Wednesday, September 28, 2016

2016 NCAA Football Top 25 Rankings (Week Four!)

Tell the Associated Press to take a hike ... these are the only college pigskin rankings you ought to pay any attention to.

By: Jimbo X

This Week's Episode:
"Separating the 'cream' from the 'crap'..."

The A.P.? The USA Today's Coaches Poll? Whatever jibber-jabber is being puked out over at ESPN and Bleacher Report? Puh-leeze, we all know those alleged "Top 25" countdowns are pathetic jokes penned by homers, Power Five loyalists and Notre Dame nuthuggers. That's why I decided to release my own weekly rundown of the best FBS college football squads in the States, completely devoid of all the usual fanboyism and corporate malarkey that makes lists of the like elsewhere so unbelievably annoying.

Throughout the regular season, a new installment will go up every Wednesday morning, so you may want to bookmark this sucker for future reference ... and to show to all of your fellow NCAA football lovin' chums, so they can know that - at least somewhere out in the tangled, endlessly frustrating World Wide Web - there's someone on the Internet with some goddamn horse sense when it comes to ranking college 'ball teams.

Louisville (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Clemson (Oct. 1)

Lamar Jackson's march to the Heisman Trophy continued over the weekend, as he lobbed the rock for five touchdown passes for 417 yards - plus another two rushing touchdowns, for 62 ground yards - in Louisville's commanding 59-28 win over Marshall. But that wasn't the only impressive aspect of the Cardinals during Saturday's one-sided drubbing - their defense also looked very good, holding the Thundering Herd to just 148 rushing yards and only 59 yards passing.

Alabama (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Kentucky (Oct. 1)

Boy, I haven't seen Kent State massacred like that since ... well, uh, never mind. Off-color jokes about hippies getting shot to death by the National Guard aside, you can't help but be impressed by Bama's 48-0 blowout of the Golden Flashes, even if Kent State is like, barely a step-above a really, really good high school football team in terms of overall quality. The Crimson Tide defense certainly shined in the mauling; not only did Nick Saban's boys keep their foes off the scoreboard, they also held both Kent State's passing and rushing offense to a meager 166 yards on the day.

Wisconsin (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Michigan (Oct. 1)

The Badgers' defense held up very, very well in their stellar 30-6 win over the formerly unbeaten Michigan State Spartans last Saturday. Not only did Wisconsin defenders pick off the opposing QB three times, they also held the potent Spartans' run game to only 75 yards. While Wisconsin's passing game and running game didn't exactly put up huge numbers (QB Alex Hornibrook finished the contest with just one TD pass and 195 yards as the entire Badgers' run game wrapped up the contest two scores and 122 cumulative yards), with a defense as solid as theirs, they don't really have to.

Michigan (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Wisconsin (Oct. 1)

Holy dog shit, did the Wolverines have a hell of a running game last Saturday; combined, Michigan racked up an astounding 326 yards and six touchdowns  on the ground en route to a blowout 49-10 win against the Penn State Pedophile Protectors. But don't sleep on the Wolverines' defense, neither; the same way Joe Paterno held information about 30-plus years of heinous child rape from officials, they managed to hold the Nittany Lions to a meager 121 passing yards and just 78 yards rushing.

Ohio State (3-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Rutgers (Oct.1)

The Buckeyes took week four off, with their "big" return game set for this weekend against that much feared, perennial national championship threat ... Rutgers? Eh, expect Ohio State to pretty much sleep their way through the next two weeks, with all eyes firmly focused on the downright HUGE showdown on Wisconsin's home turf Oct. 15. That is, unless Indiana is able to pull of the shocker of the season next weekend (spoiler: no, they most certainly will not.)

Houston (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Connecticut (Sept. 29)

As the final score would allude, Houston's 64-3 mauling of Texas State wasn't much of a football game. Greg Ward, Jr. went 20 for 26 for 289 yards and two touchdown passes (plus 39 rushing yards for another scrambling score) while the Cougars' rushing attack combined for 243 total yards and five touchdown saunters. Defense-wise, Houston absolutely shut down the helpless, hapless and hopeless Bobcats, limiting their foes to a paltry 109 aerial yards and an even paltrier 33 yards on the ground.

Clemson (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs Louisville (Oct.1)

The Tigers' defense absolutely stifled Georgia Tech last Thursday night, holding the Yellow Jackets to a measly 95 rushing yards and an almost Special Olympics caliber 29 passing yards in their 26-7 road win. DeShaun Watson (two touchdowns, one interception and 304 yards on 32 completions) now leads Clemson in their biggest game of the entire season: an ACC championship (and perhaps even National Championship)-determining home stand against the super-duper hot Louisville Cardinals on Saturday night.

