Friday, August 31, 2007

Flight Plan: Countdown to Kickoff - 18 Hours!!

As we sit less than a day away from a new dawning of Duke football, DudeSpin proudly rolls out the initial installment of its Airborne coverage. Every week this season, DudeSpin will aim (though we may sometimes fail) to bring you the latest and greatest in Airborne news and notes. Our schedule:

Friday: Flight Plan - A witty DudeSpin preview of the next Airborne mission.

Monday: Flight Log - A equally hilarious review of last Saturday's Airborne mission.

Wednesday: Pilot notes - some insightful commentary on the state of Airborne.

The Launch: Airborne comes into its 2007 campaign saddled with a 20 game losing streak. Some would call that a monkey on its back, but for a sleek airliner like Airborne, a mere mortal monkey does not stand in the way of lift-off. There is little doubt that the UConn defense will be no match for the run-pass attack led by senior running back Justin Boyle and Duke's trio of outstanding receivers. As Duke's talented trio become household names to fans around the country, DudeSpin will introduce them to you now by comparing them to one of the more well-known receiving trio in the professional ranks - that of the Detroit Lions. Leading the corps is Jomar Wright, or Duke's version of Roy Williams - fast, agile, and experienced. Duke's home run hitter is Eron Riley, Airborne's Calvin Johnson, who led the team in YPC last season and is tall enough to Moss balls away from defenders. Last but not least is Raphael Chestnut, a poor man's Mike Furrey who is a wizard on the short to intermediate routes. Look for Duke's air attack, led by its Trio, to dominate against UConn on Saturday.

Rip Hamilton is not walking through that door.

DudeSpin's Prediction: Duke 49, UConn 3

"N" is for Nancy?

The signs are spreading all over town...

If you've seen the billboard near American Airlines Center, you might think the Stars should be sent to the penalty box for slashing another sport when it's down.

Or you could soak in the message – "The only thing our refs shave is the ice" – and do what Mavericks owner Mark Cuban did.


"I think it's hysterical," Cuban said. "Good for them. It's a fun ad."

NBA commissioner David Stern isn't laughing. But then, how many Stars home games was he going to attend anyway?

Most of the billboards use clever phrases to focus on the aggressive nature of the sport. A billboard by Central Expressway and I-635 states, "One game a week? Is the N in NFL for Nancy?" The club takes a jab at major league baseball, a passion of Stars and Rangers owner Tom Hicks, at I-635 and Old Denton with a sign that reads, "Maybe baseball should stop using the word sacrifice."

Lites said Hicks laughed louder than anyone at that billboard.

And Stern? The NBA commissioner was made aware of the Stars' campaign Thursday afternoon but relayed through a league spokesman that he had no comment.

Did the Stars have any reservations about referring to the NBA's officiating/gambling scandal?

"The answer would be yes," Lites said. "It's edgy. But we're really good friends with the Mavs. They're our partners in the building. I think we thought it would be taken the right way.

"It's not a slap at them. It's more of a snip. I think the same goes for the Cowboys. The NFL is the big daddy."

The most irreverent and outrageous stuff in the campaign hit the cutting room floor. Most of those had to do with dog fighting.

"We avoided taking a swipe at Michael Vick," Lites said.

Should the Stars be applauded for their restraint?

"Well, yeah, but it's a long life," Lites said. "We can take these billboards down and start over."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Kige Ramsey on Ryan Fowler

So I sent in a request to my favorite YouTube anchor Kige Ramsey this morning asking for his take on whether former Airborne captain Ryan Fowler will win the Titans starting linebacker spot. And lo and behold!!

It's Official: Cuban Going Dancing!

Can Mark Cuban follow in the footsteps of Emmitt Smith and Apolo Anton Ohno? I doubt it, but in an announcement that Mrs. Franchise has been eagerly awaiting, the cast of the fifth season of Dancing With the Stars was revealed this morning. And, as was rumored, the Mavs owner will be competing for the disco ball trophy against people like Vegas legend Wayne Newton, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Scary Spice herself, Melanie Brown.

Mrs. Franchise informs me that Cuban's partner, Kym Johnson, is a champion from the Australian version of the show and was runner-up with Joey Fatone last season. Perhaps Cuban can simply buy the show to avoid being voted off!

