The game was great - Fresno State got the ball first, and marched down the field and scored. CSU did the same thing on their drive. It was pretty tight throughout the first three quarters, and both teams played great ball. However, in the fourth quarter, CSU broke it open, and Fresno State wasn’t able to come back. We were sitting near the 1 yard line, and had a great view of Gartrell Johnson’s touchdown run late in the game, which gave CSU what proved to be a game-winning margin.
So thank you, CSU fans, for allowing me to attend the New Mexico Bowl; you have a new fan in Albuquerque. And congratulations, 2008 New Mexico Bowl Champions!
Is it just me, or is college football officiating in general (and SEC officiating in particular) this year just atrocious? I don’t know if the fact that they can review every play has made them sloppy, but the pitiful calls on the field cost Tennessee dearly in Saturday’s 29-9 loss against Alabama.
As the second quarter came to a close, Tennessee was driving. They pushed themselves back with an ill-advised holding penalty. Tennessee runs a play and makes a completion that puts them close to a first down - but out comes the laundry. They call Tennessee for offensive pass interference, and the replay clearly showed no such interference. This was an additional 15-yard penalty, and the kicker missed the field goal attempt. Zebras +3.
Midway through the third quarter, Alabama was getting a drive going. As one of their players was tackled, the ball came loose, and one of Tennessee’s players picked it up and hustled it back 40+ yards for a touchdown. As the celebration commenced, the referee came out and said “The ruling on the field is that the player was down when the ball came out.” The review confirmed the call. Alabama eventually scored a touchdown on that drive. Zebras +7. This drive was also a huge momentum swing for what had been a back-and-forth game up to that point.
And, a note to you [EPSN] announcers - when Tennessee gets called for phantom pass inteference, don’t keep holding it up as a way that “Tennessee just can’t capitalize on these chances Alabama’s giving them.” How are you supposed to capitalize when you do nothing wrong and are penalized 15 yards? (Yes, PK Daniel Lincoln is not having his best year, but still…)
So, what do you fellow college football watchers think - has there been a rash of bad officiating this year? The Tennessee/Alabama game is not the first time I’ve noticed it - Tennessee had a really bad call in the Georgia game too, and even the people calling the game said “Boy, I think they got away with one there.” And it’s not just games involving Tennessee (though, of course, those hold a special place in my heart). And, if you’ve noticed this, what do you think is the cause? Too many rule changes? Instant replay? Aging referees with declining eyesight?
Several things are converging at once, and I believe they’re related. Tuesday was a busy day, so I’ll explain each, and then how they could be.
First, the hard-working 101st Congress started their 4-day work-week, after taking Monday off for the BCS championship game. (They should have taken Tuesday off instead of Monday, so they could sleep in Tuesday morning after the late finish.) This is the now Democrat-controlled House and Senate - the legislative body we’ll have to deal with for the next two years.
Second, we have Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), on the heels of his joint letter with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) expressing opposition to increasing troop levels, announced that there will be a symbolic resolution voted on in the Senate next week opposing any escalation in the war in Iraq. (This is in the 4th paragraph under the heading “Dems considering options”.) That link also has a full story on the bill that Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy (D-MA) introduced to require Congressional approval for any troop increases in Iraq. This bill is a clear usurpation of executive power, and will not pass muster - however, its introduction and the accompanying rhetoric sends a message. (Mr. Kennedy also gave a speech at the National Press Club in which he was highly critical of the President and his Iraq policy. While I would love to give his speech the proper fisking it deserves (and may if I have the time), I’ll quote one of the more egregious portions here…)
But I do not retreat from the view that Iraq is George Bush’s Vietnam. At the critical moment in the war on terrorism, the administration turned away from pursuing Osama bin Laden and made the catastrophic choice instead that has bogged down America in an endless quagmire in Iraq.
Our misguided resort to war has created much more and much more intense anti-American feeling than Osama bin Laden ever dreamed of. And the sooner we reverse that distressing trend, the better.
I am convinced that John Kerry could have worked with the international community to end that war and bring our troops home with honor.
Third, the first open fighting of the year broke out in Baghdad, where Iraqi forces went after an insurgent stronghold after the insurgents killed over 100 people. The Iraqi forces called for US backup, and together they prevailed, but not after 10-hour firefight.
Are these three things related? If they are, there are two different ways that it could be. The most likely, and the way I believe these are related, is that the militant element in Iraq is emboldened by this new leadership. They hear the rhetoric from our newly-elected leaders, and they sense that the will of the American people may be waning. They feel that if they step up their attacks, and engage in open hostilities, that they will help those in this country who want us to pull out. We’ve known for a long time that terrorists prefer Democrats - remember Osama bin Laden’s tape before the 2004 elections, threatening states that voted for President Bush? If this is what this turns out to be, I pray that we have the will to fight off this renewed zeal on the part of the terrorists.
Another option is that the Congressional Democrats are using the fighting in Iraq as a political issue. (Of course, the media goes right along with them - look at the first paragraph of this story about Sen. Tim Johnson’s emergency brain surgery.) The worse the war goes, the better the Democrats look. I think that a lot of them are not realizing what this means. The Democrats have positioned themselves on the wrong side of this issue. If America loses the war, they win - their prognostications of doom and gloom will have been proved to be true, and they can give the rest of us a big “I told you so.” However, if America wins, they lose - and they will only be madder, and more resentful; they will never admit that our nation did the right thing by going into Iraq. Of course, in a way, they’ve already gotten a small victory; at the beginning, I never would have used the term “if America wins,” it would have been “when America wins.”
