Tag:BCS
Posted on: January 2, 2011 9:02 pm
 

A Major Announcement By BuccinGator

Today, I mourn the death of my long time avatar of Big Game Boob Stoops and his epic losses in BCS bowl games.  As a blind squirrel occasionally plays UCONN in football instead of basketball finds an acorn, his team put up an epic beatdown in the Fiesta Bowl last night which led to my decision to permanently retire my long time avi.  Helping ease the pain is my new avi of Bucs rookie receiver Mike Williams who should get some consideration for rookie of the year, especially if Bradford falls on his face tonight.  I have a feeling that my new avi of his leaping catch in today's game against the Saints will proudly serve me for just as long, if not longer than my favorite college football whipping post other than anything to do with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.  In all seriousness, what an unexpectantly exciting year for the Buccaneers and their young football team.  They have laid the foundation for many great years to come, and Josh Freeman appears to be a true stud.  Instead of a sophomore slump, he led a very young team to a 10-6 record while throwing TWENTY FIVE touchdowns versus only 6 picks.  For those of you stumbling by here via title or tag that grabbed your attention, I am running a blogoff of the Worst Song Ever.  We are down to the Sour 16 and heading for the Earbleeding 8.  For those who haven't voted, your participation is welcome.  You can click here: http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
entry/10264446/26369761
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 25, 2009 12:05 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2009 12:36 am
 

10 Things I learned the Week of Oct. 19th

Sorry I'm getting this up very, very late.  Busy week in my personal life.  As always, when I am late like this, I will limit it as though I am posting on Tuesday.  I will not have a look ahead point as most of the things I am looking forward to have already happened.  As we near the half way point in the NFL, after week 9 I make my official NFL playoff predicitions.  Unlike others, I do very well with these as I wait until HALF OF THE SEASON IS PLAYED.  Last year, because of this, I had Miami and Atlanta in the playoffs, unlike all of those publications that try to predict what's going to happen before the season.  Also, I dedicate this week's edition in Memory of Jasper Howard and to the Unversity of Connecticut football program.  How some of those kids were even able to play yesterday.  And major Kudos to the University of West Virginia as well, for all they did yesterday.  Well, on to the blog.

1) The good, the bad, and the ugly- You can just hear the music, can't you?  This my friends, refers to the three critical calls in last week's UF Arkansas game that went against the Razorbacks.  And I realize as a Gator fan, you might not take much stock in what I will tell you, but if you look at it realistically, you'll realize it's the truth.  Now I purposefully avoided the boards after the game because I knew it'd be infested in Gator haters saying Arkansas got jobbed and the fix was in.  Again, blaming things on the refs is loser speak, even when they make bad calls (in which case they made two [not three], one of which is never consitantly called and in the case of the one in question, almost never called, more on this shortly), they almost NEVER directly influence the outcome of the game.  Arkansas had EVERY chance to win that game in spite of the for real and perceived bad calls, and honestly the Gators were VERY lucky to win.  It's not often you turn over the ball four times and are still in the game.  But back to the refs, I've only seen TWO times in my LIFE where the refs have indeed cost the team a game, the Oregon Oklahoma game a few years back and the Colorado 5th down game in 1990.  Even in the Ed Hochuli debacle in San Diego Denver last year, a call that more directly affected the game than anything in UF Arkansas, people forget that after the play, it was 4th and goal from the 13.  San Diego only had to make ONE MORE PLAY, and they couldn't do it.  A bunch of my friends gave me, "Yeah, but San Diego was deflated, they thought the game was over, etc."  Look, how many times to you see a 4th and 13 converted in the NFL?  Not very often.  Folks, in the end, the result of the game comes down to which teams made the plays and which teams didn't.  Now, let's look at the three plays in question.  First the good.  The pass interference on Arkansas in the endzone against Deonte Thompson.  Now I know a lot of people, especially in the media are going, look, what is the kid supposed to do.  Then that means maybe the rule has to be looked at.  But in this case, Thompson was absolutely impeded from coming back for a catchable ball.  IN FACT, it was Tebow's poor throw that caused the PI situation, and how many times do you see that happen?  I'd say AT LEAST half of PI's occur when the ball is thrown somewhere it's not supposed to be.  But look, that flag gets thrown 100% of the time in the NFL where there is faceguarding, and 80-85% of the time in college where there is no face gaurding.  Want to reduce your chance of being flagged?  At least turn around and/or make a play on the ball.  In this case, the defender did neither.  Now for the bad.  This would be the Riley Cooper PI in the end zone that wasn't called.  Could it have been called, absolutely, and I wouldn't have been upset.  But, if we are being honest with ourselves here, how many times do you see that called?  Maybe 20% of the time?  Receivers always get the benefit of the doubt as they are always looking for the ball and making a play on the ball.  Usually the only time you see offensive pass interference called is during a pick(not an interception, BTW, a pick as in two people crossing and one purposefully rubbing off a defender), or the the receiver extends his arms to get clear separation.  That's why you maybe see one a game.  Again, get mad with the rule or the enforcement thereof, but yes, this could have been called.  Now for the ugly, and the call that got the crew reprimanded.  The personal foul on the Arkansas D-Lineman WHILE the play was still happening was atrocious and inexcusible.  If there was one call that cannot be questioned or defended in any way it was that one.  But again, it comes down to teams making plays, and on the subsequent touchdown run by Demps, he was going to score if he was 30 yards out instead of 10, so don't blame the inexcusible call on the ref as to WHY the Gators scored.  Then it got worse as the SEC suspended the crew in question, and everybody again came out of the woodwork to use this as validation as to the two judgement calls (the PI's) in question were also wrong and the Razorbacks were thoroughly jobbed.  Well, as I already explained, only one of the judgement calls was bad, and almsot never called, but folks, this was the SAME CREW that called the UGA LSU game with the phantom celebration call and the even worse makeup call.  And I'm sure there were other mistakes in not such high profile games.  They were suspended for their overall body of work, including the personal foul call in this game.  Okay, I'll get off my soap box now.

