Lost Respect

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Lovie Smith, USC’s Steve Sarkisian, Oakland Raiders Dennis Allen, and Penn State’s Joe Paterno. What do they have in common? All were fired either over the phone or via email.

Lovie SmithLovie Smith was let go via an unexpected phone call. This shocked a lot of people. Not only because of the way it happened but because it happened at all.

Sarkisian didn’t answer the phone call from Athletic Director Pat Haden because he was on a plane to rehab. So he found out in an email instead.

Dennis Allen had just returned to Oakland after playing a game in London. He was a head coach while on the 11 hour flight but was fired via a phone call once he got home.

Paterno was Penn State football. While he already said he was resigning at the end of the season, the administration fired him over the phone anyway.

Now Edmonton Oilers coach Ralph Krueger was fired via Skype while in Switzerland. At least his was face to face. Granted it was over a computer screen.

This doesn’t just happen in sports. Former Yahoo CEO was sacked over the phone by the Board of Directors.

It’s not that it’s cold or impersonal, it’s that it shows a lack of respect. While each case is different and each had it’s own set of circumstances, it still comes off as cowardly. If you are the one in charge and you can’t look someone in the eye and say, ‘we’re going a different direction’ then you have no reason to be in charge.

This is sports after all. The arena of competition, alpha males and pissing contests. So the best you can offer up is a phone call? Really?

What To Watch Thurs. 11/26 – Sun. 11/29

All times are Pacific.


Thursday November 26th

Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions – 9:30am FOX: Well, we’d like a better matchup but hey, it’s what we got.

Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys – 1:30pm CBS: The Cowboys have Tony Romo and Dez Bryant back so this could actually be a good game.

Texas Tech at Texas – 4:30pm FS1: Texas has to win out to be bowl eligible and that’s a big deal for a young team. Texas Tech is good but beatable.

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers – 5:30pm NBC: Awaken from the food coma in time to see if they Packers can win back-to-back games or if the Bears will finally put it together.

 

Friday November 27th

NY Rangers at Boston Bruins – 10am NBC: Ice, skates, rivals. Not a bad way to start Black Friday.

Keenan ReynoldsNavy at Houston – 9am ABC: Winner gets to represent the West in the American Atheletic Conference championship. Also get a chance to see the NCAA all time leader in touchdowns in Navy’s Keenan Reynolds.

Marshall at Western Kentucky – 9am FS1: Last year the final score was 67-66. Just sayin.

Washington State at Washington -12:30pm FOX: The Apple Cup is the most underrated rivalry in college football. Always a solid game.

Armstrong JRIowa at Nebraska – 12:30pm ABC: Nebraska is a lot better than there 5-6 record indicates. Iowa is undefeated and looking for a spot in the College Football Playoff. This rivalry will get a lot more heated after this game.

Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks – 2pm NBCSN: Both teams are better than their record indicates and still a whole bunch of talent on the ice.

Baylor at TCU – 4:30pm ESPN: It doesn’t really matter what quarterback plays for Baylor but it does for TCU. Points a plenty in this one.

Miami Heat at NY Knicks – 4:30pm NBA.TV: The Kicks aren’t bad this season but the Heat may be a little bit better.

 

Saturday November 28th

Ohio State at Michigan – 9am ABC: Our first taste of Meyer vs Harbaugh. Add in Ohio State having to put a tough loss behind them and this should be one heck of a ball game.

Louisville at Kentucky – 9am SECN: Kentucky is one win away from bowl eligibility and their cross state rivals would love nothing more than to keep that from happening.

UCLA at USC – 12:30pm ABC/ESPN2: Battle of LA and for the Pac-12 South.

Penn State at Michigan State -12:30pm ESPN: Michigan State controls it’s own destiny when it comes to winning the Big 10 Eastern division.

Wisconsin at Minnesota – 12:30pm BTN: Dude, it’s the battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe! It also gives us a chance to show this video from 2003.

Ole Miss at Mississippi State – 4:15pm ESPN2: The Egg Bowl and if Alabama loses, a chance for Ole Miss to grab the SEC West crown.

