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December 31, 2010

BOWL GAME COMPLAINTS

I love the current BCS system. I love the Bowl games. I love college football.

But I have some complaints.

I just moved and don't have cable or dish...all I have is rabbit ears getting the local channels. And do you know how many games I will be able to watch on my HD TV out of the 30 plus games? 2...yes....2. And one of them was today (ND vs. Miami)...great game.

All the rest are on cable.

I have found some websites that I can watch games on my computer, but it looks terrible compared to my TV.

Another thing I don't like is how many games are before and after New Year's Day. I know it's all about money...it just seems like every year the bowl games are more and more spread out.

Football season is about to be over. Then it's on to the recruiting story lines and getting ready for next season...which will be here before we know it!!!!
  • mark rogers
  • December 31, 2010 8:42 PM

TAYLOR POTTS SIGHTING

I ran into Texas Tech QB Taylor Potts at the ACU weight room last week. I haven't seen him in a while...it was good to catch up a little.

He was home for the week and headed to Dallas on Sunday where Texas Tech was spending the week in preparation for its bowl game tomorrow at 11 AM versus Northwestern.

Northwestern's a scrappy team with some hidden jewels, but I like Tech by 13. According to Taylor, one of Northwestern's biggest strengths is its experience on defense...that's where the game will be one or lost. If Tech comes out and immediately begins moving the ball at will...game over.

One other thing...I can't imagine that there is another college quarterback that is stronger than Potts. He is absolutely humongous and throws around sickening amounts of weight like it was filled with air.

Cam Newton is probably right up there...Stephen Garcia possibly? There aren't many in his league.

Anyway...go Tech!
  • mark rogers
  • December 31, 2010 8:35 PM

December 17, 2010

NO HARD FEELINGS IF WARREN BOLTS

What else can the guy do?

He's won a state championship.

He's been to the playoffs 12 straight years. Before Warren AHS hadn't been to the playoffs since the 50s. They were a laughing stock. A punch line.

He's the winningest coach in AHS's storied history.

He's the longest tenured coach in AHS's storied  history.

He's won more than 75% of his games.

I would guess about 5% of all high school coaches could rattle of stats like that...maybe less.

OK...we get it. The guy is a brilliant coach, leader, developer, thinker, you name it.

If he leaves to take a coaching job at a Division II school, where he went to school, to take on another great challenge of turning a program around, we should all applaud him and wish him the best.

He absolutely deserves nothing less.

He put Abilene High on a national stage. Made the football program relevant. Beat the best. Became the best.

I'm pulling for him to get the ASU job. I have no idea what Coach Warren's career aspirations are, whether he wants to coach at a big-time FBS school or coach in the NFL or be the coach at AHS until he retires, but whatever they are, he should be encouraged and supported in following them with everything he's got.

And if the past is any indication, whatever Coach Warren aspires to do, he'll do.

Interesting note - another one of the finalists named yesterday, Pierce Holt, played with Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, and Roger Craig on those great 49er teams. He made the Pro Bowl once. His brother, Ed, is an OB/GYN right here in Abilene and looks like a former NFL player himself.

 

 

 

 

  • mark rogers
  • December 17, 2010 8:39 AM

IT'S A QUARTERBACKS' WORLD

Yeah...news flash, right?

We all know that today's game of football is dominated by the play of the QB. If you have an above average QB, you'll have an above average team.

I believe this all really started with the Joe Montana-led 49ers teams of the mid-to-late 80s. George Seifert had a lot to do with it...spread offense, fast break basketball on a football field, air-it-out, shotgun...you get the picture.

From there it started spreading out to other NFL teams and then on down to the collegiate ranks. Back in the day, "three yards and a cloud of dust" wasn't a trip down memory lane...that's how everybody played the game - all the time.

A quick look at the Heisman trophy winners over the last 40 years will prove this point.

During the 1970s, two QBs won the Heisman. Jim Plunkett and Pat Sullivan. That's it, two. The rest were running backs.

During the 1908s, that lowly number increase...by one. Doug Flutie, Vinny Testaverde, Andrew Ware. The rest? Six running backs and a wide receiver.

During the 1990s, four QBs won the Heisman. Ty Detmer, Charlie Ward, Danny Weurffel, and Gino Torretta.

That was the decade the trend started taking over the NFL and started making its way down the the NCAA. How is this evident?

From 2000-2009, eight QBs won the Heisman. In order: Chris Weinke, Eric Crouch, Carson Palmer, Jason White, Matt Leinart, Troy Smith, Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford.

Reggie Bush and Mark Ingram were the only two non-QBs, and I think we all know that Vince Young (a QB) should have won the Heisman in 2005.

Since 1970, 41 players have won the Heisman trophy. 18 of them were QBs. 44% of those 18 won the award from 2000-2010 (including this year's winner, Cam Newton). In the 30 years from 1970-1999, nine QBs won the Heisman. We've already matched that total since 2000.

