To: Shred Torn, Re: your lack of knowledge of your home state

Is one of these Massengill Award winners actually Shred Torn?

Is one of these Massengill Award winners actually Shred Torn?

Shred, I appreciate your love of your home state. It’s worth noting that I have lived all over this country and chose West Virginia as the place I wanted to settle. Whereas, you grew up in the filthy swill of Jerseytown and then opted to move to the city, joining the legions of people who will go to extremes to live there instead of New Jersey. While I’m also not a fan of New York City, I can certainly appreciate how the city would be better than Jersey.

I’d also like to address your unfounded claims about “To Catch a Predator.” First, almost no research was required to discover that “To Catch a Predator” was first filmed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And, in the history of that show, only one West Virginian has been arrested. He was an art teacher from West Virginia and an embarrassment to our great state. As horrible as that is, there was actually, not one, but two episodes of that show based in New Jersey because there were so many pedophiles in that Eurotrash, disease-breeder of a state that one hour wasn’t enough. Twenty eight people were arrested in New Jersey. But, I will grant you that New Jersey has the 11th largest population of any state, making it somewhat understandable that statistically speaking, it might take several shows to capture all of their predators. Maybe more shame is owned by the sad state of Kentucky, who has seen 29 people arrested on that show.

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Al’s Predictions for Week 14 in College Football and Some Lessons Learned

Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I learned a lot over the Thanksgiving weekend. Here are just a few of the things I learned:

  1. Making turkey gravy from scratch is a lot easier than it appears.
  2. Using a hand-mixer to make mashed potatoes is not a good idea.
  3. Never predict that the winner of an ACC vs. SEC game is going to be an ACC team—unless they’re playing Vanderbilt and even then, it’s not a lock.
  4. Butch Davis apparently visits Tom O’Brien before the UNC State game each year and gives him the Tar Heel play book (not that anyone one outside of Tobacco Road cares but that just burns me up—just like the loss to Virginia did).
  5. Lou Holtz is weird. After what Notre Dame did to him, he should be crowing over how bad they are instead of joining the rest of the media in their mellow mushroom foray to discuss the Irish as if they’re still relevant.

So, here we are at week 14 and I’m kind of sad. This will be my last regular season college football game prediction post for 2009. But fear not, I will be predicting the outcomes of as many bowl games as I can and then I’ll be ready to take on the college basketball season (which I might start doing before bowl season). Also, if I can keep away from Big 10 fans that make cement shoes, I’ll be back next season.

Coach Jim Leavitt's South Florida team is playing in Al's game of the season.

Coach Jim Leavitt's South Florida team is playing in Al's game of the season.

This is one of the most exciting final regular season weeks I can remember. We have several conference championship games and the one game that everyone feels is the real national championship game: South Florida vs. Connecticut. Okay, just kidding. Anyway, you know the rules. Winners are in bold and the rankings are based on the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll—mainly because that’s the easiest way for me to do this. I would like to apologize to the EJSIC for not using their polls, but using mass media polls allows me to be snarkier (and whinier).

Thursday’s game

No. 16 Oregon State at No. 7 Oregon. I really think that Thursday is the new Saturday for football. There have been some superb matchups this season and another exciting one’s on tap for tonight. Interestingly, I never thought, in all my years as a sports fan, that I’d ever write that I was excited about Oregon State versus Oregon. In fact, if you had interviewed me at the beginning of this season and told me that I’d be looking forward to a PAC 10 game that didn’t involve the possibility of USC’s being upset, I would have laughed you out of my office. But here it is—the Beavers and the Ducks battling it out for a chance to annihilate play Ohio State in the Rose Bowl and I can’t wait. The Ducks are playing at home, so I think they’ll win this one, but it might not be pretty and it certainly won’t be a blowout. Continue reading

2009-10 Top 10 with Midnight Madness updates

It’s on!

The 2009-10 season is officially underway. What does that mean for you? Lots of idiotic sportswriters telling you things that you know aren’t true. The great news for you is… we’re better than them.

With that, I’ve updated the official pre-season top 10 with links to stories about their Midnight Madness event.

Live look in at Oklahoma's Midnight Madness, still in progress!

Live look in at Oklahoma's Midnight Madness, still in progress!

In some cases, there are even some links to the recruits they had in attendance and what those recruits thought of the visit.

You’ll notice I did no special, first-hand reporting. I wanted to, but apparently no program in the US is going to let this humble blog writer near their Midnight Madness event unless I buy a ticket. And even then, they aren’t going to let me interview their recruits.

So, you’re stuck with the biased crap that always appears following a visit. You know, like when Duke fans start telling everyone that so and so is a lock (see: Brandan Wright, Greg Monroe, Patrick Patterson, Brandon Knight) and then go so far as to write them into their future lineups using pen (see: Kyrie Irving and Harrison Barnes). I guess what I’m getting at is that none of the links below are trustworthy and you should only trust EJSIC for your sports information.

You can see how this is a horrible circle of events where nobody wins.

