Sunday, September 18, 2016

He Crashed Me So I Crashed Him Back by Mark Bechtel Book Review

I wanted to pick up some NASCAR books for my pop's birthday a few years back and this book kept coming up as I researched the NASCAR books out there.  He really enjoyed it and gave it to me to read. My reading schedule hasn't been great but once I got started it was a book I didn't want to put down.  Mark Bechtel does a great job of describing the events of the 1979 Daytona race and how it catapulted the sport into the public's consciousness. But this book is so much more than that one day.  It provides so much insight into the beginnings of NASCAR as well as the great drivers early on and through the seventies. It also details the 1979 season itself which saw a great race for the championship.  Bechtel lays it all out in an easy-to-read way that provides an abundance of information with humor and insight.  If you at all like NASCAR you must read this book.  You won't be disappointed.   

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

2016 Georgia Bulldogs Preview

Tailback Nick Chubb
After a 10-3 season and a win over Penn State in the Taxslayer bowl, coach Mark Richt was let go even though he won 74% of his games as the Georgia Bulldogs coach (15 seasons).  He was very good but it wasn't good enough.  He missed being ranked in the top 25 three out of the last six seasons though he did take them to a bowl game each year he coached the team.  That is the pressure on an Georgia Bulldogs coach.  Enter Kirby Smart who is tasked with getting the passing offense back on track and getting them past very good.  Smart hasn't named a starting QB yet so it is hard to guess where that aspect of the offense goes.  The running game will have star back Nick Chubb returning after being injured last season and will also have Sony Michel who led the team in rushing last year with over 1,100 yards.  I think if they can get the quarterback going, combined with their good running attack, the offense will be in good shape.
New head coach Kirby Smart
The defense returns only four starters but they are all from the defensive backfield.  That is a good thing in college ball where there are pass happy teams left and right.  Georgia's passing offense was #1 in the country last year.  Still they'll see plenty of rushing offenses in the SEC and that could be an issue.  Supposedly the front seven has plenty of talent that could show itself this year.  That seems like a tall order but if they do play well watch out. 

With a decent quarterback there is no reason the Bulldogs can't win 11 games.  That is still to be seen and with new coaches combined with a new signal caller it is hard to tell what you are going to get.  Their September 3 opener at home versus North Carolina should be a decent test or at least show us where they are at to begin the season.  I think their rush game could be excellent with Chubb and Michel so I've got hopes for another 10, maybe even 11 win season   

Monday, August 29, 2016

Michigan Wolverines 2016 Preview

All-American Jabrill Peppers
The Michigan Wolverines are coming off a very good 10-3 season which saw them win the Citrus Bowl 41-7 over Florida.  With quarterback Jake Rudock gone that seems to leave Wilton Speight and John O'Koren, who have been battling for the job during camp, as the favorites.  Jim Harbaugh says he knows who his starter is but not when he'll tell everyone.  Even with that up in the air the offense returns eight starters which should help whoever wins the job. The running game could use a pep finishing 84th in the country.  Again with all the starters back I'm hoping for the offense to improve but that is never a given when you have an unknown at quarterback.  Jake Butt returns at tight end and he will give the QB winner a steady option along with the rest of the talented receiving corps. 

All-American Tight End Jake Butt
The defense isn't quite as lucky but does have five returning starters to include all-around stud Jabrill Peppers.  Michigan also hired top defensive coordinator Don Brown away from Boston College.  He'll have his work cut out for him but I don't think it is stretch to say the defense could be almost as good as last year's.  I'm not sure this team can win more than the ten they got last year but they should be able to match it.  If it wasn't for the questions at quarterback and the turnover on defense it'd be a different story.  They've helped themselves by scheduling the first five games, and eight of 12 overall, at home.  With some luck they can pick up 11 wins and maybe, just maybe beat Ohio State.  That may be wishful thinking but beating the Buckeyes is what all Michigan fans wish for. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

2016 Rio Olympics

The 2016 Olympics are over and Rio de Janeiro and the athletes made this a great event.  We watch quite a bit of the Olympics and enjoy the little known sports as well as some of the big name events.  I enjoy what this means to the athletes as well as to the countries.  And for the most part politics aren’t a big part of the story.  Just athletes who’ve gone all out for the last four years to get to this one point.  Rio for its part did a great job and all the dire predictions turned out to be for not.  The city did a great job overall.

 The opening and closing ceremonies did well as bookends to the Olympics.  I like watching the athletes after the Olympics are over because they are so much looser.  No more events to stress about and they can be themselves.  Some are even fans themselves who get selfies with the other stars of the games. 
 
Listening to interviews of the athletes, to include those on the local radio, showed they enjoyed themselves and also squashed the rumors about how bad conditions were.  There is way too many great moments in the Olympics not to enjoy.  You don’t have to be a fan of all the sports but there is definitely something for everyone.  For me, I just enjoy.    
Great Sportsmanship

And she backed it up the finger wag...

Trampoline competition - fun to watch for the first time

These guys were amazing to watch.  China Gold Medalists
Domination From Beginning to End

I was kind of digging rugby
 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Last week I was in Dayton, Ohio for work and was able to take in the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.  It was great, it was free and it was huge.  Anyone with any thought of going. should.  With it being free you can't beat the price and make sure you have plenty of time.  Three hours or so.  There are four large hangers filled with airplanes, many of which I've never seen before.  They don't skimp.  No matter how large or how small it seems like you'll find it here either in a ground display or hanging from the rafters.  There are also other displays as well as a nice gift shop.  This isn't something they just threw together. The facilities are very nice and I found it nothing short of fun.  The pictures below are just a small sample of what I took and much smaller sample of the total displays.    
Me in front of the P-38 - my favorite plane - rocking "The Warriors" shirt. 
 
B-24

B-26

Space Shuttle Mock Up You Could Walk Through

F-117

A10

B-25

B-52

B-2
B-17

Part of the Bob Hope Display
 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Atlanta Hawks Team Set - 2015-16 Panini Basketball

The final set I'll look at is the current Atlanta Hawks 2015-16 Hoops team set.  Eleven cards in this set which is nice compared to the others and I love that there are two cards with Hawks players in their throwback uniforms (Schroder and Milsap). 
The design is pretty nice but I'd like to have seen some smaller borders.  There are no player positions as is normal for Hoops.  I think having the corner colored around the team logo as is seen on the rookie card would have been nice to see on all cards.  Otherwise the photos are as good as always.  The backs are black and white and a tad different as the team logo is gone.  I'm not sure if Hoops is trying to take everything interesting out of the designs of the back or what.  If they had enlarged the font or done it for some other purpose I'd understand but as is it is just a big negative for me.  Overall these are ok for me but nothing to write home about. 
 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Atlanta Hawks Team Set - 2014-15 Panini Basketball

This is the Atlanta Hawks 2014-15 Hoops team set.  This set had nine cards.  Average cards with a decent design.  Still no player position but the photos are good.  Maybe it is just the nature of basketball but the photos from year to year provide little excitement/difference.  The backs are black and white with a very similar design as past years.  Again not bad but not thrilling.