Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It's Been Awhile

Actually, over a week. I have been extremely bogged down between school, work, and the job search. Heck, I just turned down the Alabama coaching job. So over the course of 8 days, to say a lot has changed in the college football landscape would be a mild understatement. The one thing that hasn't changed though is Bama is still without a coach, although sources are saying that it's only a matter of 24 hours or so until Rich Rodriguez signs his soul away to the Tide.

Can I now jump on the UCLA bandwagon since I attend the school? A rather shocking day in Los Angeles on Saturday. UCLA did not even play its "A" game and yet they still beat USC. I think it became quite obvious on Saturday that John David Booty is an average to good quarterback, but nowhere close to Palmer or Leinart's league. The UCLA D did a great job of applying pressure on the Trojan QB, completely taking away any big play threat that the Trojans might have had. I was shocked to see how gracious Pete Carroll was in defeat during his post game interview. I was waiting to hear some bs remarks out of his mouth like what he was spouting off after their Rose Bowl defeat last year.

I'm still amazed that Florida finished the year at 12-1. The team never looked too good in getting to that record (although I thought they looked great on Saturday), yet found ways to win with an absolutely brutal schedule. They clearly deserve a shot at Ohio State for the national title. I read a quote from Michigan's Lloyd Carr about how the national title game should be determined on the playing field. Well boo hoo, Lloyd, I have news for you, it was determined on the playing field when you lost to Ohio State. The fact of the matter is Michigan played in a weak conference and only beat 2 teams of note. No one is sure how good those 2 teams (Wisconsin and Notre Dame) are either. Florida won its conference which has 4 teams in the top 12 (and they went 2-1 against those teams) as well as beat more respectable out of conference opponents. You look at the body of work that the SEC has over the year versus what the Big 10 has done and to me it seems that Florida is the clear cut choice to play in Tempe. While Lloyd Carr has done some whining, I don't think anyone can top the whining that has been done by Kirk Herbstreit. His love obsession with the Big 10 is extremely non-professional. He even went on to say that he thinks Florida can beat Ohio State, yet Michigan deserves to play in the game. I must admit that I have become rather turned off by the ESPN so-called college football "gurus." While I only caught Gameday a few times this year, it is safe to say that I am done with the show.

A lot of talk has been made about Jim Grobe for coach of the year and rightfully so. But has anyone done a better job than Bob Stoops. This guy lost his quarterback a week before the season, the looses perhaps the nation's top running back (clearly the nation's most proven running back) midway through the season only to finish the year 11-2 and Big 12 champs. I'm still a little put out by his crying after the Oregon game, but Coach Stoops did one hell of a job this year and clearly earned his top college coaching salary.

Quickly glancing over the bowl match-up, I am extremely excited about the Notre Dame-LSU Sugar Bowl match-up. I am hoping that LSU puts a similar whipping on the Irish that it did against the Hurricanes in last year's Peach Bowl. I think it very possible as do the odds makers in Vegas making LSU an early 9 point favorite.

Plenty more to write, but so few hours these days. Plenty more to come during the week - i.e. no more 8 day lay-offs for a little while.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Monday Morning Look Back

