Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'm happier than Mo Vaughn

If you came here for something witty, just click the X in the top right hand corner. Bitches.

*I have plenty of topics to touch on that I had to put on the backburner after yesterday's unfortunate news. The first of which is my standing in regards to graduation.

As you may or may not know, it was brought to my attention at the beginning of the semester that I would likely not be allowed to graduation following my student teaching, because I did not satisfy several requirements related to classwork.

I was disappointed, and actually, quite surprised. I was under the impression that I had, indeed, satisfied all the criteria and was on schedule to earn my Master's on December 10.

Yesterday I had a quick visit with my advisor, who gave me the news:

I will graduate on December 10.

I have no shame in admitting I cried on the way home in my car. It's been 6 1/2 years of schooling - and one hell of a semester of student teaching - and I was just overwhelmed to have finally reached the end.

Thank you to everyone who helped me get here.

*I also had my final supervised teaching day today, in which I thoroughly impressed my supervisor - Dr. Schneider. After teaching a class of 38 students, Dr. Schneider only had two words for me.

"You're ready."

*The WVU men's basketball team got back to its winning ways with a 5-point victory over St. Bonaventure. It wasn't pretty, but neither am I, and I consider myself a winner.

*If I haven't mentioned it before, nothing is better than a Mike Gansey lay-up. Owen Schmitt runs come close, but only because its more drawn out.

A distant third: Patrick Beilein 3's.

*Ryan McNeil seemed to have some beef with my premature declaration in handing the NL East to the New York Mets. You know what, it's justified.

I hate hype. And the Mets have been down this road before, when Steve Phillips acquired Mo Vaughn and Roberto Alomar a couple years back.

The Braves will always be contender, especially with their core of players.

What brought me back down to earth? In addition to McNeil's comments, the signing of Billy Wagner. Giving a hefty, 4-year contract to a 34 year old closer is the type of contract and free-spending that got the Mets into trouble in years past.

Their lineup may be potent, but they have to spend wisely.

*Kudos to J.P. Riccardi on misspending the most money this offseason, giving BJ Ryan more than $1 million for each career save. Genius.

*If you haven't heard this doozie, there are rumors circulating that Bob Huggins - a WVU grad - may be interested in coaching basketball inside the state, but at the state's redheaded stepchild University, Marshall.

I guess its plausible, but not likely, depending on how desperate each party is. I'd love to see Marshall resort to hiring a Mountaineer to lead them out of the depths of hell.

The laugher of this rumor is the notion that OJ Mayo, Bill Walker and Perry Patterson would then bolt for Huntington.

God help us all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I hate days like this

Oh! I remember the sound
Of your November downtown,
And I remember the truth,
A warm December with you,
But I don’t have to make this mistake,
And I don’t have to stay this way
If only I would wake...

I hate when my posts aren't about sports, or amusing (at least to me).

Another kid I graduated high school with, Aaron Hall (pictured), died this past weekend in a car accident at the age of 24. To be honest, I hadn't spoken to Aaron much since we graduated in 1999. In fact, his death was not only saddening because it was another classmate who left the world too soon, but because he was a good friend of Joey Efaw.

As many of you know, Efaw was one of my closest friends. I always label him a best friend, but truth be told, there are about a dozen of you out there. Regardless, his death had a profound impact on me and altered my path in life drastically. I often credit my career choice of education to Efaw.

So today has been as much of a remembrance of Efaw as Aaron, who both were close friends as well. My fondest memory of the two is their constant boasting that they were the best basketball tandem at DuPont, a claim that my cousin Josh and I also felt entitled to after our long unbeaten streak in 2-on-2 games.

The matchup was perfect. Hall was approximately 6-foot-2 and wasn't exactly rail thin, and gave Josh fits. Efaw and I were always a classic matchup. In the end, Josh and I prevailed in a game that was hyped for an entire school week.

I'm glad I have those memories to hang onto when people as good as Joey and Aaron are plucked from the earth without warning. I just hope I don't have to take too many more trips like this down Memory Lane.

Monday, November 28, 2005


In case you live in a rock or vagina or something, West Virginia captured its second-ever outright Big East Championship, as well as the accompanying BCS berth. The Mountaineers improved to 6-0 in conference play with a 45-13 thumping of Pittsburgh in the Backyard Brawl. Steve Slaton and Pat White rushed for something like 9,272 yards in the game.

A few points. First, I truly believe Coach Rodriguez deserves some consideration for Coach of the Year honors. Regardless of the team chemistry aspect, he still lost several highly-talented players. But a year without egos and expectations, Rodriguez harnessed the leftover and incoming talent and truly outdid himself.

Just for the record, I predicted this team to go 7-4, plus a bowl game. I like when I'm wrong, sometimes.

*Louisville has accepted an invitation to participate in this year's Toyota Gator Bowl. They will compete, however, sans Brian Brohm. Uh oh.

*The WVU men's basketball team is under .500, and they are more than 1 game into the season. As Rich Rodriguez learned last season (and Jason Gwaltney this season), competing with high expectations and a target isn't always a pleasure.

I'm also not surprised by some of the fallout. Most people are quick to forget the trials and tribulations the team endured last season prior to vaulting into America's hearts with their performances in the Big East and NCAA Tournaments.

Do not doubt Coach Beilein. His team - which is understandably missing the precense of D'or Fischer and Tyrone Sally - is learning on the fly against teams that will likely be 1, 2 and 3 seeds come March.

