Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. I must admit that I have many things on my mind today other than sports. After reading other blogs this week, my mind is drifting back to past times. I heard on the news today that a place in Austin called Mackendrick’s Tree House was being demolished. Even though the club was only open for about 8 years, I can’t tell you how many nights I spent listening to music at this cool place. The building was literally built up on stilts, with windows facing the lights of downtown. One summer night in the early 80’s, Julie and I braved the weather (and ignored our parents’ wishes) to take in a night of music at the “treehouse”. One thing about Austin is that when we get rain, it comes down in buckets. This was one of those Thunderstorms that lasted for hours. The streets were flooding and we had to take a rather circuitous route to make it out of our neighborhood. We should have never made that trip, but am I ever glad we did. The music that night was incredible. The weather meant that the club was not crowded, so it was a very intimate evening. The entire north wall of the Treehouse was glass, which allowed the flashes of lightening to illuminate the club. Sipping cocktails with my fiancé, listening to great music…it is a night that I will never forget and makes me sad to see the Tree House gone.
This is Passenger from an NPR broadcast. They tore it up the night at the Tree House...great memories.
The club has been closed for many years. It is literally a couple of blocks from the location of the old Armadillo World Headquarters…which was razed years ago. With the destruction of the Tree House, another of my personal Austin memories is gone. I stumbled upon an HBO special recently called Foo Fighters: Sonic Highway. The band is visiting 8 different cities across the country and doing a documentary about the music of each city, then recording a tune written from the history. I happened to catch the documentary about Austin and was amazed how many memories the show captured for me. Honestly, living in Austin…you forget how much music history this city has seen in the past 50 years. What I found interesting is that Austin has been home to many different styles of music. Many think of Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings when they think of Austin music, but the history of music is much richer than this. My music path usually led me through the jazz venues in town, but occasionally I would venture off and catch other music. The documentary reminded me how important Austin was to the psychedelic and punk rock music scenes. Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators were a bit before my time, but I remember musicians talking about the Vulcan Gas Company, which closed in 1970. You can imagine how popular this music was with the Austin police of the 60s. Erickson was arrested for possession of one joint and ended up being put in the Austin State Hospital. The Punk rock era was totally different. A club called Raul’s was originally a Tejano club, but desperate punkers managed to convince the owner to allow them to play their music. Raul’s quickly gained notoriety as the lead singer for the Huns was arrested on an obscenity charge while he was performing. The bare-chested picture of him being handcuffed on the stage soon had young fans flocking to the club.
Of course the other music form that Austin is famous for is the blues. The roots of Austin blues began back in the 1940's on the east side of Austin. Known as the Chitlin Circuit, the Victory Grill and other venues brought great music to eager Austin music fans. Many great musicians have traveled to East Austin over the years...some of them include: Clarence "Gatemouth" Bown, W.C. Clark, Ike and Tina Turner, James Brown and Billie Holiday. Clifford Antone came to Austin as a university student but found his love for the blues too hard to ignore. It is easy to point to Antone as the reason for much of Austin's reputation for the blues. When he opened Antones on 6th St. in 1974, he ushered in the next big wave of music talent. Over the years, Antone's gave musicians like the Vaughan Brothers, Delbert McClinton, John Lee Hooker and many others a place to exhibit their awesome talent. It is difficult to fully acknowledge how important that Clifford was to the soul of Austin's blues. As Antone's began to decline, the Continental Club picked up the blues torch from Antones and proudly continues to provide a terrifc venue for blues today. While the music in Austin continues to move forward, it is just not the same for me. Maybe it is because I am older and no longer have the personal connection…but I sure miss the days of old.
The Foo Fighters documentary was awesome. If you have a chance, you should check it out. The 8 cities being covered are: Chicago, Washington D.C., Nashville, Austin, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Seattle and New York.
I have been reluctant to jump to any conclusions with the college football committee. It did not make much sense to get too excited when there was more than a month left in the season. As the weeks are being whittled down, we now have a pretty good idea who the contenders are now. Like many outside of Tuscaloosa, I was hoping to see Mississippi State knock off Bama last weekend. But, I should have known better. I know that Nick Saban is an easy guy to dislike, but as I look around the college football landscape…tell me someone who is a better coach? Yes, the Crimson Tide has great talent, but there are many teams that have great talent. The difference is that the talent at Bama gets better. Like Saban or not, you must acknowledge that this guy can flat out coach. Having said that, there is no doubt that Auburn will be looking to put another loss on the Tide. There is also no doubt that Ole Miss will be looking to knock off Mississippi State. Is it possible that the first playoff series exist without a team from the SEC? I guess it is possible, but certainly not probable. I had no problem with TCU being bumped down this week. Although I think that TCU is a very good team, I still believe that Baylor is the better team. I am a big proponent of head to head matchups being the trump card…and since Baylor beat TCU, they are the better team to me.
I read on Tuesday that Charlie Strong said that there won’t be any more seasons with Texas losing 5 games. I said weeks ago that teams should get their shots in on Texas while they could. As Oklahoma State found, this Longhorn team is no longer unsure and vulnerable. With each passing week, the Longhorns have grown in confidence and suddenly are a tough team to beat. The next test for Texas is the TCU Horned Frogs. My hunch is that TCU has too many horses this year for Texas to win, but I think it will be a battle. The defense that Texas is playing is the real deal. I am still not sold on Swoopes, but he has made great strides in the past 5 weeks. Is he good enough to beat a top 5 team? I don’t think so, but I will be happy to be proven wrong.
