Friday, October 30, 2009

College Football Quick Picks: Week 9

After the Hokies lost last night I'm pretty despondent with regards to college football. I'm just going to make lazy hasty picks with no explanation whatsoever. I'm just really bummed that Hokie football seems to be repeating the same story over and over again every season.

On a bright note, I took great pleasure in realizing if you google image search for Bryan Stinespring, The picture of Brian and I on the right comes up on the first page. At least someone with a sense of play-calling flow pops up on there.

My picks this week are as follows:

Auburn defeats No. 25 Ole Miss

No. 1 Florida defeats Georgia

Duke defeats Virginia

No. 3 Texas defeats No. 14 Oklahoma State

No. 10 Oregon defeats No. 5 USC

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Brent Bowden

As I start typing there's only about an hour and 45 minutes until the Hokies take on North Carolina in Lane Stadium.

A uniform update for those who care and haven't heard, it's orange tops with maroon bottoms tonight for Tech. Punter Brent Bowden, aka "Sunshine" will have his rendition of Enter Sandman blasting over the PA system when the team comes out.

Bowden is a real metalhead and an excellent guitarist. He also tends to kick the ball solidly. I'll post a video when it's available.

I've decided to delay my quick picks until tomorrow because, A. I've yet to do them and B. with a Tech game this close, my mental as well as my physical self have to focus.

Here's Sunshine with your standard metal riff lesson. Hammer on, hammer off. Play fast. Sounds kind of like Hokie football actually. Bowden also rocks guitar hero which is funny since most musicians I know don't excel at the game.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Uniform Thoughts

Word on the interweb is that Virginia Tech will sport orange uniforms for Thursday's home game against North Carolina on ESPN.

Thursday is the Hokies' "Orange Effect" game for which fans are encouraged to make the entire stadium orange. The team wore an orange top picture above for last year's narrow "Orange Effect" win over Georgia Tech.

These were the first and only all-orange uniforms I'm aware of from Tech's 1993 home loss against arch-rival Virginia.

After that loss, assistant coach Billy Hite said the Hokies would never wear orange uniforms again.

Here are some other notable orange looks.

Former Hokie Eddie Royal sometimes dons the Broncos orange alternates.

Syracuse has these all-orange throwback deals which are kind of awful really.

You may remember these Nike disasters from 2005. I think the Hokies' version looks a little better, but both poor choices.

I apologize for the poor sizing with these pictures. Tomorrow, it's quick picks and Hokie football.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's Time for an Uprising

Hey you, closet pop/rock fan. I know what goes through your mind when you get into conversations about which bands you like and what your favorite genres are.

You like some kinds of "heavy" music but your soft spot is classic rock. Led Zeppelin, Guns N' Roses, ACDC, and The Beatles can fill out any playlist you create. You like some stuff on the radio from today's modern rock bands like the Foo Fighters, The Killers, and Green Day.

When it comes to heavy metal you feel repulsed by the mostly vulgar and angry lyrics. Justin Timberlake is a large part of your collection but you claim your sole interest is a result of his cheeky humor on SNL.

You don't know much about synthesizers but perceive them as a byproduct of the '80s that morphed into goth and glam bands.

Have you taken a minute to actively search for new music, though? You cocoon yourself into what you already know and what disc jockeys proclaim are the up-and-coming future stars of the music industry.

Let me help you out. Ever heard of Muse? The trio hails from England and is quickly growing in popularity in the US. I've not seen (or heard) much exposure for them but their time will come.

A blend of keyboards, synthesizers, lead guitars (no rhythm necessary due to pulsing bass distortion), and percussion create perhaps one of the most unique sounds available on the market.

Today's song of the day showcases Muse's truly one of a kind sound. "Uprising" is the first track (and single) off of their newest album entitled "The Resistance."

We've featured their music before but this is probably a more authentic representation of their style than "Stockholm Syndrome."

