Tuesday, October 25, 2011

District 3-AAA Power Rankings - After Week 9

  1. Powell (10-0) - For the first time in school history, the Panthers posted back-to-back undefeated regular seasons, shutting out Central 34-0 in their season finale. Powell remains #2 in the state. Dy'shawn Mobley inched closer to another school record, passing Andrew Tudor for the 2nd most rushing yards in a season. He needs 152 yards to break Derek Milligan's record (2,007 yards in 2002). The Panthers have a bye week before they host a first round playoff game. The Panthers toughest task will be playing the postseason without top DBs Jonathan Strozyk (torn ACL) and Jonathan Staggs (severe concussion).
    • Current playoff projection: Quad 1 (5A) - #1 seed (vs. #8 Anderson County)
  2. Oak Ridge (6-3) - OR is firing on all cylinders after pounding Clinton last week. The Wildcats locked up 2nd place in the district and an automatic playoff berth. They host Campbell County on senior night this Friday.
    • Current playoff projection: Quad 2 (6A)
  3. Karns (6-3) - Big game against HVA this week. A win would give the Beavers 7 wins, a rivalry win, an improved playoff seed, and keep the Hawks out of the playoffs.
    • Current playoff projection: Quad 1 (6A)
  4. Anderson County (4-5) - Crucial win against HVA. The defense really stepped up against Dorian Eskridge. Turnovers are still plaguing this team, but a win against Clinton should put the Mavericks into the playoffs.
    • Current playoff projection: Quad 1 (5A) - #8 seed (at #1 Powell)
  5. Hardin Valley (5-4) - The wheels are starting to fall off for HVA. This team is leaning heavily on Dorian Eskridge, and it cost them against AC, who slowed them down enough to get the win. As weak as district 3-AAA is, 5 wins likely won't get HVA into the postseason. The Hawks need to beat Karns to clinch a playoff berth.
  6. Central (2-7) - Completely shutdown against Powell. Cody Blanc had 8 carries for -14 yards and 3 catches for 1 yard against the Panther 1st team defense. Mobley outran him on 2 of his long TD runs. Big rivalry game against Halls this week.
  7. Campbell County (3-6) - Kudos to Tuffy Shoupe, who's had a great season, and who shredded the Halls defense last Friday night. Tough game at OR this week.
  8. Halls (1-8) - Completely embarassed by CC last week. Looking for a big win in the Battle of Black Oak Ridge against Central.
  9. Clinton (0-9) - Beating AC would be like winning the super bowl for the Dragons. Clinton would love nothing more than to get that elusive win and keep AC out of the playoffs.
5A Playoff Outlook

Here are my 5A playoff projections, based on my predictions for week 10. These are definitely subject to change, depending on this week's results:

Quad 1 (easiest quad)
1 Powell (favorite)
2 Morristown West
3 South-Doyle
4 Cherokee
5 Sullivan South
6 Morristown East
7 Daniel Boone
8 Anderson County

1st Round
AC at Powell
SS at Cherokee
Mo East at SD
DB at Mo West

Quad 2
1 Columbia
2 Tullahoma
3 Knox West (favorite)
4 Ooltewah
5 Shelbyville
6 Centennial
7 Lenoir City
8 Cleveland

1st Round
Cleveland at Columbia
Shelbyville at Ooltewah
Centennial at West
LC at Tullahoma

Quad 3
1 Antioch
2 Gallatin (favorite)
3 Hendersonville
4 Beech
5 Clarksville
6 Springfield
7 Glencliff
8 Station Camp

1st Round
SC at Antioch
Clarksville at Beech
Springfield at Hendersonville
Glencliff at Gallatin

Quad 4 (toughest quad)
1 Henry County (favorite)
2 Ridgeway
3 Dyer County
4 Memphis East
5 Craigmont
6 Clarksville Northeast
7 Hamilton
8 Munford

