Thursday, January 22, 2015

My Hot Take on American Sniper

Well, I guess I should start at the most obvious place. I didn't see American Sniper.

Not to brag or anything, but I did read the book. Well, okay, here's why it's not bragging, I only made it about 50 pages into the book, and then I had to stop. People may assume that it got too emotional, and I just couldn't push my way through, but that is not quite the case. The reason I stopped reading is that I found the main character to have no redeemable qualities. He basically just seemed like no person I would ever want to encounter in my life.

Am I saying that he was a bad person? No, I am just saying that he would be a bad person for me to encounter. His ideology is far different than mine, and I likely wouldn't find him enjoyable. He was basically like WWE's Zeb Colter character in that he was an extreme Xenophobe, and without the catchy saying of, "We The People." That type of person isn't nearly as endearing in real life.

But, shit man, if you say anything negative about this guy, people blow up about him being a hero. What he did was incredibly difficult, and there is no way I could do something like that. It would undoubtedly change me for the worst. I have to respect that, but I don't respect it any more than any other military member. It's incredibly brave, and that is why I had ZERO interest in joining any branch of the military. People who just call him an awful person without understanding how that experience would affect a person need to take a step back and think about what he went through.

Speaking of people who think he is a hero: To me (and probably by definition), a hero is someone you want to emulate. So if this guy is your hero, you can join the military if you want. It's super easy as long as you don't have a disability, you're basically good to go. The people who say he's their hero should probably slow their roll.

Overall, there are aspects of Chris Kyle that deserve respect, but saying that his actions in the military make him above reproach is insane. People really want to take hard line stances with their opinions on this movie and Kyle as a whole, but like most things in life, you're best off understanding that the scope of the issue is in the gray area.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Goldust Was The Original PUA

Goldust is one of the most fascinating characters in WWE history. As a child, he was just seen as a weird queer, mostly because that is how Jerry Lawler referred to him most times, and children think Jerry Lawler has a lot of good insight. But man, looking back, Goldust is probably the most complex character in WWE history. That guy was an onion, and after peeling back all of the layers, at his core, he is not a "queer," he's actually the original pickup artist.

Goldust's first vignette was in front of a big-time Hollywood building. The problem with this was that the building had a giant Looney Tunes banner on the wall, and it really took me out of the moment. It's especially sad, because the WWE clearly did this with a green screen, and that is what they chose to use. Still, one week later, Jerry Lawler claimed that the debut of Goldust blew up the internet. I believe this is probably the first noted case of an athlete blowing up the internet, and this was 1995, so it may be the first thing that ever blew up the internet. Blowing up the internet is one of the greatest examples of a demonstration of higher value (DHV) that are essential in the world of pickup artists.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find that vignette on YouTube, but I was able to find his second one that was on Raw a week later. Let's take a look:

This is textbook PUA material right here. First, he opens it up with a quote from a movie. In Season 2 of the Pickup Artist, literally half of the openers that they used were, "What movie is this from? 'Nobody puts baby in the corner.'" Movie quotes are the backbone of any true PUAs pickup gambits.

Then he goes into a diatribe about magic and mystery, where gold only sheds light as opposed to darkness. If he were to use this line to a girl who was wearing any sort of dark color, it's basically the perfect neg that will have her begging for his approval.

Finally, that outfit. Man, there isn't a PUA who wouldn't be jealous about the extent that Goldust is able to peacock. He is wearing gold suit jacket with a bowtie and top hat. Right there, he's got top level peacocking working for him, but then to top it off with a long blonde wig, face paint, and black lipstick? That is truly next level. Imagine if you were a pickup artist, and you were wearing your freshest peacocking gear, and then you see Goldust at the bar? You're done. You have to leave the bar, and you may have to leave the state just to make sure you never run into the true master ever again.

He was more mysterious and flamboyant than homosexual, although he did like to toe that line. He had an in-ring interview with Vince McMahon where Goldust asked, "Is that another microphone in your pants or are you just happy to see me?" One of the great obstacles that PUAs face is the Alpha Male Of Group (AMOG), and Goldust just disarmed a legendary AMOG in Vince McMahon. Once you disarm the AMOG, it's easy to begin kino escalation with your target. It was true PUA brilliance.

I understand that many of you may be skeptical, but you must admit it is a little weird that it takes three seconds for a pin, and Mystery came up with the three second rule to approach a girl within three seconds. I see this as an homage from Mystery to his hero, the original PUA, Goldust.

