Missouri vs. Auburn: Keys to Winning the 2013 SEC Championship

2013-sec-championship-football-logoIn the spirit of full disclosure: I’m an Auburn grad and an Auburn fan. But I’m going to do my best to be objective with my 5 Keys to Winning the 2013 SEC Championship for both Missouri and Auburn.

Let’s start with the Missouri Tigers’ Keys to Winning:

– Take advantage of Auburn’s suspect secondary. Mizzou’s wide receivers have a distinct height advantage they should exploit early and often.

– The offensive line must give Franklin/Mauk time in the pocket to check down receivers.

– The defensive line and linebackers must hold Auburn to under 250 yards rushing. Missouri can’t stop Auburn’s running game, but containing it will be key.

– Offense must strike quick when they get the ball.

– Don’t get out-coached. Nick Saban did in the Iron Bowl. It only takes one second.

Auburn Tigers’ Keys to Winning:

– Ground and pound to control the clock. Auburn’s heralded running game must continue to roll up yards, as well as possession time. Auburn needs a 6-minute possession time advantage.

– Defensive ends must get after Mizzou QBs and interior defensive linemen must control the box.

– Forget the Iron Bowl.

– Win special teams.

– Defensive Coordinator  Ellis Johnson must find ways to disguise receiver zone coverage.

There you have it. My keys to winning for both teams. Here’s to a great game in Atlanta…and War Eagle!

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University of Alabama outlaws ‘one second’ references after Tide loss to Auburn

TUSCALOOSA – The University of Alabama’s governing body on Saturday night made all references to a single second illegal on the school’s campus. University President Dr. Judy Bonner said the vote was unanimous.

“We are sending a message that such language and such writings will not be tolerated at The Capstone,” Bonner said.

Auburn's Chris Davis returns a missed field goal 108 yards to give Auburn a 34-38 win over rival Alabama Saturday night at Auburn's Jordan Hare Stadium.

Auburn’s Chris Davis returns a missed field goal 108 yards to give Auburn a 34-38 win over rival Alabama Saturday night at Auburn’s Jordan Hare Stadium.

The vote came just before midnight after the Crimson Tide lost to Auburn in the Iron Bowl, 34-28. Alabama tried a 57-yard field goal with one second – which Coach Nick Saban had lobbied to be put back on the clock — left in the game. The kick fell short, but Auburn’s Chris Davis caught the ball eight yards deep in the end zone and raced the length of the field to give the Tigers their second miraculous win in as many games.

Alabama’s sideline stood stunned, as did their 10,000 fans who made the ride across the state to Jordan Hare Stadium on Auburn’s Campus.

Bonner said the fine for violating the new law will be $108 for each offense, clearly a grim reference to how far Davis ran to give Auburn the win. Each subsequent violation will be $108, plus an additional $34 which represents Auburn’s final score. (Incidentally, Saturday was Bo Jackson’s birthday. He wore the number 34 when he played for Auburn.)

Offending references will include, “One second,” “Gimme a second,” “Just a second,” and “I’ll be there in a second.” Additionally, all Capstone clocks will start at two seconds. Even the one-second mark will be removed from analog clocks.

Reacting to the vote, Saban told his team, “We brought this on the entire student body and faculty at The University of Alabama. Our failure to defend for one second on the clock has disgraced our school and now we must pay for it.

Saban was fined for that reference.

“Coach Saban’s clear reference to that, um, clock time in that context did not give him a free pass to violate this new law,” Bonner said. “In fact his fine is $10,800,000, or $108 for each of the Alabama fans who witnessed the debacle in person.”

Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn told reporters Sunday morning, “I’ll pay $108 for Nick. We just appreciate his insistence that the officials put that one second back on the clock. Paying his personal part of the fine is the least I can do.”

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Sit and sweat on a 30A tram? No thanks

30AGrab the tomatoes.

Exercise your middle fingers.

Go ahead and figure out how to unfriend me on Facebook.

I’m about to be unpopular with a lot of South Waltoners.

You have been warned.

Before I turn on the hot water faucet, dear reader, you should know that I’ve lived in South Walton County for a total of 13 years and have owned a home here for 11. So this is not coming from someone with no ties to the area.


