Friday, December 30, 2005

Thanks a lot, Jeff!

I had planned on posting more in the last week or so, but between breaking a finger while playing basketball a few days ago and also managing to reach new personal heights in my ability to guiltlessly accomplish nothing whatsoever...well you know what that leads to, nothing.

I really wish that I could say that I've been busy with projects around the house and what not. However, the truth is that I've done very little that doesn't include eating, drinking, and sleeping. Shit, I even managed to miss a tattoo appointment yesterday (much to my chagrin) because I've been so out of it lately that I thought my appointment was today. Oh well, I guess it's better that I do this sort of thing now, as oppossed to next week when I'm starting my new job. Anyway, I'm going out of town for the New Year's (which also doubles as my girlfriend's birthday) this afternoon, at which point I intend to begin a (minimum) 48 hour alcohol binge that should render me unable to do anything, other than watch football, for the entirety of Sunday and Monday. With all of that being said, I did have a few random thoughts that I've been wanting to get up here for awhile now. It's not much, but it's more than I've done in quite some time. Hey, what the hell do you expect on a free blog? If you said, "not much", then you sir, are absolutely correct.

- Was anybody else taken aback by the news that Jeff Reardon held up a jewelry store for $170? I could've imagined Floyd Youmans or Tippy Martinez doing this, hell, I could even picture a scenario where Todd Worrell decided to knock off a place for some extra holiday cash, but Jeff Reardon? Evidently, a good beard doesn't mean what it used to.

-Speaking of beards, I've been sporting a ridiculously burly beard for the better part of two months now (even managing to nail down my new job while interviewing with said beard) which, when combined with my, um hairstyle, has left me looking like a much smaller, much whiter version of T. J. Duckett.

- I hate the incessant comparisons that the media is always making between players based soley on the physical appearances, but I have to say that I see some serious Antwaan Randle-El potential in Marques Hagans.

- I'd like to extend a much belated thank you to Michael Vick, Crazy Jim Mora and the entire Atlanta Falcons organization for giving away last Saturday's football game. The Bucs did their very best to give that thing away (and also ruin my Xmas) but the thought of having to play in another cold weather game was, apparently, too much for ole Ron Mexico to stomach as he and the Falcons couldn't manage to move the ball one single solitary yard against a tired Bucs defense. At this point, you have to start wondering if the Bucs will always have Vick's number.

- The Cardinals signed Juan Encarancion and Sidney Ponson? I knew I'd been saving that bottle of champagne for something.

- Jerry recently commented on guys who have been playing collegiately for what seems like forever. While the ensuing conversation focused mainly on basketball, I'd like to nominate Wali Lundy for consideration as an all-time member of the Virginia Cavalier football program. Honestly, wasn't he a freshman on that Shawn Moore/Herman Moore team from the early 90's?

- My girlfriend bought me a PSP for my Xmas, which I immediately labeled the "greatest Xmas present I've ever gotten". Yes, I'm 28 and no, I don't find this sad in anyway. My parents, on the other hand, are a completely different story. Then again, these are the same people who bought me a Nintendo for Xmas one year when Nintnedo 64 and Sega Genesis were already on the market. No, no I'm not bitter at all.

- How ridiculous are the USC versus the Greatest Teams of All Time comparisons? I keep waiting for Mark May to stand up with a mug of beer and yell out, "Okay, who wins, 2005 USC or Tedy Bruschi?" Followed by Kirk Herbstreit responding, "Bruschi 207- USC 5." We get it, they're a good football team, but can we let them finish the season undefeated before we start building monuments to them?

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Still stupid, not yet drunk...

I just finished getting in a nice little run this afternoon and figured I'd stop by to wish everybody Merry Christmas.

It's been a good one thus far for me and my family, despite our current locale. After church last night, we retired to my sister's house to eat a little dinner and carry on some of our ridiculous Xmas traditions. The most disgusting/annoying is, of course, the eating of cold pork and beans. You're probably a little confused right now, as you should be, so allow me to explain. My grandpa started this tradition many, many years ago when my Dad was a child. Basically, every member of the family must eat at least a spoonful of cold pork and beans on Xmas Eve in order to ensure good luck for the coming year. It's an odd tradition, and quite frankly, I hate it. Not because I hate family bonding or anything like that, but because I abhor beans (all kinds of beans) with every fiber of my being. With that said, who am I to rock the boat when it comes to a longstanding and venerable family tradtion like this? Nobody, absolutely nobody. I just choke down my spoonful of hell, slam a beer and go about my business of tying one on before 6:30 am comes and my nieces and nephews roust me out of bed with screams and giggles and all the other cute (read: extremely annoying) things that kids do on Xmas morning. The only problem with that plan this year, is that after I finished watching the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl last night (which was a very entertaining OT game with an admittedly anticlimatic and disappointing ending) was that I couldn't go to sleep, no matter what I tried (short of slamming tequila shots).

After hours of tossing, turning and serious comtemplation of smothering my snoring brother-in-law, I ended up falling asleep around 4 am and, wouldn't you know it, was then up and doing Xmas activities by 6:30. I shouldn't complain though, it's been a great Xmas with my family so far. I skipped out on golfing with my Dad and brothers-in-law in order to take a nap, which was exaclty what I needed. I managed to catch up on a good chunk of the sleep that I lost last night and should be in good shape for the rest of the day. In fact, as I look at the clock it's looking alot like beer thirty and as I look at the television, Rasheed Wallace is looking like the perfect Xmas afternoon companion. So with that I'm going to sign off, but not before extending some Xmas wishes to friends of mine who I won't get to see or (more than likely) talk to this Xmas. Here goes:

John and Joe: Try and stay warm out in Montana and try and keep yourself from playing for the other team during the bitter winter months.

Calvin: I hope you enjoy the cesspool that is Ohio, seriously. I hate Ohio, but I don't think you're half bad, even if you're crazy and irrational and given to fits of laughter inducing rage.

Coffey: Enjoy the Bay Area, it's one of the nicest places on earth. Don't enjoy it too much though. I'm counting on you to get a job in the SEC so that I can see some free football every fall.

Pasqual: Stay safe out in the middle east, we're all thinking of you and want you back home soon (and for good) so keep that thing wrapped when you port in Cyprus.

Breven: I'll get to Austin this year, I promise...well I'll at least get there before you get engaged (laughing).

Wheelhouse Guys (writes and posters): I barely know most of you, but I still wanted to wish you a Merry Xmas and say thanks for making my workdays far more bearable than it could ever be without your quips and punditry.

Erika: I miss you and will see you tommorrow. I hope you enjoy your Xmas as much I'm enjoying mine. As much as I'm enjoying myself, it's just not the same without you here with me. In fact, let's make this the last Xmas that we ever spend apart.

I love you all. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Outhouses and mullets, here I come...

I just figured that I'd stop by real quick and drop a line or two before I head off to Tallahassee for Christmas with my family. I'm really not looking forward to the trip, if only because it takes nearly 5 hours to drive there from my house. Luckily for me, my parents are driving up there, so all I'll have to do is pull my ass out of bed tommorrow morning and fall asleep in the back seat.

Between now and then, I have a bunch of present wrapping to do and I'm also planning on getting fantastically loaded at some point this evening. I should probably just stay in tonight since I've been out all week long, but prudent decision making has never really been my strong point.

There won't be a whole hell of a lot going on Tallahassee but I'll try and rope some of the other adults into playing poker at least one night, so that I have an excuse to drink heavily while I'm stuck in that hell hole of a town. I'm also planning on making my semi-annual pilgrimage to Guthrie's. If you don't know what Guthrie's is, let me get you up to speed. It's nothing more than a fast food joint that sells chicken fingers...that's it. The menu literally consists of one item, a box. In this box are 5 chicken fingers, krinkle fries, cole slaw and texas toast as well as Guthrie's secret sauce. How is an eatery with only one item on it's menu able to not only stay in business, but thrive, you ask? That's easy, it's the secret sauce. It's amazing. I would eat a pinecone if you gave me enough of this stuff. A typical order for me at Guthrie's goes something like this, " Yeah, can I have a box with 7 extra sauces? Thanks." I'm telling you, it's that good.

So that's it for now. I've packing and wrapping that I need to start on. Have some drinks, then ahve some more and, of course, Merry Christmas...jerks.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A German, a Turk, and a reindeer walk into a bar...

There is nothing quite like playing out the string at a job. Trust me, I've quit four jobs this year. Though, to be truthful, this is only the second time that I've given any notice to my employers, and this is the one and only time that I've given the standard two weeks before bolting out the door for (presumably) bigger and better things.

Today is my last real day at work. I made the distinction of "real" day because I'll be back in on the 27th to clean out my desk and say goodbye to a few people, but for the most part, any and all work that I can/will accomplish is getting done today. To be honest, there hasn't been a whole hell of a lot to accomplish since the YMCA (as do all health clubs) slows down significantly at this time of year.

The only reason that I'm doing any work at all is that I told my boss that I'd make sure all the elements of our annual January membership push would be in place before I left. Thankfully, I'm just about finished up with that process. It's a good thing too, because I haven't bought a single Xmas present yet and I'll be leaving for Tallahassee on the morning of the 24th. Nothing says Xmas like a disgusting, smelly town in South Georgia, right?

On the bright side, Jeff Bowden lives across the street from my sister, so I'm hoping to sneak over there on Xmas Eve and put the Bowdens' electric reindeer in some, um, compromising positions.

Anyway, I'll be fairly busy for the rest of the day so this is going to have to suffice for the time being. I'll try and get something up tommorrow between hours of Xmas shopping and going to the Magic game with Greg and Vitas, which should be worth a post in and of itself. That's all for now.

Actually, that's not all. As many of you already know the University of Florida has been extremely hot on the recruiting trail of late, and yesterday was no exception, as the Gators bagged two more commitments from high school teammates Percy Harvin and Damon McDaniel. Even the most optimistic Gator fans never imagined that we'd see both of these guys commit to the University of Florida, but there they were on ESPNews yesterday wearing Gator hats and pledging their allegiance to Meyer. That brings the Gators total number of committments this year to 26, and firmly places Florida in the overall points lead for recruiting.

