Friday, July 20, 2007

Quick Hits - A hole-in-one for my 76-year-old uncle!!!

I want to congratulate my Uncle George from Youngstown, Ohio who got his first hole-in-one on Wednesday at the age of 76-years-old.....he had two hip replacement surgeries a few years back but that hasn't slowed him on the golf that is something to be proud of....

The baseball trading deadline is less than two weeks away and the only thing that seems certain is that the Pirates will be trading longtime shortstop Jack Wilson.....with the Buccos trading for shortstop Cesar Izturis it looks like Jack’s days are numbered....hopefully he gets traded to a team that makes the playoffs.....he deserves that.....

With the Yankees seven games back of Boston, it looks like the Bronx headquarters will not be sellers.....

The Yankees supposedly were trying to trade outfielder Bobby Abreu to Arizona for the Diamondbacks star minor leaguer Carlos Gonzalez.....the D-backs said no....

The Pittsburgh Steelers should trade offensive lineman Alan yesterday’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Faneca said that this will be his last season with the Steelers and that even though he will be in camp on-time, he will not be there with “bells and whistles” other words, he is not a happy camper....with a new first year head coach, the Steelers do not need a possible cancer on the team.....I’d unload him now – even if it means getting a mid-round draft pick.....

More proof that Rosie O’Donnell is a “whack job”.....last week she was at some type of event and drew devil horns and a stache on a picture of former co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck....grow up already Rosie!!!!.....that is something an elementary school brat would do....

Here is a good one – a 20-year-old Syracuse woman left four young girls (the oldest only 6-years-old) who she was watching in order to go pose for nude photos......police say Michelle Rendino was supposed to be watching the girls when she left them alone and went into the woods to have a man take nude photos of her....the oldest girl told police that "Aunt Michelle" went into the woods to take "nasty pictures"......

The Friday Blog Promotion
If you hate Alex Rodriguez, the blog for you is the Pig Pen.....even if you don’t hate A-Rod, the Pig Pen is still a good blog.....this is how the writers at “The Pen” describe their blog - “If you are sick and tired of monotonous, tiresome, repetitive, and just about lifeless sports analysis then you’ve found your haven for sports’ news. Welcome to The Pig Pen. The Sports Truth. We won’t just tell you what’s happening, we’ll give you an expert analysis without the bullshit. Either you’re gonna love us or you’re gonna hate us. But I’ll tell you one thing. If you hate us, it just means we’re that fucking good.”
  • The Pig Pen
  • Thursday, July 19, 2007

    College Football at its Best - Texas A&M Aggies

    Today Stiles Points features the Texas A&M Aggies as part of the series "College Football at its Best".....Brad from the blog The 12th Man Child was nice enough to respond....he is a 22-year-old senior at Texas A&M....he works as a photographer for the Texas A&M student media and has been blogging for just under a year.....I want to thank Brad for his time....

  • The 12th Man Child - Texas A&M

  • Q1. What does the 12th Man mean? Please explain what is the meaning behind it and its importance?
    The 12th Man is unequivocally the greatest tradition in college football today. It started in 1922 when the Aggies were playing #1 ranked Centre College. The game was brutal and due to mounting injuries, the Aggie sideline was getting pretty thin. Looking for replacements, coach Dana X. Bible remembered that E. King Gill, a former football player turned basketball player, was assisting reporters in the press box. Gill was called down to the sideline, suited up, and stood ready for the rest of the game, which A&M eventually won 22-14. According to the official Texas A&M Traditions Council (yes, at A&M there are so many traditions that there is a student organization tasked with the oversight of the many traditions) :

    " This gesture was more than enough for the Aggie Team. Although Gill did not play in the game, he had accepted the call to help his team. He came to be known as the "Twelfth Man" because he stood ready for in case the eleven men on the gridiron needed him. That spirit of readiness for service, desire to support, and enthusiasm helped kindle a flame of devotion among the entire student body; a spirit that has grown vigorously throughout the years. The entire student body at A&M is the Twelfth Man, and they stand during the entire game to show their support. The 12th Man is always in the stands waiting to be called upon if needed."

