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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Smelling the ROSES (Random Observations from a Saturday Embroiled in Sports

Another Saturday spent perusing the plays performed at Paladin Stadium.  Furman's game with the Western Carolina Catamounts (aka When Purples Clash) was supposed to be yet another soggy Saturday. so laden with rain gear we entered the stadium.

It was the usual late arriving crowd. Though when the BoBBs* came through I did mind the constant occupation of the aisle quite as much.  The crowd was thrilled as the Paladins took the opening kick off and drove the length of the field. and horrified when running back Jerrodius Williams had the ball punched away at the threshold of the end zone. The ball skittered through and out the back, giving the ball to the Catamounts on their own 20 yard line.  (momentary pause while I bang my head on the metal seat back in front of me.) Western Carolina drove inside the Furman red zone, but was held to just a field goal.

Williams redeemed himself but returning the subsequent kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.  This was the first of 28 consecutive Paladin points.  The crowds mood was deflated somewhat by a Catamount touchdown with 45 seconds left.  Never give a team hope going into halftime (see also Clemson vs Auburn 2010).  But the crowd was overjoyed by a quick Furman drive that resulted in field goal as time expired.

The late arriving crowd began filtering out. Welcome to the Furman fandom. Sigh. (For the record, my family has been a 'stay to the end' crew. Notable exception: Freak snow storm in a 1990 playoff game.)

The second half was most notable by the greatest of all home field advantages.  The Mighty Furman Turf Monster grabbed a Western Carolina receiver just as the ball was thrown.  The pass settled into the hands of the Paladin defensive back behind him and returned for a touchdown.  Furman would go on to a 45-24 victory.

Thoughts for the day:
  • Blaring canned music (stadium rock) really doesn't fit the collegiate football experience. It seems more like a pro thing.  College football music should be played solely by the band.
  • For some reason Furman has taken to playing the Alma Mater after the game.  The crowd that has stayed is filing out and the players and coaches are leaving the field.  It needs to go back to the pregame.
  • Ye olde thin plastic stadium cushions + metal bench seat + 40 year old rear end = sore tailbone by the end of the third quarter.
  • The Catamounts ran a no huddle offense. They appeared to want to use the Oregon system of play calling utilizing large boards with four disparate pictures on it.  What they actually did can at best be considered a homage. Rather than multiple combinations of images, they had one big poster board with a fixed set of images on each side. I only ever saw them show one side.
  • Great football names from the Catamounts: Ace and Rock.
  • Not so great football name from BC in the Boston college-Clemson game: Spiffy
(As a 'name' aside, during the week I met a man named Friday Jackson. He wore sunglasses and had a thick mustache that went down each side of his mouth to his chin.  Why this man is not in action movies I'll never know.)

Rant one of the day:  To all radio broadcasters -- tell us the damn score! Once upon a time holding back made sense, maybe lure people to listen longer. But in the Internet Age, the people who just want the score either go on the Web to begin with, or tune you out and go on the Web if you don't give the score after a minute or two of listening.  The folks who want/have to listen on the radio are, you ain't gettin the rest.

Rant two of the day: Analysts -- quit saying offenses that run lots of plays put defenses at a disadvantage.  If the defenses get stops and make opponents punt they will not get worn out.  And high scoring offenses help defenses that get stops by making the opponent have to run lower percentage plays trying to catch up with the scoring. A bad defense cannot be saved by any offense. A methodical offensive team with bad D will lose a low scoring game; a fast paced offensive team with bad D will lose a high scoring game.  But the defense controls its own destiny.

*BoBB: Bevy of Bodacious Beauties

The acronyms in this post were brought to you by the letters W, T, and F.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Reality is Debatable

Ugh, debate season is back.  People need to be informed, but one minute sound clips by people who are only trying to generate one 10 second sound bite?  The excuse for brevity is to keep it from being drawn out and boring -- policy wonks on parade.  At least that would be informational, but as it stands now presidential debates have no substance or drawing power.  So here's my solution:

Reality TV

A "season" of one debate a week for the last eight weeks before the election.  The first and last debates will be two hour "extravaganzas".  A panel of four questioners, each will serve as a moderator/host for two debates each.

Each debate will be on one broad topic: the economy, foreign policy, budget priorities, crime and the justice system, etc. The candidates will get three minutes to answer a question; if they start wandering from the question the panelist/judge who asked it can interrupt to 'drag' them back. Then the other candidate can ask a brief follow up with one minute for an answer.  Mics will be cut off if an answer goes too long, wanders to far, or a follow up becomes a mini speech.  And then the judges issue short reactions (30 seconds or so) to the answers.

There will be a Twitter board live and on the TV feed.  There will be another Twitter/e-mail feed with questions that the moderators can choose from in addition to their own.  Each judge will have to choose at least one to ask.  Crowd reaction will be encouraged.

There will be brief (2 to 3 minutes) introductory statements by the candidates, but no closing statements.  Rather, there will be 5 to 6 minutes of a back and forth between the candidates followed by each judge summarizing and declaring their winner.

And our all-star panel will be:

Swinging away from the left:  Keith Olbermann
Sitting far right:  Rush Limbaugh
Representing the outsiders:  Alex Jones
And just to really stir things up, that fabulous Brit: Simon Cowell

Would you watch?

