Tag Archive | "LSU"

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Terps C Len Named ACC Rookie of the Week

Posted on 09 January 2012 by WNST Staff

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Virginia’s Mike Scott has been named ACC Player of the Week and Maryland’s Alex Len was selected ACC Rookie of the Week.

In earning Player of the Week honors for the third time in four weeks, Scott averaged 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in leading the 21st-ranked Cavaliers to wins at LSU and home against Miami. The Chesapeake, Va., senior was 14-for-29 (48.3 percent) from the field in the two games and made seven of his nine free throw attempts (77.8 percent). Scott had 12 points and nine rebounds in Monday’s 57-52 win at LSU, snapping the Tigers’ seven-game winning streak. In Saturday’s 52-51 win over Miami, Scott had 23 points and eight rebounds.

Len averaged 13.5 points and 10.0 rebounds in two games as Maryland split two games.  The Antratsit, Ukraine, native had a double-double in his first career ACC game, with 12 points and 11 rebounds and two blocked shots in a 79-74 loss at NC State. Earlier in the week, Len had 15 points and nine rebounds, going 5-for-5 from the floor, in a 70-62 win over Cornell on Tuesday. In his four games this season, Len is shooting 76.9 from the floor (20-for-26), while averaging 13.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per game.

ACC

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It’s Slow Your Roll Monday on the MSB…Join Us 10-2

Posted on 09 January 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

Here’s what’s happening today on the MobTown Sports Beat from 10am-2pm here on WNST.net. I hope you’ll join us and add your thoughts too by phone at 410-481-1570, by email at thyrl@wnst.net or on Twitter at @Thyrl or @WNST.

 

On a side note, if you’re not following WNST on Twitter then you’re missing out on Baltimore’s best and fastest local sports insight. We’re pushing to get to 10,000 followers and are almost there. If you’re on Twitter and not following WNST you’re not as dialed in as you think you are. And if you’re following WNST and haven’t told your friends and followers to do it too then just what kind of a friend or leader are you being?

 

 

We’ve got some great guests lined up and maybe a few more who’ll surprise us.

 

We’ll talk with Paul Kuharsky who covers the AFC South for ESPN about the Texans and this week’s match-up at 10:30

 

Saints OT and former Towson Tiger Jermon Bushrod will join us at 11:00.

 

Eric Edholm from Pro Football Weekly will join me at 11:30 to talk about the NFL weekend and what’s next.

 

Spencer Hall from Everyday Should Be Saturday will join me to pre-cap the National Title Game at 12:00.

 

Luke Jones will join me for a Ravens Report at 12:30 or when the team’s schedule allows.

 

 

Nickel and a Nail

 

Of course I’m asking for your 2 cents and since I’ve got 4 hours in front of a microphone on tap I’ll offer 5 cents of my own, and a jab for someone who deserves it. Today we’ll talk about:

 

 

1 – Ravens and Texans

 

Of course we’re looking ahead at this weekend’s playoff game and what the Ravens can expect from the TJ Yates led Texans.

 

 

2 – Wildcard Weekend…Wish Come True

 

Maybe the weekend’s events didn’t quite put the wild in wildcard weekend; still there were some pretty interesting and entertaining games, which set the stage for some fun match-ups ahead.

 

 

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 03 January 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Boxing-ShoBox Luis Ramos Jr. vs. Raymundo Beltran (Friday 11pm from Indio, CA live on Showtime), Friday Night Fights-Dyah Davis vs. Alfonso Lopez (Friday 9pm from Key West, FL live on ESPN2); Soccer: MISL Syracuse Silver Knights @ Baltimore Blast (Friday 7:35pm 1st Mariner Arena), Rochester Lancers @ Baltimore Blast (Saturday 7:35pm 1st Mariner Arena); Women’s College Basketball: Georgia Tech @ Maryland (Friday 8:30pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Maryland @ North Carolina (Sunday 1pm from Chapel Hill, NC live on Comcast SportsNet)

10. Badfish (Friday 7pm Rams Head Live), Legwarmers (Saturday 7pm Rams Head Live); Pat McGee Band (Friday 7:30pm Birchmere); Carbon Leaf (Friday 7:30pm Saturday 8pm The Barns at Wolf Trap); Johnny Winter (Saturday 8pm Sunday 7pm Rams Head on Stage)

When I heard Badfish was coming to town, I started wondering what my favorite Sublime song of all time was. I’ll probably be killed for it, but how can it not be this?

The Legwarmers are one of those tremendous 80′s cover bands that if you go see you’re guaranteed to have a good time. They do a ton of songs, but none are as good as this song…

I freaking LOVE Pat McGee Band. Here’s Pat doing Crosby Stills  &Nash (although you may be more familiar with Jimmy Buffett’s take)…

I’ve been talking an awful lot about Carbon Leaf this week. Have you taken the hint?

9. Kevin Nealon (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv)

The good news is that if you get your wires crossed at a Kevin Nealon show, he has some experience getting them uncrossed…

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Let’s Back Our Way Into the 15-7-0

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Let’s Back Our Way Into the 15-7-0

Posted on 02 January 2012 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. Matt Flynn may have just earned himself a boatload of money Sunday.

Perhaps Flynn’s success had much more to do with the Green Bay Packers’ scheme & wide receivers and even the Detroit Lions’ less than exceptional defense than the former LSU quarterback himself. But as he enters free agency, Flynn may have just made himself a viable option for teams that won’t enter 2012 with Andrew Luck on their roster.

Of course, 80 of his 480 yards and one of his five touchdowns came on this play to Ryan Grant. I’m pretty sure Ryan Chell could have made this throw…

The Packers can sit back and wait to find out who they’ll play in the divisional round while the Lions get to visit the Superdome next weekend. But I’d say it’s pretty much a toss-up as to who has the more difficult road ahead.

In an unrelated story, the Packers went with Pat Lee as their kick returner for the New Year’s Day game. He did something stupid…

And one more-here’s Packers LB Brad Jones handling a fan who ran out onto Lambeau Field…

2. The New England Patriots scored 49 unanswered points Sunday. I’m not really sure how to follow that up.

Much like the Fins a week earlier, the Buffalo Bills worked Charm City into a lather with hopes of ruining the Pats’ run to the Number 1 seed. Also much like the Fins, the Bills for some reason must have thought New England would quit when they fell behind early. But after spotting the Bills 21 points, the Patriots would go on to score the next 49.

But they can’t possibly win the AFC of course because their defense isn’t good enough.

Right.

You’ll see a lot of funny things in 2012. I’ll go ahead and guess that there won’t be many funnier than this Drayton Florence flop…

Also of note in this game was Bills WR Stevie Johnson, who exposed a “Happy New Year” message on an undershirt after scoring a touchdown…

It’s a shame Tom Brady didn’t have a “Happy 28 Point Beatdown” undershirt to respond with. For a semi-decent receiver, Johnson is about a full-fledged clown.

3. I still have no idea why he’s headed to Arkansas State, but Gus Malzahn made the Chick-Fil-A Bowl a lot of fun to watch.

Before departing his Offensive Coordinator gig at Auburn, Malzahn pulled out a bunch of tricks (including a Statue of Liberty Play of all things) to help beat Virginia in the Georgia Dome…

Elsewhere on New Year’s Eve Levi LaVallee and Robbie Maddison were doing extreme sport jumping of some sort on ESPN that may or may not have been amazing. None of us really know and none of us really bothered to watch. But technically it happened!

