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1.) Don: Since we’ve last traded correspondence, Dayton has lost their first two conference games sending panic through the red sweater/blue haired nation. Losing to the two teams that will most likely finish one and two in the conference is nothing to sneeze at, but 0-2 is 0-2. With no significant wins in the non conference portion of the schedule (Alabama is a gross 9-6 right now), Dayton needs a solid conference record to have any chance of an at-large bid. In my opinion, I just don’t think this team is consistent enough to finish 11-5, 10-6. I saw flashes of brilliance from Vee Sanford on Saturday against Butler, but he was non-existent in the first half. Devin Oliver continues to frustrate me, as all he can really do is rebound and get easy buckets (all while missing a few layups and key free throws). What did you take away from these two losses? Can Dayton bounce back and finish near the top 4 in this league?

xavier_inset2Matt: The biggest thing I took from these games is this team’s fortitude. They fought and did everything they could in two games where they were clearly overmatched. At VCU, they were getting mauled the whole game, and not getting the whistles they deserved, and continued to fight until the very end. Same story against Butler. They were not the better team and every ugly shot Butler put up was going in, yet they showed enough resiliency to keep it a close game despite Butler shooting 20% better than the home town boys. This might not be the most talented or outright “fun” UD team to watch, but that old white guy in me really likes to root for a team that won’t hang its head and give up when they are getting beaten down. I will also add that, with the young talent this team has, if Dillard can get shit going, it’s very possible they will rip off a string of games that will at least put them in the conversation for an at-large bid. At the very least I think they will make things interesting.

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2.) Don: One of the reasons we didn’t do the Five for Flying last week was because Dayton had 2 HUGE games that we wanted to focus on but also Matt and I needed to calm down after the National Championship game. Were we happy that Notre Dame got smoked? Of course we were! But we were a little upset how Blackburn lost about 50 followers on Twitter with his annoying SEC talk. So we decided to give him a chance to defend himself.

Listen, I am well aware the SEC is the best conference. No one is disputing that. What I (and Matt and seemingly everyone else Blackburn offended on Twitter on Monday) disagree with is the incestuous nature that the SEC comes off on. When someone called Blackburn out on the Kentucky “celebrating” the championship, he scoffed and said something like they are “too far removed from it.” What the fuck does that mean? Am I REALLY supposed to believe that fans of LSU, Florida, Georgia, and especially Auburn are jumping up and down with joy because their RIVAL once again won something they couldn’t achieve? When people asked Blackburn about it, all he said was, “Zzzz…you just don’t get it.”

Again, if it is a cultural thing or a southern thing or a “raising the flag” thing, then say that. If OSU lost to Michigan in the B1G Championship game the way UGA lost, and then I had to watch them roll in the National Championship game, I wouldn’t be happy for them. I am quite confident I wouldn’t come out of that depression.

When I brought it up to Blackburn that basically he is coat tailing onto other team’s accomplishments and I should do the same thing with the St Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers, he said, “That’s apples to oranges.” Actually, it’s not.

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Matt: I agree. There isn’t a single scenario, outside of death for myself or a loved one, where I would root for a rival team. Not just Michigan. Michigan State, Wisconsin, Penn State, and probably Illinois and Iowa too.

As a Browns fan who, at 29, might die without ever seeing the Browns in the Super Bowl, Blackburn is basically saying I should root for the Steelers or Ravens when they play for the championship.

I just can’t understand the idea of hating these teams all year/life, having rivalries with them, then all of a sudden turning that off and cheering for them to win. Then taking pride in their accomplishments. It’s like me being proud some other guy at work got promoted over me. “Like yeah, we both work on the 14th floor, so it’s all good. All other floors can suck it!” I didn’t accomplish shit, so why am i taking pride in what he did? I also think, at least from the outsiders POV, that it takes some of the greatness away from the real rivalry games. Fla/UGA, Aub/Bama, LSU/Bama, don’t seem to mean as much when you guys are constantly rooting for each other to win games that don’t help your own teams. You can root for each other all you want, that’s your right. Just don’t tell me how great of a rivalry games the Iron Bowl or the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail/DateRape Party are. Or how much LSU/Bama and Alabama/Bama Alabama/Florida have become rivals over the last 10-15 years. You haven’t. You forfeit the right to call yourselves rivals when you start cheering for each other to do well.

I will add that, I have a couple of friends here that come from the South, and a long line of LSU die-hards, and they were not happy to see Alabama win. I also have one Florida fan friend who was excited, but he probably isn’t someone you would want to have on your side, as far as the legitimacy of his fandom goes. Another friend, who is a Florida fan and played CFB at Bowling Green, said it is probably more of a southern thing, but he also added that unless your team is one of the SEC schools to win one of the 7 straight championships, you can’t celebrate shit. So in other words, Blackburn is out of luck.