    While students standing and yelling for the entirety of games is nothing special in modern times, there's no other school that alots more seats for students and there's no other school that has coordinated yelling. It's impossible to discuss the 12th Man without explaining what "Yell Leaders" are. Texas A&M does not have cheerleaders, instead there are 5 Yell Leaders positioned throughout the stadium that direct the 12th Man in coordinated yells (not "cheers"). There's nothing quite like being on the field when 80,000 voices yell in unison, it's something no noise machine can duplicate, and no team can truly prepare for. In addition to creating a deafening atmosphere when the Ags are on offense, the 12th Man knows when to be quiet. Broadcasters have often compared Kyle Field to a putting green when the Ags are on offense.

    In addition to yelling and supporting the team from the stands, the 12th Man is represented by a special group of students who walk-on to the football team. Each game, one walk-on is selected to wear the sacred #12 and to play on kickoff and punt team. In 2005, Coach Fran brought back the 12th Man Kickoff Team of the 80's in a modified form. While still consisting of all walk-ons, the team only sees the field when the Aggies are comfortably ahead.

    In short, Kirk Herbstreit's no fool for calling the 12th Man the greatest student section in all of college sports.

    Q2. What is the greatest Texas A&M football game that you have seen - whether it be in-person or on television? Explain the game and why it was so great.
    Well, I didn't really truly follow the Aggies until the 2003 season, so I can't say the 2000 OU game, where the Ags upset #1 ranked Oklahoma and Reggie McNeal shocked the world. Or The 1999 Texas game, days after Bonfire collapsed.

    To me, a great game has to be close for the entirety of the game, and/or be decided in the final minute or OT.

    In 2006, Texas A&M played in 7 great games. While many of those games shouldn't have been close (I'm looking at you, Army), there's nothing like the electricity of a close game with 22 men playing their hearts out. The 2006 Nebraska and OU games were epic, and the raw emotion from the final minutes of those games will stay with me for a long time.

    Most will want my answer to be the 12-7 trench warfare that was the Texas game last November, but I'm going with the 34-33(OT) victory over Oklahoma State in Stillwater last October.

    As a photographer I had the privilege of being on the sideline, able to see and hear the players and coaches working together, refusing to lose, as they marched down the field in the 4th quarter to tie the game. When Red Bryant blocked the FG in OT, the sideline exploded with jubilation, I remember just holding down the shutter as I jumped around and ran onto the field.

    Q3. Why do the Aggies hate the Texas Longhorns so much? (explain the rivalry)
    The rivalry between Texas A&M and Texas is much like that of most rivalries between state schools, born more out of politics, proximity, and competition for funds than competition on the field.

    I attempted to explain the rivalry using actual sentences and I found myself writing pages upon pages, I give you the short version:
    - A&M established first, but UT board of directors tried to have A&M closed.
    - A&M represents blue collar work & military
    - UT represents trust funded English degrees (aggies refer to longhorns as "tea sips")
    - Austin becomes Berkeley of the South, A&M becomes very tied to Republican politics.
    - 1963 Texas A&M integrates and Corps of Cadets participation is no longer mandatory, officialy designated a University. Athletics program is no longer bound and gagged. Record against Texas since 1967 is 18-22.
    - The state of Texas enacts the Top 10% rule, guaranteeing admission to any state university if the student graduates in the Top 10% of their HS class. The quantity and quality of students entering both universities explodes. Currently both schools are the flagship of their own university systems, which compete bitterly for funding, yet often form research coops.

    In the end though, Aggies don't hate Longhorns, or vise versa. When it comes down to it, we're all Texans (explanation in Q4).

    Q4. Explain the tradition of the bonfire before the Texas game?

