Saturday, October 31, 2009

The World Series, and a Little Something Called the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party..

A crazy, busy sports weekend, mixed with a healthy dose of Halloween, makes for one of the most-highly anticipated weekends in recent memory.

My beautiful, kind, understanding, loving (did I mention beautiful) fiance has given me the green light to literally sit on the couch (occasionally getting up when nature calls and for sustenance) from 1 pm until 11:30 pm on Sunday and I can't wait.

12:50: Put on my eagles jersey, make sure my fantasy line-ups are set.
1:00 PM: Eagles/Giants
2:30 PM: Halftime/bathroom break
4:10 PM: Either call my Giant fan friends to "say hello" or shut my cell phone off
4:15 PM: Packers/Vikings
7:00 PM: Realize I'm only down 40 pts in my fantasy league with my kicker still left to play
7:15 PM: Change into my NEW Chase Utley jersey (B/c my soon sister-in-law, rocks!!!!)
7:30 PM: Phils/Yankees Game 4 Pre-game
8:00 PM: Play Ball!

I can't remember a better NFL watching weekend in recent memory. You have Ravens/Broncos, Jets/Dolphins, Bird/G-Strings, Vikes/Packers and Falcons/Aints on Monday night.

But the sports weekend, actually begins in earnest with the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party this afternoon in Jacksonville. The disappointing Dawgs take on the all-world, Tim Tebow, who ESPN claims can actually part the Red Sea, led Gators. It is so easy for me to hate Florida and I do. Is it the jean shorts? Is it the gold chains? Is it the chomp? Is it the cocky heir of their fans, half of which didn't even go to UF? Is it their goofy colors? Is it their 20 year dominance over the Dawgs? Is it their titles? Is it their coaches? Yes, it's all of those things. This game is certainly a bigger rivalry game for Georgia than it is for Florida, as it should be since they've dominated us for the last two decades. Did the endzone celebration of 2007 and the 2-2 record in the last 4 games put some of the luster back into this mutual hatred? Yeah, I think so, but until we are able to consistently beat Florida, I don't expect them to hate us in the same manor that we hate them. In fact, I've often wondered who I hate more: The Gators or the Dallas Cowboys?

Enough vitriol, onto the game. I have come up with two scenarios -- either Tim Tebow finds his missing mojo and Urban runs it up on us, or shockingly the Dawgs pull out a close victory. The malaise that the Florida offense has been in over the last several weeks with close, yet unimpressive wins over LSU (understood), Arkansas and Mississippi State has got to be worrisome for Gator fans. Unfortunately nothing heals a sick offense, quite like a Willie Martinez led defense.

Fresh off of our bye week, I expect to see a lot of creativity from Bobo on the offensive side of the ball today. We should see things that the Dawgs haven't shown all year. We are playing the #1 team in the nation and we are on a crash course for the Independence Bowl -- we might as well play this game like its our bowl game. That being said, Florida's defense is fast, talented and aggressive, so our execution will need to be flawless. On defense we have to hit Tebow early and often and keep bringing pressure all day long. If we can manage a score on defense, which I have this crazy feeling we will, I think we can win. We cannot make the mental errors that have become synonymous with Georgia football the last couple of seasons. We must play a near-perfect game. We will need our special teams to not play like they went to school on the short bus. If we don't see any creativity out of our offense, defense and special teams, we will lose and lose ugly. However, if we can utilize our speed and athleticism, get creative with our game-planning, and play a mistake-free, disciplined, football game, I think we can do the unthinkable.

I'm happy with the World Series being 1-1 thus far. Hoping for anything more than a split in NY, was unrealistic. Striking out A-Rod in 6 of 8 AB's was also pretty cool though. Even though the Yankees absolutely HAD to win Game 2, it was still a dogfight. The Phillies fought hard and if they could have delivered some key hits with runners on base, we could be up 2-0. I like that we got a chance to face Mariano Rivera and a couple of guys were able to get on base. I think this could be key for upcoming games. Pitching wise, Pedro pitched his arse off. The homerun that Matsui hit was ridiculous. He went way out of the strike zone to hit that ball and he crushed it. Gotta give it up, for an insane piece of hitting like that.