How did I spend my NYE you ask? At a place I can’t name because they aren’t a sponsor. They ARE however the home of Sweet Potato Tots and the “Billy Goat’s Gruff”…

It was a 14 out of 10.

4. There’s something about David Akers throwing a touchdown that I really enjoy.

I’d show you video of the play, but it’s not available on YouTube. Instead, those of you who REALLY wanna see it can check it out here and the rest of you can look at this picture of Elsa Hosk. We’ll all meet back at the local saloon.

The San Francisco 49ers clinched the #2 seed in the NFC thanks to their win over the St. Louis Rams. In Baltimore, we just want to say Thank You again. We can’t really say it enough.

The Rams will fire Steve Spagnuolo according to reports. Also according to reports, it will be cold this week.

5. Credit Gary Kubiak for not kicking an extra point Sunday. Now it’s time to go win a Wild Card playoff game.

The Houston Texans didn’t need to beat the Tennessee Titans Sunday for any tangible reason. They didn’t, thanks to Kubiak’s decision to go for 2 late (a decision that backfired after a Joel Dreessen false start and a snap sailed over the head of QB Jake Delhomme-who replaced a banged up T.J. Yates). Let’s take a look at the video board…

Earlier in the game, Bryan Braman made an awesome play…

The Texans host the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round of the postseason. If they win, the Texans visit M&T Bank Stadium in the divisional round. I would think most of us would be pretty happy with that matchup, especially considering the Steelers could be another option.

6. Texas A&M’s Ryan Swope is probably the best receiver you didn’t talk about this season.

Here’s video of the Aggies’ win over Northwestern in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. You voted it “the video I’m least likely to watch this week” in an informal poll I just took…

Here was Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald’s reaction when he found out I was going to show the highlights of the game…

7. For as much as we laughed at them this season, the Philadelphia Eagles look capable of being dangerous in 2012.

Of course, that’s the only if Michael Vick stays healthy…and we all know that’s a significant “if.”

The highlight of the day in Philly happened well before Philly kicked the tar out of the Washington Redskins. It happened when Skins OC Kyle Shanahan tried to pump his team up before the game. It was HILARIOUS…

Kyle Shanahan makes Cam Cameron look popular.

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torrey

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MobTown Sports Beat Thursday Agenda

Posted on 29 December 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

Here’s what’s on the agenda for Thursday’s edition of the MobTown Sports Beat. Check us out streaming here from 10am-2pm and chime in by phone (410-481-1570), by email (thyrl@wnst.net) or on Twitter ( @Thyrl or @WNST )  

 

Great Guests

Terps Color Analyst Chris Knoche will join me at 10:30 to talk about the arrival of Alex Len, the Terps win over Albany on Wednesday and what we might expect of them from here.

 

Luke Jones will join me at 12:30 to update this week in playoff preparation with a Ravens report.

 

Nick Minnix from KFFL.com will join me at 1:00 to put a wrap on another fantasy football season and maybe to look ahead at fantasy baseball season too.

 

…and you never know who else might drop in.

 

 

The Big Three Questions

 

It’s the Miami Heat of radio segments as not only will it be tough to expect it to live up to the hype but also because you’ll never get a 4th out of me (I might be running out of time to tell that joke).

 

 

Question #1: Is Baltimore a Wizards town…or an NBA town at all?

 

Question #2: Can Turgeon’s Terps make the tourney…or finish in the top half of the ACC?

 

Question #3: Is it fair to name Alabama the National Champion if they narrowly beat LSU? Does anyone care?

 

 

Nickel and a Nail

 

Five timely topics of conversation for the day and a jab for someone who deserves it.

 

Ravens Playoff Push Begins

 

Week 17 and home field and a bye in the playoffs are on the line against an up and coming Cincinnati team that may be knocking on the playoff door a year ahead of schedule. Of course we’re talking Ravens football today.

 

 

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Unlike Everyone Else, The 15-7-0 Remains Undefeated

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Unlike Everyone Else, The 15-7-0 Remains Undefeated

Posted on 19 December 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. I just looked away for a second. How many more touchdowns did Drew Brees throw for while I was gone?

It was five during the New Orleans Saints’ win over the Minnesota Vikings and it was clinical. Have a look…

Two of them went to wide receiver Lance Moore, who REALLY wants to be a part of next season’s “Dancing With The Stars”…

I like it. I also like Darren Sproles. In this country we enjoy the success of very small people in football and very large people in football. I did a study about that last night. I asked myself.

By the way, Brees’ performance came a week after doing Sesame Street. Can we now send Joe Flacco there this week?

As far as the Vikes go, it will all be over in about two weeks. That’s all I can say.

2. The Seattle Seahawks have the look of a “team you don’t want to face in January.

The good news (for NFC teams) is that it would take a miracle for them to get in, even after their win over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field Sunday. They’re two games out of both Wild Card spots with just two games to go.

Bears WR Johnny Knox suffered a horrific injury in the loss that I’ll only post again because I know he’s okay…

Holy hell.

Marshawn Lynch ran for two TD’s. Could’ve used a second TD last week when I was still alive in my fantasy football playoffs, but that’s okay pal. You probably didn’t know.

Next year I’ll send you a letter in advance.

3. I’m sure someone won the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl but I was much too busy staring at the awesome logo to notice.

When the University of Maryland was sentenced accepted to Boise a few years ago they played in something known as the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl. Other than Da’Rel Scott absolutely going off in a win over Colin Kaepernick and Nevada, it was rather lame.

And while “Famous Idaho Potato Bowl” might sound a bit goofier than “Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl”, only one bowl game includes chives in the logo…

4. Pat Angerer doesn’t just have a great name, he’s also a hell of a football player.

12 tackles and then both an interception and a forced fumble in the 4th quarter for the LB as the Indianapolis Colts FINALLY got in the win column against the Tennessee Titans. But the highlight of the day belonged to RB Donald Brown for THIS TD run…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQzRaONUXLo

Dan Orlovsky is absolutely NOT a good quarterback, but I have no reason to think he isn’t a good guy. I guess for that reason I’m happy he didn’t have go winless again. Of course his success was part of the reason Randy Edsall was able to get to College Park so maybe I should immediately take that back.

5. With Todd Haley gone, I feel as though I can actually be happy for the Kansas City Chiefs with their win over the Green Bay Packers.

Romeo Crennel may have clinched the permanent KC job as Tamba Hali crushed Aaron Rodgers to help the Chiefs hand the Packers their first loss in A YEAR. It was enough to make the Chiefs get all Gatorade bath-ey…

…the Packers looked vulnerable, but they also played with a VERY banged up O-Line. Unlike here in Charm City, perhaps this team could actually lose a loss before making a playoff run.

6. The Maryland Terrapins actually got some good news Friday. I hesitate in writing this because I’m afraid bad news will come before this gets posted.

I’m not even referring to the news that OC Gary Crowton had been “reassigned” within the athletic department. I’m taking about the fact that Kenny Tate and others were given an extra year of eligibility.

Speaking of the Terps, I saw something amazing Saturday. You knew we’d get to the Tim Tebow sketch on Saturday Night Live eventually, but I’m going to go to it here. Mostly because I noticed that former Terp Lance Ball had his name in the background. How freaking awesome is that?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ul2dhNaQgxM

Good for Lance.