    Burning stuff because of football isn't unique to any school (unless we're talkin couches), but since 1909 Aggies have been building a bonfire like no other.

    While Bonfire often comes with the description that it represents A&M's "burning desire to Beat The Hell Outta t.u.", that couldn't be further from the truth. What made the tradition of Bonfire so special and dear to Aggies was the camaraderie built during the semester long period of cutting and stacking the gigantic logs. Students from all parts of campus and student life worked side by side to cut and stack the logs. Grades and trees fell, while the stack and the Spirit of Aggieland grew. The week of the Texas game, 50,000+ would gather at the stack for a Yell Practice and to watch it burn.

    In the early morning hours of November 18, 1999 Bonfire collapsed with 58 students working on it. 27 students were injured, 12 died. The rescue effort took 24 hours because the logs were wired together and the logs had to be removed by hand (heavy equipment was ruled out in fear of causing further collapses and killing those trapped inside). The Corps of Cadets and the Aggie football team were called out in the middle of the night to help remove the logs. Getting back why there is no hate between Aggies and Longhorns, in the days after the collapse, Eric Opiela The UT Student VP wrote a letter to various newspapers.

    I had the great privilege of attending the memorial service at A&M tonight and was deeply moved by the events I experienced. The A&M student body is truly one of the great treasures of our State.As part of the UT delegation, we sat on the floor of Reed Arena, and immediately following the end of the service, I heard this rustling sound behind me. I looked over my shoulder and saw the sight of close to 20,000 students spontaneously putting their arms on their neighbor's shoulders, forming a great circle around the arena.The mass stood there in a pin-drop silence for close to five minutes, then, from somewhere, someone began to hum quietly the hymn "Amazing Grace". Within seconds, the whole arena was singing. I tried too—I choked, I cried. This event brought me to tears. It was one if not the defining moment of my college career. I learned something tonight. For all us Longhorns discount A&M in our neverending rivalry, we need to realize one thing. Aggieland is a special place, with special people. It is infinitely better equipped than us at dealing with a tragedy such as this for one simple reason. It is a family. It is a family that cares for its own, a family that reaches out, a family that is unified in the face of adversity; a family that moved this Longhorn to tears. My heart, my prayers; and the heart of the UT student body go out tonight to Aggies and their family and friends as they, recover, from this great loss. Texas A&M, The Eyes of Texas are Upon You—and they look with sincere sympathy upon a family that has been through so much tragedy this semester.

    Complacency and stubborn tradition were to blame, the same technology and techniques that were used in 1909 were still being hazardously applied in 1999. With litigation still pending, Bonfire has not returned to campus at A&M, and most likely never will. Yet, there is an off-campus organization that is keeping the tradition alive, hoping for the day Bonfire returns to polo fields of Texas A&M.

    Q5. Make your case why Texas A&M football, as a whole, is the best football program in the country?
    Winning is everything, and A&M hasn't won enough in recent memory to be considered among the best programs in the country. Our last mythical championship was in 1939, and I don't think we've been anywhere near a BCS bowl. Yet, I will say this, you don't fully know all that is college football until you attend a game at Kyle Field.

    While A&M may not be able to claim "best football program in the country" it can easily claim "most unique".

    Most schools have one great tradition for football games (Clemson's entrance, Ohio State's Dotting the i, USC's Song Girls), Texas A&M has a handful (12th Man, Midnight Yell, Yell Leaders, etc).

    Now if only we could win the big games..

    I want to thank Brad once again for his time and great photo of Bonfire....on Monday, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will be featured....

    Wednesday, July 18, 2007

    Quick Hits - Posh Spice does not own a diamond vibrator

    Here are some tidbits from the newspapers that caught my eye....

