Saturday, December 11, 2010

Terps' Franklin Headed For Vanderbilt?

Maryland offensive coordinator and head-coach-in-waiting James Franklin is a finalist for the head coaching job at Vanderbilt, a source has told the Nashville Tennessean.

Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn is Vanderbilt's top choice on a short list of remaining football coaching candidates and was in Nashville this week to interview.

Vanderbilt would also be interested in speaking with Navy Coach Ken Niumatalolo, whose team plays Army today. Navy spokesperson Scott Strasemeier said Niumatalolo is "firmly committed" to staying at Navy.

Michigan State offensive coordinator Don Treadwell and Stanford offensive coordinator Greg Roman are also on the list. Roman was not brought back to Nashville this week for a second interview.

Friday, December 10, 2010

T.A.H.: Friday Morning Rant

Hack's Team Captain T. Blaser and some Hick named C. Yowell.
Dedicated T.A.H. reader and occasional contributor T. Blaser of Hacks v. Hicks fame is a full-blown sports junkie. The long-time Terps fan and now Clemson loyalist (two sons) had this to say in a morning email to T.A.H. Worldwide Media Headquarters here in beautiful sunny Warrenton, VA. (OK, it’s overcast and cold as crap…)

So said Mr. Blaser: Btw – I had SportsCenter on while I was getting ready for work this a.m. The lead stories were the baseball winter meetings, Brett Favre’s health and some NBA games. In other words “who gives a sh*t?”

Can you imagine if tonight and tomorrow were the first round of the NCAA football playoffs? This country would be going crazy! The NCAA is basically missing a month at the height of the season when folks can’t get enough football.  Nobody but me cares about any of the other crappy bowls until January 1, but everybody would be invested if there were a tourney. Stupid I’m telling ya!

Tom, as usual, you give sage counsel and thank you for caring about the “crappy bowls.” And you’re right – we all watch them, we all enjoy them as many turn out to be great games, but – we don’t really “care” about all these minor bowls…Give us a 16 team playoff and the Terps can still play the Pirates in the Military Bowl and Clemson can tackle the South Florida Bulls over in the Muffler Bowl! Everybody’s a winner.

Tossing out General J. Bounds' "all-conference champs are in" approach, here's a fairly simple 16 team first round based on the AP Top 25 for this week.  The only BCS conference out of the mix here is the Big East.

(1) Auburn v. (16) Oklahoma State – Ok, nobody much cares about OSU save T.Boone Pickens and Barry Sanders, but it’s still a playoff game.
(2) Oregon v. (15) Alabama – Talk about culture shock, the Ducks take on the Crimson Tide.  Nike meets houndstooth.
(3) TCU v. (14) Missouri – Good Midwestern throw down.
(4) Wisconsin v. (13) Nevada – The Wolf Pack try to prove a point against a Big 10 team.
(5) Stanford v. (12) VIRGINIA TECHding, ding, ding, ding, EXACTLY the same as the BCS bowl matchup!
(6) Ohio State v. (11) LSU – The Buckeys are afforded yet another opportunity to lose to a S.E.C. team.
(7) Michigan State v. (10) Boise State – The Broncos get a shot at a Big 10 team and more street cred.
(8) Arkansas v. (9) Oklahoma – It’s gotta beat the UConn v. Oklahoma matchup we are stuck with now.

You have to admit, it wouldn't suck...

NCAA: “We Aren’t In Kansas Any More”

This morning, the NCAA (known in these parts as the Suits In Kansas) informed T.A.H. that the organization that oversees college athletics moved to Indianapolis way back in 1999.

WHAT? (Where's that record scratch sound effect when you need it?)

What did we do? What any big time media company does. We sacked some sorry dorks down in the Research Department, that’s what we did! We called down there and said everybody who’s last name isn’t “Petty” or who doesn't sleep here at night is FIRED. That show’d ‘em! Idiots. 

Damn it, we should have outsourced that to Madagascar years ago.

Now, a quick note to our loyal readers: What up people? Did any of you know that the Suits In Kansas are now the Suits In Indiana? Were you withholding this info for a future power play when T.A.H. dissed your school? Really, how did the legions of T.A.H. readers not know this?

It’s shocking. We are appalled and embarrassed and we vow never to make another mistake agian…raelly.

Bo Pelini A Candidate/Not-A-Candidate For Miami Opening

So, if the College Coaching Rule of Opposites applies – you know the one where the A.D. endorses a coach one day, only to s***-can him a day later or when a coach says "Of course,  I’m going to stay at the University of I Love It Here! for the length of my contract and I’m not interested in the job at the University of Better Than Where I Am Now In Terms of Both Money and Talent no matter what the media says" and then takes the new job within 72 hours – Miami is about to gain a new coach and Nebraska is about to lose one…

Bo Pelini, the head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, is or isn’t (depending on who you ask) a prime candidate or the head coaching job at the University of Miami.

According the Orlando Sentinel, Pelini has spoken to University of Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt about the job but has not been offered it, two people with knowledge of the search told the Sun Sentinel on Thursday.