7. Todd Bowles will forever be able to describe himself as a winning National Football League head coach.

Which is nice, because I’m not certain Bowles is going to be on any short lists to get gigs in the future. That being said, his Miami Dolphins beat the Buffalo Bills Sunday so he’ll always have that going for him.

Reggie Bush ran for over 200 yards in the Phins’ win, but was penalized for doing what ANYONE ELSE WOULD HAVE DONE after scoring a TD when it was snowing…

200 yards for Reggie Bush. Do we live in some sort of alternate universe???

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Maryland Moves OC Crowton To Administrative Role

Posted on 16 December 2011 by WNST Staff

Crowton Will Not Return in 2012

Maryland’s offensive coordinator will be moved to an administrative role in the department

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Offensive coordinator Gary Crowton will not return to the Maryland football staff in 2012, head coach Randy Edsall announced Friday.

Crowton, who was hired in January, has agreed to transition into a non-coaching administrative role within the athletics department effective immediately. The terms of the new position can be for up to three months at a maximum salary of $125,000.

“We thank Gary for his service and wish him well in this new role and beyond,” Edsall said.

Crowton came to Maryland from LSU, where he served as offensive coordinator for four seasons (2007-10).

He was also an offensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears (1999-00) and the University of Oregon (2005-06).

Crowton was a head coach at Louisiana Tech (1996-98) and BYU (2001-04).

– Terps –

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Trip To LSU Highlights 2012 Towson Football Schedule

Posted on 15 December 2011 by WNST Staff

TOWSON, Md. – Coming off a thrilling 2011 season in which they were the most-improved team in NCAA Division I football and won their first Colonial Athletic Association championship, Coach Rob Ambrose and the Tiger football team will play a challenging 11-game schedule next season.

Highlighting the Tigers’ non-conference schedule are visits to Kent State and Louisiana State, a pair of NCAA FBS programs. Towson has played one NCAA FBS opponent in the last four seasons, including Navy (2008), Northwestern (2009), Indiana (2010) and Maryland (2011). But, this will be the first time that Towson has played two in the same season.

The Tigers will be playing four of their five home games under the lights with 7 p.m. kickoffs. The home finale on Nov. 10 against Rhode Island will be played at 3:30 p.m.

Towson opens its 2012 season by facing Kent State University at Dix Stadium in Kent, Ohio on Saturday, Sept. 1. A member of the Mid-American Conference, Kent State came on strong at the end of the 2011 season, winning four of its last five games to finish the season with a 5-7 overall record. Kent State finished third in the MAC’s Eastern Division with a 4-4 record.

Three weeks after opening their season at Kent State, the Tigers will travel to Baton Rouge, La. to take on perennial national power Louisiana State in legendary Tiger Stadium. When the Towson Tigers face LSU on Sept. 29, LSU could be the defending BCS national champion. Currently ranked No. 1 in the nation, LSU is 13-0 and plays Alabama for the national title on Jan. 9 in New Orleans.

Towson, which averaged 8,949 fans per home game in 2011, opens its home schedule on Saturday, Sept. 15 by hosting William and Mary in its CAA opener at 7 p.m. at Johnny Unitas® Stadium. A week later, on Saturday, Sept. 22, the Tigers entertain St. Francis (Pa.) in a non-conference home game.

After the Tigers’ trip to LSU on Sept. 29, they return to CAA action when they visit James Madison University on Oct. 6. The Tigers and the Dukes were two of the five CAA teams that went to the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2011. On Oct. 13, the Tigers host Maine in another CAA contest. Maine was the CAA runner-up to Towson in 2011.

On Oct. 20, the Tigers host Old Dominion in another 7 p.m. start at Unitas Stadium.

After the game against ODU, Towson will be on the road for the next two weeks, going to Villanova on Oct. 27 and then to regional rival Delaware on Nov. 3.

The Tigers, who will be seeking their second straight NCAA FCS Playoff berth, close out their home schedule on Nov. 10 when they host Rhode Island at 3:30 p.m. The regular season comes to an end on Nov. 17 when the Tigers visit New Hampshire.

The NCAA FCS playoffs start on Nov. 24.

Fans that renew or place a $25 deposit for new season tickets before Dec. 31, 2011 will be able to lock in 2011 season ticket prices for the 2012 season. Tickets can be ordered online at www.TowsonTigers.com or by calling the Athletics Ticket Office at 1-855-TU-TIGER.

The Tigers have 44 letter winners returning next season from a team that was ranked No. 8 in the nation in the final FCS poll. Led by a pair of all-CAA first-team selections, defensive end Frank Beltre (left) and safety Jordan Dangerfield, the Tigers have nine starters returning on defense.

Offensively, Towson has eight returning starters, including Terrance West, a first-team all-CAA running back who was named as the CAA’s Offensive Rookie of the Year. Left tackle Eric Pike, a third-team all-CAA selection, is one of four returning starters on the offensive line. 

 

A finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award as the FCS Coach of the Year and the CAA Coach of the Year, Ambrose is returning for his fourth season as the Tigers’ coach. Honored as the AFCA Region 1 Coach of the Year, he is also a finalist for the AFCA Coach of the Year award.

 

2012 TOWSON UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

 

Sat. Sept.  1 at Kent State Dix Stadium, Kent, Ohio TBA
Sat. Sept. 15 WILLIAM & MARY * Unitas Stadium 7 p.m.
Sat. Sept. 22 St. FRANCIS (Pa.) Unitas Stadium 7 p.m.
Sat. Sept. 29 at Louisiana State Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La. TBA
Sat. Oct.  6 at James Madison * Bridgeforth Stadium, Harrisonburg, Va. TBA
Sat. Oct. 13 MAINE * Unitas Stadium 7 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 20 OLD DOMINION * Unitas Stadium 7 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 27 at Villanova * Villanova Stadium, Villanova, Pa. TBA
Sat. Nov.  3 at Delaware * Tubby Raymond Stadium, Newark, Del. TBA
Sat. Nov. 10 RHODE ISLAND * Unitas Stadium 3:30 p.m.
Sat. Nov. 17 at New Hampshire * Cowell Stadium, Durham, N.H. TBA
Sat. Nov. 24 NCAA FCS Playoffs – 1st Round TBA TBA
Sat. Dec.  1 NCAA FCS Playoffs – 2nd Round TBA TBA
Fri.-Sat. Dec. 7-8 NCAA FCS Playoffs – Quarterfinals TBA TBA
Fri.-Sat. Dec. 14-15 NCAA FCS Playoffs – Semifinals TBA TBA
Sat. Jan.  5 NCAA FCS Championship Game Pizza Hut Stadium, Frisco, Tex. TBA 

 

* Colonial Athletic Association games

 


 

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Navy Battles Army Saturday at FedEx Field

Posted on 09 December 2011 by WNST Staff

2011 Navy Football Game Specifics
Game 12 Army (3-8) vs. Navy (4-7) presented by USAA
Date and Kickoff Dec. 10, 2011 at 2:30 pm ET
Location Landover, Md. | FedExField (82,000)
Television CBS
TV Talent Verne Lundquist (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analyst), Tracy Wolfson (sideline)
Army-Navy Rivalry Click here for more information