In the last week alone Florida has received commits from 5 players within the nation's top 30. As I've said before, I try not to get too overexcited about kids who haven't even graduated high school yet but it's getting awfully hard to temper my enthusiasm with the way that things continue to progress.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Alex Smith, small hands...smells like cabbage.

It seems that the blogosphere is slowing down for now (and more than likely, for the rest of the year) as the rapidly approaching holidays are dominating all of our schedules. Never being one to rock the proverbial boat, I’ll try and keep it short today with a few thoughts that have been bouncing around in the smoke-filled cavern that doubles as my brain.

- Maybe I’m missing something here, but I don’t get all the uproar over Ron Artest asking to be traded. Isn’t this akin to Manny Ramirez’s semi-annual trade request? Sure, Manny never charged into the stands to attack fans, but both of these guys are clearly million dollar talents with 10 cent heads.

Is Ron Artest being certifiably crazy news to the people in the Indiana front office? Furthermore, is there any player (other than Jermaine O’Neal) that enjoys playing in Rick Carlisle’s offense? I’m being completely serious here. Carlisle is a good coach who gets his teams to play great defense and work together. He does not have an inventive and free-wheeling offensive system that players enjoy playing in. The only difference between other players and Artest is that Ron Ron is crazy/dumb enough to talk about it in public.

I also believe that Artest would be much more willing to “buy-in” to the overall team concept if (A) he played for a coach whom he had a greater respect for and, (B) if he was playing second fiddle to a player whom he truly believed was better than him. Jermaine O’Neal is a good player but he has not yet proven himself to be a prolific crunch time scorer that a team can carry a team through the playoffs. It’s not that he’s without the requisite skills needed to do this, instead it is that he lacks the go-to move (baseline fadeaways for 6’11 guys don’t count) and overall nastiness necessary to become such a player. In addition, O’Neal is in no way a dominant rebounder and/or defender. As a result of this, I believe that Artest is purposely forcing his way out of Indiana because he doesn’t want to have to defer to a player whom he feels that he is better than ( I agree with Ron Ron by the way) while playing for a coach whom he doesn’t like or respect, who also happens to base his entire offensive system around getting the ball to said player. Honestly, it's not like O'Neal is a dominat presence along the lines of Duncan (or even Garnett).

Of course, none of this changes the fact that Artest is a wackjob, though I’m of the opinion that he’s far closer to the Manny style crazy than he's portrayed as by most of the media. I mean, he's the kind of crazy that makes it seem like a good idea to warm up for the All-Star Game in a pair of Steve Maddens, not the kind of crazy that raises a pack of fighting pit bulls (I'm looking at you Qyntel)

One final note: Jermaine O'Neal has shown how little he truly understands about the game of basketball by proclaiming both Al Harrington and Bonzi Wells as suitable and adequate replacements for Artest. Who are you kidding Jermaine? Neither of these guys registers among the top 40 players in the league. They don't even belong in the same conversation as Artest.

- How did the 49er organization get so damned inept? Actually, I know how it happened (firing Bill Walsh certainly didn’t help) but how did it get so bad, so quickly? They are a total trainwreck, to the point that even Matt Millen is making jokes about them at the Lions’ Christmas party. As if being mocked by the NFL’s version of Corky (who didn’t watch Life Goes On at least once, seriously?), now it’s come out that maybe Alex Smith’s hands are too small for the NFL football. In my opinion, watching an organization this proud become a laughingstock (in all of sports, not just the NFL) is far more sad than this whole contrived “Brett Favre on an awful team” saga that’s been unfolding since early this season. To be perfectly honest, I am thoroughly enjoying the entire Brett Favre scenario and would love to see an encore next year.

- By now, I’m sure that everybody has seen the pics of Matt Leinart on the internet from last Saturday night. Shouldn’t Vegas start setting a line on the probability of this guy ending up on the Jets? After two solid years of being the King of L.A and banging any hot chick he felt like, do you really think this guy is going to allow himself to be drafted by some team in a city like Houston or Green Bay? Not a chance. It’s not like he’s going to have to worry about competing with Eli for tail or anything.

- While I’m on the subject of quarterbacks, I might as well touch on the commitment of Tim Tebow to the University of Florida. I try and not get too excited over the athletic prospects of 17 year old high school students, but Tebow seems to have all the things that you’d want for a big time collegiate QB. He is big (6'3" 225) , strong, fast (4.6 40) and has a terrific arm. He's a natural leader who other players naturally gravitate towards and want to play with. If all goes well, he should be starting at QB for Florida for a minimum of two years. His commitment to the Gators was huge for two reasons. First, with the departure of Josh Portis, the QB depth chart at Florida was looking awfully thin, especially with regard to the future beyond next year. Secondly (and perhaps more importantly), Tebow was a lifelong Gator fan who grew up attending games in Gainesville. Furthermore, every member of his immediate family has attended the University of Florida. Hell, his parents' mailbox is a Gator head. If Florida had lost Tebow to Alabama (or anyone else), this would’ve been a crippling blow to Urban Meyer’s recruiting efforts and also to his reputation as a recruiter of offensive talent.

Finally, ESPN ran The Season: Tim Tebow last night, which followed the recently finished senior season on the Nease High QB. While the documentary was a little over the top towards the end, a few things stuck out to me:

- Tebow played an entire second half during his sophomore year on a broken leg. Not only that, but he managed to run for a 20 yard TD in that same second half. (Kudos to ESPN for showing the X-ray from the injury as well as the clip of the TD run). I’m pretty sure that Jack Youngblood is already a fan of the kid.

- Tebow came off as an absolute natural leader. I'd heard that about him in some recruting cahts but being able to watch the way he took charge of the huddle during some key moments in Nease’s season was some pretty enlightening stuff.

- Tebow helped to significantly elevate a traditonally poor (his coach commented during the documentary that "we were everybody's homecoming game three years ago") high school program in his four years. Nease won a state title this year, pretty heady stuff for a school who had captured a district crown since 1993.

- I’m going to go out on a limb and say that by the time National Signing Day comes along, the Gators will have offered (and signed) Tebow’s teammate Ryan Ellis. Ellis isn’t the most highly rated recruit but he was a big-time playmaker for Nease who also happened to have a very close relationship with Tebow. It’s just a hunch, but I think that Meyer will find room for Ellis come February.

- Finally, I’d like to welcome back Grant Hill. His presence on the floor alone makes the Magic a more dangerous team (and infinitely more fun to watch). If he can stay healthly (I’m actually pretty optimistic after last year), I’m expecting the Magicians to put together a nice run come the first of the year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Not happening...

That's it. I'm way too busy today to put up anything that I could be even remotely proud of. There's just too much going on here today now that I've announced my departure. More than anything, it is the constant interactions that I'm having with other departments. Each one of them is in full scramble mode as they attempt to load work on me before I head out the door in a couple of weeks. I'll definitely be posting reguarly during that time, but today now it's just too tough to get much of anything together. The weekend wrapup requires a more focus and time than I can expend right now so you're going to have to do without this week. Other than my discussion of the Josh Portis transfer situation, all of my comments below will be kept brief (extremely brief) as I try and mention all that would've been included in the normal wrapup.

- The biggest news of the weekend was that freshman QB Josh Portis is transferring from the University of Florida. There were seemingly no warning signs that a decision of this nature was approaching, at least not to the average fan. Those inside the program, however, have maintained throughout the last few days that this was not unexpected and that Portis’ mother, Patricia had a major hand in this decision. To many of the members of the Gator Nation, this woman (who moved to Gainesville from Cali with Portis) represents everything that is wrong with the overbearing parents that currently dot the sporting landscape (many have cited Patricia’s hand in Josh’s three athletically driven transfers while in high school). There have been an inumerable amount of articles on Patricia Portis’ behavior and her responsibility for this situation. I haven't bothered to link to them, but I'm sure a simple google of "Patricia Portis" will provide you with many of these. Still more articles have featured direct quotes from Patricia Portis herself on the situation. It is only today that anybody has actually heard from Josh, as he granted an interview to the Gainesville Sun. I’ve already discussed this with Jerry and TJ in the comments section of a few posts ago so I’m going to refrain from delving much more deeply into this, other than to say that it’s probably best for all parties involved, but that still doesn’t leave me (as well as many other Gator fans) wondering what might have been.

-The Dolphins could be pretty damn decent if they had a QB. They have legit players at all the other offensive skill positions and everybody knows about their defense. If they could find a competent trigger man in the offseason, then they might actually be good next year, well at least until December.

- Ronde Barber: What a guy! Just when you think that you couldn't love him any more, he comes out and singlehandedly changes to consecutive games that end up as Bucs' wins. If I ever have twins I'm naming them Ronde and Lito, wife's opinion be damned. Oh yeah, Cadillac, you're pretty damn great too.

- The US got screwed in the World Cup groupings. They have Italy, Czech Republic (#2 ranked team in World) and Ghana (best team in Africa). This is an absolutely awful draw for the #10 ranked squad in the world. Every World Cup there is a "group of death" and I think you can guess which group that's going to be in Germany next year.

- Duke-Texas was a spectacular disappointment. I don't think either team is nearly as good/bad as they looked on Saturday. Duke needs to find another consistent scorer before I buy them as a National Title contender. Texas just needs soem more time to gell and figure out how to run their offense.

-Gonzaga-OK State was a welcome addition to CBS on Saturday after it became clear that Indiana was going to give the "no vaseline" treatment to Kentucky all day long. Entertaining game with a fantastic (and extremely luck filled) ending. It was also nice to see fomer Gator (and former near 400 pounder) Mario Boggan playing well for the Cowboys.

-Best NFL game of the day: Chiefs-Cowboys. Two teams that I could give a damn about but an unbelievably exciting and intriguing game. Exaclty the reason that football is so much fun to watch at this time of the year.

-Charlie Frye looked pretty solid on Sunday. I know that the Bengals defense is average (at best) but the former Zip looked comfortable in the pocket while moving and throwing with aplomb, when neccessary. If you're a Browns fan, I'd be awfully excited about what this kid could (potentially) turn into within the next few years.

