Friday, December 3, 2010

Saturday ACC Football: Dr. Pepper Bowl Rematch of 2000 Nokia Sugar Bowl With Completely Different Players And A Bunch Of Different Coaches

FLORIDA STATE vs. VIRGINA TECH (-3.75)*, Charlotte, N.C. (Dr Pepper ACC Championship Game), 7:45 PM, TV: ESPN & ESPN 3D

Injury Reports**

FSU: Moses McCray DT Out For Season (knee), Blake Snider OL Out For Season (ankle), Tavares Pressley RB Out For Season (knee), A.J. Land LB Out For Season (knee), Jared Haggins WR Questionable Week 14 (hamstring), Jermaine Thomas RB Questionable Week 14 (knee), Ty Jones RB Questionable Week 14 (leg), Christian Ponder QB Probable Week 14 (leg)

VT: Lorenzo Williams LB Out For Season (foot), Dyrell Roberts WR Out For Season (thigh), Tony Gregory RB Out For Season (knee), Barquell Rivers LB Out Indefinitely (quad), Rashad Carmichael CB Questionable Week 14 (concussion), Cris Hill CB Questionable Week 14 (ankle)
*Point spread for recreational purposes only.
**Injury report for recreational purposes only.
For a complete reveiw of the 2000 Nokia Sugar Bowl FSU v. VT from the Hokie perspective, click here.

Chuckie Not Headed to Miami (At Least Not To Coach The Hurricanes)

According to ACC Now, Jon Gruden apologized Thursday for widespread speculation about his candidacy to be Miami's next football coach and said he's willing to help the Hurricanes find the right person for the job. (Huh?) (Apparently, so is Donald Trump who thought they should hire Mike Leach, but that’s another story. If you care, Google it.)

The former Super Bowl-winning coach and current ESPN analyst reiterated his commitment to "Monday Night Football" for the second time this week, and the network repeated that it expects Gruden to at least complete his contract, which runs through 2011.

Gruden had talks with Miami throughout the week about replacing fired coach Randy Shannon, and a person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press on Sunday that Gruden was presented with "parameters" of a contract within 24 hours of Shannon's dismissal. Gruden met face to face with Hurricanes athletic director Kirby Hocutt on Wednesday.

Things That Make You Go…


Lebron James returned to Cleveland last night. Evidently, the Cavalier faithful were not amused.

Lebron being Lebron scored 38 points and only stepped on his you-know-what twice. Once when he conducted his ritual talcum powder toss at the scorer’s table pre-game – not appreciated, although it did not start a riot as was predicted throughout cyberspace and on sports talk radio.

The second typical Lebron gaff came in what was otherwise a generous exit interview where James said this:

“Seven great years loved every part, loved every moment, from the growth when I was an 18-year old kid to a 25-year old man. We tried our best as a team to bring a championship to this city and just try to play hard every night. I got the up most respect for this franchise, the up most respect for these fans and you know just continue the greatness for myself here in Miami and try to get better every day."

Jeez! So close, and then there was that “greatness for myself” line…Ouch.

That said, King James later apologized(?) or at least clarified by Tweeting: “Did a post game interview with Craig Sager and I mentioned "Greatness" and I didn't mean myself individually, I meant to say US as a TEAM working towards "Greatness". Anyways Great Team Win for US tonight!”

Next thing you know, he will take a page out of the Vince Young Apology Playbook and text all the Cleveland fans saying: “The last SIX months of my life – my bad.”

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

ACC Analysis: Why The S.E.C. Is Better At Football

Maybe it has something to do with crime?
Here’s a peach (pun intended) from the blog “The Belly of the Beast” called “Get To Know Your SEC Football Players.” As all of you loyal readers know, as soon as football ends, crime begins so we just thought we’d get a jump on it…

It's Wednesday, which means it's time to get to know a little bit more (or just anything at all) about one of the Southeastern Conference's football players. Now when this player succeeds, massively fails or is shown milling around in the background of a TV shot, you'll know that his greatest off-the-field accomplishment involves the sale and transportation of hobos. Or something like that.

The team of the player selected is chosen through a super-secret process which I cannot reveal, however, the number of the player is randomly chosen by visiting and using whatever number is spat out from its random-creating machine.

Today's number: 55
Today's team: Georgia
Player profiled: Josh Parrish, #55, OL Georgia

Some background information: Yet another walk-on selected in this series, but unlike previously selected below-average collegiate athletes, this one is somewhat interesting. As you can see from the picture above, Josh, just 19 years of age, has already spent some time in the clink. While he has yet to contribute to the Georgia football team, he has contributed to the Athens-Clarke County Police Department's "More Drunk People in Jail" tally, which should get them some extra government money and a framed certificate if they keep up the pace.

(Editor's Note: Seriously, in high school Parrish won the 2008 GHSA A region and state championship. He was named to All-County, All-Region and All-State teams as a senior. He was a member of National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Honors Society and the Science Honors Society.)

