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Friday, October 29, 2010

College Football Weekend Setup

Week 9 is upon us and as the season begins to hit the backstretch, most teams are jockeying for bowl berths or just trying to make it to one. There are a few big games this week on the schedule. Missouri takes on Nebraska in the Tigers last big test they will face. Oregon goes down to L.A. for a showdown with a mediocre but still hated USC Trojans and Michigan State battles Iowa in a Big Ten Clash. And with that let’s focus on these three games for breakdowns.

Missouri vs. Nebraska – After finally beating the Sooners, Missouri gets the prize of traveling to Lincoln to take on the Cornhuskers. QB Blaine Gabbert proved more than able last week in the toppling of Oklahoma. I love his composure and the way the offensive line protects him. He stood tall in the pocket all night and ran the offense with surgical precision. De’Vion Moore give the Tigers a decent running attack and averaged 7.3 yards a carry last weekend. The Tigers defense is starting to get some credit now and it is much deserved. They are a physical unit and aggressive. Nebraska counters with QB Taylor Martinez, who was considered a Heisman hopeful until he met the Texas defense. Roy Helu will need a good game to take some of the focus off of Martinez but I still don’t think that will be enough. Nebraska has a stout defense as well led by senior Prince Amukamara. They will keep the game close for the Huskers but that will not be enough.
The Pick: Missouri

Oregon vs. USC – Oregon and USC always provide an exciting game. Both teams like to get up and down the field and score. Oregon has just been so dominant this year, at one time ranking number one in both total offense and defense. Lamicheal James is a Heisman candidate and is the straw that stirs the tea in their offense. QB Darron Thomas is more than capable at his position. His job is to keep the defense honest with the threat of the pass and keep the tempo up for the Ducks high powered offense. USC comes off a bye after whopping Cal. Matt Barkley has quietly put together a great season in his first year under Lane Kiffin . Barkley’s number merit Heisman talk, just take a look:

Cmp Att Pct Yds Yd/A TD Int Rating

138 211 65.4 1,869 8.9 20 4 167.3

He won’t be in contention because of all the sanctions USC face but this guy is pretty darn good. He will be able to put up points on Oregon’s defense. The big elephant in the room with the Trojans is their defense. I haven’t seen a worse defense from USC since the pre Pete Carroll days. Oregon will run through, over and around these guys on offense. USC doesn’t have a bowl game this year so they have to treat every game as if it is one but the Ducks are just too much with their breakneck speed tempo offense.
The Pick: Oregon

Michigan State vs. Iowa – Is it me or does it seem like Iowa is playing a marquee game every week? The road to the Big Ten title obviously goes through Iowa City these days. The Hawkeye’s still have a chance at the title. They would need to win out and still get some help but it’s possible. Ricky Stanzi has really cut down on the mistakes this year. After being named pick six Rick by last years opposing teams, Stanzi has only thrown two INTs the whole year. Even with that being said, Iowa needs a strong run game effort to top the Spartans. Adam Robinson is the workhorse for the Hawkeyes and is a brusier at running back. They will turn to him to control the clock and keep the ball from Michigan State. The Spartans have been fun to watch this year. Rather if it was a fake field goal vs. Notre Dame or the fake punt vs. Northwestern, Sparty has a flair for the dramatics. I admire Mike Dantonio not only for coming back from a heart attack and blood clot but also for his gutsy calls in crunch time. He is a man’s man. I also love the running backs Edwin Baker and Le’veon Bell. Baker’s tenacity as runner is great. He is tough to bring down and an arm tackle won’t get it done. QB Kirk Cousins has been living on the edge all season but keeps finding a way to gut wins out. The defense led by LB Greg Jones has been good enough to keep the Spartans in games. This just seems like a team of destiny this year with all the adversity they have faced. This is the last remaining tough opponent they face and if they beat Iowa, they actually have an outside shot at the National Championship. That is too much on the line for Sparty to give up.
The Pick: Michigan State

Game of the week – Missouri vs. Nebraska: The Tigers have to avoid a letdown after defeating Oklahoma. The winner of this should take the Big 12 north title.

Most intriguing game - Louisville vs. Pitt: It was hard to pick this game over the Michigan vs. Penn State clash, but because it has more impact on the standings in the Big East, it will get the nod. Charlie Strong has exceeded expectations in Louisville and Dave Wannestedt keeps falling below his at Pitt.

Rivalry Game – Florida vs. Georgia: The world largest cocktail party made it an easy pick for me on this one. Both teams are struggling and both would like none other to add to the other’s misery this year.

Under the Radar Game – Baylor vs. Texas: The Bears have quietly put together a nice season led by the freaky athletic QB Robert Griffin. Texas continues their inconsistent year. Which Longhorn team will show up? The one who served Nebraska or the one that got served by UCLA.

Wake me when its over game – New Mexico vs. Colorado State: These two teams combined record is 2-13. Enough said.

Coach better get it right game – Notre Dame vs. Tulsa: The pressure to be the coach of Notre Dame is always on. Brian Kelly’s team needs to respond after the drubbing it took from Navy. I didn’t even pick on Dan Hawkins this week.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rick D hates our Nashville Predators

I recently ran across an article titled “Why the Nashville Predators Are the Worst Team in the NHL” by a gentleman named Rick D on Yahoo’s Associated Content page. This guy really lays it on thick about his hate for the Nashville Predators. He starts the column off saying “I hate the Nashville Predators. The entire concept of the team - an ice hockey team based in Nashville, Tennessee which had no professional team at the time - makes me shake my head in disgust toward Gary Bettman and those involved in the team's creation every time I think about it.” All I could say was wow. I mean, has this guy ever even been to our city? Does he know that in the short time that the Predators have been here, they have been one of the most successful expansion franchises in the NHL? He obviously doesn’t know much about our professional sport teams because the Tennessee Titans were the first professional team in the state of Tennessee.