I encourage you to check out more of their collection as there are few aspects left to be desired for the pop/rock lover you not so outwardly express yourself as.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Brian vs. Justin - Week 7 CFB Predictions Tracker

Judgement week has come and gone and there honestly isn't much to say.

USC's offense easily seeped through the porous Irish defense, particularly in the third quarter, and ultimately put the game out of reach. I'm proud of the grit and fight in the Irish to almost tie it up on the last few plays of the game.

If only Michael Floyd had been healthy or Robby Parris hadn't been nearly decapitated by Taylor Mays... if only the secondary had kept their focus on containing USC's wideouts...

Regardless of the 'what ifs' the fact of the matter is a loss is a loss and, despite what the media tries to tell you, Charlie Weis' job is still safe (for now). A blowout (loss) would have led to his termination at the end of the year along with an outrageously large buyout. Since the Irish showed they could compete on nearly the same level with the Trojans, though, my instincts tell me Weis is safe...for now.

As for the Hokies, I won't go into any details but I am surprised Georgia Tech pulled out the victory last week. Hats off to Paul Johnson as he has shown that the traditional option-based offense is not dead in the modern era.

So what did those two losses mean for the friendly competition between my associate and I? The ultimate swing weekend turned into quite the swing as my poor showing evened up our season records at 10-3 apiece.

Cumulative point differentials are a lousy -101 for myself and a more respectable -50 for Justin.

With no other games picked differently through the close of the season Justin and I will find ourselves battling for the cumulative point differential tie-breaker. Of course, 'winning' this competition is about as meaningful as points in a Whose Line Is It Anyway show.

Virginia Tech has a bye this weekend so the only game I find myself interested in is ND vs. BC. One of the esteemed mutual friends of Stars and Slights, Cassie, is a BC alum so bragging rights are certainly at stake.

Domers often remark that this game means more to BC than it does to ND. While the statement is mostly true it ignores the fact that the Eagles have had ND's number the past six consecutive times the schools have met in the "Holy War."

I mentioned earlier that Charlie Weis' job is safe for now. If he wants some insurance he had best beat the Eagles this weekend.

BC has been a case of Jekyll and Hyde this season with moments of brilliance and others or utter disappointment. They've delivered and received blowouts and, with the Irish secondary reeling from another letdown, I suspect this could be a high scoring game.

In the end I think Clausen will be too much for the Eagles. Their poor pass rush will not be able to put enough pressure on him to force turnovers like they did last year at Chestnut Hill.

On Friday night the Irish and Eagles face-off on the ice at the JACC. Even though the hockey season is young this is a very important game in terms of selection for the NCAA tournament.

Go Irish, beat Eagles!

*Note - our thoughts and prayers go out to former BC linebacker Mark Herzlich who is battling the fiercest opponent of his life: cancer. While we don't cheer for the same athletic teams it's safe to say we cheer for the same medical teams. Go Mark, beat cancer!

College Football Quick Picks: Week 8

My season record currently stands at 25-20 after a 4-1 mark last week. It's an off-week for the Hokies so I've got a lot of football watching on my hands, starting with a Corning East-West game tomorrow night if I'm to believe Alan Brown.

There are quite a few match ups I'm interested in watching this weekend, including Notre Dame-Boston College which I'm sure we'll be hearing about from Brian. Of course I've already picked that game in our head-to-head match up.

Florida State @ North Carolina

The Thursday night game gives us ACC teams both in desperate need of a conference win. the Seminoles are 0-3 in ACC play and just 2-4 overall while Carolina is 0-2 in conference but a reasonable 4-2 overall. I've got a weird feeling about this one. Most people would go with Carolina at home, but I'm thinking FSU because Christian Ponder has put together a marvelous season. Ponder has 1781 yards and 9 touchdowns against just 1 interception.

Florida State Wins

No. 12 Georgia Tech @ Virginia

Georgia Tech goes for an ACC sweep of the Commonwealth. The Wahoos have rebounded from their 0-3 open to the season and actually lead the ACC Coastal division with a 2-0 record. Georgia Tech doesn't want any screw-ups following the upset over the Hokies last weekend. The folks in Blacksburg of course desperately need a loss by the Ramblin' Wreck. Will it happen?

