Friday, September 30, 2011

The New Yorker cartoon of the day:

"You know that thing where you stand like a statue, then move real fast, then stand like a statue again? You totally stole that from me."

What does Chris Christie...

...have in common with Rick Perry?

One, his personal appeal is only regional: that tough "Jersey Guy" schtick won't play beyond the northeast any better than Perry's evangelical cowboy persona plays beyond the old Confederacy. Just ask Charlie Weis, below.

(I don't think Christie's big money donors in New York get that any better than Perry's backers in Texas.)

And, two, if Christie does announce for president, his first day on the campaign trail will be his best. (I repeat: this guy is not the savior Republicans think he is.)

Romney will probably back into the nomination and lose the general.

I'm off to Bolingbrook High School...

...this afternoon to see the Raiders host Lincoln-Way East.

The visiting Griffins have beaten three undefeated teams in a row; can they make it four? Or will the Raiders exact revenge for last year's 43-7 drubbing?

My take is here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The New Yorker cartoon of the day:

The Chicago Catholic League...

...has always had the reputation of playing hard-nosed, smashmouth football. It's practically an axiom among its adherents that Catholic League kids are "tougher" and "hit harder" than their "soft, spoiled" public school counterparts. (I actually had an old guy try to tell me this at a Loyola game a few years ago.) I think this accepted "wisdom" dates back to a time when the Catholic League was thought to be made up largely of "city kids" while the public schools were populated by rich, suburban brats in convertibles.

The quintessential Catholic Leaguer for me would have to be Edward "Moose" Krause, below, who graduated from De La Salle (the high school of the Daleys) and went on to play football and basketball at Notre Dame. The son of Lithuanian immigrants, Krause grew up in the Back o' the Yards neighborhood, which derived its name from the nearby Union Stock Yard, where cattle and hogs were slaughtered.

At any rate, it's a myth. Or at least it is today. (And if you don't believe me, ask Mt. Carmel or St. Rita about their championship games last year against Maine South and Wheaton Warrenville South, respectively.)

But don't tell that to anyone who will be at the Catholic Blue showdown Saturday between Mt. Carmel and Loyola.

While the Caravan still runs an offense that would make Woody Hayes smile ("three yards and a cloud of dust"), Loyola's relies more on finesse. Quarterback Malcolm Weaver can pass as well as run, and has a choice of several talented receivers: Marquese Martin-Hayes, Charlie Dowdle, Conner Person and Dylan Brennan. And when he isn't throwing, Weaver can hand the ball off to running back William Palivos.

Rambler Coach John Holecek, a former NFL linebacker and defensive wizard, has built an impressive offense at the Jesuit school along the Edens. In fact, this could very well be his best team in the six years he's been coaching at Loyola.

Let's have a look at the two teams' schedules (home team in CAPS):

Loyola 40, EVANSTON 0
LOYOLA 41, Montini 24
LOYOLA 48, Lake Forest Academy 13
Loyola 32, PROVIDENCE 6
LOYOLA 33, Gordon Tech 7

Mt. Carmel 23, Simeon 14, Soldier Field
MT. CARMEL 31, Morgan Park 0
MT. CARMEL 40, De La Salle 7
Mt. Carmel 62, ST. JOSEPH 8
MT. CARMEL 35, Brother Rice 24

I'd say Loyola's most impressive victory was at Providence; Carmel's was last week against Rice.

Despite having the winningest coach in Illinois history, Frank Lenti, the South Siders have to be considered the underdog in this contest. Not only are they on the road, but their offense is just not as multi-dimensional as Loyola's. Quarterback Don Butkus (grandnephew of Bears legend Mike Butkus) isn't in the same league as Weaver, and running back Draco Smith hasn't lived up to his potential. Looks like Carmel's hopes all ride on Central Michigan-bound running back Brandon Greer. If Loyola can just contain him, then Game Over.

BOWG prediction: Loyola 28, Mt. Carmel 14.

Arch West, the guy...