To the Rafters!

From the pages of Blue Devil Weekly usually come the wisdom of Bill Brill, Johnny Moore and John Roth. But this week's edition, featuring All-America candidate (in my mind) Jomar Wright on the cover, also brought news that the Journey will retire the jersey of DudeSpin favorite Lindsey Harding. Mazel Tov Lindsey - tis a great honor indeed!

In other nuggets of interest from this week's BDW:
- Men's Soccer icon John Rennie announced that he will retire as head coach at the end of this season
- Former Airborne great Ryan Fowler is meshed in a battle with Stephen Tulloch to be the Titans' starting middle linebacker. I'll keep updated on this position battle through my favorite YouTube Sports anchor, and Titans fan, Kige Ramsey.
- Former Airborne QB Marcus Jones has been converted to outside linebacker and now gets second helpings at the team buffet to bulk up. Watch out opposing RBs, QBs and TEs, a beefed-up Marcus is on the prowl!!
- Jomar Wright, Raphael Chestnut, and Eron Riley form the best receiving trio in the nation. Tell me something I don't know BDW.
That's all the news of that the Dudes need to know from this week's edition of the BDW.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

In 87 hours...

I'll be walking through the gates of Wallace Wade Stadium, ready to see the start of the program's turnaround. I better take it all in, because Wally Wade is getting a makeover!

Silence from the Houston contingent?

Has fantasy football analysis distracted you from the rare and unceremonious dumping of a manager and GM in the same day, just two years after reaching the World Series? Did the men who brought Mike Lamb in to lead them to playoff glory deserve such treatment? Or were they lucky to last this long with the smoke and mirrors of Clemens and Pettite allowing everyone to overlook a constantly-weak offense?

Monday, August 27, 2007

DudeSpin's Fantasy Football Draft Guru Comments on The Dude's Draft

Well, I spent a little time with the numbers and here's what I think:

Rd. 1 - I would have gone with Peyton here. Yes, I know the common perception is that you must go RB in the first round. Some people also think taking Manning with your first pick makes you too weak at RB to win your league, which is bull - two of the leagues I'm in were won by Peyton-led teams in 2006. The scoring system in your league makes Manning more valuable than in most, as the 6-pt. passing TDs more than make up for the low passing yardage points. In my projections Manning rates as the highest-scoring player in your league, and given the choice between the tenth-best RB and Peyton, I'd have gone with everyone's favorite SNL host.

Rd. 2 - McGahee makes sense here - your scoring system has me ranking him pretty much even with Henry so your backs look solid.

Rd. 3 - Nice pick with T.O., who I have projected to score about 20 more points than Edge in your system and was probably the top WR left when you took him. I have Jacobs rated only one spot above Edge, so don't feel that bad about missing him.

Rd. 4 - Like you, I'm very suprised Evans lasted this long, and he's done some nice things even with J.P. throwing him the ball. Good pick.

Rd. 5 - Jordan looks slightly undervalued this year, but don't forget that the Raiders scored only 12(!) TDs all last season. I had Jordan in a virtual dead heat with Cadillac Williams and Chester Taylor in your scoring system, for what it's worth.

Rd. 6 - Moss is a perfectly reasonable pick here, but I would have taken Shockey, despite my personal dislike for him. I'm surprised he was still around at this spot.

Rd. 7 and 8 - Having passed on Shockey, Davis was a good value pick in the 7th but Romo was a fantastic value in the 8th. On ESPN he has been going toward the top of the 7th round on average in 12-team leagues. Yes, you have quite a bit tied into the Romo-T.O. connection, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

Rd. 9 - Both Dunn and Glenn look like good values at this spot, but quality RB help is usually harder to find. Watch Warrick's injury status though - many people are jumping on the Jerious Norwood bandwagon with both feet.

Rd. 10 - I have Big Ben rated several spots higher than Alex Smith, so I would have done the same here.

Rd. 11 - Another good value pick with Droughns, who I had rated a round higher. Jacobs is far from a sure thing, so this could end up becoming a steal depending on how things play out in New York.

