Saturday, September 5, 2009


T.A.H. is on holiday. Going to the "rivah" as we say here in the Commonwealth. T.A.H. will be back on Monday or Tuesday.

Have a great football Saturday, and a great holiday weekend.


Jacksonville State @ GEORGIA TECH, 1:00 PM, TV: (XM 190, Sirius 220)

Northeastern @ BOSTON COLLEGE, 2:00 PM, TV: (XM 191, Sirius 219)

Baylor @ WAKE FOREST, 3:30 PM, TV: ABC / ESPN2 (XM 192, Sirius 218)

William & Mary @ VIRGINIA, 6:00 PM, TV: (XM 141)

The Citadel @ NORTH CAROLINA, 6:00 PM, TV: (XM 190, Sirius 220)

Middle Tennessee @ CLEMSON, 6:00 PM, TV: (XM 193, Sirius 217)

Richmond @ DUKE, 7:00 PM, TV: (XM 191, Sirius 219)

Alabama @ VIRGINIA TECH, 8:00 PM, TV: ABC (XM 192, Sirius 218)

MARYLAND @ Cal, 10:00 PM, TV: ESPN2 (XM 190, Sirius 220)

Friday, September 4, 2009


With what we thought was the best QB in the conference, you might have pegged N.C. State for more than a field goal.


The Wolfpack managed just 133 yards, with all-Atlantic Coast Conference quarterback Russell Wilson throwing for just 74 yards while under steady pressure from the South Carolina defenders as South Carolina beat North Carolina State 7-3 on Thursday night.

The Cocks Brian Maddox had a short touchdown run while Stephen Garcia completed a key third-down pass in the final minutes to ice an ugly game.

Garcia threw for just 148 yards on a frustrating night for both offenses, but the sophomore came through with a 33-yard completion to Moe Brown that allowed the Gamecocks to run out the final 2 1/2 minutes. It gave South Carolina a second straight season-opening victory against the Wolfpack, who was shut out 34-0 in last year's meeting and failed to reach the end zone in the rematch.

Maddox scored from 1 yard out in the first quarter and finished with 66 yards rushing.
Otherwise, it was a yawnfest.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)


So there we were, drinking tequila, which (for the record), we rarely do, and who shows up at the 2nd Annual Jimmy Buffett Labor Day Concert 30 Year Anniversary?

Well…Jimmy Buffett.

Right there at our little tailgate party. OK, it wasn’t that little.

He walked over to the show with us….which, was nice.

Nice hat, Jimmy, NICE!


WE DON’T KNOW WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE OR WHY THEY ARE TALKING TO ONE ANOTHER. According to, this is ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews interviewing head coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks after their game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Carter-Finley Stadium on September 3, 2009 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)


DUCKS DON'T GO DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT. Boise State fans watch as video of Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount slugging Boise State's Byron Hout is played repeatedly following the Broncos' 19-8 win Thursday night at Bronco Stadium in Boise.

Does the fact that their names rhyme have anything to do with this?

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Don’t jump out of bed tomorrow morning and run to the computer looking for T.A.H.’s in depth coverage of the N.C. State v. South Carolina season opener.

There are two reasons for this: 1) “in depth” coverage is not what we do. Expect a couple of paragraph hitting the high points (unless something weird happens), and 2) the entire T.A.H. staff will be leaving T.A.H. World Headquarters in the early afternoon for a trip to Margaritaville.

Subsequently, we won’t see the game (nor will we see the Skins v. Jags or Colt v. Chase as we call it in these parts).

Nice, Carolina blue shirt James, NICE!


Here's just one more reason college football is way cool...

When the N.C. State Wolfpack charges on to the field tonight to play the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, they will be led by an American flag and a North Carolina flag – just like they always are.

However, this time the American flag has traveled a very long way to be at tonight’s game.

The flag belongs to former N.C. State football player Drew Wimsatt. Wimsatt kept it behind the seat of his helicopter in Afghanistan while serving there as a First Lieutenant in the Marines. Wimsatt, who played for N.C. State in 2001 and 2002, flies a Cobra attack helicopter.

N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien said Wimsatt sent him the flag, which was kept in the helicopter with him for a month in April.

"It's seen combat, heroic acts and everything else," said O'Brien, who served in the Marines himself.

As the team comes onto the field, O'Brien has the American flag and the North Carolina state flag carried on to the field by the top scout team players of the week. On Thursday, Paul Horst and Mark Walker will carry the flags.


