Tag:Patriots
Posted on: December 2, 2009 1:05 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2009 8:37 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Nov. 30th

As winter quickly approaches us and most of my loyal followers are preparing for bitterly cold nights, snow, and all the other things that come along with it while I sit here in my shorts pecking at my computer (nah nah Tongue out), due to a couple of major college football stories, I feel compelled to break my own rule yet again and extend it to covering Tuesday as well, especially since one affects a certain game on Dec. 5th.  So here are 10 things I learned in the week and a day between 11/24 and 12/1.

1) What an idiot!- How can you, in the week leading up to one of arguably the biggest games in your career, do something so stupid as what Carlos Dunlap did to effectively end his career at the University of Florida.  I honestly don't see him playing another game this year, and he was likely to come out, so this pretty much puts the kabosh on UF's leading pass rusher and defensive MVP from last year's BCS title game.  It remains to be seen as to what effect this has on the Gators on Dec. 5th, as the Gators do have lots of talent, but unlike some of my fellow Gator fans, I realize this will affect them at least somewhat.  There is not another Carlos Dunlap on this team, and his presense and pressure will be missed to some degree, no matter how well everybody else steps up in his absense.  And to those trying to pin this on Urban Meyer somehow, please stop.  What, do you want these teams to have 100 assistant coaches to babysit each player personally all the time?  Notice, I wasn't in here blaming Lane Kiffin for what Richardson and his thug friend did (although I did find it funny that it was the same guy Lane got in trouble with the SEC over).  It's how the coach deals with these situations that you can hold them responsible for, not the actions themselves.  Dunlap is an adult, and he will face the consequences of his poor choices.

2) Bobby deserved better- Yes, I know things haven't been going the Seminoles way recently.  I have NEVER seen a UF-FSU game where the Noles didn't deserve to be on the same field as the Gators until Saturday.  But this is the man that had FOURTEEN straight AP Top 4 finishes.  That's a mark that's very likely never to be duplicated ever again.  The whole Bowden-Fisher situation will be filed away under "How NOT to handle a head coach in waiting."  Depending on who you listen to, Bobby Bowden was either forced out, or given the option to come back, but as little more than a figure head.  Now, while I feel that Bobby should have been allowed to come back next year with no strings, Jimbo did deserve the right to name a defensive coordinator, as that would have been Bobby's last year.  You did have to start preparing for life after Bobby.  Thing is, it's awful hard to be the man who replaces the man.  Why do I get the feeling that if FSU struggles early next year, that firejimbofisher.com is not too far away.  Hopefully FSU sends Bobby out on a winning note in whatever bowl game they end up in.

3) Sorry Charlie- In a move that surprised absolutely no one, Notre Dame cut ties with Charlie Weiss on Monday, ending Notre Dame's worst three year run in their history.  While there is a lot of blame to go around here, where is the blame that should fall squarely on the shoulders of the former athletic director (I forget his name)?  As much of a weasel as he is, Mike Lupica pointed this out on a recent "Sports Reporters" on that four letter network.  He's the one that got played by Charlie Weis and locked him up to a ridiculous 10 year deal that's now going to cost Notre Dame something in the range of $20 million to pay a coach who won't be coaching for them.  And they'll have to pay whoever comes in, likely involving another buy-out.  And where's these strong athletes from ND's alleged top 10 recruiting classes recently?  They have Floyd for one more year, and Teo for two more.  Beyond that, what do they have?  Claussen will be gone.  Tate will be gone.  If you notice, Charlie only won with Willingham's players.  It's going to take a lot for Notre Dame to return to BCS title contender, because as I pointed out before, the reason they had lost 9 bowls in a row before last year was they kept running into superior competition due to them being Notre Dame and drawing well in both fanbase and ratings.  This is not going to change soon, even if they start winning 9-10 games a season.  Those annual bowl blowouts do hurt you when it comes to recruiting.  I don't care if you are Notre Dame.

4) Crash that Tiger- Who the hell is in Tiger Woods P.R. staff and why do they still have jobs?  Look, Tiger owes us the general public absolutely nothing.  No explanation.  And I can see why his lawyers told him not to talk to police (because Elin would be in jail right now if he had).  But if you want to see a playbook of P.R. done right, spin it back to Kobe Bryant.  He had geniuses on his P.R. team.  To think that this would go away just because you're Tiger Woods.  Look, because you ARE Tiger Woods, somebody in the media will dig up the dirt and uncover the story.  And while stonewalling the police is the correct legal tactic, don't think they won't do the same.  Fewer people are going to forgive him for trying this P.R. coverup spin job.  The media, police, and public are not stupid.  We can put two and two together just fine on our own, thanks.  UPDATE: As I was piecing my blog together, Tiger finally came out and admitted some of the stuff, something he should have done on Sunday, but I guess better late than never.  It is my sincere hope though that people can now leave him alone and let his family work it out if they can, or handle what they must if they can't.  I just know I'd find it hard to cheat on Wood's wife, although I'd find it hard to marry her now knowing her temper.  Hell hath no furry like a woman scorned.

