I have serious reservations about both Alabama and Florida St.; but it’s the right thing, at least at this point, for both to be the top 2 teams. Alabama has had major issues with playing on the road (one-point win over Arkansas, virtual loss to LSU, actual loss to Ole Miss), although they don’t have any road games left. Florida St. has too; but it’s been a more general pattern of slow starts on both sides of the ball, followed by quick scores that the opposition offenses can’t keep up with.
Last week, I mentioned that it was possible for both Mississippi St. and Alabama to be in the top 4 with a Tide win over the Bulldogs. This would have happened were it not for another team I didn’t anticipate making the top 4, Ohio St.
A few things came together to help this happen. Even though the Gophers were unranked, that still counts as a good win. The fact that TCU escaped against Kansas on Saturday helped that to continue to count as a good win. (TCU beat Minnesota out of conference.) As I discussed last week in reference to Arizona St./Notre Dame, the effects of those out-of-conference results are huge.
If Minnesota lost to Michigan St., for instance, that would be positive for some Big Ten teams and negative for others, but it wouldn’t have a huge impact on the conference overall. Out-of-conference results have a uniformly positive or negative effect though. If 8 or 9 games you play are made to look better or worse, that makes a big difference.
Ohio St.’s strength of schedule was also assisted by Virginia Tech’s win over Duke. Losses hurt more than wins help, so if another loss had been added to Virginia Tech, that would have continued to weigh Ohio St. down. Instead, the Hokies’ ability to beat another pretty good team makes the loss not hurt so much.
Another factor that helped Ohio St. was Navy’s win over Georgia Southern. I’m not going to pretend Georgia Southern is a great team, but they have 7 FBS wins, so that’s a positive for Navy, which Ohio St. beat earlier in the year.
A big game for the Big Ten in general was Notre Dame/Northwestern. Not only was that a big win for a Big Ten team, but it also damaged what had been a quality opponent for Pac-12 and ACC teams.
Despite Northwestern taking even more of the luster off of Florida St.’s win over Notre Dame, the Seminoles were still able to move into #2 after a quality win that coincided with an Oregon bye week. Ohio St. was a little too far behind to challenge the ’Noles either.
The winner of Ole Miss and Mississippi St. still has a good chance to move into the top 4, particularly if Alabama loses to Auburn. If Ole Miss (@ Arkansas) and Mississippi St. (vs. Vanderbilt) win next week, this would mean that Alabama would be shut out of the SEC championship game.
The way my system operates, it’s a disadvantage not to be in the conference-championship game at the end of the year. This is one reason Alabama did not rate as highly in my system as it did in the BCS in 2011, for instance.
I mentioned TCU earlier. It’s not looking good for the Big XII in my system.
It would take a major group of losses by top teams for the Horned Frogs (currently #7) to move up significantly. They’re idle next week, then they play Texas during Rivalry Week, which is their last chance to get a decent number of points. During championship week, they play Iowa St., so that’s not going to help them out much. Even Marshall would get more points that week with a win. TCU is just a whisker ahead of UCLA, who can get a lot of points by winning out, especially if the Bruins win the Pac-12 South.
Kansas St. plays Baylor during championship week, but Kansas St. has two losses (and Auburn isn’t helping them by losing) and Baylor doesn’t have the prior wins. Their non-conference schedule was just awful.
No one outside of the top 10 has much of a chance of making the top 4, but teams like Georgia Tech, Arizona, and Wisconsin could move up significantly by winning their respective conferences.
As we learned in 2007 though, you never want to say it’s impossible for either a team like TCU or one of those lower teams.
LSU, Notre Dame, and Duke fell out. I think they’re all top-25 teams in ability (although none played like it Saturday), but teams in the 20s are packed pretty closely together, and all have at least one good chance for points coming up.
There were 11 losses or bye weeks in the top 18 last week, so that accounts for a lot of the movement. Any team that went into the week in the top 18 and won a game is now in the top 12. All but two (Marshall and Boise St.) are in the top 7.
