I’m not a fan of horse racing. Or any kind of racing, actually. Still, sometimes, you see something and are amazed. And, that amazement stays with you.

This afternoon, there’s a misspelled horse named American Pharoah that is trying to become the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. And, if he wins, good for him. And some of you young kids might remember it years down the road. But, it’ll be hard to beat the memories caused by a three-year old named Secretariat back in 1973.

Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby, the first race in the Triple Crown with a record time of 1:59.4. How fast was that record? Well, it’s still the fastest Kentucky Derby ever. The second fastest Kentucky Derby time? Same race. Sham came in second at 1:59.9 which is faster than the second-fastest winning time of 1:59.97 by Monarchos in 2001. (I just won you a bar bet. You’re welcome.)

In the Preakness Stakes, there was a problem with the clock. There’s no doubt that Secretariat won the race by 2½ lengths over Sham, but a problem with the clock threw a question over the time. The previous record (since the race lengthened to 1 3⁄16 miles in 1925) of 1:54 was set two years earlier by Canonero II. Secretariat’s time was given as 1:55, but that was immediately disputed. CBS entered the argument by showing tapes of both the 1971 race and the 1973 race in a split-screen, and proved that Secretariat beat Canonero II handily. It took a while, but the official time is now 1:53, and that record still stands. (Sham’s time would work out to 1:53.4, the second-fastest Preakness, if you want to win another bar bet.)

The clincher in how great a horse Secretariat was had to be the Belmont Stakes. That race was lengthened to 1½ miles in 1926. And the record set in 1973 still stands. But, it wasn’t just the time of 2:24 that’s amazing. It’s how that horse won it.

If you weren’t around in 1973 to see it on TV, thanks to the magic of the internets, here’s your chance.


The actual margin of victory was 31 lengths. How far is that? Well, more than you can put in a camera at a horse race in 1973. Think about it like this. You and a buddy find a football field. You stand on the goal line. Now, have your buddy walk out to the 17 yard line. No, the other 17 yard line. Cross mid-field and keep walking. That 17 yard line. Got it? That’s right about 31 lengths.

I don’t know anything about horse racing. But I know I saw something special that day. Maybe there’ll be another Triple Crown winner this afternoon. Maybe not. But, there may never be another Secretariat.

Send to Kindle

College football playoffs 2014 (done right)

CharlieBrownFootballFor several years, I’ve been saying that the NCAA needs a playoff for Division 1-A football. Apparently, the NCAA agrees with me … to some degree. They finally dumped the horribly flawed BCS for a horribly-flawed 4-team playoff.

My plan would work, and it answers all the questions and controversies that have arisen over the BCS years.

My plan has sixteen teams in the playoffs. Each of the ten conference champions get a slot, and the remaining slots are filled with teams selected by a committee. The committee also seeds the teams.

My preference is that conference champions get the top ten slots, with the wild card teams filling slots 11-16, much as the NFL does. This adds weight to winning the conference. If a wild card team from the SEC feels they should be ranked higher than, say, the Sun Belt champion, then they should have won their own conference.

Here is how the playoffs — the playoffs done right — would have shaped up this year.

Top ten seeds are the conference champions.

1. Alabama (Southeastern Conference champion)
2. Oregon (Pac-12 Conference champion)
3. Florida State (Atlantic Coast Conference champion)
4. Ohio State (Big Ten Conference champion)
5. Baylor (Big 12 Conference champion)
6. Boise State (Mountain West Conference champion)
7. Marshall (Conference USA champion)
8. Northern Illinois (Mid-American Conference champion)
9. Cincinnati (American Athletic Conference champion)
10. Georgia Southern (Sun Belt Conference champion)
11. Texas Christian (Big 12 wild card)
12. Mississippi State (Southeastern wild card)
13. Michigan State (Big Ten wild card)
14. Mississippi (Southeastern wild card)
15. Arizona (Pac-12 wild card)
16. Kansas State (Big 12 wild card)

Some of the matchups would be great. Others, yeah, not so much. And, yeah, we end up with a third Arizona vs Oregon matchup. We also get a Marshall-Georgia Southern matchup, which won’t top the TV ratings … outside of Huntington or Statesboro.

Look at the whole package. Winning the conference means something; you get an automatic bid and a better seeding. Really good teams aren’t penalized by having one bad game (or a good close loss) that knocks them out of contention. And, if Northern Illinois or Georgia Southern ran the table, who could argue that they aren’t the best team?

