The Big East is still here folks! After rumors of Syracuse, Pitt or Rutgers to the Big Ten, West Virginia to the SEC/ACC, Cincinnati to waiving their hands around and spinning in a circle the conference still exists for football and there is a BCS bid up for grabs. Knowing you have a 1/8 chance of getting a payday bonanza has to be good motivation going into the season and most of the teams have a legitimate shot at it. Our pick of who takes the Beast next.
There was quite a mess left for Cincinati last year after such a successful year. This was mostly thanks to the Catholics over in Indiana. Brian Kelly's departure left the Bearcats' already slim chances against Tim Tebow's last college fame at none. UC made a wise choice in picking up Butch Jones to follow Kelly up just as he did at Central Michigan. Even though he's American and his name doesn't mean anything, Butch will keep a close version of the same offense that had them 6th in scoring in the nation last year. The even better news is that Zach Collaros is back at QB and filled in terrifically when Tony Pike got injured last year. Collaros will also have Armon Binns to throw the ball to and Isaiah Pead to hand if off to. [Seriously, the variations on spelling the name Isiah has to stop. Yes I checked three times and that is how you spell Pead's name.] Now the question again will turn to the defense and that may seem silly after the team went 12-1 and was one clock tick away from playing for the BCS title but the lasting memory is that Sugar Bowl. Also the defense did tend to be a bit porous last year against good offenses.
The crazy schedule that Cincinnati plays make predicting their season tough. Hosting UT-Martin, Indiana State, and Miami (the other one) make it seem like a cupcake extravaganza, but they also play at NC State(albeit not the toughest contest) and host Oklahoma. After those games they avoid West Virginia, Pitt and Rutgers until November and the first week of December. I think by then they will be playing Butch ball and win a second consecutive year.
Pitt is on paper the purported prohibitive favorites to pilfer the precarious conference prize. Alliteration aside, I already picked Clemson to go far enough and I have a rule about only picking one, what I like to call, Clemson a year. So you will not see Michigan State or Cal winning anything in the remainder of our previews. Running back Dion Lewis was a sensation last year and now in his second year he should keep the momentum going, especially behind the blocking of LT Jason Pinkston. They did lose their verteran QB Bill Stull but they have playmaker Jon Baldwin at wideout to help new QB Tino Sunseri who sounds like he right out of a Soprano's episode. The defense begins and ends with DE Greg Romeus whose name is right out of Star Trek. The Wannstache has always been a great at getting his teams tough on defense, and Pitt seems to be right at he cusp but somehow I feel they will fall short.
Pitt travels to Utah to open the season which might set the tone for when they get to Big East season. If not then, Miami comes to town in week 3. They end again with Cincinnati in another contest that very well may again decide the Big East title.
Greg Schiano is entering his 10th year at Rutgers. Now I don't know about you but that makes me feel old. In a record the Neutral Planet would be proud of, he is 55-55. Rutgers was 9-4 overall but 3-4 in conference. Tom Savage and Mohamed Sanu should be one of the best pass and catch combos in the country that most people don't talk about. The biggest strength to this team may be their defensive line. If they're able to stop the run and get to the opponents QBs, it will be a productive season in Piscataway. But will another 8 or 9 wins be satisfying for the Scarlet Knights or will it ring hollow? Who cares, it's New Jersey.
Okay, that was a little mean and Jersey jokes are far from original these days. Rutgers out of conference schedule is far from daunting with the only BCS contest being North Carolina at home and now who knows what state they will in.
4. West Virginia
Many drew parallels to Larry Coker when Bill Stewart took the helm. I had to say I concurred with it but that was perhaps unfair. Yet a few years later Stewart's seat is getting warmer despite getting the Mountaineers to back-to-back 9 win seasons. The people in Morgantown are not exactly rational and they want results now. Noel Devine is one of the most dynamic backs in the country, but he is going to need the O-line's help. That's where big Josh Jenkins and Don Barclay come in. Geno Smith will attempt to take the place of Jarrett Brown taking the place of Pat White.
