The Good, The Bad, The Fugly – November 26 Edition

SO many big college football games have already gone down, preempting the Pigskin Preview. Look for the Pigskin REVIEW tomorrow. Hot damn. Now into the breakdown of positive, negative, and ehhhhhh headlines.

THE GOOD
The NBA season may be salvageable after all. The NBA owners and players came to a tentative agreement early today that will bring the current lockout to a close. The season is reportedly going to begin on Christmas Day. At this point, the deal is more of tacit strength than signed, sealed, delivered on paper – the deal still needs to be ratified by the owners and players.
THE BAD
Police are now investigating the home of Syracuse assistant men’s basketball coach Bernie Fine, who is alleged to have abused two former Syracuse ball boys. Could it be that PSU’s ongoing Jerry Sandusky scandal is bringing to light similar situations across the country? Syracuse’s Bernie Fine situation is continuing to unfold, while the Citadel finds itself apologizing for not pursing an abuse allegation against camp counselor in 2007 (while said counselor was recently charged with sexually abusing five boys).
THE FUGLY
In Thanksgiving Day’s first football game (Green Bay Packers at the Detroit Lions), Lions DT (and 2nd overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft) Ndamukong Suh was ejected from the game after Suh “stomped” on a Packers lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith (the big guys were tangled, and it appeared that when Suh finally was able to free himself, he treaded heavily on Dietrich-Smith’s arm). After initially denying he did anything wrong, Suh is now apologizing for the entirety of the situation (his action, reaction, and his being a detriment to his team in what was ultimately a losing effort).

Hell of a Homecoming: #87 is Back

Sidney Crosby returned to his (rightful) spot in the Pittsburgh Penguins line-up last night against the visiting New York Islanders. The Pens were dominant, winning 5-0.

The bigger story of course was Crosby’s role in that win. After not having played a game since January 5, 2011 (that’s 320 days if you’re counting.. including 61 missed games), Crosby whipped the puck between the pipes to give the Pens a 1-0 lead only 5 minutes and 24 seconds into the game.

ahhhhhh!

Crosby didn’t quite say “ahhhh” – it was more along the lines of “FUCK YEAHHH!”, which was caught on camera. Per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Crosby said, “I was watching the replay [from the Penguins bench] and read my lips. Hopefully, everybody wasn’t reading lips at home. It was pretty exciting. I couldn’t hold that in.”

We were (I was). But I can’t imagine I’d say anything differently if I were in his skates.

Watch the first goal here (see :57 for the celebratory statement):

Overall, Crosby logged 15:54 on the ice (down from an average of 21:55 last year… not surprising), and finished with 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists). He also took 8 shots (Pens shot-leader of the game) and won 14-21 face-offs. Hell of a homecoming.

Hot Shit of the Minute: City and Colour – Fragile Bird

Dallas Green’s City and Colour has been one of my favorite bands for years (that tattooed Canadian digs into my soul), and though I have deep-seated love for the first two (studio) albums (Sometimes in 2005 and Bring Me Your Love in 2008), June 2011’s Little Hell includes a few diamonds. “Fragile Bird” is one of them. I’ve been chewing on Little Hell for a while, but I’m not over this song. In fact, it’s the Hot Shit of the Minute for me.

Check out the (intense, gritty, mildy freaky) video:

Pigskin Review – The Mighty are Falling

nnnnnotttttt quite. bummer.

#2 Oklahoma State losing on Friday night (to Iowa State) set the tone for the toppling trend in the BCS top ten (holy alliteration). LSU, Alabama, Arkansas – that’s your new top three. Here’s what went down.

-#1 LSU continued to roll, throttling Ole Miss 52-3. #3 Alabama made their BCS title game case with a big win over Georgia South, 45-21. #6 Arkansas didn’t have much trouble with Mississippi State, winning 44-17. LSU holds onto the top spot, Alabama moves up to #2, and Arkansas jumps three spots to #3.
-#4 Oregon couldn’t get past visiting USC, losing 38-35. The Ducks booted a 37-yard field goal wide left with little time left in the game, giving the Trojans the win and quashing Oregon’s hopes of moving up the NCAA ranks and entering a second consecutive BCS championship game. Oregon drops to #10.
-#5 Oklahoma now has two losses this season (and crushed national title hopes) after being upset by #22 Baylor, 45-38. Historically, Baylor had been 0-20 against the Sooners, but Bears QB Robert Griffin III found a receiver in the back of the endzone with 8 seconds left to lift Baylor to the school’s first versus-Oklahoma win. Baylor creeps up to #18, Oklahoma drops to #9, and the Sooners find themselves with new end-of-season goals – vying for another Big 12 championship, and getting into (and winning) a bowl game.
-North Carolina State turned it ON against #7 Clemson, beating the favored Tigers 37-13. Four Clemson turnovers did not help matters, and they drop to #17 overall.
-#13 Kansas State eeks one out against #23 Texas, 17-13. Kansas State edges up to #11, and Texas moves to #25.
-#21 Penn State held on against Ohio State in Buckeyes territory, winning 20-14. A surprising amount of offense for both teams early, but the defenses hunkered down in the second half to allow no scoring on either side of the field. Penn State goes into a game against Wisconsin next weekend with the Big Ten Leaders Division on the line.
-#17 Wisconsin held on to beat Illinois this weekend, which booted Ohio State from a shot at the Leaders division because the Buckeyes had already fallen three times in conference play (prior to the loss against PSU). On the Legends side of things, though #18 Michigan beat up on #16 Nebraska 45-17, #15 Michigan State was able to clinch the division with a 55-3 victory over Indiana. The inaugural Big Ten Conference Championship game will pit newly-numbered #14 Michigan State against either #19 Penn State or #16 Wisconsin.

