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Tag:Alabama Crimson Tide
Posted on: December 2, 2009 1:05 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2009 8:37 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Nov. 30th

As winter quickly approaches us and most of my loyal followers are preparing for bitterly cold nights, snow, and all the other things that come along with it while I sit here in my shorts pecking at my computer (nah nah Tongue out), due to a couple of major college football stories, I feel compelled to break my own rule yet again and extend it to covering Tuesday as well, especially since one affects a certain game on Dec. 5th.  So here are 10 things I learned in the week and a day between 11/24 and 12/1.

1) What an idiot!- How can you, in the week leading up to one of arguably the biggest games in your career, do something so stupid as what Carlos Dunlap did to effectively end his career at the University of Florida.  I honestly don't see him playing another game this year, and he was likely to come out, so this pretty much puts the kabosh on UF's leading pass rusher and defensive MVP from last year's BCS title game.  It remains to be seen as to what effect this has on the Gators on Dec. 5th, as the Gators do have lots of talent, but unlike some of my fellow Gator fans, I realize this will affect them at least somewhat.  There is not another Carlos Dunlap on this team, and his presense and pressure will be missed to some degree, no matter how well everybody else steps up in his absense.  And to those trying to pin this on Urban Meyer somehow, please stop.  What, do you want these teams to have 100 assistant coaches to babysit each player personally all the time?  Notice, I wasn't in here blaming Lane Kiffin for what Richardson and his thug friend did (although I did find it funny that it was the same guy Lane got in trouble with the SEC over).  It's how the coach deals with these situations that you can hold them responsible for, not the actions themselves.  Dunlap is an adult, and he will face the consequences of his poor choices.

2) Bobby deserved better- Yes, I know things haven't been going the Seminoles way recently.  I have NEVER seen a UF-FSU game where the Noles didn't deserve to be on the same field as the Gators until Saturday.  But this is the man that had FOURTEEN straight AP Top 4 finishes.  That's a mark that's very likely never to be duplicated ever again.  The whole Bowden-Fisher situation will be filed away under "How NOT to handle a head coach in waiting."  Depending on who you listen to, Bobby Bowden was either forced out, or given the option to come back, but as little more than a figure head.  Now, while I feel that Bobby should have been allowed to come back next year with no strings, Jimbo did deserve the right to name a defensive coordinator, as that would have been Bobby's last year.  You did have to start preparing for life after Bobby.  Thing is, it's awful hard to be the man who replaces the man.  Why do I get the feeling that if FSU struggles early next year, that firejimbofisher.com is not too far away.  Hopefully FSU sends Bobby out on a winning note in whatever bowl game they end up in.

3) Sorry Charlie- In a move that surprised absolutely no one, Notre Dame cut ties with Charlie Weiss on Monday, ending Notre Dame's worst three year run in their history.  While there is a lot of blame to go around here, where is the blame that should fall squarely on the shoulders of the former athletic director (I forget his name)?  As much of a weasel as he is, Mike Lupica pointed this out on a recent "Sports Reporters" on that four letter network.  He's the one that got played by Charlie Weis and locked him up to a ridiculous 10 year deal that's now going to cost Notre Dame something in the range of $20 million to pay a coach who won't be coaching for them.  And they'll have to pay whoever comes in, likely involving another buy-out.  And where's these strong athletes from ND's alleged top 10 recruiting classes recently?  They have Floyd for one more year, and Teo for two more.  Beyond that, what do they have?  Claussen will be gone.  Tate will be gone.  If you notice, Charlie only won with Willingham's players.  It's going to take a lot for Notre Dame to return to BCS title contender, because as I pointed out before, the reason they had lost 9 bowls in a row before last year was they kept running into superior competition due to them being Notre Dame and drawing well in both fanbase and ratings.  This is not going to change soon, even if they start winning 9-10 games a season.  Those annual bowl blowouts do hurt you when it comes to recruiting.  I don't care if you are Notre Dame.

4) Crash that Tiger- Who the hell is in Tiger Woods P.R. staff and why do they still have jobs?  Look, Tiger owes us the general public absolutely nothing.  No explanation.  And I can see why his lawyers told him not to talk to police (because Elin would be in jail right now if he had).  But if you want to see a playbook of P.R. done right, spin it back to Kobe Bryant.  He had geniuses on his P.R. team.  To think that this would go away just because you're Tiger Woods.  Look, because you ARE Tiger Woods, somebody in the media will dig up the dirt and uncover the story.  And while stonewalling the police is the correct legal tactic, don't think they won't do the same.  Fewer people are going to forgive him for trying this P.R. coverup spin job.  The media, police, and public are not stupid.  We can put two and two together just fine on our own, thanks.  UPDATE: As I was piecing my blog together, Tiger finally came out and admitted some of the stuff, something he should have done on Sunday, but I guess better late than never.  It is my sincere hope though that people can now leave him alone and let his family work it out if they can, or handle what they must if they can't.  I just know I'd find it hard to cheat on Wood's wife, although I'd find it hard to marry her now knowing her temper.  Hell hath no furry like a woman scorned.

5) I've finally found the best team in the NFL- After wondering if it might be the Colts of the Vikings (and I still think the Vikings will be a tough matchup), and as much as it pains me to say it, because of their holier than thou, think they've already won somehting in the past, refusing to take off their Black and Gold glasses and defend Reggie Bush till the end fans, there is no denying that it is the New Orleans Saints.  That was an epic beatdown of a pretty good Patriots team on Monday night, and they did something I never would have thought possible, especially form a Saints team, confuse Tom Brady with their defense.  I was always holding reservation on the Saints, because I just didn't believe in their D (have always believed in their O, even with Reggie Bust).  I always thought somewhere along the way it would revert back to the old Saints D.  Well, now I know better, and unfortunately, it reaffirms my prediction of the Saints winning it all I made a few weeks ago.  I'll be very happy for the Saints players (except Reggie and maybe cocky Shockey), and the city of New Orleans, but god, I dread having to deal with the obnoxious fans thinking that they just might FINALLY win something this year.  By the way, Gregg Williams HAS to be coordinator of the year.

6) So much for that matchup in Tampa- Yeesh.  The ACC has to be thrilled that its two best teams got beat by mid-level SEC teams this past weekend.  Georgia Tech looked from being in line for a Top 5 finish to being just another conference champion.  And that's IF they beat Clemson and win their Orange Bowl game.  I'll have my prediction in point 10.

7) Can we stop with the overrated crap?- After Thursday and Friday in which Texas and Alabama both struggled on the road in rivalry games and Cincinatti's defense got exposed by Illinois, all the threads in here were about just how overrated these three teams are.  And while I can't give a good defense to Cincy (although I still wouldn't call them overrated), the other two, along with Florida and TCU who took care of business on Saturday, are clearly the four best teams in the country.  Look, they are called rivalry games for a reason.  Usually you can throw the records out.  And they all won, which is what counts in the end.  The 2006 Gators didn't earn any style points in the season, but still handled tOSU with ease.  And what I wouldn't give to see TCU play any/all of the other three teams.  They are the real deal, and I think would matchup well.  God, a playoff (even 4 team) would have been nice this year.  And in a side note, I hope if Texas beats Nebraska, the BCS does the right thing and gives an invite to Boise State as well.

8) Some quick college hardwood thoughts- What a start for the University of Florida basketball team, one that most people has going 5th in the SEC East.  Now, while they have yet to play a conference game, and Michigan State followed it up with a disappointing performance in last night's rematch of the title game, you have to like how good they look right now.  It will be interesting to see how they do against Syracuse (another hot team early) in the SEC-Big East challenge game here in Tampa.  Even as a Gator fan, I didn't see a 7-0 start.  I'd love to see Billy's boys make the tournament this year.  And what's happened to UCLA.  They look completely lost out of the gate at 2-4.  Now they have players transferring out.  And it doens't get any easier with a Dec. 6th date at Kansas.

9) Look ahead- The games I'm looking forward to are the conference championship games, which I will predict in my next point, and in the NFL, Patriots Dolphins to see which team can bounce back from devastating losses, Cowboys Giants to see which team ate too much turkey on their Thanksgiving day game (my guess would be the Giants who seemed to load up before their night game with the Broncos), and Packers Ravens.  There's also a couple interesting NBA games coming up with Boston San Antonio on Thursday, and Lakers Heat on Friday with the Heat on the back end of a two in a row situation.  In hockey, you have the Penguins and Avalanche on Thursday, and my Lightning have a tough two game stretch with Boston tonight and New Jersey on Friday.  And on the college hardwood, you have a very interesting Ohio State Florida State matchup tonight as part of the ACC Big Ten challenge.

10) BuccinGator's college football conference championship game predictions- While there are only 5 official conference championship games (3 BCS in SEC, Big 12, and ACC and 2 non in CUSA and MAC), with two conferences having defacto championship games this week with tomorrow's Oregon Oregon State game (which for the first time will decide a Pac-10 champion and Rose Bowl bid between these two) and Saturday's Cincinnati Pitt game, in what has to be a scheduling coup for the Big East and Pac-10.  So, in order of how they are played:

Oregon 38, Oregon State 24 (just think Masoli is too much for the Beavers yet again)
Central Michigan 34, Ohio 17 (LeFevour gets it done)
Houston 45, ECU 20 (Case Keenum way too much for ECU, way too late for Heisman.  Those UTEP and UCF losses will kill him)
Cincinnati 37, Pitt 27 (Although Cincy's defense does scare me.  Pitt could pull this out, but I refuse to bet against Pike)
Florida 31, Alabama 27 (was going to go with last year's score as I think the game will be very similar [still do], but with Dunlap out, give Bama another TD)
Georgia Tech 31, Clemson 27 (C.J. Spiller could play spoiler, though.  Just noticed the forecast for here in Tampa calls for thunderstorms that day.  Of course, both these teams love to run anyway)
Texas 21, Nebraska 9 (Nebraska's D will keep this close, quite possibly closer than what I have it).

