Friday, October 17, 2008

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO...


...HMMM.

Check out the name of UVA's stadium: The Carl Smith Center, Home of David A. Harrison III Field at Scott Stadium.
Yike.

We think it would roll off the tongue just a wee bit better if it were The Circuit-City, John Paul Jones, Carl Smith Center, Home of David A. Harrison, III Field at Scott(s) (Turf Builder ® With Summer Guard) Stadium.

Among other things, we figure David A. Harrison, IV is probably none too pleased!

Hey what would it cost to have a TAH Men's Room at the Carl Smith Center, Home of David A. Harrison III Field at Scott Stadium?

CLEMSON: YOU’VE GOT MAIL

According to the Charleston Post and Courier new coach Dabo Swinney sent an email to the Clemson student body rallying the troops to the beleaguered Tigers’ cause.

Changing the mindset of a shaken team is not enough for Dabo Swinney.

On Tuesday — his first full day as Clemson's interim football coach — Swinney set about changing the culture of the fan base, too.

"The negativity is gone," Swinney said. "It's time to root for these guys. I don't care what it looks like. Let's root for these guys, because that's what they deserve."

Fan sentiment has been toxic in the wake of the Tigers' 3-3 start (1-2 ACC), and it was a factor in Tommy Bowden's resignation Monday morning after 9 1/2 years at the school.

The 38-year-old Swinney has plenty of things to worry about with a team that has lost back-to-back games heading into Saturday's noon game against Georgia Tech at Memorial Stadium.

He's not guaranteed a job beyond the end of the season, but he's bound and determined to make a lasting overhaul of the relationship between the team and its fan base.

Swinney sent an e-mail to students Tuesday asking them and everyone else to wear orange Saturday along with the Tigers. He spoke of on-campus pep rallies in the near future, and he wants to let students come watch a practice or two.

"There's some bridges I want to build," he said. "This is their football team. These students pay tuition here. … Sometimes I think it's kind of us and them and we're disconnected, and that's not how we want it around here."

He also devised a "Tiger Walk," in which the team will exit the buses two hours before each game and walk from Perimeter Road to the west end zone locker rooms — ideally through throngs of cheering fans.

After Tuesday's practice, he told his players to begin picking discarded cups off the practice fields and putting them into trash cans.

"Let's do things right," he said. "Just the little things."

IS FSU ROUNDING THE BEND?

No, not that "bend," the good "bend."

FSU 26, N.C. STATE 17

Christian Ponder threw the go-ahead touchdown pass and Graham Gano kicked two of his four field goals in the final 4 1/2 minutes to help Florida State beat North Carolina State 26-17 on Thursday night, the Seminoles’ third straight victory.

Antone Smith ran for 89 yards and a touchdown for Florida State (5-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), which scored the last 13 points of the game to give assistant coach Chuck Amato a successful return to the stadium he called home for seven seasons.

Ponder had turned heads with his 144 yards rushing—the second-most by an FSU quarterback—in a win against Miami on Oct. 4, but on Thursday he looked sharp throwing the football. He was 23-of-35 for 254 yards, including the go-ahead 17-yard touchdown to Bert Reed after Russell Wilson’s 67-yard scoring pass to Owen Spencer had put N.C. State up 17-13.

The Seminoles finished with 392 yards and held the ball for more than 38 minutes.

Former N.C. State coach Chuck Amato admitted to being choked up prior to the game, but was all smiles afterwards.

“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “There are a lot of good kids over there. I don’t care what their record is, they are good players and good kids…and they don’t flinch when they play Florida State.”

(Photos by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

FOOTBALL SATURDAY

Saturday, Oct 18th

GEORGIA TECH (-2/5) @ CLEMSON, 12:00 PM, Clemson, S.C., TV: ESPN (XM 190) , (Sirius 212) RB C.J. Spiller is out, and to make sure there is no QB controversy, new coach Dabo Swinney says demoted QB zCullen Harper will have surgery on his non-throwing arm. We think that might be coach code for "Sit down and shut up."

#21 WAKE FOREST (-2.5) @ MARYLAND, 12:00 PM, College Park, Md., TV: RAYCOM (XM 191) (Sirius 211). Swank in, Swank out? It’s an important question since most of the Deacons’ points seem to be field goals.