Finally, this should kill any doubts you may have, as the proof is in the pudding.
Game recognize game.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Vince McMahon Has The Worst Sense of Humor

Vince McMahon is a legendary businessman, and a true visionary when it comes to the world of pro wrestling. Even if you hate pro wrestling, you have to respect him for what he has been able to accomplish. If summing up the pros and cons of Vince McMahon, the pros would far outweigh the cons. That being said, I know that if I ever met Vince McMahon, I would totally hate him. The reason I know this is that you can tell a lot about somebody by looking at their sense of humor, and Vince McMahon has the worst sense of humor in the world.

5. Vince McMahon Loves Impersonators
Now, I don't even need to get into all the times that Vince tried to legitimately use impersonators to move forward wrestling angles. There was Fake Undertaker, and more egregiously, Fake Diesel and Fake Razor Ramon. Those weren't meant for humor; sadly, they were supposed to be taken seriously. The first time that this became blatantly obvious is when a President Clinton impostor made an appearance at WrestleMania 10. The guy didn't even do a decent impression of Clinton, but he had the wig, so I guess that counts.

Still, the worst example is when he introduced Billionaire Ted and his two big starts, Huckster and Nacho Man. When looking back at this, I had totally forgotten about Scheme Gene. Here's a video. It's really awful.

I guarantee Vince loved every second of it. The only funny thing about this angle was that Vince prominently featured Razor Ramon and Diesel in videos to show the differences in the "New Generation." Both would leave the WWE a few months later and start the greatest faction in the history of professional wrestling.

4. Vince McMahon Loves to Disgust People
A lot of the key to comedy is being willing to embrace taboo. McMahon likes to take things to their extreme. Hence, he had Mark Henry impregnate Mae Young, a woman in her 80s. She gave birth to a fake hand. I really don't want to go any further into that except to say that I can guarantee Vince still laughs about this every time it crosses his mind.

And then there was Katie Vick. I have written a lot about Katie Vick, because it was one of the most amazing wrestling angles of all time. But it wasn't amazing in that it was well done or even comedically strong in any way. It is just still amazing that it was put on a television show at all. It was objectively awful, but it is wrestling's version of Andrew Dice Clay; it's not good, but it's still good to laugh at. I would guess that McMahon has already requested that this angle be mentioned in his obituary.

3. The Kiss My Ass Club
Vince McMahon is the man who created the "Kiss My Ass Club" which is brilliant if you are 12, but really sad from a 60 year-old. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't tattoo the names of the members of the club on his taint.

2. Vince McMahon Loves Throwing People in the Pool
This was probably the most interesting thing that came out of the Stone Cold Steve Austin podcast with Vince McMahon. Vince McMahon loves throwing people in the pool. And not like a normal love, but a love so pure that he would leave his wife for it. He was fairly serious through the entire interview, but when he got to talk about throwing people in the pool, his entire demeanor changed, as if the mere thought of throwing someone in the pool put him in his happy place. I have only seen a billionaire light up while talking like that in one other circumstance. It is when I worked for the Seattle SuperSonics and Clay Bennett talked with us about the possibility of moving to Oklahoma City. The man was trying to stay subdued, but he did a terrible job, because that motherfucker lit up when talking about OKC. He spoke of it as it was some sort of mystical promised land. So basically what I'm saying is that billionaires are weirdos.

1. There Is Nothing Vince McMahon Loves More Than Fat People
Vince has always been obsessed with appearance, and honestly, that makes sense. Children are a huge part of his audience, and big muscles are an automatic sell to kids. But Vince would go out of his way to bury fat people. What kind of ceiling does a guy with the name Bastion Booger really have? Fat guys were not meant to be contenders, they were meant to be laughed at.

But this pales in comparison to how he treated overweight women. If you were a big girl, you were instantly a heel. The heel announcers would praise them for their beauty, but Vince couldn't even hide his disdain for how disgusting he found them. In Vince's mind, if you were not attractive, you shouldn't be cheered.