Hopefully I can go 5-2.  Last year, I think I went 3-2, but I also think it was the mid-majors that tripped me up.
Posted on: November 11, 2009 11:25 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2009 11:40 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Nov. 9th

This week, I would like to take the opportunity to give my deepest thanks to the troops, both past and present, who have put/continue to put their lives on the line to protect my freedom to enjoy sports to the point where I might learn a thing or 10 over the week, and then come in here to pass along this knowledge, and the freedoms of Americans everywhere.

1) The uni's weren't the only thing changed this week- Watching the Bucs Packers game at my house, I was telling my dad as he and the announcers on the game kept mentioning how the Bucs were hanging around and fighting hard, "Yeah, but watch, they'll go in at halftime, make no adjustments, and come out and get blown out in the second half."  I had every right to believe what I was saying.  It had happened already in all 7 of their previous games (including winable games against the Redskins and Panthers).  But then the miraculous happened.  I joked with the guys at work I felt like I was watching on old Foldger's coffee commerical.  "We've secretly replaced the Buccaneers coaching staff with one that can make half time adjustments and win a game."  And that they did.  And what's up with the Packers swiss cheese O-line?  Way to make Stylez G. White look like the second coming of Michael Strahan.

2) Irish's BCS dreams sunk by Navy- In addition to thanking the troops this Veteran's Day, how about thanking future troops, the Midshipmen of the Naval Academy, who prevented mine (and every non-Notre Dame fans) worst nightmare of seeing an undeserving and over-matched Irish team in a BCS game only to serve as the sacrificial lamb.  And of course, with Pitt and Stanford both looking to be much better than previously advertised, the Irish could relistically finish the regular season 7-5 and be Charlie Weis' swan song.  For more of my thoughts on the game, Irish fans, and their "mystique" (if interested), I direct you to this thread: http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/messag
es/chrono/18150835
.

3) Take advantage of your stellar D- Boy, as a Gator fan I am longing for the days of Dan Mullen.  Steve Adazio's play calling is baffling at best sometimes, and a huge reason for the team's red zone struggles this year.  There was a third and two from the 10 early in the game where Aaron Hernandez, our TE, motioned into the backfield, and in a terrifyingly slow developing play, Tebow fake pitched it to him and was absolutely stuffed.  Field Goal.  It's obvious this year due to the Gators' superior D, he's afraid of opening it up and making mistakes, preferring the D to carry them.  I say, all the more reason to open it up and make a couple mistakes.  You know the defense will be there to clean up for you.  Sure, maybe Charlie Strong gets a little mad at you when the other team ends up putting 10 or 13 on the scoreboard, but so what?  Especially if you end up putting 40+ up.  Is it just me?

4) Anti-SEC angst again directed in the wrong direction- It's been an abysmal season for officiating in the SEC, and I cannot try to defend or justify it.  Previously, I thought we had the best officials in the game along with the Big 12, due to the level of football being played.  Well, maybe this game has become too fast for them.  Another likely blown call was made in the LSU-Alabama game.  But as easy as it is to criticize the replay official and why do we have replay, blah, blah, blah (by the way, ask the Big Ten how replay is going for them) it was AGAIN not the replay official's fault.  Here's why.  You take a look at the replay.  Clearly his left foot was in bounds.  The problem is, it is not obvious when he secures possession (despite what LSU fans say).  To me, it appeared that he did not secure the ball until his left foot was up.  So now we look at the right.  Did I think he had the right down?  Yes, I do.  Gary Danielson did a fantastic job during the replay showing again why I feel he's the best in the game.  He even pointed out the little bit of grass that seemed to come up with the right foot, and no white grass.  But can I conclusively say it was in?  Conclusively being the opporative word.  No, I can't.  And if I can't say he conclusively had his right foot in, and I can't conclusively say he had possession while his left foot was still down, guess what?  Play stands as called.  Again, I point out, PLAY STANDS AS CALLED.  Somehow, fans and media members have twisted this around using converse logic that had it correctly (imo) been called a pick, it would have been overturned on replay.  SIMPLY NOT TRUE.  There would have been equal (if not less) evidence to not overturn a pick call.  Once again, get mad at the officials on the field who were either out of position or simply inept and made a bad call and then expect the replay official to OVERSTEP his bounds and fix what was not as obvious of a mistake as people like to think.

5) Curb your enthusiasm- After tOSU's domination of Penn State in Happy Valley, some Buckeye fans began jumping off the deep end proclaiming that Terrelle Pryor might not lose another game.  Well, I mean, in a sense they are right.  He MIGHT not lose again.  But likely he will.  Still, with the team he has around him, he shouldn't lose many more, especially if he can build off his performance.  But, one good game does not a career make, and he still has things he needs to work on.  Overall, though, great win by the Buckeyes, who I no longer need to win this week, but just might pull for them all the same (more on this, next).

6) General college musings- Iowa's weekly let's play to the level of our competition and come from behind job is mercifully over, although you never want to see a starting QB go down like that, a week after a through dismantling of the Trojans, the Ducks lay an egg against Stanford (although the Cardinal are a good team), the Hoosiers again do just enough to hang in a game and still lose, and the black shirts get some revenge against their formal arch rival in securing 5 picks in a 10-3 victory over the Sooners that mericfully finally pushed OU out of the Top 25.  By the way, what has become with some of the tradition in college football?  I meant to hit on this a few weeks ago, but Bama Tennessee not being on the 3rd Saturday in October? (Bama played the other USC that week, and the Volunteers were off).  And OU Nebraska not playing each other every year since expending to the Big 12?  As I was telling my good Husker fan HuskerTex, I remember EVERY Thanksgiving weekend watching four football games, Florida Florida State, Auburn Alabama, Texas Texas A&M, and Oklahoma Nebraska.

7) General NFL musings- Huge wins by the Cowboys and Steelers this week.  Why did more people not see Cincy beating Baltimore?  They already did it once, and Cedric Benson, an early candidate for comeback player of the year, ran for over 100 yards against them AGAIN.  It's the 3rd time in 4 games the Ravens have allowed a 100 yard back.  Big win also by the Chargers.  How does Vincent Jackson get that wide open.  Well, first the corner thinks he has (and should have had) safety help, and did, but the safety was far too late getting over.  Of course, part of this is on the corner for not rerouting Jackson inside to where the help should have been and allowing him to get outside where the safety had much more ground to cover (and again, was late doing so).  And the Saints and Colts just continue to find ways to win, again in comeback fashion for the Saints.

8) Some thoughts on the hardwood- We may be in line for another Celtics Lakers Finals matchup.  The Magic look great most nights, but lose by 28 to the Thunder.  Also, Magic might be in a tougher division than previously thought as there may be 3 playoff caliber teams, including the resurgent Heat.  And is LeBron already half way out the door?  That 4-3 start won't help.  Also, college bball tipped off for real on Monday, so expect to see more on that in the coming weeks, especially after football winds down.

9) Icy thoughts- The Lightning are an improved 6-4-5, getting points in all four games on a recent road trip.  Should the playoffs had started Monday, the Lightning would be in it.  The Devils are red-hot (hey, they are the Devils) and now are tied with the Penguins in the East Atlantic (I do make mistakes form time to time).  And the Avalanche continue to amaze getting stellar goaltending, although the Sharks have now passed them for the overall lead in the NHL.

10) BuccinGator's stone cold NFL predicitions- Instead of doing a look ahead this week (although I am really looking forward to the Sunday Night game between the Patriots and Colts), I shall bring you my NFL playoff predictions.  Now that all of the teams (except 2 who have gotten in 9) have played exactly half their season, it's far easier to get reads on the teams and who might make some noise come post season.  Sure, waiting like this makes it easy for me to pick teams like the Colts, Vikings, and Saints, but it also makes it easier to identify the Dolphins and Falcons of last year.  Here's a look back at last year's edition:

Now that we are officially at the half way point of the NFL season, with every team having played 8 games (except for 4 that have played 9), here go my picks for the twelve teams that will be playing come January for a chance to visit my home town of Tampa, Florida on Feb. 9th.  In the AFC, I like the Patriots to hang on to the East, the Titans to win the South (duh), the Steelers to take the north, and the Chargers to luck into the West with no better than a 9-7 record.  For the wild card teams, give me the Ravens (even though they face a brutal schedule including all the teams from the NFC East), and I'll go with a team from the East, give me the Dolphins in a surprise.  The Bills have looked lost recently for some unknown reason and I just don't trust Jet Favre to be careful enough with the ball on what I think is a mediocre team.  In the NFC, I'll take the Giants to win the East, the Packers to squeak by in the North (with no better than a 10-6 record), the Cardinals in the West (another duh).  I'll take the Bucs as one of my wild cards, and the other will obviously go to a team in the East, so let's make it the Eagles, who I think edge out the Redskins.  But wait a minute, I haven't picked my division winner in the South, you might be saying.  Well, the easy thing to do is take the Panthers, who in the end I think will take it (especially if they can handle the Bucs in Carolina), but my official pick on my blog is ... the Atlanta Falcons.  Yes, the worst to first trend continues with a team that everyone thought would be rebuilding, but instead are just recovering from a horrible coach.  So there you have it.  I'll pick official playoff winners once the playoffs are set, but based on these picks, I'll go #3 Patriots over #6 Ravens, #5 Dolphins over #4 Chargers, #1 Titans over #5 Dolphins, #2 Steelers over #3 Patriots, #2 Steelers over #1 Titans.  In the NFC, give me #5 Buccaneers over #4 Packers, #6 Eagles over #3 Cardinals, #1 Giants over #6 Eagles, #5 Buccaneers over #2 Falcons (hey, how about that, two divisional matchups in the divisional round.  Wouldn't that be neat?) #1 Giants over #5 Buccaneers, and finally, in Tampa, Giants over Steelers.  There you have it, folks.

