Who Will?

As this modern version of Hawaii 5-0 comes to a close, there is another reboot series that is centered in Hawaii. Magnum P.I. is a successor to the original, much like 5-0. The two series have even had at least four (2 for each series) full episode crossovers. As well as characters appearing in individual episodes. But I wonder, will any of the 5-0 characters continue to appear or join the cast of Magnum?

Kamekona and his shrimp truck will undoubtedly make appearances. He adds a lot in the way of intelligence. Plus he is very authentic Hawaiian culture that the show will need going forward.

The most obvious regular would be Katrina Law’s Sergeant Quinn Liu. This is because Magnum’s buddy Rick (played by Zachary Knighton) has romantic interest in her. She could be doing cases that mix into Magnum’s work. Be on dates with Rick. Be part of the group at the bar. It would be good to have another strong female character on the show.

Another strong link would be Ian Anthony Dale’s Adam Noshimuri. His links to the Yakuzi and other underworld groups would be useful from time to time. Makes him a valuable character to continue as well.

If you bring in either Beulah Koale’s Junior or Meaghan Rath’s Tani; you have to bring in both. Such a long and ongoing storyline as their relationship would need to continue. So they would have to come in together.

I think McGarrett and Dano are almost definitely out of the Hawaiian cop/P.I. show business. Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan will likely have other opportunities to harvest after their 10 year run. I assume they will not be regulars but don’t rule out a special guest star for a big event. Maybe a 2 to 3 episode arc?

Chi McBride, I am on the fence about. He could make appearances. But I would think he would get a permanent gig elsewhere.

Those are the main characters. I am sure some crossover will occur like Dennis Chun’s Sgt. Duke Lukela. But most of the other characters from the show will not likely be on Magnum. It will be fun to see who pops in.

Posted in TV | Tagged | Leave a comment

The XFL almost got this part right

Vince McMahon is good at promoting wrestling. He has built an empire while defeating and/or swallowing up his competitors. In a failed attempt to do the same, McMahon tried to take over football too in 2001. Now, in 2020, McMahon is trying a new system to expand the game, not take it over. But he has underlying issues that could get in the way of this attempt.

Spring football is a solid alternative for Americans to spend their sports dollars. One thing the XFL is doing is reducing the ticket prices. This is on purpose; to draw in crowds sick of the higher prices of the big four plus MLS. Still with all the planning, the execution has to be done in a prudent manner. We have seen it done poorly already.

The USFL was doing fantastic for 3 seasons before an overzealous and greedy team owner tried to take on the NFL and lost, big. There have been many leagues that are more semi than professional, some still on-going. Between its closing in 1986 and this year, only one other league beat the XFL into the spring market place big. The AAF had a uniform deal with Starter and a TV deal with CBS and NFL Network. Unfortunately the AAF fell victim to money troubles and another overzealous and greedy league owner in the form Thomas Dundon.

Still the XFL took a long time to work on their locations, teams, and strategy. Most of the teams are in NFL markets, smaller stadiums and one former NFL city in St. Louis. The XFL changed some rules in 2001 and are trying new things this time around as well. Last time the game started with a sprint for the ball, kind of like water polo. This time, kickoffs have a new line up with the kicking team only 5 yards from the receiving team. Both with the intent of decreasing injuries. A crucial aspect of the game since teams are decreased from the NFL’s 53 down to only 40, though some teams are bumping that up to 45. And into the halfway point, with injuries mounting, teams are adding a few more people as well.

Who those personnel are and what they represent makes a difference to McMahon as well. I would be remise not to mention, McMahon is the mastermind behind “heels”, aka bad guys, in the wrestling world like the Iron Sheik and Kamala ‘The Ugandan Giant’. Playing on American patriotism and resentment of foreigners (like most Americans are). Not to mention the rash of untimely deaths of superstars like Owen Hart in the ring or Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit out of the ring. All things that WWF&WWE acknowledges but doesn’t really assume any responsibility for. Plenty of people can question McMahon about his personnel (and sometimes personal) decisions running WWF&WWE. I will leave that analysis to others while acknowledging McMahon’s past.

With the restart of the XFL, McMahon made a few personnel choices clear. He would not stand for social and political protests. Considering the damage it did to the NFL and the already negative track record of the XFL, this seems like a very good idea. He also did not want players with a criminal record. But I guess that one was a little more flexible.

The “allergy” to criminal behavior amongst players is a valid concern. Sports are rife with athletes who are running afoul of the law. There are many examples of criminal behavior in the big four. But the bad behavior can happen to other athletes as well. Even with female athletes as shown in this article and this one as well. The problem is too prevalent throughout sports.