What the NCAA is giving us this year is better than the BCS. If that was in play, we’d have a single game of Alabama vs Florida State, based on polls and computer rankings. But it’s not as good as this plan.

One day, this will be the great idea that some suit in the NCAA comes up with, and he’ll be hailed as a genius.

Send to Kindle


GSCErkRussellI’m in full, old man, get off my lawn mode. And, it’s a college football team that set me off.

First, some background. You may already know that I’m a fan of the University of Georgia. My daughter went there (and she was a cheerleader) and I almost went there. But I didn’t.

However, a little closer to my home town in southeast Georgia is another college, Georgia Southern University. Back then, it was Georgia Southern College. And, they didn’t have a football team. But, that would change.

In 1981, Georgia Southern announced the hiring of Erk Russell as head coach. Russell had been defensive coordinator at the University of Georgia for the previous 17 seasons, but accepted the challenge of starting up a football program from scratch. The school had no football facilities when Russell was hired. In fact, they didn’t even have a football. The Athletic Director had to run across the street to the K-Mart to buy a football as a prop at the press conference to announce Russell’s hiring.

Georgia Southern did things simply back then. They got old yellow school buses from the Bulloch County school system to take the team to games. And in those games, the Eagles wore simple white pants with no stripe down the leg, simple blue jerseys at home and plain white jerseys on the road with no stripes on the sleeve, and blue helmets with numbers on the side. Old fashioned, simple football uniforms. And the reason is because they were the cheapest available.

Turns out, though, that you don’t need fancy buses or fancy uniforms to win. Georgia Southern won the Division 1-AA national championship 1985, their first of three under Russell, and six overall. And they did it while wearing cheap uniforms and riding yellow school buses to games.

Today, and for several years, Georgia Southern has been able to afford a lot more. This season is their first year moving up to Division 1-A, officially called Division 1 FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision), and they’ve kept the traditions.

This weekend, though, they’re kinda ticking me off. They’re showing off some new uniforms to be worn special for homecoming. And they have the nerve to call it “Traditions.”


I know all the cool schools do this crap. But, it’s crap. At least, to a traditionalist like me. I hate it when schools come up with gimmicky uniforms. You know what kind of gimmick I like? Winning.

It’s a great tradition, too.

Send to Kindle

Winter Olympics Primer: Bobsleigh

You may not be aware, but the Winter Olympics are still underway.

Apparently, there’s more than Curling going on. There’s also skiing. Not water skiing, but skiing on snow. And there’s a lot of that. And, there’s Bobsleigh. Some calls it Bobsledding. The Olympics call it Bobsleigh.

The four-man bobsleigh competition is the top of the various bobsleigh events. There’s two-man. There’s women’s competition. But, the big deal is the four-man bobsleigh. The competition begins soon, and the medals are awarded this coming weekend.

In preparation, we’re offering another primer on Olympic events. So, with a little Help! from our friends, we’ll explain the four-man bobsleigh competition.

Each team consists of four men, stacked like cordwood atop a sled. One wears a top hat.

The team must navigate down a hill of snow, all together.

It is permissible within the rules to lighten the load, allowing the team to increase speed, if you can ring the lasso of the Overhead Mad Scientists with the foot of the man on top.

If successful, the top man dangles overhead, allowing the other three to pick up speed.

When the rope breaks, he rejoins the others on the sled…

…and they continue downhill until they fall over.

When that happens, they mount skis, and finish the course by avoiding umbrella-carrying snowmen.

As they approach the end of the course, the lead snowman, with an umbrella flamethrower…

…lights the team’s ski poles on fire.

The team then reaches the end of the course, and orders a ticket to London. First team to Heathrow wins.

Enjoy the rest of the Olympics.

Send to Kindle

Winter Olympics Primer: Curling

Curling is a popular sport that nobody understands. What I mean is nobody understands why it is popular. Perhaps we can Help! Here’s your Guide to Curling.

Play begins when the team’s Mad Scientist — don’t let these technical terms confuse you, just follow along — hands the next player (called the “Lead Guitarist”) the Fiendish Thingy.

The Lead Guitarist takes the Fiendish Thingy and runs forward…

… then slides it down the ice toward the other players.

The goal is to knock over the player with the French-looking shirt (called the “Drummer”).

If the Lead Guitarist fails to knock over the Drummer, he and another player (called the “Lead Singer”) tackle the Drummer…

… dragging him across a red line to where another player (called the “Bass Player”) is positioned.

The Fiendish Thingy then blows up…

… at which time the team locates the White Cliffs of Dover. First one there wins.

