Saturday, February 28, 2009

late weekend links

I'm out of things to write about that are interesting, which may explain my curious absence from Wednesday night-now. That and my job. You know, that thing I get paid to work at.

In any case, I'm currently watching Leeds and Madison Academy play for the 3A basketball championship, and can't help but wonder: when did the mohawk come back in style?
These and other answers I have not.

What I do have is a proliferation of Internet linkage. Observe ...
-- Some doubt existed heading into last night regarding Alabama's gymnastics streak against Auburn. Doubt no more.
That's 97 and counting.
-- Kleph at RBR has the heart-wrenching story of a great 'Bama fan, Marcy Measels.
-- The JCCW gave us a fantastic comparison of rock-star staffs, between both Auburn and Tennessee. Here are Parts I and II. Note that Jerry couldn't resist the use of the Orgeron Photoshop. Few can, frankly.
-- Spencer of EDSBS fame checks in from The Sporting Blog, with a dissection of NFL busts. One quibble: I don't think it's necessarily fair to call Jay Barker a "bust," since nobody who watched him on a week-in, week-out basis ever really thought he'd succeed in the pros. While we're here, if you don't read Orson's list of weekly corrections ... I'm not sure what to tell you.
-- Spring training has begun, which means it's time for false optimism in Atlanta. In today's edition, Chop Talk tells us why Kenshin Kawakami is fitting in very well.
-- Finally, Sporting News gives us the bizarro version of the 2001 and 2002 Auburn-Bama games: give Tommy Tuberville and Dennis Franchione a second chance. As a tribute, I give you the only two times these two met:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Lost" preview: silly, but informative

In our continuing Quixotic quest to understand exactly what's going on with ABC's "Lost," here are three videos featuring Jeff Jensen from, setting up tonight's episode about John Locke's return. Enjoy, discuss ... and enjoy some more.

For more from these cats, check out the video site at

Monday, February 23, 2009

tube on Tuesday

For Tuesday's youtubery -- and yes, I realize it's late Monday, but I'm tired and tomorrow is bound to be crazy -- I chose a video of my old coach recounting his days at Auburn with Phillip Marshall.

I'm biased, obviously. I love that crazy old man.

Monday morning: get some links, then come back to me

Stolen from Awful Announcing. Well-played, coach Calhoun. Well-played.

This morning is significant for one very large reason, aside from the Monday: today around lunch is the expected birth of the offspring of Peter & Amanda von Herrmann (you may remember Peter from this guest blog during UGA week). Two of my better friends over the last decade, I couldn't be happier about the two of them bringing a child into the world. Seriously. It's awesome.

And therefore, it's with giddy anticipation I present to you this Monday's version of the links.
-- First, this week's "controversy": Andre Smith's performance (or lack of it) at the NFL combine. Certainly not a good reflection on Smith, who already earned himself a good bit of negative press leading up to the Sugar Bowl (and by the way, a bit of further explanation came out regarding that last week, also). Here's the take from Peter King in MMQB:
I think we are watching Andre Smith, the AWOL Alabama left tackle, turn into the 33rd pick of the draft, right before our eyes. Suspended by his coach for the bowl game. Out of shape when he gets to the combine. Leaves a day early -- he says because he wants to get home to hurry up and continue working with his trainer. Right. Smith will be hurt by the fact that for the second straight year there are six or seven very good tackle prospects, and teams would rather have a William Beatty (the UConn kid) with maybe a lesser upside than to take a chance on wasting a pick on Smith.
Yikes. Suddenly it looks like he should've come back to school.
-- More on the recruiting wars: Scarbinsky discusses the battle lines in Memphis; Gentry Estes looks at a potential recruit for 2010; and 3SiB gives us another fantastic rendition of Lane Kiffin's interviews.
-- Other Tide-related things: 'Bama lost its season-opening series vs. SEMO; but WON on Saturday (no really) vs. Mississippi State, which delights the boys at 'Bama Hoops. Also, BJ Scott is changing positions. And this is probably more important than anybody realized.
-- With MLB season approaching at a rapid pace, more and more Braves fans need to read the excellent blog Talking Chop. Here they preview the 2009 season for 2B Kelly Johnson.

(Note: We deliberately ignored the Oscars in today's version of the links. Sorry, you'll have to get those ... everywhere else. Other than that, have a good Monday.)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

brawling, links and more outrage

By now, everybody's probably already seen this.

