Monday, October 27, 2008

The Big Letdown

Wow, lots of blogging tonight...

I was driving home from Washington and had to get gas in Erwin, TN. As I was filling up, I looked at the window of the gas station and saw:
I love Fat Tire. I had heard that New Belgium was distributing in Tennessee and this was my proof. I made up my mind that I would get a few six packs for the fridge. As the gas was flowing into my car and I was getting excited about Fort Collin's best export, all the lights at the station turned off. They closed the gas station! Me and this other guy pumping were their last customers and they closed while we were filling our tanks. I even ran to the door and yanked just in case it was a test closing. Nope, it was for real. Sadly, I left Tennessee with no Fat Tire and a broken heart.

Mike's Tirade

I love Mike Singletary. I don't know if he's going to be a great NFL coach in San Fransisco or anywhere else. I just know that he has passion. He wants players to play for the TEAM, not themselves and he wants them to play as hard as he did when he was a linebacker for the Chicago Bears.

I remember watching Singletary's last game as a Bear and NFLer. It was 1992 and I was 14 years old. He was a sure Hall of Famer. The game was all but over and I don't remember who won. But I do remember Singletary getting the call to go back into the game. He thought he had played his last down and his career was over. His eyes got really big. I saw a player who loved the game of football and, at that moment, to get another chance to play the game he loved one more time excited him as much as ever before. Nothing he did when he went back into the game changed his legendary status for better or worse. But those eyes... man, those eyes said everything about his passion for what he did.

I'll never forget those eyes.
We need more Mike Singletarys.

Co-Crushes of the Week: Even hotter than Condi Rice

Spent the weekend in the nation's capital. Got to hang out and see two of the coolest people I know. Cindy works at the Library of Congress and designs cool graphic layouts and somehow is always right in everything she says and does. M-stu is a nursing student at Marymount and is among the most gregorious of all my friends. Both are great gals, play frisbee (photo above taken after frisbee on the National Mall) and hotter than the current Secretary of State.

Near Crushes:
Sarah Palin... the Alaska governor makes near crush status again, but can't seem to break into "Crush-land". Her appearance in Asheville on Sunday puts her back on the near crush list. Dressed in jeans and a black jacket, she doesn't look much like a person whose woredrobe came from Nieman Marcus or Saks. Oh, I forgot, she's a hockey mom...

Ted Ginn, Jr... put me into the category of haters. I thought he was a bust after last year. The 'Fins wasted a first round pick on a punt returner? Jeez! 7 catches for 175 yards in Miami's defeat of the AFC East leading Bills. One game does not make a career but, hopefully, Ginn can build on this week's excellent performance.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Georgia Tech-Clemson

My dear Alaska friend Emily, a Clemson fan, commented in response to the "Death Valley Memories" post that I should talk about the Tech-Clemson series in Atlanta. While I have only missed one Tech-Clemson game in Clemson over the last 10 years, I've made far fewer games in Atlanta (just 2005 and 2007). But the rivalry is still great and the games close and exciting. Whether the games are played at Howard Field in Memorial Stadium or at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field, you are going to get some awesome football!

A few notes on what I consider to be the most competitive rivalry in the ACC:

- Georgia Tech leads the overall series 42-24-2
- The last 10 years, Tech leads 6-4. GT has won won 4 of the last 5 (including last Saturday's game)
- There have only been two blowouts in the series in the past 10 years and Clemson won both: 39-3 on 2003 and 31-7 in 2006
- Besides the two games above and Tech's 13-3 victory in 2007, all games since 1996 have been decided by 5 or fewer points.

Here's a summary of the series (thanks to Ken Sugiura and Larry Hartstein of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution):

2007: Tech 13, Clemson 3 (at Tech)—- Tech hands No. 13 Tigers their first loss; Clemson misses four field goals.

2006: Clemson 31, Tech 7 —- Doug-lass High grad James Davis has 216 rushing yards, two touchdowns in meeting of top 15 teams.

2005: Tech 10, Clemson 9 —- The Jackets twice deny Clemson deep in their own territory in the fourth quarter.

2004: Tech 28, Clemson 24 —- Calvin Johnson’s two touchdown catches in final two minutes erase 10-point deficit.

2003: Clemson 39, Tech 3 —- Largest margin in the series since 1944.

2002: Clemson 24, Tech 19 —- Late interception of A.J. Suggs spoils comeback try.

2001: Clemson 47, Tech 44 (OT) —- Woody Dantzler’s touchdown run ends it as Tigers upset No. 9 Jackets.