With the Longhorns 6th victory last week, they are now eligible for a bowl game. I heard it mentioned a few weeks ago that a possible Texas and Texas A&M bowl matchup might be possible in the Texas Bowl. I think that would be a terrific game, but after reading quotes from Chip Brown…I am beginning to think that this game won’t happen. Apparently word is that the Aggie suits don’t like the idea of facing this improving Texas team. I suppose that they figure this would be a losing proposition all the way around. I suppose they could be right about this, but I bet their fan base would have a different opinion. It would be nice to see a bowl game on December 29th that was sold out. C’mon Aggies, let do this…it will be fun!
Wait...how did he get dressed so quickly?
I have to take a moment to tip my hat to the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers. Both of these teams said goodbye to a disgruntled running back on Tuesday. Ben Tate has been grumbling about reduced carries and tried to leave early on Sunday. LeGarrette Blount did leave the field early on Monday. Both of these guys will soon realize the error of their ways, as they are now unemployed. Ego can be a dangerous thing. I am always amazed how short sighted players can be. Tate may be able to figure out another gig, but with the other baggage that Blount is carrying, he may be done. Too bad, but it was the right move by the Browns and Steelers.
Each year, I am amused how early Christmas decorations go up. Sometimes in the rush to get up decorations, towns must forget to take a look at what they are putting up. This is a town in West Virginia that really should reassess their decorations…
Today is my brother Brad's birthday...happy birthday bro!
That is all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
If you go flying back through time, and you see somebody else flying forward into the future, it's probably best to avoid eye contact.
You know something that would really make me applaud? A guy gets stuck in quicksand, then sinks, then suddenly comes shooting out, riding on water skis! How do they do that?!
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…
You'd smile too if you was getting the jack he was...
Greetings from the Hoodwood where the snow falls and my fantasy team is falling apart…
MLB: Stanton gets paid
I like Giancarlo Stanton. He is a talented outfielder for the Miami Marlins who is fast growing a rep for being one of the best young sluggers in the game, finished 2nd in the NL MVP behind Clayton Kershaw and might have won it had he not missed the last three weeks of the season with a frightening injury after getting hit in the face with a pitch. Stanton has routinely smashed long homers and is gaining the title of one of the best young sluggers in the game but with still two years to go before he would hit the free agent runway, many pundits felt that while Stanton would continue to see his paychecks increase he was still a couple years from the Yankees, Red Sox or hometown Dodgers swooping in with a monster contract and spiriting him out of perennially cash strapped Miami. The Marlins however did a total script flip and stunned the sports world by inking Stanton to a stunning 13 year $325 million dollar deal. That $25 million a year kids. The deal makes Stanton the richest player in team sports, period. The deal makes the Pujols, Fielder, Cabrera, Trout and Votto deals look like bargain basement raids. Stanton is a quality player and the Marlins were prescient in locking him up but 13 years? Stanton will be a Marlin unless they decide to fire sale and the only teams that will be able to afford him would be the big markets, so one wonders how wise this deal really is. If Stanton is getting $325 million how much will players like Clayton Kershaw and Andrew McCutchen get?
College Football: Is Bama back?
You had the feeling that Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide were playin possum, that they watched as first Ole Miss then Mississippi State took the early reigns as College footballs top dog, knowing sooner or later that they would have a hand in their downfall. Though the Tide had a couple games where they would be pushed to the brink, most notably the OT thriller in Death Valley against LSU, they continue to move stealthily if not steadily up the ranks and after dominating then #1 Mississippi State in a 25-20 win that was not as close as you would think, the Tide now seem poised to get back on the inside of the college football playoff picture. There are other contenders to be sure, Oregon, unbeaten Florida State and a growing list of 1-loss teams like Ohio State and TCU but Tide are there to many of the Tide haters’ chagrin.
NBA: Is Kobe getting his comeuppance?
