Sunday, August 1, 2010

It's On!

Time to go Camping in Nashville once again! The Titans are back on the practice fields at Baptist Sports Park and this time, it's for real...as in the next thing will will see is games! Brad Hopkins and I will be on site for 12 practices this August, and we'll be looking at how Micheal Griffin and the new-look defense is coming along. Of course, we won't really know till the Oakland Raiders visit LP Field in September, but there will be clues. With Keith Bulluck and Kyle Vanden Bosch gone to the NFC, the 1st thing to determine is where the leadership will come from? And then offensively, can this group be as dynamic as they look on paper? Jared Cook? Kenny Britt? Nate Washington? And does this LeGarrette Blount really pack a punch? (Sorry!) I do know we'll have a ring side seat for it all, we'll bring it all to you each afternoon!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Let the Border Battle Begin Anew!

Since the Thom Abraham Show moved to Nashville in 2007, we have been on in North Alabama as well, most of the time. When the show moved back to Afternoon Drive Time, we lost our friends down there, but thanks to the new 97.7 The Zone, in Huntsville, we are back, and sounding better than ever! A tremendous FM signal, the Zone covers from Cullman to Scottsboro, to Fayetteville, TN and, of course, all of Huntsville and Madison. Now, one of the things the Show, shares with it's listeners, from Kentucky to Alabama, and in the heart of Middle Tennessee, is it's passion for college sports! And the Border Battle between the states of Alabama and Tennessee is one of the fiercest around, and we'd love to bring that to the airways again. So have it....but lets try and be respectful! To kick things off, we are conducting the Nike Golf British Open Challenge on July 14th. Give us your 3 man team, and low team wins a beautiful college golf bag of your choice! Submit entries to thom@thomabraham.com or call the show!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Awful or the American Way?

So I guess the thought of LJ roaming the end zone for the Browns is pretty much dead? My first though is, "How dare he jump to a sexier town with better players"! Second thought is, "This is Chris Bosh's fault! He goes to Cleveland, LeBron stays!" My third, and maybe most reasonable thought is, "This is the American Way, why should the King without a Title not be able to move and work where and with who he likes?" As for his legacy, I think he takes a major hit here. He is running to a situation that is contrived to win, not lifting a franchise and a city, a la Jordan in Chicago or Kobe post Shaq. But isn't this what Shaq did, leaving Orlando without a title? Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joining Paul Pierce in Boston? Those guys also fall short of the Kobe/MJ comparison, but they're all Hall of Famers. So LeBron, you now fall into that category, and Cleveland, well, you're still a Browns Town, so get behind the Big Show, the Mangenious, Colt and the boys and forget about the last 7 years...LeBron has...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Really?

I tried, like many other Americans, to jump on this World Cup Soccer bandwagon. I looked away from the flaws of a game that originated Rugby, then American Football. But truth be told, this game is a perfect example as to why they cut the bottom out of the peach basket in basketball...and built indoor ice rinks...and stopped filling golf balls with feathers. Evolution was good to soccer...the fact the a large portion of the world wishes to remain stuck in the past does not change the fact that their are flaws in the original game. Think of it as New Testament v. Old Testament, if you will.
The bigger question is, where does US Soccer go from here? We all acknowledge the drama of Landon Donovan's goal to win the Group, only to lead to ouster at the hands of a small African country. Now for the reality check...the winning of the group was accomplished how? By tying England when Robert Green botched a routine save, then coming back from 2-0 to tie a country the size of Houston, TX and then breaking a 0-0 tie, in something called "Injury time" against Algeria. So winning the group or finishing last...by the slimmest of margins...So when you listen to all the soccer apologists talking about how proud we should be of our effort, think about that simple blown save above and ask yourself; really?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Enough Already

OK, we get it....everyone now understands that Chris Johnson, seasonal resident of Nashville, wants more money than he originally agreed to play for. We all know he's going to make "only" $550k in 2010 and although that is cheap for the best back in the league, let's look at it as 8 mil. for his 1st 2 seasons...does that make everyone feel a little better? As for you CJ, did anyone tell you we had one of the biggest natural disasters in US history here last week? How about coming to town, helping out you buddy VY in raising a few bucks, maybe go to practice, and show you care about something other than your "measly" paycheck? Yeah, I know, its all about the biz....well, some folks here aren't hearing you now since, you know....THEY DON'T HAVE POWER, A RADIO OR A TV! Just sayin'....

