a former guru coach and offensive lineman. And, as I mentioned, almost insightful.

Keiahoed Up. Well, looks like the Colts plug-and-played the weakside linebacker position yet again. This kid looked like a stud, flying around, hitting people and making big plays. There was the time he pushed an offensive lineman into Reggie Bush to stop him in his tracks, a lot of big hits, and even an interception. Who's Cato June?

Picking up where they left off. I was very impressed with the defense. While you can argue whether the talent is better or not, I sure thought Indy lost a lot of experience on defense. But there was no problem replacing the corners, a weakside 'backer, and a Big Booger. I hope the unit is able to keep it up all season. Good to have Bob Sanders back and healthy.

Ben there, done that. Hey, was anyone else surprised to see Ben Utecht hold onto the ball after he got popped early in the game? I for one was pretty surprised. After all, Ben has dropped his share of passes over the past few seasons.

Pitchman Peyton. If you watched the game, you saw a distinctive trend: the NFL plans to air three types of commercials this season: one with Mellencamp singing "this is our country," one featuring the NFL shield, and the most popular of them all, something, anything with Peyton Manning. But hey, at least those Priceless Pep Talks are pretty much, well, priceless. Still, what the hell was with the commercial featuring Dolphins swirling around Harrison. Oh, don't worry, I get it. But that doesn't mean it's not stupid.

Getting Robbed. Man, how can you not feel good for Rob Morris? Derided for most of his career because of his high draft pick-status, released and reassigned to special teams at the league minimum. Yet, through it all, he hung with the Colts, even if they didn't want to hang with him. He's found his place at strongside linebacker, and he was everywhere Thursday night.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

More TFT Times...

If only there were some articles....

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

TFT Times Returns

Hey it's back! TFT Times returns for a second year! The first Volume of TFT Times ran a crappy three issues. Will 2007-2008 be kinder to the storied publication? Only time will tell!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Aggie-ny of Defeat

Who's the Manning? John Manning (18) drags defenders into the endzone during his six-yard TD run. Manning hit paydirt six times in the game, the five others were via the air.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - It really wasn't that great of a game. Just ask BSU Coach Matt Adams.

"It really wasn't that great of a game. I mean, yeah, we won, and beat the #2 team in the country, but I'm not satisfied with the way we played."

Gee coach, what does your team have to do? After all, you won 56-16.

"We ran up the score out of frustration," Adams admitted after the game, referring to the Cardinals' 28 fourth-quarter points.

"The turnovers, they were unacceptable. (Quarterback) John (Manning) has to play better. Four interceptions? I think he watched game film of his brother's (Peyton's) rookie season (in the NFL)."

Turnover problems, you say Coach?

Brandon "Ugly" Petty got the game started off on the right foot, coughing up the opening kickoff, which Texas A&M recovered. The Aggies scored a touchdown off a 16-yard pitch left to tailback Darien Barrett.

Then, usually sure-handed senior receiver Corey Olson fumbled a punt return while trying to break a tackle. That led straight to a Texas A&M field goal, paving the way for a 10-7 first quarter deficit.

But perhaps most enraging for the coach was the play of his quarterback. Manning threw four interceptions, two of them on the cusp of scoring drives.

"I just misread the coverage. And I tried to force it to (tight end) Joe (Jordan)," Manning said, toweling himself off after the game.

Manning failed to mention Jordan wasn't even in the game for three of his interceptions. The frosh phenom went down hard midway through the first quarter, and didn't return until the fourth quarter was well underway.

One of the interceptions was meaningless, coming at the end of the half. But Coach Adams disagrees.

"I disagree with 'meaningless.' It could've easily been returned for a score. John (Manning) has got to stop calling audibles when we're trying to run out the clock. It's unacceptable."

So, was Adams satisfied with anything his quarterback did?

Said Adams, "Well, after his two later interceptions, Eric (Bryant) finally decided he wanted to intercept passes again."

The Coach has been upset with the senior cornerback's recent play. Bryant hadn't picked off a pass during the first two games of the season. That's uncharacteristic for college football's all-time interception leader. Also recall, Bryant decided to skip the draft after his phenomenal junior year to pursue a national championship.

He was back in form in the fourth quarter, picking off an errant pass and returning it for an 18-yard touchdown. It was his second pick of the game.

Not enough to satisfy his coach.

"He didn't take the first one back to the house. And only God knows how many interceptions he didn't make in the first two games," Adams said.

Six turnovers overshadowed what would've been another stellar day for John Manning. He completed 20 of 30 for 372 yards and five touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown, one of his eight carries for 62 yards.. And then there were those four interceptions...

"Just have to clean it up. We're 3-0 right now. But we can't turn the ball over like that and expect to win. At least, not in the non-MAC games," Manning said.

The Cardinals face rival Miami (OH) next game.

