Saturday, December 29, 2007

Perfect for Now...

The Patriots have completed an incredible 16-0 regular season; an accomplishment not to be taken lightly. But at the risk of sounding like the '72 Dolphins, this is only the beginning. An undefeated season ends in the calender year after it starts, and only 19-0 will be viewed as a total success. The Patriots played in the league's worst division this season, a season that was top heavy and short on strong teams. The Patriots have road wins over the next two best teams in the NFL, Indy and Dallas, and will likely see those two again, as well as the Jags or Chargers. Finishing that run will leave them with a title the '72 Dolphins have never held, and that's "Greatest Team Ever"...

Friday, December 28, 2007

For the record...

These are my bowl picks for the games through January 1st. If I didn't pick a game, it means I could care'll get the rest next week!

I like:
Miss St.+3 v. UCF
Penn St.-5 v. Texas A&M
Bama-3'v. Colorado
Auburn+2' v. Clemson
Wisconsin+2' v. UT
Missouri-3 v. Arkansas
UF-10.5 v. Michigan
USC-13' v. Illinois
UGA-7' v. Hawai'i

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Something amazing will happen...

Any way you slice it, something amazing is going to happen in the NFL Sunday night. Either these two guys, Vince Young and LenDale White, are going to lead the Titans back to the playoffs in just there second year....or the Cleveland Browns, fresh of a 4-12 season a year ago, will be playing in January. Both would be extraordinary, and typical NFL. In a season that has scoffed at parity and given us a dynastic team on the brink of 16-0, there is still room for Cinderella in cleats.
The story of this season goes beyond the surprises in Nashville and Cleveland. In Tampa, the Bucs are division champions again using every QB they signed in the off season except Jake Plummer. In Green Bay, Brett Favre will win 13 games and Wade Phillips, yes, Wade Phillips got the Cowboys to perform better than Parcells ever did. The NFL once again, is, in the words of Denny Green, "Who they thought they were!" I say, "Crown 'em!"

Friday, December 21, 2007

How much longer?

You can argue the many merits of the NFL owning it's own network, and competing with it's own TV partners for advertising dollars and fan eyeballs. However, what is undeniable is the fact that Bryant Gumble is the worst football Play-by-player, ever. No, really...think about it...let me know when you've found a worse one. Unprepared, lacking top shelf knowledge, lacking a clear understanding of the game...and those are the pluses! He repeated references to 49ers running back Frank Gore as "Al Gore" aside, Gumble's sheer lack of understanding for what is going on on the field is overshadowed by terrible technique and a stunning lack of football vocabulary. He can't set the formations, refers to the near or far side to "this" side or "over there" and makes no sense when setting the scene. For example, in last night's Steelers-Rams game, Marc Bulger was sacked for a 9 yard loss on 1st down setting up a 2nd and 19. Stephen Jackson then rips off a 13 yard run to make it 3rd and 6. Gumble's call? "Jackson gains back "most" of the yards "he" lost. What? If this was an isolated incident, I'd let that slide, but this is what this clown gives us all night long! Thankfully, much of the country doesn't get the games! Those that do would be wise to tune in geriatric Dick Enberg on Westwood One radio for their audio.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Misplaced support?

As word came down that the NFL has fined several members of the Atlanta Falcons for 'uniform violations', I began to wonder exactly what these knuckleheads were trying to say. "Free Mike Vick"? Oh, so you basically think it's OK to treat defenseless dogs as inhumanely as possible? To have them fight to the death? Or maybe it's the part about lying to everyone, including the authorities, that works for you. No,'s that thing where an entire business, the owner and the franchise hook there wagon to your horse, and you bring it all down with selfish, criminal behaviour....but really, "Free Mike Vick!"...because who could be a better teammate than the one who you all put your faith in, trusted with leadership and ultimately screwed you over. Yeah, "Free Mike Vick". If he were my teammate, I might wear that T-shirt...only the first word would be a different F-word....

Monday, December 17, 2007

Anything we can do to help....

Gunther Cunningham was on The Thom Abraham Show last week and clearly said he was worried about Chris Brown....Apparently the message got to LenDale. This is from Jim Wyatt and Paul Kuharsky in Monday's Tennessean:

"LenDale White felt like his 24-carry, 93-yard day sent a message to Chiefs defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham.
In a Nashville radio interview on Friday, the former Titans assistant indicated he feared and respected Chris Brown, the No. 2 back.
"Their defensive coordinator said he really wasn't worried about me at all, he was worried about the other guy," White said. "So it's definitely great to get in that situation and know you have four minutes on the clock and a couple first downs end the game.""

Hey, anything we can do to help stoke LenDale's fire, we're here for him!

Day after ramblings...

