Saturday, November 30, 2013

Nick Saban Isn't The Only One Going Undefeated Today... Week 14 Confidence Plays

Yep, there's a clue in that title on how I think the Iron Bowl is going to go.

I hope you survived Black Friday. You people who participate in that Wal-Mart/Hunger Games-style shit are a bunch of idiots. No way in hell I'd ever be around that many people. Really - you want to see the worst of society, watch those Black Friday Wal-Mart fight videos. I could do about 7,000 words on this, so let's digress. Now, on to football...

A B.S. backdoor cover from Indiana kept us from a 2-0 week last week, so we must move on and make the most of our post Turkey Day weekend activities. 10-15-1 on the year, as we just couldn't dig out of that early hole that Lane Kiffin dug for us in September.

So let's do this, and then roll big in Championship Week and the Bowls:

THE PICKS...

NORTH CAROLINA -4

Sad to say, but the Duke dream stops short here. No luck with Miami whipping Pittsburgh earlier, the pressure is on Duke to win on the road for their ACC championship appearance. Duke or Miami in the championship game... what do you think is supposed to happen? Riding a five game win streak with some fairly impressive wins over BC and Pitt, UNC is finishing off the year well after a tumultuous September and early October. And even there losses there (for the most part) were competitive games. UNC is a decent team that just figured it out too late in the year. Duke football is... Duke football.

ALABAMA -10

As of this posting, ScoresandOdds.com has it at 10'. So, of course, I'm telling you to buy that hook. If I'm picking against your team, I guess that means I'm a homer, however, I look at a greatly improved Auburn team that has been playing out of its mind - and greatly relying on the unfortunate play of others. While this Alabama team hasn't been as sharp this season (the penalties, in particular), the defensive speed is still there to cover from sideline to sideline, and they can still tackle in space. That combination is not good for the Tigers. I also don't believe that Auburn can stop Alabama on any consistent basis, and unless they are going to suit up Cam Newton, any two-score deficit for Auburn will be major trouble. Home crowd helps, but Bama wins by 14.

And there you have it. Go make millions.

I'm on Twitter: @harry_long

Sunday, November 24, 2013

License Plate 'O the Day


This Auburn fan would like to remind you that she is a grown ass woman. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Confidence, Week 13

9-14-1 on the year.

(1-1 a week ago, thanks to AJ McCarron sleepwalking in Starkville. A good way to read how AJ is going to play is to check out how much zip there is on his passes early in the game. If there's no pop to it, look forward to be a long, extremely average or worse day for AJ.)

The record is not good, I know. Going with the quick, "mobile" post today, because it's what all the cool kids are doing. 

Let's make this a good week. 

Michigan State -6

This number is going the right way for us, and these are two teams are just going in different directions. Michigan State, I believe, is a legitimate top 10 or 12 team, and Northwestern is just falling apart. One score is all you need here.

Ohio State -34

This number has not been going the right way for us, but I don't think it'll matter. Cold-weather or not, look for a route today at the Horseshoe. Urban Meyer has no tact, and is still playing his outside shot for the BCS title game. #GotToRunItUp

There you have it. 

Follow me on Twitter, @Harry_Long. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Confidence, Week 12

My friend and Derek Jeter super-fan Clark McDuff enjoys the word "paltry". Been a staple of his for years. Not even sure I can describe my 8-13-1 record this year as such.

But we press on... I even looked at my calendar this morning and saw that today was "National Bounce Back Saturday". That's an omen, folks.

Let's get to the picks.

*Early game: West Virginia/Kansas OVER 43

Strictly a numbers play here. Game opened at a total of 50, so we're getting a touchdown for free. There's some rain and wind, and neither team is all that great, but when a number moves like this, I like to go back to where the experts had it originally. If they were even close (and they often are), then the math works for us.

Alabama -23

I guess I'm going to keep riding this train - and I'm also clueless as to what is going to happen in Auburn. (Stay away!) There's some folks liking the Bully Bulldogs, but I don't see it. The machine rolls on, and a smidge above three scores shouldn't be too much against another underachieving State team. #HAIL.

Make the most of your Saturday.

@harry_long

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Week 11 Confidence

Hola, mis amigos.

0-fer last week. And believe me, I'm just as upset about it as you are. But we must move forward. And away we go...

Texas A&M -19

Arkansas let me down big time last weekend, and now I'm totally convinced that they just can't play. With Johnny Football slinging (and maybe inspired to get back to forefront of Heisman, as Mariota's stock is way low), I believe in three scores advantage for A&M. Lots of points at home for the Aggies.

Alabama -10

I've seen this number up to 12, but on my check just now has it at 10'. Buy the half point for cushion. These matchups can't always go down to the last possession, right? Don't think it will today. Not a blowout, but a nice comfortable win for Alabama, who I believe will play conservative - only way this gets close is LSU getting +2 in turnovers. Don't think that will happen.

I'm heading down to Tuscaloosa on a bus with a bunch of fools shortly. Ought to be a good time. Follow me on Twitter for updates. @harry_long

Monday, November 4, 2013

License Plate 'O the Day

LSU fan. 


Should it not be clear, she's telling you to SMAKTHS. 

A wise man once told me never mess with a woman who drives a Miata. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Week 10 Confidence

Finally a 2-0 weekend. Felt like forever, but it felt so good. Let's keep it rolling.

Alabama's got a bye week, so that means every church in the state is slammed with a compromised wedding date. We need a study done on the number of weddings that are crammed into this one day. And do any churches double up? How about preachers - one early church wedding, then they run over to a country club, then to a farm wedding? Must be hectic.

Now on to the confidence. We are 7-10-1 on the year, looking for more 2-0s. Here's where we found one:

Virginia Tech -3'

Va Tech lost to Duke last week. They aren't that bad. Boston College struggles to score against anyone that isn't Army. They are consistently poor. Big believer in the Hokies today, despite being on the road. While Va Tech has been awful (terrible, really) with turnovers, it would take an extensive amount of turnovers to keep BC close. The smart play is Virginia Tech, and we are going to be smart.

Miami +21'

I know. Jameis and company are awesome, and they've been laying the wood to everybody. But I'm sensing a bit of that ESPN-sell going on, and I usually jump against that. Ordinarily, ESPN is selling me on how close a matchup it's going to be (FSU/Clemson, for example), and it ends up as a blowout. Now, they're selling me on the "Is there any way Miami keeps this close?" I think that ends up in locker rooms, and Miami is loaded with talented players. Talented players that now have a wall of extra motivation, and will likely be more focused, more intense than they have all season.

This is a three touchdown spread only because Miami has put themselves in bad spots this year - not because someone else did it to them. (I've been watching the Canes each weekend.) Miami's intensity level will be through the roof... and you're giving me three touchdowns? Thanks, I'll take it.

There you have it. Let today be the day we pay for the kids' college education. Harvard or Yale?

@harry_long

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Week 9 Confidence

5-10-1.

What can I say, other than we are just going to press on.

The Confidence:

Auburn -23

I went against the Tigers last week, as I thought Johnny Manziel was going to put some mojo on that ball. He was good, but Auburn played large and scored points. They'll do it again here against a not-very-good Florida Atlantic team. Don't see Auburn letting off the gas peddle until late - they're playing the 2 QBs, and I think Gus will want to get as many quality looks as he can with both. Tigers play deep into the game, and they continue to score.