Anyway, not saying anything that anyone doesn't know already. I just think it's interesting to look back at trends over the course of time and really see how different today's game of football is compared to the game just a few years ago.

 

  • mark rogers
  • December 17, 2010 8:20 AM

December 8, 2010

BATTLE WITH THE BEAST

WARNING: this post is not football related...

Anyone who's ever run 26.2 miles or more knows him.

He's horrible. He's evil. He's a juggernaut of pain and destruction.

The only time you can ever see him is when you're physically exerted past the point of orientation. Usually around the 20 mile mark for runners. It all depends on levels of fitness, but there's a point for everyone in which he appears.

Before he appears and after he's gone, you can't remember what he looks or smells like. You can't remember how he makes you feel. You can't remember how you responded to his attacks or what you're strategy for defense was the last time you met. The only time to experience him is when you're at that rare moment of physical vulnerability. That is the ONLY time you ever see him.

Some call him Fatigue. Some call him Pain.

I call him...Marathon.

He sits in isolation like a Greek mythological god. A total mystery to those who have never met him...and most never will. But when he appears, you'd better be ready to battle because if you're not? He'll leave you in a heap of misery and despair.

He has some cousins and other relatives who like to torment ultra-distance bikers, triathletes, swimmers, and others who partake in bouts of extremely long exercise, but make no mistake, Marathon is the leader of them all. He is the strongest. He is the giant. He is behemoth.

For me, Marathon and I meet up at the 20 mile mark of a 26.2 mile race (I dare not call it what it actually is for fear of upsetting the Beast - so we'll just refer to it as the "race").

I have never experienced him on the bike or in the water. Only while my legs are churning painfully forward in what seems like a never-ending task.

The first time I met Marathon was in 2006 during the White Rock 26.2 mile race. At the time I didn't even know he existed. When he appeared, I didn't even know he was there.

All I knew was that I was experiencing something that I had never experienced before. Like a wounded warrior swinging at an enemy in pitch blackness. I would describe it to you now, but, as I said earlier, you cannot recall what he looks like or how he makes you feel unless you are in the moment - so to speak.

Somehow, Marathon let me wander through his domain that day in 2006. I finished that race under my goal time of 3.5 hours. I thought achieving a 26.2 mile race goal was easy. I had no idea what I had done.

The next time I came face to face with Marathon was the next year in Dallas at the 20 mile mark. This time, however, Marathon was angry. I had not shown him respect at our last meeting (since I hadn't even acknowledged him) and he was out to make a point.

My day ended one mile later in the back of an ambulance. In one short mile (from 20 to 21), Marathon took my training, my diet, my preparation, and smashed it into oblivion leaving me lying in some grass, hypothermic, shaking uncontrollably, fading in and out of consciousness and falling into shock.

While I don't remember what his face looked like, I do remember him hovering over my shivering and beaten body while I lay in the grass that morning. And then he was gone.

Roughly 365 days of thinking about a 3:20:00 finish was wasted.

Marathon and I didn't meet again until one year later (2008). This time I was a little more prepared, but I was still no match. Marathon had called in 70 degree weather and a 30 mph wind that day. While I finished, I was nearly 40 minutes of my goal (and training) pace.

Two years dreaming of crossing the line sub-3:20:00...gone.

His defeat wasn't as pronounced, but it was sound nonetheless.

I ran the half (13.1 miles) in 2009...a decision that ultimately took me far and around Marathon's dwelling place. He didn't even know I was alive that day. One of his minions had given me a hip injury. It's like he knew I was too weak an opponent last year and he didn't even want to mess with me. He disrespected me.

Three years dreaming of 3:20:00...

All this leading up to the 2010 White Rock 26.2 mile race. About a month ago, I ran 22 miles in Abilene. During those last two miles I felt like a knight slowly creeping up to the entrance of a dragon's cave. Those last two miles were like me stepping on and breaking a twig then turning and running away. Marathon slowly opened his heavy eyes...lifted his head...sniffed the air...listened for more noises...then slowly lay his head back down. I had stirred him, nothing more. But I had come away unscathed and gained some confidence just knowing I had been near him.

When the race started on Sunday, my mind was focused on running back to the mouth of that cave: 20 miles away.

At five miles, I had 15 to go before the encounter. 10 miles, I was halfway there. 15 miles, just five left. 18...two to go. 19...one.

About 400 meters before the 20 mile mark, I swallowed my second to last Accel-gel and took a swig of Accelerade. I threw my proverbial gloves on the ground and prepared myself to see him.

I had been dealing with a slight side stitch for about the last three miles, no doubt one of Marathon's lesser relatives I spoke of earlier who he'd sent to rattle me. He had the element of surprise early in our relationship...but no more.

Then, like running through a dense fog which suddenly clears, I saw him. I wish I could describe him to you now. I wish I could tell you about his long and sharp teeth, his beady eyes, the scales on his back, the venom drooling from his mouth. I wish I could say that he wore gruesome ornaments of fallen runners around his neck like trophies, or that he breathed fire or had a deafening roar.