How much fun did that look like in Cleveland? DA and the Brownies managed over 300 yards in a blizzard and are ready to sew up a playoff spot....The Bengals await with tons of motivation to ruin the season of their cross state rivals...Coldest moment of the day? Not in Cleveland...nor New England..or Pittsburgh. It was when FOX ran a "Highlight" package of a bumbling Tony Romo to the strains of girlfriend Jessica Simpson's song 'My Boy'...HARSH, but LOL funny...How did the Eagles do that? Look out for Green Bay...if Dallas stumbles again, the pack could have the 'boys in Lambeau in January and it's a whole different story there! The Giants are just wound sooooo tight...I was really happy for the Dolphins and owner Wayne Hiezenga. He seemed truly moved by his team getting off the schnied...The Jags and the Colts may have something to say with the 'inevitable' AFC Title game pitting the Colts and Pats...And that was a good job by Mangini and the Jets holding there heads high in New England...

The Big Picture

I know you were in love with the playoffs prospects at 6-2...the sky seemed like the limit and these young Titans were on a roll, winning 12 of there last 16 games. The 3 game losing skid that culminated with an awful loss in Cincinnati ripped your heart out and what are you left with? After yesterday's win in Kansas City, the Titans have a legit shot at at least a 9-7 record, if not 10-6. And although that may not be enough to make the playoffs, it shows continued growth and movement in the right direction. Most considered this a 6-8 win team at best after losing the top two receivers and the guy with the video game name off last year's squad. This team, in reality, has exceeded early projections and seems poised for a solid run over the next few years.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Who Do You Believe?

In the end, you will have to answer the question for yourself. "Who do I believe?" Oh, I know, you've all been fed the Highlights of the Mitchell Report as fact. But the Report is just that; a report, not a affidavit of fact. It really borders on irresponsible to sling mud on players with nothing more than the words of scumbags trying to keep themselves out of jail. And that's all we've really got. Roger Clemens says he's never took the stuff. Ex-trainer Brian McNamee says he injected Clemens.

McNamee has a spotty past, at best, and has a clear motive to bury Clemens. He is a liar of great renown. The other star witness in Mitchell's report is ex-Met clubbie Kirk Radomski, also in the process of softening his sentence by providing as much info to Mitchell as possible. Now, I'm not being naive here, but the fact it, I can't forget what happened in Durham last year with the Duke lacrosse team and wayward accusations. Why is the word of the likes off McNamee and Radomski accepted as gospel, and Clemens word worthless? I gave Barry Bonds the benefit of the doubt until he was indicted for perjury...I've got to give Clemens and the others the same benefit.
As for the report itself, what did baseball get for it's $20 million dollars? "Boy, you've a problem. Better crack down. Be more diligent. Keep testing, and so it year round." OK, thanks for the heads up! And finally, I really do feel for George Mitchell. He must have felt like taking a 2 hour shower after dealing with these lowlifes...
As for Clemens, Petitte and the others...they will be crucified in the Northeastern press and the entire Yankee dynasty of the 90's will be challenged. Maybe Joe Girardi can use this as motivation for the Yanks to go 162-0....

Is it Fixed?

As the Mitchell Report comes out today, we have to ask ourselves what the relevance is. Baseball spent $20 million dollars to tell us the details of just how dirty the game was. Thanks for the reminder. Make sure you keep throwing it in our face; just how screwed up the game is. The only thing baseball fans want to know now is, "Is it fixed?" We know it was phony for a decade. Just tell me you've got it right, now. Spend $20 million staying ahead of the mad scientists and just ban anyone who is caught using. Forever. One and done. They know what's at stake and they'll stop it.
For Baseball's part, they continue this PR Nightmare by continuing to air dirty laundry. When the NFL was on the brink of potentially it's biggest cheating scandal, it gathered the evidence, destroyed it, fined the perp and moved on....quickly. No investigation into how many teams tape opposing coaches. No digging into the past to see if teams did things like sign cut players from upcoming opponents to get the edge. No $20 million dollar report to tell us how screwed up they are (were). Just a good dose of "HOW 'BOUT DEM PATRIOTS!!!!".

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bruins Fighting for a Share of the Boston Spotlight

Oh, sure, the Red Sox have now won a couple of World Series' in 4 years, and the Patriots are doing a scorched earth number on the NFL. And yes, even the storied Celtics, the winningest of all Beantown entities are back to tearing up the NBA. But the Bruins? Yes, the Bruins! Boston's Icemen, with their win last night over Buffalo, now have 35 points on the young season and are threatening relevance. (I used this picture from a couple of games ago because of it's shear uniform brilliance.) The B's are trying to get a bit of the Boston sports media to notice them amongst all the sports brilliance in the hub. Not sure that's going to happen, but after years of pitiful performances, rotating among all the major sports teams in Boston, it sure is amazing to witness one town having so much success. BTW....Red Sox SUCK! Had to get that in as a card carrying Yankees fan.....

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sunday One Liners...

