BL:. Stars Aligning w/ Sleeping Giants… ANOTHER Humdinger

Sleeping Giant
BobLee
October31/ 2017

BL:.. Stars Aligning w/ Sleeping Giants… and The Athletic

As most (all?) of you know. The white-clad NC State Wolfpack’s trip to South Bend did not go as it’s loyalists had hoped… nor as my scenario had suggested.  Hopefully not wearing the lucky(?) gray unis was not a factor.

The Fighting Irish are, alas, a deeper, more talented team. That coupled with several dubious officials’ calls.  Would it be an NC State sports loss without “dubious officials’ calls”?

…and several devastating injuries to key personnel, likely put the kibosh on State’s going to a major bowl this year. Anything other than Orange for an ACC team is “just a game with a swag bag”.

A certain hated rival, of course, was essentially eliminated from ANY bowl game back in mid-September when it’s “out for the season” list hit double figures.

Swofford’s Bowl – Division title – ACC Conference title is still possible for NC State, of course, with a W over The Fightin’ Dabos this coming Saturday and then running the table. ALL is not lost.

As the outcome in South Bend became obvious around 4:30 Saturday; I thought about this season’s Wolfpack and the 2015 UNCers.

Both squads are/were “very good” college football teams with notable “skill players” and capable of being very competitive with, and defeating, 90% of major college teams on a given day.

That UNC team went 10-3. This State team could do likewise or better… IF the stars align properly.

With due respect to “Sleeping Giants”… at last count, there are 27-29 official “Sleeping Giants” across college football as perceived by delusional fan bases – did you know there is actually a Sleeping Giants Registry? Getting “your school” listed involves being referred by an existing member and a check for $25. Both UNCCH and NCSU are lifetime members.

There is also a Juggernaut Registry. This one is a bit more exclusive. Juggernauts fire Head Coaches for less than 10Ws/season or for losing to a hated rival two years in a row.

The single biggest difference between a Sleeping Giant and a Juggernaut is second team OL / DL linemen on a Juggernaut would be starters on a Sleeping Giant.

In order for a Sleeping Giant to even achieve Temporary Juggernaut status… The Stars Must Align Properly… and there-in lies the rub.

This year’s Wolfpack has several outstanding players. Certainly, Samuels and Chubb could start for any team in America; several others on O and/or D are very very good. A solid corps of seniors form a highly-rated Defense. Finley is a fine QB… and so on.

Dave Doeren is a solid coach with a solid staff…. They have an IPF with lots of charging stations….

No waterslide or nap room but even some Juggernauts can’t match Six Flags Over Death Valley.

UNC had a similar roster of very good starters when they played in Swofford’s Bowl in 2015

The Bugaboo twixt a Juggernaut & a Wannabee is INJURIES. Wake Forest dodged injury bullets in their Dream Season in 2006.

Every team is one play away from losing any player… Superstar or simply “a solid cog in the wheel”.

When a Juggernaut has a key player go down, they “reload”. When a Wannabee loses a key player… they pray. The Wolfpack was praying when Hines and the DT when down at ND. The Football Gods were not smiling.

It’s a matter of DEPTH of Talent.  If your 2nd teamers could start for most Power-5 schools you are a Juggernaut. When you have that quality of roster depth you can keep fresh players on the field for four quarters and “reload” when a key player goes down.

A Top Five Famous BobLee-ism… Any Football team

…is only as strong as its 3rd string O-line.

By early November, you ARE going to be starting guys in your OL that were 3rd teamers on Labor Day. That is a Universal Law of Attrition in Football at every level.

As much as I despise “Recruiting” which ranks with “Kiddie Porn” and “Drug Cartels” among the three most heinous activities on the planet, it is essential to even dreaming of “your school” evolving from Sleeping Giant to even a Temporary Juggernaut.

If THAT is your Ultimate Dream… and may God have mercy on your tortured soul if that IS your Ultimate Dream.

Not simply recruiting “skill positions” … QBs, WRs, RBs … but The Big-uns on OL and DL. The Big-uns are the split-second differences that open/close holes or sack a QB just BEFORE he gets the pass off.

If your team is not stockpiling Big-uns… you ain’t gonna play in “a major bowl”.

Then you will also need … (1) a Home/Away schedule that sets up right… (2) a few key calls to go your way… and… (3) some lucky bounces. “Lucky bounces” ALWAYS help a lot…

… and (4) The Stars Aligning Just Right.

