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Musings From The Hoodwood 10-21
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: College Football

Yes Irish fans...this is a penalty!

 

Greetings from the Hoodwood, where fall keeps creeping in ever so slowly and the natives are still not ready for it

College Football: The really big game that lived up to the hype.

When I saw that Notre Dame and Florida State were slated to play one another, I hoped that both teams would be undefeated because I knew that the hype would be over the top. I knew that Notre Dame would play up the poor pitiful underdog role to the hilt. I knew the lisping criminal Lou Holtz would wax poetic about how he knew that the Irish would somehow pull a miracle victory out. The added fuel of the increasingly controversial Jameis Winston for Florida State made this an intoxicating mix. Add the primetime stage of the nationally televised forum and you had an intoxicating mix. Every now and then you have a game that lives up to the hype, Notre Dame-Florida State in 1993 was a prime example, as was Ohio State-Michigan in 2006. When you have two teams of the first rank, two legendary programs that play the highest caliber of the sport. In any case, better than 82,000 fans jammed into Doak Campbell Stadium for the biggest regular season game in years. The game lived up to the hype. Irish QB Everett Golson and Winston played at a top notch level. Both defenses made key plays and the offenses seemed to play at a championship level. A back and forth game went down to the last minutes of the game where the Noles took a 31-27 lead on a Karlos Williams run. But the Irish came charging back down the field and converted two fourth downs in the drive, the Irish got to the Noles 2 and Golson threw a quick out to Korey Robinson (son of basketball hall of famer David) in the end zone and the Irish seemed to have pulled out an improbable, yet thrilling win. But not so fast there, there was late flag. THe Irish were flagged for offensive pass interference and call so controversial that Irish coach Brian Kelly was irate and was opening cursing at the referees. The call of course stood and backed to the 18 yard line, a desperate pass was picked off and the Noles survived. But the whining by the Irish and their fans continued to beef that they were robbed. I can almost guarantee that had that call would not have been made in South Bend. Not if the refs had valued their lives. But the call was correct and the Noles survived and remain unbeaten. But unlike other years one loss might not doom the Irish to bowl irreavency. THe Irish lost a close game on the road, that might get them more props than the victorious Noles who now face more and more questions about the tight win and the validity of their top five ranking. I myself likened the game to the ’71 Ali-Frazier fight, there was no real loser Both foes were made better by the game.

Phat Dap

Have you ever seen a kicker return his own kick for a touchdown?

William Will of Dayton makes it happen, thats being Johnny on the Spot.

 

Head Slap

To one of my own sadly University of Cincinnati backup QB Jared Evans who was arrested for assault only a few hours after the football team returned from a 41-3 thrashing of SMU. Who gets back from another city and gets into a fight. Evans shamed the university and the football team in a way that a loss never could. Shame on you.

Ill post more later today.

Week 8 College Football Rankings 2014
Category: NCAA
Tags: ALABAMA ARIZONA AZ ST. AUBURN CLEMSON CO ST. DUKE FL ST. GEORGIA KS ST. KENTUCKY LSU MISS ST. NOTRE DAME


This penalty took the potential winning points off the board for the Irish.

Before I begin, I hope you'll excuse me for mentioning that my blog has had a really good day in views.  I did a post about the LSU/Ole Miss rivalry about four years ago, and it's gotten about 1000 views in the last week, most of them today.

Rank/team/previous
1 Florida St. 1
2 Ole Miss 3
3 Miss. St. 2
4 Alabama 7
5 Auburn 4
6 Oregon 9
7 Marshall 10
8 Notre Dame 5
9 Georgia 11
10 Arizona 8
11 Minnesota 15
12 UCLA 18
13 Mich. St. 13
14 TCU 19
15 Nebraska 17
16 LSU 20
17 Colo. St. 21
18 Ohio St. –
K State
19 Kansas St. –
20 Baylor 6
21 USC 16
22 Oklahoma 12
23 Clemson –
24 Arizona St. –
25 Duke 23

Full computer rankings 1-128 (as I will explain, these are not in complete agreement with the top 25 given above)

Out of rankings: (14) Ga. Tech, (22) Kentucky, (24) Okie St., (25) TX A&M

I’ve updated the LSU/Kentucky rivalry blog if you haven’t seen it. I’ve been adding basic information to these and mentioning more in-depth observations in other blogs. Games that aren’t close will get less mention in the narrative. I also had a bit of fun at TigerDroppings.