I grew up loving the Lakers, I was a big Kareem and Magic fan. I wanted to play that roughneck defense like Michael Cooper and the team just seemed like the essence of cool. When the Lakers fell on hard times after Magic retired, I still was a fan at a distance since they had drafted a fellow Bearcat Nick Van Exel (I even had his poster) But when the Lakers pulled a draft day coup to acquire the precocious Kobe Bryant (most forget he was not drafted by the Lakers but by the Charlotte Hornets, the team that is now the New Orleans Pelicans not the current Hornets) I fell out of favor with the Lakers. Despite the fact that they had acquired Shaquille O’Neal. There was just something that always rubbed me the wrong way about Kobe. I always thought him too preppy and not a real urban baller. Did he have game, there was no denying that fact. I just thought he was just a suburban rich-nik who was the beneficiary of having a ball player father and was more snobby than baller. The more I tried to like Kobe the more he kept coming off a self-centered spoiled asshole. After he got caught up with rape accusations in 2004, he just seemed like he was trying to weasel his way out of the charges. The fact that he more or less first paid hush money to the alleged victim then tried to implicate Shaq on the sly made him seem more weasely to me. Throw in some selfish play like no shooting in a whole quarter during a critical stretch in an elimination game in the playoffs and the Kobe mystique to me was always tarnished. But the Lake Show was always in contention and when they fell on some harder times and missed the playoffs, I really didn’t feel sorry for him, I knew that the Lakers would bounce back and Kobe would be playing for a contender. He led the Lakers to titles in 2009 and 2010 and kept them in contention for years but the signs of wear were showing, the Lakers were crumbling and were not able to lure talent to LA, nor keep the talent they had. Players like Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol left at the first chance that they could get leaving Kobe all by himself. His Kobe against the world mantra is not playing very well and with the cross-locker room Clippers now the “it” franchise in LA the Lakers are not even the marquee team in their own building, heck some would say that they are third behind the LA Kings who have won two Stanley Cups in the past three seasons. The Lakers are just plain horrid, and they have limped out to a 1-9 start dead last in the West even behind the neophyte Timberwolves. Lake Show fans put on a brave face but the reality is Kobe is the centerpiece of a shell. A team that once was great and now scares no one, though Kobe thinks that he can will his team to wins like Jordan did. Kobe aint MJ and won’t get any more titles, unless he jumps to the Clippers and tries to gravy train to a title which aint guaranteed in the uber deep West. He opined late last week that he was “jealous” of the Spurs, a team that has aged quite gracefully and to Kobe’s chagrin has as many titles as he does. The reality is that Kobe is reaping what he has sown and like a punch drunk boxer who is hanging on too long, doesn’t quite get that his time has passed.
PHAT DAP/HEAD SLAP
Goes to Wisconsin Running back Melvin Gordon III who rushed for a mindboggling 408 yards last Saturday. Now keep in mind a few things. Gordon did this on 25 carries, in 3 quarters and against…Nebraska. No not a directional FCS team. The famed blackshirt defense of Nebraska. How dope was the performance. Gordon outrushed a teams rushing output for the year in ¾ of a game. Gordon had 408 yards, Wake Forest has 341 yards for the entire season! Gordon broke the record set in 1999 set by LaDainian Tomlinson who gave Gordon mad props via Twitter for breaking his record. Hoodwood salutes Gordon on an unreal performance.
To Tony Williams the selfish Saints fan that got in the middle of what should have been a cool exchange. Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham scored his 2nd receiving touchdown in the midst of the Bengals 27-10 rout of the Saints in the Superdome on Sunday. Gresham tried to toss the ball to Christa Barrett a Bengals fan formerly from Versailles, Kentucky now living in the Big Easy. Williams elbowed Barrett out of the way and snatched the ball Gresham was trying to toss Barrett’s way then sat tone deaf as Barrett pleaded for the ball. Williams claimed he didn’t intend to elbow Barrett and was getting the ball for his grandson but instead came off looking like a chauvinistic self-centered asshole. The story does have a happy ending as not only the Saints gave Barrett a ball which she would donate to the Cincinnati Children’s hospital but Gresham autographed another ball and gave it to Barrett.
I love the 24 hours of hoops going on today. You can guarantee that Hawai’i will be in the mix for that super late/super early game
Why is my fantasy team crumbling?
Bad week for the Mannings Eli looks like a boob in Gotham and Peyton has a horrid day in St. Louis
After much ado about the Bengals looking bad in primetime, they bounce back whip the Saints and are back in first
Will seven wins take the NFC South while there could be as many as four teams winning ten and sitting home?
I think the MVP voters got it right with Kershaw and Trout
The less you mention to me how horrible my picks were this week the better off you are...
Why do the pundits want Cincy to jettison Johnny Cueto so bad?
My beloved Bearcats tried to give it away but they bounced East Carolina and not only are bowl eligible for the 8th time in 9 years but still has an outside shot at taking conference.
My alma mater Mt. Healthy is shooting for its first ever regional title as they take on Cincinnati LaSalle at 12-0 the Fighting Owls are having their best season ever and I’ll be there to watch them hopefully take the next step to the State Semis!
Going into this game, I wrote about LSU’s potential for next season. I still believe we will have one of the most talented and capable (to use a Les-ism) teams out there.
At this point, why not start Brandon Harris?
However, Anthony Jennings’ time as the starting quarterback needs to end, and it needs to end now. I was in favor of him starting this game, but when you play two or three quarters and you have 33 passing yards and 0 points, you shouldn’t stay in the game if there is someone with a pulse on the sidelines to take your place.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who was having flashbacks to the BCS title game after the 2011 season. The difference there was the guy on the sidelines had played Alabama two months before and failed. There was no such justification this time.
Jennings seems like a decent person who tries hard and understands the game to an extent, but we’ve seen enough. I don’t care if Harris starts 1 for 10. If he throws for more than 33 yards in the first three quarters, that will be better than this game was. We have a bye week to get him ready for A&M, and we’ll have a few weeks to get him ready for the bowl game. He needs to be given the ball and told he’s the starting quarterback sink or swim for at least a half. If we’re down 17-0 again in the next game, then maybe you put Jennings back in.
