I’ll get my few comments about the LSU/Mississippi St. series out of the way. If you haven’t yet, please check out my Rivalry post about the series, which despite being played annually (in fact, it is LSU’s most-played series) has not resulted in a win for the Bulldogs since 1999. Even in the bad LSU years that preceded that game (such as the 2-9 team in 1992), the Tigers won, usually in convincing fashion. That is my most popular post over the last year. Judging by search teams such as “has mississippi state ever won against lsu” (now that would be a streak if the answer were no), “mississippi state losing streak against lsu”, etc., it’s at least in part due to interest in how well the Tigers have done over the last 20-25 years in the series.
Les Miles isn’t exactly on the hot seat right now, but Glenn Guilbeau had an interesting take on what losing to Mississippi St. has meant for coaching careers at LSU.
Speaking of Les, he mentioned a couple fun facts during his press conference. When the Tigers held ULM scoreless with less than 100 yards of offense, that was the first time since 1941 that the Tigers recorded consecutive shutouts at Tiger Stadium. In 1985, the Tigers had consecutive shut-outs during conference play; but the two games were separated by a bye week, and the second game was on the road. LSU finished in second place in the SEC the latter year (among teams eligible for the title), just a half-game behind Tennessee.
Gerry DiNardo (left) could no longer figure out how to beat anyone in 1999 but nearly upset Jackie Sherrill’s Bulldogs anyway. LSU has not lost to Miss. St. since.
Week 3 College Football Rankings 2014
(Teams new to the rankings have logos posted below. I was in more of a retro mood today, especially given some of the teams below.)
1 Auburn 1
2 Oregon 2
3 Oklahoma 3
4 Florida St. 4
5 Alabama 6
6 TX A&M 8
7 LSU 7
8 Notre Dame 10
9 Ole Miss 12
10 BYU 11
11 S Carolina 18
12 Penn St. 24
13 Georgia 5
14 Pittsburgh –
15 E. Carolina –
16 Boston Coll. –
17 UCLA –
18 Va. Tech 9
19 Virginia –
20 USC 14
21 Louisville 15
22 Ohio St. 19
23 Arizona –
24 Missouri –
25 Okie St. –
Out of rankings: (13) Clemson, (16) Mich. St., (17) Stanford, (20) Arizona St., (21) Baylor, (22) Florida, (23) Duke, (25) N. Illinois
I haven’t become too much of a purist this week (although you can check out my completely objective top 10 here), but I decided you actually have to have beaten somebody of substance to be on this list. I was a little bit liberal with that, especially in the case of Oklahoma St., but UTSA nearly beat Arizona and had a 6-game winning streak going into the Arizona game. This policy will help ease the transition into the computer system.
I also opted against ranking any team ahead of a team that beat them. I think that makes sense this early. The likes of East Carolina, Boston College, and Virginia might be flukes, but if we find that out later, so be it. When teams down the win chain start to beat the higher teams (for instance, maybe Louisville beats Boston College and USC beats UCLA) is when it gets tricky, and that’s when I resort to my objective system.
If you’re a little hazy, I’ll go through the main ones (best wins of the lowest ranked team in parentheses):
Texas A&M > S. Carolina > Georgia (> Clemson)
Pittsburgh > Boston College > USC (> Stanford)
UCLA > Virginia > Louisville (> U. Miami)
East Carolina > Virginia Tech > Ohio St. (> Navy)
Let's see, what should I write about after such an uneventful week? That's hardly the case as we all know, but what you won't be reading here is a rant about Donald Sterling, our guys have all covered it and since I don't care about the bouncing orange ball let's get to the good stuff...where men are men and even play with a broken leg because they put TEAM above everything else, something you'll never say about the NBA and the prima donna's that play in it. All I will say is that in less than a week we've seen the story break, the world go ballistic and the NBA axing Sterling. Pretty unprecedented when you think about all this, a pro team owner removed, no trial, no evidence other than a tape recording of Sterling talking to his lover and not knowing it was being recorded. That's what I have a problem with, but since Sterling is a lawyer I'm sure he's not going away quietly, and we haven't come close to hearing the end of this story yet.