Notre Dame at Stanford -4:30pm FOX: Huge game for the Irish against a very, very good Stanford team.

Oklahoma at Oklahoma State – 5pm ABC: Bedlam is here. Winner probably has a legit shot at the College Football Playoff.

 

Sunday November 29th

NY Giants at Washington Redskins – 10am FOX: The winner controls first place in the NFC East.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Seattle Seahawks – 1:25pm CBS: Steelers have been able to keep it together and succeed despite a rash of injuries. The Seahawks looked like the Seahawks for once this season last week. Good luck hearing the play call Pittsburgh.

FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers – 2pm ESPN: 2nd leg and Dallas got an all important road goal in leg one. They did lose 3-1 however which should put the Timbers in the drivers seat.

103rd Grey Cup – 3pm ESPN2: Live from Winnipeg with Fall Out Boy as the halftime entertainment. Oh its the Edmonton Eskimos vs Ottawa RedBlacks.

NY Red Bulls vs Columbus Crew – 4:30pm FS1: The Crew won first the first leg 2-0. NYRB has it’s work cut out for them if they want to advance to MLS Cup.

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos – 5:30pm NBC: The best offense in football goes against the best defense. More or less. Broncos start Brock Osweiler for a second straight week.

What to Watch Fri. 11/13 – Sun. 11/15

All times are Pacific

Friday November 13th

San Jose Sharks at Detroit Red Wings  – 4:30pm NHL Gamecenter: These two had some legendary playoff series back in the day.

USA vs St. Vincent & The Grenadines – 4pm ESPN2: Let the road to the 2018 World Cup in Russia begin.

USC at Colorado – 6pm ESPN2: Colorado is better than their record shows. USC has some NFL level talent. At night in Boulder is a tall order for the Trojans.

 

Saturday November 14th

Georgia at Auburn  – 9am CBS: Fact is, if Mark Richt and Georgia win then he may have saved his job.

Texas at West Virginia – 9am ESPNU: This is a swing game for both when it comes to Bowl eligibility.

Miami at UNC – 12:30pm ESPNU: Last time Miami was in the state of North Carolina they won by lateraling the ball like eight times. UNC is on a roll though.

Alabama at Mississippi State – CBS: Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs have one last chance to beat the Tide and prove that they are a force to be reckoned with in the SEC West.

Memphis at Houston – 4pm ESPN2: The over on this game should be like 150 points.

Oklahoma at Baylor – 5pm ABC: Game of the day and OU has always had problems defending Baylor. Question is, can OU keep place offensively?

FourtnetteArkansas at LSU – 5:15pm ESPN: Like old school, run oriented offenses and hard hitting defenses? Well this is your game. One is coming off a tremendous win in OT while the other got beaten down pretty good.

 

UFC 193 – 7pm PPV: Ronda Rousey takes her winning ways to another continent (Australia) to square off against Holly Holm. Hidden gem on this card is Mark Hunt vs Bigfoot Silva in a rematch of their legendary 2013 fight.

Washington State at UCLA – 7:30pm ESPN: Washington State lost their first game of the year to Portland State who plays in the FCS. People were calling for head coach Mike Leach’s job. Boy how things have changed.

 

 

Sunday November 15th

Toronto Argonauts at Hamilton Tiger-Cats – 10am ESPN3: It’s playoff time in the CFL and this is a great way to start it off. Both have had to overcome injuries at key positions and it’s the equivalent of a ‘backyard brawl.’

Minnesota Vikings at Oakland Raiders – 1pm FOX: A year ago we wouldn’t dream of making this a ‘must watch’ game but man, what a difference a year makes.

BC Lions at Calgary Stampeders – 1:30pm ESPN3: The defending Grey Cup Champion Calgary Stampeders begin the final run of head coach John Hufnagel’s career. They are heavy favorites but don’t count out the Lions.

Toronto Maple Leafs at NY Rangers – 4pm NHLN: Always a fun game to watch.

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks  – 5:30pm NBC: Two top teams in the NFC West square off the end your weekend.

