Monthly Archives: October 2008

Breathe GOSH DARN IT (Updated)

UPDATED: Ok.  After going through most of the day kind of dumbfounded and reading little tidbits about Tyler’s injury and how it affects the team, I snapped myself out of it and feel like I have to speak out about something.  This team is talented enough to overcome however long Tyler needs to be out.  Granted, in the last 3 seasons, they haven’t had to play without him.  They’ve played with a not 100% Tyler when he had a stomach virus, when his nose was broken, and when he had a toenail issue, but they haven’t played without him. 

But let’s remember that this was the team that people thought couldn’t make it last season when PG Ty Lawson got hurt, and that turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to the team because it made them stronger and mentally tough enough to not give up when the chips were down.  It’s the reason that in that final four game last season, they weren’t completely out of it after scoring only 12 points.  This team is strong and only grew stronger over the summer with the addition of the freshman class. 

I’ve read that this team can’t win a championship without Tyler Hansbrough.  Well if all they needed to win a title was to have Tyler on the team, the Tar Heels would be going into the season attempting to defend their 3rd straight championship.  Last time I checked the winners of the last 3 titles, while Tyler has been in college, have not been North Carolina and none of those teams had Tyler Hansbrough on them.  So, to think that in order to win a championship we have to have Tyler is bogus since that hasn’t been the case the last 3 years.  Does he do his part and then some?  Absolutely.  Carolina doesn’t get to it’s second straight ACC tournament championship game without his shot against VA Tech, but Carolina also doesn’t win an overtime game against Clemson during the regular season without Wayne Ellington’s three pointer with one second left. 

Every player on that team has a role.  Every player on that team is talented. For crying out loud, there are enough McDonald’s All-Americans on the team to staff an actual McDonald’s for the lunch rush. Every player on that team can hang with every program in D-I.  There are even bench players who would be starting at a number of D-I schools, but they choose to wear the Blue and be part of a tradition that is incredibly special. 

So please…RELAX.  North Carolina will be fine.  Let Tyler heal without the pressure of “what are we gonna do without him” hanging over his head because the last thing we DO need is for him to come back before he should.  This team will be fine.  This experience will only strengthen them just like every other experience in the last three years has. 

Original Post:

This morning as I was driving to work ESPN Radio’s SportsCenter announced that Tyler Hansbrough is sitting out practice indefinitely with a stress reaction to his right shin.  It took everything I had not to scream when I heard that.  I was comfort breathing all the way to work trying to fight back tears, avoid hyperventilating, and starting to feel my blood pressure rise. 

Finally I was at a point where I could read the report on my Blackberry.  I’m slightly comforted by the quotes from his father who is an orthopedic surgeon and that this appears to be the last warning sign before a stress fracture.  I’d prefer it to be this than an actual fracture, but I’m concerned about whether after the mandatory rest if it will continue to bother him throughout the season.  Tyler takes such good care of his body that hopefully it will help him heal faster. 

But, I guess being the overachiever that he is, spending hours on end in the weight room and the gym, turns out to be detrimental to his body.  

Hey…if you want to be the one to walk up to Tyler Hansbrough and tell him he needs to take it easy and that perhaps he doesn’t have to give everything he has on every play and in every practice…you do that.  Let me know how it turns out.  I wouldn’t have wanted to be the doctor who reviewed his MRI with him yesterday is all I can say.  But now is actually the time that he needs to listen to that doctor and Jonas (the UNC strength and conditioning coach).

By the way, that sound you hear is a collective sigh of relief from all the coaches in the ACC.

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Road Trip: Blue Heaven

This is a long one, so grab a beverage and settle in.

Late Night with Roy really started for me on Thursday afternoon when I picked up my mom at the airport.  She flew in to take the road trip down and back with me and enjoy the festivities herself.  I figured this was only fitting after all the woman made me the Tar Heel monster I am today.  We figured out that the spring of Phil Ford’s senior season was the spring she was pregnant with me.  We can only assume that her yelling and screaming at the Heels permeated to the womb as I have become her clone during basketball season.  In any case, we woke up at 6am and were on the road by 7:15.  We arrived in Chapel Hill around 11:30 and took time to drop by our hotel before heading to the Smith Center.  This being our first time at a Late Night, we weren’t sure of the crowds or the parking.  Thanks to our friend Adam Lucas who is the publisher of Tar Heel Monthly, we were advised that people start lining up after lunch and the best place to park was the Rams Head Deck.  Kudos to my mom for enduring the up and down hill walk from the parking deck to the Smith Center and back.  The University of North Carolina campus was built back in the 1700s, so I’m pretty sure they weren’t concerned about my mother’s legs and stamina back then.

So, we parked the car and made the trek down Ridge Road and Skipper Bowles Drive to entrance A of the Smith Center.  Adam had also mentioned the Tar Heel Tip-Off show that would be broadcasting from that entrance between 2 and 3:30, so we wanted to be sure to have a good viewing point for it.  All in all the waiting wasn’t terribly bad because we were in line around 12:30 and the doors opened at 4.  I did discover for the first time a reason I was glad I hadn’t gone to UNC for college.  While we were standing in line, I overheard some of the conversations between the students.  One of them asked the others, “who are we playing tomorrow” referring to the football game.  The other students answered correctly, but one of them said, “I’m kind of glad we don’t have a game next weekend” referring to the bye in the football schedule.  I nearly fell over in disbelief.  Now, I know that Tar Heel football has left much to be desired for the last 20 some odd years, but never in a million years, I don’t care how badly they’re playing, would you EVER hear “who are we playing tomorrow?” during football season at Alabama.  People commit the football schedule to memory before their class schedule.  I’m definitely spoiled by where I went to college.  Alabama Football is definitely like Tar Heel Basketball with its prominence on campus, but even at Alabama the basketball, baseball, softball, and gymnastics games/meets are widely attended by the students and very well known and talked about.  But, I digress…