Monday, May 3, 2010

Answering the Call to Volunteers

That's not the World's Largest Swimming pool...but LP Field, home to the Tennessee Titans, TSU, the Music City Bowl and Music Fest. And now, the Cumberland River. In the midst of this greatest of Great Floods for Middle Tennessee, what I have witnessed has been truly amazing...not the flooding itself, but the response of the folks in the Volunteer State. Keep in mind, the UT Volunteers take there name from the spirit of the people, the people are not named for UT. And these people have stepped up in huge numbers, rescuing their neighbors, helping strangers in need, and checking on friends. And this is a trait not just native to native Tennesseans. It's something about this place that makes you want to, well, volunteer. This will be a long and arduous task, but one these people will answer the call to do. What can you do? Pray. For patience. For sunshine. For little miracles as the water recedes. The impact will be lasting, and in some cases devastating. But it will not be terminal...not in the Volunteer State.

Monday, April 26, 2010

So Close!

I know this deal is not done yet, but it sure feels like. Now I'm one of the most positive people I know, but 13 seconds from being someplace the Predators have never been? And on the Power Play? Marty Erat, who was great coming up with a couple of goals Saturday, just needs to keep the puck down low, with :30 left in the game, and the Blackhawks goalie pinned in the net, and the Preds come home looking to close out Chicago...the centering pass....it's all very painful...the bottom line is, the preds can't place blame anywhere but on themselves for this meltdown. They gave up a shorty late, and then still had 3:41 on the Power-less Play to start the OT...inexcusable! The good news is that this has been the most resilient team I've seen in many years; remember the 3rd period debacle in San Jose and the resulting win streak? I hope to see history tonight in the Stone...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Anti-Tiger

Only Sports in general, and Golf in particular, could give us this story. If it wasn't real, you think it was some corny ABC Afternoon Special. On the weekend that the man who has thrilled us and became the biggest sports star of all, only to drag our sensibilities through the mud as we learned that his life was a lie, returned to the hollowed turf of Augusta National, something poetic happened. The Anti-Tiger rose to take center stage. Always maligned as not athletic enough, not competitive enough, the happy go lucky, sometimes choking guy with the pretty wife, Phil Mickelson showed us what a real man is. You see, Phil looks like he's gotten in shape, and when given a chance to choke, he was clutch over and over again. And the pretty wife is battling breast cancer....again. And so is his mom. And all this guy, who clearly adores his wife and is dedicated to his children, does is scrape it around for a bogey free 67 on the final day to win.
As a golfer, Tiger continues to amaze...how he carved a 69 out of that mess Sunday is simply stunning. Woods looked like he was filming an episode of "Being John Daly"...yet he ends up 4th. But this Masters will be defined by two moments. One, a 27 minute Saturday masterpiece whereby Lefty shaved 5 shots from par over three holes....The second, a tearful hug with the woman he loves. He'll never win 19 Majors, or hold all four Major titles at once, but Phil Mickelson is a type of champion that Tiger can never be....

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Greatest Shot that Never Was

So what if it had gone? Really? It would have been the greatest championship game ever! In any event, it was pretty damn good, and you have to wonder if it may be trend setting. Or maybe just a glorious blip on the radar. Two private, great academic schools...no "One and Dones"....maybe not even NBA'ers....Great team defense...Upperclassman all over the place. Not the most athletic game you ever saw, but great competition none the less. It is what make college basketball so great. Also, make no mistake, the absence of the "One and Done" player on the grid iron is a big part of the success of college football as well. As for this game, I was never buying the "Hoosiers" theme; this Butler group was just too good all year. But what better place to have it unfold than in the Hoosier State?
And one final note...I am soooooo over "One Shining Moment"! And if they do expand this thing to 96 teams....that deal would STILL be playing!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Urban Decay?

