Last week's game against the Oakland Raiders was set up as if the Patriots were supposed to just demolish a team that was about as bad as it could be. But it turned out that thought should've stayed on the paper it was written and not been allowed to seemingly seep into the mindset of the Patriots roster.
As with their win over the Vikings the week prior, the Patriots 16-9 win over the Raiders was good for the straight up win itself. But the way it came about was just frustrating as all hell.
The Raiders were giving up an average of 200 rushing yards per game coming into the game. The Patriots were coming off a game where they showed what they could do when the holes opened up for their ground game. But the inconsistent offensive line play fell far short of meeting expectations when the Patriots managed just 76 rushing yards for the game.
The O-line also didn't do Tom Brady any favors. He finished 24-37 for 234 yards and a TD. But he got sacked twice and got pressured all throughout the game.
The defense is where the game got saved in the end. Initially, they failed to stop the Raiders on their last drive of the game because the Raiders did score what would've been the game tying touchdown. But it got called back when the Raiders were flagged for holding. Of course the short run that tied the game should never have been possible. But the refs called an absolutely terrible pass interference call on Logan Ryan (pictured below). I watched the replay and if anything, it should've been OFFENSIVE pass interference. You can read about that particular call HERE.
The defense wasn't able to sack rookie QB Derek Carr but they were finally seal the victory when a Carr pass played "follow the bouncing ball" and landed in the hands of Vince Wilfork. The big man making that pick (see below) was the most positive aspect being talked about for the game, and for good reason. The team's offense is still a mess. Julian Edelman is the only receiver showing the ability to get open and catch the ball. The offensive line has yet to gel together and both protect Brady for an entire game AND get the run game some daylight.
The Patriots are 2-1 and back in a first place tie in the AFC East. But it has been a "beat with the ugly stick" kind of viewing experience and as the season progresses, things have got to get on a more even keel offensively or the lack of fluidity in their performance is going to come back and bite them both heavily and repeatedly on their ass.
Mass Maritime - Mass Maritime is a Division 3 school located roughly 10-15 minutes from where I live. A trio of my former players are on the team. Richie is a freshman and Cody is a sophomore still looking for playing time, E.J. is the team's star receiver. In the 42nd annual Admiral's Cup game last week, the Buccaneers beat Maine Maritime 26-20 in double overtime. E.J (pictured below) had 11 catches for 173 yards as the team evened their record at 1-1. The yardage total leaves him 141 yards from breaking the school receiving record. You can check out the team's webpage HERE.
E.J. caught 4 passes for 81 yards yesterday against Worcester State, but the team got beaten 48-14. They are now 1-2 on the season. Cody (pictured below 1st) saw his first action and caught his first college pass, an 11 yard completion. But he fumbled the ball away too. Richie (pictured below 2nd) saw his first action in the game. He had 20 yards on 7 rushes.
Boston College - The Eagles led by 7 points going into the fourth quarter against Colorado State yesterday afternoon, but gave up 10 unanswered points and lost 24-21. The winning score for the Rams came when Charles Lovett (the fifth option on the play) caught a 12 yard TD pass on a fourth down play (pictured below) with just 62 seconds left in the game, leaving little time for the Eagles to mount a long TD drive. The loss drops them to 3-2.
The loss wasted a fantastic performance by running back Jon Hilliman (pictured below). He ran for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns on the day.
QB Tyler Murphy completed 60 percent of his passes but managed just 169 yards. He got sacked once and picked off another time. He ran for 79 yards and a score as well.
BC fumbled the ball three times but didn't lose any of them. But the coaching staff can't have been happy to watch the players bobble the ball instead of keeping it secure.
BC's defense sacked Rams QB twice and picked him off twice but the secondary still gave up 270 passing yards and two touchdown passes to him. The defense also got touched for 154 rushing yards.
Here's the highlights from the game:
Not only did I lose in both leagues last week, I got stomped so bad that I was on the wrong end of the league's "Blowout of the Week" score. Yes, I did very badly and I think that's enough about the butt whipping I took.
While I agree that the fever pitch overkill about the impending retirement of Derek Jeter is annoying, I am not among those who rabidly hate the guy. I appreciate what he's meant to the game. Sure it stinks that he's a damn Yankee, but give a guy his due.
And while he is doing the DH thing in Boston, you have to admit that he sure went out in about as perfect a way as possible in his final home game the other night. A game winning hit in his final Yankee Stadium at bat? Scriptwriters couldn't have done it better. And it was nice to see him so excitedly emotional over said hit.
This week I don't have a blog link from Katie Smith but instead there was an article about the start of her coaching career on the Scout.com Ohio State site. You can check out the article HERE.
The Celtics traded away Keith Bogans late in the week and got back...well really nothing of consequence. Despite assurances of making a splash in the free agent market this summer, the Celtics have done nothing to truly improve the team back to a playoff contender. The trade of Bogans was getting rid of a relatively quiet but still obvious malcontent. You can read the details about the trade in this article.
I think the biggest part of the trade was the fact that the players the Celtics got in return caused the team to waive both Chris Johnson and Chris Babb. The two players finished the season with Boston last year but since they didn't have guaranteed contracts for this season, they were expendable. I feel particularly bummed about Johnson's departure because he made such an impression last year with his hustle. He'd been signed to a 10 day contract and then a second one. But when it came time to make a decision on whether to keep him for the rest of the year, the Celtics kept him around because he went full-tilt all the time.
Of course, heading into training camp, Boston STILL has 16 players with guaranteed contracts on the roster. That's obviously going to change because they can't carry that many players on the team. The roster is going to be changing more than a bit and while I try to be optimistic about the team, I just don't see how they are going to be much better than the 25-57 record they had last season.
And that was before the news on Friday that Rajon Rondo, the only "star" on the team, is out at least 6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left hand for a broken finger. The injury occurred at home and leaves the Celtics with rookie Marcus Smart and veteran Avery Bradley as their point guard options until Rondo's return. You can read more about the injury in this article.