And even though the female wrestlers were treated poorly, it pales in comparison to the first days of Raw. McMahon had Raw Girls who would strut around the ring with signs that often had sexual innuendos using the word Raw. Most of them were very fit women that you would see as a ring card girl at a boxing event. But McMahon would throw the audience for a loop and throw a fat girl in there with "hilarious" results. It is the very definition of sophomoric humor, but there was nothing McMahon loved more than having someone make out with one of the overweight ladies. I take that back, there was one thing that McMahon loved more, and that was making people think a wrestler would make out with them, only for them to demean them in some way, like Mr. Perfect throwing his chewed gum in one woman's mouth and having her happily chew away afterwards.

McMahon deserves credit where credit is due. He is not only the best mind in the history of professional wrestling, he is a true business visionary who worked hard and found incredible success, even when the deck was sometimes stacked against him.

That being said, Vince McMahon has the worst sense of humor ever, and I would never want to spend more than five minutes with him.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Always Draft A Quarterback

If you do not have a good quarterback, you should always draft a quarterback, and you should try to do it as early in the draft as possible. It is better to draft a bad quarterback than to go with another position, because you need a quarterback. Everybody is terrified of drafting the next Ryan Leaf, but when it comes to building a roster, I would rather have the boom or bust players than wallow away in mediocrity.

You will know that a quarterback is not going to work out within two years. That means you are only ignoring that position for one year.

Think about the Texans. They drafted Jadeveon Clowney, and even had Clowney been what was expected of him, they would have snuck in the playoffs and been ousted in the first round as they simply didn't have the quarterback necessary to be a threat. Now that they are a good, but not great team, it is going to be much more difficult to find their answer at the quarterback position.

Hell, you could even take the Rams. They drafted Aaron Donald who was the best defensive rookie this year, and maybe the best rookie overall (I know Odell Beckham Jr. was a rookie, but Aaron Donald really was that good), but even with their defensive line playing like the best unit in the league down the stretch, what is their ceiling with their current quarterback situation?

Now, obviously the Donald pick worked out, but wouldn't it have helped to take a chance on a guy in round two? Jimmy Garoppolo is the type of high-risk, high-reward player that would have been worth the Rams taking a chance on in the second round? While admitting that I was higher on Garoppolo than most, I still think he would have been fairly rough this year, but that experience could have helped make him the quarterback they needed in 2015 and beyond. If he showed to be truly awful, you can still give him another year to prove himself while taking a chance on a mid-round guy like Shane Carden of East Carolina.

Although I advocate taking a quarterback as early as possible, there are a few exceptions as Russell Wilson fell to the third round, Tony Romo was an undrafted free agent (although the Cowboys went above and beyond with their signing bonus to make sure he went to Dallas), and Tom Brady famously fell to the sixth. Tom Brady is the ultimate outlier, so expecting your team to be that brilliant lucky is delusional. Tony Romo came out in 2003, and the NFL has gotten SOOOOO much better at recognizing talent from smaller schools that he would likely have been at least picked in the top three rounds if he came out today (just look at Jimmy Garoppolo for proof). Wilson is the best example, as he is the most recent, but the Seahawks lucked out that the Eagles didn't trade up to ensure that they were able to draft him, as the Eagles and Russell Wilson were in love with each other going into the draft (Daniel Jeremiah, who was a scout for the Eagles at the time, mentioned that Wilson would text him about how excited he was for the Eagles to draft him so he could bring a Super Bowl title to Philadelphia).

But looking at all the good teams from the last few years, nearly every one of them drafted their starting quarterback.  Nobody is trading away good quarterbacks, so a team has to wait for the perfect storm to hope the team lets a good quarterback walk away in free agency. Those outliers are Drew Brees and Peyton Manning. Brees was a late bloomer (so the Chargers drafted Philip Rivers, making Brees obsolete) coming off of a major shoulder surgery. Manning had a serious neck injury where people thought that he would never regain enough arm strength to be effective and that he may just be one weird hit away from retirement. Even with the Broncos signing Manning, they still drafted a quarterback in the second round.

Yes, a team can hope a quarterback falls in their lap in free agency, but hope is not a plan. Scouting a quarterback and finding ways that you can accentuate his positives while minimizing the negatives is a far more likely path to success.

With all that being said, it is much easier to take quarterbacks in the draft in theory than it is to actually go through that plan in practice. General managers can't afford to whiff on a quarterback, because it is such an important decision. No decision will get scrutinized more, and the GM will primarily be judged off that single decision, so if it doesn't work out, he's likely going to lose his job. That is why everybody has to be on board with the plan, so a general manager can take the risks necessary to pursue greatness as opposed to goodness.

