Tuesday, September 22, 2009


So, like I said, big site stuff.
The Purple Drank got called up to the big leagues: from now on, I'll be posting at sippinonpurple.com and I'd really appreciate it if all you guys followed me over.  I'm really excited about joining SBNation, which is pretty much the best thing around nowadays, so, seriously, check it out, update your bookmarks and do whatever it is you people need to do. Just follow me over, because the stuff I do is just going to get better. But I can only make it so good on my own - the great thing about SBNation is that the blogs are pretty much community based. So all y'all gotta chip in. 
Everybody who's been reading here, thanks very much for your support. 

The Purple Drank
Born June 2009
Died September, 2009
You will be missed, but your memory will live on through my constant southern hip-hop references on the new site. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Stuff

So, yeah, like I said, BIG THINGS POPPIN on this site in the next few days. So keep your eyes out, keep coming back. Here's just a short post:
  • As you probably done heard, NU landed a serious basketball prospect, for the first time in the history of Northwestern sports. Jershon Cobb, a 4-star recruit from Atlanta, committed to the Wildcats yesterday. Cobb is one of several elite prospects from who were contemplating NU, and the first to commit. (the rest are in the class of 2011, Cobb is 2010.) (By the way, if we land 1/5 of the guys we're in the running for in 2011, it will be hands-down the best class in NU history. It's that good. We're recruiting two five-star players in the top 20 rankings nationally. Yeah, poop your pants, folks.) I personally am ecstatic, as noted, basketball is my sport, so this definitely dampens the football thing. Tavaras Hardy has done absolute wonders for Northwestern as a recruiter - Carmody's weakness at NU has always been his utter inability to handle recruiting. And if he has actual tourney-level talent on his team, thanks to Hardy, he might actually turn into a successful basketball coach. 'Cuse loss aside, it's a good time to be an NU sports fan. By the time I graduate from this school in June 2012, Northwestern will have gone to an NCAA tournament. Book it. 
  • New poll up - can we be a little less homer-y this time? (That being said, I'm voting NU.)
  • I realized what went wrong on saturday: when Ryan Lichtenstein, Syracuse's nervous freshman kicker, was getting prepared to take the biggest field goal of his life, NU should've sent redshirt freshman defensive tackle Evan Luxenburg over to the Syracuse sidelines to engage Lichtenstein in conversation about what its like to have last names that really sound like small European nations, but were slightly misspelled in some way. He could've started calling him bro right off the bat, even though they've never met, and discussed how people always spell his name like the country, and he always has to correct them, and then asked him if he has the same problem, and, bro - we're bros, right - it's so annoying, right? What language to they speak in Liechtenstein anyway? German? Yeah, something like that, I don't even know. Less people have probably heard of Liechtenstein than Luxembourg, so you probably don't run into that problem a lot, though, right bro? Bro? Oh, you're about to kick a field goal, it's cool, go ahead we're bros, just don't tell your teammates about our "bros whose names sound a lot like small European nations beginning with the letter L" club, cuz they'll get angry at us. Oh, what's that, I'm getting in your head? You're about to shank the field goal? 
  • The fact that I typed all of that isn't a good sign for my mental health. But it totally would've worked.

So yeah, keep it locked and loaded here, as noted, big things are popping. Names of the week tomorrow, and I promise that Minnesota has the best damn names of any football team in the country. 

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Guhhhhhhhhhhh: the recap.

It appears our plans of getting the easiest four out of conference opponents possible so we're 4-0 in our non-conference slate, has, uh, backfired.

I admit, I have to take some of the blame: the lack of preview posts this week is pretty much the only difference I can think of between this week's loss and the wins in the first two weeks. I'll get on it this week.

First off, thanks to everybody who commented last night. I, sadly, didn't comment as much as I should've because my iPhone reception was spotty where I was, but, this will change next week. Trust me. Big things poppin around here.

This was an extraordinarily frustrating team. I'm not going to say we were the better team, because we weren't, but it was a very winnable game, and about 40 little things we should've done made it a loss. 

