Falcons over the Pats, ‘Not that there’s anything wrong with that!’

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Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway in Super Bowl XXXIII

There doesn’t seem the be much hoopla around Super Bowl LI. It could be because the Broncos aren’t playing this year, but all the news channels have better stuff to cover these days.

My cohousing community will likely have a Super Bowl party in the common house. I’m not much of a Patriots fan, but Tom Brady has bridged the comings and goings of lots of players and he is part of a winning formula – six Super Bowl appearances and four rings? A fifth will be amazing.

As for the Falcons, I’ll be silently hoping they win. When they handled the Broncos during the regular season, it was clear Atlanta had a pretty good team and have played well the entire season.

The Falcons played in one other big game – Super Bowl XXXIII against John Elway and Broncos, which brings me to my story.

In 1999, I was doing some consulting work for a non-profit in Boulder called Rock the Planet that used mountain climbing as a metaphor for positive youth development. The group sent me on a field trip to attend a climbing wall convention in New York City.

It was the dead of winter. I made arrangements to stay with one of my college classmates who still lives on the Upper Westside between Broadway and Central Park on 72nd. It’s between the 72nd and Broadway Station  and the Dakota.

A couple days before my visit, he called and said he was deathly ill with a cold and made arrangements for me to stay at one of his friend’s short term rentals in Greenwich Village.

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The view of Christopher from my apartment on Super Bowl Sunday 1999.

I arrived and was greeted by Jon who escorted me to the little studio, that he rented to me for a couple hundred bucks for the weekend. It was cozy but cold. By the time the steam heated up the small place, it was time for me to leave.

I don’t recall anything about the meeting I attended, but it was Super Bowl Sunday and the Broncos were playing. I didn’t know the neighborhood that well, since I normally stay a little further uptown at the Hotel Pennsylvania.

Below my apartment was a bar – or what looked like a bar. There wasn’t a prominent sign. Since neither of the New York teams were playing, I suspected the crowd would be light.

When I walked through the door, the place was rocking – loud music, people dancing. There was a TV behind the bar. I elbowed my way through the crowd, and sat down on an empty stool and ordered a beer. I asked the bartender to put on the game.

Meanwhile a couple guys walked over and sat down and struck up a conversation wondering what I was doing there. We had a couple laughs before they disappeared into the crowd.

Eventually, I noticed that the bar was not only full of mostly men, which wasn’t unusual, but there were men dancing with men and guys making out with guys in the booths.

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The Stonewall Inn was ground zero for the modern day gay rights movement.

Turned out, I had stumbled upon the infamous and now famous Stonewall Inn. Back in the summer of 1969, it became the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement.

In those days, police routinely raided gay bars, but on June 28th of that year, nobody cooperated and a riot broke out. The following morning thousands joined a protest on Christopher Street.

In 1973 when on a college class trip to Washington DC for Nixon’s inauguration, a group of us were led by a classmate from another Nebraska school into a bar in Georgetown. That was my first gay bar experience as a doe-eyed kid from Wyoming at school in Nebraska. It was also the only time I was in a crowd dispersed by tear gas – there were countless demonstrations protesting the secret bombings of Cambodia.

Lots happened during Nixon’s inauguration. Roe v. Wade was decided, LBJ died, I was tear gassed and went into a gay bar.

Back in the late 1980s when I was living in Lander, Wyoming, I was out drinking with a buddy. After the bars closed we went over to his place. That was the first and only time I had been propositioned by a man. I told him I prefer women. He made it sound like being gay was a choice and tried to talk me into it,  “You might like it,” he said.

I told him I prefer women.

That was that.

Not hearing from any of my neighbors, I’ll put out the invite for the Super Bowl gathering and figure out a few gluten-free, vegetarian, no dairy snacks to serve up.

Red or white?

By the way, the Stonewall was hoppin’ by the time the confetti was flying at the end of Super Bowl XXXIII. I was the only one in the housoe who cared that the Broncos beat the Atlanta Falcons 34 – 19. I got on the train and went uptown to Sardi’s to celebrate.

January bowl predictions – Oregon takes it all

mariota wyo Photo by Mary Jane Schulte Oregon News lab The December bowl games are nearly over. My guesses? So far, ot so good. If I were a betting man – I’d be broke. These early games are like betting on horse races in the middle of the week – the odds are all the same since the teams are marginal “also rans” in their conferences.