...who invented Doritos, died at age 97.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The YouTube... of the day.

The cartoon of the day:

In David Brooks's column...

...this morning, "The Lost Decade?," he writes (my emphasis):

This crisis has many currents, which merge and feed off each other. There is the lack of consumer demand, the credit crunch, the continuing slide in housing prices, the freeze in business investment, the still hefty consumer debt levels and the skills mismatch — not to mention regulatory burdens, the business class’s utter lack of confidence in the White House, the looming explosion of entitlement costs, the public’s lack of confidence in institutions across the board.

Shouldn't "the business class’s utter lack of confidence in the White House" really read "the business class's utter hatred for this White House?" Because, really, it's not a "lack of confidence," is it? Isn't it that this White House, unlike the previous one (or some future Republican one) won't let businesses just run amok and do whatever they want, consequences to the rest of America be damned? Let's face it: businesses want the fewest regulations and lowest taxes possible (preferably none) in order to maximize profits. What they really want in the White House is a useful idiot -- like W. or Paul Ryan. Instead, they have to put up with a president who represents all of America.

Secondly, isn't the phrase, "looming explosion of entitlement costs," only half the story? What about lost revenue from the disastrous Bush tax cuts? Why doesn't Brooks mention that part of the equation?

Almost comically, Brooks goes on to say:

Yet the ideologues who dominate the political conversation are unable to think in holistic, emergent ways. They pick out the one factor that best conforms to their preformed prejudices and, like blind men grabbing a piece of the elephant, they persuade themselves they understand the whole thing.

Come on, Mr. Brooks. You're better than this.

What if Mitt Romney...

...wins the Republican nomination after all? (A quick glance at Intrade shows Rick Perry fading fast; and the odds that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gets in are worse than Sarah Palin's.)

So what if the field is set and Romney is the GOP nominee? It's hard to imagine the base, i. e., the "tea party," getting enthusiastically behind ol' Mitt. Will the crazies stay home, or run a third party candidate in the general? If so, all they need is to win one or two percent of the vote in such swing states as Ohio and Florida to tip the election in President Obama's favor.

Monday, September 26, 2011

They say every cloud...

...has a silver lining. We'll see.

I had to cancel my trip to Michigan this weekend at the last minute. (It's a long story.) I had planned on meeting two of my brothers to see the Wolverines host Minnesota at the Big House. I guess I'll have to do it another time.

The good news, however (or silver lining), is that I'll get to see four -- count 'em -- four undefeated high school football teams (all ranked in the top ten in both Chicago papers).

On Friday I'll  be traveling to Bolingbrook (No. 10 in the Tribune, No. 8 in the Sun-Times) to see the Raiders host Lincoln-Way East (No. 6 in the Trib, No. 5 in the Times). And on Saturday, Loyola (No. 3 in the Trib, No. 6 in the Times) is at home against Mt. Carmel (No. 5 in the Trib, No. 3 in the Times).

Friday's game is between two teams I've never laid eyes on. (I'm not even sure where Bolingbrook is; thank God for mapquest.) I can just hear my brothers say, "Who in the heck is [fill in the blank with the name of either institution]?" So I asked my staff (Wikipedia) to do a little research on the two schools.

Bolingbrook was founded in 1974 and has no famous alums that I'm aware of. The football team hasn't had a losing season since 1981, though, and has appeared in the post-season in each of the last 19 years.

Lincoln-Way East was founded in 1977 and is named after a nearby highway. It also boasts of no notable graduates, but its football team has never missed the playoffs. Never.

Both teams play in the Southwest Suburban Conference (Blue), which is arguably on a par with the Catholic League Blue.

Let's have a look at each team's record so far. First, Bolingbrook (home team in CAPS):

Bolingbrook 40, PLAINFIELD SOUTH 16
Bolingbrook 39, BELLEVILLE EAST 13
BOLINGBROOK 60, Joliet Central 6
BOLINGBROOK 49, Joliet West 12
Bolingbrook 41, HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR 28

Wow. The Raiders score a lot of points -- 229 of them. That's an average of almost 46 per game. Who's responsible for all that scoring? Well, junior quarterback Aaron Bailey, who can run and pass, and running back Omar Stover. The defense, meanwhile, is led by Florida-bound linebacker Antonio Morrison.