###

The Athletic…

I am becoming Pentecostal about a subscription-only sports site called The Athletic.

It is veteran sportswriters like Peter Gammons and Ken Rosenthal and others from all major sports writing “old school” columns about sports. Not just “who won” but human-interest stories and behind-the-scene stories.

These are not “the millennial mutts” i.e. “fan boys” i.e. “board monkeys” you deal with on the rest of the sports crap on the Internet. I un-bookmarked six websites when I got The Athletic.

TheAthletic.com … LINK

And… there are no ads… no pop-ups… no auto-videos… … just quality sportswriting in all major college and pro sports. It is $45/year and worth every penny.

###

Another Humdinger

I appreciate that no matter how much I enjoy watching baseball some / many of you are NOT going to do it for all sorts of silly reasons… whatever..

After tonight or at the latest tomorrow (Wed) none of us will watch Baseball until mid-March. Then I will resubscribe to MLB.tv and watch 150+ Cardinals games next season.  I might start following these Astros. These kids are pretty darn exciting…

###

UPDATE on CNR… as of Tues noon-ish… CNR is on-the-ground in LA waiting for “Everett Case’s nephew” to pick him up for lunch in Pasadena . Of COURSE it’s Ev Case’s nephew!  He says he is “giddy”.  His term, not mine.

He plans to be in DodgerStadium in time to watch batting practice and, knowing CNR, swap Pee Wee Reese anecdotes with Vin Scully… and get that hug from Mary Hart.

###

Just so you know… I told you what a HUMDINGER Game Two was. Well… Game Five Out-Humdingered Game Two. The Fox Sports Post-Game guys… David Ortiz, Frank Thomas, Keith Hernandez, etc were saying Game Five was THE most amazing game they had EVER seen. THAT’S pretty high praise.

It WAS “A Thrilla” with Five lead changes and that rare game where even fans of the losing team (the Dodgers) said “That Was Something”.

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BobLee
  • CNR Reply
    2 weeks ago

    BL, Molly says hi. She is so happy with her choice of colleges. I knew she would be as she has a crew of Astro guys and gals with her. She is the queen today after last night. What a night for all of them thanks to Craig and Jimmy.

    Cowdog, passed your kind comments on to Molly and they were much appreciated by my beautiful and lovely Molly-O.

    We are waiting for her and several friends to come down to spend the weekend. They are free until Monday AM. As I used to hear people declare, “College students get younger every year.”

    I have some stories about our time out here that should be of interest to several of your commenters. Some are still to happen. For those of us survivors, we figure this will be our last hurrah together.

    They now know there is a talented wiseacre kid in North Carolina hitting some computer keys who has labeled us as a bunch of old coots. They love it. They love your stuff and your commenters, especially after the way people who should know better have been ripping Dave Roberts and the young Dodger kids and Darvish.

    The old coots read everything and discussed the comments. The unanimous consensus is that your commenters are top drawer. Each commented that if they were a player, coach, or manager they would like to have BK as a fan and/or booster.

    Cowdog is correct about the Notre Dame band playing during State’s offensive series. Classless is a good description. Add unsportsmanlike and dishonorable. It is embarrassing as are the rapes and indefensible actions ordering a young man to film a football practice session which resulted in the death of the young man. The cover up is deplorable. The letter to alumni from President Jenkins is displayed prominently on the wall above my desk. Scandalous event? Absolutely!

    Don’t give up State fans. Losing to Notre Dame at ND and possibly to Clemson could happen to anyone with the exception of the Crimson Tide. Yea Alabama.

    • BobLee Reply
      2 weeks ago

      Nothing about a gang of Ol’ Coots descending on Mary Hart ?? I watched the Astros post-game celebration to see you darting about wearing a backwards ballcap yelling Remember The Alamo…
      .
      Only 3.5 months before “Pitchers and catchers report…”

    • Doug Reply
      2 weeks ago

      Coach, this emerging Ol’ Coot laments the great moral unpleasantness that seems to be spreading like a cancer on many “respected” college campuses today. It’s not the kids so much as it is adults that are letting them down. The voices of certified ol’ coots is needed now more than ever.

  • TheCowdog Reply
    2 weeks ago

    Y’all might be waitin’ til Spring, but me and my Fox Desportes are heading to the Mexican League.
    Tip o’ the cap, AT&T/Goodman.

    • BobLee Reply
      2 weeks ago

      Waiting for a post-game report from “Coach”.