Where is the truth? Are these related at all? If they’re not directly related, then they are at least mutually beneficial - which should be enough for any of us that love truth and freedom (and don’&t want the blood of our brothers in arms to have been spilt in vain) to know what side we should be on. Contrary to what Congress seems to think, the American people do not elect and seat 435 "Commander-in-Chief"s every two years - we elect one every four years. For the next two years, there is one Commander in Chief, with a new Secretary of Defense. If the Democrats have ideas for how to win the war, then let them work together with the administration so that we will prevail. If all they have is grandstanding, naysaying, and threats of treasonous proportions, then they need to sit down and shut up.
Why would a patriotic American position themselves so that they are only validated if America loses? The short answer - they wouldn’t.
Anyone still want to make the case that Michigan should have been in the BCS Championship Game instead of Florida? [crickets chirping] Thought so…
By the way - as a fan of the Volunteers, I rarely cheer for the Florida Gators. But, NCAA championships in basketball and football in the same year is a first - congratulations to Florida for making history in 2006.
Here is part 3 of the series “2006 Year in Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ridiculous”. The bad things and the ridiculous things are what they are, but there was still some good in 2006.
I completed my first deployment this year. It was a tough time, but I was in a safe place and was able to participate in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. I wrote a lot about how this deployment affected the way I view things in my posts “Appreciate What You Have” and “Do Not Bend”. The Lord protected me over there, and my family at home. My oldest son stepped up and helped a lot while I was gone, and my wife kept everything going at home, in spite of how difficult it was at times.
Saddam Hussein’s execution was an important development in the War on Terror. Although he had been out of power for years, seeing him brought to justice after a trial is a great symbol of the power of democracy. Some people are upset that he was not tried for even more crimes; but, considering the 100 or so deaths he was on trial for was enough to get him the death penalty, what more could they want? You can’t kill the guy twice! (Some folks over at the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler (language warning in effect) have some ideas - as well as the video of the actual execution.)
As the war in Iraq and Afghanistan continues, more and more of these high-level leaders are being either captured or killed. If they’re captured, the justice system will do its job; and, if they’re killed, well… that just saves time. And, as the people of the Middle East begin to see democracy and a rule of law take hold, they’ll be drawn to it.
In college football and NASCAR, my folks made a resurgence after a disappointing 2005. The Tennessee Vols followed up their first losing season since Phil Fulmer had become head coach with a 9-3 finish, losing only to #2 Florida, #4 LSU, and #13 Arkansas. Throughout the year, quarterback Erik Ainge matured greatly, and became more willing to hand off the ball to a running back, which lead to more big passes opening up for him. Freshman running back LaMarcus Coker had an outstanding year, and looks to be one of the best running backs Tennessee has had in a while - and that’s saying something. Congratulations to the Vols on a great year.
Jeff Gordon became the Nextel Cup Champion! Well, OK, Jimmie Johnson was top driver, but since Jeff owns Jimmie’s cars, he is the owner’s points champion. He did finish the season in 6th as a driver. The comes after a season when he did not make the Chase for the Nextel Cup (although he did finish at the “top of the losers” 11th spot). Consistency was the name of the game this year for Gordon, crew chief Steve Letarte, and the rest of his crew; he finished in the top 10 in half of the 36 races, and won 2 of them. Were it not for two mechanical problems and a wreck back-to-back-to-back, he would have given his protoge a run for his money. On top of that, he got married in 2006, and he and his wife are now expecting their first child. Congratulations x 3 for you, Jeff, and here’s to a great 2007!
Those are the best things to come out of 2006, in my humble opinion. If you’ve read all three parts, you’ll realize that in the big picture, these don’t quite balance out - Tennessee’s winning season doesn’t offset North Korea’s nuclear tests, for example. But, what this does illustrate is that even when bad things of enormous import are happening, it is still possible to be personally happy and satisfied.
Well, I’ll start with the “not so fast”… This is a local issue, so if you’re reading from somewhere other than Montgomery, AL, this first part may not make a whole lot of sense to you.
The Montgomery County school board has fired Chris Baxter from his head coaching and athletic director positions at Lee High School. He is currently under investigation for an “inappropriate relationship” with another employee there at the school. I know Chris, and I have a hard time believing that he has done some of the things of which he has been accused - I believe this whole scenario is a misunderstanding. On top of that, I feel that the school board’s action, based on a request from the principal of the school, is too hasty. Chris is currently on administrative leave from the school, where he also teaches. If he didn’t do what he’s been accused of doing, why should he no longer be the coach? And, if he did do it, why should he still be a teacher?
I hope that everything is cleared up quickly, and that the school board will reconsider its hasty actions. True, Lee had their first winless season in recent memory this past season; but, it takes time for a coach to build a program. (The program was obviously already in trouble, to be bringing in a new coach in the first place.) Chris has worked hard to realize his goals of being a successful teacher and coach, and to take that away before the investigation has been completed goes against the traditional “innocent until proven guilty” modus operandi that we Americans pride ourselves on using.
Now for the two great lines. The first comes to us courtesy of Phyllis Schafly, as she talks about the way feminists are using normal men’s elevated view of women against them…
When will American men learn how to stand up to the nagging by the intolerant, uncivil feminists whose sport is to humiliate men? Men should stop treating feminists like ladies, and instead treat them like the men they say they want to be.
And, Thomas Sowell, as he discusses the “free speech” claims being bantied about by those upset at Ward Churchill.
Freedom of speech does not imply a right to an audience.
I wish I was able to say that much with that few words…