On December 20th, I channel surfed all of them. Over the last week I’ve caught parts of most of the others.

I was surprised to see that Utah is really good, but CSU played without coach Jim McElwain who bolted to Gatorville, Florida. That’s par for the course in the Mountain West Conference.

Wyoming coach Pat Dye took off for Auburn after one mediocre year with the Cowboys. He went on to get the Tigers put on NCAA probation in 1993 while athletic director and coach.

Wyoming coach Pat Dye took off for Auburn after one mediocre year with the Cowboys.

It will be interesting to see how Mike Bobo does in CSU.

He’ll be moving from a pretty good job as the offensive coordinator at Georgia to Fort Collins sight unseen with his family of 5 kids. He says CSU is his “dream job”. He’s been dreaming about getting $7 million for a five year contract.

Guys from the south have strong roots there. I remember when Wyoming hired Pat Dye. He bolted after one year to Auburn where he was athletic director and coach. In 1993 Auburn was put on two years probation.

Add CSU coach McElwain to that list. He came from Alabama before leaving for greener pastures in Florida.

back to the games, so far the biggest excitement was the fight that happened in the Miami Beach Bowl that cleared the BYU and Memphis benches.

BYU and Memphis cleared their benches and brawled after BYU lost to Memphis in the Miami Bowl. (Fair Use Photo By - AP)

BYU and Memphis cleared their benches and brawled after BYU lost to Memphis in the Miami Bowl. (Fair Use Photo By – AP)

Typical despicable BYU. Maybe it’s an ill-founded perception, but BYU teams are sore losers.

This is very ironic because BYU sports teams are purported to maintain high morals because of their attachment to the LDS church.

The college football championship quasi-tournament happens this week. I’m picking Alabama and Oregon with the Ducks winning it all on January 12th. Here are my guesses for the January games.

Outback Bowl – Wisconsin vs. Auburn
Jan. 1, Tampa, Florida (Noon ET)

G’day mates, the Outback Steak House Bowl features two great running teams. I watched the Badgers chew up Nebraska, but didn’t do that great containing Ohio State.

Auburn, is and also ran. This should be a pretty good game.
My Guess: Wisconsin

Good Year Cotton Bowl – Baylor vs. Michigan State
Jan. 1, Arlington, Texas (12:30 p.m. ET) 
This could be a high scoring game.  I watched Michigan State pummel Wyoming early in the season and haven’t seen Baylor. But the big question is, “Will the Goodyear blimp make an appearance?”
My Guess: Baylor

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl – Minnesota vs. Missouri
Jan. 1, Orlando, Florida (1 p.m. ET) 
Yet another chicken – related business sponsoring a bowl game. The name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. It should be changed to the Chicken Bowl. I don’t know much about either of these two teams.
My Guess: Missouri

Northwestern Mutual Rose Bowl – Oregon vs. Florida State
Jan. 1, Pasadena
Oregon beat up on Wyoming early in the season. They are fast paced and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota can run and throw. Florida State controls the line of scrimmage and will have to contain the Duck’s quickness. These tourney games must need the big bucks and sponsored by insurance companies like Northwestern Mutual.
My Guess: Oregon

Allstate Sugar Bowl – Alabama vs. Ohio State
Jan. 1, New Orleans (8:30 p.m. ET) 
This could be a high scoring affair. Ohio State looked pretty good in the Big 10 championship game against Wisconsin, considering the quarterback hasn’t had but one start. The Buckeyes have been quiet this year. The tide will be “In Good Hands”.
My Guess: Alabama

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl – Houston vs. Pitt
Jan. 2, Fort Worth, Texas (Noon ET) 
I don’t know anything about this game. I wonder if sponsoring football games is an eligible expense in the Lockheed Martin government military contracts.
My Guess: Pitt

Taxslayer Gator Bowl – Tennessee vs. Iowa
Jan. 2, Jacksonville, Florida (3:20 p.m. ET) 
Taxslayer is income tax software. I haven’ t heard of it – Office Depot must not carry it. Taxslayer also is a NASCAR sponsor, which makes a little sense since the company is located in Georgia. Tennessee is the home team for this game, but I don’t think they’ll win.
My Guess: Iowa

