Tagged with "Football"
Sunday Musings #186
Category: User Showcase
Tags: CollegeBasketball NBA NewEnglandPatriots BaseballWriters CollegeFootball LittleLeagueWorldSeries BostonCeltics HighSchoolBasketball


While really sick and tired of all these snowstorms...


Don't forget to follow me on Twitter - @TheOneTrueJay

This week's story of the stupidity that infects us all centers around the University of Tulsa who apparently ignored rules at large not too mention their own rules and kicked a guy out of school for Facebook posts written by somebody else. You can check out this incredibly insane story HERE.

And if you need an example of why politicians should be considered among the lowest forms of human life, check out the story of this Montana politician and what he wants to ban.


Jerry Tarkanian -  On Wednesday afternoon before I went to lunch, I hopped on the computer at work to check out the news and saw the story that former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian had passed away.

The news broke my heart a little bit because I had been such a fan of the guy. I watched in 1990 when the Runnin' Rebels annihilated Duke in the national championship game. I watched the following year as UNLV destroyed everything in their path. I listened on the radio during their semi-final loss to Duke.

I pored over articles about the team, coach Tark and his battles with the NCAA and anything else I could get my hands on them. Hell, I even helped coach a  youth league team named after the Runnin' Rebels.

The book Shark Attack detailing many of the battles coach Tarkanian had with the NCAA was a must read for me.

After being forced out / resigning from UNLV, I followed his career from the San Antonio Spurs to Fresno State and read the occasional article on him after his retirement from coaching. I reveled in his election to the Basketball Hall of Fame while simultaneously railing that the honor was so long denied (believed by more than few people due to the NCAA's influence in keeping him out.)

Despite engaging in one fight after another with "The 2 A", Tark the Shark was vindicated when he sued the organization and they eventually settled the case for $2.5 million dollars (and a public apology). And if that wasn't vindication enough, everything he said about their practices is suddenly looking very true as the scandals of the most recent past sound eerily similar to coach Tarkanian's gripes.

But he was so much more than his fights. He was a super basketball coach and one of my personal favorites. Frankly, I don't think he truly gets his due.

I'm sure that I could go on a lot longer, but instead of making my point over and over again, I'll let you read some of the articles written about him since his passing.

Sports Illustrated had a couple of pieces on Tarkanian. Tim Layden's tribute is HERE and you can read what Alexander Wolff had to say HERE. Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports had a great piece HERE. And here's a great read from Adrian Wojnarowski.

And if you want to know why Jerry Tarkanian was always chewing on a towel, check this article out.

While I'm not in denial that Coach Tarkanian was far from an angel, he's not nearly the boogie-man the ivory tower people of the sport would have you believe either. And I know that I will definitely remember him for the good he brought to the sport I love so dearly.

By the way, if you want to see the entire game that served as his crowning glory (1990 NCAA title game), check out the link below.

Dean Smith - The week started off with the passing of the former North Carolina men's coach and a lot of the talk centered not only on his coaching accomplishments but all the off the court stuff Smith had done as well. I can't say that I followed UNC all that closely when Smith was still coaching the team, but I paid enough attention to realize that his loss leaves a vacuum in the UNC family that won't ever be filled.

Back at the start of my own coaching days, I went a long time without ever winning a championship. This place I hung out at eventually made a sign poking fun at my zero titles in all the years I'd been coaching at that point and used a photo of Dean Smith as a substitute for me. While the poster was meant in jest, the notion of being a stand in for Dean Smith struck me funny.


This past Wednesday night brought the Atlanta Hawks into town to play the Celtics. Atlanta has the best record in the Eastern Conference and you'd probably guess that they would have a relatively easy night against Boston. And for most of the game, you'd have been right.

However, despite trailing for the majority of the game, the Celtics kept within striking distance. They made a few runs to keep things close and then at the end of the game got a basket in traffic from Evan Turner (pictured below) with 0.2 seconds left on the clock. The shot put them up 89-88 and after a failed inbounds pass by the Hawks, held on by that score to stun Atlanta and raise their record to 20-31.

Turner finished the game with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists, but it was Jared Sullinger's 17 points and 15 boards that led Boston's offense on the night. Marcus Thornton added 14 points while both Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart finished with 11 points. Bradly also had 7 rebounds.

While the team's record remains in the dumper, the win over the best team in the East was a nice way to head into the All-Star break. The Celtics don't play again until February 20th. I know that it is a good time for the players to grab some much needed rest, but I'm also hoping that they don't let rust set in either.

In other NBA related news, James Dolan once again proved that as the owner of the Knicks, he's a total idiot. When a 73 year old fan sent him an email criticizing him for how the team performed, Dolan lashed out in response saying, among other things, that the fan (who's been following the Knicks for 50 years) was "sad", "probably an alcoholic" and a source of misery to his family.

And the NBA's response? No punishment whatsoever for Dolan. If Dolan was a player and had done that, he'd have gotten fined until he bled. Want proof? Just look at the case of Chris Paul criticizing a referee who called a technical foul on him. But because he criticized a female ref (with a rather pedestrian comment by the way), he got fined $25,000 dollars.

Shouldn't the owner of an NBA team be held to at least the same standard of expectation as the players?

Adam Silver totally blew this one, and this article on ESPN New York agrees with me.

The Sacramento Kings finally stopped letting interim coach Tyrone Corbin twist in the wind this week. After weeks of speculation, they agreed to a deal with George Karl take over the team. If you follow YouGab poster B.O.B. on Twitter, it has been a rather daunting if semi-funny few weeks. The growing fan anger towards the team management and players had become palpable. You would've thought this was the 1980's Clippers for all the dysfunction going on with the team.

It seems that Charles Barkley and Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey are involved in a "feud" that has become a minor cause celebre among NBA writers lately. Check out this Richard Deitsch SI.com article for more details.

The 15 finalists for nomination to the Basketball Hall of Fame have been announced. I know it isn't going to happen but I would love to see Bill Fitch get in.