Virginia Wins

South Florida @ No. 20 Pittsburgh

B.J. Daniels has been a solid fill-in for the injured Matt Grothe at USF, but Pitt has been solid all season long.

Pittsburgh Wins

No. 13 Penn State @ Michigan

Call me a naysayer but I still think Penn State is overrated. As long as Tate Forcier is healthy I think the Wolverines have a shot at home.

Michigan Wins

Wake Forest @ Navy

A rematch of last year's regular season and bowl game for these teams, this is an interesting game. Riley Skinner is playing well for Wake, but Ricky Dobbs runs Navy's offense very efficiently. I like both of my teams so this is a tough call.

Navy Wins

No. 8 TCU @ No. 16 BYU

I haven't heard much about this monumental clash of the mid-majors. BYU got schooled at home in their only loss to a bad Florida State team. TCU is playing strong.

TCU Wins

Monday, October 19, 2009

Band Of The Day: Tegan & Sara

I finally decided that since our song's of the day more often than not end up featuring multiple songs, it should become more of a profile of bands. Of course, this time I'm only posting one song so it's a work in progress.

Last night I became enamored as many have with Tegan & Sara, indie rock sisters from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

I downloaded and listened to an early leak of their new album Sainthood and I'm hooked. Not having heard any of their other stuff, I'm not yet sure how it relates to the girl's older material but I'll be sure to look into it.

The girls are pictured above with Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie, who along with Howard Redekopp produced the album.

I admittedly have a soft spot for female vocalists as you'll see with the next female-fronted band I'll spotlight soon.

There's some really cool instrumentation going on with the Quin sisters though in addition to their lovely vocals.

The song featured here is their new single, "Hell". It's extremely catchy and driven by a tasty little synth riff and nice guitars. Very catchy hook too albeit with a slightly unorthodox delivery which I particularly like.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Heartbreak in South Bend and Atlanta

Not having the chance to consult my associate yet I am going out on a limb and proclaiming he is also feeling a bit down after the unfolding of games on the gridiron yesterday. It is somewhat ironic that South Bend, the current home of the College Football Hall of Fame, and Atlanta, the future home of the College Football Hall of Fame, were the sites of much disarray for Justin and I this weekend.

More to come on these two games later in the week. For now, though, it is time to move on and wear thick skin.

Go Hokies. Go Irish.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


In seven hours from now the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football will once again resume. As always, high stakes and bragging rights are among the main storylines, though there are also rumblings of how important this game is for Charlie Weis' tenure. After all, he lacks a "signature win", has never beaten Southern Cal in four previous attempts, and has been embarrassed the past two seasons 76-3.

This isn't about Charlie, though. As pretentious as some make him out to be he has shunned all suggestions about how the outcome of this game will affect his job security.

Plain and simple: thus is for Notre Dame Nation and the hundreds of thousands of loyal fans who pine to defeat the western, non-Catholic version of our Lady's University.

It's time to put up or shut up. Last night at the pep rally there were recurring themes about earning respect, fighting war, and ending streaks (no more bowl losing streak, no more home losing streak to MSU, you get the picture).

I believe in this team and I have faith that everyone affiliated with the game this afternoon will have all energy focused on one thing and one thing alone: burying USC.

Let's go play some ball and see what our men, our fans, and the Notre Dame family are made of.

Go Irish, beat Trojans!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

College Football Quick Picks: Week 7

You can thank that man (Timmy Tebow) for an excellent win, and me having an above .500 record this past weekend.

I personally am a big fan of Tim Tebow, even though he's overly perfect and I constantly have to hear about it, I'm glad Urban Meyer didn't get his brain smashed in down in Baton Rouge.

My overall record is now 21-19 and creeping ever so slightly towards respectability.