Back to the XFL, despite saying one thing, another is evident in the execution. One of the league’s premier teams is the Dallas Renegades. One reason is Bob Stoops is the coach. His college resume of wins and a National Championship gives him immediate credibility.

Another reason was that Landry Jones is the Renegades quarterback. Landry has the most NFL experience in the group of quarterbacks in the league. Five seasons with the Steelers, 5 five starts and 18 appearances. This league needs stars. With the access on the field in all aspects, Landry Jones was definitely going to be a player the mics & cameras would focus on.

But during training camp, Landry got hurt. So Stoops turned to his backup Philip Nelson. I had never heard of him so, I had to look him up. And curiouser and curiouser what I found at the bottom of this wiki.

Now this was not an unsolicited fight. Isaac Kolstad started the fight. You can see how it went down in this video. But still, Nelson went back and stomped on Kolstad. That is a pretty profound social statement in my book.

Nelson lost the Renegades first game. Making their march to a championship more difficult. Nelson was on the bench with Landry Jones healthy for weeks 2 & 3. But with an aggravated knee injury, Nelson closed out the 4th game (another loss though not Nelson’s fault) and played all of the 5th (their third loss). But if McMahon had the fortitude to stick by his original statement, Nelson would have never made the field at all.

The Renegades have not even benefited from Nelson’s play. Other teams have been more competitive with their 2nd or sometimes third string. Luis Perez, AAF veteran, took over in New York. Tyler Cornelius has been more productive than Aaron Murray. Same with Seattle’s B.J. Daniels, more productive if not more successful. But in D.C. Tyree Jackson’s tall frame got the Defenders over the hump. Might be time for the Renegades to go to third string or look at the “overflow” team of reserves.

I applaud the effort to clean up sports in this way. Athletes have to be held to account more. But if the policy is ignored when no one’s the wiser; what was the point of having a policy at all? I want to see this problem of abusive athletes dissipate. Any strides that can be made in a positive direction, need to be made.

Posted in Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hula Bowl Stand Outs

The Hula Bowl was on at a very inconvenient time. I didn’t have much time to evaluate everything that was happening. I didn’t really do so in the interim either. Still the following players deserve acknowledgement for their efforts.

Name Position School/Hula Bowl Team
Cameron Mayberry Running Back Colorado School of Mines/Kai
Juwan Washington Running Back San Diego State/Kai
Bailey Hale Kicker Louisiana Tech/Kai
Michael Dean Wide Receiver Idaho State/Aina (Shortest Player)
Broc Rutter Quarter Back North Central College(D3)/Aina
Reggie Walker Defensive End Kansas State/Kai

The Hula Bowl just got revived this year. The game was played inconveniently on a Sunday evening, when Saturday probably would have been a bit better. It had been away for quite a while. Hopefully it becomes a prominent source of postseason achievement. As a stepping stone to a professional career. Some smaller school standouts got to show their stuff this year. They played a solid game for former NFL coaches.

The other two post season games, I did not even know had occurred until they were over. They can be found on various video sites. Just look for the East-West Shrine Bowl, another old school bowl game that used to be played on Christmas day when I was a child. And the last is the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Teams are evaluating their needs. Not everyone they need will be from big schools in Power 5 conferences. Not even everyone they get will be drafted. Some will be free agent signings that will work hard in training camp. But all these guys have worked hard for the opportunity. I hope to see these guys suited up for some teams out there.

Posted in College, Football | Tagged | Leave a comment

Senior Bowl Stand Outs

On 25 January 2020 in Mobile, Alabama the Senior Bowl was played. I am certain plenty of the players on both rosters will be drafted in April. There will also be a few undrafted free agents that make a practice squad as well. Many guys on the field are going to be a part of professional football.

Seems like most of the top players opted to to play in this game. Most that are missing, like Heisman winner Joe Burrow, we will have to wait until the combine to see. The combine will be in Indianapolis again from 23 February to 2 March. This year, they are trying to up the cache by putting the drills in prime time. Not sure the appeal for the majority of football fans. Junkies like me will likely tune in periodically though.

In a quick aside, the Hula Bowl is back after a long absence. But for some reason, they are playing it tomorrow, a Sunday, starting at 5:30 Hawaiian which is 10:30 Eastern/ 9:30 Central. I understand playing an evening game but why not today, a Saturday, where you will have an audience. Most people probably don’t even know the game is being played at all since it has been on hiatus for over a decade. Plus it is being broadcast on the CBS Sports Network. I think CBSSN would get more viewers than the scheduled Pro Bull Riding. Bad marketing on that one.

