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SEC Rankings – Week 9

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 31, 2008

So after another long week here in the Volunteer State, except here in West Tennessee where the University of Memphis beat a punch-less Southern Miss team and lost another quarterback, I am back to present to you the SEC Power Rankings for the week of October 26th.

1. Alabama (No sign of collapse in Tide Nation, but the LSU game is still looming for Saban’s boys.)

2. Florida (During the basketball season, Vanderbilt handed the Wildcats their worst SEC loss ever. Eight months later, the Gators put a similar stomping on Kentucky and is now trying to make their case for Atlanta on Saturday when they face Georgia in Jacksonville.)

3. Georgia (If those two girls in that picture had played for LSU last weekend, do you think Georgia would have gotten out of Death Valley alive? Judging from that picture, probably not.)

4. South Carolina (According to our friends at, who also run a SEC Power Ranking column, the Gamecocks are 5th heading into tomorrow’s game against Tennessee. With LSU losing like they did against Georgia and the possibility that the Gamecocks could play themselves into the SEC East race if they win against the Vols, 4th is a safe ranking for the time being.)

5. LSU (At least they have the Alabama game to look forward to.)

6. Kentucky (One more win and Matt’s boys will be Bowl-eligible. Thankfully, one of those wins could come this weekend when they face Mississippi State and those annoying-ass cowbells.)

7. Ole Miss (Where would this bunch be today if Coach “O” was roaming the sidelines?)

8. Vanderbilt (I wonder if my old friend Kasi can rub her belly for a sixth win for the ‘Dores. Heck, it worked in 2006.)

9. Auburn (The Tigers made a visit to my friends at the Interstate Blood Bank on North Cleveland Street to get some offensive help. Let’s see can they salvage the season with their new-found offense.)

10. Arkansas (We beat LSU last season because of you, Coach Nutt!!!! Now we get embarrassed because of Bobby P.)

11. Tennessee (This just in, Crichton SGA President Quitta Williams has been named head coach of the Volunteers. Only qualification is that her former neighbor is a former classmate of current Vol Ellix Wilson.)

12. Mississippi State (No comment, please.)

My time is up. If you’re in the Memphis area, come see me perform at Republic Coffee located at 2924 Walnut Grove Road in the Binghampton neighborhood every Tuesday night.


Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: | 13 Comments »

Quest For Perfection

Posted by Matt on October 30, 2008

The “Mike Brown Urinal Target” coming to a Greater Cincinnati truck stop near you!

The Cincinnati Bungles (henceforth they are to be known only as the “Cincinnati Bungles” until further notice) maintained their quest for perfection on Sunday falling to the Houston Texans 35-6 and in doing so appeared to be, quite possibly, the worst football team in the history of teams. Now the Bungles being shitty is not a new phenomenon — obviously — and at the core of the problem is an 18 year long festering boil that needed to be lanced a long time ago in the form of the tenure of Mike Brown.

Now I’ve thought long and hard on how to verbalize the central issue plaguing the Cincinnati Bungles and how I am relatively sure that it is an unsolvable problem outside of the commissioner of the NFL, Der Fuhrer Goodell, stepping in at some point on the grounds of competitive balance and/or obligation to the fans of Cincinnati.

In the past I have targeted many topics as the basis for the Bungles’ weaknesses:

What I have come to realize is that the issue cannot be narrowed down to one particular culprit and the problem is, however, very deeply rooted in the culture of the organization starting at the very top and reaching deep in to the annals of Paul Brown Stadium.

However, on the surface the problem can be best described by a three-pronged explanation:

  1. Front Office Failure: Cincinnati is one of (I believe) only three teams that operates without a general manager (and thus the owner is the de facto GM) — with the other two teams being the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders — and it is clear that owner Mike Brown knows little-to-nothing about evaluating football talent. If Mr. Brown was a football genius or he was willing to constantly throw as much money in to the team as needed to field a winner, I would have no problem with this. Obviously, however, neither are the case when it comes to Cincinnati. The Bungles also employ the lowest number of scouts and executives of any team in the NFL.
  2. Keeping It In The Family: Nepotism is certainly not something that Mike Brown can deny since some of his top executives consist of his brother Pete, daughter Katie (Blackburn), son-in-law Troy Blackburn, and son Paul. The rest of the organization is comprised mainly of a host of characters that have befriended Mikey along the way and thus have found themselves in good favor with the organization. The culture will never change if the most important personnel’s ideology never changes and instead only continues to proliferate within the same family.
  3. Bungalization: This may be the hardest to explain but also may be the most detrimental issue at the same time. If it ever appears that there is some sort of curse on the Bungles that is because there is…kind of. I call it the “Bungalization” of players. This means, simply, that either consciously or subconsciously players on the Bungles have bought in to the historical deficiencies of the franchise, as well as their inability to win and win often while in Cincinnati. This effect then shows in the on-field performances without anybody fully realizing that these players are not playing to what their full potential might be with another team, thus giving off the appearance that the Bungles are “cursed.” It is the reciprocal to the reason that the New England Patriots can get more out of an aging player when other teams have left their career for dead. Bungalization then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and a self-perpetuating problem in a never ending vicious cycle.

Taking all issues in to account, the three-pronged explanation is the best attempt at condensing the Bungles woes in to three paragraphs but it still doesn’t operationalize everything that is wrong with the franchise. I don’t think that I have failed to fully explain myself but I do believe that a video circling YouTube (and courtesy of The Meaningful Collateral) better explains the subject in a manner that is easier to visualize:

This is the best description of what is ailing this franchise and it comes in the form of a brilliant four minute video. Things may or may not change in Cincinnati with another failed season, unfortunately more likely the latter, but perpetual hope that something will be done to turn things around is the lone driving force that keeps me coming back each season.

But for the time being at least we can see exactly why the current Cincinnati Bungles are on their quest for perfection this season.

Posted in Cincinnati Bengals, NFL | Tagged: | Comments Off on Quest For Perfection

What Penn State Means To The Big 10

Posted by Agent Z-Ro on October 29, 2008

The game that occurred Saturday night between the two juggernauts of the Big 10 was football the way it was meant to be played…in the 1930’s. Even with 280+ (pfft!) yards of total offense from both sides the only trip the endzone was a 1 yard run by Penn State’s sophomore backup QB Pat Devlin with 6:25 left in the fourth quarter. But the victory was secured and Penn State’s national title hopes are alive. But what does this mean in the grand scheme of the national title hunt, and by proximity, the perception of the Big 10?

Both of the teams ranked ahead of Penn State (#1Texas, Big 12 & #2 Alabama, SEC) are facing tough weeks against ranked opponents and, beyond that, a conference championship if they can get there. The likelihood that one of them will lose over the course of that time is far greater than State, thus putting the Fighting Paterno’s in a position to slide into the National Championship game while having rested since November 22nd. Aside from the extra prep time, it will give them more opportunities to scout the potential competition and will possibly give them the winning edge.

But who are we kidding? Every time a Big 10 team gets to the National Championship they get cut down like baby mice under a lawnmower. Not that I haven’t enjoyed seeing Ohio State get crushed the last two years (I enjoy it a little more when that happens, I think), but it is time the Big 10 sends another challenger forward to try to capture the crystal oblong. But do the Lions of Nittany have anything to offer that could improve their odds of bringing the ‘W’ home?