I saw an article online this week detailing a rather skeevy story about recruiting for women's college basketall. The story originated out of Philadelphia and seems to implicate a coach at a catholic school for being responsible for smearing the name of a recruit from a school that regularly beats his team. You can read the story HERE.

Hartford - The Hawks were on the road last Sunday. They were playing Maine. I had planned to watch the game stream online, but after watching an earlier game for one of my teams end in a total blowout, I ended up deciding to skip this game. And it turned out to be a good thing for my blood pressure level as Hartford got whalloped 63-45 by the Black Bears.

Amber Bepko led Hartford with 11 points. Morgan Lumb joined her as the only other Hawks player in double figures with 10 points. Cherelle Moore had 6 points and a team high 7 rebounds. Deanna Mayza dished out 6 assists.

The Hawks were home against UMass Lowell on Saturday afternoon but came out on the short end of a 65-62 final score. Cherelle Moore scored 20 points and grabbed 7 rebounds to lead Hartford. No other Hawks player hit double figures in scoring in the game however, making it hard to counter three players in double figures for River Hawks.

Amber Bepko had 9 points for Hartford while Deanna Mayza added 8 points and 6 assists. The final two regular season games are on the road for Hartford (now 13-13, 7-5 in America East play).

Boston College Women - The second game against Notre Dame for the Eagles was the game I watched online last Sunday. And it was a disaster from the opening tip. Playing without Nicole Boudreau and Kat Cooper (suspended for violation of team rules, Kelly Hughes sat out the previous game for same reason) and the dismissal from the team of Lauren Engeln, the rout got going early as the Irish rolled to an 89-56 win.

Oddly enough, the final margin of victory was technically an improvement for the Eagles over the first game against Notre Dame. But in this game, there is no such thing as a moral victory. The Eagles crumbled against the Irish defense and committed 26 turnovers (Ashley Kelsick had 7 of those turnovers while Martina Mosetti added 8 of them.)

Emilee Daley (pictured below 1st) had a season high 18 points to go with 7 rebounds (and 5 turnovers) while Katie Quandt (pictured 2nd) added 10 points and 6 boards.


You can see highlights from the game below.

The Eagles went on the road on Thursday night to face Wake Forest. In a game that truly wasn't decided until the last shot of the game, BC picked up a 75-74 nailbiter. The game was clinched when Karima Gabriel blocked a Wake Forest shot at the buzzer. The win improves Boston College to 11-13 (3-8 in the ACC).

Kelly Hughes had a huge game to lead the Eagles. She finished with a career high 32 points (including a career high 7 made three pointers), 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals.

Katie Quandt added 10 points and a career high 4 blocked shots. Nicole Boudreau was back in action after a one game suspension, but she came off the bench instead of starting the game. She finished with 6 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals. Emilee Daley scored 9 points and Martina Mosetti chipped in 8 points.

Tennessee LADY VOLS - Tennessee picked up a tight 64-56 win over Florida last Sunday. The Lady Vols trailed by 2 points at half-time but thanks to 17 points and 7 boards from Isabelle Harrison (pictured below), the team was able to come back from the small deficit to grab the victory.

Jordan Reynolds scored 13 points in the game and Jaime Nared had 10 points and 7 boards. Cierra Burdick scored 8 points and had a team high 14 rebounds.

On Thursday night, Tennessee used defense and a powerful 1-2 punch from low post players Isabelle Harrison and Bashaara Graves to but a 69-49 beatdown on Mississippi.

As a whole the team shot 52.8% from the floor for the game. They also outrebounded Ole Miss 46-29. The defense kept things tight on the Ole Miss players by not allowing a single one of them to score in double figures.

Harrison had 21 points and a season high 14 rebounds while Graves added 17 points for the Lady Vols (21-3, 11-0).

You can check out highlights from the game below.

Missouri State - Tyonna Snow (shown below) scored 15 points and grabbed 5 rebounds but it wasn't nearly enough to stop Wichita State from running away with a 69-50 victory.

On Friday night, the Bears beat Bradley 69-61 after playing a lackluster first half that caused coach Kellie Harper to blow up at her team during halftime. The win leaves Missouri State at 9-13 (6-5 in conference). Kenzie Williams (pictured below) scored 19 points and had 5 steals. She went over the 1,000 point mark for her career.  And you can check out this link for a brief article leading up to the milestone for Williams.

Tyonna Snow (pictured below 1st) added 17 points and 5 steals for the game. Rachel Swartz (pictured 2nd) and Audrey Holt grabbed a team high 7 rebounds each.


Speaking of Holt, you can check out a brief story feature about her below.

Catholic University - Amber didn't get off the bench for the Cardinals on Wednesday night as the team crushed Goucher 66-42. They improved to 16-7 overall and 10-4 in conference play.

Boston College Men - The Eagles wore throwback uniforms for their game against Syracuse and found themselves running neck and neck with them for a while, but once again collapsed late in the game and lost 70-56. The way they lost was the latest in a string of similar finishes to games and it caused coach Jim Christian (pictured below) to call out his players after the game.

Aaron Brown (pictured below 1st) scored 19 points to lead BC. Olivier Hanlan added 16 points while Patrick Heckmann chipped in 7 points and 6 assists. Boston College is now 9-14 overall (1-10 in ACC play).


You can see highlights of the game below.


Baseball Writers - While her name might not ring a bell, Alison Gordon was a trailblazer in baseball. In 1979 she became the first female baseball beat writer (covering the Toronto Blue Jays for a total of 5 seasons). She passed away on Thursday. You can read more about her HERE.

College Football - Charlie Weis went on the record in an interview with the South Bend Tribune this week and said that it is "highly doubtful" that he'll ever coach again. You can read the story HERE.

New England Patriots - SI.com had an article on Patriots offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo this week. Check it out HERE.

San Franciso 49ers - Don Banks of SI.com thinks the hiring of Mike Tomsula as head coach could be a disaster.


The feel good story of the Chicago Little League team that won the U.S. title at the Little League World Series last summer has come to a crashing and crushing end. After Little League ignored initial reports about the team's alleged violations, the organization couldn't ignore the story anymore when presented with even stronger evidence that the team was put together by adults who ignored boundary rules to form the Jackie Robinson West team.

