Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top 10 Moments of the Decade in SoFla Sports

With the end of the year quickly approaching, and with it the end of the decade, we here at Fourth and Fail are taking a look back at the decade that was. Today, we take a look at the Top 10 moments in South Florida sports from the aughts.

10. 2003 NBA Draft. The season following a 25-57 record for the Heat, they were blessed with the fifth overall pick in the draft. Fortunately for the Heat, they drafted Dwyane Wade, who has, needless to say, panned out to be one of the best players in the league.

9. Wildcat Unleashed. September 21, 2008. Miami Dolphins 38, New England Patriots 13. The Dolphins came into Gillette Stadium and introduced the Patriots (and the league) to their new Wildcat offense. Ronnie Brown rushed for 117 yards and 4 touchdowns out of the formation, while throwing for another. The game marked the beginning of the Wildcat craze that has swept the league, though no team has perfected it like the Dolphins have. Oh yeah, it also ended New England's 21-game regular season winning streak, as well as the team's 12-game home winning streak.

8. Marlins Play Spoiler. This one was bittersweet for Marlins fans. The Marlins missed the playoffs in both 2007 and 2008. However, both years they closed out the season with a series against the Mets, and both times the Marlins managed to play spoiler and knock the hated-rivals out of playoff contention during the last series of the regular season.

7. Orange Jersey Monday Night Magic. In 2004, the Dolphins got off to a 1-8 start before the Wannstache resigned. Going into Week 15, with a 2-11 record, the Dolphins hosted the 12-1, defending champion Patriots on Monday Night Football. The Fins broke out the orange jerseys, and upset the Patriots, 29-28. It was arguable one of the biggest upsets in the NFL this decade.

6. Anibal's No-no. On September 6, 2006, in just the 13th start of his career, rookie Anibal Sanchez threw the fourth no-hitter in Marlins history. Against the Diamondbacks, Sanchez tossed the no-no -- the first since Randy Johnson's perfect game in 2004 -- by striking out six and walking four on 103 pitches. The moment perfectly encapsulated the Marlins unlikely 2006 season: the rookie-stacked team exceeding most expectations and remained in Wild Card contention into September. Highlights can be viewed here.

5. Camarillo to the Rescue. Week 15. December 16, 2007. The Dolphins were 0-13, and in overtime against the Baltimore Ravens. That's when Greg Camarillo came to the rescue. The undrafted WR out of Stanford made the play of his young career by being on the receiving end of a 64-yard touchdown thrown by Cleo Lemon. The touchdown was the longest offensive play for the Dolphins in 2007, and it was also the team's only win. Camarillo kept the Dolphins out of the (futility) record book, as they finished the season 1-15.

4. One GIANT Loss. If Camarillo's heroics kept the Dolphins out of the record books, then the New York Giants' upset over the then-18-0 Patriots in the Super Bowl kept the Dolphins in the record books. Because New York was able to unseat the Patriots, the '72 Dolphins were able to remain as the only undefeated and untied team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl. While some may not care about a 30-plus-year-old record, it still remains a symbol of pride to many South Florida sports fans.

3. 2002 Rose Bowl. This game, in which the Canes dismantled Nebraska and Heisman winner* Eric Crouch, was the culmination of a magical undefeated season -- capped off by a BCS title -- for UM. The team consisted of many future NFL stars, including Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee and Frank Gore (and that's just at running back), and is always in the class photo when the debates come around for the greatest college football team of all time.

*Heisman should have gone to Rex Grossman, but I digress.

2. 2003 Marlins run through the playoffs. Where do I start with this one? 2003 was a magical trip through the playoffs for the Marlins en route to the team's second World Series title. In the divisional round, the Fish knocked off the defending-NL Champion San Francisco Giants in four games. The decisive game ended with a signature play, as Mr. Marlin himself, Jeff Conine threw out JT Snow -- who tried to truck Pudge Rodriguez -- at home. Pudge held on to the ball through the contact, and the stadium erupted. It marked the first time a series ended with the potential tying run being thrown out at home.

In the NLCS, the Marlins took on the Cubs. Up 3 games to 1, with the series heading back to Wrigley, the Cubs looked to be primed for a trip to the Fall Classic. That is, until Bartman happened. One of the most infamous moments of the decade. It's tough to actually blame Bartman for what happened, especially when the team on the field unraveled (including botched ground balls). The Marlins went on to win the pennant.