There's an excellent slate of games this weekend, but two of them feature the Irish and the Hokies so I won't pick them. Though Virginia Tech will win this weekend as opposed to my preseason prediction. Gah tech is not who I thought they were...preseason predictions are stupid.

No. 8 Cincinnati @ No. 21 South Florida

The 'Nati is just too good offensively for anyone else in the Big East. Tony Pike is a great QB. USF is coming off a win over Florida State, but who hasn't beaten them lately?

Cincinnati Wins

No. 20 Oklahoma @ No. 3 Texas

As I recall, this rivalry game is still played at the Texas State Fair and the classic Cotton Bowl. My heart says I hope Oklahoma wins, but my brain is telling me as usual that Texas is too good. Should be a nice game.

Texas Wins

Minnesota @ No. 14 Penn State

I'm almost contractually obligated to pick one questionable upset per week and this time I look to Happy Valley. Penn State just isn't very good. They've got talent, but outside the Big Ten and their embarrassing non-conference slate, the Lions rarely play anyone capable of proving how mediocre they are. Minnesota and wideout Eric decker are quite capable.

Minnesota Wins

Virginia @ Maryland

I chose this game because it's so damn difficult to pick. Both these teams are in the midst of miserable seasons that may well see both Al Groh and Ralph Friedgen unemployed at seasons end. UVA has won two in a row over really bad teams though, so why not make it three?

Virginia Wins

No. 22 South Carolina @ No. 2 Alabama

This looks like a carbon copy of the Alabama-Ole Miss game last week. On paper it should be close, but reality for these two teams is quite different. If the game were at home for the Gamecocks I'd give them more of a shot, but 'Bama is on a roll and shouldn't falter at home.

Alabama Wins

So there are five picks. Remember to watch No. 25 Notre Dame and No. 6 USC at 3:30 on the Notre Dame Broadcasting Channel (NBC), then switch over to ESPN2 at 6pm to catch No. 4 Virginia Tech and No. 19 Georgia Tech.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

College Football Quick Picks: Week 6

Normally I would put off my picks until Thursday, but tomorrow I'll hit the road for the 500 mile ride down to Blacksburg for the Tech-Boston College game this weekend. As per the norm, I've packed nothing and done very little actual planning. All I know is I have a ticket to the game and a couch directly behind the stadium (in someone's apartment, I should stress that) so I'm good to go.

I'm excited needless to say. Boston College has proven to be much better than people would have thought and they always play the Hokies tough. I feel much better now that Matt Ryan is in Atlanta and not Lane Stadium.

Anyway, these picks will be very quick indeed because there are probably better uses of my time.

No. 21 Nebraska @ No. 24 Missouri

Mizzou is undefeated and looking very strong. Blaine Gabbert is an excellent quarterback. That said, I love Nebraska's defense led by Ndamukong Suh who is the best defensive lineman in America. Also Husker RB Roy Helu, Jr. sat out practice the other day after not feeling well, he should play Thursday night.

Nebraska Wins

No. 3 Alabama @ No. 20 Ole Miss

On paper this one looks close. It shouldn't be. Ole Miss was overrated and 'Bama is better than I had expected in preseason and I thought highly of them.

Alabama Wins

Wisconsin @ No. 9 Ohio State

This is my upset special. I'm still not sold on the Buckeyes and I've liked what I've seen from the Badgers. Probably not a smart pick, but a pick none the less.

Wisconsin Wins

No. 1 Florida @ No. 4 LSU

I'm told this is a big game. I like LSU from a fan perspective, but my analyst brain tells me they're overrated at the four spot. Should be a good game, but with or without Tim Tebow, Florida should be able to pull this one out.

Florida Wins

No. 22 Georgia Tech @ Florida State

Talk about a bad season. You know things are low in Tallahassee when there's talk of forcing out Bobby Bowden. He'll be around all season, and probably next year will be his swan song. GT struggles with speed and FSU will win one for ol' Bobby.

Florida State Wins

That's all I've got. Not a terrific slate of games this weekend so I only found 5 worthy of picking. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I'm a Real Boy Now Geppetto!