Bottom line is that Phils can take a big lead in the series tonight, but I've lost faith in Cole. Hopefully I will get it back, but he has not been impressive thus far in the playoffs (and inconsistent during the regular season). He has left a ton of pitches out over the plate and he has been hit pretty hard. His pitches have been very straight with little movement. I actually think the Yanks will win tonight and the Phils will take the next two in Philly. I think Blanton delivers in Game 4 and I like our chances with Cliff Lee in Game 5, though there's no way he can be as dominating as he was in Game 1. We also need for the big guy, #6 to get back on track. I think that happens tonight, but I have a feeling we a 5-4 type of game.

Word on the street is that Pearl Jam is playing the national anthem before tonight's game, which should be interesting since they are from Seattle. Maybe they are big Raul Ibanez fans?

More on the Eagles later.

FYI, the Sixers are 1-1 and Elton Brand is still healthy!

Things You Should Know:

  • Please check this out: Go to 24 seconds in and sit back and enjoy...Amazing, Texas Tech's Mike Leach calling out "fat little girlfriends?" Not a wise move, coach. Now your players are going to be focusing on saving their "relationships" with sed "fat little girlfriends" instead of studying their playbooks. http://http//
  • Inevitably, I always have one friend (it changes each year) who I need to remind to set their clocks back. Seriously, what would you people do without me?
  • How does the government want us to believe that the economy is growing faster than it has in two years, yet more job cuts could be coming?
  • Is there a more frightening horror-movie villian than Michael Myers?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bring on the Damn Yankees...

After spending a few days with our collective feet on the recliner, we now know the defending World Series Champs will take on the most legendary franchise in the history of sports on Wednesday night (by the way, how nice was it to watch two other teams sweat it out for the right to play our team?) What's funny is that I want this match-up. In fact, I think a lot of Phillies fans do. If this team is as great as I think they are, then we shouldn't be afraid of the Yankees or any other team in the league. The Yankees don't scare me. I think we are ready for them and ready for greatness.

Often in the lure of Philadelphia sports history, we tend to fear the great teams. Perhaps this is best explained through my future sister-in-law's post to my last blog (basically the Eagles get tantalizingly close to winning a championship, only to have us all get sick with disappointment as another Eagles season comes to a crashing close.) But greatness is accompanied by a certain attitude and confidence. I feel like the Patriots have it, I feel like the Steelers have it, the Detroit Red Wings, the Florida Gators (why must they have it), USC football, UNC hoops, Tiger Woods, the Lakers, the Celtics, the Yankees, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Ric Flair (wooooo) - they all have it.

This confidence is not just being great, it is knowing just how great you are. It is understanding that your opponent needs to not only beat you physically, but beat you mentally in order to defeat you. It is starring down A-Rod with 2-men on, in a one run game and not thinking but knowing you are going to beat him. When I look at this Phillies roster these guys are playing with tremendous poise and confidence right now. They are playing like they expect to win, not like they hope to win. With greatness, comes hatred. Of that list of teams I named above, how many of those teams do you hate? Why? Because they do what your teams don't do (and sadly, ESPN is obsessed with their every move).

Obviously with the Yankees coming off a big series win over the Angels they have no shortage of confidence too. On paper these teams match-up well. I give a slight nod to the Phils line-up. I like that fact that we can DH Raul Ibanez, which enables us to get Ben Francisco's speed and glove out in the field. Using Francisco in the field gives us three tremendous fielding outfielders. I think the Yanks starting pitching is a little better, but remember we did get to CC Sabathia last year when he pitched for the Brewers during the NLDS. I like our defense better. However, Mariano Rivera is unrivaled as a closer. Period.

This sets up to be a phenomenal series and I think it will live up to the hype. Baseball's winningest team of all-time, versus the franchise with 10,000 loses. The intensity will be off the charts during this I-95 Series. Will Ryan Howard and A-Rod continue their torrid postseasons? Will Derek Jeter add to his legendary Mr. October status or will the new, upstart Senor Octubre (Carlos Ruiz) build on his rapidly-growing post-season reputation? This should be a great series for baseball, and one I think the Phillies can win. This series will require everything the Phils have shown thus far and nothing less. They must stay sharp mentally. The Yankees take a lot of pitches and stretch out games. They wear teams out, so the Phils MUST stay focused.

