Sunday, July 12, 2009

Announcements: Moving Day Hath Come

Brethren: This announcement is a bit late-coming, but if you're still checking around these here parts, wondering why we haven't posted in a while, here are your answers:

Nacho and I have decided to close up shop on the Sports Brethren and take our sports blogging prowess over to the team at Cubicle GM. We're the lead NFL and life-musing writers for the Cube, so expect much of the same Panthery passion, as well as thoughts around our beloved league. We'll do some NBA (Bobcats) posts too, and try to keep the quirk and the charm as flowing as ever.

I believe I speak for Nacho when I say writing this blog has been a huge part of our lives the past two years, and has brought us closer together as brothers. It's been a real joy, and I appreciate anyone who has taken the time to read, make a comment, or forward us along to unsuspecting fools.

So keep track of us at the Cube, and we'll keep the archives up here for all time so that you can come back, get nostalgic, and read some of our greatest hits. Or maybe that'll just be me.

Be well, sports (brethren) fans.

Oh yea, and we'll be writing under our real names at the new site. For those of you who didn't know:

Nacho Friendly = Smokey Cloud
Brethren = Mickey Cloud
The Jump

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wherein I Take the Swine Flu Bull By The Horns

Nacho: Brethren called me from Yankee stadium or shortly thereafter and exclamied "You can drink in the bleachers!" Which I found odd. It's another great example of the differences from NY and LA. They're just now allowing booze in the bleacher seats of Yankee stadium. In LA, they have All-You-Can-Eat seats with several beer stations in our bleachers. As Michael Bay would proffer: BOOM!

Me? I spent a week of hysteria surrounding swine flu combatting the disease the only way I knew how: by eating as much pork as possible. See, this is a prime situation in which we can blame vegetarians. If they'd done their part of keeping the swine population in check, none of this would've happened. Anyway, it's not like this whole swine flu could be a diversionary tactic to dissuade Americans from traveling to a tropical Amsterdam. Because that would be ludicrous.

Taking the swine, head on, after...

Nacho cont'd:So last Tuesday, I sampled the West Hollywood branch of Baby Blues BBQ. While the decor and clientele are distractingly out of place, but the most important part, the food, is authentically awesome. Saturday afternoon found the woman and I making baked mac and cheese with bacon crust, and then, Saturday night I hosted a small get together for the Bulls-Celtics Game 7 and Hatton-Pacquiao fight. We ordered a massive amount of Baby Blues to be delivered, and there's a ton of leftovers, so consider Hollywood proper safe...for now.

I trust you all had as good a weekend as I did, and I hope you'll join me in my scorched earth policy against the dreaded swine. They can't kill us if we eat them first. FOLLOW ME! FOLLOW ME TO FREEDOM!

The Jump

Judgments: The New Yankee Stadium

Brethren: Jackson, my roommate from my first-year of college, was in the Big Apple this weekend, which is always a good time. We used the opportunity to head out to the new Yankee Stadium with some good friends, including my roommate Malick, a big Yankees fan. With our crowd of six, we bough bleacher tickets and hopped on the 4 train to take the trek to the Bronx.

I had been to the original Yankee Stadium five times in my time here in NYC, but I had never sat in the bleachers before, for a few different reasons. One, I had always been wary of the "no alcohol" rule and two, in those five trips, I had only paid for my ticket once (and bought that one at face-value in the 2nd inning in the Upper Deck). But I had to pony up for this ticket, and we had already decided the bleachers were the destination. Walking off the 4 train, I was immediately impressed with the marble columns and sense of tradition and majesty that really only the Yankees can pull off. With that said, there was nothing particularly majestic about the product on the field, but the experience was all-around awesome.

For my best details and description of a great Saturday of baseball, let's follow the Jump:

Brethren (cont'd): The home team couldn't pull out a win, as a huge 7th inning by the Angels ultimately undid a solid afternoon from C.C. Sabathia. But what was great about this trip to the new Yankee Stadium wasn't that the game particularly mattered (it was May 2nd after all), but just the great experience of spring baseball.