In the World Series, the Marlins squared off against the Yankees, and Josh Beckett put on a performance for the ages in Game 6, with the Marlins up 3 games to 2. Beckett pitched a complete game, shutting out the Yankees and recording the final out by tagging out Jorge Posada on a soft grounder. It was quite a title run by the Marlins, and only topped by one moment in South Florida this decade.

1. 2006 NBA Finals. Facing a potential 3-0 deficit and down 13 points with six and a half minutes remaining in Game 3, the outcome didn't look bright for the Heat. A year after falling short in the Eastern Conference Finals, it appeared the team would come away empty handed in the franchise's first trip to the NBA Finals. The Mavs had a victory parade already planned... but that's when Dwyane Wade decided to throw a wrench in those plans. Wade went off, leading the Heat to a comeback victory in Game 3, 98-96. The Heat didn't lose another game in the series, and Wade went on to finish with one of the most memorable performances in Finals history while leading the franchise to its first ever NBA title.

We're sure there are plenty of other moments that deserve consideration as one of the best of the decade -- especially seeing as how we know of other moments that we discussed with each other that just missed the cut. If you have any qualms with our list, or just want to contribute your two cents to the conversation, feel free to do so in the comments.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Miami Heat All-Decade Team

Apologies for the lack of posting recently. It's been winter break, and I've been enjoying some down time to unwind. But this week we will be bringing you a few end-of-the-decade posts to reflect on the aughts. Today, we present to you the Miami Heat All-Decade Team.

Starting Lineup:

PG - Tim Hardaway.
Hardaway hardly played for the Heat this decade, though he did lead the team into the new millennium, and stayed on through the 2000-01 season, where he averaged 15 points and over 6 assists per game. After the 2001 season, he bounced around with a few teams before calling it a career. At the beginning of this season, the Heat honored Hardaway by retiring his No. 10 jersey -- making him only the second Heat player to receive the honor.

SG - Dwyane Wade.
Do I really need to explain why he makes the first team? Simply put, since being drafted in 2003, Wade has become the face of the franchise, as well as one of the top three players in the world, alongside Kobe and LeBron. He's also become a perennial MVP candidate. Hopefully, he will remain in a Heat uniform into the next decade.

SF -
Eddie Jones. Love him or hate him, Eddie Jones was one of the best players this franchise had playing for it this decade. Though his true position is at guard, for the purpose of this list, we moved him to small forward. Over his Heat career, he averaged nearly 17 points a game, while serving as a veteran leader.

PF - Udonis Haslem. Haslem's stats might not always be eye-popping, but since going undrafted out of Florida, Haslem has made a name for himself, spending his whole career thus far in Miami. He does all of the dirty work for the team: rebounding, taking charges and all-around hustle. Not to mention he has mastered the mid-range jumper. He is practically a walking double-double, and his desire to put the team first was epitomized by his willingness to come off the bench this season. He's a fan-favorite, and it would be a travesty to leave him off this list.

C - Alonzo Mourning.
The bicep rounds out the starting lineup at center. Though his halcyon days were with the Heat in the 90s, he makes the starting lineup on principle. His intensity on the court was matched only by his charity off of it, and combined, it has made him one of the most loved athletes in South Florida sports history. He was also the first Heat player to have his number retired by the organization.

Coach: Pat Riley
. Riley was the mastermind behind nearly all the Heat teams this past decade, and while he wasn't always the one on the bench making the calls (Stan Van Gundy and Erik Spoelstra both have had shots), Riley has been the man associated with the Heat more so than any other coach. He coached the team to its first and only league title in 2006 (after he took over for SVG -- but that whole ordeal will not be talked about here).


PG - Jason Williams. White Chocolate spent three years with the Heat, averaging about 10 points and 5 assists in his stint on Biscayne Boulevard. He also happened to be the PG at the helm during that fateful 2006 title run, which gives him plenty of credentials, along with the stability, to come off the bench at PG for this all-decade squad.

SG - Caron Butler. The Heat's first round draft pick from 2002 only spent two seasons with the Heat before being traded to the Lakers. But during his rookie season, he averaged 15 points a game, which was second on the team. Since his trade, he has developed into a respectable player, who consistently scores 20 points a game.

