Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Don’t Root For Your Team To Lose

Today, I’m writing about the Pittsburgh Steelers and specifically about Steelers fans wanting the team to lose. Look, I get it. Even with the Monday night win over the Colts, the team is below average this year, and Steelers fans aren’t used to losing. Even in down years over the last 15-20 years, the team is almost always at or above .500 and battling for a playoff spot. Because the team isn’t going to make the playoffs this year, there is a fairly significant portion of the fanbase who want the Steelers to lose to improve their draft pick. In the NFL, this is just ridiculous. 

“Tanking” for the top draft pick makes some sense in the NBA where one player makes a huge difference with only five players on the court per team at a time. LeBron James, Tim Duncan, and Anthony Davis were all top picks while Ja Morant and Kevin Durant went 2nd overall. In football, one player (outside the quarterback position) generally doesn't make a huge difference on a team's performance. For the sake of argument, let's say that tanking for the top QB is somewhat acceptable since that position really does impact a team. However, even the #1 overall pick isn't a guarantee of success. For every Joe Burrow and Peyton Manning, there's Sam Bradford, JaMarcus Russell, and Baker Mayfield. How did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, and LA Rams fare based on their picks of Jameis Winston, Kyler Murray, and Jared Goff respectively? With the top pick, you expect Hall of Famers or at a minimum consistent Pro Bowl and/or playoff appearances.  

So if the #1 pick has mixed results, what happens when you get later in the first round? Is there really a significant difference historically between the #6 pick and the #9 pick? The Steelers drafted Troy Polamalu at #16, Cameron Heyward at #31, David DeCastro at #24, and T.J. Watt at #30. It's about the player, the evaluation/scouting by the team, and the development by both the player and coaching staff. And yes, I understand that there are 7 rounds of the draft, but again, the players drafted at #125 and #129 are going to be right around the same level.

Let's get back to this year's Steelers team. The Steelers are starting a rookie quarterback in Kenny Pickett. Traditionally, rookie quarterbacks in the NFL perform poorly. Peyton Manning had 26 touchdowns in his first year, but also had 28 interceptions on a 3-13 team. Troy Aikman went winless in his starts with 9 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Josh Allen went 5-6 with 10 touchdowns compared to 12 interceptions. Patrick Mahomes played in one game his rookie year while Aaron Rodgers only threw 59 passes over his first 3 NFL seasons. Comparably, Pickett has performed pretty well. According to Alan Saunders of Steelers Now, Pickett's 88.5 Pro Football Focus grade on Monday night was the highest for a Steelers QB since Bg Ben in week 10 of the 2018 season. Pickett seems to be improving each week and gaining confidence too. Is he going to make mistakes over the next few weeks? Of course. He's a rookie quarterback. You want him to gain experience and learn from mistakes and situations. So why are there Steelers fans out there watching Pickett and the game and hoping that he and therefore the team fails? You would think that Steelers fans hope that he succeeds and that carries over to next season where the Steelers can draft an immediate starter no matter where the team picks in the first round in 2023.

I'm going to continue rooting for the Steelers to win this year. I'm going to root for T.J. Watt and George Pickens and Alex Highsmith and Minkah Fitzpatrick and the entire team because I'm a Steelers fan. Stop hoping for the #7 draft pick instead of the #10 pick. It's a silly argument and discussion. And that's my hill I'm willing to die on.

You can see more of my "Hills I'm Willing To Die On" posts here.

Photos by Karl Roser/Pittsburgh Steelers

Friday, November 25, 2022

Hello Columbus

The Ohio State University football team faces the University of Michigan Wolverines on Saturday in a battle between the #2 and #3 teams in the college football rankings. So this seems like a perfect time to share my experiences visiting Columbus and attending the Ohio State-Arkansas State September...two months ago! 

