Vol Football - Picking Up the Pieces
The Vols had a rare Sunday practice to try and address what need be addressed about Alabama and hopefully move on to South Carolina. The practice was, as reported by the News-Sentinel's GoVols.com, sans Montario Hardesty, who saw no action in Tuscaloosa despite being fully healthy, and this was reportedly by Hardesty's own choosing. I, like everyone, assumed Hardesty wasn't 100% when Lennon Creer got the carry on 3rd and 1, and what you heard postgame from Fulmer and Kurt Roper was less than encouraging, being that it seemed like they simply lost track of #2 and never made the effort to get him in the game. Not that Hardesty would've made the difference between winning and losing, and not that we don't have other capable backs, but it's an unsettling sort of situation in more ways than one.
Meanwhile in Vegas, the Vols have opened as three point favorites on Saturday night when #15 South Carolina comes calling. The Gamecocks and Florida are the only two teams left who control their own SEC East destiny, with the Vols in relative third place, needing only the Florida loss to control their own fate and having lost only once, to the Gators, against divisional opponents. Florida is at the Cocktail Party this week, and if there's anyway for this college football season to get any more insane, it would be Georgia winning this weekend, in a series that's seen Florida win 15 of the last 17. Which is really the best reasoning I can give you for having hope that the Gators will lose this weekend. I'm just saying.
NFL Football - Dear CBS...
How come, after you make me sit through Baltimore vs. Buffalo on my local southwest Virginia feed, instead of cutting to live action of the eventful 4th quarter of Houston/Tennessee, you make me awkwardly watch the studio crew while they watch the game, and then can only show me each play right after it happens? I'm sure there's a contract issue in here somewhere, either with the Sunday Ticket folks or somewhere else, but it was very unsettling to have to watch everything from the onside kick to Bironas' eighth and final field goal thru the eyes and mouths of James Brown, Dan Marino, Boomer Esaiason, Shannon Sharpe, and Bill Cowher, to hear and see their reactions to the play while it happens, and then getting to actually see it a play late. This is what I have to deal with instead of the live feed? It's not like the game was on Fox, it was on CBS, but we still can't cut over, really?
And I had abandoned Mike Keith because the Titans were up 22-7 at halftime when I left for a hayride with the youth up here, and I didn't see the "vaunted" Titans defense giving up 29 points in the second half, and didn't have time to fire the internet radio feed back up as the events of the last two minutes were unfolding. Lost in the shuffle of a wild and crazy game might be the performance of Kerry Collins - because the sentences "the Titans won without Vince Young" and "the Titans won with Kerry Collins" are equally impressive in their own right - but Collins was 25 of 42 for 280, no TDs but no interceptions. Even if VY can't go again next week, it's the Raiders at home, and at the very least you're not thinking "instant loss" with Collins under center guiding the rest of this no-stars offense now that this one's in the win column. Credit Collins for being especially sharp on the last drive, and Roydell Williams for making a sensational catch to set up Bironas for the NFL record. It's just that no one plays defense in this state, at least this week.
May we also take this time to thank Wes Welker for personally salvaging my fantasy season, and after giving us every chance to win last week, he turns in a huge performance again this week in doing most of the work in ending my five game losing streak. Welker is currently the 13th highest scoring player in my league, and is giving hope to white kids everywhere that yes, you too can play wide receiver. Let's also say that Tom Brady is currently almost 100 points better than the second highest scoring player (Tony Romo) in my league. Insane. We won't talk abou the Colts' chances against them until they get past their usual nemesis tonight in Jacksonville. Don't tell anyone that I won't be that upset if Jacksonville pulls the upset, just to pull the Titans closer in the AFC South race.
The World Series - A Prayer for Competitiveness
Thanks to the Boston Red Sox, we now at least have a nationally relevant World Series, and combined with the Rockies' run of insanity over the last month, you should have a good series here. For Vol fans, don't fall into the national trap of pulling for the Red Sox again, get behind Todd Helton. I know you can name Beckett, Schilling, Dice-K, Wakefield, Papi, Manny and about a dozen other Red Sox, and all you know from Colorado is Helton and maybe Matt Holliday if you follow baseball. But the Rockies are one of those stories that you don't want to see end, and while I have no animosity towards the Red Sox, they had their turn a few years ago.
What I'd really like to see - much like in the NBA - is something interesting. And while the problem isn't as bad as it is over in the association, where you haven't had a real nationally relevant, competitive NBA Finals since the 80s, the last World Series to fall in the same category was in 2001. I realize the Angels/Giants series went seven games the following year, but that's what we call West Coast bias, so I didn't watch it and neither did you. This one will attract people from both sides of the nation, and unless the Rockies keep up the blitz or the Red Sox talent simply overwhelms, this one should be good. I promise, we're not as delusional in saying that as we were when we picked the Cavs in seven. This one gets rolling Wednesday night in Boston.
(Crowd: LET'S GO ROCKIES!)