Desperation Time for Big Name Programs

Nicely done Paul, looks like last year's charade means we're just going to let the programs slide into mediocrity and worse just...slide.

Nicely done Paul, looks like last year’s charade means we’re just going to let the programs slide into mediocrity and worse just…slide.

Here we are, only a few days into October, and already, several big name schools have their fingers hovering perilously close to the panic button, and with good reason. The upside to having fifty gazillion bowls is that pretty much anybody with a pulse will make one. The downside of this though? If you don’t, then you’re in trouble. Real trouble. Obviously different schools view different levels of success for job security, but there’s one basic rule of thumb across the board just about everywhere; If you don’t make a bowl game, you’re going to be fired.

Obviously this is not taken literally, every single season, at every single school, but making a bowl game is I guess somewhat equivalent to the Mendoza Line. If you aren’t playing in a bowl, then you’re not just merely mediocre, or slightly below average, you’re just plain awful.

In the lower tier of programs in the country, consistent trips to the postseason aren’t necessary to remain employed, but consistently ending seasons without a trip to such a wonderful winter vacation spot such as Mobile will have you looking for a job.

But at other schools, you get one pass, if that, and if you start making a habit of not playing in a bowl game (a habit meaning it happens more than once during your tenure) you will be run out of town faster than Matt Williams after a year of unmet expectations. And this is where things get tricky with these teams. When they have this blip, is it really just a mirage, a series of unfortunate events that so imperfectly aligned that the postseason was beyond their grasp? Or is it the signs of deeper problems, and much more the beginning of the end, if not THE end already?

This is why it’s best for coaches to simply avoid this predicament altogether. Don’t miss a bowl and don’t let the questions begin to amass. But some big time coaches and some big time schools are dangerously close to opening Pandora’s Box of questions about the future of the program.

Georgia Tech has the third longest active bowl streak in the country, at 18. But barring a complete miracle, it won’t extend to 19. High school recruits of today have never seen Georgia Tech not play in a bowl game. It’s something Tech can sell to kids, but not much longer.

Everyone knew the schedule was going to be tough, but after their flukish run last season, and early season domination of patsies, it was thought they would not only be able to successfully navigate the rough waters to another winning season, but that they would be in the thick of the conference race, and possibly the national title picture. Week by week they’ve taken themselves out of consideration for all three. The Notre Dame loss squelched all talk of the playoffs. The loss at Duke the following week put the brakes on talks of an ACC championship, and then this past weekend’s loss at home to North Carolina, in which a 21-0 lead was choked away, pretty much put the kibosh on bowl possibilities.

Tech sits at 2-3, which, at first glance doesn’t appear to be a death sentence. But then you have to remember this team hasn’t beaten an opponent better than Tulane to this point. You consider that if you look at their schedule, there is only one game left on it right now where they can feel like they’d be the favorites. And that is for a trip to Charlottesville, where despite recent success, it’s been a house of horrors. They have to host Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech. They must still travel to play to Miami. They have to go play at Clemson this week. And oh yeah, Florida State and Georgia come calling. Do you see four wins on that schedule? Didn’t think so. Four losses? That’s easy to come up with. What’s frightening for Tech is that 2-10 is as likely at this point as a trip to a bowl game.

The irony in all of this is that the streak should have ended in 2012, but an NCAA waiver allowed a sub .500 Yellow Jacket team that truly didn’t win the division but played in the ACC title game due to the off field transgressions of conference bad boys Miami and North Carolina to play in a bowl anyway. Tech played well against Florida State in the conference title game, and then went and beat USC in the Sun Bowl, finishing 7-7 and keeping some heat off of Johnson. 2013 wasn’t much better, another 7-6 year, another loss in a bowl game. It was obvious at this point that Johnson needed to go. The sooner the better, because the rebuilding process following Johnson will be a long and painful one.

Then, much like this year, in 2014, came back to back losses to those basketball schools in Duke and North Carolina. The ax was ready to drop on Johnson. And then something miraculous (or not, depending on how you want to look at it) and Tech caught fire, won the division, beat Georgia, nearly upset Florida State in the ACC title game and ran all over Mississippi State in the Orange Bowl.

Well done Paul Johnson, you pulled the veil back over our eyes for a moment and kept attention away from the real ugly truth at Georgia Tech. The program was ultimately, at its core, in real trouble. Many, myself included, praised Johnson after last year. I even apologized for being “wrong” about him. No, I was right. I let him convince me I was wrong.

And it looks like this year on the flats, we’re going to finally see how right I originally was. Clemson is the toughest game left on the schedule, so it’s unfair to say it’s a must win, that a loss to the Tigers completely buries the Jackets. But, they’ve used their mulligans, and they could really use some breathing room, not mention some confidence. Going up to Clemson and getting a win, which Tech has had a knack for back when Clemson was mastering the art of Clemsoning, would help. But, these aren’t those same Tigers, and these aren’t the Jackets you can believe in to go win a game like this.

Georgia Tech isn’t the only Tech however in the ACC coastal in deep trouble. Virginia Tech and Frank Beamer, another program on a precipitous decline, is staring at a similar fate. From 2004 thru 2011 the Hokies won double-digit games every single year. That’s eight consecutive 10 win seasons. That’s quality work. But over the last three years they’ve only won 22 games. They’ve lost in each of the last two years to Boston College, they’ve been beaten by Cincinnati, and with their loss two weeks ago, they’ve lost in successive seasons to East Carolina. They’ve only even played six games over the past three plus seasons as a ranked team. Again, after eight consecutive seasons of 10 plus wins.

The Hokies, like Georgia Tech, cannot lose more than three more games the rest of the way. And they have to play aforementioned Boston College on the road, just like they have to travel to play Miami and Georgia Tech. They also still have N.C. State and Duke to play at home. Just like with Georgia Tech, the only game left on the schedule that you can say with confidence they could be favored in is against Virginia.

The sharp decline of the program already had many wondering how much longer Beamer would last, especially since special teams, long the calling card of this regime, had become an all out weakness of the Hokies. This year, with it looking more and more likely that a bowl isn’t going to happen, it’s looking more and more likely that this could be Beamer’s swan song.

While Georgia Tech has a game that they can lose and still back their way into a bowl game, a home loss to N.C. State to drop to 2-4 might get the vultures circling in Blacksburg.

Michael Vick, Marcus Vick, DeAngelo Hall, now Bill Cosby? Might be getting what's coming to ya, Hokies.

Michael Vick, Marcus Vick, DeAngelo Hall, and….. Bill Cosby? Might be getting what’s coming to ya, Hokies. I shudder to think what happened in this room after Beamer left it. 

Speaking of Beamer and the Hokies, wouldn’t The Battle at Bristol lose some of its luster if Virginia Tech were to find themselves coming off a season without a bowl game? Yeah? Well, what if both Virginia Tech AND Tennessee were coming off seasons without making a bowl? Don’t look now organizers, but that very well could be what takes place.

While the final five games on Tennessee‘s schedule look very, very winnable, and thus, completely missing out on a bowl game doesn’t look as likely with the Vols as it does with the two Techs, it can’t be ruled out. Kentucky is better. Maty Mauck could be back for Missouri by the time they meet, South Carolina could be fighting for their post-season lives in their own right, and Kentucky could be actually playing for something at the end of November. So if you’re Tennessee, you would like a little wiggle room.

