The Brandon Spikes "eye gouging" hysteria yesterday puzzled me quite a bit. Was what Spikes did wrong? Yes, and a full game suspension rather than only half of the Vandy game probably would have been a better choice. On the other hand, it was hardly the crisis some hysterical commentators portrayed it as. It was poor sportsmanship in a game that had already featured multiple incidents of such, including two directed at Spikes. The fact neither Mark Richt or Urban Meyer were even aware of the play when asked about it on their teleconferences Sunday should have told people it wasn't something that stood out that much at the time. If you're Washaun Ealey and someone "gouged your eyes", wouldn't you have made a bit of a stink about it to the refs or your coaches right away? None of us in the press box at the game had even seen it happen. This entire thing was driven by the video clip getting circulated on the web, and then it was off to the races to see who could overreact more. I heard pundits proclaim Spikes should be banned from football for the rest of the season, and that this was vastly worse than LaGarrette Blount punching a player in the face and then trying to go after fans. I suspect very few of those people actually watched the game. I assume the SEC based their acceptance of the half game suspension on their previous precedents for fighting and treated this as the same thing as throwing a punch. While I think a full game would have been better, I can understand their thinking.
I can't imagine anyone's going to argue Urban Meyer felt he needed Brandon Spikes available in the second half for Florida to be able to handle Vandy at home this week, but now the Commodores should be even meeker offensively thanks to the loss of starting QB Larry Smith for the rest of the season. Mackenzi Adams, his replacement, is a senior who hasn't started since Vandy's game with UF last season. The Commodores simply don't have anyone capable of making plays in the pass game right now - this weekend's game could get very ugly if UF is even close to efficient offensively.
All indications are that Mickey Andrews will officially acknowledge his intent to retire as FSU defensive coordinator after the season today. This can't possibly surprise anyone at this point, and given how awful the defense has been this year I suspect Andrews wishes he'd stuck with his original desire to quit last year. Regardless, what happens next should be fascinating. Even if Jimbo Fisher has won the battle to keep Bobby from promoting Chuck Amato, will he be allowed to hire only a coordinator or an entire defensive staff as its believed he wants to? If not, what quality coordinator will want to come in and try to install his system with a staff full of short timers who don't want him there? Will FSU even discuss this issue during the season, or let it just sit out there as the elephant in the room?
As awful as Tampa Bay is this year, at least I can console myself with the thought that I'm not a Cleveland fan. The Browns fired their GM yesterday after half a season on the job. It's been rumored Eric Mangini may go after the season, and this is the second person with close personal ties to Mangini dismissed from the organization in the last week. Bernie Kosar's been brought in as a consultant - is he next to serve as ringmaster for this circus? Between the Redskins, Raiders and Browns the NFL has more genuinely embarassing organizations top to bottom at the moment than I can remember in a long time.
Looking for that special Christmas show to really bolster your holiday spirit this year? Forget about the Rockettes, and ditch the Nutcracker or Mannheim Steamroller. What you need to do is get on a plane for Vegas to enjoy the magic that is Twisted Sister's A Twisted Christmas live. Just to get warmed up, feel free to crank up their version of Oh Come All Ye Faithful at work - don't worry, everyone will enjoy it!