Friday, September 29, 2006

The Thrill of Victory... The Agony of Defeat...


by ShagOnSports

When you follow sports you have to be prepared for the ups and the downs that are associated with your team… Some of the ups last for a few seasons, UK Basketball with three Championship Games in 1996, 97 and 98 and St Louis Cardinals division wins and playoff success the since 1998 and some of the downs do the same like UK Football the last three years and the Americans in Ryder Cup the last three matches… Some of the downs are just for a day or weekend like this past weekend which was a rough one for me…

Starting on Thursday in my Golf League I played bad to start, I was five over after four holes but held on to shoot 40 and win my match but my team lost so maybe this was a sign of things to come… Then on Friday the Americans ended up down five to three in the Ryder Cup after the first day… St Louis was in the beginning stages of what turns out to be a monumental collapse starting (they lost seven in a row) and on Saturday I watched the USA get whipped at the Ryder Cup and then Navy, Alabama and then Kentucky all lose their football games…

Navy got to overtime, threw a touchdown pass on their first possession (caught everyone off guard) and then my surprise failed to go for two and got their PAT blocked to lose the game… Their offense is designed to get two yards… Alabama’s kicker missed three field goals (Bama, I think is not very good) and then Kentucky went to Florida with a chance but for someone reason Mike Archer will not blitz (five blitzes came up with two incompletion, two sacks and an interception)… St Louis skid was now up to four games…

It can only go up from here!!! As long as you are not insane about Sports (I know allot of people that are) you can enjoy both the Ups and the Downs… “The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat” and right now I am the image of the ski jumper from the old Wide World of Sports Show who represented the Agony of Defeat….

Hopefully things are now on an upswing… I played my league yesterday (I subbed for Ohio Valley Drag Queens) plus an extra nine and not only did I win my match and I shot a 39 and 38 for a 77 (which was pretty could cause I was three over through two holes)… I had four birdies but also managed to have four of those darn three putts (two of them were not bad putts just bad luck)…

St Louis won Wednesday night with a dramatic home run so maybe they can hang on (they are getting whipped already tonight and Houston won so shut up Bruce). UK should win this weekend but I am cautiously optimistic as CMU is a good team and will not be a pushover and both Navy and Alabama have a chance to make big steps forward (at UCONN and at Florida)…

Ryder Cup

First of all I think they need a Captain who is going to put whoever he wants together and not worry about what the players dictate… I would not have sent out Tiger with Furyk since they are the two best players the US team has… They should have been paired up with some of the younger guys on the team and then maybe together the last round of foursomes… Mickelson you can tell did not want to be there… I guarantee he is home in bed with a half gallon of ice cream trying to make himself still feel better after his US Open fall and then Tiger coming back and stealing his thunder… Mick needs to get over Tiger…

The USA needs to look at how the team is selected… There needs to be more emphasis on the majors and the World Golf events… A players gets more points for winning the GMO then coming in the top five after the winner at the British Open the same week… The same is true for winning in Phoenix the same week as the World Match Play tournament… Europe changed their format and look how they are doing in this event…

I thought the team was close on Friday (they could have easily left the day 4 and 4) but then they folded on Saturday… The rookies played nice except for Wettirich who was probably the weakest player on the team… The USA Team looked tight and their play was not very good… They were not aggressive enough!!! Hats off to the Euros!!!

Next Ryder Cup is right here in little old Louisville, Kentucky!!!

