Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mystique don't win ya ball games but it can be held against you.

My Dallas Cowboys sit at 2-2 going into their bye week.  (Something I accurately predicted, by the way.)  They are coming off a Monday Night Meltdown where Tony Romo was responsible for 5 turnovers.  This was the latest bad performance in Blue Star-crossed career for #9.  A career that has been mainly defined by such games.  Romo is the guy capable of throwing 5 TD's in a game as he is thowing 5 picks.  Dude's 49-32 as a starter with a 96% QB rating and a three-time pro-bowler.  However, he also is only 1-3 in the postseason and that is the number everyone points to.  Was it all Romo?  Of course not but the average fan is too lazy and or stupid to take the time to get all the facts and Monday night was a microcosm of that.

Everyone hears "Romo had 5 interceptions". Technically that is correct, however, let's look at them:

INT#1....Romo makes a sight adjustment to the play called based on what Chicago's defense is showing him.  This adjustment calls for Dez Bryant (another culprit in said meltdown) to break off his route early for a timing pattern from Romo.  Bryant heads upfield instead of breaking off the route so when Romo throws it to the spot Bryant is supposed to be...he's not there and Charles Tillman was...boom, pick-six.

INT#2....Romo hits Kevin Ogletree in apparently the worst place you can...his hands....can't hold on to the ball, pops up into the air and Chicago grabs its.

INT#3....was actually a fumble on a great play by Henry Melton to knock it out of Romo's hands and into Lance Briggs'.

Romo wasn't blameless however.  While his receivers were dropping sure catches, Romo zinged plenty over their heads and/or into the arms of the Bears.  Yet he gets the brunt of criticism.  And the reason why is two-fold.

Playing quarterback in the National Football League is the most visible and scrutinized position in all of pro sports.  The only position in the NFL where individual wins and losses are counted? Quarterback.  Add to that playing QB with a Star on your helmet makes it even more so especially when two of the guys who came before you have 5 rings and are considered as two of the best ever in the game. 

Mystique, thy name is the Dallas Cowboys.

Love them or hate them, the Cowboys are still relevant despite not having a Super Bowl appearance in 16 years. Why is this?  Dallas has arguably the biggest fan base in the NFL but almost as many fans tune in to see them lose as do to see them win.....but they all tune in.  Don't like Dallas constantly being on TV? 

Ignore them.

The TV people aren't stupid nor is there any grand conspiracy to help the Cowboys.  They are on TV a lot because people...even the haters....will watch.  Why else is the first stat all the media pundits go to is "Dallas has only one playoff win since 1996"? BTW, those same "experts" used to say "Dallas hasn't won a playoff game since 96 and said that once they got that first playoff win that comment would go away....wrong, it was just changed.  Five NFL teams have one or no wins in the same time or longer (technically six but I am giving Houston a pass) Buffalo (last win 1995), Cincinnati (1990), Cleveland (1994) Detroit ( the way...your "lookee..we made the playoffs" banner was soooo cute.)and Kansas City (1993) yet none of them is ever mentioned with the "Haven't won a playoff game since..."line.  So again we ask....why? and again I say...

Mystique, thy name is the Dallas Cowboys.

 Historically they are one of the most successful NFL franchises ever.  The most wins in the Super Bowl era(425), tied for the most post-season wins in the same period(33) and having the best winning percentage of all time (.577)  When you have that much success, it means other teams are not and after a while, it gets their fans cranky.  Hey, in sports if someone hates're usually doing something right.
That all being said......what do all those stats mean this season and going into the next game after the bye week in Baltimore?

Stay tuned.....

The two most over used words in sports are love and hate.  If you truly hate a team or player, I mean actual hate, then you need to start watching QVC because you lack the mental strength to handle sports and you suck as a fan.  By the same token, if you overly worship your team to a point where real life takes a back seat, you are also doing it wrong. 

I have a few peeves when it comes to sports fans, I've shared some before but they bear repeating...

If you are ignorant enough to paint an entire fan base as being of one mindset due to the actions of a few idiots then you're a dumbass and too stupid to walk outside by yourself. For those of you who do this, I may have used too many big words so let me dumb it down for you...when you drop your "_____ fans are_____" card...pick it up and go back to your group home and hurry because you'll miss taco night.