Mom and I took turns going to the Basketball Museum only a few yards away from the Smith Center to eat up some time.  That place never gets old.  I can find something I missed every time.  For instance, this time I went to the restroom at the museum.  The walls are all Carolina blue.  Seriously, the thought and detail that went into the whole building is remarkable.  Mom went to the museum after me and while she was there Adam arrived as one of the hosts of the Tip-Off show.  Mom has a bit of a crush on Adam.  Sort of a motherly crush, but a crush nonetheless.  So, I decide I should call her on her cell phone to let her know he’s arrived.  I swear I called her 18 times with no luck only to find out later she had somehow turned her volume down to the lowest setting and never heard it ring.  She got back in time to see and speak to Adam before the show started.  The Tip-Off show was incredible.  We got to see/hear Danny Green, Tyler Hansbrough, Eric Montross, Ty Lawson, and Coach Williams.  We also got to see some really great videos that they’d put together for the show.  You can watch the entire Tip-Off show here if you’ve got an hour and a half. 

After the show, they took down all the equipment and the doors finally opened.  I won’t go in to all the details about the person who was in charge of opening the doors on time and giving people the proper instructions for Late Night, but I will say I’m considering sending my resume to UNC Athletics for the job of Smith Center Special Event Coordinator.  Once inside, we were treated to a mad dash for the best seats in the house.  Mom and I chose to sit in the “end zone” (not sure what else to call it) with the benches to our left and the media table to our right.  Section 116.

We got to see the volleyball team play Clemson before Late Night started.  Carmichael Auditorium where the Lady Tar Heels play along with several other sports including volleyball is being renovated this season, so all the sports have been moved to the Smith Center.  It was really interesting to see another sport on campus and to see how the students come out for those sports.  I’m pretty sure there were more people at that volleyball game than will ever be there the rest of their season, but I’m also pretty sure the volleyball team will take what they can get.  What intrigued me was the announcer during the game.  Whenever the Tar Heels scored a point he would say, “POINT” to which the crowd was to respond with “HEELS.”  However, when Clemson scored, he turned into micromachine man and said, “pointtigers” as fast as he could and ever so slightly under his breath.  🙂 

After the volleyball match, which the Heels won in straight sets, there was just a little bit of down time before Late Night started, but when it started it was all kinds of fantastic.  ESPN’s Stuart Scott (UNC ’87) was the MC as has been his job for all of Roy’s Late Nights at UNC.  The Lady Tar Heels had their Late Night performance first.  They were all introduced in class order starting with the freshmen.  Then, they did a little skit where they all dressed like Coach Sylvia Hatchell.  This will be her 23rd season at UNC, which is most impressive to me.  The ladies had a 7 minute running clock scrimmage that did not disappoint.  They look phenomenal and poised to take their 5th straight ACC Tournament Championship this season. 

After the Lady’s finished, the lights came down, again and the most spectacular show I’ve ever seen (next to my Bon Jovi concerts) began.  Again, the players were introduced in class order beginning with the freshmen.  This was our first time to get to see the freshmen in action.  I’m really excited about this freshman class.  They are proof that no matter what the NBA water testers had done or Tyler had done, Roy would have been prepared for it all.  When Stuart got to the introductions of the Senior class I nearly lost it.  I figured I’d cry, but I just didn’t know when.  Senior Marcus Ginyard cracked me up because he recently had surgery on his foot and is in a walking boot, but still on crutches.  He basically spent the entire night in a motorized scooter/wheelchair.  Hysterical…especially when they got to the dancing part.  Once Stuart had introduced 4 of the 5 seniors with Tyler still yet to be introduced, he simply said, “I think there’s one more,” and the entire building erupted.  I think we blew the roof off the place.  Then, I really lost it.  I never tire of hearing the word Senior before his name nor do I tire of hearing National Player of the Year.  This kid who will be 23 years old on Monday, is a public high school graduate from Poplar Bluff, Missouri.  He never went to a prep school.  He played in the AAU circuit, but by all accounts, he’s just a good ole boy from the middle of nowhere.  In this day and age of prep schools and academies that have become basketball farms that promise to get you into the elite schools across the country, it’s nice to see a kid who just went about it the old fashioned way. 

He’s not the only one I’m proud of though.  Every single one of those seniors came to UNC as the team that would rebuild the Tar Heels, but what they became was just more ammunition to reload.  Their freshmen year was the year after the 05 National title when the team returned only David Noel from the 05 junior class who averaged a mere 3 points a game.  They weren’t even picked in the top 25 preseason much less believed to be a tournament contender.  But they jumped in the deep end, bought into Coach Williams’s scheme and they’ve never looked back.  I couldn’t be prouder of another group of seniors and what they’ve accomplished so far if I tried.  But, I digress, again…

After introductions, there was a skit that actually involved David Noel that paid homage to a skit from when he was a student-athlete and also introduced the audience to the fact that we’re starting out the season in Hawaii at the Maui Invitational complete with Carolina blue grass skirts.  Throughout the night, we were treated to pieces of a video that Senior guard Bobby Frasor filmed kidding Coach Williams about his tirade over the slippery NCAA logos from the 1st and 2nd rounds of the tournament last year.  Bobby Frasor was dressed as Coach Williams and every where he went around Chapel Hill he slipped on an NCAA logo. 

After the grass skirts, the ENTIRE team came out in Carolina blue tuxedos to do some ballroom dancing to Sammy Davis, Jr.’s “Hello Detroit” referring to the site of this season’s Final Four and National Championship.  (INSERT DEEP SIGH OF HOPE HERE)  Following the Detroit number, the individual class dances started with the freshmen, and suddenly I discovered how old I am.  When they were performing their routine which was an 80s style workout video complete with neon colored spandex and headbands, I realized that these kids were all born in 1990.  I actually looked it up.  Of the four freshmen, only Ed Davis was born in 1989.  The rest of them were born in 1990.  I cannot believe that we’ve gotten to this point where freshman in college were born in the 90s.  So, I quickly moved off of that thought just to keep from getting depressed.

