Sunday, 17 October 2010

Cheering for a Conference

Due to popular demand, this is a re-post originally made 3 January 2008.... enjoy!

Happy New Year Everyone,

From my seat in a Georgia section at the Sugar Bowl yesterday, I was very suprised by the fan reaction when Georgia did something well during the game. Although not a Georgia fan, I can certainly expect a jovial uproar in the aftermath of a sack or a touchdown; but, in lieu of cheering for their team the Georgia fans decided to vorciferate "S-E-C". While initially I thought it was only the Napoleonic complex ridden Georgia fans (who, on a side note, I would like to point out hold onto the past more than any other fan base in the country- Everyone is sick of hearing about Hershall Walker!!) barking "S-E-C" instead of "Bulldogs", I then noticed many fans wearing LSU and even Florida gear join in with the Georgia fans in cheering for the conference.

Maybe I am just a little slow or am I missing something because I don't understand spending an entire year hating a team and then cheering for everyone in the conference, including hated rivals, if they do well in a bowl game. For example, just seeing the colours purple and gold gives me intense nausea because I hate LSU- so, why would I cheer for them at all? Is it supposed to make me feel better if the Tigers beat a MAC or Big East team like UCONN in a bowl; no- it pisses me off because I never want anyone wearing purple and gold to have the smallest shread of happiness. Also, what is the purpose in general? Do these people think Hawaii heard "S-E-C" and felt like they didn't belong; or that Michael Jordan and James Worthy would have won another title if the Dean Dome erupted with "A-C-C" every time His Royal Airness posterized someone (which will never happen by the way!)? Or- the unthinkable- Duke fans cheering for Carolina after the Blue Devils make their yearly 2nd round exit in March???

My next thought was: is this a new sickening trend or something I have missed over the past several years. Maybe it is a new trend; and thus, next year we will all be serenaded with an "A.L. east!" chant in Fenway Park when the scoreboard shows the Orioles are beating the A's. Or perphaps, I will see someone streaking through the pitch at Le Parc des Princes รก Paris holding a "Ligue 1" sign during a Champions League match between PSG and AC Milan next year (of course that is making the long shot assumption PSG ever gets back into the Champions League but right now Ligue 2 seems more likely...) . I guess only time will tell...

Till next time,

Thursday, 25 February 2010

O brother how I love thee.... (How does the Soap-Opera that is the English National Team rank among teammate feuds)???

Hello all,

To start this week I wanna give big ups to myself for taking advantage of the 9-5 odds that my online sportsbook was offering that Tiger's wife Elin would not be with him during his horribly scripted and insincere press conference last Friday. It's amazing to me the prop bets that sportsbooks come up with, especially in football off-season; for example during Tiger's press conference, the odds of him announcing a divorce was 100-1, 1000-1 that he had multiple other kids, 5000-1 that he was going to become an adult film star and 10000-1 that he was going to quit golf. But, I gotta say I like being able to have a reason to watch certain things- because that was about the only good thing I saw on Friday... Speaking of the press conference, I thought it was the most pathetic attempt at buying public sympathy I've seen since A-Rod tried (and failed) to fake-cry when apologizing for lying about being on steroids last year. I honestly can't believe with the army of PR people Tiger employs, he couldn't come up with anything that at least appeared more genuine than the generic "I'm sorry for my transgressions" and telling the public we don't understand the pressures and opportunities that come with being a world-class athlete. I was honestly expecting at least a sit down, unscripted and heart-felt apology; but that's not what we got and I don't blame his wife (or soon to be ex) for not showing up to see that ridiculous waste of time. But before we leave the topic of Tiger, one of my buddies forwarded me his daily workout routine the other day; and I now understand why the guy looks more like Ronnie Lott in his prime than the other professional golfers. Check this out.
6:30 a.m. - One hour of cardio. Choice between endurance runs, sprints or biking. Typical run is a choice between a 3 mile speed run (under 20 minutes) or a 7 mile endurance run.

7:30 a.m. - One hour of lower weight training. 60-70 percent of normal lifting weight, high reps and multiple sets.

8:30 a.m. - High protein/low-fat breakfast. Typically includes egg-white omelet with vegetables.

9:00 a.m. - Two hours on the golf course. Hit on the range and work on swing.

11:00 a.m. - Practice putting for 30 minutes to an hour.

Noon - Play nine holes.

