Monday, October 2, 2023

SEC Classic Standings

Based on CBS Rankings:

1.  Georgia:  5-0
12.  Alabama:  4-1
16.  Mississippi:  4-1
18.  Kentucky:  5-0
22.  Tennessee:  4-1
29.  Louisiana St:  3-2
33.  Florida:  3-2
42.  Auburn:  3-2
59.  Mississippi St:  2-3
91.  Vanderbilt:  2-4

This Saturday's game at Georgia is probably the most important football game Kentucky has played in my lifetime.

Here are the leaders of other classic conferences:

ACC:  N. Carolina (14)
Big 10:  Michigan (2)
Big 8:  Oklahoma (11)
Southwest:  Texas (3)
Pac 10:  Washington (6)
Western Athletic:  Utah (21)

And here are the classic bowl matchups based on current rankings:

Rose:  Michigan (2) v. Washington (6)
Sugar:  Georgia (1) v. Ohio St (4)
Orange:  Oklahoma (11) v. Florida St. (5)
Cotton:  Texas (3) v. Penn St. (8)
Fiesta:  Oregon (7) v. Notre Dame (10)

Thursday, September 28, 2023


I'd never realized it until today, but George Blanda's Topps 1976 might get my vote for best football card of all time. Blanda was approaching 49 years old when this card was released that summer, and he ended up being waived into retirement by the Raiders before the regular season. So, for starters, it has his complete, tremendous professional-football record on the back ...

Even an 8-year-old kid like me in 1976 could not have read the statistics had Topps gone to a smaller point size on the record, in order to squeeze in some cartoon and/or anecdote on the back--such as this one from his 1972 card ...

I think I actually read that autobiography. I know I read Ken Stabler's, and I think I might've also read George Blanda's--or at least most of it before mistakenly leaving it behind in the backseat of a cab riding home from a post-Natalie Merchant 10,000 Maniacs performance around Washington in the late 1990s. But, back to the card, ...

The picture is just dynamite. As a kid, of course, Blanda looked ancient, and, now, he looks so virile and defiant. (Which is how he apparently went out--"I just want to get out of here now," he's quoted as saying in the Associated Press report of his slipping out of the locker room quietly and without any sort of press conference on August 25.) I also love it that there's nothing in the picture that makes it look more like Blanda is part of a football game than he is waiting on his fillup at a self-serve Sunoco or Phillips 76 on a chilly evening.

The card also brings up a couple of questions for me about Blanda. He was from Illinois; how'd he end up playing at the University of Kentucky? (I have some ideas on this, but I've also read a book about Joe Namath, and I think I might be mashing into Blanda's story some of Namath's story about considering going to Kentucky before ending up at Alabama.) And Blanda was born in 1927 and went to college and made money by playing football; did he ever slide into self-doubts around leading a more frivolous life than the people just slightly older than him who dropped out of school to go fight in World War II and came home if they were fortunate to scrape out a living doing actual-tough-guy jobs like construction? I'm not saying that Blanda should've been embarrassed about the life he lived; I'm just saying that is very definitely a thing for some people, and I wonder where Blanda came down in those mysteries.

Anyway, lots of stuff to think about in 1976 Topps No. 355. It's quite a relic of the United States into which we were born.

Today's date, Sept. 28, was a Tuesday in 1976. In my young-man pretend from this time, I'm checking out of Dallas this morning after watching the Cowboys outlast the Colts, 30-27, a couple of days ago. We're three weeks in to the NFL season, and here are the standings ...

28 Sep 1976, Tue Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas)

On to somewhere. Haven't decided yet. Could be Rams at Dolphins, but pretend me just saw Los Angeles. Could be Raiders at Patriots, but that's a long haul up to Foxboro. Probably should be Steelers at Vikings for Monday night, but pretend me just got out of Minnesota. Should've planned better.