The juniors (including sophomore Will Graves) performed a number to Soulja Boy’s “Get Silly” while wearing t-shirts with Roy Williams’s HUGE face printed on them.  Roy was wearing sunglasses in the picture that were painted with the words “Soulja Roy.”  Very cute.  Coach got a kick out of it.  Finally it was time for the seniors.  The five of them walked out in Carolina graduation caps and gowns.  They sat in chairs at center court and reminisced about their college careers complete with video of some of their dunks and flubs and frat house balcony jumps.  Marcus’s missed dunk in last season’s tournament when he fell flat on his behind was fun to see, again.  He even said that his mom couldn’t even look at him after that one.  I’m gonna miss his humor (and his defense).  Once that was over, they stood up and removed their caps and gowns to the tune of Vitamin C’s “Graduation (Friends Forever)” to reveal themselves in white t-shirts with sleeves rolled up and cut off jeans in which they danced to Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days.” 

There was one final dance that included the entire team in a circle just basically free style dancing.  They got the coaches in on that one, and then the skits were over.  The team ran back in the locker room and changed into their practice clothes for the 20 minute scrimmage during which the white team won 48-45.  There was some blood shed as Bobby Frasor’s nose ran into Tyler Hansbrough’s elbow…don’t let Bobby tell you differently.  🙂  And something happened that caused Tyler to get a scratch on the back of his right hand.  I never did see how that happened.  The team looked alright.  It seemed to take the new Tyler (Tyler Zeller) a little warming up time, but he pulled in 12 points and 12 rebounds.  I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do with Tyler and while Tyler’s taking a break on the bench.  After all that, the show was over and we took the trek back up the hill and down the hill to the parking deck. 

Kudos to UNC and the Chapel Hill police who were incredible at directing 20,000 people and their cars off campus.  I was highly impressed with that.  Mom and I got back to our hotel late, but we finally fell asleep.  We got up the next morning, drove back to campus so mom could see the new baseball stadium and the place where I saw Tyler in his truck this past summer.  I wanted to show her the football stadium, but they had everything already roped off for that day’s game.  We went to Bojangles for breakfast to get ham biscuits.  YUM!  And stopped at Food Lion for Sun Drop and Cheerwine to take back.  We also went to the Chapel Hill mall.  Considering the size of the town of Chapel Hill, the mall’s not half bad.  Then, we headed back up the road in the on again/off again rain while listening to the Carolina/Boston College football game.  Turned out to be a good one.

The weekend could not have been more fun.  Chapel Hill just feels like home to me.  I promised myself that if Tyler returned for his senior season that I would go to Late Night, and I am so glad I kept that promise.  I am so excited for this season to start, so that we can get the ball bouncing and through the hoop.  GO HEELS!

WWIR: Linkapalooza

Before I get into WWIR, I want to remind everyone to go out and VOTE next Tuesday. I actually voted last night via in-person absentee balloting at my local government center. I don’t care who you’re voting for. That is your decision, but PLEASE VOTE!

It’s Wednesday. Can you believe it? The weeks just seem to be flying by. I swear May was just yesterday, and here we are less than 2 months from Christmas. I need to get my shopping list together. Just so you know, I’m going to do a separate entry for Late Night with Roy. I had so much fun that I think it deserves its own write-up.

I’m calling this week’s WWIR “Linkapalooza” because I’ve got tons of links to share with you and my very first blog poll. In fact, let’s start with that.

  • When I was driving back from Chapel Hill on Saturday it was raining. In some places it was pretty heavy, and I started to notice that A LOT of cars on the road did not have their lights on. Now, I know that most cars these days have daytime running lights, but those are front headlights, not back taillights. When I was learning how to drive, it was (and still is) a state law in Florida that you have to turn your lights on when it’s raining. In fact, it’s kind of an unwritten rule that if you turn on the windshield wipers, you turn on the lights. I’m guessing it’s not a law in every state or people just don’t care. Here’s the poll question:
  • I’m a huge fan of the show Supernatural. In fact, it’s probably my favorite show on television. It airs on the CW on Thursday nights at 9pm if you’re interested. This past Thursday night’s show included a little gift to the viewers at the end when the episode was actually over. During the episode there was a scene where one of the main characters was air drumming to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” while lying down in the front seat of the car. The other main character was supposed to tap on the roof of the car to cue the actor drumming to stop and go on with the rest of the scene. Well the roof tapper wondered what would happen if he didn’t give the cue…what would the other actor do? Well here is your answer. I’ve watched this video about 10 times now, and it just gets better EVERY TIME.
  • Speaking of TV, one of my favorite shows last season was Moonlight. It didn’t get renewed for this season. I think it was mainly a victim of the writer’s strike because it had a pretty good cult following. Being the good loyal viewer that I was, I chose to not watch the show that took its time slot this season just on principle…plus I’m not a huge fan of the actress who was the main character in the replacement show. Well, this week CBS cancelled The Ex List, which was the replacement on Friday nights at 9pm. Serves them right is all I can say.
  • One last thing about TV: if you get the Planet Green channel (it’s a Discovery Channel channel), please watch Emeril Green tomorrow night (Thursday) at 8pm ET. One of the members of my church family is going to be on the show. The episode is titled Sunday Dinner, and here is the description:
    • Emeril Green
      Sunday Dinner

