NCAA 2005 Schedule Bug?

Now that college football has officially kicked-off, consummated by UGA’s 48-28 victory over Georgia Southern, I have decided to once again “chronicle” a NCAA Dynasty. Despite much clamoring on vagrant message boards about the brokenness of this years NCAA football title, I am finding much success, and once again enjoying the college football experience.

First article should be up shortly. I will keep everyone in suspense for a little while longer. I will say that I did not use UGA because it is too easy for me to win with them (on All-American), and I did not pick North Texas (kind of old hat now, plus playing with/as QB Andrew Smith, who died August 7 in a traffic incident, would be disconcerting), and I did not go with SMU again, because, well, there is not much love there. Anyway, more to come.

I noticed that USC played BYU in week #2 (September 4), which is incorrect in real life because BYU just beat Notre Dame. Must be a strange scheduling fluke. Anyone else see this strange scheduling mistake (playing with PS2 version)? I restarted several times just to see if it really was a fluke, but it looks like the scheduled are always set to not have Notre Dame travel to BYU in week #2 of Dynasty Season 1.


SEC Wrap Up – Week 2

Win, some lose some. I called the Dawgs in a 20-point victory (33-13), but the actual score was 48-28. Better offense than I expected, but the defense was shaky against the option. So the 20-point margin of victory was spot on, but the results were slightly unexpected. Danny Ware made a believer out of me (135 yards on 18 rushing attempts, good for 3 TDs), and hopefully will continue to improve, providing a much needed balance to David Greene’s passing attack.

Speaking of shaky predictions, and trouble against the run, I guess I was pretty dumb to call Vandy over South Carolina because the roosters pulled off an easy 31-6 victory. Georgia better figure out how to stop the run this week, or next weekend’s game at South Carolina is going to be not so fun.

I correctly called out Memphis over Ole Miss (20-13) in a big SEC ouch. Hopefully Kentucky will prove me wrong today, but I am also expecting them to fall. I still expect Tennessee to easily handle UNLV despite the Vols QB questions.

As expected, Alabama started off slow against Utah State (17-10 halftime lead), but managed to roll away in the second half to a 48-17 victory. I was way off base about LSU over Oregon State, who I incorrectly labeled the Ducks instead of Beavers. At any rate, LSU won in overtime, but only because the Beavers missed three extra points. How freaking hard can it be to find someone to hit an extra point? Before it is all said and done, an impressive performance by the Beavers will be all but forgotten by the pollsters.

Mississippi State won big over Tulane (28-7), Arkansas easily took care of New Mexico State (63-13), and Auburn blanked Louisiana-Monroe 31-0, which has to be a moral victory for the Indians after last year’s 73-3 debacle.

So far I am off to a 7-1 start. Not too shabby.

[Late edit Sep. 11 – I was going to make this a part I and part II article since TN and KY were scheduled for Sunday. Oh well, ran out of time for a second article, but I did correctly pick both games so that makes me a dandy 9-1 on the year.]


Now Drinking …

I figured I may as well go as far off topic from sports and whatnot as possible, and what better way than to talk about one of my favorite subjects – beer (and every now and again, wine)! I am going to start a semi-regular feature on what yummy adult beverage is being consumed by yours truly. Basically, whatever is in the fridge is going to be featured here. I would love to read your suggestions.

Newcastle – the brown ale. This one is a staple in the Calvert icebox. It goes down cold and easy, has a nice robust flavor, and tastes great with a variety of snack foods. Only problem is that it is really much more of a winter brew (i.e. a little heavy).

Mike’s Hard Lime (MHL) – this is a new one for me; the perfect summer brew. Kind of like drinking a margarita without the kick, and it provides a soft landing. MHL is perfect for cooling down, especially with some hot salsa. Problem is that you will throw down two or three before you realize it. In other words, MHL is very addicting; my wife loves it, which is certainly another reason to keep it on hand. Wife + MHL = fun for me. I am going to get my ass kicked if she reads this. Oh well, hope it works out well for you too!