ShagOnSports Random Thoughts

- U of L is in a great position to run the table… Their schedule is really turning out to be bad and even if they do win out I do not see how they would get to the National Championship Game… If they win out and beat The Mounties (Bradley J says no way) the lack of playing any top 25 competitions will hurt their chances… Kentucky will help them if they post a good record and the Miami game will hurt them because I think Miami is horrible… U of L is guaranteed that two of the four teams that are ahead of them in the polls will lose since Michigan play OSU and Florida plays Auburn this year…

- If Kentucky wins the games they should the rest of the way out then they have a chance to go 7 and 5… I believe if they will get more aggressive on defense (the drive that Florida had at the end of the half was a pathetic defensive scheme as Archer played prevent) and Joker continues to call a good game as he has the last two and they can improve their running game then they have a shot but lets see what they do this weekend first and not get to far ahead of ourselves… I am at least excited about going to the games again and not just for the tailgating…

- WayneOnSports was a lone wolf in Gainesville at the game with his brother Dean this past weekend… Wayne said he caught a little grief from the fans but you expect that when you enter enemy territory… Wayne said one guy gave him a little mouth about basketball to which Wayne responded to him, “I was sitting at mid court in Indy rooting for your team to win at the final four and represent our conference and where were you at” to which he got no response… Atta boy Wayne!!!

- I fell down a little bit last week dropping 15,000 spots on Yahoo overall posting a 7 for 21 day (another item for my bad sports weekend) in my college picks against the spread… I dropped to 34th place in my Fans of Navy pick group and down 262 spots to 322 in the Fans from Kentucky pick group… For the year I am 51 and 28…

- I am playing Survival Football on Yahoo and still alive after week three… Once you pick a team they go off of the board for you… I took the Dolphins at home last weekend and this weekend I am taking Philly at home… Really a cool format for someone who does not watch allot of Pro Football but still pays a little bit of attention to the outcomes…

- St Louis is in a monumental collapse… Looks like they are going to fold the tent and not even make the playoffs… I am not surprised!!! I thought that their pitching would be good enough to win the Central and then would sink them in the playoffs… This will be a bad situation for St Louis fans… Could Walt (I’ll trade you Dan Haren for Mark Mulder, sign Sidney Ponson and Jeff Weaver) Jockety hold Larussa responsible??? I think that Tony needs a change of scenery… He has had a nice run in St Louis but I would like to see them make a change and go after Joe Giradi… They still have a great foundation to work with but the window for winning a World Series is shrinking a bit… I feel sorry for my friend Matty J!!! Sheets says he is going to get pay backs during your annual trip to Florida this year by asking, “Now where are the Cards”…

- Next week is the Semi Finals of my Golf League… Our captain has not revealed his lineup yet and it will depend on whom the other team sends out… I want to play but it is all about the team…

ShagOnMusic

Tomorrow night is the Rolling Stones at Churchill Downs… Should be a great time… I know they are older but it is still the Stones… I have been jamming to The Stones all week in preparation…

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Bonnie Situation

by ShagOnSports

Kentucky Wildcats

Rich Brooks quote after the Ole Miss game on Saturday night was that this win was a step and he would let everyone decide how big of a step so here is my spin…

To me this was a small but significant step… In the biggest game that Rich Brooks and UK has had after his first year bomb at UK (that team should have won enough games to go to a bowl) the team did what it should have in week two and week three this year, won the game… Lose either game and Brooky’s Kentucky career is more then likely over… Like I have said before I understand the difficulties the last two years but Brooksy fell out of favor with me with his first team at UK… I want UK and Rich Brooks to be successful and we will see come Thanksgiving weekend…

Against an inferior opponent two weeks ago (Texas State) Kentucky used the game as a spring board to restore confidence after the thrashing that U of L put on them... This carried over in the win over Ole Miss on Saturday…

So what did Kentucky do on Saturday and how did Ole Miss contribute to this win… Number one was Ole Miss bailed out the UK defense with five turnovers and that is not something that is going to happen every week but I give credit to the UK defense for these takeaways… The UK defense did its part to create the turnovers but still managed to give up over 200 yards rushing and over 190 yards passing… The passing was off of a couple of big plays and Ole Miss was able to consistently run the ball on the UK defense and had a couple of big time running plays on third down… Ole Miss will be one of the top running teams in the SEC in my opinion based on the two games I have now seen them play and their quarterback is slippery like Chris Leak at Florida…

