Saturday, January 20, 2007

Where There's This Much Smoke, There's Got To Be Fire

As I mentioned earlier in the week, Razorback Nation is awash in rumors regarding the state of the Arkansas football program. Message boards on sites such as,,,, and have been on fire this week, and have been on lockdown, limiting themselves to registered users, in order to preserve bandwidth and to monitor usage. There are a lot of things going on, and a lot of things being covered up. Where there’s this much smoke, there’s got to be fire.

A group of fans raised enough money to take out a 1/2 page ad in yesterday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, calling for the firing of coach Houston Nutt, and the retirement of athletic director/resident fossil Frank Broyles. The text can be found on their website at

There are rumors flying around regarding the job status of head coach Nutt, and athletic director Broyles. One rumor has Nutt being bought out of his contract, and Butch Davis leaving his new job at North Carolina to come back to the hills of Arkansas, where he has a house. Another rumor has Broyles retiring, and Ken Hatfield coming back to Arkansas as athletic director. These are purely RUMORS. But, there is a lot of stuff flying around.

In my opinion, Frank Broyles is athletic director at the University of Arkansas until he dies. He has a ton of political power, and will use it. I’m no fan of his, but I think he is athletic director for life. As long as Broyles likes Nutt, Nutt will still be the coach. I’d be shocked if Broyles were fired.

There is a lot of speculation surrounding the university Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday in Little Rock. Something may happen, but these are Teflon men we’re dealing with. I look for Broyles to survive, and for Nutt to barely hang on.

Once again, I don’t have a dog in this fight. However, this whole situation looks really stinky. Arkansas deserves better.

From earlier in the week:

General Hogspital, continued. Includes text of alleged email to Mitch Mustain

The Gus Bus to Tulsa, or General Hogspital

NFL Fight Songs

A few days ago, I got in the car, and turned the radio to The Ticket in Dallas. I came in on the very tail end of a discussion that Bob and Dan were having about NFL fight songs. There are a few of them being used. I find them very hokey, but very cool.

The Redskins have been using Hail to the Redskins forever, complete with band dressed as Indians. Baltimore has had a band at their games as long as they have had a team. The Baltimore Colts Marching Band remained a group throughout Baltimore’s absence from the NFL, then played as the Colts band during the Ravens’ first two years in Baltimore, as they played at the old Memorial Stadium. The band changed their name to Baltimore's Marching Ravens when they moved into the new stadium downtown.

The Philadelphia Eagles may have started a mini-trend. When they moved into Lincoln Financial Field, they took their old fight song, Fly, Eagles, Fly, out of moth balls. It’s now a fan favorite. When the Chicago Bears moved into the new Soldier Field, they started using the Bears’ old fight song.

The Dallas Cowboys have an unused fight song. It was featured at the end of an episode of King of the Hill, when Hank Hill tried to get Jerry Jones to move Cowboys training camp to Arlen, Texas. There is no word on if the team will use a version of it when they move to the new stadium in Arlington.

There is a good website here with all the NFL fight songs, good and bad.

I love fight songs. They add much personality to the college game, and can do the same for the pros.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Back In Time With Da Bears

This morning, I heard the wildest thing as I was in our local Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. The Bears’ anthem from their 1985 championship season, The Super Bowl Shuffle, was playing on the sound system. I don’t know if the music is controlled in the store, or if there is a Wal-Mart Satellite Radio Mission Control at the compound in Arkansas, but it was a hoot to hear that. We’re a long way from Chicago.

Two words of caution: 1) This is a nearly six-minute video; and 2) The white guys can't dance a lick.

Enjoy this classic 80’s music video....

NFL Picks-Conference Championship Week

Last Week: 2-2 Playoffs: 6-2

This is the best football weekend of the year. Last week’s divisional round was great, the Super Bowl is the Super Bowl, but most of the fun is in getting to the NFL’s big party. The better games are usually in this round of the playoffs. This year’s round of four find themselves on a 180-mile stretch of Midwest interstate between Indianapolis and Chicago.

I would love to see an Archie Manning Super Bowl. Archie’s long-time team, the formerly sad-sack Saints, versus son Peyton’s team, the Indianapolis Colts. That would be an awesome Super Bowl. I don’t know if it’s going to shake out like that. I’d love it if it did.