The NHL playoffs are now in round two, there have been great games in every series. I kept asking Beeze when NY was going to finish off the Flyers, it took seven games but I knew the Flyers wouldn't beat Lundqvist in game seven in the Garden...and they didn't! The rangers now move on to play Sindy Crosby and the Pittsburgh Whiners. The Pens got by the Blue Jackets, but while doing so Marc Andre Fleury has hardly been the reliable backstop he's been in past seasons, giving up 18 goals in six games with 2 of them going to OT. Don't be surprised if the Rangers knock the Pens out, the big mismatch here is goaltending, Fleury is no Lundqvist. Also, Crosby and Malkin combined for 3 goals and 10 assists in that series, but what you're not really hearing much is that Crosby didn't have any goals, and the three Malkin got came off a hat trick. Crosby has certainly cooled off and gone into a scoring drought and this has been ongoing since he returned from Sochi. He was lighting the lamp before that, but the last 3 weeks of the season he wasn't playing up to snuff, he also went into a 5 game stretch not notching a goal. I expect the Rangers to give the Pens a real physical game, something they don't play unless you call diving and instigating being physical.
The Minnesota Wild...wow, did they turn it on after the break and grab one of the last two spots in the West only to be a spoiler or what? I had Colorado in that series, but you still have to tip your hat to the job that Patrick Roy has done with this team and they're only going to get better...look for big things from the Avs next season. The Wild now take on the Blackhawks, this is the best of the two series in the West, Anaheim hasn't got a prayer against the Kings, and if you don't believe me just watch the rerun of that game seven against San Jose (or ask B.O.B.) and then get back to me if you think the Ducks can overtake LA. The Wild will give the Blackhawks a series, I believe they were 3-1-1 against Chicago this season...not too shabby against the defending champs eh? What would be just great is to see the Wild shutout the Blackhawks in Chi-Town if for no other reason than to just not hear that fuckin' song they play. I mute the TV every time they score when I'm watching...I can't stand that shit!
As I write this the Bruins and Canadiens are tied. no matter how this turns out I'm not worried. One thing I know about these two teams is they play each other with incredible intensity and elevate their games to a different level, and since it's the playoffs that level will be off the charts. I'm saying Boston in six, but I won't be surprised if it went seven either. Boston is pretty healthy all the way around and they're not over rested, which we tend to see hurt teams that are idle, and judging from the way this game is being played they haven't lost a beat. This will be the best the East has to offer, it's certainly one of the more anticipated games since it's a HUGE rivalry and there's a genuine andshared hatred for each other....doesn't get better than this, so if you're looking for a game that's going to give you everything...this is the series to watch.
I saw a great blog on Facebook yesterday and I tagged some of you with it. It was written by a guy named Jim Parker, a Bruins fan and it's a 5 minute read on the "hatred" Boston and their fans have for the Canadiens and their fans. It's hilarious, but incredibly true...at least I think it is. Check it out! http://bruinsfansinc.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/why-i-hate-the-canadiens/
The Vancouver Canucks fired one year coach John Tortorella today. I saw this coming, and never imagined in a million years he'd even coach this franchise, but there he was, behind the bench coaching some of the biggest divers in hockey. Torts demands 100% from his players, he's no nonsense, no sense of humor, he requires his players to fall down to block shots constantly, something the Canucks just are not about at all. I'm sure Torts personality, arguments with media and coaches didn't make him a real prize in the city that burned itself down after they lost the Cup to Boston...but this season the Canucks went from a playoff team to sitting home and watching because they went in the wrong direction. I'm wondering, did the Sedin's or any of the other players get with the folks in the front office to get him ousted? I wouldn't be shocked by that revelation at all. Tortorella will get a job, no doubt about it. I'm just waiting for the stories to start coming out from what brought this sudden ousting on...one year and you expect miracles? It's not a coaching problem in Vancouver, it's a player problem. Any real fan of hockey has seen enough of this team to know it's long overdue to be broken up and rebuilt, starting with those two freaks of nature, the Sedins. Yeah, good luck with all that!