Everybody talks about what a bust Ryan Leaf was, but was it really a bust for the Chargers? His incompetence led them to LaDainian Tomlinson and Drew Brees. They took one step back to take one giant leap forward. If that's what a bust looks like, then sign me up.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

We Need To Talk About DJ MuscleBoy's "MuscleBells"

The holidays may be over, but there is still some brilliance trickling out from this joyous season. One of these things is DJ MuscleBoy's Christmas hit, "MuscleBells." If you're anything like me, you are sick and tired of all those tired Christmas songs about weaklings. Christmas is not a holiday for the weak; it's one for the strong, and finally DJ MuscleBoy has supplied us with our anthem.

There is a lot to take in during this video. Let's address the elephant in the room: Hot chicks. There are good looking women in this video and closeups of just about every part of their anatomy. Bravo to the director of the video. I really can't offer much more insight on that regard, but I have thoughts about many other things in this video.

Let's start at the beginning. Santa Claus is looking into the distance. For what? A child in need? A homeless shelter to bring joy to?
Oh no, he's looking for a barbell, because you bet your ass it is time to do some dead lifts.

This establishes everything for the video. Some other highlights include:

DJ MuscleBoy is really getting into the Santa character as he is handing out supps that would make even the jolly guy slightly envious. Boys, ladies, everybody gets to get a premium pump this holiday season.

There isn't much that actually has to do with a Christmas in this song, but he does drop some great one liners. Let's rank the top three.

3. "Who needs Jingle Bells when you have dumbbells?"
This is an excellent question, and I hereby announce my support the abolishment of Jingle Bells. If somebody wants to play Jingle Bells, point them to the dumbbells and improve their life for the better.

2. "Drop the bass Jesus"
This one is put as a hashtag for the song, and it seems pretty positive for Jesus. Maybe this is a religious song?

1. "Goddamn, that's a muscular Jesus...come on Jesus, pump the Goddamn weight."
So, yeah...I don't think this is a religious song. It seems that it was rather needless to use the Lord's name in vein twice, but he did it. At first, he at least compliments Jesus, but he quickly follows that up by saying that Jesus needs to give him more in the weight room. But everybody knows that Jesus was not a mass guy, he was a wiry strength guy.

That's all great, but nothing compares to him acting as Santa. He goes into a baby's room, and gives that little baby boy a present.
Yep, he just gave that baby Anabolic Freak, a testosterone/hormone stimulator. It would have been more responsible to give that baby unmarked needles and let the kid go wild. But this is not about responsibility, this is about gains, and that baby is about to be jacked to the gills.

I know that Christmas may have come and gone, but this song is great year-round. New Year's Day? More like New Year's Gains.  More like Valentine's Day? More Like MAXentine's Day. St. Patrick's Day? That one's easy, St. Lat Raise Day. The list goes on and on. So eat right, supp right, and lift everything in sight.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Tennessee vs. Iowa: My Experience at the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl

I'll admit this post is a little late, but the sort of game that Iowa played against Tennessee takes a little while to recover from, especially being there in person. But don't worry, Hawkeye fans, this post will not focus on the game as much as the experience surrounding it.

Since Iowa was playing in Jacksonville which is only about 3.5 hours away, I figured I had to make the jaunt up north to go to the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl. It was not the normal Iowa gameday experience. I think this is the first time I have gone to an Iowa game sober (I had one beer, but I'm a bit of a heavyweight so I know how to handle myself, no big deal), and it was also the first time I took my wife. These both proved to be wise decisions, as alcohol most certainly would not have added any fun to my experience.

Iowa did not have its usual representation as fans have become disenchanted with the team. Expectations were high, results were low, and it seems like Iowa goes to Florida every year, so there wasn't that much appeal to making the trip. Also, it's the TaxSlayer Bowl, so it would take an extremely desperate and dedicated fanbase to get excited for that.

Tennessee was that fanbase.

I was surrounded by orange. My wife and I were literally the only two people supporting the Hawkeyes in our section. There was another Iowa fan a section over and about ten rows back who kept spelling Fuck Kirk, so despite running into 100 Tennessee fans and 5 Iowa fans, Iowa produced the worst fans of the game. Congratulations, Hawkeyes. I would like to talk trash about Tennessee fans, but outside of them loving cigarettes, they were actually very pleasant people to be around.

