All that glitters, is not necessarily gold …..

All that glitters, is not necessarily gold …

Well , the sports’ world brought us all an array of surprising results , but perhaps , nowhere was this more surprising than in the arena of College Football . The continued arrogance of Alabama’s , Nick Saban continues to know boundaries as to its excessive-ness and his self-absorbed demeanor, was once again on display for all to see in the team’s ” highly touted” match-up against Auburn on Saturday afternoon . Given what this game meant to nation’s top ranked team at the time , the ensuing loss suffered by the Crimson Tide , their first of the season , pretty much has sealed their fate in terms of any national title hopes , as the program sought to win their third BCS national title in the past four seasons . Personally, I see the team’s defeat as a blessing in disguise for the program , a wake-up call for Nick Saban , his coaching staff and players as a whole !

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Slideshow .

Saban’s explanation, as to the reasons why he felt it necessary to go for a fifty-seven yard field goal attempt , when all season long , neither kickers Cade Foster or Adam Griffith had succeeded from a range beyond forty-eight yards , warrants as much of answer , as to the coach’s own decision , to seek to make the attempt at the time. What followed is likely to go down in the annals of the Auburn Tigers’ folklore, as well its rich heritage of footballing history. With the remainder of the Collegiate Football schedule, yet to be played out , the question now becomes who best serves being anointed to play for this year’s BCS title, with the winner being viewed as the nation’s top football program for the 2013 season .

A clearly disgruntled Nick Saban strolls the sidelines during Alabama’s game against Auburn this past Saturday . The game ended with Alabama’s unbeaten reign for the season coming to an abrupt end .

While Alabama, was being sent back to Tuscaloosa, with their tails between their legs. Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes , sought to move up the rankings by seeking to be victorious over Michigan . It is pretty safe to say that the Buckeyes and that rampant offense are by far the best team in the country as things now stands with the exception of the ACC’s own juggernaut Florida State (Seminoles) . I am beginning to wonder, if Jay Jacobs the Tigers’ AD is actually serious when he says ” ‘College Football’ would be done a great disservice, if a one loss team would be left out of the national title game and undefeated team such as Ohio State were allowed in “ . Once again, an administrator with clearly no damn intelligence, is seeking preferential treatment for the SEC , after Alabama’s repeated chances to put the game beyond Auburn’s reach, when the teams faced each other on Saturday afternoon . Jacobs, if anything should be elated at his school’s triumph and that they are now viewed as a possible national title contender while praising Chris Davis in showing his athleticism in racing through for a one hundred and seven yard touchdown run , that sealed the victory for the Tigers and leaving Alabama questioning their alleged invincibility .

Urban Meyer having brought back a sense of respectability to the Buckeyes’ program , their clash with Michigan (Wolverines) has always been seen as one of the highlights of the Collegiate Football season. Nonetheless, it would take a wildly rousing and stirring contest , before this game would come to a satisfactory conclusion on Saturday afternoon , with Meyer’s team coming away with a narrow but hard-fought 42-41 victory . At 12-0 , the Buckeyes can now seal their own fate, by winning the Big Ten title and booking their way to a BCS title match-up .

One can truly tell a great deal about a program in College Football , by the demeanor of a head coach and the relationship that he is said to have with the fans. In the case of the Florida Gators . The expectations were high , with the hire of Wil Muschamp , as he sought to make a name for himself , rather than seeking upon the retirement of Mack Brown at the University of Texas and that illustrious program . Of late , both the Longhorns and Gators seem to have hit upon lean times , and now comes the question what fate now awaits both Mack Brown and his former heir apparent Wil Muschamp after their respective under-achieving seasons. You can have all the talent in the world along with this asinine notion as to a top recruiting class on an annual basis , as many of these misanthropes who purportedly call themselves die-hard Gators’ fans . Ask them to explain why none of that has matriculated into a successful 2013 season , and it almost akin to berating and telling them to stop suckling on their mother’s breasts .

These Gators’ fans are bright , but not that bright or excessively intelligent. Jeremy Foley no longer has that glint in his eye and his reputation has taken a gigantic hit with the team’s failings this season under the young head coach . From my own standpoint, I do not believe that Wil Muschamp is a great motivator , while he may well be a very good coach , there has been nothing to suggest that he is either astute or in fact knows how to deal with real adversity on or off the field of play ! The results this season bear this out and the team’s lopsided loss (37-7) to instate rivals, the Florida State Seminoles , further emphasized that fact and was a damning indictment of the team’s failings that have been on show , all season long .

Wil Muschamp is likely to be retained by the school , but I believe that after this loss to the Seminoles, the picture for the head coach is not as bright as first thought , when hired as the successor to Ron Zook , whose own tenure with the program was short-lived , after the boosters were not satisfied with the on field progress of the team , at the time . If Zook, can be hung out to like a dying carcass , for just about everyone to pick at his entrails , then why has not the same fate , now befallen his successor ?

