Daily Blog 2.0
Buzz from the Bleachers 1-21-15
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

Welcome to Wednesday, Gabbers. This week is a huge week for my wife and I as we’re closing on our house today. We’ll be closing in the morning and painting in the afternoon. We’re hoping to get everything painted so we can start refinishing some floors this weekend. We’ve got a good amount of work to do, but it’s going to be worth it.  We’ll have pics as time goes on and more gets done.

I am also excited to see what might sprout when the season changes. From what I can see, we have 5 arborvitaes, a rose bush, a hydrangea, and an impressive marigold bush. I know marigolds are perennials, but I’m hoping some of the seed got into the ground. I also say bush, because we had an impressive bush sprout up from marigold seed this spring. I have some plans for the garden and yard, but this year is just a better time to wait and see what sprouts.

Speaking of springtime, we are inching closer to spring training each day. Hopes are high again and every fan base is optimistic. Arizona and Houston fans have a huge celebration on their hands too. Everyone knew two weeks ago that the Astros had their first hall of famer in Craig Biggio. It was just announced last week, however, that Randy Johnson will be enshrined as a Diamondback.

Unlike Biggio, Johnson’s career has spanned multiple teams: Montreal, Seattle, Arizona, New York, and San Francisco. Johnson started in Montreal, but became a breakout phenom in Seattle. It was in Arizona, however, that Johnson performed some of his most impressive feats. Johnson would win four Cy Young awards and one World Series. At age 40, he hurled a perfect game. Johnson also had his best statistical seasons in Arizona: 118-62 with a 2.83 ERA.

Johnson’s most legendary pitching feat (and greatest video clip) also took place in Tucson, though during the pre-season. It was  in the seventh inning that a dove made the mistake of flying in front of home plate. Johnson’s fastball wiped the bird from existence. While the incident put people in awe of the Big Unit, Johnson was not at all pleased.

The decision of what logo to wear on the HOF bust is ultimately that of the inductee, but the Hall of Fame has staff members who suggest teams to players. Players don’t have to choose a logo if they are too conflicted. Greg Maddux entered without a logo on his bust.

To its credit, the NBA has turned the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday into a celebration that includes several matinee games. The Atlanta Hawks went all out to celebrate King. They began the game with a video tribute to King that they broadcast on the court. They also had members of a local church choir sing the player introductions. The game itself featured the newly dominant Hawks against the resurgent Pistons. The Hawks won 93-82.

The interesting storyline of the NBA thus far is that teams are winning, while the superstars are struggling. The Hawks and Golden State Warriors are currently coached by disciples of Greg Popovich. They seem to be duplicating the system Pop put into place. It is working. The NBA just might be a great substitute for football once the Super Bowl is over.

That’s all I’ve got for this week. Thanks as always for stopping in. Look for some renovation pics to come as we get into home ownership. Please leave any tips you might have for us.

Musings From The Hoodwood 1-20
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL College Football NBA

Kearse's lone catch of the game sends the Seahawks back to the Super Bowl

Meanwhile Brady and Belechick gear up for their 6th Super Bowl together

 

Greetings from the Hoodwood where we continue to honor the memory and  enduring legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

