Super Bowl Subplots

AFC Championship Game: Baltimore @ New England. 

This is the 6th AFC Championship for Belichick and Brady (4-1, with the lone loss coming at Indianapolis in a game in which the Patriots lead 21-3). Brady would match John Elway for 5 Super Bowl appearances for a Quarterback.  Joe Flacco would EARN some respect by defeating Brady in Foxboro. (Note to Joe, respect in the National Football League is earned, not given). Brady has earned the respect of many players, including two future Hall of Famers on the Ravens…Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Speaking of Ray Lewis, there is also chatter that Ray Lewis may retire if the Ravens make it to/win the Super Bowl. To me, Ray is the best middle linebacker of my generation. I couldn’t tell you if he’s the best of all time, that’s for football historians to debate. My head tells me the Pats win, but my gut says Ravens. Ravens win 23-21. (Can’t believe I’m going against Tom Brady, but something just says Ravens).

NFC Championship Game: New York Giants @ San Francisco 49ers

Giants looking to make their 2nd Super Bowl appearance in 4 years. Eli Manning vs Alex Smith, two overall #1 picks in their respective drafts facing off. Jim Harbaugh, a rookie NFL head coach vs Tom Coughlin, a Super Bowl winning veteran head football coach. San Francisco with all of the rich Super Bowl history vs a truly historic NFL team in the Giants. It’s going to take place on a sloppy track, which will slow down a pass rush. 49ers had a better rush defense and I think that’s the difference. 49ers 14-7.

Super Bowl Hypotheticals:

The Harbaugh Bowl, Ravens vs 49ers, Brother vs Brother.

Patriots vs Giants, rematch of SB 42 in which the Giants ended the Patriots perfect season.

Patriots vs 49ers: Brady faces the team he grew up cheering for.

Ravens vs Giants: Rematch of a Super Bowl that took place 11 years ago. Ray Lewis is probably the only player remaining from that game.

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New Years Resolutions

Screw it, I don’t care that it’s January 12th. I’m gonna go ahead and start going to work on my New Years Resolutions. Not one, many. 2011 wasn’t exactly my finest year, so I need to kick myself in the ass and become a better all around person. Here goes.

1. Lose 30 lbs.

2. Run a 10k

3. Workout regularly

4. Read 5-10 books

5. Get a job

6. Blog more often (thanks Matt for the kind words)

7. Start a podcast with my boy Justin.

All in all, I believe that if I do these things more often I’ll feel like I’m a better person and will automatically improve my mindset. It may not seem like the whole “turn yourself around scenario” that many people maybe expecting…but to hell with expectations. I’m gonna start here and see how I do. So, without further ado…..HERE…..WE…..GO!

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UK vs Transylvania (exhibition) thoughts

The UK Wildcats made their 2011-2012 debut last night in Rupp Arena and came away with a 97-53 victory over the Transylvania Pioneers. I’m not going to hit you with too many stats from the game, but am going to give my view of what took place and where UK needs to improve from here.
The one big positive thing I came away with last night is Terrence Jones is going to be a beast this season. The man has gotten bigger and stronger and that’s going to be a good thing if you’re a UK fan.
There were many negatives in this game, but I’ll keep it quick. I was disappointed in Anthony Davis’s play last night, but I shouldn’t be. He is a freshman playing against an opponent in Rupp Arena  for the first time. I did expect him to dominate on both ends of the floor, but only on the defensive end did he dominate. He definitely has a way to go offensively around the basket. Being 6-10 is nice, but once you get into the meat of the season, every team is going to have a big man to matchup with him. His offensive game will need to develop fast.  Still, I have every expectation he will be one of the 10-15 best players in the nation by season’s end.  He is special and you can believe that coach Calipari will make sure he gets everything from Davis.
The defense by Kentucky last night was not even close to the type of intensity that coach Calipari wants to see out of his team. Transy was hitting 3’s left and right and no one really closed out on those shots, more of a lazy attempt to jump and “alter” the shot.  The defense at times at best was lacking and after attending a John Calipari coaching clinic in the past, I know this had to be driving him nuts seeing this.  He will get their attention BBN.

As far as important stats go, I know UK was in double-digit blocks, had a 22-8 assist-to-turnover ratio and outrebounded Transy 45-27, but still there is lots of work to be done to get this team where it eventually wants to go. If you missed the game or want to watch it again, check with http://www.espn3.com and it should be there. Next game is Monday November 7th vs Morehouse (another exhibition).

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The Best World Series Game…..I’ve Ever Seen

First, let me be honest….I did not watch all of World Series Game 6.  I watched Big Bang Theory and Rules of Engagement.  Then, I started “prepping” for a job interview I had today.  Of course, prepping meant playing on facebook and watching the World Series and the Thursday night college football game on ESPN.  (The interview did go well, I find out next week).

