While chuckling at the pretty accurate description of me in the pic below...
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
The game may have lacked offensive explosiveness but after Tom Brady and the Patriots spent the first three quarters of the game suffering under the pressure of the San Diego Chargers defense, it was nice to see them get things going in the fourth quarter. The resiliency of the offense in that fourth quarter helped the Patriots come back and beat San Diego 23-14.
Brady (pictured below 1st) ended up with 317 passing yards for the game. He had 2 TD passes. While he was sacked one time, you can generally overlook that. What you can't overlook is how the one interception he threw (picked off by Manti T'eo, pictured below 2nd) was another one of those gawdawful-what-the-hell-was-he-thinking variety picks. He had nothing on the throw and if any Patriot player had caught that ball it would've been an early Christmas miracle.
Stephen Gostkowski kicked three field goals in the game while Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski supplied the touchdown scores. Edelman caught 8 passes for 141 yards including the career long 69 yard catch and run for the score (see below 1st). Gronkowski also caught 8 passes for 87 yards and his TD (see below 2nd).
The run game was once again relatively ineffective. That is, when the Patriots bothered to use it at all. They totaled just 87 yards on the ground for the game. Thankfully the Patriots defense stepped up big time. They held the Chargers to just 53 total rushing yards.
Akeem Ayers picked off Chargers QB Phillip Rivers. The "D" also sacked Rivers 4 times. Jamie Collins picked up 2 of those sacks while Rob Ninkovich (see below) had one.
The Patriots play the Dolphins today and with a win can wrap up the AFC East division. Despite their struggles with the Chargers, I think the win demonstrated that they can play a tough, tight game and come out on top when everyone is working together.
In other NFL news, Greg Bedard had a piece on TheMMQB.com about the New Orleans Saints and their lack of leadership and professionalism. You can check out the piece via this link.
For anyone worried about the career prospects for now ex-Florida coach Will Muschamp, I think you can hold off on the charity telethon for a bit. According to an article on SI.com, he's been hired as the new defensive coordinator at Auburn. He's the fourth guy to hold the job in the last five years.
Army-Navy Game - Despite a rather game effort from Army, the Navy came out on top in the Army-Navy game for the 13th straight year. Led by quarterback Keenan Reynolds (see below far right) the Midshipmen won 17-10. He had 1 passing TD and ran for another score with his 100 yards rushing.
Congratulations to the Midshipmen!
Bowl Games - The full list of this year's bowl matchups can be viewed HERE.
While I will be interested in the semi-final bowl games that lead to the matchup, particularly the Alabama-Ohio State game, there really isn't a whole heck of a lot of games that scream out for me to watch them. Sure, I'll probably watch a game here and there as I happen to come across them. But besides the title playoff games, the only game that instantly draws me in is the Boston College-Penn State matchup in the Pinstripe Bowl on December 27th (ESPN, 4:30 pm).
There are some games featuring teams that have a storyline that might interest some people though.
In the Las Vegas Bowl, will Colorado State rebound after being jilted by coach Jim McElwain for the Florida job?
The Independence Bowl has Miami and South Carolina. Both teams are a disappointing 6-6 going into the game and will be looking for any little kind of bright light to point to for this season, particularly South Carolina who started off the season with some very high hopes.
The Holiday Bowl features Nebraska, and you have to wonder how they'll play after firing Bo Pelini.
The Outback Bowl has Wisconsin which is a topic I'll address below.
Wisconsin - The coaching situation at Wisconsin took a weird turn this week. After just two years in charge, Gary Andersen stepped down as head coach in order to take the job at Oregon State. That's like going from the penthouse to the outhouse in terms of support and facilities. The move surprised everyone.
Rumors of Andersen's disatisfaction with pay packages for his assistants and unhappiness with the admissions policies in place at Wisconsin have popped up but there's been nothing confirmed.
The Badgers still have the Outback Bowl to play, so I think it is another example of a coach not finishing the job before leaving for the next one. As always that irks the hell out of me.
Stranger still is that Wisconsin AD (and former football coach) Barry Alvarez is going to coach the team during the bowl game. this is the second time in 3 years he's done this. The looming shadow of Alvarez was another rumor that popped up this week as well. My question about this move is why does Alvarez need to coach the team. You mean to tell me one of the coordinators, coaches who've actually been with the team all season long can't step up to coach the team on the 1 game interim basis? Alvarez was quoted saying that the seniors on the team asked him to coach the game. If that's true, is it an indictment of how the players feel about the leftover coaches or are they really that fond of Alvarez?
Meanwhile, on Friday came reports that the school will hire Pitt coach Paul Chryst (shown below) as their new coach sometime after December 17th. You can read more details about that HERE. He was the Badgers offensive coordinator from 2005-2011 so he does have good ties to the school. It would also seem that he understands how things work there too.
Whatever happens, after losing to coaches in the space of three years, the Badgers had better hope they get this hire right. Otherwise, people are really going to start asking questions if coaches keep leaving what is considered a high profile job for new posts that are clearly a step down.
A lot of the teams I root for played during the course of the week and don't have another game scheduled until later this afternoon. You can read what I had to say about those games that were played in my latest Mid Week College Basketball Update. Five of the six teams I've been writing about so far this season will play their next game this afternoon.
Boston College Men - The Eagles played Maine on Thursday night and ended up coming away with an 85-74 victory to improve to 5-3 on the season. Aaron Brown (shown below) led the team in scoring with 21 points.
The surprising contributions from Dennis Clifford (pic below) were a huge factor in powering Boston College to the win. While he's been working hard, his offense has been a work in progress. But against Maine, his struggles seemed to clear up as he poured in a career high 19 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. He also blocked 3 shots. If he can become a consistent offensive threat, it gives BC yet another scoring option and they become that much more dangerous.
Patrick Heckmann (shown below 1st) scored 13 points and had 4 steals, while Dimitri Batten finished with 12 points. Olivier Hanlan (shown below 2nd) had 10 points and 6 assists.
Looking at the box score, another component of the win was the Eagles outscoring Maine 30-8 in the points off turnovers category.
(all pics from BC game photo galleries)
Here's the video highlights:
You can read my latest Celtics Report blog post HERE.
For my take on the moves the Red Sox made to shore up their pitching rotation, you can checkout my blog post HERE.
When Bret Lawrie was traded from the Toronto Blue Jays, the reaction of one of his young fans set Youtube ablaze. It appears there was a somewhat happy ending to the story though. Read it HERE.
Former Chicago White Sox outfielder Mark Gilbert became the first ex-player to be named an ambassador for the United State. You can learn more about him HERE.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Check out this story on the Sports Illustrated High School Athlete of the Month for December, New Hampshire soccer player Kate Marshall.
Bristol-Plymouth Girls Varsity - B-P ended up losing to Diman Voke by 10 points (48-38) in their season opener. I was told they were ahead for much of the first half but had poor shooting and picked up lots of fouls.
Wareham Girls Varsity - I went to the third and final scrimmage for Wareham this past Wednesday. They were up against Upper Cape and while Wareham didn't look particularly good, they were a lot better than Upper Cape. They played four quarters and Wareham won two of them while tying the other two. When I first got to the gym, I dropped off some Boston College women's basketball tickets I picked up for one of my ex-players to her father. I also gave the father of another player the letter of recommendation his daughter asked me to write for her National Honor Society application thing.
In the scrimmage, Gabby drained a couple more three pointers. There's six girls on the varsity that I coached in the past. Gabby, Erica, Kali, Tieyanna, Brianna and Kiara.
The Vikings went on the road to play Bishop Stang in their season opener but fell flat, losing 56-29. Tieyanna led the Vikings with 12 points. But the team's poor shooting and 27 turnovers were key factors cited in their big loss. The starting five for Wareham featured 4 players that I had a hand in coaching at some point during their youth league days. Gabby had 3 points in the game, while Brianna had 2 points and Kali added 6.
By the way, here's a team candid photo I totally stole from Gabby's FB page.
Upper Cape Girls JV - It was a rough and tumble kind of game against South Shore Voke Tech. The game was full of uncalled physical play that should've resulted in lots of fouls (on both sides). But Upper Cape came away with a 27-8 victory to start their season off right. I've got two players on the team. Laurina started and served as captain. She was the point guard when she was in the game. She was 1-2 from the floor for 2 points. She forced a jump ball call, had an assist, an offensive rebound and a steal to go with 2 turnovers. Ann Marie started as well. She was 2-7 from the floor for 4 points. She missed two foul shots as well. She had an assist, 4 steals and a defensive rebound. She also committed 4 turnovers and a foul.
Upper Cape Girls Varsity - After watching Upper Cape scrimmage on Wednesday and look absolutely awful against Wareham, I had no idea what to expect. But since South Shore Voke Tech is not a good team, I guess the final score of 68-12 in favor of Upper Cape shouldn't have been much of a surprise. The game was a blowout from the start as the Rams were up 19-3 after the first quarter and just kept rolling.