Headache at the Top

I literally gave myself a headache thinking about what to do and the future possibilities.

I know I indicated that last week might be the last time I would alter the order of the first few teams for my rankings here, but unforeseen circumstances arose to change that. Tennessee is not a good team, but Ole Miss gained enough points last week to pass up Mississippi St. I was thinking Florida St. or Notre Dame (had they won) would be more likely challengers for #1, so I just didn’t think about this possibility.

I said last week I don’t think Kentucky is a good enough team to beat Mississippi St. and in light of yesterday’s game, I even more strongly don’t think they are. I particularly don’t think the Bulldogs would lose such a game after a bye week. Florida St. has a bye next week, so there would have been less reason to keep Florida St. in the top spot had Mississippi St. topped my computer rankings. Also, if Florida St. had lost and I had to make a change anyway, that would have made it even easier.

I’m not expecting LSU to beat Ole Miss, but I think there is a sufficiently large enough chance of a loss to put off making Ole Miss #1 until next week. The flip side is I think that’s the kind of challenge that can substantiate a #1 ranking. I simply don’t think the Rebels have had that kind of challenge yet. Alabama is a better team than LSU right now, possibly by a considerable margin, but home field can make a big difference. (Ole Miss beat Alabama in Oxford if you don’t follow what I’m saying.)

LSU had a better record and seemed to be the better team on paper when they went on the road to play Ole Miss last season. Sometimes rivalry games like this go the other way than people would expect. A possibly more fitting example: 2008 is arguably the worst LSU season since 1999, and the Tigers took Alabama, who was undefeated and ranked #1, to overtime when they played the Tide at home.

Right now, Ole Miss has only played two SEC opponents that do not reside in the state of Tennessee, and as I mentioned, one of them was at home. The Rebels have not won a true road game outside of the SEC (and I they had a degree of home-field advantage against Boise St. in Atlanta). The only reason they’re #1 in my system right now is they’ve had one fewer bye week than their in-state rivals. Also, Alabama is the only team I have in the top 25 right now that they beat. That’s not enough for me.

Why not make Mississippi St. #1 anyway? For one thing, I’m having to depart from the computer rankings anyway. The only reason to move Florida St. down would have been to just take all subjectivity and deference out of it. Why not keep a team who just beat another unbeaten team there for now? Florida St. also has by far the longest unbeaten streak at the moment.

Another reason is I don’t like to make a change one week after another change without both teams losing. If Ole Miss does win next week, then it would have been a new #1 three weeks in a row. That’s the kind of thing that I’m trying to avoid. Also, Florida St. was not a new #1 for this season (and certainly not forever). That’s a higher standard for me, so waiting until they reclaim #1 in the computers seems reasonable.

Mississippi St. will not have a big-points week until November 15 at the soonest (Alabama), so it’s possible someone else would be #1 if Ole Miss loses before that week anyway.

Anyway, expect #1 next week to be from Mississippi (unless both Mississippi St. and Ole Miss lose), and expect that team to also be #1 here. I think it will be good to fully endorse my computer ratings at the same time that the playoff committee has to reveal their opinion for the first time. Outside of the top 3, the rest of the top 25 is completely unaltered from the order of highest points in my computer ratings.

The Rest of the Top 25

Marshall keeps moving up, but keep in mind that unlike in the polls, they can easily get passed up as the season goes on even if they stay undefeated. The problem is when teams have a chance to pass them up, those teams tend to lose (or in the case of Arizona they have bye weeks).

It may understandably seem a bit strange that TCU is behind Minnesota. The Horned Frogs have had two bye weeks, which doesn’t help. Also, for obvious reasons, Baylor is a more harmful loss to TCU than TCU is a harmful loss to Minnesota.

You might not take Colorado St. seriously, but for some reason the polls take USC seriously despite their loss to Boston College. Colorado St. beat Boston College and has only lost one game, to Boise St. (who is just outside of the top 25).

I don’t understand why the polls love Oklahoma so much. Any other team that just had its second loss of the season (with no impressive wins) would be lucky to be in the top 25 at all. I would understand doing that for Alabama maybe, but not for a team that hasn’t won a national championship in 14 years.