Finally, not to come off like the cheesiest guy ever but, there is nothing quite like a December sunset in Florida. Just a fantastic combination of oranges and purples that really takes your breath away.

Two weeks and counting...

For most people, the above phrase is representative of the amount of time until Christmas is upon us. However, for me, that phrase is indicative of the amount of time that I have left in my current job. That’s right, as promised some months ago, I’ve found yet another job to bring my considerable laziness and unmatched ineptitude to. I won’t go into the specifics (because I’m quite sure that nobody truly cares exactly what it is I’ll be doing), but I will say that I’ve been hired as the Director of Communications and Marketing at my new job and the responsibilities of said job are far more to my liking than the one I currently hold down.

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been running a YMCA for the past few months. It hasn’t been a horrible existence, but it does require a certain tactfulness and ability to effectively deal with idiots that I neither want nor care to possess. Combine that with the fact that this place is open seven days a week for approximately seventeen hours a day, and well, I think you can figure out why I was looking to get out of here as quickly as possible. I put in my official two weeks yesterday afternoon and will be informing the rest of the staff here later on today. So for those of you keeping score at home, the tally for the year now stands at 5 jobs, $20,000 in additional salary earned, and 7 weeks of vacation gained.

Through all of this, I’ve maintained that I was going to continually look for new (and better) career opportunities until I reached a point where I was making a comfortable salary in a job that was along the lines of what I wanted out of my professional life. I’m glad to say that I think I’ve finally reached that point. Then again, as one of my friends recently commented, I have become somewhat of a “career gypsy” so I probably shouldn’t start putting up my diplomas in my new office just yet.

While I’m on the subject of leaving jobs, I might as well touch on the Miami Heat situation. Actually, let’s not. Every other donkey with a microphone or a TV camera in front of their face has already taken care of that for me.

Since I’ve decided to eschew discussion of the Heat, I can talk about what a colossal bore I’ve become. This weekend was the first time since I was, probably, 15 years old that I didn’t go out on a weekend. I have no idea how this happened, really I don’t. I had every intention of going out and getting hammered on both Friday and Saturday evenings, but on both occasions I ended up on my couch with nothing but a couple of beers, a shot or two of Jagermeister and a papal ballot to keep me occupied. All of this from a guy who used to go out 5 nights a week when he couldn’t even pay his own power bill (Thanks, Greg). I have no idea what happened to me.

Since I didn’t go out this weekend, there was an awful lot of sports that I got to watch. I’ll tackle some of that when I return this afternoon with a breakdown of the weekend that was, or more appropriately wasn’t. You'll have to excuse me now, I have a letter of resignation to write.

Monday, December 12, 2005

So, I lied.

Depsite my best intentions, I couldn't quite get around to posting this evening. It's not that I was that busy, on the contrary. It was actually so slow in my facility that I spent most of my time shooting the breeze with various employees in my department.

That's the kind of boss I am, just one of the guys. Truthfully, I can't stand any of my employees and was mildy annoyed that I was being bothered by their constant chatter, as I have some things that I'd really like to address in this space as soon as possible. Rest assured that I will post at some point tommorrow...and you can also rest easy in knowing that all this build up will leave you spectacularly disappointed.

Coming soon...

I'm going to be pretty busy during the day today so I won't be able to write anything of substance. However, I will be leaving work this afternoon and returning later on this evening. At that time, I will have the neccessary time to focus upon a weekend update. It will be the standard weekend update, full of random all the random thoughts and ideas that pop into my head throught the course of three days off. In addition, there is some very big news that I'll be breaking in this space as well. Take a minute and move off the edge of your seat, it's going to be awhile and I wouldn't want you to wear yourself out too early in the day.

I've got some work to do now, but I shall return soon.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Stick to shooting, dick.

Since I am a little too busy to put together a post today I figured I'd conduct a little test. Let's see if anybody can figure out what's wrong with this excerpt from ESPN's "NBA Expert" Tim Legler's Early Season Awards.

"The steady, yet explosive play of Chris Paul (16.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 6.8 apg) has led the Hornets to a surprising 8-8 start. The rookie from Georgia Tech has taken the reigns for Byron Scott and has emerged as the leader of a team desperately seeking one. His ability to attack the rim was apparent in college, but he has shown a maturity and decision making ability that belies his inexperience. When the game is on the line, Chris Paul make sit clear that he wants the ball in his hands and savors the pressure associated with the NBA's most demanding position. "

I like how Legler says that Chris Paul's "ability to attack the rim was apparent in college...". Oh yeah? How many games did you watch Chris play in at Georgia Tech?

I realize that both Wake Forest and Georgia Tech wear the same colors (almost) but how is it possible that a well paid basketball expert could make a mistake of this magnitude? Furthermore, how can one of the many editors employed by the Worldwide Leader miss something like this?

Maybe I'm being a little harsh on Legler here. I mean, its easy to get confused when Chris Paul only played 70+ games at Wake Forest. You'll have to excuse me, I just threw up in my mouth.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I'd rather have a fucking fruitcake

I'm pretty busy today so I'm not going to do much other mention a couple of things that I forgot to mention during yesterday's post. I would talk about last night's game but what can I really add about a game that was 35-0 before halftime? At least Eagle fans still get to live in a fun, vibrant city...oh yeah, nevermind.

- While we're on the subject of ass whippings, I might as well tackle the Orlando Magic. Ever since I mentioned them last week they've completely gone in the tank, losing 4 of their last 5 games by 20 points or more. Culminating in last night's second half pillaging at the hands of Tim Duncan and the Spurs. The Magic kept it close until halftime (tied actually) but couldn't manage to keep the game interesting in the third as the Spurs opened up a double digit lead during the period's early stages. Honestly, that's to be expected when you're facing the defending champs and your franchise player is harrassed into a 4-18 shooting night. The one positive to take from this is that even with his abysmal shooting, Dwight Howard still managed to post his 13th double-double with 13 points and 15 caroms.

- As for the rest of the losing streak, the Magic have had some tough opponents during that stretch and they are playing without the services of Steve Francis and Keyon Dooling (in addition to being without Grant Hill) but too many losses bunched together this early in the season could really kill any momentum that the team has built up to this point. In an effort to do my part (because I'm an all around super dude) to change the current karma, I'm going to refrain from commenting on the Magic in this space, at least until Hill and Francis make it back on the court together. I'm sure nobody reading this cares in any way about this, well, maybe Greg.

I'd like to quickly call out Peter King for sarcastically opining on the "impact" of Cadillac Williams a few weeks back. I believe the exact quote was, "Remember when Cadillac Williams was an impact player?" Well, now that he's finally healthy again, Carnell's averaging 4.85 yards a carry in the last three games for a team that is one 29 yard missed FG away from being undefeated in those same three games. He also happens to be doing this for a team that consistently faces eight and nine man fronts because of the inexperience of their QB and the ineptitude of it's offensive line. Think you might have jumpred the gun a bit, Mr. King?

- Finally, I'd like to send out an extra special yuletide "Fuck you" to the higher ups in my company for the Christmas gift that they presented a bunch of us with late last week. After a year's worth of hard work and long hours for this multi-million dollar company, we were all rewarded with...a $10 gift card for Barnes & Noble.

Now, I like reading as much as the next guy. Hell, probably more than the next guy since most Americans would rather eat a raw egg than read a book. However, what, pray tell, kind of book am I going to purchase with ten fucking dollars? Thanks for breaking the bank on us guys. At least I can finally get my hands on that new Archie & Jughead comic. Maybe I'll have enough left over for some Tic-Tacs at the register.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Plastic Skin, men kissing men, millions of dollars and a booger...

I’d like to start today’s post with an apology to Anthony “Booger” MacFarland.


For a number of years now, I’ve labeled you both lazy and overrated. I stopped short of calling you a “bust” because you've been a moderately productive player since you joined the Buccaneer franchise. Truth be told, I DID think you were a bust and used you as a source of constant mockery as I watched the post-Super Bowl Bucs. While you will probably never be the game changing defensive tackle that Warren Sapp was in his prime (and that you were billed to be), you are a very good player and the anchor of an underrated defensive line on one of the NFL’s best defenses. You are not one of the top 2 or 3 tackles in the NFL, but most certainly fall within the top 10 of this category. I am appreciative of your efforts and value your contributions to the Tampa Bay franchise. Please except my apologies for all the digs at your game (and name) over the years.


Mark Hughes

As you might have guessed, today’s post will be the usual random collection of thoughts from this past weekend. I’ve got nothing to add beyond what you’re getting below.

- While I’m in the apologizing mood, I might as well address Sean Dockery. Actually, I don’t feel any need to apologize to young Mr. Dockery for anything said in this space. I will say this:

Congratulations on a miraculous shot that saved your team from an extremely embarrassing loss (at home). However, you are still a below average point guard with little to no discernibly outstanding skills. I hope you enjoyed last night because it’s never going to get better for you as a basketball player. Enjoy your senior season and buy yourself a pocket sized Russian-to-English dictionary, you’ll need it soon.

- Can we all agree to start calling Frank Beamer “Mr. September”? Is there another Head Coach out there who manages to have his program in the Top 10 every August/September only to consistently blow it down the stretch? It’s staggering to look at the numbers during the last 10 years. Other than the Michael Vick led team that played FSU in the Sugar Bowl, there hasn’t been a single Hokie team in the past decade to finish the season with the flurry of wins that most fans normally associate with a program that is well coached and headed in the right direction. It may be time to examine just how good a coach 'ole leather neck is. Yes, yes, we all know how great a job he does with his special teams and how they are near the top of the nation in punts blocked and we’re all very proud of his work in the area. The fact remains that truly good (or great) coaches get their teams to make progress throughout the year and peak near it’s conclusion, something that Beamer has not shown the propensity to do. Oh yeah, I missed a lot of that game so humor me here, but was it a (gasp) huge special teams play that changed the momentum of Saturday’s ACC Championship game or did I just dream that?