Also (and its usually the same group of dipshits) when you insult, facebook bomb, commit vandalism or attack (verbally or otherwise) someone solely based on the college or pro team they root should follow the same steps in the previous paragraph and add "driving off of a bridge" because frankly the world needs oxygen and you are wasting it.

Finally....when your only response to a loss by your team is "we got rings"'re a dumbass.  First of all, "you" got nothing.  All you did was drink beer and crush nachos while your team was winning that hardware.  Which brings me back to those Dallas stats I mentioned earlier....what do all those stats mean this season and going into the next game after the bye week in Baltimore?

Not a damn thing. 

Mystique doesn't win ball games...players do. Right now, the collection of players Dallas has is not getting it done.  They have the talent to compete for championships on a consistent basis, however, talent alone does not win trophies.  Dallas' biggest problem is a lack of discipline which has caused them to underachieve on a consistent basis.  They have committed the second most penalties in the league, turned the ball over 11 times (third most) and has the second worst turnover differential at -7.  They did not address the offensive line questions (with the exception of bringing in Bill Callahan as OL he needs better players) in the off season and the defense, while slightly improved, has still not lived up to the Rob Ryan hype. As much as I would love to drop it all at Romo's feet, I can't because its not solely him.  I wish it were because then he could be moved.  If Kyle Orton was the answer, he'd be starting despite Romo's contract.  You think for a moment if he thought Orton was the better option, Jerry Jones wouldn't say something?  JJ has been known to put his two cents in now and then.  Besides Jerry has his own problems....Cowboys Stadium is the best venue in the NFL and possible the country.  It has every bell and whistle anyone could want...there is just one thing he forgot to install......a home field advantage.  Since Jerryworld opened in 2009, the Cowboys are only 15-12 at home.  Opponents aren't intimidated....they are impressed and it gets them motivated to play better.  I'm not suggesting that everyone go Philly fan and start lobbing things at players but something has to be done. 

Dallas has the teeth of its schedule coming up. The next four games are at Baltimore, at Carolina, the Giants at home and at Atlanta.  Baltimore, NY and Hotlanta are all division leaders and Carolina is young and unpredictable.  If they can somehow survive this run and get two wins, (hell at this point I'd take one)..and that's a big if, five of the last eight are at home so the season is not lost.  However, if they finish out of the playoffs again....look for a wholesale house cleaning at Valley Ranch where no one will be safe. 

Stay tuned folks, because like your favorite soap opera, when it comes to the Dallas never know what will happen next.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I'ts the most wonderful time...of the year....

No....I haven't lost my senses....I know it's not least I think I know....wait, what month is it? :)

Hello again campers. Miss me? Thought i'd dust off the ol' blog and see if I can stay consistent this time. :)

It's the end of August and signs of the impending Autumn are appearing all around. Here in mid-Michigan, the first shades of Fall color are starting to make an appearance, back to school sales are in full swing and a certain craft store chain of which is similarly named as myself and that I have a close connection to is now selling Halloween candy. Oh yeah...there is one more portent of things to come....


Actually if you count the high schoolers, the season has already begun. The big boys start this thursday with the bigger boys starting next week. Cowboys, Longhorns and Spartans, Oh my!

Today we are focusing on the college kids. Last we saw the collegiate gridders, Tonyajune's Tide was finishing off LSU for their second title in 3 years which also marked the sixth in a row for the SEC. Sparty broke its bowl skid by beating UGa's troops in OT and the University of Texas, fresh off of a series ending upset in Aggieland took out Cal with a young defense with a bright future. (Something, BTW, yours truly predicted...see my previous blog entry.)

So what's going to happen this year? Well for one thing, its almost the end of the road for the BCS. It was voted over the summer that a four team playoff will decide the national champion starting in the 2014-15 season. Yayyyyy. One contrivesy replacing another. Don't get me wrong, I am all for a playoff system but only four teams? Weak. Needs to be at least eight....then come talk to me.

A lot of movement in the off season has changed the college football landscape with more on the horizon. Let's see who ended up where:

Mizzou and Texas A&M headed into the SEC with unbridled enthusiasm and high spirits! All of which will come crashing down when they have to line up against Bama, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina...well you get the idea. Welcome to the land of 6-6.

TCU and West Virginia shunned the Big East (the Frogs did so before they actually got there!) to join the Big 12. For TCU it finally made regional sense and reunites them with old Southwest Conference foes Baylor, Tech and Texas. The Mountaineers come in with a high powered offense that is used to feeding weak sisters. They will be good but trips to Austin and Lubbock will not make life easy.

