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Tag:SEC
Posted on: November 27, 2009 4:16 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Weeks of 11/16 and 11/23

As we reach the point in the year where we give thanks for what we are appreciative of, I'm giving thanks that after 2 of the busiest weeks I've had at work, I am now on a week's vacation, and have a chance to get caught up.  So this time, for the first time ever, I'm running two editions in the same post.  Now obviously I'm going to have to check back and try to remember everything I wanted to hit on.  I know Notre Dame is at the top of my list.  The LSU debacle from last week will definitely be there.  And the coaching carousel finally began to turn in both the NFL and NBA.  So sit back and enjoy two weeks and 20 tidbits worth of sports knowledge.

11/16-

1) And so it begins ...- After last year of watching "As the Lane Turns" and seeing Scott Linehan call his shot, the NFL's coaching front was very quiet.  The hammer finally fell on Dick Jauron of the Bills.  He was done in by the simply unrealistic expectations caused by the fast start that the team got out to last year.  It does go to prove just how important the QB position is in the NFL, and just what a lack of depth there is there currently.

2) ... again- Last year the first two coach firings in the NBA occurred about this time, and this year we already have one.  Byron Scott was let go by the New Orleans Hornets, and hearing some of the reasons as to why, they sound to me more like reasons as to why this move was made far too soon.  To me, it all seems like a power play by team president and NBA no-nothing Hugh Weber.

3) Even as one of the biggest ND haters- I was completely confused at the end of the Notre Dame Pitt game and exactly what the replay official saw.  To me, it seemed clear that Claussen's hand was firmly clutched around the football during the entire forward motion.  Now, I won't say the Domers got jobbed, as had the play stood (which IMO it should have), it would have been 4th and 16 and tough to overcome.  Remember, I'm of the mind that blaming losses on the officials is loser speak and I site that I have only seen two games where officials have difinitively decided a game, the Oklahoma Oregon game a few years back, and the Colorado fifth down game.  But to me, this was a clearly blown call.  Remember, it was called incomplete on the field.  I was watching an NFL game earlier this year where this exact play happened, and it was initially ruled a fumble and was OVERTURNED on replay to an incomplete pass.  Plus, several people have pointed out to me that the whistle blew before Pitt had possession of the "fumble," calling into question whether or not the play was even reviewable (at least to the point where Pitt could even be awarded the ball).

4) Jay Cutler is horrible- Watching the 49ers Bears game, it made me realize one thing.  The Broncos gave the Bears the worst fleecing sinec the Lions fleeced the Cowboys in the Roy Williams trade.  I mean, the trade would have been bad had it just been picks given up for Cutler, but throw in Orton, too.  And some Bears fans were asking what happened to their running game.  That's simple.  Jay Cutler.  Yes, the O-line is also not playing as well, but Forte didn't all of a sudden suck.  Jay Cutler thinks it's all about him.  And as far as building for the future, the Bears can forget about that one as well.  Somebody suggested they need to draft a great receiver.  The problem with that is they don't have a pick until at least the third round.  The Bears have no future.  They mortgaged it for Cutler (and Gaines Adams).

5) Pats 4th and out- I can understand where some people are coming from trying to defend coach Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth down late and on his own side of the field.  Afterall, it was essentially a playoff game and will go a long way toward deciding home field.  That one game represented a three game swing, two for the points in the standings, and another 1/2 each way for the tie breaker.  Still, to me it was very odd, and I'd much rather try to make Peyton drive much longer, no matter how well he had been driving it against you recently.  Huge win by the Colts.

6) Trojans defense snapped- I had pointed out going into the Oregon game that the prior two weeks the Trojans defense looked flat and were not playing up to USC standards.  Ever since then, they've done nothing to improve, proving that sometimes it is hard to just reload instead of rebuild, even if you are Pete Carroll.  The loses on defense over the years have clearly caught up, and this will be USC's first year not in a BCS bowl game in a long time.

