I was sitting in the living room of my father’s house on Christmas Day, watching the all the great NBA action with both he and my brother. We pretty much always have a healthy banter going back and forth when we're together, and the topic of who should play James Bond once Daniel Craig’s contract was over somehow came up in conversation. My dad (or my Angry Old Man, as many of you know him) is very old school and traditional when it comes to Bond; I wouldn’t say he hates Daniel Craig’s portrayal of 007, but…. Hold up, wait a second, that’s actually exactly how he feels about it. He literally can’t stand it. In fact, if the decision was up to him, he would strike Craig in the head with a shovel, kind of like the way Zero popped Mr. Pendanski in Holes, and cast Hugh Jackman in the role. Jackman, an Aussie, is a fine actor, who also happens to have the look of Bond. He’d probably be perfect, and do a fine job, except he’s spent the last decade and a half playing Wolverine. I’m pretty sure his chops and animalistic-like nature would completely discredit him in the audience's mind as Bond. I don’t know. That’s just what my brother and I think. Regardless, as the debate raged on, I decided to do some reading on the internet about this very topic. I did what any sane person would do in today’s day and age; I Googled on my phone, “Potential James Bond Actors”, and was met with dozen and dozens of lists put together by random internet bloggers and people who pretended like they were in the “know”, only everybody is secretly aware that they actually aren’t. Hoping for some ideas, I clicked on one of the first ones, titled something like “Ten Actors Who Could Play James Bond”. I know, I know, what an imaginative title! Anyway, as I scrolled through the list of candidates, the name Benedict Cumberbatch popped up. I, unaware I was about to land on a major discovery, asked the following question, “How about Benedict Cumberbatch?”
The room went silent.
I wasn’t seriously considering him as an actual candidate (he’s too lanky and gangly, and he looks like an alien), but I didn’t know it would be met with such horror. Before my pops could even mouth a response, my brother piped up, and basically began doing everything but peeing on Cumberbatch’s career and lighting it on fire. “His portrayal of Kahn in Star Trek was mediocre” he sneered. “He’s overrated” he jeered. “Every time I watch him act, it feels like I’m at a really awful elementary school play, where I almost feel bad for the kids, but the performance is so horrible that it actually makes me laugh, and not in a good way”.
I know, I know, he’s an idiot. I don’t happen to love Cumberbatch either, but he's done at least a solid job in everything I've seen him in, which is really all I ask from the actors in movies and TV shows. Just be believable. Cumberbatch has, at least for me, accomplished that every time.
But through my brother's stupidity and angry railing, he helped me stumble upon something I had been contemplating for a few days. It was the idea that every single person, whether they want to admit it or not, irrationally hates someone or some thing. The opposite is also true. We all have something we love that we can’t really explain, or make any sense of.
For my brother, Cumberbatch is his Irrational Hate Guy. My Angry Old Man irrationally loves Liam Neeson, and I joked on Friday when I first brought this idea to light that he would pay to see Neeson in basically whatever movie he was in, no matter how ridiculous the plot was. He’d anxiously line up at the theater door to see Neeson wearing a banana suit, as he chased down an evil banana farmer who mistakenly stole his daughter from the banana patch. Though, to be fair, there really wasn’t much joking involved there, because that was something my dad would definitely do.
I spent a lot of time thinking about all this stuff over the weekend, and who I irrationally hated and loved. I was shocked to discover that I really couldn't come up with anyone outside the world of sports. Nicolas Cage was close to being a hate guy, but I eliminated him from consideration once I really ironed out the language of just exactly what it truly means to be an irrational hate candidate. Steven Seagal was almost an irrational love guy, until the same thing happened. So, at least for right now, in the world of
everybody stays off my list.
Sports, however, is different. I’ve got more strong opinions on athletes and teams than I do on just about anything else, and with those opinions come biases and ridiculous irrationality.
So just what are the rules exactly? How do you know if the feelings you have towards a particular someone have reached the irrational love/hate level? Here they are, and in many ways, they mirror each other (some are sports specific, some are entertainment specific, and some apply to everyone):
Rules For Irrational Love
- Said athlete/coach cannot play on/coach a team that you root for.
This one makes sense, as your love for this athlete/coach is no longer irrational, because they are now trying to win games for a team you have a vested interest in. You want them to achieve at the highest levels, because in turn, that means your favorite team will fair well. It is rational for you to want your teams to do well, and therefore, your love for an athlete/coach on your favorite team is not irrational.