Rd. 12 - Nothing wrong with taking a shot at a sleeper in the late rounds, though I think you could have waited and still nabbed him before the end of the draft.

Rd. 13 - A little bit of a stretch, but not a severe one. Draft theory is slowly moving away from the school of thought that the kicker should be your very last pick, though you still don't want to take one too early. This is fine.

Rd. 1 4 - I'm going to assume this was a joke. I would have rather spent this pick on a rookie or a young receiver who may see significant playing time this season (say, Maurice Stovall of the Bucs or Malcolm Floyd of the Chargers) than Old Man Boston.

All in all, very solid Dude. Except for Manning over Henry in Round 1, I don't disagree with your thinking at any point, and the Romo-Ben combo seems more than sufficient at QB. You appear to have some depth issues beyond the top-two RBs and you need to hope Vernon Davis is ready to step it up this season, but I think your team can contend.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Dude's Fantasy Journey 2008

Every year, I get together with some friends from Duke for a fantasy football draft - it's the league that I'm most invested in; it's the league that I want to win the most. So I figure I'll post some thoughts on my team as the season progresses and have our fantasy expert the Franchise comment on my picks. This year, I received the 10th pick in a 12 team league. We give 6 pts for passing TDs, use a rather stingy scoring system for yards (15 rush/rec yds per pt; 40 passing yds per point), and do not start any defensive teams. Before the draft, I swapped my 3rd and 4th round picks with a team drafting in the second position. Without further adieu, here was my draft day haul.

1 (10). Travis Henry (also considered: Peyton Manning). I was pretty happy to find Henry here. I was hoping Rudi Johnson would fall, but alas, he was snactched up with the 8th pick. I was tempted to go with Peyton, but figured I'll wait to see if he lasts another 4 picks.

2 (15). Willis McGahee (also considered: no one). I had targeted McGahee here, but would've taken Peyton if he fell to me, but he was taken with the previous pick.

3 (26). Terrell Owens (also considered: Edgerrin James). I traded up before the draft to get Brandon Jacobs, but Jacobs went stunningly early at pick 17. It was a toss-up between Edge and TO, but I chose TO based on his chemistry with Romo.

4 (47). Lee Evans (also considered: no one). I could not believe that Evans slipped this much. I know his QB is Losman, but...

5 (58). Lamont Jordan (also considered: no one). A first rounder last year falling to the 5th round? Sign me up!

6 (63) Santana Moss (also considered: Jeremy Shockey). Well, I must be addicted to WRs playing for bad QBs.

7 (82) Vernon Davis (also considered: Tony Romo). I wasn't sure if Davis would last another round, but saw that both teams behind me had already taken QBs. I rolled the dice that Romo would still be available 5 picks later, and lo and behold . . .

8 (87) Tony Romo (also considered: no one). I loved this pick. I really think Romo will have a terrific season this year.

9 (106) Warrick Dunn (also considered: Terry Glenn). I liked to have Glenn here, but I didn't want t0 hinge my fantasy season on the Cowboys. In the post-Vick era, I figured someone is going to have to score right? Maybe Norwood could pull a hamstring?

10 (111) Ben Roethlisberger (also considered: Alex Smith). Needing some insurance in case Romo doesn't pan out (unlikely), I bought into the rumors that the Steelers will be opening up their offense with Big Ben. Stay off motorcycles, please.

11 (130) Reuben Droughns (also considered: Jacoby Jones). If I can't get Jacobs, might as well get his backup, right? Well, the logic doesn't exactly work because the Giants aren't exactly offensive juggernauts, but it's late, might as well take some gambles right?

12 (135) Jacoby Jones (also considered: no one). My big sleeper pick. Jacoby has emerged as the big target opposite Andre Johnson; and Matt Schaub is looking head and shoulders better than David Carr. Could it be a new dawn in Houston? I hope so.

13 (154) Stephen Gostowski (also considered: no one). I jumped the gun on a kicker one round early, because I think the Patriots offense can really click this year - let's hope it's more FGs than TDs.

14 (159) David Boston (also considered: Troy Williamson). What year is this? 2001?

Franchise.... I await your assessment.

