Monday, October 31, 2011

Football Wrap Week 8 - False Gods, Overtime Luck and CLEMSON!!!! (Told Ya So)

Welcome to Week 8 where Philadelphia gave my Boys tricks and the Ravens rose from the grave behind Ray Rice. Here's hoping San Diego doesn't ruin my Halloween in the land of Kansas City.

1. How in the world did the Rams beat the Saints? I still can't believe reading that - no Sam Bradford, the Saints fresh off a 62-7 curbstomping one winless team and the Saints STILL lost?? The Saints were down 24-0 at some point. To paraphrase my dear friend LeAnn, maybe they unloaded too much and had nothing left.

2. It's a shame Cam Newton can't play defense or kick field goals. Nearly 300 yards, 3 TDs, no interceptions, one last minute drive and all for naught.

3. Somebody explain to me how the Bengals are 5-2?????? Did they play Youngstown State, Akron in addition to their NFL schedule.

4. Saw Tony Romo had 52 passing yards at one point in the 4th Quarter. That leash around my quarterback is getting shorter. *looks at Robert Griffin, Kellen Moore's stats a lil closer*

5. I'd like to end the Top 5 by thanking the Detroit Lions for reenacting the 1st century when they destroyed all in the Coliseum. In 60 minutes, they destroyed the Church of Tim Tebow in glorious fashion. For all the fans praying for their false god, they saw once again why he's not ready to be an NFL QB.

These heathens tried to create a trend out of Tebow praying after his comeback win yesterday. Sorry folks, I have no patience for making a trend out of someone praying and not acknowledge what I'm actually doing or who I'm honoring.

The Church of Tim Tebow will continue to be destroyed and disappointed until they come to their senses. Let Tim Tebow be a nice guy but until he becomes a good QB, he'll continue to be overhyped and ripe for the pickings. When you heathens wake up and see this, we'll accept you.

NCAA Tidbits

1. While I was busy covering a rare Saturday night HS football game, apparently USC and Stanford decided to keep their tradition of exciting games at the Coliseum. 2007 - Stanford's great upset while I was across town at the Rose Bowl. 2009 - Andrew Luck, Toby Gerhart and that Stanford D destroying USC in spectacular fashion.

And now, we had Triple OT with Stanford's good Luck transcending USC's mistakes. Forget Heisman moment, that was his NFL audition in showing that he could play from behind and lead his team to victory. Andrew Luck added one more notch to his legend and a week after the Game of the Year in East Lansing, the Coliseum just hosted another.

USC had a couple of brain farts in the end and I blame their head coach Lane Kiffin. It's his job to make sure his players know the timeout situation. It's his job to make sure his QB at least knows so he can relay it to his team. That loss is squarely on his shoulders.

2. DOWN GOES CLEMSON! Thank you Georgia Tech for reminding everyone why you can never trust Clemson after a hot start and for ripping a huge hole that's been waiting to tear.

Big ups to Tevin Washington keying Georgia Tech running wild (383 team rushing yards). And Clemson, your basketball team proved me wrong a few times. You may have a couple of ballers in Tajh Boyd and Slammin Sammy Watkins but your program is destined to disappoint until proven otherwise.

3. I've been having fun ripping Ohio State this year because of their karma in handling Terrelle Pryor. It's not personal to my Twitter folks who are diehard Buckeye fans, it's strictly business (c) EPMD. Yet I give them props for beating Wisconsin and proving the Badgers benefited too much from their home cooking.

(Speaking of letdown, Ummm Michigan State. Did you have to let Nebraska hurt you like that???)

4. Oklahoma State did something I hadn't seen before. Destroy a team's spirit after scoring two touchdowns. Went like this. Touchdown, forced turnover, Touchdown called back, touchdown on the next play. Game was over for Baylor before the 1st quarter was halfway over and all that mattered was how bad they'd be beaten.

5. Pac-10 news. Oregon's DeAnthony Thomas is really good and really fast. Happy to hear that Crenshaw HS' Black Mamba has 11 TD's already and is running away with the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year race. If you thought Andrew Luck had a big game vs. USC, wait til Thomas comes homes against his friends.

Virgo's Top 10: LSU, Alabama, OK State, Stanford, Boise State, Oregon, Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech

Top 5 for this weekend

1. LSU-Alabama. Do I really need to explain more? No. 1 vs. No. 2. Two best defenses in the country and I give the edge to LSU because of QB play. Trent Richardson is going to have fits vs. that LSU front 7. This is the most hyped non-bowl game* since Alabama-Florida in 2009 and Ohio State-Michigan in 2006 and I'm sure it'll be a great one.

*Oregon/Stanford and Oklahoma/OK State are still two big games to watch as well.

2. Honestly, nothing else matters this week. Forget the rest of the Top 5. Watch Oregon vs. Washington, Oklahoma State probably expose Kansas State. But there's only 1 game to care about.

3. Ravens vs. Steelers. Once again. Nothing else matters. Sunday Night Football is going to be awesome.

4. The Colts march to 0-16 sees them hosting Atlanta. Taking bets now for a 30 point execution.

5. A shoutout to HS games. The annual Crenshaw vs. Dorsey game is Thursday. One of the great rivalries in Los Angeles where a divided neighborhood comes together. At my old paper, this game was the game that mattered and I loved coming up with different angles for it. Also a quick shoutout to the East LA Classic on Friday - 25,000 come out to support Garfield vs. Roosevelt and it's always one of the biggest games in the city.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Game 6 - Magic Strikes Again (Foster's Freese!!!!!)

Wow! What else can you say but that.

Of all the great Game 6's in Major League history, how in the world can you not say this one might just top them all. What can you say about a World Series that has given us excellent games, historic moments and now a Game 7.

I came home in the 7th inning from work and just barely missed Adrian Beltre's home run. But soon as I turned the TV on, I saw Nelson Cruz send that rocket deep and high into the St. Louis bleachers. A home run that might be forgotten after the madness that followed.

The next 4 innings gave us some of the best October baseball in history. Lance Berkman coming through after a home run earlier in the game. What in the world can you say about St. Louis being down to their last strike twice! Down by 2 runs in the 9th and 10th. David Freese going 0-for-3 then having two of the biggest hits of the night. The Cardinals scoring in the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th!!!

At the same time, what can you say about Texas? Neftali Feliz on the mound and blows a save. Josh Hamilton hitting his 1st home run this postseason in the 10th. Nelson Cruz turning from hero to possible GOAT after misplaying that fly ball. Overmanaging in the high stakes pressure of a road game? They had their moments that should be celebrated but now it'll be footnotes in St. Louis' story.

