Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Get to Know Your SEC Football Players

It's Wednesday, which means it's time to get to know a little bit more (or just anything at all) about one of the Southeastern Conference's football players. Now when this player succeeds, massively fails or is shown milling around in the background of a TV shot, you'll know that his greatest off-the-field accomplishment involves the sale and transportation of hobos. Or something like that.

The team of the player selected is chosen through a super-secret process which I cannot reveal, however, the number of the player is randomly chosen by visiting and using whatever number is spat out from its random-creating machine.

All of the teams are back in the random selection pool this week, and it's only fitting that the team people care about the least leads off the second round of player introductions.

Today's number: 83
Today's team: Vanderbilt

Some background information: Although white, John doesn't fit the mold of the typical white Vanderbilt wide receiver. The Todd Yoder (although he may have been a tight end) types usually were in the 6'2-5"-ish range and weighed in the 210-220 area and more in the sluggish department.  John is more of a waterbug, although after a knee injury in 2008, he may not have the speed of those little bugs that can move at eight times the speed of sound. And it's entirely possible he didn't before then either. Think of him as the Commodores' Wayne Chrebet. Anyway, this isn't just another receiver in the rotation, it's Vanderbilt's 2009 Most Valuable Receiver Award winner. And he achieved this award while playing with a surgically repaired hand after breaking it in week four against Rice. So you may now insert you stereotypical comments about white receivers here:_______________________________________________________________________.

Greatest on-field accomplishment: In Vandy's 36-17 thrashing of Rice, John torched the Owls with 7 catches for 67 yards and ran a 31-yard reverse in for a touchdown. Such domination earned him the team's Offensive Player of the Week. Interestingly enough, it was one of three times all season the offense produced enough to legitimately award players for production.

Greatest off-the-field accomplishment: A two-time All-SEC Academic Honor Roll recipient, John is clearly not a moron. Also, I would chalk up not being a raging alcoholic while watching another Larry Smith pass skip into his feet or sail into the third row as a major credit to John's mental toughness (STEREOTYPICAL WHITE WIDE RECEIVER ATTRIBUTE ALERT! ALSO: GRITTY!)

Ways in which he has embarrassed himself, his family, team and school: In terms of law breaking and tomfoolery, John has kept a clean sheet. However, being associated with the Vanderbilt offense could fall into this category.


Weaknesses: Brittle (two injuries in two years), short, undersized and forced to receive what are generously described as passes from Larry Smith (or whoever is not good enough to completely unseat Smith as the starter).

What to expect in 2010: You'll see plenty of John on the field when Vanderbilt has the ball, which, unfortunately, probably won't be very much. The Commodores are eternally committed to having an offense that will never crack the top 100 mark in any NCAA offensive categories. However, when he is on the field, shots of him catching the ball and him watching the ball go in his direction but not to him should be around 40/60.  So get ready to see a lot of "I should have gone to Stanford" jogs back to the huddle and to the sideline.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Since We Last Met

United States finished at the World Cup; U.S. soccer bandwagon jackknifes, injuring the souls of thousands
Well it had to end sometime. But I'm sure most of us thought it would happen at the hands (and feet) of Uruguay or, given a bit of luck, against Brazil in the semi-finals. Instead, it was Ghana who took advantage of a back line whose rate of success was about the same as playing Russian roulette with three bullets, and a collection of American strikers who scored as many goals as I did. While the U.S. certainly played better in the second half (pretty much controlling the game) against Ghana, it was once again an early defensive failure that cost them in the first half and in extra time.

The cold, brutal reality of this United States team is that they just weren't that good. Like most American soccer squads, they play extremely hard and with fantastic effort, but ultimately they just don't have the total skill needed to win multiple games in a World Cup. We (forgive me as I randomly switch between "them" and "we") have some nice players like Michael Bradley, Benny Feilhaber, Josie Altidore (when he shows up) and Maurice Edu, but those guys can't take (or in Altidore's case haven't) over games. Right now, we have three guys that other teams would want: Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard (who made his only big error of the Cup at the worst possible time; the first goal Ghana scored. Also, a healthy Oguchi Onyewu is probably in this category as well). That's it. Our depth and quality has to improve in order ever make a decent run at a World Cup (Note to you young athletically-gifted types: You have a greater chance at making it in professional soccer than just about any other sport. YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU SO WE'LL STOP LOSING TO TEAMS LIKE GHANA.).

Now, given what we do have, we should have beaten Ghana. Any team that plays disciplined defense is going to shut them out, as they were in the group stage (with the exception of penalty kicks). We didn't and now all we can do for the rest of the World Cup is cheer against teams like Mexico, whose pummeling by Argentina was a joy not often found in this world.

The mother country was cheated by the refs, then blasted to pieces by the Germans
I'm not sure if it would have been worse to lose in extra time or to watch your team that had decent odds (9-1) to win the World Cup get torn apart by a team considered your equal. It's the age old question of would you prefer agonizing, slow death or a glimmer of hope followed by a smashing of the face death. That's a tough call, but at the end of the day I'd take a loss to Ghana. Because losing to the Germans IS NOT ACCEPTABLE IN AMERICA. DAMMIT. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Ole Miss gears up for another public relations disaster/humiliation by releasing mascot ideas
In a quest to put some type of mascot on the field after the dismissal of Colonel Rebel, Ole Miss formed a taskforce/committee/wasteofresources to explore mascot options as well as get feedback/ideas from alumni and students. Today, they released the 11 best concepts (I would pay top dollar to see the list of those that didn't make the final cut). So here they are, complete with descriptions and my acceptance or ridicule, which is really the most important part.

Hotty and Toddy

So, basically we're talking about a couple of Muppets with an Ole Miss logo slapped on them, right? The originality is overwhelming. And I see they "love to pump up the crowd," but do they like hands ripping through their rectums? In fairness, I don't think the idea of the names is a bad one, but there's no chance in hell anyone will know which one is which.

Rebel the Black Bear

This idea intrigues me the most because of the potential of having a real, live bear on the sidelines. What does it have to do with Ole Miss? Well, pretty much nothing, but black bears are native to Mississippi and William Faulkner once wrote a novella in between drinks called Old Ben, which was about a bear. Not a bear that talked and had forest animal friends, but one that was hunted and ate people (or I assume he did). I'll gladly throw my support behind the idea if Ole Miss can promise this on the sidelines:

And not this:

In the name of safety (terrible reason) and cost, I'm pretty sure this is what we'll get.

Rebel Blues Musician

Are we just going to give B.B. King like $100K a year to play guitar on the sidelines or will we just create an embarrassingly awful caricature of him and give it an inflatable guitar someone in the administration won at the fair? Either way, we all lose.

Rebel the Cardinal

Let's see, Stanford's nickname is the Cardinal, Ball State is known as the Cardinals and Louisville also uses Cardinals as its nickname. So as you can see, this idea has all sorts of unique properties that belong to OTHER SCHOOLS. Also, I've been following (i.e. understanding what goes on) Ole Miss since I was about 12, went to school there and I have never, ever heard of the Cardinal Club. I suppose there is some connection to Ole Miss since one of the official colors of the school is cardinal red, but I'll be damned if I want to see a version of this walking around with a t-shirt cannon:

Rebel Fanatic

ANOTHER DAMN MUPPET. Or it sounds like we'll just steal the Philly Phanatic, paint him red and call him Cardinal. These ideas are not improving as we move down the list.

