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Friday, December 30, 2011

Hell on Wheels Announcement

If anyone made it all the way to the end of the Banshee's interminably long Fall TV Review, you would have seen that Hell on Wheels was my favorite new show of the season.  The main downside to the show is that AMC does not have the full season available online.  They had to be purchased through iTunes. UNTIL NOW!

If you were contemplating catching up with the series, get up right now.  Grab your DVR remote, and get ready.  AMC is presenting a Hell on Wheels marathon on New Years Day.  The marathon begins at 3:00 p.m. EST.  It ends with a new episode airing at 10:00 p.m. EST.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cooking With Banshee: Pomegranate Margarita

It's almost New Year's Eve. A perfect opportunity to break out a new drink. This recipe makes one drink. These pomegranate margaritas are very sweet and not too strong.

Pomegranate Margarita

1.5 oz Cuervo Gold tequila
3 oz pre-made margarita mix
2 oz pomegranate juice
Splash of lime juice

Fill a salt-rimmed tumbler with ice. Put ice in a shaker. Pour the ingredients into the shaker and shake them up. Strain into the tumbler. 01 09 10

Sunday, December 25, 2011

College Football Playoffs: Semi-Finals

The semi-finals of the Banshee Sports College Football Playoffs gave us two dream match-ups.  The match-ups that BCS-bashers have been begging for.  Oklahoma State played Alabama.  Oregon played LSU.  These games were played at neutral sites selected in geographically neutral locations.  And boy did the SEC teams miss the home cooking.

Oklahoma State 31, Alabama 24.  This game was played in Houston at Reliant Stadium.  This was a see-saw battle all game long.  There were six lead changes.  Alabama's run defense was stifling in this game.  The Tide held the Cowboys to -8 yards on the ground.  But, the Cowboy defense stood tall when they needed to, too.  The game was tied 24-24 with 1:40 to go when Alabama intercepted a pass and ran it back to the OSU 40 yard-line.  Then the Cowboys sacked McCarron on three consecutive plays to force a punt.  The Cowboys got the ball back on their own 27 yard-line with just over a minute to play.  Weeden completed a long pass to the Alabama 1 yard-line with only 20 seconds remaining.  Moore scored a rushing touchdown from there to give the Cowboys the lead with virtually no time left on the clock.

Oregon 43, LSU 36.  This game was played at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego.  This game was decided by two players.  For LSU, Jordan Jefferson played like the girl with a curl.  When he was good, he was very good.  But when he was bad, he was horrid.  Jefferson threw five touchdown passes in the game.  But he balanced that out by throwing three interceptions.  Two of those were returned for touchdowns.  The player of the game for the Ducks was Rob Beard, the place kicker.  Beard was 5-5 in the game, including one from 52 yards.  The Tigers scored late to pull within a touchdown, but the Ducks were able to hold on for the biggest upset of the tournament.

Championship.  The championship game will be played in the afternoon on New Year's Eve at the venerable Rose Bowl.  This seemed like an appropriate setting.  It has history.  It has a mild climate.  And, it's geographically appropriate for these two teams.  The Cowboys will be considered the home team by virtue of their higher seeding.  That only matters for purposes of uniform selection.  Fortunately, the Ducks have an extensive wardrobe to choose from.  Check back in 2012 to get the results.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fall TV Review

One of my favorite things about Bill Simmons is that he spends equal amounts of time discussing TV and movies as he does discussing sports.  And, it was thanks to Bill Simmons that I discovered the wonders of Friday Night Lights.  So, when I started mulling over the idea of getting this blog going again, I decided that I would make a concerted effort to check out as many new shows this fall as I realistically could.  Here is a list of what I checked out and a brief review.

Revenge.  ABC.  Wednesdays at 10:00.  As an avid ESPN viewer, I was inundated with ads for this show as the summer came to a close.  And, I was pretty excited for it.  After all, it involved beautiful, rich people and crime.  However, I found it utterly unwatchable.  I am, by no means, an artistic snob when it comes to entertainment.  But, I found the dialogue and acting to be atrocious.  I appear to be alone, though.  Ratings have been solid, and it appears that Revenge will stick around for the spring.