- As a result of Virginia Tech choking on Frank Beamer’s plastic skin, college football fans will now be forced to watch, not one, but two awful BCS Bowl games. Which brings up this point: If the BCS is going to allow the Big East to have a spot in the BCS, and if we are going to rely on Conference Championship games to determine the BCS participants, then can we please construct a clause within the BCS formula that allows for two “undeserving” teams to be forced to play each other in a BCS Bowl game? Would that really be that hard to draw up? The clause would go something like this, “If two conference champions with 4 losses (or who reside outside of the Top 20) both make the BCS in the same year, all bowl tie-ins will be rendered moot. Thus allowing for both of these teams to face off against one another in a committee determined BCS Bowl game.”

In the case of this year, the fans would get a West Virginia-FSU matchup and a Georgia-Penn State matchup instead of the current blowout inducing format. The only stumbling block to an idea of this nature would be the objections of the bowl that got stuck with the mediocre team crapfest that would potentially result from an FSU-WVU matchup. In this case, all the BCS officials would have to do is threaten to kick said bowl out of the BCS for good (or pay them a large sum of money for their collective troubles). At this point, I’m pretty sure that Orange Bowl officials (or whatever the unlucky bowl ended up being) would decide its in their best interest to shut up and take their medicine.

My point: If you’re going to make college football fans deal with the joke that is the BCS, then at least make an effort to give us the most attractive matchups possible. It’s really not that hard, it’s just requires a little critical thinking.

- I’m really dragging ass today and I’d like to personally thank Reggie Bush. I got up early on Saturday and had a Xmas party to attend on Saturday night, so I figured I’d catch a quick nap on the couch during Saturday afternoon. Well, by the time that I tried to take a nap, the UCLA-USC game had begun. Despite wanting to watch the game, I went ahead with the aforementioned nap plans. It nearly worked. I say nearly, because every single time that I was beginning to drift into unconsciousness Reggie Bush would break a run that caused Dan Fouts and Keith Jackson to jizz all over themselves in excitement. Upon hearing these two giggle like a couple of fifth grade girls passing notes, I would invariably roll over to see what I had missed. This happened at least five times in the first quarter and a half. The final time being Bush’s 65 yard run on third-and-ten from the USC 3 yard line. I was so close to passing out that when I rolled over to watch the replay, I immediately felt rejuvenated and was therefore unable to take the nap that I so sorely needed. Surprisingly, I wasn’t even bitter about this. I am, however, planning on sending the bill for the Red Bull I purchased later that evening to the football offices at USC, attention Reggie Bush.

- One benefit to my lack of nap was that I got to watch most of the Oklahoma-Villanova basketball game. As good as ‘Nova is, I didn’t think that they had a chance against a big, physical Sooner team. Man, was I wrong. Villanova played very well and totally wore down Oklahoma in the second half behind a brilliant game from Randy Foye, among others (Kyle Lowry and Allan Ray were pretty good too). As somebody who exclusively played guard during his playing days, I may be biased, but there isn’t a more enjoyable team to watch in college basketball today than Villanova.

- The Dodgers gave Rafael Furcal $39 million over 3 years? How is nobody else dumbfounded by this? I realize that $13 million a year isn’t an astronomical wage in Major League Baseball these days but, are you kidding me? $13 million a year for a 28 year old (at least) shortstop with career averages of .284, 11 HRs and 58 RBIs? That isn’t the least bit exorbitant to anyone?

- Ronde Barber, if you weren’t a man, well…I’d kiss you on the mouth. That was one hell of a display of defense when your team needed it most. If you could do that next week against Carolina, then that would be great, ummkay? Seriously, dude…you’re awesome.

- Finally, I know that most of you could care less about the recruiting efforts of the Florida Gator football program, but I do care about it so I’m going to continue to update this space with news that I consider to be especially important to those efforts. Late last week, the Gators gained a commit from the #2 rated linebacker in the nation, who also happens to be a JUCO transfer (can anybody say instant impact?). His name is Larry Grant and I’m already getting giddy imagining him and Brandon Siler dominating opposing ball carriers. If he pans out, then I’ll finally be able to get over the sting of losing Lance Mitchell (due to UF admissions standards) to Oklahoma a couple of years back. I’ve got a good feeling about this guy, and I base that feeling on…absolutely nothing.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Lots of useless opinions (in no particular order)

Nothing quite like Friday afternoon, unless you're talking about Friday afternoon at home instead of work. In that case, their is something like Friday afternoon, only its far better than the original. I didn't call in sick to work today, I just took a vacation day because I've already put in enough hours this week. I did have to go meet with some lady from the local paper about our 2006 marketing strategy but that lasted a little over an hour so it was only mildy annoying. Anyway, I've been really busy this week and haven't been able to peruse the internet at my normal rate so I'm probably a little behind on some of the happenings of the sports world. Mind you, not nearly as far behind as Greg, who didn't find out that Miami had lost to Ga. Tech until this past Monday morning. Then again, Greg was in Mexico on Round 2 of "Greg's Magical & Mysterious Communicable Diseases Tour" so we'll cut him a little slack on that one. You'd be surprised how much scouring Guadalajarra for underage hookers can take out of you...seriously.

I'm gonna be straight with you here, I'm not very motivated today so we're going to keep it short and sweet. Nothing but random thoughts and events from the past week. Some of this stuff is a little dated at this point, but I took the time to write it down in my notebook so you're gonna have to take the time to read it, damnit. What else are you going to do this afternoon? Work? Right, I'm buying that.

Christmas music:

Enough already. Do we really have to hear this crap for an entire month straight? I understand why the stores play it, but I see no need for it to take over the programming of every other english speaking radio station in America. I was out to dinner last night and this garbage was blaring over the speakers for the entire meal. Couldn't we just all agree to keep this shit off the airwaves until the days hit the double digit mark in December?

I like Christmas alot, really I do. I just don't want to hear Blue Christmas by Elvis three times a day for a month, and I may murder somebody if I have to hear Barbara Streisand's version of Jingle Bells ever again. You've been warned. Surprisingly, I could listen Jose Feliciano's Feliz Navidad during the middle of Agust and be completely content.

Monday Night:

I didn't get home until just before halftime because I had two playoff games for the Men's Basketball League that I play in. Yes, you read that correctly, basketball. Unlike many men my age who play in softball leagues, I choose to play in a basketball league. I'm a whole lot better at basketball and the ball is a lot softer. So, you see, their is far less of a chance of me ducking away from the ball in horror and shreeking like some 12 year old girl in your junior high gym class. That would be embarrasing for everybody involved so I'm under the impression that my choice of sports is in everybody's best interest.

Anyway, on Monday we played two games because the league that I play in thinks its neccessary to have both it's semifinals and finals on the same night. Don't ask me why they do this, because I have no idea. It might also be hard for me to hear you because I've got my back to back league championship rings stuffed in each of my ears. Actually, we get t-shirts and visors (Gee, thanks) but my team did capture it's second consecutive league title game so I'm still way too cool to be bothered with that sort of inane question.

When I did finally get home from my games, I did notice a few things about the game:

- Peyton Manning sure is an asshole. Just watching him bitch at his lineman and dismissively wave teammates off the field makes me angry. It's not him being an asshole that bothers me, it that he is clearly a HUGE asshole but still attempts to come off as a genuinely nice guy whom his teammates enjoy. I had the same problem with Michael Jordan during his career. Listen, nobody appreciates a complete and total jerk off like this guy. Hell, I've patterned my entire life around the basic principles of being an asshole. here's mybeef: If you're going to be an asshole then just be honest about it and flaunt it. I much prefer my asshole athletes in the mold of Albert/Joey Belle and John McEnroe than to have them be like Manning or Jordan.

-Some guy in the crowd in Indy had a big "D-Caf" sign. That was good for a chuckle.

-I don't think that Pittsburgh would've won that game barring a major meltdown from the Colts. However, I did have a big problem with Bill Cowher's strategy on two key plays. First, the onside kick to start the second half. It's easy to criticize this move now (just watch me) but this move really hurt the Steelers. Other than the first play of the game, the Steeler defense had accounted for itself pretty well throughout the first half. Manning was clearly frustrated by the half's end. So, instead of kicking it deep and relying on your defense to get a stop and give your offense good field position, you onsides kick it and give Indy a short field. Momentum wise, this decision was a killer. Second, the QB draw playcall on 4 & 5 early in the fourth. I know this call has worked for Pittsburgh in similar situations this season, but it's a bad call on 4 & 5 with a QB who is just coming off knee surgery. On a 4 & 5 you have nearly your entire playbook at your disposal, Mr. Cowher. Next time this situation arises, I suggest you use it to find something other than a QB draw.

- ABC brought up a stat for Reggie Wayne that showed he has the highest "Passer Rating" of any receiver in the NFL over the last four years. When did receiver's start getting passer ratings? How does this even work? Was I out of the country when this decision was made? I am totally flummoxed by this. I don't even know what to do with this information.


-Marco Killingsworth looks like he should be working on an assembly line at one of the GM plants in Detroit. Are you kidding me? I'm not even joking when I say that he looks old enough to be Mike Davis' brother.

Speaking of Mike Davis, his relationship with Killingsworth and Lewis Monroe (the other Auburn transfer) was brought up numerous times during the game on Wednesday as the reason that these two guys transferred to Indiana. This is just a question, but doesn't that sound alot like tampering with another program's players? I guess that Indiana could take the stance that Davis didn't contact either of these guys until after they decided to leave Auburn. Yet, I still find it hard to believe that Davis bonded with the two of these kids so quickly after their respective decisions that they both decided to go to Indiana within weeks of being released from their scholarships at Auburn. Furthermore, it is highly irregular for anybody to transfer to another Division I school with just one year of eligibility remaining, much less two guys from the same program deciding to do this and also deciding on the same school as their transfer destination. As they used to say on Scooby-Doo, "This smells a little fishy".

-Sean Dockery has to be the worst scholarship point guard in the history of Duke's program. Other than the ability to play average (at best) pressure defense, I can't name a single thing that this guy brings to the table for Duke. Would somebody please explain to me how he was a McDonald's All-American coming out of high school? For Pete's sake, I wouldn't even trade jumpshots with the guy, whihc is saying something because my jumper isn't going to be portrayed in the Gugenheim anytime soon I bet Lee Melchionni gets sick everytime he thinks about having to give up his scholarship 9as a freshamn) for that no talent spazz.