    Posh Spice does not own a $1.8 million diamond encrusted vibrator.....this past week the Los Angeles Times ran a story about David Beckham and his wife Posh the article the reporter writes how Becks and Posh give each other lavish went on to state, “While Victoria (Posh) was expecting their third child, Beckham spent $1.8 million for a diamond encrusted sex toy with a matching 16-carat diamond necklace.”......Posh has denied owning a $1.8 million diamond encrusted vibrator....

    Detroit Tigers designated hitter Gary Sheffield unloaded on New York Yankees manager Joe Torre in an upcoming "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel"....Sheffield claims that Torre discriminates against African-American players while Sheffield was a Yankee.....former Yankees teammate Kenny Lofton has supported Sheffield’s claim.....however, on Sunday night, ESPN’s Peter Gammons reported that former Yankee Tom Gordon, who played with Sheffield and Lofton in New York, said that Torre never discriminated against African-American players.....I have no problem with players speaking their mind, but it is unfair and irresponsible for someone to shoot off their mouth by throwing around the race card if they cannot provide support.....Sheffield may have indeed felt that way while with the Yankees, but he was wrong for making a general statement that Torre discriminated against all African-American players.....maybe Torre did discriminated against Sheffield because “Sheff” is just a plain and simple arrogant jerk...

    I have become a big fan of "The Closer" which airs every Monday at 9:00 p.m. on one of the Turner channels....Kyra Sedgwick does an excellent job in her role as a professional yet at times ditzy bright red lipstick wearing deputy police chief....

    Is it just me or is the race for the Democratic presidential candidate over.....when it is all said and done, Hillary Clinton will get the nomination.....I think the media is trying to make a race of it among Obama, Edwards, and Clinton.....I do not like Hillary Clinton at all, but I have accepted the fact that she will not just go away and slide back under that rock where she came from in New York.....I mean in wait, isn't she from Arkansas......hold up, she is originally from Illinois.....but wait, how could she be from the Windy City with that Southern accent?......hmmmm, but just the other day she was speaking like a New Yorker.....

    Sports Illustrated's Peter King reported in his Monday Morning Quarterback report this quote from federal documents detailing the dofights that took place on Michael Vick's property...."The dog fight would last to the end, which would generally involve the death or surrender of the losing dog. At the end of the fight, the losing dog was sometimes put to death by drowning, strangulation, hanging, gun shot, electrocution, or some other method.''....Vick has been indicted for his supposed involvement...if he is found guilty, he should be thrown out of the league for life...scum like him should not have the priviledge to play in the NFL....this type of behavior to a dog is barbaric and me, Michael Vick is garbage...

    Tuesday, July 17, 2007

    College Football at its Best - Oregon Ducks

    Today Stiles Points moves to the westcoast and features the Oregon Ducks as part of the series "College Football at its Best".....Dave from the blog Addicted to Quack was kind enough to respond....he may have the best named college football blog in the country.....I want to thank him for his time.....

  • Addicted to Quack - Oregon

  • Q1. I have to ask you about the multi-colored jerseys? What is your truthful opinion of them?
    I think that many Duck fans truly wonder what the big deal is. While the jerseys are certainly unorthodox, and the lightning yellow is especially ugly, I doubt that they are the ugliest uniforms known to man. We don't have great traditional uniforms. We don't have great tradition, period. But people are ALWAYS talking about our uniforms. It keeps the Ducks on the front burner, even during poor seasons, because they're always at the cutting edge. And players often help design them. They're big with recruits. And if they help us get recruits—which is a given fact at this point, then I, as well as most Duck fans, like them.

    Q2. What is the greatest Oregon football game that you have seen - whether it be in-person or on television? Explain the game and why it was so great.
    It's really hard because there have been so many great games. I really want to say the Michigan game in 2003 (photo) because the atmosphere was so intense and we knocked off the #3 team in the country in what was arguably the biggest nonconference game ever in Eugene. There was also the Fiesta Bowl win in '01, and the 56-14 steam rolling of Oregon State in the fog bowl of '05. However, one game rises to the top because, arguably, Oregon football doesn't exist today without that game. I'm talking the 1994 game vs. Washington.