So in response to Rick D, I feel like it is only right that I defend our dear city and the franchise. No way is this loon going to get a free pass to talk about our team. This is for all the fans of the Nashville Predators who don’t have outlet to voice their opinion. Let’s do some fact checking and give the five reasons that Nashville is a great hockey town.

1. The Predators are one of the most successful expansion franchises in the league - The Predators won their 100th victory as a franchise on December 6, 2001. With that win, Nashville became the second-fastest expansion team of the 1990s to reach the 100-win mark. The Predators have also made the playoffs five of the past six years. Do you how many storied franchises like the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Edmonton Oilers or the Boston Bruins would do for that type of playoff run?

2. The Predators really have NOT had a big name player – The Preds have had names such as Paul Kariya and Peter Foresberg. But if you look closely at the stats, those players names carried more weight than there performances. Peter Foresberg for example read as follows below:

read as follows below:

17 games 2 goals 13 assists totaling 15 points and a plus minus ratio of + 5
Not exactly setting the league on fire with those numbers.
Paul Kariya on the other hand did have two solid seasons with the Preds his numbers:

2005-2006 : 82 games 31 goals 54 assists 85 total points and plus minus ratio of +6
2006-2007: 82 games 24 goals 52 assists 76 total points and a plus minus ratio of -6 .

Again, pretty good number but Kariya was not the leader of that team. His best years came when he was teamed with Teemu Selanne and was able to rely on him. Neither one of these so called stars were on the upside of their careers upon arrving in Nashville.

3. Tennessee has always been a Football state but – Tennessee will always be known as a football state thanks to the success of the Tennessee Vols and the Titans. However, with the recent success of the Predators, hockey in Nashville has taken off. In fact for this season the Predators attendance was higher than the Avalanche (13,947), Coyotes (11,989), Thrashers (13,607), Devils (15,546), Panthers (15,146) and the Blue Jackets (15,416). The Devils and Avalanche are in hockey markets and both have Stanley cup championships between them and we better attendance than both of those franchises.

4. Nashville has great fans – The attendance may not indicate it but the Predators have a loyal base of die hard fans. You can go anywhere in the city and find them. The best thing about them is their loyalty and dedication to the team. In 2007 when the team was rumored to be sold to billionaire Jim Basille then moved to Canada, the fans were outraged and came out in droves to keep the team here. They are deeply rooted in the community and provide donations to keep the game of hockey alive and well in the state.

5. The grassroots movement – As I stated above, The Predators have been making their mark in the community. They recently made a $150,000 donation to Williamson County’s own A-Game Sportsplex to help serve as a springboard for developing fans in Middle Tennessee. High School hockey in Middle Tennessee is also taking off with over 17 high school teams now. Nashville is quickly becoming a hockey town day by day. As with any expansion franchise, the Predators had to take their lumps initially and had to be built from the ground up. In a state such as Tennessee where football is king, it takes awhile for anything else to flourish. The success of the team as well as their contributions to the city of Nashville looks to be as good as it has ever been.

Now that we have the facts straight, let me address Mr. Rick D. Sir, you probably have never been to our city, so for you to make a biased and uninformative post about our us sir is wrong. Please stay in your city where your pathetic Detroit Lions have been one of the worst ran franchises in recent memory. Nashville is a great city for real fans of all sports. Your article was terrible and by looking at the comments you received, I’m sure you able to see that Predator fans are nothing to mess with. As you stated “Usually I try to avoid being so obviously biased in most of my articles, but the opportunity to get articles published on Yahoo! Sports was something I wasn't about to pass up, even if what they wanted was to be as biased as possible on purpose.” That sounds like to me this was more about ATTENTION and not the right INTENSIONS. So again Mr. Rick D, please know your facts before you jump on a team and city you thought would be ripe for the pickings. Hockey in Nashville is flourishing thanks to hacks like yourself.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sportaholic Mid-Week Speed Drills

Miami's terrible debut- All eyes were on Miami's new trio of stars last night in Boston, but it didn't go as well as they would have liked. Boston jumped out to an early first quarter lead that saw Miami only score 9 in the quarter. The new big 3 would go on to score 52 points between them, but also accounted for 15 of the 17 turnovers the Heat had. They lacked the cohesiveness as a unit and that was expected, as Dwayne Wade didn't play but two minutes in the preseason. They did storm back on a furious run to end the third quarter. The Heat will be fine. As the season goes on they will find the continuity they lacked in this game. By mid season, we should be observing the real team. This was also to a lesser extent the debut of Shaq or the big Shamrock (What ever he is calling himself these days) for the Celtics. He finished with 9 points and 7 rebounds.

Adam "Pacman" Jones rebound season cut short- In what was shaping up to be Jones's best year since his breakout second season with the Titans, the Bengals DB suffered a herniated disk in Sunday's 39-32 loss at Atlanta and was placed on injury reserve. That's just too bad. Pacman was starting to get back into form and looking like his old self before all the self-inflicted chaos he had. Hopefully he can bounce back next year and keep the same attitude that has won him rave reviews in Cincinnati.

Nashville Predators looking good- The Preds are off to a 5-0-3 mark this year. In their most recent win over Tampa Bay, Rookie Andres Lindback made 42 saves. The rookie goalie had some spectacular saves including a couple of in-close saves on Vincent Lecavilier and Ryan Malone. The latest win put Nashville at number 2 in ESPN's power rankings. On a side note, the Predators donated $150,000 to Williamson County’s own A-Game Sportsplex. The move is the latest effort to start a grassroots movement for local and amateur hockey in middle Tennessee. Good move by the Preds. Make sure you go out and support them; their next home game is on Oct 28th against the St. Louis Blues hoping to see everyone there.

