Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bama Riding High....

For now. No doubt that Alabama has made it farther than anyone ever imagined. After watching Florida, Texas Tech, and a couple of others, Alabama is not the #1 team in the country. I expected them to have another season like last year, but with maybe 8 wins. However, they have survived and managed to win 10 and as a fan, I am now hoping for more. I am pretty sure that it is going to be one of those deals where they begin to get so close that you finally start to believe that maybe there is a chance. That is how it was in 1992.

They squeaked by in every game and managed to go to the National Championship game against a Miami team that had been hammering everyone. Nobody gave Bama a chance in that game, and in the end it was Bama that did the hammering.

I do not think that will be the case this year. I expect to see Florida and Oklahoma/ Texas Tech in the Big Game. Obviously, I would like to be wrong about that, but I must first be realistic.

I will be in T-town Saturday to watch them play Mississippi State. The last Bama game I went to was against this same team and I left disappointed. I hope the outcome is different this time.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Texas Tech 42, Texas 28

Okay...laugh if you want. I am going on record now and saying that Texas Tech will knock off Texas next weekend. I am not too sure about the scores, but I think it will be high scoring since both teams have high performance offenses. I think TT's offense is a little more explosive, so I am predicting them to win by 10-14 points.

I may be wrong on this as I thought Oklahoma State would beat them. Texas certainly knew that the Cowboys were there. I think Texas Tech has an awesome football team and will be surprised if they do not pull off the upset.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I complain every year about the polls and the BCS rankings. This year is more bazaar than ever.

Last week, AP's #1 Oklahoma lost to #5 Texas. Texas moved to the #1 ranking, and rightfully so in my opinion, but where did Oklahoma go? They were handed a #4 ranking in AP poll. The Associated Press is saying that Oklahoma is a better 1-loss team this week than Texas was an undefeated team last week. How?

They are giving absolutely no considerations to Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and BYU. These guys should be your #4, #5, and #6 teams...if not higher. It wouldn't hurt my feelings if Oklahoma State was ranked over my Alabama team, or if Penn State was.

Let's be fair about it. I am a Bama fan, but I do not think they are ready for the #1 or #2 ranking. So while we are being fair, let's get these media favorites, like USC and Oklahoma (or Ohio State and Georgia, if you look a little lower), out of the way. They cannot play the big games.

Without a doubt, Oklahoma State should be ranked above Oklahoma - in my opinion. Their win over Missouri was as impressive as Texas' win over Oklahoma. The poll system is a ripoff and the most disturbing part is that the fate of the really good teams that break the top 10 late in the season is being determined by the poorly determined pre-season rankings. Let's get the playoff system started and stop screwing these teams over year after year.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Auburn's Coach Tommy Tuberville was criticized alot last week after he fired his offensive coordinator half-way through his first season. He set himself up for the criticizm when he fired the architect of the spread offense, but then said that they were going to stay with the offense. How do you do that? I think this was just example on a long list of the Tub making hasty decisions.

Last year, Nick Saban preached to the Alabama fans that you cannot have high expectations when you do not have the talent. He has preached "the process" and has had success with his recruiting efforts. The longer he is at UA, the deeper the pool of talent will be and results will eventually come.

Tuberville must have a similar process. If he wants to run the spread, he has to recuit talent that is capable of running the spread. Obviously, they do not have the right tools and talent in place at this time, and should not expect immediate results. It seems to me that a more logical approach would have been to maintain an offensive style similar to what they used in past years, and slowly build the spread offense system by practicing it during the week, executing it late in a game where a lead exists, and follow up by continued recruiting. The result cannot be immediate, as Tub must have expected, but will be positive after a couple of recruiting classes. Most of us refer to this process as planning.

I was reading an article today about Tommy Bowden's dismissal and was really disappointed in the lack of respect that some of his players are displaying. One of them, former starting quarterback Cullen Harper, said that Bowden deserved it. Harper still has a chip on his shoulder about being benched, so I didn't really expect him to say anything positive. It was what Harper's dad, Jeff, said that really got my attention:

".....I think anytime a head coach or someone in a leadership position starts to place blame on his coaches and players, it weakens their respect on the team. His past experiences have shown he's done that."

