Friday, September 17, 2021

Benster and D Pick Your Games---Stop Freaking Out Early In The Season Edition

 Lots of fanbases have been freaking out after a loss early in the year. What gives? 

They worry. And in the case of a certain professional team we like in this feature, we fear creeping Randy Wrightism. But what's that industrial sound I hear in the background, young fella?

That sound you hear is me sharpening an axe, and I'm not doing it for show. I've got some words for some people, but that will have to wait until the end.

Uh-oh. This could get ugly.

You have no idea. But chill out, Geritol Fan, we have some games to pick. Until that time, I am feeling the HYYYYYYYPPPEEE, and it is time to watch me work.

Minnesota Golden Elite Rowers of the Boat (+2.5) vs. Colorado Buffaloes The Gophers last week ended up winning despite letting Miami of Ohio sneak back in the second half. Colorado is going to be a more difficult game. The Buffs can play some defense, and the altitude at Boulder will present a challenge that Big Ten teams aren't accustomed to. P.J. wasn't happy after last week. I can see why. One word of warning, Gopher fans. Karl Dorrell can coach, even though his record isn't great. His teams are always well-prepared, and they can equalize any talent differential. They also seem to have figured out how to recruit in the Pac 12.  Ask Texas A&M, who narrowly survived at Mile High last week. Buffs 21, Row Row Row Your Boat Elitely 10.

It's a tough place to play even if the Buffaloes are down. Gophers have their hands full here. Colorado 24, Minnesota 21.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (+22.5) vs. Oklahoma Sooners If this games doesn't get you amped up, then something is wrong. 50 years after the Game of the Century, a new generation of Sooners and Cornhuskers will battle in Norman. By the way, why is this game an early game? Thanks a lot, Fox. Crap like this is partly why the Sooners and Longhorns are joining up with the SEC. Oklahoma is the early favorite to win the Big 12, while Scott Frost is trying to save a Nebraska program that clearly is a long way off from the 1990s. Tom Osborne ain't coming through that door, and neither are the 1990s Cornhusker teams. However, this game might be closer than you think. Oklahoma usually has one inexplicable loss per season, and Spencer Rattler doesn't impress me at quarterback. He struggled against Tulane, and looks to be all hat and no cattle. I still think Oklahoma wins, but I would bet on Nebraska to cover. Jack Mildren 31, Johnny Rodgers 21.

I see it going the other way. Nebraska is not good. This could be really ugly. Oklahoma 45, Nebraska 14.

Auburn War Eagle/Tigers (+5) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions I criticize the SEC for a lot of things on here. I hate that conference, and especially hate SEC shills like Paul Finebaum and Clay Travis. However, I must give credit where credit is due. Major props to Auburn for being willing to play Penn State in Beaver Stadium, and being willing to brave the Whiteout. I'm glad to see SEC schools willing to play games outside the South against tough opponents. When you combine that with the national title game being played in Indy, teams don't have to go to the West and South for all the big games as much. The Big Ten needs this one badly, especially after what happened last week to A School in Columbus in the Horseshoe against Oregon. I'm not a conference pride guy at all, but Oregon winning has made the Pac 12 playoff contenders, and that has been repeated by the college football media, and not just by Pac 12 journalists. This game is a measuring stick, and I think Penn State can win. They had the big win against my beloved Badgers, and they should be more physical at the line of scrimmage. Look for the Whiteout crowd at night to lift the Lions to a huge win. Ecstatic Valley 50, War Eagle 14.

Penn State has a lot of talent -- that has been obvious. My impression is this is a middling Auburn team and so picking the Nittany Lions makes sense here. Penn State 31, Auburn 19.

Minnesota Vikings (+3.5) vs. Arizona Cardinals The Vikings put up a great comeback against the Bengals, but ended up losing in overtime. Everyone around here is complaining about the Dalvin fumble, but that wasn't what doomed them. The Vikings had too many offensive penalties, and seemingly couldn't get lined up properly at times. Can someone explain to me how you let a guy get open on the 4th down in overtime to set up the game winning field goal for the Bengals? Arizona had probably the most impressive win in the league last week, as they looked great in the early game window against the Titans. This version of the Cardinals is probably going to be a playoff contender, and the Vikings are going to have to play better defense. The Vikings can ill afford to go 0-2 to start the year. One thing to keep in mind, there will be a good amount of Purple in the stands in Glendale. But it won't be enough. Raising Arizona 35, Vikings 31.