Remembering Roy Skinner- Skinner is Vanderbilt’s all-time win leader and the architect of Vanderbilt basketball. He compiled an overall record of 278-135 and an astonishing 181-41 at Memorial Gym, thus coining the phrase in local newspapers “Memorial Magic.” Skinner was a basketball purist at heart. He loved the open floor game and didn’t like to limit his offense. His battles with former University of Tennessee coach Ray Mears were legendary. Skinner was not shy in admitting his dislike for Mears but he also had a deep respect for him as well. Skinner won the SEC's Coach-of-the-Year award four different times (1965, 67, 74, 76). He also coached against the legendary Adolph Rupp and his loaded Kentucky Wildcat teams. In 1966 Skinner, initiated what would turn out to be his biggest accomplishment. He would sign the first black player to play in the SEC, Perry Wallace. Roy Skinner’s accomplishments will always be a part of Nashville and we are a better city because of him. Farewell Roy, you will be missed.

A memorial service for Roy Skinner will be held Saturday, October 30, at 11 a.m. CT at Benton Chapel on the Vanderbilt University campus

What to watch today: The World Series kicks-off today in San Francisco. Looking for a great series from these two tortuted franchises.

8pm Bulls at Thunder on ESPN

10:30pm Trail Blazers at Clippers on ESPN

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

CSI: Nashville Edition

As reported by the Tennessean Jim Wyatt, Titans head coach Jeff Fisher was seen in Karma Lounge night club Friday night. Fisher was reportedly investigating the incident involving Kenny Britt this past weekend. He must have received a clearance from Karma’s staff due to the fact that Britt made it in the game early in the second quarter.

The funniest thing about the story is the time that Fisher was seen at the club, reportedly around 12 in the morning. Can you imagine listening to your favorite Rick Ross song and bumping into Jeff Fisher? It’s hard to imagine any other coach going to that length for his player’s let alone be in the club on a Friday night. This is just hilarious; I wonder if he dressed the part as well? This has to be a precedent for the first time a head coach attended a popular night club on the Friday night before the game. If anyone knows of any other coach who has done this before please let me know. No word if Fisher had any drinks while attending the club.

This also made me think which coach would look more ridiculous in a club? I was thinking maybe Bill Belicheck (He definitely would be in brawl of some type) or Andy Reid (Can you imagine him in an Adidas sweat suit break dancing)? I know two coaches I wouldn’t mind hitting the club with and that would be Rex Ryan or Mike Tomlin. Ryan looks like he would buy rounds for everyone and just pass out. I would hate to have to try and pick him up though. As for Tomlin, He would be the coolest guy in the room, with his signature shades and creased shirts.

Who do you think would be the coolest coach to go clubbing with?

NBA season tip-off

The NBA season gets underway tonight with two games featuring three of the prohibitive favorites going into this season.

The Miami Heat face-off with the defending Eastern conference champions Boston Celtics and the defending world champion Los Angeles Lakers take on the Houston Rockets.

After an off-season in which they dominated the headlines with the free agent signings of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh; Miami finally gets the chance to state their case for the championship. I wasn’t at all thrilled with the choice of Lebron James and the whole “Taking my talents to South Beach” thing. It changed my view of James, who I thought was more of a Michael Jordan type leader. The decision to join forces with Wade and Bosh seems like an easy out for him. Everyone had something to say rather it be negative or positive with his choice. I’m not going to bash the guy for using his rights as a free agent to pick the team of his choice. But I will never view him as the fierce competitor on the level of Jordan, who took his team on his shoulders and carried them to multiple rings. I guess we all should have seen have as more of a Magic Johnson type player.

Boston has flown under the radar as much as a conference winner can. They did add Shaquille O’neal (not the big diesel anymore, more like the big unleaded.), Jermaine O’neal and Delonte West. Those additions will make them one of if the not the deepest team in the league. Their season will hinge on health issues of course as they are one of the oldest teams in the league. The big three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen still have their say in the Eastern conference. They are like the old men in the neighborhood who still have enough fight in them to be a cause for concern. The most important player of the team now is Rajon Rondo. His play last year was elevated to an all-star level.This team could very well win the championship OR have multiple injuries and limp to the finish line with nothing.

In the second game of the doubleheader, The Los Angeles Lakers will face off with The Houston Rockets

The Lakers are looking for a three-peat following their championship run of last year. The biggest question mark for this team is the health of their leader Kobe Bryant and starting center Andrew Bynum. Bryant had off season knee surgery and the same goes for Bynum. Kobe was quoted as saying he thinks his knee is 75 -80% going into this season. Andrew Bynum on the other hand will be out until at least late November. The Lakers made some good off season pickups to pick up the slack with Matt Barnes, Steve Blake and Theo Ratliff. Even with Kobe not at 100% they should easily win the Western conference crown. I look for Pau Gasol , Derek Fisher and Ron Artest(as crazy as he is) to hold down the for fort until Kobe is back to 100% and Bynum is returns. A three-peat is likely as this team has the experience and talent to duplicate last year’s results.

The Houston Rockets are a team that hinges on the health (this is becoming redundant) of its big man Yao Ming. He looks to recover from a broken foot that has hindered him all of last year. Aaron Brooks took control of the team in his absence and the Rockets also traded for the sharp shooter Kevin Martin. Luis Scola had a nice tournament in the FIBA world championships, leading the tournament in scoring. This team has a lot of moving part but if it comes together and by that I mean in large part the health of Ming, they should be right in the thick of things for the Western conference.

The opening tip-off games are usually good match-ups and this year is no different. I look for Miami to pull out the victory over Boston and the Lakers to overmatch the Rockets. Enjoy the games, I know I will.