For the last several years, OSU has put forward a team of similar blueprint: talented but largely overrated quarterback with a huge arm, one solid receiver and one solid tailback, all cushioned by a generally effective defense. Then they get to the National Championship game against a team of NFL prospects who have cut their teeth on quality teams throughout conference play. You know how the rest of it goes (And how sweet it is!). But we can only hope in the mythical world where one of the top two teams lose late and Penn State holds out against the Michigan State Javon Ringers, that State can bring at least something resembling a game to the table. With three receivers in the neighborhood of 30 catches and a QB that is 3rd on the team in rush attempts, you have to admit that the blueprint is very different and should pose more of a problem for defenses of either conference. Even a competitive game could prove to a national audience that the Big 10 can produce something besides the crap cake that it has made itself appear to be.

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

A Friend Of The Site Is Joining The Site

Posted by Matt on October 28, 2008

Exciting news for me is a long-time friend of mine and a long-time friend of the site will be joining us with his insights. This comes at a perfect time with the college and NFL football seasons in full force, college basketball season just around the corner, and my conscientious effort to return to blogging.  You will know him as ZRO and he’s as much of an avid Kentucky Wildcats as I am so now there’s not one, but two of us.  You’ve been warned.  Other items of interest for my man ZRO are lacrosse, MILFs, late-night walks on white, sandy beaches, and beer — so he’ll fit right in around here.

ZRO has a lot on his mind and I am confident that you will not only enjoy what he has to say but find that his thoughts incite a high-quality level of discussion and debate.  ZRO’s first post will drop in the very near future so look forward to that and get excited about what is to come.  If you can’t get excited about what is going on around here these days you may want to check your pulse (or maybe even consider Viagra).

Posted in The Nasty Boys | Tagged: | Comments Off on A Friend Of The Site Is Joining The Site

Mike Hamilton, Please End The Nightmare

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 28, 2008

Dear Mike Hamilton,

I am writing this letter as a disgruntled sports fan, foremost a Tennessean.

For 17 years, Coach Phil Fulmer has patrolled the sidelines at Neyland Stadium and whether you like him or not, has coached the Volunteers to two overall SEC Championships, five outright SEC East Division Championships, and most importantly, a National Championship in 1998.

He’s coached players like Peyton Manning, Peerless Price, Robert Meachem, Casey Clausen, Erik Ainge, Tee Martin, Gerald Riggs, Ellix Wilson (I went to grade school with him), Cedric Wilson, Al Wilson, Todd Helton, and countless others to bowl games as well as burgeoning NFL careers.

But in the high-stakes world of college football in 2008, I, along with the numerous friends I know that are Vol fans, believe that you, Mike Hamilton, as athletic director of the state’s flagship school can end this nightmare by getting rid of Fat Boy Fulmer.

Look at the facts. The Vols, in the ten years since that glorious season when it seemed as if they could do no wrong, has been stagnant in their success.

Since 1998, the Volunteers have gone to three SEC Championship Games and lost them all, most notably the 2001 SEC title game in which the Volunteers were heavily favored and lost to an upstart LSU team that was then coached by Nick Saban.

So in one night, Mr. Hamilton, the Vols went from BCS contenders to the 2002 Citrus Bowl, where they would beat Michigan 45-17.

Then you have the 2005 season in which the Vols would go from #3 to not being mentioned at all, capped by a loss to Vanderbilt — a team that, as I write this, is one win away from being bowl eligible this year — behind the arm of then quarterback Jay Cutler at Neyland Stadium.

It’s one thing to lose big to Alabama on the same night that your university honors the 1998 National Championship team, but on a crisp and clear November day three years ago how could your coach lose at home to a school that is more focused on producing scientists than football talent?

Answer that, Mr. Hamilton.

From what I understand, your former employer Clemson University, a school steeped in football tradition got rid of Tommy Bowden this season after going 17 years without an ACC Championship.

Certainly (and this comes from a guy who may or may not told Lloyd Carr that the game was passing him by on this same blog last football season) you can read this letter and do us Tennesseans all a big favor by ending what has been a nightmarish season in Knoxville and across the state.

From what my experts tell me, Dyersburg native Bradley Greer might be your best choice for head coach.

At least he knows how to motivate.

Yours for minimum wage and beer,

SGA Senator Doc Hancock

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Charlie Hustle’s Question Of The Day

Posted by Matt on October 27, 2008

Ed.’s Note: This gem was left on my desktop by the legendary Charlie Hustle…

What was the biggest reason for Sunday’s 35-6 loss at houston?

A) Marvin is an Exstacy addict and always seems too happy.

B) Mike Brown is secretly down $10 million to his bookie.

C) Ryan Fitzpatrick is Akili Smith in white face.

D) Paul Brown’s ghost hates black coaches.

Posted in Cincinnati Bengals, NFL | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Bone To Pick

Posted by Matt on October 25, 2008

I have a bone to pick and I am going to talk about it right now.

You see, I have been in many debates regarding the best college football conference in America (I say it is the Big 12 right now, contrary to what many might guess when they think of me).  Now I need to note that I have been in these arguments against my own will because I am the type of guy that doesn’t give a shit.  I worry about Kentucky (and whatever is best for Kentucky) and that is about it.  I don’t have an opinion about much of anything else in life, especially the Big Ten conference (hell, I am not even a voter….*gasp*).

Regardless, there are people in my life who are Ohio State fans and thus they are Big Ten fans (aren’t there eleven teams in that conference?) who insist on debating with me on the best college football conference in America, the Big Ten or the SEC…(even though I don’t want to debate and I still say the Big 12 right now), as well as arguing the general shaft Ohio State apparently gets in the media, the rankings, etcetera.

The first argument I have heard is that with Beanie Wells, the Ohio State versus Southern California game would’ve been a whole different game (apparently one that wasn’t a blowout).  Well you know what, with last years offense, this year’s Kentucky defense would be undefeated.  Unfortunately Woodson and Company aren’t here anymore and that is just part of the game; a team has to adapt to what they do and don’t have.  Excuses are like assholes, everyone has got one but they all stink.

The second argument I have heard came two weeks ago when the new college football rankings came out and Texas Tech was ranked higher than an Ohio State team that had been recently embarrassed by USC this season…and LSU a year ago…and, oh yeah, Florida two years ago.  A certain friend of mine could not believe that Texas Tech was ranked higher than Ohio State.  Why did he/she feel this way?  Because he/she applied the same type of stereotype to Texas Tech (that they aren’t a historically good team) that most top 25 poll voters apply to their entire voting repertoire: if you were good 20 years ago, you’re good now and if you’re not a member of the college football elite, you don’t stand a chance.

Oh, by the way, Texas Tech beat #23 Kansas 63-21 today…

The third argument isn’t so much as an argument as it is just me ranting.  Watch this week’s Georgia versus LSU game and then watch this week’s Penn State versus Ohio State game and get a real grasp on the snooze fest that Big Ten football presents.  3-3 at Halftime?  Come. On.

To me, Ohio State fans are like the annoying WWE superstar who won’t admit defeat even when he loses a cage match to The Undertaker for the championship at WrestleMania.  They’re a “never-say-die” species no matter what the outcome is.  And yes, I agree, there is something to be said about perpetual support but there is also a fine line between what is realistic and what is simply annoying as all hell.

