Monday, January 25, 2010

Quick Hits on Conference Championship Games

It was another great weekend for football and after five months we finally know the Super Bowl matchup. The Colts beat the Jets and the Saints beat the Vikings. Here are some quick thoughts that I have as both teams enjoy a bye week and the Pro Bowl approaches next week.

AFC Championship

-There has been a debate about Manning vs Brady for QB of the decade. I've been in the Manning camp for a while, and if he can win this Super Bowl I believe the debate ends.

-Rex Ryan, Darrelle Revis is great but he can't guard everyone.

-Did anyone know who Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon were? Everyone does now after they combined for 20 catches, 274 yards and two touchdowns.

-Count me as one who is impressed by Mark Sanchez. He has been continually labeled a game manager, but that hit he took on his second TD pass was a hard one and he still delivered the ball. Jets fans should be excited. They have a up-and-coming QB, a strong O-Line, a stud rookie RB and a great defense. Now what do they do with Braylon Edwards?

-Sorry Peyton, I counted you out when the Jets got the 11 point lead and again you made me look stupid. I thought that if the Jets could have scored a touchdown to make the score 21-6 instead of only getting a field goal, the Colts were done. Guess it didn't matter.

-Where was the #1 Jets defense? Indy hasn't run well all year and they get 101 yards on the ground in your biggest game of the year.

-I wonder when the Colts were losing how many times their leaders and fans thought, "We should have played the starters the entire game and finished off this team in Week 15."

-What's up with the kickers? Jay Feely missed two kicks (albeit long ones) and went 1-3 on the day.

NFC Championship

-Hopefully this is the last we have seen of Brett Favre. He showed a lot of toughness in playing the entire game and taking a beating, but I'm over him and all of the drama. Also, should Favre retire, does Brad Childress call former boss Andy Reid and inquire about Donovan McNabb?

-It's fitting that Favre's last pass would be an INT, running to his right and throwing back into the middle. That's something you learn not to do when you first come up as a QB and he still does what he wants. Three turnovers in your last game, that's about right for #4.

-Adrian Peterson had another great game (122 yards 3 TDs), but can someone teach the man to hold onto the ball?

-Way to bounce back Garrett Hartley after being suspended the first four games of the season. And what a class guy John Carney is after keeping the seat warm for Hartley, becoming the Saints kicking coach.

-Where was the normal Drew Brees? It looked to me that Sean Payton was worried about Brees getting hit and didn't do all of the things on offense the Saints normally do.

-Is it bad that I don't believe this was a great game? High drama? Yes. Six turnovers and penalties that either kept drives going or stalled them equals a sloppy game.

-Credit does go to the Saints for defense for battering Favre and causing some of the turnovers. However, I wouldn't be surprised if they're losing sleep the next two weeks thinking about Peyton Manning.

Pro Bowl

As many of you know, the Pro Bowl is being played at the site of the Super Bowl for the first time this season (Miami). It's also being played the week between the Conference Championship Games and the Super Bowl instead of after the Super Bowl. Now I tend to watch a lot of the game but not the whole thing. However, with everyone still in football mode, do you think that you'll watch more of the Pro Bowl or about the same as always?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Two Interesting Reads

I am a huge Sports Illustrated reader. I have been since the second grade and that includes my loyalty to I was reading today and found two good articles and stories I have commented on in the past week. The first has changed my perception of new Tennessee coach Derek Dooley by Andy Staples.

The second is how Gaines Adams' enlarged heart could have gone unnoticed for so long by David Epstein.

Gaines Adams Dead at 26

I didn't plan on writing anything to day but after seeing this story I had to. Former Buc Gaines Adams is dead at 26. He died after going into cardiac arrest from an enlarged. heart. Its a condition that no one in his family even knew he had.

It amazes me that someone who plays in the show and is normally in top physical condition can have something like this sneak up on them. Also, how was this never found in a pre-season physical?

My heart goes out to the people who were close go Adams in the wake of this tragedy.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Derek Who?

Word on the street is that the University of Tennessee has hired Derek Dooley, the coach and athletic director at Louisiana Tech.

I understand that getting a "splash" hire would have been difficult and something needed to be done quickly due to recruiting, but I didn't think the Vols had to go this low on the totem pole.

Dooley is the son of Georgia legend Vince Dooley and comes off the Nick Saban coaching tree, having coached with Saban at LSU and also with the Miami Dolphins. In his three years at Tech he has compiled a 17-20 record.

Not the hire I would have expected and I'm sure the Vols know something I don't, but I'm not sold. The Vols have taken a definite step backwards. I'm sure people will say I'll be proven wrong and I hope I am. However, as of now, I think the Vols could have done better.

