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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Scattershooting 11-30-14


Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

Sid Caesar

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week


It's not easy to find Thanksgiving songs. Here is one that is not by Adam Sandler. For ‪#‎TuneTuesday‬. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Pretty good rendition of the classic Whitney hit -

Johnny Cash never sang the song like this and never had this good a voice -

Once again my favorite, Taylor Swift, was on The Voice. This time as a performer. Guess who was the worst singer on the show.

Hasn't this pardoning of the turkeys thing gotten old and stale? Same tired news stories every year. Just let Butterball take care of them.

Another Thanksgiving under our belt or should I say hanging over our belt. Great day of family, friends, food and fun. Nice to see all the out of town folks, even Frosty. Thanks to the proprietor and management of the Holiday Lynn for the hospitality. Thanks also to my personal Uber driver Matthew for the drive to and from the festivities.

For this ‪#‎SongSunday‬ let's head to the swamp. I'm pretty sure most of you have never heard this song or this group but I've been listening to them for years. They never had big commercial success but are a legendary live band especially in and around New Orleans. The same five guys were together from 1978 until they called it quits in 2011 with a final performance at Tipitina's. Their style is called swamp-rock or fish-head music. This song is titled Like Dreamers Do, not to be confused with the Beatles song of the same name. This one was written by Ed Volker, keyboardist for The Radiators -

wjh

Monday, November 24, 2014

Football 2014 - Week 13

My recap of the only football games that matter


Will this turn out to be unlucky week 13? It already is for Will Muschamp.

The week 13 College Football Rankings on Tuesday had a few surprises. Alabama is #1 and Oregon is #2. Both teams have a lose and they are both ahead of the still undefeated and defending champion #3 Florida State Seminoles. I know the Noles have had some less than dominating performances but the bottom line is the final score. Unless and until they lose they deserve to be on top of the rankings. TCU drops out of the top four to #5 despite winning their game against Kansas. Mississippi State takes over the #4 slot despite their lose to 'Bama. Ohio State and Baylor are the other one lose teams at #6 and #7 respectively. Barring amazing circumstances and upsets, the four playoff slots will be filled from these seven teams.

It turned out to be a better outcome this year for Bishop Kenny against Clay. Last year the Blue Devils handed Kenny their first lose of the season and ousted them from the playoffs in a wild 74-73 game. No folks, that was a football score, not basketball. This year the Crusaders prevailed with a 34-26 win. BK got off to a 21 point lead in the first quarter and led 27-12 at halftime. They were able to hold on in the second half and finally sealed the deal with an interception with 0:29 remaining in the game. Kenny had a very balances attack with 198 rushing yards and 191 through the air. Charles Wade ran for 101 yards and two TDs. He also returned an interception 49 yards for another TD. The Crusaders improve to 10-1 for the season and advance to the Region 1-5A finals. They will host Tallahassee Godby for that game. 

TCU had the week off. They go to Austin on Thanksgiving for a night game against the Longhorns.

Florida sort of had the week off too as they hosted the FCS division Eastern Kentucky Colonels. Of course we must remember that the Gators lost to FCS Georgia Southern last season. This was the first game for the Gators since head coach Will Muschamp resigned. It was also his last game at the Swamp. He coached this game and will coach the final regular season game against FSU. Although I'm a Gator fan, this game was not fun to watch. The Colonels were completely overmatched and the Gators didn't really look that sharp. EKY scored one FG in the first quarter and that was it. Meanwhile Florida ran up and down the field for 52 points. Final score 52-3. It was disappointing that the Gators could only manage 104 yards on the ground against a weak opponent. Starting QB Treon Harris got nicked up a little but should be OK. Jeff Driskel came in and did a good job. For once he didn't throw an interception. This win makes Florida bowl eligible but it will surely be a minor bowl, maybe the Duck Commander Bowl. Now that Muschamp is a lame duck it seems everybody loves him and can't say enough about what a wonderful guy he is. That may be true, but he was paid big bucks to win games. He failed at that. Florida has to go to Tallahassee to play #1 or #3 undefeated FSU in the final regular season game. 