It may just be me but I have a strong desire for humility in all aspects of life and it often seems to me that Ohio State fans (and many other teams’ fans — I am looking at you, Kentucky basketball fanatics) not only lack the modesty that is required to be successful in college football but they also expect to be represented highly by the rankings, regardless of what happens on the field.

I realize that I am more pessimistic about my teams than most people are; however, what can you expect from a guy who has dealt with the futility of Kentucky football and the Cincinnati Reds as well as the obsurdity of the Cincinnati Bengals?

All that it takes to be a tolerable fan is to have some self-awareness about your team as well as legitimate expectations regarding results, rankings, and the media.

Except for the Bengals, they don’t deserve the time of day.

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Someone Forgot To Tell Kentucky They Had A Game Today

Posted by Matt on October 25, 2008

Discuss this article now over at ACC vs. SEC!: Someone Forgot To Tell Kentucky They Had A Game Today

The last time the University of Kentucky Wildcats were ran out of a football stadium it was a 49-0 loss on the road to LSU during the 2006 season.  At that moment the Cats were 3-4 and at an impasse, if you will, on the season, forced to dig deep in order to recover.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Kentucky decided to finish strong, going 5-1 in their remaining six gamest including a victory over Clemson in the Music City Bowl, the Wildcats’ first Bowl game in seven years (at the time) and first Bowl victory since 1984.

Fast forward to 2008.  After an electrifying, albeit very late, 13 point comeback in the final five minutes of last week’s game against Arkansas, the Cats looked poised to turn their season around with quarterback Mike Hartline’s new found confidence — he did, after all, earn an ESPN helmet sticker for his two touchdown passes in the final four minutes against the Razorbacks.

Today, Kentucky took their 5-2 squad and 7th ranked scoring defense in to The Swamp to take on the mighty Florida Gators team that hung 51 points on the road against the same school that last dismantled my Wildcats.  The problem is someone forgot to tell Kentucky they had a game today.

Florida scored 28 points in the first 12 minutes of the game — including two one-play touchdown drives on the heels of back-to-back blocked punts of Kentucky’s Tim Masthay.  Trust me, it didn’t get any prettier after that.  Add another blocked kick in the form of a Lones Seiber field goal attempt to go along with a Mike Hartline interception returned for a touchdown to start the Second Half and you have yourself the ingredients for a world class blowout.

Throw in some other random plays that were probably poorly defended (sorry for the lack of detail but I just couldn’t bear to watch) and you have a final score of 63-5 with a special thanks going to Florida punter Chas Henry for the botched punt that nearly doubled our score with a safety late in the 4th Quarter.  We needed all the help we could get.

After today’s embarrassing loss — coming two years to the month after the aforementioned spanking at the hands of LSU — many fans may be asking: where do we go from here?

Contrary to what some my expect, I am going to leave the crucifying to another blogger and go out on a limb and say that rest assured, Kentucky can still go up;  the wheels haven’t fallen off just yet.  Coach Brooks still has this team in a much better position now than it was when he inherited it in 2003 and anyone who disagrees can look directly at the recruiting classes between 2002 and 2009 (not to mention those two Music City Bowl victories he has lying around).

According to, the 2002 recruiting class for the University of Kentucky contained 1 4-star, 1 3-star, and 17 1-star recruits.  In contrast, Brooks’ current class of 2009 high school graduates is comprised of 1 5-star, 1 4-star, 11 3-stars, 5 2-stars recruits, and only 1 1-star recruit, good enough for the 23rd best recruiting class in the Nation.

Unfortunately some reading this will say that the 2009 class cannot help us now and they’d be 100% correct.  But this blogger is not giving up on what the Wildcats still have on the field this year, understanding that there is a lot of talent that is no longer on the field thanks to injuries — most notably ones of the season-ending variety to super play makers Dicky Lyons, Jr. and Derrick Locke.

Kentucky is just a mere win away from being Bowl eligible for the third straight year and if the Wildcats can manage to squeak in to post-season play this season, it will be the first time since the Paul “Bear” Bryant era of the 1950s that this team has gone to three straight Bowl games, adding to the history the Rich Brooks-led Wildcats have already made.

At the end of the day Big Blue Nation never expected to beat Florida today, let alone win the National Championship this year, but what fans of Kentucky did expect is another Bowl appearance and another Bowl victory and both are still well within reach and that is what is most important, especially for recruiting.

Nevermind today’s loss; what is done is done and fans need to quickly move on because a loss by 58 and a loss by less than 8 are both still losses.  As embarrassed as I am by today’s performance, as many Big Blue fans are, we must implore the team to press on and come home from Starkville with a victory next week, setting the table for a three game stretch that includes Georgia and Tennessee with (hopefully) Bowl eligibility already in hand.

Despite the fact that the first exhibition basketball game is just 12 days from today, I urge the Wildcat faithful to not look towards basketball season too quickly.  Granted someone forgot to tell Kentucky they had a game today but I am confident that it won’t happen again.

Not, at least, with what is on the line for the Cats over the next four games: making history.

Posted in Kentucky Wildcats, NCAA Football | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Bengal Astrology Points To Cincy Upset

Posted by Matt on October 25, 2008

Yes, I realize just 24 hours ago I wrote off the Bengals and left them for dead.  Literally.  And no, I am not going back on my word — I really do think that Cincinnati has solidified their future of futility.  However, the “Who Dey Horoscopes” are projecting a Bengals victory, for what it’s worth.

The last time the Bengals started 0-7 was during the 2002 campaign. Cincy’s eighth game?  A November 3rd outing against the Houston Texans in the Lone Star State.  The result?  A 38-3 orange and black victory.

Obviously I don’t expect this apparently anemic offense to hang 38 points on Houston while holding them to just a field goal tomorrow in Reliant Stadium.  Mind you, the 2002 Texans were still a hapless expansion franchise and while they haven’t turned the corner much since then, Matt Schaub and Company are a better team now than they were then.  However, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the coincidence is rather remarkable and at 2-4, the Texans are still not that much better of a team than the Bengals.

The last time quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick played an NFL game in Houston — or a game against the Texans for that matter — was during the 2005 season as a member of the Saint Louis Rams.  The result?  A 33-27 come-from-behind victory in which Fitzy replaced an injured Jamie Martin early in the game and proceeded to go 19-30 for 310 yards and three touchdowns.

The Texans are ranked 17th in passing giving up 216.8 yards per game and nine total touchdowns on the season.  This neither lends itself to a particularly poor or particularly strong performance for the Bengals’ signal caller but with what should be more time in the pocket, Fitzpatrick is poised to post some of the best numbers of he and the Bengals’ slow start.  Cincinnati showed signs of taking down-field shots last week against Pittsburgh and with yet another week of practice as the starter for Fitzpatrick and a defense far less impressive than that of the Steelers, look for this trend to continue (deep passes are the easy part, it remains to be seen when and if they’ll begin to complete them).

The last time running back Cedric Benson was in the state of Texas he was a member of the University of Texas Longhorns.  The result?  5,577 career rushing yards and 64 touchdowns in four seasons and a 4th overall selection of 2005 NFL Draft.

Houston is ranked 22nd in rushing defense giving up 122 yards per game and 11 total touchdowns on the season including at least one rushing score in every game.  If the Bengals’ deficient offensive line can put together an inspired performance this week, Benson and the Cincinnati rushing attack (I’m using the word “attack” loosely) may finally put together a complete game despite being a unit ranked 31st (out of 32 teams) in total rushing offense at 73.9 yards per game.