Who else do you think the Vols should have considered for the job? (Gruden is doing TV so not him and Muschamp of Texas turned the gig down.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jimbo can do Wrong, USF Coach, and more Clippers bad Luck

As many of you know I'm an FSU Alum and avid Jimbo Fisher supporter. While I wasn't one of those who wanted to push Bobby out of the door, I'm alright with the move being made. I like how Jimbo has brought some new, young coaching talent to Tallahassee, and I really like some of the talent that has committed.

Now Jimbo as rubbed me the wrong way by doing two things. One isn't that big of a deal, and one really bothers me. The first, Jimbo wants to make the state of the art weight room more "football centric (fewer athletes from other sports using that room)."

There is no need for that. I believe that all coaches from all sports should support each other for the good of the athletic department.

Jimbo has also said that he wants to ease the non-conference schedule.

"We have a great non-conference game in Florida. I don't mind playing a tough non-conference game, but I think you're crazy, in my opinion, to go out and play three of them. I think it doesn't enhance you. And here's the other thing: we look at it as fans and say 'Well we should play everybody.' Okay, well how about paying bills? When you go three [non-conference games], you're going back to six home games a year. When you do it the other way, you're guaranteeing seven and when they're on the home schedule you're guaranteeing eight, because you get four conference at home and sometimes four non-conference. There's bills to pay."

I understand there are bills to pay but I love traveling to see a non-conference opponent we normally don't get to, and I like the idea of playing anyone anytime. I understand it was a different time, but that is how Bobby Bowden made his name. He played anyone, anywhere. I'm sure that Jimbo and the athletic director have their reasons, but playing good teams is something that I love doing. However, I have said it before and I'll say it again, in Jimbo I trust.

In other news, Mark Whipple, the offensive coordinator of the Miami Hurricanes, keeps coming up for the USF coaching job. It would be a great hire for the Bulls if they could pull it off.

Lastly, the Clippers bad luck continues. They had an easy choice for the number one pick in the draft with Blake Griffin. But he gets hurt to end the preseason and now we find out he is out for the season. Ouch.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Football is a Business

Dear Everyone who is questioning Lane Kiffin's loyalty,

FOOTBALL IS A BUSINESS! If Tennessee would have fired Kiffin after one season would anyone be outraged? Would anyone question their loyalty? Football is about winning and finding the position that fits you. If Lane feels better at SC then take the job.

Anyone of us would leave a job after one year if a better one opened up. What makes coaches any different?

Yes you can feel sorry for the players (not the other students or alumni). The players bought in and are now in the cold again. And the recruits are leaving in droves. I have seen five that have decommitted immediately.

But as far as anyone or anything else, he made a decision that is best for him and his family. Anyone of us would do exactly the same. As soon as people learn that football is a business, the better of we will be as sports fans.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lane Kiffin to USC

Lane Kiffin is done making enemies in the SEC and has reportedly moved on to SC. This is a great hire for SC. Kiffin has shown his chops as both a recruiter and head coach. He also has ties to SC as he was their offensive coordinator before taking the Oakland job. Also, if he takes the Vols staff with him, he is bringing a solid crew. I think SC couldn't have made a better hire. It also means we get another press conference with Lane's wife.

The coaching carousel continues to turn and now it comes to be seen what the Vols recruits will do as well as who they will hire as coach. I ask you, what do you think of SC hiring Lane Kiffin?

Tell Us Something We Don't Know

Mark McGwire finally admitted he used steroids. That's something we already knew. He went from skinny rookie to a massive behemoth that broke Roger Maris' home run record. Like I said initially, no one is surprised.
I give McGwire small amount of credit. He did call the Maris family and apologize, and he finally admitted he was wrong. Apparently, he wanted to come clean at the Congressional Hearings but was told by his lawyer not to do so since they weren't granted immunity.
What I don't understand is Tony LaRussa. He killed Jose Canseco for accusing people and protected McGwire. Now that McGwire has come out with this, he acts like there was no way he could have known. He talks about the weight program in Oakland and that's how he thought McGwire bulked up. Just tuck tail now LaRussa and admit you blew it. You tried to hide it for your slugger and he finally came clean. The least you can do is the same.
I know many of us have the feeling that we're more surprised by those who haven't used drugs than by those who have. I have two questions: who would surprise you the most if you found out they used steroids? And how should MLB denote that Maris' record is the clean record?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pete Carroll and SC

Pete Carroll chastised Mark Sanchez for leaving SC early and saying he wasn't ready for the Show. Sanchez looked pretty good on Saturday and managed the game. I think the reason Carroll really wanted Sanchez to stay was to help Carroll and not Sanchez. Carroll knew his quarterbacks weren't ready and knew Sanchez would be the difference in winning the Pac-10 again.

