Monday, October 29, 2007

College Football Debriefing

Each week, after all of the games have been played, I'll re-visit some of them and give my take(synonym for biased, slightly informed opinion). It's called the debriefing because whatever happened during your chosen team's game you probably felt like you were part of a crime scene, or maybe a terrorist attack. Whether you thought you were robbed by the referees, or got to witness some WMD's exploding in your stadium, this is where we'll re-open fresh wounds and examine the positives and negatives. But since we're all college football fanatics, probably mostly the negatives.

Business As Usual
After weeks of upsets, week 9 in college football was pretty mundane. Yes, Kentucky losing at home to Mississippi State was a bit odd, and USF losing to UConn might have surprised some people(not me). Even Florida getting beat by Georgia(sonuva...) might have caught some people offguard. However, for the most part all the teams that were supposed to win, did win.

Ohio State Solidifies Their #1 Ranking
Prior to this week, the Buckeyes were viewed as sort of the #1 team by default. They hadn't really played anyone of note, but were still undefeated and were playing well. After Saturday night, they seemed to have tightened their grasp on the top spot. Eventhough Penn State isn't a spectacular team this year, Ohio State played balanced all night and shut the Nittany Lions down. I'm still not convinced that they're better than LSU, but right now they probably do deserve to be #1.

More SEC Cannibalism This Week
At some point there has to be an end to the SEC teams beating the hell out of each other, right? Kentucky looked great early in the season. The loss to Florida was understandable, but a loss at home to Mississippi State? The same MSU team that got blown out on the road a week earlier by West Virginia, but knocked off Auburn in September. South Carolina was also looking to rebound from a shocking loss against Vandy last week, but failed to come through in overtime and lost at Tennessee. I'm not sure if the typically strong teams are all just having down years, or of the weaker teams are just getting better. I would like to believe that it's the latter, but I'm afraid that might not be the case.

ASU Has Quietly Moved To #4 In The BCS
Arizona State finished the '06 season with a 7-6 record and fired Dirk Koetter. They brought in Dennis Erickson(yes, that Dennis Erickson), and he has the Sun Devils sitting at #4 in the BCS with an 8-0 record(5-0 in the Pac-10). The showdown against #5 Oregon this Saturday has national title implications, especially for ASU since they're just one of four remaining undefeated teams.

Kansas Has Also Quietly Crept Up The Rankings
Kansas is another of the unbeatens, and has moved all the way up to #8 in the BCS. They control their own destiny in the Big 12 race, and their defense is playing tough week in and week out.

My (insert respective team here) Did This Well
Stay on the bench after scoring touchdowns? Just kidding, sort of, Tim Tebow and the receivers played well but that's about it.

My (insert respective team here) Didn't Do This Well
Just about everything. They gave up too many sacks(6), too many rushing touchdowns and yards(3 & 188) and too many third down conversions(10-13). Matt Stafford looked unstoppable(which he isn't), and even that pick six interception didn't cost his team the game. Florida's defense, which has been dodgy at best all season, looked downright horrible on Saturday. And I still can't figure out how a team with two senior safeties has a secondary that can't stop the pass.

Never Forget. Never, Ever Forget
That's what Urban Meyer said to his team with regard to Georgia's team running off of the bench, and into the end zone to celebrate their first touchdown against Florida on Saturday. I understand that he was looking for a way to keep his team fired up, and I don't believe that he didn't play some part in it occuring, but it seemed pretty shady to me. Two weeks before, at Vandy(who beat UGA for their homecoming in '06), he was out on the field screaming and cursing at his players to stop celebrating. Though, when you're facing a team that you've struggled against in recent times I guess you'll use any tactic to fire your team up. I really shouldn't expect anything else from a former Seminole coach.

Kevin Smith ran wild over Southern Miss last night, to the tune of 175 yards and 2 TD's. He's ranked second nationally in yards, and is tied third in TD's.

Tim Tebow added to his touchdown total by scoring three against UGA, 1 passing and 2 rushing. He now has 30 touchdowns this season(18 passing, 12 rushing).

Consider yourself debriefed.

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere - Cocktails Edition

Since it's Friday, and the end of the workweek for most people, we think that you should be provided with a post that takes the edge off so to speak. Because it's going to be random and hopefully humorous, that means that it won't always be sports related. It will also pop up at any time on Friday.

This weekend we're blessed with the Florida/Georgia tilt. Which means we're also blessed with the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party"(You'll never stop us Mike Slive!). The game might be Saturday afternoon, but I can assure you that the festivities are already in full swing.

To get you in the mood, well the Gator fans at least, I present you with some highlights of last year's game. Actually, it's just video evidence that Reggie Fuckin' Nelson(thanks EDSBS) really was a man amongst boys in the college ranks.

First up, Mohamed Massaquoi. Fear really is a powerful motivator.

Second is Kenneth Davis. Unfortunately teammate Massaquoi didn't warn him about RFN, and he had to suffer the consequences firsthand.

And since we're speaking about cocktails, here's some motivation to get your weekend started off right.

Happy Friday!

There's No Loafing In Tennis

Tennis star Nikolay Davydenko is having a rather odd year. He's currently ranked #4 in the world, but three months ago he came under fire for alleging fixing a match against Martin Arguello. Now, he's been fined $2,000 for not "giving his best effort".

Nikolay Davydenko, already at the center of a betting investigation, was fined $2,000 for lack of effort a loss at the St. Petersburg Open.

The ATP said Friday the fourth-ranked Russian was fined for lack of "best effort" in his 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 loss Thursday to Marian Cilic.

The top-seeded Davydenko won the first set in 27 minutes, but drew a rebuke from chair umpire Jean-Philippe Dercq in the third set. Davydenko double-faulted four times in the second set and six times in the third.

Officials are still investigating irregular betting that took place prior to the Arguello match, and it seems that, for now anyway, Davydenko really is a prime suspect of match fixing.

Though, what happened to innocent until proven guilty?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Do You Understand The Words That Are Coming Out Of My Mouth?

As a way to increase excitement about the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Chinese organizers asked Jackie Chan to record a song. As a well-known actor, Chan seems to be a good choice for promoting the Olympics. However, there is one problem with the song, it's in Mandarin Chinese.

China has released a song to get the world excited about the Beijing Olympics, and organizers have tapped actor and martial arts expert Jackie Chan to do it.

Chan said in his blog that he recorded the song "We Are Ready," which is being used as the official one-year countdown song for the Olympics next summer.

Chan sings the song in Mandarin Chinese.

Beijing organizers are considering an English version.

Now, I'm not sure how many people worldwide speak Mandarin Chinese, but I would think that if the Olympic organizers wanted to drum up maximum support they would record more than one version.

Of course, they're still having problems providing fresh water, so the theme song might be pretty far down on the list.

If Only All Countries Were Shaped Like Articles Of Clothing

Geography can be tough sometimes. With all the countries, borders, maps and such. If only there was a way to simplify things. Make them more recognizable in some manner. What about if they all resembled some type of clothing? It would probably make it easier for Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder at least.

Maybe he was joking, but gregarious Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder confessed today he didn’t know until Tuesday that people spoke English in London.

Crowder, a former Florida Gator and Atlanta native, apparently isn’t sure where the plane is headed when it takes off this afternoon for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants in Wembley Stadium.

“I couldn’t find London on a map if they didn’t have the names of the countries,” Crowder said. “I swear to God. I don’t know what nothing is. I know Italy looks like a boot. I learned that.

Yes Channing, Italy is shaped like a boot. It's fortunate that it was designed that way so people could find it easier.

Eventhough Crowder had trouble finding London on the map, he does know one London very well. London Fletcher, though he can't be from London for obvious reasons.
“I know (Washington Redskins linebacker) London Fletcher. We did a football camp together. So I know him. That’s the closest thing I know to London. He’s black, so I’m sure he’s not from London. I’m sure that’s a coincidental name.”


And what about the British accents? Is Crowder familiar with those?
When reminded Dolphins practice squad receiver and NFL Europe veteran Marvin Allen is from London, Crowder’s standup routine didn’t miss a beat.

“He’s from London?” Crowder said. “I knew he was from over there because he talks funny. I was surprised (when they met) because — I don’t want to say he didn’t look the part because that’s a stereotype — but he didn’t look the part. I heard him talk, and I thought he had a recorder and was just mouthing.”

A recorder? That's hilarious. And what does he mean by "look the part"? I have a feeling that whenever he thinks of England images of Mr. Belvedere and Mary Poppins spring up.

Obviously Crowder could have been joking the entire time(and I really hope that he was), but I hope he's putting his money away wisely. The last thing we need is him teaching kids geography.
"Yeah Italy, the one shaped like a boot and that's Canada. You know, America's hat."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mayor Hickenlooper, Your Tea Bet Could Have Dire Consequences

As is the case with any major sporting event in the U.S., mayors of the opposing teams have made a bet involving food. So let's see what Denver and Boston have to offer.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper announced a friendly wager Tuesday on the Boston Red Sox/Colorado Rockies World Series matchup.