NFL: Super Showdown Set

Now there are two and for only the 6th time since the current format was instituted in 1990 the NFL’s two top seeded teams have made it through to the Super Bowl. This doesn’t happen as often as you would think it does. In fact Before the seeding was introduced it happened 9 times in the 20 seasons from the merger to 1989. But the Patriots and Seahawks made it through the playoff minefield to the 49th edition of the ultimate pro football game. The Patriots thrashed the Colts in the Championship nightcap to many viewers surprise who expected the plucky Colts to give the Pats a tough game. The Pats big game experience showed in spades from the opening kickoff and initial drive. The Colts looked just really out of sorts from the word go. Beating a pernially playoff jinxed teams and a team with a gimpy quarterback made the Colts look a lot more tougher than they really were. The 45-7 rout was one sided as the score indicated but now there is swirling controversy. The Patriots may have deflated footballs that the Colts used in their offensive series. If these allegations are true the Pats could face the loss of multiple draft picks. This would be another suspicion of taint on Belichick and the Pats that dates all the way back to spygate in 2007. In the earlier game the Seahawks had their 12th man crowd revved up to the point that seismographic equipment was brought out to measure their impact. The crowd though was quite docile as the seemingly gimpy Aaron Rodgers helped the Pack grind to an ugly 19-7 lead. But the Seahawks overcame a horrid game by Russell Wilson to rally back to take a late lead, when the Packers tied the game with a field goal the game became a super high stakes showdown. The Seahawks won the toss and in the words of the late Hank Stram matriculated the ball down the field until Wilson led a streaking Jermaine Kearse for a dramatic catch and score to give the defending champs a 28-22 win. The Seahawks became the first team since the 2004 Pats to defend its conference title. Ill preview the game itself next week.

 

 

Phat Dap

Vince WIllfork was driving home late last night after the Pats win over the Colts and encountered a motorist that had been in an accident and was on its side. Wilfork stopped and stepped in to lend a helping hand, literally. He reached in the overturned vehicle and pulled the driver who was later cited for DUI out of the wrecked vehicle with one hand. Wilfork then left without looking for any pub, Hats off to Wilfork for being on point with a helping hand

Head Slap

To the Cowboys fans (and Skip Bayless) who continue to whine about the non catch by Dez Bryant in the Cowboys loss to the Packers in the divisional round. He didn’t catch the damn ball, and the Pokes lost. GET OVER IT!

Quick Hits

 

Max Scherzer gets paid Kershaw money is he worth it

Coach K on the precipice of 1000 wins, has he really been at Duke 35 years?

The Hawks just keep on winning in anonymity

Jokaim Noah out and the Bulls are coming apart

The Knicks finally win one in 2015, they had last won on December 12th. Are they really that horrid?

 Im adding more to this…

 

Championship Sunday
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL Patriots Seahawks Packers Colts

 

The headlines have made it clear: the Super Bowl teams have been set - we’ll see you on February 1 in Glendale Arizona.  The  Colts, Patriots, Packers and Seahawks have all been there before.  No first timers this year, and no shortage of storylines.  But you know that.  You spent all day yesterday with everything being hammered into your head, you might have heard more about the Broncos and Peyton Manning than you did about anyone actually playing.  

 

The outcome of the Seattle Green Bay tilt was nothing short of jaw dropping.  I was texting Sully throughout the game and  after the second trip Green Bay made into the Seattle red zone to take it to 4th down, and to walk away with a field goal I knew they were in trouble.  Mike McCarthy played too conservative a game, contrasted with Russell Wilson’s game winning overtime Touchdown pass.  That’s all you need to know why and how Seattle won. McCarthy should be on his hands and knees groveling for his job.

 

A punter throwing a touchdown?  Not the craziest thing I’ve seen this postseason, but wow.  just wow. Almost as "wow" as the "best fans in football" leaving early. You don't leave this game early, and you deserve to watch from outside.

 

On the other hand, New England wasn’t going for the last minute, pull the victory out of the hat, crap.  45-7….and it really wasn’t even that close.  By the way, Brady is on his way to his 6th Superbowl - even if the Patriots lose, I don’t want to hear anyone talking smack.  Next time someone else wins 4/6 Superbowls, we can talk about how Brady spit the bit, but until someone else does what he’s done he’s the greatest of all time.  Period. That 45-7 tally was the most lopsided in AFC Championship game history.

 

Of course all week all the talking heads were talking about the Patriots’ “DECEPTION.”  Swapping out eligible receivers and what not.  Pagano made a big deal of how he was preparing the Colts so they didn’t get shown up like the Ravens.  How’d that workout?  Other than  O lineman Nate Solder rumbling in for a touchdown, I guess it worked okay.