5) I've finally found the best team in the NFL- After wondering if it might be the Colts of the Vikings (and I still think the Vikings will be a tough matchup), and as much as it pains me to say it, because of their holier than thou, think they've already won somehting in the past, refusing to take off their Black and Gold glasses and defend Reggie Bush till the end fans, there is no denying that it is the New Orleans Saints.  That was an epic beatdown of a pretty good Patriots team on Monday night, and they did something I never would have thought possible, especially form a Saints team, confuse Tom Brady with their defense.  I was always holding reservation on the Saints, because I just didn't believe in their D (have always believed in their O, even with Reggie Bust).  I always thought somewhere along the way it would revert back to the old Saints D.  Well, now I know better, and unfortunately, it reaffirms my prediction of the Saints winning it all I made a few weeks ago.  I'll be very happy for the Saints players (except Reggie and maybe cocky Shockey), and the city of New Orleans, but god, I dread having to deal with the obnoxious fans thinking that they just might FINALLY win something this year.  By the way, Gregg Williams HAS to be coordinator of the year.

6) So much for that matchup in Tampa- Yeesh.  The ACC has to be thrilled that its two best teams got beat by mid-level SEC teams this past weekend.  Georgia Tech looked from being in line for a Top 5 finish to being just another conference champion.  And that's IF they beat Clemson and win their Orange Bowl game.  I'll have my prediction in point 10.

7) Can we stop with the overrated crap?- After Thursday and Friday in which Texas and Alabama both struggled on the road in rivalry games and Cincinatti's defense got exposed by Illinois, all the threads in here were about just how overrated these three teams are.  And while I can't give a good defense to Cincy (although I still wouldn't call them overrated), the other two, along with Florida and TCU who took care of business on Saturday, are clearly the four best teams in the country.  Look, they are called rivalry games for a reason.  Usually you can throw the records out.  And they all won, which is what counts in the end.  The 2006 Gators didn't earn any style points in the season, but still handled tOSU with ease.  And what I wouldn't give to see TCU play any/all of the other three teams.  They are the real deal, and I think would matchup well.  God, a playoff (even 4 team) would have been nice this year.  And in a side note, I hope if Texas beats Nebraska, the BCS does the right thing and gives an invite to Boise State as well.

8) Some quick college hardwood thoughts- What a start for the University of Florida basketball team, one that most people has going 5th in the SEC East.  Now, while they have yet to play a conference game, and Michigan State followed it up with a disappointing performance in last night's rematch of the title game, you have to like how good they look right now.  It will be interesting to see how they do against Syracuse (another hot team early) in the SEC-Big East challenge game here in Tampa.  Even as a Gator fan, I didn't see a 7-0 start.  I'd love to see Billy's boys make the tournament this year.  And what's happened to UCLA.  They look completely lost out of the gate at 2-4.  Now they have players transferring out.  And it doens't get any easier with a Dec. 6th date at Kansas.

9) Look ahead- The games I'm looking forward to are the conference championship games, which I will predict in my next point, and in the NFL, Patriots Dolphins to see which team can bounce back from devastating losses, Cowboys Giants to see which team ate too much turkey on their Thanksgiving day game (my guess would be the Giants who seemed to load up before their night game with the Broncos), and Packers Ravens.  There's also a couple interesting NBA games coming up with Boston San Antonio on Thursday, and Lakers Heat on Friday with the Heat on the back end of a two in a row situation.  In hockey, you have the Penguins and Avalanche on Thursday, and my Lightning have a tough two game stretch with Boston tonight and New Jersey on Friday.  And on the college hardwood, you have a very interesting Ohio State Florida State matchup tonight as part of the ACC Big Ten challenge.

