Tag:Tampa Bay Lightning
Posted on: March 24, 2010 9:43 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2010 12:13 am
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10 Things I Learned the Week Of Mar. 22nd

Hello loyal 10TILTW followers.  I've got plenty of things to hit on (wonder if I can keep it to 10) including some non-college b-ball takes (although it'll still be heavily in that direction).  Got some great ideas for points in today's paper, including a story about a 17 year old kid who's kicking ALL of our butts on the cbssports.com bracket challenge.  So enjoy!

1) Great week in the tourney forces me to rehash my main point from last week - This week's NCAA tournament was both a blessing and a curse.  A blessing in that you had highly compelling, interesting games, many glass slippers fitting for now.  Numerous overtime games where it came down to five minutes of crunch time with tired legs to find out who wants it more.  And several buzzer beaters including a few heartbreakers where a team had just scored the previous trip.  A curse in that my bracket blew up in my face, Kentucky is now the favorite, and because so many 9+ and mid-majors did so well, it has brought about a stronger push to expand the field.  I already hit on all the reasons why this would be a bad idea last week (at least to 96 teams.  I am open to the idea of a small expansion), so I'll direct you here if you want to see what those are: http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
entry/10264446/20507349
.  My bigger problem now is that people are saying this will get more of the small fries in.  If by more, you mean about 6, you are absolutely correct.  But you are kidding yourself if you think by going to 96 teams, it's not going to just open up the doors to the North Carolina's and Connecticut's of the world.  I don't need to see .500 teams who have no business being there losing in the first round to the Northern Iowa's and St. Mary's of the world.  Plus, it'd be unfair to them to make them (UNI and St. Mary's) play the extra game when they TRULY deserve to be there.  Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now as it involves too much common sense.

2) Too many people buy into the #1 overall seed - Did you know since they started seeding the #1 seeds in I think 2004, only one number one overall has won it all?  That would be the 2007 Florida Gators who returned their top 7 players from winning it the previous year.  Even in 2008, the rare (I believe only) year where all four number one seeds made it (typically it's one or two), it still wasn't the number 1 overall seed that won.  I think it's a good thing they do it, I just think people (myself included) need to stop putting so much stock in it.  The difference between the top 5 teams is usually not all that much.

3) The Big Least - Okay, I admit it.  I bought into the hype, too.  8 overall teams.  Most 3 seeds or better.  And now after the first week of the tournament, you have TWO remaining.  That's equal to the SEC who had only 4 show up to begin with, none higher than a 4 besides UcK.  That's one more than the Pac-10 who only SENT two in the first place.  This can be described in one word, PATHETIC.  Do I think the Big East is overrated?  Surpirsingly, no, I do not.  I still think they are the best league in basketball (which is easy when you have 36 teams.  Okay, I know, it's only 16).  Do I think they are overhyped?  120%.  And do I think a lot of the Big East players bought into the hype of everybody (especially the four letter network) telling them how good they are.  Yup.  Look, these are young men.  They're barely not kids anymore.  It's bad enough when a 22 year old NFL rookie has his ego stroked.  It's worse for 18 and 19 year olds.  And blame the coaches all you want (and a little of the blame does go there), but trust me, most of these kids just couldn't be reached.

4) A seventeen year old is beating us - Did you know that Alex Herman, a 17 year old from the Chicago area has picked all 48 games played so far correctly?  The odds of doing that are 13,460,000 to 1.  And he entered his bracket here, on cbssports.com.  His remaining picks?  Elite 8: Northern Iowa, Tennessee, Syracuse, Kansas St., Kentucky, West Virginia, Perdue, and Baylor.  Final Four: Tennessee, Kansas St., Kentucky, and Perdue.  And in the title game, he has Perdue beating Kansas St.  Shoot, even if he doesn't score another point, he'll probably beat most of us.  And it seems to be in pretty good shape to pick up some more.  Good luck, Alex.  This is an amazing feat.

5) Five (seed) Bucks - How about the amazing run Milwaukee has been on in the NBA.  They are lighting it up, and currently hold the five seed in the East.  I know I wouldn't want to be playing a team this scorching hot heading into the playoffs.  Now, I won't be picking them to make the Finals, but Scotty Skiles and that team deserve tremendous kudos for what they have accomplished recently.