For some background, I attended grad school at Ohio State and went to most of the home football games while I was there. I consider myself a Buckeyes fan, though I don't go out of my way to watch each game now. The team went 6-6 and 8-4 in my two years in Columbus. While this record might be fine in some places, this was unacceptable at Ohio State resulting in the firing of coach John Cooper, and I received emails about the coaching search process. The November 18th, 2000 game against Michigan (where the Buckeyes lost and I got hit in the back of the head by a Sprite bottle because someone was trying to hit a Michigan fan and missed) was the last time I attended an Ohio State football game. In addition, the last time I visited Columbus was for a friend's wedding when The Moose was only a few months old. He's 11 now.

For a few years, my grad school friends and I discussed having a reunion. It finally came together over the summer when we agreed to buy group tickets for a football game. Ohio State tickets are EXPENSIVE! There are no discounts for group sales. We got 20 tickets in groups of 2 and 3 several rows apart but all in the same section. My seats with The Moose and Pedro Tulo were located in the last row of the stadium. With only bleachers, the positive is that we were able to lean back against the wall. The negative is that The Moose is not a big fan of heights. When we went to Toronto this summer, he had no interest in going up the CN Tower. While I knew he didn't like heights, I didn't realize that he really didn't like heights, and I had no idea we were in the last row when we purchased tickets. He ended up being okay though he asked several times when we were leaving which was completely unlike him at a sporting event, and we walked down the steps very slowly when exiting the stadium in the fourth quarter.

* The Ohio State band is awesome. I can watch them do Script Ohio for days. They also performed a "karaoke" medley, so my friends who are Pitt fans will appreciate that they played Sweet Caroline.

* Switching away from football, while I didn't have the chance to show my kids everything I wanted to in Columbus, getting ice cream at Graeter's was a must. So good!

* Back to football, OSU wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Jr. is really, really good. He had 7 catches for 184 yards and 3 touchdowns in the game.

* Wearing an Art Schlichter jersey is a bold move. For those of you not familiar with Schlichter, he was a 4-year starting quarterback at Ohio State before getting drafted #4 overall by the Baltimore Colts in 1982. He was a massive gambler well before sports gambling became legal and got suspended by the NFL. He has been in and out of jail throughout his post-NFL career and was just in the news again last month. Again, quite the bold move to wear his jersey.

* We had brunch before we left Columbus at The Original Pancake House. The waiter made a mistake with the order and gave The Moose an order of hash browns and eggs and buckeye pancakes. He had absolutely no chance to finish the massive amount of food!

Overall, the trip was fantastic. It was great seeing friends from grad school and meeting some of their family members for the first time. I hadn't seen most of them in over 20 years. I also stayed with and saw friends that I've known since elementary school and earlier. It's nice to reconnect with people from your past and who have known you for years. Oh, I also met some hedgehogs, so I'll give a plug to the Handful of Hedgies Facebook group for hedgehog rescue and services in central Ohio.

Go Bucks! Beat Michigan!

Sunday, November 20, 2022

2022 World Cup Predictions

The 2022 men's World Cup begins on Sunday, November 20th. That's today if you're reading this shortly after this post has been posted. I wrote a full preview of the 2018 World Cup four years ago, which was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to put together such interesting facts as the lightest and heaviest players and identifying players named after food this year. I highly recommend checking out that post though. It might be one of the best things I've ever done on this blog. The Thorgan and Eden Hazard joke alone is worth it! Anyway, this year, I decided to ask some friends for their predictions and thoughts on the games.

Matt - Pittsburgh Riverhounds' Director of Communications

Josh - Founder of Josh's World and always up to participate in any of my collaborative blog posts.

The Moose - My 11 year old son

John - Big Croatia fan.

Sean - That's me. Hi! I write this Sean's Ramblings blog and recently applied (again) for media credentials for the Oscars.

Mike - One of regulars on one of my favorite podcasts, Owls Americast. It's a podcast for Sheffield Wednesday fans.

Nick - My brother. He decided to add his own questions and predictions at the end.