Tennessee (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Georgia (Oct. 1)

Well, give the Vols some credit. Down 21-3 at halftime, it looked like the route was on, but somehow, someway, Tennessee managed to make a huge comeback in the second half and bump off SEC East foes Florida 38-28. Joshua Dobbs - for two quarters, at least - played like Jesus himself, concluding the game with four passing touchdowns and 319 yards on 16 completions, plus another scrambling TD and another 80 rushing yards. Also looking good? Tennessee receivers Jauan Jennings and Josh Malone, who finished the contest with a combined 202 yards and two touchdowns.

Stanford (3-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Washington (Sept. 30)

Down 10-6 heading into the fourth, the always singular Cardinal quickly rebounded and put up 16 last quarter points en route to a come from behind 22-13 victory against UCLA. Ryan Burns was just sort of middling (he went 13 for 25 for 137 yards, with a 1:1 TD-to-INT ratio), but you can't say shit about the performance of Stanford's star running back Christian McCaffery, who finished the game with 138 yards on 26 carries.

Texas A&M (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs. South Carolina (Oct. 01)

Sure, you could criticize the Aggies' defense for letting Arkansas put up 371 yards of aerial offense, but Texas A&M's rushing-oriented offense was more than enough to make amends for their poor play against the long-ball. In A&M's 45-24 win, QB Trevor Knight went 12 for 22 for 225 yards and two touchdown passes ... in addition to running like hell for another 157 yards and another two touchdowns. Running back Trayveon Williams also put in a good showing, collecting 153 yards and two end zone visitations on just 12 carries.

Washington (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Stanford (Sept. 30)

It may have taken overtime, but the Huskies nonetheless managed to knock off Arizona 35-28 last Saturday night. Jake Browning (14 for 21, 160 yards and a 2:1 TD-to-INT ratio) had a fairly lackluster day, but the Washington rushing attack (led by Lavon Coleman, with 181 yards and a TD on 11 carries) had a field day (get it?), collecting 352 total ground yards and three touchdowns. Of course, the Huskies also let Arizona run all over them - to the tune of 308 yards - so one can only imagine what Christian McCaffrey might be able to do against this horrible rushing defense.

Baylor (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Iowa State (Oct. 01)

Another week and another impressive offensive showing from America's favorite Baptist university/protectorate of rape enablers. Quarterback Seth Russell lobbed the rock for 387 yards and four touchdowns on 18 passes, with receivers Ishmael Zamora and Chris Platt each recording 100-yard-plus days and two receiving TDs apiece. That said, there were some signs of struggle in the Bears' 35-24 win over arch rivals Oklahoma State; primarily, the fact that Baylor's non-existent D allowed the Cowboys to rack up 213 yards of rushing offense and another 279 receiving.

Miami (3-0)
Next Opponent:vs. Georgia Tech (Oct. 01)

The Hurricanes took a breather in week 4, as they prepare to travel to Atlanta this weekend to do battle with Georgia Tech. In terms of total offense, Miami is slightly subpar, ranking 72nd out of the 128 division I schools. Defensively, however, they are pretty much the best damn team in college football, having allowed opponents thus far in the season to accumulate just 625 yards against them in three outings.

Nebraska (4-0)
Next Opponent:vs. Illinois (Oct.01)

Northwestern was no much for Nebraska, as the Cornhuskers held off the Wildcats 24-13 over the weekend. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong finished the game with 246 passing yards and one aerial touchdown, in addition to picking up another 132 yards with his feet. In total, Nebraska's rushing offense pulled in an impressive 310 yards on the day, which included touchdown ambles from Terrell Newby and Jordan Westerkamp.

Utah (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs. California (Oct. 01)

It was a close one, but the Utes nonetheless managed to hold off the Trojans last weekend, as they beat freefalling USC 31-27. QB Troy Williams had a very good showing, lobbing the pigskin for 270 yards and two TD passes on 21 completions, with wideout Tim Patrick collecting 100 receiving yards on the day and a solo TD.

Arizona State (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs. USC (Oct. 01)

The overachieving Sun Devils remain unbeaten with their 51-41 shootout win over Cal. While Arizona State's pass defense absolutely sucked (they let Davis Webb throw five aerial touchdowns and pick up 478 throwing yards in the contest), their run game saved the day, with quarterback Manny Wilkins scrambling like crazy en route to a 72-yard-rushing, three walk-in touchdown performance.

West Virginia (3-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Kansas State (Oct. 01)

Don't look now, but the Mountaineers are actually playing like a team that don't suck. West Virginia showed plenty of moxie, spunk and pluck in their 35-32 win over the Stormin' Mormons of Brigham Young (fun fact: Mormons still think black people are black because God hates them) with QB Skyler Howard lobbing the rock for 332 yards and a solo TD strike, while talented receiver Shelton Gibson finished the wild and woolly contest with an impressive 144 yards on just four receptions.

Boise State (3-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Utah State (Oct. 01)

The blue-fielders pounded the Beavers this past weekend like angry porn stars, as Boise State rolled to a fairly facile 38-24 victory over Oregon State (i.e., the team from Oregon that doesn't cosplay as Donald Duck during regular season games.) The star of the show definitely had to be Broncos running back Jeremy McNichols, who concluded the contest with 208 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries.

