NFL Power Rankings Week 4

My lovely girlfriend drove up with me this weekend to see me off back to school in Oregon and how did I repay her? By watching football, more football, football video games and then even more football. I actually feel kind of bad, considering she is not a football fan. Let’s just say, when I said the Cowboys are playing on Monday Night Football, she asked me, “Who are the Cowboys?”

But don’t you worry; I made it up to her. And now I’ll make it up to you by delivering the funniest, most informative NFL Power Rankings you will read all week (as long as it’s the only one).

Truer words have never been spoken

Truer words have never been spoken

32 (32) – Rams – The only thing more depressing than the Rams season is the latest episode of Entourage. Turtle got dumped, Drama had a heart attack, and E had an STD scare. Who wrote this, Joseph Merrick?

31 (31) – Browns – Take a look at Cleveland’s team stat leaders. Brady Quinn has 400 yards, Jamal Lewis has 95, and Braylon Edwards has 139. Those would only be mildly impressive for one game. Somewhere Matthew Berry is crying.

30 (30) – Chiefs – There’s a legitimate chance that Kansas City won’t get a win until week 9. They play the Giants, Cowboys, at Washington, and San Diego.  On the bright side, kicker Ryan Succop is perfect so far on the season.

29 (28) – Buccaneers – Does Raheem Morris really think Josh Johnson is the answer to his team’s offensive woes? I mean, he’s not even the best Josh Johnson in the state of Florida.

28 (25) – Raiders – The only reasons JaMarcus Russell is still starting are Charlie Frye and Bruce Gradkowski. Is the QB from “Glee” available?

27 (29) – Lions – Detroit Fans celebrated the victory like it was 1999. Unfortunately, they won’t be doing it again for a while as they face Chicago, Pittsburgh and Green Bay the next three weeks.

26 (24) – Panthers – This messed me up last night: the Jake Delhomme drinking game. Take a shot every turnover or three and out. Man, that second half was a killer.

25 (26) – Dolphins – Forget Chad Henne, play Pat White! Yes, you might not be very good, but you wouldn’t be anyway, and you’d instantly have the most exciting quarterback since pre-prison Michael Vick.

24 (20) – Redskins – First in free agency, last in the NFC East. After back-to-back pathetic performances against two of the worst teams in the league, the Lions and Rams, Washington gets a chance to play three more winless teams in row. This could get ugly.

23 (22) – Seahawks – So much for being the sexy sleeper pick in the NFC West. Seneca Wallace looked absolutely terrified that the game came down to him leading a two-minute drill against one of the NFL’s toughest D’s.

22 (21) – Bills – One week after getting his first touchdown for Toronto, T.O. get’s another first: his first game without a reception in 185 contests. Good news though, “Beast Mode” comes back next week.

21 (22) – Jaguars – Even with the win, my buddy Alon has finally come to the conclusion that Jacksonville sucks right now. Good for him.

20 (16) – Cardinals – After losing to the Steelers last February, Arizona is suffering a Super Bowl hangover worse than if Courtney Love and Artie Lang had a cocaine-infused love child and then 19 years later sent it off to college at Arizona State.

19 (17) – Texans – The offense has finally found its groove behind Matt Schaub, but the defense is giving up a league high 436 yards per game. It should be fun on Sunday to see who can suck more, JaMarcus Russell or Houston’s defense.

18 (18) – Titans – I wonder how quickly Kerry Collins could down a 6-pack. 3 minutes? 5, tops?

Legendary

Legendary

17 (23) – Bengals – They’re a fluke catch from a white wide receiver away from  being 3-0. And I had them at number 32 in the preseason. I’m still not buying it 100%, but I owe Cincinnati an apology.

16 (19) – Broncos – I know they haven’t played anybody yet, but after all that has been said about how terrible their defense would be, it’s pretty impressive that they’ve allowed only 16 points in three games.  Unfortunately, there’s a pretty realistic chance they will be 4-6 after week 12. The upcoming schedule is brutal.

15 (14) – Cowboys – Did what they were supposed to do against the rotting corpse of Jake Delhomme. Don’t be impressed.

14 (13) – Bears – Hey Chicago, it feels pretty good to finally have a real quarterback, doesn’t it?  Although it was fun to see Jay Mariotti complain about Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman on Around the Horn.

13 (6) – Steelers – I know the loss of Troy Polamalu hurts, but come on, the Bengals, really? Give the man a Coke Zero, and get him back out onto the field.

12 (12) – 49ers – I’m sold. Going into Minnesota and giving the Vikings all they could handle was impressive. And even more importantly, Vernon Davis finally flashed the potential that made him the NFL’s highest paid tight end in 2006. With Frank Gore out for three weeks, this is Davis’ chance to really step up and carry the offense.

11 (7) – Falcons – Tim Hightower, Kevin Smith and pothead Ricky Williams are all ahead of Michael Turner in fantasy points this season. This makes me smile.

10 (15) – Packers – I wonder how many hours this week ESPN will spend hyping up Brett Favre’s first game against Green Bay. How many hours are there till Sunday? Yea, that many.

9 (9) – Eagles – Michael Vick said after the game that his return to the field (and two incomplete passes) was a top three moment in his career. I’m guessing he’s not counting his dog-fighting career. What, too soon?