Justin - Another Owls Americast regular who you can regularly find at an ice rink.

Matt Gatjka - A jack of all trades. He calls hockey and soccer games and is a certified golf fitness specialist.

1. Who will win the World Cup?

Matt - It seems like the South American powers are the trendy pick, but I'm going to go out on a limb with a repeat for France. I know they bombed out the last time they were defending champs in '02, but with the attacking firepower they have, they're never going to be out of a game.

Josh - U-S-A! U-S-A!!!! Wait, is this men or women?

The Moose - I think France will win the World Cup

John - Belgium.  Yes, I know I tweeted earlier this week that Belgium would underachieve again this year.  I'm still picking Belgium.

Sean - Argentina. It will be a storybook ending to Messi's international career.

Mike - Argentina...Despite being ready for the all North American final that the world wants to see, it'll probably be a European giant who already has multiple stars on their crest. But let's be romantic: Argentina beats Brazil in the most watched final in history.

Nick - Brazil

Justin - No clue - most open tournament since 2006. Gun to my head I'll say the Germans surprise. (Sean's note: Do the Germans ever surprise?)

Matt G. - The Netherlands hasn't lost a match since (literally) last year, and I live in the Dutch bubble of West Michigan now, so I'll go with it. Oranje! Also, they'll throw in a heartbreaking defeat of the USA in the Round of 16 just to rub it in.

2. In the 2018 World Cup, 6 of the 8 quarter finalists were European teams. How many teams from Europe will reach this year's quarterfinals? 

Matt - I'll say 5 European teams, 2 South American and one Asian team make up the quarters — I liked Senegal making a run out of Group A until the Mané injury news

Josh - I am confused, why are there teams from England, Wales, and Scotland? If they just combined as UK, would they dominate? Oh, sorry to answer the question...5.

The Moose - 5 teams

John - I have five, plus two South American and one African.  For the record, none of the five are Croatia.  I am now banned from eating stuffed cabbage for the next 4 years.

Sean - 5. I really want to go with 3 or 4, but I don't see that happening.

Mike - Five. See above. I suppose that's France, Germany, and Italy. add Spain and England, and either the Netherlands or Belgium. This is where someone will go look at the groups and the brackets and tell me why that combination is impossible.

Nick - 5 - Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, England and Denmark

Justin - 5

Matt G. - I'll go with four Europeans teams in the quarters this time around. Two from South America, one from Asia, one from Africa. (Sean's note: This is the first prediction that isn't 5. Hooray!)

3. How far will the United States advance during this tournament?

Matt - Sadly, I'm not as bullish as some on the U.S. team. They're inexperienced at this level and a bit tactically naïve, so I think they get bounced from the group stage but learn some good lessons for the Aaronson/Adams/Pulisic generation to take into 2026 on home soil.

Josh - All the way! I actually have no clue how this works. It is not like a March Madness-style single elimination tournament, right? They do weird pool play. I do not know, they will advance just far enough that people will get sort of excited, and then lose to Benin.

The Moose - I think the United States will make it to the quarterfinals.

John - They'll finish second in their group and lose in the first knockout round.

Sean - I think they get out of the group stage, but lose in the round of 16.

Mike - Finish 3rd in group. The all North American final that the world wants to see is Canada and Mexico.

Nick - Hoping they make it out of the group stage.  Truthfully I think they will be knocked out by goal differential and Wales will advance.

Justin - Round of 16.

Matt G. - I spoiled this a couple of questions ago, but the USA will advance for the first time since 2010 -- actually just two World Cup appearances ago, but it sounded dramatic -- by drawing both Wales and England, then beating Iran. I'm actually semi-excited about this group, if only because we're young and you can always dream on young teams. Also, the expectations aren't high at all. I don't remember being this carefree about a USA team at the men's World Cup for as long as I've been watching. Feels like a recipe for a little bit of success. But they'll lose in the Round of 16.