One of the underrated joys in life is sitting down with a book and just getting lost for a while. I was reading my current book and there was a passage which referred to a Norman Rockwell painting known as “Marine Homecoming.” It got me to thinking about the old Saturday Evening Post, which has been in existence in one form or another since November, 1821. My curiosity piqued, I went back and noticed the essays and stories and poems that some of the greats contributed: Agatha Christie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Vonnegut, and many MANY others – so how is it this magazine lost its popularity? I mean after all, this is a paper that had well written stories and celebrated American life OUTSIDE of LA/NYC/DC and talked about things that were important to those in the middle of the country.
Where has Americana gone? Is Americana an acceptable virtue of life in today’s society? I honestly wonder. It seems as if it’s wrong to celebrate life and actually read short stories? I sometimes wonder if we as a generation along with the ones moving forward were cheated by not taking advantage of something like the SEP. Do they even teach short stories and literature in school anymore?
Some of you are wondering what this might have to do with sports. In 1967, the paper was sued for defamation because they wrote an article that implied that Bear Bryant and Wally Butts conspired to fix a game between Alabama and Georgia. Butts was awarded $3 million, and there were other issues related to libel that went all the way to the Supreme Court, but the paper was never the same. This is one slant on the whole issue here. Interesting reading to be sure.
The good news is that the Saturday Evening Post still exists on newsstands (is there such a thing as this anymore?), but it’s also online, but they tease you: Read part of the story, then you have to pay to subscribe. The way of the future, paying for a glimpse of the past right???
MLB – Epitaph for 2014. When people think back to the MLB season of 2014, I have to believe that one word may come to mind if you are just a fan of Baseball – FUN!!! When is the last time that any of us could say “Hey, MLB is a damn good time/thing right now!”? There’s just so many positives – it was a no non-sense zone for the most part (outside of that d-bag Puig), but this season also had plenty of drama on the diamond.
Please forgive my movie analogies – I know I sound a lot like Tony DiNozzo, but this is how I see Baseball right now. 20 years ago, there was a Baseball movie that came out called “Little Big League.” It was about a 12 year old kid who loves Baseball and whose grandfather died and gave him the Minnesota Twins. He then went out and named himself the Skipper. He saw Baseball rightly so from the eyes of a child and struggled with adults who took a game he loved and removed the fun and made it a business – there was no joy for his players, yet in the end, the ball players came around and just had fun. It was silly and not a particularly great movie, but it got me to thinking about the 2014 version of Kansas City. They relaxed, had fun, and lookie what happened…
Well in 2014, this 50 year old got to see Baseball from the eyes of that 12 year old and in a sense I regained a certain joy of summertime that I long ago forgot about. But you know what? I’m also jealous. I’m jealous of Jeff and of Doug and Kyle, and all the others who always had the love of the game and never lost it. I’m jealous that I turned away from the X’s and O’s of the game, and quite honestly it’s a life regret that I took so long to regain my enthusiasm for the sport.
2014 was interesting for me: How do you not enjoy taking in a game at ATT Park in San Francisco? Or what about doing a cross-country drive and hit Target Field grabbing some fantastic grub in a beautiful stadium, and yes, celebrating the 20 year anniversary of Little Big League with the stars of the movie. AND what about Kauffman Stadium? Oh, and for kicks, visiting Arizona AND Florida Spring Training wasn’t too shabby. Add in Jerry’s visit to Wrigley Field, and it was an incredible year.
For me, I also got to see how others enjoy it- for instance Doug down in Arizona telling me all about D-backs games in Phoenix, Kyle writing about Toronto, all the talk of sitting in the seats at Fenway, and the minor league stadiums. My son tells me about Wrigley Field and then All-Star Monday at Target Field. There’s really no other sport that you can talk like this.
And what about on the field this season? How could you (even as an SF fan) not get with Kansas City going all the way to the final game of the World Series and watch Moustakas and Hosmer FINALLY play to their vast capabilities, while Madison Bumgarner had his coming out party? And as a San Francisco fan, how do I not enjoy what they have done since 2010? How was it not cool to see Oakland, Seattle, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh do the “small market teams” proud? And what about those solid, solid teams in Baltimore and Washington and St. Louis?