8 (8) – Chargers

Ron Burgundy: Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diego, which of course in German means a whale’s vagina.
Veronica Corningstone: No, there’s no way that’s correct.
Ron Burgundy: I’m sorry, I was trying to impress you. I don’t know what it means. I’ll be honest, I don’t think anyone knows what it means anymore. Scholars maintain that the translation was lost hundreds of years ago.
Veronica Corningstone: Doesn’t it mean Saint Diego?
Ron Burgundy: No. No.
Veronica Corningstone: No, that’s – that’s what it means. Really.
Ron Burgundy: Agree to disagree.

Is any of that football related? No, I just thought it was funny.

7 (11) – Jets – Mark Sanchez is the first rookie quarterback to ever start 3-0. Of all the quarterbacks in NFL history, Mark Frikkin’ Dirty Sanchez. I am an Oregon fan, remember?

6 (10) – Colts – Arizona might not have the most impressive defense, but what Peyton Manning did on Sunday was pretty damn impressive. You can give them the previously and perennially overrated AFC South right now.

This Ravens team is hungry. I wonder how Big Ben's uniform tastes.

This Ravens team is hungry. I wonder how Big Ben's uniform tastes.

5 (5) – Patriots – Now that’s more like it. Without Wes Welker, Tom Brady and New England outclassed Atlanta in every facet of the game. Even grandpa Fred Taylor had over 100 yards and a touchdown.

4 (4) – Giants – The G-men held the always dangerous Tampa Bay offense (ha) to just 86 total net yards. That’s almost as bad as Keanu Reeves’s performance in “Much Ado About Nothing.” Keanu doing Shakespeare? Uckkkk.

3 (3) – Saints – New Orleans blew out the Bills despite a human performance from Drew Brees, by running the football and playing solid defense. That’s frightening.

2 (1) – Vikings – Only Brett Favre would command a career highlight reel during a football game he wasn’t playing in. I almost gagged.

1 (2) – Ravens – This Ravens team is scarier that Keifer Sutherland’s voice in Phone Booth. That still gives me the chills just thinking about it.

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Jeremiah Masoli, Ed Dickson Power Ducks Upset over #6 Cal

Apparently, all Oregon needed to turn their sluggish offense around was just another set of new uniforms, and Uncle Phil was more than happy to oblige. The University of Oregon legend even went so far as to put a radar on Ed Dickson’s number 83 for Jeremiah Masoli. Jeremiah, you remember your teammate Ed, right? Boy, did he ever.

I guess 8,000 uniform combo's weren't enough. And hey, one more never hurt.

I guess 8,000 uniform combo's weren't enough. And hey, one more never hurt.

After forgetting that he had one of the nation’s top tight ends at his disposal during the first three games (4 receptions for 58 yards), Masoli quickly made up for lost time, looking for Dickson early and often, connecting 11 times for 148 yards and three scores, spelling a disastrous 42-3 defeat for a No. 6 California Golden Bears team that was clearly not prepared to deal with the raucous environment at Autzen Stadium.

With non-conference play leaving much to be desired from the Ducks offense, as well as several pundits questioning themselves for picking Masoli as a dark horse Heisman candidate, Oregon needed to make a statement that they were still the same high-flying offensive attack that earned them a 42-31 drubbing of Oklahoma State in last year’s Holiday Bowl. And man oh man, what a statement they made.

After a fumble on the opening kickoff (again Walter, really?) and a three and out, which brought all sorts of “here we go again” face palms from the student section, the defense stepped up and held Cal to a field goal and a punt; a major win, considering the short distance between dangerous Jahvid Best and the end zone.

The energy the defense displayed on those stops must have translated to the offense, because on Oregon’s next series, the Ducks walked on to the field with an aura of confidence, a swagger even, that they didn’t show at all during their first three games.

Looking much more comfortable in the pocket, Masoli calmly checked his reads and accurately hit Jeffrey Maehl and D.J. Davis on screen passes for back-to-back first downs.

With speedy LaMichael James and a stable of other capable backs imposing the threat of the run, the Oregon offense finally was able to move the ball at will. Although the drive ultimately ended in a tying-field goal, that was all the confidence the Ducks needed for the offense to finally get in a rhythm.

Instead of locking into a single receiver even before the snap and forcing throws to covered receivers, Masoli patiently waited in the pocket and took what the defense gave him, which was a plethora of screens, short throws over the middle on drag routes, and designed roll-outs that found the seams in Cal’s usually stingy defense. The result? 524 yards and a 42 spot on the scoreboard.

The defense, who were once again without T.J. Ward and Walter Thurmond (who was injured on the opening kick-off), did a masterful job of containing Best, thanks in part to a series of drops by Cal receivers that must have damaged quarterback Kevin Riley’s confidence in the passing game, because Riley, who was visibly flustered by most likely the loudest crowd he had ever faced, continuously missed open receivers, allowing the Ducks stack eight in the box which let Oregon hold Best to just 55 yards on 18 carries.

Masoli finished an efficient 21-25 for 253 yards and three touchdowns, James contributed his second straight 100-yard game, ending with 118 and a score, and Remene Alston, Kenjon Barner, Andre Crenshaw and Masoli combined to add over another century mark to the rushing total.

The defense added four sacks, numerous pass break-ups and allowed just 207 total yards to a Cal offense that had averaged just less than 500 yards in each of their first three contests.

With the confidence of today’s huge win and noticeable improvements in each game, Oregon finally seems to have hit their stride at just the right time, knocking off back-to-back ranked opponents for the first time in the Chip Kelly era.

