Brother v. Brother: Reno 911, Glendale 411, and the Battle for 541 (and 503...and 971)

Everyone has an arch nemesis. Mine just happens to be my older brother. But our incessant bickering has led to many an entertaining discussion through the years. And because much of these debates have centered on college sports, it seems only appropriate we take them to the blogosphere to settle them once and for all. Here's your weekly brotherly debate, affectionately known as Sh*t My Brother Says.

PaulSF: True or false: I saw Tangled last weekend...and enjoyed it.

GrumpyJDH: And to think our faithful readers — all 4 of them — would prefer to hang out with you as much as they'd prefer to kick it with me. If you didn't already have a girlfriend, I'd certainly wonder how you were ever going to get one. Then again, maybe the ladies dig a man who's in touch with his inner 6-year-old. Just hope you didn't opt for that over the Friday nightcap in Reno. Tell me you didn't do that, Paully.

PaulSF: Joe, of course I didn't. Are you kidding me?! I might be a pushover when it comes to the ladies (namely my girlfriend), but there was absolutely no WAY I was going to miss the highly touted triple-header. By the way, did you have any idea how cold it gets in Reno during the winter? Yeah, neither did Boise State kicker, Kyle Brotzman.

GrumpyJDH: It's apparently gotten a lot chillier for him since. Seriously, Broncos fans? Here's an idea: Get some perspective, get a life, and get over it. Oh, and when you're done doing all that, don't forget to book your tickets to San Francisco. I hear it's quite lovely this time of year.

PaulSF: And try not to think about how much lovelier it is in Glendale...or Pasadena. On the bright side, at least you'll be fighting hunger with the fine folks at Kraft, an undoubtedly worthy cause.

GrumpyJDH: A fight you've been waging for 28 years, Paully, and (apparently) winning. I mean, you're a picture of health!

PaulSF: What can I say? A steady diet of Kraft Mac & Cheese will do wonders for one's physique. In all seriousness, (1) does a heartbreaking loss to a solid Nevada team really undo what the Broncos have achieved this season? After all, they'll (likely) finish 11-1. Only nine teams in the country have as few or fewer losses.

GrumpyJDH: Unfortunately for them, it does in the only way that matters. With 21 returning starters and a lofty preseason ranking, the national championship was clearly their goal from the outset. They needed to achieve perfection to get there, they were more than capable of doing that, and they simply didn't get it done. Bottom line. Yeah, Brotzman missed a couple of chippies. However, he wouldn't have been in that position if the Broncos D hadn't suddenly gone AWOL in the second half. Even more than those late misses, it was Boise's failure to contain the Pistol that floored me. Nevada made them look slow. That isn't a word I would have used to describe that defense prior to last Friday night.

PaulSF: Yeah, the second-half collapse by Boise's D absolutely shocked me. We're talking about the nation's No. 1 rushing defense coming into the game, which was giving up an average of 72.3 yards a game, surrendering 239 yards on the ground...IN THE SECOND HALF! That, by the way, is 10 more yards than the 229.2 total yards they'd been giving up per game on average. They didn't go AWOL, Joe. They were Pistol-whipped and left for dead in a deserted alley.

Of course, Boise State's loss is TCU's gain. Twice, apparently. Not only do the Horned Frogs get to go BCS bowling in place of the Broncos, but they're also abandoning the Mountain West (Boise's new home next fall) and taking the conference's AQ hopes with them. Talk about rubbing salt in the wound. (2) What's your take on the Horned Frogs' move to the Big East?

GrumpyJDH: Sure hope they're prepared to double — scratch that — triple that travel budget. What's the closest Big East school to Fort Worth? Louisville? Clearly, it doesn't make geographical sense. However, a Mountain West minus Utah and BYU was starting to look an awful lot like the WAC. I think they're making the right move if their goal is to eat at the big boy table.

PaulSF: They're definitely making the right move. My only question is why not leverage an invite from the Big East to lobby for a spot in the now 10-team Big 12? It makes perfect geographic sense, and the difference in revenue sharing is probably a wash with the money saved from not sending your women's lacrosse team halfway across the continent to play St. John's.