Kansas St., the second team to beat the Sooners, makes its first appearance in my top 25 since the end of the 2012 season.

Virginia isn’t a bad team, so it might be nice if Duke got more credit for beating them, but the Cavaliers’ record needs to improve for the win to count for more.

Earlier rankings:
Preseason
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7

Q-o-t-D 10/20/14 Tags: MLB World Series

Who do you think will win the World Series?

 

 

Race
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: race marshawn lynch keene state ferguson

My boy’s school got to sing the National Anthem for opening night of our local AHL team’s season this weekend.  What a thrill for him, being out on the ice for introductions and just experiencing what it is like to be out “on stage.”  The place was pretty well packed, and I was impressed by the turnout…until I realized that because it was opening night, they had all kinds of schools doing different activities, and junior players doing a salute to the city and what not…and every one of them had to pay admission to the game…and of course mom and dad had to pay to see junior out there on the ice. 

So we went with some friends and in the course of the evening my buddy told me they had been in Keene, New Hampshire earlier in the day for the pumpkin fest.  As they were leaving, they met several police cruisers and fire apparatus heading the opposite way.  It turned out there was a riot of some kind on or near the Keene State College campus

4000 college students basically ran amok for no apparent reason.  The police came in an lowered the boom.  Tear gas.  The whole 9-yards.  Somehow, this has become a racial incident with Twitter and some left leaning organizations calling out the media for downplaying the riots as compared with the coverage given to the riots in Ferguson over the summer.  “White People Riot For No Reason at Pumpkin Festival, Called ‘Unruly’ and ‘Rowdy’”   

I’m really offended by this.  Really.  Look, the Ferguson protests and riots were instigated.  They occurred over the course of a week and frankly spun out of control because the local authorities had no understanding of how to handle the situation.  People were angry, and angry people act violently.  Keene was a bunch of drunk college students behaving badly over the course of a few hours, and it was quelled because the police actually seemed to know what they were doing.  Oh, and the the Boston Globe article I linked to was found quite by random – I don’t see anything in there downplaying the bad behavior.  I see “out of control” and “chaos” and “crazy.”  I’m offended by this particular kind of feigned outrage because it’s so pernicious – it’s specifically designed to create division and to push an agenda. 

In a society where we still remain conflicted about race,  this faux outrage doesn’t seek answers – it’s designed to create more division.

The issue here is obvious.  Who can and can’t use the N word?  Is it offensive or not?  Is a derivation of it okay?  It’s not helpful to have an “in-group” and an “out-group” lexicon here.  I’ve argued in the past that I don’t like the word and do not use it – ever – but I know younger folks seem to use it all the time, and as such maybe in a generation or so the word will have lost it’s meaning.  Is Lynch not being called out or fined because it’s an acceptable use of the word or because he’s a member of the “in-group” so he can use it?  Shouldn’t this be the subject of a similar article decrying coverage of Keene as racist? 

I’m sad because I truly believed my generation would be the one to bridge the gap in race relations and to some extent I think we’ve done an admirable job, but when an author or organization can actually make an argument that the response and coverage of the Keene pumpkin riots demonstrate a racial bias and not have his/their intellectual integrity challenged it’s clear to me there is so much work to be done.

We need more productive conversation in this country about race, not these unhelpful snippets and sanctimonious blather.   If you’ve never had a conversation about race with someone of another race, you’ve never had a conversation about it.  We root and cheer on multi-racial teams: it turns out that whomever is wearing the jersey is the best chance for the team to succeed.  Wouldn’t it be cool if we could translate the same off the field?   Do yourself a favor – have that conversation. 

 

 

Monday Madness - 10/20/14
Category: FEATURED

We’ve all gone the past few years dealing with all of the background noise of sports and yearned for hope, and I got to thinking of the first lines of the song “Hello World” by Lady Antebellum:

Traffic crawls, cell phone calls

Talk radio screams at me

MLB Playoffs.    KC and SF gave me pause to think of the closing lines of the very same song, and I realized why we come together – why we love sport so freaking much (I changed the word "world" to "sports"):

All the empty disappears…I remember why I'm here

Just surrender and believe…I fall down on my knees

Oh hello sports…Hello sports…Hello sports

 

Hello sports…How've you been?

