Posted on: November 18, 2011 7:24 pm

Its the most wonderful time of the year.

This really is the most wonderful time of the year.  I love the holiday season, the bowls, the tournaments, basketball, hockey, football, golf.  The end of the year is shaping up to be really exceptional.  As for you that consider the absence of the NBA as ruining your holiday season please, the only thing that truly matters in the NBA is the playoffs.

Thursday night football was amazing as Tebow and the Denver Bronco defense brought us an unbelievable finish that for another week thrust the Broncos right in the heart of the playoff picture.  Who would have thought that 5 weeks ago?  Certainly not me.  Sooner or later people everywhere will have to admit there is a god and there is a good chance Tebow knows him.

Then there is the President's Cup and all that surrounds the presence of Tiger Woods.  Honestly he does seem to have much of his golf game back in order.  His near misses yesterday on the putting green where vintage Tiger except they did not go in.  What I am saying is he is reading the greens and controlling his shots.  Once the confidence returns, meaning he puts it all together and wins one tournament, others better look out.  I would expect that if I can get back to Augusta, I may see Tiger put on another green jacket in 2012.

While I am still on golf and everyone is coronating Yani Tseng (rightfully so), there is aother rising star and her name is Na Yeon Choi.  Here is another Korean golfer that has amazing talent. She trikes the ball well, is consistently in contention finishing in the top three of her last three events including a win just a month ago in the LPGA event Malaysia.  Incidently the leader in those events of course were Yani Tseng except in Malaysia where Choi held on to win.  These two are going to become the women's dynamic duo.  The win in Malaysia gave something to Choi she previously did not have, the confidence she could be a #1.

As you know for better or worse I am a Vanderbilt Commodore fan and Cincinnati fan.  My Commodores continue to take me throught the full gambit of emotions.  The loss in basketball to Cleveland State was the worst ever, but the football win over Kentucky was the other extreme.  A victory over Tennessee this week to become bowl eligible would make this one of the best football seasons ever.  My Bearcats appear to have it all together and this week was reverse fromthe Dores.  I hated the loss to Pittsburg in football and yet the basketball team is the real deal.

I believe the Bengals will knock off the Ravens this week, Tennessee will beat Atlanta, and the Colts will remain winless.  The Packers and the Bears will both win and Earl Bennett will make me a fantasy football genius for using in this week.

Posted on: February 23, 2011 6:47 pm
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Posted on: December 29, 2010 6:50 pm

Vandy vs Marquette is a Must Win

Alright how can this be a must win and confernce play has yet to open? Vandy has lost two crucial games which by my recollection they should have won.  The problem is they didn't.  Now they are playing another team fromt he Big East and that league is loaded. The problem is Marquette nor West Virginia is going to win that conference. That means losses to both of those teams will hurt if at the end of conference play you are not the league champion, division champion or have a great tournament.  Let's face it, Kentucky and Tennessee are adorable and so is Florida.  That means that Vanderbilt must win games like the one tonight. We are playing at home so a loss will be more devastating than a win but as my dad says, "A win is a win and that ain't ever bad." 

If you look at this game from a Top 25 perspective, it was hard for us to get to the Top 25 and it really took Tennessee losing 3 times and Florida having some problems.  So a loss here will really hurt any chance of staying in the Top 25 for more than one week.  We have a tough streatch as we enter the SEC and therefore in case that doesn't go like planned, we need this win.
Posted on: July 5, 2010 9:24 am
Edited on: July 5, 2010 9:39 pm

How Do You Determine A True Fan?

I have been listening lately to a lot of discussion on how to really determine a true fan? Some of the discussion centered around can you like another team and still be a true fan? There have been a lot of good answers, "A true fan is never wavering. They root for the same team win or lose. " Here is another, "A true fan never roots for another team even if it is the same conference against a team from another conference." Both of these answers would have me saying to myself I am not a true fan. However I believe I am a true fan and a true fan like the majority of sports fans. What I would like to find out is am I right or am I wrong?

First of all I must give you some background on my “Fanmanship”. I decided while looking at my profile this was something deserving of hearing so you would know how I have listed those favorite teams, etc. It also would give you fodder for expressing more opinions allowing you to comment on my “fanmanship” and yours.