"He is in the mix," one of the sources said.

Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne denied giving permission to Pelini to speak to UM.

"Bo's never talked to me about anything like that," Osborne told the Lincoln Journal Star. "If he got permission, he didn't get it from me."

Pelini told the Journal Star he didn't seek permission from anyone to speak to another school and added, "I don't address rumor and innuendo."

Suits In Indiana Hot On The Pelini Situation

When the Suits (and Skirts…let’s be fair) In Indiana were just about to convene the long-awaited and much-anticipated D1 Football Playoff Committee meeting with their counterparts from the D1AA, DII and DIII playoff committees they were interrupted by iThis's and iThat’s emailing and texting them about the “Bo Pelini situation” noted above.

Meeting postponed (again). Damn it, Jim!

So armed with the hottest info from media outlets in Nebraska and Florida, a couple of their crack enforcement folks hopped in the ol’ Buick and headed west on Interstate 70 toward Lincoln. (Editor’s note: They were going to take I70 to Kansas City just to be sure that the NCAA offices weren’t still there and then head north on I29 to Lincoln). Just outside of Terre Haute, one of the enforcers checked the weather on his iGadget and realized that the better play was to investigate this from the Hurricane’s perspective.

The group turned left on US 41South and headed for I64 East which after several days should get them to I95 South and on to sunny and warm(er) Florida.

The NCAA team is expected to arrive at the Coral Gables campus just after the conclusion of the press conference announcing Pelini’s hiring as the Canes new head coach.

Three Words Not Typically Used In The Same Sentence: Duke, Football, All-America

Big kudos to Duke redshirt junior kicker Will Snyderwine who secured his second 2010 All-America citation on Thursday evening by garnering second team honors from the Walter Camp Foundation. Last month, Snyderwine was a first team All-America choice by the American Football Coaches Association.

(Editor’s note: Somehow we missed Snyderwine’s first honor and we apologize for that. Really, we mean it. That was a fumble. Any kid that earns national awards deserves recognition here at the “ACC Blog of Record.” Our bad. Well done, Will.)

A native of Potomac, Md., Snyderwine is the first kicker in Duke history to earn All-America accolades. And the first Blue Devil to win All-America honors since….well, we don’t know since when cause we fired the research department (see above).

This season, Snyderwine made 21-of-24 field goals and all 32 of his PAT attempts for 95 total points. He set school single-season records for field goals, consecutive field goals made (18) and field goal percentage (.875) while posting the second-highest single-season point total. His 52-yard bomb against Georgia Tech matched the ninth-longest successful kick in school history.

In the ACC, Snyderwine ranks first in field goals per game (1.75), tied for first in PAT percentage (1.000), sixth in points per game (7.9) and fourth in field goal percentage (.875). Nationally, he ranks sixth in field goals per game.

For his career, Snyderwine has made 38-of-44 field goals and he has never missed a PAT.

Don’t Cry For Me Dukentina: Kyrie Irving Is Really Hurt

It didn’t seem like Duke diaper dandy Kyrie Irving’s toe injury was a big deal and then all of a sudden it was. Yesterday, head coach Mike Krzwyglp5ski said there’s a possibility he could be out for the rest of the year.

Mind you, the Blue Devils will continue to be one of the best teams, if not the best team, in the country without Irving, but the freshman point guard had made a huge impact to date. He is second on the team in scoring at 17.4 points per game, and his ability to push the ball in transition had sparked a faster pace for the defending national champions.

He had a season-high 31 points in a practically flawless performance against Michigan State last week, then had 21 points against Butler and even returned to the game after suffering the injury.

The team hopes to learn more about his status in the next week to 10 days, but Krzyjkkl7wski called Irving’s injury “a serious one.”

N.C. State Football Goes On Free Shoes University Style Shopping Spree

Back in 1999, Florida State jettisoned future Deadskin Laveranues Coles for being an accomplice to a crime with eventual BCS National Championship Game MVP Peter Warrick when the two purchased over $400 worth of clothes from a friendly cashier who charged the two a mere $21.40. The move earned FSU the moniker of “Free Shoes University” courtesy of the Ol’ Ball Coach Steve Spurrier.

On Monday, a group of footballers from N.C. State showed up at the Garner Wal-Mart and started gleefully filling shopping baskets with toys. When the cars were full, the gridiron heroes headed for the parking lot with their loot – a simple reward for an 8-4 record and not a trip to the Military Bowl in warm and sunny Washingtion, D.C., but, in fact, a trip to the Champs Sports Bowl to play No. 22 West Virginia on December 28th in sunny Florida. (Well played, NCSU.)

But wait, when exiting the store in all their Clausness, the men in red ran into the Raleigh police S.W.A.T. team and were arrested prompting Butch Davis to say “nice distraction fellas, thanks!”

Nah…just kiddin’.