If the NFL has actually proven one thing to me this season , it is never ever look at a team and to think them great , in spite of the results or statistics ! Well , in the case of the , Atlanta Falcons , Buffalo Bills , Cleveland Browns , New York Jets , Tampa Bay Buccaneers , Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins , that argument was already mute to begin with, Neither team from a coaching standpoint, or competitive standpoint has been a worthwhile exhibit to view and categorically state , this is what the NFL is all about . If anything , all six teams , it could be argued this is what the league should not desire to be about , under any description that would give credence that this is how football ought to be played .

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-9) were thought to have turned the corner having won two straight , before running into the hottest team in the NFL , when Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers played host to their NFC South divisional rivals on Sunday afternoon . Anyone who may well have remotely thought this contest to be even competitive , must be viewed with a great deal of skepticism . This is a badly coached Buccaneers lineup , whose head coach Greg Schiano is as bereft of coaching acumen , as the team he sent out onto the field of play on Sunday afternoon . Where Tampa and the front office now decides to go from here, will be predicated upon the remaining four games of the season on the Buccaneers’ schedule.

Geno Smith , turnover machine , his understudy this season , Mark Sanchez , likewise . How else can one describe a New York Jets’ team that has been so extraordinarily bad , other than to say , “ boy this team sucks “ ! The Jets and the Miami Dolphins met in an AFC East divisional game that had a great deal riding on the outcome for both teams. Miami, is still looking to downplay and forget about the verbose behavior of Richie Incognito , while the Jets are simply looking to forget about this season altogether . Suffice to say, after the Dolphins’ open-ended 23-3 annihilation of the Jets , you have to come to the conclusion that the team’s GM John Idzik has to take matters into his own hands and fire head coach Rex Ryan at the end of this season . What use is a coach , who is unable to motivate a team , much less teach them the basic fundamentals of the game ? Answer me, that , if you can ?

Geno Smith may well be in his rookie season , but the repeated mistakes , are common placed , that there is no way in hell , I can see the player being the regular season starter for the franchise next year ! He was ill prepared in 2013 and under the tutelage of quarterbacks’ coach David Lee , his progression has been at a snail’s pace. .

How the mighty have fallen and it seems almost inconceivable, that the Houston Texans (2-10) can now be so bad and look so bad . At the beginning of the season, this team was thought to be one of the more credible contenders within the AFC South , as well as the AFC and a legitimate Superbowl contender. Instead, a team , plagued by injuries , poor quarterback play, inexplicable mid-season personnel decisions and a complete lack of leadership both on and off the field of play . Matt Schaub , has simply proven that all the all great regular season stats cannot make up for the flaws he has in terms of his postseason play , and not one to be viewed as a leader , when faced with adversity during the postseason. Head coach Gary Kubiak , in spite of his recent health issues , I can only surmise that team owner Robert “Bob” McNair and GM Rick Smith are likely to make the decision to jettison their beleaguered coach. Two successive postseason failures and then , in 2013 , a none responsive unit on the field of play , has all but condemned the franchise to a rather moribund season . The team’s record, as it now stands, certainly bears this out and it is simply another damning indictment of another NFL franchise , where the coaching has been so mediocre beyond the atrocious play .

The Texans’ narrow three-point 34-31 loss to the New England Patriots may well have been another nail in the coffin , that is likely to bring about Gary Kubiak’s abrupt departure as well the team’s veteran quarterback Matt Schaub. Many, still question, why it is, that the coaching staff have not made more use of either TJ Yates or Case Keenum . The latter, in Keenum, who showed a great deal of poise earlier this season , when asked to step in for the then injured incumbent starter , Matt Schaub. Keenum’s demotion back to the bench, created a great deal of anger amongst Texans’ fans. Case Keenum’s play on Sunday was very good , but the Texans’ defense was simply diabolical to watch under any circumstance , that one might deem to imagine.

As the Seattle Seahawks roll on , and based on last night’s rollover and demolition of the New Orleans Saints, this Pete Carroll coached team might just now be the best in the NFC . My only caveat to this all , “buyer beware “ , as the Carolina Panthers with their recent win streak aided and abetted by the play of Cam Newton and the Panthers’ defense has the team rolling along nicely . Not only that , but with a 9-3 record , they are now challenging the Saints for divisional supremacy within the NFC South , in what has been a totally abhorrent season for the division’s two other divisional occupants , the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

While I believe that the Seahawks’ fortunes are tied to that of the team’s quarterback Russell Wilson . I can’t help but wonder, how differently, things might have turned out, had not then GM John Idzik persuaded Pete Carroll to draft Wilson, rather than going with a defensive lineman . It is clear, that since Russell Wilson’s first appearance for the Seattle Seahawks, the franchise has become relevant once again, with the young sophomore quarterback once again showing his worth this season . Seattle’s next game will be a true test of wills when they make an appearance at Candlestick Park in San Francisco , California, when they are the guests of the San Francisco 49ers in a divisional contest. In the driver’s seat, having already garnered a playoff berth, the best record in the conference and the league are still up for grabs.