Rebel the Horse

Well, Polo is a large part of the Ole Miss wardrobe, so this one is kind of interesting (or is Polo on the outs? I have no fingers on the pulse of fashion.), but ultimately stupid. And I was shocked to learn that anything dealing with transportation in the 1800s involved horses. That sounds so rare it could have only happened at Ole Miss. Plus, every other school was probably too poor to have horses, so they were forced to use dirty mules. Ugh. Big uniqueness points here.

Rebel Land Shark

I was always under the impression landshark was one word, but I suppose for the sake of my sanity I shouldn't split hairs when it comes to Ole Miss. One of the most original ideas, probably because it was created by someone not on this committee - former linebacker Tony Fein...pause...(pouring one out for him)...and we're back. It was unique to Ole Miss until Jimmy Buffett gave the OK to start making a shitty beer of the same name. However, I like the spirit of this idea, but I have two concerns. One, it was created by a defensive player for the defense. No offensive player ever makes a fin with his hand like so many of the defensive players do after a big play. And two, and this is pretty much a concern with all of these ideas, the design of the actual mascot will be horrendous. Part cartoon, part shark it will probably end up looking like ANOTHER MUPPET, which is apparently what this committee really wants.

Rebel Lion (Rebellion)

What a clever use of words. And what an incredibly dumb idea. Unless we get a real lion. From Africa. None of this "borrow it from the zoo" crap. If it's on the sidelines for the home opener, then two weeks before that it should have been tagged in a Kenyan game reserve.

Rebel Mojo

How unique! As you know, only Ole Miss can acquire mojo. I didn't think it was possible to have an idea worse than a Muppet, but this is it. UNLESS IT IS A MOJO MUPPET.

Rebel Riverboat Pilot

So we're going to dress up someone to look like Mark Twain and put him in a red suit? That sounds familiar...

An old, distinguished gentleman:

And an old, distinguished gentleman wearing a red suit:

However, as the idea mentions, Ole Miss was called the Flood before becoming the Rebels. I could get on board with going back to the Flood and having a variety of mascots based on the Flood characters from the Halo games.

Rebel Titan

In the words of Peter Griffin, that entire paragraph insists upon itself. "Ole Miss graduates are Titans of industry, business, politics, sports, music, art and literature." And you wonder why people hate Ole Miss.

You know what else a Titan is? A player on a professional football team three and a half hours from Oxford. They should have stopped this list at ten.

By my tally, that's three interesting ideas (bear, landshark, hotty/toddy) that aren't fully developed, one stolen B.B. King image, one stolen cardinal idea, four dumb ideas involving a Muppet, one remake of Colonel Rebel and two incredibly dumb ideas (Mojo and Titan). It could have been better, could have been worse, but right now, at least with the release of these ideas, Ole Miss has avoided the disaster that was Rebel Bruiser and the gay Mr. Clean (literally gay) from a few year back.

Since every school has a mascot that's allegedly unique, I'd like to see us have no mascot, making us unique for not even having a mascot. And if the mascot was nothing, it would be unique by itself since no one else has nothing as a mascot. Or we could just send a herd of four-year-olds into a Chucky E. Cheese and tell them to pick out one. Then, using our Titans of industry, etc. money, we'll just buy that one.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Month of June is a Freight Train Straight Out of Hell*

*Apologies to the great Chazz Michael Michaels for altering (and stealing) his line.

Given the 25-foot-tall tidal wave of activity fire produced by June, it's time we check in on the 2010 Texas Pete Hot Sauce Most Exciting Month Power Rankings. While we haven't reached six of the months listed, we already know how awesome those are going to be because football is indeed just that awesome. Here's our latest scoreboard, complete with June's dramatic three-spot jump from the last rankings:

1. September
2. October
3. November
4. December
5. January
6. June
7. March
8. August
9. April
10. May
11. February
12. July

You could probably award a three-way tie for first, but I give the nod to September because of the excitement surrounding the start of college football. Just thinking about that first Saturday brings a rush of joy sweeping through my entire body. Sort of like when you are just about to plow through nine dollars worth of Chick-fil-a. Except a million times better. Of course, there's still some jostling to take place, most notably from July (thanks to the World Cup), and if the last week of June produces hundreds of F5 tornadoes of fiery activity, it too could make another move.

Other than the college football expansion talk, which gripped the country like the Elian Gonzalez story, only this one was actually interesting, what justifies giving June such a big bump?

The World Cup alone
Aside from how fantastic the event is (world coming together blah blah blah), this year's Cup has brought many great moments but only a handful that I found spectacular:

1. I have something to watch everyday at 9:30 and 1:30 at work. That's right, AT WORK. YOU'RE DAMN STRAIGHT I WATCH AND HAVE A VERY IMPORTANT DOCUMENT ON STANDBY TO MAXIMIZE AT A MOMENT'S NOTICE TO COVER UP THAT ESPN3 WINDOW. Actually, no one cares whether or not I watch, as long as I get my very important responsibilities done, which is the way business should run.
/finds desk cleaned out on Monday

2. France and Italy are FINISHED. DEAD AND IN THE GROUND. When France imploded last weekend and was finally taken out back and shot earlier this week, I thought life couldn't get much better. Then today happened. Italy, trailing Slovakia 2-0, got within a goal with very little time remaining, then scored a goal to tie but it was waived off due to an offsides penalty. A moment please....ahem....HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHHAAHAHHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Wait....haHA. Okay, done. The Italians eventually lost 3-2, but the rest of the world won 1,000,0000 to 0.

3. I am not a big professional sports fan. I follow it closely, but, other than the Braves, do not follow one team. I have a handful of teams I enjoy watching and will pull for, but mostly I have a large collection of teams that I hate (I know, it's hard to believe). So most all of my emotions concerning a sports team are stirred for good or for bad (95% bad) by Ole Miss. But on Wednesday, the United States game against Algeria was as close as I've come to throwing up while watching any game. Chance after chance went by and I got the feeling I usually get when I watch Ole Miss, which is blowing this many opportunities will bite us in the ass. And it nearly did until Landon Donovan saved the day and sent us (oh yes, US) into the next round.

Just how big of a moment was it? I was watching it at work with three people who didn't care at all about soccer, yet when he scored we all jumped up and started high-fiving one another. And it was that way all across the country. People packed into bars or public places (a special kudos to those people on the West Coast who were up and drinking at 7:30 in the morning) going absolutely bananas over a goal scored by a guy 80% of the country wouldn't recognize if he walked into their houses. Last night I probably spent 30 minutes watching YouTube videos of such celebrations and I gotta say, it came close to getting a little dusty in the house.

My favorite:

A massive compilation:

And a whole page devoted to them.

And some other crap has happened
Something about the longest tennis match that will ever happen. Isner/Mahut played for 11 hours over three days until the Frenchman finally buckled under the pressure (HAHAHA...ANOTHER LOSS FOR FRANCE). I also watched that at work. Also, the College World Series is going on, and as an Ole Miss fan I'm a little unsure of what that is. I only know that college baseball is terrible to watch if you have no rooting interest, and because these games take so long, they end up preempting ESPN's World Cup Primetime, which gives me the condensed versions of the games I already watched but absolutely need to watch again.

So there it is, the case for June's jump in the power rankings. But it's not done yet. Let me go ahead and say that if we beat Ghana on Saturday, June will have a temporary hold atop the standings, especially if I throw up in the process.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Get to Know Your SEC Football Players

It's Wednesday, which means it's time to get to know a little bit more (or just anything at all) about one of the Southeastern Conference's football players. Now when this player succeeds, massively fails or is shown milling around in the background of a TV shot, you'll know that his greatest off-the-field accomplishment involves the sale and transportation of hobos. Or something like that.