The big game for WVA will be in Death Valley (yeah that one) against LSU before they get to the conference game. The last four games for the Mountaineers will be a challenge as they get Cincinnati, Louisville, Pitt and Rutgers. Ultimately I see regression instead of progression for Stewart and a lot of unhappy rednecks come January.
It was a very emotional year for UCONN last year. After losing Jasper Howard to a tragic death, the team pressed on the best they could. A couple of close losses on the field could not stop their determination as they finished up strong with a bowl win. Losing Lindsey Witten hurts the Huskies defense but Edsall has made his bones at UCONN so far by making something out of nothing. Greg Lloyd, no not that one, returns from a leg injury at linebacker and should add to the defensive effort. It is what you would expect from a team that is not able to recruit the biggest star guys out there; a lot of effort and speed in the place of mass.
UCONN's most intriguing match-up happens week 1 as they travel to the Big House. It will be a great measuring stick for both programs. I have nothing but admiration for Edsall and his team's heart, but it is likely another 7 to 8 wins and a bowl appearance for the Huskies, a Big East title remains just out of reach.
6. South Florida
Jim Leavitt created something out of nothing. Literally. He was the first and only coach at USF until this past offseason where allegations of player-smacking and non-cooperation with the administration ousted him. It was a messy affair and it was a knee-jerk reaction by the suits in my opinion. No one would even know about the Bulls existence if it were not for Leavitt and he deserved another chance. However, no time to lament Skip Holtz left his cushy pirate ship in Green-vegas to take on the Big East. Holtz has proved he can spar with the big boys, and now that he will be dipping into the Florida high school talent pool, he will have South Florida to the level Leavitt took them to, and maybe higher.
Yet it will not happen this year. A trip to Florida in week 2 will be a sober reminder of that. A horrid bowl trip will be the best Holtz can salvage from the season.
Another new coach takes over a previously overachieving program. Charlie Strong, who was denied head coaching jobs in the SEC for "unknown reasons" was a hell of a snag for Louisville. Strong is one of the up and coming stars in the college game. The Cardinals have been decimated for personnel after successful coaches bolted and the previous coach, Steve Kragthorpe mortgaged the program on gambles that did not pan out. The Cards most likely will not make a bowl but the future is bright.
While other teams welcome new coaches, Doug Marrone tries to claw Syracuse back to respectability. It really is head-shaking to see the Orange in this plight. They have just as much and pretty much more tradition of any program in the conference yet they have been relegated to second fiddle status behind their basketball team. Marrone will need to get the offense going, and how will they ever do that without Ron Paulus? (/end sarcasm) On defense he's got a pair of stud linebackers in Darrell Smith and Doug Hogue but the corner needs to be turned on points scored this year. Marrone has plenty of time to make it happen, no one is pressuring him to win now, because no one else would want the challenge if they let him loose.
Player to watch: Greg Romeus
Exceeds Expectations: Cincinnati
Fails Expectations: West Virginia
In-conference game to watch: Pitt at Cincy, Dec. 4
Out of conference game to watch: Miami at Pitt, Sep. 23
Monday, August 30
Sunday, August 29
For the past decade, the ACC has not exactly been flavor country for college football. Putrid showings in bowl season after bowl season and no team playing for the BCS title since 2000 (Miami was in the Big East in 2002) has led many to view ACC has a punchline and a failed expansion project. However, the conference does contain some talented players and teams and despite non-sexy national match-ups in the championship game the conference is making money. Include the new TV deal with ESPN and the conference is healthy, but still lacking a breakthrough performance. Once again the ACC brings talented teams to the table, but will the conference be holding its head high at the end of the year or sticking it in the sand like so many years before. The ASD ACC predictions after the jump.