Good to see you, my old friend

Sometimes I feel cold as steel…Broken like I'm never gonna heal

I see a light, a little hope

In a little baseball…Hello sports

None of us here have a direct connection to Kansas City that I’m aware of, but I’ll be damned if this KC team in this city in a sport thought changed forever for the worse hasn’t brought a nations worth of Baseball fans together.

World Series on the Field.   SF has to hit the KC starters early and often, and then convert by getting their RISP across the plate, something they've struggled over since June.  If they can’t do that, forget about it, especially late when KC has that bully up and running.  The fact that KC plays that amazing defense makes it even tougher on SF, especially in KC.  It’s gonna take another Pablo Sandoval World Series explosion to keep this close, and he’s gonna need help from Pence, Belt, and Morse.

As for KC, can they stay hot?  Can they take advantage of their speed and steal on Buster Posey? 

NFL – 10 questions/thoughts.  This was not a week for the ages.  Pretty boring actually, though sometimes you just gotta tip your hat and say that the team you root against was the better team.  Denver classified as that last night, so good job Denver.

1.  New England/New York.   I’m calling shenanigans on this one.  How does NYC stay that close to New England?  And now NYC is gonna be the new home for the biggest diva of all – Percy Harvin.  Good luck with that Rex.  Wonder how long it’s gonna take for the world’s biggest Migraine sufferer to start giving Rex one while he’s playing Locker Room Lawyer and Bouncer?

2.  San Francisco/Denver.   Thanks to the football gods that SF has the bye week coming up - they need to get healthy and come together as a team!

3.  Miami/Chicago.  All of a sudden Miami has an offense?  Who knew?   Chicago is 0-3 at home and now fighting with each other post-game in the Locker Room?  U-G-L-Y, Chi-town got no alibi it’s UGLY.

4.  Kansas City/San Diego.  The one game that should have got press and didn’t.  Does anybody know what happened in this game?

5.  New York/Dallas.  One thing Tom Coughlin doesn’t suffer well is players who fumble.  #84, consider yourself officially in Coughlin’s dog house.   Meanwhile, DeMarco Murray is making a serious case to be considered NFL MVP.  He won’t get it of course, but he’s a worthy contender.

6.  Minnesota/Buffalo.  If I’m the NFLPA, I’m taking a hard look at how many injuries came out of this game.   Did we just witness the birth of the next big WR in Sammy Watkins?

7.  Cincinnati/Indy and Atlanta/Baltimore?  Yawn.

8.  Cleveland/Jacksonville.  Really Cleveland?     

9.  Carolina/Green Bay.  Props to Green Bay, but I’m not getting Carolina at all.  Can somebody please explain that Kuechly ejection to me because I sure don’t get it.

10.  Seattle/St. Louis.  I think it’s safe to say that most of The Gab enjoyed the outcome of this one.  I’m thinking Pete Carroll is going to be spending quality time with his Special Teams Coach.  As for St. Louis, they got away with it this week, but somebody needs to have a chat w/that Defensive Coordinator because they shouldn’t be playing that soft.

NFL Trade thoughts.  If I’m Minnesota, I’m looking towards the future, and while it may not be possible or even realistic, if I’m Minny’s GM, I’m calling Arizona to see what it would take to get Larry Fitzgerald, or hell, even this off-season trying to get C. J. Spiller.

CFB – 10 thoughts.   I got stuck in a place where I had to listen to ESPiN Radio during Saturday and I actually heard Danny Kanell (Former FSU QB) try to sell parity in CFB – uh yeah, because nothing says PARITY like four SEC West teams in the National Top Five.  Really Danny?  Effing ESPiN…

He then tried to sell that Blow-hio State deserves to be in the mix for the playoffs.  Really Danny?  Remember Virginia Tech?  If your boy Herbstreit is gonna bust Baylor for a crappy schedule, how do you justify Blow-hio State who lost to Virginia Tech, and whose only big game is Sparty?

1.  My four playoff teams right now:   Florida State, Notre Dame/Arizona State winner, Ole Miss, Mississippi State/Alabama winner.  To me, this is simple – if the Domers win out, they clinch one of the spots, though Alabama got a HUGE boost today when West Virginia (A previous Alabama opponent) beat Baylor while the Tide rolled and destroyed TAMU.     