"Air" Jordan Helps Cards Soar

Grab Air: Joe Jordan grabs a 53-yard pass in the
first quarter of BSU's blowout against arch-rival Ohio State

MUNCIE, Ind. - You've got to hand it to Joe Jordan: the freshman tight end sure knows how to put on a show.

"Ah, it's nothing man. I just go out there and make plays," Jordan modestly admits while toweling himself off after a quick, warm shower.

Nothing?

How about a Ball State record 305 yards receiving?

How about 12 catches in his second career game as a Cardinal?

How about three more touchdown grabs, bringing his season total to six?

How's that for nothing?

"Really, dude, it's cool. Peyton, er, (quarterback) John (Manning) and I spend hours together late at night perfecting that onfield chemistry. Just lots of in and out routes, you know?"

The dynamic duo is certainly turning heads around the NCAA. NFL teams are noticing how big Jordan plays. Like the 53-yard catch he made while towering over three Buckeye defenders?

"He (Manning) should never have thrown that ball," BSU Coach Matt Adams said. "But hell, if Jordan's gonna keep catching those, I guess it's okay. Just wish that arrogant little piss would start reading coverage instead of running to his security blanket. And I'm talking about Manning."

Through two games, Peyton's little-little brother has been nothing short of spectacular. His performance against Ohio State will become the stuff of legend: 24-28, 455 yards, 6 touchdowns. It's the kind of performance that helps a team clobber a much-hated rival, 42-21. And, unlike last game, not a single pick for the Heisman hopeful. On the season, he's 43-54 for 812 yards, ten touchdowns, and a single interception.

"I'm just taking what the defense gives me," Manning insisted. "Except when, well, nobody's open. That's when I chuck it deep to Joe. Coach hates that."

No one seems to be able to cover Jordan at the tight end spot. Ohio State triple-teamed him, and the big target still came up with huge grabs.

"Just too many weapons out there. We could drop 11 guys and Jordan would still catch the damn ball," an embarrassed Jim Tressel admitted. "Swear to God, just give me Michigan every damn week instead of that freak. I heard he runs the 40 in 4.3 seconds. He's goddamn 6'5"! Christ our Savior, what do you do against that?"

Shrivel like little girls, coach.

So far, the Cardinals have faced off against two ranked Big Ten squads. So far, they've owned their opponents.

"I feel sorry for every MAC team that's going to take it up the ass," Tressel lamented while tugging at his sweater vest. "But thank the maker they're not in the Big Ten. No one would stand a chance."
Up next for the Cardinals: #2 ranked Texas A & M at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas.

Big House of Cards

It wasn't supposed to start like this for the #2 ranked Michigan Wolverines. Certainly not at home. And certainly not against Ball State.

But the Wolverines learned a valuable lesson: never underestimate an opponent with a Manning and a Jordan on his side.

The #20 Ball State Cardinals soared high in the Big House, leaving a Maize and Blue trail of blood from endzone to endzone and sideline to sideline in the Wolverines' home domain. And, as mentioned, it was a Manning and a Jordan doing most of the damage in the 49-7 thrashing.

Heisman hopeful John Manning, the unknown and unheralded fourth brother from the storied Manning family (he was an accident), cut up Michigan with an arsenal of offensive weapons, including his favorite target, Matt Matthews. The jazzed up junior reeled in 5 catches for 114 yards.

But Matthews had better watch out. Manning, who audibles and gesticulates in the MAC as his brother Peyton does in the NFL, apparently has a new favorite: a guy named Jordan.

Joe Jordan (pictured crossing the endzone for his first collegiate TD) made like Mike in his NCAA debut, finding the endzone three times and lighting up the stat sheet with ten catches for 207 yards. Michigan had no answer for the athletic 6'5" freshman tight end. The effort included TD catches of 52 and 64 yards.

Jordan's got speed. Just ask Michigan linebacker Ashley "the Doc" Frasier, who spent his afternoon chasing fruitlessly after the freshman.

"I've never seen someone so large run so quickly. He had a rocket up his ass," Frasier said in bewilderment while toweling himself down after the game. "Dude's got game. Dude's got game."

Manning's sole miscue came in the second quarter, when he underthrew Matthews on a flag route. Michigan corner Roy Campbell picked it off. It was part of a shaky 5-12 start for Manning. His final numbers, however, were astonishing: 19-26, 355 yards, and four touchdowns. Three of those went to the freshman Jordan.

Michigan looked like it had everything under control to start. After the opening kickoff, the Wolverines marched 75 yards downfield in little more than a minute, torching the Cardinals for two long receptions of 53 yards and 20 yards to junior Edward White.

Then, the game turned on a dime.

On the ensuing kickoff, Ball State freshman Bryce Petty fumbled. Junior Anthony Huggins recovered. He fumbled as well, falling awkwardly on his right arm.

Petty made lemonade.

He scooped up the ball, and raced 63 yards to paydirt.

Just like that, the game was tied at seven.