The team was stripped of the title on Wednesday and the expected firestorm began. Al Sharpton is reportedly threatening to sue Little League (and Jesse Jackson is involved too) and everyone is complaining that the team is being punished for the actions of the adults.

I just shake my head and think, "Yeah they are but the problem is that the kids should never have been a team in the first place."

The adults cheated to form the team and then made it worse by ineptly trying to cover it up. Little League was left with no choice but to strip the team of the title. You can say "Oh the adults broke the rules, but we'll let the kids keep the title."

To be clear, the kids aren't at fault. They just did what they wanted to do, play baseball and at a pretty high level. It stinks that they are no longer the champions but that's unfortunately how it goes. If those kids want to blame someone, look at the people who organized the team and broke the plain as day rules governing boundary lines.

Of course, that would make sense and you know that it NEVER going to happen now that the clown prince Sharpton is involved.

Now you might wonder how I can be in favor of the title being vacated here but was in favor of Penn State's victories being restored. In the Penn State case, no actual rules governing the games were broken. The NCAA over-reach in punishing Penn State was ridiculous in the extreme and when they saw that they were going to get hammered in the lawsuit filed against them, they walked things back.

In the case of Jackie Robinson West, actual rules governing the game were broken. There's no debating that point. And so the title had to be stripped away. Period.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports has an entirely different take on this story than I do. You can read that HERE.


Before we get into the hoops news, I have one bit of other high school sports related info to share. One of my former basketball players made some local news for her skills on the softball diamond this week. Rae-Lyn got selected for a team that will be going to Italy to represent the U.S.. You can read more about it HERE.

By the way, she finished 8th in the shot put at the Division 4 Track State Championships on Saturday with a throw of 32 feet 6.5 inches.

(photo by Adam Ellis of the Wareham Courier)

Upper Cape Girls Varsity - The Rams got handled relatively easily by West Bridgewater 44-31 on Wednesday night. Michaela had 3 points in the game.

The most disappointing part of the loss is that West Bridgewater was supposed to be a down team this year. They'd lost four seniors to graduation including their all-world player who scored 31 points in the state tournament game last year against Upper Cape. Instead, the team using so many underclassmen (including 7th and 8th graders because of the size of the school) actually tied for their conference championship. I'd say that's a testament to good coaching if nothing else.

But things didn't come without some strange twists. The coach was fired the day after this loss despite losing just 5 games (against 37 wins including a state title) over the last two years. I read the bare bones article about the firing in the Cape Cod Times newspaper and was amazed at the phrasing of what the school's athletic director said about the firing. Instead of a fleshed out answer, he provided an answer to why she was dismissed that left things open to wide ranging interpretation, which in this day and age, effectively ruins her reputation.

I spoke to the coach on Saturday morning and while I will not go into what was said, the firing seems rather ridiculous. I've only heard her side of things thus far but still.

Upper Cape bounced back on Thursday night with a 58-35 victory over Bristol Aggie with the athletic director (who is the school's football coach) taking over for the rest of the season as coach.

On Friday night, the team beat Old Colony 49-24 to run their record to 17-2 and 8-0 in the Mayflower Small conference. The win captured the conference title for the Rams. Michaela finished with 2 points in the Senior Night game. 

You can see a pic below of the 5 seniors honored. Michaela is second from the left and Laurina (who spent the season playing JV) is on the far right. (Photo by Adam Ellis of the Wareham Courier).

I haven't been to many of the team's games recently. It was mostly due to the fact we've had all the storms and it played havoc on the schedule. But apparently my absence has been noted because a parent sent me a tweet asking where I've been and if I was OK.

The team's regular season finale on Saturday afternoon was against West Bridgewater and for the second time in less than a week, Upper Cape got skunked. This time around the final score was 59-43. The loss ends their regular season at 17-3. Michaela had 13 points in the game.

The team will be the #1 seed in the state vocational tournament, where they are the defending champions. They'll host the first round game sometime in the coming week. And they await their seeding in the regular state tournament which won't be announced until next weekend.

Sturgis East Girls Varsity - The Storm had 3 games this week. They won the first two games to raise their record to 6-8. Isabella didn't score in either game as Sturgis East beat Cape Tech 52-33 and then beat them again (crazy snow schedule) 44-32.

Thursday night ended up being a special kind of night for the Storm. Not only did the beat Cape Cod Academy 59-21 for their third win in a row, but their top player became the first girl in school history to top the 1,000 point mark. 

It was a tough game in the first half with neither the team or the player able to establish themselves and take command of the game. But with the game being their last home game of the season, the woke up in the third quarter to put on a 27-2 run to win going away. 

The player, a girl named Meaghan (pictured below holding the ball with her teammates including Isabella #44), broke the 1,000 point mark and helped keep her team's chances for the state tournament alive. If they win their last two games of the season, they are in. The Sturgis East record right now is 7-8. By the way, Isabella had 4 points in the game.

Wareham Boys Varsity -  The Vikings rolled to an 84-43 blowout against Seekonk. It was the team's 10th straight win. Mark had 12 points in the game and Josh had 2 points.

The team's run of conference titles came to an end on Friday night despite a 67-52 victory over Apponequet. Old Rochester won their game and clinched the SCC championship outright. Wareham is 16-3 with a 12-2 conference record.

Wareham Girls Varsity - The Vikings fell to 11-8 for the season after losing to Apponequet 55-30. Tieyanna and Erica each scored 2 points in the game.

Bishop Stang Boys Varsity - The Spartans beat Westport 76-57 on Saturday afternoon. Jake hit a school record 9 three pointers and finished with 29 points in the game.

Bristol-Plymouth Girls Varsity - After missing Savahna's game last Friday because of car trouble, I was happy to get a message from her mom that her Senior Night game had been moved to this past Wednesday in order to avoid Thursday snow. So I left work a little early and drove up to the school. I got their at the same time as most of her family so we walked in together. Savahna saw us all come in and came over to say hi. After greeting her dad, she surprised the heck out of me and gave me a hug and thanked me for coming.