I know this post will stir the pot a bit, especially with my associate Justin, but I have to get this off of my chest and beg the question...

If Michael Vick finally became a person two weekends ago what exactly was he while he was in prison? Surely not a 'symbol' as the above caption suggests. 'Outcast' would be more fitting.

Moreover, if he wasn't a person in prison how was he one outside of it before he was sentenced to hard time?

I find it hard to believe that pre-prison dog-killing Vick was any different from in-prison dog-killing Vick. Maybe Michael Vick the person only existed during his college days or early pro years?

Regardless, the caption on the above picture made me laugh and frown at the same time when I read it.

Why does playing a professional football game make someone any more of a person than someone who has not? In times like this I find myself agreeing with the line of thinking that Americans place too much emphasis on athletics (especially professional), but I digress.

My feelings for Vick have been made clear before but don't get me wrong - I think it is great he is trying to move on with his life and put his past behind him.

As long as we don't have to hear him cry about it you won't hear me complain.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Brian vs. Justin - Week 5 CFB Predictions Tracker

Another week of perfection for my associate and I as both the Irish and the Hokies prevailed in bouts that were much closer than either team would have hoped.

ND squandered countless opportunities to put 7 on the board and instead settled for five field goals, which gave freshman kicker Nick Tausch a tie for the school record for most field goals in a game and most consecutive fields goals made (10) since 1995.

Jimmy Clausen had another outstanding game along with a little help from Golden Tate (second most receiving yards in school history with 244 yards). The real star(s) of the day was Jon Tenuta's defensive unit during three huge goaline stands in the second half with the Huskies threatening to put the game out of reach.

Robert Hughes scored the go-ahead game winner in OT to give Head Coach Charlie Weis his first OT victory in four attempts.

Virginia Tech's clash with Duke did not have nearly as exciting of a finish but the Blue Devils certainly kept things interesting by putting more points on the board (26) than the Hokies' prior two opponents, Nebraska and Miami (Fla), combined (21). While there a no moral victories it is safe to say the Dukies were pleasantly surprised to put so many points on the board against the Bud Foster led stout Hokies' defense.

For the season, Justin improved his record to 7-3 while I improved mine to 9-1. Justin took over the point differential lead as my lack of faith in the Blue Devils (go figure) caused me to undershoot by a wide margin.

The Fighting Irish are off this weekend as they gear up for the much anticipated matchup at home against USCl while the Hokies take on the Boston College Eagles, who are fresh off of a surprising win against the Florida State Seminoles.

You would know this if you checked out the tabs in the Google Doc below but my money is on VT in this one.

Week 5 Recap

Well I'm 5-2 this week and just an impressive finish by LSU away from 6-1. That was one of the most boring 20-14 games I've ever seen. Really brutal, physical football.

I didn't have a good feeling about the UVA-UNC pick. Virginia was poised to get out of their own way at some point. Carolina's offense is truly miserable. They won't win many more games without some production. Not more production mind you, any production. Hopefully that victory will help keep Al Groh around another season.

So my overall record now sits at 18-17. Still not very good but I think we can get on a roll now.

On a side note, The Notre Dame-Washington game was absolutely crazy, but the end of the broadcast really bothered me. Of course as we all know Jake Locker's (side note: I love me some Jake Locker) pass intended for D'Andre Goodwin at the last second was broken up by a sandwich-style hit from two Irish defenders. The hits were legal, I have no issue with that. It was just incredibly unfortunate that poor D'Andre was literally knocked stiff and the announcers barely made mention, instead choosing to focus on the Irish post game celebration. Granted Tom Hammond and Pat Haden are miserable announcers, I just thought that was a pretty inconsiderate move. Also, I don't think Jimmy Clausen really knows the words to his alma mater.

End rant.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Brian vs. Justin - Week 4 CFB Predictions Tracker

Another week passed us by and the only movement was on the point differential side of the competition.