Back to the Senior Bowl, it was an opportunity to see some players from small schools. Watch them play with and against other top players. Here is my list of guys who made a positive impression:

Kyle Dugger:__ Safety/Punt Return-__ Lenoir-Rhyne University/South
Bradlee Anae:__ Defensive End-__ Utah/North
Evan Weaver:__ Linebacker-__ Cal/North
Kindle Vildor:__ Corner Back-__ Georgia Southern/South
Tyler Bass:__ Kicker-__ Georgia Southern/North
Braden Mann:__ Punter-__ Texas A&M/North
Antonio Gandy-Golden:__ Wide Receiver-__ Liberty/North
Adam Trautman:__ Tight End-__ Dayton/North
Josh Kelley:__ Running Back-__ UCLA/North
JaMycal Hasty:_ Running Back-__ Baylor/South
Justin Hebert:__ Quarterback-__ Oregon/South

I am not going to back this up with stats. I just did an “eye test” as to who played well. Also, these were just the stand outs. The game was pretty good. Saw a good plays from both teams on both sides of the ball. But the North had too much firepower. Any surprise my list is dominated by North players?

Final Score: North 34 South 17

Posted in College, Football | Tagged | Leave a comment

College Football National Championship Game

The Coaches Film Room is off to a good start. I only got home a few minutes before the start of the game. Still, as I hoped, they had started their analysis before the game. Almost like a fireside chat to introduce themselves and the game. Talking about keys for both teams, strengths of their squads, possible pitfalls, possible scenarios. So much more interesting to hear them, the experts of the college game, dig into . I am very glad to have it back.

Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, Boston College’s Jeff Hafley, Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason and TCU’s Gary Patterson. No ESPN employees, just the coaches. To begin, Mike Gyundy was facilitating the conversation.

Interesting storyline is that Gary Patterson and Mike Gundy will be lining up against each other next year. The nature of the current Big 12 conference; they play every team in the conference. Making that match up both inevitable and annual. That “match up” here during the game will be interesting.

Makes me wonder what these coaches’ players do? In fact, all the other 126 or so teams? Do they watch together in their facilities? Do they watch the coaches film room? Would be interesting to find out. I am guessing most watch at home or small watch parties. But would be interesting to have graduate assistants run a film study for the employees. It is probably against NCAA rules for the players to come into the facility. But what a waste. I wonder if opening it to more than just players could alleviate that? I don’t want anyone running afoul of the NCAA.

The set up for the screens was a main view in about 70% of the screen to the middle, right justified. It is wide view though. Switching to the main broadcast for a second; they have better and tighter view with a good shot of the field.

Back to the coaches, the left justified ⅓ has three screens. The top being another view of the field, usually from the defensive point of view. The middle is Mike Gundy and Jeff Hafley on one side of the table. The bottom is the other 2 coaches on the other side of the table; Gary Patterson and Derek Mason. Interesting use of space.

Clemson was going hurry up. So the coaches could commentate. But no telestrator on the screen to direct the viewer to the pointed out action. Also not able to replay or “rewind the tape” in such a short turnaround time. They did coming back from the commercials with some video analysis. But the first sequence by Clemson was so fast, the coaches had no opportunity to review plays. A foul finally allows them to go back during the game.

Tied up 7-7 at the end of the first quarter. Defense has been the highlight. Both teams have shown their stingy nature on defense. One of the great insights was the inefficiency of both teams on 3rd down early. 1 for 9 on 3rd downs with 12:10 remaining in the 2nd quarter. They talked about the talent at quarterback and wide receiver. But they left out how good and effective the defenses started out.

Also LSU has seemingly abandoned the run. Until Mike Gundy asked about what if Burrow makes a QB run. And on 3rd and goal, lone backfield, right after mentioning it, Burrow scampers for a touchdown.

A moment of commonality, Gary and Mike talking about the hit on Amari Rogers. They both knew Oklahoma State has an Sluggo (Mike corrected Gary to Inside Sluggo) that the ‘Pokes run. That is a moment you can’t get from a play-by-play and color commentator who don’t face each other. I am starting to see the genius in having 2 Big 12 coaches.

Injury at 5:54; talk about how to stop possible fake injuries. If a player is injured; they can’t return to the game until a change of position. They acknowledged not knowing of the player was faking or not. But also, this addresses player safety. Until the NFL, college rosters are deep. Not sure the rules committee is watching though they should be.

Their breakdown of a catch by Clemson at 5:01 also provides good insight. They asked for certain views. Then some good crosstalk. Especially Mike and Gary talking about what they want to see from the other next season. Jeff and Derek added plenty. Good balance of coaches. Not having an ESPN employee hasn’t slowed the commentary. They are even adept with the replays too. Need more pen/telestrator work. Maybe John Madden needs to give them a class?

