Sunday, January 10, 2010

Blog Blast Past: From Springfield to Saskatoon, the CIS is covered in yellow

The Simpsons marked its 20th anniversary on Sunday. From Oct. 24, 2008, here is a favourite post from this site's run — a post likening each Canadian Interuniversity Sport football team with a Simpsons character.

There are two things this site would like to believe it knows cold: Canadian university football and The Simpsons.

If only there was a way to combine both, for great fun and significantly less profit, eh? The wait is over. Of course, this has been done before. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and hey, what better way to wile away a Friday afternoon?It's a first for Canada, so please, click through.


There was a time ... a time before Brian Towriss moulded Saskatchewan into the big Canada West powerhouse and before Daily Kos, et al., turned political reporting on its ear, when the local anchorman reigned supreme, much like T-Birds football in the late '70s and '80s.

Nowadays, neither UBC nor Brockman are important as they once were. Each has clued in about their growing obsolescence. That kind of explains why they are so eager to welcome their new ant overlords from the NCAA and toil in the underground sugar caves of the Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference, with academic and athletic powerhouses such as Northwest Nazarene and Western Washington. Hey, it's better that way than having to accept the riffraff — columnists from Politico, a Canada West applicant such as University of Northern British Columbia — as equals.

Why has it come to this? At the risk of being unpopular, this reporter puts the blame squarely on you, the viewer.


A one-note act who spends most of his time at high altitude. Arnie/SFU can give the traffic report or win games solely on the strength of defence and special teams like no one's business. Take him out of his comfort zone and bad things will happen, whether it's his voice going all jabberwocky that one time he got to be in the anchor's desk, or mustering only 391 yards total offence in road games against Regina and Saskatchewan. Resents UBC/Brockman for hogging the spotlight locally, but needs them and must learn to accept that anything they do will be treated like a mere traffic report. Face the facts, SFU.

(For future reference) OKANAGAN SUN: SCOTT CHRISTIAN

Are apparently just waiting for UBC/Brockman to leave, then the job is theirs.


"Thank you for coming, I'll see you in hell," more or less sums up a program which last won a championship in 1981, when people still used punch cards and rocked out to Cheap Trick's Dream Police while washing and waxing a Camaro Z28 in the driveway. Apu/U of A is far too busy to achieve a modicum of football proficiency, between winning octuple national championships every year in all manner of team sports or putting in a 112-hour week at the Kwik-E-Mart. Since Albertans were generally bigger Bushies than the rest of Canada acrossover the past eight years, there is a better than off chance some of the U of A faithful have offspring with names such as Lincoln, Freedom, Condoleezza, Coke, Pepsi, Manifest Destiny, Apple Pie, and Superman.


Projects a kind of outlaw, Frank and Jesse James mien. This is not such a bad thing since as we all know, women and CIS Top Ten voters are equally entranced by bad boys. Has a long-standing history with Apu/Alberta that can never be resolved, since he always seems to be back on the street within 24 hours ("we'll try to make it 12") and Apu treats the taste of hot lead as a badge of honour. Calgary/Snake always makes out OK. Being located in Southern Alberta means lucrative post-graduation employment for Dinos athletes and if the bottom falls out of the oil industry, there's always petty larceny: "Ho-ho! Goodbye, student loan payments!"


The Prairies ain't big enough for these two to find enough space to co-exist comfortably. Skinner/Regina has problems with inadequacy caused being unable to meet the exacting standard set by Anges/U of S, who is happy to rub it in — "but I'm not principal of the line, mother." ... "And ya never will be!"

Principal Skinner for Regina was settled on after some debate over picking Comic Book Guy ("their coach is always pointing out everyone else's flaws but seems oblivious to his own"), but it needed to be a team that has many issues with its "beloved smother — I mean, mother." Agnes Skinner suits the Huskies to a T, since she's sharp-witted, domineering and everyone is kind of afraid of her, plus she would prefer having the place to herself again.

