Lessons learned at an experimental basketball game

Lessons learned at an experimental basketball game where the rims were 11 feet high. “Perhaps the biggest impact was on the interior players. No longer could centers like Billbe catch the ball on the low block, turn and simply extend their arms and lay the ball over the rim.” (via kottke)

Saturday at the Players Championship

Players_2005_ticket_smK and I took our time getting to Jacksonville Saturday morning for the Players Championship. After Friday’s round was cancelled and stricken so that everyone could start fresh under lift, clean and place rules, we figured more than enough golf would be had on Saturday. We got to the parking lots at UNF/FCCJ around 10:30am and while walking to the busses, we saw people walking back to their cars and heard that the course had been closed and they were not shuttling people over there anymore. Apparently it had started storming again, though from where we were, it didn’t look that bad, just a bit overcast. So we got back in the car and drove to the Avenues Mall and shopped for a bit.

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Buccaneers 17, Saints 21

Buc FlagTaking a break from World of Warcraft (lvl 31, btw), I sat down for a must-win by the Bucs. I think I blinked and missed that first touchdown runback that happened on the kickoff for the Saints. The Bucs then answered on the ensuing drive with the help of three different penalties and a great throw and catch to Joey Galloway for the TD.

Then the game went into a practical stalemate. The score didn’t change again until the 3rd quarter when Joey Galloway (remember him from the last touchdown?) ran back a punt 59 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. A couple more exchanges and Michael Pittman busted loose with a 58 yard run that set up a pooch field goal for Jay Taylor.

The Saints now getting desperate, drive down the field but are stopped at the 20 by a quarterback sack, and John Carney floats it wide right.

After the Bucs go 3-and-out, the Saints make it interesting with a 53-yard punt return which was saved from being a touchdown by Jameel Cook. But it gave the Saints 1st-and-goal from the 4 yard line. A fade route to Joe Horn in the corner of the end zone gives the Saints new light.

Next up was an absolutely terrible call by a ref which gave the Saints possession after an alleged fumble (challenged, but lost by Gruden). The Bucs had them back on their haunches at 4th-and-12 at the Bucs 43, but Brooks scrambled 13 yards to get a first down and got to the 2:00 warning. A 22-yard throw and catch to J. Horn puts the Saints at the 8. Two plays later, a slant pass puts the Saints in the end zone to go ahead, 21-17.

A heartbreaker for sure, the weekend before Christmas. The Bucs are not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but you might as well write them off in pen, not pencil.

Highlights – Michael Clayton gets his 1000th yard in his rookie career… The Bucs defense contribute big with 7 quarterback sacks and a forced fumble…

Buccaneers 24, Chargers 31

Buc FlagA close game, right down to the end. The Bucs tried to match scores with the Chargers, but shot themselves in the foot when Donnie Edwards picked off Brian Griese late in the 4th quarter and returned it for the go-ahead touchdown. The only highlights of the game were Michael Clayton upping his single-season rookie record for catches to 70 and Joey Galloway catching two TD passes. This loss guarantees the Bucs a second non-winning record since they won the Superbowl in 2002.

Buccaneers 27, Falcons 0

Buc FlagThe key to beating the Falcons and keeping them with zero points: Take Michael Vick out of the game. That’s exactly what the Bucs did this afternoon as they kept Atlanta from declaring themselves the champions of the NFC South and kept very slim hopes of a playoff spot alive. Some key interceptions and great defense finished it off. Way to go Bucs. 5-7. Next week’s game against the Chargers looks to be another step towards a playoff spot. 🙂

Gators in the Peach Bowl

Floridagators2The AP is reporting that:

The Gators accepted a bid to the Peach Bowl on Wednesday, but they didn’t indicate whether outgoing coach Ron Zook would fulfill the bowl’s wish to have him on the sidelines for Florida (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP).

Florida (7-4) is expected to play the loser of Saturday’s Miami-Virginia Tech game in the Dec. 31 bowl game. The winner of Saturday’s game will get the Atlantic Coast Conference’s automatic bid to the Bowl Championship Series.

The Gators will be making their 14th-straight bowl appearance, extending the school record, a streak that ranks second in the SEC.

I have mixed feelings about having Zook coach the Gators in the bowl game. I was (and still am) one of the get-rid-of-Zook folks, but seeing as his team has come through for him in the last three games in pretty big fashion, it might be a nice send-off. I really don’t see any use in having a new coach for the bowl game – Zook’s earned this one.

Bucs Release K Gramatica; sign Taylor

MartingramaticaKeeping with the Bucs theme, it was reported today that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released struggling kicker Martin Gramatica and replaced him with Arena Football League kicker Jay Taylor. A sad day for the Bucs career points leader who has been not so accurate the past couple of years.

"I didn’t want to face the reality, but I felt it,” Gramatica said. "They called me to have a meeting with (general manager) Bruce Allen. I go: ‘He’s not calling me to get me ready for tomorrow’s practice.’ On the way there, I felt it. That made it a little easier. It wasn’t a shock.”

"Automatica", as he had been known during his better seasons, will be sorely missed and here’s hoping to his getting things back in order and continuing on with a great career.

Buccaneers 14, Panthers 21

Buc FlagI feel kind of bad for Martin Gramatica. He’s such a likeable guy, but when you’re just not making the kicks – he missed all three field goal attempts in this game – someone’s gotta be accountable. Of course, Delhomme marching the Panther offense down the field in 0.3 seconds didn’t really help things. Where the hell was the defense on that drive?

Anyhow, the situation was all too reminiscent for Gramatica, who had three kicks blocked by Carolina last season, including a potential winning extra point at the end of regulation in a game the Panthers won in overtime.

Oh well. The four Barnash boys had a conversation this past weekend about the Bucs’ hopes to get into the playoffs. Only one (Chris) said that they would make it. But it appears that the other three of us were the better predictors.

Buccaneers 35, 49ers 3

Buc_ticket_gm7I picked a great time to do the annual visit to Raymond James Stadium. What a game for Joe Jurevicius. He caught two touchdown passes in the rout of the San Francisco 49ers. This was the fourth victory for the Bucs in six games after an 0-4 start. Then again, the 49ers have lost five straight and were held to 197 yards of total offense. Not much of a fight, I suppose.

It didn’t matter, though. A rout is a rout and being in the stadium makes it all worthwhile. This time around, Kristin and I made sure she wasn’t in the bathroom for the Air Force flyover. They go really low over the stadium and it rocks the whole place. As it turns out, Mr. Chucky – that guy that wears the orange and white throwback uni and has four Chucky doll heads on his shoulders – has his season ticket seats just left of where we were sitting (south end zone, 6th row).

Good times.

Buccaneers 14, Falcons 24

Buc FlagIn a game of too many penalties and too many points given up early, the Bucs drop their sixth game of the year to the red-hot Falcons.

The Bucs spotted the Falcons 17 points in the first quarter and a half before deciding to put together an 82 yard drive topped off by a 25-yard touchdown pass to Michael Clayton. Coming back from halftime, it looked as if the Bucs had ground the Falcons offense to a halt, then scored again to make it 17-14 Falcons. But then more penalties and more yards given up and way way way too many sacks, and the Bucs offense sputtered and never produced anything else. Atlanta then ran out the rest of the clock and practically (if not mathematically) put the Bucs out of playoff contention.