The UK’s pass offense is clicking… Andre Woodson (SEC Offensive Player of the Week) looked good in the pocket and had the field presence to get rid of the ball a couple of times to avoid sacks… He even made a nice Lorenzon like play to Little while be chased out of the pocket that ended with a good result but could have been a disaster (take the sack Andre)… Woodson looks to be a leader and after game three he seems to have four receivers he can rely on with Lyons Jr (The new Aaron Boone), Burton, Ford and Strickland… This development will help Burton as the season progresses… Lyons Jr has nice hands as does Strickland and both Burton and Ford has great speed…

The UK running game is soft (not the backs)… Kentucky is not able to run the ball up the middle at all so the pass will need to set up the run as it did in Saturday night’s game… Kentucky had a few nice runs on first down for first downs and I though overall that Joker Phillips called a nice game taking what the defense was giving… The running game problems are blocking problems that need to be corrected… If you cannot run the ball then your chances of winning decrease… Kentucky needs to be able to run the ball to win but their ability to pass will ultimately carry them through… Look for Curtis Pulley to get some more time at receiver the next few weeks…

To this point UK must take it one game at a time… To beat Central Michigan, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Vandy and Louisiana Monroe, all games they should win, UK must stay healthy, win the turnover battle, run the ball and shore up the run defense… After one game I want to see more…

In the movie Pulp Fiction during the scene “The Bonnie Situation” Vincent and Jules get a word of insight from the “The Wolf” when they get a little ahead of themselves in a situation in the movie and that same advice applies here… I will not list the exact quote (you will need to watch the movie for that one) but UK fans should not get too far ahead of themselves just yet… Let’s see what happens next week at Florida (Per Brooks theory of playing Louisville in game three of four UK should be competitive in this game) and then how the team does with the two home games after The Gators…

At this point all UK has done was drop a bomb at Louisville and win two games they should have… I still do not like this staff as the long term vision for this program unless they somehow go 8 and 4 this year and then equal or better that mark the next year… If they win the rest of the games this year then they can go 7 and 5… For now take the advice of The Wolf …

I always enjoy being at the games but both of these wins made being there a little more interesting… This week WayneOnSports will be my game reporter in Gainesville…


Louisville

U of L had a nice win yesterday against Miami and this was after a bad and almost disastrous start to the game which saw them almost go down 14 to 0… I had said all week that U of L would win by two touchdowns and by Saturday I decided that I would not be surprised if U of L blew Miami out which they did…

U of L has a nice team even without Michel Bush… Brian Brohm may be the best QB in the country and the offense potent… The running backs who have stepped in are more than formidable and the U of L defense is good enough to shut teams down when they have to… Their defense has really not been tested to this point and Miami provided no insight in to how good, bad or mediocre the U of L defense is to this point… Miami is a bad football team as is Florida State!!!

I am not taking anything away from U of L but let’s use “The Bonnie Situation” analogy for this win also… Miami is not the same Miami… The Miami offense is bad, UK proved to be a better offensive test then Miami, and I am not sure how good the Miami defense is to this point… In Miami’s two previous games they played an inferior opponent and played a Florida State team who like Miami may prove not to be very good at the end of the year… Clemson, BC and VA Tech may be the best teams in the ACC…

It is a shame that Brohm is out (I believe with the injury last year, the Bush injury this year and now is thumb issue that Brohm may go pro after this year if Dad will let him) but I think still feel based on their schedule that U of L can be undefeated going into the West Virginia game… Big test this week at K State…


ShagOnSports Top Five College Teams

Here is my first poll… I doubt the BCS will pick up my rankings but who cares there should be a playoff anyway… There is a little bit of bias here…

1. Ohio State (they look solid)
2. USC (Booty looks solid and their defense looks good)
3. Auburn (they look tough but so does the SEC)
4, West Virginia (Solid group who needs to stay focused)
5. Navy (Hey, They are 3 and 0 and get no respect so until they lose I am ranking them here… They play the game the way it was meant to be played…)

Peeking in are Michigan, Louisville, Florida, TCU and Texas, LSU (you do not lose to a top five team and drop very far)…


ShagOnSports Random Thoughts

- My fantasy baseball team the Scuffletown Mudcats has moved into sixth place (out of twelve teams) with fifteen games left in the year… After floundering in tenth place most of the year my players have picked it up on offense and my pitchers are healthy, recording allot of strikeouts and wins as well as moving up the ladder in both ERA and WHIP… I am truly a Fantasy Baseball Geek!!!