As the third quarter went on, the banter was fantastic. Cross talk between the coaches was light and funny. Them ribbing and joking with one another is fun to watch. Also getting more familiar with each other too. Makes for an enjoyable experience. Talking about possible offensive sets.

Another tough targeting call. This time against James Skalski of Clemson. During the semi-final; Clemson benefited from Ohio State’s Denzel Ward being eliminated for targeting. This one may hurt Clemson as Skalski has been active for the defense. Both were technically true. But also in both, the offensive player was on the way down. I don’t think either defender in these 2 instances were trying to bang helmets. They wouldn’t know where the falling offensive player would be by the time they get there. Just hard to watch a player who is giving his all be taken out of the game.

Throughout the game, the coaches made a few predictive calls. Defensive pressures and offensive pass plays. They made a bunch of correct play choices. Questioning schemes. And warning against being 1 dimensional even when down, though I am skeptical they would/do follow that advice when they are coaching.

The coaches were also very fair as the game went on. Fair on the calls and fouls. Fair to Clemson as LSU was just better. Which became evident as the third quarter turned into the fourth. Clemson could not figure out an offense to counter LSU’s defense. And LSU was spectacular on offense. Clemson defense looked a bit overwhelmed. Clemson played a good game but just not enough. LSU won convincingly down the stretch.

LSU 42 beats Clemson 25. Congratulations to LSU=National Champs!

Coach Patterson said it best at the end: “We’re all 0-0, Good Luck next season.”

I will be watching.

Posted in College, Football | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Football National Collegiate Semi-Final games broadcasting

I talked about the broadcast coverage prior to the national semi-final games. I was vocal and adamant about not liking the line up that ESPN is offering. But it seems that my bad attitude led to less enjoyable experience. Left with less attractive options; I settled on the Command Center coverage on ESPN2.

The Command Center had two views on the field covering the top ⅔ of the screen. Usually one is the skycam behind the offense the other a side view. The bottom ⅓ was itself split in thirds. Each coach had their own respective views and in the middle a stat rundown.

The commentary came from the same personnel doing the main broadcast on ESPN. What was a little confusing was if I was watching the wrong view has they started to describe a play. Was an unexpected wrinkle. I tried a bunch of views before settling on the Command Center. Spent most of the 2nd halves of both games on that channel.

I would rather just have a split screen of the field views. If I was in control, I would get rid of the coach cameras. The stat rundown could be in the middle bottom of the screen in some manner. I think that would make a more interesting view.

I tried to watch the Film Room on ESPNU. But both crews were slow with their analysis. Both Tom Luginbill and Louis Riddick for the Peach Bowl as well as Emmanuel Acho and Bobby Carpenter for the Fiesta Bowl. As the plays happen, they were mostly silent which was both odd and off-putting. It was hard to keep up because they weren’t really analyzing anything in real time. That was not a good way to watch the game.

The SEC Network had an LSU radio crew. They were good but obviously biased. I would rather listen to an ESPN crew. Same went with ACC Network’s Clemson radio crew. I am not knocking either one just not partial to them either.

But lucky for me, the coaches film room is back for the national championship. The coaches participating has been announced. They are Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, Boston College’s Jeff Hafley, Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason and TCU’s Gary Patterson.

I am surprised to see that the Big 12 got 2 coaches. But I am also expecting a lot from Mike Gundy. One of the most colorful personalities in college sports as a while. This is based on a few factors. One, his mullet is one of the most unique haircuts in sports. And he has had one of the best defenses of a player I have seen from a coach in this video. I doubt we will see anything like that from Gundy on Monday but I am looking forward to his analysis being a part of the broadcast.

I don’t have much experience with the other 3 coaches. I hope there is plenty of intelligent cross talk. And they need to keep up with the pace of the game and not let it get too far ahead by overanalyzing in one place. There is usually plenty of time in between plays and coming back from commercials too. I hope they take notes. Go back to plays. It could be so much fun.

I also hope they have some banter before the game starts. Have the coaches talk about what they hope to see. Some players to look for as well. Could be very valuable to see into how and what they think prior to the game.

I am hoping for a good game. Both teams won convincingly in their semi-finals. This has become a match-up of undefeated teams. I think they both have a lot of balance on both offense and defense. They have had 16 days to get ready and healthy. I am looking forward to a hard fought game. Better than the BCS mess. Good luck to both teams.

I predict the Tigers will win.

Posted in College, Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cotton Bowl: Memphis Tigers vs Penn State Nittany Lions

I have rooted for Penn State my whole life. They have had a good season. Losing twice to Minnesota and Ohio State, both of those teams are quality programs. Penn State just could not keep pace. But they finished the season and decade strong.