Placing blame on everyone but himself is exactly what Tommy Tuberville has been accused of the whole time he has been at Auburn. His offensive coordinators only average about two years with him, and he has had some good ones. Some that Alabama would have gladly welcomed.

Something is in the air at Auburn. As an Alabama fan, I hope it stays there long enough for Alabama to put an end to this streak.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I was wrong...

In my last post, I said that John Parker Wilson could not win the game against Georgia, but he could certainly lose it. In order to win this game, I felt like JP had to have an exceptional day. After watching him melt under pressure last year, I was concerned about this game. This was the biggest of the season.

I was wrong about my comment. John Parker Wilson helped win this football game with his calm approach to managing the game. He was the leader he is expected to be as quarterback. He made good decisions on when to throw or when to scramble. I do not recall a "forced" pass or a delay of game. (The delay of game that they were charged with was to the kicking team when the kicker forgot to kick.)

After the big win against Clemson, Alabama struggled against Tulane. This is the biggest win of the season thus far and a tough Kentucky team is coming to town. Was this a fluke against Georgia? Do they deserve the #2 ranking? This next game will help answer these questions. The true test is not always the game with all the hype and publicity, but the game that follows the one with the hype and publicity.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Javier Arenas..

This made me laugh out loud I love the way he responds. Bama will have their hands full this weekend playing on the road again. I think they have a chance to win, but they have to play well in the defensive secondary, and John Parker Wilson has to have a good day. He cannot win it for them, but he can certainly lose it.

Check out the video on Javier...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I found this article about the Georgia Bulldogs. It hits the nail on the head, but could also apply to Ohio State and a few others.

The part of the article that really sticks with me is this statement, which is about half way down the first page:

"Be lucky enough to be ranked higher than you deserve in August, and you'll stay higher than you deserve most of the season. Get screwed in the first poll, and you might as well get used to the feeling."

We complain about this every year, but I think these two sentences sum it up very well.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


What a way to start football season! I sat through a nail-biter Friday night as our local 5A high school team opened the season at against a big 6A team. These two opened against each other for about 15-20 consecutive years before ending the tradition about 8-10 years ago.

Eufaula and Dothan always reminded you of a playoff game although it was the first game of the season. They were defensive games and usually ended with a 3-0, 7-3, 10-7 kind of score. No team ever scored over 14 points and the margin of victory was always close. We would be disappointed Friday night as Eufaula, ranked #1 in the 5A polls and playing with a back-up quarterback, squeaked by Dothan 13-9. Eufaula's starting quarterback suffered a knee injury earlier in August that may put a damper on his senior year.

We had our usual upsets and blowouts in the NCAA. I was especially proud of my Alabama Crimson Tide and the way they handled themselves in their opener. Obviously, Clemson was not the #9 team the polls made them out to be, but forget the score. The lack of penalties, the teamwork, the decision making by the quarterback, and overall team spirit of Alabama did not look like that of a young team in their opening game of the season.

They have a hard time finishing, and then staying focused the next week, so we will see what kind of job the coaches can do with them this week.

Ohio St. vs USC is right around the corner, and should be one heck of a game. It is kind of hard to tell what they have when they don't play anyone, but right now, I am going to give USC the edge.

We dodged the hurricane this weekend, but it looks like Mother Nature is going to give us a couple of more opportunities in the next week or so. Football season is here. Life is good!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Glad TS Fay Came This Weekend...

