The Sunday – Back For The First Time

Compiled By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 9.23.2018


He’s Back

It took a while but Tiger Woods finally won a PGA event and snared his 80th PGA win. It wasn’t how he won (he played really well over four days) but the response from everyone when he did. It was one of the biggest stories of the week and the main headline on an NFL Sunday.

College Daze

Another weekend is in the books. Biggest surprise, well how bout Old Dominion beating Virginia Tech. Wow. Here are some of the best from Saturday.

Swagger….

Dude…

First Rounders

In case you live under the proverbial sports rock, you know that the Cleveland Browns won their first football game since the Obama Administration. Number one pick Baker Mayfield came in to lead the comeback which was impressive.

Almost as impressive was fellow first rounder Josh Allen leading the Buffalo Bills to a victory over the Minnesota Vikings. The Bill were a double digit underdog and put a beating on the Vikings. To add insult to injury, Allen showed his leaping ability in the win….

Better

And remember, even if you blow a double digit lead, don’t be like this guy.

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The Sunday – Streaks, Rivals and Smiles

Compiled by Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 9.9.2018


Saturday

Lots happened on Saturday. Streaks like ended for Kansas and Kentucky and old rivalries like Dabo v Jimbo and Colorado v Nebraska reminded us of way the traditions of college football mean so much to its fans.

 

And of the course the most recent tradition that has taken the country by storm is the Miami turnover chain. Now in a 7 lbs model.

Other

Saturday did not go as planned for Serena Williams or her opponent Naomi Osaka. The match was essentially stolen from the players and fans by the umpire. Now it has become a question of sexism. The difference between what a man can get away with on the court and what a woman can. In any event, Osaka’s first Grand Slam title will always be overshadowed by this.

Celebrate

Now a few of the moments that made me smile this week.

Or if you prefer….

 

 

The Sunday – The Ups And Downs

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 9.2.2018


IT’S BACK!!!

College football is back and man is it giving us some awesome moments in the first full weekend. The major takeaway, don’t schedule Appalachian State in week one.

Best tackle of the weekend, how bout the ref.

And a great moment in the Maryland vs Texas game as Maryland lined up without a right guard to honor the late Jordan McNair.

 

RESPECT

Jose Mourinho has had a tough start to the 2018-19 campaign. Things came to a boil after their 3-0 loss to Tottenham in Manchester. Mourinho got a little testy in the post match press conference.

Respect will be given to former US National team striker Clint Dempsey who retired this week from the game of soccer. Dempsey brought swagger and some incredible moments throughout his career. He will be sorely missed.

The Sunday – Fighters And Cannon Fires

Compiled By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 9.11.2016

Respect The Fighter

One of the more inspiring things to see is those sports media personalities like Craig Sager and Holly Rowe fight different forms of cancer. It’s even better when, in the middle of their job, the athletes or coaches they cover stop and point out that what’s more important is their fight against cancer.

https://twitter.com/CauldronICYMI/status/773349736929693697

 

Different Throws

I don’t expect everyone to be Clayton Kershaw out there but c’mon man.

Please, Brandon Crawford, restore my faith in accurate throws…from the outfield!

 

Double Post

Thought that the double post and no goal shot was a fluke and only something you could see in a playoff shootout in Portland? WRONG!

 

Why We Love College Football

Just go through this and you’ll see why.

 

Cause you are supposed to do it like this….even if the ref’s were not supposed to let you have a play.

And history making moments like Kalen Ballage’s 8 touchdowns.

But then there is Kansas….

And Nevada wasn’t too far behind….

Man, those plays are enough to make you lose your mind like Nick Saban did on Lane Kiffin.

https://twitter.com/BCrawford247/status/774743412100694016

But then you see catches like this….

And when you defeat Notre Dame in double overtime you get to shoot off the cannon.

This is why we love College Football.

College Football Recap Week 1

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The first full weekend of College Football is in the books (almost) and there are some big takeaways and moments we should visit again and again.

Upset City

Several schools from the Power 5 conferences lost their opener. Washington State, Kansas lost to FCS schools along with non Power 5 school Wyoming (Portland State, South Dakota State and North Dakota respectively). Colorado, Vanderbilt and Penn State lost to non Power 5 schools.

Penn State’s loss to Temple falls into the historic column. It’s the first time Temple has beaten Penn State since 1941 (39 games) and Penn State gave up 10 sacks. Can you imagine what’s going to happen when Penn State goes into Columbus in October? Yikes.

Other upsets included BYU beating Nebraska on a last second hail-mary in Lincoln. Northwestern manhandled #21 Stanford in what may be the biggest surprise win of the weekend.

 

Just The Hits

The fact of the matter is that football is a violent sport. It’s part of the reason why we enjoy it. One of those big hits happened on Friday night at Montana State linebacker Mac Bignell leveled Fort Lewis running back PJ Hall.

https://twitter.com/jackmurrey/status/639678894887469056

South Dakota State quarterback Zack Lujan got drilled on a pass play. In fact he got hit so hard his helmet went rolling down the field.