The Cardinals never looked back in the dominating win. Unfortunately, on the very same play that catalyzed their win, Ball State also lost an All-American. Huggins, last year's #2 receiver, broke his arm in three places. He's out for the year.

But Ball State Coach Matt Adams says not to worry.

"Losing Huggins sucks, man. But we recruited three All-Americans in the offseason. We're deep at that position. Dude, did you see Jordan? That guy...next Antonio Gates. 6'5", jumps like a little girl watching Jurassic Park. Man, I'm glad I saved him from a basketball career at Duke," Adams said.

"Coach K will never forgive me for that."

The key to the game?

"Getting John Manning's head out of his ass. He should've never thrown that interception. And what was with all those pump fakes? If he'd throw the ball when I wanted him to throw the ball, he wouldn't have gotten sacked three times. You know Archie's going to be all over my ass for that. But if his golden 'accidency' would just throw the ball, he'd be fine."

The Cardinals host Ohio State next.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Fantasy Football

Yes, it's back! Fantasy Football has returned. That signals the official start of the football season (not to be confused with the unofficial start of the football season known as training camp!). I hope this compels me to put my Xbox 360 aside for a few minutes a day to blog some stuff here on TFT!

Monday, June 25, 2007

30 Years, 30 Memories

Hmmm...it's been pretty quiet here on TFT. I have no excuse. Basically, we like to write about football and basketball a lot here (and I mean real basketball, not the NBA's testicle-challenged version of it). Without college bball and pro/college football to write about, I've been struggling in trying to find material.

And then it hit me. There's tons of stuff I could write...movie and DVD reviews, a Star Wars retrospective on 30 years of glorious space battles, a movie script based on the G.I. Joe toy line. So, I'm going to try to do it all a little at a time.

First, the world changed 30 years ago. I was not of this world yet, my birth still three years away. It was May 1977. The movie was Star Wars. I'm told back then it was simply Star Wars, no "Episode IV" in the prologue, no computer-generated insert shots of Jabba the Hutt, no rontos.

I've talked to several people who knew the world before Star Wars, and they all tell me the same thing: at the time, no one had seen anything like it. They didn't know how to describe it to friends; they were only able to order them to go see it. New words began to enter the world dictionary, words like "the Force," "lightsaber," "Darth Vader," "Jedi," "Death Star," "Millennium Falcon."

It's hard to imagine it, isn't it? A world without these things. I saw Return of the Jedi when I was three years old; STILL remember seeing it with my parents and my brother. So from a very young age, all these things, from Obi-Wan Kenobi to Jawas, were already part of my vocabulary. I never had the thrill of "discovering" that Darth Vader was Luke's dad; I saw Jedi first, so I already knew and accepted this. Empire was no big shocker. In fact, when I was younger it was by far my least favorite of the Star Wars movies. Too dark, bad things happen to all my favorite characters, and the Dagobah segments seemed to move oh-so-slowly. Now, I understand ESB is a terrific movie, even though I steadfastly cling to calling ROTJ my favorite.

My Star Wars tribute begins right here, 30 Years, 30 Memories.

1. My brother and I loved ROTJ, but in our youth we didn't understand the hero's sacrifice Anakin Skywalker made in the end. So when we recreated the end of the movie, Darth Vader found a way to survive, only to fight crime with his son. It was all punctuated with really bad lightsaber sounds, of course.

2. My brother has a charitable side to him, and he gave many of our Star Wars toys to Toys for Tots. It was a noble gesture, but I was not happy. I couldn't understand why he wanted to throw all those toys away! Couldn't we at least have kept the Leia as Boussh figure and Slave I?

3. Excitement for Star Wars really built up in 1991, when Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire book came out. I don't know how many times I read it, but it was a lot. As as a fifth-grader, I read a 320+ page book. My parents were so proud.

4. As a side note to #3, my fifth-grade teacher Mr. Bennett had a policy of reading each book his students read so that he could write up questions about the book. When I delivered Heir to the Empire to him, he had no idea what was going on. He'd never seen Star Wars! So I wrote the Star Wars dictionary, explaining and illustrating all the little details, places, and characters that he didn't know. Months later, I read the Empire Strikes Back novelization, and I think Mr. Bennett died a little inside. At least he had that handy dictionary for reference!

5. The dictionary, by the way, ended up getting sent to Lucasfilm. I mailed it to George Lucas, who sent me a letter in reply saying how much he enjoyed the dictionary. He also said, or rather his secretary of whoever ghost-wrote the letter for him, that he hoped I'd turned my teacher into a fan.

6. Buoyed by this success, I sent another letter to Mr. Lucas asking him if I could write a book based on Star Wars. You see, one of my favorite books was something called The Jedi Master's Quizbook, which had trivia about characters, dialogue, and scenes from Star Wars and ESB. I wanted to "complete" it by writing Kenobi's Quizbook, which would cover Return of the Jedi and Heir to the Empire. Lucas replied yet again, this time letting me know about the mysterious world of publishing rights. At least I tried. Actually, I wrote a bunch of trivia questions, which remain unpublished to this very day.