2) Just to get right back on it- This time I'll be railing on the coaching staff of my beloved Buccaneers.  I was in attendance for the debacle on Sunday, where after tying the game on a Fake Delhomme pick, the Bucs kick off to the Panthers with about 8:30 left in the game.  At this point, all of the momentum is with the Bucs.  But, after annoucing to the world that they were going to run the ball on every play, the Bucs still did not stop it.  On the one or two plays they did get D Line penetration they couldn't tackle, but more often than not, first contact occured FIVE YARDS down field.  After the game, coach Ra basically blamed it on a tired D using the excuses of the kickoff return for a TD and pick six as reasons why they were out there so much.  No coach, here's what the problem was, and it was blatantly obvious to all of the people I talked to who even watched it on TV, and should show up in the film.  ZERO, and I mean ZERO adjustments by you and Bates and the defensive staff on that last drive.  The whole time, THERE WAS NOT PLAY ONE WHERE THE BUCS HAD EIGHT OR NINE IN THE BOX.  Both safeties played back, the LB's weren't adjusted, and the result is a TD that takes seven minutes off the clock.  THIS COACHING STAFF IS IN WAAAAAAAAY OVER THEIR HEADS, and is exactly what these so called Bucs fans deserve, unfortunately.  And can we stop with the shiny happy BS on the Bucs radio post game show?  Take the positives out of the game??  What positives?  This team is absolutely abismal at 0-6.  Stylez G. White getting his first sack?  Oh, happy, happy, joy, joy!  Yeah, because he and the rest of the line were getting SUCH consitant pressure the whole game.  The only POSITIVE I took out of the game was Aqib Talib, who for the second week had his man on lockdown.  Oh, and I am POSITIVE that Josh Freeman needs to be starting sooner rather than later.  And could coach Ra please shut up around the media?  Every time he talks to them, he says something really stupid, usually calling out players.  Coach, that needs to be done behind closed doors.

3) Red River TO fest- Don't get me wrong, it was still a good game, and very much along the lines of the close defensive game I expected, but EIGHT turnovers in the game just kind of kills the pacing.  Still, great job by the Longhorns, although I'm sure there were Pac-10 fans in here complaining about how boring it was.

4) A look at the first BCS poll- You know, as much as I can't stand the BCS, the first poll did get one thing right.  It rewarded teams that were undefeated, and put the Trojans in their 7th place spot (that loss to UW is looking worse and worse by the week, BTW).  And what is up with the AP poll?  Can somebody PLEASE explain to me WHY oh WHY oh WHY is a THREE LOSS OU team still in the top 25?  Yes, they lost their 3 games against decent competition by a combined five points, but are there REALLY teams out there that aren't more deserving?  There has to be at least 25 zero, one, and two loss teams, right?

5) Who dat, who dat, who dat say they going to beat dem Saints- Wow, what a beat down put on by the Saints against the Giants this week.  The Saints were in control for the entire game and made a huge statement to the rest of the NFL.  I hate to give them props (mostly due to their fans), but in this case, a dominant win is a dominant win, against a pretty good team none the less.

6) Will the real Texans and Bengals please stand up- It's been hard in my Pick 'Em pools to figure out these two teams.  I've only picked one Bengals game right all year.  And the Texans.  I just can't get a read on this team.  It's one thing to be a mediocre team.  It's another thing to have a mediocre record because one week you look like world beaters and the next like a college team.

7) Vikings, Broncos stay undefeated- And what a way for the Vikings having another late Brett Farve comeback and then having to hold your breath as the Ravens miss a kick.  This D allowing 31 points to the Ravens is scary, though, and cause for concern.  And remember when people thought Josh Daniels was the young rookie coach in way over his head???  Nope, we have that guy down here in Tampa.

8) Wreck rambles over Tech- In on of the big college football matches this week, Ga Tech ran roughshot over Va Tech using their triple option to perfection in a huge 28-23 win.  The Hokies just seemed unable to make the adjustments to slow down Nesbitt and Dwyer.  That was a huge statement game for the Jackets and one that just might get them to Tampa on Dec. 5th and Miami on Jan. 5th.

9) Other NCAA football musings- Just some quick hits on the other NCAA games I said I was looking forward to: Alabama dominated South Carolina a lot more than what showed on the scoreboard, Doyle's Heisman frontrunner was (thankfully) not able to get it done in crunch time against the other SC, and the black shirts were able to slow down the Texas Tech offense, but not nearly enough to cover for their struggling offense.

10) The NBA, it's Fan-tastic- Well, not really, at least not for me.  It does start for real, though, so I will look to mix some hoops talk in from time to time.  I'm much more of a fan of the college game.  Somewhat follow the Magic just because they are the closest team.  They seem to be set up for another division title and maybe another long run in the playoffs.  Actually, last year I was playing a little game to see how many coaches got fired during the season.  The NBA is the king of midseason turnover.  Actually, bringing this up makes me surprised that as of yet, no NFL coach has gotten the axe yet.
Posted on: October 13, 2009 7:58 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2009 5:44 pm
 

10 (plus 3) Things I Learned the Week of Oct.12th

With Halloween fast approaching, this week, I give you, my loyal fans, the treat of a baker's dozen of topics that enlightened me in the sports world this week.  Usually, I keep these to 10, so as not to get too verbose, but certain weeks (I had one last year around Thanksgiving), no matter how hard I try and combine up my points, 10 just isn't enough.  And looking ahead to next week's slate of games, it might very well happen again.  The remote will be smokin' this weekend.

1) Huskers shuck Mizzou- In a game played under a heavy downpour, Nebraska could have easily packed it in going into the fourth quarter down 12-0, but instead amped up the D and used two picks to help Zac Lee throw 3 touchdown passes in the fourth quarter en route to ringing up 27 unanswered (missed a 2 pt. conversion) and a huge 27-12 victory over Big 12 north rivals Missouri.  Now the game later this year against Kansas looms big time and could determine who goes into Cowboys stadium on Dec. 5th.