The Patriots have destroyed Pete Rozelle's 'parity'...But Indy still has a shot at them in January...The Browns and the Bills will play in Cleveland this week for control of the final playoff spot in the, really...Anyone want a piece of the Vikings these days? Tony Romo and the Cowboys are going to the Super Bowl...sorry Cheeseheads...Could Wade Philips be the Coach of the Year? Why isn't Jamarcus Russell getting snaps? The Ravens are awful and no one's calling for Brian Billick's head...Has Marvin Lewis done all he can with the Bengals? Is Cam Cameron 'one and done' in Miami? Remember the 49ers? With Eddie B owning them? Denver is playing better, but will miss the playoffs again...does Mike Shannahan have a lifetime deal? I'm not thinking Brodie Croyle is ready...and not sure if he'll ever be...Houston is going to be a problem next year, they are very close breaking out...and the Mario Williams pick isn't looking so bad these days...I'm looking more forward to Red Wings-Preds monday night than Saints-Falcons....

What Happened?

Sunday at LP Field in Nashville all seemed under control. Sure, it would have been nice to have a few more points early on, but it was now the 4th quarter, and the Titans were cruising with a 2 touchdown lead. The theme of the day was a beaten and broken Philip Rivers. Billy Volek throwing the ball to Titans as if he was still wearing the Flaming 'T' on his helmet. LT not really a factor. LenDale White having his best game of the year, and Vince Young overcoming a couple of terrible throws to make some big plays. But a funny thing happened on the way to running the clock out. All of a sudden the pressure was gone, the receivers were open, and LT was gashing the front 7 of the Titans. The D couldn't get off the field and Philip River dropped a gem on Antonio Gates who had gotten behind rookie Michael Griffin and we we're going to overtime. The Titans had one feeble attempt with the ball deep in their own territory and the Chargers finished it off doing what they do. The Titans tried not to lose, which is the surest way to lose. This one is really a heart breaker. The Titans need to run the table now to have a shot at the playoffs. A season that started with so much promise at 6-2 is now in peril after 4 loses in the last 5 games.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Legend Grows...

Tim Tebow is now poised to do something no college player has ever done...Beano Cook said Ron Paulus would do it. Well, Beano, Tim Tebow is a third of the way there. Tebow, the first Sophomore to win the Heisman, says he will complete his 4 years at Florida, so as of now, Tebow is a contender to be the first player ever to win three. Tebow is a unique individual who represents the best of college football and is a deserving winner. Personally, I would have voted for Darren McFadden, simply because I think he's the best player in college football. McFadden will be a fabulous pro; a top 5 pick this spring. And the rest of us can enjoy 2 more years of Tim Terrific...except when he's playing against your favorite SEC team!

Hey Michigan, find yourself one of these...

The University of Michigan has found itself in the same trap as other major college football programs in the past few years. Notre Dame, Miami, Alabama and a few years back, USC all went looking for that 'Big Name' college coach to take over their program. And all were embarrassed as coach after coach said, "No thanks". Now, eventually, Alabama got their Name in Nick Saban, and time will tell if that's going to work out, but the fact of the matter is, Michigan needs to look for the next Jim Tressel, or Bobby Stoops, or Mark Richt or Urban Meyer or Greg Schiano...not Nick Saban.
History will tell us that no coach has ever won a National Championship at two different schools. It also says that the great coaches have their best run at their first Big Time school. Oh, I know Lou Holtz coached at Arkansas before Notre Dame and Steve Spurrier was a Dukie before he returned home to Florida, but even in those cases, those guys took a step up....and then went to South Carolina. How's that working out? Richt, Stoops and Greg Schiano were hot co-ordinators. Meyer toiled in the MAC and WAC. Tressel was a 1-AA icon.
Looking for the next wave? Keep an eye on Bo Pelini (now at Nebraska) and Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech) and coming soon, Jimbo Fisher (Florida St.), Bud Foster (Va Tech), Kevin Steele (Alabama) and Dave Clawson (Richmond Head Coach)...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Good Job by Sly...

In a conference dominated by the biggest names in college football....Meyer, Saban, Spurrier, Richt, Fulmer, Tubberville, it's Slyvestor Croom that stands above the pack as the SEC Coach of the Year. And who saw this coming? Oh, I know he beat Florida in year one on the job, but he also lost to Maine...the Black Bears...and not in Hockey! Sure, he went to his hometown of Tuscaloosa and got over on the Crimson Tide and Mike Shula, but everybody in the SEC was doing that! This was going to be the year, year 4 under Croom, that the Bulldogs were going to see some improvement, but after the opening night debacle in Starkville against LSU, I wasn't sure Sly would survive the season! But survive and thrive he did. Singlehandedly wiping out the state of Alabama with a road win at Auburn and a second straight win over the Tide, no coached by the mighty Nick Saban. And then a win at Kentucky, who had beaten LSU, and a stirring comeback victory in the Egg Bowl against rival Ole Miss.
Used to be you got beat by Croom, you got fired. Zook got 'Croomed', then Shula. And this year, we were told before the Ole Miss-Mississippi St. game that Ed Orgeron was safe for another year. Then he got Croomed. Well, you can't fire 'em all! Congrats to Sly and to Mississippi St. for staying the course.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Crime and Punishment

Five games? 45 large? For this? I know Scottie Nichol has a rep, but the punishment still must fit the crime. Nichol, who got 5 minutes in the game for this stick-less cross check to the grill of Patrice Brisebois Saturday night, has been sat down by the NHL for 5 games without pay, totaling over $45,000. Look closely and you can see Nichol's stick falling to the ice. Brisebois was not hurt on the play, but none of that mattered. For Nichol's part, he needs to know he's on the league's short list of repeat offenders and he needs to be a reliable part of this team. But as much as I am not a fan of 'gratuitous' violence in hockey, this is a case where the punishment does not fit the crime.