Speaking of the Big East, Temple returns home to join the conference this year coming in from the MAC. The Big East will be going under the biggest upheaval in the coming months. Syracuse and Pitt, two of the founding members, will head to the ACC next season. However, they will be adding Boise State, Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State and SMU as football-only members starting in 2013 and Navy joins in 2015. Apparently the "East" will now stand for anything east of Hawaii.

UTSA and Texas State leave 1-AA to move up to the big time. Well not really, they are going to the WAC and only for one year. OK, when two fledgling programs only want to stick around in your conference for a just need to go away. Just merge with the Mountain West and be done with it. Texas State will go to the Sun Belt in 2013 while the Roadrunners will go to Conference USA.

Speaking of C-USA. They currently have 12 members but will be losing UCF, Houston, Memphis and SMU in 2013 but at the same time adding UTSA along with Louisiana Tech, Florida International, and North Texas...then in 2015 they will add Old Dominion and UNC-Charlotte. Their new motto can be "Just as many teams as the SEC and our tickets are cheaper"

Confused? Yeah me too but, it will shake itself out and no, its not over yet.

Now down to the games on the field. Will the SEC claim a seventh straight title? Can anyone stand in the way of the sweet tea fueled juggernaut that is the Southeastern Conference? No.

You heard it here.

The SEC does not get lucky number seven.

I know what you are thinking....."but who, O wise pigskin guru? who can unseat the SEC from their grits and gravy high throne?" Patience friends....patience. Actually, I also know what TJ is thinking "what the crap Mikey? you're not picking Bama?" No. And yet, you still love me. :)

Here are my picks for the BCS conference winners and BCS games:

ACC: Florida State
Big East: Pitt
Big 10+2: Michigan State
Big 12-2 Oklahoma
Pac 12: University of Spoiled Children
SEC: Alabama (there ya go TJ)

Now for the BCS Bowl games:

Fiesta: Michigan v. Pitt
The Maize and Blue make their second trip to the BCS under Brady Hoke and their second straight win. The Wolverines will face off against the Panthers who are the best of what is left of the Big East and, as per usual for the Big East champ, will provide easy pickin's for their opponent. Look for University of Phoenix stadium to become the Big House west as U-M dominates. The Big East is the single biggest reason we need a avoid crappy bowl matchups.

Rose: Michigan State v. Oregon
Sparty gets over the hump by beating Wisconsin in a rematch of last year's Big 10 championship game and gets back to Pasadena for the first time in 25 years. Oregon goes back for the third time in five years and goes for back to back wins after dispatching the aforementioned Badgers last year. Oregon has sick, Nike-fueled speed but MSU defense will be better than any the Ducks will have faces all year. Should be a classic.

Orange: Florida State v. South Carolina
FSU has a lot of national title buzz this season. Jimbo Fisher has them playing well and it wouldn't shock me totally if they run the table....if they do, they could end in a higher ranking game. The Gamecocks, who will lose in the SEC title game to Bama, gets the Ol' Ball Coach back in the BCS and another crack at his old sunshine state rival.

Sugar: Alabama v. West Virginia.
The Tide could still make a run at the national championship but in a more even and tougher SEC, they will be headed to the Big Easy. WVa goes to New Orleans after their first Big 12 season and their only loss being to the Sooners. Classic speed(WVA) vs. power (Bama) matchup here. Problem is, Bama has speed to with that power. Still, a successful season in Morgantown.

and now the biggie:
USC over OU in the BCS title game.
USC proves that they are all the way back from the crippling sanctions imposed by them on the NCAA for the whole Reggie Bush fiasco. Matt Barkley becomes the third Trojan quarterback in 10 years to win the Heisman and will cap off his final year on campus with a national title. The Sooners will run the table in the Big 12 but will again fall short in a BCS game.

There you have it, folks....your 2012 College Football season. See you here again soon.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Mikey's Bowl Predictions

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all!

I am in a bit of a hiatus but I can tell you the Sports Blog will be back strong in 2012. For now, I am dropping in with my predictions for the 2011-12 College Bowl Season. For the record, I think there are WAYYYY too many bowl games and that means WAYYY too many 6-6 teams or 6-7 in UCLA's way they should be in a bowl with you had teams like a Western Kentucky who went 7-5. Anywho, more about the bowl system on another are my predictions for this season's bowl games. Just so you know...I cut out all the corporate names attached to bowls wherever I could. I know corporate prostitution is common in sports...but I don't have to like it.