And lastly, I can't help but say this: DON'T PANIC RED SOX NATION!!! I must have read about twenty articles in the last week or so about the start the Sox have had. They're in 3rd place, 3 games out after 29 games and you're panicking? Or feel the need to stir the masses with this ridiculous garbage when the season isn't even barely a month old? Really? This is the best you've got? Look, there's 162 games to play, anything can happen in that amount of time and if come the beginning of September they're only 3 games out I'd like their chances to get into the post season. So for now people of Boston, steer that energy you're wasting away from Fenway and point it towards the Garden and Bell Centre and give the Bruins the support they deserve on this mission, I promise when hockey is over baseball will still be here, and you'll have a whole summer to hum and holler over the Sox and where they're at! Remember, it could be worse...this guy could still be around.
Enjoy the games, have a great weekend and please be sure to stop by next door and check out Hal's post, he always brings it!
Once again, WELCOME to another college football season!!! WOO-HOO!!!
Irish Shu is here to offer his game-by-game predictions for the just-started Notre Dame football season...yeah, I know, I’m late. The first game has already taken place. Shut up.
Anyway, this year’s schedule is another tough one. At N.D. they always are…question is, will the Irish rise and conquer all 12 like they did last year? Last year I doubted…and this year I, ever the pessimist in spite of my hard core Irish fandom, doubt again.
Why? Well, because that’s just me…and also because of some personnel losses at key positions including in the offensive backfield and at linebacker…but part of why I doubted last year was because the Irish had an unproven secondary that I thought would get picked on and picked apart and, well, it didn’t turn out that way much to my delight! We shall see.
I’ll digress a moment here and comment on the “Shamrock Series” uniforms that were unveiled recently. The Irish will wear these “plan B” duds for the October 5th game vs. Arizona State at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Much less colorful than the ones worn vs. Miami last year, they look like this:
My opinion? Don’t like. I call this the “surrender look” – too much white. It looks weak. Granted, many a team have shown-up wearing surrender look gear and have kicked ass in them anyway. Still, I don’t like all-white or almost all-white. I think they’d look better with a green shamrock on the helmet instead of gold-on-gold. Also, green pants would have made this! Why not? They’ve used green jerseys in rare past games. Oh, well. It’s done and it’s just one game. Many teams pick a game a year where they tweak the uniforms, so I have no beef with ND doing it, too, as long as it’s not permanent.
With that, here are my predictions for this year in my usual poetic form…ahem:
8/31 vs. Temple: The game is over, played and done, a milquetoast effort made. But Irish won, I knew they would, so call a spade a spade!
9/7 @ #17 Michigan: Last year I predicted right…Denard Robinson contained! But it’s on the road at the Big House, and Devin Gardner will bring pain.
Wolverines win…this prediction is the one I’ll be happiest to be wrong about should that happen.
9/14 @ Purdue: ND will look to rebound in road game number 2. Purdue will have no answer for the mighty gold and blue.
Irish win…and it could be BIG.
9/21 vs. Michigan State: Sparty plays the Irish tough and beats them here and there, but they don’t have the usual horses to make this one a scare.
9/28 vs. #16 Oklahoma: Last year in Norman the Irish amazed and caused some Sooner moans. This year the game is in South Bend, and there’s no Landry Jones.
Irish win…it’ll be close, though.
10/5 vs. Arizona State: The Shamrock Series heads down south for mighty ASU. They say in Tempe “fear the fork”, but in Texas Irish don’t fear you.
10/19 vs. #24 USC: Well-rested Irish come off a bye to face the men of Troy. The Trojans aren’t what they once were, and ND will destroy.
10/26 @ Air Force: God bless the men of service, and thank you for our rights. But the Irish and their weapons will have YOU in their sights.
11/2 vs. Navy: The infamous option ground attack gave the Irish defense fits…that’s in the past, and Irish tough D will give the Middies shits.
11/9 @ Pitt: Last year the Panthers gave ND a tough overtime scare. This year at Pitt at old Heinz Field this game will not compare.
11/23 vs. BYU: Another bye, just like last year, before Cougars came to town. That team was tough but lack the D, they’ll leave with tails hanged down.
11/30 @ #4 Stanford: Defending Pac-12 champs will fight, revenge be on their mind. The Irish face their biggest test and will find themselves behind.
And then: BCS will be the game the Irish will play in. They’ll bring their best and finish strong, and bring…
…an Irish win.
Some may say I’m being bold and letting the success of last year dictate my prediction of a 10-win regular season…maybe I am, but it feels right.
