Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thanks for the memories No. 7!


Your last AB said everything anyone ever needed to know about your career - one hopper to third, you hustled all the way down the line and was beaten by a step... Houston will never see anyone else like you; but fortunately, Cooperstown will.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I guess the days of throwback jerseys are gone...


Better Know a Sport: Baseball



While this blog has not mentioned the sport of baseball in many moons, I thought it would be an appropriate time to mention that next week the MLB playoffs begin. On a related note, DudeSpin (well, 1/4 of the editorial board) sends its heartiest congratulations to the Boston Red Sox for winning the AL East for the first time since 1995. Back then I spent every day going to a high school cheering for Tim Wakefield. Oh how things have changed! Other great names from that '95 team? Mo Vaughn, Aaron Sele, Mike Greenwell, Jose Canseco, and Roger Clemens!

Today is Airborne's day, so the next several posts will be about a shocking upset in Florida (Duke's first of the year--it's last will be in Jacksonville), but I thought it important to remind our readers that other sports do indeed exist.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Flight Plan: Airborne Lands at the OB

Lamar Thomas might not think Airborne belongs in the OB this weekend; but nevertheless, that's exactly where Heisman candidate Thad Lewis will lead his mates this weekend. Brought in a few years ago to beef up the ACC's football bona fides, Miami has been barely adequate on the field, and an utter embarassment to the conference off (and on it).

First year coach Randy Shannon, the subject of a profound piece in Sports Illustrated, was introduced to this season with an epic butt-whooping at the hands of Big 12 stalwart Oklahoma. Since that debacle, Shannon has turned the season in the right direction with a convincing home victory over then-ranked, but nevertheless overrated, Texas A&M.

In previous years, this would have been a non-conference mismatch where Duke would go into the game knowing it would get two things: a royal spanking; and a royal check. This year, Airborne won't get a check, but they will shock the OB, and Lamar Thomas: Airborne 35, Miami 31 (Multiples of 7 again, as Airborne relieved Joe Surgan of his kicking duties last week).

Ask the Franchise: Dude's Fantasy Journey - Week 4

As I said in an email last Sunday, I needed T.O. to have a better fantasy game than LenDale White to continue my undefeated season in the Duke league (he didn't); and Drews Brees to outpoint Jason Witten and Cedric Benson in in the AK league(Brees didn't outpoint me). So after three weeks, my record stands at 2-1 in the Duke league; 0-3 in the AK league. Of course, the real lesson last week was that I should have listened to the Franchise and started Romo instead of Roethlisberger - had I done that, I would have won. In any case, as is plainly obvious, I need to start turning things around in the AK league.

And for this week's roster decisions:
Duke League: No difficult decisions this week.
AK League: Dwayne Bowe at SD, or Lee Evans v. NYJ. (Of course, Mr. Evans' weekly 1 point performances is a big reason why I'm at 0-3 in this league; as well as Drew Brees' now weekly meltdowns behind center)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Flight Log: Agony in Anapolis

As DudeSpin predicted last week, a missed PAT would cost Airborne dearly in this contest. As Eron Riley waltzed into the end zone after coming in from out of bounds - ala Don Beebe in the Bills' comeback from 35-3 in the playoffs against the Oilers (I'm not bitter) - for the 1st of his four touchdowns on the afternoon, Airborne spirits were high. But alas, a missed PAT signalled what was to come for the rest of the day - an inability to finish.

Thanks to my paid-for cable (including DVR), I was able to watch all four quarters of Airborne's epic clash against Navy. Thad Lewis looked sensational at times, but Airborne kept shooting itself in the foot. Whether it was an ill-advised penalty here, or a missed FG there, or letting a backup QB run wild against you, Airborne could never put the game out of reach. Despite being down 11 points midway through the 4th quarter, and running a wishbone offense, the Midshipmen never gave up and eventually drove down the field to set up for the game winning 40+ yard FG boot. As a sidenote, Airborne fans must weep at the news that other teams had FG kickers who could make FGs longer than 30 yards.