The problem is, as they too sit at 2-3, they’ve got a very angry Georgia team coming to Knoxville this week, and then after that they have to travel to take on the Alabama team who has made this Georgia team so angry. 2-5 looks very, very possible. As mentioned, the schedule eases up enough to think that at 2-5, Tennessee could still finish 7-5. However, you have to look deeper than just the ease of the schedule. You have to look at the psyche of this program. Tennessee has lost six or more games in seven consecutive years. Yes, you read that correct, Tennessee hasn’t won more than seven games in a season since 2007.
So how much life do you think will be left in this team if it starts 2-5? Lane Kiffin bolted after a year. Derek Dooley didn’t finish his third season. Butch Jones is in his third season. Rocky Top could be about to explode….. again.

Mentioned in looking at the schedule Tennessee closes with was of course the old ball coach and South Carolina. There are two programs Spurrier likes to beat more than anyone; Georgia and Tennessee. When looking at what South Carolina has left, there is virtually no way they can survive losing to Tennessee and still make a bowl game. As bad as the remaining schedule looks for Georgia Tech, it’s even worse for South Carolina.

The Gamecocks can only afford three more losses to still make a bowl game. The problem? There are currently four teams ranked in the top 11 left on their schedule. Sure, I suppose it’s good news that three of them are at home, but home is where this team lost to Kentucky.

A bit of irony? The last time South Carolina didn’t make a bowl was 2007, as mentioned earlier, the last time Tennessee didn’t lose at least six games.

Shifting to the SEC West, Auburn isn’t in full-fledged panic mode yet, but they are one road loss in the next two weeks away from going to defcon one. With Ole Miss, Georgia, Texas A&M and Alabama as four of their final five games, Auburn does not want to enter the final five games of the season anything less than 5-2. Knowing they must win one of those four to reach a bowl game, after pre-season expectations (wildly placed, and not by yours truly) of contending for a national title would be a lot of pressure on a fragile team. Which is why Auburn is getting a bye at the right time.

Because these next two games, at Kentucky, and at Arkansas, are absolutely must win games. And neither looks like a gimme. Conference road games are always tough. But when you need overtime to beat Jacksonville State at home, and only led San Jose State by 7 at home late in the fourth quarter, is there any reason to believe you have any kind of chance on the road against SEC opponents?

Auburn is talented. More talented than their next two opponents. But, they’re also far more talented than both Jacksonville State and San Jose State, and it didn’t mean that much. The problem for Auburn, much like at Georgia Tech, is the very real possibility of finishing the season with 8 or 9 losses. If Auburn stumbles against Kentucky in two weeks, the question becomes, aside from Idaho, will they win another game this year?

I only mention Texas because, well, I have to. They are still one of the biggest brands in the country, even if the on field product has deteriorated to the point it’s unrecognizable. Texas can only afford to lose two more games and still squeak into a bowl game. And both Baylor and Oklahoma still loom on the schedule.

Granted, Texas showed some life against Cal and Oklahoma State, two top 25 teams, but all that progress seemed to get erased with the shellacking at the hands of TCU on Saturday. The schedule outside of national title contenders Oklahoma and Baylor isn’t all that daunting, though no trip to Morgantown is fun, and Kansas State is a very underrated team. The problem is the losses to Cal and Oklahoma State due to shoddy special teams play that pretty much make all of these games must win games for the Horns to make a bowl game. Because, let’s face it, there’s absolutely zero reason on this planet to think they’re beating Oklahoma or Baylor at this point.

Making matters worse seems to be the discord in the locker room that spilled out on to social media this week. The situation in Austin, Texas is messy. There’s a new AD in charge, and Charlie Strong looks more and more like a dead man walking. And if he is, Texas could be staring down the barrel of a season spent threatening to lose double-digit games. Thank God for Kansas, right?

Speaking of former Big 12 powers, someone should tell Mike Riley he’s not in Corvallis anymore. Nebraska finds themselves in as precarious a situation as just about anyone on this list. They sit at 2-3, and with their two most winnable games both being on the road, the margin for error is slim, at most. Missing bowl games doesn’t sit well with the folks in Lincoln. At all. Winning 9 games a year didn’t sit well with them, so imagine bordering on losing that many in a season.

The schedule is also much tougher than it looked a few weeks ago. Northwestern is good. Really good. Iowa is a lot better than expected. Granted, they must come to Lincoln, but that’s where BYU has already won, after losing their starting quarterback, and Southern Miss made a game of it. This is a team that was curb stomped for three quarters by Miami, today’s Miami, not the Miami you grew up hearing about, and who lost to a team who fired their coach in August before the first game was even played.

Yes, there are serious concerns in Lincoln right now. But, on the bright side, as alluded to, they get their toughest opponents all at home. Iowa and Northwestern might have established themselves as the favorites in the division, though neither possesses an offense that looks like it could bury Nebraska and leave them with no chance. Wisconsin has shown they don’t have a pulse offensively against a semi competent defense, and the Spartans of Michigan State seem to be missing that special something at this point of the season. So, with the glass half full, there’s reason to think Nebraska has a shot to win all four of these games, and, ultimately, win out and play for the division title.

But they lost to Illinois.

And there is the glass half empty. It’s also conceivable they lose all four and miss the post-season. It’s conceivable that they not only lose all four, but that they get stymied by the Minnesota defense on the road as well, and the Huskers finish 4-8, at best.

Just a a few short years ago it would have been preposterous to suggest that as we approached the middle of the college football season that programs like Auburn, Texas and Nebraska would be facing such daunting tasks just to make it into a bowl game. Such is the nature of college football though. Two of the most respected coaches in the game, Spurrier and Beamer need to pull rabbits out of a hat to try to salvage their seasons. It’s just the cyclical nature of the game. Not every program, or every coach can stay on top forever. If you’re a Tennessee fan though, you’re starting to wonder if you’ll ever get on top again, or if the karma from firing Phil Fulmer and hiring Lane Kiffin is seeing to it that you never regain your place among the SEC elite. And if you’re a Georgia Tech, you’re kicking yourself for becoming a prisoner of the moment and being blinded to the reality that you knew existed.

Leave a comment

Filed under College Football, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

College Football Rankings, 1-128

We’re at about the one third mark of the college football season, and so for the first time, I’ll release my ranking of all 128 teams in the country.

I know some are going to be up in arms over having Alabama ranked above Ole Miss, but I will still say, that as of this day, if these two played again on a neutral field, I’m taking Alabama as the better football team. Five turnovers in a game is an easy way for the better team to not win, and my rankings aren’t about your “resume”, or what I think you’ll do the rest of the year, it’s based on who I think, this week, are the best teams.

The week ahead promises to be exciting, as the schedule is littered with high quality matchups that will greatly affect the landscape of college football this season. But we’ll get to that later, for now, here’s how I rank ’em.