2) Badgers/Tigers not yet ready for primetime- No, I'm not talking about the good ol' days of SNL, I'm talking about the current season of Saturday college football.  Two teams that were struggling for early respect despite being undefeated went down on Saturday afternoon.  I knew that Auburn's defense was inconsitent at best and Arkansas could score, but the fact that Auburn's offense took until the second half to show up, and by then it was already far too late, was a huge surprise.  As for Wisconsin, if you look at the pure stats, you'd think that they won the game, but they did just enough not only to keep tOSU in it, but win it convincingly.  You'd think there was no way since tOSU's offense had less than 200 yards, but there was all kinds of hidden return yardage for both the tOSU defense and special teams.  In fact, they accounted for three touchdowns for the Buckeyes.  Further proof that stats can lie.  The showdown in the Horseshoe on Nov. 14th looks huge now, and will likely decide who plays in Pasadena (no, not on the 7th).

3) Where's Johnathan Crompton and what have you done with him?- Look, I've already been on UGA's offense this year, looking basically lost losing Stafford and Moreno from last year, but I thought it was an absolute physical IMPOSSIBILITY for ANYBODY to make Johnathan Crompton look like the second coming of Peyton Manning.  Afterall, I forget if it was going into this game or the Auburn game last week, but here was a QB who's coach had ZERO faith in him as reflected by the offensive play calling, and had thrown 8 TD's and NINE PICKS on the season.  If I was Mark Richt, who I love as a coach, I'd want to hide after that defensive showing.  I do love ANYTHING that humiliates the Bulldog program, though, even if it is seeing Lane get his first SEC win.  Wonder if he was up all night Saturday singing "Rocky Top?"

4) Some "Snead" remarks about Jevan- Ugh!  So much for all that talk about Heisman darkhorse and number 1 overall draft pick.  This kid looks absolutely lost this season.  And his frustration is showing more and more every game.  Now, as much as I'd like to hang it all around his neck, okay, so not really, but a lot of the media and Ole Miss fans do, it's simply not ALL his fault.  First off, he needs some people around him to start to step up and make some plays.  But most of all, AT LEAST half of his problems I hang firmly around the necks of his offensive linemen.  Todd McShay ran a good piece on ESPN's College Gameday showing two clips from the South Carolina game.  On the first clip, South Carolina rushed TWO, count 'em, TWO people on the play, and Snead was still sacked.  That's unforgivable.  And so what does Houston Nutt do in response to this?  Well, since we can't block two with five, we'll keep BOTH running backs in for extra protection.  The result of this play?  South Carolina rushes three people against the seven, and while Snead had plenty of time, he has THREE receivers going up against EIGHT men in coverage!  Do you think anybody was open?  Nope, didn't think so.  So say what you will about the kid buying into his own hype, whatever, but there are some serious issues with one of the media darlings who was supposed to contend with Alabama for the SEC West this year.

5) Hold that Tiger- Really.  Did the experts not see this one coming?  Well, seeing as how Darst was the only one on this website to pick the Gators, and Kirk Herbstreit was the only one on Gameday to call it (more on this in a bit), even getting ribbed by Corso, obviously not.  Everybody was so wrapped up in the Tebow/No Tebow/Will he play/Won't he play (more on this next point) what effect will it have on the Gators that they somehow forgot that the Gators sported going into the game, the NUMBER 1 DEFENSE in the nation and the NUMBER 1 running game in the nation.  These remain whether Tebow or Brantley is under center.  Overall, a brilliant game plan by Urban Meyer to get a tough SEC road victory.  Florida was ABSOLUTELY DOMINANT of both sides of the line of scrimmage.  It's one thing to let your opponent know you're going to run dive plays 80% of the time early on.  To still do it and do it effectively against a team with the athletes on defense that the LSU Tigers possess is another.  And kudos to Herbstreit, for not only pointing out that Tebow will play (according to Herbstreit, he thought Tebow would play great.  I thought he played well, and as good as could be expected due to the concussion), but calling out the Gator defense, specifically Carlos Dunlap and Brandon Spikes and predicting they would play great and carry the Gators to the win.  While Dunlap played well, Spikes was a man amongst boys, and word came out that Herbstreit's comments made their way to the Tim Tebow of the Gators D, and he used it as motivation.  In fact, Meyer came out today and said if anybody else in the media wants to make similar comments about Tebow or Riley Cooper, to be his guest.  And to all the people (in particular Pac-10 fans who have absolutely no grounds to stand on whatsoever) who were calling this a boring game and the SEC overrated, this was good clean defensive, ram the ball down your throat and you can't stop us football.  And, it was the perfect gameplan for the situation.  If you don't believe that, just ask the previous 32 Saturday night opponents of LSU in death valley and ask them what their result was.  Offense is sexy, sells tickets, and can win you games, but defense wins championships.  PERIOD.  PERIOD.  PERIOD.  If you don't believe it, look up who's won the last three BCS National Titles and will likely be favored to do so a fourth time. 

6) I'm not a neuropathologist, but I'll darn sure play one in the newspaper/internet- Can the media stop already with the ridiculous pre-guessing and second guessing involved with Tebow playing the LSU game?  I'm sorry, Greg Doyle and William Rhoden, but I'll darn sure take the UF medical staff's opinion over yours any day.  I guess your journalism degrees somehow came with a minor in sports medicine.  I mentioned after the Kentucky game that it wasn't going to be Urban Meyer or Tim Tebow who decided on whether Tebow would be able to play, it would be the doctors.  None of the ridiculous speculation by these Web MD's changed that.  And honestly, with the D and running game, I believe that UF wins the game with John Brantley, so why risk it if he's not 100%.  I think the fact Tebow was on the field meant that he was (although obviously the playbook was scaled back a bit.  Sure didn't seem to shy away from contact, though, did he?).  Oh, and guess what?  Tate Forcier of Michigan has a concussion and has already been stated he will start if cleared.  Where's the outcry against Rich Rodriguez and Forcier should not play articles?