Jackson was rocking a "Uncle" Chuck Knoblauch t-shirt, our friend Andrew was donning an official Yankees batting practice jacket, Malick was pimping the Yankees t-shirt OVER a white collared shirt (he's so counter-culture, see pic below), and I was just happy to be wearing my Rainbows flippy-floppies. After a brief bout of rain on the trip to the Bronx, the sun came out, and the bleachers were a fine place to sit.

Beer was expensive ($10 for a souvenir cup of Bud Light), but it was allowed, which makes the New Yankee Stadium bleachers better than the Old Yankee Stadium bleachers. The hot dogs and popcorn was solid, if not particularly amazing.

The trip to New Yankee Stadium reminded me that live baseball is one of the best experiences sports has to offer. Football offers more passion; basketball more awe-inspiring opportunities, but nothing tops sitting on a sunny afternoon, drinking some beers, talking sports with good friends and watching a 9-inning contest. It's experiential, it's visceral, and it's incomparable.

The New Yankee Stadium bleachers experience: one I highly recommend and one I'll be going back to enjoy several times.

Quick Hitters From Around the Sports World:
1. If you haven't been reading SKEETS and Kelly Dywer's coverage of the NBA Playoffs over at Ball Don't Lie (Yahoo!), you're sorely missing out. All season long, they've enhanced my NBA-following with their game recaps, analysis, previews, entertaining write-a-captions, links lists, and general awesome knowledge of the NBA game, but they've particularly raised their game during playoff-time. The work ethic the SKEETS/Dywer team show, along with their pure passion, remind me of the early Simmons days when he chugged out 3 columns a day for Page 2 and brought the noise on the NBA. He still can do that every now and again, but for a day-in-day-out appetite of all things NBA, Ball Don't Lie is where it's at. Hat tip, brothermen.

2. Wow, Manny Pacquiao. Dominating performance. Made me cringe several times for Hatton. Pound-for-pound, the best boxer today. Just ridiculously fast and powerful. Overhyped fight? Maybe. But what the Pac Man delivered last night was awesome to watch.

3. Great in-depth look today at the Observer by our Bobcats beat-man, Rick Bonnell. Very thorough examination of the 'Cats roster, along with acquisitions that are spot-on for what Larry Brown would want. Very entertaining.

4. Tiger in contention at a Charlotte PGA Event = me watching golf on a non-major weekend.
The Jump

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Draft Week, Sir.

Brethren: It's draft week, which is usually a much more anticipatory time for the Sports Brethren, as it's our one official NFL moment until early fall. Yea, the official schedule came out recently, but I like to take a Silver Foxian view of the schedule and say "you play who they tell you to play." But this year, the Panthers have no first round pick, which means they won't be active for the first five hours of ESPN's coverage. Of course, the Silver Fox will tell you we already had our 2009 first round pick -- last year, when we traded up to get Jeff Otah. Hiiiyyooo.

But there are some things to note with this draft, despite the relative lack of impact the Cats can have. Of course, that can all change if the stealthy Panthers do something big with Julius Peppers before or during the draft. Everyone's been saying we pretty much have to deal him before the draft takes place if he's going to be moved at all, so things seem very "calm before the storm" quiet right now. There was solid Twitter chatter today about a rumor that sprung out of the QC's best sports radio station, WFNZ (more on that later), but beyond that, the Panthers front office is doing the right thing by saying, "We have Julius on salary cap right now and we anticipate he'll be a Panther come fall" and force the Peppers camp to drive the conversation. Which they haven't been, which has led to a very All Quiet on the Panther Front offseason.

