It is what it is …………

It is what it is …………

Well the sports’ environment at present has taken a back seat to the NCAA Tournament , with the event itself , having provided the fans with a number of stunning upsets , while there have been some that were not totally unexpected . With the number one ranked Florida Gators having now made their way to the ‘Sweet Sixteen ‘ , the road in some respects does now seem all but clear , for Billy Donovan and his team to capture the program’s third national title in the past eight seasons . Were the Gators’ head coach able to manage that feat , it would certainly make him the school’s most successful coach in terms of national titles won , beating out the likes of Urban Meyer and Steve Spurrier .

=====================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

====================================================

Slideshow .

From my own perspective , I believe Donovan the equal of both of the aforementioned coaches , albeit that, Meyer and Spurrier left Florida to further their careers , elsewhere . In the case of Urban Meyer, his departure and subsequent criticism of his former employers and the program he coached to two BCS titles , may well have more to do with his egotistical character and the level of criticism aimed at him , with the failure of Tim Tebow to become a resounding success in the NFL . A great deal of that criticism is more than justified , when you simply bear in mind that Tebow’s collegiate career while stellar , at the next level of his evolution , his game simply did not materialize into anything more than that of a moderately average quarterback , who could barely read defensive tendencies , much less make a pass attempt in excess of fifteen yards or more , without their being a tendency of an interception or the pass simply falling short of its target , but there were , the vast majority of less than intelligent Gators’ fans, still singing Tim Tebow’s praises as a player. With his career now coming to an abrupt end , he has now been hired by cable sports’ programming network ESPN to provide fans with his insight into the Collegiate Football and the games , where he will be covering . One can only wish Tebow, all the success possible in his new endeavor , in the hope that he is likely to be more successful in his new vocation.

With a number of programs now having fallen by the wayside, in this particular NCAA Tournament, by contrast , at this point last season , things in some respects were somewhat similar. Florida for its part, have more than justified that national number one ranking , and proof of that , come by way of their regular season schedule and their run through the SEC (Southeast Conference) ,where the team went undefeated , a first for conference play, within the Southeastern Conference. Leading the way for Florida, in terms of the team’s play , have been Casey Prather , Patric Young , Michael Frazier and Scottie Wilbekin , but it has truly been a collective team effort , along with that of Billy Donovan and the coaching acumen shown by his coaching staff , which has taken them this far and proven their season-long dominance this year.

Through their first two games of this tournament, Florida has not truly been tested , with their first round contest against Albany NY being nothing more than a cakewalk , with their 67-55 defeat of that team , before facing an even less sterner test in taking down the Pittsburgh (Panthers) with another somewhat lopsided victory 61-45 . The Gators’ path to the ‘Elite Eight’ in the NCAA Tournament, will see them having to overcome the UCLA Bruins , in what is likely to be the best game scheduled during the ‘Sweet Sixteen’ .

Of the games , still to be played in the round of the Sweet Sixteen , beyond the featured contest, which I believe to be the best at this stage of the tournament. There are games between Iowa State versus Connecticut , Tennessee and Michigan , Louisville (Cardinals) and Kentucky , Baylor and Wisconsin , Arizona and San Diego State , finally Dayton versus Stanford . All great match-ups befitting a tournament, that now lures shall we say, degenerate gamblers into wagering billions of dollars, into the most lucrative sports’ event, for the gaming industry in North America .

Rick Pitino , as the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals, when he faces off against an old foe and nemesis in John Calipari , in a contest , of well-versed coaches , that will be a match of wits . What might also make this match-up also intriguing, with both coaches, having reached the pinnacle of collegiate coaching in winning a national title. Pitino, will now seek to take down a program , where, he was once a head coach and a well-respected one at that.

There are few coaches as well-respected as Tom Izzo within Collegiate Basketball and while one can be critical of the game at this level . It has to be said, that with the continued controversy of tainted programs , abuses of privileges and the ongoing issues of recruitment violations . Rarely, has Izzo’s tenure at Michigan St (Spartans) raised any suspicion of the program being mired, in any major impropriety. However, that is not to suggest, that Spartans athletics’ program has been pristine and above-board. Collegiate Athletics has become embroiled and awash, with far too much money , that the temptation to do something amiss, has become even more tempting than ever before. At the same time, the continued incompetency of the NCAA does not cover the distrust that the public has not only the entire landscape of college sports but also the hierarchical structure of the that particular body , under its current President , Mark Emmert , who came to the position, carrying a great deal of baggage of his own, concerning a number of improprieties and a lack communicative and administrative skills .

Izzo and the Spartans, while seeking to make their way to the Elite Eight, are not likely to have an easy time when they face the Virginia (Cavaliers) . Cavaliers’ head coach, Tony Bennett will undoubtedly want to pull off the upset , in taking the program this deep into the quarter-finals of the tournament for the very first time ever. The outcome of this contest, between Michigan and Tennessee , will definitely be predicated upon the offensive prowess shown by both teams and the coaching acumen of the respective staffs.

This NCAA Tournament has certainly lived up to expectations so far and the contests have provided the fans with a great deal more than most would have expected .

The big news within the NBA over the past eight days , has been the New York Knicks’ acquisition of Phil Jackson to head up the franchise’s Basketball Operations and being entirely responsible for all player personnel decisions. Jackson , himself, has been quick to point out, that the level of the play by the current roster has bordered on being inadequate and lacking the basic fundamentals , that the team itself , simply looks like a group of individuals at play on a high school playground. Subsequent to that statement by the Knicks’ front office executive , the players have responded in kind rolling off eight victories in their last ten games , perhaps reminding Jackson that they are capable of playing as a cohesive unit. As to what this might suggest as to the coaching strategies of Mike Woodson and his coaching staff , may well spell doom and his departure from the franchise at the end of this season. Woodson, might not be a proponent of the “Triangle Offense” and Phil Jackson has suggested that the scheme need not be adhered to, by the team, but , what he would like to see, is a great deal more resilience and tenacity from the players.

The New York Knicks’ continued malaise over the past seven seasons at least , has been brought on by the negligence of team owner , James Dolan and the litany of general managers heading up the front office during that time-span. Anyone who would try to suggest that under Isiah Thomas’ tenure , or that of Dave Checketts , Ernie Grunfeld , Scott Layden and in some respects Donnie Walsh , have in some way brought about some semblance of competitiveness to the franchise, need only look at the Knicks’ overall record from 1999 to 2013 and the number of playoff appearances made . In large part, the organization has spent more time acquiring nondescript talent and simply overpaying for the players assembled to represent the team during that time. It is certainly something, that will clearly have to be addressed by Phil Jackson and the staff that he will likely assemble to assist him in that stead, as he seeks to build a roster that will be viewed as a perennial contender, rather than being seen as an also-ran.

A playoff berth is now beyond the New York Knicks’ reach for this season, but in large part several players on the roster will be playing for their long-term future and livelihood with the franchise , in light of Jackson’s wish to revamp this roster. The team (29-41) at present , is lying in ninth place , within the Eastern Conference and three games out from that final berth , which is currently held by the Atlanta Hawks(31-37) as of 23rd March , 2014.