Obviously, just about everyone's already offered his/her opinion about the incident. And thus, allow me a few thoughts of my own:
-- Take it from someone who played both Carver and Valley as a high-school student-athlete: it's a miracle no one was killed in this thing. Just trust me.
-- The fallout from the fight ended with both teams disqualified from the postseason, meaning the Talladega boys -- one of my old teams -- is now in the Final 4. Second time in 4 years.
-- Strangely absent in all the outrage -- and really, it's been somewhat hilarious to watch everyone work themselves into a lather, as though fights at sporting events have never occurred before -- has been a complete lack of outrage at Montgomery's role (or lack of it) in the fight. I covered that regional the last two years, and I was struck by the relative lack of a barrier between fans and the floor, as well as the glaring lack of security (the only thing that might've corrected that fact). Watch that tape again, and tell me how many uniformed cops you can spot. I saw one. That's not acceptable, particularly in a game involving a home team (Carver) that was bound to fill the gym. If I'm the AHSAA, I'm seriously thinking about moving that regional, maybe back to Troy, possibly to Auburn or somewhere similar.
-- One other point -- this incident illustrates something I've noted during several seasons of covering high-school basketball, and people who watch a lot of high school ball will understand: there's a certain bizarre contingent of people -- I don't even think it's fair to call them "kids" because most of them appear to be well over high-school age -- who go to these games for no discernable reason, except on the off-chance a fight breaks out. Katt Williams described the phenomenon thusly (language NSFW).

Truly, this sub-culture is somewhat head-scratching -- they're like Matt McConaughey's Wooderson character in "Dazed and Confused," only much more dangerous. Unfortunately, I have no idea whatsoever how you could solve this problem, save playing games in empty gyms at 2 p.m. Which is probably where we're headed, anyway.

Anyway, we're overdue for some links, so here goes.
-- Last night's "Lost" blog got eaten up by my real job, but I can provide you with links to people much better at reviewing the show than I: the crew. Here they provide you with Easter Eggs.
-- Alabama football stuff: only 11 years after it went up, the jumbotron at BDS caught fire (sadly, it wasn't me); Andre Smith addresses the media for the first time since he left Alabama; OTS reviews NSD, 2009; and 8Box continues its outstanding assessment of positions for '09 -- today: tight ends.
-- Checking in from the blAUgosphere, Jerry of the JCCW discusses the necessity of the MSM.
-- Finally, preparing for the '09 season in Atlanta, gondee flips out on Ken Griffey Jr. Hey, he was just gonna get hurt anyway.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

sadly, the minutes got lost ...

I wanted to post my normal minute-by-minute analysis of tonight's episode, but unfortunately my brain has turned to mush after tonight's events.
More later, perhaps.

"Lost" preview: put some Scripture in your pipe and ...

Editor's note: In the continuing quest of this site to understand ABC's "Lost," I convinced — even more obsessed than I — to post his thoughts in advance of tonight's episode. He is an Aub — all grammatical and syntactical errors are officially excused — and so any and all references to Dead Bears, Living in the Past and Redneckery are simply part of the gig. Enjoy.

First off, I would like to thank for allowing me to grace these hallowed pages in a positive light for the first time. I know all 3 readers — well 2 'cause I don't count — are used to seeing my name bashed and slandered about because of my hatred/man-hate for the Tahd (sic). Oh, and Mrs. Heath, I'm just joking. I man-love your son, and he has a very reputable Web site/blog. But if you're reading this then that really just leaves one real reader doesn't it? Who is it? That's a mystery.

Anyway, has given me the opportunity to preview tonight's episode of Lost/talk about anything else related to the show of all shows, the king of kings (Biblical reference? Yes!), the best thing that has ever graced my eyes besides my beautiful wife. Who am I kidding? She's not going to see this, but you get the point.

If you don't know, I'm a Lost geek, and, along with George of, Zach of and I of regularly converse, argue, fight, and lie over Lost pretty much 8-5. It usually starts on Thursday with someone saying "Dude, that was awesome." Once I realize they are talking about Lost and not my latest blog, I usually agree. From then we talk about what this line meant, and what that look meant, and where the story is going now. Anyway, there's my backstory. Have you lived it before? Maybe.

This week's episode is titled "316". There are some obvious things that jump out when thinking of 316: John 3:16, Hurley's weight divided by 2, the number of breaths Jack takes every scene, and the number of times we heard Michael say "He's my son" or "WAAAALLLTTTT," just to name a few. I think for purposes directly relating to the future (past) of the show, I'll stick to John 3:16. There are tons of hugely obvious Biblical references throughout the show. We have Christian Shepherd, Jacob, Eko and Claire's baptism, and Eko's story about Josiah and the Old Testament. From the last few episodes, words like sacrifice and resurrection have been thrown around. Where was resurrection mentioned? Check the name of the carpet company on the side of the bus holding John Locke's body. Jumble those letters and what do you get? BAM!