Championship is Perfection...

I'm not so sure this whole 'Perfect Season' thing is the top priority for Patriots head coach and Nanook of the North Bill Belichick. Unless you define 'Perfect Season' as 'Super Bowl Champions'. Look, no one considers the '72 Dolphins, regardless of 17-0, the best team ever. Not that you could legitimately choose between the '50's Browns, '60's Packers, '70's Steelers, '80's 49ers, '90's Cowboys and this current group of Patriots. The fact is, the only thing perfect is winning it all, not pummeling the also-rans along the way. Having said that, were seeing a different Patriots team in the elements the past few weeks. Mother Nature has done what no mere mortal can and that's slow the Patriot onslaught. For all there winning, the Patriots will get to play twice at home in January before getting to sunny Arizona and Control Freak Bill can't control the weather. A few years ago, when the field conditions were hindering this team, Robert Craft had Field Turf installed during the season! Has anyone noticed a roof going up in Foxboro?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Great Irony and a First Look...

LSU v. Ohio St.
Oh, the Irony! Les Miles has to beat Ohio St. to be a National Champion! This match pitches the coach who gets the most from his players v. the coach who gets the least from his. But the guy who gets the least, has so much more and a battle tested crew. Les be damned, the SEC wins another National Championship! The real question here shouldn't be whether LSU belongs in this game; does Ohio St. belong here? I'm not sure they could beat USC or Georgia, or Oklahoma. Such is the fruits of the weak schedule in a weak conference.

Georgia v. Hawaii (Sugar)
Why was Georgia ahead of LSU in the first place? If you believe the Conference Champ has to go if they win, as the voters felt, then LSU should have been there all along. Hawaii? Really? Georgia's in a no win situation, they can only get upset and will get no love if they win the game. If UGA has there heads on straight, they'll blow the Warriors away.

USC v. Illinois (Rose)
Boy, did the Rose Bowl get screwed! USC's historic loss to Stanford cost them a shot at the National Championship, but they don't lose Rose Bowls...and certainly not to Illinois!

Virginia Tech v. Kansas (Orange)
Where's Missouri? The only reason they have 2 losses and Kansas has only 1 is because the Jayhawks didn't have to play Oklahoma...TWICE! Kansas did play Mizzou.....and got WHACKED! It'll happen again in Miami. Stock the buffets, Mark Mangino's on his way to town.

Oklahoma v. West Virginia (Fiesta)
Where's Missouri? Oh, the Mountaineers have to go somewhere since they won the Big Least. This may be the most entertaining of all the games. Oklahoma got drilled by Texas Tech, who run a wide open attack....wait, Pitt beat WVU...Boomer Sooner.

Other SEC games:
Tennessee v. Wisconsin (Outback)
Eric Ainge gets a shot at redemption. UT needs this game. 10-4 is sooooooo much better than 9-5. This will be a nice watch.

Florida v. Michigan (Capital One)
So you boys in blue thought App St. had some speed? Florida will roll as if it was Ohio St.! At least UM has already parked the Carr.

Kentucky v. Florida St. (Music City)
This is a NICE game. Great diversity in the teams. I'm looking forward to being at this one.

Mississppi St. v. UCF (Liberty)
Welcome to the Bowl season, Sly! UCF? What, was Millsaps College booked? Oh, UCF won the Conference USA title! Put a pop knot on 'em, Bulldogs!

Alabama v. Colorado (Independence)
Shreveport. Again. Great.

Auburn v. Clemson (Peach)
I know it's the "Chic-Fil-A", but I'm not going there. Good game, though. Auburn has laid some eggs in the bowls after beating Alabama, and they better be ready here or Clemson will embarrass them.

Arkansas v. Missouri (Cotton)
I found Missouri! Who's coaching Arkansas? Oh, right. Arkansas has great Cotton Bowl tradition....they should go back to the Big 8/SWC/Big 12 thing. We'll take Clemson in the SEC...sorry, wrong blog for that!

Didn't See That Comin'

I could see a number of scenarios by which LSU would beat Tennessee for the SEC Title, but Ryan Perriloux outplaying Senior Eric Ainge wasn't one of them! Perrioux, who when not getting himself jammed up with the law, has considered transferring to find PT. On Saturday, he showed he could be one of the next outstanding QBs in the SEC. If he makes it through the summer without a run-in with the law.
As for Ainge, he was ordinary at best and awful at times. The 4th quarter int. was his Waterloo again and one has to wonder whether he ever reached the promise of his freshman year. He'll have one more chance to leave a positive lasting impression before Jonathan Crompton takes over the Vols.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Please...Just Go Away Now...