Sad End To A Great Coach

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Norm Chow's last PCNorm Chow was relieved of his duties last week as the head football coach at Hawaii after a 58-7 loss at home to Air Force. He finished with a record of 10-36 in just under four seasons with the Rainbow Warriors. It’s a sad ending for a man who has had so much success.

Fox Sports Bruce Feldman probably said it best when he sent the following tweet the day Chow was fired:

Chow is a legendary coach at the collegiate level. He helped develop quarterbacks like NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young, Heisman Trophy winners Ty Detmer, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. He won multiple awards and three National Titles during his assistant coaching stops. It’s hard to see such a good coach not succeed during his first (and probably only) collegiate head coaching job.

The reason we bring Chow up is because he was the subject of the first ever post on this blog. We believed that his offensive philosophy was a bad fit for Hawaii and that theory proved to be correct. We wish it wasn’t but it was.

We wish Norm Chow the best. We’re sure he’ll be back coaching (if he wants) somewhere out west where he has had so much success.

Trojan War Fails To Deliver

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The ESPN 30 for 30 series has brought us many great stories. From the ‘Guru of Go’ to ‘Small Potatoes’ to ‘Pony Express’ to ‘The Two Escobars’. The series has continued to knock one documentary after another out of the park. They have also struck out a few times and they struck out looking on ‘Trojan War’.

Trojan War ‘Trojan War’ is the first film in Volume 3 and was directed by Aaron Rahsaan Thomas. Thomas is an accomplished TV Producer but in this his Directorial debut, he fell short. ‘Trojan War’ showed a massive lack of creativity and professionalism with it’s poor VO (done by Thomas) and its script direction graphics wiped on the screen with cliched typing sound effects. After about 15 minutes it felt like nails down a chalkboard.

If you could get over that and know anything about the era then you would know how much they left out. The loss to Cal in 2003 was huge. It cost them a berth in the National Title game and they ended up having to split the National Title with LSU. Zero mention of that. Instead they filled the 90 minute documentary with a lot of interviews with people who didn’t really matter (a backup quarterback who threw two touchdown passes? Really?)

The fact is (and through no fault of Thomas) that this story has been done by NFL Network’s ‘A Football Life’ last year and it’s too soon for people to really open up about the era. One for the main pillars of the story, Reggie Bush, didn’t even do an interview. It was partially because of decisions he made that USC’s “era” ended. This story would have been better served being done 10 years from now when the dust truly settled.

CarrollOne good takeaway from the film was Pete Carroll. How he changed his style and the culture he developed at USC were the solid takeaways from the film. In all honesty, ESPN just should have done a 30 for 30 on him and dived deeper into how he changed his coaching style and became successful on the collegiate and professional level after being a below average head coach as his two previous NFL stops.

ESPN 30 for 30 is a solid film series. The vast majority of the stories they have told to this point have been compelling and well done. One of 30 for 30’s creators was Bill Simmons who was unceremoniously removed from ESPN earlier this year. You can’t help but wonder if ‘Trojan War’ would have been better if Simmons was still in ESPN’s good graces. It might have been better if it wasn’t made at all. A very disappointing start to Volume 3.

 

Early Week Exits

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

It’s been a crazy, crazy early week in college football. When the smoke cleared on Tuesday evening, four head coaches were out along with one athletic director and one Heisman Trophy contender.

‘Somehow we slid. I’m responsible. I’m the Head Coach.’ It’s rare that you hear that from people nowadays in this country. People want to blame everything else and not take responsibility. Well Steve Spurrier (aka the Head Ball Coach) takes responsibility. He took South Carolina from a perennial lower rung collegiate football program and into an SEC contender. He did the same at Florida and even had a winning record at Duke. He was loved, hated and always quotable.

The Head Ball Coach wasn’t the only coach to move on from his duties of leading a college football team but he is the only one with a National Title to his name and the only one going to the College Football Hall of Fame.

The others who were asked to step aside in the last few days include Maryland’s Randy Edsall, North Texas’s Dan McCarney, and USC’s Steve Sarkisian.