    #7 Washington, favored to win the Pac-10, comes into Eugene having won 17 of 20 vs. Oregon. Oregon football is nothing at that point: a Freedom Bowl berth that Oregon basically bought a few years before being the biggest football accomplishment in 30 years. The Ducks took a three point lead over the mighty Huskies, but looked like they would have their hearts broken as Damon Huard drove Washington down to the three yard line with 1:05 left. But then Kenny Wheaton picked off a ball and returned it 97 yards for the touchdown. The win catapulted Oregon to its first Rose Bowl since 1958, and is the game that most signify as the beginning of Oregon football as we know it. To this day, "the pick" is the last thing they play on the scoreboard before the Ducks take the field, to the roaring of the crowd. Oh, and I was a sixth grader--it was the first Oregon game I ever saw in person. Great timing, I guess.

    See "The Pick" on YouTube:

    Q3. Who is Oregon's most hated rival - Oregon State, USC, or UCLA? (explain the rivalry)
    What's funny is that you probably totally missed it. I wouldn't call UCLA or USC rivalries, beyond the fact that they are conference games. Oregon State is definitely a rival, but it's kind of a friendly rivalry. Obviously, we never want to lose to the Beavers, but most Duck fans root for the Beavers in games that don't affect the Ducks. But if you want to talk about pure, unadulterated hatred, there is only one acceptable answer: The University of Washington is our most hated rival.

    Some say that it started in 1948. In the old Pacific Coast Conference, there was a vote to determine the Rose Bowl representative between Oregon and Cal. It was assumed that the six Northwest schools would vote Oregon, and the four California schools for Cal. However, Washington voted for Cal and convinced Montana to do the same. A few years later, the dean of Oregon's law school led a successful crusade against Washington's football program for paying its players. In the meantime, the teams exchanged beatings on the field. It was really nasty, but then Washington went into a 30-year period of dominance in the series.

    The aforementioned pick in 1994 rekindled the rivalry, and many Duck fans were especially bitter at the way they had been treated by Washington fans over the years. For the next decade, the teams would exchange wins in the series, which always seemed to have conference title implications. This rivalry is purely hatred, and Duck fans laugh at Washington's current status as doormats of the Pac-10. If they never won another game, it would suit us just fine. But these games are always nasty.

    Q4. Since 1970, who are the five greatest players to put on an Oregon jersey?
    1. Joey Harrington (photo) has to be number one. With Joey Heisman at the helm, you were never out of a game. In his final two seasons, he had five fourth quarter comebacks. He led Oregon to arguably their two best seasons ever in '00 and '01. He was Pac-10 player of the year in 2001, and is easily the most recognizable player in Oregon football history.

    2. Bill Musgrave. If he had come ten years later with better talent around him, he'd be Joey Harrington, only Musgrave had greater physical skills. He's still Oregon's leading career passer with 8343 yards. As a junior in 1989, he led Oregon to its biggest victory to the date, a drubbing of #3 BYU in which Musgrave passed for 489 yards. And he led Oregon out of decades of darkness to their first two bowl appearances (1989 Independence and 1990 Freedom) since the 1963 Sun Bowl.

    3. Haloti Ngata has to be Oregon's most dominant defensive player ever. From '02 to '05, Ngata anchored the defensive line, drawing double and even triple teams on every play, and STILL getting to the quarterback. His dominance allowed very average players such as Devan Long (sacks) and Aaron Gipson (interceptions) to be among the national leaders in those categories. A first team All-American in '05, he currently plays for the Baltimore Ravens.

    4. Kenny Wheaton. If sports is all about moments, he has to be in there. However, he was no one trick pony. In addition to "the pick," he was a great shut down corner and was the first Oregon Duck to leave school early for the NFL.