As if to further emphasize the numerous reasons why the Knicks have been woefully inept , consider the fact that at home, they are amongst the worst teams in the entire NBA , never mind the fact that they are simply unable to close out games, but yet the asinine analysis provided by on air commentators would have you believe to the contrary. Sunday’s six-point loss (106-100) at home at Madison Square Gardens in New York City, New York, to the Cleveland Cavaliers , is a damning indictment of not only the poor play of the New York Knicks , but also how damn awful , the Eastern Conference just happens to be overall , in terms of the poor play.

Inconsistency has now become the norm for the New York Knicks , while the air-headed print and television media within the New York market tend to be enraptured by Phil Jackson’s arrival , what they seem to be forgetting is actually how bad this team just happens to be and that is even with Carmelo Anthony having to carry his teammates on his shoulders for the majority of the season. One can choose to spin the tale of the New York Knicks for this season and then suggest that next year all of the events of 2013 , will be forgotten, because Phil Jackson , by then, will have begun to work miracles. Let’s get something clear, Phil can only work with the tools given him and what he has been provided with at this juncture , are a bag of nuts , bolts, and rusty tools, in seeking to get the job done . As to what transpires, in the coming months of this off-season, remains to be seen. It will be interesting to see whether or not, Jackson can indeed revamp an impoverished franchise, with them regaining some semblance of respectability.

==================================================

==================================================

Picture gallery .

The events of the NCAA Tournament, as they have unfolded, which result has been of the greatest surprise to you ? Which program do you now believe to be in the driver’s seat, with the easiest task of making it to the Final Four and then going on to win the Men’s NCAA title outright ? With Phil Jackson’s introduction as the new Head of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks , do you believe his task will be an easy one to turn things around for the franchise and how much time in your estimation, will it take for him to make the Knicks relevant and competitive ? Simply take time to leave a comment, as you see fit and thank you for the ongoing support of this site, as it is greatly appreciated !

🙂

Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

—————————————————————-

Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin, bottom, gets past Pittsburgh forward Lamar Patterson for a shot during the second half in a third-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, March 22, 2014. Florida won 61-45 . AP Photo/John Raoux ….

(2) Florida coach Billy Donovan gestures during the second half in a third-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament against Pittsburgh, Saturday, March 22, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/John Raoux…

(3) Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin (5) and center Patric Young (4) talk on the court during the second half in a second-round game against Albany in the NCAA college basketball tournament against Albany, Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack ….

(4) Louisville coach Rick Pitino , right, yells at guard Russ Smith (2) during the second half in a third-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament against Saint Louis , Saturday, March 22, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack ….

(5) Kentucky head coach John Calipari works from the sideline against Wichita State during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 23, 2014, in St. Louis. A highly rated Wichita State team that seemingly could not match the intensity shown by the Wildcats during this contest, which ended in disappointment for the Shockers. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ……..

(6) Kentucky guard Aaron Harrison (2) passes the ball as Wichita State guard Fred VanVleet (23) defends during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 23, 2014, in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …..

(7) Tony Bennett head coach of the Virginia Cavaliers . Bennett’s team face the MSU Spartans on Friday , with the victor guaranteed a berth in the Elite Eight as the prize . AP Photo / Rafael Gomez …..

(8) Michigan State’s Tom Izzo whose long and proud coaching resume’ indicates an impressive track record . Getty Images / Keith Turner …..

(9) NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 23: Jarrett Jack (1) of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots against the New York Knicks during a game at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images …
…….

(10) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony talks with New York Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson during the second half of the NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden, Sunday, March 23, 2014, in New York. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 106-100 . .AP Photo /Adrian Miller …..

(11) New York Knicks’ executive Phil Jackson is seen here, inlaid, team head coach Mike Woodson’s ,whose tenure with the Knicks’ franchise now seems more perilous than ever , with the team not completely responding to his coach style, in spite of a recent impressive run of eight consecutive victories . Yet, the team’s home record remains one of the worst in the entire NBA and one of the numerous reasons why they have fallen out of contention within the Eastern Conference this season. It seems highly unlikely that Woodson will be returning to coach the team next season , with their being no guarantee whatsoever, from the front office , even if there have been some reassuring words coming from unconfirmed sources within the hierarchical structure of the franchise. AP Photo / Lou Mason …..

—————————————————————-
🙂

College Basketball & NBA related pieces :

The running of the Bulls

It’s that time of the year again , and things are said be right with the world ….

You can talk a good game but can you play one ?

Stick to what you know and not what you’re told is the truth

Full steam ahead

——-

🙂

tophatal ….

Follow Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com : Tophatal’s Blog

———–

NCAA Men’s Basketball & news

NCAA Men’s Basketball (bracket)

NCAA Men’s Basketball schedule

NCAA Men’s Basketball champions

🙂

NBA news

NBA results 23rd March 2014

NBA standings (division) and by conference

NBA playoff picture (indicates game remaining)

This month in NBA history

Don’t believe the hype ……….

Don’t believe the hype

One of the seminal groups in all of music, but more so rap music, came out with a song that still resonates socially today, as it did two decades ago. Chuck D and Flava Flav , two of the founding members of the rap group Public Enemy are just as respected today, as when they first burst onto the scene over two decades ago with their socially conscious lyrics, which some suggested as being overtly racist . Take that with a pinch of salt, from a group of individuals, who at first thought that Rock-n-Roll was the Devil’s music. The song in question, by the Grammy nominated group was ‘Don’t Believe the Hype’ , delivering strong lyrics of defiance and of being socially relevant. Well today , in the world of sports , that means not being socially relevant , much less being involved. More so today, it is all about creating an image of being family friendly, in order to lure being wielding and deep pocketed corporate sponsors , broadcast networks and their billions of dollars . Nowhere, is that particular message more resonant , than within the NFL , NBA , MLB and Collegiate Athletics .

=========================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


==========================================================

Slideshow .

This season in the NFL , a great deal of the hype was made over the amazing start of both the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs . Two teams who came flying out of the starting gate, having rolled off seven straight victories apiece . By week seven in the league , the Broncos had fallen back to earth , having slipped up , when Peyton Manning as the ‘prodigal son’ , made his return to Lucas Oil Stadium , home to the Indianapolis Colts , where Manning and his teammates would succumb to his former team in a thoroughly entertaining game , as we witnessed the ongoing maturation process of Andrew Luck , the number one overall pick from the 2012 NFL Draft .

With their now being only one remaining unbeaten team in the NFL, as the 7-0 Kansas City Chiefs seek to keep their quest for a perfect regular season alive . All eyes will on Andy Reid’s rather surprising roster and their seeking to keep that record intact. From my own perspective , I felt with the departure of former general manager Scott Pioli , Matt Cassel , along with a number of players who proved to be unproductive , there was a chance that the Chiefs would be something of a surprise in 2013. Little did I realize, that they would now seen, as perhaps the best team in the NFL . Certainly, the traits were already there from last season , but what was most definitely needed , were the players to execute and coaching staff in place to get the players buying to into a proven message . Pioli’s successor , John Dorsey laid the foundations for that , with the hiring of Andy Reid and the acquisition of quarterback Alex Smith and some very shrewd off-season moves . On Sunday , the Chiefs will seek to further distance themselves from the rest of the AFC West , when they play host the Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City Missouri , in what should to be a very good AFC match-up .