Now Carroll is jumping ship on SC just as the NCAA seems to be closing in. I don't know if sanctions will ever come down, but Carroll leaving surprises me. 1) He has built a powerhouse in one of the U.S. most fertile recruiting territories. 2) His style didn't work in the show twice before but seemed a perfect fit for college.

He must know something everyone else doesn't. He is from the Bill Parcells school so he is going to have total control, meaning he will make all of the personnel decisions as well. Only time will tell if his latest NFL experience will succeed, and if he got out of SC when the getting was good. Now I want to know, who does SC get as their next coach? Jack Del Rio is an alum and may be out in Jacksonville, and the same goes for Jeff Fisher in Tennessee. Who do you think will be the next coach on the SC sideline?

NFL Playoffs

Cowboys vs Eagles - As much as it pains me to say it, Dallas is just better than the Eagles this season. They beat them handily three times this season and accounted for half of the Philly losses. Now the question is has Donovan played his last game in Philly? And will Andy Reid finally be run out of town? Philly fans shouldn't jump to getting rid of someone who has had that much sustained success, but they also haven't won a Super Bowl. I say keep him, but other Philly fans don't believe in logic either.

Packers vs Cardinals - Fitting that an offensive show is ended by a defensive TD in overtime. I don't know how Arizona let Green Bay back in the game. The onside kick was a great call by McCarthy. Aaron Rodgers had another amazing game and is the second best QB in the NFC. The Cardinals have to play better defense next weekend or Brees and company will pick them apart.

Ravens vs Pats - No team can get down 21 points and expect to come back. Not even New England. The Ravens jumped on them early and never let them up. There were way too many turnovers. I will say I was impressed with Ravens running attack. I wasn't impressed with Joe Flacco's 34 passing yards. Is this the end of the Patriots run? They didn't make the playoffs last year and lost their first home playoff game under Belichick, I think we can say its over.

Jets vs Bengals - Keep talking trash Rex Ryan. I love it and it gives everybody someone to hate in the playoffs. They do have the best defense and best rushing attack, but I don't think they can beat San Diego. I am openly rooting for them, if only to hear Rex keep talking.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Jim Leavitt Out at USF

Jim Leavitt is out at USF. The only coach the school has ever known has been fired for hitting a walk-on player in the face. This is bad timing with recruiting winding down. I have no idea where USF is going to look for a coach but this is a huge story. Leavitt was rumored to be considered for the Alabama job before Saban came on and now he is out as the only coach USF has ever had.

Quick Hitters from the BCS Championship Game

After watching the BCS Championship Game last night I had a lot on my mind. I had no team to root for so my interest was on finally getting a pick right. And for anyone that thinks they can get one over on the odds makers in Vegas, I finished exactly 12-12 picking against the spread for the bowl games. I was only one game better at 13-11 on picking winners.

-Bama won but the game is different if McCoy plays. It had to hurt to finally get to this point and get injured on the fifth play of the game.

- Texas fans were excited about Garrett Gilbert playing for the Horns in 2010, just not in January. Gilbert was serviceable in this game. He did have five turnovers but he made the game interesting in the fourth quarter with two touchdown passes. He won't forget how bad losing in this game felt. With the recruiting that Mack Brown normally does, Gilbert will have Texas bathing in confetti before he leaves Austin.

- Mark Ingram had a great game (116 yards 2 TDs) for the Tide but last night further proved why he shouldn't have won the Heisman. Trent Richardson had an equally impressive game (109 yards 2 TDs). Both players come back next season as well.

- Kirk Herbstreit jinxed the Texas O-Line. Just before Gilbert fumbled on a sack, Herbstreit said the maligned Texas offensive line had not given up a sack. He did apologize for the curse on Sportscenter last night.

- Texas, you have to get touchdowns when you get that close to the goal line, and when you get two quick turnovers to start the game. The score should have been 14-0, or at least 10-0 early in the first quarter. Instead it was 6-0 and the Tide reeled off 24 straight.

- Marcell Dareus should be the player of the game for Alabama. He knocked McCoy out of the game and then had the interception return at the end of the first half to put Alabama up 24-6.

- Texas WRs: you have to make plays for your quarterback, especially a freshman who has that deer in the headlights look. Early when Gilbert came in, Jordan Shipley and company couldn't make a big play and even struggled with some of the routine plays. This made life even more difficult on Gilbert.

