A Devastating Blow September 14, 2011Posted by Matt in sports.
Tags: college athletics, corruption, greed, NCAA, Taylor Branch, The Atlantic
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Civil Rights historian Taylor Branch, author of the incredible Parting the Waters series, wrote a devastating article for the latest issue of The Atlantic, offering no quarter to the system created out of little but greed.
For all the outrage, the real scandal is not that students are getting illegally paid or recruited, it’s that two of the noble princples on which the NCAA justifies its existence – “amateurism” and the “student-athlete” – are cynical hoaxes, legalistic confections propagated by the universities so they can exploit the skills and fame of young athletes.
If you care about the future of college athletics, you owe it to yourself to read Branch’s expose into its corrupt world.
Home School Sports May 26, 2011Posted by Matt in education, sports.
Tags: home school, public education, Shelby County, sports participation
Last week, the board of Shelby County Schools debated a new guideline from the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association that states that home-schooled athletes should be able to join public school teams, as long as they live within the district’s boundaries.
The rules of SCS state that athletes must be enrolled at the school where they compete.
On the other hand, parents living in the district pay taxes which go to fund the public school and its programs.
The writer of the column vents her frustration in this way, saying the most grating issue is “the gall required to so deliberately divest from public education while simultaneously cherry-picking sports as the public school component for which parents can cheer.”
One of the school board members echoed her sentiment, saying “I do embrace and will fight hard for any parents’ right to school choice, be that public, private, or at-the-kitchen-table schooling, but there’s got to be consequences to those decisions.”
Like the writer, I guess I’m surprised that homeschooling parents would even want their kids to participate in public school athletics, but then again I’ve never been (and will never be) in their shoes.
Sugar Bowl Poetry January 5, 2011Posted by Matt in poetry, Razorbacks, sports.
Tags: Arkansas Razorbacks, poetry, Sugar Bowl
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There’s a pall o’er the state of Arkansas
Not caus’d by falling birds
This dark state of grief and pain
Goes far deeper than words
For the mighty Razorbacks
Our beloved, red clad swine
Were turned away, defeated
In the backfield and on the line.
Tho’ they fought back valiantly
In a close contested second half
The receivers’ slippery fingers
Led to far too many gaffes
Coach Petrino looked disgusted
Like a man feeling quite sick
When Mallet heard the footsteps
And threw another pick
So, another year is o’er
Another season has been spent
And once again the Natural State
Is one of crushing disappointment
But all is not so dire
Yea, all is not so drear
For we still have Knile Davis
And there’s always a next year!
The Realignment Solution June 17, 2010Posted by Matt in Football, sports.
Tags: BCS, bowl games, conference realignment, NCAA football, playoffs, super conferences
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I don’t know what the talk has been where you live, but in Memphis there have been few subjects more widely discussed than that of NCAA conference realignment. People in Memphis have been excited by the possibilities of leaving their 2nd, or maybe even 3rd, tier division, Conference USA, and joining with a more high profile, preferably BCS conference. Of course the biggest chatter around the college football world had been about the possibility of Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-10 (because when you think Pacific, you think Texas and Oklahoma), but that fell through, leaving a few, relatively minor changes.
But, you know it is no big secret that college football, in particular, has problems, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that these problems have actual, workable solutions, if only the parties in question could see beyond their traditional way of doing things. So, in the interest of the general public, I’ve decided to present a plan that would revolutionize college football for the better. This plan would reduce the travel costs that would be incurred by placing a team like Texas in the Pac-10 and encourage the existence of regional rivalries, the bread-and-butter of college football.
First of all, we would proceed with the idea that many have alluded to, building 5 “super” conferences of 16 teams each.
North Carolina St.
The remaining FBS teams would be distributed among 3 more large conferences. Each season, a team would play the other seven schools in their divison, two from their conference’s other division, and three non-conference games.
In this plan, each of the five mega-conferences would begin their post-season with a Conference Championship Game, the winner of which would then represent the conference in the BCS. In addition to these five champions, three more teams would be chosen from either other teams in the Big 5 BCS conferences or from the pool of remaining teams, based upon their BCS score. In the end we would have eight teams entered into the post-season BCS playoffs, seeded according to their season-ending BCS scores. The seven game playoffs would employ the current BCS bowl games and end with the BCS Championship.
Other teams with winning records would be invited to play in the current collection of lesser bowl games. In this way, we can preserve the bowl game tradition and move forward to annointing a true champion.
What do you think? Is it workable?
It’s Still Fake Football To Me… June 10, 2010Posted by Matt in sports.