So, I really started watching the game in the bottom of the 6th  with the Cardinals down 4-3.  The Cardinals would tie the game up and in the top of the 7th inning Texas would hit back to back solo homeruns to make it 6-4.  The Rangers would add one more run to make it 7-4.  I thought the game was over.  The Cards would not add a run in the bottom of the 7th and with only 6 outs remaining, Texas was sitting pretty.  However, in the bottom of the 8th Allen Craig would hit a solo shot to bring the Cards within 2 runs (7-5).  Still, with Neftali Feliz looming in the 9th I didn’t like the Cards chances.  But, if there’s something….anything the movie Dumb and Dumber taught us, there’s always a chance.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX5jNnDMfxA

Still, trying to score 2 runs against a good quality reliever as Feliz is tough.  Ryan Theriot lead off the bottom of the 9th with a strikeout.  Then, came the gratuitous “this could be the last at-bat for Albert Pujols in a Cardinals uniform” from Joe Buck.  Pujols doubled to left-center, Lance Berkman walks and all of a sudden we have a rally in the bottom of the 9th.  Next up is Allen Craig….and…..he…..strikes out.  Wah wah wahhhhhhh.  So, now the Cardinals season is up to the hometown kid David Freese.  Freese, with two strikes, hits a screaming line shot to the right field wall, juuuuuust out of the reach of Nelson Cruz.  I’m in my living room going nuts.  Pujols and Berkman score, Freese to 3rd base….game tied at 7!

Now, to the top of the 10th and Josh Hamilton hits a 2-run homerun to put the Rangers up 9-7!  Now, this would have been the ultimate story of redemption of my lifetime had this held up.  Hamilton, who was the #1 overall pick in the 1999 MLB draft has fought drug and alcohol addiction for many years.  Basically, this man is on his last chance as far as playing baseball is concerned.  He’s failed numerous drug tests and wasted many years, but he has turned it around and is one of the best stories of overcoming substance abuse I’ve ever seen.  Earlier this season, after catching the final out of an inning, Hamilton threw a ball into the crowd and a man trying to catch the ball leaned over a railing and ended up falling to his death.  His young son was with him at the game. Obviously, this broke Hamilton’s heart and he just felt sick about it.  So, you can see why this would have made a very nice story of redemption.  Unfortunately for Texas, it wasn’t meant to be.

The Cardinals, down to their final strike in the bottom of the 10th, had Lance Berkman come through and hit an RBI single to tie the game up at 9!  I was in shock and just losing it.  I don’t have a single horse in this race and I was acting like a little kid in a candy store.  I didn’t want this game to end, but….it had to end with a bang.  We needed a game 7 and after Texas went scoreless in the top of the 11th, David Freese ensured his place in ST. Louis history with a solo walk-off homerun.  “And we’ll see you tomorrow night,” said Joe Buck honoring his late father Jack Buck who said the same thing in game 6 of the 1991 World Series after a walk-off homerun by Kirby Puckett.  This was without a doubt THE BEST world series game I’ve ever seen.

So, here we are.  Game 7 of the World Series is tonight, Friday night.  No major college football or NFL games to compete with.  Just parents of high school football players and high school football fans will be away from televisions.  Bars and sports fans at home will be tuned in to Fox.  It’s all or nothing tonight, injuries and fatigue be damned.  If you’re injured or hurt, you WILL PLAY TONIGHT.  This moment doesn’t happen very often and when it does, you do everything within your power to play and win this game.  I’ll be watching…..will you?

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College Football Wrap Up Week 5

Yes I know I haven’t done a wrap up the first four weeks and I’m sorry for that…so what. I’m going to do one now. The two best teams I’ve seen this season are without a doubt….Alabama and LSU. Both teams are fast, physical and do not make dumb mistakes. LSU played Kentucky this week and well, beat them by four touchdowns 35-7. Alabama played Florida at The Swamp and I had this as my upset special this week. I thought Florida had to play a perfect game to defeat Bama and in the 1st quarter they had a puncher’s chance. On the first play from scrimmage (sans a false start) Jeff Brantley hit Andre DeBose in stride for a 65 yard TD pass. I was thinking, good start. After Bama settled for a FG (after dropping a wide open TD) it was getting better. Then, it started to go downhill from there.  On the ensuing kickoff Jeff Demps was one block away from returning it for a Touchdown, but got caught by the kicker and hurt his ankle.  Florida settled for a FG after a 1st and Goal and in the 2nd quarter Jeff Brantley went down with a nasty looking injury.  Add a big dose of Trent Richardson and the Bama defense…game over 38-10.  Nick Saban is the best coach in all of college football and he showed why Saturday night.