I usually have a rule against picking Clemson to win anything, in any sport, but the Tigers proved that they could advance from the muck that is the ACC Atlantic last year. CJ Spiller was a difference-maker for Clemson last year and his explosiveness will be missed. They may believe they have the next two-headed backfield monster in James Harper and Andre Ellington, but talk is cheap. Kyle Parker has staved off the baseball field for one more season, but will he find consistency behind center? There seems to be a dynamic duo phenomenon going on down in western South Carolina because Clemson also has one on defense in safeties DeAndre McDaniel and Rashard Hall. The Tigers have the talent to get this done, but in my mind the jury is still out on Dabo and his staff. He should rightfully get credit for taking the team to the ACC title game but in BCS conferences coaches are measured by championships and the consistency of playing for them. Swinney appears to have his system in place to succeed where Tommy Bowden failed but he needs to shore up his special teams and game management. This could be the year they get it done.
The Tigers schedule has it's challenges but the placement of the games proves favorable. They only have back-to-back road games once toward the end of the year. They get cupcakes North Texas and Presbyterian(go Blue Hoes!) to open before they travel to Auburn in another ACC/SEC showdown. Even if Clemson loses that which I think they will, it does not affect their status in the Atlantic Division. They then have a week off before Miami comes to Death Valley. They also get Georgia Tech at home. The two other challengers in the Atlantic, FSU and BC, will be road challenges for them but Clemson will be able to afford to drop one. Prediction is Clemson goes 8-4 and makes it to Charlotte.
2. Boston College
Despite how loathe I am to watch another stupid replay of the Flutie Hail Mary pass, I have a lot of respect for BC football. From the time of Tom O'Brien to Frank Spaziani's tenure now, you are always guaranteed a solid effort from the Eagles when they take the field. The biggest story for them this year will be off the field, or rather a return to the field. Mark Herzlich will return from the cancer in his leg that took him away from football. He made his presence felt on ESPN and the sidelines last year but now his September return will provide an emotional boon and hopefully a productive difference in the defense. Quarterback was a problem last year and while Dave Shinskie (aka Wienke 2.0) has another year under his belt, the 25-year old has have to made great strides to provide more solid play. Defensively the Eagles should be their usual stalwart selves. If the offense can take pressure off the BC defense and produce sustained, long drives the Eagles will have success.
The schedule shapes up quite swimmingly. Cream puffs Weber State and Kent State lead them into a 3rd week open date. Virginia Tech comes next as their most challenging contest but they get it at Chestnut Hill. Notre Dame comes calling next but don't believe the hype, I'm a believer in Brian Kelly but the Irish are not to be feared this year. The Eagles will round out their conference play with Wake, Duke and Virginia. Damn, maybe I should change that Clemson pick but no, I think the Eagles come up just short of a division title.
3. Florida State
Will it be weird to not see Bobby Bowden on the sidelines for the Seminoles? No, since he really wasn't there the last couple seasons, with the exception of his Gator Bowl fairwell. While I am a Cane for life, Bobby Bowden deserves his respect for what he accomplished at FSU and we will ignore all that off the field stuff for now. Bowden is hocking a book (shocking I know) so he has got his best "Dang gum" act on the radio and while he has admitted he was forced out he has no ill-will toward the suits in Tallahassee. This will be a tough year for Jimbo Fisher, not because he is now the head coach, but because of all the distraction away from the field about replacing Bowden. The Seminoles will continue to be impressive on offense thanks to Fisher's game-planning but the defense is suspect. Christian Ponder is as good a combo of smarts and athleticism as anyone in the country. The offense should again be lighting up scoreboards, but can the defense keep up? I think FSU will have a number of close losses on the plate this year.
The out of conference schedule is tough for Florida State; after Samford comes to Doak, they will travel to Oklahoma and then host BYU. The Cougars will be eager to avenge their blowout last year. As always, Florida looms at the end fo the schedule and it is doubtful the Seminoles have risen as high as the Gators will fall without Tebow. It will be a season of highs and lows with a solid bowl bid at the end.
