While still stunned over how utterly awful the Patriots looked this past Monday night vs. Kansas City...
Don't forget, you can follow me on Twitter - @TheOneTrueJay
This week the Garfield comic had a strip that seems to describe me to a "T":
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
A friend of mine shared this photo on Facebook and it pretty much sums up the Monday night game against the Kansas City Chiefs:
Mass Maritime - The Buccaneers traveled to play Fitchburg State on Saturday but came away on the wrong end of a 26-21 score. They fall to 1-3 on the season. In the loss my former player E.J. caught 6 passes for 62 yards and a TD. The 62 yards gives him the all-time receiving yardage record at the school! Congratulation E.J.!
You can read more about his march towards the receiving record HERE.
Kansas - After going just 6-22 in a little over two seasons, the Jayhawks finally pulled the plug on the doomed to fail from the start tenure of Charlie Weis. The man who was so great as the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots has been a massive failure on the collegiate level. After such a horrible "era" at Kansas, I don't see how anyone can ever hire him as a head coach ever again. Frankly, he's proven that he can't do that job at all. My guess is if he doesn't head back to the NFL for a coordinator job, he's going to be effectively blackballed from the game.
Boston College - The Eagles were on their bye week yesterday but in the meantime you can read this article and learn more about senior linebacker Josh Keyes.
Alabama - I watched the Alabama-Ole Miss game yesterday and it was a depressing thing to view. While Ole Miss fans would of course disagree with my assessment, when Bama loses my football weekend is soured. But the Tide has no one to blame but themselves. Despite a defense that held the Rebels to just 72 yards on the ground, they couldn't figure out how to stop Rebel QB Bo Wallace (pictured below) who had the game of his life in pulling off a 23-17 upset. He threw for 3 TD passes and the Rebel defense picked off Blake Sims in the end zone to seal the deal.
Make no mistake, the Rebels played great. But they sure got an assist from Bama. They got nailed with 8 penalties, and they were usually penalties after a big play. T.J Yeldon (pictured below) ran for 123 yards but the run game was hurt by the loss of Kenyan Drake. He had nasty leg injury that caused CBS to stop showing the replay.
Blake Sims ran for a TD but passed for just 228 yards on a day when Alabama could've used more of an aerial attack. In the end, Mississippi had the upset as Alabama fell to 4-1.
BOSTON RED SOX
The Boston area papers are publishing article after article breaking down how the season fell apart for the Red Sox. When they are writing those type of articles, they are writing pieces on what they think how the club will or should be constructed for next year.
And in depressing free agent news, the hopes that pitcher Jon Lester might be making a return to Boston took a big hit when it was announced he had put his home in Newton, MA on the market. Not that I can really blame him. After all, the Red Sox already lowballed him once, why bother giving the team another chance to do it to him again.
I just hope I never see a press conference this offseason where Lester is introduced as the new starter for the New York Yankees. I just don't think I could stomach that development at all.
Oakland Raiders - Mercifully, the Dennis Allen era came to an end this week when he was fired as head coach of the Raiders. But given how bad the team is, I think GM Reggie McKenzie should have cleaned house and fired himself as well. As GM, he's the guy responsible for stocking the roster with all the barely there "talent" that is supposedly playing for the team.
I'm no fan of the Raiders, but it is still embarrassing to me as a football fan to see one of the franchises with such a proud history in the league continue to stay not only in the cellar of the league standings, but to also seemingly unable to wash the stench of mediocrity AT best off them. Since Jon Gruden kicked their ass in the Super Bowl, the Raiders have become the NFL's version of the Bad News Bears.
Speaking of Jon Gruden, his name immediately came up as a potential replacement. (Ex-Dolphins coach Tony Sparano is the Raiders interim coach.) Another name I've seen floated is Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin. Don Banks of Sports Illustrated had an interesting piece on why Gruden might not be the savior that people think he would be. You can read the article HERE and decide for yourself.
One of the key reserves on the 2008 championship team was Leon Powe. I liked his game when he was with the Celtics. Now retired, Powe was hired this week by the team in the player development department. His responsiblities will include some community relations work but in the brief I read, Powe was said to also be interested in spending time with Danny Ainge. It seems his goal is to become a general manager in the league at some point. Welcome Home Leon!
Thanks to some strong statistical performances by a number of the players I have on my two fantasy teams, I was was able to win both leagues this week. I'm now 3-1 in one league while it was my first win (1-3) in the other league.
In a particularly hilarious bit of news from the fantasy football world, it seems New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell is a big fantasy player himself. He had himself on his team but benched himself in favor of the 49ers tight end Vernon Davis. Donnell wasn't exactly having a great statistical season so far and Davis is one of the better players at the TE position.
But as luck or the fickle whims of fate would have it, Davis had a bad game and Donnell ended up losing his matchup for the week. He would've won if he'd kept his own self in the lineup though. Why? Seems Donnell picked the worst possible time to have a career best performance. He caught 7 passes for 54 yards and 3 touchdowns...and lost his fantasy football matchup by 15 points. You can read about it via this link.
As Homer Simpson would say:
There was a time when it was considered an honor beyond measure for a city to host an Olympic Games. Nowadays, given the costs involved, the corruption endemic and the crazy demands of the International Olympic Committee, a lot of cities are passing on the chance to bid on being the host city for the Olympics. The latest problem for the IOC is the 2022 Winter Olympiad. A number of cities have refused to bid, or pulled out of their bids when the country's citizens voted against bidding. It has left the IOC with just two countries actively bidding on the event and neither of them is known for their snowy climates. You can check out the rather embarrassing story HERE.
And to cap the Olympic related embarrassing news we have the most decorated Olympian in history. Yes folks, Michael Phelps got busted for a second time for DUI. And yet oddly, not in jail. According to one article I read, his blood alcohol reading was twice the legal limit! For all the glittering jewelry he won for swimming faster than a host of other athletes, his athletic accomplishments don't seem to have added to his intelligence level at all.
For all the complaining about the domestic violence going on with the NFL, why isn't there more of an outcry for an athlete getting behind the wheel where split second timing could be the difference between arriving safely at home or sliding into a car and killing a family of six?
I'm sure Phelps will get off with a slap on the wrist, despite this being a second offense, but all that glitter is tarnished.
He's got money, does he not know how to hail a cab or hire a limo?
WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Alabama - Further proof that the NCAA and its member institutions can and usually are gigantic SOBs comes in the form of the story of Daisha Simmons. She's a graduate of Alabama. She applied for admission into the MBA program but was rejected. So she applied and was accepted at Seton Hall University. She transferred there and applied to play a final year for the Pirates. But Alabama and coach Kristy Curry blocked the athletic transfer. The case makes no sense because Simmons has obtained a degree from Alabama. It got so stupid that the NCAA had to step in and offer a compromise where Simmons would sit out this season but get to play next season. She found this unacceptable because of the financial hardship it places on her family.
Alabama and their coach has yet to offer any kind of reasonable explanation for blocking a student transfer who's already graduated from their school. But it seems to be part of a systematic plan of idiocy on the part of the coach who has reportedly run off at least 6 players since last season. This is particularly galling coming from Alabama considering the school's football team is benefiting from the same type of transfer for a player on their football team.
You can read more about this story HERE. And if that isn't enough to convince you of just how despicable the people in charge of the women's basketball program are, you can check out this article about Brittany Jack, the roommate of Daisha Simmons.
Tennessee - An age and sex discrimination suit brought against the school by former Lady Vols media director Debby Jennings has been settled out of court for $320,000. Ever since Dave Hart took over as the AD at Tennessee, it has seemed that the Lady Vols athletic programs and personnel have been treated as second class citizens in favor of the men's programs. This despite the fact that it is the women's teams who have been the most successful. The good old boy network doesn't like that it would seem and it had led to women being demoted, forced into retirement or simply fired. Of course, this is just one suit the school was facing. Another suit brought by former trainer Jenny Moshak (remembered best for keeping Candace Parker's shoulder from continually dislocating in the midst of a title run) and two strength coaches is schedule for trial in June 2015. You can read more HERE.