1 Ohio State 4-0
2 UCLA 4-0
3 Utah 4-0
4 Alabama 3-1
5 Baylor 3-0
6 Georgia 4-0
7 Michigan State 4-0
8 LSU 3-0
9 Ole Miss 4-0
10 USC 3-1
11 Florida State 3-0
12 TCU 4-0
13 Michigan 3-1
14 Notre Dame 4-0
15 Clemson 3-0
16 Mississippi State 3-1
17 N.C. State 4-0
18 Oklahoma 3-0
19 Northwestern 4-0
20 Wisconsin 3-1
21 Stanford 3-1
22 Texas A&M 4-0
23 North Carolina 3-1
24 Arizona 3-1
25 Duke 3-1
26 Texas Tech 3-1
27 Florida 4-0
28 Memphis 4-0
29 Oregon 2-2
30 West Virginia 3-0
31 Tennessee 2-2
32 Houston 3-0
33 Miami 3-0
34 Oklahoma State 4-0
35 Toledo 3-0
36 Boise State 3-1
37 Kansas State 3-0
38 Iowa 4-0
39 Cal 4-0
40 Kentucky 3-1
41 Auburn 2-2
42 Louisville 1-3
43 Bowling Green 2-2
44 Boston College 3-1
45 Northern Illinois 2-2
46 Navy 3-0
47 Nebraska 2-2
48 BYU 2-2
49 Temple 3-0
50 Pittsburgh 2-1
51 Washington 2-2
52 Syracuse 3-1
53 East Carolina 2-2
54 Texas 1-3
55 Virginia Tech 2-2
56 Georgia Tech 2-2
57 Ohio 3-1
58 Penn State 3-1
59 Air Force 2-1
60 Central Michigan 1-3
61 Minnesota 3-1
62 Arizona State 2-2
63 Georgia Southern 3-1
64 Missouri 3-1
65 Iowa State 1-2
66 Tulsa 2-1
67 Cincinnati 2-2
68 Colorado 3-1
69 Indiana 4-0
70 South Carolina 2-2
71 Appalachian State 3-1
72 Western Kentucky 3-1
73 Colorado State 2-2
74 Illinois 3-1
75 Louisiana Tech 2-2
76 UConn 2-2
77 Maryland 2-2
78 Nevada 2-2
79 Arkansas 1-3
80 Marshall 3-1
81 Oregon State 2-2
82 Akron 2-2
83 Arkansas State 1-3
84 Western Michigan 1-3
85 Hawaii 2-2
86 Buffalo 2-2
87 Louisiana Lafayette 1-2
88 Middle Tennessee St 2-2
89 Southern Miss 2-2
90 Virginia 1-3
91 Louisiana Monroe 1-2
92 San Jose State 2-2
93 Vanderbilt 1-3
94 Rice 2-2
95 Florida International 2-2
96 Kent State 1-3
97 Purdue 1-3
98 UT San Antonio 0-4
99 SMU 1-3
100 Ball State 2-2
101 UNLV 1-3
102 South Alabama 2-2
103 San Diego State 1-3
104 Washington State 2-1
105 Texas State 1-3
106 Fresno State 1-3
107 South Florida 1-2
108 Wake Forest 2-2
109 Utah State 1-2
110 Rutgers 2-2
111 Central Florida 0-4
112 Troy 1-2
113 New Mexico 2-2
114 Old Dominion 2-2
115 Army 1-3
116 Miami Ohio 1-3
117 Tulane 1-2
118 UTEP 2-2
119 Florida Atlantic 1-3
120 Eastern Michigan 1-3
121 UMass 0-3
122 Kansas 0-3
123 North Texas 0-3
124 Charlotte 2-2
125 Georgia State 1-2
126 Idaho 1-3
127 Wyoming 0-4
128 New Mexico State 0-3

Leave a comment

Filed under College Football

Must Win Games in Week Three? You Betcha

South Carolina finds themselves in a must win situation, and would Steve Spurrier rather be playing anyone than Georgia?

South Carolina finds themselves in a must win situation, and would Steve Spurrier rather be playing anyone than Georgia?

There is still yet another weekend of September games on the schedule, but already in week three, some teams and coaches are feeling the heat. For some coaches, they’re fighting for their job. For some teams, their chance to spoil the college football playoff party as a dark horse may be dependent on a key early season victory, and for some, they’re neither here nor there, but need a win in the worst way to keep a season from spiraling out of control before it ever really gets started.

For starters, there are a few teams with a chance to make big time statements and propel themselves into the playoff discussion, while a loss this week would probably drop them too far behind the pack to be able to recover, either due to the depth of their fall, or the arduous task that would lie in front of them asking them to not lose another game all season.

#14 Georgia Tech at #8 Notre Dame– This one I went back and forth on as to just how important it is to each team, and finally decided, that if either one wants to make the playoff, they can’t lose this game. And that has more to do with their schedules the rest of the way than it does how far a loss on Saturday might drop them. The odds of either team running the table from Saturday going forward aren’t good, which is what it would require for either to get back into the playoff race. Georgia Tech faces what could amount to be one of the most daunting schedules in all of college football, and while the Irish slate isn’t as difficult, the presence of Clemson, USC and Stanford means Notre Dame would really like to have some margin for error as they head into the cooler months of the season. So while both teams potentially could recover from this loss, both teams know that their best shot at being in the college playoff conversation in November is probably dependent on getting out of September without a loss. With the ACC and the Independent Irish on the outside looking in when it comes to playoff prognostications, every win over a highly ranked foe is critical to obtain, and they can’t afford to let those opportunities slip away.

Stanford at #6 USC- Last year Stanford saw their streak of double digit win seasons snapped at four, all the more impressive considering they’d never posted back to back double digit win seasons in their school’s history. Many felt that was an aberration for David Shaw and the Cardinal however and several pundits predicted the Cardinal would be right back in the playoff mix, and even potentially dethrone Oregon in the Pac 12 North. Then the season began and the Cardinal were physically dominated by Northwestern in one of the more stunning outcomes to date during the 2015 season. While Stanford can afford to lose to USC and still win the Pac 12, they absolutely cannot afford to lose this game and still have any shot at making the college football playoff. It says a lot about where Stanford has come as a program that that is the level of expectation no only in Palo Alto, but nationwide. But a second loss in three games to start the year will have them re-evaluating those expectations very quickly.

Temple at UMass- No, I’m not crazy. And no, I’m not implying Temple is a threat for the college football playoff. However, with their dominant victory over Penn State, and then subsequent win on the road at American Athletic Conference favorite Cincinnati, along with a loss by Boise State to BYU, Temple suddenly has a very legit opportunity to be competing for one of the New Year’s Six bowl games. Yes, Temple, they of 4 bowl games in 67 years of existence. That Temple. But to do so, aside from the Notre Dame game, Temple simply can’t slip up. At all. Every game becomes a must win game for the Owls. But what a story that would be. And they’ve already navigated what most would have considered two of their three toughest tests. Until Temple loses, expect to see them on this page every week from here until the end of the season.

On the opposite end of the spectrum of teams fighting to stay in the race for a national title, you have the coaches fighting to keep their seat from scalding their rear ends as they put for sale signs in their yard. Often times, once the whispers start getting louder, the writing is on the wall. And early season struggles for a coach who came in with the seat anywhere from lukewarm to blistering more often than not lead to a change at the top for the program.

South Florida at Maryland– Randy Edsal was not brought to College Park to go 7-6. Considering that the man he replaced at Maryland won more than 7 games in 6 of his 10 seasons as the head coach, Edsal can’t afford to begin his tenure with five consecutive seasons of failing to top the 7 win mark. After losing in embarrassing fashion to Bowling Green (who, as I’ve championed all along, as a very underrated and explosive offense) Edsal could find himself in real trouble if they slip up again to a weak Bulls program. The Big Ten schedule did Maryland no favors, so if the Terps fail to make a bowl this year and have losses to Bowling Green and South Florida on the resume, Edsal might need to start preparing his.