 

It’s kind of interesting to see who isn’t getting a coaching shot: Doug Marrone walked away from the Bills, but hasn’t landed anything - and those slots are getting pretty thin.  The Raiders hired Jack Del Rio, probably the best possible hire in my opinion. Marrone’s old club, the Bills, hired Rex Ryan which suggests why he didn’t want to stay - they have no idea what they’re doing.  Marrone not only opted out of his Bills contract, but apparently also an interview with Denver - here’s a cat with no options and he says, “uh...nevermind.”  What’s up with that?  That said, he’s like 5 years older than I am and is getting $4-Million to walk away from his job….which is about $2-Million more than I’ve made over the course of 20 years so I’m no one to criticize.

 

Johns Fox and Elway agree to part ways - Fox easily lands the Bears gig, meanwhile Elway is getting rebuffed by the likes of Marrone.  Wow.  If that doesn’t just tell a tale right there.  Joe Philbin keeps his gig in Miami and Jason Garrett gets $4MM a year for the next 5 to coach Dallas, but Fox gets shown the door.  I don’t get it. Really.

 

Several years ago, I walked away from the Friday beat - returning to the line up after Sully asked me to do so, but the slot was Monday. I hemmed and hawed.  Monday?  The rationale was clear, said Sully.  Look, you’re busy during the week, and Monday gives you like 3 days to write something.  It’s perfect.  Except no one gave me $4mm to walk.  I’m scratching my head over that one.

 

It’s been a while since I’ve been back in the rotation, and you know what?  Sully was right.  Monday is the best day - not for the reason he sold me on though.  Monday is the day I get to recap the weekend. I get to Monday morning QB football, I got the Gab’s anniversary this year, I get some cool crap.  I get to write about the goddamned Super Bowl, mother effers.  Friday is cool - you get to write about all the crap that can happen over the weekend.  Monday kicks ass

because I get the first crack at the crap that DID happen over the weekend.  Sometimes this crap writes itself.  Sometimes you scuff, but this time of year?  It’s the best.

 

I could write about Trent Richardson - rescued from that barren football wasteland of Cleveland via trade to Indianapolis last season, only to wear out his welcome this one, to the point that he was inactive for the AFC Championship game.  This is a guy that’s 24 years old - he really has NO idea what he has and he’s apparently willing to waste it.  Don’t be surprised to see this guy pumping gas at your local Flying J station.

 

I could write about Xavier Nixon, but that would be more press than this guy has gotten all year.  Why was he out?  He missed the flight?  Seriously man?  You can’t miss the most important flight of your career. I could write about Josh McNary, who was charged with rape this past week.  But I won’t.  Greg Anthony got picked up for solicitation this week - but since he’s an NBA guy, I’m not spending any time at all on that action.

 

Of course there was the side show of Rob Gronkowski and Sergio Brown, after Gronk “booted him from the club” in Week 11.

 

From NFL.com we have the following:

Through their first 48 career regular-season starts, Andrew Luck and Tom Brady have an identical passer rating of 86.6. In those first 48 games, Brady has the edge in wins (36 to 33) and comp pct (62.1 to 58.6), while Luck has more pass YPG (269.9 to 223.6) and TDs (86 to 74). In that all-important stat, Brady had two Super Bowl rings through 48 regular-season starts.   


 

Other notes:  The Cubs say their construction project on Wrigley won’t be done until May sometime.  So, just about the time they’ve fallen out of contention, you can get a seat.  It’s perfect.

 

Golfer Robert Allenby was attacked in a Hawaiian cab.  I dunno, man.  Miss the cut, get drunk, get the crap kicked out of you.  I’m not sure why this comes as a surprise to anyone.


 

NASCAR Update And Other Fast Stuff 1-18-15
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NASCAR Kurt Busch Jeff Gordon

                         

 

 OOOOO BBBBBBBBABY!!!! Oh yeah, it's that time of the week folks. Welcome Gabbers & others to my NASCAR updates and other fast stuff. Nice '67 Fastback. Lovin' everything about that body but the ghetto wheels and the low profile tires GOT TO GO!!! Went for $112,200 at the Barrett Jackson Auction this weekend. Would love to have this one and there would definitely be modifications of the wheel and tire variety. Speaking of wheels, I wonder what else is rolling.