Once Upon a Time.  ABC.  Sundays at 8:00.  I stuck with this show for a couple of episodes, but it is no longer on my DVR list.  Why?  Well, I'm not altogether sure why.  It's a fantasy done with a TV budget, so the special affects leave something to be desired.  And, as bad as this may sound, it wasn't violent enough for me.  It fell somewhere in between "fun and light" and "action-packed."  I might have quit on this show too early, though.  People that I like, do like this show.  It also appears that Once Upon a Time is getting solid ratings.

Grimm.  NBC.  Fridays at 9:00.  This show reminded me a little of the Twilight series.  It doesn't involve teenagers falling hopelessly in love with ancient vampires.  But, it does involve other-worldly creatures that are part of modern day America.  The lead character is a police officer in a small town.  So, this show also has a little bit of Fringe to it as he investigates crime with supernatural aspects.  The writing is not as crisp as Fringe, so I cut it from my DVR list after a few episodes.  But it is easier to follow than Fringe.  Perhaps that's why Grimm is likely getting renewed while Fringe is on the chopping block.

Prime Suspect.  NBC.  Thursdays at 10:00.  I was very excited for this show to debut.  NBC is good at gritty crime dramas.  The lead character was hard to like in the first couple of episodes.  But, that was sort of the point.  You had to stick with this to get to know and like the rough-around-the-edges female lead.  Unfortunately, it appears that not enough people were prepared to invest in the show the way that I did.  I love the show, but word is that Prime Suspects days are numbered.

Terra Nova.  FOX.  Mondays at 8:00.  I wanted to like this show inthe worst way ... mainly because of the cast.  I loved Jason O'Mara in Life on Mars.  The premise is cool.  And Spielberg is an executive producer.  If you were looking for Jurassic Park, you'll be disappointed.  But, if you liked Avatar then you'll be more than satisfied.  The problem for me is that Terra Nova's time slot conflicts with Monday Night Football in the fall and Big Monday in the winter.  And there just wasn't enough space on the DVR to continue with this show.  FOX hasn't decided if it will continue with Terra Nova, either.

A Gifted Man.  CBS.  Fridays at 8:00.  I could barely make it through the pilot episode of this show.  I thought it was just boring and badly acted.  Apparently, the viewing public agreed with me.  A Gifted Man has almost no chance of a renewal.

Playboy Club.  NBC.  Cancelled.  Apparently, the recurring theme here is that NBC execs and I do not have similar tastes.  The costumes were glamourous.  The sets were slick.  The music was fantastic.  And the plot was centered around corruption and organized crime in Chicago.  What's not to like?  I have to wonder if this show had been on AMC if it would have been more successful.

Pan Am.  ABC.  Cancelled.  I like this show a lot.  The story lines are not believable.  And the characters are a bit cliched.  But, it is just fun.  It looks cool.  The Pan Am girls are pleasant and nice.  The costumes are pretty.  And the settings are exotic and romantic.  Despite what I said about Once Upon a Time needing more violence, this show is fun because it is so light and mindless.  I was hopeful that this show would at least get to stick around for the spring, but that apparently is not to be.

Person of Interest.  CBS.  Thursdays at 9:00.  All right, I'll be honest.  I would watch Jim Caviezel eat cereal for an hour each week.  But, this is a good show.  The premise is unique, and Caviezel's character is super cool.  Each episode stands alone, but the ongoing story line is also interesting.  And the best part is that this show is coming back for another season. If you have some spare time over the holidays, I'd recommend catching up on the past episodes online so you are ready to watch this show in the winter.

Hell on Wheels.  AMC.  Sundays at 10:00.  I was a latecomer to this show.  But, this is the best new show I saw this fall.  This is a western set shortly after the Civil War.  The plot revolves around the construction of the railroad across the continent.  In a way, it's not fair to compare an AMC production to the network programming I discussed above.  But the production value and the acting in this show blows away the rest of this competition.  It is not family programming, though.  It is violent and gritty.  Another benefit of being on a cable channel.  Unlike the networks, AMC doesn't provide many full episodes on its website.  So, if you want to get aboard this train, the best way is to download episodes from iTunes.  That's not free.  But, I thought it was money well-spent.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Banshee Sports College Football Playoffs: Round 2

After a couple upsets in Round 1 of the Banshee Sports College Football Playoffs, Round 2 went according to script.  This round was once again played at the home field of the higher seeded team.  The home field advantage proved to be too much to overcome.  All the higher seeds advanced.  But, the second round ends the home cooking.  Next week's games will be played at neutral sites.