Some would point out that Macy's and Gimbels learned to get along. Gimbels is gone, long gone. Regina is Gimbels.


No one would have been surprised to find out that some of the players on their 2007 Vanier Cup team were actually 60 years old. Maintaining decorum and discipline has never been their strong suit, which is a big reason why they're on the verge of missing the playoffs one year after a national championship, but U of M/Flanders thinks everything is just okeley-dokely. Now, were you drinking Slice or Yoo-Hoo?



Gimme the ball — and your lunch money! A figure of menace in the neighbourhood who has eight beatings scheduled for Saturdays and Sundays across September and October. Nelson/Laval's fans are convinced that someday they will have a quarterback who, when none of his receivers are open, will arc a high pass and run downfield to catch it for the touchdown, then exclaim, "I've got to give up smoking." Of course, that would require offensive co-ordinator Justin Éthier to open up his conservative playbook, wouldn't it, R&O fans? It takes a co-ordinated effort of the entire neighbourhood to take Nelson/Laval down, but for the time being, they can only be dealt with one-on-one.

Some day they will look in the mirror, say, "Ha-ha!" and then reflect, "Wow, that really hurt. No wonder people don't like giving us our due for four Vanier Cups in nine seasons."


They don't have the universally acknowledged reputation for intimidation that Nelson/Laval does, but to continue with the Quebec conference as schoolyard bullies motif, they are bona fide badass, the muscle.

Sometimes it can come back to haunt them, whether it's the campers turning on them during the Kamp Krusty episode, or the Carabins being the most heavily penalized team in the country by more than 20 yards per game in 2007. They might stick to their own turf, but you ignore them at their peril, because if Nelson/Laval ever steps aside, they could rule the roost with extreme prejudice — and lights-out defence.


Wear red, have a future Olympic women's hockey team goalie in their midst and can't wait to grow up and join the real world, where 0-8 seasons are forgotten and you're respected for being gifted and talented (ya, right). Just can't understand why people are reluctant to give respect to the Grammar Rodeo Head Buckaroo, or a quarterback and receiver who set all-time records thanks in some part to the reality that having no running game or defence means McGill has little choice but to throw on almost every down.

Lisa/McGill does get your respect, ultimately. The reality is she will end up being your boss. Beyond that, just as L. Simpson's moral outrage never flags, Redmen QB Matt Connell somehow keeps getting up despite playing behind an offensive line that is an absolute collander. They just need to invent some kind of bully repellent. That would keep blitzers from pouring into the backfield like Canadiens fans racing to get a good standing-room spot in the old days at the Forum.


The two teams in La Belle Province's Eastern Townships are not necessarily joined at the hip, but are seen together so frequently that they might as well be. The nature of their exact relationship has never been fully explained, but as Marge says, "Let 'em work it out on their own time." Lenny (Bishop's is in Lennoxville, get it?) and Carl are certainly bit players, who cannot carry the show themselves, per se, but every so often they'll surprise you. Witness Gaiters tailback Jamall Lee's record-setting season, Vert et Or receiver Samuel Giguère's tryout with the Indianapolis Colts, or the cheer Lenny and Carl came up with when the town almost got a NFL expansion franchise, the Springfield Meltdowns. (Lenny: "I've got Melts fever!" ... Carl: "And I've got Downs syndrome!")



There is no getting away from the Huskies — they like to dip their finger into everything, much like the head of the Springfield Legitimate Businessmen's Club. Being a national powerhouse which plays six games a season against the rest of the AUS can also be like playing five-card stud with eight queens in your hand.

Fat Tony/SMU's awe-inspiring scope and reach has long outdistanced their size of their tiny four-team fiefdom, but they're loath to move, because hey, did the czar leave Russia even when people were really ticked off at him? That means having to be apologetic after pummeling Mayor Quimby with a baseball bat in public or pinning a 105-0 score on Mount Allison back in 2001. "SMU, how could you?" ... "What? Whaaaat?"


