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Little Donkey at AvondaleBricksGallery
Enjoy tapas from Little Donkey, Wine Tasting by Athens Imports, Art Exhibition Opening. $15. Friday, November 30, 5-9 p.m.
Visit us during the Avondale/Forest Park Holiday Crafts Bazaar at Avondale Bricks Gallery, 130 41st Street South in Avondale. Must be 21 for wine tasting.
Write firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or questions. Thank you for joining the Revolution in Avondale.
Congratulations Boise State, you basically beat Hoover High School 59-0 (actually, I’m not so sure Hoover wouldn’t beat New Mexico State). That’s the key here. The “marquee” team that they beat at the beginning of the season is a Virginia Tech team that lost the following week, at home, to James Madison. Scratch that one off your strength of schedule list Boise. Marquee win number 2? Oregon State.
Thanks to the magical wonderland, where double rainbows soar like a flock of seagulls, known as the interwebs, unimportant and nerdy people like me have access to a font of statistical analysis that allow us to sound far smarter than we really are. Let’s give a little head-to-head, anonymous comparison.
Overall FBS Rankings
Team 1: Passing – 29th (255.6 ypg); Rushing – 23rd (214.0 ypg); Scoring– 4th (44.6 ppg); Scoring Defense – 45th (21.4 ppg)
Team 2: Passing – 95th (173.8 ypg); Rushing – 27th (207.6 ypg); Scoring – 48th (31.0 ppg); Scoring defense – 54th (22.2 ppg)
Team 3: Passing – 87th (185.8 ypg); Rushing – 92nd (121.0 ypg); Scoring– 60th (27.8 ppg); Scoring Defense – 95th (30.8 ppg)
Team 4: Passing – 9th (301.2 ypg); Rushing – 56th (167.6 ypg); Scoring– 31st (34.6 ppg); Scoring Defense – 68th (24.4 ppg)
Both Oregon and Boise State have played, and beaten 2 of these teams. They are arguably each team’s best – in terms of impressing the pollsters – wins. One of these teams played Team 1 and Team 4, while the other played Team 2 and Team 3. Now remember, both teams won. But that’s pretty much where the similarities end. As you can tell, statistically speaking, the team that beat teams 1 and 4 has the far more impressive ‘impressive’ wins. Now let’s look head-to-head.
Team 5: Passing – 12th (297.8 ypg); Rushing – 18th (229.3 ypg); Scoring– 3rd (45.0 ppg); Scoring Defense – 15th (15.0 ppg)
Team 6: Passing – 42nd (238.2 ypg); Rushing – 2nd (331.0 ypg); Scoring– 1st (56.6 ppg); Scoring Defense – 15th (15.0 ppg)
Pretty close. Team 5 is definitely more balanced. But Team 6 is extremely far ahead of Team 1 in rushing as far as actual yards per game. Plus there are ahead in the two most important categories – points scored and points allowed.
Okay, enough for anonymity. It’s just confusing.
Team 1: Stanford
Team 2: Virginia Tech
Team 3: Oregon State
Team 4: Arizona State
Team 5: Boise State
Team 6: Oregon
Based on this raw data that I arbitrarily pulled out of mid-air (or ESPN.com), I can’t see how you would argue in favor of Boise State. Oregon has put up more impressive numbers against much better competition. I understand that Boise State can’t control Virginia Tech being overrated; when they scheduled them, it looked impressive. And they are stuck, for now, with their soft WAC schedule. But the fact still remains that Oregon has played and beaten teams week-in-and-week-out that are much stronger than anything on Boise’s schedule. And Oregon has basically scored a point for every minute that they’ve played this season. That’s pretty freaking cool.
Jumping Oregon over Boise isn’t so much a punishment for Boise State as it is a reward for Oregon. Does this mean the Boise State couldn’t beat Oregon? Of course not. If you remember, Boise actually beat Oregon in the first game of last season. But that’s just it. That was last season. And the only reason that Boise was ahead of Oregon anyway is due to an arbitrary preseason poll that was based upon what people thought would happen. The new polls are based upon what hashappened.
Which leads me to my real point. Get rid of preseason polls. They don’t do anything good. They build up hype, creating artificial scenarios where one team will get screwed and another will reap undo rewards.
