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Ring Ring... It's the Future!

Ring Ring... It's the Future!

Many of us quit painting rocks in 4th grade art class.  For inhabitants of Knoxville, TN it defines their collective collegiate existence.  Take the above picture of super-recruit Tobias Harris in front of the painted likeness of his back (apparently Eastern Tennesseeans cannot artistically render human hands), for example.  Having a cartoonish image of your rear side painted on a large boulder in Appalachian Tennessee has to be the highlight of one’s autumn (which, coincidentally is the best season).

Only one problem: that shirt I see Tobias sporting bears a rather large non-Adidas symbol.  Better hope the Under Armour equivalent of World Wide Wes doesn’t get involved in this one… 

But never fear.  Any amount of persuasion attempted towards Sir Harris will be curtailed by the lasting image of himself  emblazened on a ginormous piece of quartzite, neckless and sporting the trademark Volunteer headband-yarmulke.  Afterall…  nothing shows you care more, like a Rock!  Cue Bob Seger.

Vols, bitch!

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A video of Al on her HDTV*

A video of Al on her HDTV*

I’m having a great football Saturday. My significant other is fishing on the coast and won’t return until tomorrow morning and my daughter’s at work, so I have total control of the remote. I’m supposed to be writing, but thanks to the power of wireless Internet, I’m able to do that on the couch in front of my 42” HD TV. And, really, nothing looks better on HD TV than college football. I’m flipping between one of the most exciting scoring shootouts in ACC history, Duke vs. NCSU* on ESPNU and what looked like it might be defensive SEC showdown, Mississippi vs. Alabama on CBS. Kind of sounds assbackwards, doesn’t it? I’m also enjoying the fact that UNC decided that a quarter or two of offense can be very useful in a football game, although I wish they’d make this discovery in an ACC game rather than against a non-FBS opponent. Oh, well, Georgia Southern is no Gardner-Webb.

Lane Stadium - Home of the Shysters, I mean Hokies

Lane Stadium - Home of the Shysters, I mean Hokies

Earlier today, I watched in shocked disbelief as No. 5 Virginia Tech beat the living bejesus out of Boston College. First of all, I’m shocked that a non-SEC, Big 10 or SEC team is ranked that high. Secondly, I can’t believe that Virginia Tech beat Boston College at all and certainly not by a score of 48-14. Usually, Virginia Tech can be counted on to crush all of the Tobacco Road teams that it’s allowed to play since the ridiculous expansion of the ACC, not to mention dashing Georgia Tech’s hopes for a BCS bowl, and then get embarrassed by Boston College, who usually goes into the game with at least 2 or 3 losses under its belt.

If you’re a Hokies fan or you’re one of those rare people who actually pays attention to ACC football year in and year out (like me), this drubbing of Boston College might have you excited. Tired of being razzed on by Pac 10 and Big 10 fans who seem to find ACC football hysterical (the irony of that being spectacular), you think, “Aha! This year Virginia Tech really is for real. This time they have a shot at helping prevent the ACC from being the laughingstock of bowl season. They’ve cleared the BC hurdle. We’re on our way.”

To that I say, “Not so fast, Sparky.”

The fact of the matter is that Virginia Tech is a sham. They are the Penn State or Ohio State of the ACC. They get all the accolades, the high rankings, the prediction that this is their year, but they can’t live up to the hype. It’s true. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that Virginia Tech is for real. It’s like the days when I used to think Florida State was for real (yes, I’m that old) because they’d destroy all of their opponents in the then 9-team ACC, only to lose to Notre Dame or USC and, of course, Florida.

The story isn’t going to change, folks. This win over Boston College is just Virginia Tech’s attempt to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes. In reality, they will slice and dice their way through the conference, with possibly one other loss (I predict Maryland or Virginia). They will then meet whoever is the champ of the Atlantic Division (I predict Wake Forest, but it’s a toughie) and beat them something like 31-3. Then, amidst lots of fanfare, they’ll be off to the Orange Bowl only to be embarrassed by Cincinnati or Missouri (I predict a 27-7 score).

The Orange Bowl - Where VT will be squeezed

The Orange Bowl - Where VT will be squeezed

After the debacle is over, I’ll get the inevitable phone call from my father, a UVA fan, that’ll begin with “Stupid Hokies.” And I’ll have to say, “No, Daddy, they’re not stupid; they’re the snake oil salesmen of the ACC.”

*Denotes extreme sarcasm

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As the hours tick by and we wait to find out if Tim Tebow will be cleared to play tonight against LSU, I can’t help but wonder if Archie Griffin is secretly nervous.  Tebow, as you know unless you’re Nell, was hospitalized with a severe concussion after taking a hard hit from Kentucky’s Taylor Wyndham two weeks ago in Lexington.  Since the, the “will he or won’t he play?” discussions have dominated ESPN’s airwaves.

Griffin is the only two-time Heisman winner, having won the award in 1974 and 1975 when he was an amazing running back for Ohio State.  But Tebow was on track to win his second Heisman in three years until getting laid out.  (Getting laid out, not getting laid.  Calm down, Tebow Virginity Fans.)

Archie Griffin, 1974 & 1975 Heisman winner.

Archie Griffin, 1974 & 1975 Heisman winner.

Before the injury, this season’s Heisman voting process was more or less a formality.  In fact, in any other year, Tebow would just have accepted his first Nobel Peace Prize.  Unfortunately, Tebow picked the wrong year to go up against the Messiah.