7) Horned Frogs roll- TCU continued to roll, destroying their toughest remaining opponent in Utah by a 55-28 score.  Should Texas lose, or should Bama or Florida lose before the SEC Championship game, I can only hope the BCS does the right thing and sends the lizards to Pasadena on the 7th.

8) Houston loses another it shouldn't- As much as I like Case Keenum and the huge numbers he's been putting up this year, you cannot afford to lose to UTEP and UCF.  That just cannot happen, especially after beating Oklahoma State.

9) tOSU going to the Rose Bowl- By beating Iowa in overtime, Ohio State will be making it's first trip to Pasadena since something like 1999.  Hard to believe, but a lot of the years they won the Big 10, they went to the Championship game.  And remember, Penn State won last year.

10) Another reason I hate Gary Bettman- The Lightning were screwed out of a point on 11/14 while playing the Kings.  On what should have been a game winning goal by the Lightning in OT, the up ice official ruled that the Kings goalie was interfered with on the play and waved off the goal.  Here's the problem.  The Lightning player was clearly pushed in there by a Kings player.  How is this kind of play not reviewable?  Bettman either needs to revisit his horrible rules, or send these officials back to school.

11/23-

1) Hold that Tiger timeout- Wow, what a horrible series of play calling and clock management displayed by the LSU coaching staff at the end of the Ole Miss game.  You have it first and 10 at the 29 with around :40 seconds left and two timeouts.  First play: incompletion.  Okay, not too bad, although with two timeouts and in field goal range, you can run or use the middle of the field.  Second play: sack.  Cannot happen in that situation.  Now you're out of field goal range.  First timeout.  33 seconds left.  Next play, some ill-conceived screen play that loses like seven yards.  Now it's fourth and forever.  The clock is at 27 seconds.  Somehow, as you are discussing whatever on the sidelines, you let the clock run all the way down to 9 seconds before calling the timeout.  Now, you throw a hail-mary.  And in the most improbable situation, you complete it at the five, but there is only one second left.  And you are caught completely unready.  Your field goal unit is not ready to go, although there may have not been enough time to get them on.  So, your QB attempts a SPIKE??  With one second left on the clock???  And the great thing is in the hurry up confusion, it was discovered on video that Miles was the one telling him to spike it.  You have to run a play.  You have to hike it and throw it to the endzone.  Even in Death Valley, the final second runs off the clock on a spike.  It was clear the coaching staff was lost, and even more so on a play that was probably meant to go into the endzone ends up completed on the 5 instead.  It is your responsibility as a coach to be ready for every possibility, and to have your team ready.  One fan suggested they should have celebrated the play, as it would have stopped the clock.  Now, while I have no experience actually calling a college game with college rules, I'm pretty sure the clock starts on the ready for play just like it would normally.  He did have an interesting idea, though, as the clock WOULD stop as they march it off, and maybe have given them enough time to get the FG unit on.  Still, all in all, some of the worst coaching I've seen, EVER, and inexcusible from a BCS champion winning coach.  That last TO had to be called right after the screen play.  You have to extend the game.

2) Weis' swan song- I think the second consecutive loss on senior day by the Fighting Irish pretty much spells the end for Charlie Weis.  Afterall, his winning percentage is right up there with Davie and Willingham, and I can't remember the last ranked opponent he's beaten.  On the flip side, it was good to see the Huskies win their first game since losing Jasper Howard.  Seeing coach Edsall's emotions during the post-game was touching, especially knowing how heart-felt they were.

3) Some absolutely inexcusible NFL performances- Wow, Steelers lose to Chiefs (I know, Moo, you saw it coming the whole way).  The Bengals get a gift to move another game up, only they turnover the game against the Raiders on a late TD and then fumble the ensuing kickoff.  And the Cowboys take a late TD and only hang 7 on the lowly Redskins in a win.

