Wednesday, May 27, 2009

From the Holiday Weekend That Was

Ole Miss baseball to host a regional…again. Ho-hum, just another day at the office. This year, Ole Miss will host Missouri, Western Kentucky and Monmouth, the Rebels’ opponent in game one. I don’t know much about Monmouth other than it is located in New Jersey and that every few years they always seem to be a 16 seed in the NCAA Basketball Tournament getting blasted by one of the top-seeded teams. I can only hope that 16 seed mentality is in play during the games this weekend.

As for the Rebels’ chances in the regional, I can’t say that I’m overly confident that they’ll advance. Their two and done performance in the SEC Tournament last week exposed their shaky pitching and really exposed the lack of power in the lineup. This Ole Miss team is full of good but not powerful hitters, which means they need three or four guys in a row to be hot and string together hits. I’m not saying it can’t happen, obviously the record shows they’re a good team, but this formula for hitting doesn’t always play very well in a shortened college baseball season.

LeBron James reaches basketball god status, but still needs help. After saving the Cavs’ season with a three-pointer as time expired in game two, LeBron James went out and threw up a 41-7-9 in game three, a 44-12-7 in game four and still lost. His Cavalier teammates, who, in short, stink, gave him a total of 22 points off the bench in games three and four and the rest of the starters spend most of their time missing shots and waiting for LeBron to do something cool.

As he watches his teammates bumble around and generally perform bad basketball plays, what’s going through his head? Counting down the days until he leaves for New York? Wondering if Ben Wallace is undead? Or just hoping that when the Cavs lose in six to the Magic, the people of Cleveland won’t burn the entire city to the ground when they riot (or at least not his house)?

I would be concerned with that last idea because the people of Cleveland probably can’t take too much more of this crap. The Browns stink. The Indians were supposed to be good last year and were awful (and they’re doing more of the same this year). And now the Cavs finish with the best record in the league and are staring at an Orlando team everyone thought they would beat, but now it doesn’t look so promising. That’s a lot of crap to take in one year. Oh, and did I mention this is all taking place in Cleveland, home to lake effect snow and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Good times.

Awkwardness and hilarity ruling the day at SEC coaches’ meetings. In what is probably one of the biggest wastes of time and money in college football (and is a great piece of evidence for the “excesses in college football are absurd” argument), the SEC coaches’ meetings are taking place in Destin this week. Allegedly, these meetings serve as a time for the coaches, many of whom don’t like each other, to spend time together and be lectured to on rule changes and other administrative matters (Note: These meetings are not to be confused with SEC Media days in Birmingham, where the same group of coaches repeat the same things they’ll say this week and bring some of their players, who recite carefully prepared answers to the same 200 questions, and provide us with absolutely no information while being harassed by 300 Alabama fans who have nothing better to do than spend hours at a time in Hoover. Because this week’s meeting is totally different than that.).

In between meetings where SEC Commissioner Mike Slive told all the coaches to keep the cheating a little less obvious, Lane Kiffin finally came face-to-face with everyone he’s spent the last few months pissing off. And from reading this, the awkwardness/uncomfortableness was delicious:
“As the coaches were filtering out of their meeting room and waiting for an elevator, a reporter informed Spurrier that Kiffin, albeit jokingly, had said earlier in the day that he never got an apology from Spurrier about questioning whether Kiffin had taken the recruiting test.

Spurrier sighed, slumped his shoulders and then wheeled around toward Kiffin, who was standing about five feet away waiting on the same elevator.

"I didn't accuse you of cheating," said an animated Spurrier, motioning toward Kiffin, who stood there with his face reddening by the second.

"What I said was, 'Was it permissible to call recruits before you were announced head coach and had taken the [recruiting] test?' Now, you took the test online, and I didn't even know you could do that. I thought you had to take the test on campus ... and then start calling [recruits]."

Kiffin never fired back, but Arkansas' Bobby Petrino walked by and quipped, "You're not getting me in the middle of this one."

Kentucky's Rich Brooks and Auburn's Gene Chizik were also standing there waiting on the elevator, and they all -- including Spurrier and Kiffin -- got on together. There were several reporters in the area, all of whom broke out into laughter.

Before the elevator doors closed, Spurrier piped up one more time and said in his familiar tone, "I never said you broke any rules. I just said, 'Was it permissible to make any calls?'"
Oh, to have been on that elevator, or in that first meeting. The Lane Kiffin era just gets better each day.

And the Lane Kiffin era finally has its first internal casualty. Strength coach Mark Smith and Kiffin decided last Thursday that it would be best if they parted ways. Smith, who got a $50,000 raise for leaving South Carolina for Tennessee, spent less than six months on the job. Although it should be noted that Smith probably did less to harm the University of Tennessee than Kiffin did.

My favorite detail from this story is that a potential replacement is Aaron Ausmus, the former strength coach for Ole Miss during the Ed Orgeron era. This little bit of news just adds fuel to the fire of the rumor that Orgeron has a lot more power than people think he does. And the more power he has, the better that is for the rest of the SEC (see: 10-25, career record of Ed Orgeron at Ole Miss). And even better than that, Kiffin is probably under the impression that Orgeron knows what he’s doing, which would explain why the Shrimp Boat is the assistant head coach. I’m not sure if I’m more excited for the start of football or the steady, but slow implosion of Tennessee football over the next two years.

How is it possible I’ve ignored The Hills for this long? Over the weekend, I was questioned as to why I no longer talked about The Hills on here. I didn’t have a good answer other than being extremely lazy. So, ask and you shall receive. In bullet point form, some Hills talk (I haven’t seen this week’s episode, so most of this is older):

-I recently heard Bill Simmons on his podcast describe People’s Revolution owner/operator Kelly Cutrone as Skeletor from He-Man, which was the exact description I’ve been looking for since she appeared on the show. But I’d like to add that she’s like a Skeletor that smokes eight cartons a day and drinks enough coffee to permanently keep her teeth brown. And even though Skeletor doesn’t really have eyes, her eyes are more undead than his.

However, when she told Lauren to fire Stephanie Pratt (who just might be the dumbest person on Earth), that was the first time I was delighted she was such a hateful bitch. The scene was nothing short of FANTASTIC. I’m now on board for more appearances from the cold, undead Skeletor fashion lady.

-Congratulations to Spencer for not pissing off yet another one of Heidi’s relatives. When Heidi’s dad came into town rocking the denim and a cowboy hat, I immediately edged forward on the couch anticipating another fireworks moment where Spencer causes another one of Heidi’s relatives to question whether or not Heidi loves them. Unfortunately, Heidi made a preemptive strike and informed Spencer that her dad enjoys collecting and shooting guns. So if you’re scoring at home, the best way to get Spencer to not suck is tell him you’re going to shoot him if he doesn’t act like a normal, rational person.

-This season did bring a sad moment when Audrina finally kicked Justin Bobby to the curb. Well, that’s not exactly true. We all know she’ll be picking up that phone in a matter of weeks, especially when she realizes Brody isn’t interested in anything other than getting together when he’s a fifth deep in some Patron.

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