7) Horns Hooked in AP- Had to calm down a bunch of Longhorn fans this week who got their panties in a bunch because Alabama overtook them at number 2 in the AP poll.  First off, in the two human polls that are used in the BCS formula, Texas is still number 2.  Secondly, should the big three keep winning out, there's this little game in Atlanta on Dec. 5th that either Alabama or Florida will have to lose, so even at number three, keep taking care of your own business, and everything will work itself out.  Honestly, I'm not impressed by the fact that Texas seemingly has to throw the switch in the second half every week.  And if you don't think Florida and Alabama are the two best teams right now, we'll show you on Dec. 5th and again on Jan. 7th, IMHO (of course, one of them can lose before then, and I'll look pretty stupid.  I'll take my chances right now, though).  However, worrying about these things on Oct. 11th when any/all (we already know at least one will have to) of them can still lose is pointless.

8) DolphinMania runs wild(cat) on the Jets- Wow, what a game last night.  Another classic MNF in the rivalry between these two teams.  Honestly, I was a bit surprised that with defenses on both teams I would consider to be in the top half of the NFL, that neither team seemed to really be able to stop the other.  In the end, though, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski seemed to be the only ones outside the Dolphins offense who realized that on 3rd and goal from the three, with ten seconds left AND A TIMEOUT, that Miami just might run the ball.  As they both astutely pointed out, you get stopped, you call the TO and go for it on fourth down.

9) The best and worst of the NFL so far- Can you believe that the two best teams in the NFL right now might have met in week one, with one taking a miracle play to beat the other in the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals?  Honestly, you look at all the undefeated teams, and nobody's played anybody except for these two, and they are still winning (yes, obviously the Bengals have the one loss).  On the flip side, I believe the Rams are the worst team, but if I had to pick a team to go winless this season, the team with the best chance based on their schedules is my Bucs.  And somebody PLEASE explain to me how a team has a QB go 2 for 17 passing and still wins the game?  And why is JaMarcus Russell still a starting QB in this league?  Just how many wasted first rounders are the Raiders going to have (that DHB pick looks awesome right now)?  Couldn't happen to a more hapless, senile owner.

10) Some NHL thoughts- Well, the Lightning pulled off the 4 point minimum I wanted last week (although not the way I expected) going 1-0-2, then picked up a huge win against the Panthers last night.  Right now, they are currently in first place in their division and have more points than the Redwings.  The Bolts D is playing better as of late.  The fact that this team still remains unable to score in shootouts, however, is bothersome at best.  The defending champion Penguins are off to a hot start amassing 10 points already.

11) A special look ahead to Thursday night's NCAA game- I usually don't take a whole point for a look ahead, but this week's Thursday night game is huge for the Big East.  Regardless of who wins, they need these two teams to put on a great show to bring some respect and interest back to the league, and I believe they'll do it.  It was mentioned during a recent Big East broadcast I was watching that the league needs Pitt to win to carry this league, but I just don't argee with it.  I think both Cincinnati and USF are perfectly capable of performing this function, and I think the winner of this game is likely to play in Miami on January 5th.  Of course, Pitt being undefeated in the conference is still not out of conversation, but I also think West Virginia, Louisville, and Rutgers when they play well, can all help this league.

12) Weekly look ahead- Wow, let's see.  In college, give me the aforementioned Bearcat Bulls game, the Red River shootout to see if OU's vastly improved D can carry their struggling (by their standards) O, Arkansas Florida to create a second common opponent for UF and Alabama to compare them better (I think UF had a better showing at Kentucky than Alabama did which somehow gets overlooked), Alabama South Carolina to see where these two teams really stack up, USC Notre Dame to see just how Doyle's number one QB in the land does against a real defense (a lot of people are picking the Irish in this game, which would be a huge blow to both the Pac-10 and my keep ND out of the BCS hopes), Nebraska Texas Tech to see if the black shirts can slow down the suddenly revamped and rerevved Red Raiders offense, and Virginia Tech Georgia Tech in what should be one of the better ACC matchups of the year.  If the Hokies dominate, look for them to enter the title picture if one of the big 3 slips up.  Like I said, the remote will be smoking.  For the pros, give me Carolina Tampa Bay sorry, I'll actually be in attendance for that debacle (although it could be worse, I could have tickets to KC Washington), the Giants Saints to see which nts team stays unbeaten, Vikings Ravens to see if Baltimore can recover from two straight tough losses, Bears Falcons to see which one of these teams is likely for real and wild card material, and finally Broncos Chargers to see if Denver can keep it going with a tough road game.  Good slate for the paid athletes as well.

13) MLB LDS look back and LCS predicitions- Well, I got three out of four right, although I had all of them going longer than what they did.  I knew Boston had some holes, but didn't expect them to get exposed that thoroughly by LA, especially since I thought playing in the AL East would toughen them up.  TBS lost a lot of money by all of the series ending so quick.  But that can happen in short series.  I know last year, Philly beat LA in the LCS, but I just think the Dodgers have too much for them this year.  Don't see it going less than 6, however (in fact, I'll call it Dodgers in 6), and as much as I hate to, I'll go Yankees in 5 setting up the LAD NYY series you know baseball is praying for for not only the east coast west coast thing, but also the Torre back to New York thing and Manny against the Yankees.
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: July 24, 2009 5:42 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2009 12:22 am
 

5 Things I Learned About the Media

Okay, I'll date myself.  Why not, I advertise it on my profile page anyway.  I'm 34 years old.  And I'm going to sound like an old man.  Because I am going to start off this blog entry with a "Back in my days" blast.  Back when I was in school, I never took a journalism class, but learned the basics of such during my many years in English classes.  I was taught that an article should answer a simple eight word phrase, "Who did what, where, when, why, and how."  Point being, the media should be REPORTING to us the news.  However, somewhere along the lines in the P.C. wussification of our society, somebody decided that it was the media's job to MAKE the news, instead of reporting it.  Here I'll give you some prime examples, focusing heavily on the "world wide leader" in sports.

