College Basketball Fans Gone Wild

What is going on with students at basketball schools? First, WRAS witnessed the melee between UAB student "Orange Jumpsuit Guy" and the Memphis basketball team that could have been much worse. Then while watching a seemingly harmless game last night between USC and Arizona a fan decided to lob a full water bottle at the Trojan bench prompting this response from Arizona head coach Kevin O'Neill, "Who did that? I want to know who did that. Whoever did that, that's wrong. We are not standing for that here...Tim, I apologize to you and your team." After putting down the microphone, O'Neill fried an egg on his bald spot. And last month, Oregon's fans targeted UCLA freshman Kevin Love with homophobic chants and offensive messages on signs.

Don't get us wrong here, basketball fans are some of the most passionate and their proximity to the court makes for the best home court advantage of any sport but there are limits. Heckling and trying to get in the head's of the visiting team is part of the game and the fun. Duke fans have made this an art form, helped by the layout of Cameron Indoor Stadium. (Which is what WRAS wishes Auburn's new arena would be designed after, not some space-age glass house.) The students at every basketball game should be the ones with the best seats right next to the court but there's a limit to how you show your passion. No matter what the team does, don't dive over the railing into the visiting team's tunnel, and drink, don't heave your water at the players or coaches.

Here is some footage of the USC-Arizona game. About 49 seconds into the clip, the bottle hits USC’s Dwight Lewis in the foot. And at 1:47, a replay shows a fan just to the right of the backboard chucking the bottle.


This Would Never Happen To Aubie

Stupid Duke mascot injured his knee during last night's Duke-Georgia Tech game. The only thing better would have been if he had landed on Dookie V too.


February Baseball...

Gotta Love it. The AU Baseball team (4-0) swept ETSU this past weekend and will get more of a challenge this week against No. 11 ranked Florida State (3-0). The Saturday game will be televised on Sun Sports from Tallahassee. Player to watch: Freshman 1st Baseman, Hunter Morris of Grissom High in Huntsville went yard in his second game, and is expected to put up big numbers before his career at Auburn is over.

It Is An Election Year

One of the most anticipated spring practices in memory has begun on the Plains of Auburn and for the first time since before Jason Campbell's sophomore year has the starting quarterback position been this up in the air.
Fitting that four candidates have emerged to replace three-year starter Brandon Cox behind center, Kodi Burns, Chris Todd, Neil Caudle and DeRon Furr. Like this year's presidential election, the favorite at the end of each practice could change depending on which way the wind is blowing. Though WRAS believes that two will emerge after the spring and head into fall as co-number ones, sophomore Kodi Burns and junior Chris Todd.
Burns was picked by Coach Tuberville as the number one candidate to be the starter heading into the spring and deservedly so as he showed flashes during the season, especially during the Chik-Fil-A Bowl. To come in and play as well as he did, beginning with the Mississippi State game, with not many repetitions during fall camp shows he is a great talent but raw in areas. No one doubts his athleticism but can he throw the ball with the accuracy demanded of the offense that hopes to keep defenses off-balance?
Todd looks to be the perfect fit for Coach Tony Franklin's Spread Eagle System with solid accuracy, good size at 6'2" and 212 pounds and decent speed as he was clocked at 4.7 in the 40 yard dash. WRAS hasn't seen Todd in action yet but likes his knowledge of the offense and work ethic as he has stayed after practice throwing with a wide receiver even after 200 reps during practice.
One thing WRAS knows for sure, the gameplan of the Clemson game will need to be more two-dimensional during the 2008 season. When Cox was in, Auburn threw the ball, when Kodi was in, Auburn ran. If Todd is not able to run the ball with consistency then he will not hold on to the job, same with Kodi if he is not able to command the offense at 100% as Coach Franklin needs.
The goal of the Spread Eagle is to keep defenses off-balance and not being able to substitute while running from very similar looking sets. To do this adequately defenses need to not be sure what play will be run no matter which quarterback is in the game. Combine that with the number of plays Auburn plans to run and the hits that the quarterback position will take this year leads WRAS to believe that a two-quarterback system will be in place, but only time, spring and fall practices will tell.
photographs by Todd Van Emst and auburnsports.com