- St Louis now appears to be a lock for the playoffs… The only question is whether they will play the Mets or the NL West Winner… Tigers are trying to fold… The ChiSox almost folded last year and remember what happened… Yankees are the team to beat… Jeter is my MVP just because of effort!!! David Ortiz is a great hitter but he does not play in the field since he is in the AL and therefore should not be MVP…

- Has revenue sharing or the division splits made baseball more competitive??? Think about this tidbit, without the split divisions and the expanded playoffs the two time World Champion Florida Marlins would have never even played a post season game…

- In my Yahoo College Football Pick’em, College games against the spread, I am 44 of 60 after this weekend… This puts me in the upper 80% nationally and in my two fan groups (Fans of Navy, Fans from Kentucky)… In my Fans of Navy Group I am in second place overall…

- This past weekend was a great College Football weekend and the season will only get more intriguing… Division One needs a playoff system that includes conference champions from the Big East, Big 12, SEC, Big Ten, and Pac 10 and then takes three at large teams (conference champs, conference runner ups or split division winners only need to apply)… The Opening round could be played the first week of December (four games) and the winners would advance to a New Years Day Bowl Game and the losers would fill other bowl game slots on New Years Day… The winner’s bracket would be two more games with the winners advancing to a newly created Championship Game that could be rotated as an extra bowl game throughout each region in the country…

- Golf League is kicking into the final stages… I get to go head to head this week with the best player in the league and if are team maintains it’s position I could play him again the following week and then depending on that outcome it could be a third consecutive week… I am playing well so but he did shoot a 34 to my 40 two weeks ago when I subbed for a team and played him… I need to practice!!!

- Now that I have time to think about it Bob Stoops needs to stop whining… I agree that Oklahoma got screwed by the Pac 10 officiating crew last weekend but to me it goes back to the old adage to not put yourself in a position where the officials can impact the outcome of a game… Your team gave up 500 yards of total offense!!!

- Apparently Brent Musburger gave away one of USC’s hand signals for audible’s towards the end of their game last week… Football like baseball has allot of this signaling going on and I am sure that the opposing team was watching for these types of things during the game… It obviously did not help Nebraska during the game…

ShagOnSports Musical Notes

- I got my XM Radio back and it was a nice thing to have on Saturday as I was able to catch the Navy game on the way home from Lexington, listened to the BC and BYU Game before the UK game and also caught part of the Georgia Tech Game… Eleven Days to The Rolling Stones at Churchill Downs!!!

Friday, September 08, 2006

New Conference for Kentucky

by ShagOnSports

The UK Football Debacle

- How could you not have your defense prepared that on the first play from scrimmage that U of L might run a reverse, Bush might throw a pass or a combination of both… Even the Courier Journal discussed such a scenario for U of L… The first play was an execution issue due to a preparation issue…


- UK has to run to win… The winning team the last nine years has been the team who has run the ball… Why did UK come right out of the gate and not try to run the ball… Brooks said we threw to open up the running game… Great strategy that worked well…


- On third and four UK puts Curtis Pulley in at Quarterback and everyone in the stadium knew he was going to run the ball… Great call Joker or was that one that Brooksy sent in to the mix???

- What in the hell is a defensive end doing covering a wide receiver??? It happened on at least two occasions I saw??? What kind of scheme is that??? Brooks said on his show that is part of the plan and if U of L would have run the ball on that play Vs pass then that was what that scheme is set up for… Don’t you want your lineman playing on the line, hence the name lineman!!!