With practices getting underway this week, I thought I'd take a minute to remind those few hardy souls who actually read my ramblings that I'll once again be covering a few women's programs with regularity this season.
The teams are Boston College (I'm hoping to attend some games), Tennessee, Hartford and Missouri State. I'll also be looking in on a couple of Division 3 schools from time to time. Catholic University (Amber) and Mount Ida College (Breanna) will feature a couple of my ex-players on their roster this year and I'll be interested in seeing how they do. (Though the two schools have yet to update their women's basketball web pages for the coming season.)
Hartford - I'm hoping the Hawks bounce back from a down season last year. I saw them play when they visited Boston College but won't see them this year because that particular matchup will take place in Hartford this year. I'll be particularly interested in seeing how Amber Bepko (pictured below 1st) does in her senior year. Deanna Mayza (pictured below 2nd) enters her second year with the team as well. Other players that will be looked to for big contributions include Katie Roth, Cherelle Moore and Alyssa Reaves.
Missouri State - The team begins their second season under coach Kellie Harper. They'll be looking to improve on last year's sub .500 record. The return of Kenzie Williams (pictured 1st) should help with that goal. They lost her to a knee injury last season. Others that will help lead the team include Tyonna Snow (pictured 2nd), Hilary Chvatal and Nijay Gaines.
Tennessee Lady Vols - The Vols are loaded with names their fans know by heart. The question becomes whether or not this is the year those separate talents can combine and help Tennessee rise back up to national title contender. They got a high quality transfer in former North Carolina player Diamond DeShields but she has to sit for this season. So it will come down to the talents of a returning from injury Ariel Massengale (pictured 1st), Isabelle Harrison (pictured 2nd) and Bashaara Graves (among a host of others) to get things started for UT.
Boston College - In year 3 under coach Erik Johnson, Boston College is going to be looking to return to respectability in the ACC. Things were pretty rough last season and losing Katie Zenevitch and Kristen Doherty to graduation sure doesn't help. Karima Gabriel (pictured 1st) is going to have to step up big time in the post. The return of Shayra Brown (pictured 2nd) should help give a little extra toughness edge to the Eagles. They lost her in the first game of the season to a foot injury (I was there at that game) and missed her contributions a lot. A lot of potential success for the team is going to hinge on how well their guards play. Nicole Boudreau (pictured 3rd), Kat Cooper (4th), Lauren Engeln and Kelly Hughes are all going to need to step up their games even more than they did last year. The biggest key to the Eagles season is going to be finding a point guard who can handle the pressure other teams are going to apply on them.
The latest blog from New York Liberty assistant coach Katie Smith talks about her dealing with dressing for games. You can read it via this Katie Smith Basketball.com link.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Wareham Girls Volleyball - The volleyball team broke their 4 game losing streak early in the week when they beat Bishop Connolly 3-2. Rae-Lyn had 9 kills and 13 aces in the match. But the Vikings closed out their week by losing to perennial conference power Fairhaven 3-0 on Friday night. They are 4-8 on the year. While it is a losing record, it is still the best record of any fall sport at the school.
Upper Cape Girls Soccer - The Rams split their two games this week. They won 3-1 against Tri-County but dropped their match with Bristol-Plymouth 4-2. Their record stands at 3-6-1. The girls JV team beat Bristol-Plymouth 6-3. They are 5-2 on the season. My ex-player Ann Marie played goalkeeper in the first half of the match and scored her first goal of the season in the second half.
Wareham Girls Field Hockey - An 8-1 loss to Dighton-Rehoboth dropped Wareham to 1-8 on the season.
Wareham Boys Soccer - It was another loss for the Vikings on Friday night as they got pounded by Fairhaven by the score of 7-0.
Wareham Football - The Vikings got their first win of the season last night. They beat Case 50-39. It's their highest point total in two years. The now 1-3 Wareham team has managed to beat Case both this year and last for their only wins. It was nice to see that they had such a big offensive explosion. My former player Josh ran for 120 yards and 4 touchdowns. Three of those scores came in the fourth quarter.
Wareham Girls Soccer - The soccer team fell to 0-10 after a 5-0 loss to Fairhaven. This is at least the team's 46th loss in a row. The local paper had an article on the team this week praising the passion for one of my ex-players. Brianna lost two years to injury but still kept up with the team on the sidelines. She's back in goal this year and is the only senior on the team. You can read more via this Wareham Courier link.
I have three ex-players on the team. Below you can see a photo of each in game action from their September 18th game against Bourne. All photos are by the Wareham Courier sports editor/reporter Adam K. Ellis.
Movies - I took in the new Denzel Washington action movie The Equalizer yesterday afternoon. It's based off of the old TV series of the same name, but it really is a totally different animal in comparison. This is basically Man on Fire all over again. Or a Denzel version of Death Wish. It's not that it was a bad movie, but it was about half an hour too long and took a bit too long to get going.
While you digest that little mini review of that movie, you can check out the official trailer for the Liam Neeson film sequel Taken 3.
Books - I am in the midst of reading a new mystery but haven't finished it yet. But I did add a couple of new books to my to read pile again this week. The first book was the John Sandford mystery/thriller Storm Front. It is the latest in his Virgil Flowers series. The second book I grabbed was the Star Trek Voyager novel Acts of Contrition by Kirsten Beyer.
TV - I'm still digesting the start of the fall TV season. But one of my favorite shows from years past was Veronica Mars. One of the original stars of the show was written out early in Season 2. He kind of fell off the radar after that, but now TV Guide.com has an interview with Teddy Dunn. Whatever happened to Duncan Kane? You can find out HERE!
The latest example of the world going out of its way to destroy stuff from my childhood came this week when Amazon.com started putting warnings on the Tom & Jerry cartoon collection labeling the series racist. SERIOUSLY? You know when I grew up watching the show, I watched the cat and the mouse constantly try to knock off the other and laughed. It was enjoyable wacky fun. And now apparently, I was a preteen accomplice to racism because of it. At least that's how this story seems to make things out to be. Is there anything out there that can be enjoyed anymore without someone crapping all over said enjoyment?
I had the chance to pick up the first season of the TV show Quantum Leap on DVD for a relatively cheap price so I grabbed it and now will begin to work on a rewatch of that series. And thanks to a nice sale AND a big coupon, I picked up the 24: Live Another Day DVD set up as well.
Lastly, you can check out the trailer for the 3rd and final season of HBO's The Newsroom below.
Music - I was able to get around to writing a new CD review this week. And it was for the new John Mellencamp CD Plain Spoken. I think I wrote a pretty strong review of the CD and you can check it out HERE!
I was a bit saddened this week when I read the news that singer Ronny Munroe had left Metal Church after 10 years and 4 albums with the band. I thought I'd close out this week's column with one of my favorite tracks from Generation Nothing, their most recent album. Here's the song "Bulletproof".
Ever since I was 10 and sitting in a '54 Roadmaster with my Dad at Dairy Queen listening to the much-anticipated first game in AFL history, I've been a Patriots fan. By the way, that first game was a loss to their eternal nemesis, Denver. And with that for an intro...
What is going on with these guys? For that matter, what's going on in the NFL? Do we have a gauge on what has been a generally very predictable league since the turn of the Millenium with a quarter of the season gone already?
Everywhere we read about the elite going bottoms-up. The mighty Saints are 1-3 and haven't looked good getting there. The Niners, at 2-2, have rumors of horror in the locker room swirling. The Falcons, supposedly cured of their one-year malaise, have alternately shined and stunk. The Panthers may be 2-2, but they've managed to look the worst of their NFCS brethren, including perhaps even 1-3 Tampa. The Steelers, supposedly at least partially revived, sit at 2-2 and are losing games to teams not anticipated to beat them, while barely winning other such contests. The Colts have looked good lately but they're still 2-2. Heck, even Seattle and Denver have lost already.