Some Draft Day musings, and an appearance by dear Nacho, desde:

Brethren (cont'd): First thing of note that I think has been undercovered so far this year: the new start time of the draft. We're now getting started at 4 PM EST, which seemed like a ludicrously late time, until I read that link. Apparently, the draft was pushed back to 3 PM last year, so this year is only an hour later. I was under the impression that the draft still started at noon, like it did back in the day, but then I remembered I haven't watched the first day of the draft live since 2003. That was my senior year in high school, and since I went to college, Draft Saturday has fallen on the high holiday of the Foxfield Races, the most wonderful UVA tradition ever, and thus, I've been preoccupied (read: drunk and not near a tv) and unable to watch the draft live. (Yes, even in the late 80s, Foxfield was a ridiculous conceit to day drink heavily. Love how some things never change.) In any event, I find the 4 PM EST start time patently ridiculous because now the first day probably won't end until 1 AM, but it also means I can probably catch the Panthers #59 pick live from the bar Saturday night. I guess now Nacho and the Left Coasters can sleep in and not miss the start, but still seems like quiet a late start time for a slow-moving event like the draft.

Issue #2: Who should the Panthers pick? Fuck if I know. We don't pick for so long, it's a bit absurd trying to actually nail down a name. I hear the Utah DE (we drafted Steve Smith and Jordan Gross from there so every Ute must become a Pro Bowl Panther!); I hear some DE from Ga Tech (if he falls to us!). It seems pretty widely accepted we're going after a DE or DB because of the Peppers situation and the Ken Lucas roster cut. Sure; I could go either way there. Thing is, I have no idea, but I'm sure I'll be pumped and convincing some poor undergrad girl in a booth at the Virginian that we made a wise decision Saturday night, and thus it would be wise of her take me back to her humble abode.

Issue #3: So this is the digital marketing nerd in me, but back to that point I made about Twitter earlier: my search patterns have drastically change when I need news now. Whereas I would usually search Google News as quickly possible, nowadays, Twitter Search is much more reliable. For instance, today, I received a text from Nacho about the rumor Peppers is being dealt to the Patriots for Richard Seymour and a 2nd round pick. While sweeping the Internets with glee, trying to find the story, I went to Google News and searched. Nothing came back about the rumor. So I responded to Nacho about where he heard. His response, "a KSK retweet." So I checked Twitter Search and boom, 12 answers about the rumor. Real-time search results, provided by the users for the users. Granted, this is something I've mildly read about at work, but until now, had no personal experience with the power of real-time search. And it's why Google should be shitting their pants over Twitter.

/end nerdgasm.

Issue #4: The Observer upset the Cap'n quite a bit this weekend by throwing out the fantasy that the Panthers draft Pitt QB Pat White. Now, I encourage such whimsical thinking, but Pappy didn't take kindly to the ridiculousness of it. It's sad that the Panthers brass would be so written off that their own fans won't even entertain the thought that they could pull something like that off. But I like to think that's where the Silver Fox operates best: when everyone already thinks they know what he's up to.

Either that, or it's been a long damn time since January 10th and I've forgotten how he blindly stuck to a defense that Fitzgerald was killing and didn't have the good sense to reign Jake in. Well, maybe not completely forgotten, but I still -- for some reason -- have faith in the Silver Fox.

Enjoy watching Berman tip the picks; I'll be leering at sundress cleavage through my un-reality aviators, swilling bourbon, sweating through my finest race clothes, and generally being a gentleman.
The Jump

Monday, April 6, 2009

So That Happened

Nacho: The month of March has come and gone, and with it nary a blog post could be found from the fabled SportsBrethren. Fear not, we've not succumbed to peanut salmonella or something, there was just a lot going on. The Cap'n Pappy and Mammy flew out to LA to visit me, and Brethren was shepherding "Eastbound & Down" into the cultural zeitgeist.

In the interim quite a bit has gone on on the Charlotte sports scene. The Panthers, again, didn't listen to me and make a play for Jay Cutler. On the brightside, Ashton only has to fly to Denver to see his buddy. The Panthers haven't dealt Julius Peppers yet, but my guess is they will. He's trying to get a big paycheck in a bad economy, so don't be surprised when the first-round-draft-less Panthers deal him on April 25th to pick before #30.