The first game in the best of seven series takes place Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Fenway Park.

"There is no doubt that the infamous curse has been broken here in Boston, and the Boston Red Sox will continue their legacy of triumph with the defeat of the Colorado Rockies," Menino said. If Boston wins the World Series, Hickenlooper will send these Colorado products to Boston to be served at a charity of Menino's choice:

100 Quiznos sandwiches
100 cups of Celestial Seasonings teas
100 servings of Great Western tortilla chips
100 servings on Epic Valley salsa
100 scoops Liks Rocky Road ice cream

If the unthinkable should occur and Colorado wins, Menino will send some of Boston's finest products to Denver to be served to a charity of Hickenlooper's choice:

100 cups Legal Seafoods New England clam chowder
100 cups Dunkin’ Donuts coffee
100 Dunkin’ Donuts Boston Crème doughnuts
100 "Curse Reversed” ice cream bars from Brigham’s Ice Cream
12 pints “Boston You’re My Home” ice cream from Brigham’s Ice Cream

Alright, chips, salsa, doughnuts, coffee, Quiznos, clam chowder, lots of ice cream and tea!

Wait a second, tea? What the hell?

First, doesn't Mayor Hickenlooper realize that Celestial Seasonings teas don't portray the "strongest" of images? With flavors like "Blueberry Breeze Green Tea" and "Sleepytime Extra Wellness" how can he expect his team not to get their asses kicked?

And second, has he forgotten about Boston's historical experience with tea? You know, like the time Bostonians destroyed 45 tons of it.

As of right now, I would have to say that Boston has an early edge. Hopefully for Mayor Hickenlooper's sake his tea bet won't doom his team.

The Participants Of This Survey Had To Be Lying

Well, maybe not all of them were lying, or maybe I'm just friends with too many sports fanatics. Either way, this percentage seems a bit low to me.

Twenty-four percent of college basketball fans admitted to trying something lucky to help their team and 20 percent of professional basketball followers said the same thing. Fans of professional baseball, and of college and professional football, fell in between.

It's always seemed to me through my years and years of observation that the percentage is closer to at least 50%-60%. I mean how can someone truly call themself a "fan" if they've never done something they feel might alter the outcome of a game? Sure, they might be a casual observer of a sport, but probably don't support a specific team. At least not in the fashion that some of the participants do.
A nurse from Eldridge, Ala., Heather Pate said she refuses to own a red car or purchase anything crimson. So when she recently had to spend time in a hospital after the birth of her twin sons, she was aghast when she noticed someone had brought her a pink toothbrush. Auburn promptly dropped two straight games.

It was all because of that "red toothbrush," Pate, 28, said this week after responding to the AP survey.

That might seem a little over the top to some, but I can understand where she's coming from. SEC football is pretty damn important after all.

One result of the study that might be troubling to some is:
They also are more likely to be single.

Well, that sure does explain a lot.

There Will Be No More Friday Night Lights For Raines High School

High school football played under the lights on Friday night has become such a big tradition nationwide that they've made movies and TV shows about it. However, if you're a fan of Raines High School in Jacksonville you better bring your sunglasses for the last two home games of the season.

Neighborhood violence has put an end to a high school tradition at one Northwest Jacksonville campus. Effective immediately, there will be no more home night games for the Raines High School football team.

Athletic officials told WJXT-TV that they worry students could be at risk because of increasing violence near the school.

The changes mean fans planning to attend this Friday's game featuring Raines and Bishop Kenny need to get to the field early. School officials have moved the game to 1 p.m.

The school district has decided to move the school's remaining two home games to Friday afternoon because of safety concerns.

A shooting that happened about two weeks ago near the school as a Raines football game against Lee High School was letting out prompted administrators to consider a change.

While it is sad that violence is the cause for the schedule change, administrators say that the change isn't permanent and it is nice to see that they're being proactive. Though, the 1PM kickoff seems to be a bit odd. Aren't the kids still in school at that time? Maybe that's why Florida ranks so low in most of the state education lists.

College Football Week 9 Itinerary

So, this is what it's come to? The '07 college football season has been so wacky, so fraught with chaos that even the most rabid fan needs help making it through the day. As week 9 looms, you find it hard to sleep between dreams of Corso putting on some mascot head and the cold sweats. And eventhough the prospect of four of the top five ranked teams losing this week(end) knots your stomach and increases your heart rate, have no fear because I'll guide you through it(at least the best I can between cold sweats and Corso hallucinations).

Thursday Night
6:00PM(EST): Hopefully you've gathered the necessary items for college football viewing in advance, and have made it home from work, class, selling plasma for said necessities by this time. Getting home by 6pm gives you ample time to do one of two things. If you're going out, you have time to take a shower and get buzzed. If you're staying home, then you have extra time to get buzzed. Kickoff isn't until 7:30PM so you're going to need to pace yourself. We don't want you falling asleep before the fourth quarter and missing a signature Beamer special teams play that changes the game, do we? I didn't think so. Beer is probably the best choice because you can regulate its intake and keep track of quantity easier. However, if you have a sick day, then don't hesitate in pouring some whiskeys. After all, that's really what Coach Beamer's tough defense is drinking out of those Gatorade bottles.

Saturday Morning
While Boise State at Fresno State should provide some entertainment on Friday night, don't let it distract you from the goal of getting up in time on Saturday to get prepared. Someone in the college football world isn't familiar with hangovers because they've scheduled the West Virginia/Rutgers tilt for a 12:00PM kickoff. I recommend having some BC Powder and greasy food on hand to help get your system stabilized for this contest. Water, or any American light beer, should help with the rehydration process, though the sudden movements by Slaton, White and Devine won't do anything for the headache. However, should #6 WVU fall you can rejoice in knowing that another one loss, top 10 team has now become a two loss team.

Saturday Early Afternoon
During the WVU/Rutgers game you might be tempted to check on some other games. In the early stage, I recommend Colorado at Texas Tech. Tech will be looking to rebound after a bad loss against Missouri last week, and their high scoring offense should help you feel better(points cure disease in case you didn't know). For the most part, there really isn't too much else to check out before the 3:00PM hour, which means you can relax a bit in the early going to make sure you can power through the evening. A light intake of beer should get you back on your feet, and motivated for future challenges.

Saturday Mid Afternoon
By now, you should be in full swing. Ray Rice, Steve Slaton and Pat White running all over in the WVU/Rutgers contest have invigorated you and you're ready to see USC and Oregon kickoff at 3:00PM. Now would probably be a good time to crack open the liquor cabinet. Though, don't go too strong too early or you'll be gassed in no time. Since it's Pac-10 football, and USC and Oregon at that, there should be no shortage of points and dazzling plays. You'll probably be hungry by this point, but I advise against you going anywhere. The afternoon is just getting cranked up, and you don't want to miss anything. If you've neglected to stock up beforehand(chips, dip, fried chicken, sandwiches, stuff to grill if there's a TV nearby), then I suggest ordering a pizza. Not only do you get something to eat, but the pizza guy might even be a college football fan who will appreciate you letting him watch some highlights in between getting stiffed on tips.

Just 30 minutes in to the USC/Oregon game the "World's Largest Cocktail Party" begins. Well, actually that's been going since Thursday, but the game is set for a 3:30PM kickoff. Florida and Georgia always play tough, and seeing Tim Tebow stiffarming and passing will undoubtedly get the adrenaline flowing. Good. Harness that energy because there is some channel flipping you might want to do.

This year's Texas/Nebraska isn't what it has been in years past, but they usually put on a good show. If Nebraska gets down big early, then we might even get to see Bill Callahan fired while on the sideline at an opposing stadium. Though, it would probably be in his best interest because Norman isn't exactly the safest place for him right now.

Also kicking off in the 3:30PM hour are the USF/UConn and Clemson/Maryland games. Right now, UConn sits atop the Big East standings and should put up a decent fight against USF. Clemson should roll over Maryland, but watching the Davis/Spiller combo is always fun.

Those four games will keep your brain entertained and your liver saturated until the Saturday evening games begin around 7:00PM.

Saturday Night
If you've made it this far, then you should be proud of yourself. You haven't succumbed to the pressures of the early games, only to miss the fireworks that the late ones have to offer(see Auburn/LSU week 8). Leading off is the Kansas/Texas A&M game at 7:00PM. It might not seem like much, but Kansas has quietly crept into the top 10 in the BCS. However, their toughest match-up has been playing an away game at K-State. Besides, watching the nimble refrigerator known as the "J-Train" run over linebackers and defensive backs is always loads of fun. Take comfort in the fact that some poor DB is going to catch a wicked stiffarm, and will probably feel worse than you come Sunday morning.