Pigskin Preview – Saturday Style Football with Friday Crazy.

College football provides a Thursday night match-up (or two), as well as a Friday game at this point in the season, but I generally wait until Saturday morning to talk about the day’s game slate. I should’ve updated yesterday.

upset city.

Last night, #2 Oklahoma State fell to unranked Iowa State. The National Championship and Heisman races just got all scrambly. Again. I watched Oklahoma State struggle to find its rhythm early, but soon the score was 24-7 (in their favor), early in the third. I switched over to a sweet PBS doc on Women Who Rock. When I checked back in later – two OT’s had brought the Iowa State Cyclones a giant upset victory.

With the first loss of the season last night, Oklahoma State’s hopes of playing in a National Championship game have been dashed and the Heisman trophy has (most likely) slipped out of sight for 28-year-old QB Brandon Weeden, who threw 3 INT. LSU remains the only unbeaten top-10 team (#11 Houston is also undefeated this season) and can hold onto the top spot with a win over Ole Miss tonight at 7 PM. Stanford QB Andrew Luck and Alabama RB Trent Richardson are now in tight competition for the Heisman trophy at season’s end.

On a very sad note – it has a been an incredibly tough week for the Oklahoma State community, as they lost Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna (women’s basketball coach and assistant coach, respectively) Thursday night in a plane crash in Arkansas. This tragedy comes a decade after two Cowboy men’s players, along with eight others, were lost in a plane crash near Denver.

NOTABLE SATURDAY MATCH-UPS
-The #21 Penn State Nittany Lions visit the Ohio State Buckeyes for a 3:30 PM kick-off. Both programs have experienced and are still weathering off-field messes and tragedy (the scale isn’t the same, but both programs have been deeply affected. Think – last year Jim Tressel was squaring up against Joe Paterno). With a win (and a Wisconsin loss), Penn State can secure the Big Ten Leaders Division title, but the Nittany Lions historically struggle mightily in Columbus – they have won only once at Ohio State since joining the Big Ten. If anyone is looking for offensive excitement, don’t bother tuning in. Penn State and Ohio State are statistically at the bottom of the Big Ten in terms of passing and scoring.
-USC heads north to take on #4 Oregon in an 8 PM Pac-12 match-up. Oregon is slowly making its way to (and argument for playing in) the National Championship game, while USC is still under a post-season ban. Without any pressure, the Trojans could have dream killing in their game plan.
-#16 Nebraska visits #18 Michigan for a 12 PM game (IN PROGRESS). Nebraska is coming off a win at Penn State, and Michigan logged their own W last week against Illinois. Both of these programs started hot then faltered, sharing 8-2 records overall and 4-2 records in the Big Ten, but today’s game has Big Ten Legends Division implications. Nebraska and Michigan sit one game behind #15 Michigan State (facing struggling Indiana today), and if the Spartans win, Michigan is out no matter what. For Nebraska, today’s game is a must-win while still hoping for a Spartan loss (which would tie things up and give Nebraska the tiebreaker edge over the Spartans). JUICY.
-#5 Oklahoma takes on #22 Baylor on Baylor turf. Kick-off at 8 PM.
-#13 Kansas State goes after #23 Texas at Texas. Kick-off at 8 PM.

The Good, The Bad, The Fugly – November 16 Edition

...