Tags: America, anti-soccer, apathy, Football, World Cup
Every four years it happens. Countries from across the globe gather together in a show of camaraderie and sportsmanship to compete on the biggest stage in the world. Millions or maybe even billions of people tune in, cheering on their home nations as they battle for the prize of global dominance: The World Cup.
Meanwhile, here in America, we don’t care. Despite the fact that our 24 hour sports networks and radio shows tout the importance of said event, it is little more than a minor blip on our radar between the NBA playoffs, Major League Baseball, and, most important of all, offseason football. The only things I can remember about past American soccer teams are that guy that looked like the singer from the Spin Doctors and the woman who scored a goal and took her shirt off.
Do you know why we don’t care? Because its soccer.
You can try to hide its true nature by calling it “football,” but we all know what it is – a sport for girls and for those boys who are too big of pansies to play real football. And really, the only adults who care at all for the sport are some elitist brand of people who tout their multiculturalism by watching a game that can last hours and end in a 0-0 tie. In my book that’s called torture. Seriously, if I’m ever captured by an enemy of the U.S. they can put a soccer match on and I’ll tell them anything they want to know.
So, good luck U.S. team, even though I won’t be cheering you on personally. I have much more exciting things to do like, I don’t know…anything…
Only 84 days ‘til football season!
On With The Games February 15, 2010Posted by Matt in sports.
Tags: curling, events, Vancouver, Winter Olympics
I’ve always been a fan of the Olympic games, ever since I was a kid, so I make a point to watch them every two years. When I was a teenager, we got a satellite dish in our yard – not the DirectTV kind, I mean one those big dishes mounted in concrete on the ground – and my dad, who is also a big fan of the Olympics, found a Canadian station that showed live events all day long instead of the carefully chosen ones that are generally shown on network television.
The Winter Games, in particular, are interesting because you see many events that you never do at other times. They just don’t show much in the way of luge, speed skating, or bobsledding in off years, much less some of the more unusual events. So, it makes the Games that much more interesting and unique.
My taste in events tends away from the judge-oriented ones like Figure Skating that rely on a subjective scoring system and toward those that provide more concrete rewards. It may seem strange, but I think my favorite Winter sport is Curling. I don’t really know why that is and I don’t understand all of the rules, but for some reason it fascinates me.
What sports do you like to watch at the Winter Olympics? Or, for that matter, do you watch the Winter Olympics at all?
The Runaway Lane Premier January 13, 2010Posted by Matt in sports.
Tags: Chris Vernon, Lane Kiffin, Runaway Lane, song
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Local radio personality Chris Vernon has just put out his latest song, this one skewering Lane Kiffin (I can hear the boos of Vol fans at the mere mention of his name). It’s pretty good and you can hear it here.
It’s got a great chorus:
Runaway Lane never comin’ back. / You’re lucky Monte Kiffin is your dad.
The Pac-10 is what you’re cravin’ / You had no chance against Urban or Saban
Did Anybody…. July 16, 2008Posted by Matt in random, sports.
Tags: All Star game, baseball, Football, sports, summer
actually watch the 15 inning, nearly 5 hour MLB All-Star Extravaganza last night?
Is anybody else ready for football season to start?
Matt’s Meandering Mind on Monday February 25, 2008Posted by Matt in basketball, concert, Diana, family, Memphis, movies, music, random, Rebekah, sports, vacation.
Tags: California, coen brothers, drive-by truckers, Memphis Tigers, No Country for Old Men, Oscars, vacation
Last night, Bekah threw up after having an upset stomach for much of the evening, so, because Diana does not have the time to take off work, I’m at home with her again. She seems to be fine so far today, so I’m guessing it was something she ate yesterday that disagreed with her. Her day care does have a policy of not allowing children within 24 hours of throwing up, thus we are at home playing all day.
I didn’t watch most of the Oscars last night, but I did tune it for the last hour or so and see my favorite moviemakers, the Coen brothers, take home both the Best Director and Best Picture prizes. No Country for Old Men was the only movie up for the biggest award that I have seen, so I was a little partial to it. I really enjoy director Paul Thomas Anderson’s previous work (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love), so I’m looking forward to seeing his latest, There Will Be Blood.
For the past few weeks here in Memphis everything has revolved around this past Saturday’s basketball game, University of Memphis (who was ranked number 1 in the polls and was undefeated) vs. University of Tennessee (number 2 in the polls), and it did not disappoint, even though Memphis did come out on the short end. I’ll be interested to see how they fare in the postseason.