I cannot stress this enough: Tennessee fans were SO PUMPED to be there. Their excitement was not sarcastic, it was as legit as it gets. They hadn't been to a bowl game in a while, and they are excited where Butch Jones is taking the team. One of my favorite things in this world is when middle-aged people where shirts designed for teenagers, so I was really happy to see a 50-year-old man wearing a "Butch Please" shirt for the game. Overall thought, they were just incredibly positive people. They have a chant where they just go, "It's great...to be...a Tennessee Vol." How pleasant and quaint of them.

As for the game, thank God I have other things that I care about in this world more than Iowa football (like my dog...and Iowa wrestling...oh yeah, and my wife too). Sports don't mean as much to me; there are still times where a heartbreaking loss will kill my mood, but ass kickings like the one Iowa received don't really matter as much to me. I can be angry at my team, or I can just laugh at how awful they are. I chose the latter and filled the game with pithy one liners that impressed the people around me.

The Hawkeyes lost 45-28, and the game was not nearly that close, yet I still had a good time. I spent some time with the old lady, hung out with some friendly people who cheered for the opposing side, and most importantly, I got to see a whole lot of CJ Beathard. It wasn't great, but having Beathard was enough for me to stay late to watch the final two touchdowns, both of which were really nice throws.

I am an eternal optimist. Beathard gives the Hawkeyes a look they need on offense to not be competent but actually be dangerous. If the Hawkeyes brought in a new offensive coordinator (Ken O'Keefe is available), it would give them the offense necessary to accentuate their strengths. Right now, everybody is down on Iowa football, and it's just a really negative atmosphere. I can understand it, but it's still way more fun to focus on the positives and just have a good time watching football...

Maybe I should have gone to Tennessee.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Which Iowa Hawkeye Wrestler Will Win A National Title in 2015?

The 2014-2015 Iowa Hawkeye Wrestling team is currently ranked number one in the nation. They have managed this despite not having a single guy ranked in the top two spots in their weight class to start the year. This is a team built on depth, but that does not mean that no Iowa wrestler will get a National Championship. It is going to be tough, but every wrestler is ranked, so you certainly can't count any of them out. As I see it, each Iowa wrestler falls into one of three tiers. So let's look at where Iowa stands currently and rank the wrestlers in order of their chances of getting an asterisk next to their name in the Iowa wrestling room.

It Would Take a Miracle
10. Josh Dziewa
Yes, I know Dziewa is not the lowest ranked Iowa wrestler, but if you saw the Ohio State meet, you would understand why he really has no shot at winning a national title. That's not a total knock on him, as if you put an equivalent of Logan Stieber at any weight class, the Iowa wrestler's chances of winning it all would basically end up at about zero. Stieber is by far the best wrestler at any weight class this year, and nobody is going to beat him. The other issue is that Mitchell Port is pretty great too. Dziewa may not win a national title, but he has shown he can be good enough to wrestle tough against anybody outside of the top guys, so if he wrestles a hard tournament, he can still be an All-American this year. Unrelated: Dziewa produced my favorite moment of The Midlands as the poor announcer pronounced his name Dzoo-ee-wa (it's pronounced Jeva).

9. Mike Kelly
Let me just start by stating that I am completely irrational when it comes to Mike Kelly. More than any Iowa wrestler, Kelly goes for big moves. Now I have to say he goes for them, because I am nearly positive it has NEVER worked out for him. Half of the time it turns into nothing, and half the time his opponent reverses him for a big move of their own. That being said, every time he goes for a big throw, I am 100% convinced that this will be the time that it works out for him. I am convinced that he is just as good of a wrestler as Dylan Ness, but Ness has perfected funky wrestling, and there is literally no funk in Mike Kelly. If Mike Kelly can absorb the funk of Ben Askren, he has a legitimate shot of winning a title, but since that is not actually a possible thing. Ness, James Green, and Ian Miller are all on another level from Kelly. Still, he may only be ranked 16th, but he is on the rise, and deep down, in my totally biased heart, I think he could be an All-American, but he could just as easily go 0-2 and leave Iowa fans in a deep depression.