Bradley is a good, if oft-injured, player but he's definitely more suited to be the "2" guard and it is his defense where he's made his rep thus far. When he's been at the point in the past he's been okay but is clearly second fiddle to Rondo's ability to run the team.
And if you want to make the situation with Rondo even worse to think about...he's in the last year of a five year deal. He has said that he wants to stay in Boston. But given comments made by the team owner and the frustration the front office has in dealing with Rondo's mercurial nature, you have to wonder if either side is truly going to meet at the negotiating table. And wouldn't that be a disaster? The only marketable and superstar player on the team and he leaves via free agency?
I think if the Celtics (more like WHEN) fall out of playoff contention early, the team will start talking to Rondo early about signing a new deal to avoid the hassle of free agency or they will make a deal with a contending team before the end of the season and trade him away. At least that way, they'd get something for him instead of being the jilted groom left holding nothing at the altar.
WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Boston College - The BC women had their annual photo shoot this week for their upcoming 2014-2015 season. You can check out some of the photos from photographer John Quackenbos below.
There was also a behind the scenes video from the photo shoot that was put up online. You can check it out below.
This week I was checking out the team roster page on their website and saw that two players from last year's team are no longer on the team. Kami Mickens transferred to Trinity Valley Community College. Amber Cooper's name is gone from the roster but I can't find anything to say where she is now.
And of course, I didn't know any of this information until I found it myself via other sources because Boston College never seems to announce transfers. It makes it kind of annoying when months later you find out people have left the program.
South Carolina - You can check out an article about head coach Dawn Staley's work with the USA Basketball women's team HERE.
With all the hue and cry about the domestic violence going on in the NFL, can someone please tell me how the women's national team goalie Hope Solo is still playing for her Seattle pro team when she's charged with the same thing. She is charged with assaulting her sister and her nephew and yet no one has said a word about it until just recently?
And the powers that be in the US Soccer governing body are being a bunch of mealy-mouthed weasels about things.
Look, I have no problem with the NFL players being suspended while their legal situations are resolved, but the blatant double standard being applied to Hope Solo needs to end.
Wareham Girls Soccer - The team lost three more games this week. They lost to Case 4-0, Apponequet 7-0 and GNB Voc-Tech 3-1. They are 0-9 on the season and have lost at lead 45 games in a row. The JV team lost to Apponequet 6-0 and the mother of one player told me it was just awful. But on the plus side, she did tell me that her daughter is being trained for the upcoming hoops season by a men's college basketball coach from the area. This makes me very happy because I've long admired the girl's basketball talent and have wished she would do more to improve and refine her skills.
Upper Cape Girls Soccer - After losing to Bristol-Plymouth 4-2 and Pope John Paul II High 2-1, the Rams are 2-5-1 on the season.
Wareham Girls Field Hockey - The team lost 6-0 to Seekonk and then closed out their week with a 2-0 loss to Fairhaven.
Wareham Football - The Vikings football team got thoroughly dominated by Dighton-Rehoboth and lost 35-0.
Wareham Girls Volleyball - The team had been 3-3 but after losing three matches this week, they've lost a total of four in row to fall to 3-7. They lost 3 sets to none to Case, Apponequet and GNB Voc-Tech. If they have any hope for the playoffs, they will have to figure things out pretty much immediately and start winning matches again.
Wareham Athletic Hall of Fame - When the school announced this year's class of inductees, I was a little amused to see that I had worked for Frank (1940's) and coached Patrick (1990's). Congratulations to both of them.
A former player of mine named Brent died a few months back. It was due to a drug overdose. He played for me for one season and while he didn't have much in the way of hoops talent, his sole basket of the season came during the championship game that we won. His mother is taking his death and turning into a new purpose to help others. The story was featured in one of the local weekly papers this week. You can check it out HERE.
Books - This week I was able to finish the Lorna Barrett mystery novel Sentenced to Death. Unfortunately, I found it a bit of a slog to get through. It just wasn't all that entertaining a story.
But the disappointment in that book didn't stop me from picking up four new books to read.
I picked up the Iris Johansen thriller Live To See Tomorrow, the Joan Hess mystery Murder as a Second Language and the science fiction anthology set in David Weber's Honorverse world. The book is called Beginnings - World of Honor #6. It features a story by Weber himself as well as three other writers.
The fourth book that I picked up was the new Archer Mayor hardcover called Proof Positive. It is the latest in his Joe Gunther series. I don't want to come across as too maudlin, but reading this series is a way for me to kind of / sort of stay close to my late father. The series is set in Vermont and my dad was from there. He was also a HUGE fan of the author's. I had gotten him the Mayor book St. Alban's Fire the Christmas before he died but he never got a chance to read it. He gave the Mayor books to a neighbor but I refused to give that one to them until it had been read. I found the book highly enjoyable and have been reading the author since. I even attended a talk he gave here in my town. So I'll be looking forward to reading this one and think of my dad while doing so. You can check out the author at ArcherMayor.com
Music - I picked up a couple new CDs this week. Blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa released his new album Different Shades of Blue while John Mellencamp's Plain Spoken was also on the new release rack. The first song released from both CDs were really quite good and I wanted to check out the whole disc so I could do a review in the future.
TV - The fall TV season has gotten underway. I liked the new shows Scorpion, NCIS: New Orleans, Forever so far. I hated Selfie and The Mysteries of Laura (which is just awful). Shows like Red Band Society surprised while Madam Secretary was merely adequate. As for returning shows, I thought The Blacklist and NCIS were really good in their premieres. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was decent too. I'm still looking forward to checking out the first episode of Gotham and the return of Sleepy Hollow.
New England Patriots - Now I know that the annihilation of the Minnesota Vikings by the Patriots came while the best player on the Vikings (Adrian Peterson) was banned from the game by the team, but a 30-7 victory no matter how it comes is always a good thing. In that respect I'm very pleased with the result. But given that the offense is still mostly out of sync, there is definitely cause for concern.