So Urban Meyer blasts a reporter for correctly quoting a player? Urb, you're coming unglued...get a grip, man! Look, Urban Meyer is one of the brightest lights in college coaching history, but if he is ready to throw down, during spring ball with a reporter who accurately relayed a comment a player made in a question and answer period....then maybe he was right in January. Dude needs some time off. The comment in question was when Florida receiver Deonte Thompson referred to new QB John Brantley as a "Real" quarterback, as opposed to the free lancing Tim Tebow...We all know what he means! It's not as if he took Tebow's name in vain or anything...just paying the new guy a compliment. But that was too much for Urb. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! We've got a game to play in 162 days, dammit! See the video here, about half way down the page...complete with comments from some of the south's finest sportswriters.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Well, If Not the US....

Let me make this perfectly clear....I was pulling for the USA as hard as I've ever pulled for any team I squeeze for, in any sport, in Sunday's Gold Medal game against Canada. That having been said, this is infinitely better than letting the Swedes, or Czech, or the other Czechs (Slovakia) or, God forbid, the Russians run off with the Gold. And the manner in which the Americans battled, scoring with :25 left to send it to OT, peppering the net, Ryan Miller standing on head, and the poster boy for the NHL, Sid the Kid getting the winner, made it OK...sorta....Would be having a sleepless night if that was Ovetchkin...but the Canadians? Well, they're kinda our cousins....we drink their beer, catch their fish, and how could we have an Egg McMuffin without Canadian Bacon? Plus, this is their thing, this thing of there's. And can you imagine the turmoil this would have caused throughout the great white north? No, this is OK, let them have Gold, we'll take White Gold....besides, we've got a World Cup to win in South Africa this summer! Now that would be a "Miracle on Grass!"

Friday, February 19, 2010

Did he Nail It? Or Shank It?

So Tiger Talks. And at first blush, those of us in the gullible camp want to believe it will all be OK now...I want to think this was a huge moment in time for Woods. I did see a guy own it, and speak to many of his transgressions, including his boorish behaviour on the course. But then there is the other side of me...the one that wants to know just how scripted this whole thing was. The ques to look into the camera on certain statements, the constant review of the notes/script. The lack of facial emotion...from a very emotional guy. Body language expert Janine Driver even implied he may have been doped up...Watch it, then watch it again...was it real? Or is the only thing about Tiger that's real is a 170 yard 8 iron to 3 feet? And why do this DURING the Accenture Match Play event. Accenture was the 1st sponsor to drop Woods...Good faith? Or showing them up? And when will he return? Master's? US Open at Pebble? The Open at St. Andrews? And what about that hug with Mom? Was that on the script? Seems like a lot more questions than answers...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Daytona Delight!

Take away the Rush Hour construction crew, and the little 2 1/2 hour delay, and that was one whale of a Daytona 500. 21 leaders, 52 lead changes, a popular win by an emotional Jamie McMurray and a final lap charge by Junior that would make Senior proud. NASCAR got this one right. The cars stayed pretty much bunched, but throttle was there when needed and the rubbin' was back...and as we know, Rubbin' is....well, you know. Now the question is, can the left turn circuit keep this up when they head west and get off the restrictor plate? And is Junior for real, or was that just a mirage? And is Earnhadt-Ganassi, with Juan Pablo Montoya, McMurray and Childress engines ready to become a real player? All of these things will be revealed as the season unfolds, but one thing is certain...NASCAR is off to a tremendous start to the 2010 season!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Who Dat Indeed!

