Cogito Patris

Random Thoughts for Random People

I know I am going to regret this…

I am going to make a prediction for the Superbowl.  Now that the two teams have been decided, The Pats and Giants, I think I should mention something about the upcoming non-holiday.

My prediction: Home Team 20, Visiting Team 17.  This is the most common outcome of an NFL football game.  With the Patriots being the team with the better record, that would make them the “Home Team” for the Superbowl.  So, New England 20, Giants 17 is my prediction.

That isn’t what I want to happen.  I want the Giants to win the Superbowl.  The reasons are easy, and a bit selfish:

  1. The Redskins beat the Giants in their second regular season meeting
  2. The Redskins lost to the Giants in their first regular season meeting, but only because they couldn’t gain one yard for a clinching touchdown.  After this meeting Mike Sellers started to take this responsibility and the success rate went up drastically.
  3. The Pats beat the Redskins 52-7.  They were piling on and I think the football gods should take revenge on this kind of bad sportsmanship.

I know I have said it before, but I would love for the Pats to end up at 18-1 in their “undefeated” season.

The Giants played the Pats tough in the regular season finale in New York in a game that didn’t matter to either team (as far as post season play). Traditionally, it is difficult to beat the same team twice in the same season.  That is one of Mickey Matthews’ favorite sayings.  Mickey is the head coach for the JMU Dukes and he proved this statment when the Dukes won the National Championship in 2004 by beating (soundly) the Tribe of William and Marry in Williamsburg in the playoffs after a heartbreaking home loss earlier in the regular season.

So there may be some question as to where the “Smart Money” is in the Superbowl.  But if I had to bet (which I don’t, and won’t) I would put it on the Pats.

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January 21, 2008 Posted by | Football, JMU, Redskins | 1 Comment

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

You know, I had just gotten back in to the swing of things again.  Redskins every week.  I was like an addict who was falling off the wagon.  I read all of the articles in the Washington Post about the Skins.  I recorded the games in HD (all I can say is “Wow”) on one DVR and then recorded it in SD on another DVR.  My Redskins Hawaiian style Redskins shirt and jersey with my name on it was out of mothballs.

Now, after three games the NFL throws in a bye week.  The NFL now has an even number of teams so there is no longer a need to have a team take a game off every week.  Why not have all of the teams have their Bye week  between weeks 7 and 9?

Withdrawal pains are now my constant companions.  I can’t sleep.  I lost my appetite.  I need a football fix.

But wait.  The Dukes (JMU) are on a roll.  I am going to the game tomorrow.  They are playing the Wildcats of Villanova.  Villanova is a good team and it should be a fun game.  My friend Cory is coming with some of his coworkers and he claims one is a hot girl and another is “not bad”. Granted, he and I disagree on this sometimes.

This is the fifth game in a row that I will be attending for the Dukes.  One in Chapel Hill (about two hours from Charlotte) and the rest have been home games.  Who puts 4 consecutive home games on anyone’s schedule?  I want to find this person and egg his house (pretty sure it is a guy…a woman wouldn’t do this to me).

September 28, 2007 Posted by | Football, JMU, Redskins, Sports | Leave a comment

Joining the Band Wagon

Far too many years ago, the Redskins won a superbowl.  I know, not exactly new knowledge.  During the Super Bowl run, a columnest named Tony Kornheiser wrote a series of articles known as “The Bandwagon”.  The columns were meant as a joke, after all, he was calling for a Super Bowl win following the first game.  But as the season went on, more and more people jumped on.

For the record, I don’t think the Redskins are going to win the Super Bowl this season (The playoffs are not out of the question).  But I do think that JMU will win the 1-AA (Division 1 Champtionship Subdivision) championship.  They have a good QB that can outrun any linebacker (he proved that tima and again in Chapel Hill against UNC).  A good O-line, a quick defense and wide receivers that can actually catch the ball (The Redskins should be jealous) also contribute to my optamism.  They rose to beat a#5 ranked New Hampshire team (that later went on to beat 1-A Marshall).  And this past weekend, they handily beat a team (Virginia Military Institute) they were supposed to beat.  Beleive it or not, I was more worried about VMI than I was New Hampshire.  The Daily News Record (the local Harrisonburg, VA newpaper) was running ariticles that portrayed VMI as happless.  Less mature teams may have dropped the ball (figuratively) in such a situation.  But JMU won handily (without running up the score).