10) BuccinGator's college football conference championship game predictions- While there are only 5 official conference championship games (3 BCS in SEC, Big 12, and ACC and 2 non in CUSA and MAC), with two conferences having defacto championship games this week with tomorrow's Oregon Oregon State game (which for the first time will decide a Pac-10 champion and Rose Bowl bid between these two) and Saturday's Cincinnati Pitt game, in what has to be a scheduling coup for the Big East and Pac-10.  So, in order of how they are played:

Oregon 38, Oregon State 24 (just think Masoli is too much for the Beavers yet again)
Central Michigan 34, Ohio 17 (LeFevour gets it done)
Houston 45, ECU 20 (Case Keenum way too much for ECU, way too late for Heisman.  Those UTEP and UCF losses will kill him)
Cincinnati 37, Pitt 27 (Although Cincy's defense does scare me.  Pitt could pull this out, but I refuse to bet against Pike)
Florida 31, Alabama 27 (was going to go with last year's score as I think the game will be very similar [still do], but with Dunlap out, give Bama another TD)
Georgia Tech 31, Clemson 27 (C.J. Spiller could play spoiler, though.  Just noticed the forecast for here in Tampa calls for thunderstorms that day.  Of course, both these teams love to run anyway)
Texas 21, Nebraska 9 (Nebraska's D will keep this close, quite possibly closer than what I have it).

Hopefully I can go 5-2.  Last year, I think I went 3-2, but I also think it was the mid-majors that tripped me up.
Posted on: December 2, 2008 7:14 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2008 10:51 am
 

10 Things I Learned The Week of Dec. 1st

Ah, December.  The time of year that brings us the presents of college conference championship and bowl games and the NFL playoff push.  As we plow (well, not us here in Tampa) our way toward the end of another fantasic year, I bring you my regular reflection of the week that was in sports.

1) I warned you - Meatloaf once said (sang) to not feel sad, cause two out of three ain't bad.  Well, that I was on the Thanksgiving Day NFL games, although I was 3 for 3 on my prediction of them all being turkeys.  But honestly, could we all not see it coming (except for the Eagles debacling {thanks, Emmitt} the Cardinals, and even that wasn't that much of a stretch)?  The NFL either needs to do a better job scheduling, or start rotating the games (or both).  With the parity in the league on an almost yearly basis, the latter just might be easier than the former.

2) Thank you, Clifton Smith and Reggie Bush - Still in the spirit of giving thanks, I would personally like to thank Bucs return man Clifton Smith and Saints return man Reggie Bush.  On a day where a sloppy field led to a field position battle, these two single-(double?)handedly flipped the field in the Bucs favor.  Both of Tampa's second half TD's were set up by great returns by Smith, one on a kickoff, the other on a punt, because he does this fascinating thing called running north.  Bush, on the other hand, had two punt returns for the awesome total of NEGATIVE SIXTEEN yards.  And I don't want to hear anything about it was his first game back from injury.  If you saw the returns, his first move was backwards, and then sideways.  Reggie, this is the NFL.  Everybody has your speed.  This sets up a huge game this week for the Buccos (more on this later).

3) Storming the Cassel - Wow, here were the Patriots drives in the second half.  Punt, fumble, fumble, pick, pick, end of game.  And this doesn't even count the kickoff they fumbled away.  Not going to win too many games doing that.  After two straight weeks of 400 yard performances, that even had me wondering if Cassel had cashed a $14 million lottery ticket (the amount he'd make as a franchised QB), he came back to earth in the face of a tough defense and looked more like the guy I saw in the preseason on NFLN against the Bucs where everybody wondered what would happen if Brady went down.  Thanks to the Jets losing (horribly at home to a Broncos team that had lost horribly a week before), the Pats still have a shot at the division, but are definitely on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs.

4) Cancel my Cable subscription - Ah yes, after a flukey week where I had to give love to both the Saints and Raiders, everything is right in the world, and I can go back to ripping them to shreds.  What was Cable thinking calling for a fake FG to 865 pound kicker Sebastian Janikowski (emphasis on the "kow") on fourth and ten, that looked like it was going to be a run no less?  Instead, Sebas (who does look and act like an ill-tempered, mutated sea bass.  Dr. Evil, eat your heart out) couldn't handle the flip from the holder, and it was returned for a Kansas City touchdown.  Instead of letting the kicker with the strongest (even if not the most accurate) leg in the league most likely put you up 6-3, you go down 10-3 and the wheels fall off from that point on.  I'm sure Al Davis called that play down himself.

5) Iron defeciency - Man, has the Iron Bowl lost it's luster.  They may as well call it the Rust Bowl, now.  After six straight losses in the series, the Nickonator and his Crimson Tide manhandled a clearly overmatched Auburn Tiger team.  Fact is, this game has just not been as competetive most of these last seven years, although now the balance of power has at least shifted.  Maybe next year this game can return to national prominence.