-Shelden Williams might want top start brushing up on his Italian. When you get torched by Marco Killingsworth in the way that Williams did on Wednesday, chances are that you probably don't have much of a future as a starting power forward in the NBA. I see many supporting roles on other players' posters in your future, Shelden.

LaDanian Tomlinson:

Why are people even bothering to discuss whether he's the best running back of all time? Shouldn't there be some rule that says your name can't even enter the discussion of all-time best backs until you've gone over 10,000 career rushing yards? Does everybody in the media have this much respect for Marty Schottenheimer? Don't get me wrong, the guy is a very good football coach but he's never even won a Super Bowl and he stuffs his play sheet down the front of his pants. LaDanian doesn't even make the Top Five and he's not going to for quite some time, so let's all just forget that Marty ever even said this, okay?


-They're actually playing pretty well right now. They had won 4 in a row before Wednesday's loss to Chicago. They are a completely different team this year, as evidenced by the 13 point drop in their defensive scoring average. Part of this is certainly due to the change in offensive philosophy under Brian Hill, but alot of the credit must also go to Hill and his coaching staff for instilling the need for defensive intensity in this group and for realizing that with big men like Kelvin Cato, Tony Battie and (to a lesser degree) Howard, it was in the best interests of his team to slow down the pace and force teams to try and score on the Magic in the halfcourt.

Some of the (especially) bright spots with this team are Dwight Howard (of course) who seemingly gets better with each game he plays, and is even managing to force teams double team him when he sets up on the block these days. Other than Dwight, special credit should go to Steve Francis and DeShawn Stevenson. Francis is playing under control and keeping his turnovers to a minimum while still maintaining his aggresiveness on offense. I'm still hoping that the Magic can ship him out by February for some picks and prospects but you have to like the way he's attempting to fit in with this team and it's philosophy. As for Stevenson, he's become the Magic's best perimeter defender and toughest player. He's playing on a badly banged up knee that keeps him from practicing (and will requrie surgery at season's end) but he's playing good enough D to frustrate guys like Dwayne Wade, Paul Pierce and Ricky Davis. He still has one of the 5 ugliest jumpers in the league, but he attacks the basket on offense and seems to add an edge to this team when he's on the floor.

The player who deserves the biggest pat on the back (from me, not himself...who do you think he is Barry Horowitz?) is Jameer Nelson. Jameer has become the Magic's version of the 2005 version Ben Gordon, if that makes any sense. He consistently scores in double figures during the fourth quarter and is in the middle of every big run that the Magic make late in games. I thought he played pretty well last year, but he's come back this year far better than at any point during his rookie season. Some of this is no doubt due to having a year's worth of experience under his belt, but alot of this improvement is a result of Nelson's much improved mid-range and three point jumpshot. I've said, since the day he was drafted, that I thought he had a lot of "poor man's Tim Hardaway" potential (save for the speech impediment) and this season's early returns have done nothing to make me think otherwise. If Jameer keeps this up and doesn't get invited to the Rookie-Sophomore game (once again) their ought to be a congressional investigation.

Just to summarize: I don't think that the Magic make the playoffs but they are competitive and tough. Two things you haven't been able to say about this franchis in quite some time.


- I take offense to the ESPN the Weekend ads that claim to "have something for every fan". Unless there is a Punch Stuart Scott directly in the face booth then their is absolutely nothing for me at this contrived cross promotional weekend in lovely Lake Buena Vista, FL, or as I like to call it, "Hell on Earth". At least DisneyWorld isn't in the middle on the Anaheim ghetto like Disneyland. I'm not even joking when I say that there's a pawn shop across the street from DisneyLand. Seriously, who could make something like that up?

-ESPN sure loves showing the highlights from the 1987 AFC Champioship game during the middle of the afternoon. This is at least the sixth time I've seen this show in the last year. I have to admit that it's not nearly as fun this time around because I'm not watching it with Calvin. Calvin grew up in Ohio (have I ever mentioned how much I hate the entire state of Ohio?) and loves the Browns. Whenver this came on, I would make a point to let Calvin know about it. Even going so far as to go into his office and turn on the TV so that he would have to watch part of it. Calvin's a bit irrational so this would normally end up in hom throwing (and possibly breaking) something, which is always good for a mid-afternoon chuckle at the expense of him and the godforesaken city of Cleveland.

I think we should all get drunk this weeknd and root for UCLA. That's what troy Aikman and I are doing anyway.

-Did you know that Bill Cowher was the special teams coach for the 1987 Browns? Me neither. I do know that the corduroy hat he was wearing during the Championship game is one of those fashion trends that just never, ever goes out of style.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Excuses...and I'm an asshole...

This is probably all I'll be able to post for the remainder of the week, unless I can manage to find some time on Friday afternoon to waste pontificating on all that is wrong with the world, and of course, right with me. Here's a hint: EVERYTHING.

If you hadn't guessed, I'm especially bitter today. I'm stuck finishing up my 2006 budget and marketing plan for the rapidly approaching fiscal new year of my company. I'm quite sure I'll be able to finish this all during the course of work today, but then I'm off to Orlando for a day's worth of meetings tommorrow. After that, there's a solid chance that I'll call in sick on Friday. As you may have guessed, that prediction has absolutely zero to do with my health at the current moment and a hell of alot more to do with me wanting to start my weekend just a little bit early. That's all I've got time for today.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Shutouts (almost) and Shout outs.

Where ya from?

And who ya crew?

If you didn't get the two questions above, don't worry about's a Chocolate City thing.

I'm not going to write too much this afternoon. Part of that is due to the power outage that caused my first post to be erased just as I was editing it. The rest is due to the amount of work that I have to do after being out of the office for the past few days.

I will start off by saying congrats to the University of Florida football team for their nearly historic 34-7 victory over Florida State University. I say nearly historic because it would've been historic only if the Gators had managed to pitch a shuout. Despite the lopsided score, it wasn't the most impressive or efficient performance that I've ever seen out of the Gators, especially the offense (Will somebody work with Chris Leak on his accuracy over the summer? I'm begging you!). Even without the shutout, the game was still a beatdown of Florida's biggest rival. In fact, the Beatdown in Ben Hill (I made that up, thank you very much) was just the kind of dominating performance against an in-state rival that results in some serious juice on the recruiting trail. Don't believe me? Just check out the number of commits that Urban and his staff have picked up since Saturday. None of these commits are binding until February but you still ahve to fel good about the way things are shaping up. If you have time, and you want to waste it, then check out some of the videos of these recruits, specifically Jarred Fayson.

Other than Saturday's victory, my weekend was a menagerie of sleeping, drinking and complete and utter immaturity. Don't know what I mean? The non-football highlight of my Sunday afternoon was when Matt sidled up to the unsuspecting face of Dave and let loose with a vicious seafood gumbo fueled fart that brought down the house. I was nearly in tears. Yes, I know, we're all extremely mature individuals.

Of course, I needed something to lift my spirits after Matt Bryant summoned the ghost of Martin Grammatica by missing a 29 yard FG with just over two minutes left and the Bucs down by three. That is the kind of mistake that can change the course of an entire season, especially when you're a young football team that has to go on the road for the next three consecutive weeks. I don't want to talk about this game anymore. Watching that kick was enough to make me want to crawl into bed until Monday morning.

Luckily for me I didn't go to bed, as there were three fantastically entertaining OT games yesterday. The first games ended exactly how I like OT games to end, with exciting and decisive finishes. Don't get me wrong, I thought that the Giants-Seahawks game was great, but it's also a little challenging for me to stay finely focused on a game with which I have no vested interest in when it's two participants are making less progress towards victory than Gunnar Esiason and Doug Fluite Jr. in a 110 meter hurdles race.

Finally, a big MVP (or is it MP3) sized shout out (do I hyphenate that?) goes to Chris Silva for bringing home top honors in the 8th Annual Turkey Bowl. Silva, aka OJ Santiago, bounced back from last year's loss to capture the MVP by tossing 10 TDs while also returning a pick for a TD. According to my records, this makes Chris the most successful Mexican QB since Archie Manning's half brother (and Mexican League legend), Julio Cesar Manning. Congrats again Silva.

My original post was longer and far more grammatically correct but I'm too damn tired (and pickled with alcohol) to try and piece it back together in my head. Enjoy the rest of your day...bitches.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Working hard...or hardly working?

I've been pretty busy today trying to take care of some things (coughjobinterviewcough) before I take a half day off tommorow and a full day off on Friday. It's asinine that I even have to take a day off on Friday, but that's besides the point. I'll use my vacation on Friday to head up to Gainesville for the first (and last) time this season to take in the Florida-FSU matchup. The game doesn't mean as much nationally as many of the past classics between these two teams but I assure you that the dimished implications of this tussle won't result in any less passion or excitment from the fans, players, and coaches involved. Regardless of what people may say, these two teams are each other's biggest rivals and a win in this game changes the way that fans view the entire season (to a degree). I'll try and do a small post on Friday morning about the weekend's festivities, but that all depends on how late Thursday night/Friday morning lasts.

I'm really looking forward to Thanksgiving and the reason for that is Sure the food will be great and it's always nice to spend a little time with your family, but that's not what I've been waiting for. I've been anticipating Thursday because Thursday will be a day chock full of football. First, on Thursday morning, my friends and I will get together for the 8th Annual Turkey Bowl. It's a well established Thanksgiving tradition at this point, and all the participants look forward to it's arrival with a level of excitement usually reserved for lapdances and mind altering fungi. What do you expect? You're not exaclty talking about the Consortium for High Moral Standards when my friends are the topic of discusion.

After a game that is guaranteed to be short on athleticism and long on hungover guys in their 20's, I'll retire to my parents' house for the best slate of Thanksgiving Day NFL games in recent memory. The Lions suck, but at least they're playing Michael Vick and the Falcons. Regardless of if you have any vested interest in either of the teams, it's always fun to watch Michael Vick do Michael Vick type things (as opposed to watching him do Ron Mexico type things). Shortly after Michael Vick has finished skeeting all over Detroit's defense, the Cowboys will play host to Denver Broncos and "No Mistake" Jake Plummer. In my opinion, this is (on paper) the best game that we (as a nation) have been given on Thanksgiving since the late '90s. Then again, I always end up falling asleep during the Cowboys game on Thanksgiving so I'm probably not the guy to listen too when it comes to the Thanksgiving activities of America's team.

