Sunday, November 28, 2010

11/28 NFL Locks

I got my man on the line, and gave him a pep talk. Needless to say, we need a big bounce back. Let's make it happen with the professionals.

Ravens -7'
Falcons -1'
Bears +4
Chargers +1'

Good luck.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

11/27 College Football Locks

Got my man on the line, and he's a little unsure his liver can take the extra day of football. But, like Kellen Winslow, he'll pull through.

We're head-to-head on two games today, I believe. So, we'll have to get creative with the teasers.

The Locks:

Kentucky +3
Cincinnati +2'
Ole Miss +3'
Clemson +4

Technology Failure & College Football Plays for 11/27

I went to the Iron Bowl yesterday, and it seems that despite all the civic infrastructure improvements that Tuscaloosa, AL has made in comparison to Oxford, MS, there is one area where both towns are right on par: cell phone data coverage.

I had locks ready to go, and even wrote a brief post on my iPhone about gameday traffic. Saved it load... And the sucker disappeared. My apologies. We can all blame AT&T together.

And you can be split on how you feel about it. If I had gotten them to you, we would have gone 4-3. And just for full disclosure, yesterday's locks were: SMU, Alabama, Auburn/Alabama OVER, Oregon, Arizona/Oregon UNDER, Nevada, Boise St/Nevada UNDER.

I've got the locks coming shortly, but here are today's plays from me:

Miami -12
Penn State +1
Mississippi State -3
South Carolina -2'
Southern Cal -4'

*Bonus: South Carolina/Clemson over 45*

I've got the locks coming in mere minutes, so check back here in a few. And remember to follow me on Twitter.

Everybody go do what you have to do. Good luck.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What's Really Important Thanksgiving Weekend in Alabama: Fan Status-ship

I have been pretty out of the loop over the past two weeks. And I can't believe I haven't listened to Finebaum since before the LSU game. Ordinarily it would seem that I wouldn't have missed much - that's the great thing about that show, it's like a soap opera that you can miss a few months of, come back, and still be up to speed on everything that's going on.

However, it has come to my attention that the Finebaum Radio Network and crew have brought back the famed 'Call to Arms' speech by the Great David Housel.

Alabama fans, of course, are throwing it out there just how warped Auburn fans are. But if you recall - and Auburn fans have - David Housel's speech was right before Auburn pulled out six straight wins in the Iron Bowl. (I doubt the wins were a result of the speech, but that is what happened.)

As batshit crazy as David Housel's speech was, I do think that he was about 5 years early to the party. Perhaps he was a visionary. But a lot of what he said in his speech (and don't worry, I have it below) kind of turned out to be true. Auburn won 5 straight Iron Bowls, had an undefeated season, and had a pretty legit beef in regards to the lack of national championship opportunities.

Remember the 'One for the Thumb' t-shirts? I know they're out there, locked away in orange and blue closets. There was a point in the mid-'00s where the state of Alabama really was at a crossroads, fan-wise. Seriously, you saw a lot more of the grammar school kids sporting orange and blues.

I do recall Alabama fans being very nervous. The fan 'status'-ship in the state of Alabama was changing. It had been 15 years since Alabama had won a national title. No 18-year old athlete going to college could themselves remember Jay Barker handing off to Derrick Lassic.

It had become a new world - Bear Bryant had passed away over 25 years ago. Alabama had been terrible or close to it for about a decade. The mystique was gone. And Auburn was taking advantage.

Then... HE arrived.

The day Tommy Tuberville lost his job was the day that Nick Saban got kissed by a drunk lady on a runway. It totally flipped the tables. I was doing a radio show with a Birmingham News sports columnist on that day, and I remember taking a caller that, when asked what his expectations of Saban were, said, "I expect us (Alabama) to be competing for a national championship in three years."

I called the guy a lunatic.

Here was Alabama, just after four years of one of the most ineffective game managers of all time* in Mike Shula, with Mike Price, Dennis Francione, and Mike DuBose before that. It had been a ROUGH decade. And this guy thought Alabama was going to win a national title, and Saban hadn't even been formally introduced yet.

*This was before Les Miles really got into his groove of mismanagement.

That caller may still be a lunatic, but he wasn't wrong.

And the momentum had swung back to the crimson. It really had deflated what had become a very big Auburn balloon. It wasn't a year later that finally the bigwigs at Auburn had their reason to get rid of Tommy Tuberville and hire...