4) The Jets crash land and the Broncos pull up lame- After starting off 3-0 and fueling speculation again of an all NY Super Bowl (the Giants haven't been performing much better), they have only won 1 of the last 7 and Sanchez is looking very much like a rookie.  And the Broncos after their 6-0 start have dropped 4 in a row and now find themselves looking up at the Chargers.

5) Redemption for VY- Ever since being forced back into the lineup by owner Bud Adams (who probably gave coach Jeff Fisher the double barrelled single finger salute in the process), the Titans have not lost a game and have suddenly found themselves back in the playoff hunt, although they probably dug themselves too deep a hole to begin with.

6) Oregon Arizona classic- In one of the most interesting games of the year that I could only see via ESPN360.com thanks to ABC thinking that because I live in Florida the Texas beatdown of Kansas would be more interesting to me, DESPITE the fact that their number 1 crew was at THIS game, Oregon won in double OT in come back fashion, setting up this week's rivalry week matchup with Oregon State with the winner getting a trip to Pasadena on Jan 1st to play tOSU.

7) Huskers Shuck Kansas State to win Big 12 north- Nebraska's defense again looked dominant in setting up a trip to Arlington to play Texas on Dec. 5th.  I'm looking forward to see how well the blackshirts match up against Colt McCoy and the Longhorns.  In an ironic twist, had K State won, they would have been playing against Texas.  By losing, not only will they not, but they also will not be bowling.

8) ACC Championship game set, too- I'm actually looking forward to seeing C.J. Spiller coming here to Tampa to take on Georgia Tech and the triple option.  The good thing is I think this game should sell better than last year's Va Tech BC game.  Short of getting FSU and/or Miami in the game, this was the best we could do, and should at least generate some more local interest as the teams are much closer.

9) To all the SEC haters- Yes, ramble on about how we are two deep (we are).  Pile on us for how we are down for the second year in a row (we are).  Get on us for scheduling weak teams late in the year (only because we start our conference season earlier than anybody other than the ACC, which starts out the gate).  The SEC has TEN, count 'em, TEN teams that are bowl eligible.  Yes, we might not have the great teams outside of UF and BAMA, but we have a WHOLE LOTTA good ones.  And we have to play eight games against said teams.  And I would argue that just about every conference is down this year.  That's why you had a C-USA school in the Top 15 for most of the year.

