Tag Archives: Sports

Let’s talk a little college football

The great thing about football season is you never run out of things to talk about. This week, Alabama coach Nick Saban and Florida coach Will Muschamp fired some shots at each other. Since Will is one of Nick’s protégés it makes it all the more interesting. Nick isn’t happy with the way the BCS bowls will be selected after the conference games.

One of the unfair elements of the process is that those voting in the various polls tend to look at a team’s losses, not their wins. So this year, Alabama and Georgia both have one loss and will play for the conference championship. However, the loser of that game will have a second loss and almost definitely be ranked behind one-loss Florida in the BCS rankings.  Because they won’t play in the conference championship, Florida won’t have the “opportunity” to pick up that additional loss. That means Florida will probably get a BCS invitation, while the Alabama-Georgia loser will not.

No fair! Says Nick.

“It’s not really a great scenario for either team. You play your way into the championship game, which means you’re the best team in your division. It doesn’t seem quite right. I don’t feel good about it for our football team or their football team.”

Actually, I agree. What’s interesting, however, is that Nick didn’t express that opinion last year when his Alabama team…

1.) Finished second to LSU in the Western Division and did not go to the championship game.

2.) Advanced to the #2 BCS ranking, when Georgia lost to LSU.

3.) Picked up the SEC’s second BCS invitation, to the national championship game.

4.) Won the national championship even though they did not win their division or play in the conference championship.

I love a little hypocrisy.

By the way, Muschamp’s response – “I can switch and go to Atlanta if he doesn’t want to go to Atlanta and play the ‘Dogs. Be careful what you wish for Nick.”

Is young Will channeling a little Stevie Spurrier?

Meanwhile the discrepancy in the strengths of the conferences is creating some interesting situations.

Georgia Tech, with a 6-6 record, will play FSU in the ACC conference game this weekend. If they win, they get a bid for a BCS bowl, probably the Orange Bowl. Meanwhile, the Big East doesn’t have a single team in the top 25, but guess what conference does? The MAC! Right now, Kent (“Four dead in O-hi-o”) State could move into the top 16 with a win in their conference championship game.  The BCS rules state that a school not from a “guaranteed-bid” conference earns a spot in one of the BCS bowls if it finishes in the top 16, and is ahead of the top-ranked team from one of the “guaranteed-bid” conferences.

If you were running the Orange Bowl, how excited would you be to host a 7-6 Georgia Tech playing Kent State? (Sorry, son-in law.)  One columnist, Pat Dooley, from the Gainesville Sun, wrote he wouldn’t watch that game if were played in his backyard.

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Gators finish 11-1!

My Florida Gators beat FSU to finish the season 11-1. Not too shabby for a team that went 7-6 last year and that many predicted would need a lot of luck to improve on that this year. Go Gators!

Remember Al Oerter?

As long as we are on the question of the Olympics, let’s go to the next question.  Based on his collection of medals, is Michael Phelps the greatest Olympian of all time? If medal count were the only criteria, I would say “no.” However, when you consider those medals were won over the course of three Olympics, including a world-dominating performance in 2008, I might vote in his favor.

The problem with looking just at medal count is that some sports, like swimming and, to a lesser extent, gymnastics, have a fair number of events (medal opportunities) that essentially involve the same skill-set.  For example, a dominant freestyle sprinter could win six gold medals by basically doing the same thing (swimming one stroke fast for a relatively short distance) in six events (50m, 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay, 4×200 relay and the 4×100 medley relay).  He or she would not have to even attempt another stroke or any distance events.

How can you compare that to someone like Al Oerter? Anyone remember Al Oerter? I’m dating myself  here. Oerter was an American discus thrower, who won the Olympic gold medal in four consecutive games, 1956-Melbourne, 1960-Rome, 1964-Tokyo and 1968-Mexico City. That is amazing! But someone like Oerter could never rack up a medal-count like Phelps because there is only one discus event in each game. There is not a light-discus, a heavy-discus, a free-style discus, a discus-relay, a weight-throwing medley, etc.

So I think Phelps is certainly one of the greatest, if not the greatest. I just don’t get hung up on the total number of medals to reach that conclusion.

So what’s on tonight?

“Jersey Boys” and Bahama Breeze make a great evening!

We had a busy and very good weekend.

Mrs. Poolman and I headed down to Jacksonville for a quick overnight with her sister and brother-in-law, Bonnie and Rick, and to see the touring production of “Jersey Boys.” It was a lot of fun. Another couple, friends of Bonnie and Rick’s, also joined us. We started the evening with dinner at Jacksonville’s new “Bahama Breeze” restaurant. That is well on my want to becoming my favorite restaurant chain. It was really good! I had the grilled chicken with cilantro crema. Oh my! I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

I spent most of the dinner getting up and checking the Florida-Louisville “Elite Eight” game in the bar. Unfortunately, the Gators blew an 11 point lead in the last seven minutes to lose out on a trip to the Final Four. It was the only downer of the evening.