4. NC State
The honeymoon is over for Tom O'Brien in Raleigh. If there is no bowl game for the Wolfpack this year, the natives will be very restless. Six wins will be a challenge but it can be done. Shoring up the defense will be the biggest test. Russell Wilson will also need to take the leap forward he did not last year before he takes his leap to baseball. Tom O'Brien's BC teams were well known for strong offensive lines supporting strong running games while the defense played tough. The Pack defense was 99th in points against last year. It will be a tough road to hoe but Tom O'Brien is a coach that has yet to get it accomplished.
NC State has those games that could go tenuously either way. At UCF, Cincinnati, East Carolina, at North Carolina and at Maryland to close the season. Then there are games like at Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech back-to-back. I think the Pack will squeeze their 6 wins out of it.
5. Wake Forest
Wake went bowl-less for the first time in 5 years in 2009. Riley Skinner who seemed to be in Winston-Salem for a decade is gone and he represents a problem that Jim Grobe and company have had over the pas couple years, they have lost those diamonds in the rough and have to develop new ones. Grobe will try to introduce more of an option attack on offense which may accompany their personnel and style of play better...or fall flat. The defense will have fresh blood on the line, which will likely make stopping the run a challenge. Grobe made believers out of a lot of people but unfortunately he will have to do it again.
The Deacons got the dreaded Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech combo from the Coastal, and they will play fellow smart schools Navy and Stanford out of conference. The Deacons will struggle to make a bowl but be more than happy wherever they go if they do.
The Terps could do worse than last year, but that would mean they went 1-11 or 0-12. I'll go out on a limb and say that will not happen and not just because they have instituted a prime yoga regiment. Ralph Friedgen was given a stay of execution, mainly because Maryland gave Gary Williams another shot and he delivered and Maryland is a basketball school. With a more "athletic" quarterback taking over in Jamarr Robinson Friedgen will add more of an option look. Nothing much to shout about on the defensive side, except their linebackers.
Maryland will need to finish strong if they are going to make it happen this season. From October 16 to November 27 they play 7 of their 8 ACC games consecutively.
1. Virginia Tech
I often refer to the Hokies as the flag-bearers for the ACC because they are the one team that has been BCS-consistent throughout the decade. They provided a much needed Orange Bowl win a few years ago and even in a last year they defeated an SEC foe in their bowl game. This year Tech boasts another top ten ranking and their Bud Foster-led D will again keep teams in check while their stud RBs Darren Evans and Ryan Williams will pound the ball and give support to sometimes maligned Tyrod Taylor. While they have been the consistent, a national title has eluded Frank Beamer and company. This will be another year where they are in the hunt.
The biggest match-up of the opening weekend in college football will happen Labor Day night at FedEx Field. While it cannot be said absolutely that the Hokies have no shot at the title if they lose this game, it is all but assured if they cannot beat Boise State. All eyes will be on that game more for the Broncos than the Hokies but the game is likely the whole season for both. After the opener Tech should roll until a Thursday Night clash in Blacksburg against Georgia Tech and then at North Carolina and at Miami which will decide this division. I think Virginia Tech falters against Boise State, the potato-eaters have been thinking of nothing else of the game and had months to prepare. With one or two losses in conference the season overall might be seen as a disappointment by the Hokie faithful but as is custom in the Coastal I foresee a tie for the division title which the Hokies will win out on.
The second player in my 3-way tie is Miami. Miami is responsible for loading its non-conference schedule but the ACC schedule makers do not help them out either. The bright side is that the Canes should be even better than their 9-4 bounce back of last year. Jacory Harris returns having a full season at starter under his belt and his injured thumb surgically repaired. Miami had two key additions late in the recruiting season in Latwaan Anderson, a stud CB from Ohio, and Seantrel Henderson the big O-lineman who bailed on USC. Those are the young guns, but Miami's roster has finally matured. To add to that many of these players have in-game experience and the roster now has the depth of the classic Miami teams. Can Randy Shannon take the next step with the talent? I think they fall just short of their goal to play for the ACC title in Charlotte, mainly because of the schedule.