Coors Light – I picked up a 12 pack today since it was only $8.49, and I wanted something watery for the long holiday weekend. It has been a while (say two or three years) since I picked up a Coors so I was not sure what to expect. Twins? Naw, too cheap, and not worth the beating I would take from the before mentioned wife. I managed to down a couple of silver bullets; they were certainly icy cold, and I guess had a decent flavor for a cheap, light beer. Worth the money, but nothing to write home about.

Blackstone Napa Valley Merlot (2002) – wow! What an exceptional wine. I am not a wine connoisseur so I really have no idea how to describe the quality of the wine. For me wine is either cheap and taste like crap (Fox Hound), pretty good day-to-day variety and not too hard on the wallet (i.e. Woodbridge or Beringer), or delicious and expensive (i.e. this Blackstone stuff). Since we landed a babysitter, I took my lady out for a nice meal tonight, and in the process we discovered this wonderful wine. My wife does not normally like Merlots, but she could not keep her hands off my glass. It was so good we picked up a bottle on the way home. Kind of pricey ($16.99 750ml) for my normal day-to-day tastes, but this one goes on the list of scrumptious favorites. Highly recommended.


SEC Roundup – Week 2

Saturday, September 04, 2004 – Ah, I love this time of year. Since I have to get the “honey-do” list out of the way, I will jump right in and get the 2004 season started.

Kick off starts in a little less than five and a half hours when the Dawgs take on Georgia Southern. I expect the Dawgs led by David Greene and true freshman running back Danny Ware to roll to an easy 33 to 13 victory.

In other predictions, the fighting Cocks from South Carolina will get plucked by Vanderbilt in a close tussle. Yes, I am the dumb SOB that is predicting that the Commodores will eek out enough wins to become bowl eligible. There I said it; I feel better now.

Other upsets will play out as Ole Miss falters without Eli Manning, going down to Memphis. In another SEC embarrassment, Louisville will once again whip the Wild Cats of Kentucky.

Alabama will start off slow, but will manage to Roll Tide, Roll, away from the Aggies. Speaking of which, Utah State’s counterparts at Utah sure did spank those Aggies from Texas A&M Thursday night. As a closet Texas fan, that was fun to watch.

In other SEC clashes … really mismatches is the more appropriate description … Tennessee will easily beat UNLV, LSU will barbeque the Ducks from Oregon State [edit – another oops – if only the Beavers could kick a f’ing extra point; unf’ing believable], and the Hogs in Fayetteville will think they are something after mauling New Mexico State. Finally, Auburn will once again beat the living snot out of Louisiana-Monroe; Auburn thrashed the Indians 73-3 last year.

[Oops – forgot about those other Bulldogs at Mississippi State. They should win big over Tulane. If not, it will be a hell of a long year in Starkville.]

College football SEC style. Gotta love it!


Indy Racing League Gets Interesting

I have always been a casual fan of the IRL – I do not follow the series very closely, but I do appreciate the exciting racing action, and of course the Indy 500. I have always thoughts that the IRL suffered for two reasons. First, the marketing arm of the IRL does not strongly promote their drivers in the way that NASCAR promotes their top guys. In my opinion, people love NASCAR because of the driver personalities – many are larger than life. Second, the IRL suffers because it is perceived by many casual fans as just another form of oval racing. Oval racing = NASCAR in much the same way that video games = PlayStation.

The reality is much different. As a racing fan I know the IRL’s top teams, top drivers, and understand how difficult it is to setup an open wheel racer to fly around an oval. It is not just driving around in circles. NASCAR is so ingrained in the casual racing community that the IRL is little more than an afterthought. Hopefully that will change. I have written about this before, but many NASCAR fans fail to realize that series has top drivers that started in the IRL.

F1 is by far my favorite form of motor racing. I love F1 because I like road courses, I love the pageantry, and I love the technology. Nothing else comes in as a close second. I follow all sorts of racing circuits – Le Mans, GT, Rally, you name it, but F1 is near and dear to me.

Of course I follow NASCAR – it is kind of hard to live in the South and not follow NASCAR, but it does not engage me in the same way that F1 manages to suck away my Sunday mornings. Except for the Indy 500, I only watch IRL races when there is nothing else on TV that I would rather watch. That is pretty much the same for all other racing except for a few Le Mans races that I always watch if I have the time. Sad and pathetic, but true.

