Wednesday, October 31, 2012

0 Caliendo proves me right!

By Kenny Howell

Remember when I wrote a week or so ago that Frank Caliendo to Sunday NFL Countdown was a terrible idea. Well, he showed up to prove me right with his impression of Jon Gruden. 

It has everything you can ask for in a Caliendo video. It is a pretty good impression if the person who he is impersonating had been stung by 1,000 bees and become way more swollen than they actually are. Also, it is virtually laugh free. The only thing that I even slightly smirked at in this video was the kid drawing the plays for the defense. That is it. Make it stop ESPN, make it stop. 

0 Dooley vs. Expectation

By Jason McDonald

Derek Dooley’s law degree might come in handy when he steps in front of that UT parole board, because as a repeat offender, Dooley has a lot to defend. UT’s current standing in the SEC East is second to last, just above Kentucky. They could make up a lot of ground coming down the stretch when they face Missouri, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky, but lose one of those games and any mystery that surrounds Dooley’s job will be answered.

He has plenty of supporters who give him the benefit of the doubt. When you see and hear Dooley speak, you see a guy that you would want running your team. He’s obviously a bright guy who wields his southern charm like a cannon. This is the guy who you want to be the face of your team. He’s the flip side of a Coach like Bobby Petrino, who you absolutely wouldn’t want. In an ideal world you wouldn’t want a sulking unscrupulous jerk being the ultimate representation of who you are as a team.

But Dooley is also the opposite of Petrino in another key way. He’s not a proven winner. UT has seen a few first under Dooley that the haters are happy to fashion into ammo. UT had never started three straight seasons at 0-5 in the SEC. The defense is the worst is probably ever been. And the stat that hangs over last season is the giant L against Kentucky, which as every UT fan knows, was the first loss against them in 26 years.

Fair or not, Dooley’s biggest rival is the history of UT football. And it’s a competition he probably can’t win. Two out of his last four years, Phillip Fulmer had records of 10-4 and 9-4, and he was canned for two mediocre years. Tennessee fans crave the relevance that used to be a given. The 90’s were the glory days. But the way the SEC has grown in the last decade, the competition has increased exponentially. The path to relevance runs through some of the best teams in the country, and no matter how much you try to buy your way into a better schedule, you still have to face the SEC.

There’s no doubt that Dooley has one of the best offenses that UT has seen. They have some major weapons in Bray, Hunter, and Patterson. They also have what could be one of the best offensive lines in the country. Therein lies one of the mysteries of Dooley. If you are able to put this together, the where are the wins? Is he just one step away from beating Florida or Georgia? Or his defense a greater representation of Dooley’s coaching?

The answer might be somewhere there in the middle. He went 17-20 in three years at Louisiana Tech and is currently 14-19 at UT. It appears he’s able to coach up some aspects of the team extremely well, but not well enough to compensate for team deficiencies. But this isn’t necessarily and indication of future failure. The reality is that he’s been learning on the job. He has a total of five years and some change as a head coach, and UT is by far the biggest spotlight he’s seen. With three years of UT experience under his belt it’s very possible that he could turn it around in year four. But with expectation breathing down his back and history hanging over his head, he could be a dead man walking right now.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

0 Muschamp will eat your dreams

Florida's Head Coach Will Muschamp is not a level headed guy. I am thinking he hasn't talked with anyone about handling adversity effectively so his heart doesn't explode like an old professional wrestler. Clay Burton found this out Saturday. Video evidence below.

Monday, October 29, 2012

0 Kenny's College Football Top 10

By Kenny Howell

1. Alabama (8-0) - Bama is good at the football game.

2. Oregon (8-0) - I still think the Ducks are the second best team in college football. K-State and Notre Dame have been impressive, but the Ducks just look other worldly at times.

3. Notre Dame (8-0) - I think Oklahoma might have been a tad overrated, but they are still a solid team and the Fighting Irish took care of them handily on the road.

4. Kansas State (8-0) - The Wildcats got another dominating win of a Big 12 opponent. Not sure if Texas Tech was that good, but they are a quality win, especially when you blow them out.

5. Georgia (7-1) - The Bulldogs seemed out of the picture after getting blown out by South Carolina, but they proved that was the exception and not the rule against Florida. Bulldogs are back in the thick of things now, and seriously could get into the national championship picture with a little help.

6. Florida (7-1) - The Gators had such a tough schedule, it had to catch up with them at some point. Too bad it was against the team that now is going to represent the SEC East in the SEC Championship instead of them most likely.

7. LSU (7-1) - The Tigers lost to Florida, who lost to Georgia. That's why they fall where they are. 

8. Ohio State (9-0) - The Buckeyes continue to win in not very impressive fashion, but a win's a win.

9. Florida State (8-1) - If they had taken care of business against N.C. State, they would be in the thick of the National Championship race. But now they are here.

10. South Carolina (7-2) - I had no idea who to put at 10. Louisville is undefeated. Mississippi State, Clemson and Oregon State have one loss. But I think the Gamecocks are more talented.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

0 Lakers strike big, Thunder tap out

By Shaee Flatt and John Lee

The Oklahoma City Thunder are probably the nicest rivals anyone could ever ask for.

Over the last few years they have started quite a rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers, and that is expected to continue for years to come. Saturday night, the Thunder did their new rivals a huge favor when they traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets. Sure the Thunder got a lot back. Kevin Martin is a good scorer, Jeremy Lamb should be a good pro, and two first round picks isn’t bad either, but this is James Harden. Without James Harden the Thunder wouldn’t have even had the chance to get dominated by Miami in the Finals last year.

The Lakers, on the other hand, went out, like the Lakers do, and made their team better this off season, much better. They added two time league MVP Steve Nash, and the best Center in the league, Dwight Howard. Oh and yeah, they still have that Kobe guy, too. The Lakers improved in every aspect of the game this season, and their rival Thunder… Just made themselves worse. WHY?!

Reportedly this happened because the Thunder weren’t willing to give Harden the max contract that he deserves, typical small market team. Look, Oklahoma City, when your rival punches, you punch back. When they get better, you get better. It’s logic, its sports, and if you want to compete, it’s the only way to do it. Instead, the Lakers punched, punched again, and the Thunder tapped out. In the words of the great Kevin Durant on twitter last night, “Wow.” Yeah, Kevin, that just happened, your organization just put you and your boy Westbrook in a handicap match with the new look Lakers. Good luck, man, you’re going to need it. And Kevin, when you’re sitting at home watching LeBron-Kobe rather competing in LeBron-Durant II, just know that you have your small market bosses to thank.

Friday, October 26, 2012

0 Jason's NFL Power Rankings

By Jason McDonald 

Week 8 

The Cream 

1 Falcons 

They’re still undefeated and it’s hard to lose when you don’t play. Hotlanta is still the king of the castle.

2 Texans 

They got back on track by beating the crap out of the Ravens, the team that previously held the number two spot. If you keep reading you’ll notice that you no longer see the Ravens. That’s the outcome of Texas style beatdown. They are probably the most well rounded team in the NFL.

3 Bears 

Jay Cutler got mashed flat like a cartoon by Ndamukong Suh in the game against the Lions. Lucky for them, Suh only plays on defense. Chicago looked barely functional at times, but they take the three spot because the defense still rocks. Either that or the Lions just forgot how to score

4 Giants 

Eli is clutch. RG3 was about to ride off into the sunset until Eli lifted his poncho to reveal that he wasn’t wounded and that Redskins had been shooting into a steel plate then entire time. With 131 yards and a TD, Victor Cruz did a victory dance on the Redskins grave. RG3 is the real deal, but the real deal needs to realize that he left a bit too much time on clock for Eli Manning. The guy is a zombie and keeps coming back.
5 Packers 

The Packers are back, or at least as good as any other team that could be fighting for this spot. The 49ers ground out a win against the Seahawks, but they look like a one-dimensional fighter. If Aaron Rodgers can stay upright and they can have something looks similar to a run game, they can easily be in the mix till the end.


1 Jaguars 

The Jags pulled out a nice loss against the Raiders in a game for the Garbage Cup. Blaine Gabbart threw for an amazing 110 yards and one TD, which left them relying on their outstanding run game. Rashad Jennings ran for 44 for amazing yards and one TD. The Jags would be better off attempting 60-yard field goals on every drive.

2 Chiefs 

The Chiefs had a bye. Either that or their scores are no longer being posted. Actually with Brady Quinn getting the starting job their games might be played at 3 a.m. at a secret location to keep fans from having to witness the mess that they put on the field. They’re like a Jackson Pollock painting. It looks a bit like a mess, and I don’t know what’s going on.