The late line this week has the Houston Texans as a 9.5 favorites over the Cincinnati Bengals, which comes as no surprise to many with the way The Queen City’s boys have played thus far.  Being favored, however, is still relatively new territory for the Texans — especially this season with their only wins coming against the Miami Dolphins and the also-win less Detroit Lions.

Being new at being favored and playing a team that doesn’t appear to be a winner even at the college level leaves Houston primed for an upset on their home turf.  All of the stars are aligned for the Bengals to notch their first victory in the 2008 calendar year, despite the spread, because as the old adage goes, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.

(But if the Bengals lose, we can forget I ever said any of this.)

Posted in Cincinnati Bengals, NFL | Tagged: | Comments Off on Bengal Astrology Points To Cincy Upset

The Obituary

Posted by Matt on October 24, 2008

tombstone2tBENGALS, Cincinnati. The Bengals, 40, passed away late Sunday night, October 19th, at their home in Paul Brown Stadium in Ohio. The Bengals were preceded in death by patriarch Paul Brown (I), of Ohio, as well as by The Houston Oilers and Anna Nicole Smith, both of Texas. The Bengals fathered one, lone Hall-of-Famer, Anthony Muñoz, 50, of California and were also survived by their owner Mike Brown, 71, of Ohio, along with Katie (Brown) Blackburn, Troy Blackburn, and Paul Brown (II), all also of Ohio, as well as a handful of remaining fans. The Bengals died from a long bout of Internal Cancer despite intermittent years of remission (’73, ’75, ’76, ’81, ’86, ’88, ’90, & ’05) in which they could never quite fully recover. More recently the Bengals acquired additional ailments of Dave Shula, David Klingler, diabetes, Bruce Coslet, Akili Smith, and multiple marijuana possessions that only added to the pain and suffering of their final years on this mortal Earth. Unfortunately for The Bengals, their Internal Cancer came at a time in history when their closest management was unable (or unwilling) to spend the money needed to afford the knowledge and know-how to permanently cure their conditions. Tragically, The Bengals finally left us after succumbing to a three-and-a-half hour battle to the viral Pittsburgh Steelers late Sunday afternoon. Public visitations will be held at their home in Paul Brown Stadium on November 2nd, November 16th, November 30th, December 14th, and December 28th. Final interment will be on the grounds of their property in Ohio and assisting with the formal funeral services as Paul Bearers will be The Jacksonville Jaguars, The Philadelphia Eagles, The Baltimore Ravens, The Washington Redskins, The Kansas City Chiefs, and Bill Cowher. In lieu of flowers, the closest survivors of the departed are asking that donations be made in memory of The Bengals to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, so that one day all terminally ill football teams can experience their dream of a Super Bowl ring, or to the “Mike Brown Sucks Campaign” found here: The Cincinnati Bengals were loved by some, envied by a few, and better than none. R.I.P., 2008.

Posted in Cincinnati Bengals, NFL | Tagged: , | Comments Off on The Obituary

SEC Rankings – Birthday Week

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 24, 2008

After two weeks away from the rankings due to a death in the family and with the season once again starting up in North Highland Park, I am back to present — with the help of new Lara Croft model Alison Carroll — the SEC power rankings for the week of October 19th.

1. Alabama (Relax, the Tide has learned their lessons from last year’s free-fall. Time to take care of business against the Vols.)

2. Florida (After thrashing LSU on October 11th, the Gators have Matt’s Wildcats heading to the Swamp. Of course this would mean another outstanding performance by Tebow.)

3. LSU (Apparently, the grace of Grace Walker saved the Bayou Bengals from losing to the Gamecocks. Not to mention a former Kentucky football player that is now a referee.)

4. Georgia (Tough road trip comes for Dawgs as they take on LSU in Death Valley.)

5. Vanderbilt (Still looking for that sixth win. It might come this Saturday.)

6. South Carolina (What team loses a game in which a referee makes a hit on your quarterback?)

7. Auburn (The Interstate Blood Bank on North Cleveland Street can help you with your anemic-ass offense.)

8. Ole Miss (Another valiant effort came up short against the Tide last Saturday. Now Coach Nutt heads back to Fayetteville for a “heartwarming” reunion.)

9. Kentucky (Can their defense stop the Gators and crush the Heisman hopes of Tim Tebow?)

10. Tennessee (For Vol fans who read this blog, the first basketball game is November 15th against Chattanooga.)

11. Arkansas (Men, your former coach is coming back to Fayetteville, what do you do?)

12. Mississippi State (For State fans who read this blog, the first basketball game is November 15th against Centenary.)

My time’s up. If you’re in the Memphis area, come see me perform every Tuesday night at Republic Coffee, 2924 Walnut Grove Road near the Central Library.

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: | Comments Off on SEC Rankings – Birthday Week

Bringing Blogging Back

Posted by Matt on October 22, 2008

It has been nearly seven weeks since I have posted here on TNB and a lot has happened in my hiatus.  The Bengals signed a criminal (again), Pacman Jones was suspended (again), and we landed on the Moon — and no, these aren’t your father’s headlines.

OK, maybe two of three happened but the bottom line is that I’ve been silent for too long.  I have got a lot on my mind and it is high time I got back to the basics.  I’m bringing blogging back.

TNB came to a point where we bit off more than we could chew and blogging became so overwhelming that I went all Ricky Williams and disappeared for two months.  But that has changed and I hope to make my return this Friday with a Halloween-themed post a week before my favorite holiday.

Tell all of your friends.  Put the women and children to bed.   It’s starting all over again.

Posted in The Nasty Boys | Tagged: | Comments Off on Bringing Blogging Back

Turn The Page

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 22, 2008

As the old adage goes, when one door closes, another door opens.

For the Memphis Tigers and their fans, Friday night’s Memphis Madness meant the celebration of one of the greatest seasons in college basketball history and the prospect for another run at success.

Sitting among one of the 15,000 or so fans in the FedEx Forum, I wondered how many people, young and old, felt about a team of guys from all over the map that did something special like the Tigers in 2007-08.

During the video tribute to the 2007-08 team, a lady who probably would have been mistaken for my late grandmother, had tears in her eyes as they showed the Kansas-Memphis highlights.

“We had that game,” she said to me, echoing the same sentiment that I had during my drunken tirade after that game in April.

With tears welling up in my eyes as well (yes, I do have a soft side), I said to the lady that very few people, including the people in Lawrence, Kansas, get a chance to experience what was experienced in Memphis last season.

Five minutes prior to the banner raising, a familar face that was here during this glorious era of Tiger basketball came onto the FedEx Forum floor, current New Jersey Net Chris Douglas-Roberts.

And much like the days when he provided one electrifying moment after another on the hardwood, the fans around the building chanted “C-D-R!!!!”.

The highlights of the pre-raising was the video messages from Derrick Rose and Joey Dorsey, both of whom had games on Friday night, and Douglas-Roberts breezing through the FedEx Forum crowd like he was the mayor of Memphis.

And then, after all was said and done, the current Tiger team, along with Douglas-Roberts, raised the banner to the rafters of the FedEx Forum, setting off a sea of blue and white streamers from the ceiling.

