The first half of the 2013 Dr. Pepper SEC Championship Game in Atlanta between #3 Auburn Tigers and #5 Missouri Tigers has been a straight shootout. Whether it's Auburn's rushing attack with Tre Mason (nearing 200 rushing yards), or Missouri's air attack with their stable of big receivers, neither team's defense has been able to stop the opposing offense. Auburn leads at the half, 28-27.   

Nick Saban On ESPN College GameDay


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Nick Saban, the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide Football Team made a guest appearance on ESPN College GameDay today. Apparently, Saban has nothing else to do since Alabama is not playing in SEC Championship Game in Atlanta later on today. So he traveled to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana to be apart of the College GameDay Show sponsored by The Home Depot. While on the set, Saban gave his perspective on several games, but he refused to predict a winner of any of the games in question. The though of Saban being on GameDay was news in Tuscaloosa on al.com.

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Is FSU's Kelvin Benjamin The Next Megatron?

No doubt FSU's Kelvin Benjamin is set on becoming his own man, but in the world of sports, making comparisons comes with the territory. And after what may very well have been his breakout performance against their arch rivals the Florida Gators, FSU's RS Sophomore wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin looked as if he might be the next Megatron (Calvin Johnson #81 WR Detroit Lions). Now, one might be tempted to think that this is not a legitimate comparison, but if you compare the two receivers early on in their college careers, and consider Benjamin's potential to put up All-American numbers next season with Jameis Winston as his quarterback, this comparison makes plenty of sense. Notice these 5 factors that compare Kelvin Benjamin to Calvin Johnson when he was at Georgia Tech...

1. THEIR SIZE - based on their bios, both their Height/Weight are pretty much the same...

Kevin Benjamin at Florida State: 6-5/234
Calvin Johnson at Georgia Tech: 6-5/235

2. THEIR SPEED
- as for their speed, research shows that it's safe to say that Johnson was probably faster than Benjamin in college, yet Benjamin is still respectfully fast, and has room to improve in this area...

Benjamin's 40 yard dash: 4.4s - 4.6s
Johnson's 40 yard dash: 4.35s (NFL Combine)  

3. THEIR SKILL - although Benjamin has shown some inconsistencies with his work ethics, and hands; no one can question the level of skill that this young man has much like Calvin Johnson especially in their ability to get the ball. Both Benjamin and Johnson have highlights of them going up and snatching the ball out of mid-air, using their big frames, and jumping ability, leaving defenders helpless. Take a look at these brief videos, and notice their skill...

Kelvin Benjamin's Highlights on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTkyr7Qv8mc

Calvin Johnson's GT Highlights on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAjW9GbLEks

4. THEIR STRENGTH - it's no question that both of these guys are big receivers, even on the collegiate level. And with their size comes amazing strength. If you watched the videos, you saw both Benjamin and Johnson in beast mode, just throwing DBs off of them. Furthermore, both of them have displayed tremendous leaping ability, and strong hands when catching the football. As a matter of fact, Duke's Head Coach, David Cutcliffe had this to say about Kelvin Benjamin as they prepare to face FSU in the the 2013 Dr. Pepper ACC Championship Game, "We don't have anybody that can line up and match up physically with Benjamin," he said. "He's just a monster, and with great skills (Mike Huguenin)."   

5. THEIR STATS - in their first two years on the field, both Benjamin and Johnson put up some impressive numbers with Johnson having a slight edge over Benjamin in catches/yards at this point (Benjamin's RS Sophomore season is not over). However, Benjamin has already caught more touchdowns than Johnson did in their first two years on the field...

Kelvin Benjamin: 75 catches 1333 yards 16 TDs

Calvin Johnson: 102 catches 1725 yards 14 TDs 

Now of course as a JR, Calvin Johnson dominated College Football at Georgia Tech, setting school records, winning awards, being recognized as the Nation's Best Receiver in 2006. As for Benjamin, what he'll do his RS-JR season is unknown. Yet based on his potential, FSU's Kelvin Benjamin might be the next Megatron!

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*Disclaimer: The blogger is NOT responsible for content of the videos linked above...