Forty minutes later Spurrier and Fulmer square off again, both coming off bad losses. When these two get together there is no shortage of hate and gamesmanship. I suggest switching from whatever you were drinking to whiskey at this point since the Irish consider it the "Water of Life". If you've been drinking it all along, then you should be commended for not breaking your TV and setting fire to the dining room table.

At 8:00PM, we get to see the #1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes travel to Happy Valley to face the Penn State Nittany Lions. Many believe that Ohio State has moved to number one mostly by default, and that Beaver Stadium at night will be their toughest test so far. It's also going to be a tough test for you, but power through knowing that you'll be rewarded later in the evening.

By now, you're probably feeling the effects of being a hardcore college football fan. Those last seven games(at the very least) have taken their toll on you, but the combination of power food(grease and cholesterol fuel all!) and power drinking has you primed and ready for the late night games. Even if you are seeing triple. With any luck, someone in the top 5 has been upset, which only adds fuel to your fire. I suggest switching to liquor of choice/energy drink at this time. You're going to need something, no matter how artificial, to assist you from this point forward.

Saturday Late Night/Sunday Morning
Yes, it's 10:00PM, and you could be getting ready to go out on the town, but then you would miss the Cal/Arizona State game. Unless by "going out" you mean getting a ride to the nearest sports bar to continue binging. ASU has moved up to #4 in the BCS on the strength of being undefeated. However, their real season starts this weekend against Cal(they follow that up with Oregon, UCLA, USC), a team that was "#1" for about half a game. Now, the Golden Bears are reduced to smashing another team's hopes into tiny pieces. Besides, anytime that DeSean Jackson is on the field you have the potential for excitement. Make sure to check your supply stock in case you need to place a call for some reinforcements.

As the Cal/ASU game is winding down, the New Mexico State/Hawaii one will be heating up. This isn't a game with much importance, but Hawaii at home is always fun. Plus, how often can you watch college football until 3AM? Besides, Hawaii enjoys scoring tons of points in their home stadium, and you do remember what I said about points making you feel better, right? By this point in time I'm sure you're going to need it.

So, enjoy all of the college football action this week(end). It's sure to entertain and baffle even the most hardcore fan. And remember to view(and consume) responsibly.

Good luck, and be sure to have your hangover remedy on hand for Sunday. Trust me, it's going to be put to good use.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Who In The NFL Doesn't Like Osi Umenyiora?

This weekend we get the compelling matchup of the New York Giants facing the Miami Dolphins. Were the game not being played in London, England I probably wouldn't care all that much, and I'm a Dolphins fan.

As part of the festivities, a 26-foot tall animatronic version of Dolphins' defensive end Jason Taylor has been put together in London's Trafalgar Square. While JT is one of the more recognizable players in the NFL, choosing him is a bit odd considering that Giants' defensive end Osi Umenyiora was born in London and lived there for seven years.

It seems even more odd now considering that the Giants are currently one of the hottest teams in the NFC, if not the NFL, and the Dolphins are struggling to not go 0-16. Though, I'm sure the decision to use Taylor was made many months ago.

I wouldn't be surprised to hear Umenyiora mention it after he sacks Cleo Lemon a hundred times on Sunday, however.

And yes, that's Christian Slater standing in front of the JT statue with the mayor of London.

2007, A Bad Year For Auburn Backs In The NFL

When Ronnie Brown went down with a torn ACL on Sunday most of the talk centered around how big of a blow it was to an already awful Miami Dolphins team. Brown had become the lone bright spot on a team doing its best(or maybe worst) to avoid going 0-16. With him out for the season, that task becomes even more difficult. One thing that hasn't been talked about much, at least I haven't heard it discussed, is how bad of a year this has been for former Auburn Tigers running backs.

Here is the list of backs that lead Auburn in rushing yards since the year 2000:

2000: Rudi Johnson
2001, 2003, 2004: Cadillac Williams
2002: Ronnie Brown
2005, 2006: Kenny Irons

Now, let's take a look at what's happened to them this year.

Kenny Irons was the most recently drafted of the four on the list, taken in the second round of the '07 draft, and he was also the first to get hurt in 2007. Irons tore his ACL during a preseason game on August 9, and was subsequently placed on I.R.

Rudi Johnson was the next to get hit by the injury bug, leaving the Bengals' week three game against the Seahawks with a strained hamstring. That injury has forced him to miss two games, and only receive four carries in another game. As of right now, it's unclear when he'll return to the lineup, and he probably won't be 100% for the rest of the season.

Cadillac Williams was the third former Auburn back to be injured, and the second to sustain a serious knee injury. Williams tore his patellar tendon during the team's week four game against Carolina, and was placed on I.R. the following Tuesday.

Ronnie Brown was the latest former Tigers back to suffer a devastating knee injury this season. He tore his ACL during Miami's week seven game against the Patriots, and has been put on I.R. as well.

So, that's four former Auburn running backs that lead the school in rushing at some point that have had injuries force them to miss time this season. With three of them ending up on injured reserve. What the heck is going on?

There are two possibilities that I've come up with so far, outside of it just being freak occurences. The first is that maybe Auburn rushes the ball a significant amount of times, which leads to wear and tear on their running backs. Let's see how they stack up against the rest of nation in terms of carries per year from '00-'06.

2000: 462 carries/ 12 games/ ranked 38th nationally
2001: 437 carries/ 11 games/ ranked 61st
2002: 563 carries/ 13 games/ ranked 25th
2003: 541 carries/ 13 games/ ranked 29th
2004: 553 carries/ 13 games/ ranked 29th
2005: 481 carries/ 12 games/ ranked 25th
2006: 470 carries/ 13 games/ ranked 47th

While those averages might seem a bit high, remember that the starter in each season wasn't taking every rush attempt. In '00 Rudi Johnson got 349 of the total 462 carries. His average that year was roughly 26 carries per game, which isn't abnormally high. For the rest of the seasons the carries broke down like this:

2001: Williams, 14 carries/game
2002: Brown, 15 carries/game
2003: Williams, 19 carries/game
2004: Williams, 19 carries/game
2005: Irons, 22 carries/game
2006: Irons, 18 carries/game

As you can see, outside of Johnson's 26 per game average in '00 the numbers aren't that high. Though, as a running back you are getting hit just about every time you touch the ball, and those tackles do add up quickly.

The only other possibility that I could come up with is that some portion of the Tigers' training regime makes their backs more prone to injury over the course of their football career. However, I'm not nearly familiar enough with their training program to speculate much on that.

One thing I would suggest, however is that NFL teams be a bit more cautious when considering signing or drafting a running back from Auburn in the near future. Whether it's training, bad luck or a combination of factors 2007 has not been kind to them.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Could We See Ricky Williams This Year?

2007 has turned out to be a bad year for running backs.

Some, like Cadillac Williams, ended their season early because of injury. Others, like Steven Jackson, Shaun Alexander, and Rudi Johnson, have battled injuries all season.

Now you can add Ronnie Brown to the ever-growing list.

Brown injured his knee on Sunday during an interception return by New England, and had to leave the game early. Today, it was reported that he too will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. With Brown out, the Dolphins will rely on Jesse Chatman, Patrick Cobbs and Lorenzo Booker to shoulder the running duties.

Which brings up the question of whether or not we'll see Ricky Williams playing in Miami this season. He applied for reinstatement on Monday, October 1, but the NFL has up to 60 days before it has to make a decision. By then, Miami would have about five games left in their season.

It seems like a longshot, but with Ronnie Brown out, and the team in serious rebuilding mode(Chris Chambers has already been traded, and there's talk that Jason Taylor might be gone after this season) this would be the best time to get Ricky in for a few games to see what he has. At the very least, it could drum up some trade offers, and at best, the Dolphins might find they have a decent running back to back up Ronnie Brown next year to help keep his wear and tear to a minimum.

Of course all of that hinges on Ricky's ability to pass drug tests, which up to this point has been a problem.

I Hate To Say It Rockies' Fans But "I Told Ya So"

Last Thursday, I wrote about how the Rockies' decision to only sell World Series tickets online might not turn out to be the best idea. In fact, what I said was:

The other problem would be if the ticket servers crashed during what will probably be a huge traffic jam of sales. It wouldn't be the first time that something like that has occured during online ticket sales for a sporting event. Just ask Pittsburgh Panthers' fans about their '03 ticket fiasco. And that was for Panthers basketball tickets. This is for tickets for the Rockies, the hottest team in baseball right now, first World Series appearance.

Good luck Rockies' fans, I have a feeling you might need it.

Guess what? The online ticketing system crashed, and sales have been suspended.