      TV-G
      Ray has a high-powered Army job that he balances out with a love of cooking. Every Sunday he hosts dinner for his church group and needs new exciting dishes. We’ll help him make Cola-Braised Pot Roast with Vegetables and Peaches and Cream Bread Pudding.
  • I haven’t seen this on network TV, but it’s the new Peyton Manning MasterCard Commercial. Personally I like the 6’5” 230 pound QB, laser rocket arm one and the cut that meat commercials, but this is pretty funny. You have to pay attention because it’s not funny if you don’t realize that the people in opposing cities are saying these things to him. Here’s the making of the video as well. And on November 2nd, you can go here to send a personalized message to a friend from Peyton Manning much like they did last year with the Pep Talks.
  • I’m going to stay with the topic of Peyton for just a moment. Last Friday when I was enjoying the gloriousness that is Chapel Hill, I noticed a report that the IndyStar was saying Peyton had a staph infection that caused the second surgery, which would seem to be in line with what is going on with Kellen Winslow in Cleveland and with Tom Brady in New England. Not long after I read that first report, the Colts issued an official statement regarding the allegations. It should be noted that Jim Irsay and Bill Polian absolutely HATE to issue statements. They only issue them when someone is DEAD WRONG about something or if a prominent person in the NFL or history of the NFL passes away. So, when I saw they had issued a statement, I thought to myself…oh no…the media has gone too far this time. This is the statement, which can be found on the Colts’ website:
    • “Peyton Manning developed swelling in his left pre-patella bursa in late February. The swollen bursa was treated conservatively beginning in February with drainage and anti-inflammatory medication. The first signs of infection occurred while he was in New Orleans in July.
      “It should be noted that infection developed prior to any surgery. Upon manifestation of the signs of infection, he immediately had surgery to remove the bursa sac. Concurrently, he was treated aggressively with antibiotics, and the infection was eliminated. The second procedure (tacking of the skin to eliminate the bursal space) was designed to ensure the complete and swift resolution of the bursal problem. The procedure was successful.
      “The second procedure was in no way, shape or form, related to the infection. The second procedure did not delay his rehabilitation or recovery materially. It also should be noted emphatically that, at no time, did he have MRSA.
      “It is clear from consultation with our physicians, including infectious disease specialists, that staph is a societal medical problem. There is no empirical evidence that indicates to our physicians there is a problem related to resistant staph (MRSA) with respect to the Indianapolis Colts.”
    • Basically with this statement Jim and Bill are saying we will never speak of this matter, again. And I am all for that. I’m kind of sick of talking about knees, especially Peyton’s knees. Peyton didn’t want to speak about his knees to begin with because he hates using them as an excuse, and that’s exactly what has happened. The media is using his knees as an excuse for the way the Colts are playing. I’m sorry, but if everything hinged on how well Peyton played, we never would have won the Super Bowl. He threw two fewer interceptions in the post season the year we won the Super Bowl than he threw in the sixteen regular season games combined. This team is not losing just because Peyton is playing poorly.
  • That said. Let’s speak to that. The Colts played the Titans on Monday night. I really thought the first half and part of the 3rd quarter that we looked good. That we were getting over the hump and we were going to be ok. And then the stupid penalties reared their ugly head and our inability to get our defense off the field and keep our offense on the field proved to be our downfall once, again. I’m pretty much prepared to call Amazon and ask what the bulk rate on this bookwould be. Like I said last week, we’re teetering dangerously close to that line where we have to win the rest of the games to clinch just the 2nd wild card spot. I heard on Tuesday morning that even after all this and being 3-4, we’re only 1 game out of that spot. I was ready to give up all hope on Tuesday morning. To accept reality that this was just going to be a down year. It’s harder to accept than you might think, but then I came in this morning and read one of the many blogs I read on a daily basis. Deshawn Zombie over at 18to88.com had a post that really just brought me back and said screw the critics. Let’s remember how spoiled and lucky we’ve been. Click here if you’d like to bring back the hope. But what I find even more interesting is how surprised everyone is by the Titans. Before the season started, I heard many debates on whether the Jaguars were at the point in their development that they could take over the top spot in the AFC South from the Colts. Not once did anyone mention the Titans. Have we really all forgotten that just 8 measly years ago this past January the Titans were ONE YARD away from winning the Super Bowl? Sure a lot has changed in 8 years, but still you have to remember that the Titans aren’t a terrible team.
  • On a different NFL note, one of the beat writers for the IndyStar posted this little nuggeton his blog this week. Apparently a Ph.d. candidate at Kent State University is conducting a survey on NFL football fans as part of his research for his dissertation. I’ve taken the survey, and it’s pretty straight forward. I figure why not help the guy out, so if you’ve got a few minutes click on the word nugget above and take the survey.
  • Now to my final thought. THIS IS THE LONGEST WORLD SERIES IN THE HISTORY. Ok maybe not because I didn’t actually research that to see if what’s been going on the last couple of days actually has happened before. What I do know is that Monday was supposed to be Game 5, in which the Phillies had the opportunity to end the series all together with a win. Fast forward to the bottom of the 6th when the game is tied 2-2 and the rain is pouring down so heavily, that they suspend play. It was supposed to resume last night to complete the final 3.5 innings, but Bud Selig decided at noon yesterday that it would still be raining too much that night. Guess what…it stopped raining. Sure it was still kind of yucky and windy last night, but by all accounts, they could have played. Now, fast forward to today where as of this afternoon, they plan to resume Game 5 tonight. Never mind that snow, not rain, was in the forecast for Philadelphia today. I’m still holding out hope that they’ll take this series back to Tampa for games 6 and 7, but right now I’d just like to get to the end of Game 5. GO RAYS!

Ok. Enjoy the links, and as always, thanks for reading.

WWIR: 10/22/08

So how has your week been since the last WWIR? Look on the bright side…gas prices are down. 🙂 I actually got to relax this past weekend. I feel like I’ve been booked up for the last couple of weeks, but this past weekend, I actually got to stay home and do chores. YAHOO! Oh what a life I lead. Ahh yes…where to begin?