The 2009-10 Top Ten:
1. Villanova
2. Kansas
Recruits, off-court problems, but more problems keep popping up (here’s a hint, try running a clean program) , and top pick in less informed polls
3. Michigan State
Recruits and likely upcoming commitment
4. UNC
Recruiting photos, Recruiting targets , National Champion Evaluation, and Jeff Martin of FoxSports makes an ass of himself (he should have listened to us)
5. Kentucky
Pictures, Recruits and 7 recruits in attendance
6. Oklahoma
7. Texas
8. By God, West Virginia
9. Connecticut
Recruits, big verbal by beating out Drake, and they get the lesser of two Lambs
10. Purdue

West Virginia Outdoor Report 10/2/09

Deer at Jose's house in West Virginia

Deer at Jose's house in West Virginia

As we creep into October, the temperatures have really dropped out. It’s been in the 40s most mornings and in the 60s in the afternoons. The water temperature in the river has dropped and it’s a little uncomfortable to wade out and go fishing.

The deer have also been a little more active. I’ve seen a lot of large deer driving around in the mountains. There are some nice bucks and the largest bucks have been hanging around with the does. This year’s fawns have almost lost all of their spots and, the most exciting development this past week is that the females are in estrous.

They pee all around in the woods and the smell is unmistakable. It’s the sort of smell that makes most people wrinkle their nose. But gets a hunter’s blood pumping. I’m really excited for the season opener on October 17th. They’re already in rut and that should continue through to mid November maybe.

As for fishing, the bass have definitely moved to fall feeding patterns at this point. I’ve not been having as much luck on topwater lures lately. But lures like large spinners or medium sized rooster tails have been getting fish to the bank pretty regularly. I haven’t had much luck fishing the middle of the river or deep holes anymore. I’ve been getting more hits in shallow water around lots of structure.

And, if hunting and fishing isn’t your thing. Go hiking and camping. The leaves of the paw paws and alders have started turning bright yellow. The oaks, maples, and sycamores are still green but should start turning any day now. The Appalachian region offers some of the best fall foliage in the country. Life is short – and you won’t see a fall like this again until next year.

Camping in this weather is the most pleasant outdoor experience you can ask for. You don’t wake up baking in your tent. It gives you an excuse to cuddle up a little closer to whomever you take with you (unless you’re just friends). And of course, cool crisp nights are much better for viewing the stars than warm humid ones. So get out, enjoy what West Virginia (or your lesser state) has to offer.

Oh, and be patient – don’t poach.

West Virginia shows Oregon up

A great university.

A great university.

Oregon has been a terrible football team for years, BUT the jerseys have been even worse. The jerseys are so bad that ESPN insists on showing them. They’re the only terrible team that has been given any TV time and it has to be because of their uniforms. This media flurry has landed them some decent recruits and for the first time in school history, the crappy Ducks don’t look soft and welcoming.

West Virginia, after losing Rich Rodriguez, is apparently desperate. And not desperate in a good way – like when you try extra hard and do everything twice as much to try to get the results you want. Desperate in a way that leads you down a path of gimmicks.

West Virginia has decided that playing the game in dandelion costumes will be a good solution to their problems. Mother fucking dandelions. Or is it Dandy Lions? I’m so embarrassed, and I go to school there.

It’s like watching the sun play football. Or a little kid’s raincoat play football. Or 11 squashes.

As if the Wild and Wonderful State is a team of super awesome bananas. Or sticks of butter. Or canaries. Or Cheese. Or baby chickens. Or corn. Or lemons.

Those uniforms are awful. The team is awesome. Let’s leave goofy looking uniforms to Oregon and let West Virginia’s greatness speak for itself.

West Virginia Outdoor Report 9/17/09

Deer at Jose's house in West Virginia

Deer at Jose's house in West Virginia

I’ve been out fishing this week and I need to tell you, there aren’t any fish in West Virginia.  And, I’ve caught fish in the past. 

I’ve caught LOTS of fish in the past. 

I only say that because I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about my fishing abilities.  I’ve caught nice fish before, but this past week, the water has been really low and the only thing biting are mosquitoes.  Well, and some larger animals, but I think I’ll save that for the hunting update, because the other wildlife bites I’ve suffered this week were in the deer stand.  But, I digress.

So, there are arguably no fish in West Virginia but the only way all of the fish could disappear would be some sort of supernatural occurrence.  The jury’s still out on that one.  But that would explain the other mysterious anomaly I’ve seen this past week.  Some sort of strange creatures keep jumping out of the water.

So, remember, while things are slow in West Virginia, they’re worse elsewhere.  West Virginia gets a bad wrap for being a pretty backwards place because of the incest and poor performance on standardized tests, but those things are biased anyway.  And, let’s not forget that Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky are still in the US, thus protecting West Virginia from the “inglorious” distinction of being the slowest state. 

The other thing that might be slowing my catch rate is that Monday the 14th marked the first day of a week long archery season for antlerless deer on private land, so I’ve spent a lot of my time in the tree stand trying to get a look at a doe.  Now, as I mentioned above, I’ve spent days, weeks, probably even years of my life in a tree stand and never been bit by an animal.  So, by God, if I wasn’t bit by two different animals on the same day.  Ladies, no need to worry, I don’t think I have rabies.

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