San Diego State (3-0)
Next Opponent: vs. South Alabama (Oct. 01)

Following a week four bye, the Aztecs do battle with the Jaguars of South Alabama (really, are jaguars even indigenous to that part of the country?) Offensively, SDSU is one of the weaker teams in the nation (they rank 104 out of 128) but their defense - tied for 27, alongside Louisville - is actually fairly underrated.

Navy (3-0)
Next Opponent: Air Force (Oct. 01)

Taking a knee (the good kind, not the one meant to symbolize hating America), the Midshipmen spent week four watching college ball instead of playing it. Expect a very run-oriented affair when Navy clashes with fellow unbeaten Air Force this weekend, seeing as how the two teams, respectively, are ranked 18th and 5th in the nation in terms of total running yards collected.

Air Force (3-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Navy (Oct. 01)

The Falcons squeezed past Utah State over the weekend, besting the Aggies 27-20. The stats from the game give you a pretty good idea of where the team excels and where they absolutely, utterly suck as a college football program. The total rushing yards posted by Air Force? A stellar 213. And the total passing yards they allowed? A downright laughable 372.

Wake Forest (4-0)
Next Opponent: vs. N.C. State (Oct. 01)

Yes, perennial ACC bottom dwellers Wake freakin' Forest officially have a better football record than Florida State. Granted, we here at The Internet Is In America don't exactly believe that the Demon Deacons would be competitive up against Clemson, Louisville or Miami, but still ... Georgia, Notre Dame, Texas, Oklahoma and even good old FSU have got digits on the "L" side of the win-loss column, while Wake Forest - for another week, at least - features nothing but goose egg.

Minnesota (3-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Penn State (Oct. 01)

There are a lot of still unbeaten teams in the Big 10, and surprisingly, quite a few of them aren't in the same division alongside Ohio State and Michigan. The Golden Gophers are almost a lock to be a favorite against the Penn State Child Rapist Defenders this weekend, but one has to wonder just how well the team is suited for upcoming games against Iowa and Maryland. And hey, speaking of Maryland...

Maryland (3-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Purdue (Oct. 01)

Yeah, that's right, the Terrapins are another unexpectedly unbeaten team heading into week five. Currently, Maryland ranks 98 out of 128 in terms of total offense, but their defense - currently ranked 24th in the nation - is technically better than the D's of Wisconsin or Alabama. Yeah, let that shit sink in for a moment.

Memphis (3-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Ole Miss (Oct. 01)

Much like Dr. Dre circa 1999, everybody has seemingly forgotten about Memphis. Remember last season, when everyone was sucking their proverbial dicks and touting them as the next major SEC powerhouse? Well, much to Memphis' chagrin, all of that non-Power Five adulation and adoration has instead been hoisted upon their AAC rivals Houston, and needless to say, the still loss-less Tigers are mighty miffed about such. Then again, if Memphis can knock off Ole Miss this Saturday, something tells me the Tigers bandwagon may need to reinforce its axle...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

LIVE Play-By-Play from Week 3's Raiders vs. Titans Game!

The never-ending quest for a record above .500 continues...

By: Jimbo X
Join the Internet Is In America on Sunday, Sept. 25 for our LIVE play-by-play (well, more like possession-by-possession, but that shit is deathly for SEO) coverage of week 3's Raiders vs. Titans game. The shenanigans begin at noon eastern time (with updates every commercial break) so be sure to bookmark this shit before kickoff. And as always, do us and yourselves a kindness and let all your fellow Raiders fans know what we're up to by posting links to our coverage on your social media pages. Hey, we're all in this together, remember (#silverandblacklivesmatter)...
11:10 a.m. - All right, looks like there is another sale at Publix this week. Which means, of course, I might make it in before the 1 p.m. kickoff, and I might not

11:30 a.m. - That said, I did get a pretty awesome feta, spinach and tomato omelet this morning. That may make up for missing the first quarter, won't it?

11:48 a.m. - The Raiders are 2 point favorites and the over/under is 47. Matt McCants and Austin Howard are both out for today's contest. Taiwan Jones, David Amerson and Menelik Watson are all questionable.

11:49 a.m. - For the Titans, Kendall Wright, Derrick Morgan and Delanie Walker are all questionable, and Chance Warmack is on injury reserve.

1:24 p.m. - Well, I'm back from grocery shopping. No clue what the score is, though.

1:26 p.m. - OK, it is 7-3 Raiders. With the Raiders currently 2 and 10 at their own 10. And Tennessee takes a timeout with 5:41 left in the first quarter.

1:29 p.m. - Lee Smith gets about four. Third and six.

1:30 p.m. - Crabtree easily picks up eight yards for another first down.

1:30 p.m. - Richard with a two yard run. Flag down. Holding against the Raiders. 

1:32 p.m. - Second and 17. Walford with a couple on the catch and run. 

1:33 p.m. - Richard about a yard short of a new set of downs on 3rd and 11. Flag down.