Oklahoma State 48, Georgia 42.  This game was the first game on the schedule.  It turned out to be the best game of the day.  Georgia's defense played very well for three quarters.  And Oklahoma State played absolutely no defense for three quarters.  Georgia led 42-21 at the end of the third.  It appeared that the Bulldogs Cinderella run was going to continue another week.  And then the roles reversed.  The Cowboys came storming back to tie the game with 46 seconds to go.  Neither team scored on their first possession of overtime.  The Bulldogs scored a field goal on their second possession.  The Cowboys answered with a touchdown pass to win 45-48 in 2OT.

Oregon 55, Clemson 7.  For a moment, this looked like it would be a game.  But, it was a brief moment.  Clemson scored first when they intercepted an option pitch and ran it in for a defensive touchdown.  And then the beat down began.  Oregon's defense had five takeaways in the first half.  That propelled the Ducks to a 31-7 lead at the half.  The second half was more of the same.  The Ducks defense picked Taj Boyd off five times.  Darron Thomas played a great game.  He ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more.

Alabama 34, Arkansas 26.  This game was a rematch of the conference game played on September 24.  The Hogs put up a better fight this time.  The Hogs were able to throw the ball enough to hang close throughout.  Arkansas scored on a 76 yard touchdown pass with 1:46 to go to make the score 31-26.  Alabama then recovered the onside kick and tacked on a field goal to make the final score 34-26.  The Crimson Tide gave up some points in the air, but they held Arkansas to a total of just 7 yards rushing in the game.

LSU 48, Boise State 19.  There is not a lot to say about this game.  LSU led 14-3 after the first quarter and continued with a methodical beating.  LSU moved the ball at will on the ground and through the air.  And LSU's defense was stifling while the game was still in doubt.  The score was 35-12 at the half.  Jordan Jefferson played a magnificent game.  He was 13-14 for 218 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Banshee Sports College Football Playoffs: Round 1

The first round is in the books.  The first round games were all played at the home fields of the higher seed.  That was done for ticket and travel purposes of filling the virtual stadiums.  I assigned game times for each game, and they were all simulated in the real life weather conditions.  Without further delay, here are the first round results ...

LSU 51, WVU 24.  This game was a rematch from an early season matchup in Morgantown.  LSU's defense was the story of this game.  The Tigers held the Mountaineers to just five yards on the ground.  Jordan Jefferson passed for four touchdown passes in the route.

Boise State 28, South Carolina 21.  The weather was surprisingly mild for December in Boise, ID.  The Broncos were sharp early and opened a 28-6 lead at the half.  South Carolina managed a comeback in the second half, but Boise was able to hold on for a seven-point victory.

Oregon 24, Michigan 6.  Michigan played surprisingly good defense in this game.  The Ducks powerful offense was, for the most part, held in check.  But Michigan was absolutely awful on offense.  The Wolverines only mustered two field goals in the second quarter.  That was it.  And Denard Robinson was picked off four times.  That killed any Michigan hopes of hanging with the Ducks.

Clemson 21, Stanford 15.  The first upset of the tournament happened in Palo Alto.  This was a weird game.  The teams combined to miss three extra points and failed to convert on another two-point conversion.  But, the story of the game was that the Tigers defense stuffed Andrew Luck and the Stanford offense.

Alabama 55, Virginia Tech 17.  Believe it or not, this was actually competitive into the second half.  The Hokie defense scored on a pick six at the end of the first half.  The Hokies then intercepted a pass to start the second half and scored on a short field to make the score 24-17.  Then the Crimson Tidal wave happened.  The Hokies finished with six turnovers, and the game ended in a route.

Arkansas 37, Michigan State 24.  Michigan State had enough offense to hang with the Hogs.  But, in the end, the Arkansas ground game was just too much.  Knile Davis ended up with 218 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

Oklahoma State 34, Kansas State 24.  This game was the second rematch of the first round.  At the end of October, OK State won a 52-45 shootout.  This time, the teams decided to play at least a semblance of defense.  However, Kansas State could not overcome their own miscues.  Five total turnovers by the Wildcats erased any hopes of an upset in Stillwater.

