Bad Driver

Where did you learn to drive? Get off the road you f*&%#@! b#)&$.

All I could do was wave at the guy who angrily pulled up next to me. Turning left only a few moments before out of my neighborhood (after looking both ways, of course), I eased into the northbound lane. It was clear to turn on the 40 MPH speed limit road. I increased my speed to 43 MPH (still “legal”) and noticed this car speeding up behind me. No way this car was going 40 or even 45.

Tailgating behind me until the stoplight ahead, I saw him angrily jerk his car into the left hand turn lane. And then he opened his mouth.

I had a few choices I could make: ignore him, yell back at him or do something to show him he wasn’t about to get under my skin. I quickly chose the latter…and waved.

I knew laughing and smiling at him would only make it worse. So, I waved. And waved. And waved. Then, I blew a kiss at him and said, Have a great day, dude!

Completely unoriginal.

And, completely stupid.

Ignoring an idiot that’s behind the wheel is usually the best course of action. But, something in me wanted to respond. It was a defensive mechanism. It was an attitude of “How dare you challenge me when I’m in the right?”.


As I reflected on this incident, I thought about how it relates to sports.

And, of course, social media.

In today’s non-stop, always on world, many of us are bombarded with information overflow. Let’s be clear here.

It’s OUR CHOICE to be informed…constantly. We don’t have to be on Facebook or Twitter as much as are – it’s a choice.

Because it’s our choice, we expose ourself to the good and the bad. We rejoice in a new birth. We feel the heartache in a doctor’s diagnosis. We empathize with job loss. We get angry over real and perceived indignities. We share in victories and losses.

We choose to participate in it all.

I am cognizant of that. In the early days, I used to freely give my opinion on a variety of topics. But, as time has gone on, I am keenly aware of how easy it is for people to misunderstand my written word. I own it, but that doesn’t mean people will agree with me. It’s all about perception.

Combined with reality.


Joe Brown had non-stop customer complaints at his job all day long. His wife called him during one of the in-store complaints to tell him their daughter got suspended from school, the pipes busted in the basement and she has to head out of town for work.

Tomorrow morning.

On his birthday.

Frustrated, Joe hops on social media before heading home to find out the latest trade rumors for his favorite team. Hoping they make that one move…that one final move…that will put them over the top. Instead, he sees star player in trouble with authorities for a weekend event.

And, media “crucifying” said player.

Already angry, he reacts. The anger in his heart spills over into his social media posts. Jose says things he doesn’t really mean. He’s just reacting to his day in the only place he feels he can do it.

Joe can’t yell at customers. Joe won’t yell at his wife. Joe has to figure out what to do about his daughter’s school…and his daughter. Oh, and the pipes in the basement? He’s so mad he could scream.

Instead, he hopped on social media.

And reacted.

With posts that can’t be taken back.

Or deleted forever.


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The above story is an exaggeration. Or maybe, it actually happens.

Every single day.

No matter the social media platform, no matter the country, it plays out every single day.

Is this an excuse for behavior? No. Never has been nor will it ever be an excuse for bad behavior, be it on social media or driving.

Every single day we make choices. When it comes to our feelings and emotions, we choose how we handle them. We choose how we respond with them.

There have been so many days where I want to say something on social media. But, I’ve learned that words on a screen can be misconstrued. They can be, dare I say, taken out of context.

I’ve learned to not post. I know that people will be offended and vehemently disagree with me – and respond in kind.

I understand the landscape. I know enough to know that people can be sensitive and closed-minded. They can be dogmatic in their opinions and ideals.

And, I know that there is more to a reaction that what is visible on the surface.


Was that driver late for work?

Did he just get in a fight with his wife or girlfriend?

Maybe he got a speeding ticket the day before.

Or lost his job recently.

Bad diagnosis?

Home foreclosed?

I don’t know what his issue was when he yelled at me that day. Whatever it was it was enough to set him off and call me a f*&%#@! b#)&$.

He was wrong. I was wrong for even trying to respond. Looking back, I do feel sorry for him. So much anger in his heart that he felt compelled to take it out on me.

So many times we talk about acceptance, peace, tolerance, yet we forget it all starts with understanding. We can’t get to understanding without first trying to understand where others are coming from. It is in those moments when true dialogue takes place. 

The driver was angry before he started yelling at me. I should have recognized that and just went about with my day. It wouldn’t have changed the fact that he cursed at me.

By responding, however, I only fed the beast that lies within. Anger, in and of itself, is normal. What we do with that anger, in our angry moment, says more about us as human beings that perhaps we care to admit.


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College Football 2015 is Predictably Unpredictable

IMG_2722The 2015 college football season is ___________.
Pick an adjective and it might just apply to this first month of the 2015 FBS season. 
How else to explain the quarterback controversy for the defending champs who still happen to be the #1 team in the country?
How else to explain the downward spiral that is happening in Eugene?
How else to explain what is happening in the world of Longhorns? 
How else to explain the discontent that is rising in Fayetteville? 
How else to explain the Noles, Canes and Gators are all undefeated? 
Did I mention that Northwestern, Indiana, Temple and NC State (a combined 23-26 in 2014) are also undefeated? Or, that Illinois, after firing their coach right before the start of the season, is 3-1?
Yes, 2015 is (so far) unpredictable. 