SF - Lamar Odom. Odom only spent one season with the Heat before being shipped to LA along with Butler, however, that one season was still good enough to land him on the bench of our all-decade team (17 points, 10 boards and 4 assists per game, while helping to lead the team to the playoffs a season after finishing 25-57).

PF - Brian Grant. I wanted to make an argument for Grant to make the first team at PF, but it was tough between him and Haslem. "The General" was a great leader for the Heat for four years, and like Haslem, his stats weren't flashy, but he did what the team needed him to do -- including playing out of position at center. His best season came in 2001, when he averaged 15 points and 9 boards. He was shipped to the Lakers with Butler and Odom before retiring and later being diagnosed with Parkinson's.

C - Shaquille O'Neal. Statistically speaking, Shaq made a good argument for the first team. His first season in Miami, he had an MVP-caliber season, averaging 23 points and over 10 rebounds a game in leading the Heat to the Eastern Conference Finals. The following season, he would help lead the team to its only NBA title. And while Shaq parted with the team on a bitter note, his contributions to the franchise still made him worthy of the all-decade team.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Poorly Timed Advertisement In Wake Of Chris Henry's Death

Chris Henry, the 24-year-old Cincinnati Bengals WR, passed away early Thursday morning after suffering ultimately-fatal injuries after a domestic dispute with his fiancee.

Henry, who was out for the season after breaking his forearm, was turning his life around following legal issues in his first few years in the league. But then Wednesday, he fell from the bed of a pickup truck and suffered injuries that ultimately took his life.

His passing is tragic, and untimely, and our thoughts go out to his family, both on and off the field.

Like many of you, I woke up this morning to the news of Henry's passing. I went to SI.com for the story, and much to my dismay, there was a poorly-timed advertisement banner above the story, and to the right of it:

That's right, after Henry passed from injuries that he sustained after falling out of the bed of a truck in Charlotte, North Carolina, this ad for Chevy Silverado pops up alongside the story of Henry's death.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Who Will Replace Charlie Strong?

When you become one of the best college football programs in the nation, other programs are bound to start picking off your coaching staff. It started last season, when Mississippi State snatched up Gators offensive coordinator Dan Mullen as its new head coach. Today, Louisville swooped in and will be naming Florida's defensive coordinator, Charlie Strong, the Cardinals' new head coach.

After Mullen left last season, I made an attempt at trying to name a few candidates that Florida could have pursued to replace him. Missing from that list? Steve Addazio. Which either means I had no business trying to make a guess at the replacement, or that Florida had no business promoting Addazio to the offensive coordinator position.

Since Strong will be gone this afternoon, I figured that I'd give this replacement thing a shot again, so here, I give you who I think Florida should get to replace Charlie Strong.
  • Dan McCarney. He's the current defensive line coach for the Gators, and this was only his second season working with Urban Meyer. He is a fiery coach, and my friends who have watched team practices are huge fans of him and his approach to coaching. Before he came to Florida, he spent a year as the d-line coach at USF, and before that, was the head coach at Iowa State for 12 seasons, taking them to five bowl games. He's the most likely choice, should Meyer and athletic director Jeremy Foley decide to keep the job in-house.
  • Chuck Heater. Another logical choice if the job were to stay within the current coaching staff. Heater, who is the current coach of the safeties and assistant defensive coordinator, has been coaching for over three decades, and is one of Meyer's favorite assistants. If you want to see the rest of his lengthy resume, click here.
  • Dick Bumpas. This one is a stretch, and was actually brought up in conversation twice yesterday in discussing this very topic. For those of you who don't know, Bumpas is currently the defensive coordinator for the TCU Horned Frogs. He is responsible for the team having the No. 1 total defense in the nation this season, the sixth best scoring defense, third best rushing defense and fourth best pass defense. Here's the rest of his resume. As I said, Bumpas is a stretch, but why not strike while the iron is hot and bring him in to a big time school where if he has a dominant defense, he won't be relegated to a BCS game against another mid-major team?
Those are just a few names that have come to mind in the last 24 hours, but I'm sure there are some other possibly deserving and qualified candidates out there that I have failed to mention. If you have any ideas, or candidates that you feel deserve the opportunity, feel free to discuss it in the comments section.