Illinois at North Carolina– Larry Fedora’s Tar Heels have seen a decrease in their number of wins in both his second and third year on the job, not exactly the direction you want your program to go. 2014 was supposed to be the big turnaround, and it became the biggest disappointment. But with so many starters back on both sides of the ball, and what promised to be a highly explosive, borderline unstoppable offense in Chapel Hill, many, including myself, tabbed Carolina as a sleeper this year. Then the offense slept the entire way through the South Carolina game and had us wondering why we put any faith in the Tar Heels. Illinois may be 2-0, but after the firing of Tim Beckham in August and the uncertainty with that program, along with a lack of talent, losing at home to them is unacceptable for any coach of any program that thinks of themselves as being relevant in college football. The Heels still have a favorable ACC schedule, and have yet to begin conference play, so those goals will still be out there. But it’s going to be awfully difficult to focus on those tasks with what promises to be a whirlwind of rumors and whispers surrounding the future of the program. Couple that with the seemingly never ending cloud of NCAA investigations, and a loss to Illinois could be the straw that breaks the camels back in Chapel Hill.

Virginia Tech at Purdue– This game is far more important than I think many casual observers probably think. Whispers about the future of Frank Beamer and whether or not it was time to hang it up at Virginia Tech have begun to get louder and louder in recent years. Especially as the hallmarks of “Beamer Ball”, his special teams units, have fallen drastically to the point they are no longer a strength, they’re a legit weakness. With a mere 23 wins and no top 25 rankings over the past three years have the program at a potential crossroads. Beamer and the Hokies suffered a bad break when quarterback Michael Brewer went down, but that injury may not be enough to save Beamer if the Hokies suffer to another 5 or 6 loss season. Much like the situation at North Carolina, the schedule is still favorable for conference play, and the Hokies will still control that aspect of their destiny, but losing to a Purdue team that entered the year considered among the worst among all power five conference teams would turn the whispers into full fledged open conversation, and the 2015 Virginia Tech season will be more about what the future of the program holds and less about what they can accomplish this year.

Speaking of Purdue, the Boilermakers went 13-13 in what amounted to the final two seasons Danny Hope was on the job. In the two ensuing seasons they went 4-20 while being rendered for the most part completely uncompetitive. How patient will Purdue remain? The Big Ten schedule for Purdue is disastrous, with only the home games against Indiana and Illinois really seeming to be winnable at this point, so the thoughts of sneaking into a bowl game seem slim, at best. That said, if the team can be competitive in the Big Ten, even if they go 2-6, but can come away with a victory over a team like Virginia Tech, it might be enough to give Darrell Hazell a fourth year on the job. With the Hokies still having all sorts of concerns at quarterback after the Brewer injury, this is one Purdue can get, and at home, needs to get, if Hazell is going to stick around.

Western Kentucky at Indiana– There are many, yours truly included, who just don’t understand how Kevin Wilson still has a job at Indiana. I think we’ve had him on the hot seat for successive years now, and yet, here he is, despite never finishing .500 or qualifying for a bowl in four years on the job. With games against Wake Forest, Rutgers, Maryland, and Purdue still on the schedule, Hoosier fans have a glimmer of hope that this will be the year they return to a bowl game, for what would be just their second postseason appearance over 22 seasons. But after narrowly escaping against Southern Illinois, no game can be chalked up as a W. But if Indiana is going to make a bowl, which this time HAS to be the only way Kevin Wilson gets to back for another year, they absolutely must win a home game against Western Kentucky.

Rutgers at Penn State– With the Kyle Flood allegations and suspensions, Rutgers has officially become the biggest dumpster fire in college football. Just don’t tell that to Penn State fans. Getting blown out by Temple and then struggling to beat Buffalo isn’t what Penn State does. Ever. But it’s what this Penn State does. The Nittany Lions are 4-7 in their last 11 games, including losses at home to Illinois, Maryland and Northwestern, and then the opening week embarrassment at the hands of Temple. Even more disconcerting is the development, or the lack thereof, of Christian Hackenberg. While scouts drool over his physical attributes, his play has worsened since his freshmen year. Many fans wonder aloud how he fared so much better as a freshman under Bill O’Brien than as a junior under James Franklin. These fans will not settle for this. If they cannot take advantage of the mess that is the Rutgers football program and they fall to 1-2 to start the year, the heat on James Franklin, even in just his second year, will ramp up exponentially. One could look to a rather soft conference schedule as a beacon of hope, but, Rutgers is supposed to be the soft part of that schedule. If they can’t take care of business this week, the ball might begin to get rolling on James Franklin.

When a quarterback regresses to this level from his freshman year, confidence in the head coach begins to wane.

When a quarterback regresses to this level from his freshman year, confidence in the head coach begins to wane.

And finally, there are those who are fighting to salvage a season. No, there is no real job security issue with the head coach, and they were never a threat for the playoffs, but their 2015 seasons have not gotten off to the start they expected, and a loss this week could have them well behind the eight ball as we ramp up conference play.

#11 Clemson at Louisville– Personally I take great joy in seeing the Cardinals 0-2. It’s nothing against Louisville, well, it is now, but I love seeing Bobby Petrino fail. I especially love to see how he’s failed. The Cardinals are still talented enough on defense, and Petrino is still smart enough of an offensive mind that this team can still play spoiler in the ACC Atlantic Division. However, an 0-3 start could prove disastrous, because after Samford, Louisville has to play N.C. State and Florida State on the road. 1-5 is a problem anywhere, for any coach, of any program.

South Carolina at #7 Georgia- After the unimpressive win over North Carolina, and the twice as unimpressive loss to Kentucky, South Carolina looks in real trouble. The fact that Connor Mitch is out, potentially for the season, puts an even bigger damper on the inauspicious 1-1 start. The loss to Kentucky by South Carolina takes a bit of the pressure off of Georgia. In years past, an early season loss to the Gamecocks would leave the Bulldog Nation scoreboard watching the rest of the year in hopes of still recovering to play in the Georgia Dame for the SEC championship. With Kentucky already having handed South Carolina a division less, it takes some of the impetus off this game for Georgia. But staring an 0-2 start in the division in the face, it magnifies it ten fold for the Gamecocks. With a road schedule that includes Missouri, Texas A&M and Tennessee, a loss to Georgia suddenly makes the thought of South Carolina missing out on a bowl game for the first time since 2007 a real possibility.

Furman at Central Florida– Over the last five seasons, Central Florida has reached unprecedented and unexpected heights. They’ve christened their new on campus stadium by winning 47 games over that stretch, three times amassing double digit figures in wins as well as winning a Fiesta Bowl and finishing the year in the top 10. 2015 has been much different. It started with a shocking loss to Florida International. That was followed by a dreadful performance against Stanford where the Knights weren’t even remotely competitive. Hopes of returning to the postseason are already on life support, but a loss to Furman would pretty much end them all together. Additionally, rumors continue to swirl about the future of George O’Leary and how much longer he plans to remain the head coach and whether or not he moves on to an administrative role. An 0-3 start, including losses to FIU and Furman might be the most persuasive voice in his ear. Any hopes of salvaging the 2015 campaign rest on righting the ship this Saturday.

Texas Tech at Arkansas– This may not be as much about Arkansas as it is the SEC. The Hogs suffered some off-season attrition, and some of the pre-season prognostications were probably a bit over zealous. However, they still shouldn’t lose at home to Toledo. Now they get to welcome Texas Tech into town, and while the Red Raiders aren’t receiving a lot of love nationally, they have scored 128 points in two games. Of course, they always score points. But the Red Raiders would love nothing more than to earn some national respect while also pouring some salt in the wounds of the SEC from last week. And that’s why this is so dangerous for Arkansas. Texas Tech is coming in with no pressure looking to prove a point. Arkansas takes a gander at their upcoming schedule and one could reasonably ask, if they lose this game, where does their next win against an FBS opponent come from? That’s a scary proposition, and when you’re 1-2 having lost at home to Toledo and Texas Tech, you’re not exactly brimming with the confidence necessary to take on the SEC schedule that awaits. A loss this weekend to the Hogs could be disastrous.