And yes, Louisville will now be their closest conference mate. Their next closest? South Florida. Yikes.

GrumpyJDH: Makes you wonder if the Big East needs TCU more than TCU needs the Big East. We're talking about a team that's one slip-up away from the NCG, after all, as opposed to a league that's about to send a four-loss team to a BCS game. Speaking of potential slip-ups, it sounds like the Cam Newton saga won't be playing out on top of all the other usual BCS drama. He's been cleared to play and it appears he's safe to focus on the Tigers' task at hand: beating South Carolina and giving us the matchup everyone wants. (3) Does Auburn get the job done this weekend in Atlanta?

PaulSF: Would you bet against them at this point?

GrumpyJDH: Yeah, they're definitely starting to look like one of those proverbial teams of destiny, aren't they? They've dodged several bullets this year — Mississippi St., LSU, South Carolina the first time around — but none more life-threatening than Bama's first half explosion last week. Nevertheless, they got their stuff together, stoned a strong Tide offense in the second half, and survived. Oh, and they did it on the road. Pretty impressive stuff, for sure.

PaulSF: The Tigers have clearly been blessed by the venerable Reverend Cecil Newton. Although I still think Auburn's defense on the whole is suspect, its run defense is surprisingly stout (currently No. 10 in the country). In other words, stopping freshman sensation Marcus Lattimore shouldn't be an issue, and if the Tigers can manage that, they'll win.

GrumpyJDH: Before we get to that other big matchup this weekend, what's your take on the rest of the ever-crystallizing BCS picture, Paully? (4) Are a basketball school (UConn) and one of the nation's elite academic institutions (Stanford) really going to be playing for the big bread instead of the same old cast of traditional characters come January?

PaulSF: Stanford is definitely in, but I think UConn is going to dump one on the road to a South Florida team coming off last weekend's big win over Miami. So, assuming West Virginia beats Rutgers in Morgantown, the Mountaineers will represent the Big East. Based on the BCS's convoluted selection process (which I don't understand at all), here are my predictions for all the BCS matchups: Oregon-Auburn (NCG), Wisconsin-TCU (Rose), Nebraska-Stanford (Fiesta), Ohio State-Arkansas (Sugar), Florida State-West Virginia (Orange). Many of these are already a lock, but a lot can happen this weekend to alter the landscape.

GrumpyJDH: That's an understatement. Remember 2001? How about the year before that? Of course, our Ducks were deeply involved in both controversies and would be again if the unthinkable happened this Saturday.

PaulSF: Don't tempt the Juju, Joe.

GrumpyJDH: Superstition doesn't lose football games, Paully.

PaulSF: As if this column by Ivan Maisel didn't freak me out enough, now I've got Big Bro piling on. (5) Are you suggesting Ducks fans should beware of the Beaver?

GrumpyJDH: Shouldn't we always? Look, all I'm saying is that none of this boooolsh*t psych-out stuff is going to amount to a hill of beans come Saturday. The Ducks are better in every possible way between the lines (offense, defense, special teams) and, if they're ready to play and play to their potential, it's going to be a burial. A four or five touchdown burial. They're that much better. So, don the white on white, I say, come out with some swagger, and take it to little brother already.

PaulSF: In other words, "Win The Day." You could make the argument that all those outside distractions that have spoiled seasons for more than 5 different teams since 1998 on Championship Saturday, as Maisel pointed out, were the result of compounding pressure from the enormity of the moment. But we've already had chances to blow this opportunity, and we haven't. We've won 11 game days this season. We simply need to win one more. It just happens to be the most important day in the history of the program. And apparently an important day for Chipper's bank account.

GrumpyJDH: Can't disagree with that. So by how much do we "win the day?" Score me, Paully.

PaulSF: Oregon 60, Oregon State 24. And they're celebrating at Rennie's.

GrumpyJDH: Ducks 51, Beavs 20, Miller Lites 6 (ish).

PaulSF: Or, for you ATQ beer snobs, a Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA. For Big Bro and me, it's Miller Lite vortex bottles. And lots of them.

Another week, another familial debate. And we haven't gotten into a fistfight. Yet. I'd say it's a resounding success. Until next week...

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