2000: Tech 31, Clemson 28 —- Kerry Watkins makes one-handed TD grab with 7 seconds left in upset of No. 4 Tigers.

1999: Tech 45, Clemson 42 —- Joe Hamilton smokes Tigers for 410 yards of offense, five touchdown passes.

1998: Tech 24, Clemson 21 —- Hamilton leads last-minute comeback capped by Joe Burns’ touchdown run.

1997: Tech 23, Clemson 20 —- Harvey Middleton’s diving 39-yard catch sets up Brad Chambers’ game-winning kick.

1996: Clemson 28, Tech 25 —- Raymond Priester’s 175 rushing yards lift Clemson.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Crush of the Week: Tina

When I was still watching "Saturday Night Live", my favorite segment was "Weekend Update" and I thought Tina Fey was hot. The first female lead writer in "Saturday Night Live" history, Fey has shown versatility and talent rising through the ranks of late night and then prime time comedy. Admittedly, I have never seen her new show "30 Rock" but she helped produce and is a writer for the show. It did win an Emmy for Comedy Series and Fey won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy. Fey has famously returned to "Saturday Night Live" this year with her, as Sarah Palin describes, "spot on" impersonation of the Alaska governor. Fey is cute, smart, witty and funny-- all which makes for a great crush.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Death Valley Memories

As stated in my previous post, games at Clemson Memorial Stadium (aka Death Valley) against Tech are usually memorable. Here is a rundown of the games I've attended over the last 10 years, almost all remarkable:

Tigers up 21-17 in 4th quarter. Tech gets ball back with two and a half minutes left. Joe Hamilton gets Tech to the Clemson 4 on two big passes and then Joe Burns runs it in and breaks Clemson heart. Tech 24, Clemson 21.

Clemson is ranked #4 in the country. They took a 24-28 lead off a Willie Simmons TD pass with 1:52 left and seemingly putting the game out of reach. With only 7 seconds left, Geroge Godsey threw a 16 yard pass that Kerry Watkins acrobatically caught with ONE hand to ruin Clemson's national title hopes. Final 31-28 TECH.

The "Monsoon" game. It rained the whole game. Not just any rain, but torrential and persistent. I was in the upper deck with nowhere to hide and loving football too much to seek shelter. I've never been wetter in my life. Add to that a 24-19 loss, it was not my favorite night in Clemson.

Calvin's coming out party. Unranked Tech is making a visit to #18 Clemson. 5 touchdowns in the last 8:19, lots of huge plays and one of the most exciting and unpredictable games I've ever witnessed live. Check this breakdown:
8:19 remaining - Reggie Merriweather runs from 62 yards out to give Clemson a 17-7 lead. Still time though...
4:36 - Reggie Ball finds Levon Thomas for a 19 yard touchdown pass and now Tech is only down by a field goal.
3:18 - The Jackets defense allows Kyle Browning to run from 54 yards out and Clemson is up by 10 again.
1:50 - Reggie Ball caps a 8 play drive with a 8 yard pass to freshman phenom Calvin Johnson, his second TD reception of the night.
:23 seconds left - Clemson, up by 3 just has to punt and play prevent defense. They botch the punt!!! Tech gets the ball at the Clemson 10 with a chance to score or kick a field goal to send the game into overtime.
:11 seconds left - Calvin Johnson catches his THIRD touchdown of the night!! The legend is born, Tech wins 28-24 and I witnessed one of the most amazing games ever.

I missed this game because I was at my 10 year high school reunion. Good thing, Tech got creamed 31-7.

See previous post.

Looking forward to 2010...


Clemson Memorial Stadium and Howard's Rock

Our prime tailgating spot

The view from the Upper Deck

Perhaps my favorite game every year is Georgia Tech-Clemson. Rankings don't matter because when these two teams play, it is often entertaining and memorable. I was at Clemson Memorial Stadium today for another game. Though Clemson is going through a lot of turmoil with this week's firing of Tommy Bowden, an interim coach and new quarterback, the game was not decided until Clemson's final pass was intercepted by Morgan Burnett to end the game and secure Tech's 21-17 victory.

I love coming to Death Valley because I know it's going to be good, competitive football. Sure, the orange annoys me and so does the "C-L-E-M-S-O----N" chant (my least favorite chant in the world), but the tailgating is always good, the girls pretty and the games sometimes amazing. Even today's game, though Tech forced 6 turnovers and Clemson had all the off field distractions was much closer than I would of liked it to be. It was an ugly victory, but as my friend Paul wisely said, "Anytime you leave Clemson with a win, it's a good day."