In college football, when you lose is almost more important than who you lose to, and in a month, voters will look back at the Boise State game as simply an 11-point loss on the road to an undefeated Bronco squad who were playing for their season. And even though it was a horrific game, that really doesn’t sound too bad.

So with the defense looking frighteningly legitimate and the offense re-finding their high-flying form, the Ducks have the early edge on the Pac 10 and a serious chance to sneak their way back into the BCS mix.

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Real NFL Power Rankings Week 3

Huge changes in the rankings this week. Call me fickle, but I think it takes two weeks to see the real identity of several teams. To be sure, these rankings will most likely look absurd by week 8, but hey, you don’t read these for the accuracy. Wait…

Sorry for taking  so long to get these up and that I’m mailing these in more than Matthew Berry on his Fantasy Focus Baseball Podcast, but I’m driving up to Oregon in six hours, and am still nowhere close to packed yet. Give me a break.

32 (30) – 0-2 – Rams – Went from the most fun to the most aggravating team to watch in just 4 years. Hey St. Louis, don’t worry, the NBA will be here soon. Wait…

Sadly, I don't think this would shock anyone in three years.

Sadly, I don't think this would shock anyone in three years.

31 (29) – 0-2 – Browns – I’m sorry Cleveland, but you’re gonna be in for a rougher Sunday than a Jew on Christmas. (It’s ok, my dad’s Jewish)

30 (28) – 0-2 – Chiefs – It doesn’t get a whole heck of a lot worse than losing to the Raiders at home. On the bright side, they get to play in Philly this weekend. Wait…

29 (31) – 0-2 – Lions – Just when you think the Lions might not be as bad this year, their defense has allowed the most points in the NFL.

28 (27) – 0-2 – Bucs – Don’t you love it when a team gets a new defensive-minded head coach and the defense is even worse than last year?

27 (24) – 0-2 – Jaguars – Earnest Wilford makes over $7 million this season. Really, Earnest Wilford?

26 (23) – 0-2 – Dolphins – When your team doesn’t have a single good wide out, your quarterback is Chad Pennington and your best running back smokes more weed than Snoop Dogg AND lives in the drug capital of the United States, yeah, your team isn’t very good.

25 (26) – 1-1 – Raiders – Is there a player that gets less out of his talent that JaMarcus Russell?

24 (25) – 1-1 – Panthers – I don’t care how decent Delhomme looked on Sunday, he is still worse than your girlfriend making you watch the Notebook and then not even making it up to you afterward.

23 (32) – 1-1 – Bengals – Sorry Cincinnati, I was a little too rough on your Bengals earlier.

22 (17) – 1-1 – Seahawks – As good as Seneca Wallace was at Iowa State, the Hasselback injury hurts. Big time.

21 (19) – 1-1 – Bills – Congrats T.O., on your first touchdown as a Toronto Bill.

20 (18) – 1-1- Redskins – If you picked Washington in your NFL suicide pick this week, you must have been more scared than I was after watching the preview of Jennifer’s Body and realizing Megan Fox would never be attractive to me again.

19 (21) – 2-0- Broncos – Even though I picked Denver as a pre-season sleeper, is there a less deserving 2-0 team?

18 (9) – 0-2 – Titans – “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” – George Bush

17 (20) – 1-1 – Texans – That loss to the Jets looks a little bit better now, doesn’t it?

16 (14) – 1-1 – Cardinals -Even though Jacksonville is not good by any stretch of the imagination, winning an early game on the East Coast is big for Arizona.

15 (13) – 1-1 – Packers – I wonder which is worse: picking Green Bay in your suicide pool and getting mocked by all your buddies for losing in week two, or being a Packers fan and getting mocked by the entire NFL for losing to the Bengals. At home.

14 (10) – 1-1 – Cowboys – I can’t figure out which one of these is dumber: the center field hill in the Minute Maid Park, Tyler Perry, the plot of Surrogates or having a mega-scoreboard that hangs too low. My head is about to explode.

13 (16)  – 1-1 – Bears – Usually a team would move up after beating the Steelers, but Jay Cutler is too much of a spoiled, prep school douche bag.

12 (15) – 2-0 – 49ers – I think Shaun Hill’s seven step drop is so ugly that Matt Hasselback got hurt on purpose just so he wouldn’t have to watch it any more from the sideline.

This never gets old.

This never gets old.

11 (22) – 1-1 – Jets – Anyone that can make Tom Brady look like Owen from Dodgeball, earns my prodigious combination of dislike and respect.

10 (5) – 2-0 – Colts – That is about the ugliest way to start a season two and oh.

9 (4) – 1-1 – Eagles – The NFL has to be scripted, no other way this works out so perfectly for Ron Mexico…err Michael Vick.

8 (6) – 1-1 – Chargers – It would suck to be the guy who got suckered into drafting LT in the first round.

7 (8) – 2-0 – Falcons – Hey Atlanta, could you beat Carolina any less convincingly?

6 (2) – 1-1 – Steelers – It’s a good year for curses, they’re making a comeback. Don’t even try to come back Troy, just save yourself for next year.

5 (1) – 1-1 – Patriots – Maybe God isn’t a Pats fan. Or maybe He’s just testing us. I choose to believe the latter.

4 (11) – 2-0 – Giants – I think Eli Manning read my Anti-man Crush story and is now playing well just to spite me.