That provides optamism for this fan.  And I hope that optamism translates on to the field.

The JMU Bandwagon starts here.

All aboard!

The JMU Bandwagon

(crickets chirping).

All right, I’ll save my own seat for the trip.

September 17, 2007 Posted by | Football, JMU, Redskins, Sports | Leave a comment

The Stars Align

I follow 1.9375 teams in football.  Well, technically it is 4, but I weight them just the same and it comes out to 1.9375:

1) Washington Redskins (1.000) – Pre Season, Regular Season, Post Season, Home, Away it doesn’t matter.  I watch.

2) JMU Dukes (0.7500) – My College Alma Mater (Class of ’98). I try to go to all the home games but invariably miss one or two.  I will check the scores of away games or even listen over the internet on occasion.  I will even go to an away game if it isn’t too far (I will travel further to go to a match up against a 1-A school).  I am still kicking myself for missing the national championship game in 2004 even if I was literally in the process of moving in to a new house and in a new city in a different state over Christmas.

3) Waynesboro High School (0.1250) – My High School Alma Mater (Class of ’94). If I am in town and they are at home I might go to a game once or twice a season, maybe.

4) University of Virginia (0.0625) – I will see what the score is if I think about it.  With the exception of a bowl game, I haven’t been to a game in at least 9 years.  I will go to a bowl game only if it is close enough.

So, why am I bringing this up? Well, with the exception of JMU, all of these teams have been pretty bad in recent years.  Some of them will top .500 for a season here or there, but that seems to be pretty rare. 

My best friend and I follow the same teams.  We grew up in the same town and both attended WHS.  In fact, we met in the weight room almost 15 years ago before our football team’s playoff run my senior year (both of us were offensive linemen). 

A few years ago we noticed that all four teams never seemed to win on the same weekend.  With all of them being pretty bad that isn’t surprising, but it was amazingly awful nonetheless.  In fact, even if you remove UVa from the list, the remaining three didn’t win on the same weekend either. Unfortunately it was not all that unusual for all of them to lose on the same weekend.  But this past weekend was the exception (all of my teams were at home):

WHS 41 / Covington High 20#10

JMU 41 / #5 UNH (New Hamshire) 24

UVa 24 / Duke 13

Redskins 16 / Dolphins 13

Hopefully this isn’t the sign of a coming apocalypse but the birth of a new era where my favorite sports teams actually win games.

September 13, 2007 Posted by | Football, JMU, Redskins, Sports, UVa, Waynesboro | Leave a comment

FutBawl and Literacy

Last year I went to my Brother’s house in Richmond, VA one day in order to visit him.  We were planning on going to the UVa football game that weekend.  Little did I realize that the JMU vs. Richmond Spiders game was on the same day.Now, JMU has had more success in 1-AA (Division 1 subdivision) football than UVa has had in 1-A.  Last year UVa was too young.  As a result, they were especially bad.My brother had just gotten a Tivo and the UVa game was televised.  So in an act of true brotherly love and generosity we went to the JMU game.I am still trying to get him to go to a JMU game at JMU (which is far superior to U of R as far as an experience).  And despite his assumption that this would be “like a high school game” he enjoyed himself.  He even agreed with me that Justin Rascati (QB) may be able to make it as an NFL backup.  He especially liked the band which he isn’t usually in to.  But you’ve got to love it when 350+ band members move right up next to the stands and play as LOUD AS THEY CAN!  Even he could get behind that…especially when they did it directly at the U of R band (50ish members) during the half-time show.I am getting off topic here.  In order to go to the game I called the U of R ticket office.  I had wanted a ticket on the JMU sideline, but they accidentally gave me a ticket on the Home side.  The stadium wasn’t full, so we sat on the JMU side anyway.I didn’t realize how big a mistake they made until yesterday.I got a piece of mail asking if I wanted U of R season tickets from the Head Football coach (ok, I realize it was a form letter, but still).That made me giggle.  But I laughed out load when I realized that after his salutation was “Head Football CoachUniversity or RichmondVirginia” (emphasis mine)As a QA analyst it is my job to find mistakes.  Usually when I find a particularly interesting mistake I will let loose a sinister laugh.  For some reason, this got the same response.  I guess I was just feeling a bit superior…which isn’t difficult for a JMU fan when talking about U or R (typo intentional).