Charlie Strong Gets What's Owed To Him

The University of Louisville is set to name Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong as the school's knew head coach this afternoon. The school is holding a 4 p.m. press conference to introduce Strong as the Cardinals head coach, and I, for one, could not be happier for Strong.

As most of you know, I do some college football work over at College Game Balls. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post where I made a case for Strong to get a head coaching position. In it, I made a nifty little table of Strong's defenses at Florida over the last five years, which were overall pretty elite units. Check for yourself:

Now mind you, the 2009 rankings were as of mid-November, so they don't include the Alabama debacle. But Strong was putting out a consistently dominant product during his tenure at Florida. He has also widely been considered one of the best recruiters around, which I'm sure will only help him succeed at Louisville.

In that same piece, I argued that Strong should get his first head coaching shot at a BCS school, where he actually has a chance to do big things. Which is just another reason why I am thrilled for him that Louisville is making the hire. It's great to see that his race -- or his wife's race -- didn't matter to a school, especially after it's been thought for years now that that's the reason why Strong was never hired as a head coach before.

But Louisville was able to look past his skin, and his interracial marriage, and will be hiring one of the hardest working coaches in college football. The bottom line is that Louisville is making a great hire in Strong. Yet while part of me, as a Florida fan, is sad to see Strong leave after turning Florida's defenses into some of the best in the nation over most of the last decade, the rest of me couldn't be happier for him.

Why? Because Charlie Strong is finally getting what has been owed to him, and it's long overdue.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

2009 SEC Championship Game... Yeah, That Happened.

I don't really know how to go about writing this post, because it's something completely new to me as a blogger. See, I started this blog in October of 2008, shortly after the Gators lost to Ole Miss. Since then, they had reeled off 22 consecutive victories and I have not once had to comment about a loss. But then yesterday happened, and I've been trying to figure out the proper words to describe such a thorough beat down... and I'm fairly confident thorough beat down is an accurate term to describe the game.

As a fan, when your team loses, you try to come up with excuses and scapegoats to try and explain the loss. Some people may try and blame Carlos Dunlap, for his DUI and the suspension and distraction that resulted from it. Others will try and place blame on all of the talk swirling of defensive coordinator Charlie Strong becoming the next head coach at Louisville. Others will find some other excuse to help themselves sleep easier at night following a loss like that. But excuses can only take you so far and explain so much.

But to put it simply, Alabama dominated this game from virtually every facet. They doubled up Florida in terms of time of possession (about 40 minutes to UF's 20). Mark Ingram, by himself, out-rushed the Gators 113-88, and had twice as many rushes (28) as UF as a team (14). It's never good when the best rushing offense in the nation only rushes the ball 14 times, ten of which were with Tim Tebow. It also didn't help that the offense didn't have the ball long enough to establish the rush early on.

I'd bore you all with more stats, but by now, I'm sure we're all familiar with the numbers. It was the most yards allowed by UF under Urban Meyer. It was also the worst game plan of Meyer's tenure. Florida got beat Saturday in the Georgia Dome. They got outplayed. They got out-coached. But most importantly, they got out-hungered.

Nick Saban has his team hungrier for this SEC title than Florida was. Alabama had a bitter taste in its mouth after last year's game, and that team played like that memory was fresh in the players' minds. Yes, Tim Tebow and Brandon Spikes came back for their senior year to win another SEC title and to have a shot at another BCS title, but if you want to win a title, you need to play like a champion. That's just what Alabama did.

Truth be told, I had a bad feeling about the game all week, even before the Dunlap fiasco. This Florida team this year was good. They ran their regular season schedule. But they weren't last season's team. Ted put it best when he tweeted to me last night that in order to repeat, a team has to be better than they were the year before. It's a valid point, and despite a better regular season record, Florida was not better than last year's team. Losing Percy Harvin will do that to a team.

But as disappointing and as devastating as this SEC title game loss was, there's something to be said about this season. A 22-game win streak is nothing to scoff at. Nor is a 12-1 season. But as a friend -- a Gator hater, for what it's worth -- put it into perspective last night: when a 12-1 season and a BCS bowl berth is considered a failure, your team is doing something right.

And he's right. Any other season -- while team's should always strive for a national title -- a Sugar Bowl berth would be great. But not this season. This was supposed to be Florida's year. This is what Tebow and Spikes came back for. This is what this team worked for all year. Yet, it wasn't meant to be.

