Podcast for 10-27-10

October 27, 2010

Thanks again to everyone who listened to us on UStream tonight. It’s always nice to hear from you.

For those that didn’t get a chance to listen live, you can check it out by clicking here.

Let us know what you think about the BCS standings. We want to hear from you. Should Boise State get a legitimate shot at the National Title, or is there strength of schedule too much to keep them out of the top 2. Leave a comment and let us know.

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Podcast for 10.20.10

October 20, 2010

We talk the latest in South Carolina football from USC and Clemson. We give our reaction to the first week of the BCS polls. James weighs in on the Panther’s decision to bench Jimmy Clausen and we welcome our first viewers on uStream.

Click here for this week’s Podcast.


Brutal NFL Hits Must Be Punished

October 19, 2010

In America, we like to see action.  Most people watch NASCAR for the wrecks, hockey for the fights, and football for the bone shattering hits.

The problem is, those bone shattering hits are becoming less figurative and more literal.

After this past weekend in the NFL, these helmet-to-helmet hits have to stop.  It seemed like there was a letter that went out to all defensive players to try and kill an offensive player this week.

While that is drastic, look at this past weekend.  Joshua Cribbs (Browns), Mohamed Massaquoi (Browns), DeSean Jackson (Eagles), Todd Heap (Ravens), and Dunta Robinson (Falcons) all suffered concussions this week, that we know.

Robinson, who suffered a concussion on the hit he delivered to Jackson, Brandon Meriweather (Patriots), and James Harrison (Steelers) all deliverd some of the most brutal hits seen in the NFL in several seasons.

In each situation, the defensive player was head hunting.  Only New York Jets’ safety Jim Leonhard and Robinson were given penalties for their hits.

After such a brutal week, the NFL has announced that they will start suspending players for helmet-to-helmet hits that appear intentional and deliberate in injuring an player.

James Harrison, Brandon Meriweather, and Dunta Robinson all have been fined on Wednesday by the NFL for their hits on Sunday.

The NFL has to be strong in their enforcement of their new policy.  They cannot let players get away with these hits anymore.  They must stand tough, much like the implementation of the Player Conduct Policy.

James Harrison helped his cause by saying that he goes out there not trying to injure anyone, just hurt them.  The NFL is thanking Harrison for making it easier to fine him.

What had to get the NFL’s attention was the comments of two defensive players, who were somewhat considered dirty in their time, Tony Siragusa and Rodney Harrison.

Siragusa said on FOX’s telecast of the Falcons and Eagles that the Robinson-Jackson hit was one of the hardest he had ever witnessed.  Rodney Harrison said on NBC’s Sunday Night Football postgame show that this was one of the worst weeks he has seen for devastating hits.  Harrison also added that fines meant nothing to him when he played, but the threat of suspensions deterred him from making the hits.

While a different situation, the consequences of this game are remebered with the injury to Rutgers’ defensive tackle Eric LeGrand.  LeGrand is paralyzed from the neck down following a tackle he made on Saturday.  While he was not a trying to injure himself or another, it is certainly a reminder of the costs of the game of football.

So one wonders, will it take the death of a player, in game, to get the NFL’s attention?  Or is the announcement of possible suspensions enough for the NFL to be proactive, rather than reactive, if the unthinkable occurs?


Panthers Going Back to Moore Gives Panthers Another Loss

October 18, 2010

Carolina Panthers’ Head Coach John Fox announced Monday that he will insert week one starting quarterback Matt Moore as the starter this week against San Francisco.

Jimmy Clausen, the rookie from Notre Dame, started the last three weeks, and the team remains winless.

However, this move, while it could result in a win or two, sets the organization back in a rebuilding year.

When Clausen was inserted as starting quarterback, there was no looking back.  Starting a rookie quarterback signals that you are trying to build for the future, not trying to get wins.

This does not compare to Cleveland, who started rookie Colt McCoy against Pittsburgh.  He started because of injuries to the other two quarterbacks on the roster, Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme.

The St. Louis Rams realized that first-overall pick Sam Bradford was their best option.  Any decision, no matter his quality of play, to remove him as starting quarterback would prove to be detrimental to Bradford and the Rams’ long-term success.