  • The 12th Man: Turns out that in the SEC defenses are permitted to have 12 men on the field provided one of them is dressed like a zebra: Try not to argue with me on this one. That guy totally threw his shoulder, and the excuse that he defended himself because the player changed direction is baloney! The ref messed up and the fact that the SEC head office is supporting that just…well actually it doesn’t surprise me all that much. I’ve hated the SEC refs for a long time, but in the words of Coach Lou Holtz, “You can’t play the game without ‘em.”
  • Crack in a Cup: I went to Starbucks the other day. I’m not a coffee fan. Just never acquired a taste for it, but oddly enough, I love coffee flavored things like coffee ice cream or a Java Chip Frappuccino. Add enough milk and ice cream and I’ll drink it.  Anyway, I do love Starbucks hot chocolate and apple cider. It’s been colder here lately, so I stopped in the other morning and OMG…on the chalkboard they were advertising their new hot chocolate flavors. There’s the traditional, but they’ve added Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate and Hazelnut Hot Chocolate. I opted for the Hazelnut one and the only way to describe it is crack in a cup. It tasted like a cookie…I’m serious!
  • Mount Cody: Alabama’s defensive lineman, Terrence “Mount” Cody is injured and out for at least the next two weeks. When I first saw the injury, I was certain he’d torn a ligament. They’re saying it’s just a sprained MCL, but I’m not sure I’m buying that. I do, however, think every Tennessee fan (or at least their center) should be penning a thank you note to Ole Miss for not making them have to play against him. If the time frame holds true, we should have him back for the all important LSU game.
  • Programmers Predicting Championships: Ever since we started letting the Geek Squad decide who plays for the National Championship we’ve been on pins and needles waiting for the BCS poll to come out every season. This past Sunday the first edition of the poll was released. And I don’t think I have to tell you that this makes me nervous. If Alabama was capable of playing in the second half the way they play in the first half, I might not be so nervous, but I’m still not emotionally ready to think about the fact that if the season ended today we’d be playing for a National Championship. The other day I was talking to a friend and commented about how I had to look up which bowl was holding the championship this year because as an Alabama fan, I haven’t really had to care where it was for a while. It’s the Orange Bowl incidentally where Alabama is 4-4. The first Orange Bowl we lost was our 4th appearance there and was against Texas…go figure. And we’re currently on a 3 game losing streak there. With the most difficult part of our schedule starring us in the face, I’m pretty much convinced we won’t have to worry about that 4-4 record changing. I’d be happy to eat those words though.
  • Just How Bad IS Baltimore: As I sat there on Sunday afternoon watching the Redskins game and reading the play by play of the Colts/Packers game, I wondered to myself just how bad the Ravens actually are. Considering the thrashing that the Colts gave them the previous week and the way the Colts played on Sunday…it begged the question. Never did come up with an answer, but I do have a conclusion on the Colts. I’ve decided that it’s just our turn for a bad season. Let’s look at the facts. Prior to Peyton being drafted, the Colts (following their move to Indy) weren’t exceptionally good. Peyton’s 1998 rookie season the record was 3-13. The very next season was 13-3. Jim “PLAYOFFS” Mora’s last season was 2001, which was the last bad (read: under .500) season with a record of 6-10. Interestingly enough, Coach Dungy’s first season, the team went 10-6. Since then our records have been 13-3, 12-4, 14-2, 12-4, and 13-3. We’re just due. NFL teams go through cycles of good years and bad. Let’s face it; if it was easy to win 12 or more games every year, it wouldn’t be such an exceptional thing that the Colts have done it the last 5 years. I’m not trying to be a fair weather fan by any means. I’m just trying to be realistic because we’re teetering dangerously close to that line where we have to run the table the rest of the way to have a CHANCE at the playoffs. Mike Golic put it best on Monday morning when he said that the Colts were schizophrenic. Look out Titans because I for one have NO idea which team is coming to play on Monday night.
  • Another One Bites the Dust: Auburn’s Offensive Coordinator, Tommy Bowden, Lane Kiffin, Scott Linehan, and now Mike Nolan. I liked Mike Nolan. In fact, I really didn’t have a problem with any of these coaches, but their respective team owners did. I am not a fan of mid-season coaching changes. I figure if you’ve gotten in this deep with the coach, I doubt seriously that your team will make the playoffs by promoting one of your assistants. Waiting until the end of the season really isn’t going to help or hurt your chances…Plus you get some good draft picks out of it. 🙂 The Colts first round draft pick after the 2001 season was Dwight Freeney. I’m just sayin’. Now, if I’m sitting here in February and writing about the Raiders, Rams, or 49ers playing in the Super Bowl, I’ll be happy to accept any and all “I told you so’s.”
  • Hot Date Friday Night: I have a hot date Friday night with Roy Williams in Chapel Hill. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m going to Late Night with Roy Williams (North Carolina’s version of Midnight Madness). I’ve always wanted to go. I’ve seen the pictures and some of the YouTube videos from the previous ones, and they just look like so much fun. So, I promised myself back in the spring that if Tyler decided to return for his senior season that I would go to Late Night. It’s not just Tyler though. I’m excited to see the rest of the senior class and the new freshman class. The juniors aren’t half bad either: Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Deon Thompson, Marc Campbell, and Will Graves (After redshirting his freshman season, he’s technically a sophomore, but he came in with this class.).

I’m sure I’ll have plenty to tell you once I return, but until then…Happy Wednesday!

And So We Begin Again…

Everyone take a moment and step out of football for just a couple minutes.  Bring your noses out of the stat sheets and BCS rankings and settle for a moment on college basketball.  Believe me, your brain will thank you for it.  There’s only so many times you can read that BCS computer formula before you go cross-eyed. 

Friday was the official first day of the 2008-09 college basketball season.  According to the NCAA, it’s the first time that the team can actually get together and practice…for real.  Most schools now have a midnight madness event on that first Friday.  It’s called Midnight Madness because the NCAA used to say you couldn’t practice until midnight of that specified Friday night, but eventually they changed the time to something a little more realistic.  The name, however, stuck. 

