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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Brooklyn Heights

Believe it or not, another undefeated season at Bama once again failed to earn them the National Championship. One of the game's flaws is how it really fails to take strength of schedule into account for anything except the 'SOS' portion of the BCS. All the computer rankings are always within one, plus or minus, of the polls. The polls also unrealisticly place teams like North Texas (Sun Belt Conference) and Colorado State (Mountain West) ahead of the first place SEC or Big Ten teams with unblemished records. Oddly enough, Army won the National Championship this year! My third season at Bama I scheduled Colorado State (I was unable to schedule North Texas) and found that they were pretty tough - I beat them 6-0. I also slid by Maryland 9-3, but those tough wins helped me to a #2 ranking at the end of the season, where I beat Miami 3-0 (yes, three-to-zero!) for the national champonship. Defense wins championships.

I also found that your coach prestige is merely the same as your school prestige. I left Bama and took Wyoming just to test that, and found it true. That's unfortunate, because if Steve Spurrier went to Kentucky to coach, he'd get better players than Rich Brooks does. Additionally, I discovered that you can only play a created school at the beginning of a dynasty. So, I deleted the file, and made "Brooklyn Heights University", out of Brooklyn, NY, a 'Cupcake' team. I did alter their sophomore running back to the level of awesome, but left everyone else as they were. After losses to BC and Minnesota, I won five Div 1-AA games, lost to MTSU, and beat Duke, San Diego State, and Arkansas State. This exposed the game's weakness to schedule strength, as I won 'coach of the year', primarily on the back of my 5 wins over div 1-AA opponents. After all, 4-3 against 1-A, none of which were top 25 teams (obviously) is not much to talk about. I was even able to recruit a blue chip strong safety, and had the 9th best recruiting class, and for a horrible team! The next season began with a 33-7 win over Army (who was back to terrible, since I started over) and Columbia. Some more weak D-1 teams await, plus Notre Dame at the end of the season.

Just so you know, I don't actually play many of these games - I simulate those that have foregone results or either losses or wins. I do have a life, you know. If I mention a score, I played it, as well as a few that I don't mention the score - but most are simulated. Winning 41-0 or losing by the same is not worth playing.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Roll Tide

The summary of season one with Bama - 14-0, a Fiesta Bowl win over Nebraska and a final ranking of #3. The only really close game was against LSU, who led 14-0 at halftime en route to a 17-14 Tide victory. I dredged up the 9th rated recruiting class, but no 'blue chip' recruits. Still, two starters will be freshmen, which probably attests more to weakness at those positions then their strengths. The neatest part of the preseason was seeing that the number one pre-season pick for the Heisman is a wide receiver that I drafted with Army, and that Army is the number 4 preseason pick. The brutal non-conference schedule I selected for them left them with three losses, but still number 7 in the BCS. It's nice to see the kids doing well after you go...

It's off to the post office to send in some bills to the insurance company. How distasteful the whole process is - more because of the exorbitant costs than the system, though. Tomorrow I'll juggle baby-watching with marketing purchases. It should be fun!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Ali Leaving Iraq the Model

As the headline indicates, Ali, one of the three 'brothers' on 'Iraq the Model' is leaving the blog. It is tough to tell exactly why, and I hope we'll find out soon. Click on the link to 'Iraq the Model' in my blogroll to see it for yourself.

Weekend Games

To be brief, I ran the table for the next two seasons, including the BCS. After a second #1 recruiting class, I was left with the 15th one the following year. I actually raised the difficulty level prior to the third year, but since I had an A rated team, winning was still pretty easy. I had some closer games against Maryland and Miami (7 point wins), but routed USC in the title game. At this point I had a year left on my contract with Army, but quit the job to find a different challenge.

Now I'm at the University of Alabama, which wasn't a bad team to start with - but I wanted to use a classic team in a good conference with the tougher difficulty rating. This is for sure - Alabama can run the ball. I probably run 7 rushing plays for every pass play and have reasonable success. I am 8-0 on the year, and ranked #12, but the games are closer. The D is stifling, as I think I have only allowed 13 points over the season. I have been kicking a LOT of field goals. I'll probably quit Bama after the three year contract is up, since I expect to win a championship by then. I'll then increase the difficulty level to the highest and embark on a campaign to turn Morehead State University into an NCAA powerhouse!

Actually, I started that separately with my son, who is ten. It was fun to make the team colors, stadium, etc. I made that team decent so he wouldn't get frustrated. He knows little about football, as he had little contact with it before we met three years ago, and has minimal interest. But, normal adult males know football, so I'm doing what I can to make it interesting to him. While I prefer to do something besides a video game with him, I'll take what I can to propel him toward 'normalcy' and away from skateboarding and such crap.

Work will be slow the next two weeks, which gives me a great chance to catch up and organize. My most important task is to prepare for the transition of my job to someone else, so I'll be working on a contunuity file as well during the next month. I had NOTHING when I took over, so it will be leaving the job better than I took it.