3 Browns

Jimmy Haslam’s reaction to Josh Gordon’s dropped touchdown sums about three decades of Browns football. They’re in the process of turning the corner and competing at a high level. Unfortunately that corner is a couple of years away.

4 Raiders 

You don’t get a tickertape parade for beating the Jags. Surely buyer’s remorse is sinking in, because the Raiders are still terrible and the fortune they gave up to get him would have gone a long way to bringing this great franchise back to prosperity. Just joking, they would have blown those draft picks anyway.

5 Panthers 
The Panthers are new entry here in the stink, but something tells me they may be here for a while. Hell, they could be the NFL’s version of the Dark Side of the Moon and stay on the charts for years. We’ve now seen Superman Cam Newton cry. Let’s now see if he can fly around the earth a few times and erase the last few weeks of miserable football.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

1 Is Gruden the sure thing everyone thinks?

By Kenny Howell

The Tennessee message boards exploded yesterday because someone who was supposedly in the know posted that Jon Gruden replacing Derek Dooley was a done deal. We had a story on all the chatter, and it was our biggest story we've had in our short existence by a long shot.

But is Gruden the sure thing that everyone expects? He will most likely bring in elite talent. He is well known because of his Monday Night Football gig. And his show Jon Gruden's QB Camp is probably seen by every high school quarterback in the country. But again, there is a not a guarantee that is how it will shake out.

And recruiting isn't everything. Obviously, it makes it a lot easier, but Auburn has had a top 10 class the last three years. They are 1-6 this year. Texas has been top three, three out of the last four years. The other year they were fifth. And they have been a big bag of mediocre the last few years. UCLA, Michigan and Miami have also had a top 10 class in one of the last three years.

People are assuming as well that Gruden is a dynamite coach. He's a good coach, obviously, because of his Super Bowl ring, and I am pretty sure they don't hire bad coaches in the NFL. But his coaching record is not that impressive overall. He won the Super Bowl in his first year with the Bucs, so pretty much Tony Dungy's team. Not to take away anything from Gruden, who had success in Oakland (38-26), but it wasn't his players. Following that first year, Gruden was 45-51 with the Bucs. He never won another playoff game, and only made it twice in six years.

Compare that to Mike Sherman. Sherman was 59-43 in the NFL as coach of the Green Bay Packers, and made the playoffs four out of six years. He was fired after a bad 4-12 season, and was hired at Texas A&M. Over four years at College Station, he was 25-25 with only one winning season. His recruiting wasn't bad, in the 15-25 range every year, so one could assume that Gruden would do better. But then again, it's not a sure thing. Most likely true because of Gruden's personality, but you never know.

This is not to say that Gruden wouldn't have success at Tennessee. He could be a great coach. He could bring them back to the top, and maybe pretty quick with the good team that Dooley has built. But some delusional Vol fans are already telling Nick Saban to watch out when this guy hasn't been a Head Coach of a single college football game.

Also, he is not even a sure thing for the job. I have done some very scientific research (not really), and I have determined that the internet is full of crap. Especially commenters on websites. Basically, they have tricked me into writing this column because I think that Gruden might come to UT now, and I am even full of crap half the time. Dang internets.

So let's cool our jets on the Gruden winning multiple SEC Championships in his first five years, and Saban crapping his pants every time he sees the Chucky movies on TV cause he knows what's coming. Gruden may be good at UT. But let's not bet the bank on it.

0 Reaction to Game 1

By Kenny Howell

Game 1 of the World Series had everything that was great about postseason baseball, mostly because the Giants totally flipped the script.

Going into the game, everyone thought it was a foregone conclusion that Justin Verlander, the best pitcher in baseball, boyfriend to Kate Upton, was going to shut down the Giants, and San Francisco would just have to wait to Game 2 to catch up. And yes I mentioned Kate Upton to drive up internet traffic. I am shameless that way. Kate Upton. Kate Upton. Kate Upton. 

Then came Kung Fu Panda, Pablo Sandoval, to the plate. Most people wouldn't have hit those pitches for home runs because, as Deadspin pointed out this morning, those weren't pitches that you swing for the fences. A 95-mph chest high fastball, a 95-mph fastball at the knees on the outside part of the plate, and a breaking ball that was way out of the zone. All for home runs.

Add to that, Marco Scutaro continues to rake it, stretching his playoff hitting streak to 11 games, and getting two RBI singles.

Then on the mound you have Barry Zito. Zito was left off the playoff roster two years ago when the Giants won the World Series, but he is making the most of his appearances this time. The former Cy Young winner went 5.2, and only allowed one run to the Tigers big lineup. He was then relieved by another Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum, who didn't allow a hit in 2.1 and struck out five of the seven batters he faced.

If you are the Tigers, what is your mindset now? You lost to a team with your best pitcher on the mound, and a guy who throws a mid 80s fastball pitching for the other team. You still have three more games in San Francisco with those crazy, orange towel wielding fans. You will get Verlander again in game 5 probably, but he may be pushed up to four if they are facing elimination. But as the Giants proved last night, it doesn't really matter.

0 Justin's NFL Week 8 picks

By Justin Koehn

I went 12-1 last week, only missing my beloved Titans pick with Buffalo getting the loss and ruining a perfect week. Hopefully I can keep it rolling in Week 8, and yes, I am finally going to pick the Titans to win this week.

Minnesota (5-2) over Tampa Bay (2-4)

New York Jets (3-4) over Miami (3-3)

Green Bay (4-3) over Jacksonville (1-5)

San Diego (3-3) over Cleveland (1-6)

Atlanta (6-0) over Philadelphia (3-3)

Chicago (5-1) over Carolina (1-5)

New England (4-3) over St. Louis (3-4)

Tennessee (3-4) over Indianapolis (3-3)

Seattle (4-3) over Detroit (2-4)

PIttsburgh (3-3) over Washington (3-4)

Oakland (2-4) over Kansas City (1-5)

New York Giants (5-2) over Dallas (3-3)

Denver (3-3) over New Orleans (2-4)

San Francisco (5-2) over Arizona (4-3)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

0 Gruden to Tennessee?

By Shaee Flatt and John Lee
So either a deal between the University of Tennessee and Jon Gruden has been reached, or the Tennessee fan base is currently the victim of a very cruel internet rumor. Today around 3 p.m. eastern reports of Gruden to UT being official started to leak out through various social media outlets.

The story was first broke by the moderator “SpringBokVol” on VolNation who is thought to have a lot of credibility and inside sources to the program. At 2:44 Eastern the moderator posted the following “I have full confidence that an agreement has been reached. It’s done. Jon Gruden will be the next head football coach at the University of Tennessee.” This was followed shortly by Erik Ainge, Leonard Little, and Donta’ Stallworth catching wind of the “breaking news” Little and Stallworth quickly retreated, by asking if someone could confirm for them, but they clearly heard something. The fan base quickly erupted and started a posting frenzy which actually caused the site to crash for a few minutes. The buzz is everywhere right now and there is too much going around for this to be nothing at all. The story is all over twitter as well, coming from all sorts of angles, I don’t know if it’s a “done deal” but something is happening, it seems. Even with all the buzz neither Gruden himself, nor UT Athletic Director Dave Hart has denied the reports.

The Vol Nation has been in a “Gruden Frenzy” for two weeks now, starting with “The official Jon Gruden Thread” on (Check this out, it’s epic) which hit 15,000 posts before being replaced by “The official Jon Gruden Thread II” which quickly hit 15,000 more posts, and has now been replaced by “The official Jon Gruden Thread III”. In the third Gruden thread you can find people posting videos of fireworks, huge explosions, people hitting home runs, girls belly dancing, and even Derek Dooley himself giving the “Gruden hire” a subtle “Boom.” The thread and the fan base have spiraled out of control.

Several media outlets in Knoxville have quickly shot down the rumor. Wes Rucker, Brent Hubbs, John Brice, etc. denied the rumors when asked, but what else could they say? I doubt the Athletic Department they work for would let them break the story even if they knew, considering Dooley hasn’t officially been fired yet, but maybe that’s just me.

For some who may not know, Gruden was rumored in each of Tennessee’s last two coaching searches as well but apparently “had demands that UT couldn’t meet”, according to Rucker. He began his coaching career in Knoxville as a graduate assistant and is well documented in giving former Tennessee coach Johnny Majors a lot of credit for his knowledge of the game. He also famously married a Vol cheerleader, and already owns land in East Tennessee. Thus, the rumors begin that he wants to coach the Vols, only this time, they might come true.