6) 3 in a row at Ron Zook field at Doak Campbell stadium - Another rivalry that has lost its luster, although showed signs of returning to prominence next year is the UF-FSU series.  FSU will be a great team to watch ... next year, but this year were clearly overmatched.  I'd hate to think about what would have happened had the weather been good.  Of course, had the weather been good, Harvin wouldn't have gotten hurt (and thank you FSU fans for your Eagle fan impressination impersonation {man, I just pulled an Emmitt.  Guess I was caught between that and impression} when that happened.  I have the utmost respect for your coach and program, and but quite frankly, that was WAY beneath you and quite honestly, unexpected).

7) Absolute Bedlam - The annual Bedlam game produced just that, not only on the field where 102 total points were dropped, but in the BCS (more on that later).  The Sooners have scored 60+ now in four straight games, which I hope their fans realize by now is the byproduct of both a phenominal offense, and subpar defense.  It set the stage for what we all knew would happen Sunday where the Coaches were forced to reveal their votes, and the Longhorns jumping the Gators in some coaches efforts to try to avoid a perceived travesty of leaving Texas out of Kansas City due to the head-to-head win (there are solid arguements on both sides, but in the end, I think the correct team is playing Missouri).  The Big 12 put undue pressure on the people who make up the BCS due to their strange conference tie-breaker system.  Most conferences that use the BCS as a guideline do so to kick the bottom team out and then go to head-to-head.  In that case, Texas would have come out on top (hence the great arguement for them).  The Big 12 was one of the conferences strongly opposed to the "and 1" system proposed this year by ACC (and BCS head) commissioner John Swafford and SEC commissioner Mike Slive or any form of a playoff.  Now they might be rethinking it.  And they will definitely rethink their conference tie breaker.  Even Stoops is against it.

8) The B(C)S keeps getting deeper - My regular readers know where I stand on the whole BCS mess and the need for a playoff system, but I read a great blog by the user HuskerTex who I met on the official OU-OkSU game thread.  It is one of the best thought out, put together, and informative blogs I've seen on this site.  It is a great history of the BCS, and the controversies and backstories, some of which I had even forgotten about.  It is a great read, and I highly recommend it to all of my regulars, and to those of you who happened to stumble across my weekly rantings as well.  Here's the link: http://huskertex.blogs.sportsline.c
om/mcc/blogs/entry/6286615/12007228

9) Finally, an MNF game that means something - This is where I would usually put my weekly look ahead, and that's what this will be, despite the title.  But I do want to hit hard and heavy on one game in particular, and its implications.  When Disney ponied up the money years ago to get the rights to MNF and move it to ESPN, I doubt they foresaw SNF eventually (actually, that very same year) becoming the premier game of the week with the premier matchups.  It seems the NFL schedules it this way to begin with, and recently it has become more so with the advent of flex scheduling.  ESPN is probably thanking its lucky stars that it finally has a game that means a lot when the 9-3 Buccaneers visit the 9-3 Carolina Panthers for first place in the NFC NASCAR division (which I still say is best top to bottom and is in line right now for 3 playoff teams).  This game is giant for both teams, but mostly for the Panthers, and here's why.  First off, the NFC South teams have been almost unbeatable at home going 22-2, including both the Bucs and Panthers at 6-0.  But the Panthers must hold serve, and here's why.  First off, if the Bucs win, they will have swept the Panthers and will be a game plus the tiebreaker up.  This means they will only need to go 2-1 in their last three to secure a first round bye.  But the main reason is the schedule.  The Bucs last two home games?  Visits by AFC West doormats San Diego and Oakland.  The Panthers, conversely, have games remaining against the Broncos, Giants, and Saints, and would have to win the last two to force the tie break against the Bucs to common opponents and the other obscure ones (assuming the Bucs beat the Falcons in Atlanta, which might not happen because Atlanta is hot).  As you can see, they have a much tougher road to hoe regardless.  The other NFL games I'm looking forward to are Dallas Pittsburgh and Baltimore Washington.  And I am looking forward to the entire CFB slate.

10) Buccingator's confernce championship predictions - In the ACC Championship game, I like BC over Virginia Tech 24-20, in the BCS semi-final, er SEC Championship Game I like Florida over Alabama 31-13, and in the Big 12 Championship I like Oklahoma over Missouri 63-38.

Posted on: October 8, 2008 6:04 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2008 11:36 pm
 

10 Things I learned the week of Oct. 6th

1) The beasts of the East - Well, if there was any doubt, it should now be clear that the best and toughest division in baseball this year was the AL East.  And this is most years, too.  This is now 5 out of 10 years that the ALCS is a matchup of two AL East teams.  This also proves that playing lots of games against superior competition makes you more playoff ready.  I have a feeling that despite this series likely going at least 6, the winner here will win it all.  I'll have my LCS predictions later.