World Series Preview: Texas Rangers vs. San Francisco Giants

One of these teams will end the futility that has held both of these franchises hostages for the last half a century. Texas is making its first appearance in the fall classic and San Francisco has 18 appearances, but since moving to the bay in 1958, this will be only their fourth trip. The Giants haven’t won since 1954 for those keeping count and that was when the say-hay kid Willie Mays was patrolling the outfield.

The Rangers, meanwhile, are the fourth team in the past six seasons to be appearing in their first World Series. Led by the big bat of AL MVP candidate Josh Hamilton and the arm of ace Cliff Lee, the Rangers are looking to make up for lost time. This is a team that was in shambles financially at the beginning of the season. The team was in the midst of being sold and also had to be placed on bankruptcy protection. Enter the former Rangers great Nolan Ryan, who led a group of investors that scooped the team up and have been firing on all cylinders every since. They have a nice balance of youth and veterans including youngsters Elvis Andrus, Netfali Feliz, Nelson Cruz and veterans Micheal Young and the off season addition of Vladimir Gurrerro.

The Giants barely made it in the Playoffs but are definitely making the most out of the trip. A team dominated by pitching, the Giants added a lot of key pieces during the season to entrench the team. The additions included: Cody Ross, Javier Lopez, a call up of rookie Buster Posey and off season additions included Aubrey Huff and Pat “the bat” Burrell. For this season at least all these moves have had a positive impact on the club. Their pitching is off the charts with two top of the line starters in Tim “The Freak” Lincecum, and Matt Cain. The closer Brian Wilson is one of the quirkier guys you will meet in baseball but is also one of the best. It’s fitting that this patchwork of an offense will meet a patchwork of a front office in the Rangers for the World Series.

Now time for the breakdowns:

Pitching: Texas has the best postseason pitcher that has come along in awhile with Cliff Lee and also are benefiting from quality starts from C.J Wilson and the former Japanese league pitcher Colby Lewis.

San Francisco counters with maybe the deepest rotation in all of baseball: Lincecum, Cain, Jonathon Sanchez, and Madison Bumgarner.

The Edge: San Francisco

Offense: Texas has the big bats in Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Gurrerro, Ian Kinsler, and Nelson Cruz. They also have a nice platoon of for average hitters in Michael Young, Elvis Andrus and Mitch Moreland.

San Francisco doesn’t have the power of the Rangers but has timely hitting with Buster Posey, Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff leading the way. They will need a big series from Posey and for Ross to continue his hot streak of late.

The Edge: Texas

Fielding: Texas has a solid defense led by the former gold glove winner Michael Young. The Rangers have been playing good enough defense but not the best.

San Francisco’s fielding has been just as solid if not better than the Rangers. Rookie Buster Posey leads the team in that department.

The Edge: Even

The Series prediction: This is sort of a karma infused World Series. It seems both teams haven’t been successful over the past few decades and both are trying to exercise those demons of the past. Pitching is always the most important factor in the playoffs to me and the Giants are deeper in that department. Cliff Lee is amazingly only getting better as the playoff’s progress but he can only start so many times for the Rangers. Josh Hamilton will keep it close and should have his moments as the best hitter in the series. One for sure winner in this series will be Bengie Molina, who after playing for both teams this year is going to receive a ring either way.

         The Pick: Giants in 7

Monday Night Review: Disaster in Dallas

If you thought it couldn't get any worse for America's team, you thought wrong. The Cowboys fell to the Giants last night 41-35, but more importantly loss starting Qb Tony Romo for at least 8-10 weeks with a broken Collarbone. That is just a devastating blow to the popular preseason Super Bowl picks. Their season effectively ended with Romo's injury.

The play occurred in the beginning of the second quarter. Linebacker Michael Boley busted through the Cowboys line at full speed and just leveled Romo. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was bad. Romo lay on the ground motionless, grimacing in pain. Boley himself was quoted as saying he heard “Romo let out a little scream.” That scream was surely echoed by owner Jerry Jones, who was witnessing the end of his team’s season. All the Super Bowl talk and being the first team to host and play in the Super Bowl ended on that one vicious hit.

The game itself had such a promising start for Dallas. Eli Manning threw an interception to Terence Newman on the fourth play of the game and Newman returned it to the Giants five yard line. A Marion Barber rush for one yard and than a five yard pass from Romo to tight end Jason Witten would lead to a Dallas touchdown. On New York’s second drive, Manning would be picked off again by Gerald Sensabaugh, who returned it to the Giants 18. From there Romo completed a 13 yard pass to Martellus Bennett but the drive would stall and Dallas would settle for a field goal.

The Giants got back into the game with a good drive that ended with a Hakeem Nicks touchdown catch. On the next drive Romo led the Cowboys to a field goal and the Dallas defense forced New York to punt on their next drive. On the punt, Rookie Dez Bryant made a nice cut up field and was able to find a seam and was off to the races for a 93-yard return. That score made the game 20-7 and that would be as happy as the story gets for Dallas. From that point, New York would go on to five unanswered scores and put the game out of reach. Eli Manning caught fire in the middle of the second and would finish 25 of 35 for 306 yards 4 touchdowns but also 3 interceptions.

Dallas would later add two cosmetic touchdowns going to Dez Bryant but the game was never really in doubt after the Romo injury. The Cowboys now sit at 1-5 without their starting QB. Jon Kitna looked a mess running the offense and could never get it going until the game was out of reach. The season ended all on the Boley blitz in that instant. The question now becomes how far will Dallas fall this season? Will Coach Wade Phillips be able to survive the turmoil that will ensue now? One thing is for sure, for this season the Cowboys are down and out.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Brett Favre injured

The consecutive game streak may finally come to an end and not for the Jenn Sterger accusations. As reported by the Associated Press, Brett Favre has two broken bones in his left ankle and no word yet on if he will be able to play this Sunday vs. the Patriots. He was reportedly injured in the third quarter of the Vikings’ 28-24 loss to Green Bay on Sunday night at Lambeau Field.