For that matter, how do you not enjoy watching the beginnings being built in Houston with their kids starting to produce and the North Side of Chicago? And what about how Miami played .500 ball all season long? You see strides in San Diego, and then you see that teams are showing signs of life in Minnesota as well with their talent starting to heat up – but still needing a pitching staff.
Well, now we move on to 2015, and before that the Hot Stove League, where already players names are being talked about – Pablo Sandoval to Boston for instance.
MLB Trade. And just yesterday Atlanta and St. Louis hooked up on a deal that sent Shelby Miller to Atlanta for Jason Heyward and Tyrell Jenkins and Jordan Walden? Me thinks Atlanta gave up a bit much and it makes St. Louis that much better.
Farewell to 2014 – you were a great season, THE standard for future seasons. Baseball is in a great spot right now and I hope 2015 can be more of the same. I can promise you MLB, I’ll be back. Speaking of which:
Uncle B.O.B.’s World Tour Stop - #5. Yes folks it’s official, Uncle B.O.B. will be going back out on the road next March and this time while it includes South Florida, we are also going to DisneyWorld, or Epcot Center to be more precise which allows me to also have a greater choice of which Spring Training game I would like to attend. And to my friends in Michigan, it may very well be in Lakeland catching a Detroit game…
Be on the lookout because Stop #6 is in the planning stage with a very cool “Bucket List” side trip included. I was also blind-sided and surprised about a proposed #7 which IF it happens, I can’t wait for and it will be different for the Gab – to an area not covered regularly by the Gab, and might even be particularly pleasing to the Beeze who has mentioned a desire to go there.
West Hills Update. Jerry’s team hit the road to Salinas for their final game, going in 9-0 and needing a win to win their conference. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be as Hartnell came back from down 16-3 to win 24-16 – the teams both ended up at 9-1 and were co-champs. The good news is that the kids still got to host Yuba College in the NCFC American Division Bowl.
Props to the West Hills team and it’s coaching staff who took an abysmal program and in one year turned in a 9-1 record. That is quite an accomplishment and while the loss might sting, the performance this season is worthy of respect.
Good Story of the Week: This is a bittersweet one. 75 year old Wilbur Heath was dying of Cancer and he had one final wish, the longtime civic supporter wanted to see his beloved high school football team one last time which is one of the powerhouses here in the Sacramento area. On Friday Night, he was brought in by ambulance. From his bed with folks surrounding him, he watched the game from the track at the 50. As a special surprise, he was wheeled out to midfield for the opening coin toss. Sunday Night, he died, content. RIP Wilbur. Here is his story:
You'd smile too if you was getting the jack he was...
Greetings from the Hoodwood where the snow falls and my fantasy team is falling apart…
MLB: Stanton gets paid
I like Giancarlo Stanton. He is a talented outfielder for the Miami Marlins who is fast growing a rep for being one of the best young sluggers in the game, finished 2nd in the NL MVP behind Clayton Kershaw and might have won it had he not missed the last three weeks of the season with a frightening injury after getting hit in the face with a pitch. Stanton has routinely smashed long homers and is gaining the title of one of the best young sluggers in the game but with still two years to go before he would hit the free agent runway, many pundits felt that while Stanton would continue to see his paychecks increase he was still a couple years from the Yankees, Red Sox or hometown Dodgers swooping in with a monster contract and spiriting him out of perennially cash strapped Miami. The Marlins however did a total script flip and stunned the sports world by inking Stanton to a stunning 13 year $325 million dollar deal. That $25 million a year kids. The deal makes Stanton the richest player in team sports, period. The deal makes the Pujols, Fielder, Cabrera, Trout and Votto deals look like bargain basement raids. Stanton is a quality player and the Marlins were prescient in locking him up but 13 years? Stanton will be a Marlin unless they decide to fire sale and the only teams that will be able to afford him would be the big markets, so one wonders how wise this deal really is. If Stanton is getting $325 million how much will players like Clayton Kershaw and Andrew McCutchen get?