June 11, 2007 Posted by | Football, JMU, Sports | Leave a comment

Part 26 of 31 – Superbowl Pick – Atlanta Falcons

I was going to make an ill-conceived joke about the allegations of Vick conducting Dog Fights at his Virginia Home. 

Instead I will single Vick out as a Virginia Tech grad.  I could make an argument due to the recent events on the campus of VaTech, and being an alumnus of JMU (a short 133 miles away)…but instead will point out that VATech beat JMU on their road to the National Championship while Vick was the QB of said University…and I will leave it at that.

June 4, 2007 Posted by | Football, JMU, Sports, SuperBowl | Leave a comment

Part 1 of 31 – 2008 SuperBowl Pick

6 months without football.  SIX Months without football.  Six MONTHS without football?

If you are anything like me you are not sure what you are going to do on Sundays for the next six months.  I usually end up pulling the Washington Redskins Superbowl DVDs off the shelf to watch (though I am bummed that it wasn’t the original broadcasts of the Superbowls, complete with commercials).  I also pull the DVDs for the James Madison University National Championship of 2004 for a dose of football.  If I get really desperate, I will watch arena league or European league American Style football.

But, I decided that even though we are six months from any kind of meaningful NFL football, that wouldn’t keep me from making some predictions.

After reading the TMQ Annual Bad Predictions wrap-up last week, I came to the realization that I could choose the next Superbowl winner with a high degree of accuracy, I just have to change my mind 30 times.  This isn’t that far off the norm for “expert” NFL analysts, I will just be a little more systematic about it (hey, I almost have to be right once).

You may notice that this is a 31 part series even though there are 32 teams in the NFL.  I will give you one guess who this Redskins fan can not bring himself to choose.

Now for my pick (Drum-roll Please):

The Buffalo Bills

You may be wondering why I chose to start with the Bills.  Is it because I think they are coming off a great year?…No, that can’t be it, they were 7 – 9.  Great Coaching?  Dick Jauron is an unimpressive 43-58 in his NFL career.  Maybe it is because I have been following them for years and I think this is their break-out year?  … No, I couldn’t even tell you who their starting QB is without looking them up (which I will in a moment). 

I will tell you why I chose them…they were at the topon ESPN.com’s “Teams” page.

They are in the AFC East with the New Jersey Jets and the Boston Patriots.  That certainly doesn’t help their cause much. 

J.P. Losman (QB – see, I told you I would look it up) did not put up glaring numbers last season.  An 84.9 QB rating isn’t anything to be ashamed of, but it also isn’t something to gloat about.  However, (judging by the stats) he took almost every snap last season.  That kind of consistency is missing in a lot of clubhouses (We are not naming names yet). 

Willis McGahee put up strong numbers.  He is still young enough to carry the load and has enough experience to be a team leader (at least from an outsider’s perspective).  The WR core seems to depend heavily on Lee Evans (whom I have to admit I havn’t heard of).  But judging from his stats, the team could do worse.

Unfortunately the most important aspect of any offence does not lend itself to statistical analysis.  The offensive line play can not be wrapped up in a number.  Pancakes and sacks are indicators of individual effort, but not necessarily how well the group did.    Average Rushing Yards can be important, and 3.7 yards/rush isn’t exactly going to blow the doors off the competition.