The team of the player selected is chosen through a super-secret process which I cannot reveal, however, the number of the player is randomly chosen by visiting and using whatever number is spat out from its random-creating machine.

Next week, all 12 teams go back in the pool, so I'm sure that will be exciting.

Today's number: 34
Today's team: Mississippi State

#34 K.J. Wright, LB, Mississippi State


There you go. But, should you run into him at a banquet or some sort of formal occasion, you'll know who he is.

Some background information: Finally, a major contributor to a football team. K.J. was second on the team in tackles last year with 82, second in tackles for a loss, forced two fumbles and recorded one total sack. He's also Jack Crystal's smoking buddy. Well, we know that's not true since I'm pretty sure Crystal has slipped into the crotchety old man zone and hates everyone. But, perhaps if they had known one another 89 years ago when Crystal was the ripe old age of 63, they could shared a heater or two. And if Wright smoked (that's legal products), which I assume he doesn't (again, legal products).

Greatest on-field accomplishment:
Against Florida last year, he tallied eight tackles and was involved in two sacks of Tim Tebow as a part of the defense that scored 14 points on the Gators.

Greatest off-the-field accomplishment: Kept his senses about him and depression in check while suffering through the Sylvester Croom era for two years.

Way(s) in which he has embarrassed himself, his family, team and school: A less-than-extensive Google search revealed nothing, making him a walker of the straight and narrow.

Strengths: Size, experience and seemingly competent coaching has surrounded him since being in Starkville. Even though the teams were awful, the defensive coaching was pretty solid.

Weaknesses: Has a quarter of a million minutes logged in field time thanks to the inept offenses of Mississippi State. Also, much like his former coach, does not possess great speed.

What to expect in 2010: K.J. will be one of the anchors of the State defense, so you'll see plenty of him on the field. Expect more tackles and higher numbers in just about every category. And given that Chris Relf will be operating the State offense, you really will see plenty of K.J. on the field, as well as shots of him on the bench gasping for air and swilling Gatorade.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rich Brooks Makes His Case for The Most Interesting Man West of the Louisiana Purchase

So how have you spent your summer?  Working?  Sweating?  The normal routine since once you leave school all seasons are the same?  All three?  Ah, if only we had the capability to break free from our chains of "that's what you're supposed to do" and live life as it should be lived.  I mean, live dammit!  Fresh air, cool breezes, the lazy sun on our shoulders as we fish, golf and grill.  The life of kings!

Fortunately for those of us still 30+ years away from anything close to that, Rich Brooks, after spending years coaching, molding and cursing at young adults, leads that life.  And as you sit chained to whatever responsibility that dominates you, come with me for a moment and let us live through Rich Brooks' summer.

Ah, yes, who hasn't picked up and jaunted off to California for a round at Pebble? POOR SAPS, THAT'S WHO.

I have the same problem with my putter. Although it's usually because the public course greens I play on haven't been watered since the last time it rained, and not because I suck.

Wouldn't you love to be able to refer to popular golf courses by a single name due to your familiarity with them?

/Tears of jealously and rage pouring down face.

"Otherwise known as around my backyard."

"Then washed my hands with a $27 bottle of sparkling water."

Rich Brooks apparently is so awesome that he can tell the sun exactly where he wants it to shine. Or he's really good at Tweeting and driving.

Hey, look! Three hours of old The Office episodes tonight on TBS!

Name-dropping 101.

Name-dropping 102.

What'll it be tonight, Quiznos or tuna and rice at home?

Oooohhhh, don't forget about sandwich meat!

But does it have power windows and anti-lock breaks? I THINK NOT. POINT, GRAY.

Ok, now this is getting ridiculous.

"Then we had the help bring us some mint juleps to relax."
(Yes, I did just recycle that from my Twitter feed. Have you seen how long this post is? I have no material left.)

I believe he omitted the part where he hit all of them with a croquet club while driving his '51 Plymouth.

And so time marches on for Rich Brooks. He'll do some more fishing, golfing and living while the rest of us soak in his days through the warmth of a computer screen.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Since We Last Met

Not only is this late, it's something different, which could confuse and disorient if stared at for too long. Moving on to the news since Friday...

The United States now has a beef with Mali

The West African nation now finds itself on the shitlist of a handful (albeit a large handful) of Americans who are invested in the World Cup, all thanks to referee Koman Coulibaly's mysterious foul call on the US team, which wiped out the go-ahead goal in Friday's game against Slovenia. Coulibably whistled an American player for, well, we still don't know because FIFA does not require its officials to explain their foul calls during the game or in their report after the game. This, of course, is completely outrageous to Americans, as we always demand to know the exact root of the problem so we can form task forces, boards and committees to investigate the problem and produce nine-point outlines on how to keep this from happening again so people will actually feel as if something like this can never happen again.

Of course, the easy way around all of this controversy would have been for the US team to show up in the first half. Yet another slow start followed by yet another early deficit. It's no secret that our back line is a roaring train wreck, but it would be nice to force the other team to make a great play in the face of mediocre defense instead of poor to non-existent defense. Just a thought. But despite all of the controversy and Big 12-like defense, if we (that's right, WE; IT'S INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION SO WE'RE ALL A PART OF THIS) beat Algeria on Friday, we move on to the round of 16.

Nick Saban toured the Gulf Coast; did not visit the FloraBama
And that's a shame. What a great bar. However, he did visit areas in Louisiana and Alabama impacted by the oil spill that continues to ruin everyone's summer and life. Offering encouragement and condolences, Saban spent some time with people directly affected by the spill, during which time he was no doubt repeatedly told two things: One, Les Miles is an idiot. And two, we have no doubt that if BP offered you enough money, you could have this well problem solved and the crap cleaned up within the month.

If BP ever has another shareholder's meeting or board of directors type meeting before the state of Louisiana assumes rightful control of the company, perhaps they might hire Saban to address them. His speech might go something like the first 20-25 seconds of this:

French soccer team continues the country's tradition of wilting in the face of a trial of any kind.
Yes, I realize this is the second mention of soccer here, but anytime a misfortune for France takes place, IT MUST BE DISCUSSED AND THOROUGHLY DELIGHTED UPON. For those unfamiliar with French soccer in recent months, a brief rundown:

-Team qualifies for the World Cup on a goal scored as a direct result of an intentional handball. So they cheated to qualify.
-Their coach is largely viewed as a complete and utter moron.
-Their coach is thought to be so incompetent, he was told that he would no longer be coaching the team once France's time at the World Cup is over. Why they are willing to wait until after makes little to no sense.
-A player was dismissed from the team after cursing at said coach during halftime of the debacle against Mexico (2-0 loss for France).
-Team is angered, captain gets into an argument with fitness coach and then team refuses to train/practice.

So, South Africa, if you are going to win a game in the World Cup, this is your time. Very few events can take place that make 99.9999999% of the world happy, but you beating France would be one of them.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Letter From Jim Delany to Big Ten Members

Dearest Underlings,

By now you are no doubt rejoicing at the near-perfect completion of phase one of Operation Money Coming Out of Our Pants. We got the school we wanted and had a few laughs along the way. A round of thanks to all of you for helping me make this possible.  But mostly thanks to me. Although, I would be remiss if I didn't point out a few outstanding performances in this process. Stanley (Nebraska, that's Stanley Ikenberry at Illinois), your delivery of the "I can envision a Big Ten with the Missouri Tigers" line in our "conference call" with them was Oscar worthy. If only those poor bastards could have seen your double middle finger salute at the phone. I'm just glad we hung up before you said, "Here's your invitation" and did that weird trick you can do with your testicles. But seriously, Missouri in the Big Ten? Some jokes will never get old.