3 (12) – 2-0 – Saints – There’s a new title-holder for the Greatest Show on Turf.

2 (7) – 2-0 – Ravens – Wow, a  Ravens team that can finally do it all: pass, run and play D. Scary.

1 (3) – 2-0 – Vikings – I have faith. Although a loss to my hometown 49ers this weekend wouldn’t be the end of the world. Hey Brett, can you get all the INT’s out of your system on Sunday? K thanks.

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The Not Quite Week 3 NFL Power Rankings

This has been a hectic week as the end of summer approaches and a long road trip back to Oregon stands just a few days away. And of course, I’ve put writing and hanging out with the girlfriend ahead of sleep, packing, rubbing my once again undefeated fantasy football weekend into the noses of my friends and car searching (more on that later). So with just 72 hours till I hit I-5 northbound to Eugene, what better use for time could I find than sharing my week three power rankings? Wait, don’t answer that question. I don’t want to face reality.

Who wouldn't trust this guy??

Who wouldn't trust this guy??

Before I get to the rankings I’ll share a story for those of you who take pleasure in other people’s misfortune. If you kept reading, I am obligated by the great state of Wyoming to call you a sadist. I kid, I kid. So about a month ago I was driving home from work in stop-and-go traffic, rocking out to Taylor Swift (I blame my girlfriend for that) and minding my own business, when suddenly I hear a loud thud and feel a violent thrust forward into my steering wheel, propelling my Honda Accord into the Lincoln Towncar ahead of me like a sandwich (mmm pastrami…). Beautiful. Luckily, the person behind me took blame for the incident, so my car repairs were on her dime. Unluckily, my hood was smashed, bumpers were busted, and fenders were finished, so when I took it to the mechanic the next morning I was delighted to find out that the damage was too great to fix it. Car totaled. But I got a check for just under $8,000 and a rental car. Should be enough money and time to find a decent car before I head back to school, right, right?

You would think. So I actually found a perfect car a few days later, the same Honda Accord but four years newer and 15,000 less miles, fully loaded, navi, leather seats. Almost too good to be true. It drives well, so I take it to the mechanic to check it out, it passed. Whew! I’m in the clear. The owner of the car, a spoiled, rich kid screw-up alerts me he is going to San Diego for the weekend and I can buy the car on Monday. Sounds like a plan. So I called him Monday. Again on Tuesday. Wednesday. Finally, I get a call back on Thursday, knowing something is not right. For this kid to make $8,300 bucks, all he had to do was not crash the car. Apparently he isn’t good at following directions.

And to make matters worse, as I was driving to work in the rental car the next week, just as I was merging onto the freeway, a huge Ford F250 decides to lose his patience and swerve around me, knocking off my side view mirror in the process, and then jetting off knowing it’s too late for me to get out of the freeway lame. Great, there goes $400.

So back to searching on craigslist. I find a 2000 Honda Accord, the exact same model and options as my first car, but a year newer and 14,000 miles less. Looks like a good deal. He listed it above Kelly Blue Book but I talked him down to a reasonable price. So I took it to a mechanic and found out it needed over $1,000 worth of repairs and services that should have already happened. And of course, he wasn’t willing to chip in, so sorry Charlie, I’m moving on.

So on Sunday night, less than a week before leaving for Oregon, I gave up and decided to have my dad drive me up and worry about getting a car later. But then the perfect car popped up on craigslist. A 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid, with a 5-year warranty for $7000.

So I test drive the car, it drives well, so I set up an appointment with a mechanic the next morning to get it checked out and hopefully buy it later that day. And guess what? I get awoken by the ring of my cell phone, and it wasn’t good news. Apparently, the car he was going to buy fell through, so now he wasn’t selling his. What a bummer. Why does car searching have to be so tantalizing??

So now me, and my girlfriend who is coming up for the weekend, are stuck driving up to school with my dad and immature, bratty 12-year-old brother. And there you have it, my hopelessly sad, sob story about how unlucky, doomed and ill-fated my endeavors were into finding a replacement car. Don’t you just feel a little better about yourself right now?

Oh, and about the power rankings, it’s too late to crank them out tonight. Look for a succinct version tomorrow, as I really have a lot of packing I need to do.

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Boise State Shows Oregon The Importance of Scheduling

It’s easy to look back after the fact and play armchair GM. You hear it all the time from fans: “coach X needs to grow a pair, he should have went for it on 4th down!” or “he shouldn’t have tried to steal second base in that situation, what an idiot.” But those are the types of plays where if you make it, you’re a genius, and if you don’t, well, you get the picture. After all, hindsight is called 20/20 for a reason.

That blue on blue combination is completly unfair. Yea, I'm bitter. You wanna fight about it?

That blue on blue combination is completely unfair. Yea, I'm bitter. You wanna fight about it?

But there are some instances so apparent, so obvious, that even before something goes wrong, you just know it’s going to happen. And when it does, all you can do is just cover your face with your hands and painfully watch through the cracks in-between your fingers, like watching a replay of car accident in slow motion, over and over again.

What am I referring to? No, it wasn’t the Legarrette Blount punch, or Jeremiah Masoli’s mountain of sucktidude on Saturday against Utah. It was scheduling the first game of the season on the road against Boise State.

Let me break it down. Coming into the season, Oregon wasn’t really a model for stability and constancy. Unlike Florida, who returned all 11 starters on defense, their Heisman-winning quarterback, and a head coach who has a vice grip on the title of “best football coach east of USC”, Oregon faced a lot of questions marks.