As the 2014-15 national champ, Ohio State had the target on their backs heading into this season. That, in itself, can be a distraction alone. But, Cardale Jones, JT Barrett and Braxton Miller as your top three quarterbacks – which one do you choose? Not even Coach Urban Meyer knows the complete answer. Miller has moved to a halfback-quarterback hybrid (officially), although the quarterback part of that is debatable. Jones and Barrett continue to run the Buckeyes offense, but having Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield helps.
The Buckeyes have struggled to put opponents away early on, but they remain undefeated in a highly competitive Big 10 conference. Michigan State, Indiana, Iowa and Northwestern join OSU in the undefeated ranks of the B1G. Wisconsin’s only loss on the season was to SEC powerhouse, Alabama. Only Purdue at 1-3 is a sub-.500 team. 
The B1G conference will begin weeding out the pretenders this coming week as Ohio State visits Indiana, Northwestern hosts 3-1 Minnesota and Iowa visits Wisconsin. Sparty should not have any trouble hosting Purdue. Michigan looks to be on the upswing at 3-1 heading toward their showdown with Sparty on October 17th.


Oregon was in the first ever College Football Playoff back in January.
With 14 returning starters from that team, not including Heisman-winner Marcus Mariota, the Ducks were expected to contend not only for the conference title but a playoff spot again. 
Mariota is gone and only two starters from his offensive line returned to protect newcomer Vernon Adams, Jr and Mariota’s back-up, Jeff Lockie. All of which adds up to a struggling Ducks offense combined with a young defense – the Ducks, a preseason top 10 have fallen from their Pac-12 perch and sit at 2-2 overall. 
One of those losses was a beatdown suffered at the hands of the Utah Utes. After Utah’s win in Eugene, they look to be the team to beat after September. 
Heading into the season, the Pac-12 South looked to be a brutal grind. All but Colorado had the opportunity to win the division. ASU looks pedestrian, Arizona was humbled by UCLA leaving the battle to the L.A. schools and Utah.
With Oregon tumbling back to earth, Cal (4-0) has risen in its place. The “Big Game” with Stanford could be the decider for the North division, but in this topsy-turvy conference without a standout team, that seems like a long way off. 

Big 12

Six teams undefeated.  
That sounds about right for the Big 12 in September. Late October and November tends to be their kryptonite. For now, though, they’ll enjoy Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma and West Virginia. 
The Mountaineers are interesting as they rank in the top 10 in total defense. A nice win this past Saturday over B1G’s middling-Maryland team could be a big springboard for their showdown with Oklahoma on October 3rd. They’ll need all the spring they can get as the Sooners were idle this final Saturday in September. 
Bill Snyder’s KSU Wildcats are a model of consistency. Always a challenger for the conference title, the Cats sit at 3-0 as they head into a whale of an October schedule. They’ll visit the OSU Cowboys before hosting TCU and Oklahoma back-to-back. They finish with a competitive, albeit inconsistent, Texas team. 
Hard not to discuss the Big 12 without TCU and Baylor. The two high-powered teams have seemed vulnerable at times already this season. But, they continue to escape despite defenses ranked in the plus-100’s in FBS. The meat of Baylor’s schedule is mostly in November, while TCU has a solid mix of tough home-road games in the next two months. 


SEC is the premier conference in the country. 
Or, so the pundits say. 
Thankfully, the final say happens on the field. And, it’s either the SEC has come back down to earth OR the rest of the country has caught up to the SEC. The SEC of past years isn’t as dominant as it used to be. 
Alabama is still Alabama. Well, with the exception of last week’s loss to Ole Miss. 
Maybe that should read Alabama is new Alabama. Occasional losses here and there, but they still find their way into top 10 rankings on a routine basis. 
Ole Miss, after their upset win in Tuscaloosa, is crashing the top 5 party with LSU knocking on the door behind early-Heisman candidate Leonard Fournette (631 yards on 71 carries, 8 TDs, 8.6 avg).
Georgia is doing its September thing of being undefeated…and untested. They hype machine is always in full effect for the Bulldogs early on, as it is this year. They have a favorable schedule the rest of the way – their biggest test could be this coming weekend’s home game against Bama. 

Auburn (2-2) and Arkansas (1-3) are struggling while Florida (4-0) and Kentucky (3-1) are rising. Missouri’s 3-1 record is misleading as they’ve struggled in nearly all of their games. 
Good thing it’s decided on the field and not in the polls.  
Or, by pundits. 