The Colorado Rockies suspended World Series ticket sales Monday after overwhelming demand crashed their computer system.

"Right now we're shutting the system down," club spokesman Jay Alves announced outside Coors Field, drawing boos from fans. "We expect to be online at some point."

"We're as frustrated and disappointed as they are," Alves said.

Alves had said last week that the Rockies were prepared for any computer problems.

On Monday, there were 8.5 million attempts to connect with the computers in the first 90 minutes after sales started, he said, and only several hundred tickets had been sold before the system had to be shut down.

The Rockies put as many as 60,000 tickets up for sale online only, and team officials said their computers were ready to handle the expected crush. But two hours after tickets went on sale, many fans reported they could not get access to the ticket-sales Web site.

Officials with the Rockies and Major League Baseball did not immediately return calls.

Irvine, Calif.-based Paciolan Inc., which is running the computers for the Rockies' World Series ticket sales, said the crash affected the company's entire North American system.

To add to it, because tickets were only available online fans without internet access had to "withstand near-freezing temperatures outside the Denver Public Library" as they waited for it to open so they could use the public access computers.

Sounds like that decision worked out great! They must have consulted with the same guy who thought that DirecTV plan wouldn't piss off anyone.

College Football Debriefing

Each week, after all of the games have been played, I'll re-visit some of them and give my take(synonym for biased, slightly informed opinion). It's called the debriefing because whatever happened during your chosen team's game you probably felt like you were part of a crime scene, or maybe a terrorist attack. Whether you thought you were robbed by the referees, or got to witness some WMD's exploding in your stadium, this is where we'll re-open fresh wounds and examine the positives and negatives. But since we're all college football fanatics, probably mostly the negatives.

Chaos Reigns Supreme!
Hope you enjoyed your stay at #2 South Florida. Your weeklong rental is up, now get the hell out! South Carolina, your #6 ranking has been repoed. Kentucky, the week of celebrating is over and #8 is no more. Cal, you had it all for a fleeting second but now even #10 is too high. Auburn, it was nice that you battled back to #18 but that's done now. Tennessee, your blowout loss means no more #20. Texas Tech, the hiccups by your "high powered" offense cost you #22. Cincy, you had played back up to #23 but threw it all away. K-State, you had moved back to being ranked but your defeat shredded that progress.

Just a quick recap of the ranked teams that lost this past week(end). Of those losses, seven of them were to teams either unranked or with lower rankings.

Ohio State Survives Their First Week
The way this season has been going, it's not how much you win by just that you win. The Buckeyes built a 17-0 lead by halftime, but had to withstand two Michigan State defensive touchdowns to pull out their win. This week they face Penn State at Beaver Stadium. Their rental of the #1 spot could end as early as this Saturday.

There's A First Time For Everything
As if you needed more proof of this season's craziness, Vandy beat Steve Spurrier for the first time this past Saturday. Going into the game, Spurrier was 14-0 against Vandy but lost 17-6. With that, South Carolina fell from #6 to #16.

More Thursday Night Entertainment
Once again we've been blessed with a great Thursday night game. This week, the #2 Boston College Eagles travel to Blacksburg to face the #8 Virginia Tech Hokies. VaTech will be B.C.'s first big test of the season(please, G.T. and Wake aren't tough), and it will be a good stage for quarterback Matt Ryan to showcase his skills for the Heisman voters. If past Thursday nights, and the season as a whole, are any indication you might want to get a sick day ready for Friday.

My (insert respective team here) Did This Well
On Saturday, the Gators defended the rush pretty well. They held Kentucky to just 97 yards rushing with an average of 2.8 yards per carry. Not bad against a team that had been averaging 180+ yards per game.

My (insert respective team here) Didn't Do This Well
Defend the pass. When you shut down the run, your opponent will naturally tend to pass more. Kentucky definitely did that, to the tune of 38 completions on 50 attempts for 415 yards, 5 TD's and 0 INT's. Florida was able to sack Woodson six times which was great to see because they haven't put much pressure on quarterbacks this season. However, there were still a number of breakdowns and poor tackling on pass plays.

This year it's wide open. "Experts" are talking about Tim Tebow as a frontrunner, and it seems that there are quite a few players who could take home the trophy.

UCF's Kevin Smith ran for 170yds and 4 TD's last week, and Rutgers' Ray Rice had 181 yards rushing.

Other than that, most of the usual stat producers had a bye or a down week.

Consider yourself debriefed!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Real Men Don't Wear Parachutes

If you have ever discussed skydiving, then I'm sure you've heard at least one person exclaim "why would anyone ever jump out of a perfectly good airplane?!?" Well, probably for the huge adrenaline rush, and because it makes your balls bigger. Um, except for the ladies. It makes them better at changing their own oil(I keed, I keed).

But what about jumping out of a perfectly good airplane without a parachute? That has to instantly make you badass, and that's exactly what Travis Pastrana did last month.

Travis Pastrana lives his life on the edge. Recently, he jumped over it.

On Wednesday, September 26, Pastrana hopped a flight from his home in Davidsonville, MD, to Arecibo, Puerto Rico, to perform a stunt he's been dreaming up for more than a year. The next morning, four members of his group skydived from a single-engine Cessna from 12,500 feet. Pastrana performed his jump wearing only sunglasses, socks and surf trunks while holding a can of Red Bull.

He was not wearing a parachute.

You probably remember Pastrana from his double backflips during the X-Games, but this stunt relied much more heavily on other people to make sure he didn't die.
While it may not be the most dangerous stunt Pastrana has performed, it is his most shocking. In his past stunts, Pastrana has taken his life into his own hands. This time, he placed it in the hands of three men he'd known for less than a week.

Wow, that's pretty ballsy. There's always a calculated risk involved in skydiving, but doing so without a parachute and relying on others to make sure you get attached to one is a totally different situation. My hat goes off to Pastrana, and the skydivers involved in the stunt. They sound like they're having a great time with life, and probably do more in a week than most of us do in a year.

Slideshow of the jump.

Photo courtesy of badass Bill Halsey.

Friday, October 19, 2007

It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere - 2Fer Edition

Since it's Friday, and the end of the workweek for most people, we think that you should be provided with a post that takes the edge off so to speak. Because it's going to be random and hopefully humorous, that means that it won't always be sports related. It will also pop up at any time on Friday.

Sorry about the missing "5 O'Clock" post last week. I know all of you subscribers really missed it. So, to make up for it I'm kickin' it old school, and providing you with two of the best news stories I've ever seen.

Yes, this really aired on TV in California and Alabama. And yes, it really is that fuckin' hilarious.

So, without further ado I present "Bubb Rubb" and "The Leprechaun".

Seriously, that has to be the best amateur sketch ever!

Happy Friday!

Pacman Getting Chomped Yet Again

About ten days ago, Adam "Pacman" Jones made it known that he felt he had done enough to warrant an early reinstatement into the NFL. As it stands right now, Jones has been suspended for the entire 2007 season, though his case is elgibile for review after the Titan's 10th game on November 19. Whether or not Jones feels that he's done enough probably isn't quite so relevant now because he, the Titans and the NFL have just been sued by the strip club manager that was paralyzed due to a shooting by someone that was possibly associated with Pacman.

A strip club manager paralyzed in a triple shooting in February is suing the National Football League, the Tennessee Titans and suspended football player Adam "Pacman" Jones, claiming they're responsible for his injuries, his lawyer said.

"The fact that the NFL and the Titans did not punish Adam 'Pacman' Jones until after Tommy was paralyzed is a proximate cause of Tommy's injuries," Dushoff said before a news conference at a Henderson hotel with Urbanski and his wife, Kathleen Urbanski.

"Even, 'three strikes and you're out,' and this wouldn't have happened to me," Urbanski said at a news conference with his schoolteacher wife.

If Pacman had any opportunity of returning to the NFL, no matter how slim, it's probably gone now. With one month before any suspension appeal can even be heard, there's a lot of time for this case to be brought back into the limelight. There's also a lot of time for Roger Goodell to be pissed about the NFL being sued because of someone that was possibly a friend of Pacman.

As bad as it is to say, Mike Vick and his situation took a lot of heat off of Pacman, but this new lawsuit is turning it back up and probably setting fire to any chances he had at getting on the field in '07.

It Still Has To Be Safer Than Bombardment(!)

Going to school these days just isn't what it used to be. With the violence, censorship, oversexed teachers and sports injuries. It really should include some type of workman's comp for the students. Especially for the kids that have their hands pulled off.

One teenager has been released from the hospital and another remained in serious condition after their hands were severely injured during a game of tug-of-war at school.

Henry Bennett and classmate Mitch Helfer were participating in a team-building activity at Lutheran High School in Parker on Oct. 12 when the accident happened.

Bennett's doctor told Denver television station KMGH that the 16-year-old wrapped the rope around the palm of his right hand for a better grip.