Now, you’ll be able to enjoy Curling with a firm knowledge of the rules. I’m glad we could Help!

Send to Kindle

Viewing Michael Sam: the difference between the Right and the Left

Here’s how conservatives see Michael Sam:


Football player for the SEC East champs.

Now, here’s how liberals see Michael Sam:



And that is the difference between conservatives and liberals.

Send to Kindle

Remember when men used to play sports?

RoseFosseMajor League Baseball plans to change the rules so that catchers won’t be able to block the plate, and runners can’t target the catcher.

You know the deal. Runner on the base path heads for home. Outfielder throws to the plate. Catcher stands just down the third base line to grab the throw and tag the runner out. Collision at the plate.

That’s baseball.

Remember this?

July 14, 1970. Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. The All-Star game. The National League had tied the game at 4 with a three-run bottom of the ninth. Now, it’s the 12th inning. The Angels’ Clyde Wright is pitching in relief. He had thrown a no-hitter a week-and-a-half earlier and was in the middle of a 20+ win season. He got the first two batters, then the Reds’ Pete Rose and the Dodgers’ Billy Grabarkewitz hit back-to-back singles, putting runners on first and second. The Cubs’ Jim Hickman then singled to center, and the Royals’ Amos Otis fired the ball to the Indians’ Ray Fosse who was behind the plate. The ball was just to the third-base side of the plate, and Fosse was in position to take the throw. Rose hit Fosse, who wasn’t able to field the ball, and scored the winning run.

Those that were watching the game on TV that night — me included — will never forget it. That was a classic baseball moment.

Fosse was hurt on the play, but continued his career until 1979 when a different injury ended his career. He made it back to the All-Star game the next season, and won two World Series rings with the A’s in ’73 and ’74.

Rose was later banned from baseball for gambling.

But that was in the 1970s when players played that way. 1980s too. That’s when men — hard playing men, real men — played baseball.

Today, we have a commissioner who thought a tie All-Star game was a good idea, because it was late and people were tired. They had played 11 innings, after all.

No, it was no longer the 1970s when a 12th inning collision at the plate was how an All-Star game ended.

And now, the ladies that run Major League Baseball will make sure that never happens again.

I’m thinking they’ll start pitching underhand soon. And ban spikes on shoes. High heels will be okay.

Send to Kindle

A job for Obama

bush-vs-obama-pitching-baseball-funnyAfter January 20, 2017 — a date which can’t come soon enough — Barack Obama will be in a position he’s placed millions of Americans in: he’ll be out of a job.

But, he has his eyes set on a new job already: he wants to host SportsCenter.

Now, some people laughed when they heard that. But consider: he has the qualifications.

For instance, I bet you thought the NBA team in Miami was the Miami Heat. Not so. Obama knows what no other person on this planet knows: it’s the Miami Heats.

His bowling prowess is legendary. Not only did he bowl a 37 when he was running for president, after he took office, he compared his bowling skills to Special Olympics. That’s the kind of skill and commentary that’s missing from sports today.

Of course, he would bring a unique perspective to our nation’s pastime. Not just the mom jeans, or his little sister pitching style, but his unique knowledge of Chicago’s Kaminsky Field, which most residents of the Windy City don’t even know exists.

Some of you say he has no qualifications to host SportsCenter. But, lack of qualifications didn’t keep him out of the White House, did it?

What do you think? Is SportsCenter host a good fit for Obama? Or is there a better job out there for him?

Send to Kindle

College Football Playoffs 2013

ThreeStoogesFootball2Next year, the NCAA begins a 4-team playoff for the college football national championship.

This is in addition to the three other college football national championships the NCAA already has: Division 1 FCS (1-AA) on January 4, 2014 in Frisco, Texas; Division II on December 21, 2013, in Florence, Alabama; and Division III (the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl) on December 20, 2013, in Salem, Virginia.

Division 1 FBS (Division 1-A), finally gets a playoff of sorts next year. This year, it’s still the BCS. And, as always, it’s true that you can’t spell BCS without BS. I don’t know what to say about next year’s “playoff” other than it’s a half-ass attempt to get it right.

Here’s what’s right, and what I’ve been proposing for years: A 16-team playoff, consisting of a field of the 10 conference champions, plus the five highest-ranked non-conference champions.

The questions are how to pick the five “wild card” teams, and how to seed the teams. Minor details. But, the major details are the 16-team field with the conference champs.

Now, how to pick the “wild card” teams? I’m gonna use the Coaches Poll. Or the BCS standings. They are close, but not quite the same, both in teams and in ranking.