    5. It's hard to say. We've had a lot of good backs and receivers, but a lot of them lump together in my mind. But Jonathan Stewart will be here by the end of his career. Bank on it.

    Q5. Make your case why Oregon football, as a whole, is the best football program in the country?
    Its hard to make that argument based on on-field success. Oregon doesn't have the storied history of a Penn State or a Texas. But that's also a very exciting thing. Rather than carrying on tradition, the players and fans of the last 15 years have been building the traditions. Its a very exciting time of transition here at Oregon. I also love that we can respect the past while we embrace the future. Some of the newer Oregon students have grown up with relative success, but most Duck fans can remember the day where we were truly terrible year in and year out. I think that it gives us an appreciation for what is accomplished. I love that we are successful, but I also love that I can tell my children I remember when…..That, and I guarantee there is no better stadium atmosphere anywhere than Autzen.

    I want to thank Dave again for his time.....on Thursday Texas A&M Aggies will be featured....

    Monday, July 16, 2007

    College Football at its Best - Penn State Nittany Lions

    Today Stiles Points features the Penn State Nittany Lions as part of the series "College Football at its Best"....Mike from Black Shoe Diaries was kind enough to take some time and respond to my questions....he's a 33-year-old engineer living in Philadelphia who graduated from Penn State in 1997....he has been blogging about Penn State since January 2006 and has been running BSD since August of 2006....I want to thank Mike for his time....

  • BlackShoeDiaries - Penn State

  • Q1. Who was the better running back at Penn State - Ki Jana Carter, Larry Johnson, Curt Warner, or Curtis Enis?
    Wow. Tough question. My personal favorite would be Ki-Jana Carter. I was a junior at Penn State in 1994 so I will always have a soft spot for that team. Most Penn State fans consider him the best all around back to play for the Nittany Lions. I have to agree. He had the total package. He could run, catch, and block. But beyond that he was a humble kid that endeared him with the Penn State faithful.

    Not to take anything away from the other guys though. Johnson and Enis were great, but they both had some attitude problems. I’m afraid I’m too young to remember Curt Warner, so I’m probably not doing him justice. A lot of old timers will contend he was the best ever. I’m sorry I’m not informed enough to comment on him that much.

    Q2. What is the greatest Penn State football game that you have seen - whether it be in-person or on television? Explain the game and why it was so great.
    Another tough question. Why don’t you just ask me which one of my kids I love most? The

    1987 Fiesta Bowl win over Miami has to be the greatest of all time. We were huge underdogs and nobody gave us a chance in that game. The buildup to that game was unbelievable. Miami paraded around all week in their army fatigues while the Penn State kids were always seen in suits and ties. It was a classic street thugs vs. the choir boys battle. At the joint team dinner before the game Jerome Brown stood up and asked, “Did the Japanese sit down and eat with Pearl Harbor before they bombed them? No. We’re outta here.” And with that he led the Hurricanes back to the team busses. On their way out the door Penn State punter John Bruno stood up and asked them, “Excuse me, but didn’t the Japanese lose the war?” The game evolved into more than just a football game between Penn State and Miami. It was a struggle between good and evil.

    Miami had an amazing amount of talent. In addition to Heisman Trophy winner Vinnie Testaverde they had future NFL stars Michael Irvin, Jerome Brown, Alonzo Highsmith not to mention future Dallas Cowboy and Super Bowl winning coach Jimmy Johnson running the show. Penn State had guys like John Shaffer, D.J. Dozier, and Ray Isom. Only linebacker Shane Conlan was recognized as having future NFL star potential.

    The Penn State defense won that game. The offense couldn’t move the ball all night. It was the defense that won the game by forcing five interceptions. They got into the head of Johnson and Testaverde. As Miami drove deep into Penn State territory late in the fourth quarter with Penn State holding on to a slim 14-10 lead the tension was so thick my arms and legs were shaking as I watched the television. The pressure was so great on fourth and goal that defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky got lockjaw. He couldn’t call the play. Linebacker Trey Bauer called the play from the huddle. Testaverde rolled left and threw the ball right to Penn State linebacker Pete Giftopoulos. Pete ran around like he didn’t know what to do and just fell to the ground. Joe Paterno won his second National Championship and the entire state of Pennsylvania exhaled.