Revenge of the Turds

Are Nick Sa6an's players hazing the student body? WRAS is a little worried about the co-eds at the Crapstain. There have been 8 University of Nick Sa6an at Tuscaloosa (UNST) players arrested in the last 13 months. It's a process...aight.
The litany of off the field issues include these gems in the last week...
Jeremy Elder was arrested on two felony charges after he allegedly robbed two SPUAT students at gunpoint,
Julio Jones testified in a murder trial. During his testimony, he admitted to hanging around with a known drug dealer and running across the street just prior to that dealer being shot and killed.
Burton Scott was also in court last week after a 44-year-old woman sued Scott in an attempt to establish child support payments.
Rashad Johnson, a team captain was charged with disorderly conduct outside a club on the strip.
WRAS thinks it's time for the Tri-Lambs to take back their campus from the Alpha Betas and burn their house down!


Auburn Sports Made It Rain This Week

WRAS noticed Auburn students wearing these shirts at the AU-SPUAT basketball game this weekend and all of Auburn athletics followed suit. Quick recap of the past week's action...
1. Won the men's and women's SEC Championships in swimming and diving, which was the 12th straight for the men and 6th overall for the women,
2. Beat SPUAT in men's basketball 88-76, fueled by great performances by Quan Prowell, Lucas Hargrove and the rest of the never say die Tigers,
3. Men's baseball won three straight over ETSU (going for the sweep today),
4. Women's softball improved to 10-1,
5. Men's golf shot a combined 19-under 269 to win The John Burns Intercollegiate,
6. Women's tennis won two matches to improve to 8-2, and
7. Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville accepted The James E. Foy-ODK Sportsmanship Award, given each year to the winner of the Iron Bowl, telling the announced crowd of 10,800 at the men's basketball game, "Regardless of what you hear and read, we will have a football team next year. We've won six and we're working on seven. We want to thank all of the Auburn family, the 2007 football team, the seniors, they won 50 games in five years, and were the third (straight) group of seniors that never lost to Alabama."
There is a lot of excitement surrounding Auburn's athletic teams and deservedly so as they are making us proud on and off the field. Combine all of this with one of the most anticipated spring practices in recent memory for the football team and WRAS is expecting 2008 to be one of the best year's in Auburn history.


Julio's Wallet Is With UAT...

...but his heart is with the Sooners.



The newest professional football league is gearing up to begin it's innagural season and has already received mixed reviews before the first snap. The idea that ex-college players can get a second chance at the NFL makes for a great story and should be entertaining. The only problem is if you are not a fan of the state named school, you are left without a team. Does any Auburn fan really want to purchase a crimson hat and t-shirt that is eerily similar to that of the "Unavusity" apparel? Do they want to hear "Yea Alabama", and "Roll Tide" every time Team Alabama scores? Or see the team run out of a megasized houndstooth hat with highlight reels from the 60's and 70's blaring on the jumbotron?
Maybe a little more effort to involve the other major division schools would have made it a little easier to swallow.

That being said, it's still a pretty brilliant concept, just a dumb way to sell it.

Can AU take the Shine off of UTK's Pearl?

Tough task tonight for the Auburn men's basketball team (13-10, 3-7) as it plays at #2 ranked Tennessee (23-2, 10-1) at 6:30 pm Central in Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville.

Auburn has lost its last four games in Knoxville by an average margin of 18 points. But it's not all bad as Jeff Lebo has a 2-1 record against the Vols as Auburn's head coach (3-1 overall) including a 1-1 record against Bruce Pearl. The team is improving, especially on defense, as they have forced 63 turnovers in their last three games.

Tennessee might be too deep for the Tigers as they have 10 guys that consistently play double-digit minutes and Auburn's weakness is their depth, not to mention having to run up and down the court with these fast-paced Vols. Preventing the Vols from getting on runs, limiting Chris Lofton's three-point shooting and keeping the crowd out of it will be crucial, including keeping up the 21 turnovers per game average over the last three.

Could UTK be looking ahead to Saturday's matchup against the #1 ranked Memphis Tigers? They haven't won an outright SEC championship in 41 years and that is the their main goal. Winning the SEC will give the Vols, at worst, an inside shot at a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament in March.