Valero Alamo Bowl – Kansas State vs. UCLA
Jan. 2, San Antonio (6:45 p.m. ET) 
The low gas prices must not be a deterrent to Valero sponsoring this game. I went to the Alamo a few years ago and watched Nebraska beat Michigan State. Frank Solich was fired and interim coach Bo Pelinski won and went on to LSU. These two middle of the pack teams should provide an entertaining game.
My Guess: Kansas State

Ticket City Cactus Bowl – Oklahoma State vs. Washington
Jan. 2, Tempe, Arizona (10:15 p.m. ET) 
This game is sponsored by Ticket City, which is a ticket brokerage company. Ticket City is selling tickets for all the games and plowing profits back into the Cactus Bowl. A couple more middle of the pack teams.
My Guess: Washington

Alabama Power Birmingham Bowl – East Carolina vs. Florida
Jan. 3, Birmingham, Alabama (1 p.m. ET) 
This game didn’t have a title sponsor for a long time. I don’t know when the Alabama Power Company agreed to sponsor. Too bad it isn’t a night game with the stadium lights burning up a bunch of Kilowatt hours.
My Guess: Florida

GoDaddy Bowl – Toledo vs. Arkansas State
Jan. 4, Mobile, Alabama (9 p.m. ET) 
I don’t use GoDaddy for my web stuff. I didn’t know 4,000 people work there who manage 12 million users around the world. I know more about GoDaddy than I do about these two teams. I do know that when Wyoming fired coach Al Kincaid, he coached at Arkansas State.
My Guess: Arkansas State

National Championship Game – Alabama v Oregon
January 12, 2015 – Arlington, Texas
This will be a pretty good game. I think the conventional wisdom is Florida State and Alabama, but Oregon will surprise everyone.
My guess: Oregon

That’s the college season. This time of year, I start paying closer attention to pro football and college hoops.

Pitchers and catchers report in February.

CU worst college football investment – Forbes

The CU football team was ranked as the worst investment by Forbes magazine. (fair use photo by the Daily Camera)

The CU football team was ranked as the worst investment by Forbes magazine. (fair use photo by the Daily Camera)

There was a recent article in Forbes magazine that ranked the University of College football team as the worst investment in terms of budget spent ($51.4 million) to wins (seven) over a three year period or $7.1 million / win.

Contrast that with the University of Cincinnati that spent $1.6 million / win over the same three years.

“Across the last three seasons, no team has spent more per football victory than Colorado, our pick for the sport’s worst team for the money … To put that into perspective, Mississippi State has built a competitive SEC program while spending $44 million across the same time period,” Forbes wrote of its CU pick.

Utah split from the Mountain West and CU from the Big 12 to join the PAC 12 in 2011. Utah had a 9-4 season this year and defeated a highly touted CSU team in the Las Vegas Bowl last week.

Meanwhile, when will CU be a contender in the Big 12?

I think it will happen when CU starts bending the rules like all the other high-value teams do. Penn State was, pretty much, given the death sentence when one of Joe Paterno’s assistant coaches was busted for sexual assault. The Nittany Lions have bounced back.

Here’s an interesting scholarly article that studies the relationship between NCAA infractions and striving for BCS championships. Seems that the SEC has the highest number of violations followed by other BCS conferences, including the Big 12.

The paper’s review of the literature cites a study that finds that the benefits of winning games as a result of recruiting violations raises more money for a program regardless of the NCAA sanctions which may limit the number of scholarships. So breaking the rules is worth the risks.

The researchers also find that 77% of NCAA violations between 1970 and 2007 were accessed against BCS conference schools. Although the Big 12, Pac 10, Big Ten, and SEC have the highest mean violations per team member per year, these conferences also have the most football championships won from 1970 to 2007. From the 1970 to 2007 seasons, teams from the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac10, and SEC combined for 35 football national championships or co-national championships.

Buff Nation, can either have a corrupt program that has a good chance of competing for a national championship or a clean program that provides kids a good education and finish their football careers with degrees.

CU staff and administration, IMO, have the idyllic view that they can have a clean program and win, not with the best kids, but the best “good” kids.

The new BCS quasi-tournament national championship format  won’t reduce NCAA violations, it will only make cheating more enticing for the Mountain West, Conference USA and others when the playing field is leveled.

In college football, cheaters prosper.