Monday, July 21, 2014

College BB '14 Dread News

Well, they weren't exactly the kind of dreads I had in mind; but technically, yes, they were dreads. And so, the drought is finally over. It seems like every year when I do this report I end up lamenting that there has never been a player with dreads in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament; but there has been one now. Of course, if you were one of the thousands of fans at AT&T Stadium with seats so far away from the court that all the players looked like ants, or even if you were watching at home and don't have a HD television, then it was very difficult to notice the beginner dreads on the head of Kentucky freshman F James Young. In case you never did notice, you are looking at the proof - one of the dozens of photos taken of Young during the championship game on Apr. 7.

With teams like Colorado, Saint Louis, VCU, Memphis, and Nebraska - teams with players whose dreads are much easier to notice - all not making it past the first weekend of the tournament, I figured the drought would continue for yet another year. But then I saw Young during Kentucky's 3rd round game against Wichita State.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

College FB '13 House Calls

There were 9 teams in Division 1 that had 20 or more of their touchdowns scored by players with dreads during the 2013 season; but only two of them had 30 or more. And those two just happened to be on opposing sidelines in the final game of the season. Florida State was victorious over Auburn 34-31 in the BCS title game back in January; but it was the Tigers edging the Seminoles in the competition for the most TD by players with dreads - and almost by the exact same score as the game, with Auburn's 33 TD finishing two better than FSU's final total.

Thanks mostly to Tre Mason (scoring the last of the 33 TD on a 37-yard run with 1:19 remaining in the title game in photo above), the crown for the team with the most TD scored by players with dreads remains in the state of Alabama for the 3rd consecutive season, with Auburn following 1st place finishes by Alabama State (34 TD) in 2012 and Alabama (35 TD) in 2011.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

College FB '13 Dread News - Bowl Review (Part 1)

The season began with the matchup of the teams I thought might finish first and second in the total number of touchdowns scored by players with dreads (Georgia-Clemson) and it ended with a game between the two teams that actually were first and second. I haven't added up the exact team totals yet; but when I do, it likely will confirm that Florida State and Auburn were the only teams with more than 30 TD by players with dreads this season. Both the Seminoles and Tigers added two more TD to their totals in a barn burner of a BCS title game won by FSU 34-31 on Jan. 6 at Pasadena, CA.
An SEC team had won the BCS title game 7 straight years, and for a long time it looked like Auburn was going to make it 8. But after being held to one touchdown on their first 10 possessions of the game, the Seminoles found the end zone on their last two and added a special teams TD as they scored 21 points in the 4th quarter to pull out the victory that capped an undedeated, 14-0 season. Auburn, which had won 9 games in a row, finished at 12-2.

College FB '13 Dread News - Bowl Review (Part 2)

With 5 of the 9 wide receivers who made this season's all-America with dreads team either being seniors or underclassmen who entered the NFL draft, it figured to be a wide open race for spots on the 2014 team. And now that race will be even more up for grabs after the disheartening discovery that two players who very likely would have filled a couple of those spots are no longer eligible to be considered for the team. Much to my disappointment, shortly after playing in their teams' bowl games, seniors-to-be Jameon Lewis of Mississippi State and Rannell Hall of UCF cut off their long dreads that we've enjoyed seeing so much during the last three seasons. So instead of writing about both of their fantastic bowl performances with a lot of excitement, it'll feel more like a eulogy.
Lewis put in a serious bid for head dread honors, setting both new Mississippi State and Liberty Bowl records for most yards receiving in a game.

College FB '13 Dread News - Bowl Review (Part 3)


Continuing now with the rest of the dread gallery section of the final dread news report for 2013 .....