1:34 p.m. - Hold in the back on Rodney Hudson. Titans turn it down, so Marquette King comes out to punt. The ball goes out of bounds around the TEN 30.

1:36 p.m. - First and 10. Incomplete pass.

1:37 p.m. - Second and 10. Mack puts pressure on Mariota, so he throws it away. 

1:38 p.m. - And a holding call against TEN. That makes it second and 20. 

1:38 p.m. - TEN back crushed behind the line. 

1:39 p.m. - Third and 19. Tennessee is well short of the first down marker. Time to punt. 

1:40 p.m. - Titans going for it on 4th and 3. And it's an offsides call ... AGAINST Tennessee. 

1:40 p.m. - And the Titans punt. Richard goes down around the OAK 25. And that's the end of the first quarter.

1:41 p.m. - Third and five for OAK. Carr under pressure, but he manages to connect with Cooper for a new set of downs.

1:44 p.m. - Quick pass to Roberst and the Raiders get 8 yards.

1:45 p.m. - No huddle for OAK. Crabtree with an easy catch to move the markers.

1:45 p.m. - And Cooper doesn't come down with the big pickup. Second and 10.

1:46 p.m. - Carr has to scramble, he may have lost a yard. Ten yard holding call against Rodney Hudson. 

1:47 p.m. - Second and 20. Now third and 15. No dice. Fourth and 15, so Marquette King comes out.

1:49 p.m. - And the Titans fair catch it at their own 15.

1:50 p.m. - And the TEN back is stuffed WAY behind the line. A four yard loss.

1:52 p.m. - Second and 14. And DJ Hayden CREAMS the receiver at the line.

1:52 p.m. - Third and 13. Mariota on the run, he goes down a few yards shy of the first down marker AND HE FUMBLES THE BALL. Raiders have it in the TEN red zone!

1:53 p.m. - Carr with a deep TD strike to Walford, but a flag against OAK recalls it.

1:55 p.m. - It was on Donald Penn. All right, first and 20. 

1:56 p.m. - Oakland takes a timeout.

1:58 p.m. - Still 1st and 20. Seth Roberts bobbles it.

1:59 p.m. - Second and 20 at the TEN 35.

1:59 p.m. - Murray gets dropped around the line. Third and long coming up.

2:00 p.m. - Third and 19. Incomplete to Crabtree. Here comes Sea-bass. 

2:01 p.m. - A 52 yard attempt. It is good. Raiders take extend their lead to 10-3.

2:02 p.m. - TEN begins their next possession at their own 25.

2:04 p.m. - Matthews a few yards short of the first down marker.

2:04 p.m. - Second and two. Derrick Henry moves the chains. 

2:05 p.m. - A flag against OAK, but TEN declines and takes the first down.

2:05 p.m. - Second and 4. Henry probably runs enough for another set of downs.

2:06 p.m. - First and 10, near midfield. Henry gets four, maybe five on an end-around.

2:07 p.m. - Second and 7. And the back is crushed a good two yards behind the line.

2:08 p.m. - Third and nine. And Amerson breaks up the pass to bring up fourth down. 

2:09 p.m. - TEN punts. T.J. Carrie fair catches it at the OAK 8.

2:11 p.m. - False start on OAK pushes them back to their own 3.

2:12 p.m. - First and 15. Andre Holmes slips a tackle and collects a couple on the sideline catch and run.

2:13 p.m. - Second and 6. Murray doesn't get far at all.

2:13 p.m. - Still third and 6. Cooper with a 17 yard gain!

2:14 p.m. - First and ten at the OAK 30. And that takes us to the two minute warning.

2:16 p.m. - Second and 8. Washington with a 30 yard run to put OAK well into TEN territory.

2:18 p.m. - Menelik Watson is down. OAK charged a timeout.

2:19 p.m. - In comes a seventh round pick for OAK's right offensive guard. And Washington goes 14 yards down the middle for ANOTHER Raiders first down.

2:21 p.m. - Second and five. TOUCHDOWN RAIDERS!

2:22 p.m. - Seth Roberts takes it down the sideline for a 20 yard end zone visitation. Sea-bass is automatic and the Raiders lead this one 17-3. 

2:23 p.m. - TEN begins their next possession at their own 25. Mariota slides after an eight yard scramble. 

2:25 p.m. - Third and 2 with eight seconds left in the second. 


2:27 p.m. - And the Raiders have three seconds left on the clock. But the clock operator started the clock late ... which means the Raiders are effectively screwed out of three seconds of offensive time.

2:29 p.m. - And that is it for the first half. The Raiders maintain a 17-3 lead.

2:31 p.m. - The Raiders currently have 135 passing yards, while Tennessee only has 86. OAK has a slight rushing yardage lead over the Titans, 84-66.

2:32 p.m. - Defensively, this is the best the Raiders have looked all season long. They have held the Titans to just 152 yards of total offense, in addition to forcing two turnovers.

2:44 p.m. - Second and 8 for OAK at their own 10. Cooper looks to have enough for the first.