Brad Childress, coach of the Minnesota Vikings confirmed the report and stated that Favre is wearing a protective boot, but has yet to rule out Favre, who's streak stands at 291 games started. Even without word from Childress can you honestly expect a 41 year old man with two broken bones to go play a NFL game? It sounds like old grey beard's body is finally succumbing to 20 years of carnage in the league. Favre already had off-season surgery to repair his left ankle and was taking injections for it before the season even started.

If this is the end of the streak, than its just a sad ending. I always said that Brett would regret coming back this season because it just be so hard to top the magic that he played with last year. When you couple this injury with the accusations and other off field distractions he has had this year, then I think we could all agree he wishes he would have just stayed on his farm in southern Mississippi with his wranglers on.

Sportaholic NFL Power Rankings

I wanted to wait until the Monday night game was in the books but upon further review I don't have Dallas (duh) or the Giants in my top five so it was OK to go ahead and post my Power rankings. In one of my previous posts ( I listed my Pretenders and Contenders as of week 4. The list included two teams at the time that I thought until they got their act together were not going to make the playoffs. Both of those teams have finally straightened up and look to make some major noise going into week 9. The two teams you ask? None other than AFC co-division leaders Tennessee and Indianapolis and both make their introduction into the top five. And with that being said let's jump in the Power Rankings

1. New York Jets - I have to keep them here even though they had a bye week. The offense has been fluid and only looks to get better with another week of practice and finding places for Santonio Holmes to get the ball. Sexy Rexy's (Pun totally intended) defense will always show up and give the team a chance. I really like this team and they look to be the class of the league right now

2.Pittsburgh Steelers - As everyone knew, the addition of Big Ben to the offense has infused life back into that side of the ball. Before Rothelisberger, the passing offense was ranked dead last and now with him back they have already rose to 26th in the league. Aaron Smith was lost for the season with a torn tricep and may be a bigger blow than most think but the defense is the least of their worries these days in Steeler nation. One other thing I worry about with the Steelers is how they sometimes get a little cute with Ben back in the lineup and pass more than they should. All in all this is a solid team and Super Bowl contender.

3. Tennessee Titans - On paper you look at this team and try to figure out who some of these guys are. You know the names Vince Young, Chris Johnson, Cortland Finnegan and after his break out performance Kenny Britt. I challenge anyone outside of of Tennessee to name any other players from this team. Hmm? That's what I thought. But the thing about the Titans is that they play with a mean streak that is indicative of their coach Jeff Fisher. They will hit you in the mouth, just ask Philadelphia. The emergence of Britt really is intriguing for this team. If you can combine a speedy deep threat to the likes of Chris Johnson you are definitely on to something. The running lanes will be open more now for Johnson and Vince Young now that a passing game has developed. This is a team to be reckoned with and will have something to say about the AFC south crown.

4.New England Patriots - The gritty, gutty Patriots gutted one out against the mistake prone San Diego Chargers but it wasn't without its faults. The Pats almost had a fourth quarter meltdown. San Diego was able to find their offensive rhythm in the fourth and came back from 20-3 down to almost tie the game. New England was saved by a missed field goal from the unreliable Kris Brown ( Houston fans know what I am talking about.) New England is a good team but I am weary of their young defense. Good teams will make that field goal and take it to overtime or not be in that position at all in the first place. I noticed a lot of holes in the secondary that Phillip Rivers was able to take advantage of. But to be honest if that is one thing you have to worry about, than you should be OK. As long as Tom Brady and Bill Belicheck are on the same page, the good times should continue in Boston.

5.Indianapolis Colts - I flipped and flopped in my head who to put in this slot. I really like Baltimore, but that was just a bad performance they had against the Bills. They should have blown them out. So instead I will go with the Colts this week. Indianapolis had a bye this week and thank god for that. The players have been dropping left and right with Austin Collie, Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai and Donald Brown all getting injured. The biggest one is Clark, he has always been Peyton's safety net, so that will definitely be a blow to their high powered offense. I just think Manning will find a way to get the best out of what he has and they will battle Houston and Tennessee all the way to the end for the AFC South. I have a personal belief to never ever bet against Peyton Manning. He has burned me too many to do so.

Honorable Mention: Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Vandy vs. South Carolina review

Vandy came into this game looking to recover from the thrashing it took from Uconn, but South Carolina was also looking to retake first place in the SEC East. Senior Brian Maddox, in for the super freshman Marcus Lattimore due to an injury, had a career day with 146 yards rushing en route to defeating the Commodores 21-7.

Vanderbilt looked strong in the first half and the game was tied 7-7 going into the 3rd quarter. Coach Steve Spurrier replaced an ineffective Kenny Miles with Maddox in the 4th series of the game. Maddox at first was proving just as ineffective as Miles until a game changing drive that saw him eat up 48 yards on the ground in the 3rd quarter. The Gamecocks let Vandy hang around with an errant snap on one drive and Casey Heyward's SEC-leading fifth interception on another and a blocked field goal as well. The Commodores had consistent pressure on Stephen Garcia and had a total of 4 sacks. To Garcia's credit, he remained tough in the pocket and finally found his rhythm and hit a couple of long passes late in the game. I figured Vandy would have problems covering Alshon Jeffrey with his size and athleticism and was proved to be correct. Garcia was able to connect with Jeffrey for a 24-yard catch that set up a Maddox touchdown and later Jeffrey had a spectacular 72-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth. A surprise to me and apparently to the Commodores was receiver Tori Gurley who finished with 13 catches for 109 yards. When you combine Jeffrey's number and Gurley's numbers you can see it was hard for Vandy's secondary to keep up with the Gamecocks passing game.