So far it seems like the only teams that are living up to their ranking are Alabama and Ohio State. Alabama is definitely the number 1 team in the nation, and Ohio State looks like a very solid, impressive number 2.
Well, it’s not quite 1.000 bowls. But hey, it’s not a week either. I do love me some Capital One Bowl Week, though. One of the best “weeks” in the year began December 18th this year and ends January 9th of next year. 3 weeks and 28 bowls—that’s a heck of a week. And that doesn’t even include the BCS bowls.
A lot of folks these days are complaining about how there are too many bowls. Others like to complain about some of the ridiculous names of said bowls, such as the Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman (in which zero of the academies are playing), the GoDaddy.com bowl, or the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. My personal favorite is the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl. Mmmm, football.
Some complain that the excessive number of bowls cheapens the meaning and tradition of each bowl as well as college football as a whole. These naysayers argue that with each addition, it cheapens the pride and pageantry of earning a spot at a bowl game. Well, not to the teams involved. And you can’t tell me the good folks at Temple (8-4) aren’t wishing for another bowl.
Going to a bowl game can do wonders for a program like Temple. It does wonders for teams like Mississippi State. It does wonders for teams like Alabama and Auburn. Ask USC if they’d like to be in a bowl game right now. When not being able to go to a bowl game is one of the strongest punishments a team can receive, it’s a pretty big deal. Recruiting, exposure, and overall prestige can all be boosted drastically by a bowl appearance.
And you know what else? They’re fun. It’s a great way to finish a season. People all across the country have printed out bowl sheets, joined online groups, and created office pools (without money of course…that would be illegal). Who cares if every team that is eligible goes to a bowl? It’s great for college football. It’s great for the teams. It’s great for you and me. Quit your complaining and let them play. So I say bring on the bowls and, to borrow a phrase from Brent Musberger, “Let the good times roll!”
I’ll be honest. It has been difficult to stay objective on the Cam Newton issue. I enjoy watching the kid play. It seems to me, in my limited viewing experience, that he has fun and plays the game the right way. For all appearances, he seemed to have learned from his past troubles and struggles to come out a better man; however, it seems like each day something new comes out against the man once dubbed “SuperCam,” now being called “Scam” Newton.
The newest allegations against Cam and his father are that they both admitted in separate conversations that money was used to secure his place at Auburn. ESPN’s Joe Schad broke the story Tuesday afternoon. Schad cites sources that are reportedly involved in Mississippi State’s recruiting, specifically their recruitment of Cam. These are pretty damning allegations. Right from the horse’s mouth so to speak. Right? Well…
Let’s take a closer look at the alleged allegations.
Cecil Newton, Cam’s father, is quoted as saying “it will take more than a scholarship” to get Cam. That is blatantly about money, right? Or perhaps it could be literally everything else besides a scholarship. It could mean that Cecil wants a place where Cam can go and win. It could mean he wants a good environment where his son can thrive. It could mean he wants a place where they have Mama Goldberg’s. The point is it could mean anything. Could it mean money? Absolutely. But does it indisputably, unequivocally, 100% mean money? Absolutely not.
Now, on to the stronger of the two statements, made by the QB himself. Cameron Newton is quoted as telling the unnamed Mississippi State recruiter that “the money is too much,” which seems to imply that the money Auburn was giving him was too much to turn down. This statement definitely seems to be strong evidence against the Tigers. But it is not impossible to poke a hole in this one either. Perhaps Newton was referring to the $200,000 reportedly involved in Mississippi State’s potential recruitment of Newton, simply showing his dislike of being paid to play college football. Is that the most likely scenario? Probably not. I’m very willing and able to admit that. But it is a possibility.
That also brings me to the academic allegations. This one really irked me. If for no other reason (and I’m not sure I need another one), this one is bothersome because it is illegal that it came to light at all—a felony. And even if this is ironclad fact (which is yet to be proven), Cam was a freshman. It was two years ago. We’ve all made mistakes. Cam has lived up to a less than pristine past and has tried to move past it. This is the land of second chances, and so far Newton seems to be making the most of his.
