Tag:Polls
Posted on: October 25, 2009 12:05 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2009 12:36 am
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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: October 6, 2009 7:51 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2009 9:02 pm
 

10 Things I learned the Week of Oct. 5th

Welcome again, my friends, to another installment of that sports knowledge that was imparted upon me this week which I shall now share with all of you.  And just to show that I'm not all about the Gators and/or the SEC (although those who read regularly already know), my verbose point of the week shall be about a certain team from Tallahassee and their coach whom I have a world of respect for, even coaching the enemy.

1) NHL season underway- But not the start for my Bolts that I was hoping for, dropping their opener 6-3 against the Thrashers.  I'm still hoping for a better defense and more points this season.  That was a little disappointing giving up 6 goals, though.

2) The "U" upgraded from Tropical Storm to category 3- Wow, huge win for the Canes and Jacory Harris, who rebounded very nicely after throwing two early picks.  What a leader this kid is turning out to be.  The Hurricanes could have let last week's horrid performance and early troubles inundate them, but instead held it together for an impressive win.  The Hurricanes could possibly lose only the one game and be a second representative for the ACC in the BCS (unless Va Tech loses a couple in conference, in which case they could be THE representative).  By the way, can we please abolish preseason polls?  Oklahoma is still in the Top 25 with two loses because of what?  Oh yeah, they started number 2.  How can you rank them and not an undefeated Wisconsin team?  Now, don't get me wrong, in no way am I suggesting that the Badgers are better.  Most likely, Oklahoma beats them.  But until Wisconsin loses a game, how can a TWO loss team be in front of them.  And what if the Badgers don't lose?  Eventually they have to leapfrog the Sooners, right?  Right???  Actually, unfortunately, it's not likely to happen.

3) The football gods officially have it in for me- Gyah!!!!  That was heartwrenching to watch Washington choke away two shots close to the goalline like that and have the domers come back and beat them, extending my worries that ND will make a BCS bowl game.  Kudos to the Irish defense for stepping up like that, but come on Sark!!!  The runs to the middle were not working.  Mix in a roll out with a run/pass option.  I'm not going to get on the officials for blowing the two point conversion call which I immediately saw on the first replay that he was down.  Afterall, I think Sark had his challenge left.  But that didn't cost them the game.  The ineffeciency I previously mentioned did.

4) Speaking of Gyah's- I pick my Bucs to win over the hapless Redskins, and what thanks do I get?  Missed FG's, no adjustments, and a loss.  This team's best (and possibly only) shot of winning a game is in two weeks when the Panthers come to town.  If they lose there, 0-16 is not out of the question.  And could we please throw Josh Freeman to the wolves already and see what we might have in our first round draft pick from this year?  This season is lost, and Josh Johnson is not the answer.  Sure he gives you mobility and a faster delivery, but lacks everything else Leftwich brings to the table.  Honestly, Leftwich never should have been pulled until Freeman was ready to play, which even in that case is hopefully sooner rather than later.

5) Giving credit where it is due- Have to give props to the Saints, which is hard for me because I can't stand their win nothing, think their crap doesn't stink fans, but that was a huge win over the J-E-T-S.  I'm still not sold the Saints D will be able to stand up for a whole season, but for one game, they won it for them.

6) Cal Bleakly- Boy, what a fraud this team was.  People thought they were going to be the ones to challenge USC?  People figured out if you shut down Jahvid Best, whose Heisman Hopes are now officially zero, there isn't anybody else on this offense that's going to beat you.  And who is the leader of the Pac-10 at this point in the season?  Would you believe it's the Stanford Cardinal?  No joke.

7) Keep the yellow in the pocket, part 1- Well, at least unlike the Pac-10's head of officiating who defended the worst call in history last year, the SEC's head ref stepped up and admitted they screwed up throwing a flag on Georgia Bulldog receiver A.J. Green after making one of the most incredible catches I've ever seen, the fact is that that flag has to stay in the pocket in the first place.  Actually, more likely the rule needs to be changed, but as the 90,000 people in attendance and millions watching at home clearly saw, Green made no jesture.  It would have been kind of hard from the middle of the mass of humanity that was his teammates congratulating him on his spectacular play.  But don't get me wrong, UGA fans.  this DID NOT cost you the game.  Again, blaming it on officials is loser speak, and there is the little matter of kicking off TO Trendon Holliday and giving up a 40+ yard return which likely would have happened regardless of kicking from the 30 or the 15, and not being able to wrap up on Charles Scott and everybody else seemingly giving up on the play when the defender SHOULD have had him on the turf.  THAT cost you the game, and LSU DESERVED to win.  And the only thing worse than all of this?  The make up call on Scott after his touchdown.  Under NO circumstance should you EVER compound one horrific call with another trying to level the field.  And deny it all you want, but if that wasn't a make up call, then I'm not a Gator fan.  Remember, two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left.  Point is, you don't ever want to be worried about your team scoring a touchdown because some ref might get a little overzealous.