Here’s the real scoop: The N.C. State football team bought toys as part of the annual Toys for Tots Shopping Spree at the Wal-Mart in Garner Monday December 6, 2010. Ten team members spent $24,440 on toys and gifts which was part of the almost $50,000 donated by Wolfpack fans and Coca-Cola to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign. There was a competition between the players to see who could spend the most. For three years N.C. State's Josh Czajkowski has won, but this year Wayne Crawford took the title, spending $3640.

"We are excited and happy to get involved this way" said Crawford.

Pictures of the Da(l)y

IS THAT THE MARDI GRAS GRINCH? Just when our main man John Daly thought it was safe to return to Coolum, the scene of one of his most famous meltdowns, it happened again. This time Big John shot a second-round 11-over-par 83 today at the Australian PGA after a first-round 71 Thursday to sit in 146th place thus missing the cut. In 2002, after taking a triple-bogey 7 on his last hole at the Hyatt Coolum course, Daly threw his putter and ball into a greenside pond and later failed to sign for a 78 on his scorecard, disqualifying himself from the tournament. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

ACC Wednesday Night Hoop

Andre Dawkins
#1 DUKE 83, Bradley (Braves, 5,301 students, Peoria, IL) 48 – Sophomore guard Andre Dawkins scored a career-high 28 points in his first start to help top-ranked Duke beat Bradley on Wednesday night, moving coach Mike Krzyzrgh6ski into sole possession of third place on the all-time wins list.

The sophomore hit eight three-pointers for the Blue Devils (9-0) in place of star freshman point guard Kyrie Irving, who is out indefinitely with a toe injury on his right foot. Kyle Singler added 17 points as Duke shook off a cold-shooting first half and blew the game open with a flurry of treys in the second frame.

It was Krzyznjl8ski's 877th victory, moving him out of a tie with Kentucky's Adolph Rupp and putting him just two behind North Carolina's Dean Smith for second place behind Bobby Knight's 902 wins. The Hall of Famer could tie his former longtime rival at home against Elon on Dec. 20, then pass Smith when the Blue Devils face UNC Greensboro on Dec. 29 in the Greensboro Coliseum.

Tyler Zeller
NORTH CAROLINA 76, Evansville (Purple Aces, 3,050 students, Evansville, IN) 49 –Tyler Zeller scored 18 points in his return to Indiana, and Justin Knox had 13 points to lead North Carolina past Evansville.

It was the first time the Tar Heels (6-3) played at 54-year-old Roberts Stadium, which will close at the end of this season. They came for one reason: To give Zeller an opportunity to play in front of his family and friends from Washington, Ind., about 60 miles away.

The Purple Aces (3-4) couldn't keep up with the bigger, quicker Tar Heels. Colt Ryan had nine points for Evansville, which was 3 of 20 from 3-point range and lost for the fourth time in five games.

BOSTON COLLEGE 88, Providence (Friars, 3,850 students, Providence, RI) 86 – Reggie Jackson scored 26 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had four assists to lead Boston College to its a fourth straight win, 88-86 over Providence on Wednesday night.

Josh Southern had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Eagles (7-2). Joe Trapani had 14 points and nine rebounds, and Biko Paris had 12 points.

Terrell Stoglin
MARYLAND 99, UNC Greensboro (Spartans, 14,664 students, Greensboro, NC) 56 – Jordan Williams had 23 points and 13 rebounds, freshman guard Terrell Stoglin scored 18 and Maryland beat winless UNC Greensboro 99-56 Wednesday night for its 15th consecutive home victory.

Adrian Bowie scored 16 and Cliff Tucker added 13 for the Terrapins (7-3), who begin Atlantic Coast Conference play Sunday against visiting Boston College. Maryland's home winning streak includes eight ACC games last season and six non-league games this year.

It was the eighth double-double for Williams and his fourth straight. It was also the fourth game in which he scored more than 20; he finished three points short of his career high.

T.A.H. Special: If Bowl Games Were Movies

Courtesy of Darren Everson of the Wall Street Journal via General J. Bounds via West Virginia, Arkansas, Balcksburg, Kuwait, the U.S. Marine Corp, Warrenton and Interstate 66 both East and West.

The 'Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise' Bowl - Orange Bowl: Stanford vs. Virginia Tech, Jan. 3 in Miami. Having conquered USC, UCLA and most of the other Alpha Betas of the Pac-10, Stanford's whiz kids pack their protractors and head to South Florida. (Editor’s Note: Mr. Everson gave the ACC Hokies no love.)

The 'Rushmore' Bowl - Independence Bowl: Air Force vs. Georgia Tech, Dec. 27 in Shreveport, La. However many times you think these two triple-option teams will run the ball, think again. They'll rush even more than that.

The 'Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever' Bowl - Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl: Louisville vs. Southern Miss, Dec. 21 in St. Petersburg, Fla. An ill-advised production with a preposterous title that's unlikely to have much of a plot, nor much of an audience. (Beef ‘O Brady…really? According to Pure Public Relations & Marketing in Tampa, B-O-B’s is the fastest growing, national chain of family sports pubs. Evidently, you can take your dog to dinner with you on Tuesdays…)

The 'Dead Man Walking' Bowl - Gator Bowl: Michigan vs. Mississippi State, Jan. 1 in Jacksonville, Fla. Embattled Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez is 15-21 in three seasons, and Stanford's Jim Harbaugh is potentially waiting in the wings. No word yet on whether Sister Helen Prejean is planning to take up Mr. Rodriguez's case.