The knee jerk reaction to the Who Dat win would be to look at the Colts and say, "What Dat?" And to look to Peyton Manning and ask, "Choke Dat?" But in reality, we need to focus on what the Saints did and not what the Colts didn't. The Saints out hit, out coached and out played the Colts in pretty much every aspect of the game after falling behind 10-0. It wasn't quite the 35 point 2nd Quarter Doug Williams and the Redskins put on the Broncos after going down 10-0 in Supe XXII, but it was a 31-7 thrashing and not one, but two comebacks to win. And make no mistake about it, Drew Brees totally out played Manning and now has exactly the same number of Championships as the former Vol.
This game also points up the fallacy of the way defenses are ranked. We heard plenty made about the Saints 25th ranked pass defense. And, true to form, they gave up 333 yards through the air to the Colts. And Joseph Addai chipped in 77 on the ground...the Saints defense is a play making unit that completely pounded Indy into submission in the second half. And finally, their coach, Sean Payton, dared to win. Going for it on 4th and goal from the 3, undeterred after getting stuffed, the defense honors the move with a stop, and the offense scrounges up 3 anyway. And then the onsides kick...really, it fooled no one. Hank Baskett for the Colts was in perfect position, he just let it go off his head...and how the Saints Jonathan Casillas comes out of that scrum with the ball, we'll never know. And even after the Colts bounce back to take the 17-13 lead, New Orleans wouldn't fold. I'm not one to get all caught up in the Katrina effect and try and tie acts of God to a football game, so lets just tell it the way it is....the Saints are the better team...How about Dat!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Give Him the Love, if Not the Contract...

Interesting piece by Jim Wyatt in the Tennessean on Saturday regarding Kyle Vanden Bosch. KVB thinks he's done in Nashville, and that may be the case. The Titans have been pretty shrewd in the past, knowing when to pull the trigger on a vet. There have been misses (Derrick Mason) and hits (Eddie George) and the 4 mil they gave Javon Kearse to model a uniform for the past 2 years. But reality is, Vanden Bosch is looking for a lot more than Freak money, and I don't see the Titans going there. The disturbing part of the story is the lack of communication, or dare I say respect, shown KVB. They're are only 53 guys on an NFL roster, and only a handful that are true vets, and maybe ex-Titans. How difficult is it for an owner, or GM, or Head Coach to drop a note to a guy thanking them for the sacrifice and service and wishing them well. Maybe a note that says, "We may or may not be involved in your playing future, but wish to let you know how much you have meant to the organization"....is that too much? KVB has heard from his position coach and the trainer since the season ended a month ago. Personally, I have been critical of Vanden Bosch's game at times in the past year, but have great respect for what he has brought to the community, on and off the field...KVB defines the term "Warrior" in a sports sense. And he deserves to hear that from the top of the Titans flow chart...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Tale of Two Coaches

The two biggest off-season coaching stories in the SEC involved two Forty-somethings whose paths will cross every September...And make no mistake, regardless of this self imposed "Break" that Urban Meyer is/has/might take, he will surely be in Knoxville to see what this Dooley kid is all about...In fairness, Derek Dooley is only a few years younger than Meyer, and has not had the early Head Coach success that Meyer had, but be sure about this; Derek Dooley has logged his share of SEC time, much more than Meyer had when he arrived 5 years ago, and you can argue the La Tech job was much tougher than the task Meyer had at Bowling Green or Utah. Time will only tell how Dooley will do, but rest assured, recruiting will not be an issue. When Nick Saban entrusts you with player procurement, as he did at LSU, you must have something on the Ball. And being a part of a National Championship staff doesn't hurt either. And then there's that whole "Dad won a National Title" thing. Dooley has brought class and a Southern football mentality to the Hill...I already like him more than Coach Lame...
As for Meyer, his abrupt retirement/leave of absence/day off can be tracked directly to the reason most of us end up leaving the profession. It hurts to lose more than it feels good to win. And Meyer has lost exactly 12 in the last 7 years, 18 in his entire 9 year career. His .812 winning percentage is tops in all of football...but that loss in Atlanta December 5th hurt...and hurt bad. More than just an undefeated season, an SEC Title and shot at the National Championship kind of hurt. The "Tebow factor" was in play here. The Coach loves the player like a son, and no one can stand to see your son like that...Is there a true medical issue? Maybe...probably something...but the bigger issue is emotional and mental. And when Urban Meyer gets control of those emotions, he can look forward to many seasons of matching wits, and not barbs, with Derek Dooley.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Al Davis was RIGHT!