But I can't. Because at this time, I have absolutely no idea what he looks like. It's hard to explain, but he vanishes from sight and memory as soon as the race is over.

Anyway, I don't remember what he looks like, but I remember that I saw him. And I remember saying to him, "That was me sneaking around your cave a few weeks ago, preparing, spying, looking for weakness. And I'm ready. I've never been stronger. You're about to be dominated. For the next 6.2 miles, it's just you and me. Give me your best shot."

And some of those words I actually said out loud while the happy and naive spectators looked at me in confusion and bewilderment. "Who's he talking to?" All the onlookers standing at the 20 mile mark had no idea they were standing smack dab in the midst of Marathon and all his foulness.

They watched me run past with furrowed brows and snarling teeth with no clue of the battle that had just ensued.

I had the upperhand for about the next 2.5 miles, but then Marathon started to wear me down. My pace started slipping and I began to lose some of the mental fortitude which had carried me to that point.

When we met on Sunday, I was one minute faster than my goal pace, coming into his presence at 2:29:00 (little faster than a 7:30 minute/mile pace). Basically leaving me 51 minutes to run a 10K...slower than an 8 minute/mile pace. (A 3:20:00 is a 7:38 minute/mile pace)

His persistance was staggering, and I started to think that a 3:21:09 or a 3:20:17 would still be a respectable time. Still light years faster than my personal best of 3:28:08 four years earlier.

With 3.2 miles to go I had 26 minutes left. A little slower than an 8 minute pace.

2.2 to go...17 minutes. Faster than 8 minute pace.

He was beginning to grin.

That's when the battle really started heating up.

He made sure to show me how much farther I had to run with my watch showing 3:17:00. An endless line of runners (running either 26.2 or 13.1) bounced and surged in front of me like a sea of sweating and disoriented zombies. There was no end in sight. No way I could reach a mythical finish line in less than three minutes.

Finally, I reached the entrance to Fair Park and saw the 26 mile mark a short distance away. Two minutes...

When I crossed the white sign which read "26" I looked down to see 3:18:24 on my watch...1:36 to run 385 yards or 350 meters (all but 50 meters of a lap around a standard track). Slightly slower than a 6 minute/mile pace.

At that moment in my battle with the Beast, I was on my back. His hand or knee, something, was pinning my neck to the ground. And although I don't remember exactly what it sounded like, I do remember him laughing. And I remember being afraid.

At that moment in my battle with the Beast, something clicked. Something inside me started screaming. Now, I do remember what this sounded like: a piercing, banshee-like, supernatural sound that made me cringe under its power. An inner resolve that I knew was there but didn't know exactly how to tap into, began to pulse with strength and fortitude.

At that moment in my battle with the Beast, I realized that I was too close (less than 350 meters) and had waited too long (four years) to miss out on 3:20:00.

At that moment in my battle with the Beast, something inside me snapped.

I broke loose from his formidable grip and began to fly. Bumping and pushing my way through fellow runners (many of whom were also waging their own wars), I bore down and cast aside the feelings of pain and fear, feelings that my legs were about to cramp and that I couldn't breathe. I ignored the massive weight of 26.18 miles of accumulated pain, agony and torture and faded into a feeling of numbness and detachment.

Just a few...

more....

steps........

And then it was over.

I crossed the line. Marathon, shocked and confused, vanished like a shadow blasted with a cascading and blinding light.

A look down at my watch: 3:19:55.

I tried to recreate the scream I had just heard inside my own head. You know, that banshee-like, teeth shattering shriek. I let out a scream with my face pointed skyward, my fists clinched in a ball of epic victory, my arms spread out wide from my body.

The scream chased Marathon back to his dwelling place as I marched triumphantly towards the tables of water and food.

Four years dreaming of 3:20:00...realized.

You never actually "beat" Marathon. Never really "win". But you can survive his presence battered and bruised and end up feeling good about it once he's finally gone.

Did I save anyone's life? Did I do something heroic? Did I do something amazing, that no one else has ever done?

Absolutely not. Hundreds of people were faster than me on Sunday. I didn't do anything great or spectacular. But Marathon doesn't care about competitions or comparisons. It's just him....and you. That's it. That's all that matters.

I think Marathon purposely makes his attackers (runners) forget most everything about him because if he could be recalled, no one would ever want to see him again. And he needs to fight. It's his purpose. It's why he exists.

I know we'll meet again. He's as strong as ever, and I need some time to recover and regain some strength from the battle recently waged.

If you've ever met Marathon, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
If you haven't, maybe it's time to prepare yourself to meet him.

He's always out there...listening...waiting for someone to decide to do something that will push them to the physical limits they never thought possible, and then start to run....and run.......and run...........

Next goal?

3:15:00

....and a trip to Boston.

Something Marathon will do everything in his power to expire.

  • mark rogers
  • December 8, 2010 11:09 AM