Two last things before I go:

-Michael Irvin's tie on Monday Night Countdown last night was an abomination. If Irvin had been shirtless, his belly button would've been exposed. I realize that you're wearing a coat with that tie Michael, but maybe you should take more than 20 seconds putting your tie on when you plan on removing that coat during the broadcast, don't you think? I've seen kids at their first commuinion with a better idea of how to dress like a man. If you have enough time to pick out a mink coat for your court appearances then you can probably the spare five minutes it will take Ron Jaworski to teach you how to wear a tie.

- If there's a better song out there than House of the Rising Sun, then I don't want to know about it.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Pretty...pretty...pretty good

There you have it, my four word assessment of the University of Florida's victory over Wake Forest last night. Despite my optimism for this season, I was genuinely worried about being run out of the gym by a much more experienced Wake team. In actuality, the Demon Deacons were alot closer to getting run out of the gym than the Gators ever were.

Taurean Green played the game of his young Gator career as he recorded 23 pts, 5 assists, 4 boards and 3 steals while also managing to control the tempo of the game to the Gators' favor. He could've had at least another 3-4 assists if it weren't for some missed layups inside by the big men. I'm sure he's going to be up and down this year but he is already much more of a true point guard than Anthony Roberson ever was. In addition, both Corey Brewer and Al Horford overcame sluggish starts to finish with 15 and 11 points, respectively.

A special note of congratulations should also go to Horford and the rest of Florida's frontline (Joakim Noah, Chris Richard, and Adrian Moss) for their collective efforts on All-American candidate Eric Williams. Furthermore, Billy Donovan played nine guys last night and I'd expect to see the bench minutes increase as the year goes on and some of the freshmen become more comfortable in their roles. This is going to be a very deep team capable of throwing alot of different lineups on the floor as the season progresses. As for tonight's final, I'm worried about how a team this young will handle the Syracuse 2-3 zone. If Florida is to win then they'll need a big game on the perimeter from uber-bama Lee Humphrey. Win or lose it's going to be tough for me to get too upset a night after knocking off the #18 team in the country.

Finally, in my excitement over last night's game I failed to mention the single best thing about this Florida team...the Corey Brewer face. Corey Brewer is not an attractive young man, not by a longshot. He's the kind of kid whose mother had to tie a ribeye around his neck just to get the dog to play with him. Just unfortunate, as my girlfriend would say. What's not unfortunate are the crazy faces he makes. Vitas noticed it in a picture form the SEC Tournament last year where Brewer looked like he was sucking on a tabasco soaked lemon during a postgame celebration. The bottom line is this: When Corey Brewer is on the floor you're going to get a minimum of 13 points, 3 steals and two crazy faces. In fact here's one :

As for the sport that normally dominates my weekends, college football is quickly coming to a close. It seems like just last week that I was listening to my drunk girlfriend bitch about the two TV setup in my living room. Sadly, it's not early September but, rather, mid-November and the bowl season will be upon us before too long. Not before a healthy heaping of rivalry games in the next two weeks, though.

The Gators have the week off to prepare for the annual showdown with Liver Spot Bowden and the Noles. Which reminds me...did you hear that Florida State "recovered" their missing National Championship trophies? As it turns out, two graduates of Florida were responsible for the heist and ended up turning the trophies into authorities earlier this week. Here's hoping that these two fine young gentlemen get themsleves a judge who graduated from law school at UF and not FSU. Oh wait, that's impossible because FSU doesn't have a law school. At least they have a good medical...nevermind, umm, well their Circus is definitely one of the best around.

Anyway, back to tommorow's games. Their are a number of interesting games between tradtional rivals and even a USC-Fresno matchup to add some spice to the late afternoon. Fresno may not be a natural rival to USC but they are bunch of bitter, valley residing hicks who would love nothing more than to ruin the season of all those hollywood pretty boys down in LA. As for the rest of the games that I'm interested in, I'll break them down as quickly and succintly as possible beginning now:

Michigan-OSU: Great rivalry. It's too bad that nobody ever tells the Michigan fans that they're supposed to do things like "stand during games" and "cheer for the home team". As a result, the overall feel of these games is never quite what it should be when this game is in the Big House. Still a great rivalry that always involves a ton of talent. Prediction: Buckeyes by 10.

Alabama-Auburn: The Iron Bowl, or as I like to call it, The Clash of inbreeders and rednecks that really, truly hate each other. Alot of rivalries claim to be about hating the other team and fall short, this is not one of them. Most (if not all) of these fans would rather have a son-in-law named LaDarius before they'd cheer for the opposing team. Prediction: Auburn by 6.

Penn State-Michigan State: Battle for the Land Grant Trophy...are you kidding me? What a joke. This isn't even as big a rivalry as Mel-Hi and Palm Bay. Let's just not even pretend like these two schools are bitter rivals in any way, shape or form, alright? Prediction: Penn State wins and Joe Pa kisses Derrick Williams on the mouth.

Cal-Stanford: The Big Game. Who named this thing the Big Game anyway? Who, outside of the Bay area, even cares that this game is taking place this weekend? Nobody, thats who. I don't know jack about these teams (and care even less) but my good friend Mike Coffey is the Strength coach at Stanford, so I'll pretend to be interested for at least an eighth of the game (a quarter is far too long). What do you want from me? It's not like you'll be watching. Prediction: I watch exaclty zero second half minutes and Cal wins by 13.

Va. Tech-UVA: Winner gets a "Virginia is for Lovers" T-shirt. Loser has to give the opposing coach a sponge bath. Prediction: Frank Beamer's creepy plastic neck will be shining brightly on Saturday evening.

Oregon-Oregon State: The Civil War, or as I like to call it "The Battle for the Bong". Do the cops even bother searching people on the way in to this game? Seriously, you'd be eliminating half the crowd before kickoff. They'll be more patchouli at this game than people who can correctly identify the neccessary elements of a screen pass. Prediction: Lots of points for Oregon and a contact high for all those in attendance.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Here come the Gators....

For anybody who's ever watched a University of Florida home football game, the mere thought of that announcement ringing over the loud speakers in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium can elicit goosebumps. Oh, there we go.

Anyway, I'm not talking about football here but rather the return of the University of Florida to the hardwood. Technically, the Gators have already played two games this season as they opened at home against St. Peter's and Albany in the early rounds of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. With all due respect to both of these fine institutions of higher learning, I wasn't all that worried about the Gators losing these games, and I certainly wasn't going to put alot of stock in the individual and collective performances in either of these games. That's why, for all intents and purposes, the 2005-2006 season begins tonight at 7:30 in Madison Square Garden against Wake Forest.

By now, everybody is aware that the Gators lost their three leading scorers off their SEC Tournament Champion team to the NBA (congrats to all three for making NBA rosters, something that this guy thought highly unlikely for both Anthony Roberson and Matt Walsh). As a result, there are far more questions about this Gators team than answers. If you're looking any definitive answers from me then you're barking up the wrong tree. I have a feeling for what we might see but I can't pretend to know with any certainty about the squad that's going to hit the floor in MSG tonight. Truthfully, nobody knows exaclty what to expect from this team. Not even their coach, who has said as much in interviews. Other than sophomores Corey Brewer and Al Horford, there isn't a single player on this team who has proven themsleves to be a consistent performer in high-major college basketball.

With all of that said, this Florida team is much stronger inside and far more athletic than the last three squads that Billy Donovan has trotted out. I expect to see Billy return to the days of relentless full court pressure, pushing the ball on offense and ten man rotations.

Predictably, many pundits are predicting a big fall for Florida this year, but I have a different feeling about this group. What this team lacks in offensive firepower, they will more than makeup for in defense and toughness. They may struggle early, but they'll hit their stride by the time conference play rolls around. Florida will not only be competitive within the SEC but also finish near the top of their division while earning Billy D. his 8th straight NCAA Tourney berth. Their will be no star on this team (though Corey Brewer has a shot at being a big time player in the SEC if he gets more comfortable offensively), rather this will be a collection that is greater than the sum of its parts. For the first time in years, the Gators will be playing the style of basketball that Donovan envisioned when he first came to Gainesville. That alone should be enough to get Gator fans excited for the season, it certainly is for this guy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Buhhh! Ed Rider...

It's already past 5 and I haven't even begun to put together any material for my previously promised afternoon post.

Oh well, I lied. It's certainly not the worst thing I've ever done. That honor would most likely be a two horse race between the time I peed on some girl in my sophomore year and then shamed her out of school by the semester break (it was a very small college) and the time some friends(I'm looking at you Greg) and I got one the retarded kids in school elected as the ninth grade class president. Come to think of it, I've definitely done alot worse than either of those in my time but since I'm not exaclty "built for prison" we're going to drop the subject.

The subject at hand for this evening's mini-update is none other than basketball. (cue Kurtis Blow's classic "Basketball"...We're playing basketball, we're playing...). Well you get the idea.

-The Magic finally pulled out a win at home last night over the Charlotte BETcats and Rookie of the Year Emeka Okafor. This game was of special interest for two reasons. First, the Bobcats are a team that the Magic could, and should, beat at home (even though Charlotte won 3 of 4 last year). Secondly, this was the season's first clash of last year's #1 and #2 picks. Dwight Howard was selected #1 by the Magic but he finished second to Okafor in the Rookie of the Year voting. Don't think that his teammates haven't been reminding Howard of that fact every chance they get either. Somehow I think that Dwight was the guy doing all the talking at this morning's shootaround. Dwight came in to the game with better stats than Okafor in every major statistical category, further serving notice that he was the right guy for the Magic at #1. His increased output is not only a sign of his continued improvement but also a by product of his increased role within the Magic's offense. Howard continued to build upon his already stellar season last night as he posted his fifth straight double-double, getting 21 points and 20 rebounds on Charlotte. Getting to watch this kid develop is almost worth the pain caused by the Magic's decade of ineptitude.