Both Justin and I improved our records this past weekend. He advanced to 5-3 while I am sitting at 7-1 and a comfortable (for the time being) lead.

In terms of point differential we both narrowed our margins from the previous weeks. Justin improved to a+11 point differential while I somehow sit at only +2 points differential for the young year. A lot can obviously change in just one week as we were both around +20 last week.

As stated last week there is not much opportunity for separation in overall records until a few weekends from now. At the moment we're just waiting to see if we both made the right picks or completely missed the mark.

It's not likely that Duke will upset VT this weekend but hey, anything is possible. Not since the days of Steve Spurrier have the Devils been a threat to anyone. Will this weekend be any different? No. But the Blue Devils have something going for them: it's almost basketball season.

Notre Dame takes on a talented Washington Huskies team still struggling to define its identity. Which Huskies team will show up: the one that beat USC two weekends ago or the one that suffered a letdown vs. Stanford last weekend?

I'm hoping for the latter.

College Football Quick Picks: Week 5

So we need a big week this time around and there's a very solid slate of games starting with an interesting Thursday night match up. I will give fairly careful consideration this time around. I'll at least take more than the thirty-seconds per game I took last week.

Colorado @ West Virginia

This sounds like a cool match up when you read it, but these two teams are certainly falling short of their collective reputations. I watched Colorado look completely incompetent against Toledo a few weeks ago and while they seem to have righted the ship a bit, there's bad trouble in Boulder. By the same token, the Mountaineers are reeling a bit after a tough loss at Auburn in their last outing. I think they've found a solid QB in Jarrett Brown and they'll really dig deep in the playbook tonight.

West Virginia Wins

Virginia @ North Carolina

This one worries me. Neither team has any sort of offense whatsoever. the Cavaliers rank 113th in total yards while North Carolina is 106th. The final score in this one will probably be 10-6, and Carolina has a much better defense than the 'Hoos. What worries me is UVA considers UNC to be their "true" rival, probably because it's the only rival they can consistently beat. Since I was born in 1985 UVA is 18-5 against Carolina. With that said, this UVA team is really, really bad. This one will be close, no thanks to Al Groh.

North Carolina Wins

No. 4 LSU @ No. 18 Georgia

This is a very interesting match up. LSU is ranked a little too highly for my tastes. They have an excellent defense but I think their offense has some room for improvement. Georgia is flying under the radar somewhat as quarterback Joe Cox and wideout A.J. Green have developed a nice little rhythm. Home field is crucial and I like the hedges in this one by just a little bit.

Georgia Wins

No. 7 USC @ No. 24 California

After Cal thoroughly embarrassed themselves (and me for picking them) last week, I have a hard time justifying picking them again. Is that reason enough to pick against them? No, not really. I like Cal a lot. They have a classic stadium from 1923 that is still standing despite being built directly on top of the Hayward Fault (the fault line runs almost exactly from goalpost to goalpost). A 1998 seismic study considered the building and "appreciable life hazard" in the event of an earthquake. There's also a fine view of Strawberry Canyon from the stadium, which is just an awesome name. Man I like Cal.

USC Wins

No. 8 Oklahoma @ No. 18 Miami

After being thoroughly dressed down last weekend in Blacksburg, the media lovefest for Miami has died down to a whisper. The thing is, they're still good, they simply ran into a buzzsaw last time out. Oklahoma will still be without Sam Bradford, and while Landry Jones has played terrific for a freshman, he hasn't done it against any opponents of note. I like Miami to rebound at home in south Florida.

Miami Wins

Auburn @ Tennessee

Auburn has been impressive on offense and Tennessee has not. I actually like Lane Kiffin for some reason, but I don't think this first season is going to go particularly well. It hasn't hurt his recruiting though.

Auburn Wins

UCLA @ Stanford

This should be a good game. I like both of these teams, but I think Stanford has a few more weapons to work with (first time I've ever said that). It's shaping up to be a big season for the Cardinal.

Stanford Wins


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