New Mexico
Wyoming over Temple..honestly I don't care but I have family from Wyoming so for my Aunt Esther Maude and cousins Chip and David..there ya go!

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Utah State over Ohio...Utah State is one of the better teams you haven't seen...if they are smart, they will go with all blue on the Smurf turf.

New Orleans
San Diego State over Louisiana-Lafayette...the Aztecs over the Ragin' Cajun's.....SDSU gets it on the cooler nickname.

Beef 'O' Brady's
Florida International over Marshall...I was leaning toward the Herd here but gotta go with the Golden Panthers...FIU had no bowl appearances before last year's Little Caesars Bowl and now they will have two bowls and two wins.

TCU BIG over Louisiana Tech...TCU heads into the Big 12 with a frog-stomp over the Bulldogs.

Las Vegas
Boise State BIG over Arizona State..a missed FG against Nevada..again...keeps Boise out of the BCS..again. Kellen Moore heads to the NFL with a huge game over Sparky.

(if you are doing one of those bowl game contests where you rate your confidence in which bowl is more of a sure thing..use the previous two games as HIGHLY confident!)

Southern Miss over Nevada...high scoring game. Expect both teams in the high 30's or into the 40's. Brett Favre's alma mater crushed Houston's BCS look for them to shut down the WolfPack's pistol.

Missouri over North Carolina...Missouri bids farewell to the Big 12 with a win over the Heels. The Tigers head to the SEC where they will be lucky to qualify for a bowl the next few years. How's that workin' for ya, Mizzou?

Little Caesars
Western Michigan over Purdue...MAC over Big 10? Absolutely. Alex Carder will be a name you hear in next April's NFL draft. The Broncos bring the Crazy Bread back to Kalamazoo.

Louisville over NC, I don't know what the hell Belk is either.

Military Bowl
Toledo over Air Force...oddly enough, it's the Rockets air attack that will prevail over the AFA's ground game.

Texas over California. Low scoring...look for the Horns young defense to dominate.

Champs Sports
Florida State over Notre Dame...remember a game between these two teams meant a lot more?

Baylor over Washington...Alamo Bowl goes back to their original Pac 12-Big 12 matchup..the first of which featured Baylor's last bowl appearance until last season...RG3 dominates in what is probably his last game.

Armed Forces
BYU over SMU's stadium while Amon Carter goes through a renovation. BTW, Tulsa...Golden Hurricane? Couldn't you at least make it plural?

Iowa State over Rutgers even though this is a de facto home game for the Scarlet Knights.

Music City
Mississippi State over Wake Forest....great basketball game, not so much.

Oklahoma over Iowa...OU in the Insight? Wow. Stoops will use this for motivation and OU will crush the Hawks.

Texas A&M over Northwestern...another high scoring affair, the Ags will be a little better in another de facto home game but watch out for Dan Persa of NU...he will give Reveille's boys fits.

Utah over Georgia Tech...usually its games like this that GT gives people fits with their triple option..however, Utah has seen it pretty much every year by playing Air Force. Glad to see the Sun Bowl still alive and kicking.

Cincinnati over Vanderbilt...another bowl "home game" this time for Vandy..doesn't matter though, Bearcats win behind the QB with the coolest game in college football..Munchie Legaux..look it up.

Kraft Fight Hunger
Illinois over UCLA...bowl game fans will still be fighting hunger...the hunger for a good game after this...yuk.

Auburn over Virginia...big step down for the defending champs but a win none the less.

Houston over Penn State...the Cougars should be preparing for a BCS game if not for an embarrassing loss in the C-USA title game...look for Case Keenum to go nuts against a mentally worn down Nittany Lions team.

Michigan State over Georgia...Sparty will have had a long time to nurse the wound of their Big 10 title game loss. MSU gets their first bowl game win since 2001

Capital One
South Carolina over Nebraska...The Blackshirts are good but the Ol' Ball Coach and his Gamecocks have a pretty good defense his own self and Taylor Martinez tends to wilt in big games...take the Cocks. (Only in college football can you say that and get away with

Ohio State over Florida...Urban Meyer's old team against his soon to be team. The football gods smiled on this one. Remember the name Braxton Miller...he will be good today and better when Meyer gets ahold of him.