So is John Locke representing Jesus? I mean, he's sacrificing himself for the island and he's going to be more than likely reincarnated (raised from the dead) once (if) they get him back to the island. These are good points, but I mean he threw a knife in someone's back, got Sawyer to kill his dad, and has said lots of dirty words. So where are they going? I don't know, but something Biblical is going on.

Still not convinced? Well I didn't want to have to do this, but I'm sure many of you may remember the airline that was mentioned a few episodes ago when the Flashies (people flashing in time around the island) found the canoes on the beach, and then hijacked them only to be shot at by some mysterious people. Well if you remember, they found a water bottle in one of the canoes. On that bottle was a label for Ajira Airways. Juliette happened to know that they were based out of India. Anyway, if you want my opinion, I believe that Ajira Airways just happens to be responsible for returning the Oceanic 6, or part of them, to the island. This could mean that those people shooting at the Flashies from the other canoe could, should, or would be none other than Jack, Kate, Sayid, etc. Interesting theory, huh?

But that's not all with Ajira Airways. If you're like me and don't stop with just watching the episodes, you know that Lost likes to throw little hints all around the web about things that may happen on the show or point us to websites that make the show seem more real. During season two, they launched You'll remember Alvar Hanso was the main benefactor of the Dharma Initiative. The site is now very simple and doesn't show much, but click 'Humanity' at the end of the 3rd paragraph and turn your speakers up.

Anyway, back during season 2, it showed all these little articles and had an ape that you could watch in its cage as if Dharma was still up and running somewhere. Between season 3 and 4, they had It was a little game you played as an old Oceanic employee trying to find his fiance who was supposedly on flight 815. He wasn't buying the fact that the plane was deemed lost, so he basically did a bunch of research and eventually found that the plane was on the bottom of the ocean. We know now that that plane is a fake.

Now Back to Ajira — a few weeks ago showed up on the InterWeb and after hours of research, and tons smart-thinkings by George of, we found some hidden numbers and messages within the source code of the web pages. The first page had tons of two-digit numbers in the code with 'HEX' displayed before them. Genius George decided it would be best to run these numbers through a HEX-to-text converter. Wasn't that fun to say? So, what happened next? I don't remember, but I did wake up three hours later with blood coming from my nose and a splitting headache. No really, there in the text box converted from a bunch of two-digit numbers hidden inside the Ajira Airways website was the entire text of John 3:16. For you sinners, that's "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Sounds a lot like John Locke. So yeah, there's that for your pipe.

On the second page was more two-digit numbers. Once run through the converter, it gave us a snippet from James Joyce's book, Ulysses. The entire text didn't seem too important, other than it had "Hurley" in one part of it and that it turns out that the text is from page 316 of the book. Pack it in real good.

The next three pages had short lines of text: "PINEAPPLES IN HAWAII," "SUPERSONIC IS COMMERCIAL THIRTY TILL MERIDIAN" and "WHERE AMERICA'S DAY BEGINS." If you watch the video on the main page, the two women on there will tell you that they are now offering flights from L.A. to Honolulu to Guam to Indonesia. So PINEAPPLES IN HAWAII may have something to do with Honolulu. SUPERSONIC IS COMMERCIAL THIRTY TILL MERIDIAN probably has something to do with the entry point of the window that leads them back to the island. Oh yeah, this is all assuming that we agree that Ajira Airways is going fly the Oceanic 6 back to the island. Do a simple Google search on WHERE AMERICA'S DAY BEGINS and you will see that this phrase is the motto of Guam. Weird!

One other little thing was if you search around on the site, you will see a place where you can print out origami instructions. If you also go and print out the sample boarding pass and fold it into the origami that it describes, it will make a little ball of paper. You blow up the paper and look inside, and you plainly see the airport code for Guam, "GUM." Freaky!

Another weird thing on the Ajira website are some excursions that they listed. They are a Walkabout (John Locke), Polar Adventure (polar bears), Island Adventures (duh), Swimming with Sharks (Shark with Dharma logo on tailfin in season 1 under the raft), and Excavation: Ruins (4-toed statue, etc.) Plus, each of these were posted by Antonio B. MacCutcheon. You will of course remember that MacCutcheon was the type of Scotch that Widmore drank with Desmond in his office in season 2 or 3. He said that one glass was worth more than Desmond's whole life. Is it cool or sad that I remember that? Either way I figured that out/remembered that all by myself.