If to suggest that things could not get any worse for a team now seeking not only redemption but also respectability , then what more can one say, about the now stagnant Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6) , who tonight host the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida ? This team has lost focus , heart , but overall there seems to be no leadership forthcoming from anyone on the roster or coaching staff . Greg Schiano’s demeanor at times has shown a lack of discipline , which seems to have been reflected a great deal in the Buccaneers’ lackluster displays throughout the season. And as usual, the Buccaneers’ fans continue to show more optimism than anything else . A loss tonight , and the franchise can start to think about 2014 and their likely draft status next year , beyond assessing the current roster .

I was never impressed with the hiring of hiring Greg Schiano in 2012 , in spite of his pedigree as a head coach with Rutgers . All of the bally hoo, surrounding the hire and the player acquisitions that came about , with GM Mark Dominik being viewed as a front office genius. Not much, by way of tangible success was borne out of the transactions or the overall play of the team during Schiano’s first year tenure. Take into the account, the idiocy , this preseason concerning what appears to the head coach’s reluctance to play Darrelle Revis during the four exhibition games and you can now understand why the Buccaneers’ season has simply spiraled out of control , with their not being much hope that things are likely to be turned around anytime soon .

As to the week eight schedule in the NFL, there are a number of games that will most definitely carry a great deal of intrigue and hype around them . I will personally leave that to the on air television personalities to discuss , because I am always assured of something inanely stupid being stated by the individuals in question who allegedly are providing the fans with a great deal of insight.

Leave it to the NCAA , to continue to show their utter stupidity and ongoing incompetence. After almost eighteen months of continued buffoonery by the Infractions’ Committee , an announcement was made as to the punishment to be meted out the Miami Hurricanes’ program and their willful violations of the NCAA rules , on a wide variety of transgressions . Bearing in mind , the actual mistakes by the NCAA investigators , the loss of documentary evidence and then their falsification of records . The fact that NCAA President Mark Emmert is said to feel comfortable the findings and the verdict rendered , either shows signs of his own stupidity or the very fact that the NCAA has lost all touch with reality along with its own credibility . I would like to think that the University President Donna Shalala would challenge the findings and the verdict , simply based on the wrongdoings by the NCAA investigators, if nothing else , to show that Collegiate Athletics’ governing body , simply cannot change the rules to meet their needs , after their own misdeeds . Granted, the University of Miami is at fault for its failed oversight in the monitoring of the athletic staff , compliance office and that of the student athletes past and present , embroiled in the scandal that has brought further disrepute upon the program .

As to the belief, that the NCAA has always had the student athletes’ interests at heart. I will liken that premise to the slave master /plantation owner an and his overseer , who grants the slaves on the plantation some time during a hot humid day, a ten minute water break, before they are made to return to their daily chores . As Malcolm X so astutely stated, “ we didn’t land on Plymouth Rock , Plymouth Rock landed on us “ ! The students remain indentured slaves of a corrupt and flawed system , but no one seems to want to acknowledge that fact , but they are prepared to discuss what is said to best adjudge, a fair way of determining a national champion in football at the FBS (Football Subdivision D 1 Level) . Have I actually missed something here , amidst all of this, and the countless billions of dollars reaped annually within collegiate athletics , but no transparency is shown by the NCAA , BCS or the major bowl conferences by way of their finances or business practices, while each of the entities operate under a tax-exempt status ? I guess, that must be overlooked by those who try to seek some sort of justification for the latest pretense being shown by the BCS and conference commissioners ?

As Wil Muschamp and his coaching staff seek to find ways to now resurrect the Florida Gators’ season after the team were routed by the Mizzou Tigers . I can’t help but wonder what must now being going on in the minds of the Gators’ fans statewide as well as nationally ! . Yes, there are fans of the program who actually reside outside the state of Florida . Who would have thought that, but yes, they remain as loyal as ever . For my friend, Chris , who in a recent comment on my site tried to suggest that the Gators have now slipped as low as number three in the state , in terms of football prominence . My response to that , would be , you seemed to have forgotten about the rise in prominence of the centrally (Florida) based UCF Golden Knights (5-1) , a now nationally ranked program in the BCS Poll and who appear to be on route to a major BCS Bowl berth, should their season pan out .

For Wil Muschamp and the Gators, they now have a week in which to prepare before facing the Georgia (Bulldogs) on the 2nd November , during week ten of the College Football season at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville , Florida. To say that this game will be of utmost importance as a “make or break” for the season, would be a vast understatement. Nonetheless, it has to be now or never if Florida are to make something of their year.

It may not have been the World Series many had hoped for, with undoubtedly many hoping that the Los Angeles Dodgers would now be staring down the Boston Red Sox in the 109th edition baseball’s postseason finale . The Dodgers simply failed show up in game six of their NLCS game against the St Louis Cardinals , who simply laid waste the Los Angeles franchise’s ambitions for the postseason . And for one of the team’s most prominent owners , Magic Johnson . This will be the season where he can now look back and merely speculate on not only what might have been, and whether not , it is now worthwhile pushing the team’s payroll to beyond $250 million annually , which would be an MLB record in terms of a team’s salary obligations . Not even the now once mighty New York Yankees have ever been bold enough to undertake such a premise. Can someone remind me once again , why it is that Alex Rodriguez remains the highest paid player in the game ? Damned, if I know !

Game one of this year’s World Series was something of a shock as the Boston Red Sox showed their intent , in making the Cardinals pay for their defensive errors on their way to an 8-1 opening series’ game-win . A shell-shocked Mike Matheny and his coaching staff must now be wondering , if after that bombardment they are in for more of the same during game two on Thursday night when the series resumes at Fenway Park in Boston Massachusetts. I believe that this St Louis’ team has it within them to even the series but it would have to be premised on the Cardinals’ players not repeating the mistakes witnessed in game one .

The more things are said to change, the more they remain the same . That is most certainly true of what might now be the most incompetent administration to hold office political office in this nation . Once again , leave it to Barack Obama to come up with another lame comment as to why he is so upset with the contractors who set up and maintain the website for the Affordable Healthcare Act (aka Obama-care) . Upon the website’s debut there were numerous problems that Kathleen Sebelius’ department , the Department of Health and Human Services failed to acknowledge or bring to the attention of the various technicians within that agency or the contracted company providing the maintenance and administration of the site . Now leave it to none other than the House Energy & Commerce Committee who also deal with health matters within the Congress . As they have sought to empanel their committee and request the presence of Kathleen Sebelius and the contractors to answer questions, as to why this site has either repeatedly crashed or the fact that most inquiries to the site would not lead an individual beyond the homepage . Nothing like incompetence, to show what you are not missing, when the government repeatedly screws things up. For months on end , during the initial setup there were numerous issues that cropped up concerning this site (healthcare.gov), but somehow , it is only now , that there seems to be a sense of urgency after the tens of millions of dollars that have spent . Call me naive , but where else can you find this sort of incompetency without anyone being accountable for the sheer magnitude of the ineptitude executed and then somehow deliberately covered up ?