8) Keep the yellow in the pocket, part 2- I had the Pats-Ravens football field thingy on NFL.com several times during Sunday as I had the Ravens in my Pick 'Em pools and knew it would be an important swing game.  Twice I saw as the Pats had the ball just past the 50, Personal Foul, Roughing the Quartback on the Ravens.  Then I heard about Ray Lewis' remarks after the game.  Even being right, I figured he was going to be fined for speaking his mind, especially since he was questioning the officiating, which is a definite no-no in the NFL.  Shoot, on one play, it looked like the flag was thrown simply because Tom Brady whined for it.  Well, I heard today on the radio that Ray Ray will not be fined for what he said, which means one of two things.  Either A) Our Refs really F'ed up, or B) Our rules are F'ed up and need to be revisited after the season.  Most likely, it's the latter, and to me, and to many other people, it appears that the league has far too many rules in the name of "Protecting the Player" that is detracting from the game.  Pretty soon, football will become 7 on 7 where the offensive and defensive lines are eliminated, and it's man on man, including a defender to shadow the QB who can't touch him until he gets near the line of scrimmage.  Seems this is what they want.  Oh, and no making a good hard hit on the receiver, either.

9) Bored of Untrustees- First off, I will make this clear.  Even as a Gator fan, I have a huge amount of respect for Bobby Bowden and what he has accomplished.  I was adminantly PO'ed this offseason as it was suggested he lose 14 wins for playing players that to the best of his knowledge that were eligible, while the school which allowed itself to get swallowed up in an academic scandal that encompassed SIXTY ONE of its athletes in NINE sports got off with nary a slap on the wrist.  To me, nothing screamed lack of institutional control more than this case, and made me yearn for the days of bowl probations and losing t.v. revenue.  You want to stem something like this, hit the university in the pocketbook, don't punish a coach by vacating wins.  Not like Duke is going to show a victory for that game anyway.  Now word comes from Monday of the head of the Seminoles Board of Trustees, who I can only define as a world class moron.  Here are the quotes that came from his way. 

"We've got too many bosses out there," Smith said.

"Jimbo is in a very, very tough situation where people assume he has a whole lot more authority than he really has," Smith told the Associated Press. "He's getting blamed for a lot of things that's just not his fault."


Really, too many bosses?  I count one.  A coach in waiting does not count as a boss.  And if coordinators count as bosses, then yes, there are too many as this would make Mickey Andrews and the special teams coach a boss, too, but no team is run like that.  Fisher's situation is clearly outlined to him, and as far as getting blamed for a lot of things that just are not his fault, I'll blame him for one thing that is his fault.  He is the offensive coordinator, correct?  He, or one of HIS OWN assistants call the plays, correct?  Then I blame him for having a offense that has the consistancy of an elderly man's bowel movements on a low fiber diet!  And don't give me recruiting, either.  Yes, it hasn't been up to standards at FSU recently, but do you really think Fisher has no input, especially with offensive players?  Give me a break!!!  And he continues:

Smith said Fisher should take over following Florida State's last game this season.


Too bad this isn't the board of trustees' decision and you have no direct say in it whatsoever.

Smith said that arrangement has resulted in division among the Florida State staff, an accusation Seminole coaches have vehemently denied.

"I know coaches are sniping at each other and that's just terrible," Smith said Monday. "There are too many mixed signals."


Really???  And you know this from what?  Your close, intimate, first hand knowledge of the team?  You'd swear HE was a coach at FSU.  Yeah, I'm sure there's a lot of dissent between Bowden and Andrews, life long friends.  And if there is division between Fisher and Bowden, which I don't believe there is, especially since Jimbo has yet to produce on his end of the field, well then, there might be another agenda at work there, so forgive me if I put absolutely no stock in it whatsoever.

He also said fundraising has slowed significantly, and the school has an obligation to fans and alumni to be competitive.

"I take absolutely no pleasure in this," Smith said. "I love Bobby Bowden, but I tell you what, I love FSU more."