10) Turkey games on turkey day- I'll break my rule because I was going to get on this point anyway, but even the one slightly intriguing NFL game on Thanksgiving turned out to induce more yawns than the trytophan in your Thanksgiving turkey (unless you were a Broncos fan).  Honestly, I was watching the Texas Texas A&M game and just flipping between commercials.  The Lions sucked and have for years.  Then you match them up against one of the top 6 teams in the conference.  Conversely, you match up the Cowboys against the Raiders???  Seriously, the Raiders???  The NFL really needs to revisit it's Thanksgiving day policy, as "tradition" is quickly turning in to the "tradition" of people turning their TV sets off early.
Posted on: November 11, 2009 11:25 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2009 11:40 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Nov. 9th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As you can see, I got 9 out of the twelve teams correct (couldn't see the Colts late season run or the Bucs choke job).  I did also call the Chargers lucking into the AFC West last year.  Don't know what I was thinking taking the Pack and TT's big ego.  And, I had the Jets pegged better than most of the experts.  So here they are, this year's NFL playoff predictions culminating with who I think ends up in Miami.  For the AFC East, it's an easy pick with the Patriots.  South another slam dunk with the Colts.  In the North, I like the Steelers to edge out the Bengals, while both make the playoffs, the loser securing one of the AFC's wild cards.  In the West, gotta go Broncos, although they appear to be slipping somewhat, and the Chargers are hanging around.  For the last wild card spot, I just don't trust the Jets or Ravens enough, so I think it comes down to the Texans and Chargers, with the Chargers winning out.  In the NFC, give me the Eagles to win the East despite their hiccup against the Cowboys, the Saints to win the South (duh), the Vikings in the North (double duh), and in the West, it's got to be the Cardinals with the 49ers disappointing the way they are.  For the two wild cards, I'll take the Cowboys and the Falcons.  So here's how I see the playoffs.  In the AFC, I like #3 Patriots over #6 Chargers and #5 Bengals over #4 Broncos in a revenge game, then, #1 Colts over #5 Bengals and #2 Steelers over #3 Patriots in what should be a great game if it happens.  Home field and defense I think will win out.  For the AFC Championship, I'm going to go with the upset and go #2 Steelers over #1 Colts granting Sixburgh their second consecutive trip to Florida.  For the NFC, I like #3 Cardinals over #6 Cowboys (Cowboys still can't win a playoff game or get revenge for 1998) and #5 Falcons over #4 Eagles in what would be a tight game.  Then, #1 Saints over #5 Falcons and #2 Vikings over #3 Cardinals.  Then in what should be a heck of an NFC Championship game which will most likely be in a dome (will be if my top two seeds are there), #1 Saints over #2 Vikings where home field again becomes a factor.  And for Super Bowl LXIV in Miami, I can't believe I'm saying this as it will make Saints fans more obnoxious than normal (although it'd be a great story for the true Saints fans like some of the ones you see in the Super Dome), I'll take the Saints to beat the Steelers.  They just seem to have enough on defense and have finally realized that Bush is overrated and exactly how and when he needs to be used, that I will go ahead and go with them.  I really hope I'm wrong, however (at least with them).
Posted on: October 1, 2009 12:21 am
 

10 Things I learned the week of Sept. 29th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bonus parting shot- Great job by the Cal Berkley Bears setting up their matchup with USC this week.  They go into Eugene against a struggling Ducks team and get absolutely SMOKED.  And thanks to Ole Miss, Penn State, Cal, and Miami for letting USC jump right back up in the polls, despite losing to a team that just got smoked by Stanford.
Posted on: 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: January 7, 2009 10:28 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2009 8:25 pm
 

10 Things I learned the week of Jan. 5th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on: November 19, 2008 1:04 am
Edited on: November 19, 2008 10:13 pm
 

10 Things I learned the week of Nov. 17th

Yea!  I'm posting on time!  Just got back from the Lightning game (well not just, stopped by Iamyo's blog to vote on songs, first), so that's where I'll lead off after the big news coming down on Friday.  And thank you NFL for making it very easy for me to come of with ten topics after what I thought was going to be a blah weekend (or curse you NFL for making me make some tough decisions to keep it to ten, depending on how you want to look at it).

1) So long, Mullet - No, this is not going to be a good-bye and good ridance point.  Instead, this is going to be a rip owner Oren Clueless point.  First off, you didn't give the man enough time.  Despite the team's poor performances, they were only 6 points out of first at the time.  Secondly, way to show some cajones (not).  Great job letting the inmates run the asylum.  Thirdly, it's absolutely beautiful that you are paying TWO coaches not to coach now.  Guess Saw VI is already in production.  Gotta get that money somewhere.  Plus, it's not like the team is performing much better now that Melrose is gone.  In the game tonight, I saw too much cross ice passing, no players in posistion for rebounds (which Vokoun gave up a ton on the FIFTY shots he faced), and a goalie who makes all the spectacular saves, but gives up the softest goals I've ever seen.  Two of the Panthers three goals tonight were on shots from the blue line, and the third was a soft shot from in front of the net in which he was horribly off balance.  Plus, he commits too early.  That's why they lost in the shootout.  If the one Panther player doesn't lose control, he would have allowed goals on both shots.  Plus, why can't the Lightning players score in shootouts?  This should be an area they excel in.  This team has some major problems, and I don't think anybody in the organization knows how to fix them.  Oh, and one more thing, why is St. Louis on the point on the power play?  Did he develop a 100+ MPH slap shot I don't know about.  His two greatest assets are his agility and his ability to steal the puck, and they are being wasted back there.