  • fayettewuf Reply
    2 weeks ago

    The most interesting question now for me is whether Dave Roberts will join Joe Giradi and John Farrell in the unemployment line. All the monday morning managers are asking why not start Kershaw if you are going to use him for 4 innings anyway.
    I did like the tip of the batting helmet when the Cuban first faced Darvish. However the worst thing that happened to Darvish in the series was not having someone make a face at him.

    • BobLee Reply
      2 weeks ago

      Yu is now a free agent. His two abbreviated WS stints cost him some $$$. No fans are more “coulda / shoulda” than baseball fans.

      • Doug Reply
        2 weeks ago

        Hindsight is always 20/20. LAD hitting .205 for the series was ungood.

        • BobLee Reply
          2 weeks ago

          LAD stranded like 8-10 runners in the first four innings last night. Game 7 was not the OMG game but #2 and #5 certainly were. All in all I very much enjoyed the whole 7 game experience. When do “pitchers & catchers report?” for Spring? I already miss my baseball. 🙂

          • fayettewuf
            2 weeks ago

            The other side of the coin from poor hitting and stranding runners is good pitching and pitching particularly good with runners in scoring position.

          • BobLee
            2 weeks ago

            Big Moments like a WS or a Super Bowl can make/break careers. i.e. Bill Buckner… David Freese… Dan Larson… David Tyree. Cody Bellinger’s bat troubles can be overcome over the next 10+ years but not for the immediate future.

        • CNR Reply
          2 weeks ago

          Bingo!

  • NCSU68Grad Reply
    2 weeks ago

    ND’s victory was NOT surprising. Our best “Good Luck Token” died in 2016. I think (memory) that the LAST time we beat a highly (top 10 or better) ranked team on their turf was October 7, 1967. The White Shoes Gang lead by some crazy Pennsylvanian named Amato….who purchased white shoe spray paint from the Man-Mur Shoe Shop across from the CU….took the lads, coached by Earle Edwards, to the Mighty Houston and defeated the #2 ranked team in the country. Later that season, we did make it to #3. BUT, we got beat by Penn State and then Clemson in the last two games….we were 8 -2, but our “downfall” lead to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.
    This was the SECOND appearance in the Liberty Bowl. The first was on Dec 21, 1963 (my parents anniversary) in JFK stadium in Philly…..there were wind chill records broken that day and the Thundering Herd NCSU marching band’s slide and valve oil froze. We got back to Raleigh early (2:00 am) Sunday and had to LEAVE as the Dorms were closed. I drove back with my parents to Catawba county and it started to snow in Greensboro. My dad got called in to work (DOT) at 7:00 am fand we did not see him for two days. YES….I DO remember THAT Liberty Bowl.
    OK….what about Houston in 1967….it is memorable as it was an out of town game and the Friends of the College booked Glen Yarborough. He let us listen to the game on our transistor radios and called out the score. He left his mike on and we played the game via a radio, over the Reynold’s PA system. Right before he did is signature song…”Baby, the Rain must Fall”, he asked for the score….and where we were on the field. He then ad libbed, later in the song…. “Baby, the Rain must Fall….ON HOUSTON….” and the place exploded. Never have I seen a performer work with a “conflict” and manage it as well. All the record stores in Raleigh sold out his albums the next week.
    Glen passed away at 89 in 2016…RIP. We did not have Glen on Saturday afternoon and the 1967 season was “spoiled” buy Paterno and Clemson. History does NOT portend well for this coming Saturday….but you gotta play the game….

  • ultraviolet Reply
    2 weeks ago

    Notre Dame was much more physical up front on both sides and that to me was the deciding factor. Their offensive line is salty. Of the 4 teams at the top of the CFB rankings that is a common trait, size and physical play by the big uns. They beat up State’s very good defensive line and just took away their strength on defense. But, if State fans had waited until UNC showed the design of their IPF and then came out with one way better none of that would’ve happened.

    • BobLee Reply
      2 weeks ago

      “salty” !!! I like that. OL and DL don’t get much fan attention but they tend to win or lose most games.
      .
      The Evolution of IPFs will be an on-going issue in Big Time College Football for the forseeable future…

      • ultraviolet Reply
        2 weeks ago

        On a sadder note, Caulton Tudor passed away last evening. Not sure the cause, but alas the passing of another prominent area personality once again reminds us of our own mortality. He lived a life pursuing his passion. Not sure you can top that.