8. Nick Moore
Before the NCAA Tournament last year, Nick Moore had a strong case that he was the second best wrestler in his weight class (a distant second, considering David Taylor was there, but still). He beat Tyler Caldwell who was ranked second and barely lost to the guy who was ranked third. He had the fourth seed and promptly proceeded to have the wheels completely fall off in the NCAAs. He has simply not been the same wrestler since. He used to be rock solid, where he would get his takedown and be nearly impossible to score on. For some reason, that has changed this year in that he can't get to offense and people are finding holes in his defense on the feet. Honestly, if he keeps wrestling like this, I would say he might have the smallest shot at becoming an AA. But he has shown he can be better, so I hope that he is better. A National Title is still probably asking too much, but being the extremely optimistic Iowa fan that I am, I can't rule it out.

They Can Compete With Anybody
7. Thomas Gilman
You could make a pretty strong case that Gilman is the Hawkeyes fourth best wrestler, but he ranks at seven, because 125 is an extremely tough weight class at the top this year. He is currently ranked number five, and he's only looked good, not great this year. He lost to the fourth ranked wrestler in the finals of the Midlands, but then got a 4-point tech fall, because he was unable to get any back points in his 25-10 match. Finally, he got a very good win against Ohio State, but it came in overtime, because he never got to any offense. but he's likely going to have to go up against two of the Delgado, Waters, Garrett trifecta, and it's going to be tough for him to come out on top with what he has shown so far this season. Still, this if the first guy that I have mentioned where I would be shocked if he didn't become an All-American this year.

6. Nathan Burak
Since becoming an All-American last year, Burak looks like a changed wrestler. He seems to have a lot of confidence on his feet, and he has been more willing to take shots while also doing a better job of finishing them. He's strong on top and pretty solid at escaping from the bottom as well, so he won't be an easy out for anybody. This weight class has good depth as the top seven guys could all conceivably make a run but aren't so strong that they aren't in danger of getting upset. Burak hasn't wrestled the toughest competition yet this year, so his meets against Minnesota and Penn State will go a long way in determining what type of talent he is bringing to the National Tournament. I have him with the sixth best chance for now, but I could definitely see him moving up a few spots depending on how he looks against Schiller and McIntosh.

5. Brandon Sorensen
Sorensen just had himself a hell of a week. He took third at the Midlands, got the starting job at 149 over Brody Grothus and proceeded to get a big win over Rutgers before beating the fifth ranked wrestler from Ohio State, Hunter Stieber. He is now ranked fifth in a very winnable weight class. Jason Tsirtsis is rightfully ranked number one as he is undefeated and the defending national champion, but he wrestles a lot of close matches (he beat Brody Grothus after two full overtimes on riding time), and it's tough to count on winning all of those when you get to the tournament. Sorensen still has to get better as the season goes on. Although his win over Stieber is great, it was mostly based on conditioning as opposed to skill, so he needs to get a marquee victory before he can be seen as a top candidate to win it all. Luckily, he'll have plenty of chances to prove himself, especially with the second ranked wrestler, Josh Kindig, on schedule next when Iowa takes on Oklahoma State.

4. Sammy Brooks
Brooks just gets after it. He has been the most aggressive Iowa wrestler this season, and guys who can get to offense have a great chance of succeeding at the tournament. He has also done a good job of getting turns, although he is not the best at accumulating riding time. There has been a lot of chaos at this weight class so far this season as Gabe Dean was supposed to be the top dog, dropped to seventh, and is now ranked number one again. Brooks lost to Dechow, but he showed that he can hang with the top guys, and he still has the potential to get better as the season goes on and he gets more experience against top competition. He's going to be a tough out for anybody, and although there are no world-beaters, there are a lot of tough guys that he'll have to go through. I'm not saying he can't, but it is going to be tough.

Legitimate Shot
3. Bobby Telford
I'll admit when I formulated this list in my head, I had Telford first, and considering his win at The Midlands and his current #1 ranking, it makes a lot of sense. Telford has wrestled phenomenally this year. Medberry gave him a tough match, but that's the guy currently ranked fifth in the nation. He squeaked by McMullan, who was #1 before dropping a spot from the loss. I think Telford finally wrestled to his potential for the first time last year at the NCAAs, and he has carried that into this year, but every year, he starts out as a dominator of worlds and the aggression fades where he ends up in a lot of 1-0, 2-1. That's not a great recipe for success. He's still got Marsden, Coon, Lawson, and McMullan again before he even gets to the Big Ten Tourney. Those are all guys who are going to wrestle him close. I think there are four guys who have a legit shot with Telford, McMullan, Gwiazdowski, and Coon (who is only 8, but wrestles as good as anybody when he's at the top of his game). I think Telford can beat any of those guys, but I can't guarantee it.