The 'Brokeback Mountain' Bowl - Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State vs. Utah, Dec. 22 in Las Vegas. Two lonely and misunderstood Westerners find acceptance and fulfillment in a quiet rendezvous. (Good one!)

The 'Anger Management' Bowl - Alamo Bowl: Arizona vs. Oklahoma State, Dec. 29 in San Antonio. This is actually a comedy—so long as you're not the one being yelled at by combustible Arizona coach Mike Stoops or Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy, whose press-conference rant became a viral classic.

'The Godfather Part III' Bowl - Sun Bowl: Miami (Fla.) vs. Notre Dame, Dec. 31 in El Paso, Texas. Parts I and II of this series were among the most epic events in college-football history. This is the sequel that takes place years later and should have never been made.

The 'Dawn of the Dead' Bowl - Armed Forces Bowl: Army vs. SMU, Dec. 30 in Fort Worth, Texas. A classic zombie tale. SMU was once 'killed' by the NCAA and Army was…well, they were just awful at football.

The 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' Bowl - Humanitarian Bowl: Fresno State vs. Northern Illinois, Dec. 18 in Boise, Idaho. A timeless comedy about the absurdity of bowl travel. Hilarity ensues as fans discover the paucity of direct flights to Boise.
The 'Being There' Bowl - Fiesta Bowl: Connecticut vs. Oklahoma, Jan. 1 in Glendale, Ariz. A modest, simple team that hasn't seen much of the world (beyond the Big East) somehow winds up hobnobbing with college football's high society.

The 'Groundhog Day' Bowl - Sugar Bowl: Arkansas vs. Ohio State, Jan. 4 in New Orleans. Ohio State knows the drill: Their alarm clock goes off, they show up at a bowl game and get beaten senseless by an SEC team—only to do it all over again the next season.

The 'A Beautiful Mind' Bowl - Cotton Bowl: LSU vs. Texas A&M, Jan. 7 in Arlington, Texas. Given his record, LSU coach Les Miles must be a football genius. The problem: He eats grass, has no concept of time and rambles incoherently in public.

The 'Mullholland Dr.' Bowl - Bowl: Miami (Ohio) vs. Middle Tennessee State, Jan. 6 in Mobile, Ala. What is this? What am I watching? We challenge you to figure it out. And sit through the whole thing.

The 'Magnolia' Bowl - Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. TCU, Jan. 1 in Pasadena, Calif. TCU's Horned Frogs hope to evoke the film's climactic scene, in which frogs rain from the sky in Southern California.

The 'Blade Runner' Bowl - BCS title game: Auburn vs. Oregon, Jan 10 in Glendale, Ariz. This game, which takes place in the future, pits a brave but flawed hero (played by Cam Newton) against a pack of genetically engineered robots.

Quote of the Day

“At the end of the day, I’m very convinced that you’re going to be judged on how you are as a husband and as a father and not on how many bowl games we won. I’ve not seen my two girls play high school sports. They’re both very talented Division I-A volleyball players, so I missed those four years. … I can’t get that time back.”

Urban Meyer, the Florida Gators' head coach who “Farved” yesterday – retiring for the second time within a year.

Pictures of the Day

WELCOME HOME. The Heels travelled to Evansville, Indiana last night so Tyler Zeller could play a collegiate game close to his home. Here, Zeller, right, is greeted by his mother Lorri Zeller, left, and his brother Cody Zeller following their 79-49 victory. Zeller's hometown is only an hour away in Washington, Ind. Cody is headed off to Bloomfield to play for the Hoosiers next year…oh yeah, and to go to college. (Photo by Michael Conroy/AP Photos)

A DUKE MAN RIGHT DOWN TO THE ARGYLE? Just sayin’…Duke guard Kyrie Irving (with his jeans rolled up) watches as his teammates warm up for the Bradley game Wednesday December 8, 2010, at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Irving is wearing a boot on his right foot after injuring his toe against Butler last Saturday. He is out indefinitely. (Photo by Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer)
CONTRAST AND SCALE. Very nice shot indeed. A skater waves Japanese national flag during the opening ceremony of ISU Grand Prix and Junior Grand Prix Final at Beijing Capital Gymnasium on December 9, 2010 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This Is Our Backyard

Fridge will need long pants and a less vertical swing Dec. 29th
“Our fans need to really come out and support us. We have a chance to send a message to people that didn’t pick us for a bowl game that we can support a bowl game. East Carolina’s fans are going to show up. If people want to support this football program, they need to show up. We want to support the USO and make this a memorable experience. This is our backyard,”

So said Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen about the Terps' upcoming Military Bowl game while sending a subtle reminder that Under Armor may be a wardrobe necessity.