- You would buy pretty much any music put out by this artist/go to any movie that this actor stars in.
If you’re still dropping a fat wad on Lil Wayne or (insert any, past his prime, secretly-never-that-good artist) music, or you ever had the thought, “Wow, Johnny Depp or (insert any other actor) is playing an ostracized onion trapped on a peach farm? GET ME TO A THEATER IMMEDIATELY!!!” then your love for that person is irrational. If someone, just by solely putting out new content, gets you to spend money on them, then they are an “Irrational Love Guy” for you.
- You need to be willing to defend this team/athlete/coach/actor/musician, no matter what happens.
When you see that aforementioned onion movie, or have your ears bleed from that Lil Wayne album, or watch an athlete have one of his worst performances of the season in a huge game, and instead of owning it and saying, “Yeah, that movie was terrible” or, “Yeah, the only thing that album is good for is breaking it in half whenever I get stressed out” or, “Yeah, (insert athlete’s name) played like crap. He was a complete dog that game”, you instead make excuse after excuse for the performance. You’ll say things like, “(Insert actor’s name) gave a great performance in that movie, so great in fact, that everyone around him wasn’t able to live up to it” or, “(Insert artist’s name) is genius man. Pure genius, and you’re so stupid that his lyrical meaning just went over your head” or, “Man, the refs screwed (insert athlete’s name) the entire game” or, “His coach was an idiot” or, “His teammates were so terrible, and as great as he is, not even he could overcome that”. With movies and music, a typical response in the face of criticism is, “Just go back and listen/watch it again man. You’ll hear/see what I’m saying then!” That’s the most ridiculous and irrational love thing you can say, because it’s not an argument, or presentation of any evidence as to why this thing was so great. Basically, you’re just deflecting the other person by insisting that they waste their time going back and doing something they clearly didn’t enjoy.
- Have you ever heard this person being criticized on TV/Radio, or in a group of friends, and started yelling at the TV, or started a pointless, fruitless argument with someone over their opinion?
Unless you’re arguing with someone who irrationally hates this person, they normally have more factual and solid evidence to back up their opinion, which leads you to come up with the most ridiculous, ludicrous, and hair-brained ideas and arguments to defend your guy. Eventually, you confuse yourself, and come to the realization that you, in fact, are full of crap, but instead of backing down, you stubbornly continue the argument, and get progressively dumber and dumber. I’ve done this like a zillion times. And oftentimes, as the other person is just absolutely shutting down every single thing you say, you start making character attacks against them, try the old, “I’M LOUDER THAN YOU” non-argument (perfected by Skip Baseless and Screamin’ A. Smith), or attempt drop kick them square in the face so they’ll stop owning you.
Shouting at the TV is the exact opposite, because it can’t argue back. It will eventually move on, but you can’t because they just went after one of your guys, and that’s not allowed. You’ll yell at the TV until you feel like you’ve made your point (and completely buried theirs), and you’ll high-five yourself, and mutter, “That guy is an idiot, my ‘Irrational Love Guy’ is great! If only I had my own platform, I’d show the world how awesome this guy is, and how smart I am!” Look, I’m not saying I always high-five myself when I win a one-way argument with the TV, but I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t happened a time or two. And by “two” I mean “a thousand”.
- You give this person way too much credit for the success of a project/win they were involved in.
This one is most evident in sports, where individual superstars get way too much credit for team accomplishments. You’d think, at least listening to some media members and idiot fans, that Kobe Bryant went one-on-five in every NBA Finals’ game he ever played in, and was pretty much the only reason the Lakers won their five titles. Actually, the “one-on-five” part is pretty accurate. Everything else isn’t. I could name this one the “Kobe Bryant Rule” or the “Derek Jeter Rule” because these two are the most flagrant violators of it, and their irrational fans perpetuate it.
Rules For Irrational Hate
- Said athlete/coach cannot play on/coach for a team that you root against.
This one, much like the rule number one for irrational love, makes sense, because you wouldn’t want an athlete/coach from a team you hate to do well, because that means that, in turn, his team will probably have success, something you don’t want to happen. It’s rational that you wouldn’t want a team you root against to have success.
- The John Calipari Exception.