I’ve been silent for long enough. As a Penn State alumna, surrounded by Penn State friends all over New York City and digitally connected to many others, I’ve struggled to know what to say publicly about everything surrounding the Jerry Sandusky affair. From the bottom of my being, I have felt so sickened by everything I’ve read and come to understand about the case – from the alleged sexual abuse of minors by Jerry Sandusky to the moral failings of many of Penn State’s faculty, most notably Joe Paterno. I, along with all of my Nittany Lion closest, have been wildly ashamed, angry, confused, distraught, heartbroken.. there aren’t enough potent words. After the extremist media flurry (sound reporting was very nearly nonexistent), in which the victims and the alleged perpetrator were pushed out of the spotlight (when I started reading Facebook posts about Joe Paterno, not Jerry Sandusky, molesting young boys, I nearly lost it), I finally feel like I have regained some footing. I have a mite of perspective. This horrible time is not over, but there are some bits of light in all the darkness. If I could name one, it would be the outpouring of support by the Penn State community for RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization. This is the kind of thing that Penn State needs to focus on. For the thousands upon thousands of us who were not involved in any way with what happened, we can do something to help educate and, more importantly, help prevent sexual assault.

THE GOOD
– In a unanimous vote, Detroit Tigers Pitcher Justin Verlander was declared the AL Cy Young Award winner on Tuesday and is in consideration for the AL MVP (which will be announced next Monday). Verlander, with an MLB-leading record of 24-5 this season, struck out 250 batters and carried an ERA of just 2.40. Verlander also tossed his second career no-hitter and was an integral part of the Tigers winning the AL Central.
THE BAD
-On Tuesday, the Associated Press was granted access to an email sent last week to an unidentified source by Penn State Wide Receivers Coach Mike McQueary (who the grand jury report identifies as the then-graduate assistant who walked in on Sandusky allegedly sodomizing a young boy in a locker room shower). In contradiction with the grand jury report, McQueary writes in the email that he made sure what was happening in the shower was stopped and also that he spoke with police about what he witnessed. Speaking to the police was never part of the original statement, which was part of what fed the public fury. Per McQueary’s testimony, he spoke with his father about what happened, then spoke with Paterno, and finally spoke with AD Tim Curley and senior VP Gary Schultz – but never went to the police. This awful story continues to get murkier.
THE FUGLY
-It’s very possible there isn’t going to be an NBA season this year. On Monday, NBA players rejected the league’s latest offer, which boils down most importantly to a 50-50 split of basketball-related income. NBA players also began disbanding the union and are reportedly preparing to file an antitrust suit against the NBA. Does it seem like anything but greedy at this point? Does anyone even care if there isn’t a season? This is a HOT mess.

3,000.

(choir singing)

As of this hot minute, Dirt in the Skirt has hit 3,000 views. Holy shit. In honor of this (mostly personal) milestone, I thought I’d list some other badass 3,000’s. These 3,000’s make my 3,000 look laughable, but self-deprecation is one of my strong suits, so that’s what’s happening.

3,000 Major League Hits
-Only 28 players have been able to swing themselves to this number, with Derek Jeter most recently joining the party in July of this year.

3,000 Strikeouts Club
-16 pitchers have reached 3,000 strikeouts, with Walter Johnson as the first to record 3,000 all the way back in 1923. Johnson held that record by himself until Bob Gibson reached the mark in 1974. The newest 3,000 Strikeouts Club member is John Smoltz, who reached the milestone in 2008.

NFL Players with 1 or More 3000 Yard Passing Season
-37, including names like Brady, Brees, Favre, Manning, other Manning, Hasselbeck, Kitna, Roethlisberger, Rivers, and Warner… to name a few.

Most seasons with 3000+ yards
-The number is 18, and the man who owns the record is Brett Favre. He did this over a period of time between 1992 and 2009.

I know I’ve ripped on him, but to make it even more impressive…
Most consecutive seasons with 3000+ yards
-Again, the number is 18, and the man is Brett Favre. He did it EVERY YEAR from 1992 to 2009.

First NFL quarterback to throw 3000 pass completions
-Fran Tarkenton. Mr. Tarkenton completed number 3,000 in 1976 at the helm of the Vikings offense. When he retired, Tarkenton had 3,686 completions to his name.

Member of 3,000 Completion Club with most touchdown passes
-John Elway

Member of 3,000 Completion Club members with fewest career interceptions
-Joe Montana

Awesome. Thanks for checking in.

Saturday Wrap – DEFENSE and Upsets.

November 5 college football turned out to be doozy central. Here is the big ish that went down yesterday:

respect.