After a breather against Florida A&M, Miami travels to Ohio State, Pittsburgh, and Clemson. Then they return home to find rival FSU waiting for them. If that was not tough enough, they get Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech in consecutive weeks to close out the ACC. I think they trip up once against Ohio State at the Shoe which is understandable and then falter twice in conference and lose out on the tiebreaker to Virginia Tech.
3. Georgia Tech
They scoffed at Paul Johnson and his triple option after they got destroyed by LSU two years ago in the Peach Bowl, but the Jackets came back strong last year and won the ACC title before they got smacked by Iowa in the Orange Bowl. Johnson has made adjustments to his offense and will have to continue to in order to advance Tech to where they want them: national prominence every year. It's not my lack of confidence in Paul's ability to do that that has them at the bottom end of the 3-way tie, it's their losses to the NFL. Jonathan Dwyer and Demariyus Thomas on offense, Derrick Morgan and Morgan Burnett on defense. I expect Josh Nesbitt to improve this year and the Jackets will fair well but not reach the heights they did last year.
Game number 2 at Kansas intrigues me, just to see the two meet in Kansas. After a date in Chapel Hill with North Carolina the schedule opens up until Clemson, Virginia Tech, Miami in games 8-10. Another winning season in Atlanta, which will leave the Jackets to find some success in bowl season and dispel the "time to prepare" knock against them.
4. North Carolina
Wow, the dreams sure did unravel fast for the football program this year at UNC. The only questions that the Heels had coming into this season was their offense and QB production when an alleged agent-funded trip to Miami opened up an institution investigation that lead to a group of defensive stars relegated to the scout team in the wake of possible academic fraud. How did it come to this? Needless to say this situation has dropped the Tar Heels down in many people's opinions and that includes mine. I don't think the season will be a total wash, but UNC will not reach the promised land when their strongest point has been weakened.
After representing the ACC(sigh) in the kickoff classic in Atlanta, the Heels will then host Georgia Tech before jaunting out of conference to host Rutgers and East Carolina. How they do after these first four may indicate whether Butch Davis loses the team's focus or not.
Duke's first win came when David Cutcliffe decided to stay at Duke despite the Tennessee job, where he was a former assistant, opening up. Their second came when the basketball team won the NCAA Tournament. Two wins already! Sadly they cannot use those two toward bowl eligibility but they will help the pressure off the team. There are 6 wins on Duke's schedule, a bowl game is within reach. Cutcliffe will have to use his strength in preparing QBs to aid Sean Renfree if the Devils will succeed. A new defensive coordinator means a new scheme, and it remains to be seen how much Marion Hobbby can hold opposing teams in check with the players he has this year, leading to more need of points on the board.
Wallace Wade Stadium will be jumping when preseason number 1 Alabama visits in week 3. Of course it will be jumping because of all the Tide fans that will invade Durham but attendance is attendance right? Elon, Wake, Army, Maryland, Navy, and Virginia are the 6 wins I can count for Duke, if they win all those or steal another, they could be bowl bound for the first time in awhile.
Mike London returns to Charlottesville to find a program in disarray. I have confidence that he will turn it around but it will not come this year. I think London will be able to bring in a lot of in-state talent because of his run from UVA as d-coordinator and his FCS title reign in Richmond. With all that said, the cupboard is not exactly empty for the Cavs. Dominique Wallace at RB and sophomore WR Tim Smith represent some of this potential on offense. The defense should be solid as London's roots lie in the defensive side of the ball. It may be a familiar sight for Wahoo fans on the field at least for this year. Not much scoring, not many wins.
The first game of London's tenure will be against his former team, Richmond. That should be a comfy opening for London before they travel to USC and most likely get throttled. It's hard to find much solace in the schedule outside of the first game and guarantee gimmes against VMI and Eastern Michigan.