Sarkisian may be the saddest removal. He reportedly checked himself into a rehab facility on Monday, the same day he was fired from USC. He was apparently intoxicated at a team meeting and is being accused of being intoxicated during USC’s win against Arizona State a few weeks ago. These are just the latest incidents he’s had with alcohol, rumors of which date back to his days as the Head Coach at Washington.

The Athletic Director who stepped down is also the Head Coach of an 0-6 team. That would be George O’Leary at Central Florida. While O’Leary’s title was technically ‘Interim Athletics Director’, it still doesn’t bode well for his prospects as Head Coach.

Finally, Georgia running back Nick Chubb blew out his knee on the first play from scrimmage against Tennessee. Chubb was arguably one his way to a possible spot in New York for the Heisman Trophy. He had already run for over 700 yards and seven touchdowns in only five games.

Yes, it’s been a busy couple of days off the field in college football. Luckily there is a top 25 match up on Thursday between UCLA and Stanford to get our mind back on the gridiron.

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

Bowl Preview

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

All times are PST

Saturday December 20th

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: Utah vs Colorado State – 12:30pm ABC: Solid matchup between a tough Utah team and fantastic Colorado State team. Big issue for CSU, Head Coach just took the Florida job.

Tuesday December 23rd

Boca Raton Bowl: Marshall vs Northern Illinois – 3pm ESPN: These two teams are a combined 23-3. It’s also a chance to check out the best QB you may not have heard about, Marshall’s Rakeem Cato.

Saturday December 27th

Hyundai Sun Bowl: Arizona State vs Duke – 11am CBS: It’s the only bowl game CBS does for whatever reason. Both teams are a very talented 9-3 and this game should be close throughout.

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs USC – 5pm ESPN: Nebraska is without a head coach which means guys are playing to impress the incoming staff. USC is in a better place than they were a year ago.

Monday December 29th

Autozone Liberty Bowl: Texas A&M vs West Virginia – 11am ESPN: This could be the most exciting Bowl game Or it could totally suck. Either way it’s a Monday afternoon college football game.

Russell Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma vs Clemson – 2:30pm ESPN: Don’t know what to expect here but it has all the makings of a shootout.

Tuesday December 30th

Belk Bowl: Georgia vs Louisville – 3:30pm ESPN: This is one of the best bowl games outside of the Playoff.

Wednesday December 31st

Chik-Fil-A Bowl: Ole Miss vs TCU – 9:30am ESPN: Either TCU takes Ole Miss behind the woodshed or they get faded cause they are left out of the Playoff.

Vizio Fiesta Bowl: Boise St vs Arizona – 1pm ESPN: This game depends on what Arizona team decides to show up.

Thursday January 1st

Goodyear Cotton Bowl: Baylor vs Michigan State – 9:30am ESPN: Oh lord is this one going to be good.

Rose Bowl: Oregon vs Florida State – 2pm (ish) ABC: We can only hope that this Playoff lives up to the hype. This should be the better of the two Playoff games.

Valero Alamo Bowl: UCLA vs Kansas State – 3:45pm ESPN: This game has a tradition of being one that you don’t want to miss. This should be no exception.

Monday January 12th

National Title Game – 5:30pm (ish) ESPN: Let’s see if this is as good as we hope. Also, ESPN is apparently doing it’s ‘Film Room’ again during the game. It was awesome last year.

What To Watch Thurs. 11/20 – Sun. 11/23

All times are PST

Thursday November 20th

Kansas St at West Virginia – 4pm FS1: K-ST and WVU may not get into the College Football Playoff but this should still be one heck of a game.

LA Clippers at Miami Heat – 5pm TNT: Still a fun game even without LeBron.

Friday November 21st

Chicago Bulls at Portland TrailBlazers – 7:30pm ESPN: Battle of two of the top teams in NBA.

Saturday November 22nd

Minnesota at Nebraska – 9am ESPN: Key game in the Big Ten West. Both teams coming off of embarrassing losses last weekend.

Arsenal vs Manchester United – 9:30am NBC: The game may not decide the Premier League but it’s still a lot of bad blood between the two.