Georgia 35, Wisconsin 33.  This was the only game of the weekend where weather was even a slight factor.  The temperature was in the 20s, and there was a bit of wind in Madison.  Georgia's defense and Aaron Murray's four touchdown passes were the story of this game.  Wisconsin did run for over 300 yards, but the Bulldogs held the Badgers to field goals on three of four redzone trips.  The Badgers did have the ball with 1:00 to go and Georgia's defense stepped up to hold onto the win.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cooking with Banshee: Banshee Collins

It's that time of year ... when the world falls in love.  It's also the time of year for parties.  And good cocktails make for good parties.  This is not my favorite drink of all time.  But, it is simple and easy.  And if you're not the type of person who usually keeps a fully stocked bar, it only requires a few ingredients.  Vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup (which is simple to make), Sprite and ice.

Banshee's Vodka Collins

Make this in a 16 oz glass.  Fill the cup 2/3 of the way with ice.  Combine the following ingredients in a shaker with ice:

1. 3 oz vodka (doesn't need to be top shelf, but it should not come in a plastic bottle, either.
2.  1 1/2 oz lemon juice.
3.  3/4 oz simple syrup (I make mine half sugar and half water)

Shake those up and pour into ice-filled glass.  Top with Sprite.  Here's a tip ... don't put too much ice in the glass.  Contrary to initial impressions, extra ice will make a stronger drink.  The more ice you have, the less room there is for Sprite.  That ends up with proportionally more vodka in the equation.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

College Football Playoffs

While the rest of the sports world was debating over the BCS snub of Boise State from the Sugar Bowl and the proper bowl placement of Virginia Tech, the Banshee Sports selection committee was working diligently to put together a tournament bracket to settle matters on the field.

The Committee was asked to rank the teams 1 through 16.  The only requirement was that the champions of the power six conferences had to be included in the sixteen team field.  Nineteen different teams received votes to be included in the field.  After recieving all the ballots, I added up the scores and seeded the teams accordingly.

And with that, I present the brackets ...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

College Football Playoffs

The BCS has announced their final regular season rankings. The Arbitrary ... I mean Allstate BCS National Championship game will feature a re-match between LSU and Alabama. Are these the best two teams in the country? Yeah, probably. Is a BCS rematch five weeks from now a satisfying ending to a great season? Not really, no.

Enter the Banshee Blog!

Banshee Blog, with the help of EA Sports NCAA '12, is about to put together a 16-team playoff. Here is how it will work. The champions of the power six conferences automatically qualify for the tournament. That is regardless of the method those conferences use to choose their champions. Here is the list of automatic qualifiers:

ACC: Clemson
Big East: West Virginia
Big Ten: Wisconsin
Big 12: Oklahoma St.
PAC 12: Oregon

The remaining ten teams for the tournament will be selected by the Banshee Selection Committee. All sixteen teams will be seeded by the selection committee, regardless of automatic qualifying status. For example, neither Alabama or Stanford got an automatic bid, but they could still be seeded #2 and #3 in the tournament.

The brackets will be announced mid-week. The games will begin on Saturday. The first two rounds of the tournament will be "played" at the home field of the higher seeds. The semi-finals and finals will be played at neutral sites. All games will be simulated by EA Sports NCAA Football 2012.  The results will be reported each week with an updated bracket.  This is certainly not an entirely novel idea, but it should be fun. 

If you want to be part of the selection committee or know someone who you think should be included, please email ASAP.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Brian's Song

Forty years ago this week, ABC aired the made-for-TV movie, Brian's Song for the first time.  The movie is about the friendship of Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo, two young running backs who joined the Chicago Bears as rookies in 1965.  In the first few moments of the film, the narrator proclaims, "All true stories end in death.  This is a true story."  If you are reading this blog, you probably already know enough about NFL history to know which character dies.

Prior to tonight, I'd never seen the film.  But, after hearing Mike Wilbon say yesterday on PTI that Brian's Song is the greatest sports movie of all time, I decided that the anniversary was a perfect time for me to watch it.  Earlier in the day, I told a group of co-workers that I was going to be watching the movie tonight.  The two who were old enough to remember the release of the film got misty-eyed and nostalgic.  Part way through the movie, my father called.  When I told him what I was watching, he said, "That is a great movie."

