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The Sammy Curse!

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There’s alot of superstitions in sports. With the Madden Curse being one of the most infamous ones. Well here’s a lesser known and a newer one. The Sammy Curse.

What is the Curse and how did this start

This is more of a gambling thing. But the history of this is scary consistent and has a history dating back to 3 years ago. With the 2012 Florida State Seminoles team.

The knock I had on them were that they were playing a very weak schedule and blowing teams away were a result of this. They would soon take Auburn to the woodshed after a slow start.

Following years 

This would again happen to me in the following year with my own Ohio State in 2014-15. In the beginning of the year following a rough performance against Navy and then the following week Iagainst VT where we lost at home. I wrote us off along with the rest of the nation.

They would soon improve the offensive line which was my biggest knock on them and become the best team in the nation at the right time. With a 3rd string Quarterback.

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This year I wasn’t a big fan of Alabama and Clemson. Both not only went to the playoff. But won their semi final games convincingly.

This March Madness. I said one of the most overrated teams were Oklahoma and Villanova. In this year’s starting a weak era of college hoops.  But they both made the final four. Now with all those being said. Teams I bought high on. Only one of them are remaining and that’s UNC.

I promise you guys I watch sports. Whether it’s a 3 year strand of bad luck or a real curse. It is what it is.

Until next time. I’ll see you guys later!

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Dabo Swinney and Hugh Freeze: Christian College Coaches Under Fire

No matter your personal beliefs, America’s founding values allow us to worship and share our individual faith. It was so important to our founding fathers, it was the first amendment to the Constitution that makes up the Bill of Rights.

Our nation was founded in part due to the persecution and harassment of English people that refused to follow the “Church of England.” Catholics and other traditional protestants were labeled as traitors and criminal laws were enacted against Puritan worship services.

So, religious persecution is nothing new in the world and it continues even today. Even in the world of college football.

Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney will be facing off against the Alabama Crimson Tide on January 11th with the national title on the line.

While both Coach Swinney and Saban are obviously great football coaches, Clemson’s Swinney expresses a personal faith that has put a bullseye on his back.

The Freedom From Religon Foundation has threatned lawsuit against Clemson due to Swinney’s out spoken Christianity.

According to the “Foundation,” Swinney has promoted a culture in the program that promotes Christianity and violates constitutional guidelines of the separation of church and state as stipulated in the Establishment Clause of the first amendment.

The Foundation is essentially saying that Swinney’s personal views as a high profile employee of the University borders on the official views of the University.

This is not a new fight or discussion. While the concept of a separation of Church and State is not expressly written in those exact words that was the intent of founding father Thomas Jefferson as a way to more easily explain the first amendment.

The key argument on both sides of this age old battle is do the kids or staff under Swinney’s control have the freedom to worship or not worship in their own personal way? And does Swinney’s faith and his expression of that faith somehow infringe on those under his control?

While I won’t be able to settle that argument here in this article, I do want to make the point that Swinney does have the personal constitutional right to express his faith. His right to do so should be supported by all Americans who enjoy the same right.

In the Deep South, high school football coaches are notorious for preaching in the locker room and using bible verses and biblical narratives in their motivational speeches.

If you have ever played high school football you probably had at least one coach like that and certainly in Mississippi, that is the rule rather than the exception.

But for some reason the idea of a college coach using these same lessons and stories of faith and struggle and perservance is seen as heresy or even hypocritical.

Ole Miss’ Coach Hugh Freeze is one of those preacher type high school coaches that happened to make the quantum leap to become a SEC head coach.

Photo by Kevin Cox - Getty Images

Photo by Kevin Cox – Getty Images

Freeze coached at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis for 13 years and is the son of one of those preacher type head coaches as Danny Freeze coached at Independence and Senatobia High schools in Mississippi. The younger Freeze no doubt grew up in that environment, learning from his father and other coaches and continues that model.

For Freeze, his faith is more than a model, it is even more important than football itself. He has said that football is just the platform, the opportunity, to impact the lives of people in the program.  Freeze said in a Washington Post article in 2014 that, “When my life comes to an end, how much does that scoreboard really matter?”

Given the fact that Freeze hold many of the same thoughts we all do as football fans in the South, why does his words cause so much concern.

I am willing to bet if anyone else said that same sentence, you would absolutely agree. But because a college football coach says it, there is some hidden sinister agenda behind his words.

As you would expect, rival fan bases and blog posts highlight this minority opinion.