  • TheCowdog Reply
    2 weeks ago

    AT&T/Goodman have colluded to refresh my handle on the Spanish language. I’ve been watching on Fox Desportes.
    Lightning in a bottle is to star alignment in my lexicon. Our game up in South Bend was a strange one, to include the Irish band playing a good 15 seconds into State’s offensive signal calling. Not only was it bush, it is against the rules.
    CNR is first and foremost, a fellow Yankee fan 🙂 Hoping to get an update from SoCal this afternoon.

    • BobLee Reply
      2 weeks ago

      As an MLB.tv subscriber, they offer the Fox WS feed as a bonus without commercials. I would say a Yankee/Cardinals combo for CNR. His early youth in St Louis with The Gashouse Gang is pretty ingrained.

  • Doug Reply
    2 weeks ago

    It must be written somewhere. Triangle football glory is fleeting and fools gold for its supporters. Either that or someone made a deal with the devil for round ball glory and football frustration.

    • BobLee Reply
      2 weeks ago

      There are some/many areas that have neither… “and they shall be called the un-glory.”

  • Dudley Mooe Reply
    2 weeks ago

    You’ve made your excellent depth point before. I remember one, in particular, featuring Tom O’Brien and Jim Grobe. You are right again, of course. As a State fan, I approached Saturday’s Notre Dame game with a particle of hope, and low expectations. That’s how we State fans roll. Minimal hope yields minimal disappointment.

    I’m 58, and have learned to enjoy sports for the community of friends they create, and for the occasional moment when the stars align and magic happens for your team. Of course, “magic” occurs more often for the Bama footballs and Carolina basketballs of the world. I’ll not speculate as to how that magic happens.

    Here is what I want to know. I don’t really care that “those guys” win more than “our guys.” I didn’t not even care that some people cheat more than others. I just want to know why Braxton Beverly can’t play basketball when everything screwed up except him. The NCAA should hang its head in shame.

    • BobLee Reply
      2 weeks ago

      The juxtaposition of that decision at the same time as the TGU Absurdity was Cruel / Unusual Absurdity. Is there any organization held in more universal contempt than The NCAA? … Bureaucracies have no “shame” because no individual is ever responsible for anything the bureaucracy does.

  • OldWuf Vet Reply
    2 weeks ago

    Only know CNR from reading BLsays; but sincerely hope they win it for him while he is there. That’s cool

    • BobLee Reply
      2 weeks ago

      CNR is “conflicted”. He grew up a Dodger fan and a Cardinals fan. He lived/coached in SoCal and became a LAD fan in 70s. For past 8-10 years, retired living in Beaumont TX just an hour from Houston. He just loves good Baseball… and BASKETBALL.
      .
      Assume you are familiar with the movie Hoosiers. CNR “lived” Hoosiers and that era of Indiana basketball.
      .
      As I noted in a comment on that last column… CNR had MLB skills as a 17 y/o but joined Marines and was wounded at Chosin Reservoir in Korea in 1950. Became a BB/BkB coach for 50 years. A quite incredible Life.

  • 58 Wolf Kennel Reply
    2 weeks ago

    Will lead this off with the comment that this (non-political) sports commentary on the differences between “sleeping giants: and “juggernauts” was a true “humdinger” :>))
    .
    Your game discussion was on the mark as well. Too bad our politics could not match as well, but anyone who loves and understands baseball as much as you, cannot be all AP. As for football, you are pretty much there as well, and I offer you a lower bowl, under cover, 45 yard line seat for Saturday’s 3:45PM “Textile bowl” in appreciation for your writing (you won’t have to pay income taxes on such a bartered payment either). Jennie can’t go, but Elaine would welcome you !!
    .
    Got a call this afternoon from Time-Warner-Spectrum that they are shutting down all TV/Internet/Phone connections from midnight until 5AM for system repairs. Don’t you just know we’re going to have another 5-hour humdinger starting at 8PM tonight. It’s one thing to get final scores but another to watch history being made as I did until 2AM Monday morning.
    .
    Read some of your new love website about Astro’s 4 generation third baseman. Outstanding !!!! But I’m still a 3 generation Dodger fan so still pulling for dem Bums !! As well as NC State Saturday- Go Pack !!

    • BobLee Reply
      2 weeks ago

      I bet you would LOVE to be w/ CNR tonight in Chavez Ravine. I’m sure he is on-site right now checking out batting practice.
      .
      Because Mr Goodmon and ATT U-verse are squabbling, I have left town for the week to be able to see MY BASEBALL. Will have to pass on C-F. Many thanks. Give my regards to Dabo.

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