4. Who will be the World Cup's top goal scorer?

Matt - Leo Messi and Cody Gakpo — both are drawn into groups where they can pump in some goals and advance, so I'm predicting a swan song and a coming-out party to be joint top scorers.

Josh - I would say Kylian Mbappe is probably the best bet to win the coveted Golden Boot. I totally cheated and looked up best odds, and took the guy with a cool name.

The Moose - Neymar

John - This one is tough, I think... I'm going to take an aging Lionel Messi.

Sean - In 2018, Harry Kane won the Golden Boot with 6 goals, but I'm pretty sure that 4 of those came from the penalty spot. That seems like cheating. Since I have Argentina winning it all, I'm picking Messi since he's going to be the one taking penalty kicks.

Mike - Logic...the player who kicks PKs for the team that relies on PKs to win and will make a deep run. So it's Alex Morgan. (Or Harry Kane - but everyone picks Harry Kane.) Karim Benzema because France will make a run and he was unstoppable in the UCL and Sean just told me he's injured. Just put me down for Neymar.

Nick - Vinicius Jr.

Justin - Messi

Matt G. - If the Dutch are to win their first World Cup, someone like exciting winger Cody Gakpo will likely lead the attack. I'll say he gets the Golden Boot with six goals in seven matches. (He already scored in the opening match vs. Senegal, so this is totally cheating.)

5. The World Cup in Qatar is taking place in November and December because it would be too hot for matches played there during the traditional June and July timeframe. Qatar is still a warm place. What will be the highest temperature recorded during a World Cup match?

Matt -  I'm going to say 91. It'll be warm, but not stiflingly so for most of the tournament.

Josh - Qatar is still a warm place. What will be the highest temperature recorded during a World Cup match? 95.3

The Moose - I think the high will be 91

John -  91 (I have a better chance of getting this right than maybe any of the others!)

Sean - 88 just so that I can say Muuuuuuuuuuuth!

Mike - 80 degrees...but what's the question? Temperature on the field during a match? Temperature for that city during a match? Trick doesn't matter. It's not the heat, it's the humidity. In 2019, World Athletics held their Championship in Doha in October. I remember it being bad, but not awful inside the stadium (which will also host WC matches). They did run marathons on the roads. Twenty-six miles starting just before midnight. 86 degrees and 70% humidity for the women. 18 men and 28 women didn't finish their respective races...but that was midnight in October. So if I math that out to December: 80 degrees

Nick - Going with at least one match that hits 104.

Justin - 88 degrees Fahrenheit

Matt G. - Looks like temps are going to be lingering in the 80s at midday for the next couple of weeks, so I'll say 87 degrees will be the hottest. Which reminds me I was just playing golf in shorts less than two weeks ago, only to dig out nearly two feet of snow last weekend. Good time to hunker down in front of the tube!

6. Better joke subject: Referring to the country Wales as whales or singing "I Ran" by A Flock of Seagulls for any mention of Iran?

Matt - Not Ghana go there. (Sean's note: This is the winner!)

Josh - And I ran, I ran so far away...

The Moose - Stop it, Dad!

John - Look at those two fat English ladies over there.
- Wales.
- Look at those two English whales over there.

Sean - Definitely whales. I mean, how will the US get by the Wales defense? They're huge!

Mike - Whales because my temperature answer was too long. And the heat talk made me want to think about the ocean and not Iran.

Nick - Whales

Justin - Neither

Matt G. - My son is pretty obsessed right now with playing iPad games where he tries to spell out country names after being given the flag. That is so say, I've gotten really good at spelling every country in the United Nations at this point. That is to say, Iran is one of those I can easily talk him through. Also, I think of that Lonely Island song about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that samples Flock of Seagulls whenever I hear 'Iran.' The Whales thing is lame. Is that a thing?

7. Will the USA, Mexico, and Canada combine for 20 or more tournament goals in the tournament?

Matt - No. I'll guess 15 between them.