#18 NORTH CAROLINA (-4.5) @ VIRGINIA, 3:30 PM, Charlottesville, Va., TV: ABC/ESPN2 (XM 191) (Sirius 211). The last time the Heels beat the Hoos in C’ville it was 1981 – Hall and Oates “Private Eyes” topped the charts and the highest grossing movie was “Chariots of Fire.” No, it wasn’t filmed in black and white, it just seems that way now.

MIAMI (-3) @ DUKE, 3:30 PM, Durham, N.C., TV: ESPNU (XM 190) (Sirius 212). Miami gets back RB Javarris James. Duke has had a week to regroup. The line says a lot about Duke's improvement.

#17 VIRGINIA TECH @ BOSTON COLLEGE (-3), 8:00 PM, Chestnut Hill, Mass., TV: ESPN2 (XM 192) (Sirius 211). This is a big game in a budding rivalry (remember how Matt Ryan won it for the Eagles late last year before the Hokies got revenge in the Dr. Pepper Bowl?) that has stayed under the radar all week. Do the wiseguys know something? The Hokies opened as a two point favorite...

(TAH OFFICIAL DISCLAIMER: Point spreads are for recreational purposes only.)

THE RIDDLE WATCH

Yawn...

Scott Riddle threw two touchdown passes, including the game-winner in the third quarter, to help lead Elon to a 27-23 victory against The Citadel last Saturday.

Riddle completed 18 of 32 passes for 237 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for the Phoenix (6-1, 4-0 Southern Conference). Brandon Newsome added 134 yards on 14 carries.

After Sam Keeler's 29-yard field goal opened the scoring for the Bulldogs in the first, Riddle hit Terrell Hudgins on a 70-yard touchdown pass to give the Phoenix a 7-3 lead to end the quarter.
The score was 16-13 at halftime.

The teams traded scores to open the third quarter as Elon's A.J. Harris rushed for an 11-yard touchdown and The Citadel's Blanchard threw his third touchdown, a 29-yard pass to Roberts, to give the Bulldogs a 23-20 lead halfway through the third.

But Riddle hit Bo Williams for a 10-yard touchdown pass at 5:53 in the third to put Elon ahead for good at 27-23.

Good night, game over, drive safely.

CAR BRANDEN ORE, WHERE ARE YOU?

Yes, more old pop culture references…deal with it the best you can.

OK, we’ll update it a bit: “Where in the world is Branden Ore?”

Almost heaven, West Virginia…

(Caught up yet?)

After Ore found himself tossed off the Virginia Tech football team, he landed in the little town of West Liberty, WV home of West Liberty State University, the oldest institution of higher learning on that side of the Blue Ridge.

There he joined his cousin CB Darren Banks on the DII Hilltopper’s football team.

Although slowed a bit by a “turf toe” injury that has him at “80%,” Ore is wracking up big stats.

In seven games, Ore has rushed for 926 yards (5.8 per carry) and 13 touchdowns. He has caught 17 passes for 185 yards and even threw a 42-yard TD a few weeks ago. West Liberty is also developing a version of Arkansas’ Wild Hog formation – they call it the Wild Bear – in which Ore takes direct snaps and can run, pitch or pass.

Last week, Ore was the WVIAC (Don’t ask us, we have no idea..) Co-Player of the Week after scoring 5 touchdowns in a loss to Glenville.

So far, about 20 different NFL teams – most in school history – have come through WLSU to evaluate Ore. Most of them think he still has pro potential, especially as a third-down back (because of his speed and pass-blocking/pass-catching skills).

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"The season is aging poorly for the Pirates, like Shannen Doherty in high definition poorly. After beating Virginia Tech and West Virginia, the Pirates have posted consecutive losses to N.C. State, Houston and Virginia."

– J.P. Giglio/Raleigh News & Observer.

ESPN'S KENNY MAYNE IS A FUNNY MAN

Enjoy...

Hip Hop Hooray!