Tourist season traffic on 30A causes much consternation with visitors and locals alike. The Watercolor/Seaside/Seagrove strip in particular resembles a parking lot most days with traffic moving at a snail’s pace, if at all. Somewhat amazingly, most folks accept it for what it is: Three popular, dense tourist areas jammed up against one another with no real way to maneuver around other than, yes, 30A.

And heaven help you if you try to get down there for a major event. Leave three hours early if you want to even have half a prayer of arriving at your destination on time. But again, most folks accept it for what it is.

Now — for the umpteenth time in the last decade — calls have risen from the ashes for a tram service or some sort of public transportation “to relieve the congestion” on 30A. Some seek an entrepreneur to sink his or her dollars into a service. Others are calling on the county government to get involved.

Only three words come to mind when I hear these calls: Don’t do it. Wait. That should be: DON’T DO IT!

On the surface a tram service sounds like a sweet little idea. Pack those puppies full of tourists, cart them and their chairs and coolers and kids and sand buckets and nets and rafts down the beach, dump them off (I still haven’t figured out where) and pick up more, turn around…and do it all over again.

Raise your hand if you think the Watercolor/Seaside/Seagrove crowd (residents or visitors) buys into this idea. OK. Eleven of you raised your hands, Eleven is not enough.

They’re not going to sit on a tram, sweating their butts off with a bunch of strangers. And worse — yes, worse — because so few will use such a service, the trams will, yes, sit in traffic and just be one more gas-guzzling behemoth doing the 30A Crawl.

I wish I had more faith that a tram system would make a significant impact on the 30A traffic situation. But I don’t. This is not Myrtle Beach where the roads are wide and there are numerous escape routes off of the main roads (something 30A sorely lacks).

30A is a two-lane with limited ingress and egress that sports highly popular tourist destinations. If the county ever steps up and actually puts a light at the CR393 intersection, that will help matters. But even that will not solve the problem.

Folks need to face one simple fact: We live on a long, popular sandbar. Traffic has been a problem for years and it will be always be a problem. There is no escaping it. There’s no fixing it to any great degree. It is the price we pay for living where we do.

Please, Walton County Board of County Commissioners, do not jump on this bandwagon bound for nowhere. If someone has a ton of personal money to burn, let them do it. But taxpayer dollars should not be thrown down this asphalt drain.

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The Foiled Plans of North Korea (or… Kim Jong Un Goes Gangnam Style in Private)

Kim Jung Un

Sixteen days ago two bombs exploded along the route of the famed Boston Marathon. While Boston and the United States reeled from the terrorist attack, sources inside North Korea are revealing that Kim Jung Un quietly cursed the deadly event.

“Bastards!” he seethed, fists clenched, face reddening. “I have missiles! I have headlines!”

According to CIA spies inside North Korea, Kim Jong Un sat and sputtered and spewed before his most trusted staff. The ugly rhetoric flowed free and powerful, if unintelligible. Kim Jong Un could barely string two thoughts — much less two w0rds — together as his mind tried to wrap around the events unfolding on the U.S. east coast.

Finally, he calmed. He sat slumped in his chair. Defeat painted his face. Silence.

No one dared speak as the 30-year-old stared at nothing, according to the source.

In the months before the Boston bombings, Kim Jong Un dominated the headlines, especially on television. The little dictator that could {or at least wanted to) ramped up his threats daily against South Korea and the United States. For the week leading up to the Boston bombings, the news networks breathlessly anticipated the launch of a North Korean missile toward…. (Insiders say the North Koreans didn’t really know where the gyroscope/Boy Scout compass guidance system combination would send the missile, but they were determined to launch.)

Kim Jong Un had been seen secretly dancing gangnam style to “Gangnam Style” — ironically, a pop hit by South Korean freak Psy — as he relished his and his country’s new-found status as a world power.

He’d watch CNN’s Wolf Blitzer get wide-eyed at the prospects of an imminent missile launch.

He found it amusing when FOX News blamed Presidents Obama, Clinton, Carter and Kennedy for the impending doom. “What the hell did Bill Clinton know about missiles?” Kim Jong Un chuckled. Then after a moment’s thought, “Well, maybe…”

All of the bluster. All of the build up. All of the chest thumping, chest bumping, high fives (and down lows…they’re easier for him). All of the celebratory food fights and pillow fights. All of the pomp(ous) and circumstance.  All for nothing because of allegedly (my word, not his) two punks.