Gene Chizik?

Yeah, I was a big hater on this, too. Remember how ludicrous that hire was at the time? You couldn't find anyone to defend it. Anyone. And Auburn fans were furious. How quickly they had fallen back down the mountain, only with Alabama topping Everest one more time to really drive a needle into their side.

Perhaps Auburn fans felt like they had their chance, and that S.O.B. Nick Saban took it away from them. Frustrating.

But here we are now. Auburn - albeit under some eyebrow-raising suspicions - is undefeated and is poised to actually compete in a real game for a national title.

Could Auburn find themsleves right back on top? Did anyone really think that would be possible? I mean, three months ago, Alabama fans were convinced that the Crimson Tide had lost their last football game ever. And while this season really hasn't been a terrible one for Alabama, NO ONE thought Auburn was going to be doing what they are.

And more importantly, that fan 'status'-ship. If Auburn wins this game, and rolls on to go undefeated for a national title - are they now 'officially' on the same competitive plane as Alabama? And would Alabama fans really be able to handle this?

Coming from a family of predominantly Alabama fans and most of my friends swaying towards the Tide, I'm not sure that they can handle it. Would that snoody, over-confident arrogancy be available to them without being phony?

Because if there is something wrong with Alabama fans, that's it: they BELIEVE that they are better than Auburn. Some show it more than others, sure. But that is one undying truth about Bama fans - they actually think it's true.

Auburn fans - they believe the same thing. That Alabama fans believe that Alabama fans are better than Auburn fans, but Auburn fans don't think that's true, and it frustrates the hell out of them that they can't get Alabama fans to realize they shouldn't feel that way. So they react and respond with a mirroring attitude towards Alabama fans.

And it goes round and round in a perpetuating cycle, like the kindergarten kid who wants the cool kid to think he's cool, too.

So, I guess that's what I'll be paying attention to over this weekend. Should Auburn win this game and then roll on to a championship, can Bama fans handle it?

Or will Auburn lose in Tuscaloosa, and the momentum again goes out of the balloon. And Alabama fans stick their noses higher in the air, their status-ship back where they think it ought to be.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter. And tell your friends about the blog. Thanks.

And as promised, the David Housel transcript:
I, like you, have read everything, I’ve heard everything, and I’ve seen everything. Now the time has come, the time has come to decide who we are, what we are, and what we’re going to do.

You Alabama fans listening in to see what we’re saying, how we’re feeling, how we’re thinking – how about giving us a moment alone, just us Auburn people, so we can talk among ourselves. Would you do us that favor? We’d appreciate it. Take a break, go to the bathroom, get another beer, do whatever you want to do, I don’t care. Just give us Auburn people a moment alone.

Well, now that we’re alone what do you think? Ah, I know they’re still there, I know they’re still there listening in on what we’re saying, but so be it. I’m not scared of them and you’re not scared of them either, not since coach dye came, none of us have been scared of them anymore, none of us. If they weren’t scared of us, they wouldn’t still be listening in and thinking we didn’t know they were there.

Funny thing is they probably thought we were stupid enough to think they would leave when we asked them to leave. They’re the ones with the problem, not us. In fact I want them to hear what we’re saying and what we’re talking about. I want them to know what we’re thinking, they need to know, and when they find out, they won’t sleep good tonight, tomorrow night, any night. We’re coming after their butt. We’re coming after them today, we’re coming after them tomorrow, we’re coming after them the day after tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that.

We will not rest, we won’t sleep, we will not be deterred until we reach our goal, and that goal is simply this: to paint this state – the entire state – not North Alabama, not South Alabama, not East Alabama, not West Alabama, the entire state, orange and blue. Now Terry Bowden and I didn’t always agree, and we didn’t always see eye to eye on everything, but we did agree on one thing. We might not get them, the Alabama mamas and papas, but we were going to get the sons and the daughters. We were going to get the children, and we are getting them. Birminghan was once their bastion, their home ground, their turf. Lookat the statistics. Statistics don’t lie. Birmingham and Jefferson County students are coming to Auburn as never before.