7. I wrote Lucas one more time, telling him I'd make the perfect Anakin Skywalker for the prequel trilogy. This was long before the name Jake Lloyd ever became associated with Star Wars.

8. During a class project on North and South Korea, my friend Kevin and I repeatedly showed scenes from the Empire Strikes Back instead of real footage of the Koreas. We actually got an "A" on that project, if you can believe it.

9. In high school, Kevin would reunite with me and our friend Brian would join us to direct a series of stop-motion fights featuring Star Wars action figures. One-on-one fights, these were incredibly bad (but in a good way), featuring matchups like Stormtrooper vs. Han Solo in Carbonite and the most uneven match of them all, Shoe vs. Ackbar. If you wondered, Shoe wins.
10. I saw each Special Edition double-digit times in the theater. I went with friends, my parents, my brother, anytime I could find an excuse to "see it again for the first time," I did.

11. Tootsie Rolls were a popular snack for my dad and I. We went through TONS of them during our Special Edition run. My gosh, our dentist should kill us both.

12. My brother was running late when I went to see Star Wars with him in 1997. We ended up about four rows back on the right side on opening night. That Star Destroyer looked HUGE.

13. I had an underpowered 286 computer that would BARELY run the X-wing computer game. I could play it, but there was no sound and most of the cutscenes were choppy. I still played the crap out of it, even though I was terrible.

14. I finally got an upgrade my sophomore year of high school, and as a Christmas gift Santa brought me a Star Wars CD-ROM collection. Rebel Assault II, Dark Forces playable demo, TIE Fighter Special Edition, I HAVE YOU NOW!

15. I couldn't play Rogue Squadron on my Compaq Pentium because it lacked a 3D video card. Ah, but once I went to college, my new 400 MHz Celeron could handle it AND Podracer!

16. I was so excited about the premiere of Episode One that I even saved KFC buckets and Pizza Hut boxes, both of which boasted Star Wars designs.

17. While sitting the bench during a baseball game for no reason, my father walked up to me and wondered if I'd rather go see Star Wars instead of sitting the bench. Um, this was during a HIGH SCHOOL baseball game. I wonder what would've happened if I'd gone through with that...

18. After the baseball game, I did catch a 9 o'clock showing of Phantom Menace with my buddy Andrew. I went in my baseball uniform, which wasn't dirty because I didn't play that night.

19. Over the years my Star Wars collection has become pretty big. It currently fills 12 plastic totes tucked inside a storage space my parents rent.

20. I loved it when QVC, yes the shopping network, had Steven Sansweet on for Star Wars Collectibles. My mom bought so much stuff from there, it's really not funny.

21. My friend Brian and I dressed as Jedi for the premiere of Attack of the Clones. Our mutual friend Kevin went with us, but refused to dress up with the crazy people. Workers at the theater and a few little kids thought we were cool, at least.

22. I combined my love of Star Wars and Neil Diamond into the "Neil Diamond Star Wars Concert Tour." The song parodies included Sweet Palpatine and I am...Emperor. Sweet Palpatine won a Max Rebo award for best song parody in the Star Wars Insider magazine! I was credited mysteriously as Studicus, and darn proud of it.

23. For a time, my friend Brian and I contemplated building Stormtrooper armor. Then we realized we had things like rent and groceries to pay for instead.

24. I attended both Star Wars Celebrations in Indianapolis. Guess who went with me? Oh, yeah, my friend Brian. We missed out on the exclusive action figure and didn't have the patience to stand in line for the Rick McCallum Spectacular, which featured Episode II footage. We fared better three years later at Celebration III, getting those exclusive action figures.

25. For a time, I had every Star Wars comic Dark Horse had ever published. This is no longer the case.

26. I wore out several copies of the original trilogy movies, so my mother bought a backup set of the digitally remastered THX editions from 1995. We were told it would be the last time Star Wars would be available on home video. Of course, we ended up hearing that a lot....

27. I made a friend really happy by giving him a copy of Star Wars taped off TV in the 80s. He had Empire and Jedi, but not Episode IV (which had be rechristened Episode IV by then). I had a tough time letting go of that tape (that little droid and I have been through a lot together...), but it went for a greater good.

28. I swear to goodness, the Empire Strikes Back game for the original NES was impossible. I reached Vader ONCE on Cloud City without cheating. At least the Force powers were cool....

29. For several years, it was a family tradition over Christmas vacation to watch all the original Star Wars movies. My family still loves them!

30. I almost used $1,000 that I'd saved up to buy one of those giant Han Solo in Carbonite statues. Seriously. I had the money, I even had the blessing of my parents. But I decided to save the money instead.

There it is...30 Years, 30 Memories.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Ultimate Challenge

Hi there!

