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  • Caesar Cliffius

    My name is Cliff Eastham. I live in West Virginia with my wife Debbie, the loveliest lady in the world, and my youngest daughter, Holly who is equally as lovely as her mother.

    I enjoy writing about sports, and love a good healthy debate. My favorite teams are the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Redskins.

    There are only a couple of sports that I don't write about, Hockey and Soccer specifically. My favorite sports are Baseball, Boxing, NFL, NCAA Basketball, MMA.

    Feel free to look around, and your comments are most welcome. Subscribe via email if you wish.

    It is decreed.....Caesar Cliffius
    this 8th day of December, in the Year of our Lord 2009.

NCAA Football: The Time For a Tournament is Now

Here we go again. Another football season ends with more than one undefeated team who are not playing each other in a bowl game.

We presently have five unbeaten squads entering the bowl season, and if Cincinnati beats Florida in the Sugar Bowl, we will be left with three undefeated teams to argue over.

This is no good fans. No good.

The FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) needs to have a tournament similar to the FCS.

If there was ever a time for a serious public outcry for a tournament to choose the national title, this year is it!

Are we to think that because the coaches picked Alabama and Texas, first and second respectively, that these are the two best teams in the country?  I am sure fans in Cincinnati, Boise and Fort Worth would beg to differ. Gator fans would probably like to have another whack at the Crimson Tide as well.

I have been an advocate of a tourney for years. The plan I propose would be easily pulled off and very few people would have reason to cry.

Job one would be to select eight teams to participate, all undefeated teams would be included. Teams would not be able to include games from the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Div. I-AA) on their schedule if they plan to participate in the new format.

The Major Bowl and Conference affiliations would be totally severed, they aren’t in good shape at any rate.

Week one of the playoffs would start the week after the scheduled games have been played. The bowls which I am using as an example are only that, they could be interchanged at will.

Round one would have the No. 1 team playing the No.8 team in the Sugar Bowl. The No. 4 squad would play No. 5 in the Cotton Bowl. No. 3 would play No. 6 in the Gator Bowl. The No. 2 team would play No. 7 in the Outback Bowl.  Coverage for television could split the games into two double-headers, maybe Friday night and then Saturday, or all four on Saturday.

The winners of Round one would advance the very next week to play in the National Semi-finals. The 1-8 winner would meet the 4-5 winner in the Fiesta Bowl, while the 3-6 winner would play the 2-7 winner in the Orange Bowl.

The winners would play the following Saturday in the granddaddy of them all, The Rose Bowl, for the National Championship, on New Years Day, or the day after. It is getting later and later into January to pin a prize on the national title winner.

The other bowl games could be played as they would see fit without disrupting the Championship Tournament.

This format could be completed in as little as three weeks after the season ends. A true, undisputed champion could be recognized. There would be no more than one undefeated team in the country and I can’t see why anyone would not be willing to accept this.

What do you say? Are you with me or against me?

Cliff Eastham is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report where this article was first published.

Notre Dame Fans: Is Brian Kelly really Rich Rodriguez ?

Many Notre Dame fans are clamoring for the ND Muckety Mucks to obtain one of the brightest shining stars in the college football solar system. Cincinnati Bearcat head coach Brian Kelly, 48 is by far, the choice of most for the vacated job left by the firing of Charlie Weis.

If the Fighting Irish faithful is certain Kelly will bring instant success to a mediocre team, they need look no further than Ann Arbor.

Near the end of the 2007 season The University of Michigan was feeling that since Lloyd Carr was retiring, maybe they would be able to find someone who could beat the Ohio State Buckeyes. Carr was 9-4 his last year at Big Blue, but most “fairweather” fans just remember that he lost six of his previous seven games to the Buckeyes.

Stay with me Notre Dame faithful, I am painting a portrait for you.

Michigan honchos began looking at other nests they could pillage from. West Virginia, a Big East school which was one of the country’s elite, much like the Bearcats are now, had a young coach named Rich Rodriguez. Rich was one of the most successful coaches in Mountaineer history, and was even courted by the Alabama Crimson Tide the year before, whose advances he flirted with but then just said NO.

Surely, Big Blue fans thought, this would be the key. A man just coming off a season where he at one point drove the #1 car in NCAA football. Clearly this would be their guy to beat Jim Trussell and Ohio State.

Rodriguez has been with the Wolverines for two seasons, has compiled a record of 8-16 while just winning three of 16 Big Ten matchups. He has guided Michigan to the biggest football shipwreck in school history. For the record, Rich is 0-2 against the Buckeyes with a combined score of 63-17.

Why do I tell you this, you ask? Because, by looking at Brian Kelly they are truly looking at Rich Rodriguez in 2007.

Kelly was 19-16 in three years at Central Michigan, before being hired by Cincinnati of the Big East. You do not need be a football historian to know what a jump it is from the MAC Conference to the Big East.  Almost as drastic as going from Grand Valley State to Central Michigan. Mr. Kelly handled the move to the Queen City rather nicely. He has lead the Bearcats to a 33-6 record in three complete seasons.

There are a handful of jobs that a college football coach dreams of.  Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, USC, Oklahoma and of course Notre Dame. There are others but I digress.

