CNBC’s Mark Haines on ‘one-sided crap’

From Squawk On The Street this morning – awesome flip-out by host Mark Haines over a Republican consultant’s answer to a question on trickle-down economics.

Long form:

Short form focusing on the kicker line – “I find that one-sided crap insulting”.

Right on, Haines. And it’s both sides. When is the media going to get tired of trotting out Republican Operative X vs. Democratic Operative Y to spew their propaganda? A host asks a question, the operative dodges it and spews whatever that day’s talking points are. I know I’m sick of it, and would love to see anchors call the operatives on this crap and shut them down.

SEC Week 1 Recap

Coming fast and furious with a scant three days between the last SEC game (Tennessee) last week and the first one (Vandy / South Carolina) tonight. So to recap Week 1 predictions here:

- I already wrote a good bit about LSU’s QB trials in Week 1. Suffice it to say the Appy game showed LSU is rock-solid on the offensive and defensive lines, capable but needing improvement for SEC play in the defensive backfield and needing to settle on a QB before Sept. 20. Having the Troy game moved because of Gustav damage in Baton Rouge really won’t help the team get ready for Auburn, but it is what it is. And I got that pick right.

- Alabama / Clemson. The Tide has a history of building up hopes with unexpected great performances, so I’m not ready to get too excited about Fonzie’s dismantling of Clemson. It could well be that Clemson just sucks. But Saban had a lot of young kids in the game, and from all appearances they knew the gameplan and executed well. So good job on Fonzie’s part there; we’ll see what happens in SEC play. I blew the pick.

- Tennessee / UCLA. I should get credit for picking the Vols here, because the Vols should have won this game. But they didn’t, Norm Chow totally out-coached Tennessee in the second half, and those hillbillies made the SEC look stupid out West. I blew the pick.

- Florida / Hawaii. As expected, and the most impressive SEC v. Patsy showing by far. I got the pick.

- Georgia / Georgia Southern. Pretty unimpressive debut by the Dawgs. But they won, and No. 2 isn’t a bad place to be. I got the pick.

- Auburn / ULM. Also pretty unspectacular debut for the Tigers. And it’s good news for LSU that Auburn will be playing the older, less mobile and less talented QB going forward. I got the pick.

- South Carolina / NC State. Cocks shouldn’t get all excited yet, but a pretty good show here except for the QB problems. I got the pick.

- Kentucky / Louisville. Louisville sucks. I got the pick.

- Mississippi State / La. Tech. My apologies to the La. Tech crowd. The team looked pretty good, and Ruston is a lovely town. I blew the pick.

- Ole Miss / Memphis. Strong debut for Mr. Nutt. I got the pick.

- Arkansas / W. Illinois. I actually picked this as an 8-point game, and the Hogs won by 4. Doesn’t bode well, but I got the pick.

- Vandy / Miami (OH). Go ‘Dores. Nice win on the road against what’s supposed to be a decent Mid-Major. I got the pick.

For the week – 9-3
For the season – 9-3

Nice Time/Newsweek matching cover thing on UCLA win

Noticed this (looking for new polls …) just now on and Yahoo Sports:

It’s nice to see new media picking up the habits of old media, but unlike Time & Newsweek, somebody could actually change a headline or picture if they cared about this me-tooism. I suppose they don’t.

There is no doubt who should be No. 1 this week

The flawed and biased human polls produced a ranking of teams earlier this summer that was based on factors other than actual results this season – being that they came out before there were any actual results. But now we have results. “Tradition” holds that human voters do not move a top team down in the rankings when that team has not lost, but any rational examination of this week’s results (with the excepting, of course, of the Tennessee / UCLA game to be played tonight) would point to a clear and inarguable “number one” team – USC.

I have, of course, no love for USC. But there is absolutely no denying that the Trojans’ 52-7 thrashing of No. 38 Virginia means they are the best 1-0 team in the country. I don’t see how anyone could argue against that notion.

So if I were ranking teams based on Week 1 results and last year’s performance and personnel changes year over year, I think the Top 10 would look something like this right now.