"At some point a bunch of the kids let go, creating an imbalance in the tugging, and it pulled his hand off. The medical term is avulsed," said Dr. Lewis Oster, a microsurgeon with Hand Surgery Associates in Denver.

Bennett underwent a 10-hour surgery to save his hand. He was released from the hospital Wednesday. Helfer, who suffered a very similar injury, remained in the hospital, according to Oster.

Holy schnikies! The kid was pulling a rope one minute, and the next minute his hand was ripped from his body! And you know that the 10-hour surgery wasn't exactly "easy".
Oster performed the delicate surgery on Bennett's hand, first repairing bones with titanium plates. Then, muscles and microscopic veins and arteries were reattached.

Yeah, that sounds pretty terrible. Seriously, one day, if the kid's hand returns to 100%, it might be cool to show off the titanium hand, but it's going to be a long road to recovery, and there are no guarantees.

I wish both kids the best, and would like to remind everyone else, that's why you never wrap the rope around your hand. Your high school gym teacher might not know much about physics or chemistry, but when he tells you not to loop that rope around your hand just listen to him. Rope burns are nothing compared to getting your freakin' hand pulled off.

Matt Jones Already Has His Halloween Costume Ready

For those of you that have seen "Pirates of the Caribbean" I'm sure that you're familiar with Captain Barbossa. However, some of you(obviously the ones that have never seen the film) might not know that his character was based on a real pirate by the name of Barbarossa, or Redbeard. And now, through the power of superstition and a lack of shaving, the Jacksonvile Jaguars are poised to have their very own "Redbeard" courtesy of Matt Jones.

Jacksonville's third-year WR Matt Jones sports a full red beard, an unusual sight in a sport in which beards are customarily kept short because of the mandatory use of chin straps.

Jones is ready to get rid of it, but there's one issue.

"I'll go until I score," Jones said. "You can write that."

Jones has been held without a touchdown over his last five games, and it appears that at least one person isn't digging the firechin.
We've got to get him a touchdown so he'll shave," Coach Jack Del Rio said this week, only half-jokingly.

Ah, lighten up coach. Two more weeks without a touchdown, and Jones should be ready for any and all Halloween festivities. Who knows, maybe he'll even let ya throw on an eye patch and attend some parties.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Quantum Boggs, Teaching Dan Marino and Protecting Gold Medalists

Just think about how many Super Bowls Marino would have won had Wade Boggs actually had a timemachine.

Videos are NSFW due to language, and some nudity. Or you could watch 'em, and if someone complains tell them that you're doing your part to increase workplace morale.

Episode 1


Posted Oct 21, 2006

Episode 2


Posted Oct 21, 2006

Major League Baseball Sure Does Enjoy Screwing Its Consumers

I don't know how it has evolved to this, but "America's Pastime" has become more like "Screwing America Is Our Pastime".

In recent times, Major League Baseball has endured asteriks and andro, a weird DirecTV/MLB Channel liason and now it's like they're punishing fans of the Colorado Rockies that don't use the Internet.

The Colorado Rockies have changed their plans for selling World Series tickets, switching to online purchases only.

The team announced the new plan on Wednesday.

Tickets were to go on sale at Coors Field and Rockies' Dugout Stores in the Denver area on Monday using a lottery system for in-person transactions, as well as online.

Instead, all sales will be online, starting at 10 a.m. Monday.

Sure, Al Gore would really appreciate it if everyone used his invention, but according to the annual National Technology Scan survey "29% or 31 million homes in the United States have no Internet and those residents don’t intend to subscribe to any access for the next year. In addition, 44% of households aren’t interested in any Internet content".

I'm not sure how many of those 31 million without Internet access are Rockies' fans, but there has to be a few. And if they don't have access at work, then Major League Baseball has just put them in a difficult position.

The other problem would be if the ticket servers crashed during what will probably be a huge traffic jam of sales. It wouldn't be the first time that something like that has occured during online ticket sales for a sporting event. Just ask Pittsburgh Panthers' fans about their '03 ticket fiasco. And that was for Panthers basketball tickets. This is for tickets for the Rockies, the hottest team in baseball right now, first World Series appearance.

Good luck Rockies' fans, I have a feeling you might need it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Is That Really The Best Player For This Madden Cover?

In case you're not aware, EA Sports has decided to produce a Spanish version of the mega-hit Madden NFL '08. They're hoping to tap into the sport's popularity at a time when the NFL is ratcheting up marketing efforts aimed at Spanish speakers.

For the first time, Electronic Arts Inc. is producing a Spanish-language version of its hugely popular Madden NFL football video game, the company announced Tuesday.

The move is evidence of the growing popularity of the NFL among Spanish speakers as well as a sign of the company's desire to tap into new customers.

It's estimated that "about 12 percent of the NFL's 120 million fans are Hispanic", and it is nice that EA Sports has taken them into consideration. Eventhough, they've probably already purchased the English version of this year's game which has been available since August. But I'm sure that EA wouldn't mind someone buying two copies of the same game.

Probably the two biggest questions regard the announcer and the cover victim athlete. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for our Spanish speaking friends, John Madden is not doing his schtick in Spanish. Which is really a shame because I wanted to hear him shout "auge!" at least once. No, instead it will be Alvaro Martin.

And who's the cover athlete?

Luis Castillo of the San Diego Chargers. Who was chosen because of his heritage.
The cover will feature San Diego Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo, the second player from the Dominican Republic to be drafted and start in the NFL.

Now, everything seems fine and dandy, but some of you may have heard of Mr. Castillo. And you probably remember that it wasn't all good.

Luis Castillo was an All-American defensive linemen while at Northwestern, but during his senior season he suffered a severe elbow injury that nagged him the entire season. He opted not to take a medical redshirt, and as the NFL Combine got closer he was scared that he wouldn't perform up to the level he was capable of. So, he used the steroid, androstenedione, for a short while and was able to put up 32 reps at 225lbs at the combine. However, he also tested positive for the steroid there, and instantly had to go on the defensive. All 32 teams knew of his failed test, but San Diego still took him with the 28th pick of the 2005 draft.

Here is what Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel had to say about it at the time:
"It sends a terrible message,'' Vrabel said. "He cheats. He cheated the system and got away with it."

Castillo admitted that he took andro to help him with his combine performance, and whether or not you justify his decision because he's a "great kid"(like Chargers' GM A.J. Smith) the fact is he did cheat to enhance his performance. He was rewarded back in 2005 with being drafted #28, and he's being rewarded in 2007 with the cover of the Spanish version of Madden '08. Well, if you can call being on the cover a reward.

And in a weird twist of coincidence, Castillo's teammate Shawne Merriman, who has also had some steroid issues, has been selected as the cover athlete for EA's NFL Tour.

So, that's two athletes with ties to steroids that are doing endorsements for EA's NFL marketing. Somewhere Roger Goodell is burning all of his EA games.

Expanding Your Knowledge

With their win Monday night, the Colorado Rockies advanced to the World Series. Doing so is an amazing feat not just because they almost missed the playoffs this season, but also because of how young their franchise is. In case you've forgotten, the Rockies entered the league in 1993 with the Florida Marlins as baseball's Major League expanded. Another interesting note is that within a two-year timespan('93-'95) each of the other major sports leagues(NHL, NFL, NBA) also added a pair of expansion teams. Why don't we take a look at how they all have fared up to this point.

Expand Your Knowledge After The Jump

Colorado Rockies: The Rockies started play in 1993, and finished 6th in their division with a 67-95 record. They've tied or exceeded that winning percentage every year since then. The '06-'07 season has been their best to date in terms of wins and performance in the playoffs. Currently, they're making their first appearance in the World Series. Their previous best finish was in 1995 when they lost to the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.

Florida Marlins: The Marlins were the other expansion team added in 1993. They too finished 6th in their division that season with a record of 64-98. However, it only took the Marlins five years to make their first appearance in the World Series('97), and they ended up winning it all. The following year, 1998, the Marlins were a shell of the World Series team after a "fire sale" of most of their best players. That season they became the only team in MLB history to lose 100 games after winning the World Series in the previous season. The downturn would only last five seasons, however, as the Marlins made it to the World Series in 2003 and won it all again.

Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks entered the NHL in 1993, and finished 4th in their division with a record of 33-46-5. They missed the playoffs for their first three years before losing to the Red Wings in the conference semifinals in 1996. The Ducks made just one more playoff appearance, in 1998, over the next five seasons before making it to the NHL Finals and losing to the Devils in 2002. They missed the playoffs in 2005, but returned in 2005, losing to the Oilers in the conference finals. In 2006, however, the Ducks again made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, this time beating the Senators and taking the title.