None of these showings have managed to generate as much media hand-wringing as that of the Patriots. Picked by many to go to the Super Bowl, and by some to win it, they have instead looked in four games much like a middle-packer, and one headed the wrong way at that.
One would have thought that unless you live in these parts you probably just got mention of the situation. So how stunned was I on the morning following the MNF debacle in Kansas City to see Tom Brady's photo with giant letters spelling "Brady Benched" --- on the Drudge Report? During election season? With the US bombing Syria?
The dominant web news site is generally either straight-up world/national news or politics, sometimes with a smattering of celebrity news (if there is such a thing). So was this celebrity news or world news? Maybe both, judging from the reaction in other sites across the internet. I for one never knew the Patriots were so big. But they are. Were?
It's all anyone around here talks about on radio, that's for sure. Of course this year the Red Sox aren't doing much of a job distracting attention. Is this the end? Has the law of averages finally caught up to Belichick? Is Brady finally washed up? Is the team around him so bad that no quarterback could possibly make a difference? One at a time, please...
First there's Belichick and his coaching staff. There's not much reason to think that BB has suddenly changed his methodology. But did he 'lose the team', or perhaps his most important player, after an excellent preseason by trading Logan Mankins? Is the motormouthed and seemingly abrasive Josh McDaniels finally wearing thin on his offense, much as Harbaugh is rumored to be with his entire team? Is DC Matt Patricia, he of the RPI degree in Aeronautical Engineering, proving to be in over his head after all trying to manage an NFL-calibre defense? Has the retirement of longtime OL coach Dante Scarnecchia created an unfillable gap, especially for a new coach who was fired in succession from Miami and the Jets and spent last year behind a mike? Wouldn't you think the premiere franchise of the league for a decade-and-a-third could afford to surround Belichick with good coaches? Is Belichick himself the problem, proving too dictatorial to accept different ideas from experienced and successful subordinates? Dom Capers used to be on the staff, you may recall.
Perhaps BB just got tired of the disruptive influence of every coordinator he had being lured away to big money and a job as head coach. It's happened so many times. Names like Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Bill O'Brien and even Josh McDaniels surface. He's safe. After Denver nobody wants McDaniels. And it's safe to presume, I trust, that Matt Patricia's phone isn't ringing off the hook.
Then there's Brady. The brash, effervescent kid who took Drew Bledsoe's job now seems to be looking over his shoulder at the new backup as if Garoppolo were Joe Namath. His performance has steadily declined since he was loaded for bear with Moss et al for the Patriots' 16-0 season. Last season he had a lot of apologists, claiming he'd never had a better season given what was left for him to work with. Most around here knew that was nonsense. He was missing throws. His once-energizing sideline personality had degenerated under McDaniels to that of a pouting, screaming demon, one who couldn't understand why receivers weren't reading defenses the same way he was, that of an irreconcileable perfectionist. That he gave up on his team in Kansas City during the second half was not lost on observers, Belichick among them. The evidence of either insurrection or degeneration seems insurmountable to listen to the avalanche of analysis.
The team? Prior to the start of the season, while talking heads were mulling the position of strong safety, it was noted that Patrick Chung had been reacquired. It was also universally opined that he was there for depth as a system-familiar body, and that if he were starting on day 1 we'd know the team was in trouble. Guess who's been starting? And the acquisition of Revis has, so far, produced about the same results that the acquisition of Jon Lester produced for the Athletics.
Tommy Kelly, who hardly played last year, was dealt off around the same time as Mankins. He probably asked out. Spikes was let go. The linebacking corps has been nonexistent so far this season, unable to cover anything aerial just like last year. The line has been shoved around. The vaunted secondary featuring Revis has been avoiding proximity to receivers like an official at midfield. The offensive line, even the stalwart returnees from last season and before, has been a sieve at times, never able to establish a dominating stretch save versus Minnesota for a while. Nate Solder, blooming into a star at left tackle, seems headed for the scrap heap now.
Bad as Brady, the OL and the defense have been, the schemes called out have ranged from plain vanilla to clueless. Play calling is somewhere south of Tierra del Fuego.
Are they done? Is it that simple? We're about to find out. It may take a few weeks, since almost nobody except Vegas expects them to beat a hot Cincinnati team that's firing on all its cylinders. But we can offer a few speculations. Why not, everybody else has.
Before the blowout on MNF, Belichick had told a reporter that the Patriots were essentially still in the 4th week of preseason with regard to the number of snaps they'd had. That's because of the new CBA with the union, which cut down camp time, and for the Patriots, a team built on precision and flawless execution, it may be having the strongest impact, especially with new faces dotting the lineup. Those snaps are crucial to the team's synchronization. It doesn't address, however, the fact that they were still a dominant team last year with no preseason at all. But it could be a factor nonetheless. We'll see. Time's up.
It could be a lack of harmony or burgeoning dissatisfaction among the players. If that's happened to the dutiful above-and-beyond Patriots and they've suddenly become union-first clock punchers, it's probably lethal. Maybe a rotten apple is in the bushel. That's all it takes sometimes.
It could be coaching incompetence. McDaniels is taking a lot of heat. The OL coach so far seems a joke. Patricia's defense had been adequate; in Kansas City it was nonexistent.
It could be bad personnel, but there isn't enough of a turnover from last season to make so radical a difference as has been seen so far, or so you'd think.
It could just be a team going through a bad stretch. If that's all it is, Patriot fans can 'relax' (in the words of Aaron Rodgers). Their team will likely recover and compete as expected. They had a bad stretch 11 years ago to open the season. After dropping to 3-2, they won every game until Halloween a year later. It could happen again. But the odds of that bright a flash of lightning striking twice seem remote, do they not?
And then there's the personal side. Since Giselle showed up, Tom Brady hasn't played well in the big game yet. Yes, he's aging. But you can't help take note, especially with reports of her wanting him to stop playing. She may have great looks, but lots of girls have great looks. Not many have parlayed their features into a fortune. She's clearly no dope, and no shrinking violet either. If she really wants him out, it must be a distraction. Myra Kraft, popular among the players, passed away a couple of years ago. The team wore her initials on the unis. Could she have been so popular because players viewed her as a tempering influence on the Patriots' legendary tight-fistedness with money? It's certainly been even more of a media issue since her passing. The team that only spent wisely now doesn't seem to spend at all. Has a tight business model superseded a championship football model completely?
An unanswerable series of confluences and contradictions, that's what we've got. Not for long. Soon we'll have a very good idea of whether something's gone inextricably wrong. If it has, we'll be buried in hindsight which is, after all, usually the most accurate form of analysis. We're about to witness either the extension or the end of a dynasty, the likes of which we may not see again in today's volatile NFL.
Last week's game against the Oakland Raiders was set up as if the Patriots were supposed to just demolish a team that was about as bad as it could be. But it turned out that thought should've stayed on the paper it was written and not been allowed to seemingly seep into the mindset of the Patriots roster.
As with their win over the Vikings the week prior, the Patriots 16-9 win over the Raiders was good for the straight up win itself. But the way it came about was just frustrating as all hell.
The Raiders were giving up an average of 200 rushing yards per game coming into the game. The Patriots were coming off a game where they showed what they could do when the holes opened up for their ground game. But the inconsistent offensive line play fell far short of meeting expectations when the Patriots managed just 76 rushing yards for the game.
The O-line also didn't do Tom Brady any favors. He finished 24-37 for 234 yards and a TD. But he got sacked twice and got pressured all throughout the game.