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops said that he did not notice anything unusual or alarming during Oklahoma’s recruitment of Newton out of Junior College. That is objective, outside evidence and/or opinion in favor of Newton’s innocence.
And here is the real problem with the entire debacle. Everything is based upon loosely worded, vaguely phrased accusations and “evidence.” Many of the sources are unnamed. The ones that are named seem to be less than credible. Nothing is hard evidence. It is a lot of finger pointing and “he said/she said.” I believe this is what they call in a court of law “hearsay.” Hearsay is not legal grounds upon which to build a case. I believe it is inadmissible in court (I’m am clearly not a lawyer, however).
Unfortunately, hearsay is about all that counts in the court of public opinion. And this is definitely where Cam’s trial is taking place. Even if Cameron Newton is cleared 100% of wrongdoing, it may be too late to save his reputation. It might cost him a Heisman Trophy. But mostly, it might cost him his pride and/or honor. And that is inexcusable. No matter how this turns out, I condemn those who have handled the allegations so poorly. This seems to be little more than a smear campaign, in this kind-of-humble writer’s opinion (I mean, no writer is really that humble. We are giving you our opinion in print after all).
Now for some fun conspiracy of my own. Who is behind this? No clue. But here is something I find interesting. Mississippi State and Florida (potentially indirectly) are the two schools providing evidence that is condemning Cam. And they are both schools the Cam cut ties with in some form or fashion before exploding back onto the SEC and national scene in a big way this season.
Dan Mullen is the current head coach at Mississippi State. He was Newton’s offensive coordinator at Florida and supposedly created a pretty strong bond with the young QB during their time together. It was reported that Cam really wanted to go to Miss State to be reunited with his old coach, but chose Auburn over Starkville.
Urban Meyer recruited Newton out of high school and got the 6’6” 250 lb talent to come to Gainesville. Newton left Florida. That’s fine, they had Tebow. But now, it appears that Auburn and Florida could be on a collision course to meet in the SEC championship game, if both teams win on Saturday. Hmmm, interesting timing isn’t it? Pretty strong evidence. Plus, I talked on the phone with my buddy’s sister’s cousin’s nephew’s boyfriend who talked with both Mullen and Meyer and they told me that they knew that Meyer and Mullen both may have said something about money and Cam and taking him down (or did I?). I think that sounds pretty legit.
Meyer and Mullen have both denied wrongdoing. Well good for you, so did Cam. Who wouldn’t? Maybe just like Transformers, there is more than meets the eye. Or not. The point of all of this is that in America, you are innocent until provenguilty, not until you are accusedof being guilty.
Cam will continue to play. He will probably continue to dazzle. I will certainly continue to watch and cheer for him. I hope that everyone else will do the same.
The 2010 version of the Auburn Tigers certainly have their flaws. They certainly have their positives. You can watch the exact same game and offer them the highest praise, and in a matter of minutes, the strongest criticism. I have, and probably will continue to, criticize their defense, specifically coordinator Ted Roof, for their passive and reactive style, allowing for short, quick passes to turn into huge momentum-shifting plays. But one thing that is undeniable – the Tigers are exciting. Whether that is a good or bad thing is contingent on whom you ask. For one, it will be enthralling and entertaining. For another, stressful and nerve-racking to the point of breakdown. But the Tigers continue to win, which is the most important thing for life in the SEC. Every week, you will be tested, but you must learn how to respond and dig deep for those crucial moments that make or break games, and entire seasons.
Auburn’s last three games have been decided by 8 points or less, and all of the games coming down to the wire in the fourth quarter. The Tigers survived a strong fourth quarter push, including an aggressive and threatening final drive, from Mississippi State. Auburn returned home to face out-of-conference foe Clemson, in a nail biter so close, it left many fans with claw marks in their seats. The Tigers fought hard, but rode a wave of luck to beat the energetic and determined Tigers of Clemson on a missed field goal in OT.