We have purchased tickets to next month’s Drive-By Truckers show and I’m pretty pumped about it. The new album, Brighter Than Creation’s Dark, is excellent – probably their best since 2003′s Decoration Day. The dark tales of southern life are among their best as they tackle everything from war to the scourge of crystal meth.
I can’t remember if I mentioned this before or not, but we have also officially decided on a family vacation this summer and have already purchased plane tickets for the June trip. We will be going to Huntington Beach, in the Los Angeles area, to stay with some of Diana’s family for a week and see the sights. Diana is very excited about going back to the West Coast and about taking the girls to Disneyland.
Breaking Down the Super Bowl January 31, 2008Posted by Matt in Football, sports.
Tags: Eli Manning, New England Patriots, New York Giants, NFL, prediction, Super Bowl, Tom Brady
The unofficial national holiday known as the Super Bowl is nearly upon us and it is time to take a look at the teams vying for the title of champion. When New England and New York meet in Arizona on Sunday, will the result mirror their last meeting – a week 17 nailbiter, in which New England edged out a 38-35 victory, retaining the undefeated mantle they had carried all season?
Offense: The Patriots have put together one of the most prolific passing attacks in the history of the NFL, with QB Tom Brady and WR Randy Moss cutting a wide and bloody swath through the record books. If Brady’s 117.2 QB rating and 4,800 yards passing don’t strike Giants’ fans with fear, then perhaps his record 50 touchdown passes will. Brady, though, struggled a bit in his last outing, the NFC championship game against San Diego, in which he threw for a season-high 3 interceptions. Also, the headlines have been filled with speculation about Brady’s ankle injury – will he be effective enough against a tough Giant defensive line? His top partner in this regular season assault on football history is none other than Moss, who also set records with his 23 touchdown receptions. In addition to them, the Giants will also have to deal with the Pats’ newest star receiver, Wes Welker, who amassed 1,175 yards and 8 touchdowns, as well as with speedy deep threat Donte Stallworth. While the passing game gets most of the headlines, the New England running game is also quite formidable, with Laurence Maroney rushing for over 800 yards during the regular season and 122 yards in each of their two playoff games. The Patriot offensive line also rates as one of the best in the league, with 3 out of 5 starters being named to the Pro Bowl.
Defense: The Patriots have been a defensive juggernaut over the past several years and this year has been no different. While still loaded with stars and playmakers, many of the top players on the squad are starting to show their age a bit. CB Asante Samuel and old-timer Rodney Harrison anchor a tough secondary that held opponents to only 190 yards passing/game. All four of the Pats’ starters at linebacker are over 30 (including 38 year old Junior Seau), but they still excel. Their defensive line is stout, with NT Vince Wilfork taking home Pro Bowl honors and DE Ty Warren finishing another strong year.
Coach: Bill Belichick is insanely good at what he does, to which 3 Super Bowls wins in 6 years attests. Whether or not he’s videotaping opponents, the guy still finds a way to leave teams in a state of bewilderment.
Offense: The story for much of the 2 weeks leading into the Super Bowl has centered around QB Eli Manning and whether he will slip back into the pedestrian play of the regular season or continue upon the road toward superstardom, on which he has trod since the start of the playoffs. Despite his league-leading 20 interceptions during the season, his play has been near perfect over the last few weeks. At running back, Brandon Jacobs has been a nice surprise, rushing for over 1,000 yards in this breakout season. At receiver, Plaxico Burress garnered over 1,000 yards during the season and scored 12 touchdowns, both of which led the team. He is joined by the venerable, but dependable, Amani Toomer. The Giants’ offensive line has been solid, but the possible loss of injured guard Rich Seubert could be a major issue.
Defense: New York’s defense was tough all season, many times making up for the poor play of their offense. In the backfield, cornerback Corey Webster has turned a corner during the playoffs and, if he retains this high level of play, could cause some trouble for the Patriots’ high octane passing attack. Linebacker Antonio Pierce is another player that has really turned it up a notch during this postseason, becoming a difference-maker when it matters most. On the defensive line, the New York defense is a beast that makes opponents shake in their cleats. Defensive ends Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora are monsters on their own and together are nearly unstoppable.
Coach: Tom Coughlin is a capable coach and has done pretty well in his 12 year head coaching career, but he is no Belichick.
Intangibles: Plaxico Burress predicted a 23-17 win for the Giants, to which Tom Brady answered, “He things we’ll only score 17?” Will the Patriots’ cockiness hurt or help when the game is on the line? Will Brady’s ankle and/or Manning’s confidence hold up? Will Jessica Simpson be in attendance? While New England is playing for history, New York is playing for respect, which of the two will lead to victory?
Prediction: I have to go with…
New England 31 – New York 16