The defense is where the game got saved in the end. Initially, they failed to stop the Raiders on their last drive of the game because the Raiders did score what would've been the game tying touchdown. But it got called back when the Raiders were flagged for holding. Of course the short run that tied the game should never have been possible. But the refs called an absolutely terrible pass interference call on Logan Ryan (pictured below). I watched the replay and if anything, it should've been OFFENSIVE pass interference. You can read about that particular call HERE.
The defense wasn't able to sack rookie QB Derek Carr but they were finally seal the victory when a Carr pass played "follow the bouncing ball" and landed in the hands of Vince Wilfork. The big man making that pick (see below) was the most positive aspect being talked about for the game, and for good reason. The team's offense is still a mess. Julian Edelman is the only receiver showing the ability to get open and catch the ball. The offensive line has yet to gel together and both protect Brady for an entire game AND get the run game some daylight.
The Patriots are 2-1 and back in a first place tie in the AFC East. But it has been a "beat with the ugly stick" kind of viewing experience and as the season progresses, things have got to get on a more even keel offensively or the lack of fluidity in their performance is going to come back and bite them both heavily and repeatedly on their ass.
Mass Maritime - Mass Maritime is a Division 3 school located roughly 10-15 minutes from where I live. A trio of my former players are on the team. Richie is a freshman and Cody is a sophomore still looking for playing time, E.J. is the team's star receiver. In the 42nd annual Admiral's Cup game last week, the Buccaneers beat Maine Maritime 26-20 in double overtime. E.J (pictured below) had 11 catches for 173 yards as the team evened their record at 1-1. The yardage total leaves him 141 yards from breaking the school receiving record. You can check out the team's webpage HERE.
E.J. caught 4 passes for 81 yards yesterday against Worcester State, but the team got beaten 48-14. They are now 1-2 on the season. Cody (pictured below 1st) saw his first action and caught his first college pass, an 11 yard completion. But he fumbled the ball away too. Richie (pictured below 2nd) saw his first action in the game. He had 20 yards on 7 rushes.
Boston College - The Eagles led by 7 points going into the fourth quarter against Colorado State yesterday afternoon, but gave up 10 unanswered points and lost 24-21. The winning score for the Rams came when Charles Lovett (the fifth option on the play) caught a 12 yard TD pass on a fourth down play (pictured below) with just 62 seconds left in the game, leaving little time for the Eagles to mount a long TD drive. The loss drops them to 3-2.
The loss wasted a fantastic performance by running back Jon Hilliman (pictured below). He ran for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns on the day.
QB Tyler Murphy completed 60 percent of his passes but managed just 169 yards. He got sacked once and picked off another time. He ran for 79 yards and a score as well.
BC fumbled the ball three times but didn't lose any of them. But the coaching staff can't have been happy to watch the players bobble the ball instead of keeping it secure.
BC's defense sacked Rams QB twice and picked him off twice but the secondary still gave up 270 passing yards and two touchdown passes to him. The defense also got touched for 154 rushing yards.
Here's the highlights from the game:
Not only did I lose in both leagues last week, I got stomped so bad that I was on the wrong end of the league's "Blowout of the Week" score. Yes, I did very badly and I think that's enough about the butt whipping I took.
While I agree that the fever pitch overkill about the impending retirement of Derek Jeter is annoying, I am not among those who rabidly hate the guy. I appreciate what he's meant to the game. Sure it stinks that he's a damn Yankee, but give a guy his due.
And while he is doing the DH thing in Boston, you have to admit that he sure went out in about as perfect a way as possible in his final home game the other night. A game winning hit in his final Yankee Stadium at bat? Scriptwriters couldn't have done it better. And it was nice to see him so excitedly emotional over said hit.
This week I don't have a blog link from Katie Smith but instead there was an article about the start of her coaching career on the Scout.com Ohio State site. You can check out the article HERE.
The Celtics traded away Keith Bogans late in the week and got back...well really nothing of consequence. Despite assurances of making a splash in the free agent market this summer, the Celtics have done nothing to truly improve the team back to a playoff contender. The trade of Bogans was getting rid of a relatively quiet but still obvious malcontent. You can read the details about the trade in this article.
I think the biggest part of the trade was the fact that the players the Celtics got in return caused the team to waive both Chris Johnson and Chris Babb. The two players finished the season with Boston last year but since they didn't have guaranteed contracts for this season, they were expendable. I feel particularly bummed about Johnson's departure because he made such an impression last year with his hustle. He'd been signed to a 10 day contract and then a second one. But when it came time to make a decision on whether to keep him for the rest of the year, the Celtics kept him around because he went full-tilt all the time.
Of course, heading into training camp, Boston STILL has 16 players with guaranteed contracts on the roster. That's obviously going to change because they can't carry that many players on the team. The roster is going to be changing more than a bit and while I try to be optimistic about the team, I just don't see how they are going to be much better than the 25-57 record they had last season.
And that was before the news on Friday that Rajon Rondo, the only "star" on the team, is out at least 6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left hand for a broken finger. The injury occurred at home and leaves the Celtics with rookie Marcus Smart and veteran Avery Bradley as their point guard options until Rondo's return. You can read more about the injury in this article.
Bradley is a good, if oft-injured, player but he's definitely more suited to be the "2" guard and it is his defense where he's made his rep thus far. When he's been at the point in the past he's been okay but is clearly second fiddle to Rondo's ability to run the team.
And if you want to make the situation with Rondo even worse to think about...he's in the last year of a five year deal. He has said that he wants to stay in Boston. But given comments made by the team owner and the frustration the front office has in dealing with Rondo's mercurial nature, you have to wonder if either side is truly going to meet at the negotiating table. And wouldn't that be a disaster? The only marketable and superstar player on the team and he leaves via free agency?
I think if the Celtics (more like WHEN) fall out of playoff contention early, the team will start talking to Rondo early about signing a new deal to avoid the hassle of free agency or they will make a deal with a contending team before the end of the season and trade him away. At least that way, they'd get something for him instead of being the jilted groom left holding nothing at the altar.
WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Boston College - The BC women had their annual photo shoot this week for their upcoming 2014-2015 season. You can check out some of the photos from photographer John Quackenbos below.
There was also a behind the scenes video from the photo shoot that was put up online. You can check it out below.
This week I was checking out the team roster page on their website and saw that two players from last year's team are no longer on the team. Kami Mickens transferred to Trinity Valley Community College. Amber Cooper's name is gone from the roster but I can't find anything to say where she is now.
And of course, I didn't know any of this information until I found it myself via other sources because Boston College never seems to announce transfers. It makes it kind of annoying when months later you find out people have left the program.
South Carolina - You can check out an article about head coach Dawn Staley's work with the USA Basketball women's team HERE.
With all the hue and cry about the domestic violence going on in the NFL, can someone please tell me how the women's national team goalie Hope Solo is still playing for her Seattle pro team when she's charged with the same thing. She is charged with assaulting her sister and her nephew and yet no one has said a word about it until just recently?
And the powers that be in the US Soccer governing body are being a bunch of mealy-mouthed weasels about things.
Look, I have no problem with the NFL players being suspended while their legal situations are resolved, but the blatant double standard being applied to Hope Solo needs to end.
Wareham Girls Soccer - The team lost three more games this week. They lost to Case 4-0, Apponequet 7-0 and GNB Voc-Tech 3-1. They are 0-9 on the season and have lost at lead 45 games in a row. The JV team lost to Apponequet 6-0 and the mother of one player told me it was just awful. But on the plus side, she did tell me that her daughter is being trained for the upcoming hoops season by a men's college basketball coach from the area. This makes me very happy because I've long admired the girl's basketball talent and have wished she would do more to improve and refine her skills.
Upper Cape Girls Soccer - After losing to Bristol-Plymouth 4-2 and Pope John Paul II High 2-1, the Rams are 2-5-1 on the season.