2:45 p.m. - And it is called a first down. Oakland takes an early timeout.

2:46 p.m. - Murray stopped a little after the line.

2:46 p.m. - Second and 9. Derek Carr avoids getting sacked a million times and hits Crabtree for a 28-yard gain.

2:47 p.m. - OAK at midfield. Murray gets about two yards on first down.

2:48 p.m. - Second and 8. Washington with about six on the carry.

2:49 p.m. - Third and 3. Olawale stopped behind around the line of scrimmage. 

2:49 p.m. - Marquette King out to punt. And it looks like TEN will start the next drive around their own 10.

2:51 p.m. - DeMarco Murray with a five yard run.

2:52 p.m. - Murray runs close to midfield on a 36-yard run.

2:53 p.m. - Henry carries the ball into OAK territory.

2:54 p.m. - Second and 7. Murray with about three yards gained.

2:54 p.m. - Third and three. 

2:55 p.m. - Mariota throws a floater under pressure and his receiver reels it in within the OAK 20.

2:57 p.m. - TEN in the red zone. First and goal. Touchdown Titans. 

2:59 p.m. - DeMarco Murray with the 10-yard rushing TD. The extra point is good. That makes it 17-10, Raiders.

3:01 p.m. - OAK will begin their next drive at their own 25. 

3:04 p.m. - Well, my feed went to shit for that entire possession. Apparently, it was a 3 and out for the Raiders. So fuck me.

3:09 p.m. - First and ten for TEN at their own 25. Deep shot for Andre Johnson is way overthrown.

3:10 p.m. - Second and 10. Murray gets about five.

3:10 p.m. - Third and five. Mariota under pressure and he winds up throwing it away. Here comes the Tennessee punting unit.

3:12 p.m. -  And the Raiders take over at their own 10. Clive Walford reels in a 20 yard catch to put OAK at their own 30.

3:12 p.m. - First and 10. Washington gets one, maybe two yards on a carry.

3:13 p.m. - Second and nine. Incomplete pass to Roberts.

3:14 p.m. - Third and nine. And Carr is sacked for only the second time this season.

3:15 p.m. - Fourth and 13. Time to punt. 

3:15 p.m. - Flag down. Holding on the receiving team, so the Titans will begin at their own 10. 

3:16 p.m. -  Henry with a 13 yard gain.

3:17 p.m. - Murray gets one, maybe two yards up the middle.

3:17 p.m. - Second and 8. Mariota sacked, but it looks like it is offsides against OAK. 

3:18 p.m. - And that is the end of the third. OAK still leads, 17-10.

3:20 P.M. - Murray takes it to the TEN 40. 


3:22 p.m. - Raiders take over at midfield. Crabtree pushes into the TEN 40.

3:23 p.m. - Cooper overthrown on a long bomb.

3:23 p.m. - Second and 10. And Avary Williamson gets an INT off a deflection. 

3:25 p.m. - No pass inference call, although it really should have been.

3:26 p.m. - Second and 4 for TEN at their own 30. Murray gets a first down.

3:27 p.m. - Murray gets to the 43 yard line. Offsides call against Khalil Mack. 

3:28 p.m. - First and 5. Henry pushed out of bounds around midfield.

3:29 p.m. - And a holding call against TEN. 

3:29 p.m. - First and 15 for the Titans. DJ Hayden kills the back way behind the line.

3:30 p.m. - Second and 20. Incomplete pass by Mariota. 

3:31 p.m. - Third and 20. And David Amerson bats it away. Titans have gotta' punt.

3:31 p.m. - Richard goes down at the 25. Ten minutes left in the fourth quarter.

3:33 p.m. - First and 10 for OAK. Washington goes down at the line of scrimmage.

3:34 p.m. - Second and 9. An incompletion and a flag is down.

3:35 p.m. - Against OAK. Illegal formation. Second and 14.

3:36 p.m. - Crabtree with a 31 yard reception puts OAK well into TEN territory.

3:36 p.m. - Holton gains one on an end-around.

3:37 p.m. - Searcy, a TEN safety, is down. That's a timeout.

3:39 p.m. - Second and 8. Richard gets a couple.

3:40 p.m. - Third and five. And Cooper drops what would've been enough for a first down. 

3:41 p.m. - King punts. And TEN will start the next drive at their own 12.

3:43 p.m. - Murray takes it up the gut for nine.

3:44 p.m. - Murray takes it to the TEN 25.


3:45 p.m. - Second and 12. Henry takes it to the 30 yard line.

3:46 p.m. - Third and six. Incomplete pass. Titans have to punt.

3:47 p.m. - Richard takes it to the OAK 25.

3:48 p.m. - Richard gains about eight.

3:49 p.m. - Second and 2. Richard runs it up the gut. And that is enough to move the chains.

3:49 p.m. - Cooper out of bounds on a deep throw.

3:50 p.m. - Second and 10. Richard struggles to get back to the line.

