Welcome to another edition of Five Wide Fullbacks.
Last week the focus was on video games and the release of NCAA Football 2013. In recent days I was able to crawl back from a 37-20 4th quarter deficit to tie BYU in the waning seconds of the game, ultimately winning by pounding the ball on the ground for a touchdown in overtime.
The next week Oklahoma marched down the field for an easy touchdown in their first series, only to see Landry Jones throw 8(!!!) interceptions in a 44-14 loss.
Ahh, fantasy is fun.
This week I'll tackle 5 more questions on Miami's depleted roster, fall camp position battles, the coolest sneakers of all-time, and more.
1. Miami safety Ray Ray Armstrong was kicked off the team on Wednesday, furthering the loss of starters heading into 2012 for the Canes. Is there any way Miami stays with Notre Dame at Soldier Field?
By my numbers, this brings the total number of returning starters for Miami to 9---or 12 if you want to be generous with some players (like Seantrel Henderson) who started a handful of games or more last year.
I'm not sure this is a huge loss for Miami, in fact I know it's not. Armstrong is very talented and had a lot of potential but he wasn't an All-American-type of safety and he missed a lot of games in 2011 while being suspended and clearly took a step backwards from his strong 2010 sophomore season.
Further, I think Miami is going to survive on the defensive side of the ball. They may not be as good as they could have been with Ray Ray, but I have faith that Al Golden is going to bring a solid D with all those Florida recruits. Plus, the bulk of the returning starters are on that side of the ball anyway. It's the offense that could really hold the Canes back in 2012.
But no, I don't think Miami is going to be that competitive with Notre Dame in Chicago this year. Unless 2 or 3 prime time studs come out of the woodwork on offense, I can't see a team with Stephen Morris at quarterback and so few proven playmakers moving the ball too well against many teams.
2. The Texas A&M Aggies recently unveiled new uniforms as they enter the SEC this season with a new head coach. What are your thoughts on their new threads?
They aren't something I'd be too excited for my team to wear, but I kind of like them.
I'd get rid of the funny looking numbers and ban the maroon on maroon set to vastly improve the whole wardrobe. I also sympathize with the Aggies because it's not easy making a uniform with maroon, white, and gray look good (see Mississippi State for example).
Overall, they did a decent job of sticking with a basic template and adding some modern touches. I enjoy the stripes running from the shoulders down into the undersleeve, especially since there's some history to that kind of design. It's nice to see teams finally turning towards strong stripes instead of the ridiculous piping and truncated stripes that have plagued football for the past decade.
3. This question was asked earlier in the offseason, or maybe it was before spring practice, but what positional battles are you looking forward to watching when fall camp starts in a couple weeks, aside from quarterback?
A. Outside Linebacker
Both sides are going to be fun to watch. Will Shembo be healthy when camp starts and will Ishaq make a push for starter minutes? At the other side, does Spond have the Dog spot all wrapped up or will Councell make more noise there as well? What about someone like Anthony Rabasa---is he going to see the field this year?
B. Wide Receiver
I'm mostly concerned with Davonte Neal and DaVaris Daniels. I think the team really needs these two dynamic athletes to make a strong push this fall.
Who is going to win the Lo Wood-Josh Atkinson battle? Will it even matter if they're both going to play a ton of minutes? If (God forbid) Bennett Jackson goes down, who is the next corner to step in? Will any of the freshmen move to corner and make some noise?
4. Name one overrated team and one underrated football team to watch this fall.
Overrated- Tennessee Volunteers
I'd also accept Baylor, Wisconsin, or Oklahoma State, but I keep seeing a lot of "Watch out for Tennessee this year" and "The Volunteers could surprise in 2012" talk out there, and I am not buying it. They return a lot of starters and have a solid quarterback, but I still don't think they win more than 7 games as the fourth best team in their division while having to also play Alabama in the west.
Underrated- Iowa Hawkeyes
A team with no running backs? Why, yes!
Look, this team is starting 5-0 whether you like it or not. Their opening schedule is so incredibly soft that it should be illegal. Outside of that their league games are certainly nothing daunting without Ohio State or Wisconsin. If this team upsets one of their 4 "tough" conference games against Michigan State, Penn State, Michigan, or Nebraska, the Hawkeyes will finish 9-3.
5. You recently just bought a pair of sneakers that likely crack your top list of personal favorites. Name that shoe as well as your other favorites.
You remember Dee Brown's dunk in 1991 Dunk Contest, right? Remember the shoes he was wearing?
I never did own a pair of these but the pump basketball on the tongue has to be one of the coolest things ever designed for the foot. The pump shoes were so in style that it seemed like every shoe would feature them, but they did suffer a pretty quick death once they proved unreliable and easy to break.
This is my first love as far as sneaks go. I was still a year away from buying my first pair of Jordans, but I wanted this ones bad at the time.
The clear sole, the reflective tongue, and Jumpman lace-lock revolutionized the sneaker game. I don't think there's been three more subtle yet equally amazing innovations in one shoe.
Air Max is probably the most consistently tasteful shoe brand made by Nike (or anyone really) and there have been dozens of styles and color combinations over the years that deserve their own recognition.
Remember how cool the side air unit was on the late 80's and early 90's editions? Remember when the air unit first wrapped around the heel in 1993 and then later around the whole shoe? Well, the '95 editions are among the most unique in style and their 3-part air unit was pretty fancy as well---just a very memorable sneaker.
Putting these on automatically makes you feel like you're back in the 1960's.
In theory, a wonderful and classic sneaker. The version I ended up buying (white with bright green trim) were very narrow and uncomfortable to run (and ironically) play tennis in. The material also made them impossible to clean once they got dirty.
As you can see from my bio, this is my favorite sneaker of all-time.
I've never had a shoe that packed so much awesome into my feet. They were durable, extremely comfortable, and perfect to run and play sports in while still casual enough to wear off the court or field.
Aesthetically, this has to be one of icons. It was bold, yet fairly simple. It has one of the coolest looking soles of any shoe, the colors and material on the trim and toe were varied and exciting, while the "3" placed on the back heel is probably as iconic as any non-Jordan shoe out there.
My first Jordans and well worth the wait. I had the white with black and red trim ones, but the black with neon red can lay claim to possibly the most badass shoe of all-time.
These were worn during MJ's first title season in Chicago and I think they symbolize his brand more than any other sneaker. That's certainly up for debate but there's no denying that I love these shoes.
The Jordan VII was a major step back in design from all previous editions, but Nike made up for it with the Jordan VIII---probably the coolest "weird" looking sneaker out of the whole Jordan collection, at least in the early years before things got way out of hand.
I'm sure a lot of people didn't like this shoe but it has a special place in my heart.
This is my most recent sneaker purchase and I am in love. Normally, I wouldn't even have looked twice as this shoe except the low version in obsidian, blue gray, white, and cyber as seen here was probably the coolest sneaker I've seen in years. It's the lightest shoe I've ever worn, it's made of some very interesting materials, and with the release of The Dark Knight Rises, I'm pretty sure this would be the shoe that Batman would wear.
What are your favorite sneakers?