“Well,” I said to the same lady sitting next to me, “it’s time to turn the page and see can these guys do it again in 2008-09.”

While, for the most part, I didn’t stay for much of the scrimmage, I was impressed by the 3-point marksmanship of Willie Kemp and Robert Sallie, who if not for the mess the Big 12 had put him through while trying to play at Nebraska for Doc Sadler, he would be playing for a mediocre team instead of a top 25 team like the Tigers.

My thoughts on Tyreke Evans?

Good as advertised. If the Tigers have another runaway season in Conference USA, he’s going to win Freshman of the Year.

And maybe, just maybe, a Championship ring.

Posted in NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

The College Football Weekend That Was…

Posted by Baller on October 14, 2008

College Football’s Cinderella, Vanderbilt, toppled by lowly Mississippi State.

Auburn upended by a horrible Arkansas.

LSU humiliated by Florida.

Kentucky beaten by South Carolina (Yes, this is considered an upset.).

Michigan beaten for the first time by a MAC team in 25 attempts.

Now lets get into the Top 5: Oklahoma was beaten by rival Texas by ten points. Missouri was beaten by Oklahoma State. And aforementioned LSU was romped by Florida. So why is this happening two years in a row?

Why, for one hundred years were ranked teams mostly safe from upsets, especially when ranked in the Top 5, but now upsets seem to be happening over and over? Personally I enjoy seeing good teams get beat. I am a South Carolina fan and we are never good so we don’t have to worry about being “upset”. We just lose.

But ever since the scholarships were cut down to 85 the playing field from the big schools to the lower tier schools has become more and more even. Add in better equipped high school programs and better weight training at a younger age and you have more and more athletes around the country. There are also more athletes playing football now than any other sport and at any other time. No more sharing with baseball, only with basketball, mostly. Now in order to be a good program and a good team you have to recruit well but also you have to coach well and prepare your team well. No longer can you rely solely on speed and talent to win.

Just ask all the teams that have been beaten this year and last.

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Yes, Kasi, Vanderbilt Is 5-0

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 5, 2008

One thing about America is this: they love a great underdog story.

Whether it’s the New York Giants beating the New England Cheaters in this year’s Super Bowl or last September when the Appalachian State Mountaineers shocked the Michigan Wolverines, football in general over the last few years has given us plenty of surprises.

But Saturday night, in front of  a national audience and a sellout crowd at Vanderbilt Stadium, another surprising story took place as the Vanderbilt Commodores (that’s right, Vanderbilt) defeated my beloved Auburn Tigers 14-13 to move to 5-0, their best start since World War II.

Did I mention that for the first time since my birth year (1984) the ‘Dores were ranked heading into the game?

Number 19, to be exact.

And while Auburn and their horrendous offense trekked out to a 13-0 lead, many of the faithful in Nashville began to have the same feeling that Cub fans like fellow TNB scribe Bob Swerski had going into this postseason.

Obviously, while the feeling quickly died away as Vanderbilt’s defense stepped and made plays and backup quarterback MacKensie Adams, filling in for injured starter Chris Nickson who aggravated his shoulder in the beginning of the game, made sure that the Vanderbilt football curse, real or imagined, stay at bay for at least another week.

And when Auburn tried to come up with a game-winning drive and make it 14 straight against the Commodores, Myron Lewis made two signature plays that slammed the door on the Tigers, including an interception of a pass by Chris Todd with a little over 2 minutes to go in the game.

Talk about Music City Miracle II.

What was amazing about this win over the Plainsmen was the fact that bowl representatives from every corner of the world was there to see if Vanderbilt, long known as the butt of jokes in the SEC and the college football world, could be for real.

If there was any notion of how real this Vanderbilt squad, let it be known that should Vanderbilt drown out the cowbells in Starkville this Saturday, Vanderbilt will have the magical six wins they’ve been craving for for 26 years.

And at a time like this maybe Vanderbilt, like the other state schools in the SEC football, rightfully deserves their moment in the sun.

It’s been 26 years in the making.

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

SEC Rankings – Week 5

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 3, 2008

After the weekend that was for the SEC, I again would like to welcome you guys back with my SEC power rankings for the week of September 28th.

1. Alabama (After thrashing Georgia Saturday, the Kentucky Wildcats comes to the Capstone for their SEC opener. Certainly, the Tide won’t care if they play the same way they played against Georgia.)

2. LSU (Mississippi State wasn’t exactly a red-letter game on the Bayou Bengals’ calendar, but after the Bulldogs got hammered by Georgia Tech September 20th, the Bulldogs hung with the Bayou Bengals until Charles Scott punched in two touchdowns to send the Bayou Bengals into the bye week winners over MSU 34-24.)

3. Vanderbilt (I can’t believe I’m typing this. Vanderbilt welcomes Auburn to 25th Avenue South and given the way the Plainsmen been playing, can anyone say 5-0?)

4. Georgia (Time to ditch the black jerseys, Dawgs. You got owned by ‘Bama in them.)

5. Florida (For Urban Meyer’s sake, he won a National title unlike his predecessor. Had he not won that title, do you think Urban Meyer would be able to show his face around Gainesville after losing to Ole Miss?)

6. Auburn (Defense shines, but the offense is still suspect in Auburn.)

7. Ole Miss (Win over Florida gives Rebels much needed confidence for the SEC slate.)

8. South Carolina (Uh oh, the Gamecocks have to head to Oxford. Can Gamecocks stand and deliver?)

9. Kentucky (Toughest road trip of the season comes up for ‘Cats this weekend.)

10. Tennessee (For the first time in life, people in Knoxville are counting down the days til basketball season.)

11. Arkansas (Angry Gators come to Fayetteville. Let’s see if the Razorbacks can make ’em more angry this weekend.)

12. Mississippi State (Dream season was nothing more than a mirage.)

My time’s up. You’ve been a great audience. VOTE OBAMA!!!!!

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College Football 2008: The First Week Of The Upsets

Posted by Lil' Condo on September 30, 2008

This past week those in the college football world noticed an astonishing turn of events. USC lost its golden armor, UGA lost their strength, Florida lost its super powers, and the rabid Badgers could not handle the rabid Wolverines. This past weekend was the end of the road for one team and the beginning for others.

Let’s start with USC and Oregon State. USC came into this game with a little bit of arrogance. Everyone was talking about how they would run the table in the Pac-10 and that there wasn’t a team that could stop them this season. Well Oregon State heard what was being said and didn’t like it one bit. Oregon State jumped out to a 21-0 lead on the Trojans and took it from there. The one problem for Oregon State, however, was that they began to play, “let’s not lose the lead by turnovers” and went three and out on their next four possesions. USC, on the other hand, took their first two possesions of the second half and made it a 7 point game. Oregon State would intercept a Mark Sanchez pass and turn it in to a touchdown, saving what could’ve easily turned out to be a coemback win for USC. The lesson here is: if you’re beating a team at the end of the first half, continue doing what was working. If you’re winning because you’re attacking don’t stop attacking until the game is in hand.