If you would like to read tons more about this written by people who probably found this a month ago and are laughing that we are just now talking about it, or to go find this hidden stuff yourself, go here.

What does this all mean? Probably nothing. More than likely, they will board Ajira Airlines flight 316 and make insignificant stops in Honolulu, Guam, Indonesia, and board their final plane for Destination: DESTINY.

So there you have it. I realize this means nothing to the casual watcher, and ABC obviously wouldn't hide stuff like this if it was really, really important to the show because I imagine only 10% of the watchers will know about it. Well thanks to me, and this blog, 10.1% will know.

Oh yeah, that is definitely Hurley in the radio transmission reading the numbers. Listen closely to ...28, 42. This brings up so many time loop/cycle ideas that it really does make my head hurt. Like how did Charlotte remember future Daniel in her past if Rousseau didn't remember Jin from her past? I for one don't think they should remember them because they weren't in their original past. The Losties are going BACK in time and they can't change those people's past. Only Desmond can be changed like that. Ok, I have to stop. I could write about this issue for days.

This hasn't been much of a preview, but more of a lecture on Lost and it's weird stuff. And I'm sorry to kind of stop this short, but basically I think 316 will have something to do with John 3:16 (I mean John Locke, hello?!) and their flight will be flight 316. Tonight or soon we will see some or all of the Oceanic 6 return to the island, just my theory, not a spoiler. Thank you for reading, and if you would like to read more from me, head over to or where you will see nothing like this.

Oh, and W-- E----!(Editor's note: We can abide a number of things on this site. Flagrant obscenity is not among those things.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

some Tuesday 'tubin'

Because I'm a 'Bama fan, I tend to want to live in the past (har har har har).
In any case, things are quite busy today (obviously, it's a Tuesday), so here's a quick shot from 2008, just in case you forgot.

Fill in your own pun: the night the lights went out in Georgia; UGA Funeral, 2008; White Power, Athens-Style; or whichever one you prefer.
See you guys tomorrow with a full-blown "Lost" analysis.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday links, with outrage

Today promises to be one that's full of ... well, work. Even though there's apparently a holiday today. Beagle Smallz even celebrated the morning by having a full-on asthma attack. He's fired up, like the rest of us.

Anyway, here's a quick roundup of the weekend, in links.
-- First, 'Bama football: what would any week during the offseason be without a completely made up scandal that's barely related to reality? Thankfully, Ron Higgins of the Commercial-Appeal -- a really funny guy who sat next to me in the press box during the '07 LSU-Bama game -- is there with our ready-made "scandal." Pete Holiday is quick to dress him down, while Rapaport has what appears to be the real story.
This is just life in the big-time, I'm afraid -- we've barely gone two weeks without something to stoke our "outrage" during the offseason ever since Nick Saban arrived on the scene. It's the price you pay for being high-profile.
-- While we're on the subject of football: even UT fans are getting tired of Lane Kiffin at this point.
Kiffin has an obligation to know the rules, and he even bragged to Spurrier about only missing one question on his recruiting test. (&$@!!!) Then he comes out and accuses Urban Meyer of a mythical recruiting violation while breaking the SEC code of ethics in the process, gets two secondary violations for kids on campus, and now this? I mean, I’ve been behind Lane from the beginning, but he’s really making it hard to defend him.
Ghost and I agree that we want him to just be quiet and coach football. PLEASE QUIT TALKING, CLK. Even then, is that enough? Is the guy just going to pop off and say something stupid when the season starts? He can’t exactly just keep his mouth shut forever, so I don’t know that this is a problem that will go away.
-- A few more football links: Dr. S mourns the death of A-11; Peter King gives us more on the real story of Brett Favre.

-- It's probably wrong to continue torturing those of us in the blogosphere with stories about 'Bama basketball, but we did put up a pretty good effort Saturday against one of the better teams in the SEC East, so at least you know our guys haven't quit on the season (curiously, the heartbreaker against Carolina was occurring almost simultaneously as the other depressed team in the conference, UGA, was gutting out an upset of Eastern co-leader, Florida). Naturally, the loss lent itself to some pretty fun headlines (which I can't print here, because apparently my mom reads this blog). In the aftermath of the loss, Cecil (naturally) says the new coach must change the culture. Interestingly, Cecil is willing to implicitly indict the previous head coach for no semblance of a back-up plan, in the absence of the team's best player.
College basketball is a point guard’s game in much the same way that college football is a quarterback’s game. If you have a great player who constantly has the ball in his hands, you can make outstanding things happen.
If you don’t, though, there are other ways to win. You find the best option you can and teach him to minimize mistakes. You play great defense. You rely on being more physical than the other team. (There is at least one successful head coach in the immediate area who has used just that formula.) Alabama’s basketball team doesn’t really do any of those things very well, which is not to say that Pearson doesn’t realize that his (interim) team needs to do them. It just isn’t this team’s identity. It’s unlikely to forge such an identity in its six remaining league games, no matter how hard Pearson tries.