Lincoln-Way East's schedule:

Lincoln-Way East 45, EDWARDSVILLE 14
LINCOLN-WAY EAST 49, Dunbar 14
LINCOLN-WAY EAST 38, Lockport 7
Lincoln-Way East 38, HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR 21
LINCOLN-WAY EAST 31, Sandburg 7

The Griffins have scored fewer points than Bolingbrook but have allowed fewer. Hmmm. Lincoln-Way East also has a stellar quarterback in Blake Winkler, who throws to wide receiver J. J. Robertson, an Illinois recruit. Running back Tyler Starke appears to be the go-to guy in the backfield.

So who wins? Their only common opponent was Homewood-Flossmoor, an excellent team that they both beat on the road by a comparable margin. I'd say it's a push, but I'll give the advantage to the home team.

BOWG prediction: Bolingbrook 32, Lincoln-Way East 28.

Next: Mt. Carmel at Loyola.

The drums are beating...

...for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to jump in the race for the Republican nomination. Intrade has him at a 25 percent chance of announcing by the end of the year.

Prediction: If Christie does run for president (and I don't think he will), his best day will be his first. (He's not the savior the Republican establishment thinks he is.)

P. S. Republicans must really hate Mitt Romney!

The New Yorker cartoon of the day:

The license plate reads: THANKS A MIL, WARREN!

Germany, the capital of...

...decadent Euro-socialism, according to The Wall Street Journal, not only has an unemployment rate of 7 percent, it also has a trade surplus with China.

I returned to my birthplace...

...on Saturday, Oak Park (it was Homecoming, after all), to watch the No. 2 Hilltoppers of Glenbard West deliver a 41-6 thrashing to the Huskies of Oak Park and River Forest.

(Loyola, meanwhile, topped Gordon Tech, 33-7. The Ramblers must have rested their first string for much of the game in anticipation of Mt. Carmel next week. Gordon's program has fallen off dramatically in recent years; I had predicted a 63-0 Loyola victory. The Rams would have covered anyone's spread.)

Anyway, I arrived in beautiful Oak Park just as the rain was letting up and the sun was coming out. OPRF, as the locals call it, dates back to 1873 and the stadium to 1924. And it is a stadium, not just a pair of bleachers facing each other like most high schools. In fact, it's more like what you'd expect to find at a small college: an old brick structure in which you climb broad concrete stairs, pass a vending counter and restrooms (not Porta Potties), and take your seat under an ancient press box. The field is state-of-the-art, though -- one of those new-fangled artificial turfs. And the view is quite nice: charming old homes on tree-lined Linden Avenue to the west, practice fields to the north and the actual school to the east (or should I say schools, as it looks like it's been added on to several times). Oh, and there's a parking garage to the east as well, something I'd never seen at a high school before.

(And, yes, for the last time, Ernest Hemingway attended OPRF.)

I sat at about the 40-yard line, between the press box and the student section, which is called the "Dog Pound," and was about as well-attended as it was in the picture above. Lame. (It was only fitting that I sat near the student section; the woman who sold me a ticket asked me if I was a senior. I couldn't believe it! Do I really look like a high school student?)

The game was a blowout, as expected. Glenbard West is one of the best teams in the state and OPRF has seen better days. The Huskies remind me a lot of Evanston -- underachievers.

While the Hilltoppers' star running back Avery Balogh seemed to sit out much of the game, quarterback Justice Odom, running back Kendall Johnson and wide receiver Nathan Marcus combined for seven touchdowns. And the defense, led by lineman Tommy Schutt, allowed fewer than ten points for the fourth time this year.

Next week, the Hitters host Proviso West for another sure victory; OPRF travels to Lyons for another sure loss.