Wareham Girls Field Hockey - The team lost 6-0 to Seekonk and then closed out their week with a 2-0 loss to Fairhaven.
Wareham Football - The Vikings football team got thoroughly dominated by Dighton-Rehoboth and lost 35-0.
Wareham Girls Volleyball - The team had been 3-3 but after losing three matches this week, they've lost a total of four in row to fall to 3-7. They lost 3 sets to none to Case, Apponequet and GNB Voc-Tech. If they have any hope for the playoffs, they will have to figure things out pretty much immediately and start winning matches again.
Wareham Athletic Hall of Fame - When the school announced this year's class of inductees, I was a little amused to see that I had worked for Frank (1940's) and coached Patrick (1990's). Congratulations to both of them.
A former player of mine named Brent died a few months back. It was due to a drug overdose. He played for me for one season and while he didn't have much in the way of hoops talent, his sole basket of the season came during the championship game that we won. His mother is taking his death and turning into a new purpose to help others. The story was featured in one of the local weekly papers this week. You can check it out HERE.
Books - This week I was able to finish the Lorna Barrett mystery novel Sentenced to Death. Unfortunately, I found it a bit of a slog to get through. It just wasn't all that entertaining a story.
But the disappointment in that book didn't stop me from picking up four new books to read.
I picked up the Iris Johansen thriller Live To See Tomorrow, the Joan Hess mystery Murder as a Second Language and the science fiction anthology set in David Weber's Honorverse world. The book is called Beginnings - World of Honor #6. It features a story by Weber himself as well as three other writers.
The fourth book that I picked up was the new Archer Mayor hardcover called Proof Positive. It is the latest in his Joe Gunther series. I don't want to come across as too maudlin, but reading this series is a way for me to kind of / sort of stay close to my late father. The series is set in Vermont and my dad was from there. He was also a HUGE fan of the author's. I had gotten him the Mayor book St. Alban's Fire the Christmas before he died but he never got a chance to read it. He gave the Mayor books to a neighbor but I refused to give that one to them until it had been read. I found the book highly enjoyable and have been reading the author since. I even attended a talk he gave here in my town. So I'll be looking forward to reading this one and think of my dad while doing so. You can check out the author at ArcherMayor.com
Music - I picked up a couple new CDs this week. Blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa released his new album Different Shades of Blue while John Mellencamp's Plain Spoken was also on the new release rack. The first song released from both CDs were really quite good and I wanted to check out the whole disc so I could do a review in the future.
TV - The fall TV season has gotten underway. I liked the new shows Scorpion, NCIS: New Orleans, Forever so far. I hated Selfie and The Mysteries of Laura (which is just awful). Shows like Red Band Society surprised while Madam Secretary was merely adequate. As for returning shows, I thought The Blacklist and NCIS were really good in their premieres. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was decent too. I'm still looking forward to checking out the first episode of Gotham and the return of Sleepy Hollow.
New England Patriots - Now I know that the annihilation of the Minnesota Vikings by the Patriots came while the best player on the Vikings (Adrian Peterson) was banned from the game by the team, but a 30-7 victory no matter how it comes is always a good thing. In that respect I'm very pleased with the result. But given that the offense is still mostly out of sync, there is definitely cause for concern.
According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, 34 of the 50 points the Patriots have scored through two games have come after the defense has forced a turnover. And the defense most definitely played a huge role in the game against the Vikings. They grabbed four interceptions off of the arm of Vikings QB Matt Cassel (including the one seen below by Logan Ryan).
The defense also forced a fumble while sacking Cassel (see below) six times.
The defensive line shut down the Vikings run game to just 54 yards.
After a lackluster to poor showing in the first game, the offensive line did a much better job of protecting Tom Brady (gave up one sack) and opening up holes for the run game. Unfortunately for Brady, with the offense unable to fire on all cylinders, he was just 15-22 for 149 yards and a TD (to Julian Edelman, see below). While the win is the thing, given Brady's desire, the fact "his" offense isn't lighting things up at the start of the season has to be galling to him.
Stevan Ridley (see below) had a good day, leading the team in rushing with 101 yards and a touchdown.
The biggest problem for the Patriots is not the offense though. Rather it is the team's impression of the Oakland Raiders. Against Minnesota, they got called for 15 penalties. This includes lineman Nate Solder somehow managing to get called for 3 penalties total on back to back plays. Bill Belichick doesn't like his teams to get even one penalty so fifteen yellow flags no doubt caused a lot of sleepless nights leading up to today's game as the coaching staff figures out how to get the players to stop shooting themselves in the foot.
Cincinnati Bengals - While most of the headlines the last couple of weeks have involved players getting into a bunch of legal trouble, there have actually been some good stories coming out of the league. The best one has to be the story of Devon Still and how the Bengals have helped him deal with his daughter's cancer diagnosis. You can read the article HERE.
BYU - The school announced they will retire Jim McMahon's #9 in a ceremony on October 3rd. I was a big fan of his when he was with the Chicago Bears and I'm happy to see him getting this honor. I know that he's not the guy he once was due to the cumulative effect of his injuries from playing the game but I remain a fan. You can read more on the ceremony and how he completed the course work necessary to finally graduate from BYU HERE.
Florida State - If you needed even further proof that FSU quarterback Jameis Winston is a complete and utter freaking moron with no common sense whatsoever, you should check out this article and have his idiocy confirmed. And if your Heisman Trophy winning QB who has had to dodge shoplifting and a rape investigation already, manages to get into trouble for spouting off a phrase that is likely considered offensive by many who heard it, how does the head of the football program react?
The school originally suspended him for the first half of this weekend's game against Clemson. But late Friday night came the announcement that Winston would be suspended for the entire game. Call me suspicious but I think his benching for the whole game has more to do with the uproar surrounding what he said rather than the statement the school put out that read in part: "Based upon the results of the continuing investigation of Tuesday's incident involving Jameis Winston, we have decided to not play him for the entire game against Clemson on Saturday night."
Additional reporting in this article has the suspension being extended for the whole game after the school's administration discovered Winston hadn't been entirely truthful with them. I would guess you could read that as they found out he outright lied to them.
At this rate, when Winston kills a family of five while out drunk driving, he'll smile for the cameras, pretend that he's sorry, and get drafted in the first round of the NFL. The guy is a ticking time bomb and people should run as far away from him as possible.
Some people might say that this is a major overreaction to a college student acting like a college student. And if it wasn't the Heisman trophy winning starting QB of a major college football team, they'd probably be right. But with the history that Winston has, he has no margin of error and has to wake up, smell the coffee and start acting like an adult and not a bad imitation of any number of characters you could name from the movie Animal House.
Alabama - Last Week: The Crimson Tide rolled to a 3-0 record with their 52-12 shellacking of Southern Mississippi. Bama outgained Southern Miss 547-263, including a 333-56 edge in the rushing attack. Kenyan Drake scored 3 touchdowns on the day. Amari Cooper (pictured below) was the prime target in the passing game for the Tide. He finished with 8 catches for 135 yards and score.
QB Blake Sims (pictured below) was 12-17 for 168 yards and 2 TDs. He also ran for 46 yards and TD.
It is funny that Alabama is 3-0 and yet if you read everything online and listen to the talking heads, they aren't in consideration for the 4 playoff spots. The strength of schedule arguments are definitely going to be used to hurt Bama's chances to get into the playoff.
This Week: The Crimson Tide played host to Florida yesterday and almost in spite of themselves came away with a resounding 42-21 victory. But I can't imagine Nick Saban is going to be overly happy about the win when there is so much that went wrong that he can obsess over.
In the first half, Alabama had 3 fumbles lost and it helped Florida hold a 14-7 lead at one point. The Bama players just couldn't seem to hang on to the ball. And you can add in an interception for a total of four turnovers for the Tide. When you factor in 11 penalties for 80 yards, I'm amazed Saban didn't just lose his mind right there on the sideline.