1st Round
Munford at HC
Craimont at ME
Clarksville NE at DC
Hamilton at Ridgeway

Monday, October 17, 2011

District 3-AAA Power Rankings - After Week 8

  1. Powell (9-0) - Moves up to #2 in the state, following the 69-13 drubbing of Campbell County. Lost in Dy'shawn Mobley's stellar season is the great year Dustin McPhetridge is having. He had his best game of the year against the Cougars, rushing for 182 yards and 4 TDs (on 7 carries), while passing for 164 yards and 3 TDs (5-for-5 passing). Clinched their 2nd consecutive district title, and travel to Central with another chance to finish the regular season 10-0.
  2. Oak Ridge (5-3) - The Wildcats have clearly positioned themselves as the #2 team in the district, following their 42-7 win over Hardin Valley. One more win and the Wildcats should be a lock for the postseason. Should have no problems against Clinton and CC. Watch out for OR in the 6A playoffs.
  3. Hardin Valley (5-3) - Struggled both offensively and defensively against OR. This team relies solely on Dorian Eskridge on offense. They'll need him to come up big the next two weeks against Anderson County and Karns. The Hawks likely need one more win to clinch a playoff berth.
  4. Karns (6-3) - For the first time in 37 years, the Beavers will have a winning season, after edging AC 28-20. The win likely punched a playoff ticket for Karns. The Beavers would love to get the first playoff win in school history this November. Off this week, but a big game against HVA the following week.
  5. Anderson County (3-5) - The defense played a bit better against Karns, but they weren't good enough. The Mavs have a crucial game against HVA this week. A 6th loss would likely knock AC out of the playoffs.
  6. Halls (1-7) - Winable game against CC this week, before the Battle of Black Oak Ridge next week.
  7. Central (2-6) - Big test at home against Powell this week, before the Battle of Black Oak Ridge next week.
  8. Campbell County (2-6) - An injured Tuffy Shoupe played an impressive first half, but the Cougars just don't have the horses to hang with Powell. Looking for their 3rd win of the season against Halls this week.
  9. Clinton (0-8) - Could be a very ugly night for the Dragons at OR this week. Last chance for a win comes next week against AC.
Top 5 title contenders:
  • Powell
  • Knox West
  • Columbia
  • Henry County
  • Memphis East
Other contenders:
  • Tullahoma
  • Gallatin
  • Ridgeway

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

District 3-AAA Power Rankings - Week 7

  1. Powell (8-0) - Remains #3 in the state. Starters didn't play a down in the second half against Clinton, cruising 49-7. Powell hosts Campbell County this week. Panthers shouldn't face another tough test until the playoffs.
  2. Oak Ridge (4-3) - Impressive win against Karns, 35-14. Game really wasn't as close as the score indicated, as the OR defense dominated for 3+ quarters. Zullinger appears to have a sprained shoulder, and may be out for this week's game at Hardin Valley.
  3. Hardin Valley (5-2) - Dominated Halls, 37-12. Big game against OR this week, with the winner likely earning the #2 spot in district and an automatic playoff berth.
  4. Karns (5-3) - Struggled to get going against OR, until the game was out of hand. Huge game against Anderson County this week. A win gets the Beavers their first winning season since 1974.
  5. Anderson County (3-4) - How will the defense fair against Karns? The Mavs need to win 2 more games to make the playoffs. Should get one against Clinton, but will face 2 tough defenses (Karns and HVA) along the way.
  6. Halls (1-7) - Crushed by HVA last week. The Devils have the week off, before finishing the season against CC and Central.
  7. Central (2-6) - The offense came alive again, as the Bobcats cruised against CC. Central is playing their best football of the year so far. Off this week, before finishing the season against Powell and Halls.
  8. Campbell County (2-5) - Thumped by Central, 34-7. The Cougars had a tough matchup with Powell this Friday.
  9. Clinton (0-8) - Fortunately, the Dragons have a week off. They are a young team and will be better next season. Travels to OR next Thursday.
Top 5 title contenders:
  • Powell
  • Knox West
  • Columbia
  • Henry County
  • Memphis East
Other contenders:
  • Tullahoma
  • Gallatin
  • Ridgeway

