LaRussa, Torre and Cox. 6000 wins and 8 World Series
Greetings from the Hoodwood, where the locals are still trying to figure out why folks are complaining so much about the snow and ice…its December people!!!!
College Football: The BCS lucks out again
Welllp (long sigh) As much as you and I railed and ragged on the BCS and its foibles, and called for a playoff; as many times as we screamed settle the games on the field, not in computers; as much as we hated the posturing of some teams and coaches for what they felt was their rightful place at the championship dais. We are again down to two and as much as I hate to admit it. The BCS got it right…the chips fell again their way. You had now top ranked Florida State and their electric QB Jameis Winston freed from the specter of a sexual assault charge. 2nd ranked Ohio State who had long carped “What about us?” before top ranked Alabama took a loss in the Iron Bowl. Then you have the SEC teams Auburn who at #3 held the trump card of knocking of then top ranked Tide who themselves lurk at fourth looking for an opening to pounce on and wedge themselves back into the BCS title picture. The question loomed. What happens if all three teams win? Could Auburn jump the Buckeyes if they laid out an impressive win over #5 Missouri and the Bucks struggled against a top ten but unheralded Michigan State? What if the Seminoles struggled against heavy underdog, but plucky Duke? From the cold plains both Missouri and Oklahoma State, good 1 loss teams were also hollering “But Harpo? What about me?” Funny how these things work out just so, yeah?
Let’s go in chronological order, in the game called bedlam. Oklahoma dashed it’s instate rivals BCS hopes with a 33-24 win, the Sooners scored the game’s 13 points in a wild (but not wildest…more on that thought later) 4th quarter. The game winner was a late touchdown pass that you could see the fans in Stillwater openly cursing when Jalen Saunders hauled it in denying the Cowboys a BCS trip and garnering a surprise Sugar Bowl bid for the Sooners. The last score was a needless pile on when the Cowboys tried a desperate multi-lateral move (not the last time we see that move, more on that later) that upset turned the Baylor-Texas game into a defacto Big 12 (minus 2) title game. But the Longhorns came into the game looking like that they wanted to be elsewhere and the Bears, left for finished and a lower tier bowl a week ago were boogieing their way to Tempe after shaking off a slow start and exploding for a 27-7 second half run en route to a 30-10 thrashing of the Horns earning their first outright conference title since 1980 and a nice coda to the final game in Floyd Casey Stadium
So we move to the 4 EST game the SEC title game between Auburn and Mizzou. I saw more than a few wanna be clowns openly predicting that the Tigers would win. In any case it was a wild shootout in the OK corral, both teams throwing haymaker after haymaker, with the score 45-42 Auburn going into the final quarter. I flatly stated first team to 60 would win. Auburn kept scoring while Mizzou came up flat. The final was 59-42 as War Eagle was flying high (Not the only time an Eagle would run wild, more on that, later) So after winning that game the SEC champs openly barked and bragged that they should be headed to Pasadena to play for a national title.
On to the late games, where Florida State looked almost bored with the mundane and ho-hum task of beating Duke in the ACC title game. The Blue Devils, were sporting their first 10 win season and were relishing the fact that they were underdog but playing in their backyard in Charlotte. The Blue Devils had played in fact on that very field just under a year ago in the Belk Bowl. The Seminoles started slow and though the Blue Devils hadn’t got on the board were at least keeping the Seminoles at bay and the first quarter was scoreless.
But let’s turn our collective attentions 573 miles to the northwest in Indy where #2 Ohio State was getting ready to face off against Michigan State. Many pundits felt that the Buckeyes had best put a strong show out to ward off talk of Auburn jumping over them in the BCS standings. The problem was the Spartans won the toss and grinded their way downfield to an opening field goal. Then as the Buckeye offense stalled in the first quarter and part of the 2nd, the Spartans took advantage of the Bucks notoriously weak secondary to gash them for a 72 yard score, a second touchdown pass from Connor Cook this time to Tony Lippett and Sparty was up 17-0 and the collective crowd of 66,000 were either in stunned (Buckeye fan) or delirious (Sparty) silence hoping that this was a dream. And keep in mind 533 miles to the south in the Georgia Dome. Auburn’s players and fans were watching this with baited breath, daring to dream that their BCS title wish would be granted.