Sage writer “DawgSmack” posts this gem from Maroon and White Nation that says Hugh Freeze’s Gospel is actually a Gospel of Hate.

The manager of MSU fan blog 3rdand57 had some interesting twitter posts recently that I think really highlights this thought that somehow big time college football coaches are not allowed or are incapable of having “core values” without lying or fabricating their faith.

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I understand rival fans are irrational but wow, when you stand back from a distance, it is really disheartening that fellow Christians can stand by and toss accusations like this without recognizing that we all struggle with faith.

We all fall short of the ideal. We are all hypocrites in that way and saying someone else is not perfect is holding a football coach up to a weirdly high standard that they wouldn’t hold themselves to.

Will Hugh Freeze make mistakes in his life, of course. Will God help Dabo Swinney beat the “evil” Nick Saban Alabama empire?  I hope my God has more to do on that Monday.

We need to stand with other men who are brave enough to take a stand and in the heat of the national media spotlight make their beliefs known.  Why would anyone work for a boss that only cares about winning and winning only?

Because at the end of our days, the scoreboard and the color of our jacket wont matter.

You don’t have to be a fan of Ole Miss or Clemson to appreciate men like Hugh Freeze and Dabo Swinney.

LJ Scott - Joe Robbins Getty Images

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PREVIEW: Michigan State Spartans

Two years ago, Michigan State took down Ohio State and QB Braxton Miller in the Big 10 Championship 34-24, ruining Ohio State’s BCS National Championship hopes and allowing Auburn to sneak in.

After winning the 2013 Rose Bowl over Stanford, MSU would fail to reach the same mark in 2014, losing the conference championship and watched as Ohio State make it to the first College Football Playoff.

SEASON IN A SNAPSHOT

This season, Michigan State had with one thing on their mind; Revenge. They had the schedule to do it too.  Playing Oregon at home without Mariota, saw the Spartans win 31-28 after holding off a late rally by Vernon Davis.

Then a late season game against Ohio State, on the road.  The odds were already stacked against them and Connor Cook wasn’t able to play that game due to a shoulder injury.  MSU was able to overcome the injury and beat Ohio State 17-14.

In the conference championship against an undefeated Iowa, Sparty’s one loss team won a tough game, 16-13. With 14:49 left on the clock and down by 4 points, MSU milked the clock to inside the last minute before punching it in with freshman RB L.J. Scott to secure a spot in the CFP.

TEAM STRENGTHS

This team with a healthy Connor Cook can use the play action better than anyone in the nation and the pass rush is a force to be reckoned with.

TEAM WEAKNESSES

The pass defense of the Spartans are not on par with the other CFP teams and if Cook is banged up, the offense suffers as well.

PLAYOFF FORECAST

This team can look very average at times and has had trouble scoring points, as in the Nebraska loss. But if they get in a rhythm they have shown they can be as good as Ohio State was last year.

I personally think they can win it all due to the depth at running back and at wide out.

Well that’s all for the CFP previews! Stay tuned for the National Championship preview!

Worst sec message boards

THE WORST: SEC College Football Message Boards

Message boards. They are the worst thing that has ever happened to college football programs.

Period.

That is not up for debate. This is not an opinion piece, it is a un-deniable fact.

People in general are just nasty, dirty little anti-establishment creatures, I guess. There is something inside of us as a people that relish throwing stones at others.

So I guess I shouldn’t be shocked that when the internet comes along, people use it in nefarious ways.

If you have followed MakeItRainSports from the beginning you will know that we have never cared much for the anonymous trolling nature of message boards.

Today’s message boards are a written version of the bathroom/barroom conversations that have very little basis in fact and users try to build up their own ego by gathering attention rather than pass along factual information; because let’s face it, reality sucks sometimes.

Because message boards are a written record for anyone to peruse, it tends to hold more weight than a whispered joke in the back of a bar. The written word and ideas, no matter how ridiculous, can set off a “feeding-frenzy” and mob mentality rules.

The biggest problem for athletic directors at big colleges today is managing this anonymous, frustrating, sometimes hilarious, mob of people that really could care less about being fair or truthful, but just hate your program because of the color you wear or the town you are based in.

Of course not all message boards are equal, some are even more ridiculous than others. So the natural thing is to rank them right?

My criteria is the perceived distance from reality of the message board posters. Let me know how you rate these sites or others you have seen

5.  AuburnInside The Auburn Tigers (Scout)

Auburn pre-Cam Newton was one of the more friendly and enjoyable fan bases in the SEC. You had to feel sorry for Auburn fans and the punishment they have had to endure over the years with all the national titles in Tuscaloosa.

