Is it Football Season Yet?

Well Ladies and Gentlemen we’ve entered it.  That black hole of sports between the time that football ends and when football begins.  I know I’m not alone here.  Tons of people are so bored with their lives they completely forget the college football performances the year before and choose to vest all of their interests on watching what can really only be described as the Olympics Lite.  I lost all respect for this process when a wide receiver couldn’t catch a ball but because he was the reincarnate of the Flash, Darrius Heyward-Bay, first of his name, king of the butterfingers, lord of the terrapins, and the khaleesi of the grass sea went 7th overall.  I would like to say there is hope but there’s not.

dukesucks1Let’s start with the closest upcoming event.  March Madness.  As a Florida State fan, I’m really excited to see us maybe get to the Sweet Sixteen, so I can get my hopes way up only to see them dashed like a baby bird on a sidewalk.  The best part of March Madness for me is seeing Duke and Kentucky fans having this same devastation on their title hopes.  But here’s the problem Happy.  You aren’t any good.  Or at least not good enough for them to experience the same pain that’ll I’ll suffer.

Sticking with basketball… Cavaliers vs Warriors.  Even with Kevin Durant hurt, can we just please hit the fast forward button to get there please?

Oh wait I forgot Spring Training is here!   To me the best part of Spring Training is having an excuse to sit outside in Arizona and Florida the only time of the year it is actually bearable to be outside in those nursing homes that call themselves states.  For the rest of us who are stuck fighting the bartender at Buffalo Wild Wings asking her to please put on the Champions League matches but she can’t because some Braves fan is on his 3rd lip and 4th Michelob ultra is enjoying the only time this year his team isn’t 6 -252, it sucks.  Run on sentence?  Moving on!

“Great now Tuck Sauce is going talk about how soccer is the only exciting thing going on.”

steven-glansberg

                                          Steven Glansberg eating dessert by himself

Well f*** off imaginary voice invented by me to get the point of this article across.  The title race is over.  Chelsea have won it not because they’re incredible; it’s just the rest of the top 6 are garbage.  Liverpool have won twice in twelve matches, Mourinho is too far back, Arsenal will end up fourth and Tottenham… Well that joke is just too easy.  And continental soccer is even worse; unless you like French football which let’s face it, not even the French like.  So unless I want to watch Swansea and Middleborough battle for 16th, I’m stuck watching Champions League highlights on YouTube while taking my afternoon BM like I’m Steven Glansberg. (9-5 is so much fun).

But wait there is hope.  Yes, that bastion that keeps me sane through the roller coaster of Virginia winters.  That gentle music with Jim Nantz’s voice emanating through.  Yes, the only event on tour that even Tiger’s absence and Johnny Miller’s presence can’t ruin.  The Masters.  Chances are I’ll probably get the *flu* on Thursday and won’t move except to drink and ummm process Bud Lights until Sunday evening.  I know some of you are saying “Gold Jacket, Green Jacket who gives a shit,” but again imaginary dick head f*** off.  CMON JORDAN!

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And Who Would You Entrust Your Franchise?

nflThe Houston Texans, The Jacksonville Jaguars and The Cleveland Browns all have one thing in common. Or they all lack one thing in common. In a quarterback crazed culture, these teams lack what most people refer to as the key to the franchise. All three teams, among others, will most likely chase a QB in the early rounds in the hopes that one day they will complete their franchise allowing their fans to sit around a fire place, hold hands and sing Kumbaya. This is not the year too make that chase though.

Johnny Manziel is the name on all the draft experts list and its easy to see why. The former Heisman trophy winner is flashy and ballsy. His playmaking ability is second to none in the 083113-CFB-AGGIES-JOHNNY-MANZIEL-DC-PI3_20130831155021857_335_220country. He is also second to none in another category though. He is an idiot. Do you really want your franchise quarterback running around starting bar fights? A broken throwing hand due to punching the guy whose girl friend he was hitting on wouldn’t read well on your fantasy updates, none the less a team sheet. This anger issue has also manifested itself on the field in the form of persistent taunting. Combine all of this with lack of respect of authority and questions about durability and as a GM you have a recipe for disaster.