Can they do it? Can the Fighting Phils actually pull a back-to-back title off? (Philly's first since the early 1970s Flyer teams). Are you kidding me? Are we really this close to doing the unthinkable? I can hardly wait until Wednesday!

And in this World Series hour, we will find out if the Phils have IT.

Dun-dun-dun-dun (insert the Monday Night Football theme here). Has there ever been an Eagles game more under the radar than tonight's showdown against the Skins? Eagles-Skins came always seem to bring out the unexpected in both teams. I think Andy actually runs Westbrook a bit more (probably around 18 carries) and the defense makes some plays on Jason Campbell. Historically, Campbell has played pretty well against us and Clinton Portis tore us apart last year, but the Birds were embarrassed by an AWFUL Raiders team (you hear that Rock?) and they should be out to prove something tonight. I see our offense actually getting a bit more creative this week, with the extra day of preparation. The Skins are in total disarray right now and if we can't beat them tonight that will be a big disappointment, especially with the tougher part of our schedule coming up. I'll be much happier going into the next 10 games sitting at 4-2, instead of 3-3.

Anyone else notice that the Sixers start their regular season on Wednesday night? Yeah, me neither. We'll save this topic for the dead of winter.

Things You Should Know:

  • Ever notice that whenever you get something new you think it is the (INSERT superlative here) in the world. I think its great. I'm pretty sure Summer believes comet is not only the fastest, smartest, cutest dog on the planet but I think she believes the dog knows who shot JFK.
  • Am I the only person who gets in a really good mood once I hit certain grocery stores?
  • Isn't it a bit misleading to say "my favorite part of going to the movies is the previews."
  • At what age do people stop paying attention to you? I visited my beautiful newborn cousin Riley this weekend and everyone in that room hung on her every move. It was really cute but at what point do people say, "okay, i'm going back to my life now."
  • Don't you love yelling at someone for doing something stupid while driving --like blocking an intersection where you are trying to turn --and then they refuse to look over at you, as if yelling at that person while they look at you would give you unmatchable satisfaction.
  • And finally, Mark Sanchez might be my new favorite non-Eagle...check out this video... The guy is a starting QB for an NFL team and he's eating a hot dog on the bench. That is amazing:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

J-Rollin' -- Check out the Premature MLB headline...

My goal = shorter, more frequent posts. I feel that's what the people want. They want their cheesesteak in more digestible portions and more frequently. I'll talk to the staff about that. Unfortunately for you, I have a lot on my mind today...

If you would have told me 5 years ago of my six beloved teams (4 Philly/ 2 UGA - hoops still counts) one of those teams would win three straight division titles, one world championship and on the heels of returning to another championship series/game, the Phillies would have been my fourth guess. At that time, I would have ranked that probability in this order:
3-UGA Football
6-UGA Hoops

That being the case, this run that the Phillies are currently on is nothing short of amazing. It may be my own biased, but I feel like this is a team that people can love. Whether you are a Phils fan or just a baseball fan, they are an exciting team to watch because they really do not give up. There aren't any prima donna's (Cole is probably the closest thing to it) or criminals (save Brett Meyers and JC Romero, come on he thought they were "approved" supplements). They are just a group of guys who are equal parts talented, driven, fun-loving and clutch, and I think the path this team took to get here is a great example of this team's moxie. Read a great article today about former Phils GM Pat Gillick who said when he came to the Phils in 2005, he noticed they had some good ball players, but that there was no real sense of urgency. Players like David Bell, Vincente Padilla, Placido Palanco, Kenny Lofton, Bobby Abreu -- all skilled players but not the type of guys who play with fire. This group of Phils plays hard, they play to the end and they enjoy being teammates. I think they have taken on the personality of Philadelphia and they embrace that roll. I love what Ryan Howard said in Game Four of the Rockies series last week. "Just get on base and give me a chance to bat," before he crushed a 2-strike, 9th inning pitch towards the gap in right centerfield to win the game and the series.