Mike Kafka. The man played pretty much the best game I've ever seen from a college quarterback... except for one throw, at the exact worst time he possibly could've thrown that one throw. Look at his stats before his final throw of the game: 35-41 passing, 390 yards, 3 touchdowns, no interceptions, 5 sacks for -37 yards, then 8 rushes for 30 yards and a touchdown, and one reception for 24 yards and a touchdown. 
Unfortunately, his stats turned out to be 35-42 with 3 touchdowns and an interception. Which came on the last drive of the game. Tragic, considering how great a game he had, that he's the goat. When after an entire game of beautiful precision passes for short yardage and the occasional strike downfield to receivers that just happened to find a seam in the defense - the man completed his first 16 freaking passes - and he proved he could run after a long hiatus where he refused to, and even more exciting, he showed his ability to do the Mike Vick in Madden 2004 play, which is running towards the line of scrimmage, forcing any linebacker and cornerback to cheat up a little bit and try and keep him from busting out a 40 yard run, and then dropping a pass to the receiver inevitably left open by that cheating up. However, all this is forgotten, as he threw a pick that ended NU's chances of winning the game in regulation, and pretty much sealed the loss. 
Also, he needs to learn how to take a sack and not fumble, though. Desperately. That first play from scrimmage on offense really cost us the game.

Defense. Most football teams try to have one, but Northwestern has made a controversial decision not to have one this year, after an offseason of talking about how great our defense would be, no less. Yeah, I know two of our top four cornerbacks were injured and something called a Demetrius Dugar was left to cover Mike Williams, one of the best receivers in the country, at times, and David Nwabuisi replaced a proven linebacker in Nate Williams (and played pretty well, to be honest), but this was an abhorrent defensive effort. First off, Greg Paulus had our defense on SKATES. He pump faked, everybody bit. He faked a handoff, hey, everybody bit again. He ran a few yards towards scrimmage, hey, everybody's pretending the guy they should cover doesn't exist and just leaving that mofo as wide open as humanly possible. Whenever NU defenders had a choice to make, it seemed like they always, always made the wrong one.

Kicking. Earlier, I wrote a post about NU kickers, and how poorly timed NU's missed PAT's are.
Demos and Villarreal have combined to miss four extra points in the past two years. Not a lot, considering how many opportunities they have to shank them. Well, I'm proud to report that of five games Northwestern has lost in the past two years, three prominently feature missed extra points, and two - this one, and the Alamo Bowl last year - would have been Northwestern victories in all likelihood if not for shank jobs.
It's so frustrating. Demos nailed a game-winning 49-yarder last week, with enough juice on it to be a 55-yarder. This week, a 19-yarder essentially cost Northwestern the game. WHY CAN'T YOU MISS THESE WHEN WE'RE BEATING TOWSON BY 40?

Jacob Schmidt and Arby Fields actually played decently, especially Schmidt. But it's pretty freaking disappointing that the injury bug hit so hard at running back, where we needed some sort of spark just for an extra few yards here or there.

Great game by our receiving corps. Demetrius Fields had pretty much the only drop, and they were pretty much always open. Our superback corps looks like a talented unit, and if they can play like this, I'll be pumped.

I was so glad to see the Brewer pass, because I knew it had to happen eventually, after how we used Eric Peterman last year. That play can be devastating week after week. Worst comes to worst, it's just a screen to Brewer for a few yards. Best comes to best, it looks like it did yesterday.

The playcalling was a lot better this week, so that's good. We ran an actual offensive gameplan. That's good.

Basically, if we get healthy and our defense is half as good as it was supposed to be in the preseason, this team can still make a minor bowl. But it's looking bleak. Really bleak. Memphis Bleek

We have Minnesota next week. I highly suggest you keep coming back to the site, because really, really, really cool things are going to happen in the next week. No hints, but, really cool things. 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Game Thread: Northwestern @ Syracuse.

So 34 of you voted you thought NU would win, and one of you thinks Syracuse will win. I have a feeling the game will be closer.

Anyway, here's how it works: comment, and I'll talk to you. Last week, Patrick played along, this week, very few of you are at the game because its in Syracuse, so, please, play along. Should be good. 