You may have noticed that this blog has been dead since Tubby Smith told UK to fuck off and headed up north to Minnesota. Well we all have been too lazy/busy to get anything together, but rest assured that there is new and fresh stuff on the way. It is typically a dead time of the year, with baseball and the neverending NBA playoffs in action and that's about it.

NHL? What is this NHL you speak of? You on dope or something?

Anyways, I came across an interesting tidbit of information this morning:

"Warrior Warrior got into an incident with the Iron Sheik on Sunday at a sports convention in Edison, NJ. Both men were there signing autographs. When Warrior saw Sheik, he demanded that Sheik leave, saying that Sheik had talked badly about him in the past. Sheik got upset and acted as if he was going to go after Warrior, but Warrior called security and the situation was resolved. Hulk Hogan and Bruno Sammartino were both also at the convention signing autographs. Warrior did not interact with Hogan, but did greet Sammartino. "

Credit: PWInsider.com via 411mania.com

(Yes, the Ultimate Warrior's legal real name is Warrior Warrior. It used to be Jim Hellwig, but he changed it so the WWF/WWE couldn't prevent him from using it while not working for the company)

I wonder how that altercation went down...


"I was sent in a capsule from a place far from here , and I came here for one reason. To attack and keep coming. Not to ask , but just to give. Not to want , but just to send. Send the power of the Warrior down everyone throat in the WWF till they get sick of it. And your gonna get sick , because this freak of nature is just beginning to swell. And when I get big enough , brother , they're ain't gonna room for anybody else but me and all the Warriors , floating through the veins , and the power of the Warrior!"





"Now, listen here, lady. This is my property. Now, get out of here, you lazy American!"











"In my final meeting with Gods from the heavens above , as they spoke to me with the power of the Ultimate Warrior and told me...'Exit Stage Left , Exit Stage Right , there is no place to run , all the fuses in the exit signs have been burned out!"









"I will break you back, fuck your ass, and make you HUMBLE! "












"Dig your claws into my organs , stretch into my tendons , bury your anger into my bones, for the power of the Warrior will always prevail. By now, all the little Warriors know, that the power of the Ultimate Warrior is something that you want to feel , that you want to taste , its something that when you turn on that TV screen , you know thats it gonna be exciting, and that it might just be a little bit frightening!"







Gene Mean, look at our body! Camera man, zoom!












"Queering doesn't make the world work!"













"I sure picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue..."













Meanwhile at another table a few rows over...


"So Andre, God bless all 8'10", 750 pounds of him, tells me to give him the slam and drop the big leg, brah! Hulkamania ran wild and he passed the torch, which I'll protect until the next worthy man who can lace my boots comes along, brother. No clean jobs for me until he does! And even if it looks clean, my (knee/hip/ankle/taint/insert body part) was injured, dude! Vince McMahon knows he would be nothing without me, that's why I only save the day and work for him if I'm in the main event and the highest paid guy there, brah! Wait until Wrestlmania 24, when I make my triumphant return and unite all WWE titles under the immortal banner of Hulkamania! And until McMahon can find some one who can hang and bang with ol' Uncle Hulkster, he's gonna reinforce the glass ceiling with titanium. You better start training hard, taking your vitamins and saying your prayers! Whatcha' gonna do when Hulkamania refuses to lie down and take the clean pin for you!"

All Sheik and Warrior quotes are real and swiped from Wikipedia. Feel the homoeroticism!!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Another Coach Tubby lament

Krildog inspired a post with his song parody. Thanks, pal. This one's to American Pie.

Not so long ago
I can still remember how
The 'Cats won that title crown
And I thought it would be great if
We could convince that Tubby Smith
To maybe stick around for awhile

Then the Cats tanked the SEC
The talent pool dwindled deep
Blown athletic department
Another tourney exit
I knew it was a horrid time
When football stole the big headline
A bowl game's big and bball's fine
The day Kentucky died

So wave bye bye to this Coach Tubby Guy
Don't have to hang him or degrade him
Go give the Big Ten a try
Won a title here but now we all know
Coach Tubby was no Pitino
Coach Tubby was no Pitino

Do you know the glory days
When Wildcats played with primal rage
Stomping every team in their way
They pressed and pressed
Until you were gassed
And never stopped even if asked
Running up that scoreboard all around

But then guys like Sparks became the norm
Average white guy jumpshot storm
Couldn't graduate anyone
It's dark here without any sun
Maker's Mark gotta do the trick
Because it made us all pretty sick
And we knew we were all fucked up
When IU's Davis won

We started wavin' bye bye to that Coach Tubby Guy
Don't have to hang him or berate
Go give the Big Ten a try
Let's find a solid coach who won't make us all cry
This may be the day that we know
God please bring back Pitino