On what planet can a guy get hit with a sexual harassment suit, lose it fabulously, costing his employers hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention the embarrassment, and keep his job? Must be that great coaching record that kept Isaiah Thomas Head Coach of the Knicks, right? Remember the title....or, no, maybe last year's playoff...maybe not that either. Does getting whacked by 45 points to Boston count for anything? The Knicks played and entire 48 minute basketball game last night and scored 59 points! How, you ask? BY HITTING A 3 POINTER AT THE BUZZER! Surely, this will finish the "Zeke years" in the Garden.

The problem now for the Dolans is how silly do you look for firing the guy for sucking as a coach, when you didn't fire him for being an obnoxious sexual predator in the office? Scumbags need not apply...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pokes have that look...

The Dallas Cowboys were methodical in taking out the Green Bay Packers Thursday night, and forget using Brett Favre's injury as a excuse. The Packers played well for Aaron Rodgers as the cheeseheads got a glimpse of the future, and things don't look so bad. The kid from Cal can play, but tonight was about undrafted Tony Romo, UT-Chattanoga's Terrell Owens and UT-Knoxville's Jason Witten. This Cowboys team is going to the Super Bowl for an almost certain re-match with the New England Patriots in Glendale, Arizona. After that...all bets are off...

Nice comeback for Brian Brohm Louisville. Down 18 points in the 3rd quarter against Rutgers, the Cardinals rallied for a 41-38 win and a .500 finish at 6-6. Steve Kragthorpe can take that on the recruiting trail with him...

Finally, how bout them Predators! In the past week they've knocked off the top two teams in the NHL; the Red Wings last Thursday and now the Sens is Ottawa. On the day the NHL approved the sale of the team to David Freeman's group, the Preds come up with 6 goals in their first of 3 games in Canada (that's 4 goals, American). Now let's park the egos downtown and finish off this lease deal so we can settle into some serious hockey!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Thom Abraham Show Cast

I wanted to take a minute to formally introduce you to The Thom Abraham Show team. The show is truly a team effort and I couldn't do it without the crew. To the far left is Jeff Diamond, former GM of the Minnesota Vikings and President of the Tennessee Titans (Back when they were winning playoff games and going to the Super Bowl). Jeff is a tremendous resource for us and a better guy. He has taken the abstract show reference to a new height and has made me seemed focused!

In the middle is Jonathan Shaffer. Shaff is a very talented guy with a bright future who truly seems intent on making me sound good! He books the show, selects the music and cares for the show as if his name were on it. That is a rare find in this business. Shaff also has a passion for the Minutia, which I really appreciate, being the neurotic type-A personality I am. He has bought into what I've tried to bring here, and although we are at opposite ends of the political and sports spectrum (He's Red Sox/Steelers, I'm Yankees/Browns) I have a great deal of respect for him. Shaff is 26 and acts like he's 36, I'm 47 and act like I'm 12, so it seems to work...

In Huntsville, I rely on John Boy Dewey McGough (Magoo), shown on the field with me at the Alabama-Georgia game. He's better than I think he is, and not as good as he thinks he is, so that seems to work out. He is a true friend, however, and tries to keep everything moving along for me. He's good people, which is about the best thing I say about anyone...

And then there's Crazy Charlie...he's security....and about anything else we ask him to do. He's not quite right, but he does handle all the in-show research and soon will be bringing us traffic reports. If you see him out there, don't make eye contact...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Is Ole Miss Nutts?

What's that old saying about "Another man's garbage"? Houston Nutt, out at Arkansas, in at Ole Miss? Really, not a bad deal for Ole Miss! They'd take 75 wins over the next 10 years. They'd take an occasional run at the SEC West Division crown; something they've never done. But was this Nutt's best option? What about the Bayou? Oh, Les is still there. Nebraska? Pitt? Oh, Wannstadt's still there. The pressure is on now at Arkansas to come up with someone to give them a better shot than Nutt did after they insulted Nutt with a 2 year deal. I hear Ed Orgeron is available...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Officially Time to PANIC!

10 1st downs? Against that defense? I know Albert Hayneswoth's loss has hurt the defense, but he doesn't line up on Vince's side of the ball. And, speaking of Big Al, NO defensive tackle is worth 20 points a game! The Titans are giving up gobs of yards and points against .500 teams now, and as good as they looked for two months, they look that bad now. All of these "Win-able" games are being lost and the Titans have now put themselves in a tenuous position. While teams like the Jags and Browns seem to be improving as the season wears on the Titans have back-slid. They can't run the ball; can't stop the run; really can't do much at all. This is where Vince Young's leadership, his meal ticket, is needed most. And there's no one to lead when he's sulking on the bench by himself.

This is all new to Young. He always won at Texas and was an immediate winner with the Titans. But now is the time to rise up. Now is the time for him to make his mark with both performance and by picking up his teammates. If you look like you quit on them, they'll quit on you. This team needs to go 4-1 down the stretch to make the playoffs. They looked like that team in September and October. They don't now. Would the real Tennessee Titans please stand up?

What a Diference a Month Makes...