While we're talking hoop, it seems Tim Floyd is not a fan of the officials and may need the president to get involved.

-- Elsewhere in sports: Ray Melick laments the sad end of the Daytona 500; Chop Talk discusses the Braves' battery going into spring training.

Friday, February 13, 2009

links are always good luck

Before we go on, a quick old movie trailer:

Original, and still the best.

The posting schedule here hasn't been nearly as regular (obviously) since the end of football season -- hopefully we can settle into something resembling a routine soon.
And part of that routine means book-ending each week with links around the sporting world. Today's links have distinct Alabama flavor. Because that's how we roll around here.

-- First off, looking ahead to 2009: BSR has a quick glance at the offense, as well as the defense. While we're here, TidefaninTN breaks up the monotony of Vol posts at 3sib for a momentary glimpse at Alabama's quarterbacking situation in '09.
(One note about 3sib: if you have a minute, scroll down their list of posts and read a recent defense of Lane Kiffin. My favorite among those: "maybe he hasn't succeeded at anything, but he hasn't yet falied at anything, either." Does that sound an awful lot like Mike Shula? I thought so. This should turn out great.)
-- RBR checks in with a look at scheduling games in Atlanta, and how it affects recruiting.
-- Andre Smith's agent speaks up for his client. Honestly, the coda for Andre's career at Alabama deserved better than this.
-- Alabama hockey. No, really. And they're pretty good, too.

-- With spring training starting soon, Chop Talk discusses the Braves, Tom Glavine and left field.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Lost"-blogging, 5.4 ... now with more SPOILERS

In this blog's ongoing effort to understand what's taking place on ABC's "Lost," we present to you our minute-by-minute notes from tonight's episode, tentatively titled "This Place is Death." Feel free to play along at home. Also, if you haven't seen the episode yet and are planning on watching the episode later, either online or DVR, PLEASE STOP READING NOW AS SPOILERS ARE ABOUT TO OCCUR.
(And one more also: if you're reading this now and wondering how I'll do this, finish dinner and watch UNC-Duke, well, so am I.)
(All times CST)
8:01: Aha! So that's where Sun's baby is! I was beginning to think something bad had happened to him to turn sun into this cold-blooded assassin. Still not entirely of what is her motivation, or for whom she's working.
8:03: Still waiting to figure out how Ben knows about the goings-on on the Island.
8:04: Ah. Cute submarine joke in French.
8:05: Imagine being Jin and waking up in the middle of this mess. It'd be like waking up in "The Twilight Zone."
8:06: Alexander. Boy, is that dude going to be disappointed. And also, didn't Ben claim to be the father of that girl? And he wasn't he, like, really, REALLY unhappy when that dude killed her last season?
8:07: Smokey's on the prowl.
8:11: As the idiotic French people run from the Smoke Monster, tonight's episode is apparently going to revolve around Jin and Sun, and their lives since the Oceanic 6 fled the Island.
8:14: At some point, someone has to define the rules of time travel for me: either you can change history or you can't, or you can't travel through time, but not with your clothes. Or you can't take anything with you. Or something.
8:17: That's the first explanation I've ever heard regarding the Monster. She's not buying it, by the way.
8:24: Here's where things get interesting: Jin told Charlotte very specifically to get his wife on the helicopter, so she could leave. And now Locke (and Ben) say they have to come back.
8:25: Is anybody cooler with a gun in his face than Ben Linus? And another thing: has anybody good ever ridden around in a giant panel van?
8:27: Still no indication as to why exactly the people who get temporal sickness get it, and the rest don't.
8:28: Oh great. She's speaking in tongues. And now she says don't bring her back. So should they come back or not?
8:34: Ben's agenda remains ambiguous. He keeps saying he's doing things for the Island, but he appears to working for his own. Contrast that to the survivors, who have been working for one another ever since all this started.
8:36: Maybe Juliet shouldn't have spoken so soon.
8:37: The pieces of Charlotte's puzzle are quickly coming together: why she speaks Korean, why she knows so much about the Island and so forth.
8:39: Aw crap, Daniel is the crazy man, right?
8:44: Fair question: on the list of "people who have to come back" to the Island, is Jin's baby included?
8:47: Um, well ... I'm not sure I could explain what just happened.
8:54: Looking at John Locke's leg just made me cry.
8:56: Another thing Ben told somebody was apparently wrong. Who knew? Also, still no real indication as to why Christian Shepherd is the representation of Jacob we keep seeing.
8:59: The chances that Ben is the one who killed John Locke are roughly 95-99 percent.
9:00: Possibly the first time I've ever seen Ben look quizzical about something.
9:01: Back in the room with the creepy woman who gives everybody weird looks from underneath a hood. Something tells me she doesn't have everybody's best interests at heart.
(End of Show)
After four episodes in the fifth season, three large questions remain unanswered:
-- Who's working for whom in this rather poorly-drawn out play?
-- Which side is the right side to be on?
-- Most importantly, do they need to go back to the Island? Or not?