David Freese brought his NLCS Magic at the right time. A two-out triple in the 9th. Then a 3-2 bomb to center to make Cardinals fans go crazy and channel the immortal words of Jack Buck "We will see you tomorrow night" - something his son Joe did so eloquently tonight on Fox.

But should we be surprised. I mean this is Game 6! Almost all of our great World Series moments happen in Game 6.

1975 - Carlton Fisk walkoff
1977 - Reggie Jackson's 3 bombs
1985 - Don Denkinger becomes the most famous blind umpire in history and P.E. No. 1 in STL.
1986 - Boston's pitching staff is one strike away several times before giving way to Bill Buckner's error.
1991 - Kirby Puckett's catch and walkoff
1993 - Joe Carter touches em all to give Toronto 2 straight titles.
1995 - Tom Glavine and Mark Wohlers' 1-hit shutout to clinch the Braves title.
2002 - Angels turn a 5-0 deficit with 5 outs left into a 6-5 win over the Giants
2003 - Josh Beckett becomes a legend with his 5-hit shutout to clinch the WS for Florida.

Add this madness up there. One of the greatest games I've ever seen. The fat lady tried to sing but Buffalo Wild Wings kept locking her in the closet. I called my bro in Boston and we were just speechless. This reminded us of 2004 and how wonderful that postseason was. I thought about 2001 with the Yankees unbelievable Game 4 and 5 comebacks and 2002 watching my dorm floor erupt during the Angels' comeback.

And now we have Game 7 to look forward to. Pardon me while I try to calm down and get ready for a great night of baseball. For once, I'm happy I won't be on the sidelines for Friday Night Lights.

One game to win it all. Will Ron Washington and Texas recover? Or will St. Louis continue their improbable run that started in September. Thank you baseball and can you please give us another one tomorrow?

Grinds My Gears: Sports Edition

I was thinking about this last night while reading Sports Illustrated's Joe Posnanski's take on MLB postseason records being asterisked in this day and age. There's a lot of things I see reported or discussed that I feel get overstated and I've tried to steer away from them.

I'll start with MLB postseason records. There's no surprise that guys within the last 15 years have owned postseason records and you know why? Guys are playing more games. So I don't give career records the same legitimacy that I give old school guys before the creation of the LCS in 1969 and the LDS in 1995.

Those are definitely some inflated numbers in the grand scheme of baseball but at the same time, I would give guys props for stepping up in October. Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez and other guys of my era who have huge power numbers deserve all of their credit.

I'd rather divide up those postseason numbers by series. Like LCS records for HR's and RBI's, LDS records and then World Series records. That'd put things in proper context. Here's some other peeves, mostly stemming from the 24/7 news cycle

- Preseason debuts: I hate when announcers say so-and-so is making their professional debut in a preseason game. It's true but a preseason game isn't exactly a high stakes debut like when the games actually matter. It's us putting way more stock in preseason games than we should. It's fascinating to watch of course but what do we remember more? Cam Newton's first preseason game or his first NFL game?

- Must wins in the 1st half of a season: I don't know when this started but it has to stop. I understand the NFL is a 16-game season but week 4 isn't a must-win. I love the NBA but there aren't many mustwins in January as opposed to March or April.

This matters in college football when every game matters thanks to polls and the BCS. But in college basketball, NBA, NFL, NHL or any major sport, how a team performs early is usually no indicator of how they'll be at the end. Heck, we're watching a World Series where the Cardinals raced in due to a hot September. Again, a problem of creating too much hype and stories instead of letting stuff play out.

- Superteam Backlash. I blame the Miami Heat for this. They became the villains for a lot of reasons yet I think they never fully embraced the hated role. Yet everybody hated them, wanted to see them fail and as soon as they lost, hell fury came on them. (They did bring some of it on themselves though - 4th Quarter anyone?)

Now it's happening to the Eagles, all because Vince Young said it felt like a Dream Team. Nevermind the fact that the old axiom of "Chemistry trumps talent" has been true for years for a reason. I remember this all too well with the 2004 Lakers and losing to a better team in Detroit.

Nevermind also that there have been superteams for years and they were also hated for winning. Know why I hated the old Bulls? They won. Know why I hated the Celtics? They won. Yet 3 years ago, I don't remember anyone saying that Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen ruined the game with their sacrifice.

I don't mind hating superteams. But every time they lose, you don't have to throw their words in their face unless certain parts aren't living up to expectations (and remember, you can put up good numbers and still lose). It makes you look like a sarcastic fool instead of a sports fan who knows good and well you don't just throw parts together and expect to win right away.

Now arrogance is a whole different part to this but for the most part, teams disappoint more than fail. I get the occasional joke but the constant overkill gets on my nerves like no other. It distracts from us being able to actually break down why they're failing.

What your biggest pet peeves in sports? It can be fan or media-related.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Football Wrap Week 7 - Part 2 (Dolphins help Heathens Get Their Wish with Tebow)

I have to start by giving props to Lord Tebow. The Golden Child went back to his Sanctuary where they honored his former life as Gater God alongside his former deacons and promptly looked as lost as a false god would to his congregation.

It’s not his fault, he’s an average QB, it’s that fans want so badly for him to be great they overlook that he couldn’t do basic stuff, much less perform miracles.

Then as I left church, I saw the final score and read the recap. Somehow, someway, the Golden Child helped him team score twice in under 3 minutes to tie the game. Then Denver won in OT. I only have explanation – “Divine Intervention” or as us real folks call it, the Dolphins are TERRIBLE!

In all seriousness, this says 1) Miami and Indianapolis are absolutely neck-and-neck in the crapper of the NFL. 2) Tebow’s gifts are his drive and how he inspires his teammates. To paraphrase The Roots, I ain’t saying nothing new. Tebow’s come in to inspire his teammates to play better in a few games now.

I guess he is what he is. I’m not convinced he’ll be a great QB but right now, I’ll let him be. Just tell his followers to shut up and start opening their eyes. This heathen worship is a disgrace to Sundays everywhere.

1. Low twos to that Vikings player with the groin kick. If that were my teammate, I’d be getting ejected for revenge.

2. Don Juan DeMarco Murray!!!!! 253 yards. Granted it was against the Rams but our running game needs the spark. We have Murray and Felix Jones to split carries. Awesome day for the rookie and let’s hope it resparks our running game.