According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, 34 of the 50 points the Patriots have scored through two games have come after the defense has forced a turnover. And the defense most definitely played a huge role in the game against the Vikings. They grabbed four interceptions off of the arm of Vikings QB Matt Cassel (including the one seen below by Logan Ryan).
The defense also forced a fumble while sacking Cassel (see below) six times.
The defensive line shut down the Vikings run game to just 54 yards.
After a lackluster to poor showing in the first game, the offensive line did a much better job of protecting Tom Brady (gave up one sack) and opening up holes for the run game. Unfortunately for Brady, with the offense unable to fire on all cylinders, he was just 15-22 for 149 yards and a TD (to Julian Edelman, see below). While the win is the thing, given Brady's desire, the fact "his" offense isn't lighting things up at the start of the season has to be galling to him.
Stevan Ridley (see below) had a good day, leading the team in rushing with 101 yards and a touchdown.
The biggest problem for the Patriots is not the offense though. Rather it is the team's impression of the Oakland Raiders. Against Minnesota, they got called for 15 penalties. This includes lineman Nate Solder somehow managing to get called for 3 penalties total on back to back plays. Bill Belichick doesn't like his teams to get even one penalty so fifteen yellow flags no doubt caused a lot of sleepless nights leading up to today's game as the coaching staff figures out how to get the players to stop shooting themselves in the foot.
Cincinnati Bengals - While most of the headlines the last couple of weeks have involved players getting into a bunch of legal trouble, there have actually been some good stories coming out of the league. The best one has to be the story of Devon Still and how the Bengals have helped him deal with his daughter's cancer diagnosis. You can read the article HERE.
BYU - The school announced they will retire Jim McMahon's #9 in a ceremony on October 3rd. I was a big fan of his when he was with the Chicago Bears and I'm happy to see him getting this honor. I know that he's not the guy he once was due to the cumulative effect of his injuries from playing the game but I remain a fan. You can read more on the ceremony and how he completed the course work necessary to finally graduate from BYU HERE.
Florida State - If you needed even further proof that FSU quarterback Jameis Winston is a complete and utter freaking moron with no common sense whatsoever, you should check out this article and have his idiocy confirmed. And if your Heisman Trophy winning QB who has had to dodge shoplifting and a rape investigation already, manages to get into trouble for spouting off a phrase that is likely considered offensive by many who heard it, how does the head of the football program react?
The school originally suspended him for the first half of this weekend's game against Clemson. But late Friday night came the announcement that Winston would be suspended for the entire game. Call me suspicious but I think his benching for the whole game has more to do with the uproar surrounding what he said rather than the statement the school put out that read in part: "Based upon the results of the continuing investigation of Tuesday's incident involving Jameis Winston, we have decided to not play him for the entire game against Clemson on Saturday night."
Additional reporting in this article has the suspension being extended for the whole game after the school's administration discovered Winston hadn't been entirely truthful with them. I would guess you could read that as they found out he outright lied to them.
At this rate, when Winston kills a family of five while out drunk driving, he'll smile for the cameras, pretend that he's sorry, and get drafted in the first round of the NFL. The guy is a ticking time bomb and people should run as far away from him as possible.
Some people might say that this is a major overreaction to a college student acting like a college student. And if it wasn't the Heisman trophy winning starting QB of a major college football team, they'd probably be right. But with the history that Winston has, he has no margin of error and has to wake up, smell the coffee and start acting like an adult and not a bad imitation of any number of characters you could name from the movie Animal House.
Alabama - Last Week: The Crimson Tide rolled to a 3-0 record with their 52-12 shellacking of Southern Mississippi. Bama outgained Southern Miss 547-263, including a 333-56 edge in the rushing attack. Kenyan Drake scored 3 touchdowns on the day. Amari Cooper (pictured below) was the prime target in the passing game for the Tide. He finished with 8 catches for 135 yards and score.
QB Blake Sims (pictured below) was 12-17 for 168 yards and 2 TDs. He also ran for 46 yards and TD.
It is funny that Alabama is 3-0 and yet if you read everything online and listen to the talking heads, they aren't in consideration for the 4 playoff spots. The strength of schedule arguments are definitely going to be used to hurt Bama's chances to get into the playoff.
This Week: The Crimson Tide played host to Florida yesterday and almost in spite of themselves came away with a resounding 42-21 victory. But I can't imagine Nick Saban is going to be overly happy about the win when there is so much that went wrong that he can obsess over.
In the first half, Alabama had 3 fumbles lost and it helped Florida hold a 14-7 lead at one point. The Bama players just couldn't seem to hang on to the ball. And you can add in an interception for a total of four turnovers for the Tide. When you factor in 11 penalties for 80 yards, I'm amazed Saban didn't just lose his mind right there on the sideline.
In between some rather large mistakes though, Alabama did at times manage to look rather amazing. Blake Sims had a pretty good day for himself. He was 23-33 for 445 yards (2nd most in school history) and 4 touchdowns. Two of those scoring strikes were huge plays dialed up by offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and they were beauties. Sims (pictured below 1st) hit running back Kenyan Drake for an 87 yard TD score and then followed that up with a 79 yard pass to Amari Cooper. Cooper (pictured below 2nd) was so wide open on the play, I think the closest defender was at least 20 yards away. He finished the game with 10 receptions for 201 yards and a total of 3 touchdowns.
Derrick Henry led the rushing attack with 111 yards and a TD run.
The defense for Bama held the Gators to just 200 total yards of offense and had 2 interceptions. And while practice this coming week is likely to strongly reinforce the no turnovers, no penalties aspect of the game, it is nice to see Alabama at 4-0.
Boston College - LAST WEEK - Last Saturday, I was on a date while the BC Eagles played on national television against #9 USC. Let's be honest, there's very few people who can truly say they expected to see the Eagles up 20-17 at the half. Especially since they started the game down 10-0. But even fewer could've kept a straight face if they told you they foresaw the Eagles upsetting the Trojans 37-31.