Teddy Bridgewater seemingly lacks the character issues of his peer, but hasn’t lacked the publicity. Last year Bridgewater responded to criticism around the strength of schedule surrounding his Heisman run by absolutely demolishing Florida. This was after a month of saying that no Big East offense could possibly overcome the mighty defense that an SEC team could field (Because apparently we forgot about the romping West Virginia put on teddyGeorgia). Bridgewater has accuracy by the bucket-load and coming out of a Charlie Strong system most likely means he is very disciplined. First round picks are valuable commodities though, and to spend one on an undersized player who had a mediocre season isn’t the best option. Bridgewater has a lot of upside but the first 10 picks of any draft should be reserved for players that will make an immediate impact.

Blake Bortles and Derek Carr fall into the same category for me. Both players draft stocks have massively increased due to impressive seasons. It is also not impossible for an elite QB to come out of a small school. The likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, and Collin Kaepernick have all come from smaller schools outside of the elite conferences, and 2 of them have one Super Bowls and the 3rd went to one in his first season as a starter. However, to compare Derek Carr to Big Ben is not fair to either player. Blake Bortles struggled against Memphis, Houston and South Florida who aren’t what anyone would call tough opponents and Carr was upended by a weak USC side (the only real opponent the Bulldogs faced all year). With the body of work, there’s no way either one is a first round pick.

There is hope for the QB-less franchises that currently occupy the NFL, but its outside the first round. The likes of

Murray Between the Hedges

Murray Between the Hedges

Aaron Murray, Tajh Boyd and AJ McCarron should be available later in the draft since all three players lack the media attention. Any one that has watched Aaron Murray on film would put him well above Bortles and Carr, but his perpetually injured body of talent that surrounded him at Georgia this year put a damper on his NFL push. He also has a blown ACL but as a pocket passer this isn’t an overwhelming concern.  Tajh Boyd gets a terrible wrap because he was constantly beat up by FSU and South Carolina on the big stage but his wins over Georgia, LSU and Ohio State shows he can perform. Finally, AJ McCarron may be the best game manager in college football. Best of all, teams will be given a chance to develop these players since the pressure to start them will be considerably less.

hi-res-185381491-jameis-winston-of-the-florida-state-seminoles_crop_northQuarterbacks are important for the growth of a franchise and a great one can overcome a lot of flaws that exist in a team. The answer isn’t forcing a player not ready for it in that situation into it. The answer is simple. Build. If the player isn’t there, trade down and acquire picks. Picks are currency. Utilize the free agent pool and trade. Or wait and tank for Jameis Winston.  Football is a game of 3 phases, and a quarterback only affects one of those.

For more on the Quarterback Fallacy check out one of my other articles here.
Make sure to check out our Facebook Page and follow us on twitter @FSUfanatic2, or follow my Page and on twitter @TuckSauceSBDS

The Ugly Swan and Cowardly Lion Podcast 1.13.14

 

We start with Gene Deckerhoffs radio call for the Florida State National Championship game winning touchdown.

0:00-0:25

College Football

-Including our 4 teams that we think will make the playoffs next year!

0:25-24:45

 

NFL

-We talk NFL playoffs.  Who we think will win and what teams the hottest.

24:45-37:30

 

Premier League

-Suraez keeps up his run of goals. Another terrible officiating call costs a Premier League squad a chance at a point.  Even go over the game going on live in Aresnal v Aston Villa. We go over it all.

37:30-49:10

 

Transfer News

49:10-61:45

 

Lads Banter

Random chit chat.  The best part of our shows as always. Rory McIlroys future plans.  Whose hotter?  Messis wife or Ronaldos girlfriend?  We discuss Anchorman 2. CHELSEAAAA!