6) It's lowly at the top for the Nets - At a recent Nets game, CEO Brett Yormark left his seat to go yell at a fan who was wearing a bag over his head.  Yormark said he wanted to let the fan know he didn’t agree with the way he was expressing his opinion.  Dude!!!  you realize your team is 7-63 and might set the all time mark for futility, right?  What the heck do you expect?  Besides, he gave your pathetic club some of his hard earned money to watch a pathetic product, so leave him alone already.  Shoot, they still wear Mike Brown Bags in Cincy, and they've been decent the past few years.  But, as they say, a fish rots from the head down, and with clueless people like this running the organization, it's easy to see why they only win one out of every 10 games.

7) Overtime no longer over on FG drive - In a much needed change for the NFL before lady luck leaves them and they have a Super Bowl decided this way, teams can no longer win the coin toss, drive for a FG, and end the game in the playoffs.  Personally, I would like to see both teams get one crack at the ball, but this is a huge step in the right direction.  It means teams will at least wait till fourth down on that first drive to send out the kicker.  It means a more conserted effort will be made to move the ball once you get inside the 30.  And to Clark Judge who has a problem because teams can turn over the ball the first play at the 20 and the other team can send out their kicker on the next play, are you serious???  Yeah, let's punish the defense for doing their job.  35% of overtime games in the NFL end with the team winning the coin toss getting that initial FG.  And the team that wins the coin toss wins well over 50% of the time overall.

8) Another (especially four letter) media rant - I'm sickened by the disparity in coverage that the media in general, and especially a certain network who has become far too big and powerful for their own britches, of say the Ben Roethlisberger situation and the Warren Sapp situation (or Tiger Woods).  I would hate to think in today's day and age, this is a black and white thing, and I'm still not there, yet, but I am thinking about it which is a scary, scary thought to me.  How does ESPN get away with foo-fooing the Roethlisberger thing TWICE, once issuing a "Do Not Report" memorandum, and basically make him sound like an all around good guy, while other's are treated like scum?  Shame on you, ESPN.

9) Why hockey players are the best in the world - Wanted to share this snipet from today's paper (St. Pete Times) about Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vinny LeCavalier.

Way to go, Vinny!

“I was recently at my son Tyler’s youth baseball game and was very surprised to see (Lightning captain)
Vinny Lecavalier walk by. My 7-year-old son approached him for an autograph. This was on a Saturday afternoon after the Lightning played Thursday night in Toronto and Friday in Washington. I held my breath while hoping for the best and fearing the worst. I could not have blamed Vinny for politely declining the autograph request especially when my son could produce neither a pen nor paper.

This was not a hockey event, and Lecavalier must have been exhausted.

I was worried about how to explain the rejection to a 7-year-old boy with a poster of this man on his bedroom wall and the No. 4 on the back of his
own hockey jersey. To my surprise, Vinny found a pen and piece of paper. He asked my son for his name so he could personalize the autograph. We started to walk away when Tyler’s enormous grin faded. I asked what was wrong and he stated that he probably would’ve preferred a photo.

He then ran back to interrupt Vinny again and now has a wonderful pic­ture with two huge smiles.

Athletes are not required to be role models, but some are. We are lucky to have a team captain who goes far beyond what any fan has a right to expect. His work for charity, espe­cially at the All Children’s Hospital, is a huge benefit to this community. The fact that he is just as gracious and kind when no one is watching speaks volumes of his true character. Vinny, as a dad and a fan … thank you!”