In between some rather large mistakes though, Alabama did at times manage to look rather amazing. Blake Sims had a pretty good day for himself. He was 23-33 for 445 yards (2nd most in school history) and 4 touchdowns. Two of those scoring strikes were huge plays dialed up by offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and they were beauties. Sims (pictured below 1st) hit running back Kenyan Drake for an 87 yard TD score and then followed that up with a 79 yard pass to Amari Cooper. Cooper (pictured below 2nd) was so wide open on the play, I think the closest defender was at least 20 yards away. He finished the game with 10 receptions for 201 yards and a total of 3 touchdowns.
Derrick Henry led the rushing attack with 111 yards and a TD run.
The defense for Bama held the Gators to just 200 total yards of offense and had 2 interceptions. And while practice this coming week is likely to strongly reinforce the no turnovers, no penalties aspect of the game, it is nice to see Alabama at 4-0.
Boston College - LAST WEEK - Last Saturday, I was on a date while the BC Eagles played on national television against #9 USC. Let's be honest, there's very few people who can truly say they expected to see the Eagles up 20-17 at the half. Especially since they started the game down 10-0. But even fewer could've kept a straight face if they told you they foresaw the Eagles upsetting the Trojans 37-31.
I got to see the end of the game and I'll tell you, it was just so thrilling to see Alumni Stadium filled, the place rocking and the fans storming the field after the game was over. BC is probably always going to see their football team fall under the "Just Another Program" designation in the world of college football but it is always extremely satisfying when they rise up to knock the premiere programs off their perch once in a while.
The school honored 9/11 hero and alumnus Welles Crowther at the game and some of that emotion must've rubbed off on the team. After getting whipped by Pittsburgh last week, the Eagles just dominated USC. Yes the score was close but make no mistake, Boston College owned this game.
It was the offensive and defensive lines that shined brightly in the game. The defensive line held USC to just 20 rushing yards on the night.
And while the secondary gave up 317 passing yards and four TDs to Trojan QB Cody Kessler, it wasn't enough to offset the defense sacking him 5 times.
As for the offensive line, they steamrolled the USC defense and opened up holes all game long. The BC rushers hit those holes and racked up 452 net yards. For those keeping score, that's 452-20 in rushing yards! And if that wasn't enough, Myles Willis, Sherman Allston and John Hilliman (pictured below) along with QB Tyler Murphy racked up 5 TDs on the ground as well.
Speaking of Murphy (pictured below), he didn't have an especially good night throwing the ball. And while he didn't HAVE to do so, I think people are going to expect a bit more than 5-13 for 54 yards with a sack and an INT if BC wants to return to a bowl this year. But on this night, he tossed in a career high 191 rushing yards and all was mostly forgiven (until the first practice after the game, I'm sure).
The surprising win and the effectiveness of the Eagles in the game caught the eye of the ACC because Murphy was named Offensive Back of the Week while Andy Gallick (Offensive Lineman of the Week) and Josh Keyes (Linebacker of the Week) also picked up awards. You can learn more about Gallick (pictured below) HERE.
By the way, if you want to learn more about who Welles Crowther was and why he is a hero of 9/11, you can check out this ESPN Outside the Lines video. I saw it when it premiered on the network and it was pretty amazing.
One final note about the BC Eagles focuses on Barry Gallup. You can learn more about why he is called "The Heart of BC Football" HERE.
THIS WEEK - Fear of a letdown after the emotional win by BC over USC was put to rest relatively early in the game. While Maine scored first to take a 7-0 lead (their first touchdown against BC since 1915 according to one recap article I read), BC just steamrolled the Black Bears on their way to a 40-10 victory. BC improves to 3-1 on the season.
QB Tyler Murphy (pictured below) was leading the nation's quarterbacks with 401 rushing yards coming into the game and he added 99 more yards to that total. He ran for two touchdowns including a big 71 yard scamper. In the passing game he was 11-18 for 130 yards with an interception. He hit Josh Bordner for a 48 yard TD pass.
Once again the rushing attack was the big story of the BC offense. Marcus Outlow led the run game with 107 rushing yards, but it was John Hilliman that really stood out. He had career highs in carries (21) and yards (98) with two touchdowns. In all, BC had 413 rushing yards to help give them a 513-139 edge in total yards.
The BC defense had 2 interceptions and once again stymied their opponent's run game. Maine managed just 16 total yards on the ground because the BC defense (pictured below) just swarmed any runner that carried the ball.
You can see highlights of the game below.
USA Basketball found itself in a bit of a brouhaha this week when an article by Yahoo Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski called out coach Mike Kryzewski for using his position as the national team coach as an unfair recruiting advantage in his "real" job coaching at Duke. Here's that article.
The article prompted Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim (an assistant on the national team) to speak out in defense of Coach K. And on Thursday, Kryzewski himself addressed the situation himself. Click HERE for that story.
I think it is a bit of BS to think being the national team coach is an unfair advantage in the college basketball recruiting wars. It is likely AN advantage, but not an unfair one. Particularly when you consider that Coach K (as Tony Kornheiser said Thursday on ESPN's Pardon The Interruption) can walk into any recruit's living room and say "I've got four national championships, what's your guy got?" And he doesn't even have to bring up the national team to do that. Those titles are just his Duke titles.
New York Liberty assistant coach Katie Smith has posted her second blog where she talks about her downtime. You can check it out HERE.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Do you remember that 1983 TV movie starring Helen Hunt called Quarterback Princess? She played a girl that went out for her high school team as a quarterback and along the way also ended up as the homecoming queen.
Well this week we have another story along those lines. She's a kicker instead of a QB but 17 year old Mary Kate Smith of Mississippi will be crowned homecoming queen and then turn right around to suit up for the football game. You can read about her in this article.
As for the area teams I follow:
Wareham Girls Varsity Soccer - The team lost to Seekonk 8-0 and to Bourne 7-0 to fall to 0-6. They have now lost 42 games in a row. The JV didn't do any better against Bourne. They also lost 7-0.
Upper Cape Girls Soccer - The Rams picked up a 6-0 win over Old Colony, but on Friday night they lost to Norfolk Aggie 5-2. They are 2-3-1 (1-1 in conference) so far this season.
Upper Cape JV Football - The Rams lost to Diman Regional 20-12 to drop to 0-2 on the season.
Wareham Boys Soccer - The boys team dropped games to Seekonk and Bourne by identical 7-0 scores.
Wareham Field Hockey - The girls picked up their first win of the season with a 3-0 win over Case, but closed out their week with a 6-0 loss to ORR to stand at 1-6 on the season.
Wareham Varsity Football - Despite building an 18-0 lead over Seekonk in the second quarter, the Vikings suffered a heartbreaking defeat when the Warriors scored the winning touchdown with 4 seconds left in the game. After building that early lead, Wareham went down 21-18 but scored with to take the lead with 26 seconds left in the game. But two quick long completions by Seekonk stole the game out from under the Vikings.
Five lost fumbles in the game didn't help Wareham either. My ex-player Josh had a great first half as he racked up 103 yards including a 28 yard TD run on offense. He also had 2 sacks on the defensive side of the ball. But in the second half, he was held to just 1 yard on 10 carries as well as a 13 yard reception on the final Wareham drive.
Wareham falls to 0-2 on the season.
Wareham Girls Volleyball - After beating Seekonk 3-2, the Vikings dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker to Bourne. They are 3-4 on the season now. Against Seekonk, Rae-Lyn had 7 kills and 13 digs. In the loss to Bourne she had 8 kills, 17 digs and 8 service aces. Meanwhile, Erica had 5 kills and 12 digs in the Bourne match.
They had a nice bit of coverage in the local paper this week including some more photos from their earlier match this season against GNB Voc-Tech. Rae-Lyn and Erica were featured in a number of shots and here are a couple of them. (All the volleyball photos here are by the Wareham Courier's Adam K. Ellis.)