Greatest on-field accomplishment: Has not occurred.

Greatest off-the-field accomplishment: In the 2009 summer session, Josh made the Athletic Director's honor roll and the dean's list. My only problem with this is that clearly Josh put way too much time into his studies and not being as lazy as humanly possible in the summer. Summer school is not a time to excel academically, it's a time to not get a summer job, lay around the pool, play golf and briefly consider how awful life is going to be when you can no longer do these thing before taking a nap for that evening's activities. Georgia may congratulate you, Josh, but I say time and energy wasted.

Way(s) in which he has embarrassed himself, his family, team and school: Here comes more on the arrest. A young woman, who should have been minding her own business, called police at 1:19 AM on April 11th when she found young Joshua passed out on the second level of the East Village parking deck. Yes, the second level of a parking deck. An excellent choice for a place to pass out. While there was the potential of getting backed over or just run over by a car, he protected himself from the elements.

When the police arrived, Josh was unresponsive and reeked of Mad Dog 20/20 or Steel Reserve (I'm guessing on the booze). Police then looked through his wallet to identify him and found that he had two licenses, one from Georgia and one from Florida. No big deal except that he's not from Florida and it was fake. So Josh earned himself a trip to the hospital, where they tried to make him less drunk, then on to the Clarke County Jail where he was booked for possessing a fake ID and underage possession of alcohol.

I'm a little disappointed there wasn't vomit, cursing and tasers involved, but a parking garage is still a solid backdrop.

Strengths: Resourcefulness.

Weaknesses: Decision-making...and bad friends who didn't bother to keep up with him or at least drag him inside the building or a car.

(Editor's Note 2: This post was from May of 2010. Parrish is still listed as a Redshirt Sophomore on the Georgia roster and we wager he’s a good kid. We just thought the overwhelming pressure that is the build up to the Dr. Pepper Bowl required a little levity at the vaunted S.E.C.’s expense…)

Onion of the Day: Duke Doing Something Indicates College Basketball Season Either Starting, Ending, Or Ongoing

If you aren’t familiar with The Onion, you should be. The Onion is a very funny newspaper/website/sports network that runs nothing but spoofs. Politically correct they are not. To learn more, click here.
Here is a typical (although not as funny as usual) example of their work.

DURHAM, NC—The sudden appearance of photos of Duke basketball players in national newspapers—as well as video of the school's marching band and Dick Vitale talking about the team on television—has led the nation to believe that something is currently happening with Duke basketball, arousing suspicions that the 2010-11 NCAA men's basketball season has either just begun, is about to begin, or has just ended. "I was flipping through USA Today and saw a picture of Coach K in his Duke collared shirt, not his Team USA collared shirt, so I think something is going on college-basketball-wise," Ohio resident Greg Evans told reporters. "In the picture he was yelling at young men who appeared to be Blue Devils players. Maybe it was a season preview. Or maybe it was a midseason report. Maybe it's March Madness." Evans added that similar things were probably happening at the University of North Carolina.

Here is a funnier recent example:


ARLINGTON, VA—With officials describing his publication of sensitive U.S. State Department documents as "the last straw," Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was asked to resign from his position as the Pentagon's IT coordinator Monday. "We gave him his first warning after the whole Iraq and Afghanistan war diaries thing, and strike two was when he forwarded that video montage of Nicolas Cage yelling to the entire staff," Defense Department human resources director Curtis Shannon said. "But we just can't overlook this latest offense. Even if he's the only one who knows where the spare USB cables are." At press time, Assange had already been invited to interview for an IT position at the Central Intelligence Agency.*

(* As we are fond of saying here at T.A.H., items in italics MAY not be true.)

Heels, Hokies, Wolfpack Already On NCAA Bubble

Last year, North Carolina, N.C. State and Virginia Tech missed the field of 64 or 65 or 66 or whatever is is/was this week/last year, and this year they aren’t off to the kind of start that makes their return to the Big Dance all that promising.

Yes, it’s only early December and all three can insure themselves spots in the tournament with a good run through their ACC conference schedule. But to this point, only Duke looks likely to dominate and everybody else is looking like 8-8 or worse.

So when the conference play is over in early March, the bubble bursting needles are those pesky non-conference games. So far, neither the Heels nor Hokies have posted what the hoop gurus call “quality wins.”

North Carolina, which lost much more than it gained in the off-season, has struggled mightily to date posting a 4-3 record with wins over Hofstra, Lispcomb, UNC Asheville, and College of Charleston -- none of which will improve anybody’s power rankings.

The Heels have lost to Minnesota, Vanderbilt and Illinois and face #10 Kentucky on Saturday and #20 Texas on December 18. The remainder of their non-conference schedule is made up of Evansville, Long Beach State, William & Mary, Rutgers and St. Francis.

