The Captain is back, and optimistically he is better than ever! After a month of recharging my battery and brainstorming some ideas that will take LaterNamed to the top (just go with it), I’m ready to get back to writing and with any luck building towards a career at ESPN. The last time I wrote something noteworthy was way back in 2011. By mid-December, after putting together a 4,000 word bowl preview and going through a challenging semester at college, a hiatus was much needed. I needed some time to enjoy the company of my family, and some time to be able watch a sporting event without having to immediately critique and analyze it. But a month is a long time for someone like me to stay quiet. I’m overflowing with thoughts and opinions, and they are about to spill all over LaterNamed. Enjoy the Christmas Recap Mishmash!
The Return of Jersey Shore
Okay let me work something out really quick. Over the last month, the college football bowl season ended, the NFL playoffs are underway, Tim Tebow cured a blind man (oh wait, Jesus Christ did that, my bad), the NBA season started and WrestleMania 28 is just 71 days away, yet I’m starting off the Christmas Recap Mishmash with Jersey Shore??? How in the holy hell is this possible? Basically, you could chalk it up as a victory for Jonny “The Unit” Manfre.
- Star of Jersey Shore Season 7… The Unit
The Unit was so incredibly douchey (Yes, douchey. I made that a word) that he somehow became bigger than not only Jersey Shore, but also the biggest story of my Christmas break. Well, not really, but it did spark a great idea that would make Jersey Shore more sustainable for the future.
Taking an idea that MTV’s The Challenge uses, why not cycle new cast members into the Jersey Shore house with original cast members as well? Just like The Challenge brings in Real World cast mates, Jersey Shore should start bringing in individuals who are familiar with the Jersey Shore franchise. Imagine the Jersey Shore house with the normal eight crazy cast members, plus Jionni, Ryder, Roger and The Unit in the mix as well. Twelve juiced up, smashed, horny individuals living in one house equals more fighting and more sex than there already was. And let’s be honest, that’s why we all watch. No one ever really cared if Ronnie broke Sammi’s heart. We only cared about the two grenades single Ronnie was motor-boating in the Miami nightclub. Hey, we might as well add them to the mix too! Just envision the friends of the cast mates upping the stakes every time they visit the house just to try to get a spot for the next season. Oh good God! Ryder just did back to back to back shots and now she’s dancing topless on the bar, offering sex to anyone who wants it! She’s definitely got a spot locked up for next season! If there is something that could be done to further increase the chances of debauchery and idiocy, why not make that move? For season six, we get rid of the least entertaining cast members (I’d give the ax to Deena and Vinny, if he really doesn’t want to be there) and shuffle in some more friends of the people who are already living in the house. Sit back and let the testosterone laden chaos ensue!
We should’ve seen Matt Prater’s opening kickoff that bounced off the cross bar and landed right on the 20 yard line as an omen that something special was in the Mile High air. But we didn’t. We should’ve known that despite a front office that doesn’t want him, critics that don’t believe in him and even his biggest fan picking against him, Tim Tebow was going to something that only the big guy himself, or Tim Tebow could pull off. But no one thought it was possible. Just like a fighter who has one-punch knockout power but nothing else going for him, I gave the Broncos a slight chance just because Tim Tebow was on the field. But I never, EVER thought Tim Tebow and the Broncos could do what they did against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round. 10 completions, 316 yards, no turnovers, 3 total touchdowns, an astronomical QB rating and an 80 yard overtime game winning touchdown pass. Nope, couldn’t have pegged that one.
Make no mistake, I am a Tim Tebow fan, and I will admit I can be slightly biased at times. But I also have enough common sense to admit that Tim Tebow is not an elite quarterback at this point in time. He’s limited, he’s raw, and he has tons of room for improvement. But don’t tell me he can’t be an NFL quarterback. If you watched that game against Pittsburgh, you probably came away thinking three things:
1) Tim Tebow throws one hell of a deep ball.
2) Tim Tebow just torched a great defense. Yes they were banged up, but Dick LeBeau was still calling the plays and they still had Troy Polamalu, James Harrison and James Farrior out there. Why can’t he be a starting quarterback again?
3) Something a little unexplainable just happened.
- Will John Fox be so friendly in the future?
The bottom line is you can think whatever you want to think. You can call it luck, skill, or divine intervention. It’s simply Tim Tebow going out there and doing Tim Tebow things. I believe that’s what is referred to as Tebow Magic. This is part of what makes Tebow the polarizing figure that he is. There is a lot of an unknown surrounding him. Who is he, is he going to improve, is he going to take an unnecessary sack, will he ever learn how to consistently throw a 10 yard out, is he going to try to run over the middle linebacker, how does he inspire everyone on his team to play harder, is he ever going to fail in a close game? We don’t have those answers. And until we figure out what exactly Tebow Magic is, you better be ready to keep hearing about it for a while.