NFC Championship Game: New Orleans at Chicago
It’s the World vs. Chicago. How can any non-Bears fan not be for the Saints? This is a team that had won one playoff game in 40 years before last week. This is also a team that was forced out of its city last season due to a killer storm, and lived out of a hotel in San Antonio while playing home games in San Antonio and Baton Rouge. The city of New Orleans is far from rebuilt, but they are rallying around the no longer sad-sack Saints. They have been blessed by free agency (Drew Brees), sorry drafting (the Texans’ pass on Reggie Bush), good drafting (Marques Colston in the 7th round), and health (Deuce McAllister).

The Bears, meanwhile, have the best record in the mediocre NFC. They have a solid but injury-plagued defense, and an inconsistent offense. Rex Grossman has admitted to not being prepared for every game, but I guarantee he will, at minimum, be ready to play. Plus, this game is in Chicago. The Bears earned that.

I’m afraid that things are just lining up for the Bears. The Saints are more than good enough to beat the Bears. However, my gut says that this is the Bears’ year, at least to get to the Super Bowl. As much as it pains me to see the Saints lose here, I’m afraid that’s going to happen. Pick: The Pride and Joy of Illinois

AFC Championship Game: New England at Indianapolis
The Patriots were the beneficiaries of a San Diego meltdown last week. However, that’s what the Pats do: take what the other team will give them. This is a great coaching job by the mad scientist, Bill Belichick. This really is Tom Brady and a bunch of guys out there. Tom Brady, no matter how bad he plays, always finds a way to win big games. Last week was no exception.

This is the biggest game for the Colts since they came over on the Mayflower truck in 1984. Peyton Manning got the biggest win of his career last week in Baltimore, in spite of himself. Manning has thrown one touchdown pass and 5 interceptions in the first two playoff games. The Colts’ defense, non-existent for most of the season, has come up huge in the playoffs, allowing 14 points in two games. They’ll need to do it again this Sunday at the RCA Dome.

I would love for the Colts to whip the Patriots. I like the Colts, and I’m so sick of the Patriots. I can’t pick against Tom Brady in a big game, however. He wins every big game he plays. Pick: New England.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Today's UUOTD comes from north of the border, from the Great White North of Canada. Specifically, la belle province du Quebec.

The Montreal Alouettes of the CFL are wearing a hodgepodge of colors. It looks like they just threw a bunch of colors together, and threw them out there. This is an improvement from past uniforms, however, as those had the word "MONTREAL" across the front of the jersey. That is great for high school or college, but not for pro football. So, they got smart and removed that.

This thing contains one of my pet uniform peeves: shoulders that do not match the rest of the jersey. It also has wild stripes on it, and is just a really unstable look.

I don't have a problem with the sponsor logo. I wouldn't like it for the NFL or NCAA, but CFL teams need the money.

This is ugly. A city with classic hockey uniforms, like Montreal, doesn't need to give the world these football uniforms.

The Gall of Ron Mexico

Or is it stupidity?

News comes from South Florida that Michael Vick has been caught trying to sneak marijuana in a water bottle through airport security at Miami International Airport. The bottle has been confiscated, and is under investigation by Miami-Dade police.

Did he really think he could get this through security? Anyone that has traveled within the last six months knows that you can't get a 20 ounce bottle through airport security. If you want a Coke or a bottle of water, you have to buy it inside security. No exceptions, even if you're an NFL quarterback.

At least he wasn't trying to get a gun through security.

Someone with such a lack of brain cells should not be the quarterback of an NFL franchise.

Maybe he could join Ricky Williams in Grass Valley.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Who Is Orson Swindle?

..and what does he have to do with football?

Orson Swindle is a former Vietnam POW, who is now an attorney in Washington, D.C. He is a former commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, has been a Republican candidate for Congress from Hawaii, and was chairman of Ross Perot's 1992 presidential campaign.

Orson Swindle is also the pen name for the blogger behind Every Day Should Be Saturday. This is one of the best and funniest blogs on the web. Orson is a Florida Gator fan, and rips every sacred and not-so sacred cow out there. I crack up every time I read it.

At least, I think Orson Swindle is a pen name. Either way, EDSBS is a great blog.