According to the Washington Post, Steve Beck, the executive director of the Military Bowl, told me that he is counting on well over 30,000 fans at the Maryland-East Carolina game at RFK Stadium on Dec. 29. The breakdown includes more than 5,000 tickets given to the military and some 2,500 given to D.C. youth.

East Carolina has already sold out its team hotel and is expected to meet its allotment of 10,000 tickets.

“For us, this is a ride up 95,” East Carolina Coach Ruffin McNeill said. “A lot of our family and team members are from the Virginia, D.C. and Maryland areas. The locale provides a natural rivalry. We are on the East Coast … I grew up in North Carolina, and I know the quality of football in that league [ACC]. I know the quality of coaches. We have a lot of tradition and pride. It is a great competition and great matchup.”

Oh, and there is more good news for those of you that like your college football a little on the frosty side...There is also the Military Bowl Tailgate Party at the D.C. Armory from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (the game kicks off at 2:30) on Dec. 29. For more info, click here.

ACC Tuesday Night Hoop

T.J. Harrell
VIRGINIA 54, Radford (Highlanders, 7,773 students, Radford, VA) 44 – K.T. Harrell scored 13 points in a 24-5 first-half run and Virginia held Radford scoreless for nearly 15 minutes in a victory Tuesday night.

Harrell was 5 for 5 from the field with three 3-pointers during the first half burst as the Cavaliers (6-3) won the opener of an eight-game homestand. Mustapha Farrakhan and Joe Harris led Virginia with 14 points each, and Mike Scott had 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Georgia (Bulldogs, 34,885 students, Athens, GA) 73, GEORGIA TECH 72 – Dustin Ware hit his seventh 3-pointer of the game with 15.3 seconds remaining, leading Georgia to a win over Georgia Tech on Tuesday night.

Ware scored all 21 of his points from outside the arc, missing only twice from long range. With the game tied at 70, Gerald Robinson drove toward the lane, luring the defense away from Ware, then kicked it back out to the 5-foot-11 junior standing all alone at the stripe.

ACC Players of the Week

Mike Scott
Virginia's Mike Scott 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.

Scott had back-to-back double-doubles in road wins over No. 15 Minnesota (Nov. 29) and Virginia Tech (Dec. 5) last week. The 6-8, 242-pound senior forward from Chesapeake, Va., averaged 19.0 points and 12.5 rebounds in the two games. For the week, Scott was 15-of-29 (.518) from the field and seven-of-nine (.778) from the free throw line. In Virginia's win at Minnesota, he tallied 17 points and had a game-high 12 rebounds to go along with three assists. In Sunday's 57-54 win at Virginia Tech in the ACC opener for both teams, Scott scored 21 points and had a game-high 13 rebounds.

In earning his third ACC Rookie of the Week honor, Irving averaged 26.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game in wins over No. 6 Michigan State and Butler. The West Orange, N.J., native was 14-of-22 (.636) from the field, including 5-of-9 (.556) from three-point range, and 19-of-22 (.864) from the free throw line. Irving opened the week with a 31-point, six-rebound, four-assist effort in an 84-79 win over the Spartans. In Saturday's 82-70 win over Butler, a rematch of last year's National Championship game, Irving had 21 points, two rebounds and two assists.

R.I.P. John Lennon

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the death of John Lennon. Were he still alive, Lennon would be 70-years-old.
Lennon and wife Yoko Ono stand in front of the Dakota, the apartment building where they lived in New York. Lennon was later killed in front of that building by Mark David Chapman.

(Photo by Allan Tannenbaum / Govinda Gallery)

R.I.P. Albert Hayensworth

The horrific Albert Hayensworth experiment in Washington appears to be over. Yesterday, the Redskins suspended their petulant defensive lineman after another round of whining and crying by all the parties. There is plenty of blame to go around starting at the top with owner Dan Snyder and ending with the key protagonist – Haynesworth and head coach taskmaster Mike Shannahan.

Add Haynesworth to the long list of self-important, self-indulged prima-donna athletes who want to do as they please and dictate team policy/strategy on and off the field. Shannahan’s fundamental rigidity left him poorly armed to deal with such a under-motivated star and the crazy price tag surely didn’t help him end this football tragedy in a more timely manner.

To further demonstrate the dysfunction, according to The Onion, former Skins’ coach Jim Zorn asked Hayensworth “gain 2,400 pounds.”

Here is a video of an example of the spectacular effort Hayensworth made on behalf of the employer who paid him zillions of dollars.  

Nice, Albert, NICE!

Pictures of the Day

NICE MASCOT. Bursaspor's mascot Crocodile poses in front of a crocodile poster before their Champions League Group C soccer match against Rangers at Ataturk stadium in Bursa, western Turkey, December 7, 2010.