Surely Appalachian State thought their shocking upset of Michigan in the Big House in 2007 would attract a great deal of attention? It did. The “we-don’t-want-to-play-you” kind of attention.

The Mountaineers are pre-season number one in the Football Championship Subdivision (or, as normal people say, Division 1AA), and apparently ACC teams aren’t looking to put them on the dance card. The News & Observers’ J.P. Giglio tells the tale…

Appalachian State opens the football season against East Carolina on Saturday. Next year, the Mountaineers travel to Florida, followed by trips to Virginia Tech in 2011 and Georgia in 2013.

Where you won't see the Mountaineers any time soon is on an in-state ACC schedule. It's not for a lack of effort by athletic director Charlie Cobb.

"Every year we make an inquiry," Cobb said.

And every year, since opening at N.C. State in 2005 – a season that ended with the second of ASU's three national titles on the Football Championship Subdivision level – the reaction has been the same.

"No response," said Cobb, a former N.C. State football player who left his senior associate athletic director role at his alma mater to become ASU's AD in 2005.

Of course, the Mountaineers and their coach Jerry Moore haven't made Cobb's job easy. The historic win at Michigan in 2007, one of the biggest upsets in the sport's history, didn't help generate many new suitors.

To read more, click here.


"If we win it, it's not going to make our season. If we lose it, it's not going to make our season. You treat it as the opening ballgame, and that's the bottom line."

-- Frank Beamer on the game Saturday between the #7 Hokies and #5 Alabama.

Two of Beamer's most rewarding seasons, 2004 and 2008, started with neutral-site losses. Both seasons ended with ACC titles and trips to BCS bowls.


Links via Dinich/ESPN.

*Last year, the ACC’s opening week was dismal.

*Here's one that will get Tar Heel fans all riled up. As of right now, writes Caulton Tudor, NC State is the better program. It beats UNC 3-1 in the four key phases of the game. The one area UNC has the edge? Defense, of course.

*Get to know Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt, who I think will be one of the most improved players in the conference this year. Once you get him talking, he's a pretty funny guy, and the AJC had a little fun with him on video.

*Maryland's kicking job will be a game-time decision, as Mike Barbour and Nick Ferarra can't seem to shake each other.

*Mark Blaudschun of the Boston Globe gave BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo credit for scheduling games that put BC in a position for good or even great seasons.

*BC linebacker Mark Herzlich still has a long way to go -- and a lot to do -- but he's not letting that stop him from helping to lead this year's team.

*There are plenty of coaching tie-ins between Clemson and Middle Tennessee that making for an interesting subplot in the Tigers' season opener.

*Virginia and William & Mary are quite familiar with each other after having swapped game film from every game in 2008.

*Wake Forest returns a lot of familiar faces on it's offensive line, but they say they're different players -- and that's a good thing.

*In case you haven't noticed, it's been a quiet week at Miami. Tuesday practice was closed, and they've got today off. It's a good time to check out Manny Navarro's camp rewind and depth chart predictions.

*He's little. He's shifty. He's a blur. He's Travis Benjamin #80. And he tore up FSU last year. Can he do it again?

*Looks like I'm not the only one who thinks the Canes can beat FSU.

*Craig Yarborough gets that he's an unknown walk-on. But he's got a chance to change that now that he's in the starting lineup against Miami.

*Virginia Tech's defense plans on getting up close and personal with Alabama's new quarterback.


FOT (Friend of T.A.H.), David Ross from Bainbridge Island, WA visited the Commonweatlh recently. On his way home (sort of), he made a trek down to Bristol for the NASCAR race.

Here are a few images.

As always, click on the image for a better look.

(Photos by David Ross/TigerShark Photos)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


In our list-obsessed world, it was just a matter of time before somebody came up with a list called “Hottest College Football Fanbases.” Evidently…according to Mike McD at Bleacher Report, LSU, Arizona State and USC were the top three.

How did the ACC fare? Not bad. Half of the league made the list. There was no love for Boston College, North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia or Georgia Tech.

However, Maryland (38), Virginia Tech (29), N.C. State (21), Miami (13), Clemson (11) and FSU (5) all made the list.


According to a Sport’s Illustrated photo essay, Clemson’s C.J. Spiller is a longshot Heisman candidate. Clemson has already begun handing out life-sized growth charts of Spiller, but Spiller's campaign will hinge on how he grows as the featured back.

An explosive playmaker, Spiller finally has the backfield all to himself, but he's only had one career 20-carry game.

Clemson opens up with Middle Tennessee on Saturday at 6pm.