Oklahoma -6'

This number's going the right way, and I've talked to a friend who likes this play, but is also in love with Kliff Kingsbury. That means he must really think this is the way to go. I'm rolling with my guy on this one.

Do what you can.

@harry_long

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Week 8 Confidence

5-8-1 on the season, with 6(?) weeks to go. We can see the other end, but need to get some 2-0s on the board.

We'll be catching most of the action today from Talladega, where tomorrow they've got an event where people go in circles for hours on end. And it is awesome. Looking forward to that.

In this week's picks, I'm concerned about winning - and only winning. So I'm throwing a bit of a curveball at the picks here, but it has been something I've been doing with some success this season. Hold tight.

The picks...

South Carolina -4 FIRST HALF

Tennessee broke our hearts a couple of weeks ago by mounting a huge comeback against Georgia, only to lose in OT. This was where Georgia's injuries were really starting to show. Tennessee played inspired, at home, but I still have little faith in them as an on-field product right now.

Now that Mizzou knocked off Georgia, there's like a 10-way tie for first in the East. New life for South Carolina, and I don't think Steve wants to mess around. They jump out early on Tennessee, and that's why we want the first half.

Texas A&M -13

Sorry to all my Auburn fans. Not today. A lot of "experts" are throwing our rumblings of a possible upset - but they are selling a game. Johnny Manziel is still the best player in college football - love him or hate him, doesn't matter - and Auburn, I believe, hasn't done itself any favors with what looks to be the onset of a dual quarterback system/controversy.

I think Gus Malzahn is awesome, but I never like the idea of creating a situation where players are now looking over their shoulders. Because once/if Nick Marshall has just the hint of a struggle, fans/coaches will start wondering if they need to go ahead and throw Johnson in. That wasn't the situation two weeks ago - why allow that to happen? I don't understand.

An uneasy situation for one side, and the other side has the best player in football at home. I think they can handle two scores.

There you have it. Let's make it 2-0 and get things right.

I'm on Twitter: @harry_long

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Week 7 Confidence

1-1 last week, taking the year to 4-7-1. At least we can see the other side now.

I'm working the Cask & Drum today in Birmingham, so I'll tell Dwight Yoakam you said hello. I'm heading off to that in a few minutes, so here's the confidence for the week.

Florida +7'

Get that half point. I've talked to a couple of our more well-known talking heads this past week, and there's a bit of a consensus that the Gators could beat LSU straight up. I'm liking Muschamp to keep his young quarterback (and I bet we see a good bit of wildcat/wildgator with Burton) in a conservative role, as well as his defense keeping it close. And who knows at the end. But I'm comfortable with the Gators and a score.

Alabama -25'

I'm always big on Nick Saban covering in conference games, and Kentucky is as close to a Georgia State or Western Carolina as you'll find in the SEC. Look for the Tide to get out early and score quick - eliminate any hopes for the Wildcats. Bama takes this one big in it's string of not playing anyone in October.

See you later.

@harry_long

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Confidence, Week 6

No early games this week, so no one freak out.

A win and a push is better than 2 losses as we get this all turned around. We now sit at 3-6-1 on the confidence this year. And with all the bad beats we've had, it's time the magic rolled back towards us. I'm feeling better about things, and let's see it pay off.

Some good games this week, at least to watch. I can't believe CBS chose Tennessee/Florida over Ole Miss/Auburn - apparently the suits at CBS think it's 1997. The better game will be down on the plains tonight.

But we care about picks, so let's get to that.

LSU -6'

Now, I'm finding this game all over the place. Scores and Odds has it 9, other places all the way down to 6. Don't ask me. But if I can get it at 6'... then I'm taking that sucker. You should, too. LSU was just caught by the clock in the UGA matchup (whoever would of had the ball back with reasonable time would of won that game). And they show they can and will score points.

This is going to get ugly in Starkville.

Georgia -12'

Another case of my 'Top 3/Bottom 3' theory, (although now it's either Top 3/Bottom 4) Georgia and Tennessee recruit heavily against each other, and when one has the upper hand - they like to keep it pressed down for as long as they can. Tennessee has shown a propensity to do nothing well against mediocre teams and even less against good ones. With that running game, for Georgia to eventually move up two scores and hold it... no problem. Go Dawgs.

There's also a nod to Ohio State in their game, but that would go beyond my deal here. Do what you must.

Good luck.

I'm on Twitter, and it's a good time. @harry_long

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Confidence, Week 5

I really don't even know what to say about this. In a year of some really bad beats and backdoor covers going against us, last week - I was just wrong. No complaints, just admission. We are 2-6 on the year.

But we move on. Through adversity comes triumph, I say.

I'm going back to keeping it close to the vest - and not reaching. This is what we know:

The Picks:

LSU +3

Hell, I would just take them straight up. (And I might.) But this has all the makings of disappointment for the Dawgs. Georgia has been tested mightily to this point of the season, and they have responded well, despite the loss to Clemson. However, (and every team is different) LSU's recent history of playing well on the road is something that factors in for me. This is a field goal game, and usually the home field will sway a few points towards the host. LSU is just so consistent on offense and always great defensively - I think that wipes away any home field advantage. LSU wins a close one, straight up. (But take the points.)

Bama -14

Buy the half point. There's been all this scare talk all week, but who is broadcasting the game? Oh - ESPN. They've got to sell eyeballs, folks. Telling you Bama is going to win by 3 touchdowns, doesn't bring in the casual viewer.

Unless Ole Miss' defenders all tacked on 40 pounds since last year, they are going to get pushed around. Could be the week that the Bama offensive line gets things straight. They've yet to truly dominate the line of scrimmage battle - and it's week 5. About time they got that figured out, and I think that this is the week that they do. Ole Miss keeps this close for awhile, but Bama pulls away to win by more than two scores.

Go get it.

Twitter: @harry_long

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Valley is Wide

Facebook is amazing. The amount of communication that is possible, how quickly information can spread... And it can display just how wide a range of friends that a person can have. 


At least they are both providing good lessons. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

APU? Student Athletes Need A Champion - They Need John Denver.

Interesting weekend for college football. Not because there were very many good games – there were only a few, but up crept something new - college football athletes finally took a stand. Or at least a little bit of one.

Hello, uh, Vad Lee? Paul Johnson
wants to talk to you...
Sporting headbands, wristbands, and other miscellaneous gear with the acronym "APU" - standing for "All Players United" - players used the platform of their bodies to display their position. While it comes off initially as a little Jim McMahon-ish, it's the first level of solidarity or at least public solidarity that we've seen presented by active players who support being paid for their efforts.

A couple of things here. First, was this successful? It at least made the ticker on Saturday, and I'm sure it will get some run on the talk shows in the next week. If attention was the goal, so far, so good - but unfortunately for the players, they don't control the next 48 hours of the media cycle. Who does? The TV networks and their business partner - the NCAA. Very interesting to see how much play this will actually get. If ESPN or FOX run away from this story or let it slide - I suspect pressure from the outside. (Don't be shocked if that happens - they are all compromised.)

So - did they get attention? Yeah, but we'll see if they get any help with keeping it there.

Second, where do the coaches fall on all this? Were the coaches of players who took part in this aware?