Due to the scheduling of the fall break at North Carolina, the Tar Heels did not have their midnight madness (Late Night with Roy Williams) this past Friday night because Roy wanted to make sure the students could attend.  Therefore, the event was postponed to this Friday evening (October 24th) and guess who’s going to be there.  Yep…that’s right Tyler Hansbrough…kidding…I’ll be there…and so will Tyler.  🙂

North Carolina did hold its first official practice on Friday following Media Day (which is what the above picture is from), it just wasn’t in front of the public, and I hear it was about 20 minutes of conditioning and nearly two hours focusing on nothing but defense.  Gosh I would have loved seeing that!  I kind of go back and forth in my sports.  In football, while I love a good defensive stop, I’m a sucker for an awesome offense that either airs it out or keeps it on the ground, but in basketball, there is nothing I love more than watching a team frustrate its opponent with what I call clingy defense.  I’m a sucker for man to man.  Hate zone.  I go back and forth on the press I think because I’ve never seen it work consistently for a team.  Probably because teams abandon it rather early.  That’s not saying it hasn’t worked for some…just not in the games I’ve watched throughout my life.

In any case, I was really excited on Friday morning when I realized it was the official start of basketball season.  It means I can start getting that bad taste from the previous season out of my mouth.  I’m really looking forward to this season, which basically means I’ll be sorely disappointed…a lot.  If I go into a season not expecting much, I tend to be surprised…in a good way.  If I go into a season really excited because I think they can quasi run the table, I’m usually disappointed…and early on, too.  But, my favorite part of a new season is that no matter what happened the previous season, you get to start all over. 

This senior class is one of my favorite ever for North Carolina.  I have watched these boys grow up since their freshman season in 2005-06, and I have never had more fun watching a group of basketball players play.  Sure they’ve disappointed me several times, but I have never been madder at them than they’ve been mad at themselves.  It’s going to be bittersweet watching them play this season because it is their final year, and I don’t think we’ll ever see a senior class like this, again no matter what age limit David Stern approves for the NBA next. 

Just as an interesting aside, this is what Bobby, Danny, Marcus, Michael, and Tyler looked like freshman year.  Most of them haven’t changed:

The Story of My Life

The Price is Right

“I’ll see your come from behind down 3 games to 1 and raise you a 3-1 victory in Game 7 of the ALCS cause I’m bringing my secret weapon, David Price.” ~Matt Garza, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher~

Disclaimer: Matt Garza did not actually say the above statement, but somehow I got the feeling it’s what he was thinking.

I was amazed last night.  I definitely doubted…BIG TIME…after game 5 if the Rays would pull it out.  And then after game 6, I was even more doubtful.  We’d seen it before.  The Sox come back from 3 games down to win the ALCS.  It just seemed like there was no stopping that run away freight train.  But, Matt Garza who wears a baseball cap with the names of his children written on the brim, said “not so fast…hit the breaks.”  He pitched into the 8th inning when after being relieved the Rays paraded out their bullpen culminating in David Price striking out J.D. Drew with bases loaded and two outs to escape the inning with the 3-1 lead in tact.  He looked fearless in the 9th inning even after walking Jason Bay, and when Jed Lowrie hit a grounder to second base, madness ensued. 

You know I kidded my dad all season about his man-crush on Evan Longoria, but I have to confess I have a bit of a crush on Matt Garza after seeing him pitch only twice: game 3 and game 7. 

Congratulations Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  It’s amazing what can happen when you take the Devil out of it.  🙂

Thanks for making the World Series worth watching this year.  Good luck against the Phillies.

Is It Just Me?

I ask myself that a lot, so I thought I’d throw that out to the wolves readers.  This topic could possibly become a regular series on this blog because I really do want to know if it’s just me or if everyone is noticing the things I do.

Last night I was back and forth between my regular Thursday lineup and the Rays/Red Sox game.  I finished the other shows when the baseball game was in the 7th inning stretch, so I was able to watch the rest of the game.  As I sit here this morning, I’m kicking myself for that.  I was thoroughly annoyed with the outcome of the game but not nearly as annoyed as I was with the announcers on TBS.  So, I ask you all, is it just me or are the announcers so far up the butts of the Red Sox that they can taste Terry Francona’s gum?  

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t watch a lot of baseball.  As evidenced by my after midnight bed time last night, I know why.  Sports with no clocks bother me.  I like time limits.  I can count on one hand the number of baseball games I have watched this entire season including the postseason where the bulk of the total comes into play.  So, I don’t hear a lot of announcers on the games because I just don’t watch.  Last night I saw two and a half innings straight without flipping back to whatever else I was watching.  In that two and a half innings, I wondered why TBS had suddenly tapped into the Red Sox feed of the game for broadcasting.  Then, I realized…oh wait…those are the general TBS announcers who are supposed to be UNBIASED!!!!  If I can gather that from two and a half innings, let me just say that I think TBS owes all real baseball fans out there who are not Red Sox fans a big apology for the entire season of games they broadcast.  If I were a baseball fan, that drippy love fest would have made me mute the TV.   

I wonder still this morning what the announcers would have said if the final of the game had remained at 7-0or even 7-6 and the Rays had finished off the Red Sox last night in game 5.  Would there be all kinds of how great the players are but they just came up short this time or would they actually analyze the play and mention the fact that the Red Sox failed to show up until the final 3 innings of the game when they were batting against the Rays bullpen and not the starter Kazmir who was doing perfectly fine before he was pulled. I still don’t understand that.  I subscribe to the idea that you don’t pull a pitcher until he isn’t pitching well enough to keep from losing the game. 

Is it just me or is anyone else out there kind of over the whole Red Sox thing?  Sure I pulled for them when they finally got over the curse of the Bambino, but since then, I’ve really lost interest.  And this whole coming back from three games down was cute at first, but now it’s just obnoxious and annoying.  On a slightly related note, I’m probably the last person alive who hadn’t seen Kevin Youkilis’s batting stance until last night.  There’s really only one way for me to describe it.  The guy looked like he had to go to the bathroom really bad.  It was actually painful to watch. 

