TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES

My DVD recorder is no longer in the land of the living, so the Maryland recap might be a little delayed. Unfortunately, the only thing more broke-ass than my DVD recorder is my wallet. Remind me again why I do this mediocre blog…

THE GB&U, 7/21

The Good: Blatant Homerism’s excellent Dobbs for Heisman campaign continues with a pair of podcasts. First, he talks to Heisman Pundit writer Chris Huston about the award in general, including Ricky’s chances. In the second podcast, he interviews the man himself.

Adam Nettina conducted his own interview of Huston here.

Speaking of notorious set-asides like Ricky Dobbs, he’s been nominated for the American Football Coaches’ Association Good Works Team. One more black eye for Canoe U.

The Bad: The new NCAA Tournament format, if you ask Billy Lange. And if you were a head coach in the Patriot League looking at a tournament with four auto-bid teams going to play-in games, you’d probably say the same thing. John Feinstein says that while the new 68-team tournament could have been worse, that’s a far cry from saying that it’s better.

The Good Again: Since we’re on the topic of basketball… The Naval Academy doesn’t announce its new class of athletic recruits until after I-Day, since incoming athletes don’t sign LOIs and therefore have nothing binding them to the school until they’re actually enrolled. That means that even though we’re gearing up for football season, we also get our first official look at the new class in every other sport at the same time. Billy Lange talked with the Sun’s Matt Bracken in pretty good detail about Navy’s incoming basketball class and how they’ll fit into the big picture.

The Ugly: This week has served as a reminder as to why athletic departments have compliance directors. It can be really, really easy to commit a violation. Florida and Ole Miss coaches also got a slap on the wrist for writing on recruits’ Facebook walls. Far more serious for Florida, though, are the allegations that Maurkice Pouncey was paid $100K by an agent prior to the Gators’ Sugar Bowl appearance. The NCAA is apparently cracking down in the wake of the USC/Reggie Bush investigation, because Florida isn’t alone; similar stories are coming out of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Alabama. For the record, Pouncey says that he received no such payment.

I usually have no problem reveling in the DAMN DIRTY CHEATING SEC talk that usually follows such stories, but it’s hard to point fingers at these schools when agents are essentially predators hunting their players. You can educate your players, but those lessons can be hard for them to remember when someone is waving thousands of dollars in their faces.

The Case Study: Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson stepped down after 8 years in Nashville. For spread option fans, Johnson is an interesting case study. No coach has faced Paul Johnson’s offense more. Not only is Bobby the only head coach to have faced Paul at Georgia Southern, Navy, and Georgia Tech, but they also squared off as coordinators in the 1985 I-AA title game. There will probably be a blog post on this in the future.

The Poetry: You all know of my fondness for haiku.

The Industry: I’m fascinated by the newspaper industry. I enjoy getting glimpses into how the news world works. Knowing how things operate leads to more educated criticism, which helps if you want your lousy blogger opinion to be taken serously by anyone. HAHA WHO AM I KIDDING WE DON’T CARE IF WE’RE INFORMED THIS IS THE INTERNET. There were a pair of boomshakalaka haymakers thrown this week. First, we have Pete Pelegrin’s parting shot as he left the Miami Herald and the FIU sports beat. Then there was Jason Whitlock’s piledriver on Mitch Albom and the newspaper industry in general, which I hesitate to link because I’m pretty sure half my readers like Mitch Albom. My willingness to alienate all of you is second only to my work ethic when it comes to reasons why I will never be paid to write this blog.

The Air Farce: Pre-Snap Read looks at Team Jesus Christ in his countdown.

The Chargers: As much as I want to believe this study on Petco Park’s economic benefits, the critics make some good points.

The iPod: Liz Phair– May Queen

The Padres: Having swept them to start the second half of the season, the Arizona Diamondbacks are the cure for what ails you. Unless you sneeze.

THE GB&U, 7/12

The Good: The Kia Soul hamsters:

Two hamsters driving a toaster to the sound of Black Sheep’s The Choice Is Yours. Ninety years of television history have led to this moment. Embrace it.

The Bad: Bob Sheppard, who was the Yankee Stadium public address announcer for more than half a century, passed away yesterday at 99. His long list of credits outside of Yankee Stadium included PA duties at West Point and five Army-Navy games.

The Ugly: Remember David Graham? The Air Force half of LOVE’S DEADLY TRIANGLE? The inspiration for the greatest USNA wardroom movie ever (and murderer, probably should mention that too) is raising the esteem of bloggers everywhere by starting a blog of his own!