I don’t want to disparage Arkansas or suggest they’re undeserving. This was decent team that was desperately trying to get their first SEC win in a long time after a bye week. They absolutely dominated a Texas Tech team that just gave Oklahoma a good game well into the fourth quarter, and of course they were only a point short of beating Alabama. They were only a couple of minutes away from beating LSU last year.
That’s not a justification though, nor is the fact that it was hard to pick ourselves up after the last game. Our defense was ready to play, but they deserved a better offense. I’m not owed anything as a fan—I don’t buy tickets and rarely even buy merchandise (the last thing I bought was the 2013 media guide)—but those players are owed more than they got.
The runners and blockers are there, but I-formation runs up the middle when the other team sees it coming is never going to be a great play, at least not in the SEC. I don’t understand why we reverted to the same offense that we ran so miserably in the first half against Mississippi St. It works late in the game when there is a credible throwing threat. It doesn’t work with no passing offense to speak of and when the ball doesn’t even move around the backfield with any regularity.
Colby Delahoussaye did miss field goals; and if it had been 10-6 going into the fourth or even 17-6 going into the last 10 minutes, maybe that would have given us some chance. I don’t think there is a long-term problem with the kicker position though. You might remember Alabama missing some field goals in the regular-season game in 2011 and then hitting 5 of them in the BCS championship. I think that will turn around, but regardless, that’s not the primary problem. We were lucky to even have those two chances to score based on the miserable passing offense. One was set up by a targeting penalty, not even a pass interference. The other drive (leading to the miss in the first half) was a decent one, but if there is a good throw at some point, it may have been a touchdown drive.
Then when LSU finally got another drive together in the fourth quarter, Jennings ended it with a fumble. The knock on backup Brandon Harris had been his tendency to turn the ball over, but that argument for Jennings doesn’t seem very strong right now. Jennings also threw three combined interceptions in the previous two games (against only 16 completions).
I’m updating my blog about the Arkansas series. The pattern of frequent wins by the team with the worse season (so far anyway) continues.
I haven't always been putting my other info down here. I'm still using Facebook and Twitter. Not so much on facebook, but there is some stuff on twitter (such as comments during big games) that doesn't make it to my blogs if you're interested.
While trying to get my Xmas shopping done early...
Don't forget to check me out on Twitter - @TheOneTrueJay
College hoops season got underway in a big way on Friday night. I'm following five teams this season (4 women's teams and 1 men's team) and they all tipped off on Friday.
Before I inundate you with a variety of stuff recapping those results, I wanted to share a few of other bits of news.
Lauren Hill, the Mount Saint Joseph's player I've been writing about for a few weeks now, has helped raise $176,000 dollars for The Cure Starts Now cancer foundation.
After the tragic deaths of a beloved assistant coach and the team's director of basketball operations, the Richmond women's basketball team had to find a way to move forward. This story link details the process as they prepared for their season debut on Friday, where they beat Providence College 75-59.
Former Purdue men's coach Gene Keady was famous for his really bad comb-over hair piece. Here's the article on why that decision could've killed him.
The USA Today had a good article this week on Tyler Summitt as he prepared for his first season as head coach of the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters. You can check it out HERE . By the way, his team won their opening game 76-69 defeating Stephen F. Austin University. Summitt was happy about the win while displeased by his team's 22 turnovers in the game.
Now for the game action news...
Boston College Men - Before I tell you the results of the team's first game, you can get to know more about the team with the following interview links: Coach Jim Christian (pictured below 1st), forward Eddie Odio, guard Dimitri Batten and forward Garland Owens (pictured below 2nd).
The Eagles opened up at home in Conte Forum against New Hampshire and came away with a 58-50 victory. Aaron Brown (pictured below 1st) led the team with 21 points and Olivier Hanlan (pictured 2nd) finished with 17 points. BC led by 10 points at halftime and while UNH outscored them by 2 points in the second half, it wasn't enough to stop the Eagles from gaining their first win of the season. (photos from the BC Facebook gallery)
You can see video highlights of the game below.
Hartford Hawks - The women's team went on the road to open their season and despite trailing by as many as 7 points in each half, came back to defeat Cornell 48-46. Deanna Mayza (pictured below) led the team with 15 points and tied her career high of 7 assists. She was the only player to hit double figures for the Hawks. But that didn't spare her from the general unhappiness Coach Jennifer Rizzotti had with her team's lack of execution in the game.
"It's probably not a good sign when we win and I'm not happy," said head coach Jen Rizzotti. "I thought we played hard but we were unfocused and really struggled to execute over the course of the game. I think Deanna [Mayza] made some big plays for us, but I feel like some of her mistakes could have cost us the game. That's why we keep pushing her to improve. Overall, this game gives us a lot to look at and work on, that's why it's good to play these games early."
The Hawks missed 10 of their 17 free throw attempts and shot just 34% from the floor for the game. The offensive execution is going to determine just how far the team goes in the America East Conference this season so they are going to have to improve in that area and do it quickly. The team did hold a 47-38 edge in rebounds for the game.
