Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

I know it's not usual Memorial Day fare, but I can't help but think of Patton today. It's not about streamer-festooned parades, yellow ribbons, or warm-and-fuzzy remembrances. These men went through Hell and nothing we do to make ourselves feel better about their sacrifice will change that. So, to really honor the American soldier, why not use the quintessential warrior from our quintessential war: George S. Patton.

"War is a bloody, killing business. You've got to spill their blood, or they will spill yours! Rip them up the belly. Shoot them in the guts. When shells are hitting all around you and you wipe the dirt off your face and realize that instead of dirt it's the blood and guts of what once was your best friend beside you, you'll know what to do."

"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."
- George "Blood and Guts" Patton

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Look Back

It's almost preseason hype time. Phil Steele's right around the corner and we're nigh on polls and picks. But, before we do that, let's take a look back at what I picked last pre-season. We'll match up my preseason top-25 with the AP's and their final top-10. First, though, let's see how my conference picks shook out back in '09.

The SEC: I had Florida over Alabama, but the reverse ended up true. Not too bad, I guess. I did, however, have South Carolina third in the East. Originally, I had LSU winning the West, but audibled late in favor of the Tide.

The Big-XII: I correctly picked Texas over Nebraska, but that wasn't really that hard to do. Oklahoma disappointed me by finishing 4th instead of 2nd in the South (but who knew Bradford was going down?). BUt Kansas was BY FAR my biggest mistake. I had the Jayhawks second up top and they finished up dead last with a miserable 1-7 record. Yikes.

The PAC-10: I had USC, but Oregon won the league title; I had the ducks all the way down at seven. Not only that, but the Trojans finished fifth. Cal was my no. 2, but the Bears dropped to 6th. I did have faith in Stanford, but beyond that, my picks in this league were a hot mess.

The ACC: Georgia Tech over...zzzz...oh, sorry, I fell asleep. Georgia Tech over Clemson; I had Virgina Tech over Florida State. I did have the Bees and Tigers second in their respective divisions, with the rest of my picks hitting pretty close to the final standings.

The Big East: HAHAHA I had Rutgers winning this league and Cincy at no. 4. Instead, the opposite occurred. I pegged Pitt for no. 2, but was a spot or two off with WVU and UConn.

The Big Ten: Everybody had Ohio State, so no points there. The biggest whiff? I had Iowa middling down at sixth and then they somehow hokumed themselves to an 11-2 record. Northwestern hit me hard, too, pulling a fourth place finish out of their asses while I had them at no. 9. Putting Illinois at fourth was as dumb as it gets with the Zooker running things; this was by far the worst set of picks from '09.

My Preseason Top-1o:

1. Florida
2. Texas
3. Ohio State
4. Oklahoma
5. USC
6. Penn State
7. Bama
8. Cal
9. Rutgers
10. Boise State

Before you laugh at that Rutgers, remember the AP's #8, Ole Miss. Ouch. At least I was thinking about Boise State...and let's just ignore that Cal shall we?

AP Preseason Top-1o:

1. Florida
2. Texas
3. OKlahoma
4. USC
5. Bama
6. Ohio State
7. VA Tech
8. Ole Miss
9. Oklahoma State
10. Penn State

And, just for shits and gigs, here's the final top-10 just to see how bad we all are at this preseason picking thing:

AP Final Rankings

1. Alabama
2. Texas
3. Florida
4. Boise State
5. Ohio State
6. TCU
7. Iowa
8. Cincy
9. Penn State
10. VA Tech

Sunday, May 23, 2010

This is Getting Ridiculous

Twenty Teams?! Could the Big Ten really go to twenty teams? Honestly, I don't think so. Really, when you got down to it, I don't think much is going to happen in the way of expansion, period. It's fun to talk about and gives us an entertaining off-season meme, but that's all it is. We'll go through 2010 with the same conferences we have now and no major changes slated for the foreseeable future. Notre Dame will still be independent, the SEC will still be the best conference, and we still won't have a playoff.

That said, I'm not going to let it stop me from having fun with the 20-team talk for the next week or least until Phil Steele's mag comes out and we start all the preseason picks and polls.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

No reason to settle when you are the best...