Oregon over Wisconsin...second straight trip to Pasadena for the Badgers...second straight loss and this one won't be pretty. Montee Ball will break Barry Sanders TD record and then the joyfulness will be over. The Ducks speed is nothing like Wisky
has seen. Also, who knows what funky uniform Oregon will come out in.

Oklahoma State over Stanford...whomever runs the scoreboard will be a busy person. It could end up that the first team to 50 wins the game. Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon play their last games for OSU and go out with a bang. Andrew Luck begins
to look at real estate in the Indianapolis area.

Michigan over Virginia Tech...the Maize and Blue discovered something new this year...defense. That and a healthy Dennard Robinson (he's like a less talented RG3) mean that Michigan's return to the BCS is a success. They will expose Va Tech as
the fraud they are.

Clemson over West Virginia...speaking of frauds..I give you the Big East. Tajh Boyd and Clemson were a great story this season and they cap it off with Clemson's first BCS win.

Arkansas over Kansas State..Arkansas hung tough in the best division in the country's toughest conference. K-State has been great under Bill Snyder and QB Collin Klein and will give the Hogs a fight but in the end, too much Pig.

BBVA Compass Bowl
SMU over a rematch of the 1983 Cotton Bowl..sadly for the Panthers, Dan Marino isn't at quarterback and they just lost their coach to Arizona State after only one year. SMU, after no bowls in 25 years, will win their second in a row.
Northern Illinois over Arkansas State...honestly, unless Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels are there naked..does anyone really care?

BCS National Championship Game
LSU over Alabama....Honey Badger don't care 'bout no rematch with Bama! Les Miles gets his second national championship. My question is this...the Mad Hatter likes to eat a little grass from the field before the game...does he do that with fake
grass like there is in the Superdome?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hero Worship

"To a New Yorker like you...a hero is some kind of weird sandwich"

A great line from a great movie

But what is a Hero?

Webster's defines a hero as everything from the aforementioned sandwich to "the principal character in a play or movie or novel or poem" to "A man of distinguished valor or enterprise in danger, or fortitude in suffering; a prominent or central personage in any remarkable action or event; hence, a great or illustrious person."

Not one place is an athlete mentioned.

My first hero was my cousin Jeff. He was older which automatically made him cool. He had model airplanes hanging from the ceiling, KISS albums on the record player..(for those of you under that term) and seemed to always be wearing Cowboys gear. When you're 7...what more do you need? He lived with my other hero at the time my Uncle David. He always seemed to be driving a new and different of the perks of working for a car dealer. (By the way my favorite? a huge blue Ford Galaxie 500 probably sucked on gas mileage but I am pretty sure we could have driven through a nuclear strike in that thing!)

Like most kids growing up, I considered athletes heroes. For me, the hero triumvirate was George Gervin, Nolan Ryan and Roger Staubach. Every time I stepped on a field or court I tried to be like them. I wanted to finger roll like Ice, throw a 100mph dart like the Express and scramble around for an eternity avoiding tacklers before finally heaving a Hail Mary TD like Roger the Dodger.

Did I consider them heroes? yes.

Were they in reality? no.

Bear in mind also that I grew up in a time where athletes cared more about team success than individual honors. Such is not the case these days. Most of today's athletes know that there is no "I" in team..but there is in "mine". Players who are unselfish are the exception when they used to be the rule.

Today, with the advent and explosion of social media, we have more access than ever before. Facebook and Twitter have allowed us to follow these people 24/7 and not always to good results. Hey, you want the good, you have to take the bad. For all the wishes we have put forth to have just a taste of their fame, it comes at a price. We think we can criticize their every move, then we get pissy when they snap back.

The dynamic of pro athletes changed in the 90's. As ESPN grew in the global entity it now is, athletes figured out that the more they stood out, the more they could get on SportsCenter. The more outlandish their behavior, the more airtime. Kids saw this and, as those before, began to mimic their "heroes". Oddly enough, one of the biggest stars of the 90's and one known for the occasional temper-tantrum made it a point to try and straighten things out.

1993. the Chuckster. Nike helped him get his message out..

"I am not a role model"

Love that ad.