The Bobcats had a helluva month. February ended with a drubbing of the Clippers that I got to witness firsthand in the Staples Center. Even got to meet DJ Augustin's cousin, and they enjoyed the enthusiasm. The Cats rolled off a nice five (or was it six? -- Brethren: It was a franchise-record six!) game winning streak and found themselves in the hunt for the 8th seed. At the rate they were playing, it looked all but foregone that they'd sneak in as the last team, but some unfortunate, typical late game collapses seem to have doomed them.

For further analysis follow us, after...

Nacho cont'd: I got really into the Bobcats during the month of March, primarily because I discovered sites like and that show streaming video of games. I consumed more Bobcattery than I'd ever done before, and eventually found myself invested in their success. I buckled and admitted that Larry Brown had done well by the time, I speculated about Allen Iverson's prospects in Charlotte, and in the end bit the eff out of my fingernails and yelled a lot. I share Brethren's optimism about the Bobcats 09-10 season and look forward to a fulfilling playoffs over the next eight months.

March Madness happened and the first week was awesome and everything after that kinda stunk. There was a lot of bad basketball played and few upsets. I guess I'd like to see UNC win, but I have no vested interest. I do firmly believe Tyler Hansborough will be Spain's best player in three years, tho. (hat tip to Dave for that prophecy)

And now, someone with a better education....

Brethren: Hello there, friends. I'm truly apologetic for now just getting back on the Sports Brethren blog horse. In our late winter hibernation, a fine blog with the fine promise of only posting during business hours has popped up, the Panthers have remained as stoic and Panthery as they always are, and the Bobcats became a relevant NBA team. Like riding a bike, I'll get back to what's familiar; we present the "where the fuck is spring yet?" edition of the patented bulleted Brethren thoughts:

- Did you watch Eastbound & Down? Did you fan Kenny Powers on facebook? Did you send a friend a customized voice message from the Legend himself? Did you interact with this kick-ass banner ad? If you did one or more of the above, thanks for helping a brother pay rent.

- But seriously, Kenny Fucking Powers is a goddamn bullet proof tiger, and I will do everything I can to convince my HBO marketing clients to call their colleagues in Programming and bring it back for Season 2. Which means I'll have as much influence as any other joker, but gives me an easy conversation piece to discuss with anyone I haven't seen in a long time.

- Wow, Carolina. Ridiculous first half. You are validating the Analyst-in-Chief quite nicely. Next thing you know, he'll be firing CEOs because he can. Snap.

- I actually disagree with Nacho/Smokey -- I think Peppers plays next year for the Panthers. Hurney and the Silver Fox are content to pay him ri-gawd-damn-diculous money or take their sanctioned 2 first round draft picks. They're playing within the rules of the system, and they're keeping their mouths shut. Which seems to have worked out better than, say, what the Broncos did the past two months.

- It's tough to make any predictions about the Cats next year, simply because so much rides on what we do with Pep. These few weeks leading up to Draft Day will determine a lot how the rest of spring/summer play out.

- Opening Day today. How 'bout the Mets' bullpen? Night and Day from last year.

- And, of course, the Bobcats. The five seed is ours to lose next year, I really believe that. AI, as Nacho suggests, may make some sense, in that it moves Bell to the bench, and provides a scorer that we need from the wing. But it's hard to ignore the rapid decline of AI, and I'm not sure we have the cap space -- nor the inclination to fuck with what seems like good team chemistry -- to take a flyer on The Answer.

We'll hopefully be more frequent with the check-ins around here. I'm off to watch the Tar Heels cement this National Championship and drink some bourbon. Good to be back, folks.
The Jump

Thursday, February 19, 2009

This Ends Well

Nacho: When Ashton Kutcher signed on to play a Quarterback in his upcoming movie surely he knew he'd need some pointers on the mechanics of the game.

