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Going bowling over the holidays

A few random thoughts after watching, and even listening to a lot of football last weekend, in no particular order of how strong I might or might not feel about the matter.

The NFL rulebook clearly was written by a roomful of lawyers, most of who must not follow football. In the Minnesota-Philadelphia playoff game, a Minnesota punt was downed on the Eagles' four-yard line. The officials ruled it a touchback because the player downing the ball first ran into the endzone and "did not reestablish himself" in the field of play before controlling the ball." So what? The ball never broke the plain of the goal line. If it has to break the plain to be a touchdown shouldn't it have to do the same to be a touchback regardless of any player's positioning?

Alabama proved in the Sugar Bowl that even Nick Saban can be outcoached. Not only did Alabama appear disinterested in the game but also their defense was totally lost in the first half. They broke the first fundamental of defense by not knowing how to line up against Utah's variety of formations. Assistant coaches don't last long on Saban's staff, and I feared for Georgia alum Kirby Smart's defensive coordinator job after that fiasco. Fellow defensive assistant Kevin Steele has already bolted for Clemson.

I really enjoyed Pat Summerall's play-by-play call of the Cotton Bowl. The veteran Summerall remembered what most announcers seemed to never have learned. He clearly assumed that if you could hear his voice you were watching the game on television and could see for yourself what was happening between Ole Miss and Texas Tech. He obviously did not feel the need to drone on and on with irrelevant and silly commentary. Mike Patrick of ESPN who called the Capital One Bowl could take a lesson from Mr. Summerall.

The "Ole Ball Coach" and "Evil Genius" spiel must be wearing thin on South Carolina Gamecock fans. It is with me. I've never begrudged Spurrier for wearing Georgia out when he was Florida's coach because that was his job, but Spurrier is operating now only on his reputation. He has done a miserable job of recruiting and coaching quarterbacks for someone considered the ultimate taskmaster of signal callers. His four-year record in Columbia is 28-22, 1-3 against Clemson and 1-2 in bowl games and not a sniff of a ten win season. Anyone else in the SEC with that record would be squarely on the hot seat.

The speculation over what underclassmen would enter the NFL draft early is enough to make one ill. The media seems to know what Georgia's Matt Stafford and Knowshon Moreno won't admit to and I wonder who told the media. Stafford and Moreno may very well declare for the draft but all I've heard them say is they are undecided, 50-50 at best. Maybe they gave somebody the scoop "off the record." Ha! What is off the record these days when there is a headline to be made? Just wait until the kids make an announcement I say.

Florida truly is a melting pot. On New Year's evening in an eating joint on I-95 near St. Augustine, besides Georgia fans I saw Clemson, Nebraska and Iowa fans. No Gamecocks though. There must be a few natives left in the Sunshine State though. Everywhere I went Gator fans were quick to laugh in my face when they saw my Georgia attire. I wish we could beat them more often and were playing for the national championship too but I'm glad I don't act like that, usually.

I was in Disney World on New Year's Eve, so I did not get to watch the Peach Bowl. When I heard the score I was not surprised. Georgia Tech won their bowl game back in November in Sanford Stadium. They were too busy designing rings with the score of the Georgia game to prepare for LSU. And to think Techies laughed at Georgia for going to the Peach Bowl one year while they were headed to Hawaii's Aloha Bowl.

And one more tidbit. If you drive straight from Orlando to Thomson on New Year's night, you can listen to the Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl on the radio in their entirety, if you can stay awake. If you make that trek, turn the radio off. The driving is the easy part.

Web posted on Thursday, January 08, 2009

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