Posted on: January 15, 2013 4:46 am
 

Bama over Notre Dame - My Favorite Football Game

Wow, I've felt satisfaction and happiness over the result of quite a few football games in my time. One of them was the 1975 Sugar Bowl when the Bear finally got the eight year monkey off his back. Another, of course was the 1992 Sugar Bowl when Alabama put a miserable stretch of years behind us and reclaimed a level of play we had always expected, but were not getting.

The Texas game was pretty good, but I knew when McCoy got hurt that the excuses and sour grapes would never be silenced. LOL

Last year's LSU game was pretty good, but I get no satisfaction from watching all those field goals, especially since there were two missed ones and an XP.

The 2009 SEC CG was a big win, a convincing win, and very fun and gratifying ... possibly more so than the next two NC wins to follow.

But this is officially my Favorite Football Game ... EVER

The Top 10 Reasons Why This Is My Favorite Football Game Ever:
10. It cures the 40 year old sting of the '73 Sugar Bowl loss, the 24-23 game that was decided by a missed XP.
9. Alabama got out to that lead early and took all the tension out of it. I don't need tension to enjoy a win, and believe me I've lived through plenty of wins (and losses) with plenty of tension. LOL
8. Balanced offense. There was one yard difference between rushing and passing yards, and there were a LOT of both.
7. It was a beat down sufficient to destroy the trolls that have plagued this board for the last several weeks             
6. It had everything for Bama; dominating defense, great runs, long passes
5. It was a National Championship win, but more ...
4. It was a REPEAT National Championship win, but more ...
3. It was the THIRD in FOUR years! I was just a bit too young to fully appreciate Bear's three in five years.
2. The national accolades for the team are piled high and sweet.

But the #1 reason that this is my favorite football game of al time is -
1. All of the above with No Stinkin' Field Goals! LOL The Tide took care of business in the red zone to put this game away, scoring the proverbial "early and often" in every possible way ... long run, short run, screen pass, short pass, and long passes. Just beautiful.

It would be hard to argue that this was not the perfect football game ... at least if you are an Alabama fan. Smile
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 6, 2012 11:15 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 11:16 am
 

College Football Playoff vs Championship Game

There have been some fans complaining about the rematch aspect of this year's National Championship game.  I wonder if the fans whining that there should be a playoff instead of the BCS Championship game realize the following:

If you used the BCS Standings for a 16 team playoff, and used the reverse seeding method per the basketball tournament, you would have have TWO replays out of the eight first round games: LSU-Georgia and Ok St-Oklahoma. Why replay THOSE two blowouts? ROFLMAO

Assuming all the higher seeds win, in the second round you would have one replay out of four games: Oregon-Stanford. Why replay THAT blowout? LOL

Then, again assuming wins by the top seeds, you would STILL have LSU-Bama in the final. Since that game went into overtime in regulation, that is the only one of the four replays that seems a valid reason for a rematch.

More than 25% of the games in this hypothetical tourny would be rematches. I'll bet this would not be an unusual rate of rematches in ANY year of college football.

The best two teams played their way to the BCS title game. There is no possibility of a "split championship". The winner is the champ. That's why they are playing a CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. ROFLMAO Sour grapes, I believe that most people understand that.
Posted on: January 4, 2012 1:52 pm
 

Professional Trolls

Professional trolls are not an attractive phenomenon in the recent history of sports writing, and unfortunately CBS has at least one full time pro-troll and a few part timers.

We all know the identity of the full time pro-troll, Gregg Doyel. Doyel spins his little columns with a carefully calculated eye to creating the most controversy he can, and stepping on as many toes as he can. That way his little controversies spark a lot of outrage and a lot of page views. Thus we have the paradox of bad sports writing producing a more successful sports web site.

Once the concept of journalism meant something to the CBS Network. They had top notch reporting, and the most respected anchorman in the history of television journalism. Eventually, ratings greed began to creep in and spoil the milk. It didn't start with Doyel. In my opinion the first egregious early example was Dan Rather at the 1968 Democratic Convention, making an ass of himself, provoking a punch, and then screaming at the top of his lungs about "journalistic freedom". Cut to Cronkite in the booth ... he looked ready to throw up.