THE CURSE OF JOHN PAUL JONES

…or why the University of Virginia coaches, fans, alums, apologists and players claim they have trouble recruiting (and ultimately retaining for four years of eligibility), Division 1 caliber athletes for the major sports of basketball and football.

This just in: UVA THROWS EXCHANGE STUDENT UNDER THE BUS/CRUISE SHIP

OK, she was from Ohio University (landlocked), but you get the point.

According to Karin Kapsidelis of the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

An Ohio University student was ejected from the Semester at Sea program this week, put ashore in Greece for violating the University of Virginia's single-sanction honor code.

Allison Routman says she was expelled from the U.Va.-sponsored program for plagiarism because of three factual sentence fragments and a paraphrased summary of a movie she looked up on Wikipedia.

Routman, a 21-year-old senior, said she had no idea she had done anything wrong until she was accused of plagiarism.

"I had no clue," she said.

Her father, Brent, has complained about her treatment to the U.Va. Board of Visitors, arguing that the "death penalty" expulsion for academic dishonesty lacks the safeguards that would be in place for students on the U.Va. campus.

U.Va. is the academic partner with the Institute for Shipboard Education for the Semester at Sea program, which operates three voyages a year aboard a passenger ship.

U.Va. spokeswoman Carol Wood says the students who take part in the program are well-informed about requirements of the honor code. An honor-code representative conducts an all-hands meeting about the system for students during the first week.

Routman was nearing the end of the summer voyage when she was accused of plagiarism. Her class had been assigned to watch a movie and write a paper comparing it with personal experiences from the voyage.

She chose "Europa Europa," a film about the Holocaust, and related it to her experience growing up Jewish.

She said she watched the movie but looked up the synopsis on Wikipedia to make sure she used the right historical terminology.

The day before the papers were returned, she said, the professor told the class there were some suspected cases of plagiarism and asked students to come forward and make a "conscientious retraction."

"Had I had any idea I had done something wrong, I would have absolutely come forward," she said.

Several students did, however, and were not expelled, she said. But she and another student were ordered off the ship.

Routman said she and the other expelled student were put in a cab at the port of Piraeus in Greece and arrived at the Athens airport about 7 p.m. Wednesday. They spent most of the night in the airport awaiting their flights home.

Nice, UVa, NICE!

PICTURE OF THE DAY

BAD SIGN…? Folks in Red Sox Nation were worried that the Sox were surely doomed when the Citgo sign that stands over Fenway’s Green Monster was damaged by fire early Thursday morning.

It looked all too true in the bottom of the seventh last night with the Rays leading the Sox 7-0 in the elimination game of the ALCS. Remarkably, the Sox rallied and won in the ninth 8-7 to force a game six.

(Photo by John Tlumacki/Boston Globe Staff)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

NEW FOOTBALL PLAY: YELLOW-ONE-WEAKSIDE-REVERSE-STREAM-FLY-OUT…on number one.

According to Dan O'Donnell of Newsradio 620 WTMJ in Milwaukee: The New Berlin School District says it has not determined whether nine junior varsity football players at New Berlin Eisenhower will be disciplined for relieving themselves in public during halftime of their game against Pewaukee High School.

(Evidenlty, they were told the bathrooms were locked [they weren't], and when you gotta go, you gotta go.)

(Photo courtesy of one pissed off (pun intended) parent and WTMJ)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

DOWN GOES BYU…BYU was fostering hopes of an undefeated season and BCS bith. Not so fast. The Frogs whupped ‘em 32-7.

Here QB Max Hall #15 dives for a touchdown against Tejay Johnson #3 of the TCU Horned Frogs in the third quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 16, 2008 in Fort Worth, Texas.

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 4

LITTLE INDIAN…A young FSU fan takes in the game at Carter-Finley Stadium on September 16, 2008 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 5

SEA O’ RED…The Florida State Seminoles face the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the game at Carter-Finley Stadium on September 16, 2008 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

ACC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

OFFENSIVE BACK—Cedric Peerman, Virginia, RB, 5-10, 208, Sr., Gladys, Va. Against East Carolina, Peerman rushed for a season-high 173 yards on just 16 carries and scored twice. He also caught a career-high eight passes for another 26 yards.