And I can't leave out Graham Spanier (Nebraska, he's at Penn State). Your subtle message to Notre Dame as to what will happen to them if they don't join the Big Ten was a touch of genius. I'm not even going to ask how you have everyone believing it was a lightning strike. Outstanding work, sir.

Now, we all know phase two is set to commence once I make a well-timed phone call to my colleague and general sucker, Dan Beebe of the Big 12. Generally, I'd make some small talk and eventually (and unknowingly to him) bleed the information I want out of him, but this time I'm just going to ask him to fax me all the information concerning finances and the deepest, darkest secrets of his league. I imagine Dan's head has swollen to ten times its normal size with the job he thinks he's done, so it won't be hard this time. Well, it's not like it was hard last time. He's a sweet kid, but I have no time for sweetness. Only for destruction of all things not-Big Ten.

Given the fragile state of the Big 12 and the schools' new found hate for one another, this baby should be ready to burst into flames before August gets here. And then we strike. If you've never been to Austin, College Station or Norman, make your plans to be there by 2012. Hell, we may even play the same joke on Missouri again. I don't know what it is about them that makes it so much fun. Until that time, enjoy the spoils of our victory and dreams of dominance to come.

I am and remain your leader and fearless overlord,

Jim Delany

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Get to Know Your SEC Football Players

It's Wednesday, which means it's time to get to know a little bit more (or just anything at all) about one of the Southeastern Conference's football players. Now when this player succeeds, massively fails or is shown milling around in the background of a TV shot, you'll know that his greatest off-the-field accomplishment involves the sale and transportation of hobos. Or something like that.

The team of the player selected is chosen through a super-secret process which I cannot reveal, however, the number of the player is randomly chosen by visiting and using whatever number is spat out from its random-creating machine.

One administrative note before we get started here, next week will feature a player from Mississippi State, which will round out all the schools in the SEC. So two weeks from today, all schools will be back in the random selection process.

Today's number: 13
Today's team: Ole Miss

#13 Raymond Cotton, QB, Ole Miss

Some background information: Well, we progress from walk-ons to back-ups this week, which is a slow but solid improvement. Raymond represents Houston Nutt's first quarterback recruit while at Ole Miss. Of the athletic, strong-armed variety, he was expected to challenge Nathan Stanley for the starting quarterback job in the spring thanks to (and yes, I mean THANKS TO) Jevan Snead's departure to the NFL. Unfortunately for Raymond, he was diagnosed with a partial tear in the labrum of his right shoulder (his throwing shoulder). He did participate in spring practice, but was limited in action, much to the chagrin of Houston Nutt, who knows (but will never admit publicly) that Nathan Stanley is not and will not be reliable.

Raymond will forgo surgery on his shoulder until after the 2010 season, or maybe not. Who knows. What we do know is that Ole Miss' quarterback depth chart has a starter that no one has confidence in, a quarterback with a torn labrum and a junior college transfer. However, know this: there is a 1 billion percent chance the three of them will not come close to throwing 20 interceptions next season. While they may suck, they will not give the ball away like...well, there is no pop culture or sports comparison to what Jevan Snead accomplished last year.

Greatest on-field accomplishment: Has not occurred in actual competition, but in the spring game (I know it doesn't really count) he was highly effective, going 5 of 7 for 178 yards and 2 TDs.

Greatest off-the-field accomplishment: Possibly sitting through a Houston Nutt in-home recruiting visit without laughing at the quick-speaking, seemingly scatterbrained man.

Way(s) in which he has embarrassed himself, his family, team and school: A walker of the straight and narrow is he. So far.

Strengths: Athleticism, arm strength, size, well-groomed facial hair.

Weaknesses: His example to follow threw 20 picks in 13 games (33 in 26 games), something important is torn in his throwing shoulder, did not do enough to even challenge Nathan Stanley.

What to expect in 2010: You should be able to see many shots of Raymond next year as he helps signal plays in or just stands in the general vicinity of Houston Nutt. If...scratch that, when Nathan Stanley produces nothing, Raymond may get some face time on the actual field of play. Certainly there's not much faith in a guy with a bum shoulder, but given the Orgeron-like offensive productivity expected to take place in 2010, he'll at least have a chance as Houston Nutt will play no less than 23 people at quarterback in the fall.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

So What the Hell Just Happened?

Even though the firestorm combined with an F5 tornado that is college football expansion has seemingly run its course (AT LEAST FOR THIS YEAR, YOU NAIVE FOOLS), there are still a few questions remaining. The most important of which, and also the most impossible to answer, is how did the BP-level incompetent Dan Beebe pull the Big 12 out of a nearly cement-encased tomb and into the world of the living? Unfortunately, it shall remain a secret the universe will never tell. Nevertheless, we will press on and attempt to recap the day's events and answer a few questions.

The Basic Plot
Texas and company (mainly and most importantly Texas) were promised enough money to keep their interests in the Big 12. Once it was certain that the Big 12 was not going to fall apart, Texas A&M ended its talks with the SEC and chose to stay as well. The Big 12 lives on at the promise, not actual though, of money in a new, very high dollar TV deal. Risky? No doubt, but the Pac-10 deal was all speculation as well. And Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri sent $100 gift baskets to all the important people at Texas for keeping their respective schools alive.

Reason #1 Texas chose to keep the Big 12 alive
Commissioner Dan Beebe dropped off a suitcase of highly valuable bald eagle scalps (tremendous street value in Bolivia) in Austin. Perhaps I made that up (or is he really a poacher?), but what he did do was promise Texas straight cash money from a TV deal and assured the Longhorns that they would be allowed to pursue their own network with which, combined with the conference TV money, they would generate more money than most continents do in a fiscal year. The Pac-10 had informed Texas that they could not create their own network for reasons that I'm sure only enlightened West Coast people could understand.

In-the-gray-area reason #1 Texas chose to keep the Big 12 alive
While Texas was flirting with the idea of going west, Texas A&M begin to flirt with the idea of going east to the SEC. Had they joined the SEC, the recruiting grounds of the state of Texas would have become wide open to the vultures of SEC recruiting (probably would have worked better with a bird of prey, but I like saying the word vulture). This notion caused Texas to nearly choke on the cigars they were smoking, which of course were lit by $100 bills (How do you light yours? With a match? Or a lighter? What are you, poor?). The majority of the Longhorns' talent comes from its home state and the idea of fighting off the likes of LSU and Alabama for those players was a little too terrifying.

In-the-gray-area reason #2 Texas chose to keep the Big 12 alive
Texas has a pretty good setup going right now. They play one game a year (Oklahoma) and occasionally have to deal with a gnat like Texas Tech, but the rest of the schedule is a parade right to a BCS game. By leaving the Big 12 the road would get a little tougher in the Pac-10, not by much, but somewhat. This is probably the most important reason they'll never join the SEC. Why make it harder on yourself if you don't have to? Even though everyone will make fun of you and your girl parts.

In-the-gray-area reason #3 Texas chose to keep the Big 12 alive
Academics. You see...I want to send a flying roundhouse kick to the temple of anyone who utters that word when college football is discussed. This is college football, no one gives a damn about academics. EVERY DECISION FROM NOW UNTIL THE END OF TIME WILL ALWAYS BE BASED ON MONEY. ALWAYS. REPEAT: ALWAYS. So let's stop pretending learnin' and shit is even considered.