MLB Update

The regular season ends on Sunday.  The Braves have clinched the NL East and a spot in the National League Divisional Series.  The Dodgers have clinched the NL West and a spot in the NL Divisional Series.  The Brewers have clinched the NL Central and will play in the Wild Card Round.  The Phillies will be in the Wild Card Round.  That leaves two more Wild Card slots to be decided.  Four teams are battling for those slots:

Arizona:  84-74
Miami:  82-76
Chicago:  82-76
Cincinnati:  81-78
San Diego:  79-80

The rest of the NL (Giants, Pirates, Mets, Cardinals, Nationals, Rockies) has been eliminated.

In the American League, the Twins have a mediocre record (85-73), but they have clinched the very weak AL Central.  They will be in the Wild Card Round.

The Orioles and Devil Rays have clinched playoff spots, but they are still battling for the AL East title:

Baltimore:  99-59
Tampa Bay:  97-62

One of them will get the AL East (and a spot in the AL Divisional Series), while the other will go into the Wild Card Round.

Three teams are battling for the AL West:

Texas:  89-69
Houston:  87-72
Seattle:  85-73

One of them will get the AL West (and a sport in the AL Divisional Series).  At least one of the others will be in the Wild Card Round.

The Blue Jays are 87-71, and will probably edge out Seattle for the last Wild Card spot.

The rest of the AL (Yankees, Red Sox, Guardians, Tigers, Angels, White Sox, Royals, Athletics) has been eliminated.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Best of 1992 MixTape


Turns out 1992 was a very good year for music I still listen to today.  Tori Amos came out with her debut album.  Sade put out her best album.  K.D. Lang splashed on the scene with a brilliant album.  10,000 Maniacs came out with their last album.  All in all it was a fun year. 

20. Release Me by Miki Howard
19. Galileo by Indigo Girls
18. Secret Garden by Madonna
17. Miss Chatelaine by K.D. Lang
16. China by Tori Amos
15. People Everyday by Arrested Development
14. Success Has Made a Failure of Our Home by Sinead O'Connor
13. Precious Things by Tori Amos
12. Bullet Proof Soul by Sade
11. A Letter to Elise by The Cure
10. Silent All These Years by Tori Amos
9. Moments of Love by Cathy Dennis
8. Still Thrives This Love by K.D. Lang
7. Kiss of Life by Sade
6. Found Out About You by Gin Blossoms
5. How Insensitive by Sinead O'Connor
4. Ain't Nobody Like You by Miki Howard
3. Falling by Cathy Dennis
2. Fascination - Live by Everything But the Girl
1. Jezebel by 10,000 Maniacs

NFL Week 4

Here's the current top 10 from ESPN:

1.  San Francisco:  3-0
2.  Miami:  3-0
3.  Philadelphia:  3-0
4.  Kansas City:  2-1
5.  Buffalo:  2-1
6.  Dallas:  2-1
7.  Baltimore:  2-1
8.  Detroit:  2-1
9.  Cleveland:  2-1
10.  Seattle:  2-1

Washington (2-1) fell from number 12 to number 17.

I'm pretty sure that this is the last weekend before byes start.  It's certainly the last weekend before the baseball playoffs.  And we have some good games.  The Game of the Week -- possibly the Game of the Year -- will take place at noon Central on Sunday, with the number-5 Bills hosting the number-2 Dolphins.  I may actually switch off the Red Zone and just watch that game.  The other top ten matchup is also a noon Central Sunday game:  we have the number-9 Browns hosting the number-7 Ravens.  The Ravens just lost to the Colts -- who used to be in Baltimore.  Now they go to Cleveland -- where they were before going to Baltimore.  So, maybe I'll have to be on the Red Zone anyway so I can track both games.

OK, now what to do about the Survivor Pool.  It's a challenging week.  I've already used the Chiefs, so they're off the list.  The 49ers are huge favorites over the Cardinals, but the Cardinals just beat Dallas last week.  Dallas is a pretty big favorite over the Patriots, but Dallas isn't trustworthy.  So I'm going with the Eagles at home against Washington.  Washington usually plays hard in Philadelphia, and this is often a very entertaining game, but I think the Eagles are really good, and I don't think they'll let Washington sneak up on them this year.

Prior Survivor picks:

1.  Baltimore 25 - 9 Houston
2.  Buffalo 38 - 10 Oakland
3.  Kansas City 41 - Chicago