Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Shibley's 2010

The late college basketball coach Jim Valvano said in his epic ESPY Speech, "If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day."

Well 2010 for has been that kind of year for me. I have had plenty of laughs, done a little bit of crying, and a whole lot of thinking so I would say 2010 has been a pretty full year.

At the beginning I was doing much of what I had done the past few years. Working at the radio station in Virginia Beach and announcing games for my high school. Finally, driving through a snowstorm on my way to getting paid minimum wage at 5 a.m. was a big sign that I needed to do something else.

Big change was on the way for me in June as I made a fateful trip back to Knoxville. In the span of a few months this summer I fell in love, decided to move back to Rocky Top, had songs written about me, got a job with AT&T, and then had my heart broken. So I would say it has been a complete year.

The Shibley family had another great year in 2010 as well. My highlight was seeing my sister in the role of Mimi in the musical "Rent" in Philadelphia. I had a ball making sure all my relatives knew what the show was about so they were not completely shocked the whole show. My mother decided to retire from nursing and has now converted my old room into her new studio.

We had another family reunion, this time in Charleston, South Carolina. It was great seeing everyone again and I look forward to the next one, hopefully in 2012. Also my cousin Andrew got married to his long time girlfriend in November. I was a blast, (and Tennessee defeated Vanderbilt during the reception which was a plus).

So as I look forward to 2011, I feel the best I have since I graduated college. Despite some of the circumstances of my return to Knoxville, this is where I belong right now. I have a solid job with a good company, I work with great people, I found a great new hobby in taking MMA classes, and I believe I have lived up to Valvano's quote.

So while 2010 was a great year, I am really looking forward to 2011. My resolution is to just grow as a person, keep smiling, and it wouldn't hurt me to drop a few pounds.

Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 10, 2010

BCS Bowls Breakdown 2010

Good to be back writing a bit.

Despite all the arguments we are stuck with the BCS for the foreseeable future. They are the top five bowl games in the country in terms of money so lets take a look at each one and what fun they will give us this season.

Tostitos BCS National Championship Game – January 10, 2011
Auburn vs. Oregon

The BCS got it right at least in terms of the top two teams in the country at least for this season. Yeah TCU may have a gripe but if you look at the body of work, the Ducks and Tigers are the best in 2010 and should be playing for all the marbles.
Everyone sees a high scoring affair as both teams score in bunches and do not do the best job in stopping people. This game could look more like and arena football game as the scoring goes but it should be fun to watch if you like points.

It is a contest that many have been looking forward to as it’s the SEC vs. the Pac-10 which has not been one of the contests during the current SEC streak of National Championships. Most people had been hoping it would be USC against an SEC team since the Trojans had been a factor in the past decade against the best conference in the country. Did not work out that way but it will be a great matchup.

The deciding factor will be who can stop who first. If you have watched Auburn over the course of the season, you have seen a team that has fallen behind but was always able to rally back and win including falling behind 24-0 at Alabama only to have Cam Newton get on track and pull out a one point win. Once Newton gets rolling there has been no stopping War Eagle. For Oregon to win they need to jump on top first and somehow keep the Tigers down.

The Rose Bowl – January 1, 2011
Wisconsin vs. TCU

The most traditional of all the BCS games got a wrench thrown in as the Horned Frogs of TCU crashed the party to play Big Ten stalwart Wisconsin. For those who want a David vs. Goliath match this is it. TCU fell shot of the title game but they still get to take on one of the big boys and prove that they belong.

TCU has a very strong offense led by QB Andy Dalton and has scored bunches of points and also shutdown their opponents all season including then No. 5 Utah at their place. However, the Badgers have been scoring in bunches as well and it has not all been on the ground as many think with Wisconsin. Quarterback Scott Tolzien is one of the most accurate passers in the country and the Badgers have a tough defense that shut down Terrelle Pryor and Ohio State earlier in the season.

It’s not the usual matchup in Pasadena but the “Granddaddy of them all” should still be a fun one to watch on New Years Day.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl – January 1, 2011
Connecticut vs. Oklahoma

Like it or not the Huskies of UConn are in the BCS so we all have to live with it. I will say this about the Huskies, their head coach Randy Edsall has done wonders with this program and should either get a nice pay raise or as I believe, be the new coach at a major power.

No one would even think the Huskies had a chance against Oklahoma except for the fact that the Sooners have been down this road twice, against Boise State in 2007 and West Virginia in 2008. Both times Bob Stoops and the Sooners came in to the Fiesta Bowl expecting to win only to have Boise State trick their way to an upset and Pat White and Steve Slaton run wild against them.
I don’t see it happening a third time though. UConn is a solid team but they don’t have the gusto of Boise or the playmakers West Virginia had. The Huskies do have a great running back in Jordan Todman who rushed for over 1,500 yards but if the Sooners shut him down its all over. The Sooners have QB Landry Jones, RB DeMarco Murray, and WR Ryan Broyles on offense and I don’t think the Huskies can stop them.

Discover Orange Bowl – January 3, 2011
Stanford vs. Virginia Tech

This is the game you have to wave the caution flag to most of the “experts” who think Andrew Luck will throw all over the Hokies. Most people stopped watching Virginia Tech after they lost on Labor Day to Boise State and were hungover in a loss the next week to FCS foe James Madison.

However, the Hokies have righted the ship and won eleven in a row to win the ACC and secure another BCS Bowl for Frank Beamer. QB Tyrod Taylor has been wonderful all season passing for 2,500 yard and rushing for 637 yards. He is the focal point of their offense but look out for David Wilson who is dangerous out of the backfield and in the return game. Also be aware that the Hokies just know how to win bowl games.

We have all seen Stanford’s Andrew Luck and what he has done all season pitching the ball all over the field and also rushing for 438 yards. However it is not your usual wide open Pac-10 offense as the Cardinal line up and pound the ball when they want to. Should be a fun game down in Miami.

Allstate Sugar Bowl – January 4, 2011
Ohio State vs. Arkansas

Besides the Title game and the Tennessee game, this is the matchup I am most excited to watch. We all know the Ohio State vs. the SEC streak as the Buckeyes have never beaten an SEC school (including Peyton Manning and Tennessee in the Citrus Bowl in 1996). They have also gotten smashed by Florida and LSU in the BCS Title game in consecutive years.

This is a different matchup however as the Buckeyes may have the better defense this time. They also have Terrelle Pryor and a high powered offense who only had one bad game at Wisconsin this season.

While Ryan Mallett and those wide receivers get all the attention for the Razorbacks, they can also run the ball quite well. Knile Davis has 1,100 yards and 13 TDs this season so if the Buckeyes try and stop the pass all game, look out for Davis.

So there you have it. A quick look at the BCS games this season. Enjoy the games, save the debates about the BCS for the rest of the season.