Ever since the beginning of time, we have always put athletes up on a pedestal. I am sure Greek kids ran around claiming that they were the latest Olympian who dazzled fans with athletic prowess. This really picked up in the 20th century. Joe Louis to Babe Ruth, Bill Russell to Terry Bradshaw, Dale Earnhardt to Wayne Gretzky. We all did, especially as kids. Emulation, to a point is fine...hero worship should not bestowed upon someone just because he can hit a ball, drive a car or hit the open jumper.

I can hear you heading to your keyboards ready to bang out "not my favorite player!" and some of you may be right. Guys like Tim Duncan, Jeff Gordon and Matt Stafford and many others donate time and money to many worthy causes and love doing it. Some of today's pros genuinely care about others and want to help. Some don't. Some also like to do one thing and say another. Shaquille O'Neal has helped many kids in the Los Angeles area but his disdain for the city of San Antonio led him to organize an autograph signing in the suburb of Live Oak then, after charging people (including kids) decided not to show up. Drew Brees is another hypocrite. He talks about helping people and encouraging folks to give to his foundation, then accuses retired players who are suffering ill effects from the game of "just looking for handouts". Really Drew? I don't wish injury on players due to football karma but you're almost worth the risk.

So am I saying its wrong for little Johnny to want to be the next DeMarcus Ware? Of course not. However, parents have to step in. Let them know that while its OK to model some players actions on the field, some actions should not be emulated. In other words "Johnny..if you want to run and throw like Tim Tebow, that is fine..but if you taunt an injured opponent like Tim Tebow, i'll knock you on your ass." And no, that is not child's discipline. Yes I said that and no, I don't have kids! Oh the horror! Hey I don't have to be a parent to know that your little darling is Satan incarnate and that you and your kids should be banned from Walmart. (that was for you Wendy) Did I get pissed at my mom for dropping the hammer on me? Hell yes! Did I think it was unfair? Absolutely. Was I right? No. A lot of parents are worried "oh if I am too strict my kids will hate me" At the time, it will feel like that to them for a bit, however, they will get over it and be better off for it. So will you. My mom at times had to be the bad guy. All parents will have to be from time to time..somehow though, your little princess' fragile psyche will remain intact.

You want athletes to be heroes? How about Welles Crother? The Boston College lacrosse player who on 9/11 helped people out of the South Tower...then went back in to help more people.

He only stopped when the building came down.

Or, on that same day, the four former athletes on United Flight 93 who tried to overtake the terrorists and in doing so, saved the Capitol and prevented even more carnage.

You want heroes for your kids? Sit them down Sunday and have them watch the 9/11 remembrance coverage. Tell them about the New York City firefighters who stayed their posts and kept going back into the World Trade Center. Ironically those who we would call heroes because of their actions, did said actions not out of heroism but sense of duty. They had families too. Their kids have heroes..sadly now they are merely angels on their shoulders.

You want heroes for your kids? How about teachers? You know teachers...those folks who you rely on to get your kids ready for the future when you don't want to bother? I remember when all a teacher had to be was a solid educator. Now they have to be educators, diplomats, babysitters and referees all rolled up. Yet they get paid like fast food workers. Teachers are supposed work in concert with parents in turning out a child who will be an enhancement to society, not a hindrance. want heroes for your kids?

Look in the mirror.

Parents have the opportunity to be the best of heroes. Who has more influence over your child than you? Especially in the early years, you are with your kid every day. Talk to them. Tell them why its wrong that his favorite football player gave the nice "self-employed model" money to have "special time" in a hotel room. Too many times, young ball players get into trouble in college or when they sign that first pro contract and they don't understand why. It's because too many Little League parents from Hell decided that junior was a meal ticket. They cared more about what the kid could do than the kid himself. If you have a child who is blessed to have athletic ability..encourage it, nurture it but temper it and do not exploit it. Make sure that they understand playing sports is a privilege and not a right. Make them still take the trash out, enforce the curfew you set, homework not done? Well, until its done they are going nowhere.

It's OK at 7 to idolize your favorite ballplayer...hell, its even OK at 17. Its OK to rock your favorite teams jersey. It's OK to get together with your friends and have some food, roll off stats and talk a little trash. It's OK to play fantasy football and debate your buddies on who was better. But in the end of the day, we need to watch how we throw around the word "hero". We need to remember that it's OK to be ecstatic in victory and downtrodden in defeat but in the grand scheme of things...

It's just a game, and those whom we would anoint heroes, are merely players.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

My conference lineups.