46. Sophomore RB Todd Gurley of Georgia throws out a stiff-arm while trying to shake senior DE Jason Ankrah of Nebraska on 3rd and 6 on the 2nd play of 2nd quarter in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1 at Jacksonville. Ankrah stopped Gurley 1 yard short of the first down at the NU 31-yard line, but the Bulldogs converted on 4th and 1 and went on to kick a FG 6 plays later to take a 3-0 lead. Ankrah finished with 5 tackles (3-2), including 2 sacks, and had a FF in his final game before hopefully moving on to the NFL.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Know Your Muck

They didn't teach it at any of the schools I went to, so the first I ever heard of the muck - the rich, dark soil abundant in the area around Lake Okeechobee in Florida - was in a Sports Illustrated article many years ago.Years later (but still several years ago) there was an article in USA Today mentioning how unusual it was that so many NFL players would come from the same high school in such a small town - that town being Belle Glade - located at the southeast end of the lake - and the school being Glades Central HS. Although those articles certainly caught my eye, neither prompted me to do any further research. But when I started this blog back in August 2008 and discovered that at least half of all football players with dreads come from Florida, that's when I began to take notice.

According to Wikipedia, Muck City is the nickname for both Belle Glade and the surrounding area; and as you may already know, it's an area known for being equally rich in football as it is in soil. The high schools in Belle Glade (population 17,467) and Pahokee (13 miles to the north, population 5,649) have sent close to two dozen players to the NFL and dozens of others to college football teams across the country - an extraordinary feat for an area with so few people. Indeed, the annual football game between Glades Central and Pahokee HS has become such a big event that it is dubbed "The Muck Bowl" and was featured in a series the NFL Network did a couple of years ago on great HS rivalries.

You may recall I very briefly referred to Muck City in my preview of the 2013 NFL draft. Well, before we get started with this year's preview, you are hereby challenged to take the following quiz to find out just how well you ..... know your muck.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

DG150 - Part 1

I hope you weren't too disappointed, but last summer was the first summer since I began this blog that I did not do a dread news report on baseball. I spent too much time on basketball and by the time I was finished, it was already time to start getting ready for football. Honestly though, you didn't miss anything. If I had done a report, it would have been a lot of moaning and groaning about what a lousy season it was. With one exception - the brilliantly bright exception by the name of Andrew McCutchen - there was a lot of darkness in the house of dread when it came to MLB's players with dreads in 2013.

After both performed poorly in 2012, I thought things couldn't get any worse for the Weeks brothers. They did. Johnny Cueto spent most of the season on the disabled list before finishing it with a humiliating defeat. Eric Young and Carlos Santana had dreads when the season began but not when it was over. Ervin Santana actually pitched well but still somehow managed to end up with a losing record. Prince Fielder did well too, but he certainly has done better. And the woe didn't end when the season did, as three more players joined Young and Carlos Santana on the ex-dread list during the offseason.

DG150 - Part 2

Part 1 of my annual baseball DG featured three players who sadly are now on the ex-dread list - Eric Young, Carlos Santana, and Prince Fielder - as well as the four MLB pitchers with dreads in 2013. Now let's begin part 2 with the Weeks brothers.

In 2012 Milwaukee Brewers 2B Rickie Weeks and his younger brother, Oakland Athletics 2B Jemile Weeks, seemed to be playing their own version of "How low can you go?" - as in how low can your batting average go? Jemile ended up 'winning' the competition, finishing at .221 to .230 for Rickie. Of course, Jemile might complain it was an unfair competition since he didn't get to play the whole season after being demoted to the minors in late August. When spring training 2013 began, they both hoped to put 2012 far behind in the rear view mirror, as is mentioned in this article from MLB.com: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130217&content_id=41732402&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb ..... Well, at least that was the plan.
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

2013 College Football Dread All-America

Not only in the house of dread do we honor the players with dreads who are great players, we also honor those who have great dreads. My last post was a list of (mostly) star players with dreads. This one is all about the dreads. My 6th annual Dread All-America team recognizes the sickest dreads on Saturdays in Division 1 for the 2013 season, no matter if the players actually contributed very much on the field or not. There will be a lot of familiar heads of dreads, as 37 of the 59 returning players from the 2012 team are repeat selections on this season's team.