It's actually hard to decipher how the team looked on a technical basis given they were playing a team so clearly inferior. But all the defensive lapses they had in the Wareham scrimmage were held to a minimum and the team worked together in passing the ball and getting it to the open player.
Michaela had an off game to start her season. She was 1-12 from the floor for 2 points. She had 4 steals and 2 rebounds to go with a turnover and a foul.
EX-PLAYER LEGAL NEWS
While all my ex-players still in high school are making a good showing for themselves by staying involved in athletics and not being arrested, there's news on a couple of my former players who have been IN court instead of ON one.
One of the four ex-players charged in connection with a murder here in town saw his charges reduced and got out on personal recognizance. I'm sure one can guess that he's making a deal and that's why he's suddenly out of prison. You can read more HERE.
Another of my ex-players, Eric, got arrested in connection with a robbery of a local restaurant. This is a new charge for him but he's no stranger to run-ins with the law. That story is HERE.
As always, I'm left shaking my head at the inherent stupidity these former players of mine continue to show in their decision making.
It's been 15 years since the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Hush" was broadcast. TVGuide.com ran an oral history article on the episode this week. You can check it out HERE.
Movies - I picked up Guardians of the Galaxy on DVD this week. I loved the movie in the theater and watching it again was a thrill ride. It will be featured on my Best of 2014 movie list that I will be writing up soon.
In the meantime, you can check out the Honest Trailer for the movie below, it is rather funny.
Grantland.com had an oral history article on the making of the film Boogie Nights. It is an entertaining and extremely long piece. You can check it out HERE.
Books - I finished reading the Janet Evanovich / Lee Goldberg novel The Chase this week. It's the second book in the Kate O'Hare / Nick Fox series that teams up an FBI agent with thief to take down other bad guys. While the premise is clearly something akin to the TV show White Collar, this has a bit more of an international thriller vibe (although retaining the more lighthearted feel of Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series).
I really enjoyed the book a lot this time around and can't wait for the third book The Job to make its way to paperback.
Comics - Free Comic Book Day is almost six months away, but the Gold Sponsor level books that will be available on the first Saturday in May 2015 have been announced. You can see the list HERE.
Music - The new U.D.O. album Decadent is due out in the US on February 3rd. The official video for the song has been released and you can see it below.
The new group Revolution Saints features Night Ranger bassist Jack Blades, ex-Whitesnake guitarist Doug Aldrich and Journey drummer Deen Castronovo. Their self-titled debut album is due out February 24th. But you can see the video for the song "Turn Back Time" below.
My 2015 Calendar - I know it is a bit old fashioned given how most people use the calendar feature on their phones nowadays, but I always use REAL calendars. Usually I grab one up from the local pizza place, or from Dunkin Donuts. Or I take one of the few that we get from my job. But this year, I picked up one for the TV show Firefly so I'll "Keep Flyin'" with them all year long.
While kind of irritated about some things I found out this week...
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In last week's column, I included a link to a story detailing the struggles of former Buffalo Bills player Darryl Talley. The story prompted a surge of support for Talley with money being raised to help him out. It culminated during the Bills' player introductions last Sunday as former star QB Jim Kelley showed his support by wearing Talley's jersey. You can read a brief article about it HERE.
Former Minnesota Vikings QB legend Fran Tarkenton had some interesting things to say about Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, PEDS and Robert Griffin III in this interview with Jenny Vrentas of TheMMQB.com
New England Patriots - The Patriots squared off against the Packers last Sunday night and despite an overall entertaining football game, came away with a 26-21 loss. there was a lot of talk about how this could be a preview of the Super Bowl. I really hope it isn't, at least in terms of how the Patriots played. I know it is only a five point loss so it isn't like the Patriots weren't in the game. But there were a lot of issues with the Patriots as the game progressed.
The running game was abandoned early by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and finished with just 84 yards on the ground total. This despite the fact that LeGarrette Blount ran for over 5 yards a carry when he got the ball. Brandon Bolden (shown below) added a nice 6 yard TD run though.
The Packers had their way with the Patriots defense for a majority of the game. It may not led to as many points as they wanted because the Patriots stiffened up as the Packers approached the red zone (particularly during the first half), but Green Bay rolled up 347 yards in total offense in the first half. They finished with 478 total yards to New England's 320. Aaron Rodgers threw for 282 yards in the first half (368 for the game). He also passed for two touchdowns.
The Patriots did rack up 3 sacks but otherwise seemed to have trouble generating a pass rush. Late in the first half, Aaron Rodgers actually had 12 seconds of perfect protection before having to throw the ball away. And the Patriots could not get off the field on third down with the Packers converting a ridiculous 10 of 17 3rd down opportunities.
It wasn't all bad news for the Patriots though, setting aside the loss I mean. Tom Brady threw for 245 yards and hit Brandon LaFell (see below) for 2 TDs. Julian Edelman caught 7 passes and Rob Gronkowski tallied 98 yards on his 7 catches.
Speaking of LaFell, anyone else notice that he's been developing into a vital cog in the Patriots offense? At the start of the season, he kicked things off much like Chad Johnson did during his year with the Patriots. He struggled, didn't seem in sync with Brady and was likely still trying to fully grasp the playbook. But unlike Johnson, LaFell turned the corner and has become a reliable threat for Brady and the team to use in the passing game.
You gotta love when hard work and effort start paying off!
As the season heads into conference title games and the countdown to finding out which bowls will get which teams, the silly season of coaching hirings and firings got into full swing with Nebraska, Florida and Michigan making the biggest news.
In Nebraska, they fired Bo Pelini after 7 years of at least 9 wins a season. Despite that success, the blowout losses and inability to contend much less win titles was enough to force the surly and prickly Pelini out of Lincoln. Barney Cotton will be the interim coach for the team's bowl game but the school wasted little time in hiring Pelini's replacement. Despite managing just a 5-7 record this year at Oregon State, Mike Riley is still considered a hot enough property that Nebraska lured him away from the Beavers. He has taken over immediately.
This last thing raises the spectre of a subject I have harped on before. And that is the notion of coaches finishing a job. I hate when coaches leave before a job is finished. For me that includes a bowl game appearance. Since the Beavers are ineligible this year, I have no truck with Riley. But I kind of dislike that Pelini wasn't allowed to coach HIS team for the bowl game. You could fire the guy after the bowl game, it isn't like his dismissal would've been much of a surprise.
Brady Hoke's firing at Michigan was pretty much a foregone conclusion as well. With the Wolverines not even close to a bowl game, they essentially just ran out the string on Hoke's four year tenure, fired him and then released a BS statement filled with as much malarkey as they could to make you wonder why they were firing him in the first place. The losing culture that was taking hold and failure to develop offensive players was a big reason why Big Blue is looking for a new coach. And the new AD has already stated that the school will not be using "A Michigan Man" as a measuring stick for candidates this time around.
Florida hired Colorado State coach Jim McElwain to be their new coach. It could very well be a great hire as McElwain is from the Nick Saban coaching tree and likes to use the Saban blueprint "The Process" to build his programs as well. Something tells me the SEC is going to be VERY interesting next season.
But what bugs me here is that not only did McElwain leave Colorado State in the lurch (a very Saban-like move, remember the Dolphins?) but he and Florida acted like CSU should just roll over and play dead for his desire to leave. In his contract, there was a 7.5 million dollar buyout clause. And instead of abiding to the terms of the contract, The McElwain-Florida Syndicate acted like they were trying to shake down CSU to pay less for him to get out of his deal.
For a while, Colorado State held firm to the terms of the clause but in the end they gave in a little. The buyout was whittled down to 5 million dollars. Florida will pay 3 million of that cost while McElwain will pay the remainder. And McElwain did himself no favors in the eyes of his Rams players while all this was going on. Their focus should've been on preparing for the bowl game they'll be playing and instead they had to watch the coach who preached at them about accountability whore himself out for a better offer. As if Florida couldn't have waited a month for a new coach, they've been waiting for a good one since Urban Meyer left.
Despite all that coaching news, the worst story to come out of college football this past week was that the University of Alabama-Birmingham shut down their football program in full. The team had their best season in years (6-6) and were bowl eligible. While they were likely going to be left out of a bowl game because there aren't enough slots for the qualified teams and they lose out in those unnavigable tiebreakers, even if they had been invited, the school wasn't going to send them.
I fully grasp the financial aspects of a losing football team being a drain on a school's coffers, so I understand the decision to shutter the program. But the way the decision was arrived at and then announced was a demonstration of how utterly gutless school officials and athletic administrators truly are. They left those players hung out to dry and despite public protestations to the opposite, did it in such a callous and unfeeling way that you have to wonder why any player would believe them ever again.