So first let me begin by commenting on my “fanmanship”. I grew up in Tennessee and watched the NY Yankees on TV. I simply loved Mickey Mantle. He was the best. On radio I listened to Waite Hoyt and the broadcasts of the Cincinnati Reds. In the process I became a fan of Frank Robinson and dad took me to my first baseball game at Crosley Field. My allegiance shifted from the NY Yankees to the Reds and the 1961 World Series sealed the deal when I could root for Mickey and still be a solid Red‘s baseball team. Thus the beginning of double allegiances.

Football was Cleveland and the best running back in the game, Jim Brown. Then Cincinnati got a football team. My allegiance shifted again. On the college front Mom taught at Vanderbilt and got her secondary degree from there so we were Vanderbilt fans. Basketball was great but football left a lot to be desired. When the decision came to where I would go, I chose Cincinnati because Dad and my sister went there and because Vandy did not recruit me. I had a bad Achilles tendon my senior year so I guess honorable mention was not enough. Thus I became a fan of everything Cincinnati, the Royals in pro basketball, the Cincinnati Swords in hockey. I previously had rooted in hockey for the Nashville Dixie Flyers.

Football would end for me after my freshman year and I did some color for the radio station at UC before joining the Navy. That is when I began rooting for the Vols since no one hardly ever heard of Vandy. I was still a Cincy fan in pro football but we lost our hockey and our basketball. I was rooting for our state and the SEC. Cincy had been an Independent and we were not very good under coach Callahan.

As fate would have it Houston moved to Tennessee. I did not root for the Titans initially. I offered a prayer that Cincy go to Tennessee but my hated rival the Houston Oilers went instead. I only began rooting for Tennessee when they were put in different divisions. This meant unless they met in the playoffs I could have double allegiance. So I root for Vandy and I root fort he Bearcats. I root for the Titans and the Bengals. I root for teams my children went to and even schools where I also did my graduate work. So there you have it, am I a true fan?

Posted on: February 15, 2010 6:46 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2010 6:47 pm

SEC Big Dance Assessment

RBISPORTS - Last year the SEC got three teams into the Big Dance.  It was one of the biggest disappointing SEC seasons in my lifetime.  Consequently, as a result of last year’s dismal showing, the question a SEC fan has to ask them self is, “how many teams will the SEC send to the Dance this year?”

The SEC is making a better showing thus far if only based on poll comparison to last season. The only top 25 team at this point last season was LSU but this year the SEC has three.  The Kentucky Wildcats are currently ranked #2 in the nation and joining them in the top 25 are Vanderbilt (17) and Tennessee (20).  Interestingly enough they are all from the SEC East.

Tennessee has been ranked all season long but their stock has fallen like the economy and Vanderbilt has been a team that garners little respect outside of the SEC because of their strange losses to the likes of Western Kentucky, Georgia, and Cincinnati.  Kentucky is the only team that has lived up to the hype and yet most pollsters see them climbing up to the top on the heels of losses by Big East Teams.  It seems if some of the pollsters had their way every team in the Big East would be rated in the top 25.  I know the Big East is good but perhaps the Big East as a whole is the basketball media’s version of the Obama crush.

What makes figuring how many teams the SEC will get in the Big Dance is the absolute failure of the SEC West to have some standout team.  In fact outside the State of Mississippi, the SEC has no one to boast from the SEC West.  Mississippi (17-7) and Mississippi State (18-7) are the two best teams and Mississippi is (6-4) in the conference is tied for the West with Arkansas (13-12) which to make matters worse is barely a .500 team so how are the teams from Mississippi and for that matter the SEC? The only other team with a shot right now is Florida (17-8).  Aside from those mentioned no other team has an RPI in the top 65.