Player to watch: Darren Evans, Virginia Tech
Exceeds expectations: Boston College
Fails expectations: North Carolina
In-conference game to watch: Miami at Georgia Tech, Nov. 13
Out of conference statement game: Boise State vs. Virginia Tech, Sep. 6
ACC CHAMPION PREDICTION: Virginia Tech
Tuesday, August 24
Every couple months someone in sports will call out their rival and it becomes low hanging fruit for sports radio hosts (and columnists alike). It always seems to follow the same formula so we decided to break it down for the next time it happens. This way everyone will know their lines, hit their marks and compelling radio can be enjoyed by all. Aspiring broadcasters should consider this a how-to... a how to be awesome at radio. Note for hosts: Feel free to elaborate on any of these points to keep the exhilarating discussion going for as long as possible.
Host: Welcome back, you're listening to [show name]. I saw something that caught my eye yesterday. [Co-host name], did you see where [Team name] [choose one: owner/coach/position played] [name] took a shot at [rival team's name]? Here's what he said, "The bottom line is [I/we] [choose one: don't care for/strongly dislike/hate] the [rival team name]. They're [soft/crybabies/bitches]."
[Co-host name], I don't see the need to do this. You get a chance to settle this on the [field/court]. Don't give the other team extra motivation.
Co-host: Well [host name], you may not believe it but I love this stuff. It reminds me of a better era in [sport being discussed] when team's didn't like each other. They weren't going out together after the game and shooting commercials. Back in the [decade], the [rival team A] and [rival team B] didn't just dislike each other, they HATED each other. And when I say HATED, I mean HATED.
(skip next section if football is topic)
and besides that, it's good for the sport.
(If off-season): Look, it's [month] and we're talking about [league]. How often do we talk about the [league] in month? Not very often.
(If during the season): Now this week's [series/game] becomes must see TV. I doubt I would've watched this [series/game] if it wasn't for [name]'s comments.
Host: Well, you're right about that.
(If player has been successful)
I just don' get why a guy like [name], who has accomplished so much needs to be taking shots in the media.
(if player has not been successful)
but, who is [name] to be talking trash about anybody? What have you done in your career that makes you think it's your place to call out another team? i mean, if it was [successful player] ok, I can understand, but you're [name]?!? [name]!!! Give me a break!
We want to know what you guys think, give us a call...
(Fast forward to show following [game/series])
Host: You have to give [name] credit. He talked the talk and he walked the walk.
Host: This is why [name] never should've opened his mouth. Let your play do the talking or you run the risk of looking like a [fool/idiot/big dummy].
Co-host: Yea, the [rival team] really made him [shut up/eat his words/head home with his tail between his legs].
And scene. (Expound as necessary to fill segment)
Thursday, August 19
Deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want Cleet's football previews, you need Cleet's football preveiews. Well, in actuality none of that is true. It just so happens to ramping up of football season coincides with the time of year at work that has me so busy I want to stick a rusty spork in my eye. Trust me I have football on the brain and not this mountain of paperwork. Hoping to pool everything together soon. Speaking of pools, we have taken a few shots at the University of Georgia here. From their panty-clenching former AD to their smushsmortion of an orientation song, so here is something...that is not a rip on the fair city of Athens. Here is Coach Richt taking the plunge:
Monday, August 16
I have lived an hour from New York city for 9 months but had yet to visit Citi Field. The promise of free tickets, a bonus to working with so many military people, drew me out last night to visit the stadium of my favorite baseball team. I did not have high expectations for the actual game, the Mets offense of late has been pretty horrid. Actually to call it horrid is an offense to the word, and any other part of the lexicon does not do it horrible justice. Just take a look at this:
(Mets fail via TSH @ TBL)
So I decided to take the stadium in and forget the Mets. The rain was threatening when we arrived into Grand Central but we figured the game would go on despite the threat. I had never traveled to the game by the train but I knew it was the number 7. Why? John Rocker. Yep, Public Enemy #24A in Flushing and his damning quote in Sports Illustrated over ten years ago reminded me of which train to hop on. Once we arrived I saw banners hanging off the light posts. On one side of the one I was looking at was David Wright, the other side had Tommy Agee. Right away you could tell there was a determined effort to remember the Mets and National League baseball in New York. The Jackie Robinson Rotunda was as great a tribute a stadium can make to a player that never played for the team. Upon entering the rotunda we were blessed with a surprise; a Mets lunchbox. Awesome! I am making that the method of conveyance for my lunch everyday to work from here on out.