Vanderbilt's offense looked as stagnant as ever finishing with just 250 total yards. Larry Smith continues to have trouble passing going 13/31 for 142 and no touchdowns. The run game was OK at best going for 108 yards. Vandy will continue to have problems as long as there middling offense doesn't find the continuity it needs to help out its defense. The Commodores are now 2-5 and are headed to Fayetville next in a dual with Arkansas, lead by QB Ryan Mallett and the Razorbacks intricate passing game. There is definitely no rest for the weary in the SEC but hopefully Vandy can try to rebound from consecutive losses.

UT report

Alabama vs. Tennessee is a game that dates back to back to 1901 and is referred to as "The Third Saturday in October. It is one of the best rivalries in the south and usually has championship implications on it. Let's just say this year not so much. UT was handed its 4th consectutive lost in the series after being bulldozed by the Crimson Tide 41-10.The Alabama offense had its way with Tennesse. Julio Jones shredded the Vols secondary for 12 catches and 221 yards receving (but failed to get a touchdown, weird huh?) and the Crimson Tide running backs combined for 210 yards. Trent Richardson finished with 119 yards on 12 carries and defending Heisman winner Mark Ingram had 14 carries for 88 yards.

The bright spots for far and few for the Vols.Tennessee was actually in this game in the first half. Matt Simms lead a drive at the end of the 2nd quarter that ended up with a field goal and UT went to the locker room down just 13-10. But their fortunes quickly turned in the 2nd half of play. The first play of the 3rd quarter for Alabama resulted in a 38-yard strike from Greg McElroy to Jones. The next play after Mark Ingram ran for a 12 yard gain, McElroy found Jones again for 19 yards.From there Mark Ingram punched it in and the game began to slide for the Vols from there.  Michael Palardy missed a 52-yard field goal on the next possession. Alabama in turn scored on its next drive with a 65-yard rumble from Richardson.

The game was not in doubt after that. Tauren Poole ran for 117 yards and a score on 14 carries and looked especially strong in the first half game. Matt Simms finished 11 of 22 for 117 yards and one interception. Tennessee did have some big plays in the game including a 59 yard burst for Poole for a touchdown. That was the longest rush of the year for the Vols. UT would go on to have carries of 59, 15 and 13 yards on Bama. They just cannot sustain those drives enough to get scores out of them. Matt Simms as tough as he is, does not have the arm of most SEC quarterbacks. He can only make a limited amount of throws and thus limit the offense. The offensive line seems to be getting better every week and was very strong in the run game this game.

All in all, it is about what I anticipated this game to be. Alabama's talent and depth eventually took over as the game went on. UT fought a good battle but wasn't able to contain Bama's stable of athletes. It will take awhile and a few more good recruiting classes from Derek Dooley and staff to be able to compete with the Crimson Tide.

College Football Weekend Finale

Another week in College Football and another number one ranked team goes down. The Oklahoma Sooners were the first number one team this year in the initial BCS rankings but that won't last long with its defeat at the hands of the Missouri Tigers 36-27. Missouri's high powered offense out lasted the Sooners and gave them problems all night. The most noticeable thing to me was the lack of pressure that Oklahoma was able to get on QB Blaine Gabbert. He would finish 30 of 42 for 308 yards. He pretty much had all the time and more to dissect the Sooners defense and made them pay for it. In previous years the Tigers wilted under the pressure of Oklahoma but were able to show their toughness this time around. Oklahoma became the third top ranked team to go down following Alabama and Ohio State. The win now puts Missouri in the driver seat for the north division title. A looming showdown next week in Lincoln vs. Nebraska will show if they are ready for the next level.

Now a few teams that caught my eye, some for good reason and some for bad.

Auburn - My question now is what can Cam Newton not do? Auburn just pummeled LSU on the ground with 440 yards to LSU's 115. Newton did his part going for 217 yards on 28 carries. He showed his uncanny athleticism on a stunning 49 yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter. This guy is just too big for the DB's to tackle and too fast for the Linemen and Linebackers to catch. Auburn's other running backs also showed up with Freshman Micheal Dyer rushing for 100 yards on 15 carries and Onterrio McCalebb broke the game open with a spectacular 70 yard scamper that sealed the victory for Auburn. Cam Newton now has to be considered the front runner for the Heisman. His team is undefeated in the SEC and he has already broken the single season touchdown record for Auburn and also the SEC single season QB rushing yardage mark. Auburn is now the lone undefeated team in the SEC and if they win out, should be in the national championship game.Auburn rose to number in the latest BCS rankings and the only team that seems to stand in their way will be Alabama in the Iron bowl and final game of the season. That is just the way it should be.

Oregon - The Ducks continue to dominate its foes but can't seem to lock down the top spot in the BCS. The Ducks pounded UCLA 60-13 but remain stuck at the two spot for the second consecutive week. If they win out and don't make it to the championship game, they would have valid argument with the system but I think if they do go undefeated they should have a spot in the title game. They have a showdown with USC this weekend.

Michigan State - Michigan State survived a scare, coming back from 17 down to defeat a very game Northwestern team. Mike D'antoni has guts. He called a fake punt that led to a touchdown that spun the momentum back into the Spartans favor. When asked what he was thinking on that play, D'antoni quoted " That's the old mouse taking the cheese bait." You have to love a coach who will take risks in order to win games. That's the way I would want my coach to be. Sparty remains unbeaten and have the inside track to the Big Ten title.

Texas - The Longhorns remain the inconsistent team that I said they were earlier this season. There is just not justification of losing to Iowa State. The cyclones jumped on the Longhorns to the tune of a 28-0 lead going into the 4th quarter. The Longhorns mounted a comeback in the final quarter but it was to little to late. Mack Brown sounded frustrated in his post game conference and for good reason. Texas isn't going anywhere this season.