The issue that I have with Rich Brooks is his teams are never ready to play… Bobby Petrino has coached circles around this fossil since he arrived at Louisville, as has most of the rest of the teams that UK has played in the Brooks era… Brooks is a coaching fossil who needs to pack it in and call it a career… Kentucky needs a young innovative, offensive minded coach to turn this thing around… Rich Brooks is worse then Bill Curry and UK is in worst shape now then when Curry was at UK…

Where was the great running game??? Where was all the experience and depth the O Line brought to the table??? Where was the great defensive line and line backing crew we have heard so much about??? I have said it once and I will say it again, this guy has cannot coach… Look at his career record, Loser!!!

I am tired of his excuses and if he is the coach at UK next year then I will NOT renew my season tickets… What if UK turns it around and goes to a bowl game??? Trust me that is not going to happen… Ole Miss and South Carolina will beat UK and if (big if) they win this game this weekend they will only win four games this year (Mississippi St, Louisiana-Monroe & Vandy)…


Brooks can talk about probation, injuries and what ever else he can come up with but I am not buying it anymore… He sucks and so does the rest of his staff!!! They have got to go!!!

Give Louisville their Props

Petrino is an offensive genius… His schemes are great and Brohm is more impressive every time I watch him play… He throws to spots knowing that is where his receiver is going to be… Losing Bush hurts but U of L can still can run the table with the schedule they have for the rest of the year… They will beat Miami!!!


How to build the UK Football Program

Kentucky needs to go out and hire a young coach and a young staff who will be aggressive on offense and take chances on defense… This will create a fan friendly game and give them a chance to compete…

Next is to leave the SEC… Since 1990 Kentucky has played 60 plus games against Top 25 teams (mainly Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, Auburn, Alabama and Arkansas) and 20% of those games have been against teams ranked in the Top 10… I would suggest a leap to Conference USA for six to eight years…

This would allow Kentucky to play a much softer schedule and allow them to build up a winning tradition that they will just not be able to do playing perennial top 10 teams each year in the SEC like Georgia, Florida and Tennessee each year plus having to play either LSU, Auburn or Alabama on a rotating basis… Trying to build a national program from the ground up playing this level of competition is nearly impossible but it can be done when you play a softer schedule…

Once the winning tradition has been established and the recruits are coming in make a leap to bigger conference… I am thinking that UK leads the way forming a new conference and calling it The East South Metro Conference … This conference would be made up of the following teams and would also make a nice basketball conference...


East Division
East Carolina
South Florida
Pitt
West Virginia
Marshall
Cincinnati

South Division
Kentucky
Louisville
Memphis
Arkansas
Tulane
Southern Mississippi


ShagOnSports Random Thoughts

- Tiger Woods… That is all I am going to say about that!!!


- Reality Spin says to check out the UK Basketball Team Photo on the Website… This bunch has bulked up… I think people will be surprised this year by this team…


- I am not a Fantasy Football guy but I am playing survivor football on Yahoo where you pick a guranteed Pro Game winner each week or you are simply out… You are not picking against the spread in this format…


- I subbed in my league last night, doubled the first hole and still shot 40… Pretty good but my opponent threw a 34 on me… He played a nice round with three birdies and one bogey… I putted well (I did have one threw putt) and made two world class up and downs on the last two holes… I have a chance to play this same guy head to head two more times (maybe three) this year… We will meet this team in the semi finals in three weeks…

- My lock of the week this week is OSU over Texas... This should be a great football game... Next week I will publish my top five... Could be a few surprises....




ShagOnMusic

- If you are not a Sonic Youth fan then you should be… The new CD is great… 21 days to the Stones…

Sunday, September 03, 2006

And the Winner Is.....

by ShagOnSports


Happy Birthday to my wife!!! She turned 30!!!


Congrats to my former Neighbors Shane and Kim Harding on the birth of their son!!! Henry (they will go by Hank) is destined to be a star with that name...



For Kentucky to Win


On defense Kentucky must not give up big plays like long touchdown runs, long passing touchdowns and no special team mistakes... The Corners and Safeties are going to be under pressure all day and I think Kentucky must come with lots of pressure from the very first play on Brohm and never let up... The Linebackers must play well!!!