Next we’ll go to the battle between Georgia and Alabama. There isn’t much that can be said about this game as Alabama came out ready to play and Georgia didn’t. Alabama jumped out to a 31-0 lead on UGA before Saban came down with a case of conservativitis. Though the Tide would only score 10 more points it prooved to be enough against the Bulldogs. The final score was 41-30 with UGA scoring two touchdowns in the final 5 minutes. Another lesson of what could possibly happen when you become too conservative: had Alabama not scored those ten points we would be looking at a 31-30 game where UGA would probably take the extra point on the first of their last two touchdowns leading to a 32-31 Georgia win. Granted Alabama scored 10 points but you can’t just change your game plan because you’re winning big in the first half. Keep doing what was working until the other team learns how to stop it or until the game is in hand.

Now we’re off to Gainesville, Florida — the site for the Rebels and Gators shoot-out. Florida would have problems with their offense yielding three fumbles and two turnovers-on-downs. Ole Miss threw one interception and had one turnover-on-downs of their own but they would also add a field goal and 4 touchdowns to compensate for their mistakes. The game was over when Urban Meyer decided to take a chance on 4th and 1 instead of giving their senior kicker, who hasn’t missed a field goal this season, a chance from 49 yards out. Florida had the lead going into the second half but Ole Miss came out in the third quarter and scored 17 unanswered points to take the lead again by 7. Florida scored to tie it in the fourth quarter but Ole Miss would answer for yet another 7 point lead. Florida drove down the field and put the ball in the end zone one last time but had their extra point blocked and their fate sealed. The lesson here is that no matter how good your team is, you can always be plagued by turnovers.

Our final stop is The Big House, where Michigan was playing their 500th game against the undefeated Badgers. Michigan lost four fumbles and threw an interception, all in the first half, and when Wisconsin took a 19-0 lead going into halftime, many people probably thought, “Jeez, this game is over. It’s 19-0 and Michigan has turned it over 5 times.” Don’t tell that to Rich Rodriguez and his team, though, as they came out in the second half with a passion. With a little over 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter Kevin Koger would catch a Steven Threet touchdown pass drawing the score within 12, 19-7. With a little over 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter Brandon Minor would race 34 yards for another touchdown, suddenly making it a 5 point game. The first play of Wisconsin’s ensuing drive would give the Wolverines their first lead of the game, as Linebacker John Thompson would take an interception the distance for a score and 5 minutes later Sam McGuffie would punch in a two yard run giving the Wolverines a 27-19 lead. The game wasn’t over yet, though, as Wisconsin would score with 19 seconds left in the game, needing only a two point conversion to tie it up. Everidge would complete the two point conversion, but to an ineligible receiver. The illegal man downfield penalty would force Wisconsin back 5 yards for another attempt and this time the pass sailed high to clinch the Wolverines stunning 27-25 comeback. The lesson here is that no team is ever out of a game until that final whistle blows.

None of these teams are out of the National Title picture by any means, with the only exception likely being Wisconsin. The Badgers droped to 17 in the AP poll and 18 in the USA Today Poll. Florida is down to 12, while UGA is 11th and USC is 9th. Florida and Georgia have the best chances of getting back to the top considering strength of schedule and also assuming that neither team loses again. Granted one of them will lose when they play eachother but the team that goes undefeated the rest of the way will have a good chance at the National Championship game. USC also has a solid shot at making it back to the big game but they will have to hope that certain teams lose while they finish their Pac-10 schedule unscathed. Nonetheless it is shaping up to be yet another very exciting college football season.

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SEC Rankings – Week 4

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on September 26, 2008

Your neighborhood Mapco Express and Huddle House would like to present you the SEC Rankings for the week of September 21st. These rankings are brought you in part also by the Cellular South and Yum’s, located in the beautiful Springdale neighborhood at the corner of North Hollywood and Jackson Avenue.

1. Florida (The third Saturday in September looked more like a massacre of sorts at Neyland Stadium.)

2. Georgia (Trip to Arizona State proved to be beneficial as Bulldogs left the Valley of the Sun with a win over the Sun Devils.)

3. LSU (Saturday’s game against Auburn was indeed an instant classic.)

4. Alabama (Apparently the Tide made Petrino wish he was back in Atlanta coaching the first-place Falcons.)

5. Vanderbilt (If the Rays can make the playoffs, certainly the ‘Dores can get to a bowl game.)

6. Kentucky (Will the bye week prepare the ‘Cats for their SEC opener next week?)

7. Auburn (Close game against LSU Saturday echoed memories of the 1994 Auburn-LSU game. Now it’s time for War Eagle to beat the stuffing out of Dr. Greer’s beloved Tennessee Volunteers.)

8. Ole Miss (Again, the Rebels lose to Vanderbilt.)

9. Tennessee (In church Sunday, my pastor talked about how he went up to Knoxville to pray for the football team. Apparently, that didn’t help.)

10. South Carolina (It was Wofford, people.)

11. Arkansas (See above for why the Razorbacks so low on my rankings this week.)

12. Mississippi State (Gave up 3 points to Auburn September 13th, and then play sloppy against Georgia Tech? Only in Starkville.)

My time’s up. You’ve been a great audience. Pick up my debut book, “Candy Bars and Fly Balls” at Bookstar in Poplar Plaza and the Crichton College Bookstore in North Highland Park.

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Posted by Baller on September 26, 2008

Entitlement. An amazing word. What do we as fans do that makes us believe we deserve something from complete strangers? We expect kids, 17-21 year olds, to live out what we could not accomplish ourselves. If a coach, who has years more experience attacking a certain situation goes against what we think is right, then we rip that coach apart and say he needs to be fired.

Am I aside from this?

No, I get caught up in the heat of the moment as some of you have seen. I have also been on the coaching side of things as well and understand what coaches go through. Now to be specific I am a South Carolina Gamecock, through and through. But there is one thing I am beginning to get sick of though: The lack of loyalty since Spurrier’s arrival.

It seems to me since Spurrier’s hire that fans have begun to assume or expect more out of our team; but what of our 100+ year history has you expecting more? Building a program takes time and we spent way too long not building one. Lou began building us the right way, like it or not, and Spurrier is continuing. I am a student at USC and I’m sick of reading articles in “The Gamecock” bashing our team. First, they don’t double check their stats and get facts wrong and second, they have not been fans of USC long enough to really care.

My second gripe with USC fans is the booing. How can you boo someone in a Gamecock jersey? Are you serious? Since when do we do that? Are we in Philly? Are we Clemson? Have some loyalty. NO! Have some class. We are known for having the best fans in the country; we need to start showing it. We do not have a top tier program so I am not sure what you are expecting when you step into Williams-Brice. If you are expecting Spurrier’s teams from the 90s, well defenses have caught up and athletes are way more abundant. So how about you cheer for your Gamecocks, rain or shine, because when we finally do shine… it is going feel so amazing.

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Cat Fancy

Posted by Charlie Hustle on September 23, 2008


After another typical Bengals loss (the kind where we have a chance to win but never do), a chipper Marvin Lewis entered the Bengals Press Room as calm as a serial killer explaining the voices in his head forced him to kill 50 hookers.

Lewis’ mysterious demeanor after the Bengals 0-3 is part-in-parcel to the fans’ frustrations with one of the worst franchises in the NFL. His vague answers reflect his “losing is ok” mentality and dictate to anyone listening that their loss was inevitable.

CAUTION: Marvin Lewis’ answers may cause confusion and high blood pressure

Q: Is it frustrating, with a veteran offense, when you have to call early timeouts?
ML: We had a problem with the (helmet) communicator. Carson couldn’t hear the play, and I’d rather not take the delay of game there. I guess they have frequency problems there in New York. It became an issue and happened early. The league was aware there was a problem, and it bit us in the butt early in the game. And so we had to get that resolved. There were a couple of plays early in the game where he couldn’t hear.