I got to see the end of the game and I'll tell you, it was just so thrilling to see Alumni Stadium filled, the place rocking and the fans storming the field after the game was over. BC is probably always going to see their football team fall under the "Just Another Program" designation in the world of college football but it is always extremely satisfying when they rise up to knock the premiere programs off their perch once in a while.
The school honored 9/11 hero and alumnus Welles Crowther at the game and some of that emotion must've rubbed off on the team. After getting whipped by Pittsburgh last week, the Eagles just dominated USC. Yes the score was close but make no mistake, Boston College owned this game.
It was the offensive and defensive lines that shined brightly in the game. The defensive line held USC to just 20 rushing yards on the night.
And while the secondary gave up 317 passing yards and four TDs to Trojan QB Cody Kessler, it wasn't enough to offset the defense sacking him 5 times.
As for the offensive line, they steamrolled the USC defense and opened up holes all game long. The BC rushers hit those holes and racked up 452 net yards. For those keeping score, that's 452-20 in rushing yards! And if that wasn't enough, Myles Willis, Sherman Allston and John Hilliman (pictured below) along with QB Tyler Murphy racked up 5 TDs on the ground as well.
Speaking of Murphy (pictured below), he didn't have an especially good night throwing the ball. And while he didn't HAVE to do so, I think people are going to expect a bit more than 5-13 for 54 yards with a sack and an INT if BC wants to return to a bowl this year. But on this night, he tossed in a career high 191 rushing yards and all was mostly forgiven (until the first practice after the game, I'm sure).
The surprising win and the effectiveness of the Eagles in the game caught the eye of the ACC because Murphy was named Offensive Back of the Week while Andy Gallick (Offensive Lineman of the Week) and Josh Keyes (Linebacker of the Week) also picked up awards. You can learn more about Gallick (pictured below) HERE.
By the way, if you want to learn more about who Welles Crowther was and why he is a hero of 9/11, you can check out this ESPN Outside the Lines video. I saw it when it premiered on the network and it was pretty amazing.
One final note about the BC Eagles focuses on Barry Gallup. You can learn more about why he is called "The Heart of BC Football" HERE.
THIS WEEK - Fear of a letdown after the emotional win by BC over USC was put to rest relatively early in the game. While Maine scored first to take a 7-0 lead (their first touchdown against BC since 1915 according to one recap article I read), BC just steamrolled the Black Bears on their way to a 40-10 victory. BC improves to 3-1 on the season.
QB Tyler Murphy (pictured below) was leading the nation's quarterbacks with 401 rushing yards coming into the game and he added 99 more yards to that total. He ran for two touchdowns including a big 71 yard scamper. In the passing game he was 11-18 for 130 yards with an interception. He hit Josh Bordner for a 48 yard TD pass.
Once again the rushing attack was the big story of the BC offense. Marcus Outlow led the run game with 107 rushing yards, but it was John Hilliman that really stood out. He had career highs in carries (21) and yards (98) with two touchdowns. In all, BC had 413 rushing yards to help give them a 513-139 edge in total yards.
The BC defense had 2 interceptions and once again stymied their opponent's run game. Maine managed just 16 total yards on the ground because the BC defense (pictured below) just swarmed any runner that carried the ball.
You can see highlights of the game below.
USA Basketball found itself in a bit of a brouhaha this week when an article by Yahoo Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski called out coach Mike Kryzewski for using his position as the national team coach as an unfair recruiting advantage in his "real" job coaching at Duke. Here's that article.
The article prompted Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim (an assistant on the national team) to speak out in defense of Coach K. And on Thursday, Kryzewski himself addressed the situation himself. Click HERE for that story.
I think it is a bit of BS to think being the national team coach is an unfair advantage in the college basketball recruiting wars. It is likely AN advantage, but not an unfair one. Particularly when you consider that Coach K (as Tony Kornheiser said Thursday on ESPN's Pardon The Interruption) can walk into any recruit's living room and say "I've got four national championships, what's your guy got?" And he doesn't even have to bring up the national team to do that. Those titles are just his Duke titles.
New York Liberty assistant coach Katie Smith has posted her second blog where she talks about her downtime. You can check it out HERE.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Do you remember that 1983 TV movie starring Helen Hunt called Quarterback Princess? She played a girl that went out for her high school team as a quarterback and along the way also ended up as the homecoming queen.
Well this week we have another story along those lines. She's a kicker instead of a QB but 17 year old Mary Kate Smith of Mississippi will be crowned homecoming queen and then turn right around to suit up for the football game. You can read about her in this article.
As for the area teams I follow:
Wareham Girls Varsity Soccer - The team lost to Seekonk 8-0 and to Bourne 7-0 to fall to 0-6. They have now lost 42 games in a row. The JV didn't do any better against Bourne. They also lost 7-0.
Upper Cape Girls Soccer - The Rams picked up a 6-0 win over Old Colony, but on Friday night they lost to Norfolk Aggie 5-2. They are 2-3-1 (1-1 in conference) so far this season.
Upper Cape JV Football - The Rams lost to Diman Regional 20-12 to drop to 0-2 on the season.
Wareham Boys Soccer - The boys team dropped games to Seekonk and Bourne by identical 7-0 scores.
Wareham Field Hockey - The girls picked up their first win of the season with a 3-0 win over Case, but closed out their week with a 6-0 loss to ORR to stand at 1-6 on the season.
Wareham Varsity Football - Despite building an 18-0 lead over Seekonk in the second quarter, the Vikings suffered a heartbreaking defeat when the Warriors scored the winning touchdown with 4 seconds left in the game. After building that early lead, Wareham went down 21-18 but scored with to take the lead with 26 seconds left in the game. But two quick long completions by Seekonk stole the game out from under the Vikings.