Go Cats, yo. 

Brendan Smith Memorial Picks, Week 3.

Normally, I do major preview posts on NU's games - not this week, it's been hectic, so, nah. Sorry about that. Without further ado, here are your Big Ten/NU picks.

11 AM: Eastern Michigan @ No. 25 Michigan.
Watching EMU lose by 30 to Michigan will be tough for NU fans. It's like watching your friend hook up with a girl you thought you had a chance with, except it's really not like that at all, because its a football game.
Pick: Michigan.
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: I'm telling you, eagles have the tactical advantage against pretty any land mammal, except for, like bears, and elephants, and other stuff like that. They got wings and talons. Trust me on this one. EMU wins their second straight Big Ten game. Game, EMU. (Wolverine mascot death fight record: 1-2)

11 AM: No. 8 California @ Minnesota
I thought Air Force would give Minnesota a run for their money, and they did. And California could maim Air Force. This will be ugly, Minnesota's not much of a team despite their 2-0 record.
Pick: California. 
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: Bear vs. Gopher is a major, major mismatch, and you probably didn't need me to tell you that. Game, California. (Golden Gopher mascot death fight record: 1-2)

11 AM: No. 5 Penn State @ Temple
I hope you guys don't like insightful analysis. Lou Holtz could pick this one. 
Pick: Penn State
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: I generally give the edge to winged creatures, but owls just don't have the same tenacity eagles do, and although they are predators, they normally kill mice. Unlike the mouse, humans don't kill lions by luring them to walk into glue traps, so you can tell the lion will be more difficult for owls to kill. Meanwhile, lions are lions. Game, Penn State. (Nittany Lion fight record: 3-0.)

11 AM: Wofford @ Wisconsin
I scanned Wofford's recent schedules for an embarrassing loss to put in this section, and sure enough, they lost 70-24 against Appalachian State last year, and, uhhh, yeah, they're good and all, but, um, 70 is a lot of points. Wisconsin will get the W. 
My guess as to what Wofford's mascot is, without looking: The eagle. Nah, yo, the Golden Eagle. 
What it actually is: The terrier. That doesn't give me much confidence with regards to their chances in a mascot death fight.
Pick: Wisconsin
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: Badgers are surprisingly feisty, whereas terriers are adorable. Game, Wisconsin. (Badgers death fight record: 1-2)

11 AM: Northern Illinois @ Purdue
I really think Purdue is a team that you gotta watch out for. I thought they'd beat Oregon last week, and I don't think they'll be the tenth team in the conference like everybody's predicting. I mean, they're worse than NU, but, still, they'll do alright. 
Pick: Purdue.
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: The Huskies beat the Badgers in week one, but they can't beat people. And Boilermakers are people. Game, Purdue. (Boilermakers mascot death fight record: 3-0)

11 AM: #11 Ohio State "@" Toledo, in Cleveland.
Nothing says "Toledo" quite like, uh, Cleveland, so, look for the hometown crowd to carry Toledo to a 56-20 loss. Toledo likes to give up lots of points, and Ohio State likes to score them.
Pick: Ohio State
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: Rockets can fly to to the moon. Buckeyes are nuts. Game, Toledo. (Buckeye death fight record: 0-3)

2:30: Michigan State @ Notre Dame.
Yeah, bad loss for Michigan State last week. If they win that game, I can give their lack of a good quarterback, running back, or, like, anything a pass and give them a W here, but, nah. They're not like last year's MSU.
Pick: Notre Dame.  
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: Spartans and Fighting Irish like to fight. Except Spartans fight with weapons, and Fighting Irish fight old-timey boxing style. Game, MSU. (Spartans death fight record: 3-0)

2:30: Indiana @ Akron.
Indiana has looked bad against decidedly lower-level teams. Akron is a decidedly mid-level team, and Indiana's first road game of the year.
Pick: Akron.
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: After immediately giving the Zips a loss in their first matchup because I didn't know what a zip was, I decided to look it up this week. "Zip" is short for "zipper" because people made clothing with zippers on it in Akron. Their mascot is a female kangaroo. Game, Indiana. (Hoosiers mascot death fight record: 1-2)