1) All the news that's fit to "Do not Report" - How was it that the four letter network chose to blatantly ignore the whole Ben Roethlisberger story for FOURTY EIGHT FREAKIN HOURS, and compound it with a cover up that is worse than the crime itself?  Look, I'm all for giving Big Ben the benefit of the doubt.  I'm a firm believer in innocent until proven guilty.  In fact, from what I've heard of the case, I'm surprised the girl hasn't filed criminal charges not only to launch an investigation, but get a state prosecutor to subpeona the security tapes she's claiming to be denied access to in a coverup by her coworkers.  But that still does not change the fact that a legitimate civil lawsuit had been filed in the state of Nevada, which despite the housing downturn, the last I checked was still part of the USA.  This is not something you can simply turn a blind eye to.  Look, in the end, she might just be somebody who is just seeking attention and/or money, but that is not something for you, ESPN, to decide.  Of course, it came out that ESPN had issued a "do not report" order, which was not the first time that had happened (see: Favre, Brett/Glazer, Jay/Inside Information).  Then came the information the order was based on a completely worthless, malleable policy of not reporting it without an accompanying criminal suit.  How do I know the policy is malleable?  Well, besides people inside the four letter network saying so, as was pointed out by a local radio host in what I consider to be the best apples to apples comparison, it sure didn't stop them from running the story right around the Glendale Super Bowl of a similar civil suit filed here in Florida against Randy Moss.  Then came a quote from somebody at ESPN as reported by Mike Florio of profootballtalk.com.  "Embarassing."  Enough said.

2) Who let the dogs out?  E  S  P  N - The four letter network then went on later that same week to report based on Michael Vick's meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday that Vick had been "Conditionally reinstated and would be suspended for the first four games."  Only problem with that.  Well, it hadn't happened.  At least, not yet.  It was quickly shot down by NFL spokesman Greg Aiello and ESPN had to hurriedly retract their own headline. Now, rumors are that the commish is indeed leaning that way, but if I were Roger, I'd suspend Vick for more or less than 4 games just to spite ESPN for leaking information instead of reporting it WHEN IT WAS NEWS.  Update:  Since this story came out, Goodell first threatened possibly not making Vick eligible for six weeks, but in the end only suspended him for two.  Kudos to the boss for weighing the situation and doing EXACTLY as I said.  Of course, people have now forgotten about this and ESPN didn't end up with the egg on their face that they should have.

3) The Erin Andrews debate - I read a couple great blogs on this subject by a couple of Mets fans (I know, who knew there were any left?) BigBluMasochist and Ifonlyweknew who each took one side on the Erin Andrews peephole porn incident, one taking the side of Erin being violated, the other the more cynical side of this was staged a la the infamous "wardrobe malfunction."  I'll post links to them here, I'm sure they won't mind.  http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
entry/13947733/16149909
  http://bigblumasochist.blogs.cbsspo
rts.com/mcc/blogs/entry/10752270/16
140103

Now word is coming out that this was likely an inside job by one of her male ESPN coworkers, which, unfortunately does nothing to disprove either one of their sides of the story.  Now, I'm of the mind that Erin was indeed violated, and not just because she's the most famous alumnus of my high school alma matter.  I think she does a terrific job at sideline reporting, and have always appreciated her much more for the body of her work than for the work of her body.  That said, it speaks volumes that not only can I see BigBlu's side of the arguement, there's still a chance that he's indeed right.

4) SEC Media Daze - Obviously by my handle, I'm a HUGE SEC fan.  When word leaked out that Tim Tebow was not a unanimous first team SEC coaches selection, I was confused, but not overly miffed.  Afterall, I could make an arguement for Jevan Snead.  A weak one, but an arguement.  I was more upset that LB Brandon Spikes was not unanimous.  But, Tebow being Tebow, all the attention was focused on his "perceived" snub.  Of course, the SEC media had a field day of it, grilling each individual coach in a "whodunit" desperately wanting to know who the culprit was.  Of course, it was later revealed today, that this same SIXTY FOUR member media who was so OUTRAGED that a coach DARED leave Tebow off their ballot had THREE MEMBERS LEAVE HIM OFF OF THEIRS FOR THE MEDIA BALLOT.  Freakin hypocrites.  Also, it came out that the culprit was Steve Spurrier, who blamed it on an underling and then signed off on it.  This brings me to another subject.  Any of you who know me know of my opinion of the BCS.  If you don't know, check out some of the earlier editions of my blog.  Part of what is used to determine who plays in Pasadena this year is the Coaches Poll (which the BCS did something sort of right in forcing them to reveal their final ballot after they had voted not to back in May).  Team and conference biases aside, do you realize how many coaches do the exact same thing Spurrier did, giving it to SID's or the such and signing off on them, probably often times not paying full attention to what they are signing off on?  And even those that do vote themselves, do you REALLY think they have enough time to pay attention to all the games of all the teams they are voting on?  Finally, in what I think is one of the most blatant examples of what's wrong with the media today is that during a media days teleconference with radio people, Tim Tebow was asked by an absolute dunderhead if he was saving himself for marriage.  Um, excuse me.  As a Gator fan, do you think I give two flying figs whether he's slept with somebody or not.  And if you do care, shame on you.