1:30 p.m. - High protein/low-fat lunch. Typically includes grilled chicken or fish, salad and vegetables.

2:00 p.m. - Three-to-four hours on the golf course. Work on swing, short game and occasionally play another nine holes.

6:30 p.m. - 30 minutes of upper weight training. High reps.

7:00 p.m. - Dinner and rest.
I can't imagine there is anyone else who works half as hard on this on tour; which is why he is so dominant. Almost makes you wonder how he has time for these "indescretions..."

So, I've been trying to keep up with the amazing drama that is the England National football team; and, I gotta tell you- I think this is as good as it gets. So, in case you haven't been following the action: Chelsea centre back and Team Captain John Terry (who is also infamous for missing a penalty kick in the shootout to lose the UEFA championship 2 years ago...) was recently exposed by the tabloids (after a losing a court battle for a gag order) for having an affair with former Chelsea (and current English national) teammate Wayne Bridge's partner which apparently started when the Bridge still played for Chelsea. Terry, who is a married father of twins and ironically was just named "England's husband and father of the year in 2009" by the London Sports Tribune, was set to wear the captain's armband at the world cup later this year in South Africa. After hearing the news and Bridge's threats to quit if Terry remained captain, English manager Fabio Capello stripped Terry of captain's band. Then, last week during the Manchester City (who Bridge currently plays for) vs. Chelsea match- Bridge twice refused to shake Terry's hand and was seen mouthing obsenities towards him; and took a cheapshot at Terry in the second half. Yesterday, Bridge resigned from the English team stating he "couldn't bring himself to suit up with that piece of sh*t" and didn't want to divide the locker room. To me, this is priceless; but is it the best feud between teammates of all time?? Before you vote, here are a couple others to keep in mind....

Shaq vs. Kobe
These two never got along with the issue coming down to one simple issue: Whose team is it/Who would get the ball more? For the first two years tensions were kept in check but in the 1999 season Kobe and Shaq get into a brief fight at pratice at training camp before the 1999 season,  Shaq then complaining about Kobe's shot selection in the 1999 season (of course saying "#8" because he refused to call the Mamba by name), then the two ripping each other constantly in the media, and a report about the New York Times emerging that Shaq had given other Lakers hand signals on when not to give Kobe the ball. Then, Kobe famously took the high road by refusing to shoot the next game against the Kings even when wide open- and then asked Shaq through the LA Times if he was happy with his shot selection that game. Then, even after he was traded and the feud was supposedly over, Shaq picked the mic back up and got his police badge repo'd for this freestyle verse at a NYC club (well worth watching- and probably Shaq's strongest work as a MC)...

Barry Bonds vs. Jeff Kent
In June 2002, as the Giants headed toward the World Series, Bonds and Kent, who had a long-running "behind-the-scenes" feud (that everyone knew about), finally went public, as their brawl in the Giants dugout was caught on video (doesn't it just look like the definition of team unity...). "Just add that to the half a dozen times we've done it before. It's no big deal," Kent said. No big deal except for of course the greatest offensive second baseman of all time demanding to be released or traded immediately afterwards. Neither one happened and Kent was forced to play the rest of the season with Barry (though reportedly did not say a word to him and used Benito Santiago as a messenger between the two, even in the world series that year). Kent then signed with the Astros as a free agent after the 2002 season ended and left as one of the apparently many teammates who are Barry Bonds fans...

Don Sutton vs. Steve Garvey
Sutton and Garvey shared the Dodger clubhouse between 1969 and 1980, and even had lockers next to each other, but they weren't exaclty as close as Lloyd and Harry. Their feud came to its peak during the 1978 season. Sutton, in a Washington Post article, was quoted as saying, "All you hear about on our team is Steve Garvey the All-American boy. But Reggie Smith was the real MVP. We all know it ... Smith has carried us the last two years. Garvey's just a washed up facade that for some reason everyone outside this locker room likes."
This (quite understandably) irked Garvey, who confronted Sutton, demanding to know if the quotes were accurate. Sutton said they were. Then, according to wire reports, "Suddenly Sutton leaped at Garvey and flung him against a row of lockers along the opposite wall. The two players went down heavily and were clawing at one another, trying ineffectively to land punches."
When the two were finally separated, Garvey, cut and scratched on the face, was dazed. Sutton had a bruised cheek. Garvey apparently wasn't well-liked by many Dodgers, and it seems as Sutton had some clubhouse foes, too. According to my man Tommy John (who should be in the hall of fame next to Dr. James R Andrews), during the brawl someone yelled, "Stop the fight, they'll kill each other!" Catcher Joe Ferguson's response: "Good."