                     

GORDON AUCTIONS RACE CAR FOR CHARITY

Jeff Gordon sold his 1999 #24 Pepsi Chevy Monte Carlo that he won with at the inaugural then Busch Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. It was the last win for the Crew chief & driver combo known as Evernham/Gordon and the car went up for auction on Friday. Bidding was up to $450,000 and Gordon decided to sweeten the deal. He added an autographed helmet and a firesuit to the mix. Bidding maxed out at $500,000. This will benefit the Jeff Gordon Children's Charity. The restoration and auction of the car will be featured on Evernham's TV show Americarna at a later date.

                   

                           1971 Plymouth Barracuda that went for $110,000

                                          MEEEEEEEEEEEE-OW

FANS WANTED AT TEXAS

Texas Motor Speedway is looking for 20 to 30 fans to be on a council to help improve fan experience at the race track. If you're available to be on-site for meetings after the NASCAR weekends in April and November as well as a teleconference after the June Firestone 600 Indycar-NASCAR Truck race doubleheader than put your application in by Feb 6th on www.texasmotorspeedway.com.

                    

                            1969 Pontiac GTO Judge that went for $110,000

CHILDRESS EMPLOYEE SELLS STOLEN GOODS ON EBAY

Keneth Lane Wilkes has been brought up on charges of stealing a firesuit and 3 crew uniforms to sell on eBay. No word on what his access at RCR was or how much he sold them for. None of the clothes were for a driver. Shame on you Keneth.  

                   

                                 1958 Chevy Impala that went for $110,000  

JEFF GORDON WINS HIS FIRST RACE OF 2015

                     

YUP...Jeffy won his first race in 2015 against a fan while riding an adult size tricycle at a Wizard's vs Spurs game. Last week was NASCAR's 2014 champion Kevin Harvick and son Keelan sporting their big wheels and this week it's Jeff Gordon. So is this a thing? Could be.

                     

1956 Ford F-100 that went for $161,700. Yet again it's has those damn ghetto wheels and low profile tires. YUCK!!!! Beautiful truck though. 

CHIQUITA IS CLOSING UP IN CHARLOTTE

The Chiquita headquarters located in the NASCAR Plaza Office Tower is streamlining. They were bought out this month by 2 Brazilian companies for $681 million which took the banana company private in a hostile takeover. No word on how many of the 320 office employees will be moving with the company. Chiquita was lured to their location several years back with $22 million in State and local incentives. They plan to give back $1 million of those incentives for moving early.

                   

                              1966 Mustang GT which went for $110,000. 

BUSCH VS DRISCOLL TURNS BAZAARO

Kurt Busch has testified that his ex girlfriend is an assassin. She claims she's not but she's writing a movie script about a female CIA operative on classified missions. Then Kurt tells a journalist that Driscoll isn't an assassin.

Things got bazaar folks. So you know what I did? I went to the one source that I knew would have all the answers. That's right TMZ. The National Inquirer is a shell of itself. I've grown tired of UFO babies and Elvis sightings. Give me TMZ. 

I watched a video on TMZ.com that was a pilot for a reality show featuring Ms Driscoll. She's quite the character and it explains why Kurt's lawyer went the direction he did with testimony. This chick is all about Patricia.

She says she just wants to get Kurt the help he needs for his alcoholism and depression and that she's not motivated by greed. Only concern for the man she loved.

Seriously, I don't think TMZ would be able to write that script. I can't wait for the next installment. 

I realize there wasn't a whole lot to read but I thought a few of these eye candy pics on wheels could help get us through till the land of Left Turns starts rolling. That's 36 days away.

You all enjoy you football games, family get togethers and whatever else you have planned this weekend. Be safe, Peace out,

And I'm outta here.....