Josh - Yes

The Moose - I think no.

John - I'm taking the under on this one.

Sean - No. Mexico has really struggled lately, and while I'd like to see Canada go far, they aren't winning a lot of 4-3 matches.

Mike - Nine match minimum. Twelve matches in the best case. Nope. 15.

Nick - No

Justin - No

Matt G. - I'll say the USA gets six, Mexico gets five and Canada gets three. So if my math is correct, no.

8. Arguably the most important question. On Saturday morning Eastern time November 26th, Sheffield Wednesday will face Mansfield Town in the second round of the FA Cup. Who will win and will the World Cup delay the start of the France-Denmark match until this one ends?

Matt - 3-1 Owls, and I might have gone back to sleep before then because Australia/Tunisia is at 5 a.m.

Josh -  I have no clue what any of this means. Like there are words and I know they mean things, but none of it means anything to my non-soccer brain. In fact, every time you would write about Sheffield Wednesday, I was confused. I thought it was like Taco Tuesday, Thirsty Thursday, or Sunday Funday. I was too embarrassed to ask about Sheffield Wednesday. 

The Moose - This is a dumb question.

John - Sheffield Wednesday is playing on a Saturday? This is enough to confuse Ted Lasso.  Sheffield Wednesday wins 2-1 and FIFA will absolutely delay the start so that France and Denmark's players can watch Sheffield Wednesday win it in stoppage time.

Sean - Wednesday will win (Go Owls!), but the World Cup will never delay the start of the match...unless a few Wednesdayites storm the field in Qatar causing a delay,

Mike - Wednesday win 3-1. The second part is a moot point because here is no TV or stream and with Twitter going down, we’ll only know who won by reading a paper newspaper the following morning which is how the good Lord wanted it.

Justin - Wednesday will win and FIFA will erroneously start the (very exciting) Denmark/France match instead of respecting the Massive FA Cup game.

Matt G. - Sheffield Wednesday might be the most English-sounding club name in soccer. Wow. How would they not win this very important match?

Nick - No

Nick then continued with all of this:

Other predictions/ questions 

Who will sport the best haircut?

Biggest upset: Ecuador defeats Netherlands 2-1,  France is knocked out before the QF.

Which country will sport the best and worst Jersey? (US for the worst)

Biggest controversy:  France will protest Qatar policies on migrant workers,  LBGTQ issues and womens rights.  Isn’t that what France is known for ?  Revolutions?

Other controversies:  Switzerland vs Serbia will end with at least 4 red cards, 2 red cards  which will come via VAR.

Qatar will advance out of the group phase.  No home team has not advanced out.

Asia will have a good World Cup with Japan, and S Korea advancing to the finals. (Sean's note: This makes no sense if he picked Brazil to win.)

Senegal will advance the furthest of all African teams. Yes,  I know Morocco and Tunisia are in Africa.

That's enough from my brother. I'll add one more prediction that South Korea will make a deep run in this tournament. I've started watching Squid Game, and no one is going to mess with that team!

Enjoy the games and feel free to make your own predictions in the comments section below.

US team photo by Getty Images

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Ithaca College Football

While this blog has never had its own niche, there have certainly been plenty of extremely niche blog posts. This is one of them. On Saturday, the 9-0 Ithaca College Bombers football team faced off against the 9-0 Cortland State Dragons at Yankee Stadium. You read that correctly. Yankee Stadium in New York City. Yes, it's a baseball stadium, but they also host the annual college football bowl game, the Pinstripe Bowl. 

Cortaca 2019 was held at MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and New York Jets. I was part of the crowd of over 45,000, the largest ever for a Division 3 football game. It was a unique experience for the game to be played in an NFL stadium right outside New York City, and I figured that this would be a once in a lifetime chance to see Cortaca played somewhere other than Cortland or Ithaca. It was awesome! Because that game was only 3 years ago, I didn't feel the need to travel back to New York City to see Cortaca again, particularly since I was going to be out of town the weekend before (to not see bats in Austin, Texas). Even though I didn't attend in person, David Boreanaz did because you have never seen the two of us together at the same time. Coincidence or maybe this blog should really be called David's Ramblings? 