As you can see, I got 9 out of the twelve teams correct (couldn't see the Colts late season run or the Bucs choke job).  I did also call the Chargers lucking into the AFC West last year.  Don't know what I was thinking taking the Pack and TT's big ego.  And, I had the Jets pegged better than most of the experts.  So here they are, this year's NFL playoff predictions culminating with who I think ends up in Miami.  For the AFC East, it's an easy pick with the Patriots.  South another slam dunk with the Colts.  In the North, I like the Steelers to edge out the Bengals, while both make the playoffs, the loser securing one of the AFC's wild cards.  In the West, gotta go Broncos, although they appear to be slipping somewhat, and the Chargers are hanging around.  For the last wild card spot, I just don't trust the Jets or Ravens enough, so I think it comes down to the Texans and Chargers, with the Chargers winning out.  In the NFC, give me the Eagles to win the East despite their hiccup against the Cowboys, the Saints to win the South (duh), the Vikings in the North (double duh), and in the West, it's got to be the Cardinals with the 49ers disappointing the way they are.  For the two wild cards, I'll take the Cowboys and the Falcons.  So here's how I see the playoffs.  In the AFC, I like #3 Patriots over #6 Chargers and #5 Bengals over #4 Broncos in a revenge game, then, #1 Colts over #5 Bengals and #2 Steelers over #3 Patriots in what should be a great game if it happens.  Home field and defense I think will win out.  For the AFC Championship, I'm going to go with the upset and go #2 Steelers over #1 Colts granting Sixburgh their second consecutive trip to Florida.  For the NFC, I like #3 Cardinals over #6 Cowboys (Cowboys still can't win a playoff game or get revenge for 1998) and #5 Falcons over #4 Eagles in what would be a tight game.  Then, #1 Saints over #5 Falcons and #2 Vikings over #3 Cardinals.  Then in what should be a heck of an NFC Championship game which will most likely be in a dome (will be if my top two seeds are there), #1 Saints over #2 Vikings where home field again becomes a factor.  And for Super Bowl LXIV in Miami, I can't believe I'm saying this as it will make Saints fans more obnoxious than normal (although it'd be a great story for the true Saints fans like some of the ones you see in the Super Dome), I'll take the Saints to beat the Steelers.  They just seem to have enough on defense and have finally realized that Bush is overrated and exactly how and when he needs to be used, that I will go ahead and go with them.  I really hope I'm wrong, however (at least with them).
Posted on: November 3, 2009 11:00 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Nov. 2nd

1) The Sports Media can KMA- For those of you who follow me regularly here, you already know my opinion of the sports media.  Well they did absolutely NOTHING to change that this week.  I give you, the Brandon Spikes youtube video that went viral.  Now, even as a Gator fan, I am not going to sit here and even try to defend Brandon Spikes actions, even though the Georgia running back in an EXTREMELY classy move did.  Honestly, Spikes could have been suspended for the whole Vandy game.  But what gets me, and makes me give a big STFU to Bulldog fans, is that the coverage on this story has been completely one sided, which is a huge shock (not.  Remember, sensationalistic journalism obviously sells these days).  I don't mind people getting on Spikes or asking for punishment or whatever, BUT PLEASE POINT OUT that the Georgia team nearly took his head off during the game, at least twice.  Here's a quote from Mark Richt, who I have a lot of respect for, but obviously received a different version of the game tape than what I witnessed.  Georgia coach Mark Richt said Spikes' "helmet went flying off ... and there was one time he got hit with his helmet off."  Um, coach, what about the time it was going to be third and a half a yard, but you were penalized 15 yards because YOUR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN TRIED REMOVING SPIKES' HELMET WITH HIS HEAD STILL IN IT.  But do we hear about this from the media?  No.  Do we hear an outcry for this guy to be suspended for at least part of a game?  No.  Instead you get the same clueless, classless drivel from Dennis Dodd and Gator Hating onesidedness from John Taylor of collegefootballtalk.com.  Sad thing is, a lot of what Taylor was saying WOULD BE RIGHT, if he just dropped the Gator Hating angle and reported both sides.  He went so far as to say " Even if Spikes was the victim of having his helmet ripped off a couple of times during the game, there's no justification for playing proctologist on a man's eyes.  None."  IF??  IF???  All he has to do is change that "if" to "though" and he'd have a lot more respect.  Georgia fans, you are disqualified because of the people in glass houses rule.  Bama fans, equally disqualified due to sour grapes for Spikes not signing there.  The rest of you, I'm open to your opinions.  Am I just refusing to take off my Orange and Blue colored glasses here, or do I have a point?  By the way, one last thing, Spikes put Urban Meyer in a no win situation here, and can the media please back off of him, too.  Oh, and great win by the Gators, their most complete win of the season.  Joe Cox looks like the new Johnathan Crompton (and ironically, Crompton is lately playing like people thought Jevan Snead would).

2) Quack attack shellacks USC- Wow.  Nearly 400 yards rushing.  Over 600 yards overall.  I thought Oregon would win due to USC's suspect defense that hasn't shown up for 3 weeks now, but I simply did not see that big of a beat down.  A huge thank you to the Ducks for FINALLY taking care of what the pollsters have REFUSED to the past 4 years.  Good luck to the Ducks in Pasadena, most likely on the 1st.  And can we please stop the talk of an Oregon Boise State rematch (unless it is on the 1st).  First off, it would be unfair to Boise State.  What do you do if the Ducks win?  Best 2 out of 3?  Best combined stats?  Secondly, should TCU win out, they will be the more deserving non-BCS team.  Plus, you cannot simply erase the Ducks loss, no matter how well they are playing right now.  Also, I think the Big 10 champ has to be playing on the 7th for the rematch to happen on the 1st.

3) Some Musings on the BCS poll- In a largely cosmetic move, Texas moved up to the number two spot because they played their second complete game in dismantling Okie State while Bama was on a bye leaving pollsters with lasting memories of the squeaker against Tennessee.  Another thing that hurt Bama that's been overlooked by everyone I've seen is that that Va Tech win at the begining of the year just doesn't look so good anymore after they lost to UNC.  Meanwhile a kudos to the poll for having the seven undefeated teams as 1-7 in the poll.

4) Bulls run through the Mountaineers- In a must win to get some respect, the Bulls played one of their most complete games in stopping their annual October swoon and beating the Mountaineers.  They absolutely shut down Noel Devine, and just seem to match up well with them.  While the top 3 in the Big East all have to play each other in the coming weeks, the Bulls are lurking just on the outside with the two loses ALREADY having played the big three.  Depending on how things break, the Bulls could finish second in the Big East with a pretty good bowl game.

5) Indiana must love instant replay- Look, I'm not going to sit here and say it cost them the game, as replay did not score all of those points in the fourth quarter, but HOW does that play get botched, ESPECIALLY WHEN CALLED CORRECTLY ON THE FIELD.  In order to overturn, there (again) HAS TO, HAS TO, HAS TO be INDISPUTABLE video evidence that the call was botched (see, Dustin Doe return for "touchdown" last week).  Still Iowa pulls that junk against most other teams, throwing five picks in a game, and they get buried.  I'll actually be pulling for tOSU come the 14th.  Iowa would be KILLED by the Ducks in Pasadena.

6) The Saints go marching on- What a great game on Monday night, and the Saints just might be the best team in the NFL (although I still think it's the Colts, a close second, though, as much as it pains me to say it).  I must say though that Matt Ryan cost the Falcons by locking in on Tony Gonzalez late in the game.  On the pass that was deflected, Porter already had excellent coverage on Gonzalez (and this was the turning point in the whole game, you go from being potentially up 3 to down 11).  Plus Sharper should have had another pick around the 2 minute mark.  Still, have to give the Falcons credit, too, for never quiting in the game, especially Coy Wire.

7) Favre sticks it to Ted Thompson, Green Bay fans- The whole amazing thing to me (other than Packers fans not wanting to run TT and his tremendous ego out of town) is the quick chemistry that has developed between Lord Favre and Percy Harvin.  People said going into the draft, Harvin had the most upside, it was just a question of would he live up to his potential.  Well, with Favre taking him under his wing, and Percy listening to the grisled vet, the Gator WR/KR could just be the NFL offensive ROY.