Kevin Garnett vs. Glen "Big Baby" Davis
Didn't evolve to a long term feud but who can forget watching "Big Baby" pout and cry like a normal sized baby after getting yelled at by KG??? Youtube video here.

My vote: While I have a little bit of a lean towards pulling a Mike Wilbon and pushing; I'm gonna take my man KG and "Big Baby's" spat. I know the other feuds were probably more serious, lasted longer and had much greater ramifications (the C's won the title that year); but, KG made a 6'8" 325lbs dude weep in the middle of the garden on national TV. Beat that...

So, Clapton has been rocking it and getting great reviews on his current tour and has several stops left... 

As always, please be sure to check the "near you" tab on our homepage,,  for a tickets to concerts, shows and sporting events in your area...

Till Next week,

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

5 Reasons Terrific Tom (Brady) is better than Peyton Manning...

Hello all,

To start this week, I wanna give big ups to arguably the best American footballer in the world, Landon Donovan, for an unbelievable-Beckham like corner setting up Louis Saha for an easy header and leading Everton to their first win over Chelsea in 17 years. The former high school gymnast has been pretty good so far in England, with 2 assists and a goal in his first 5 games for Everton, and looks as if he may finally breakthrough on a non-MLS stage. To me, Donovan's 3 previous disasterous stints in the German Bundesliga (with the first being so bad he was loaned back to the MLS) were confounding because the guy has always been very good on the international stage- he won the best young player in the 2002 World Cup, scored several goals in the 2000 Olympics, and has 42 goals in just 120 caps with the US team. Who knows, maybe he's more comfortable in England than in Deutchland, maybe he's just gotten better, maybe he's come to the realization that the MLS is a joke and he has to get out, or maybe his time with rival teamate David Beckham has done him some good; but, whatever the reason is, it's good to see the guy look like he's gonna step up in one of the world's best leagues.

So, the Super Bowl was a few days ago, and congrats to Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints, and all of the "Who Dat?" nation for the first Super Bowl win in the history of the franchise. Great game to watch, much like the past 2 Superbowls. Not many people expected the Saints to win: 13/15 analyst picked the Colts, Vegas had the Colts by 5.5 and seemingly every Tweet I read pregame gave the Saints no chance. I thought the Colts were gonna run away with it when the claimed a 1st quarter 10-0 lead, and again when Sean Payton made a Les-Miles by not kicking the FG just before the half; but the Saints played great, dominated the 2nd half, and were up by 7 late when the Colts last-ditch drive was thwarted by a legacy-changing 74-yard pick-6 thrown by Peyton Manning with 3:14 left, clinching the game for the Saints. To me, that play ended the debate about who the best QB of the generation has been between Peyton and Tom and here's 5 reasons why...

#5) Unlike Peyton, Tom actually has gone 16-0.
As my man, the Great Herm Edwards said, "The greatest thing about sports is you play to win the game!" You play to win the game- not to rest players, not to get in reps, but to win! Which is exactly what Tom Brady did all 16 times the Patriots took the field in 2007. Now, I know alot of people have said it's Jim Caldwell's fault for resting his starters the last week and a half of the the season; but the bottom line is- "might have" is much different than "did". If Peyton had played the last 2 weeks of this season, they might have gone undefeated, they might not have- they had to play the Jets in week 17 who were far from a walkover. Tom DID go undefeated, and I know the Patriots lost the superbowl but don't underestimate the accomplishment of an undefeated season; no one had gone undefeated since 1973 and Michael Irvin (not someone I'm exaclty proud of referencing but...) said he would trade all 3 of his rings for one undefeated season. Well, Tom has his, and 3 rings to go with it...

#4) Don't Forget- Tom broke all of Peyton's records the year before he hurt his knee.
Tom was clearly not himself (like many people aren't their first year back from major knee surgery) this year. But, the last time we saw Tom healthy was 2007, when he had the best year in the history of NFL QBs and broke the TD record Peyton previously set. Let's compare Tom's 2007 with the best year of Peyton's career (2004). Notice that Tom threw for more yards, more touchdowns, a higher completion percentage, and fewer interceptions.
YEAR    Player          G     CMP     ATT     PCT     YDS     AVG     TD    INT    
2007    Brady             16     398       578     68.9     4806       8.3         50       8
2004    Manning        16     336       497     67.6     4557       9.2         49       10    

#3) Tom has consistantly done more with less...
While Peyton has made a living throwing to perenial pro-bowlers such as Marvin Harrisson, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark; until getting Randy Moss and Wes Welker in 2007, Tom won 3 Super Bowls and went to 5 Pro Bowls throwing to Patrick Pass, Troy Brown, Reche Caldwell and David Graham... 