Now I know what some of you are thinking, “Derek Dooley hasn’t even been fired yet.” And you would be correct, he hasn’t. However, many believe that Dooley and staff have already been notified they will not be back, and a formal announcement could come either Sunday, or Monday of next week. The hope is that a Gruden announcement would follow shortly after, possibly on the next addition of Monday Night Football. So mark it on your calendars, Monday Oct 29, Dooley fired, Gruden hired. Or so they say.

So let’s assume for the sake of this Vol fans heart, that the rumors are true, and think about what this would mean for the once proud football program in Knoxville. Firstly, Gruden would bring elite talent to Knoxville without even trying. His name and Super Bowl ring alone would bring the talent to Tennessee. Recruiting wouldn’t be an issue. He was a good, not great, NFL coach in my opinion, but if you can be “good” in the NFL, you should be able to be absolutely great in college. A slight turnaround could come fairly quickly if he could convince Tyler Bray, Justin Hunter, and Cordarelle Patterson to stay put before entering the NFL Draft, but to think he would guide them to the top in year one is probably a stretch. The Vols go on the road to play the top 3 teams in the current AP Poll next year (Alabama, Florida, Oregon) while also facing teams like South Carolina, and Georgia. The schedule is brutal, and the Vols would probably be happy to pull out eight wins next season, even if Jon Gruden is on the sidelines. The future however, would be very bright for Tennessee. Gruden is a football maniac, if anyone “eats, sleeps, and breathes” football, it’s him. You can tell this just by the way he can break down coverages, explain offenses, etc. during ESPN’s Monday Night Football telecasts and his annual “Gruden’s Quarterback Camp” before the NFL Draft. With Gruden at the helm, it wouldn’t be a ridiculous to think that the Vols could be competing for SEC and maybe even National Championships within the next 3-4 years. He would have talent to match anyone’s, and not many college coaches are going to out coach Jon Gruden, especially if he has more talent.

If these rumors are true, SEC take notice. Tennessee is finally on its’ way back, baby.

0 Kenny's College Football predictions, Oct. 24

By Kenny Howell

Did a little better last week, meaning I was one loss less than the previous two weeks. I went 19-2 for the week, and improved to 47-8 on the season. Here are my picks for this week.

No. 1 Alabama 28 No. 11 Miss St. 14

The top two teams in the nation, I believe, in turnover margin, so this should be a pretty good game. I just think Bama has more on both sides, and should keep the Bulldogs at bay.

No. 2 Florida 31 No. 10 Georgia 21

Despite the big loss to South Carolina, Georgia could take the SEC East lead with a win here. Don't think it will happen though. Gators are too efficient.

No. 3 Kansas St. 31 No. 14 Texas Tech 24

Tommy Tuberville has the Red Raiders playing well, but I don't think they got enough for K-State, especially in Manhattan.

No. 4 Oregon 49 Colorado 21

Oregon starters should be out by early in the third quarter. Buffs get a few scores on the backups late.

No. 8 Oklahoma 28 No. 5 Notre Dame 20

The Fighting Irish have been good all year, but I don't think they have played a stellar offense. The Sooners aren't amazing, but they can be explosive. Enough to get it done against Notre Dame.

No. 7 Oregon St. 27 Washington 20

The Beavers win boring, but they win. Should get another this week.

Arizona 34 No. 9 USC 27

Just feeling another slip up for the Trojans, as the Wildcats have been good at times, and could be at home.

No. 12 Florida St. 38 Duke 23

Duke has been a great story, but they don't have enough to match up with the Seminoles.

No. 13 South Carolina 34 Tennessee 28

Tennessee has played some good teams close, and I think this could be the same. That is if the team hasn't checked out for the season, which some people are saying. Then it will be a blowout, and Dooley could be looking for a new job.

No. 15 Rutgers 27 Kent St. 21

Rutgers hasn't played anybody really, but they also haven't lost. Should keep that going against Kent St.

No. 16 Louisville 27 Cincinnati 24

Cincy was knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten last week, so this should be a tight game. The Cardinals should get it done at home.

No. 17 Stanford 31 Washington St. 17

Mike Leach's team is bad, but they can score. Stanford will be in control the whole game in this one and come away with the win.

No. 18 Clemson 34 Wake Forest 24

Tigers are better than the Demon Deacons. That's my analysis.

No. 20 Texas A&M 28 Auburn 17

Auburn's defense isn't terrible, but they have zero offense. I think they may give a decent effort at home and make it look a little better than it is.

No. 21 Boise St. 28 Wyoming 20

The Broncos aren't destroying everyone, but they are winning. Should follow suit here.

Nebraska 31 No. 22 Michigan 28

Two teams that can dominate lesser competition, but can't get it done in big games. The Cornhuskers are slightly better, especially at home.

No. 23 Texas 31 Kansas 28

Texas' defense is terrible, so Charlie Weis will get some scores, but the Longhorns will win.

Miami (Ohio) 38 No. 24 Ohio 31

Ohio gets ranked, but I don't think it will last in the battle of Ohios.

No. 25 Wisconsin 24 Michigan St. 17

Battle of disappointing Big 10 teams will see Wisconsin squeaking out the win.

Monday, October 22, 2012

0 A few questions with Oral Roberts' Kevi Luper

By Kenny Howell

I still remember the first time I saw Kevi Luper play ball. It was a preseason scrimmage in Adair, Okla, a town of less 1,000 people according to the last census. I was new to the area, and I saw this incredibly athletic girl dominating both sides of the ball. They were playing a 6A school, the highest classification, as a 3A school and just dominating. It basically was Luper, or one of her talented teammates, stealing the ball at half court, then laying it up. She could shoot from every point on the floor, and could burn defenders whether it be from the paint or the three-point line. She was also stellar from 10-15 feet, so it was almost impossible to stop her. 

She was just a sophomore at the time, and would go on to dominate at the high school level. She went to the state tournament all four years, and finally won it her senior season. She was recruited by schools all over, including the Big 12, but she decided to go to Oral Roberts.

At Oral Roberts, she has achieved numerous accolades, too many to list here. She represented the USA at the Pan American Games last year. She is the only woman to ever lead the NCAA in scoring (23.7) and steals (3.7) in a single season, which she did her sophomore season. She is a 2-time AP All-American Honorable Mention. She has won the Summit League Player of the Year every year she has played.

As she goes into her senior season, she will see some change with a new head coach and a new conference. Luper answered a few questions recently about the upcoming season.

1. What are your expectations for yourself and ORU going into your senior season?
My expectations for myself go hand-in-hand with my expectations for my team this year. We want to make the NCAA tournament. Therefore my expectations include anything it takes to get my team there. We want to win, we want to have an enjoyable season, and we want to make the tournament.

2. The team is going through a few transitions this year. New coach and new conference, how has that been?
The new coaching staff has been great. As a team we have fully embraced every change this year and we will be better for it. The new conference is very exciting and I can't wait to see how we stack up with the other teams.

3. Do you know anything about the new teams you will be playing in the Southland Conference? Honestly, no. I just know we are ready to compete.

4. Are you going to miss road trips to South Dakota and North Dakota? I know how much you like seeing nothing but corn out of the bus window.
Hahaha.. umm.. most definitely not! This is more like an answer to our prayers.

5. What do you think the team is going to have to do to get over the hurdle and make it to the NCAA Tournament this year?
I think the team will have to re-focus. With a new coaching staff and a new conference everything is unfamiliar, but we are fully embracing it. We absolutely love Coach Misti (Cussen) and honestly, I think the way she coaches and the way the assistants push us, they are all we need to jump that hurdle.

6. How did the team handle the disappointment of missing the tournament the last few seasons after good regular seasons?
The disappointment of missing the tournament the last three years has been heavy on our hearts, but it can't keep us down. The success of making the tournament does not determine our joy overall. We practice hard, we play hard, and we lay it all on the line when it comes down to it; in knowing that, the disappointment isn't such a disappointment.

Photo courtesy of Oral Roberts University

Sunday, October 21, 2012

0 Kenny's College Football Top 10

By Kenny Howell

1. Alabama (7-0) - Just looked flawless against Tennessee. Vols brought in one of the most explosive offenses in the nation, and were held to 13 points.

2. Florida (7-0) - Nobody has proven more than the Gators this season. They now have wins over South Carolina, LSU and a good road win against a solid Texas A&M team.

3. Oregon (7-0)
- As a said in a previous post, the win over Arizona State wasn't a statement game. But they did just murder them in the first half.

4. Kansas State (7-0) - The Wildcats could be a more complete team than Oregon, but I am not sold on Collin Klein against an elite defense like Bama or Florida.

