Happy New Year to everybody in the Naborhood! Hard to comprehend its 2013?! Gotta say I still feel young even though I get constant reminders that I’m not. Like watching my boyhood hero the Fonz look very old in a recent infomercial selling mortgage rates to senior citizens or maybe it was watching Bama win a National Title knowing I covered them winning another one over 20 years ago? Yes a New Year makes us reflect on the past, look forward to the future or in this case weigh in on the present……

HALL OF SHAME: I was somewhat surprised the Baseball Hall of Fame voters made sure this year’s class was …….well nobody??! Its the first time since 1996 no player was voted in, but I understand why. I do believe Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will or make that –SHOULD gain admission one day but given their steroid past have no right to be first time inductees. What separates them from the likes of Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro is that they’re numbers were good enough to gain admission BEFORE they juiced up which after a slap on the wrist should be good enough. Craig Biggio should also be a gimmie with 3000 hits but understand some voters who think he shouldn’t be a first ballot guy since that should be reserved for the very best. You know Ted Williams and Craig Biggio?? I get it. Next year will be tricky for all of the above as Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas SHOULD all be locks—stay tuned on what will be one of the most interesting votes in years next time around. Oh and Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza might be hoping for no late breaking steroid articles.

FOR PETE’S SAKE: OK I wouldn’t want my daughters to marry him, I don’t trust him and certainly feel he is a public relations nightmare but c’mon how can we keep Pete Rose not only off the ballot but out of the Hall of Fame? Unlike the latest cast of characters—he never used performance enhancing drugs. Sure he bet on baseball and then lied about it but years ago said he was sorry and came clean—I think he’s more than paid the piper. My Dad and I are lifelong baseball fans and made our first trip to Cooperstown three years ago, but after touring the Hall felt something was sure missing. We have forgiven an awful lot of people in this country for far worse—time to kiss and make up with Pete Rose. Think about it–nobody had as many hits in the history of the game as Rose yet he’s not on the ballot—hard to understand that….

SEC HATE: Heard an interesting fact this week. If you are a senior in high school, the last time you didn’t see an SEC team win a National Title you were in….fifth grade? Yeah the last seven years have been a fun filled SEC ride courtesy the Gators,the Tide, the Tigers, the other TIgers and oh more from the Tide. I have never liked the Yankees or the Cowboys growing up but now know how their fan base feels—everybody hates a winner? Ok I’m talking Cowboys of the 70’s and 90’s but hope you get the point—-I get a kick out of all the people who are critical of the SEC Supremacy and really its laughable. How do you deny this unbelievable run where Notre Dame was the latest casualty and yes I think Georgia would have beat them soundly as well. Stop the hate—embrace history. If you love the ACC, the Big 12 or the Big 10—its kind of like those critics who hate those you run up the score? The answer—stop it.

THE M&M&M BOYS: Speaking of the SEC—-the conference superiority isn’t going away next season especially at the QB position. Next year there seems to be a prerequisite for success—the letter M. From Manziel to McCarron to Murray and yes don’t forget about Mettenburger, the SEC Signal Callers will be putting up big numbers again next fall. I had the privilege to cover Johnny Football and Aaron Murray in recent bowl games where both were extremely impressive. Manziel in particular is maybe the most exciting player I have ever seen in person where he truly plays in a fearless manner which is contagious with his teammates who enjoyed his stiff arming of any Heisman Hangover. It will be interesting to see how both he and McCarron do next year with big time losses to their offensive lines—two of the best in college football history for sure.

WILSON!! While we are on the subject of Quarterbacks—-who is your favorite rookie this year in the NFL? Pretty tough call between the likes of Andrew Luck, RGIII or Russell WIlson. Looking at the numbers— Luck threw for the most yards (4,374), RGIII had the best TD to INT ratio (20 TD-5 INT–unbelievable) while Wilson had the most TD passes (26). Luck threw the most picks, RGIII had the most rushing yards but Wilson is the only rookie still alive in the playoff chase. Tough call?? If they were stocks–I believe Luck is the best long term investment especially given RGIII’s injuries but if I had a vote I would select Wilson as my Rookie of the Year. While Luck and RGIII both were first round bonus babies, Wilson had to earn his stripes coming out of the 3rd round and beating out free agent Matt Flynn just for the right to start. That’s not the other two QB’s fault but Wilson has been the most consistent of all three guys and remains the only one still alive. He seems to have that “it” factor where nothing bothers him as seen against the Redskins where he played come from behind in the his first playoff game. It will be interesting to see how good he will be with a great year under his belt. Cam Newton took a step back this season, but I think these three (if they can stay healthy) will only get better. They may not be the QB Class of 83 (Marino, Elway and Jim Kelly) but they are off to a great start.

WELCOME BACK: I admit hockey isn’t close to being my favorite sport but the athletes are by far the best to cover and the atmosphere is second to none—welcome back NHL—I guess better late than never. Hey the season is way to long anyway so the next few months may be more exciting than usual.

NOBODY ASKED ME BUT: OK sadly college football season is over but a big weekend of NFL football so how about some predictions:

PACKERS OVER NINERS : Great matchup but I like the way Aaron Rodgers and company are playing right now and like the fact that Bay Area native boy Rodgers will have a huge chip on his shoulder playing his first meaningful game back home—he was snubbed by the Niners on Draft Day—this time he gets the last laugh. I’m told this guy never forgets anything—we shall see.

BRONCOS > RAVENS: I think this is the easiest call of the weekend. Peyton and the overshadowed yet extremely talented Broncos Defense has had a few weeks off and get the home field against a Baltimore team that is older than dirt. Am I the only one who won’t miss that Ray Lewis pre game dance????

FALCONS BEAT HAWKS: Really want to pick Seattle here as I wasn’t overly impressed watching the Falcons this season but can’t imagine Matt Ryan and Mike Smith staying winless in the playoffs. They have had rest and are at home—-no excuse not to beat a Seattle team who for the second straight week has to jump on a cross country flight—-but I do love Russell Wilson?

PATRIOTS >TEXANS: Has the potential to be the best game of the weekend even though Houston lost by 28 points to the Pats last month. I think the Texans D plays better this time around but the bottom line who do you have more faith in Tom Brady or Matt Schaub???

EXTRA POINT: Do you really believe Nick Saban won’t give the NFL one more try?


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