Ah, and at last we arrive at the only true statement from this genius, and the true crux of his problem.  Fundraising is down.  Imagine that.  First off, Bobby can't go out there and play for these kids, so I apologize for the sudden downturn in which you have your first losing record since Bowden's first year.  Yes, that hurts a little, but, clown, fundraising is down everywhere.  There's this thing called the economy, which maybe you're not up on current events, but it hasn't been doing all too great as of late.  The fact of the matter is you have little power and no immediate knowledge of the current situation there, so dude, please, STFU (and no, I'm not talking about John Cena's finishing move).  If anybody's earned the right to go out on his own terms, it's Bobby.  Besides, sure didn't hear you or any of the other Nole faithful complaining as he was delivering a record 14 straight top 4 finishes to you, and I'm sure ALL KINDS of fundraising dollars.  Guess you didn't invest wisely when you had the money.

10) Weekly look ahead- The things I am looking forward to this week are, surprise, surprise, the Florida LSU game to see who can stake early lead to conference supremacy, Alabama Ole Miss to see if Jevan Sneed can rebound or if the Tide continue to roll, Nebraska Missouri to see who's the early leader for the Big 12 North, and Ohio State Wisconsin to see if the Badgers are for real, or if they're simply Badgering me wanting to put them ahead of two loss Oklahoma.  In the NFL, give me New England Denver, Jets Miami, and Redskins Panthers wait, that's another suckfest.  Also give me the start of the MLB playoffs, which is really underway right now with a tight one going on in Minnesota.  Also, my Bolts play three games this week against teams currently 0-2.  They need to take at least 4, preferably 5 or 6 points from them.  I'll update after today to give you my MLB playoff predictions.

Update: MLB Playoff Predictions- Wow what a game tonight in Minnesota.  Unfortunately, I don't think it bodes well for them having to turn around and play tomorrow in New York.  At least they get a day off after that.  Anyways, here's what I think for the playoff series.
Philadelphia over Colorado in 5
Los Angeles over St. Louis in 5 (both cases just because of home field.  Think the NL is very evenly matched)
New York over Minnesota in 4 (Yankees should win game 1)
Boston over Los Angeles in 4 (I know LA will be out for revenge after last year, just don't think it'll work)
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: October 1, 2008 6:35 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2008 10:53 pm
 

10 things I learned the week of Sept. 29th

1) The Polls are full of "Bull"oney and the Razorbacks were "Nutt"s to get rid of Houston - Does anyone want to explain to me how on God's green Earth the USC Trojans are a top ten team?  Based on what?  Being previously gifted with the number one ranking?  Pollsters (especially those in the Harris poll, that has USC SEVENTH and unfortunately is factored in to the BCS) should hide their heads whole bodies in shame.  First off, USC pulling this garbage year after year is inexcusible, but then not to be punished for it?  I swear if I see USC in any bowl game not named Rose (providing they don't collapse), I'll throw a gigantic playoff rant on my blog.  Let's just compare USC to 4 other teams, shall we.  1) tOSU Yes, I know USC beat them head to head, and Trojan fans are going to get on me for suggesting this, but right now, I'd rank tOSU ahead of them.  Why?  Because tOSU only loses in the big games, not against teams they should beat up on (yes, I realize they struggled against Ohio earlier this year).  An based on Quizz's running, there's nothing that makes me think tOSU can't win a rematch on a neutral field with Wells back despite getting blasted earlier.  2) USF I don't care that they are USF and choked under the pressure of a premature number 2 ranking last year.  This team is undefeated and just crushed NC State on the road without their best defensive players.  3) UGA they just got beat by a VERY, VERY good Alabama team (more on them later).  How is that not better than choking against Oregon State?  4) UF yes, they got beat.  Yes, I wouldn't say Ole Miss is that much better than Oregon State.  And while I'm on Ole Miss, what was Arkansas thinking getting rid of Houston Nutt?  Um, he's BETTER than Bobby Petrino.  Ole Miss has a very bright future ahead of them.  I wish them well in the coming years.  Anyway, back to UF, AT LEAST THEY SHOWED UP TO PLAY AND DIDN'T EXPECT OLE MISS TO LIE DOWN JUST BECAUSE THEY WERE FLORIDA.  The reason Florida lost was because they put the ball on the turf 5 times.  No team that does that deserves to win against anybody.  But Florida is one blown defensive assignment (and that was the CB's fault, Raycom), or one Tebow overthrow away from winning that game.  USC was not at any point winning/going to win/gave you any confidence they were playing (other than a short spurt in the third)/gave you any indication that they were going to figure out Jacquizz Rodgers/okay, I think I made my point.  If I had to rate these 5 teams right now, I would have them in this order: 1) USF, 2) UGA, 3) tOSU, 4) UF, and a VERY DISTANT 5) USC.  Pollsters, please WAKE UP!!!  At least the Pac 10 schedule will weigh USC down in the computer polls.  Can't wait till those come out and USC fans wonder why their at 15 or less.  End of USC rant.