As a die-hard New England Patriots’ fans , I must say that at times I have been completely dismayed by the play of the team and what appears the whimsical and often complacent attitude of Bill Belichick and his staff . I believe much of this, may well have to do with how the franchise has been viewed in light of the Aaron Hernandez ” scandal” . A great deal of the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the head coach and front office , with GM Nick Caserio working in close conjunction with team owner Robert ‘Bob’ Kraft. . In the aftermath of Hernandez’s arraignment and being charged first degree murder , all of the finger-pointing and blame game began , with Kraft suggesting that the player lied to the organization . My question for Kraft , if as suggested , the franchise conducted their own in-depth background check of Aaron Hernandez’s past history , then why was it that a number of the prior allegations against the player while in college, were simply overlooked by the organization ? And given the player’s propensity for violence and a need to be around multiple firearms, licensed and unlicensed , then clearly that had to have been a ‘red flag’ raised for the Patriots’ investigators, for Bill Belichick , Nick Caserio and Robert Kraft.

A trial date, has yet to be set for Aaron Hernandez, in the homicide of a former acquaintance, Odin Lloyd . This story will become a media cycle and news’ frenzy for the NFL and the nation’s broadcast networks in 2014. Especially where, there now seems to be a belief that the tight end may well now be an accomplice in two other homicides that have yet to be closed by law enforcement in terms of a full investigation .

At 9-3 and leading the AFC East , quite comfortably, New England’s destiny over the remainder of the regular season rests in their own hands. The remaining four games on their schedule, are all winnable , if the effort is shown to garner the results desired. A number two seed and gaining a bye, in the wildcard round of the playoffs has to be the objective of the team. I am sure that Tom Brady and his teammates would like to make that a reality , rather than having to face the pitfall of facing a lower seed in the always dangerous opening round of the NFL postseason .

This never-ending rationale by Roger Goodell with the rise in popularity of the NFL across the Atlantic Ocean , and specifically in Western Europe . There now seems to be a growing anticipation amongst Goodell and the most senior league executives that the time is almost upon the league to make it a reality , of having a franchise based in Europe . Language barriers asides , the preferred choice would appear to be London , England . Yet, the real issue would become the venue and the cost to an apparent aspiring franchise owner. Any bidding consortium is likely to be asked for a rights’ fee in excess of $750 million . No small price, considering the avarice continually being shown Goodell and the franchise owners around the NFL . What the NFL Commissioner has failed to take into account, apart from the tens of millions dollars lost after the league’s first foray on the European continent with the doomed failure . of NFL Europe . Presided over by Paul Tagliabue as the then commissioner , is the league having to compete against not only Premiership soccer , but also the various professional soccer leagues in Western Europe and their scheduling .

One of the major failings of that first start-up , was the very fact that the NFL handled it all haphazardly , without their being any input being sought from the then starting franchises, that encompassed NFL Europe’s beginning . Communiques between the league and its counterpart , were often comedic and bore no substance in fact , in terms of the claims that the initiative was an overall success . Two decades later , and I am convinced that Roger Goodell has learned absolutely nothing from his predecessor’s failure with NFL Europe. Owners such as Jerry Jones , Robert McNair, Jed York , Arthur Blank , Jerry Richardson , Pat Bowlen and Jim Irsay and Jeff Lurie are proponents for the league’s expansion outside North America .

If the NFL can barely make any inroads, in seeking the creation of a franchise in the nation’s second largest advertising market in Los Angeles , California. Then what might I ask, would embolden the league to now believe, it now has a better chance of having a European franchise ? One would also have to take into account the logistical nightmares that are likely to be created, concerning a regular season schedule and the time zones involved . While there are billions of dollars at stake in terms of increased revenues , there is no guarantee of success and I sincerely doubt that a prospective franchise owner would willing wait anywhere between four to six years before the franchise would be deemed a competitive success. Never-mind the fact, that the fans are likely to be subjected to several years of likely incompetence in terms of the on-field product . Is that really the price , that you as a consumer and fan would be willing to pay?

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Picture gallery .

As the NFL regular season is coming into the final stretch , what if anything do you believe awaits a number of the league’s perceived contenders ? Also, which team to your mind , has proven to be the biggest disappointment of this season ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else, you believe pertinent to the subject matter.

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Auburn’s Chris Davis (11) returns a missed field goal for the winning touchdown against Alabama. Auburn would go on to defeat the number one ranked Alabama Crimson Tide 34-28 in a nail-biting game that may well have dashed Alabama’s national tile hopes in a game played this past Saturday Nov. 30, 2013 in Auburn, Ala. Todd J. Van Emst …

(2) Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn , arms aloft , celebrates as he sees Chris Davis makes his way to the end-zone during the game between Alabama and Auburn this past Saturday , in a clash of two of the SEC’s most respected programs . The outcome has now wreaked havoc in the BCS standings , with the formerly unbeaten Alabama now falling down the rankings to number four in the BCS Poll . AP Photo / Curtis Todd ….