Is it just me or is a bigger deal made out of venue noise than needs to be?I was met this morning with Peter Gammons on Mike and Mike in the Morning where he has a regular call in time on Friday mornings.  I respect Peter a lot because he knows baseball better than anyone else I’ve heard, and I get the feeling he knows more about the sport than he tells any of us in his reporting.  I didn’t hear the entire segment, but what I did hear was Peter saying that when they go back to Tampa St. Pete for game 6 and possibly game 7 the noise level in The Trop The Dome (It was The Dome first, it will always be The Dome) is what will play the biggest factor…that game 6 at least will be more about fan noise and cowbells than it will be about baseball.  That annoyed me.  Of course I know that venue noise can play a factor in the mental strategy of a game, but seriously, suck it up.  A professional athlete in any sport should be equipped with the mental toughness to withstand any amount of crowd and venue noise during a game.  I understand that the RCA Dome in Indianapolis was one of the toughest venues to play because of the noise factor.  I also know that in the indoor football practice facility at Alabama the sound system is set up to pipe in the noise level of an opponent’s stadium but that even at its highest decibel, the system cannot mimic that of The Swamp in Gainesville.  So, I get that people see it as a factor, I just don’t think it’s a big enough factor to warrant someone saying the noise level will make the game about that instead of the actual sport.  Professional athletes should be able to tune that out.   

So…IS IT JUST ME?

WWIR: 10/15/08

I have to say that I am highly impressed with myself that I am remembering to do the Wednesday Weekend in Review segment of this blog. I even find myself mentally keeping notes on something I want to talk to y’all about.