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN—Eugene Monroe, Virginia, Tackle, 6-6, 315, Sr., Plainfield, N.J. Monroe played every snap in the Cavaliers' win and graded out at a team-leading 88%, his highest grade this season and the second-highest by any Virginia player in 2008.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN—Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech, DE, 6-4, 270, So., Coatsville, Pa. Morgan had career-highs of four tackles-for-loss and 2.5 sacks. He also added 10 total tackles and he partially deflected Gardner-Webb’s game-tying field goal in the closing moments of the Yellow Jacket’s 10-7 win.

DEFENSIVE BACK—Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina, OLB, 6-2, 230, So., Oakboro, N.C. Sturdivant returned an interception 32-yards on the opening drive of the second half in North Carolina’s 29-24 victory over Notre Dame to change the momentum and bring the Tar Heels within one point of the Fighting Irish at 17-16. The interception was the third of his career and second this season. Sturdivant also added 10-tackles for the second consecutive game.

SPECIALIST—Casey Barth, North Carolina, PK, 5-11, 170, Fr., Wilmington, N.C. Barth booted three field goals, all in the first half, of Carolina’s 29-24 win over Notre Dame.

ROOKIE—Matt Conrath, Virginia, Defensive End, 6-7, 269, R-Fr., Oak Lawn, Ill. Conrath recorded only two tackles but was instrumental in Virginia’s 35-20 victory over East Carolina. He sacked the East Carolina quarterback early in the fourth quarter and forced a fumble in the process, which was recovered by the Cavaliers.
(Photos by Joe Bray and Andrew Shurtleff/UVa Media Relations)

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Thursday, Oct 16th

He's back: former Wolfpack head coach Chuck Amato returns to Raleigh.

FLORIDA STATE (-10.5) @ N.C. STATE, 7:30 PM, Raleigh, N.C., TV: ESPN (XM 190/191) (Sirius 211)

STRINGS ATTACHED

Disbarred Durham prosecutor Mike Nifong claims few assets after his conduct in the Duke lacrosse case led to his dismissal.

Nifong's three guitars fetched a total of $5,100 in less than half an hour of bidding at an auction house overlooked by a giant statue of Daniel Boone.

The auction attracted curious onlookers and bidders in person, by phone and online.

We are quite sure that any number of current and/or former Duke lacrosse players and their family members would love to give a Nifong axe the Pete Townsend treatment!

According to GuitarUSA.com:

1) Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster with case, sold for $1,000: This "dream guitar" is described as "both down home and sophisticated like the Music City it honors."

2) Martin D-41 with case, sold for $2,100: This acoustic guitar has mother-of-pearl inlay and white binding. It is considered a classic by "generations of guitarists who recognize the vibrant, brilliant tone produced by peerless craftsmanship and quality woods."

3) Paul Reed Smith Custom 24 with Bird Inlay, sold for $2,000: This electric guitar is "a perfectly balanced, visually stunning, sonically overwhelming work of art." The one auctioned Sunday had a glossy green finish and small birds inlaid on the neck.

(Photo by Takaaki Iwabu/Raleigh News & Observer)

DUKE GOES ALL NASCAR

Really?

Yep.

Duke freshmen Paulie Harraka does not like to waste time. That's good, because the 19-year-old has a very busy schedule.

In the past six months, Harraka has graduated from high school, enrolled at Duke and moved from his home in Wayne, N.J., into a third-floor residence hall room furnished with a bed, a small refrigerator and a Briggs & Stratton Motorsports blow-up chair.

Harraka has a cross hanging over his bed and some pictures and posters on the wall.

He also has two championship flags and three trophies, mementos from his summer "vacation," which he spent becoming the first driver participating in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program to win a track title.

The trophies came at All-American Speedway, the track in Roseville, Calif., where Harraka raced this year with Bill McAnally Racing. He won eight other races there this year, and he needed every point to win the championship at the track, where he was rookie of the year with the same team in 2007.

"It certainly has not been dull these past two years," Harraka said. "I've learned a lot."

Harraka, who is of Syrian heritage, will be among 26 young drivers at this year's Drive for Diversity combine Monday and Tuesday at South Boston (Va.) Speedway. Team owners looking for young talent will be watching, but most likely Harraka will be back with McAnally next year, driving in the Camping World West Series.