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

District 3-AAA Power Rankings - Week 6

  1. Powell (7-0) - Cruised against Hardin Valley, but dropped to #3 in the state. Another huge offensive performance for Mobley/McPhetridge, while the Powell defense held HVA to under 200 total yards. Powell plays at winless Clinton this week. Panthers shouldn't face another tough test until the first Friday of November.
  2. Oak Ridge (3-3) - Throttled Anderson County last week. Zullinger's return gave the Wildcats a big lift. Huge game at Karns this Friday, followed by a trip to HVA, both with playoff implications.
  3. Hardin Valley (4-2) - Overmatched against Powell. Outside of a brilliant TD run by Eskridge early in the 1st quarter, the Hawks couldn't get anything going against the Panthers. Travel to Halls this week, with big games against OR and Karns looming.
  4. Karns (5-2) - Found their offense against Halls, and annihilated the Devils. As good as the Karns defense has been, this team could really be dangerous, now that their offense appears to be coming around. Another win guarantees the Beavers their first winning season since 1974, and could even lock up a playoff spot. Tough game against OR this week, followed by AC and HVA.
  5. Anderson County (3-4) - Blown out by OR. This team just can't seem to play any defense. The Mavericks have a week off before they head to Karns. The Mavs need to win at least 2 more games to have a shot at the playoffs. Should get one against Clinton, but will face 2 tough defenses (Karns and HVA) along the way.
  6. Halls (1-6) - Just when it looked like this team was turning the corner, they lay an egg against Karns. Still not sure what to make of this team, especially after last week. Tough game against HVA this week.
  7. Campbell County (2-4) - The Cougars still have a couple of winable games left to play (Central and Halls). Big game against the Bobcats this week.
  8. Central (1-6) - Got just enough offense to get their first win, against a winless Clinton squad. Plays CC this week, with a chance to extend the winning streak to 2 games.
  9. Clinton (0-7) - Barring some sort of miracle, this should be a winless season for the Dragons. Host Powell this week.
Top 5 title contenders:
  • Powell
  • Knox West
  • Columbia
  • Henry County
  • Memphis East
Other contenders:
  • Morristown West
  • Tullahoma
  • Gallatin
"Overrated" teams in 5A
  • Ridgeway
  • Dyer County
Sleeper teams in 5A
  • Lenoir City
  • Cleveland (figured something out against Red Bank)

Monday, September 26, 2011

District 3-AAA Power Rankings - Week 5

  1. Powell (6-0) - Remains ranked #2 in the state. Panthers rolled over Karns, building a 40-7 lead early in the 4th quarter. Mobley's stats (through 6 games): 87 carries, 1140 yards, 19 TDs. The Panthers last big test of the regular season is this Friday, hosting Hardin Valley with first place on the line.
  2. Hardin Valley (4-1) - Held off Central last week, 24-14. Hawks have yet to hit their stride offensively. Still not sure what happened against Heritage, otherwise this team would be unbeaten. Battle the Panthers for first place in the district this week.
  3. Oak Ridge (2-3) - Couldn't get anything going against Maryville, which wasn't a shock. The Wildcats need Zullinger back in a big way, but he still hasn't been cleared to play. Big game at Anderson County this week.
  4. Karns (4-2) - Came back down to earth after getting crushed by Powell. The Beaver defense still looks good, but the offense just isn't there. Intriguing game with an improving Halls team this week.
  5. Anderson County (3-3) - Won a close shootout against Halls. Still has yet to stop anyone defensively, which will likely cost them against OR this Friday.
  6. Halls (1-5) - Came up short against AC. The offensive is definitely improving, but the defense just isn't there. Tough game against Karns this week.
  7. Campbell County (2-4) - Big win against Clinton. The Cougar offense is starting to click the 2 games. Off this week.
  8. Central (0-6) - Still can't seem to find any offense. The Bobcat defense continues to keep games close, but if you can't score, you can't win. Hosts Clinton this Friday, so someone gets their first win of the season.
  9. Clinton (0-6) - Edged by CC, which was their best chance for a win. Travel to Central this week, with one more chance for that elusive first win.
Other teams to watch out for in 5A (early title contenders):
  • Morristown West
  • Knox West
  • Tullahoma
  • Gallatin
  • Columbia
  • Clarksville NE
  • Henry County
  • Memphis East