Well, looks like Paul Johnson wasn't...
“No, I wasn’t aware of it,” he said. “I can assure you that now that I am aware of it, we will talk to (players) about it.”
That doesn't sound too positive for Vad Lee and crew.

An aside (sort of) – what should the coaches' positions be on something like this? Should they be in favor of it, or do they see it as a distraction to their own immediate desire, which is to win?

It is an interesting dilemma for a coach – you want to show solidarity and support for your players after all, they're the ones out there providing the labor that's getting you millions of dollars. You don't want that "he doesn't care about us, he just uses us" emotion in the locker room.

But is it a distraction for your team with so many coaches giving that lip-service about maintaining focus each week, but if their kids are worried about putting their APU wristbands, do they see that as a threat on their attention?

The coach doesn't want to come off as if this is something that isn't important, but they were also much rather their players focus on playing the game and winning. Not sure how I would handle this if I was the coach.


At least the NCAA acknowledged it Saturday. From the NCAA on Saturday:
As a higher education association, the NCAA supports open and civil debate regarding all aspects of college athletics. Student-athletes across all 23 sports provide an important voice in discussions as NCAA members offer academic and athletic opportunities to help the more than 450,000 student-athletes achieve their full potential.
The organizing group, the NCPA (National College Players Association) says that they will continue. But if Paul Johnson's stance is any indication - there might be some difficulties with that.

I've been sitting on an idea for a while now, and I guess now is a good time as any to throw it out. Before this past weekend, the players never had a specific platform where they could make an impactful statement. The "APU" demonstration has brought upon a limited amount of attention to this point, but is that effective for them? It embarrasses the NCAA, but the NCAA is already embarrassed on a fairly consistent basis of late – and they don't seem to care.

So what platform is there where you find all of college football and all of college football media in the same spot?

A lot of other people have thrown out the idea of players sitting out games and refusing to play. I think that's bogus. No way you get all those kids to lay down at the same time. Too much of a risk, too many people involved. They wouldn't sit out the national title game, because I don't think any athlete or group of athletes would ever want to risk that opportunity.

But there is one place where a student-athlete gets the platform to say whatever they want... the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

All the cameras are on - coaches, players, media (and the creme de la creme of sports and news media, at that) are all in attendance. Listening to what that one person has to say. This is where it can become a news story that forces action.

Because, in the end, that's what their goal should be. Raising awareness is great. But can you raise awareness to the point where you FORCE a real reaction? That's tough. You need the right platform...

And the right person.

That's what really complicate matters. If Johnny Manziel was to repeat this year with the Heisman Trophy, the opportunity would be wasted. Johnny Football telling the world how tough it is to be a college athlete and it's not fair that everyone else makes money from his and his fellow athletes' efforts? He'd be laughed out of the room. It'd just be another rehash of court side seats and pictures with LeBron. Tough? Johnny Football doesn't have it tough.

Manziel's just too polarizing, and a lot of people already think he's getting paid anyway. Worse for college athletes, the moment would of passed them by.

Story time... Back in the 80s, Tipper Gore and a bunch of the other United States Senators' wives all got together because they were in a hissy fit about the band 2 Live Crew. They thought their lyrics were disgusting and should be censored. In fact they wanted all inappropriate music to be censored.

You may remember watching the Behind the Music on VH1, where they kept on calling people in to the Senate hearings. Dee Snyder from Twisted Sister. Frank Zappa. These "demonic" artists or getting chastised by all of these Senators and their wives for music that they found inappropriate.

Snyder, with big hair and makeup, came across poorly as a crazy rock star. Zappa was just unfortunately the smartest person in the room, and no one realized it. Tipper and her group, the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) were going to win this battle.



Tipper & Co. then brought in their ace in the hole - John Denver. Clean cut guy, plays music the whole family can listen to. Surely he'd support the PMRC's cause in censoring the outrageous lyrics of Twisted Sister, 2 Live Crew, W.A.S.P., and others... right?
(I am) strongly opposed to censorship of any kind in our society or anywhere else in the world.
It was Denver's testimony in the hearing that was the most impactful - because people didn't expect to hear that from him. It carried real weight.

Everybody needs a little John Denver in their lives.
Especially college athletes.
In order to force a real reaction from the NCAA, the athletes need a John Denver to 1) win the Heisman and 2) take the opportunity of that platform to bring their agenda to the forefront. The Heisman isn't the Emmy's - they won't play you off if you are making a political statement or are taking too long.

That moment, that stage is theirs.

So who is John Denver for college athletes? They need to be respected as an individual, as a leader, and come from an environment where a statement like this wouldn't outwardly appear to be self-motivated or in their own best interests. Someone that has the personality and presence to command the attention of a room like that.

I browse through the odds for Heisman, and a few names jump out at me. Teddy Bridgewater, by all accounts, is an outstanding person with great character. Mariota? A lot of Nike influence in Oregon could cloud his impact - I also know very little about his leadership presence. Jameis Winston? Probably too young - would need someone who's been around the college block for awhile.

Which leaves me with something that feels a little strange...

Could AJ be the voice to push for real change?
Could AJ McCarron be the one to provide the tipping point that will change college football forever?

If he wins the Heisman, and chooses to take that opportunity, he just might be.

Heisman Trophy winner, three-time national champion (assumption), from one of the most accomplished college football programs in the country?

That'd get the NCAA's attention. And if they didn't react to that, they'd have to fold up shop.

I'm on Twitter. I have lots of thoughts that aren't near as long as this one. @harry_long

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Confidence Shaken, Not Stirred - Week 4

Yeah, it hasn't been pretty.

2-4 on the season so far with THREE horrendous bad beats. Three right plays, just super bad luck. One way to look at it is that I'm 5-1 in picking the way it should of gone, but 0-3 when it comes to luck. The games we've won were no problem and went as scripted. Three of the games we lost? A bunch of bullshit, I say.

Damn Johnny Football.

Anyway, the season continues regardless of luck, and we've got to continue to be smart. Stay with what we know.

Here's what we know:

USC -6'

I'm well aware that I dog-cuss Lane Kiffin on what feels like a weekly basis. He's got better talent than the teams he plays against and is managing to screw all that up. This week, he plays against a good Utah State team - but it's only a one score spread, and it's time the talent got it right.

Florida -15'

Oh yeah, Tennessee is still terrible, and Florida's been getting their ears chewed by Will Muschamp for two weeks for giving away a win to Miami. Florida comes out angry (you may want to look at the first half bet - I am) and puts their boot on the Volunteer throat. This one is easy.

Go get it.

I'm on Twitter, and I'll be very active today. Give it a run. @harry_long

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Look, Ma! I'm On TV!

Yep, I got interviewed for the Johnny Pinata story, and here is the proof.



I'm on Twitter. @harry_long

Confidence, Week 3

Just got done with a TV hit in Sacramento to talk Johnny Pinata (yep, I had a hand in that). You can check it out somewhere on the Good Day Sacramento site.

But you don't care about me (but why don't you??)... you care about picks.

We are a paltry 2-2 on the year. I haven't gone 0-fer in a long, long time, so I'm very disappointed in how last week played out. I will state again that the Florida play was the correct play, you just can't anticipate them throwing the ball up going in from the 20 over and over again. Ridiculous, and a bad beat.