*Two weeks left of student teaching. If anyone has a job opportunity for me, hit me up.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Louisville Revisted

I'm developing this nervous tick, which I attribute to Louisville.

The 76-75 loss to Texas was one of the more frustrating and painful losses in recent memory. You can't fault the coaches or players for the loss, because if you are pointing fingers, you point them at Kevin Pittsnogle and Joe Herber. They make mistakes, sure, but they also got you to the point of being in position to beat No. 2 Texas on a neutral floor.

I have no real opinion on the final play, other than its one of the best plays I've ever seen with 3 seconds left. To work the half-court pass to Herber, get a couple of dribbles with the option to shoot or find a man cutting to the basket. It was beautifully drawn up. It worked, I think. The call just didn't come, and the basket wasn't made. I don't know if I would've called a foul in that situation, in a live situation. Everyone is better when we can see 8,000 replays.

If I have any criticism to dole out, its to Erin Andrews' courtside report late in the game. She noted how passionate Beilein was and how he told his players to play like it was their last game. I'm all for pumping up the players and trying to keep them hungry, but thats an awful lot of pressure to put on the team in a late November game. I believe that tension showed late in the game on the free throw line.

Kudos to the team for a well-played game. I just can't take an entire season of those kind of endings. It's too painful. I'm using Mountaineer athletics as a refuge from the daily rigors of my current lifestyle, where I have less than two dollars in my bank account (seriously) and I have no idea how I am going to make it through the next two months without any income. Tonight, while enjoyable, didn't help me out too much in feeling better about other aspects of my life.

The Greatest Week in Mountaineer Sports History continues tomorrow night.

WVU vs. Kentucky or Iowa.

  • P.J. Tucker of Texas was a one-time John Beilein recruit a couple years back. Beilein was in the mix for the highly-touted prospect, but didn't get his hooks in him when Tucker visited Morgantown. Tucker participated in the summer basketball tournament held at the Student Recreation Center.
  • I've always followed Rick Barnes' career since his days at Providence. Barnes, if you remember, recruited Jason Williams to the Friars out of high school, when WVU head basketball coach Gale Catlett took a pass on the mercurial point guard. After the commitment, Barnes bolted for Clemson, which led him to the Texas job. Jason backed out of his verbal, ended up at Hargrave, then Marshall with Billy Donavon, whom he followed to Florida.
  • I caught wind that Joe Alexander had been slacking off in practice and in academics because of the company of a lady-friend. Alexander looked fine tonight, however. Although he's not quite big enough, I'd much rather see him in the game spelling Pittsnogle than Rob Summers, who is about as worthless as some type of Michael Ayodele-Jerrah Young hybrid, with a couple of inches in height, of course.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Return: Part VIII

I'm back. Seriously. This is the last time I'll be back, because I'm not going away anymore.

For those out of the loop, I've been strapped by the rigors of student teaching for the past few months. All in all, it's been a blast. It's very tiring, and a not-so-pleasant introduction to life in the real world. I've been without income for over three months now, and I'm finally forced to tapping into other sources for assistance.

Right now, I'm teaching at Albert Gallatin High School in Uniontown, Pa. I teach 10th grade World Cultures. Generally, I enjoy it. I miss my sixth grade kids a great deal, though.

No job prospects on the horizon just yet. If your interested in any other information, float me an instant message.

*This has the potential to be one of the greatest weeks in Mountaineer sports history. It doesn't even have to be a week chock full of victories to achieve this, but four major victories in a span of six days wouldn't be shabby either. Here's the schedule:

Monday: WVU men's basketball faces No. 2 Texas (ESPN2, 7 p.m.)
Tuesday: Regardless of Monday's outcome, WVU will face either Kentucky or Iowa. Both teams are ranked.
Thursday: WVU football faces Pittsburgh on national television, under the lights, on Thanksgiving. The Brawl will likely take place in the snow. Fan-freakin'-tastic.
Saturday: WVU hosts LSU in basketball. It will be a jam-packed Coliseum for the Mountaineers' biggest non-conference home matchup in years.

By the way, I think West Virginia will upset No. 2 Texas in the Guardian's Classic, 77-72.

*Most WVU sports fans are also aware of the Jason Gwaltney situation. DaGwaltz is likely done for the 2005 season due to a myriad of problems, ranging from a bum knee to poor academics. Personally, I think JG will still meet expectations in the Gold and Blue, but there are whispers that he's had his last carry at WVU.

Remember, this is second-hand information, but apparently Gwaltney will bolt after the bowl game, sit out the 2006-07 academic year, then return as a sophomore in 2007-08 for another school. The potential suitors? Hated WVU rivals Virginia Tech, Maryland and Boston College could be in the mix.

Don't shoot the messenger. Just passing it along.

Chuck's College Football Top 30 Poll

1. USC
2. Texas
3. LSU
4. Penn State
5. Notre Dame
6. Virginia Tech
7. Ohio State
8. Miami
9. Auburn
10. West Virginia
11. Georgia
12. Louisville
13. Fresno State
14. Alabama
15. UCLA
16. Boston College
17. Michigan
18. Wisconsin
19. Clemson
20. Florida
21. Iowa State
22. Iowa
23. South Carolina
24. Texas Christian
25. Colorado
26. Florida State
27. Texas Tech
28. Minnesota
29. South Florida
30. Northwestern

It's coming...

A permanant return is imminent.