(Photo by Bill Frakes/SI)



After receiving negative feedback from fans, N.C. State has scrapped a new design for its men's basketball jerseys, athletic director Lee Fowler said Tuesday.

Last week, N.C. State displayed its new jersey design on its Twitter page. Evidently...that didn't go so well.

Fowler said it was an attempt by coach Sidney Lowe and assistant Monte Towe to re-emphasize the "STATE," which was the only word on the jerseys during their playing days.

Subsequently, the team will abandon the new design and instead use jerseys similar to those from last season, Fowler said.

This wasn't N.C. State's first brush with dissatisfaction over its basketball uniforms. In 1989, coach Jim Valvano unveiled one-piece, skin-tight "unitards" that were billed as the uniforms of the future.

The trend never caught on, nationally or at N.C. State. The Wolfpack players voted to wear their traditional basketball shorts over the unitards, and the team dropped the unpopular look after just two games.

Nike tried to bring back the unitard look a few years ago with the same results.


We don’t know what kind of legal system they have in Bolivia, but they have at least one soccer player who needs some Prozac and some time in the hooskow…

According to Sucks To Be You: "In soccer matches assault and battery is usually an activity reserved for the fans in the stands. Get a few pints of warm beer in the crowd and suddenly you have 100,000 pissed off Chuck Norris types ready to put their fists and feet to good use. It’s sort of like Raider Nation without the spiked shoulder pads and the mile-long rap sheets..."

But in Bolivia, the craziness stayed on the field – to read the rest, and see the video, of the knockout punch (kick) of the year click here.


*Already catching flak from Sports Illustrated for cancelling the band program in order to afford a new football stadium, a 14,000 sq. ft. weight room and Isiah Thomas, FIU has decided to play UNC in Coaches v. Cancer opener.

Posted by's Heather Dinich.

Aren't you glad it's September today?

*Georgia Tech isn't changing its gameplan for Jacksonville State, even though starting quarterback Ryan Perrilloux has been suspended for the opener.

*Maryland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey left some strong words of advice for his friend and former teammate, Adrian Cannon: "I want you to follow in my footsteps and be better than me." Cannon seems up to the task.

*Who better to break down the NC State-South Carolina game than the man who coached at both schools? ESPN's Lou Holtz gave the Charlotte Observer his take.

*Can you name Virginia's starting linebackers this year? It's understandable. They've been in the shadows for a while, but that will change this fall.

*Duke hasn't played in a bowl game since 1994, and while the Blue Devils might not quite be there yet, they at least believe they can be.

*Last year, Miami linebacker Sean Spence was a self-described "ping pong," bouncing off guys before he'd make a play. This year, he's not a "little freshman anymore." And he's hoping the collective growth of the defense will help the Canes stop the run.

*FSU defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews doesn't want any help from the Noles' offense, but he just might need it, at least early in the season.

*Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post sat down with Miami AD Kirby Hocutt, who said he's confident Randy Shannon "is going to continue to be our leader for a long, long time."

*Randy King of the Roanoke Times writes the Virginia Tech-Bama game is going to be a "slobber-knocker" of a game, which would be just fine with kicker Matt Waldron, who would love nothing more than to be the deciding factor.

*Can Clemson running back C.J. Spiller run between the tackles? Can he be an every-down back? Heck, can he get 1,000 yards? Spiller laughs at those questions, and says he's already proven himself.

*UNC H-back Ryan Taylor will miss the opener against the Citadel with a sprained right knee. Still, the Tar Heels are eager to get into a game situation to find out "who's going to be the playmakers."

*Toney Baker #22 is back and taking over the No. 1 job at running back for NC State, but he hasn't played in a game in eons. Ken Tysiac caught up with Baker to find out his thoughts on the upcoming season.


ESPN’s sideline reporter Erin Andrews will return to work Thursday night at Carter-Finley Stadium for the N.C. State v. South Carolina game. It will be her first television appearance for the network since a surreptitious "peep hole"nude video emerged on the Internet this summer.

N.C. State sports information director Annabelle Myers said the stadium’s security forces won’t be any more vigilant toward fan behavior than they are already, and ESPN will bring its own security for Andrews.

Andrews’ return has garnered attention beyond the sports world. Among the organizations requesting credentials for Thursday’s season-opening game against South Carolina: the tabloid TV show Inside Edition. (The request was denied.)

N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien was even asked about Andrews at his weekly press conference.
"I don't think she affects the game, does she?" O’Brien deadpanned.