2:35: Arizona @ Iowa.
To me, Northern Iowa is to the Hawkeyes as Eastern Michigan is to Northwestern. Both times, a team played way, way, way too close against a team they should have beaten easily. Both times, there was questionable game preparedness and play-calling on the parts of the better team. And both times, the better team won. This is a top 25 team that had a major, major hiccup against their first opponent of the year, and it'll haunt them in the rankings for a while, but it won't haunt them on the field.
Pick: Iowa
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: A preview of the NU-Iowa matchup later this year, my analysis is simple: One's inanimate, one's a cat. Game, Arizona. (Hawkeye mascot death fight record: 0-3)

6: Northwestern @ Syracuse.
This game will be tough. Really tough.
Our defense right now is a mess. Our d-line just got done getting owned by EMU and failing to tackle a guy named Dwayne Priest. Meanwhile, DeLone Carter and Antwon Bailey make a great running back tandem for Syracuse. This is a problem. 
Mike Williams will be playing professional football next year. Sherrick McManis, who might be playing professional football next year, would generally be assigned to guard him, but he's sort of injured. Justan Vaughn, a guy who backs him up, is also injured. Therefore, guys like Jordan Mabin (good) Mike Bolden (hasn't really played) and Ricky Weina (also hasn't really played, but, yeesh) and hordes of others (potentially horrific) will be assigned to guard a preternaturally talented wide receiving beast, getting passes from Greg Paulus, who hasn't looked bad overall in his first few starts, and is learning on the fly. This is a problem.
Stephen Simmons, who has anchored our questionable running game this year, is, in fact questionable this week. This means guys like Arby Fields (ok) Jacob Schmidt (maybe on 3rd-and-two, but nowhere else) Scott Concannon (nope) will be taking snaps. This is a problem.
Mike Kafka has looked just above average. Against Towson and Eastern Michigan. This is a problem.
Our coaches haven't shown any signs that they'd like to call a successful football game. This is a problem.
But at the end of the day, last year, Northwestern rocked Syracuse, and let's look at what changed:
Andrew Robinson, who started at QB for the Orange, is now a backup tight end. He's been replaced by... an ex-Duke point guard. Meanwhile, CJ Bacher, has been replaced by somebody arguably better. This is good for us.
Last year, Mike Williams, didn't play. This year, he will. This is bad for us.
Our defense has looked shaky, but ultimately, is a very similar unit to the one we had last year, and which dominated the Orange. This is great for us.
Again, this isn't very in depth. But at the end of the day, we won by 20 last year, and could have won by more not enough has improved for Syracuse for me to think that we'll straight up lose.

Prediction: Northwestern, 24. Syracuse, 17.
Pick in a mascot fight to the death: The Orange are 0-2 against Big Ten opponents in the mascot death fight league, because they are a color. They're still a color. Game, NU. (Wildcats mascot death fight record: 1-2)

My picks last week: 6-5, pretty dismal. In my defense, Air Force, Fresno State, and Purdue came close to making my upset picks come true, but I was too risky. For once, I would've probably done better last week vs. the spread.

Projected Big Ten record this week: 7-3

Projected Big Ten mascot death fight record this week: 6-4. (Overall, 16-16.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

This is Your Quarterback?: An Homage/Hatefest to Greg Paulus. Mainly a hatefest.

This. This is your quarterback?
Greg Paulus would've been one of the least likable players in basketball even if he didn't play for Duke, the least likable team in the country. Duke would be the least likable team in the country even if their coach wasn't Mike Krzyzewski, the least likable basketball coach in the country. And Mike Krzyzewski definitely didn't need Greg Paulus to be the least likable basketball coach in the country. It's a holy trinity of unlikableness, and from here, Syracuse found a quarterback.