5) Off Topic: Race Carding and Entering - Then came the story of the Havard professor who was arrested for trying to enter his own locked home when a neighbor called police.  He was so incensed that police dared think he was a burglar, that instead of producing indentification that he was indeed who he said he was and in fact lived there so the police could go on their merry way, instead immediately accused them of racial profiling and refusing to identify himself.  Now first, to be perfectly clear, the police are not without their own faults in this case.  First off, he requested an officers indentification, which by law in MA and policy most other places, he has to do, and the officer did not do so.  Also, do I believe the police could have handled it better than what they did?  Absolutely.  Look, I know abuses of power do happen and racial profiling and racism do exist.  I did not just fall off the turnip truck.  But what really got my goat was an article in the local fish wrap today that said in MA the law states he has every right to refuse to come outside and identify himself.  Excuse me???  That may be in which there is no question that he is indeed the resident, but they had been called on a breaking and entering.  They had no idea he did in fact live there or he was indeed who he said he was.  Put it this way.  Had that been the reporter's house being broken in to by an individual, I don't care man or woman, black, white, purple, whatever, can you just see how that conversation would go.  Police: "Excuse me sir, we've received a report of a possible break-in at this residence."  Theif: "Oh, that's okay, I live here.  Just forgot my key."  Police: "Well, would you mind coming out here and showing us identifictation, like a driver's license."  Theif: "No, and the law says you can't make me."  Police: "Oh, okay sir.  Sorry to disturb you.  We'll be on our way now."  And then it gets better.  Our president pulls his best Al Sharpton impersonation and says the police "Acted stupidly."  I can't believe how many people do not see that because of statements like this, because of people like Sharpton, that seperation is a self perpetuating problem and will never be rectified.  Racism is a very real and very evil thing.  But every time the race card is played it situations it shouldn't be, it's just like the tale of the "Boy Who Cried Wolf," to which people will become apathetic to the problem, eventually to the point where they won't believe you when the wolf really is attacking.  Anyway, the biggest point here is that there were mistakes made by both sides, so why only report half the story?  Answer, because it makes for better reading.  It's called sensationalistic journalism.
Posted on: December 9, 2008 8:59 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2008 2:39 pm
 

10 things I learned the week of Dec. 8th

1) A look back, Meatloafed it again - Went two for three in my conference championship game predictions (good thing I didn't pick the CUSA and MAC championship games, otherwise I would have been 2 for 5, and everyone would stop reading my blog {of course, that would imply people actually started reading it in the first place}).  I was amazed, however, at how closely I was able to get the two I called right, especially the SEC game (more on this in a bit).  In the Big 12 game, I overvalued Mizzou's offense some by calling it 63-38, but you just knew Oklahoma was going to put up 60+ again in an effort to legitimize their pressence in Kansas City.  In the SEC game, I was one Alabama TD (lets call it the third quarter one where the Gators seemed to suffer a momentary defensive lapse) away from nailing it.  Called it 31-13 UF.  I knew Florida was no where near going to put up the 50+ most of my bretheren were predicting, but also knew Alabama should struggle to score.

2) SEC game of the ages - I did want to go more thouroughly into this one.  I thought Gary Danielson (one of the best colormen in any sport, IMHO) did a great job analogizing (I hope that's a real word.  If not, call me Emmitt) the game to the great Ali Frazer fights of old.  Half way through the game, he was counting the scores (which were hard to come by) as rounds, saying Florida won round 1, Alabama round 2 and 3, and Florida rounds 4 and 5.  This was a back and forth game, with momentum swings, and both teams taking each other's best shots and responding.  I knew it would come down to which team would be able to impose its will on the other, and get the other out of their game plan.  This did not occur until 8:00 left in the game, when Alabama finally ditched theirs, and it was all over from there.  Also, to those of you who question Tim Tebow's ability as a QB, yes, he does have mechanical issues that he'll need to work out at the next level, but did you see his game clinching completion to Louis Murphy in the 4th?  Or how about all three of his TD passes.  Danielson was left speechless after the last one to Riley Cooper.  He had definite zip, and threw it to the only location possible.  Two things you absolutely cannot question about Tebow, though, are his leardership and his heart.  If Florida pulls off this national championship, his post Ole Miss speach will go down along side "Win one for the Gipper."  I do want to tip my hat to the University of Alabama for a game that I will remember for all time, and in particular want to compliment John Parker Wilson (he played better than his stats suggested), Glen Coffee, and Julio Jones.  The only thing I question is why they didn't go to Jones more, because it seemed like when he made big plays, the momentum shifted in the Tide's favor.  For all the pregame hype, though, I don't think Andre Smith or Terrance Cody lived up to it.  Both seemed to be virtual nonfactors, and Alabama's best runs all came to the offensive RIGHT side, which quite honestly, surprised me.

3) The BCS, who has gripes, and who doesn't - Well, time to complain about the BCS again, even though it worked out for the Gators this year.  The two teams with with the most obvious and biggest gripes are Texas and Boise State.  They both have great arguements, but their fans are venting their frustration on the wrong teams/people.  I shall explain.  First off, let's handle the Broncos, shall we.  They are absolutely bent about being left out, as they should be.  They are venting said frustration, however, at tOSU and their fans.  WRONG DIRECTION!!!  Instead, vent it towards the ACC and the fact that A) Their best team is playing in the Chik-Fil-A Bowl because when it came down to it, nobody wanted to step up and claim that conference and B) They are guaranteed of an automatic bid.  The rules state that a non-BCS school can get in if they are rated ahead of one of the automatic qualifiers and that qualifier is not in the Top 16.  Let's change that rule, shall we?  Let make it where if a conference champion is not in the Top 16, and there is a non-BCS school with a Top 10 rating, that conference LOSES it's automatic bid to the non-BCS school with the Top 10 ranking.  It makes perfect sense (except the ACC will not be happy about losing its piece of the pie.  To that I say, "Tough Toenails!")  Fact is, Boise State, it's all about the money, and the Buckeyes travel well, will get better ratings, and most likely, provide a better game.  And honestly, even though you are rated ahead of them, I can't honestly say you are the better team.  I will defend you to the degree of these tOSU fans saying schedule somebody and/or join a better conference.  If it were only that easy.  Now, on to Texas.  Texas fans are bent that they are not playing in the national championship game.  They are venting their frustration at UF and its fans, pointing out everything they can (SOS, quality of loss, this, that, the other).  Quite honestly, I can't argue most of their points other than SOS, where while better, it is not glaringly better (also, I could play the we won our conference card).  But again, you are venting in the WRONG DIRECTION!!!  Instead, turn your anger on your own conference!!!  THAT'S RIGHT!!!  GET PO'ED AT THE BIG 12!!!  It's your own LAME tie breaker that put you in this spot.  Instead of settling it in some manner in house, you let a bunch of SID's and media people DECIDE IT FOR YOU.  Simple fact is, were you in the SEC, you would have played Mizzou, and YOU would be playing UF in Miami on Jan. 8th.  And don't give me anything about a rematch!!!  Nobody outside Texas and maybe some of the rest of Big 12 country wants to see it.  And let's say you get said rematch, and you lose said rematch (which you would be favored to do so).  Then what?  Two out of three??  Total margin???  You do realize this would actually be unfair to you, correct?