Florida Panthers: The Panthers were the other NHL team added in 1993, and they finished 5th in their division with a record of 33-34-17. They missed the playoffs for their first two seasons, but in their third, 1995, they made it all the way to the NHL finals. Ultimately losing to the Avalanche. Over the next ten seasons, the Panthers made two more playoff appearances('96 & '99), but lost both times in the conference quarterfinals.

Toronto Raptors: The Raptors were one of two teams added to the NBA in 1995, and they compiled a record of 21-61 in their inaugural season. They missed the playoffs their first four seasons, but in 1999 they earned a playoff berth and were knocked out in the first round by the Knicks. They made their second straight playoff appearance in 2000, and advanced to the conference semifinals where the 76'ers beat them. In 2001, they returned to the playoffs, but lost again in the first round. This time to the Pistons. The Raptors missed the playoffs for the next four seasons, but returned in 2006 after winning the Atlantic Division. Though, they were bounced in the first round by the Nets.

Vancouver(Memphis) Grizzlies: The Grizzlies were the other team added in 1995, and they started off with a record of 15-67. They endured nine straight seasons of missing the playoffs, and a move to Memphis, before earning their first playoff berth in 2003. Where they lost in the first round to the Spurs. The Grizzlies followed up their first playoff appearance with a second one in 2004, but lost again in the first round. This time to the Suns. In 2005, the Grizzlies made their third straight playoff appearance, but again lost in the first round. This time to Mavericks.

Carolina Panthers: The Panthers were one of two NFL teams added in 1995, and put together a record of 7-9. In just their second year, 1996, they made it to the playoffs and advanced all the way to the conference championship where they lost to the Packers. The Panthers missed the playoffs for the next six straight seasons before they earned another berth in 2003, and made it all the way to Super Bowl. Ultimately losing to the Patriots. The Panthers missed the playoffs in 2004, but returned in 2005 where they lost in the conference championship to the Seahawks. They missed the playoffs again in 2006.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars were the second NFL team added in 1995, and compiled a record of 4-12. They made four straight playoff appearances over the next four seasons, losing in the conference championships twice('96 & '99) and the wild card playoffs('97) and divisional playoffs('98) once. The Jags failed to make the playoffs over the course of the next five seasons, but reappeared in 2005, losing to the Patriots in the wild card round. They missed the playoffs in 2006.

So there you have it, a quick rundown of some of the other expansion teams that were added to their respective leagues around the same time that the Rockies were. Combined, the eight teams have a postseason record of 107-97, with six championship appearances and three championships. The Rockies have already contributed to that first number this season and hope to increase that second one to four.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Damn The Man And His Double Standards!

I'm all for protecting our children from predators and perverts, but sometimes it seems like people go a little too far. Like telling two high school seniors that they had to leave a football game because of their bikini tops and body paint.

Jessyca Altenbach and Monica Cummings are best friends. They do practically everything together and last Friday night was no different.

They're seniors at Manatee High School in Bradenton. They wanted to show their school spirit at the home football game against Riverview Friday night. So they slipped on bikini tops and painted their bodies the school colors. Altenbach says "We were thinking about it about 3 weeks before. We saw the guys do it. We thought it was a good idea. I've never seen a girl do it before so we were like let's do it."

The girls say it took them an hour and a half to get ready and they drove to the game sitting on beach towels afraid the paint would rub off.

But when the girls got to the game to take their seats in the stands school administrators say people in the stands started to complain about their appearance.

Apparently, some people complained that the way the girls painted themselves it looked as if they didn't have on any clothes, and they believed it to be "highly suggestive and offensive".

Attenbach and Cummings have stated that they want both guys and girls to be able to support the team with body painting, and they're hopeful that they'll be able to do so for "Senior Night" this Friday.
Altenbach says “I want to see a change. I want it to be either guys can do it and girls or no one can do it. It shouldn't be guys can do it and we can't."

Jessyca and Monica say this Friday is "senior night" and they want to dress up the same way for that big game. They plan to ask the principal for his approval first.

Hopefully, the school lets them support the team in this manner, which isn't really all that "suggestive or offensive". And if they're scared of shady behavior, then they should hire Chris Hansen and his staff to work the gate.

Not Even Toothpicks Can Shut Down The Tawas

The Tawas Braves had compiled a 5-2 record and were fighting for a playoff berth as they headed into their matchup against the Alcona Tigers last Friday. The winner would make it into the playoffs, and the Braves expected the normal crowd of 1,000 fans to be there supporting them at their homefield.

Unfortunately, something came up and the game had to be moved 40 miles away to Alcona's home stadium.

That something was toothpicks. Thousands of toothpicks strewn across the field.

Thousands of toothpicks caused a big problem for the Tawas Braves high school football team.

Friday night's highly anticipated matchup between rivals Tawas and the Alcona Tigers was to determine a play-off spot for one of the teams, WNEM-TV in Saginaw reported.

The game was scheduled to be played at Tawas, but thousands of toothpicks sticking up out of the ground on the field prompted officials to move the game 40 miles to Alcona's home field.

Instead of the usual 1,000 fans showing up for a Tawas home game, only 150 made the trek to Alcona.

The venue change didn't hamper Tawas though, as they hammmered Alcona 49-0. However, they might want to be cautious about their next home game because some feel a prior beatdown might have caused the toothpick fiasco.
Students from the toothpick-laden school have alluded to the involvement of students from Oscoda, which Tawas beat 72-0 a few weeks ago. It was a record worst for the school.

The toothpicks were removed one by one by fans and school officials.

Seriously? Tossing thousands of toothpicks onto a rival's field after they whooped your ass? Sounds pretty weak. Though, Joe Paterno might want to look into it as punishment for some of his players. I'm sure that Beaver Stadium can hold a helluva lot of toothpicks.

It's A Hard Knock Life For Kickers

It really is tough being a kicker. Sure, when you make the game winning field goal everyone lifts you up and celebrates. Until the next morning, when they're still amped about the win, but don't remember the kick so much. As the week progresses to the next game the memory of that game winner fades even more until all that's left is a great win and nothing more. But if you miss the potential game winner people will remember for weeks, months, years, maybe even lifetimes.

Then you also have backups that attempt to injure you so they can take over the starting position(ok, that's mostly punters, but they still kick the ball). And on kickoffs you always get setup as the last guy to try and tackle someone running full speed that's usually a little more athletic, and then they show the highlight of you getting your ankles broken while attempting some pussified form of a tackle over and over again.

Such is the life of a kicker, and Georgia's Brandon Coutu can attest to that.

On Saturday night, Brandon Coutu kicked a 37-yard field goal to seal the win against Vanderbilt. The win kept Georgia in the hunt for the SEC East title, and Coutu's teammates rallied around him as the game ended. Coutu's excitement was cut short, however when he found out that his home had been burglarized as he was heading back from the Vandy game.

One of the best nights in Brandon Coutu's life quickly turned into one of the worst on Saturday.

The Georgia kicker walked into his Athens home after kicking a game-winning field goal at Vanderbilt and found that burglars had ransacked the place and stolen almost everything of value and some of sentimental value, such as SEC championship and bowl gifts.

"They took a lot of stuff, a lot of things that were important to him," said Ron Coutu, Brandon's father. "They took a TV with an SEC logo on it, an Xbox, iPods, computer, a bunch of electronic-type stuff."

Coutu learned of the break-in on his way back from the Vanderbilt game. A friend had gone to the house and was to meet Coutu there for a celebration. After finding the back door kicked in, he went in, discovered the burglary and called Coutu.

"It was not fun having to tell him," Ron Coutu said. "Obviously it was a big night for him and he walked in there frustrated. But the main thing is nobody got hurt and almost everything can be replaced."

So, instead of basking in the win Coutu got to think about trying to replace the schoolwork(kickers have to go to class, star qb's and running backs not so much) that had been taken with the theft of his laptop. The news of the theft has also partially overshadowed the importance of his kick.
At first, the Coutus thought about not talking to the media about the break-in, but Brandon said he wanted to do everything possible to try to find the perpetrator or perpetrators. If the word got out, he thought, maybe someone would be able to point police in the right direction.

"He has gotten more media attention from this than he did from the game-winning kick," Ron Coutu said.

Just another sad example of the week to week struggles that kickers endure as they practice and perform their limited shots at glory. Hopefully the next time a kicker puts through the winning field goal some asshat doesn't bust into their place and jack their stuff. We all know kickers' psyches are fragile enough as it is.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cris Collinsworth And His Rabid Support Of The Patriots

For some reason, I've come to dislike Cris Collinsworth. I'm not exactly how it happened, but I do know that everything he says seems to agitate me. Which is a bit weird since he's a former Gator. Last night, however was probably one of the most difficult things I've had to sit through regarding Collinsworth and his assinine assertions.