5. Notre Dame (7-0) - The Fighting Irish just keep winning, though they seem more vulnerable each week. A trip to Oklahoma will be a huge test this weekend.

6. LSU (7-1) - Looked lost against Texas A&M in the first quarter and a half, but made the adjustments and came out of Kyle Field with a win.

7. Ohio State (8-0)
- Struggled without Braxton Miller who left with an injury against Purdue. But they got it done.

8. Oregon State (6-0) - Beavers keep winning as well, but they are starting to also look vulnerable.

9. Oklahoma (6-1) - Sooners can climb their way back into the mix with a win over Notre Dame this weekend.

10. Mississippi State (7-0) - Like a less explosive Florida, the Bulldogs are sound and don't make a lot of mistakes. Will show how good they are this week when they play Alabama.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

0 Ryan Lochte picked Auburn to win the Texas A&M/LSU game

U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte was on hand to help the boys at College Gameday pick games this morning, and he went out on a limb in the LSU/Texas A&M game. He bucked the trend, and went with Auburn. Now, now, hear him out. He thinks they are going to break their losing streak, leave Nashville, fly to Texas, then beat both LSU and Texas A&M. It could have happened, but Auburn wasn't bold enough to see thing the Lochte way. Here is the video.

Friday, October 19, 2012

0 High School kicker hits it from 67 yards

Central Valley High School's (Wash.) Austin Rehkow kicked a 67-yard field goal to send a game into overtime. Central Valley went on to win the game in overtime, 62-55 over Shadle Park. 67 yards. That is all.

0 Oregon made a statement...against a team that lost to Missouri

By Kenny Howell

Going into last night's game against Arizona State, the word "statement game" came up a lot.

They were going on the road to face a 5-1 Sun Devil team who some people had ranked. Of course, Oregon, being one of the better teams in the nation, steamrolled Arizona State en route to a 43-21 victory. Which really isn't that big a margin, but it was 43-7 at the half, and the Sun Devils scored two touchdowns late.

Twitter was abuzz last night after the game with people saying that this was the year the SEC doesn't win the national title because Oregon is for real. John Canzano of The Oregonian called the win a masterpiece. I am not going to deny that the Ducks are a great team, I have them ranked No. 2 in my poll. But a win over Arizona State is not impressive. And definitely not a masterpiece.

Look at how the Sun Devils got to 5-1. They got wins over Northern Arizona, Illinois, Utah, California and Colorado. Their combined record 13-19. If you take out Northern Arizona's record, which has come mostly against FCS schools, the record is 8-18. Their loss came against Missouri. Missouri. Probably the 11th best team, maybe 12th, in the SEC right now.

So let's halt the bandwagon for just a bit until Oregon takes on one of the bigger teams in the Pac-12, like USC or Stanford. But even then, USC beat Washington by 10, and Stanford lost to them. LSU, who is maybe the third best team in the SEC, beat Washington by 38.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

0 Car! Game off! It's time for lockout beards

By Justin Koehn

As I was driving home from work today, I thought I may get home and see the tweets I have been waiting for regarding the NHL and NHLPA finally agreeing on a collective bargaining agreement and we can all just be Johnny Happy Pants about the season starting on November 2nd and enjoy a full 82 game season.

BOOM! Here come the tweets and it is the exact opposite of what I was expecting @#!#@&!?!

After the NHL made their latest formal offer on Tuesday, today was the day they met yet again, only this time the NHLPA came to the table with THREE different offers, all of which according to Sidney Crosby said were shot down in ten minutes. That's right. TEN FREAKING MINUTES! Is that even enough time to do anything?!? I didn't think Gary Bettman could read, much less read through three different offer sheets in that amount of time. Now at this point it is getting serious. Serious enough for CBS Sports and Fox Sports to remove the entire NHL tab from their websites. It's gone, moved to the "More Sports" section. It's now being categorized with horse racing and bowling. This makes me want to cry.

If no deal is reached by the time Oct. 25 rolls around, the full season plan will be out of the question and the lack of future talks scheduled will begin to knock off more and more games, eventually killing off my favorite game of the season: The Winter Classic. It is scheduled to be played at the University of Michigan stadium on Jan. 1, 2013. Can you imagine an outdoor hockey game being played at The Big House!?! That would be 107,501 people cheering on The Red Wings and Maple Leafs. Needless to say this would be an incredible experience for hockey fans everywhere. It may not happen.

With no talks scheduled in the near future and both sides being worlds apart on what they want the new CBA to include, it is getting to a point of serious doubt and disappointment. Like watching horse racing and bowling disappointment.

1 Jason's NFL Power Rankings

By Jason McDonald

The Cream

1 Falcons

There’s nothing to see here, just the best team in the league getting it done for another week. They played a close game with the Raiders, but the Raiders remembered how to lose and pulled out a close loss at the last minute.

2 Ravens

The Ravens take over at two, but I can’t see them hanging onto with all the injuries. Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb are out for the season. Suggs is out. Some say they’ll be better without Ray Lewis because he’s been pushed around a bit this season and it’s time for Jameel McClain to step up. I say without Lewis’ lunacy and medieval pregame rants, the defense could be forced to find a new identity.

3 Texans

They lost and looked bad doing it. Aaron Rodgers filleted and scorched the secondary, and fed them to B.J. Raji. They’re still one of the best teams in the league and will win the AFC South. But we previously didn’t see weakness in this team. Now we’re seeing a massive wound covered by a Band-Aid.

4 Bears

Jay Cutler had to cry by himself as the Bears had a bye.

5 Giants

The Giants beat the 49ers off the list and reminded everyone who the reigning champs are. The good Eli Manning has started showing up a little earlier this year and some say he might even start shaving before the season is over.


1 Jaguars

The Jags had a bye which means they got worse. Any week they don’t get a win means they get worse. Prediction: Shao Kahn is cleaning house at the end of the season

2 Chiefs

Brady Quinn is the starting quarterback for the Chiefs and the fans cheered for it. How bad does your team have to get to cheer for Brady Quinn to be the starter? They made the Bucs look like world beaters. There shouldn’t be much else that’s merits being number two in the stink.

3 Browns

They got a win, they got a win! This goes against my initial prediction that they’d go 0-16 and owner Jimmy Haslam would turn the team into a Pilot Gas Station. The team was paid a visit by vice-presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, this week. He mistook Colt McCoy for the starting quarterback, but it was pointed out to him later that Brandon Weeden is actually the starter. He made amends by assuring the 70-year old Weedon that he isn’t in any danger of losing his Social Security.

4 Raiders

Carson Palmer left the Bengals just in time. Had he stayed any longer he might have defied the logic that all USC quarterbacks are doomed for NFL mediocrity. The Raiders aren’t good (obviously since they’re here in the stink) but Carson Palmer has made them competitive. Even though they’re on the skid, there’s always the possibility that they could turn it around. (This is actually not true, the Raiders are terrible. I just feel the need to toss in some nuggets of optimism for fear that the insane homeless Raiders fan who threatened me when I was in Oakland will haunt my dreams.)

5 Titans

I almost gave the Titans a pass after beating the Steelers, but it’s going to take more than a field goal win over the Steelers to take you off the list. Kenny Britt helped to get the win, but almost helped to get the loss by having some big time drops. While Britt’s shaking off the rust, Kendell Wright appears to be a genuine threat who’s ready to step up to the plate. The bigger question is if the offensive line can keep Hasselbeck clean while Locker is on the mend.

0 Rockies Manager...Jason Giambi???

By Kenny Howell

The Denver Post
reported the other day that Jason Giambi would be interviewing for the open Rockies Managerial position. I am not sure how that came about, or why they would consider a guy who has no managerial experience to turn around one of the worst teams this season.

But my bigger question is, if he was hired, would he implement that all players who are slumping would have to wear gold thongs. Giambi has said before that when he was slumping, he would bust out the gold thong, and it would turn things around. It worked so well that teammates would do it as well. Also, would that be his go to thing. Like if he is walking through warmups one day, and players are saying "hey Skip, my swing is a little off." Gold thong. "Skip, I'm not seeing the ball well." Gold thong. "I think my mechanics are off, I am not getting the ball to first where I want it." Gold thong.

They probably won't hire him, and this might be a way to reach out and show appreciation for a player that has become popular in Denver, but there is no doubt that if he was hired, it would probably be the most interesting Rockies season on Mile High. I'll take the craziness of Giambi over the long winning streak and National League Pennant any day. Then again, I am not a Rockies fan.