Note: Do not put a screensaver of your favorite female recording artist on a computer you bring home, even if it is classy and tasteful. There's really no benefit, and some definite potential downside. Trust me on this.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Homelessness, the Government, and Compassion

I stumbled upon some discussion of homelessness on Powerline and at Craig Westover's site here:

It is intriguing and well done. I happen to agree with Mr. Westover on this one.

Check it out.

Discovering the Keys

Well, after an interception-fest of an Orange Bowl, Army wins 40-3. Then I found out a bit about coaching changes:

1) You are only offered jobs at the end of a season.
2) You only get offered one job.
3) You can get a job at most schools by choosing "Quit Job" on the 'Positions' portion of the 'Coaching Strategy' menu.
4) You can only get a job at a 5 star or 6 star school by them offering it to you - you can't get it by quitting your job.

I was offered the job atUSC, but I have no desire to lead them, so I says "No". Then I recruited some players, and I had lost a lot of talent - specifically my star wideout and some excellent O-line, who are hard for me to recruit. I filled all the slots I needed to and got he top recruiting class in the country. Gee, you mean kids want to go to a winner?

So I saved it and quit my job to see what would happen. I actually chose not to take a job, and simulated the season for fun. Army, without my mad skillz, went 9-3, losing all of their non-conference games to ranked opponents - USC by 1, Auburn by 2, and Notre Dame by 6. Since I want to see how teams move through conferences, I'll stay at Army until my tenure is up. I think I'll go to Alabama after that, which is currently a 3-star school.

I added some new links to the blogroll, and removed the double-shot link to Hot Abercrombie Chick, after a recent praising of 'Dimebag Darrel' and his metal guitar skills reveals that she is in fact a he. However, the commentary is still smart, so I left it on the blogroll.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Big Game

I have run the table for the season for the second straight year. At the end of all of my games except Navy, which is preceded by two bye weeks, I was ranked #2 in the Coaches Poll, #3 in the AP, and #3 in the BCS by less than .5. I didn't see an out - USC wouldn't lose, and LSU's remaining opponents looked easy. Enter UCLA for USC's final game and a 6 point loss by the Trojans. The next week, LSU lost the SEC Championship to a 7-4 Florida team. Woohoo!

I simulated the Navy game to a suprising 40-7 win, had my star wideout win the top receiver of the year award (1600 yds, 19 TD), and had my sophomore strong safety - who picked up the slack when I accidentally cut my star free safety - selected as a first team All-American. Yes! All that remains is to ride my 32 game winning streak to the national championship in the Orange Bowl against Miami.

I will definitely raise the difficulty level...but when? I want to see what kind of offers I get for the coach and the team first. Unfortunately, I don't know if I have to quit my job to see other offers to the coach. Probably. I've been at Army for 6 seasons, which is plenty, I think. I'll probably do the draft first, just to see the kind of players one can get with a 5-star prestige team and national champion.

Since my fire for NCAA Playstion2 football is bound to decline, I've considered shifting the blog to a discourse on politics and theology. It should be fun - for me, at least.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Time to Increase the Difficulty Level

Since Friday, I finished that season undefeated and ranked #3 headed into the bowl season. I was wrong about the BCS bowls, and was selected to play in the Orange Bowl against Big East champ West Virgina - on whom I laid a mountaineer-sized stompin', 28-0. My defense is officially scary. I lost my best LB and spent big recruiting bucks to keep my Star wideout until his senior year, and replaced my right guard while picking up some other necessary personnel.

It is very hard for me to get offensive players but easy to get defense, and I figured out why - I am ranked #1 in total defense, run defense and pass defense every year, partially due to true talent on my players part, but largely due to the 5 minute quarters. For the saem reasons, I am ranked in the bottom 20 percent of offenses as well. Hence, good offensive players aren't intially attracted to me. However, I can't stomach a video game that takes 2 hours to complete a session, so that won't change much.

This season I scheduled Tennessee (#19) away and Oklahoma (#6) at home (!) for my non-conference slate, and replaced Air Force (which isn't manadatory, just Navy is) with Colorado State, who was last year's #2. I walked out of Rockytop a 24-10 winner and shut out Oklahoma. It is now too easy. I think I will raise the difficulty level of the game to make it more fun - since I have 3 years left on my Army contract, and I don't think you get offers while under contract, I'll probably wait until I change teams. I am hoping Army gets an offer to change conferences, too - likely to the Big East. We'll see.

Friday, December 10, 2004

On Brave Old Army Team!

The season finished well - 10-2 and a bid to the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Alabama vs. Toldeo, the 2nd place team in the MAC. Team Army rolled to a 24-3 victory and final ranking of #25! I basically stopped using the halfback altogether, and ran with my QB. Good thing he is tough, if not fast or a great passer.