I was sitting beside this kid (Tech fan from Gwinnett) and he was cracking me up with his sarcasm and annoyance at all things Clemson. He told me he learned two things today: what a tiger sounds like (in reference to the Tiger growl/purr/meow that incessantly gets played during the games) and how to spell Clemson (see previous paragraph referencing my least favorite chant).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Your Favorite Maverick?

If we had a primary of the "Maverick" Party to run for the President of the United States, which "Maverick" would you choose?

A. Top Gun Maverick

B. Ford Maverick

C. Mel Gibson in "Maverick"

D. Dallas Maverick

E. "Mavericks"

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Crush of the Week: GFP

This week's crush led to awarding really smart dudes Dr. Osamu Shimomura of Boston University Medical School, Martin Chalfie of Columbia University, New York, and Roger Y. Tsien of University of California, San Diego being awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Green Florescent Protein (or GFP) is amazing research that uses the natural biochemistry of certain jellyfish to reveal more about the workings of organisms at the cellular and subcellular levels. Besides giving us glowing pigs, GFP is helping to reveal new information about the working of cells and assisting researchers in tracking the spread of cancer cells. It's my first ever crush on a protein, but I think it's a well deserved one.

Near Crush: Martti Ahtisaari, the former Finnish president, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace last week. I like Finns and I like peace, so makes for a good crush. Pay attention tomorrow, for the Nobel award in Economics will be announced. With the downturn in stocks, banks and US and global finances, this person better be good.

Number One

Yesterday was a day of upsets: The number 1, 3 and 4 teams in the AP Poll (1, 2, 3 in Coach's Poll) all lost. Alabama, number 2 in AP and number 4 in Coach's, was idle. If I had a vote, this would be my Top 10:

1. Penn State (7-0) - Played well in every game and went to Camp Randall and hammered a good Wisconsin team in a tough place to win, much less put up 48 points.
2. Texas (6-0) - Upset #1 Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout. Big game next week versus Missouri.
3. Alabama (6-0) - Call it the "Clemson Factor". Clemson win not looking as impressive, since the Tigers may be the most underachieving team in the nation. If Clemson played more respectable, Alabama might get my #1 vote.
4. Oklahoma (5-1) - Stays high in rankings because they lost to a good team in a good game. Still in national title hunt.
5. Florida (5-1) - That was a thorough dismantling of a good LSU team. I thought LSU had the best defensive line in the nation? It didn't show last night.
6. Oklahoma State (6-0) - Kudos for beating last week's 3rd ranked team on the road. They may not survive their schedule, but they are a top 10 team this week.
7. USC (4-1) - Still hanging around. They will be in the national title picture all year, especially since the SEC and Big 12 teams will beat each other up.
8. Georgia (5-1) - Loss to Alabama is not a deal breaker. Controls their own destiny in SEC.
9. Texas Tech (6-0) - No real quality wins yet. We'll know more about this team over the next few weeks. Beginning Oct 25, they play top 20 teams Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in a row. Whew!
10. Missouri (5-1) - Could be worse than losing to a top 10 team. But still have to win those home games.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Choice 2008

281/366 - 9 Oct [Choice]
Originally uploaded by heanguy
The decision we must make is between these two men. Study issues. Consider character. Make a wise choice.

Vote! If you don't vote, don't complain.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Crush of the Week: Bay-Bay

So Georgia Tech quarterback Jaybo Shaw completed 9 out of 13 passes for 230 yards in GT's 27-0 shutout of Duke. Tech redshirt sophomore receiver Demaryius (Bay-Bay) Thomas caught 9 passes for 230 yards. In other words, all the passes caught and receiving yards gained by the Yellow Jackets was by one player. I cannot think of a time when one player accounted for all his team's receiving yards. It wasn't just his stats either, the 6-3 receiver showed great hands, leaping abilities and speed. He made a great leaping catch between two defenders that reminded me of the days Calvin Johnson was on the Flats, his screen pass from the Tech 2 yard line should have been tackled for a loss, and then there was the wide open 88 yard touchdown reception that put the game further out of reach. Remember Bay-Bay, because he has great potential, even in Paul Johnson's option offense and because he's this week's crush.

Near Crushes:
Sarah Palin: I sure do like the way she winks at me and talks like she knows me. Doesn't mean I'll necessarily vote for the vice presidential nominee's ticket, but sure can crush on her.
Barack Obama: the presidential candidate stumped in Asheville today. ASHEVILLE, NC!! Like it or not, North Carolina matters. I'm not telling you how to vote, I'm just asking that you vote-- your vote matters!