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Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010

Fast-forwarding Through the Rivals

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Another football weekend, another pair of victories for the state to savor. The Badgers marched up and down Ann Arbor, 48-28, and moved one win away from the Rose Bowl. Then the Packers settled things for good with Brett Favre, racing to a 31-3 rout in Minnesota on course for the NFC North title. Great for TV viewers back home, if they could spot a few seconds of actual playing.

Frank: The Packers pummeled the Vikes so well they finished the job in less than three hours.

Artie
: Seemed like six to me. It makes me nuts with all the stinkin' commercials. They should rename this league the NCBL, the National Commercial Break League.

Frank
: I've got the solution! I know it violates the fan's code of living and dying through every second of a game, but anyone who has a DVR or TiVo can see a football game in mere minutes.

Artie
: I've got DVR now, but I ain't no commie.

Frank
: On Sunday I set the DVR for the game—adding the next show in the guide to allow for overtime—and then enjoyed a good book and a long phone conversation while you were watching ads.

Artie
: You also could have gotten in some antiquing or one of those Sunday symphonies you like so much. Meanwhile, every time there was a break on FOX I switched to the CBS game—and they were in commercial, too!

Frank
: About 2 o'clock I checked the score, 24-3, and decided to catch up. While the DVR is recording the live stuff, you can call up what's already recorded! By fast-forwarding through the commercials and routine plays it took about 15 minutes to see all the big plays and get to the live "garbage time," which I skipped.

Artie
: Pretty slick. It just drives me insane—yeah, yeah, a short trip—to watch this stuff. I can't imagine going to a game, especially outdoors in cold weather, and having to sit through all the interruptions.

Frank
: The last people the networks and NFL care about are the ones with the fannies in the seats.

Artie
: Their money's already in the vault. So how'd you like to be a Vikings fan at 3-7 with six meaningless games to go?

Frank
: I know you feel their pain.

Artie
: Bill Clinton might, but I'm immune. In a way I'm glad for the commercials because I need something to complain about, and it sure couldn't be the Pack's performance. I thought they'd win, but I never expected a cakewalk like the Dallas game, ain’a?

Frank
: It was close for much of the first half—which I perused in about six minutes.

Artie
: With about five minutes to halftime it was only 10-3. But once Favre threw that interception to Tramon Williams and Aaron Rodgers fast-forwarded things to 17-3, it was in the bag. Favre did not look good.

Frank
: Lots of throws that were too hard and/or over heads.

Artie
: And did you see him waving off his coordinator, Darrell Bevell, after the INT, like, "I don't want to hear anything from you." He just looked angry or morose right from the start.

Frank
: Meanwhile, the Packers' offense was DVR-perfect—steady but with a few long-gainers that popped out even at the second of three DVR fast-forward speeds.

Artie
: So Minnesota fans have a lost season, and what's there to look forward to next year? They'll get a new coach—maybe on top of a replacement coach this year—they've lost that third-round draft choice from the Randy Moss fiasco and they're sure gonna need a new quarterback.

Frank
: Favre isn't giving them any reason to want him back, even if he wasn't planning to leave. This sure looked like the last time the Packers will have to face him.

Artie
: I'm not so sure. I think he won't quit until he literally can't walk on the field. I could see him next year going to some team, say Arizona or Carolina, who needs a veteran QB.

Frank
: Favre can do the Packers one more favor by beating Chicago in the 14th game. I'm sure you'd appreciate his help in shaking off the Bears before they arrive for the season finale at Lambeau.

Artie
: If he survives until the 14th game. What a disaster for the Purple People!

Frank
: Clearly, it broke your heart.

Artie
: Hell, it gave me the will to carry on through all the commercials.

Go Buck(e)y(es), Go!

Frank: Gee, the Badgers scored only 48 points at Michigan.

Artie
: The offense was nearly perfect, and that was without John Clay. Montee Ball ran for 173 yards and four TDs, James White 181 and two.

Frank
: Later I saw the fourth quarter of the Ohio State-Iowa game, and I had to chuckle thinking about your emotions during that one.

Artie
: This is mighty painful for Badgers fans—having to root for the Buckeyes! It's easy enough to hope Michigan State loses, but if the Spartans and Badgers both finish 7-1 in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes have to do it too for UW to reach the Rose Bowl.

Frank
: A two-way tie with MSU goes to the Spartans because they won the head-to-head. But a three-way tie goes to the Badgers because they'll be highest in the BCS rankings.

Artie
: Bucky definitely will handle Northwestern at Camp Randall. The Spartans struggled to beat Purdue at home, which bodes well for this weekend at Penn State. Joe Paterno's guys aren't at their usual level, but they're a good team. Right now "JoPa" is an honorary cheesehead.

Frank
: But you don't feel the same about the Buckeyes' Jim Tressel.

Artie
: Hell, no! Who wants arrogant OSU to share in a sixth straight league title? I tell you, that Iowa game was agony. They talk about maybe paying college players; how about paying the fans for the mental anguish they go through? Where's my cut?

Frank
: I'll bet your anguish was highest when the Buckeyes' DeVier Posey dropped that sure TD pass in the final minutes. If they'd lost, Posey would have been banned from Ohio and Wisconsin both.

Artie
: The best throw Terrelle Pryor will ever make! Good thing his legs saved them on fourth down and kept them going to the winning score.

Frank
: Otherwise, Posey's flub might have tempted you to emulate that Dane County guy who shot out his TV over Bristol Palin's showing on "Dancing With the Stars."

Artie
: I don't have his arsenal. But I sure couldn't blame him; having seen Bristol's clodhopping, I'll use one of her mom's lines: "Time to reload."

Frank
: Looks like both OSU-Michigan and MSU-Penn State are at 11 a.m. Saturday, with Bucky at 2:30. So we'll know by kickoff if the road to Pasadena is still open.

Aw, Shoot

Artie: That Dane County guy was a better shot than the Bucks last week.

Frank
: Three losses dropped them to 5-8. The Lakers slugged ’em for 118 points, but Philly only scored 90 and the Thunder 82.

Artie
: Didn't matter because the Bucks shot under 40% in those two games.

Frank
: The Bucks went into this week second-best in the NBA in points allowed (91.08 per game) and tied for the best in opponents' field-goal percentage (.428). But they were dead last in scoring average (91.39) and shooting (.411).

Artie
: That's sure to change; they have too many good scorers.

Frank
: Fortunately they're in the Eastern Conference, where only five teams entered this week above .500.

Artie
: And the next three games are against scrubs—Cleveland, Detroit and Charlotte. They can get well quick; just make the dang shots!

Frank
: Bucks games are ideal for DVR-ing, too. But be sure to record the next program as well. The games usually run long, so if you call up the second recording it'll either show the final minutes or the post-game report that tells you where to look for the turning point.

Artie
: Game-viewing with no commercials. You can't even get that inside an arena anymore.