But let’s return back to Charlotte where the Seminoles were starting to get annoyed with the Blue Devils fans chant of “Overrated” and “Just like basketball” Jameis Winston went to work and the Blue Devils suddenly looked way out of their league. The Noles treated the Devils like EPMD used to treat sucka MC’s slaying again and again. It was almost like listening to the Strong Island duo’s classic “So What Cha Saying.” Winston threw for three scores, ran for another and the Noles ran off 45 unanswered points in a frightening blitz. The Dukies got a pride saving touchdown with a minute left to spoil the shutout but the verdict was a no-doubt 45-7 tally. Winston is gonna get used to lifting hardware, as he took home MVP honors and the ACC title in what will be a month of accolades for the redshirt freshman.
Back to Indy where the Bucks picked themselves off the mat and cut the 17 point lead to seven by the half. Braxton Miller had a pair of touchdowns on brilliant runs to give the Buckeyes the lead with 24 straight points, they were now writing things and for a while looked as if they would pour it on. But the Spartans held fast, as a late 3rd quarter field goal steadied the Spartans and they would take the lead back early in the fourth with yet another pinpoint throw from Connor Cook, this time to Josiah Price. The Bucks simply put had run out of answers and were just about done, when Miller failed to convert on a short 4th down with 5 minutes left, you could almost hear the late Howard Cosell shouting. They’re getting ready to go!” When Jeremy Langford sprung loose on a dagger-like 26 yard touchdown run to run the lead back to ten, I posted on Facebook to that the Bucks had a fork in em as they were done. I enjoyed the vitriol that I got off that post and the “Where are your Bearcats at?” crackback blasts. The Bucks head to the Orange Bowl to face Clemson, while Sparty knew that they were headed to Pasadena to face Stanford win or lose but now head out as Big Ten Champs handing the Bucks their first loss in the Urban Meyer era 34-24.
So after the recaps what are we left with? Florida State remains #1, Auburn suddenly ascends to #2 with no arguing from anyone as SEC champs and a shitload of street cred. Bama goes to the traditional SEC venue in the Sugar Bowl where one will wonder how interested they will be and if their coach will get another case of wanderlust especially if the Texas job comes open. Ohio State goes to the Orange Bowl to face Clemson. Baylor will face American Champ Central Florida in that schools first and conference’s only BCS trip. Did the BCS get it right or did they get lucky once again. I grow tired of listening to those that used to rail against a playoff saying that this was the real playoff with the high stakes games every week. The BCS got lucky in that there is an unbeaten at the top and the best 1 loss team that is a conference champ…shaddap Bama! is facing them. Had this been next year the debate would have raged not on who was 1 & 2 but who the worthy 3 & 4 teams are. Bama and Michigan State are in those slots now but you could easily hear the carping for Baylor and Stanford. I’m of the thinking that if you don’t win your conference you don’t deserve to get a free pass to the title game or playoffs (again shaddap Bama!)