The Bombers won the Cortaca game 34-17 to cap an incredible undefeated season. Woo Hoo! They also earned a spot in the Division III football playoffs and will face The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on Saturday, November 19th in Ithaca. While I contacted the UMass Dartmouth football team and athletic department to help provide a preview of the game, I did not receive a response. Therefore, I'm doing this all on my own, meaning that most of the information is accurate, but I make no guarantees.

- Ithaca finished 10th in the final regular season rankings. Despite finishing 9-1, UMass Dartmouth didn't even fall into the "others receiving votes" category of the rankings. EIther there is no respect for the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference or all the voters think the entire league are Massholes!

- UMass Dartmouth is not Dartmouth College, which is an Ivy League school in New Hampshire. I wonder if UMass Dartmouth hopes that people confuse the two.

- UMass Dartmouth is located in southern Massachusetts not far from Martha's Vineyard and about a 45-minute drive from Newport, Rhode Island. It's about an hour from Cape Cod and slightly longer to Boston. Looks like a beautiful part of the world though I recommend visiting in the summer and early fall and probably not in January or February!

- The school's athletics teams are the Corsairs. I didn't know about this name until about 15 years ago when a friend made a blog called Corsairs Affairs which included some posts about the Pittsburgh Pirates. Corsair is another name for a pirate. So while Wednesday, November 16th is Talk Like a Pittsburgh Pirate Day, there is no Talk Like a UMass Dartmouth Corsair Day.

- The Corsairs can score, putting up 42.1 points per game. QB Dante Aviles-Santos leads the offense with 294 passing yards per game, and the Bombers better cover WR Angel Sanchez who leads the country with 138 receiving yards per game. I don't know if leading the country is for D3 colleges or all college football.

- In looking at famous UMass Dartmouth graduates, I don't recognize any names but a lot of people probably know Carmella from WWE. Oh, Jim Perdue of chicken fame might have received a Masters from here. Actually, I take what I wrote back. I recognize one name and I'm sure the school doesn't want anyone to associate his time in Dartmouth with the institution. One of the Boston Marathon bombers was a student. Let's change the subject.

My guess is that Ithaca will be favored to win based on the rankings and the fact that the game is in New York. Actually, this doesn't seem like a fun commute for the Corsairs. It's about a 6-hour drive without stops from Dartmouth to Ithaca or you'd have to fly from Boston or Providence though the only flights into Ithaca are from Newark or Detroit. Is the team driving to Boston, flying to Newark, and then flying to Ithaca? Or are they flying into Syracuse through one of the three New York City area airports and taking a bus from there? Whatever they do, a football team traveling from Dartmouth to Ithaca doesn't sound like fun. Advantage Ithaca!

Thursday, November 10, 2022

The Austin Bats

Austin is the capital of Texas and is home to the University of Texas and a thriving music scene. It definitely seems like a great place for young professionals (basically, I’m way too old for the bar scene) and is a bit of a foodie town too. With all of these trendy restaurants, I joked with some friends that I saw a unique, local Chinese restaurant called P.F. Chang’s. I got a laugh.

The city is also famous for North America's largest urban bat population, many of whom live under the Congress Avenue Bridge in downtown Austin. I figured this was a must-see activity during my recent time in Austin. Since I was in Austin in early November, I was worried that the bats would have flown south to Mexico for the winter, but I had some time one evening and the bridge was only about a half-mile from the hotel, so I decided to check it out.

I got to the bridge around 6:35. There were people gathered on and around the bridge with more arriving as it got closer to sunset. There were also several large boats filled with people, so in my mind, with a few hundred people on land and on water, some of the bats were still in town. Meanwhile, there was lightning in the distance but with no thunder, no rain in the forecast according to my weather app, and no one leaving, I stuck around.