(Photo by Davis Turner/Getty Images)

DID WE MENTION JMU IS #1 (AGAIN)

JMU’s Scotty McGee is the CAA Football Special Teams Player of the Week after his game-winning touchdown in #1 James Madison’s dramatic 38-31 win on the road over #5 Richmond. The Virginia Beach, Va., native who tallied a total of 100 return yards in Saturday’s win, broke JMU’s career kick return touchdown mark with his fifth in the game against the Spiders.

With less than 30 seconds remaining in a tied ballgame, the Spiders were forced to punt from their own 34-yardline. cGee, who had already returned a kickoff 31 yards earlier in the game, caught the punt at the Madison 31-yardline and raced down the JMU sideline for the game-winning TD with the clock showing just one second remaining. The 69-yard punt return for a touchdown marked JMU’s 10th-longest punt return in school history and was the longest punt return in CAA Football this season.

(Photo by by Rich Radford, The Virginian-Pilot)

STRAIGHT SHOT

This from a former coach and college football TV analyst:

So, did Tommy Bowden deserve what happened to him Monday?

Unfortunately, yes.

He deserved it because he, of all people, knew what to expect when he got into this business. We grew up in it.

He knew what to expect when he went to Clemson. He knew that no matter where you go, there is an expectation of success that must be met. After nine years at Clemson, he knew exactly what those expectations were and he knew they had not been met.

Clemson expects to win the conference championship once in a while – and they should. After 10 years of falling short, they deserve the right to try to find a coach they believe can get them there.

One of the neatest comments I ever heard my brother make was his response to a reporter's question: "What was the most important thing you learned from your father about coaching?"
Tommy's reply: "The most important thing I ever learned from my dad was how to act like a head coach."
Monday, it was time to move over and allow Clemson to move on.

And in his final over-the-shoulder (TV news moment), after it became clear he would no longer be a head football coach, Tommy Bowden still remembered how to act like one.

Who you ask?

Tommy Bowden’s brother -- Terry, former Auburn head coach and ABC analyst, writing for Rivals.com.


(Photo via Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

BUBBLY…Coach Chris Coste and Shane Victorino #8 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrate in the locker room after winning Game Five of the National League Championship Series 5-1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2008 MLB playoffs on October 15, 2008 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.

Looks like a Phillies v. Rays World Series is shaping up barring another miraculous comeback by the Red Sox.
(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

HANK…So Hank Williams shows up at a Sarah Palin rally in Richmond. No surprise there. What did surprise us was Hank’s choice of shirt -- Redskin DE Cornelius Griffin’s jersey.

What up with that?

(Photo by Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

HOLY TOLEDO...Toledo's Nick Moore (1) celebrate seconds after University of Michigan kicker K.C. Lopata missed a field goal in the fourth quarter in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Saturday, October 11, 2008. Toledo upset Michigan 13-10.

New coach Rich Rodriguez may now be regretting leaving the Land of Burning Couches.

(Julian H. Gonzalez/Detroit Free Press/MCT)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 4

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS...The good news is, after the Redskins' surprise loss to the previously win less Rams, the equally-as-wretched Cleveland Browns kept the NFC East race snug by beating the heretofore unbeaten New York Football Giants.

The bad news is those now confident and rejuvenated Brownies are headed into Fed Ex this Sunday at 4:15 p.m.

Here, Derrick Ward #34 gets pulled down by the face mask by D'Qwell Jackson (Maryland) #52 of the Browns.

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 5

THE PALIN EFFECT…? Handout picture by the Vienna Spanish Riding School shows the first woman riders "Bereiter," Austrian Hannah Zeitlhofer (l) and Brit Sojourner Morrell (r) on October 15, 2008 in Vienna.

The prestigious Spanish Riding School of Vienna has hired two young riders, ending a tradition of 430 years that only men take care of its famous Lipizzaner horses…

If you are a certain age and watched Disney as a kid, you know all about this outfit.