Nevertheless, the game showed that Airborne has heart; Airborne has talent; but Airborne has to put it all together. As one of my favorite coaches (Dick Vermeil) is apt to say: focus and finish gentlemen. Focus and finish.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ah-ma-din-e-jad!

This is outside the world of sports, but here's my favorite response from Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad at a Q&A session today at Columbia:

Asked about widely documented government abuse of women and homosexuals in his country, Ahmadinejad said, "We don't have homosexuals" in Iran. "I don't know who told you we had it," he said.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Don't Look Now...





I hate to put the cart before the proverbial horse, but there's a pretty good chance that Week 6 in the NFL is going to feature a pair of 5-0 teams battling it out at Texas Stadium.

If You Would Have Told Me Before the Navy Game...

...that Eron Riley would have six catches for 235 yards and four touchdowns, and that Thad would throw for over 400 yards and account for five touchdowns, I would have assumed we won.

Um, but obviously we didn't. Did anyone from DudeSpin see or hear the game?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Flight Plan: the Attack of Seaman!

If Airborne's win against Northwestern got DudeSpin and Duke students excited, it didn't have the same effect on Las Vegas. The lines this week opened with Navy favored by 10 points and climbed higher and higher as the week went along. As of midnight CDT Thursday evening, the line stood at Navy by 2 touchdowns.

Perhaps those 400+ yards of rushing Navy hung on Airborne at Wally Wade last year had something to do with the movement; or perhaps it's because Navy's quarterback is named Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada. If that's not a Heisman trophy worthy name, I just don't know what is.

Obviously, Airborne has got its worked cut out for them a week after its season-defining victory. But alas, the ascent upward must continue. As one wise man once said: keep your feet on the ground, but keep reaching for the stars. This is Casey Kasem.

DudeSpin's Prediction: Airborne 36, Navy 35. (36? a weird number you say! My new policy is that until Joe Surgan proves otherwise, I will assume that Airborne will miss every PAT and every FG attempt - lost in the euphoria of the win against NW was another missed PAT).

Ask the Franchise: the Dude's Fantasy Journey

Now that the Franchise has returned to the blog, I thought I'd try to keep this going for one more week.

I slipped to 0-2 in the AK league after another whipping; but won for the second straight week in the Duke league behind another Romo to TO connection.

This week's Roster Decisions (Leanings in Bold)

Duke League:
QB: Romo @ CHI; Roethlisberger v. SF
WR: Evans @ NE; S. Moss v. NYG

Franchise Plays His Way to Vegas - Rd. 2, Day 2

A little step backwards today, and that's going to happen from time to time. Played some more 1-2 limit hold 'em and could not get anything going. A wise man - ah yes, it was Howard Lederer - once said that you should walk away from a limit cash game after losing 30 big bets, so that was that.

I switched over to playing Sit-N-Go's, and though I played way too loose at first while I was getting used to playing them again, I managed to turn a tiny profit from that part of my morning. The bonus started kicking in too, so that gives me a few extra bucks every so often.

Daily loss: - $38.50
Weekly profit: $18.20

Overall profit: $186.05

Back to What's Important



"Thad is just the man. There’s nothing else to say about that. He works as hard, if not harder, as any guy on this team. He is just the man, is the only way to put it." -Cameron Goldberg

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Franchise Plays His Way to Vegas - The Return!

By popular demand (well, by demand of a couple of the Dudes anyway), my online poker chronicles have returned. The plan was to begin playing again right after Labor Day, but because I had taken my money out when it became apparent that I wouldn't have enough time to play regularly during the summer - what with the two jobs, the baby, the wife and all - it took me about two weeks to get some money back into my Full Tilt account. Thanks Congress!

Nevertheless, I finally got some money deposited, and armed with a $75 bonus for being away so long, I set back out on my quest to make poker pay for the December Vegas trip. I decided on a 1-2 limit cash game so as to not risk too much of my brand new deposit on one night, and also because cash games clear the bonus faster than tournaments.

I felt rusty but did alright, making $56.70 in less than five hours. No really interesting hands to report, just picked my spots well and was lucky to pick up some strong hands early, which allowed me to play some lesser hands later on while still getting respect from most of the table. One thing I forgot about low stakes limit games is a bunch of people jumping in for $10 a pop, then just trying to get all-in with a good hand. Folks, if you want to do that, no limit is a lot easier!