I have wanted to see the “Jersey Boys” for several years and have been on the look-out to find a touring group that would come close to Savannah. The show follows the story of the musical group, the Four Seasons (Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, etc.) I’ve been a Four Seasons fan since I was in high school. The production mixes drama scenes with many of the groups musical numbers. The music starts off a little slow as the show tells the story of the group’s early years. However, once they got their first hit in “Sherry,” their careers and the production took off.

This show is all about the music. The actor / singers did an excellent job. The actor who played Frankie Valli stole the show with his solo of “Can’t take my eyes off of you.”

If you like the music and have a chance to see the show, it’s definitely worth the price of a ticket.

Is it football season yet?

It’s still five and a half months until college football season starts up again, but I ran across a couple things that are interesting.

The first is a map of college football loyalties. For those parts of the country of which I am familiar, it is pretty accurate.  (Click on it for a full screen version.)

The United States of College Football

The second is a video of “Things Gator fans say?” This guy has some talent. The video really hits home.

“How do you fall asleep at a MacDonalds drive through window?”  Funny!

Perils of an injury-prone childhood

My new blog friend, MJ Monaghan, recently wrote a post about “boys will be boys” accident he had when he was a child.

It reminded me of all the injuries and mishaps my brother and I had when we were children.  At the time, they didn’t seem to be so many or frequent, but in retrospect, we must have driven our parents crazy.  We were a walking (or not so walking) orthopedic ward.

My brother and I are the oldest of five children. When we were growing up, most of our mother’s time and attention was consumed by our three younger sisters.  Once we left the house in search of friends and activities, we were pretty much on our own, without the benefit or the burden of parental supervision.

We lived in a small and fairly isolated neighborhood that was surrounded by hills, woods and some old farm fields. There really wasn’t much opportunity to cause trouble. However, there were plenty of opportunities to cause damage to ourselves, and we took full advantage of them. From the time we were nine or ten to our early teens, we accumulated:

Me: Fractured arm, fractured foot, dislocated shoulder, stiches in my head (courtesy of a hammer wielded by my brother), and a cut leg that required stitches

Brother: Badly fractured humerus (upper arm), fractured finger, sprained ankle

These were all acquired in the course of playing sports, climbing trees or generally screwing around. Looking back on it, I wonder how many of those injuries started with someone saying, “I’ll bet you can’t…”

We kept our family physicians busy. In fact, one of our regular physicians was, not surprisingly, an orthopedic surgeon.

When I was in ninth grade, a bunch of us were “studio wrestling” in a friend’s front yard. One of our larger kids picked me up over his shoulder and dropped me. I landed on my right shoulder, It did not seem to be broken, but my arm just sort-of hung there. Seeing it was a Sunday, my mother suggested I go to school the next day and show the shoulder to the PE teacher/coach.

“Oh my God, son. You have a broken clavicle. Why haven’t you already been to a doctor?” he asked.

So I called Mom and gave her the report. She said she would call ahead to the orthopedic surgeon’s office. I should walk the few blocks down the street to his office and report to him. If needed, my father would come collect me later.

When I walked in the door, the receptionist just looked up and asked, “All right, Poolman, what did you do this time?” Let’s just say, we didn’t need an introduction.

As it turned out, I may have dislocated the shoulder, but it was back in place and there wasn’t much for him to do, except to tell me not to be throwing any balls around, or doing any studio wrestling for a while.  Eventually, my dad did come to collect me and, I assume, to pay the bill.

That was my last injury that required medical treatment until I was introduced to the joys and perils of motorcycle riding after I graduated from college. That is a story for another day.

The Tebow train keeps on chugging along

For a Steeler fan like myself, it was tough to watch the Steelers-Broncos game at our house last weekend. There were two reasons.

1. The Steelers’ defense, #1 in the league, made the NFL’s worst quarterback look like the second coming of Johnny Unitas.

2. Mrs. Poolman actively cheered for Tim Tebow and the Broncos the entire game.

Actually, I have really enjoyed all the fuss and controversy over Tebow this year. Of course, we have followed him since he was recruited by the Gators, his four years of playing for the Gators, a Heisman Trophy and two national championships. These days he has been driving people crazy, again for two reasons.

–As a man, he is the “real deal.”  Critics have been searching for some evidence of hypocrisy in Tim for years, but haven’t been able to find any. He is what he is, and that is a strong character and good person.

–He has marginal skills as a traditional NFL quarterback, but that hasn’t kept him from being a major player in a story-book season for the Broncos. The team’s performance, most recently against Pittsburgh last weekend, has caused all kinds of “experts” to eat their words.

It has also given editorial cartoonists plenty of material to work with.

Frankly, I don’t know if Tim has a long-term future as an NFL quarterback. I’m not enough of an expert to make that kind of judgment. But in the meantime, the story has been a lot of fun to watch.

Another reason Timmy has been fun to watch is the criticism and outrage over his public displays of faith.  The term “Tebowing” has entered the language. (I also thought it was hysterical when, during one game this season, a defensive player sacked Tim, and then took a knee in the “Tebow pose.” Now that’s funny!)

I ran across this piece from Fox News featuring commentator Bernard Goldberg, who addresses the criticism and defends Tim. As usual, Bernie is right on target.

We’ll be watching the Denver-New England game on Saturday evening. We’ll see if the miracle train continues on down the track.