This week. Yep, Game of the Millenium. At least for this week. But isn't it kind of odd that the Game of the ALL TIME is like a 9 point spread? That's because of storylines. Don't let your money get distracted by storylines. It needs to be focused. I've got it at 8', and you should, too.

ALABAMA -8'

The other game? Let's go to the Plains. Points a'plenty. Malzahn and Mullen are going to try and out offense each other, and 52 points ain't enough.

MISS STATE/AUBURN OVER 52

0-2 last week? Pssssh. Let's flip that back right.

I'm on Twitter. And you should be, too. @harry_long

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Confidence, Week 2

2-0 last week (3-0 if you count Thursday night - but we'll keep it to the official Saturday picks), and we're happy about that. So, let's take it and roll.

I will actually be escorting Big Head Todd & the Monsters around Birmingham today, and my goal is to get them to a place with TVs. Hopefully they'll take me up on it. If you're in the area, and haven't gotten tickets yet - pick up a pair here.

On to the picks:

Florida -3

All the Miami hype is media driven. While the Hurricanes are on the mend as a program, they don't play well consistently for me to think they can go against a Florida team that may not be "great-great", but they are pretty damn good all the time. And I'm confident enough in that to give Florida a better than a field goal advantage.

Lance Taylor and I are in the midst of a texting-fight about this game as I write this. He likes Miami. "Better coach and best player..." he says. I was 2-0 last weekend. LT was not.

USC -15'

USC really let me down in an off-board play last week, as Hawaii stole a last minute backdoor cover over a freshman defensive back for a long TD. I like Lane Kiffin in running up scores on Pac-12 opponents whenever he can. And Washington State isn't very good, and they just got done with a close game all the way over at Auburn last week, and now they are in southern California. Lots of travel, and they are playing a team with a lot more athletes who are a lot better. Do the math - it makes out to more than 16 points.

If I can get a few picks out of Big Head Todd, I'll tweet them out. Good luck.

Twitter: @harry_long

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Confidence Plays, 2013. Week 1

I hit 81% last year because I kept it simple, and kept it to things I knew. Let's hope for the best this year.

I'll be in Atlanta today, so I hope to catch some good video of Alabama fans looking foolish. I've brought a charger for my phone.

The picks:

LSU -3'

I hear some folks are getting this all the way up at 6, but on the ground, we've still got it at 4. As always, I recommend getting that extra half point.

Mississippi St/Oklahoma state UNDER 64

There's as much buzz for Tyler Russell as there can be, I guess. But State (#Hail) is better suited to keep it close. I bet they slow it down, and still struggle offensively. I favor SEC defenses in general to be able to cover the space required going against teams like Oklahoma State. And 64 is a LOT of points. Total started at 60, so we've already picked up 4 whole points.

Good luck.

Check out the madness on Twitter. I'll be here all... forever. @harry_long

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fox Sports 1's First Full Week In the Book

Variety had a ratings report on Fox Sports 1's first full week...

It didn't go so well.

Lots of thoughts on Fox Sports 1 (& 2!), but I'm keeping this primarily to a few things I noticed in the article.

1) WJOX in Birmingham had more unique daily listeners than Fox Sports 1 had average daily viewers. (For statistics nerds, I understand that those are two different statistics being compared. The point is to point out how few people nationwide were watching.)

2) ESPN is in only 85% of households? Where the hell are the people without ESPN? Are they okay? Should we call and check in on them?

Like the article states, Fox Sports 1 will likely find it's groove once more live events come in to the rotation. It will also help when their midday programming is settled. While they have loads of commentators on their nightly programs, they are lacking in the general 'sportscenter'-types. So far as I have seen, there is no midday "Fox Sports Live" for news - just one minute break-ins ("3 Things You Need To Know"). Instead, we're left watching stuff that we probably could of seen anyway on Fox Sports South.

Program development in their middays will help with that daily average, as well as working the bugs out. ("Crowd Goes Wild"? I've got a Dead Sea Scroll full of suggestions for that show...)

Success in all this won't be determined for another 18 months. If at the beginning of 2015 you see a bunch of staff reductions, then you'll know Fox is bailing. But it ain't over, there's plenty of time before that. It can be tough when your target has a thirty year head start.

I'm on Twitter. Check it (or me) out. @harry_long

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pumpkin Leaves Man Without Recourse

Editor's Note: This article started out at 100 words, then it got crazy. Stay with it, and you'll see why.

Check out this article. Or, I'll just give you a quick synopsis...

This is our man JD. He lives for this.
(AP Photo/Peninsula Clarion/Greg Skinner)
There's a dude in Alaska that grows super-huge pumpkins like nobody's business. JD Megchelsen already holds the record for biggest Alaskan pumpkin at something over 1,200 lbs, and this year JD thought he had an even bigger one. But because it has a hole in it, some Alaskan-pumpkin-rule says you can't count it. (Bureaucracies, right?)

Anyway, the reason I'm adding this piece to this space is because of a quote that I just couldn't get enough of. Here's JD's sister-in-law on the situation.
"It's just killing him," said Pam Elkins, Megchelsen's sister-in-law. "He eats, sleeps, and dreams pumpkins. All he does is pumpkins."
Eats, sleeps, and dreams pumpkins, huh?

I would suggest a new hobby, and I was about to, until I got to this line...
The hole likely opened the first week of August when the fruit hit its peak growth spurt of 41 pounds in 24 hours. That happened two days in a row, he said.
Holy crap! 41 pounds in a day! Then it did it again?

Audrey II would want no part of this pumpkin.
That's Little Shop of Horrors-esque.

I'm no gardener (I haven't lived at a place with a yard since 2006, I think), so perhaps I shouldn't be amazed at the growth rate of a pumpkin. But I still find that crazy. It says he was giving it up to 300 gallons of water a day.

But what isn't covered in the article (Shame on you, Peninsula Clarion!!), is what he's going to do with the pumpkin now. What do you do with 1,500 lbs of vegetable? I mean, you can't eat that thing, right? This is a show pumpkin, not an eating pumpkin.

And I bet that 300 gallons of water wasn't cheap, either. Is JD financially ruined because of this? How terrible would that Christmas party conversation be?

Hey Pam, good to see you, too! Oh - is that JD? I read about that pumpkin thing. Just awful. Did he come out alright after all that? He didn't? Oh, that's too bad. What's that? He was evicted? That's terrible. His parents' basement, you say? All because of that hole in the pumpkin? Well, just goes to show you... Where did you get that shrimp cocktail, anyway?

What do you win if you have the biggest pumpkin, anyway? Well, according to a fairly extensive Google search (like 3 or 4 pages worth)... well, nothing that I can find.

And then there is the conspiracy theory that I'm making up here and now. Could someone have gotten a hold of Megchelson's prize pumpkin and put that hole there to crush his dreams of a new record? Surely not, right? Who on Earth would do such a thing?

Well...

That Google search I did put me on something pretty interesting. Back in 2011, Dale Marshall of Anchorage toted a reportedly 1,723 lb pumpkin to the Alaska State Fair. It was to be the largest pumpkin in Alaska state history, even coming close to the all-time record of 1,810 lbs by some other loser from New Jersey.

Problem was... the judges discovered a hole!! And since the Alaska-pumpkin-rules have been around since the dawn of time, Marshall's pumpkin ("Lucy Lu" - seriously) was given the DQ.