Five lost fumbles in the game didn't help Wareham either. My ex-player Josh had a great first half as he racked up 103 yards including a 28 yard TD run on offense. He also had 2 sacks on the defensive side of the ball. But in the second half, he was held to just 1 yard on 10 carries as well as a 13 yard reception on the final Wareham drive.
Wareham falls to 0-2 on the season.
Wareham Girls Volleyball - After beating Seekonk 3-2, the Vikings dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker to Bourne. They are 3-4 on the season now. Against Seekonk, Rae-Lyn had 7 kills and 13 digs. In the loss to Bourne she had 8 kills, 17 digs and 8 service aces. Meanwhile, Erica had 5 kills and 12 digs in the Bourne match.
They had a nice bit of coverage in the local paper this week including some more photos from their earlier match this season against GNB Voc-Tech. Rae-Lyn and Erica were featured in a number of shots and here are a couple of them. (All the volleyball photos here are by the Wareham Courier's Adam K. Ellis.)
And this one of her killing the ball was on the front page of the Wareham Courier this week:
I was fully expecting to lose both leagues I'm in during Week 2, but for a change I have to be thankful to a Philadelphia team. The Eagles got a come from behind victory on Monday night and it was thanks to the Foles (Nick) and Sproles (Darren) show. And as luck would have it, I have both of them on one of my teams and picked up a come from behind victory of my own. So once again I split the two leagues.
In last week's column I made mention of the resignation of manager Ron Washington and how I hoped it wasn't due to drugs since he'd been caught using them before. On Thursday it was sort of revealed by Washington that he cheated on his wife. I say sort of because he didn't come out fully and say so but what little he did say seemed to point in that direction. You can check out this article for more.
I made mention earlier in the column that I was out on a date while Boston College was on TV. My girlfriend Julie and I went out to dinner at this restaurant neither of us had eaten at before called Matt's Blackboard. Our meals were really good and we look forward to going back there again soon. The second half of the date ended up being some time at the lanes.
Yes readers, I went BOWLING! Previously, I'd only been bowling once and I was so bad at it that the 5 year old boy in the lane next to me had a better score. This time around it was the small ball (candlepin) type of bowling and while I won't be joining the PBA anytime soon, it ended up being an enjoyable time for the both of us. We rolled three games, and laughed at ourselves when we threw a gutterball, and heckled ourselves when we failed to convert on that one last pin left standing.
But as I said, we had a good time and we'll probably do it again. Oh and yes, we had to do the whole rented shoes thing. Want proof?
Music - The fact that I prefer my music to come in physical form (a CD) instead of digital is something I usually get called a stick in mud for. But it appears Japan is kind of like me, they prefer the CD to digital. You can read more HERE.
The new Robert Plant CD lullaby and...The Ceasless Roar came last week and I added it to my pile of new music to listen to and review at some point.
In the meantime however, you can check out a CD review I was able to do up for the latest disc from the progressive rockers Uriah Heep. The album is called Outsider and I think it is one of the better albums I've heard this year. The review can be read in full via this Pop-topia.com link.
Comic Books - A couple of comics came out last week that I wanted to make mention of. DC Comics released the collected edition Showcase Presents: Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew. Yes it is a funny animals type of book with humor and puns, etc. But it is also one of my most fondly remembered series from the 1980's. When I saw that the book had been schedule to come out, I knew I was going to buy it.
The other comic I wanted to mention is the first issue in the new series called Copperhead. The selling point of the book is "Deadwood in Space". It doesn't quite do justice to the rather superb opening installment. Writer Jay Faerber has usually managed to entertain me in the past on books like Teen Titans, Noble Causes, Dynamo 5 and Firebirds so I was really happy to see he was the creator on this book. And one of the main characters has the best name of the year in comics: Budroxifinicus!
Conventions - I was already looking forward to going to this year's Rhode Island Comic-Con. They had scheduled guests I wanted to see/meet like Walter Koenig (Star Trek/Babylon 5), Mark Sheppard (Firefly/Doctor Who) and Colin Baker (The 6th Doctor on Doctor Who). But this week brought the announcement of Gigi Edgley (Farscape) and I'm pretty much over the moon about the possibility of meeting her!
TV - While a few shows for the new fall season have already started, the real start to the new season gets into full swing starting later tonight. CBS has the new show Madam Secretary and the returning series The Good Wife that will draw my eyeballs tonight.
This week saw the release of the sixth season of Castle on DVD. Being a huge fan of the show, I ordered it promptly and it arrived in my mailbox on Friday. Whoo Hoo! Even more exciting is the fact that I've gotten Julie into watching the show and after the first four episodes she loves it.
Movies - Despite the company effectively going out of business, did you know that there are actually still some Blockbuster stores still in operation? They might be kind of "In Name Only" stores, but this story was pretty interesting.
The official trailer for The Hunger Games - Mockingjay Part 1 has been released and you can check it out below.
While still stuck without my own personal computer... (So yes, my "up to date-ness" ends on Saturday morning before this week's college football games kick off.)
Don't forget that you can follow me on Twitter - @TheOneTrueJay
New England Patriots - I watched most of the Patriots game last Sunday. But with the team up 17-7, I fell asleep. And that's when the Dolphins decided to wake up. Despite missing 3 of their starting linebackers, the defense just killed the New England offense after going down by that 10 point margin.
I woke up when it was 20-20 and wished I was still asleep as the Dolphins went on to win 33-20 and hand the Patriots their first opening day loss in 11 years.
My buddy Brian (a big Dolphins fan) had to be ecstatic watching the defense manhandle the Patriots offensive line. The Pats managed just 89 rushing yards and sacked Tom Brady four times.
Brady threw for 249 years and a TD, but after going up 17-7, it seems he was on the run for the rest of the game.
After all the preseason talk of how different the defense looked and played, it was more of the same because the defensive line couldn't stuff any holes and the Dolphins run game took advantage with 191 rushing yards. Knowshon Moreno was practically unstoppable with 134 of those yards.