How fluidly will Chip Kelly take over the reins from the Mike Bellotti era? Will Masoli play like the superstar he was against Oregon State and Oklahoma State or will he produce stinkers like the Cal game? How will the Ducks handle the losses of Patrick Chung, Jairus Byrd, Nick Reed and Ra’shon Harris on defense and the departures of Max Unger, Fenuki Tupou and Jeremiah Johnson on the offense? That’s a whole lot of turnover to deal with over one offseason. And despite all that, Oregon was hyping themselves up as a Pac 10 contender and BCS title sleeper. That’s a lot of pressure.

So in a season with so many unknowns, they scheduled Boise State, a team desperate for a major non-conference win, in their first game on the road, in a stadium that can unflap even the most unflappable. Doesn’t sound good.

Yes, when they scheduled this game several years ago, they might not have known how much turnover they would be dealing with this season. But last year, when the Broncos traveled to Eugene to face the Ducks – in a very similar situation (new quarterback, a raucous stadium notorious for its effect on the opponents), Boise State didn’t have to play Oregon until their third game of the season, conveniently scheduling tune-up games against Idaho State and Bowling Green to work out all the kinks before playing a powerhouse like the Ducks. And what do you know, it worked out.

So the unproven Ducks go into Boise that Thursday night, in front of a nationally televised audience no less, to play a team who has a home record of 64-2 since 1999 and playing for their BCS life. That’s a dangerous combination.

Playing in a non-BCS conference, where even if they go undefeated, they still aren’t guaranteed a BCS bowl berth, a win against a team like Oregon was absolutely necessary, as a loss would make pundits say, “if they can’t beat Oregon, they have no chance against Texas or Florida.” And Boise State played like it.

But luckily for Chip Kelly and the Ducks, and the fate of their 2009 campaign, even with a loss in the opener, a Rose Bowl appearance still hangs in the balance. So in order for Oregon to have a chance in the Pac 10, they must put the loss to Boise State completely behind them and focus solely on the task at hand, the #6 California Golden Bears. Oh my.

Raise Your Hand If You Like Clean Water

Oil spills, soda cans, and food wrappers constantly pollute our waters. So much so, that it makes me wonder if all those “No Dumping” signs have surreptitiously been changed to “Water: Your New Landfill.”

watcleaner-435x3001So how can we combat the growing problem of contaminated oceans, rivers and lakes? With robots, of course. Thanks to a new invention from Chinese industrial designer, Ye Yao, comes the WatCleaner, a device designed to automatically clean water.

The WatCleaner has detectors on the bottom that monitor water for pollution, everything from basic garbage to oil, and clean the water. Absorbent socks on the top of the WatCleaner absorb oil and cleanse it. Additionally, garbage is taken in and directed to a disintegrator- clean water is then sprayed through the top of the WatCleaner and returned to the water system.

And for those of you animal rights activists, don’t worry, the WatCleaner also detects fish in order to clean the water in their area.

Beyond just cleaning the water of contaminants, the WatCleaner is also set up to transmit water condition information to land based controllers and ask for help if it encounters conditions too polluted to handle alone.

The WatCleaner won an “Excellent Works” designation in the 2007 Japan Design Foundation International Design Competition.

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Pac-10 Weekend Preview: Possibility for Perfection?

There are only two teams in the Pac-10 in the AP Top 25. Pretty pathetic, considering this West Coast perennial powerhouse prides itself as talented and deserving of BCS births as the SEC and Big 12.  But after a disappointing season last year, the Pac-10 has the makings of a bounce back season, with USC and Cal as the headliners and several other teams on the cusp of contention.

This will be a scene far too familiar for Minnesota's liking tomorrow as Jahvid Best will undoubtedly hit paydirt.

This will be a scene far too familiar for Minnesota's liking tomorrow as Jahvid Best will undoubtedly hit paydirt.

With that being said, this is a big weekend for those teams trying to hang with the big boys out west, especially for the Oregon schools, each of whom host ranked opponents this Saturday. Meanwhile, Arizona and UCLA face second-tier teams from BCS conferences, where wins would go a long way in proving the overall strength of the conference.

I really like all of the matchups for the Pac-10 this weekend, and aside from the one intra-conference   game between USC and Washington, which could actually be highly entertaining (now that U-Dub has finally won a game for the first time in 16 tries – sorry, as an Duck fan I had to get in a cheap shot), I would not be surprised if the Pac-10 finishes with a perfect Saturday.

On to the games:

#8 Cal @ Minnesota – A matchup of golden animals, how cute. After barely knocking off Syracuse and Air Force, the Golden Gophers face their first true test of the season. Even with the home field advantage of their snazzy new digs, TCF Bank Stadium, Minnesota doesn’t have nearly enough offensive firepower to be able to keep up with Heisman hopeful, Jahvid Best, talented redshirt freshman, Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson, and surprisingly effective quarterback Kevin Riley and the rest of the Golden Bears. The only hope for Minnesota is if Cal reverts back to 2008 form, where they went 1-4 outside of Memorial Stadium (does a win at Washington State even count?), but I think Cal is too determined to stay in the BCS hunt.

Result: Cal 38, Minnesota 24.