Memphis is a Group of Five team with only one loss to American Athletic Conference (AAC) rivals Temple Owls (ironically a Pennsylvania university). Their season has been so successful, their head coach Mike Norvell has been hired away to lead Florida State. The team stands ready for a good competition.

Memphis has a new coach. Ryan Silverfield is a football enthusiast. Having started his football career not as a player but as a coach at 18 because of injury. He spent the rest of this season as the coach of the offensive line. Now he has the reigns as head coach.

Memphis looked good to start the game. Offense had some solid series to begin with. And the defense got a 3 and out on the first series. Solid first quarter.

But as the second quarter went on, the Nittany Lions came on. Both offense and defense showed why they were in contention for not just the Big Ten east title but a spot in the playoff, earlier in the season.

Journey Brown https://gopsusports.com/sports/football/roster/journey-brown/9483 took everyone on a sojourn. Scoring 2 rushing touchdowns on long, quick powerful runs. Add in big plays by tight end Pat Freiermuth. Linebacker Micah Parsons made his presence felt including forcing a fumble but no turnover. Yetur Gross-Matos came back in this bowl game to make an impact despite declaring for the draft, getting a sack to help out the defensive effort.

Memphis stayed in the game with big pass plays. Tearing up the Penn State secondary. In both halves, Brady White was able to keep the pressure on. Their run game was good for short yardage as well. The Tigers again looked good in the 3rd.

Unfortunately for White and the rest of the Tigers, the best player on the field was Micah Parsons and Micah is a Nittany Lion. Definitely had the most impact on both teams. And the rest of the lions had too much to keep up with in the end.

This is the expected result. If polls mean anything, and I am skeptical that they are in anyway useful, Penn State as the #10 team should be expected to beat Memphis at #17.

But this not any indictment on Memphis. The Tigers played a solid game. They were forced into too many mistakes. More than the Nittany Lions who made their own. But in the balance, Penn State was able to make more positive plays.

Going into the spring, Memphis has a lot to build on. Brady White’s future is going to have something to do with their continued success. But Silverfield has a bright future. Playing against the talent in the AAC is going to make a difference. Competing against UCF, SMU, Cincinnati and dare I say Navy are going to make the conference better.

Penn State is going to need to focus to take the step that will both win them the Big Ten and get them into the playoff. Their high rankings show the committee was taking them seriously. But they can’t get stalled in their pursuit of the East division title that will lead to the first goal.

Commitment to a solid run game will help. When Journey Brown got slowed in the 4th quarter, Noah Cain was the next man up. K.J. Hamler is a solid receiver but he can’t be the only option. Receiver Daniel George and tight ends Pat Freiermuth, Nick Bowers and Zack Kuntz are all viable options. Part of their dearth of receptions might be that Sean Clifford is not the right guy at quarterback. Will Levis showed a lot in “relief” against Ohio State. During spring, I hope Levis gets a good look because he might just win the job.

It is time for James Franklin to step forward. Win the east in the Big Ten beating upstarts like Indiana and Maryland as well as blue bloods like Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. Get another Big Ten title. And take all this talent into the playoff.

This is listed as a New Year’s bowl but it is too early for that. Being the lead into the semi-finals is good though. Time for the Lions to become contenders.

Posted in College, Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

College Football Semi-Finals MegaCast sounds lackluster compared to previous years.

ESPN/ABC is in control of most of the bowl schedule. This control includes television broadcasting 35 games out of the total 40 bowl games on television. [The remaining 5 are split between two networks. CBS and CBSSN have 3 games between them. FOX and FS1 have 2 games, so 1 a piece.] ESPN/ABC don’t have enough competition in this “space”, specifically since none of the games on other networks are on or after 1 January 2020. But I think ESPN/ABC are missing an opportunity with this year’s slate of semi-final games.

This year I believe it is just going to be a let down. Not the competition on the field, which I think will be fever-pitched. I mean the coverage of that action. In fact, this is continuing a trend from last year. This started from the announcement of the crews for the 2019 Championship game, more on that later. Not sure who, if anyone, ESPN/ABC consulted to line up this year’s MegaCast slate. I hope it is a different story for the National Championship.

For now, ESPN is going with a changed line up for the semi-finals. The crews were announced on Thursday 15 December 2019. The release is posted here.

The in-game crews on ESPN are not the predictable choices. The crew featuring Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit will call the Fiesta Bowl. While Sean McDonough and Todd Blackledge team up for the Peach Bowl. I would have expected Fowler and Herbstreit, the number one Saturday prime time crew, broadcasting the game with the number one team in the country, LSU. Not so. Instead, they stick with the number one crew on the primetime game. The Fiesta Bowl which is Glendale, Arizona will predictably occur well after the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia.