1 Justin's NFL Week 7 picks

By Justin Koehn

That went over well. I somehow managed to get destroyed in my week 6 picks going 5-9 which should pretty much negate any positive gains I make this week. This is coming off my 12-3 picks the week prior. I will try not to get too many tears onto the paper as throw down my picks for week 7:

San Francisco (4-2) over Seattle (4-2)

New York Giants (4-2) over Washington (3-3)

Dallas (2-3) over Carolina (1-4)

Indianapolis (2-3) over Cleveland (1-5)

New Orleans (1-4) over Tampa Bay (2-3)

Buffalo (3-3) over Tennessee (2-4)

Minnesota (4-2) over Arizona (4-2)

Houston (5-1) over Baltimore (5-1)

Green Bay (3-3) over St. Louis (3-3)

Oakland (1-4) over Jacksonville (1-4)

New England (3-3) over New York Jets (3-3)

Pittsburgh (2-3) over Cincinnati (3-3)

Chicago (4-1) over Detroit (2-3)

0 Things coaches shouldn't say

By Jason McDonald

Alabama is very good. It’s gonna be a tough fight for 60-minutes. They put on their pants just like we do. That’s the coach speak that that Derek Dooley needs to stick to during Alabama week. What you should probably not say is that Alabama is drafting players while UT is recruiting. I understand what he’s saying and what he’s hitting on is true. Alabama has a lot of great players and when their great players depart for the NFL, they’re instantly restocked with top level prospects.

It seems like something a coach might say when he’s trying to soften the media blow of an Alabama beat down. That’s probably not his conscious intention, but it reeks of weakness. Whenever a boxer is getting the ring against a bigger, faster, and stronger opponent, he doesn’t normally talk about how his opponent is just a beast and all around better fighter. If he has any sense about it, the boxer fakes some bravado or doesn’t say much at all.

The alternate method is to pull the Belichick. You praise all of your opponents in a mumbly monotone way and completely stay away from saying anything extraordinary. Dooley’s flaw is that he really bright, really articulate, and expressive in an occupation where being genuine can sometimes come back to bite you. He’s not real good at taking a well thought-out issue and dumbing it down to banality. The Saban’s and Belichik’s of the world have perfected the art of saying nothing. But I suppose if Dooley sees there type of success at UT then he can say anything he damn well pleases.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

0 Kenny's College Football picks

By Kenny Howell

For some reason, I got some picks wrong last week, but only a few. Went 15-3 to lift my record to 28-6 on the season. This week, I don't see many upsets, but, of course, I will get three wrong. Maybe I should start a contest to see if people can guess which three I will get wrong. Anyway, here they are.

No. 1 Alabama 35 Tennessee 17

Tennessee scored the more points off of Florida's defense than anyone this season, and I think it will happen against Alabama. Unfortunately, that is just 17 points. The Vols defense doesn't have enough to get the big upset.

No. 2 Florida 24 No. 7 South Carolina 14

Probably the marquee game of the week. South Carolina is more explosive on D, but Florida is more consistent. The Gators go on the road and knock the Gamecocks out of National Championship contention.

No. 3 Oregon 34 Arizona St. 31

The Ducks come back from their week off, and may be a little flat on the road. They still get the win.

No. 4 Kansas St. 38 No. 13 West Virginia 34

Look like this might be the game of the year in the Big 12, but the Mountaineers were brought back down to Earth against Texas Tech. Will be close, but Collin Klein will get the game winning drive done on the road.

No. 5 Notre Dame 21 BYU 17

The battle of the independents will go to the Irish who continue to just score more than the other guy with a solid defense.

No. 18 Texas A&M 27 No. 6 LSU 21

This is my upset special. LSU is still struggling on offense, and I think the Aggies are explosive enough, especially at home, to pull the upset.

No. 8 Oregon St. 28 Utah 20

Oregon St. hasn't been overpowering, but they keep winning. Should do so again this week.

No. 9 Oklahoma 38 Kansas 17

The Sooners may fall into a trap game environment, but still have enough to get past the Jayhawks.

No. 10 USC 38 Colorado 17

Talk about USC has been quiet lately, but they could work their way back into the mix. Will have no trouble with the Buffaloes.

No. 11 Georgia 38 Kentucky 23

The Bulldogs are still licking their wounds from getting blasted by South Carolina, and still don't have the defense figured out. They will have more than enough to beat the Wildcats.

No. 12 Miss. St. 34 MTSU 21

The Bulldogs haven't played well against lower competition this season, and that might happen again here. The Blue Raiders will be playing without leading rusher Benny Cunningham, who is done for the season.

No. 14 Florida St. 31 Miami 28

Once upon a time, this was the game every year. Now, it might still be a good game to watch, but doesn't mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things.

No. 15 Rutgers 20 Temple 19

The Scarlet Knights keep winning, and they will continue to do so against an improving Temple team.

No. 16 Louisville 31 South Florida 21

Louisville is another team that continues to get it done, which might lose their Head Coach to a bigger school.

No. 17 Texas Tech 28 No. 23 TCU 20

The Red Raiders put on a show against West Virginia last week, and might not come out full strength against a declining TCU team. But, they get the win.

No. 19 Clemson 34 Va. Tech 24

Remember when Logan Thomas was going to lead the Hokies back to the top then go first in the draft next year. He's barely competed 50 percent of his passes, and only has 12 TDs to 8 INTs. I am sure some NFL GM will take him because he looks like a good QB, but he hasn't proved it yet.

No. 20 Stanford 23 California 13

The Cardinals may have got robbed last week at South Bend, and they are going to use that as motivation to take down their rival.

No. 21 Cincinnati 31 Toledo 27

The Bearcats are off to a good start this season, but the Rockets are not a pushover. They still should win.

No. 22 Boise St. 31 UNLV17

The Broncos are not as efficient on offense as they have been in the past, but the Running Rebels D is really bad.

Oklahoma St. 34 No. 24 Iowa St. 24

Another upset of the week. I think the Cowboys get it done at home against the Cyclones, who have somehow found their way back into the Top 25. This is also revenge for the Pokes, who had their national title hopes derailed by Iowa St. last year.

No. 25 Texas 59 Baylor 54

Going to be another defense optional game in the Big 12, as Baylor tries to take out their Texas big brother. Longhorns have enough.

0 NHL makes latest CBA offer public

By Justin Koehn

In an effort to save the season and keep it at 82 games, the NHL has presented a new offer to the NHLPA. Talks were expected to continue this week and if they don't accept this offer outright, hopefully they will counter quickly and get all of this behind them and play some hockey. If they do drag on much longer, an 82 game season will more than likely not be happening and the next round of game cancellations will be right around the corner. It appears they released the offer details as media was reporting it before the NHLPA reviewed and responded so they wanted to make everything clear to the fans before things were misquoted and misreported.

Below is the full transcript of the offer provided on|NHL|home).

1. Term:

• Six-year Agreement with mutual option for a seventh year.

2. HRR Accounting:

• Current HRR Accounting subject to mutual clarification of existing interpretations and settlements.

3. Applicable Players' Share:

• For each of the six (6) years of the CBA (and any additional one-year option) the Players' Share shall be Fifty (50) percent of Actual HRR.

4. Payroll Range:

• Payroll Range will be computed using existing methodology. For the 2012/13 season, the Payroll Range will be computed assuming HRR will remain flat year-over-year (2011/12 to 2012/13) at $3.303 Billion (assuming Preliminary Benefits of $95 Million).

• 2012/13 Payroll Range
Lower Limit = $43.9 Million
Midpoint = $51.9 Million
Upper Limit = $59.9 Million

• Appropriate "Transition Rules" to allow Clubs to exceed Upper Limit for the 2012/13 season only (but in no event will Club's Averaged Club Salary be permitted to exceed the pre-CBA Upper Limit of $70.2 Million).

5. Cap Accounting:

• Payroll Lower Limit must be satisfied without performance bonuses.

• All years of existing SPCs with terms in excess of five (5) years will be accounted for and charged against a team's Cap (at full AAV) regardless of whether or where the Player is playing. In the event any such contract is traded during its term, the related Cap charge will travel with the Player, but only for the year(s) in which the Player remains active and is being paid under his NHL SPC. If, at some subsequent point in time the Player retires or ceases to play and/or receive pay under his NHL SPC, the Cap charge will automatically revert (at full AAV) to the Club that initially entered into the contract for the balance of its term.

• Money paid to Players on NHL SPCs (one-ways and two-ways) in another professional league will not be counted against the Players' Share, but all dollars paid in excess of $105,000 will be counted against the NHL Club's Averaged Club Salary for the period during which such Player is being paid under his SPC while playing in another professional league.