Thankfully, Kyle Orton is there to help. Personally, I enjoy imagining that they're relationship to be a lot like Rudy and Charles S. Dutton's.

I see no way in which this ends bad.

Oh and a simple reminder:

Bobcats - Clippers: February 28th, 2009. Staples Center. Or, as I will refer to it, "Operation Get On TV 2: The Sequelling"

lookin good.

The Jump

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Wherein My Morrison Jersey Becomes Much More Ironic

Nacho: Yesterday, as I sat down to watch the film "Fanboys" I received a phonecall I chose to ignore. There's little in this world scarier than a miffed sci fi nerd. A voicemail was left that I listened to after the movie; it's mocking tone unmistakable: "Where's your Morrison, now? WHERE'S YOUR MORRISON NOW?!"

It's true, the face of the franchise, the great Mustachio himself, has left the Queen City. Adam Morrison was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlad Rad and with that, a chapter in the steep Bobcat lore comes to a close.

Not unlike Natalie Imbruglia, I'm torn. I love the Bobcats, but most of that initial love started when we drafted Morrison. With him off the team, I'm naturally sad, but he couldn't have been traded to a better team. I discussed the potentiality that Morrison's just trade bait to get Shaq back to LA (it's rather large) but that gives me two weeks to enjoy Morrison in a Laker jersey. Seeing as how he'll probably get passed around the league from here on out, any Morrison jersey is gonna be worth it's wait in gold.

A few thoughts on the off season, after...

Nacho cont'd: A month ago the Panthers shat the bed against the eventual Super Bowl Contender Arizona Cardinals. It was a devastating, demoralizing loss that could very well have shook an inexperienced fan to their very core. I was upset; I had somehow gotten about 20 people to come out and cheer for the Cats. It was kind of like trying to show off a new trick your dog or child has learned, only to watch them play with their own feces when the neighbors show up.

The most important part of that loss was the perspective it gave me. I saw the storm coming midway through the first quarter and willingly surrendered myself to the plummet into darkness. After the game, I got home and purged my body of all the hate, sadness, and fried foods I'd consumed over the previous 12 hours. It was cathartic, and disgusting.

A lot's happened since then: the Panthers purged their defensive coaching staff, Peppers said he wanted out, and, in the most encouraging news since January 10th, Steve Smith has spent the past week at the Pro Bowl recruiting Anquan Boldin. I'm wearily hopeful for the next season. The 2008-9 campaign was one that I will cherish and keep with me forever. The highs were high, the lows were pitiful. I'll remember all the beer and wings, I'll remember the San Diego and Oakland games, I'll remember it all. And I'll forget the Arizona game.

Staring out at the vast wasteland that is the offseason, I'll keep tabs on my Panthers as my passion and fury spends some time with the Bobcats. I was able to attend the double-overtime Laker game a few weeks back and it served as a worthy substitute until football comes back.

In the meantime, everyone should enjoy the probability that Jordan Farmar has this video playing in his locker, which is RIGHT NEXT to Morrison.

The Jump

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Week 19 And Beyond: The Day the Music Died

Brethren: It has taken me a full three weeks to write this. The absolute stomach-punching atrocity that formed a burning sadness and simultaneous anger in my heart on January 10th, 2009, has finally turned into a compact black hole I'll carry for a long time. But while compact, it's small and it doesn't consume my entire heart.

But for a while there, it absolutely did. After Jake's second interception in the first half and we were suddenly facing a two touchdown plus differential, my world started to fade quickly. We had an entire section of the bar in the East Village reserved and I can take at least 60% of the credit for turning us into an interminably miserable peoples. I was angry. We had worked hard to get to 12-4 dammit. And then it all slipped away as Jake played the worst game of his career and John Fox stubbornly didn't gameplan for the Cardinals' most potent offensive weapon.