8) Other quick lessons taught to me- The Giants are massively struggling on D as one of the games I looked forward to turned into a huge blowout, the Phins swept the Jets (so much for the post week 3 talk of an all NYC Super Bowl) thanks in large part to 2 100+ yard kickoff returns by Ted Ginn Jr. who Dolphin fans were almost ready to run out of town (wonder if Roy Hall held Reggie Nelson for him), and will somebody PLEASE explain to me why JaMarcus Russell is STILL a starting quarterback in an FL that does not start with U, C, or A?

9) The series returns to the Bronx- I know, I'm breaking my own rule a bit here, but in what is turning out to be just like I expected, since it seems the Phillies can only win with Lee on the mound and Chase Utley can only bat with Lee on the mound, I like my Yanks in 6 predicition right now (and I definitely like the Yanks if it goes 7.  Hammels is not the same pitcher any more).

10) The Look Ahead- Next week I do my official NFL playoff predictions, so look for those.  In colleges, give me Notre Dame Navy, to see if the Midshipmen can repeat their performance of two years ago just so I don't have to worry about the Domers cracking the BCS Top 14 and getting an automatic birth, tOSU PSU in a huge Big 10 matchup, and Alabama LSU to decide who will be in Atlanta on Dec. 5th taking on the Gators (seems a little ridiculous that they locked that up on Oct. 31st).  In the pros, it's just Dallas Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Denver.  Oh, and if the Bucs lose again this week, if I can just throw them back along with their throw back uniforms.
Posted on: October 28, 2009 6:31 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2009 10:04 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Oct. 26th

As we enter Halloween Week here at 10TILTW (hey, that's catchy), we have been treated with some epic collapses and great games, been tricked by the ghoulishly sub-standard SEC officiating, and have had to listen to coaches whine like Banshees over how it was somebody else's fault they lost games.  So, here is the knowledge that was imparted to me by the sports world this week, hopefully presented in a way not to zombiefy you.

1) Where has the spread option gone?- As a Gator fan, I feel Tim Tebow's frustration as to the offenses lack of production.  And while people like to point to the receiving core, which is a little part responsible, I by far give more fault to Steve Adazio, the Gators O.C.  Over the past few games, one of our greatest plays, where Tebow sweeps out and has the option to A) keep it, B) pitch it to Demps/Rainey, or C) shovel it inside to Hernandez has completely disappeared from our playbook.  It was instrumental to our BCS title last year, and very few teams have the athletes or the discipline to shut all three options down.  Even Meyer commented after the game they needed to put Tebow in better positions.  While the first pick 6 was totally Tim's fault and led from a 20-3 halftime game to a 13-10 halftime game, there was no reason for him to be throwing 1st and 10 from his own 2.  Also, our offensive line's pass blocking has become suspect.  They're still great run blockers, and we have FIVE people that can run the ball.  Tebow's already proven in the past he can win a game with his arm if he has to.  With the Gators D, I think we need to get back to running it for 300 yards a game, even if it's not "sexy" or will get you 50+ points.

2) Hindsight is always 20/20- I can feel Dan Mullen's pain on the pick return for a "touchdown" call, but he absolutely deserved to be reprimanded for asking for the video replay judge to be suspended, and here's why.  IT WASN'T HIS FAULT!!!!!  He did his job to the best of his ability, and Mullen should know that.  In order to overturn a call on the field, the replay judge MUST MUST MUST have conclusive evidence that the original call was wrong, otherwise he HAS to let the play stand.  And there's the crucial point.  Folks, I want you to pay attention to the next college football game you watch, and listen to what the referee says after a replay.  If he says replay has CONFIRMED the call on the field, then that means that there is conclusive visual evidence to uphold the call.  If he says THE RULING ON THE FIELD STANDS then that means there was not conclusive visual evidence to there being a botched call.  Now was the call botched, absolutely.  And was there conclusive evidence, yes.  Want to know when this conclusive evidence came?  After ESPN had like three minutes to throw their two CRAPPY angles together, sync them up, and show them as one image.  Know when that happened?  AFTER the replay official made his decision.  And it wasn't an in and out, either.  Before then, you could guess all you want.  But you CANNOT guess in replays.  You cannot feel.  Watching it live, I thought it was a TD, although I wanted to throttle Dustin Doe.  Watching the replays, I was like, uh oh, but from ESPN's best angle, it looked like he had it in the endzone.  From the reverse angle, you could speculate that it wasn't a TD.  Like I said, it wasn't until they synced them up that you knew for sure they blew it.  But Dan, if you want to blow a gasket, either A) blow it at the on field officials who were obviously not in position to make the call (which probably still would have gotten you reprimanded) or B) blow it at ESPN.  For a network that paid a whole bunch of money to broadcast the games, would having a camera on the goalline, from either end, hurt?  And then lost in the mix was that it would be a touchback and Mississippi State would have 1st and 10 from the 20.  BUZZZZZZZ.  Mississippi State was called for an illegal shift on the play.  Had it correctly been called a fumble, the Gators enforce the penalty.  We can second guess the results until the cows come home, but honestly, did anybody get the impression that the Bulldog offense was going to do ANYTHING against the Gator D that night.  Be honest, Gator haters.  Didn't think so.  Still, the SEC has a bunch of cleaning up to do, as do the Gators.

3) Mountain of a blocker- In a game that took me back to when Jarvis Moss blocked three kicks against South Carolina during our '06 title run, Terrance Cody of Alabama blocked two kicks against the Volunteers to preserve a 12-10 victory.  Now after the game, Lane whined like a little girl about Cody not being flagged for taking his helmet off.  If you can show me that he did that before the clock hit double zeroes, then by the letter of the rule, he does have a point.  But in a sport, and particularly a conference that is too strict and has bad rules regarding celebrating/personal fouls the like, I was glad to see this one go.  That rule was meant for players immediately after the play expressing their frustration, and by letter celebration, too.  Cody was yards away from the play, near his sideline,  going further away from the action, and was celebrating a great win.  Now, had he done it right after he blocked the kick, while still in the middle of both lines or just coming out, then yes.  But in this case, let it slide.  A good no call in my book, and I have no love for Bama or Nick Saban, although I'm sure Vols fans would vehemently disagree.  Update: I should have realized it at the time, but one thing that led to Kiffin being reprimanded is even if they had called Cody for unsportmanlike, it's a post play foul.  In other words, it would have been Bama's ball 15 yards back from the previous line of scrimmage.  So sorry Vols fans, you lose that game anyway.  Still a great effort put forth.

4) Hope you didn't go to bed at halftime- God, I'm getting tired of having to give love to the Saints.  There is talk of the Saints as the best team in the NFL.  I'm sorry, but the BEST team in the NFL does not get down 24-3.  That being said, only a GREAT team comes back from that defecit, and the Saints are clearly a great team.  And Dolphin fans should want to throttle their coach for making a rookie mistake.  Late in the first half, down by the aforementioned 24-3 and out of timeouts, Brees hits Colston for what was initially ruled a touchdown, but was subsequently (and accurately) overturned to first and goal from the half yard line.  Saints have :05 left on the clock, and the referee announces to the world "The clock WILL start on the ready for play whistle."  New Orleans has their field goal unit already on the field content to get it to 24-6 as they have to snap the ball quickly.  All of a sudden, whistles.  Timeout Miami.  EXCUSE ME??  Timeout for what?  Oh, to let Drew Brees "talk" Sean Peyton into going for it (wasn't much of a conversation, more like a Peyton Manning we're going for it) and getting a touchdown scored against you right before half.  Great job!!!

5) On the Eighth week of football the Huskers gave to me- Eight turnovers against the Cyclones.  And four inside the enemy 5.  And yet they were still remarkably in that game.  That had to hurt big time for Nebraska fans, and I know it did (from reading HuskerTex's blog http://huskertex.blogs.cbssports.co
m/mcc/blogs/entry/6286615/17862580
).

6) Hurricanes start OT strong, quickly fizzle out- Just like some real tropical systems, the Hurricanes received the ball first in OT and hit a 19 yard run on their first play.  From there, they proceeded to gain not another yard and kick a field goal.  Miami could have taken the three off the board as Clemson was offside on the FG, but I agree with the decision to leave the points on the board (would have been fourth and goal from the 3.  Maybe if it was closer).  Then Clemson gets a 26 touchdown on their possession to win the game in what was a closely contested back and forth affair in which both teams trailed several times.

7) Horns hook Mizzou- In what had to be Texas' best, most complete game of the season, they defeated the Tigers 41-7.  Unlike previous Longhorn games where they seemingly flipped the switch at halftime, even in the OU game, McCoy started out 11 for 11 and the Horns put TD's on the board with their first three drives.  And would you believe that the leader in the Big 12 north is Bill Snyder's Kansas State Wildcats???  Whodathunkit?

8) Icy thoughts- The Avalanche are surprisingly leading the league with 20 points, the Devils scored a huge victory over the Pens, who still lead the Eastern conference, and the Ohretchkin [sic] led Capitals have suddenly and drastically (although predictably) seperated themselves in a muddled Southeast division.  And I'm still miffed that the Lightning CANNOT score a goal in a shootout.  This last one against the Sabres, they had SIX cracks at it.  Zero goals.