Instead, Tebow and Spikes will have to settle for a bittersweet Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati to close out their careers, and close out what was a once-promising season. Pasadena was intended to be the final destination for this team, but Alabama re-routed Florida's itinerary on Saturday evening, and now Florida's final destination will be the Big Easy, where it might not be so easy against an undefeated Cincinnati team.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Another Year, Another Irrelevant ACC Championship Game

This year, I've tried defending the ACC and their reputation and legitimacy as a BCS automatic qualifier. As expected, it got tougher as the year went on and now that it's the end of the college football regular season, I'm pretty much back at square one. The title of this post is the main reason why.

It started out so promising though. Over the first month of the season, there were several games that would seem to suggest progress in the conference.
  • Virginia Tech hung with Alabama and played a very competitive game before losing the Kickoff Classic. Compare that with the previous year, where Alabama handled Clemson in convincing fashion.
  • Miami and Florida State played a thriller in front of a national audience that caused people to debate whether each program was "back," and had most pundits saying, "yes" or "probably."
  • Both schools followed up with beatdown wins over top-15 opponents. Miami took down Georgia Tech 33-17 in front of national television again while Florida State went to Provo and beat BYU 54-28.
  • Virginia Tech beat the now top-10 Miami team in soggy Blacksburg, which suggested that those two teams plus Georgia Tech was a trio of powers that may play out like the Big 12 South from a year ago.
Unfortunately for the ACC, the rest of the season played out similar to how it's been in the last few years. On the Atlantic side, each team beat each other up and seemingly had three conference losses by November, while no teams were ranked and relevant in the national picture. Florida State was especially disappointing, losing a non-conference battle to South Florida before racking up three more ACC losses.

On the other hand the Coastal division looked good for a while. As I mentioned, the trio of GT, VT, and Miami appeared to be solid top-15 teams. But the second half of the season proved otherwise. The Hokies lost at home to North Carolina, who also tripped up Miami later after they had already been bit by surging Clemson.

Still, there was hope of a worthy BCS representative and a top-5 finish in the polls for Georgia Tech who was sitting at 10-1. All they had to do was take down an inferior Georgia team in a game they should have no problem getting up for, considering its a rivalry and it was Senior Night at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Wrong. The Bulldogs ran the ball 44 times for 339 yards and Tech coach Paul Johnson, triple option genius, called four straight passes on the final drive, the last of which being a flat out drop by Demaryius Thomas that even Ted Ginn thinks was embarrassing.

Not to be outdone, the surging Clemson I mentioned earlier went to their in-state rivals South Carolina, who had lost three in a row, and got housed. Fraudelent Heisman candidate CJ Spiller started the game with a kickoff return for a touchdown but it was all downhill after that. It was 24-7 South Carolina by the half, and it ended up 34-17 in the Gamecocks favor. It wasn't as close as that score would indicate.

So yet again we have a BCS Consolation Game in effect for the ACC title. This the fifth year of the ACC Championship Game and of all the ten teams that participated, only two were even ranked in the top-10 (VT in 2005 & 2007). Obviously that means no game has even had the smallest of impact on the National Championship Game selections.

That is what the ACC needs.The past couple years, the ACC hasn't been as bad people would think. There is good depth, and as recently as a couple weeks ago, it was the conference with the most teams in the top-25. But, that doesn't mean much in the court of public opinion. The SEC has shown us in the last 5-10 years that if you have teams playing for and winning national titles, it makes the whole conference look better.

So, in another hour or so, I'm going to turn on the SEC Championship Game, a de-facto National Semifinal (Playoff? What a novel idea!) and keep dreaming that the ACC will someday reach this level. Cheers!

Friday, December 4, 2009

In Which We Discuss The World Cup Draw

The eight groups in South Africa have finally been set (Sorry Ireland). You can find the draw here Here’s a group-by-group analysis of each group:

Group A: South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, and France

This group can be considered to be the Group of [mediocrity] death (Everyone knows what the real Group of Death is, and it’ll be covered). France’s luck continues to go their way, and they are still good enough to advance out of this group. I will not automatically hand them this group, but they can surely finagle their way out. Mexico and Uruguay will be a great game that could undoubtedly determine who is going to be the other team advancing with France. However, if you were watching in 2002, then you should know that the host team should never be counted out.