NFL: Snow games, wild finishes and so much more
I love watching football games in the elements, snow, rain, fog. You name it, if the weather plays a part. It’s all good to me. That’s why I was mildly disappointed when I turned the Colts-Bengals game on and all you saw was the snow banked around the field. Hoodwood got 5 inches of snow and I was hoping hard for a snowy game but those games were further east. The Dolphins-Steelers, Lions-Eagles, Chiefs-Redskins and Vikings-Ravens games were all played in raucously wild conditions and with the exception of the Chiefs getting a much needed 45-10 walkover win on the Redskins who I think have quit on Mike Shanahan and he on the team all were thrilling games . Shady McCoy broke an Eagles rushing record that was set in 1949…that was when the NFL had 12 teams the US had 48 states and Jim Brown was starting high school…he had 217 yards on a snowy Lincoln Financial Field and the Eagles continue to look at lot better than earlier thought with a 28 point 4th quarter to steamroll the Lions 34-20. The box score looked like a junior high one as both teams didn’t make a single extra point kick, heck David Akers only attempted one and that got blocked
And even wilder game was just a piece down on 95, where the Vikings and Ravens slogged through a wintry mess in M&T Bank Stadium, it was a ho-hum 7-6 game into the 4th when things started getting interesting. First an acrobatic catch by Jerome Simpson to give the Vikes the lead and the Vikes were trying desperately to hang on for the upset win, but the Ravens took the lead back on a Dennis Pitta TD catch with 2:05 left, here’s where it gets crazy the Vikes surge back ahead with 41 run by Toby Gerhart in the game only because AP had left due to an injury. Me, I’m watching the game going nuts thinking it was checkmate but when the Vikes tried to pooch kick the ensuing kickoff Jacoby Jones foiled that plan by fielding the short kick on the dead run and barreling 77 yards for another go-ahead score. I slumped back in the recliner. It just wasn’t fair! I said as much on a Facebook post. But here come the Vikings back again, Cordarrelle Patterson catches a short pass, and dodges seemingly Raven defender and scoots 79 yards for what looked to be a backbreaking touchdown with :45 left. I ran screaming through the Hoodwood hideout in ecstasy, I thought this would be checkmate and the Vikes would have the win…but oh no. Joe Flacco had the last word taking the Ravens nearly the length in 41 seconds, helped by a couple questionable pass interference calls, one of which negated an interception that would have iced the game. Flacco found rookie Marlon Brown in the back of the end zone and that catch I thought was questionable because I didn’t think he had got both feet down. But the refs ruled it good and the Ravens pulled out a miracle 29-26 win that keeps them in the #6 position for the 2nd AFC Wild Card. There were an NFL record six lead changes in this game and five of those in the last 2:05, I was spent on the floor at games end, wishing that last lead change hadn’t happened.
But the nuttiest finish was in Pittsburgh where they were getting just as much snow and the Dolphins race out to a ten point lead, saw the Steelers rally to take the lead after a Troy Polamalu pick six. The teams traded scores until a Caleb Sturgis field goal put the Fins up six. The Steelers then on a 4th and forever with time running out did a six person lateral. It was Roethlisberger to Emmanuel Sanders who lateraled it to Jerricho Cotchery who handed it to LeVeon Bell who chucked to offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert who tossed back to Roethlisberger who threw a questionable “lateral” to Antonio Brown…who was in the clear…oh snap! Was this going to be the pro version of “the play”? There was no band on the field but Heinz Field was going nuts. It was a miracle! But hold the phone. The ref was pointing at the 12 yard line. Brown had stepped out of bounds, his footprint clear as a bell in the snow. That was the ball game and the Dolphins were grateful to escape the Steel City playoff hopes still very much alive with a 34-28 win. Wow. I did all my talking about football. To that end
To three managers who know how to win and are going to Cooperstown. The baseball hall of fame announced that Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa were all selected in the expansion era committee voting. All three managers have over 2300 wins and in an interesting quirk are 3-4-5 in wins (LaRussa, Cox, Torre respectively) until they were selected were the only managers in the top 11 in wins that were not in the hall of fame. They were elected unanimously which is nice but no player has ever made it in the as a first ballot unanimous selection. Tom Seaver made it in with 98% of the vote. I still would like to know the 5 chowderheads that left him off the ballot or the 6 that didn’t think Nolan Ryan or the 8 that didn’t think Cal Ripken Jr. were worthy. The nine that left Hank Aaron off their ballots are the ones that I thought should have their heads examined. But in any case dap to three worthy skippers.
