New Year's Eve Skull Session

By D.J. Byrnes on December 31, 2014 at 6:00 am
darryl baldwin, da boss

Here's a final hot take for 2014: New Year's Eve is bad.

I used to think it was good, but then I realized it's overpriced and overcrowded with amateurs who only drink three times a year. Those things are two standbys in bad nights out on the town.

"No thanks," says this hermit. You can find me in my eastside apartment tonight, tending to my cats and playing Destiny and FIFA on the ol' XBox One. (Add me if you want: "Marionaire.") If things get wild, I might let my cats sip on a little chocolate milk.

New Year's Day isn't much of a holiday for me, anyway, considering I have to mentally and physically prepare myself for Ohio State's waxing of Alabama (and also provide #content for the masses). In the end, it's for the best. After all, it's a lot harder to get arrested if you don't leave your living room.

Speaking of getting arrested: Don't end up in jail. Sure, there are worse ways to start 2015 than hungover on a staph-infected floor of a county jailhouse, but it's not an optimal way to begin the new year.

ICYMI: Yesterday was the Sugar Bowl's media day. Patrick, Tim, and the Lord of Whispers fought-off their crippling Bourbon Street hangovers to bring y'all top-of-the-line coverage. Some highlights:

CARDALE A MAN OF MANY MONIKERS. Nothing I love more than a good street moniker — for example, I only know this one Marionaire by the alias "Malt Liquor" and it's one of the best things — and  in a wide-ranging and entertaining interview given by safety Tyvis Powell, we found out the team almost exclusively refuses to call Cardale by his government name:

"Dolo-Dale" ... and there are Ohio State "fans" who don't expect Cardale Jones to roll back the Tide in a Biblical fashion? It's getting more appalling by the day.

By the way, where do I send my $5 to make this happen?:

SABAN REGRETS NOT HIRING MEYER. Urban Meyer called Nick Saban's wife once upon a time, and Urban Meyer joked yesterday that sounded a lot worse than what transpired.

Here's the most interesting tidbit to come from Saban's appearance at yesterday's media soiree, from the Associated Press' Paul Newberry:

After her husband landed his first head coaching job at Toledo in 1990, Terry Saban took a call from a young graduate assistant looking to break into the coaching game.

When Nick Saban got home that night, his wife said, "I talked to a really interesting guy today, Urban Meyer. I really do think you should talk to him."

Saban never did.

"Obviously, that was a huge mistake on my part," the Alabama coach says now.

Wow, "What if Nick Saban had listened to his wife and hired Urban Meyer in 1990?" becomes a classic "What if?" in the sport. I think it also speaks to how driven Urban Meyer is to succeed. Him being at the summit of the sport is no coincidence.  

Just another reason to listen to your wife, who is a lot smarter than you, by the way.

A KEY MATCHUP TO WATCH. Matt Hinton of Grantland and @smartfootball is one of my favorite X's and O's football writer, and he dropped a tome of information (on both matchups) heading into tomorrow's playoffs.

Here's Hinton's look at one of the most important matchups in the Sugar Bowl:

Mano a Mano: Alabama OL Austin Shepherd vs. Ohio State DE Joey Bosa. Shepherd, a two-year starter at right tackle, has seen his fair share of first-rate pass-rushers in the SEC, still home to the most daunting concentration of raw speed off the edge. And Alabama’s line as a whole has been solid, if not as physically dominant as past Bama fronts, joining Oklahoma as the only O-lines nationally that ranked among the top 10 in both Adjusted Line Yards (a measure for run blocking) and Adjusted Sack Rate; Bama quarterback Blake Sims was the best-protected passer in the conference.

Against Bosa, though, Shepherd is planning to spend most of his nightacross from arguably the most complete, disruptive defensive lineman in the nation, a unanimous All-American who emerged this season — as a true sophomore, no less — as the heir apparent to J.J. Watt.3 As Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin put it on Monday, Bosa “is an issue”: At 6-foot-5, 278 pounds, he’s the rare three-down end capable of holding up against the run as effectively as he gets after the passer, and (along with senior defensive tackle Michael Bennett) he threatens to detonate a handful of plays in every game in both capacities. If Shepherd and his colossal counterpart on the left side, true freshman Cameron Robinson, can’t keep Sims as clean as they have for most of the year, the Buckeyes are more than capable of turning pressure into turnovers in short order.

Could you imagine blocking Joey Bosa for sixty minutes, play after play? Would be brutal.

Austin Shepherd starts at Alabama so he's a talent... but I do not envy him tomorrow night. 

RAW VIDEO MASH-UP. Big Ten Network dropped a nice, quick video featuring some soundbytes from Ohio State players during their media appearances:

BTN's work is a lot more interesting than ESPN's, which for some reason sent a NASCAR analyst to ask questions usually found in a Seventeen interview.

STILL CRYING OVER THIS VINE. With the Harbaugh Era officially underway at Michigan, this Vine from Ben Jones almost sent me to the hospital:

ARRRRRRRRGHH!!!111111 Lolololol. I don't know why that kills me, but it does.

(Please don't ruin the hilarity of this Vine by reminding me the Big Ten West doesn't care about its second-class status within the conference.)

THOSE WMDs. Here's how Facebook reinvented itself in 2014... An in-depth, balanced analysis of Chip Kelly after two years in the NFL... How Jon Jones became the baddest dude on the planet... Yes, this is Hulk Hogan in JNCOs in the 90s... Alabama's kicker has a stress fracture in his back... Still a Top 10 Tweet.

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