That being said, it seems that every year there are teams that come from mediocrity to the big show (or close at least).  This team has every chance of doing so this coming season.

So there you have it, my superbowl pick: The Buffalo Bills (Until I change my mind at least).

February 16, 2007 Posted by | Football, JMU, Redskins, Sports, SuperBowl | Leave a comment

The Athlete’s Prayer – A prayer even I can get behind

I have been intending to write a post on my views in religion.  Unfortunately my views are confused.  I have serious questions about faith: mine, other’s and faith in general.  But that is for a future time.

I am personally against public prayer.  Prayer, in my opinion, is a personal phone call between yourself and your Deity.  Why would you want other people listening to your phone call?  That being said, I was reading Tuesday Morning Quarterback today and it included a section on “The Athlete’s Prayer”.  I think it is ridiculous for athletes, especially professional athletes who have reached a pinnacle in their field, to pray to God for victory.  God does not care who wins the game.  That being said, I think this is an appropriate prayer for an athlete and I just had to pass it on.

The Athlete’s Prayer
God (or Adonai or Allah), let me play well but fairly.
Let competition make me strong but never hostile.
In this and in all things, guide me to the virtuous path.
If I know victory, grant me happiness;
If I am denied, keep me from envy.
See me not when I am cheered, but when I bend to help my opponent up.
Seal it in my heart that everyone who takes the field with me becomes my brother.
Remind me that sports are just games.
Teach me something that will matter once the games are over.
And if through athletics I set an example – let it be a good one.

If only more people could find happiness in victory.

February 7, 2007 Posted by | Football, JMU, Redskins, Sports, Thoughts on Religion | 10 Comments

How to fix the Washington Redskins

I know there are going to be a lot of words written about what the Washington Redskins should do this off-season to reach their “Former Glory”.  Being an avid ‘Skins fan I have my own theories and I am going to share them with whomever will listen.  So, here, in a nutshell, is what I think they should do:

1)  Keep the players they have, with two exceptions.

This is important.  This season has built some team chemistry.  If the players stick together through the difficult times then they will do all the better next season.  I say that there are three exceptions and I will tell you who I would release if it were my choice:

  1. Todd Collins (35 year old 3rd string QB)
  2. A Corner Back

I am not sure which cornerback to release.

2) Keep the coaching staff.

Pretty much every coach should be kept.  the possible exception is to have Todd Collins be the QB Coach, rather than a player.

3) Draft the new players.

I think the Redskins need a new, good CB…preferably someone with great speed.  When Darrell Green was a member of the Washington Redskins defence you rarely saw long yardage touchdowns.  You knew he would catch them.  I like Shawn Springs, but he is getting older and the defence could use another top notch CB.

In addition to a CB, I think the Redskins only a cheap and young third string QB.  Being a JMU Alumni and fan, I think that Justin Rascatiwould be a good fit.  He is a 1-AA (Division 1 subdivision) QB, so he is not well known (and therefore probably pretty cheap).  He has a nice strong arm and he is athletically elusive.  This matches him well with Jason Campbell.  They have pretty similar playing styles.  Oh yeah, and he has won a national championship (in 2004), so he has been in some big games in his time at JMU.  He will never be a starter on any NFL team, but I think he will be a good backup.

4) Hold a Kicker Competition Camp.

I like Shaun Suisham.  I think he is a decent kicker with a decent leg.  But I would like to see an open competition at the place kicker position.  When Gibbs was the Redskins coach in the 80s he had Chip Lohmiller.  Chip was close to automatic from any distance less than 50 yards.  From more than 50 yards he was still pretty good.  The Redskins need that again.

That’s it. I truly believe that the Redskins are close to another Superbowl (granted I fall for that every year).  I think just a few tweaks will give them a great shot.  A mass shopping spree will doom them to another disappointing year.

December 18, 2006 Posted by | Football, JMU, Redskins, Sports | 2 Comments