This can't be what Bill Belichick planned for, but this game showed that the Patriots aren't quite ready for primetime yet. It also demonstrated AGAIN, that the preseason doesn't mean a darn thing.
Baltimore Ravens - Video footage from inside the elevator that now former Ravens running back Ray Rice beat the crap out of his fiancee (now wife) surfaced this past week and as soon as it got out (TMZ gets another "scoop"), the Ravens terminated Rice's contract and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.
I have strong feelings about domestic violence, let that be clear. But for me, despite the reported ugliness of the new footage (I refuse to watch and help TMZ make more of a name for themselves), I have to wonder why the NFL didn't kick Rice to the curb the first time around. He certainly deserved it.
Suspending and firing him at this point seems like they are punishing him twice for the same infraction. And on that point alone I'm a little annoyed at the NFL.
Ray Rice is certainly a scumbag, the video definitely confirms that I'm told. But the league punished him once. However ridiculously bad they handled it the first time around, I can't imagine the player's union isn't going to raise a stink on general principle for a player being punished twice.
Minnesota Vikings - It isn't a good time to be Adrian Peterson. Last week reports surfaced that he reportedly told Cowboys owner Jerry Jones that he wanted to play for Dallas. That could not have endeared him to the Vikings ownership, coaches and other players. And the fan base was likely enraged.
And then on Friday, news broke that he had been charged with child abuse in Texas for using a switch to spank one of his sons. SAY WHAT?
DUDE! How goddamn stupid are you? You used a switch on your son? Have you conveniently forgotten that just last year a son you didn't even know you had was beaten to death by your baby mama's boyfriend? I'm all for discipline but let's get serious here, using a switch may have been a time honored idiotic tradition back in the day but in the here and now, that crap just ain't gonna fly with law enforcement. Oh by the way, the guy who killed that son of yours goes on trial for second degree murder next month. MORON!
For those fantasy football people that have Adrian Peterson on their teams, better make adjustments to your roster, the Vikings have benched him for today's game against the Patriots.
I actually managed to split my two leagues during Week 1. I really have no confidence in my lineups so getting even 1 win was pretty sweet. Of course, I'm favored to lose in both leagues this week so I might be writing with a "woe is me" vibe next week.
MIRACLE ON ICE USA HOCKEY TEAM NEWS
Just a bit of sad news...Bob Suter, one of the players on the 1980 Lake Placid hockey team that stunned the world by beating the Russians, passed away this week. He was 57 years old. He was a scout for the Minnesota Wild (and father to one of their players, Ryan Suter) as well as a youth hockey figure.
He's the first of the players from that team to pass away. You can read more about his life here.
Alabama - The Crimson Tide once again dominated their opponent last week. But it didn't help them keep their #2 ranking.
Despite beating Florida Atlantic University 41-0, the Tide dropped to #3 in the rankings after voters/computers factored in the strength of schedule angle in the Oregon-Michigan State game. Oregon won that game going away and they vaulted up to #2.
As for the FAU game, the Bama defense gave up just 145 yards in total offense (57 rush, 88 pass) and had 3 sacks.
Given that the game was a blowout, both Blake Sims and Jake Coker saw time at QB. Sims threw for 214 yards and 2 TDS, while rushing for another. Coker had 202 passing yards and a TD. He got sacked once.
The team as a whole rushed for 204 yards, with Kenyan Drake leading the way with just 45 yards (with a TD run). Amari Cooper was the biggest offensive star as he racked up 189 yards receiving and caught a TD pass.
(I'll write about this week's Alabama home game vs. Southern Mississippi and the Boston College home game vs. USC next week.)
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Boston Red Sox - As if the season wasn't going badly enough for the Red Sox, second baseman Dustin Pedroia's season came to an early end when it was announced that he would be undergoing season ending surgery on his hand.
The Boston Herald had an interesting article that broke down all the injuries Pedroia has suffered in recent years and questions whether he'll ever be the same player he was before all the injuries.
Texas Rangers - The Texas Rangers were stunned a bit last week when manager Ron Washington resigned. The Rangers have been playing really badly this season, but Washington wasn't in danger of being fired after 1 down year.
While no specifics have been given, the resignation was termed by Washington as being done to deal with an "off the field personal matter."
The cynical SOB I am, the first thing I thought of was that he'd been caught using cocaine again. I really hope that isn't the case because it would be yet another sports related disappointment and at the rate they are coming these days, the sports pages might just as well be the front pages of a newspaper.
New York Mets - As if the simple fact of being the New York Mets and stinking to high heaven wasn't enough, now we have the story of team COO Jeff Wilpon being sued for discrimination by a female former team executive who became pregnant while unwed. Reading the story, apparently Wilpon acted like a total dick and is seemingly about to pay the price for it.
It makes me wonder just what is going through the minds of the "men" who run sports teams and or play the games. It is a different world these days, you bumbling Neanderthals!
The women's basketball schedule was released this past week and while they will play ten teams that made the NCAA tournament last year, I have to say I'm slightly disappointed with the slate of home games they'll have this year.
Since I can only attend Sunday games, I can't even think about seeing them play Duke this year. And then there are the teams I'd love to see them play but they are road games: Stanford, Hartford and Louisville.
I'm really psyched to see them play Notre Dame which is the biggest Sunday game on the home schedule, so I'll be getting tickets for that one. After that I don't know which games might strike my fancy. The remaining Sunday games (after the first of the year that is) feature Syracuse, North Carolina State, Florida State and Virginia Tech (which is the final regular season game of the season AND Senior Day.)
New York Liberty - Assistant coach Katie Smith has apparently decided to start writing a weekly blog on her website. The first installment breaks down some of her adjustments from being a player to becoming a coach. You can read it here.
Phoenix Mercury - Congratulations go out to the Mercury after they swept the Chicago Sky and clinched their third WNBA title since 2007.