Clemson throttled Virginia Tech in Blacksburg 23-3.  Yes, 23-3.  Yes, in Blacksburg.  I’m not shocked Clemson won, but by the sheer domination in that victory.   However, I think by now we shouldn’t be fooled by the Chokies….cough, cough…the Hokies.  They start off the year will all kinds of hype, have one of the coolest entrances in all of college football and then….come up short in a big time game.  I would compare them to Notre Dame but at least Frank Beamer has won 10 games for 7 consecutive seasons.  In fact, since 1995 the fewest amount of wins in a season under Beamer is 7 and only four of those seasons didn’t result in double digit wins.  Before then is a different story but I applaud Virginia Tech for not firing Beamer prior to that time.  Too many colleges are adopting the NFL’s “Win Now” mentality and that isn’t good for college athletics.  On the other hand, Clemson now has a BIG target on its back and I’m sure the classic letdown game is coming sooner than later.  Clemson’s two toughest games remaining are @ Georgia Tech (Oct 29) and @ South Carolina (Nov 26), but  don’t be surprised if they slip up @ Maryland (Oct 15) or home to North Carolina (Oct 22).

Wisconsin vs Nebraska turned into the “Hi, I’m Russell Wilson and I’m a Heisman candidate” show.  Wisconsin won by 31 points and Wilson is in top ten Heisman consideration discussion with his performance in primetime Saturday night.  14/20 for 255 yards, 2 touchdowns and zero interceptions.  Also, six carries for 32 yards and a touchdown.  Now, does it help that he has a tremendous running game and a good defense?  Yes, yes it does.  Still, Wilson gives Wisconsin a dimension it’s never had at the QB position and quite frankly, that’s going to land Wisconsin in a BCS game in January.

My top ten teams in the nation: #1 Alabama, #2 LSU, #3 Stanford, #4 Oklahoma, #5 Wisconsin, #6 Clemson, #7 Oklahoma St, #8 Georgia Tech, #9 Boise St, #10 Michigan.

My top ten Heisman candidates: #1 Andrew Luck, Stanford #2 Trent Richardson, Alabama #3 Robert Griffin III, Baylor #4 Denard Robinson, Michigan #5 Kellen Moore, Boise St #6 Russell Wilson, Wisconsin #7 Montee Ball, Wisconsin  #8 Landry Jones, Oklahoma #9 Tyrann Mathieu, LSU #10 Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina

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20 point deficit? No Problem.

Two weeks in a row the darlings of this NFL season the Detroit Lions have overcome 2o (and 24) point deficits.  The Buffalo Bills have overcome 18 and 20 point deficits.  The San Francisco 49ers overcame a 20 point deficit this past week.  What in the name of Bobby Boucher is up with all of these major comebacks?  I’ll tell you what, it’s what has been out of control the first four weeks of this NFL season.  It’s the passing game and offensive coordinators are letting QB’s throw it at an all time high.  However, that’s also losing some games for teams. When you have a 20 point lead in the National Football League….you RUN THE BALL.  Say it with me….RUN THE BALL.  Sure, it may not be the cool thing to do or get you a first down, but you know what it does do?  It keeps the clock running, keeps momentum for your team, allows your defense to keep attacking and doesn’t give your opponent a chance to get a pick six or two….right Tony Romo?  Coach Red Beaulieu from the movie “The Waterboy” had the right strategy when he had his offense taking knees in the movie to keep his opponent’s most effective weapon useless.

To be fair, there were some teams who did run the ball this week to help run the clock out and win.  Those teams were the Patriots (victim of Buffalo comeback ran for 183 yards), Da Bears (Forte 205 yards rushing and one Marion Barber Fail back flip attempt after a late TD rush) and the Ravens (Ray Lewis was O-coordinator in the 2nd half…..28-11 passes in 1st half, 17-4 ratio rush to pass at one point in the 4th).  Force teams to have to work and score against your defense and special teams with as little time as possible to do it.  It may not be the sexy way to do it, but a win’s a win and that’s all that counts in the National Football League.

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My Day at UVA

Justin and I

I was fortunate enough to score free tickets to a University of Virginia (vs Idaho) football game today. Full disclosure, I’m not a UVA fan but since I was a guest in their house I did cheer for them.  Now, it wasn’t the biggest game of the day or the year, but none the less it was a college football game. I had seats on the front row right behind the endzone, which was really cool.  My friends Justin and Sarah were nice enough to accept the other tickets I had and drove me to Charlottesville.  We met up with Sarah’s parents and off we went to Scott Stadium.  The game went into OT and saw Idaho go for a 2 point conversion for the win only to have a DB from UVA knock down the attempt for a 21-20 Wahoo victory.  UVA dominated this game….statistically.  However, that did not translate into points and my goodness, they had a lot of chances to score more than they did.  After UVA’s victory we drove back to Sarah’s parents house and ate like kings!  All in all I had a fun day with great friends, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Sweet Seats

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