11/25/14 Lightning Strikes
TAMPA — You could boo him. That's certainly your right.
You could bring his old jersey to the game and use it to clean the nacho cheese off your fingers. That, too, is your right.
You could bring a sign telling him to go back to New York and take his no-good, stinkin' Rangers buddies with him. All of that is fair game.
But here's what you should do tonight when Marty St. Louis takes the ice at Amalie Arena for the first time since being traded in March from the Lightning to the Rangers:...
It was 10 years ago, almost to the day. • The date was Nov. 20, 2004, and the Florida Gators had absolutely no business — and seemingly no chance — of going to Tallahassee and knocking off Florida State. • The Gators were 6-4, their worst season in more than 15 years. They had already decided to fire coach Ron Zook. In fact, taking on rival FSU was going to be Zook's swan song with Florida. • The Seminoles, meantime, were ranked 10th in the country and heavy favorites to send Zook out a loser. • But the Gators went to FSU and, behind a stingy defense and some of that win-one-for-the-Gipper emotion for their lame-duck coach, stunned the 'Noles, 20-13. • No way that should have happened. • Now get ready for it to happen again. • Florida State? You are officially on upset alert. • The Gators head to Tallahassee again this weekend, and the similarities to 2004 are eerie. • Again, the Gators are heavy underdogs. Again, they are 6-4. And again, they have a coach on his way out. This is Will Muschamp's last game as Florida's head coach. • All the signs are there for an FSU romp. That also means all the stars are aligned for another Florida upset. • The Seminoles might be walking into a Gator trap. • Let's start with Florida. If you do some digging, you'll find that the Gators have been disappointing but not outright awful this season. • There was a blowout loss at Alabama and the embarrassing 29-point loss at the Swamp to Missouri — the game that really started the groundswell to get rid of Muschamp....
Time for the Bucs to go back to Mike Glennon at quarterback.
QB Josh McCown is a dedicated veteran. He's a hard worker and a good man. And everyone is allowed to have a bad game now and then, especially when your offensive line puts up less fight than a wet roll of toilet paper. Still, and despite tossing for 341 yards, McCown was awful Sunday — fumbling once and throwing two interceptions. He was dangerously close to throwing about five or six picks. But, ultimately, this isn't about one game. McCown is now 1-5 as the Bucs' starter, and there's nothing to suggest he gives you a better chance to win than Glennon....
Hello everybody, and welcome to … Wheel … Of … Punishment.
Our first contestant today smoked a joint. What's the punishment? Spin that wheel.
And it's … a four-game suspension.
All righty, next up: a player who hit his wife. Spin that wheel. Two games!
Uh-oh, our studio audience doesn't like that. Spin that wheel again. Indefinite suspension! Okay, that's more like it....
You just knew this was going to happen.
College football finally ditches the controversial BCS system and puts together a four-team playoff and now, every week, we have more bedlam than ever before.
The fourth weekly college football playoff rankings come out tonight, and we have no idea what we'll see. It has been so wacky and unpredictable that you wonder if the committee is carefully poring over charts and statistics or merely pulling names out of a hat....
This is how it was supposed to look all along.
When Lovie Smith took over as head coach of the Bucs, and when he brought in veteran quarterback Josh McCown as quarterback, and when he told everyone that being a good football team in 2014 was possible, surely he had games like Sunday's in mind.
An aggressive and dynamic offense. A swarming ball-hawking defense. Heck, even some nice special teams. Add it all up and you have, easily, the best Bucs performance of the season....
The easy thing to do, of course, is blame Will Muschamp. • The Florida football program has gone from national power to SEC roadkill and, naturally, you point the finger at the coach in charge. • So Sunday's announcement that Muschamp was out as Gators head coach surprised no one. • Muschamp had to go. • I think so. You think so. Obviously, the university thinks so. Everybody thinks so. • But don't lay all the blame on Muschamp. It's not his fault he couldn't hack it as Florida's coach. • Blame the guy who hired him. Blame athletic director Jeremy Foley. • Muschamp was a bad hire from the start. • Back when Muschamp was hired in December 2010, he was the hot-shot assistant out there and in line to be the coach of the University of Texas someday. • But, when you think about it, it's amazing Muschamp got the Florida job in the first place. He had never been a head coach at any level. Not college. Not high school. Not Pop Warner....