I have the sneaking suspicion the Vikings aren't that good, but in their division they may not have to be. But this looks like a tall order. Cardinals 38, Vikings 24.

Detroit LOLions (+11.5) vs. Glorious Green Bay Packers Last week was a horrible game for the Packers, where they got flat-out blitzed by the Saints. And predictably, the conspiracy theories about 12 wanting to tank the season on purpose were making the rounds. Look, I expect the disrespect from the Vikings approved KFAN types, Skip Brainless, and Mike Florio, who clearly lets his hatred of the Packers influence his reporting and his website. But even some reliable NFL experts were arguing that. Look, it was one game. Yes, we looked bad, but we're onto Detroit. The LOLions don't look good, and something tells me we are going to see 12 have one of his games that shuts up the haters. Remember, R-E-L-A-X. Relax. They are going to be fine, and the season is far from over. Packers 41, LOLions 3.

I think the Packers play well, but if you come out flat for the first game of the season, that portends problems. I did not like what I saw last Sunday at all. Packers 34, Lions 23.

And now, it's time for A Very Special Comment. 

Do you want some music?

Uh, thanks? I touched on this with the Packers, but it seems like some spoiled fanbases are freaking out over one game early in the season. Ohio State fans want people fired after what happened to Oregon! Ryan Day has only lost 3 games so far in his career. In the last 20 years, Ohio State has won a bunch of Big Ten titles, lots of big bowl games, and 2 national titles. Only a handful of teams wouldn't sign up for that. Packers fans are freaking out after what happened in Florida, and I was frustrated on Sunday. But you know what, I remembered that we have been fortunate to be consistently elite for my entire lifetime, and that we should savor how lucky we are. Look, I get that football is a week to week thing, and losses are going to happen from time to time. It's only week 3 in college, and week 2 in the NFL. Just calm the heck down. It's very hard to win every game, and even the best teams of all time struggle. Nobody is handing out bowl bids and playoff berths this week. Just calm down, support your teams, and remember that it's just a game. Ben out. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Benster and D Pick Your Games----Not Our Last Dance Edition

 Old dude, the Packers might be having a Last Dance, but this isn't our Last Dance.

Nope. And I'm glad you opened up the windows. It got a little musty in here over the summer.

And it's great to be back. After a lot of drama, we made it. And it feels good.

Is that a Barry Manilow reference? Or Peaches and Herb?

Maybe you ought to lay off the herb, old dude.

It's only oregano.

Whatever you say, Geritol Fan! I am certainly feeling the HYYYYYYYYPPPEEE!, and it is time to watch me work.

Miami of Ohio Redhawks (+17.5) vs. Minnesota Golden Elite Rowers of the Boat Sadly for the Boat Rowers, last week was close but no cigar against A School In Columbus. Despite rumors that I was in the Columbus area a few weeks back, I was nowhere near the campus of Ohio State, and certainly wasn't run out of town by an angry mob of Eleven Warriors readers. With no Mohamed Ibrahim for the rest of the year, P.J. will have to get creative offensively and coach up his other backs. Miami of Ohio is a good MAC team, but this is a bridge too far for them. The Gophers should roll comfortably and build momentum for a more fair test in Big Ten play later on. Row Row Row Your Boat Elitely 42, Miami of Ohio 21.

I will have to take your word for it. Gophers 31, Miami (OH) 20.

Eastern Michigan Eagles (+27) vs. Beloved Wisconsin Badgers I can safely say that last week was the most angry I have been at the Badgers since the 2019 game against Illinois, and the BYU game in 2018. Nothing against Penn State and James Franklin, but that game was there for the taking, and the offensive playcalling was unoriginal and reactive instead of being proactive. Where were the jet sweeps, zone reads, option, or any creativity? More importantly, what happened to Graham Mertz? Hopefully this team can clean things up. Eastern Michigan is a terrible MAC team, and the issues I mentioned from last week are easily fixable. The only reason this isn't a Very Special Comment is because this team can be good. All of their goals are in front of them still. But they need to start playing better this week. Badgers 35, Eagles 7.