Well, from an artistic point of view Brian's Song is not a great movie.  It is certainly not the greatest sports movie ever made.  After all, it was made for TV.  On a network budget with a network timeline.  Forty years ago.  But, all that is if you are analyzing the movie in a vacuum.  And that is not the proper way to analyze this film.  Brian's Song first aired in the fall of 1971.  The movie dealt with a friendship between two men.  One black.  One white.  It dealt with cancer in an era when there were few realistic treatments.  And it dealt with men openly showing affection and emotion toward each other.  And all of these things happened in the living rooms of middle America when families gathered on a Tuesday night for the ABC Movie of the Week.  At my age and from 2011, it's hard to fully appreciate the importance of any of this.  In fact, I didn't really understand the cultural impact of Brian's Song until I read this article by Steve Rushin on

So, if you haven't seen Brian's Song, I'm not going to tell you to drop everything and see it immediately.  I will not even guarantee that it will be compelling to a modern-day viewer who is seeing it for the first time.  But, if the movie is viewed as a slice of history and thought about in the proper context, the 90-minute investment of time is well worth the while.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Football Fashionista

This post is a little late.  But, I was in an internet challenged zone during the weekend.  Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally rivalry weekend in college football.  That means plenty of teams broke out special uniforms.  As I have made clear before, I am not really a fan of wearing alternate uniforms ... ever.  Alabama and Auburn had it right, as usual.  They played the Iron Bowl in their iconic, traditional uniforms. But, I have picked out three non-traditional uniforms that stood out from the pack this weekend. 

 All White is All Right.  I am undoubtedly partial to this look after a lifetime of watching Penn State.  But two teams looked extra sharp this weekend when they broke out alternate, all white unis.

In its showdown in Charlottesville against UVA, Virginia Tech donned their white uniforms, complete with white helmets.  These uniforms have a bit of a retro look to them.  But, as far as I know, they are not actually throw-backs to a previous era.  Apparently, the Hokies adopted the look-good-feel-good approach for the game.  They demolished the Cavaliers (who, incidentally, looked terrible in orange jerseys).

UCLA played a meaningless game this weekend against their cross-town rivals USC.  And the Bruins played that way.  They took a drubbing at the hands of the Trojans.  But, at least they looked good.  UCLA traditionally has cool and classy uniforms with gold pants and gold helmets.  No striping.  But, this all white look was pretty sharp.  Unfortunately for UCLA, that did not translate into sharp play.  I have a feeling these uniforms will stay in SoCal when the Bruins travel to Oregon this weekend for the inaugural PAC 12 Championship Game.

Cardinal Red.  After a disappointing Saturday of lopsided outcomes, I was really looking forward to watching Stanford play Notre Dame.  And then Stanford put on uniforms that made the game almost unwatchable.  Red on on red with black helmets, black numbers ... and ... gasp ... red shoes.  I can't say these uniforms were garrish.  Actually, they were quite the opposite.  The helmets were actually matte.  Hopefully, the Cardinal will be back in their red and white uniforms for their bowl game.  I would hate to have America's last collegiate image of Andrew Luck be in that red mess.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rant From a Browns Fan

This video happens to be from a Browns fan.  And sure, there are a few references specific to Cleveland.  But, we've all been there.  We've all woken up after a weekend of football wondering how we could have let ourselves be disappointed yet again by a team that we knew would only hurt us in the end.

(Disclaimer: This video contains the s-word.  Banshee Blog does not condone the use of such language in public parlance.  More importantly, Banshee Blog does not condone anything derogatory to be said about Kenny Chesney).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Football Fashionista: Monochromatic Magic

One of my favorite parts of the EA Sports NCAA Football video game franchise is the customization of uniforms and equipment.  It's a tomboy's dream.  It's like playing Barbie and football at the same time.  Turns out, I am by no means alone in my obsession with football fashion.  Football uniforms are big business.  And many college football teams look at their uniforms as a recruiting tool ... whether that be snazzy, ever-changing color combos at new-comers to the big time scene or the iconic, unchanging uniforms worn by historical powers. 

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
So, here are three schools that caught my eye this weekend.

NC State.  The Wolfpack celebrated senior day with a monochromatic red look.  I am normally, morally opposed to changing the color of your helmet.  But State looked great in these uniforms.  Apparently, they felt great, too.  Dressed in red, they woke up from a season-long sleep-walk and trounced the Clemson Tigers.  I like the subtle S on the hip.  I especially like that they resisted any stripes on the pants or jerseys.