3:51 p.m. - Third and nine. TEN takes a timeout with 3:12 to go.

3:51 p.m. - And Crabtree reels in the first down on a sideline catch.

3:52 p.m. - Murray runs for about three.

3:53 p.m. - Second and 7. Murray takes it to the TEN 46. Titans call a timeout with 2:16 on the clock.

3:54 p.m. - Third and five. Murray runs it down the gut. It is fourth and one. And that is the two minute warning.

3:56 p.m. - Raiders punt. Titans will begin the next drive at their own 25, with 1:51 to go.

3:58 p.m. - Matthews in bound. TEN at their own 30. Douglas reels it in at midfield for 25 yards.

3:58 p.m. - Sharpe takes it for 23 yards and TEN is nearing the OAK red zone.

3:59 p.m. - Sharpe down at the OAK 4. But there is a flag.

3:59 p.m. - 15-yard unnecessary roughness call against Tennessee. 

4:01 p.m. - Fifty-one seconds left. First and 10 for TEN. Mariota throws it away. 

4:01 p.m. - Second and 10. Murray gets to the 12 yard line. And Andre Johnson reels in a TD pass...

4:02 p.m. - ...but it is pass interference against Johnson!

4:02 p.m. - Third and 15. Murray down to the 12 yard line. A fourth down situation coming up, with 14 seconds left on the clock.

4:04 p.m. - And Harry Douglas cannot reel it in. The Raiders take over on downs. 

4:05 p.m. - And Derek Carr takes a knee and elects to run out the clock. Oakland's D came in when it counted, and the Raiders improve to 2-1 on the season.

4:07 p.m. - Our final score in Nashville? The Raiders 17, the Titans 10. I fuckin' love football sometimes.

Friday, September 23, 2016

B-Movie Review: 'House II: The Second Story' (1987)

Featuring zombie cowboys, pterodactyls, a cameo from Bill Maher and Cliff from Cheers sword-fighting virgin-sacrificing Mayans, it's easily one of the greatest terrible horror movies of the 1980s and yes, you do need to see it.

By: Jimbo X

Blame it on WATL-36. 

Growing up, that was the local Fox affiliate. From 8 p.m. until 10 p.m., they showed all the usual programming – Married…with ChildrenThe Simpsons, Sightings, what have you – but beyond their Saturday morning and afternoon cartoon blocks, pretty much everything else on the channel was winged together with whatever the studio had laying around. For the most part, this meant endless reruns of M*A*S*H and Webster, but on Saturday afternoons? Buddy, that was go-time for eight straight hours of pure-D, unadulterated, B-movie sleaze. 

Of course, WATL periodically showed legitimately solid genre offerings, like Predator and some of the better Elm Street movies. However, the bulk of their film library consisted of super-obscure, outsiders-need-not-apply exploitation flicks like Reform School Girls and Dead End Drive-InAnd it was there that I was first introduced to what would become one of my lifelong passions – crappy horror movies.

So are giant mole-shark dinosaurs from
the Triassic or Jurassic period?
Oh, WATL showed some “good ‘uns” over the years. Who could ever forget The Pit (as an aside, reportedly one of Adam Lanza’s favorite movies), about a weirdo kid whose best friend was a troll that lived in a sinkhole in his backyard? Or what about Ghoulies II (a Gremlins rip-off about stop-motion clay midget monsters puking Gorilla Glue on carnival attendees), or Slugsthe all-time ecological horror classic featuring a scene where a dude barfs his intestines up in a ritzy restaurant 'cause he accidentally ate lettuce with irradiated snail in it, or Killer Klowns from Outer Space, which was about … well, take a guess?

Even now, I can recite the “viewer discretion is strongly advised” warning bumper that played before each movie returned from commercial break. Granted, “the following film contains graphic scenes that are intense, and in some cases, violent” isn’t quite as iconic an Atlanta cultural meme as “ask for the Wolfman” or “for the best car insurance rates in town, call 1-800-GENERAL now,” but if you grew up in the Dogwood City in the early 1990s, it was nonetheless a crucial part of your lexicon. 

Of all the subpar, substandard (and potentially subversive?) films WATL screened on regular rotation, probably the one I enjoyed the most was House II: The Second Story. Never heard of it? Well, you really ought to, as its one of the absolute best movies that sucks ever filmed. It’s a total masterpiece (of crap) on par with the absolute titans of regressive cinema, a’la The Story of Ricky and The Curse. Absolutely everything about the movie is irredeemably stupid, but it winds up being such a fun, genre-melding experience that you can’t help but enjoy every minute of the goofy, nonsensical ride. When it comes to cinematic guilty pleasures, very few movies will make you feel as guilty – albeit regrettably pleased – as this one. 

So yeah, Bill Maher has pretty much always had the world's most punchable face.