— David K. Beach, Tampa
<!-- END FOR TRANSLATE -->

I got to experience some of this first hand when my own son was at All Children's Hospital almost 8 years ago when he was first diagnosed with Leukemia.  On one of the days he was there, Mr. LeCavalier was making rounds to the rooms visiting all the sick kids.  He absolutely made my day when he stopped by, and we talked for several minutes.  I think he was happy to find such a big hockey fan, but everything he did compelled me to call the local sports radio station from the hospital that afternoon to tell of my experience.  Later, in 2004, Brad Richards who was on the team at the time, would invite about 5 children with cancer and their families per night to sit in his suite at every regular season game, and I got lucky enough to go on the night that the Lightning clinched the number 1 seed in the East (they were playing the Panthers that night and won, which made it better, and afterwards, they had the Boston game on the Jumbotron who the Lightning needed to not win).  It was kind of a long night because needless to say the team stayed in the lockerroom watching the Bruins game, but afterward he came up and talked to all of us and signed autographs and the whole works.  Just like Mr. LeCavalier, he was very engaging and polite, and my son, who was already a huge hockey fan, also became a huge Brad Richards fan.  Unfortunately, it was hard to explain to him when we traded Richy to Dallas a few years ago.  Also as part of Mr. Richard's work with kids with cancer, I have a picture in my office of my son with Mr. Richards, Marty St. Louis, and the Stanley Cup, which my son got to see up close and personal.  I just want everybody to know how common this is for hockey players to do these sort of things, as you hardly ever hear about them (I've heard NASCAR drivers are really good at this, too).  Now, if only my Lightning hadn't decided to choke after the Olympic break.

10) NCAA predictions - Well, let's see if I can do better than I did last week and what I've done so far overall:
For Thursday and Friday, I'll take Michigan State over Northern Iowa, Ohio State over Tennessee (although if Tenn gets up 20 like they did in 2007, don't expect Bruce Pearl to let this one get choked away) which would guarantee a Big Ten team in the Final Four, Syracuse over Butler, Kansas State over Xavier, Kentucky over Cornell, West Virginia over Washington, Duke over Perdue, and for my lone upset and Elite 8 shocker, St. Mary's to continue their magical Aussie run (4 of their players are from down under) and beat Baylor.
For Saturday and Sunday, give me Ohio State over Michigan State, Kansas State over Syracuse (I know, I changed it, but am worried about Onuaku's health and K State has looked really good), Kentucky over West Virginia (bye bye Big East, zero Final Four teams for you), and Duke over St. Mary's.
Posted on: March 2, 2010 9:02 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2010 4:43 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Mar. 1st

Good evening, boys and girls, and welcome to my little neck of the cbssports.com world known as 10TILTW.  It's great to be back, although I always find things easier when it's football season.  Conference tournaments are next week, and should give me plenty to talk about.  And despite the Olympics, my favorite hockey team tried to make some noise, unfortunately in a bad way.

1) Golden Re-Match - Olympic hockey got the boost it needed in an overtime classic between the USA and Canada.  That was the kind of game that could go a long way to getting casual fans back into the sport.  Kudos to the scrappy American team that never gave up and fought every minute, not just in that game, but every one, and congrats to the Canadians, eh.  A well deserved win to great fans of a great sport.

2) "Breakout Sport" - The breakout sport of this Olympics was curling, but I must confess I'm still at a little bit of a loss.  I get that the stone closest to the center wins, but couldn't quite get the scoring, especially when teams would get more than one point in the end.  I did finally pick up on the "curling" aspect of the thrower turning the stone, which eventually would get the stone to "curl" it's path.  Still can't figure out how sweeping the ice gets the stone to go further.  Those girls can come work on my apartment, though.  All in all, though, a very strategic sport with angles and english similar to billiards, but too often to me, it seemed to come down to the team with the "hammer" in that particular end.

3) "I'm Not Carrot Top!" - Even for someone like me who does not follow snowboarding, it's clear to see that Shaun White is in a league of his own.  Dude was getting 10 feet more air than anybody else out there.  It was like the Saints playing the Lions.  Just not fair.

4) The final count - I read an article going into the Vancouver games by this guy that has some sort of "formula" that appearantly is pretty accurate that had the Canadians taking the most medals with 28.  I do know the expectations were for a very strong showing by the home nation.  It resulted in the USA taking a record 37 medals and leaving Canada well behind in the total medal count.  But the Canadians need not hang their heads, they did take a record number of gold medals, meaning when then were winning, they were WINNING.

5) Orange Crush - In a weird weekend in college hoops which saw #1 Kansas and #2 Kentucky fall (and an inexplicable loss by my Gators to Georgia), Syracuse stepped up on the national stage and scored a huge win against Villanova to earn the number one spot in both polls.  I still think Kansas is the best all around team.  I still think Villanova has the shooting to when they are hot, they'll make serious noise.  But you have to give credit to the Cuse who parlayed a great early start into a phenominal season and a possible #1 seed in the big Tourney.