The trend continued on "60 Minutes". While "60 Minutes" was intended to be a tough investigative show, and often was, it also has descended just as often into spectacle. I can tell you that the only two stories on "60 Minutes" that I had personal knowledge of were presented in a blatantly slanted manner when they hit the air ... containing nothing like a factually balanced presentation of those events. It immediately made me wonder that if they intentionally presented such skewed versions of those two stories, how many more seemingly forthright reports were actually webs of lies for the sake of ratings. I decided to not take the chance on being conned, and I stopped watching "60 Minutes" then and there.

Now we have a wannabe like Gregg Doyel doing something similar on this site, evidently with the enthusiastic approval of his management. He defends his stature by exaggerating his past accomplishments, then writes on without any noticeable intellect or talent. However, he has mastered the art of inflaming reasonably thinking sports fans, who read his trash, become incensed, and post enough complaints to assure management that he is read in sufficient numbers to allow him to continue his embarrassing tactics.

The fact that he is allowed to crow over his "Hate Mail' column once a week is just a further indictment of this entire shoddy piece of the enterprise.

The old timey name for this practice is "yellow journalsim", and it exists on this site in volume.
 
CBS should be ashamed, Doyel should be ashamed. And we should be ashamed for them.
Posted on: August 8, 2010 12:37 pm
Edited on: August 8, 2010 12:39 pm
 

Americans and the Golf 'Cups'

Every US golf fan knows and bemoans the USA's struggles in the last twelve Ryder Cup matches. In that stretch the team that never lost in the history of USA vs Britain, then USA vs Britain and Ireland, and even the first three USA vs Europe matches, has only four wins against eight losses.

The record is somewhat better in the President's Cup, where in its relatively brief history the USA record is marred by only one loss and one tie in eight matches.

Yet the USA now has won the last three combined Cup matches played, including in 2008 its most convincing Ryder Cup win since 1981. At first I attributed the American resurgence in 2008 to getting some new blood into the mix. For a number of years the American team seemed to contain essentially the same mix of players, and the pressure seemed to get to enough of them to cost us the Cup in most years. In 2008, the USA had a number of fresh names on the team, with the like of Anthony Kim, Hunter Mahan, Chad Campbell, Kenny Perry, JB Holmes, and Boo Weekley. I thought at the time and for some time afterward that the US win was mainly due to the addition of some new and hungry faces to the competition.

That may indeed be part of the story, but I recently noticed something that I think may be even more important. For the last three years we've had this new structure to the end of the PGA Tour year called the Fed Ex Cup. To say that the Fed Ex Cup has had a mixed reception by long time golf fans would be very generous. It seems contrived even to the folks who invented it, as evidenced by the changing format of rules and qualifications in its brief history.

However, the Fed Ex Cup has done one thing which may be very important: its kept top US players on the course at the end of the season. For many years prior to the Fed Ex Cup, you rarely saw most top US players near the end of the year: The PGA Championship, the Tour Championship, and possibly one warm up in between. Now you have the Tour players competing in at least two of the three Fed Ex lead ins, plus the Tour Championship. This is from one to three tournaments with top flight fields that the US players weren't playing prior to the Cup. In the three years of the Fed Ex Cup, the US team is undefeated in two President's Cups and one Ryder Cup, and won them all by convincing margins. I personally don't think this is a fluke. I think that for a long time our best players have been going into the two flavors of Cup matches basically cold, and that the extra play in the last three years has been tidying up their form in the weeks leading to Cup matches.

The Fed Ex Cup wasn't created for exactly this reason. It was clearly intended to generate extra interest in a Fed Ex Cup point race throughout the entire season, something I don't think it has ever come close to actually achieving. I think the effect on the Ryder and President's Cup results is a completely unplanned and unanticipated consequence, but an important consequence nonetheless. So Bravo to Fed Ex, and good luck to the US team in the 2010 Ryder Cup!
Posted on: May 25, 2010 1:57 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2010 2:09 pm
 

Coaching longevity ... the stuff of legend?

CBS just posted their take on how secure major college football coaches are in their jobs:
http://www.cbssports.com/collegefoo
tball/hotseat?tag=pageContainer;mcc_options_table


While their assessments are interesting if speculative, what I did find fascinating were the accompanying statistics.

What I found most disturbing about the list is that coaches entering their fourth season at their schools are at the median for length of tenure. This means that as I type this note, more than half of the coaches in the upper echelons of NCAA football have only coached their schools for three seasons or less. There are 22 coaches who will be on the sidelines for the first time at their current school later this summer. That's out of 121 schools.