I was not impressed with the Badgers at all. They tried to out-physical a team with more talent. That's always a poor choice. They'll push around EMU, but there may be some heartburn if Mertz can't get untracked. Wisconsin 31, Eastern Michigan 14.

Oregon Ducks (+14.5) vs. A School In Columbus Offline, I mentioned that Ohio State was taking a big risk having C.J Stroud make his first start on the road in Big Ten play. That being said, I'm happy to admit that I was wrong about it. The freshman looked pretty good, and will get to play in front of a full Horseshoe against Oregon. The Ducks are the favorites in the Pac 12, and are an outside playoff contender. But this is an early start far away from Autzen, where the Buckeyes have only lost to Oklahoma and Virginia Tech in Columbus during nonconference play since 2010. A loss for either team is not fatal to their playoff ambitions, but would remove any margin of error. The Buckeyes will win. Even an ardent hater like myself would never pick against the Buckeyes, right? A School In Columbus 24, 1,000 Uniform Combinations, 0 National Titles 17.

Oregon is going to be good. But not on Saturday. Ohio State 35, Oregon 16.

Minnesota Vikings (-3) vs. Cincinnati Bungles The Vikings were not the drama team through most of the offseason, but thanks to some dumb comments by Kirk Cousins, they became the drama team during training camp. I honestly don't know what to make of the Purple. On the one hand they are really talented. On the other hand, we've seen what happens when the Vikings have expectations. Thankfully, the Bungles are beat up, and still don't have an offensive line. They are also a bit short on the back end of the defense. Since I am starting Justin Jefferson in fantasy football, if he could go off, that would be much appreciated. The Vikings should win this one. If they don't, then listen to KFAN after the game. You'll thank me later. Vikings 31, Bungles 10.

These teams don't play often, but Zimmer was an assistant in Cincinnati for a number of years, so there's still some history there. Vikings are more talented, but. . . Cincinnati 24, Minnesota 20.

Glorious Green Bay Packers (-3.5) vs. New Orleans Saints, in Jacksonville This game was supposed to be in the Dome in New Orleans, but thanks to the impact of Hurricane Ida, we are in Jacksonville. Please donate if you can to charity, as I am sure that there are a lot of people who could use the assistance. As for the game, the Saints have engaged in some gamesmanship. They picked Jacksonville because the Packers historically don't play well in Florida, and because they don't want Packers fans to take over the stadium. They also have taken the shaded sideline, and will probably wear white to force the Packers to wear green. The Saints are beat up with injuries, but the one thing I expect is that Famous Jameis will be ready to go. People forget, but the Saints have won without Drew Brees under Sean Payton in the past. As for the Packers, after an offseason of will he or won't he, 12 will be taking the field as our starting quarterback. With Randall Cobb back as a peace offering, hopefully this year ends with us lifting a trophy in LA. The march starts this week, and I think the Packers can win. Packers 28, Saints 10.

The Saints are really beat up on defense. That's a problem. If they can't get a proper pass rush, Rodgers is going to destroy them. Packers 34, Saints 20.

Enjoy your football this weekend. Ben out!

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Three things

 As I said, the blog is still alive, but posting will likely remain light until we get closer to Benster time. I am posting at least a few times a week at Mitch Berg's place.

As it happens, the last two posts I've featured here are of men, both recently deceased, who like to swear a lot. I assure you that's coincidental and not a preview of coming attractions.

If you have a moment, say a prayer for our friend King David, who has been fighting heart disease and has had a rough go of it recently. We're hoping for good news. 


Boogie Down Productions

 For the record, this is the guy who on whose behalf "protesters" are "protesting"* in Minneapolis at the moment. Winston "Boogie" Smith would like to offer you a few posthumous words (incredibly NSFW):

Guy swore more than Jerry Burns.

He was turning his life around, though. Or so we've heard.