  • Going to the Chapel: This past weekend my friends Denise and Mike got married. As one of the wedding coordinators at the church I attend, helping Denise and Mike plan the shindig fell to me, and I was more than thrilled to get to do it. This was such an easy wedding to do. They chose a Jersey Shore theme because that’s where they met. They actually met when they were teenagers and Mike ended up marrying Denise’s best friend. That friend died of cancer a few years ago and Denise was there to help Mike through it all. As a result, a more significant relationship developed and they fell in love, but my favorite part of their relationship is how they always come back to being buddies. The wedding was really fun and beautiful. They have to be one of my favorite couples EVER! Congratulations Denise and Mike!
  • I Won: I’m in a football pick ‘em league for college and professional football, and I actually won this past week in the professional one. I usually come in towards the middle or back of the pack because I have a bleeding heart when it comes to picking the teams. You see sometimes I’ll look at a team and see that they haven’t won a game and think gosh they could use some moral support…just one person to believe they can do it. So, I’ll pick them. It has no basis in stats or point spreads or who’s injured. I just like to give people a shot. It’s what led me to pick East Carolina in week 1 of the college football season and I was the only one in my league to do so. Plus, I have a very difficult time picking against the teams that I follow. Well this week I picked 10 of the 14 games correctly. The next closest opponents picked 8 correctly. I was also the only person in my league to pick Arizona over Dallas. Now before the Cowboys fans jump all over me, this pick had nothing to do with my feelings towards either team. I actually picked Arizona because Dallas’s Terence Newman and Roy Williams were injured. That was the complete basis for my decision. Anyway, I’m just excited I won the week because it probably won’t happen again the rest of the season.
  • Watch for Stampeding Horses: Well it turns out the Colts have some life left in them after all. I was incredibly proud of their performance this past Sunday against the Ravens. I enjoyed watching the special teams, offense, and defense all come to play. The way the defense played reminded me of the playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs during the Super Bowl season. They were relentless and didn’t give up a 1st down to the Ravens until the 2nd quarter. I hope we can keep this up because the toughest part of the schedule started on Sunday with that Ravens game. There were a few injuries in that game, but if we’ve shown anything, we’ve shown that injuries don’t keep us from winning just from winning big. I’m sad that Mike Hart is on IR now with a torn ACL because I love that he will not give up on a play until he has gotten somewhere. The Colts can frustrate me to no end, but when they play Colts Ball, it’s a beauty to watch. My favorite play of the entire day was one that involved Robert Mathis. He was being held…blatantly held by the Ravens O-lineman. Robert’s right arm was practically all the way behind his back, and the holding penalty was never called. That didn’t stop Robert. Instead, he drug the O-lineman all the way over to Joe Flacco fast enough so that he could swat the ball out of Flacco’s hand and cause a fumble. The Ravens recovered the fumble (probably wouldn’t have if Robert wasn’t being held), but I still loved the never quit attitude I saw in Robert on that play. He was getting to that ball no matter what.
  • Suck It Up: A big deal was made earlier in the week about Peyton Manning admitting that he did in fact have a second surgery during training camp in the summer. There’s also been a lot of whining from Colts fans about how the Colts lied to all of us and blah blah blah. Three words people: SUCK IT UP!
    • I’m going to preface this next part by saying that I do in fact know that I would not have become a Colts fan 10 years ago this past April if it weren’t for Peyton Manning, but I also want to make it perfectly clear that during the last 10 and almost a half a season, I have turned into a diehard fan of all things Colts…disgustingly so to some of you. That said it bothers me a great deal that people feel so strongly about not being told about Peyton’s second surgery. Let me point out that the first surgery, which we knew about when it happened, was what kept Peyton out of training camp and all of the preseason. When he had the surgery, the team only promised a CHANCE that he would be back for the final preseason game and couldn’t even promise that he’d be ready for week 1 of the regular season. That was just the goal. So, don’t pin him missing training camp and the preseason on the second surgery. The first surgery took care of all that. Also, let’s address that this appears to have angered some Colts fans in the sense that it would have changed their intentions for this season on whether they followed the Colts or went to games. If you’re going to a game for 1 player and 1 player only, please just go away and I’ll be happy to take any season tickets you have off your hands. Including Peyton, there are nine pro bowl players on the active roster along with one of the most seasoned coaching staffs and front offices in the NFL. It’s not about one player. Now, of course I know that this team has a better chance of winning with an injured Peyton Manning than with a 100% healthy anybody else pretty much, but still…he’s one guy. This is a franchise whose sole purpose is to dress the best 45 players they have every Sunday (or Monday or Thursday) to do one job and one job only…win football games.
    • I think I’m a little spoiled here because of the way I was raised. You see my family has had season tickets to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers games since the gates opened in 1976. Since that time, my father has missed, pay attention now, 2 PRESEASON games. He has NEVER missed a regular season game. There are few teams in the NFL that are harder to be loyal to than the Buccaneers, but my father did it and continues to do it every single year. Do they frustrate him? Sure, but that doesn’t ever change his loyalty to them. So, though I came to the Colts through a strange set of circumstances, the loyalty I have towards them is a direct result of the example I saw in my own house growing up.
    • To all those Fantasy Football team owners, none of the coaches or the 53 men on the active roster owe you a darn thing. They do not work for you, so they do not answer to you. The injury report rules set forth by the NFL were followed. Tony and Peyton did not lie. Sure they danced around the subject at the time, but they never point blank said “no, Peyton did not have a second surgery.” Call that what you will, but I can pretty much guarantee that just about any NFL coach is going to do the same thing when it comes to their players. Peyton himself says he doesn’t like injury reports because he feels like the media uses them as an excuse for why a player doesn’t perform well or as an honorable thing when they play hurt. So, perhaps Peyton and Tony chose not to announce that he had a second surgery to clean up the infection because Peyton wanted anything that went wrong to be placed on his shoulders not on his knee. At this point, I don’t see how it matters whether he had the second surgery or not. Quite frankly, I’m glad he did. Had he not, we might be looking at an injured reserve list with #18 on it.
  • Open Letter to the Clemson AD: The athletic director for Clemson University definitely missed the mark on this whole Tommy Bowden thing. I haven’t been much of a Tommy fan since he used us to get a better deal at Clemson when we wanted to hire him away to coach at Alabama, but I think the AD did an incredible disservice to his athletic program. Turns out Tommy and the AD had a meeting. The AD had no intention of firing Tommy or asking for his resignation. In fact, Tommy offered his resignation because he felt like it was just time to step aside. This information was not available until the late afternoon press conference, but it was already too late. The Clemson players, most notably the benched QB Cullen Harper, had already drug Tommy’s name through the media…I mean mud. It was really sad to see because Tommy gave a lot to that Clemson program. Things may have been going downhill in these recent years, but he was dedicated to that program. All I’m saying is that Tommy Bowden deserved to have the Clemson AD call a team meeting and explain that Tommy had actually resigned and had not been fired. Tommy Bowden deserved better than the lynching he received on his way out the door. And that fault falls squarely with the mismanagement of the situation by the AD.
  • The Boys of Summer: I don’t talk a lot about baseball on this blog because I don’t really follow the sport. I get bored with it too easily. There’s no clock and the season lasts forever, but I can certainly see why people love it. I just don’t. That said, I haven’t mentioned a lot about the Tampa Bay Rays this season even though my family and Mike and Mike in the Morning have practically forced me to follow their season. I gotta say it’s a great sports story. They’re calling it the best worst to first story in sports history. I’ve been watching some of the games during the post season, and I’m really hoping that they do get to the World Series. I also hope that if they do get to the World Series, they haven’t given everything they’ve got in these last couple games against the Red Sox. So, here’s my thing: this morning on Mike and Mike in the Morning, the two Mikes were talking about how a Phillies/Rays World Series would draw horrible ratings and that a Red Sox/Dodgers World Series would be the preferable match up. Ok…here’s where I get mad and try to keep myself from throwing things at the TV. Ratings be damned. Just because viewership wouldn’t be what the network would prefer does not mean that the Phillies or the Rays do not deserve every bit the chance to go to the World Series. These four teams have made it this far. A couple of them perhaps more improbable than the others, but they still deserve to go if they win the 7 games necessary to get to the World Series. They’ve won 6. They just need one more. I’m not a baseball fan, but I’ll tell you this much, if the Rays get to the World Series, I’ll watch, and I’m outside the demographic they spoke about on Mike and Mike this morning as those two believe that only fans of the two teams will watch if it’s Phillies/Rays.

Well that’s where I leave you this week. Don’t forget to vote for the Pro Bowl. You can find the link in my previous post or below the search box at the top of the sidebar.

Vote!

For the Pro Bowl!  If you have but one vote to cast this fall, make it a vote for the NFL Pro Bowl.  🙂

Ok.  So, yes I know the Presidential Election is definitely more important to vote in, but I’m starting a massive campaign this season to get Dallas Clark‘s ticket punched to Hawaii.  I’ve been trying my best all by myself for that last couple of seasons to get him on the Pro Bowl roster, but I’ve obviously failed miserably.  At this point, I’ll take an alternate position since those guys at least get to travel to Hawaii.  I could spend the rest of this blog explaining to you why you should vote for Dallas Clark, but I’m not sure Wordpress has enough room on their server for that.  So, I’ll just make this statement, which should tell you everything you need to know: After Peyton Manning, Dallas Clark is my favorite player on the team…hands down.  And not for nothing, but he comes in a VERY CLOSE second to Peyton.  I’m certain there are plenty of other tight ends in the NFL and the AFC specifically who put up better stats than Dallas does, but for what it’s worth, in my opinion, Dallas has deserved to be named to the Pro Bowl for a few years now. 

If you’ve got some time, click on the Pro Bowl logo above.  It will take you directly to the ballot.  You can vote as many times as you want.  Oh and all voters are welcome to enter a contest to win an all-expenses paid trip to the Pro Bowl.  Did I mention it’s in Hawaii…in FEBRUARY?!