Auburn will keep this one close for a half but UTK's depth and a great homecourt advantage will be too much as Auburn leaves Knoxville winded in an 83-64 loss.

Colquitt Version 4.0 Suspended

No worries for the UT program, they'll just roll out Colquitt version 5.0 a little earlier in time for spring practice.

It's a win-win for UT as they move up the Fulmer Cup standings on http://www.everydayshouldbesaturday.com/ and also get an upgraded version of their successful Colquitt line of kickers.


That Would Be The Famous Houndstooth

WRAS loves the fact that Bammers will talk into they are blue in the face about their love for all things houndstooth and those silly baseball caps they all wear and give the "croots" on signing day, but let one football player rob another student at gunpoint with that same hat on and it's a "checkered white and black baseball cap with the letter 'A.'" It's also fitting he would flee the area by walking towards Bryant Hall. The Bahr is still doing what he can to protect his players.


"I wish you'd get out of my life and shut up!"

Is what Napolean Dynamite said to his Uncle Rico and what many Auburn fans have no doubt said to Bammers in their lifetime. In a heated debate amongst friends during the never-ending barrage of "crootin" championship claims by Bammers this offseason, a friend of mine said during the heat of the moment, "Bammers remind me of Uncle Rico." There's no comeback for that and it got WRAS to thinking, how much like Uncle Rico are Bammers? Let's analyze some of Uncle Rico's quotes in the movie and see if there are any similarities...

"Anyway uh... so we still feelin' pretty good about this, uh, 32-piece set, here?"

Sounds like what Bammers will be saying in three years about their "crootin" champunship. WRAS bets no, they won't be feeling good about it.

"Back in '82, I used to be able to throw a pigskin a quarter mile. How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?... Yeah... Coach woulda put me in fourth quarter, we would've been state champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind."

1982 was the last year the Bahr coached and everything's been going downhill ever since. Like Bammers, the exploits of Uncle Rico have blurred the line between fact and fiction. Even claiming he can throw a football the length of over four football fields which is like Bammers claiming "12 nashunul champunships". Note the "would've been state champions" line, been a long time since that's happened, for Bammers and Uncle Rico. In Uncle Rico's mind and in Bammers, only the fourth quarter counts, as in Bammers win the fourth quarter but not the whole game. Just ask Brodie or the Britt brothers, they'll tell you. On another note, hasn't the defining play of the Iron Bowl streak been UAT kicking an onside kick late in the fourth quarter down by 7 or more points? It wouldn't be November without it.

"We also need some way to make us look official, like we got all the answers. We need like some name tags with our picture on it, all laminated and what not. I mean, we gotta look legit man."

Maybe their houndstooth visors and other hideous hats, Got Mike, Got Fran, Got Mike, Got Mike, Got Nick shirts and red jumpsuits make them smarter. WRAS knows it wasn't their UAT education, most don't have one.

"You... you? You pay the bills for that? Does that cost money every time you're on, like, for minutes on the phone?"

Sounds like conversations Sa6an has had with various members of the REC and other Bammer boosters during the time leading up to their "crootin" champunship.

"I reckon... you know a lot about... cyberspace? You ever come across anything... like time travel?"

Nothing would make Bammers happier than going back in time to 1982 or the 1970s and reliving the glory days that are getting smaller and smaller in the rearviewmirror of life.

Definitely sounds like Uncle Rico is a Bammer at heart, he even has the gold boogie chain to prove it.


As In Six New NCAA Rule Changes

The NCAA Rules Committee (and TV execs I’m sure) have decided to go ahead and propose changing up the rules to make the games quicker in addition to other potential changes. The rule changes are listed numbered one through six with our thoughts on each change below under the corresponding number.