A lot has happened since that night three weeks ago. Nearly all the defensive coaches are gone, most notably, the defensive coordinator Trgovac. He's been replaced by the Colts' D-Coordinator, Ron Meeks. Indy hasn't been renowned for the defensive side of the ball in recent years because of Pey-Pey's huge presence in your standard marketing campaigns, but statistically, this guy knows what he's doing. And he has a Super Bowl ring. This will still be a John Fox team, but Meeks brings an aggressiveness to the defense that we clearly lacked in that Arizona playoff game.

The Cardinals have moved on in dramatic fashion, and I've been rooting for them all the way. I always start rooting for the team that knocks mine out of the tournament, if only to say, "hey -- nobody could beat those guys that year -- how'd you expect us to?"

And of course, the most potentially bizarre situation is the elephant in the proverbial room right now: Defensive End Julius Peppers wanting out of Carolina. The Panthers jersey I own carries Peppers's #90 and name, he was the first piece of the John Fox era, he is the most ridiculous athlete to ever hit the Charlotte sports scene; and yet, if he truly wants out and he thinks he has to leave our organization to truly reach his potential, well then fuck that. Fucking Carolina grad. I can turn on him in a heartbeat.

But Pep, if this all works out and you stay on in the Kakkalak and dominate the way we know you can, we're cool. If not, you gots to get the fuck out.

As for me, I spent the rest of the night of Jan 10th getting as weird as possible. Lots of shots, lots of drinks, self-inflicting damage had to be done. I put on my onesie and didn't get out of bed until 5:30 PM the next day, eating only a small sandwich and some yogurt when I did. It was pathetically adorable and I couldn't have gotten over the pain of watching your team self-implode so dramatically when they could have been so great without this exercise in self-pity. Writing this blog every week about the Panthers certainly ups my ante as a fan -- I feel much more personally invested when I'm chronicling the emotional highs and lows of following this team. So when you get that involved, it only hurts that much more when the sudden and finite end swiftly kicks you in the ass.

But life goes on. Players will come, players will go; and we will rebuild a roster that will look different than the '08 version. Fans will turn on Jake the second he throws his first interception next season, but I hope Fox/Hurney don't. I think they should open up training camp for competition, but I suspect Jake would win that. He's Smitty's QB -- and next year, we'll just have to have a better defense and remember that we're a fucking running team that likes to take a chance every now and again downfield with Smitty. Stick to that identity and we should be force to be reckoned with again.

Life has gone on. Nacho and I will continue to check in with the Panthers as the off-season progresses and big news pops up, but we turn our attention to the improving Bobcats and the coming months of non-football sports. And it shall be good.

I missed the concept of the jump with this post, but perhaps Nacho will have some words down there.

(And yes, that picture up top is of Nacho and Brethren, dressed to the ts in our onesies that Mammy gave us for Christmas, drinking scotch. Like all good Southerners. Admit it: we're so hot right now.)

The Jump

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bobcats 114, Celtics 106

Brethren: I didn't watch this game at all -- I live with a die-hard Knick fan and so we watched them lose to The Team That Shall Not Be Named (RIP Seattle) -- but sometimes, something happens that makes you scour the Interwebs looking for all the info you can about a game you couldn't watch. The Bobcats beating the world champion Celtics at home in overtime is one of those games for we Bobcats fans.

Both Nacho and I attended home Bobcats games while in Charlotte for Winter Break '08, and yet we didn't write a post about either game. Nacho saw a win over the Wizards; I went to the loss to the Knicks (I actually went to the Knicks loss in NY back in November too). It's just that it's crunch time for us and we'd like to conserve our energy for the Panthers. But that doesn't mean we don't care about the Bobcats or don't have the same rabid fandom for LB's Cats.

Well, maybe not as much as we do for the Silver Fox's, but after the Cardiac Cats go as far as their merry playoff journey will take them, I have a sneaking suspicion we'll be starting the Bobcats Bandwagon, as this team starts to pick up on Coach Brown's style.

