Friday, June 29, 2007

The Works, OMGBAMALOLZ-style

("The Works" is the JCCW's new clever name for links posts, a la Unverifed Voracity or Dawg Bites or the Hub. 'Cause, you know, it's a car wash. Yeah.)

OMGBAMALOLZ. Exhibit #397B in the case against time spent cruising giant SEC message boards: this thread on the TideSports forum, in which"expert" "Trev Alberts" from Fire Mark May is hailed for prognosticating Bama victories over the 'Noles and LSU. It's now 17 replies later, and not one poster has stepped to the plate and suggested that maaaaaaybe the actual Trev Alberts (whose real-life gig isn't exactly a state secret) wouldn't actually be posting quotes like "Of course, I'm going to look back on this ... and say 'What was I on?' At least we'll all know that answer. Jager" on a site named "Fire Mark May" under the alias "irishoutsider." Maybe. Though if he is, it's good to know the Muppet Newscaster landed on his feet.

This really isn't meant to poke fun at Bama fans. Mostly. Well, like 60/40, not-poking to poking. There's most likely an identical thread like that somewhere on the Internets with Auburn fans discussing how Joe Cribbs said this or that ... at least, there would be, if anyone was reading. No, the principal point is that, once again, trying to get reliable info out of big SEC message boards (particularly freebies) is like asking Lindsay Lohan to spearhead the Middle East peace process. Pssst, Bama fans ... check your blogs instead.

Jacobs' ladder (of progress). As pointed out last time, Paul Finebaum derided AU AD Jay Jacobs this week as a toothless "bureuacrat" in comparison with the godlike Jeremy Foley at Florida. Jacobs admittedly has some work ahead of him to match Foley (as does every single AD in America), but after getting both the OK on a dynamite new arena that could singlehandedly revitalize Auburn basketball and the AU-Clemson home-and-home back on the schedule on a single Thursday, it's hard to say Jacobs isn't moving in the right direction, and at a pretty good clip, too.

As for Clemson, the JCCW is always delighted to see another full-bodied, crisp-tasting BCS-conference game on the nonconference schedule. (Would perhaps prefer Georgia Tech for sentimental and/or historical reasons, but whatever, no worries, mate.) SMQ responds by correctly pointing out that having Clemson on the schedule won't automatically prevent a repeat of 2003, but--caution, Auburn fan knee-jerk response coming--he does so without noting that AU did at least try to replace Clemson with a dangerous Bowling Green team that year.

Damn reflex response. Like trying not to sneeze, I swear.

Sir, do you have anything to declare? EDSBS has perhaps a little too much fun with the recent anecdote regarding Kenny Irons and the many interesting things one can fit inside some well-made Samsonite luggage. But a) who hasn't gone a little overboard for the Ironses off-field carnival ride of fun? b) who isn't laughing? Well, aside from perhaps the Ironses' mother.

"And lo, the Yoxall said to me / you stretch before you lift, you see?" The Plainsman talks with AU strength-and-condition coach Kevin Yoxall, but strangely neglect to ask whether his last name comes from Dr. Seuss or Lewis Carroll. Ah, student journalism. What are you gonna do?

Thursday, June 28, 2007


To Phil Steele: Let the disappointment and the anger go, Phil. Bitterness only hurts. It never heals.

Sure, I know you’ve got your alleged logical “reasons” for shuffling Auburn off to the steerage deck of your S.S. Top 50, down with the chickens and crates and Virginia. Auburn did have a couple of statistically fortunate wins last year that the cruel and heartless Regression to the Mean (and issues in the kicking game) might deny us this fall. Yes, the road schedule in 2007 is a bear’s bear. I know you’re Dazed and Confused-level high on South Florida and the Tide, so you’re seeing a home loss or two as well.

I could go the long route and refute those arguments step-by-step (and will here, in time), but they’re not real issue here, are they, Phil? This is about last year. This is about you projecting the Tigers into the BCS title game, and then watching them come within 10 more LSU yards and one successful Florida punt of going 8-4. About them not living up to your standards of prognostication. Auburn disappointed you. Hell hath no fury like a serious handicapper scorned, I’m aware of that.

But Phil: 41st? Nine spots behind Memphis? Six behind Purdue? Phil, this is still the same Auburn team that’s gone 34-5 since Al Borges arrived. To finish where you project them, they’d have to equal that number of losses this season alone. It’s possible, yes. But it doesn’t seem the wisest bet.

So why the hostility, Phil? You couldn’t have been any happier with Oklahoma after last season—you had them #1!—and now you’ve got them right back at #3 despite the fact their quarterbacks are so green they make that vegetable guy look like the Jolly Pale Aqua Giant. (ZING!) We’re confused, Phil. Come back to us. We miss you.

To the Auburn trustees: Make this happen. I know their might be more pressing academic matters that could be helped just a tad by $95 million. But the fact is that Beard-Eaves is a stale building, a symbol of Auburn basketball’s hopeful past and long, slow descent: the place Sonny Smith and Joe Ciampi departed to leave behind Tommy Joe Eagles’s well-intentioned futility, Cliff Ellis’s parade of JUCOs, and a women’s program so anonymous I’d wager even most Auburn diehards couldn’t name the current coach. (It’s Nell Fortner, by the way.)