Alabama - The Crimson Tide simply rolled over Missouri during yesterday's SEC championship game, coming out with a 42-13 victory. The win pretty much guarantees Bama a spot in the college football playoff.
The Tigers got dominated in most every statistical category (save passing yards). Alabama outgained them 504-313, including a 242-41 edge in rushing yards.
Blake Sims (shown below) was 23-27 for 262 yards with two TD passes while setting the single season passing yardage record, passing A.J. McCarron.
Christion Jones caught one of those TD passes while DeAndrew White had 4 catches for 101 yards (including a 58 yard TD catch, shown below). Amari Cooper caught 12 passes on the game as well.
Derrick Henry (shown below) ran for a career high 141 yards and 2 scores. T.J. Yeldon added two TD runs of his own.
At 12-1, the SEC Champion Alabama Crimson Tide are sure to keep their #1 ranking in the playoff system when the new rankings come out.
There was some sad news this week as it seems the condition of Mount Saint Joseph's Lauren Hill has started to worsen. She signed up for hospice care this week. You can read this article for more details.
In good news, the tickets I ordered for the Boston College women's basketball games arrived in the mail yesterday. WHOO HOO!
For some recaps, photos and video of games played earlier this week, check out my Mid-Week College Basketball Round Up blog post.
Catholic University - While the Cardinals improved to 4-3 with their 75-69 victory over Moravian, Amber didn't see any court time in the game.
Missouri State - After starting the season 0-6, Missouri State picked up their first win of the season in their home opener. They knocked off SIU-Edwardsville 75-69. Lexi Hughes (pictured below) scored a career high 22 points to lead the team and Hillary Chvatal added 15 points and 10 boards. Kenzie Williams had 14 points, Aubrey Buckley hit for 11 points and NiJay Gaines finished with 10 points.
Boston College Men - The Eagles hosted the Providence College Friars on Friday night. My buddy Brian, the rabid PC alum and Friars season ticket holder, went to the game and probably went home very disappointed as the Eagles got a surprising 69-60 win. I had talked to Brian in the morning before the game and he was pretty confident that the Friars could win the game. I did tell him that the Eagles had three really good scorers on the team this year. We both agreed that it would be a close game though.
The game was tied at 34 at halftime. In the second half, the Eagles were tied at 40 when they went on a 7-0 run to take a 47-40 lead and never trailed again as they improved to 4-3. The Eagles outrebounded Providence 41-28.
Olivier Hanlan (shown below 1st) had a huge game with 24 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals (he also led the team with 5 turnovers). Aaron Brown (shown 2nd) added 16 points and 7 boards while Dimitri Batten scored 11 points.
(Photos from BC Game Photo Gallery)
You can see highlights of the game below.
Does a second straight week of going 1-1 in my fantasy leagues count as an improvement?
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Wareham Girls Varsity - I had time off from work on Friday afternoon and ended up attending the Wareham girls scrimmage vs. West Bridgewater. After looking over the schedule of games I want to attend this year, I saw that West Bridgewater would be a team I'd see three times during the season, so getting an early look at them was a good idea. And with the Wareham varsity team appearing to have 6 former players of mine on the roster, it was also a good idea to check them out.
Unfortunately, as you might expect for a first scrimmage, the quality of play from both teams was incredibly ragged. While there was some good sequences over the course of the scrimmage, for the most part it was some ugly basketball that exposed early season team building flaws on both sides.
For West Bridgewater, they are rebuilding after losing four seniors. The majority of their height is gone as well. For Wareham, they lost four seniors who accounted for the majority of their scoring. From what I saw, they only have two true ball handlers on the team and they had trouble finding Wareham's center during the game. Pass after pass got picked off or deflected.
One bright spot for me personally was seeing my ex-player Gabby knock down 4 out of 6 three pointers in the game. She's probably not going to start out the season as a starter on varsity but she did make the team and will see plenty of time.
Bristol-Plymouth Girls Varsity - I was informed earlier in the week by her mom that Savahna had made varsity. That part wasn't really a surprise given that she's a senior, but I was happily surprised to learn that Savahna was also picked as a tri-captain for the season. It is nice to see her dedication to playing getting some recognition. The team has a new coach this year so I'll be looking forward to seeing what the coaching change might bring about for the team's success and any potential individual success for Savahna.
Remember the buzz around Little League pitcher Mo'ne Davis this summer? She took her team to the Little League World Series and set the world on fire with her performance throughout the qualifying rounds and during her time in Williamsport. For her efforts, she's been named SIKids.com's Sports Kid of the Year. You can read more HERE.
As for youth sports news related to me, I ran into the new president of the youth basketball league here in town. It wasn't the guy they announced would be president. Instead it is Big Mack, the Alabama football fan I've written about briefly in the past (he gets great Alabama BBQ for Bama title game viewing parties). I joked with him, asking did he lose a bet and had to become president. He took the ribbing good naturedly and said that he wanted to get me back in the league. He added he wanted to get me back to running the website, coaching two teams, etc.
I laughed and said (for the umpteenth time, to the umpteenth person) that I was retired and not coming back. Undeterred Mack added he wanted to get me back for the 2015-2016 season (while also mentioning the petty infighting he has to deal with) and that I love coaching the kids.
While that may be true, as I wrote on my Facebook page, I just can't stomach the notion of re-entering the rat race particularly given that people I loathe are still involved with the league. I did my 25 years, and just don't have a desire to go back. It is too bad because I like Mack but I'm simply done. One person who responded on the page said that it was nice to be wanted and that it was too bad I didn't want to go back because I was a good coach and role model.
The columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and panelist on The Sports Reporters passed away this week after a short battle with cancer. I came across his writing via the columns he wrote for the USA Today. I also saw him numerous times on The Sports Reporters. I liked his work, though I really haven't kept up with him once he joined the Post-Dispatch and stopped writing for the USA Today. He had both a literary voice in his work and an ear catching speaking voice he employed so well as a panelist.
You can read more about his passing and see a tribute video from a couple of his colleagues HERE.
Pardon The Interruption host Michael Wilbon had a nice post on his Facebook page about Burwell's passing. Burwell's co-worker at the Post-Dispatch, Bernie Miklasz, penned a heartfelt column as well.
TV - This past week saw a two part crossover event between the shows The Flash and Arrow. Pop-topia.com recapped both episodes: The Flash V. Arrow and The Brave and the Bold. The midseason finale of The Flash is this coming Tuesday and the writer responsible for the episode recaps offers up some theories on the identity of the Reverse Flash, a character that will loom large in this week's episode.
Comics - As a huge fan of the Firefly / Serenity universe, I was very happy to see that the graphic novel collection of the recent comic book series Serenity: Leaves on the Wind had hit #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List. You can read about that HERE.
Music - As the year winds down, the Best of Lists for every conceivable topic will be coming out. I've got two best of music lists that will be out soon. My choices for rock and metal CDs of the year will be for KNAC.com where I am a contributor. The other list includes music genres amongst the rock and metal. That is for the Classic Rock Bottom message board where I'm one of the voting members for our year end awards as well. Those will all be out sometime in mid-December.
In the meantime, I've got a couple of CD reviews for you to check out. They were the last two remaining albums I had for the 2014 calendar year. You can check out what I had to say about Tesla's Simplicity album via this KNAC.com link. As for what I thought about the Joe Bonamassa CD Different Shades of Blue, here's the link to my Pop-topia.com review.
Some rare footage of the band Night Ranger was posted on Youtube this past week. It is from 1981 when they were still called Ranger. It's a nearly 25 minute concert performance. You can see it below.
While enjoying the last day of my 4 1/2 day weekend...
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter: @TheOneTrueJay
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Wareham Football - Despite being 1-9 going into the game with a mostly anemic-slash-pathetic offense, the Wareham Vikings had themselves a hell of a game on Thanksgiving Day against arch-rival Bourne. They rolled to a 44-8 victory to at least give a nice exclamation point to the rather awful season they had this year.
By the way, my former player Josh caught an 18 yard TD in the game, you can see a photo of the catch below. (Both photos by Adam K. Ellis of the Wareham Courier.)
Basketball - With the Thanksgiving holiday over, thoughts will now turn towards the high school basketball season. Tryouts are coming up once the kids head back to school. And it looks like I'll be going to 5 schools again this year after all.
There's the Wareham girls that have Gabby, Erica and Tieyanna (amongst others), the ORR JV team will have Jillian, the Sturgis East varsity will have Isabella, the Bristol-Plymouth varsity will have Savahna and the Upper Cape varsity will have Michaela plus the rest of the team that has become my adopted team to root for. The Upper Cape JV team will have at least one former player of mine (Ann Marie) plus the possibility of others.
I've already arranged to get out of work for a 1/2 day for the Upper Cape home opener so I can see both games.