TIGER TALE. Trevor Booker #35 of the Washington Wizards drives to the basket while being defended by Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half at Staples Center on December 7, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the Wizards 115-108. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Military Bowl: It Is What It Is

With all due respect to the Military Bowl, Maryland’s fan base was dissed and their recruiting hampered when they were invited to a bowl game in a cold weather city just 20 minutes from campus. What, no palm trees?

“It is what it is. We have to make the best of it. The toughest thing is that it's in our own backyard," said Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen on his 8-4 Terps slide from #3 in the conference to last in the bowl pecking order. The Terps were hoping to get an invitation from the Champs Sports Bowl after their win against N.C. State, but…no.

Meanwhile, Kevin Anderson, Maryland's first-year athletic director, said he was "disappointed" with the process and how bowl berths were determined. Anderson said he did not know why Maryland slid to the eighth slot. He added that Maryland officials have spoken to the ACC office and Anderson wants to talk to conference officials further about the process at future league meetings.

The Terps are No. 9 in the nation in pass efficiency defense and will face former Boston College quarterback Dominique Davis, who has thrown for 36 touchdowns and 3,699 yards, the fourth-most in the nation, while completing nearly 65 percent of his passes.

Quote of the Day

Long-time Washington Post writer turned columnist now turned commentator for ESPN, Michael Wilbon wrote his farewell column yesterday for the newspaper that launched his career. It included a shout out to Scott Turow for one of the great sports quotes of all time about the ACC’s greatest star of all time.

Said Wilbon: There is a favorite athlete: Michael Jordan, because he had and continues to have the greatest impact on the culture of sports since Ali and because, as Scott Turow wrote, "Michael Jordan played basketball better than anyone else in the world does anything else."

Wow…why didn’t we think of that?

Clemson's Bowers Wins Nagurski Award

CHARLOTTE, AP – Amid his year of tragedy, Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers slimmed down, got serious about football and had a breakout season.
Bowers was honored for his dominance Monday night with the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s top defensive player, an award he wishes he could share with his father and his mentor.

Playing with a heavy heart following the deaths this year of his father, Dennis, and close friend Gaines Adams of the Chicago Bears, Bowers burst onto the scene after two mediocre years. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound junior leads the nation with 15 1/2 sacks and his 25 tackles for a loss rank second in the country.

Bowers, one of the nation’s top recruits coming out of high school, had managed only four sacks in his first two college seasons.

“He’s excelled in every area,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “He’s had to overcome some personal tragedy and has still been able to stay focused. He’s become the inspirational leader of our team. To see him being honored is really heartwarming for me.”

Swinney was the keynote speaker at Monday’s banquet as Bowers edged out Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, Georgia linebacker Justin Houston and LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson for the award presented by the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

To read more, click here.

Top Enforcement Officer For Suits In Kansas Defends Recent Decisions

T.A.H. learned this morning that the NCAA’s enforcement chief is Julie Roe Lach – Vice President of Enforcement. She took over December 1st from David Price who retired.

Lach was in New York yesterday where she gave an interview where she discussed, among other things, the NCAA’s clearing of Cam Newton despite finding his father violated NCAA rules.

Taking a page from the BCS and Bill Hancock, Lach told The Associated Press that college sports' governing body traditionally has preferred to "fall on the side of the student-athlete."

Tell that to Marvin Austin, Charles Brown, Kendric Burney, Greg Little, Michael McAdoo, Robert Quinn, Shaun Draughn. Ryan Houston, Linwan Euwell, Brian Gupton, Da’Norris Searcy and Jonathan Smith, to name a few (Tar Heels).

Man Wearing Duke Cap Attacks Maryland Woman

Montgomery County Police are investigating an assault and attempted kidnapping near Wheaton Claridge Park over the weekend.

Investigators say on Saturday night just after 7 p.m., a woman boarded a Metrobus at Connecticut Avenue and Viers Mill Road, but she did not realize she was being followed.

She got off the bus at Viers Mill Road and Claridge Road and started walking. So did the suspect. (If you look closely at the police sketch, you can’t help but notice that the alleged assailant is wearing a Duke baseball cap….as Fridge would say: It is what it is.)

"She was walking down Claridge Road near the Wheaton Claridge Park, the suspect approached her from behind, grabbed her and started to drag her into woods there by the park,” said Friz.

But before the suspect could continue with his attack, an innocent bystander walking nearby intervened.

The victim called police. The Good Samaritan (rumored to have been wearing a North Carolina cap) left the scene.

Local Man To Coach Indiana

Doug Jocz, a well-known local entrepreneur, tippy-toed golfer and American Airlines pilot, has mysteriously been tabbed to lead the Indiana Hoosiers football team…And all this time we thought he was a hockey guy.

What? It’s not Jocz…It’s just a guy that looks like Jocz. Oh…this guy’s name is Kevin Wilson.

OK, former UNC player and current Oklahoma offensive coordinator, Kevin Wilson will be the new head coach at Indiana, according to ESPN and various news outlets in Oklahoma and Indiana.

The 49-year-old Maiden, N.C. native (and Doug Jocz look-a-like) was a lineman and linebacker during the early ‘80s under Dick Crum. He began as a walk-on after a standout prep career at Fred T. Foard High.