(Photo credit should read HO/AFP/Getty Images)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A BRAND NEW DABO AT CLEMSON

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Clemson, in need of a new head coach in mid-season, expectedly turned to its own staff for a replacement. Unexpectedly, though, the administration snubbed the only two assistants with head coaching experience on their resume in favor of wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney.

Dabo Swinney will take over as head coach for Tommy Bowden.
Who?

Swinney, who is 39 years old and in his sixth season at Clemson, has never been a head coach before. He got his start in coaching at Alabama, his alma mater, where he coached the receivers and tight ends until 2000. Swinney took over Clemson's receivers in 2003. Much was written about Swinney this preseason because of his ties to the Tigers' opponent in the season opener.
This story in the Birmingham News covered the ups and downs of his career, including last season when Swinney was almost lured back to Alabama by Nick Saban.

Swinney has earned a reputation as a top-notch recruiter who's a smooth talker and good with boosters and the media.

Swinney promptly dismissed beleaguered offensive coordinator Rob Spence and endorsed Willy Korn as the new starting QB over Cullen Harper.
(Photo by Rex Brown/Getty Images)

Monday, October 13, 2008

ISSUES AT CLEMSON EXPLAINED

Officials at Clemson now say Tommy Bowden resigned. He was not fired by the University.

Athletic director Terry Don Phillips said his intent Monday morning was to have a candid, heart-to-heart with Bowden about the football team. But Phillips said he was surprised when Bowden offered to resign.

"There wasn't a gun to his head," Phillips said.

"He put it on the table for the sake of the program," Phillips said. "I agreed."

Bowden will be paid through the end of the season, then get $3.5 million as a buyout negotiated in the contract extension both sides agreed to last December.

CLEMSON FIRES BOWDEN

Just a few days ago, we ran a post called IS CLEMSON IMPLODING?

Well...yes.

According to ESPN: Clemson fired football coach Tommy Bowden on Monday, four days after the Tigers -- who were the favorites to win the ACC championship -- lost to Wake Forest and fell to 3-3.

Bowden informed his assistant coaches of his firing this morning. Assistant head coach/wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney has been named interim coach for the final six regular-season games and potential bowl game.

Clemson has scheduled a late-afternoon news conference to discuss its decision.

"[Athletic director] Terry Don Phillips approached me this morning and we agreed that this is the best solution for the direction of the program," Bowden said in a statement. "Clemson has been very good to me and my family. Both of our children are Clemson graduates. "

"I appreciate the opportunity Clemson University gave me and the support of the administration while I was here. I also want to thank all the players and coaches who worked so hard for this program the last 10 years. I wish Clemson University nothing but the best in the future."

(Photo by Getty Images)

HEELS TATE OUT FOR SEASON

Tar Heel senior playmaker Brandon Tate will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his right knee, UNC announced Monday.

Tate injured his knee when he was tackled on a punt return in the first quarter of UNC's 29-24 win over Notre Dame. Mike Anello's tackle, a head-on collision with Tate's right knee, tore the ACL and MCL in Tate's knee.

Tate led the ACC, and ranked third in the NCAA, in all-purpose yardage (163.7 yards per game) heading into Saturday's game. He had 376 receiving yards, 305 kickoff return yards, 158 punt return yards, 143 rushing yards and five total touchdowns.

(AP Photo/Sara D. Davis)

COOL FOOTBALL NAMES

The two best football names of the weekend go to Texas QB Colt McCoy and Notre Dame WR Golden Tate.



(Photos by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images and Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO…

HMMM...

Sorry to bring politics to the “pure” world of collegiate athletic endeavors, but we couldn’t let this one go by…

Virginia may well play a critical role in the upcoming election for the first time in a long time. The kind folk of Ol’ Virginny, who consistently elect Democratic Governors, have voted for a Republican in every presidential election since FDR.
But, this time around, the state is seen as a battleground. Part of that equation is a large population of “moderate” Republicans who have supported, and will continue to support, extremely popular business-friendly Democratic Senate candidate Mark Warner. Warner is predicted to defeat Republican Jim Gilmore in a landslide. So McCain is on a slippery slope here in the Commonwealth.