6) The back of the Pac - Just how horrible has the Pac-10 been this year?  You are looking at most likely the Pac-10 tournament winner being the only one in the conference to make the NCAA's, a la the Southland.  That is inexcusible for a big time conference, although well appreciated by the A-10, Mountain West, and Big East.  I'll be happy to see more than 4 non-BCS teams make the tourney this year, and will be happy to see teams that actually deserve it make it, including 8 or 9 from the conference playing the best basketball in the land.

7) Shaq shacked - The injury to Shaquille O'Neal is a huge loss to the Cavaliers, not that they won't still be in every game, not that they still won't likely win the East, especially with MVP LeBron, but because Cleveland got him for one reason and one reason only, to neutralize Dwight Howard in the playoffs.  If Shaq is unavailable for the playoffs, it may make the east wide open when you get to seven game series.

8) Crunch time on ice - Now that the Olympic break is over, the NHLers return to the playoff push, having only 1/4 of the season remaining.  The pre-break story of the year has to be (and I hate to say it) the Alex Oh-retch-kin led Washington Capitals (maybe he can disappear like he did in the game against Canada), who aren't just running away with a mediocre division, but the entire Eastern Conference.  The road to Lord Stanley's Cup will travel though the nation's capital.

9) Power struggle - Incredible.  Just when I thought things were turning around for the Lightning, in the playoff hunt, good coach, new owner, the GM Brainless Lawton decides to essentially pull a coup during the break when everybody's attention was elsewhere and put his own hand picked assistant on the coaching staff without the consent of the head coach.  Tocchet and this guy (both the assistant and Lawton) are like night and day, but now Tocchet is in a no-win situation, and the writing is on the wall.  And it's too bad, because I really like what he's done in turning this team around from the post-Tortorella era.  Now, if the team misses the playoffs, Rick will be the goat, and if they make it, Brainless can say it was because of the changes that "his" guy made to get them over the top.  Nothing would please me more than seeing Lawton being shown the door by new management.

10) The look ahead - Some games to watch this coming week, The Heat have a couple huge games in the NBA this week with the Lakers on Thursday and the Hawks on Saturday, but it will be all college b-ball as teams make their push for the tournament.  Among the key games, Kentucky Florida on Saturday, which the Gators might need to make the tournament, the Kansas Kansas State rematch tomorrow, West Virginia Villanova on Saturday, and a huge Big East bubble game tomorrow between UConn and Notre Dame.  Looking forward to tourney basketball the next few weeks.

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 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: January 13, 2009 6:55 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2009 10:24 pm
 

10 Things I Learned The Week of Jan. 12th

Hello there sports fans.  Don't know how many of you caught it, but due to being ill, I initially ran a shortened version of my blog last week, but went back and updated it (and still missed on one thing I definitely wanted to hit on, which I shall do so this installment) on Saturday.  So if you like what you see here (and Bamaman, if you read this, I posed a question to you after I updated), please feel free to check back on the completed edition of last week (also feel free to check out all the rest if you're really bored and/or suffering from insomnia).  Here's the link: http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
entry/10264446/12793505

1) Offense sells tickets, defense wins championships - Okay, so technically this should fall under things I relearned this week for the hundredth time yet some people still fail to grasp.  It doesn't matter the sport, but this is ESPECIALLY true in football.  Defense wins championships.  PERIOD, PERIOD, PERIOD.  First off, a huge kudos to the Oklahoma Sooners who came out and played an inspired game, especially on defense.  When the game was on the line, though, and Tebow went Tebow (more on him in a moment), they simply didn't have enough of an answer.  I am sick and tired of the know nothing media (and I know it's not all of them) wondering how in the world somebody's going to shut down this unstoppable offense when it's happened time, and time, and time again.  Thankfully, the public (60%), and Vegas, and people who have played the sport have figured it out.  I loved how in one thread an Oklahoma fan phooied off somebody (don't even think it was a Gator fan) who pointed out the line went off at UF -6 despite being at -4 1/2 all week, and opening at -3.  The OU fan said that Vegas moves the line based on the money coming in (correct) and that it was the public pushing it that way (incorrect).  The public pushed it from the initial 3 to the 4 1/2.  Most of that late betting, however, is sharp money coming in.  The TRUE experts had the game pegged right the whole way.  Also, I finally nailed a prediction of a low scoring game, and while not as big of a factor as I thought they could be, a wasted timeout, a false start penalty (which was later wiped out by a roughing the kicker call), and a blocked FG, special teams did come into play.  By the way, one of the most telling stats was third down efficiency, especially in the Red Zone.  Oklahoma was 2-4 in the Red Zone and came away with zero points on 2 of their trips.  The Gators, on the other hand, were 4 or 4 in the promised land and 12 of 17 overall.  Oklahoma just couldn't get off the field when it mattered.  Also, what was that play call right before the half where Bradford got picked by Major Wright?  Even if he completes that, he would have been tackled at the two yard line and time would have run out on the half because they had no timeouts left.  INEXCUSIBLE.  Don't know if that was coaching, or execution, but somebody needed to be held accountable for that.