The best may have been the phantom one. Bowling Green defensive lineman Mike Minns lost his shoe and when he realized that he couldn’t get to the sideline before Tennessee would snap the ball, he just fell down and played dead. Classic.

 

The Takeaways

Some people had Arizona State as their dark-horse College Football Playoff team. The odds of that happening now are a little darker as they were beaten by Texas A&M. The man of the hour was A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. He was unblockable and finished with three sacks and eight tackles.

Injuries were big in week one. Arizona loses All Pac 12 linebacker Scooby Wright III to a knee injury but it sounds like he could be back in a month. BYU lost QB Taysom Hill for the season….again. Oregon was looking real good offensively until new QB Vernon Adams took what looked like a cheap shot to the head. He might have a concussion but was on the sidelines at the end of the game. Oregon will need him healthy with a trip to Michigan State looming next week.

Transfer Dreams

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

We posted a blog earlier this called ‘College Football Free Agency’. It reflects the trend in college football in which graduate players transfer schools for one last season on the gridiron and one last chance to impress pro scouts. While a player like former Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams has a lot of experience and success behind him, many transfers -graduate and undergraduate- don’t and end up leaving fan bases crying in their college football alumni mugs.

Wilson-NCSTATEEveryone wants to think of transfers, in particularly quarterbacks (QB), as the next great QB savior. Just like Troy Aikman did at UCLA or Scott Frost at Nebraska or ever Ryan Mallett at Arkansas. Really everyone wants it to be just like when Russell Wilson transferred from North Carolina State to Wisconsin and led the Badgers to a Big 10 title and berth in the Rose Bowl. Reality is Aikman, Frost, Mallet and Wilson are more of the exception than the rule. For everyone one of these guys there is a Danny O’BrienSam KellerRobert Marve or some other highly hyped kid who made a fan base believe they had a chance at a conference title.

O’Brien was barely ok at Maryland and then transferred to Wisconsin where the Badger faithful had dreams of another Russell Wilson dancing in their heads. Bottom line, he wasn’t very good. He could never win the QB job and ended up transferring to Catawba. Keller is more known for leading the lawsuit against EA Sports than for his QB play at Nebraska where he transferred to from Arizona State. Marve was highly touted, played at Miami and then moved on to Purdue where he couldn’t stay healthy on some pretty awful Boilermaker teams.

Mustain-ArkThe two most cautionary tales for fans should be those of former #1 recruits Mitch Mustain and Jake Heaps. Mustain started his career at Arkansas but transferred to USC after his freshman year. He played more games in one year at Arkansas than he ever appeared in at three years at USC. Heaps went from BYU to Kansas and then to Miami (he is originally from the Seattle area). He could never lock in a starting job at three different schools despite showing promise his freshman year at BYU.

Players transfer for all kinds of reasons but just because they transferred doesn’t mean they are going to fit in at their new school and lead it to victory. There are more cautionary tales than successful stories. While we’re probably only seeing the beginning of the transfer binge, especially when it comes to graduate transfers, it should go without saying that transfers are not always a saving grace. So for those fans in Eugene, Tallahassee, and Athens, just remember that the odds of this new transfer QB being the next Aikman, Frost or Wilson are pretty far off.

Extended Reading:

Jake Heaps

Mitch Mustain

Grantland

College Football Free Agency

Rising Of The Recently Dead

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Back in December of 2014 the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) shut down their football program citing money concerns. Now it is back after some $27 million was raised by various sources. How did this happen? Well, it’s not all about money.

Killing an FBS program takes some balls. While money always plays a part it wasn’t the only reason in this case. Fox Sports Tim Brando and his team did some work and laid it out on The Audible podcast last week. Apparently legendary coach Bear Bryant’s son, Paul Bryant Jr, wanted UAB gone. It’s so unbelievable, and so very Southern, that Bryant was allegedly able to get the UAB football program killed off.  Brando explains it better than we could ever write it so do yourself a favor and listen to the podcast.

It’s hard enough to be a football program outside of the Power 5. Then to have someone lead a charge against you while you’re trying to be a viable program is like pouring salt in an open wound.

Look at the position that UAB is now in because of this mess; they won’t play football again until maybe 2016, players have left, and it will almost be impossible to recruit anyone of any ability to go there because of what happened. If head coach Bill Clark thought this was a tough job before, well it got even harder.

College football is in a big transition period. There are so many issues facing the sport right now from the debate over paying players to concussions to who should be allowed to play for a National Title. What it doesn’t need is what happened to UAB.

College Football Free Agency

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Vernon Adams. It’s ok if you have never heard of him but he is the one causing a major ruckus on the college football landscape. Not because of what he has done the past three seasons at Eastern Washington but because he’s leaving there to play his final season at Oregon.