At Undude's Request

We pay homage to Tom Brady, and to blogspot for now allowing videos, with this classic of Tom and the Griffins.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Governor's Cup Preview

Well dudes, if you actually thought I would write a preview of the Cowboys-Texans preseason game today, you have way overestimated my interest in NFL preseason contests. Nevertheless, in a season where both Head Dude's and my hardball teams of choice have tanked royally, save 30 run games and 3000 hit moments here and there, a preseason game does indeed draw a blip on the radar, even if all it means that we stand that much closer, calendar-wise, to the Rockets' ownership of the Larry O'Brien Trophy around June of 2008.

My prediction for tonight's game? Well, I'll predict that I will be studying up for my fantasy draft during the game.

Around this time tomorrow, I will publish the results of the fantasy draft in the league (with some other friends from Duke and elsewhere) that I'd want to win the most. Franchise, feel free to comment on my choices after I post them.

Donnie Thought We Should Change the Colors

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dems ABC Debate (7) Review

This pace is extraordinarily frenetic - as the candidates are trading barbs quicker than I can review them! But in any case, the democrats again gathered, bright and early, on the campus of Drake University and settled behind the podiums. This time however, the questions were directed by ABC News's George Stephenapoulis and his team of no-nonsense questioners. And direct he did.

Perhaps the most lighthearted moment of the evening occured late in the program when Stephenapoulis posed a viewer question on each candidates' opinion of a personal god, and whether prayer could have prevented disasters like Hurricane Katrina (no, seriously). When the spotlight finally shone on Dennis Kucinich, the always affable and humorous candidate, who had been asked two questions by Stephenapoulis by this point, turned to Stephenapoulis and said, deadpan, "well George, I've been praying for the last 45 minutes that you would call on me." The comment brought down the house including Stephenapoulis.

The Kucinich comment highlighted that this debate was more tightly moderated than any of the prior ones, as Stephenapoulis did not hesitate to cut off candidates mikes at some point. The debate hit on several themes: Barack's (in)experience, Hillary's (un)electability, Iraq, and farm subsidies, and religion. Hillary took shots left and right, or rather, mostly from the left. The dust settled without a clear winner. Some characterized Richardson's performance as his best, though that might be akin to saying Ernest Goes to Camp was the best Ernest movie. But as Edwards, Barack and Hillary continue to bicker over each other's support for the authorization and acceptance of lobbying funds, the winner may be a puzzled electorate, who are desperate to see more separation between the candidates' views.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Look What Former Visionary Has a Crush on Obama!!

None other than everyone's favorite UNC frat house prank victim - Reggie Love!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

DudeSpin to The Dude: Tell Your Countrymen to Stop Trying to Poison American Kids!

Perhaps because only one member of the DudeSpin staff has a child, this blog also let the story about Mattel's huge recall of toys slide. This week came the news that Mattel issued another recall of Chinese-made toys because of fears that the paint contained high amounts of lead and that small magnets in the toys could be swallowed.

Then on Friday, Toys 'R' Us announced that they were suspending sales of Chinese-made bibs by Hamco because, you guessed it, they contained high amounts of lead. I'm sensing a pattern here.

Since I've only been to China for 48 hours and The Dude was born there, I'm asking him to explain something to me. Is lead so plentiful in China that it needs to be a component of all children's products made there? DudeSpin awaits your answer...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

DudeSpin asleep at the wheels?

It appears that while I was away DudeSpin was too distracted by Dennis Kucinich and David Beckham and missed what was arguably the worst news the Duke athletics department has received since, well, I suppose since the lacrosse story broke, but in terms of impact on the field, I would argue since Steve Spurrier whispered into a certain someone's ear that hiring Carl Franks was a good idea (just narrowly beating out the hire of Roof over Dennis Ross). It appears the Joe Must Go campaign is in vain, at least for a while.

What I find particularly galling is this quote from Richard Brodhead: "the emphasis on the integrity that [Alleva] has infused in our programs and the central place he gives to the idea of scholar-athletes" was the key factor in granting the Director of Athletics a five-year extension.