Atlanta Hawks - It's been quite a week down in Atlanta hasn't it? First the majority owner Bruce Levenson announces he's selling his share of the team after an email he made with huge racial overtones was made public.
Well, I suppose owning up quickly to his rather stupid views is a point in his favor. And it saves NBA commissioner Adam Silver from having to deal with a Donald Sterling sequel to oust an owner clearly out of step with society at large.
And then on Friday it was announced that Hawks GM Danny Ferry was taking an indefinite leave of absence for his role and comments in the seemingly growing story. I don't know why he wasn't fired because he will never be accepted by the players and fans again.
And this brings up a question for me. Am I the only one in the world that was raised properly?
Where does all this hatred come from? I mean, I was always taught that you don't hate someone based on the color of their skin. I worked in youth basketball for 25 years and when I first started out, there was a knock on the league that only the black coaches won championships. Which was entirely BS even then, but I'd say winning 10 titles as a head coach (11 if you include the one I was an assistant coach for) put that lie to rest.
And why would anyone these days make such sweeping generalizations about players or a race of people? Maybe I've somehow managed to maintain a sense of naivety about race relations but I've yet to meet a person of another color that I've hated based solely that their skin wasn't as white as mine is? For cripe's sake, the man I considered my basketball mentor was a black man whose death from cancer devastated me.
Generally when I've disliked or yes even hated someone it is after I get to know them as a person, and it is based on their personality or attitude...NOT THEIR SKIN COLOR!
I'm a stick in the mud about some stuff in this world but I can't imagine the mindset of people who hate or discriminate against someone for reasons of their skin.
It seems that the powers that be running NBA ballclubs really need to either get with the times or get the hell out of the game. Or maybe it would be enough for them to simply grow the hell up!
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Wareham Girls Varsity Soccer - The team dropped a 2-0 match to Fairhaven on Monday to start off their week. They lost to ORR on Wednesday 6-0. Meanwhile, the JV team which has one of my former players (Gabby) on the team lost 5-0.
On Friday, the Vikings varsity managed to find the net but lost to Dighton-Rehoboth 6-2 for their 40th straight loss. Brianna had 8 saves in the game while Paige was cited in the paper for impressing with her play.
Wareham Boys Varsity Soccer - The Vikings fell to Dighton-Rehoboth 6-1 for their fourth straight loss to open the season. My ex-player Eoghan assisted on the team's only goal.
Wareham Girls Volleyball - The team dropped their match with Fairhaven by the score of 3 games to none. But the team got their first win on Wednesday night when they beat ORR 3 games to 2. They are now 1-3 on the season.
By the way, you can check out an article (with a couple of quotes from one of my ex-players Rae-Lyn) about the only boy playing on the WHS girls volleyball team here.
Friday's match against Dighton-Rehoboth saw the Vikings win 3 games to 1 to up their record to 2-3. Rae-Lyn had 6 digs, 18 kills and four aces in the match.
Wareham Girls Field Hockey - The team lost to Dighton-Rehoboth on Wednesday by the score of 7-0.
Upper Cape Tech JV Football - The team lost to Mashpee in their season opener but my girlfriend's son Connor said that he led the defense in tackles for the game.
Wareham Varsity Football - While the team has an off week this week, I wanted to make sure I included a photo of one of my ex-players from the opening game. Josh (#10) scored a TD in the game and is being looked upon to be one of the team's top offensive contributors.
By the way, to show you how far the Vikings might have to come this year, Bishop Stang (the team that beat them last week 42-26 last week) managed to somehow lose their second game on Friday night 46-2. And that is not a typo, they managed just TWO points against their second opponent after demolishing Wareham's defense the week before.
Movies - I saw the movie Draft Day this past week. It had a few relatively preposterous scenes but overall I actually liked it. The one problem the movie demonstrates so aptly is that the best possible GM candidates for the team are in Hollywood working as scriptwriters. The actual GMs the team has had over the years keep the fanbase in the eternal but fruitless hope that they will ever actually build a contender.
Books - This week's book purchase was the paperback edition of the Sara Paretsky mystery Critical Mass. It is the latest in her V.I. Warshawski series.
Music - I went out to see a cover band called Sound Tower last Saturday night with my girlfriend. The guy who owned the Rock Is Life.com site that I wrote reviews for in the past is the band's frontman but I'd never seen them live before. We stayed for two sets and I found it quite enjoyable. I really liked their cover of the Bad Company song "Can't Get Enough". You can check them out at http://www.soundtowerrocks.com
Here's a pic of me and Julie at the show:
You can check out the new Mr. Big song "The Monster In Me" here (Youtube Link).
Movies (Fan Films) - I'm a big fan of the show Firefly and the follow up movie Serenity. And this week brought a new fan film based in the same universe. The film is actually getting positive reviews online and I thought you all might like to check it out. You can see it HERE!
The MLB regular season is scheduled to end October 4, 2015. The World Series is to start on October 28th.
I thought that football was meant for the outdoors in November..
Coaches, Coach and Athletic Directors Direct. Or so they should. AD’s should be somewhere inside the stadium minding their own business regardless what there coaches want.
Okay, he has won more Super Bowls than his more famous brother, but I think it is time to let Eli take a back seat and give Ryan Nassib s chance to prove himself. This way the G-Men will find out once and for all if Ryan is the man for the team in the future.
I was excited at halftime of the Jaguars-Eagles game. Allen Hurns 2 TD’s from Henne propelling them to a 17-0 lead. Then what the hell happened in the second half?? The Eagle’s score 37 unanswered points. Now technically there is no such thing is unanswered points. All the points were accounted for when the game was over. Was it the real Henne? Or did the Jaguars go soft all of a sudden?? The team lacks depth at linebacker. But our 3rd string safety, Chris Prosinski, got burnt. What about our running game? Only 62 yards. Gee how are ya going to win like that.
The only good thing about this game is they scored more points Sunday then they did against the Chiefs in last years opener (only 2 points).