So one sixth of the schools changed coaches for whatever reason after the 2009 season. That's a pretty high turnover ratio, especially for contracted jobs where, with certainty, in most of these situations either the coach or the school did not honor their end of a contract, at least in the aspect of the term of the contract. If you still had any belief, and I don't expect you did, about the sham of "amateur athletics", this should shake those beliefs to the core. Only the small schools now have any semblance of displaying a relaxed atmosphere about giving it the 'ole college try'. The bigger schools are officially frying pans for coaches, staff, and to some extent the "student athletes". In my opinion, the biggest shame in the college football fishbowl this year is Florida State, who forced out a coach that deserved to stay at that school as long as he desired if they had losing seasons every year from now until that date. There never was a real tradition of winning at FSU before Bowden arrived, and now they're too good for him. Pshaw. Texas Tech makes that list too. Hurrying a very successful coach out the back door the very day before his bonus is due is just too transparent. And if it wasn't for that reason, and they are guilty not of greed but stupidity in their timing, it doesn't get the TT "front office" off the hook from where I stand.

On the other side, only 18 coaches are entering at least their 10th season with a school. Only eleven have, as I type, completed their 10th season with a school. Let me tell you, its hard to build (or maintain the illusion) of tradition or loyalty at a school when you can't stick with a coach for at least several years.

Of course, not all of this is on the schools. It has become increasingly trendy over the last few decades for successful coaches to jump programs. At times I suspect they do it as much from the fear that they can't maintain what they just accomplished than they think they are making a step up. Now, there is no question that I was spoiled growing up a Bama fan. Bear Bryant had many lucrative offers to leave Bama, but stayed the course and became a legend because he did. Granted that Bama was the Bear's 4th school before he settled down, but settle down for good he did. He gets a pass for two of the moves. At Kentucky, he wasn't satisfied with playing second fiddle to basketball, and from Texas A&M he was "called home".

Will we ever again see coaches with the longevity in a job of Bryant, Paterno, or Bowden? I would like to think so, but I think the odds are long. Frank Beamer at Va. Tech is the closest there is at 24 years on the job. Congratulations to both him and Va. Tech for staying the course. The longest current tenures at what I consider the "Destination jobs" for coaches is Brown at Texax (12 years) and Stoops at Oklahoma (11 years). Don't expect Lane Kiffin to hold the USC reins until there is more shuffle in his walking than his jobs.

The sad thing is that most of the time when your average old football program fires a coach, they don't really improve with the next guy. Its all a ploy to sell tickets, just like the pros do. Except there is no difference. The only difference between major college football as a business and pro football as a business that that the players don't get paid (that they let us know about except by accident LOL).
Posted on: May 7, 2010 2:49 pm
 

A tale of two cities

The Miami Dolphins have famously done little about their quarterback position since the retirement of Dan Marino. They've essentially left journeymen in the job instead of going after a top talent, and have done so year after year. On the one occurrence where they did try to fix the position, they managed one of the biggest blunders in recent free agent memory, taking an essentially done for quarterback and letting Drew Brees go to New Orleans to have career seasons ever since.

When I had this discussion with my brother, he opined that the Dolphins don't need to do anything, because they have the (highly touted?) Chad Henne on the roster. For his sake as a fan, I hope that he is right.

In Charlotte, the Panthers were faced with a similar problem. The fortunes of Jake Delhomme have been fading consistently since the Super Bowl year, to the point where the Panthers finally released him after the 2009 season. In hand is a young man named Matt Moore.

Moore and Henne have similarities. Both are young quarterbacks with limited experience who took over from injured starters last year. Henne played 14 games, had about a 60% completion rate, and threw 14 interceptions to 12 touchdowns. Moore played seven games, had about a 62% completion rate, and had an impressive ratio of 8 TDs to 2 interceptions.

From those stats, if either team was going to shore up their depth at the position thru the draft, you would think it would be the Dolphins. Yet it was the Panthers who rolled the dice on coming up with a big talent at the most important position on a football team, and came up with Jimmy Clausen. Give the Panthers credit. They were willing to do what most of a round and a half of teams before them weren't willing to do ... take a shot at greatness.