Is that a joke? Is the DUI boating incident that came within weeks of the lacrosse scandal really the University's idea of integrity, not to mention the rush to make Pressler a fall guy to save face?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Soccer-Mania: It's Spreading

Do all the dudes feel the oncoming illness that has befallen a majority of the American population today? I speak of none other than Beckham Fever - its symptoms including an uncontrolled passion for all things Beckham and soccer. Hospitals report that its intake of Beckham Fever patients increase ten-fold in the wake of last night's game where David Beckham notched a goal and an assist. Do you feel it dudes??

Me neither.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Apparently, It's a Long Aisle

In the wake of another wrestler's premature death, I dutifully jogged over to the Internet home of my favorite wrestling columnist to gain some reaction. Unfortunately, I did not find any discussion of Demolition Crush's untimely death. Of course, I understood for a second, considering that news of the death had only been a few hours old - perhaps Franchise had been busy taking care of the mini-Franchisette and have not had the chance to put pen to paper yet. That understanding, however, disappeared when, upon closer examination, I found that there had been no new updates to Walkin' that Aisle since the Vince McMahon limo controversy - two months ago!! Indeed, not only was there no new update on Demolition Crush; there wasn't even a Walkin' that Aisle on Chris Benoit!!

Franchise, just how long is that aisle?? And just when you might be done walkin' that runaway kayfabe aisle??

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Review of Dem Debates 5 & 6

In the span of a nary a half a week, the democratic candidates took part in two more debates/forums in what has been a discussion-packed campaign season. The AFL/CIO debate on Monday featured all candidates besides Mike Gravel; and the LOGO/Human Rights Watch debate featured all candidates except Chris Dodd and Joe Biden. The AFL/CIO debate touched on a broad range of issues with a slight focus on labor issues; while the LOGO debate focused exclusively on issues facing the LGBT Community. The hosts of these two forums raise an interesting question - what special debates/forums are Republicans taking part in exclusive of the democrats? The evangelical christian debate? the defense contractors debate? No need to answer that inquiry - it was entirely rhetorical.

The lingering impression from these two debates for me is, quite simply, Dennis Kucinich needs to be president. It is truly unfortunate to me that a candidate like Dennis cannot get enough traction to mount a serious challenge even in the democratic primary. He was treated like a saint at the LOGO forum, and his passion and delivery showed exactly why. He's so fervently in favor of a government and an America at its most ideal - and unfortunately, that's not a place that this country wants to be at this moment.

Of the three front runners, Barack, as a self-described hope-monger, rebounded from an often times perplexing and defensive performance at the AFL/CIO debate to give a very convincing discussion at the LOGO forum even though he does not embrace federally-defined gay marriage. Hillary was her usual I'm-above-the-fray-but-will-defend-my-incredibly-centrist positions-with-platitudes self. John Edwards has become somewhat of a professional apologist by again backpedalling away from his prior statement that his faith led him to his position against gay marriage.

As usual, I fast forwarded through Mike Gravel's discussion at the LOGO forum, and watched Bill Richardson's performances for the same reason why NASCAR fans love NASCAR.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

DudeSpin's Own Franchise Announces NBA "Comeback"

Inspired by the attempted comebacks of Reggie Miller and Allan Houston, DudeSpin contributor The Franchise announced Thursday, that he too was in the process of contacting NBA teams to gauge interest in a "comeback."

"I just figured if those old guys could do it, why not me?" said The Franchise at a sparsely attended press conference in Hershey, Penn. "I'm 32, but I'm a young 32. There aren't many miles on the tires, know what I'm saying?"

When it was pointed out to The Franchise that there actually were no miles on the tires - since he's never played in an NBA game - and it was highly suspect to even call this a comeback as a result, he had this to say.

"Well, I mean, people are going to say what they want to say and the media is going to try to bring you down. To me it's just a matter of semantics. To paraphrase the great LL Cool J, if it bothers you, don't call it a comeback!"

At six-foot and possessing below-average speed, Franchise appears to be following in a dubious Duke tradition in that he's likely to be too small to guard the two and too slow to guard the one. Asked what role he could see himself filling, he was optimistic.

"It just depends on where I land, because I know I can help in a variety of ways," he said. "If I get my first choice, Denver, I'd probably be keeping annoying white people away from A.I. In Houston, I'd be piggybacking off the Asian community's love for Yao. And my people haven't ruled out Boston - I might be the fourth option on offense there!"