South Florida travelled to Memphis for this week's lose. The final score was 31-20 but the Bulls scored a TD with just over a minute remaining and the game was already out of reach. USF simply can not sustain drives. There only other TD was a 75 yard run. This lose cements that USF will not be going bowling this season. They are now 4-7 with just the I-4 rivalry game against UCF remaining. The Bulls QB, Mike White, is only a sophomore so maybe things will be better next year. It has been another disappointing season for USF. 

Another week in the SEC, another big upset. This time it was unranked Arkansas in a 30-0 romp over #8 Ole Miss. After not winning a conference game for almost two years, the Razorbacks have now reeled off two consecutive wins over ranked SEC opponents. They have a chance to make it three in a row next week against Missouri. Several SEC teams played little sisters of the poor teams prior to their big rivalry games. They all won so the SEC was 5-0 in non-conference games. Missouri can clinch the SEC East with a win over Arkansas, a lose and Georgia is in. The West is still up for grabs between Alabama and Mississippi State. 

There weren't any real upsets in the rest of the college ranks. As usual FSU needed a last second FG to win. It's an every week occurrence with the Noles. There wasn't much movement in the AP Top 25. The top four remain the same and Baylor and TCU swap the #5 and #6 positions. One more week of regular season games.

It was another perfect week in the pros. The Jaguars don't seem to be making any progress. After a bye week, they manage only three points against the Colts. They were held to only 194 total yards. The education of QB Blake Bortles is going slowly. He was 15/27 for 146 yards and an interception. Jacksonville falls to 1-10 for the season next game is at home against the Giants. The best news for the Jags was that Oakland won on Thursday. That puts those two teams in a tie for the #1 draft pick.

Tampa Bay had to travel to Chicago for their game. They got lucky and had decent weather. Unfortunately they didn't have a good outcome. The Bucs led at halftime 10-0 but that lead disappeared in the third quarter. Tampa Bay outgained the Bears by 163 yards but also had four turnovers. The Bucs continue to find ways to lose games. They are now 2-9 on the season, they next host the 7-3-1 Bengals. 

Now we come to the hapless Falcons. They played a back and forth game with Cleveland. It was tied at the end of the first quarter and at the half. The Browns pulled ahead by nine in the third quarter but with 0:44 remaining Atlanta pulled ahead by two. Game over right? Not so fast bird lover. Cleveland drove from their own 20 to the Falcons 19 and kicked a FG as time expired. Browns 26 Falcons 24. That's how crappy teams lose games and Atlanta is a crappy team. They are now 4-7 on the season. Next up they host the 9-2 Cardinals. Good luck with that.

wjh

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Scattershooting 11-23-14


Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

Pete Seeger

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

Good music from some Jacksonville folks - China Sky One Life

Did you miss it? November 19th, I'm not sure how you are supposed to celebrate this but for what it's worth, it was -
A little different ‪#‎TBT‬ today. For some reason I wondered what were the top songs 50 years ago. Here is the top 20 from November 21, 1964. Lotsa good songs and only a couple of clunkers. The Zombies are one of my all-time favorite groups.

Top 20 Song Chart for November 21, 1964

Here is that #1 song by the Zombies -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKBRc8zNQ30


What a difference a day makes. It was in the 20's a couple of days ago. Today (11/20) I was back in shorts for my bike ride. Much better. Gotta love Texas weather.

Yes it is sad Franklin, sad that there is such intolerance among christian religious leaders. It reminds me of the intolerance of certain groups in the middle east. It always amazes me how similar religious christians, jews and muslims are.

Rev. Franklin Graham: Muslim Prayer Service at National Cathedral ‘Sad to See’


Maybe I'm naive, but it seems we could fix all this immigration dustup and political posturing with one simple act. That would be for Congress to get off their fat asses and pass an Immigration Reform Act. I know the wheels of government move slowly but this issue has been on the table for over a decade. My guess is that the Republicans would rather rant about it than fix it.


Books is good, free is gooder.