Al Davis said Lane Kiffin was a devious little liar...and everyone said Davis was a senile old man...well, I guess the old man was right! Kiffin turns and runs back to the left coast as quick as possible, turning his back on the SEC and the Vol Nation. You should have know from the beginning that this "Johnny come never" would back up the truck at the 1st opportunity. This trumps Dennis Franchione dissing Alabama. What's Kiffin going to do next, change his son's name from Knox to Orange County? What a joke. And where does UT go now? Kippy Brown takes over in the interim as Pops Kiffin and Ed O are heading west as well. I bet Tommy Tubberville wishes he was still on the market. Jon Gruden? Jim Levitt? Rick Stockstill? Tommy Bowden? What a mess...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Offensive POY, not MVP...

Chris Johnson is once again obsessing over personal achievements...this time he is miffed by missing out to Peyton Manning on the MVP race...he recently tweeted, "Do any body got payton address I got to go get my award"...and who said East Carolina isn't the Harvard of the South! In any event, CJ finished in a tie with Brady Quinn....and Len Dale White...and me, for that matter, with ZERO MVP votes. And the fact is, that's about right. CJ is the NFL Offensive Player of the Year...but not the MVP. Most Valuable means that without you, the team can't win a game. In reality, CJ couldn't carry the Titans to a win all year that Vince Young didn't play in. And when VY played poorly on Christmas night, CJ still got his yards...and the Titans got drilled. Chris Johnson may not even be the MVP of the Titans...but he is the Player of the Year...now if your looking for an MVP argument, go see the guy in New Orleans...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Who Knew? What Next?

Almost 3 years ago to the day, Nick Saban was announced as the Head Coach at Alabama....for a ridiculous sum of 32 mil over 8 years...."My God, that's 4 mil a year!" was the shrill heard around college football. And 3 years later, he brought a National Championship to Tuscaloosa, beating a coach making 5 mil a year. 3 years ago this spring, he opened the doors to the spring game and 92,000 people showed up (left). Greg McElroy (then #17) and Roy Upchurch (5) were among those left behind by Mike Shula. The Student Assistant to the right of Upchurch is my son...now at Middle Tennessee. The brutal fact for the SEC is that Nick Saban has gone 26-2 the past two years with 2 Mike Shula QBs, and a roster dominated by Shula recruits. Guys like Javier Arenas, who no one really offered, and Rolando McClain, who was going to Alabama no matter who was the coach. Saban brought in Ingram, and Richardson and Jones and a Mountain named Cody and so many more that are waiting to step in. He has cemented himself, for now, as the best in the game, although it didn't look like it in the 1st quarter of the NC game. Taking the ball, fake punts at your own 20, no one catching a kickoff...who were those impostors? But you saw Saban football in that final drive of the 1st quarter, and with all due respect, Colt McCoy doesn't play defense. Florida St. did it, Miami did it, USC and Florida did it, and now Alabama will do it...they will hover around the top of the polls, a national Championship threat, for the next several years...unless Saban decides....well, let's no go there now!

Monday, January 4, 2010

"Be the GM" Week!

OK, you come off a 13-3 season with an 8-8 playoff miss. Now is your chance to be the GM or Owner or Coach or whoever is making decisions over at Baptist Sports Park. This week, each day, we'll present you with a new Titans personnel issue. We'll start with VY, then KVB, Keith Bullock, Kevin Mawae and finally, Jeff Fisher and staff...let's us know what you think in our poll question...and let the discussion begin...