Should I now shed a tear every time Barack Obama is upset or emotionally torn apart by an issue ? I will be damned, if I now give him the time of day , much less anything else ! Is it not enough , that he has made a complete ass of himself , concerning the issue of Syria and the apparent death of 400 children, who were subjected to the use of chemical weapons by Syrian military forces , during what has now become a violent uprising in the Middle Eastern country . Yet, there seems to be no sense of outrage by this President , over the fact that approximately 550 children have been gunned down on the streets of Chicago , Illinois over the past thirty months. A great many of the victims were innocent and mere bystanders to a senseless crime wave , driven by drugs and gang related, as to the territorial rights of the various gangs at the center of this spree . The President, though not a native Chicagoan , his former senatorial seat took in certain parts of the Windy City.

Now come full circle, and with the NBA regular season is due to commence in five days and there seems to be a heightened sense that Chicago Bulls are more concerned with the start of their season , rather than the ongoing crime spree gripping the city . The city’s mayor Rahm Emmanuel , himself a former Chief of Staff to the incumbent President, has already shown his own incompetency since becoming the city’s chief executive . Emmanuel has complained, that he does not have the necessary resources to take a tough enough stance on crime , but has sought to inflame the situation even more so, by systematically cutting resources because of his city’s now burgeoning fiscal crisis. What this has now indicated to me, is that the country has become more uncaring and there is only a pretext displayed as to their being any type want to or need to aid others in distress . I believe that this all has more to do with apathy and a complete lack of understanding by the government itself , as to what is really ailing the nation at present !

No one from within the Bulls’ front office has spoken publicly on the issue of the increased violence within the city . Yet, the franchise has seen fit to air numerous radio and television commercials reminding the fans in the run-up to the start of the preseason and regular season of the return of the team’s star point guard Derrick Rose . I can only surmise that team owner Jerry Reinsdorf and GM Gar Forman do not believe that there needs to be a shared or civic responsibility as to the communal well-being of the citizens of the city , just as long as they are under the roof of the United Center in Chicago , showing their support for the team.

After an almost eighteen month layoff , a great deal is expected not only of Derrick Rose, but also the team as a whole , where the presence of Joakim Noah is likely to be felt throughout much of this upcoming season . Noah’s growing , maturity , presence and the very fact that his all-round game seems to have improved immensely over the past two seasons , would suggest that he is ready to be seen as one of better center/ power forwards within the NBA at present , especially from a defensive standpoint .

With Chicago starting off their regular season schedule as guests of the reigning NBA champions , the Miami Heat . The added expectations are that both teams will prove to be a serious challenge to each other within the Eastern Conference as well as during the playoffs this upcoming season . A likely match-up between the two, sets up some scintillating possibilities and expectations for both sets of fans , as well the NBA fans in general .

For the Miami Heat , it is not only about making a successful second defense of their NBA crown , but whether not this team can be seen as a legitimate dynasty , with its core element of LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade leading the charge towards for NBA immortality . Seen, as clear-cut favorites, to make that defense more than a reality . The question now becomes, which team within the Eastern Conference will pose a serious enough threat to derail those hopes during the postseason ? It is my belief, that the Miami Heat will gently stroll through the regular season , not necessarily posting the best record within the conference , but they will have certainly will have done enough , to make their qualification for the NBA playoffs a foregone conclusion and from there , they can simply shift into overdrive and lay waste to the opposition within the East and then await their Western Conference counterpart without a great deal of trepidation.

With finances, for any professional sports’ franchise always at the forefront of profitability, it has become increasingly annoying to hear senior basketball executives simply walk around with their head buried in the sand , acting as if the glaring precipice they are close to , does not pose an imminent threat or danger. Not unlike the mind numbing stupidity, shown by the Congress and how they have continually dealt with the fiscal budgetary crisis and the debt ceiling . After a while , there is only so far down the road where you can kick the can , before coming to the conclusion that something drastic has to be done . It is the same within the NBA and the very fact that teams who are being punished, by way of the league’s luxury tax, for exceeding the soft “salary cap” ($58.044 million) , are now looking at ways to implement a much more equitable solution. Far be it for Congress, to actually think of trying such an idea of reining in their spending or even for the members to actually seek cuts their own benefits . Like, that is ever likely to happen ? Voices of dissent, are no now coming from owners such as Micky Arison , James Dolan , Mikhail Prokhorov , Jim Buss , Robert Pera and Ted Leonsis . Yet, with David Stern not wanting to leave a maelstrom for his successor , Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver to deal with , it would appear that the NBA Commissioner will seek to calm those voices of dissent, by simply stating , that there is nothing for these owners to worry about. Where have we all heard that before , and then a calamitous event occurs ?

Though voted up upon by the NBA Board of Governors and approved, the league hierarchy’s wish to increase the rate upon which the luxury tax is based , which will rise from $1-00 for every dollar over the mandated soft cap of approximately $58 million to $1-50 for every dollar over the aforementioned figure . One can well understand the outrage of any team owner, who has a payroll in excess seventy-five or one hundred million dollars and the financial forfeiture that will have to be made to satisfy the league (NBA). Yet these are the very same owners who have allowed their general managers to spend so capriciously on players’ salaries and team payrolls. Not unlike the federal government and its idea of sound financial and fiscal restraint .

=================================== =============================

===================================================================-

Picture gallery .

What do you now believe to be the biggest myth or hindrance to the sporting landscape today , be it from a financial standpoint or otherwise ? Also what positives do you now believe there to be within sports ? Leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support !

🙂

Picture gallery and slideshow details below .

=============================================================

(1) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos meet after the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won 39-33 . Getty Images North America / Andy Lyons …..

(2) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts throws the ball during the game against the Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Getty Images / Andy Lyons …

(3) Quarterback Alex Smith (11) of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball into the end-zone for a touchdown during the 1st half of the game against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images / Jamie Squires ….

(4) Wide receiver Eric Page (17) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fumbles a punt return against the Carolina Panthers October 24, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Carolina recovered and won 31 – 13 . Getty Images / Al Messerschmidt ……

(5) Quarterback Tyler Murphy (3) of the Florida Gators is hit by defensive lineman Kony Ealy (47) of the Missouri Tigers during the game at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 19, 2013 in Columbia, Missouri. Getty Images / Jamie Squires …..

(6) St Louis Cardinals’ pitcher Michael Wacha delivers a pitch during the first inning of game two of the World Series played at Fenway Park , in Boston Massachusetts ,. . St Louis would defeat the Boston Red Sox 4-2 to even the series at one game apiece (1-1) in the best of seven-game series . The series resumes on Saturday evening with game three scheduled at Busch Ball Park in St Louis , Missouri . AP Photo / Matt Slocum …..

