Brother v. Brother: Crazy about the Mad Hatters; TCU? Not so much

Everyone has an arch nemesis. Mine just happens to be my older brother. But our mutual hatred (okay, maybe that's an exaggeration) has led to many an entertaining discussion through the years. And because much of the debate has centered on college sports, it seems only appropriate we take these debates to the blogosphere to settle them once and for all. (I mean, who wouldn't want public affirmation that Big Bro's always wrong and I'm always right?) Here's your weekly ATQ Blogger Debate, affectionately known as Sh*t My Brother Says.

GrumpyJDH: So I noticed, Paully, you've kicked things off pretty much every week since we started this little virtual tete-a-tete. I know the blog was your idea and you wrote the intro and you're impossibly insecure and all that, but...how about giving Big Bro a chance to get the first jab in for once, huh? Here goes: what were you thinking going against the Horned Frogs? No, that's not the first question of the week. It's my way of saying don't quit your day job and move to Vegas anytime soon.

PaulSF: Touché, broseph. Is this the part where I change the subject to your abysmal fantasy football team? I won't go there. Yes, I picked Utah to beat TCU. Yes, I was absolutely wrong. Maybe it was wishful thinking. Maybe I wanted one of our new Pac-12 members to finish its tenure as a non-AQ team with a bang. Alas, I didn't get my wish. TCU looked absolutely dominant in their 47-7 win over the Utes. And now that Alabama lost to LSU, there's a decent chance we're playing the Horned Frogs in the National Championship, rather than an SEC team.

GrumpyJDH: Well, since you went there and begged that doozy of a question, here's a follow-up: (1) would it be a good thing or a bad thing for the Ducks to face a non-AQ school if we make it to Glendale?

PaulSF: What do sex, pizza, and national title opponents have in common, Joe? Even when they're bad, they're still pretty damned good. Obviously, playing an SEC opponent like Auburn would be my first choice. But TCU is no doubt a worthy adversary. Besides, why quibble over who we're going to play in the national championship? It's the national championship, Joe!! I think I'll be content with whatever the BCS system throws at us.

GrumpyJDH: My little brother, ladies and gentleman: a man of discriminating tastes. There's no doubt in my mind the boys from Fort Worth would prove to be up for the challenge; nevertheless, we've waited our whole lives to get a shot on the biggest stage against the biggest boys, and...well, TCU just isn't them. No offense to the plucky Horned Frogs, of course, but playing them would feel like intramurals compared to a varsity contest against Auburn or LSU. This ain't intramurals, brother.

PaulSF: You're right, Joe. We have been waiting our whole lives for this. Which is a SIGNIFICANTLY longer amount of time for you, so I can see why you're being so selective. By the way, are we talking about the same LSU team we're matched up with at next year's Cowboys Classic in Dallas? Can you imagine the storylines? We'd have the opportunity to beat the Bayou Bengals twice...in the same YEAR! And, if you don't think it can happen, think again (ESPN Insider access required). Plus, who wouldn't want to see Chip Kelly go mano y mano with the Mad Hatter? One guy's an unconventional genius. The other is...well, he's certainly unconventional, isn't he?

GrumpyJDH: You're talking about the other Tigers like they're not even in the room, Paully. Maybe we're overreacting to Jeremiah...er, Cam Newton's fall from grace? By the way, (2) what's your take on the Heisman frontrunner's distracting shenanigans? Does it affect Auburn's chances at a national title shot and, by association, Newton's chances for the coveted award?

PaulSF: You must be referring to the son of a preacher man who transferred from Florida after being found guilty of stealing a laptop (how unoriginal), as well as the more recent allegations stemming from his recruitment and his alleged cheating in the classroom. No, I don't think it's going to hurt Auburn's chances at a national title, but I definitely think it could sway Heisman voters away from Newton. That said, if Auburn wins out, I still think he wins the award. That's how far ahead he is right now.

GrumpyJDH: To be fair, he's now claiming he only purchased a stolen laptop. Still, would the Heisman committee even touch the kid with the Reggie Bush debacle fresh in their minds? I'm thinking no chance. The bigger question is whether this leads to any sort of on-field fallout. The Auburn powers-that-be aren't even close to going there, but...anyone know who the Tigers' backup is?

PaulSF: Speaking of backups, how bad do you feel for Nate Costa? The guy is the consummate team player. He's battled back from three major knee injuries, has fought for the starting spot multiple times, and then, after losing the starting job to Darron Thomas this fall, didn't complain and even filled in quite nicely when Thomas went down in Pullman. And after all of that, he re-injures the knee on a throw-away play and is out for the season. What a travesty. But in true Nate Costa fashion, let's put his injury in the context of the team: (3) Is Costa's injury much of a concern for the Ducks heading into the final stretch?

GrumpyJDH: Cause for panic? No. Cause for alarm? Does the name "Brady Leaf" mean anything to you? If I'm Chip Kelly, I'm strongly considering burning true freshman Bryan Bennett's redshirt and getting him some real game experience over the next three weeks. If you end up needing him (God forbid), you don't want him taking his first snaps when it really matters. The only other alternative is the already experienced Daryle Hawkins, who seems like a more talented version of Chris Harper (all legs, no arm). Otherwise, wouldn't he have been tagged as the new #2?

PaulSF: Good point, although aside from being one-dimensional, Hawkins definitely has the tools to fill in if necessary. But he's no Darron Thomas. I think Bennett's promotion is a tip of the hat to his incredible spring.

All this talk of depth has me thinking about the Oregon hoops squad, which, incidentally, has none. The Ducks open the season Friday night against North Dakota State with a new coach, a new arena (in a few short months) and what looks like an entirely new roster. After what has ultimately turned out to be a worst-case-scenario offseason in the aftermath of Ernie's Kent's firing, (4) what's the over/under for Duck victories this season?

GrumpyJDH: Well, that new floor sure looks amazing, doesn't it? Maybe it will induce vertigo and our opponents will forget how to play basketball when they visit Eugene. Let's hope so because...wait, why are we talking about basketball again? Eight. That's my answer, depressing as it is. You know what won't be depressing? Watching the Ducks in Strawberry Canyon this weekend with my Best Friend Brother. Before we get to the prediction, (5) where are we eating dinner after the big win, here, here, or here?

PaulSF: You buyin'? If so, here. Alright, Big Bro. You ready to take this one home?

GrumpyJDH: I'm already home, Paully. You're the one living in enemy territory.

PaulSF: Yeah, yeah...let's have it. What are the cheapskates on Tightwad Hill going to see on the scoreboard through their binoculars when the clock strikes 0:00?

GrumpyJDH: This game scared the daylights out of me three weeks ago and even Herbie mentioned it as a potential pitfall as we walked off the LA Coliseum turf a week and a half ago. That said, Nevada basically destroyed the "vaunted" Bears D back at the beginning of the year and our offense, aside from being similarly confusing, is also a tad more explosive. I just don't see them stopping us now that we've had our wake-up call (thanks, Dawgs). Ignore the sharps, lay the 19.5 (seriously?), and watch the Ducks roll 52-21.

PaulSF: We haven't won in Berkeley since 2001. The Bears are 4-0 at home this year winning by a combined score of 189-34. LaMichael James is on the front cover of SI. And even with all the overwhelming evidence suggesting we're going to fall prey to a relatively talented Cal team, I still think we'll win going away and dedicate the victory to Nate Costa. Oregon 52, Cal 17.

See you in three days, Big Bro, and the rest of you next week.

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