Yale at Harvard – 9:30am NBCSN: It’s one of the longest running rivalries in College Football. This year the winner walks away with the Ivy League title. It’s also signifies the beginning of the end of the College Football season.

Ole Miss at Arkansas – 12:30pm CBS: Arkansas finally broke through and got their first SEC win in what seems like forever. Now they welcome Ole Miss to town in a must win for both but for different reasons.

Arizona at Utah – 12:30 ESPN: Think the SEC West is tough? Try the Pac 12 South.

Stanford at Cal – 1pm FS1: THE BIG GAME! Winner goes bowling. Cal QB Goff has 4 INT’s all year.

Louisville at Notre Dame – 12:30pm NBC: Notre Dame is reeling and Louisville is no joke.

Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins – 4pm NHLN: An original 6 match up for your Saturday night.

Missouri at Tennessee – 4:30pm ESPN: Mizzou is looking to wrap up their second straight SEC East title. Tennessee needs to win one of the next two to go bowling.

USC at UCLA – 5pm ABC: Battle of LA.

Frankie Edgar vs Cub Swanson – 9pm(ish) FS1: This is a heck of a fight in the Featherweight Division.

Sunday November 23rd

Detroit Lions at New England Patriots – 10am FOX: Can anyone stop the Pats?

Montreal Alouettes at Hamilton Tiger-Cats – 10am ESPN: Eastern Conference Final.

NY Red Bulls vs NE Revolution – 10:30pm NBC: Can the Red Bulls get Thierry Henry to an MLS Cup before he retires?

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks – 1pm FOX: This could decide the NFC West.

Edmonton Eskimos at Calgary Stampeders – 1:30pm ESPN3: Western Conference Final, a chance to get to the Grey Cup and the battle of Alberta all wrapped into one.

LA Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders – 2pm ESPN: Game 1 of two in the Western Conference Final.

What to Watch Friday 10/24- Sunday 10/26

All times are PST

Friday October 24th

KC Royals at SF Giants – 5pm FOX: Game 3 in San Francisco. Series tied 1-1.

Oregon Ducks at Cal Golden Bears – 7pm FS1: Ducks better be on ‘let down alert’ cause the Golden Bears can score some points in a hurry.

Saturday October 25th

West Ham United vs Manchester City – 4:45am NBCSN: Believe it or not but this is a battle of top 4 teams in the Premier League.

LA Galaxy at Seattle Sounders – 12:30pm NBC: Battle for the Supporters Shield.

West Virginia at Oklahoma State – 12:30pm ESPN: West Virginia just gives people problems but Oklahoma State can too. This could be another Big 12 shootout.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Toronto Argonauts – 1pm ESPN3: The Eastern Conference is still a mess and both of these teams have a chance to take it.

Ole Miss at LSU – 4:15pm ESPN: Big road challenge for Ole Miss. Baton Rouge at night is no cake walk and LSU found some of the old Tiger swagger last weekend.

Chicago Blackhawks at St Louis Blues – 5pm NHL GameCenter: Last year they played the best playoff series of the Stanley Cup. ‘Nuff said.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Nashville Predators – 5pm NHL GameCenter: Somebody hold back the Preds. Only team left in the NHL that is undefeated in regulation.

KC Royals at SF Giants – 5pm FOX: Game 4 of the World Series.

USC at UTAH – 7pm FS1: It’s a blackout in Salt Lake City. This should be a lot of fun.

Sunday October 26th

Manchester United vs Chelsea – 9am NBC: Yep, this is happening. Chelsea is streaking and Man UTD isn’t but it should still be electric.

Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers – 10am FOX: Two teams that rolled through the NFL last season are now looking a losing records with a loss on Sunday.

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals – 10am CBS: Which version of these teams show up is the real question. Should be a hard hitting game regardless.

Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals – 1pm FOX: Two of the better teams in the NFC square off in the desert.

San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks – 5pm NHL GameCenter: Usually two of the best teams in the West and this year should be no different.

KC Royals at SF Giants – 5pm FOX: Game 5 of the World Series.