There are bats in my neighborhood in Northern Virginia. I regularly see them on my golf course walk at dusk. At around 7:15 in Austin, it was beyond dusk, and there were still no bats. I thought about leaving but decided to wait a few more minutes. At 7:24, I felt the first drop of rain and started walking/running towards the hotel. It was too late. About a minute later, the downpour began. I made it about a block or two and found an awning to stay under until the rain slowed down. The awning was across the street from the downtown Austin P.F. Chang’s. Yes, the restaurant was mocking me.

Despite the weather app on my phone saying that the rain would stop in 8 minutes and then indicating that the weather was clear, the rain did not slow down. After about 20-25 minutes, I decided to call a rideshare even though I was only about 4-5 blocks away from the hotel. After waiting about 7 minutes and the ride still not arriving, the rain actually did slow down. I cancelled the ride (a waste of $6) since I thought it was ridiculous to get a car for a 2-minute drive. I started walking and immediately stepped into a puddle since there's no adequate drainage with so much rain so quickly. And then the rain picked up again. I didn't get back to the hotel until after 8:00 and still managed to get soaked.

Back to the bats, either they already flew south to Mexico for the winter or knew it was about to rain and figured they would just stay under the bridge and let the idiot humans get wet. Either way, I felt like Dean Keaton at the end of The Usual Suspects. THERE WERE NO F'ING BATS!

(This video is definitely not suitable for work or kids.)

Monday, November 07, 2022

No One Cares About This Post

Prior to the November 2020 elections, I asked a bunch of people to share their predictions about the results. It went really well and was a lot of fun. Therefore, I thought I would try again with the November 2022 midterm elections. I asked friends, political science professors, and journalists to share their predictions and got no responses. Maybe people are just tired of politics and the never-ending commercials. Maybe people didn't want to put predictions on record. I guess it doesn't matter the reason. I'm not going to focus on the people who didn't participate. Enjoy!

Josh: Writer of Josh's World, multiple winner of annual best blog award, and always game for whatever blog idea I have. 

Rich: One of my favorite follows on Twitter and co-host of the podcast Why Bloody Valentine 

Sean: That's me. The author of this blog. Thanks for reading!

1. What party will control the House after the November elections?

Josh: The Republicans will take control of the House

Rich: I think the Democrats somehow hold onto the House, but it will be very, very slim.

Sean: While the talk has been about the economy of inflation, I think the Democrats will hold because of abortion.

2. What party will control the Senate? Please provide your prediction for the actual split too. (For example, 51-49 and which party will have more seats.)

Josh: Democrats 52-48

Rich: GOP for sure taking back the Senate. I'd say probably 52 - 48, but I would be shocked if they scored 53 or 54 seats.

Sean: Dems 52-48.

3. Who will win the Pennsylvania Senate race between John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz?

Josh: Fetterman. I do not think the debate will hurt Fetterman as much as pundits are saying. I think most people have made up their mind, plus many people empathize with someone who had a stroke and is expected to make a full recovery.  

Rich: Sadly I think Oz wins. The stroke was a real killer for Fetterman's campaign and now we find out he hasn't worked in a factory?????

Sean: Fetterman. I think he gets a boost from Obama and Biden campaigning for him and enough people not wanting to vote for a New Jersey guy.

4. Who will win the Georgia Gubernatorial election between Stacey Abrams and the incumbent Brian Kemp?

Josh: Brian Kemp, but it will be incredibly close again.

Rich: Brian Kemp. Won't be terribly close. This race is too far off from Abrams' peak popularity.

Sean: I think Kemp will win, but I also think Warnock will hold off Herschel Walker. I just don't understand how a split result could happen. Seems like everyone voting for Kemp would vote for Walker and everyone voting for Abrams would vote for Warnock.