Here is a clearer look at what my conferences would look like:

North South
Boston College Duke
Cincinnati Louisville
Maryland Miami
Rutgers North Carolina
Virginia NC State
Virginia Tech South Florida
Syracuse Wake Forest
UConn West Virginia

Big 10
West East
Iowa Illinois
Iowa State Indiana
Michigan Northwestern
Michigan State Notre Dame
Minnesota Ohio State
Missouri Penn State
Nebraska Pitt
Wisconsin Purdue

West East
Cal Arizona
Oregon Arizona State
Oregon State BYU
Stanford Colorado
UCLA Oklahoma
USC Oklahoma State
Washington Texas
Washington St. Utah

East West
Alabama Clemson
Arkansas Florida
Auburn Florida State
LSU Georgia
Mississippi Georgia Tech
Miss. State Kentucky
Texas A&M South Carolina
Vanderbilt Tennessee

The times...they are a-changin....

It's August and that means one thing...well two things if your in Texas...brutal-ass heat and football.

College football is right around the corner and it's going to look a little different. The round of college football conference re-alignment that happened two years ago takes effect this season. Here's what is different:

The Pac-10 added Colorado and Utah to form the Pac-12.
The Big 10, which had 11 teams, added Nebraska to have 12 and the Big 12, losing Ralphie and Herbie drops to 10 teams.

Pac 10 had 10, adds 2, now has 12. 12 teams, Pac-12...nice.

Big 10 had 11, adds 1, now has 12...still called Big 10
Big 12 had 12, lost 2, now has 10...still called Big 12

Higher education?

Personally I think the Big 12, should go back to being called the Southwest Conference. Then again, the Big 12 is about to go bye-bye so no big deal.

I live in Big 10 country and I love the people here but some of them just don't quite get it. For decades, if you were a fan of a Big 10 team, your goal was to see your team in the Rose Bowl. That's great but times have changed. This is no longer Bo and Woody's Big 10. So I am going to give you an assist...there is this other game, perhaps you've heard of it, called the National Championship. This game is...and I will type this slowly..


than the Rose Bowl. A trip to Pasadena is nice but its, at best, a consolation prize. I respect the tradition of the Big 10 and love the huge role tradition in all of College Football but campers, come join us in the 21st Century. If the National Championship is not the ultimate goal for your team..then you're doing it wrong. Go follow a T-Ball league where the only thing that is important is kids having fun and little Johnny not peeing himself when the ball comes to him.

The latest round of talks centers around a rumor that was circulating two years ago when all this movement was going on. Your Fightin' Texas Aggies are reported to be headed to the Southeastern Conference. They thought they were going last time but they ended up staying in the Big 12.

Loyalty, right? Tradition, right? They wouldn't go anywhere without Texas, right?


What was it? Money. Pure and simple.

The A&M-Texas rivalry is one of the best ones in the country but big time College Football has become such a business that as nice as the whole "both schools want to stay together to keep the rivalry" thing is, the fact is that both schools are after the coin. Hence the Longhorn Network. Aggie fans are bent but, and they won't admit this, if A&M could have a viable network and ESPN threw the money at it that they gave Bevo-TV..they would do it. And you know it. And if you don''re fooling yourselves. A&M in the SEC could make it happen. Hell, Oklahoma is in the middle of looking at one right now.

Ok so right now...the Ags are reportedly going to the SEC along with Florida State, Clemson and Georgia Tech. Missouri had been mentioned but it looks more like the Yellow Jackets. This set up would strengthen current rivalries between FSU and Florida, Clemson and South Carolina and Georgia-Georgia Tech. It would also re-kindle the A&M-LSU rivalry which kind of died when the Big 12 formed.

What does this mean to the rest of the college football landscape? It means all hell is going to break loose. The SEC has long been the best league in the nation and they just added the #5 and #9 teams currently ranked in the first Coaches Poll of 2011.

With the SEC adding four teams, the Pac-12 reacts quickly and grabs Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The fourth team could be interesting. It will probably be Texas Tech or Baylor. The Bears tried to sue their way in two years ago when the Pac-10 came knocking but not asking for Baylor. Then there is the urban legend that when the Big 12 was being formed, Ann Richards, Governor of Texas at the time and a Baylor alum, worked some legislative shenanigans to keep the folks in Waco at the big folks table. What I would do...ignore them both. I would go for BYU. I would love to see TCU instead but with adding UT, the Pac-16 would get the Dallas-Fort Worth TV market which is still dominated by the Horns despite the presence of TCU and SMU. BYU has its own network as well and while currently independent, they will realize that the title hopes that are slim going solo right now, would be dead in the superconference era.