#2) The Colts are turning into the Atlanta Braves... and the obvious: Tom-3, Peyton-1
The regular season is great, but, the bottom line is greatness has been and always will be defined by championships and performance in the clutch. It's not that we don't care about the regular season, but the playoffs is different, the intensity is higher, the stakes are greater, and it's where legends are either broken or made. If the regular season and playoffs were weighed equally in the court of public opinion, A-Rod would be far and more reveared than teammate Derek Jeter- but I dare you to find any New Yorker who would agree with that. And, let's look at the Atlanta Braves. The Braves won 13 divisional titles in a row but only 1 world series (in 1995), so despite making the playoffs 7/9 years in the 90s (yes there 9, not 10 because of the strike), the team of the 90s was the Toronto Blue Jays who made the playoffs only twice!! but won the world series both times. The Colts are seemingly becoming THAT team- always guaranteed for 10-12 wins in the regular season and a #1 or #2 seed, but also guaranteed never to win it all again... As far as individuals go- the bottom line is that no matter what people have done in the regular season, our biggest sports heros have won MULTIPLE titles. Do you think of Reggie Jackson as a legend and call him "Mr. October" for his 563 regular season homeruns, or for his 5 World Series Rings and 3 World Series MVP awards? Do you remmember Bill Russell as the first player to average 20 rebounds for a entire season, or for winning 11 NBA titles? Does anyone think Dan Mariono is better than John Elway or Joe Montana despite having way better stats? Would Scottie Pippen have been named one of the NBA's 50 greatest players without having too many rings to wear on one hand?? If he wasn't ahead 4-1 ring wise would anyone think Derek Jeter is better than Chipper Jones?? Would Mike be the greatest ever without 6 rings and too many big shots to count??  No. And what is Mike most remmembered for?? Making shots that I'm sure is still giving Byron Russel, Craig Ehlo, Larry Bird, Dan Marley and Clyde Drexler nightmares and for keeping Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton and Sean Kemp ring-less...

#1) Tom steps up in big games, Peyton CHOKED when he had his chance...
With a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter (3:14 to go) in the Superbowl on Sunday, Peyton Manning made one of the worst throws I've ever seen which was returned 74 yards for the game-icing touchdown by Tracy Porter. But, Peyton has NEVER been more than an average player in the playoffs- his career playoff record is a very mediocre 9-8 and his QB rating is 87 (compared to a career 95 in the regular season). Brady on the other hand has a staggering 14-4 career playoff record (including 3-1 against Peyton) with a QB rating of 99.8 (up from his career 94 in the regular season). Tom has won 2 Superbowl MVPs, and directed 2 4th quarter super bowl winning drives (the 85 yarder in 03 against the Rams, and the 54 yarder the following year against the Panthers), not to mention the numerous heroics in other playoff games (the drive in the snow to bury the Raiders) to get there. Now, I know some people may be thinking- didn't Tom lose his last trip to the Superbowl? Yes, but there was a big difference. Brady directed a 89 yard drive and hit Randy Moss to put the Patriots ahead 14-10 with 2:31 left in the game- and lost on an Asante Samuels interception drop combined with either the best or luckiest catch of all time (depending on who you go for) by David Tyree. What did Peyton do when he had one chance to bring his team back on Super Sunday? Pick 6 and game over....

As always, be sure to check the "near you" tab on our homepage,, for a list of sporting events and shows near you...

Till next week,

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Are the Saints America's Team???