To the New York Knicks who after breaking an eight game losing skid with back to back smashings of the Nets in Brooklyn and the Magic at home. Broke out those ugly as sin orange alt unis. It hurt them more than the woeful Celtics who thrashed them 114-73 The Knicks are now 0-6 wearing those monstrosities. They should give those to the charity that supplies clothes to the kids in 3rd world countries, you know the ones that say Oakland A’s 1990 World Series Champs, UK undefeated season, Pats 2007 perfection or Texas Rangers 2010 or 2011 World Series Champs…those seasons never happened and kids have the t-shirts from the would be champions.
A couple more things
Robinson Cano...$240 million to go to Seattle...are they out of their minds?
No Tailgating at the Super Bowl...congratulations Herr Goodell you've made the game totally corporate.
Jameis Winston will win the Heisman and still have that cloud over his head, no matter if he was cleared of the sexual assault charges
Sheriff Roy Halladay calls it a career, a quiet competitor goes out his way
Mike Shanahan is finding out that Dan Snyder is running things in DC and ruining the Redskins.
My Beloved Bearcats lost to Louisville in the cold rain in Cincy last Thursday and that really sucks. But they will beat North Carolina in the Belk Bowl on the 28th...believe that!
Thats the view from the Hoodwood, until next post fellow sports fans!
Welcome to the tantrums, where Uncle B.O.B. was very happy to see some actual cool sports performances on the field, and almost no drama off it. Let’s keep this trend up.
Just a sports thought. Damn if this weekend was not a phenomenal sports weekend. Great CFB games and all, but how far has the NFL fallen when we are pleasantly surprised by the product they put out this weekend? Let’s be serious for a moment, when you looked at this past weekend schedule, you weren’t exactly enthused were you? Yeah, there was SEA/SF and CAR/NO, but really was there anything genuinely compelling?
NFL. I love Football, and I’m disgusted by what it’s becoming. Case in point – nobody is going to convince me that what is going on with the Houston Texans is nothing more than players absolutely quitting on the team. A team with that talent losing 11 games in a row? Something very deep is going on down there. Oh, and congratulations Texan players, you got your coach fired.
Speaking of quitting – hello Washington Deadskins. Good Lord, could you imagine the rage coming out of our friend 3rd Stone from the Sun?
Ten NFL thoughts:
Hey Richard Sherman: You mad bro? Seattle got exposed yesterday in SF. Zebras finally took away their excessive physicality on D.
Hey 49ers: GROW UP!!! Play your game and stop whining to the Zebras.
Vikings/Ravens game was a classic. I don’t know why, but I’m on the Vikings bandwagon.
Don’t get me started on the Cleveland/New England game. Absolute BULLSHIT!
That Gronkowski injury was absolutely brutal. But because it was New England, I guarantee that all of a sudden the NFL will become "interested" in low hits.
Are we really looking at a Miami Dolphin team that is 7-6 & in the fight for a six-seed in the AFC?
Philly/Detroit game was amazing.
I absolutely love the improvement of the Arizona Cardinals. Who knew?
Just because Denver blew up Tennessee, it doesn’t mean the Peyton questions aren’t still relevant.
Was just thinking, Tampa is 4-9 right? A few breaks go their way in September and we’re looking at 7-6, add in blowing that lead in Seattle, and they could have been 8-5. A better team than we all think?
NBA. Hey Spike Lee, how you doing?
Amazing how a few years changes things. Just a few years ago, Carmelo Anthony engineered/forced a trade to the New York Knicks. The Knicks mortgaged everything just to get him and now look. Now all of a sudden Knick fans want to trade him. OK Knick fans, what exactly do you think you are going to get for a superstar with baggage who only wants to play in NYC at a high price? I would be shocked to see anybody fool enough to pull the trigger and grab Anthony.
Wow, what happened to the Knicks Sunday? Getting blown out by 41 is bad enough, but to the Celtics?
I really wish I could take the NBA more seriously as a legitimate professional basketball league because what’s going on in San Antonio, Portland, and Indiana is certainly worthy of mention. Teams playing as a team and dominating.
Toronto and Sacramento trading seven players total (Rudy Gay, Acy, and Gray to SAC for Salmons, Vasquez, Patrick Patterson, and Chuck Hayes) is good for both teams, but does nothing in the short-term.