1. USC
2. Florida – Scored 56 on Hawaii in three quarters, held the Rainbows to 0 non-scrub points.
3. Ohio State – 43-0 over Youngstown State was the most impressive takedown of a I-AA team, as the Buckeyes dominated a team that was 7-4 last season.
4. Oklahoma – The Sooners absolutely destroyed I-AA Chattanooga – a team that was 2-9 last season. So not much in Degree of Difficulty points, but you can’t discount holding any team to 36 yards of total offense and rolling up 50 points in the first half. The 57-2 final is a kind finish for Chattanooga.
5. Georgia – The Bulldogs were impressive but not dominant in beating Georgia Southern 45-21. The problem for Georgia came with its late-game defense (the backups), who gave up 14 points in the fourth quarter to their I-AA foe. Georgia shut down the Southern rushing attack (No. 1 in I-AA last year), but allowed 188 passing yards when Southern averaged just 130 per game last year in I-AA play. Yes, 74 of those yards came on Southern’s final drive, but that raises a question about Georgia’s defensive depth, and puts them squarely in the “show me” category.
6. LSU – The line play on both sides of the ball was dominant against defending I-AA champion Appalachian State. Appy lost a lot of offensive horsepower, but LSU held them to 239 total yards when they averaged 488 last season. Offensively, LSU’s quarterback situation hampered the passing game, but Charles Scott running behind our offensive line is a great base for quarterback transition.
7. Alabama – How do you not hold the Tide in high regard after they took apart Clemson 34-10? Bama is young and rebuilding; Clemson is supposed to be seasoned and explosive. For Fonzie to have his guys this well-prepared and executing so well for an opening game against the ACC favorite earns Alabama a top spot.
8. Auburn – The War Eagles pitched the only other shutout (34-0) among ranked teams this week, which says a lot about a defense. Of course, being up only 17-0 at halftime against a team (UL-Monroe) that beat Alabama last year kept the motivation up and the starters in. Their new-fangled offense remains a concern.
9. Missouri – Winning 52-42 over Illinois doesn’t impress me much. Get a defense.
10. Texas – A 52-10 win over up-and-comer Florida Atlantic (8-5 last year), holding the Owls to 37 yards rushing. A solid but not spectacular win.

LSU v. Auburn – week 1

I think it’s fair to say a whole lot of the SEC West race will hinge on the LSU/Auburn showdown Sept. 20 – and apparently a lot also hinges on whether Alabama’s dehumanizing of Clemson was Bama being great or Clemson being horrible, because Fonzie’s boys absolutely tore it up. And there are questions circling around both LSU and Auburn going in to the game, mostly around both teams’ QB situation.

So I’ll be looking closely at the performance of Andrew Hatch, Jarrett Lee, Kodi Burns and Chris Todd during each team’s tune-up games. And I figured it would be nice to share my observations.

The edge in week 1 is clearly to LSU, even though Hatch and Lee combined to go just 13 for 24 for 193 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. That’s hard to believe, but Auburn’s passing game was abysmal, with Burns and Todd combining to go 13 for 27 for just 85 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin has to shelve his new spread attack and beat UL-Monroe on the ground. The War Eagles rolled up 321 yards rushing, but still just scored once on the ground.

On the LSU side, Hatch showed himself to be a decent game manager and a pretty unspectacular quarterback, completing 7 of 14 passes for 77 yards – a whopping 5.5 yard-per-pass average. Lacking both biceps and triceps, Hatch struggled to throw the football more than about 15 yards.

Lee has an arm, but lacks both the experience and the mobility to really perform well in Crowton’s offense. He went 6 for 10 for 116 yards – a healthy 11.6-yard average – but threw a very bad interception to go along with his two touchdowns. Lee will likely improve with more snaps, but it’s unclear whether he’ll ever really be a good fit for the offense. If he can get up to JaMarcus-level scrambling ability, maybe so. But it seems a long way off.

If I thought Leslie was a rational man, I would predict that Lee gets the majority of snaps in this week’s game against Troy, the coaches use the North Texas game as the final trial, and whoever is running the offense best gets the start at Auburn.

Auburn’s situation is a lot more challenging. What the team learned from the ULM game is that their offense is nowhere close to ready for the SEC schedule. For their QBs to be so far behind is rather stunning.

After week 1, I’m liking LSU’s chances against Auburn. We’ll see how things progress this week.