By all accounts, Andrews, back in the news this week following a taping of Oprah, is anxious to get back to work.

To add insult to injury, yesterday the People Magazine web site reported on Andrews visit to Harpo World and included in the post the photo of another sideline reporter...


BACK HOME. Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets, by way of Wake Froest, visited his old high school yesterday.
Below, he speaks to students at West Forsyth High in Clemmons, North Carolina.

(Photos by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009



Tired of practice, practice, practice, the Gamecocks and Wolfpack have been taking turns providing bulletin board fodder for Thursday night’s ACC opener: This time N.C. State senior defensive end Willie Young provided some new blurbs…

On Steve Spurrier’s play calling: "No. I think you can be as sophisticated as you want to…But if you can beat somebody with basic plays, then you can whip them. It all comes down to their individuals against our individuals. And if you have a better individual, that individual can shake and bake, probably, and break the other individual down and make a play. That's just generally speaking."

On South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia's impact due to his ability to get out of the pocket and run: "Until he starts to hurt us, he can stand back there and juke and jive all he wants to…He's not getting around (defensive end) Shea McKeen over there. And he's definitely not turning anything up the middle between (tackles Leroy) Burgess and (Alan-Michael) Cash. You can take it to the bank."

Finally, Young was asked about Gamecocks tight end Weslye Saunders' comments last week. Saunders said he was going to ask Spurrier for permission to get a 15-yard penalty for extra celebration after scoring a touchdown against the Wolfpack.

"He just talked himself into the biggest MA (missed assignment) possible, I'll just put it like that. That leads to nothing but mistakes. I think he's trying to draw attention to himself…Because I know, me and my goons, we ain't seeing it."

Nice, Willie, NICE!


Posted by's Heather Dinich.

TGI game week...

*Doug Roberson of the AJC says quarterback Josh Nesbitt #9 will be the most improved player on the Jackets' roster this fall.

*Two Maryland offensive linemen have defied the odds walk-ons typically face and earned spots in the starting lineup.

*BC quarterback David Shinskie says he'll be back at practice on Tuesday.

*Here are 10 storylines to follow as Clemson prepares to start its season.

*NC State cornerback C.J. Wilson earned a starting job this summer, and his father's military background helped him understand the demands of coach Tom O'Brien.

*Virginia Tech's Josh Oglesby has mixed feelings about his new opportunity. Of course, the Hokies' backfield will only be as good as the guys up front blocking for them.

*Former UNC backup quarterback Cam Sexton has found a new home, but his old teammates haven't forgotten him.

*As Miami's former backup quarterbacks have already moved on, freshman A.J. Highsmith has embraced his new opportunity with a calm, business-like approach.

*Virginia will reveal a different look on offense when the Cavaliers open their season against William & Mary, but considering how the offense has struggled in recent years, it can only get better.

*FSU quarterback Christian Ponder #7 talks about his increased confidence and more in this Q&A with the Orlando Sentinel.


According to Charlotte Observer, the Charlotte Bobcats don't appear to be in any hurry to get starting point guard Raymond Felton to sign to a long-term deal. Felton, who played for the 2005 NCAA Divison 1 Men’s Basketball National Champion North Carolina Tar Heels, is a restricted free agent and he could just sign a $5.5 million, one-year qualifying offer, which would make him an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The Bobcats don't want that to happen, though. The team wants to have Felton on the team for a long time. And Felton probably doesn't want to become a free agent next summer when teams will be throwing a lot of money around at people like LeBron James, Amar'e Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.

But the sides have been talking for a while now and they aren't close to a deal. There is a month left before training camp gets underway and a deal needs to be done before then. Stil, Felton's agent is saying the point guard won't sign that qualifying offer until the sides have exhausted all talks on long-term deals.


ROAD TRIP. Russian ice hockey player Evgeni Malkin of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins displays the Stanley Cup trophy near a WWII monument in his hometown of Magnitogorsk on September 1, 2009.

Tradition has it that every player on the championship team gets the opportunity to bring the trophy home for a few days.

(Photo by Yuri Kuzmin/AFP/Getty Images)


THAT'S NOT NICE. Fans poke fun at quarterback Brett Favre, 39, at Reliant Stadium on August 31, 2009 in Houston, Texas.

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Monday, August 31, 2009


Former Virginia Tech standout A.D. Vassallo has signed a one-year, $230,000 contract with a French team, Paris-Levallois, said his agent, Andrew Vye.