So when Jimmy Rollins came up two nights ago and delivered a 2-out double in the 9th against Jonathan Broxton, the insanely hard-throwing Dodgers closer, I watched with equal parts shock, revelry and expectation. I will never forget that double for the rest of my life or tackling Summer and high-fiving John, just as I won't forget Howard's double a few days earlier or the memories of last year. Eric Bruntlett's winning run sliding into home during game 3, Matt Stairs' homerun off Broxton, Chase Utley's incredible play to throw a Rays runner out at home and of course, Lidge's final pitch). What we as Phillies fans are experiencing are memories that will last a lifetime.

I don't know whether we will close the Dodgers out tonight or if we win it in LA, or if the Dodgers make an amazing comeback and win the series. The latter would be beyond heart-breaking. What I do know is that I love the way this team plays baseball. I love that the Phils were among the top 3 teams in come-from-behind wins this year and we are seeing that play out in these playoffs and during this 3-year run. And who would have expected this from a franchise known as the "losingest" team in baseball.

Big props to Charlie Manuel who makes far more right decisions than wrong ones. A lot of times I question what he is doing (along with many other people who read this blog), but this guy has won with the Indians and he's taken this team to heights we never thought we would see. The fact that Brad Lidge has been as good as he's been this post-season is a testament to Charlie and the way he handles his players.

As for tonight's game, I have a feeling Cole will be solid, but the Dodgers will win a tight game 3-2. However, I believe the Phils will close it out in Los Angeles in Game 6.

Go Phils!

I'm starting to think all of my Raider-bashing on this board jinxed the Eagles on Sunday. But, if ever there was a time to lose to a team (The Raiders) that I'm convinced would lose to a college team, it's while the Phils are doing what they are doing. Am I panicked about the Eagles? No, every year we have a game or a stretch where we are totally outcoached and outplayed and we lose to a team of lesser skill. Last year it was that stretch where we tied the Bengals, got pummeled by the Ravens and lost to the Skins. I still think Andy will right the ship and get things moving. I wish he would commit to the running game (and by commit I mean run at least 25 times a game) but that's not who he is, and "changing" is not a strong suit of Coach Reid. I love the acquisition of former Dawg Will Witherspoon and he immediately upgrades our defense, specifically our MLB spot, where Jeremiah Trotter is showing what two years away from football can do for you. Speaking of two years out, how is the Michael Vick thing working out for everyone?

The Dawgs
The Dawgs got a big win over Vandy, but when we start looking at that game as a "big win," that's when you know this season has stunk! Let's be honest, if we are headed to the Blue Bonet Bowl or the Papa Bowl this year, our true bowl game is really next weekend against UF. Do I expect UF to beat us? Absolutely. But, maybe just maybe we get a little creative on offense, the Gators take us for granted (maybe their bus gets lost on the way to Jacksonville) and we keep it close. While there's no doubt that I'm about as unimpressed (horrendous coaching, zero discipline, poor execution, etc) with this UGA team as any in recent memory (maybe 99' rivals this), beating UF would make this season salvageable.

UGA fan and legendary SFCS contributor Leigh Goldman came up with a short but interesting list of potential defensive coordinators who could coach UGA's defense next year. Three of the names that impressed me were: Everett Withers (UNC), Jim Tresey (USF) and Dick Bumpas (TCU). Personally I think we need a new offensive and defensive coordinator but I don't believe Mark Richt will fire anyone. The hammer will have to come from Damon Evans or President Adams. Regardless I haven't seen anything creative from our offensive since we lined Brandon Smith up in the wildcat during the FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON. Our offense is incredibly predictable and our defense gives up points like it's going out of style. Changes need to come this off-season for the Dawgs!

In Other News:

  • One of the best moments of the Game 4 NLCS came when Joe Torre was walking out to the mound, to calm down one of the Dodgers pitchers (think it was George Sherrill). With Shane Victorino standing on second base, Summer says to me, "Do you think Shane will try to steal 3rd while the Dodgers manager is out there?"
  • Last weekend at borders Summer and I witnessed the greatest conversation in the history of the world. There was a customer who was arguing with a salesperson in the DVD/CD section about how he thinks the old school tube TV's are better than the flatscreen HDTV's. His reasoning -- the two black bars that viewers see above and below their picture on HD (due to the elongated picture) are actually hiding things the TV industry doesn't want the viewer to see. He reasoned that on his tube TV, he could see everything! This is not a joke and this conversation went on for a full 30 minutes, until the store closed. Yes, this man really exists and yes he is walking the streets of our country believing HD is a scam.
  • Our dog Comet is a very vivid dreamer. I often wonder what she dreams about when she starts wagging her tail, chewing and barking in her sleep. One word for you: Snausages.
  • Did any of you really think Balloon Boy was not a hoax? I think they need to throw the book at those parents. Who names their kid Falcon?
  • I just read that Carnie Wilson got a reality show? Seriously? New rule (in my best Bill Maher voice): if your parents or your siblings held celebrity status -- that doesn't make you shit!
  • Did you notice my use of the word moxie above? It's one of the most most underrated words in the English language.
  • I love my Mom and she finally started reading my blog (thank G-d), but one of my favorite things she does is her slightly exaggerated "passion" for the Philly and UGA teams. Don't get me wrong, she loves to see both the Philly and UGA teams do well, and to her credit she knows a good amount about the Philly teams; more so than your Mom! Anyway here is a sample dialogue:

Mom: Ross, what happened in the Phillies game?
Me: Well, they came back and won, Mom.
Mom: They did (insert complete and utter shock here)
Me: Yep, it was unbelievable they fought back in the 8th and won in the 9th, weren't you watching?
Mom: Well, I started to watch, but it was so close and I just get so nervous that I had to watch my favorite show, "Dancing with Stars" instead.
Me: When where you last watching the game?
Mom: Well it was 2-1 Phillies when I changed the channel.
Me: Mom, that was the 2nd inning
Mom: I know, but I just get so nervous that I can't watch.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sleep = Small Price to Pay for A Playoff Win

What an amazing time to be a Philadelphia-sports fan right now. I feel like Philly is one of those "close but no cigar" type of sports towns. Traditionally we go through 3-4 year periods where all four major sports teams get into the playoffs and come tantalizingly close to grabbing those elusive world championships. These happen about every 20 years. My Philly area buddy Pete Marroni and I were talking about this last week. I hope the younger generations appreciate that they are growing up in, what has the potential to be, one of the great periods for Philadelphia sports teams. I will spare you all the details of breaking down each major sports teams chances, but my plea to the Philly fans is to enjoy the hell out of this run. I think that is why I insisted on staying up until 2:16 AM on a Sunday night watching every last out of the Phils-Rockies game game 3 playoff series. It was surreal texting longtime SFCS reader and fellow lunatic Philly fan Derrick H. about whether the Phils could get J-Roll home, or if Lidge was going to get through the heart of the Rockies order. As tired as I am today, I firmly believe that it's time like these, games like last night's, that can define an era. Last night's game epitomized this Phillies team. Your starter doesn't have his best stuff, you fall behind early, fight back, play the game like your ass is on fire, come back in your final at-bat and pray to G-d (or whatever you believe in) that your closer can get through the meat of the opposing teams' line-up. And what would a Phillies playoff game be without adverse weather conditions? I love this team. I love their heart, their grit, their guile, their focus and their belief in each other, and I think Charlie Manuel is the absolute perfect manager for this group. Sometimes we LOUDLY question his decisions, but at the end of the day, this guy makes far more good decisions than he does bad, and he has an incredible feel for the game. It was all I could do to not jump around last night and throw things, waking up my entire house -- but it was good to see Brad Lidge close out that game. I think retiring the strongest part of the Rox line-up will go a long way to re-establishing Lidge's confidence. Hopefully time will tell. Last item of note -- I really believe Carlos Ruiz is THE MOST underrated player on this team in clutch situations. The guy hit almost .500 last post-season and it seems like he constantly delivers in key situations. Not to mention, he's a helluva defensive catcher. He doesn't get the ink that other "underrated" players like Victorino & Werth get, but this guy plays just as big.