Clausen is a different situation.  The team drafted him to be the team’s quarterback of the future.  John Fox felt that the future started a few weeks ago.

Now, you shake up the confidence of a young player, whose problems on the field are not entirely his fault.  An inept offense and a coach who has the appearance of no longer caring could just be the tip of the iceburg as to the problems to this team.

John Fox is trying everything to save a job he has already lost.  The Panthers are striving to be the number one pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, not making the playoffs.

While Clausen may have been thrown into the fire a little too early in his young NFL career, the Matt Moore era in Carolina ended after week two.  Going back to him now just signifies that it is going to get worse in Charlotte before it gets any better.

Can the season end any quicker for Carolina fans?  Is Bill Cowher on speed dial for Jerry Richardson?


Gamecocks Have Letdown, Lose 31-28 to Kentucky

October 17, 2010

The #10 South Carolina Gamecocks, a week removed from their upset of #1 Alabama, loses to unranked Kentucky 31-28.

Despite the career day by Stephen Garcia, who threw for a career high 382 yards, the Gamecocks let a Kentucky team, who ranked 19th in the country on offense, stay in the game even with a 28-10 halftime advantage.

An injury to freshman phenom Marcus Lattimore contributed to the stagnant offense by the Gamecocks in the second half.  Lattimore had three touchdowns and 212 combined yards of offense.

(Lattimore was not on crutches following the game.  The injury is being classified as a left ankle sprain.  Lattimore says that he expects to be ready for Saturday’s game at Vanderbilt.)

However a blown coverage by the South Carolina defense allowed Kentucky to take the lead late in the 4th quarter.  A 24 yard reception from Mike Hartline to Randall Cobb, followed by a successful 2-point conversion gave Kentucky the three-point lead.

Stephen Garcia led the Gamecocks back down the field.  A ill-advised play, called presumably by Steve Spurrier, was intended for Lamar Scruggs, a redshirt freshman with only two career receptions.  The Garcia pass was tipped into the air and intercepted by Kentucky’s Anthony Mosley.

Kentucky quarterback Mike Hartline, who one year ago suffered a season-ending knee injury against South Carolina, demonstrated that he was a rising star in the SEC, throwing for 349 yards and four touchdowns.

It is easy to blame the defense for a blown coverage, the four turnovers, inability to stop an all-purpose athlete such as Randall Cobb, continuing the maturation process of quarterback Mike Hartline, and a mistake in play-calling.  In the end, it goes back on quarterback Stephen Garcia.

One week removed from the best game of his career, Garcia, recognized as the SEC Offensive Player of the Week, continued a startling trend in the second half against Kentucky.  With the exception being the game against Alabama, Garcia has struggled in the second half of games, after looking impressive in the first half.

Garcia, if he wants to truly be considered one of the top quarterbacks in the Southeastern Conference, has to take that next step.  When Marcus Lattimore went down with a left ankle injury, that should have been the time for Garcia to step up as a team leader, and put this team on his shoulders.

With the status of Lattimore unknown at this point, Garcia becomes the focal point of the offensive gameplan.  It is his job to take hold of that.

Until he seizes the moment, becomes a consistent quarterback on a week-to-week basis, he will still feel the wrath of head coach Steve Spurrier.  He will also feel talented freshman Connor Shaw breathing down his back.

There has never been a question about Garcia’s talent.  There has always been a question about what is going on in his head.  If the Gamecocks expect to contend for an SEC Championship, they will need to have the Stephen Garcia from the game against Alabama, not the Garcia that Gamecock fans have seen most of the last two seasons.


Braves’ Bobby Cox Says Good-Bye

October 12, 2010

Atlanta Braves Manager Bobby Cox closed the book on a baseball career that spanned nearly half a decade Tuesday night as the Atlanta Braves were eliminated from the postseason by the San Francisco Giants.

It closed the book on the most respected and perhaps the best manager of this era, Bobby Cox.  Cox led the Braves to one World Series championship, 14 consecutive division titles, and 5 National League pennants.

Cox, as Braves General Manager, brought in the face of the franchise in Chipper Jones, drafting him first overall in the 1990 MLB draft.