Nacho: Likewise, I wasn't made aware of this epic success until I was informed by my cohort Dugan. I believe his message over iChat was "What does Charlotte think they're gonna prove? They're beating the Celtics in overtime." I immediately clicked back over to the GameCast and kept a watchful eye. My coworkers saw me intermittently ecstatic and worried for my Cats. When they prevailed it was quittin' time and I rode home with a gleam in my eye.

I remember when we lost on a Ray Allen dagger last year and how exhilarated I was. To finally get that W is a small, but significant mountain. Dugan humbled me with a message later that was "Next stop: NBA Finals. The Celtics; not the Bobcats."

I'll take thirteen wins any year of the decade....sigh.

Go Panthers!
The Jump

Monday, January 5, 2009

Week 18: The Drinking Game

Nacho: After the smoke had cleared and the charred rubble had been picked through, the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Iggles emerged victorious in the Wild Card Weekend of the National Football League. The AFC also played games, but I'm gonna go ahead and assume you know about that.

So how do the SportsBrethren feel about this rematch of drunk proportions? As the New Zealanders say, It's Business Time.

I think it bodes well for the Cats that they barely eked out a victory at home against the Cards earlier this year. Up until the fourth quarter there wasn't one iota of certainty about how the game would play out. Boldin was back and scary, but Edge James was really a non-factor in the game. That is not so much the case anymore. Edge and Boldin are finding reserves of talent heretofore dormant to the public eye. The Panthers match up a heck of a lot better with Arizona than they do Minny or Philly, so I'm glad for that aspect, but Kurt Warner's Faustian destiny still seems a few years off.

If the game this upcoming Saturday is anything like the depressing-then-inspiring, come-from-behind victory of yore I'll be pleased. The best we can hope for is everybody in the media starts hyping the Cards, so ESPN, FOX, and Blogosphere have at it.

The Cards did some monumental things this season. Won a home playoff game. Won their division. These are things they should be proud of. And use to build momentum next season.

For the record, Leitch never paid up on the beer he owes me, so I've upped the ante to a pony keg. Who knows if he'll be man enough to take me up on it; at this point I'd imagine he's playing with House Money. I am truly glad he got to see a playoff game in the Melted Hershey Kiss, but playtime's over.

Brethren may or may not get around to posting his thoughts on the weekend, somewhere after...

Nacho cont'd: In the meantime, lets bask in the memories.

Brethren: I celebrated my 24th birthday yesterday by drinking several pint-sized Pabst Blue Ribbon cans with good friends at a bar whilst watching the Sunday NFL. In a lot of ways, it was not unlike, oh, every other Sunday this fall/winter.

But you know what I've come to learn now that I'm in my mid-twenties? I gotta ap'reciate what I got in life, especially what I got from 2008: two damn good football teams. No matter what happens this week, I am going to be watching two epic games that I will be heavily invested in.

First, on Thursday night, the Florida Gators play for their second national championship in three years (and third in my lifetime). Now, I've already explained my perfectly legal pro and college football allegiances round these parts, so I don't want to hear anything about that. Now, granted, I haven't written about Baby Rhino and the Gators much this year (at all?), but that doesn't mean Urban Meyer's tour de force hasn't been on my mind. At this point, you'd be a silly, silly man to doubt Tim Tebow and the horde of fleet-footed receiver/tailbacks he has at his disposal. It has been good to be a Florida Gator this year, and I expect nothing but perfection come Thursday.

But whether or not the Gators bring home the crystal ball, I know that football will continue to matter come Saturday night. Football will not be out of my life. When Charlotte plays host to the first home playoff game since a night game against the Cowgirls in 2003, football will still be running through my veins. It's not always that when college football bowl season ends, and ends in epic fashion, that I've got something to look forward to. This year, this football season, I do.

Go Gators.

Then bring on the Buzzsaw.

The Jump