Vernon Adams

Adams is a 22 year old from Pasadena, CA. He started at quarterback for three years at Eastern Washington but since he is graduating in May he is taking advantage of an NCAA rule that allows him to transfer without having to sit out a year. While Eastern Washington is letting him go they are making it very clear that they do not like the rule. They don’t like it so much that they are barring Adams from using the football facility or working out with his former teammates while he finishes up his degree.

Other coaches at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level are not happy with what this could mean for the future.  Montana State coach Rob Ash is among those speaking out against the rule because it makes the FCS seem like a developmental league. The fear is that this could start a trend where fifth year FCS players leave for the big schools like Oregon or a Michigan who get to reap the rewards of a veteran collegiate player.

Adams on the move

It’s not just the FCS that has to worry. Ohio State head coach expressed his unhappiness with certain members of the media trying to entice Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller to transfer. Nor is transferring a guaranteeing you a starting spot. Just ask Jake Coker who transferred from Florida State to Alabama this past summer.

Transfers are nothing new to collegiate athletics. Players have been doing it for years and it mostly goes unnoticed. When it comes to quarterbacks though, it tends to get a lot attention. Super Bowl winning quarterback Russell Wilson left North Carolina State for Wisconsin and promptly led Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl. While Wilson’s case was unique (he was essentially told by the NC State coaching staff that future pro Mike Glennon was going to play over him) it now seems that everyone is looking for an experienced QB to step in and lead the team to the promised land. With all of the pressure put on coaches nowadays can you blame them for looking for an experienced QB to step in?

Players always have their reasons for transferring. It’s not fair to Eastern Washington that Adams is transferring but neither would be holding him back because you don’t want him to leave. In the business world there are ‘non competes’ and there is a similar thing in college football too where a coach will put restrictions on where a player can transfer. Eastern Washington could have done this since they play Oregon the first week of the season but it would have been a bad PR move.

Is Adams setting a trend for FCS players? Probably not because too many things have to fall into place for something like this to happen. Are you going to see more situations like this? Sure but it’s no sure fire way to win championships. Remember, Russell Wilson may have led Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl but they ended up losing to Oregon.

The Beginning Of The End?

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) killed their football program. They are the first university to do so since 1995 when the University of Pacific in Stockton, California killed theirs. Scary thing is that this may be just the beginning but that may also be a good thing.

UAB football

Money and college football have become attached at the hip. While some want to pay players others point to how much it costs to run a program and to dress a team on Saturday.  Now we are seeing with the UAB case that costs truly do play a factor and that not all of the football programs are going to make it.

Sure the big programs like Texas, Alabama, Notre Dame and others will be fine but the smaller programs like Wyoming, UNLV, and Western Kentucky could face the same fate as UAB. In other words, as the rich get richer the poor get poorer.

Can Wyoming, UNLV and Western Kentucky really compete financially with Texas, Alabama and Notre Dame? Of course not but most aren’t trying to. They will always be second class citizens and everyone knows it. The problem with that is fans and alumni still want to win and winning costs money.

American sports fans don’t like losing. It doesn’t matter if their teams will never win a national title they still want to win. When teams don’t win money stops flowing. If smaller programs can’t stay above water then they will fold just like UAB. That means less kids playing football and for some that may be their only way to get a college education.

It’s not just the players. The coaches and support staff are out of work too. While these are not high paying positions there still jobs. These are by-products but it’s still a major change.

UAB killing their football program isn’t the most important thing in the world or even in the sports landscape for that matter. It is however a sign of things to come though.The smaller football programs are just not economically feasible. There may be some good news in all of this though. A side effect may be something that most college football teams want anyway, big teams playing other big programs.

Further reading from the Huffington Post.

 

The Last Game

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Harvard

The game of football is as popular as ever. It’s also receiving more criticism than ever. But on the weekend before Thanksgiving it’s important to recognize that this will be the last time many of these players will ever play the game. On this weekend Harvard hosts Yale for the 131st time and Lehigh takes on Lafayette for the 150th time. Two of the longest running and greatest traditions in all of College Football and the end of a playing career for most.

Unlike most sports, when you’re last organized game ends in football you’re career is done. There may be the occasional throwing around of the football in the backyard but you rarely get an opportunity to strap on the pads, tighten the chin strap, line up and tackle somebody ever again. For some this ends in high school. For others it ends in college and for the rare few it ends on the professional level.

Yale

Schools like Harvard, Yale, Lehigh and Lafayette don’t pump out a lot of professional players. These guys do it because they love to play football. For many these games signify the end of a football career. They in all likely hood will never strap on pads again. There are no bowl games or College Football Playoff. They will simply go back to their locker room, take off their pads and hang up their helmet for the final time.

What do they gain by continuing to put their bodies on the line? The opportunity to do something that they love. There is also the camaraderie of their teammates, learning how to be a leader and the chance to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

So when you hunker down for Thanksgiving dinner this week take a moment and give thanks to these young men for going out there week after week for the sheer love of the game.