• In the context of Player Trades, participating Clubs will be permitted to allocate Cap charges and related salary payment obligations between them, subject to specified parameters. Specifically, Clubs may agree to retain, for each of the remaining years of the Player's SPC, no more than the lesser of: (i) $3 million of a particular SPC's Cap charge or (ii) 50 percent of the SPC's AAV ("Retained Salary Transaction"). In any Retained Salary Transaction, salary obligations as between Clubs would be allocated on the same percentage basis as Cap charges are being allocated. So, for instance, if an assigning Club agrees to retain 30% of an SPC's Cap charge over the balance of its term, it will also retain an obligation to reimburse the acquiring Club 30% of the Player's contractual compensation in each of the remaining years of the contract. A Club may not have more than two (2) contracts as to which Cap charges have been allocated between Clubs in a Player Trade, and no more than $5 million in allocated Cap charges in the aggregate in any one season.

6. System Changes:

• Entry Level System commitment will be limited to two (2) years (covering two full seasons) for all Players who sign their first SPC between the ages of 18 and 24 (i.e., where the first year of the SPC only covers a partial season, SPC must be for three (3) years).

• Maintenance of existing Salary Arbitration System subject to: (i) total mutuality of rights with regard to election as between Player and Club, and (ii) eligibility for election moved to five years of professional experience (from the current four years).

• Group 3 UFA eligibility for Players who are 28 or who have eight (8) Accrued Seasons (continues to allow for early UFA eligibility -- age 26).

• Maximum contract length of five (5) years.

• Limit on year-to-year salary variability on multi-year SPCs -- i.e., maximum increase or decrease in total compensation (salary and bonuses) year-over-year limited to 5% of the value of the first year of the contract. (For example, if a Player earns $10 million in total compensation in Year 1 of his SPC, his compensation (salary and bonuses) cannot increase or decrease by more than $500,000 in any subsequent year of his SPC.)

• Re-Entry waivers will be eliminated, consistent with the Cap Accounting proposal relating to the treatment of Players on NHL SPCs playing in another professional league.

• NHL Clubs who draft European Players obtain four (4) years of exclusive negotiating rights following selection in the Draft. If the four-year period expires, Player will be eligible to enter the League as a Free Agent and will not be subject to re-entering the Draft.

7. Revenue Sharing:

• NHL commits to Revenue Sharing Pool of $200 million for 2012/13 season (based on assumption of $3.303 Billion in actual HRR). Amount will be adjusted upward or downward in proportion to Actual HRR results for 2012/13. Revenue Sharing Pools in future years will be calculated proportionately.

• At least one-half of the total Revenue Sharing Pool (50%) will be raised from the Top 10 Revenue Grossing Clubs in a manner to be determined by the NHL.

• The distribution of the Revenue Sharing Pool will be determined on an annual basis by a Revenue Sharing Committee on which the NHLPA will have representation and input.

• For each of the first two years of the CBA, no Club will receive less in total Revenue Sharing than it received in 2011/12.

• Current "Disqualification" criteria in CBA (for Clubs in Top Half of League revenues and Clubs in large media markets) will be removed.

• Existing performance and "reduction" standards and provisions relating to "non-performers" (i.e., CBA 49.3(d)(i) and 49.3(d)(ii)) will be eliminated and will be adjusted as per the NHL's 7/31 Proposal.

8. Supplemental and Commissioner Discipline:

• Introduction of additional procedural safeguards, including ultimate appeal right to a "neutral" third-party arbitrator with a "clearly erroneous" standard of review.

9. No "Rollback":

• The NHL is not proposing that current SPCs be reduced, re-written or rolled back. Instead, the NHL's proposal retains all current Players' SPCs at their current face value for the duration of their terms, subject to the operation of the escrow mechanism in the same manner as it worked under the expired CBA.

10. Players' Share "Make Whole" Provision:

• The League proposes to make Players "whole" for the absolute reduction in Players' Share dollars (when compared to 2011/12) that is attributable to the economic terms of the new CBA (the "Share Reduction"). Using an assumed year-over-year growth rate of 5% for League-wide revenues, the new CBA could result in shortfalls from the current level of Players' Share dollars ($1.883 Billion in 2011/12) of up to $149 million in Year 1 and up to $62 million in Year 2, for which Players will be "made whole." (By Year 3 of the new CBA, Players' Share dollars should exceed the current level ($1.883 Billion for 2011/12) and no "make whole" will be required.) Any such "shortfalls" in Years 1 and 2 of the new CBA will be computed as a percentage reduction off of the Player's stated contractual compensation, and will be repaid to the Player as a Deferred Compensation benefit spread over the remaining future years of the Player's SPC (or if he has no remaining years, in the year following the expiration of his SPC). Player reimbursement for the Share Reduction will be accrued and paid for by the League, and will be chargeable against Players' Share amounts in future years as Preliminary Benefits. The objective would be to honor all existing SPCs by restoring their "value" on the basis of the now existing level of Players' Share dollars.

From what I can tell, they are going to read through this with a fine tooth comb and definitely make a counter offer and the season will start tomorrow (I am bleeding sarcasm with that statement).

0 Vandy fans should be excited

By Jason McDonald

James Franklin went out on a limb and maybe even made himself look silly by stating that he was educating Vanderbilt fans on how to be excited. But he’s right. Many Vandy fans need to learn how to get excited. You might ask what’s there to be excited about with a 2-4 record? The answer is plenty. Their losses have come against some stiff competition in Florida (2), South Carolina (7), Georgia (11), and Northwestern, whose only loss has come against Penn State. And they competed with all of them with the exception of getting blown out by Georgia.

They’ve sold out two back-to-back games for the first time in 16-years. Sure there are a lot of opposing fans traveling in for the game, but believe it or not, that’s still a good sign. It’s a sign that other fans are expecting to see a good game, and so far they have. Vandy is putting the pieces together. They are establishing new mottos, they’re investing the money into new facilities, and a new HD JumboTron for the stadium. They are putting more effort into building the program for success. These are some bare essentials that other teams have taken for granted for a long time. What other teams have also been able to take for granted is the fan support.

Other SEC schools have built-in fan bases. They’re massive schools build upon in-state student bodies. Their student body is less than half the size of Tennessee or Alabama, and their alumni are less likely to remain in the state. So filling a stadium is a little more difficult. That being said, the students have to show up. The student section needs to be loud and obnoxious. They have to remind visiting fans that Vanderbilt Stadium isn’t home to Florida or Georgia. Of course if Vanderbilt wins, people will come. As the saying goes, winning is a cure all. But support and success go hand-in-hand.

Vanderbilt has shown measureable success and this warrants the growing support in the stands. Contrary to what some are thinking, people are showing up. I was at the opening game against South Carolina, and for the most part it was packed and rowdy crowd (minus the couple sitting in front of me playing Words with Friends). They came for a good game and they got one. Vandy fans have an opportunity to see some of the best teams in football come through their town for a relatively cheap price. If you’re a student who cares anything at all about the game, there’s no reason not to go and get loud. Of course they don’t need James Franklin telling them how to act, they should know this already. If they don’t, there’s no time like the present to learn.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

0 What happened to patience?

By Kenny Howell

Patience is a virtue, but I am not sure many of us practice it these days.

Part of it is the fact that we have everything at our fingertips, every second of the day. I can tell you who the Cy Young winner in 1972 was in just a second.

Hold please.

It was Steve Carlton. He played for the Phillies at that time, and had a record of 27-10.

It took me 5 seconds to figure that out. And I had two different ways I could have, by my iPhone or the computer I am typing this on. While I was finding that out, I have an episode of The Wire on the TV that I am streaming through my Xbox. I don't own it, but I have access to it in mere seconds.

So when we are faced with something that won't take a second, it's hard. We have been programmed to believe that everything should be go go go, and that we have to be busy or have access at all times. It affects every aspect of our lives. And I have noticed two things in sports lately that I think affects it as well. The first is baseball and the second is the coaching world in sports.

Baseball is America's past time, but it has lost viewers in the recent years. I think part of that was the strike in the early 1990s and the steroids scandals, but that is not the reason people give when they say they don't like baseball.

"It's boring" says nearly everyone.

That is the answer nine times out of 10.

But why did people 25 years ago not think it was boring? It is the same sport, some say more exciting because players get better and better each generation through new ways to enhance your game, and the equipment advances. Aroldis Chapman throws 105 mph. 105 mph. That is mind boggling. A generation ago, that would have been the biggest story in sports. Today, unless you are a baseball fan, you probably can't name him, what team he plays for or what type of pitcher is.

Baseball is a game of patience all around. You can go several innings without anything major happening. Each battle between a pitcher and batter can take several minutes. And the season is long, 162 games long, which means that staying in it for the long haul can be a bit much.