And this one of her killing the ball was on the front page of the Wareham Courier this week:
I was fully expecting to lose both leagues I'm in during Week 2, but for a change I have to be thankful to a Philadelphia team. The Eagles got a come from behind victory on Monday night and it was thanks to the Foles (Nick) and Sproles (Darren) show. And as luck would have it, I have both of them on one of my teams and picked up a come from behind victory of my own. So once again I split the two leagues.
In last week's column I made mention of the resignation of manager Ron Washington and how I hoped it wasn't due to drugs since he'd been caught using them before. On Thursday it was sort of revealed by Washington that he cheated on his wife. I say sort of because he didn't come out fully and say so but what little he did say seemed to point in that direction. You can check out this article for more.
I made mention earlier in the column that I was out on a date while Boston College was on TV. My girlfriend Julie and I went out to dinner at this restaurant neither of us had eaten at before called Matt's Blackboard. Our meals were really good and we look forward to going back there again soon. The second half of the date ended up being some time at the lanes.
Yes readers, I went BOWLING! Previously, I'd only been bowling once and I was so bad at it that the 5 year old boy in the lane next to me had a better score. This time around it was the small ball (candlepin) type of bowling and while I won't be joining the PBA anytime soon, it ended up being an enjoyable time for the both of us. We rolled three games, and laughed at ourselves when we threw a gutterball, and heckled ourselves when we failed to convert on that one last pin left standing.
But as I said, we had a good time and we'll probably do it again. Oh and yes, we had to do the whole rented shoes thing. Want proof?
Music - The fact that I prefer my music to come in physical form (a CD) instead of digital is something I usually get called a stick in mud for. But it appears Japan is kind of like me, they prefer the CD to digital. You can read more HERE.
The new Robert Plant CD lullaby and...The Ceasless Roar came last week and I added it to my pile of new music to listen to and review at some point.
In the meantime however, you can check out a CD review I was able to do up for the latest disc from the progressive rockers Uriah Heep. The album is called Outsider and I think it is one of the better albums I've heard this year. The review can be read in full via this Pop-topia.com link.
Comic Books - A couple of comics came out last week that I wanted to make mention of. DC Comics released the collected edition Showcase Presents: Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew. Yes it is a funny animals type of book with humor and puns, etc. But it is also one of my most fondly remembered series from the 1980's. When I saw that the book had been schedule to come out, I knew I was going to buy it.
The other comic I wanted to mention is the first issue in the new series called Copperhead. The selling point of the book is "Deadwood in Space". It doesn't quite do justice to the rather superb opening installment. Writer Jay Faerber has usually managed to entertain me in the past on books like Teen Titans, Noble Causes, Dynamo 5 and Firebirds so I was really happy to see he was the creator on this book. And one of the main characters has the best name of the year in comics: Budroxifinicus!
Conventions - I was already looking forward to going to this year's Rhode Island Comic-Con. They had scheduled guests I wanted to see/meet like Walter Koenig (Star Trek/Babylon 5), Mark Sheppard (Firefly/Doctor Who) and Colin Baker (The 6th Doctor on Doctor Who). But this week brought the announcement of Gigi Edgley (Farscape) and I'm pretty much over the moon about the possibility of meeting her!
TV - While a few shows for the new fall season have already started, the real start to the new season gets into full swing starting later tonight. CBS has the new show Madam Secretary and the returning series The Good Wife that will draw my eyeballs tonight.
This week saw the release of the sixth season of Castle on DVD. Being a huge fan of the show, I ordered it promptly and it arrived in my mailbox on Friday. Whoo Hoo! Even more exciting is the fact that I've gotten Julie into watching the show and after the first four episodes she loves it.
Movies - Despite the company effectively going out of business, did you know that there are actually still some Blockbuster stores still in operation? They might be kind of "In Name Only" stores, but this story was pretty interesting.
The official trailer for The Hunger Games - Mockingjay Part 1 has been released and you can check it out below.
While still stuck without my own personal computer... (So yes, my "up to date-ness" ends on Saturday morning before this week's college football games kick off.)
Don't forget that you can follow me on Twitter - @TheOneTrueJay
New England Patriots - I watched most of the Patriots game last Sunday. But with the team up 17-7, I fell asleep. And that's when the Dolphins decided to wake up. Despite missing 3 of their starting linebackers, the defense just killed the New England offense after going down by that 10 point margin.
I woke up when it was 20-20 and wished I was still asleep as the Dolphins went on to win 33-20 and hand the Patriots their first opening day loss in 11 years.
My buddy Brian (a big Dolphins fan) had to be ecstatic watching the defense manhandle the Patriots offensive line. The Pats managed just 89 rushing yards and sacked Tom Brady four times.
Brady threw for 249 years and a TD, but after going up 17-7, it seems he was on the run for the rest of the game.
After all the preseason talk of how different the defense looked and played, it was more of the same because the defensive line couldn't stuff any holes and the Dolphins run game took advantage with 191 rushing yards. Knowshon Moreno was practically unstoppable with 134 of those yards.
This can't be what Bill Belichick planned for, but this game showed that the Patriots aren't quite ready for primetime yet. It also demonstrated AGAIN, that the preseason doesn't mean a darn thing.
Baltimore Ravens - Video footage from inside the elevator that now former Ravens running back Ray Rice beat the crap out of his fiancee (now wife) surfaced this past week and as soon as it got out (TMZ gets another "scoop"), the Ravens terminated Rice's contract and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.
I have strong feelings about domestic violence, let that be clear. But for me, despite the reported ugliness of the new footage (I refuse to watch and help TMZ make more of a name for themselves), I have to wonder why the NFL didn't kick Rice to the curb the first time around. He certainly deserved it.
Suspending and firing him at this point seems like they are punishing him twice for the same infraction. And on that point alone I'm a little annoyed at the NFL.
Ray Rice is certainly a scumbag, the video definitely confirms that I'm told. But the league punished him once. However ridiculously bad they handled it the first time around, I can't imagine the player's union isn't going to raise a stink on general principle for a player being punished twice.
Minnesota Vikings - It isn't a good time to be Adrian Peterson. Last week reports surfaced that he reportedly told Cowboys owner Jerry Jones that he wanted to play for Dallas. That could not have endeared him to the Vikings ownership, coaches and other players. And the fan base was likely enraged.
And then on Friday, news broke that he had been charged with child abuse in Texas for using a switch to spank one of his sons. SAY WHAT?
DUDE! How goddamn stupid are you? You used a switch on your son? Have you conveniently forgotten that just last year a son you didn't even know you had was beaten to death by your baby mama's boyfriend? I'm all for discipline but let's get serious here, using a switch may have been a time honored idiotic tradition back in the day but in the here and now, that crap just ain't gonna fly with law enforcement. Oh by the way, the guy who killed that son of yours goes on trial for second degree murder next month. MORON!
For those fantasy football people that have Adrian Peterson on their teams, better make adjustments to your roster, the Vikings have benched him for today's game against the Patriots.
I actually managed to split my two leagues during Week 1. I really have no confidence in my lineups so getting even 1 win was pretty sweet. Of course, I'm favored to lose in both leagues this week so I might be writing with a "woe is me" vibe next week.
MIRACLE ON ICE USA HOCKEY TEAM NEWS
Just a bit of sad news...Bob Suter, one of the players on the 1980 Lake Placid hockey team that stunned the world by beating the Russians, passed away this week. He was 57 years old. He was a scout for the Minnesota Wild (and father to one of their players, Ryan Suter) as well as a youth hockey figure.
He's the first of the players from that team to pass away. You can read more about his life here.
Alabama - The Crimson Tide once again dominated their opponent last week. But it didn't help them keep their #2 ranking.