Missouri State - The second season under coach Kellie Harper got off to a rough start with the Lady Bears giving up a 16-1 run late in the game as Memphis pulled away to win 79-63. The loss dampened the enthusiasm about the return of Kenzie Williams (pictured below) to the lineup. She was lost for a majority of last season with a knee injury. She had 21 points to lead the team along with 7 rebounds, 4 steals (2 turnovers) and 4 assists. Freshman Liza Fruendt scored 18 points in her first college game action. Missing from the box score was Tyonna Snow. There was no explanation given that I could find, but Snow is a major contributor to the team and her presence might've changed the face of the game.
Tennessee LADY VOLS - You might wonder why I chose to capitalize "Lady Vols". It seems the name came under attack again this week by their own school and their less than popular AD Dave Hart. It was announced this week that with the exception of the women's basketball team, the term "Lady Vols" is being tossed in the trash so that they can extend the brand of their "Power T" logo to the women's teams and have a uniform marketing look.
Dave Hart, who has systematically gone about dismantling the power of the women's programs at Tennessee since he got there, is aided and abetted in this crime by Nike. They want all the teams to be known as "Volunteers". As if somehow, the term "Lady Vols" is holding back the women's teams from advancing into modern day.
I don't understand why referring to the women's teams at Tennessee (or any school really) is seen as denigrating them. At Tennessee, the Lady Vols logo and designation has symbolized a tradition of excellence, and not just with the basketball team either. Meanwhile, the men's teams (with the exception of the basketball team when Bruce Pearl was the coach) have taken that "Power T" logo and made it a joke. They suck. The football team sucks, the men's basketball team sucks and while I can't speak truthfully to the other men's programs at Tennessee, I haven't seen their names mentioned as title contenders in any other sports.
Why would you want to associate the high expectation women's team with a loser logo like the "Power T" when the men's teams have done nothing but trash it?
I used to like reading sports writer Christine Brennan back in the day but lately she has become a thorough bore and a chore to read. If her constant haranguing of the NFL wasn't bad enough (they deserved the initial ration of crap everyone gave them, but she acted like the fact the NFL didn't just close up shop was a mortal sin), her comparison of the Lady Vols name to the Redskins name was farcical (Can you imagine? The idea of trying to tie "Lady" and "Redskins" as slurs?) and her continued writing that the term "Lady" demeans the team and women as a whole is ridiculous. I hold the Lady Vols in the highest esteem. You can't say that about the men's Volunteers teams. You can read Brennan's idiotic ramblings HERE. I was ticked off enough about the article that I tweeted my disagreement with her viewpoint to Brennan on Twitter.
An opposing opinion was written by The Washington Post's Sally Jenkins (full disclosure, she's friends with and has written books with Pat Summitt). However, her piece was far better constructed and comes off far more intelligent in its argument in favor of the "Lady Vols" name. Yes it is an opinion I agree with so I guess I would be a little biased in favor of this article. But since I'm not a total idiot, I can be objective about what I think of the two articles.
I particularly enjoyed this line from the Jenkins article: "If a Lady Vol is wearing a diamond on her finger, odds are she won it."
Sports Illustrated had a good piece on coach Holly Warlick (pictured below from Friday night's season opener) as she enters her third season in charge of the Lady Vols with a sense of comfort in role.
(ALL PHOTOS TAKEN FROM THE TENNESSEE GAME PHOTO GALLERY)
As for the team's first game, Tennessee faced off against Pennsylvania on Friday night and came away with a resounding 97-52 victory. The Lady Vols actually trailed 20-17 halfway through the first half of the game but a 30-5 run to close the half game Tennessee control of the game for good.
Nia Moore had a career high 24 points to lead the Lady Vols. She added 14 rebounds as well.
Bashaara Graves added 16 points and 10 boards while Isabelle Harrison (pictured below) came off the bench for 12 points and 10 boards.
Tennessee's freshman class made an immediate impact as well. Alexa Middleton (pictured below 1st) had 20 points, Kortney Dunbar (pictured 2nd, #13) scored 15 points and Jaime (pictured 3rd) added 10 points. It is only the second time in school history that 3 freshman have hit double figures in their first game.
Boston College Women - The recruiting classes have been announced for all of the teams for next season it seems. While I normally pay little attention to the recruiting wars because I don't care who might show up or who says they will show up, one recruit for Boston College is the 5'7" point guard Stephanie Jones. You can read more about her in this article link. A true point guard that can truly handle the pressure defense that BC will face constantly during the ACC portion of their schedule is a must. They've been lacking it for years now. Here's hoping Jones can be that point guard.
You can see an interview with coach Erik Johnson on what he's looking to see from the team this season below.
The BC women opened up their season on the road against Stanford. Last season, they hosted the Cardinal at Conte Forum and got spanked after taking a lead into the first TV time out. Coming out of that timeout, Stanford went on a 28-0 run that sealed the game.
The team had a morning shootaround before the game (see below) but it didn't end up helping to change the result much.
This time around, Stanford broke out to an early lead, but the Eagles tied it at 32 before trailing 49-40 at halftime. But in the second half players like Kat Cooper couldn't keep up with (see below) Stanford's Kailee Johnson, while Lauren Engeln had no answer (see below 2nd) for stopping Lili Thompson (career high 26 points)
In the end, Stanford blew out the Eagles 96-63. Emilee Daley (pictured below) tied her career high with 13 points to lead the Eagles.
