Thursday, November 02, 2006

The 'Ville, Van Halen and this week's picks


Impressive win by Louisville last night. West Virginia's defense had no answers for the Cardinals offense. Brian Brohm, who will be a starting quarterback in the NFL in a few years, just abused the Mountaineers -- bad thumb and all. Great camera work by ESPN showing how he had to cross his thumbs on every snap to lend extra support to his surgically-repaired digit. Brohm was calm, patient, accurate and tough as he played with discomfort. And where was Steve Slaton in the third quarter? How can you stand on the sideline in that situation? If your arm hurts, use the other one. Or both. Great job by Pat White to engineer a scoring drive anyway without Slaton. He throws a decent ball when he wants, too. Now it's on to Rutgers and another unbeaten for Louisville, which should all but wrap up the Big East title next Thursday. I don't think Rutgers will stay within two touchdowns.

It wouldn't be a Friday if I didn't go off topic before posting the picks for the weekend. Van Halen was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this week. While that honor means absolutely nothing, it does provide an opportunity to discuss my favorite band. Musically gifted -- there's no better guitar player than Eddie Van Halen; on drums, well, Neal Peart and Mike Portnoy are in a class by themselves, but after that Alex Van Halen is as good as any other rock drummer -- Van Halen was fun to listen to and even more fun to watch (especially with Diamond Dave as the frontman).




One of my favorite Van Halen stories was from an outdoor concert in Southern California in the early 80s. Professional skydivers were hired to dress up like the band, complete with wigs and crazy outfits. When it was time for the show to start, the announcer told the crowd Van Halen was about to enter, and to look in the sky above the stadium. The skydivers leapt from the plane, landed in the parking lot and were whisked into a van which drove right into the stadium and up to the stage. The band, hiding in the van the whole time, emerged wearing parachutte pants, packs and skydiving glasses, ran up on stage and exploded into the opening song. The crowd went ballistic. I wanted to pull the same stunt for my wedding reception, but couldn't talk my wife into it. Point is, you don't see bands do stuff like that anymore.



I even like the Sammy Hagar version of Van Halen. The guy has great vocal range, much better than Dave, and that's the version I grew up on. I was in seventh grade when Sammy joined the band, and the 5150 tour was one of my first live concerts. The other thing that endeared me to Van Halen is that the band absolutely loved New Haven. A friend I've known since elementary school owns Yorkside Pizza on Broadway (well, his family does), and he was there one night when the guys (the Dave version) came in before a show at the New Haven Coliseum. They talked for a bit and the band told him they loved coming here because of the New Haven crowds and the girls at Toad's Place. It stands to reason because most of Van Halen's live video footage is shot at the Coliseum, including the old MTV video for Panama and a full-length live concert DVD from the 5150 tour (Live Without a Net) in which the band proclaims the city as "New Halen, Conn."


Best. Guitarist. Ever.


Hopefully, the band will reunite again with both Dave and Sammy for one last tour. Sounds like they are in discussions for something with Dave for next summer. I'll be there if it happens.

On to the picks. I went 6-4 last week and beat all comers. I'm now tearing it up at 45-42-5 for the season.

Game 1: SOUTH FLORIDA (-5) over Pittsburgh: I'm not sold on the Panthers yet. Besides, Grothe will keep USF in it to cover.

That's it for Big East games. The others...

Game 2: Missouri (+5) over NEBRASKA

Game 3: WISCONSIN (-7) over Penn State

Game 4: TENNESSEE (-3) over Louisiana State

Game 5: Boston College (-3.5) over WAKE FOREST

Game 6: NC STATE (+5.5) over Georgia Tech

Game 7: SOUTH CAROLINA (-2.5) over Arkansas

Game 8: Oklahoma (-2) over TEXAS A&M

Game 9: Virginia Tech (-3) over MIAMI

Game 10: CLEMSON (-20) over Maryland

And the local special...

Game 11: Yale (-5.5) over BROWN: Yale has won seven straight for the first time since 1999.

Don't forget to get your picks in this week. Enter by clicking the "comments" link below.

7 Comments:

Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

Chip's picks
Game 1: SOUTH FLORIDA (-5) over Pittsburgh
Game 2: Missouri (+5) over NEBRASKA
Game 3: WISCONSIN (-7) over Penn State
Game 4: TENNESSEE (-3) over Louisiana State
Game 5: Boston College (-3.5) over WAKE FOREST
Game 6: NC STATE (+5.5) over Georgia Tech
Game 7: SOUTH CAROLINA (-2.5) over Arkansas
Game 8: Oklahoma (-2) over TEXAS A&M
Game 9: Virginia Tech (-3) over MIAMI
Game 10: CLEMSON (-20) over Maryland
Game 11: Yale (-5.5) over BROWN:

November 03, 2006 10:33 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just warmed up last week with making some picks. This week will be the final tune-up before I start lighting up the scoreboard like Ken Jennings in Teen Jeopardy.

Pitt
Nebraska
Penn St.
Tenn
BC
GT
Arkansas
Oklahoma
Miami
Maryland
Yale

El Dragone

November 03, 2006 2:33 PM 
Blogger Vinny From East Haven said...

vinny's picks:
Pitt
Nebraska
Penn St
LSU
BC
Ga Tech
So. Carolina
Oklahoma
Va Tech
Clemson
Yale

November 03, 2006 2:39 PM 
Anonymous R. Hamilton said...

I bet Vinny loves playing Van Halen in his Trans-Am.

November 03, 2006 6:22 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Pitt
2. Nebraska
3. Wisc
4. LSU
5. BC
6. Ga Tech
7. Arkansas
8. Oklahoma
9. Miami
10. Maryland
11. Yale

November 03, 2006 6:49 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

-- previous are for Manny

November 03, 2006 6:50 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a Camaro.

November 03, 2006 8:59 PM 

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