Despite beating Florida Atlantic University 41-0, the Tide dropped to #3 in the rankings after voters/computers factored in the strength of schedule angle in the Oregon-Michigan State game. Oregon won that game going away and they vaulted up to #2.
As for the FAU game, the Bama defense gave up just 145 yards in total offense (57 rush, 88 pass) and had 3 sacks.
Given that the game was a blowout, both Blake Sims and Jake Coker saw time at QB. Sims threw for 214 yards and 2 TDS, while rushing for another. Coker had 202 passing yards and a TD. He got sacked once.
The team as a whole rushed for 204 yards, with Kenyan Drake leading the way with just 45 yards (with a TD run). Amari Cooper was the biggest offensive star as he racked up 189 yards receiving and caught a TD pass.
(I'll write about this week's Alabama home game vs. Southern Mississippi and the Boston College home game vs. USC next week.)
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Boston Red Sox - As if the season wasn't going badly enough for the Red Sox, second baseman Dustin Pedroia's season came to an early end when it was announced that he would be undergoing season ending surgery on his hand.
The Boston Herald had an interesting article that broke down all the injuries Pedroia has suffered in recent years and questions whether he'll ever be the same player he was before all the injuries.
Texas Rangers - The Texas Rangers were stunned a bit last week when manager Ron Washington resigned. The Rangers have been playing really badly this season, but Washington wasn't in danger of being fired after 1 down year.
While no specifics have been given, the resignation was termed by Washington as being done to deal with an "off the field personal matter."
The cynical SOB I am, the first thing I thought of was that he'd been caught using cocaine again. I really hope that isn't the case because it would be yet another sports related disappointment and at the rate they are coming these days, the sports pages might just as well be the front pages of a newspaper.
New York Mets - As if the simple fact of being the New York Mets and stinking to high heaven wasn't enough, now we have the story of team COO Jeff Wilpon being sued for discrimination by a female former team executive who became pregnant while unwed. Reading the story, apparently Wilpon acted like a total dick and is seemingly about to pay the price for it.
It makes me wonder just what is going through the minds of the "men" who run sports teams and or play the games. It is a different world these days, you bumbling Neanderthals!
The women's basketball schedule was released this past week and while they will play ten teams that made the NCAA tournament last year, I have to say I'm slightly disappointed with the slate of home games they'll have this year.
Since I can only attend Sunday games, I can't even think about seeing them play Duke this year. And then there are the teams I'd love to see them play but they are road games: Stanford, Hartford and Louisville.
I'm really psyched to see them play Notre Dame which is the biggest Sunday game on the home schedule, so I'll be getting tickets for that one. After that I don't know which games might strike my fancy. The remaining Sunday games (after the first of the year that is) feature Syracuse, North Carolina State, Florida State and Virginia Tech (which is the final regular season game of the season AND Senior Day.)
New York Liberty - Assistant coach Katie Smith has apparently decided to start writing a weekly blog on her website. The first installment breaks down some of her adjustments from being a player to becoming a coach. You can read it here.
Phoenix Mercury - Congratulations go out to the Mercury after they swept the Chicago Sky and clinched their third WNBA title since 2007.
Atlanta Hawks - It's been quite a week down in Atlanta hasn't it? First the majority owner Bruce Levenson announces he's selling his share of the team after an email he made with huge racial overtones was made public.
Well, I suppose owning up quickly to his rather stupid views is a point in his favor. And it saves NBA commissioner Adam Silver from having to deal with a Donald Sterling sequel to oust an owner clearly out of step with society at large.
And then on Friday it was announced that Hawks GM Danny Ferry was taking an indefinite leave of absence for his role and comments in the seemingly growing story. I don't know why he wasn't fired because he will never be accepted by the players and fans again.
And this brings up a question for me. Am I the only one in the world that was raised properly?
Where does all this hatred come from? I mean, I was always taught that you don't hate someone based on the color of their skin. I worked in youth basketball for 25 years and when I first started out, there was a knock on the league that only the black coaches won championships. Which was entirely BS even then, but I'd say winning 10 titles as a head coach (11 if you include the one I was an assistant coach for) put that lie to rest.
And why would anyone these days make such sweeping generalizations about players or a race of people? Maybe I've somehow managed to maintain a sense of naivety about race relations but I've yet to meet a person of another color that I've hated based solely that their skin wasn't as white as mine is? For cripe's sake, the man I considered my basketball mentor was a black man whose death from cancer devastated me.
Generally when I've disliked or yes even hated someone it is after I get to know them as a person, and it is based on their personality or attitude...NOT THEIR SKIN COLOR!
I'm a stick in the mud about some stuff in this world but I can't imagine the mindset of people who hate or discriminate against someone for reasons of their skin.
It seems that the powers that be running NBA ballclubs really need to either get with the times or get the hell out of the game. Or maybe it would be enough for them to simply grow the hell up!
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Wareham Girls Varsity Soccer - The team dropped a 2-0 match to Fairhaven on Monday to start off their week. They lost to ORR on Wednesday 6-0. Meanwhile, the JV team which has one of my former players (Gabby) on the team lost 5-0.
On Friday, the Vikings varsity managed to find the net but lost to Dighton-Rehoboth 6-2 for their 40th straight loss. Brianna had 8 saves in the game while Paige was cited in the paper for impressing with her play.
Wareham Boys Varsity Soccer - The Vikings fell to Dighton-Rehoboth 6-1 for their fourth straight loss to open the season. My ex-player Eoghan assisted on the team's only goal.
Wareham Girls Volleyball - The team dropped their match with Fairhaven by the score of 3 games to none. But the team got their first win on Wednesday night when they beat ORR 3 games to 2. They are now 1-3 on the season.
By the way, you can check out an article (with a couple of quotes from one of my ex-players Rae-Lyn) about the only boy playing on the WHS girls volleyball team here.
Friday's match against Dighton-Rehoboth saw the Vikings win 3 games to 1 to up their record to 2-3. Rae-Lyn had 6 digs, 18 kills and four aces in the match.
Wareham Girls Field Hockey - The team lost to Dighton-Rehoboth on Wednesday by the score of 7-0.
Upper Cape Tech JV Football - The team lost to Mashpee in their season opener but my girlfriend's son Connor said that he led the defense in tackles for the game.
Wareham Varsity Football - While the team has an off week this week, I wanted to make sure I included a photo of one of my ex-players from the opening game. Josh (#10) scored a TD in the game and is being looked upon to be one of the team's top offensive contributors.
By the way, to show you how far the Vikings might have to come this year, Bishop Stang (the team that beat them last week 42-26 last week) managed to somehow lose their second game on Friday night 46-2. And that is not a typo, they managed just TWO points against their second opponent after demolishing Wareham's defense the week before.
Movies - I saw the movie Draft Day this past week. It had a few relatively preposterous scenes but overall I actually liked it. The one problem the movie demonstrates so aptly is that the best possible GM candidates for the team are in Hollywood working as scriptwriters. The actual GMs the team has had over the years keep the fanbase in the eternal but fruitless hope that they will ever actually build a contender.
Books - This week's book purchase was the paperback edition of the Sara Paretsky mystery Critical Mass. It is the latest in her V.I. Warshawski series.
Music - I went out to see a cover band called Sound Tower last Saturday night with my girlfriend. The guy who owned the Rock Is Life.com site that I wrote reviews for in the past is the band's frontman but I'd never seen them live before. We stayed for two sets and I found it quite enjoyable. I really liked their cover of the Bad Company song "Can't Get Enough". You can check them out at http://www.soundtowerrocks.com
Here's a pic of me and Julie at the show:
You can check out the new Mr. Big song "The Monster In Me" here (Youtube Link).
Movies (Fan Films) - I'm a big fan of the show Firefly and the follow up movie Serenity. And this week brought a new fan film based in the same universe. The film is actually getting positive reviews online and I thought you all might like to check it out. You can see it HERE!