And speaking of my ex-players, their talents extend further than the athletic courts and fields. Check out this video of Savahna performing the song "Titanium" at her school's talent show.
THE POLICE BLOTTER
Yet another of my former players has been arrested. This time it was for possession of pot, coke and for an unlicensed gun and ammunition. And he had nearly 1400 bucks on him when arrested. Hmmmm...wonder what he does for "work".
Just shaking my head at the stupidity.
And in the case of me being at least semi-evil, I also had myself a silent chuckle because the guy is the son of one of the people primarily responsible for kicking me out of the basketball league.
There's no Celtics Report blog post this week. I wrote about their 94-88 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers in another blog post earlier in the week. Other than the up and down nature of James Young's week with the Celtics and Maine Red Claws, there wasn't much going on with the Celtics this week until Friday's afternoon game against the Chicago Bulls.
The Celtics started out strong in the game holding an 11 point lead after the first quarter. They were up 6 at both half-time and at the end of the third quarter. But once again, Boston showed their inability to close out games when they were outscored 24-11 in the fourth as they lost 109-102. The loss drops them to 4-9.
In the fourth quarter, the Celtics shot just 5-26 from the floor.
Jared Sullinger (pictured below) scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Celtics. Avery Bradley added 18 points. Brandon Bass had 16 points and Evan Turner scored 13 points. Rajon Rondo scored 8 points and dished out 9 assists. He missed both foul shots he took in the game and is now shooting a pathetic 32% (9-28) from the line for the season.
The usual way the Celtics have been losing has been for either their offense or defense to fail them. But now this game shows that both parts of their game can let them down at the same time and when it does, the results are even less pretty than before. Talk about frustrating.
Boston College - In the Eagles regular season finale, there was a lot a stake. A win would bump them into position for a marginally better bowl slot. It was Senior Day at the Heights and the school was celebrating the 30th anniversary of the famed Flutie to Phelan Hail Mary pass against Miami. You don't want to lose on a day like that.
And the Eagles did what they needed to do as they carved out a 28-7 win that saw fireworks right from the very beginning. The opening kickoff was returned 95 yards for the score by Myles Willis. You can see the TD run below.
Quarterback Tyler Murphy (see below) ended up being named MVP of the game for throwing for 160 yards and a TD (he did get sacked three times). He ran for 20 more yards which gave him the new ACC single season rushing record (1079 yards) for a quarterback. He passed Clemson's Woodrow Dantzler's.
The passing TD was a 26 yard strike to Sherman Alston (see the catch below).
Boston College's defense did a remarkably good job at containing the Syracuse offense all afternoon. They held them to just 136 total yards while racking up 3 sacks and 2 interceptions.
As for the Eagles ground game, they accounted for two touchdowns on the day while they ground down the Orange defense. Jon Hilliman had a 7 yard TD run while Tyler Rouse (pictured below) led the individual rushing stat line with 59 yards, including a 42 yard TD scamper.
For the second straight year, the Eagles finish with a 7-5 regular season record (4-4 in ACC play). I'll be looking forward to seeing where they end up for a bowl game and hope that this season ends with a big win.
Coach Steve Addazio mentioned in the post game press conference that the next two weeks will see him and his staff out on the road recruiting. This is a good thing given the uncertainty surrounding next year's team. They'll be looking to replace QB Tyler Murphy for one thing and for that matter, you might end up seeing a need for a new coach if Addazio is snatched away by the open Florida Gators job.
You can check out all the highlights from the game in the video below.
Alabama - After what coach Nick Saban termed the "worst half of football we've played since I've been here", the Crimson Tide won a shootout in the second half to win the Iron Bowl over Auburn 55-44.
The first half saw Alabama with a 14-6 lead before Auburn's offense dialed up a number of big plays against the Bama defense and took a 26-21 lead going into the break. Bama QB Blake Sims was awful in the first half. He threw 3 interceptions in the first half (on 15 passes) and after the game it was revealed that he very nearly got pulled from the game.
But Saban stuck with Sims and that faith paid off when Sims ended up rallying Bama back. He finished with 20-27 for 312 yards and four TDs. He was sacked once to go along with those three picks. He also ran for a TD. (see below)
Alabama's defense got torched for a total of 630 yards, including 456 yards passing (with 3 TDs) from Auburn's Nick Marshall. They did sack him three times and picked him off once, but the videotape of this game is not going to be must see TV for the Bama defense.
Bama's run game tallied 227 yards on the ground. T.J. Yeldon (pictured 1st) had 127 of those yards and scored twice. Derrick Henry (pictured below 2nd) ran for 72 yards and a score.
Receiver Amari Cooper (pictured below) had a huge day. He caught 13 passes for an Iron Bowl record 224 yards and scored 3 TDs.
You can see video of those TD catches below.
DeAndrew White (pictured below) caught the other TD from Sims.
Alabama is now 11-1 for the season and despite giving up a ton of yardage and points, will almost certainly remain atop the playoff rankings when they come out this week. But it sure was a scary game watching Alabama flounder for much of the first half.
Mount St. Joseph's - Just a quick update on Lauren Hill. There has now been more tan $350,000 raised in her name for cancer research. Also, her high school team announced they were retiring her jersey. You can read more about that HERE.
Mount Ida - Breanna is another of my former players on a college roster. She isn't playing this season as she recovers from an injury but you can see a photo of her in uniform below. She's on the right in the picture.
Catholic University - Before heading off on Thanksgiving break, the Cardinals put a 76-45 beatdown on Bridgewater (Va.) to improve to 3-1 on the season. My ex-player Amber saw 7 minutes of playing time. She was 0-4 from the floor (including 0-1 from three point range), but had 2 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal while committing 1 foul.
Missouri State - The Lady Bears dropped to 0-4 with a 70-57 los to Oral Roberts University. Before the game freshman Liza Fruendt (pictured below) was named MVC Newcomer of the Week.
As for the game, Missouri State got 15 points and 5 boards from Kenzie Williams. But they couldn't overcome their 4-24 three point shooting and missed 9 of 28 foul shots. Oral Roberts turned 12 MSU turnovers into 18 points.
Hillary Chvatal scored 9 oints, grabbed 15 rebounds and had 4 steals. All those numbers are new career highs for her. The team played in the Omni Classic on Friday and Saturday. They played Colorado on Friday night and ended up losing 87-59. Liza Fruendt was the only Bear player in double figures with 17 points. Onye Osemenam had 6 points with a team leading 8 rebounds. Lee Ann Polowy (pictured below) hit 3 out of 5 three point attempts for 9 points.
Missouri State ended up facing TCU in the consolation game of the tournament on Saturday night. Despite a number of Bears players hitting for career or season highs in points or rebounds, they couldn't do enough to stop TCU rolling to an 82-68 win. TCU hit 17 of 30 shots in the second half (56.7%). the scored 24 points off of 24 MSU turnovers.
Liza Fruendt scored a career high 20 points for Missouri State and was named to the all-tournament team. Nijay Gaines (pictured below) had a career high 14 points and a season high 7 boards. Kenzie Williams added 9 points. Aubrey Buckley had a career high 8 points. Riley Israel added 7 points and Rachel added a career high 7 rebounds.
Missouri State is now 0-6 on the season.
Hartford - The Hawks found this week a tough go as they lost to Lafayette 74-59. Deanna Mayza scored 14 points to lead Hartford. She dished out 7 assists in the game but had 4 turnovers as well. Cherelle Moore scored 13 points and Janelle Harrison (pic below) scored 10 points with 7 rebounds. Amber Bepko added 10 points but fouled out of the game.
The team then headed off to Mexico for three games in the Cancun Challenge. Things didn't start off well as the Hawks lost to Furman 53-42. Cherelle Moore had 13 points and 11 boards while Deanna Mayza added 11 points. The biggest problem for the Hawks in this game was their shooting. They shot 17-64 from the floor (26.6%) and hit just 3 of 18 three pointers. They forced 17 turnovers by Furman but managed to convert them into just 8 points.
On Saturday, Hartford played Washington. Despite a career high 26 points from Cherelle Moore (pictured below), the Hawks lost the game 81-70. Amber Bepko scored 16 points while Deanna Mayza added 13 points and 7 assists (4 turnovers).
The Hawks having 14 turnovers would seem to have been a big factor in helping to decide the game. Washington scored 18 points off of those turnovers. This despite the fact that Hartford managed to get 19 points of their own off of the turnovers by the Huskies.
On Saturday, Hartford's stay in Mexico ended after they played against Florida State. Unfortunately for the Hawks, the Seminoles took the game 69-59 to send Hartford home with an overall 3-4 record. Cherelle Moore (who ended up being named to the All-Tournament team) had 18 points and 7 boards to lead Hartford, while Amber Bepko added another 18 points (hitting 5-10 on 3 point tries). Deanna Mayza added 11 points.