Then the #12 South Carolina Gamecocks came calling to the plains, ready to establish themselves as the beasts of the East. It was a hard fought game again, with the Tigers trailing for most of it. Through some big plays, mostly by QB Cam Newton, the Auburn offense was able to rally and get some momentum in the second half. The Tigers were pulled ahead through the air, as Cam Newton threw two fourth quarter touchdowns – the first to Phillip Lutzenkirchen, which put Auburn ahead 28-27, and the second to Emory Blake that extended the lead to 35-27. The defense came up huge forcing four fourth quarter turnovers, which included intercepting QB Connor Shaw, who replaced starter Stephen Garcia, on consecutive drives to close out the game.
While it hasn’t been exceptionally pretty and leaves plenty of room for improvement, the Tigers have displayed many promising things on the field. The most important thing of all, of course, is the ability to win. These close games against some tough early season opponents will be crucial for the Tigers as they looked to push forward and prepare for the rest of a brutal SEC West schedule.
What do I think about when I think about Bobby Cox? I think about his stoic expression, crossed arms resting on his endearing potbelly, sitting next to an emotionally challenged, chronically rocking Leo Mazzone. I think of Bobby waddling out to the field to argue a call in his uniform which makes him look like a 7 year old wearing a Halloween costume. I think of press conferences when he chuckles and laughs in a manner that is so contrary to his demeanor in the dugout. I think about how every player that he has ever managed says he was the best manager they have ever played for. I think that in such an ever-changing, uncertain landscape like sports, especially in the free agent era, the Braves were as steady as they go (other than the black-hearted Yankees, but that’s a different matter) and there was one constant during those constant years – Bobby Cox. Players came and went. Ownership changed. Even the long-time General Manager John Schuerholz finally changed. But not Bobby. Bobby was going to be there; well, unless he was thrown out. Chipper Jones has been there forever it seems. But even before Chipper, there was Bobby.
And now that’s over. It’s going to be very odd to see someone else wearing that No. 6 Atlanta Braves jersey. It’s going to be weird to see someone else get thrown out 158 times. It’s going to be weird watching someone else do all the things Bobby Cox did. But even if they finished their Braves career with exactly the same numbers, they won’t be Bobby Cox. Bobby brought stability to an unstable franchise – the worst in the league. Bobby made old, beer-gutted men wearing ill-fitting polyester outfits and waddling around under bright lights cool for the first time since disco died. Okay, that one might just be me. What can I say? He entertained me to no end. He was both a gentlemen and a fiery competitor. Always one to keep a cool head, Cox never balked at rushing out to the public and emotional defense of his players. He was able to get players – even the high profile ones – to buy into his philosophy and play as a team. Bobby personified the term “players manager.” And that is what I will remember. And that is what I will miss.
This is the 25th Anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr Day. For some, it just means a day out of school or off work. But for many (and I hope for most) it is a day to reflect on the progress we've made as a country in respect to our race relations and attitude as a country towards each other (in all respects) and a recognition of how far we have to go. Martin Luther King, Jr stood for something bigger than himself. His dream is well documented and something we should all be dreaming. Equality, fairness, acceptance, generosity. These are all things we want for ourselves and things that should be wished upon our fellow human beings.
We're not perfect. But that doesn't mean we can't try. Black or white is ultimately a superficial difference that we have to power to overcome. Sports is an arena where the differences are often expounded upon and highlighted and documented. But it's also an arena where we can watch persons of all backgrounds working for a common goal, even if that goal can sometimes seem trivial, as was the case with the first Yankees game after 9/11. Or even recently with the national championship being played just days after the shootings in Tucson. But sports also has the cathartic ability to heal and bring us together.
Most stories about a player overcoming odds stacked against them and breaking down race barriers have been about black athletes, and rightly so. Jackie Robinson will always be a hero and a catalyst for change in American history. Even athletes such as today's black quarterbacks continue to struggle against the grain and change the game.
I was checking ESPN.com today, as I'm wont to do, and I came across a really interesting story of adversity, redemption, struggle, and ultimately acceptance that I wanted to share.
It's a great story of the best about sports. A white quarterback gets a second chance at an Historically Black College, Jackson State.
The article is by Pat Forde. Here's the link: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/columns/story?columnist=forde_pat&id=6021619
Sports a place where we can showcase our heroes and villians, the good and the bad, comebacks and second chances. I love the way a game can transcend and become so much more than that. A game can become an avenue of change, or a platform for progress, or just something to take our minds off the world that seems to press down on us at times. Ultimately, it can be a place of hope. And hope is a powerful thing.