The long-time Braves manager was also known for his numerous ejections.  Cox leads all of MLB with 158 ejections, but most of them were defending his players, keeping them in the game.

Cox was known as a players’ manager.  Cox was very humble, never taking any credit for himself.  It was always the players that made him such a successful manager.

For young Atlanta Braves’ fans and baseball fans in general, Bobby Cox has been the only manager of the team.  He is the guy who still yells out to his players like they were on a little league team, and still wears those metal spikes like he was getting ready to play.

It was sad to see the available players, largely due to injury, that Cox had to put on the field.  This is meant as no disrespect to the players who participated in the postseason for the players.

Of the eight position players who were in the Braves’ 2010 Opening Day lineup, only two (Jason Heyward and Brian McCann) were in the same position on Tuesday night.  (A third, Troy Glaus started Game 4 of the NLDS at third base.  He was in the opening day lineup as the starting first baseman.)

However, Cox never once doubted that his team could win.  He never has.  Cox always believed in his players, and believed every game that they could win it for him.

Now, an era in baseball has ended.  Bobby Cox is no longer the Braves’ manager.  Future and current managers try to emulate his style, but no one will ever be able to replicate or replace a legend.

Looking forward, the favorite to try to fill his shoes is former Florida Marlins’ manager Fredi Gonzalez.  Gonzalez served as the Braves’ third base coach from 2003-2006.  Cox was very supportive of Gonzalez and criticized the Marlins for firing him earlier this season.

Bobby Cox will be missed, but never remembered.  All that is known will be that it will be weird to hear that the manager of the Atlanta Braves is not followed with Bobby Cox.

Another way that the world sometimes is a cruel place, an upcoming press conference announcement referred to Cox as the team’s former manager.


Week 6 BCS and SEC Bowl Predictions

October 11, 2010

First, keep in mind, these are not projections.  These are predictions.  A projection would be more of an “if the season ended today” situation.  These are my predictions as to what will happen and the matchups you will see in this year’s BCS Bowl Games and the SEC’s affiliated bowl games.

BCS National Championship – Oklahoma vs. Boise State – I am sticking to my guns on this one.  Alabama’s loss to South Carolina Saturday promotes my thought that the SEC is too powerful this year for any team to go undefeated.  Ohio State and Oregon will each lose at least one game due to their tough schedules (at USC, Arizona or at Oregon State for Oregon; at Wisconsin, at Iowa or Michigan for Ohio State).  Oklahoma and Nebraska will both likely be 12-0 going into the Big 12 Championship Game, which I see Oklahoma winning.  As for Boise State, they are unbeatable, especially in that conference.  No other AQ team will be undefeated, and neither will TCU.  Boise State gets the nod, further showing the need for a playoff.

Rose Bowl – Oregon vs. Michigan State – Michigan State has an easier schedule in the Big Ten this year, not having to play Ohio State.  They will ultimately shock the world and win the Big Ten, but not go undefeated.  Oregon is clearly the best team in the Pac-10 and will win the conference, likely with a heads-up tie-breaker with Stanford.  As I said in the above piece, they will falter in at least one conference game this season.

Sugar Bowl – Alabama vs. West Virginia – Alabama will recover to win the SEC West, and ultimately the SEC championship.  However, with one loss, they get left out of the national title picture and picked up in the Sugar Bowl.  West Virginia will win the Big East and get their automatic bid.  The Mountaineers will wind up playing their second SEC West school, the first being their one loss to date, at LSU.

Orange Bowl – Florida State vs. Ohio State – Florida State has risen to their historical power and seems to have separated themselves from the rest of the ACC with a dominant performance over rival Miami in what might be a preview of the ACC Championship Game.  Ohio State will get an at-large bid and selected to the Orange Bowl to face Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles.  At the end of a disappointing season for the Buckeyes, they still make it to a BCS game, but ultimately lose the conference, which will be one by Michigan State.

Fiesta Bowl – Nebraska vs. Auburn – With Nebraska losing the Big 12 Championship Game to Oklahoma (at least in this scenario), they take a short step back and travel to Arizona for the Fiesta Bowl.  This is still a successful end to the season for Nebraska, with a final record of 12-1 and their only loss coming to BCS National Championship contender Oklahoma.  Auburn has had an amazing year behind quarterback Cam Newton and will finish the season 11-1 with their one loss coming in the Iron Bowl to rival Alabama.  They miss the SEC Championship game, but still get the final at-large bid over teams like Utah, TCU and Stanford.