#17 Utah @ Oregon – I wonder if Oregon looks back at their non-conference games for this season and regrets scheduling two non-BCS teams who desperately need every win to maintain their status as BCS contenders. Playing a team with everything to lose is a dangerous proposition, especially when Oregon is still figuring out its offensive personality. Fortunately for the Ducks, I feel Oregon saw enough of an improvement from Jeremiah Masoli and emergence from LaMichael James to pull out a tough win at raucous Autzen Stadium, and return to the top 25.

Result: Oregon 45, Utah 34

#3 USC @ Washington – It looks like Steve Sarkisian has really performed a quick fix for last season’s winless Huskies (ahh, can never say that enough). All of U-Dubs hopes rest in the legs and left arm of Jake Locker (who Husky fans consider as the 13th apostle), but this season it looks like he is finally ready to live up to the hype, after an impressive performance against a top 10 foe. But all that goes out the window when USC comes to town. Taylor Mays will provide a test Locker has never seen before, and the Trojan’s stable of running backs could put the game out of reach early.

Result: USC 38, 17

Arizona @ Iowa – With all the talented running backs in the Pac-10, Arizona’s Nic Grigsby often gets overlooked. But after the quick-footed back put up a 200-spot against Northern Arizona last weekend, you can bet Kirk Ferentz has done his homework.  In the end though,  it won’t matter, as the Wildcat’s ground game will prove too much to handle for the Hawkeyes.

Result: Arizona 24, Iowa 17

SMU @ Washington State – Did I say the Pac-10 would win every inter-conference game tomorrow? Sorry, I forgot how bad the Cougars were. Maybe next year, fellas.

Result: SMU 42, Washington State 13

If only the Cougars weren't horrible, the Pac-10 would be in for a perfect weekend.

If only the Cougars weren't horrible, the Pac-10 would be in for a perfect weekend.

#17 Cincinnati @ Oregon State – Wow, can those Bearcats put up points! 117 in two games is mighty impressive, but if you dig a little deeper, those games came against Rutgers and Southeast Missouri State.  Two teams not known for their pas defenses.  The Beavers, meanwhile, have a stopped the run very well this year, which will allow them to focus more attention on the Bearcats air attack. On the offensive side of the ball, look for Sean Canfield and the dynamic Rodgers brothers to do work in front of a national audience.

Result: Oregon State 48, Cincinnati 42.

San Jose State @ Stanford – For all the potentially great storylines – the Bill Walsh connection and the fact that the campuses are located less than 20 miles a part – this is one of the more boring games of the weekend. Dick Tomey has done a nice job for the Spartans but he can’t compete with the resources and firey attitude Jim Harbaugh gives to the Cardinal. The lone superstar in this game, Toby Gerhart, will determine the outcome, which doesn’t bode well for San Jose State.

Result: Stanford 24, San Jose State 20.

Louisiana-Monroe @ Arizona State – As impressive as the Warhawks 58-0 thrashing of Texas Southern was, I don’t think it matters. In a battle of the Sun Belt against the Pac-10, it doesn’t matter who’s playing (except Washington State), you can put a W in the Pac-10’s win column.

Result: Arizona State 42, Louisiana-Monroe 17.

Kansas State @ UCLA – The Bruins really made a statement last Saturday with a big-time win in Knoxville. UCLA will build on that momentum with a win over a Kansas State program battling through a down couple of seasons. The Wildcats have a positive net 2 points after games against Massachusetts and Louisiana-Lafayette: this game could get ugly.

Result: UCLA 31, Kansas State 13.

Pac-10 Weekend Preview: Possibility for Perfection?

Human Waste is Underrated

Learn from Elmo, and turn your human waste into renewable energy!

Learn from Elmo, and turn your human waste into renewable energy!

What do you do with your human waste? Well, if you’re no fun you probably just flush it down the toilet, re-enacting what you think is “normal” from what you’ve learned from the rest of society. But now, Frank Sinton, a tech entrepreneur and founder of PMC BioTec, says it’s time to break this silly social norm, stick it to the man, and save some money.

America spends $5 billion a year dealing with sludge. Biosolids producers pay hundreds of dollars a ton to remove it, quickly filling landfills or other means of disposal, Sinton said on Sept. 15 at the AlwaysOn Going Green Conference in Sausalito, California. The scope of the globe’s sludge problem is mindboggling. Every year, cattle feedlots produce more than 150 million tons of animal waste; the U.S. and Europe together generate 40 million tons of sludge from sewage treatment; and food production waste weighs in at a staggering billion tons per year.

So what is Sinton going to do about it? He and PMC have invented a $2 million machine similar to a giant port-a-potty that takes in sludge, mixes it with bacteria, or renders the organic matter into methane gas, an energy source that can offset the high power requirements of many biosolid treatment facilities.

Read more from Daily Finance.

Also posted at greenernewsblog.com, a Vineberg Communication’s resource.

BREAKING NEWS!!

The Bleacher Report has recruited yours truly to join them as a Featured Columnist for the Oregon Ducks! Don’t worry though, I will continue posting here as well. I’m stoked and appreciative for this wonderful opportunity! Let’s get it on.

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NFL Power Rankings Week 2

What an amazing weekend. The 49ers get a win on the road, the Oregon Ducks get a W, Brett Tomko throws a shutout for the A’s, Tom Brady resumes his place as an NFL God, and my fantasy football teams go 3-0. Could life get any better? I submit that it cannot.