Charlie Hustle’s take: If anyone has watch Bob Bratkowski’s offense in the past few years, he has implemented a no-huddle offense where Carson calls the plays/check-downs at the line. Some of the Bengals’ most explosive offense has comes as a result of the no-huddle. Carson knows the playbook backwards and forwards.

If you fucking knew there may be a problem with the radio signals you either A) put in some sideline hand signals B) make a simple substitution with the entering player calling the play or C) just let Carson run the offense like he knows how to.

When you waste timeouts in the second half of close NFL games, you lose the ability to manage games.

Q: Your defense has only one sack through three games:
We want it to be better. We need to get more pressure. We got a lot of pressure yesterday but weren’t able to get him on the ground.

CH: Last year’s favorite excuse, injuries, for the lack of pass rush has simply been replaced by an even more asanine reasoning – “uhhhh I wish we were better.” The NFL is a league of adjustments. To have 1 sack in the 3 games is a clear indication that there have been no adjustments made. And for the record, Keith Rivers, the savior of our defense who currently still ranks #2 in tackles among rookies, managed to record 0 tackles… clearly improving.

Q: The play with T.J. Houshmandzadeh on last regulation drive … he couldn’t get a first down, and then you couldn’t spike it because it was third and one … that was huge. But looking back, do you think you should have taken a shot in the end zone?
Carson has to deliver the ball to the open part of the coverage. He’s not going to throw the ball in the end zone and risk an interception. I don’t know that there was no way. But the play call that he made, he put the ball in the right spot, and Antonio (Chatman) comes very close to making the guy miss and scoring. That’s all you can do. At that point, where you are on the field, your chances of getting five guys in the end zone, and, as you say, take that shot, are difficult to do without risking the sack and throwing you out of field goal range.

CH: You play to win on the road. This particular answer was given by Marvin after laughing as if it were ridiculous to throw it in the endzone. It’s almost as if that no team has ever scored a touchdown to win in the final minutes because the defense knew it was coming. This lack of ability to win was predictable and the clock management was atrocious. Nothing more to say about it.

And now my favorite part…. it’s time to play………….


“The defense had a great start to the day and didn’t finish as well as they had started. ”

“Yeah, we can’t give up a third-and-fourteen play like that.”

“The confidence comes from doing things right. Those are the things that you’re always telling somebody.”

“We did some good things in some areas, and there are some things we need to tighten. ”

“You get on that bike, and if you pedal and stay on the mid-line, you won’t fall over. If you don’t pedal fast enough, you’ll fall over.”


Thanks again Marvin for the enlightenment. Good luck next season.


— Charlie Hustle

Posted in General Sports | 1 Comment »

You Can’t Ask For More, Can You?

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on September 19, 2008

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns about sports at Crichton College. Check back with more tales from the place called North Highland Park.

In what has already been a historic year in North Highland Park where, for the first time ever, two teams from Crichton won on the same day when the volleyball team defeated St. Catherine’s College and the men’s soccer team defeated Spring Hill College on August 29th. Thursday afternoon’s book signing involving yours truly and the volleyball game later on could have easily been a 21-gun salute.

For much of this week, you couldn’t go anywhere around the campus in North Highland Park without seeing everyone wearing red.

In fact, during basketball practice on Wednesday afternoon, senior forward Zidyiah Carter, who just so happens to be my next-door neighbor, pulled out a red asthma pump.

Talk about painting the town red.

The leadup to Thursday’s celebration looked more like the leadup to what will be on Sunday at Yankee Stadium as the Yankees play their last game at the venerable stadium.

At 1:25 p.m., softball pitcher/first baseman Brittney Davis, yours truly, and Julie Nichols all threw ceremonial pitches to former Crichton rightfielder Jasmine Scudder, beginning the first ever student book signing in North Highland Park.

For an hour, North Highland Park celebrities like Courtnee Steen, Dr. Bradley Greer, Redbird Redhot Lauretta Plummer, as well as my former elementary school principal Dr. Ruby Payne, who has been at Hanley Elementary School in Memphis since the Reagan Adminstration, came by to congratulate me on the debut book.

“Are you heading to Hollywood?” asked faculty athletics representative Dr. Bill Carr.

“No sir,” I replied, “I have a year to go in school and a volleyball game to do tonight.”

“He’s not going anywhere,” neighbor and soccer standout Gavin “Dodgey” Smith said after the reception ended, “This school is trying to keep him grounded.”

Once all the confetti and candy was gone from the reception, the Lady Comets volleyball team, which like most of the athletic teams in North Highland Park wore red to support yours truly,  had their chance to cap off Thursday’s festivites by facing off against the Lane College Lady Dragons.

And in a woodshed beating that looked similar to basketball’s thrashing of Blue Mountain School For Boys, the Lady Comets, playing their best volleyball of the season, completed Thursday with a sweep of Lane with one of the matches finishing 25-4 thanks in part to the play of Rachel Walton, Kelsey Watson, and Andressa DaSilva.

After all is said and done, there’s no question in my mind that yesterday, like August 29th, was historic.

After all, can there be anything that tops it?

Not really.

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OSU At USC: In Review

Posted by Lil' Condo on September 18, 2008

Saturday September 13, 2008 the Buckeyes participated in the “Clash in the Collisieum” with the USC Trojans. I wouldn’t even really call it a clash, it was a clash between USC’s offense and OSU’s defense but it was a pillow fight when Ohio State was on offense — and USC put a piece of steel in their pillow cases.

The Trojans came out ready to play and beat the Buckeyes into submission. Mark Sanchez was 17/28 for four touchdowns and one interception. He threw for 172 yards and was never sacked. Joe McKnight led the Trojans rushing offense with 12 carries for 105 yards and with Stafon Johnson only getting 4 carries for 23 yards, it’s easy to say that McKnight is Carroll’s choice for the running back position. On the other side of the ball, the Trojan defense was impeccable, forcing two interceptions and a fumble to go along with five sacks. The Trojans were just fired up for this game and dominated the Buckeyes from start to finish.

The Buckeyes came into this game with one thing on their mind: National Championship or nothing. And honestly it seems as if they’ll come away with nothing this year. The Bucks couldn’t get anything going on offense after their second drive resulted in a field goal. They had a total of 207 yards, with 136 passing yards combined between Boeckman and Pryor. Boeckman was 14/21– not a bad percentage — but when thats only for 84 yards with two interceptions, one of which goes for a touchdown, it is not as impressive. Pryor was 7/9 for 52 yards, really not bad for a freshman who’s supposed weapon is running — which he had 11 attempts for 40 yards and was Ohio State’s second leading rusher for the game. No Chris Wells for Ohio State really hurt them as a team because the running game seems to struggle without him, but you can’t rely on just one running back. Ohio State was sacked 5 times (Boeckman 4 times, Pryor once) and  that doesn’t shine too well for the veteran offensive line.

In the end the game was pretty much decided at halftime when a touchdown was called back for Ohio State and Boeckman proceeded to throw a pick six to Ray Mauluga — who looked to have stepped out of bounds on the play.  But none the less it was 21-3, USC. When you don’t win the turnover margin, you’re most likely going to lose the game. The Trojans only turned the ball over once when, with 6 seconds left in the first half, Sanchez threw a pass into the end-zone that was intercepted. The Buckeyes however threw two interceptions and lost the ball a third time on a fumble.