Setting the Stage
• Army and Navy will meet for the 112th time and for the first time inside the Capital Beltway when they square off on Saturday, Dec. 10 at FedExField (82,000) in the annual Army-Navy Game presented by USAA.  Kickoff is set for 2:40 pm (ET).
• CBS Sports will broadcast the game around the world on the American Forces Network with Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and Tracy Wolfson calling the action.
• CBS Radio/Westwood One will also broadcast the game around the world on American Forces Network with John Tautges on the play-by-play and Eddie George handling the color commentary.
• CBS Sports Network will provide complete coverage surrounding CBS Sports’ broadcast of The Army-Navy Game presented by USAA. The Network will air two special editions of INSIDE COLLEGE FOOTBALL on Saturday prior to the game, INSIDE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: ARMY-NAVY MARCH-ON SPECIAL (11:00 am-12:30 pm, ET) and INSIDE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: ARMY-NAVY TAILGATE (1:00–2:00 pm, ET).  Hosts Adam Zucker and Molly Qerim will be joined at FedExField by analysts Randy Cross and Brian Jones, as well as special guests from the academies.
• The MARCH-ON SPECIAL features the procession of the Brigade of Midshipmen and Corps of Cadets as they march onto FedExField, while the ARMY-NAVY TAILGATE previews the game with in-depth news and analysis.
• PRELUDE: THE MAKING OF A GAME OF HONOR, a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the SHOWTIME documentary A GAME OF HONOR, airs at 12:30 pm, ET on Saturday.

Pregame
• Army’s Corps of Cadets will march-on at 11:24 am, followed by Navy’s Brigade of Midshipmen at 12:04 pm.
• The Navy Leap Frogs and the Army Golden Knights will jump at 2:19 pm.
• Navy’s fly-by will take place at 2:36 pm, followed by Army’s at 2:37 pm.  Navy’s fly-by will feature four F-18s from Naval Air Station in Oceana, Va.  Army’s fly-by will be four Apache helicopters from the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.

Army-Navy Storylines
• Navy enters the game having won 11 of the last 12 contests against the Black Knights, including each of the last nine. The nine-consecutive wins marks the longest streak in series history by either team.
• The Mids have won nine in a row in dominant fashion, outscoring the Black Knights, 322-91 (35.8-10.1).  The closest game was in 2006 when Navy defeated Army, 26-14, in Philadelphia.  The Mids have won the last two games by 14 points.
•    A win on Saturday would make Ken Niumatalolo just the fourth coach in school history to start his career 4-0 against Army. Paul Johnson went 6-0 against West Point (2002-07), Wayne Hardin won his first-five games (1959-63) against Army and George Welsh won his first-four contests (1973-76).
• Five of Navy’s seven losses this year have come by a combined total of 11 points. The Mids are just 1-5 in games decided by eight points or less. The five losses in close games are tied for the third most in the country.
•    Four of Navy’s 2011 opponents are either ranked (South Carolina and Southern Miss) or receiving votes (Notre Dame and Rutgers) in the top 25 polls.
•    The Mids have played the nations’ 29th-toughest schedule based on the cumulative records of their opponents to date (58-46, does not include Delaware or Army).
•    Eight of Navy’s 12 opponents have winning records and seven are bowl eligible.  Two of Navy’s four opponents that are not bowl eligible, East Carolina and San Jose State, finished with a 5-7 record.
• Navy is No. 1 in the country in fewest penalties per game (2.4) and penalty yards per game (20.9).  Army is tied for third in the country in fewest penalties (4.0).
• Navy has missed or fumbled the snap on at least one kick (PAT or field goal) in eight of its 11 games this year, including five-straight contests in the month of October.
•    Navy is just 16-15 (.516) away from the friendly confines of Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium under Niumatalolo, including a 2-4 (.333) mark this year.
• The Mids are 7-9 (.438) under Niumatalolo with more than one week to prepare, but 3-0 (1.000) against Army.
• Navy is 1-5 (.167) in games decided by eight points or less this year and 13-13 (.500) over the last four years.
• In Navy’s four wins this year, it has outscored the opposition 91-17 in the first half (36-0 in the first quarter, 55-17 in the second quarter).
• In the Mids’ seven losses this year, they have been outscored, 152-66, in the first half (59-10 in the first quarter, 93-56 in the second quarter).
• Navy is 4-2 (.667) in 2011 and 26-4 (.867) over the last four years when scoring first.  The Mids are 0-5 in 2011 and 5-17 (.227) over the last four years when the opponents score first.
• The Mids are 4-0 this season when leading after the first quarter and 0-7 when tied or trailing after the first quarter.  Under Niumatalolo, the Mids are 20-3 (.870) when leading after the first quarter and 11-18 (.379) when trailing or tied after the first stanza.
• Navy is 4-3 (.571) when leading after three quarters.  Entering this season, the Mids were 22-0 under Niumatalolo when taking a lead into the fourth quarter.
• Navy has made 43 trips inside the red zone in its 11 games this season, scoring 33 times (.767), including 27 touchdowns (.628).  The Mids are tied for 86th in the country in red zone offense  (Army is also tied for 86th).
• Navy has played five games this year where it has rushed for less than 300 yards and lost all five.  It is 4-2 (.667) when rushing for more than 300 yards.
• An opposing running back has rushed for over 100 yards in a game against the Mids in eight of 11 contests this year.  In the previous three years, Navy surrendered only nine 100-yard rushing games to opposing running backs.
• Senior defensive end Jabaree Tuani has produced 42-career tackles for a loss, which is tied with David Mahoney (2003-06) for the second most in school history.  He is just two behind record-holder Andy Person (1992-95).
• Tuani has recorded 16 sacks over his four-year career, which is tied with Tyler Tidwell (2004-06) for third on the Mids’ career list.

Close Games In The Army-Navy Series
• 53 of the 111 Army-Navy games (.477) have been decided by eight points or less.  Army has won 24 of those 53, while Navy has scored 22 victories and seven have ended in a tie.
• The last time an Army-Navy game was decided by eight points or less was in 2000 when the Mids defeated the Black Knights, 30-28.

Scouting Army
• Army is 3-8 on the year with victories over Northwestern (21-14), Tulane (45-6) and Fordham (55-0).
• The Black Knights have losses against Northern Illinois (49-26), San Diego State (23-20), Ball State (48-21), Miami of Ohio (35-28), Vanderbilt (44-21), Air Force (24-14), Rutgers (27-12) and Temple (42-14).
• Army comes to Landover with the nation’s top-ranked rushing offense (350.9 yds/gm).  The Black Knights last won the rushing title in 1998 (293.8).  Army’s average of 350.9 yards per game would be the most by a team since Nebraska in 1997 (392.6).
•    The Black Knights are 13th in the country in pass defense (178.1).