The Noles Got It Going

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After a slow start, the Noles got it going against the Gators in the first half. For the majority of the first half, the Noles led 3-0, and struggled to protect Winston against Florida's front seven. But in the second quarter, the Seminoles offense continued to attack, and blew open a 17-0 lead against their arch rivals the Florida Gators. Jameis Winston threw two touchdowns to wide receiver Kevin Benjamin as the first half. 

The Big 3 of College Football Rivalry Week

College Football Rivalry Week is upon us, and it comes with much anticipation. There is a lot at stake as some of College Football's most heated rivals square off. Of all the games that will played this weekend, there are three games that are bigger than all the rest, because of the National Championship implications that are riding on these games. Below you will find a brief overview of what is deemed to be "The Big 3 of College Football Rivalry Week."     

1 Alabama vs. 4 Auburn


The first game of The Big 3 is "The Iron Bowl." The match up between #1 Alabama and #4 Auburn is perhaps the most anticipated game in the history of this bitter rivalry. Fans of both teams have been rolling into Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama to witness this historic event since last week. With trips to SEC Championship game, as well as, the National Championship game on the line, this game promises to be a hard hitting instant classic, but only one team will prevail victorious. The game will air on Saturday, November 30, 3:30 PM (ET) on CBS.  

2 Florida State vs. Florida

 

The second game of The Big 3 is one of College Football's biggest rivalry. It's the annual meeting between #2 Florida State and their hated rival Florida. Because of the Gators' struggles, and the Seminoles' success this season, many believe that this will be the most lopsided victory in the history of this rivalry for Florida State. The Noles have already secured their spot in the ACC Championship game. With a win against Florida, the Seminoles will claim the Sunshine State Championship haven beaten the Miami Hurricanes early this season. With the Noles coming to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Florida, the Gators look to spoil FSU's National Title hopes, and regain a since of pride as one of their worse seasons in school history comes to an end. The game will air on Saturday, November 30, 12:00 PM (ET) on ESPN. 

3 Ohio State vs. Michigan

Top Moments in History of OSU-Michigan

The third game of The Big 3 may not have the hype that it's had in the past, but its still a big rivalry game. And for Coach Urban Meyer and his #3 Ohio State Buckeyes, a win against their rival the Michigan Wolverines will keep their national title hopes alive. For Michigan, it's a matter of pride, and the opportunity to play spoiler against their old foes at home in The Big House - Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The game will air on Saturday, November 30, 12:00PM (ET) on ABC.

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On Monday, Kobe Bryant signed a two year contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers. Sources say that the deal is worth $48.5 million. Although this is a bit of a pay cut, Bryant at age 35 is still the highest paid player in the NBA. It is said that the Mamba will receive $23.5 million in the first year and $25 million in the second year of this extension. Their salary agreement will allow the Lakers some financial flexibility to pursue a top free-agent next summer.

Certainly it's great to see the Lakers honor the face of their franchise in Kobe Bryant. But the news of this contract extension may cause some to ask, "Does The Black Mamba have two years left in his tank? When you think about, Kobe has been in the league for 17 years, that's thousands of miles up and down the court. Now of course no one can question the Mamba's toughness, his work ethic, or his competitive edge. However, there have been many great athletes that have not been able to defy father time.

Currently, Kobe Bryant has returned to practice since tearing his achilles tendon last season. The Lakers have no set time on Kobe's return, although some believe that he is ahead of schedule. Nevertheless, at this point in his career, do you think that The Black Mamba have two years left in his tank?

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A State Of Shock

 

Perhaps I'm a poor sports reporter, but I'd much rather blame it on the fact that I've been sick for the last few days. Either way, I went to bed last night at halftime of the Denver vs. New England game. And if you didn't watch the game, Denver was whipping the Patriots 24-0 at halftime in Foxborough. The Patriots turned the ball over three times in the first quarter, this was the first time this had happen in the Belichick era. Tom Brady was frustrated, the Pats defense couldn't stop the run, and Payton Manning was on cruise control handing the ball off to Knowshon Moreno, and this is the last thing I remember.

Well, I got up this morning certain that the Patriots had lost. I didn't have time to watch Sports Center before I left the house this morning. So when I got to work, I turned on my laptop, and took a quick look at Bleacher Report, and I couldn't believe my eyes. The Patriots had comeback, and won the game in OT.  In a state of shock I cried out, "woe...woe...woe!" I could not believe that the Pats had won. I'm sure that there are Broncos fans, as well as, Patriots fans that are still in a state of shock about this game. I didn't even see the second half, and I'm taken by the fact that the Pats won. Were you shocked by the outcome of this game?