Monday, August 06, 2007

Airborne Temporarily Stalls on Runway

Airborne linebacker Michael Tuiliili received an indefinite suspension following his arrest early Sunday morning for DUI and various charges related to assault and battery of the driver of another car that Tuiliili ran into. DudeSpin, obviously, do not condone such behavior if it is true as alleged, and fully support Coach Roof's decision to suspend Tuiliili indefinitely.

Nevertheless, losing the leader of a unit hurts, but like last year, when out of the depths of the Zack Asack cheating scandal arose a Heisman hopeful in Thad Lewis, perhaps the from beneath the clouds surrouding Tuiliili's suspension will emerge a new linebacking stalwart.

Will it be Paul Thornton? Will it be converted quarterback Marcus Jones? No one knows for sure - but that's the audacity of hope. The eternal thought that from darkness emerges light; that an ugly DUI incident will launch this year's version of Chike Egbunewe or Ryan Stallmeyer - that is the audacity of hope.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Better Know a Book: It's Not About the Truth

Any time that Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter are hailed as voices of reason, it's a pretty good bet that the author is approaching his work with an agenda - one that doesn't teeter anywhere near the proverbial center of the aisle.
"It's Not About the Truth" takes its title from what DudeSpin Hall of Shame Hopeful Joe Alleva purportedly to Mike Pressler when he asked for Pressler's resignation. And that's what's shameful about the book - Pressler was absolutely a victim of a rush to judgment here and unfairly treated by the administration - but Yeager's commentary was so disjointed that it ultimately misses the real story here. Indeed, the best piece of writing in the entire book was the unedited letter at the end of the book from Janet Pressler - Mike's daughter - to Duke President Richard Brodhead. The piece was well-written, heartfelt, focused, and utterly convincing - in short, everything that the rest of the book wasn't.
Instead, Yaeger's prose was so filled, page after page, with hate mongering directed at Alleva, Brodhead, the Group of 88, Duke's student body, Nifong, the liberal media that it, unbelievably, resorts to quoting liberally from O'Reilly and Coulter (note irony in combining "liberal" and those two clowns in the same sentence) in support of Yaeger's contentions. Yaeger's diatribes, many of which were unfair and lacking in substance, made villains out of many reasonable people, not the least whom were the professors who published a Chronicle ad aiming to start a dialogue about strained race-class relations on campus. Very reasonable people, like Professor Cathy Davidson, were painted as despicable radicals who would stop at nothing to throw their students under the bus. It is a charge lacking in substance, authenticity, and utterly detached from reality.
The Presslers were wronged - unfortunately, they picked just about the absolutely worst author to tell that to the world.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Awesome Announcing

Those who know me will be stunned that I'm posting something related to the X-Games - considering how often I rail against ESPN's over-the-top and unnecessary coverage of young people doing ridiculously stupid things. But someone sent me this, and of course, videos like this draw an audience for the same reason that train wrecks draw audiences. This video, however, is remarkable not for the move the skater performs (something called a 720, I haven't quite figured out what that means yet) but rather the apparent potheaded who is announcing this for ESPN.
So to set the stage: the skaters completes a move called the 720, and while going into his next moves, loses control and falls about 60 feet to the pavement. So this guy just fell from about a 5 story building, is lying motionless on the ground, and the announcer says, I kid you not, "Whoa, I can't believe he hit a 720."

Do they test X-Games announcers for drugs?

Thad is Rad vs. Zack Attack

Practice begins Monday. Four weeks from tomorrow, the season kicks off. It's time to start talking Duke Football. And to get things started, we'll examine the greatest QB controversy since Romine-Campbell.

Simply put, Zack Asack is back from cheating, and he wants his job back. Now the Dudes know where I stand on this issue, but then I read this article by Dude Friend Al Featherston and I started to waver. Asack spent the last year working with the New England Patriots, studying under the likes of Golden Boy Tom Brady. In fact, Asack goes so far as to proclaim, "A lot of things that Brady brought to the Patriots, now I’m bringing to Duke." What Chutzpah!

Should I quickly claim the Zack Attack moniker as a backup just in case? Or do I stay loyal to the bold, winless freshman who I know can win the Heisman?