2) "Rays"ing expectations - Congratulations to the Rays on winning the toughest division in baseball by two games.  I expect good things from them this post season, and everyone will see what team baseball is all about.  Remember, defense does not go dry like hitting or go cold like pitching can on occasion.  I think they are poised to make a long run (more on this later).

3) Lane Kiffin Death Watch is mercifully over - Now that Lane is out from under the thumb of senile Al Davis, maybe he can concentrate on putting his life and career back on track.  Davis obviously has no pulse on his team not realizing that the players loved him and were playing hard for them (as several of them have come out and stated).  And who are Raider fans going to blame the next time their D chokes away a game?  NOTE: I forgot to mention that Al fired Kiffin "with cause," which is code for I'm going to try to be cheap and not pay you another cent.  UPDATE: It looks like Kiffin might end up sueing Al in addition to his greivance with the league.  Personally, I think Al has no shot with the grievance, since the burden of proof is on him, but I'll be interested to see where the lawsuit goes, especially since the burden of proof will be on Lane.  Personally, I hope he hits Al up for a lot of money.

4) The Scott Linehan Psychic Hotline - Before the game against the Bills, Linehan came out and said that if he lost, he felt he would be fired.  Well, the Rams lost, and Linehan was fired.  There were far more problems on this team than just Marc Bulger (or Linehan for that matter), but to alienate and lose your locker room, the move had to be made.

5) D's the Key - Defense wins championships.  This is true in any sport, and most so in football.  You hear it all the time, and yet people and the media always fall in love with offense and overlook bad D.  Well, look at the three undefeated teams in the NFL right now, and what do they all have?  Stellar D.  Yes, I know people will bring up soft schedules, but do you truly think that the Titans don't easily have a top 5 D and the Giants and Bills a top 10 D.  A top 10 D will give you a chance to win most games, and will definitely give you an excellent shot at not only making the playoffs, but doing something once you get there.

6) The NFC playoffs - In the NFC, you have two divisions that have no team under .500.  One of these two divisions has every team playing the Bengals, Browns, and Rams and has lost only one game against non division foes.  The other division has every team playing the Chiefs, Raiders, and Lions and has ALSO lost only one game out of division.  Then, you have two divisions that do not have a team over .500 (for those of you who can't figure it out, the first division is the East, the second the South, and then the North and West are the other two).  Not to sound too much like Hank Whinebrenner, but is it too late to strip them of their playoff spots and give them to the other two?  Maybe they'll turn it around, but if not ...

7) Roll Tide - I am extremely impressed at the start Alabama has gotten out to.  That win between the hedges was huge.  Unfortunately, the only chance of an SEC team going undefeated is Alabama or LSU, and they have to play each other, because the only team in the east without a loss that has played a conference game in Vandy.  Wouldn't it be something to see Vandy in the SEC championship game?  Could happen.  But I would also love to see an undefeated SEC team versus an undefeated Big 12 team (Oklahoma, Missouri) in Miami on Jan 8th.  That would be an epic game.

8) A Look ahead - The games I'm looking forward to this weekend (besides the MLB playoffs) are the Philly/Washington game in the NFL and the Auburn/Vanderbilt game in college.  Time to find out if Vandy is for real.  Go 'Dores!

9) It's faceoff time - For 4 teams (the Rangers, Lightning, Penguins, and Senators), the season kicks off this weekend overseas (for everyone else, it's next week).  If you live in/near an NHL city, I ask you to go and attend a game live.  Hockey is the greatest sport that few people south of the border care about.  Unfortunately, I think a lot of it is due to the fact that Hockey doesn't translate well to the TV, and most people just want to stay at home/go to the bar.  Watch one game live, and if you still don't like it, well then at least you experienced it once.  But a lot of people become hooked once they see their first live action.

10) My fearless (and perhaps biased) MLB playoff predictions - For the first round, I'm picking Phillies in 4 (CC gets Milwaukee's only win, and can't get the ball back to him), the Cubs in 4 (just too good of a staff.  Good pitching will silence good hitting, but Manny can mash), the Angels in 5 (having home field is key.  I think they both take one at the other's park, and then the Angels take game 5 at home), and the Rays in 4 (they steal one at US Cellular).  Then for the LCS's, I pick the Cubs in 5 (just better than the Phils.  Again, good pitching will silence good hitting), and the Rays in 7 (Rays match up well.  Rays take one in LA, Angels win one at the Trop, Angels win game 6 to force game 7, but then the Rays come up with game 7 on the road).  Then, in the World Series, I'm going Rays in 6 (Rays take all 3 at home, steal one in Chicago).  Yes, some of my personal bias may be coming through, but I seriously think it can happen this way.  We'll see how it goes.

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