The Harvard Classics: Download All 51 Volumes as Free eBooks


Here is another tune for ‪#‎SongSunday‬ that you don't hear much. It's by a group that was founded in 1971 and is still technically together although with mostly different members. In fact this group has had about 25 different members over the years. They started as the studio band for Studio One in Doraville, GA. and some members had been in the Classics IV. This song peaked at #7 in 1977. Here is "So Into You" by Atlanta Rhythm Section -

Monday, November 17, 2014

Football 2014 - Week 12

My recap of the only football games that matter


The third College Football Playoff Rankings came out Tuesday and there was a pleasant surprise. TCU leapfrogged over Alabama for the #4 position. I'm sure that is a result of the fact that the then #6 Frogs easily beat then #7 Kansas State by 21 points. Meanwhile #5 Alabama struggled against #16 LSU and needed a last second FG for the tie then won in OT. It was also somewhat surprising that Oregon rose to #2 while FSU fell to #3. This even though the Noles remain unbeaten and the Ducks have one lose. Can you really rank the unbeaten defending national champions behind any team with a lose? There are four more weeks of ranking with the final decision for the four playoff slots coming on December 7th.

High school playoffs began this week. Bishop Kenny played at home against the Palatka Panthers. The Crusaders had a rather easy night of it. They never trailed and went on to a 38-15 victory. The stats in the Florida Times-Union are incomplete (no rushing or total yards) but Kenny did outgain Palatka 323 to 44 through the air. BK now advances in the Region 1 playoffs. Next game is at Clay. This looks like a tough test, Clay beat Westside 46-6 in their first round playoff game. Westside won over Kenny 38-20 during the regular season although BK got revenge in the district tiebreaker playoff. 
It was a rollercoaster day in the college ranks. Some bad weather,  some upsets, some close calls and several exciting games.

Saturday started out with the South Carolina Fighting Chickens invading The Swamp. USC coach Spurrier probably gets a better reception than Florida coach Muschamp. Neither team is ranked, they came into the game at 4-5, 2-5 for the Gamecocks and the Gators at 5-3, 4-3, a very down year for both schools. I was hoping for a good game between evenly inept teams. Good would be the wrong adjective, close is accurate and sloppy is most descriptive. Once again the Gators snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. They seem to be good at that. South Carolina easily won the first quarter, then the Gators won the second quarter for a tie at 10 at the half. Florida pulled ahead in the third quarter and with about three minutes remaining in the game they were within easy FG range. The FG attempt was blocked. They then stopped SC and forced a punt. The Gators went conservative and failed to get the first down needed to run out the clock. They punted with 39 seconds remaining and it too was blocked. That allowed the Gamecocks to score the tying TD with 12 seconds on the clock. Florida settled for a FG in overtime then the Fighting Spurriers got a TD. SC wins 23-20. Neither team really deserved the win. They both now have five wins and both play a patsy next so they should get bowl eligible with a sixth win. They also both should lose their season closer against their instate rivals Clemson and FSU.

In a Sunday update, Will Muschamp has resigned as Florida's coach. He will stick around for the last two games of the season. No word on a bowl game if they qualify. It's a needed change. Now we wait to see who is his replacement.

Next up was #4 TCU at Kansas on a frigid day. This should have been a rather easy game for the Frogs so of course it wasn't. TCU was behind at the half and twice trailed by 10 in the third quarter before pulling ahead for good with about 17 minutes to go. Final score was 34-30. The Horned Frogs overcame three turnovers and a bit of bad luck. It was not a very impressive win for TCU. It will be interesting to see if they remain in the top four. The Frogs record improves to 9-1, 6-1. They next travel to Austin to play Texas. 

In a night game of the inepts it looked like SMU would finally win a game and USF sink even lower. I had thought about going to this game which was in University Park (a small college town of 25K surrounded by north Dallas) but it was too cold, windy and rainy for me to watch two bad teams even if South Florida is my alma mater. The Mustangs got out to a 13-0 lead and held the lead until the final seconds. The Bulls scored the winning TD with 0:04 remaining in the contest. That kept SMU winless at 0-9, 0-5. Meanwhile USF improves to 4-6, 3-3. South Florida outgained SMU by over 100 yards but as usual had a couple of turnovers. Next weekend USF goes to Memphis.

In the SEC there were big games and surprises. The biggest game was #1 Mississippi State at #5 Alabama. The Crimson Tide won the game 25-20 but that can't really be considered an upset. 'Bama is a perennial football power and it was a home game. The Tide led 19-3 at the half. The Bulldogs had several chances but three interceptions killed them inspite of having almost 100 more yards of offense and holding the ball four more minutes. This win puts Alabama in first place in the SEC West. Both schools have big intrastate games against very good teams to finish the season so it's not decided quite yet.