Once the ceremony was over, Savahna got the start in the game against Southeastern and actually had a lot of playing time in the game. While she didn't have any points on the night (0-4 from the floor, 0-2 from the foul line), she grabbed 6 rebounds, had 2 steals and an assist. She also forced a jump ball and had 2 turnovers. She also played well on defense. The team as a whole played the best game that I've been in attendance to see over the course of the four years I've been going to see Savahna play. They ended up winning 39-22.

After the game I walked over to Savahna because we were going to take a photo together. As I get closer to her, she looks at me and says, "I know...I didn't score". Ahhh the old lessons never die...try as I might I could never get any of my players to understand that it is not just scoring that matters.

As I was leaving I told her how very proud of her I was for sticking it out for all four years. It is something I like to see from the players I've coached, but unfortunately it is not all that common for them. A lot switch to other sports or just stop playing entirely. So Savahna playing all four years was something that did indeed make me quite proud of her.


TV - You can check out the recap article for the "The Nuclear Man" episode of The Flash HERE. As for the recap of the "Canaries" episode of Arrow, you can read that via this link.

The star of the Arrow TV show did a great thing recently helping a family out as they recover from the tragedy of losing their child. You can read all about in the words of the mother HERE.

Books - I managed to finish another book this week. This time is was another Star Trek novel. It was the 2nd book in the five book story arc "The Fall" called The Crimson Shadow. The book was written by Una McCormack. The story centers around the political intrigue and chicanery on one of the alien worlds featured heavily in a couple of the TV shows. The author did a bang up job crafting the story and kept things moving briskly.

I also picked up the 2nd book in the Fina Ludlow series by Ingrid Thoft called Identity and I bought the Karin Slaughter novel Cop Town. I haven't read anything by the author previously but I saw her interviewed as part of a roundtable discussion with a few other authors and when I read the synopsis of the book it sounded really interesting. The first book made my Top 10 Mystery and Thrillers of 2014 list so I'm hoping to really like this new story.


Music - I picked up the new U.D.O. album Decadent this week. Since I called dibs on reviewing the disc for KNAC.com, I'm sure you'll be able to expect that review sooner rather than later.

This week's new music to check out comes in the form of the title track to the new Europe CD "War of Kings" and the new Nightwish song "Elan" from their upcoming CD Endless Forms Most Beautiful.



Deep Thoughts 2-11-15
Category: FEATURED
Tags: Armadillo Day Boston Snow Mike Zimmer on Bobby Petrino Football Recruiting Julio Franco Robyn Lawley



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Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. I was reminded of my dad today as I went for a run. When we were doing something really fun, my dad would smile and say…”I wonder what the poor people are doing today.” I heard him say that my entire life, but as I got older I realized that what he was talking about had nothing to do with money. It meant that whatever you were doing was better than anything that money could buy. What brought that thought to my head was realizing just how wonderful the weather has been of late. I know that it is winter still in many parts of the country, but truthfully, it is tough to beat February weather in Austin. Yeah, we do get some bitterly cold weather, but when that the wind is blowing from the south…it is awesome.



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I really am not trying to rub in our beautiful weather as I know that many of you are still singing the winter blues. Even though Boston has been hammered by snow, I see that they have not lost their sense of humor. Apparently, the snow fall is now being measured in comparison to the Boston athletes. It would really suck to be Dustin Pedroia right now! Since Punxsutawney Phil did not come through with a favorable forecast…maybe you can use the Austin Armadillo forecast instead. There is a local group of crazies that are known as The Benevolent Knights Of The Raccoon. Each February 2nd these guys host  Armadillo Day at the West Pole. Yes, they have actually planted a pole on the 98th meridian and had it officially named the “West Pole”. The Lone Star Weatherological Society, through their extensive research has found that the most reliable climatological data is, in fact, derived from careful study of the State Of Texas official small mammal - the Armadillo and this forecast is determined by the special Armadillo, known as "Bee Cave Bob. Before you think that the “weather guys” are actually meteorologists…they go by: Professor Al Manack, Wayne Gage and Hugh Middity…yeah, I know hilarious right. Anyway, the armadillo comes out and the way the turns determines an early spring or more winter. Thankfully…this year it was an early spring. I am not sure it will help, but feel free to grab onto this forecast!








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I think that most people would agree that Bobby Petrino is not a nice guy. After recently pulling a scholarship at the 11th hour, Petrino reminded us just what a low class individual he is. I had to laugh when I read what Mike Zimmer had to say about Coach Petrino. It is rare that you see one coach bash another, but Zimmer did not mince words. You may remember that Zimmer was the DC for Petrino in Atlanta. Rather than paraphrasing…I think that Zimmer’s words are too good not to quote directly.

"He came in and said he resigned, he would talk to us all at a later date, walked out of the office and no one has ever talked to him since. Not that anybody wanted to.

"He's a gutless bastard. Quote that. I don't give a s**t."

Zimmer was then told that the newspaper might not be able to use the word "bastard" in their newspaper. So, Zimmer attempted to help the reporter out a bit.

"How about this, gutless MF. You can use that."

MF, in this case, does not stand for "Mutual Fund" or "Minister of Finance." .

I know we've gotten a pretty significant influx of Louisville fans in here recently, thanks to the Minnesota Vikings drafting Teddy Bridgewater. This isn't anything against Louisville Cardinals fans or Louisville Cardinals players or anything like that, because the folks that have come over here have been great.

But, honestly. . .man, I wish that guy wasn't the coach there. I wish that guy wasn't the coach anywhere. And what he did to Matt Colburn, without even bothering to contact the young man about it to give him a heads-up, outright sucks. Honestly, he committed eight months ago and he wasn't even worthy of a phone call? That's pretty awful."