The other casts are not very interesting, as advertised. In previous years, I relied on the Coaches film room cast the last few years for quality broadcasting that goes beyond a regular in game analysis. Usually they got a good mix of coaches. At least one coach from each participating team’s conference. Two other coaches that are also breaking down the game. A lively football discussion ensues pretty naturally. I haven’t checked the stats but there has to be at least one or more matchups after this. I wonder how they have gone? Any trends?

Also each film room included one ESPN commentator. This employee helped to 1. Control the telestrator, 2. Be the de-facto play-by-play, 3. Spur/direct the conversation in between plays when needed [mostly the coaches just started their analysis without prompting] and 4. Make sure that plays aren’t being missed. In the past, the ESPN commentator that made the most impact on me was Brian Griese who is normally a color commentator for the entire regular season. Too bad this year Griese is occupied working the radio broadcast for the Peach Bowl.

Last year there were two coaches that fit the broadcast’s strengths well. In the Cotton Bowl Classic: No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Notre Dame matchup; the new coach for the University of North Carolina Mack Brown was part of the team. Mack has a BCS championship as well as a few conference championships to his credit. Along with having finished a few years of ESPN commentary experience. In the late game the Orange Bowl: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Oklahoma; one of the coaches in the Coaches room last year from Herm Edwards. Herm has NFL head coaching experience. Last year, he was at the end of his first year with Arizona State as head coach. He also has solid ESPN commentary experience. These two helped to led successful broadcasts.

I acknowledge that lining up quality commentary crews is not an easy task. I am not sure many current coaches would allow themselves and their techniques to be filmed. Those could be analyzed by their opponents as much as any game film. Still the last few years, these broadcasts seem to be well stocked.

Last year, the process was exacerbated by the fact that the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Convention in San Antonio, TX ran from Sunday 6 January 2019 to Wednesday 9 January 2019. Leaving few coaches available for the Monday 7 January 2019 game. The real question is, why would they schedule a convention with an obvious conflict for 2 of the best coaches in the country? Especially when any time before spring practices start would do.

But beyond that; why focus on only the head coaches? Both this year and last? They should not be afraid to mix it up a little bit. Find the best assistant coaches out there. Find assistants of teams that faced the competitors. Coaches that have enough time to play their bowl games and then focus on the broadcast. It is possible.

If not current college coaches, what about former coaches? There should be a group of coaches who are looking for positions; either pro or college. Maybe coaches that are “moonlighting” as commentators until their next coaching opportunity opens up? These coaches could be hired on for the gig that leads them to the next job. Great way to showcase talent.

This year, the semi-finals are being played the same day as the Cotton Bowl and a few days before the Orange, Rose and Sugar. Now, the decision to play the semi-finals on a Saturday is a correct one. Plus they are starting before the NFL playoffs. A bonus, the NFL has moved all their Week 17 finales to the same Sunday, no Thursday or Monday night games. [Sidebar: I wonder how the ratings will be for that?] This leaves these two semi-final games as the marquee events that afternoon and evening. I think that is the right move. Any time you can get a captive audience; take it.

Another broadcasting alternative that I found last year while clicking around was Marcus Spears, Greg McElroy, and Alyssa Lang of Thinking Out Loud on the SEC Network. If you haven’t heard of them, here is a quick article about their beginnings at the SEC Network. at the Semi-Final at the Orange Bowl between Alabama beating Oklahoma then the National Championship of Clemson beating Alabama.

This crew was probably selected for those games because Greg McElroy was the Alabama Quarterback from 2007 to 2010. And McElroy played for Nick Saban, the current Alabama Head Coach. His steady commentary both on the show and during college games on Saturday is inviting. His repartee with Spears is endearing.

The irony is that Marcus Spears played for LSU, the current #1. Spears also played for Nick Saban so that gave the crew an interesting perspective. But still ESPN/ABC could at least be committed to the current SEC Champs as they were the last SEC Champs. Kind of seems like a bias is at work but I digress. Send the Thinking Out Loud crew to the Peach Bowl and on stand by for the National Championship, no matter who wins which game could help get more attention to the SEC network. They should even start to find a crew of former players for the ACC and Big Ten networks too.

Another cool part was the drop ins. Tim Tebow dropped in at the National Championship game. So you had Tim and Greg, 2 men who led teams to National Championships themselves. Gene Chizik also dropped in. He wasn’t as charismatic but still solid. The analysis was so spot on but also casual. Casual enough to debate about the best way to ingest fried potatoes. Focused enough that at one point, they had seen some changes in the defense and pointed it out so even an attentive viewer could take in the slight change. Added some real value to the broadcast.