9) November diamonds- I'm sorry, but as much as I'm hoping for a good, long, competitive World Series, I'm also hoping for miserable weather and unplayable nights.  Something absolutely has to be done about the baseball schedule so that we don't end up in this situation.  The best thing that could happen is that the weather somehow adversely affects the Yankees, and George and his boys get POed.  They need to start sooner, schedule doubleheaders, fix the playoff TV schedule, something.  As for my World Series prediction, as much as I should have learned not to bet against the Phillies, and as much as I can't stand the Yankees, the Yankees have done good for me so far this year, and I see no reason to hop off the bandwagon.  I say Yankees take it in Yankee Stadium in game 6.

10) The look ahead- Things I'm looking forward to this week are USF West Virginia to see if the Bulls can get out of their yearly October swoon, Georgia Florida, which is still the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, no matter where the teams are in the standings, K State Oklahoma to see if the Wildcats just might be for real, Texas Okie State, to see just how much the Cowboys miss Dez Bryant who will be gone for the rest of the season, and Oregon USC, to see if the Ducks can take care of what the pollsters seem unable to year after year.  For the Pros, give me Giants Eagles, Jet Dolphins II, Vikings Packers II, and Saints Falcons to see if the Saints can stay unbeaten.  And obviously, the World Series (of Poker, J/K).
Posted on: October 1, 2009 12:21 am
 

10 Things I learned the week of Sept. 29th

Again a day late, but this time it was by choice.  See, I knew I was going to be long winded on a couple of topics very near and dear to my heart, the Bucs and the Gators (hence, the name BuccinGator).  Wanted the extra time to collect my thoughts and make sure I got everything out there.  So without further ado, 10 things ...

1) The Ol' Ball Coach shuts down Ole Miss- I'll start with the Thursday night game.  Now, I'm not going to jump on the Ole Miss was overrated band wagon.  In a year where many a team already has one loss, they were just beneficiaries of everybody else losing earlier in the year and their starting ranking which was probably a little too high based on what they did last year and returning Jevan Sneed.  But while SEC detractors point to this game as a sign of how the SEC is overrated and not that good, I point to this game as a sign of why the SEC is so great.  You better bring your A game every week, and you better be ready to play against some slobberknockering defenses.  I'm still a big Houston Nutt supporter (and Arkansas fans, check out how his replacement did this week.  More on that later), and I still like Jevan Sneed, just think it was a case of where they ran up against an equally matched South Carolina squad in their stadium, and got outplayed.  While Ole Miss was overrated through mostly no fault of their own, the fact is that South Carolina was probably more underrated.

2) Big 10 replay officials trying to overtake Pac 10 as being the most boneheaded and ignorant of the rules- Wow.  What in the world is the point of having a replay system if it's not even going to be used properly?  Come with me, my little chickadees, to last year, ironically involving the Michigan Wolverines.  Forgot which side of the play they were on, but there was an absolutely ridiculous call that thankfully had no bearing on the outcome of the game against Michigan State in which a receiver was awarded a touchdown because his foot smooshed the pylon, which the replay official THOUGHT was in bounds.  Nevermind the fact that 98% of the receiver's shoe was clearly Oscar Bravo.  Now, spin it forward to Saturday afternoon, where an Indiana University receiver and Michigan defender CLEARLY had dual possession of the ball upon hitting the ground and then the defender wrestled the ball away and was awarded the interception.  Even in the pros, where the ground does not end a play, the tie goes to the receiver.  And no, Michigan fans, there is nothing in the rule that deals with who has "more" possession or whatever else you were trying to argue.  I don't care if the defender has the ball locked to his chest, if the receivers hands are around the ball, that's it.  And to me, it definitely appeared that the IU receiver had the better possession until it was ripped out ON THE GROUND when the play is over in college.  Point is it's a moot arguement, and the rule clearly states that it should have been IU's ball.  Their coach had every right to chuck his gum a la "Mr. Perfect" Curt Henning, and they should have had the chance to see if they could produce the winning drive.  Now we'll never know.

3) The running of the Bulls D-Line- Daggummit!!!  The Seminoles just had absolutely no answer for the University of South Florida's D-Line.  And it's nice to see others step up and make plays while George Selvie is getting double and triple teamed.  They just decimated the Seminoles offense and forced four fumbles.  And the Seminoles secondary was non-existant on several plays.  It doesn't help that your best secondary guy is a smurf who plays 10 times his size.  I love Greg Reid, but all teams have to do is throw it whereever he's not.  And even if he's there, he can get picked on in goalline situations where his height becomes a true disadvantage.  The Noles need to solve their inconsistancy on offense, showing up only on odd numbered games (which bodes well for my Gators as they are game number 12).  Defensively, they are consistant, though.  Consistantly bad.  Going to be a long year for the Noles, who are still expected to win the Atlantic Division and make a trip to Tampa.  For the Bulls, though, this was a huge win for recruiting.  I hope both they and Cincy can stay undefeated heading into the upcoming Thursday night game here in Tampa.  The Big East could use the positive exposure that that game could bring them.

4) The "U" downgraded to a Tropical Storm- Again, I'm not going to jump on the Miami was overrated bandwagon, as I think it's great what they are doing, winning two games when many expected them to be "0-4 out the door."  I think they are still in for a solid year.  Just obviously were not ready to make that next step in a true return to national prominence.  Great game turned in by the Hokies.

5) Razorbacks hog-"Tide"- Again, I am not a huge Nick Saban fan, but you have to be impressed with what he is doing in Tuscaloosa.  Moreover, I love each and every time anybody, and I do mean anybody (okay, well maybe not Lane Kiffin, but it's close) in the SEC can put a beat down on that despicable turncoat of a man that coaches the University of Arkansas.  Sure, Saban is a bit of a turncoat himself, but what he did is Mother Teresaish compared to Petrino, especially what that waste of humanity did to the Falcons, a team that I am by no means a fan of.  Razorback fans, I hope every year you finish behind Ole Miss in the standings.

6) Rookie head coach makes a mistake most Pop Warner league coaches wouldn't make- Okay, I am officially convinced that the football gods are out to get me by putting a horrible Notre Dame football team into a BCS bowl game to be slaughtered.  Last week it was Michigan State icing it by throwing a pick.  This week, with no timeouts left and after being stopped on a running play and starting to scramble around in an effort to clock the ball which would have brought up third down with under 30 seconds left, Perdue gift wraps the game by calling a timeout FOR Notre Dame.  For what???  To get the right personnel on the field??  You already had the right personnel on the field the previous play, and if you SERIOUSLY wanted to make changes, let Notre Dame clock it, and THEN you can run out a new unit.  That kind of absurdity can't even occur at a high school head coaching level, much less the collegiate level.  It's not often coaches truely win or lose games for you, but in this case, Perdue's coach singlehandedly blew it by not being aware of the game situation.

7) Some general NFL musings- I can't pick a Bengals game right, so the Browns will probably win this week.  Brett Favre ripped my heart out and cost me my overall lead in my Pick 'Em pool.  But what a play.  The Vikings got him to make those plays in exactly those types of situations.  Still hate his guts, though, for the stunts he's pulled, especially this offseason, but have to give credit where credit is due.  The Patriots grounded the Falcons, showing they still have some work to do.  The Lions beat the Redskins in a game I called correctly.  Even though they were 0-2, the Lions were playing better football than the Deadskins, and it showed on Sunday.  Now even worse, the Deadskins play my Suckaneers this Sunday in the Toilet Bowl.  Ugh!  And finally, Jake Delhomme is finished.  Yes, the pick six was Steve Smith's fault, but there was absolutely NO reason for Fake to be throwing it there IN THE FIRST PLACE.  He was well covered and would have been tackled immediately in a situation where the Panthers needed to have a sense of urgency.

8) Hey, hey, hey, we're the Suckaneers- Oh my god.  I've slipped back into the seventh circle of Lemon [sic] Bennett hell with my favorite NFL team.  And Bucs fans have nobody to blame but themselves and the atrocious sports media we have down here in my fair city (although many are still trying to blame Jon Gruden).  The media here wants to be coddled to, and got it for years from Tony Dungy (who to be fair is a great coach and even better human being) and Rich McKay (who I can't say the same for).  Then came in brash Gruden who wouldn't bend to their every whim.  So they began running stories, began sowing discontent, and everybody down here bought it (except for the one piece of decent media, the Pewter Report, who told it like it was the whole time, good or bad).  Then Gruden gets the axe, which I didn't have too much of a problem with, except that you need to replace him with a Shannahan or Cowher.  Then came the whole Derrick Brooks debacle, which if Gruden had done, people here would have been screaming bloody murder against him.  Look I still hope Morris succeeds, but it is obvious this coaching staff is coaching very poorly and are currently in way over their heads.  And hopefully Buc fans will now pull theirs out of the sand and realize what a great job Gruden did with what little talent he had.  I know this team is rebuilding, but they were one fourth quarter defensive collapse in ANY of the last four games in which they were tied or had a lead in EVERY SINGLE ONE of them away from making the playoffs last year.  To take this many steps back is inexcusible.  I had this team pegged for 4-12, but now I'm thinking 2-14 is more in line.  And the yahoos down here were actually psyched after the Cowboys loss, spewing 8-8 or 9-7 and how great the offense is and how they'd been waiting for something like that for years.  Well, I for one was not buying it, and they were exposed by the Giants this week.  Fans forget, this team was 14th in total offense last year, which is respectable, especially when you can throw the type of defense out there we had thrown from 1997 through the first twelve games of 2008.  Now the defense is just plain horrible.  And the offense, I'm afraid fans will realize, is more in line with the 25th overall ranking they have right now than the 4th overall ranking they had going into the game, although with the D it's not likely to matter much.  Oh, and yeah, Jon Gruden was the one holding Michael Clayton back.  Since week one, he has TWO receptions and dropped a sure touchdown.  Yup, all Gruden's fault.  Clayton is a great receiver and worth every penny the Bucs spent on him this offseason.  Buc fans, reap what you sow!!!!  And to further my attack on the media, and why I think this area does not deserve baseball, the St. Pete times runs a horrid article on the Rays about a week ago saying how Jason Bartlett and Carl Crawford's best value (along with one other player) lies in trading them?  Are you FREAKING kidding me?  Bartlett, your team MVP, and Crawford, who you dumped Scott Kazmir's salary just so you could keep him?  And even at $10 million, which I think is ridiculous, in MLB terms is a bargain for a player of Crawford's talents.  Yeah, let's just go back to the dark ages of finishing last every year and drawing 5,000 fans a night.  Not like they had a winning season this year, right??  What's that, they did??  Could have fooled the press down here who got spoiled by a World Series appearance last year.  People down here want to make me vomit.  We are the biggest bunch of front running bandwagoners, and sadly, we're probably the best sports market in the state as Miami and Jacksonville are worse.  Pathetic!

9) ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!!!!!- I am so sick in the aftermath of the UF-Kentucky game of EVERYTHING that is coming out, that I feel like being concussed.  Everybody just needs to get off of everyone's cases right now, because everything that has been said is absolutely ludicrous.  As soon as I saw a replay, I knew exactly what had happened, and just became concerned for how bad of a concussion Tebow had.  Don't know why it took like 10 for most people to realize it was hitting the right tackle's knee coming down who was being blocked back into him, and not the hit that caused the damage.  The first person people need to get off the case of is the Kentucky blitzer (pretty sure it was an LB) who hit Tebow.  You have clowns like Dennis Dodd on this site running articles about whether or not it was a clean hit.  Are you freakin' kidding me?  Why not just have QB's wear dresses and play two hand touch?  And again, it wasn't the initial hit that was the problem.  It was a very clean football play.  The second person people need to get off the case of is the UF left tackle.  People, he was blocking the man he was supposed to block.  In football, you block inside out.  In that situation, the blitzer is TEBOW'S responsibility to pick up, and he didn't do it.  And if there was going to be a shift of the O-lines responsibilities pre-snap had the blitz been recognized, that would have fallen with either Tebow or the Pouncey twin that plays center, not the left tackle.  The third person people need to get off of is Urban Meyer.  The suggestion that it's the way Tebow plays and he runs to much is beyond ridiculous.  I must have missed where Tebow was injured on a running play.  I could have swore it was a pass.  And his style of play is irrelevant of the situation in which he got hurt.  Even a pocket passer like Peyton Manning would have been injured whiplashing his head and neck on the leg of an O-lineman.  Give me a break.  Tebow gives as much punishment, if not more so than he receives.  And the fourth person is Tebow himself.  Everybody's suggesting after this that he needs to change his style of play and this and that and the other.  That would be the absolute worst thing he can do.  You have to dance with the girl that brought you there.  If you really want Florida to become more of a passing team, just play John Brantley.  And enough with all the talk of Tebow and the LSU game and putting the national title above the kids health and whatnot.  It may surprise most people, but the decision for Tebow to play or not play this week won't come from Tebow or Urban Meyer, it will come from the UF medical staff, which I have every faith in making the correct call one way or the other.  And if Brantley has to play, I'll take my chances.  Obviously Tebow's leadership will be missed, and the style will be different, but if that's how they have to go, if we lose, we lose.  I still think UF has a shot to win even with Brantley at the QB spot, although obviously I would prefer Tebow.  Oh, and to top it all off, watching ESPNU on Sunday, they had reaction from a Gator fan at a Gainsville bar.  Here's what this genius had to say.  He talked about how upset he was that the UK players and fans were being all disrespectful cheering and celebrating when Tebow went down.  Um, excuse me?  Just exactly what game was this chuckle head watching?  Was it some different feed than the one from ESPN2 that I saw?  This wasn't the FSU game where the fans (surprisingly in my book, as I always thought FSU has great fans) were actually cheering when Percy Harvin went down.  Hell, I could have swore I was watching a UF home game as the 15,000 Gator fans in attendance were making far more noise than the Wildcat fans.  Want proof of that, watch a replay of the Chris Rainey punt block for TD.  No, the Kentucky fans weren't celebrating, and the only players celebrating were the one who got the sack and one of his teammates in the immediate aftermath.  Afterall, he had just made a great, CLEAN, football play.  It wasn't like when the Gator bench emptied, the Kentucky players were on the field dancing around a la, "Ding, Dong, the Witch Is Dead."  Come on ESPN, you broadcast the game.  You have to do a better job editing your pieces.  I'm sure there were other Gator fans at that bar with better comments than what this moron came up with.  All in all, though, this whole situation and experience just further enhances my dislike of most of the media.  But that's why knowledgable people stop by my blog, right?

10) A look at the week ahead- The things I am looking forward to this week are the Buccaneers Redskins game, the start of the NHL season!  The puck drops for real tomorrow night.  Woo hoo!!!  Look for some ice talk to kick in on my blog.  Anyway, to football, give me LSU Georgia and Oklahoma Miami, and in the pros Jets Saints (go Jets, if nothing else than to shut the Aint fans up), Steelers Chargers to see if the Steelers can regroup, and the MNF game of the Vikings and Packers for obvious reasons.

Bonus parting shot- Great job by the Cal Berkley Bears setting up their matchup with USC this week.  They go into Eugene against a struggling Ducks team and get absolutely SMOKED.  And thanks to Ole Miss, Penn State, Cal, and Miami for letting USC jump right back up in the polls, despite losing to a team that just got smoked by Stanford.
Posted on: September 23, 2009 10:49 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Sept. 22nd

Day late and a dollar short posting this week's edition.  Must say all of my look ahead games ended up being close, interesting games, so a pat on the back to me.  Hey, I need one since my Infinity League team is tanking.  Can't get any receiver help.  Anyway, on to this week's musings ...

1) What a difference a year makes- 365 little days.  Okay, so that's not how the song goes, but it fits for what happened in the UM-Ga Tech game.  Last year, Miami was lost against the option running attack, allowing something like 1000 yards (actually, closer to 400, but you get the picture).  This year, they absolutely obliterate the Jackets, and reappear in the Top 10 for the first time since Coker was winning with Butch Davis' kids.  Put up the Hurricane warnings in Blacksburg.  That should be one heck of a game.

2) Why can't we be friends- Ugh.  Just when it looked like Meyer and Kiffin might be able to patch things up and move on, they can't.  Saturday's UF UT game ended up being a lot closer than most people thought, thanks in large part to a Tim Tebow fumble that led to a UT touchdown for a 14 point swing and a very good Volunteer defense.  In fact, if UT had some semblance of an offense, especially at the QB position, they would have been in a position to potentially win.  The main thing I noticed between this year's game and last year's is that unlike last year, UT did not quit, although the decision to keep running the ball down 17 late was confusing at best.  In fact, Meyer said to Kiffin during the hand shake that Kiffin's team "Played Hard," which is a nice compliment.  Both coaches handled themselves very well in the immediate post game as well.  But then over the course of the next day or two, Meyer, in an attempt to most likely quell Gator fan and alumni fears after expecting a "Slaughter in the Swamp" mentioned his team was suffering from the flu (which is something you don't make public and come off looking like you are using it as an excuse) and said that he was taking it easy on Tennessee late in the game, something you absolutely don't say (although, again, I believe it was related to the flu thing).  Well, this just opened the door for Lane to become a childish a-hole again, and needless to say, he took the bait and kicked that door wide open.  Meyer, next time don't say things that don't need to be said, and Kiffin, please just go away ... soon.  If you want to see swagger, look at the aforementioned Hurricanes.  What you are doing is instilling false bravado, and the only people it's fooling is YOUR fans and alumni.

3) Oops, we did it again- Way to go, University of Spoiled Children.  Last week, I had to defend both UF and Texas as SC fans were piling on us about our out of conference schedules and they should be ahead of us.  I had to remind these bozos that while yes, I would like to see both these teams play slightly better competition, the fact is that both Texas and UF's IN conference schedules are far superior, and they have to play in a little something called conference championship games.  And I reminded them of their annual Stanford they always pull.  They fired back about how the Pac-10 was 5-0 last year in bowl games, and while the 100% winning percentage is admirable, YOU SENT FIVE FREAKIN TEAMS TO BOWL GAMES.  By comparison, the ACC sent 10 and the Big 10 and SEC sent 8.  Now we always hear from these whiners about an east coast media bias, and there is.  Almost all of your major cities are on or east of the Mississippi River, duh.  But every year it seems USC is not properly punished for their annual choke job.  This year, falling down to number 12, hopefully they will be.