Note: If it seems like I go to a lot of Glenbard West games, it's because I do. Not only are they one of the top teams in the state, but Duchon Field is one of the few stadiums without lights; the Hilltoppers play a lot of their games on Saturday.

Maine South beat New Trier...

...Friday, 40-24, on the first night of autumn in Northfield.

The No. 1-ranked Hawks remain undefeated and extended their Central Suburban South winning streak to 51 games.

The Park Ridge squad trailed at the half, 24-14, bringing to mind last year's semifinal game against Loyola in which the Hawks were down by two scores with only five minutes remaining. Maine South came back to win, and I've thought ever since that you have to play four quarters to beat this team.

Friday was no different as the Hawks scored 26 unanswered points after intermission to win the contest.

Trevian quarterback Jack Nykaza looked sharp in the first half, scoring two of the Winnetka school's touchdowns, while running back Daniel Olaniyan scored the third on a nice 73-yard run from scrimmage.

In the end, however, Maine South, led by quarterback Matt Alviti and the dazzling running back Paul Preston, wore down the outmatched Trevians.

New Trier had an exceptional band, by the way. At first I thought the music from the loudspeakers was a recording! I couldn't see them from where I was sitting; they're stationary near the north end of the stadium.

(Someone once told me that New Trier doesn't have a marching band -- the swells on the North Shore consider that too "blue collar." Haven't they ever been to a Northwestern game?)

In other games Friday night (home team in CAPS):

Glenbrook South 26, EVANSTON 7 (Titans beat the spread; host New Trier next week.)

MT. CARMEL 35, Brother Rice 24 (Catholic Blue could be the toughest conference in the state.)

ST. RITA 19, Providence 0 (What happened to the Celtics' offense?)

Bolingbrook 41, HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR 28 (The Vikings just lost to two of the best teams in the state.)

LINCOLN-WAY EAST 31, Sandburg 7 (The Griffins are right up there with Maine South and Loyola.)

Wayzata (Minn.) 33, Carmel 27, at University of Dubuque (Interesting inter-state game.)


Gordon Tech at LOYOLA (The Ramblers should run away with this one.)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

How would you like... get tackled by a guy named Pat Angerer?

Herman Cain won...

...the Florida straw poll yesterday. Why do I call this to your attention? From Chris Cillizza's blog (my emphasis):

Straw polls generally have little predictive value, as evidenced by the fact that longshot candidates keep winning them. Paul just won one in California; Santorum just won another in Pennsylvania. Even the higher-profile straw polls should be taken with a big grain of salt. Bachmann’s Ames Straw Poll win might have been her high point in the race.

But the P5 Straw Poll has a good track record — every Florida straw poll winner has gone on to win the Republican nomination, although last cycle the straw vote was scrapped.

Herman Cain? The man has never held elective office in his life. 

The GOP is truly a party in disarray.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dan Castellaneta, the voice of...

...Homer Simpson, is an alumnus of Oak Park and River Forest High School. I'll be there today to see the No. 2 team in the state, Glenbard West, take on the Huskies. My take on the game is here. D'oh!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The "Way Too Close to Home..."

...New Yorker cartoon of the day.

(The guy on the right is saying, "Obama ... Big Pharma ... the Vatican ... Eisenhower ... the number 49 ... the Mayans ... and yet only I can see the connections!!!")

Rick Perry is fading fast...

...on Intrade after another disastrous debate performance last night.

So who will be the GOP's next alternative to Mitt Romney? (Pssst! Time is running short.)

I'll be at New Trier...

...tonight, the alma mater of Rainn Wilson, to see the Trevians host No. 1 Maine South. My take on the game is here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Remember when George Herbert...

...Walker Bush, of Phillips Academy, Skull and Bones, and Kennebunkport fame, confessed his fondness for pork rinds, horseshoes, and Dolly Parton records? (It wasn't very convincing.)