But Hartford got almost no help from their bench (just 2 points) and turned the ball over 21 times. The Hawks are going to be looking to get themselves back on track as their strong start to the season has gone for naught with their winless tournament appearance.
Tennessee LADY VOLS - The Lady Vols opened up their week by destroying Tennessee State 97-46. Nia Moore (pic below) scored a career high 25 points and grabbed 11 boards to power the Tennessee offense.
Bashaara Graves (pic below 1st) added 14 points while Jaime Nared (pic below 2nd) added 11 points and 6 rebounds. Cierra Burdick finished the game with 10 points.
(All photos from Tennessee game photo gallery)
The Lady Vols did hit a snag on Wednesday night though. They went on the road to play Chattanooga and for the 2nd straight year lost to the Mocs. This time the score was 67-63. The Mocs led by 16 points at halftime and despite the Lady Vols tying the game up four times in the second half (the last was at 63 all), they squeaked out the win by hitting four foul shots to provide the final margin of victory.
Tennessee shot just 37.7% from the floor. They were led by a career high 21 points (18 in the 2nd half) by Jasmine Jones and 11 points from Ariel Massengale. The loss dropped the team to 4-1.
Boston College Women - There was a quick 3 minute weekly news conference with women's coach Erik Johnson at the beginning of the week. You can see that below.
The Eagles are in Maine this weekend to play in Maine's Black Bear Tournament. But weather challenges forced a change to the tournament when Wright State was unable to make it to play. BC played Brown on Friday afternoon and ended up taking a 90-80 overtime win.
Nicole Boudreau led the BC offense with 18 points and Kelly Hughes added 17. Emilee Daley scored a career high 15 points. Ashley Kelsick finished with 10 points and established her career high assist mark thus far with 9. The win was the 100th head coaching victory for BC's Erik Johnson.
The Eagles play Maine at 1pm today.
MISCELLANEOUS SPORTS ARTICLE OF NOTE
Do you remember Darryl Talley of the Buffalo Bills? He was one of their superstars during their Super Bowl glory days. But this article from the Buffalo News lays bare the now sad and tragic story of his life after football. It makes for some harrowing reading.
I know this will come as big a surprise as it did to me, but I actually won one of my leagues last week. I lost in the other one so it was a 1-1 break even week. The most interesting thing about the league I picked up the victory in was that it was against the first place team.
TV - Here's the Pop-topia.com recap and review of the "Power Outage" episode of The Flash.
Music - You can check out the official video for the title track to the new AC/DC album Rock or Bust below.
Movies - The first teaser trailer for the new Star Wars movie has been released. The new title is Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the 88 second trailer can be seen below. The movie is due out in December 2015. And I can pretty much guarantee that I'll be seeing it on opening weekend. I'm not a huge fan of J.J. Abrams but if doesn't try to put too much of his own imprint on the movie and instead lets it be a Star Wars movie that he happens to be the director of, things should be okay.
Thanks to the long weekend, I decided to take in a movie on Friday afternoon. I saw The Hunger Games - Mockingjay Part 1. Like most movies that are split into two parts from one book, a lot of the stuff in the first part seemed geared towards making the audience come back for part 2. There was some stuff that was good of course, but overall, I found this to be a merely decent movie. It is better than the first one but not as good as the second film was. Still worth watching however.
Also, a special birthday shout out to the best player I ever coached. It was Allison's birthday yesterday.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Heading into last Sunday's game against the Colts, the Patriots were expected to be faced with a stiff test from the up and coming Indy team and their star QB Andrew Luck. At least that's what a lot of the talking heads were saying.
When it came time for the actual game to be played, the Patriots and their high scoring offense rolled to a 42-20 victory and showed that the Colts are not quite ready for primetime just yet. But it wasn't just the offense that made a big statement.
The defense had a solid day as well. In fact, the Patriots defense against the run was outstanding. It has been much maligned both this season and last when Jerod Mayo got injured and suddenly the Patriots couldn't stop a Pop Warner rush. When Mayo went out this year, the Patriots started out in the same ineffective style. But they've gotten better against the run and against Indy, they were outstanding.
Sure, the Colts aren't a huge run game team but when you hold a team to just 19 yards of rushing for an entire game, you can hold your head high. I know in a blowout the passing game becomes paramount but the Patriots stopped anyone that dared have the temerity to run against them. Hell, it was QB Andrew Luck with 15 total yards that was the rushing leader for the Colts when all was said and done.
Tom Brady had an unusual game. He passed for 257 yards and 2 TDs (one each to Rob Gronkowski and Tim Wright), but the talk after the game was the two interceptions he threw. While one was a routine pick off, the one he threw before the end of the first half that allowed the Colts to score and make it 14-10 going into halftime was an embarrassing throw that someone of Brady's caliber should have known better. It was going to be picked off from the second the ball left his hand. It was like some 3rd string lucky to be on the roster QB had thrown the pass.
And while all that is good, the real star of the game was running back Jonas Gray. He had one hell of a game and a week that he won't soon forget. For the game, the street free agent signing who had been cut by two other teams ran for 199 yards and 4 touchdowns. As a whole, the Patriots ran for 244 yards in the game. His rushing total was changed a couple days after the game when the Elias Sports Bureau discovered an error and he was then credited with 201 rushing yards.
Gray was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week and found himself featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Of course, this being the Patriots, the team wasn't all that impressed with his accomplishments once the game was over. First came the news that the team had signed running back LeGarrette Blount after he was cut from Pittsburgh for being an immature pinhead crybaby. And when Gray overslept and showed up late to practice on Friday, the team sent him home.
The highs and lows of being Jonas Gray, all in one week.
The Patriots are now 8-2 and face the Detroit Lions today. It should prove to be a very interesting game as the Lions defense is both formidable and phenomenal.
The biggest off the field news this past week was the announcement that Florida fired head coach Will Muschamp. When you see how far Florida has fallen from their national title glory days, the firing is not really that much of a surprise. I will say that I was surprised that the school is "letting" Muschamp finish out the season. Usually in this type of situation, the school usually just cans the guy and names an interim coach. But I'm in favor of him finishing what he started, for good or for bad.
You can read more about the story HERE. SI.com's Andy Staples had this article on Muschamp's graceful exit.
Mass Maritime - My ex-player E.J. was named to the All-MASCAC 2nd team for the third season in a row. One of the local papers had another article on another of my ex-player's and his battle with cancer. You can read about Cody and his family HERE.
Alabama - The Crimson Tide had what amounts to an "off week" for them as they crushed Western Carolina 48-14. Blake Sims did get picked off once but he threw for two touchdowns. Backup QB Jake Coker also threw a TD.
Derrick Henry (pictured below) ran for 92 yards and 2 TDs (while losing a fumble). He also caught a 9 yard passing TD. Tyren Jones added another ground game TD.
In total, Alabama outgained the Catamounts 612-213. Their defense held Western Carolina to MINUS 8 yards rushing.
Alabama stands at 10-1 after this victory. They were #1 in the playoff rankings this week but given the relative low level of competition from their opponent, I don't know if they'll maintain that standing when the new rankings come out.
Receiver Amari Cooper left the game early after getting dinged up but reports have him saying that he'll be ready for next week's Iron Bowl game vs. Auburn.
Boston College - The Eagles were on the road this week with a national TV spotlight game against the #1 team in the country (in both football rankings and criminal activity), Florida State.
As for the game, I was so nervous that I found it hard to watch the game. And as it turned out I missed an excellent but ultimately disappointing matchup as Boston College gave Florida State all it could handle before losing 20-17. The game went down to the last three seconds and was decided by a field goal.
Tyler Murphy completed 6 of 10 passes for 73 yards, 49 of which came on a TD pass to Shakim Phillip (see below 1st). Murphy also ran for a TD. He got sacked once (see below 2nd).
The BC pass defense gave up 281 passing yards to Jameis Winston, but they sacked him once and picked him off as well. They also managed to hold the Seminoles to just 109 rushing yards, while the offense racked up 240 rushing yards of their own.
You can see highlights of the game below.
At the end of the game, the announcer started talking about how BC fans might have to get used to the idea that coach Steve Addazio might not be long for The Heights. He used to coach at Florida and with the Gators job open and Addazio doing good things with the Eagles, he's bound to be a serious candidate for the position.
I have really enjoyed what Addazio (pictured below) has done with the Eagles thus far and I'd really hate for him to leave with the job unfinished. I fully realize that coaching Florida is a far bigger job in terms of prestige and opportunity to compete for a national title, but as a BC fan, I want to see him stay right where he is.
Boston College is 6-5 on the season.
I wrote about some of the games played earlier in the week in a separate blog post that you can check out HERE.
The Boston Globe had a feature article on the new Boston University head coach Katy Steding. You can read that story via this link.
Bruce Pearl is back in coaching as the new head coach of Auburn University. He's becoming fully immersed in everything Auburn and recently took part in a basketball trick shot video. You can read the article here and see the full video below.