College Football: Is Bama back?
You had the feeling that Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide were playin possum, that they watched as first Ole Miss then Mississippi State took the early reigns as College footballs top dog, knowing sooner or later that they would have a hand in their downfall. Though the Tide had a couple games where they would be pushed to the brink, most notably the OT thriller in Death Valley against LSU, they continue to move stealthily if not steadily up the ranks and after dominating then #1 Mississippi State in a 25-20 win that was not as close as you would think, the Tide now seem poised to get back on the inside of the college football playoff picture. There are other contenders to be sure, Oregon, unbeaten Florida State and a growing list of 1-loss teams like Ohio State and TCU but Tide are there to many of the Tide haters’ chagrin.
NBA: Is Kobe getting his comeuppance?
I grew up loving the Lakers, I was a big Kareem and Magic fan. I wanted to play that roughneck defense like Michael Cooper and the team just seemed like the essence of cool. When the Lakers fell on hard times after Magic retired, I still was a fan at a distance since they had drafted a fellow Bearcat Nick Van Exel (I even had his poster) But when the Lakers pulled a draft day coup to acquire the precocious Kobe Bryant (most forget he was not drafted by the Lakers but by the Charlotte Hornets, the team that is now the New Orleans Pelicans not the current Hornets) I fell out of favor with the Lakers. Despite the fact that they had acquired Shaquille O’Neal. There was just something that always rubbed me the wrong way about Kobe. I always thought him too preppy and not a real urban baller. Did he have game, there was no denying that fact. I just thought he was just a suburban rich-nik who was the beneficiary of having a ball player father and was more snobby than baller. The more I tried to like Kobe the more he kept coming off a self-centered spoiled asshole. After he got caught up with rape accusations in 2004, he just seemed like he was trying to weasel his way out of the charges. The fact that he more or less first paid hush money to the alleged victim then tried to implicate Shaq on the sly made him seem more weasely to me. Throw in some selfish play like no shooting in a whole quarter during a critical stretch in an elimination game in the playoffs and the Kobe mystique to me was always tarnished. But the Lake Show was always in contention and when they fell on some harder times and missed the playoffs, I really didn’t feel sorry for him, I knew that the Lakers would bounce back and Kobe would be playing for a contender. He led the Lakers to titles in 2009 and 2010 and kept them in contention for years but the signs of wear were showing, the Lakers were crumbling and were not able to lure talent to LA, nor keep the talent they had. Players like Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol left at the first chance that they could get leaving Kobe all by himself. His Kobe against the world mantra is not playing very well and with the cross-locker room Clippers now the “it” franchise in LA the Lakers are not even the marquee team in their own building, heck some would say that they are third behind the LA Kings who have won two Stanley Cups in the past three seasons. The Lakers are just plain horrid, and they have limped out to a 1-9 start dead last in the West even behind the neophyte Timberwolves. Lake Show fans put on a brave face but the reality is Kobe is the centerpiece of a shell. A team that once was great and now scares no one, though Kobe thinks that he can will his team to wins like Jordan did. Kobe aint MJ and won’t get any more titles, unless he jumps to the Clippers and tries to gravy train to a title which aint guaranteed in the uber deep West. He opined late last week that he was “jealous” of the Spurs, a team that has aged quite gracefully and to Kobe’s chagrin has as many titles as he does. The reality is that Kobe is reaping what he has sown and like a punch drunk boxer who is hanging on too long, doesn’t quite get that his time has passed.
PHAT DAP/HEAD SLAP
Goes to Wisconsin Running back Melvin Gordon III who rushed for a mindboggling 408 yards last Saturday. Now keep in mind a few things. Gordon did this on 25 carries, in 3 quarters and against…Nebraska. No not a directional FCS team. The famed blackshirt defense of Nebraska. How dope was the performance. Gordon outrushed a teams rushing output for the year in ¾ of a game. Gordon had 408 yards, Wake Forest has 341 yards for the entire season! Gordon broke the record set in 1999 set by LaDainian Tomlinson who gave Gordon mad props via Twitter for breaking his record. Hoodwood salutes Gordon on an unreal performance.
