Better Ohio billboard sports smack talk:Rosey TCU or ‘Bronless Cleveland

Considering the oppressive unemployment, crumbling cities affectionately called things like “The Mistake on the Lake,” terrible weather, and defeated people, what better state to waste time and money talking shit via billboards than Ohio?

None, I say, and billboard smacktalk in the Buckeye State has recently attracted a lot of pub to two of Ohio’s bigger sporting embarassments of the past year.

Cleveland: “Oooooh, we’ll get you, LeBron!”

First, the greatest basketball talent, and fourth most caveman-like basketball player (Greg Oden, Sheldon Williams and Joakim Noah, all more caveman-like), alive gathers a national audience to dump all over his home state while taking his talents to South Beach. How might Cleveland enact revenge on the man who single-handedly destroyed the only good thing their city had going for it (outside of the fish from Lake Erie becoming radioactive enough to be used as a uranium substitue in nuclear reactors)? Pee in his drink and smother his food in buttery asshole hairs the first time he dares dine in Cleveland, you say? Hire a French transvestite prostitute to give LeBron chlamydia? No, no, no. People with hopelessly crushed spirits and 50% high school drop out rates don’t get revenge, they get billboard space.

I give Cleveland credit for being smart enough to go after LeBron’s enormous ego. It had to hurt ‘Bron when his hoops holyness, Michael Jordan, more or less said “The King” was more like Dwayne Wade’s eunuch for going to Miami, and Cleveland was trying to drive that knife a little deeper.  The only problem with that strategy was the inevitable answer with the Cleveland Cavaliers sad “Bronless roster: How does it feel to be 8-28 (the worst record in the NBA), because 29-9 is feeling pretty nice?

TCU: Proving Gordon Gee right, the Big Ten are the little sisters of the poor, too

Football people are allowed to say stupid things. We pay them to play football, and coach football, not to read Socrates and Nietzsche. However, university presidents are supposed to be smart, and we expect them to contain themselves from verbal diarreah of the kind Ohio St. President E. Gordon Gee decided to unleash one fine November afternoon while trying to politik his school’s one-loss Buckeyes football team ahead of undefeated non-BCS outsiders Boise St. and TCU. Gee called out those schools bona fides by saying they achieve their lofty records by beating up on “the little sisters of the poor” — like Ohio, Marshall, Eastern Michigan, Indiana and Minnesota (Oh wait, that was Ohio St.’s schedule).

Despite giving Gee and the Ohio St. nation (a pompous group of ignorant douchebags that have been spouting Gee’s philosphy for years while getting pummeled in BCS title games) the ultimate up yours by setting themselves up to finish No. 2 in the final BCS poll, winning the Big Ten’s most hallowed game (The Rose Bowl), and beating the only team to beat Ohio St. all year (Wisconsin), Horned Frogs fans wanted more. And how else to complete the perfect revenge on Ohio St.’s own home turf? You got it this time: billboards. More than a dozen of them, all around Colombus.

Despite a nice Sugar Bowl win against the fourth best team in the SEC East (seriously, you want to tell me Arkansas is better than Auburn, Alabama or LSU?), there’s no doubt the only thing the Buckeyes wanted more than a shot at the BCS title was the Rose Bowl. Instead, some clever mystery TCU fan has provided an inescapable reminder that the Horned Frogs are now the team that took defending Rose Bowl champ Ohio St.’s Rose Bowl title from them, and they did it without ever yielding to the temptation to say, “Fuck you, Gee.” Nicely done.

So which is better?

Well, my billboard, of course.

But if I had to go with a real billboard, I’d have to go with TCU. It’s clean, understated (despite being blazoned across a 50-foot electric billboard), clever and, most importantly, effective because they actually finished on top. (Although, I probably would have gone with a horned frog shooting eye blood in Gee’s mouth)

Cleveland, on the other hand, had to try and get back at LeBron. He did after all, not only take his talents, but about $200 million per year of economic impact away from a recession ravaged city. However, the billboard just ads to the sore loser rap the city has already gotten. Miami is approaching greatness and the Cavaliers are approaching pathetic. LeBron made the right choice. Yeah, he grew up in Ohio, but he didn’t grow up a Cleveland Cavalier. When LeBron is an aging, overpaid superstar with a bad contract one day, he’s going to get cut like a bad hairdo. Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert would have done it too, because it’s a business to everyone involved but the fans. You’ve got to feel bad for Cleveland fans losing their hero, but I also feel bad that they couldn’t even come up with a photoshop of LeBron in some Robin tights to go on their Sidekick billboard.