Group B: Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, and Greece

This group is a very difficult group, and it could very well be a trap group for the Argentines. If Argentina plays in the same form that they have been showing then I would suspect that they will be that big name team that fails to get through. Nigeria would love to take another shot at Argentina after the Olympic finals loss, and don’t be surprised if everyone starts shouting ODEMWINGIE! The other team that will give Argentina problems is Greece. Every soccer fan knows that Greece loves to stack a good nine players on defense, and then counter on rare occasions. Greece is looking to win 1-0 if not draw, and that will give Argentina fits. I don’t see South Korea surviving this round, but they could get a point from Greece. Greece and Nigeria advance unless Argentina gets it together, and Maradona is booted out the door.

Group C: England, USA, Algeria, and Slovenia

Uncle Sam’s Army has no excuses to not be in the top 2 of this group. England will be a great test to see how the US team is going to perform in the South African edition of the World Cup. England and the USA are the clear 1 and 2 teams in this group. Algeria will not fare well at all, and I think the USA has enough to take care of business with Slovenia. Here’s hoping to a speedy recovery for Gooch and Davies.

Group D: Germany, Australia, Serbia, and Ghana

The #2 spot is up for grabs in this year, but I just can’t imagine Germany not advancing out of this group. By no means will it be easy for them, but they are a great TEAM looking to forget about the Euro Cup Finals. The “Socceroos” are hoping that they do not get robbed like they were against Italy the last time around. Serbia is a better team than many people may think, and they may be able to have a say in this group before it is all said and done. However, I see the African champs of Ghana prove that the last time around was no fluke, and they squeak by the other two teams behind Germany.

Group E: Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon

This group will all depend on how much Eto’o and company have left in the tank. The Dutch will come out with another offensive blitzkrieg like they did in the Euros, and I fully expect them to take this group. Japan will be a welcome mat worth three points for whatever team faces them. The Danes match up against Cameroon will go a long way in deciding who takes the 2nd spot in this group. I would recommend both team pouring it on Japan to boost their goal differential in the case that they draw in their tussle.

Group F: Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia

Lucky break for the aging defending champs here. Italy will have no problems winning this group, and they could very well do so in nine point fashion. I do not see the “Kiwis” causing any problems in this group. Slovakia and Paraguay will square off for the 2nd spot in this group, and I think the Slovakians will be able to pull out a win here.

Group G: Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast, Portugal

Ladies and gentlemen, without further adieu I give you all the dreaded Group of Death. Kim Jong Irr, keep focusing on your nucrear program because your soccer team has no chance. How great does Kaka vs. Drogba sound? How about Drogba vs. Ronaldo? Still not good enough? That’s cool, because we’re also going to see Kaka vs. Ronaldo in an always intense showdown between Portugal and Brazil. This group is going to be very exciting, and also very difficult. I personally think Brazil will fight it out and earn the one seed. CR9 is may favorite player, but he has never really played the same way for Portugal that he has for his clubs. Portugal is too old and their form is not great right now. Therefore, Drogba gets the Ivory Coast out of the first round and keeps his World Cup hopes alive. I am hoping I am wrong about this, but I am trying to assess this as well as I can. One of these powerful teams will not be making it to the Round of 16, but that’s the way of the draw.

Group H: Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile

Loyal readers, we are looking at a new Spain. This version of “La Furia Roja” no longer play as individuals stars. Instead, this Spanish team has finally learned the meaning of the word “team.” I do not expect this team to choke in the early goings this year, and they will be able to advance out of the group stage with ease. The 2nd spot is once again up for grabs between these teams. I have decided that, for kicks, I am going to be the guy that sees Honduras through because if there is a nation that is in dire need of something to believe in…it’s Honduras.

I will go over the round of eliminations in a later post as we get closer and closer to the World Cup.

We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

In case you haven't noticed, things have been kind of umm, dead around here the last two weeks or so. For that, we apologize, but it was one of those times where all the stars aligned and I had to buckle down to finish off the semester. That, combined with a about a week of family-related activities around Thanksgiving, and you have my excuse for not delivering some quality work.

But rest assured, folks, I am back and (maybe) better than ever. We've got a few things on tap for you in the coming days, including a look at the World Cup draws. I'm sure we'll also delve into all the college football championship game happenings this weekend and all that good stuff. So stay tuned, and welcome back.