Leave a comment

Filed under College Football, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Post-Season Performance In American Pro Sports in the 21st Century

Where does your team rank? If they’re from Atlanta, particularly if they play baseball, it’s not good.

Games/Series Won Conf Final Title Game Championships
1 LA Lakers 29 7 7 5
2 New England Patriots 21** 9 6 4
3 San Antonio Spurs 29 8 5 4
4 Miami Heat 20 6 5 3
5 San Francisco Giants 12* 4 4 3
6 Chicago Blackhawks 16 5 3 3
7 Boston Red Sox 11 5 3 3
8 St. Louis Cardinals 16* 9 4 2
9 NY Yankees 13 7 4 2
10 New Jersey Devils 16 4 4 2
11 Pittsburgh Steelers 12** 5 3 2
12 Detroit Red Wings 18 4 3 2
13 Baltimore Ravens 15******* 4 2 2
14 NY Giants 10** 3 2 2
15 LA Kings 11 3 2 2
16 Seattle Seahawks 11**** 3 3 1
17 Detroit Pistons 16 6 2 1
18 Indianapolis Colts 12***** 4 2 1
19 Boston Celtics 14 4 2 1
Pittsburgh Penguins 14 4 2 1
21 Anaheim Ducks 13 4 2 1
22 Dallas Mavericks 13 3 2 1
23 Tampa Bay Lightning 10 3 2 1
24 Philadelphia Phillies 6 3 2 1
25 Carolina Hurricanes 3 3 2 1
26 St. Louis Rams 6* 2 2 1
27 Boston Bruins 10 2 2 1
28 Green Bay Packers 9**** 3 1 1
29 Colorado Avalance 11 3 1 1
30 LA Angels 5 3 1 1
31 New Orleans Saints 7*** 2 1 1
32 Arizona Diamondbacks 4 2 1 1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4 2 1 1
34 Golden State Warriors 6 1 1 1
35 Miami Marlins 3 1 1 1
36 Chicago White Sox 3 1 1 1
Detroit Tigers 6 4 2 0
38 Cleveland Cavaliers 11 3 2 0
39 Brooklyn Nets 10 2 2 0
40 Texas Rangers 4 2 2 0
41 Philadelphia Eagles 10*** 5 1 0
42 Philadelphia Flyers 12 4 1 0
43 Indiana Pacers 11 4 1 0
44 San Francisco 49ers 6** 3 1 0
45 NY Rangers 10 3 1 0
46 Oklahoma City Thunder 9 3 1 0
47 Carolina Panthers 6*** 2 1 0
48 Tennessee Titans 5** 2 1 0
49 Oakland Raiders 4* 2 1 0
50 Orlando Magic 6 2 1 0
Dallas Stars 6 2 1 0
52 NY Mets 3 2 1 0
Houston Astros 3 2 1 0
Chicago Bears 3 2 1 0
55 Arizona Diamondbacks 4** 1 1 0
56 Tampa Bay Rays 3* 1 1 0
Kansas City Royals 3* 1 1 0
Denver Broncos 3* 1 1 0
59 Ottawa Senators 7 1 1 0
Vancouver Canucks 7 1 1 0
61 Philadelphia 76ers 6 1 1 0
62 Edmonton Oilers 3 1 1 0
63 Colorado Rockies 2 1 1 0
Calgary Flames 2 1 1 0
65 San Jose Sharks 12 3 0 0
66 Phoenix Suns 8 3 0 0
67 LA Dodgers 3 3 0 0
68 NY Jets 6**** 2 0 0
69 Minnesota Vikings 4** 2 0 0
70 Atlanta Falcons 3* 2 0 0
71 Montreal Canadiens 8 2 0 0
72 Buffalo Sabres 5 2 0 0
73 Seattle Mariners 2 2 0 0
74 San Diego Chargers 4*** 1 0 0
75 Baltimore Orioles 2* 1 0 0
Jacksonville Jaguars 2* 1 0 0
77 Atlanta Hawks 5 1 0 0
Chicago Bulls 5 1 0 0
Sacramento Kings 5 1 0 0
Utah Jazz 5 1 0 0
Toronto Maple Leafs 5 1 0 0
82 Memphis Grizzlies 4 1 0 0
St. Louis Blues 4 1 0 0
Minnesota Wild 4 1 0 0
85 New York Knicks 3 1 0 0
Houston Rockets 3 1 0 0
Portland Trailblazers 3 1 0 0
88 Milwaukee Bucks 2 1 0 0
Denver Nuggets 2 1 0 0
Minnesota Timberwolves 2 1 0 0
Arizona Coyotes 2 1 0 0
92 Atlanta Braves 1 1 0 0
Chicago Cubs 1 1 0 0
Milwaukee Brewers 1 1 0 0
Cleveland Indians 1 1 0 0
Minnesota Twins 1 1 0 0
Oakland A’s 1 1 0 0
98 Dallas Cowboys 2** 0 0 0
Washington Redskins 2** 0 0 0
Miami Dolphins 2** 0 0 0
101 Houston Texans 2* 0 0 0
102 Pittsburgh Pirates 1* 0 0 0
103 LA Clippers 4 0 0 0
Washington Capitals 4 0 0 0
105 Washington Wizards 3 0 0 0
106 Charlotte Hornets 2 0 0 0
Nashville Predators 2 0 0 0
108 Toronto Raptors 1 0 0 0
New Orleans Pelicans 1 0 0 0
122 Washington Nationals 0 0 0 0
122 Cincinnati Reds 0 0 0 0
122 San Diego Padres 0 0 0 0
122 Toronto Blue Jays 0 0 0 0
122 Detroit Lions 0 0 0 0
122 Cincinnati Bengals 0 0 0 0
122 Cleveland Browns 0 0 0 0
122 Buffalo Bills 0 0 0 0
122 Kansas City Chiefs 0 0 0 0
122 Florida Panthers 0 0 0 0
122 NY Islanders 0 0 0 0
122 Columbus Blue Jackets 0 0 0 0
122 Winnipeg Jets 0 0 0 0

* denotes wins in “wild card rounds”

Leave a comment

Filed under Baseball, Basketball, Braves, Falcons, Hawks, Hockey, NBA, NFL, Playoffs, Sports

Racism is Racism

State’s rights, huh? You mean a state’s right to deny human rights to, well, you know, humans? Got it. Values. Priorities. Beliefs. Truths. Hate. Those who make the argument that “state’s rights” was a worthy cause illuminate all of these about themselves in a light that burns as bright as the sun, while being as cold and lifeless as the dark side of the moon.

There, that’s out of the way. I know I can get a little long winded, so I wanted to make sure anyone who looked at this and either didn’t want to read further, or fell asleep trying, read the main point. Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll get into the rest of the reasoning for this.

You all know I’m an opinionated person. When I believe something, I believe it. Usually because I’ve done the homework to make sure what I’m saying is accurate. Usually. This however isn’t like a sports opinion, or opinions on movies, or whether the Braves should have left Atlanta. Not at all. And that’s why my conviction here is stronger than it is with anything else. Last night I came across some more things that just enraged me. And I posted that I was pretty much going to be angry all day, post angry things, angry responses and unfriend anyone who disagrees with me. Well, that’s only very marginally true. The latter is true, but it is going to come without the first actions. But I’m writing this so people will know (if they care) why I unfriended them. Because I promise, somewhere in here you’ll uncover why. I also just want to completely wrap up my stance on this entire issue, and do so in a docile state, without personally attacking people, calling names, or anything else that takes away from the point I’m making by giving any sort of veil or distraction to it.