Despite the fact the film has the number two in it (and judging from some of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, it looks like there are a lot of people out there who think the film itself is a bunch of number two), the film has virtually nothing to do with the first House, which came out in 1986. Whereas that movie was about a writer whose Vietnam War and post-divorce traumas physically manifest themselves into monsters (trust me, the execution is nowhere near as good as the premise deserved), House II concerns itself with a bunch of yuppies who unknowingly resurrect a zombie cowboy who, in turn, transforms their new abode into a gateway to the multiverse. And from there? It’s absolute bedlam, folks, with Claymation catfish dinosaurs, barbarian warriors and Cliff from Cheers showing up for no reason at all to sword fight druids. 

Yeah, making rhyme and reason out of this one is going to be an uphill task, but at least let me make an effort to encapsulate what this criminally unheralded reverse magnum opus is all about. 

The film begins with a flashback to the 1920s, with a couple in a huge mansion forced to give their baby away to some shadowy gunslinger with a voice like Lemmy from Motorhead. He says he wants “a skull” of some kind, and when they don’t comply, he blows both ma and pa away with his six shooter. From there, we jump ahead to the late 1980s, where a Nic Cage lookalike named Jesse and his gal pal Kate (played by that chick who portrayed the psychic girl in the seventh Jason movie) are moving into the same gigantic residence. They rummage through some old photo books and hear the mysterious sounds of spurs echoing down the hallway, but of course, they never bother investigating it. Some of their yuppie pals show up for a housewarming party, and everybody gets sloshed and Jazzercises. Following the introduction of a subplot about a recording contract, we get a little bit of exposition on the rivalry between Jesse’s great-great grandfather and a conniving cowboy named Slim Razor. Upon learning that his great, great grandpappy was buried out back with what may or may not be a magical Aztec skull that grants its possessor eternal life, Jesse and his best bud do what any reasonable sorts would: they grab a couple of shovels and decide to do some midnight exhuming. 

No wonder Cliff was always such a sourpuss after work!

Well, there’s just one hitch in the plan: apparently, great, great grandpa ain’t all that dead yet, and he immediately springs out of his coffin and scares the poo out of everybody with his ghastly zombie face. After the diggers announce that they are related to him, however, the undead dude quickly changes his tune, yanks off his skeletal mask and embraces his great-great-grandson. Gramps, as he is affectionately called, is shocked to realize he’s turned into a “170-year-old fart,” so his much younger descendant comforts him … by letting him drive his ’86 Alpha-Romeo Spider drunk. 

Following an out of nowhere lecture on the perils of ozone depletion, the president of Heretic Records shows up at Jesse’s doorsteps – and he’s played by, of all people, BILL MAHER. In the basement, Gramps plays with Kleenex and calls Ronald Reagan “a pansy.” He gets bored, though, so he decides to show up at the Halloween party upstairs, where he proceeds to cut a rug and impress everybody who is oblivious to the fact that he’s the living dead. Meanwhile, Jesse runs into his ex-girlfriend, but before the plot can thicken, an Aztec pro ‘rassler (who, for some reason, is whiter than lite mayonnaise) steals the magical skull and slaps Kate around, and all of a sudden, the entire room transforms into a literal jungle, complete with Play-Doh dinosaurs. After the Aztec warrior is eaten by … something … another stop-motion animation pterodactyl swoops in and steals the skull, which, along with this weird half puppy, half caterpillar chimera, start wreaking havoc all over the house (which, for the sake of maintaining continuity, hasn’t entirely been turned into a prehistoric war zone.)

I don't know what this puppy-caterpillar hybrid
is more: adorable or edible
After a great scene where Gramps feeds the cater-puppy beer in a baby’s bottle, (and an even better gag where Jesse tries to hide the pterodactyl from Bill Maher in a closet, only to open it and reveal his totally tanked ex), he’s attacked by another gaggle of Aztecs. This goads the new homeowners to call electrician John Ratzenberger, who quickly identifies their problem – “looks like you’ve got some kind of alternate dimension in there.” He then walks through a wall and, what do you know, looks like there’s a virgin sacrifice in progress. For absolutely no explicable reason whatsoever, Cliff breaks out a sword and dispatches the druids one by one. He promptly exits the film, but not before giving the protagonists a business card describing himself as “electrician and adventurer.” 

Then, the two yuppie pals, their zombie grandpa, a caterpillar puppy-dog and the cavewoman they just rescued gather 'round the dinner table for a family meal. But aww fiddlesticks, that evil old cowboy from the intro just pops out of the table, and he’s a zombie, too, and he steals the would-be sacrifice and Jesse says that is e-nough, straps on a bandolero and decides to go gunning after Slim hisself. 

Eventually, he finds the right alternate reality portal (so, yes, in a way, you can say that Super Mario 64 kind of stole its premise from this movie) and it’s a spooky Wild West ghost town, complete with stop-motion skeleton horses. While Jesse and Slim prepare for a final showdown, the po-po show up in “reality” and a huge SWAT situation unfurls. Eventually, Jesse manages to literally blow Slim’s head off, but in the chaos, gramps ends up re-dying, and a headless Slim makes one final putsch, but since a Waco-style fire had ensued from the SWAT standoff, it’s pretty safe to say that he was likely incinerated in the conflagration … or was he? 