Oregon:  Thanks to Phil Knight's affiliation with the school, the Ducks wear something new every single week.  With all those changes, there are bound to be some horror shows.  The Ducks have been known to burn the retinas of their fans with all kinds of neon nonsense.  There have been times when the Ducks actually made me regret owning an HDTV.  But, last night they appeared on national television in very formal, all black uniforms.  Even the names on the backs of their jerseys were black.  It actually took me three quarters of scrutiny to determine that the names were actually on there.  Of course, they still had those ridiculous wings on their shoulders.  But, overall, I thought they looked stunning.  Unfortunately for the Ducks, good looks didn't translate into good play as they were upset at home by USC.

University of South Florida.  Yeah, I know these uniforms were in support of a good cause.  But, that does not make them a good idea.  The USF Bulls played Miami at home this weekend.  In a tribute to the Wounded Warriors Project, USF wore something that I suppose was intended to look like camouflage.  I wish they had been a little more camouflaged so that I could not actually see them.  It's simply shocking to the system when The U is wearing the conservative garb.  The helmet and the shoulder designs would have been bad enough.  But, the shoes and butt stripe are just outrageous.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cooking with Banshee: Triple Threat Topping

Following requests from the most loyal readers of this blog in the past, I have decided to regularly post some of my favorite food and drink recipes.  This is a perfect fit for this blog.  After all, nothing perfects a weekend of watching sports like a good feast.

For my first entry, I present my Triple Threat Topping.  This is a sweet and spicy concoction that I have developed over time.  It is a wonderful topping for all sorts of foods.  I have used it on burgers.  I have eaten it with pierogis.  And I have used it as a filler for quesadillas.  Here's how it's done:

Olive oil
Chili powder
Kosher salt
Barbecue sauce
1 red pepper (sliced)
1 red onion (sliced)
1 jalapeno (stemmed and seeded and diced)

Coat a skillet with olive oil and heat it up to medium heat.  Add the sliced red peppers and diced jalapenos.  Give the peppers a five minute head start before adding the sliced onions.  Add salt and chili powder to taste.  Cook until tender, stirring frequently.  After the veggies are tender, add two tablespoons of your favorite barbecue sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray Honey Chipotle).  Stir to coat and remove from the heat.

This recipe will make enough Triple Threat Topping for about two burgers.  I usually triple it when I make it because it stores and reheats very well.  This recipe can easily be tweaked to your personal taste.  As written, it is not too spicy. But, add a habanero or two and things get lively.


If you have a food or beverage recipe you want to share with the world, please email it to

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Few Words on Penn State

When you start a blog, you don't know if anyone out there is actually reading it.  Apparently some people are reading this one.  And apparently those people want me to say something about Penn State and the Jerry Sandusky scandal.  I have been asked multiple times during this day when the Banshee will weigh in on the subject.  The answer is that I am not going to "weigh in."  Truth be told, I'm too sad and too hurt to say anything productive.  But, what I will do is share a few links to articles that I think are well-written and perceptive.

First, the facts.  I do not know all the facts of what Jerry Sandusky is charged with doing.  I don't think anyone in the general public does at this point.  But, this article from ESPN is perhaps the best summary of the facts as they pertain to Coach Paterno and other university employees.  It should be noted that Schultz, one of the officials that Coach Paterno reported his knowledge to was in charge of the university's police department at the time.

Second, the reaction.  I scoff at other people who engage in navel-gazing and adolescent self-pity on their blogs.  If you want therapy, at least have the decency to pay a professional for it.  But, in this case, I don't need to pour out my own emotions because these two columns capture my feelings more eloquently than I could have.  Dana O'Neil's column is part news report and part commentary.  And, if you're only going to read one of these links, please let it be Michael Weinreb's column from  It's called "Growing up Penn State: The end of everything at State College."