My wife and I were sitting in the screened back porch yesterday afternoon, drinking tea and watching the trees move rapidly from side to side. The wind was changing directions frequently, so we were getting the breeze and keeping dry at the same time. We were trying to decide if we were going to cook the ribs outside or inside, and were weighing the pros and cons of each. Since the worst of the weather was not yet upon us, I was afraid that if we cooked outside, the wind may change directions, blow harder, rain harder, or all of it, which would make it impossible to grill. My wife was afraid that once we started inside, the power might go out. Little did we know that the power had already gone out for the third time that day. (She happened to look over her shoulder and notice the TV was turned off...something that the kids just will not do.) Mother Nature had turned it off and it would stay off until 9 pm.

We received 9 3/4" of rain in my neighborhood from Friday night until this morning around 8am when I dumped the rain gauge for the second time. (I dumped the first 5" out at lunch yesterday.) We needed the rain, and Tropical Storm Fay delivered it. I also lost a couple more of those expensive trees that I mentioned a few posts ago.

We live 3 hours from the Gulf Coast, and it always amazes me how much damage we receive although we are so far away. It really makes me think about the people along the coast. It also makes me realize that no matter what we sometimes think, we are not the ones that are in control.

I am glad that we received the rain, and I am glad that the electricity has been repaired. Most of all, I am glad that Fay paid us a visit this weekend instead of next. What a bummer it would have been to have waited nearly a year for football season, only to have been without electricity at kickoff.

In closing, I learned today that our local Tide player, Courtney Upshaw, will get to wear his high school number from last year.

WARNING TO THE OPPOSING TEAMS: #41 will knock you out.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Pre-Season Game Day?

As I have said a couple of times on this blog, I am not a fan of the NFL. So, I must confess that I am considering having an NFL pre-season football party at my house just to get things rolling until the NCAA kicks off.

This time of year drives me nuts. I pace the floor, read the newspapers (internet and paper versions), and count down the days until that first ESPN Game Day airs. My wife is sick of my counting down the days until football season, as are my co-workers. I even watch the weather channel more than often so that I can get some kind of idea of when that first day of the fall smell will be in the air.

It only makes sense to use an NFL pre-season game to kick off an NCAA pre-season party. I have a few new recipes that I want to try on my smoker, and my buddies need to work on tuning their vocal chords for the real games that are a few weeks away.

What better time to have a fake football party but during a fake football game? Right? What do you think?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Another dog story...

I installed a flood light with a motion detector on the corner of my front porch the other day. A few minutes after I went to bed that night, I could see light from that flood light shining through my bedroom blinds and got up to see what it had detected.

About the time that I peeked through the blinds it turned itself off so I got back in the bed. As soon as I laid down, the light came back on and I hurried to the window only for it to turn back off.

"I really need to adjust the setting," I told my wife. It was only staying on for about four seconds.

Again, the light came on again as soon as I got back into the bed and went off as I made it back to the blind. This time, I stood at the window and stared into the darkness waiting on the light to turn back on. After fifteen minutes, I gave up and went to bed.

As I walked into the garage to leave for work the next morning, something in the front yard caught my attention. I walked around to see what it was and could not believe my eyes.

Someone's dog, with a small chain for a leash, was tangled around one of my 8 month old trees. This tree was 6 1/2' tall when I bought it for $50, and had already grown to about 8' tall. It was bent over at about 2 1/2' above the ground I assume because the dog had been trying to free itself all night. I also assume this is why the flood light kept turning on. The tree is out of the range of the light, but a dog on a leash dancing around would be in range.

I ran towards the dog so that I could help him and try to save my tree before it was further damaged. I was not quick enough. The tree broke and the dog ran out of my yard dragging the upper portion of the tree.

The 8 months of growth that I lost ticks me off more than the money that the tree cost.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A few nights ago, my wife and I had been watching TV in the living room for a couple of hours when I decided to walk outside during a commercial. Once outside, I saw a car parked at the entrance to my driveway, so I crept up my 300 feet long drive to see who it was. From time to time, local teenagers will drive down my road and vandalize the mailboxes, so I was thinking I had caught someone in the act.

As I got closer, I could see that it was a neighbor who lived a couple of houses down. He had been walking his dog and the dog had gotten too hot. So he left the dog in my yard, and ran home to get his car so he could take the dog home. The dog was already unconcious by the time I made it up the driveway, but breathing heavily.