Daily profit: $56.70
Weekly profit: $56.70

Overall profit: $224.55

Public to Decide Fate of Bonds' 756 ball

I thought this was great. I think I'd vote for the asterisk option, over blasting it into space.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Dallas Conboys are back!

Could Tank have found a better home?

(Also, no need to point out that as a Pats fan I am being a giant hypocrite right now. I'm aware of the situation.)

Happy Birthday Sportsgal!

DudeSpin would like to wish a special happy birthday on this day, September 18th, 2007, to its very own Sportsgal!
L'chaim!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

More Good Football News for the Dude Committee

It's been overlooked in favor of the Airborne triumph - and rightly so - but it occurred to me that the favorite NFL teams of the Dudes are a combined 6-0 after two weeks.

And we've got the whole gamut of fun. We've got one team everyone expected to be 2-0 (Pats) and one team we hoped would be but still weren't absolutely sure about (Cowboys). And the final team? Well, let's just say I don't think anyone except Matt Schaub, Mario Williams and The Dude himself thought the Texans would be 2-0.

So can the next poll be which Dude team will lose first?

Flight Log: Airborne!!!

After 22 disappointing weeks; 22 miserable post-game locker rooms; and 22 weeks of being the butt of college football jokes, Duke football stands on top of the world.

Well, at least on top of Notre Dame!

After week 3, Airborne has more wins than Notre Dame has:
(1) Wins
(2) Offensive Touchdowns
(3) RUSHING YARDS!!

Tis a bitter season in South Bend I know. But nevertheless - NBC, Airborne awaits your offer of a 10 year National Television Contract!!

Many thanks to Head Dude, Big Daddy and the Undude for covering the details of Airborne's triumph and subsequent mishap on the quad with a falling goalpost.

All together now: AIRBORNE!!

Better Know a Book: Heaven is a Playground



I chanced upon this book in my Amazon browsing a while ago and actually finished this book a few weeks ago. Telander, who is now a nationally-renowned author with the likes of Sports Illustrated et al., crafted this seminal work on New York playground hoops during the summer of 1974, a scant few months after he was cut from the Kansas City Chiefs out of college. Tracking a group of regulars (mostly folks in their teens and twenties), a future NBA player in Albert King, and one wunderkind agent/savant named Rodney Parker, Telander's superb prose lends insight into the dynamics of inner city playground hoops.

More than anything, the prose captures the rhythms of the game, the staccato verbal fracases, and the dissonance and disillution that serve as a constant companion of young blacks playing the game in the inner city. Although this book was written in 1974, it could have just as easily been written in 2007. The only difference, sadly, being that there would be more agents on the prowl for meat. In short, this book is to playground hoops, what Friday Night Lights is to Texas high school football - in that while on the surface, it's a book about sports, but in reality, it's a book about life - and the degree that sport acts to both calm, and inflame, the trappings of societal pressure in a place void of hope.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

THE THRILL OF VICTORY



"Today we made one more play than Northwestern did, and it felt better than making one less play." - Ted Roof

"It is an adrenaline rush. You come out here and you play hard, and your defense plays hard for four quarters, so to see the clock go to 0:00 and you are the winners is a great feeling.... I feel very good about this, and I’m going to enjoy the moment. I want there to be many more, so I’m going to get ready and get focused on Navy." - Thad Lewis

Saturday, September 15, 2007

WE DON'T BACK OFF

JUBILATION!!!

Duke wins, Duke wins!!!

At the end of the game, Northwestern was down 20-14 and drove the field, holding onto the ball for seven-and-a-half minutes, but Duke knocked away a pass in the endzone on a 4th and 9 with 2:30 to go. According to Bob Harris (who is a tad biased), there were two bad calls that hurt us during the drive and Roof was going crazy. (It should be noted that earlier in the game, Thad was given the first down on a 4th and 1, then was overturned in review. Harris was outraged by the reversal.)

Duke took over on downs, getting the ball back on its 11. Needing some first downs to seal the deal, Duke went three-and-out (though forced the Wildcats to spend their last two timeouts) and was forced to punt.