My heart has been broken over the past few days, weeks, months, even years. The things I’ve seen from people, people I have known my entire life, just hurt, hurt me deep. And there’s no single sect of people (though it is concentrated, that’s for sure) who I see this from, it’s everywhere. From friends I’ve had my entire life, best friends, family members, people I long thought to be very smart, very good people, I’ve seen horrible, horrible things. I’ve seen abhorrent things and mindsets that make me question just how smart you are, or how good a person can you really be. They make me question me for having forged a relationship with someone like that to begin with, and for having kept it so long. You want to know why I’m so angry about this? That’s why. I’m hurt and I’m mad. I’m mad at me. I’m mad at me for the many ways I was a lot like many of you. I’m mad that I’ve stood by silently while you all were busy being, well you, even when I no longer agreed with you in the slightest. I’m mad that I feel betrayed. I’m mad that I feel let down. I’m upset because I have to say goodbye to people I’ve had in my life for the longest time. Because I absolutely have to.

One credence I will always stick to is that you can tell more about a person by what they’re willing to defend, than anything else. The defense of racism, in any way, is racism. It’s that simple. And standing by watching people say racist things, do racist things, and just be racist, while saying nothing, may not be “defending it”, but it’s definitely accepting it, to the point of condoning it. Look, we all have flaws, every last one of us, and we all have shortcomings. And many, many shortcomings, most even, I can “accept” as just, people having shortcomings. But there are a couple that, no, no, it’s not a “shortcoming”. It’s an unacceptable set of beliefs that I can no longer idly stand by in the shadows and give silent approval of. I have to say something. I have to say I will not tolerate it. And I don’t know at the expense of who that will come. Best friends for half my life? Family members? Teachers? Sports fans? I don’t know, and at this point, it doesn’t matter.

I don’t do this with hate or malice in my heart, though sometimes it may seem that way with things I have said, or angry reactions and replies, and foul language, even for me. I do this because I simply can’t stay silent, and because this does make me angry, I’m asking for it to breed hate, and I’m not wanting to do that. But the more I see of it the angrier and angrier I get. There’s really only one solution. A wise little green guy on Dagobah once said that “anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering, and suffering leads to the dark side”. I’m not going to go down that path.

But I don’t want the hate that racism is born and nurtured in in my life. I used to think there were three types of racism; Ignorance, fear, and hate. I’ve since come to the realization they’re all rolled into one. We as humans fear what we don’t know, and we hate what we fear. That black man walking towards your car in the gas station that makes you immediately lock your doors? You don’t know anything about him, yet you fear him. You hate him. Wait, I take that back. You do know one thing about him. You know he’s black.

Bottom line, if you defend or justify the acts of treason committed by the confederate states, you’re wrong. If you take pride in, and honor, a culture where an entire race of humans was dehumanized, you’re wrong. If you argue the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, you’re wrong. If you honor and glorify the men who led the south into this war, you’re wrong. If you make heroes out of men who fought to keep other human beings enslaved simply because they were born the wrong color, you’re wrong. And don’t even try to tell me how there were black people fighting for the south. Stockholm Syndrome, ya heard of it? If you are proud of, and celebrate, a heritage that murdered humans, put humans in shackles and forced them to work for you while affording them no freedom when they have committed no crime (other than being born with dark skin, as sadly, even today, that still is a crime, even if not a “crime”), you’re wrong. If you value the right for a state to rule a federal law null and void within their borders more than you value the God-given rights that every man should have (you know, the very sorta thing we supposedly founded this country on that so many flag worshipers swear they’re so proud to fight for), you’re wrong. If you place more value on flying a flag that honors and symbolizes, well, basically anything, but especially one that honors and symbolizes inhumane injustices forced upon an entire race of people over the amount of hurt that flag causes millions of people, you’re wrong. I could go point by point and specifically point out why you’re wrong, but to many that I’m talking to, that would do no good. But still, there’s a couple I want to go into more detail about if any of you that I haven’t lost yet wish to keep reading.

You can’t call yourself a patriot and fly the rebel flag in the name of pride for your heritage. Simple as that. You simply cannot do both. You can’t scream “Murica” and then on the other side support a confederation that literally, ATTACKED AMERICA.

You cannot celebrate Fourth of July and the “freedom” of being an American while simultaneously honoring people who ATTACKED AMERICA in order to keep human beings from being free. On no planet does it work that way.

Standing in support, or even having pride, in the ideologies of the south, which is what this “heritage” thing is all about (I mean, if you’re not proud of it, why would you boast of it and wear it so “proudly”?) means you go against the very thing we supposedly founded this country on, that all men were created equal. Clearly, you do not think so. Black people didn’t suddenly get “created equal” because laws told us to treat them as equals in the 50s and 60s. They’ve always been equal. You don’t get to justify treating them as inferior people, as not even humans, by saying, “well they were different times”. I don’t care. They were still people then, just as they are today. Just like everyone we share this planet with. So if you at any point in history are okay with humans not being treated equally, then, to this day, you still don’t see all human beings as equals. Because our equal standing on this earth hasn’t changed. Government enforced laws don’t dictate how you personally view other people. But when you support laws that do dehumanize people, then you yourself are the one dehumanizing them. You may as well have owned slaves yourself, because it’s very clear, that if the law allowed it today, you would. Because only the law apparently defines equality, and not your heart. Because in your heart, there isn’t any.

One that gets me the most is watching people I thought to be highly intelligent arguing the Civil War wasn’t about slavery. State’s rights? Yeah, the rights for states to enslave people. Oh, right, it was about an oppressive government. An oppressive government that didn’t want to continue to allow slavery. You do realize that there is NOTHING more oppressive than slavery, right? So please, tell me how the south was on the “good” side of the argument of who was more oppressive. Did the north, I mean, did the United States of America, you know, the little institution that those southern states belonged to, perhaps introduce legislation that might make things hard on the south? Sure. But did you stop and think that MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, if the south hadn’t been so steadfast on continuing slavery, the United States wouldn’t have felt the need to so aggressively try to put pressure on the southern states to back off their stance? That perhaps, had the south been willing to give up slavery, that all these other “oppressive” (I still love how I’ve heard people use that word to justify the south’s position) actions by the north, er, the United States, might not have taken place? Maybe if the southern states weren’t so vehemently against the United States wish to bar slavery in all new-found territories, there might have been more concessions from the United States? But no, the south wasn’t budging on that. All exploration west began in, oh, right, the south. The south wanted to occupy the rest of America, lay claim to it all, and enslave people from coast to coast. And the south had a leg up on getting west, due to simple logistics. They didn’t like that the north, dammit, I mean, the United States, didn’t want to allow them to take their crimes against humanity to places beyond their borders.

If the United States had come off of every other “state’s rights” issue except slavery, do you think war would have been averted? No. In fact, at no point was such a compromise ever even on the table because there was no two ways around it. The south was fighting for one thing and one thing alone, to continue to have slaves. Did their ability to thrive economically depend on that? Perhaps. But whose fault was that? Maybe the south shouldn’t have become a one trick pony built on the backs of enslaving other human beings. Maybe they should have been more forward thinking, and instead of enslaving human beings, all worked together for more prosperity. Nope, they were set in what they wanted to do, and how they wanted to do it. They made the bed, they had to sleep in it. And they couldn’t sleep in it without slavery. Had the United States come to the southern states and offered to keep slavery, but still enact every other “oppressive” act, what do you think happens then? I’ll tell you what doesn’t happen…. the southern states do not attack the United States.