For years the SEC blew up in rage
Florida's Donovan stole the stage
And Rupp turned circles in his grave
He rose out of his sacred tomb
To talk some common sense overdue
Get that Coach Tubby out of here
Finally Tubby heard the advice
Now he wears a gopher tie
He's got a place to go to
Oh the Wonderland of Minnesota
He'll coach against guys like Bo and Painter
Won't have to think about Amacker
A lobo ate Alford's Hawkeye
The day Kentucky died

So wave bye bye to that Coach Tubby Guy
Don't have to hang him or berate him
Give the Big Ten a try
He's leaving Lexington now
Ridin' a big Gopher high
To Almighty God they're askin'
To spare us the next Clem Haskins

Thursday, March 22, 2007

This One's For Tubby




Tubby's Gone
By: The Mighty KrilDog
Based On: Tuesday's Gone by Lynyrd Skynyrd (lyrics)
Awesome Cover Version by: Metallica (for tempo and rhythm's sake):



Lyrics

Train roll on, on down the line,
Taking UK's old coach far away.
Felt the moonshine fumes blow outside Rupp Arena's door,
He's leaving those racist rednecks behind.
Tubby's gone with the wind.
UK's coach is gone with the wind.

He's heading up north to Minnesota.
And he just wants to be left alone.
When the trip north ends, he'll try again,
But he's leaving the pointless bullshit in Lexington.

(chorus)
Tubby's gone with the wind.
Tubby's gone with the wind.
Tubby's gone with the wind.
UK's coach is gone with the wind.

Train roll on many miles from the KKK's home,
See, he's riding those racism-fueled blues away.
Tubby, you see, he had to be free
And some how the bluegrass retards will carry on

(chorus)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Play-In Game Liveblog, Part 6

Sorry to say it...but I have to stop blogging. Gotta go help a friend in need and get their car out of the impound lot. Sorry!

Play-In Game Liveblog, Part 5

8:59 - During verbal blowjob time with Self, Niagara opens the lead to 10. They now lead 49-39 with 13:33 left, prompting FAMU to call a TO. Clif Brown nailed another 3 and now has 18 for the Eagles while Darius Glover finally cracked double digits and has 11 for the Rattlers.

9:06 - Media Timeout. Pace has picked up considerably as the teams trade baskets as Brown and Glover spearhead their respective teams offensive attacks. 53-47 Niagara with 10:46 left. Eagles asre shooting 60% from the field in the second half.

9:13 - Clif Brown has 26 for Niagara and 2 for FAMU, as he accidentally tips in a Rome Sanders miss to make it a 2 posession game. TV timeout with 6:02 remaining and the Purple Eagles up 61-55.

Play-In Game Liveblog, Part 4

8:45 - back to action. There were 3 runs in the first half. Niagara had runs of 20-7 and 5-0, while FAMU went 24-10.

8:49 - Rydell Brooks misses a free throw for the Eagles. FAMU comes down and Darius Glover makes nice use of a head fake to score 2 and draw a foul. He bricks the and 1 and Niagara still leads 37-33 with about 17:30 left.

8:52 - Clif Brown nails a 3 to put Niagara up 44-36 with 15:53 left and a media timeout. Brown is not the overall leading scorer with 13 on 5-6 shooting. FAMU has no scorers in double figures yet (Glover and Robinson each have 8), while the Purple Eagles have 3.

8:54- I just saw another commercial for that Godforsaken Dukes of Hazard direct to DVD prequel. Uncle Jesse and Boss Hog must be spinning in their graves while the ghost of Waylon Jennings narrates each turn. Damn you, Hollywood!!!

8:55 - Bill Self joins the announcers on the phone to discuss how Kansas will choke away the tournament this year. No attention is being paid to the game at all, despite his fucking team will be playing the winner!

Play-In Game Liveblog, Part 3

8:15 - Off of Niagara's 6th turnover, Leslie Robinson nails a 3 from the left corner to give the Rattlers their first lead of the game, 31-29. FAMU has still not committed a turnover.

8:17 - I just jinxed FAMU! Niagara gets a steal to break the streak. Still, to not turnover the ball untill 1:52 left in the first half is quite impressive. Niagara has missed their last 9 threes in a row. Eagles up 32-31.

8:21 - Niagara takes a timeout with 36.5 left in the half. Lavin won't shut up about the rest of the tourney games and focus on the one he's actually getting paid to commentate on. Eagles will hold for the last shot...Tyrone Lewis makes a nice move in the paint for 2 as Niagra closes the half with a 5-0 run to make it 35-31 Eagles as the teams hit the locker room. Fisher leads all scores with 11 and Lewis is right behind him with 10. Niagara is a paltry 4-18 from the arc, but are 50% from inside it. The Rattlers aren't much better from long distance, shooting 2-11. Leslie Robinson is their top scorer with 8 and Darius Glover is right behind him with 6.

See you in the 2nd half!

Play-In Game Liveblog, Part 2

8:02 - Tyrone Lewis with a beautiful 2 handed dunk off on an inbound on the Eagle baseline to put Niagara up 22-11. FAMU is on an 8-2 run. though.