The Last Time … 
Navy 31, Army 17    Dec. 11, 2010 | Philadelphia, Pa.
• Senior safety Wyatt Middleton’s 98-yard fumble return for a touchdown with 1:03 remaining in the second quarter turned what was shaping up to be a close game into a rout as Navy rolled to its ninth win of the year and ninth-straight win over Army, 31-17, at a sold out (69,223) Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.  The 98-yard fumble return was the longest in school history and longest in an Army-Navy game.
• Navy had jumped out to a 17-0 lead as Joe Buckley nailed a 36-yard field goal and quarterback Ricky Dobbs threw touchdown passes of 77 yards to John Howell and 32 yards to Brandon Turner.  The touchdown pass to Howell was the longest pass play in series history.
• The Mids were in total control of the game midway through the second quarter until a pair of Dobbs turnovers gave Army life.
• Dobbs fumbled the ball on first down from his own 23 and it was recovered by Army’s Josh McNary.  Six plays later, Army quarterback Trent Steelman hit Malcolm Brown with a five-yard touchdown pass to cut the Navy lead to 17-7. It was Army’s first touchdown against the Midshipmen since the fourth quarter of the 2006 game.
• Three plays later, Dobbs gave the ball back to Army again as he was stripped by McNary and Stephen Anderson recovered the loose ball at the Army 48.
• The Black Knights methodically moved the ball down the field, taking it 49 yards in 11 plays.   On first and goal from the Navy three, Steelman tried to power his way into the end zone, but senior linebacker Tyler Simmons and senior outside linebacker Jerry Hauburger met Steelman at the two-yard line and Simmons’ knocked the ball from Steelman’s hands.  The ball popped up in the air and flew right to Middleton who raced 98 yards for the back-breaking touchdown.
• Army took the opening kickoff of the third quarter and drove 47 yards on 12 plays with Alex Carlton capping the drive with a 42-yard field goal to make the score 24-10.
• Navy put the game away with a 13-play, 87-yard, 9:03 scoring drive to start the fourth quarter with slot back Gee Gee Greene waltzing in from the 25 to make it 31-10.

Service Academy Dominance
• Navy has amassed a 74-40 (.649) overall record in the last nine years, while Air Force is 62-48 (.564) and Army is 30-77 (.280).

Dominant Era in Army-Navy History
• Navy’s 31-17 victory over Army was its ninth-consecutive win over the Black Knights, the longest streak in series history by either team.
• The Mids have won those nine in a row against Army in dominant fashion, outscoring the Black Knights, 322-91 (35.8-10.1).

Our Nation’s Future Leaders
• Navy’s 33 seniors received their service assignments on Nov. 30. Graduates of the Naval Academy serve a minimum of five years in the Navy or Marine Corps, while pilots serve eight years upon earning their wings.
•    25 seniors will be commissioned Ensigns in the United States Navy (11 Surface Warfare, five Naval Flight Officers, three Surface Warfare Nuclear,  two Intelligence, one Supply Corps, one Submarines, one Pilot and one Special Warfare), while eight will be commissioned 2nd Lieutenants in the Marine Corps (seven Marine Corps Ground and one Marine Corps Pilot)
• Graduation for the Class of 2012 is Tuesday, May 29.

Service Assignments For The Class of 2012
Player, Service Assignment
Brian Ackerman, Surface Warfare (Nuclear)
Bruce Andrews, Supply Corps
Ryan Basford, Surface Warfare
Thomas Batchelder, Surface Warfare
Brian Blick, Marine Corps Ground
Max Blue, Marine Corps Ground
Alex Boddiford, Surface Warfare
Hal Bowron, Surface Warfare
Brady DeMell, Surface Warfare
Delvin Diggs, Suface Warfare (Nuclear)
Neil Doogan, USMC Ground
Eric Douglass, Surface Warfare
John Dowd, Submarines
Zach Dryden, Surface Warfare
Doug Furman, Navy Pilot
Mason Graham, Marine Corps Ground
Hal Hunter, Intelligence
Caleb King, Naval Flight Officer
Jared Marks, Marine Corps Ground
John McCauley, Surface Warfare
Kwesi Mitchell, Naval Flight Officer
Gary Myers, Naval Flight Officer
Torri Preston, Marine Corps Ground
Kriss Proctor, Naval Flight Officer
Aaron Santiago, Surface Warfare (Nuclear)
Jarred Shannon, Surface Warfare
Eric Stein, Naval Flight Officer
Mike Stukel, Marine Corps Ground
David Sumrall, Intelligence
Jon Teague, Marine Corps Pilot
Alexander Teich, Special Warfare (SEAL)
Jabaree Tuani, Surface Warfare
David Wright, Surface Warfare

President At The Army-Navy Game
• With this year’s game being played in Washington, D.C., it is appropriate to look back at past Army-Navy games attended by the President of the United States.  It is expected that President Barack Obama will attend this year’s game.
• Eight different Presidents have attended the Army-Navy game a total of 18 times.  Harry S. Truman attended the most Army-Navy games, going to seven straight from 1945-1951.  Teddy Roosevelt was the first President to attend an Army-Navy game, as he attended the 1901 contest.
• Only once have both the President and Vice President attended the Army-Navy game.  In 1961, President John F. Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon Johnson were on hand in Philadelphia.
• Navy is 7-9-2 in games against Army in which the President attends and has won the last two.
• The last time the President attended the Army-Navy game, the Mids dealt Army a 34-0 loss in Philadelphia in 2008 with President George W. Bush looking on.

President Of The United States At The Army-Navy Game
Year    President    Result
1901    Theodore Roosevelt    Army, 11-5
1905    Theodore Roosevelt    Tie, 6-6
1913    Woodrow Wilson    Army, 22-9
1924    Calvin Coolidge    Army, 12-0
1945    Harry Truman    Army, 32-13
1946    Harry Truman    Army, 21-18
1947    Harry Truman    Army, 21-0
1948    Harry Truman    Tie, 21-21
1949    Harry Truman    Army, 38-0
1950    Harry Truman    Navy, 14-2
1951    Harry Truman    Navy, 42-7
1961    John Kennedy    Navy, 13-7
1962    John Kennedy    Navy, 34-14
1974    Gerald Ford    Navy, 19-0
1996    Bill Clinton    Army, 28-24
2001    George W. Bush    Army, 26-17
2004    George W. Bush    Navy, 42-13
2008    George W. Bush    Navy, 34-0

Future Army-Navy Sites Announced
• The city of Philadelphia has been synonymous with the Army-Navy football classic over the years, hosting 82 of the previous 111 service academy battles. Army and Navy will be building on that rich tradition in the years ahead with Philadelphia serving as the host of “America’s Game” for four of the next seven years at Lincoln Financial Field (2012, 2013, 2015, 2017).
•    It was also announced that for the first time in series history the game will be played on the doorstep of the nation’s capital as the 2011 Army-Navy game presented by USAA will be played at FedEx Field, while the 2014 and 2016 games will be played at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium.
•    The process for securing a long-term home for future Army-Navy football games officially began in August of 2008 with the service academies distributing a formal “Request for Proposal.”
•    The first Army-Navy game was played in 1890 at West Point and the second in Annapolis one year later. In 1899, Philadelphia’s Franklin Field became the game site. The “City of Brotherly Love” has dominated as host city for the Army-Navy game since that time. There have been 14 different venues that have played host to the event, four of those located in Philadelphia and two in Baltimore.
•    Municipal Stadium, renamed John F. Kennedy Stadium in 1964, has housed the game the most times – 41 in all – that included 35 straight games between 1945 and 1979. It was first played there in 1936.
•    Franklin Field ranks second on the list of Army-Navy game sites with its total of 18, followed by Veterans Stadium with 17 and the Polo Grounds in New York City with nine. “The Vet” first hosted the game in 1980 and did so through 2001 with all but five exceptions.
•    Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia has hosted the game seven times (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010).
•    Army has also battled Navy at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., in 1983; at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., in 1989, 1993, 1997 and 2002; and at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore in 2000 and 2007.
•    For the 16th-straight year, CBS Sports will televise the Army-Navy classic to a national and worldwide (via American Forces Network) audience on Dec. 10. The Army-Navy game will be the only major college football game played the second Saturday in December.