But with the success of Newton, some Auburn fans have taken the nuclear option in dealing with other teams and have adopted a self-appointed crown.

Since Cam they have only had one season with more than 8 wins, including one season with only three. Has that corrected their hubris?  Of course not, which is why ITAT is on the list.

4.  LSUTiger Droppings .com

While, LSU has been a dominate program over the last 10 years or so, the fans are never satisfied.  After a disappointing 8 win season (with a cancelled opener with McNeese State) fans took to leaving the stadium early and calling for the firing of Les Miles to a point that it would have happened if Jimbo Fisher wanted the job.

Tigerdroppings is the epitomy of crazy-football-fan-think. The only reason they are not higher on my list is that Les Miles does actually win 10-11 games a year.

3.  TennesseeVolnation .com

The worst thing that ever happened to Tennessee was Peyton Manning and Tee Martin. Tennessee fans have never gotten over the high of winning that national championship.  They are like Alabama before Nick Saban, living off accomplishments of the past and doing so in an annoying fashion.

For some of the best “lowlights” of VolNation we turn to our friends at Reddit – Dumbest of VolNation

2.  ArkansasHogville .net

Arkansas fans are interesting to me because I have never seen them as fully an SEC team or a SWC team.  They have always been on the fence.  At different times they have had huge rivalries with SWC/Big 12 teams and SEC teams.

Arkansas’ biggest problem as a fan base is they have no real in-state rival so they feel like they should be a powerhouse but they just aren’t that good and the fans are not willing to accept that.

This bunch of message board posters are ruthless however and have dug into the cell phone records of head coaches and their possible lovers.  Deadspin agrees, Arkansas fans are insane.

1.  Mississippi StateEliteDawgs .com

These geniuses think they are experts on Ole Miss more than their own team. This group is so bad at “message board-ing” they got kicked off an already crazy message board at SixPackSpeak because they were too crazy (if that’s possible).

So now, left to their own devices and with no real moderators they have developed conspiracy theories that would make Ancient Alien Theorists’ turn their heads.

Current topics being discussed are the secret Ole Miss recruiting booster network that has a recruiting cash budget of upwards of $2 million dollars in cash to pass to recruits.  And of course they think the NCAA is close to shutting Ole Miss down….

Un-Honorable Mentions:  All teams have “those type of fans” that seem to have lost touch with reality and don’t care who knows.  The following fan boards fit into the typical irrational love for their team.

Alabama – Bamaonline.com

Ole Miss – OM Spirit.com

Florida – Gatorcountry.com

Georgia – Dawgrant.com

Editors Note: The worst boards posted above are public boards and while there are no doubt some worse private boards we will at least give them credit for trying to hide their crazy.

 

Photo via Brody Schmidt - AP

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PREVIEW: Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma’s winding road to the College Football Playoff starts two years ago, when OU put a beat down on Alabama in the Sugar Bowl 45-31.

2014 turned out to be a disappointment, as they put up a 8-5 record. Trevor Knight would transfer out of the program and Texas Tech transfer Baker Mayfield would take over the starting job for 2015.

SEASON IN A SNAPSHOT

Oklahoma came in to this year with lowered expectations, but after an early come-from-behind win against Tennessee, Boomer Sooner soon became a favorite again.  A middle of the season loss to Texas looked like the end of title dreams as they would have to catch fire to get back in the CFP discussion.

And catch fire they did, beating Baylor impressively 44-34, TCU 30-29 and Oklahoma State 58-23 to win the Big 12. At the end of the season they looked like the best team, not just in the Big 12 but in the nation.

TEAM STRENGTHS

The Sooners rely on a heavy passing attack like most Big 12 teams, but this team can also run the ball with Samaje Perine and others. QB Baker Mayfield was a Heisman contender and is no joke.  As for the defense, they were one of the best run defenses in the Big 12.

TEAM WEAKNESSES

Although they have looked like a juggernaut, you could poke holes in the defense. Like Oregon, they use a bend-but-don’t-break type defense, and in all those major wins I mentioned, the opposition did score over 20 points.

PLAYOFF FORECAST

I have the Sooners going to the title and potentially winning it all. But the question is how will the defense hold up and can their offense move in the CFP like they did in the Big 12.

Coming up later today will be the last of the CFP team previews with the Michigan State Spartans. See ya’ll later!