Graham and another inmate, Aaron Flaherty, plan to debate prison issues on line for people looking for insight into the corrections system. Their first topic: a story on rape in Texas prisons.

Well way to ease your way into it.

The Dumb: I understand the whole civiliter mortuus angle of punishing USC, but isn’t it a little dumb to automatically leave them out of the coaches’ poll? It’s just an opinion poll. If I beat USC, I would certainly like to get credit for beating a ranked team, assuming that the Trojans would be good enough to make the top 25. If they’re going to field a team, it’s stupid to forbid the coaches from opining as to where that team stacks up with all the others. They did the same thing to Auburn when they were on probation in 1993 & 1994, but who were they kidding? Like an SEC team that goes 11-0 and 9-1-1 in consecutive seasons isn’t one of the top 25 in the country.

The New Deal: ESPN has planted its flag on the ACC, grabbing the conference’s broadcast rights in a 12-year $1.86 billion deal. Patrick Stevens discusses the details here. Strangely, Navy doesn’t have any ACC teams on future schedules, although that can easily change (and might have already). On the other hand, with Georgia Tech helping the rest of the ACC grow spread-option calluses, maybe that’s by design.

The Eye Strain: Football scheduling conflicts are almost as difficult to manage as reading gray type on a maroon background.

The iPod: Arcade Fire– Broken Window

The Padres: The offense has picked up over the last 6 games before the All-Star break: .311 BA, 9 HRs, and 6.2 runs per game. Naturally, they were 2-4 in those 6 games.

THE GB&U, POST-INDEPENDENCE DAY (OBSERVED) EDITION

A snapshot of the random crap that’s on my mind…

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly was supposed to be a Wednesday thing, but last Wednesday I was busy driving a 1999 Buick Park Avenue with 3 hubcaps, a cracked windshield, and no A/C from Jacksonville to my parents’ house in Virginia Beach. I know what you’re thinking; how can a baller who makes it rain with his mad blogger cash be rollin’ in a decade-old Buick? Because the paparazzi gets all up in my business when I drive the Bentley, that’s how. I like to take the Buick when I want to travel on the DL.

The Good: While I’m pretty sure that this is the only Navy football blog out there, most of you know that it wasn’t the first. That was Pitch Right, written by Adam Nettina. Despite the fame, fortune, and respect that come from being a blogger, Adam gave up this glorious life to concentrate on frivolous details like “college.” He still writes though, both for the Utah State Statesman, and by doing the bulk of the original content– player interviews, recruit profiles, and all the other things people expect from a Scout.com site– for GoMids.com. Adam recently wrote an excellent piece on Eric Douglass that you need to read if you haven’t already.

I’m sure that my my rather low opinion of GoMids.com is no secret. Their handling of whole Fleming thing is a great example of why. To interview Bruce Fleming is to put a microphone on a human vuvuzela. What’s the point? Is anyone unaware of his opinion? Is he going to reveal anything that he hasn’t already said in a dozen other media outlets? And at this point, do you even care if he does? Yet here’s GoMids, stretching Fleming’s 15 minutes into 15 weeks by keeping him front and center while the rest of the world has (rightfully) moved on. While the “countdown to the special sneak peek at part two of the preview to the video of the interview” is downright spine-tingling, one would hope that if GoMids insists on dwelling on this “story,” they could at least take a different angle on it. While probably not his intention, that’s exactly what Adam did– detailing one football player’s academic struggles, how he’s overcoming them, and how the coaches played a role in his academic development. In an issue that deals primarily in high-falutin’ theoretical arguments, Adam wrote a story about real life, and lets us be the judge on how well the situation was handled. It’s a fine piece of reporting. Douglass also deserves credit for being as candid as he was.

The Bad: Don Coryell, offensive mastermind and one of the two greatest coaches in Chargers history (along with Sid Gillman), passed away last week at 85. Anything I could possibly say about Don Coryell would fail to do the man justice. He is the embodiment of the two things I value most in a coach: innovation, and winning in San Diego. Howard Balzer wrote a fine column for USA Today lamenting that Coryell won’t be around to see his overdue Hall of Fame induction. His piece includes some great quotes from Dan Fouts and Charlie Joiner.

Coryell isn’t in the Pro Football Hall of Fame yet, but he is in the College Football Hall of Fame. While more famous for the Air Coryell Chargers, college fans will also remember that he was the architect of the best stretch in San Diego State football history. From 1961-1972, Coryell was 104-19-2 on Montezuma Mesa, including three undefeated seasons and two NCAA College Division national championships. His success was the primary motivator for San Diego State making the move up to the University Division (the predecessor to what is now known as Division I) in 1969. The Aztecs’ success didn’t end with the move; from 1969 until Coryell’s last season in 1972, SDSU won three Big West Conference titles, won the Pasadena Bowl, and claimed victories over Arizona, Oregon State, BYU, and Iowa State. I doubt that Coryell will ever get the kind of credit he deserves outside of San Diego County.