(3) Wide receiver Jeremy Gallon (21) of the Michigan Wolverines is tackled by defensive back Tyvis Powell (23) of the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first quarter during a game at Michigan Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Getty Images North America / Gregory Shamus ….

(4) Wide receiver Devin Smith (9) of the Ohio State Buckeyes scores a touchdown in the first quarter as safety Josh Furman (14) of the Michigan Wolverines defends during a game at Michigan Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Getty Images / Gregory Shamus …..

(5) Wil Muschamp left , head coach of the Florida Gators’ program is seen here with his counterpart Jimbo Fisher of Florida State as the two meet center-field prior to the game between the programs in Gainesville , Florida on Saturday 30th November , 2013 . The Seminoles would go on to rout Florida 37-7 in a lopsided match-up where the Gators’ defense was simply abysmal . So much for the idiocy that the program on annual basis has a top five recruiting class , which obviously hasn’t matriculated into anything of substance in 2013 , given Florida’s present record (4-8) . Orlando Sentinel / Jose Garcia ….

(6) Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers breaks through the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense for a first down during play at Bank of America Stadium on December 1, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers won 27-6 . Getty Images / Grant Halverson …..

(7) Another loss and another erratic display from the New York Jets . Geno Smith (7) of the New York Jets leaves the field after a loss against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on December 1, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Getty Images / Jeff Zelevansky …

(8) Seattle Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll , right , is seen here with the team’s quarterback Russell Wilson . The player has guided the team to their second consecutive playoff berth in two season and will be looking to go one step further than last season , when the Seahawks were defeated in the divisional round by the Atlanta Falcons . Seattle currently has the best record in the NFC , much of it due to the improved play of the quarterback and what is now turning out to be one of the league’s best defenses . On Monday night the Seattle Seahawks showed their dominance in routing the New Orleans Saints in a completely lopsided affair . AP Photo / Mark Shaw …

(9) Case Keenum (7) of the Houston Texans is seen here on the sidelines at Reliant Stadium in Houston , Texas, speaking to head coach Gary Kubiak . Currently rooted at the bottom of the AFC South with a 2-10 record , all things seem to be pointing to the fact that Kubiak will not be returning in 2014 , albeit that the front office has been noncommittal concerning the head coach’s long-term future. AP Photo / Scott Parker ….

(10) Former New England Patriots’ tight end Aaron Hernandez (81) is seen here with head coach Bill Belichick at the Patriots’ practice facility in Foxboro’ , Massachusetts. With the franchise having released the player early this season after his having been arraigned and charged with first degree murder in the death of Odin Lloyd . Hernandez now awaits a trial date to be set , with two accomplices and his fiancee` Shayanna Jenkins also charged on a lesser count of obstruction of justice and perjury . Meanwhile , the New England Patriots, have seen their season become one of erratic performances , but with their not being much of a competitive resolve from their divisional competitors , their fate now lays in their own hands over the remainder of the regular season , and beyond . Getty Images / Sam Gardner ………

(11) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , foreground , is seen here with Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones . Both high level executives are proponents of the NFL’s expansion beyond North America . Jones has long wised and pushed for the NFL to have an overseas’ franchise specifically in Europe even in spite of the league’s failure with NFL Europe in the mid to late eighties. NFL regular season games have been played in Toronto , Ontario , Mexico City , Mexico and in recent years in London , England , at the cathedral of English soccer , Wembley Stadium , in London. In 2014 , Goodell expects the schedule to incorporate two regular season games at the English soccer venue , though no concrete deal has yet to be set on the schedule and how it would fit in with any proposed events to be staged at the stadium. . AP Photo / Scott Parker ….

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tophatal …………..

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NCAA Football news

NCAA Football results week fourteen

NCAA FBS Football schedule week fifteen

BCS rankings

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NFL news and stories from around the league

NFL week thirteen schedule

NFL week thirteen injuries

NFL schedule week fourteen

NFL standings by division

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Slap me silly .

Saban left his team hanging in the wind with his boneheaded decision , much like this chic’s tits .

Stupid Is , Can’t Be As Stupid Does , Can It …. ?

Stupid Is , Can’t Be As Stupid Does , Can It …. ?

So just when you thought that all that would appear just when we had seen it all concerning the rabid stupidity that exists within collegiate athletics. It would appear that Auburn Tigers’ football coach Gene Chizik is extremely unhappy that the NCAA is still continuing its investigation of the school. Chizik had an impromptu conversation with the NCAA’s vice president for enforcement Judie Loah Roach during which the officer informed the coach that the school and its recruitment of Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton was still under investigation. As we all know there said to be a number of improprieties concerning the player’s recruitment . The player’s father Cecil Newton is said to still be a person of interest in this ongoing investigation . It’s plain to see that there is a great deal at stake should the school be found to be in violation of any type of NCCA rules . The jury is out and the blow-back from this all could very well be another nail in the coffin of another very prestigious collegiate athletics’ program.