(7) Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox breaks his bat hitting a single during game two of the World Series played on Thursday , 24th October , 2013 at Fenway Park against the St Louis Cardinals . Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is well placed to see the incident . AP Photo ? Charlie Riedel ……

(8) Health & Human Services Secretary Katherine Sebelius is seen here with President Barack Obama at the White House in the Rose Garden , as the Commander-in-Chief addresses the convened press on his healthcare initiative . Sebelius’ department and the secretary , herself, have come in for mounted criticism for the handling of the technical issues concerning the website that provides all of the pertinent information concerning the Affordable Healthcare Act . The issue has been an ongoing problem for several weeks, with patrons of the site not being able access pages beyond the initial homepage . The website is actually administered by an outside government contractor . . A Congressional committee has been empaneled and convened, with both Sebelius and high-ranking personnel within the Health & Human Services’ Department summoned to attend an inquiry to answer questions concerning the still ongoing issues . Also in attendance, will be several executives from CGI Federal Inc . Reuters/ Craig Thompson …..

(9) Derrick Rose , left and Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls are looking place a serious dent in the Miami Heat’s attempt of making a successful defense of the NBA title . The Heat won the title previously in 2006 and then again 2012 and 2013 . The Florida based franchise are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive titles since the Los Angeles Lakers were able to achieve the feat in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Chicago Sun Times/ AP Photo / Mark Richardson ….

(10) From left to right , Mario Chalmers (15) , Lebron James , Chris Bosh , Greg Oden (52) and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat. Oden is the newest member of the franchise and will be seeking to add his presence to what is an experienced roster. Injuries have restricted Oden’s career in the NBA but during the off-season he was signed by the Miami based organization and has began to contribute to the team’s preseason production . Head coach Erik Spoelstra no doubt hopes that the player will be able to replicate that form during the regular season . Miami Herald / AP Photo / Paul Sharpe …..

===============================================================

tophatal ……………………… 10/24/2013

🙂

———-

MLB news

2013 World Series

MLB postseason

This week in MLB history

MLB history

😉

NBA news

NBA results 23rd October

NBA preseason standings

NBA team payrolls . Highest paid NBA player salaries

This date in NBA history

🙂

NCAA and NCAA Football news es

NCAA Football week nine schedule

NCAA Football (conference standings)

BCS Poll rankings

🙂 …….. 🙂

NFL news

NFL standings divisional

NFL week eight schedule and week seven results

NFL teams’ injuries

NFL transactions

This date in NFL history

========================================

Public Enemy ” Don’t believe the hype “

Saving Face ………………. Or How Not To Win Friends And Influence People

Saving Face ………………. Or How Not To Win Friends And Influence People

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry considering the ludicrous events that’ve taken place over the past twenty four hours . First the bombshell within college football has Florida’s __ Urban Meyer announcing his stepping down as coach of the Gators’ football team albeit that he’ll still coach the team in their Outback Bowl meeting against Joe Paterno’s __ Penn State football team . While I find this something of a shock I can also see the comical side of this all given the ongoing criticism that has taken shape within the local press here in the Central Florida area. What might be even more impalpable is the way with which Meyer chose to make this announcement and the circumstances brought up to validate his choice.

================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

Urban Meyer had once before resigned from his post citing the fact that he’d undergone health issues, now he states that because of his familial issues in being away from his children for days on end he feels that he now owes it to them and that he needs to be at their side. Am I missing something here because there are a number of college coaches around the game of college football that are in a similar position being that they are also parents ? So what is it here that Meyer is now trying to have us believe at this moment in time ? A 7-5 season for the Gators wherein they fell short not only in their national title aspirations but also within the SEC (Southeastern Conference) where the Auburn Tigers led by their Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Cam Newton would prevail over Steve Spurrier’s ___ South Carolina Gamecocks in the SEC title game (56-17). Given that Newton was also once a member of the Gators’ football team before unceremoniously having to leave the campus over irregularities concerning a stolen laptop computer as well as allegations of cheating on a number of tests. What we now have within the local press are a number of journalists questioning Meyer’s choices as it regards game time decisions and his personnel. John Brantley , Tim Tebow’s successor has had something of an inconsistent season and although the coaching staff has used number schemes that didn’t prove effective it simply showed the frailties and weaknesses of this team and the play in particular of the Gators this season. So much for the pundits who lauded Meyer for having a top notch recruiting class this season as it now seems to have been to no avail.

Now while Meyer has stepped down the talk of his successor is now rife as to who many believe should be the next coach of the Florida Gators. Amongs those being named are Jon Gruden , Bobby Petrino , Bob Stoops , Jim Harbaugh , Chris Petersen and Dan Mullen to name but a few . Gruden and Stoops to my mind won’t be particularly interested in the position given the fact that both are well compensated in their present jobs . Gruden is on air analyst with ESPN/ABC while Stoops has one of the most lucrative contracts in all of college football along with very lucrative endorsement deals with several high profiled businesses within state of Oklahoma . Somehow I for one don’t believe that the Gators can match that sort of financial wherewithal ! Gruden while in the service of ABC/ESPN is still being paid the remainder of his contract after his abrupt firing by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and if anything the former NFL coach probably covets any one of a number of vacancies that will arise once the season is over . So any talk of Gruden being interested coaching a college program seems to be out of the question and is simply just talk . As to who will ultimately succeed Meyer will rest in the interview process and the decision made by AD Jeremy Foley .

It’s funny but when I heard that the Washington Nationals had signed Jayson Werth to a lucrative seven year $126 million contract I thought that it was a mistake but then I realized who Werth’s agent happened to be and it was none other than uber-agent Scott Boras agent to the stars. This sports agent has been the main provocateur within the game that has seen salaries now escalate to unheard of heights. Need I remind you that he has been influential in making Alex Rodriguez the highest paid player in the game and will have amassed in excess of $500 million in earnings from the game as a salaried player without taking into account off field endorsements. As this idiocy now prevails within the game no one from the game’s hierarchy much less the MLBPA , __ general managers or team owners seem to question the direction that the game is taking in terms of its financial viability. I understand that the Nationals and in particular the team’s GM Mike Rizzo wants to make a big splash but given the fact that Nationals have struggled to be competitive over the past few seasons, I see nothing really changing in spite of the signing of Werth and the promise of Stephen Strasburg . And less we forget that the organization is also counting on former high school phenom Bryce Harper to provide an impact for the team and at the same lure the fans to the Nationals’ Ballpark in Washington, DC.

Fans around the game have to be perplexed by what they’re now seeing as teams now seek to make their best attempt to be viewed as viable contenders. Am I mistaken here but the usual suspects will always be around no matter how many of these teams look to be part of what’s turning out not to be a level playing field at all. Now as the Winter Meetings have ended amongst the team owners and general managers the most prized free agent still remains on the open market and two teams are left standing to battle it out with the prize being the signature and services of Cliff Lee are the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers . And while Lee remains coveted the Rangers and in particular team President Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels . And the team has offered the pitcher a six year contract that’s estimated to in the region of $120 million , it’s said that the Yankees are prepared to offer Lee a seven year contract paying between $130 to $145 million , with the seventh year being an option year for the player and team.