The Auburn Tigers maintained their No. 2 ranking in the BCS by defeating a completely over-matched UT-Chattanooga team on Saturday. QB Cameron Newton had his most prolific aerial game to date, completing 15 of 21 passes for 317 yards and 4 TDs, while adding another TD on the ground. That’s not a bad day’s work, but it is staggering considering all of it came in the first half. Newton had a little bit of a rough weekend with allegations coming out last Thursday that he might have received payment during his recruitment to Mississippi State, the school Auburn beat out for his services.
Newton has maintained trademark smile and his positive attitude according to his teammates. WR Darvin Adams said, “Cam is being Cam and Cam is still going to be Cam." When Newton was asked if anything was different or how he was feeling about the situation, Cam just answered simply, “I feel like we’re 10-0. That’s about it.” Those are some pretty strong words.
Despite beating … well, the crap out of then No. 5 Utah at Utah, the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs were not able to jump in the rankings and surpass the Tigers, who hold a firm No. 1 status in the computers. Despite giving their best effort, it looks like either Auburn or Oregon will have to lose for TCU to make it to the National Championship.
All of this leads me to my real point. The bandwagoneers are out in full force now. As I drive around town, I see more Auburn car flags (which annoy me in general, but that’s a different story) and bumper stickers than since probably the 2004 season. I understand that people are more willing to show their support when their team is doing well, but that’s the point. It takes more commitment and gusto to put yourself out there when your team isn’t doing as well. If you must be obnoxious in your fandom, do it honorably and bravely. Either stick solely to gameday shenanigans or display your team pizzazz all the time. Don’t wait until your team is doing well. This is not team spirit, it’s team schmutz.
I want to see the Tigers do as well as anyone else who wants to see said Tigers do well. But please, don’t use a bunch of college kids to display your bravado or boost your ego. Now that I’ve got that off of my chest, feel free to cheer for your favorite team in the must gusto-ridden, bravado-laden, alcohol-induced way that you want. Just please, cheer responsibly.
It was announced Thursday that the Astros had accepted the Phillies offer for P Roy Oswalt. However, the pitcher has a no-trade clause in his current contract and has to approve any trade. It was reported that Oswalt wanted to be traded to a contender, a team that would pick up his option, and specifically, he was interested in going to intradivision rival St. Louis Cardinals.
I guess he’ll have to settle for two-time defending National League Champion Phillies.
According to ESPN.com, Oswalt plans to accept the Phillies offer. Oh really? You mean he’s down with going from the Houston Astros to the Philadelphia Phillies? I am shocked. This will be the BIGGEST deal in baseball since…well, the Phillies went and got Halladay from the Blue Jays in the offseason. Oh, and when they got defending Cy Young champion Cliff Lee the season before.
Reportedly, the deal includes P J.A. Happ, and 2 Phillies prospects. In return to sending Oswalt to the City of Brotherly Love, the Astros will pay $11 million of the $23 million owed to Roy. Oswalt, now 32, has dropped his demand that a team pick up his option for 2012.
Thank goodness the Phillies shipped Lee off to the Mariners the day after they acquired Halladay. How would you like to face Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, then Hamels. No thanks. Hitting a 95 mph fastball is already impossible when it’s from a pitching machine that throws it right down the middle. I’d rather not face four guys in a row that are All-Stars, if not Cy Young winners.
So what does this mean for the hometown Braves? (Thanks Atlanta for loaning us your Major League Baseball team).
Well, the already smoking hot Phils, winners of 7 straight, have cut the Braves’ NL East lead to 3.5 games. Now, the pesky Phillies can send a 3-day rotation of Roy, Roy, and Cole. That’s a nasty 3-headed monster, especially if the Phillies make the postseason. I don’t imagine any team looks forward to facing Hallady, Oswalt, and then Hamels, probably only to then face the ‘Roys’ again should the series make it that far.
But the Braves are strong and the National League as a whole is on the weaker side. So keep the faith Bravos. The team is actually hitting this season and scoring runs. Hudson still looks solid and healthy. Oh, and Bobby Cox is still getting kicked out of games. Never underestimate the power of the Bobby.