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Slide show for your perusal .

So the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive player James Harrison is simply proving once again why players from the NFL are better to be seen on the field of play rather than being heard . The player fresh off last season’s numerous fines has become a bona-fide asshole of the highest order ! . In criticizing the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling him “a crook” , “a devil “ , “a tyrant” and an ” autocratic despot “ whose power simply knows no bounds . At the same time the player was also critical of his teammate Ben Roethlisberger and the very fact that the player at times was simply not playing to the best of his abilities and was being reliant on the defense to bail out the team far too often over the course of last season . Pardon me for saying this , but shouldn’t Harrison be the one to voice these opinions behind closed doors amongst his teammates and the coaching staff as it relates to the team’s play ? As to his criticism of the commissioner , once it’s out there it becomes too late to take it all back . And that is now what the player now seems to be doing by stating that his statements were completely taken out of context. I certainly believe that when it’s all said and done if it is not Mike Tomlin who ends up speaking to James Harrison about his comments then quite possibly look a senior official from the front office to hold a private conversation with the player .

The Pittsburgh Steelers has always been an organization that chooses to conduct their problems behind closed doors and to try and make sure that the players as such are of the highest order in terms of their character. It is easy to undersstand why the are considered one of the most respected teams within the NFL and the success achieved in large part has come down to the fact here has been very little volatility within the organization and turnover in terms of the coaching staff. Unfortunately , with the antics of Santonio Holmes , Plaxico Burress and in particular Roethlisberger , his infantile and rather asinine antics over the last few years has led the Rooney family to once again scrutinize the players on the roster. Recently we had the team’s veteran wide receiver Hines Ward busted for DUI and with the player initially stating that wasn’t intoxicated, only for the police to later inform us that Ward was indeed driving over the legal limit . He would later offer an apology to his teammates and the organization for his behavior .

Shit we know rolls downhill but boy , oh boy the NBA and in particular the league hierarchy now looks as if they will try and do anything to shovel it uphill. The hierarchy feels aggrieved that the NBPA (union ) will be allowed to retain the larger part of $160 million from an escrow account that they funded based on the terms that should their cumulative salary exceed 57% of the basketball related income . Now with the teams owners and hierarchy now under siege with their position now looking all the more perilous David Stern seeks into increase their profile and take the upper hand in the ongoing lockout . It would appear that management would seek to impune the integrity of the union. The league feels that the funds in question should be placed back into a general fund rather than be at the players’ disposal . Somehow you simply knew that the league could not be trusted to show any type of integrity at all.

The NBA is still at odds with the players and the fact that they are still asserting that they are losing money. But many of the league’s problems can be traced back to the fact that Stern allowed the teams and in particular the general managers run amok with in terms of the team salaries as they seek success with apparent abandonment . David Stern has long maintained that the teams are on track to lose hundreds of millions of dollars for the fiscal year. Last season’s losses were in excess $300 million and this year it is projected to be considerably higher . It seems rather ridiculous to think that the league having set a soft salary cap in place would then seek to allow those very same teams to far exceed the figure of $57 million and then expect there not to be any serious ramifications for the league’s excessive spending .

It seems rather strange that many of the league’s high profiled owners such as Mikhail Prokhorov , Jerry Buss , Michael Jordan , James Dolan , Peter Holt and Michael Heisley have all remained steadfast behind the commissioner . However , the longer this situation goes on there is the likelihood that we may well begin to see some dissent amongst the owners who may challenge the stance the league hierarchy is taking . From my own perspective , the lockout has become simply an issue of egos and which party feels that their stance appears to be the best option available. At some point this impasse has to be resolved because before we actually know it the preseason training schedule will be upon us. It’s pretty much safe to say that neither side wants to be in this for the long haul and now with a number of players envisioning that this dispute may well be for a prolonged period we are seeing a number of them considering the lucrative option of playing abroad. It certainly will be advantageous for New Jersey Nets’ point guard Deron Williams who has signed a one year $ 5 million contract with the Turkish side Beseitkas.

Unless I missed something which I am glad that I did but the MLB All Star Game had to be one of the most boring in recent memory. Never mind the 5-1 lopsided result and win for the National League but the game had one of the lowest ratings in almost a decade and this can’t have been what Fox actually wanted from the game’s midseason show case event. At the same time the question now being asked is how best the whole format of the All Star Game can be changed where it is more of an exhilarating event not only for the participants but also for the fans in attendance and those watching the broadcast. Given the actual idiocy of the whole damn format with the fans picking the actual players they want to see on the respective rosters makes this whole event all the more asinine to begin with.

