I fell short of my 100 chicken iterations goal. We hit 83, my wife is sick of chicken wings, and I came up 17 short of the goal for the year. A valiant effort and I firmly believe if I started in January instead of the end of February/start of March I would have hit the 100 number. Which leads me to "falling short of goals" and how you re-calibrate.
We've actually exceeded the newsletter subscriber goal, which is nice. But with other projects I've worked on, we've come up short. So what do you do? I am a big disassemble and go through the why we came up short guy. Was it a talent or performance issue? Did we set proper expectations? Were logistics and handling off? Did we drop the ball?
Or the worst answer, it was doomed to fail. A fool's errand.
This relates a lot to CFB because so much of it is improper expectations combined with a fool's errand. Over-promising and under-delivering. Everyone's (realistic) goal can't be a national title. There are, in our current system, just one of those teams a year. All the huffing and puffing and "winning the press conference" of it all doesn't account for the reality of "it probably won't be you."
That's not to say hope is a bad thing. Rather, it is to say the hyper focus of the playoff has created a landscape where, much like Ricky Bobby, if you're not first, you're last. Too much disappointment out of teams and players who should be thrilled with where they ended up. If more people just liked the football, not merely the end result, we could get there.
What does loving football even mean?
Does it mean playing hurt? Does it mean playing through pain and deciding if you're hurt versus injured? Does it mean sacrificing rest to get up early for workouts? Does it mean picking a major that has classes that fit into the schedule a coach likes best? Does it mean overeating to make weight? Does it mean hours of meetings and film sessions where you get berated for minor mistakes?
If that's the case, the answer is anyone playing any level of meaningful football loves it. The sacrifice is serious and if you don't love it, then it isn't worth the ask.
The biggest issue with the whole "guys don't love football" crowd is this idea that football is infallible.
It is a flawed sport in a flawed system run by flawed people. Can football give you things that make you appreciate it? Absolutely. I have a house, a career and a kid because of football. Football paid for my car. But that doesn't mean the game and the power brokers are not flawed and above reproach.
The game itself is built for 11 men to try to destroy their 11 counterparts on a play-to-play basis. That's not sport, that's combat. That's the reason you can only play once a week because it takes time to recover from being physically assaulted by, and physically assaulting, someone else. Not many other "games" out there like that, not labeled "combat sports" like boxing and MMA.
College Football's power brokers don't have principles, they have pockets. Pockets that need lining and stuffing. They're not anti-paying players because they view it as the right thing, they're anti-paying players because that would mean their complicated system of syphoning money would be destroyed. It is a world where "no one makes any money" but everyone can still get a G-Wagon.
I think this one struck a nerve because I've had multiple people tell me that I don't like CFB or that I should quit my job for being negative or that I don't like the sport enough to cover it. You can recite weird stats, that proves your love? Cool. So can I about weird Turkish history, but that doesn't mean I love the Ottoman Empire.
Some dumb fuckface who can spout off weird stats didn't get spineboarded, like I did, with temporary paralysis and then come back a week early just to play in the spring game to make it on the 3-deep.
Don't tell me I don't love this game.
These guys are making sacrifices everyday to play this game. They are working hard to play this game. And it isn't just a game. It is a taxing event on your body of which we still don't know all the long-term ramifications.
Opting out of playing a bowl game is a decision made with their best interest in mind when every single one of them could have opted out of the sport, the team, the school, or just playing hurt on any given Saturday. You only care because it doesn't up your entertainment value.
That seems selfish, not noble, to me.
But that goes back to the idea if people were actually fans of football, not just having football as a TV show they liked, this wouldn't be an issue.
Anyways, speaking of issues, Bama-UGA. Re-match and what is going to be different?
James Cook certainly feels like an element UGA just understood existed on their team. 10 touches. Almost 150 yards. A TD. A terror. Line him up anywhere and he'll win. But will they do it against the Tide?
Darnell Washington, again feels like untapped potential. But is he this year's version of OJ Howard who had a huge game against Clemson in 2015, for Bama?
The scary part is every time that I think about an angle for UGA, I just assume that Nick Saban has already thought of it.
That's the thing about smart people. They usually have thought about the thing some dummy brings up. I think I'm a generally decently intelligent person, but Saban is smart. He won't be caught off guard. He won't be surprised by a thing that an analyst chasing a 3 year old in Chicago wrote in his notes.
He only loses because of unsolvable problems (WR too big. QB too fast. QB creating conflict). And Georgia has already proven to not be unsolvable. And I don't know how Kirby Smart can turn his team, specifically his offense, into an unsolvable problem for Nick.
But a solvable problem was eating like a child to kickoff the New Year
We had chicken nuggets.
These are smoked thighs.
Then we fried the bad boys. Smoked at 250 for 45 minutes and then sliced, soaked in buttermilk, tossed in seasoned flour and then fried. Great smoky flavor with the crunch of the breading and a little cilantro ranch plus Texas Pete.
De-boning thighs is a game changer. The best part of fried chicken is the skin and when you do boneless, skinless breasts or thighs you're trying to fake it with breading. When you have skin, it holds the flour better and you actually get what you're looking for, instead of pretending.
And it is so easy. Basically two knife flips and you're done. Thighs on skin-side down and slice up at the bone to open them up and then cut back to the knuckle and get the gristle out and you're done. Trim some of the excess skin. But now you have skin on thighs that make a great sandwich, or in this case, can be cut into nuggets.
All done on a snowy, 12 degree deck here in Chicago.
Thanks for reading the Bulletin. I am sorry that I cussed, my wife told me not to say "fuckface" but I did it anyway. Tell your friend, to get with my friend, hell we can do this every weekend (or Wednesday). Gameplan is to get into more UGA-Bama with a little drawing over the weekend, before the game. Definitely want to break down this game and what can be different as much as possible.