One tries to assimilate this and make some sense of it all but I for one no longer find it a complexity at all. It merely now boils down to the avarice of the owners , players and the game’s hierarchy itself. No one seems to question the fact that the teams are now spending money like it’s going out of fashion but then again given the mendacity with which the government has chosen to run up the federal deficit and national debt should we be at all surprised to see the idiocy now taking place within the game of baseball ? I know at the end of the day the decision to be made by Lee will be his alone but at the same time even if his wife still has her doubts over the behavior of the New York Yankees’ fans and the profanity laced taunts she faced while attending the ALCS games at Yankees’ Stadium . It goes without saying that the player may well err on the side of wanting the money over remaining in Texas with the team where his postseason performances prior to the World Series were very exhilarating .

================================================================


================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal

The future of the Gators may well be bright but we won’t actually know that until a new coach is hired by the AD and the identity that he wishes to bring to the team. As to how the Gators’ fans may well now view this all remains to be seen but as of now the well wishers are there for Meyer and for what he’s achieved for the program . But there also the detractors who no doubt feel somewhat betrayed by his actions . Make of it what you will . As to what’s now transpiring this off-season within the game of baseball let’s just say that even with Carl Crawford’s signing by the Boston Red Sox and their seven year offer of $140 million this won’t be the last time that we’ll see these type of maneuvers take place within the game. This off season Scott Boras made sure that the game of baseball remains where it is right in the doldrums and the fans of the game have remained bewildered by what has taken place . That my friends is how one saves face while not wanting to win friends and influence people !

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the Urban Meyer stepping down as coach of the Gators’ football team and your own thinking as to the Washington Nationals signing of Jayson Werth ? By all means simply leave a comment on this topic and as always thanks for the continued support.

😛

Alan aka tophatal ……………… 🙂 ___ 😦 __ 😛

=====================================

Tiara

Eye candy …. Tiara

What In The Wide World Of Sports Is Going On Here …………Hey Urban ‘Lean Back ‘ And Do The Rock Away

Imagine my surprise when I first heard and then read about the re-signing and retirement of Florida Gators’ football coach , Urban Meyer. Now to say that the ‘Gator Nation’ wasn’t caught flat-flooted by the announcement would be like stating that all the Titanic did was to strike an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic. There was far much more behind the event that met the eye. As is the case here with Urban Meyer.

Meyer seen  here  speaking  to  a  number of  his  players  on  the  sidelines   during  a  college  game.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Brian  Joubert   .........
Meyer seen here speaking to a number of his players on the sidelines during a college game. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Brian Joubert .........

Health issues asides , much of what we’re being told seems to be somewhat benign in many respects. We all know that a coach’s life is a pressured one. Especially where the program you oversee is a successful one and that is the envy of many schools across the nation. That’s not to say that Meyer’s statement aren’t valid. But he’s been in the position of coaching this program for the last four years. And it wasn’t as if he’d enter into the agreement of being hired that he’d done so with his eyes closed. He knew the expectations that awaited and of the legacy and tradition of the program. Herein lies the rub, the loss to Alabama 32-13 in the SEC championship game and the subsequent embarrassment may well have far too much to bear for the coach. Not only that but a great deal was expected of not only Florida but also its coaches , as it’d set out of defending its national championship title.

Courtesy of Gatorzone.com

Urban Meyer To Take Leave of Absence, Not Step Down; Addazio Named Interim Head Coach

University of Florida head football coach Urban Meyer informed his team Sunday afternoon that he will take an indefinite leave of absence rather than step down. Meyer addressed the team shortly before the Gators boarded a plane to New Orleans for Friday evening’s Allstate Sugar Bowl.

“During the past couple of days I was offered and encouraged to take a leave of absence,” said Meyer. “I’ve accepted this offer to improve on my health.”

The news came less than 24 hours after Meyer had announced he was stepping down as head coach. Meyer will still coach the Gators in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Friday evening before beginning his leave of absence.

Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio will take over as interim head coach during Meyer’s time away from the program.

=============================
Click on link to read this article in its entirety
=============================

Now an about turn has been done by Meyer and subsequent to his original formal announcement, he’ll take an indefinite leave of absence from the team to deal with his health issues and to be alongside his family. Good or bad, this was a drastic step to be taken originally by the coach. One can only suspect that whatever the trauma he faced was indeed grave and needed his urgent attention. Far better to be a live coach rather than a dead one on the sidelines of game that you’re coaching.

Florida coach Urban Meyer calls a time out during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Troy in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009, Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, left, and quarterback Tim Tebow stand behind him . Florida won 56-6. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Phil Sandlin ......

Calmer heads have prevailed and the likelihood of the school losing its coach for good has been sidestepped for the moment. With Meyer deciding to take an indefinite leave of absence after he’s coached the team in the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati . He’ll hand over the reins to his assistant coach , Steve Addazio until his impending return. Addazio is a well versed and highly thought of assistant And there should be no immediate drop off in terms of the coaching process. He’ll no doubt want the team to avail itself of the chance at redemption by showing that the loss to Alabama, while traumatic , they’ve been able to overcome it. So it is expected that the Gators will go out of their way to waylay whatever the Bearcats might offer up in terms of an effective opponent on the day.

If there’s any discomfort to be had in this story it is the skepticism with which it was initially met. I am not saying that there isn’t some veracity in the decision made by Urban Meyer. But at the same in the four years of his coaching this program , this is the first time something of this nature has come to the fore. And most certainly prior to this I am sure that he must’ve known whatever health issues he was in the midst of , had to have come into being at some point during his coaching tenure with the program. So it begs the question why here and why now ?

My own thought here is that Meyer came to the right conclusion but made an erroneous error in the timing of the announcement of his original decision. He ought to have ‘leaned back’ – do ‘the rockaway’ and really chilled before coming to his decision. If nothing else it’d wouldn’t have scared the ‘living hell’ out of avid Gators’ fans such as sportschump and the litany of others like him up down the state of Florida. They must’ve literally shat bricks when they first heard the news !

What were your original thoughts when you first heard the news ?

Terror Squad feat’g Fat Joe ‘Lean Back’ .

The More You Think You Know The Less You Really Do Know …..

The More You Think You Know The Less You Really Do Know

So there it was, the stage was set for SEC Championship Game between the number one and two ranked teams in the country. And with the winner gaining a berth in the national championship .The BCS Bowl national championship game set for early 2010 and the world awaits the crowning of a new champion of collegiate football.

Alabama coach Nick Saban congratulates running back Mark Ingram (22) after a first half score in the NCAA college football SEC championship game  against Florida at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. Alabama won 32-13.  picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Dave Martin .......
Alabama coach Nick Saban congratulates running back Mark Ingram (22) after a first half score in the NCAA college football SEC championship game against Florida at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. Alabama won 32-13. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Dave Martin .......