3. That boy Aaron Rodgers ain’t making my argument that Tom Brady is still the best QB in the NFL any easier. But bigs up to Christian Ponder looking like the future in Minnesota.

4. The Colts had 252 net total yards in their JV game against the Saints. Arian Foster by himself had 234 (110+ rushing and receiving yards). Don Juan DeMarco had more by himself.  Hand Peyton Manning the MVP cause it’s clear the Colts are utter dog crap without him. Even more props should go to Matt Cassel because he proved Tom Brady’s value isn’t near to Peyton’s.

5. Ndamukong Suh is not a dirty player. He is ferocious, vicious and perhaps the most intimidating, young defensive player I’ve seen in a long while.

I believe those Falcon players who told on what Suh allegedly said broke a code. We are in a media cycle where folks will latch on to things that went unreported for years. Oh Suh was talking crap after laying a big hit. So what? I hear HS kids do that every Friday on the sidelines. You’re only just now finding out and want football players to be….unlike warriors?

The most violent HS game I covered in terms of hitting was 2 years ago. By my count, at least 6 players from one team were knocked out of the game due to concussions or injury. It was brutal yet after every hit, the crowd/sidelines erupted at first, then calmed down out of respect for the hurt player.

If Matt Ryan suffered a career ending/threatening injury and folks were talking trash upon knowing that, then that’s wrong. However, once you lay somebody out, all you think about is letting them know about it. Fans even cheer and go berserk over a big hit. That is..until said hit leaves a player on the ground a little too long.

We treat football players like gladiators sadly. We celebrate the hardest hitting players and up to a few years ago, we celebrated their hits with no concern. I’ve stated here last year that helmet to helmet hits are a dangerous problem and concussions are no issue to take lightly. Yet with that said, I’m not going to punish somebody for talking trash unless there is proof they did it in a terrible way.

If you think Suh is a terrible player for that, then prepare to start hating a bunch of players because I guarantee it’s been going on for decades and will go on. This is all a part of us waking up to realize just how barbaric and brutal this game really is and has been. Yet in our awakening, let’s not all of a sudden start changing this game from what it is except when it comes to head trauma. 

Violent illegal hits – bad. Trash talk – depends on what was said, who said it. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Football Wrap Week 7 - Part 1 (MSU/Wisconsin: Virgo's Top 10)

Michigan State!!!!! 2nd year in a row they’ve given us a Play of the Year candidate and what a play it was. Hail Mary to beat No. 6 Wisconsin after trailing 14-0 in the first game. I gave up on them and then all a sudden, they just dominated the Badgers over the next two quarters.

I swore Michigan State had that game won after a late interception. But Russell Wilson wouldn’t let his team lose. Big ups to him and his late game heroics to lead Wisconsin to two late TD’s but bigger ups to Kirk Cousins for that last drive and Drew Nichol for that Hail Mary grab.

Best Game of the Year Hands. Down!!!!

1. Notre Dame on the USC 1-yard line. Seems like they were gonna tie the game. But Irish eyes weren’t smiling on Dayne Crist, who fumbled the snap and then had to watch USC return it 80 yards.

After that happened, why on Earth did Notre Dame try to get cute on a backward lateral? That failed and led to another USC score. And you wonder why the Irish have been irrelevant since Brady Quinn was behind center in my college days.

2. Nightmare in Norman! Oklahoma’s mood went from  blowout to comeback to heartbreak hotel . I can’t believe they played such a terrible first half. I can’t believe their kicker missed 2 easy gimmies that would’ve won the game. And all in front of their home fans to a team named a 20-point underdog.

Shout out to Oklahoma’s secondary letting their team down. Now Sooner fans know what USC fans felt like. And did I really say the Big 12 was the best conference in America this year? Yeah, about that.

3. Hate to say it but if Boise State gets screwed out of a major bowl game, it’ll be because they aren’t as great as they were the last two years. Struggling at home against a decent Air Force squad is something they wouldn’t have done before.

4. Ho-hum. Stanford and Oregon dominate again.  It’s their world, the rest of the Pac-12 is just living in it. All that matters is their showdown on Nov. 12.

5. Alabama had me scared for a half, tied with Tennessee at halftime. But they remembered they were Alabama and Tennessee was singing the Rocky Top Blues. Nov. 5 is set. Bama vs. LSU (who made me a prophet smoking Auburn like that stuff Spencer Wade and Honey Badger were on).

Virgo’s Top 10: LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Boise State, Stanford, Clemson, Arkansas, Oregon, Kansas State, Michigan State. 

I drop Oklahoma because they were upset by a unranked team at home. Boise State struggled at home but they still won. Stanford is still the best team nobody is talking about and made mincemeat of a good Washington squad.  Clemson is still overrated!! 

There I said it. It's getting harder and harder to discredit them, esp. with Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins. But they'll get theirs.

Top 5 for This Weekend (AKA Killing Time til Next Weekend's SEC Showdown)

1. USC-Stanford: Two years since the infamous beatdown at the Coliseum, both teams meet again. Now we can see why it's foolish to put Matt Barkley in the same league as Andrew Luck.

2. Baylor-Oklahoma State: We kinda forgot about Robert Griffin a lil bit after Baylor lost a few games. Time for him to remind folks against the No. 3 Cowboys as they remind us they could be in the BCS Title Game

3. Oklahoma-Kansas State: OK wants revenge after last week, Kansas State needs respect for the 1st time since the Michael Bishop days. This should be great.

4. Michigan State-Nebraska: Sparty's feeling themselves a bit so let's see how they respond chasing around Taylor Martinez. It's no longer a stretch to say Martinez is not only the most surprising All-State player from Cali doing well in college, he's on his way to being Eric Crouch Part. 2

5. Arizona-Washington: Might be a great underrated Pac-10 game. Nic Foles vs. the Pac-10's best new QB Keith Price. Over/under 60 points combined

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rockbottom for UCLA (And Neuheisel's officially Lame Duck status)

Normally I would save this post til my weekly football wrap but after UCLA got demolished in Tucson, Arizona. I need to say this. Tonight I haven't been this embarrassed to be a UCLA fan and that first half was the worst moment I've seen in my 16 years being a fan of the Sons of Westwood.

Wednesday night I posted my wish that Arizona didn't embarrass us on national TV. Tonight, I left work to see that the Bruins were down 35-7 before halftime. I barely got in my car and I found out that UCLA was down 42-7. Forget heading home to watch this, I was going to the gym.