Guess which current candidate for president is taking a page from Poppy's playbook? (Come on; take a wild guess.) 

From an article in the Times today:

Like the stars in Us Weekly, Mitt Romney wants voters to know that he is just like them.

Mr. Romney has tried the new $4.39 Carl’s Jr. jalapeƱo chicken sandwich (“delicious”), celebrated the Reagan Library debate with fast-food burgers and fries (again, Carl’s Jr.), and dug into a Subway flatbread sandwich while sitting in an airport terminal (“better than the usual campaign diet of morning donuts”).

These are all moments that he and his campaign have made a point of sharing with the public over Twitter. He has also taken a lot of flights on Southwest, an airline known for its low fares and primary-color planes, and made sure to tweet about it and name-check Southwest at every opportunity.

A story in today's Times...

...illustrates my problem with religion:

In a classroom in Sadr City, the bustling neighborhood of the Shiite poor, dozens of men in white shirts and black pants received the most basic of Islamic religious instruction: how to wash before praying.

“After you wash your left hand, you must be sure to avoid any water drops on the right hand,” declared the instructor.

How are you supposed to reason with someone like that?

Elizabeth Warren explains...

...why the most fortunate among us need to give something back. (I've always said there's a reason Microsoft wasn't founded in Zimbabwe.)

Ask yourself, do you want to live in America, or some banana republic?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The New Yorker cartoon of the day:

First Paul Ryan wants to end...

...Medicare and now he doubles down on Rick Perry's assertion that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. From Chris Cillizza's blog:

On Laura Ingraham’s radio show today, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) agreed with Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) that Social Security resembles a Ponzi scheme. “It’s not a criminal enterprise, but it is a pay as you go system where earlier investors, or say taxpayers, get a positive rate of return and the most recent investors, or taxpayers, get a negative rate of return,” said Ryan. “That’s how those schemes work.”

Did he say "scheme?" Are these people serious?

Every other developed nation in the world provides a safety net for its most vulnerable citizens. Now, suddenly, the world's largest economy -- ever -- can't do the same?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yesterday, the Times...

...ran an editorial, "No Room for Tolerance," about resistance to a proposed mosque in New Jersey. The (ostensible) reason? Traffic. Yeah, right. That excuse was used in my town back in 2005.

The Ismaili House of Worship was completed in December, 2008. Not only is traffic not an issue, but we haven't had one terrorist attack in our town since.

The cartoon of the day:

The Sun-Times has a nice...

...article this morning on Maine South offensive lineman Pat Maloney (No. 73 above). I've always thought that the Hawks' linemen don't get enough press. While Maine South's skill position players are certainly talented, the quarterbacks usually have plenty of time to pass and the running backs often have big holes through which to run. Kudos to the Times for recognizing Maloney.

P. S. The piece also mentions that the Park Ridge squad opens its conference schedule this Friday at New Trier with a 50-game winning streak against Central Suburban South opponents on the line. The last team to beat them? The Trevians, back in 2000.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The New Yorker cartoon of the day:

Frances Bay, the "marble rye lady,"...

...died at age 92.

This weekend, I'll get to see...

...the two best high school football teams in the state of Illinois (according to both papers) play on the road: No. 1 Maine South, above, travels to New Trier (3-1) on Friday and No. 2 Glenbard West will be at Oak Park and River Forest (2-2) on Saturday.

Both the Hawks and the Hilltoppers should remain undefeated; but before we go any further, let's have a look at each team's record so far. First, the contest that will take place in my backyard, Northfield (home team in caps):

MAINE SOUTH 40, Warren 12
MAINE SOUTH 13, Wheaton Warrenville South 9
Maine South 48, DEERFIELD 7
MAINE SOUTH 42, Niles North 6

Schaumburg 22, NEW TRIER 17
New Trier 21, WARREN 7
New Trier 37, HIGHLAND PARK 13
NEW TRIER 62, Maine West 0

What can we glean from this information? Well, both teams beat Warren; both teams beat decent Central Suburban North opponents, both teams beat Central Suburban South doormats, and Maine South defeated the defending 7A state champs in Park Ridge while the Trevians fell to Schaumburg, a perennial playoff team, in the season opener at home. Hmmm.