- I had no idea that Reggie Theus was the Head Coach of a Division I basketball team. Am I the only one who missed that blurb on ESPN? Evidently, he's the coach at New Mexico State...that's big step up from high school ball in Indiana. I only found this out because I turned on ESPN2 last night to catch a little of UCLA's game against NMSU. I tuned in to catch a little of UCLA point guard Jordan Farmar, who I think is the best young point in the country right now. He's extremely smooth, a more than capable scorer and he runs a team like few his age. He has a good shot at being a lottery pick in a year or two. As for NMSU, Reggie and the boys were having a tough go of it offensively against a pretty athletic Bruin team. Though I think you can attribute alot of NMSU's struggles to them being without their leading scorer, that cute blonde girl who plays shooting guard and dates the power forward. Her jumpshot just changes the way teams have to defend the Lobos.

- Finally, while we're here I thought I'd give you another drinking game to pass the time this evening. Tune in to the Lakers-Knicks game tonight. Everytime that the announcers bring up Larry Brown and/or Phil Jackson and their new jobs/challenges, go ahead and take yourself a big swig of firewater. You'll be hammered by halftime and Greg Anthony will actually make sense.


Just a city boy....

I'm pretty busy right now scouring the internet for a new place of employment. I do have some real work to do but, the way I see it, that work isn't going anywhere and a better job may very well be. As I'm busy this morning conducting my search, I won't be able to do much writing but I'll try my damndest to get something more substantial up by this afternoon.

In the meantine, I thought I'd share with you a few items of interest (to me). When I got in my car for the ten minute drive home last night, the local classic rock station was just jumping into a block of Journey, unbeknownst to me. You can imagine my excitement as I pulled out of the parking lot to the sweet sounds of Wheel in the Sky. My drive would only get better from there, as the guitars of Wheel quickly gave way to the opening pianos chords of Don't Stop Believing. I was sitting in my driveway before Steve Perry had even stop serenading my work weary heart. It was enough to make me forget how much I hate dancing to whitey's tune all day long, for a little while at least. Thank you Steve Perry, you are a god amongst men.

In other music news, some of the University of Miami's fine student athletes recorded quite a little love song last year. It's found it's way onto the internet and I've found it suitable to bring to you today. Click on this link, shut your office door and let the good times roll.

Just in case you were wondering, Linebacker Tavares Gooden wears #52 for the Hurricane Football team. I promise you'll understand why I told you that in a couple of minutes.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Pour out a little liquor...

For former WWE Champion Eddie "don't call me Pedro" Guerrero, who died in his sleep in a Minneapolis hotel room on Sunday night. First comedian Mitch Hedberg dies in a Minneapolis hotel room late last year and now Latino Heat bites the dust. The moral of the story is, of course, never sleep in a Minneapolis hotel room. I don't care if you have to stay up all night doing blow with Kent Hrbek and Jimmy Jam, just don't go to sleep in those Minneapolis hotel rooms. It's like playing russian roulette except it involves slumber and a hotel room instead of bullets and a gun...other than that, it's exaclty the same.

I actually tuned in to a little bit of RAW last night in an effort to see some of the hearfelt tributes to Eddie by his comrades in the WWE. Not because I was a big Guerrero fan (Rey Mysterio Jr. was always my favorite Mexican wrestler) but more because I think it's hilarious watching 300 lb. steroid ingesting gorillas try and adequately express themsleves in any emotion that doesn't involve rage or utter insanity. Now, I don't mean to be an insensitve jerk or anything (it just comes so natural to me though) but last night's episode of RAW could have been the basis for the greatest drinking game of all time.

Here's how it works: You wait until they cut to a taped tribute to Eddie from one of the other WWE stars. Then every time that one of these wrestlers says "uh" or "um" during their time, you have to drink. If you had been playing this game last night you would've gone through at least a double deuce during Triple H's tribute to Guerrero alone.

By the way, Triple H was either extremely fond of Latino Heat or he put on the greatest performance by a wrestler/actor since Andre the Giant in The Princess Bride (my apologies go to Hulk Hogan for his star turn in Suburban Commando...close but no cigar). Either way, the water works were flowing for Mr. Helmsley last night.

Since you've already got the cold 40 out, you might want to let a little hit the ground for Donovan McNabb. Not only did he throw the most devastating pick of his career late last night (or early this morning) but he also managed to get absolutely trucked while trying to stop Roy Williams from scoring on the ensuing return. I'd be amazed if this guy can even walk today after the beating that he's taken this year.

One last random thought: Of all the names that have been made up over the last twenty to thirty years (and that's quite a large number), none have stood the test of time quite like Jarvis. Jarvis is most certainly NOT a real name. However, it has worked it's way into the American culture for so long now that most people who read/hear the name Jarvis never even bat an eye. This makes me wonder which of the seemingly ridiculous names that we hear these days will have become commonplace by the time I'm wearing a pair of Oops! I crapped my pants. D'Vontrey? LenDale? Demarco? NaDerris? Aleric? Jamarcus/J'Marcus?

Yes. These are all real names, most of which belong to some of the nation's top football recruits. In case you were wondering, I'm planning on naming my first son Ovington. Well, either that or Beasley...after none other the man, the myth, the legend himself, Beasley Reece.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I'm just a caveman, your world confuses and frightens me...

I’m stuck at work for another hour or so this evening so I figured I’d use the time to get up my thoughts on the weekend that was. I’m not gonna lie to you, I’m a little worn down from the weekend, as it saw me do an awful lot of late night reveling on both Friday and Saturday evenings. As if the copious amounts of alcohol that I ingested weren’t enough , I even went so far as to donate a portion of my paycheck to the good people of Columbia courtesy of their most prized national export. I’m not talking about Carlos Valderamma either.

So there you have it, my preemptive apology for the following post, as it is more than likely going to be a subpar effort. It’s 6:15 on Monday night and I’m still at work, deal with it. Furthermore, as a result of being at about 45% of my normal brain capacity, I’m going to try a new format for the weekend wrap up. I will fit all my proceeding thoughts and/or analysis under one of two categories: Things I enjoyed about the weekend and things that I did not enjoy. I know it’s a very complicated system, so just try and keep up.

Things I didn’t enjoy:

-Florida losing to South Carolina. I had a feeling that this game could end up in a loss so it’s not like I was shocked by the outcome. What I found especially vexing was how winnable this game turned out to be. Even more so than the LSU game that saw the Tigers turn the ball over 5 times while amassing 13 penalties. In my opinion, this game came down to four key moments. If the Gators had managed to prevent just one of these four from happening then Florida's got a real shot of winning. If somehow they could have stopped two of these from happening then I'm talking about a rematch with LSU in Atlanta right now instead of a third Outback Bowl appearance in the last 4 years.

(1) The first quarter interception and subsequent 50 yard return by D-Lineman Chris Tucker on South Carolina. He should see him now, he's really let himself go since Friday. After Tucker pulled a joint out of his sock, lit it up a joint and passed it to Spurrier, South Carolina's offense stepped on the field at the Florida five yard line, quickly converting the field position into a touchdown. The crowd went crazy, the offense got a confidence boost and Florida had to play from behind on the road once again.
(2) The long catch and run by WR Sidney Rice. After closing the gap to 20-19, Florida surrendered a 60 yard pass play that got USC down to the 1 and eventually resulted in a TD. USC's defense had been dominated by the UF offense on it's last drive and the folks in black and maroon were getting awfully quiet. This play re-energized the crowd and got the Gamecocks back to believing that they could pull of this upset. HUGE momentum swing.
(3) Florida’s next offensive possession. Even after going down 27-19, the Gators were not ready to fold. After physically dominating the Carolina defense on it’s prior drive, the Florida offense was back on the field and running the ball down the Gamecocks’ throats. That is until the offensive line reverted to their early season struggles. Florida had a 2nd and 1 at the Carolina 49. False Start, 2nd and 6. Holding, 2nd and 16. One yard run, 3rd and 15. Florida ended up punting one play later and they would never look competent on offense again. There were a lot of costly penalties in this game but none larger than those two. Instead of responding with a long TD drive of their own and sucking the life out of the stadium, the Gators punted and further fueled the emotional Carolina crowd.
(4) Illegal participation penalty with 1 minute left in the 4th quarter. While it’s unlikely that the offense would have driven 70+ yards in a minute, it would have been nice to give Chris Leak and Co. a shot at saving the season. Of course, they never got that chance. The eleventh penalty of the day for Florida. South Carolina wins. I have nothing more to say. Well, actually...

- Dee Webb’s play at corner: I’d like to take the time to personally call out Dee Webb. You’ve been labeled a “shut down corner” by many pundits and that’s a flat-out lie. You are a decent cover corner who struggles mightily against top-flight SEC receivers (see: Bowe, Dwayne and Rice, Sidney among others). You were torched by the freshman Rice on Saturday and it’s time for people to start calling you what you are, overrated. You’re a junior now, the learning process is over and there are no more excuses. Right now you’re a whole lot closer to Bennie Alexander than you are to Lito Shepard. Step your game up.

- The Magic’s OT collapse yesterday. After trailing by as many as 20 early in the second half to Cleveland, the Magic clawed their way back into the game, finally taking the lead at 96-94 (their first lead since 4-2). Shortly afterthat , Orlando found themselves up by 3 with 16 seconds left. Cleveland called timeout and designed a play for Donyell Marshall to get a look at a three on the right wing. The play worked perfectly and Marshall nailed a very tough shot. I know that a play like that has got to take the wind out of your sails, but you are professional athletes and you've got to be able to get past a play like that. Especially when you still have ample opportunity to win. The Magic couldn’t/didn’t and the next thing you know they were down ten with just two minutes gone in OT. They totally folded when it got tough and ended up losing by 9. Pulling out a win after something like Marshall’s shot could have been a huge boost to the overall confidence of the team, instead it is just another example of so many of the things wrong with this Orlando team. On the bright side, Dwight Howard recorded his 4th straight double-double last night. That’s life as a Magic fan, silver linings.