2.  SEC:   The East is Georgia’s to lose and they will be waiting for a beatup SEC West Champ in the SEC Championship Game.  If they pull the upset in December, all of a sudden we may see a Bulldog in the Playoffs, but not the one many are expecting/hoping for…

3.  PAC 12:  Arizona State is 5-1, and though their loss to UCLA is inexcusable, I think they could end up having a playoff argument if they win out, especially if they can beat Utah and Notre Dame, at home then @ Arizona and take the PAC 12 Championship Game?

4.  ACC:   Duke seems to be in the drivers seat to face Florida State in the ACC Championship Game BC is a huge surprise giving Clemson a game at home  - nice job Eagles.  Meanwhile, North Carolina waited two weeks to long to show their potential.    

5.  Big 12:  Kansas State has one loss – to Auburn (20-14) and still has games against OK State, @ TCU, @ a suddenly better West Virginia, and @ Baylor.  Meanwhile, TCU and Baylor have got to be kicking themselves right about now, and if I’m Oklahoma fan, I gotta wonder what is it that’s holding this supposedly great program back.  West Virginia beat Baylor?  OK, before anybody makes any judgments on this game, it really wasn’t a game so much as it was a referee fest. 

6.  MWC:  I get ridiculed at times for my belief in the MWC, and that’s fair, but I also see a conference that has 6-1 Colorado State, 5-2 Boise State, a rapidly improving Nevada team, and a Utah State team that many big power schools wouldn’t want none of.    Add in Air Force, a competitive San Diego State and San Jose State, along with BYU as a pseudo affiliate, and I think this is a deep conference.   Too bad they’ll never get a fair shake to see what they can do.

7.  Big 10:  Sparty and Blow-hio State won, Yawn – their matchup is still three weeks away. 

8.  Big 10 #2:  But there were two damn good games with Maryland beating Iowa and Minnesota coming back from the brink and getting to 6-1 by beating Purdue.  .`

9.  Other non-Power Conferences:   Believe it or not folks, there were actually two ranked non-power conference teams:  East Carolina and Marshall.

10.  Next Week:  Ole Miss/LSU, USC/Utah (Will Devonte Booker run wild on Trojan man?) are about the only real interesting matchups.  And while it isn’t in the “Power Five”, I’ll take the BYU/Boise State and San Jose State/Navy games.      

West Hills Update.    The boys got their first test this week and the defense struggled, but West Hills scored with :07 left in the game to take a 48-43 win over Reedley and remain undefeated for the first time in forever. 

Good Story #1:   You want to talk about redemption?  Let’s talk about #31, St. Louis Rams.  Goes from Football star, to CFB player at Utah State, to trouble of the judicial variety, to kicked off team, to moving back in w/mom, to getting job as Janitor at Edward James Dome, back to Utah State, then drafted by…you guessed it, Jeff Fisher and the St. Louis Rams.   Redemption indeed, and I’m glad to see he hasn’t forgotten his roots.

Good Story #2:   The Kansas City Royals.  Seriously, nothing else need be said.  

Good Story #3.  MLB got wind of a little six year old boy who is a KC fan and wanted to go to a World Series game in the worst way.  Well, Joe Torre stepped up and is getting little Noah Wilson into a game as his guest.  MLB and Joe Torre - class act!  

Good Story #4:  It appears that we are going to be spared a Justin Bieber/Eminem collaboration because ole Marshall Mathers decided he didn’t want nothing to do with that gangsta wannabe.

Sick Thought.  What if Bieber and Miley Cyrus hooked up and had a kid?  That poor spawn of Satan wouldn’t have a chance.

Douchebag of the Week (DBOW).   Washington, DC.  So let me get this straight:  Ebola in America is Republicans fault based on sequestration that was agreed to by BOTH parties, and DC referring to anybody trying to deal with the Ebola problem in Africa as RACISTS.  You read that right – RACISTS. 

Folks, if you vote for any incumbent regardless of party – YOU are the problem.    

DBOW Honorable Mentions?  City of Houston demanding transcripts of five preachers preaching, Johnny Twitter tweeting about the TAMU beatdown, the NBA with Cleveland 24/7, and the Swaggy P/Snoop Dogg Beef all were all dishonorable mentions.   

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