 

Saturday Coffee With The Hoov--Jan 17, 2015
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: #NCAAfootball #nationalchampionship #BCS #playoff #ohiostate #oregon

 

College Football Post-Season, Version 3.0

 

 

Well, the evolution of D1/FBS post-season football continues, and I think most would say this year’s “playoff” was a success.  Yes, it is still subjective in that a “panel of experts” is selecting the final teams.  But any time you expand the pool you get better representation, and I think this year’s outcome shows it: in all likelihood the former BCS format would have produced an Alabama v Florida State championship game…and those two teams were both eliminated in the semi-finals.

 

There have been some interesting comments made about this year’s outcome.  Someone—it may very well have been one of you YGS regulars, but I apologize that I can’t find the post—stated that it was hardly an “undisputed” champion in Ohio State…after all, they lost in the first game of the year to Virginia Tech.  They then ran through the old progression:  so and so beat whatstheirname, who beat whatchamacallit U, who beat Navy, who beat blablabla, who beat VaTech, who beat Ohio State; how can that be undisputed???  However, by that logic, the last “undisputed” NCAA Division 1 basketball champion was Indiana in 1976.  And there probably has never been an “undisputed” NCAA baseball champ.  The only way to ever have an undisputed champ by that thinking is a team that was never beaten.  To me, undisputed in this setting harkens back to the days of two polls and two champs who didn’t play each other—ala Alabama and USC back in the late 70’s.

 

I like the “tournament” format.  To make it work, or more accurately, make it fairer, would be to further expand the pool to eight or even sixteen teams.  When that is broached everyone starts screaming about the “student athlete” and how much more that represents in terms of their time and commitment to practice and away from school.  That’s a bogus red herring folks.

 

First, all of these teams are practicing now.  The top 16 teams are all playing in bowl games the first week in January…so they are practicing all through December currently.  The only additional “commitment” would be a game on Saturday in the weeks leading up to the championship.  Truthfully, many more students would be done with football earlier because they would be out of the tournament on December 12 or 19 or 26 rather than practicing all of that time to play on December 30 or January 1.  This argument also goes flat in the sense that you are already keeping 200 student athletes active until January 12, so on a team by team basis what’s the difference? 

 

Second, when you talk about academics, virtually all of these institutions are on holiday break from mid-December until after the first week of January now.  So you aren’t impacting class time, you aren’t impacting homework, and you aren’t impacting academics any more than you are now for every team that is in a bowl game.

 

And third—any concern for this being based on the student athlete goes right out the window when you consider that it’s already being done at every level below the FBS.  They all have funky names now, but what we use to recognize as D1A, D2,and D3 all have multi-game playoffs with virtually all of them being sixteen teams, as does the NAIA.  The teams that win those titles are playing 14-15 games in their season.  Regulate FBS to an 11 game season (cut some of these meaningless out of conference games against Poughkeepsie State) and only two teams will play in a 15th game in a 16 team scenario.  Here’s a little heads up: Ohio State and Oregon both played 15 games this year.

So how would The Hoov’s playoff look?  If you go eight teams, I’d take the champion of the “Power Five” conferences (Big Ten, Big Twelve, PAC 12, SEC and ACC).  Only one team per conference—no at large bids.  You have to win your conference, period.  It would be up to the conference to determine that: if you want it to be via conference championship game, so be it.  I’m sure they like the revenues those develop.  But it also adds a pretty risky test.  Would you rather Ohio State has to beat Wisconsin, or would you eliminate all of the risk and liability that goes with that one game to give them (and your conference) a better shot at winning the national championship?

 

From there for an eight team format, I’d take the next three power teams in an agreed upon format—some kind of “Sagarin-like” ranking.  I still want the hard caveat that if you’re in a conference you have to be that conference’s champ.  If Cincinnati or Boise State or Northern Illinois ranks in the top eight or ten but finished second to Tupelo Tech…sorry, you don’t go.  Likewise, if LSU or Florida is ranked #2 behind ‘Bama—or even ahead of them given poll proclivities and weird twists of fate—but the Tide is crowned conference champ, geaux home. You’re either a champion or you’re champion bait.