The Hokies have also been a bit of an early disappointment. Virginia Tech is also 4-3 with wins over Campbell, UNC Greensboro, Cal State Northridge and Oklahoma State. The win over OSU could prove helpful down the road. The Hokies have lost to Kansas State, UNLV and a Purdue team they should have (could have) beaten. The Hokies have remaining non-conference games with Penn State, Mississippi State, St. Bonaventure and USC Upstate. Not much help resume building there.

Which takes us to Raleigh, where the Wolfpack is in a little better shape, but not much. N.C. State is 4-2 with wins over Tennessee Tech, East Carolina, George Mason and Fairleigh Dickinson. They have lost to #16 Georgetown and unranked Wisconsin. The Wolfpack faces a tough test on Saturday playing #8 Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. They finish up non-conference with games against USC Upstate, Youngstown State, Arizona, Delaware State, Alabama A&M and Sand Diego – all at home.

The point of this small tale of woe is that all three need to post rock solid ACC regular season records in order to make the NCAA tournament. None of these teams face many quality non-conference foes, and, so far, they have either lost to (or are predicted to lose to) the few quality non-conference games that will ultimately matter to the Selection Committee.

Not exactly what those three programs were looking to contemplate as we approach the heart of the holiday season.

Pictures of the Day

HOKIE BEATS WAHOO AGAIN. Michael Vick (Virginia Tech) of the Philadelphia Eagles talks with Matt Schaub (Virginia) of the Houston Texans after the Eagles won 34-24 at Lincoln Financial Field on December 2, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One fundamental difference between the two is Schaub has a degree in economics from the University of Virginia while Vick has a “degree” in "criminal justice" from the University of Hard Knocks and Federal Prison at Leavenworth, KS. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NO INK. We don’t typically bore our sophisticated readers with “skin shots” related to sports.  However, this was the lead photo on the Yahoo! Sports NFL photo page we were visiting while in search of the Vick v. Shaub photo above.  What we found interesting was a) there are no apparent gigantic tattoos on any of these women and b) the woman on the far right of the photo could well be Troy Polamalu’s sister… The official caption read thusly: Members of the Los Angeles Temptation Lingerie Football team train during a media day to promote their upcoming game against the Dallas Desire, at the Coliseum in Los Angeles on December 2, 2010. The teams are part of the U.S. Lingerie Football League, which is a women's 7-on-7 full-contact tackle league and the games are broadcast as half-time entertainment during major NFL games such as the Superbowl.  (Yes, they had “Superbowl” as one word…) (Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images/Topshots)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

ACC-Big Ten Challenge

Kyrie Irving
#1 DUKE , #6 Michigan State (Spartans, 36,849 students, East Lansing, MI) – Evidently, one ACC freshman isn’t having any trouble getting his feet under him and that is Duke’s Kyrie Irving. Last night Dick Vitale was spewing superlatives about the Blue Devils’ “Diaper Dandy,” and you know what? He was right. Irving scored a season-high 31 points and No. 1 Duke beat No. 6 Michigan State in the marquee matchup of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Nolan Smith added 17 points and Kyle Singler scored 15 for the Blue Devils (7-0). They shot 47 percent, turned 20 Michigan State turnovers into 28 points, used a 12-2 spurt midway through the second half to take a double-figure lead and held off the Spartans down the stretch by hitting 9 of 12 free throws in the final 1:15. Game over.

Wisconsin (Badgers, 28,960 students, Madison, WI) 87, N.C. STATE 48 – Jon Leuer scored 22 points and had 11 rebounds, Jordan Taylor added 21 points and Wisconsin used a 23-0 run straddling halftime to beat North Carolina State on Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Wisconsin (5-2) rebounded from a loss to Notre Dame in the finals of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla. on Sunday night with a withering defensive performance, holding the Wolfpack (4-2) scoreless more than 10 minutes and limiting them to 31 percent shooting.

BOSTON COLLEGE 88, Indiana (Hoosiers, 32,490 students, Bloomington, IN) 76 – Reggie Jackson scored 27 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out four assists to lift Boston College to a win over Indiana on Wednesday in an ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup.

The victory improved the Eagles (5-2) to 5-0 against the Big Ten since joining the ACC. The Eagles are the only unbeaten school in the series of either conference. Indiana (6-1) was off to its best start under coach Tom Crean.

Reggie Jackson
#22 Purdue (Boilermakers, 31,145 students, West Lafayette, IN) 58, VIRGINIA TECH 55 –JuJuan Johnson scored 29 points, including a go-ahead 15-footer with 1:27 left in overtime, and the 22nd-ranked Boilermakers beat Virginia Tech on Wednesday night, clinching the ACC/Big Ten Challenge for the Big Ten for the second straight season.