This is a rare exception, named after
coach. This exception basically allows for you to irrationally hate a coach/athlete
that competes for a team that you hate, because you would answer "yes" to the following, ever-important question: “Is this athlete/coach such a snake that you would hate them
regardless of where they played/coached?”. I, a Tennessee
fan, don’t hate Nick Saban, even though I actively root against his team in
every opportunity. Strictly as a football fan, I respect him, even though
he’s the size of the King of the Hobbits. But Calipari? I can’t say the
same. He’s shady and slimy, has had two Final Fours vacated, and comes off as
smug, arrogant, and not genuine in every single interaction he has with the media.
- You won’t give this athlete/team/actor/musician any credit for anything they accomplish.
One of my irrational hate guys is Texas A&M head football coach Kevin Sumlin. I think he’s the most overrated coach in the country, only the media never hesitated in calling him a “genius” after two seasons in the SEC in which he went 10-6 with Johnny Football. I’m not saying that’s horrible, but you’d think he came in there and just absolutely blew everyone away and won the SEC West back-to-back years. He’s been a head coach for seven seasons now, and he’s had seven horrendous defenses. He’s 0-3 against LSU, and basically has had one enormous win during his tenure, a road victory at
Alabama that he’s
gotten more mileage out of than any single victory for a coach in recent memory.
Of course, with the Aggies bowl victory on Monday night, he won his 28th game at A&M, the most in the history of the school through three seasons. He’s also 3-0 in bowl games with that program, and they, along with Baylor, have been the best teams in that state the last three years, which is no small feat, considering they have to battle with
TEXAS and Oklahoma
and pretty much every program in the country for their own in-state talent.
I don’t care. He’s not a “genius”, and he still sucks. Stop getting embarrassed by LSU every year and then come talk to me.
- He’s overrated!!!
I’m not saying you can’t call someone overrated and not be irrational, but if you’ve ever said that about someone, and then either been unable to articulate any reason as to why, or you’ve completely ignored and dismissed facts that might demonstrate the opposite to be true, then your hate is probably irrational.
- Have you ever heard this person being praised on TV/radio, or amongst a group of friends, and immediately gotten so frustrated that you started yelling at the TV, or started a pointless and fruitless argument?
This one works the exact same way as the similarly-phrased irrational love question. My Angry Old Man is, in many ways, a frequent and flagrant violator of this one. Just the other day, my brother and I were talking about how great Odell Beckham had been this year, and how he just might’ve had the greatest rookie receiving season ever, and my dad replied with, “Yeah, you’re right, go ahead and put him in Canton (the site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame)”. Yeah, because that’s exactly what we were saying pops. See? That was a hair-brained, ridiculous, nonsensical argument made by someone who irrationally hates someone else.
If you have any other suggestion for rules, I’d love to hear them. This list pretty much is, and always will be, a work in progress.
After putting the finishing touches on the rules, I realized that some of my original candidates from last Friday actually weren’t irrational love/hate guys at all. After careful study, I settled on the following list of guys that truly embody everything I spelled out above.
Irrational Love Guys:
Irrational Hate Guys:
It’s a short list, and I was shocked at how many guys I eliminated throughout the process. I realized I didn’t really irrationally hate guys like Derek Jeter (none of my criticisms were unfair, and I’m not above praising him), or irrationally love guys like Philip Rivers (I like Rivers, but I was such a fan of his basically because I was rooting for San Diego all season, as they were my pre-season AFC Super Bowl pick). I’ll give a quick break down of everyone who made the list that I didn’t talk about above.
Like I wrote on Friday, I, for some reason, just really like the way the Cardinal play. They’re physical at the line of scrimmage, they love to pound the football with the running game, and they play great defense. I have never been to
and Stanford probably have the dumbest mascot in sports (the tree),
but I just like the way they do everything out there.
I wrote an entire piece before the NBA season about how great Westbrook was, and how people were stupid for blaming him for OKC’s playoff shortcomings. Basically, I criticized everyone in the Thunder organization while acknowledging, begrudgingly, that Westbrook, solely by being on the team, should take some blame. Yeah, I get it, that was the weakest criticism ever, but I’ll stand by it. That guy is electric, and I don’t think we’ll ever see a fluid, breathtaking athlete quite like him again. He also happens to be one of the most hyper-competitive guys in the entire Association, something that goes a long way in guaranteeing that you’ll make my list.