To Tony Williams the selfish Saints fan that got in the middle of what should have been a cool exchange. Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham scored his 2nd receiving touchdown in the midst of the Bengals 27-10 rout of the Saints in the Superdome on Sunday. Gresham tried to toss the ball to Christa Barrett a Bengals fan formerly from Versailles, Kentucky now living in the Big Easy. Williams elbowed Barrett out of the way and snatched the ball Gresham was trying to toss Barrett’s way then sat tone deaf as Barrett pleaded for the ball. Williams claimed he didn’t intend to elbow Barrett and was getting the ball for his grandson but instead came off looking like a chauvinistic self-centered asshole. The story does have a happy ending as not only the Saints gave Barrett a ball which she would donate to the Cincinnati Children’s hospital but Gresham autographed another ball and gave it to Barrett.
I love the 24 hours of hoops going on today. You can guarantee that Hawai’i will be in the mix for that super late/super early game
Why is my fantasy team crumbling?
Bad week for the Mannings Eli looks like a boob in Gotham and Peyton has a horrid day in St. Louis
After much ado about the Bengals looking bad in primetime, they bounce back whip the Saints and are back in first
Will seven wins take the NFC South while there could be as many as four teams winning ten and sitting home?
I think the MVP voters got it right with Kershaw and Trout
The less you mention to me how horrible my picks were this week the better off you are...
Why do the pundits want Cincy to jettison Johnny Cueto so bad?
My beloved Bearcats tried to give it away but they bounced East Carolina and not only are bowl eligible for the 8th time in 9 years but still has an outside shot at taking conference.
My alma mater Mt. Healthy is shooting for its first ever regional title as they take on Cincinnati LaSalle at 12-0 the Fighting Owls are having their best season ever and I’ll be there to watch them hopefully take the next step to the State Semis!
This week's Monday Moaning is feeling slightly different...Sure, I managed to post a pic of a nice set of cans...That's kinda what I do here...But the words won't be wrapped up in tits, ass, and sports...this week I'm looking a little deeper inside myself...
On this Monday, an old friend, a childhood friend, is being laid to rest...I hadn't even thought much of her over many, many years...Random, occasional memories from the distant past pop up once and awhile...But not often...Then another old friend posted an old pic of them together, and it got me asking questions...It seems many of us lost touch with her, and a couple had been looking for her...They found her, fighting cancer for the second time, and losing this time...
For two weeks the images of her face, an amazing smile seemed to be haunting me...Had I been a dick to her at times? Of course I had, I was dumb, horny kid, and she had boobs...I'm sure I said and did idiot stuff...Had I been nice? Had I been a good friend? I know I had at times...I do have some memories left in this head full of voices...But clearly I hadn't been a great friend...I won't lie, I've been somewhat surprised by how much this old classmates passing has bothered me...Yes, 38 is far too young to die...But it's more then that...
I remember when I first got on Facebook, and all this other social media...How fucking cool was it...I was suddenly reconnecting with old friends, and connecting with new ones...Awesome...Well, it's easy to say we reconnected, if that means I 'saw your kids pics on facebook'...'I favorite your tweet'...But are we really reconnecting? Maybe we're just getting a glimpse of our old friends lives, as well as giving a glimpse back...
Yes, we all grow up...We change over the many years...We go different directions...We get jobs, get married, have kids, We gain weight, we lose it...Well, you may have lost it, I haven't...We pay bills, and more bills...(by the way, anyone have an extra $10,000?)....We lose track of time, let alone people...Our plans don't always work out as we hoped, or expected, or wanted...Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse...
It's not hard to lose track of friends...The hard part is keeping them in our lives...Finding the time do more then just post something on facebook, or shooting a text blast...I mean actually talking...Seeing each other...Life and our obligations get in the way easily...But I want to make a slight change in my life...I want to make time, no matter how brief, to be a better friend...To actually see some people I use see...That I use to know...I' not sure how, and I'm sure it will be a pain in the ass at times...But an old friend named Lauren made me realize that I've lost touch with a lot special people over the years...At the end of or time at St. James her quote in the memory book was "Get out there and change the world, you lazy bums!!"