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“In 1910 Vanderbilt was playing Yale in New Haven, Connecticut, a game that ended in a scoreless tie. In his book Southeastern Conference Football: America’s Most Competitive Conference, John D. McCallum writes that a few minutes before kickoff, then Vandy coach Dan McGugin told his players that some of their grandfathers were sleeping (dead) in the military cemeteries of the North.

McGugin pointed across the field at the Yale players and said, “And there are the grandsons of the damn Yankees who put them there.” (How the SEC Became Goliath)

Blackburn: Any questions?

I think at this point, with the conference’s supremacy clearly established, it’s just a point of pride. Being a Georgia fan, it was tough to watch the Dawgs come up five yards short of a National Championship against Alabama. However, it was reassuring to know that the SEC Championship, at this point, is basically a de facto national title game. Watching an SEC team beat the dog piss out of the Ohio State’s and Oklahoma’s of the world is just clean fun. And that’s what sports are supposed to be about anyway — enjoying urine being physically pummeled out of some poor stranger’s kidneys.

And I can’t speak for all SEC fans, as I’m sure some Auburn fans wanted ND to beat Bama, but from what I’ve personally seen there’s a degree of affinity between all the conference schools (save A&M and Mizzou who haven’t earned their stripes yet) after it’s all said and done.

At the present, it’s just a matter of basking in the glow of unprecedented success. The conference just won its seventh national title in a row, its eighth in the past ten years, (as a comparison, the Big Ten has won a scant TWO titles over the last FORTY-TWO YEARS) and is gloriously relishing in the obnoxiousness of it all.

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3.) Don: It’s awards season which means we get to talk about what you and I love best…people who get paid lots of money to pretend to be someone else. If only our lives were as glamorous. Since there are a zillion categories, we won’t go through them all, but let’s briefly talk about the major ones (Acting, Directing, and Movie). Since I changed jobs this summer, I have not had much time to go and see movies so I can’t talk about all of the movies on the lists. However, I do read enough on the movies from people I trust to feel comfortable talking about who I like to win, so let’s go with that.

Acting: Daniel Day-Lewis is in another galaxy in terms of talent. I’ll leave it up to Blackburn, as he is the gambling addict, to tell us the odds of each person winning but I would imagine DDL is even money or better (or is it worse?). Anyway, this is a lock. If he loses this, it will be more stunning than when he lost for Gangs of New York. Seriously America, Adrian Brody has an Oscar. Let that sink in. As for the actress, I haven’t seen any of the movies these chicks have been in. I will let you talk about Zero Dark Thirty and I’ll let Blackburn chime in sometime with his thoughts on Jennifer Lawrence’s ass in Silver Linings Playbook. For my pick, I can see Naomi Watts winning for The Impossible. Everyone loves a feel good story about something that is sad. I’ll go with that one. However, Jessica Chastain will probably win for Zero Dark Thirty.

Matt: I have seen a good portion of this year’s relevant movies, however I do regret not yet seeing Argo or SLP. Also, I’m pretty sure only Blackburn can afford to go see everything nowadays, thanks to insanely high prices, and his ability to smuggle underage Asian girls into the country undetected.

Best Actor is clearly going to DDL. This is as big a lock as you can get. Odds would probably be 1-2.5. The dude is insanely good in Lincoln. The way he talks, moves, and even scenes of him just thinking, are so perfectly executed. This is what every actor playing a real person strives to do, but only a handful have ever accomplished. For supporting actor, I think Tommy Lee Jones is a lock. It is pretty interesting that Christoph Waltz won the Golden Globe for Django though. Still, TLJ is pretty great in Lincoln, and seems to have some distance between him and the field.

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For Best Actress, I’m pretty sure it will go to Jennifer Lawrence. I mentioned I didn’t see SLP, but everyone seems to be pretty sure about this, so I will trust them. I did see Zero Dark Thirty though, and Jessica Chastain was great as Maya. She didn’t even have a ton of dialogue, but she got the most out of every line, and every reaction shot. I would not be upset to her win. I would however, be upset to see a 9 year old win it. I’m not even sure how a 9 year old gets nominated. I haven’t seen Beasts of the Southern Wild, but I am pretty sure this 9 year old girl isn’t as good as several other actresses were in films this year. For Supporting Actress, Anne Hathaway will steal this from Sally Field and I will mute my TV while she gives her speech. She should not be allowed to talk in real life.

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4.) Don: Directing: This is the one where everyone flipped their shit on. No Affleck, Bigelow, or Tarantino. I mean, those 3 are only the biggest names out there and are winning all the awards. This category would be a lot closer if one of those 3 were in it, but since they are not I can’t imagine Spielberg not winning. I really do like movies that Ang Lee has done in the past and the visual aspects of Life of Pi were pretty damn good. I will say he is the next choice after Spielberg.