As far as coaching changes, it's pretty obvious for people in the south. Tennessee's Derek Dooley and Auburn Gene Chizik or on the thinnest of ice. If both don't turn it around quickly, they will be looking for a new job at the end of the season, maybe sooner of their athletic directors get ruthless.

Dooley is just half way through his third season as Head Coach, and Chizik is two years removed from a National Championship. A National Championship. I don't care how good Cam Newton, Nick Fairley and Michael Dyer were, that is something that not many coaches can do. And I am sure there is plenty of people in both fan bases that would replace them with Bobby Petrino because he can win quickly, but it could cost you in the long run with some of his, let me say, unethical activities.

In the late 1970s, Tennessee hired former star Johnny Majors to be their Head Coach. Majors has spoke about this plenty of times about how when he was a coach, you got 5 years to prove yourself. Majors was 21-23-1 his first four years, in a totally different SEC world. There wasn't 5 teams that could play for a National Championship every year like there is now. In his 5th year, he got things turned around, and stayed in Knoxville until 1992, winning three SEC Championships. That wouldn't happen today, and I don't think that is necessarily fair.

I am not sure if I am saying anything, or just being the old man that tells people he used to walk up hill both ways in the snow. Which, by the way, doesn't happen today because I am pretty sure there is an app that gives you directions where you don't have to do that. But I think it is hurting the sports world in little ways. Baseball is a beautiful sport. In my career as a high school sports writer, I have spent plenty of spring and summer nights, sitting out watching baseball games. It didn't matter if the teams were good or bad, the field was beautiful and green, the weather was usually nice and the games were often good. I could a get crappy hot dog, a bottle of water or Coke, kick back, snap a few pics, and enjoy the night.

Dooley could stay at UT a long time, build a quality, clean program, and possibly win a SEC Championship or two. Chizik has done it once, so who is to say that he couldn't find another Cam Newton, Nick Fairley or Michael Dyer.

In today's world, they might not get the chance because we don't have time to see things long term. Right now is in the palm of our hands.

0 Vandy fans, Franklin wants you to get excited for 2-4 football

By Kenny Howell

James Franklin took some time out Monday from watching game film by himself in a giant classroom (see local Vandy commercials), to educate his fans on how they should act when they walk into his stadium on Saturdays.

Franklin stated that he wants the fans in the stands 45 minutes before game time, preferably with eye black on, and ready to go. He wants them loud of third downs, and when the other team is backed up against the end zone. Got it.

First of all, I have been to quite a few UT games, who I am a big fan of, and I don't think I have been in my seat 45 minutes before kickoff. 25-30 maybe, but no way 45.

Second, you can't make someone like you. You can't just tell them, hey, like what I do, it would help me out a lot. You have to earn it. Obviously, Vanderbilt football has some excitement around their program because of Franklin, but it is hard to get too excited when your record is still 2-4. I wish UT fans would show up amazingly excited with a full house against Alabama Saturday, but I doubt it is going to happen, and I can't blame them too much. We aren't playing good football right now.

Franklin has manufactured a lot of excitement with his team, but that same process can't be used in dealing with people who are paying to come see the product you are putting out on the field. It is like one of those politicians who come out and ask the crowd to give them applause. Give them something to applause, and they will.

Plus, Vandy fans are notoriously bad for showing up to games. They often have more fans of the opposing team, especially when it is someone within decent driving distance, and have been booed when coming out of their own locker room. A lot of the student section is empty until about the end of the first quarter, and a lot of them leave late in the third. Not to say there isn't passionate Vandy fans out there, but they are the exception, and not the rule.

Eventually the excitement you have promised is coming will have to show up. Otherwise, that fan base is just going to realize, oh wait, this is the same old Vandy we have seen 1,000 times.

I think Franklin has a chance to change that, but don't expect me, or anyone else, to believe it until it shows up on the field.

0 Kenny's College Football Top 10

By Kenny Howell

Only one new team makes it into my Top 10 this week, but a few of the spots were shuffled around.

1. Alabama (6-0) - They are getting so bored with football, they have started incorporating pro wrestling elements into their game.

2. Oregon (6-0) - They were idle this past week, but still have good quality wins. 

3. Florida (6-0) - Didn't look dominant against Vandy, but they keep winning. That's what they have done all year.

4. Notre Dame (6-0) - They may have got away with one in the Stanford game, as it looked like the Cardinals might have scored on that final play, but they won, and have been doing so all season. 

5. Kansas State (6-0) - That win against Oklahoma looks a lot better now after what OU did to Texas. 

6. LSU (6-1) - LSU put a halt to the South Carolina is the best team in the SEC talk with a win. Still not much offense, but that defense is killer. 

7. South Carolina (6-1) - The Gamecocks came back down to Earth a bit in the loss to LSU, but they are still in the thick of things and could get back in the National Championship race. 

8. Ohio State (7-0) - The Buckeye offense is dynamic, but the defense still leaves a lot to be desired. 

9. Oregon State (5-0) - All they do is win, some of which are good ones. 

10. Oklahoma (5-1) - The Sooners shook off the early loss to K-State, and look like they could work their way back in the Big 12 title hunt with a little help.

Monday, October 15, 2012

0 Quick shot: firing coaches

By Jason McDonald

There’s a certain uneasiness that I feel about the celebration of coaches being fired. Even though it’s the risk that any coach assumes while taking the job, and even though most coaches are well compensated for this risk, celebrating failure doesn’t sit well with me. I’m not referring to the Bobby Petrinos of the world. Sometimes a coach is just a scumbag who has it coming.

While I don’t personally know Derek Dooley or Gene Chizik, they don’t outwardly appear to be the Petrino style of scumbag. They’re just a couple of coaches getting hammered all the same. People have all the right to demand professional death, and they might even be right. But having an opinion and being right shouldn’t automatically give a green light to a person’s most brutal thoughts. There’s certain mean streak that anonymous strangers can develop when they make off-the-cuff comments about people they don’t know.

It’s a catharsis. Comedian Doug Stanhope once made the comment that people waste all of their real anger on sports. You can deal with bad fellow employees, jerk customers, and horrible racists all week and you keep your mouth shut. But a football team has a crummy season and you lose your mind. As tempting as it is to join into the mob mentality, sometimes it’s best to shelve the hostility and see how things play out. It’s either that or channel that rage into something that matters more to your own life. If you can’t think of anything, then this might be more of a “you” issue.

3 10 possible replacements for Derek Dooley

By Shaee Flatt

First, let me start by saying that I like Derek Dooley. If I could choose anyone to lead Tennessee back to the glory days, it’d be him. He is very hard not to root for, and has done a lot of good for Tennessee’s football program off the field. He has cleaned up most of the off the field issues that the program saw in the latter years of Fulmer’s tenure and the one year that other guy was there. He has also done a nice job restoring the roster with talent over the last three years. There is no denying that the roster has much more talent now, than it did when Dooley took the job. Sadly, though, off the field is the only place he has done anything good for Tennessee’s football program. He has zero quality wins in three years, and has lost at least a few games to teams with less talent on their roster. The worst thing about the Dooley era is that over three years, no progress has been made. After this month, Tennessee’s football team will be 3-5. Even if the team were to win out from there, and finish 7-5, I don’t see Dooley being kept. The fan base is too against him, and most will never support him. So with Dooley most likely out, here is a list of 10 realistic replacements for Derek Dooley at Tennessee.

Kirby Smart – Alabama Defensive Coordinator – Kirby Smart seems to be the most likely to take over at Tennessee if Dooley is indeed fired. Tennessee AD Dave Hart came from Alabama last year, and is familiar with Smart. He’s has done a nice job under Nick Saban at Alabama, and seems ready for his eminent head coaching chance.

My call: The Smart move wouldn’t be a very smart move for Tennessee, in my opinion. They need a proven winner, and if they dish out enough cash and ask around enough, they can find one. Not an awful hire by any means, just not one I’d be very pleased with.

David Cutcliffe – Duke – Cutcliffe has strong ties to Tennessee, and is well liked within the fan base. Of course we all know how good he was as a coordinator on two separate occasions at Tennessee. He also had good success as head coach at Ole Miss, and probably never should have been fired. Since taking the Duke job before the 2008 season, Cutcliffe hasn’t had much success; his best record at Duke thus far has been 5-7. This year however, the team is just one win away from making a bowl game for the first time since 1994.

My call: I wouldn’t be in favor of a Cutcliffe hire, either. It’s taken five years for him to find success at Duke, and while that is a hard program to turn around, so is Tennessee right now. The only difference is, Tennessee fans wouldn’t be nearly as patient.