Why I question McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin

It’s not because McCain stands a good chance of dying in office and turning the most powerful nation in the world over to a woman who two years ago had only been mayor of a town of 8,800. It’s not that even now she governs a population only roughly the size of Charlotte.

No, it’s because Sarah Palin is a sellout! This is her on a campaign stop with McCain in Ohio today:

That’s right – she bought some Buckeye merchandise at an Ohio State fan store for her daughter. I doubt this Idaho native and longtime resident of Wasilla, Alaska has a built-in passion for Ohio State sports. Maybe her and McCain are attending the Ohio State / Youngstown State game tomorrow, but this faux fandom – shameless!

And Ohio State? Jeez. Everybody knows the trendy pick this year is Georgia. I hear Obama may be giving the GOP trouble down here this year, also. She’d better pick herself up a red (or is that black) jersey soon.

How to be a piss-poor blogger

So I subscribe to an RSS feed on that is the writings of some guy named Kevin Donahue. I think this guy must be an LSU blogger or something – I don’t always recall why I add something to RSS.

So, anyway, this morning there’s a piece in my RSS called 15 must-haves for the 2008 college football season. OK, it’s a link-bait list post, but worth a browse in the reader. But something struck me as odd at best and more likely just pathetic:

Gear – Check out the NCAA Fan Store at Amazon for all the hats, shirts, and tail gating gear your could ever want. (And if you want the best portable grill out there, check this out. Just got this one this summer and it’s fantastic! Plus free 2 day delivery if you enroll in Amazon Prime!)

OK, I’ve built an Amazon affiliate site around fan gear, and I know for a fact the selection and pricing kind of sucks there. It’s mostly through non-Amazon sellers, and it’s not quite as random as eBay crap, but it’s close. There are many, many better places to find fan gear online; Amazon wouldn’t be in an objective person’s top 10.

Ah, but hovering over one of the links to Amazon reveals all. “&tag=kevindonahue-20″ means Mr. Donahue is an Amazon Associate and would get paid for any purchases you make after following these links. And there’s your motivation.

Pretty ham-handed attempt to make it appear that Amazon is the best place to buy gear – not just the place to go so Kevin Donahue gets paid. Strike one.

No disclosure that these are commercial links isn’t cool, either. Destroys the credibility of Mr. Donahue and the validity of this list of his. Is he actually in to college football, or just out to make a buck through Amazon? How much time did he spend actually seeking out the “must haves”? Or did he just round up some stuff to go along with his Amazon links? Strike two.

But the best part is that after I saw this, I went to his blog and left a comment calling him out on it. Of course, any and all comments left on his blog have to be approved by a moderator (Strike 3A), and he chose not to approve mine that was critical of him (Strike 3B). He approved others praising his piece, but not mine that pointed out his undisclosed interest and the shitty nature of that (Strike 3C).

So well done, Mr. Donahue. I hope you earn $20! You’re gone from my RSS reader, though.

SEC Week 1 Predictions

We are, as I begin to write this, 90 minutes away from the start of college football season. These are my favorite four-plus months of the year, by far. And away we go.

No. 6 LSU, of course, opens up by hosting No. 1 (in I-AA) Appalachian State Saturday afternoon in Baton Rouge. And there is but one goal for the Tigers – don’t be Michigan. And, I suppose, figure out who your quarterback is. But most importantly – don’t be Michigan.

What I expect out of this game – I have no idea. App State has Armanti Edwards, who isn’t worth much as a passer, but runs a lot. Maybe the Mountaineers will play Arkansas’ Wildhog offense. Worked pretty well during LSU’s last home game.

But I have to believe big-school talent and a strong motivation to not be Michigan overcomes whatever shred of potency and motivation App State will be able to muster for this game. I figure LSU’s defense should be pretty tight, considering how well we’ve been starting seasons of late, and I figure the offense will run a lot, be successful at that and test our QBs in the passing game and overall field leadership. So knock off a few points for the semi-scrimmage and QB tryout nature of this one.