8:05 - FAMU with back to back steal and scores to cut it to 24-19. Eagles miss a 3 and the Rattlers score in transition to cut the lead to 3 (24-21). FAMU has yet to turn the ball over, but they are only shooting 30% from the field (40% on 3s) and 50% from the line. Niagara has cooled off to 36% from the field. 5:11 left and Purple Eagles up 24-21; Charron Fisher leads all scorers with 11 for Niagara.

8:10 Fisher with a nice backdoor cut and layup&the foul to make it 29-24 in favor of the Eagles. Interesting note: FAMU has 3 coaches and 6 players from the greater Chicagoland area. Always nice to see my hometown area represented! TV timeout and Niagara is up 29-26, 3:57 remaining.

Play-In Game Liveblog, Part 1

7:40PM - Eagles up 9-2, prompting a Rattler TO. Fisher already has 7 points and 4 boards. Very fast paced game so far. Lavin mentions how Niagara has been off for 8 days and it shows in how crisp they are executing on the offensive end. Erin Andrews did something different to her hair tonight, and might I say it looks spectactular.

7:47 - Apparently Pontiac is going to be pimping convertibles this year during the tourney. Eagles are up 12-4 and ESPN shows FAMU's winning play from the MEAC tourney. It looks strikingly similar to the play that allowed T.F. South to beat Eisenhower on the road my sophomore year...ah memories. Rattlers are ice cold from the field and the charity stripe so far.

7:51 - First pimp for the NIT (which starts today)...and I could care less. Would still rather watch that than women's hoops, though.

7:52 - 17-7 Eagles and Lavin compares the tournament selection committee to the jury from 12 Angry Men. Well, yeah, if the jury was on the take! I think his combination of hairgel and Grecian formula has finally managed to penetrate his brain. Then he and the other talking head discuss giving each region a play-in game. Might I add that this is a lousy fucking idea? Let's cheapen the tourney even more and exploit the great sport of basketball for more money b/c Miles Brand and his merry band of assclowns don't make enough $ as it is!

7:55 Media timeout with Eagles still up 17-7.

More Perfect Strangers Picks

Again, I'm taking the scientific Balki Approach to the NCAA Tournament. If you need further explanation, simply scroll down to the previous post I put up last night.

MIDWEST REGION:

#16 Jackson State Tigers vs. #1 Florida Gators
Winner: Florida
Reason: I say the Gator stays underwater, baiting the Tiger until it gets thirsty. Then, just like that one scene in Crocodile Dundee (I understand gators and crocs are different), the Gator will come out of nowhere, scare the crap out of everyone, and have a nice Tiger dinner.

#15 Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders vs. #2 Wisconsin Badgers
Winner: Texas A&M CC
Reason: Ride the wave Badger baby! I mean, Islanders are those servers at Cheeseburger in Paradise, and at first glance, they're waaaaaaay too laid back to compete with a hot-headed, angry Badger. But Wisconsin's mascot wears a stupid-looking red striped shirt, and I'm pretty sure he's gonna drown in an overflowing Islander wave. Man, this one sucked.

#14 Miami (OH) Redhawks vs. #3 Oregon Ducks
Winner: Miami (OH)
Reason: Miami's Redhawk looks very, very pissed off. Oregon's logo is an O. I always think of Hawks as determined, powerful creatures (unless they reside in Atlanta), while Ducks are kind of laid back (unless you're playing Duck Hunt). So Mighty Redhawks throttle the quackers.

#13 Davidson Wildcats vs. #4 Maryland Terrapins
Winner: Maryland
Reason: The mascots in the logos for these teams both look extremely cocky and self-satisfied. I'm giving the Terrapin the edge here, because its shell will protect it against a Wildcat attack. The Terrapin may not have the most striking power pound-for-pound. But it can tire out its more offensively gifted nemesis.

#12 Old Dominion Monarchs vs. #5 Butler Bulldogs
Winner: Old Dominion
Reason: Butler's Bulldog is mean. But there's no way he can stand an all-out assault from a Blue Lion with a crown. The lion is of course the king of the jungle, and the Bulldogs are gonna get a bad case of jungle fever. Wait...is that the right term?

#11 Winthrop Eagles vs. #6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Winner: Notre Dame
Reason: Eagles and other birds of prey have fared well so far in these picks. But they've never, ever met a drunken Irishman on the day before St. Patrick's Day. After all, the Irish need something fun to celebrate!

#10 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. UNLV Runnin' Rebels
Winner: Georgia Tech
Reason: I'm pretty sure the Yellow Jacket can hide in the Rebels' gigantic mustaches, inflicting mucho pain. Plus, well, Yellow Jackets tend to swarm...and Runnin' Rebels, well, run.

#9 Purdue Boilermakers vs. #8 Arizona Wildcats
Winner: Purdue
Reason: Big train vs. Wildcat = blood on the train tracks.