The Ugly: We’re all tired of conference expansion talk, but it isn’t going to go away just because you want it to. Somewhat lost in the Big 12- Pac 10 brouhaha is the WAC, which lost Boise State to the Mountain West. Does that mean that more dominoes will fall as that conference looks to make up for what it lost? Probably not. It seems that– for now, anyway— the college football version of Hungry Hungry Hippos is done, and all the little white marbles have been consumed. That is, unless you believe BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe.

“Things may settle for a little bit,” Holmoe said, “but there’s opportunities — great opportunities for BYU that did not exist last week.”

Opportunities that didn’t exist last week? Holmoe wouldn’t get specific, but by being vague he is obviously trying to imply that some other conference wants BYU. Maybe it’s true. Or maybe he’s just trying to save face after their biggest rival was invited to the BCS party while BYU was left behind. For all we know, this “great opportunity” might be the women’s golf team taking a summer trip to Scotland.

The Animating Contest of Freedom: As long as nobody else leaves the WAC, Hawaii probably won’t have to consider anything drastic like going independent. It’s an interesting idea, but good luck filling THAT schedule. The most interesting part of that article, other than the quotes from Niumat, is this stroke of genius from Birddog-endorsed coach June Jones:

When June Jones was the UH coach, he floated the idea of selling ESPN on a last-game-of-the-night package for UH home games, a concept that has long had appeal at UH but is currently prevented by the school’s rights being tied to the WAC agreement with ESPN.

What a fantastic idea.

The Schedule: Speaking of June Jones, when he was coaching Hawaii he made a point to mention that he’d like more games against service academies. He said that they were good games to expose Hawaii to a national audience that would otherwise never see them. If the creation of the Gansz Trophy and an ongoing rivalry with Navy is any indication, Jones still feels that way at SMU. Meanwhile, Navy played in Honolulu last year, and the ‘Bows are starting a series with Army this season. And it might not be ending there.

The Benefit Of The Doubt: We’re going to assume that Ken Niumatalolo wasn’t included on this list because it’s for “non-Big Six” conference coaches and not “non-Big Six conference” coaches. Especially considering that he’s 6-2 against coaches that are on the list.

The Thaw: If you’re in Anne Arundel County and wondering what that joyous sound was coming from College Park last week, it was probably Maryland fans celebrating the news that their athletic director, Debbie Yow, has left to take the same job at North Carolina State. I really have no idea if she was a good AD or not, and don’t really care. If you’re wondering why some Terps fans might be happy, though, John Feinstein sums things up pretty well. In the interest of full disclosure, Feinstein is hardly an impartial observer; he freely admits that he’s good friends with Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams. However, Yow’s relationship with the Naval Academy certainly doesn’t conflict with anything Feinstein wrote. She tried to use the media to pressure Chet into closing the deal for this year’s Navy-Maryland game in Baltimore, and I have heard from two different people that she once made less-than-gracious comments about Chet at a Maryland booster event. If you were hoping for a thaw in relations between the two schools’ athletic departments, Yow’s departure doesn’t hurt.

The More You Know: The secret to football success? Schoolhouse Rock!

LOS LIIIIIIIINKS: Sandlapper Spike, author of the Birddog-endorsed The Citadel blog The Sports Arsenal, twittered a link to this interesting story about West Virginia and the break of the original ACC schools from the Southern Conference. Speaking of the ACC, Pre-Snap Read continues its countdown, including Navy opponents Wake Forest and Duke. Mouse Davis, father of the modern Run & Shoot, is back on the staff at Hawaii. Some hometown loves their set-aside so much that they couldn’t waste any time editing; they just had to get this article out as quickly as possible. I can’t blame them.

The iPod: Lush– Light From a Dead Star

The Padres: How bad have the Padres been in their 42-year existence? This is only the 7th time in franchise history that the Padres have had a lead of 3 or more games in the division.

The team is also trying to push Heath Bell for the final fan vote for the All-Star team. While I think the best pitching staff in the National League should probably have someone representing them in the All-Star Game (even if Bell wouldn’t be my first choice), my vote went to Joey Votto. The fact that Votto’s inclusion has even come down to the last-chance vote is incredibly absurd. A quote I read earlier on Facebook sums it up:

“Leaving Joey Votto off the All-Star Team is like…leaving Joey Votto off the All-Star team. That’s the only thing that’s that stupid.”