Meanwhile, Lauren Hill made more news this week for Mount Saint Joseph University. Despite her health continuing to decline, she went to her team's road game vs. Bethany College. She was in uniform and despite battling dizziness, got into the game for the second half and scored. You can read about Hill's 2nd college game HERE.
The video of her basket is below.
And here are some pics from the game.
Taking the shot:
Pregame Warm Up Shirts worn by the Bethany College team:
Boston College Men - The men's team was in Puerto Rico this week playing in the Puerto Rico Tip Off tournament. They opened up their three game set in the tournament against New Mexico. Despite it being a tough matchup, the Eagles pulled out a 69-65 victory behind 20 points and 6 assists from Olivier Hanlan. Aaron Brown scored 16 points in the game but also led the team with 5 turnovers. Patrick Heckmann added 11 points and Dennis Clifford (pictured below) finished with 6 points and a team high 8 rebounds.
(PHOTO FROM THE BOSTON HERALD)
The team's second game was against West Virginia and the Eagles held a 32-21 lead at halftime. But in the second half, the Mountaineers offense took over and built a lead. The Eagles rallied but fell short in the end and lost 70-66. West Virginia took control of the game with a 33-16 run over the course of an 11 minute span.
Olivier Hanlan led the Eagles with 23 points and 4 steals (He had 5 turnovers to lead the team as well). Patrick Heckmann (pictured below) scored 14 points and grabbed a team leading 7 rebounds. Aaron Brown added 10 points.
(PHOTO BY ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Boston College saw their 21 turnovers turned into 20 points by West Virginia. The Eagles are now 2-2 and will play Dayton later this afternoon.
Hartford Hawks - Hartford's successful start to their season continued wtih a tough 57-54 victory over Providence College. Their record is now 3-0. Amber Bepko (pictured below) finished with 23 points (her second straight 20 plus point game) to power the Hawks offense. Cherelle Moore scored 12 points and had a team high 9 rebounds. Deanna Mayza scored 7 points and dished out a career high 9 assists. One of those assists fed Bepko's three pointer that broke a 52-52 tie.
(PHOTO FROM GAME RECAP ARTICLE)
You can see highlights from the game and coach Jennifer Rizzotti's post game press conference (as well as comments from Amber Bepko) below.
Missouri State - The Bears ran into a buzzsaw in the form of #19 Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon. While being held to just 27.3% shooting and 18 turnovers (which OSU turned into 21 points), Missouri State ended up losing 77-36. The team falls to 0-3 on the season.
Liza Fruendt scored 11 points to lead the Bears while Hillary Chvatal (pictured below) had a team high 11 boards.
Tennessee LADY VOLS - On Friday night, Tennessee faced off against Winthrop and came away with a resounding 81-48 victory. The team is now 3-0 on the season and all three wins have been blowouts. Of course, these early season games against decidedly weaker opponents won't mean nearly as much when the Lady Vols start playing their more difficult part of the schedule.
But I like what I'm seeing from the players thus far as the entire roster seems to be making contributions in every aspect of the game. Ariel Massengale (pictured below) led the team with 20 points. She was 6-10 from three point range, including hitting her first five attempts.
Bashaara Graves (pictured below) had her third straight double-double with 15 points and 10 boards. Nia Moore scored 14 points and Jaime Nared added 10.
But looking deeper at the box score will reveal some excellent guard play from both Jordan Reynolds and Andraya Carter (pictured below). Reynolds scored 6 points but grabbed 8 boards and dished out 7 assists. Carter had 9 points for the game while wrapping up 6 steals and 5 rebounds.
Cierra Burdick (pictured below) saw her first game action of the season and while she didn't score in the game she did corral 10 rebounds and tally 4 assists.
(ALL PHOTOS FROM TENNESSEE GAME PHOTO GALLERY)
If the team can get that kind of top to bottom production from their roster when they start playing their ranked opponents, things could be VERY interesting all season long.
You can check out what coach Holly Warlick had to say about the game below.
Boston College Women - The BC women opened up their home slate of games on Thursday night by hosting the Boston University Terriers. Before the game, the team's Twitter page had photos of the team poster and the first game program.
As for the game, the Eagles rolled to 2-1 with a 73-56 victory over the Terriers. Kelly Hughes (pictured below) had her first career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. She added 6 assists and 4 steals to her stat line as well.
Karima Gabriel finished with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks while Kat Cooper (pictured below) had 10 points.
Boston College also got some help in their offense from the outside. Emilee Daley (pictured 1st) and Nicole Boudreau (pictured 2nd) hit three 3 pointers in the game to finish with 9 points apiece.
(ALL PHOTOS TAKEN FROM EITHER GAME RECAP ARTICLE CREDITED TO JOHN QUACKENBOS OR THE BC WBB FACEBOOK PAGE PHOTO GALLERY)
You can get coach Erik Johnson's take on the game below.
You can check out what I had to say about my Boston Celtics this week in my latest Celtics Report.
Meanwhile, for sports fans who hate when teams tank, SI.com's Phil Taylor tells the tale of this year's Philadelphia 76ers. Not only is the team losing on purpose, they are doing it blatantly. There is no doubt that the powers that be in the organization would be happy if the team went 0-82 so they could get yet another top draft pick.
It has gotten so bad that the pizza chain Papa John's recently had to change the terms of an incentive deal for fans. It was supposed to be a deal for fans when the Sixers won a game. But after an 0-11 start gave rise to thoughts the team might not win a game, now the deal is for when the team scores 90 points in a game (win or lose). You can check out this pathetic story HERE.
We've all read the stories about how athletes end up going through all the money they made during the course of a career. Whether it is because they buy everything in sight, support an extended network of lazy ass friends and relatives or make a series of bad investments, there's a seemingly endless list of athletes who made millions upon millions of dollars that end up broke.
Mostly, you think that they are idiots. But sometimes you may just feel sorry for them. In the case of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson, even my cold unsympathetic heart was stirred as I read the story of how he filed for bankruptcy on October 7th. And he's still in the course of his career. And why is he broke? Because he trusted people close to him that should've been the most trustworthy of people to let run your "financial empire". Instead, Johnson's PARENTS have managed to get him in debt from anywhere between 10 and 15 million dollars.
You can read this tale of why you should never trust anyone you are related to with your money HERE.
If you've been following the scandals surrounding USA Swimming and the multiple claims of rampant sexual abuse, this story from Outside Magazine will likely just be more confirmation of the horrors that have been essentially allowed to go unchecked for years. If you haven't followed the story, it will make you recoil in horror.
I know that I'm beginning to sound like a broken record but once again, I managed to go 0-2 in fantasy football last week. Of course, I was in a good position to win in one of the leagues. Or so I thought. I was behind by a few points heading into Monday's game but figured I would be able to pull ahead because my opponent only had 1 guy and I didn't think he would score more points than my two players.
And then Le'Veon Bell rang up 48 fantasy points for the other guy and my dreams of a win stayed exactly that...a dream.
As a kid growing up in the 80's, I was one of millions entertained by pro wrestling. So on occasion, I see articles about the guys I watched growing up and how their lives are now. Sometimes they are good stories, often they are really bad stories. This week, there was the story about Kamala, The Ugandan Giant. Long retired, he's living life as a double amputee now. You can read more via this BleacherReport.com article.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
While the Wareham High football team was off this week in preparation for their Turkey Day game against arch-rival Bourne, the school held their annual powder puff game. The senior and freshman girls teamed up agains the sophomore and junior girls.
Gabby, one of my ex-players, scored two touchdowns and picked off two passes during the game to help the senior/freshman team win the game. The local sports reporter covering the game tweeted out that she was the MVP of the game. The pic of one of her interceptions he sent along with the tweet is below.
I'm always proud to see her doing so well athletically. WAY TO GO GABBY!
Books - I finished the John Sandford novel Storm Front this week. It's the latest paperback in his Virgil Flowers series. It was a decent entry into the series and I'm looking forward to his next installment. Don't forget to be on the lookout for my 2014 Top 10 Mystery/Thrillers article that will be coming out by the end of the year.
Music - AC/DC has released an audio stream of the title track for their new CD Rock or Bust. You can listen to it below.
I've got a brand new CD review for you to check out this week. This time around it is for the new Robert Plant album lullaby and...The Ceaseless Roar. You can check out what I had to say via this Pop-topia.com link.
Thanksgiving - I had to finish my Turkey Day shopping on Saturday and I'll be cooking a lot of the dinner on Thursday. Here's hoping you all have a...
While trying to get my Xmas shopping done early...
Don't forget to check me out on Twitter - @TheOneTrueJay
College hoops season got underway in a big way on Friday night. I'm following five teams this season (4 women's teams and 1 men's team) and they all tipped off on Friday.