Discuss amongst yourselves.

the whitest kid you know

Because I'm always late to the party, I decided today to join twitter. I still haven't figured it all out just yet, but I'm told it will be useful. So ... yeah.

Monday, February 9, 2009

wednesday youtube on Tuesday

With tomorrow bound to be busy -- and a rather bizarre headcold shackling me at the moment -- I'm posting a video to hold your attention, hopefully until Wednesday's "Lost" analysis. Therefore, here's a video for 'Bama football nerds like me: every regular-season touchdown from the 2008 season.
(Note: Might want to turn the volume down if you're at work -- the background music is a tad coarse.)

Roll Tide, folks. Roll Tide indeed.

Monday, links, blah, blah, blah

Gotta get to work -- in the meantime, here's some stuff you guys should probably click.

-- Cecil Hurt takes on Lane Kiffin, drawing a disturbing parallel between Kiffin and the economy.
Kiffin got the Tennessee job in the same way that sub-prime borrowers got huge home loans a few years ago. It was all done with high hopes that everything would fall into place in the magic world of “it will work out.” As we all know now, that doesn’t always happen.
Kiffin, right now, is living on credit. His fans are fired up, just like a family might be fired up about moving into a big house with a pool. He’s not expected to start making any payments for a couple of years. No realistic observers expect UT to win in Gainesville or Tuscaloosa in the upcoming fall.
It’s fine, UT fans seem to be saying, if Florida and Alabama exact fierce interest payments on the checks that Kiffin’s mouth wrote this week.
In due time — and the hopes are all pinned on “great recruiters” — the theory is that things will be reversed. The notion that it might be better for Kiffin to spout off when he actually has something to spout off about is viewed as sort of “old-fashioned.”
Perhaps it will work. On the other hand, it might be that relying on the “magic” of recruiters Lance Thompson and Ed Orgeron and the rest is something like Wall Street’s reliance on derivatives and junk bonds instead of the real bedrocks of success — in this case, good coaching and hard work. Until then, Tennessee’s coach wants to live like a millionaire on about $10,000 worth of proven talent.
-- A few more recruiting aftermath links: RBR discusses the importance of retaining recruits; Dr. Saturday points out a curious discrepancy in Alabama's highly-rated recruiting classes. I'll give you a hint: we're missing the same thing we've been missing since ... well, since always.
-- Because I've officially quit as a fan on the Alabama basketball, I'll cede yesterday's loss to LSU to Bama Hoops. I did watch the first few minutes of the game, and I was struck by how poor this team is from a jump-shooting perspective. I can't remember following a basketball team on a daily basis that shot this poorly as a team on a night-in, night-out basis. Seriously, if my brother Whit walked on at Coleman this afternoon, he would by default be the the best shooter we had. That's not a joke.
Via Mr. SEC, Paul Gattis checks in with his midseason prediction review. Not surprisingly, we were all badly wrong.
-- BSR tells us about the new stadium expansion. Also, because I am a shameless thief, I'm uploading the image of the completed stadium below.

--Finally, Alex Rodriguez apparently tested positive for steroids. More proof you should never lie to Katie Couric.

Friday, February 6, 2009

a way-too-early look at the SEC in 2009

With the 2009 recruiting season now mercifully over (although 2010 has apparently already started) I think it's fair to take a look at what the SEC should look like this fall. I say should because last year we all (me included) desperately overrated Georgia, a high-power team of great athletes that wound up flopping in the regular season because of a relative softness against teams that smacked them in the mouth (not to mention a defense that was never better than "OK" all season). Factoring in a) what we learned from Signing Day (obviously this is assuming these signees largely pan out, as they usually do) and b) each team's schedule this fall, here's one man's opinion of this fall in SEC football.