On the 3rd Saturday in October, Philip Fulmer and the Vols looked lost, and the Crimson Tide had justified the $32 mil it spent ripping Nick Saban from the NFL. Since then, the Vols haven't lost, and the Tide haven't all. Alabama woke up on October 21st 6-2, with a bye to get ready for LSU. Tennessee was 4-3, and ready to wave bye to Phil.

The Vols are now on the way to Atlanta and Alabama is hoping for a trip to Tennessee...maybe Memphis or Nashville for one of the "Appetiser Bowls".
Vols fans are left to wonder, "What now? Keep the course with Coach Fulmer and maybe win one of these titles?" Or, is it a false sense of security? And in Tuscaloosa, fans are wondering, "Is this year's 6-6, with now wins in November and a 7 point loss to Auburn better than last year's 6-6 with no wins in November and a 7 point loss to Auburn?"
One thing is for certain...nothing in the SEC is for certain. When I walked out of Bryant-Denny Stadium one month ago, having witnessed Alabama's 41-17 beating of a heartless Vols team, the furthest thing from my mind was...UT will be playing in the Championship game, one win away from the Sugar Bowl and Bama just won there final game if the season...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

When Les is....Less...

LSU's loss is devastating on a number of levels for the SEC. While SEC fans can expect to see a steady decline in the Bayou Bengals as the post Saban years continue, and post Miles for that matter, the effects of this one is far reaching. First, the dollars. No second BCS game takes $15 mil out of the conference coffers. It also pushes every other SEC team down a notch on the Bowl pecking order, further reducing the money in the mix.

Secondly, one less team is sure to go bowling, and even the lowliest of bowls brings additional practice time...Call it "Winter Practice" to set up "Spring Practice".

But, most importantly, its a prestige thing. Sure the SEC is deep, but championships is what people remember. The SEC lost a shot at another National Title, and has given fuel to those who dog the conference as over rated. But that's OK for ole Les...he probably thinks the Big Ten is better anyway....

Dawgnote: Keep in mind, it's not out of the realm of possibility for the SEC to get two BCS games. The SEC Championship Game winner will get the Sugar Bowl, and, assuming Tennessee beats Kentucky and loses to LSU in Atlanta, and assuming a Georgia win over Georgia Tech and a 10-2 finish, the Bulldogs could still be an "At-large" pick for a BCS game.

For the Record...

My "Beat the Big Dog" picks went a pedestrian 3-3 last week to remain 11 games over .500 at 57% against the spread. After winning with Dallas and USC, and a loss with Detroit on Turkey Day, 3 selections remain. Today, I like UT +2', Bama +6, and the Seminoles +13', and on Sunday, I've got the Titans -1'...enjoy the games!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Not Even Close!!!

After watching another SEC classic, this time between top ranked and poorly coached LSU and the schizophrenic Arkansas Razorbacks, I settled in to take in the WAC Championship game between #15 Hawai'i and #19 Boise St. 10 minutes into the game I was watching Rocky IV (can't believe Rocky didn't throw that towel in!) with the National Dog Show as my back up. I kept going back to the football game, feeling some sort of obligation, but finally gave up on this wacky WAC stuff. You mean to tell me that these are top 25 football teams? PLEASE!!!! Arkansas, Mississippi St., Kentucky, South Carolina, Alabama and maybe even Vandy are middle of the pack SEC teams that would have a field day with these frauds. And LSU, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee? Forgetaboutit! Leave these people where they belong....mid week games and mid December bowls. Yeah, I know what Boise St. and Utah did in BCS games past...against suspect BCS conference foes in Oklahoma and Pitt...but that was the exception; the rare upset. And it wasn't the SEC.

A "Dynastic" Day!

Thanksgiving Day '07 was not one for pretenders. The Packers, Cowboys, Colts and Trojans of USC all showed there mettle. And, once again, Turkey Bowl '07 went to the team headed by the lovely Junkyard Babe and the Big Dog. Our annual exercise (and, in my case, MY annual exercise) in backyard football turned out as so many have in the past. After getting the Turkey in the oven, and before the early NFL game begins, two teams head into the back yard. Mine, and the one headed up by my 20 year old son (far right, on the sidelines with the Tide at A-Day '07).

Down a score late in the game, my son in law evens the score on a bootleg run, aided by a devastating block by yours truly on my 10 year old son that also sealed off the 9 year old and my 21 year old daughter...After a defensive hold, we took the ball again, with my wife and son in law alternating at QB. Finally, on 4th down, Clay heaves a ball deep into the corner of the endzone, just past the downspout on the house and inside the imaginary line from the end of the deck...a slight push off my 23 year old daughter gives me the separation I need to make a toe-tapping catch to secure the victory!

Editor's note: The rules in this game typically state the game is over once MY team secures a lead...To the victors......

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Everyone's Pinata...

Look, no one should feel sorry for Nick Saban. He's the highest paid college coach in the land, at one of the highest profile jobs in the country, and he got there after saying he wasn't going there. And if you want to hold his feet to the fire for not having his team ready against Mississippi St. and something called Louisiana-Monroe, then have at it. To the victor goes the spoils, to the loser, the ire of SportsNation...fair enough. But this firestorm over Saban's use of historical events to make a point is a bit much.