MARYLAND 62, Penn State (Nittany Lions, 38,630 students, State College, PA) 39 – Jordan Jordan Williams had 15 points and 11 rebounds as Maryland overcame a slow start to defeat Penn State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Dino Gregory, Sean Mosley and Terrell Stoglin had 10 points each for the Terps (6-2), playing their first true road game of the season. They held Penn State to 14 of 68 shooting (21 percent) on the night.

The Big Ten wins the Challenge 6-5.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images and AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

Virginia Tech’s Taylor ACC Player of the Year

Tyrod Taylor
Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who has led the No. 12 Hokies to 10 consecutive victories and his third berth in the ACC championship game following an 0-2 start, is the ACC Player of the Year for 2010.
Taylor, a senior, was the choice of 27 of the 57 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA) that voted. Russell Wilson of NC State was second with 19 votes.

Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers won ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

Taylor, also the offensive player of the year and the league's first-team All-ACC quarterback, has played for four years, and set himself up for a big finish this summer.

"I think I put in the work this offseason and previous years to come out and have a big season and I think it just paid off," Taylor said of his All-ACC selection.

The Hokies will play No. 20 Florida State for the championship on Saturday night in Charlotte, N.C., with the winner earning the conference's berth in the Orange Bowl.

Taylor said he will approach this game like any other - with high expectations.

"I challenge myself every week to be the best player on the field," he said. "That's my mindset going into the week and when I step onto the field, I want to let it be known that I was the best player on the field in that game."

Taylor was the MVP of the 2008 ACC Football Championship Game against Boston College. He is the first Hokies player to win the ACC Player of the Year honor since quarterback Bryan Randall in 2004.

Taylor leads the ACC in passing efficiency, having completed better than 60 percent of his attempts while throwing for 20 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He also is the Hokies' second-leading rusher with 613 yards, and has two runs of more than 70 yards.

Bowers, who led the nation with 15½ sacks, received 36 of 55 votes to finish ahead of Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, the nation's leading tackler, who had 14 votes.

Voting for the 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year awards, as voted on by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA)

Da'Quan Bowers
Tyrod Taylor, qb, Virginia Tech (27
Russell Wilson, qb, NC State (19)
Da'Quan Bowers, de, Clemson (8)
Montel Harris, rb, Boston College (3)

Tyrod Taylor, qb, Virginia Tech (31)
Russell Wilson, qb, NC State (23)
Montel Harris, rb, Boston College (4)
T.J. Yates, qb, North Carolina (1)
Danny O'Brien, qb, Maryland (1)
Leonard Hankerson, wr, Miami (1)

Da'Quan Bowers, de, Clemson (36)
Luke Kuechly, lb, Boston College (14)
Jayron Hosley, cb, Virginia Tech (3)
Nate Irving, lb, NC State (2)

ACC Football Players of the Week

Torrey Hunter
OFFENSIVE BACK - Torrey Smith, Maryland, WR, Jr., 6-1, 205, Colonial Beach, Va. (Stafford) Smith turned in one of the most outstanding performances by a receiver in Maryland history, setting the school's single-game record with four touchdown receptions, while setting career highs with 14 receptions and 224 receiving yards as Maryland knocked off No. 21 NC State 38-31. His receiving yardage is the third most in a single game in school history and 18th-most on the ACC books, while his receptions are just two off the ACC mark. He broke Lamont Jordan's school record for career all-purpose yards, and his 5,183 yards ranks seventh on the ACC career list.

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN - Rodney Hudson, Florida State, G, Sr., 6-2, 282, Mobile, Ala. (B.C. Rain) Hudson was a dominant force in FSU's ability to completely control the Florida defensive front. He earned a grade of 91 percent -100 pass; 85 rush - registering four knockdown blocks. He was not penalized and did not have a missed assignment for the Seminoles, who rolled up 333 total yards on 65 plays (5.1 ypp). Hudson was a mainstay as the Noles did not allow a sack against Florida's defense and controlled the clock for 33 minutes. It marked the fourth time this season that Hudson, an Outland Award finalist, posted a score of 90 percent or better.

Rodney Hudson

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN - Brandon Jenkins, Florida State, DE, So., 6-3, 234, Tallahassee, Fla. (Florida High) Jenkins turned in his fifth multi-sack game of the season with 2 sacks against Florida, pushing his season total to 12, which ranks second in the ACC and is tied for third nationally. He finished the day with four tackles - all solos - pushing his season total to 61 tackles, adding two more tackles for loss to give him 17.5 (-80 yards) on the season. He was a vital cog in FSU's ability to control Florida's option attack, limiting the Gators to 276 total yards. FSU also forced four turnovers (three fumbles and an interception) in a dominating, start-to-finish performance.