But here is something a friend and I talked about the other day. After you are done watching a movie and walking out of the theater, have you ever said, “Holy shit, the directing in that movie was amazing.” I don’t think I have ever said that, nor will I ever say that. I say acting, writing, music, costume design, and pretty much everything BUT writing. Dare I say this is the most overrated Oscar.

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Matt: I can’t for the life of me understand Bigelow not being nominated (would probably say the same thing about Affleck if I had seen Argo). I’m sure Amour and Beasts are fine films, but ZDT, for me at least, was a unique movie experience. And the reasons for that, which I won’t give away, are mostly do to Bigelow’s style and inventiveness. I am pretty sure Speilberg wins here, but I feel like this is the category where we might see an upset. Maybe from Lee or Russell (If Lee wins for a movie that is almost entirely CGI, then the Oscars can go fornicate themselves).

As you can maybe tell, I do sometimes think a directors touch shows through. Especially when it’s a director with a signature style, like Nolan, Soderberg, Fincher, Tarantino, PT Anderson, or even someone like Michael Bay. I think when you are judging a director, you have to judge the movie as a whole though. You can’t say, “Well he didn’t do a very good job directing so and so in that one scene.” I think you can judge the overall choices they make, as far as tone, pacing, sets, and things like that.

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5.) Don: Movie: I don’t like this “No less than 5, no more than 10” crap. I think it waters it down and in years like this year, it would be more of an honor to get nominated if there were only 5. But alas, we have been stuck with 9. Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi, and Django have NO chance of winning. Les Miserables is fucking terrible and has no business being in this list, but old people love musicals and I can honestly see this pulling off an upset. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. I can’t see Silver Linings Playbook winning either. Does anyone even know what that movie is about? That leaves it up to Lincoln, Argo, and Zero Dark Thirty. I don’t feel comfortable making my pick just quite yet, deal with it.

Anyway, what say you? Any movies you think were left off the list? You keep saying Looper is amazing. I thought The Master was pretty good but lulled on for parts. Moonrise Kingdom was classic Wes Anderson in the sense that 95% of the public find it boring. Here are my top 5 movies that were not nominated:

a.) The Dark Knight Rises : In Christopher Nolan I trust

b.) Skyfall : The second best Bond film (Goldfinger is #1)

c.) Cabin in the Woods : An awesome horror movie that could have truly been a fun best picture nomination

d.) The Avengers : I am not a comic book guy but that movie was pretty bad ass

e.) Magic Mike. Just kidding. Moonrise Kingdom : Like you said last night on the twitter. It’s no Rushmore but what is?

Matt: Best Movie. The big boy. I actually do like the 5-10 nomination thing. Sometimes there are movies you just don’t want to leave out. This would seem to be one of those years. I totally agree with you that it comes down to Argo, ZDT, and Lincoln. I will take Argo out since Affleck didn’t get nominated for Best Director, and it’s VERY rare for those two things to occur. This is also true about ZDT, so I think Lincoln wins. BUT, in my opinion, ZDT was the best movie of the year. Right from the opening scene, it gets a hold of you and stirs up primal emotions. Every minute of the movie is tense and gripping. The third act is as thrilling a movie experience as you will every have. If you are going to see it, do yourself a favor and see it in a theater. It is worth every penny, and will be a better experience. I feel like something will be lost watching this movie at home on a smaller screen with ambient light, and probably no surround sound. I loved this movie so much it was sick. I think Lincoln was the 2nd best movie of the year, though.

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As far as movies I loved, that maybe should of gotten a nomination, or were good, but not that good:

a.) Looper : 3rd best movie of the year. I will not hear other opinions. Sit down and really pay attention to this movie. To every little detail. This movie is crazy good, and has so much to offer. My one gripe, and it is a minor one, is how distracting Gordon-Levitt’s makeup is when you first see the movie. Oh well, just a reason to watch it more than once. Seriously, see this. If it came out last year, it would have been the best movie of the year by a decent margin.

b.) Dark Knight Rises : The worst of the trilogy, and still better than most other movies put out this year, or most other years.

c.) Cabin in the Woods : Just an awesome horror movie. Made in the style that made horror movies great, and not this new generation crap.

d.) Skyfall : Wouldn’t say it is the 2nd best Bond, but easily top 5. Bardem is great.

e.) Avengers : I like it, maybe not as much as everyone else though.

f.) Prometheus : Screw you guys who didn’t like this movie. I really liked it, and wasn’t really confused by it at all. People need to pay more attention, I think.

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