Before I get to the notes, a quick warning that if you still access this site via thebrannanblog.net address, that site name will be going away at the end of the month. Please update your bookmarks to reflect dsnotebook.me as the correct address.
We are back at it today. Well, kind of. M started at her normal time today, but they are going to their first semester classes for 20 minutes each then will be dismissed for the day at 11:15. Which is kind of weird. They start the second semester with a normal schedule tomorrow.
St. P’s traditionally goes back to school on Tuesday. This year they’ve made today an eLearning day. As of 10:00 AM L has most of her work done. I’m still trying to get C out of bed.
So I guess Christmas break really ends tomorrow.
Some weekend for sports! I was sickish on the couch much of the weekend – the cold I have prevented me from sleeping much either Friday or Saturday nights – so I got to see plenty of football. I don’t have a great NFL memory, but that had to be one of the wackiest weekends in playoff history. Every game was competitive. Every game had a couple crazy-ass plays that set Twitter alight. Two overtime games and the likely end of the Patriots dynasty. Pretty solid work.
I watched most of the second half of the Buffalo-Houston game. When I turned it on, the Bills were up 16–0. As I caught up on Twitter I agreed with the universal thought of “Classic Houston in the playoffs!” But then Classic Buffalo in the playoffs said, “Not so fast!” The last 2:00 or so of regulation were some of the worst yet most entertaining football I’ve ever seen. I was so glad I was not a fan of either team because that was heart-attack inducing stuff. DeShaun Watson’s scramble and completion in overtime will be the signature play of these playoffs…until Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes top it when they get a chance this weekend.
I knew New England really wasn’t very good, but I still gave Tennessee no chance to win. A mediocre team from the AFC South going to Foxborough in January? No way. Good AFC South teams routinely get annihilated by the Patriots in the playoffs. But Derrick Henry was a freaking beast, the Pats offense was painfully pedestrian, and a shocking upset was the result. I don’t know what was more satisfying: Bill Belichick getting pissed when Mike Vrabel used a quirk in the rules – that Belichick himself used earlier this year – to burn a bunch of clock in the fourth quarter, or Tom Brady throwing a pick-six to seal the game. That they both happened is a gift to any fan whose team has been abused by the Patriots over the years.
I laughed at all the Boston media types who got all defensive about the Pats dynasty after the game. Listen, the Pats are, arguably, the greatest dynasty in sports history. They’ve done it in a league that sucks teams toward parity and away from continued dominance. They’ve managed to keep their franchise QB healthy for all but one year of his career. They’ve been coached by arguably the greatest coach in the sport’s history. And all that means non-Pats fans are going to delight in the apparent end of their run of excellence. That’s what sports are about: rooting for and against teams. Celebrate what the last 20 years have been like, but don’t get huffy when the rest of us celebrate its end.
I figured the Vikings-Saints game would be a rout. Had I done Super Bowl picks, I would have picked New Orleans to come out of the NFC. I thought they were the most complete team on both sides of the ball in the conference. Plus the Vikings were just too flawed to go to the Super Dome and pull off the upset.
Once again I prove that I know nothing about football. Just a delightful fourth quarter and overtime for us neutrals. With no dog in the fight I could both argue the non-call on the game-winning touchdown was a terrible miss and delight that New Orleans was again getting absolutely screwed by the refs at home.
With the Saints out of the way, the Seahawks became my NFC pick. I mentioned this to a buddy and he said, “Now watch the Eagles beat them.” I didn’t think the Eagles had a chance, home field or not, and when they lost Carson Wentz – who of course got hurt! – I was confident in my pick. This DK Metcalf kid is amazing! I don’t play fantasy and I don’t know that I had seen more than a few minutes of a Seattle game all year, so he was a revelation. It was very sobering, however, to learn that his dad, who had a long NFL career, is seven years younger than me. I mean, holy shit!
With the Wild Card games out of the way, I’ll lock in these picks for the next two weekends:
Kansas City over Houston
Baltimore over Tennessee
Seattle over Green Bay
San Francisco over Minnesota
Kansas City over Baltimore
Seattle over San Francisco
That’s right, Chiefs fans, for the first time in my life I’ve picked the Chiefs to go to the Super Bowl. Consider them jinxed.
I missed the first half of the Bills-Texans game watching the KU-West Virginia game. No one expected much from WVU this year, and even after they got off to a great start no one was sure if they were legit. That changed when the beat up on Ohio State a week ago.
Still, you figure a young Mountaineers team coming into Allen Fieldhouse for their conference opener would not be much of a contest. Naturally WVU totally controlled the first half, leading by 10 much of the half until a late KU run cut it to six. Oscar Tshibwe was un-guardable and the WVU defense totally took KU out of its game. I’ll admit I was nervous, even knowing the history of this series.
Fortunately Bill Self is pretty good at the halftime shit, he made some lineup and strategic tweaks, and KU got the win. Not quite as dramatic as the classic KU-WVU games but a decent start to the Big 12 season.
I watched several hours of the Sentry Tournament of Champions Sunday night. Even with relatively warm temps here in Indiana, it is always fun to watch prime time golf from Hawaii in January. We’ve been kicking around the idea of visiting the islands so I was paying extra attention to all the shots of the blue surf neighboring the green Kapalua Plantation course. I was hoping Gary Woodland would claw back into things but he never got it going yesterday. That left me rooting against the biggest villain in golf right now, Patrick Reed.
If you don’t follow golf – most of you fall into this category – Reed has a long history of, well, issues. He’s a complex character. In December he was caught improving his lie in a bunker, an act most people call cheating. He claimed the camera angle was bad and he had not, in fact, brushed a large quantity of sand back on two practice swings. He taunted Australian fans at the President’s Cup. Then his caddy attacked a fan during the event. Since it is golf, though, he has not been punished for his actions. In fact, the PGA Tour and its media sycophants have gone out of their way to brush all this aside and only discuss these acts in terms of how unfortunate it is that Reed has “had to go through all of this.” In the “Woke Golf” circles I follow, Reed has become public enemy #1. So it’s kind of cool that he’s a legitimately fantastic golfer, because he makes otherwise boring tournaments interesting and entertaining.
Anyway, I was pulling big time for either Justin Thomas or Xander Schauffele to hold off Reed. Thomas seemed to be in control, leading by two, until he bogeyed 16 and then dumped his approach into the penalty area on 18. Schauffele had two putts to win the tournament…and three-putted. That left a three-way playoff between Reed, Schauffele, and Thomas. The playoff started at 10:00 eastern and I was pretty well cooked after two sleepless nights, so I went to bed. That was a good call as the playoff lasted three holes before Thomas got the win. As long as Reed didn’t win, I was good with the result.