Montana Grizzlies: A lousy year the Griz had last, crime and scandal purged the team. This year they leave that all behind, and fulfill the playoff dream.
Nebraska: The Huskers aren’t quite stacking-up with the Big 10’s best so far. They need to bring the “Blackshirt D” or they won’t even be on-par.
Colorado State: The Rams of old that won most games have been gone some years ago…if they are to turn the program around, this is the year to show!
While eagerly anticipating tomorrow night like a 5 year old at Xmas...
Pittsburgh Pirates - While the current Pirates team continues to ride along in first place in the NL Central Division, a member of their glorious past, Dave Parker, announced last week that he is dealing with Parkinson's Disease.
I had a lot of individual baseball heroes growing up and they came from a lot of different teams. And one such hero was Dave Parker. I remember buying baseball cards and hoping to get a Pirates card for Willie Stargell or Bill Madlock, but most especially hoping for a Dave Parker card.
To me, he was the National League version of Jim Rice. Just a badass baseball player who could mash the ball over the fences.
So here's hoping that Parker's battle with Parkinson's can be won someday with the medical research they are doing in search of a cure.
St. Louis Cardinals - The Cardinals were in the news late in the week and sadly it wasn't for anyting that occurred on the field. In fact it was all due to Cardinal alumni that St. Louis was the epicenter of the latest PED brouhaha.
And of course, it was a firestorm started by another of my childhood baseball heroes. It seems Jack Clark (Giants, Cardinals, Red Sox) started a new gig as a sports talk radio host. And he got off to a running and highly controversial start.
He kicked off his new career at WGNU 920 AM by claiming that former Cardinal Albert Pujols and Detroit Tiger Justin Verlander had used PEDs in the past.
And while this would be incredibly shocking even in this day and age where it seems everyone is on PEDS, Clark picked two targets who aren't afraid to fight back. And then he offered scant proof or "testimony" to coincide with his accusations. What little he did offer was instantly denied by his supposed sources.
Justin Verlander hasn't said anything about suing Clark, but as part of a response to the story he said, “It’s moronic, look at the source. It’s moronic to talk about something you know nothing about and clearly … he’s not watching.”
While he deserves what he has gotten for the utter lack of proof provided to back his allegations and for going about things in a manner befitting a candidacy for Jackass of the Year, I'm still bummed out about one of "my guys" from childhood blowing that rose colored image that in a way I still try to maintain about them. But reaping what you sow is now kicking Jack Clark's ass.
WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Tennessee Lady Vols - Head coach Holly Warlick had a good week this week as the school announced she'd been given a one year contract extension to run her deal through 2017 and given her a $65,000 dollar raise as well.
Chicago Sky - The Sky had another split week for their game results. They lost to the Indiana Fever 64-58. Sylvia Fowles led the team with 14 points and 17 rebounds.
But they blew out the Connecticut Sun 77-61 with Epiphanny Prince scoring 23 points. Elena Delle Donne had 19 points and 9 boards and Fowles had 14 points and 10 boards.
The team is now 14-7 and they continue on a course that seems likely to result in their first playoff berth in team history.
New York Liberty - The Liberty also had an up and down week. Things started off great with a 93-88 win over the Washington Mystics. Cappie Pondexter had 21 points and 8 assists while Alex Montgomery had a big game with 21 points and 5 boards. She's been struggling this year and this was a breakout performance that everyone is hoping carries over.
Kara Braxton had 16 points and 5 boards against the Mystics. Plenette Pierson had 8 points and 10 assists. Katie Smith (pictured below) had 11 points and 4 assists in 30:28 of action.
Unfortunately, as has been the case for much of this season, New York couldn't capitalize on getting one win to build momentum going into their next game. They got blown out by the Sparks losing 85-67. Pondexter had 22 points as the Liberty dropped to 9-13. Pierson had 12 points. Katie Smith saw 23:20 in game time, scoring 7 points.
ORR - My ex-player Jillian had sent me a message via Facebook that the team had a playoff game this past Monday night. The kind of cool thing about the note was that it wasn't in response to an inquiry I initiated asking about her game. This note came unbidden, so I'm guessing that she wanted me to come to the game of her own accord.
Which of course I did. Unfortunately, I saw that their opponent was Apponequet. I'd seen an earlier game between the two teams and Apponequet's ball movement was superb on their way to a 45-34 win.