The twist? Since Marshall's pumpkin was disqualified, the pumpkin to win the 2011 Alaska State Fair pumpkin-off was none other than... JD Megchelson's 1,287 lb pumpkin, which in turn became Alaska's largest official pumpkin of all time.

Conspiracy!

Not only did Megchelson claim victory in 2011 and fame(?) with the all-time heaviest pumpkin, he also regained his heaviest pumpkin in state history title that was taken from him the previous year by... Dale Marshall!!

See how complicated this is getting? There's some bad blood going on here.

The quick history: In 2004, Megchelson gets his first title with a 700 lb pumpkin. Then he tops his own record in '06 with a pumpkin over 1,000 lbs. He holds this record for four years before it is topped by Marshall in '10. And in '11 Megchelson reclaims his title with his 1,287 lb pumpkin after Marshall's 1,723 lb effort is disqualified because of a hole.

This has got to be one of the greatest rivalries of all time!

The Celtics tried to murder Kurt Rambis.
What's to say these guys couldn't drill a hole in a pumpkin?
Seriously, up in the hallways with Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair. Lenin and Trotsky. Lakers and Celtics. Kerrigan and Harding. The Mighty Ducks and The Hawks.

And they will stop at nothing - NOTHING - to get their way.

(Ridiculous, right?)

But we've seen crazier - after all, an Alabama fan poisoned Auburn's oaks. So it's not out of the realm.

And these guys do eat, sleep, and dream pumpkins.

For more completely useless commentary, follow me on Twitter. You won't always regret it. @harry_long

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

No Class. He's Got No Class!

Nothing more than a rant here...

I feel like I've written this before, but perhaps it's just been me banging my head against my steering wheel. The misuse that I encounter of the words "class" and "respect" in sports radio drives me crazy.

I heard some knucklehead calling in to Matt & Scot tonight, talking about how Johnny Manziel has shown "no class" this offseason. I've been hearing this no class argument/accusation for 15 years. Feels like longer.

Auburn fans have no class. Alabama fans have no class. Steve Spurrier has no class.

"They're just classless, Paul. Don't you think that's classless?" (Classic line from all-time great "Shane From Center Point", RIP.)

Let me explain something to all of you people. There is no such thing as class anymore. Did you watch MTV the other night? Class went the way of Bryan Adams - he's out there somewhere, you just don't see him much.

It is important to note that the "classless" accusation rarely - if ever - comes from the actual host. It's the callers that take this route.

Two things are going on here: 1) People are foolish & 2) People are devious.

Foolish
While their descriptions never seem to be too detailed, the best I can tell from most of these folks is that their definition of someone who is "classless" is just someone they don't like. The knucklehead tonight didn't like Johnny Manziel - flat out, that's it.

It all goes back to "our guy"/"their guy". If it's our guy, we like him - he's "animated" or "spirited". Think Marshall Henderson. Ole Miss fans loved that dude. (So did I.) Florida fans - not so much. The all-time example is Dennis Rodman. Once he arrived in Chicago, Bulls fans forgave him for everything in Detroit - he was now their boy. Rodman had a rotating group of fan bases that hated him, consisting of all the teams that he was not on at the time.

Devious
You are getting trolled, folks. While it wasn't the case this evening, more times than not, when a caller says your guy is classless - he's looking to get a rise out of you.

And boy, that bait trap is full.

It's a simple play upon your emotions - like saying your Mama is ugly. You don't like that, and you quickly tumble down to Patient Zero's level in a name-calling tirade.

I would ask you all to encourage others to not fall into this trap, but I've given up on that. The emotive denominator will stay as long as their are radio shows that will allow the accusations. And for better or more likely worse, that is the format and people are welcome (and entitled) to have their opinions.

I just wish those wouldn't stoop below the Intellectual Quotient of a 2nd grader.

I'm on Twitter, and I'm opinionated. @harry_long

Monday, August 26, 2013

Things Are Starting To Get REAL 'Round Here...

From ScoresAndOdds.com this morning...

It works it works!!!!!

Glad to see our boys at Scores and Odds are preparing for the season. We'll be checking in with them quite a bit. 

Twitter: @harry_long

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Will Smith & Fam Watch America Slide Down the Toilet Bowl.

My buddy Doug T. has screen capped Sunday evening, as well as the state of our society.

Here we have the first family of entertainment, The Smiths, watching a carwreck Miley Cyrus.


Jaden Smith kills me here.

I'm on Twitter. My blow-by-blow of the Timberlake/N'SYNC reunion was incredible. Too bad you missed it. Don't let it happen again. @harry_long

Big Boy Pants


Making the rounds on Twitter is this well framed shot of NJ Governor (and possible future GOP Presidential candidate) Chris Christie. Pic via @karenehowell. 

The jokes are coming in waves. I just think he needs to let a little air out of the tire. 

\Because this is why we have the Internet. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I Would Call This Unfortunate

Can't say it's been a great two years for our friend in Guntersville. I did at least redact his place of employment. For his own privacy, and because he misspelled it.


I showed it to a female friend, and she was unsure as to which Sandusky she was more afraid of.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Here's an Idea... Don't Sign Anything

I know... another Johnny Football post.

I'm getting a little worn on it, too, but on the radio, you've got to play the hits.

The information and allegations continue to roll in on Johnny Manziel's drug trafficking autograph signing ring, and it doesn't seem to be getting any better.

By the way, a good litmus test on the validity of a story is whether or not SportsCenter will cover it. This story has at least enough legs that on Monday, they would intersperse this story between A-Rod segments. So, it's got Bristol believing something's up.


No Twitter...
And No Signature?
During this maelstrom, an idea nerf-balled into my brain. We've seen football coaches ban their players from social media, because of the distractions it can cause and, more likely, the trouble it can get players into. We see poor judgment all the time in social media - with college athletes, professional athletes, celebrities, and even ordinary 'ol people.

So some football coaches say no-no to social media.

Well, what if they did the same with autographs? Couldn't they institute a no-autograph policy?

Think about it. To a football coach, is it worth the risk? What's the real benefit to a football team to have their players sign autographs for fans?

If a football coach came out and explained to the fans that - while he is sorry it has to be this way - because of situations like the one at Texas A&M, the coaching staff has decided to protect their players and is no longer allowing any private autographing or at fan events:

"We ask you the fans, to help us with the implementation of this policy, as it is in the best interests for all involved, and we can help keep our players on the field and out of any investigational spotlight that could jeopardize their eligibility. Gig 'Em."

Of course, there will still be some players that will sign materials anyway, but at least with a policy you can discourage the practice, educate the players on the pitfalls (even use the Johnny Football example), and better police it. There will always be snakes, but maybe you could limit the practice - hell, even set up a sting operation to catch any online eBay autograph brokers.

Really, the only downside I see in all this is that the little kid who actually wants the autograph for themselves is left hanging. But what's a little kid's feelings worth in the billion-dollar college football world? Not much, I say.

How did we get here? Well, two reasons:

1) The Internet and eBay. The ability for an individual to setup their own online store and easily accept payment for items that they have laying around the house. Like Amazon changed the retail world (...and really, the world in general), eBay provided an outlet for people to take advantage of people's craze for memorabilia. Real, fake, whatever - the digital personal selling platform allowed people to connect and conduct business well beyond any personal interaction.