The Indy Racing League just got more interesting. In early August the IRL announced that Infineon Raceway (California) and Watkins Glen (New York) were being added to the calendar in addition to 14 or so oval courses. Yesterday the IRL announced that addition of St. Petersburg, a street circuit race, to the 2005 schedule.

This is great news. The IRL now has ovals, two road courses, and a street circuit. Smells like roses to me. I hope that other racing fans take notice.


And it is Go, Go, Go! (Copycat Racing Goes Underground)

This is ridiculous. In a span of eight days we have NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup (due Aug 31), Street Racing Syndicate (Aug 31), Burnout 3 (due Sep 7), and Juiced (due Sep 7). The NASCAR game makes sense – it is timed around the new playoff format, but what about Juiced and SRS? They are coming out so damn close to each other that they are sure to stunt to the other game, not to mention that Burnout 3 has more “buzz” behind it, plus the EA marketing arm (and $$$).

The second wave of racing games starts in October with TOCA Race Driver 2 (due Oct 5), which is a surprise release. I thought it was going to remain an Xbox exclusive. I have no idea how well the first title did, but the PSX TOCA titles never did that well. I do not have actual sales data to back up that claim, but I just do not remember any of those titles being chart toppers, despite being solid racing games. TOCA 2 and 3 were way ahead of their time, complete with great racing AI and visible damage.

November will see the release of the heavy hitters – Gran Turismo 4 (due Nov 14), Need For Speed Underground 2 (Nov 15), and Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition (Nov 23). I have preorderd GT4 and NFS:U2, but I have no interest in Midnight Club 3, which is going to be completely lost in the wake of the other two games.

What is the deal with all the copycat underground games? Yes, I know NFS:Underground was late to the party, but EA does this type of game so well that I do not see SRS, Juiced, and Midnight Club 3 standing a chance. Oh well, I have a feeling that 2005 will be a great year for bargain bin racing.


Google Gmail

Someone at work hooked me up with a beta test account with Google’s new Gmail. To be honest I missed all the fuss until recently. I did not know that Gmail was once considered exclusive, and even fairly popular on eBay. Talking about being out of the loop.

I have yet to publish any sort of contact info – I really need to take some time to clean up the layout. Anyway, find me at any of the following:

* Calvert Games mail
* Google Gmail
* Yahoo mail
* formula1calvert – AOL IM
* jonathan_calvert – Yahoo IM

So what is so great about Gmail? Hard to say at this point since I have not done much with it, but its conversation view looks interesting as do the label features. Of course you get 1GB of space, and the ads (so far) are not nearly as intrusive as Yahoo.


Falcons vs. Bengals – Football 101

This weekend I managed to make it to my first Falcons game in several years as part of my new season ticket package. Some guys at work hold a block of five seats; one guy from last year dropped out, so I picked up the seat. The seats are pretty good for $125 (all home games including preseason) – they are fairly high up behind the endzone opposite of the score board/TV matrix display. Cheap seats they are, but they do offer a good view for the money.

There was no time to tailgate since I had baby sitting duties for most of the morning through lunch. Plus the kids had to have a nap, which would really hamper my efforts to take my six-year-old son, Joshua, to his first ever sporting event. I am sure the guys will have some better tailgating sessions lined up for the regular season. We will have to just to afford to go, what with beer at $7 per cup. Freaking ridiculous.

I lived in Atlanta for about six years and did not mind it one bit, except for the traffic, which really does suck as much as you read about. We decided to part south of downtown and do the Marta thing – its smarter, so the slogan goes. Parking at the Marta stations is free, and a round trip to the Dome and back was $3.50, which I suppose is not too bad.

Joshua was pretty excited about his first train ride. Thankfully he did not ask me the unanswerable questions about what some of the young punks were singing on the train. Would not have been a pretty sight – that junk was making me blush. Of course that is the price you pay for taking Marta – you have to mingle with inner city thugs that would sooner kick the shit out of you than say “excuse me.”

Poor Joshua. After we got off the train we had to walk, and walk, and walk just to get to our gate at the Dome. Of course our tickets are on the far said of the considerably large stadium. Once safely inside, we had to walk, and walk, and walk again, to go up, up, up to the seats. Joshua did great – he was taking in the sights and sounds, watching pregame warm-ups as we migrated from level to level, oblivious to the fact that it was going to cost a ton for dad to drink a few beers.