UUOTD-Playoff Edition, Part 2

It's a good thing the Bears most likely won't be wearing these things on Sunday as they take on the Saints for a trip to Super Bowl XLI.

Rex Grossman is shown in the Bears' alternate uniform. Orange is one of their colors, but it is not their primary color. Thank goodness. These things look just plain weird. They are not fitting of a team known as the Monsters of the Midway. They just look hideous.

George Halas is rolling in his grave.

General Hogspital, continued

The football program at the University of Arkansas finds itself in turmoil. The fans in the Razorback State find themselves in a state of civil war, due to the resignation of offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, and former high school All-American quarterback Mitch Mustain. I outlined the situation in this post yesterday.

Among the events of the past football season, a series of emails were sent to Mustain during the season. One of these is now circulating on the Internet. This particular email was allegedly written by the physical therapist of Arkansas assistant coach Danny Nutt, brother of head coach Houston Nutt. She sent it to quarterback Mustain at his school email address. This physical therapist is close to the Nutt family, and allegedly also sent it to the wife of Houston Nutt, who then allegedly forwarded the email to family friends. The link is to a scan of the email, with some comments from Mitch's mother at the top.

Notice I continue to use the word allegedly. There is the possibility of legal action as a result of similar emails and other actions during this season at Arkansas. Here is the text of the email sent to Mitch Mustain:

Hello Mr. Interception King:

Are you having a good morning? I’m sure you are since your precious name is in the paper again. Why in the Starkville did you come to Arkansas? I’ve been a Hog fan since birth, and a season ticket holder since 1985, and my parents were before that. Who in the Starkville do you think you are? Do you really think because you just walked onto campus that you need to be the starting QB? Competition scares the crap out of you doesn’t it little boy? This is the SEC for goodness sakes, and by watching you attempting to read defenses in the SEC, it is beyond evident that you were nowhere ready. Your completion to interception ratio was a joke, and you have zero leadership abilities. This isn’t Springdale High School anymore, and you need to take your letter jacket off and realize that. This is the real world. Yes, you did win 8 games as a starter, but you were only starting at that point because Casey Dick was hurt. In winning those 8 games, you need to go back to the film room and see that the main reason those games were won was because of McFadden, Jones, the offensive line, and the play of the defense. You did hand the ball off pretty well. You also need to buy Marcus Monk some lunch for saving you another interception against Auburn since the ball was so underthrown. Every once in a blue moon you would throw a touchdown pass, but usually after 3 interceptions. I’m sure you have the talent to become an outstanding QB on the collegiate level, but I hope that it’s not at Arkansas. You can win the Heisman for all I care, but please not as a Hog. Please transfer. All you’ve been since you walked onto campus is a cancer, and your mother is no exception.

You called Coach Nutt a “dork” in your article. Amazing. You know, I was sitting with a large group of people watching your interview that was aired on Game Day before the Tennessee game, you know, the interview where you had on those glasses that made you look like a fag? I’m sure you remember. Anyhow, everyone in that room started laughing, calling you the dork. Why is it that you came to Arkansas again? Was it so your mommie could be close by to change your diaper, or was it because you thought having your lover Gus on the sideline would make playing in the SEC easier? What a joke! Gus can’t even adjust to the speed of the game in the SEC. Do you think Charlie Weiss at Notre Dame would be putting up with your bull crap? God, do I ever wish you would have gone to Notre Dame. Too bad I’m not Coach Nutt today. If so, I’d be having Tim Cheney sew lace around your jock straps, but that would be after I let you hang out face to face in a private meeting with the offensive and defensive lineman – I think I’d even throw Butu in for the meeting. Did I mention that I want you to transfer? Helen Keller could read defenses in the SEC better than you.

