Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Video of Vick's Suspect Water Bottle Erased

About a week ago, news reports began coming out that Michael Vick had been "reluctant to turn over his water bottle during the screening process", and that afterwards TSA screeners became suspicious of his actions. Because of those suspicions, they seized the water bottle, examined it and found a concealed compartment that "contained a small amount of dark particulate and a pungent aroma closely associated with marijuana". However, before security realized what they had, Vick was already on his flight to Atlanta.

Tests were run on the substance that was found, and it was determined that it was not illegal. Though, no one has said exactly what the substance turned out to be.

Now, it's being reported that the Atlanta Journal Constitution tried to obtain a copy of the tape showing Vick being unwilling to turn over the water bottle, but that it's been erased. First, they were told that it was part of an ongoing investigation. Then, that because the case was closed and no charges were filed, the footage had been erased.

So to recap, in about a week we've gone from Vick being reluctant to turn over his water bottle that was later discovered to have a hidden compartment, and could have at one time contained marijuana. To tests proving that the substance inside the compartment wasn't illegal, but not knowing what it was. To Vick being cleared of all charges, and the tape showing the incident being erased. For some reason something seems not quite right with these events.

Yes Ron, it really is like Christmas.

Because You Haven't Truly "Made It" Until You're Waxed

This past Tuesday, a new pair of wax figures were unveiled at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in New York City's Times Square. They were of MLS's new million dollar poster boy, David Beckham, and his arm candy, Victoria, aka Posh Spice.

Think about that for a second. David Beckham(and his wife) now have wax statues in arguably the world's most famous wax museum. And they're draped in an American flag. Oh well, at least Pele has a soccer ball featured in his display, and isn't in some sort of James Bond getup. Though, security might want to check Peter Vagenas for matches or a lighter should he ever show up.

Microsoft's Answer To The "Cool" Mac Ads?

"Hi, I'm a Mac. And I'm King James!"

That's right, Microsoft has brought LeBron on board to promote their products. The first being their operating system, Windows Vista.

It hasn't been made public(aka leaked) just how much James is making for his cameo appearances on the commercials that begin airing January 30, but it's probably a nice chunk of change. I'm hoping that they're as fun to watch as his Nike "The LeBrons" spots.

"Training on a Mac? You can't become the richest man in the world training on a Mac. You think Bill Gates trained on a Mac? Nah, I don't think so."

Monday, January 22, 2007

Manning Still Has Another Ghost Haunting Him

Peyton Manning's victory yesterday against the New England Patriots is being touted as the win that showed he can overcome past failures, and the one that will ultimately propel him to a Super Bowl ring. However, there's another bit of history still standing in the way of Manning's hardware.

A University of Florida quarterback.

No one would ever confuse Rex Grossman with Peyton Manning, at least not at this stage of their careers, but Florida Gator quarterbacks have always seemed to come out on top when facing Manning. Obviously, Steve Spurrier standing on the other sideline had a lot to do with Manning's inability to defeat those Florida quarterbacks while he was at Tennesse, but he's also suffered two losses in the NFL to QB's who started at UF and were starting for their respective NFL teams.

Here are his stats from his five starts against starting Florida QB's(the '94 UT loss to UF isn't included as he wasn't the starter yet, and the '03 Indy win over ATL isn't included because Doug Johnson wasn't the Falcons' starter):

1995: 23/35, 326yds, 2TD's, final score-UF 62 UT 37

1996: 37/65, 492yds, 4TD's, 4INT's, final score-UF 35 UT 29

1997: 29/51, 353yds, 3TD's, 2INT's, final score-UF 33 UT 20

1998: 19/32, 309yds, 1TD, 3INT'S, final score-New Orleans(Wuerrfel) 19 Indy 13

2002: 21/32, 214yds, 2TD's, 2INT's, final score-Washington(Matthews) 26 Indy 21

As you can see, Manning has had five shots at beating quarterbacks from the University of Florida, and is still winless. Grossman won't be the most polished quarterback playing in the Super Bowl on February 4th, but he will be the only one that attended the University of Florida and that might be all that matters.

Friday, January 19, 2007

ND's Samardzija to Be Seen on Sundays, and Mondays and Tuesdays and...

Well, it appears that Notre Dame's former record setting wide receiver, Jeff Samardzija, has decided to give up his dream of playing both pro-baseball and football to focus strictly on baseball. On Friday, Samardzija signed a 5 year/$10 million(with options that could push it to 7 years/$16.5 million) contract that included a $2.5 million signing bonus.