Who cares about Braves Country, Red Sox Nation, or the Cubs being "America's team?" Let it be known that the Yankees have gone universal!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pessimists Ignoring 4x4 Model

Here's Harry King at Arkansas News making a case against expansion.* He's got some good points, but still comes up a bit short-sighted by not looking at all the possibilities. The biggest oversight of all? Not toying with the four, 4-team division idea. He says: "Expansion to 16 teams comes with seven games against division opponents." But, his assumptions are built around a two-division league. And, like I said, he makes good points, but if we're still in the "what if" phase, then we need to look at all the options.

King assumes, based on having 7 division games, the SEC's best options would be either a 7-0-2 or 7-1-2 format (7 league games-1 or 0 permanent cross-division opponent, and 2 rotating cross-division opponents). Fans would then ostensibly be robbed of the opportunities they currently have to see cross-division teams as often. "If expansion comes about, fans who like a smorgasbord of opponents will suffer..." But would they really? Would they suffer from a lack of variety in opponents? I say the answer lies in exploring the four divisions of four teams model (4x4).

How about a nine game league slate consisting of 3 division foes, a permanent opponent from each other division, and a rotating opponent from each division. So, a 3 - 3 (1.1.1) - 3(1.1.1)...I guess. Look at the variety of opponents you get there - especially considering there will be four entirely new teams in the league. Now, I haven't done the math, but with four divisions, you may need an eight-conf.-game schedule for the numbers to work out, but we can cross that bridge when we get there. Plus, let's face it: it's all about the money. And, if another conference expands first, we'll have to do it, too...sooo, we may as well iron out all the options and find ways to enjoy the idea instead of deriding it out of fear of change. Of course, I guess that makes me one of those " proponents [who] will say [expansion] is a must and call it progres (sic)." Indeed I am, sir. Indeed I am.

* h/t Blutarsky

Local News

Clarke Central High School has two rising seniors who have given their early verbals to SEC East schools. Offensive tackle Alan Posey agreed earlier this month to play for the Tennessee Volunteers, which isn't a surprise given the deep CCHS ties to Knoxville now. Head coach Derek Dooley and line coach Chuck Smith both played for the legendary Billy Henderson during the Gladiators' hey day. The second early verbal, from QB Martay Mattox, is a commitment to South Carolina. Mattox's announcement was made this afternoon. Maryland was a serious consideration for both young men, but in the end, both stayed closer to home and will be playing against the Dawgs; Georgia had not made either athlete an offer by the time of the announcements. Both players look to be cornerstones for Clarke Central success during their 2010 senior campaign, as the Gladiators hope to build on their state runner-up finish last season.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why Wait?

We've been seeing a lot of big time Big Ten expansion rumors and serious postulation as to what impact said expansion will have on the landscape of college football. The Big East could be killed least as a fball league, anyway, the Majors could all expand to 14- or even 16-team conferences while the mids dies on the vine or languish in total anonymity, or - quite possibly - NOTHING could happen. The B10 could just be jockeying for one last play at Notre Dame, and in that case, there would be zero fall out across the other conferences. So, like it's done for a few months now, the cfb world waits on Jim Delaney and the Big-Eleven to make a move. If they jump up, expect the PAC-10 and SEC to do the same. The Big-XII would likely want to, as well, but might lose enough big players to force a realignment into a completely different league. Either way, expect the SEC to construct a powerful conference and maintain it's dominance over the sport.

That said, I ask: "Why Wait?" If we know the SEC will still be the dominant force when the dust settles, why are they waiting for someone else to kick it up in the first place? Maybe the SEC should go ahead and make the moves: contact Texas and TA&MU* and FSU and Miami, as well as backups across NC and VA. Make the move towards total hegemony and force the others to follow suit, just like they did 1992 when the were the first to roll out a 12-team, 2-division league and host a title game.

Go ahead and build a 16 team, 4-division league that stretches from Austin to Columbia and from Lexington to Miami. Then, sit back and watch as the Big Ten and PAC-10 scramble for pieces of the Big-XII like 19th Century Europe in Africa. Watch Oklahoma try to hold court over what's left once Nebraska and Missouri bolt for the B10 and Colorado joins the PAC-10. Or, maybe the SEC should drop Vandy to try a run at OU, too. Or, if Miami doesn't want in, pick up Clemson** or Georgia Tech...or even Virginia Tech...or....well, you get the idea. Whoever goes first will start the trend and have the most options available.