*based on the available evidence, the protesters by day are the usual dumpy leftists you see at such things. In the evening, the people setting fire to dumpsters and looting area shops are more diverse and often disguised.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

RIP, Jerry Burns

He had a hell of a run. And there was never any doubt he loved #@*@#! Bob Schnelker and @*#(#&@! Rich Karlis, either. Video is, obviously, NSFW:


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Shot in the D

The post is up now, so I can now reveal that I am writing at Shot in the Dark, Mitch Berg's longtime blog. Mitch is one of the most prolific bloggers in Minnesota and he has been at the blogging game for almost 20 years. He has also hosted a weekend radio show at AM 1280 for about 16-17 years now. He also has a pretty big audience.

This is a great opportunity for me and I'm glad Mitch asked. I will not abandon this blog -- after over 15 years of writing here, there's way too much history to let it go away. However, I assume much of what you see here will be either (a) less political and (b) more about Benster's sports views. But we'll see.

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Changes afoot

 Blogging has, despite my best intentions, been spotty around here lately. An opportunity awaits for me. I'll have more to say about it in the next few days. Yes, that last sentence channels an annoying habit from the likes of Tim Walz, who is constantly announcing he's going to make an announcement, but I have to do some thinking about what the opportunity means for this blog.

It's all good, though. Trust me on that. More soon.

Saturday, May 01, 2021


 In re the Aaron Rodgers saga, ahem: Rodgers will be at the Kentucky Derby today. NBC will have approximately 248 reporters crawling around Churchill Downs, so I imagine one of them (best guess: Tirico) will be able to button-hole him. My prediction: he'll say something with just enough ambiguity to keep the door open, which will (a) give us fleeting hope and (b) show Schefter, Florio and the rest of the gossip gang his ass.

Thursday, April 29, 2021


 I had other priorities, so I missed Joe Biden's speech to a mostly empty House chamber last night. It appears to have been his usual mixture of bad faith, kabuki and crap, so that's probably just as well. People are starting to realize what a dumpster fire we have in Washington, but the official line will remain that competence and unity are rising in Washington. Hunger Games all the way down, frankly.

Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

NFL draft is tonight. I expect the locals to draft an offensive lineman and I hope the Packers pick a butt-kicking linebacker. I don't know who the Lions will pick, but the guy will likely fail. The Bears? Who knows? Guess we'll find out soon enough.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Guilty on all three counts

 Derek Chauvin found guilty on all three charges -- manslaughter, 3rd degree murder, 2nd degree murder. A few thoughts:

  • I am somewhat surprised Chauvin got Murder Two, but given the enormous fear this region has been feeling ever since this all began, it's not a complete surprise. A jury that did not deliver what the mob wanted was gonna get doxxed and threatened. 
  • Chauvin may have a chance at an appeal because of Maxine Waters, but he'd have had a better chance in a state where the judiciary isn't a wholly owned subsidiary of the DFL. This would have gone down very differently across the St. Croix, I think.
  • And that's part of what sticks in my craw about all this. I don't hold any brief for Chauvin, who was the bully boy cop from central casting. Police are, at best, a necessary evil, and this dude was not a hero by any means. Having said that, Chauvin was doing what he was asked to do. And that means we should stop asking the Chauvins of the world to do such bidding. All regimes hire rough men to protect the vulnerable, but if we're not serious about protecting the vulnerable any more, and based on the available evidence we aren't serious, we should stop with the bullshit half measures.
  • And therein lies the larger question: why are Chauvin, and by extension all police, doing the things they are asked to do? George Floyd might have died that day anyway, given that he had a likely lethal amount of fentanyl in his system. The danger to the public, I suppose, is if he drove off and caused a pileup on the interstate. That's a hypothetical. What officers actually do is more about financial considerations. Many of the tasks police pursue are revenue generation and not public safety. That question is even more relevant in the Daunte Wright case -- he was stopped because of an expired license tab. That's not a public safety issue, but the Wright case became a public safety issue because we ask our law enforcement to do these penny ante shakedowns. And since the cop in that instance had a brain fart and shot the guy, we've been living in fear for weeks.
  • Finally, we need to be honest about the precise reasons we live in fear around there. We have seen vast swathes of our city burned and looted and our elected (not be me, mind you) representatives have ceded control of the city to the woke and their grasping acolytes. This town is chock full of grifters and grievance entrepreneurs at all times, but we also now import 'em, too. This screen shot (h/t Mitch Berg) sums things up nicely:

Grievance is lucrative
  • Seriously, get back on yer plane and leave us alone, Al. 