Number one ranked Florida Gators matched wits against Nick Saban’s number two ranked Alabama ‘Crimson Tide’. Two great representatives of the South Eastern Conference and quite rightly by far the two best teams in the nation. Unfortunately, today one of the two teams in question failed to live up to that reputation.

A disheartened  Florida fan can't hide her  disappointment at the end of a 32-13 loss to Alabama in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ John Amis ......
A disheartened Florida fan can't hide her disappointment at the end of a 32-13 loss to Alabama in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ John Amis ......

And while many of us were lauding the accomplishments of Urban Meyer’s Gators and the very fact that they had in Tim Tebow, a player who everyone admired not just for his playing abilities but also because of his demeanor on and off the field . What we in essence witnessed today, was the unveiling of a team whose flaws were glaringly exposed . Florida for all of its past glories failed to show up today and had no answer Alabama , at all .

Alabama's Mark Ingram (22) celebrates after a fourth quarter touchdown against Florida in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. Alabama won 32-13.  picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ John  Amis ......
Alabama's Mark Ingram (22) celebrates after a fourth quarter touchdown against Florida in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. Alabama won 32-13. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ John Amis ......

The game and its events as it unfolded was everything that one would’ve expected but unfortunately whatever script that Gators’ fans had come to expect. Well, today it wasn’t about to happen. Simply put, the Gators and their fans had ‘their asses’ handed to them with their ‘heads and ass being served up on a silver platter’. Embarrassing would be an understatement to say the very least . Florida had no answer at all in any facet of the game, as it got under way.

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow (15), defensive end Carl Johnson (57), offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey (56) look on late in the fourth quarter of their 32-13 loss to Alabama in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009.  picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ John Amis  .......
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow (15), defensive end Carl Johnson (57), offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey (56) look on late in the fourth quarter of their 32-13 loss to Alabama in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ John Amis .......

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Tide rolls on with 32-13 win over Tebow’s Gators

By Paul Newberry, AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA (AP)—The move was so unlike Nick Saban. The Alabama coach put away all that boardroom talk for a leaping shoulder bump with star running back Mark Ingram.

The Crimson Tide was back on top.

Across the way, Tim Tebow couldn’t do a thing, tears streaming down his cheeks as he watched the clock wind down on an ending that wasn’t in his farewell plan.

With Ingram and Greg McElroy leading an emphatic 32-13 chomping of top-ranked Florida on Saturday, No. 2 Alabama again stands supreme in the Southeastern Conference. More important, the Tide is just one win away from an even bigger title—its first national crown since 1992.

Alabama will face Texas in the BCS championship game after the No. 3 Longhorns beat Nebraska for the Big 12 championship Saturday night when Hunter Lawrence nailed a 46-yard field goal as time expired.

“Everyone had to buy into not to be denied in this game,” Saban said, getting back to business after a raucous celebration at the Georgia Dome. “To be a champion, that’s what you had to do. I’ve never been prouder of a group of players.”

The no-nonsense coach, who talks of “The Process” instead of the houndstooth, needed only three years to bring Alabama back from a grim era to a place it was accustomed to under Paul “Bear” Bryant.

Champions, indeed.

“They seemed like they wanted it a whole lot,” Florida cornerback Joe Haden said.

Ingram, making a strong bid to claim the school’s first Heisman Trophy, rushed for 113 yards and three touchdowns. McElroy threw for 239 yards and a touchdown to claim the MVP award, showing he’s no weak link. The Alabama defense held Tebow in check and left him crying at the end.

“It’s tough. You know it’s not how you want to go out,” Tebow said. “They were just better than us today.”

====================================================
In order to read Paul Newberry’s article in its entirety just click on the link provided to view.
====================================================

Alabama running back Mark Ingram (22) tries to run past Florida's Ryan Stamper (41) during the fourth quarter of the NCAA college football SEC championship game  Alabama won 32-13.   picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/John Bazemore ......
Alabama running back Mark Ingram (22) tries to run past Florida's Ryan Stamper (41) during the fourth quarter of the NCAA college football SEC championship game Alabama won 32-13. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/John Bazemore ......

There’s not much that one can really say about the game that the result and the margin of victory cannot tell you. On reflection Alabama’s 32-13 victory over Florida, was enough to suggest that all of the talk about that the Gators were preordained as the national champions. Clearly, Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide saw that would not be the case today. It was an emphatic statement made by Alabama and denotes that what many had though about the team was in fact true. ‘They are and were better than Florida, in every sense of the word’.

Sheer frustration can't be  hidden  by Florida coach Urban Meyer , as he  looks on from the sidelines during the first half the NCAA college football SEC Championship game against Alabama at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009.  picture appears courtesy of  AP/photo/ Dave Martin .....
Sheer frustration can't be hidden by Florida coach Urban Meyer , as he looks on from the sidelines during the first half the NCAA college football SEC Championship game against Alabama at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Dave Martin .....

For Florida and all thoughts, that they had in making a successful defense of its national championship has bitten the dust and to a great deal of embarrassment. The more we thought we knew about the Florida Gators, in reality the less we actually knew. And when that happens,then questions must be asked and answered. The thing is, questions were asked of Florida on Saturday and they failed to answer in such an embarrassing way. That all one can now say ……’well we thought we knew you but really we just didn’t know you at all’.

It Still Has Its Dangers Be It On The Field Of Play Or Off It ………….

One of the most staggering stories that I’ve heard in a long time came about the USC Trojans’ running back Stafon Johnson. The tragic accident that has taken place and has now left the player in a critical but stable condition, should remind us of the dangers of sports as a recreational passtime. Be it on the field of play or off it.

USC tailback  Stafon  Johnson  (13)  seen  here   on the  sidelines  during  a   Trojans'   practice  .    picture  appears courtesy  of    latimes.com/sports/   .............
USC tailback Stafon Johnson (13) seen here on the sidelines during a Trojans' practice . picture appears courtesy of latimes.com/sports/ .............

Johnson, a junior with the Trojans , is a highly competitive and exceptional player. He does nothing by half measures and that’s perhaps one of the reasons he’s so well liked by his fellow teammates and by his coach Pete Carroll. The incident as it occurred is something of a mystery. What we do know is that while working out in the campus gymnasium with the team’s strength and conditioning coach, an unfortunate accident took place. Johnson at the time was said to be bench pressing weights when his hand slipped and the bar-bell came down across his throat , crushing his larynx. Assistance was sought and the player was rushed to the California Hospital Medical Center. He’s had to undergo several hours of intricate surgery to repair whatever damage had been sustained . But the belief is that the player will survive the injuries sustained and make a full recovery. As to what form that will take , is clearly open to intense speculation at this moment in time.

It came to be known as ‘The Drive’.

If one remembers Johnson was an invaluable member and contributed greatly in USC’s 18-15 defeat of Ohio State in week 2 of the 2009-10 college season. Joe McKnight and Johnson made the victory all the more poignant for Trojans’ fans over their arch rivals.

While we can all appreciate that incidents such as this, though rare. It gives us all a sense of our own vulnerabilities and that of the athlete at play, be it on or off the field of play. At this moment in time , my thoughts goes out to the player , his immediate family and that of the program.