2) People are crazy. Why is an 8"x10" signed by Johnny Manziel worth $36? $100? Why?

I'll admit, I'm a very utilitistic person. If I can use something, and I know I'm going to use it - I don't mind paying for it. What am I going to use a signed football for? To display? Why? This is obviously a more me  thing than I guess the regular sports fan.

But the regular sports fan is the problem - and their desire for these signed materials. The people who are willing to shell out this money for these autographed items drive the industry. Otherwise, these scammers with a stack of AJ McCarron 5"x7"s wouldn't bother.

They are taking advantage of your fandom.

And it's putting your favorite players at risk.

Ridiculous, I say.


Because the players aren't dumb - they can get on eBay just like you, and they are seeing that someone else is getting the $36, $100 for the item that they made valuable by adding their signature. Of course they want a cut. (And, that's probably fair - but it's just not the rule.)

So, will a coach or athletic department step up and say no more?

If Johnny Manziel is taken off the field, I bet some of them are going to think about it.

Questions, comments? Leave them below or hit me up on Twitter. @harry_long

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

NCAA Turns Tail, I Laugh At the Ridiculousness

Bilas: For the People
Earlier today, I had a brief post on Jay Bilas' efforts of exposing a major amount of hypocrisy on the NCAA's part with their online store. The point of that post was that the NCAA made the rules and made them in their favor.

But... the point of this post is that the NCAA is hilarious.

After a solid stomping from Bilas (and to be honest - I was kind of getting tired of it), curiously, the search bar at ShopNCAASports.com was removed from the website.

That's right - they panicked and turned the thing off. Oh my god, that's funny. Another Twitter victory.

The NCAA's official stance has been that none of the apparel sold on their website and no officially licensed apparel is tied to any individual's likeness. They just happen to be selling Alabama #10s and South Carolina #7s right now.

For those not as familiar with how search engines and online stores work, when an item is listed in the online store's inventory, there is something called 'metadata' that is written into the coding of the items to help customers find the objects they are looking for. With more sophisticated (and well staffed) websites, the metadata can become very extensive, with dozens (hundreds, in some cases) of descriptive terms to assist with the search for that item.

What does all that mean? Well, it means that Jay Bilas exposed the NCAA's direct hypocrisy in profiting off the names of student-athletes. Because a search of "Manziel" or "Johnny Manziel" led directly to a #2 Texas A&M jersey, that indicates that someone (employed in some manner by the NCAA) put the terms "Manziel" and "Johnny Manziel" into the metadata of that store item.

Just like Bilas showed today with items resulting for searches of Tajh Boyd, Jadeveon Clowney, on and on. All of their names were in the code.

I'd appreciate a major media person to request comment from the NCAA on the removal of the search bar to see what they'd say. And to ask specifically is these players' names were in the metadata of store items. They could deny it, but they'd be lying - because it would be IMPOSSIBLE for those searches to return those items without their placement in the metadata. Trust me - impossible. The search would return no results if they weren't in the metadata.

The Manziel item was the worst, as it had "Football" as the nameplate on the back of the jersey, as in "Johnny Football". I looked - I couldn't find ANY OTHER jersey with "Football" as the nameplate.

Right idea. Jerseys on adults is not a good thing.
So, this is roundly entertaining to me. And it has been to others.

I'm with Michael Hall's tweet - the rule is that if you have a drivers license, you can't wear a jersey.

From my little soapbox here - PLEASE, will a major media member ask the NCAA about this? Force the NCAA to play a hand.

It's a blackjack game, and we've already figured out the NCAA's hand.

Busted.

Check me out on Twitter, pretty-please. @harry_long

The Rules Are Not the Same For Everyone... Particularly the NCAA

I know this doesn't matter, and it's not necessarily news - but anyone on Johnny Football's side has a right to feel that the kid is getting a raw deal.

Student-athlete stalwart Jay Bilas was good enough to tweet out a link to this item...

So this isn't supposed to be a Johnny "Football" jersey?

Look, I hear all the folks who, "He should get paid! Why does everyone else profit off of Johnny Football, but he can't?" Well, argue that until you're blue in the face, 'cause rules is rules. Right or wrong, the rule is that Johnny Football can't make money off the name 'Johnny Football'... yet.

Only the NCAA can do that.

So, the opinion that the kid should make some money doesn't matter. If you break the speed limit, but tell the cop that you "should be able to go 85", it doesn't matter.

The cop can go 85. You can't.

Fair or not.

I'm on Twitter. @harry_long

Monday, August 5, 2013

Uncle Nate Doesn't Realize A Good Thing When He Has It

Uncle Nate. Man in Charge.
Uncle Nate knows how to screw up a good thing.

The Uncle Nate discussion was had on the Roundtable about a week ago. A college kid who has dropped out of school to be Johnny Football's personal assistant. Arranges for security guards, manages interview requests... really just to be a Turtle/E combo. Getting paid to hang out, answer a few phone calls? Sounds like a job I'd of gladly taken when I was 20.

ESPN's report yesterday states that it was Fitch (Uncle Nate to you and me) that halted the 'free' signings and said there was to be some compensation for all these autographs that were being shelled out.

That is - Uncle Nate saw more money than he was getting, and he got greedy.

So the $5k/month (guessing) wasn't good enough for Uncle Nate. Within the Manziel camp, I think that is what's going on currently. Mom and Pop Manziel want to get their hands on Nate to see what the hell is going on... and to get stories straight, should they need them.

And I think it's going to cost (kind of) Uncle Nate. Should things advance in this investigation, look for Nate to fall on the sword. He (or the Manziel parents) will say that Uncle Nate was arranging for payments without Johnny's knowledge, and the family is upset and concerned about how someone they had put so much faith in to help their son could do something like this. Crocodile tears... and SCENE.

You can book that.

Should this be the route taken, it could probably be argued that if it Uncle Nate was the one profiting from the autograph sessions - was he really doing anything wrong? He's just brokering a deal for an autograph broker. And what would the precedence be? Has there ever been another college football athlete with a full-time personal assistant? (At least a legitimate one?)

It has been said that the kid sitting next to Johnny Football can make money off him, just not Johnny.

But it's the silence (to this point) from everyone in the Manziel camp that leads me to believe that this one could be serious. In every other Johnny Football story this offseason - whether it be Johnny, his Twitter account, or his parents - someone has said something. These folks don't shy away from microphones.

Makes me think that they are getting their stories straight. (Which is smart, by the way.)

Last thing that lends credence to this situation - the reaction from Las Vegas. Team win totals for both Alabama and Texas A&M were removed from the betting boards, the spread had moved over three points, and some books had taken the game down all together.

When T-Town Menswear went down - it was an Internet sensation for about three weeks. But no games came off the boards. Like with just about anything, when you want a true indication of what is going on, talk to the people with no emotion in the game - just money.

Don't know how this is going to shake out, but it's enough to throw a scare into Vegas. And that should be enough to scare College Station.

Follow me on Twitter! @harry_long

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Johnny Manziel's Weekend: No Buddies & No Consciousness

College football is almost back, so I've been getting the itch to start yapping again. All I needed was a push.

Johnny's Weekend Schedule Just Opened Wide Up
More Time to Hang With LeBron?
Muchas gracias, Johnny Football.