What happens next
Most likely, this is a temporary extension for the Big 12's existence. They need two more teams to add a conference championship game (per NCAA rules) and I'm not sure who they can steal to make this a legitimate conference. I read a rumor that involved BYU and Air Force, but that has little to no believability. And so, there lies a major problem. Can they get two teams to help raise the price of the TV deal or will they try to move on with just 10 teams? Moving forward with just 10 teams will hurt their BCS credibility and more importantly hurt the giant TV contract they all seem to think is headed their way. Unless they find two solid additions to the conference, we'll see the Big 12 collapse again at some point, but I get the feeling that next time it will be a much more organized collapse.

Are we finally done with all this expansion talk?
Sweet merciful crap, I hope so. But with Jim Delany still stalking around, there's always a chance he'll get in a shit-stirring mood and we'll be right here again. And it is times like these I am reminded how much I hate the Big Ten.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What Didn't Happen Over the Weekend Headlines

Expansion talk calms the hell down; relaxes by the pool with its drink of choice.
While Texas continues to figure out what it really wants to do (and Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech wait for Texas to tell them what to do), it appears as though an internal battle between men with large hats is taking place at Texas A&M over whether the school should join the Pac-10 or SEC. One group wants to follow Texas and the other Big 12 schools to the Pac-10 and the other prefers a future in the SEC. The Houston Chronicle is reporting that A&M will join the SEC, but allegedly the decision has not been decreed to be law by anyone with the authority to do so. I'm hoping the closed-door meetings will begin with civil discussions, eventually turning to insults being hurled and finalized with a lasso contest. Or sheep shearing. And by the way, if you're keeping score at home, Texas A&M would give the SEC West (assuming they'll be placed there) four agricultural schools (LSU, Auburn, Mississippi State are the other three).

Missouri rides in on a flaming black stallion to save the day.
In a last-ditch effort to keep itself from falling into a black hole, important people at Missouri met for the fourth time in four days to figure out a way to save the Big 12. The ideas that made it all the way to day four include: a bake sale, wrapping paper sales, buying Texas a really nice watch and doing everyone's laundry for the next two years. They've yet to hear back from anyone, but just in case Texas lost their number it's 573-882-6501. They'll be up at all hours.

A pair of SEC student-athletes spend their weekends enjoying time at the BSU.
Arkansas' Van Stumon and Florida's Frankie Hammond Jr. (who might have a future in Disney movies with a name like that) got their drankin' and drivin' on (and in Hammond's case got his underage version on) during their respective quests to not be bored during summer school. While I'm sure we can all understand the need to fill the boring times in college (I HATE EVERYONE IN COLLEGE, YOU LUCKY BASTARDS) with stupidity, we all know it's best to find those activities that do not lead to nights or hours spent in a local detention center. I recommend laying/lying (I refuse to learn that rule) on the couch, moving to the recliner when that gets old and periodically checking the fridge to see if anyone has magically put some food in there. Dammit, I miss college.

England thrashes America in World Cup opener; celebrates by swapping extremely dry jokes.
A win by the United States was probably a little too much for which to ask (although we had our chances to win), but a tie was certainly achievable and the team delivered one. Things got a little shaky in the second half when England remembered it had a gear we don't have, but our guys held it together and got a huge point. Now if the defense can figure out how to not create a hurricane-like shitstorm made up of poor communication and marking in the back, wins should happen against Algeria and Slovenia, which would get us into the round of 16. Most likely we would face Germany, and in a one-game format anything can happen. Including Germany running like a Jim Delany buzzsaw through Dan Beebe's Big 12 as they did to Australia on Sunday.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Now Come the Questions We're All Afraid to Ask

It was without a doubt the most exciting Thursday a football offseason has ever seen. In fact, if not for the Juice riding around in his Bronco for a few hours on LA's freeways after he killed his ex-wife and her boyfriend some years ago, I submit it was the most exciting day in the month of June in the last 20 years (I suppose calling a murder's half-hearted flee from justice exciting is probably in bad taste, so maybe that should be entertaining/compelling/riveting/interesting.). In the last 12 hours, the following took place:

-Colorado will now fly west for all of its conference sporting events.

-USC had their business (almost literally true) smashed to pieces by 67 pages of 8 1/2 X 11 paper.

-Just about every team not in the Pac-10, Big Ten or SEC was involved in a rumor that had them in a new conference.

And Friday could be even more out of control. If Nebraska formally announces they will move to the Big Ten as they are expected to, the next move on the checkers board (this is college football, no one is smart enough to play chess) goes to the Texas bloc (not quite as communist as the old school Eastern Bloc, but still a bloc) or the SEC, if it chooses to make a preemptive strike. Either one of those moves could result in two to five teams making a move to a new conference while destroying an old one. Or nothing could happen and tomorrow could be like the second day of this year's NCAA Tournament. Enjoyable, yes, but ultimately a letdown.

While expansion and its three ring circus with dozens of bears juggling Volkswagens filled with clowns and giraffes has made this offseason one of the most enjoyable, no one is asking the questions that lie beneath the surface of this madness. Things like, is this ultimately good for college football? Or, is this the first major step in the direction of a playoff system? But most importantly, WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE SCHEDULE-FILLER CONFERENCES? I'm talking about C-USA, the Sun Belt, the WAC, the MWC and the MAC. THESE TEAMS HAVE TO SURVIVE IN ORDER FOR MOST OF US TO MAKE BOWL GAMES.

And in order for them to survive, they'll need as many people in their, for lack of a better term, conference district. And in districts that include the likes of Bowling Green, Denton and Moscow, that means they need as much square mileage as possible. Right now, the WAC has the jump on everyone because they have something close to 876 billion square miles of real estate, or roughly the planet Mars, so if the Big 12 does indeed collapse, there won't be much time to waste on picking away at the financial road kill that is the group of Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Baylor and Iowa State.

First, a few bits of information to consider. Kansas will probably be forced to take near-I-70 partner Kansas State with them. Snatching up this pair will certainly boost basketball prowess for a conference, but not square mileage. Missouri, which has faxed its resume to the Big Ten everyday, three times a day for the last month (and twice a day to the SEC), will be a pretty easy get. Cold reality has just smashed them in the nose and they have realized just how far up shit creek in a sinking Cuban refugee raft they really are. They should be the last phone call a conference makes. And as for Baylor and Iowa State, they're not so much desperate as they are indifferent. They know they're going to suck no matter where they go, which is good news for all the other bad teams, so they should be told where to go rather than asked to join.

If I'm in C-USA, I'm making a play for the Kansas schools. Even though basketball doesn't matter in the money game, it would at least boost Memphis' NCAA Tournament resume so they wouldn't have to win the conference tournament every year to go to the NCAAs. More importantly, the four corners of your empire are Manhattan, El Paso, Orlando and Greenville, North Carlina. You now cover the Southeast, parts of Atlantic Seaboard, a few Midwestern states and parts of the Southwest. That's three different time zones, more miles than I want to count and a lot of damn people with which to market you low-level mediocre product.

The Sun Belt could overtake C-USA and become the size of the Ottoman Empire if they add Iowa State. Denton, Texas to Ames, Iowa to Bowling Green, Kentucky to Miami, Florida. You'd need like 425 divisions of the Turkish army to control all of that. And control it they would. Burning villages, genocide, the works. Plus, the addition of the Cyclones gives the conference another football team that is exactly like all of the other football teams and doesn't rock the jon-boat.

As for the MAC, well, I'm pretty sure it doesn't really exist. It's just an ESPN creation to fill a ratings black hole in Tuesday and Wednesday night programming. Apparently, Stump the Schwab just wasn't cutting it in Bristol. Have you ever seen a game involving MAC teams not played during the week? There's a reason they don't have names on their jerseys, it's because only two teams exist.