So, why sit patiently and politely while the Big Ten opens the festivities? Why let the emerging conference alliances and litigious protection plans paint them in to a corner? Why Wait?

* Have to be a pair if the move is going to get through the lone-star legislature. Also, Texas will lose the benefit of the Big-XII's profit-sharing model, which unlike other leagues, allows the most exposed team the most money. The SEC is an even-share league, but still could have enough money to beat what the 'Horns are making in the Big-XII.

**Clemson's record against the SEC hasn't been great, though.

UPDATE: Georgia Tech to the Big Ten? In the modern age, where similarities mean more than geography, they actually do seem like a good fit.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Four Divisions?

Well, the sixteen-team league is still on the table, but the number of divisions is up in the air. We've all been assuming that a super-conference would be two, 8-team divisions. Well, in our faces. Lynn Henning at the Detroit News reports that four divisions is more likely, each with four teams. That could be a great deal of fun...especially once the expansion bug hits home here in the SEC.

Gray Stays..Multiple Roles?

Logan Gray has decided to stay at UGA. Good thing, because you hate to lose anyone who already knows the system. Plus, he's willing to adjust to the new situation and even try a little WR. Gray went on record, saying: "I appreciate coach Richt's patience while I made this decision and his helpful advice. Now, I want to put all of this behind me and focus on getting to work on preparations for next season at UGA."

Honestly, I appreciate Gray's patience. Most kids, especially those who came out as 4-stars, would have bolted to play somewhere else once they were pegged at the 2-spot. Cheers to Gray for staying and even moving around a bit to help the team. It's a tell of his character, and character is something we need at QB in the wake of Mettenberger.

Speaking of, apparently ol' Metty is weighing his new options. He has visits to Louisville and Cincinnati later this month. According to Kelin Johnson's blog, Zach's been contacted by plenty of other schools, too. In other news, Kelin Johnson has a blog.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rumor: Big Ten Makes Offers

It was rumored yesterday that the Big Ten extended conference invitations to Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers, and Notre Dame. So far, it's proving to be just that, a rumor. B10 head-man Jim Delaney has vowed that he will contact any conference before any of their teams are contacted, and so far no one's hard from him. Both Big-XII schools have denied an offer was made, Rutgers may be re-thinking the opportunity, and Notre Dame, as always, is uninterested (at least publicly...for the moment).

In the mean time, the Pac-10 and Big-12 are getting uncharacteristically chummy, maybe hoping to work together to secure their place as important conferences...or maybe to hash out the movement of the flagship Texas schools. It was believed that whatever the Big Ten does, the PAC-10 would follow suit and we'd see a picked clean Big-XII. That could be the case, if the P10 lands Texas...or maybe their hedging their bets to protect each other. At this point, anything's possible.

If Texas manifests its destiny and joins the PAC-10, A&M would have to be part of the deal too. That would leave Florida as the obvious frontier for SEC expansion - FSU, Miami - and then maybe NC and VA beyond that if need be.

And then there's this. Not terrible, but the new Big East needs cleaning up and clarifying who's where for football divisional consideration.

Monday, May 10, 2010

RIP Frank Frazetta

His artwork has always gone hand-in-hand with sword and sorcery - he will be missed.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ah...That Makes Sense

And now the Mettenberger incident makes perfect sense: He's a creepo. That's right, Mr. Oconee County plead guilty to sexual assault (the misdemeanor type) and issued a public apology. "Creepo" might be harsh since we don't have all the details, but sexual assault is no joke, especially when you admit you DID IT! Beyond the plea, there were no other details, and that's fine, because beyond the plea, there's an innocent victim's business at stake and why drag them through this if he's already admitted guilt?

UPDATE: I couldn't resist, here's the dirt: “The sexual battery counts were the result of Mettenberger grabbing the breasts and touching the buttocks of the victim," according to Southern Judicial Circuit district attorney J. David Miller.

BTW, Mettenberger also..."is banished from the city of Valdosta." Banished? What year is this?