What made it worse? A dang streaker ran on the field right before the last play of the half. Then to top it off, UCLA got in a brawl with several players. I usually don't mind fights if it's done in the right place but that was classless. A team getting beat down and you resort to throwing blows. That's stupid and unless Arizona was instigating as well, I can't condone that.

So to recap. UCLA goes to Tucson. Can't run the ball on one of the worst run defenses in the country. Gets dissected by Nic Foles - the 2nd best QB in the conference who led them to TD's on every drive. Lets Arizona and their pitiful run game (72 yards per game) steam roll us. Gives Arizona a safety late in the 2nd half. And lost to an interim coach.

Heck, their cheerleaders probably outdanced and out-cuted ours. Well, that last one might not be hard given Arizona's female student body.

Now I remember when UCLA was blasted out of oblivion by BYU 59-0. That might have a worst margin of victory but this was worse. I can blame that team being led by Kevin Craft, one of the worst QB's I've seen behind center, and BYU being ranked No. 18. What's the excuse here?

The Rick Neuheisel era can now be classified as a failure and it will end sometime in December or 2012 with his termination. It started with such promise. I was at the Rose Bowl covering his debut game and there was electricity in the stands when they beat Tennessee in overtime. Slick Rick was there in the dark rallying the student body and you felt maybe something could happen.

Course the next game was the BYU debacle. It was the story of his tenure: great highs and lows. Their 2009 recruiting class was supposed be great and then he completely mismanaged it as guys didn't produce or pan out. UCLA was supposed to finally be better than USC in 2010 and couldn't find a way to end the losing streak .

Neuheisel alienated his dream coaching staff of O-coordinator Norm Chow and D-coordinator Dewayne Walker and installed a pistol offense where neither QB he recruited could run it. He's wasted some very talented WR's and if not for his defense being solid, it'd be a slipshod unit all around. I don't see much toughness all around that team and this year, I think he's lost control of his bunch.

He came with a lot of pretty talk and attitude. But he couldn't take advantage of USC's sanctions and the way his team is playing, it's going to be hard to convince big time recruits in California to go to Westwood. Slick Rick is a great communicator/talker but as a coach, he's falling way short and after Thursday, there's no doubt he's a lame duck coach waiting to be taken out back.

UCLA needs a makeover. We haven't been relevant since 2005 and besides Ben Olson, it's going on 13 years since we had a great QB. We haven't been consistently tough on D since Walker left and it's time for a change. A change in recruiting and leadership.

Last night was the lowest I've felt as a Bruins fan. And I shudder to think of what USC is going to do next month.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why Bryant Gumbel was Right about David Stern

I've always had differing emotions on Bryant Gumbel. He can be condescending at times with his statements but he's usually dead on sometimes. When he criticized the Winter Olympics being the world's best athletes because of the lack of color, it was harsh but not anything I haven't heard said among the community. I happen to enjoy the Winter Games but I know Black folks who can't get into it.

Now he made comments that likened David Stern's attitude during the lockout proceedings to that of a plantation owner. His full comments surrounding that statement.

"Stern's version of what has been going on behind closed doors has of course been disputed, but his efforts were typical of a commissioner who has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys. It's part of Stern's M.O., like his past self-serving edicts on dress code and the questioning of officials. His moves were intended to do little more than show how he's the one keeping the hired hands in their place.

"Some will of course cringe at that characterization but Stern's disdain for the players is as palpable and pathetic as his motives are transparent. Yes, the NBA's business model is broken. But to fix it, maybe the league's commissioner should concern himself most with the solution and stop being part of the problem."

Predictably, everyone assumed that Gumbel called Stern a racist and was upset that he evoked slavery. But of course, this was stupid. If you read exactly what Gumbel said, he said David Stern wanted to be viewed as an overseer. An overseer is someone who wants total power and would do anything to show it or wield it. That's not racist, that's describing every boss who has an ego trip or insecurity about how they're viewed by their subordinates.

Not too long, Dwyane Wade snapped at David Stern when he shook his finger in his face. He said "Don't treat me like a child." Does that not sound like someone who acts like a bullying overseer? During the All-Star break, he threatened the impending lockout by listing off his resume of work before saying he "knows where the bodies are buried" and he's buried them himself.

David Stern has been on one big power trip since the Malice at the Palice and he's acted like he needs to reign in his players to appease corporate America. The NBA dress code (which I supported). The crackdown on hard fouls. The crackdown on whining after plays (I don't like whiners but giving out T's like candy for simple reactions is overbearing). Everything is reactionary like somebody who's hyperconscious about losing control.

Is it any surprise that during these lockout proceedings where his players are trying to hold on to their control, he's wielding his decades of negotiating experiences like a billy club. He's stood by why his owners - who he answers to, by the way - slowly force the players to talk from a 57% share of the basketball related income to a 47-48% share.

Notice that I haven't even mentioned race yet? Because it's irrelevant. David Stern is not a racist. Yes, the NBA does have mostly Black players and especially YES David Stern is talking to them in very disturbing tones. But being called an overseer isn't racist, it's a business model that started in slavery and has continued to CEO's and other bosses on smaller/larger scales. Matter of fact, it's roots are probably from Machiavelli, who said in The Prince that it is best for a ruler to be feared than loved.

I've noticed that it's mainly White people who get hung up on dismissing this by saying David Stern isn't racist.  When I watched Outside the Lines, it was the White reporters/supporters who were taken aback quite easily while the Black reporters knew exactly what Gumbel was trying to say. People snap when we discuss slavery but it shows their lack of understanding with the point being made

"The less sophisticated the audience, the more intolerant it is to slavery comparisons. academics handle them just fine." - Media personality Bomani Jones on Twitter

Ignore the word plantation for a minute and consider the context of the statement. Talking about this as a racial insult is distracting and shows our lack to see through the buzz words to get what someone is saying. Of course Stern isn't racist but is he a condescending bully who has tried his best to let his players know who the boss is.

So Bryant Gumbel was absolutely right. Look past the language and see what he's actually saying. He didn't call Stern a racist, but a power hungry tyrant who has shown that he's not afraid to remind his players who's in charge. These lockout proceedings have done nothing to change my mind on it.

(One more thing - do you remember when that idiot Colin Cowherd said NFL players should treat Roger Goodell like a father since most of them don't have one? Sort of puts Gumbel's comments in a whole new light.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Football Wrap Week 6: Ch-Ch-Changes

I'm trying something new this week. I'm going to recap my 5 favorite moments from the NFL and college football in my usual style but also preview 5 things to watch this weekend. That way I can do a little more on here in looking back and forward.