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

District 3-AAA Power Rankings - Week 4

  1. Powell (5-0) - Ranked #2 in the state, and still looks like a title contender. Looked very focused in their blowout win at Anderson County. Hosts Karns this week.
  2. Oak Ridge (2-2) - Struggled against Halls, but scored 2 TDs late to put the game away. Look for Zullinger to return soon. Tough test against Maryville this week.
  3. Hardin Valley (3-1) - Edged a bad Campbell County squad, 26-20. The Hawks have been Jekyll/Hyde so far this season, but are still a talented bunch. Should get back on track this week against Central.
  4. Karns (4-1) - Big win against Central - only their second win over the Bobcats in school history. Hard to believe that this is the same team that looked awful against South Doyle in week 0. The Beavers found a way to slow down Powell's offense last season. We'll see if they are up to the task again on Friday.
  5. Anderson County (2-3) - Crushed by the Panthers. This team really lacks a defense, but as bad as the bottom half of the district is, AC should easily earn a playoff spot. Hosts Halls this week.
  6. Halls (1-4) - Impressive performance against OR for 3+ quarters, but the defense just couldn't hold up. Tough test against AC this week.
  7. Central (0-5) - The Bobcats still can't find any offense, recording 57 total yards of offense and scoring just 3 offensive points against Karns. Thankfully, they've played great defense this year, which keeps them out of my bottom two. Things won't get any easier at Hardin Valley this week.
  8. Campbell County (1-4) - Surprising effort against Hardin Valley. Winable game at Clinton this Friday.
  9. Clinton (0-5) - Blown out by Knox Central (KY). Failed to score any offensive points. Best chance for a win comes this week against CC.
Hard to believe that one of the bottom four teams will earn an automatic playoff spot.

Other teams to watch out for in 5A (early title contenders):
  • Morristown West
  • Knox West
  • Tullahoma
  • Gallatin
  • Columbia
  • Clarksville NE 
  • Henry County
  • Memphis East

Friday, September 16, 2011

District 3-AAA Power Rankings - Week 3

  1. Powell (4-0) - Ranked #2 in the state. Huge comeback win against Oak Ridge. Dy'shawn Mobley is playing like a man among boys. The Panthers are looking for payback at Anderson County this week.
  2. Oak Ridge (1-2) - Tough loss for OR against Powell. The loss of Zullinger really hurt in the 2nd half. This is still a playoff team, with a solid defense. Watch out for the Wildcats, once Zullinger comes back in a couple of weeks.
  3. Hardin Valley (2-1) - Started out very slow, but still shutout a bad Clinton squad (27-0). In a few weeks, I expect to see Eskridge and the Hawks to hit their stride.
  4. Anderson County (2-2) - Cruised against Central last week. We know they can sling it around, but the Mavs have a suspect defense.
  5. Karns (3-1) - When was the last time this team was 3-1? Hard to believe that this is the same team that looked awful against South Doyle (lost 7-0). The Beavers have the talent to beat Central. Then, the real challenge begins.
  6. Central (0-4) - Cody Blanc was out with an ankle injury last week, which didn't help against AC. This team is in trouble, especially on offense (20 points through 4 games).
  7. Halls (1-3) - Completely dominated by Webb last week. Tough matchups with OR and AC in the next two weeks.
  8. Campbell County (1-3) - Ugly shutout loss to Karns last week. It's not going to get any easier against Hardin Valley.
  9. Clinton (0-4) - Three straight shutout losses. What has happened to this team, now that Darian Stone and company are gone?
Other teams to watch out for in 5A (early title contenders):
  • Morristown West
  • Knox West
  • Ooltewah
  • Tullahoma
  • Columbia
  • Henry County