This time around, the score started off quite low. It was just 17-12 at halftime in favor of Apponequet. This despite the fact that the offense of ORR was atrocious. I don't know who the coach is but he kept calling for the ball to be put into the hands of his daughter. She's an incoming freshman and while she does have talent, she is very raw and it shows in shot selection. She also has a slight frame and can be easily overmatched physically. And she's supposed to be the point guard in the winter?
Anyway, the game turned early in the fourth quarter. ORR had cut the lead to 17-14 and had the ball. They blew a chance to make it 17-16 and then didn't get back on defense to stop a fast break. So instead, the score was 19-14 and the blowout went on from there.
ORR lost two of its better players (a relative term based on what I've seen of their play) during the game and the team just fell apart throughout the second half. They lost 40-21 to end their summer season.
One of my former boys players is Cody. He's been at a lot of the games as he is dating one of the recently graduated girls basketball players. On the way out I asked him if the team on the floor was what the team was likely to be during the winter. He said yes which caused me to reply, "They are going to get hammered."
Why do I say that? Well because they don't share the ball well. Basically three girls control the ball and everyone else is like junkyard dogs fighting over the scraps. And the three that control the ball aren't all that great. They have huge weaknesses in terms of taking care of the ball and shot selection. I know that the varsity coach will likely straighten that stuff out in the preseason, but given that the best returning player to the team has apparently shuffled off to a private school instead, they are going to be in for a long season.
There were a couple of players (not including Jillian) that I did like. The girl most likely to be the center is named Morgan and she can board with the best of them. She seems very fundamentally sound around the basket. There was another girl whose name I wasn't able to learn but during her limited time on the floor she attacked the basket with authority. It didn't always work but she went in unafraid and that is never a bad thing.
As for Jillian, she has tools but she gets ignored on the court. This is especially vexing when she is so wide open that she could set up a campsite and still not be near anyone. I know that she loves basketball but in order for her to develop more she needs to become more assertive in her game.
During the loss, she shot 1-6 from floor for two points. She had 4 rebounds and a steal to go with two fouls and two turnovers.
After the game, I told her I'd see her in the winter. She should be able to easily make the varsity team this season given the graduation of most of the top line players.
Wareham - The Lady Vikings had a decent but unsatisfactory season. They lost in the semifinals. And they did it despite having just 6 players for the playoffs. They blew out Bishop Stang in the quarters but lost to New Bedford in the semis.
Five of the 6 players on the team are ex-players of mine and were heavily featured in the photo gallery for the local paper. (All photos by Adam Ellis)
Books - I finished reading the C.J. Box mystery Savage Run this week. The second book in the Joe Pickett series was another entertaining read.
I picked up three books this week as well. The fourth and fifth books from C.J. Box are Trophy Hunt and Out of Range. I also got the second book in the Lorna Barrett Booktown series called Bookmarked for Death.
MOVIES - I had been thinking of going to see that new movie Elysium this weekend but between hearing not so good reviews of the film and figuring that I was going to buy it on DVD anyway because Jodie Foster is in it, I ended up passing.
TV - I know most people will be excited about the final 8 episodes of the AMC series Breaking Bad starting tonight at 10 pm, but it was a show that never interested me so I won't be tuning in.
However, AMC did get my eyeballs last night during the two hour third season premiere of their admittedly lesser series Hell on Wheels. It won't ever be as popular as Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead or Mad Men, but it was a good reset after the first two seasons and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next.
You can check out the teaser trailer for the season below:
Music - I had hoped to have a new CD review to link to, but I just didn't have the time to get it written. It would've tied into the big concert event I'm going to be attending tomorrow night.
I'll be heading to the Great Woods (it goes by a suckass corporate name that I refuse to use) in Mansfield MA to see Black Sabbath live in concert! Ozzy, Tony and Geezer (with substitute drummer) are back together and touring in support of a well received new studio album called 13. The album went to #1 on the charts, the band's first album to accomplish that feat.
Given that Ozzy could go on a drug bender at any time and Tony Iommi is battling cancer, the chance to see them live after 35 years apart had to be taken. You can check out the video from their lead track off of 13 below. It's called "God Is Dead?"