Most of the mock NFL drafts I've seen had Samardzija listed as the #3 or #4 ranked receiver, and he probably would have been selected in the late first or early second round. Though, with such a deep receiving class, and a relatively mundane Sugar Bowl showing, he could have fallen even lower. Some mock drafts had him projected to the Patriots at #28 which was plausible. Based on the contract of last year's 28th pick, Jacksonville's Marcedes Lewis, who signed a 5 year/$7.5 million(a little over $4.8 guaranteed) deal, Samardzija's decision to sign with the Cubs seems to be pretty smart.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Florida Gators, 2006-2007 SEC and National Champions!

It's been over a week since the Florida Gators, my alma mater, won the National Championship. I'm going to repeat it since it sounds so good. The Florida Gators are the National Champions of college football.

Leading up to the game on January 8th against Ohio State, I heard a number of reasons why the Gators weren't going to win. The Buckeyes had a Heisman trophy winner at quarterback. They had steamrolled just about every opponent they had played, including two teams that had been ranked #2 when they faced them. Jim Tressel was the ultimate big game coach. A number of fans, writers and analysts felt that Florida didn't even belong in the BCS Title game. They thought that a Michigan versus Ohio State rematch would be a far more competitive game. They were probably right, though it wasn't because of Florida's performance.


If you would have told even diehard Gator fans that Florida was going to beat Ohio State by the score of 41 to 14, many would have probably considered you full of "wishful thinking". Personally, I felt that Florida was talented enough to play against any team this season. The defense, obviously their strongpoint, had performed well all season, and the offense, which struggled for much of the season, seemed to come together in the SEC Championship Game against Arkansas. One thing that Gator supporters touted was team speed, especially on the defensive side of the ball at all 11 positions. Most Florida fans believed that the Buckeyes had not seen a defense like the one that UF had put on the field for 12 wins. They were right.

4-14, 35yds passing, 0TD's, 1INT, 10 rushes for -29yds, sacked 5 times, 1FUM Lost

That's Heisman winner Troy Smith's gameline. From the start, after the 93 yard Ted Ginn opening kickoff return for a touchdown that surely pushed most of Gator Nation to the egde of cardiac arrest, Troy Smith was constantly pressured. He had trouble getting his feet set, and when he tried to roll out there was almost always a Florida defender in his face. The defensive ends, Jarvis Moss and Derrick Harvey, wreaked havoc, and exposed the difference in speed and agility between themselves and OSU's tackles. Florida's defensive tackles, a rotation of Joe Cohen, Ray McDonald and Steven Harris, were able to consistently push OSU's guards and center backward and collapse the pocket. Together, they held Antonio Pittman to 62 yards, and racked up five sacks. Even the linebackers showcased their speed with Brian Crum, Brandon Siler and Earl Everett flying sideline to sideline, making tackles on anyone who touched the ball. Everett will forever be remembered as the player who tackled Troy Smith after having his helmet ripped off.

Earl Everett and the Florida Gators Were Determined to Win.

As dominant as the defense was, the offense saved their best for last. The Gators had scored 40 points or more just twice during the season, and those had come against the weaker opponents of UCF and division 1-AA Western Carolina. The offense never seemed to fully "click", though it ran fairly smooth against Arkansas en route to a 38-28 victory. However, against a supposedly very tough Ohio State defense the Gators racked up 370 total net yards and scored 41 points. They did so with short and accurate Chris Leak(69.4% completion percentage) passes that allowed the receivers to use their speed to gain yardage. Eventhough Leak's stats weren't eyepopping, he managed the game perfectly and didn't commit any costly errors throughout the four quarters(0INT's, 0FUM, only 1 sack). Six different players caught passes, and six different players had at least one rush attempt. Coach Meyer and his staff got the ball into the hands of their playmakers, and for the first time all season the entire offense fired on all cylinders.

Seeing Chris Leak holding that BCS trophy, and being presented with the Offensive MVP of the biggest game of his "career" at the University of Florida seemed to bring everything full-circle. Now, only he and Florida "wonderboy" Danny Wuerffel can say that they've won National Championships at the University of Florida. It couldn't have happened to a nicer, more deserving kid.

Chris Leak Delievered on His Championship Promise

I've watched two replays of the game so far and have seen countless highlights, but I still can't believe the way in which Florida thoroughly dominated Ohio State. Obviously, they had heard the same disparaging remarks that I had, and were out to show everyone that not only did they belong in the game, but that they were the better of the two teams there.

I'll never forget watching the clock click down to zero, and high-fiving my dad, who is also a graduate of the University of Florida, and hugging my mom, who spent enough time in Gainesville and sent enough money there to be considered a Gator. None of us could really believe what we had just seen, and our adrenaline and excitement was at an all time high. When we finally realized that the Gators now held men's championships in both football and basketball(at the same time), that just fueled our exhiliration.

So, thank you 2006-2007 Florida Gators football team for providing us fans with a season we'll never forget. It was a magical ride, full of ups and downs, and I couldn't have asked for a better ending.