DEFENSIVE BACK - Antwine Perez, Maryland, S, Sr., 6-1, 210, Westville Grove, N.J. (Woodrow Wilson/USC) Perez had a terrific all-around game in Maryland's win over NC State, which enabled the Terps to finish 8-4 on the regular season, a six-game improvement from 2009. The senior, making his final home appearance, had a team and career-high 11 tackles, including six solo stops. He also forced and recovered a fumble, broke up one potential touchdown pass, had one of the team's eight tackles for loss and returned a blocked kick 35 yards to set up a field goal. Perez has been strong down the stretch, posting at seven tackles in each of the last four games. He ranks tied for third in the ACC in fumbles recovered (0.25 pg) and tied for fifth in passes defended (0.92 pg).

Antwine Perez
SPECIALIST - Shawn Powell, Florida State, P, Jr., 6-4, 227, Rome, Ga. (Darlington Prep) Powell's work was instrumental in Florida State winning the game-long, field position battle. He punted four times for a 40.2 yard average and did not yield a single return yard to the Gators, for an impressive 40.2 yard net average. Florida began drives after Powell placed directional punts at its own 4, 7 and 5 yard lines. He also angled a 44-yard attempt out of bounds, punting from his own goal line. Powell now has 15 punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line on 45 attempts this season (33 percent).

ROOKIE - Danny O'Brien, Maryland, QB, r-Fr., 6-3, 215, Kernersville, N.C. (East Forsyth) In the victory over NC State, O'Brien became the first Maryland quarterback to throw for 400 yards in a game since 1993, racking up a career-high 417 yards (fourth-highest total in school history) while completing 33-of-47 passes for four touchdowns and no interceptions. O'Brien, who ranks fourth in the ACC and third nationally among freshmen in passing efficiency (135.20 rating), has 21 TD passes this season, the second most in school history, and has accounted for 23 total TDs, the first Maryland player to do so since 2003.

Really Good FSU Lineman Wins A Trophy For Blocking

Who knew?

Florida State’s Rodney Hudson has been awarded the 2010 Jacobs Blocking Trophy, Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford announced Sunday. In doing so, Hudson, who also captured the award in 2009, becomes one of just 11 players in ACC history to be a two-time recipient of the Jacobs Trophy.

The Jacobs Blocking Trophy has been awarded annually since 1953 to the player voted the most outstanding blocker in the ACC by a poll of the league’s head coaches and defensive coordinators. The trophy is given in memory of William P. Jacobs, who served as president of Presbyterian College from 1935 to 1945.

Hudson totaled 23 points, including six first-place votes, in the balloting by the coaches to outdistance Boston College senior offensive tackle Anthony Costanzo (13), Miami senior offensive tackle Orlando Franklin (12) and Clemson senior offensive tackle Chris Hairston (10) to claim his second straight Jacobs Trophy.

One of three finalists for this year’s prestigious Outland Trophy, Hudson, a 6-2, 282-pound senior from Mobile, Ala., is one of seven players in ACC history to be honored four times with All-ACC honors.

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

A Little Holiday Miracle: Suits In Kansas Get It Right

Well, it took a while, but the Suits In Kansas (dba NCAA) ruled that a kid is not responsible for nor accountable for the stupid s*** his old man does.

Specifically, the NCAA says Auburn quarterback Cam Newton’s father did indeed shop his son to another school, but ruled the Heisman Trophy front-runner is eligible to play in the Southeastern Conference championship game.

Cam thanks you o' great Suits In Kansas, and Auburn Nation really thanks you.

The college sports governing body had concluded on Monday that a violation of Newton’s amateur status had occurred. Auburn quietly declared Newton ineligible on Tuesday and requested his eligibility be reinstated. (Which begs the question if Newton’s situation at Auburn could be resolved for Auburn in about 48 hours, why did it take almost half the season to figure out the status of UNC’s players? We smell a conspiracy!)

Newton now has been cleared to compete without conditions, after weeks of questions about whether he would be allowed to continue playing.

“From a student-athlete reinstatement perspective, Auburn University met its obligation under NCAA bylaw 14.11.1. Under this threshold, the student-athlete has not participated while ineligible.”

That’s helpful ‘cause that bylaw 14.11.1 can be really tricky…

Auburn also has agreed to limit Cecil Newton’s access to its athletic program.

“The conduct of Cam Newton’s father and the involved individual is unacceptable and has no place in the SEC or in intercollegiate athletics,” said Mike Slive, Southeastern Conference Commissioner. “The actions taken by Auburn University and Mississippi State University make it clear this behavior will not be tolerated in the SEC, blah, blah, blah.”