2) The Play of the game - In line with the defense wins championships theory (fact in my book), the single biggest play of the game had to be Ahmad Black ripping the ball away from Juaquin Iglesias for one of the best interceptions I've ever seen.  The look on Bradford's face after that play was priceless.  He thought he had completed the pass and set his team up at the Gators 24 only to have his heart ripped out.  By the way, what were Thom Brennamen (sp?) and Charles Davis watching (more on this later).  It took them almost a minute to realize the Gators had come up with the ball.

3) A Gritty, Gutsy Performance - Huge Kudos to Percy Harvin, who must have been running on pure adrenaline with his slightly bummed ankle.  They said in pregame warmups, you could tell he wasn't 100%, but it sure didn't show on the field, ripping off two huge runs of 40+ yards, one from his own 3 yard line.  He singlehanded flipped the field twice, and ripped momentum back away from Oklahoma after they had tied the game at 14 early in the fourth quarter.

4) A repeat performance - Tim Tebow announced this weekend that he was returning for his senior season, which set off a tidal wave of Tebow hating on the boards.  Everyone was talking about having to go through another year of the Tebow lovefest from all the broadcasters.  Look at it from my angle, though.  The rest of us have to put up with another year of all the haters drinking their haterade.  While I admit some of the stories/attention is overblown, the fact is the kid is a phenominal leader, and a proven winner.  And no matter what you think of how he'll perform at the next level, what position he'll play, etc., you know that almost all of these people spewing their venom at the kid would die to have him as the QB of their team.  I have to believe that it's 75% jealousy, and 25% of tiredness due to media overkill.  Instead of hating on the kid, hate the media and check the mirror.

5) Fox's coverage of big game very apropos for the BCS - God, Fox's coverage of the BCS Championship game was horrible, and not even because of the reason most people pointed to, which was the perceived (and to some extent true) Tebowfest, which by the way wasn't nearly as bad as most made out and didn't even start until the second half when Tebow started to go Tebow on the OU defense.  You want to talk about love fests?  How about the love fest for the OU offense (offense sells tickets, remember?)?  Was there anything more utterly useless and annoying than the garbage of the OU time between snap clock and the quad screen that they went to dozens of times?  Also, did the producer ever hear of this thing fans like called game content?  You know, like mixing in a replay or three during the course of the game.  And did Brennamen and Davis miss Barry Alvarez that much???  I thought the three did an admirable job in 2007 broadcasting the BCS Championship game between tOSU and UF, but this game the duo was LOST.  Most notable of which was the goal line stand series where Brennamen was a down ahead the entire time and Davis did NOTHING to correct him (and seemed unaware of the down himself).  Yeah, that was a HUGE decision to go for it on 3rd and goal from the 1, NOT!  Also, were the people in the truck asleep all game.  Don't they have people who tell these guys stuff and spotters and crap?  How come ABSOLUTELY nobody corrected them that whole time?  Overall, an absolutely horrendous job by FOX.

6) Something I missed last week - Wanted to give Kudos to the Buckeyes for the great game they played against Texas in the Fiesta Bowl.  In fact, it was a shame that the tOSU coaching staff (most notably DC Jim Heacock {sp?}) cost that game for the kids who absolutely played their hearts out.  I actually felt bad for Buckeye fans getting their hearts ripped out for the third time, since it happened in this fashion.  Overall, an extremely hard fought, well played game by both teams, and one that proved A) the Buckeyes belonged and B) Texas deserved that #4 ranking in the AP that I predicted they would get.

