Analyzing college football coaches’ favorite musical artists

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ESPN conducted a survey of all 128 Division I college football coaches, asking them to name their favorite musical artist. The full list of responses is here. My cursory analysis is here:   Continue reading

Sporting Geography: Soccer’s arrival in Atlanta stirs old conflicts

Major League Soccer is expanding, and, thanks in no small part to the city’s planned new stadium, Atlanta will be the home of a new MLS franchise circa 2017.

Soccer fans are an enlightened bunch, nowhere moreso than in Ohio, apparently, where Columbus-based Massive City FFC, a soccer fan entity of some variety, reacted to the expansion news by reminding Atlanta residents that Gen. William T. Sherman, an Ohioan, burned their city to the ground 150 years ago. (Ohio has a lot going for it, you may recall.)

A work friend who has been on top of this soccer news tells me the mascot for Atlanta’s new MLS team is expected to be the Locomotive, given the city’s railroad history. Locomotive isn’t bad, but the Sherman comment made me think of another potential mascot, the Phoenix, which is central to the city’s seal and flag (pictured above) for even more obvious historical reasons. I think it would make a great mascot for any team in this town.

As a name, though, the Atlanta Phoenix carries the slight possibility for confusion, with Phoenix also being the name of another major American city. I’m sure a lot of funny internet people would have a lot of really hilarious and original comments to offer about that name. Rather than steal their thunder by listing all of the joke they could tell, I thought it would be more interesting to come up with potential sports team names in which the mascot is the name of another American city. Here’s what I have so far:

  • the Atlanta Phoenix
  • the Colorado Boulder

Here are a couple stretches:

  • the Cleveland Pitts[burgh] (almost perfect)
  • the Boston Bangors (spelling issue)
  • the Boise Grand Rapids (possible obscurity issue)

This is a fun game. Maybe even more fun than soccer or Ohio. Add your ideas in the comments below. (If you want real soccer talk from Brendan and Marcus, tune in to our latest podcast.)

2013 college football bowl schedule

Before getting to the 2013-14 college football bowl schedule and associated predictions and operations, a note on sponsored discourse. In this post-Musburger-for-all-the-Tostitos world, it is an unremarkable fact that the bowl games are not merely sponsored football contests but business entities in and of themselves, the sponsorship-style nomenclature– e.g., “the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl”– a mere reflection of the game’s less overtly monied past. Even the ostensible bastion of postseason intercollegiate purity now is known as “the Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio.”

When a bowl game is a business, and not merely a happening, there is an associated shift in the commercial advertising language referential to that business. The NFL’s decision to prohibit the use of “Super Bowl” by non-league advertisers, who now must offer you late-January deals on new televisions for watching “the big game,” provides a rough analogy.

I understand and accept the logic behind a business’ desire to control its portrayal in other business’ advertisements and insist on inclusion of a game’s full, sponsored title in that portrayal. What I do not understand is why the news media plays along. This week, I heard a local sports talk show talk about talking about Georgia’s appearance in “the Taxslayer dot com Gator Bowl,” and that’s far from the only example. I understand that some of the sponsors have integrated their names into the bowl games’ names in such a way that it’s difficult– or, where the sponsor’s name and the bowl’s name are one and the same, impossible– to say the bowl’s name without saying the sponsor’s name as well (e.g., the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and the Capital One Bowl, respectively). “Taxslayer dot com” is a mouthful, though, and everybody already knows the Gator Bowl. “The Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio” is ridiculous to say, and things like “the Allstate Sugar Bowl,” “FedEx Orange Bowl,” and “Tostitos Fiesta Bowl” simply are superfluous. Why the sports news media feels obligated to append these sponsor names when discussing the bowls is beyond me, and you won’t find us doing it here, unless it’s something humorous like the Beef O’Brady Bowl or the RealOakFurniture.com Bowl.

Onto the bowl schedule, which begins this Saturday.   Continue reading

ALDLAND Podcast

One week of college football down, not enough weeks of college football left to go. Your two favorite podcast hosts discuss some of the big games from last week as well as what’s on tap for week two. We also attempt to figure out some of the mysteries of soccer’s transfer window, but not before taking shots at the frequency with which soccer players fall victim to injury.

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Download the ALDLAND podcast at our Podcasts Page or stream it right here:

College football bowl schedule released

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The full bowl schedule, including times and broadcast networks, is here. Some highlights, in chronological order:   Continue reading

FrankenMonday Update

Nothing is weather until it’s New York City weather, which means that, as of sometime today, we have ourselves some weather. Somehow unsurprisingly, the indomitable Clay Travis has himself a man on the scene, reporting live from the south shore of Long Island. Somewhat surprisingly, there has been a dearth of Point Break references being made, so that’s something we collectively need to work on. And while the Frankenstorm/Hurricane Sandy caused the main presidential candidates to take a break from the campaign trail, it didn’t stop sports this weekend.

Saturday was a tumultuous day in college football’s top 25, with undefeateds Ohio and Mississippi State taking their first losses of the season, Wisconsin losing to Michigan State in overtime, Oregon State losing to Washington, Florida losing to Georgia, USC losing to Arizona, Rutgers losing to Kent State, and Michigan losing to Nebraska. Although not technically an upset, Notre Dame surprised most people outside of South Bend by beating Oklahoma in convincing fashion. The Georgia win is significant because it dashes the order that was starting to distill in the highly competitive SEC East. The Arizona win is significant because 1) aren’t they really bad??, and 2) it weakens Oregon’s strength of schedule, because the Ducks were relying on a win against USC to buoy their BCS ranking that continues to fall despite an unbroken series of mathematically mind-boggling wins.

In the NFL, the Lions beat the Seahawks by scoring touchdowns in both halves of the game, and even daring to take a lead in the first half. The Falcons preserved their position as the NFL’s only undefeated team by beating the Eagles, a team where the only constant now seems to be the walrusness of Andy Reid’s mustache. (Reid fired his good friend and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo during Philadelphia’s bye week last week, and after yesterday’s game, Michael Vick said that Reid was contemplating a change at quarterback.) In a real accordion-style game, the Giants went up 23-0 on the Cowboys, then went down 24-23, before coming from behind in some technical sense to beat Dallas, 29-24. Andrew Luck led the Colts to an overtime victory against the Titans, the Broncos beat the listless Saints by twenty, and the Bears survived a scare from the visiting Panthers, beating Carolina by one.

Finally, the sad World Series came to an end last night when the Giants beat the Tigers 4-3 in the tenth inning of game four. It’s San Francisco’s second championship in three years. More on that later in the week.