2) I always wondered what the "T" in the standings stood for - Just like Donovan McNabb, I had no idea NFL games could end in ties.  I thought they settled it like soccer and lined up five receivers in the end zone, sent out one DB, and the QB had to see how many he could complete from the 20 yard line.  If it was still tied after that, they back up the QB's five yards until one QB hits his receiver and the other doesn't.  You are the leader of an NFL franchise.  You have played this game for many years.  And you didn't know one of the most basic rules????  A rule that was explained to you during the OT coin toss????  A coin toss you were present for as a captain of the team????  And you hope the Super Bowl doesn't end this way????  This is all absolutely inexcusible.  This is the same QB and same head coach that faced a 10-6-1 Atlanta Falcons team in the 2003 playoffs (for the 2002 season) on their way to getting their butts handed to them by the better looking Barber twin.  What the heck did they think the -1 stood for?  That Atlanta suffered a rainout at some point?  That they didn't have enough healthy players to continue one game?  McNabb is a joke.

3) Caveat Emptor -  Unfortunately, I didn't know the latin phrase for "Let the bettor beware."  I couldn't believe (especially with today's economy) that $100 million was bet on the Steeler game against the Chargers.  And because an NFL officiating crew outthought themselves and applied a proper rule improperly, and changed a correct call to an incorrect call, 2/3 of those millions were swept away into the Vegas economy (maybe the housing market out there will improve, now).  Now, I have no sympathy for those that thought they had won and instead held a worthless ticket.  There's always a chance of that when you gamble.  My concern is, though, that these lost points MAY end up coming back in a tie breaker for the playoffs.  Doesn't happen often, but I remember one year (I want to say 1998) where it did.  It was a tie breaker between the Packers, Cowboys, and one other team.  I remember hearing the experts breaking down how the Packers had a +8 differential while the Cowboys had a -24, so they had to make up 32 points, or whatever it was.  Anyway, how is it that people that should INHERITANTLY knows the rules (players, coaches, referees) don't (or at the very least, apply them incorrectly).  This is becoming appalingly scary.  Thanks to the gaffe, though, it was the first 11-10 final in NFL history.

4) Um, say what? - Is there something in the water in Minnesota (maybe it's all them lakes) that makes people see things differently from the rest of us?  First, there was a columnist for the Star-Tribune who called the offensive PI call on Bobby Wade near the end of the game questionable at best.  Questionable at best?  There was absolutely NO question about it.  If he doesn't interfere with Aqib Talib, Talib has an easy pick.  Fortunately, most of the people up there told him to take his homer glasses off.  Now, Brad Childress comes out today and says that not only does he believe that DE Ray Edwards shouldn't be fined, but he thinks Jeff Garcia should have been flagged for intentional grounding.  Um, coach, want to watch the replay again?  You can do it without slow motion, since you said that's what was making people draw the conclussions they were drawing.  First off, Edwards hit Garcia SECONDS (not a second, SECONDS) after he released the ball taking close to three steps to get there.  That's the very definition of roughing, and has been for years.  That was in the books long before all this driving into the turf, leading with the helmet, going low on a QB stuff began.  And then he said Garcia should have been called for intentional grounding because he left the pocket, then went back in?  Coach, you might want to check the rule book again.  I don't think there's anything in there for that.  Another case of someone who should know the rules who doesn't.  No coach, you're more worried about Edwards possibly getting suspended, and being without your ENTIRE starting defensive line.  Oh, and great play calling late in the game, too.  Way to shut down the best RB in the league FOR US.