I understand that this story is not going to go away anytime soon.  I realize that for the foreseable future, I will be forced to think about all this again whenever I tune into my favorite TV and radio shows.  But, I will probably not write about it again on this blog.  I serve the public in my day job.  This blog is supposed to be fun for me ... and hopefully a little entertaining for those of you who are kind enough to read it.  The next post will hopefully be about Notre Dame's garrish new helmets and the perfect dip for the start of Thursday night NFL games.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NASCAR: All or Nothing

As I type this, it's about thirty minutes before the green flag will drop in Texas.  NASCAR is nearing the home stretch of the Chase ... stock car racing's version of the playoffs.  And yet, I have no doubt that most readers of this blog will be largely unaware that a race is even happening this afternoon in the Lonestar State.  And this includes fans that can tell you what the point spread is on every NFL game this afternoon.

Why?  Well, NASCAR is simply not geared towards the casual fan.  I have strong family connections to NASCAR.  I watch almost every race.  So, what I am about to say in not meant to be insulting.  But, much like the WWE, NASCAR is more about the personalities than it is about the action on the track.  I am certainly not saying the NASCAR is fake or scripted or fixed.  Far from it.  But, it is simply not that riveting to watch 42 cars turn left for 4 hours.  But, it becomes riveting when you feel connected to the men behind the wheel.  It is fun when you know who are the villains and who are the good guys.  It's fun to know the soap opera and the back-stories behind what you see on the track.

Friday night's meltdown by Kyle Busch during the Camping World Truck Series race is a prime example. 

Anyone can see that this is outrageous, uncalled-for, dangerous and borderline criminal behavior.  The fact that Ron Hornaday, the victim of Busch's vehicular assault, was racing for a series championship while Busch is only a part time participant are certainly aggravating factors.  The fact that Busch has to sit out the remainder of the weekend's events in Texas, including the Sprint Cup race, is also a big deal.  But, only an avid NASCAR fan will fully grasp the true drama of these events.

First of all, Kyle Busch is a polarizing figure.  Talented, yes.  But, he's a man that many love to hate.  This nonsense on Friday is akin to Drago declaring, "If he dies, he dies," after pummeling Apollo Creed at the start of Rocky IV.  But, the intrigue will last far beyond this week.  And that intrigue involves Kevin Harvick, one of the premier drivers in the Sprint Cup series.  Harvick drives the #29 on Sundays.  But, on Fridays, he is the owner of Ron Hornaday's truck.  In other words, when Busch comes back to the track next week, he will be traveling at high speeds alongside a man who had perhaps $100,000 of his property ruined as a result of Busch's tantrum. 

That's the kind of back-story that will have die hard fans tuning in next week to see the sparks fly at Phoenix while the rest of the sporting world wonders how anyone could be entertained by 4 hours of left-hand turns.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I was very late to the Twitter party.  In fact, I've only been involved for a week or two.  I figured it was just like Facebook.  Or a more public form of texting.  Wrong!  Turns out that Twitter has greatly enhanced my sports viewing experience.  Don't get me wrong.  The best way to watch sports is with friends and family.  But, Twitter allows a group of people to comment in real-time on events we're experiencing together via the magic of TV.  And not just any group.  It's a group that includes your friends.  But it also includes people that you have previously only admired from afar.  It was pretty cool to watch Game 7 of the World Series with Buster Olney.  It will be exciting to watch tonight's Bama/LSU game with Todd McShay.  And Bill Simmons will be a great house guest for tomorrow's amazing slate of NFL games.

Friday, November 4, 2011

This is Banshee Blog

"If you're a fan, what you'll see in the next couple of minutes, hours and days to follow may convince you that you have gone to sports heaven."

Okay, that's an overstatement.  Those are the first words uttered on ESPN when it came on the air in 1979.  If you knew that, then this blog will be right up your alley.  If you are thinking, "who would even want to know that?" then this blog is still up your alley.  This blog is not going to be a place to read in-depth disections of the Cover 2.  If you want to hear about that, tune into NFL 32 at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN2.  I am not saying that I could not converse on that level, but that is not the purpose of this blog.

I love sports.  I have always loved sports.  I grew up in a place where nothing was more important than what happened under the lights on Friday nights.  It was a place where the answer to the question, "What is your favorite sport?" was always answered with, "Whatever is in season."  I love the action on the field.  I love the business aspect.  I love the atmosphere around sports.  And, I love the food and drinks that are a part of watching sports.  The purpose of this blog is to share the love of all those things with the readers.

Enjoy!  And, if you do, please spread the word.  It's gonna be a work in progress, but if you stick with it, we're gonna have some fun.