Previously, Wilson worked on the staffs at Miami of Ohio, Northwestern, N.C. A&T and Winston-Salem State.

The Hoosiers fired former coach Bill Lynch after his team finished 5-7 overall and 1-7 in the Big Ten. Lynch had 19-30 overall, 6-26 Big Ten records in four seasons.

Wilson joined the Oklahoma staff in 2002 as the offensive line coach. He was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2006.

Pictures of the Day

LOOK, MOM, I’M FLYIN’! Kevin Prince Boateng of AC Milan celebrates scoring the first goal during the Serie A match between Milan and Brescia at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 4, 2010 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images Europe)
IT MUST BE IN THE WATER. Nothing says ugly unis like the state of Oregon and last Saturday both Oregon and Oregon State stepped up to the ugly uni plate. One word: HOMERUN! OSU went with the throwbacks and who knows what the Ducks were thinking this time. LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks runs the ball against Suaesi Tuimanei #28 of the Oregon State Beavers during the 114th Civil War on December 4, 2010 at the Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images North America)

SNACK ME, BOWL ME, BCS ME! Puddles the mascot of the Oregon Ducks eats Tostitios corn chips after the 37-20 victory over the Oregon State Beavers clinched a spot in the Tostitos BCS National Championship game during the 114th Civil War on December 4, 2010 at the Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images North America)

MASCOT MADNESS. Why do international competitions always have some ridiculous mascots? Here the latest bunch of wonky mascots wait for the start of the 2nd Asian Beach Games Muscat 2010 Torch Relay between Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex (Bausher) and The Countdown Clock (Ministries District) on December 6, 2010 in Muscat, Oman. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Monday, December 6, 2010


"If 'ifs and buts' were 'candy and nuts,' what a lovely Christmas we'd have."

Don Meredith, one of the most recognizable figures of the early Dallas Cowboys and an original member of ABC’s “Monday Night Football” broadcast team, died yesterday. He was 72.

Meredith’s wife, Susan, told The Associated Press on Monday her husband died in Santa Fe after suffering a brain hemorrhage and lapsing into a coma.

Meredith played for the Cowboys from 1960-1968, becoming the starting quarterback in 1965. While he never led the Cowboys to the Super Bowl, Meredith was one of the franchise’s first stars.

Over his nine-year career, Meredith threw for 17,199 yards and 111 touchdowns. He retired unexpectedly before the 1969 season.

Meredith, Howard Cossell and Frank Gifford
Just two years after retiring from football, Meredith joined Keith Jackson(notes) and Howard Cosell in the broadcast booth as part of the “Monday Night Football” crew.

He quickly became one of the most popular broadcasters in sports because of his folksy sayings and country humor.

Meredith’s signature call was singing the famous Willie Nelson song “Turn Out the Lights” when it appeared a game’s outcome had been determined.

Meredith left ABC after the 1973 season for a three-year stint at NBC. He returned to the “MNF” crew in 1977 before retiring in 1984, one year after Cosell left the team.

Before a generation knew Meredith for his colorful broadcasting career, he was one of the most recognizable figures of the early Dallas Cowboys teams.

“Dandy Don”, as he was affectionately known, shared time under center with Eddie LeBaron before winning the starting job in 1965.

Meredith led the Cowboys to three straight division titles and to consecutive NFL Championship games in 1966 and 1967. Dallas lost both games though to eventual Super Bowl winners Green Bay. In 1966, Meredith guided the Cowboys to their first-ever winning season (10-3-1). He was named NFL Player of the Year after throwing a career-high 24 touchdown passes and 2,805 yards.

Although Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman made the Cowboys’ quarterback job synonymous with greatness, both credit Meredith for launching that tradition.

To read more, click here.

Nine ACC Teams Going Bowling

Led by the 2010 ACC Virginia Tech Hokies, who will represent the league at this year’s Discover Orange Bowl, the league placed nine of its teams in postseason bowl games, it was announced Sunday. Only Maryland, who is headed to the Military Bowl in sunny Washington, DC on December 29th has a legitimate complaint about the draw.  Unless, of course, you are Boston College who got a 12-1 Nevada team which will surely be aggravated over their placement in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on January 9th!

Since 2005, the ACC has seen 50 of its teams go to post season bowl games. In that time only the Southeastern Conference (51) has had more. This year’s pairings also extended consecutive bowl streaks for ACC teams who have four of the nation’s seven longest bowl game streaks, led by Florida State which has the nation’s longest current bowl streak. The Seminoles are making their 29th consecutive bowl trip in a streak that began with the 1982 Gator Bowl game.

The Seminoles are joined by Virginia Tech, which will enjoy its 18th consecutive bowl trip--the nation’s third longest skein; Georgia Tech, which is making it 14th straight bowl appearance, tied for the nation’s fifth longest streak and Boston College, which will be making its 12th consecutive bowl excursion, which is tied for the nation’s seventh longest streak.