5) Keep on Rolling - No, I'm not talking about Alabama, who scared me to death in the first half before they woke up and took care of business in the second.  I'm talking about the University of Florida Gators, who have just been on a phenominal tear since dropping the game to Ole Miss.  After that game, Tim Tebow promised that you would never see anybody work harder, and he's lived up to it, with the rest of his teammates joining him.  In the last three games, they have made three of the best defenses in the nation look silly.  They force you to try to run gimmicks to beat them, as Spurrier did with the kickoff throwback that blew up in their face.  In the Vandy game, the only way Vandy's defense got off the field in the first half was with the help of a blind replay booth.  By the way, Florida has scored on all but two of its red zone trips this year, one on the aforementioned Harvin fumble that was a TD (or at the very least not a fumble), and one when they took a knee in the Tennessee game.  That's SCARY effeciency.  I know some of this is due to the SEC being down this year.  Even as an SEC honk, I can admit it.  This is mostly due to a huge drop in the QB play this year.  But hey, they're still clearly the second best conference, without there even being a close third.  Some down year.

6) A look back - Several weeks ago, I wrote this in my blog: Commodore 64's - If you were to suggest to Vanderbilt fans that this would be their record after 10 games this year, I'm sure most of them would have been ecstatic.  Well, they'll have to go 1-4 during the next 5 in order NOT to top it.  ...  Well, they did only go one and four in their next five, but in doing so, secured the aforementioned 6-4 record and their first bowl game since 1982.  Congrats Commodores, from a Gator.

7) Tiger scare - Does Troy have any concept on how to finish a game?  You were up 31-10 going into the fourth quarter, and you allow LSU to drop a 30 spot on you in the quarter????  How on earth does this happen?  More importantly, though, how does LSU get down 31-3 to a Troy to being with?  Did the Bama game take that much out of you?  Or did your coach just not perpare you for this team.  I have no problems with Les Miles.  I think he's a great coach.  But when a team is unmotivated and/or unprepared, that falls squarely on the coach's shoulders, no matter what level of football it is.

8) Speaking of poor coaching ... - Who is the special teams coach for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish?  If there was one going into the Navy game, there should not have been one coming out of the Navy game.  How do you just stand around and watch what's going on, like they did on the second one.  Allowing one onside kick is a fluke, allowing two is unforgivable.  Way to hang on to win a game that, quite frankly, you deserved to lose.  Doesn't seem like that hot seat cooled off too much for Charlie Weiss after that one.

9) Speaking of poor coaching ... - Yes, I know I just used this as the title to the previous point, but it fits here as well, especially when talking about an unprepared and/or unmotivated team.  This time, I give you, the University of Ketucky basketball team.  Did they really just lose to VMI, a year after coming off a loss to Gardner-Webb?  Yes, I know upsets happen, but this level of upset should not happen to this storied of a team two years running.  Kentucky at 18-11 no more deserved to be in the NCAA tournament last year than my Gators did, but one of them made it.  And now they're well on their way to potentially not making it this year.  And UK basketball fans, what's your deal?  Gary Parish writes one little article about you that you don't like, and you go flying off the handle?  I'll give you this link to one of my responses: http://www.sportsline.com/mcc/blogs
/entry/6271764/11701790#comments

10) Weekend look ahead - The games I'm looking forward to this weekend are UF versus The Cit ... ah, who am I kidding?  Give me Texas Tech Oklahoma, Ball State Central Michigan on Wednesday to see if they can remain undefeated (actually, Ball State might be wishing it was Michigan and not Central Michigan on their schedule), Penn State Michigan State, and in the NFL, New England Miami (who would have thought I'd be saying that after last year?), New York Giants Arizona, and Atlanta Carolina.  As you can see, a fantastic weekend to make up for last one.

