SEC Media Days are a lot more entertaining than anything with "Media Days" in the title would indicate.
It's a chance for the press, obviously, to score interviews with the head coaches of the biggest power football conference. And the coaches sorta have no choice.
So Steve Spurrier in my personal highlight says there should be an 8-team playoff: 6 BCS champs, two Wild Cards.
Hallelujah! If one of those 2 WCs end up being a top-4 team and the other say, an undefeated Boise or whoever, I love it!
What an amazing game at the Forum Saturday. Good luck matching that excitement, RNC.
Actually it was a lot of luck -- you can't expect to be able to recover 2 onside kicks. By the way is it "onsides" or "onside", I never know.
But that's what happened. And then the Storm still needed an at-the-horn FG to force overtime, from a kicker who is 3-for-15 on FGs. Rules in Arena state both teams get one possession and if it's tied after that, next team to score wins. Which sounds like a huge advantage to the team that wins the toss and gets it first.
But if you were listening to the broadcast a certain color analyst quickly noted that if New Orleans put up seven, then the Storm would just HAVE to go for 2 should they answer. You can't kick the PAT and just hope to hold a team completely off the board.
So anyway that's what happened. The Storm had to win to extend their playoff hopes. And what we thought is still true, if Tampa Bay wins at Spokane it is definitely in the playoffs.
But what we didn't know, and credit my buddy Storm PR ace Jim Robinson for this, is there's way the Storm can lose and still get in.
They would need Georgia to lose at New Orleans, highly probable. Both TB and GA would be 8-10.
The first tiebreaker is point margin in the head-to-head games and both teams beat the other by 3. Then it's record vs. common opponents, which in that case would be.... even.
Then it's Strength of Schedule which RIGHT NOW favors Georgia, but by just one game. Basically both teams played the same opponents save two, for Georgia it was Utah and Arizona and for the Storm it's Spokane and San Antonio. So you just compare those teams' records and right now Utah/Az has one more win total.
But should Spokane beat the Storm, ironically it would help the Storm in this category. Then the Storm need 2 of those other 3 teams to have the right result in the last week. Namely Arizona loses to Kansas City (not gonna happen), San Antonio beats Iowa (highly likely as SA has now won 11 in a row), and Philly beats Utah.
That last game holds the key, and funny enough it's being played on the final day of the regular season.
Should Philly beat Utah and the S.O.S. marks are dead even it would go to a FIFTH tiebreaker, and that's total TDs. Tampa Bay crushes Georgia in that one.
So to sum up: if Georgia loses to New Orleans next Saturday night, and Arizona and San Antonio win as expected same night, then the Storm who play the late game go out and lose..... it would come down to a Sunday evening game in Philly.
Oh yeah, that's all assuming Cleveland loses to Chicago. Cleveland is eliminated but if it wins, it would draw into a three-way tie at 8-10 with the Storm and Georgia -- a 3-way TB among those squads goes to Georgia based on best winning percentage against the three.
Or maybe the Storm just win. Let's just go with that.
First the Rowdies and the Strikers, now the New York Cosmos.
What's next the California Surf?
The new version of the NASL is clearly trying to rekindle the rivalries of the old. New franchise announced in New York for next year and it will take the name of the old league's most popular team ever.
I happened to interview Commissioner David Downs recently and he said the goal is to try to expand to 20 teams tby 2020. This will only get the number to nine but what a step!
Click HERE for the story off the NASL website.
The end of the Storm-Power game was a big nerve wrack last weekend. Pittsburgh had the ball first-and-goal at the 9 with 13 seconds left, and had three shots at the end zone. For the Storm, if they lost their playoff hopes were over.
Uh, so they thought.
And so I thought. As broadcasters (selfishly) Jack Harris and I were not looking forward to two games that had no playoff meaning, as opposed to possibly two more contests with a strong excitement level.
Turns out technically the Storm would not have been eliminated. But this week REALLY, I promise, is do-or-die for Tampa Bay. The Storm host New Orleans and there literally is no chance they make the playoffs if they lose.
Here's the deal.... Storm are 7-9 but very much alive. They are competing for one of three spots along with three 8-8 teams (New Orleans, Georgia, Jacksonville) and fellow 7-9 Cleveland.
Cleveland is the only team they hold the tiebreaker on. So they need one of those three 8-8 teams to lose their last two. Georgia hosts Pittsburgh this week, the Storm happen to be hosting New Orleans, and J'ville is at home against Orlando.
The key is next week Georgia and New Orleans play one another. Obviously if they both lose this week, Storm beat New Orleans naturally while Georgia loses to Pittsburgh, it's guaranteed that the Storm are in if they win the last week out in Spokane. The Georgia-NO loser would be 8-10, Tampa Bay 9-9.
If Georgia beats Pittsburgh, however, the Storm would need Georgia to turn around and win at New Orleans in the finale. Frankly the odds of one of those results (Georgia loses this week to Pitt, Georgia wins next week at New Orleans) I'd say are worse than even. But it's certainly possible.
Chances of Jax losing twice? Less than that. They play Orlando and Pittsburgh.
So the real energy this Saturday night, while we're doing the Storm game at 7:30, will be on rooting for Georgia to get beat by Pittsburgh.
THEN THERE'S THE WHOLE BLOWOUT THING!