Once inside we discovered our seats were 2nd row behind the visitor's dugout, drizzle aside it was badass. The view from inside the park is fantastic and the great thing is that when you walk around the park from the concession area there is always a view to the field. I was very impressed with the park and the asceticism actually convinced me to make it back soon.
Some of the highlights from the game:
- The most player jerseys I saw were Reyes jerseys believe it or not
- Philly fans were boisterous and I couldn't blame them. It must have been how the Mets fans were in Veterans stadium when the Phils sucked.
- Closest Phillie fan to me was a dude who looked like a chunky Adrien Brody, only way, way greasier.
- I overheard a Philly fan refer to the Mets lunchbox with the following when I was walking over the Shea Bridge: "Now I have a new poopbox." I am not surprised that people from Philadelphia crap in small metal boxes.
- Before the 8th inning to rally the Mets they played footage of the 1-2-3 Met hitters Reyes, Pagan and Wright set to The Smashing Pumpkins "Tonight, Tonight" to pump up the crowd. Even though that song was totally the soundtrack to my 1996, I found it lame because I knew the Mets would do nothing in the inning and they did not. In fact the Mets scored 2 runs the whole series.
Overall the stadium exceeded my expectations while the Mets met my expectations, because they blew. Bonus news from this afternoon, K-Rod injured his hand when he punched his father in law last week, he's out for the year. That's ok though, I will never disown the Mets, they remind me too much of my own inadequacies. As my favorite Mets sign said, "To err is human, to forgive is a Mets fan."
Friday, August 13
Yes, I know. I promised the start of our football previews this week. However, work and other issues prevented it. You're either disappointed or you don't care. The most important thing above all is to realize that The Expendables opens today! It's your duty as an American to see this movie. Speaking of great Americans, Rex Ryan has become an ever bigger sensation with the premiere of Hard Knocks. I hate the Jets, I'm a Patriots fan but you cannot help but love how this guy works.
And as a bonus
Preseason football, it's FANtastic.
Tuesday, August 10
Over at the Desonesto Doctrine, my friend Adam did an awesome write-up on what being a rower in college entailed. Adam was my teammate for two years and like me also coached after he graduated. You can check out his article HERE. As a bonus, he included some photos taken by a photography company at a few of our races. The above photo shows me in all my glory at the Avaya National Championship race in 2001. We got to race on the same course used in the 1996 Olympics. It's always fun to look back on the good ole days.
Now this is the kind of baseball talk I can get behind. Brandon Phillips of the Reds decided to share his feelings on the Cardinals before their big series against the Cardinals yesterday:
"I'd play against these guys on one leg," Phillips told Hal McCoy, a columnist for the Dayton Daily News. "We have to beat these guys. All they do is bitch and moan about everything, all of them. They're little bitches, all of them. I really hate the Cardinals. Compared to the Cardinals, I love the Chicago Cubs. Let me make this clear: I hate the Cardinals."Phillips promptly went 0 for 5 in a 7-3 loss to the Cards. Yet, this is the kind of emotion I like to see in baseball. The advanced stats have their purpose and their place, but in the end, this is a game played by humans (and umpired by humans). Hell, even a thousand years into the future humans still play blernsball instead of humans. I like to see rivals sounding off, even if it was a little over the top. As baseball season overlaps into football season, the pennant races are a great way to keep eyes on the sport until the playoffs arrive.