He’s the same as Westbrook; a super competitive, athletic monster, only he has off-the-field problems, something Russell doesn’t deal with. I’m not saying those issues with police aren’t a big deal, but that doesn’t mean
Dallas shouldn’t pay
the man either. He’s one of the three best wide receivers in the league, a
once-every-fifteen-years type of guy, and not someone you’d want to lose
in free agency for nothing. I’d give him a deal similar to the one the 49ers gave Colin Kaepernick, where the team has multiple opportunities to get out of it if he does something really stupid. Give
him some nice incentives though that will entice him to sign it, and stay. I don’t know.
It’s a negotiation. They’ll figure it out.
I created the “shouting at the TV rule” basically just for him, because he was actually the last person I yelled at the TV over. Some talking head was criticizing him for not being the same quarterback on the road as he was at home, and cited his .500 road record as evidence. I rambled on for a little bit before accidentally stumbling on one coherent point: “That’s fine, I wonder what every other quarterbacks record on the road is!” I high-fived myself without ever looking those numbers up, thinking that I had somehow shown that guy how dumb he was.
I’ve made enough jokes over this football season about “Clemsoning”, which basically means snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Nice bowl win though… over the worst
team in the Bob Stoops era. Congrats guys.
basketball coach, mostly because I’ve never heard him talk without sounding like he's whining. Plus, he has a strong case of Calipariitis
(sounding like a smug, arrogant jerk), and he also happens to be the most
overrated coach in the history of college basketball. Really? You’ve been at Syracuse
for almost 40 years, and have only been to four Final Fours? And you’ve won the
national title once? You’ve had as much talent as anyone during your tenure,
and that’s all you have to show for it? I mean yeah, I understand that he has
954 wins, but I’d argue that’s mostly just a result of longevity more than
Just for the record, if his personality didn’t bother me so much, I probably wouldn’t say anything about his accomplishments on the basketball court. I guess the most irrational thing about this one is that I literally don’t know Boeheim at all, and yet, I don’t think I’d want to meet him, because I’m pretty sure I’d want to smother myself with a pillow if I had to listen to him talk for an extended period of time.
Sure, Harden is one of the most gifted offensive players in the NBA, and he has the best beard-mohawk combo in sports. That’s where my praise ends. Interestingly enough, I used to actually be a big fan of his when he was at Arizona State, because he just seemed like a really nice, humble dude, but watching him flop his way and quit on defense through his NBA career pretty much turned me against him for life. It’s not realistic to expect guys to murder themselves on the defensive end for 82 games a year, but is it too much to ask for Harden to at least try on defense from time to time? I don’t think it is, and when I see how hard he goes on the offensive end, and how flagrantly he flops throughout the game, it’s really frustrating. Can he not at least attempt to channel some of that energy into the defensive end? I guess not.
So there it is. This list is, and always will be, a work in progress. People will probably come on and off it from time to time. Just know that any time someone enters the list or leaves it, I’ll let you guys know.
Now, let’s move on to the final part of my bowl predictions. First, we’ll pick all of the remaining non-New Year’s Six bowl and playoff games.
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Just another “I couldn’t care less” game. I literally closed my eyes and circled a team.
Valero Alamo Bowl
over #14 UCLA Kansas State
The Bruins were the biggest phonies of the college football season, and they impressed me exactly twice this season. K-State should’ve won their game against
besides their blowout loss to TCU, they were in every game they played this
year. They’re just better, and they’ll handle UCLA. Thanks for disappointing us
this year Bruins.
The Cowboys’ defense couldn’t plug a centimeter-sized hole. Plus,
Petersen, the former
head coach, is a sneaky-good 5-2 in bowl games. He’ll, after this one, move to
6-2. Boise State
I picked the Gators, because I just couldn’t see them, even with inept as their offense is, losing a game to
And because I said that, Florida
will go out, do their best bad pee wee offense impression, and lose 3-0. Oh
Remember what I said about the Houston-Pittsburgh game? Yeah, I pretty much did the same thing with this game, except I flipped a coin instead.
Tax Slayer Bowl
The Hawkeyes went 7-5 in the Big 10, which was probably the worst Power 5 conference in college football. Can’t we just safely say that they’re terrible? The only thing I’m worried about is the
offensive line self-destructing, something that’s happened in pretty much every
game this season. That, and Iowa
inexplicably having the Monstars join their team right before kickoff. But
short of that happening, the Vols should get their first bowl win since 2007,
which should be a nice momentum and morale booster heading into next season.