Oh yeah, then there's this. Beat New Orleans by at least 20... and the Storm control their own destiny. How 'bout that!
Long and short, they'd in any multi-team tiebreaker win out over New Orleans, as long as they win by 20. If two teams split then the first TB is point margin; New Orleans won 66-47 back in April.
And that win-by-20 thing is how the Storm could get in at 8-10 -- but the loss has to be to Spokane, not New Orleans. The only way to pull that off would be to beat New Orleans by at least 20.... but New Orleans additionally would have to lose to Georgia to also be 8-10.
So if you're at the Forum Saturday, don't just root for a win, root for a blowout!! And for fun root for Georgia and Jacksonville to lose.
The other positive part of a Storm win is they cannot be eliminated, this week anyway.
That whole win-by-20 thing, by the way, is why the Storm would not have been eliminated like we thought with a Pittsburgh loss. But then they would have HAD to beat New Orleans by 20, something you'd rather not have to face.
Hope you got all that.
Sauntering over towards the beer stand at PNC Park, I was impressed with the selection and realized, it was a crap shoot. IF they had good beer fine if not, well I knew it would be outside the park after the game.
Turns out they had Dogfish Head 60 and of course I was good.
Well, shoot crap no more if you're headed out of town and happen to catch a game. The fine folks at Craftbeer.com have compiled a list of which craft brands are served at each of the 30 parks.
As you can tell some are a little old fashioned. The Trop boasts Cigar City, and really, that's all you need.
Click HERE for the article, handy and dandy.
Just heard what the big dissension is on the Drew Brees front.
I don't like him now.
The Saints are offering 19.25 million per year. Did you just read that? That's per year, highest paid QB in the league.
He won't settle for any less than 20 and a half mill.
Screw you, Drew.
Usually All-Star games are just big invites for us cynical media to bash and tell you what's wrong with them.
Well, I'm right there with 'em. Except for the MLB All-Star Game.
I think it's exceptionally special. So much so that I get more excited for it than I do just about 80 per cent of the regular season, seriously.
So if I'm sleepy eyed moreso than normal Wednesday, that's why.
Four losses in a row and a 6-9 record, and the Storm.... eh, they got a shot!
First off Tampa Bay must win its last three games. The next two (at Pitt, vs. New Orleans) are a lot more winnable than the last (at Spokane) but as long as you win those first two, that's all you can ask is to have a shot at the postseason entering the last week.
Especially considering you'd be 9-9 and making the postseason.
Now technically the Storm can go 8-10, but they'd need Jacksonville and New Orleans to lose out. Not gonna happen. Jax has 2 home games against inferior opposition.
So assuming 9-9 is the mark, meaning again Tampa Bay must win out, here's what else has to happen.
Either A)Jacksonville loses 2 of 3. Again not likely as 2 games are at home, but possible.
B)Cleveland drops one (very likely) AND either Georgia or New Orleans lose out. Those teams play each other so basically one of them has to go 0-for-the next 2 weeks, preferably both. Good news New Orleans has a tough one at San Jose first, then plays the Storm! Meanwhile Georgia is off and then hosts Pittsburgh -- losable.
Tampa Bay can't win the division, by the way.
SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE: Jacksonville won easily on Friday. Cleveland got beat by Orlando. So you're looking at option B. Cheer hard for New Orleans to get beat out in San Jose tonight.
Oh and yeah, for the Storm to win.
Could not have turned out better that the Storm were playing in Pittsburgh, just at the time that the Pirates have turned into really THE big story of the moment in MLB, at least one of them.
And so Friday night I just had to go check 'em out. First, StubHub is great. Got for $25 tickets that usually go for $40, and they were last row of first section right in between third base and the left-field pole.
Had our view blocked of the jumbotron BUT there were TVs posted in that section specifically for that reason, pretty cool.
The whole time I couldn't help but make comparisons with how things COULD be for us in Tampa Bay. With the water walk-up view of the river, really cool. The view of downtown dominating the outfield, breathtaking.
Oh yes the bars that lined basically the outfield wall, leading to a must-do experience before the game. And me and my buddy Jim Robinson from the Storm did do that.
As Jim said: "This is what the Trop SHOULD be." OF course the Trop is not even close to PNC, it just isn't.
All in all it makes it a no-brainer that we need a downtown, outdoor stadium. I don't even care if it's downtown St. Pete by the way but if the Rays are getting a new park, it'll be in Tampa.
But wait. It was friggin' hot. Just as hot as back home. You can't wear jeans, or long sleeves. You can't wear clothes that you plan to go out in after, unless going out is a bar wear dri-fit shirts and shorts is OK.
Yeah, it went from "wow this is beautiful and awesome" for the first two innings to "it's really sticky" the rest of the game.
So let me amend that no-brainer comment: downtown, outdoor stadium with some sort of magical way to keep the outdoor look but also make it about 20 degrees cooler. Retractable roof if you have to, I guess.
As for the Pirates -- seriously, I have no idea how they're in first place. Andrew McCutcheon has to be the National League MVP because he's their only good offensive player and he is REALLY good. They had Drew Sutton hitting 2nd, they had a guy named Gorkys, their offense actually is terrible. And pitching, eh.
But by far that's the team I'll be pulling for in the NL.