Well, I may not be changing the world, but I'm gonna work on changing my world slightly...
Holy cow. It’s almost Thanksgiving. 2014 must’ve gone by faster than any year in recorded history. I’m pretty sure someone lopped a month off the year somewhere. It’s been kind of a weird year too. The Kansas City Royals in the World Series? The Cleveland Browns spent a week in first place? ¾ of the major sports championships belong to the west coast? It’s also November 17, a very special day in the history of the Gab - today marks birthday #6 and the start of year 7. A long strange trip it’s been.
The people you know when you’re young play a special role as you get older - a connection to the younger you, the kid that was looking forward. When your elders have begun to pass, perhaps even some of your contemporaries, the kids you knew when you were young are the last link you have to that time. I have the great fortune to still be connected to some of those folks. A few weeks ago we realized it’d been 3 years since the group of us had gotten together, so we changed that this weekend.
It’s funny, in your 20’s and 30’s you’re celebrating the marriages, and the kids, and the houses. In your 40’s, you’re toasting the divorces and “moving on,” expressing condolences for the passing of a parent, and bragging on those now teenage (or older) kids you celebrated in your 20’s and 30’s. And so it goes that as I sit here and look at how fast 2014 has flown by that I realize how quickly time goes by. Every year seems to go by faster than any year in recorded history. I mean, how many people know that there have been 14 “Gay Bowls” already? Time flies man.
There’s all kinds of weird things that happen in any given year. When I was going to school, there was the “dome run.” Who would’ve thought that 20-odd years later, the same guy would have his finger just fall off while he was playing cards? You’re just not likely to find a more messed up cat than this guy.
As we have more avenues for people to show off, the more weird stuff we come up with. Some of it’s banal, still more of it is just painful. Way to ruin what should be a good thing, and draw attention to the fact you’re a DB (and I don’t mean defensive back).
People do dumb things all the time, we’re just far more exposed to it now than we were “back in the day.” Just saying “back in the day” makes me feel 1000 years old, but technology has changed just how fast things are different year to year. I bought an iPhone 4s as soon as it came out. 3 years later we’re on 5 more models of iPhone: the 5, 5c, 5s, 6, and 6+. We’re moving at a faster pace. We have televisions the size of a wall, but we’re never home to watch them - as evidenced by the fact we don’t even have landline phones at home anymore: depending on who you ask between a quarter and half of all homes either don’t have or just don’t use a home phone. Christ, our cars are now Wifi hotspots: so you can stay connected while you’re on your way to where you’re going.
There’s all kinds of ways to be dumb too. PJ Williams totals his car and runs off. One wonders why someone would just take off - I mean the car is registered, it’s not hard to know who it belongs to. Hmmm. Perhaps alcohol? At any rate he gets a traffic citation. Legally, the accident never happened. Wow. There’s simpler ways to be dumb - like freaking out when someone friendly to you touches your butt. Well, that one wouldn’t usually be dumb, but if you’re in the middle of a hard contact sport, you wouldn’t think a slight grope would be that distracting.
Of course there’s dumb, and there’s pure evil. It should go without saying that it’s a privilege to bitch and moan about blown calls or missed plays. We live in a place where we can while away time and then wonder where all the time went. There’s so many different ways the people who you knew when you were young can leave the scene so you should definitely make the time to enjoy them while they - and you - are around to enjoy. I enjoy you, my faithful Gabbers - and happy 6th birthday to the Gab. I’m happy to be able to say I’ve known the Gab since it was young.
Take a look at the stats on that side bar: 2095 Featured blogs, 1668 Featured 2.0, 535 NFL blogs, 732 user showcase posts. Not bad for a small community of writers participating because we enjoy it. We've all joined the Gab at various points - and I'm glad I've had the chance to participate in building and sustaining this place. There's no other place I'd rather wax poetic about getting older, no other place to complain about people doing dumb things. Well done Gab!