"This New England Patriots team is the best I've ever seen" is pretty close to what Collinsworth said last night. Yes, this year's Pats team has started out quite well, but consider this, Collinsworth is 48 years old. That means he's seen a lot of football teams. Including the undefeated '72 Dolphins, the '85 Bears(which scored the 2nd most points that season and allowed the fewest), the '96 Packers(#1 ranked offense and defense in terms of points) and there are a lot more that I could add to the list.

Collinsworth also got all hot and bothered over the point totals from New England's first six games. For the record, they are 38, 38, 38, 34, 34, 48(average 38.3 pts). If those numbers excite Collinsworth, then maybe he should watch a replay of the Vikings from 1998 when they scored 31, 38, 29, 31, 37 and 41(average 34.5 pts) en route to setting the league record of 556 points scored. And if he really wants some stimulation, then he should check out the Rams' 2000 season when they scored 41, 37, 41, 41, 57 and 45(average 43.6 pts) through their first six games. Though, he might want to lay down some plastic for that if he thinks New England's offense is prolific.

Like I stated, I have no problem giving the Patriots credit for their fast start and their 6-0 record. Yes, Dallas was supposed to be New England's first big test, but having the 24th ranked pass defense wasn't going to provide much of test. Especially against a strong New England passing attack. The Dolphins in week 7 provide a stronger pass defense than that. No, their biggest test will probably be against Pittsburgh in week 14 when they face a defense currently ranked 2nd against the run and 4th against the pass. Indy in week 9 should put up a good fight because they can score points, but their 13th ranked rush defense could be a liability.

Should New England fail to score 30+ points, and/or lose a few games it will be interesting to hear what Collinsworth says. Before he gets too hyped about this year's Pats he might want to remember what happened to those '98 Vikings and '00 Rams.

College Football Debriefing

Each week, after all of the games have been played, I'll re-visit some of them and give my take(synonym for biased, slightly informed opinion). It's called the debriefing because whatever happened during your chosen team's game you probably felt like you were part of a crime scene, or maybe a terrorist attack. Whether you thought you were robbed by the referees, or got to witness some WMD's exploding in your stadium, this is where we'll re-open fresh wounds and examine the positives and negatives. But since we're all college football fanatics, probably mostly the negatives.

Seriously, What The Hell Is Going On?
One or two weeks worth of craziness and "upsets" is explainable and somewhat expected, but this season's wackiness week in and week out is weird and almost unsettling. It's as if the Earth has shifted off its axis, and what we thought we knew has been smashed into tiny little pieces.

LSU obviously used up all of their fourth down luck against the Gators because that playcall for a run to the left against Kentucky that got absolutely stuffed was not imaginative or overpowering. And just like that, #1 falls.

Then second ranked Cal, with the top spot open for the taking, watches their season crumble as the clock ticks down to 00:00 while the field goal unit is scrambling onto the field to attempt the tying kick.

Besides that, we had Cincy dooming themselves via turnover against Louisville, Penn State blasting Wisconsin, Iowa shutting down Illinois and Wake Forest edging out FSU.

Make sure you tune in this week to see what type of freakish events happen under the big top!

The Little Program That Could Has Crashed The BCS Party
The South Florida Bulls had never had a football team ranked in the top 25 before. Right now, they're #2 in the BCS. Jim Leavitt has built that program from scratch, probably with dynamite, whiskey, sledgehammers and other manly tools. They're poised to take over the helm should when Ohio State stumbles. I know some people believed that USF could challenge Rutgers and WVU for the Big East this year, but who would have ever thought they would be the highest ranked team in the state right now? Congrats Bulls.

If Only I Could Predict The Lotto Numbers
Last week I wrote that Ohio State was "creeping up", and that this might be the season they win it all(again). The Buckeyes hopped up to #1 after the LSU and Cal losses, and have played pretty good football so far. However, they toughest part of their schedule is fast approaching(Michigan St. this week), and as we've seen, being #1 isn't the greatest thing in the world this season.

All Your Scoring Belongs To Us!
How's this for a stat line? "Final score 69-67, 4OT. 1266 yards of combined offense." That's what Boise State and Nevada gave us last night. College football, isn't it great?

My (insert respective team here) Did This Well
Hopefully watched the LSU at Kentucky game since it was their bye week, and they travel to Lexington this coming Saturday.

My (insert respective team here) Didn't Do This Well
Everybody seemed to stay out of trouble, though it was sad to hear that walk on defensive back Michael Guilford and his passenger, Ashley Slonina, were killed in a motorcycle accident. Condolences to their friends and families.

Graham Harrell directed the pass happy Texas Tech offense against TAMU, and his season totals are now 3,151 yards, 31 TD's and 3 INT's.

Mike Hart injured his ankle, but not before running for 102 yards and 2 TD's. In the first half against Purdue. Hart leads the nation with 1,078 rushing yards and is near the top with 12 TD's.

And to give some defensive players some space here at The Sports Oasis:

George Selvie currently leads the nation with 11 sacks, and energizes the USF defense week in and week out.

Jordan Dizon from Colorado leads the nation with 58 solo tackles and 89 total tackles. He's not going to get real Heisman consideration, but we'll give him some props here.

Thursday Night Is Ready To Make You Worthless On Friday Again
We've had a great slate of Thursday night games this year, and this week is no different. The South Florida Bulls get to take their shiny new #2 ranking on the road to face Rutgers. It should be a great matchup, and with the way this season has gone anything can, and probably will, happen.

Consider yourself debriefed! (But still totally mystified)

Monday, October 08, 2007

It's The Beginning Of October And The Dolphins Are Right Back Where They Started

Over the past few seasons it's been exhausting being a Dolphins fan. Most recently, it was the whole Nick Satan debacle, and an offseason that saw some popular players depart and some curious draft decisions.

And now it's the beginning of October, and the Dolphins(and their fans) are in the same spot they were a number of months ago. Looking for a quarterback to lead the team.

Thanks to Trent Green's decision to block a defender in the knee with his head on Ted Ginn's reverse(You remember him right? Miami's #1 pick.), Cleo Lemon is the starter for the forseeable future. He may even be the starter for the rest of the season because this is Green's second bad concussion in as many seasons. If he can't go, then it will be up to Lemon and second round pick John Beck to try and end Miami's eight game losing streak.

Does passing on Brady Quinn after he fell into Miami's lap seem like such a great decision now, Coach Cameron? I know that Ginn's 51 yards of total receiving have made a huge impact, but seriously, passing on Quinn? [sarcasm]It's still a great idea six months later![/sarcasm]

And You Thought Your Local DMV Was Shady

Imagine if you had a favorite sports team. Now imagine if you wanted to get a custom license plate depicting your allegiance to said team. If no one else had that tag, then it would be yours to proudly display on the back of your vehicle forever and ever. Or at least until some asshat rips it off.

If you live in London however, that wouldn't be the case. No, across the pond you might have to bid on the tag in an auction if you really want it, and you better bring your nickels, dimes, shillings, whatever because it probably won't be cheap. Especially if it has anything to do with soccer.

It's the ultimate status symbol for a West Ham fan with a fat wallet and an ego to match -- the personalised car number plate "WE57 HAM".

The plate is up for auction later this month with a reserve price of 4,000 pounds, small change for most premier league players.

"We know what a large and passionate support there is for West Ham," said Damian Lawson, of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the auction's organiser.

"Because the number reads so well we think it stands a real chance of topping the table of football plates."

Ok, so a reserve of 4,000 pounds puts it at roughly $8,155. That's pretty damn expensive for a license plate, but what's this about "topping the table of football plates"?

Bidding will have to be fierce to beat the current record for a football-themed plate. The DVLA sold "AR53 NAL" for 36,000 pounds in 2004.

Private sales of plates such as "1 UTD", for Manchester United, have reportedly fetched even bigger sums.

36,000 pounds? That's a little over $73,000. That's a lot of money for a piece of metal on the back of your vehicle. Don't they have those window flags, or magnetic signs in England? You could buy a few thousand cases of those for that type of money. And it's not like this is an individual auctioning off the plate. It's the government office in charge of licensing vehicles that's sanctioning this.

Oh well, I guess if someone is willing to pay that kind of money for it, then more power to them.

That Feeling In Your Stomach? Yes, That's Dread

Watching sports on TV as a big sportsfan is a unique experience. If you do it long enough, and have a good understanding of the game, then you get sort of a sixth sense about things. Now, they don't always work out the way you think they will, but for the most part you can be pretty accurate in certain situations. The problem with this is that when something disatrous happens to your favorite team, playing your favorite sport, you get this bad feeling in your stomach.

It's sort of a combination of fear, anxiety and bad seafood mixed together. Like when you did something bad, and instead of your mom yelling at you she said "wait until your father gets home". The problem was he wouldn't be home for another 3 hours, and you were stuck in this quasi-punished purgatory while your insides gurgled. That's exactly what it's like when something is going wrong for your favorite team.