    Q3. Who is currently Penn State's biggest rival? Do you miss the rivalry with the old eastern teams such as West Virginia, Syracuse, and Pitt?
    In a way I do miss the old rivalries with West Virginia, Syracuse and Pitt. Lately the Big East has been getting some recognition as a credible conference again. I know if Penn State played those teams we would beat them more often than they would beat us. Teams like West Virginia and Rutgers are starting to think they are national players. It bugs me we can’t settle it on the field anymore.

    But I wouldn’t trade Penn State’s status in the Big Ten for anything. We don’t have a natural rival in the conference. Penn State fans like to think Ohio State or Michigan are our biggest rivals, but those teams each consider the other to be their rival so they don’t necessarily reciprocate the hate that Penn State fans have for them. The eight game losing streak and the fact that the two teams didn’t play in 2003 and 2004 kind of cooled off the rivalry with Michigan. Right now I think Penn State fans consider Ohio State to be our biggest rivalry.

    Q4. Since 1970, who are the five greatest players to wear a Penn State uniform and why?
    Well, I was born in 1974 and didn’t really start following Penn State football until around 1985, so I probably can’t do the players before that time justice, but here’s my top five list.

    5. Larry Johnson – After spending four years riding the bench and in Joe’s doghouse he broke out for that special 2000 yard season in 2002. I think he broke the single game rushing record three times that year.

    4. Paul Posluszny – All time Penn State career leader in tackles. Arguably the best linebacker to ever play at Linebacker U. He embodied the Joe Paterno mold of the student athlete.

    3. Ki-Jana Carter – Heart and soul of the 1994 offense which many people rank with the greatest offenses of all time.

    2. Todd Blackledge – Starting quarterback on the 1982 National Championship team.

    1. Shane Conlan – Two time All American and member of the 1986 championship team.

    Somebody is going to yell at me for leaving someone off the list.

    Q5. Make your case why Penn State football, as a whole, is the best football program in the country?
    This is like asking Joe Paterno to show you his best endzone celebration dance. I guess I’m supposed to mention National Championships, undefeated seasons, All Americans, and legendary coaches. Maybe it’s a result of being a Penn State fan so long, but I have a tough time saying Penn State is the best program in the country. Joe Paterno would never tell you he has the best program in the country, so neither can I.

    I think we’re a great program. Maybe one of the top five or ten in the country. Obviously we’ve been very successful on the field, but I think what endears this program to our fans is the manner in which the team conducts themselves with class on the field. There is no dancing in the endzone. No taunting the opponent. When you score you act like you’ve been there before. We wear plain blue jerseys with no names on them. On the road we go completely vanilla. We’re boring, but we’re a team. Off the field Penn State student athletes excel in the classroom as well. In a commencement speech a few years ago Joe Paterno said, “Success without honor is an unseasoned dish. It will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good.” Penn State adopted from that speech a slogan that goes “Success with Honor”. Paterno has applied this to his coaching and teaching philosophy and it’s the reason why Penn State fans feel so much pride in their team....

    I want to thank Mike for his time....tomorrow I will feature the Oregon Ducks....

    Sunday, July 15, 2007

    Sunday Baker's Dozen

    Sunday Fact - Former Dodger Don Newcombe is the only pitcher to win the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and MVP over his career.