61:45-71:20

The Unsung Seminole Braves

It is easy in the Post-Game frenzy to remember and talk about the exploits of Jameis Winston, or the wall that was Timmy Jernigan.  It is easy to remember the effort of Rashad Greene or the redeeming touchdown catch of Kelvin Benjamin.  I am positive that you will always have Levonte Whitfield’s kickoff return in the 4th quarter that ignited the Seminoles sideline engrained in your memory.  Football though is the ultimate team sport, and without all three facets of the game, Florida State would’ve been left wanting.  So this article isn’t about Devonta Freeman or Lamarcus Joyner, rather the little guys that made lifting that crystal ball possible.

Karlos Williams transferred from safety to join Jimbo Fisher’s corp of running backs this year.  DespiteKarlos Williams fake punt spending most of the year behind both Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. many people close to the organization said he was the most talented of all three.  Through hard work, Williams climbed into the number 2 running back spot prior to last night’s game.  And trust me he did not disappoint.  While his stats weren’t overly impressive (5 rushes for 25 yards and 1 reception for 0 yards) the small things he did, including the 5 yards he picked up on a fake punt to secure a first down, helped lift the Seminoles offense.  However his biggest contribution was leading the charge down the field in front of Whitfield’s kickoff return.  The slight block he made freed a lane for the explosive return man and put the Seminoles ahead.

chad abram's big score Chad Abram replaced FSU grinder Lonnie Pryor this year, not easy shoes to fill.  He might have only been on the field for a few plays last night, but when he was out there he made sure to make a difference.  Whether he was leading the charge for one of the three RBs or staying in to help block while the Seminole offensive line was being overwhelmed, Abram did what was asked.  He was handed the ball only once but picked up a crucial first down in the first quarter on a 3 yard run. He was rewarded for his efforts though.  Jameis found him out of the backfield and on his one reception of the night, Abram brought the Noles to within two points with some hard running.  Not content with his contribution, Abram also threw a block that helped spring Whifield’s kickoff return.

Roberto Aguayo might have been the most important player on the field last night for the Seminoles.  The Roberto Aguayofreshman kicker followed up his stellar season with a performance that can only be described as robotic.  Florida State having a weapon like Aguayo gives them a huge advantage over any other school in the country.  Alabama and Oregon had their championship dreams shattered because of poor kicking in one form or another.  However, Aguayo went the entire season while only missing one field goal and was perfect on extra points.  This brilliance lead to the freshman out scoring all Seminole opponents in the regular season.  And Nole fans remember Auburns kicker missed one and you won by three.  How ‘bout them apples.

There are many other Seminole players I haven’t talked about that played a huge roll in last night’s victory.  While the defensive line didn’t look the same when Timmy Jernigan was on the bench, the pressure generated by Mario Edwards and the run stopping of Jaccobi McDaniel cannot go unnoticed.  Also, while he was beaten a few times, Ronald Darby kept his head in the game and made some crucial plays down the stretch including a batted ball in the endzone.

NCAA Football: Miami at Florida State              Football is the ultimate team sport.  While the efforts of Jameis Winston and PJ Edwards will never be forgotten, we should still take a second to remember the roll players.  The Deon Sanders and Charlie Wards of the world have banners to commemorate their exploits on the football field.  The only thing some of these kids will have is a memory and a tivo’d copy of the game.  But they still made a difference, and deserved to be thanked.

 

Why I love Florida State Football

And do we really need a playoff?