NFL Fab 5

1. Jim Harbaugh - same guy as he was at my alma mater. Passionate, fiery and a winner. Was it excessive? Yes and Jim Schwartz had a right to be upset. But at the same time, it's his style, not a desire to show up.

Speaking of which, it's officially the 90's all over again. The Bills, Raiders, 49ers and Lions are not just good, they are relevant. Yes, I promise this will be discussed more in depth one week. I'm just waiting to see how they develop.

2. Tom Brady vs. My Cowboys. Another comeback win despite him being held in check. It's what he does best. Tony Romo played great but extra credit to our defense playing well most of the game. I didn't like that gutless call going for field goals instead of TD's on the road though.

3. So the Andrew Luck sweepstakes will be between Indianapolis and Miami. They find new ways to lose every week but I think Miami goes 0-16 before Indy. Indy's been fighting close every week since they almost beat the Steelers. Miami just looks like dead fish.

4. Sad to say this. We've seen the end of Donovan McNabb as a starting QB. He was screwed in Washington and tossed out of Philly with no respect. But right now, his talent isn't there anymore. Welcome to the Christian Ponder era.

5. Andy Dalton has a 4-2 record starting for Cincy. But if you dare try to convince me that he's a better QB than Cam Newton, I'll laugh you out of my face. Cincy's D >>>> Carolina's D. Otherwise, Killa's having a better individual season.

NCAA Top 5

1. Trent Richardson. DANG! Best run of the football season. It's one thing to embarrass your opponent by running all over them with 4 TDs but on this 76-yard run, he added insult to injury. THIS is how you make somebody look foolish like playing Madden vs. a child.

2. No LaMichael James? No Darron Thomas for a quarter and a half? No problem for Oregon. Backup QB Bryan Bennett once won a pivotal game as a HS sophomore coming off the bench in Cali and Kenjon Barner/DeAnthony Thomas did what they do best. Oh yeah, nice cameo return by Baby T.I. Cliff Harris.

Your Pac-10 Freshman of the Year race is gonna be between the Black Mamba (Thomas) and Marqise Lee (USC). And who says Cali isn't producing top notch talent anymore.

3. I will not believe in Clemson. I will not believe in Clemson. Sammy Watkins had a grown man day but I will not believe in Clemson. If I keep repeating this, it will make their eventual collapse easier to gloat over. They can't really be this good can they? That comeback win didn't look pretty and gritty did it?

4. The BCS came out this week. No surprises there. It shows up like Kramer so I just roll my eyes and tolerate it for one more year.

5. That said, Boise State's gonna be screwed once again. It'll be the LSU-Bama winner vs. the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State winner unless something happens in the Big 12/SEC title game.

This week's Fab 5 (NFL)

1. Chargers face LaDainian Tomlinson for the first time since he left in free agency. It's not a big deal cause it's  in New York but as I came of age, nobody meant more to San Diego than LT. Yet it's rare than anybody leaves San Diego on good terms.

2. Remember when Packers-Vikings used to be that rivalry game? Yeah, not anymore. Packers go 7-0 easily.

3. Suddenly LSU-Auburn became even more must-see TV. No Spencer Ware or Honey Badger Tyronn Mathieu thanks to a suspension. It's must see TV because I want to see how LSU still finds a way to stomp Auburn. Michael Dyer isn't gonna go off because that LSU D-line is still intact.

4. Wisconsin-Michigan State. 1st off, how in the heck did Wisconsin not play a road game so far? 2nd, we're about to see how good the Badgers are because if they beat Michigan State, they might as well order up tickets to come to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl

5. I'm praying my UCLA Bruins don't get blown out in Arizona on national TV Thursday. And by praying I mean hoping we lose by 20 and keep it respectable against the 2nd best QB in the Pac-10, Nic Foles (You thought I was gonna say Matt Barkley? C'mon son).

And if it matters to fantasy heads, I'm 5-1 in both of my leagues. Bow down.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Life Ain't Nothing But a EQ of Highs and Lows (c) Big K.R.I.T.

There may not be a line this year in hip-hop that summarizes how I feel more than KRIT's.  Maybe you feel the same way too. You have great high points balanced out by moments where you feel low. It's almost like you have to keep yourself pumped up because if not, the quarterlife crisis (or wherever you are in life) will threaten to overwhelm you. 

The last two weeks, I've had great moments where I felt high. My college homecoming was an incredible ride where I felt like I was coming back accomplished among my peers. Yet it comes at a time where I've questioned what exactly I've accomplished in the grand scheme. 

I spent 4 years at a newspaper as a sports editor. On the surface that is something worth celebrating but beneath I feel like an underground rapper. I busted my butt to be a great writer/reporter, worked hard to know enough about a lot to start and keep conversations on topics and I have national awards to prove it. I still write weekly for a great newspaper and I've freelanced for a branch of ESPN three times in a year. I love covering high school sports and that's my passion as much as tutoring. 

Yet I still feel anonymous outside of the HS sports scene because 1) I worked at a weekly Black newspaper and both of those factors can't be overlooked in terms of being recognized and 2) I believed my work/presence would speak more than networking in an established club. 

Let's go back to No. 1 cause I don't want to make excuses. I worked for the #1 Black newspaper in Los Angeles that was known by people/companies/folks who matter and had a sizable readership. Yet in the news business, being a weekly paper takes a back seat to daily papers, television, radio and popular websites. Throw in the fact that I didn't cover pro sports and occasionally went to college games, I didn't help myself out. 

But in the end, I left the LA Sentinel because I wanted to see what I was worth. I was tired of toiling anonymously and I wanted to see where I could land. I feel like I’m back to square one but I’m happy because I have the freedom I didn’t have at Sentinel.

Yet I do feel bad because for someone who’s spent 5 years in the media business, I feel like I’m still anonymous. And that’s No. 2. My plan to be that way backfired because instead of quietly earning my respect, I’ve quietly built up a resume that enough people who matter don’t know. I believed when you step into a new situation, you move quietly, observe, be seen/not heard and eventually you work your way in. I’ve connected with reporters but how many movers and shakers?

By 23, I had been to USC, UCLA, Dodger Stadium for a Barry Bonds game, interviewed Oscar Robertson and doing things most 23 year olds would dream of. I was rightfully intimidated as well. I have face recognition with several Division I players and perhaps one national reporter but in local media, I’m still low on the totem pole.

Yet I learned something important. It’s not just how good you are and proving yourself in your own corner, it’s who you know to give you a leg up to prove yourself. It ran counter to everything I was told/trained to believe in high school and college so it forced me to rethink my philosophy.