And lastly, the non-AQ teams continue to get jumped by the BCS conference teams in the poll. TCU was jumped by Auburn in the latest BCS poll. Boise State remains at number two , but it will be worth watching if the BCS conference schools can continue to surge over the likes of TCU, Utah, and Boise State because of the poll rankings and strength of schedule.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Follow me on the nashville

I will now be featured in sports page. It is a blessing to say the least. I look to take their sports coverage to the next level. I will continue to write on my blog but selected content will be emphasized in their sports section. I hope to see all of followers check me out on their site. The in connection with Sportaholic will look to take the Nashville community sports scene to a cut above the rest.

Titans vs. Eagles game review

In what was expected to be the game of the week by most, the Titans struggled in the first half and turned it into a laugher in the 4th quarter, in part due to a 4th quarter meltdown by the Eagles.Kerry Collins (17-31 276 3 TDs and 2 INTs) was handed the start due to Vince Young's injured leg and ankle but thanks to the heroics of Kenny Britt who turned in a career performance finishing with 7 receptions for 225 yards and 3 touchdowns, Collins was able to succeed. The Eagles led by Kevin Kolb (26-48 231 1 TD 2 INTs) were able to build a 19-10 lead going into the 4th quarter but were also held to four field goals even though they had good field position. The Eagles also committed ten penalties for 100 yards and that will always come back and haunt your team. Philadelphia pretty much controlled the game in the first half and for the most part and held Chris Johnson in check and he finished with 24 carries for 66 yards. But in the 4th quarter the Titans just exploded, going off for 27 points. Kerry Collins got it started with an 80 yard bomb to Britt and hit him for another strike later in the 4th for a 16 yard touchdown that put the Titans up 27-19 and they didn't turn back after that. A Rob Bironas field goal and a interception return for a touchdown by Cortland Finnegan sealed the victory for Tennessee. A lot has to be be said for Britt, who was involved in a altercation in a night club Thursday night. Coach Jeff Fisher sat his second year receiver for the 1st quarter in response to the malay but Britt responded resoundly ,with his first catch upon entering the game going for a 26 yard touchdown. Now that 's the way you make up for your mistakes off field, you show up prepared to make a difference on Sunday. The absence of Desean Jackson was noticeable with Philly lacking his big play presence of the field.

In summarizing the Titans over came a shaky first half and responded in the second half to blowout a solid Eagles team.

Player of the game - Kenny Britt. Who else could it be after his performance. He set a record for most reception yards ever recorded by one player vs. Philadelphia

Game-Changing moment - The usually stout Titans defense were on heels for the most of the game until they forced a three and out in the fourth quarter.Kerry Collins found Britt for a 42 yard laser that would set up a Rob Bironas field goal that put Tennessee up 20-19 and they never trailed after that.

The Titans now are 5-2 and assured to be in 1st place in the AFC south. They open up a tough three game stretch now with two of the next three games on the road vs the San Diego Chargers,Miami Dolphins, and the Washington Redskins. From the looks of it, the Titans are a team to be reckoned with.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weekend Dunkface: Vince Carter edition

Vince Carter has so many dunkface dunks it hard to choose one but this was just nasty. There is just no way a 7'3 man should be getting abused like this.

Take a look from this angle. It's just unbelievable athleticism to on display from Carter. Fredric Weis is the guy under him and he was a first round draft pick by the Orlando Magic but never made it to the states. I have a feeling this had a lot to do with. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Finally Friday College Football Weekend Edition

After watching Oregon demolish UCLA 60-13 last night, I guess I'm inclined to say they should be the number team in the nation. They moved the ball on offense with Qb Darron Thomas throwing for 308 yards and 3 scores. Lamicheal James, the nation's leading rusher finished with 123 and 2 scores before leaving with a leg injury. This Ducks are move physical than I thought. They manhandled UCLA on both sides of the ball. I was very disappointed in the Bruins, this is the same team that ran all over Texas but couldn't get anything against the Ducks. The one I feel the worst about is Oregon's mascot the duck. 60 points equals 60 push-ups for him and the way the Ducks are rolling on offense he will probably will have arms as big as this guy: Now on to the rest of the college weekend games.

LSU vs. Auburn - Much has been said about the often maligned Les Miles but the mad hatter has a quirky way of winning games. The man is 58-15 with a winning percentage of .792 (Higher than Nick Saban)and regularly subject to rumors of his firing as the head coach. Personally, I like the guy I mean how could you not with quotes like this "Louisiana has a heritage of great players that play their high school football within the boundaries of Louisiana." Now if he could just figure out his QB position because both Jordan Jefferson and Jared Lee have not been able to move the ball. LSU has one of the best defense's in the nation all they need is for the offense to do is be competent, but I don't think they can. Cam Newton and the Tigers will challenge the the Tigers defense in way they haven't seen this year. Patrick Patterson and the Tigers will be game for the challenge but I don't see them stopping the Cam Newton express this week. I do question Newton with these untimely comments he said this week: The pick: Auburn

Oklahoma vs. Missouri - Oklahoma takes its newly minted number BCS ranking down to Columbia vs an under the radar Tigers team. The Sooners are a very solid team and certainly have earned the number one BCS ranking but I'm not sold on them this year. The inconsistent play of Landry Jones and the way they play down to their opponents are my reasons. I haven't saw much of Missouri to make to many comments on them. I have seen QB Blake Gabbert play before and he is pretty good. I also know that Gary Pinkel likes to toss the skin around in that offense so this should make for a good game. Because I don't know enough about the Tigers I will take Oklahoma.