So we are down to the final week of the regular season. My oh my, did this season ever fly by. On to my recap of the past week and weekend in college football:
  • LSU notched its 2nd consecutive huge SEC road win. Definitely not the dominating performance that we had seen in the past from the Bengal Tigers.
  • I actually hated to see the Razorbacks loose - I think they were the SEC's only hope to have a team play for the national title. Casey Dick was absolutely horrible and I don't understand why Nutt didn't insert Mitch Mustain at some point.
  • Even in the loss, Darren McFadden and Felix Jones were both electrifying. The Wildcat formation is extremely fun to watch.
  • I'm still dumbfounded as to why the Hogs on 4th down and short twice attempted to throw the football. I just don't think the LSU D stops McFadden on a 4th and short situation.
  • Florida and Florida State was an extremely boring game to watch. I'm amazed at how awful FSU's offense has become.
  • After watching the Florida State game and reflecting on Tim Tebow's year, I'm not convinced that he is going to be a superstar that I initially though he could be.
  • I find it amazing that Florida finished the year 11-1 with the amazingly tough schedule it played.
  • Apparently, the Egg Bowl was a barn burner, but I don't think anyone outside of the 50,000+ in attendance got to see this one. In all honesty, I don't think too many folks were very concerned with the game.
  • Kentucky gave Tennessee one hell of a game. Outside of Arkansas, Kentucky just might have been the SEC's biggest surprise.
  • If it is not Kentucky, then surely Georgia was the SEC's second biggest surprise as the Bulldogs struggled much more than people expected this year.
  • Credit to Mark Richt and the Bulldogs though for righting the ship and defeating their two biggest rivals in their last two games.
  • Reggie Ball has to be the most overrated quarterback to make it through the college ranks in a long time. I find it hard to believe that he managed to start for 4 years at Georgia Tech. He owes Calvin Johnson immensely.
  • Huge win for Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks as they knocked off in-sate rival Clemson. If SEC only gets one team in the BCS (I know, it's not likely to happen), then Bama just might not go bowling this year.
  • Syvelle Newton at South Carolina must be one hell of an athlete. He starts the year at wide receiver, then plays quarterback for 4 games, only to move back to wide receiver and also receive a fair amount of action as a defensive back. He is the epitome of a utility player on the football field.
  • Remember how high Clemson was riding after they knocked off Georgia Tech on ESPN with the Gameday crew in attendance? My how their season took a dive for the worst.
  • Congrats to Wake Forest for closing another chapter on the feel good story for the year. They clearly have a shoot to defeat GA Tech in the ACC Championship game.
  • Anyone else see the BYU - Utah game on CSTV? Had to be the most exciting game of the day with BYU scoring a touchdown with no time left.
  • I'm curious if the Mormons are excited about BYU's bowl trip to Las Vegas. I just don't see the Mormons having a good time in Sin City.
  • I have to agree with the match-up in the BCS Title game if USC beats UCLA this upcoming weekend. In my humble opinion, USC clearly is deserving of the #2 spot.
  • I think that the fact Notre Dame will more than likely play in a BCS bowl is a disgrace to college football. They beat one ranked team this year (if Tech looses to Wake, make it zero ranked teams) and got completely hammered against two of the top three in the country. Notre Dame's body of work is the least impressive of any of the one or two loss teams outside of West Virginia, Louisville, and Rutgers.
  • Let the coaching carousel begin - UNC has already fired and hired a new head man. These schools are now officially in the mix for a new head man - Michigan State, Miami, Iowa Sate, Arizona State, and North Carolina State. Possibilities to join in the mix include Alabama, Florida State, and as a longshot - UCLA. Top candidates for these jobs this year will be Greg Schiano (Rutgers HC), Bobby Petrino (Louisville HC), Rich Rodriguez (West Virginia HC), Jim Grobe (Wake Forest HC), Brian Kelley (Central Michigan HC), Mike D'Anotnio (Cinci HC), Jimbo Fisher (LSU OC), Bo Pelini (LSU DC), Randy Shannon (Miami DC).

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Alabama and Nick Saban

In today's Birmingham News, Kevin Scarbinsky writes that folks associated with the Alabama program contacted Nick Saban about his interest in the job. I believe that Kevin is a highly credible source and fully believe that Saban was approached or his agent, Jimmy Sexton, actually contacted Alabama. Acting as a fiduciary as his agent, Mr. Sexton would be crazy to not see what opportunities were available for his clients or entertain individuals seeking the services of his clients that include Saban, Tommy Tuberville, Jimbo Fisher, and Bill Parcells among others. Kevin goes on to write that if Shula is the coach of Alabama next year, then it can be inferred that Saban was not interested in the job. Interestingly, he wraps up his column wondering if Shula survives will he be able to produce the magical year that Tuberville did following the Jetgate scandal.

Sorry that I don't have more to offer today. The bride and I are cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 14 tomorrow and have been in the kitchen all day. I had to call my mother and thanks her for all the Thanksgiving meals she prepared - I have learned today and will continue to learn tomorrow that it is a bear of a task and she pulled it off all by her self.