The Eagles
Wow! Hello Jeremy Maclin -- so glad you could join the party this year. Earlier in the day, as the Eagles thumped the Buccaneers (or Succaneers as my buddy Wayne refers to them), Jeremy Maclin caught 6 passes for 142 yards and 2 TDs, as a fill-in for Kevin Curtis. Yeah, Kevin about your starting spot....we have a great spot for you on special teams! While I am not ready to anoint Maclin anything (though I did pick him up in my fantasy league), I feel much better about the offensive future of this team now, then I did 6 months ago. Between DeSean, Shady McCoy, Brent Celek, Avant, Weaver and possibly Kevin Kolb (jury is still out on him), we definitely have some pieces to work with. That being said, I like this year's team. We seem to beat the teams we should beat and we'll see what happens when we play other good teams, which won't happen next week against the horrendous (sorry Rock) Raiders. This team traditionally plays it's best football in late November/December, so it should get interesting as the schedule becomes much more difficult. Our defense still needs some work, but I do think we are getting after the QB much more consistently, which is great. I wish we could cover the TE's, but maybe Sean McDermott, who I think is doing a good job can figure something out. Right now, I think we are looking up at the Giants. They might be the best team in the league, but there's lots and lots of football to play.

The Dawgs
Memo to Coach Richt -- IT'S NOT WORKING. By "it" I mean the offense, the defense and the coaching. The Dawgs defense has given up 37 points in 7 of their last 12 games. That would be a horrendous PS3 stat, not to mention a major SEC Program. Honestly, how does Willie Martinez still have a job? Granted the offense has not helped much lately, but when things are not working and you are a "major national football power" (even if that's only in UGA fans' minds) you make changes. It's time for Bobo and Martinez to go somewhere else. Maybe there are some pee-wee football teams that have openings, b/c that's where those two belong (kindly take Prince Miller with you). We have long been undisciplined and we have not always been the most intelligent team, but when your actual talent belies your lack of discipline, you can get away with it. This team is terrible and they are consistently undisciplined. Every year we hear about what an "amazing" recruiting class Georgia has. Well, outside of a handful of players (AJ Green, Rennie Curran, Jeff Owens, Blair Walsh and a few others) I don't see much difference between us & the mediocre programs of the world. I realize every team has their down years, but when I saw the amount of talent last year's team had and we still didn't even get to the SEC Championship (or come close to competing with UF), I start to question things. Don't mistake my frustration for anything more than it is. I love the Dawgs (always will) and I think Richt has done a very good job taking the program to another level. However, Richt absolutely needs to make wholesale changes in personnel and since this season is a wash just six games in, I think we should get the young players some time to see what we have. Of course, given Mike Bobo's "ingenious" playcalling & Willie Martinez swiss cheese defense, maybe giving playing time to the likes of Marlon Brown, Abry Jones, Zach Mettenberger and/or Aaron Murray and Chase Vasser won't show us much of anything.

Things I've Been Pondering...

  • So my fiance and I have been putting together our registry for our wedding, and it's actually been pretty fun. I was wondering why people don't just register things from an early age and just keep updating your list accordingly. Think about what a great idea this would be. It would prevent those who love and care about you from asking, "so what do you want for your birthday this year? Well, Mom I put the Justice League of America and a pair of Sky Jordans on my registry."
  • If I told you that I knew someone who had the cure for hiccups -- what would that be worth to you?
  • I just read an interview with Hall & Oates (don't act like you don't still drumbeat your steering wheel when they come on) and they said, Michael Jackson took the groove from "I can't go for that" and used it in "Billie Jean." Not sure I'm feeling that.
  • Why does Atlanta continue to let people smoke in bars? It makes no sense.
  • Guaranteed, coolest music video you never saw: http://http//
  • I'll leave you with this zinger. Apparently France is paying students to go to class. They are paying the ones most likely to fail and drop out, to go to school. However, these students can't buy "fun" things with the money, they can only put it towards school-related items (driving lessons, computers, class-related trips, etc). So in short, if you do the things, you are "supposed" to do - no soup (or brie) for you, but if you are a derelict, well does France have a program for you! No wonder that country is so revered!
    • Sunday, October 4, 2009

      Dear NCAA, Stop Ruining The Game...

      The Dawgs lost a close football game yesterday to LSU, and I have a bitter taste in my mouth about it. They played hard but came up just a bit short. There were mistakes, dumb penalties, missed opportunities - no doubt. LSU won and they made plays when they needed to. Although the outcome may have been the same, the manner in which the Dawgs lost was an absolute disgrace to the game of college football. When AJ Green, who is probably the best WR in the nation right now, went over a helpless LSU DB to grab the then go-ahead touchdown with 1:09 left in the game, Dawgs fans everywhere went crazy, present company included. What followed that phenomenal effort was nothing short of absurd. After Green caught the pass, his teammates ran over and jumped on him. He jumped around with them, turned to the home crowd, nodded his head and appeared to scream something. The refs decided that this was an "excessive celebration" and saddled Georgia with a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kick-off (basically meaning they kick off from the 15, instead of the 30-yard line).