Here is the entire article: http://www.dailynorseman.com/2015/2/5/7986281/mike-zimmer-is-still-right-about-bobby-petrino





In watching the college football recruiting process, there is a problem brewing that I think really needs to be addressed.  As bad as losing a scholarship is for Colburn, at least he can now go find a school that wants him. What about the player that signs his LOI, only to find out that the coach he thought he was going to play for is gone. I am not sure what the solution is, but I am wondering if a player should have the option to rescind his LOI if his recruiting coach leaves? You really can’t blame a coach, as they are trying to advance their career. It is just lousy that schools are not honest with players. As much as I have appreciated the message that Charlie Strong has brought to Austin, I was disappointed to see that at least one recruit did not get the complete story when he asked about rumors of Coach Rumph leaving Texas for Florida.When Texas commit DT Du’Vonta Lampkin found out that Rumph was gone…he had this to say on twitter: “Its not even the fact he left. Bc thats what coaches do. Its the fact i was told it wasnt going to happen.” The best thing for recruits to do is to sign because of a school not because of a coach…but how realistic is that? I don’t have the answers, but I think it is time to begin to have a conversation.






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This is Robyn Lawley and this is what SI and others call a "plus size" model. I read these words and had to do a double take. Really? This is ridiculous.





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One of the things that I discovered when I started running again…it is much tougher at 56 than it was at 50. With this in mind, I am stunned to see that Julio Franco is still playing baseball…at 56. Wow. I remember thinking how amazing it was when Franco was pinch running and stealing bases in his 40s. Truthfully, he has always been in great shape…but playing baseball at 56 is another matter. Franco has signed to be a player/coach for the semi-pro Ishikawa Million Stars. From one “old guy” to another give em hell Julio!


Congratulatons to Coach "Pop" for winning his 1000th game. Very well done Pop!


Sad news hit this week with Dean Smith passing at 83. There must be something magical about 83…my dad, Ernie Banks and now Dean Smith. When I think of Coach Smith, I think of a guy that had a passion for teaching. Integrity is not always found in coaching, but it was certainly was with Smith. RIP Coach…



Happy bithday to the love of my life. A special day for a very special person!







That is all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…



A funny thing to do is, if you're out hiking and your friend gets bitten by a poisonous snake, tell him you're going to go for help, then go about ten feet and pretend that *you* got bit by a snake. Then start an argument with him about who's going to go get help. A lot of guys will start crying. That's why it makes you feel good when you tell them it was just a joke.

It sure would be nice if we got a day off for the president’s birthday, like they do for the queen. Of course, then we would have a lot of people voting for a candidate born on July 3 or December 26, just for the long weekends.



Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own.



Musings From The Hoodwood 1-27
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL NBA MLB College Football

RIP Mr, Cub 

Greetings from the Hoodwood where the flags are at half-staff for Mr. Cub

Coach K gets his grand victory

I’ve never been much of a Duke fan, I think they are the poster boy of the snobby ACC. I detested Duke for being the ones that the pundits pointed to as basketball the “right way” and how they celebrated when Duke stunned UNLV in the 1991 national semifinals in a game I still swear was fixed to give UNLV their comeuppance. The thing is as much as detested the school and program. I actually respected Mike Krzyzewski, he always seemed like a coach who actually believed in principles like staying in school. I thought for the longest time Duke didn’t put up its 1990 final four banner because of how they got humiliated in the national championship but it was because one of the players didn’t graduate. I found out later that the player. Alaa Abdelnaby did come back finish his coursework and the banner went up. But in any case, the more I read about Krzyzewski and his come up from humble beginnings in Chicago, and his yeoman like rise from coaching his alma mater to nearly being run out of Duke after a couple years, the more I respected him as much as I loathed the team that he coached. In any case, Krzyzewski has made himself a coaching institution and believe it or not been at Duke as long as Dean Smith was at UNC and has more wins he has 927 at Duke, and after the Blue Devils rallied smartly to down a plucky St. John’s squad at MSG Coach K became the 1st men’s coach in Div-1 to amass 1000 wins. Keep in mind, Coach K still has about 3 seasons to go to surpass Pat Summitt’s 1089 wins but he has a milestone that it’s a testimony to his  great teams whom he was quick to put to the forefront and effusive in praise for. But also to his longevity, you don’t coach somewhere 35 years without winning pretty consistently and he has done that in spades.

MLB changes leaders

As much as it catches me off guard to think Coach K has been at Duke for 35 years it makes me pause, but to think that Bud Selig has stepped down from his post as MLB commish, a job he held since 1992 makes me feel old. Selig has been MLB’s grand poobah since the owners ran Fay Vincent out after the 92 season. He has had the job officially since 1998 when the farcical acting title was finally removed. I’ve never been big on Bud Selig, as I’ve always thought of him as a puppet for the owners as he once was one as owner of the Milwaukee Brewers. I also thought that his ideas for contracting two teams (one of whom were my beloved Minnesota Twins in 2001) was ham handed and smelled like a plot to take care of his daughter who was then running the Brewers but that plan fell through, the Twins got good, the Expos moved to fertile baseball country in Washington and Selig soldiered on. Now some of his ideas I liked. Interleague play, moving the Brewers to the NL and the wild card were good. Others like the steroid bumbling, the aforementioned contraction and the inane All-Star-home field advantage But Selig was the 2nd longest tenured commish behind the first to hold the office, the bigoted Kennesaw Mountain Landis. With Selig’s retirement the mantle passes to Rob Manfred who has been the deputy CEO of MLB and by and large has the approval of the talking heads of MLB. We’re hoping that Mann looks at further improving the game and will be his own man and not a puppet of the owners.

NBA: Kobe done for the season…and for good?

This is a haunting refrain that is getting all too familiar. Kobe Bryant has played all of 41 games for the Lakers in the last two seasons suffering through injuries to his knee and Achilles but another injury, this time to his rotator cuff which will shelve him for the remainder of this season and will be the third time in as many season that Bryant will not finish the season healthy and leaves many to wonder will this be the last time we see the self-styled Black Mamba on the court. I think it won’t be, I think that Bryant will try it one more time. I can’t see Bryant walking away from the game after an injury. I think Bryant can be self-absorbed and selfish as a player but he has a legacy of a winner and a tough customer. I can’t see him letting an injury be the checkmate for him.