In case I don't post tomorrow, Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers. I'm definitely not going to retire off this little endeavor, so it is your comments and eyes that keep me pounding away on this blog and I am grateful to all.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Alabama Creed

Kudos to the unknown author (if anyone knows the author, please let me know so they can get the credit that they deserve) for this gem.....

The Alabama Creed

"We believe that this is a delusional world and that we can talk only about what Bear did. Therefore, we believe in the past, the distant past. We believe in education, and though we did not technically attend the University of Alabama, we know a guy that did. We believe in honesty and truthfulness, because when the punishment for marijuana possession is ice cream, there is really no need to lie. We believe in a sound mind, in a sound body and a spirit that is not afraid. Well, maybe a little afraid of the thumb. We believe in obedience to law, except for the ones concerning money laundering, because they hinder recruiting. We believe in the human touch, even if we have to pay for it at seedy Pensacola strip clubs. We believe in our Country, because it is a land of freedom, and where else on Earth could a man wearing a gold chain earn two million dollars a year losing football games? And because Alabama men and women believe in these things, We believe in Alabama (football) and love it, when we are winning. And when we don't, we throw water bottles at opposing players."

Monday, November 20, 2006

Monday Morning (Evening) Look Back

A great weekend for the heart, but not so hot for the wallet. On to my recap:
  • War Damn Q. Groves - his 2 sacks and caused fumbles were clearly the difference between an Auburn win and an Auburn loss.
  • Auburn's offense is downright pathetic this year.
  • It's truly amazing that this Auburn team finished the year with a 10-2 record.
  • As an Auburn fan, I hope Shula stays, but is there any question that he is way in over his head?
  • John Parker Wilson has the potential to be one heck of a quarterback.
  • Congrats to Houston Nutt and the Piggies for officially wrapping up the West. After their beat down of Auburn on the Plains, very few thought Arkansas would hang on to win the West.
  • If McFadden doesn't get it down running behind his o-line, apparently he can pull his magic on kick-off returns.
  • To be a year removed from the high school ranks, Gus Malzahn deserves a ton of praise for his creativity for getting the ball in the hands of his playmakers.
  • Just an early prediction, but I think Arkansas crushes Florida in the Dome.
  • What happened to LSU? Obviously, they looked well past Ole Miss to their date with Arkansas this upcoming Friday.
  • I'm still shocked that the Rebels could hang with LSU. Hopefully, the game bought Coach O a few more years at the helm in Oxford. I must admit that I wouldn't mind having Shula and O around the West for many more years to come.
  • What a difference Eric Ainge makes in the Tennessee offense. Granted it was Vandy, but they looked very impressive.
  • Though Chris Nickson had an off day against Tennessee, he just might be the best young quarterback in the SEC. Remember that he has little to no talent around him.
  • I'll admit that due to the Iron Bowl, I watched a grand total of maybe 10 minutes of the Michigan-Ohio State game. Check out the M Zone if you want to read a lot of good information (obviously Michigan biased) on the game.
  • People who think the two teams should rematch for the BCS Title are crazy. I guess those people are not in favor of a play-off. If there was ever a play-off scenario for a game, was that game not a semi-final game for the title?
  • Congrats to Kentucky for notching its 7th win of the season, albeit a nail-bitter to UL-M.
  • If South Carolina can upset Clemson on Saturday, then there is the possibility that Bama does not go bowling. Go Gamecocks!
  • How about the weekend for Chuck Amato and Larry Coker? Yikes!
Another pretty good card on tap for this week. Just curious, but do you think ESPN is just a tad disappointed that its big Thanksgiving evening match-up is Boston College at Miami. They use to carry Ole Miss and Mississippi State, but dropped that game several years ago because of its irrelevance in the college football world. I'm afraid that ESPN missed the boat again this year.

