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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.