The WAC and Mountain West don't appear to be so urgent to make a move. The WAC probably would like to find a way to sell Louisiana Tech to someone else, but Ruston just doesn't have the street value it once had. And the MWC enjoys adding nothing, other than the same yearly argument that they belong in the BCS.

So there they are, the ideal scenarios for the schedule-fillers of the world (note: this term does not include Boise St., TCU, Utah, Fresno State in good years, BYU, Air Force and sometimes Houston). The key to survival is square mileage, gentlemen. Or, if massive expansion doesn't happen, it is four $800,000 - $1.2 million contracts to take four road trips a season to receive a vicious beating at the hands of school whose 18-wheeler equipment truck costs more than your school.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sensory Overload in College Football

Ah, yes, remember just two days ago when I said the only event that would happen in expansion would be Notre Dame joining the Big Ten? Well, as usual, I could not have been more wrong. In the past 10-ish hours, the Big Ten appears to be on the verge of gaining a team not named Notre Dame, the Big 12 is teetering on the brink of extinction, and the Pac-10 is set to gain at least 17 more teams. Oh, and toss in the news that USC just got hit with a level of NCAA probation that gives an indication that justice and order still exist in this world (more on that after a few more very important sentences), and I was struck with a temporary blindness that only occurs during extreme joy or terror. And IT WAS AWESOME.

A quick recap of Wednesday's events:

-Nebraska has informally decided that they will leave the Big 12 and join the Big Ten.

-Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado all have offers to join the Pac-10 and all seem ready, especially Colorado, to do so. Although, there are some very busy and very important people meeting on Thursday in Austin to discuss what the Texas schools will do.

-This article emerged saying that Texas A&M and the SEC have also had talks over the last few months about the Aggies joining the league (Take that you long-haired, no-job, Godless hippies).

-Kansas spent all day on the phone trying to persuade other schools not to leave the Big 12. They were ignored.

-One Pac-10 school kicked its quarterback off the team (and not for shitting the bed against Ohio State in the Rose Bowl).

-USC finally has to pay the toll for using the freeway of cash giveaways and illegal recruiting tactics. They received a two-year bowl ban and loss of 20 scholarships. Not to worry, Trojan fans, Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron are in charge.

I'm still, and I'm sure we all will be for at least a few more weeks, trying to comprehend what has happened and what it about to happen. For all the years I've watched college football, something like today and the next few days has never come to fruition. I suppose the closest occurrence was the dissolving of the Southwest Conference, which should be known as the Big 12 1.0 (and don't forget the old Metro Conference...actually, everyone already did and agreed it never happened), but its end and scattering of the teams didn't have nearly the impact as the coming shift will. I remember the addition of South Carolina and Arkansas to the SEC, and the additions the ACC made, both allowed for a 12-team league and a conference championship game, but not exactly earth-shattering at the time (I think you can argue that the SEC going to 12 teams and having a conference championship game was the moment that lead us to today, as it was the beginning of major, major clumps of, as Randy Moss once said, "Straight cash, homey" becoming a part of college football.).

But the complete collapse of a 12-team conference and the formation of one, possibly three mega-conferences (assuming the Big Ten and SEC add a few more teams)? Surely there is lots of jesting taking place. Conferences just don't disappear or grow by six teams and LANE KIFFIN FINALLY DIDN'T FIND THAT RANDOM $20 IN HIS POCKET. I find myself confused and delighted. Confused because I'm not sure what I truly think of the prospect of mega-conferences (it may be great at first, but what's stopping the really big schools from one day forming the official NFL Minor League System, effectively ending college football as it is now?), but ultimately delighted on this day because Lane Kiffin's anti-lottery day arrived. Sure the odds of it happening were about the same as getting mauled by a polar bear, a Kodiak bear, and struck by lightning all in the span of 20 minutes, but it happened, dammit. It finally happened.

With that said, so long Big 12 conference, Kansas football, Lane Kiffin's smirk, Ed Orgeron's recruiting budget, college football of my youth, Washington State's chances of winning more than two games before 2018 and Jeremiah Masoli.  We shall not really miss any of you.  Now, if the World Cup would hurry up and get here asd;lfk ababnmn g53fhky weop238dsasd


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Get to Know Your SEC Football Players

It's Wednesday, which means it's time to get to know a little bit more (or just anything at all) about one of the Southeastern Conference's football players. Now when this player succeeds, massively fails or is shown milling around in the background of a TV shot, you'll know that his greatest off-the-field accomplishment involves the sale and transportation of hobos. Or something like that.

The team of the player selected is chosen through a super-secret process which I cannot reveal, however, the number of the player is randomly chosen by visiting and using whatever number is spat out from its random-creating machine.

Today's number: 71
Today's team: Alabama

Some background information: For the love of all things decent and right, it is possible to not get a walk-on or permanent fixture on the bench for this feature? By my count, and it involves my memory which can barely remember what I did eight minutes ago, we've had three guys that will contribute to their respective teams next year and everyone else has been of the never-gonna-play variety. And this week that below-averageness continues with Allen.

It should be noted that Allen attended high school at Tuscaloosa County, which was the same high school that defeated Hoover High School in a regular season game during the filming of the greatest show MTV has ever produced, or more simply known as Two-A-Days. If you have forgotten, that was the episode in which Ross Wilson got himself obliterated right in front of the Hoover bench on a pass attempt. After coach Rush Propst claimed that the hit was the hardest hit in which he's ever heard a head hit the ground, he sent the younger Wilson (with silver dollar-sized pupils) back into the game to take more of a beating and throw more bad passes. Hoover lost and John Parker's brother spent the next day throwing up.

Greatest on-field accomplishment: Has not occurred.

Greatest off-the-field accomplishment: Perhaps he was in the crowd during the Two-A-Days filming or even on the sidelines.

Way(s) in which he has embarrassed himself, his family, team and school: I shall assume he's walked the straight and narrow because I know of no tales of ill repute out of Tuscaloosa County.

Strengths: Choosing to walk-on at a place like Alabama.

Weaknesses: Lack of Division-I athletic talent.

What to expect in 2010: If the camera is not on the sideline, you probably won't see Allen. Unless Alabama suffers multiple injuries on the unit that apparently never commits holding penalties, Allen will never see the field. And if all of those injuries do happen, I'm sure Saban and company will turn him into an All-SEC lineman in a matter of two quarters. Sons of bitches.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

If Expansion Became a Sports Epidemic

As of this writing, the Pac-10 and Big Ten are still holding the college football world hostage with their respective plans for conference expansion (what a bunch of attention whores). Speculation as to what will happen ranges from a conference made up of only Michigan and Ohio State in which they play 12 times a year and is televised on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and on ESPN Deportes on a 24-hour loop, to something as boring as Notre Dame finally joining the Big Ten (BUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE RIVALRIES WITH ARMY (37-8-4 all-time) AND NAVY (71-11-1)!?!). Personally, I think we'll only see the addition of Notre Dame to the Big Ten. Texas and the other Big 12 schools will use their invites as leverage to get the Big 12's ass in gear and get a TV deal done that gets them truckloads of cold, hard cash. They don't give two shits about playing a bunch of hippies, they just want money and if the Big 12 can promise it, they'll stay put. (By the way, if you haven't read Dan Wetzel's piece on the assholes, one of the sneaky variety and the other of the dumb variety, that run the Big Ten and the Big 12, do it now.)