The SEC was full of surprises. #9 Auburn lost badly to #15 Georgia 34-7, #17 LSU was upset by unranked Arkansas and #24 Texas A&M lost at home to unranked Missouri. It's always dangerous to be the favorite in a conference matchup. There were no non-conference games.
There were other close calls and upsets around the college landscape. #3 FSU made another miraculous comeback to beat Miami 30-26. The Noles were outgained, held the ball 11 minutes less time and had three turnovers. They trailed all game until the last three minutes. FSU has had a charmed season so far and will probably finish the regular schedule undefeated for the second year in a row.

Other upsets were a lose by #6 Arizona State at Oregon State, a romp by #20 Wisconsin over #16 Nebraska 59-24, unranked Northwestern over #18 Notre Dame and #22 Georgia Tech over #19 Clemson.

All that is reflected in the new AP top 25 rankings. FSU returns to #1 followed by Alabama and Oregon. Mississippi State falls to #4 and TCU remains at #5. The SEC still has two teams in the top four, four in the top 10 and six in the top 25.

Moving on to the pros, the Jaguars had a bye week so no loss there. Next game at Indianapolis. In a rare feat Atlanta and Tampa Bay won. That means my teams had no loses this week, a miracle.

The Falcons won a very close game at Carolina 19-17. They kicked the winning FG with two minutes left in the game. Everything about the game was close. Atlanta QB, Matt Ryan, had a good day going 31/45 for 268 yards and one TD. This win makes the Falcons 4-6 on the season and in a tie for first place in the very weak NFC South. They host the Browns next.

The other game was Tampa Bay's win at Washington. This game is proof that turnovers are killers. A poor offensive line is another killer. Washington had three turnovers and allowed six sacks of QB RGIII. Other than that, total yards were close and the Skins actually held the ball about nine minutes longer. Buccaneer receiver Mike Evans had seven catches for 209 yards and two TDs. It is the third week in a row that he has gone over 100 yards and had a TD. A true bright spot for the otherwise lackluster team. Final score was 27-7. Both teams are terrible so this contest didn't mean much. The Bucs improve to 2-8 and now move on to frigid Chicago.

wjh

Scattershooting 11-16-14


Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

They are all watching us. A few days ago I wrote a sarcastic post about iHeartRadio having a Christmas Jazz station and wondering what the hell that was. I checked it out just to see. I listened to a few seconds of four or five songs. Now apparently they think I'm a fan. Got this inane email today -
"Hey Bill,
It's been a while since you listened to Christmas Jazz Radio. Did something heavy fall on you? If you need help, we'll be right over to lift it off! Come back and let us know you're ok!"
Thank You to all our veterans and future veterans, those still with us, those who are gone, those who were wounded and those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Thanks not just this day, but everyday.

For anyone who has wondered why many of my ‪#‎TBT‬ photos are black and white, here is a perfect explanation thanks to Calvin's dad.

An extra song this week. I'll call it ‪#‎TuneTuesday‬. These guys were on Jimmy Kimmel Monday night. I recorded it because I saw they were on, OK Keira Knightley was on too, a fairly attractive young lady. Their last American TV appearance was 30 years ago on Soul Train. They sang this song last night which was their biggest hit. It reached #4 in the US. Still sounded good to me. Here is Spandau Ballet performing True.

Here's what Spandau Ballet looks and sounds like today -

Guess what day it is!
Actually I don't think the camel or I will be on the bike today (11/12). Right now it is 34° with a 23° wind chill and winds gusting to 28 mph. That's a little too chilly and breezy for me.

"The news is back in the morning." That is the catchphrase for the CBS This Morning program. They proved it this morning (11/12) by airing a hard hitting report on Obama's trip to China and the APEC summit. They covered the stupid silk outfit Obama wore, Putin putting a blanket on the Chinese first lady, a couple of awkward handshakes between participants, Obama avoiding Putin and Obama chewing gum. You know, all the important and substantive issues. Pop news, it's what they all do now.