5. Five states (Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Maryland) have ballot measures to legalize marijuana? How many will approve these measures?

Josh: 4. Arkansas will be the weird one.

Rich: I think we get three. Maryland, Missouri, and one of the Dakotas.

Sean:  Definitely Maryland and probably Missouri. You know what? It's going to pass in all 5.

6. Will California voters approve Proposition 27, the Legalize Sports Betting and Revenue for Homelessness Prevention Fund Initiative? (The amount of money put into campaigns for and against this proposition - over $383 million - is staggering!)  

Josh: California's voters can be weird with their propositions. I am going to say No

Rich: Yes. 

Sean: There are more commercials for sports betting than there are for elections. Plus, every sports network shows lines for all of the games. California voters will want in and vote yes.

7. In arguably the most important measure on any ballot in November, will Maryland Question 1 to rename the Maryland Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court of Maryland and the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to the Appellate Court of Maryland pass?

Josh:  Oh definitely, Supreme Court of Maryland just sounds better. Every state should get together and come up with a naming system for the courts to keep it consistent. 

Rich: Earth shattering stuff here. I think it will pass. I mean it makes sense. I also can't imagine anyone being super fired up to vote for or against this so who the heck knows?

Sean: Yes, but I really hope there's a strong write-in vote for Supreme Courty McCourtface!

8. Please feel free to share any other thoughts or opinions about the 2022 elections.

Rich: I don't think it is going to be the bloodbath the media is seemingly hyping up for the Democrats, but they're obviously going to lose ground here.

I said at the beginning of election season if only one of them could win I'd rather Shapiro win and Fetterman lose and I think that's what we will see.

The GOP has gone full idiot with candidates like Mastriano and Walker and it's distressing to say the least.

You can listen to my horror movie podcast on all major Podcast apps. Just search Why, Bloody Valentine. New episodes from 03:00 AM every Monday, so you can have em with your breakfast.

Sean: Please feel free to share your predictions in the comments below. I'm also really excited for the end of political ads for a while.

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

My World Cup Broadcasting Application

A friend recently texted me from his son’s soccer game asking for clarification about a call made by the referee. The defending player passed the ball directly to his goalie who picked the ball up within the penalty area. The referee correctly stopped play and awarded a free kick to the attacking team. He incorrectly gave the team a direct free kick from within the penalty area when it should have been an indirect free kick. Any direct free kick within the penalty area would be a penalty kick, but a pass back to the keeper would never result in a penalty kick.

I understand that I’m really getting into soccer rules/laws here and probably lost many of you. However, my friend asking for a rules clarification gave me an idea. NFL games always have officials available to discuss rules or provide opinions on certain calls. Dr. Joe Machnik has done this for World Cup matches too. Maybe Dr. Joe needs some help for the upcoming World Cup. Therefore, I am here to offer my services. Here are my credentials:

* I’ve been a certified United States Soccer Federation referee since 1990. 

* I’ve served as a referee or assistant referee in hundreds of games.

* I received high praise for my work as the center referee for three Under-9 tournament games this summer.

* I showed restraint in not issuing a yellow card on Sunday to an Under-13 boy who tried to block a goalie's punt. While I gave him a stern talking to, I probably should have issued a card proving that I constantly evaluate my performance.

Sure, I've never worked as a referee for a professional match, but do casual soccer fans really want that? Why not have your "Average Joe" ref discuss calls? Actually, I have an ever better idea. My brother has probably worked more games than me as a soccer referee including many college games. Put the two of us on TV together. There will be lots of inside jokes that no one will understand as we make fun of each other. It will basically be the Manning-cast but without anyone knowing us or with any broadcasting experience. What could go wrong? I look forward to hearing from you, FOX Sports! 

The photo above is from a friend who shared this picture on a kid getting a yellow card for fouling her son. I hope there's a picture somewhere of me issuing a card taken by a satisfied parent!