So for the love of God, if you consider yourself a somewhat intelligent human, PLEASE stop saying the Civil War was not about slavery. Because if it wasn’t about slavery, then maybe it should have been. If the south had made it about slavery, but being willing to give that up in exchange for other compromises, then there wouldn’t have even been a war. So, even still, if I grant you it wasn’t about slavery (which I won’t, and not sure how anyone with a somewhat functioning brain can), it NOT being about slavery, still made it about slavery.

I also find it particularly hypocritical, in a so sad it’s funny, but yet horribly depressing way, when the topic of black people still harvesting anger at white people for slavery comes up, the typical response of a white person seems to be, “that happened 150 years ago, it’s the past”. Or even better, “hey, don’t blame me for what my ancestors did, that was them. I was not a part of that, that was not me”.

Funny. Because you glorify those who did it. You glorify those who owned slaves under the guise of “heritage”. Men who literally were willing to kill other human beings so they could have the right to continue to enslave human beings are now embronzed in statues glorifying their actions. And all in the name of heritage. All in the name of, “that’s my heritage, that’s part of who I am”, blah blah blah. Really?

Okay, fine. But just know, you can’t go around waving flags, or idolizing “heroes” that honor this, and promote this “heritage” that you claim is a part of you, and then turn around and tell a black person to stop blaming you for slavery, that you didn’t do it, and that they need to get over it, it didn’t happen to them.

I get it though, you’re allowed to celebrate the past, in all it’s blood stained, gruesome, despicable glory, but other people aren’t allowed to be hurt by it? Your heritage is who you are and a part of you, but the very thing that heritage fought the absolute most for, the thing that makes you apparently proud to be a southerner, isn’t a part of you? Okay.

And this is about the only part where I’m going to get somewhat personal. What amazes me is that the people who think like this, honestly must believe everyone else is just as dumb as they are.

And just how selfish can some of you be? I touched on this yesterday. You don’t get to decide what’s offensive to people and what isn’t. You don’t get to decide what hurts someone else. You just get to decide not to care. Exactly who gets hurt if the flag is taken down from government buildings and public buildings? Who gets hurt, and feels pain because some stores decide the message they think it carries, and the hurt it causes isn’t worth selling it anymore? Seriously, who really feels pain from that? You? You’re really going to ache and be hurt? No you’re not. But millions of people, when they see that flag, they ARE hurt. The fact that people are so selfish in that they can’t just be like, “ya know what, I don’t agree, I don’t understand the big deal, but really, my life is no different if this flag doesn’t fly, but it might ease some of the hurt of my fellow man if it comes down, so, fine, take it down”. Wait, that would mean recognizing everyone else as your fellow man…..

So the list of people I’m having to cut out continues to grow. And that breaks my heart. And I don’t know if even one person has read any of this, or all of this, or gotten to this point. But at the end of the day, I’m not cutting people out of my life because of their beliefs on what caused the Civil War, or whether police use excessive force in conspicuously inconsistent ways, and certainly not because of your beliefs over a flag. I’m cutting people out of my life simply because of their beliefs. Because when it comes to this issue, there is no gray area, there is no tolerance. I don’t want to see that, I don’t want to see those comments, those jokes, that insensitivity, popping up in my life everyday. And the belief set of some people ensures if they’re in my life, I’ll be seeing it. And I’m just tired of seeing it. Because I’m tired of being silent about it. But I’m not going to let it make me angry and take away the enjoyment I get from so many other things in life, and other people in life.I have no place in my life for it, simple as that. And maybe you don’t have a place in your life for someone who thinks like me.

The great thing is, we both have a choice. It’s not like we’re being held captive or anything…..

Leave a comment

Filed under Personal

Truthful Belief Racism Isn’t an Issue, or Plausible Deniability?

I think I’m beginning to understand more the need for the denial of racism by so many people. Despite this shooter blatantly saying what drove him, there are those who continue to insist this wasn’t racially motivated, as they continue to live in their utopia where racism ceases to exist. I thought it was just a combination of white privilege, ignorance, and a complete lack of compassion and empathy for their fellow man.

No. I think it’s more than that. I think it’s plausible deniability.

See, if these people acknowledge that race is still a huge problem in this country, then they’re forced to acknowledge something else, something of which the consequences (of which there could be many) scare them. They have to look in the mirror. And God, that’s a terrifying place to look, even when you are living right, that still can be a scary place to look.

But by acknowledging the foul stench of racism that permeates its way through our society in many forms, they have to acknowledge that they allow it. Not only do they simply allow it, in many ways, they condone it and practice it. They have to acknowledge they are the fertile soil in which seeds of ignorance and hate get planted and then are cultivated, tended to, and allowed to grow, bloom, and intoxicate the world around them.

The incessant bashing of a president despite having no political rational behind it; the constant and never-ending barrage of racial jokes, that really, aren’t jokes at all; the sneers given to the homeless guy they see on the street, or the complete fear that strickens them when a black man in the city asks them what time it is, or if they have a cigarette; the way they call a black athlete who commits a personal foul on a football field a thug, while when a white player does it it’s simply because they play too hard; the disdain for the NBA because it’s a sport played by thugs; judgmental remarks every time they see an old Cutlass or Monte Carlo; the presumption that a black man in corn rows is a criminal; the constant usage of the words “they”, and “them”; the way you look down upon “them” because they’re on government assistance programs, completely ignoring your white neighbor with an EBT card in their purse; the waving of a flag that’s hardly different from a swastika; the immediate defense and anger you feel about people who bring racism to your attention; the telling “them” to just go get a job (because that’s just SO easy to do); the way they consider good white athletes hard workers but black athletes are just blessed with talent; the way they blast songs by Garth Brooks about a wife shooting an ex husband and sing along at the top of their lungs but vilify rap music that talks about violence; All of these things and more are what creates the perfect atmosphere and environment for these tiny little seeds of ignorant hatred, and bigotry, and mistrust, and fear of people simply because of the color of their skin to manifest into what happened Tuesday night.

So of course people deny it’s racially based. Because if they don’t, then they have to accept some responsibility.

And God forbid they do that.

Leave a comment

Filed under Personal

The REAL Story of America; A 500 Years in the Works Circle

500 years ago- A people seeking freedoms from an overbearing and domineering government come to a land that’s already inhabited. They force these inhabitants out of their homes, almost in a genocide of both violent and malicious intent, as well as pure happenstance through the inflection of disease. But to establish a home in the new land, there is work to be done. So for the next 200 years, roughly 60% of the people brought to this new world were done so as involuntary slaves.

These brave people were called colonists. And for the next 250 years these colonists and the government back in Great Britain would lay the foundation of political, religious, and social divide that would ultimately direct America’s next quarter millennium.

250 years ago- These colonists have worked hard to build something for themselves, yet they have little to show for it. There is little separation between the low class of slaves and the middle class. Yet there’s a continental divide between the middle class and the upper class.

A reasonably educated, hard working class of people that once seemed on the way to prosperity is now an oppressed people.

Jobs are scarce, and the dividing line between the rich and the poor is growing every day. Every dollar seems only to wind up in the possession of those who already have all the dollars.

Complaints seem to fall on deaf ears. The rich are happy. What do they care if no one else is? They have others to do the work for them. And by keeping them dependant on whatever they do actually give them, they continue to ensure that the colonists need them, more than they need the colonists.