So I like to think that somewhere in Columbus, Archie Griffin is pacing nervously. If Tebow doesn’t play tonight, maybe it opens the window for someone else, like maybe Jimmy Clausen. (Note:  when Lou Holtz reads that, he won’t need Cialis.  Or as he calls it, “Shtheallisth.”)

But what if Tebow plays?  Worse yet, what if he’s good?  What if he leads the Gators to a dramatic SEC road win with a touchdown as time expires?  Tebow’s legend would only grow.  And that might just seal the deal on this year’s Heisman trophy.

Tebow winning the Heisman would signal the end of the one thing Griffin and Buckeye fans have been able to hold onto for all these years.  His NFL career was nothing to speak of, especially as he ended up washing out of the USFL.  Being the Heisman trivia answer has been Griffin’s claim to fame for almost 35 years.  If Tebow walks on water tonight in Baton Rouge, Griffin’s biggest accomplishment suddenly loses its luster.

Tim Tebow, Heisman winner, Nobel Prize runner-up

Tim Tebow, Heisman winner, Nobel Prize runner-up

By all accounts Griffin is an extremely nice guy, and I presume he’s far too classy to wish continued injury on a young man, especially for selfish reasons.  But for my own satisfaction, and for the sake of this blog, I’m just going to disregard all that.

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Going...going...

The much anticipated kick-off to the inaugural UFL season begins tonight on VS.  The four team, six game season will no doubt thrill football fans of all backgrounds.  League officials are confident that the UFL will in no way follow in the dubious footsteps of every other previous league that has failed miserably to find either an audience or any sense of relevance whatsoever.

So, the question is:

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Rush Limbaugh Rams Billboard Spoof

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pitino_daveBy now, most people are aware of the developing scandal regarding David Letterman, his alleged affair with Stephanie Birkitt and the attempted extortion plot concocted by former Birkitt beau (and CBS producer), Robert “Joe” Halderman. However, you may not know about the titilating and complex relationship that has been formed between Letterman and one Rick Pitino, based on their shared position as über-famous extortionees.

Before I talk about the actual case, I’d like to address Mr. Halderman’s alias. First of all, why not Bobby?  If you’re gonna go informal and you have the chance to be “Jimmy” or “Dick” or “Bobby,” you jump at it.  Secondly, why Joe? Sure I understand that his middle name is “Joel,” but when have you ever known a Joel to abbreviate their name as Joe? Well, aside from Billy Joel.  But that was his surname.

What?  Billy Joel didn’t resurrect his career as lead singer of Green Day?  You just seriously destroyed my Greatest Hits Catalog.

After talking to someone close to the situation, I have been informed that David Letterman contacted Rick Pitino several times seeking advice of a legal nature. Pitino was quite adamant in advising Letterman that he should attempt to “record the broad” that is attempting to extort him.  “That’s what I did,” Pitino said.  “When Sypher (the alleged extortionist in Pitino’s case) wanted to blackmail me.  I got her on tape.”

After Letterman repeatedly asserted that it was not in fact a woman attempting to extort him, Pitino responded, “I don’t care which side you swing for, Dave. My advice remains the same.”

(more…)

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[Editor’s note:  This is the first in a series of posts from some of the nation’s leading basketball minds.]

Hello friends, and good to have you with us.  The 2009-2010 college basketball season is just around the corner, and it should be a fun ride.

There should be some interesting storylines this season, including the start of the John Calipari Era at Kentucky.  Will he be able to bring the Wildcats back to national title contention as the UK fanbase expects?  Time well tell.  He’s certainly got a great recruiting class, including point guard John Wall and big man Demarcus Cousins.

Speaking of basketball players named Demarcus, I can’t help but be reminded what a great kid Duke’s Demarcus Nelson was.  What a special kid.  Just so special.  He was the ultimate team player, and I really thought he deserved to be the ACC’s Player of the Year in 2008.  However, others felt that Tyler Hansbrough was more deserving, and I suppose they are entitled to that opinion.

Speaking of Duke, I think Mike Krzyzewski will bring national title number four home to Durham this season.  The Blue Devils are clearly coming into this season with about as much momentum as I can remember a team ever having.  In 2009, Coach K was able to take a talent-depleted lineup all the way to the Sweet Sixteen, where they were only narrowly edged by eventual national semifinalist Villanova.

You know the ACC Tournament champion Blue Devils will be coming into this season with a great deal of confidence and experience, and I think this year will be a culmination of Mike Krzyzewski’s system and personnel meshing perfectly.  Plus, Coach K adds one of the strongest recruiting classes in recent memory, with standout Ryan Kelly poised to make a huge impact from day one.

Now, you might say “Mike, are you kidding me?!  Duke lost Greg Paulus, Gerald Henderson, and Elliot Williams.  That’s a lot of talent.”  And you’re right.  Rebuilding after losing a gritty, determined winner like Greg Paulus will be the biggest challenge Coach K faces this season.  You simply don’t find someone as special as Paulus very often.  He’s a once-in-a-generation player.  Having said that, I think Coach K will be able to find success with Scheyer and Smith splitting time at the point guard spot.  Paulus will certainly be missed – and can never fully replaced, but Mike Krzyzewski is nothing short of a coaching genius.  It won’t be a problem.  And let’s not forget Kyle Singler, who is my preseason pick for National Player of the Year.  When it’s all said and done, Duke will be your national champions.

Also, Kansas should have a solid team, too.  And I really hope Tim Tebow is feeling better.  He’s just so, so special.  By the way, does anyone know what Britney is doing with her life?

I look forward to another great year of college basketball, and I hope you enjoy it as much I as I know I will.  -MP

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