LSU 31 – 10

Elsewhere in the SEC:

No. 9 Clemson plays No. 26 Alabama just up the road at the Georgia Dome. This is actually a game I’d love to go see as a disinterested party, but not at the expense of LSU on ESPN. Fonzie has said Julio Jones will start at wide receiver in his first game out of high school (and against a top-10 team), but I don’t expect Bama to lean too heavily on the soon-to-be superstar. I expect Bama’s too-young defense to get eaten up by the Tigers, who return enough playmakers to have a distinct edge in an opener. Clemson 27 – 17

No. 18 Tennessee at No. 46 UCLA (Monday). Damn the NCAA and the networks and their non-Saturday games. Yeah, I know it’s a holiday and all that, but this would have made a great capper to a Saturday not filled with enough good games. But it is what it is. I don’t know a heck of a lot about UCLA except that their always-hurt quarterback is hurt again. And they have new coaches up and down the line, including Norm Chow – ex of USC. But whatever excitement may come from that other L.A. team, it’s a long way off. Vols 24 – 15

Hawaii at No. 5 Florida. Once upon a time, this didn’t seem like a bad game. But injuries, suspensions, coaches leaving and the general de-flowering of Hawaii as a serious football program set this one up to be yet another long trip to humiliation for the Rainbows. Gators 56 – 3

Georgia Southern at No. 1 Georgia. I hear the number one team in the country can’t even get their opener on TV. Sad, really. Georgia 13 – 10

LA-Monroe at No. 11 Auburn. Yeah, it was cool last season when ULM beat Fonzie and the gang. Can they march back in to Alabama and do it again? No. Auburn 27 – 10

N.C. State at No. 27 South Carolina (Thursday). The Wolfpack finished 5-7 last year; the Cocks 6-6. But there’s more than a one-game spread in the programs right now. Cocks 19 – 12

No. 44 Kentucky at No. 50 Louisville. Oh, but for a fleeting moment this matchup was somewhat significant. Those days are gone. Kentucky 42 – 35

No. 42 Mississippi State at Louisiana Tech. Wait – at Louisiana Tech? Damn, Sly, I thought you were past that kind of stuff now. Nobody goes to Ruston. Mississippi State 52 – 20

Memphis at Ole Miss. So was it Coach O, or are the Rebels really as bad as they played under the Crazy Cajun? I’m gonna give Nutt the benefit of the doubt. Ole Miss 31 – 27

Western Illinois at Arkansas. I love that Jackass’ team didn’t get a single vote in the pre-season poll. Not a one. And I can never keep up with these “Western” schools – is this one of the decent ones? Who cares – Arkansas 10 – 2

Vanderbilt at Miami (Not Florida). OK, Vandy I can see going on the road to play some loser team. And I picked them to go winless in the SEC; I’ll toss a bone. Vandy 6 – 3

Jobs I Should Apply For: Interview Reggae Artist

Wow, heck of an opportunity here. Interview the reggae band Morgan Heritage – with questions provided! And the freedom to add my own questions. Sweet. The technical requirement of not recording the interview digitally – unless you do so in a way that you can transfer it to “CD format” … which I think is digital, so that seems doable – is a downer, but the compensation of the potential of free tickets to their gig (if you ask them nice during the interview, I suppose) is pretty awesome.

I’d like, by the way to offer a similar position to Wisdom readers. It is as follows:

Interview Rock artist (anywhere)

The band you will interview is the rock group U2. The questions will be provided for you. Feel free to add your own. This is a non-paid gig, however there is a high possibility that you will gain a picture of yourself with the band, and maybe free tickets to a concert or something.

College Football Preview: LSU and the SEC West

I’ll take the suspense out of this right up front – I’m not picking LSU to win the SEC West. There’s just no way I can at the moment given our quarterback situation. It would appear that the man taking the first snaps of the season will, in fact, be Mr. Andrew Hatch – late of the Harvard junior varsity and a Mormon mission in Chile.

I don’t mean to sound harsh, but Hatch has no business starting a season, much less a game – or getting significant playing time at all – at LSU. He is in this situation only because of the most unlikely of quarterback shortages and – apparently – because Jarrett Lee has a sore back.

It would be a much more concerning situation if Hatch (who doesn’t even have a profile if that gives you a sense of the “buzz” around him in high school) had actually beat out the highly-regarded Lee, and part of me wonders if Lee’s “back pain” might be Leslie’s way of keeping an unready Lee out of the opener without tipping his hand that the guy who should be his best QB just isn’t ready to lead the team. That might not be a bad approach, and certainly a better idea than to put him on the field to embarrass himself and open the door for a really big upset.