You know, growing dreadlocks long enough to extend far outside your helmet takes a very long time. And I truly respect and appreciate those who patiently put in the time, waiting years to let their dreads grow on their own. But we do not discriminate against those who can't wait to look great. So as always, this year's dread all-Americans include many players who added extensions to make their own dreads longer.

2013 College Football Dread All-America (Part 2)


For the most part players on teams in the FCS section of Division 1 just aren't as good as those on FBS teams; but that's not true when it comes to dreads. The dreads in the FCS this season, as usual, did not take a back seat to those in the FBS. Here now are the 2013 FCS Dread All-Americans.

FCS

1st TEAM OFFENSE
  • OL Norman Booker - Hampton - SOPH
  • OL Vincent Harper - Hampton - SR
  • OL Randall Harris (1) - Towson - SR
  • OL Quevalas Murray - Western Carolina - SR
  • OL Billy Turner - North Dakota State - SR
  • TE Wesley Samuels - Tennessee State - SR
  • WR Tikeem Platt (1) - Hampton - SOPH
  • WR Frank Thomas - Bethune-Cookman - SOPH
  • RB Jacobi Green (2) - Richmond - SOPH
  • RB Darion Hall - Tennessee State - JR
  • QB Nico Flores - Norfolk State - SR
  • KR Tay Willis - Southern Illinois - JR
The top (and only?) NFL prospect on the 1st team is Billy Turner (photo above), a 4-year starter at left OT for North Dakota State, which won the FCS championship during his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

2013 College Football All-America with dreads

"It's not at all out of the question that at least a dozen FBS running backs with dreads will top the 1,000-yard mark by the end of the season."

Well, as it turned out, all of the running backs with dreads on FBS teams couldn't quite live up to that lofty prediction I made in my Week 2 report back in September. Nevertheless it was an outstanding season for many of them, as there were 8 who rushed for more than 1,000 yards; and it would've been 9 if Todd Gurley hadn't lost his helmet against South Carolina in Week 2 (photo on right), forcing the play to be blown dead while he still had a chance to gain some more yards.

Of the 10 conferences in the FBS, three had a RB with dreads earn 1st team all-conference honors, and three others had RBs with dreads on their 2nd team all-conference list. In the FCS there were 5 running backs with dreads who made 1st team all-conference. In all of Division 1, there was at least one RB with dreads who earned all-league honors in 14 of the 22 conferences.

Of course, on my 6th annual All-America with dreads team, we recognize all of the outstanding players with dreads, not just the RBs. It's a list of who I thought were college football's best players with dreads during the recently completed 2013 season.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

NFL '13 Dread News - Week 22

We've all heard it hundreds of times before; but let's all say it again. Everybody ....

DEFENSE .... WINS .... CHAMPIONSHIPS.

Just ask the Denver Broncos. From the moment they took the field on opening night and routed the defending champ Baltimore Ravens 49-27, it seemed like the Broncos were destined to end the 2013 season raising the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Nobody could stop their prolific offense. Led by QB Peyton Manning's 55 TD passes (a new NFL record), the Broncos scored more points in the regular season this season than any team ever before - 606. (By comparison, the Chicago Bears were 2nd in scoring with 445 points.) Not once were they held under 20 points. Even in their 3 losses they scored 33, 31, and 20 points. Dominating the league's best defense in Super Bowl 48 was to be the crowning achievement for the Broncos' offense, leaving no doubt that they were the greatest offense of all time.

And then the game started ..... Wow. You know, I wasn't a bit surprised that the Seahawks won; but my goodness, you could have won a lot of money if you had bet me that they would hold the Broncos to one touchdown. That's right, with the championship on the line, the league's best offense ever scored one measly TD. The final score of 43-8 in favor of the Seahawks likely had viewers turning the game off well before it ended; everywhere except in Seattle, that is, where the Lombardi Trophy now resides and where the fans are celebrating the team's first ever championship.