Well, I’ve wasted enough time on you today. I’m sure it’s time for your breast feeding. Did I mention that I want you to transfer. The next time you think you and your girls are bigger than any one program – you better think again. I would love for you to be able to have a lengthy conversation with Chris Simms, former QB with the Texas Longhorns. He arrived on campus his freshman year in a limo thinking he was the next All Everything, was a smart ass to his coaches, was selfish, pouty, and the prime example of what a “team” player is not. His teammates couldn’t stand him, the fans grew to hate him, and he never won a championship. He was finally benched for a QB that had won the Big 12 player of the year award the year before. You see, he walked onto campus thinking the starting position should be handed to him without competition, and it was. He didn’t bring it to practice everyday, he was quoted in newspapers showing his lack of character, he blamed everyone else when HE had a bad game….Sound familiar? He never EARNED the respect of his teammates, coaches, fans, etc…He too was a spoiled brat. He was nicknamed by everyone “The Golden Child” because that’s what HE thought he was. Funny how the smaller, more competitive QB named Major Applewhite, with less credentials, came to lead them to a Big 12 Championship. Funny how that works isn’t it?

Grow up little boy. Oh, by the way, did I mention that I want you to transfer?


Now, the question is, is that merely smack worthy of Jim Rome, or is that harassment?

I really don't have a dog in this fight. I don't have a hog in this fight, either. Mustain is apparently visiting my school, the University of Oklahoma, in search of a place to transfer. If he comes, great. If he doesn't, I wish him well somewhere else.

This whole thing is such a circus. If you're from Arkansas, you deserve better.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

General Hogspital

The soap opera continues in Fayetteville, home of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Orson at Every Day Should Be Saturday compares it to a Spanish telenovela.

Arkansas offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn resigned this week to become co-offensive coordinator for new head coach Todd Graham at the University of Tulsa. This sounds really crazy, as Arkansas went 10-3 this season, winning the SEC West, and Tulsa is a mid-major program in Conference USA. Why would he make this move? And, why is Hog Nation in mutiny tonight? Why does this matter?

Coach Malzahn was hired this season from the campus of Springdale High School, where his team finished as undefeated state champions and in the top five in the nation in 2005. His Springdale team featured five Division I recruits, including Gatorade National Player of the Year QB Mitch Mustain. Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt was strongly encouraged to hire Malzahn as his offensive coordinator, in an effort to sign Mustain and the other home-grown prospects. There was a problem, however. Nutt favors a run-based offense, and the Hogs had Heisman runner-up running back Darren McFadden. Malzahn is a guru of the Hurry-Up No-Huddle offense (HUNH), and has written a book about it. As could be expected, their philosophies clashed. Malzahn handled the situation with class, even after having his play-calling duties sharply reduced in spite of an 8-1 start.

At the end of the regular season, the parents of the Springdale recruits asked for and got a meeting with resident fossil/athletic director Frank Broyles. Broyles listened to their concerns, and told them that "experts" had told him they didn’t think the HUNH offense would work in the SEC, and that he agreed with them. This wouldn’t be the first time Broyles has interfered with the coaches after retiring as coach-ask Ken Hatfield. The parents were upset, and aired their concerns to the press. Mustain had already made some questionable comments about Nutt during his recruitment, as a local reporter wrote a book on the Springdale championship run. Needless to say, all was not well in Fayetteville, even as the Hogs were having a good season.

A ton of Hog fans are upset, because they feel that Nutt, Broyles, and company lied to Malzahn and the Springdale recruits regarding the offense. They were told the Hogs would throw the ball more, but Nutt did the opposite toward the end of the season, especially after Mustain was benched after going 8-0 as a starter.

So, no-huddle guru Malzahn starts up the Gus Bus and goes down Highway 412 to Tulsa, where he will receive the same $175,000/year salary with the Golden Hurricane. Little ol’ University of Tulsa paying $175,000 for a co-offensive coordinator? There is a lot of old oil money floating around on 11th Street. And, QB Mustain is preparing to follow him down the road.

So, Gus Malzahn, the people’s choice, ends up in Tulsa, and Houston Nutt is more on the hot seat than ever at Arkansas. Nutt turned down the Nebraska job three years ago before it went to Bill Callahan. That’s nuts. He also flirted with jobs at LSU, N.C. State, and Alabama in recent years. But, as long as he does things the Broyles way, he’ll have a job at Arkansas.