First, the easy part: Here are the conference champs, who get an automatic bid:

Conference Champion Record Coaches Poll
Atlantic Coast Conference Florida State 13-0 1
Southeastern Conference Auburn 12-1 2
Big Ten Conference Michigan State 12-1 4
Big 12 Conference Baylor 11-1 5
Pacific-12 Conference Stanford 11-2 7
American Athletic Conference Central Florida 11-1 15
Mountain West Conference Fresno State 11-1 20
Conference USA Rice 10-3 31
Mid-American Conference Bowling Green 10-3 32
Sun Belt Conference Louisiana-Lafayette 8-4 NR

Now, we add the “wild card” teams.

Conference Team Record Coaches Poll
Southeastern Conference Alabama 11-1 3
Big Ten Conference Ohio State 12-1 6
Southeastern Conference South Carolina 10-2 8
Southeastern Conference Missouri 11-2 9
Big 12 Conference Oklahoma 10-2 10
Atlantic Coast Conference Clemson 10-2 11

I’d seed them by Coaches Poll, champions first — kinda like the NFL does — and match the teams up with Number 1 hosting Number 16, Number 2 hosting Number 15, and so on. And, I’d left the teams that lost in the first round still go to a bowl. The first-round losers will either be a conference champion, or a top 15 team. Most bowls would jump at either.

Here’s the seeding:

Team Qualification Record Coaches Poll
Florida State Atlantic Coast Conference (Champion) 13-0 1
Auburn Southeastern Conference (Champion) 12-1 2
Michigan State Big Ten Conference (Champion) 12-1 4
Baylor Big 12 Conference (Champion) 11-1 5
Stanford Pacific-12 Conference (Champion) 11-2 7
Central Florida American Athletic Conference (Champion) 11-1 15
Fresno State Mountain West Conference (Champion) 11-1 20
Rice Conference USA (Champion) 10-3 31
Bowling Green Mid-American Conference (Champion) 10-3 32
Louisiana-Lafayette Sun Belt Conference (Champion) 8-4 NR
Alabama Southeastern Conference (Wild Card) 11-1 3
Ohio State Big Ten Conference (Wild Card) 12-1 6
South Carolina Southeastern Conference (Wild Card) 10-2 8
Missouri Southeastern Conference (Wild Card) 11-2 9
Oklahoma Big 12 Conference (Wild Card) 10-2 10
Clemson Atlantic Coast Conference (Wild Card) 10-2 11

And, here are the first round games:

  • Clemson at Florida State
  • Oklahoma at Auburn
  • Missouri at Michigan State
  • South Carolina at Baylor
  • Ohio State at Stanford
  • Alabama at Central Florida
  • Louisiana-Lafayette at Fresno State
  • Bowling Green at Rice

Some really good match ups in the first round, and some really lame ones, under my seeding. But, seeding is a minor detail.

Put a 16-team playoff like this in place, and, whoever is left standing at the end, whether it’s an eighth-straight SEC team, a team from the Sun Belt, or one of the other quality teams on this list, and you’ll have a true national champion.

Send to Kindle

Gaying up football

YATittleI’m a football fan. Real football. Not that kickball they play over in Europe, Brazil, or some other God-forsaken place.

American football.

Now, don’t get me wrong. That futball stuff they do in other, lesser places, can be fun. It’s great for keeping a bunch of 5-year olds entertained while the dads hit on the single moms. Plus, when one gets kicked during all that running around and kicking, and the kid gets back up and knocks the bejeezus out of the kid that kicked him, you know he’s now ready for real football.

But, some people like both kinds. Or say they do. That’s like me saying I like my iPad and my Etch-A-Sketch. (Full disclosure: I have the Etch-A-Sketch app for my iPad.)

They’re not the same thing. But, they say they like ’em both, and I’m not gonna call them liars. So, now what? Well, they’ve redesigned all the NFL team logos to look like futball logos.


Here’s the logo for the Falcons (nearest team to me):


Here’s the logo for the Jaguars (next-closest team, and closest to my home town):


That just doesn’t say “football” to me.

Of course, I’m not really a fan of NFL football. I prefer the college game.

Unless they put my Georgia Bulldogs in those silly Power Ranger uniforms again.


I’d rather watch soccer.

Send to Kindle


TechCumberland222-0Last weekend, in Texas, the Aledo High Bearcats beat the dog snot out of the Western Hills Cougars. How bad? The 91-0 score knocked the Western Hills Website offline.

I hate it for the Cougars, but stuff happens. Sometimes you get your butt kicked. Even by teams that are playing second-stringers in the first quarter.