Most NCAA head football coaches would “sell their soul” to coach at Notre Dame, especially if they are catholic.

The Irish has already decided to decline any invitations to a bowl game this post-season.

So, what is the moral of the story? Be careful what you wish for. You may go from 6-6 to 3-9.


Cliff Eastham is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report where this article was first published.

Can You Remember?

The face of sports changes as it grows older. Athletes come, athletes go.

Rules change constantly in professional sports. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not.

Did you ever get a little smile on your face when someone asks, “remember when—?” Memories bring up feelings and emotions from the past, some good and some not so good.

Challenge your memory with these 10 events.

Have you heard about them? Did you live them? Did you even know about them?

Here we go.


#10 – When Sen. Bill Bradley Played Professional Basketball

He was an All-American high school basketball player and chose the Princeton Tigers as the team he wanted to play college ball for. Bill was a 3 time All-American and National Player of the Year in 1965.

He was a Rhodes Scholar so he went to Oxford after getting his degree at Princeton.

In 1966 he joined the New York Knicks as a 6’5” guard and was later moved to forward.

He retired from basketball in1977 and was inducted to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

His number 24 was retired by the Knicks.

#9 – When The Marquette Golden Eagles Were The Marquette Warriors.

The team was called the Warriors from 1954 until 1994.

They changed their name to the Golden Eagles because it was felt by many that it was disrespectful to Native Americans. What about prayer warriors?

Also, the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks use to be called the Miami Redskins, but changed because of the same reason.


#8 – When There Was No Shot Clock In NCAA Basketball

In 1985 the NCAA began using a 45 second clock (which was changed to 35 in 1993) in which a team had to shoot the ball.

The timer starts when the team inbounds the ball. If they don’t shoot in the appropriate time limit, the other team gains possession of the basketball.

A big reason for the rule was the North Carolina Tar Heels. Coach Dean Smith employed an offense known as the “four corners”.

Four of the players would stand at each corner of the offensive end of the court while the fifth man would dribble the ball until someone challenged him.

They could get a lead and just “milk” the clock with the four corner offense, usually until someone was fouled.

Phil Ford was an absolute expert at running this offense for Dean Smith.


#7 – When Ahmad Rashad Was Bobby Moore

When he was a running back and receiver for the Oregon Ducks he used his birth name of Robert Moore.

He was an All-American running back where he played alongside quarterback Dan Fouts.

He was a first round (4th overall) pick of the (then) St. Louis Cardinals in 1972 about the same time he changed his name to Ahmad Rashad (Rashad means ‘Admirable One Led To Truth’) after his mentor in St. Louis.

He was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2007.

He later became a TV football announcer and analyst and also hosted NBA Inside Stuff.


#6 – When There Were No Baseball Playoffs In The Major Leagues ?

Prior to 1969 the only major league baseball teams to play for a championship was the regular season pennant winners from the American and National Leagues respectively.

They played the best 4 out of 7 in the World Series and the winner was the world champs of baseball for that year.

This is why you see such bloated ‘post season’ records today. Back then, there was no post season, it was just the World Series.

#5 – When NBA Referees Called Palming On Players

When pro basketball was really fun to watch (and some people on the court actually couldn’t dunk it) the referees called palming when a player (usually a guard) turned his wrist over while dribbling the ball.

Now, not only do they palm, sometimes they get away with taking a couple steps after terminating their dribble.

#4 – When Cornerbacks were Called Defensive Halfbacks And Wide Receivers Were Split Ends And Flankers

Back in the day (don’t you hate that axiom?) positions on a football field were different than they are today.

Cornerbacks and Safeties were called Defensive Halfbacks. Wide Receivers were called Split Ends and Flankers, or just Ends.

There was no such thing as a nose guard. You had Defensive Ends and Tackles, period.

Tight Ends were merely called Left or Right Ends.

There was a Fullback and a Left and Right Halfback, now you have ‘H’ backs, Scatbacks, Running Backs, Tailbacks, etc.

Of course Quarterbacks have always been called Quarterbacks.

#3 – When The “Top Of The Key” Looked Like The Top Of A Skeleton Key.

Long, long ago in a gymnasium demolished decades ago, the key of the basketball court was a good deal skinner than it is today.

The reason for the change was that some players had a distinct advantage with the lanes being so close to the basket.

This reason also resulted in a ‘3 second’ violation to be implemented.

In the old days offensive players could just plant themselves under the basket and get great position for an offensive rebound.


#2 – When You Didn’t Go To The Big Dance, If You Didn’t Win Your Conference Title Or Tournament

Prior to 1975 only one team per conference was allowed to participate in the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

If you didn’t win your tournament (or regular season title in the Big 10) you were at home watching on television.

It didn’t matter if you were the #1 rated team in the nation, if you didn’t win, you didn’t go.

Now look at how it has changed, with some conferences sending as many as 7 or 8 and smaller conferences just sending one.

I would personally like to see it go back to that.


#1 – When MLB Had Two All-Star Games A Year.

From 1959 until 1962 the National League All-stars and the American League All-stars met twice each year.

The idea for the extra game was for the extra revenue to help with the player’s pension fund.

However, many felt that the second game watered down the significance of the mid-summer classic, so it was abandoned.