On the punt, Eron Riley "like a shot out of a cannon" "tatooed" the returner and 77 seconds separated the Devils from Destiny. (NOTE: All quotes courtesy of Bob Harris). Then an incomplete pass (according to Harris) was ruled a completion, again to Ted Roof's dismay. Roof made the challenge, and the call stood with 55 seconds left. On the next play, Vince Oghabasse charged through and Bacher was charged with intentional grounding. 2nd and 21, clock still moving. But the next play he scrambled down to the seven yard line, and we're in trouble. 1st and goal with 38 seconds.

1st down: pass into the endzone caught out of bounds.
2nd down (17 secs): Incomplete pass, Bacher was rushed hard. Fans want pass interference, Harris agrees with no call.
3rd down: Hit as he's thrown, Bacher throws it out of the endzone.
4th down: HERE IT IS KIDS... THE MOMENT WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR. I CAN BARELY BREATHE. HIT AS THROWN, INCOMPLETE!!!!!

DUKE WINS!!!!!!!

Breaking News

Earlier this week two DudeSpin regulars had the nerve to suggest that Duke dump Thad in favor of the Zack Attack. Well my friends, you have awakened the beast that is Thad Lewis.

1st Half Stats:
14-of-15 for 186 yards and 3TDs.

Duke is up 20-7. I just heard a series of police cars race past my house. I can only assume they're heading toward campus to protect the goal posts.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Nice YouTube Video in Honor of Our NameSake Film

This tribute to the Big Lebowski is surely something refreshing to kick off your Friday

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ask the Franchise: Dude's Fantasy Journey Week 2

In week 1 in the Duke league, I led the league in points and beat the top-ranked defending champs (who also had Tomlinson on his team) thanks to huge games from both Tony Romo and Terrell Owens. No difficult rostering decisions on that team this week.

In week 1 in the AK league, I was dead last in the league in points and lost by the widest margin, courtesy of outstanding performances I received from Drew Brees, Lee Evans, etc. This week's Ask the Franchise question: Should I start:

Patrick Crayton @ MIA or Brandon Marshall v. Oak

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Another Sign They're Not a Dynasty

Two days have gone by and three of us have been remiss to mention, what of the shenanigans of the New England Cheatriots?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Kige Ramsey on the Golden Domers

No, I'm not gratuitously promoting my favorite sportscaster, but thought that I'd direct everyone's attention to the second part of the video where Kige spells my last name. The man's comedic genius is unparalleled, really.

Say What??

How can you throw Agent Zero out of your car? (Especially when it's not even your car!!)

Flight Log: Airborne Kicks Itself in the Tail

Where have you gone Sims Lenhardt?!?!

My era of Airborne fans are used to one standard bearer of excellence amid the gloom (of others) that typically surround Airborne football: the kicking game. From Sims Lenhardt to Boomer Morton, Airborne kickers/punters were always above average, and in Sims' case, stellar.

That my friends, is a bygone era. I can imagine that it must be deflating for an offense to drive deep into an opponent's territory and come away with no points because the FG kicker missed a chip-shot. On Saturday against UVa, that became a tired verse as Joe Surgan missed about 26 field goal attempts inside of 20 yards (Note, the numbers may not be entirely accurate). And the misses weren't even close.

It was a tale of woe all around, as the Cavs tried to give the game away (apparently, their long snapper thought Yao Ming was their punter) but Airborne failed to capitalize again and again.

Good high school kickers, please come to Duke. You'll get a phenomenal education for free, and you can hone your craft, just as you would at any other football program.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How embarassing to see this in my own backyard. I won't dare post pictures, but let's just say it's another reason I would rather Hicks sell the Rangers.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

No Joy in Hoo-ville

The next time I chant "Joe Must Go," I won't be talking about Alleva.

As I told Big Daddy last weekend, other than the shadow of Sims Lenhardt, why wouldn't the top high school kickers want to come to Duke for free? Why is this seemingly always an issue? Next year we have Zack Asack's little brother as a kicking recruit, so here's hoping...

