College Football Links of Interest
Ivan Maisel has selected College Football's 100 Defining Moments over at ESPN.com. The link will take you to the complete list, where you can click on each heading to see pictures and more in-depth analysis for each moment. The Vols made the list, with Clint Stoerner's fumble from 1998 at #75, and some old school magic with the 1928 win over Alabama coming in at #70. Doug Flutie's '84 hail mary edged out The Play from Cal-Stanford '82 for the top spot on the list.
Plays making the cut from recent memory:
03. Kordell Stewart's Hail Mary (Colorado-Michigan 94)
05. Vince Young's pylon dive to win (Texas-USC Rose Bowl 05)
15. Boise State's trick plays to victory (BSU-Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl 06)
17. Pass interference in overtime (OSU-Miami Fiesta Bowl 02)
20. Tommie Frazier's TD run (Nebraska-Florida Fiesta Bowl 96)
31. Reggie Bush's punt return thru the fog (USC-Oregon State 04)
32. Desmond Howard strikes the pose (Michigan-Ohio State 91)
47. Florida State finally wins it all (FSU-Nebraska Orange Bowl 93)
48. George Teague and the Tide roll (Alabama-Miami Sugar Bowl 92)
49. Kicked ball keeps Nebraska alive (Nebraska-Missouri 97)
52. Warrick Dunn goes 79 yards to beat Florida (FSU-Florida 93)
53. Rocket's nullified return (ND-Colorado Orange Bowl 90)
59. Boston College upsets #1 Notre Dame (BC-ND 93)
60. Wide Right I (Miami-FSU 91)
63. Michael Vick in the Sugar Bowl (FSU-VT Sugar Bowl 99)
65. The Bush Push (USC-Notre Dame 05)
75. Clint Stoerner fumbles it away (Tennessee-Arkansas 98)
77. Spurrier arrives by beating Alabama (Alabama-Florida 90)
79. Northwestern clinches the Rose Bowl bid (NW-Penn State 95)
80. Texas throws on 4th and 1 to win (TEX-NEB Big 12 Title 96)
85. UNLV's 100 yard fumble return (UNLV-Baylor 99)
92. Iowa's hail mary beats LSU (Iowa-LSU Capital One Bowl 04)
97. Katie Hnida attempts an extra point (New Mexico-UCLA 02)
100. Teammates carry injured Leftwich (Marshall-Akron 02)
CollegeFootballNews.com is running through several features right now, including early predictions of the Top 50 games of 2007, and a recap of the 100 most exciting finishes since 1970, as well as continuing their team-by-team extensive previews. You can find links to all these features from their main page.
Some Thoughts on Dane Bradshaw's Book
A solid 90% of my library consists of theology and what the folks at the Christian bookstore I used to work at would call "Christian Living" selections, and so it's always nice for me to find something to read to unplug from all of that from time to time. So before Harry Potter fills that void in a couple weeks, Bradshaw's book was a welcome distraction. For diehard Vol fans who can fill in the gaps from memory as he works his way through the 2006-07 season, I doubt you'd find any problems with it. As pure Tennessee athletics literature, it's great by itself. But perhaps even more than you expect, Bradshaw writes with real honesty - it's arguably a PG-13 book, and it's better for it. I got more laughs out of some of the stories in the book, which I won't spoil for you, than of anything I've read in a long time. And above all, it increases your respect for both Dane Bradshaw and Bruce Pearl. He was a smart guy for choosing to write it, and it would've sold copies given the environment no matter its quality. But his honesty and sense of humor bleed through, between funny stories and his own struggles with shooting slumps or injuries. For all Tennesseee basketball fans, you'll enjoy this book. Well done.
Ray Allen in Boston
If you're wondering why I haven't said anything about this in the days since it happened, it's because I both don't know exactly how I feel about it, and because I have the unsettling feeling that the Celtics aren't done yet. For the record, I like Ray Allen and always have, I respect his game, his work ethic, and his attitude both on and off the court. He was better than he ever got credit for being in Milwaukee because he played in Milwaukee (take that, Yi). And the facts are the facts and he isn't getting younger, much like Paul Pierce.
Allen was/is a solid player who represents an effort by the front office to show some sort of commitment to winning, and to appease, in the same manner, their all star in Pierce. Which, I guess, is nice...but is it any good? On the list of Boston's needs, a scoring guard/forward wasn't at the top...because they already have one. You could argue that they needed a veteran presence, but then I would argue they also needed big help inside, so why not make your veteran move there?
The 2007 Draft is believed to be extremely deep, and so the pick at #5 - whether that's Jeff Green's career in Seattle/Las Vegas, or Corey Brewer/Yi/Joakim Noah/etc. if the Celtics had kept the pick - could easily develop into a legitimate superstar, with considerably more mileage than Ray Allen. And there are lots of other ways that this goes wrong. But the reality is, the on court performance will dictate the success or failure of this trade, and of this administration, who clearly made the move to keep their jobs under the guise of "progress". Even if Boston makes no more additions - and still holding Theo Ratliff's contract and still needing a big man means Boston is probably still in the market - the bar is going to be higher than "just make the playoffs". Winning the Atlantic Division, which is probably the worst in professional sports, is a deceptive goal. No, the Celtics need to advance to at least the second round, right away, for people to feel at least decent about the move. The Celtics didn't completely mortgage the future - they've still got Rondo and Al Jefferson in the starting lineup, with more youth on the bench - but you can never tell which move they're going to pursue next. Like I said, I'm undecided. And the season will decide for all of us.
The Biploar Braves
Lose five, win five, lose three. In the first skid of five, they scored one run and everyone was having 06 flashbacks. In the winning streak, they blew up for 41 runs - they won big, they won small, they won from in front and behind. Sunday afternoon, the streak should've been six after they plated two runs in the top of the 9th to take the lead on the Marlins, but the suddenly unstable Bob Wickman gave up a homer in the home half to tie it, and the Marlins won in extras. And it was the sort of loss that made you think "uh oh, that one's going to linger..." And it has - now on the West Coast until the All Star Break, playing those 10:15 games that make me have to wake up and wonder, the Braves lost a Smoltz start on Monday, and scored six runs in the first three innings last night and still lost. The good news is, the Mets still suck too. But Atlanta's got two more in LA before playing three in San Diego before we hit the break. The Braves need to level off, then they need to start winning with greater consistency if they hope to stay ahead of the Phillies and make up the 4 games they currently sit behind the Mets.
If Tank Johnson can be released...
...then why are Chris Henry and Pacman Jones still employed? Michael Smith and Michael Holley had an excellent discussion about this yesterday, with Smith filling in for Jim Rome, which means I can tolerate Rome is Burning. The logic supposedly goes that Johnson is more expendable than Henry and Pacman, and the Bears can afford to cut him loose. The Titans have publicly stated that they've moved on with Pacman. And I'm not saying it's necessary to go ahead and sever the ties...but, especially with Henry, I think both were more deserving of being cut than Johnson. There's also news today of Dominic Rhodes being suspended (Tony Dungy looking smarter all the time), and a Florida offensive lineman discharged an AK-47 in public a few days ago, who's also been dismissed. Yikes.
But all this talk about the NFL having a bad image is out of place, and, as Brian Urlacher said on the same program, this is what people have to talk about when there are no games being played. The NFL is like anywhere else - you've got human beings there, in their unique situations, who are capable of both great good and extremely poor decisions. And some lean the one way, and some go the other. Such is life.