1) After a player runs out of bounds and the ball is made ready to play, the game clock will start. Under the old rules the game clock would not start until the ball was snapped. This new rule will not apply in the last two minutes of the first half and the last two minutes of the game.
2) A coach will get an extra instant replay challenge if his first one is correct. Under the old rule the coach had one challenge whether he was right or wrong. Under the new rule the coach will get one extra challenge if his first is upheld.
3) If a kickoff goes out of bounds, the receiving team will have the option of taking the ball on its own 40-yard line. The previous rule gave the receiving team the ball on the 35-yard line.
4) The incidental 5-yard facemask penalty has been eliminated. The only facemask penalties that will be called will be for 15 yards.
5) There will no longer be sideline warnings for players and coaches who crowd onto the field during the game. The official may assess a 5-yard penalty without a warning for the infraction.
6) The first is the implementation of a 40/25-second play clock, similar to that of the NFL. At the end of every play, the 40-second clock will start, which is the rule in the NFL. On a change of possession, the first play will be run on a 25-second clock.

WRAS was initially hesitant about this because it enjoys spending as much time watching college football as possible and longer means more commercials, right?

But further examination leads us to believe it might not be all that bad, especially when you consider the fast-paced Spread Eagle attack Auburn will be using this year.

1) This rule we’re not really fond of. It boils down to the fact that there are a lot of out of bounds plays and this will shorten the game. It’s better than the changes made before the 2006 season but we’ll have to see how it plays out.
2) This is a slam dunk and a coach shouldn’t be penalized for making a good challenge that is proven correct.
3) Makes it even more important to have a accurate kickoff specialist. Auburn’s new quick strike offense should benefit from this. Hopefully the Tigers are able to find a more consistent kicker because even a defense as good as Auburn’s will have a hard time consistently defending a short field like this.
4) Not so sure about this rule, why let go of a facemask (even if grabbed accidentally) if you’re getting 15 yards regardless. Might as well bring him down. Not that we’re accusing anyone of intentionally doing harm this way but you never know what someone might do in a split second.
5) Will take some getting used to by the coaches as I’ve never seen a 5-yard penalty called for this. This could be the only silver lining to Coach Will “Boom” Muschamp leaving for Texas. He’ll probably lead the nation in this category. Though Coach Tuberville will give it a run. How many yards would CTT have gotten for that all-time rant versus the Florida Gators last year?
6) This is the biggest rule change. At first glance it did not appeal to us. It seemed that this would hinder a fast-break style of offense like the Spread Eagle. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said, "I think it favors the teams that run the no-huddle. That gives the quarterback a bunch more time to stand up there and read the defense." Coach Tony Franklin also seems to think this will help his offense in that it keeps the defense in their stances longer, helping to wear them out sooner all the while running the no-huddle that keeps defenses from substituting as frequently as they would like.

We’ll give these rules a chance before making a final judgment but one thing’s for sure this can’t be as bad as 2006.


The Tans Are Natural Too

Question, was this photo taken as part of a magazine shoot for HGH Weekly or was this something the Clemens were thinking of using for this year's Christmas card? Oh, Roger and Mrs. Rocket are in the second pic, i know the people in them look similar.


Congress Throwing A High Hard One

As you well know Congress is getting involved with performance-enhancing drugs and professional sports leagues, especially Major League Baseball. Why do they do that? Don't they have better things to do? There are "major league" problems such as the war, health care, New Orleans, etc. that deserve more attention than some juiced athletes, right? Wrong. Major League Baseball has an antitrust deal with the government because it is a business that operates across state borders, engaging in interstate commerce. That is a big deal to the government. We're not saying that this issue is more important than the above problems, but it does deserve the government's attention. Below is an excerpt from The Cincinnati Enquirer written by Ray Cooklis in March of 2005. The entire article is linked below.


"That baseball enjoys the exemption at all is a legal anomaly. In 1922, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that baseball was not involved in interstate commerce, so it was exempt from antitrust laws. Later the court decided that maybe baseball was interstate commerce, but that antitrust laws weren't written for that kind of business. In 1972, the court said the exemption was wrong but upheld it anyway, leaving it up to Congress to fix it - which it hasn't done yet. Thus the thinly disguised threat behind Thursday's steroids hearing.

Steroids have nothing to do with the antitrust exemption per se, although many argue the exemption has institutionalized an arrogance in baseball that allowed the performance-enhancing drug problem to grow in the past decade. 'Maybe Congress is at fault for sending the message that the antitrust exemption is also a public accountability exemption,' Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., said Thursday.

And maybe this is Congress' chance to set it right by forcing MLB to clean house. After all, steroids do matter.