The dog died as my neighbor and I tried to keep it alive. We did CPR on the Golden Retriever, and for a moment we made some progress. Despite our efforts, Maggie passed on and I tried to console my neighbor who was visibly hurting.

It was pitch black dark outside when we had tried to revive the dog, and I had missed the end of a movie that I watched for two hours, but this experience is one that I will remember the rest of my life and one that I am glad to have been a part. From time to time, we all need a reminder of how valuable and meaningful life is, no matter the creature or its purpose. We put the heavy dog in the back of my truck and took her home. At 10:30 pm, I walked in the door at my house after helping my neighbor dig the hole and trading a few dog stories. I did not sleep very much that night.

Watching Maggie fight for life only to lose while we tried to help her fight reminded me of the night my grandmother passed away. Like this night, I was there. I held my grandmother's hand and talked to her as she took her last breath, similar to how we held Maggie and encouraged her to keep fighting.

I often wondered if my grandmother knew I was there, and what she felt as she left us and joined my grandfather. I still wonder the same about Maggie. Did she know that we tried to help her? Was she hurting?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

John Parker Wilson

I have always thought that JPW was one tough cookie. He can take a hit and hop right back up even if his helmet is on sideways. I have also always thought that any team could beat Alabama simply by pressuring JPW. He cannot handle the pressure and will turn the ball over quicker than you can say, "Don't do that." Remember the MSU game? LSU? FSU?

So my two first thoughts when JPW's name is mentioned is that the kid is very tough, and that does not handle pressure very well. I did not realize that he will likely be the holder of many significant records at UA by the end of the season.

He needs 732 passing yards and 5 TD passes to capture Brodie Croyle's school record. He should be able to achieve this if he can stay healthy for about three games.

Croyle was another quarterback that was tough as nails. However, he was more proned to stay down once he got hit, especially if he landed on his shoulder. I always thought of him as a good, tough quarterback, but never considered him being in the NFL. He will be Kansas City's starting quarterback this year. He lasted a couple of years longer than any of us thought he would, and now is in the driver's seat.

I am hoping to see Brodie on some of ESPN's clips this year. I am also hoping that John Parker shakes all of last year's negatives from his head and has a very successful senior year. He has the arm and the physical toughness. He just needs to play better under pressure.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Golfing story...

I heard a funny story at the coffee pot this morning. Our company golf tournament was this past weekend. We had about 20 four-man teams for the annual scamble.

One of the teams finished with 7 over par, a buzz, and a fish. I almost rolled in the floor as I heard the guys describe how they were teeing off on #8 and asked the other team where their teammates were. Keep in mind, with four players on a team and two player in each cart, there should be at least two carts playing each hole. One team will usually play faster than another, forcing one team to have to wait on another. With 20 teams, it gets worse. You end up with several teams at the same hole waiting for someone to get finished.

Back to the story.. two players (one cart) arrive at the 8th hole and are having to wait for this other team to finish playing. A four man scramble takes awhile per hole. So these two guys show up and are rushing the four. That is when one of the four asks where the other teammates are.

"They stopped over in the woods to pee awhile back and we ain't seen 'em since," one of the players said. I guess you had to be there to really understand how hilarious this sounded. These two guys went on about their business playing the game while their teammates were gone to the bathroom. No wonder they were playing quicker and catching up with other people. One of the guys that was missing supposedly caught a fish from one of the ponds.

With only two of the four playing at least half the holes, it kind of explains why they finished 7 over in the scramble. Most of the teams hovered around par, with most being just under and some being 8 or 9 under. These guys were 7 over and probably had more fun than anyone out there.

One of the guys told me that he started out with 12 balls and didn't bring any of them home. I asked, "How did your team finish?" He replied, "With about a 12-pack."