Capital One Bowl – South Carolina vs. Wisconsin – South Carolina’s win over then #1 Alabama puts their team into perspective.  They are here to play and they want to win.  They are currently in the driver seat in the SEC East and should end up winning it over Florida.  But the Gamecocks will fall short in the rematch with Alabama in the SEC Championship Game and drop to the Capital One Bowl.  Wisconsin, even after a possible win over the Buckeyes drop from BCS Bowl consideration, but still end up with a good season.

Cotton Bowl – Arkansas vs. Missouri – Arkansas is talented enough to play for the SEC Championship, but will fall short, much like they did against Alabama.  They will still finish with a good year behind quarterback Ryan Mallett, and even though they wanted more than the Cotton Bowl, they should be happy.  Missouri is a surprise team in the Big 12 this season.  Texas’ loss to UCLA will be their doom as they drop past the Cotton Bowl, likely to the Alamo Bowl or Insight Bowl.  Arkansas vs. Missouri will be a high-flying offensive attack, and a very exciting game that will be remembered in Cotton Bowl history.

Outback Bowl – Florida vs. Iowa – No matter how bad they look, Florida is still Florida and they still have Urban Meyer.  They will recover for a nine win season and get a bid to Atlanta.  Though it’s not the bid they wanted.  Iowa has had a more disappointing year as they too were expected national championship consideration.  They have dropped and finish fourth in the Big Ten.  This gets them another bid to the Outback Bowl, which they will hope is as successful as their last trip when they beat South Carolina in 2009.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl – LSU vs. Miami – Read this well SEC fans:  Les Miles is a terrible coach.  That being said, they will ruin their 6-0 start and drops games against Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas and perhaps even Ole Miss.  Miles will prove it’s not always better to be lucky than good, and it cannot be pulled off all year.  They have not hit the meat of their schedule, so be afraid LSU fans.  On the other side, Miami is another team with national championship hopes that dropped further than expected.  I just do not see two ACC teams in the BCS.  After losing the ACC Championship Game to Florida State, they will get the next best bid, to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

Gator Bowl – Mississippi vs. Michigan – This is the first year of an SEC Gator Bowl, and will be the third SEC/Big Ten matchup on New Year’s Day.  Mississippi will have a nice recovery to this season, but not nice enough to reach the fans’ expectations of quarterback Jeremiah Masoli.  But after a loss to FCS school Jacksonville State, at home, all Rebels should be happy with any bowl game.  Michigan will hit the wall I have been warning people about and drop to the Gator Bowl.  They are a one man show with an average defense.  Denard Robinson is electric, but as a smaller mobile quarterback, with Big Ten defenses and the cold weather bearing down on him, he will be slowed down.

Music City Bowl – Kentucky vs. Georgia Tech – Kentucky is a much better team than people give them credit for.  But they are still in the SEC and will not make it past the Music City Bowl.  Fans should however take solace in the fact that they were selected to a bowl over traditional SEC East powerhouses Georgia and Tennessee, both those they can beat this season.  Georgia Tech has been a question mark all year long.  One week they lose to Kansas (who lost to North Dakota State), then beat preseason favorite North Carolina and lose to N.C. State.  The Yellow Jackets will recover to a seven win season and get to Nashville for a shot at an SEC team.

Birmingham Bowl – Georgia vs. Pittsburgh – Formerly the Papajohns.com Bowl, the Birmingham Bowl gets an SEC vs. Big East matchup, and luckily grabs two talented teams here.  All be it, two talented teams with remarkably disappointing seasons.  Georgia, once with SEC Championship hopes, started the season with an A.J. Green suspension and a 1-4 record, but will recover for a 6-6 finish and a bowl bid by the skin of their teeth.  Pittsburgh returned the Big East’s 2009 leading rusher Dion Lewis (1799 yards last season) and a talented defense, with hopes of winning their conference.  However they start the season 2-3 with losses at Utah, at home to Miami and in South Bend to Notre Dame.