This really doesn’t matter outside of the state of Arkansas, and the city of Tulsa. It is an interesting story to follow, however. From everything I’ve read, Gus Malzahn is a really good guy, and deserves success at the college level. As for the Hogs, they are just waiting for Frank Broyles to be escorted out of the athletic building, in one way, shape or form. Their football program will not reach its potential as long as the old man is on the hill in Fayetteville.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Going to England

The NFL is putting together the final details on the first NFL regular season game to be played outside of North America. Published reports say the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins will play next year in London, at the newly remodeled Wembley Stadium. Details are yet to be finalized, but should be in the next few days. It looks like the Dolphins will give up one of their home games. This is doubly bad for the transplanted New Yorkers in South Florida, as the Giants visit Miami once every eight years under the NFL's scheduling plan.

The goal of the league is to have every team in the league play a regular season game in another country over the next 16 years. The Arizona Cardinals hosted the San Francisco 49ers in Mexico City in 2005, and played before an NFL-record crowd.

I think this is great. I don't think any non-U.S. city is ready for a full-time NFL franchise (Toronto would be with a slightly bigger stadium), but a game or two every year is a good thing for the league. We'll never turn world football fans into American football fanatics, but the NFL can still build a fan base and sell a lot of shirts overseas.

These regular season games are relatively easy for us, the fans, as long as they are in Canada, Mexico, or even Europe. A game can be played in Europe at 6 PM London time, which would be 1 PM Eastern/12 PM Central, which would fit well for TV purposes. Toronto is on Eastern time, and Mexico City is on Central time, so they fit perfectly. Games in Japan, China, or Australia would be a stretch for TV audiences in the U.S. Seattle and New England are playing an exhibition game in Beijing this August that will be televised around 7 AM on a Wednesday morning in the States. That wouldn't work in the regular season.

Look out world, the guys in helmets and pads are coming!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Field of 65: Early Projections

Better late than never, but I am going to begin projecting teams for the upcoming NCAA men’s basketball tournament. I am not going to start predicting seeds until February. It is hard to do projections before now, because of the inconsistency of computer ratings and the variety of non-conference schedules. Conference play brings out the best in teams, and offers a peek at a team’s true strength.

This will be a weekly feature. Here goes my first shot at picking the field of 65:

(by conference)
America East (1): Vermont
ACC (5): North Carolina, Duke, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Maryland
Atlantic Sun (1): Belmont
Atlantic 10 (1): UMass
Big East (8): Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Providence, Louisville, West Virginia, UConn, Marquette
Big Sky (1): Weber State
Big South (1): Winthrop
Big 10 (5): Wisconsin, Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan State
Big XII (5): Texas A&M, Texas, Kansas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State
Big West (1): Cal State-Fullerton
Colonial (2): VCU, Old Dominion
Conference USA (1): Memphis
Horizon (1): Butler
Ivy (1): Penn
MAAC (1): Marist
MAC (1): Ohio
Mid-Continent (1): Oral Roberts
Mid-Eastern (1): Delaware State
Missouri Valley (4): Creighton, Missouri State, Wichita State, Southern Illinois
Mountain West (2): Air Force, BYU
Northeast (1): Fairleigh Dickinson
Ohio Valley (1): Austin Peay
Pac 10 (5): USC, Arizona, Oregon, UCLA, Washington State
Patriot (1): Holy Cross
SEC (6): Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, LSU, Arkansas
Southern (1): Davidson
Southland (1): Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
SWAC (1): Jackson State
Sun Belt (1): Western Kentucky
West Coast (1): Gonzaga
WAC (2): Nevada, New Mexico State

NFC Parity

Interesting tidbit:

All four NFC playoff games have been decided by three points or less.

Seattle 21, Dallas 20
Philadelphia 23, NY Giants 20

New Orleans 27, Philadelphia 24
Chicago 27, Seattle 24

UUOTD-Playoff Edition

You can't argue with results, and the skins on the wall allow him to get away with such a thing. Bill Belichick has three Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots, with Tom Brady and a bunch of guys. Brady is the only superstar in the bunch, and he was a sixth-round draft pick. He has done a masterful job in Foxboro, and his team came up big today in San Diego.

However, in a league that micromanages the clothing choices of its coaches, he is allowed to get away with looking like he just got out of a garage. The hooded sweatshirt is a relatively new thing for coaches' gamewear. But Belichick ruins a perfecly good shirt, by cutting the sleeves off. This isn't Bill's Auto Center in Natick. This is the National Football League. At least the shirt is clean, and doesn't have motor oil stains all over it.