Saturday, May 3, 2008


I ran across this link this morning, and thought I would post it here in case you missed it. It is a good read about sportsmanship. If we could all only learn from these girls, our world might be a better place. We should always do the right thing, even if the outcome is not beneficial to ourselves.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Building for the Future

If you are an Alabama fan, you have to find the results of Signing Day a bit exciting. True, a good percentage of the signees will not qualify for various reasons but given the strength of the numbers, the percentage of the new meat that actually participates will make a difference.

I never knew who Lance Thompson was until he joined this coaching staff. I was familiar with Nick Saban and was aware of his recruiting reputation. However, it looks like Thompson is getting credit for closing the deal on some of Bama's top recruits. One of my hometown's very own made it official this week when he said, "I am going to play for the Nick Saban."

Courtney Upshaw wore #41 for the Eufaula Tigers and was a joy to watch. I cannot wait to watch him in his crimson jersey. He can run; he can catch; he hits hard, and has the best tackling skills of any high school player I have ever seen. He plays down the line, can close the gaps, and is quick off the ball. He is a man among boys when he is on the field. In high school, he played defensive end and tightend. At 6'-2, 240, with 4.6 speed, I think Bama fans may see him playing linebacker. One things for sure no matter what the position, you will find him in somebody's backfield when he becomes a starter.

Many defensive players - from high school to the NFL - try to knock a player down instead of wrapping him up and tackling him. You will also see alot of defensive players at these levels grab someone around their upper bodies try to ride them down. Play after play I have watched Courtney's techique: he grabs their lower body or jersey, and then basically sits down. They HAVE to come down with him because he does not let go. It's textbook and he only started playing football a couple of years ago.

Alabama recruiting class was #10 a year ago with Saban and the gang only having about a month to recruit. What a difference a year makes. It will take a few years to see the results of the recruiting and coaching efforts. If they can consistently build the depth charts by landing good recruits, and maintain some stability in the coaching staff, the University of Alabama will eventually rise out of the shadows of mediocracy and return the playing style that was once its tradition.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I kind of ticked my wife off this morning.....

I was lying in the bed, wide awake, this morning when it hit me. "IT IS ONLY SEVEN MONTHS 'TIL FOOTBALL SEASON!" I said, right after I nudged my wife with my elbow.

It kind of gets on her nerves when I start counting down the months before the NCAA kicks off. I guess it was a little more disturbing to her this morning because it was only 5:30 and she was still sleeping.

But it is like this: I have to share in her excitement about a big sale that she learns about. I always say, "Yes, baby, I bet that would be a good movie." I will give her an honest opinion when she asks me which shoe looks the best. We still have our Friday night dates, and I tell her dinner was good even if it really was not. (Hey, I am nice like that.)

So, I think it is time that she got into the spirit of football. What do you think?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Still the GREATEST....

Paul “Bear” Bryant
1913 - 1983

He led his crimson troops
Across two decades on the field;
More than a coach, or a myth, or a man,
He leaned against each goal post,
A proud symbol of his sport,
His chiseled chin catching the sun,
His squinting stare peering out
From under his houndstooth hat
Searching through each autumn afternoon
For the silent pride inside his boys
Who fought for their gentleman general
Who believed in the spirit of man.

Poem by Charles Ghigna.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hello, again....

Yes, this blog is still alive! I have taken some time to enjoy the holidays and the last month of hunting season, but plan to get back to blogging regularly very soon.

I have been enjoying the sports pages and watching the coaching circus in college football continue. Not sure what to think of the stories about Rich Rodriguez, and am still wondering who Alabama will grab as an offensive coordinator.

I, personally, did not share in all of the enthusiasm as others when Applewhite was hired, so it does not bother me that he is gone. To me, it was a case of head coach just picking up someone that was available to get them through as season or two. Hopefully, Saban will find a proven coordinator for the job, and one that can tolerate the head coach.

I have heard alot of people say that Coach Saban is a hard person to work with. The ones that complain the most are usually the ones that are not doing their jobs. Anyone in any kind of leadership position has had to contend with this.