Nicole Boudreau added 11 points (3-3 from 3 pt range). Freshman Ashley Kelsick (see below) scored 10 points in her first college game. Karima Gabriel had 6 points to go with a team high 7 rebounds.
BC's 17 turnovers (6 by Martina Mosetti, pictured below) got turned into 26 points by Stanford.
Stanford shot 64.9% from the for the game which is the fifth best single game shooting performance in the entire history of the game. So the Eagles losing this game was not a surprise to say the least. I don't think an upset was really being thought about but a competitive game should've been the goal. However, when your opponent hits nearly 65 percent of the shots they take, you have to figure it is going to be a LONG night.
The Eagles play St. Mary's at 4pm today so it will be interesting to see how they bounce back from the big loss.
By the way, while on this West Coast road trip, the team went to Fisherman's Wharf and took a trip to Alcatraz. You can see the team below before they headed off on the trip to the former prison.
Wisconsin - While the Badgers aren't a team I normally cover, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the record setting day that their running back Melvin Gordon had yesterday. In his team's 59-24 beatdown of Nebraska (Cornhusker coach Bo Pelini has a pathetic record vs. ranked opponents), Gordon ran for 4 touchdowns and new all-time NCAA rushing record 408 yards. He broke the record from 1999 that was held by TCU's (and former San Diego Charger) LaDanian Tomlinson. Even more amazing about Gordon's (see below #25) accomplishment was that he did it in just three quarters of action.
Mass Maritime - The Buccaneers faced off against Bridgewater State in the 36th Annual Cranberry Bowl yesterday. It was the final game of the season for Mass Maritime which means it is the final college game for my former player E.J. Heading into the game, he needed 6 catches to become the school leader in that category.
Mass Maritime had lost the last three times these two teams had played each other. But they rocketed out to a 17-0 first quarter lead, led 24-7 at halftime and then cruised their way to a 31-21 victory that closes their season with a 4-6 record. It is the first time in 30 years that Mass Maritime beat Bridgewater State on BSU's field.
My former player Richie picked up 6 carries for 13 yards, including a 1 yard TD run (his first college TD).
As for E.J., he went out in a blaze of glory. He caught 11 passes for 239 yards and 2 TDS. One of those TDs was a 93 yard pass play! He was named game MVP. He finished his career with 182 catches for 2,568 yards.
Way to go both of you and congratulations to Mass Maritime Academy, the 2013 Cranberry Bowl Champions.
Alabama - I know the haters are going to hate, but after Alabama's 25-20 upset of #1 Mississippi State, there is simply no way anyone can question the now 9-1 Crimson Tide belonging in the 4 team playoff system.
Despite Alabama's offense not fashioning a blowout victory, they scored when they needed to and relied on a defense that came up with one big play after another when they needed it. Despite Mississippi State gaining 427 total yards (to Alabama's 336), the Bama defense picked off Heisman Trophy candidate Dak Prescott (getting leveled in the photo below) three times (including once in the end zone) thus killing potential scoring chances.
Blake Sims threw for 211 yards and a TD (to Amari Cooper, who had 8 catches for 88 yards). Both Derrick Henry (pictured below 1st) and T.J. Yeldon (pictured 2nd) found the end zone on the ground and despite a late TD pass from Prescott to make the final score closer than the game seemed, the Tide rolled and knocked off the #1 team in the country.
Boston College - After last week's rather devasting loss, the Eagles were on a bye week this week. There's not a whole lot to talk about with them as they take time to regroup, re-assess and try to heal up from some of their injuries. In the meantime, you can check out this article on receiver Josh Bordner. He spent four years as a backup QB but came back this year and recast himself as a reliable pass catcher.
You can also check out a video interview with defensive back Justin Simmmons below.
While the Boston Red Sox were one of the teams expected to bid for Miami Marlins player Giancarlo Stanton, news this week about Stanton being close to signing a 325 million dollar 13 year deal broke. This likely means everyone else in baseball will have to look elsewhere for talent upgrades this offseason.
Of course it also means that Stanton and his agent are about to sacrifice any chance of him ever winning a ring.
Speaking of the Boston Red Sox, the more tangible news for them is the talk that the club is talking to pitcher Jon Lester about a return to the team after they traded him this past season to the Oakland A's. And it appears that owner John Henry is amenable to breaking his rule about giving long term deals to pitchers over the age of 30.
The talk I've heard and read about says the two sides are talking about a 6 year deal. Of course, Lester's return to the Red Sox would be welcomed by the fan base. And I think the team knows this. Otherwise, a 6 year deal wouldn't even be a talking point in negotiations. But it does raise the question about why the team didn't just make this kind of deal with Lester in the first place and keep him with the team all along. Yes, I know they got a decent bat in Yoenis Cespedes to help the offense. But a lot of good that did when your pitching staff couldn't get anyone out.
Clay Buchholz is a serviceable pitcher when he's healthy (which isn't often), but he's best as your #3 starter TOPS. He's not the ace of a pitching staff, mostly because he can't stay healthy, but he does have on field issues as well. Lester is a clearly defined #1 starter. And when he was dealt away this past season, it was the biggest example of how the team quit on the season.
Look I know the Red Sox weren't going to go anywhere last season. But you at least like to see the illusion that the team is trying to win. And Red Sox fans didn't get that last year at all. It was hard to do so when the front office traded away so many key players before the deadline.