Phat Dap- In Memoriam for Mr. Cub

In lieu of a phat dap, Hoodwood takes a moment to remember Mr. Cub. Ernie Banks. The player universally loved in the baseball and revered in Chicago passed away this past Friday at 83. One of the first players of color to play for the Cubs, Banks’ infectious play and boundless spirit fueled the otherwise sad sack Cubs of the 50’s and 60’s, he retired in 1971 as the Cubs all-time home run leaders and is still 2nd but his 1636 RBI’s are still team best. He was inducted into the baseball hall of fame on his first year of eligibility in 1977. His catchphrase “Let’s Play Two” was his enduring symbolism of his love for the game. The Cubs family have lost one of their greats, and the whole baseball and sports world grieves with them.


Head Slap

To Russ Knight who works for the CBS affiliate in Phoenix and was hired by the NFL as an assistant frequency coordinator for the Super Bowl festivities going on in the Valley of The Sun. Knight was given highly coveted All-Access Super Bowl credentials for his job. Rightly excited he took a picture and posted it on Facebook. That was a no-no. The NFL contacted him immediately and told him that his credentials would be revoked since there would be a slim but realistic chance that the picture of the credential could be zoomed in on can be duplicated. Considering how tight security is for the Super Bowl nowadays it’s not surprising that the NFL is so strict on posting pics especially of its prized credentials. Knight for his part took ownership of his goof blaming no one but himself. But he still gets a head slap for wasting a golden opportunity to be at the year’s biggest game.

Quick Hits

The Pro Bowl really needs to go back to Hawai’i and after the Super Bowl

The NHL All-Star was in Columbus and in a way I’m sad I missed it but 29 goals? That’s too much

The Yanks don’t want to pay A-Fraud his bonuses. Y’all act like you didn’t know???

Richard Sherman is the best corner in the league and doesn’t like inane questions about it

Doing away with defensive shifts, here’s a tip hitters should hit ‘em where they aint

Now the CFP won’t budge on their dates…did you think that they would give up their valuable cash cow dates?

Wrapping up Sunday's Basketball Action
Category: User Showcase
Tags: BostonCeltics BostonCollegeEagles Football Basketball TennesseeLadyVols BostonCollegeEaglesBasketball MissouriStateWomensBasketball


Before checking out for the next couple of days thanks to the Snowpocalypse, I thought I'd take the time to wrap up the action from Sunday afternoon and evening featuring the basketball teams I follow.

There is one bit of non-basketball action to mention first though. The Boston College football team will be looking for another offensive coordinator before the start of next season. After two seasons in the job, Ryan Day has left to join the Philadelphia Eagles as the team's new QB coach. He replaces Bill Musgrave in that position.


The Celtics were down big in their game against the Golden State Warriors but managed to rally back to cut the lead down to 3 points. But they couldn't get any closer than that and ended up on the losing end of a 114-111 final score. The loss drops them to 15-27.

The Warriors got 31 points from Klay Thompson while Stephen Curry added 22 points and 11 assists to help them edge out the Celtics.

As for Boston, they got 26 points and 9 boards from Jared Sullinger (see below) to power their offense.

Evan Turner (see below) added 19 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists (with four turnovers). Tyler Zeller came up with 15 points and 5 rebounds while Avery Bradley tallied 15 points as well.


Hartford Hawks - Hartford turned the ball over 21 times on the way to an 82-58 loss to America East opponent Albany. Point guard Deanna Mayza led the team with 8 of those turnovers and Janelle Harrison had 6.

But turnovers were only half of the big two of problems facing the Hawks in this game. After trailing by just three points at halftime, they got used and abused in the 2nd half. Their defense on Albany's Shereesha Richards (39 points) and Imani Tate (30 points) was almost non-existent it would seem.

Amber Bepko led the scoring for Hartford with 14 points and Alyssa Reaves added 12 points. Hartford falls to 10-11 on the season with a 4-3 conference record.

Tennesee LADY VOLS - The Lady Vols managed to pull out another conference win on Sunday, beating Georgia 59-51. They improve to 17-3 (7-0 SEC). The win came about thanks to a 95% shooting night at the foul line and a 45-29 edge in rebounding. Those numbers offset their poor shooting night from the floor (34%) and the team's 18 rebounds (Georgia only had 14 turnovers).

Jordan Reynolds (shown 1st) had a career high 15 points. Ariel Massengale (shown 2nd) added 10 points and 6 boards. Isabelle Harrison (shown 3rd) finished the game with 9 points and a team high 9 boards.


Missouri State - The Bears (8-10, 5-2 MVC) stomped Illinois State 58-35 to capture their fourth win in a row. In getting the victory, the team set a home arena record for points allowed. They gave up just 15 points in the second half.

Kenzie Williams (pictured 1st) scored 12 points and grabbed 7 rebounds to lead the team's offense. Tyonna Snow (pictured 2nd) and Lexi Hughes each finished with 9 points.


Boston College Men - The Eagles had to hold off a late flurry of offense from Georgia Tech but narrowly got their first ACC win of the season 64-62. BC shot 59.1% from the floor in the 2nd half. They had rely almost exclusively on their starters for offense. The bench managed just 5 points in the game.

Olivier Hanlan (see below 1st) led Boston College with 25 points and 7 boards. Patrick Heckmann (below 2nd) added 12 points and Aaron Brown (shown 3rd) chipped in with 11 points. Will Magarity (shown 4th) finished the game with 9 points and 5 boards.



You can see highlights from the game below.



Preseason Versus Final Rankings
Category: NCAA
Tags: Arizona Boise St. College Football Georgia Tech LSU Marshall Mississippi St. Missouri Notre Dame Oklahoma Predictions S. Carolina Stanford

lege Football, Rankings Commentary on January 24, 2015 at 4:38 PM


The Broncos were the highest finishers among unranked teams in pre-season.

The Broncos were the highest finishers among unranked teams in pre-season.

I'm including the Horned Frogs since most people had them even higher at the end.

I’m including the Horned Frogs since most people had them even higher at the end.