This is the Obama outfit they were talking about. It is kinda lame but it ain't news.

A quick ‪#‎TBT‬. Here is my first car. It was a new 1968 Opel that I bought in Atlanta a few months after I started working. It was a barebone model, no A/C, no power anything, no carpet, AM radio, four speed on the floor manual transmission and a tiny four cylinder engine that would top out around 70-75 mph (slower uphill). It was pale yellow with black vinyl interior. It cost about $1,800 and my payments were $47/mo. These pictures are in my parents driveway on my first trip home after moving to Atlanta.





My oldies radio station is useless to me for the next few weeks. They have switched to Christmas music. Not the occasional holiday tune but 100% jingle crap. Also got an email from Pandora with a link to their Christmas station. Too soon to be roasting my chestnuts. Bah humbug.


How true - 

The temperature here this morning begins with a 2. That is never good, we are either freezing or near boiling. Take a guess which one. Maybe we'll survive, forecast for next Thursday is around 70°.

I hope this doesn't stick with me. Ear worms can be really annoying, especially if you don't like the song.

Pre-season #7 Gators win their opening basketball game 68-45 over William & Mary. It seems a little unfair for the full Florida team to play just a guy and a gal but we'll take the win.


GO GATORS!

Oh boy, just what we needed, another awards program. Seems there is a thing called the Hollywood Film Awards. Think I'll find something else to watch.

For this week's ‪#‎SongSunday‬ we highlight what many consider the one hit of the one hit wonder Outsiders. It's the only one I remember. The group actually had a couple of other top 40 songs and made four albums. Here is their 1966 hit that rose to #5 on the charts, Time Won't Let Me -

I still don't always wear a helmet. Have I mentioned that sometimes I don't wear a helmet?

wjh

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mom and The Met

There was a story on CBS This Morning about the restoration of a statue at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. 

That brought back memories. I have already written a post about how my Mom would take me to New York City when I was five and six years old. We would ride the bus from New Jersey to the Port Authority Bus Terminal and then almost always head to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in Central Park. That was my favorite place and I could spend days there but sometimes Mom wanted to visit other museums. 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

It just so happens that the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) is right across Central Park from AMNH. You never have to leave the park. Now I know that many people can't even take their six year old children to McDonalds without them making a scene and a mess. I also don't know how my Mom instilled in me that there were places you had to behave. Museums and nice restaurants were a couple of those places. It turns out that The Met is a pretty cool place even for a kid. She also took me to the Guggenheim Museum. It is just a couple of blocks from the Met but you do have to leave Central Park and cross 5th Avenue. I'll be honest, the biggest attraction for me at the Guggenheim was the big ramp that spiralled up the round building. It looked like a tea cup to me from the outside. There was art on the walls of the ramp. I don't remember any of the art, but the building and ramp were very cool.
Guggenheim Museum
Guggenheim Interior
 Another adult place we went was Tavern On The Green Restaurant. It too is in Central Park about ten blocks from AMNH and 15 blocks from MMA. I don't remember much about the restaurant visits with Mom, but a few years later my Aunt Anne took me there for lunch. I guess I was old enough by then that they decided I needed a tie to meet the dress code. Of course they had loaners on hand. It made me feel grown up. Little kids didn't need a tie, but I did. I don't remember why my aunt and I were in NYC that day. Surely we didn't go just for lunch. I don't ever remember embarrassing my Mom on those trips to New York, but it could have happened. She's not around to contradict me now so that's my story and I'm sticking with it. Aunt Anne is still with us. Maybe you can check with her.
Being raised that way, it never dawned on me that you couldn't take kids to nice places. I always went by that philosophy and though there were a couple of occasions when I was proved wrong, it mostly worked out. If you are willing to be embarrassed occasionally, be firm when they misbehave and be willing to leave the venue or restaurant, it's good for everyone involved. The kids learn manners and proper decorum early in life. The adults get to go to more adult venues and eat at places a little nicer than the drive-thru window.

I'd give anything for one more trip to the museums around Central Park with Mom. No fancy restaurant needed, a hotdog from a street cart would be just fine.

