Ranking The ACC – Week 4

I ranked ’em last week, and I’m feeling like doing it again. I can’t say for certain if this will become a weekly feature, but I hope so. We’ll see. It’s always interesting to see how teams change throughout the season and this is one way to keep track.
1. Florida State – Yes the #2 Hokies were extremely impressive last week, but I’m not quite ready to drop the ‘Noles. Their road win over BC looks a little better now that the Eagles won at Clemson. Miami has done well after losing to FSU as well.
This team is still a bit of a mystery. They clearly have talent, but it shows up inconsistently. They appeared to have problems passing, but a strong running game against Miami, but then couldn’t run, but could pass against BC. The one constant is their defense. It may not be getting the press that the Hokie’s D is, but I think they’re probably just as good. We’ll see, but probably not this weekend as the ‘Noles host Syracuse. The Orange gave Virginia some troubles at home, but this ain’t the Carrier Dome. I expect a blowout.

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Email Poker Tournament

Do you like poker? Are you very patient? Are you an inveterate geek?
Well, then this tournament is for you! It’s an international online poker tournament played entirely via email. For us old geeks, this will likely remind you of the pre-web days when listservs were the really cool Internet (cough, cough … BITNET) tools.
It looks like the tourney will take nearly a year to play. It’s free and it has had a few pros in it in the past, including Chris Ferguson, who looks like the 35-year-old grad student who worked in the computer lab at your school.
And if you hadn’t guessed, I’m in baby.

Eleven – 4 – Zone Blocking

The fourth chapter in Bobby P’s playbook concerns zone blocking. You hear the term on the weekends and you nod your head, but you have no idea what they’re talking about. In fairness, the talking heads probably don’t know either. Read this and you will know.
Is there anything more beautiful than seeing an offensive line move in concert, washing a defensive front to one side, and then out of the mass of confusion, seeing a running back cut back against the grain through a massive hole that seems to appear out of nowhere? Most football purists would agree with you. Well if you ask me, I’d have to say seeing a wily free safety fill that cutback lane with some serious authority is a much prettier sight, but I am a little biased.

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Ranking The ACC

I confess that this is not an original idea, but I’m doing it anyway. I’ve had all sorts of thoughts about teams and games in my head that I just haven’t been able to put down on paper … er computer screen … so, they can all go here instead.
1. Florida State – They have not looked pretty, but they’ve played by far the toughest schedule and are undefeated. I have to admit that despite years of hatred, I was pulling hard for the Seminoles against Boston College on Saturday. After the way they kicked sand in the faces of the whole ACC for most of the nineties, I’d be damned if some Johnnie-come-lately carpetbagger was going to come in and beat them in their first try. No, BC needed to experience the same crushing defeat of so many promising ACC teams that came before them.
The Seminoles are a fairly shaky #1 though. I’m still not impressed with Weatherford, and what happened to their running game in Boston?

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NBDL Getting Better

The NBDL announced yesterday that starting next season, there will be official ties between NBA and NBDL teams that will allow NBA teams to send players down to play in the minors.
Now, some folks will say that this is yet another blow against college basketball, but I disagree. I think the damage has already been done – the best players want to go pro and they will. What this helps is the NBA, which no longer has to pay talented but unskilled players to sit on their bench. They can send those kids down where they can actually play against other pros. Those NBA roster spots can then be filled by veterans who may not be able to jump as high, but who can hit an open jumper and set a proper screen.
I don’t really see this affecting college in any way. If anything, there’s an outside shot that some players might stay in college to avoid the stigma of playing in the minor leagues. It’s unlikely, but possible.
One potential hitch is that with only eight NBDL teams, NBA clubs will have to share teams. If four NBA teams send two players each down to an NBDL team, will there be arguments over playing time? I doubt teams will be too happy about sending LaQuan Nojumper down to play in Fayetteville and having him ride the pine behind Sven Bigwhitestiff and Parshall Qualifier.
Still it sounds like a no-brainer to me. I’m just shocked at how long it’s taken to happen.

Big Week For The Chest

Caulton Tudor has a well-written piece today on how big this weekend’s game with Carolina is for Chuck Amato.
Often, newspaper columnists, Tudor included, go to extremes in an effort to get attention and sell papers. This article offered plenty of opportunity for hyperbole, but I don’t think Tudor crossed that line. He plainly pointed out that Amato’s job will not be in jeopardy if he loses this game. The fans will be quite upset though, and there will likely be some boos mingled in with the wolf calls in Carter-Finley.
For several years now, NC State fans have loved the feeling that they’ve finally gotten a leg up on the “Blue Bellies” from Chapel Hill. Chuck Amato very quickly built up a strong program in Raleigh while John Bunting has muddled around with a program that Carl Torbush torpedoed.
But here’s the thing – for as much excitement as Amato has brought to Raleigh, he hasn’t really distanced NC State far from Carolina, at least not in their head-to-head games. Bunting is 2-2 against the Pack and won last year. You might recall that Carolina went on to go to a bowl game while State stayed home.
So yes, this is a big game. The Wolfpack has a better team and a better coaching staff. They should win. But if they don’t, if they lose to the Heels for a second consecutive season, I wonder if much of that hype and promise will whoosh out of the big red balloon.

TiVo Tips?

I upgraded to DirecTV a few months ago largely because I wanted a TiVo. Great decision; I love it and I only spend about $5 more per month than I did before. With two little boys, I don’t get to watch nearly as much live sports as I’d like, so watching them later is damn handy.
I need help figuring out a way to record all of the games I want. I already set up a rule to record all Virginia football and basketball games. That’s fine and it works pretty well, although it does also record West Virginia and Virginia Tech games (and shows about football or basketball).
What I’d really love though is an easy way to have it record, or at least find, all live football games (and eventually, basketball) involving ACC teams. Is this possible? Hell, is it even possible to have it find all live football games in a Wishlist? Then I could just pick through that list for the ones I really want. I can’t seem to find the magic incantation. I noticed that all games have the keywords of “event” and “live”, so I tried putting those words in a Wishlist, but it only found shows with those words in the title, which is pretty much worthless. If I just get everything that’s tagged with Football, it’s way too much stuff.
I know I can create a Wishlist for every team, but man, what a pain in the ass that would be. Not to mention messy. I’d have games in all sorts of different folders.
So, I ask you all, how do you use TiVo to record live sporting events (and yes, I’ve checked with google)? Who has tips? Leave them in comments. If I get some good advice, I’ll publish a new article with all the details.

Links For The Weekend

I hope to get a weekend preview up at some point today – afterall, this is the only weekend all year when every ACC team plays – but meanwhile, you can check out these links for plenty o’ good readin’.
The guys at ACC Basketblog have a smorgasbord of fantastic ACC football links today. Start there. Hell, you can probably finish there too.
The ACC’s weekly football release is always good reading. They really do a great job with these.
Fanblogs.com has a nice preview of the big national games, including two ACC tilts. Oh, and there’s a rather nice pic in there as well (Go Beavers!).
And in case you missed it – I did post it at a crappy time – don’t forget to read Bobby P’s article on the Cover Two. Then see if you can spot it in use on Saturday and Sunday.