Anyway, enough about getting to the game. The game was great if you are a Falcons fan (a nice 37-10 shellacking), but unimpressive if you were there to see Vick, who was scratched from the game as a last minute precaution. Schaub looked like the second coming of Montana. OK, maybe that is a stretch, but he looked really good against Cincinnati’s number one defensive unit.

Joshua was very disappointed that Vick was not playing, but since the Falcons were winning, and scoring at will, he was happy. Tonya, my wife, presented him with a replica Vick shirt right before we left for the game – he was truly happy to have a shirt like dad’s. So we got over Vick not playing, learned a little about football, learned about cheerleaders, and learned how to “boo” the opposing team. Of course I explained that we do not dislike the opposition, we just want our team to win. Something like that to keep his mother from tearing into my hide. I figured the cheerleaders were going to get me in enough trouble so I better explain the booing.

The best part of the game for me was taking Joshua to see a “real” football game. He was a real trooper. The game started at 7:30PM, which is pretty much his normal bed time. He was wide-eyed for most of the 1st quarter, but midway through the 2nd quarter he was ready to go home. He managed to hang in there for the better part of 3 quarters, so all in all his performance was quality stuff!

My parents divorced when I was fairly young, so I do not have memories of my dad taking me to my first football or baseball game. I am not sure who will have the fondest memories of our Falcons experience – I think I will always remember my son’s expressions, and hopefully he will become a lifelong sports fan thanks to his outing with dad.

Father/son bonding is great! I now understand some of those “priceless” Visa commercials – I did spend $50 on food, adult beverages, and mass transit passes, but it was worth every penny to share the experience with my son.


QB Controversy in ATL – Schaub Eyes Vick’s Job

While many may think it is far fetched, Schaub looks like a starter in the making, while quite whispers abound about Vick’s lack of a grasp on the newly installed West Coast offense. I saw Schaub first hand last Saturday as he single handedly dismantled the Bengal’s defense. Schaub not only looked sharp, he looked very, very comfortable playing with the rest of the first stringers while Vick sat and watched.

It had to be disconcerting for Vick to watch Schaub complete his first 6 passes, and look damn impressive in the process. The statistics will not show a beautiful 40 some-odd yard post to Price that was simply amazing; too bad it was lost due to a mysterious penalty [OK, I admin penalties are hard to see from the cheap seats]. Before it was all said and done, Schaub put Atlanta into a comfortable 27-7 halftime lead behind 214 yards (14 for 20) and 3TDs.

Thus far Vick only has 35 passing yards (5 for 9), which is not so impressive. Schaub on the other hand is a rookie, which makes his statistics all the more remarkable. Schaub’s QB rating is 111.0, he has 6 TDs to 2 INTs, and he has completed 66.7% of his passes (42 for 63) racking up 527 yards.

Is it far fetched for Schaub to steal Vick’s job? Perhaps – after all Vick is making a ton of coin. Some of this I say in jest – really, it is just preseason, but it is hard to ignore the underlying statistics. Thankfully, as fun as it is to stir up a QB controversy, it looks like Mora is sitting on a gold mine. Not only does Atlanta have one of the most exciting players on the planet, it looks like Mora and company drafted a truly capable backup in Schaub, which is important because Vick continues to put himself into situations where he gets his nuts knocked into the dirt.

When it is all said and done, I love me some Vick – I even laid out a decent amount of cash for a replica jersey for myself and my wife did the same for Joshua (our oldest son). Say what you will, Vick is a truly amazing talent (especially in Madden), and he is a joy to watch. I just hope Vick comes to terms quickly with the West Coast offense because Atlanta fans need this guy to succeed.


Burnout 3 Looks Impressive

This weekend I had a chance to play a Burnout 3 (PS2) demo at Best Buy. I have never played any of the games in the series so I do not have a barometer, but this thing was pretty fun and impressive. In the few minutes I played I decided a couple of things. First, the game has an awesome sense of speed. Second, the game’s crashes are nothing short of spectacular. I have no idea what sort of lasting appeal the game will have, but I bet the crash mode is about as good as it gets for “pick up and play” action.