College Football - Week 2 Recap/Week 3 Preview

First Impressions
  • I'm starting to doubt what I said last week about Ohio State. Luke Fickell made some strange decisions against Toledo, which included leaving Braxton Miller on the bench for all 4 quarters. The Rockets are going to win some games this year, and may even win the MAC, but they are still Toledo. Saturday's game at Miami will be a true litmus test for the Buckeye offense.
  • Tyler Bray is the real deal. So is Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers. We knew that Cincinnati's defense wouldn't challenge the Vols, but now comes the real test. If Tyler Bray has time to throw the ball, Tennessee can/will beat Florida. The Vols still have run blocking issues to work out, and the defense still looks questionable (Cincinnati beat themselves in short yardage situations last week), but Florida's offense isn't going to put up huge numbers. If this is a shootout, Tennessee wins.
  • The Notre Dame-Michigan game was absolutely win-win for me. Notre Dame is completely overrated and has a tough game against Michigan State this week. Michigan looks like a carbon copy of last year's team. They still can't play defense, Denard Robinson can only throw jump balls, and he's their only source of offense. Two games into the season, it looks like Brady Hoke has already abandoned his new offense, to allow Robinson to run.
  • I thought Iowa was a sleeper in the Big Ten. I was dead wrong. They have to bounce back against Pitt.
  • What is the deal with Auburn?
  • You have to admire East Carolina. Those guys will play just about anyone, anywhere. Another close loss to a BCS contender.
  • South Carolina's chances of winning the SEC East hinge on their defense, and they've been shredded through 2 games. They better not sleep on Navy (just ask Ohio State).
  • Add Texas to my list of overrated teams.
  • LSU is by far the most physical team I've seen this year.
Games to Watch
  • Boise State-Toledo:  Will the Rockets have any punch left after falling just short against OSU last week?
  • Tennessee-Florida:  If the Vols win, it would be their biggest win since the 2004 season.
  • Michigan State-Notre Dame:  There is a TON of pressure on ND to finally crack the win column.
  • Navy-South Carolina:  Don't sleep on Navy.
  • Arizona State-Illinois:  Quietly one of the better games this Saturday.
  • Ohio State-Miami:  What can you say about this game that hasn't already been said?
  • Oklahoma-Florida State:  FSU is overranked, but still a good team. Should still be a good game.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

District 3-AAA Power Rankings - Week 2

After 3 weeks of football, I've finally gotten a chance to evaluate each of the teams in district 3-AAA, and here are my thoughts:
  1. Powell (3-0) - Ranked #2 in the state, and for good reason. Powerful offense that can score with 2 different QBs. Although injuries are still a concern for this team, the defense has been better than expected, and they are getting heathier each week. Big showdown with Oak Ridge on Thursday night.
  2. Oak Ridge (1-1) - The Wildcats appear to be the only major threat standing between Powell and another undefeated regular season. Solid defense, with a veteran QB and an emerging young talent at RB.
  3. Hardin Valley (1-1) - Destroyed Bearden and them crumbled against Heritage. Not sure what to make of the Hawks just yet, but this team has a lot of returning talent (including Eskridge at RB), and they should be in the top 3 in the district by season's end. Good shot at a wild card playoff spot, even if they finish behind OR.
  4. Anderson County (1-2) - Clearly a different team without Tanner Williams, but can still score points. Very suspect on defense, but should still be a playoff team.
  5. Central (0-3) - Cody Blanc has been ineffective, and their lack of depth is killing the Bobcats. They have a solid defense, which is making up for their lack of offense (just 13 offensive points all season). Should grab the 3rd 5A playoff spot out of this district.
  6. Karns (2-1) - Looked horrible against South Doyle, but bounced back with a big comeback against Corbin. Looked solid against Clinton. Should be 3-1 after this week, but that's when the schedule gets challenging.
  7. Halls (1-2) - Just not a lot of talent here, outside of the QB position. Should win no more than 2-3 games.
  8. Campbell County (1-2) - See Halls.
  9. Clinton (0-3) - This team is in trouble, and I'm not sure when/if things are going to get better this season. QB injury has hurt the Dragons, so it will be interesting to see how things change when he comes back. Best chance for a win will come against Campbell County.
Other teams to watch out for in 5A (early title contenders):
  • Morristown West
  • Knox West
  • Knox Catholic
  • Ooltewah
  • Tullahoma
  • Columbia
  • Henry County
  • Ridgeway