The Reds currently are clinging to a 1 game lead. Here's hoping the NL Central race comes down to the final few weeks of the season, and the rivalry intesifies. Just don't expect the best player in this situation, Albert Pujols, to throw any gas on the fire:
"You need to bring your 'A' game to the field."
Friday, August 6
Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. Let's ignore for a second the fact that a Yogi Bear movie is yet another shameless rehash by a movie industry fresh out of ideas and desperate to make money. Then let's turn a blind eye to the fact that these "3-D" movies are another ploy to get you to throw down more money for these pieces of tripe. Actually let's not ignore those two facts, take them into consideration as you contemplate who gave the go-ahead on the tag line that accompanies the placement of the bears.
Yep. It's been that kind of week; sick, twisted, and filled with ursus-erotic overtones. Another reminder football previews start next week on ASD. They're accurate 45% of the time, some of the time and horribly wrong 60% of the time last time.
In a bout that lasted about as long as it took for the Rangers to morph into their big robot looking thing, Jason Frank won his first MMA fight by submission. Frank was able to get a rear-naked choke submission on Jose "Garfield" Vasquez, who could not have gone down quicker if Charles J. Guiteau came up behind him (open a history book folks). Video of the fight in the link below.
Former "Mighty Morphin Power Ranger" Jason David Frank Wins Pro MMA Debut in 46 Seconds [Bloody Elbow]
Thursday, August 5
After a horrid 2-10 season last year, the Maryland Terrapins are using all avenues to improvement this year. Their players have been attending yoga sessions twice a week in order to improve flexibility, strength, and the ability to shoot fire out of their mouths. Now I am not here to scoff at yoga as an exercise discipline. Improving flexibility and strength is a great way to get a physical edge on the field. Many people forget Herschel Walker took ballet in his playing days, although one wonders if he just blames that on one of his more effeminate personalities. Sometimes doing that little bit extra in an area outside of your actual sports' preparation pays dividends. Sports psychologists have found their niche for working with individuals or teams. Of course, if Maryland performs as poorly as they did last year, no one will care and their strength and conditioning coach may be put on the hot seat. It was a good ploy by him though, you have to think Maryland will winn more than 2 games, and then when the win total goes up, Dwight Galt can say that he was the catalyst.
In other college football news, our patented and almost never accurate conference and BCS previews will start up next week.
Maryland football players, coaches hope yoga will help team strike a balance [Washington Post]
Wednesday, August 4
Longtime friend of the blog, Beck is awfully proud of her Georgia Bulldogs. I've actually come into physical contact with a used glove of Thomas Davis. She even made an appearance in our vaunted comment section to let the world know that she was a proud alumnus of the number 1 party school in the country according to the Princeton review.
Fantastic, it is a very plausible explanation for the 70 tons of trash(including fecal matter!) that was dumped in Athens after their opener against South Carolina last year. Only a school that knows how to party to the max could drop loads like that.
But then, we are hit with the above video, "Party in the UGA". This is more embarassing than their former-AD getting caught for a DUI with a pair of panties in his fist. Still are a fan though, will be rooting for them in the SEC this year but for that song and production, there can be no forgiving.
video of shame via(via via)
Tuesday, August 3
Monday, August 2
It's time to gear up for college football. Media days have come, August is upon us, and it is now appropos to mock your rivals (even moreso than usual). According to this tweet, FSU misprinted the name of Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle whom they featured for his academic acheivements.
This is high comedy, almost as gut-busting as the Seminoles yuge logo on their field last year that spoke of acamedics and integrity after the academic fraud scandal that rocked their athletic department the year before. This typographical error reminded me of a photographical error made by the University of Florida in the summer of 2003 when a Crocodile graced the cover of their media guide instead of their Gator namesake. I love the statement from the Florida spokesman on that: "We asked for an alligator, we paid for an alligator and unfortunately we did not get an alligator."
Minor details that have nothing to do with play on the field? Yes, but it never hurts to poke fun at the two in-state schools who still call you "thugs" because they are uninventive despite the fact they have more arrests and a poorer academic record than you recently.