Fortunately for the Tigers, the season starts with three games that should be winnable using direct snaps to Charles Scott and fake field goals from your own 20 on second down. The problem comes Sept. 20 at Auburn. One would assume the goal is to have a solid, tested, proven quarterback in place by then. If Lee is either not healthy enough to get a whole lot of work in during these first three games or – God forbid – actually not as good as Hatch, LSU is in for a world of pain.

And as it stands, I can’t pick LSU to beat Auburn four weeks from now with Andrew Hatch as our presumptive quarterback. I reserve the right to modify that opinion based on the first three games and ultimately what shakes out at QB, but the Perrilloux Penalty is – I pick Auburn to win the SEC West.

I see LSU finishing 9-3, second in the SEC West. Much of the season’s fortunes will ride on the quarterback position. By the time Oct. 11 rolls around, the Tigers had better have the offense clicking if they are to get past Florida. And I don’t see that happening. I think by that point we’ll be seeing Lee as the starter – possibly only as a bridge to Jordan Jefferson. Auburn will have shown Hatch as inadequate, and Lee will at best be getting fully into the groove come the Florida game. Again, things could change, but I foresee the Tigers not being ready to run with the Gators.

I’m picking Georgia to beat LSU, largely because LSU will be coming off games at Florida and at South Carolina, and Georgia will be coming off games hosting Tennessee and hosting Vandy. If the Tigers have two losses and Mark Richt puts his boys in black underwear or something, I think Georgia can motivate their way into a win there.

But I like the prospect of LSU finishing strong. Given the implosion of Perrilloux and the lack of an experienced quarterback to enter the season, I think 9-3 would be a heck of an accomplishment for Leslie’s damn strong team.

LSU Wins: Mississippi State, South Carolina, Alabama, Ole Miss, Arkansas, all the non-conference teams. Losses: Auburn, Florida, Georgia. SEC Finish: 5-3, 2nd SEC West

The War Eagles have a good number of questions to answer themselves, but I think on balance it’s a toss up on talent and schedule with LSU, and as things stand on August 24, they’re in a better position come Sept. 20.

I see Auburn building their offensive mojo and pulling their young defense together over the course of the season. I like their chances of stumbling a bit early on, and finishing big, but I like Fonzie’s chances to pull off an upset to end the season. Wins: Mississippi State, LSU, Vandy, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Georgia. Losses: Tennessee, Alabama. SEC Finish: 6-2, 1st SEC West.

My pick to finish third is Alabama. Everybody sees Julio Jones as savior, but not in Fonzie’s world. Nick Saban is too proud to turn to a freshman and too demanding to put up with a lot of freshman mistakes. I think that means Jones won’t be a hero until later in the season if at all, but more significantly it’s a problem for Saban’s young defense. “Young” is never good in Saban’s complex and demanding set of schemes, and it’ll show. Maybe next year, but 2008 will be a challenge for the Tide. Wins: Arkansas, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Auburn. Losses: Georgia, Tennessee, LSU. SEC Finish: 5-3, 3rd SEC West.

Next is Mississippi State, which I won’t say much about except 8-5 is darn good for y’all! Wins: Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Arkansas, Ole Miss. Losses: Auburn, LSU, Tennessee, Alabama. SEC Finish: 4-4, 4th SEC West.

Then it’s Ole Miss, who will not be good. Wins: Vanderbilt, Arkansas. Losses: Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State. SEC Finish: 2-6, 5th SEC West.

Pains me to predict an SEC win for Arkansas and their new jackass coach. Wins: Kentucky. Losses: Alabama, Florida, Auburn, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Mississippi State, LSU. SEC Finish: 1-7, 6th SEC West.

Of course, nothing ever plays out as anybody predicts, and there will surely be upsets along the way, better finishes than predicted and maybe a collapse by a favorite. But this is my view at the moment.

In the SEC Championship Game, I see a one-loss Florida team (the highest-ranked one-loss team, having lost early against Tennessee) … blowing their shot and losing to Auburn.

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