Baseball is a sport that in large part looks to its past in terms of its legitimacy and legacy as the nation’s pass-time . But once Bud Selig assumed control as commissioner of the league his reign and the fact that the league hierarchy has essentially become clueless as the most acute needs of the game , it should not have surprised anyone at all as to the outcome of the spectacle. One listless team simply didn’t turn up at all but somehow they were assured of their respective team incentives. The NL simply dished out an ass whupping of the highest order leaving the AL with their tails hanging between their legs . At this point will there anyone at all interested in the fact that next season’s game will be held at the home of the Kansas City Royals ? Well , I guess not ! The league hierarchy much like the team owners have become totally bereft any ideas and creativity when it now comes to the marketing of the game , its brand in general and likewise as it relates to the All Star Game . Tuesday night was very much a clear indication of that and it was there for all to bear witness to !

Well at last someone had the foresight to hire Brian Shaw with the former Los Angeles Lakers’ assistant coach being overlooked for several of the offseason vacancies that came about . Indiana Pacers’ general manager Larry Bird having interviewed Shaw , hired the former player to be the assistant to Frank Vogel and his staff. Bird has made it clear the new assistant’s role will to teach the players on the Pacers’ roster how best to improve their all-round game . I’ve no doubt that Shaw will prove to be a valuable asset to the team and with being able to provide to a great deal of insight as to what it takes to be successful from a player’s standpoint . If anything this steadies a listless ship and all but assures the team of retaining their best player Danny Granger who could opt to become free agent after the upcoming season.

The Pacers’ organization is flushed with youthful talent but Vogel’s biggest problem has been to harness it all into one cohesive and effective unit. With the addition of Brian Shaw and the existing members of coaching staff we could very well see something of a resurgence from this team. Not since the days of Reggie Miller and Rik Smits have the Pacers been deemed worthy to be considered a legitimate force within the NBA . And granted over the years the organization has had its problems stemming from neglect and the fact that the team was seen as one of the back-water stop offs in players’ career when they’re said to be on the decline. If things are to change with the thought of a turnaround in mind then perhaps with Brian Shaw and Frank Vogel working in tandem there could very well be something beginning to foment within the organization.

On the outside looking in I am not so sure to make of the situation now encapsulating the furor of the US women’s soccer team having made it to the finals of the World Cup . As great an accomplishment as this has been and the fact that the country will be chasing its first Cup win since 1999 the game barely registers a blip on the consciousness of the masses domestically here at home . Granted , all of the patriotism comes to the foreground in the times of triumph but what one sees as a triumph then is simply eroded when you considers that attendances for games at the club level within the WPSL ( Womens Premier Soccer League) averages no more than 2,500 per game . Salaries for players at the club level where the median is approximately $25,000 per year offers the players little by way of comfort with many of them choosing to hold down a civilian position beyond playing or for many of the top stars , some choose to split their time playing overseas.

The 2011 World Cup has to be considered a success for FIFA and in particular for the entrants to this year’s competition. Some of the matches have been competitive while others have been what one might consider to be extremely boring. But the back-drop to this all has been the very fact that the US team has sought redemption and they now have a chance at that by defeating their upcoming opponent Japan in the final game of the tournament .

Both sides have reached this stage of the competition having defeated two teams in semi-finals thought to be their equal at the international level. Japan defeated Sweden in a thoroughly convincing fashion 3-1 and the US had their problems with Brazil having to overcome a deficit before defeating the team in a penalty shootout (5-3) after a 2-2 tie in regulation .

In the final itself , we should expect a highly competitive game between two evenly matched teams . Team USA brings along the experience and a more physical style of play but Japan has speed , exuberance and a technical aspect that one would not normally associate with a team from the Far East. But much of that may well come down to the fact that there are a number high quality European coaches at the club level within the country where fan support for the game reaches rabid proportions. Obviously something that the WPSL yearns for here in the US but it still lacks support of the fans in general and the willingness of the networks to give the game much or airtime than it is now obtaining . Coverage of the game has been primarily with ESPN where basically much of women’s sports now finds its support from a viewing standpoint not only at the professional level but also at the collegiate level. Somehow one can only imagine that Title IX (Title IX) was meant to create something of a level playing field but in reality the success attained by the enactment by this legislation has not really done enough to put women’s sport on the map in the true sense of the word.

Should the USA win Sunday’s final match then we may well see something of an advancement in the game here domestically but considering the missteps along the way previously in trying to create a professional league at the club level , I firmly believe that soccer at the women’s level here much like their male counterpart still has a long way to go before it gets any real level of respect that they feel they rightly deserve . The nation has yet to take the game into its heart , feel as if it is something it can truly appreciate and that is in spite of the fact that now the game is now being played by more children at the middle , high school level and by collegiate players than baseball and basketball combined . Something to think about don’t you think ? And while the game of soccer resonate around the globe with its throng of fans it remains a bewildering back-drop for most here simply because the NBA , NFL , MLB , NASCAR and NHL rule the roost when it comes fans wanting to see something a great deal more exhilarating than 22 players chasing a round ball up down a field .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the points raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have ? Do leave a comment as to your thoughts and thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan aka tophatal ……. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Auburn coach Gene Chizik watches the first day of spring football practice for the national champion Auburn Tigers in Auburn, Ala., Wednesday, March 23, 2011. AP Photo / Garry Finkel …..