Enter, Virginia Republican Party Chairman Del. Jeffrey Frederick, a member of the young, conservative group of GOP members who charged into Richmond in 2004. Yep, the chair of the Republican Party has been in the Virginia General Assembly less than four years…

To prove our theory that certain members of the Republican party are out to doom John McCain one way or the other, Del. Frederick has made news this week by comparing Barack Obama to Osama Bin Laden because of the Illinois Senator's past association with Bill Ayers, who has confessed to domestic bombings as a member of the Vietnam War-era Weather Underground.

According to a report in this week's Time magazine, Frederick told Virginia volunteers working for GOP nominee that Obama and bin Laden "both have friends that bombed the Pentagon."

For what it’s worth, Obama was a child (he was 11) and hadn't met Ayers when the Weather Underground planted a bomb at the Pentagon in 1972. Ayers, who’s was no peach in those days (he did not participate in the bombing at the Pentagon but admitted to involvement in other blasts), is now a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a community activist who lives in Obama's Chicago neighborhood. Obama has said they have had cursory interactions over the years, including serving on the same board.

Now mind you Frederick’s comments were directed at folks partisan enough to go out canvassing the neighborhood for McCain – a classic case of preaching to the choir and a staple of presidential politics. None the less, drawing on his years of experience, yesterday, Frederick said he stood by the comparison.

Speaking of Washington, how about those Redskins?

(Photos courtesy of the Washington Post and BombersRUs.com)

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO…

AAARRRRGGGHHHH….!

As improved as the Skins may be, they aren’t good enough to overcome three turnovers and several other bone-headed mistakes. Yesterday, they looked a lot more like last year’s model than this year’s.

Fans and the media like to focus on playmakers as the primary thing that determines the outcome of the games, but the Skins v. Rams show how most games are really settled by small things that can turn the tide either way.

If Redskin guard Pete Kendall bats down the ball instead of catching it and then fumbling it for a Rams touchdown, the Skins likely lead at half-time 7-3 (worst case), 10-3 or 14-3 (best case)instead of trailing 7-10. That’s the game right there.

Add to that, two dropped interceptions and a really horrible day for rookie punter Durant Brooks (GT) and it’s Upset City.

Don’t believe us when we say it’s the little things? Washington outgained the Rams 368 to 200, had 21 first downs to their 8, and ran for 181 yards to the Rams 76, and still lost on a last-second field goal.

Ouch.

Oh well, at least the Cowboys lost.

(Photos by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

NEW # 1

Texas hopped from #5 to #1 with their win over the Sooners and UNC moved up to #18 just a notch below the Hokies.

AP Top 25
1. Texas (39) 6-0 1,599
2. Alabama (26) 6-0 1,582
3. Penn State 7-0 1,492
4. Oklahoma 5-1 1,306
5. Florida 5-1 1,284
6. USC 4-1 1,247
7. Texas Tech 6-0 1,210
8. Oklahoma State 6-0 1,184
9. Brigham Young 6-0 1,131
10. Georgia 5-1 1,081
11. Missouri 5-1 984
12. Ohio State 6-1 908
13. LSU 4-1 893
14. Utah 7-0 834
15. Boise State 5-0 714
16. Kansas 5-1 620
17. Virginia Tech 5-1 540
18. North Carolina 5-1 416
19. South Florida 5-1 397
20. Michigan State 6-1 371
21. Wake Forest 4-1 330
22. Vanderbilt 5-1 258
23. Pittsburgh 4-1 182
24. Ball State 7-0 166
25. California 4-1 115

Others Receiving Votes: Tulsa 84, TCU 61, Minnesota 48, Florida State 38, Georgia Tech 25, South Carolina 9, Kentucky 7, Oregon 4, Northwestern 3, Notre Dame 1, Cincinnati 1.

(Photos by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images and Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

MATT RYAN IS STILL GOOD

The now 4-2 Atlanta Falcons upset the Bears on the strong arm of Boston College’s Matt Ryan. The rookie NFL QB was 22 of 30 for 301 yards and a touchdown.

Here Ryan #2 heaves one against the Chicago Bears during the game at the Georgia Dome on October 12, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY

NICE PLAY…UNC’s Aleric Mullin reaches in and causes a fumble which he then recovered.

Nice, Aleric, NICE!

(Photos by Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)

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