Before I inundate you with a variety of stuff recapping those results, I wanted to share a few of other bits of news.
Lauren Hill, the Mount Saint Joseph's player I've been writing about for a few weeks now, has helped raise $176,000 dollars for The Cure Starts Now cancer foundation.
After the tragic deaths of a beloved assistant coach and the team's director of basketball operations, the Richmond women's basketball team had to find a way to move forward. This story link details the process as they prepared for their season debut on Friday, where they beat Providence College 75-59.
Former Purdue men's coach Gene Keady was famous for his really bad comb-over hair piece. Here's the article on why that decision could've killed him.
The USA Today had a good article this week on Tyler Summitt as he prepared for his first season as head coach of the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters. You can check it out HERE . By the way, his team won their opening game 76-69 defeating Stephen F. Austin University. Summitt was happy about the win while displeased by his team's 22 turnovers in the game.
Now for the game action news...
Boston College Men - Before I tell you the results of the team's first game, you can get to know more about the team with the following interview links: Coach Jim Christian (pictured below 1st), forward Eddie Odio, guard Dimitri Batten and forward Garland Owens (pictured below 2nd).
The Eagles opened up at home in Conte Forum against New Hampshire and came away with a 58-50 victory. Aaron Brown (pictured below 1st) led the team with 21 points and Olivier Hanlan (pictured 2nd) finished with 17 points. BC led by 10 points at halftime and while UNH outscored them by 2 points in the second half, it wasn't enough to stop the Eagles from gaining their first win of the season. (photos from the BC Facebook gallery)
You can see video highlights of the game below.
Hartford Hawks - The women's team went on the road to open their season and despite trailing by as many as 7 points in each half, came back to defeat Cornell 48-46. Deanna Mayza (pictured below) led the team with 15 points and tied her career high of 7 assists. She was the only player to hit double figures for the Hawks. But that didn't spare her from the general unhappiness Coach Jennifer Rizzotti had with her team's lack of execution in the game.
"It's probably not a good sign when we win and I'm not happy," said head coach Jen Rizzotti. "I thought we played hard but we were unfocused and really struggled to execute over the course of the game. I think Deanna [Mayza] made some big plays for us, but I feel like some of her mistakes could have cost us the game. That's why we keep pushing her to improve. Overall, this game gives us a lot to look at and work on, that's why it's good to play these games early."
The Hawks missed 10 of their 17 free throw attempts and shot just 34% from the floor for the game. The offensive execution is going to determine just how far the team goes in the America East Conference this season so they are going to have to improve in that area and do it quickly. The team did hold a 47-38 edge in rebounds for the game.
Missouri State - The second season under coach Kellie Harper got off to a rough start with the Lady Bears giving up a 16-1 run late in the game as Memphis pulled away to win 79-63. The loss dampened the enthusiasm about the return of Kenzie Williams (pictured below) to the lineup. She was lost for a majority of last season with a knee injury. She had 21 points to lead the team along with 7 rebounds, 4 steals (2 turnovers) and 4 assists. Freshman Liza Fruendt scored 18 points in her first college game action. Missing from the box score was Tyonna Snow. There was no explanation given that I could find, but Snow is a major contributor to the team and her presence might've changed the face of the game.
Tennessee LADY VOLS - You might wonder why I chose to capitalize "Lady Vols". It seems the name came under attack again this week by their own school and their less than popular AD Dave Hart. It was announced this week that with the exception of the women's basketball team, the term "Lady Vols" is being tossed in the trash so that they can extend the brand of their "Power T" logo to the women's teams and have a uniform marketing look.
Dave Hart, who has systematically gone about dismantling the power of the women's programs at Tennessee since he got there, is aided and abetted in this crime by Nike. They want all the teams to be known as "Volunteers". As if somehow, the term "Lady Vols" is holding back the women's teams from advancing into modern day.
I don't understand why referring to the women's teams at Tennessee (or any school really) is seen as denigrating them. At Tennessee, the Lady Vols logo and designation has symbolized a tradition of excellence, and not just with the basketball team either. Meanwhile, the men's teams (with the exception of the basketball team when Bruce Pearl was the coach) have taken that "Power T" logo and made it a joke. They suck. The football team sucks, the men's basketball team sucks and while I can't speak truthfully to the other men's programs at Tennessee, I haven't seen their names mentioned as title contenders in any other sports.
Why would you want to associate the high expectation women's team with a loser logo like the "Power T" when the men's teams have done nothing but trash it?
I used to like reading sports writer Christine Brennan back in the day but lately she has become a thorough bore and a chore to read. If her constant haranguing of the NFL wasn't bad enough (they deserved the initial ration of crap everyone gave them, but she acted like the fact the NFL didn't just close up shop was a mortal sin), her comparison of the Lady Vols name to the Redskins name was farcical (Can you imagine? The idea of trying to tie "Lady" and "Redskins" as slurs?) and her continued writing that the term "Lady" demeans the team and women as a whole is ridiculous. I hold the Lady Vols in the highest esteem. You can't say that about the men's Volunteers teams. You can read Brennan's idiotic ramblings HERE. I was ticked off enough about the article that I tweeted my disagreement with her viewpoint to Brennan on Twitter.
An opposing opinion was written by The Washington Post's Sally Jenkins (full disclosure, she's friends with and has written books with Pat Summitt). However, her piece was far better constructed and comes off far more intelligent in its argument in favor of the "Lady Vols" name. Yes it is an opinion I agree with so I guess I would be a little biased in favor of this article. But since I'm not a total idiot, I can be objective about what I think of the two articles.
I particularly enjoyed this line from the Jenkins article: "If a Lady Vol is wearing a diamond on her finger, odds are she won it."
Sports Illustrated had a good piece on coach Holly Warlick (pictured below from Friday night's season opener) as she enters her third season in charge of the Lady Vols with a sense of comfort in role.
(ALL PHOTOS TAKEN FROM THE TENNESSEE GAME PHOTO GALLERY)
As for the team's first game, Tennessee faced off against Pennsylvania on Friday night and came away with a resounding 97-52 victory. The Lady Vols actually trailed 20-17 halfway through the first half of the game but a 30-5 run to close the half game Tennessee control of the game for good.
Nia Moore had a career high 24 points to lead the Lady Vols. She added 14 rebounds as well.
Bashaara Graves added 16 points and 10 boards while Isabelle Harrison (pictured below) came off the bench for 12 points and 10 boards.
Tennessee's freshman class made an immediate impact as well. Alexa Middleton (pictured below 1st) had 20 points, Kortney Dunbar (pictured 2nd, #13) scored 15 points and Jaime (pictured 3rd) added 10 points. It is only the second time in school history that 3 freshman have hit double figures in their first game.
Boston College Women - The recruiting classes have been announced for all of the teams for next season it seems. While I normally pay little attention to the recruiting wars because I don't care who might show up or who says they will show up, one recruit for Boston College is the 5'7" point guard Stephanie Jones. You can read more about her in this article link. A true point guard that can truly handle the pressure defense that BC will face constantly during the ACC portion of their schedule is a must. They've been lacking it for years now. Here's hoping Jones can be that point guard.
You can see an interview with coach Erik Johnson on what he's looking to see from the team this season below.
The BC women opened up their season on the road against Stanford. Last season, they hosted the Cardinal at Conte Forum and got spanked after taking a lead into the first TV time out. Coming out of that timeout, Stanford went on a 28-0 run that sealed the game.
The team had a morning shootaround before the game (see below) but it didn't end up helping to change the result much.
This time around, Stanford broke out to an early lead, but the Eagles tied it at 32 before trailing 49-40 at halftime. But in the second half players like Kat Cooper couldn't keep up with (see below) Stanford's Kailee Johnson, while Lauren Engeln had no answer (see below 2nd) for stopping Lili Thompson (career high 26 points)
In the end, Stanford blew out the Eagles 96-63. Emilee Daley (pictured below) tied her career high with 13 points to lead the Eagles.
Nicole Boudreau added 11 points (3-3 from 3 pt range). Freshman Ashley Kelsick (see below) scored 10 points in her first college game. Karima Gabriel had 6 points to go with a team high 7 rebounds.
BC's 17 turnovers (6 by Martina Mosetti, pictured below) got turned into 26 points by Stanford.
Stanford shot 64.9% from the for the game which is the fifth best single game shooting performance in the entire history of the game. So the Eagles losing this game was not a surprise to say the least. I don't think an upset was really being thought about but a competitive game should've been the goal. However, when your opponent hits nearly 65 percent of the shots they take, you have to figure it is going to be a LONG night.
The Eagles play St. Mary's at 4pm today so it will be interesting to see how they bounce back from the big loss.
By the way, while on this West Coast road trip, the team went to Fisherman's Wharf and took a trip to Alcatraz. You can see the team below before they headed off on the trip to the former prison.