Gone is Jameis Winston, but the Seminoles are still the cream of the ACC crop. Well, in record only.
The Noles were so much more than Winston, despite his leading them to the promised land in 2014 and the playoff semi-final in 2015. 11 Seminoles were drafted in the 2015 NFL Draft equaling their 2013 total. 
FSU is 3-0 which includes a decent 14-0 win at Boston College. 10/10 might be circled on their calendar, however, when they face in-state rival Miami. The Hurricanes have started off the season 3-0, including a surprising 36-33 win over Nebraska this past weekend. 
The Canes aren’t alone – NC State and Clemson are also part of the undefeated ranks. The Tigers are an interesting case at 3-0. They have a great 20-17 win against Louisville, but top 10-ranked Notre Dame comes calling on October 3.
Meanwhile, the Wolfpack and their top-10 ranked defense could be the surprise of the conference. Louisville, Virginia Tech and Clemson loom large in three of their next four games. We’ll know plenty more about them and the entire ACC in these next few weeks. 


The cream of the crop is Notre Dame. The top-10 ranked Fighting Irish sit at 4-0 and are averaging 41 points per game. But, the Irish have Clemson, Navy, USC and Stanford ahead of them – not an easy road by any means.

Not too far behind ND is the American Athletic Conference’s Memphis Tigers. But, are they contenders or pretenders? Dates with Ole Miss, Tulsa and Temple will tell us if the Tigers are for real or not. 

With wins over power-5 conference schools Washington and Virginia, Boise State is once again in the national conversation. Their only blemish is a last second Hail Mary pass against BYU. 



Weird might be an understatement. And, contrary to what Frank Beamer thinks, 

this isn’t the NFL. August and September games count. They count in the standings and with those involved in college polls. If you have national title aspirations, they matter. If not, then enjoy your conference title chase and your non-prominent bowl.

Coaches often say things, like Beamer did, that they don’t really mean. Of course they all matter. This isn’t the NFL where you can win your division with a sub-.500 record and make the playoffs. There are no wild cards in the business of college football.

That’s exactly what it is –  a business. Multi-million dollar businesses.Last time I checked, there are no guarantees in a multi-million dollar business. No guarantees other than unpredictability.

The 2015 college football season is predictably unpredictable.

Just the way we like it.


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Shoot-out in Cheney Goes Eastern’s Way

Dakota Prukop could not be stopped.IMG_3075

At least, not until 59 minutes and 52 seconds had elapsed in the game. That’s when the Eastern Washington Eagle defense finally…finally sealed the non-conference win at Roos Field. Freshman cornerback, Nzuzi Webster, picked off the Prukop pass deep in Bobcat territory. 

“When it was 28-7, I told they guys, I kept saying it – the biggest thing we’ve got to make sure is that there’s no relax,” said Coach Beau Baldwin. “This is going to be a dogfight all the way til the end. It can be a play here or there, you never know. And, sure enough, that’s what it came down to.


The Eagles needed nearly every tick of the clock to put this game away, 55-50. Despite having an early 21-point lead, the Eastern defense did not have an answer for Prukop and the Bobcat offense. Instead, it was the EWU offense that provided answer after answer. 

The Eagles only ran 57 offensive plays compared to the Bobcats 104, but they made the most of them when they had to. And quickly, too. Each of the eight EWU touchdown drives took under three minutes. They finished with a total time of possession of 21:58. 


The Bobcat offense had been methodically wearing down the Eagle defense all game long. Keeping the Eagle defense off-balance just enough with sustained drive after sustained drive to the tune of 38+ minutes in time of possession. 

Prukop, for his part, showed why the FCS is buzzing about, and scouts were watching, the junior quarterback. He went 29-46 for 353 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also added 196 yards on 28 carries with 1 TD.  Numbers that impressed everyone, including the Eagle defense. 

“Big shout-out to Prukop,” said junior linebacker, Miquiyah Zamora. “That dude – that dude is good.” Added Coach Baldwin, “(Prukop) He’s going to will himself back into the game. That’s what he was doing at the end of the game and it was a battle down to the end.”

While Prukop will deservedly get the headlines, EWU’s Jordan West was no slouch himself. Aided by a run game that broke out for 274 yards, West was masterfully efficient. He went 21-24 for 410 yards and six touchdowns. 

“I felt like all of our offense was in rhythm,” said West after the game.


In rhythm in the passing game as well as the run game. Junior running back, Jabari Wilson, led the Eagles with 17 carries for 188 yards including an opening-drive 31-yard touchdown run and a 62-yard scamper to set up a second EWU touchdown. 

Meanwhile, Kupp had 12 catches for 201 yards for an unheard of 16.75 yard average. His three touchdowns gives Kupp 45 touchdowns in his career, one short of the Big Sky and school career record of 46 set by EWU’s Eric Kimble. 

Asked about Kupp, Jordan West had this to say, “It just seems like any time you throw him the ball, he’s going to come down with it. He’s just such a competitor. He just hates to go down. Even being injured out there today, he was still making incredible plays.” 

Incredible plays made by incredible players in an incredible game. A big first win for the Eastern Washington Eagles (1-2 overall) who head to Sacramento State (1-2) to open Big Sky conference play next week. The Bobcats (1-1 overall) will look to rebound in only their third game of the season with a homecoming game versus Cal Poly (1-1). 







TIME OF POSSESSION: MSU = 38:02, EWU = 21:58

PENALTIES: MSU = 6/26, EWU = 2/15


CadChica Sports

Edited 9/20/15 to correct the number of touchdowns for Cooper Kupp. Previously listed as 46 in error. 

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