We’re winning the battle there, and we’re winning the battle everywhere else. Take a snapshot here, take a snapshot there and it might not be evident. But in your heart, in your heart of hearts, you know we’re winning the battle, and you know we’re winning the war. Where are their sons and daughters going to school? Think about your Alabama friends and the number of their children who are coming to Auburn. Inch by inch, person by person, child by child we’re winning the war. It might not be evident in every battle, and it may or may not be evident today, but we’re winning the war.

All we have to do is keep the faith and keep on fighting. Every day in every way in every arena. The future is ours. All we have to do is fight for it and take it. Keeping the faith, that’s the key. And I don’t want to get anybody mad, and I don’t want to offend anybody, but think about the Vietnam War. Think about it in the context of the Alabama-Auburn rivalry. Time and time again we Americans claimed victory. We read about it in the paper, we heard about it on television, we beat ourselves on the chest.
And what did it get us? In the little things and the hearts of the people? That’s where wars are won and lost, and we’re winning this war with Alabama, just as sure as you hear the sound of my voice, we’re winning it. You know it and they know it.

That’s what will keep them awake tonight, that’s what will keep them awake in the nights to come. Winston Churchill, he of the Auburn heart said it best, “Never, never, never give up. We will fight on the land, we will fight on the sea, we will fight in the air, we will fight until Hitler and his Nazis are driven from the face of the earth.”

Now I’m not comparing Alabama to Hitler and the Nazis. Not at all. There are many good Alabama people, and I have many good Alabama friends, at least a few, and I have great respect for them and their program for what they’ve accomplished down through the years. But this is not about them, this is about us: who we are, what we are, and what we are going to do.

We are going to fight them today, we are going to fight them tomorrow. We’re going to fight them every day and every way. We won’t win all the battles, but we’re going to win the war.

You Alabama fans out there, still listening in, eavesdropping voyeurs that you are, lurking there in the deep, dark shadows of radioland, you can bank on it. We’re going to win the war. Remember Dunkirk, the gallant British army was virtually driven into the sea. That was but one battle. It was a long, long war as this has been, and will continue to be, a long, long war.

No, this is not about you. This is about us, the Auburn people. And this is a call to arms. Today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, the day after that, and the day after that. We will fight until victory is ours.

And as for today, Coach Jordan said it best, and that’s beat hell out of the University of Alabama. We will fight until the victory is ours. We may get knocked down, but we will not be knocked out. We will get up and fight again. We may occasionally be downhearted, but we will not be defeated. Never.

It is not in our nature, not in our makeup, it is not in our heart and it is not in our soul. Remember Goliath, remember the Roman Empire, remember Ozymandias. Learn from them, my Alabama friends. Learn from them and prepare to join them. No, Ozymandias was not Ozzie Nelson’s cousin.

Now go listen to Eli. He’s a good man, he’ll tell you who Ozymandias was. Back to you, Paul. Let’s get it on.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NFL Locks for 11/21

Ah, Sunday. The day of rests, monster truck rallies, and professional football. I've got the locks from my man early today, so there's no sense in keeping you in suspense.

The Locks:

Pittsburgh -7
Jacksonville -2'
St. Louis +3'
NY Giants +3'

Good luck.

*Bonus pick from me - Vikings +3'*

Saturday, November 20, 2010

11/20 Locks

Got my man on the phone and he feels like a champ. We go head to head once this weekend, and we've teamed up against Arkansas.

The Locks:

Illinois -7'
Miss. State +3
Iowa +3
Vanderbilt +8'
Texas A&M +2

Good luck this weekend.

11/20 College Football Plays

Pretty sure I promised a post about the life of Auburn fans in my last post, but I was so flabbergasted (yes, flabbergasted) that Auburn played Cam Newton last week that it's taken me some time to get myself together. I absolutely cannot believe that they played him. Honestly, I was floored.

I'll do my best to get some commentary about that later on today, but business comes first. Let's make some money.

Today's Plays:

Northwestern +7'
South Carolina -20'
Miss. State +3
Ole Miss +14'
Virginia Tech -2

I've got a text out to my man for his locks, so check back shortly. And of course, follow me on Twitter for random sprinkles of knowledge.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

NFL Locks for 11/14

Yes, I'm flabber-gasted by what Auburn did yesterday. Can't believe they played him. I'll get to that later.

Busy day with work, so quickly today's NFL locks from my man:

Cleveland +3'
Denver +1
San Francisco -5
Jacksonville -1
Miami -1

Good luck.