The Quarterback Fallacy

nflThe regular season in the NFL has ended and for 20 of the 32 teams in the NFL its draft time. Next year the 12 teams that made the playoffs will be looking to improve to push them to the next level, while the 10 teams with top draft picks are looking for the rebuild. While it is popular to think that bringing a franchise quarterback to Jacksonville will take the Jaguars to the promise land, the fact is this is the farthest thing from the truth. Year after year we have to hear about how this one player will solve the problem. This is not the NBA. Football is the ultimate team sport and one player is not the be all end all.

imageTeams are looking for the next Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck and to be honest why would’t you be? Players of this caliber are hard to come by and if you have the chance you draft them. The problem is though this is a dream situation and too many NFL GMs get drawn into drafting a player that was never the same caliber. For every Cam Newton there is a JaMarcus Russell out there. But why do teams fall into these horrible decisions? Many AFC East fans would like to think that Bill Belicheck has perfected the art of inception in order to win the division every year but the answer is founded more in reality. The reality is Walmart used this problem to become the most successful retail company in the world.

Impulse buying may work for Doritoes but shouldn’t be used when purchasing a multimillion dollar asset. Yes selling jerseys is great but what does it do to the overall quality of the franchise. All 10 of the teams that won the first 10 draft picks this year have drafted a “franchise” QB in the last 15 years (Ryan, Stafford, Ponder, Manuel, Griffin 3, Gabbert, Carr, Russell, Locker, Freeman) while half of the teams going to the playoffs have a QB that was selected after the first round. On top of that, there have been 12 QBs selected as the first pick in recent years, 4 of which were on teams that failed to make the playoffs and 4 of which were drummed out of the NFL all together. 33% may sound like a good percentage until you learn that only 2 of the 12 have won a Superbowl. Any economist or portfolio manager will tell you a less then 20% success rate on a multimillion dollar deal is not worth the risk. To make matters worse only 5 of the last 38 QBs drafted in the first round have won a Super Bowl and 17 no longer start in the NFL.

The otherside of the coin is that out of the 7 quarterbacks who have won the last image10 Super Bowls, all have been first round picks except for Brady and Brees. However Rodgers, Eli Manning and Big Ben all entered situations where they just simply improved on a perennial powerhouse, and Flacco won one with a huge help from his Ray Lewis led defense. This leaves Peyton Manning as the only QB that really came in and changed the fate of his franchise.

Lets face it, Jacksonville, Washington, Cleveland and their bottom dwelling compatriots have a lot of issues. You don’t win only 4 games in a season and hope one player solves all your problems the next. The Texans are in a great position in that they have proved in the past they have a capable team on both sides of the ball. Their biggest issue is at QB and with a talent like Teddy Bridgewater entering the draft it makes since to take him first. History shows though that the teams with that need below them should be wary. Don’t waste a pick on another Carr (metaphorically and literally) hoping that he is the right answer especially with a lot of talent still on the board.

The top franchises in the NFL have realized one thing. If you have a high pick, and there is no player that can immediately fit your needs, trade down. The best franchises realize that teams win championships, not just a QB. As a fan of one of these bottom dwellers that has drafted a franchise quarterback, I can tell you it is frustrating to see a talent with no help around him. While the QB is the most important player on any team, the NFL requires 54 solid players through all three facets of the game. The likes of Brady, Foles and Wilson have proved that if you build this good team and wait to find that player, the dividends are massive.

SBDS Weekly Podcast

00:00-28:30

Luis Suarez heroics and go over the Manchester City Arsenal game.

 

28:30-47:30

Winston Heisman, Discuss the National Title Game

47:30-60:00

Which Bowl game we think will be the best outside of the title game, Who is the best fit for Texas.

60:00-63:53

Random chatter from the lads.

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Song choice – Kryptonite – 3 Doors Down-  Because the only thing that can stop Luis Suarez is some Kryptonite.  It still might not be enough because the man is greater than Superman.

Failing Upward: The Lane Kiffin Story

Lane Kiffin is the enigma of the football world.  He was born Lane Monte Kiffin to long time defensive coordinator and genius Monte Kiffin.  Unfortunately for Lane, his name is the only thing he shared with his father.  Lane’s life has brought with it only turmoil and decimation of programs.  However, for some reason, he keeps getting the top coaching jobs in the nation.  His recent firing from USC may change that pattern, but that is yet to be seen.