If the two sides do strike a deal, it will be a welcome sign that the Red Sox are actually going to try and field a competitive/competent team for the 2015 season.
After being on their bye last week, the New England Patriots made a bit of news this week leading up to tonight's game on the road vs. the Indianapolis Colts. It seems they became the first NFL team to have one million followers on Twitter. I don't think it really matters in the scheme of things (despite being on Twitter myself for shameless self promotion purposes), but it is a noteworthy moment considering how much activity these days takes place on that social media site.
But thanks to the ever present danger of automation, the club found themselves in need of making a public apology when their automatic set up for reaching that one million follower mark saw them tweeting out a racial slur based on the Twitter handle of one of their followers. Here's the story.
If you missed my new Celtics Report blog piece that I posted yesterday, you can check it out HERE.
Sports Illustrated's Chris Ballard had a brilliant in-depth piece on New Orleans Pelicans star Ryan Anderson as he deals with and moves forward after the suicide death of his girlfriend last year. The piece was in this week's edition of the SI magazine, but the article link HERE is a longer version of the story.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
The Wareham High football team got spanked again on Friday night. They faced off against Norton. The Norton team was on a two game win streak and unfortunately for Wareham, those two teams were the ones that the Vikings had lost two over their previous two games. And it was more of the same kind of beatdown for Wareham vs. Norton.
They were trailing 34-0 at halftime and the younger players got a lot more playing time in the second half on the way to losing 46-6. Josh had five carries for 20 yards in the game.
Now the 1-9 Vikings are off until their Thanksgiving Day game against arch rival Bourne.
Basketball - With just that Turkey Day football left for fall sports interest, my eyes turn towards the high school basketball season. I'll be covering four girls teams and possibly 2 boys teams (Wareham and Upper Cape) this year that have former players of mine.
The girls team's I'll be watching are Upper Cape (JV and varsity), Wareham (JV and varsity), Bristol-Plymouth (varsity) and Sturgis East (varsity). Of course, trying to figure out the various schedules is going to be a headache once I have all of them to coordinate which games I'll go to watch.
Yes, it is going to be a very busy winter of basketball viewing for me.
By now, this should come as no surprise. I had another 0-2 week. I'm 5-5 in one league and 1-9 in the other one. Yes indeed, I'm that putrid this season.
Books - I'm nearly finished with one book after taking a break from novels to catch up on past issues of Sports Illustrated. But while I haven't finished the novel, I did make time to pick up the new Janet Evanovich / Lee Goldberg paperback The Chase. It is the second book in their series about a female FBI agent and a charming rogue thief teaming up to solve cases. Yes, it sounds like a bit like the TV show White Collar but the first book was a decent and pleasant diversion, so I'm looking forward to reading the second book.
I also picked up a copy of the debut thriller from Terry Hayes that I reviewed back in March for inclusion into the Yankee Swap gift basket I'm doing up for the big family Xmas Eve gathering.
Also, be on the lookout for my second annual Top 10 Mystery and Thriller Books list. I'll be trying to get that article done in time for the first of the year.
Thanks to a bargain sale find at a local department store, I added the first two seasons of The Facts of Life to my TV on DVD collection this week.
Meanwhile, this year's Doctor Who Christmas Special is getting some advance hype. There was a teaser trailer released early this week and then during the annual Children in Need telethon they do in England, a scene from the special was aired. You can check out both videos below.
Music - AC/DC found themselves having to deal with the spotlight in an unexpected way this week as drummer Phil Rudd was arrested on a variety of charges in Australia, including a charge of attempting to procure a murder. Yes, trying to buy a hit! That charge was dropped but he is still facing other charges that could land him in prison for seven years. In between releasing statements about the legal status of their drummer, the band released the official video for the song "Play Ball."
Another Australian rock band that caught my attention is the band Massive. I finally heard their 2013 debut CD called Full Throttle. It was given away with an issue of Classic Rock magazine a while back but I've only now gotten to reading that particular issue. Anyway, the CD was fantastic. Pure driving hard rock at its finest. You can check out one of their songs called "Burn The Sun" below.
The final bit of music I have this week centers on former Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden. He's got a new solo album out called Shine. I belong to a music board called Classic Rock Bottom and one of the features there is called New Music Corner. The poster Scott featured 5 tracks from the album this week and I took a listen. They were phenomenal and made it so I just had to put the disc on my want list. You can check out the title track (featuring a guest appearance from guitarist Joe Bonamassa) below.
The NFL was kind enough to schedule a Thursday Night Football game between two of the poor sisters of the AFC East, Buffalo and Miami. Both teams have struggled with consistency and both have 5-4 records and are tied for second in the division behind New England who is 7-2. Once again the fan bases in the AFC East are looking at quarterback Tom Brady having an MVP caliber season and head coach Bill Belichick putting together a strong defense as they once again look like a favorite to go deep in the playoffs.
Since 2001, the division has been in a stranglehold of the Belichick and Brady led New England Patriots. The Patriots have won the division every season save for 2002 and 2008. In both seasons the Patriots still tied for the division lead in victories but missed the playoffs on tie-breakers. Also, 2002 was Brady’s second season as a starter and 2008 was when he played just one quarter of football being sidelined the entire season with a knee injury.