After a little research, the Thinking Out Loud MegaCast is a replacement/ successor for the Finebaum film room that the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum ran multiple times. 2014 Iron Bowl, 2016-18 Playoffs featured Finebaum’s film room. Including Greg McElroy as a member of both. I never saw a Finebaum’s version but I am not really a fan of Paul Finebaum. Than again, I wasn’t a fan of Thinking Out Loud before “tripping over” their broadcast on SEC Network but I am now. It was like watching with really well informed friends. It was relaxed. I enjoyed the atmosphere as well as the insight. I think their personalities shine just like in this promo for the show.

The other cast I enjoyed in the past was the Homer Cast. Basically an alum from each participating school would roam the sidelines. They would comment on the game. The fun of the cast came from trading barbs in the name of school pride. It was fun to hear two high achieving athletes taking verbal jabs. Got a little heated but I think all of them ended in a handshake. Not sure what happened to that cast or concept but it had some entertaining comments.

This was a stark contrast to the Coaches Film Room replacement; the Monday Night Football (MNF) crew of Joe Tessitore, Jason Witten, Booger McFarland adding in Todd McShay. I tried to listen to this broadcast a few times throughout the game including at halftime. UGH!?! That is about the best scientific analysis I can give. As this article details, the coaches were not available. But the MNF crew is not a clear replacement for the expertise that coaches who faced these opponents bring. Personally, their “charisma” does not appeal to me either. Speculation about the announced crew occurred prior to the game. And derision occurred afterwards. The magic ESPN VP for production Lee Fitting was hoping we, the viewing public, to see was missed. By a long shot. Hopefully that “bright idea” does not surface again.

Now if they want something new and fresh; I have a suggestion. What about the Hooligan Cast? The speculation in this article was the coaches film room would be behind a paywall. I assume they are talking about avenues like ESPN+ where they have revived NFL Primetime with Chris “Boomer” Berman and Tom Jackson. My concept for the Hooligan Cast would be three broadcasters who can drink and swear during the broadcast. ESPN+ is streaming so I assume they could do both, drink and swear, free of network censors and sensitivity.

This might sound like I am kidding but assure you I am not. This isn’t a radical concept. Borrowing the name from soccer hooligans are well known and recognized for their extremely high level of fandom. They put the fanatic in fan or something like that. In some countries, including Italy, they are known as Ultras so Ultra Cast works for me too. But does anyone doubt the dedication of soccer fans who literally die for their fandom.

As a true college football hooligan/ultra, I am dedicated to college football over all things other sports. Well maybe pro football? I am a lifelong follower of Penn State football. I have added my support to my alma mater as well Army-West Point football. Even outside those 2 teams, I watch a lot of college football. Mostly on Saturdays but I enjoy Thursday and Friday night games as well. Enough to affect relationships, for real.

So the thought of being able to have a spirited discussion about football with some co-workers sounds like fun. I would want it to be a chill environment. Where it would seem natural to have a beer. Plus having a beer or liquor sponsor wouldn’t hurt. One of my favorite things that Todd Blackledge does is visiting a local eatery prior to their broadcasts; so I would enjoy having something like that. The GameDay crew has stolen that with the wrinkle that they get the food delivered. I would prefer a little of both, if possible. Creating

A place where talking football would be fan-tastic! Definitely interactive with comments from social media adding to the commentary. I think it is a fun concept. Only can be done officially. I have seen many good ideas on YouTube shutdown for violating rules. Digital Millennium Copyright Act is the easiest way to get a YouTube creator shut down. I have seen it happen commentary like movie reviews with clips involved and live broadcasts like political debates. So Hooligan/Ultra cast would be for not without both the video and audio components.

Unfortunately, the National Championship won’t have a coaches film room either. The game is (for some reason) on 13 January 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. The AFCA convention is 12 -14 January 2020. I reiterate; why? What can’t wait about this convention to hope that you get the two of the best coaches who will definitely miss this? Why?!?!?

I would like to see some better options for the MegaCast. I was looking forward to some fun. But it looks like they are going with options that are boring and stale for the semi-finals. They have 16 days in between the semis and the national championship. I know that the teams will use that time to rest up their players. ESPN/ABC needs to use that time to find some coaches or players or someone who can liven up the broadcast.

And if anyone of influence sees this and wants me, I will make myself available. I will find the time off to get ready for the Hooligan/Ultra cast. Provide a new experience for the true fans out there, like me.

Good luck to all the players who are going to suit up on Saturday. This is the first year I think all four teams have enough quality players and coaching to really have some good games and a shot at the title. I like LSU vs Oklahoma matchup could be a high scoring shootout. Defense is going to be the key for the winner, I suspect. Clemson and Ohio State both have a lot to prove. The undefeated (possibly undervalued) reigning champ vs the team who has been kept out the last 2 years despite being Big Ten champ (third time in a row the Big Ten champ was excluded).