20131201-201014.jpg  Lane started out his coaching career at Colorado State University.  Luckily for the Rams they only allowed Kiffin to be a graduate assistant.  After one year, Kiffin moved up to the NFL and the Jacksonville Jaguars.  After a year of that, Lane was coaching tight ends at USC.  Within 6 years of his first appointment at a minor university, he was the offensive coordinator and recruiting director at a major football program.  I believe right here is where Lane writes a big thank you card to daddy.  Despite this though, Pete Carroll’s appointment looked promising.  The Trojans were 23-3 while Lane Kiffin was there, and his offense was firing.  USC became the first team in the country with a 3000 yard passer, 2 1000 yard rushers and a 1000 yard receiver in the same year.  It is easy to see how anyone in the country would be impressed.

Despite never being a head coach at any level, Al Davis gave Lane Kiffin the keys to the Raiders bus in 2007. jamarcus_russell-story Lane at the time was an astonishing 31 years old, the youngest coach in Raider’s history.  Everything looked to be going the way of the former USC offensive coordinator.  Lane was a young, popular guy in California that knew his way around, with the backing of one of the NFL’s most powerful men.  Unfortunately for Lane he fell into the category that most Raider-post-Madden coaches fall into.  He was a loser.  In his time at the Black Hole, Kiffin was a terrible 5-15.  On top of this, he drafted the biggest bust since Ryan Leaf.  The Raiders are still paying for the money and time they invested JaMarcus Russell.  This prompted Al Davis to fire Kiffin for “bringing disgrace to the organization”.  At this point, you had to feel bad for Kiffin.  To the outside world it looked like a young man who was just in over his head.  Don’t worry, Kiffin will prove that wrong later.

Alshon Jeffery                After the Oakland debacle, a historic yet struggling Tennessee program gave the reigns to Kiffin.  I am not a Volunteer fan, but this program did not deserve what would happen to them next.  Despite Kiffin’s claim that they would all be singing Rocky Top after a victory over the then powerful, Tim Tebow led Gators, The Volunteers went 7-6.  He also scared away Alshon Jeffery, who would later go on to star at South Carolina, by telling him he would end up “pumping gas” if he didn’t come to Tennessee.  However, the worse of Kiffin is yet to come.

At this point the man had destroyed the Oakland Raiders, and his sketchy recruiting programs at USC were revealed to the world.  Reggie Bush was stripped of his Heisman and USC of its championship and wins.  However, this blame was dropped on Pete Carroll, who brushed it aside as he started his new life in Seattle.  Karma is a bitch though, and it followed Kiffin.  After a year leading the Vols, Kiffin abandoned Tennessee for the sunny shores of Los Angeles.  In the process he convinced many of his recruits to follow him to the Trojans, reportedly calling recruits the day of classes to tell them not to go so they would be eligible the next year to play for USC.

Kiffin entered an atmosphere of chaos at USC that he helped create.  The once great program had fallen lane kiffinunder NCAA allegations and had lost several scholarships, along with their vacated wins.  However, Kiffin found success in his second year, leading the Trojans to a 10-2 season.   This was just the beginning of the end though.  USC had lost its foothold in the west, which was partly Lane’s fault to start out with.  Teams like Oregon and Stanford became the teams to beat in the PAC-12, not the Trojans.  The next year USC finished 7-6 despite National Championship hopes at the beginning of the season.  The next year Kiffin was fired.

Despite failing at every level of head coaching, and demolishing 3 iconic football teams, Kiffin is still regarded as a prospect for many top coaching jobs in the country.  I am asking athletic directors everywhere not to give this man another chance to destroy yet another top program.  The risk is not worth it.  While he may be more than capable of coaching your wide receivers, the man is clearly over his head when it comes to the big job and responsibility.  Don’t feel bad for Lane though.  He is a victim of the circumstances he created.  He dug his out grave and now he’s lying in it.  Just don’t give him a latter.