Saban NEVER said his teams pitiful loss to La-Monroe was LIKE 9/11 or Pearl Harbour. He used those events to illustrate galvanizing events. He spoke of his team hitting rock bottom. It was the same speech he gave the team in the locker room. They got it. Just like they, and every other football team, get the analogies that coaches often use. These men study history, war and the great Generals of all time. It is something that is passed down from the coaching tree. Learn how to lead men from the greatest leaders of men. But this is not even that! This is Saban making a historical reference to how people rally from tough times. More than 15,000 people have responded to a national poll asking if the comments were offensive. 61% have said no. But media blowhards like Dan LeBatard, he of the MIAMI radio show and MIAMI newspaper column couldn't wait to use his bully pulpit to push his pathetic, pandering efforts in his hometown.

The great irony in all of this is that Saban has provided cover for Charlie Wies, who has single handily brought Notre Dame to it's knees. And who do these guys count as there mentor and former boss? Bill Bellichick....good thing he hasn't done anything controversial this year!

(Dawgnote: In the interest of full disclosure, I note that my son does work in the Alabama Football office as a Sophomore student assistant. However, this is not a pathetic, pandering attempt to improve his lot there...Facts are stubborn things!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Formula for Failure...

Five dropped passes, one drive killing fumble, 4 big play penalties, 4 big play touchdowns allowed and two interceptions down the stretch. That will get you beat, say.....10 out of 10 times! Vince Young showed he's got the game to win last night, as did Jay Cutler. But Cutler's got a couple of things Young doesn't...a couple of Brandons. That would be Stokely and Marshall, playmakers at wide receiver. As for VY v. JC, it was a solid, effecient performance from Cutler, but the guy whos taking risks, trying to bring his team back, will always have the lower rating. Cutler got a punt return for a TD and a 62 yard TD run and rode the lead all night. Young should sue for non-support.
Two things I know for sure....this was a catch...

And this guy should get a lot more touches...

Monday, November 19, 2007

OK! We give! Can we have the NFL back now...?

Look, Bill, you can have the tapes whatever you want...put a coach on the opponents sideline if you want...just stop the scorched earth hell you've unleashed on the NFL. 10-0 is one thing, destroying everything in you path is a bit much!

Good to see the Cleveland Browns get un-screwed for once. I'd love to know what was said in referee Pete Morelli's ears when he put those headsets on and was told he couldn't review Phil Dawson's game tying field goal. Browns have the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL...even Romeo can't screw this up....can he?

We've all assumed Dallas is the class of the NFC, but it may be time to take another look at the Packers. Assuming Ryan Grant can get healthy, the Pack have enough of a running game to compliment Brett Favre's renaissance season. We'll find out in Dallas a week from Thursday on the NFL Network....which means most of you will be reading about it the next day!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Kernals from the Kennel...

To the gallows or the locker room? What was Nick Saban thinking about his team's effort in Saturday's stunning loss to ULM? What he inherited was a soft program, with a culture of not being able to finish the deal. Call it a mental it a toughness thing...but call it what it is...weak. This team has come up with big efforts from time to time over the past several years, only to ultimately lay an egg. Saban's been through this before; remember his LSU Tigers losing to UAB in his first year in Red Stick. Now, regardless of what happens on the Plain Saturday, he will rip this apart and begin rebuilding in his image, with new players, and new grit. One only has to look to the current bunch at LSU to what what kind of team Tuscaloosa will field. Next year will lay the foundation for what could be a huge year when the schedule flips again in '09....but right now, the Tide pretty much has ebbed...

UT showed some stones with a huge 4th quarter o save there SEC East title hopes against a Vandy team that once again shut it down after 3 quarters. You'd think the 'Dores might have learned something from the Georgia loss, but three 4th quarter possessions produced Run, Run, Pass, Punt. As predictable as my boy's bedroom looking like a tornado swept through the house after there little buddies came over...As for UT; they better be ready to play there best road game of the season in Lexington or they'll be watching Georgia play LSU on Dec. 2nd in Atlanta...

And finally, who's got West Virginia ahead of Ohio St.? This is about the Big Ten v. the Big East. Both played a crap non-conference schedule, but the Big Ten is less crap than the Big East. And one of these teams is going to New Orleans because the end of the perfect storm is when Oklahoma dumps Kansas or Missouri in the Big 12 title game....

Friday, November 16, 2007

Daily Dog Droppings...

Everyone with two eyes and a brain assumed Barry Bonds had somehow chemically altered his body, so how are we to react once it becomes a fact, proven in court? One thing to remember here is that Bonds is not getting jammed for using performance enhancing drugs...this is about perjury and obstruction of justice. What he was lying about and what justice he was obstructing is of no matter...check today's poll question as to what baseball should do about the Homerun King's record now...