So now that week 1 is over, and every team has taken the field, there is some actual in-season analysis to go along with preseason projection. Mind you, there is a lot of football left to be played, as one game doesn’t make or break a season. As much as a douche-nozzle as he is, I don’t think Jay Cutler is that bad or the Seahawks are that good.

But let’s get it on. On to the rankings (you can see my week one rankings here and here):

32 (Last week 32) – Bengals – Their top pick breaks his foot in his first day of practice; not good. They are shut out in the first three quarters by a team who gave up 28 points per game last season; bad. Carson Palmer, who’s arm is toasted more than Michael Richard’s comedy career, managed to lead the Bengals to a go-ahead touchdown with 0:38 seconds left; promising. But then on a play straight out of NFL films, the Bengals clutch defeat from the jaws of victory, giving up a back-breaking 87-yard touchdown to a white wide receiver. Ouch.

Fantasy update: Cedric Benson – YPC wasn’t good but finished with over 100 total yards and still has a firm grip on the starting job.

31 (31) – 0-1 – Lions – What do ya know, it’s the same old Lions. The running game sucks, the defense sucks, and the hotshot rookie throws for three INTs.  On the bright side, Stafford was only sacked once. Too bad moral victories in the NFL are worth just as much as a poopy-flavored lollipop.

Fantasy update: Calvin Johnson – Despite an inexperienced passer and a non-existent running game, Megatron still got his. He numbers will go up as Stafford improves.

Big weekend for the best white wide receiver in the AFC West. Man, look how gritty he is!

Big weekend for the best white wide receiver in the AFC West. Man, look how gritty he is!

30 (30) – 0-1 – Rams – When you give up more yards in penalties than you gain on the ground, you’re in for a long day. Clearly, Bulger and Jackson can’t do it by themselves. This team is going nowhere; time for the Rams to start looking for a QB of the future.

Fantasy update: James Laurinaitis – If you play in an individual defensive player league, pick this guy up. He is a tackling machine and their only true playmaker on defense.

29 (29) – 0-1 – Browns – Is it just me or does it seem like every single huge game by a running back is against Cleveland. If Willis McGahee played in the AFC North, the Browns run defense could single-handedly revive his career. Oh wait, he already is. Nevermind.

Fantasy update: Braylon Edwards – Just a shove out of bounds away from being fantasy relevant. He will continue to tantalize next week.

28 (27) – 0-1 – Chiefs – Gave up 501 yards of offense to the perennial offensive juggernaut Baltimore Ravens. In other news, Larry Johnson is still awful.

Fantasy update: Larry Johnson – Stay. Away.

27 (26) – 0-1 – Buccaneers – Offense impressed, led by has-been’s Byron Leftwich and Cadillac Williams. Defense torched, by Tony Romo and Roy Williams. Don’t believe in the offense, but I believe in the defense. At least I believe in something.

Fantasy update: Kellen Winslow – Good day for Miami tight ends, well at least two of them. You can do better than 8 yards, Greg Olsen.

26 (28) – 0-1 – Raiders – The running game is for real and the defense looked surprisingly good, holding the Chargers to under 100 yards rushing. But in typical Raider fashion, they choked down the stretch. How has Al Davis not had a heart attack yet?

Fantasy update: Zach Miller – Say hello to Zach Miller, the Raiders only 1,000 yard receiver this season.

25 (16) – 0-1 – Panthers – To put it positively, Jake Delhomme answered a lot of questions about his ability to still play quarterback in the NFL. Unfortunately, the answers weren’t pretty; kind of like watching Rick Fox or 90210’s Jennie Garth on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader this month. Makes you wonder why Carolina didn’t take a flier on Jeff Garcia.

Fantasy update: Jake Delhomme – If he was your sleeper backup QB, don’t kid yourself. You can stick a fork in Jake, he’s done.

24 (23) – 0-1 – Jaguars – Yeah, they only lost by two points at Indy, but man did their offense look pathetic. Wonder if Matt Jones gave David Garrard a discount on the good stuff.

Fantasy update: Maurice Jones-Drew – If Garrard can’t get it together, this could turn into a Steven Jackson-like situation.

23 (22) – 0-1 – Dolphins – Aside from the fact that I just don’t think they are any good, Miami goes from a .465 SOS last year, to the most difficult schedule in the league this year, at .594. I don’t see one game where I can guarantee a Dolphin victory.

Fantasy update: Devon Bess – Had over 550 yards in his rookie season, and has a nice first week grabbing 7 catches. Sleeper

22 (25) – 1-0 – Jets – Mark Sanchez looked good on Sunday. Do it two weeks in a row and then I might start to believe it. Until then, I’m not buying.

Fantasy update: Dustin Keller – He could be someone to keep an eye on. Sanchez might have found a favorite target in his super-athletic tight end.

21 (20) – 1-0 – Broncos – What an inspiring play for white people all around the world.

Fantasy update: Correll Buckhalter – Took advantage of Moreno’s poor day and had a nice 10 touches for 57 yards. Workload may increase.

20 (19) – 0-1- Texans – This is just one of those games where you forget about and move on. Kind of like that night where you had a few too many drinks and hooked up with a girl so ugly your friends don’t even say anything.

Fantasy update: Matt Schaub – I wouldn’t worry about him unless he does it again. Just a really, really bad day for the Texans.

19 (21) – 0-1 – Bills – God is a Patriots fan.

Fantasy update: Fred Jackson – Playing for his future workload. Motivation does crazy things to people.