I would suspect that most SEC fans feel they deserve at a minimum six teams from the SEC to be represented in the field of 64.  In all likelihood I suspect they will get six but no more.  The SEC also needs to hope there are no surprises in the conference tournament championship. Of course one has to think that has a good chance of happening. South Carolina is one of those SEC teams that can come out of nowhere.  Right now I see Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and assured of a spot.  Mississippi is almost certain to get an invite but they need to win the West.  Mississippi State will need to finish above Arkansas. Florida is the bubble team. The loss to Xavier really did not serve them well.  Gators, you need a strong finish,

Posted on: December 7, 2009 10:53 pm

Tragedy Turns To Triumph

Fort Campbell Falcons Three Time 2-A Kentucky State Champions

After  trailing Louisville DeSales in the opening half  9-7, the Falcons took the lead for good 14-9 and never looked back following a 91 yard drive in ten plays two-thirds the way through the 3rd Quarter.  After that the only question remaining was how big the margin of victory would be.  The defeat of Louisville DeSales 29-9 to finish the season put an exclamation point at the end of a season filled with heartbreak and joy for Coach Shawn Berner and his players.  The Falcons completed a 15-0 season mark.   

Antonio Andrews, a leading candidate for Kentucky’s Mr. Football as quarterback for the Falcons hit Breon Moreno on a 15-yard pass for the go ahead touchdown.  The extra point made it 14-9 with just a shade over four minutes left in the third quarter.  Andrews for the game rushed for 155 yards and one touchdown.  He also had 78 yards passing and another touchdown to complete his senior season. 

Following the Falcon touchdown the DeSales Colts were held to a three and out.  Tre Powell took the ensuing put 59 yards for the Falcon’s next score.  The Falcons then went for two and Andrews hit Chris Allen to give the Falcons a two score margin 22-9.  The final touchdown of the game came in the fourth quarter with just over three minutes remaining on Troy Turner’s 50 yard run.

The Fort Campbell Falcon football team is a Department of Defense Education Activity High School located on Fort Campbell in Fort Campbell, KY.  Unlike most high schools in the area, the team is made of dependents serving at Fort Campbell.  The transition of families makes the program unique because more than other schools players come and go and you have no guarantees the player you relied on last year will be back.  "Two years ago I think we lost nine potential starters off this football team, just to dads getting a change of orders," says Mike Marciano, the school's athletic director and the team's offensive coordinator. "We can lose them during the season; we can gain them during the season. If you gain them you've got to teach 'em — quickly. If you lose them you got to wish them well and you pray for them."

The culmination of this team coming together and playing like they did is a testimony of the sheer will and perseverance of this team.  The season ended with the thrill of a third 2-A Kentucky State Championship and sixth overall for the Fort Campbell Falcons.   It was however a tragic beginning to the season that began this team on a road from tragedy to triumph.

During a practice in last July, Timothy Williams, a junior at Fort Campbell High School collapsed.  The following day at Vanderbilt hospital in Nashville, Tennessee the young man died.  The entire Fort Campbell community was shocked by the news but rallied together in support of Sgt. William Williams, the team, and the coaches.  The team perhaps more than ever came together and did something almost unimaginable by finishing the season undefeated, 15-0 and turning tragedy into triumph.


Posted on: November 26, 2009 9:41 am
Edited on: November 26, 2009 2:54 pm

Fun to Watch:Blind Side; Predators; the Titans!

I had the priviledge of going with our entire family to see the Blind Side last night.  We left after devouring a New England Lobster Feast when my daughter and her husband arrived from New England (New Hampshire) with fresh (still alive) Lobster.  Seven of us that include one retired military, one active, and one reserve. I have to give thanks for those serving this great nation of ours.  But back to the movie, Sandra Bullock probably gave her best performance ever and if she does not get the Oscar it is because those voting stay away from awarding movies of this nature. 

Now I also want to say that the Predators of which I seldom ever write about are absolutely amazing this year.  Picked 15th in the conference overall and second in the Central Division behind Chicago.  The win last night was incredible and yet also like how did we get behind in the first place?  I mean we were on cruise control and then suddenly it was like a hybrid and we needed to recharge the battery.  Anyway, Legwand's overtime goal was superb and now we have won seven in a row and are coming home for three more.  We could break our longest win streak ever.