- White people who have replaced the “n” word with thug. I have noticed quite a bit of this lately. A football fan will say something like, “Santana Moss is such a thug.” Really? How many times has he been arrested? What exactly has he done to merit being labeled a “thug”? It seems to me that many people judge somebody as a thug based on things like skin color, hair style and number of tattoos. That’s not a thug folks. A thug is someone who will pistol whip you for the last pork chop, not someone from an underprivileged background with a questionable fashion sense. Additionally, as for Moss, he originally went to Miami on a track scholarship and I have a real hard time calling anybody a thug that’s ever worn tights at a major public event. I’m just saying.

Things I liked:

-The Geico commercial with the Cavemen. I pretty much like anything that involves Cavemen. Captain Caveman, Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, you name it. In my mind you can’t really go wrong with a joke that involves a Caveman or men. Speaking of Cavemen, my friend Greg’s dad looks just like a Caveman. He’s used to look like the lead singer from the Spin Doctors but he’s lost all his hair and I’m pretty sure that his head has grown a bit since his younger days. My point? Go Cavemen!!

- The Buccaneers’ unbelievably exciting win. Easily the most entertaining Bucs game in 3-4 years. That’s not saying as much as most might think, since the Bucs specialize in games where one of the participants puts up single digit points. This game was far different though. It had everything. Great plays in every phase of the game. Two teams trading huge plays as momentum swung on what seemed like a minute to minute basis. A (hopefully) breakout performance by a young QB with plenty of doubters (this guy right here chief among them). Even some controversy late. For the record, I don’t think that Alstott crossed the plain of the goal line. However, I also believe that the replay was far too inconclusive to merit an overturn of the call on the field. Either way, I was ecstatic that it stood and that the Bucs defense stepped up and finished the game against a Skins offense that had given them fits all day long. This was the biggest game (in terms of playoff implications) the Bucs have played in about two years and, as a team, they responded with a fantastic effort. If they had lost yesterday, the playoffs would be little more than a pipe dream today. As it stands now, they are in the driver’s seat for a wild card berth. They have a couple more very tough games and Chris Simms is going to have to continue to progress against some very tough defenses but, for now, all is good at One Buc Place. Fantastic effort and a fantastic win.

- Hanging out at my friend Kurt’s house yesterday afternoon. I watched the end of the early games as well as the first half of the Bucs game at Kurt’s. Kurt has NFL Ticket so it’s a gathering place of sorts on Sundays. I managed to catch the end of the Giants game, which was a good finish and especially satisfying due to Kurt and his brother Matt (they’re from Long Island) being nearly suicidal after the Giants gave up a game winning FG drive. Watching those two suffer through losses never really gets old for me. That alone wasn’t what made my time there so enjoyable. Rather, it was the conversations that took place during the two to three hours that I was there. The topic of conversation was pretty much relegated to the people in attendance (6 of us) and the actual topics included such subjects as vaginal narcolepsy, sexual assault, drug trafficking, herpes, slapping girls with dick, and men who kiss each other on the mouth. At one point (just in between vaginal narcolepsy and dick slapping) I was giggling like a little girl while I writhed on the couch uncontrollably. I haven’t laughed this hard since we met the waitress who Mark McCracken licked his own spunk off of. Fear of prosecution keeps me from divulging anything further but trust me when I say a good time was had by all. Well, I can’t speak for the girl with the mushroom shaped bruises, but I certainly enjoyed the hell out of myself.

- Finally, I haven’t watched a ton of HBO's Rome, more along the lines of watch one episode, then miss the next episode. However, if you have a chance to tune in to a rerun of this week’s episode I strongly suggest you do so. You don’t even have to watch the whole thing, just make sure you turn it on at about the 40 minute mark. What you will see is one of the more fantastic, and gruesome, fights scenes to ever grace your TV. The special effects left a little to be desired, but as far as blood and guts go you won’t watch a better ten minutes of TV all year. You can thank me later.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Southern Showdowns....

A big weekend in the SEC is quickly approaching with no fewer than three games that will dramatically affect the standings as well as the postseason plans of a number of different teams throughout the conference. The matchup that most intrigues me is obviously the annual SEC East tussle between the Florida Gators and the South Cackalacka Gamecocks. This is a battle that is usually one of the more lighthearted affairs of the SEC season. Despite being division foes and playing each other every year, this rivalry has always been missing a lot of the traditional animosity that is a hallmark of intra-divisional matchups in the SEC. This was always due in part to South Carolina being an extremely inconsistent, often downtrodden football program. It seemed as if the arrival of Lou Holtz in the late 90’s would add some juice to this rivalry but after the ill-fated attempt to “blackout” the Gators in 2001 (Gators won 63-10 in Columbia) this rivalry once again regressed back into just another late season game among many other more notable November matchups on the college football landscape.

However, this year is already shaping up to be as spirited a game as anyone can remember between these two long time rivals. This is due, in no small part, to the new head coach in Columbia, none other than Steve Spurrier. Spurrier is still a god to many Florida fans even as he directs a new program within the same division as his alma mater. Honestly, why shouldn’t Florida fans have these types of feeling for him? This is a man who not only won the Heisman at Florida but also managed to resurrect a severely tarnished program when he took over in the early 90’s. The fact that Spurrier then went on a run of success not seen in the SEC since the likes of Bear Bryant should not discounted either. Without Spurrier, the University of Florida is still just another school in the SEC instead of the nationally recognized powerhouse that it’s become over the last fifteen years.

As it stands now, Spurrier has South Carolina out to an improbable 6-3 record (including a win over Tennessee) despite an off-season that saw him kick a number of key players off of an already talent thin roster. Down in Gainesville, Urban Meyer has fought through a slew of injuries and some shaky play on offense and now has his Gators sitting at 7-2 with a chance to win the SEC East this Saturday. It’s tough to imagine a more compelling scenario for Saturday’s game. Spurrier has the chance to knock off a second top tier SEC team that just happens to be his alma mater, while Meyer has a shot to take Florida to it’s first SEC title game since Spurrier was coaching in Gainesville. Provided that he can muster a win in what will assuredly be an absolutely electric Bryce-Williams Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Of course, a good deal of the country will not be able to see this game as it has not been picked up by either CBS or ESPN due to two other SEC showdowns on Saturday. Alabama is set to put their undefeated record to the test as they take on LSU in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. If this game was being played in Baton Rouge then I’d go with LSU here. Even on the road, I’m tempted to take an LSU squad that has been improving all year long. However, LSU typically makes more mistakes on a Saturday afternoon than Verne Lundquist. There’s no questioning the talent on this team, what is in question is their ability to avoid killer penalties and turnovers. Alabama has been living a charmed life so far this year and I just can’t see the dream dying in Tuscaloosa on Saturday.

Finally, Saturday night on ESPN Georgia and Auburn get together to renew the South’s Oldest Rivalry. These two teams have been playing each other since the beginning of time, or at least since Beano Cook was in high school. Besides the obvious rivalry angle at play here, Georgia could clinch the SEC East with a victory over Auburn. Conversely, if Georgia were to lose and Florida knocked off USC then the Plainsmen/Tigers/War Eagles would have denied DJ Shockley his place in Georgia history while also helping Florida back atop the SEC East. I haven’t watched a lot of Auburn this year but I do know that they have a very good defense and a solid running game. They also happen to have a very bad kicker (as evidenced by his FIVE missed field goals against LSU). Georgia, on the other hand, will be buoyed by the return of DJ Shockley as well as a generously lathered up home crowd who will be fired up from about noon on. I’d like to say that I’m seeing an Auburn upset in the future but I’ve been bitten by this scenario before and am going to wait before I start making any reservations for Atlanta. In any event, Saturday promises to be a day long on storylines, individual matchups and (hopefully) drama that fans in the South should remember for years to come.

A couple of other items:

-Florida’s injury situation has gotten god damned ridiculous. It started with Andre Caldwell and Ray McDonald going down in the Tennessee game. Since then, Florida has had injuries to each of their remaining top three wide receivers as well as injuries to starters at tailback DeShawn Wynn (shoulder), DT Marcus Thomas (knee), Corner Vernell Brown (broken leg), Safety Jarvis Herring (thigh) and LB Earl Everett (knee). The most concerning of these injuries is undoubtedly the broken leg suffered by Vernell Brown against Vandy. Despite his size (and a large group doubters, yours truly included) Brown has been the Gators’ most consistent cover man in a secondary that has fallen short of it’s lofty preseason expectations. After he left Saturday’s game with Vandy, his replacement, converted wideout Reggie Lewis, was picked on relentlessly resulting in two pass interference penalties and a number of completions. The matchup with Spurrier’s passing attack was a major concern before Brown’s injury. Without Brown, I would expect to see the Gators play far more zone than at any time yet this year.

-Florida caught a real break with the schedule for Saturday. In just about every other possible scenario this game would be at least a 3:30 game on CBS, if not a Saturday night ESPN game. Yet, because of the other two marquee SEC matchups of the day, Florida and South Carolina’s game is being shown locally on JP Sports at noon. It’s tough to over state how much this benefits the Gators. The extra 3-8 hours of tailgating would serve to add quite a bit of liquid enthusiasm to the South Carolina faithful and therefore make the atmosphere in Columbia even more intimidating than it’s already going to be on Saturday. As it stands now, it should be near halftime before the rednecks in South Carolina get their collective faces out of their grits.

- Spurrier will run at least two trick plays against Florida, one of which will be a halfback pass back to the QB. These types of plays have always been a staple of Spurrier’s arsenal during big games going back to his earliest days at Florida (probably at Duke too, but I’m not going to pretend like I watched him coach in the ACC). Spurrier knows that he doesn’t have the overall talent to matchup with Florida so expect him to rely on his wits in an attempt to level the playing field.

Finally, it is my assertion that Monday Night Football would be imminently more enjoyable if ABC would hire Jason Bateman to reprise his role as the color commentator from "Dodgeball". Who wouldn't enjoy his antics more than listening to John Madden hem, haw, and stammer his way through 45 replays a night?

Why do I bring this up? Because I meant to bring this up during my Tuesday entry and John Madden makes me want to impale myself on a javelin.