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)

ACC Bowl Projections

This comes from the boys over at Bleacher Report.
BOSTON COLLEGE: Military Bowl, December 29, 2010, Washington DC vs. East Carolina

NORTH CAROLINA: Mienke Car Care Bowl, December 31, 201, Charlotte, North Carolina vs, Connecticut

GEORGIA TECH: The MAACO Bowl, December 22, 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada vs. #21 Utah

CLEMSON: The Independence Bowl, December 27, 2010, Place: Shreveport, Louisiana vs. Air Force

N.C. STATE: The Music City Bowl, December 30, 2010, Nashville, Tennessee vs. Tennessee

MIAMI: The Sun Bowl, December 31, 2010, Place: El Paso, Texas vs. Arizona State

MARYLAND: The Champs Sports Bowl, December 28, 2010, Orlando, Florida vs. Notre Dame

#20 FLORIDA STATE: The Chick-Fil-A Bowl, December 31, 2010, Atlanta, Georgia vs. #22 Mississippi State

#12 VIRGINIA TECH: The Orange Bowl, January 3, 2011, Miami, Florida vs. #23 West Virginia

Pictures of the Day

SAY IT THREE TIMES REALLY FAST. Roko Leni Ukic (l) of Fenerbahce Ulker vies with Goran Vrbanc (r) of Cibona Zagreb during their Euro League group basketball match at Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul, on December 1, 2010. (Photo by Mustafa Ozer/AFP Photo)

SAD, BUT TRUE.  An Arizona Cardinals fan shows his opinion of the team during the third quarter of the Cardinals' NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday, Nov. 29, 2010, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo)

SOMEBODY PLEASE PAY THE ELECTRIC BILL. Canada competes in the Women's Team Pursuit during day one of the UCI World Track Cycling Championships at Hisense Arena on December 2, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
SMOKE ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM. Or as T.A.H. Pop Culture Editor Young A.T. said, “I don’t think he’s trying to quit.” John Daly of the USA drives off the second tee during the second round of The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at The Old Course on October 8, 2010 in St Andrews, Scotland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Things That Make You Go…

1) The ACC is getting throttled in the annual ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

2) North Carolina’s preseason ranking and freshmen Harrison Barnes being tabbed a pre-season All American were both clearly absurd.

The ACC is down 4-2 halfway through this year’s version of annual ACC beatdown. The ACC has won 10 of the past 11 Challenges, but the Big Ten can make it two straight having won in 2009. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise as early season results would suggest a down year for ACC basketball.

The perennial top conference currently only has one ranked team (albeit top-ranked Duke) and features three new coaches (Wake, BC and Clemson) and one second-year coach (Virginia). That said, two of those teams, Wake Forest and UVA, have accounted for the ACC’s two wins. The Challenge resumes tonight.

Then there’s item number 2…If you watched the rematch of the 2005 NCAA Division 1 Men’s National Championship game won by the University of North Carolina pitting the young 2010 Tar Heels against the #21 Fighting Illini of Illinois, we apologize and we hope you regain your vision and sanity sooner than later.

Not only was the game difficult to watch for UNC or ACC fans, it was further burdened by the non-stop blather of ESPN color analyst Jimmy Dykes. My God man, do you ever shut up?

Some of what Dykes said was typical filler, some was appropriately analytical and some of it was full-blown Vitalesque hyperbole. How about his one? Coach K is a genius and a “great leader” because he is likely to win another National Championship with “four first round NBA draft choices” (according to Dykes). Never mind arguing the merits of whether or not the current Blue Devils have four first rounders, isn’t it safe to suggest that ANY coach should win the National Championship with four future first round picks (assuming they aren’t all freshmen at the same time).

(Note to Dykes, Duke’s rivals down in Chapel Hill won the NCAA Men’s Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Championship in 2005 and 2009 with teams matching a similar description.)

That said, to Dykes credit, he did point out some salient facts. First off, Harrison Barnes selection as a pre-season All-American before he ever played a game was ridiculous. As Dykes pointed out, UNC’s starting backcourt is under performing – outscored 28 to 7 last night – and that is a big factor in Barnes’ early season woes.

No one is asking Larry Drew and Dexter Strickland to be Ty Lawson or Raymond Felton, but fewer turnovers, more scoring and some transition offense would improve the likelihood of the Tar Heels winning games while dramatically increasing Barnes’ productivity. The pre-season honor has proved nothing more than a burden for a very talented young player looking to find his place on a young and inexperienced team.

And that preseason top-ten ranking? As Seth and Amy used to say on SNL: Really?

Ol' Roy
Dykes pointed out accurately that such a ranking was completely unrealistic based on the facts. The Heels were an N.I.T. team last year. They lost a first round NBA draft pick in Ed Davis, a three-year starter and major contributor in Deon Thompson and the twin tower Wear twins to transfer. They replaced all of that with the heralded Barnes, and smart basketball people think that moves them from losing to Rhode Island to the top ten?

Why did the media and the coaches assume that UNC would improve so much by adding so little? While the young Heels half-court defense appears to be much improved, the primary staple of their offense – the transition game – is producing lots of turnovers and few points.  (The turnovers are fairly typical for the Heels' high octane approach, but the lack of points to balance them off is a big problem).  They will need to fix this if they hope for an invite back to the Big Dance.

Perhaps it’s a compliment to Ol ‘Roy and the power of the North Carolina basketball tradition combined with relentless fan and media focus on the importance of blue chip recruits? Who knows.