      Here's where the hypocrisy begins. The NCAA markets things like shirts, hats, foam fingers, towels and they make millions of dollars in college paraphernalia each year. These products are designed for fans to show their appreciation and support for their teams. They authorize the building of monstrous stadiums and allow for encouragement from players and the scoreboard operator directing fans to "get loud." Ticket prices and fan donations go up every year and now the NCAA is banning players from acknowledging these fans? Are you kidding me? AJ Green was penalized because he recognized an endzone full of UGA fans who paid their hard-earned money to come watch an exciting ballgame at Sanford Stadium. He recognized the legions of screaming fans in a tight, conference game with time expiring and his team was penalized.

      These kids work so hard to get to this stage, and there's so much intensity playing in front of 100,000 screaming fans, but the NCAA wants players to act like robots. When LSU's Charles Scott scored a go-ahead touchdown run with under a minute to play, he too was whistled for an excessive celebration penalty for signaling #1 after he scored. Stop letting the refs determine the outcome of the game and let the players fight it out on the field. This is ridiculous! If a team is offended by a TD celebration, then keep that player out of the endzone.

      Out of one side of its mouth, the NCAA loves to talk about the beauty, the tradition, the passion and the pageantry behind the sport. Out of the other side of its mouth they want the players to play with NO emotion. Would it be better to just have blowouts? Maybe it should be like wrestling where the outcome is pre-determined and the players just act out a script (yes, Summer wrestling has pre-determined outcomes and there's no such thing as the Easter Bunny). I need to find one of those foam fingers and shove it up the NCAA rules committee collective ass.

      NCAA rules committee, I realize it's probably really difficult to sit up in your stuffy, air-conditioned offices/suites and watch these games, where you care more about what your cut from the gate is. However, in the heat of battle, emotion happens. That's a huge part of what makes sports great. Emotion. Every game provides the fans with a winner and a loser and the players, coaches, fans, waterboys, mascots, media types and yard markers know this. That battle SHOULD BE waged on the field, but your rules are killing the very thing that summons thousands of fans every Saturday (and some Tuesdays & Thursdays) to stadiums around the country. I implore you to let the result be determined by the play on the field, not on the emotions of 18-22 year old kids who are helping to pay your salary!

      Good to see the Flyers off to a great start. 2-0 after two road games and Ray Emery is playing like a man possessed, though with his dark past I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. It's great to see these guys off to a fast start and they are getting contributions from all 4 lines. Only 80 more games!

      In Other News

      • Any other fans grateful for an NFL bye week? I feel like the bye week is needed for me to have 1 Sunday where I don't sit in front of a TV watching the Birds for 3 hours.
      • As Summer and I are planning our wedding, I often think about what it would be like if I set all of my friends up in a NCAA-basketball like bracket. Who would be the 1's and who would be the 16's? Don't worry if you read this blog, you are at least a 5 seed.
      • I have taken it upon myself to challenge Darrell Solomon's reign on the peanut butter & insert your favorite ingredient here sandwich. Last week I took the peanut butter & banana sandwich to a whole nother' level by dropping dried cranberries between the banana slices. I don't do it for the glory, I do it for the love, folks.
      • There are few things I find more peaceful then when my two dogs are sleeping on the couch on either side of me.
      • Went to a very good restaurant this weekend in Atlanta called Pacci - definitely check it out.
      • Does anyone miss Mike Tyson quite like I do? There has been no one in the fight game who brings as much excitement as he did prior to or during a fight.
      • After her 3rd divorce (this one from Greg Norman), I think Chris Evertt Lloyd/Mills/Norman should be the next bachelorette.
      • Next time you don't feel like working out or you tire after 15 minutes on the treadmill, think about Ed Rousseau - this guy is amazing. He one time ran 384 miles? I don't even like to drive that far...