Showtime And CBS Sports Team Up To Produce All-Access Docu-Drama On Navy And Army Football
• SHOWTIME Sports and CBS Sports are teaming up for A Game Of Honor, a two-hour exclusive docu-drama revealing an unprecedented look at America’s two oldest military academies – The United States Military Academy and The United States Naval Academy. As the midshipmen and cadets prepare to serve their country and participate in a rivalry unmatched by any other in sports, the Army-Navy football game presented by USAA, SHOWTIME will capture an all-access look at their unique season-long journey. The in-depth docu-drama will be co-produced and promoted by SHOWTIME Sports and CBS Sports in conjunction with CBSSports.com and will premiere Dec. 21 on SHOWTIME, 10 days after this year’s Army-Navy game on CBS, Dec. 10.
•    SHOWTIME will have behind-the-scenes access to both academies and their respective football teams for six months leading up to the Army-Navy game, as well as during the game and immediately following. With so many stories to tell, SHOWTIME will air exclusive content across multiple CBS platforms including a special preview show about the making of the documentary on Wednesday, November 23 on SHOWTIME; with a network television premiere of the preview show on CBS Sports on Dec. 3. In addition, CBSSports.com will air an exclusive 10-episode weekly original web series beginning Oct. 17.
•    The docu-drama and web series will capture the personal stories of this unique group of men who are rivals on the football field and brothers in arms on the battlefield. As the young men at Army and Navy endure a much different athletic experience than other Division I football players, A Game of Honor will capture the dedication, discipline and determination demanded of the cadets and midshipmen who are members of these storied football programs. A Game of Honor reveals their unique journey from summer training to the demands of an elite classroom education to the weekly preparations for the football field, all while training to serve their country in a time of war. This rigorous passage culminates with the playing of the annual Army-Navy game, this year from the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C.
•    CBS Sports’ Creative Director, Pete Radovich, who also serves as coordinating producer for the Emmy-Award winning SHOWTIME series Inside the NFL, will serve as director of the series. Radovich will co-produce with CBS Sports Coordinating Producer Steve Karasik.
•    ”We are honored to broadcast the Army-Navy football game every year on CBS Sports and thrilled to team with SHOWTIME, CBSSports.com and our long-standing partners at the Naval and Military academies on ‘A Game of Honor,’” said Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports. “Using unparalleled access provided by the academies, this project allows us to go in-depth across multiple CBS platforms to tell inspiring, compelling and unique stories — both on and off the field — about the 2011 cadets and midshipmen.”
•    ”Teaming up with CBS on any production or project has always resulted in a big time and first class end result,” said Navy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk. “This venture could not be more well received by the Academy and the Athletic Department. The story to be told will be emotional, motivating, inspiring, and featured in a way that it will bring an even greater appreciation for some very special people who are some of our nation’s and intercollegiate athletics’ finest leaders.”

Navy Partners with Nike for Army-Navy Game Uniform
•    Before their fight songs ring throughout the stadiums and they storm the fields, nine of the top college football programs will lace their cleats and buckle their chin straps while donning uniquely designed, highly advanced Nike uniforms for at least one game during the 2011-12 season.
•    The fully integrated uniform system, which the University of Oregon debuted during the 2010 BCS National Championship Game, incorporates the latest in performance innovation and design from the world’s most renowned athletic outfitter.  The redesigned base layer facilitates the uniform’s overall innovation, delivering the ultimate in lightweight protection for maximum speed. Strategically placed seams, pads and cooling zones also help minimize distraction and optimize protective coverage.
•    The teams selected to sport the 2011 Nike Pro Combat system of dress uniforms include Army, Boise State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan State, Navy, Ohio State, Oregon, and Stanford.
•    While each school’s uniform delivers the same superior lightweight performance and protection, each will tell a different story through its design. Nike worked closely with each university to bring relevant elements of the school’s rich heritage into a distinguished, modern uniform design. The uniforms capture each team’s unique character.
•    ”The support and positive relationship that Navy athletics has enjoyed over the years with Nike is extraordinary.” Navy Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk said. “Being a part of this exciting initiative further illustrates the mutual respect that is so much a part of the way we present our product.  The Midshipmen are inspired by the technical innovations and appearance that Nike puts forth through the presentation of their equipment and apparel.  Nike continues to motivate all of our teams to compete at the highest level with great success.  This year, the Army-Navy Game will be a showcase for the direction that our partnership will be heading in the future.”
•    The integrated uniform system provides enhanced durability and innovation from the inside out.  Robust padding without the bulk offers optimal low-profile impact protection specifically throughout the crucial “hit zone” between the knees and shoulders. Nike Pro Combat Deflex padding has also been integrated in the hip and knee areas of the pant for crucial impact protection that stays in place. The base layer now features customizable protection, incorporating a thin, incredibly strong carbon fiber plate that can be placed on the thigh padding where needed.
•    The uniform system design also emphasizes improved thermoregulation, including the Nike Pro Combat Deflex padding layer, which is constructed with fabric selected for its ability to help keep the body cool and wick away sweat – making the uniform, and player, lighter and dryer. The jerseys are made of four-way stretch woven twill that sheds moisture. A Flywire collar eliminates two layers of fabric for improved breathability, providing a more stable anchor to keep the jersey in place.

Dowd A Finalist For The William V. Campbell Trophy
• Navy senior guard John Dowd is one of 16 college football players named to the 2011 National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Class and is now a finalist for the 2011 William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the nation’s premier scholar-athlete.
•    The NFF’s National Scholar-Athlete program, launched in 1959, is the first initiative in history to award scholar-athletes postgraduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. This year’s class members find themselves in good company, as past National Scholar-Athletes include former NFL standout Derrick Brooks (Florida St.); actor Mark Harmon (UCLA); NASA astronaut Leland Melvin (Richmond); former Dateline NBC anchor Stone Phillips (Yale); chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament, Billy Payne (Georgia); famed NFL quarterback Steve Young (BYU); and Heisman Trophy winners Terry Baker (Oregon St.), Gary Beban (UCLA), Doug Flutie (Boston College) and Tim Tebow (Florida).
•    Each finalist will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship at the 54th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 6 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, and one of the 16 will be announced as the 22nd recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy. Named in honor of Bill Campbell, the chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia and the 2004 recipient of the NFF’s Gold Medal, the award comes with a 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship.
•    Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first-team player and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The 127 semifinalists for the award were announced on Sept. 29.

Dowd Named One Of 10 Finalists For The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award
• Navy senior offensive guard John Dowd has been named one of 10 finalists for the 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.  Dowd is a three-year letterwinner and two-year starter at offensive guard for the Mids and carries a 3.91 GPA in Mechanical Engineering.  He is a two-time Academic All-American and has a chance to become the first Navy football player in school history to be named a First-Team Academic All-American in consecutive years.
•    An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
•    Fan votes, which were conducted through Dec. 5, will be combined with media and Div. I FBS head coaches’ votes to determine the winner.
•    Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS Award® winner during the 2011 football bowl season. Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs won the award last year.