(2) FILE – In this Nov. 13, 2010 file photo, Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton (2) dunks coach Gene Chizik following a 49-31 win over Georgia in an NCAA college football game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. Chizik wants Auburn fans to remember Newton “as a great individual,” not just a Heisman Trophy-winning player. The Tigers coach defends the No. 1 NFL draft pick in the upcoming book “All In” but says it is “really a story about football, family and faith.” Chizik discussed the book Wednesday, June 29, 2011, ahead of its July 5 release that will have him hit the road for a promotional tour with nine stops in four states. AP Photo/Dave Martin ….

(3) FILE – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell listens to questions during a news conference at the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., in this June 21, 2011 file photo. Heavily fined Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison calls NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “crook” and a “devil,” among other insults, in a magazine article in the August issue of Men’s Journal. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ….

(4) FILE – Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) warms up before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Pittsburgh, in this Dec. 23, 2010 file photo. Heavily fined Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison calls NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “crook” and a “devil,” among other insults, in a magazine article in the August issue of Men’s Journal. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar ……

(5) NBA union chief Billy Hunter speaks to reporters after a meeting with the NBA, Thursday, June 30, 2011 in New York. The NBA is headed to deadline day, with perhaps one last chance to avoid a lockout. Negotiators for owners and players will meet Thursday, about 12 hours before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and seemingly nowhere close to a deal. That meeting however would lead to the league mandated shutdown of the NBA . AP Photo/Mary Altaffer ……

(6) National League All-Star Prince Fielder (28) of the Milwaukee Brewers and his sons Jaden (R) and Haven pose with the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award after the National League defeated the American League 5-1 in the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Jeff Gross ……

(7) National League All-Star Lance Berkman (12) of the St. Louis Cardinals is tagged out at second base by American League All-Star Robinson Cano (24) of the New York Yankees in the bottom of the second inning of the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix,Az . Getty Images North America/ Jeff Gross ….

(8) Indiana Pacers new assistant head coach Brian Shaw responds to a question during a news conference in Indianapolis, .Wednesday, July 13, 2011. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(9) Pia Sundhage (2nd L) coach of the U.S. laughs as she listens to striker Abby Wambach (2ndR) during a practice session for the upcoming final of the women’s soccer World Cup in Frankfurt July 15, 2011. The U.S. will play Japan in the World Cup final on Sunday in Frankfurt. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach ….

(10) USA’s goalkeeper Hope Solo is stretched during a training session on July 15, 2011 in Frankfurt/Main, two days before the final football match of the FIFA women’s football World Cup Japan vs USA at the FIFA Frauen-WM-Stadion in Frankfurt/Main, central Germany, on July 17, 2011. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE …..

(11) Members of Japan’s women’s soccer team pose with placards from Japanese children from Frankfurt’s International School prior to a practice session in Frankfurt July 15, 2011. Japan will play the U.S. in the World Cup final on Sunday, July 17, in Frankfurt. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach …….

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The BCS Stands For What ……….. ? ? ?

The BCS Stands For What ………… ? ? ?

It’s here, it’s now for all the marbles and I though I must say it I’ve not been overly enamored with what I’ve seen throughout the Bowl Series within collegiate football. Perhaps from a standpoint that I’m amongst a growing group I believe who would desire to see a playoff system within college football. Having the coaches , the press and a back room filled with computer geeks summarily in part make the decision as to who may end up playing in the national championship game does smack of idiocy to begin with. Never mind that the lesser games with their rather superfluous names make about as much sense as having the choice being made by a group of blind people simply using a pin and having the teams’ names being listed on a piece of paper. The whole BCS Championship series is simply nothing more than a money making exercise and that’s simply it. The six major conferences ( ACC , Big 10 , Big 12 , Big East , Pac 10 and SEC) that in essence oversees this rather corrupt system if anything ought to be thankful that they’re allowed to keep up this charade.

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Slide show .

While there’s been repeated criticism by members of Congress as to the way that teams are determined and the template put in motion is something of a joke. Any member of Congress wishing to address this situation given the fact that the BCS system has its supporters and detractors within that body smacks of idiocy to begin . Were you aware that the BCS Championship series has its own body of lobbyists up on Capitol Hill in Washington DC in order to safeguard its very existence ? The tax advantages to be attained by the NCAA as well as the BCS as a body and one can see why there’s billions of dollars to be made by both of these bodies who as such state that the interests of the student athletes at heart. Yeah I’ve heard it said also that’s the same belief held by the Medellin drug cartel in Colombia as they simply flood this country with their drugs. So what’s the difference between the BCS , NCAA and the drug cartels of Colombia ? Oh so it’s illegal to smuggle narcotics into this country for ill gotten gains while supplying that ever increasing band of drug users dependent on these narcotics. It’s not exactly stopped the big pharmaceutical companies in acting the way that they’ve been allowed even with the FDA as a conduit . Merely look at the billions made by these companies and the financial windfall it creates for the federal government by way of the taxes ? That’s simply the only difference between the two entities in question and the way that the government views their activities by way of its legality.