So when I follow other reporters/local media figures on Twitter, I tend to feel insignificant at first. Like my resume doesn’t mean jack when others have gotten their name on more things or have a bigger profile. 5 years and my vision of working anonymously and slowly earning my rep to eventually become a public figure and where exactly has it gotten me? Who have I connected with?

It’s ultimately my fault. I had a noble strategy but for the wrong era. Not for the era of meet, self-promote, hustle by networking and working.

Hence why I feel down. But yet I also feel up because when I counter old faces from my past, it reminds me that I have come far. I ran into one of my HS teachers today at an assignment and in 10 years we both have improved our place in the world. We caught up for about 15 minutes and mostly I had smiles explaining how I’m grateful for what I have accomplished.

It’s the same feeling I got at homecoming. I saw more old faces at the games that I had met on previous assignments and it was good knowing that relationships have been forged over years. Those feelings are the highs. It’s the looking outward part that bring the lows.

Funny how that works. Privately, you can see yourself climbing a mountain but looking out, I see folks way ahead of me that I may/may not be more talented than. Yet if I look down, I realize that I’ve indeed climbed a monster and I’m a lot further up than some.

So I guess the lesson for me is to learn to ride the highs and create more of them when the lows try to pull me down. Also, I can’t compare myself to anyone else because everyone’s paths to their dreams are different. The best way to downgrade yourself is by getting nosy. I have to appreciate what I’ve done and what I’ve done is pretty dang fantastic.

There’s more that I can do though. It’s never too late to start networking and you can be nosy for inspiration not self-degradation. I eventually could stop second guessing myself.

Big K.R.I.T. was right so I have to work harder and stay balanced. I have to fight this envy and self-criticism and use it as fuel to translate to greater success with a new plan. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Football Wrap Week 5: Pack Attack, Black Mamba Strikes and Big Ups to....Kevin Prince???

When’s the last time you’ve seen a defending Super Bowl champion get this little attention? It seems like with all the trendy storylines this year, the Packers have been lost in the shuffle. And that’s just fine. Let them be the first defending champ since 2007 undefeated this late in the season.

We got excited when Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees had that epic showdown to open the NFL season then I think it got forgotten among Sunday’s first day goodness.  The Packers survived Killa Cam Newton’s 2nd game but knocked out the Bears with little problem.

Then reconsider what they did in their last two games. Aaron Rodgers had 400 yards, 4 TDs and rushed for 2 TDs vs. Denver. Again, one of those unreal performances that didn’t get a lot of run for whatever reason.  Now on Sunday, they scored 25 straight on the road to beat the Falcons while making Matt Ryan look average with 2 INT’s. Oh yeah, Rodgers threw to at least 12 different guys as if he was a socialist bent on sharing the wealth.

Quiet as kept, the Packers are the best team in football right now.  Defensively, they’ve picked it up by stomping a weak Denver squad and shutting down one of the most potent offenses in football at home. Oh yeah, Rodgers is arguably the No. 2 QB in football and if Tom Brady wasn’t putting up loco numbers, he’d be No. 1.

Maybe we’re sleeping on them cause they aren’t steamrolling teams. They aren’t a dominant team by the eyeball test at first but watch a quarter or two and you see that it’s looney how good they are. Every other team that’s one loss or fewer.

Buffalo? New England? = Great offense, shaky defense
Detroit? = Young, hungry and don’t know how to quit. They are scary as well.
San Francisco? =  They’re a Tony Romo comeback from being undefeated.  An easy schedule has favored them.
San Diego? = My No. 2 team has made plays they had to but they’re one brain fart away from being 2-3.
New Orleans? = Quietly they haven’t lost since Green Bay. Another sleeper despite inconsistent D
Baltimore? Washington? = Did we forget who their QBs are? Hahahahahaha.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Green Bay was still undefeated come Halloween with Tampa Bay and Minnesota up next. Maybe then, we’ll start hearing about them getting more respect.

49ers put up 48 on Tampa. Whoa! I haven’t seen an offensive outing like that from them since Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens were lighting it up during high school.  All that slowdown Stanford offense made me forget how Jim Harbaugh used to light it up at my alma mater.

Rest in Peace Al Davis. Like most people, I think he overstayed his hold the past 6-7 years. But his legacy is set in stone for his vision and foresight. I think it’s a shame the last few years ruined that. He was a leader in making the NFL more diverse on and off the field and a rebel.  No disrespect to Houston, but they weren’t going to win against a ghost and an inspired team.

Seattle’s Doug Baldwin: Peeped him out well for my fantasy team. Good game young man. Rep that Pac-12 proud.

Lord Tebow tried his best but a lightning bolt reminded Denver fans that idol worshippers will ultimately be disappointed. Heathenry won't be tolerated on the Lord's Day. Quiet as kept, my Chargers are 4-1 instead of under .500 this early for the 1st time in ages. We win ugly but we’re winning.

And for the record, Timmy did a good job in relief. But don’t get crazy, he nearly carved the Chargers secondary last year for a comeback. Show me he can do this for 60 minutes and make the basic throws. He has the gifts but I don’t think he’s a NFL starter yet.

(Edit - Announced Tuesday that Tebow will start. Lord Tebow will have his fans in a frenzy as heathens try in vain to make him more than he is. In reality, what better choice do they....oh, hi there Brady Quinn. Remember when you were a big deal 5 years ago?)

Who’s got a bigger case of Bird Flu? Atlanta or Philadelphia. The media might be making glue of a dead horse with the Dream Team BS but it’s obvious Philly is trying too hard. How else do you explain Mike Vick’s 4 INTs and guys fumbling passes.  Same time, Atlanta looks like a frontrunning team with no D to sustain for the long run. Matty Ice is clutch but his defense isn’t.

NCAA Tidbits

LaMichael James had his usual beastly day for Oregon of 200+ yards and thankfully he didn’t break something worse in his arm on his fall. But the big story for me was the emergence of De’Anthony Thomas in his 2nd Pac-10 game.

3 TD’s for the Black Mamba (for those who don’t know – he had that name right before Kobe got it) and he’s officially made his claim as the 4th weapon in the Oregon backfield. Just like Robert Woods, I’ve covered Thomas closely in his high school years and I’m proud of him proving that switching from USC to Oregon was the best decision he made.

He’s playing right away, he’s learning from his mistakes and he’s making a statement for conference Freshman of the Year. It’s reminding me of when I watched his first year of HS football and he found ways to dominate right away.