4) Rainy days and Mondays always get me down - Hey, iamyo.  Is this one of the songs we get to vote on?  Anyway, what a debacle last night.  I have honestly NEVER seen a Monte Kiffin defense get handled and tackle as poorly as last night.  That being said, HUGE props to the Panthers, who now control their own destiny for a #1 overall seed in the NFC.  Get that kind of running game the rest of the year, and you will have a great chance to play one more game in Tampa before the season is over.  Congrats on that butt-whipping last night.

5) Pittsburgh "Steal"ers - Wow, talk about stealing a victory.  Yikes.  Coming back from 10 down with very little time left and winning on a pick six.  When the Steelers were stuffed on that fourth and goal, I thought there was no way they would win that one.  Now they have a HUGE game against Baltimore, with the winner likely to be one of the favorites along with the Titans in the AFC.

6) Jet-lag - The New York Bretts are now 0-3 when visiting the west coast this year, losing to both the Raiders, and the Niners.  They better figure out something fast, because if they don't win their trip to Seattle this week, their season is over.  So much for that possible "Subway Superbowl" people were talking about just a couple weeks ago.  Update: Whoopsie.  The game in Seattle is next week.  Same principals apply, though.

7) Fly, Eagles, Fly - In the mantra of giving credit where it is due, huge win by the Eagles this week.  Stellar defensive performance, and they also finally figured out that running the ball is a good thing.  A very good thing when Brian Westbrook is the one doing it.  It will be interesting to see exactly what that tie to Cincinnati does as far as the playoffs go.  Some think it will help (as nobody will be tied in the standings with them) while others believe that it will hurt (as they are still 1/2 game behind the Cowboys and Falcons).

8) Return to prominence? - As the football seasons being to wind down, I will try to get into basketball more, especially the college game.  All I can say is, "Wow!"  Rich Rod, eat your heart out.  While you struggle to win games, your basketball bretheren have now pulled off upsets against perennial powerhouses UCLA and Duke (although Duke did beat Michigan earlier in one of those early season tournaments).  Could this be a sign of rebirth for the Wolverine basketball program?  I actually hope so.  It would be good for the game.

9) An Axe to Grind - Well, not really, but a couple more NBA coaches got the axe recently, the most notable, Randy Wittman of the Minnesota Timblerwolves.  Okay, mostly notable because of who is taking over for him.  Ex Celtics great Kevin McHale steps downstairs and presumably adds this to his list of jobs.  Let's see if he's better on the bench, than in an office.

10) Weekly Look Ahead - The things I will be looking forward to this week are Tampa Bay Atlanta (the Bucs need to bounce back on a short week), Pittsburgh Baltimore, and the Giants and Dallas.

Bonus shot - I will be predicting all 34 college bowl games in the coming weeks.  Also, I predict Sam Bradford will win the Heisman Trophy (although it will be hard since it is highly regionalized and there are three from his region alone.  He's got the best numbers, plus part of me wants him to win it because Trophy winners typically don't fare well in bowl games due to all the obligations).  I also was considering doing a point about Green Bay "Pack"ing it in, but with the Jets loss, it was harder to make fun of Ted Thompson.  Still, it will be hilarious to see them with at best a .500 record and no playoffs. 

Posted on: December 2, 2008 7:14 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2008 10:51 am
 

10 Things I Learned The Week of Dec. 1st

Ah, December.  The time of year that brings us the presents of college conference championship and bowl games and the NFL playoff push.  As we plow (well, not us here in Tampa) our way toward the end of another fantasic year, I bring you my regular reflection of the week that was in sports.

1) I warned you - Meatloaf once said (sang) to not feel sad, cause two out of three ain't bad.  Well, that I was on the Thanksgiving Day NFL games, although I was 3 for 3 on my prediction of them all being turkeys.  But honestly, could we all not see it coming (except for the Eagles debacling {thanks, Emmitt} the Cardinals, and even that wasn't that much of a stretch)?  The NFL either needs to do a better job scheduling, or start rotating the games (or both).  With the parity in the league on an almost yearly basis, the latter just might be easier than the former.

2) Thank you, Clifton Smith and Reggie Bush - Still in the spirit of giving thanks, I would personally like to thank Bucs return man Clifton Smith and Saints return man Reggie Bush.  On a day where a sloppy field led to a field position battle, these two single-(double?)handedly flipped the field in the Bucs favor.  Both of Tampa's second half TD's were set up by great returns by Smith, one on a kickoff, the other on a punt, because he does this fascinating thing called running north.  Bush, on the other hand, had two punt returns for the awesome total of NEGATIVE SIXTEEN yards.  And I don't want to hear anything about it was his first game back from injury.  If you saw the returns, his first move was backwards, and then sideways.  Reggie, this is the NFL.  Everybody has your speed.  This sets up a huge game this week for the Buccos (more on this later).