Take your kids someplace special. If you're lucky they will have fond memories their whole life. I know I do and those trips with Mom were a very long time ago.

wjh

Monday, November 10, 2014

Football 2014 - Week 11

My recap of the only football games that matter

Monday saw a strange three way playoff for Florida's high school District 3-5A. Even after reading the account in the Florida Times-Union I'm not sure exactly how it worked. I do know that Bishop Kenny is the district champion and Westside (formerly Forrest) is runner up. They both made the playoffs and Ribault was eliminated. The Crusaders will host Palatka in the first round of the Region 1-5A playoffs on November 14th. First they have their final regular season game against Episcopal.


The second College Football Playoff Rankings (CFPR) came out on Tuesday, November 4th. It varies a little from the AP rankings. The most important difference is that the CFPR has Oregon at #4 and Alabama #5. This doesn't really matter at this point since #3 Auburn and #5 Alabama will play each other on November 29th. Alabama also still has to play #1 Mississippi State.  

Watched a little of the Clemson at Wake Forest game that was on Thursday night. I don't normally follow either team but it was one of the few Thursday games. I also happened to be eating supper in a bar with my son and it was on one of the TVs. My only interest is that the Wake Forest QB is true freshman John Wolford. John was the QB at Bishop Kenny and he holds several Florida high school career passing records. Unfortunately he is not in high school anymore. He was only 11/29 for 88 yards and two interceptions. Clemson won 34-20.
 

Speaking of Bishop Kenny, they finished their regular season with a 31-14 win over Episcopal. The Saints were shutout in the second half. Kenny outgained them 353 to 227 yards. The Crusaders finish the season 8-1, 6-1 and now head to the playoffs. I have a correction about last weeks post. I stated that Baker County beat Kenny in the playoffs last year when in fact it was Clay County in the amazing 74-73 game (no overtime).

In an almost mirror image season to Bishop Kenny's, L.D. Bell also finished their season this week with a 38-14 loss to Southlake Carroll. That makes the Blue Raiders 1-9, 1-5 for the year. There will be no playoffs for Bell. The game wasn't as bad a defeat as I expected. I thought the Dragons would score 50 or 60 points and run up 500 yards. The actual yardage was 382 to 152. This season for Bell is best forgotten. Wait until next year.

The South Florida Bulls had the week off which prevented them from suffering another loss. They will be up the road in Dallas (technically University Park) next week to play the SMU Mustangs. 

It was an exciting Saturday of football. As usual there were some upsets and surprises. As seems to be the normal situation for me, Both the Gators and Frogs played at the same time. Thankfully we have games streamed on the internet these days. 

I'll start with the Vanderbilt at Florida game. Even though the Gators demolished Georgia last week I still didn't feel confident about the game. Florida has looked terrible a few times this season. Luckily, this was not one of those times. The game was tied at seven at the end of the first quarter but  from then on the Gators took off and won 34-10 going away. Florida had an almost perfectly balanced attack with 214 yards on the ground and 215 yards through the air. More importantly, they held the ball over ten minutes longer than the Commodores. It showed late in the game when Vandy's defense was gassed. Jeff (Mr. Turnover) Driskel even played a few downs although it is now clearly Treon Harris's team. Florida didn't have any turnovers while causing four Vanderbilt miscues. This win takes the Gators to 5-3, 4-3 for the year. They are still mathematically in the race for the SEC East title. Next the Old Ball Coach returns to the Swamp with his South Carolina Fighting Chickens.

One of the big games of the day was #7 Kansas State coming to Fort Worth to play #6 TCU. This game had Big 12 (a ten team conference) and national implications. To my enjoyment it didn't turn out to be a very close game. The Frogs won 41-20 and K-State scored their last TD with 1:36 remaining then promptly had the PAT attempt blocked. TCU had 553 yards of offense. QB Trevone Boykin was 23/34 for 219 yards and one TD. He also rushed for 123 yards. That's a mere 342 yards of offense. Aaron Green rushed for 171 yards on only 18 carries. The Horned Frogs are now 8-1, 5-1. Will they move into the top four in the rankings? There is an opening. Next game is in Lawrence against the 3-6, 1-5 Kansas Jayhawks.