 

A sixteen team format would be similarly based—add more conferences (MAC, Mountain West, etc), and deepen the at-large pool.  At this stage you could think about second teams from a given conference…but I’d almost rather stay at eight or go twelve teams than have two Big Ten or SEC teams.  I know I’ll get blowback on that; but to me, in the limited NCAA football season/schedule (ie, not 35 games as in basketball or 60 as in baseball), I think a very high premium should be placed on winning your conference.  I absolutely hated the whole Alabama-LSU thing a few years back.  Sorry—you got beat in-season, no double jeopardy. 

 

So all in all, The Hoov would propose a twelve team tournament; Take the 6-7 top conference champions, and the rest at-large...but still, gotta be a conference champ to get in if you are indeed in a conference.  Independants, as they do now, would have to earn muster in the power rankings. You'd have four "play-in" games, and the top four seeds get a bye.  Four quarter-final games, two semis and the championship. That would still allow you to have an 11 game regular season.  Go to 12 regular season games if you're going to keep the concept of a conference championship game. The most games any team would play is 16 if one of the "play-in" teams won.  Otherwise, you're playing 15...which as stated is what the Ducks and Bucks played this year.

 

The conference champion rule has a second benefit—it eliminates some of the power ranking problems.  When you start dropping the second or third ranked teams from a conference, the pool thins and becomes clearer.  And this is where you're allowing the opportunities for some of the lesser schools/conferences.  I know we’ll hear the argument: “SEC Team X might be second to Bama, but they’re still better than everybody else!”  Tough.  Beat Bama and you’re in.  To me that is akin to Duke or UNC losing in the first round of the hoops tournament but they get to go on anyway.  “Oh sure, George Mason beat them, but they’re still better than almost everyone else…”  Tough. Win to get in.  The conference championship is your first qualified.  As I mentioned earlier, I think that bears even more weight in the shorter schedule and format of a football season.

 

The bottom line is that a tournament of this nature for football is not only not impossible; it is already being done at virtually every level, save this one.  So stop using these lame arguments and tell us what it really is.  It isn’t money, because adding pressure-filled and in-demand games in the tournament setting only increases revenues—both primary and tertiary. Forget ticket sales and games and TV, think of the commercial and sponsorship opportunities.  Do you think March Madness generates more money now than when it was smaller?  The formality and finality of a tournament setting breeds money.

 

The issue is power.  As it stands now (even in this new format), “Big Football” keeps their arms around it—oh sure, under BCS they would give one or two teams their shot every year.  We all loved the Boise State, TCU, Northern Illinois Cinderellas.  And they’d even win one here and there.   But that was their shot at the dance.  None of those teams were ever going to get to dance with the prince (ie play in the Championship game), let alone marry him.  They even do it now with the current selection committee; remember this year how all of a sudden Alabama leaped up in the ranking when it got down to the final two weeks?  And that’s why you’ll likely never see an “automatic” scenario like the lower divisions have now—because these power schools don’t ever want to be in a position where Appalachian State or Eastern Carolina could steal their Wheaties.

 

And that leads us to “Mega Conference”…which I hate the concept of with a passion.  But that’s another post. 

 

As a final side note, I posted two years ago after the SEC's seventh national championship in a row that it was less a statement of the conference's dominance than it was about Urban Meyer and Nick Saban as great coaches. At that point those two had won five of the SEC's seven titles, and now with Meyer's ring at OSU for his third (and including Saban's first with LSU), he and Saban have won seven of the last twelve overall.  I stand by my earlier assessment of the SEC--and I now believe you're seeing "Urban renewal" in the B1G.  With Meyer, Mark Dantonio's continued improvement and relevence at Michigan State, and Jim Harbaugh's hiring at Michigan, B1G is the new SEC.  Watch for trational powers Wisconsin, Penn State and Nebraska to get their grooves back; and don't forget the east coast influence now with Maryland and Rutgers.

                                                                                                                                  

 

 

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