6. Vanderbilt
: If we learned nothing else from Mississippi State in 2008, we learned that you can only get by on smoke & mirrors for so long. Vanderbilt was outscored and outgained badly for the season, and yet somehow got a break or two -- Ole Miss fumbling on the goal line, Auburn falling apart for no discernible reason -- and sneaked into a bowl game (which they somehow won in a moment of perfect synergy). How long can you get by like that? I say, not more than a season.
5. Tennessee: Is it possible Lane Kiffin is the Manchurian candidate? Forget about his diarrhea of the mouth, or his insanely hot wife: what evidence do we have that he's actually any good as a coach? Here's his career track record: one season as offensive coordinator at USC, and two lousy seasons as head oach of the Oakland Raiders. Even Barack Obama thinks the kid could use a few hours of work before being thrown into the SEC.
Sooo ... really the only thing we know about him is that the completely insane and senile Al Davis was crazy enough to give him a head coaching job he hadn't earned, then realized he'd made a mistake sometime early in his second season. Throw in the fact that Tennessee is -- as we've seen -- a team of complete quitters and they're absolutely getting pummeled in Week 3 at Florida -- which could derail the entire season -- and I'm not holding out much hope for this fall in Knoxville.
4. Kentucky: Florida, 'Bama, at South Carolina, at Auburn. That's UK's opening SEC quartet. Thank you and please drive through.
3. Georgia: Nothing went right for the 'Dogs this offseason: their two best offensive players went to the pros and Willie Martinez is still somehow employed in Athens. Why is this terrible news for Georgia fans? Well, that opening-week trip to Stillwater to play Oklahoma St. -- only one of the best offensive teams in the country in '08 -- isn't encouraging. And the next week you're at home against South Carolina. Just saying.
2. South Carolina: I know, I know -- we keep rooting for something to happen with Spurrier at Carolina, and there's no evidence whatsoever it will happen. Just hear me out: we know Georgia will be finding its way early in the season, and the Gamecocks get them in Week 2 in Athens (where they won two years ago and have an impressive track record). So ... what happens if they win that one? Their next four weeks are Fla. Atlantic, Ole Miss, Citadel, Kentucky, all at home, before they travel to Alabama. Couldn't South Carolina conceivably be undefeated coming to Tuscaloosa? And even if they lose there, their next three are Vandy, Tennessee, Arkansas, before HOSTING Florida. Why couldn't that Florida game wind up the division championship? Tell me why this can't happen.
1. Florida: Put it this way: the day Stafford and Moreno officially declared for the NFL draft, Florida should've put SEC Championship Game tickets on sale for 2009.
6. Arkansas
: Very quietly, Bobby Petrino did very well in recruiting this season. His team performed well enough in '08 -- despite being totally unequipped to run the system he wanted -- that you could see them making a run in 2009. And if they didn't have to go TO 'Bama, TO Florida, TO Ole Miss, I'd like their chances better.
5. Mississippi St.: Dan Mullen is a fantastic coach, and the thought of him helming a State team that wasn't all that bad in '08 -- statistically, really no worse than the '07 team that won the Liberty Bowl was -- is terrifying. Terrifying.
4. Auburn: This Auburn team wasn't as bad as you probably think they were, either -- they were about a dozen plays away from beating LSU, beating Vandy, beating Arkansas and beating West Virginia. So just assume they're just as good on defense, and everybody moves on the same page offensively. That's a pretty scary team, no?
They're going to have to prove themselves quickly, however: their first four are La. Tech (bowl bid last year); the aforementioned Miss. St.; West Virginia (no Pat White, but still); and Ball St. (yikes). So we'll know something soon.
(By the way, can you tell I've found reasons to like everybody in the West so far?)
3. LSU: Two things, in my mind, contributed to LSU's downfall last season: 1. a defense that wasn't nearly as tough as it should've been; 2. an offense that got way too cute in too many big spots, instead of just pounding its running game straight ahead and taking the pressure off its QBs (which ultimately killed them). #2 appeared to have been solved in the Peac ... er, Chik-Fil-A Bowl: LSU destroyed a decent Ga. Tech team with its oversized OL and won 41-3. As for #1 ... well, the new recruits should help. But I can't help but wonder if maybe Les Miles just isn't in the same class as some other coaches when it comes to managing a game. Maybe it's just me.
2. Ole Miss: Almost nothing that happened with the Rebs in the first season of Houston Nutt's tenure surprised me: not the wins at Florida or LSU, or the ghastly losses at home to Vanderbilt and South Carolina. That's the Nutt way of doing things: weird stuff happens when he's around. If proper form holds -- and it probably won't, but bear with me -- they should be undefeated going into October. And that's when it gets fun.
1. Alabama: Believe me, I take no pleasure in this. There are, to be fair, a number of questions to answer: how to replace the loss of some very valuable departures, particuarly at quarterback and left tackle; how the team will react when they're the targets and not the hunters; how we'll make it through the summer without another Tron incident.
I see this team being upset in Week 1 in Atlanta against Va. Tech. I see them mucking through the next two weeks against lesser opponents. I see them surviving at home against Arkansas, then slowly coming together at Kentucky. As the season progresses and the coaching takes hold, I see them starting to quietly put together another run.
By season's end, I see them back in Atlanta.