My record against the spread in "Beat the Big Dog" now stands at 39-28, 58%, which will buy you a cup of coffee and a donut and leave you enough for the tip, so here are my selections this week:
On Saturday I've got Vandy +12' in Knoxville; I think they'll keep it close, Georgia -8' at home against Kentucky and I don't feel great about it, and, although I can't believe I'm saying it, I'll take Michigan at home, with the 4', against Ohio St. Not to save Lloyd Carr's gig, but for one big push to save a lost season...More on Ohio St. in a moment. Sunday, I've got Dallas-10' at home against the Skins, Cleveland -2' in Baltimore (Matty B LOVES B'more in this one) Monday night I'm taking the Titans and the 1' in Denver...

With Oregon losing last night, and don't talk to me about QB Dennis Dixon being hurt, they gave up 34 to an unranked team, can Ohio St. climb back into title game consideration? Not likely with the Big 12's big 3 going round robin....BUT....If Oklahoma gets dumped by Okie St., Kansas beats Missouri and then Oklahoma takes out Kansas in the Big 12 Championship game now you have to pick 2 from the one loss teams including OSU, LSU, and, of course, West Virginia. Now if LSU loses, the title game could come down to West Virginia and Ohio St.! Big 10 v. Big East. Conferences with no Title game. Just doesn't seem right...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"Mr. Steinbrenner, I've come to my senses..."

Say what you want about A-Rod, but New York really is his only option. I don't mean financially, though that may be the case, but historically. How can a player who's only desire in the world is to be known as "The Greatest Ever" leave the Yankees without a ring and a plaque in Monument Park? Look, if Alex Rodriguez had never had played in New York, it would be different. But he did, so it's not. If reports of a 10 year, 275 mil deal are true, A-Rod and Scott Boras cost themselves a few bucks by "opting out" in the first place, and the cynic in me would say he did it to let the Texas Rangers off the hook, and make the Yanks pick up the full tab. But in the end, this is about ego and the chance to win. And the biggest winner in this deal may be Hank Steinbrenner.

Steinbrenner basically said, "Bring me the 3rd baseball, not the agent" and the 3rd baseman obliged. The Yankees and there fans were emotionally ready to move on, and now the guy they thought never wanted to be a Yankee says he really does. No really, really does. Please? Mr. Hank....please? "My wife even threw away the 'F-you' t-shirt!" That's all Yankee brass and Yankee nation needed....a little groveling. Welcome back, go work on those pop-ups and make sure Jeets doesn't have to range to far to his right....

Monday, November 12, 2007

Can Titans gain something in loss?

Although the Tennessee Titans blew a golden opportunity to draw even with the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South Sunday, they may have gained something in return; the ability to throw the ball. Oh, I know Vince Young looked scatter armed at times, but you can't gain confidence in the passing game throwing it 14 times a game. Young showed he can throw the hooks and outs as good as anyone, but he still struggles hitting moving receivers in stride, and that type of timing only comes with repetition. Sunday repetition. Running the hurry up and changing the pace was a good move by the Titans on Sunday, and I believe it will pay off down the road.

Once again, I do not understand the fascination with Lendale White. He certainly does some things well, but lacks any sort of explosion. As for Chris Henry; why wait on getting the suspension started? He was little used and Chris Brown is ready to go. And finally, regarding Brown; what has this guy done to deserve the back room treatment he's getting? Certainly we are not aware of every detail that goes on in the locker room or in the coach's meetings, but this guy seems to have more to bring to the table than he's being allowed. Is White's 3.5 yard per carry average that daunting? Jeff Fisher himself could have gone 8 carries for 12 yards yesterday!

Finally, how important is Albert Haynesworth to the defense? Look no further that the 166 yards rushing Jacksonville rolled up; fully 100 yards more than the Titans average allowed. Ryan Fowler was sealed several times on big running plays between the tackles largely because Big Al wasn't there to wreck havoc.

The NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint and I fully expect the Titans to rebound from this loss. Starting a week from tonight in Denver would be just fine with me!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Perfect Storm a Comin'

Well, look what we have here! Ohio St. trips on the way to Ann Arbor and now almost everyone who matters is a one loss team! Don't talk to me about Kansas and Hawaii, because I'm not buying into that one bit! Right now, LSU and Oklahoma are the two best teams in the country and may be on a collision course. And then there's Oregon. Now a case could be made for the Ducks as the top team in the land and the PAC-10 has been pretty solid this year. However, what bothers me most is that those guys will be sucking on a Latte, or whatever they do up there, while Oklahoma and LSU are beating there brains out in a Conference Title game against another top opponent. That's a problem for me, and I hope it keeps Oregon out if it comes down to those three teams.

In any event, this gaggle of deserving teams can only push us closer to some sort of a playoff down the road.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Welcome to Dawghouse Sports

I'm Thom Abraham, host of The Thom Abraham Show, heard every afternoon from 2p-6p CT on ESPN 106.7 the FAN in Nashville, Tennessee and Sportsradio 730 the UMP ESPN in Huntsville, Alabama. You can listen to the show at or Here at Dawghouse Sports you'll get plenty of opinion on current events in the sports world, plus info on the best places to go and must see sporting events, plus, some solid advice on fantasy football, and my weekly football picks from a handicapping perspective!

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