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Paul George - A Young Kobe Bryant

Paul George

Certainly, Paul George is his own man, and he is a star in the NBA in his own right. On Wednesday night, at Madison Square Garden, George put up a career high performance (35 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 5 Stl, 2 Blk ) in the Pacers overtime win against the New York Knicks.

And almost like clockwork, when a player reaches stardom in the NBA, he begins to be compared to other NBA Greats. For example, Lebron James is constantly being compared to Michael Jordan. Kevin Durant has been compared to George "The Iceman" Gervin. In recent weeks, Chris Paul (CP3) has been compared to "Magic" Johnson. Needless, there is nothing wrong with any of this whether the comparison is far or not, it's all apart of the game.

So, as Paul George continues to make a name for himself, and his star power continues to rise, perhaps it's time to compare George to one of the NBA Greats. And although this particular player is still playing, it is without certain that he will go down as one the legends of the NBA, and that player is Kobe Bryant. And when you watch Paul, notice he his game compares to that of a young Kobe Bryant. Now, before you disagree, here are 3 ways that Paul George compares to a young Kobe Bryant:

1. Paul George is a lethal jump shooter like a young Kobe Bryant:



George has become a lethel jump shooter from mid-range, and beyond the ark. He can shot the turn around jump shot, as well as, pull up off the dribble. And when you watch him, notice how smooth he is, it will remind you of a young Kobe Bryant.


2. Paul George is an explosive finisher like a young Kobe Bryant:

This is one several monster dunks that George had against the Miami Heat in the 2013 Eastern Conference Final. In this picture he exploded on Anthony and Bosh. He also caught the "Birdman" under rim, and almost sat on his shoulder. George is extremely explosive, and when Kobe was younger it was nothing for him to dunk on somebody.

3. Paul George is a clutch performer like a young Kobe Bryant:

Against the Knicks on Wednesday, George dominated the second half, and overtime. He refused to let the Indiana Pacers lose. When he was fouled on 3-point shot attempt at the end of regulation, George went to line, and made 3 huge free throws, sending the game into OT. And in overtime, Paul George led the Pacers to victory as Indiana pulled out a 103-96 win Wednesday night over the New York Knicks. Here is a quote from Paul George after the game in reference to his performance, "I wanted to attack," he said. Certainly this expression ought to remind you of Kobe. So the next time you watch Paul George in action, see if he reminds you of a young Kobe Bryant.

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"We Live In A Fish Bowl." - Bobby Bowden

City In A Fish Bowl

Oftentimes, Coach Bowden used this expression ("We live in a fish bowl") to illustrate to us that everything we did, somebody was watching. He tried to keep this thought before us, to remind us that we ought to behave ourselves wisely, and stay away from situations that even looked wrong. And of course some of us took heed, and some of us didn't. However, I believe that most of us understood the point that he was trying to make.

Last night, I was reading another article about the allegations that have been brought against FSU's redshirt freshman quarterback, and 2013 Heisman candidate hopeful, Jameis Winston. And all of a sudden, this thought came rushing to my mind, we live in a fish bowl. And in that very moment, it dawned on me, that Winston, and the #2 ranked Seminoles lead by head coach Jimbo Fisher have been plunged into "The Fish Bowl Life" like never before, whether voluntary or involuntary.

Prior to the allegations against Winston, the highly talented quarterback was already receiving major national attention for his spectacular play on the field, that has resulted in him being nominated for several College Football Awards, and with the resurgence of Florida State as a national championship contender, "Jameis Winston" had become a household name for all the right reasons. But as the tide of these allegations continue to rise, one can only hope and pray that these allegations become nothing more than water on a duck's back for Winston, his family, and the entire Seminoles Nation.

Personally, I thought long and hard about not writing on this story, because I don't know what happened. But since I have gone against my better judgment, let me say that, "I simply hope that the allegations that have been brought against this young man (Jameis Winston) are false, and that he is able to move on with his life, even though it will be like living in a fish bowl." 

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P.S. Special thanks to Coach Bobby Bowden, for the simple wisdom he tried to share with us to make us better men!
 