The life of the party, who enjoy it when you "buy them a beer ... two bucks a glass" (which is probably not far off from Antigonish bar prices — we miss our days of $2.25 Stellas during Happy Hour at the pub during our student days down east, especially since said Happy Hour was actually four hours long). They can occasionally be remorseful afterward. Barney/St. FX's existence can seem meager, but you're a fool to think so. They always have their moments, some coming at the expense of Fat Tony — taking pictures of Legs' sister, or during basketball season. When they're clean and sober, you have to watch out for them to snatch up a conference championship every so often, because as was the case at the Springfield Film Festival, the prize is a lifetime supply of beer: "Just hook it to my veins!"


Just generally disappointed by how everything has gone, but still sneaky-hot.


Be careful, you'll break their calculator, by which they mean their heads! Bright, erudite, multilingual and well-read, but thanks to to the Atlantic-Quebec interlock, they are vulnerable to beatdowns from Jimbo (Concordia) and Kearney (Montréal).



Not that long ago they were this close to sleeping in the yard, when they didn't have a home stadium. At times they have seemed utterly out of it and their chances of ever winning a game seemed as likely as a sighting of Snagglepuss ("he was going to the bathroom"), but as time has gone along their mildly idiot-savant tendencies have resulted in a few bits of brilliance.

"Ah, you've done good by winning two games this season, Ralph. Now you know what you've got to do — you've got to burn the house down! Burn them all!"


Often inept, comically so, and being outscored 471-32 over an eight-game season would make anyone want to fill his gob with a Gummi Bear sandwich. Is source of comfort to Ralph/U of T, however, and for that, seems like an allrightnik.


They have been labelled as being underachievers and proud of it, perhaps unfairly, because inside the mind of a banged-up 4-4 football team is the heart of a 10-year-old mastermind of mischief. They've got a certain confidence and devil-may-care attitude and even when they're not on their game, they still have enough potential that makes you believe they're going to do something awesome. However, if indeed they do lose to Guelph tomorrow in the OUA quarter-final, they will know how George Washington felt when he had to surrender Fort Necessity to the French in 1754.

(For future reference) CARLETON RAVENS: MILHOUSE

Everything's coming up Ravens! Five national championships in men's basketball, a No. 1-ranked men's soccer team and a national ranking for the hockey team in only its second full season, plus Mom just got a new boyfriend in Capital City. Proximity to Glebe section of Ottawa also gave them a front-row seat for the demolition of the south-side stand at Lansdowne Park. "I was watching it. First it started to fall over ... then it fell over."

Milhouse/Carleton believes they can be players, despite their track record. Best friend of Bart/Ottawa because of, well, geographical convenience. Also has a crush on Lisa/McGill.


Have relatively few inhibitions, is up for beer-fueled mayhem (see those: "We've Got Big Hawks" T-shirts) and do not give a damn about the consequences of their actions. Homer/Laurier's detractors, the Frank Grimes types down the road at UW, wonder how they can simply coast their way through life and go no worse than 6-2 every season, but it seems like they have a vast army of alumni and various Springfieldianites who make their life ridiculously easy.

It seems like every week they get in a jam, but by the end, Homer/Laurier are always right back in their traditional position as the most beloved team in the OUA. No one hates them, because it seems like they've found the balance between working hard and hardly working.


Always seems to be OK, reliable, right in the meaty part of the middle of the OUA standings, but there's a feeling of wasted potential there amid the portraits of Ringo Starr and the explosiveness of Justin Dunk, Jed Gardner and Nick Fitzgibbon. Has a long and complicated history with their neighbours just down Hwy. 401, Homer/Laurier, and that can sometimes come out in weird ways.

Sometimes it can take the form of odd outbursts, whether it's staying up all night baking or leaving about 20 points on the field in a close season-opening loss against none other than the Golden Hawks. Has trouble finishing off anything — like selling a house when she worked at Red Blazer Realty, or putting away an 0-3 McMaster team after being up by 13 points in the fourth quarter. It makes you wonder how talented they really are, but someday they will cast off the shackles of their OUA oppressors, and you know it's gonna be good.