College Football - Week 1 Recap

First Impressions
  • Anyone who thought that Ohio State wouldn't contend for a Big Ten title this season better reevaluate. I said it all summer - this defense will be very good, and if the QBs can make good decisions (like they did against Akron), the Buckeyes can make a BCS bowl game. Akron isn't a very good team, but the Buckeyes looked better than I thought they would on Saturday.
  • Tennessee has some issues to work out (specifically up front), but Tyler Bray looked very good for most of the night against Montana. If UT can solve some blocking issues, this will be a very potent offense. The defense still looks young, and it will be interesting to see how they handle Cincinnati's offense next week.
  • Michigan's defense still has a LONG way to go. It will be very interesting to see what Denard Robinson's roll will be when trailing or in close games this year. Western Michigan went toe to toe with the Wolverines, and it would have been an interesting finish (would not have called the game early if closer), if not for those 2 defensive TDs by UM.
  • Notre Dame = overrated (as usual), yet they still had plenty of opportunities to beat South Florida.
  • Wisconsin looks even better than advertised on offense, but not so much on defense.
  • Kentucky, Purdue, Washington, Pittsburgh, NC State, Kansas State, and Missouri really struggled against poor competition, and still won. Indiana, Duke, and Oregon State weren't so lucky.
  • What happened to TCU and Auburn on defense??
  • Boise State was never in trouble against Georgia. Too bad their national title hopes took a huge blow, thanks to TCU.
  • Has Cincinnati regained their Brian Kelly-esque offensive form? They'll have to put up big numbers against Tennessee before I'll jump on that bandwagon.
  • It's going to be an up and down year for USC. Again.
  • Oregon has yet to beat a non-conference power that has a good defensive under Chip Kelly (Boise State, Ohio State, LSU, Auburn - struggled to score against each), and that's not a coincidence.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Teachers in Wisconsin should actually be teaching!

Well I guess educating students doesn't come first for many teachers in Wisconsin.

Kudos to Governor Scott Walker for having the balls to not only stand up to the teachers' union in Wisconsin, but the entire collective bargaining process. If you've been paying any attention to the news, Wisconsin is facing a $3.6 billion budget shortfall, and one of the measures Governor Walker is taking is requiring union workers to cover more of their own health care premiums and pension contributions, while stripping them of their collective bargaining rights. The union is furious because they feel like they are being left out in the cold.

The question still remains - How can you negotiate with a union when you have no money to negotiate with?

I'm sorry, but this is just another example of the outdated nature of unions. The teachers' union in Knox County definitely let me know where they stand after last year's decision to cut ~30 teaching positions, rather than give up their "entitled" yearly ~1% salary increase (for up to 2 years). Aren't unions supposed to be looking out for the whole, not just for select individuals?

I work in the private sector, and just like the LARGE majority of us in the private sector, my job/salary is primarily based on performance, NOT seniority/longevity. The NEA, in my opinion, is arguably the worst union of its kind. Shudder to think that teachers should actually be hired/promoted/fired based on job performance, rather than seniority.

Yes, teachers are underappreciated, and yes, they are underpaid. However, just because a union loses their collective bargaining rights doesn't automatically mean that they will lose half of their paycheck. In fact, I would argue that in some cases, dissolving union dues could increase a worker's net pay. I am not in favor of the NEA's ability to determine what my wife is worth as a teacher. That should be up to the individuals who cut her check every month. The NEA enables teachers to half-ass their job, just like every other unionized position. In the private sector, unsatisfactory work is unacceptable. I don't get to simply "punch my timecard." I'm expected to perform to a certain level, and that performance is constantly evaluated. However, if I'm unhappy with my pay (or the job), I can just get up and move on to another job where I'll be properly compensated.

Unions helped develop the backbone of this industrialized nation, and helped protect workers in an unregulated workplace. When unions were first established in this country, workers were just trying to make a living any way they could. Workplace environments were dangerous, indiviudals were overworked, and workers were not properly compensated. Unions helped establish specific workplace "standards", and many of those standards still exist (like OSHA). However, in the mid-late 20th century, unions began to promote laziness, a sense of entitlement, and a mediocre attitude (at best). Union workers are not encouraged to go above and beyond, because there is no incentive to do so; instead, mediocrity rules.

In a unionized workplace, an employer can't fire an employee without backlash from the union (even if the employer has cause). What we are left with is a group of individuals who know they are working inside a protective bubble, and there is no incentive for them to excel. Why bother being the best when there is no reward for it? As long as they do the bare minimum, they can't be touched, and yet, the union can continue to fight and negotiate for better pay/benefits, regardless of a worker's output.

I wish I could take credit for this quote, but this reader comment from the Knoxville News-Sentinel (regarding Tennessee Governor Bill Haslem's decision to make it more difficult for teachers to recieve tenure) says it all:

"BOY! Anything but pay for performance! Why, that'd be just like... well, just like every other job in the private sector, how could they? The audacity!"

My sentiments exactly.