I could be wrong and I hope I am, but I fear that the Dolphins have once again willingly chosen mediocrity over a shot to be really good. Back when they drafted Dan Marino, they took a chance on a talented college QB that had a bad reputation for too high a ratio of interceptions to TDs. They thought he might work that out with experience. They were right, and came out with one of the great quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. Its sad that the current management in Miami has no such vision. The Panthers haven't really been known as a visionary team either, although they have consistently made solid moves and seem to contend at least every other year. This draft tho, the rest of the teams placed a shot at greatness right in their laps, and they didn't fumble that chance away. Now Clausen might or might not work out as a great quarterback, but if you don't reach out for it, you'll never grab the ring. The Panthers have reached, and I applaud them.
Posted on: June 6, 2009 2:25 pm
 

The return to V-shaped grooves

I think the new groove rule will have three major effects.

First, even normal rough will now often have a punitive effect. As discussed above, this will put an emphasis, lost these days in any tournament that doesn't grow jungles for rough, back on staying in the fairway.

Second, players with lesser skills that have been propped up by equipment wil start to fall by the wayside.

Third, a premium will once again be placed on shot-making, rather than the drive, wedge, putt that has dominated in recent years. The ability to hit short shots straight has become embarassingly absent from the games of many pros in recent years. Its not that hard to tell that a lot of pros are content to make birdies when their shot randomly drops close to the hole, rather than consciously seeking that result on each approach shot.

I've long maintained that the reason there aren't a larger number of consistent winners on the Tour is that the money is so big that not that many are truly fixated on winning ... the reasoning being that before the absurdly large purses hit, there was much more of a "sink or swim" purpose to the competition for the smaller purses.

Thinking about the equipment angle stated above, I may have to add to the "sink or swim" reasoning. If equipment is propping up some otherwise lesser talents so that they dilute the results of those who are actually more technically proficient in the golf swing, that could also have an effect. I still like my "sink or swim" theory as the primary cause though, just because of the fact that even with modern equipment, there is a LOT of inconsistency out on the Tour. This says that equipment can't be hiding ALL sins of the swing.
Category: Golf
Posted on: June 3, 2009 11:50 am
 

College Athletics Ethics 101

This was originally posted as a reply in a thread where several people were arguing about which school's athletes or coaches had done the worst things:

Isn't it somewhat silly to be arguing about whose guy(s) that did something bad was worse than the other guy? LOL

Coaches are adults and certainly know better, whether its personal conduct or breaking NCAA rules. In my opinion (and to brag a bit I suggested this in casual settings long before I saw other people suggest it on the air or in writing), NCAA sanctions should travel with the coach, as well as stay with the offending institution. The have been a couple of recent examples of concrete movement in that direction, and when it happens officially, it will stop a LOT of cheating. On the personal level, coaches (and their staffs) have to learn and learn quickly that their behavior WILL be held to a higer standard. Is that fair? Of course it is. Many of these guys make big time salaries, including the assistants. If they want to go out and get drunk, there are plenty of lower profile careers they could find where that won't be as much of a problem. If they want the high profile job and the monster salary, they better realize that behaving themselves goes with the territory.

As for student-athletes, I'm sick of people saying, "Well, they're just kids." Sure they are still young, but by 18 they are young adults. They can vote, drive, marry without permission, enter into contracts on their own, and in many places drink alcohol legally ... and they want to in the places that are still 21 to drink.

Many "kids" that go to college support themselves through school, working and studying hard. Regular college kids that try to drink and party their way through school wash out with low grades. Athletes are propped up by every contrivance possible to keep them in and on their scholarship, even at the 'clean' schools.

People, most especailly fans casual to serious, forget that college sports started out as, and still should be, friendly competitions between STUDENT athletes. The rush to prop up guys who couldn't be bothered to study anywhere in K-12 needs to stop. If it did, then you'd better believe that the ones who want to play would study and make their grades. And let's not get confused about that, they all CAN make the grades if its important to them.

Schools can't always control boosters, but when they find out about a booster taking things outside the rules, his connections to the school should be immediately revoked, and any kids he tainted immediately kicked out. Fairness doesn't start with the NCAA. Fairness starts with a commitment to unimpeachable ethics by each athletic program. If a program is clean at the top, and scrupulously self-policed at all levels, you don't have to worry about bias.

I'm a lifelong Bama fan, and every year I badly want them to win ALL their games. That makes me part of the problem.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com