BOWG prediction: Maine South 28, New Trier 14.

Now for Saturday's game:

GLENBARD WEST 49, Willowbrook 0
Glenbard West 31, LYONS 3
GLENBARD WEST 45, Hinsdale Central 14

GLENBARD NORTH 40, Oak Park 20
OAK PARK 36, Proviso East 20
OAK PARK 21, Downers Grove North 7
YORK 35, Oak Park 7

First of all, whoever's responsible for Wheaton Warrenville's schedule should be shot!

(Just kidding. Actually, I think schools should play the toughest non-conference schedule possible. All it takes to make the post-season is a 5-4 record, anyway. And most conferences have only one or two good teams, so why not prepare yourself by playing the best schools you can?)

The Hilltoppers, above, have beaten three good teams and one that is still looking for its first victory, Willowbrook. The Huskies, meanwhile, lost to one ranked team, Glenbard North, and another that could be ranked, York (3-1). The two schools they beat, however, have a combined record of 1-7. The Hitters should have even less trouble with Oak Park than they did last week against Hinsdale Central.

BOWG prediction: Glenbard West 42, OPRF 7.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

There's a small Christian church... Northbrook, like the one above, that always has a clever message on the sign in front. Whenever I drive by, I make it a point to read it. The current one is particularly good, even for those of us who are not religious:


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rene Belloq does not play... for Glenbard West.

But Avery Balogh does. And the senior running back scored two touchdowns for the Hilltoppers today in a 45-14 rout of Hinsdale Central in Glen Ellyn. Balogh scampered about 70 yards or so on the first play from scrimmage and caught a pass out of the backfield on Glenbard West's first play of the second half. (See a pattern here?)

Today I got a chance to see the No. 2 team in Illinois (in both papers) play in one of the best stadiums around on a warm, sunny September afternoon. (I didn't have to think twice.)

As I approached the gate, I noticed a banner that said, KILL SATAN. Yikes! (I then realized they were hosting the Red Devils.) After purchasing a brat from the concession stand I took my usual seat at Duchon Field on the 30-yard line, top row, just under the OAK PARK & RIVER FOREST banner. I arrived just in time to see the second half of the sophomore game. (I like to see who's coming up next year.)

Then came the dramatic entrance of the Glenbard West varsity to the sound of some rap song. (Oddly, I can't tell you which one.) With the drum line off to one side, the players ran through a phalanx of cheerleaders and burst through another banner, this one saying, SEND THE DEVILS SIX FEET UNDER. (There was a lot of demonic imagery.)

I would have liked to have seen a more competitive game, but with Glenbard West that may not happen until the playoffs. (And maybe not until the second or third round, at that.) The Hitters, as they also like to be called, are the best 7A team in the state, and St. Rita should start scouting them now.

The Hilltoppers throw a lot of weapons at you. Besides Balogh, Ryan Kavanaugh, Joe Zito and quarterback Justice Odom carry the ball. Odom can also pass to wide receiver Nathan Marcus, or Kendall Johnson coming out of the backfield. The placekicker is Dan Cavazos, and besides kicking a field goal and six extra points, he booted seven kickoffs (by my count) into the end zone. (One hit the crossbar!) Cavazos could be the best kicker I've seen this year among a bumper crop of good kickers.

On defense, the identical twins Mike and Matt Marston (I swear I can't tell them apart!) protect the corners, with Mike adding another interception to last week's. And Tommy Schutt, who is headed to Penn State next year, anchors a very solid defensive line. (Schutt even scored a touchdown from about the one, a la the Fridge). It's trite to say this, but the game was really won at the line of scrimmage, on both sides of the ball.