MLB. DO NOT be surprised if at some point within the next ten years, Robinson Cano is wearing Yankee pinstripes again.
How cool would it be if A-Fraud wins his battle and the Yankees say “OK” then sit him.
Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa, and Bobby Cox going into the HOF? Hell yeah, right thing to do.
Lastly, there will come a time very shortly where I will have to talk about the debacle regarding the Oakland A's ownership, location, and stadium issues. It's getting ugly folks. It'll probably be some filler come January, but this issue could be huge and Bud Selig is an effing liar.
Make no mistake – the officiating in the Browns/Patriots tilt was atrocious. How many times during the course of a game do coaches issue 3 challenges and have them all upheld? That’s not to mention the calls that cannot be challenged. It turns out the average coach in 2011 issued about 6 challenges all year – put another way that’s about one challenge every 2.5 games. That season, the success rate was 51%. Coach Chud and Coach Belichick issued three and were successful on all three, Chud throwing 2 flags. Interestingly enough, Coach Bill was written up on NBC Sports earlier in the week asking why coaches shouldn’t be allowed to challenge everything. I like that idea, by the way.
What would be interesting would be to see challenges by officiating team – my theory is that the number of challenges over a season, and furthermore successful challenges, would give some indication of how well an officiating team handles itself. To be sure, the NFL evaluates the officials but we the fans never see those evaluations, so we’re left with our own analysis with the NFL sponsored talking heads to prop up the official calls.
I’d love to see the official evaluation of the officiating in the last minute or so of the Browns/Pats game. Jordan Poyer gets called for unnecessary roughness on the touchdown pass to Julian Edelman. Somewhat questionable, even to this Patriots loyalist. Then, the officials got the penalty wrong, quickly correcting themselves to imposing 15 yards on the kickoff. Now what makes that call important was that it was clear the Pats would on-side kick, and they would be doing it from the 50 instead of the 35.
When the Pats remarkably collected up the kick, on the second play (:30 seconds or so showing on the clock) Brady’s pass to Josh Boyce in the endzone gets batted away…on what was called Pass Interference. This was a far more suspect call for sure.
For sure, there was a lot of opportunity for the Browns to win this game – even with the suspect calls. You HAVE to recover the onside kick. Have to. The Pats moved the ball some 80 yards over the course of the last 2 minutes of the game and scored two touchdowns. You HAVE to stop that. But like most things in life, mistakes compound each other, and in the end that compounding effect lost the game for the Brownies. The officials questionable calls certainly didn’t help, but in the end analysis it was adversity to be overcome. The PI was the icing on the cake, but take care of what you have to take care of and we don’t get to PI. I wonder if that call was a bit of a gift – had that call not been made, Brady would have taken more time off the clock and may have scored anyway. At least Campbell got one last bite of the apple to get to FG territory – and he almost did.
A LOT of things had to happen in the Pats favor – and it worked out that way. The Pats had to execute, and they did. The Browns had to stop the execution, and they didn’t. The Brownies got no favors for sure, but they didn’t do what they had to.
Now this is a Patriots team I can figure out. They sit at 10-3. They could easily be 12-1. They could easily be 8-5. Think about how the Denver game ended – ball bounces off a Denver player and the Pats recover…and take the FG. What’s the likelihood Manning doesn’t move that ball 50 yards for a FG attempt?
Their last game with the Jets ended when they were called for a penalty that hadn’t been called all year, and hasn’t been made since. With another bite of the apple, Jets win. As it turns out, it was the same ref for both the Browns and Jets games. Looks like both teams have been "Bogered" this season. They could’ve easily lost to the Texans…and the Browns.
They could easily have lost to the Bills in the first game of the season. It’s an interesting team to watch, because they’re good but not dominant. You just don’t know what team is going to show up. Of their 10 wins, they’ve beaten the snot out of the Bucs and the Steelers; beat the Dolphins convincingly and the Falcons by 7. The rest are all victories of 3 points or less.