Even better, there’s no question that this—

The arena would seat roughly 9,600 fans -- although Jacobs cautioned that the number isn't yet set in stone -- which is about 900 less than Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum, Auburn's current home. The new arena would be the second-smallest men's basketball arena in the SEC (Tad Smith Coliseum at Ole Miss seats 8,700). But Jacobs said the new arena's intimacy will be part of its appeal. He said the building is being designed for basketball, not as a multi-purpose facility.

—is exactly the right idea. Basketball puts just 10 players on the court in a relatively tiny area. It’s not meant for domes and 25,000-seat caverns, particularly if your program’s struggling for atmosphere anyway. Nice to see Jacobs spearhead something like this the same week Finebaum gets on his case for, oh, no real reason.

To me: Quit giving the first crap about the Atlanta Hawks, a franchise so screwed up they might take a guy best known for posting up furniture over the best player on the two-time national champions, because one of their 254 different owners thinks Yi might help him promote his line of Chinese fabric softeners, or something.

Unfortunately, I’ve never been one for taking good advice.

To the Atlanta Hawks: Take Al Horford in tonight’s draft, pray like hell Conley drops to No. 11 (which might very well happen if the Grizzlies pass on him or trade that pick), and if he doesn’t, trade the pick for a veteran point. (I’m with Ford and Simmons that Calderon should be Plan A, but I don’t think Ridnour would be a disaster, either.) The Hawks have to get a quality point out of that pick and Acie Law IV ain’t him. Law’s a great college player, but a) he’s nearly as old as I am and is as good now as he will ever be b) his biggest strength is that he’s “clutch” and “not afraid to take the big shot.” No thanks. The Hawks have someone, namely Joe Johnson, to take the big shot already; what they need is someone to get Johnson the damn ball. This NY Times piece by a former Penn player hypes Law up for taking over their game, but he’s just not going to be able to do that at the NBA level—and there’s not really anything in his game (shooting, distribution, defense) to make up for it.

To Tubby: Not so much advice as well-wishing: Feel better, Tubs.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Back, mostly

So it’s been a little more than two months since I posted. I’m telling myself that’s (deep breath) O ... K, certainly for a college sports blog that’s not busy compiling absurdly early and yet absurdly compelling and probably absurdly prescient football previews, and had its raison d’etre for its basketball coverage extinguished around this time last year, with its mighty phoenix-like disgruntled blue jay-esque rise from the ashes still to come.

Still, two months of unannounced hiatus doesn’t do the JCCW much good in this blog-eat-blog* world. (I suppose it could become the Auburn version of the infrequently updated but well-respected and exceedingly well-written Bama Report, though it would have to deal without the respect and good writing, of course.) So we’re back soon with regular posting, though with the eternal caveat that the JCCW’s definition of “regular,” as always, remains “as often as real-life and video games allow, without set schedule or discernible pattern, and in fact as far from the accepted definition of ‘regular’ as you can get before reaching ‘nonexistent.’”

Before moving forward, though, a few important things have occurred over the preceding months, so might as well tackle them now:

Auburn got its usual stellar-but-not-ridiculous recruiting haul. I should really pay more attention to recruiting, but it’s been the same story with Tubby for years: Tubby recruits well but not as well as the likes of LSU, Tennessee, or Florida, then Tubby turns around and beats LSU, Tennessee, or Florida with less-desirable players, then drops games to Arkansas or Georgia Tech and their even lesser less-desirable players. My point is that as long as the bottom of Tubby’s recruiting barrel doesn’t drop out (and despite Saban’s presence at UAT, it ain’t gonna), Auburn’s fate is going to be determined by what happens during the season, on the field and sidelines, and not several months before it. When Wake Forest wins the ACC and Boise St. is busy beating Oklahoma, it’s safe to say that recruiting is an overrated aspect of college coaching. At least, I said it.

Speaking of fresh meat, the Birmingham-Southern football team is developing right on schedule to help the school pay off its debts. Check it out: 122 members of the inaugural recruiting class, every one of them not on a football scholarship and ready to pay tuition. I bet the administration couldn’t be more excited!

Actually, if I can allow myself to stop being so damn snide for a moment, there’s little question amongst the folks I’ve talked to that Joey Jones is the right guy for the school and that the program will be something BSC can be proud of in time. Looking at that snazzy helmet at the top of the page and the list of recruits, I have to say the idea of cheering on a BSC football team on a fall afternoon while DVRing the Tigers and avoiding all possible human interaction in order to avoid the score doesn’t sound so bad.

Hey Jenny Slater wrote the definitive piece on the ongoing Pac-Man Jones saga. How this hasn’t burned up the Internets to a crisp, I don’t know. In other important blog news, Will Collier’s all over the scandal that no more than 99% of Alabama’s population saw coming and the good people at the Auburner blind you with science, or something that looks like science.

It’s the end of the Big South as we know it … as Gregg Marshall moves on. If there are any Missouri Valley Conference fans reading (ha!), I will send you a $10 Best Buy gift card to chant “MOP OUR FLOOR! MOP OUR FLOOR!” at him this season.

*I'm sure I'm not the first person to come up with this, but as I don't recall seeing it elsewhere, I'm going to pretend I am.