It's on the interwebs - Manziel was sent home from the Manning passing academy yesterday, with the Mannings citing a "sickness" as the reason. Of course, this is all quickly followed up with photos of Manziel out with AJ McCarron out at a Thibodaux, LA bar at 2 AM Saturday morning. The insinuations - of course, and I happen to believe them - is that Manziel was hungover/slept through the morning's activities. When he later arrived, Archie asked him to take it on down the road.

Coming from a person who has slept through a number of things - college exam (just once, talked professor into retaking it), college classes (a lot more than one), a weekend work event, autoshop appointments (last week!), on and on... - I can relate. Johnny Manziel and I are not morning people. And that's okay.

As an aside - Johnny didn't employ a safety tactic that has helped me out on a few occasions: the buddy system. You make sure I'm awake, and I'll make sure you're awake. Could of saved him here. Unless of course he did employ the buddy system, but he waived off his buddy Saturday morning and just told him, "Brah, I can't do it, brah. Too hungover to move. Just go without me."

And he got left behind.

Conspiracy theory? Sure why not - perhaps AJ McCarron was his partner in the buddy system. A little more off-field drama for Johnny Football has got to be a good thing for Bama, right? I'm sure Coach Saban would think so. Run with that on the message boards.


But the problem I see in this is that whether he was asked to leave for being hungover or even just late, he should of known that this would become a story. I don't think he did.

He's been doing this long enough now and has had enough spotlight on him, whether it's been in Scooby Doo outfits, winning the Heisman, or pictures of him at NBA games - to know that people notice when he's around, and they take note of it (and then blast those notes onto the Internet, both professional and amateur).

You would think that, after the opportunity to hang out with and learn from possibly the greatest QB of all-time (Peyton, NOT Eli) had been taken away from him, he'd take a minute to relax and reflect - you know, that maybe he did something wrong here. Probably not on purpose, but he definitely did something wrong or irresponsible and let down people who were depending on him.

So, what did Johnny Manziel do after sent home? He went out to the hookah station. At least if Twitter is something we can believe. (And I sure do.)

Screenshot lifted from Deadspin. Hookah!!

Listen, I'm all about a college kid (or anyone, for that matter) living the life that they want to live. As long as they are willing to accept the repercussions of their actions. And maybe it will end up where it doesn't matter, but perhaps somewhere out there is an NFL Scout thinking, "You know, he fouled up here, and went out and did the same thing again. Doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes - will it be the same way on the football field? Can he be coached to perform at a professional level?"

Is Manziel conscious of this? Does he care?

I'm well aware that greater talent gives people a longer leash and more chances, no matter the field of play. And frankly, I'm a Johnny Football fan - I like his style of play and I like how he doesn't try to fit into a conventional personality mold. But I do see warning signs of trouble for him.

It hasn't been posted yet, but I'm working on a piece on why I believe 2014 will be a major letdown for Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel. I'll get to all that at a later time, but Manziel needs to be cautious and conscious of his actions, because if his performance on the field suffers, his critics - and NFL Scouts - will have plenty to point to.

I'm on Twitter, it would behoove you to follow me there. And tell your friends, why dontcha? @harry_long

Monday, January 28, 2013

I Have Been Blocked By Brooks?

Now for something that absolutely none of you will care about.

I was browsing some sports blogs this evening (I recommend my new find - Heading For the Exits), and ended up checking to see what SportsByBrooks had on the Te'o stuff - because I realized that I hadn't seen anything from him on it.

Well, looks like there may be a reason - his website hasn't been updated since June of last year. Which I thought was really weird, because I used to check his site out all the time. Brooks is a great pot-stirrer, as most Bama and Auburn fans know.

And then I thought, "When was the last time I saw a tweet from him?" I have been following him for years. So, I headed over to Twitter. Turns out that I wasn't following him, which was odd, because I know that his tweets would show in my timeline.

...Or at least they used to.

I began to think that it had been a long time since I'd seen something from him on Twitter. Probably just some mistake. So, I clicked 'follow'.

Only to get this...
Blocked?

That's odd. Is it because of this? (Still my most popular post - I still get hits on it every week, which is crazy, considering nothing ever came of all the Yukon stuff.)

Does anyone else have this problem? Maybe it's not just me. But I thought it was weird, so I asked the source.
We'll see if there's any response. I'll be sure to pass along.

Yeah, this was random, but it's what I was doing tonight.

I'm on Twitter, and it's free to follow. @harry_long

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Crying Game 2: Te'o Truths

Well, it's not quite official, but we are close to getting there...

Manti Te'o was in love with a dude.

Dil could help Manti get through all this.
Or, at least he was in love with a dude pretending to be a girl.

You think that might come up in an NFL locker room? Or be shouted across the field? From the stands?

This is reality. Te'o's going to line up showing blitz, and one of those 340 pound offensive lineman is going to look at him, and start talking in a girl's voice.

Gonna happen. Probably on the first play. And it's going to happen for a long, long time.

I've watched a bunch of clips of the Couric interview and listened to the voicemails on CNN. And I'll say - I'm waffling on some of this. I started out thinking that Te'o was no doubt involved in the hoax. It was just too crazy with too many inconsistencies for him not to know.

There was the "is he gay?" thought process. Which you could at least explain away (and possibly still can) and map out as a plausible reason for compliance of this story/coverup.

Now?

I'm now firmly on the side of him being just really, really dumb.

The line that keeps coming back to me is when he was asked by Schaap why he never went to visit Lennay when she was in the car wreck, in the hospital with leukemia, or just "at all" - Te'o said it "didn't occur to him". That is still just a little hard to swallow.

That, along with his (what comes across to me as) aloofness to this situation, it gives me the impression that the kid just isn't too smart.

Whether or not this qualifies for a blanket "liar" label, I don't know. I think that Te'o is, however, a big time misleader - if that's a word.

I don't think he was as "in love" with Lennay as he claims to have been. I think this deep devotion to his "girlfriend" was intensified by Te'o after the news of her death on September 12th and the storyline that developed.

Te'o described the scene when he found out that she died - there were coaches around and he was visibly upset, smashing a trash can, etc. But I kind of contribute that to the "now what?" phenomenon - he was just a few hours off of his grandmother's death, and maybe his reaction was more of an extension of his grief & anger from his grandmother's death.

You know how it goes from there - everyone plays 'telephone'. Word gets out that poor Manti's grandmother and his friend died on the same day. This is turned into his girlfriend. Then a girlfriend he was deeply in love with. This spreads to the press, and the next thing Manti knows, he's getting questioned about how he is handling the death of his deeply involved-with girlfriend. Manti doesn't deflect or correct, and the snowball rolls.

On a basic level, perhaps Manti just saw this as a potential hook-up for down the line. A mysterious internet-(and phone)-only woman that if he ever ran into her, he could probably score with. I don't think this is necessarily uncommon. Seriously, go to a hot girl's Facebook page - how many comments does she get for her posts? The answer is a lot more than the not-as-attractive-girls get. Truth - there are a lot of Internet creeper dudes just hoping for any opportunity to get the pretty girl's attention.

Manti had this girl's attention, and if it comes through for him, great. This is probably why he put up with getting stood up in Hawaii or why he allowed for the excuses as to why she could never meet up. (If that indeed is what happened.)