18 (18) – 0-1 – Redskins – Game really wasn’t as close as the scoreboard suggests, as Campbell hooked up with Cooley for a late TD pass in garbage time. Should lower them just because they made Eli look good.

Fantasy update: Chris Cooley – Even though his TD was in garbage time, I like him as a solid tight end  you can count on week in and week out.

17 (24) – 1-0 – Seahawks – Played against the worst team in the NFC in the one stadium with a true home field advantage. We’ll learn a lot more when they travel to San Francisco next week.

Fantasy update: Julius Jones – Looks like Jones might have found a home in Seattle. Not too worried about Edge.

16 (11) – 0-1 – Bears – ESPN couldn’t have said it better in their power rankings, “The loss to Green Bay was tough. The loss of Brian Urlacher for the season was devastating.”

Fantasy update: Matt Forte – Never really bought into him as a top-5 pick. Be happy if he duplicates his stats from ’08.

You never know what will happen when Shaun Hill drops back for a pass, but hey, that's part of the fun!

You never know what will happen when Shaun Hill drops back for a pass, but hey, that's part of the fun!

15 (17) – 1-0 – 49ers – After getting swept by the Cards in three of the past four years, getting a win in Arizona is a great start for Mike Singletary. San Francisco certainly wasn’t flashy, but they controlled the clock (31:47 TOP) while Shaun Hill and defense stepped up when they were needed.

Fantasy update: Shaun Hill – Will never sell an instructional video on the 7-step drop, but he gets it done. Solid #2 quarterback.

14 (12) – 0-1 – Cardinals – Still have too much firepower to not be competitive in the NFC West. Boldin wasn’t at full-strength and they were without Steve Breaston. But even though Tim Hightower had 12 receptions for 121 yards, Arizona needs to improve the ground  game.

Fantasy update: Tim Hightower – 49ers were leaving the flat open all day. Hightower didn’t just suddenly become Marshall Faulk.

13 (15) – 1-0 – Packers – Made a $20 bet with Alon that the Vikings would finish with more wins than the Packers. You can now add Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings to my anti-man crush list.

Fantasy update: Aaron Rodgers – With that being said, I like Rodgers much better than Favre this season.

12 (14) – 1-0 – Saints – Is there anything more fun to watch than Drew Brees playing the Lions? Yes, actually. Watching Drew Brees play the Lions when you have him on two of your three fantasy teams. Dear diary: jackpot.

Fantasy update: Jeremy Shockey – Has Drew Brees found a new red zone target?

11 (9) – 1-0 – Giants – Along with Miami tight ends, I have an unhealthy obsession with Michigan receivers. My hate for Eli Manning was assuaged by the fact Mario Manningham made his first career touchdown.

Fantasy update: Mario Manningham – Is 800 yards and 6 TD’s out of the question?

10 (10) – 1-0 – Cowboys – Who needs T.O.? Romo, Barber, Williams and Witten provide plenty of weapons for Dallas’s potent offense. The defense, though, is a little frightening.

Fantasy update: Tony Romo – Pretty solidly locked in as the #3 QB right now, I’d say.

9 (5) – 0-1 – Titans – Could you really have asked for more going into the defending champion’s house on opening night? Yea, a win would have been nice. (Mandatory argument for a change in the playoff system).

Fantasy update: Kerry Collins – How is he still alive, let alone a decent quarterback in the NFL? Isn’t he like 40, and an alcoholic?

8 (8) – 1-0 – Falcons – All this game proved to me was that Miami is not good. I still need to see more from Matt Ryan to have Atlanta as a legitimate NFC title contender.

Fantasy update:  Michael Turner – I apologize if you bought into the Matthew Berry hype.

7 (13) – 1-0 – Ravens – Joe Flacco is really good. (I’m already at 1,700 words, give me a break).

Fantasy update: Joe Flacco – I have no problem with starting Flacco against a mediocre defense.

6 (3) – 1-0 – Chargers – I think the Raiders are better than what San Diego expected, but what worries me are the injuries to the O-line. The absence of Nick Hardwick and Marcus McNeil could turn LT into Sean Alexander.

Fantasy update: Antonio Gates – Is there a more consistent player in fantasy?

5 (6) – 1-0 – Colts – The Jags always give Indy a good game. Defense was impressive without Bob Sanders, can they keep it up?

Fantasy update: Reggie Wayne – Yeah, he’s pretty good.

4 (7) – 1-0 – Eagles – The McNabb injury hurts, but I love Garcia as an insurance policy. The scheduling Gods are watching over Philly; after playing the Saints in week 2, they’re at home against the Chiefs, a bye, at home against the Bucs and then at Oakland. Even a convicted animal killer could win two of those games.

I'm not 100% sure God is a Pats fan, but I know this guy is.

I'm not 100% sure God is a Pats fan, but I know this guy is.

Fantasy update: Defense/ST – Forced 7 turnovers. Nuff said?

3 (4) – 1-0 – Vikings – I said it: Adrian Peterson for MVP.

Fantasy update: Bernard Berrian – Don’t worry, the  chemistry will come.

2 (2) – 1-0 – Steelers – Has there ever been a defending Super Bowl champ that gets less love than the Steelers?

Fantasy update: Santonio Holmes – Finally emerging as the Steelers #1 WR.

1 (1) – 1-0 – Patriots – It’s so true I’m going to say it again: God is a Patriots fan.

Fantasy update: Pats RB’s – Stay away, you don’t want any of them.