What Was It Like To Play For Bobby Bowden?

(This photo was taken at a FCA Banquet in Knoxville, TN in 2010. Coach Bowden was the keynote speaker. Also in attendance, was former Tennessee Volunteers Head Coach, Philip Fulmer).

Oftentimes, when I meet people, and they find out that I played for The Florida State Seminoles (1997-01) under legendary Head Coach Bobby Bowden, they ask me, "What was it like to play for Bobby Bowden?" Now, when this happens, I try to answer this question as best as I can with just a few words. But the truth be told, this is a very meaningful question, that cannot be answered in just a few words. Therefore, let me take this opportunity, to try to answer this question as thoroughly as I possibly can from my perspective as I look back on my playing days at Florida State under legendary Head Coach Bobby Bowden.

1. To play for Coach Bowden was a privilege

Listen, as a young offensive linemen at Florida State, playing time was hard to come by during those days. To get on the field as a true freshmen was a big deal, even if it was for mop up duty! At the time, I was just happy to be there, to be associated with Florida State Football wherever I went, and to seemingly have Coach Bowden's approval was amazing! I mean, I must have had his approval, because I was getting a few burns - playing time (hahahaha)! In all humility, and on a more serious note, as I think about what it was like to play for Coach Bowden, I realize that it was a great privilege, and a wonderful opportunity that so many young men only wish they had. And as I get older, I'm developing an even greater appreciation for the privilege I had to play for Coach Bowden.

2. To play for Coach Bowden was pressure

It's hard to imagine the amount of pressure, and the level of expectation that was placed upon us to perform. Whether it was in Mat Drills during Winter Conditioning, or in the South Florida heat against the Miami Hurricanes, like a father would his sons, Coach Bowden demanded us to get the job done, or someone might say, "finish the drill."

From a football standpoint, we always knew when Coach Bowden was not pleased with our performance, whether it was individually or collectively. When things were not going well with the offensive line, our position coach, Jimmy Higgins, would come in our segment meetings telling us what "The Man" said ("The Man" being Coach Bowden). In no uncertain terms, Coach Bowden was the boss. The assistant coaches, as capable as they were, did what Coach Bowden asked them to do. Whether it was Chuck Amato, Mark Richt, and/or Mickey Andrews, you knew Coach Bowden was in charge, and there was pressure on all of us.

Even in the classroom, Coach Bowden expected us to do what was right. (Now, we didn't always do what was right, but at least we knew it was what he expected of us.) I remember the time I did a research paper, and I didn't like the grade that I received on my paper. And the professor asked the class to write a follow-up essay on, "What Is Good Writing?" Well, I proceeded to tell him in my follow-up essay that my research paper was good writing, and I used a few choice words (profanity) to prove my point. And without any hesitation, the professor sent a copy of my essay to the football office. And it wasn't long before my paper reached Coach Bowden's Desk.

At this point, it didn't take long for me to be called into Coach Bowden's office, and before I could sit down, he asked me in a very stern voice, "What is this?" I knew that he was asking me about the essay that I had written. Then he said to me, "Does your mother know that you're writing stuff like this?" I said, "no sir." Finally, he said to me, "I don't ever want to see you in my office about something like this again. Do you understand me?" I said, "yes sir," and I hurried out of his office. Dear reader, it's been more than a decade, yet I still remember the pressure that we were under haven played for Coach Bobby Bowden on and off the field.

3. To play for Coach Bowden is permanent

The picture at the top of this article was taken at the Knoxville Civic Center, as I mentioned at a FCA Banquet. Now, before Coach Bowden got up to speak, I walked up to him, with my hand covering my name tag. And he sat in his chair for a brief moment, looking at me as if to say, "I know you from somewhere." Shortly thereafter, he said to me, "Belle Glade, FL" which is my hometown! (Yes, Coach Bowden remembered me by my hometown!) Then, I uncovered my name tag, and he said to me, "Otis Duhart!" And immediately, he got up from his seat, and hugged my neck! I told him that my family was there, and I asked him if he wanted to meet them, with great joy, he said, "yes!" You see, I didn't score a touchdown at Florida State, I was not a Consensus All-American, nor did I make it to the NFL, but I will always be, "One of Bobby's Boys!" Once you've played for Coach Bowden nothing can change that, it's permanent!

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