Anyway, the expansion talk got me thinking about the possibility of this disease spreading to professional sports conferences and divisions. Yes, I know this could never happen thanks to rules and other stuff I don't want to look up, but whatever, I can only offer an Andy Bernard-like opinion on expansion, "This is good." Or, "This is bad," and as much as I love to yammer on about things I am not qualified to yammer on about, I shall pass that opportunity. Plus, the commissioners' offices would immediately react and put down such silly talk, unlike the NCAA, who, as of this morning, has literally said nothing about expansion. Nothing like, "Hey, not so sure about this. Maybe we should sit down and talk." Or, "Wow, we really are irrelevant in the grand scheme of things." Nice job, guys.

So, in order to pass the time until college football stays the same or becomes the NFL2, let's take a look at some major professional sports expansion scenarios.

-The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox leave the American League East to form what they call "The Only Division in Baseball That Will Ever Matter Because Our Fans Care So Much More About Our Teams Than Yours Do About Yours. In Fact, We're Pretty Sure Baseball And Sports Only Exist In New York And Boston." A little long, yes, but very descriptive. After leaving, the teams sign an agreement to play each other 162 times a season and every game will be televised on all ESPN platforms with a guaranteed lead-in on SportsCenter every night of the year.

-The Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals leave MLB all together and join the Texas League where competition promises to be more on their levels.

-The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals form their own league and play each game in the middle...ah, nobody cares.

-The Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres are asked to join the NHL by commissioner Gary Bettman in an effort to expand TV markets. San Diego will decline, but Seattle agrees before quitting 11 games into the season due to a complete lack of understanding of the rules.

-All other teams agree to fold when it is universally agreed upon that football should be played nearly year-round and everyone would rather put their resources into it and not baseball.

-The Patriots form their own division, playing no one, but still garnering a respect for what a well-run organization they are.

-The Giants, Eagles, Redskins, Packers, Vikings, Cowboys, Jets, Steelers and Bears borrow a soccer term and form what it known as the "Group of Death." In these contests, the teams don't actually play, but rather, its fans fight one another in Roman gladiator-fashion in the parking lots of the stadiums. The team's fans with the most kills wins. Also, all participants are required to be raging drunk.

-The Raiders fall into the Pacific Ocean.

-The Chargers, Chiefs, Colts, Saints, Cardinals and Seahawks create the "Nancy-Boy Passing League" in which everyone is forbidden to run the ball. Ron Jaworski cries both tears of joy and sadness upon hearing the news.

-Cleveland fans, fresh off the loss of LeBron James and denial for entry into the Group of Death, attack and burn their stadium to the ground, effectively ending professional sports in the Mistake by the Lake.

-David Stern squashes any actions that might disrupt his league like the Russians crushed the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. He even uses the same tanks.

-We all know that the NHL is not a major professional sport.

Monday, June 07, 2010

What Didn't Happen Over the Weekend

Conference expansion dismissed as silly and ill-conceived.
First, it was the Big Ten that made national news (and news not related to one of its teams being destroyed in a BCS game) by announcing it planned to explore the studio space of conference expansion. Names like Texas, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Missouri, Rutgers and Syracuse were all mentioned as potential invitees, but so far only Texas has been confirmed to be a serious candidate (Although, to be fair, I'm pretty sure Notre Dame gets a written offer every May to join the conference.).

Now, the Pac-10 has decided this game sounds like fun. A story broke on Friday that the conference was prepared to offer invitations to Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado. And on Sunday, the presidents/chancellors of the Pac-10 gave commissioner Larry Scott the authority to extend said invitations, although no one is certain which schools will be receiving a hand-crafted invitation with a personal note from Scott (I'm hoping they send physical invitations though the mail, complete with RSVP cards). If the invitations do go out and are accepted, the Big 12 is dead, soon to be followed by the Big East. The leftover Big 12 teams will melt away into the Mountain West or, in the case of a team like Nebraska or Missouri, be picked up by the Big Ten. Then the Big Ten will take its pick of Big East teams, leaving the leftovers to, well, I don't know. Join Conference USA and create the most bad-to-mediocre conference in the history of college football?

One figures the SEC will respond in some way, which could mean the death of the ACC, leaving college football with three real conferences and everyone else hoping to survive. But, like most things, expansion probably won't go as expected. What will go as expected, from now until the end of time, is that when it comes to sports, anyone and everyone will do anything to make more money. Fans and the players who drive this billion-dollar machine be damned. And I, for one, welcome the sweet taste of millions of dollars pumping straight into my school's bank account. Granted, I will never see any of this money, and more than likely those in charge of that money will use it in the most inefficient way possible, but the chance that one day someone (or hopefully multiple someones) who knows what they're doing deals with that money and uses it properly has me on board with the idea of expansion.

USC slammed with the swift and painful hammer of NCAA justice.
Like all things associated with the NCAA infractions committee, it takes way too damn long to find out anything. The Trojans are still awaiting the vicious finger-wagging that is sure to come after they cheated their way to a national title and Heisman trophies. Although, now that media-beloved Pete Carroll is no longer overseeing the football program, penalties will probably not be any lighter, strictly because of a universal hatred for Lane Kiffin.

The NHL operated like a successful organ-eye-zation.
The league currently keeping Major League Baseball out of last place for most incompetently run padded that lead on Sunday night. Instead of scheduling the Stanley Cup Finals for Saturday night or even Monday night, Gary Bettman chose to have his finals go head-to-head with the NBA Finals. One aired on ABC, the other on Versus. Well done, sir. Do you know what I sporting events I watched on Saturday night? An inning of the Cubs/Astros game and the last 20 minutes of an MLS game involving teams from Dallas and San Jose (I think). If I'm watching both of those, I could almost guarantee I would have watched the Stanley Cup game, assuming I could have figured out whatever channel Versus is. Do I need an extra satellite dish to pick up that channel?  Not that I care, BUT HOW IN THE HELL DOES HE STILL HAVE A JOB?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Jim Joyce Gets a Taste of the SEC

On Wednesday night, Detroit Tigers' pitcher Armando Galarraga fell one out short of a perfect game when first-base umpire Jim Joyce incorrectly ruled that Jason Donald of the Cleveland Indians beat the throw to first base. The replay showed that Donald was out and that Galarraga was unfairly denied a perfect game. After the call, Tigers' manager Jim Leyland stormed out of the dugout to argue with the crustiness, vulgarity and cigarette breath one might associate with an old-school 1950s fire-breathing dragon of a football coach. The kind that offered no water breaks, believed pain heals itself with more pain and thought the color red was for gay people and communists, which in his eyes might have been the same thing.

So that got the wheels turning upstairs (normally they don't work after 6 PM) and a thought was created. What if the fine body of men who make up the coaches of the SEC were in that dugout? What might they have done if they knew anything about baseball and had the tolerance to sit through a four-hour sporting event...wait, they already have that, nevermind. I believe if they charged out to first base to get in Jim Joyce's face to argue, it might have gone something like this:

Les Miles
"YYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Tell me this isn't my fault!! I didn't do something wrong this time did I!?! Should I be worried!?! They can't pin this one on me!! Tell me I'm doing a good job!! Tell me!! I need to feel loved!!"
*Begins to weep and is led back to the dugout by an assistant. Before reaching the dugout, he stops to call a timeout he doesn't have.*

Urban Meyer
*Cyborg stare that penetrates Joyce's soul. Waits until Joyce begins to weep, then dismisses him with a wave of the hand.*

Nick Saban

Houston Nutt
"Now, Jimmy, what'd ya see? You sure about that? Positive? I don't know, Jimmy...say, once had a book in high school. Written by James Joyce. Not sure if he went by Jim or Jimmy. Never read it though. Too long. Compound sentences. Adverbs on adverbs. Gerunds. Can't enjoy that kinda read. Gotta see some pictures. Let's me know what's going on. Say, Jimmy..."