3) Storming the Cassel - Wow, here were the Patriots drives in the second half.  Punt, fumble, fumble, pick, pick, end of game.  And this doesn't even count the kickoff they fumbled away.  Not going to win too many games doing that.  After two straight weeks of 400 yard performances, that even had me wondering if Cassel had cashed a $14 million lottery ticket (the amount he'd make as a franchised QB), he came back to earth in the face of a tough defense and looked more like the guy I saw in the preseason on NFLN against the Bucs where everybody wondered what would happen if Brady went down.  Thanks to the Jets losing (horribly at home to a Broncos team that had lost horribly a week before), the Pats still have a shot at the division, but are definitely on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs.

4) Cancel my Cable subscription - Ah yes, after a flukey week where I had to give love to both the Saints and Raiders, everything is right in the world, and I can go back to ripping them to shreds.  What was Cable thinking calling for a fake FG to 865 pound kicker Sebastian Janikowski (emphasis on the "kow") on fourth and ten, that looked like it was going to be a run no less?  Instead, Sebas (who does look and act like an ill-tempered, mutated sea bass.  Dr. Evil, eat your heart out) couldn't handle the flip from the holder, and it was returned for a Kansas City touchdown.  Instead of letting the kicker with the strongest (even if not the most accurate) leg in the league most likely put you up 6-3, you go down 10-3 and the wheels fall off from that point on.  I'm sure Al Davis called that play down himself.

5) Iron defeciency - Man, has the Iron Bowl lost it's luster.  They may as well call it the Rust Bowl, now.  After six straight losses in the series, the Nickonator and his Crimson Tide manhandled a clearly overmatched Auburn Tiger team.  Fact is, this game has just not been as competetive most of these last seven years, although now the balance of power has at least shifted.  Maybe next year this game can return to national prominence.

6) 3 in a row at Ron Zook field at Doak Campbell stadium - Another rivalry that has lost its luster, although showed signs of returning to prominence next year is the UF-FSU series.  FSU will be a great team to watch ... next year, but this year were clearly overmatched.  I'd hate to think about what would have happened had the weather been good.  Of course, had the weather been good, Harvin wouldn't have gotten hurt (and thank you FSU fans for your Eagle fan impressination impersonation {man, I just pulled an Emmitt.  Guess I was caught between that and impression} when that happened.  I have the utmost respect for your coach and program, and but quite frankly, that was WAY beneath you and quite honestly, unexpected).

7) Absolute Bedlam - The annual Bedlam game produced just that, not only on the field where 102 total points were dropped, but in the BCS (more on that later).  The Sooners have scored 60+ now in four straight games, which I hope their fans realize by now is the byproduct of both a phenominal offense, and subpar defense.  It set the stage for what we all knew would happen Sunday where the Coaches were forced to reveal their votes, and the Longhorns jumping the Gators in some coaches efforts to try to avoid a perceived travesty of leaving Texas out of Kansas City due to the head-to-head win (there are solid arguements on both sides, but in the end, I think the correct team is playing Missouri).  The Big 12 put undue pressure on the people who make up the BCS due to their strange conference tie-breaker system.  Most conferences that use the BCS as a guideline do so to kick the bottom team out and then go to head-to-head.  In that case, Texas would have come out on top (hence the great arguement for them).  The Big 12 was one of the conferences strongly opposed to the "and 1" system proposed this year by ACC (and BCS head) commissioner John Swafford and SEC commissioner Mike Slive or any form of a playoff.  Now they might be rethinking it.  And they will definitely rethink their conference tie breaker.  Even Stoops is against it.

8) The B(C)S keeps getting deeper - My regular readers know where I stand on the whole BCS mess and the need for a playoff system, but I read a great blog by the user HuskerTex who I met on the official OU-OkSU game thread.  It is one of the best thought out, put together, and informative blogs I've seen on this site.  It is a great history of the BCS, and the controversies and backstories, some of which I had even forgotten about.  It is a great read, and I highly recommend it to all of my regulars, and to those of you who happened to stumble across my weekly rantings as well.  Here's the link: http://huskertex.blogs.sportsline.c
om/mcc/blogs/entry/6286615/12007228

9) Finally, an MNF game that means something - This is where I would usually put my weekly look ahead, and that's what this will be, despite the title.  But I do want to hit hard and heavy on one game in particular, and its implications.  When Disney ponied up the money years ago to get the rights to MNF and move it to ESPN, I doubt they foresaw SNF eventually (actually, that very same year) becoming the premier game of the week with the premier matchups.  It seems the NFL schedules it this way to begin with, and recently it has become more so with the advent of flex scheduling.  ESPN is probably thanking its lucky stars that it finally has a game that means a lot when the 9-3 Buccaneers visit the 9-3 Carolina Panthers for first place in the NFC NASCAR division (which I still say is best top to bottom and is in line right now for 3 playoff teams).  This game is giant for both teams, but mostly for the Panthers, and here's why.  First off, the NFC South teams have been almost unbeatable at home going 22-2, including both the Bucs and Panthers at 6-0.  But the Panthers must hold serve, and here's why.  First off, if the Bucs win, they will have swept the Panthers and will be a game plus the tiebreaker up.  This means they will only need to go 2-1 in their last three to secure a first round bye.  But the main reason is the schedule.  The Bucs last two home games?  Visits by AFC West doormats San Diego and Oakland.  The Panthers, conversely, have games remaining against the Broncos, Giants, and Saints, and would have to win the last two to force the tie break against the Bucs to common opponents and the other obscure ones (assuming the Bucs beat the Falcons in Atlanta, which might not happen because Atlanta is hot).  As you can see, they have a much tougher road to hoe regardless.  The other NFL games I'm looking forward to are Dallas Pittsburgh and Baltimore Washington.  And I am looking forward to the entire CFB slate.

10) Buccingator's confernce championship predictions - In the ACC Championship game, I like BC over Virginia Tech 24-20, in the BCS semi-final, er SEC Championship Game I like Florida over Alabama 31-13, and in the Big 12 Championship I like Oklahoma over Missouri 63-38.

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