I haven’t noticed any major media organization that does this. I guess they just want to be able to come out with new preseason rankings in six or seven months and have people accept them. Surely, I suppose they think, people will have forgotten last summer by then; but they might not forget something six months before, so best not to remind them. I think it’s fun though, so I’m doing it.

Some of these differences are owing to differing philosophies. I think Sagarin is just based on accumulating recent rankings. Sports Illustrated and the polls are mostly based on predictions; but sometimes there is deference to teams that did well last year even if maybe they shouldn’t be expected to do well in the coming year.

What I mostly do is look at who I think will be the best teams right away, so I’m a little more interested in returning starters, and of course I also take into account last season. If a 1-win team has 23 returning starters next season, you wouldn’t expect them to finish with a winning record; and if one of the top teams this year had only 10, they might finish in the top 10 again. But when in doubt, I’m going to go with the team that has proven more in the last year or two and has more returning starters. If a team has very few, I count recent seasons for less. That’s why Oklahoma St., for instance, was not a team I ranked.

Final Top 25

Here are my Preseason Rankings. I also did an SEC West Preview.

The teams are listed in order of how they finished in my final rankings.

Preseason ranks: mine, Sports Illustrated, Sagarin, AP, Coaches’

1. Ohio St. 9, 4, 10, 5, 6
Even when I heard about Braxton Miller, I didn’t move the Buckeyes down. I had a feeling this would be a very good team with 12 returning starters and one or two players wouldn’t make a difference. So even though I didn’t put them very high, I think I used sound reasoning. Also, when I do preseason rankings, I have a skeptical stance toward untested players, and it’s not quite as much about potential as how much they have to start the season. The loss came pretty early.

2. Florida St. 1, 1, 3, 1, 1
There just wasn’t a compelling case to drop FSU down after last season. None of the other contenders stood out, and there really wasn’t an impressive team overall on the field either.

3. Oregon 3, 8, 2, 3, 4
I can’t complain about my pick here. The Ducks had the highest number of returning starters among teams that were ranked after 2013, so I was not shocked to see them in the title game.

4. Alabama 4, 2, 1, 2, 2
I didn’t have Alabama first in the SEC, I had Auburn. That’s not how it worked out, but Alabama was actually less dominating in most games than I thought they would be. They just won all but one in conference.

5. Boise St. NR, NR, NR, NR, NR
I thought the Broncos might be done with these seasons given the fact that coaches keep leaving, but few apart from maybe some Marshall fans can argue they weren’t the best non-P5 team this year.

I thought the Horned Frogs might bounce back, but I was thinking maybe 7-5 or 8-4 instead. I’m not sure whether to give them credit or the rest of the conference blame.

7. UCLA 7, 5, 21, 7, 7
The Bruins finally had the top-10 season we’ve been promised a few times in the past. I mostly only put them this high because I couldn’t find other teams that were very compelling, but like I said earlier, that turned out to be the case in reality, so that’s why I got this one right.

8. Michigan St. 13, 6, 19, 8, 8
I couldn’t tell how much of the preseason buzz was based on the previous year or based on how good they really seemed. Looking back though, none of the results of their games were different than I projected based on my ratings. I did think they might lose to some lesser team, so I guess I’ll give them credit for surpassing my expectations in that regard.

9. Marshall NR, 25, NR, NR, NR
Credit to SI here for ranking them at all. It didn’t even occur to me to rank a CUSA team, to be honest.

10. Georgia Tech NR, NR, NR, NR, NR
Like I had started to explain with Ohio St., I think to an extent, you have to look at how good teams likely are relative to one another at that point. Georgia Tech really wasn’t that good early in the season. They struggled with Tulane (early on anyway) and Georgia Southern and seemed dead in the water against Virginia Tech, but they kept getting better, and it seemed like they were a much better late-game team than they possibly ever were before under Paul Johnson.

11. Missouri NR, 22, 13, 24, NR
12. Baylor 22, 10, 15, 10, 10
These two are pretty much the same for me, so I’ll cover them together. I just thought they had one-off seasons in 2013. I didn’t anticipate that the two coaches would be able to “reload” so well. Missouri did lose the early game to Indiana and got blown out by Georgia, but they matured in a hurry after those setbacks. Baylor didn’t have early losses like that, but they did only have 9 returning starters, so 22 was high in light of that, at least from my perspective. Usually teams like that don’t come anywhere close to the successes of the previous version even though they get preseason rankings elsewhere.

13. Georgia 6. 12, 16, 12. 12
All the people who had them #12 did pretty well. I was right about how good they could be but wrong about how bad they could be. I would have never expected them to lose to South Carolina and Florida knowing about those two teams what I know now. Even though I had Auburn so high, I mentioned in the preseason that this was one of the games that might cause Auburn to have trouble winning the SEC West. I mentioned the Missouri game, but Auburn was an even more impressive big win at the time.

14. Wisconsin NR, 15, 9, 14, 14
I was surprised that Wisconsin ended up so high. I thought they would be more similar to last year’s team. But in my defense, they didn’t start out so well. On paper, they didn’t have much to start the season, which I think was an accurate understanding.

15. Ole Miss 16, 18, NR, 18, 19
I did a good job on this one. I didn’t expect them to make an appearance in the top 5 in the first place. This is an improving program though, so I don’t expect them to be an easy win in the SEC very often going forward either.

16. Mississippi St. NR, NR, NR, NR, NR
They were too mediocre in 2013 for me to seriously consider them for the top 25, but as I had mentioned in my SEC West preview, I thought they could beat some of the better SEC teams, which they did. So I wouldn’t say I was shocked here, I was just more reserved in the preseason.

17. Arizona NR, NR, NR, NR, NR
I honestly didn’t even consider the Wildcats. They had a number of teams with potential in the recent past and they all tended to fizzle, so I was most surprised to see them in the top 20.

18. Clemson 12, 16, 17, 16, 16
I thought there would be a second ACC team in or near the top 10, but I was wrong about which one.