Posted on: September 24, 2008 6:22 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2008 9:24 am
 

10 Things I learned the week of Sept. 22nd

1) Saints still have no D and no north south running game - As a Bucs fan, I always love a chance to pile on the team with the most ridiculous fans in the NFC South who somehow think they have a tradition of winning and are clearly superior to the rest of the teams based on two years ago.  All I heard was we fixed our D.  Well after 3 weeks, WRONG!  You are one horrible Jeff Garcia read/pass away from being 0-3.  On the play where Fujita picked him off, he had TWO receivers wide open in the end zone and didn't see either one for some inexplicable reason.  But hey, you made the plays and won the game.  Secondly, I got in heated discussions about Reggie Bush being a bust.  While I may have been premature in that assessment, I was correct on two other things fans refused to take off their black and gold colored glasses to see.  1) Without a north south running game, your offense is predictable and one dimensional.  You still lack this key component.  2) Reggie Bush is, and will always be a WR who lines up behind the QB.  They should just make the change and be done with it.  And he still dances too much.  Bust, no.  But does he make the Saints a winner, no.  Cheer up, Saints fans, you still have to play the Chiefs, Raiders, and Lions.  There's 3 wins right there.  Oh, but the Bucs and Panthers still have to play the Lions, Raiders, and Chiefs, too.  Nevermind.

2) The balance of power has shifted - For years, the AFC has been the dominant conference.  That has now shifted to the NFC, and specifically, the East.  You could have 3 teams from that division making the playoffs again this year, especially since they all play the Bengals, Browns, and Rams.

3) "Lee"ding your team to a dramatic win - In my first segment of this blog, I commented on whether UCLA threw Craft's jersey over another kid.  Well, did LSU do the same thing this week?  It's amazing the difference in performance between the two halves.  Hat's off to LSU for that outstanding victory on the road.

4) The Pac 10 is done - I commented on their horrific record against the Mountain West here last week, but after Boise State beat Oregon on the road (yes, I realize the Ducks had their 24th string QB in there), stick a fork in this conference.  USC fans should really worry.  While I doubt it will be enough to keep them from Miami on Jan 8th, they will be heavily penalized in the computer polls for their schedule, especially when compared to a potentially undefeated SEC or Big 12 team.

5) Look Ma, 67 pass attempts and no grass stains - How did the Bears stack the box and force the Bucs to pass on nearly every down, and not get a sack?  The only times they even got pressure on him was via the blitzing LB.  I guess they react much better to run plays than pass plays.  Give a QB time, and he will shred you, whether he's Joe Montana or Joe Schmoe.  Kudos to the Bucs O Line, who was still without Davin Joseph.

6) The face of frustration - As a Gator fan, nothing made me feel better than watching Tennessee make mistake after mistake, and then showing coach Phillip's facial expressions on the side line.  And what was up with Crompton thinking they should have won that game?  It was 17-0 before they could blink (or move the ball for that matter).  While I don't "hate" Tennessee (although their band could learn a couple more songs than playing Rocky Top 265,326 times a game, although I think I heard it less than 10 times in this game), I do "hate" Fulmer.  The only good thing is he has a losing record against the Gators.  In fact, in recent history, this is starting to reach Georgia levels.  And Georgia (who I do hate), appears to be turning it around under Mark Richt (who I love, go figure).  I'm also looking forward to a peed off Auburn team continuing the Volunteers woes this week.

7) Another coach I love to hate in the SEC - While I have no love for Nick Saban, I loved seeing his team go into Arkansas and CRUSH the Razorbacks and Bobby Petrino.  Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

8) Weekly Kiffin death watch - a few people have noted this story has started to reach Favreian levels.  The problem is Davis wants Kiffin gone, but doesn't want to pay him.  Kiffin has made it clear (and rightfully so) that he won't quit, and Davis' lawyers I'm sure have explained to him that they have no legal recourse if they fire him.  This is a no win situation, for Kiffin, Davis, but most of all, for the Raiders team.  And what's up with Rob Ryan's act?  Aren't you the DC?  Want to actually get your team to, oh I don't know, DEFEND SOMEBODY!!!!

9) A look ahead - I am really looking forward to the Bama Georgia game between the hedges this week.  With Bama's great start, this should be a fun game.  Off the tails of the Tiger bowl, this looks like another epic ESPN SEC showdown brewing.