On Offense no turnovers, no mistakes, over 200 yards rushing, 180 yards passing and a couple of big plays for touchdowns... Kentucky needs a special team touchdown and their kicker cannot miss any opportunities to put points on the board... The O Line must play well today and they have the experience but they scare me because they have not been very good the last two years and it is basically the same crew...
UK 24 points...


My boy Sheets says UK is going to Win!!!


For Louisville to Win


Just be Louisville... Play with composure... Balance of pass and run but pick on Kentucky's young secondary early and often... Get up early!!! Don't let Kentucky hang around like last year... Not look past this game!!! The U of L offense should be fine... The questions are on defense and against the run... What does no Elvis mean!!! Remember you are playing at home and use that to your advantage...


U of L 38 points...


Baseball


Looks like right now the Yankees have become the team to beat… The trade for Abreu and Lidle really helped this team and the five game sweep of the Red Sox seems to have given them the momentum they have been searching for this season… The Tigers are still a solid team and they are a young group also… The Twins and Tigers are battling out for the Wildcard and Oakland has wrapped up the West…
Looks like the Mets may limp into the playoffs but are still the team to beat in the National League… The Cardinals are not healthy and their pitching is bad but the Reds cannot seem to catch them (back to five out)…
The Dodgers should win the West…
At this point I am going to predict a Dodgers Vs Yankees World Series unless the Mets can get healthy…


College Football

The season kicked off this weekend…


I watched my middies beat ECU in a close and entertaining game... Navy runs the triple option to perfection... They have some good athletes at the skill positions and their defense is fast... Nice start for the middies in what could be a special year... They play at Notre Dame this year and UK is not at home that weekend I may go...


Tennessee surprised me yesterday and they may be for real... Texas surprised me yesterday but we will get a true read next weekend on both Texas and Ohio State... Penn State looked pretty good as did USC Trojans... The Rambling Wreck held Notre Dame in check but their defense stepped up... The Irish have a brutal schedule so I do not see them running the table although I think in the end they will be one of the four best teams in the nation...


I am hesitant to do a top five since I want the teams to show me something so at the end of next weekend I will have a top five...


I think this season is wide open so any of the teams who run the table should get in to the BCS Championship Game…

Golf

Last Sunday I played again and had another good round although I am not happy with my performance on the back nine… I fired a 37 on the front and but bogeyed three of the first five on the back nine (one was a double, the first one of those in three rounds), had two nice pars and then a bogey and three putt bogey finish for a disappointing 42 on the back… That was my first three putt with my new putter… Five of my last six rounds have been in the 70’s and the 70's is always my target…

We have four more weeks of league golf play and then we have the playoffs starting the first week of October and the Championship matches the following week… On the 21st of October we have our final outing Club Championship and I am looking forward to that event as well… I will close out the year with a trip to Florida the week before Thanksgiving to prepare for the Annual Thanksgiving Day Classic where Ready Vowles and myself will be defending our championship…

Did I mention that I love to play golf!!!


ShagOnSports Random Thoughts

- I had 15 out of 19 on my Yahoo picks against the spread... I lost Notre Dame, Michigan, Tennessee and Texas and it today’s two games I have Kentucky (getting 22.5) and Baylor (getting
7)...


- Scuffletown MudCats are making a move... I would like to finish seventh and sixth is not out of reach with a month to go... There is a three-team race in my fantasy league and I do not think the guy who is winning realizes that he is 180 plus on his pitching innings so he is probably toast...



- I watched the US get schooled the other day against Greece on the high pick and roll... How they could not defend the most basic play in Basketball is beyond me... I do like what they have put together at this point... I like the international game much better then the Pro or College Game... It is more like the game was intended to be played... I would love to see College and the NBA adopt the international rules...


ShagOnMusic



- I really like the two videos the Chili Peppers have from their new album... Panic at the Disco is a great CD and a new band I really like... The new Sonic Youth is awesome!!! I had to send my XM radio in for repair and it is killing me...