Charlie Strong – Louisville – Strong has done a very nice job at Louisville since taking over prior to the 2010 season. He has made a bowl in each season, and has the Cardinals at 6-0 and ranked 16 thus far this year. While Strong has said he isn’t looking to walk away from Louisville, money talks.

My call: This is a tough one for me. I had no doubt that Strong would be successful at Louisville when he was hired, but I don’t know how successful he would be in the SEC. If I had to choose, the Strong hire would be one I’d support.

Gus Malzahn – Arkansas State – Malzahn won a National championship as offensive coordinator at Auburn in 2010, before heading to Arkansas State. Players seem to like him, and he seemed to be a good recruiter during his time at Auburn.

My call: Another possibility that I wouldn’t be in favor of. Malzahn is very unproven and never would have won a NC without Cam Newton.

Butch Jones – Cincinnati – After a 27-13 (20-3) record in three seasons at Central Michigan, Jones has continued to have success at Cincinnati. After struggling in year one, he has led the Bearcats to a 15-3 record since. Jones will likely get a shot at a better job within the next couple years, whether it’s at Tennessee, or somewhere else.

My call: Jones wouldn’t be one of my first choices, but there are certainly people who would be worse hires for Tennessee if Dooley is fired.

Willie Taggart – Western Kentucky – Taggart has completely turned around a miserable program at Western. After going 2-10 in his first season, he led the Hilltoppers to a 7-5 record last year, and currently has them at 5-1 this year with their lone loss coming on the road to #1 Alabama. He’s also just 36 years old.

My call: Taggart is a bit of an unknown, so I’m not completely sure how he’d do. He looks to have a promising future, but I’m not sure how I’d feel about him getting the Tennessee job so soon. I’m leaning towards a no here, but like Jones, they could definitely make worse hires.

Dabo Swinney – Clemson – Swinney began his coaching career at Alabama, and a return to the SEC wouldn’t be out of the question. His 34-20 record at Clemson is impressive, especially consider it is his first head coaching job. He is also a tremendous recruiter, as Clemson has continued to bring in elite talent year after year with Swinney at the helm.

My call: Swinney would be a very good hire for Tennessee, and I think the right amount of money and the chance to coach in the SEC would be enough to lure him from Clemson.

Art Briles – Baylor – Briles, like Malzahn, had the luxury of coaching a very rare talent. RGIII was special at Baylor, and was the main reason for their success last season. The difference, though, is that Briles was also pretty successful at Houston, and considering the bad history of Baylor football, any success there, is impressive.

My call: Briles is a good coach, but there is nothing to suggest he could be a good recruiter in the SEC. Plus, he’s already 56 years old. The younger the better, when it comes to Tennessee’s next head football coach. Just not a good fit. Thanks, but no thanks.

Bobby Petrino – Former Arkansas HC – Petrino is arguably the best coach that doesn’t currently have a job. He obviously has strong SEC ties coming from Arkansas, but I think it’ll be tough for another major school to give him a job so soon after the scandal that lost him his job at Arkansas.

My call: While Petrino is a good coach, and he’d probably have Tennessee back where they belong sooner rather than later, hiring him is too risky right now. Many parents will be against their kids playing for him due to the scandal, and recruiting is at least half of the game in the SEC.

Dan Mullen – Mississippi State – Mullen has done a terrific job at Mississippi State. He is ten games above .500 in 3 and a half years, at a program with hardly any football tradition. He’s young, he’s an offensive genius, and he’s a good recruiter to boot. Not much negative to say here.

My call: Mullen would be a great hire for Tennessee, but would he leave Mississippi State? Tennessee has a much prouder football history than State, and is quite frankly, a better job. However, He seems to love Starkville, and finally has a roster full of his players, as they say. I think its unlikely Mullen would leave Mississippi State for Tennessee, but he’s worth the call.

0 Shaee's College Football Top 10, Oct. 15

By Shaee Flatt

1. Alabama (6-0) – No change at the top, Tide continue to roll.

2. Florida (6-0) – The Gators remain undefeated, but await yet another big showdown this weekend against South Carolina.

3. Oregon (7-0) – The “Scoregon” Ducks were off this week, but they move up a spot due to South Carolina’s loss to LSU.

4. LSU (6-1) – Big bounce back win for LSU this week. Despite the loss to Florida, they still remain one of college football’s best teams.

5. Ohio State (7-0) – The Buckeyes are fun to watch, and their play thus far has me wishing they were eligible for the BCS. Still a lot of room for improvement, but they have the best team in the Big 10.

6. Notre Dame (6-0) – Yet another big win for the Irish. I don’t trust them, but I can’t put them any lower after everything they’ve accomplished thus far.

7. South Carolina (6-1)
– South Carolina lost a nail biter in Death Valley. No reason to drop them too far.

8. Kansas State (6-0)
– Kansas State isn’t much more to me than this year’s annual overrated team from the Big 12.

9. Oregon State (5-0) – Just win, baby. Al Davis would be proud of the 2012 Oregon State Beavers.

10. Mississippi State (6-0) – Mississippi State is another team I don’t trust. They still haven’t beaten anyone of relevance. We’ll see how they look on Oct. 27 in Bryant-Denny.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

0 Cantucky

By Jason McDonald

The Kentucky Wildcats football program has been piñata for the SEC for a long time now. But when broken open the only thing that pours out is depression and lowly regarded bowl games. After this year they might be begging for a lowly regarded bowl game. They’re terrible and they might even graduate to garbage before the season is done. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Contrary to what many people think, Kentucky football can be relevant. Some people might try to convince you that there’s no hope for Kentucky football. And they might try to tell you that they’re purely a basketball school and could care less about football, and this may be true, but they could be something special with right personality at the wheel.

Kentucky should have jumped on Mike Leach before he took off for the northwest. Granted, Washington State has looked less than mediocre, but the broader point is that Kentucky football needs a fire starter, whether it’s Mike Leach or some other borderline lunatic coach. When you’re in the SEC and success is gauged on beating giants, you can’t expect to battle them head-on, especially if you’re a weaponless dwarf. Kentucky needs to look to the west, specifically at Oregon. Oregon has had plenty of ups and downs as a program, but has become more consistent under Chip Kelly. They have a thousand ugly uniforms to choose from and a ton of swagger. They also have new ideas and identity that translates to the field. So why not Kentucky?

There’s no rule that says that your school can only be good at one sport. Look at Tennessee, look at Florida. Both have had success in all the major sports to some degree. Even Vanderbilt is attempting to make the push in football, and there’s certainly more excitement around the program than ever before. Kentucky has everything those programs do and maybe more in some areas. They have appeal, identity, and swagger…within their basketball program. That’s entirely the result of hiring Coach Calipari. Coach Calipari won a national championship in three years. I wouldn’t go as far as to say they could win a national championship in three years, but they could easily become relevant again.

It all comes down to the basics. They need to recruit. They need a defense for the SEC that can at least put a speed bump in the path of a power running game. You can’t compete if you can’t stop anyone. And they need drastic changes on offense that can scheme well against the juggernaut defenses that they face week in and week out. They need innovation. How they get it, I don’t know. But people act as if its impossibility and it’s not. Maybe they need to go after Bobby Petrino; maybe they need something more drastic.

What they definitely need is some excitement around the program. Kentucky fans can’t take it on the chin; shrug it off wait for basketball season. They need a bit of anger and should demand answers. And they should be embarrassed that Louisville and Western Kentucky are Kentucky’s relevant football teams. They are currently 1-6 and look it. It’s a game where other teams go to hang an easy win. For the best teams in the SEC it’s no different than playing a team from the Sun Belt. In some cases they’re less threatening than a Sun Belt team. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If Kentucky could take some of that juice that they reserve for basketball season and put it towards football, then they could have something good in not much time at all. The right coach and the right attitude could make Lexington a nightmare stop for any team.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

0 One of the saddest things ever

By Kenny Howell

I was able to catch the last few innings of the Cardinals win over the Nationals last night, and I am pretty sure it was one of the saddest things I have ever seen. The Nationals held a 6-0 lead early in the game, but blew it to lose, 9-7. They were up 7-5 in the top of the 9th, and all the Nationals fans were on their feet and ready to explode. But closer Drew Storen couldn't close the deal and allowed the game to get tied up, then the pride of Owasso, Okla., Pete Kozma, knocked in the go ahead runs. Nationals went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning to end the season.

So, I thought it was time to put together a list of the saddest things I have ever seen.

1. The 4-minute montage close to the beginning in Pixar's Up.

Okay, that's it. I am too sad now to add any more to the list. Stupid Pixar, messing with my emotions.

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