Finally, Dykes was absolutely correct about one other thing: It's early in a long season and things aren’t as bad, or as good, as they might look. We know this is true because it is, and because Dykes said it over and over (and over and over and over and over) again…

(Photos by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Tuesday ACC Basketball

J.T. Terrell
WAKE FOREST 76, Iowa (Hawkeyes, 20,574 students, Iowa City, IA) 73 – Freshmen Freshman J.T. Terrell scored a season-high 32 points and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left to help Wake Forest beat Iowa on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Terrell hit seven 3-pointers, none bigger than when he lofted a shot off the dribble over Bryce Cartwright that dropped cleanly through the net and set off a rowdy celebration by the home crowd.

MIAMI 86, Ole Miss (Rebels, 19,536 students, Oxford, MS) 73 – Durand Scott scored 27 points to lead Miami to a victory over Mississippi on Tuesday night.

The Canes (5-2) nearly wasted a 30-point halftime lead as the Rebels outscored the Hurricanes 26-6 during a late second-half run. Chris Warren hit consecutive 3-pointers, reducing the Miami lead to 79-70 with 4:10 remaining.

Northwestern (Wildcats, 16,640 students, Chicago, IL) 91, GEORGIA TECH 70 – John Shurna scored 21 points, Drew Crawford added 19 and Northwestern shot a blistering 64.6 percent in a runaway victory over Georgia Tech in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

The Wildcats (5-0) shot 31 of 48 overall and buried 12 of 19 3-pointers, with Shurna and Crawford leading the onslaught.

John Shurna
 #2 Ohio State (Buckeyes, 55,014 students, Columbus, OH) 58, FLORIDA STATE 44 – Jared Sullinger muscled his way to the third double-double of his blossoming career with 11 points and 13 rebounds to lead the second-ranked Buckeyes to victory in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday night.

Sullinger defended Chris Singleton, Florida State’s top scorer, for part of the game. Singleton was held to eight points, half his season average.

Michigan (Wolverines, 41,674 students, Ann Arbor, MI) 69, CLEMSON 61 – Evan Smotrycz had a career-high 18 points and Michigan won an ACC/Big Ten Challenge game for the first time in five years with a victory at Clemson on Tuesday night.

Mike Davis

The Wolverines (4-2) had lost four straight in the conference’s annual matchups. This time, though, they used freshman Smotrycz and Tim Hardaway Jr. to build a big lead that Clemson (5-2) could not overcome.

#21 Illinois (Fighting Illini, 31,173 students, Champaign, IL) 79, NORTH CAROLINA 67 – Mike Davis scored 20 points and No. 21 Illinois had five players finish in double figures in a victory over North Carolina on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

John Henson led the Tar Heels (4-3) with 16 points while Tyler Zeller finished with 10.

Gobbler Country: First Bud Foster Rumor Involves Vanderbilt

According to Gobbler Country, the first rumor linking Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster to a vacant coaching job involves Frank Beamer's long-time lieutenant and Vanderbilt, whose interim head coach Robbie Caldwell resigned prior to the Commodores' final regular season game.

The first place to connect Foster to Vanderbilt was a site called Football Scoop, which on Monday said their sources had told them "Vanderbilt intends to talk with Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster sometime after Saturday."

Tuesday saw several much more official source tackle the rumor, including Foster himself. Darryl Slater, Kyle Tucker and Norm Wood already have stories up after talking to Foster about the possibility of heading to Vandy. He told reporters he hasn't been contact by Vanderbilt.

The job could interest Foster because the Commodores are in the SEC and thus would be the BCS-level coaching job he desires. However, as all three writers point out, Foster has avoided jobs in the past that he considers "coach killers" (though he didn't call Vanderbilt that) and Vandy is a tough, tough place to win football games.

On the Commodore side of things, Foster isn't being mentioned by either The Tennessean or SB Nation's Vanderbilt blog Anchor of Gold as being on Vandy's radar yet. The Tennessean reports the apple of Vanderbilt's eye is Temple head coach and former UVa defensive coordinator Al Golden. Anchor of Gold would love to see Mike Leach get the job (Doesn't every fanbase?).

For now, we're introducing the Bud Foster Alert System and moving it up to Guarded. There are positives and negatives, Foster hasn't dismissed the job and there's at least an inkling that at some point he could become a candidate. Nothing to get excited about yet, but that could change if Golden says, "No," and the 'Dores have to look elsewhere.

To read more, click here.

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

ACC Basketball Players of the Week

From the ACC offices in Charlotte:  Virginia Tech’s Malcolm Delaney has been named the ACC Player of the Week while Duke’s Kyrie Irving was tabbed the ACC Rookie of the Week following their outstanding performances this past week.