A lot of missed opportunities for the Devils. Again.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Flight Plan: Road to an Undefeated ACC Season Begins in Charlottesville

Seasoned Airborne supporters don't let trivial things like 35 unanswered second half points from UConn demoralize them. No sirree! After seeing the drubbings that we've seen over the course of our fandom, 35 unanswered points is just another nice Saturday afternoon at Wally Wade. Besides, Airborne fans rejoice in 2 things after the UConn loss: (1) Airborne did not lose to a 1-AA team that actually has Lenoir-Rhyne on its schedule; and (2) we were only shooting for a perfect ACC season anyways.

So that search for perfection takes Airborne to Charlottesville this weekend, where our Blue Devils will hope to avenge the 37-0 whitewashing at the hands of the Cavs last season in Wally Wade. They will get some help from the return of Michael Tauiiliii (there might be a few too many "i"s, but who's counting anyway). Tauiliii, who hails from right down the street from me (Alief Taylor), should bolster a defensive corp searching for answers.

DudeSpin's Prediction: It took David Hasselhoff a few verses to find freedom, it will take Airborne all of one week to find its defense - Airborne 24, UVa 10.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Pilot Notes: Former Airborne Coach in the Cross-Hairs

So what does a football coach at Lenoir-Rhyne have to do get in the New York Times? I would have thought that would require the coach to have OJ'd two people, but apparently, all that person - former Airborne coach Fred Goldsmith - needs to do is to play giant-slayers Appalachian State the week after the Mountaineers took down Michigan!! Yep. Fred Goldsmith made an unexpected appearance on the NY Times website today. Among the more controversial statements? Goldsmith is confident that App. State would beat Airborne. Fred - those are fighting words!!

On the actual Airborne front: the arrestee Michael Tauiliili will return to his starting spot at linebacker this week; no word on whether the Cheater will start at QB over Thad Lewis; and the Chronicle continues a familiar refrain - calling for the firing of Coach Ted Roof. Join us Friday for a preview of Airborne next's mission in Charlottesville!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Flight Log: Duke-UConn Game Report

It was with great optimism that I began the first ever DudeSpin Video Journal Saturday morning. And it was with a heavy heart that I completed it Sunday. But as we walked out of Wally Wade feeling bitter and dejected, we glanced up and noticed a new Duke Athletics sign that lifted the spirits.

"We Believe in Loyalty."

And that is why I'll be back next month when the defending ACC Champs roll into town.

video

One Year Ago: Andre's Last Stand

DudeSpin would like to take some time to remember what happened one year ago yesterday - Andre Agassi's final competitive tennis match against Benjamin Becker in the US Open. His brief speech at the end ranks as one of the greatest sports speeches of all time in my book. We miss you Andre!

Ask the Franchise: the Dude's Fantasy Journey

Welcome to the 1st installment of "Ask the Franchise" - a weekly feature where I will pose a fantasy football roster question to the Franchise, for the benefit of DudeSpin readers and, mostly, myself. First, an update from last week. Since the Duke league draft, I've dropped David Boston in favor of Troy Williamson, and then quickly dropped Williamson for Selvin Young when he was elevated to Travis Henry's backup.

This week's start'em or sit'em decisions in the Duke league (my current leanings are bolded):
QB: Tony Romo v. NYG or Ben Roethlisberger @ CLE?
WR/RB: Lamont Jordan v. DET or Santana Moss v. MIA?

in the AK league:
WR/TE: Brandon Marshall @ BUF, Greg Jennings v. PHI or Jacoby Jones v. KC

Franchise, DudeSpin awaits your answer!!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Here Comes Duke!!!

While we await Undude to work out some glitches, I am going to whet your appetites with the introduction of your 2007 Duke football squad at Wally Wade on Saturday. I believe Airborne lead 14-11 at the half, and I'm not quite sure whether the second half way played. I'll just assume that it wasn't.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Clay-mates celebrate


On a night when sports depression was in the air, a plucky young rookie, Clay Buchholz, threw a no-hitter to end the Red Sox' 4-game losing streak. It was just the second start ever for the 23-year-old, and while The Athlete of the Week has vanished from this blog, it's safe to say he's this week's champ!