Thanks to loyal reader R. Johnson for this updated picture of Bryant Denny Stadium (a.k.a. Jordan-Hare West):

Friday, November 17, 2006

2006 Iron Bowl Week - Friday Edition

Today I have decided to take a stroll down memory lane and look back at my greatest memories of this storied rivalry.
  • 1985 - My 1st Auburn-Alabama game to attend in person. Truth be told, I remember very little about the back and forth battle of this game, but Van Tiffin's kick seems like it was yesterday.
  • 1986 - I will always remember watching the "Tillman reverse" at my grandmother's house in Anniston on the day after Thanksgiving or that Saturday after Thanksgiving. I ran around like the crazy child I was after that play. While Bo Jackson was my hero growing up, I can look back to that game as the game that truly made me an Auburn person for life.
  • 1993 - The greatest team nobody ever saw. Dad and I were listening to this game on the radio in the den of my parent's house. I remember my father getting up to go to the bathroom when Stan White went down on a 3rd down thinking the Tigers were just going to punt. He came running back into the den as I was jumping up and down screaming as Patrick Nix forever etched his name in the hearts of Auburn fans. Watching the highlights, Tony Richardson, to this day, might have the hardest hit ever recorded in the Iron Bowl after popping James Bostic in the endzone after Bostic sealed the deal with his 70 yard touchdown run late in the 4th quarter. "11-0, 11-0, 11-0" - great call Jim Fyffe.
  • 1994 - Back in Legion Field for only my 2nd Iron Bowl in person. This game would begin a streak of 7 straight for me - I never witnessed Auburn win in Legion Field. I was so tired for this game because I had played in a high school play-off game the night before in Nashville. I made it back to Memphis around 1AM and we got up to leave for the Ham at 5Am. I also remember as we were leaving the stadium some drunk Bama student kept shouting Roll Tide in both my face and my father's. That's as close as I have ever seen my father come to hitting another person after trying to actually reason with guy.
  • 1997 - Thank you, Mike Dubose and Ed Scissum. I was working for the athletic department as a Tiger Host at the time and I will always remember S. Locklar shaking and crying because she was so excited. I have never come across a lady who loves the University more than Sue and I was so excited to get to watch the finish of that game with her.
  • 1999 - My last game as a student and Auburn, and unfortunately, Bama ended up cruising to a 4th quarter victory over Auburn behind the wheels of Shaun Alexander. It was Bama's 1st win ever at Auburn and my last game sitting in the student section.
While the 21st Century has also already left its fair share of memories in my mind, I'll save those for another time and place. Give'em hell tomorrow Tigers.

Passing Of A Legend

My thoughts and sympathies go out to the Schembechler family. Before I write about my greatest Iron Bowl memories, I found it fitting to honor Bo. For whatever reason, my fondest memories as a kid growing up in Memphis during the 80's and developing my passion for college football revolve around watching Coach Schembechler and his Wolverines on ABC, Keith Jackson calling games, and the USC-UCLA game on ABC. It's truly bizarre to me that I can remember these activities so vividly. Outside of Auburn, here's a heartfelt thanks to Bo Schembechler for perhaps cementing my passion for college football.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

2006 Iron Bowl Week - Thursday Edition

A busier day than I initially realized that I would have. All I have to bring you today is another piece on the lack of national attention this year's Iron Bowl is drawing. I can't believe I am hearing more about Cal-USC than the Iron Bowl, but I guess that's the trade-off for sandy beaches and sunny, 70 degree days in November. Anyhow, Troy Johnson with the Ledger-Enquirer out of Columbus, GA writes "this one doesn't have the sizzle" in today's edition. As I have written about this topic for several days, I have come to kind of appreciate the fact that this game isn't drawing the national attention. Those they have not experienced this game just don't get it, so alums and fans of both institutions should just revel in the fact that they truly get to be a a part of something so special that so many folks across the country take for granted or as I said, just don't get it. So War Eagle and Roll Tide, let's tee it up in under 48 hours.

On a side note, does anyone now what happened to the Pickens County Herald? That paper's sports editor, Kevin Strickland, wrote an awesome column entitled "From the Sidelines." I no longer can find a link to the paper's website though. Any help would be greatly appreciated.