The last time we saw the Badgers, they were in the middle of the most puzzling blowout of the year, a 59-0 beat down in the Big 10 Championship Game by
I, of course, stupidly picked them to win that game. Whoops. I don’t think Ohio State Auburn’s
great though, and I’ve called them overrated all season. Sure, they’ve got a
flashy, explosive offense, but that defense is just awful. But even they should
be able to handle this Wisconsin team that’s in
transition, as they’re going through ANOTHER coaching change. Is AD Barry
Alvarez the worst boss in the country? I’m not sure, but I think I know what
Bret Bielema and Gary Andersen would say.
over #25 Minnesota
I really am a fan of the Golden Gophers’ Jerry Kill, but I’m pretty much always going to pick an SEC team to beat one out of the Big 10, solely out of principle.
Now, the New Year’s Six….
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
#6 TCU over #9 Ole Miss
I realize at the time of me posting this that the Horned Frogs are wearing out the Rebels. I don’t know what to say to say other than I made all my picks before December 20th, the date of the first bowl games. If you doubt that, my Angry Old Man will vouch for me. If you see him out in public, you can ask him, as long as you can deal with being yelled at about how “we’ve lost the country” for five solid minutes.
Vizio Fiesta Bowl
over #20 Boise State
Just for the record, I don’t think
is great, but why is Boise in this
game again? They didn’t go undefeated, and their best win is…. what exactly? ? Plus, both Ole Miss and Air
Force beat them by double digits. I think this could be the most lopsided of
all the New Year’s Six games. Colorado
over #12 Mississippi State Georgia
If you have just a week to prepare for a game, I’d hate to play the Yellow Jackets, because that triple option offense they run is unlike anything your team will see all season. But if you get a month to prepare for it, like
is getting, then it, amazingly, becomes that less daunting. That’s probably
because it, in a lot of ways, isn’t that overly complex or versatile. You can
disagree, but Tech’s 1-5 record under Paul Johnson doesn’t lie. It’s great for
the regular season, but it’s almost always going to sputter in the bowl game. Mississippi State
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
#5 Baylor over #8
The Spartans are the most overrated top 10 team in the country. I mean, they got their butts absolutely kicked by
the only really good teams they played all season. Sure, they beat Nebraska,
but if that’s your best win of the year, then this football team probably isn’t
one the Michigan State faithful will remember for years to come. Baylor should’ve
been in the four team playoff, so they’re either going to play this entire game
pissed off, or sleep walk through it because they don’t really want to be
there. It’s one or the other, and I’ll bet on the former, because I think that
Art Briles is such a great coach, and he’ll have his team motivated and ready
to play. Though, to be fair, they won’t need to be great to beat this Ohio State team. Michigan
Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual
#3 Florida State
Allstate Sugar Bowl
over #4 Ohio State
I chose to put these two contest, our first ever college football playoff games, together, because I like the winners for the same reasons. It’s about time we had a playoff in FBS college football, and it’s going to be an amazing spectacle, but to me, ‘Bama and
have clearly been the two best teams in college football this season. Head and
shoulders ahead of everyone actually. I recognize how great of a coach Urban
Meyer is, but you’re not going to convince me that Nick Saban and that Alabama
defense won’t have a field day with Ohio State’s third string quarterback,
Cardale Jones, particularly since you’ve given them a month to prepare. I hope
I’m wrong, because I hate Alabama,
but I can’t see the Buckeyes keeping it within 14 points. Don’t forget that
this is still an extremely young State team, one that even Coach Meyer said was
a year ahead of schedule. I think Meyer will eventually win a national title in
Columbus, but it won’t happen this
In regards to the FSU-Oregon game, I’m only pausing because of the stupid, “Jameis Winston is undefeated thing”.
on paper, is clearly better. Their offense is unstoppable, and this is probably
the best defense they’ve had in the Chip Kelly-Mark Helfrich era. Still though,
there were so many games this season where the ‘Noles should’ve lost, or play
horribly, only Jameis made like a zillion enormous plays down the stretch that kept
them alive and in the game. And then, eventually, something would happen (like
Notre Dame’s offensive pass interference), and FSU would survive, undefeated
and unscathed. I hate-watched them the entire year, and I was almost as angry
after every Seminole win as I was after every Vol loss. I’ll be doing the same
thing tomorrow. Everything that makes sense points to Oregon,
but all the intangible, stupid destiny stuff points to FSU.
So enjoy football over today and tomorrow. You deserve it. I’ll be back with my NFL Wild Card Round picks on Friday.