So, how do you deal with it? Well, if you’re a cry-baby parent, you file a complaint accusing the winning team of bullying.

It’s not bullying. It’s football. Of course, I’m from Georgia. That’s the same state where Georgia Tech is located. And Georgia Tech is the team that beat Cumberland 222-0 in a game one time.

Now, in that game, head coach John Heisman (yes, the guy they named the trophy after) was trying to run up the score. Earlier that year (1916), Cumberland used professional players in a baseball game against Tech (Heisman was also the baseball coach, as well as basketball coach), beating the North Avenue school 22-0. Heisman didn’t like that, not one little bit. So, in October, he had the football team run up the score. They stopped at 222 points. Because the game ended.

That’s football. It’s not bullying.

Nobody wants to be on the high school team that got beat 91-0. But nobody wants to have their mommy run call the opposing coach a bully.

Maybe the Western Hills Cougars should file a complaint … against whiny parents.

Send to Kindle

Would you Volunteer to go to The Swamp?


Any Volunteers?

So, whacha doin’ Saturday?

How about some good old-fashioned SEC football?

Oh, and there’s a girl included.

According to Fox Sports, University of Tennessee football fan Gary Yates has tickets to this weekend’s game in Gainesville, Florida, between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Florida Gators. Tickets for him, his wife Brenda, her daughter Jessica, and Jessica’s date. Only, Jessica’s date backed out.

So, he went to Craig’s List and put up an ad, trying to get Jessica a date.

He says his family, including his wife Brenda, is flying down for the game — and also using the trip to check on a retirement home they’re building in Punta Gorda. The “winner” of the ad will sit with him, Brenda and Jessica at the game.

Turns out, I’ve got other plans this weekend. It’s my grandmother’s birthday, so I’m heading to southeast Georgia. While there are some in the family that will skip an old lady’s birthday to go to a football game in Florida, I’m not one of them. So, I’m not going after it for that reason. And maybe a couple more.

But, hey, you might want to give it a shot. The worst that could happen is you see a college football game.

Okay, maybe something worse could happen. But, at least you get a football game out of it. Be thankful for the little things.

Send to Kindle


MannyFernandezSB7The only NFL team to win all their regular season and playoff games, the 1972 Miami Dolphins, were invited to the White House recently. Three members of the team didn’t go, citing political differences.

Center Jim Langer, defensive tackle Manny Fernandez, and offensive lineman Bob Kuechenberg declined to make the trip, telling the Orlando Sentinel they didn’t want to associate with Obama.

Bob Kuechenberg’s first words were, “I want to be careful, because mom said if you have nothing good to say about someone, then don’t say anything. I don’t have anything good to say about someone.”

…”We’ve got some real moral compass issues in Washington,” Hall of Fame center Jim Langer said. “I don’t want to be in a room with those people and pretend I’m having a good time. I can’t do that. If that [angers] people, so be it.”

“I’ll just say my views are diametrically opposed to the President’s,” Manny Fernandez said. “Enough said. Let’s leave it at that. I hope everyone enjoys the trip who goes.”

…”I think it’s great if [other players] want to have that function at the White House,” Langer said. “I have other stuff to do.”

He’ll be fishing with his 4-year-old grandson, Max, instead of going to the White House.

Being a grumpy old fart also, I understand their feelings. Sure, it’s the White House. But, it’s Obama. I get it. But, listening to some news shows and reading online comments, most columnists seem to think they should go.

I think the reaction of the three that didn’t go is perfect. Like their 1972 season.

Send to Kindle

Almost made it the entire season without this

I’ve managed to go this entire college football season without posting about football.

Until now.

Tonight’s the championship game, and it’s Alabama vs Notre Dame. And Alabama will win.

I could go on and on about how great the SEC is, and how much I despise media-darling Notre Dame. But I won’t. You feel free, though.

I know, in the great scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. It’s just a football game. Big fellows running around on grass playing a game. But, things that do matter aren’t going so well right now, so college football it is.

Who do YOU think will win?

Send to Kindle

You pick the losers

Photo: C-SPAN
“…You don’t just the pick the winners and losers – you pick the losers.” — Mitt Romney to Barack Obama, October 3, 2012

Photo: NBC/The Tonight Show
“I’ve spent a lot of time in Detroit … so in this particular World Series, I might be a little partial.” — Barack Obama to Jay Leno, October 24, 2012

Photo: Fox Sports/MLB
San Francisco completes sweep of Detroit, October 28, 2012

Send to Kindle