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 less...you'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, wait...it'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 AFC....no, 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.