I mean, that guy? That guy who slapped the floor and played way way too intense defense to overcompensate for not being very good at it and reminds you in every way of that dicky guy in your pickup game who yells at his teammates and mugs the crap out of you on defense and then turns around and yells AND ONE when he shoots and actually expects you to give him the ball back when he misses saying "BUT I SAID AND ONE YOU FOULED ME" even though you barely even touched him and actually calls charges on people in a pickup game, who went to the school that makes NU look diverse and screams "overprivileged kids from Jersey" that everybody was surprised that their lacrosse team WASN'T going out and raping poor strippers, and whose coach is that arrogant cocky guy whose MO is leading talented teams to underwhelming tourney performances for teams that manage to be worse than the sum of their parts and has a freakin penchant for recruiting top 5 talented players and trying to jam them into his system like square pegs into round holes until they don't have much of a chance at all of being successful at the pro level you should be thankful this isn't a 2,000 word diatribe about the NBA careers of Josh McRoberts and Shelden Williams and/or the likelihood that an athlete like Kyle Singler has anything resembling a good NBA career, the guy who played at that school with that coach, that guy? (I WRITE RUN ON SENTENCES WHEN I'M ANGRY)

That's your quarterback? Man. Jesus. Wow. 

That being said, I'm a bigger basketball fan than I ever have been or will be a football fan. Way bigger. Yeah, I watch baseball in the summer, and my fall weekend afternoons are totally engulfed by football, but they're not ball, they're not the game I was raised on. And when you're 6'2 and still can't touch rim, you grow to develop a hatred of one certain class of people: those who are talented enough to play basketball, but don't really like it that much. (ROT IN HELL, MARK HENDRICKSON!) This is why as much as I love mobile quarterbacks, I sort of hate Terrelle Pryor.  And it even makes me question the GOAT for that 1.5 year stretch where he cast aside the game for some other game which he wasn't good at, realized he wasn't good at it, and came back. 

But on the flip side, I've always considered the rare few who choose ball over football, baseball, or whatever sports they're good at to be near-saints. I loved Charlie Ward as a kid, until I found out he was an anti-semite, and now I only like him. Nate Robinson was a ridiculous cornerback, and at 5'7, it was probably a long shot for him to go pro in basketball instead, and I've always loved him even more for that.

And with this tortuous reasoning, I hate to say this, but I respect Greg Paulus. Yes, he was the absolute bottom of the barrel when it comes to basketball players: he wasn't that great, and he's a complete and utter tool. But he was a great high school basketball player, and a great high school football player, and when he came to that fork in the road, he took the right path, and even if he has a good year and went pro, people will still remember him as a baller, not a quarterback. So, despite all the aforementioned reasons why I really, really dislike Greg Paulus, I honestly have respect for the guy.

That good? Alright, now I can post video of him getting his sh*t handed to him.

I'd say Greg Paulus is the most yammable-on guard I've ever seen. I've seen decent mixes of people getting dunked on for centers whose defensive games revolve around getting blocks, and who have been in the NBA for decades (Shawn Bradley, Theo Ratliff, and Jermaine O'Neal all have targets on their backs, and should really be taught not to jump sometimes), but Paulus, for a guard, who played a little over 100 college games - that's an NBA season and a playoff run - has a legit compilation of videos of him getting absolutely WRECKED by dunkers. (With Onyx as the soundtrack, no less.) For a guard, it's a really astounding level of production. I think it's part of his overanxious defending habits and his dependancy on drawing charges (note he only jumps to try to block Dwayne Collins) that makes it seem like a good idea to try and get in the way of people about to viciously hammer on his head. 


As you could probably tell I've been away from the internet for about two days, so, the crazy amount of posts I had for the Towson and EMU games won't be up for Syracuse this week, but I will have them every other week of the season. I'll have a post up later today, and probably one more, then a game thread tomorrow afternoon, so, stop by.

Also, it appears my advice that you pick Maximilian Leo (WHOSE NAME TRANSLATES TO GREATEST LION FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY) fell on deaf ears. The people elected Syracuse WR Van Chew as Syracuse's best name. Congrats to Van! I'm going to figure out how to make cool graphics for this award, but until then, appreciate the awesomeness that is Van Chew. Here's to him getting a reception tomorrow.