2) If Pittsburgh can stay healthy, I think they'll win the AFC - I'll do my entire playoff predictions after week 9 when all the teams have played (at least) 8 games, but looking at it now, I feel safe with this one.  Everybody's favorites are struggling.  Indy needed a Sage Rosenfels collapse to avoid 1-3.  The Chargers just got physically dominated by the Dolphins.  The Patriots just simply aren't the same team without Brady.  The Bills were exposed this week.  Yes, I believe the Titans are for real, and their defense will give them the chance to be in every game, but top to bottom, a healthy Steeler team trumps all.  Of course, it won't matter because I think this is the year the NFC finally takes the Super Bowl (my apologies to my Giant friends who were probably wondering what I was smoking.  Meant to reference the NFC's recent lack of SB Champions.  I think it's 3 in the last 12 years).

3) Thursday night upsets - Do you think teams will be lining up to play on ESPN on Thursday nights after this year?  It seems to be cursed for the favorites so far.  Let's see if Clemson can get back on track by upseting Wake Forest this week.  Update: Nope.  It did get Clemson's starting QB demoted, though.

4) Huge week upcoming in college football - Wow.  We kick off with Oklahoma-Texas at noon, sprinkle in some other good games in between (including Tennessee-Georgia), and then cap it off with LSU-Florida at 8:00.  What a great day to be a fan of college ball.  The tv will be burning on Saturday.

5) NFL look ahead - The game I'll be looking forward to in the NFL is the Panthers-Bucs game.  And, I'm not just saying that because I'm a Bucs fan.  You have 2 good teams in a tough division playing a divisional game.  While I hate to use the term this early in the season, this looks like a must win for my Bucs.  Can't afford to let a very good Carolina team go up 2 games plus the tie break on you.

6) Slow news day - Unfortunately, I have no NFL firings to report this week.  One Detriot writer did try to get Rod Marinelli to quit this week, though.  That took marbles even suggesting that.

7) Commodore 64's - If you were to suggest to Vanderbilt fans that this would be their record after 10 games this year, I'm sure most of them would have been ecstatic.  Well, they'll have to go 1-4 during the next 5 in order NOT to top it.  They are the only undefeated team in the Eastern division of one of the toughest conferences in college football.  What a story they've been so far.  That comeback against Auburn was huge.  Hopefully they can use it as a spring board like the USF Bulls did last year (although hopefully they won't choke midseason like the Bulls).  This is just one of the many, although probably most notable feel good stories of the year.  Ball State cracking the Top 25 is another one.

8) NHL's Euro Trip - didn't go so well for my Bolts.  They're already in an 0-2 hole before most teams have played their first real game.  Not the start to the season I was looking for.

9) My turn to pile on the Cubs - When does this team FINALLY go from being labelled "lovable losers" to simply losers.  What exactly is there to love about them anymore?  Nothing comes to my mind.  And when does losing translate into some fans using it as a license to be self entitled jerks?  At least the Yankees have won countless times and their fans appreciate the sport.  At least the Red Sox and White Sox have won 2 and 1 respectively, not just in my lifetime, but recently.  And when does your team's failures give you the right to stop appreciating the game?  I realize this doesn't apply to all Cubs fans, but there are a lot of you out there.  Thing is, as an impartial observer, even I fell into the trap of believing the the Cubs would at least win the NLCS (I would have never picked them against ANY of the AL teams except maybe the White Sox, and even then it's a maybe).  Most of the Cub fans deserve this misery.

10) LCS Predictions - Well, after going 2-2 in round 1, time to predict the LCSes.  As much as I don't want to count the Phillies out, especially the way Hamels is pitching and their hitters potentially getting 4 games in their friendly park, but I'm going to go Dodgers in 6.  For the ALCS, in game one it's Matsuzaka and his god like road pitching numbers versus the Rays and their god like winning percentage in the Trop with over 30,000.  Somethings gotta give.  I'm taking the Rays in a squeaker.  I think the Rays also take game 2 unless Beckett pitches out of his mind, or Kaz gets up to 100 pitches in 4 innings by walking too many.  I'm still taking Rays.  I think Boston takes game 3 easily with Lester on the mound.  I look for the Rays to take advantage of Wakefield in game four like they did earlier this year.  Boston takes game 5 to send it back to St. Pete.  Then back in front of the home crowd, Rays win game 6 to go to their first World Series.  It will be interesting if it goes 7, because I think the Sox would have a good chance of winning in St. Pete with Lester.  Hopefully it doesn't get that far.

 
 
 
 
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