Monday, September 10, 2012

9/11

On 9/11 true patriotism would be for networks & politicians to not exploit 9/11 for ratings & votes. Let us honor the fallen our own way.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Eurythmics in Mudville

If you despise college football, or just are 'meh' about it, this post is probably not for you. It's mainly about me (ego trip!), but fair warning.

I don't know what it says about me that I know omens (or 'almon(d)s as Dad calls them) are all in my head, but I still go there when circumstances suitable to their perception arise. but I do.

As Dad and I approached the gate for the first home game of the ferocious Furman Paladins (wait...are Paladins ferocious?), promised and much dreaded rain began to fall. At first we took shelter beneath the concrete and steel of the stadium seats and our meager rain gear. But as the rain intensified it became obvious that the stadium was not built to be waterproof, and we crowded with others under an awning where someone was usually selling something (still not sure if anyone was at that moment).

It wasn't until the combination of even heavier rain and wind plus the splashing from the rain and water leaking through the stadium began soaking into the left (outward facing) side of my shorts, as well as both socks and my left shoe, that I began to wonder that the turnover plagued first loss the previous week at Sanford [but not Son] was about to be repeated.

(Yes, that's a tortured sentence(?). welcome to my blog [and brain].)

The kickoff was delayed until rain, wind, and lightning had cleared the area.  Then occured the joyous first kickoff of the home portion of the season. Followed five minutes later by the culmination of the first frustrating long touchdown-drive-given-up. (facepalm)

Over the next twenty-five minutes the Paladins and the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (yes the state of South Carolina has two teams whose mascots are male chickens) would combine for a blistering nine points, leading to Furman facing a 10-6 deficit, and injured starting quarterback, at the half. That score would hold up until Furman had a brilliant and crowd rousing defensive stand late in the third quarter. At which point they would muff the punt (double facepalm) on their own 12 yard line and give up a touchdown, leading to a crowd silencing 17-6 score with under eighteen minutes left in the ball game. Sigh!

It's the fourth quarter. Here comes the rain again. Falling on my head like a tragedy. My shorts and socks had just gotten dry too! And as the rain intensified, and Furman's offense struggled thorough the mud; it became clear that my hat-and-hood-on-the-head, rain-coat-on-torso, and poncho-on-legs not only did not protect my socks and short's seat from dripping, but had a hole somewhere as my shirt became soaked on the left side as well. [Maybe that's why the left side is the sinister side] {Quiet, you! No vocabulary observations!} [::pout::]

Midway through the fourth quarter the rain began to slacken. To my right appeared a double rainbow (sadly no picture, even if my phone wouldn't have gotten wet it takes only 320x240 pics) [And you call yourself a nerd, sir!], and to my left...a Furman touchdown! And setting up for a two point conversion to cut the lead to three with half a quarter still to go! And the pass IS THROWN AND...promptly intercepted and returned for two points for Coastal, followed by a sixty yard kickoff return and field goal that puts the Chanticleers up 22-12 with 4:12 on the clock and Furman having used all its time outs. (triple facepalm) [You can't do that; you only have two {SHUT UP, DUDE!}...sorry, sorry]

And then it all became a blur...the rain stopping...the desperate drive down the field to the endzone...the heartbreaking reversal of a blocked extra point leaving the Paladins still down four...the shockingly well executed onside kick!...the determined Furman offense, behind a true freshman quarterback striking for SEVEN FREAKING POINTS...a squib kickoff stranding Coastal at their own 35 yard line, down three points, with :35 on the clock...the soaked, stalwart, crowd roaring!!! As a stupid, @#$%!*&^%, PREVENT defense gives up 40+ yards on 2 plays setting up the tying field goal as time expires! (double facepalm, double footpalm...any comments?) [errr...no]

Breathe.

Overtime #1:
Furman sacks Coastal's QB on first down, pushing them out of field goal range! On second down, they give up a touchdown pass.

Furman strikes for a touchdown on it's first play, a 25 yard pass to Will King! (Side note: to the blond in the Will King jersey in Section 3 Row L: I don't know if you're family or his girlfriend...but DAMN!)

Overtime #2:
Furman rumbles for 25 yards and a TD on first down.

Coastal throws for 25 yards and a TD on its first down.

Overtime #3:
Coastal scores a TD. At least it takes two plays. By rule, after the second overtime, you must go for two after a touchdown. Coastal calls time out. Analyzes the Furman defensive tendencies. Calls a reverse; Furman overpursues -- a valiant defender charges across the field and dives at the five yard line, but just misses the runner.

Furman runs the ball three times, blasting into the endzone. Calls time out. Calls a  fade to the left side of the endzone.

Somewhere people are laughing,
Somewhere the sun is out,
But there is no joy in Greenville (SC),
The mighty Paladins just crapped out.

The pass is too long.

Coastal 47, Furman 45. :(

Damn, I think we've found a quarterback. :)

Up next: #12 Clemson University, 84,00 seat stadium, 20 more scholarships, offensive juggernaut, the return of All American WR Sammie Watkins. :``(

(For the record, I'm also a Tiger fan, but I do not look forward to what's probably going to occur next week. Furman has problems getting its defensive calls in against normal offenses. And Clemson runs plays as fast as humanly possible. With three mistakes by Ball State this weekend, the Tigers put up 28 points in less than four and a half minutes. ::Shiver::)