Seeing the seismic shift happening to the south and west of them...the Big 10+2 is gripping. However not as much as the good fathers at Notre Dame. For decades, they have been flirting and teasing the Big 10 like that cute girl in high school who knows she can smile and you will hang on her every word. You don't care that you have no chance of her going out with live on the hope. Well, that all ends now because ND finally gives in. Unlike when the first BCS agreements came out, Notre Dame's name is not what it once was and again, its all about cash. Touchdown Jesus' friends at NBC would love a crack at an expanded Big 10 that includes the Irish. Plus ND feels what BYU did about being an Indie in the new world order. So ND makes it the Big 10+3. Missouri and Pitt, who both were mentioned a few years ago when the Big 10 added Nebraska, come on board. Finally, Iowa State is added. No real reason really except geography, a built in rivalry for Iowa and hope for Indiana that they might win one more game. The feeling is mutual in Ames.

The name of the new league? The Big 10 of course. Oy. At least come up with some better divisional setups. This "Legends and Leaders" crap with Wisconsin in the same division with Penn State and Ohio State is riduculous.

Finally with the world as they know it crashing down all around them, the Atlantic Coast Conference does what it did last time it wanted new raids the Big East (also known as the ACC's slumpbuster). The ACC, now down to nine with the defections of FSU, Georgia Tech and Clemson, finishes the job it started in 2003 and merges with the Big East. Well, merge is a strong word...more like swallows up. With that, you have four 16-team superconferences.

What of the leftovers you say? I suspect they will wander about for a bit, much like survivors after a nuclear bomb attack. Then they will band together and try to rebuild.

The Mountain West and WAC merge. They both have 8 teams each and were going to be swapping out schools and bringing on new ones anyway so keep it as it. That means TCU doesn't go through with the proposed move to the Big East in 2012 (another geographic brainstorm) since the Big East is disappearing, although not completely. There will still be a Big East Conference but it will go back to being a basketball-only conference. UTSA and Texas State were scheduled to join the WAC in 2012 also but that will also not happen. Unless they want an 18-team conference which is possible but not probable. The Bobcats and Roadrunners stay in 1-AA but that is not a bad thing, in fact I think it will be good for both.

That leaves Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State and Texas Tech. Where do they go? They go to that conference that loves to pick up unloved and unwanted teams along with the occasional stray animal. Conference USA! Also known as the "Conference of Misfit Toys" C-USA's 12 team memebership grows to 16 with the addition of these Big 12 refugees.

These two conference will beg and of course sue (with Baylor leading the way) to get in the coalition but to no avail. The MAC and Sun Belt want in on it but no one will return their calls.

Where do we go from here? Easy....the four superconferences form a coalition and tell the NCAA a collective "go to hell" and create an 8 team playoff with the top two teams from each conferences going. What about the bowls you say? Oh we might lose a few but a culling of the bowl herd would not be a bad idea and the ones who do stay will do whatever the new coalition says otherwise, you will have heaping bowls o'leftovers.

Are these guarantees? No. It could totally end up way different than anything posted here but, my alignments make sense. Of course, when does the NCAA make sense?
One thing I can guarantee...its going to be chaos and when its all over, the landscape of college football will look very, very different.

Enjoy the ride.


Here's what they would look like:
Boston College Duke
Cincinnati Louisville
Maryland Miami
Rutgers North Carolina
Virginia NC State
Virginia Tech South Florida
Syracuse Wake Forest
UConn West Virginia

Big 10
Iowa Illinois
Iowa State Indiana
Michigan Northwestern
Michigan State Notre Dame
Minnesota Ohio State
Missouri Penn State
Nebraska Pitt
Wisconsin Purdue

Cal Arizona
Oregon Arizona State
Oregon State BYU
Stanford Colorado
UCLA Oklahoma
USC Oklahoma State
Washington Texas
Washington St. Utah

Alabama Clemson
Arkansas Florida
Auburn Florida State
LSU Georgia
Mississippi Georgia Tech
Miss. State Kentucky
Texas A&M South Carolina
Vanderbilt Tennessee