September 30, 2014

2014 NFL Power Rankings, Week 4

26 of 32 teams reached the quarter pole in Week 4.  The other six will reach it after the conclusion of Week 5.

What does this mean?  Hell, I'm not sure.  It's been a wacky four weeks in the NFL so far, and mediocr...I mean, parity (duh) is reigning supreme.

Well, mostly.  13 teams are 2-2 right now.  Had the teams on a bye in Week 4 played, I'm sure that number would be higher.  The majority of the rest are either flying high at 3-1 or looking like garbage at 1-3.  What's surprising is that New Orleans and New England (perennial contenders and weekly Rankings holders) are not only out of the Rankings but the Saints are 1-3 and the Pats are 2-2.  I find it incredibly difficult to believe that two elite QB's could fall so hard.

Then again, Aaron Rodgers just had his first good game in Week 4.  And while Peyton Manning has looked good, he's clearly not on the breakneck pace of 2013.

So the elite QB's mostly stink and we're left with guys like Rivers, Dalton, and Flacco.  Of this group, Flacco has a ring and an unearned SB MVP (that should have gone to Jacoby Jones, but I digress), which puts him slightly ahead of the other two.  But honestly, Dalton and Rivers have looked better.

I think I'll wait until the halfway point to make a judgment on the Cowboys.

Here are the Rankings for Week 4:

September 25, 2014

Bleach 598 - The Shooting Star Project [We Only Have to Beat You Mix]

Moving on from the endless other endless nonsense!

It's another Bleach chapter and I've got the lowdown after the cut.

The Bridge (US) - Season 2, Episode 12 "Quetzalcoatl" Recap

A transitional episode just before the season finale.

Spoilers after the cut.

Down the Rabbit Hole: Signals (1982)

Continuing our journey down the rabbit hole with another impactful change in direction.

September 23, 2014

2014 NFL Power Rankings, Week 3

Another interesting week in the NFL and we're down to three undefeated teams.

Who's good?  I still don't know.  So you'll probably notice that a number of teams have dropped out again and a couple who were in previously are now in again after winning.  The least of these, at the moment, is Baltimore, who won on a last-second field goal in Cleveland.  I bet that had people sweating for multiple reasons.

Buffalo and Houston were two previously undefeated teams that dropped out. I thought their performance was a fluke.  Neither team showed up well in situations that were tailor-made for wins.  It seemed.  Buffalo had perennial road chokers San Diego in their house.  Houston went to Jersey to take on the 0-2 Giants.

And now they're both out for the time being.

Four previously undefeated teams lost in Week 3 and four winless teams won in Week 3.  Everything's nice and symmetrical, yet still mostly unpredictable.

Although I did go 11-5 straight up this week, which has me feeling a bit better and less like a monkey on a typewriter.

Here are the Rankings for Week 3:

September 18, 2014

September 17, 2014

September 16, 2014

2014 NFL Power Rankings, Week 2

Parity is mediocrity.

Last week, the NFL season started with a bang.  Week 2 wasn't less surprising, necessarily, but the standings show a stark regression to mediocrity.  There are 32 teams in the NFL, as you know.  18 of them are now 1-1.  Seven are 2-0, seven are 0-2.

Thus, for people who try to figure out which teams are good and which are not on a weekly basis, we really have no choice but to throw our hands up in the air and practically give up on the whole enterprise.

But as I said last week, it's early and things like Rankings are basically a crapshoot.  I don't think that's any less accurate after two weeks than after one, although at least we know that results will have teams trending toward mediocrity rather than greatness, at least in the early going.

Some of the unforeseeable results, like Seattle losing to San Diego, shake up the Rankings quite significantly.  And of the seven 2-0 teams, I would venture to bet that at least four of them weren't on anyone's radar in the preseason. Or maybe they were and I was listening to the wrong people.

Also in Week 2, you'll notice that each team has brackets after their record. What this indicates is the movement since last week.  For example, [+1] means that a team moved up one spot.  A [-] means that the team wasn't in the Rankings in the previous week.

Here are the Rankings for Week 2:

September 11, 2014

September 10, 2014

Bleach 596 - Rubb-Dolls 3

Another week, another Bleach chapter.  Although this week it's back out on Wednesday.  Hmm....

Spoilers after the cut.

Down the Rabbit Hole: Permanent Waves (1980)

Continuing our journey down the rabbit hole with Rush, with an album that presents an impactful change in direction.

September 9, 2014

2014 NFL Power Rankings, Week 1

Hello, and welcome to the first edition of the 2014 Rankings.  The 2014 NFL season started this past weekend, and now that all the games in Week 1 are concluded, it is time for me to ramble about them a bit.

I realize that "Power Rankings" are a bit hackneyed in 2014 (just like they were in 2013, and 2012, etc.); this is really just an excuse for me to talk about something I really love, even if this week really tested my patience and love for the game.  As always, my rankings vary week to week based on one simple thing: wins.  Those who win stay put (or move up), those who don't move down (or out).

I'll be honest, the first week is a total crapshoot.  None of us had any idea what would happen going in, really.  So the results of Week 1 are both surprising and unhelpful.  Because let's face it, we don't know what's going to happen the rest of the season yet.  Maybe in a few weeks we'll have a better idea, but at the moment it's all looking confusing and mysterious.

Indeed, there were some mysterious results throughout the league.  How do both teams from Pennsylvania end up in such weird games?  How does Chicago lose in OT to a team that looked like absolute crap in the preseason?

How are the Cowboys an NFL team?  Oh, my goodness.

I've been a Cowboys fan since 1989 (in case you're new and/or don't remember which team I follow most avidly), and that has to be the worst opener I've ever seen.  Then again, I don't really remember the 1989 team, and I believe that one finished 1-15.  Rookies, huh?

Unfortunately, the 2014 version has no such excuses.  What it does have is a QB coming off of back surgery.  Apparently, back surgery isn't conducive to playing QB at the professional level.  Who knew?  Not me.

Without further ado, here are the Rankings for Week 1:

September 8, 2014

September 4, 2014

Bleach 595 - Rubb-Dolls 2

Another Bleach chapter, another Thursday release.  Once more and it's a trend, I guess?

Spoilers after the cut.

The Bridge (US) - Season 2, Episode 9 "Rakshasa" Recap

A violent episode this time around.  Characters are threatened and/or killed off outright.

Spoilers after the cut.

September 2, 2014

Down the Rabbit Hole: Hemispheres (1978)

Continuing our trip down the Rabbit Hole with Rush, we find ourselves observing a pitched battle between heart and mind.

September 1, 2014

Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden (2014)

When I acquire a new record, my instinct is to avoid judging it on first listen.  I try to go about 5-10 listens, depending on how much I enjoy the record's contents.  In the case of Pallbearer's sophomore full-length, I went five and then tapped out, basically.

Foundations of Burden may not be all that different from previous output, but in terms of presentation the music has been tweaked rather significantly.

Do I enjoy this record?  The simple answer is no.  The reasons I leave for after the cut.

If you're ready to hear why I dislike this record, by all means continue.  If not, then there's no need.  I won't be offended; I know a lot of people like and enjoy this record, and that's fine.