- Greg McElroy is alright as a QB, but he is still the Achilles heel of this football team. Julio Jones only had one catch last night and McElroy only threw for 58 yards. By struggling at QB, he takes away one of Bama's best weapons on his own.

- Rolando McClain is going to make a lot of money playing on Sundays. He's big (6'4" 258), fast, and smart. He was the best player on the field a lot of times last night.

- Why do I feel like Terrence Cody is going to be a bust in the NFL? He's huge and clogs running lanes, but he will never be a three down player. He reminds me of Shaun Rogers of the Browns. Can be good when he wants to but can he dominate when he gets tired?

That's all I have for now but let me know what you saw and what you think about the BCS Championship.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pac-Man vs Pretty Boy

After months of lobbying and trash talking, and even setting a date, the fight of the century is off the table. Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. are not going to be fighting in Vegas on March 13.

The first snag in negotiations was over loot, which isn't a surprise considering Mayweather. Then the site of the fight was in negotiations after Jerry Jones wanted the fight in Dallas but that didn't work out and Vegas was determined for the fight.

The latest problem had to do with drug testing. While both agreed to drug testing, Mayweather wanted more stringent Olympic style testing. His camp has said for months they believe Pacquiao uses performance enhancing drugs and want to ensure a fair fight. Pacquiao doesn't want this kind of testing because he feels it takes away energy.

With neither side able to agree on testing, the fight is now off. Pacquiao has even sued the Mayweather camp for defamation over the PED accusation. And his promoter Bob Arum, who Mayweather used to work with, says Mayweather is coming up with stuff to avoid the fight.

I think both sides need to figure this out. This is a fight fans would love to see. While many say Mayweather is avoiding the fight, I think Pacquiao is just as much to blame. Do the blood testing and fight. No matter how mad he is over the location or the drug testing, he can do something that most people can't do when their job pisses them off; HE CAN PUNCH THE GUY IN THE FACE! So, Floyd, quit "dodging what will be a great fight and Manny get your panties out of a bunch if you have nothing to hide. How would you get these two in a ring together?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

FSU Vacates Wins

I'm going to admit that I'm biased about this but I think the NCAA was dead wrong to make FSU vacate wins for their academic cheating scandal. All of the athletes that were involved were punished, but its still wrong to make the school vacate the wins. FSU self reported the problems and imposed its own restrictions that included the suspension of athletes and reduction of scholarships.

Now FSU was wrong to let it happen and to spent a lot of time and money trying to get Coach Bowden his wins back, but the NCAA dropped the ball on this one. This week USC self reported violations that a booster funneled money($200,000) from an agent to guard O.J. Mayo. They also proposed restrictions on themselves and the NCAA is cool with it.

SC is still "investigating" over their football players Reggie Bush and Joe McKnight receiving improper benefits.

Yes what FSU did was wrong, but they self reported and had self imposed restrictions and the wins shouldn't be vacated. USC Football is pointing and laughing at the NCAA.

Last Three Picks

So picking games is not my forte. While I didn't pick the Fiesta Bowl last night due to a long day at the office, I am going to take the loss because I'm sure I would have picked TCU. Here is what I think of the last three games:

Orange Bowl - Iowa vs Georgia Tech (-5 1/2) - Tech's triple option offense gives Iowa fits. I don't care how many weeks they had to prepare, no scout team can simulate Tech's speed and precision running it. Tech also covers.

GMAC Bowl - Central Michigan (-2 1/2) vs Troy - Central Michigan wins and covers. If you need a reason to watch, its CM quarterback Dan Lefevour. He has better numbers than Tebow and leads his team to victory.

Championship Game - Texas vs Alabama (-4) - I'm openly rooting for Texas but I think Alabama wins but doesn't cover. Texas hasn't shown the ability to put up points against a good defense and Alabama has the best in the land.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Rest of the Picks

International Bowl - USF (-6 1/2) vs No. Illinois - USF wins and covers

Papa Johns Bowl - UConn vs South Carolina (-3 1/2) - South Carolina wins a close one and doesn't cover

Cotton Bowl - Ole Miss (-3) vs Oklahoma State - Dexter McCluster goes off for the Rebels and they win and cover

Liberty Bowl - Arkansas (-7 1/2) vs East Carolina - Ryan Mallet has a big game for the Razorbacks and they win and cover

Alamo Bowl - Texas Tech (-7 1/2) vs Michigan State - The Red Raiders lost their coach while the Spartans have a bunch of players suspended. The game is sloppy. The Red Raiders win but don't cover.