Football Bowl Subdivision Finalists For The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award
Emmanuel Acho, Linebacker, Texas
Jake Bequette, Defensive End, Arkansas
Drew Butler, Punter, Georgia
Kirk Cousins, Quarterback, Michigan State
Austin Davis, Quarterback, Southern Miss
John Dowd, Guard, Navy
Chase Minnifield, Cornerback, Virginia
Dan Persa, Quarterback, Northwestern
Nate Potter, Offensive Tackle, Boise State
Dawson Zimmerman, Punter, Clemson

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MobTown Sports Blog – Tue 12/6

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MobTown Sports Blog – Tue 12/6

Posted on 06 December 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

Here’s a look ahead at the Tuesday agenda for the MobTown Sports Beat. It’ll be a late start today as “Monday Night Live with Brendan Ayanbadejo” will air from 10 until 11 am, but we’ll be getting it in after that.

 

 

Guest Lineup

 

Jason Butt from CBS Sports and the Baltimore Guide will join us at 11:30 to talk Ravens.

 

Luke Jones will provide the Ravens intelligence with a Ravens report at 12:30.

 

Ravens Reaction

 

A thankfully uneventful foray in Cleveland in the books the Ravens look ahead to a toothless Colts team. We’re always open to Ravens rap.

 

A Nickel and a Nail

 

Five topical conversation starters and a nail for someone who deserves it. Share your thoughts:

 

#1 – Unlikely MVP Candidates

 

As the season winds down and as we set the countdown to declare Aaron Rodgers MVP of the league, who else might deserve to be in the conversation albeit under unlikely circumstances?

 

Peyton Manning who proved his value even more in his absence than with the impressive body of work that preceded it. Tim Tebow who has delivered the Broncos from 1-4 to the top of the AFC West despite no organizational support and the trade of the team’s best receiver on the day Tebow got the job. Matt Moore who has rescued the Dolphins from the throes of winlessness and played them right out of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. Maurice Jones-Drew who has put together a terrific campaign despite being on a team with no other offensive weapons. Matt Forte and Frank Gore who literally carried their teams to unexpected success (Forte’s value may become more apparent in coming weeks too via his absence). Wes Welker, Victor Cruz, Marshawn Lynch, Arian Foster and Darren McFadden are all probably worth a mention too.

 

#2 – The Miami Heat of Baseball

 

Given the season the Eagles are enduring, carrying the title “Miami Heat of” anything is probably an unwelcome harbinger of struggles ahead. As the newly anointed Miami Marlins go about making their splash into big market baseball though, most recently by heaping money on Jose Reyes and now looking to pique the interests of Albert Pujols, this rapid reconstruct looks much more like the Heat than even Philly’s football version.

 

Forget for a second that Reyes’ career season and the timing thereof couldn’t have been better for him personally as it came just ahead of free agency, and color me cynical if I see a 28-year old Dominican and immediately assume there’s at least a chance he might be a tad north of his listed age. The fact that Reyes and current “face of the Marlins” Hanley Ramirez both play shortstop and like LeBron James and DeWayne Wade’s skill sets the move seems justifiable yet glaringly redundant. Adding the best player in the game in Pujols would cement the Heat persona for this team…perhaps by design.

 

If so, it’s probably worth noting that while the Marlins were looking to the Heat for their blueprint for success they should have been careful to notice the white slipcovers that cover the empty American Airlines Arena seats in a feeble attempt to disguise the problem these Marlins know all too well…even a team full of superstars is a tough draw in a city full of lavish beaches, tropical locales and loads of other entertainment options. If the Heat’s Big 3 can’t draw in Miami during the winter months what’s to keep folks interested in the Marlins on beautiful summer nights…Pujols or not?

 

#3 – Tough Luck Contenders

 

They’re still in the thick of their respective conference playoff pictures, but that’s about all that’s gone right for the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears this season.

 

The Texans lost Mario Williams for the season early, Arian Foster for most of the season’s first quarter, Andre Johnson for a handful of games along the way yet were still firmly positioned atop the AFC South when the bottom fell out on Matt Schaub…and then Matt Leinart immediately thereafter. A game TJ Yates showed well in his trial by fire win against the tough Falcons on Sunday but lost Johnson again along the way. They still have a 2 game lead over the Titans who are the only team in the division able to catch them mathematically, and would be well positioned in the wild card even if they faltered away the division. With dates @CIN, vs. CAR, @IND & vs. TEN left the Texans look like a lock for the playoffs no matter who they have to rely on to get them there, the question is what they’ll be able to do once they finally reach that long awaited summit.

 

The Bears on the other had started slow as quarterback Jay Cutler and offensive coordinator Mike Martz struggled to get on the same page and with an apparent lack of talent on the offensive line. They were able to right their ship and ride Matt Forte into wildcard contention in the only division in football seemingly salted away (by the Packers) in week 6. Hoping for the best from Caleb Hanie at quarterback, the Bears were dealt the worst possible blow on Sunday (as were all of my fantasy teams) with the loss of Matt Forte possibly for the season. With dates remaining @DEN, vs. SEA, @ GB and @ MIN and clinging loosely to the 1st NFC wildcard spot at present the Bears road to the playoffs is much more in doubt.

 

The Raiders can probably fairly count themselves in this group too, losing Jason Campbell and spending mightily to replace him with Carson Palmer only to lose Darren McFadden immediately and indefinitely upon Palmer’s arrival. They’re in a dogfight for the AFC West / 2nd AFC wildcard with dates remaining @GB, vs. DET, @ KC and vs. SD.

 

 

#4 – BC-Mess continued

 

I vented on this topic here yesterday and won’t rehash that argument again. I will however add a couple of things.

 

First is that the BCS title rematch is a result (in my opinion) of media arrogance above all else. As 5 of the 7 computer rankings had Oklahoma State ahead of Alabama for the BCS’ second spot but the human side of the ledger tipped the balance to Alabama. As the media ordained Alabama the best team in the country through most of the season, their willingness to shake that notion was evident as the talk of a rematch began before the first game was even played. Much like the writers who bought into the Eagles dream team persona in the lead up to the NFL season and as a result were calling the midseason games of a sub .500 and floundering team the “beginning of the Eagles playoffs”…really?!?!?!?

 

Would the media be so quick to put LSU back in a rematch if the shoe were on the other foot and Alabama had beaten them at home? I doubt it. And while the human element seems just and justifiable as part of the formula, who amongst the voters have actually watched all of the BCS’ top 25 in multiple games this season…and how many watch 3 or 4 marquee games per week and take the word of the media and the assembled highlights of SportsCenter and other highlight shows to form their opinions about the others? How does that make sense? And how does anyone who tried to “work the vote” by putting Oklahoma State 4th or 5th on their ballot ever hope to keep a ballot for the following season?

 

Second, since we’re all in agreement that LSU is the unquestioned #1, and since the real debate begins at #2 and #3; why not let Alabama face Oklahoma Sate in a bowl, crown LSU the champ and showcase them against Boise State, Oregon, Clemson, Wisconsin or some other conference champ with no real shot at beating the Tigers?