The offseason went very well, with Army bagging the #15 recruiting class. I scored a bluechip QB, DT and MLB, and some high quality defenders in general, as well as a good halfback. I replaced my walk-on kicker who couldn't hit over 40 yards with one who was only a 2 star (out of 5), but still better than the walk-on. I also managed to replace my pathetic left guard, who led the team in sacks allowed by allowing an many as the rest of the team combined.

Stuff that went poorly in the draft - no OL over 3 stars, and somehow I managed to cut the best player on my team - my free safety! Grrr. I was able to convince my star wideout (over 1000 yds receiving in a ball control offense with 5 minute quarters) to stay another year, however. I intend to throw him the ball less often to keep him until his senior year!

I scheduled some tough non-conference games, too. With mandatory games against Air Force and Navy, and 8 conference matchups, I can only schedule two non-conference games. I promptly scheduled #16 LSU and #8 Pitt - and beat both! LSU was a 31-0 stomping, and I scraped by Pitt 17-12 (really it was 14-12, but I kicked a field goal at the end to make it look better!) I followed that with a 37-0 thrashing of Tulane (how did they beat me last year?), a 24-14 win over South Florida, rumbling TCU 17-7, and delivering a 27-0 shutout of Louisville. I am currently ranked #4 in the polls and the BCS. Last year no team went undefeated. This is important becuase I have to be the BCS #1 or #2 to make a BCS bowl, since I am in Conference USA. If I am not, I would likely play (you guessed it) Colorado State in the Liberty Bowl - who is also currently undefeated and ranked #3. Ohio State and USC make up the top two.

My new halfback is a beast, who averages over 5 yds per rush. Awesome! I rolled up 350 yds of offense against Louisville, rushing for 100 and passing for 200 with my QB. Remember, 5 minute quarters, running the clock down to two on any play that the game clock is running. Hooah!

You know, I may not stop babbling about video games. I realized why I do it - I don't have anyone to talk to it about. My wife cares as much about my team on the cover of virtual SI as I do about a new recipe for pot roast - and God bless her for it!

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Evolution of an NCAA Team

So, at last check in, I was 7-1 with a projected finish of 10-2. I actually finished the season 11-1, the Conference USA champion, and ranked #20. A 31-0 pasting of sally-boy Navy put my team on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and I was off to the Liberty Bowl.

Here was the challenge. Although Colorado State was ranked #2 in the AP Poll, they were #3 in the BCS, so they didn't get the national championship game. Also, the video game is set up so that the 4 BCS bowls have the consensus #1 and #2, and the champions of the Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, PAC-10 and ACC. Colorado State met none of those requirements, so they went to - you guessed it - the Liberty Bowl. However, I won Coach of the Year, a 6 year contract for big bucks, and a raising of my team's prestige from 1 to 2 stars (out of 6). CSU then laid a 24-3 whup on me, exploiting my lack of a free safety with any wheels.

Recruiting was good as far as quality of recruits, as I bagged the 17th best class in the country. The only problem was, they were all defensive linemen, cornerbacks and linebackers. I have one of the worst kickers and right guards in all of college football, and couldn't get a replacement for either. Also, my halfback, who was the best rated player on the team, graduated, and his replacement is less reliable. Turnovers are tough again this year. A game against ECU that should have been a blowout was a 21-17 squeaker due to three turnovers that were either returned for touchdowns or within my 20. I also only have two wideouts that don't drop over 50% of passes, and no backup quarterback worth noting. All that said, I defeated two top 25 teams (Arizona State and Louisville) and Michigan State - but lost to Tulane (10-3) and TCU (24-22). At 7-2 I am third in C-USA behind them, ranked #30 and still in the running for coach of the year for my three year record at a crummy school. We shall see...a bowl win against a weaker team might be better than a beat down by USC or something, don't you think? If I can't recruit a better kicker and offensive linemen, next year is going to crap out. As it is, the game is telling me that I'll get offers from other schools after this year. I want to stay with Army until they are excellent, then move on to some other chump school. It's more fun at the bottom.

Mrs. Hammer is OK, as is the baby. Her broken ankle, while being pregnant, makes it harder for her to get around, but she is a trooper indeed. I plan on being home more while she is injured, though.

Auto Accident

To my non-existent readers -

Mrs. Hammer was in a wreck on Thursday - hence my lack of blogging. I should write more details and mundane stuff later today.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Teen Pregnancy

Today I am presenting a briefing on teen pregnancy and the social psychology influences upon it. I actually left abstinence alone - because another student already is doing teen sex for her subject. Of course, I found this out at the last minute. If you'd like to see the presentation, it is here:

I also have speaking notes in the 'notes' section.

No videogame nonsense from me today - only because I haven't played the past two days, not because I plan on stopping soon.

I received a Christmas card from the President and Laura. That's pretty neat, I think. Yeah, I know they didn't really sign it, but I'll bet that Daily Kos didn't get one!