7) Cry me a river - God, I could not believe the whining going on by Titans fans after their game against the Ravens.  Several threads popped up about the Titans getting jobbed and the botched delay of game penalty COSTING them the game.  Yes, it was a missed call.  But the penalties and the TURNOVERS, especially those in the red zone, COST the Titans the game.  As I tried to explain to the whiners, A) Delay of Game does not come with a loss of down, so what makes them think Baltimore doesn't just convert the first down anyway and the arguement is moot.  B) Say they do stop them, what's to stop the Titans from turning the ball over again and the Ravens winning, or the game going to OT and the Ravens winning.  Honestly, even if the proper call had been made, the Titans still had a better chance of losing than winning IMHO C) Todd Heap was still double covered on the play, so it wasn't like the Titans gave up and weren't playing defense.  Plus, I've seen situations where teams have gotten a play off after the clock hit :00 where they threw a pick.  Think the offense would have liked the 5 yard penalty in that case?  I later started a thread after the Steelers Chargers game making fun of said crybabies (which not all Titan fans were doing, just to be fair) and one blasted me that I'd do the same if it were my team.  Let me make this perfectly clear.  I will NEVER, EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE blame officiating on losing a game.  For one, that's loser speak in my book and for two, even with Ed Hochuli's blown call in the Chargers Broncos game that had a MILLION TIMES more to do with deciding the outcome of that game than some missed delay of game call EVER will, the Broncos were still faced with a 4th and goal from about the 10.  The Chargers still had a chance to make a play and win the game and did not.  That fact gets overlooked sometimes.  By the way, it came out Monday that the officials blew another call in the game, in FAVOR of the Titans.  The Ravens should have had a safety when Chris Johnson failed to get the ball COMPLETELY out of the endzone (it's the exact opposite of going in.  If the ball breaks the plane, it breaks the plane, TD wise or safety wise).  As it was put by the NFL when posed a question about that play, "The Ravens failed to challenge it."  In other words, it was a safety.  Of course, we won't hear about THAT one from Titan fans.

8) Fake Delhomme - Wow, I must have missed where the Panthers were secretly matched up against the Ravens or Steelers last week.  I could have swore both teams were in other games of their own.  But how else to you explain the sudden defensive dominance of the Cardinals (yes, some of it needs to be hung around Jake's neck like an albatross)?  Delhomme turned in the worst playoff performance since Rich Gannon decided the Bucs offense wasn't scoring enough so why not give their defense three touchdowns as well and only topped by the playoff game in which Jet Favre completed six passes to Rams players masquerading as Packers.  In other playoff debacle news, the Giants seemed absolutely content to just kick field goal after field goal (and not very successfully, I might add), and it ended up costing them big time.  A big congratulations to the Eagles.  Oh, and just as we had the NFL's first ever 11-10 game earlier this year when the Steelers had a TD taken away at the end of the game while beating the Chargers (in the regular season game), this was the NFL's first 23-11 final score.

9) Midseason Lightning report card - Well, we've hit the midseason point of the NHL, and my beloved Bolts earn themselves a big F, mostly due to their front office.  From the bold predictions which they seem destined to fall short of, to trading away Dan Boyle for basically a bag of Cheetos, and a roll of Mentos, to now doing nothing to quell rumors of Lecavalier to Montreal, I'm quickly getting sick of GM Brainless Lawton and owner Oren Klueless.  If they do trade Vinny, I might just become a Wings fan.  That's how despondent I'd be (j/k Diva, I'd never stoop that low ).  I'll give out complete NHL midseason report cards next week.

10) BuccinGators weatherman-like results and clueless conference championship game predicitions - Well, I finished bowl season a stellar 18-16, while pulling down 57.5% of the available points in my bowl pool, and am so far batting .250 in the NFL, going 1-3 each week.  So you may want to bet the opposite of what I say, but I am predicting (and praying for I might add) an all Pennsylvania Super Bowl XLIII here in Tampa.  I get the feeling, though, that the real Super Bowl is being played this week in Pittsburgh.  I could (EASILY) be wrong, though.  NFC Eagles 24, Cardinals 17.  AFC Steelers 13 Ravens 8.

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.

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