Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Oregon v. FSU Football: Rose Bowl Prediction and Betting Advice

2015 Rose Bowl Ticket
The objective of the game is to outscore your opponent. 

Oregon will outscore Florida State, but it will be a wild game with Oregon overcoming one or more missed field goals and a fumble or two.  Nevertheless, bet on FSU plus 9 points.  

FSU offense vs. Oregon Defense.

Jameis Winston will not screw up.  No longer is he burdened by the student conduct hearing, thanks to a Supreme Court Judge who was unwilling to make a credibility determination.  (A trial judge might have been more capable and courageous to either clear Jameis or not.)  Jameis is dying to prove that he is the better quarterback in this game.  

Oregon’s defense has improved, but not to the shut down level it appeared to have in the Pack 12 Championship against Arizona, with Arizona’s dinged up quarterback.  Oregon has game-planned against some quality quarterbacks in conference and bowls.  Anybody remember Andrew Luck, Cam Newton or Russell Wilson?  Winston will not screw up, but he will need to earn his yards. 

People talk about Oregon’s defensive line and secondary, but what about linebackers? 

Ever since Tony Washington, Jr. helped Oregon lose to Arizona, he’s been on a mission to resuscitate the team he almost killed.  Backing comrades Walker, French, Malone and Hardrick have been very good, too.

Whichever team makes the critical stop will win the game.  Just as Kiko Alonso keyed Oregon’s Rose Bowl win by intercepting Russell Wilson, look for one of these linebackers to make a difference in this year’s Rose Bowl. 

Oregon’s Offense vs. FSU’s Defense.

Oregon will score.  However, look for Oregon to stop itself at least twice. 

Scott Frost, Oregon's offensive coordinator, learned to play without much of an offensive line.  Oregon does not need big men to hold back FSU’s big defensive line.  Mariota will jiu jitsu blitzers and rushers, delivering to the ball to his weapons.  By the fourth quarter, FSUs big men will be tired and frustrated. 

But Oregon will stop itself a couple of times.

A fumble or two will hurt the Ducks.  Mariota is fast, but holds the ball loosely.  He might get stripped.  Running back Thomas Tyner missed games and will try too hard when he gets his chance.  Tyner’s rust will show, and the ball will fly. 

Kickers. FSU fans know how important kickers are. Oregon’s kickers have been inconsistent this season, on both kickoffs and field goals.  Oregon simply does not give kickers many field goal opportunities because it prefers gambling for touchdowns.  Oregon will miss a field goal, and give FSU runback opportunities. 

With three minutes to play, the game will be within one score. 

But, this IS Mariota’s year, and the Football Gods will not abandon him under the lights in the Rose Bowl.   

Oregon wins 39-35.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Heli over Fantasy Island

Nausea keeps me off thrill rides.  So, trepidation merged with eagerness as we walked into Blue Hawaiian Helicopter’s house across from Lihue’s airport terminal.  

BHH has its own, extremely tidy terminal, compared to a booth or a VW van, which provides assurance.  Also, they sold hats, T-shirts, toys, but not last wills and testaments.  After detailed instructions and careful loading, the music started in our headphones, and off we rose. 
Kauai is, literally, Fantasy Island. Tattoo yelled, “De plane, De Plane” from here.  Jurassic Park was here.  

Jagged, green volcanoes rise from the sea on the north shore.  

450 inches of rain per year on Mount Wai’ale’ale keep the waterfalls flowing on that side. 

On the dry, west side, Waimea Canyon’s red walls might be enough to risk a helicopter ride all by itself, not to mention the coastlines that define an island. 

By the time we returned, 50 minutes later, we felt like kids who splash landed from twisty water slide and wanted to run to the top and do it again. 

More photos here.  We'll see if we can load the 50-minute video on Youtube. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Still! No Sasquatch!

Mt. Hood & Columbia River covered in fog
Conditions were perfect for Sasquatching this morning.  Clear skies meant they would not be hunkered down against the rain.  No breeze, so they could not smell me.  At sunrise, I drove to their neighborhood. 

Old forest service and logging roads will get you there.  But it’s impossible to find on your own, unless you’ve been there before.  Lots of unsigned forks in the road.  About the only sign still standing is right near where I park.   
Click to enlarge any photo

The sign, itself, is evidence of Sasquatch.  It’s hard to tell from the photo, but there are a number of bullet holes in the sign.  However, the grouping is TERRIBLE; the holes are all over the place.  Of course, Sasquatch have a lot of trouble using the guns they grab after they scare off the local hunters.  It's not for lack of intellect.  Their fingers are too darn big. 

You don’t hear much about the stolen guns because the hunters are too embarrassed to tell anyone.  But, when you live up here, there are whispers.  “Old Fred pissed his pants as he dashed out the deer blind.  Left his .30.06.”  The Sasquatch shoot signs to frighten humans.  But I’m not that dumb.  There are no – zero – credible reports of Sasquatch shooting at humans.  Elk, yes.  Humans, no. 

Over the edge: Mt. Rainier  and Mt. Adams
First, I look over the edge where I park.  I see nothing.  Not even tracks or scat. 

“Trail” is an overly generous word for parts path I took.  Firewatchers used to walk it to the fire lookout cabin, located where I took that top picture.  Because people cannot find the trailhead, they don't use the trail, and it disappears under brush in parts.  Lack of people, however, makes it prime Sasquatch watching area.  When I started, it was 39 degrees.  Sasquatch are most active in the mid-40s, so I was excited for the sun to rise higher and warm us all up, a bit.

I moved slowly from the first forest toward the opening.  Forest edges are good places to see them.  But not this time. 
I continued on into the next forested area.  About 40 yards in, I see Sasquatch fur obscuring the trail marker.  See? 
Sasquatch Fur on tree
The big guy or gal must’ve used that trunk as a back scratcher.  And it was fresh, within 24 to 36 hours, I’d guestimate.   Full alert for me, now.

I tip-toed my way until I reached the lookout point, always spying for Sasquatch.   Then, I made my way back with full vigilance. 

Mt. Adams
Guess what?  I did not see him / her / it. 

Allyson could not join me.  She had to deal with important responsibilities. 

Despite being crestfallen, I wanted to share the picture of the Sasquatch fur with Allyson.  So, I flipped through about 40 pictures of the mountains, trails, meadows, forests, and changing colors until I finally showed her the fur.  (She suspected it might be moss. I was too STUPID, to collect a sample.)   

Overall, though, I just wanted to kick myself; I wasted a perfectly excellent Saturday Sasquatching. 

Allyson looked at me sideways.  She actually suggested I was a “glass half-empty” guy.  I have no idea what she’s talking about.