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Friday links (12.16.2011)

• Minnesota Golden Gopher football will have new jerseys next year and the athletic department is releasing them to the public “Major League” style, by stripping away a glimpse of the new threads each day much like the Cleveland Indians did with the cardboard cutout of owner Rachel Phelps.

Today, they released the picture on the far right, which I’m guessing to be directly above the middle of he helmet. A few people are saying it looks like a Michigan M, which at this point, I would agree with. Matt from FBT theorized that it will be part of “Ski-U-Mah” across the front of the helmet, which would be pretty cool.

Follow the official Gopher Football Twitter feed for updates, at least until a photo officially leaks. The helmet will be released in full on Monday, with the full jerseys coming in January.

Rumors online say that the helmets will have a matte maroon finish (no sparkle helmets!), with the helmet logos separated on each side with numbers and the traditional “M” on the other. While the “43” picture lends credibility to that, the numbers also wouldn’t be raised quite like they are usually if they are on the side of a helmet. I would guess that is a picture of the back of the helmet.

In looking back over the year, ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg grades the Gophers at a “D” for 2011. I’d argue, but the team lost to both New Mexico State and North Dakota State, in addition to getting beat 58-doughnut at The Big House. I wrote about my feelings of the season for FBT here

Looking to 2012, Phil Miller of the Star Tribune writes that the Gophers will be looking to the junior college ranks for help. Also, let’s put the “Gopher football can’t compete because the athletic standards are too difficult” supposition officially to bed. The U of M is a great university, but it isn’t Stanford and it isn’t an Ivy league school. It’s not even Baylor, as this blog post from Miller finds, as the Gophers welcome Martez Shabazz, a junior college recruit from Texas who wanted to attend by Baylor, but “they wouldn’t take (his) Ds.”

• Texas A&M hired Kevin Sumlin (for some reason the auto-correct wants to change his name to “Shannon,” hmm…). Coaches By The Numbers  

I obviously wanted Sumlin for the Gophers way back when (last year), but now I wonder how well Sumlin will do in a packed SEC West. As CBTN writes, “the Aggies will be joining the SEC West, which includes AlabamaAuburnLSUArkansas,Ole Miss, and Mississippi State. To say the very least, football life is about to get much harder for A&M (three of these teams have won National Championships since 2001).

Meanwhile, Auburn’s Gene Chizik accepted a job at Arkansas State. Yes, Arkansas State is a real thing and not a southern re-boot of the sitcom “Coach.” Somehow, Chizik passed on a $3 million per year contract at Vanderbilt last year and then took this small school job, which was actually a pay cut from his Auburn gig as offensive coordinator. Oh, and he was seen as the mastermind behind the Cam Newton-led National Champion Tigers in 2010. 

I’m going out on a limb that Auburn coaches are running from that program as soon as they can for fear of NCAA impropriety, but I’m really basing that on nothing. The move, coupled with defensive coordinator’s Ted Roof’s exodus, makes me think that something else has to be going on. 

What a difference a year makes. For a round up of all major coaching moves in college football, check out Coaches By the Numbers’ analysis table

• The Minnesota Twins are apparently ready to move on from Michael Cuddyer, as they signed a poor man’s version of Cuddy, Josh Willingham, to a three-year, $21 million deal. Aaron Gleeman writes that Willingham has been generally a better player than Cuddyer, and with letting Cuddyer go to the Rockies, the Twins secure a draft pick and save more than $10 million over the life of both three-year deals.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted that the Twins will take the money saved in the Willingham signing to possibly add a pitcher.

Elsewhere, Parker Hageman at Over the Baggy wrote on Tuesday about how Willingham was built for Target Field, in that being a dead pull hitter his power numbers will stand up at spacious Target Field better than Cuddyer’s did. 

Want to see how the Twins’ salary numbers are looking for the upcoming year and how close they are to dropping the payroll closer to $100 million? Check out Cot’s Baseball Contracts for all of the updated numbers, and also see how much of a bonus Scott Baker would receive for finishing third place in the AL Cy Young race. (It’s a $50,000 bonus.)

• Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov has announced he’s going to challenge Vladimir Putin in Russia’s next presidential election. 

I’m just going to go out on a limb and say this will end badly. Just for some background, read Bill Simmons of Grantland’s old ESPN column about how Prokhorov got his money. I didn’t use “earned” there, because he apparently used bribes years ago to gain controlling interests of certain companies, which led to him becoming a billionaire several times over.

Now, the NBA apparently did due diligence to make sure he was legit and wouldn’t land the basketball owners in a worldwide scandal. That said, presidential candidates tend to have a higher amount of scrutiny that the regular Joe Public. Especially in Russia. When you’re trying to unseat Putin. 

You might be better off trying to stage a military coup than willing a supposedly honest election against Putin. And I wouldn’t recommend that, either. This isn’t going to end well.

• Writer Christopher Hitchens died on Thursday and this piece from Slate’s Matt Labash, “Sneaking into Iraq with Hitchens" does as good a job as eulogizing him as any. 

• Also, Louis CK is selling his “Live at the Beacon Theater" for $5 on his website. He financed everything himself and is trying this out as an experiment. Call him the comedian "Radiohead," I’d love to see more bands use this exact model as well. It’s a lot harder to download something off of the Internet for free when someone writes you a personal note saying they financed everything themselves and also when they are putting it out for $5.

But seriously, it’s funny. Go buy it.

• So far, The Roots’ “Lighthouse” is my favorite track from unDun. The record is really solid so far, so here’s a link to Lighthouse, which you can listen to while you peruse “Questlove’s Celebrity Stories.” 

Years ago, before Twitter and even Facebook, there was Okayplayer, the Roots’ web site. Quest often posted there about his run-ins with people, tracks he was working on, etc. Reading Questo’s Celebrity Stories makes me feel like it’s the winter of 2001 and I’m home from college on Christmas break, listening to Bilal’s “First Born Second” while sitting in my brother’s room (my mother’s basement) reading OKP and downloading new music.

Sigh. Growing up.

Filed under Minnesota Gophers College football Links Michael Cuddyer Josh Willingham Mikhail Prokhorov Gene Chizik Christopher Hitchens louis ck The Roots

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Your favorite comedian’s comedian has a new show and it’s brilliant.

Modern TV is typically awful, but “Louie" on FX, starring comedian Louis CK is the obvious exception. The show follow Louis through his daily life, as presented within his stand-up routines.

Think the first few seasons of “Seinfeld” mixed with the absurdity of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” — a smart sitcom told through the vehicle of stand-up, except more profane and over the top.

Each episode has a few minutes of Louie’s brilliant takes on dating, divorce, growing old and the like. Also, the Comedy Cellar in the village gets a shout-out.

(Sidenote: My wife and I went to the Comedy Cellar the day after we got married in NYC — the bus driver in the clip above hosted that night. It was a great show. He found out we had gotten married, then asked “Why the fuck are you here? I know where I would be… Puttin’ it down and flippin’ it over.” Again, it was a hilarious show.)

Anyway, go ahead and forget HBO’s “Lucky Louie,” which never really grasped his spot-on, irreverent sense of humor. Other than that show and his various stand-up shows and specials, Louis has written for Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and the Chris Rock Show. He also belongs to the cannon of comedians who have had their material stolen by others, notably Dane Cook.

"Louie" broadcasts at 11 p.m. EST every Tuesday on FX.

Here are some other clips:
FXLouie Clip Library
[FX Clips, via YouTube]
Louis CK - Everything is wonderful
[from Late Night with Conan O’Brien, YouTube]
Official site:

Filed under Louis CK TV to watch funny clips stand-up comedy Movies