Saturday, January 10, 2009

NFL, College Cliches, and the Best Bro-Sis Combo Ever Assembled!

Fact: College is the best four years of your life.

ENNNNNN! Wrong answer!

I hate it when people use this phrase to summarize their college careers. Whenever someone casually tosses this cliche into conversation, I wince, peer into their eyes, and give them the People's Eyebrow. True, I'm enjoying college, but if this experience serves as the highlight of my life before I've lived my next two months, two years, or two decades of my life, that's a sad commentary in regards to my future. Granted, I'll miss the HBO network and the free Honors Office printers, but I'm not afraid of moving on. In God, I'm ready to take on the next challenge, accomplish the next goal, and inspire others for Christ along the way. These entries serve as a humorous but nostalgic signifiers of great moments and awesome experiences. Yup, I'm getting wistful already.

So, before we get to the next point on the list, let's agree to make college mean more than a stupid cliche quote. And if you haven't been maximizing college life, it's time to get moving. As Ferris Bueller would say, "life comes pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it."

Things I'll Miss About College #3: Going to School with My Sister!
Do you really want to know what love is? (More than anything in the world, Ron.) Well, I'll admit that I wasn't really sure what to expect when my sister, Arielle, formerly accepted the scholarship offered to her by The Howard University to join its few but proud students. (Note: I feel that using the determiner "the" prior to a common name gives that name way more credibility. (The Bronx or The Dark Knight, for example) So, look forward to seeing tons of "The Howard University" mentions sprinkled throughout this blog post.) However, I am so glad that Arie decided to attend the Real HU. I am convinced that her decision to attend our university was not only the primary catalyst that grew our relationship to that of "best friend status", but also provided a sensible but encouraging voice that has helped me to become the student and person that I am today. (Plus, she's probably the coolest person on our campus.) All jokes aside, I am truly a proud older brother who can only praise God for what he's doing through Arielle. By far, Arielle and I are the best brother-sister combination ever assembled! Period.

First, no one has better quips, funny theories, and quick-hitting jokes than the Arielle/Michael combo. Over the years we have promptly constructed a list of approximately one trillion quips, one million cripping disses, and ten trillion inside jokes. To me, Arielle is like the Android 18 to my 17, the Cheryl Miller to my Reggie Miller, the Cece to my Bebe Winans. If you've ever been blessed (or willing) to see a movie, eat a meal, or travel anywhere with Arielle and I, you understand that our dynamic duo is like taking a bite of a well-made cheesecake. You're not sure which section of the cake tastes better, the filling or the crust, but you know that you are consuming an awesome delicacy.
Secondly, Arielle's understanding about women that I would have no chance of knowing (and for the record, still have zero chance of fully understanding). When Arielle tells me not to date a girl, I listen 99% of the time - partly because I know that she's helping me out, and partly because she's just so dang convincing with her explanations. Really, I can rattle on for hours in the space about my sister and her accomplishments (ExxonMobil, Abbott, et al), her talents (poetry, anything using the computer, her geniousness, smiling), or just Christ in her life...but I don't want to sound like an overzealous B-list actor that receives an award at the stepbrother of the Academy Awards Golden Globes. Anyway, you get the point. When I move on from The Howard University this spring, I'm going to miss our time together. As I would say, it's been pure awesomeness.
Since I'm supposed to be a sportswriter, let's go ahead and get to some football picks:
NFC: Giants over Eagles (20-17)
I love watching Chris Berman's "Two Minute Drill" on Friday nights during the football season. This week before the big Eagles/Giants Super Bowl, safety Brian Dawkins dropped this gem during the segment.

"This is what the season's coming down to. Me running full speed into big men."
Really, has the season really come down to Dawkins headbutting 330-pound linemen in the sternum (a la Zinedine Zidane) on any given Sunday? Isn't that the most bleak outlook on professional football you've ever heard? Seriously, doctors calculate that football players crashing into one another on any given play is equivalent to a simultaneous car crash. For the record, you will never catch me destroying my shoulder blades for the betterment of the team! If my coach told me to commit spinal suicide during football games, I would stop, spit directly on his Dr. Scholls, and quote Julius's classic line from Remember the Titans: "Why should I give a HOOT about you, or anybody else on this team? NOBODY PLAYS! I'm supposed to wear myself out for the team? WHAT TEAM? YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

Brian, you may want to sit a few plays out, champ.

NFC: Panthers over Cardinals (Infinity to Sub-Zero)
Okay, this might be the easiest game to pick this weekend. That's why the network executives argued to shove this borefest into the 4:15pm Saturday slot (because no one will forfeit an entire Saturday afternoon for this). Although I'd love to go against conventional wisdom and pick the Cardinals (so that the G-Men will have an easier route to the Super Bowl), I decided to concede victory to the Cats. Arizona is playing this game without WR Anquan Boldin (who in my definition is the most BOSS player the NFL has even seen), on the road, in a cold-weather stadium, with a terrible defense (who only beat Atlanta because they stopped the cutback system in the zone blocking scheme), the classic previously-underrated-but-now-overrated-because-everybody-talked-about-him-all-week guy (Edge James), and a quarterback who's probably hiding varicose veins underneath his leggings. Unless Ray Carruth breaks out of prison and flat-out maimes a guy on the field, we can all agree that the Panthers will take care of business with K-Ci and JoJo at the running back position.

AFC: Pittsburgh over San Diego (11-10)
I'm still bitter about the first meeting between these two clubs. First, we've got two offensive teams, slouching around in the crappiest field in the NFL today (Heinz Field), playing probably the most meaningess 4:15 game in recent memory. Of course, because I thought that Norv would wet the bed well before 7pm, I sidestepped my homework and watched this atrocity. Plus, my boy Troy Polamalu got robbed of a sure-fire TD that would have started heads rolling in Vegas (Pittsburgh would have covered the point spread). Uhh, not that I gamble or anything. (Ducks thunderbolt) San Diego can only hope that Mike Scifres (the guy who will be the highest-paid punter next season) drops about ten punts inside the 5 and that Big Ben's offensive line will offer Luis Castello 5years/$50 million by opening up the doorways to Roethlisberger's ankles. (It's possible - remember the Giants and Eagles games.) Otherwise, the Steel City rolls.

AFC: Baltimore over Tennessee (16-13)

Ray Lewis! Albert Haynesworth! Who's going to score the most defensive TD's? It's the NFL on CBS! This is going to be like one of those first-person, walkthrough, Nintendo 64 "Rampage" style bouts at LP Field. This summer, I drove by LP Field while in Nashville and laughed aloud. Why? Because I loved the idea of Titans fans possibly being one Vince Young injury/mental breakdown away from cheering hard for Kerry Collins, a guy who is guaranteed to look for cover when he sees flashbacks of the 2000 Super Bowl. (Yup, I'm still bitter.) Plus, without a solid deep-threat (really, the only weakness of Baltimore's defense...ask the Colts), the Titans have no chance of winning. And yes, I know I'm throwing my support behind a rookie quarterback on the road (Joe Flacco). Let's just not bring that up.

Plus, I can't stand the idea of my buddies (Ray and Earl) dancing in the streets of Vanderbilt University in jubilee while my New Jersey York Jets continue their search for the next Al Groh. Life as a perennial really can't get much worse.

Enjoy the games, everyone.

Mike Benjamin

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