Their users gain an unfair strength advantage, tilting the playing field and tainting the records they set. The steroid-induced cloud may be the biggest challenge to integrity of the game and its records since the Black Sox gambling scandal in 1919. On the human level, steroids are known to cause numerous, devastating health problems for their users.

'A pyramid of steroid use'

But most of all, steroid use at the Major League level creates pressure on players at lower levels to shoot up in order to compete. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 500,000 students now in U.S. high schools have tried steroids - triple the number 10 years ago. Only 56 percent of teens believe steroids are harmful, compared with 71 percent in 1992.

'There is a pyramid of steroid use in our society, and the owners and players are at the top of that pyramid,' Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said.

Fans aren't blameless. Their addiction to baseball's ultimate drug - the home run - has made it easy for Major League Baseball to let the steroid abuse continue. In opinion polls, fans now say overwhelmingly that if players are proven to have used steroids, their records should be stricken.

'But if Barry Bonds attracts record crowds this summer chasing the home run record, that's going to send a completely different signal,' Johnson said. Of course, that depends on how well the San Francisco slugger comes back from Thursday's knee surgery, which could sideline Bonds until well after the season starts.

So it's up to Congress - which is why Thursday's hearing, while certainly an exercise in political grandstanding, was important."

The reason WRAS brings this up is the talking heads on television and the mouthpieces on radio are constantly saying that Congress shouldn't be involved in this, including "legal analysts" on shows in Birmingham saying the same and they are falsely leading citizens to turn away from this issue and not care what happens one way or the other. While we respect the expertise of these people, they couldn't be more wrong. ESPN is leading the way in this, with many of their analysts saying this isn't important enough for Congress' attention. All the while showing the Congressional hearings live on their network and generating ad revenue no doubt. Thank goodness for critical thinkers like The Washington Post and Pardon the Interruption's Michael Wilbon.

Just because sports is a release and entertainment for millions of Americans doesn't mean they are above the law. And because sports is important to millions of people and because billions of dollars are spent on sports each year, integrity, honesty and a level playing field should be important to Congress and sports has a whole should be held accountable for their actions. If they weren't, Congress WOULD NOT be doing their job.


The Big Upset

"You just don't really want to get me upset. When I'm upset, I'm known to do certain things -- like win championships."
-Shaquille O’Neal

Auburn University’s 2008 football team should read that quote, let it sink in and ask themselves do they have the drive and perserverance to do what great athletes like Shaq, Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan do when they feel slighted or disrespected, whether it is perceived or real, do everything necessary to prove the doubters wrong. The great ones can channel this and elevate themselves to new heights, their will to win legendary. No longer an athlete but someone who has done exactly this is right in their locker room and with them every day on the football field, Coach Tommy Tuberville. In our opinion, Coach Tuberville is one of the best motivators when his team’s back is against the wall as there is in the country, his record versus top 10 opponents (9-2 since 2004) and the 2004 season are proof of that. WRAS' hope is that this team gets upset during the offseason and show that college football legends are remembered for what they do in December and January, not for what they do between February and August.

ESPND - as in Deposition

When is the worldwide leader going to get it over with and launch this new channel? One cannot turn on any ESPN channel without someone talking legalese. From Barry Bonds to Roger Clemens to Reggie Bush to Kevin Hart, the list could go on and on. WRAS would venture to say that there are more legal analysts, ombudsmen, etc., on ESPN than there are hockey analysts. But at least that one hockey analyst is Barry Melrose. Without him WRAS wouldn't even watch hockey, oh, wait...


Welcome to Wire Road and Shug

You might be asking yourselves what exactly is Wire Road and Shug and why should I visit? If you've been to Auburn you know where it is, it's not just a place to buy beer at the Spectrum (or whatever they want to call it now), eat chicken fingers at the Buffalo Connection, where the first ticket scalpers of the season show up, or even where kids sell programs on fall Saturdays. It's where the outside world meets an idyllic southern college campus. It's also a state of mind, a place where ideas and opinions are shared about all things Auburn and college athletics. Wire Road and Shug wants to bring that feeling to where it's been lacking, to a forum about Auburn and for Auburn. So please, read, comment on, and share Wire Road and Shug to true Auburn men and women.

I'll bet you've been here before and hopefully you'll be back again.