LSU/Bama are neck and neck to me. Now that both teams destroyed Florida, it’s clear that they are the two best teams in the country.  November 5, that showdown will determine who’s No. 1 I give LSU the edge now for beating a very good Oregon team.

Remember his name. Tyrann Mathieu. The Honey Badger. Maybe the best DB in the country. That SEC swagger is all over this shot staring Chris Rainey down.

Speaking of LSU, that punter deserved a TD. That no taunting rule where touchdowns are taken away? It’s a silly, overreactive rule. If taunting is that much of a problem, you penalize on the kickoff and that’s it. Taking away touchdowns is extreme and it makes a mockery of the game by being policemen of showmanship. I understand when it’s excessive but since refs are poor judges of weighing intent, let’s take it out of their hands.

Shoelace! 300 yards passing, 100 yards rushing. Best performance of the weekend. Maybe he is finally turning into the next Pat White.  It’s a shame Michigan and Wisconsin don’t play this year unless they meet in the conference title game because he and Russell Wilson are heads and shoulders above everyone in the conference.

Big ups to Taylor Martinez and Nebraska for that 21-point comeback. Ohio State’s doomed for a rough year. Karma for that backside.

I think Oklahoma is still out somewhere scoring on Texas. I got out of work looking bug-eyed that they stomped a mudhole in Texas. It doesn’t say Texas sucks, it just says how good Oklahoma is this year.

The words Kevin Prince and 2nd half comeback shouldn’t belong in the second sentence. But they do. So I’ll give the Hurt Prince his props and with Richard Brehaut out with a broken leg, we’re gonna have to get used to him at UCLA. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Five Years and Counting - Homecoming to Happiness

They say you can't go home again. Well last week, I did and there's nothing like a reunion to make you feel proud, blessed and happy of where you are in life. This is my first ever one since I'm not sure I'll have one for my high school (10 years this summer? Sheesh.) My 5-year college reunion was a great, weird experience that was an old man moment while dipping in the fountain of youth.

I was already excited the week before when I ran into one of my closest college peeps to celebrate her birthday. Not only did we have a blast in Costa Mesa, but I got to meet another fellow USD alum - someone whose reputation preceded her long before we met. We swapped stories about fighting the administration and also working with our different multicultural organizations. It was a great set up for homecoming

(Sidenote, the bar played Purple Rain on one of the screens. Throw in a brief 30-minute DJ set with some great hip hop and that was a win beyond words!)

I made the drive bumping the new Blink-182 CD and +44's debut to get in the San Diego mood. Soon as I hit campus, I met up with one of my bros to hit up the tailgate. The biggest jolt was running into a friend of an ex who said "Happy 5th year homecoming". It was jarring but funny cause I felt old and proud at the same time.

But it wasn't as jarring as seeing the new United Front Multicultural Center. The center where I spent so much time being involved with the Black Student Union was now a sprawling office with several TV's and bigger desks. It was nice but it felt different. I missed the mural (above) that spread out along the side wall which welcomed you and let you know the tight knit minority community was strong. The old building is now a meeting room and I'm sure some new kids are wondering what this huge mural is. That could take some getting used to believing.

It felt good going to Torero Stadium and seeing the alma mater put up a shutout on Davidson. I wish I could've bought a jersey but keeping a tight budget does that to you. During halftime, I walked in the basketball gym to get refreshments and it hit me that it was the 1st time I had been in there since graduation. It felt eerily quiet so I walked around and as I was taking pictures, I thought about the feeling of joy I had in there. Thought about Mom and my Uncle cheering me on from the side. Not gonna lie, I almost cried.

All of that set up for the night - a reunion event at Sandbar at Mission Beach. I had never been there before even though it was a regular hangout for USD peeps. I was partial to Pacific Beach Bar and Grill for their dance floor and bigger vibe. But for one night, I did something different and it paid off.

I saw folks I hadn't seen in ages. Ran into a guy who I knew from before school when we both attended the same student leadership retreat in HS. Took a picture with my sophomore and junior year roommates and reflected with folks over dorm stories and where we were. The best moment came when I ran into my freshman year roommate DJ. I haven't spoken to him in 5 years but it was just like old times when we got together.

Freshman year was crazy because not only did I have to deal with a crazy hall, I had two crazy roommates who were a non-stop party. I'm talking wrestling in the room, drunken shenanigans, intense debates and exposure to good reggae/country. Somehow I survived it being the quiet man but as time went on, I loved those guys. Some of the best times I had came in that room. So to see DJ again after 5 years was awesome.

I didn't want to leave and thanks to DJ pulling one more stunt out of his hat, my belt became an unofficial limbo pole and we had half the bar going underneath. That's the Maher Hall craziness I remember well!

At one point, I was posted on the wall listening to Biggie's "Juicy". I stood there nodding and the words just sank in. I came to school dreaming big as a wide-eyed freshman and 9 years later, I've come a long way. I grew up a lot in those 4 years and even more in the 5 years since. It was a perfect song to make me feel proud and I almost want to shed a tear like dang. I may not be where I wanna be but I'm in a pretty good spot.

The boy who left to San Diego optimistic came home mature and grateful to feel the love, give love and share in the growth of others. A classmate said it best. San Diego is a happy place. Everytime I go back there, I smile because the city makes me. She comforted me after the death of my uncle, has inspired me after several vacations and given me renewed passion. Being back down memory lane was a wonderful experience.

L.A. is home but San Diego is my heart. I'm grateful to everyone at my school and city who helped nurture me. You can go home again and it felt better than I thought.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thank you Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth

Before we lost Steve Jobs yesterday, we also lost a civil rights pioneer. One of the last close links to Dr. Martin Luther King. Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth is on the left of this picture next to Dr. Ralph Abernathy.

He was a bulldog who wasn't afraid to back down when being hosed or to stare down the racist Bull Connor. He organized the first marches in Birmingham that helped galvanize the civil rights movement and bring a lot of attention. This is a man we owe a lot to for playing a role in helping the country see the injustice going on down South.

Please read this great NY Times obituary on a man overshadowed by yesterday's big news. Thank you Rev. Shuttlesworth for being a fearless fighter of justice and for helping wake up America.

Thank you Steve Jobs

There's a handful of people in my lifetime that have changed modern culture more than Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Those two are giants that revolutionized technology and built dueling empires that transformed worldwide business and personal enjoyment. 

Steve Jobs belongs to the ages now. Another victim of that C-word that has affected too many of us. Affected me as I think about October 9 - my Dad's birthday. Amazing how one man could do so much. We are indebted to his vision and how he impacted society.