Where this theory leaks a little water is in the sheer volume of contact. 500 hours of phone calls? What the hell? How do you manage that on either end?

What was the end game?

If Te'o wasn't in on it, and there was never any money exchanged or extortion attempt - Tuiasosopo wanted a relationship with Manti Te'o. The two in some way knew each other before Te'o and Lennay became "more than friends". Deadspin revealed that Te'o and Tuiasosopo were interacting via Twitter. (Te'o had promoted/retweeted a music video of Tuiasosopo's in December of 2011 - months before the 'relationship' began.)

I would like to see more being made of this. Where and how did Tuiasosopo and Te'o meet or get acquainted? Were they interactive exclusively via social media? Did Tuiasosopo get connected to Te'o via the Lennay connection? (Which was actually Tuiasosopo... confusing, isn't it?)

While Te'o is pulling more people and media into the "I'm a victim" camp - there are still a lot of gaps to fill. I do think he's a pretty dull bulb, which may actually work to his favor. He's been so inconsistent with this story, and because he doesn't do a necessarily good job of covering his tracks or explaining his actions - it actually makes it harder to deduce.

I've said for a long time that "you can't predict crazy, so don't even try". Same kind of situation here. If you try to make sense of all this, you're going to have to make some leaps - because you don't know what's real and what isn't.

And I guess we'll keep on leaping.

Twitter. Do it. @harry_long

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Prince - Screwdriver

Gotta say... I like this. Good, catchy new tune by Prince. A Hollywood Reporter article points out this is Prince's new backing group (they aren't sure of the name) - but it's a good throwback to a fun, party-throwing Prince. Aren't those the songs that everyone liked anyway?



And another thing... don't you miss music videos? I've been wondering the past five years why anyone makes them anymore, because you've got to search to find them. MTV2, FuelTV... always lost in those channels you skip over when you're trying to get to the HDs. At least we have YouTube.

Follow me on Twitter. @harry_long

Saturday, January 19, 2013

And Now For Something Totally Ridiculous

I have perused the articles and interviews, making myself dizzy from the Manti Te'o story. While reading the Jeremy Schaap transcription, I kept getting confused by all the relatives. So, I've made a Kekua family tree.

These are just the people we know about or haven't made up yet - depending on your opinion of how all this went down.


Click to enlarge.

It did occur to me to include Harvey the Rabbit and Randall Stephens in the tree, but it was already so ridiculous, I didn't bother. I plan on trying to put a written timeline together as well, if everyone could just get their story straight.

More to come.

Follow me on Twitter. Because it's the thing to do. @harry_long

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Morning After - Was It All Real? I Mean 'Fake'?

Well, it's been awhile since I've written anything, and it took a big one to get me over to my Blogger bookmark.

According to the page, I was one of the first 30,000 people to read the Deadspin article on Manti Te'o's imaginary girlfriend. By the time I got to the end of the story, A) I was confused, B) the number had grown to 135,000, and C) I was incredibly delighted.

Because I love chaos. LOVE it.

I'll hopefully have more to say and more time to sprinkle some curiosity over this subject soon. But upon waking up this morning, these are my questions/topics...

1) How on Earth is it possible - in 2012 - to not ever SEE the other person in a relationship?

I'm talking Skype, FaceTime, GoToMeeting, GoogleChat... With all this technology (that surely anyone Te'o's age would have access to and be able to use) readily available, he and his girlfriend pass on all that? No sexting? Nothing?

Come on, now.

2) THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ONE.

Notre Dame held a hastily put-together press conference last night (which I haven't seen in full, but read the report) and released a statement yesterday.

What I noted in terms of the position of Notre Dame:
A) They super-glued themselves to this date of December 26th.
B) Are taking the stance that Te'o was a victim of an elaborate hoax.
C) Notre Dame says that Manti thought it was all real until the first week of December.

Okay - so here's the rub...

Pop quiz: Which of these three
people was most alive in 2012?
Did ANYONE do a story/news item on the Te'o/girlfriend story between December 26th and yesterday? Was it a part of the National Championship coverage? Did anyone ask Te'o about it at the BCS Media Day? And if they did, what did Te'o or Notre Dame say?

I don't know the answer to this yet, but if anyone DID do a story or ask a question, where the hell was Notre Dame on it? Were they complicit or did they facilitate any of it? That's a real question - is it possible that Notre Dame misled the media?

If I were you, I'd always have that date - December 26th - in your mind. Could be nothing, or it could come up as a big part of all this.

UPDATE (1/17/13 09:02): Was browsing the Interwebs and came across Clay Travis' article which has more points on this (some similar, but great minds think alike). Clay did have the YouTube of Te'o's personal struggles being referenced at BCS Media Day.

3) When Te'o gets his Oprah interview, how will he explain the inconsistencies in the timeline?

In particular, the Stanford letter he spoke about in the ESPN feature. Oh, and the death dates being all misconstrued. Now that we have the opportunity for retrospect and with all these different articles that had been put in print over the last four-five months - Te'o has some serious explaining to do. And if he goofs up - watch out.

4) Is Manti Te'o the worst boyfriend ever?

Girlfriend gets in a serious car wreck... doesn't go see her.
Girlfriend has CANCER... doesn't take a visit.
Girlfriend DIES!!!... goes and plays football.

Any girls lining up to date this guy? (Well, at least before he signs his NFL contract?)

5) Where are the priorities of the media?

In a world of so much "gotcha" and aggressive media tactics (we just went through a political season), how does no one - out of all these stories - contact the girl's family? Everyone just took Manti at his word? Seems awfully lazy by a lot of people.

Or was the story too good to worry about it? Star linebacker whose grandmother and girlfriend died within 24 hours of each other? Goes out and plays possibly his best two games of his career? Accuracy and thoroughness had to take a seat on this one - it was just too good. Call Rinaldi.

And there's an extension of this thought - we are talking about the creme de la creme of reporters here. No Jim Gray bullshit - we're talking Gene Wojciechowski, The New York Times, the Gameday crew, on and on. All respected and reputable platforms.

So what else are we not fact-checking? Or is this only done when it's convenient to the story? Is the agenda of having a nice, pleasant story about a boy and his girlfriend more important than the story being true?

How is it that EVERYONE took a nap on this?

6) And here's a good one...

If Manti Te'o was a participant in the hoax... did he capitalize on his grandmother's death? If so, MAJOR asshole move. That's terrible.

One could see if as Te'o's out in all this, however. Te'o can claim (truthfully or not) that he never would have done something like that, that he loved his grandmother, and the perpetrators used this moment of weakness as an opportunity against him.

And that's all fine and good, but what was the purpose of it? Did the perpetrators have some sort of end-game? Just a prank? Extortion? Manti is going to have to answer this.

--

With all of the questions and points raised here, I will say that in the moment of it all, it was probably difficult to imagine that anyone hearing about the grandmother/girlfriend story imagined that it was all fake. When death is involved, people tip-toe a bit because people that you are unfamiliar with personally are unpredictable in how they deal with those situations. That they wouldn't push that point in his presence is probably understandable. But it still seems to me that someone in the media would have reached out to girl's family.

That's all for the moment. I'll eventually fall out of bed and see what the talking heads have to say. But this is a wild one. Can't wait for the next chapter in this story.

I'm on Twitter, and it is not a hoax. Follow me here.