Vassallo made the All-ACC third team as a senior last season but was not taken in the NBA Draft. He tried out for the Chicago Bulls' summer-league team but didn't make the summer squad's roster.

He will head for France next month, after playing for the Puerto Rican national team.

"The offer was spectacular for a rookie, given the market right now," Vye said Friday. "A lot of [foreign] teams are getting squeezed -- 40-50 percent budget cuts from last year. I've been doing this since 1991 and it's the worst market I've ever seen. This team is financially stable."

"They're going to put him right in the starting lineup. Next summer, A.D. will come back and get in front of the NBA teams and show his improvement, said Vye."


Boston College has unveiled a gold "Beat Cancer" T-shirt featuring an image of the school's official mascot, Baldwin the Eagle, with his face painted in a similar fashion to linebacker Mark Herzlich.

From the BC press release:
BC will donate $5 from the sale of every Beat Cancer T-shirt to the American Cancer Society in support of Ewing's sarcoma research.

Herzlich, the Eagles' star senior linebacker, disclosed earlier this year that he is suffering from the rare disease and will miss the 2009 season while undergoing treatment. BC will encourage all fans to wear this shirt (or another gold shirt) to the October 3 game vs. Florida State as a show of unity and support for Herzlich and others in their battles to beat cancer.

The shirts are available for purchase at $20 each on the official BC Athletics website, and will also be available at the BC Bookstore and on game days at the Alumni Stadium souvenir stands.


CONGRATULATIONS. Chula Vista, California players celebrate their victory against Asia Pacific (Taoyuan, Taiwan) after the Little League World Series final at Lamade Stadium on August 30, 2009 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

(Photos by Larry French/Getty Images)


MESSED UP. New York Red Bulls fans cheer on their team against the Columbus Crew at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands on August 30, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bull)

Sunday, August 30, 2009


The Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird splashed his way to victory in the $1 million Travers Stakes at rain-soaked Saratoga Race Course on Saturday. Hold Me Back, who made his last start in the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs was second, followed by Virginia-breds Quality Road and Charitable Man.

In completing the Belmont-Travers double, Summer Bird joins his sire, Birdstone, who did it in 2004.

Summer Bird is the 30th horse to win both races.

A crowd of 34,221 (down from last year’s 40,723) braved showers all day for the biggest racing card of the six-week season, capped by the 1 1/4-mile Midsummer Derby.
Summer Bird, with Kent Desormeaux aboard, came into the race off a runner-up finish to Rachel Alexandra in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 2. For two weeks, trainer Tim Ice had been saying his colt was ready for a big race, and he surely delivered.

Quality Road, who would have been the Derby favorite before he was sidelined with hoof issues, won the Amsterdam Stakes earlier in the month in his return. But he wasn’t quite ready for the Travers: He bucked jockey John Velazquez off before entering the starting gate, was squeezed between horses at the start and finished third in the seven-horse field.

“He didn't break very good. There was nothing I could do, but he came back and got himself back into the race. He handled it pretty well,” Velazquez said of Quality Road. “There was no room for me to go around the far turn. I had to wait for some running room. Once we got some room, he was starting to run again."

“I thought he was stuck in a difficult spot,” said trainer Todd Pletcher of Quality Road having to race behind the leaders early on and then being stuck between horses. “He ran well. I thought considering everything he ran a good race.”

Lane’s End Stakes (G2) winner Hold Me Back who showed little on Colnial’s turf, closed willingly from last in the seven-horse field to finish second.

"He ran great today. I'm thrilled,” said Hold Me Back’s Racing Hall of Fame trainer, Bill Mott. “We were second best but he ran big."

The winning time was 2:02.83.


PUDDLE JUMPER. Our Edge, with jockey Alan Garcia, goes airborne as he jumps a large puddle at the start of the Travers.

(Skip Dickstein / Times Union)


TAR HEEL LOVE. UNC’s Deon Thompson cheers on Catawba College quarterback Cam Sexton who recently transferred from UNC. Thompson, Marcus Ginyard and a host of UNC football players attended the game to support their friend who transferred because he knew a healthy T.J. Yates would start at Carolina this season.

“It’s real emotional for me,’’ said Sexton, “ You get calls all week, ‘we’re coming, we’re coming, we’re coming,’ but you don’t really know who’s coming or not. And you walk in, and half the stands are just filled with my former teammates – even Coach [Butch] Davis’ son is here. All the basketball guys could be doing whatever they want to be doing, but they’re my best friends, and they showed up to support me. That’s why I love them, I really do love them.”

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