And the film concludes with Jesse, his new slave girl gal pal, the cater-puppy and the pterodactyl hitching up a wagon in the same Wild West alternate universe as before, so they can give gramps a proper burial. And that, folks, is the end of the line.

Granted, James Hetfield circa 1991 holding a $5 souvenir from a Panama City, Fla. bong shop ain't exactly on par with Jason or Chucky, but hey, it still beats The Leprechaun, don't it?

You know, I’ve reviewed some downright bizarre movies over the years, but I don’t think I’ve ever been as awed by the abject absurdity of ANY movie I’ve summarized as House II. And remember: this is coming from a guy who has done the play-by-play for a movie about black, homosexual aliens on a mission to eradicate all earth women and a jihadist musical about Islamofascist terrorists on a mission to kill Salmon Rushdie

You know that part in Superman III where Richard Pryor, visibly high on cocaine, runs around with a dinner table cover doing the worst impersonation of the Man of Steel in recorded history? Well, that’s pretty much the plot of House II – it kinda, sorta has a direction, but it’s all over the place and you don’t know whether to groan, chuckle nervously or feel worried about the mental health of the person responsible for it. It’s just such a late 1980s product, the kind of ephemera that’s so glibly unaware of its own cheesiness and spasticity. I’m pretty sure if you stuffed the VHS tape into a glass vial and smoke it, you’d get high as fuck.

Granted, the big appeal of House II is that it is such a major cringe-fest. At the same time, however, it’s an undeniably fun cringe-fest, which literally throws everything and the kitchen sink at you. This is the kind of film you watch with an extra-large pineapple pizza on the couch beside you, with a frosty glass of Mr. Pibb sitting on the coffee table sans a coaster, preferably while in a tattered t shirt and your boxers at noon on a Saturday, casually remarking “yep, that’s fucked up,” as the illogical madness unfurls before you. You can say it’s the kind of slothful behavior you are “above,” but by golly, as soon as this movie gets its hooks into you, you pretty much revert back to being the world’s most idle eight-year-old. 

The film was directed and written by a guy named Ethan Wiley, who actually got his start as a puppeteer for movies like Gremlins and Return of the Jedi. With that in mind, all of the stop-motion critters included in the film, I suppose, make a lot more sense. Strangely enough, the film’s two primary protagonists were played by guys who would go on to have pretty big connections with Ellen DeGeneres. Arye Gross, who played Jesse, would go on to star as Ellen’s sidekick on her eponymous 1990s ABC program, while Jonathan Stark, who played best pal Charlie, was actually the co-writer for the episode where Ellen came out of the closet. You really don’t need me to fill you in on what Maher and Ratzenberger have been up to since the film was released in 1987 – meanwhile, Gramps actor Royal Dano died in 1994, co-female lead Amy Yasbeck went on to star in the Problem Child movies and Lar Park Lincoln has been battling cancer since 2008. Well, shit, that was more depressing than I thought it was going to be … especially the part about the Problem Child movies. 

As for the House franchise, it kept chugging along, although none of the follow-ups continued the story arc set up in numero dos. The next film wasn’t even officially called House III – instead, it was called The Horror Show and had pretty much the exact same plot as Shocker, even though it came out a few months earlier. I have only the vaguest recollections of House IV, which was kind of a reboot of the first movie, except for this one part where an evil dude makes another guy chug toxic waste … which, much to my disappointment, didn’t turn him into a Ninja Turtle. Also, Marvel somehow managed to make a comic book adaptation of the film, which yeah, was probably all kinds of terrible. 

Of course, it’s hard to not look back at House II and not be tainted by the fog of nostalgia. It’s a bad movie in just about every category you can think of – plot, acting, editing, special effects and probably even catering – but it’s still just a hoot to sit through. It’s dumb and it hardly makes any sense and there’s nothing even remotely scary about it, but all of that lameness somehow jells into a perfect slime mold of temporal silliness. It does such an expert job of capturing the asininity of the times that, in hindsight, it almost feels like a strangely self-cognizant satire of late 1980s horror movies (an attribute that got it a passing mention in Scream 2, it must be said.) In the pantheon of idiotic genre films, very, very few movies do as good a job summing up everything that made the time frame such a great epoch for terrible movies. House II unquestionably sucks, but it sucks in the best way possible: it’s a self-parody that isn’t hung up on how much smarter it is than the fare it's making fun of, a film that can be enjoyed as both a caustic condemnation of the banality and lack of ambition in horror movies from the era as well as a celebration of their free-spiritedness, chaotic energy and total lack of airy sophistication.

There are certainly much better “good” genre movies from the era and there are certainly much worse “bad” genre movies, as well. But as far as good “bad” genre movies from the heyday of Dokken and the Sega Master System? There ain’t that many that do a better job of being good at being bad than House II

And if none of that makes any sense to you – clearly, you never grew up in Reagan’s America.