“Bastards!” Kim Jong Un screamed as he suddenly stood and slammed his tiny, meatball-size fists on the table. “Bastards!” He wanted to use the f-word, but that damn little ‘r’ always sneaked in there and he thought he sounded stupid.

“We will move the paper towel tubes from the launch pads and give the funnel caps back to our chefs,” he commanded. “We will give the glow sticks back to our troops. We will make nice with those fools down south for a couple of months. We will tell those crazy Chinese that were were just kidding!”

He leaned forward. His chest pushed into the edge of the table and his arms straightened, lifting his tiny feet off the floor. He whispered and spat, “Then…in a couple of months…when the world sleeps…we will…”

He smiled. He stood straight and towered over every glass on the table.

“We will make the world listen!” he shouted. “Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper will utter my name in fear! Brian Williams will be weary with anticipation!”

He paused. His voice dropped into a growl. “And if any more little bastards interrupt my plans…Buddha help them!” (He turned to his poodle, also his spiritual advisor, “Buddha, right? Buddha?” Barack barked weakly to simply pacify Stumpy. That’s what he called Kim Jong Un. Stumpy. Of course his master didn’t know that. Nor could he. Barack didn’t want to be his next meal.)

With a wave of his chubby fingers, staff was dispatched. When the room emptied but for him and Barack, he danced. The world would bow before him again.

Barack did not dance. He peed on Kim Jong Un’s leg.

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Dogs on our beaches is a crappy idea

no dogs on beachBeautiful morning on the beach. A casual stroll enjoying Mother Nature’s earliest offerings. Lapping waves lend a quiet rhythm to the daybreak solitude. Seagulls cry in the distance. I’m lost in my thoughts. Then…squishhhhh.

The sound and feel are unmistakable. It is dog poop. Feces. Crap. (You fill in with your own noun….but please don’t leave it in the comments.)

Morning ruined. What began as a lovely start to the day went to…

Go ahead. Be disgusted. You should be.

I read a Speaking Out column on The Walton Sun’s website where the author lamented the number of dogs vacationers were bring to South Walton’s beaches. She went on to opine that vacationers should leave their dogs at home. She went to the trouble to remind her dear readers that there are ordinances on the books prohibiting un-permitted dogs on the beach. And on and on.

Here’s a little news flash for the author: Local dogs are soiling our beaches, too. And their owners are turning a blind eye to the gifts left by their canine companions.

Now settle down, y’all. It isn’t all dog owners who are guilty of ignoring these little stink mines. But one is too many. You step on one and I promise you’ll say things you’ll be ashamed you said. The ears of anyone within earshot will bleed. Your momma will know.

As with a couple thousand Walton County ordinances, the one governing dogs on our beaches is not enforced with any semblance of regularity. It would take an entire force of Puppy Police (armed with Pooper Scoopers to retrieve offending evidence, of course) to enforce the ordinance.

There really is just one solution to the problem: No dogs on the beach. No local dogs on the beach. No out-of-town dogs dropping doo-doo in the dunes. None.

That ordinance would be easy to enforce.

(The author owns a dog. His name Is Harley. He doesn’t go to the beach. He would poop there.)


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Boston was bombed; America was attacked

CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger confounds me. Some days she rolls spot on with her analysis. Other days she babbles endlessly without a coherent thought.

Thus far, today is not one of her better days. Today she insulted millions. I doubt it was intentional, but it was thoughtless and cruel


CNN Political Analyst Gloria Borger

Prior to President Obama’s press conference, she rattled on for several minutes about why Obama did not use the word ‘terrorism’ in his press conference last night on the bombings at the Boston marathon. And it was just rattling.

In that rattling, she said – and I’m paraphrasing here – “The country was not under attack. The explosions were in Boston.”

Maybe from a technical perspective she spoke the truth. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

America felt those explosions. Americans felt those explosions as surely as the sun rose this morning. Americans feel the grief of Boston. Americans grieve with Boston.

America was attacked. That’s a truth from the heart and soul of this country.

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Once a journalist…

BREAKING NEWS: Two explosions at Boston Marathon.

There it was. Right there on Facebook.

Must have been instinct, but I jumped right onto Twitter and began retweeting information and sharing the pertinent details on Facebook. I tabbed two other social media live feeds.

Just a few minutes ago I sat back and caught my breath.

“You’re not a journalist anymore!” That’s what I told myself.

Myself laughed.


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