Dec. 27 Avocare V100 Independence Bowl GEORGIA TECH (6-6) vs. Airforce (8-4) ESPN2

Dec. 28 Champs Sports Bowl N.C. STATE (8-4) vs. #22 West Virginia (9-3) ESPN

Dec. 29 Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman MARYLAND (8-4) vs. East Carolina (6-6) ESPN

Dec. 30 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl NORTH CAROLINA (7-5) vs. Tennessee (6-6) ESPN

Dec. 31 Meineke Car Care Bowl CLEMSON (6-6) vs. South Florida ( 7-5) ESPN

Dec. 31 Hyundai Sun Bowl MIAMI (7-5) vs. Notre Dame ( 7-5) CBS

Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl #23 FLORIDA STATE (9-3) vs. #19 South Carolina (9-4) ESPN

Jan. 3 Discover Orange Bowl #12 VIRGINIA TECH ( 11-2) vs. #4 Stanford (11-1) ESPN

Jan. 9 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl BOSTON COLLEGE (7-5) vs. #13 Nevada (12-1) ESPN

Cavaliers Alone in First Place

ACC Sunday Hoops

Mike Scott
VIRGINIA 57, VIRGINIA TECH 54 –Duke, smook, the Virginia Cavaliers are atop the ACC basketball standings with a perfect 1-0 record after defeating rival Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on Sunday.

Mike Scott scored 21 points and Assane Sene made two big baskets in the final minutes Sunday nigh. The Wahoos (5-3), coming off a victory at No. 15 Minnesota in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, led throughout in beating Virginia Tech for the second time in seven meetings.

The Hokies (4-4) lost their third straight despite 26 points from Malcolm Delaney.

Sene scored only four points, but scored inside with 3:47 to go, giving Virginia a 51-46 lead, and then again with 1:18 to play, after the Hokies had closed to within 51-49.

Victor Davila's basket made it 53-51 with 19.4 seconds left, but Jeff Allen was called for an intentional foul on a breakaway for Scott, and he made both free throws. Virginia also got the ball, and Mustapha Farrakhan's two free throws with 16 seconds to play made it 57-51.

FORIDA STATE 60, Hartford (Hawks, 4,842 students, West Hartford, CT) 38 – Derwin Kitchen and Bernard James each had double doubles as Florida State overcame a cold-shooting first half to defeat Hartford Sunday night and snap a two-game losing streak.

James had 11 points and 10 rebounds while Kitchen, a 6-3 guard, scored 10 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

South Carolina (Gamecocks, 25,527 students, Columbia, SC) 64, CLEMSON 60 – Bruce Ellington scored 14 points, including a critical 3-pointer in the final minute as South Carolina broke a six-game losing streak to rival Clemson (5-3) on Sunday.

The Gamecocks (6-1) led 58-55 when Ellington, a freshman, dribbled away much of the 35 second clock before striking for a 3 from the left side of the arc.

Gary Williams and Juan Fernandez
Temple (Owls, 26,618 students, Philadelphia, PA) 64, MARYLAND 60 – Lavoy Allen hit a crucial three-point play and Temple escaped with a victory over Maryland in Sunday's BB&T Classic, despite yielding a 15-point lead.

Allen finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, Ramone Moore had 16 points and Juan Fernandez had 14 for the Owls (5-2), who won their second straight.

Jordan Williams had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Terrapins (6-3) for his seventh double-double this season. Terrell Stoglin scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half.

Harrison Barnes Q&A on Yahoo!

A native of Ames, Iowa, Harrison Barnes arrived in Chapel Hill during the summer as the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft and, more important, the player who was going to change the fortunes of a North Carolina squad that missed last season’s NCAAA tournament one year after winning the national title.

To say his future role with his team was "overhyped" would be a bit of an understatement.

Things haven’t gone very well for Barnes thus far and when compared to Duke's Diaper Dandy Kyrie Irving, Barnes is simply struggling.

Although the Tar Heels pulled out an important win over No. 10 Kentucky on Saturday, questions about the team still linger following a November in which North Carolina lost to Minnesota, Vanderbilt and Illinois causing early NCAA tourney anxiety. (OK, "really" early)

Barnes scored a combined 25 points in those three games and was just 6-of-33 from the field. At one point the criticism of Barnes became so intense that North Carolina coach Roy Williams felt the need to defend his star freshman. Williams said the offseason hype surrounding an 18-year-old who had never played a college game was unfair and “sick.”

To read the Q&A, click here.

Pictures of the Day

 RETRO. The Hokies broke out the VPI retro unis yesterday in their ACC opener against Virginia. (Photo courtesy of

OZ? Nope, Dubai. Maria Verchenova of Russia tees off at the 8th hole during practice for the 2010 Dubai Ladies Masters on the Majilis Course at The Emirates Golf Club on December 6, 2010 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
$126 MILLION MAN. Jayson Werth and the Washington Nationals got an early jump on baseball’s winter meetings when they announced a $126 million seven year contract to bring the All-Star right fielder to Washington. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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