In Buffalo, the Bills are still lamenting the end of the Marv Levy era in the late 1980s and early 1990s where the Bills went to (and lost) four consecutive Super Bowls and were an almost automatic double-digit winning team. Since Wade Phillips was run out of Western New York following the 2000 season that saw him run the Levy machine into the ground, the Bills have topped .500 just once when they won nine games in 2004.
The Bills have finished 7-9 or worse every season since that nine win season. They have run through head coaches looking for a winner starting with Philips (1998-2000), Gregg Williams (2001-2003), Mike Mularkey (2004-2005), Dick Jauron (2006-2009). Chan Gailey (2010-2012), and now Doug Marrone (2013-present). With five wins through nine weeks, this is the most successful team in Buffalo in a decade.
The Dolphins have been struggling as well since having Don Shula and Jimmy Johnson running the team from 1970 to 1999. Dave Wannstedt had four winning seasons and two trips to the playoffs carrying on the Jimmy Johnson plan after Hall-of-Fame quarterback Dan Marino retired. Replacing Marino has been Quixotic quest as Jay Fiedler, A.J. Feeley, Gus Frerotte, Joey Harrington, Cleo Lemon, Chad Pennington, Chad Henne, and Matt Moore (among others) failed to pick-up the Marino mantle. Miami is pinning their hopes on 2012 first round draft pick Ryan Tannehill to become their quarterback of the future.
Miami tried everything to turn around the franchise, even bringing in Bill Parcells to lead the football operations. They tried college coach Nick Saban in one of the biggest disasters in turning over a franchise to a coach who belongs in college (see Washington and the Steve Spurrier disaster in 2002). Parcells led them to the playoffs in 2008 where they lost in the Wild Card round (again, no Tom Brady that year) and since then they have won 7, 7, 6, 7, and 8 games. In head coach Joe Philbin and Tannehill’s third season together the Dolphins are hoping they begin making strides.
In New York, the Jets came the closest to knocking the Patriots off the top of the division. After Bill Parcells tried to leave the Jets to Belichick in 2000 and Belichick instead resigned as “HC of the NYJ” and bolted to the Patriots. After a year of Al Groh in 2000, Herm Edwards had some productive season making the playoffs three times before the team bottomed out with four wins in 2005. The Jets raided the Patriots and stole the “Man-Genius” Eric Mangini where they immediately won ten games before losing in the Wild Card round in 2006.
Two more less than stellar seasons led to importing the brash and arrogant Rex Ryan from the Baltimore Ravens. He brought an aggressive and blitzing style of play to a franchise in desperate need of someone who “wasn’t brought in here to kiss Bill Belichick’s Super Bowl rings”. The Jets reached the AFC Championship in the first two years of Ryan’s tenure (making the playoffs as a Wild Card both times), but since the 2011 season the Jets are 24-34 without making the playoffs. The 2011 season was the last time the Jets scored more points than they allowed and are 2-8 through ten weeks of 2014.
The three AFC East teams are all in various phases of building and re-building. All three have spent high draft picks on quarterbacks in the past three years as the Dolphins spent their top ten pick in 2012 on Tannehill, the Bills invested their 2013 first round pick on E.J. Manuel, and the Jets spent a 2013 second round draft pick on Geno Smith. Smith and Manuel are sitting on the bench a year and a half in after flaming out as starters and have been replaced by veteran re-treads Michael Vick and Kyle Orton.
What is most striking is the way all three teams have suffered by focusing on their own short-sighted views being stuck in the AFC East. All three franchises have invested heavily in the running game and the defensive line. Curious.
The Dolphins brought in running backs Mike Gillislee and Knowshon Moreno and spent draft picks on Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller. The Jets brought in Mike Goodson, Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson from other franchises while drafting Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell. The Bills invested a first round draft pick on C.J. Spiller and found diamond in the rough Fred Jackson. They also traded for Bryce Brown from Philadelphia and Anthony “Boobie” DIxon from San Francisco.
The Dolphins have edge rushers Olivier Vernon, Dion Jordan (#3 overall pick in 2013), and Cameron Wake with big bodies Earl Mitchell, Jared Odrick, and Randy Starks inside. The Bills have edge rushers Jerry Hughes and Manny Lawson to go with big pocket pushers Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, and Mario Williams. The Jets invested first round picks in defensive tackles Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson to join big run stuffer Damon Harrison. They have edge rushers Jason Babin, Calvin Pace and first round draft pick Quinton Coples.
All three teams have invested heavily in the running game and in a defensive line capable of generating pressure without having to blitz. Hmmmm. Sounds the game plan the New York Giants used in two Super Bowls to upset the heavily favored Patriots. A sound plan to invest that way to beat New England, but not so great at winning enough games to make the playoffs. Or win a Super Bowl.
Are the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins trying to beat the Patriots twice a season or win the Super Bowl? To me, it looks like they are looking to beat New England and struggling without a balanced defense and strong passing attack.
Getting beat repeatedly by the same team for a decade and a half can be frustrating, but it does not need to be an obsession. This obsession is stagnating three teams that could be playoff contenders with a better plan instead of all falling into the same trap.