THE GBU, 6/23

The Good: Some dude talking about some set-aside:

This is basically the first political ad for the 2040 election.

The Bad: He’s got soul but he’s not a soldier… Slowly but surely, the “victims” of Army’s forced reversal of the ASO are matriculating back from whence they came.

The Ugly: For most of my life, every single team that I like has pretty much sucked. It’s an unusual feeling for me to cheer for teams that actually win. Rest assured, though, that Chargers GM A.J. Smith is working hard to get things back to normal.

The Chargers: If the Chargers are doomed to be mediocrity’s standard-bearer, at least baby steps have been taken toward making sure that they do it in San Diego. With the buyout in their Qualcomm Stadium lease being cut in half in 2011, though, I’m still convinced that they’re moving to Los Angeles.

The Lacrosse Schedule: Don’t expect too many changes. Richie Meade was a pioneer among lacrosse coaches when it came to finding talent in areas outside of the traditional lacrosse footprint. Rather than go head-to-head in recruiting against the game’s titans, Coach Meade was able to get the pick of the litter in areas where other schools just didn’t bother to look. When the Mids made the finals of the NCAA tournament in 2004, it was almost a running joke how cosmopolitan their roster was compared to the New York and Maryland-dominated squads they were beating. Navy’s schedule reflected that recruiting effort; the Mids regularly played Ohio State, played Colgate in Orlando, Holy Cross in Dallas, and Bucknell in San Diego. But the Mids are no longer alone in canvassing all corners of the country for lacrosse talent; a quick scan of Johns Hopkins’ roster, for example, yields players from California, Ohio, Texas, Arizona, Florida, and Colorado. Being lacrosse’s travelling roadshow was worth it when you could hit ’em where they ain’t, but the cost-benefit isn’t really there anymore. Now it just makes more sense to play relatively high-profile games against the likes of Loyola and Towson in our own backyard rather than spending money to fly all over the country.

The Vuvuzelas: Like the World Cup, but wish there was a blog that stressed tactical matchups kinda like we do here with Navy games? Meet Intelligent Soccer.

The Blogs: The Pre-Snap Read preview countdown continues, including a look at Maryland. Barking Carnival continues to comment on the inner workings of the Big 12’s realignment turmoil, including this cogent bit on what really matters when confereces look to expand:

If I see another poster offering New Mexico and TCU as potential partners, I’m finding out what industry they’re in and entering it both guns blazing, with confidence that I’ll be a billionaire within a decade. Or at least be their shift manager at Quik E Mart.

He will, too. And finally, One Foot Down ponders the possibilities of Notre Dame’s own network.

The iPod: School of Seven Bells– Half Asleep

The Padres: The Padres beat the Rays 2-1 yesterday because Mat Latos is good at throwing baseballs. Last night, I had a dream that they lost 5-4 with a blown save from Heath Bell. I’m sure my subconscious is just trying to keep my optimism in check.

THE GBU, 6/16

The Good: Not that anyone cares about basketball news after everything that’s happened in the last week, but Navy’s first game in the season-opening Coaches vs. Cancer Classic has been announced, and it will be against none other than Texas. On top of that, the Mids will play three more games against teams that could include, among others, Rhode Island, College of Charleston, and Louisiana Tech. It won’t take long to find out what this team is made of.

The Bad: My air conditioner decided to crap out when Jacksonville is flirting with 100 degrees. That makes it about 130 with a computer on your lap. There is an epidemic of swamp ass at the Casa de Birddog.

The Ugly: Or The Good if you’re a fan of anyone else in the Pac 10… The NCAA has ensured that USC won’t be good for a while, taking away 20 scholarships and bowl games for two years. After SMU’s “death penalty” destroyed that program, the NCAA has been reluctant to go that far in punishing athletic programs that stray from the straight and narrow; USC got just about the max that the NCAA has the stomach for. They stopped short of a television ban, although considering how strongly-worded the report was, I’m not sure why.

USC AD Mike Garrett had this to say about the complexities of the investigation:

“As I read the decision by the NCAA, all I could get out of all of this was … I read between the lines and there was nothing but a lot of envy, and they wish they all were Trojans,” Garrett said to cheers Thursday night at the San Francisco Airport Marriott.

When the Pac 10 finally gets its network, the Mike Garrett Literary Review is sure to broaden minds across the Pacific time zone. A sampling:

“As I read The Iliad, all I could get out of all this was, they wish they all were Trojans.”

“As I read War and Peace, all I could get out of this was, they wish they all were French.”