As for Hinsdale Central, they were simply out-classed today. They shouldn't feel bad, though, as most -- if not all -- of Glenbard West's opponents will fit that description this year. But special mention should be made for junior Brian Owens, who played the entire game at quarterback (where was senior Danny Callahan?) and showed a lot of heart. Receivers Brad Anlauf and Tom Garvin made some nifty catches; and Nick Sellinger and T. J. Sally each rushed for touchdowns. On defense, Dylan Dowling and Peter Foley seemed to be everywhere.

But, as the score would indicate, the contest was a mismatch. I doubt this will be the last time I see the Glen Ellyn squad this season. Who knows? Maybe next week at Oak Park-River Forest.

One more thing. No trip to the western suburbs would be complete without a stop at Hamburger Heaven on North Avenue in Elmhurst, which features Richardson Root Beer. I got a -- what else? -- black cow for the ride home. It was delicious.

Loyola 32, Providence 6...

...Lincoln-Way East 38, Homewood-Flossmoor 21.

Quarterback Malcolm Weaver, above, led the Ramblers, who have outscored their opponents, 161-43, in four games. Last night was the first time Loyola has been held to fewer than 40 points all season.

Meanwhile, Lincoln-Way East quarterback Blake Winkler, above, threw for 295 yards against a strong Homewood-Flossmoor defense. (The Vikings had allowed only 13 points in their first three games.) Illinois-bound J. J. Robertson caught two of those passes for touchdowns.

After the game, Homewood-Flossmoor head coach Craig Buzea said, "Their skill guys are phenomenal. They're the most skilled team I've seen in the 20 years I've been coaching."

I hope you were scouting these guys last night, Loyola!

In other games of note:

Glenbrook South 63, Maine East 12
St. Rita 21, Brother Rice 17
Naperville North 17, Wheaton Warrenville South 14
Stevenson 24, Warren 21 (2 OT)
Marian Central 21, Montini 20
Evanston 35, Glenbrook North 7
Maine South 42, Niles North 6
New Trier 62, Maine West 0

Last year, I went to Glenbard West... watch a football game and wrote a post about it afterward. It received over 1,000 pageviews, more than any other post I've written about high school football and the third-most in the entire (almost) three year history of this blog. That's a tough act to follow!

Today, I'll be traveling back to beautiful Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and -- according to USA Today -- one of the best places in America to see a high school football game. (They're right.) The contest pits Hinsdale Central (2-1), the alma mater of Bill Veeck*, against the home team Hilltoppers (3-0), the alma mater of Sean Hayes, above. Whom do you think will win? (Hint: Glenbard West will remain undefeated; they're one of the very best teams in the state.)

I'm looking forward to getting a second look at Glenbard West defensive lineman Tommy Schutt, above. (Schutt will be attending Penn State next year after being one of the most heavily recruited players in Illinois.) Also, the "Hitters" defense features identical twins Mike and Matt Marston at cornerback. And on offense, Avery Balogh is the go-to running back (six touchdowns in three games, by my count).

As for the Red Devils, first year head coach Rich Tarka has to decide on a quarterback: junior Brian Owens or senior Danny Callahan. (Tarka replaced Mike DiMatteo after Hinsdale Central failed to make the playoffs last year for the first time in ten years. DiMatteo is now the quarterbacks coach at Glenbard West. Hmmm.) Division I prospect Ryan Callen anchors an inexperienced offensive line; junior Andrew Pyle and defensive captain Mike Fikaris are solid at linebacker. (And -- pssst! -- watch out for Nick Sellinger. He's a threat on punt returns.)

It could be a good game. And, if nothing else, there's a great Vienna hot dog cart just beyond the end zone where you can score some lunch at half-time. (I may have to suspend my vegan diet for a day.)

Incidentally, for you young people, Bill Veeck, above, was a baseball owner who was known, among other things (a lot of other things -- just read the link), for planting the ivy in Wrigley Field (no kidding!). He was also known (and I never witnessed this personally) for sitting shirtless in the bleachers at Cub games, drinking beer, smoking and flicking the ashes into his wooden leg, which he had taken off for just that purpose.