- posted from the road

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Locks for 11/13

My man put down his chicken biscuit for a minute in order to give us his locks. Glad he could take the time.

We go head-to-head on only one game today. And if you've been paying attention over the past two weeks, I think we all know how that's going to work out...

The Locks:

Arizona State +4'
Georgia +7
North Carolina +3'
Mississippi State +13
Notre Dame +6'

Today's College Football Plays 11/13

Alright, let's make today a winning day, shall we?

My book has the Auburn game open. And if you read my earlier post, you'll see why I'm loving that under.

Totally weak slate of games today, isn't it? After going over the games again this morning, I might decide to actually go outside and get some work done today.

But if you're determined to stick it out, you might as well drink up, because we've only got a few more weeks of college football.

Today's Plays:

Miami +3
Michigan/Purdue over 63
Utah -6'
Georgia/Auburn under 63'
South Carolina +6

My man went to Chick-fil-A for a biscuit. His locks coming shortly.

To Cam or Not To Cam

Yeah, I'm interested in how all this is going to play out. I was talking with a friend last night, and we were trying to balance today's decision about whether or not Cam Newton will play for Auburn.

A couple of different scenarios:

1) The "Stand By Your Cam" Stance: Auburn maintains that it's all "garbage", Cam Newton did nothing wrong, and dammit, he's going to play. Totally fine with this if Auburn - at this point in time - HONESTLY believes that Cam Newton didn't do anything wrong.

If this is truely the case, Auburn could possibly side-step any huge (or at least 'more' huge) penalties with a 'we honestly didn't know about all this stuff' position if things go south.

But here's the problem - if things aren't on the up and up - don't you think Auburn probably knows that by now?

Which leads me to #2...

2) The "To Hell With You And All Your Rules - Cam's Playing" Stance: This is where Auburn decides to stay with their boy, despite knowing deep down that he's ineligible. On the surface, you can almost rationalize a "what else would Auburn have to lose?" theory - if they are going to have to vacate wins, what's the difference between 10 vacated wins and 12 vacated wins? In the grand scheme of things, not much, right?

Wrong. This would probably be the dumbest thing anyone could do. To know that it's wrong and be so stubborn to the point that you put the guy on the field anyway. It's kind of like a drunk guy that can't remember what he just said, but is positive he's right about whatever is going on.

And maybe Auburn fans would rally around this. They can hike up their britches, breathe in through their noses real deep, and give everyone a "what are you going to do about it?" attitude. That'd be awfully short-term thinking. And really, really dumb thinking. Who exactly are you thumbing your nose at? The 800 lb NCAA?

If you throw a guy out on to the field that you KNOW shouldn't be eligible to play - that's lack of institutional control. And Gene Chizik will have truely made his mark on Auburn football.

That's why I don't think he'll play today. Which is #3...

3) The "Shit. We Knew It Was Too Good To Be True" Stance: Yep, Auburn fans. Wave the white flag. I was actually pulling for you guys on this one. It wasn't too long ago that I was declaring Cam Newton as one of the greatest college football players I had ever seen.

I was listening to Paul Finebaum's show a week ago and a caller (surprisingly Paul was taking calls that day) was throwing a conspiracy rant on Mississippi State insinuating that they should keep their mouths shut and that they were "just mad they didn't get Cam to Starkville" and that "it wasn't like they'd be undefeated if they had him". I totally disagree with that. If Cam Newton was at State, they would be 9-0. Because what is Auburn minus Cam Newton? A lot like Mississippi State - or maybe not even that.

It's unfortunate it all had to roll out like this. One of the more exciting players college football had ever seen, mixed in with the Auburn Tigers legit shot at a national title, right on the heels of Alabama's win last year. Auburn would have shown that despite Nick Saban dominating the state press for the past four years, Auburn was still there and was a factor.

This would of been HUGE for Auburn.

Instead, they're now stuck with three undefeated seasons, no national title, and an NCAA (and FBI) mess for the next few years.

I'll be having fun with this throughout the day. Be sure to follow me on Twitter, @harry_long.
Picks and locks in a bit.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

NFL Locks for 11/7

Horrendous Saturday for us. But I've talked to my man, and we realize how important it is to bounce back. So this is what he's got for us.

Atlanta -9'
Detroit +6'
Philadelphia +3

Good luck.