 

Crown LSU the champ and settle the debate surrounding #2. We’ll see who’s smarter, the voters or the computers, once and for all. As it stands now, if LSU loses to Alabama in the BSC title game, theirs’ (LSU’s) will still be the better overall body of work with a better out of conference schedule, a win in Alabama’s building and an extra win in the SEC title game, yet the Tide will be the BCS crowned and titular champion.

 

 

#5 – Lions Melting Down

 

Who will be to blame if the Lions miss the playoffs? After an encouraging start, the Lions can’t get out of their own way and seem to be more caught up on winning the battle or the fight than the football game. Is any of this attributable to head coach Jim Schwartz’ ugly episode around the handshake after losing to the 49ers? Is their reputation too far gone to rescue this season to any real success?

 

And the Nail Goes to … Jason Garrett

 

Not just for icing his own kicker on Sunday, but that’s surely a part of it. The offensive genius that Garrett was touted to be once upon a time has yet to emerge and Garrett is surely feeling the heat after Sunday’s debacle on top of the debacle of a season that has preceded it as well.

 

I was a big Garrett critic when the Ravens were wooing him but backed off of my criticisms after he seemed to turn the Cowboys around after taking over mid-season last year. He lost me again (maybe just as a bitter Felix Jones owner) when he helped the Cowboys blow an apparently safe late lead and called snap after futile snap from the shotgun inside of the 10-yard line amongst other things in rolling over for the Jets.

 

Below is what I wrote here about the Ravens pursuit of Garrett prior to the 2008 season. Thanks for making me look smart Jason Garrett…that isn’t always easy.

 

With the benefit of hindsight it’s unbelievable that the Ravens were more interested in Garrett than he was in them…laughable even. Thanks Garrett (and Jerry Jones) for saving us from ourselves on that one too.

 

Jason Garrett’s Professional Mentors:

 

As a Player:

 

Princeton University – played under Ron Rogerson and Steve Tosches

 

Columbia University – played under Jim Garrett (Jim Garrett resigned after 0-10 season and allegations of verbal and physical abuse)

 

San Antonio Riders – played under Mike Riley

 

Ottawa Rough Riders – played under Dave Ritchie

 

Dallas Cowboys – played under Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer and Chan Gailey

 

New York Giants – played under Jim Fassel

 

Tampa Bay Bucs – played under Jon Gruden

 

As a Coach:

 

Miami Dolphins – QB coach – under Nick Saban

 

Dallas Cowboys – Offensive Coordinator – under Wade Phillips
 
Hiring a guy with Jason Garrett’s limited experience would be considered a gamble in most cases, yet somehow Garrett has managed to create a bidding war for his services. What Garrett lacks in pedigree he must make up for in potential. He comes from a football family, but his dad coached in the Ivy League and guided Columbia to an 0-10 season in 1995. Garrett jumped from Princeton to Columbia to play for his dad, and then back to Princeton after his dad was fired.
 
Garrett lasted for a long time in the NFL, presumably on brains more than physical gifts, and played for the Cowboys dynasty in the 90’s and on the Giants Superbowl team in 2000. Although he has played on successful teams, he certainly didn’t come up under a who’s who of coaches. He played for Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer and Chan Gailey in Dallas, Jim Fassel in New York and Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay. He played 4 years of Ivy League ball, and a few years between the WLAF and CFL. Although Garrett was on successful teams and was said to have mentored Kerry Collins in New York, he wasn’t coming up under Knute Rockne or Vince Lombardi by any means.
 
Garrett’s coaching credentials are even more suspect. Two years with the Dolphins as QB coach, during which he oversaw 5 different starters at the position. And then one year with the Cowboys in which he did a good job, with an offense that was good before his arrival. Garrett was presumably brought in to fix whatever caused Dallas to meltdown in the last 4 games of 2006 and to fizzle in the playoffs. His offense was in the top 5 in both scoring and yardage, but again melted down in the last 4 games of the season and fizzled in the playoffs. Garrett’s second half play calling against the Giants in the playoffs has to be among the worst called halves in the history of the game.
 
What may be more troubling than the limited amount of time that Garrett has had as an NFL coach, are the coaches under whom he has learned. Before spending this season in the shadow of the legendary Wade Phillips, who is so highly regarded that he may be fired in favor of Garrett before this all plays out, Garrett spent his previous two seasons learning his craft from the icon Nick Saban.
 
Garrett may or may not have learned much about the game of football from Saban, but based on the way that he is handling negotiations so far, he must have learned something from Saban. Saban, who left LSU fresh off of a national championship, for a big payday with the Dolphins, and then turned tail and ran back to the college ranks as soon as someone else came along with money. That kind of puts a different perspective on Garrett’s negotiations so far, doesn’t it?
 
John Harbaugh may be quickly emerging as a favorite now. Interestingly enough, based on the way that the coaching trees are assembled, Harbaugh would probably not be on Bill Walsh’s tree, even though it was Ray Rhodes who gave him his first NFL coaching job. It looks like coaches whose fathers were coaches too, were assumed to have learned their philosophies at home. Count Rex Ryan among the coaches who don’t come from the same 3 trees.
 
I probably like Harbaugh the best of all of the serious candidates, mostly because he isn’t a retread, and he isn’t a coordinator riding the momentum of a big season, and a talented team. If John Harbaugh is being interviewed, they must really like him, because he doesn’t have a top 5 offense or defense to boast of. In fact, he doesn’t have an offense or defense at all, he’s a position coach. So he must bring something else very impressive to the table if he is getting serious consideration.
 
Looking at the current head coaches in the NFL, of those who have actually won Superbowls, only Mike Holmgren did it with the first team he coached. Bill Bellichick, Mike Shannahan and Tony Dungy were all fired by their first employers, and Jon Gruden left Oakland before winning it all in Tampa. All of those coaches seemed to learn from previous failures, and excel when given another opportunity. Hiring a retread seems to be a bad PR move, but is usually a safer way to go.
 
I have suspected all along that Bisciotti’s ego has been driving this whole process. He is out to put his stamp on this team and this organization. Art Modell didn’t look like a good owner to me when he first came to town. He was seemingly broke, and didn’t have another lucrative business outside of football as most owners do. Then along came Bisciotti with the money, and proved me, and lots of other doubters wrong. Hopefully he’ll do it again. I’m not ready to write him off as an owner just yet; hopefully this will be just a bump in the road. For now though, things aren’t looking so good.
 
Maybe Bisciotti’s quest to put a stamp on his legacy goes beyond finding a hall of fame coach. From the list of candidates, he looks like he’ll be trying to start a hall of fame coaching tree. If Garrett is indeed to be that seed, let’s hope that this apple fell far from the trees under which he’s grown up
 
 

 

The Big 3 Questions

 

Call it the Miami Heat of radio segments and tweet talk, 3 random questions. Hit me with your answers on Twitter @Thyrl or @WNST, by email thyrl@wnst.net, or at 410-481-1570. Whatever you do, get back @ me.

 

#1 – Are you taking the #Packers or the field to win the #SuperBowl as of now? #NFL

 

I’ll still reluctantly take the field.

 

#2 – Do the #Ravens have an issue at kicker?

 

I hope not…

 

#3 – Which #NFL QBs would you trade Joe Flacco for today?

 

Rodgers, Brees and that’s it for me. Disagree (I’ll bet you do) call me on it.

 

 

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