Courtesy Yahoo Sports and Associated Press

USC’s Johnson has throat surgery after accident

By Greg Meacham AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP)—Southern California tailback Stafon Johnson is unlikely to play again this season after a falling weight bar crushed his neck and larynx.

The senior who scored the No. 7 Trojans’ go-ahead touchdown against Ohio State two weeks ago was bench-pressing when the bar slipped from his right hand and fell onto his throat.

Johnson was in critical but stable condition late Monday night after more than seven hours of surgery, said Katreena Salgado, a spokeswoman for California Hospital Medical Center.

He was treated for crushing injuries to his neck as well as severe injuries to his larynx, said the hospital’s trauma medical director, Dr. Gudata Hinika.

It’s unlikely Johnson will be able to play again this season, but his prognosis is good and doctors expect him to make a full recovery, Hinika said in a statement released by the hospital.

Johnson is the Trojans’ second-leading rusher with 157 yards, and he leads USC (3-1, 1-1 Pac-10) with five touchdowns. He led USC in rushing last season with 705 yards and nine touchdowns, but has become into the Trojans’ short-yardage specialist this season behind starter Joe McKnight.

“It hit him with a lot of force, and it hurt him,” coach Pete Carroll said after the Trojans’ brief practice Monday night. “No broken bones as far as I understand, but he’s got some damage in there somewhere, and they’re working it out, trying to figure out what it is.”

——————————————————————-
In order to read this article in its entirety just click on the text shown.
——————————————————————-

Any sporting endeavor has its dangers and for the fans in attendance who are there to watch their teams do battle . It can’t be lost on them ,that a player is only but one hit away from being seriously injured. While the dangers are there and the players are willing to subject themselves to those inherent dangers. It’s also not lost on them how grave those dangers can be. But yet like the gladiators of ancient times they’re prepared to do it for the glory and the willingness to sacrifice themselves for the team .

Teammates  James  Wilson, left  and  Matt  Patchan  look  over  Tim  Tebow   as  he  lays  on  the  ground  motionless  having  been  sacked.    The  player  was   unresponsive  for  several    minutes  and   had  to be   led   from    the  field  having     incurred  a  concussion.       picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/   Ed  Reinke  ....................
Teammates James Wilson, left and Matt Patchan look over Tim Tebow as he lays on the ground motionless having been sacked. The player was unresponsive for several minutes and had to be led from the field having incurred a concussion. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Ed Reinke ....................

For the #1 ranked Florida Gators and their Heisman Trophy winning quarterback , Tim Tebow. They face a dilemma of a different sort. The player coming off yet another resounding defeat of another non-descript program,in Kentucky 41-7. During the game , Tebow in the third quarter was tackled and sacked by Wildcats’ defensive end Taylor Wyndham . Having fallen with the full weight of the defensive end on top of him. Tebow’s head came in contact with that of his teammate’s Marcus Gilbert’s leg, sending his neck back violently upon contact. In the ensuing incident , Tebow suffered a concussion and lay motionless on the field for several minutes unresponsive.

Tebow is   helped  off  the field   as  a  stretcher  lies  in the  background.   The  player  was  determined  to  have   suffered   a  second   degree  concussion     during   the  game.     picture  appears  courtesy  of ap/photo/  Ed  Reinke  .........................
Tebow is helped off the field as a stretcher lies in the background. The player was determined to have suffered a second degree concussion during the game. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Ed Reinke .........................

Courtesy Yahoo Sports and Associated Press

No.1 Florida wins but Tebow injured

By Will Graves AP Sports Writer

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP)—With one scary hit on Tim Tebow, the fate of No. 1 Florida — and really, the entire complexion of the college football season—could have changed.

The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback was knocked out of Florida’s 41-7 victory against Kentucky after a hard shot to the head in the third quarter, and taken by ambulance to a hospital.

“I don’t know, I think it’s a concussion,” Florida coach Urban Meyer said. “I think he’ll be all right.

“He took a pretty good shot.”

Tebow was scheduled to stay overnight in the hospital, Florida spokesman Steve McClain said.

The Gators were leading 31-7 and driving deep in Kentucky territory when Tebow was sacked by Kentucky defensive end Taylor Wyndham on a vicious but clean hit. As he fell back with Wyndham on top of him, Tebow’s head struck teammate Marcus Gilbert’s leg, violently bending his neck forward.

Tebow, a tank of a quarterback at 245 pounds, lay motionless for several minutes while Commonwealth Stadium fell silent. He sat up with some help then slowly made his way off the field to a loud ovation. Florida’s medical staff attended to him on the bench and his parents came down from the stands to join him.

He was eventually carted off the field with concussion-like symptoms, vomiting several times.

Florida is off next week, then plays at LSU on Oct. 10. It’s probably the toughest game on Florida’s regular-season schedule and would be even tougher without Tebow.

A third national title in four seasons for Florida, a second Heisman for Tebow, all that becomes iffy if his injury causes him to miss games. Oddly, Saturday started with questions about Tebow’s availability because of a respiratory illness.

Meyer said Tebow had just one question after the hit.

“He asked me ‘Did I hold onto the ball?”’ Meyer said. “I told him he did and he winked at me and said ‘It’s great to be a Gator.”
——————————————————————
In order to read the article in its entirety just click on the link provided
——————————————————————

The player it is said after the incident wasn’t completely aware of his surroundings. Though his initial response to a question asked of him , was ……” did I hold unto the ball ? ” Thereafter , he was taken to a nearby hospital in Lexington, Kentucky to undergo a battery of neurological testing for the concussion sustained. As it is , with any concussion it can’t always be determined how serious they are. Especially one of the variety that was sustained by Tim Tebow. Second degree concussions do have a tendency of lingering or they can just as quickly disappear.

But already questions are being asked of the Florida Gators’ coach , Urban Meyer , as to whether or not the player will be available to play in their next scheduled game. If anything the utmost priority ought to be concerned health and well being of the player. Rather than whether or not he’ll be ready to play in their next game. It’s not as if he’d just sustained a sprained ankle or a pulled groin muscle. Those type of injuries can be easily overcome through the usual efforts. In the case of a concussion they can have a lasting effect-long after his career has come to an end. And though no one at this juncture would suggest that the player’s collegiate career is about to come to an abrupt halt. Missing a game or two mightn’t be out of the question , as to what’s best for his long term future.

Would that sacrifice be too dear a price to pay for the program at this juncture ? Well for the Gators’ fans and the program that just might be the case. As to the player , himself , only he can answer that question at this juncture.
The chances are that he’ll be prepared to take that risk should he be given the all clear by the medical staff to do so. But then again , we’ve seen cases where the medical profession have made mistakes concerning incidents of this nature.

In this case do you feel it’s worth the risk for Tebow to make an immediate return to the field of play ? And if so why do you feel that way ? And in the case of Trojans’ running back Stafon Johson . Have you ever heard of an accident of this type ever taking place under such conditions ? Your comments on this topic would make for an interesting discussion . So by all means do leave a comment. I’ll look forward to reading and then replying to each .