Rejected NFL Sprint TV Ads

I'm sure that most of you have seen Sprint's Peyton Manning TV commercial. You know, the one where he's supposed to be incognito by sporting a pornstache, and says, "that guy's pretty good, if you like six five, 230 pound quarterbacks, laser rocket arm". Now do you remember? Good, though you're probably either laughing or extremely annoyed.

What some of you may not know is that there were other NFL athletes considered for additional Sprint commercials, but their actions made it impossible for them to be featured. So, here are the Top 5 Sprint NFL TV commercials that were never aired.

#5-Ricky Manning Jr.: "That guy's pretty good, if you like five nine, 190 pound cornerbacks, put an ass-whooping on any computer nerd."

#4-Antonio Bryant: "That guy's pretty good, if you like six two, 190 pound receivers, haulin' ass in their Lambo, requiring leather restraints in the cop car."

#3-Tank Johnson: "That guy's pretty good, if you like six three, 300 pound, defensive tackles, stockpiling enough unregistered weapons(some loaded) for the Apocalypse."

#2-Terrence Kiel: "That guy's pretty good, if you like five eleven, 200 pound safeties, shipping cough syrup through the mail for some of that lean."

#1-Chris Henry: "That guy's pretty good, if you like six four, 200 pound receivers, projectile vomiting during a traffic stop, flashing handguns, providing alcohol to minors, driving drunk, being in possession of marijuana."

It really is a shame that none of those made it to the airwaves.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

With Teammates Like This, Who Needs Enemies?

As some of you may recall, though your memory may be hazy due to alcohol consumption and spent adrenaline, Ohio State Buckeye Ted Ginn Jr. was injured during the opening kickoff return that he took the distance and scored a TD on. Well, actually he was injured after he had scored the touchdown. While celebrating in the endzone. By his own teammates.

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Seriously, #8, Roy Hall I believe, and his teammate(who is probably slower than even Eric Wilbur) have to feel horrible about their overzealous tackling of the speedy Ginn. Every coach in America should tack this up, and show their players how not to celebrate. Either hand the ball to the referee or do it solo. This group action has too many bad possibilities.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Florida vs Ohio State. Bring On The BCS Title Game!

So, you might have heard that there's a football game being played this evening. Just a little contest between the Florida Gators and the Ohio State Buckeyes(that's right, I refuse to capitalize "the").

Anyway, most of the "experts" are picking the Buckeyes to win the game, some by a close margin and others by a blowout. Obviously, the piece of paper hanging on my wall from that wonderful degree granting institution in Gainesville makes me a bit biased, but I see this game as being very winnable for the Gators. They've got a battle tested, and very fast, defense. And eventhough the offense has looked marginal at best for much of the season, if Chris Leak and Co. can put up points through all four quarters, then Florida should be in good shape.

The hottest "topics" of discussion heading into this game are(in no particular order):

*Troy Smith: Can he be effective against the speedy Florida defense? Will he beat the Gators with his feet? He's been one of the best QB's in the country this season, and seems poised to lead OSU to a victory.

*The Gators Defense: Are they really that fast at all 11 defensive positions? Can they match up when OSU spreads the field? Florida's secondary has improved all year, and Reggie Nelson will be watched all game by Smith and his receivers. Ryan Smith has become a good corner, and hopefully Reggie Lewis will play up to his ability as well. The D-line and LB's and capable of pressuring Smith and stopping Pittman.

*The Gators Offense: Can they score points? Will Chris Leak take care of the ball? Can Percy Harvin break some big plays? The offense has a ton of talent, though the O-line has been shaky at some points throughout the season. They have to give Chris Leak time to throw the ball. I have a feeling that DeShawn Wynn is going to surprise a number of people by having a big game.

*The OSU Offense: Can Ginn, Gonzalez, Robiskie, etc. find holes in the UF defense? Can they beat them down the field? How well the OSU offense plays will depend a lot on how much pressure Florida is able to bring. Against a good OSU O-line and a mobile QB like Troy Smith it could be difficult.

My "wildcard" aspect. For the last three weeks much of the talk has been about Troy Smith, Antonio Pittman, Chris Leak, Percy Harvin, etc. However, I think that the biggest contribution will come from a player who's been sort of under the radar.

Brandon James.

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Brandon James returns a punt 77 yards for a TD against Western Carolina.

All season long, the Florida special teams punt return unit has shown an ability to open up holes for the speedy James. His shorter stature plays to his advantage because when he gets low it's hard for defenders to locate him until he's through the hole and on his way to the endzone.

The Buckeyes have only defended eleven punts all season, and rank 55th in the country in yards allowed per punt return(8.27yds). All it takes is for one missed tackle, and Brandon James will be waiting in the end zone for his teammates to catch up.

All in all, it should be a good game, and I expect the Gators to pull out another close one like they've done all season.