They'll make you laugh, they'll make you think, they like to run and then do the thing with the person ... have an IQ of about 185, but always seem to be missing one or two key elements that cause their inventions, or their myriad trick plays, to go boom. Frink/Waterloo, which has grown accustomed to being on the outside looking in since the OUA cut back to a six-team playoff championship, has spent this week using the Gambletron 3000 to figure out out how Laurier will do in its playoff game against McMaster ... "and the winner is Laurier by two ... hundred ... points?!" Can explain why pi is exactly 3, to which Homer/Laurier says, "Mmmmmmmm ... pie."


You gotta hand it to McMaster. They give off the the vibe that they're not what they once were, but when they want to, they can turn to outside help — like bringing in Stefan Ptaszek from Laurier as coach — and come up with some fresh material. They are somewhat haunted by demons — an estranged father, losing at home in the playoffs to Queen's two years ago, but you don't dare take you eyes off them. They can still put on a show, whether it's the Krusty the Clown 29th anniversary special or a 29-point thumping of Windsor in a game they had to win to make the OUA playoffs. With Ptaszek's offence, bear a strange resemblance to Homer/Laurier.


"Oh, this can't happen today, not to Windsor!" Those loyal to the Lancers always start out earnest, full of hope and are way too hard on themselves when their team can't close the sale. The wolves sure are at Ol' Gil's door, since he hasn't brought in enough of the green to make the last two payments on his hot plate or managed to make the playoffs in the OUA the past two seasons. You know the drill: "Damn! That felt like a .500 season!"

Gil/Windsor is also oblivious as to when someone has worn out his welcome. Freeloading off the Simpsons for more than year is analogues to not removing a coach who has only won one-third of his games over 11 seasons.

WESTERN MUSTANGS: MONTY BURNS (But to you, it's Mr. Burns)

If Gil has been stepped on by capitalism's boot once too often, Western/Mr. Burns has often been only too obliging with the stomping.

The old-money team of the OUA has more cash than God and has been around nearly as long, with more than a few fawning Waylon Smitherses in the media only to willing to do their bidding. The school's preppiness makes for a healthy blend of the rich and the ignorant. Is still a force to reckoned with and has a sense of entitlement that no championship drought or having held on to outdated shares of stock can zap, because their mind will draft back to 1971 ... '74 ... '76 ... '77 ... '89 ... or '94.

The bottom line is that Queen's can have its football and its academics, but Western will always be first in fratboys who call each other "brah!" while they're eying girls who treat skin as a layer of clothing, even in the dead of January.


Smugger than smug, overeducated eggheads who end up spending a lot of time near and around prisons, thanks to being in Kingston. Looks down on snotty elitism but ignores their own and will refer to a family member who didn't go to Queen's as having spent "four years at Clown College." Is convinced of their superiority, despite at various turns having been foiled by Krusty/McMaster, Homer/Laurier, archnemesis Bart Simpson/Ottawa as well as Lisa Simpson/McGill, to whom they're fairly indifferent ever since changing conferences after the 2000 season.

Sideshow Bob/Queen's has cultivated a sense of propriety over all he surveys and looks down on most of it, be it TV's bottomless chum bucket that has claimed Vanessa Redgrave, or most of Kingston that's north of Princess or west of Alfred St. One day Bob will have his revenge, and he will lower taxes, brutalize criminals and rule you like a king (see Baird, John). Sure he will.

(Glove tap to Hey Jenny Slater, which did this for the NCAA a while ago. Make sure you check out The CIS Blog. Andrew, Duane, Greg, Mike, Rob and Kinger each have hand prints all over this.)


Greg said...

Brilliant! One of the best posts on here ever. I was howling at the Queen's post...

Jordie Dwyer said...

Perfect...simply perfect...
And now, everyone to MOE's for a pint on me...

Mike Radoslav said...

This really did come out well Neate, nice work putting it all together! :)