Hello all,

First, I wanna give big ups to my man Andy Roddick for as gutsy as a performance as I've ever seen in his match against Marin Cilic last night. I know he lost in 5, (6-7 (4), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6), but I actually stayed up and watched it in its entirety last night; and can't believe how much toughness A-Rod showed battling through a painful shoulder injury that left most his right side numb. The man has guts, that's for sure- the trainer worked on him twice, once in the locker room where Roddick asked if he could suffer a career threatening injury if he kept playing- when the trainer said "probably not", Roddick's response was "game on" and ran back to the court (in contrast to Nadal- who I love but was getting smoked and withdrew). Now, I know the great Herm Edwards would not condone me giving props to someone in a losing effort- but A-Rod couldn't even feel 3 of the fingers on his hand! 3- and he almost won!! and Roddick clearly wasn't himself all night, his normally massive first serve was coming in in the 110s (about 20-25mph slower than normal), and his second serve was registering in the double digits; but boy did he fight and almost pull it out. The third and fourth sets were a showcase of his new conditioning regiment- he got to balls and glided accross the court like Federer, showed great touch at the net and was a point away from winning the 4th set 6-0. His shoulder clearly gave out in the 5th as his serve slowed down a bit more, and his ground strokes lost pace; but he never complained and kept fighting until the last point. I think he may actually benefit from this in the long run; because his shoulder kept him from hitting with lots of spin, he flattened out his groundstrokes considerably during the 3rd and 4th sets- and looked as good from the baseline as he's looked since his US Open win in '03. Too bad, it came on the night his best weapon (serve) was taken from him due to an injury. But, if he gets healthy, and can combine the form he showed from the baseline with his normally dominate serve, look for Andy to shed the "one and done major winner" lable later this summer....
I watched the amazingly sloppy but entertaining Saints-Vikings battle from a bar in Telluride, Colorado on Sunday; and was amazed at how many "Who Dat?" chants I heard from the locals at the packed Brown Dog Pizza and Pub. As far as the game is concerned, it's hard to believe the Vikings were even in the game considering the turnover difference (5-1). A couple quick thoughts from a Patriots fan with no dog in this fight- I agree with the New York Times and want to give no respect to the referee Pete Morelli and his entire crew for making a mockery of the NFL rulebook and doing the worst job of any NFL crew since Ed Hochuli famously blew the Broncos-Chargers game in '08 (but at least Ed aplogized). As I've said before, I'm sick of watching refs takeover games; and it certainly looked like Pete Morelli was trying to win the MVP trophy. In overtime alone, they blew all 3 instant replay calls- (which can be seen here), including 2 bad spots, refusing to overule a completed pass which was clearly on the ground (after watching it, how is this even possible to miss???) and called a Arkansas-Florida like phantom pass interference to put the Saints in FG range; but, to me, the worst call of the day was the non-roughing the passer after Bobby McCray and Remi Ayodele teamed to make one of the biggest high-low cheap shots you'll ever see on Favre- which should have negated an intereception. 3 plays prior, Morelli correctly called a roughing the passer when Anthony Hargrove picked Favre up and drove him into the ground and apparently the boos really got to him because he swallowed his whistle on a clear cheap shot which left Favre hobbling (by the way, even if you don't like Favre- is there anyone who tougher than that guy??). Now, I know nobody likes to get boo'd, and Morelli may have feared for his post-game safety since after all the game was in New Orleans; but, his job is exclusively to watch the quarterback, and while everyone may not agree with the "Brady rule", it's there to keep a vulnerable player from getting hurt on a cheapshot (remmember a "chop block" is a personal foul too...), and a NFL ref is paid over $250,000 a year to have enough courage to make an obvious call that happened right in front of his face. I'm not saying the Saints wouldn't have won without these calls; what I am saying is that horrific officiating once again played a big role and takes the focus away from the action on the field; and puts a black eye on one of the most entertaining playoff games in recent memory. Secondly, I know the game was in the state of Louisiana, but I wasn't aware Brad Childress let Les Miles be the guest head coach of the Vikings for the final couple of minutes of the game. I know Favre will be dogged for a long time for throwing the interception, but it would have never happened had Childress not sent 12 men to the hudle (out of a timeout!!!) taking the Viks out of FG range (Longwell told the coaches before the game his max was 53 yeards, the penalty made it 56). Good job Brad... So, I can assume by the "Who Dats?" being vorciferated by Colorado natives that the Saints have taken over the Cowboys spot as "America's Team", which considering what that city has gone through is great to see. Remmeber, it was less than 5 years ago, that the Superdome was being used as a relief shelter for storm victims and New Orleans was under water. Since then, the Saints have served as a source of pride and helped unite the city; which makes them so easy to root for (great piece by Wright Thompson here). New Orleans is a great city, one of my absolute most favourite places, and it's great to see how strong it's come back in such a short time after such a terrible natural disaster. Also, big ups to Sean Payton for an amaing coaching job during his four year tenure in the Big Easy. Although, I have to admit, even though I'm not a fan of the "Who Dat?" chant,  at least it's not as bad as hearing "S-E-C!". This year's superbowl should be an offensive explosion, matching up 2 of the best QBs in the game- check here if you're thinking about making the trek to Miami.