2. Mike Evans
Mike Evans is Iowa's best wrestler. But he's still number two, because the top of 174 is going to be an absolute dogfight. Right now, the rankings would probably work out best for Evans, as I think he has the best chance against Storley, followed by Brown, and then distantly followed by Kokesh who struggled against Evans early in their college careers, but has really taken it to Evans in their most recent matchups. These guys are going to sort out the rankings during the Big Ten season, but anything can happen at the NCAAs, and I think it will be very difficult for the Big Ten champ to repeat two weeks later. Evans not only can beat anybody at this weight, when it comes to the top guys, he has beaten anybody at this weight. Anybody can get hot and wrestle their best out of those guys, which means the Stache could come out on top, or the refs could refuse to call a pin for him in the semifinals again this year...
not that I'm bitter or anything.

1. Cory Clark
The timing of this may make my pick especially surprising, as Clark was just upset by Johnni DiJulius on Sunday. Honestly, it was a great strategy from DiJulius, as he used some funky moves and shoulders that can be put in any position imaginable to build up an early lead and hold on late. I think Clark will figure him out in time for the Big Ten Tournament and have his number if he has to face him at the NCAA Tourney. After that, the biggest thing at this weight class is that there is no dominant wrestler at this weight class. Schopp was number one, but he got upset at the Midlands, and now Dardanes is number one, but he's not a world beater. Cory Clark showed that he can handle the tournament situation with his win at the Midlands, and it's not just a matter of Clark being able to compete with anybody at this weight class, it's that nobody has done anything to be favored against him in future matches for the rest of this season. Before the season, Clark and Gilman said that they would be better than McDonough and Ramos. Those were big words, as those guys accounted for six All-American finishes and three national titles. I have no doubt that those guys will add to the All-American numbers, and if any Hawkeye is going to get an asterisk next to his name, Cory Clark is my pick to do it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Jon Jones, Cocaine, And Greatness

I can't get over how great Jon Jones is. I really thought Daniel Cormier had what it took, but Jon Jones not only beat him; he outwrestled one of the best American wrestlers of the last fifteen years.

If you had asked me to create an ideal fighter eight years ago, I could not have created a fighter as good as Jon Jones. I would have said that the frame and skill-set would not be humanly possible. If you want a great wrestler, you can't have him be long and lanky too, because you need to be a powerhouse to be able to blast through takedowns. I couldn't have given a guy such effective elbow strikes, because elbow strikes that effective have never existed before. And I wouldn't have been able to give the guy that much explosive movement and cardio to last for days, because a guy who explodes into his attacks that much can't possibly do it for 25 minutes.

Jon Jones isn't fair. He's a fighting cheat code.

And now he's in rehab for his issues with cocaine

Honestly, it wouldn't be worrisome for me if it were nearly any other athlete. I have never done cocaine, but there was definitely a time in my life where I would have strongly considered it had it been there. I just hung out with a bunch of cheap drunks as opposed to them high-fallutin coke users. I know plenty of people who have done it and are completely normal guys and gals. The only issue is that Jon Jones seems to think he's invincible. The guy doesn't even entertain the thought that he could lose a fight, and he's proven that it is a preposterous idea. If he takes that attitude to every part of his life, and rumors indicate that he usually does, then it could be a sad ending.

Great athletes with that sort of self-confidence almost always have other vices outside of their sport. Too many to name had women as a vice, Jordan had gambling, and Lawrence Taylor, who may be the best comparison, had serious drug issues. Their belief in themselves is what makes them so great at their sport, but it's also what leads them to these other vices. It's tough to believe you're invincible in one aspect of life and not have it bleed into others.

Jon Jones may come across as a dick, but I want him to get over this drug issue and continue fighting. This is completely selfish on my part as Jon Jones is as good at mixed martial arts as anybody is at anything, and watching that sort of greatness is so rare and wonderful that it would be a shame if it didn't last for as long as he decided to do it.

I can just about guarantee that I will be rooting for his opponent in every single fight he has, but I still want the opportunity to watch him crush my hopes as many times as possible.

Good luck, Jon Jones, this is one fight I'll be hoping you win.