“The Trojans proved to everyone why they’re the best team in the nation.”

This is being said by a lot of college football analysts. Don’t make me laugh, the Trojans don’t deserve the number one slot just yet. Sure, they beat Virginia 52-7 and the Buckeyes 35-3, but Viriginia is a team that is in a rebuilding year and Ohio State even had trouble with Ohio University. I understand that Ohio State is a good team and with Chris Wells I’m sure that it wouldn’t have been 35-3.  Having Chris Wells in the huddle is a huge boost in confidence for that Ohio State offense. However, the Trojans haven’t played against #2 Oklahoma, #3 Georgia, or #4 Florida and won’t unless they face one of them in the National Championship. You simply can’t imply that because USC beat Ohio State then that makes them the best team in the country. USC has a pretty breezy schedule from here on out, their toughest game is against Oregon on October 4th while Arizona State could give them a pretty good game as well. Right now the number one thing that USC is worried about is not getting depantsed by Stanford again.

Ohio State will be looking to rebound this weekend against Troy, a team that is averaging 45 points per game and beat a strong Middle Tennessee State team 31-17.  After having their game with LSU postponed, Troy took down Alcorn State 65-0. Ohio State needs to make sure that they don’t do with Troy what they did with Ohio and underestimate them as a team. Ohio State should win this one, but don’t be surprised if they struggle early. The final point here, is that if Ohio State doesn’t beat Troy by more than 14, then you can count on them losing the Big Ten to either Wisconsin or Penn State.

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

SEC Rankings – Week 3

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on September 16, 2008

After watching a thrilling baseball game on the football field in Starkville and inching closer and closer towards my 24th birthday, I am back again with my SEC power rankings for the week of September 14th.

1. Florida (After Georgia stumbled against South Carolina Saturday, the Gators are at the top of my power rankings after their Bye Week. Up next for the Gators is a tough Tennessee team looking to do nothing more than pull off the upset.)

2. LSU (Impressive showing against North Texas, now it’s time for War Eagle to try to beat a tattoo on the Bayou Bengals.)

3. Georgia (Sorry, Dawg fans, lackluster win against the Gamecocks doesn’t really carry weight this time around, does it?)

4. Alabama (Another impressive win over a cupcake. Big deal.)

5. Auburn (The Tigers could have used the bat of Bo Jackson on Saturday night. Now they’re going to probably need the same luck from 1994.)

6. Tennessee (Upset could put Vols back in the SEC East hunt.)

7. Kentucky (This time the grace of God saved the Wildcats against Middle Tennessee.)

8. Vanderbilt (3-0 meaning that the ‘Dores are three wins away from Bowl eligibilty.)

9. Arkansas (Bye Week gives Razorbacks a chance to rest up for their SEC opener.)

10. Ole Miss (The columnist has no reason for the Rebels right now, please leave a message.)

11. Mississippi State (An ‘E’ for effort against War Eagle Saturday.)

12. South Carolina (Is the fat lady warming up for the Gamecocks?)

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Doc Hancock’s Grand Tour Of C-USA: Houston Cougars

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on September 12, 2008

Editor’s Note: My apologies to Doc and company, it is my fault this is late to the presses. Thanks, Management.

Houston Cougars

Head Coach: Kevin Sumlin (1st year)

Stadium: Robertson Stadium (32,000)

2007 Record: 8-5 (6-2 C-USA West)

Postseason: Lost to TCU 20-13 in Texas Bowl

Key Returnees on Offense: QB Case Keenum

Key Returnees on Defense: NT Eli Ash, DT Tate Stewart, DE Phillip Hunt, LB Cody Lubojasky, CB Brandon Brinkley, SS Ernest Miller, FS Kenneth Fontennette

The Skinny: After an 8-5 record in 2007 under coach Art Briles, the Cougars said goodbye to the longtime coach, who went to Waco to try his hand at turning around Baylor’s fortunes on the gridiron and hello to Kevin Sumlin, who spent five seasons at Oklahoma under Bob Stoops. With that he also brings in Dana Holgorsen, who served as offensive coordinator at Texas Tech to implement a new offensive scheme coupled with the offensive attack Briles had during his time at Houston. Case Keenum will be back for his sophomore season after throwing for over 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns in his freshman season. The downside of it was the fact that Keenum also had 10 interceptions. But while he put up impressive numbers with his arm, he also put up impressive numbers with his feet, rushing for 412 yards and 9 touchdowns.

On defense, the Cougars will welcome back end Phillip Hunt, who led the team in sacks with 10.5 and safety Kenneth Fontennette, who was second in tackles for the Cougars in 2007 with 69.

Doc’s Prediction: After another banner season in 2007, the first without Kevin Kolb at quarterback, who is now studying under Donovan McNabb in Philly, the Cougars again will challenge the Golden Hurricane for the C-USA West title. With the Golden Hurricane coming for a visit November 15th, every game before that is nothing more than a warmup for the showdown with Tulsa.

Projected Record: 9-4 (6-2)

2008 Houston Cougars Schedule

August 30th-Southern

September 6th-@ Oklahoma State

September 13th-Air Force

September 20th-@ Colorado State

September 27th-@ East Carolina

October 11th-UAB

October 18th-@ Southern Methodist

October 28th-@ Marshall

November 8th-Tulane

November 15th-Tulsa

November 22nd-Texas El-Paso

November 29th-@ Rice

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SEC Rankings – Week 2

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on September 11, 2008

After a week of being on best behavior and saying goodbye to North Highland Park’s greatest basketball player, I have once again returned to present to you the SEC Power Rankings for the week of September 7th.

1. Georgia (The real season begins this week when the Bulldogs face South Carolina.)

2. Florida (Impressive win against Miami on Saturday and plenty of momentum to go into next weekend’s showdown with Tennessee at Neyland.)

3. LSU (Bye week gives the Bayou Bengals plenty of time to rest up for the showdown with Auburn.)

4. Alabama (Two impressive wins so far this season will make another dogfight in the SEC West.)

5. Auburn (As Director of Hottie Recruitment and Auburn fan Joel Pierce said to me Saturday, there’s room for improvement for the boys from the Plains.)

6. Kentucky (Relax, it was a bad Louisville team and Norfolk State. Their ranking isn’t going to be that  high for long on the power rankings.)

7. Tennessee (Dr. Greer, I think you better fork over my BBQ ‘n Coke come September 27th when Auburn beats a tattoo on the most overrated team not named Clemson.)

8. Ole Miss (That team didn’t look like the team from the Coach O era on Saturday against Wake Forest, did it?)

9. Vanderbilt (2-0 on 25th Avenue South? Quick, call Satan!!!)

10. Arkansas (Hogs will have to wait to take their beating by the Longhorns. That will come September 27th by the way.)

11. South Carolina (The Spurrier “I Quit” Watch is on in Columbia.)

12. Mississippi State (Dawgs hit the .500 mark and I’m still building my stable of young ladies to talk to.)

My time’s up. You’ve been a great audience. Enjoy your Saturday of college football and read my book, “Candy Bars and Fly Balls”, available online and also in stores around the Memphis area.

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