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Tag:Saints
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: September 24, 2008 6:22 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2008 9:24 am
 

10 Things I learned the week of Sept. 22nd

1) Saints still have no D and no north south running game - As a Bucs fan, I always love a chance to pile on the team with the most ridiculous fans in the NFC South who somehow think they have a tradition of winning and are clearly superior to the rest of the teams based on two years ago.  All I heard was we fixed our D.  Well after 3 weeks, WRONG!  You are one horrible Jeff Garcia read/pass away from being 0-3.  On the play where Fujita picked him off, he had TWO receivers wide open in the end zone and didn't see either one for some inexplicable reason.  But hey, you made the plays and won the game.  Secondly, I got in heated discussions about Reggie Bush being a bust.  While I may have been premature in that assessment, I was correct on two other things fans refused to take off their black and gold colored glasses to see.  1) Without a north south running game, your offense is predictable and one dimensional.  You still lack this key component.  2) Reggie Bush is, and will always be a WR who lines up behind the QB.  They should just make the change and be done with it.  And he still dances too much.  Bust, no.  But does he make the Saints a winner, no.  Cheer up, Saints fans, you still have to play the Chiefs, Raiders, and Lions.  There's 3 wins right there.  Oh, but the Bucs and Panthers still have to play the Lions, Raiders, and Chiefs, too.  Nevermind.

2) The balance of power has shifted - For years, the AFC has been the dominant conference.  That has now shifted to the NFC, and specifically, the East.  You could have 3 teams from that division making the playoffs again this year, especially since they all play the Bengals, Browns, and Rams.

3) "Lee"ding your team to a dramatic win - In my first segment of this blog, I commented on whether UCLA threw Craft's jersey over another kid.  Well, did LSU do the same thing this week?  It's amazing the difference in performance between the two halves.  Hat's off to LSU for that outstanding victory on the road.

4) The Pac 10 is done - I commented on their horrific record against the Mountain West here last week, but after Boise State beat Oregon on the road (yes, I realize the Ducks had their 24th string QB in there), stick a fork in this conference.  USC fans should really worry.  While I doubt it will be enough to keep them from Miami on Jan 8th, they will be heavily penalized in the computer polls for their schedule, especially when compared to a potentially undefeated SEC or Big 12 team.

5) Look Ma, 67 pass attempts and no grass stains - How did the Bears stack the box and force the Bucs to pass on nearly every down, and not get a sack?  The only times they even got pressure on him was via the blitzing LB.  I guess they react much better to run plays than pass plays.  Give a QB time, and he will shred you, whether he's Joe Montana or Joe Schmoe.  Kudos to the Bucs O Line, who was still without Davin Joseph.

6) The face of frustration - As a Gator fan, nothing made me feel better than watching Tennessee make mistake after mistake, and then showing coach Phillip's facial expressions on the side line.  And what was up with Crompton thinking they should have won that game?  It was 17-0 before they could blink (or move the ball for that matter).  While I don't "hate" Tennessee (although their band could learn a couple more songs than playing Rocky Top 265,326 times a game, although I think I heard it less than 10 times in this game), I do "hate" Fulmer.  The only good thing is he has a losing record against the Gators.  In fact, in recent history, this is starting to reach Georgia levels.  And Georgia (who I do hate), appears to be turning it around under Mark Richt (who I love, go figure).  I'm also looking forward to a peed off Auburn team continuing the Volunteers woes this week.

7) Another coach I love to hate in the SEC - While I have no love for Nick Saban, I loved seeing his team go into Arkansas and CRUSH the Razorbacks and Bobby Petrino.  Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

8) Weekly Kiffin death watch - a few people have noted this story has started to reach Favreian levels.  The problem is Davis wants Kiffin gone, but doesn't want to pay him.  Kiffin has made it clear (and rightfully so) that he won't quit, and Davis' lawyers I'm sure have explained to him that they have no legal recourse if they fire him.  This is a no win situation, for Kiffin, Davis, but most of all, for the Raiders team.  And what's up with Rob Ryan's act?  Aren't you the DC?  Want to actually get your team to, oh I don't know, DEFEND SOMEBODY!!!!

9) A look ahead - I am really looking forward to the Bama Georgia game between the hedges this week.  With Bama's great start, this should be a fun game.  Off the tails of the Tiger bowl, this looks like another epic ESPN SEC showdown brewing.

And finally (expect to see this again next week) ...

10) "Rays"ing the bar - Congrats to the Tampa Bay Rays securing their first postseason birth in franchise history.  This team is absolutely fun to watch, and will be a force in the MLB playoffs, especially at the Trop.  With a magic number of 2 (yes, I know as of 9/22 it was 4, I can break my own rules every once in a while), I look forward to congratulate them on winning the East on my post for the week of Sept. 29th.  Go Rays!!!

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com