A NEW SPORTS FAN COMETH
This week brought about a new sports fan. My buddy J.D. and his wife Colleen are now the proud parents of a baby boy named Rocco. Since they are Philadelphians, I can just see Rocco decked out in little baby sports clothes for the Eagles and Phillies. Congrats to the new mom and dad and welcome to the party Rocco!
Ain't that the truth! Might be what the Chicago Blackhawks are saying to the LA Kings...The 'Hawks have taken a 2-0 lead on the Kings and will now head to LA to play games 3 and 4...Chicago's speed and skill has shown some weaknesses in the Kings game...And Goalie Johnathan Quick who has been so impressive through the playoffs, suddenly looks very human...I expect the Kings to take one game at home, but the way this series looks, I think it may be over in 5...That would be good for me since months ago I was saying Chicago would be in the Finals...
In the East, Boston went up 1-0 after shutting out the Penguins...Pittsburgh seem unsure of their goalies, and they got out of their own game, and tried to get physical with the Bruins...That's not a battle they're going to win...
And of course, where there is Penguins forward Matt Cooke, there is contraversy...Cooke who was a decent, player with some skill, at some point decided to be a shithead and make his career all about trying to injure people...Cooke started with knee shots...Then moved up to head shots...So when he called for this penalty Saturday, no one should have been surprised...
Yet, Penguins fans were unhappy...Odd...Later, the Bruins Brad Marchand made a similar hit on James Neal, and Boston fan didn't seem to get up in arms about the call...But it was the reaction from a Pittsburgh fan...A Pittsburgh citizen, that really caught people's attention on the internet...Meet Jordan Kuruc...
I have said some awful shit to people online...Hell, I've said awful shit to their face...But this douchebag didn't seem to get why people were so mad about this tweet...And then when he apologized, and deleted it, he expressed the reason he felt bad was because "a kid died" in the bombing...This douche just couldn't get why people turned and attacked him on Twitter...Then, come Sunday he began to enjoy the role...Saying how he "Always wanted to be a heel in the WWE."
Jordan Kuruc felt bad that "a kid died" in the Boston bombing...Imagine this Jordan...You're a little girl...Ha! he does look like a bitch...Anyways...You're there, the bomb goes off...Your brother dies...Your mother suffers severe head trauma...Oh, and you lose your leg...Just imagine that...That's just one little girl's story...Now can you get why people are pissed...You got your 15 minutes for being a total fucking asshole...
I'm a dickhead, and I wouldn't have said that about a hockey game...Especially defending a piece of shit like Cooke...I want to wish pain and suffering on Kuruc....You know, like some awful shit...Like him and everyone he loves, get AIDS....But screw it...I'll rise above...You're fucking asshole, and everyone knows it....Oh, and thanks for giving me another reason to hate you're asshole city!
In other Hockey news, The New York Rangers fired their coach, John Tortorella...His abrasive style wasn't going to last much longer, even if the Rangers did beat the Bruins...Torts had his guys, and they bought into his system, and style he wanted them to play...Those that didn't, were bounced...Yet, he still found ways to shit all over the guys he had...The only people that got more shit were the media...So, this is why you hear no one arguing against his firing...He's a good coach...But shitting all over grown men is going to get old quick...I'm surprised it took as long as did before the players had enough...
But I have another question...Why is GM, Glen Sather not on the hot-seat...He's been with the Rangers for 13 years...He's had 6 coaches...The best the team has done is getting to one conference final...Now there is talk that he is looking at two of his old boys to be the next coach...Wayne Gretzky, who's first stint as a head coach wasn't a very good one...And Mark Messier...Messier's only coaching experience is coaching his son's pee-wee team...Yes, the fans would love it...Sure, some players might get a thrill out of it...But I don't think it's a good move...This team needs a proven coach...Not a couple of old super stars who are missing the spotlight...
-As for my weekend...It was pretty uneventful...Friday I was suppose to meet some old friends out for drinks...Sadly, I fell asleep with Molls while I was trying to get her down...
Saturday we had a baseball practice...The team is coming along well...Then we relaxed at home...Pizza, hockey, and a jam session...
Little Beeze finding the Groove...
Molls was a heck of a band leader...
That's it for now...Oh, and say hello to our NEWEST member...