-#1 LSU stays #1 after Tigers K Drew Alleman booted a 25-yard field goal in OT against #2 Alabama. Final score, 9-6, which goes into the books as the second lowest score of a 1-versus-2 game since the AP poll was incepted. HOLY defense. Neither team could reach the endzone in four-plus quarters, Alabama missed four field goals and threw an interception at the goal line, and LSU turned the ball over twice as well. Not one for the highlight reels, but a strong defensive statement for the two teams at the top of the heap.
-#3 Oklahoma State joins its state-mate Oklahoma in beating #14 Kansas State, but this game was a little closer – Cowboys win 52-45. Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden threw for a school-high of 502 yards and four TDs, but it was the Oklahoma State defense that had to fight for the W as the clock ticked down – K-State was threatening on the OSU 5-yard-line with 12 seconds left on the clock. Three incompletions sealed the Cowboy win.
-#7 Arkansas comes up big in the final quarter to beat #9 South Carolina, 44-28. The Gamecocks’ four turnovers didn’t hurt, either.
-Another win pulled out from under #10 Nebraska, this time at the hands of unranked and 17-point-underdog Northwestern and back-up QB Kain Colter (starter Dan Persa was out the second half with shoulder problems). Northwestern wins 28-25. Second-stringer Colter ran for two TDs and tossed a third, helping the Wildcats beat a top-ten opponent for the first time in two years.
-Iowa upsets #15 Michigan, 24-16. Iowa’s defense stepped up to the task of stopping the talented Wolverine QB Denard Robinson, who had his offense on the Hawkeyes three yard line with four downs and 16 seconds left on the clock, trying to tie the game. The Wolverines came up short.
-UCLA sneaks a win from #19 Arizona State (who missed a last-second FG), winning 29-28 at home.
-Louisville upsets #24 West Virginia in Morgantown, 38-35. No one in the Big East was paying attention to Louisville, but they’ve won three in a row.

Pigskin Preview – A Weekend Without Nittany Lions (kind of).

SIGH. It’s always nice to get a break from a gut-twisting season like this one (SEE ALL OF THE PAST REVIEWS OF PENN STATE GAMES I’VE POSTED), but it does feel a little weird not to have a game to plan my day around. Penn State is unfortunately in the news for a terrible off-field reason, though, which would have been my Fugly had the headlines come up a few days earlier. Jerry Sandusky, a former PSU assistant coach, has been formally indicted on felony sex abuse charges AGAINST MINORS. I think I might vomit. I think when problem times for Penn State come into the news, it’s triple-disheartening for those of us who hold Penn State to a higher standard. I hope the university handles this in the appropriate ways, out of respect to any victims and their families, and out of a passion for making things right.

NOTABLE GAMES THIS WEEKEND
-This is the big one (and you have to wait till 8 PM tonight) – #1 LSU visits #2 Alabama. Both teams are undefeated, both 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the SEC. This is huge. I don’t know how else to describe this game. Can’t wait.
-Another 8 PM kick-off – #14 Kansas State visits #3 Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State is putting up insane numbers this year, and Kansas State is coming off a rough loss to Oklahoma last week that pushed their ranking down. Can they bounce back? Or does another team from Oklahoma spoil their day?
-#9 South Carolina at #7 Arkansas, kick-off at 7:15 PM. This is a tough SEC match-up, and one that the Gamecocks have struggled with in recent years, having lost four of the last five match-ups. Arkansas only squeaked by Vanderbilt last week, so this is a prove-yourself game for both teams.

The Good, The Bad, The Fugly – November 3 Edition

I’ve been hearing complaints (from my conscience) that I do not post enough. To quell this disapproval, I’m implementing a mid-week sports feature called “The Good, The Bad, The Fugly”. I want to touch on a few stories, major headlines or not, that fall into those three categories. For those of you struggling to understand the word fugly, it’s a mash between fuBLEEP and ugly. Get it?

Welcome to the first edition.

THE GOOD
Sue Falsone was named head athletic trainer by the Dodgers on Monday, making her the first female in all four major professional sports leagues to assume that title. Props to Falsone for clearing being kickass at her job and achieving professionally what no other female has yet been able to, and props to the Dodgers for being genderblind in recognizing the best option for their staff.
THE BAD
-The sanction-laden Ohio State Buckeyes football program had a huge win at home against Wisconsin last weekend, but the good news has turned sour once again. Sophomore RB Jaamal Berry has been suspended from the team following a misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct charge. Lots of the word alleged being thrown around, but read the link for more details.
THE FUGLY
-I am not a fan of Denver QB Tim Tebow, but last weekend, the Detroit Lions took their celebratory mocking to an awkwardly ugly level. Most notably, after sacking Tebow in the 2nd quarter, Detroit LB Stephen Tulloch genuflected, mocking Tebow’s prayer pose. I should rephrase… it’s not so much the mocking of a pose, but the fact that Tulloch (and a few other Lions) mocked Tebow-in-prayer (because Tebow prays a lot. Whatever. That’s his deal.). There has been a lot of back and forth on this, and everyone seems divided on the subject. Mocking and celebration is a big part of football these days, but this just seemed a little classless.