That's just the way I see it.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

thoughts on Signing Day, follow-up

For me, the same thing happens every February: I say I don't care about recruiting, don't care about National Signing Day, will refuse to pay attention to all the pomp and idiocy. It doesn't work -- I always wind up checking a blog or Web site to check the progress, turn on the radio briefly to hear what's going on, wind up caring deeply about it for about 10 minutes ... then I realize what's going on and wind up hating myself for not sticking to what I said originally. I guess my point is that it would be foolish to say, "I don't care, it's stupid and you're stupid if you DO care" in regards to recruiting and National Signing Day, because (obviously) good recruiting is the lifeblood of championship football programs.
Anyway, here are links in the aftermath of what appears to have been another great NSD in Tuscaloosa.

-- A full recap, courtesy of BSR. Cecil has the best perspective on things, once again. For a national perspective, read Dr. Saturday.
-- And, of course, Auburn declared victory yesterday as well. Jerry at the JCCW has the best look at that.

And with that, I'm out for the day. We'll try to have some "Lost" thoughts up tomorrow. Keep checking and TBL for more.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

will's thoughts on National Signing Day

Maybe some "Lost" blogging going on tonight — maybe not, as it is my wife's birthday — but we'll definitely have something up tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

youtube on a busy Tuesday

It's a day that promises to be crazy already -- it's not even 7:30 and we've already got at least one dead body over this way.
Anyway, to keep you loyal blog followers -- that's right, both of you -- entertained today, here's an homage to Jack Bauer.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday links: Super Bowl, recruiting and hoop

If there's anything I love more than rainy Monday mornings, it's freezing-cold rainy Monday mornings. In any case, here's a few random things I found this morning which you might find helpful.

— First, the Super Bowl. In keeping with the norm of ridiculous superlatives, Peter King calls this THE GREATEST SUPER BOWL EVAR. Really, Peter. Also, apparently the Super Bowl ads were terrible. I wouldn't know. Also, has an interesting retrospective of 'Bama and the big game, fitting because it's now been 40 years since Joe Namath's famous guarantee.
If you're interested, apparently Springsteen gave a memorable performance at halftime — not the show itself, but this.

On a semi-related note, Derrick Thomas was elected to the Pro Football Hall over the weekend, also. Cecil has the best perspective there. The youtube for that is much better.

— On to hoop: it seems the University's preeminent athletic rep showed up Friday to give the boys a bit of boot, and the guys responded with a win over an (admittedly terrible) UGA team. As an aside, the current UGA interim coach is a guy named Pete Herrmann, a name that sounds suspiciously like a certain minister friend of mine who despises UGA (you may recall his thoughts about the boys from Athens during football season). For posterity's sake, here's an old blog post of his from last year when Herrmann and the 'Dawgs pulled off that improbable SEC tourney title in Ga. Tech's building.
While we're on the subject of UGA & hardwood, Furman Bisher took a break from talking about how awesome things were back in the '50s to report Bob Knight's interest in the vacancy at UGA. Just for the record, Knight at 'Bama probably wouldn't work — we already have a rock-star head coach with a giant ego coaching a different sport. But while we're on the subject of hires that might work, VCU's Anthony Grant checks in with a truly bizarre response to Alabama job inquiries.

— And finally, recruiting: first off, Dr. Saturday gives us Part I and Part II about the validity of recruiting rankings. BSR has a good look at where 'Bama stands with a few days to go before Signing Day; and checks in with UA's class of 2010. Of course it does.