Best and worst games of the 2010 bowl season

College football fans have unleashed a lot of unnecessary ire at the bowl system, but I’d like to ask them why? It’s the BCS you should be pouring all your Haterade on. Good old-fashioned bowl games have been wrongly co-opted into the argument against the BCS, a corporate America-driven abortion that sticks a coat-hanger into the fertile vagina of college football, and pulls out a bloody mess of dollars and made-for-TV failures where a beautiful baby playoff system should have been.

So I’ll go ahead and say it. I still love bowl games. I mean, I LOVE bowl games. If the Orange Bowl were a woman, I would juice her lovely mandarin like a Vitamin C crack addict. If the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl (yes, that is a real bowl) were a woman, I would still put a bag over my head and caress her homely, meaty thighs until her flatulent parts started whistling.

Why not? At every point of the D-I spectrum, bowls give passionate fan bases a last shot to watch the kids they only get to keep for four years play one last game that in theory should be highly competitive against a new, fun opponent that isn’t likely to be on the schedule again any time soon. Sure, there aren’t a lot of people who have a stomach for vintage match ups like North Texas-Toledo, but it’s not hurting you that the game is being played. (Well, there’s a slight chance humanity wasting time on something so meaningless in lieu of solving world hunger might anger God and incite the Apocalypse, but that withstanding…)

I, personally, love ’em all. Love the terrible ones almost as much as the great ones, just for the humor the existence of names like the (Uh oh, gotta get) MAACO Bowl and San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl bring to the universe. Seriously, San Diego, don’t you have to be, like, bigger than Darryl’s Corner Pawn Shop to win naming rights for a bowl game?

In the old pre-career days, I would watch every bowl game – every one, start to finish. Nowadays, I’ll watch anything on New Year’s Day, weekends and after work. They’re just good, even when they’re bad, because if you love college football, you’ll do anything to cling on to the dying season before the dark times set in again until August.

As for 2010, there are some doozies and some dandies, but my picks for best and worst bowl game of the season were pretty easy to make.

Worst bowl game of 2010: Little Caesar’s Bowl (Toledo vs. Florida International, Dec. 26, 8:30 p.m. ET)

Looking for a quick and easy way to destroy any leftover Christmas spirit? Just turn this game on the day after. The mere prospect of this game might destroy enough Christmas cheer that Santa’s reindeer are no longer able to fly. And as if the poor people of Detroit didn’t have enough misery and hopelessness to face every day, the college football world has decided to throw this gem at them. As Moe so eloquently put it in The Simpsons a few weeks ago: “Take it easy on Detroit. Them people is livin’ in Mad Max times.” The anger this game will cause in Detroit will be single-handedly responsible for cementing the city’s place as the murder capital of America. The abandoned houses will burn bright in the Motor City this night.

And who let Florida International off ESPN’s Bottom 10 list? How bad was college football this year that the team that spent the last decade as one-half of the flashing FIU-FAU icon eternally entrenched on the Bottom 10 qualified for a bowl?

Best bowl game of 2o1o: Tostitos BCS National Championship Game (No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 1 Auburn, Jan. 10, 8:30 p.m.)

Is it a cop-out to pick the national title game as the best bowl game of the year? Hell no – Any game that features a plodding Ohio St. team against an SEC champion has zero chance of being entertaining, much less competitive – and that happened two years in a row after the ’06 and ’07 seasons.

But this game is going to be special. I mean, like, Texas-USC after the 2005 season special. The casts are even eerily similar to that all-time classic with Cam Newton in the Vince Young role of unstoppable one-man wrecking ball and Oregon in the USC role of flawless offensive system with weapons all over the field. Like that game, don’t expect much defense and expect the game-winning score to come in the last minute. The only thing I’m not sure: Will the team with the Heisman runner up beat the team with the Heisman winner again or should we expect the magician at quarterback to will his team to victory again?

I don’t know, but I do know two things: The Ducks’ uniforms will be hideous (although, not as bad as usual, despite the tennis ball-colored socks) and Cam Newton’s Dad will be on a cell phone given to him by Deion Sanders every second of the game pimping his son to every half-bit Jerry Maguires and used car TV ad producer in the nation.

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