The phone lines were busy at 1010XL the sports radio station. Most of the people who called in wanted Blake Bortles in the 4th quarter. But, he will start soon. Hopefully by the first home game in two weeks.
I am glad that Ray Rice finally got what was coming to him. Now if his wife was smart she should dump his ass.
While possibly headed towards a Internet hiatus as my home computer seems to have died on me as of yesterday (Saturday September 5th)...
Don't forget, you can follow me on Twitter: @TheOneTrueJay
Denver Broncos - So...Wes Welker gets banged up on the field for his 3rd concussion within a year and everyone is concerned for his future welfare.
But a couple of days later, the concern goes out the window when his 4 game suspension for PEDs is announced. Apparently he decided to do some extracurricular celebrating at the Kentucky Derby and now he's going to pay the price.
You can imagine that Peyton Manning isn't going to be very happy with this turn of events. His initial comments gave you a little insight to what he was thinking. You know that "It's a self inflicted wound" can't bode well for Welker when he returns to the field.
Of course, you do have to wonder just how stupid Welker has gotten. PEDs? Really? For a guy who built is rep and career on being the scrappy underdog type of player, he's not going to get any sympathy for cheating this way.
I'm in two leagues this year, but for the first time I wasn't actually involved in the live drafts for either of the leagues. I got my teams autopicked and will have to see how I do with the computer's idea of stocking my team.
Is anyone else not quite feeling ready for fantasy season this year? I know that missing the live draft didn't bother me much at all. Could that be a sign that the allure of fantasy football is fading?
Typical, eh? Last season I rooted for the Chicago Sky as my secondary WNBA team because they had Carolyn Swords on the team. They cut her before the season this year and my fandom left with her.
And then earlier this week, the Sky advanced to the WNBA finals. ARGGGHH!
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
The high school season has gotten underway and while I have decided to pull back on my attendance at the fall sports events, I will still follow them through the papers.
Upper Cape Girls Varsity Soccer - The Lady Rams got off to a 0-1-1 start by tying Holbrook at nil and then losing to Bishop Connolly 2-0.
Wareham Girls Varsity Soccer - Despite a reported improvement in overall play, the Vikings dropped what is at least their 37th game in a row, falling 2-0 to GNB Voc-Tech.
Wareham Girls Field Hockey - The season opened with a 3-2 loss to GNB Voc-Tech. They lost on Friday to Apponequet 6-0.
Wareham Girls Volleyball - Their season opened with a 3 games to none loss to GNB Voc-Tech. Against Bishop Connolly on Friday, they lost 3-0 as well.
Here's some photos of my ex-players in action during the Voc-Tech match:
Wareham Football - I ended up attending this game because my girlfriend's daughter is in the marching band, so I promised to attend a game to see her perform. As for the game, Wareham went up 12-7 early but Bishop Stang rallied back to take 15-12 lead before a 64 yard punt return for a TD gave the Spartans control of the game and they rolled to a 42-26 victory over the Vikings.
One of my ex-players on the team is Josh, and he scored a 3 yard touchdown early in the game.
BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES FOOTBALL
The BC Eagles opened up their season on Friday night and unfortunately for them, they came away on the wrong end of a 30-20 score versus Pittsburgh.
Tyler Murphy (pictured below) was again the main star for the Eagles. The QB had a relatively inefficient night throwing the ball (10-27 for 134 yards and a TD while getting sacked 4 times) but he rant for 104 net rushing yards and another score.
But the Eagles defense gave up 416 yards of total offense including 213 rushing yards (and a TD) to Pitt's James Connor.
TV - The A&E network screwed over fans of the series Longmire this past week when they canceled the show after three seasons. It was a cancelation that reportedly took TV industry insiders by surprise. As a big fan of the show, I'm fed up with how A&E does business. They've fallen so far into the abyss of TV programming, there's really nothing left on the network I would watch without feeling the need to apologize to the entirety of mankind for doing so. (Yes, Storage Wars...this means you!)
And in really good news, the first season of the Robert Urich/Avery Brooks series Spenser: For Hire was released on DVD through Warner Archive's MOD program. I ordered it and now I'm in the midst of watching it. Though Robert B. Parker (the author of the Spenser prose novels) was not thrilled with Urich's portrayal, I've always loved him in the role and am a bit overjoyed that this show is now on DVD. Oh and Avery Brooks as Hawk still resonates strongly to this day.
I also picked up the second season of the sitcom Benson this week.
Books - I finished reading the Carol O'Connell book The Chalk Girl this week. I'm a bit behind on that series as the paperback was released in 2012, but the series heroine Mallory (don't call her Kathy), a sociopathic NYPD detective, is always a fascinating read and this entry in the series is no exception.
I also picked up the new Patricia Cornwell paperback called Dust. It is the latest in her Kay Scarpetta series. Now I just need to catch up on the series as I'm three books behind in reading.
Music - You can check out my review of the Night Ranger concert I attended back on August 20th via this KNAC.com link.
I also picked up a couple of new CDs. I went back in time a bit and picked up the first Night Ranger CD Dawn Patrol. And coming back to the present, I picked up the new Accept CD Blind Rage, which comes with a bonus DVD featuring a 22 live concert performance.
In sad news, one of my favorite singers passed away this past week. Survivor vocalist Jimi Jamison died at the age of 63 from a heart attack. His work with the band will always remain a highlight, but his earlier work with the groups Target and Cobra as well as his solo career and collaborative projects are also well worth the effort of tracking down.
Jamison was my first close up brush with rock star fame as I saw him with Survivor in 1986. During the encore of "Eye of the Tiger", I got to exchange a high five with him. At the time, it was quite a moment for me.
One of my favorite songs from his Survivor material is the track "It's the Singer Not the Song". You can check it out below.
His voice is one of the most underrated of the entire AOR genre and instantly identifiable. Though 63 may not seem young, it is still far too soon for his voice to have been forever silenced. RIP, Jimi.