- posted from the road

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Locks for 11/6

I got my man away from the jagermeister for a minute (yes, at 10am - perhaps it's time for a self-assessment), and he's got locks for us. We're going head to head on two games, so who do you love more?

Clemson -4
Texas A&M +3
LSU +6'
Utah +5
Maryland +9

- posted from the road

College Football Plays for 11/6

I'm in a limo heading to Baton Rouge. (It wasn't my idea, so I don't want to hear any lip.)

New Orleans is a mean lady, too. I've been reminded why I rarely visit this city.

Stay away from those test tube shots. Bad news.

On to the picks.

Tenn -19.5
So Cal -5
Bama -6'
Michigan -3
Miami -8

My man is with me now, and if I can pry him away from that Heineken I'll get his locks.

- posted from the road

Friday, November 5, 2010

Don't Fall Too Hard, Aubie.

I like the spirit, but it appears that Auburn fans may be setting themselves up for disappointment...

More on the life of an Auburn fan after the weekend.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Reaction to the Latest Cam Newton Mess

Didn't I just write a whole big piece about how Cam Newton is better than Tim Tebow ever was? So good, in fact, that he rivals Reggie Bush as the greatest college football player of my lifetime?

Well, it seems that there's rain in the forecast for this parade.

I'm not going to spend much time on trying to break down whether or not it happened. I don't have the time or the access to try, and I'm sure somebody else will figure it out pretty soon.

But I will say this...

If it's it true, I won't be surprised.

Not because I think Cam Newton is a bad guy. Or a cheat. Or just a poor kid who is only trying to provide for his family. Or that he's an athlete mad at all of these old men making millions of him, and he just wants his piece. None of that.

I won't be surprised because whenever one of these stories pops up, it just always seems to turn out to be true. Sometimes it all unfolds in a big Yahoo! Sports exclusive, and there are other times that it drags on for years and years to the point that no one cares anymore. And then there are the times that it drags on and on and then the NCAA extinguishes the USC football program.

But it's almost become numbing, hasn't it? If Cam Newton got paid, should I be mad about it? Maybe, but I'm betting I won't be. Because I've seen this story before. Quite a few times.

This isn't an opinion of whether or not Cam Newton deserves money either. Yeah, these kids make a lot of money for these old men in suits, and that doesn't seem right. But if you start paying the college players, you're opening up a big bag of problems - does this mean you pay the women's soccer team, too? And what about the schools where paying players would bankrupt their programs - would they start cutting athletic programs across the board?

It's all messed up. Which makes me wonder why we all care so much about it.

Or at least we have been.

I think it's safe to say that college sports are bigger now than ever before. With the ratings and billion-dollar TV contracts now generated, the passion that people carry with them every weekend (and basketball weeknights) for college sports is at an all-time high. Every Saturday, from 11 o'clock central until I fall asleep, there is a football game on my television screen. You can't escape it.

But I wonder if this gluttonous approach we are taking (or being force-fed) will have a generational effect. Do you think that majority of the next generation of sports fans, those who are 2 to 13 years old right now, will share the same level of passion for college sports?

Care as much about organizations that constantly find themselves in and out of probation, under investigation, or with postseason bans? Self-imposed penalties and coaches who straight up LIE to investigators? Players who are on the take, and agents with runners. Runners with their own runners.

At some point, enough is enough, and it makes you stop caring.

Now, I'm too far in now to ever stop caring myself, because I just enjoy the entertainment way too much. But I do think this is something we should take note of.

The sport is turning itself into something we don't want to attach ourselves to emotionally. Technology allows us all kinds of opportunity to dtach ourselves from it: your living room is now a better seat than the stadium, more availabl games on television and online allow you to spread your rooting interests thinner over a larger group of teams, and technology's access to gambling allows you to care less about the team - and more about the pointspread. (Something I have a little 'issue' with.)

Will the next generation - my kids, your kids and grandkids (born and unborn) - be a generation of passionless sports fans?

Now, this little soap box rant was started by a story on whether or not Cam Newton was shopped around. I don't know if he was or not, but I'll say again that it always seems that when this stuff is brought up, more than likely something fishy was going on.

And if it does turn out to be true, I won't be surprised. Because I'm numb to it now, and I don't really care if he was on the take or not.

And I think not caring is a problem.