Speaking out against such treatment is treason and acting out, much, much worse.

The totalitarian government has begun using more power, it’s police becoming more powerful and terrorizing. To the point colonists are being killed in the streets by a government that’s supposed to protect them. And THAT is where the final straw gets drawn.

The colonists respond, resorting to illegal activities to make money to be able to put food on their plates. They speak out against their government while desecrating revered sources of national pride for the mother country. As their frustration reaches a boiling point they begin looting and rioting, before finally turning to full scale violence.

These colonists, now even braver, are hailed as revolutionists. These people speaking out and protesting a government that doesn’t care about and protect them, who destroy nationally symbolic items, are labeled patriots.

200 years ago- These revolutionists find being your own country rather difficult. After completing the extermination of the indigenous natives to the land, they realize there’s even more work to be done than ever before. Goods must be manufactured, food must be grown, construction must be done. So they embrace slavery with a fervor. However, to make sure these slaves aren’t confused for the real “Americans”, words like negroe and nigger become more pronounced in attempts to keep the differentiation between “American citizen”, and slave. The class lines that had already been drawn in sand, just got etched in stone.

150 years ago- Slavery is abolished. Well, it’s no longer deemed legal. Has America turned a corner? Are they really going to enable all people to have equal opportunity to prosper?

100 years ago- In the land of the free, equal rights is still a figment of ones imagination. Segregation is still a thing. But who cares? Slavery doesn’t exist, and America is at the forefront leading the world into, and through, the industrial revolution.

The rich are rich, and getting richer. It’s a great time to be an “American”. The lavish luxuries of life are there for the taking. The American Dream is born. Come one, come all. Well, unless you’re already here and you’re a person of color. In that case, find a new dream. Negroe.

The class lines, while blurred without slavery, still exist. And everyone knew it. But only few had the education and heart to begin to think about speaking on it.

75 years ago- Modern patriotism as we know it is born. Two world wars create a fictitious sense of unity and hope.

The depression had effected everyone, they said. It would take all of America working together to come out stronger, they said. Go fight for your country so we can all build a better America together, they said.

They, lied.

50 years ago- Still experiencing a strong recovery from the economic crash and the feigned patriotism from being in multiple wars that proved successful both economically as well as in terms of moral, a new challenge was arising. America, while still trying to insist it’s a protector of a free and democratic world for all men on earth to prosper, faces a new enemy. No, it’s not the communist governments they’re fighting in places like Vietnam where they were protecting basic unalienable rights and freedoms that America stands so tall far, it’s from within.

The oppressed minority is finally growing in numbers, and beginning to buy into the notion that this hope, and equal opportunities, and freedom to chase dreams should be available to them.

They’re tired of a totalitarian government and a police force that terrorizes them while committing brutal atrocities against them. But they’re still lacking a bit in numbers, resources and more importantly, leadership. So America tries to quickly appease them and suppress any real movement and advancement by making a few concessions, hoping talks of change will get swept off the back porch with a broom. Rights are extended, and segregation is legally determined to be unlawful. A small victory for the oppressed minority, but not an unnoticed slight.

While America was trying to sweep domestic issues under the rug by putting a bandaid on it thanks to being distracted due to fighting other people’s wars halfway across the globe, leadership was forming in the unrest. Voices, loud, powerful, historical voices were being heard. This problem wasn’t going away.

Meanwhile, in a territory out of the social conscience of the public,  America has found a new way to further recover financially. Slavery.

Arguing that no minimum wage must be met, because as a territory, the constitution does not apply in Puerto Rico, America finds the cheap labor it needs and the people to oppress while making concessions to those on their own soil.

Predictably, the Puerto Ricans don’t like it. But the American public knows nothing about this. Puerto Ricans who speak out against America are arrested, and worse. The news out of Puerto Rico is controlled and dictated by American officials.

The American people are told there is simply much unrest and turmoil in a violent Puerto Rico, and this simply requires a stronger military and police presence.

Leadership grows within the Puerto Rican population. They begin to resort to violence in their attempt at an uprising to escape the oppression and police brutality and the control of an overbearing government.

These leaders however are captured, often killed. The movements are stifled, with terms like “insurgentsand” being used to describe activity of radical rebels in a state of much unrest. The true plight is only beginning to be known today. Back then though? They were called revol…. err, terrorists.

25 years ago- America finds itself in the precarious situation of soon lagging behind the other powers of the world both socially and economically. But instead of empowering the masses to keep up with the rest of the world on a global scale, which would require money out of the pockets of the rich, the rich realize they can get keep getting richer by simply creating a bigger divide between the haves and the have nots. They realize that by putting more people in the have not category, they make more people dependant upon them, and thus, more people controllable.

The only problem, money still has to come in somehow. Enter the United States prison system. Slavery was abolished 150 years, was in full force 50 years ago with the “terrorists” in Puerto Rico, and takes on a new form today.

Just like in the 19th century, derogatory terms designed to separate the classes are created. These modern day slaves today are known as “criminals”, or perhaps more popularly, “thugs”. A system designed like the Hotel California, ensures the prisons and jails of the United States will stay populated with the minority population, excuse me, the thuggish criminal sect of the population. These jails and prisons remaining populated ensures money continues to find it’s way to those in power.

But that’s not all. There still must be labor. Immigrants. Immigrants not here legally. As non citizens, just as with a non state territory, the constitution isn’t applicable. Taxes, insurance, minimum wages? Non existent. Cheap labor from a people easily controlled under the oppressive thumb of the government? A plethora of it.

And just for good measure, to keep the middle class happy, and to distract them from the fact they too have been squashed into the lower class, vehement guns rights, or religious rights, or health care agendas, on both sides of the democratic pendulum are pushed. The best of these, often pushed by benefactors of immigrants during the early 20th century, is when they stand tall on large scale anti-immigration performs. All the while, lining their pockets with the money from the labor of these immigrants. And if not illegal immigrants within our own borders, they have their businesses venture into other nations, where again, the constitution isn’t applicable, so cheap labor can be found. Often by way of children.

Today- The numbers of the oppressed have grown. So has their ability to see they’re oppressed. And so has their frustration, their anger, and their resolve.

They are a people tired of a totalitarian government where the rich get richer while they get poorer. They are tired of a police force that terrorizes them and harasses them. They are tired of segregation due to sexual orientation. They are tired of being deemed a lesser and invaluable class whose only purpose is to continue to line the pockets of the wealthy. They’re tired of being reliant on government help that is used by the government to continue to shame them and keep them relegated as a lower class. It’s an assistance offered by those in power because those in power want to keep those in need of assistance, in need of assistance. And they’re doing so while pulling wool over the eyes of the middle class who are in just about the same boat in their efforts to keep the lower class divided enough that it can never unite. More people are seeing this, and they’re tired of it.

But today? Most of all, they’re tired of being killed in the streets by the very government that is supposed to protect them. And THAT is where the final straw gets drawn.

So these people respond, resorting to illegal activities to make money to be able to put food on their plates. They speak out against their government while desecrating revered sources of national pride for the mother country. As their frustration reaches a boiling point they begin looting and rioting, before finally turning to full scale violence.

But are these protesters and destroyers of national symbolism considered patriots? Are these people considered revolutionists? Nah, they’re better known as leeches, bums, queers, heathens and thugs. No, they’re not called revolutionists today, but….

Tomorrow- Oh, it’s coming.

THIS is the story of America. How it began, and ultimately how, as we know it, it will end.

Leave a comment

Filed under Random