In earning ACC Player of the Week for the third time in his career, Delaney averaged 21.0 points, 4.0 assists on the week and shot .545 from the field as Virginia Tech went 2-1. The Baltimore, Md., senior opened the week scoring 17 points to go along with seven assists in a 72-56 win over Cal State. The following evening, he tallied 16 points, making 10-of-11 free throws, to rally the Hokies to a 56-51 win over previously-unbeaten Oklahoma State. On Sunday, Delaney scored a game-high 30 points on 9-of-14 from the floor, including seven-of-nine from behind the arc in a 71-59 loss to UNLV.

In earning his second Rookie of the Week honor, Irving averaged 14.7 points, 5.0 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game as Duke improved to 6-0 on the year with wins over Marquette, No. 4 Kansas State and Oregon. The West Orange, N.J., product was named the MVP of the CBE Classic after scoring a team-high 17 points to go along with five rebounds, six assists and two steals in a 82-68 against Kansas State. He also played a key role in a Blue Devil defensive effort that limited Wildcat All-American Jacob Pullen to four points on 1-of-12 shooting. Irving closed the week with 16 points and a career-high three steals versus Oregon.

Video of the Day

Look, we aren’t ones to pile on and the Internet has had plenty of fun with Kyle Brotzman ever since he missed two short field goals that snuffed out Boise State’s BCS dreams. 
Of course, Brotzman is one of the best kickers in the country – As a redshirt freshman in 2007, he was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award as the best kicker in the nation. He's made 65 field goals over four years, more than all but two other active kickers nationally.
He's scored more points in his career than any other active player in Division I. He holds the school's career scoring record, and with nine more points in Boise's last two games, he'll pass Nebraska's Kris Brown (1996-99) for most career points by a kicker in NCAA history. He's also the Broncos' regular punter, and memorably completed a pass for a first down on a fake punt that set up Boise's game-winning touchdown against TCU in the Fiesta Bowl in January.
That said, he still missed those two heartbreakers. According to Mr. Saturday; “A few kindhearted Boise fans have launched a Facebook page called "The Bronco Nation Loves Kyle Brotzman," in hopes of preventing him from becoming the next Ray Finkle.”  
(In the Jim Carrey movie Ace Venturea; Pet Detective, Ray Finkle was a star kicker who was added to the team mid-season .  Finkle missed the potential game-winning field goal kick at the end of the Super Bowl XVII, causing the Dolphins to lose to the San Francisco 49ers. After the season, Finkle's contract was not renewed and his reputation was destroyed thus making him a suspect in the kidnapping of Snowflake…)
As of Wedensday morning, the group has over 34,000 “likes.”
Of course, there are also “not-so-kind” people out there cranking out satire and parody as fast as they can. So far, this is our favorite based on its weird creepy cartoonishness…oh, and its accurate depiction of the general attitude toward kickers.

ACC Football Links

Via Heather Dinich at ESPN's ACC Blog: 

*The entire ACC bowl picture right now remains unclear.
*The Miami Herald suggested a few other potential candidates for Miami's head-coaching vacancy.
*Former Miami receiver Lamar Thomas knows what the Canes should be looking for.
*Mark Bradley is spot on with his analysis of what Georgia Tech needs to do to get better.
*Despite its fourth appearance in the ACC championship game, Virginia Tech is still looking for some respect.
*Clemson knows it needs more playmakers and is addressing that problem with this year's recruiting class.
*BC could be headed to the Sun Bowl after it lost interest in Miami.
*Florida State needs to refocus, which could be easier said than done after a win over Florida.
*Duke's Will Snyderwine isn't too concerned about Chris Hazley's selection to the first-team All-ACC team, nor should he be. The coaches got it right.
*If UVA is going to make it to the postseason, it's going to have to start winning in November.
*The Miami Herald is reporting that the Canes are interested in Jon Gruden. But is Gruden interested in the Canes?
*Miami fans have a man-crush on Gruden, but a deal is not in the works.
*Gruden isn't the only candidate to consider.
*Have no fear, Georgia Tech fans, you've got the right coach on your sideline. Even in a loss to Georgia.
*Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker's status is uncertain heading into the bowl game. He's not hurt, but his pride is.
*Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said his team is deserving of an upper-tier bowl. It is. Whether it gets there or not is another question.
*BC's win against Syracuse might have elevated its bowl status.
*Despite Virginia's pitiful record, it was a season of change in Charlottesville.
*Virginia Tech's Darren Evans has been overshadowed, but he's always there when the Hokies need him this year.
*FSU is looking ahead to the ACC championship game.

Pictures of the Day

BUMMER. Wide receiver Steve Johnson of the Buffalo Bills reacts after dropping a pass in the end zone during overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 28 in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Steelers took advantage of the miscue and defeated the Bills 19-16. (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)
SCRUM. Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls players vie for a rebound during their Nov. 23 game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Clockwise from top right: Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson, Lamar Odom, Joakim Noah and Ron Artest. The Lakers defeated the Bulls 98-91. (Photo by John W. McDonough/Sports Illustrated)

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