4) Cry me a river- Bama fans, please stop complaining about where you are in the polls and you should be number one.  Yes you beat Va Tech on a neutral field (who just might be 2-2 after this week and barely avoided being 1-2 right now).  Yes, UF and Texas looked less than impressive in games they were expected to do better in.  But you base this on what, looking impressive against a pathetic North Texas team???  Just go out and win your games and you will have your shot at the BCS title game.  In fact, the most impressive team not to lose a game right now just might be ... you got it.  The "U."

5) Sparty comes up short- Arrrrgggghhhh!!!  I thought Michigan State was going to win it driving late in the game and officially start the Charlie Weis death watch, but alas the football gods tease me and give Notre Dame a pick to seal it.  Now I still have to sweat out the Irish making a BCS bowl game and being slaughtered by a team they are clearly overmatched by.

6) One thing I'm not looking ahead to- Is the Detriot Washington suck fest on Sunday.  I actually had to swallow poison and ended up picking the Lions in all of my pick 'ems because they are the home team and in my book, have actually looked better than the Redskins so far this year in their two losses.

7) "Pack" attack- Ugh.  I'm dead in both of my dead pools thanks to the Green Bay Packers.  All preseason all anybody talked about was how good they looked, especially on offense.  Two games into the season, they had to have Jay Cutler hand them their only win, and lost convincingly against a Bengals team where Palmer was attempting for a while to do the same thing.  I don't know who I'm goin to root for when they play Minnesota.  Goes to show preseason means nothing.

8) Tony "Ronoooooooooooo"- This guy will never be an elite quarterback in the NFL, I'm sorry.  And notice, I said elite.  He is a good quaterback.  He is one that has the tools to win you some games and take you to the playoffs most years.  But he will never, ever be one that will get you over the top and win rings for you.  For one thing, it's obvious he doesn't have the work ethic necessary to put in the time to improve himself and become an elite QB.  In fact, if you gave me a choice of NFC East QB's to start a franchise with, Tony Romo would be a distant third, and you can guess who he's in fornt of.

9) Getting close- Pretty soon, the MLB playoffs will be upon us, as will another thing, hockey season!!!  I love the sport of hockey and encourage everyone if they can to just attend one game live to see if you get hooked.  The sport just does not translate well to TV, which is a shame.  I'm hoping my Lightning will be able to win some more games this year as it looks like they'll be able to throw a better set of defensemen on the ice.  Don't think they'll make the playoffs, but hopefully they surprise me.

10) Weekly look ahead- Let's see if I can nail this like last week.  Give me Miami Va Tech as the only game in college to see who has the early hands up in the ACC, and for the professionals, let me see Atlanta and New England, to see if the Patriots can rebound, or, if as I have it, instead if the Falcons are for real.  All in all, not a very good week, and not many baseball races to make MLB interesting.  Oh well.

Oops, forgot to hit on the Mountain West being done after BYU and Utah losing.  Basically my point was going to be that the Mountain West overall is still a quality conference, but they will not be sending any teams to Pasadena this year.  Go Horned Frogs!  And how do you take a team like FSU lightly?  Sorry, Cougars, but that's what you did.  Got too full of yourselves after your big win over Oklahoma and saw the Seminoles limping in after barely beating Jacksonville State, and got smacked around in your home stadium for your efforts.  Your consolation T-Shirts are at the door.
Posted on: September 8, 2009 6:44 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2009 10:12 am
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of September 8th

It's BAAAAACK!!!!  My friends, I welcome you to the proud and triumphant return of 10 things I learned this week, one person's slightly biased (hey, we all have them) review of the week that was in sports.  I do try to remain as objective as possible with these, but sometimes you'll see my Gator or SEC love shine through.  I'll be upfront that my favorite sports are by far football (college and pro) followed by hockey (pro) and then college basketball.  As such, my blog will be heavily skewed towards these sports while they are in season (assuming I'm not forced to quit before the Super Bowl like last year).  I will mix in pro basketball and baseball on occasion, but as I am not as heavily versed in these sports, don't expect too much from me.  For those of you who didn't catch it when I was running it last year, on Tuesdays (or if I miss Tuesday, I shall limit it as though I am talking on Tuesday), I shall put up 10 things that I feel I have a strong opinion about from the goings on of the previous week in sports.  Readship is encouraged, comments even more so. Well, here goes me diving back into the pool.  Enjoy...

1) Early season kinks- One game from college that pointed out the glaring difference between pro and college ball was the South Carolina vs. NC State game on Thursday.  That huge difference?  PRESEASON!!  Both teams could have used a game or two against live competition, in a HIGHLY mistake filled game by both teams resulting in a 7-3 final.  Now, I won't put up an arguement against people who say the NFL preseason is too long (it is), but I will fight tooth and nail against those who say it's unnecessary.  Not only to you have to determine exactly who your 53 best players are, but it cuts down on this.

2) Will the Pac-10 be USC and everybody else again?- Cal will hopefully provide them some competition, but one of the teams that was SUPPOSED to give them issues didn't even DESERVE to be on the smurf turf on Thursday against Boise State.  Folks, don't let the final score fool you.  If Boise State hadn't fumbled 100 times, losing about half of them, Oregon would have been CRUSHED.  I stayed up to watch that whole game, but it was a huge disappointment.  And, taking nothing away from Boise State, but had that been a competent team they were playing against, they would have been punished for those miscues (see: Ole Miss at Florida September 2008).

3) Grohing pains- Did I really just see Virginia, a January Bowl team from two years ago LOSE to William and Mary?  As in FCS (Div 1-AA for those of you still stuck two years ago) William and Mary?  If Al wasn't on the hot seat to begin with, his butt cheeks are firmly planted there now, and it might take pretty much winning out to remove them.  Of course, they weren't the only team that struggled against FCS competition.  Duke lost as well, and Iowa, a top 25 team, was lucky to escape against Northern Iowa.  And there was a board poster who suggested Iowa would remain a Top 25 team after that because "I've never seen a team get knocked out of the Top 25 for winning."  My response was, "Hello.  For a 21-25 ranked team after week 1?  Not only do I guarantee it has happened numerous times before, but that it will happen numerous times again, starting with Iowa."  Hmmm, guess who was right.

4) UGAly offensive performance- Well Bulldog fans, now you KNOW just how much the loss of Matt Stafford and Knowshon Moreno is going to hurt you.  But in spite of this, I was amazed at the lack of respect being shown to the Oklahoma State Cowboys (by posters, not pollsters for a change).  Look, I don't care how you win a game, if you win a big game, you win a big game.  And deserve all the kudos thereof afterwards.  So, "How 'Bout them Cowboys?!"  And Dez Bryant is a stud.  I think he'll be the next Calvin Johnson.

5) Stormin' Mormons overrun Norman south- Impressive, impressive win by BYU.  And let me be the first to say that it sucks that Sam Bradford will be down 2-4 weeks rehabbing his shoulder.  You never want to lose a player of his caliber, even as a college football fan in general.  The thing I took out of this game, however, was just how good OU's offensive line was LAST YEAR, and I'm absolutely shocked by how much they seem to miss the four starters they lost along that front.  Honestly, even with Bradford all year long, I don't think this offense would have thrown up NEARLY the numbers this year compared to last.  And OU fans, please DO NOT say you would have won with Bradford in the game.  It was 7-7 when he went down (and you could have been losing had BYU not had a case of fumbleitis), it was 10-7 your favor at halftime, you were up 13-7 very late in the game, and you were attempting a game winning FG at the end.  You had every chance to win this game, still.  Take your loss and hope you run the table and hope everybody in front of you loses.  Lord knows it's happened the last two years.

6) BCS Championship game buster- With BYU's win and astounding jump to 9th in the AP poll, could this set up for a Mountain West team not just making the BCS, but making Pasadena on Jan. 7th?  I have to say, a resounding maybe.  One of the things holding "mid majors" back was the ridiculous pratice of preseason polls, but the AP made up for that in one fell swoop with an 11 spot jump.  Personally, I think the first poll should come out after week 4.  By then, you have a pretty accurate gauge of where teams really stand.  BYU still has games against FSU (tarnished a little by their loss last night), TCU, and Utah.  As long as TCU and Utah win the games they are supposed to, and as long as there are not 2 BCS conference teams that are undefeated, I think BYU should be there.  And actually I think it would be better if there were 2 undefeated teams besides the Cougars, because it would make the Mountain West's "Why not us?" arguement stronger and we might take one step closer to actually deciding a champion on the field.  As for those BCS fruitcakes like John Saunders of ESPN who spew out the arguement that every week is a playoff and that not having it will diminish the regular season, see my comments on number five about OU and tell me they're not true.  Fact is, they KNOW they're not totally out of it yet.

7) Kickoff "Classic"- Let me be one of the ones to say the game for the most part lived up to it's name.  It was a great back and forth game against two good teams with good defenses.  And way to go Tide defending the SEC's honor.  Unfortunately for the SEC this year, all the strength is obviously in the West.