“As I read the New Testament, all I could get out of all of this was, they wish they all were Pharisees.”

Air Force should make this guy their AD, since he sounds exactly like fans who think the only reason anyone dislikes Fisher DeBerry is because they’re jealous of him.

The Pipe Dream: …is over for the Richie Meade haters who thought John Tillman was ever coming back to Annapolis. Tillman is now the head lacrosse coach at Maryland.

The Cuban Missile Crisis: … has nothing on the behind-the-scenes drama of the Big 12’s miraculous comeback.

The Blogs: Along those lines, Barking Carnival has their doubts about the Big 12’s new TV deal that was supposedly the glue that kept the conference together. There are conflicting reports as to whether the Pac 10 has made an offer to Utah or not; Block U is staying on top of it. UHFanblog.com canvasses the Hawaii writers’ reactions to Boise State’s Mountain West move. One Foot Down ponders whether the preservation of the Big 12 also saved Notre Dame’s independence. They also rank their favorite running quarterbacks of all time. Navy quarterbacks as a whole get a generic honorable mention, although that’s sort of a copout. Chris McCoy is good enough to stand out on his own. The lack of any Air Force QBs on the list is also suspect; Beau Morgan and Dee Dowis have to get recognized on any list like this. Pre-Snap Read continues its countdown, including Navy opponent Central Michigan. And Patrick Stevens has a podcast.

The iPod: Fishbone– Unyielding Conditioning

The Padres: Slipped back into first place, even though they only score 3 runs per game. I’d say that there’s no way this can last, but here we are in June…

THE GBU, 6/9

The Good: Strasmas!

Back when the Nationals announced that yesterday would be Stephen Strasburg’s major league debut, I felt sorry for the guy. I mean, there’s pressure, and then there’s pressure… Like having the hopes and dreams of a franchise on your shoulders and being hailed as the savior of the future of the sport in Washington. There’s no way anyone can live up to that kind of hype on the first day, right? LOL wrong. Apparently what the Nationals call the “minor leagues” is really Xavier’s School for Gifted Pitchers, teaching mutants like Strasburg how to control their powers of knee-buckling curveballs and escape-velocity fastballs. A few of those pitches were one flux capacitor away from landing in 1955. The town of Strasburg, Virginia decided not to rename itself “Stephen Strasburg,” a decision they’ll likely regret when Strasburg eventually destroys all of us. You could’ve had your lives spared to merely serve as his slaves for eternity, Strasburg VA, but now you’ve just made him angrier.

Seeing a sold-out baseball game in Washington on a Tuesday night in June made me wish I was back in high school in Arlington. Then again, if DC had baseball when I was in high school, I would’ve flunked so horribly after going to games every night that I never would’ve made it to USNA. But at least you would’ve been spared this horrible blog. The real tragedy in all this is that clearly Strasburg would’ve single-handedly tipped the scales in Washington’s favor in the From The Rumble Seat Sporting City Tournament. Definitely grounds for a do-over.

The Bad: Hell’s offseason has claimed another prize, as Mario Washington has been separated from the Academy. Washington is a sure-handed wide receiver who had 9 catches last year, which is significant in this offense. He’ll probably be missed the most as a punt returner, though. Not that he set the world on fire running punts back, but his good hands were a real asset. He was switched to cornerback as an experiment this spring and played well, but it’s all moot now.

The Ugly: The Baltimore Sun’s Faceoff lacrosse blog looks at Navy’s prospects for next season. When the “Bad” paragraph is twice the length of the “Good” paragraph, you know you’re in for a treat!

The End of the World: The seventh seal might be broken as early as Friday if this story in the Omaha Herald comes to fruition. More on that later…

The Blogs: Subway Domer finds a silver lining in losing to Navy twice in the last three years. If you come away from that post offended instead of realizing that it’s a compliment, resist the urge to react the way you did when you wrote letters to newspapers complaining about the Missouri marching band you pansy. Barking Carnival LOLs @ Baylor. I admit, though, that I have a soft spot for Baylor thanks to The Next Step In Human Evolution, and defensive coordinator Brian Norwood– Niumat’s best friend, former Navy assistant coach, and all-around nice guy. Pre-Snap Read is up to #86 in his countdown, Arizona State. The cool kids who follow him on Twitter, though, know to tune in tomorrow, because #85 is Army.

The iPod: Neko Case– Fox Confessor Brings The Flood

The Padres: Can’t hit worth crap, slipped a half game behind the Dodgers in the NL West, and are one good losing streak away from selling Adrian Gonzalez to the first team who offers them a box of rocks and a coupon for Applebee’s. But other than that they’re awesome.