The Preds are also in a lawsuit over the naming rights to our Arena formerly now the Sommet Center (17,113).  It will now likely just be called the Nashville Arena.  Perhaps there will be a naming contest once we find a new sponsor.  Laswt year we were incredibly slow out of the gate but this year the team seems much more let's say enthusiastic.  I have to believe a lot of the success this year has been the way Barry Trotz has rearranged the lines.  Players who had been around each other awhile had become complaicent.  Now you blood and different chemistry has everyone playing their "A" game.  However all aside the real MVP this year has been Pekka Rinne.  He has 414 saves, .915%.  The last two nights have been sensational. Go Preds, this year we get back to the playoffs.

Now the Tennessee Titans, what can you say about those Young"sters"?  All of sudden people are talking about their playoff chances.  It is is a long shot after all they have to play the Colts after this week's game with Arizona.  The good news is we have four of six at home.  The two games you have to think they will lose are the Colts and San Diego.  That would leave us at 8-8.  That would be amazing given the start but I have greater expectations.  The defensive secondary is healthy again, Chris Johnson is haveing a banner year and the Colts are not going undefeated.  Therefore if we beat the Colts, we will be San Diego.  Therefore I am thinking realistically that finishing 10-6 is not that unrealistic.  Happy Thanksgiving!!
Posted on: September 10, 2009 9:54 pm
Edited on: September 14, 2009 12:25 pm

Tennessee Titan First Game Review C-

The first half revealed that concern about the kicking game was well-deserved.  Rob Bironas missed two field goals of which one was blocked and Tennessee trailed 7-0 on the pass from Roethlisberger to Holmes.  Absolutely infuriating for Titan fans after the team otherwise dominated the first half.  The game resembled how Tennessee could so dominate Baltimore Ravens in two playoff losses and yet lose on the scoreboard. 
Collins however did something unexpected, he brought the Titans back on passes to Britt and Gage that tied the game 7-7 with about 46 seconds remaining.  Big Ben returned the favor bringing the Steelers to the Titan 43 yard line.  That is when the Titan defense stiffened and sacked Ben for a loss that most assuredly left them without a chance for a field goal.  The Steelers elected to go for it and Corteland Finnegan picked off the hail Mary and returned it to Pittsburg's 29 yd line where the first half ended.

Collins looked sharp except for the one pick.  Rookie Kenny Britt looked great and Justin Gage looked good as well.  I was impressed with both running backs for the Titans. White carried the ball well.  He had better speed to the line of scrimmage and the weight loss has really improved his game.  Chris Johnson was explosive and really showed why he is such a threat. 

No one is able to score in the third quarter and so this looks to be an exciting nail biting finish.  Two critical losses in the second half.  Tennessee has lost Bo Sciafe with a strained left  knee.  Pittsburg has lost the dirtiest defensive player in the NFL, Troy Polamalu also with a knee injury. 

The fourth quarter opens with Bironas being able to gain some redemption with a 47 yard field goal after the Titan drive stalls.  Collins is looking very impressive 21/31 for 232 yds, 1 TD and 1 interception.  Also impressive is Justin Gage despite one key drop in the previous Tennessee stalled drive.  His catch on the last drive gave Tennessee the yardage they needed for the field goal.  Crumpler made a couple of key catches but appears to be a little to heavy to break free from Pittsburg linebackers.

William Hayes tackle on a 3rd and 1 for the Steelers resulted in Pittsburg settling for the FG and the game tied 10-10.  This may end with whoever has the ball last winning on a FG.  Tennessee has 2:50 to take it the length of the field.  It would be an 82 yd drive.  Tennesse is forced to punt and the Steelers drive to easy FG range.  In an effort to get it closer Roethlisberger hits Hine Ward on an apparent chip shot FG opportunity except Ward fumbles and Tennessee recovers running out the clock for OT.

Big Ben and the Steelers have looked virtually unstoppable the last three possesions.  The prevent never works and still Tennessee secondary is leaving too much green between themselves and the receivers.  Pittsburg continued to push the ball down the field and on Mike Wallace's catch to the 15 yard line the Steelers put the Titans out of their misery.

Tennessee's defense took a potential B+ to a C.  The offense gets a B.  The special teams and kicking game is a D- for Tennessee.  This is a game Tennessee should have won.  They beat the spread for all the gamblers out there but as far as I am concerned the Titans need a lot of work before playing the Texans at home next week.  They will need the extra 10 days to get ready.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com