Mark Richt
*Never leaves dugout*

Bobby Johnson
"Dang it, I do not appreciate this, sir. Do you hear me? Do NOT appreciate this one bit, sir. Good day."

Dan Mullen
 "You must be from The School Up North. Only someone from The School Up North can make a call like that. I beat The School Up North. The School Up North would produce someone like you. The School Up North...

Bobby Petrino
"Jim, you, your mother and that stranger you call dad can #$@%(#*&@(#*@(#*&;(@#&(@*#^#^&;@^$^@$*#@^@)$_@&;$)@&@$(!%!$&;@&@#&;*!*$%#^@*@!*#$&!^!%#&$*@^$%#*@*@^$@^$&;@&;$^@*$^@$*($)@*@!@#&@ until your ears bleed."

Gene Chizik
*Sends Trooper Taylor out to wave his towel at Joyce and fire up the crowd. Taylor also gives Galarraga a flying side bump before waving his towel some more and heading back to the dugout.*

Joker Phillips
*Phones Rich Brooks to get a refresher course in proper cursing technique. The lesson lasts so long that the game ends before Phillips can put his acquired knowledge to use.*

Derek Dooley
"(In robotic voice) Jim. I. promise. to. do. everything. the. opposite. of. whatever. Lane. Kiffin. did. have. a. nice. day."

Steve Spurrier
*Obligatory visor toss, smirk, teeth grinding, flushed face*
"Jim, that call was so easy even Stephen Garcia could have made the right decision."

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Get to Know Your SEC Football Players

It's Wednesday, which means it's time to get to know a little bit more (or just anything at all) about one of the Southeastern Conference's football players. Now when this player succeeds, massively fails or is shown milling around in the background of a TV shot, you'll know that his greatest off-the-field accomplishment involves the sale and transportation of hobos. Or something like that.

The team of the player selected is chosen through a super-secret process which I cannot reveal, however, the number of the player is randomly chosen by visiting and using whatever number is spat out from its random-creating machine.

Today's number: 35
Today's team: Vanderbilt

Before we even get started, I'd like to go on record as saying the Vanderbilt football website is about as efficient and user-friendly as the Vanderbilt offense, circa forever. I suppose all of their smart and web-savvy people aren't allowed anywhere near the football offices for fear of acquiring failure by osmosis (this also might explain why no one goes to Vandy games; or perhaps it's just that they're terrible). So anyway, who knows if these guys (yes, guys; once again multiple people have the same number) still wear the number, but here are this week's players:

Some background information: First, my apologies to the families of Reece and Walt, as their relatives will not be featured here this week (or probably ever). I know the chances of them ever finding this are actually below zero, but should it appear in a Google images search for "whitewash" know that they were not selected because I found more information on Blake.

And speaking of Blake, he spent all of 2009 redshirting and destroying the Vanderbilt offense in practice while being a key member of the Commodore scout team defense. If his last name sounds familiar, his brother, Brannan, played fullback at Georgie for at least nine years. And that concludes all pertinent background information on Blake.

Greatest on-field accomplishment: Has not occurred.

Greatest off-the-field accomplishment: Acquiring a scholarship to Vanderbilt to play football. Also, according to his Vanderbilt profile (not sure on the accuracy of this), on the scout team field he "displayed excellent knowledge on position responsibilities and was solid in the weight room."

Way(s) in which he has embarrassed himself, his family, team and school: He's a walker of the straight and narrow.

Strengths: He has enough talent and skills to receive a Division-I scholarship.

Weaknesses: He only has enough talent and skills to receive a Division-I scholarship to Vanderbilt.

What to expect in 2010: Most likely you'll see Blake standing around on the sidelines, standing near group defensive huddles on the sidelines and potentially standing on the field while playing special teams. If you hear Blake's name during the course of a game and Vandy is on defense, it means three things could be happening: One, Vandy is getting blown out (most likely). Two, Vandy is doing the blowing out (highly unlikely). And three, if starting middle linebacker Chris Marve is injured, in which case Vandy is or soon will be getting blown out (for the Commodores' sake, I hope not). Or he could pull a Jay Culter and get highly intoxicated, break things on campus, resist arrest and then assume for the rest of his life that he is far more important than he actually is.

SEC Spring Meetings Itinerary

Starting Tuesday morning, the spring series of SEC meetings will get underway (this is not to be confused with the other 12-ish times the conference finds a reason to go to Destin) and it promises to be four riveting days of back-slapping, smiles, fake smiles and general tolerance while listening to everyone reaffirm their beliefs on just how awesome the Southeastern Conference is. And during this brutal stretch of nothingness from now until September, you better believe I'll be milking this for content around here. Do you know what I was going to write about before I remembered these meetings? NOTHING. So while I mock them, I give thanks for them.

Here's a rough outline of the itinerary over the four days:

Morning Session
Opening remarks from Commissioner Slive. Topics expected to be covered:
-Expansion: Including the word "trillion" in regular discussions of SEC finances.
-Basketball: A few sentences to make the middle child of SEC sports feel better about itself.
-Commendation for coaches' conduct: Ten minutes besmirching Lane Kiffin and joint laughter at the impending NCAA sanctions against USC.

Break for lunch provided by Don Panchos (or Ponchos, still not sure which is right).

Afternoon Session
Athletic Director meetings on getting more high school athletes into college now that the NCAA has banned BYU's online courses, which helped many an athlete go from junior college material to Division-I-qualified in about 14 minutes.

Pool Time
Coaches' Chicken Fighting Championship
-Last year's champions, Lane Kiffin and Rich Brooks, will be replaced by Joker Phillips and Derek Dooley.

Morning Session
Commissioner Slive discusses football scheduling, including Alabama's complaint that six of its opponents will come off bye weeks before facing the Crimson Tide. His remarks are expected to reveal that this is merely a test to see how good of a coach Nick Saban is.

Break for lunch provided by Golden Flake

Afternoon Session
Alabama athletic director Mal Moore will hold a forum on writing checks to solve problems. Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone will hold a similar forum, but his will involve not writing checks to create problems.

Night Activity
Talent Show - back by popular demand, Bobby Petrino has a new sleight of hand routine, which will be the feature event.

Morning Session
Commissioner Slive will discuss basketball scheduling and seeding for the SEC Tournament. When everyone loses interest in about three minutes, the back-up discussion will be how much more interesting baseball was at this year's tournament in Hoover with the introduction of the pitch clock. This session is expected to last seven minutes.

Break for lunch provided by Bryan Foods

Afternoon Session
Four-man golf scramble. There will be a reminder that emphasizes less cheating than last year's event. The record score of 32-under will be formally stricken from the record book, and Trooper Taylor, Melvin Smith, Rodney Garner and Mike Hamilton will have their names removed from the trophy. Also, Steve Spurrier will be reminded he is not allowed to play alone.

Night Activity
Free time. Cautionary tale of Mike Price will be told to all before everyone departs for the evening.

Morning Session
Closing remarks from Commissioner Slive. This will be a 15-minute period in which all cackle maniacally at Jim Delaney's attempt to make the Big Ten a better conference than the SEC.

Break for lunch provided by Jimmy Dean

All coaches, media and administrators will be reminded that Commissioner Slive would greatly appreciate their cooperation in allowing Ubran Meyer's plane to leave first.  If not allowed to leave first, Meyer will throw a hissy fit and barrage the commissioner's office with angry phone calls for at least the next two weeks.