Where we are

 Writing for PJ Media, Victoria Taft says it out loud:

When antifa and BLM stir as much fear as Pablo Escobar and his henchmen, which prevents you from doing your damned job and following the Constitution, we’ve arrived at Banana Republic status.

Welcome to Medellín, Minnesota, where judges, elected officials, and cops are afraid of the race cartels.

Do you dispute that idea? If so, tell me why. 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Dreary Brearley and the Brooklyn Center Extravaganza

 I have no idea who Andrew Gutmann is, but he has been paying north of 50K/year to have his daughter educated at Brearley, a hyper-exclusive all-girls prep school in New York. But he's had enough. Bari Weiss has the details:

I object to the view that I should be judged by the color of my skin. I cannot tolerate a school that not only judges my daughter by the color of her skin, but encourages and instructs her to prejudge others by theirs. By viewing every element of education, every aspect of history, and every facet of society through the lens of skin color and race, we are desecrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and utterly violating the movement for which such civil rights leaders believed, fought, and died. 

He's just getting warmed up:

I object to Brearley’s vacuous, inappropriate, and fanatical use of words such as “equity,” “diversity” and “inclusiveness.” If Brearley’s administration was truly concerned about so-called “equity,” it would be discussing the cessation of admissions preferences for legacies, siblings, and those families with especially deep pockets. If the administration was genuinely serious about “diversity,” it would not insist on the indoctrination of its students, and their families, to a single mindset, most reminiscent of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Instead, the school would foster an environment of intellectual openness and freedom of thought. And if Brearley really cared about “inclusiveness,” the school would return to the concepts encapsulated in the motto “One Brearley,” instead of teaching the extraordinarily divisive idea that there are only, and always, two groups in this country: victims and oppressors.

In the current environment, mentioning the Chinese Cultural Revolution is likely prima facie evidence of racism. Stop Asian Hate, pal. But let's keep going:

We have today in our country, from both political parties, and at all levels of government, the most unwise and unvirtuous leaders in our nation’s history. Schools like Brearley are supposed to be the training grounds for those leaders. Our nation will not survive a generation of leadership even more poorly educated than we have now, nor will we survive a generation of students taught to hate its own country and despise its history. 

There are obvious consequences to all this and we are seeing it unfold on our doorstep now. Our leaders in Minnesota are as Mr. Gutmann describes -- unwise and unvirtuous. We have the specter of mob rule hanging over Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center. And beyond the lack of virtue, there's also a lack of competence:

Initially, the city planned no curfew for the first time this week to "take a different approach," the mayor said in a statement. But around 10:30 p.m., Operation Safety Net announced the mayor had declared an emergency curfew that starts at 11 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Saturday.

The curfew followed unrest outside the police department. Shortly after 9:30 p.m. Friday, protesters breached the secondary barrier surrounding the Brooklyn Center police department. In response, law enforcement used flash bangs and pepper spray to push the crowd back. Officials repaired the fence. Protesters continued to throw items, such as glass bottles, over the barricades.

And the officials are pointing fingers at one another:

 Col. Matt Langer of the Minnesota State Patrol expressed frustration that the same strategy was not as effective Friday night. Authorities say a small group carrying bats were among the agitators.

At an overnight press conference, law enforcement laid out items, including cans, umbrellas, paint cans and wooden shields, that had been brought into the rally by protesters.

"If we want change in policing, we want reform in policing - let's do that. Let's get together and start reform," said Hennepin County David Hutchinson. "This profession needs help. We can admit that. We're not perfect. We can be better. But these people are not people you should be supporting." 

You can't act clearly unless you operate from clear moral principles. Unfortunately, at our current moment, the principle in place is might makes right. We may not have as many Mean Tweets, but there's a meanness in the land. We're at a tipping point.