Need For Speed is about the closest thing I get to arcade racing these days, but Burnout 3 certainly got my attention. I would put it on my buy list if it was cheaper, but $50 is a little too much for my taste for this sort of game. Speaking of which, I am not sure what EA was thinking when it decided to take over publishing rights; maybe they are playing to make Need For Speed an “exotic” racer once again, while the Burnout series takes over the Ridge Racer arcade style formula. It will be interesting to see how EA positions the two series with future releases.


Crash ‘N’ Burn – Out of the Loop

Today I was slogging through mounds of email, and I noticed that I was sent an invitation from the PlayStation Underground to apply for a beta test position for Eidos’ Crash ‘N’ Burn. Two things come to mind. First, I have never received an invite to be a beta tester before, so that was fairly cool. Second, I am so far out of the loop that I have no idea what this game is about. Still, the email said, “you meet all of the requirements and have been invited to participate in the online public beta test…”

Kind of interesting since I am not a big online fan, and it is a little disconcerting that I am completely out of it when it comes to release lists. There was a time in my life when I could recite (in great detail) tons of games that were on my radar and even complete lists of games that I figured would be lame, or discount rack material. I assume this game is kind of like Destruction Derby, and all good readers (and I suspense Sony too) know that the rolling demo for DD convinced me that I needed this new shiny known as the PlayStation months before Sony took over the world of video gaming.

Alas, this said tale ended with a message that stated that the enrollment period was over and all beta tester positions have been filled. At least I know that there is still some hope for me. After all, I did get the email saying that I was cool enough to be a beta testing. Then again, I am sure 1000s of others received the same letter. Still being invited to beta test is something to hang my hat on … I guess.


Cheers – US Women Capture Soccer Gold

I admit it, I do not follow women’s soccer, much less women’s sports of any sort; just not my thing you see. Still, it is hard not to be happy for this amazing group of women collectively known as the “Fab Five” – Hamm, Foundy, Fawcett, Lilly, and the shirtless one Chastain.

As I said, I do not follow the sport, so there is no point commenting on the 2-1 victory over Brazil. I also do not know which of the other star players are retiring along with Hamm after the Olympics. I do know that I am proud of this team for bringing home the Gold.

Job well done ladies!


Former Staffers Now Bloggers

Webdanzer is now a blogger at Webdanzer’s Spin and Ted Leiker (i.e. Grantofan) has gone blogging with Granatofan’s Corner. I wish them both the best of success and look forward to reading the creativity that flows from their new-found homes.

Now we wait to see if Adam and Kevin join the party with a blog of their own, join another site, start up something fresh, remain low-key, or something else equally exciting.


Couch Falters in Green Bay … Q-Q-Q-Quincy and the Jets

It is hard to believe that the once promising career of Tim Couch has quickly crashed and burned. Couch was clinging to hope that his career could be revived in Green Bay behind the tutorage of Favre, but it appears that Couch is about to hit rock bottom. Thus far Couch has a QB rating of 39.6%. 8 completions in 28 attempts, good for an abysmal (you do the math) completion percentage, a 2.9 yards/attempt average, and 82 measly yards. Green Bay fans better be praying that (A) Favre does not get hurt (B) Favre does not call it a day anytime soon.

Quincy Carter landed with the “J-E-T-S, JETS, JETS, JETS” today. I have a whole lot more to say on this, but I will save it for later. I just question if Jets offensive coordinator Paul Hackett has been in Ricky’ stash:

“I think this guy is a magnificent fit,” offensive coordinator Paul Hackett said of Carter playing in a West Coast offense. “I said it when he came out of Georgia. I looked at him extensively. … I likened him to Steve Young, in my opinion.” [source –]

Steve Young? Give me a f’ing break. That is about the most ridiculous thing I have heard. Ever. I am hard pressed to think of anything more ridiculous than comparing Steve Young to Quincy Carter. I think the NFL should hand down a fine for that one. Talking about a low blow for Young. If I were Young, I would sue Hacket, the Jets, and the NFL (deep pockets) for defamation of character.