Other notes: We put up our Christmas tree this weekend. It’s one of the few places, the Vikings and Packers live in harmony. I’m actually kind of embarrassed about the number of sports ornaments on the tree. All 4 Boston teams. Many Patriots and Red Sox. Complete homer tree. The only thing that keeps it out of the trailer park is that they’re reasonably high quality, expensive ones. But lets face it, the upper crust don’t have sports ornaments on their tree.
The Dog: He’s hanging in there, but he took a bad turn this weekend. He’s not doing well. It’s been such a roller coaster for us: seems to be doing better, seems to be failing. Up. Down. It’s so hard to know what to do with our little guy, so we’re just doing our best to enjoy his company .
Be well. Enjoy your loved ones. And my the best team win.
So Monday is here again...Wow, that went fast...Before I get into all the College Football madness, and my own personal madness, I have to talk about the Cleveland Browns game in New England...I was busy all day Sunday, but I kept checking into the game...Each time I was shocked to see the Browns in the lead...The lead was never too big...That will happen when you settle for field goals instead of punching it into the end zone...
Late in the 4th quarter the Browns were still up, but Tom Brady gets the ball back with over two minutes left...TD, Onside Kick, Bad Pass Interference Call, TD, Game Over...Patriots win...The Browns snatch defeat from the Jaws of victory...BRUTAL!
I was reminded of why I gave up my Browns Fan Card...Games like this...Like most of the games they've played this year...
My numerous Ohio State fans had a rough go at it this weekend, and Michigan State's defense handled Braxton Miller and company...And the MSU offense seemed to surprise the hapless Buckeyes defense...The Spartans took down the #2 Buckeyes 34-24, and every Auburn player, coach and fan rejoiced...And all of the SEC had another chance to laugh at Ohio State...
Earlier in the Day Auburn won the SEC title in a no defense allowed battle with Missouri, winning 59-42...Florida State rolled Duke 45-7 in the ACC title game...So it's set...#1 FSU will take on Auburn in the National Championship Game...So how did the other bowls shake out?
I was hoping they would have matched Urban Meyer and Nick Saban's egos in a battle...But instead Saban's Tide will face Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl...Ohio State will take on Clemson in the Orange Bowl...Or the battle of two highly touted teams that fell on their faces!
The Fiesta Bowl will be Baylor and UCF...Oklahoma State and Missouri will play the Cotton Bowl...And in what could be the most fun game to watch, the Rose Bowl, Stanford will face Michigan State...Two hard-nosed teams that like to pound the ball and play defense...Defense! What's that!?! A rarity these days!
My Irish will play Dec. 28th against Rutgers, in the Pinstripe Bow at Yankee Stadium...The Irish better win! That's all I have on that.
As for my life this weekend...Friday night I took the kids skating...My wife and I were suppose to go out to a Christmas party, but our sitter got seriously sick, and our evening out was screwed...
Saturday we took the kids with friends to lunch with Santa...The saw the fat man...Asked him for a specific thing or two...(already have them...Santa already has his shopping done!) Here's Little Beeze thinking hard about exactly what he wants...
Afterwards we took the kids for ice cream...Then back to our friends home...My buddy and I ditched the kids and ladies for a couple hours, grabbed a couple beers, a burger, and watched some football...Lunch with Santa wasn't that good, or filling...
Sunday was work...Lots of work...We did a big switch in the Beeze house...We moved the girls upstairs to our room...and moved us down to their room...Fuck I forgot how heavy that King size bed was...And those sweet bunk beds I put together months ago...I had to take them apart to get them through the doorways, and up the stairs...It was ton of work, cleaning, lifting...Good exercise too...Which will go well with our change in diet...We've gone with organic meat, fruits, and veggies...And we've been juicing in place of one meal a day...We've both felt better and lost some weight in just a week since we got the juicer...
The weekend went fast, and somehow felt long...
Now for this week's Christmas song...It's more of a anti-Christmas song, but I like it...Daniel Mustard's "Since Santa Ain't Coming"