It's also exactly what I experienced on Saturday night.

Florida came into their game against LSU as the underdog. Shocked at home the week before by a suddenly resurgent Auburn team everyone wondered how they would respond. Would they bounce back tenaciously and pull out the win? Or would they hang around for a little while, but ultimately wilt under the pressure? I knew it was a winnable game for them, and was full of excitement and confidence as I entered a local establishment to watch the game.

To set the scene, I would say that the crowd was about 80% pro-Gators. There were some Seminole fans mixed in, but they would be quiet until the 4th quarter(by the way, you know your season sucks when the only thing you have to look forward to is your rival losing). Also, there was at least one fan of either Nebraska or Missouri because someone complained when the huge TV closest to where I was sitting got changed from Nebraska vs Mizzou to UF vs LSU, so it had to get switched back.

For three quarters, everything went Florida's way. The problem with penalties seemed to be righted. Florida had put up 24 points on the nation's stingiest defense. Tebow and Kestahn Moore were able to run the ball well. Even the defense was getting pressure on the quarterback(s), and not getting burnt deep. But then it happened. The "orange blue" chants got a little quieter, and the Gator chomp wasn't seeing quite as much action. What had happened was that Kestahn Moore fumbled on Florida's 49 yard line to end the 3rd quarter. Florida had the momentum most of the game, but that play at that point in time energized the LSU crowd through the break between quarters, and they started the 4th quarter on a mission.

My stomach started gurgling just a little bit at that point.

I knew that turnovers could bring about a quick change in the score. I started feeling a little uneasy about that 10 point lead, but that settled a bit when Colt David missed a 37 yard field goal.

Alright, no points off of the turnover, great. But then it happened again.

Tebow threw a pass that bounced off the receiver's shoulder/helmet and right into an LSU defender's hands. At the Florida 27 yard line nonetheless. Just like that, two consecutive drives ended by turnovers.

At this point, that feeling of dread had fought its way through a few layers of beer and wings. Enough to make sure that I felt it, and understood what was happening.

LSU drives, goes for it on 4th down and scores a touchdown. Yes stomach, I hear you.

Florida now holds a tenative 3 point lead, and there's a lot of time left. But by now I can feel the momentum shift all the way from Baton Rouge. Florida goes three and out and punts. What happens next, for the next 8 minutes and 6 seconds only serves to increase the dread until it's replaced by a feeling of disappointment.

LSU mounts a 16 play drive, complete with two successful 4th-and-1 runs to score the go ahead touchdown with 1:09 left. There are no more chants or chomps. Just FSU fans cheering for LSU, and a crowd of people hoping for a miracle, but realizing that the probablity isn't exactly high. At this point my stomach feels hollow, like someone has sucker punched me in the gut. Repeatedly.

Florida drives to the LSU 45 yard line where they commit a 10 yard penalty(always save the best for last), and Tebow heaves a prayer into the end zone but it's futile.

The damage had already been done to the scoreboard and my stomach.

Like I said, watching sports as a sportsfan is unique. As soon as Kestahn Moore fumbled I knew something very bad was on the verge of happening. The missed field goal seemed to only delay the inevitable. Maybe it's just my memory being clouded by hindsight, but after that second consecutive drive ended with a turnover I didn't like Florida's chances at a win anymore. That "sixth sense" was telling me that things weren't looking good, and dread was creeping in from all around.

The funny thing is that that's the best part of being a fan of college football. The same thing that makes winning so great also makes losing so hard.


And you know what?

I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Well, maybe a case of Pepto Bismol.

College Football Debriefing

Each week, after all of the games have been played, I'll re-visit some of them and give my take(synonym for biased, slightly informed opinion). It's called the debriefing because whatever happened during your chosen team's game you probably felt like you were part of a crime scene, or maybe a terrorist attack. Whether you thought you were robbed by the referees, or got to witness some WMD's exploding in your stadium, this is where we'll re-open fresh wounds and examine the positives and negatives. But since we're all college football fanatics, probably mostly the negatives.

Bizarro College Football World Lives On!
Stanford won. Yes, you read that right. The Fighting Jim Harbaughs ended the nation's longest home winning streak. One that spanned over 6 years. That is pure, unadulterated craziness. Oh yeah, Illinois ended the nation's longest winning streak by beating Wisconsin. Previously unranked Kansas, now the proud owner of the #20 spot, upset K-State at home. Nebraska got blasted by Mizzou. And Miami lost to UNC. Stay tuned every week from here on out to see what the hell else happens.

Les Miles Gut Checks His Team
I've got to hand it to LSU(just like my beloved Gators did). They made plays when they needed them most, and lucked pulled out a gritty win. Going 5-for-5 on 4th downs is pretty impressive, and ensured that Colt David wouldn't have to be counted on to shank make one.

The SEC Is Proving Once Again How Tough It Is
There are currently 7 SEC teams ranked in the Top 25. Every week the teams are fighting for championship hopes. And even when a traditional powerhouse like Tennessee is having a down year a team like Kentucky steps up and helps fill the void.

Ohio State Is Creeping Up
Last year they were supposed to win it all, but maybe everyone was off by a season. The Buckeyes took apart a pretty good Purdue team on Saturday without playing great football. Their conference is weak this year, and if there was ever time to run the table this is it. They still have tough games left(at PSU/Meeechigan, vs MSU/'Consin/UI), but a perfect record is possible. Though, they would probably still get smacked around by an SEC in the championship game should they make it that far.

My (insert respective team here) Did This Well
Cut down on the penalties. Finally, after what seemed like months and months of having double digit penalties the Gators only had 2 for 8 yards. At least that was nice.

My (insert respective team here) Didn't Do This Well
Stop 4th down conversions by LSU in the 4th quarter. On the two 4th quarter touchdown drives for LSU in the 4th quarter they converted 3 times. One was a 4th and goal that resulted in a TD. The other two were 4th and shorts that Jacob Hester was able to pick up running straight ahead. If Florida stops any of those, then they most likely win the game.

Graham Harrell continues to lead the nation in passing yards and touchdowns(I know, I know he's in a pass happy offense. Whatever.)

Redshirt freshman Michael Crabtree continued to benefit from having Graham Harrell at QB by catching 10 passes for 154 yards and 3 TD's. He now has ober 1,000 yards receiving and 17 receiving TD's.

Mike Hart reclaimed the lead in rushing yards by running for 215 yards(He became UM's all-time rushing leader), and 3 TD's on Saturday.

Consider yourself debriefed!

Friday, October 05, 2007

It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere - Gastrointestinal Edition

Since it's Friday, and the end of the workweek for most people, we think that you should be provided with a post that takes the edge off so to speak. Because it's going to be random and hopefully humorous, that means that it won't always be sports related. It will also pop up at any time on Friday.

Light posting this week due to something called "real life", and a general malaise caused by a loss in The Swamp. Florida gets a quick shot at turning things around when they face #1 LSU in Baton Rouge this weekend. The short turnaround from being upset to possibly causing the upset could be a blessing or a curse. Unfortunately, we won't know the answer until it's too late for one of the teams. Another loss for Florida probably means more punishment of the GI tract for Gator fans. In case you're not sure what that type of pain looks like here's a clip to help you out. Hopefully the Gators bring us a win, and one of our friends brings some Pepto.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Domo Arigato Mr. Byrum

With the Gators loss to Auburn still being a bit raw and painful, like road rash that has to get scraped with the wire brush, I saw this video and felt just a bit better. Because when the fans of your team are doing this in opposing stadiums you have to win for them.

Or they suffer complete embarrassment, and maybe even an asskicking. Or two.

Domo arigato indeed.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Khalif Barnes Doesn't Understand Valet Parking

Khalif Barnes seems to have a hard time operating a motor vehicle. A little less than one year ago he was arrested and charged with DUI. In that incident he basically called the residents of Jacksonville racists, and wondered aloud in the back of patrol car why they would even have an NFL team there.

If you thought that was interesting, then you should get a kick out of Khalif's latest automotive mishap. In which he wrecks his 2007 Mercedes causing an estimated $10,000 worth of damage, calls the police to report the accident, tosses the ignition key into the grass then flees the scene.

Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Khalif Barnes was cited for reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and violating a term of his probation following a one-car accident in which he plowed his Mercedes into a tree.

Barnes called Jacksonville police to the scene of the accident near his house early Saturday morning, but when officers arrived Barnes was not there. When they knocked on his door at home, he wasn't there, either.

What officers found, however, was the lineman's 2007 Mercedes Benz against a tree and keys in the grass. Police estimated damage to the car around $10,000.

Sure Khalif, just toss the keys in the grass, and we'll get this Mercedes back to you in pristine conditon, no questions asked.