In many households, the important conversations are saved for dinner time.
And so, on this particular night, 11-year-old Griffin sat at the table and was about to have the big talk with Mom and Dad. Truth be told, this wasn't even his idea. His little buddy down the street was the instigator, and you know how it is with kids and peer pressure.
"I want to play football," Griffin blurted out....
11/10/14 Lightning Strikes
One team's coach is doing great. Another team's coach: not so much. And the third team is looking for a leader. Spanning the globe — well, both sides of Tampa Bay — to bring you the constant variety of sports, here's a Two Cents look at the men in charge of local teams.
Riding a six-game win streak, Jon Cooper's Lightning is tied for the best record in the NHL with 23 points. It is on pace for a franchise-record 125 points. Can it keep up that pace? Probably not. But the Lightning is racking up victories despite not having top defenseman Victor Hedman. Several other key players — Ryan Callahan, Brett Connolly, Alex Killorn — have missed time due to injury. And despite leading the team with 10 goals, Steven Stamkos hasn't been consistently dominant. Those goals have come in five games....
Change to nothing
Coach Lovie Smith walked into the postgame news conference frustrated and depressed. QB Josh McCown was in tears. WR Mike Evans kept repeating, "This stinks."
Hey, love the passion. Great to see some fire in the belly and some genuine hurt over another loss. Know what else would have been nice to see? How about a victory?
Smith can talk all he wants about having fourth-quarter leads and McCown can talk about overcoming adversity and everyone associated with the Bucs can talk about signs of improvement. But this was another bad loss. Not 56-14 bad like the last time these teams met. But it was still ugly....
11/06/14 The Heater
No one jumps out at you. You don't see one name and say, "Right there. That's the guy.''
The Rays put out a list Thursday of eight candidates to be their next manager. It's just the first list. More names could be added later.
But for now, you see the initial list, you notice a couple of familiar names, you see a couple of outside-the-box surprises. But there is not a name that stands out as being the next can't-miss skipper of the Rays....
I'm not sure which is worse: the news that the Bucs are changing quarterbacks or how the news got out.
One was bungled, and the other is a mistake.
So here's the change: Mike Glennon is out as starter. Josh McCown is in.
Who announced the change? Glennon. On the radio.
That simply cannot happen.
Coach Lovie Smith told the quarterbacks Tuesday that he was making a change. Glennon's brother sent out an angry tweet that suggested a change was coming. When Glennon was asked about it on 620-AM on Tuesday night, he broke the news like he was an ESPN Insider. He said McCown was starting....
11/03/14 The Heater
This whole thing stinks to high heaven.
It smells rotten and it looks shady and it feels dirty.
No matter how you slice it, it all just feels wrong.
Joe Maddon is gone. It's official now. The Cubs introduced him as their manager Monday.
He put on their hat. He put on their jersey. And that's when it truly sunk in.
He isn't coming back to Tampa Bay next season. It's over. He belongs to someone else now....
The Bucs lose again and, as always, it wasn't just one thing. You could point at players, coaches and, if you want to be whiny, an official or two. But let's face facts: This is a quarterback league and, right now, the Bucs just aren't good enough at quarterback.
In a league where you have to score three TDs to give yourself a chance, the Bucs haven't scored more than 17 points in six of their eight games. And though they aren't loaded with playmakers, QB Mike Glennon is regressing....
JACKSONVILLE — Wasn't it just a minute ago when Gator Nation was about to feed head football coach Will Muschamp to real live gators?
Wasn't it just the other day when Gator fans wanted to throw the entire offense into a real live swamp with anvils tied to their legs?
Wasn't it just moments ago when this depressing era of Gators football seemed to be going to the Dogs … and Tigers … and Crimson Tide … and pretty much every other team in the SEC?...