Wisconsin - While the Badgers aren't a team I normally cover, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the record setting day that their running back Melvin Gordon had yesterday. In his team's 59-24 beatdown of Nebraska (Cornhusker coach Bo Pelini has a pathetic record vs. ranked opponents), Gordon ran for 4 touchdowns and new all-time NCAA rushing record 408 yards. He broke the record from 1999 that was held by TCU's (and former San Diego Charger) LaDanian Tomlinson. Even more amazing about Gordon's (see below #25) accomplishment was that he did it in just three quarters of action.
Mass Maritime - The Buccaneers faced off against Bridgewater State in the 36th Annual Cranberry Bowl yesterday. It was the final game of the season for Mass Maritime which means it is the final college game for my former player E.J. Heading into the game, he needed 6 catches to become the school leader in that category.
Mass Maritime had lost the last three times these two teams had played each other. But they rocketed out to a 17-0 first quarter lead, led 24-7 at halftime and then cruised their way to a 31-21 victory that closes their season with a 4-6 record. It is the first time in 30 years that Mass Maritime beat Bridgewater State on BSU's field.
My former player Richie picked up 6 carries for 13 yards, including a 1 yard TD run (his first college TD).
As for E.J., he went out in a blaze of glory. He caught 11 passes for 239 yards and 2 TDS. One of those TDs was a 93 yard pass play! He was named game MVP. He finished his career with 182 catches for 2,568 yards.
Way to go both of you and congratulations to Mass Maritime Academy, the 2013 Cranberry Bowl Champions.
Alabama - I know the haters are going to hate, but after Alabama's 25-20 upset of #1 Mississippi State, there is simply no way anyone can question the now 9-1 Crimson Tide belonging in the 4 team playoff system.
Despite Alabama's offense not fashioning a blowout victory, they scored when they needed to and relied on a defense that came up with one big play after another when they needed it. Despite Mississippi State gaining 427 total yards (to Alabama's 336), the Bama defense picked off Heisman Trophy candidate Dak Prescott (getting leveled in the photo below) three times (including once in the end zone) thus killing potential scoring chances.
Blake Sims threw for 211 yards and a TD (to Amari Cooper, who had 8 catches for 88 yards). Both Derrick Henry (pictured below 1st) and T.J. Yeldon (pictured 2nd) found the end zone on the ground and despite a late TD pass from Prescott to make the final score closer than the game seemed, the Tide rolled and knocked off the #1 team in the country.
Boston College - After last week's rather devasting loss, the Eagles were on a bye week this week. There's not a whole lot to talk about with them as they take time to regroup, re-assess and try to heal up from some of their injuries. In the meantime, you can check out this article on receiver Josh Bordner. He spent four years as a backup QB but came back this year and recast himself as a reliable pass catcher.
You can also check out a video interview with defensive back Justin Simmmons below.
While the Boston Red Sox were one of the teams expected to bid for Miami Marlins player Giancarlo Stanton, news this week about Stanton being close to signing a 325 million dollar 13 year deal broke. This likely means everyone else in baseball will have to look elsewhere for talent upgrades this offseason.
Of course it also means that Stanton and his agent are about to sacrifice any chance of him ever winning a ring.
Speaking of the Boston Red Sox, the more tangible news for them is the talk that the club is talking to pitcher Jon Lester about a return to the team after they traded him this past season to the Oakland A's. And it appears that owner John Henry is amenable to breaking his rule about giving long term deals to pitchers over the age of 30.
The talk I've heard and read about says the two sides are talking about a 6 year deal. Of course, Lester's return to the Red Sox would be welcomed by the fan base. And I think the team knows this. Otherwise, a 6 year deal wouldn't even be a talking point in negotiations. But it does raise the question about why the team didn't just make this kind of deal with Lester in the first place and keep him with the team all along. Yes, I know they got a decent bat in Yoenis Cespedes to help the offense. But a lot of good that did when your pitching staff couldn't get anyone out.
Clay Buchholz is a serviceable pitcher when he's healthy (which isn't often), but he's best as your #3 starter TOPS. He's not the ace of a pitching staff, mostly because he can't stay healthy, but he does have on field issues as well. Lester is a clearly defined #1 starter. And when he was dealt away this past season, it was the biggest example of how the team quit on the season.
Look I know the Red Sox weren't going to go anywhere last season. But you at least like to see the illusion that the team is trying to win. And Red Sox fans didn't get that last year at all. It was hard to do so when the front office traded away so many key players before the deadline.
If the two sides do strike a deal, it will be a welcome sign that the Red Sox are actually going to try and field a competitive/competent team for the 2015 season.
After being on their bye last week, the New England Patriots made a bit of news this week leading up to tonight's game on the road vs. the Indianapolis Colts. It seems they became the first NFL team to have one million followers on Twitter. I don't think it really matters in the scheme of things (despite being on Twitter myself for shameless self promotion purposes), but it is a noteworthy moment considering how much activity these days takes place on that social media site.
But thanks to the ever present danger of automation, the club found themselves in need of making a public apology when their automatic set up for reaching that one million follower mark saw them tweeting out a racial slur based on the Twitter handle of one of their followers. Here's the story.
If you missed my new Celtics Report blog piece that I posted yesterday, you can check it out HERE.
Sports Illustrated's Chris Ballard had a brilliant in-depth piece on New Orleans Pelicans star Ryan Anderson as he deals with and moves forward after the suicide death of his girlfriend last year. The piece was in this week's edition of the SI magazine, but the article link HERE is a longer version of the story.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
The Wareham High football team got spanked again on Friday night. They faced off against Norton. The Norton team was on a two game win streak and unfortunately for Wareham, those two teams were the ones that the Vikings had lost two over their previous two games. And it was more of the same kind of beatdown for Wareham vs. Norton.
They were trailing 34-0 at halftime and the younger players got a lot more playing time in the second half on the way to losing 46-6. Josh had five carries for 20 yards in the game.
Now the 1-9 Vikings are off until their Thanksgiving Day game against arch rival Bourne.
Basketball - With just that Turkey Day football left for fall sports interest, my eyes turn towards the high school basketball season. I'll be covering four girls teams and possibly 2 boys teams (Wareham and Upper Cape) this year that have former players of mine.
The girls team's I'll be watching are Upper Cape (JV and varsity), Wareham (JV and varsity), Bristol-Plymouth (varsity) and Sturgis East (varsity). Of course, trying to figure out the various schedules is going to be a headache once I have all of them to coordinate which games I'll go to watch.
Yes, it is going to be a very busy winter of basketball viewing for me.
By now, this should come as no surprise. I had another 0-2 week. I'm 5-5 in one league and 1-9 in the other one. Yes indeed, I'm that putrid this season.
Books - I'm nearly finished with one book after taking a break from novels to catch up on past issues of Sports Illustrated. But while I haven't finished the novel, I did make time to pick up the new Janet Evanovich / Lee Goldberg paperback The Chase. It is the second book in their series about a female FBI agent and a charming rogue thief teaming up to solve cases. Yes, it sounds like a bit like the TV show White Collar but the first book was a decent and pleasant diversion, so I'm looking forward to reading the second book.
I also picked up a copy of the debut thriller from Terry Hayes that I reviewed back in March for inclusion into the Yankee Swap gift basket I'm doing up for the big family Xmas Eve gathering.
Also, be on the lookout for my second annual Top 10 Mystery and Thriller Books list. I'll be trying to get that article done in time for the first of the year.
Thanks to a bargain sale find at a local department store, I added the first two seasons of The Facts of Life to my TV on DVD collection this week.
Meanwhile, this year's Doctor Who Christmas Special is getting some advance hype. There was a teaser trailer released early this week and then during the annual Children in Need telethon they do in England, a scene from the special was aired. You can check out both videos below.
Music - AC/DC found themselves having to deal with the spotlight in an unexpected way this week as drummer Phil Rudd was arrested on a variety of charges in Australia, including a charge of attempting to procure a murder. Yes, trying to buy a hit! That charge was dropped but he is still facing other charges that could land him in prison for seven years. In between releasing statements about the legal status of their drummer, the band released the official video for the song "Play Ball."
Another Australian rock band that caught my attention is the band Massive. I finally heard their 2013 debut CD called Full Throttle. It was given away with an issue of Classic Rock magazine a while back but I've only now gotten to reading that particular issue. Anyway, the CD was fantastic. Pure driving hard rock at its finest. You can check out one of their songs called "Burn The Sun" below.
The final bit of music I have this week centers on former Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden. He's got a new solo album out called Shine. I belong to a music board called Classic Rock Bottom and one of the features there is called New Music Corner. The poster Scott featured 5 tracks from the album this week and I took a listen. They were phenomenal and made it so I just had to put the disc on my want list. You can check out the title track (featuring a guest appearance from guitarist Joe Bonamassa) below.