There were a few other big games this week. The biggest upset was the unranked Aggies win over #3 Auburn. It appears that the most dangerous spot on the college landscape is to be a highly ranked SEC team. There have been several upsets in the conference this season. Texas A&M started the year strong but have faded. They had lost to three good SEC West teams including a 59-0 drubbing at the hands of Alabama. So what do they do, they beat the Tigers 41-38 in Auburn. The War Eagle had a chance to soar and pull out the game twice late. Unfortunately for them they fumbled both times. Auburn has been charmed for two seasons pulling out miraculous wins several times. This day the magic failed them. Auburn won the statistical battle but as is the case so often turnovers were the difference. Who will take over their top four position.
Another big SEC game was #5 Alabama at #16 LSU. This was a knockdown dragout game. This time 'Bama was charmed. LSU scored the go ahead FG with :50 to go in regulation but on the ensuing kickoff they booted it out of bounds. This gave the Tide decent field position and no time ran off the clock. They managed to get close enough to kick the tying FG with :03 remaining and then win in overtime 20-13. That pretty much assures that Alabama will move into the top four. It also makes next week's #1 Mississippi State at #5 Crimson Tide game huge. Once again the SEC won their two non-conference games.

Nationally, the #14 Ohio State win at #8 Michigan State was a mild upset. #9 Arizona State beat #10 Notre Dame. ASU got out to a 34-10 lead at the half before ND got it to within three at 34-31 with 6:34 to go. Then the Sun Devils ran off 21 straight points for a 55-31 victory. #12 Baylor stomped #15 Oklahoma in Norman 48-14. The Bears remain tied for the Big 12 lead with TCU and K-State at 5-1.

In the week 12 AP poll there were a few changes. Mississippi State and Florida State remain #1 and #2. Oregon moves to #3 and Alabama rounds out the top four. TCU moves up a notch to #5. The SEC still has two teams in the top four, four in the top 10 and six in the top 25. There are still several big games left so don't fill out your playoff bracket just yet.

On to the pros. I was assured of at least one win this week (barring a very unusual tie) because the Falcons and Buccaneers played each other. I'll get to that in a moment.

For those hoping that a change of country would help the Jaguars you can forget it. Dallas and Jacksonville travelled to London to play a game at Wembley Stadium. The Jaguars have committed to playing a home game in England each year so they are the de facto London Jaguars for one week. Apparently the Wembley home field is no more an advantage than the EverBank home field. One difference is that they draw about 20,000 more fans in London than in Jax. The results on the field are the same. The Cowboys won 31-17. The score was 31-7 after three quarters before the Jags almost made a miraculous comeback with ten points in the fourth. They scored those ten points the hard way, a safety, TD and two point conversion. Statistics weren't terribly skewed in the Cowboys favor and Jacksonville actually had a few more passing yards. Once again though they had three turnovers. Bortles' numbers were OK at 22/37 for 290 yards with one pick and no TDs. The Jaguars continue their quest for the first draft choice in 2015. They are now 1-9 and have the next week off so they'll have time for the long swim from the UK to Florida.


As mentioned, Atlanta travelled to Tampa for the battle of the inepts and a lock on last place in the NFC South. It probably wasn't a terrible game to watch since the teams are pretty evenly bad. The Falcons won 27-17 and stats were fairly close except for the one phase of the game the Bucs excel at, turnovers. They had three and Atlanta had none. As usual the Buccaneers took the lead early in the fourth quarter but of course couldn't hold on or finish strong. This win propels the Birds to a 3-6 record and they next play at Carolina. Meanwhile Tampa Bay falls to 1-8 and are battling the Jags for that top draft choice. Next up they go to D.C. to play that team with the politically incorrect name.
 
Since my teams have no chance at the Super Bowl or even the playoffs I'll give you an update on the race for the worst record and therefore the top draft choice in 2015. At this point, slightly past the season midpoint, Oakland leads with zero wins. They are followed closely by Jacksonville and Tampa Bay wit one win each. None of these teams play each other so there will be no head to head tie breakers. It should be a close and exciting race for the rest of the season.

One last point. I watched a little bit of the Sunday Night Football game before it got very ugly very fast. My question is, what purpose do Hines Ward and Bob Costas serve? More importantly I'm still mad that they replaced Faith Hill with Carrie Underwood.

wjh