BOWG prediction: Glenbard West 35, Hinsdale Central 7.

*Veeck attended Hinsdale Central but didn't graduate.

Friday, September 16, 2011

How about a little...

...Jefferson Airplane to start off your weekend?

This chart, which shows McDonald's... the world's fourth largest employer, reminds me of something Andrew Ross Sorkin, the author of Too Big to Fail, once said. During the week of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in the fall of 2008, there was a rumor going around that McDonald's might not be able to make its payroll. Can you imagine if that had happened?

Thank God for TARP.

Jimmy Carter has me...

...thinking: maybe Mitt Romney wouldn't be such a bad president after all.

(I'll let regular readers of this blog catch their breath now.)

Seriously, the former governor of Massachusetts isn't a rigid ideologue; he's shown himself to be a problem-solver, a moderate. And if elected, maybe Romney could forge a coalition of Democrats and establishment Republicans and govern -- like President Obama -- from the center. (And tell the tea party to go jump in the lake.)

Would I worry about Romney repealing the Affordable Care Act? Not really. Repeal doesn't poll well. (And Romney is all about polls.) Besides, he was for universal health care back when it was a Republican idea, remember?

Now don't get me wrong: I'd still vote for Obama over Romney any day. At least with the president, you know what you're getting. With Romney, you have to guess. (Though I don't pay much attention to what he's saying now; I look at what he did as governor.)

But, honestly, thinking of voting for Romney in the general election is just silly. Although I could see voting for him in the Illinois primary, I really don't expect the GOP to nominate a Harvard-trained Mormon from Massachusetts. Do you?

Here's a good primer...

...on Social Security, from the Washington Post. (I wonder if Rick Perry has read it.) A sample:

It’s important to remember that Social Security does not run out of money or go “broke” even when its trust funds are exhausted in 2036, as projected in the most recent Social Security trustees report. The report says that tax income would be sufficient to pay about three-quarters of scheduled benefits through 2085.

The cartoon of the day:

I can just hear the Republican...

...establishment in their best Jed Clampett imitation, "Quit helpin' me, boy..."

From The Hill:

On former Massachusetts Gov. Romney, [Jimmy Carter] said he would like to see Romney win the Republican presidential nomination.

"I'm not taking a position, but I would be very pleased to see him win the Republican nomination," Carter said on an interview on MSNBC set to air Thursday night.

I'll be at a wedding tonight...

...instead of watching the Game of the Week. And no, it's not Loyola at Providence (which is a close second). It's Lincoln-Way East (No. 6 in both papers) at Homewood-Flossmoor (No. 5 in the Sun-Times; No. 7 in the Tribune).

The Griffins are 7-1 in the series, but the Vikings are the highest scoring team in the state of Illinois, averaging 55 points a game. Don't be too surprised if an air war breaks out as the contest pits two of the area's best quarterbacks (Lincoln-Way East's Blake Winkler and Homewood-Flossmoor's Tim Williams) against each other.

Can the home team upset the perennial south suburban powerhouse this year? I say, "Yes."

BOWG prediction: Homewood-Flossmoor 35, Lincoln-Way East 31.

I'll be at a good game tomorrow...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The New Yorker cartoon of the day:

"You're healthy enough for sexual activity but not attractive enough."

Remember this chilling clip...

...from the other day? Ron Paul was asked a hypothetical question: "If a healthy, employed 30-year old man without insurance had a serious accident, who should pay for his treatment?"

From Ezra Klein's blog today:

In 2008, [Ron Paul's] campaign manager, a healthy-but-uninsured 49-year-old, died from pneumonia and left his family with $400,000 in medical debt.

And therein lies the problem with libertarians (and all other ideologues): They don't live in the real world.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The cartoon of the day:

Crane Tech, the alma mater...

...of George Halas, the founder of the Chicago Bears, has suspended football for the remainder of the 2011 season. I wonder if "Papa Bear" is turning over in his grave.