The talent level on the field is high. So many top athletes are going to be on all 4 squads. 2 of the 4 QBs will likely go #1 in the NFL; I can see Joe Burrow this year to the Bengals, Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields next year will both be available to go number 1 overall. Jalen Hurts will hopefully get an NFL QB shot like what is working for Lamar Jackson. And we are going to see so many good athletes on the field starting with the other Heisman finalist Chase Young who may go #2 in 2020 to the Washington Redskins. Another great defender Isaiah Simmons from Clemson. Offensive skills brimming out of each team. Stingy defenses that will make them work for it. I am hoping for 2 quality games.

So I reiterate; good luck to everyone. Two more games to victory and team glory. Saturday, close to 7 hours of quality sports competition with questionable commentary.

Posted in College, Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saturday Night Live! with Host Eddie Murphy

I used to try and catch Saturday Night Live weekly. From ages 6 to 10; that meant trying to see what shenanigans Eddie Murphy, Joe Piscopo and the rest of the cast could get into. It provided at least one or two sketches a week that were worth mentioning at the “water cooler” during the week. Now that clips can be found on YouTube on Sunday; it is easier to access and not worrying about falling asleep. This week might be a must see once again.

Eddie Murphy is back to host on 21 December 2019. Eddie had to assume hosting duties a few times when he was a cast member. But after that for many years, Eddie Murphy stayed away from the show that made him a household name (along with movies like Trading Places and 48 Hours before the success of Beverly Hills Cop). Most believe he stayed away because of the joke in the following piece by David Spade. I could have sworn there was a joke about Vampires in Brooklyn too but I can’t find any proof of that one.

As the video alludes to, Murphy got over the joke. Made peace with David Spade (maybe Murphy will go on Comedy Central’s Lights Out soon?). And SNL as an entity as Lorne Michaels the current Dr. Evil, I mean producer, had been gone while Eddie Murphy was on the show. Made official during the 40th Anniversary show.

One set of phenomena that did not intersect was Eddie Murphy and Tom Hanks. Both are iconic for their numerous appearances on the series. Eddie’s cast run ended in 1984, the year before Tom Hanks had his first hosting gig. So these two giants never met on that stages of 30 Rockefeller Center.

Could it happen Saturday Night?

My dream sketch would be during Eddie’s iconic- Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood. The homage to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (in the hood) was one of the funniest sketches and had a big impression on me when I stayed up late as a youth to watch the show. (Thank goodness my parents let me ruin a good night’s sleep.)
With Tom Hanks’ most recent performance in the movie: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood; wouldn’t this be a great opportunity to let these two worlds collide? Two great actors working together to make magic. I think both actors pay a tribute to the one and only original Fred Rogers who not just entertained but educated so many children, including myself. Few men have had such a positive impact on this entire nation for such a prolonged time. These two actors can show so much by creating a great scene that could last for years to come.

Much better than a Bosom Buddies meets Norbit’s wife sketch.

Eddie has plenty of iconic sketches. Celebrity Hot Tub. Velvet Jones. BuckWheat. Tom Hanks’ last appearance had two of my favorites, the Halloween themed David S. Pumpkins and my personal favorite of the last five years: Doug on Black Jeopardy.

[Black Jeopardy Shout Out to Keeley (Sasheer Zamata), Shanice (Leslie Jones) and Darnell Hayes (Kenan Thompson)!]

I long to see these two Titans work together. I hope that it happens. Can SNL make it happen? Shall see?!? I will be among the adoring fans who will applaud their shared greatness!

I think if the powers that be can make this happen [Omega of Eddie Murphy performing with Tom Hanks!] it could be something special.

Plus: A Joe Piscopo sketch would be fun too, maybe some thing with rappers meeting? Kendrick Lamar and Post Malone in place of Stevie Wonder and Frank Sinatra? Maybe Chris Redd or someone playing Tekashi69 turning them in? For the mundane of practice of writing rap. Maybe Pete Davidson is Post Malone? Maybe a new guard vs. old guard rap thing? I am in a time crunch but the writers and performers have a week to get ready and they are professionals and they do a great job at it and they are funnier than me; I am sure they will come up with something.

Stay tuned for the not ready for prime time players; Live! in New York! its Saturday Night!

Video | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pretty Sure

I think FBI Season 2 Episode 10 Ties That Bind is doing a dramatization of Steven Stayner from “I Know My Name Is Steven” where his brother Cary became a serial killer. In about 20 minutes, I will know if I am right or not.

minute 51: Already confirmed. They changed the names to Andrew and Jordan. But this is definitely a adaptation of the Stayner brothers.

Posted in TV | Tagged | Leave a comment