8) Restoring "The 'U'"- Big win for Miami last night in what was a very exciting keep you on the edge of your seat games.  I was a little surprised by the lack of defense.  Last year, Miami hung with UF for 2 1/2 quarters based on their D, which looked young and hungry.  I didn't see that D last night.  One of my Seminole friends got mad at me for suggesting UM should have won by a TD, or maybe a little more.  If you can fault the Canes for anything last night, it was the horrible play calling on the first and goal from the 3 when it was 23-14 where they ended up kicking a FG and the failure to recognize where Reed was on the field on the last kickoff.  You have to, have to account for that type of player on special teams and recognize that he was up front, so kick it long.  Kudos to the FSU special team staff for noticing what UM was doing, and adjusting for it.  And to Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge, who I thought called a good game, get off the FSU kicker's back.  He did not cost them that game by missing the PAT.  You could say that if it happened at the end of the game, or had FSU not been able to score any touchdowns afterward, but FSU went for and made a 2 point conversion afterward.  And had he made the PAT, FSU would have kicked the PAT after the following touchdown.  So the situation was that FSU would be down 4 anyway, or down 6.  In either case, they would have needed that last TD.  What a leg on that kid.  Actually, what cost them the game was their horrible clock management at the end.  That, also, CANNOT happen.

9) A baseball thought- I am finally conviced that the Tampa Bay area doesn't deserve the Rays or baseball period for that matter.  If the Rays were having the year they are having ANY OTHER year, we'd be beside ourselves, but no, we're a bunch of spoiled brats for having won the ALCS last year.  And the media here is just atrocious and are making a bad situation worse (as they always do, see: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jon Gruden).  Just as a curious side note, for most of the year, the Rays would have been leading at least two other divisions in baseball (of course, it's zero now), and how sick are the Yankees that they are SIXTEEN AND A HALF games up on a team that is six over .500.  I can't stand the Yankees, but you HAVE to give them their kudos.  This might be the year A Rod finally wins a world series.

10) Weekly look ahead- The games I will be looking forward to are the Steelers/Titans to kick off the NFL season, Miami/Atlanta to see if both teams can keep the momentum from last year going, the Packers/Bears, and in college, Michigan/Notre Dame to see just how far the Domers have come along, South Carolina/Georgia to see which one of them seems destined for a long year, and to see if Melanie Oudin can continue her run in the U.S. Open.  Talk about a never quit attitude and a spunky spirit.  The Williams sisters won't play forever, and we don't have a male player worth anything noteworthy, so hopefully this kid will continue to develope and give us a reason to watch tennis as a sport.  I couldn't turn off her match yesterday. 
Posted on: January 7, 2009 10:28 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2009 8:25 pm
 

10 Things I learned the week of Jan. 5th

I'm a little under the weather and under the gun this week, so I'm only doing a half dose.  Update: Now that I'm feeling better, and over my celebratory hangover from Thursday night (Go Gators!!!), I'm expanding this week's installment back to 10.  There were other things I definitely wanted to hit on.  I considered doing part 2 of this week under next week's entry, but decided instead to finish it, and just post a link next week back to this one.

1) Just exactly how good is the Big 12 Conference - A strange thought entered my head during the Fiesta Bowl in the final moments before Ohio State's defensive coordinator suffered a mental lapse of epic proportions.  Had Ohio State held on to that game, the Big 12 conference would have been 3-3 going into the BCS Championship game.  The real funny thing would have been, though, that all three wins would have come from teams in the north, which was the inferior division this year.  Now while these games have no bearing on the title game and the better team should win, it makes me question just how strong the "strongest" conference was this year.  Update:  I think the answer to this question is now clearly a resounding, "Not as strong as everybody (including myself) thought they were!"  Still doesn't change the fact that they were the best conference this year (or that the SEC had a down year despite 6-2), but sheesh!

2) Could Mack Brown and Pete Carroll please STFU - Oh my god!!!!  Are these two coaches clueless.  Hey Mack, there's no way that IMPRESSIVE victory on THE LAST PLAY over a tOSU team you were SUPPOSED to destroy is going to convince voters in the AP to vote Texas number 1.  In fact, they might be lucky to be voted number 4 behind the winner of the title game, Utah, and USC.  When you say there will be a split title come Friday, that may be, but it won't be the Longhorns splitting it, genius.  Now, on to Carroll, who's team might get some first place votes.  You come out and say "Nobody can beat this USC team"?  Not, I think this team is the best in the country?  Not, nobody's playing better right now than we are?  Guess what.  Somebody DID beat this USC team, which is why they were playing in the ROSE BOWL.  You might have remembered them.  They were called Oregon State.  Honestly, if there is a split title on Friday (doubt it, especially if Florida wins since they are already number 1 in that poll), the team with the best case is Utah.  Afterall, they are the only undefeated team in all of the FBS.

3) My Predictions are going south - I don't want to look at what my bowl record is, and my NFL predictions were 1-3 after amazingly 2 home teams won (and not the one I picked to do so, sorry Yo) despite all 4 road teams being favored.  Honestly, the most suprising was San Diego over Indy (and Jay Cutler, please come on down for your dose of STFU).  Honestly, if it wasn't for the Chargers mistakes, Indy wouldn't have even been in that game.  Just goes to show that the any given Sunday rule applies even to the playoffs.  Since I picked all four home teams this round anyway, I won't bother repicking (since they should {hopefully} win).

4) The forgotten third team - I'm surprised by all the OU and UF fans who think this game will be a blowout, with their team reaching potentially the 60's in scoring.  I just don't see it.  I see it being a close game with both teams in the thirties (for a total in the sixties).  First off, I'm tired of UF and OU fans defending thier team/conference by using the "Big 12 plays no defense" and "The SEC has no offense" lines.  Simply put, OU will be the best offense that UF will play this year, and UF will be the best defense OU will play this year, and anybody not accepting this is just refusing to take off their homer glasses.  But if my predicition is correct of it being a close, potentially lower scoring game, then special teams could play a huge role, and this is where UF has a clear advantage and will hopefully cash in big time.  People tend to easily overlook it, but special teams can put up huge hidden numbers.  With all they're great returns and punt blocks, how many times did the Gators have a short field this year?  Not only does starting from the 50+ greatly increase your chances of a TD, but it's hard to rack up huge offensive numbers when you do so 25% of the time.  The only way OU is likely to operate on a short field is if they force turnovers, something they are very good at doing, but UF is very good at avoiding.  Now maybe this won't be a factor in the game, and maybe OU wins anyway, but I feel this will lead to ...

5) BuccinGator's BCS Championship Game Prediction - UF 37 OU 31

6) Geaux LSU - Wow, I did not see that beat down coming on Dec. 31st.  In fact, to my embarassment, I had it completely the other way.  After watching Georgia Tech just manhandle Miami and Georgia, getting something like 400+ yards rushing in EACH GAME, I thought LSU would be completely overmatched, especially since they struggled defensively this year.  This, and I felt Georgia Tech was the best team in the ACC (guess it really was Virginia Tech.  By the way, is there a conference that is stronger in the middle but weaker at the top than the ACC?  Simply put, no).  Well, I'll happily eat my crow on this one.  Part of the problem is I used cyclical logic on this one, which I should know better than to do.  I figured since GT destroyed Georgia, and Georgia destroyed LSU ... well you see where that went.  It's the same logic that most year's will allow you do say that a FCS school should be national champs (because they beat team W that beat team X that beat team Y that beat team Z that beat the national champs).  Ugh.

7) Utes in (and display some) good hands at Allstate Sugar Bowl - What a great game for Utah.  I think Alabama was surprised by the speed and tenacity that Utah displayed.  Alabama did show some guts in cutting it from 21-0 to 21-17 in the second half, but honestly, the only time Bama was really close in that game was the opening coin toss.  To some degree, this was caused by Utah realizing that this game was their Super Bowl.  With as good as the Mountain West was this year, maybe next year Utah and/or TCU will start off high enough in the polls that they will have a legitimate shot at Pasadena next year.  The rest of this might have been caused by ...

8) Andre the Giant Mistake - Where the heck was this kid's head?  Talking to an agent BEFORE he plays his final game?  I think he was a senior (Bamaman, feel free to add a comment and correct me if I'm wrong), which means he won't be in the Senior Bowl, either.  Now while he has the talent where he'll still be a first rounder, this didn't help him at all.  More over, it hurt his team, big time.  You can't do anything this blatantly silly, especially right before a major bowl game.  Way to go, Smith!

9) Rebeling against the Raiders - What a game put in by Ole Miss (Arkansas fans ... again, you wanted Petrino over Nutt?  I'm going to keep hammering this until it sinks in.  Not only is Nutt a better coach, but Petrino is a certifiable TRAITOR.  You'll learn the hard way soon enough when he realizes the SEC is over his head, just like the NFL was).  I had this game as being much closer than most people thought, and the Rebs did not disappoint.  I was telling everyone who would listen (SEC fans {especially Georgia fans}, Big 12 fans {especially Texas Tech fans}, and Big 10 fans {especially Iowa fans, because I wanted to see them here in Tampa}) that Ole Miss was the third best team in the SEC this year, and they went out and proved it on the field.  Jevan Sneed will be a stud.  In a down year for SEC QB play, he was a bright spot.

10) Matt Ryan will be a great QB, but don't crown him yet - There was talk about the midway point of the NFL season of considering Matt Ryan for NFL MVP.  I quickly pointed out on a thread that such talk was ridiculous and WAY too early, but he was a deserving offensive ROY (although I told people then not to forget about Forte.  I had Ryan winning it back then, be he was CLEARLY deserving after the season).  The point here, though, maybe Michael Turner was more worthy of MVP talk.  After all, in the games where I saw him get shut down (the first Panthers and Buccaneers games for ATL), Matt Ryan looked VERY MUCH like a lost rookie.  HUGE kudos to the Arizona Cardinals for doing the same thing and getting the same result. 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com