19. Arizona St. NR, 19, 14, 19, 18
I remained skeptical about the Sun Devils based on so many seasons where they were supposed to have a good team and either didn’t at all or were wildly inconsistent. They were among the last teams I eliminated though.

20. USC 11, 17, 12, 15, 15
Where I picked them was a little ambitious, but where I dismissed teams with potential before, I thought USC would be more immediately good. This was not a good team to start the year though.

21. Auburn 2, 7, 24, 6, 5
Auburn was a disappointment in the end, but they were one of the best teams in the early going. They really should have beaten Alabama and Wisconsin later in the year. I think sometimes what happens is a team goes from competing for a national title to just trying to make a decent bowl and it’s deflating. Whereas another team that was mediocre the previous season would be excited to be ranked and so forth.

22. Colorado St. NR, NR, NR, NR, NR
Like Marshall, this wasn’t a team I looked at or considered.

23. Kansas St. NR, 21, 18, 20, 21
I think I was justifiably cautious about the Wildcats. Had the Big XII been more than a couple of teams deep, I don’t think they would have finished this high.

24. Northern Illinois 25, NR, NR, NR, NR
For some reason, you get a bunch of flak for picking a small-conference team to perform similarly as in recent years, whereas other teams who have very little coming back are ranked with no one batting an eye. I have to admit I feel somewhat vindicated here.

25. Memphis NR, NR, NR, NR, NR
See Marshall and Colorado St.

Top 5 Unranked Busts

36. Oklahoma 5, 3, 6, 4, 3
The Sooners made the cover of Sports Illustrated for the preview issue and received 4 first-place votes between the two major polls. They did look a little bit better early, but they just didn’t seem to improve from how good they were in September.

49. South Carolina 8, 11, 8, 9, 9
They only showed a glimpse of the team they were supposed to be when they beat Georgia. This is a reminder going into next season that if you don’t have leadership (they lost their top defensive and offensive players after 2013), you don’t have much.

32. Stanford 15, 9, 4, 11, 11
Maybe I should have been more pessimistic here, but they didn’t finish that far outside the top 25. Still, I’m glad I wasn’t tempted to rank the Cardinal in the top 10. I looked at them as a similar team to Baylor, and for whatever reason, Baylor had a great season and Stanford didn’t.

30. LSU 10, 14, 7, 13, 13
In my defense, I had LSU fifth in the conference. I had trouble judging which SEC teams would be better than which other teams. I was very disappointed with both coordinators overall. I don’t want to be sour grapes about former DC Chavis, but I expected better based on his very good years at LSU, especially before 2013. I think OC Cam Cameron may have forgotten how to develop a teenage quarterback rather than one well into his 20s as NFL starting quarterbacks typically are. LSU could have very easily won 11 games this year based on talent, but they also could have missed out on a bowl game entirely due to failures to close out games. I said the winner of LSU/Alabama would be the most likely SEC champion, so at least that part was true. Had LSU closed out that one and beaten Arkansas, they would have at least tied for the West title.

33. Notre Dame NR, 13, 20, 17, 17
I haven’t addressed the Music City Bowl in depth yet, but people who think that justified a top-25 ranking for the Irish are insane. Arkansas beat LSU 17-0 late in the season and since then beat up on Ole Miss and Texas, losing only to Missouri in a close game. Arkansas didn’t have a defensive stop over a touchdown gifted to them against LSU, and LSU’s defense didn’t just roll over on third downs time and time again. Also, somehow, Notre Dame made LSU look like a point-scoring machine at times. Anyway, I feel very justified in not ranking the Irish in preseason and in recognizing them as a bust now.

Other Disappointments

Mine: (14) Central Florida, (19) Texas, (20) Michigan, (21) Louisville, (23) Florida, (24) Duke
Michigan was the only bad team of the group, but they shouldn’t have been a bad team at all. I think Texas is improving but will take another year. Florida and Duke were good teams at times but inconsistent. Central Florida nearly beat Penn St. for the second consecutive season but somehow lost to Connecticut for their only conference loss. Louisville may have been about right had they won the bowl game.

SI: (20) Texas A&M, (23) Oregon St., (24) Nebraska
Nebraska and Texas A&M were by no means horrible and might have been a couple of bounces of the ball from being ranked, but I don’t know where Oregon St. came from. I know they beat Arizona St., but that was one bright spot in dismal year. In fact, it was the Beavers’ only win of their last 7 games. Their BEST win was at home over San Diego St. I still don’t understand Nebraska’s hiring of Mike Riley, by the way.

Sagarin: (5) Oklahoma St., (11) Texas A&M, (22) Washington, (23) Texas, (25) Florida
I’m not sure how Saragin’s preseason rankings work, but I think it’s mostly based on performances in recent years. Texas and Florida in particular would not have been surprising had the finished with those rankings. Oklahoma St. of course is ridiculous looking back, but it wasn’t too long ago that the Cowboys nearly made the title game, and in 2013 they were again one of the best teams in the country before dropping the last two games (Bedlam and the Cotton against Missouri). Like I said above, having A&M ranked wasn’t far-fetched, but of course #11 was a bit high to say the least. Washington never really clicked, but there was no shame in having them near the bottom of the top 25 in preseason. They made a bowl at least and played some competitive games against good teams. In fact, their only regular-season losses were to teams that were ranked at the time. Among those, only Stanford finished unranked.

Polls: (21, 20) Texas A&M, (22, 22) Nebraska, (23, 23) North Carolina, (25, 25) Washington, (NR, 24) Texas
I covered everyone but North Carolina above. I have no idea why they were ranked.

For the record, here are my final rankings of the teams in this section:
26. Nebraska
27. Louisville
31. Texas A&M
41. Florida
46. Duke
57. Washington
58. Oklahoma St.
59. Central Florida
63. Texas
65. Michigan
70. North Carolina
89. Oregon St.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll have upcoming posts about other sports and sporadically football, but like I referenced above, we’re about halfway to the next preseason rankings, so I plan to have a lot to say then.

Just as a reminder, my blog homepage  (where I first post my blogs) can be found above and I'm also on Facebook and Twitter @TheBayouBlogger.


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