EAST REGION:

#16 Eastern Kentucky Colonels vs. #1 North Carolina Tarheels
Winner: Eastern Kentucky
Reason: Hmmm...is it me or do the Colonels have a great resemblance to Colonel Sanders? Well, at least one logo does. The other logo, the Colonel on their official website, looks like he means business. And when a guy who looks like Colonel Sanders means business, that can mean only one thing: Kentucky Fried Tarheel.

#15 Belmont Bruins vs. Georgetown Hoyas
Winner: Georgetown
Reason: Okay, um, no one knows what the hell a Hoya is. Even the "official" explanation on their website defies logic. However, Belmont's Bruin looks stupid and sluggish, thus trying to explain what a Hoya is would blow the poor bear's mind. Um....yeah.

#14 Oral Roberts Golden Eagles vs. #3 Washington State Cougars
Winner: Washington State
Reason: Wow, there are so many birds of prey and deadly big cats in this tournament! I admit Washington State's Cougar is a bit of an abstraction, but Oral Roberts' Eagle looks like he's hiding behind a mask of self-confidence. With that puffed out chest, I say the Cougars annihilate him.

#13 New Mexico State Aggies vs. #4 Texas Longhorns
Winner: Texas
Reason: Well, it's simple. The Aggies' old mascot, Pistol Pete, used to carry a gun. But now all he has is a handlebar mustache and a wimpy looking lasso. Since everything's bigger in Texas, and we're dealing with really, really big longhorn cattle, I'm afraid the Aggies and their agriculturally-inspired mascot will get gored.

#12 Arkansas Razorbacks vs. #5 USC Trojans
Winner: USC
Reason: The Razorbacks have some very sharp parts. But Trojans (the ones that don't protect against VD and unwanted pregnancies) carry swords and wear lots of armor. So this simple battle comes down to a big ol' pig roast. And you can be a big pig too!

#11 George Washington Colonials vs. #6 Vanderbilt Commodores
Winner: George Washington
Reason: Musket vs. Sword. Musket wins.

#10 Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. #7 Boston College Eagles
Winner: Texas Tech
Reason: The nickname Red Raiders smacks of bloody, lightning-quick raids. And since there's no strange wild dog involved (see Wright State), I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt. The Eagles have landed...with a thud!

#9 Marquette Golden Eagles vs. #8 Michigan State Spartans
Winner: Michigan State
Reason: If you've seen 300, you know why I picked the Spartans. Plus, Marquette has continually pussed out over the years pertaining to its mascot. Just bring back the damn Warriors already. THIS IS SPARTA!

SOUTH REGION:

[Editor's Remark: I am so glad the NCAA decided to bring back the more generic East, West, Midwest, and South Regions. Trying to keep track of the individual cities that changed every year was a waste of time]

#16 Central Connecticut State Blue Devils vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Winner: Ohio State
Reason: Sure, I've made the argument "What the hell is this, what the hell is that" during this little spiel. I'm lucky I know what a buckeye is, since I've lived close enough to the Buckeye State. So you can claim regional bias on this one. It also doesn't help Central Connecticut State that their Blue Devil looks like a little punk from the Archies.

#15 North Texas Mean Green vs. #2 Memphis Tigers
Winner: North Texas
Reason: They're not just the Green. They're the MEAN GREEN. Feel their pain, Tiger bitches!

#14 Penn Quakers vs. Texas A&M Aggies
Winner: Texas A&M
Reason: Well, it's not like Aggies are especially violent, but Quakers are pacifists by nature, so a quick blow with a pitchfork is about all that's needed here.

#13 Albany Great Danes vs. #4 Virginia Cavaliers
Winner: Virginia
Reason: The Great Danes are (FINALLY!) the first great nickname I've come across in my travels. Unfortunately, though large enough to be miniature horses, Great Danes are huge targets for any self-respecting Cavalier, even if they are reputedly hard-drinking dandies in plumed hats.

#12 Long Beach State 49ers vs. #5 Tennessee Volunteers
Winner: Tennessee
Reason: Years of fruitless prospecting caught up with many a 49er, and a well-trained Volunteer can nail a squirrel from thousands of yards away. Yeah, they're that good of marksmen.

#11 Stanford Cardinals vs. #6 Louisville Cardinals
Winner: Louisville
Reason: Well, um, this is about as evenly matched as it gets. I'm as baffled by this as I was by the Villanova-Kentucky Wildcat battle. But I'm more baffled by the Stanford Tree. I say the Louisville Cardinals make a nest in it.

#10 Creighton Blue Jays vs. #7 Nevada Wolf Pack
Winner: Nevada
Reason: A pack of wolves vs. some blue jays? C'mon...is this even a battle?

#9 Brigham Young Cougars vs. #8 Xavier Musketeers
Winner: Xavier
Reason: There's no way the Musketeers are losing to a bunch of freaking Mormon cats. All for one, and one for all!