Wisconsin vs. Iowa - Wisconsin is coming off the programs biggest win in recent years, knocking off previously number one  ranked Ohio State. They did it impressively by using the power run game with John Clay and the occasional change of pace back James White. They now must avoid a let down because the Hawkeyes come to town. An interesting side note to this game is that Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema is an Iowa alum and even has a Hawkeye tattooed on his calf, talk about awkward. Iowa has played well this year and only loss came from Arizona, so they are still on the hunt for the Big Ten title. This game again will come down to the Hawkeyes being able to stop the Badgers power run game. If Wisconsin can control the time of possession and run on Iowa, which I think will happen, than they should win this one.

Game of the Week - LSU vs. Auburn : This game has SEC as well as National Title implications on it. It could also be a showcase game for Cam Newton to further cement his Heisman hunt.

Most intriguing game - Nebraska vs. Oklahoma State - Nebraska is out for blood after losing to rival Texas and Oklahoma State has been better than advertised with emerging deep threat Justin Blackmon.

Under the Radar game - North Carolina vs. Miami (FL) - Both teams still have a shot at the ACC Coastal Division going into this game, and one will not afterwards.

Rivalry Game - Alabama vs. Tennessee - Remember when this game use to matter? The ol' third Saturday in October will be a laugher this time but will always be a classic rivalry game.

Coach better get it right game - Texas Tech vs. Colorado - Tommy Tuberville has been less than stellar this year and was suppose to infuse some defensive toughness to the Red Raiders. So far he hasn't. Its too easy to pick on Colorado coach Dan Hawkins each week and he ends up in this slot seemingly every weekend .

Thursday, October 21, 2010

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How Loyal Are You To Your Team?

No question about it, I am a hard core Dallas Cowboy fan. Every since I began watching football on a regular basis, I loved my Cowboys. In the good years when we were a dynasty winning titles in 92,93, and 95 you couldn't tell me nothing about my team. We were on top and I didn't see an end to our reign anytime soon. The boys were prohibited favorites going into the next few season and then cracks in our empire began to show. A freak injury to Micheal Irvin in 1999 and in 2000 Lavar Arrington layed a career ending hit on Troy Aikman. Over the next few years we were in complete disarray. Emmitt Smith went to the Cardinals for a couple of unproductive seasons, (Are you freaking kidding me Emmitt?), we couldn't find a QB to save our life (remember Quincy Carter anyone) and the whole T.O bring your popcorn debacle.From those points until now, my team has struggled. If you had told me we entering the 2000s that we would not make the playoffs until 2003, I would have asked you what are you smoking on. If you had told me we wouldn't get another playoff win until 2009 I would just assumed that you were a Cowboy hater like most people. We have just been dismal here in the recent past but I still roll with Jerry Jones and all the punches involved with rooting for my team.

Going into this season, my boys were the favorite to win our division and a trendy Super Bowl pick. As of this moment we stand at 1-4 tied for last in the division and all I can say is wow. I get it everyday from my friends calling them the Cowgirls and instead of Tony Romo, he now is being called Tony Homo. It never stops and even when I'm at work my fellow co-workers find any way they can to bring up the 1-4 Cowboys. Good thing I can dish it out just as much as I can take it. And I just won't waiver in my faith in my team. A real fan is going to support his or her team no matter what. Every dynasty has to end one day and in those times when everything is going good it easy to be a fan. What I appreciate is the hardcore fans, who even when their team is on the skids they still represent for them. Even if my boys went 1-15 this year, I would be right there saying we will get em next season. Fair weather fans are in abundance these days, not to even mention the bandwagon jumpers. It says something about your character if you stand by your team even if they suck. I know a lot of people who call themselves fans and as soon as their respective team starts to do bad they jump right on to the hot team of the moment. If you do this then I tend not to trust you as a person because your true character shows that you do not have a reinforced base. Your team is your team. You have to stick with them threw thick and thin.

So what are you guys opinion? Do you know any bandwagon jumpers or only fair weathered fans? Are you loyal to your team no matter what? Tell me your stories

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday Musings

So the NFL wants to put the hammer down on those on are doing the hammering all of a sudden. I won't go into all the details like I did on yesterday's post ( but I guess I can sympathize a small bit seeing as how guys were dropping like flies this weekend but it does seem premature to just all of a sudden make a mid season rule change. Another funny part of the story is that none of the guys: James Harrison, Brandon Merritweather, or Dunta Robinson got suspended. They all were fined but not suspended. That's the way you enforce your rules Goddell, hopefully next time someone actually gets suspended.

MLB Playoffs

What ever happened to that Yankee mystique? The Rangers are just humiliating the Bronx bombers and doing it the way the Yanks usually do with home run bashes. I was under the impression that the game 1 meltdown was going to lead to an inevitability for the Rangers. Lance "Fat Elvis" Berkman even went as far as saying that the bullpen pitchers looked scared, so much for that huh? No doubt the Rangers pitching has been great but I am just as impressed with their hitting. Taking a look at Texas's lineup it shouldn't come as a surprise. Josh Hamilton is a MVP candidate, Vlad Gurrerro is a future HOF, Micheal Young is consistently is the top of league in batting average and Nelson Cruz can hit the ball as far as anyone I've seen. I look for them to make it to the world series with C.J Wilson on the mound. What a story for Nolan Ryan's bankrupt bunch

They do a little pitching in the Bay too - The way the media was all over the newly minted H2O pitching trio of Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt you would have thought it was no chance for the Giants to win the series. What was forgotten is that San Fran has pretty damn good rotation themselves. The likes of Lincecum, Sanchez, Cain, and even rookie Madison Bumgarner has to be as solid as a four man rotation as there is. Lincecum may get all the praise but the other guys have all held their own against a very dangerous Philly line up. And when you add the hot bat of Cody Ross and some timely hitting from the other Giants hitter, you have a team capable of beating anyone. Now Philly has to turn to Joe Blanton ( The last guy they want on the mound) to rescue their season. May be to little to late.