There isn't a soul alive that hasn't been touched directly or indirectly by him. Think about that. How many people can we say that about. We are touched by someone living their life and their intangible gifts. But rare is the person who actually touched us with their products and continued to be creative.

I used an Apple in elementary school (Oregon Trail!!!), HS and my college computer stations had it. It can't be overstated how much this one invention changed modern technology. He had the foresight to also help start up a movie company called Pixar, which right now is the leader of animation. 

If you told me in junior high (1996/97) what Apple would do over the next 15 years with him returning as CEO, I'd laugh at you. I remember when Microsoft was everywhere and Apple was just a tool that used Microsoft. By 1999, Bill Gates and Microsoft were hailed as the greatest success story of modern times. When I left high school, I remember seeing the new Macs but I had no idea what Steve Jobs was going to do.

In 10 years, he revolutionized the computer, music and the telephone industry. iPods change how we listen to music. iTunes changed how we collect music and share information with podcasts. iPhones changed how we see telephones. The iPad was a brand new device that took the PC to another level. The iMac changed how user friendly computers need to be. Now, Apple has more revenue than the U.S. government.

When I think of Steve Jobs, I think of innovation. Not just with his companies, but other companies who followed Apple's lead. Even if you didn't use Apple products, you most likely used some product that derived  from it. He never rested on his laurels but kept trying to think how can he make his product better. 

The man died with over 330 patents. That's innovative as anybody in recent memory,

Also, I think of passion. Creative people need to have passion behind their product. When nobody believes in them, they have to be their own cheerleader because at first, they and they alone know what they see. Steve Jobs took his baby and ran unbelievably far. He turned the unveiling of new products into events and he was front and center excited about it. 

You think he knew his products would be game changers? I believe so. He was one of the best marketers for Apple and even if you didn't get his products, you had to respect his passion and commitment to show people  what he had done. 

Finally determination. He lived like he was dying. He didn't just save Apple from nearly dying when he came back, he used his dying breaths to make his life valuable to others. He built Apple into the biggest company on the planet from the brink of bankruptcy. He wasn't going to let failure hold him back.

Think about this. He was worth $200 million at 25 years old. He was forced out of Apple at 30. Instead of being defeated, he started a new company that Apple later bought. He became CEO again at 42. After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003, he didn't stop as he came out with iPhone and iPad in his 50's. 

We can learn a lot from him. We've benefited from his vision so it's fitting that we don't just stay consumers, we become thinkers with it. So for the technology that has impacted the world beyond using computers, for inspiring to chase their vision, thank you Steve Jobs. Thank you for changing my times in a big way.

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in 1991  - rivals in business, partners in drastically changing the world .

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Football Wrap Week 4: No More Blackouts

I’m still in a daze from my 5 year college reunion Saturday. The lack of sleep I got this weekend kept me from watching a lot of football but it was all worth it. Worth it to be back with my USD people and catch up in the city that gave us so many memories.

I’m starting off by saying that NFL blackouts suck. They suck and serve no purpose other than the NFL saving face of empty seats on TV. Maybe I’m still bitter watching the NBA potentially lose a season after a great 2010-11 campaign due to owner mismanagement but I couldn’t watch the Chargers Sunday because of the blackout.

The NFL has had a blackout policy in place since 1973. If a game is not sold out 72 hours in advance, the game is not available on local television.

It forces teams to do everything in their power to sell tickets. Yet it doesn’t address why fans aren’t coming to games. Fans aren’t coming because it costs too much. Fans who are there probably have to sell an arm, leg, rib and a kidney to afford tickets and are on waiting lists to sell livers to afford concessions.

Nobody wins with a blackout – teams lose money, fans lose the chance to see their teams. So I ask why it has existed for so long. Especially in a tough economic climate, we need to re-evaluate what can be done to lift it. Why punish teams and fans any longer.

I know I might be alone in thinking owners should care about the fans more. Sorry, I grew up in an era where owners tried to do right by the fans as well as their pockets. One day I hope the NFL sees the light and ends this process.

Let’s get to the tidbits.

Devin Hester, I remember watching you at the U shake folks silly. Now you have the most TD off punt returns in NFL history. I watched Deion do his thing for years. I watched Dante Hall. You are by far one of the best return threats in league history. Gale Sayers should be proud watching you carry on his legacy with the Bears.

Tampa Bay is a scary good combination. That last drive was brilliance. Josh Freeman making clutch throws, LeGarrette Blount making hard, powerful runs, that mix of youth and experience on defense and even a cameo by my fellow Torero Josh Johnson.  Young core that could do some serious damage.

Detroit is legit in every sense. Calvin Johnson is a grown man on another level. I have no other words for that Cowboys choke job. I’ll let my boy Primetime speak for me on this.

Aaron Rodgers. Wow. What a day. 6 total TD's And I’m still trying to figure out how he slid so low in the draft.

Pete Carroll really had his kicker out there trying a 61-yarder to win huh? That might be the most foolishly arrogant thing I’ve seen an NFL coach do in years and I’ve seen Carroll take gambles at USC before.

Mark Sanchez and Joe Flacco – bad quarterbacking at its worst. Joe Flacco surprised me with his crappy numbers but Sanchez man. Dare I say he’s a product of great support instead of making success on his own?

College Tidbits

Stanford – The Best Team Nobody is Talking About. They destroyed my Bruins and I can’t wait to see them face Oregon again. And is there anything Andrew Luck can’t do after that 1-handed grab? Not just a pure passer but a great athlete too.

Clemson looks legit at 5-0. I want to see them in the ACC though. I never trust their basketball team and I can’t trust them yet. Tajh Boyd looks dope.

What’d I say about South Carolina? Could barely score against Auburn and lost ugly. Overrated.

Alabama and Trent Richardson deserves praise for knocking out Florida literally. Next up, LSU gets their go around with Florida Saturday. With a freshman QB starting, Gators are gonna end up looking like Dunn Persley from Sunday’s episode of Boardwalk Empire (maybe one of the best scenes that shows why Chalky White is such a magnetic character).

Wisconsin is No. 4 in the country and Russell Wilson looks like the next Cam Newton in terms of impact transfer changing a team’s identity. Unreal.

USC – University of Serra (HS) Cavaliers. Two WR’s from the same school having big days while the Trojan defense stays getting exposed. I know I’m a UCLA fan and it sucks knowing the best HS talent doesn’t always make it there but I’m a fan of kids I’ve covered first and I’m happy for Marqise Lee and Robert Woods.