And finally (expect to see this again next week) ...

10) "Rays"ing the bar - Congrats to the Tampa Bay Rays securing their first postseason birth in franchise history.  This team is absolutely fun to watch, and will be a force in the MLB playoffs, especially at the Trop.  With a magic number of 2 (yes, I know as of 9/22 it was 4, I can break my own rules every once in a while), I look forward to congratulate them on winning the East on my post for the week of Sept. 29th.  Go Rays!!!

Posted on: September 20, 2008 8:39 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2008 3:59 pm
 

10 things I learned the week of Sept. 15th

Sorry I'm late on this one.  Had a busy week and was sick for a day.  Even though this is going up on a Saturday, I'll limit it as though I was posting on Tuesday.

1) Most NFL fans need to relax - I always love how after one week, fans of 16 teams are writing off their seasons, and fans of the other 16 are printing their playoff tickets.  Several teams that were 0-1 won, and vice versa, so where are we at now?  It's a lot easier to get a better read after week 4, so be patient.

2) USC will easily win the PAC 10 and will most likely be in Miami for Jan 8th - Really, were most of us surprised by that result?  I think more suprising was what the rest of the Pac 10 pulled off (losses except for Oregon, which had to rally).  Unless SC pulls a Stanford, there's them, and then there's everybody else.  The only team that will beat them is themselves.

3) The three best conferences are 1a) SEC 1b) Big 12 3) MOUNTAIN WEST??? - By going 5-0 against said Pac 10, I think we can definitely make the case for this.  Honestly, who else to you put in that 3 hole?  The Big 10?  The ACC?  The Big East?  Can't be the Pac 10 based on the 0-5 record.

4) One of the best games I saw this week was USF-KU - That was a huge victory for USF, which beat a good Kansas team with a great QB in Reesing.  Unfortunately, he made one mistake in a critical time, and the rest is history.  USF just might be the class of the Big East this year.  Maybe a trip to Miami on Jan 1 is in the cards.

5) An MNF classic - The best game I saw was the Cowboys Eagles game.  That game was back and forth just like a basketball game.  Yes, I know pureists will sight the lack of defense, but still, WOW!  That kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

6) Auburn 3 run double Mississippi State 2 run home run - Yes, I know people looking to slam the SEC  will point to this score, but it is just an effect of the best defense being played in the country.  Right now, the defensive stats are drastically skewwed toward SEC schools.  Now, on the other side ...

7) Big 12 sand lot football - Had that score come from a Big 12 game, I could understand a little more.  For those of your who aren't paying attention to what are clearly the two best conferences this year (see: 7 8 teams in the top 10), the Big 12 teams are averaging nearly 50 points scored per game.  Little surprise with the great QB's that play in here.  Daniels, Bradford, Reesing, the up and down that is Texas Tech.  Can't wait until they start playing in conference.  Unfortunately, only one school from one of these two conferences will be able to play USC in Miami (unless they do pull a Stanford).  Would be nice if they could play each other.  Strength versus strength.

8) ND is still ND - last week I wondered if the ND team this year could be worse than the one last year.  Well, despite beating Michigan, the jury's still out.  Michigan put up better numbers, except for the most important one, the scoreboard.  ND will clearly finish with a better record this year, aided by a softer schedule.  Still, I think we'll know just how bad they are when they play SC.

9) Preseason Predictions mean absolutely zero - So far, two of the medias darlings, the Browns and Vikings are 0-2.  Worse, we're to be subjected to nearly the entire Browns regular season thanks to the powers that be giving them like 10 4:15, SNF, MNF, or NFLN games.  Yurg!!!!

10) Can this be the Cardinals year? - On the other hand, another media darling is quietly 2-0 despite ostracizing one of their WRs.  Looking at the rest of that pathetic division, this may finally be the year for that trendy pick to come true.

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