    New York Yankees manager Joe Torre tells New York Daily News reporter Mark Feinsand that this has been his toughest year as manager of the Bronx Bombers.... "Torre admitted to the Daily News last night that this has been the most difficult season he has endured in New York. If his magical ride in his hometown ends on the sourest of notes, Torre seems ready to deal with that." ....
  • Mark Feinsand

  • Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan looks back at the life of Bucko Kilroy who died last Tuesday.... "Bucko Kilroy the player was legend enough. Tough and unapologetic, he dished it out and took it in the trenches with such gusto that he had a reputation as one of the most hated and feared (and respected) men in the league." ....
  • Bob Ryan

  • New York Daily News reporter Hank Gola writes about the last time the British Open was played at Carnoustie - one of the greatest meltdowns in golf history occurred.....remember Jean Van De Velde.... "This week, the British Open returns to the scene of the disaster, where the Frenchman preferred to go down in flames than take the easy path to the claret jug." ....
  • Hank Gola

  • Oakland Tribune sports columnist Art Spander is in Scotland getting ready for the British Open.... "The British Open, the Open Championship, is back in Scotland, at Carnoustie, on the northeast coast, Tayside, near Glamis Castle, reputed to be the one where Macbeth held dominion, not all that far from the ruins of the castle of McDuff, who, not born of woman, slew Macbeth." ....
  • Art Spander

  • Cleveland Plain Dealer baseball reporter Paul Hoynes has been covering the Cleveland Indians for the last 25 a year long series, each month Hoynsie, as he is known, selects the best player he has seen at each he picks his best right field.....
  • Paul Hoynes

  • The talk of the sports world this week was about David Beckham....L.A. Times columnist Grahame L. Jones writes that Becks could be in for a rough ride.... "The playing fields of the U.S. and Canada are not like the manicured lawns of Old Trafford or Santiago Bernabeu stadiums. Sometimes they are threadbare. Sometimes they are bumpy. Sometimes they are artificial." ....
  • Grahame L. Jones

  • Fort Worth Star-Telegram sports columnist Gil Lebreton gives his list of 100 places a true sports fan should do before they die..... "I don't necessarily want to see an opera festival in Finland, or bathe with strangers in Budapest before I die. I want to go to a Red Sox-Yankees game in Fenway Park." ......
  • Gil Lebreton

  • Chicago Sun-Times sports columnist Jay Mariotti is asking commissioner Bud Selig to listen to the Cubs fans and allow Mark Cuban to buy the team.... "The fans want Cuban, as indicated by every Internet poll, talk-show discussion and Wrigleyville debate I've heard and read. The players want Cuban . . . " .....
  • Jay Mariotti

  • Home field advantage?....the Cubs don't need no stinkin home field advantage according to Chicago Tribune sports Columnist Rick Morrissey..... "When the Cubs win the first two games on the road against some hapless American League opponent, won't home-field advantage in the Fall Classic be a moot point anyway? If they are going to sweep, which is a given, it would mean the club can celebrate on the hallowed ground of Wrigley Field." .....
  • Rick Morrissey

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Rick Hummel writes that people should not over-analyze the tiff between Tony LaRussa and Albert Pujols.... "Pujols, long a La Russa backer, will play as hard as always. If he and third baseman Scott Rolen, who had just four homers before the weekend, find their power strokes, the Cardinals' offense will take on a different look." .....
  • Rick Hummel

  • The Baltimore Sun begins a series of stories about athletes who leave the playing field to go to the battlefield.... "The concept of sports as preparation for war dates to ancient times - and still thrives as military recruiters seek out future warriors among teenage athletes....."
  • Rick Maese

  • Newark Star-Ledger's Carlton Holmes writes that time is no longer on Michael Strahan's side... "The 15-year NFL veteran, who holds the NFL record for sacks among active players with 129 1/2, does believe his time in the league is winding down." ....
  • Carlton Holmes

  • Boston Globe reporter John Powers writes how a former Harvard football player and WWE wrestler is taking on the issue of concussions.... "Nowinski has solid credentials because he's also a victim, a former Harvard football player and World Wrestling Entertainment performer who suffered at least a half-dozen concussions that eventually ended his career." ....
  • John Powers