I wanna give big ups to one of my all-time favourite bands (and the band of the decade in my opinion) Radiohead for performing an amazing show at the Henry Ford Theatre in LA Sunday night to raise money for Haiti. All revenue from the concert goes directly to the Haiti relief fund and they were able to raise about $600,000 in a 2-hour show at a very small venue on short notice. Tickets sold for around $4,000 per pair, and the band rewarded the crowd with an amazing set-list and even took song requests. Great performance for a great cause and check out this monumental set-list:
“Faust Arp”
“Fake Plastic Trees”
“Weird Fishes/Arpeggi”
“The National Anthem”
“Karma Police”
“Kid A”
“Morning Bell”
“How To Disappear Completely”
“A Wolf at the Door”
“The Bends”
“Dollars & Cents”
“Exit Music”
“Everything In Its Right Place”
“You And Whose Army?”
“Pyramid Song”
“All I Need”
“Lotus Flower”
“Paranoid Android”
“Street Spirit (Fade Out)”
Wow! I definately think they should raise some more money by selling live copies of this show- I would definately buy one...

Jay-Z's tour has been getting amazing reviews and he's still going. Upcoming dates and tickets can be found here...

As always, please post any good upcoming shows or events coming up and be sure to check the "near you" tab on our homepage,, for a list of events in your area...

Till next week,

Friday, 8 January 2010

Bama knocks out McCoy early and hangs on late to win 13th title!!

Hello All,

Before getting into the game, I want to give big ups to Colt McCoy for having one of the classiest post-game interviews I have ever heard. Especially when you factor in the dissapointment he must have been going through. It takes a lot congratulate the other team and not complain or show any bitterness after having to sit out the game he had been preparing for his whole life; and I really gained a lot of respect for him last night. I, along with hopefully every other college football fan watching the game, was sad to see Colt go down. Like the Patriots without Brady, or the Bengals without Palmer; watching a team play without its best player in their biggest game, especially when you're talking about college football's all-time winningest QB, is not the way it's supposed to be.

I thought last night was a great game (with the exception of the McCoy injury) and featured a little bit of everything: great coaching moves, horrible coaching moves, great defense, great (or horrible dpending on your allegiance) special teams play and some explosive offensive plays. I don't think anyone could have precicted the way last night's game turned out; except for who won (as nearly 76% of voters picked Alabama to win). After Marcell Daries knocked Colt McCoy out of the game on Texas' 5th offensive play, they obviously lost a lot of fire power on offense. However, I do wanna say I thought Garret Gilbert stepped in and did a much better job then his 15-40, 4INT stats reflect. The Texas receivers did NOT help Gilbert out at all. Malcolm Williams had 2 huge drops- the 2nd quarter one in the endzone which was particularly crucial because Gilbert's next pass was intercepted by Javier Arenas and led to a Bama TD. Even the reliable Jordan Shipley had several drops, including one right through his hands on a wide open skinny post in the 3rd quarter. Gilbert definately had a miserable 1st half (1-10 and 2INTs); but I thought he looked pretty good in the 2nd half and made some great throws to get his team back in the game. It's not like he is a walk-on, he was the Gatorade High School Player of the Year last season; and by his second half, I think Texas is in pretty damn good shape at QB for the next couple of years.

Mack Brown will, (very deservingly so), be criticized for a long time for calling a shovel pass from his own 37 with 13 seconds to go in the 1st half which was bobbled, interecepted and returned for a TD by Marcell Dareus. Before piling on ole Mack, was anyone else amazingly impressed with Dareus' return which included a Reggie Bush like spin move from a 296 pound dude?? But the real question, is was Les Miles on the other end of Mack Brown's headset and calling the plays???? With 13 seconds left, the most you can realistically hope for is 2 plays and with a true freshman QB who is 1-9 for -4 yards and the ball on your own 37, what are you really going to accomplish there?? Nothing good, that's for sure and that play gave Bama a 24-6 halftime lead and many people thought the game was over at that point. It's not playstation Mack, it's real football- and you may have just one-upped my man Les. But, this seems to be an ongoing trend by Mack; if you remmember, Mack's awful Miles-against-Ole-Miss-like clock management against Nebraska in the big-12 title game almost cost his team a shot to even be in the game. Maybe the two have become friends; if so and this continues, ole Will Muschamp is gonna get the big raise a whole lot sooner than expected....