The NFL’s Final Four
For the third straight year, neither team in my pre-season Super Bowl prediction is in the NFL’s final four. I don’t know if it’s because I just don’t have the ability to pick anything correctly that is NFL related or if it’s because the NFL is nearly impossible to predict for everyone. I mean really, was San Francisco on anyone’s radar before the season? Raise your hand if they were. Wasn’t Tampa Bay supposed to be a playoff team? Weren’t the Giants dead in the water when they fell to 6-6? See, the NFL is close to impossible to figure out. However, I was right about two notable things in the playoffs so far.
1) Denver would be competitive against Pittsburgh
2) The Giants would defeat the Packers, and I called this in December.
I came to both of those conclusions simply on what my initial instincts told me. I talked myself out of San Francisco beating New Orleans and Baltimore beating Houston. At this point, I’m not going to overanalyze anything because it only results in a headache, time I’ll never get back, and most of the time me being wrong. That’s why my picks this weekend are the Giants and the Patriots. And I feel just about as confident with those selections as I could. I’m naturally a little cautious because Jim Harbaugh appears to be a coaching God, and the Patriots have struggled against marquee defenses this year. But I expect to see a Super Bowl 42 rematch in 15 days.
It’s a wrap for Bowl Season
While Paul Clark was here we watched a lot of bowl games. We watched so much college football that if my mom hears the words “bowl game” she basically starts trembling. Luckily, she gets an eight month break until college football starts again. Unfortunately, that means me and every other college football fan has to wait eight months for our fix. With that being said, now is a good time to reminisce on the five best games of the 2011-12 bowl season.
R+L New Orleans Carriers Bowl (San Diego State vs. Louisiana Lafayette)- Sure the R+L Carriers Bowl didn’t have the talent or build up most bowls had, but it did feature a very active crowd in the Superdome, and a last second field goal that gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a victory. Unfortunately, this game cost me 27 points in the Bowl Confidence Picks competition that was ultimately won by my father. Naturally, I’m bitter that I wasn’t victorious, but I can’t deny this was a surprisingly fun game.
Valero Alamo Bowl (Baylor vs. Washington)- You can’t say there was a lack of defense in the Alamo Bowl… there was simply no defense. Fans of defensive showdowns were probably slamming their heads against the wall during this game. The Alamo Bowl got Washington’s defensive coordinator fired, set just about every offensive bowl record and sent Robert Griffin III off on a high note to the NFL.
Outback Bowl (Michigan State vs. Georgia)- The lessons learned from the Outback Bowl: It’s a lot more fun to watch this game without a hangover, and don’t play for a last second field goal. Congrats to Michigan State for winning this overtime thriller.
Rose Bowl presented by Vizio (Oregon vs. Wisconsin)- The Rose Bowl Game overall was the best game of Bowl Season. Unlike the Alamo Bowl, there was defense present in this game, it was just overpowered by better offenses. Plus, Mom’s chicken parmesan for dinner during the 1st half was an absolute treat. Yum, chicken parm.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (Oklahoma State vs. Stanford)- Apparently Stanford coach David Shaw didn’t watch much of the Outback Bowl earlier in the day. YOU DO NOT PLAY FOR A FIELD GOAL IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU HAVE THE BEST QUARTERBACK IN THE COUNTRY. Oklahoma State doesn’t win the game if Stanford doesn’t put all the pressure on their kicker.
A Few Thoughts On The Association
Even though I’ll be doing a lot of NBA work over the next couple of weeks, I just can’t resist throwing out a few thoughts to wrap up the Christmas Recap Mishmash.
-Brace yourselves LeBron haters/Kobe fans, I’m giving LeBron the slightest possible edge in my MVP ballot at the moments. It’s by a very tiny margin, and I would actually switch my vote if Kobe could keep this up all year. 30 plus points per game, close to six assists and the burden of taking every big shot (and making most of them). It’s what we should expect by now. But right now LeBron is playing the best basketball of his career. He’s 2nd in scoring, 9th in assists, 5thin field goal percentage, plays all world defense night after night and he’s carried the Heat to a 4-0 record with Dwyane Wade on the sideline. Either way, you can’t really go wrong. Hey, stop shaking your fist at me!
- 1A and 1B on the MVP Ballot. I swear!
-By the way, 3-5 on my extremely early MVP ballot fills out with Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant and Kevin Love in that order.
-Philadelphia is for real. And by for real, I mean they will win at least one playoff series. Good coach, hard-working and a bunch of quality players. I’m a little scared of this team.
-Washington is for real. And by for real, I mean they will for real have the best odds at the number one pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
-You think the Knicks regret gutting their whole team to trade for Carmelo when they could’ve just waited until the following summer to get him with Gallinari, Lawson and Chandler still on the roster? Cut to a Knicks fan sulking as he thinks about how fun the Knicks were at the beginning of last season.
-My thoughts on Team USA? Check back next week!