The championship game sponsored by Tostitos and to be played between the SEC’s —– Auburn (Tigers) led by Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and coached by Gene Chizik hope to convey why it is that they’re favored to win this matchup against the Oregon (Ducks). Both teams will have their slew of vociferous supporters up and down the country. And I’ve no doubt that there’ll be a certain East Coast – West Coast bias to this matchup and the feelings to be had between the fans and perhaps the nation at large. If anything these matchups are essentially driven by the appeal of the what the nation’s programmers’ wish to see , in order that they can attain the best returns possible by way of a televised audience.

Oregon for its part coached by Chip Kelly and led by Darron Thomas at quarterback with running back LaMichael James are sure to make this game a competitive one. We may well have been spoiled in recent years by the exploits of the Florida Gators , Texas Longhorns and that of USC but this game could very well match that classic of between the Trojans and Longhorns when they were led by Matt Leinart and Vince Young respectively . Both players in question were able to parlay those feats into careers within the NFL . Young for his part may not be long with the Tennessee Titans where his career has plummeted as fast as a meteorite falling from the sky. Leinart has yet to show his true guile for the NFL and if anything his being coddled while at USC may well have something to do with the fact that he’s yet to meet the expectations that many felt he was capable of.

This game will come down to one of two things how capable both defenses are at stopping the potent offensive threats that either side can display in terms of their respective pass and running attacks. If neither can actually stymie the other in that respect then we could end up with a high scoring game and one wherein yardage could be off the charts. Will it be what the fans want to see at the end of the day ………..who can say ? The national championship games haven’t always been entertaining but they seem to fill that void in airtime that the programmer has no other product at their disposal to display , so make of it what you will.

The Tigers’ Cam Newton despite his off the field issues will be looking to put an emphatic stamp on this season having led his team to the SEC championship game (56-17) and winning the Heisman Trophy with ease. It’d be indicative of the player at this juncture of the season to simply stamp his authority on it by showing why he’s the best college player in the game. Given the recent exploits of Stanford’s Andrew Luck there may well be a great deal more on the line with the perception that Newton could enter the NFL Draft for the untold riches that can be garnered there. Whether or Newton can and will be allowed exploit the weaknesses of the Oregon Ducks will be largely dependent upon the skill-set of that Ducks’ defense.

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

Oregon I’ve no doubt will come into this game being viewed as the underdogs by the press , public and no doubt the oddsmakers in Vegas. But I’d dare say that they’re keen to pull off the upset and show the nation what they’re truly capable of. Throughout much of the season Oregon has systematically played uptempo and they’ve literally destroyed some of their opponents almost at will. When tested at times they’ve risen to the occasion in more ways than one, showing their deftness in all phases of the game. This game will be a battle of wills and the coaching staff of both teams had better have their battle plans drawn and ready . If not, then one of these teams will find itself in the midst of an incessant onslaught and the ensuing battle could very well be viewed as being one sided and something of bore for the fans watching.

With the $17,500,000 at stake for the winner apart from the privilege of raising the the crystal trophy to signify that they’ve been crowned national champions. Along with it all comes the bragging rights and a great deal of prestige for the winning team and its program. Recruits will no doubt be watching with a great deal of interest and given the exposure that such a game brings they can’t help but feel that’s where they’re going to want to be ……….. on collegiate football’s grandest stage playing for a national title. The end goal being to showcase their talents for the watchful eyes for the NFL general managers and scouts also who are watching. It’s every young kids’ dream as well as that of the players who will be on display this upcoming Monday were the game is scheduled to be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium , Glendale , Arizona ,.

How have you viewed the games that have taken place during this Bowl season and what if anything to your mind has been the bright spot so far ? And are you as such entirely interested in the outcome of the national championship game ? Furthermore , what are your feelings on how the BCS system works and why they’re unwilling to adopt a playoff system ? Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on the matter .

NB: Auburn Tigers’ roster

Head coach Gene Chizik

Tigers’ coaching staff

Oregon Ducks’ roster

Head coach Chip Kelly

Oregon Ducks’ coaching staff

BCS National rankings as of 12/05/10

Click here to get the latest college football news.

Alan aka tophatal …………………………………………

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Leonie Nicole

Eye candy for you all . Leoni Nicole and a small montage of this beauty.

Hello and good morning ! It’s a hell of a day don’t you think ?

Leonie Nicole 2

Naughty but simply nice !

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John Legend feat’g Common & The Roots ……..”Wake Up Everybody”

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