God, did anyone else think Alabama's second half performance looked more like Jean van de Veld's 18th hole at Carnoustie in 1999- (with the exception, of course, that Bama made a double bogie instead of the triple bogie van de Veld did and WON the game) then the team that dominated Florida in the SEC championship last month?? I thought 'Bama's play calling was very Shula-like in the second half- and it's clear they were OK to punt every possession. Gregg McElroy was terrible last night, constantly looking confused, unable to get rid of the ball (5 sacks) and unable to find Julio "the Beast" Jones or Collin Peek all night. However, as Jay Barked proved by going a miserable 4-13 for 18 yards and 2INTs in 1992, if you can rush the ball, you can win. And did Bama do that last night. Against a defense that came in as the #1 ranked rushing defense in the country, Bama was the first team in BCS bowl history to have two 100 yard rushers (Richardson 19 carries for 109 and Ingram who had 22 carries for 116; both had 2 TDs). Texas' D definately didn't look like the best rush defense in the country, but I guess it's easier to get that statistic when you play a horrible schedule (including dropping Arkansas and adding Wyoming). And, the time-honoured Alabama blueprint is: run the ball and play defense- which they did and brought home their 13th title.

Game Changing Plays: Other than the most obvious (Dareus' pick-6 before halftime), several stand out to me. With Texas up 3-0 in the first quarter and having 1st and goal at the 1, they were flagged for illegal procedure for having 5 guys in the backfield. This (combined with a Bama late hit) brought the ball out to the 4 and Alabama's D made a great stand and kept it a 1-score game, only to take a 7-6 lead at the beginning of the second quarter. Eryk Anders got a clean run at Gilbert with 3 minutes to go and a 3-point lead, forcing a sack, fumble and setting up the game icing TD.

Quote of the night: "I could have moonwalked backwards and scored through that hole"- JS after Mark Ingram scored his first TD running through a hole reminiscent of the parting of the red sea; were the Horns defenders that scared of getting hit by Cody??

Biggest Suprise of the Night: How bad the Bama special teams were (or how good the Horns special teams were, depending on your point of view). Bama had 3 huge Gaffes; the fake punt call (which Texas actually lost 15 yards of field position by interecepting instead of dropping), Smelly getting drilled by a kickoff (does anyone know if that was intentional by the kicker??) and the pooch kick that Julio let bounce in front of him. To overcome the McCoy injury, Texas needed some crazy things to happen- and they got their chances.

Player of the Game: I'm gotta go with 3: Trent Richardson, Mark Ingram and Marcell Dareus. It's good to see someone other than Matt Leinart escape the Heisman jinx in a BCS game. Richardson and Ingram were great all night; and it's pretty scary for a defense when the Heisman's backup may be better then he is... You definately can't take any plays off.

Biggest Dissapointment of the Night: Hearing the fans chanting "S-E-C, S-E-C!" after the Tide won. As I've stated before, I hate the SEC chant. But it is a new year and maybe this is the year I'll start seeing Duke fans cheering for Carolina or after they make their annual 2nd round exit or MJ holding an ACC sign from his courtside seat at the Dean Dome...

My favourite moment of the night: How pissed Nick Saban looked after being hit in the face with the cooler and showered in Gatorade. I loved Brent's description as "too physical". The two dudes that got him were Eryk Anders and Chris Rogers. Fortunately for Anders- he had just forced the game clinching fumble several minutes before; but, what are the cances of Rogers seeing any pt next year??

One final note: I just wanna give big ups to what an amazing job Nick Saban has done at Alabama. The year before he arrived they were 6-7 and had not one a game in which they were trailing in the 4th quarter in 6 years. In his second year, he took a 12-0 team into the SEC championship and now this in only his 3rd year. He is clearly the best coach in the country; he recruits well, his gameplanning is generally flawless (except the special teams tonight), his players are disciplined and improve during their time with him. I can see why LSU fans are still so bitter they lost him...

Till next week,

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Can Texas Upset Alabama in Tomorrow's BCS Title Game???

Well college football fans the big game is finally here, the grandaddy of them all (God, does anyone else wish Keith Jackson would come out of retirememnt once a year for this game???)! SEC champ Alabama will take on Big-12 Champ Texas tomorrow night in the Rose Bowl to decide this year's title. Both these teams were close to making this stage last year; as you remmember, Alabama went into the SEC championship game ranked #1, but lost a 4th quarter lead to a Gator team they rebounded to pound this year in the SEC title game (badly enough to make Florida's leader weep). Alabama has been a very consistant team all year, and with the exceptions of the near debacle against Tennessee and a poor first half in Auburn, has looked like the hands down #1 team in the land.

As for the University of Texas, they started the season ranked high, played what has to be one of the weakest schedules in the country, and needed either luck or help (depending on which angle you take) to beat a 3 loss Nebraska team in the Big-12 final. Before the rest of the BCS games, some would say TCU or Cincinnati should have snuck into the #2 spot because of how weak Texas' schedule was, which is a valid point. Their only legitimate games were against a Bradford-less Oklahoma team, a Bryant-less (and mediocre even with him) Oklahoma State team, and of course the Nebraska game when they won 13-12. But, after watching the other bowl games, who else could have been put #2?? TCU proved to be a dud, and Boise's equally bad schedule (except Oregon) which included near losses to Tulsa and La-Tech knocked them out of the mix. While the Longhorns haven't faced anyone like the Crimson Tide, DO NOT underrate them. They have NFL talent all over the field, and might have mauled anyone in the country (but hey, with Mack making the schedule, we'll never know...- I mean he decided to cancel their border rivalry game against Arkansas and replace them with Wyoming for God's sake...).

This game will feature two of the best offensive players: Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram from Alabama and QB Colt McCoy who was 3rd in the voting; as well as two of the best defensive players in the country: Lambert and Dick Butkus award winner Rolando McClain of Alabama and all-american Earl Thomas of Texas. The player with the most to prove is definately Colt McCoy- can he do anything on a big stage after his 3INT egg he laid on the national stage against Nebraska?? And can Texas protect him?? This is certainly a question mark after Nebraska DL Ndamukong Suh erupted for 3.5 sacks in the Big-12 title game. Suh is an unbelievable player and probably a top 3 draft pick- but remmember he only had 6.5 sacks in the other 12 games! Alabama DL "Mount" Cody is also considered a future NFL player, so it will be interesting to see if the Texas OL can do a better job of giving Colt some time... The player who may make the biggest difference: Alabama freshman RB Trent Richardson- who looks as if he may be BETTER than the Heisman trophy winner Ingram (yes, I said it!), and the Tide certainly don't lose anything when he gives Ingram a rest. Other questions- Will Texas double the explosive Bama WR Julio Jones. If Dez Bryant had not been ineligable for their game against Oklahoma State earlier, we may have gotten to preview their gameplan (but hey, I guess he didn't know it was illegal to sign with an agent....). Doubling Jones will certainly take Texas SS Earl Thomas, who is one of the best and biggest hitting safeties in the country,  out of run support- where he excels and could open more holes for Ingram and Richardson... Also, how will McElroy play for the Tide, will he be the same dominate QB he was vs Florida??

As far as the coaching, it's hard not to give the edge to Nick Saban on this one. As a Carolina guy, I still hate Mack Brown. But objectively, since arriving in Tuscaloosa 3 years ago, Saban has worked wonders.

Another interesting tidbit. The SEC and Big 12-both have 16 National Championships. Whoever wins this game will ultimately be known as the best conference in the history of college football- at least until next year.....

Key players

QB- Colt McCoy (3,512 Yards, 27 Touchdowns, 147.46 QB Rating)
WR- Jordan Shipley (106 Receptions,1,363 Yards,11Touchdowns)
SS- Earl Thomas (128 Tackles, 5 Forced Fumbles,10 Interceptions)

RB- Mark Ingram (249 Attempts, 1,542 Yards,15 Touchdowns)
LB- Rolando McClain (101 Tackles, 10.5 TFL, 4 sacks)
WR- Julio Jones (42 Receptions, 573 Yards, 4 Touchdowns)
DT- Terrence Cody (20 Tackles, 5 TFL, 1 Pass Breakup)

My predicition:
Texas 10, Alabama 23. Bama's explosive rushing attach and great defense force Texas into a predictable, one-demensional come from behind offense early, which if you ask Tim Tebow is no way to beat the Tide....