High School Football Notes

We’ve reached the halfway point of the high school football regular season. Four games down, and four games to go for most teams in Maine. With that being the case, several contenders are starting to push forward, leaving the pretenders behind. So, who should you be looking out for in November? Here’s who….. Class A When are we going to stop the nonsense of split north/south divisions in Class A? The two best teams in the state are Scarborough and Thornton Academy. The next best team is Bonny Eagle, and then, maybe Sanford. Notice something? I haven’t mentioned a “northern” school yet like Portland or Oxford Hills. The disparity is real. Who wins the South, wins Class A, and it won’t be clos

Patriots Report

I'll get straight to it. The Patriots stunk up Ford Field on Sunday night in a 23-10 loss to a Detroit team that had gotten manhandled by the hapless New York Jets on opening night. The loss dropped the Patriots to 1-2. Social media criticism of Bill Belichick was flooding in quickly. Before you overreact with "only fair-weather fans criticize a coach," let me tell you that you can be a diehard and question what a coach is doing. Belichick has made some questionable decisions over the last several months. Don't even get me started on Malcom Butler again. And trading Gronk? Epically bad idea. Letting Danny Amendola sign with Miami, trading Brandin Cooks to the L.A. Rams and cutting Jordan Mat

Black Bears Might Need to Head Back To The Future

Tough loss for the Maine football team on Saturday. Tough in that the final score didn’t seem Indicative of the way the game was played. Perhaps I watched a game through Black Bear colored lenses but Maine seemed to be a superior team. They just couldn’t overcome the loss of their starting quarterback. I bet if you would’ve asked Maine football fans in the preseason if after three weeks the team would have a 2-1 record, my thinking is that most would’ve gladly taken it . Myself among them. But being 2-1 still will take you a couple of bucks to get you a ride on the Community Connector, and won't buy you much else. So, the question is... what happens now? It looks like Chris Ferguson is going

Leave The Black in Black Bears.

Things get under my skin. Now and then. Often silly little things that I shouldn't think twice about. But I have issues and often can't let them go. One of my favorite pet peeves reared its ugly head repeatedly this past weekend. Bear with me on this. Let me ask you: What's the name of the teams at the University of Maine? As I'm sure you correctly answered, Black Bears. It's a great name! Easy to remember and say. Yet some of the older media members in our area frequently call them "The Bears." They leave out Black. I have no earthly idea why. And I can't grin and bear it any longer. I was listening to a broadcast Saturday and they did it quite a few times. Why? It's just one word but chang

3 from Waaaaaay Downtown - 3 Reasons the Patriots lost in Jacksonville

The "Unamed Source" is famous in media circles these days. This one in particular works in local sports media, but for any number of reasons, wants to stay anonymous. 1. Mother Nature! This was the hottest NFL game since 2003 when Green Bay went to Arizona (you remember that one time people from Wisconsin left Wisconsin?) Temps on the field reached 99 degrees, but the “real feel” temperature was 10 degrees worse than that. Everybody knows the two ways to beat Tom Brady is to pressure him up the middle without blitzing and make him play in Florida, preferably in September. I seem to recall the last time the Patriots played at Jacksonville, the Patriots barely held on to beat a Chad Henne led

A Trip to Fenway Park is Still Pretty Amazing

A trip to Fenway Park is truly an unequaled sports experience. Sunday my buddy Dave and I set out from the Queen City around 7:45am. A down and back to Boston at my age is a bit of a challenge, but the Red Sox are worth it. Between Bangor and Kittery, we saw an estimated 3,212 dead grey squirrels on I-95. Maybe more. It got me thinking; if there are this many dead rodents on the highway, imagine how many are in Maine’s millions of acres of woods? I pray they are not conspiring to attack as I do think they just might have the numbers to take control of our states major towns and cities fairly easily. Back to my advanced age for a moment. At this point in my life I don’t mind paying for good s

Patriots Report

Well, that was embarrassing. The Patriots have been known for occasionally putting up early-season stinkers in the Bill Belichick era (Buffalo, 2003; Arrowhead, 2014 and to the Chiefs just last season), but Sunday's loss at Jacksonville was the king stinker. I know all the Aaron Rodgers types in Pats Nation would tell me to "R-E-L-A-X" here, but this was a team I think the Patriots should've taken care of. Let's face it, Blake Bortles isn't exactly Brett Favre, and Belichick's defense looked as if they were facing Nick Foles last February. It was embarrassing to see a mid-tier quarterback like Bortles put up 31 points on a Belichick defense. He's not in the same category as guys like Brady a

Avoid Kentucky. But Embrace UMaine Football.

I had the opportunity to go to Kentucky last week. I can confirm, it's even less glamourous than it sounds. However, that's where the UMaine football team was playing, so off I went. Western Kentucky University is a nice campus. Their stadium is impressive and the fans were generally polite. What a performance by our Black Bears. Down 21-0, in pouring rain, thoughts of an early exit strategy were entering my head. But alas, nobody in a Black Bear uniform, polo, or headset ever batted an eye. I had a great seat right behind the Maine bench and not a single person was hanging their head at any point early in that game. There was no panic. The Bears just went to work and methodically dismantled

Romo. A Rod. No Thanks! I'll Just Turn The Volume Off.

Let’s just say as a New England sports fan, the two national TV broadcasts involving our teams on Sunday, were a true test of my patience. For the Patriots opener versus Houston, CBS assigned their number one broadcast team of Jim Nance and Tony Romo. Jim Nance is perfectly charming and typical network vanilla flavored. Just like most national play by play people. A middle aged white guy in a nice suite with parted hair. Yawn. But not annoying. The same can not be said for Tony Romo. I can’t even buy Tony Roma Ribs any more due to the similar names and the leftover acid reflux Romo causes me. I actually sometimes enjoy his games. That is when when he’s not broadcasting a Patriots game. Look,

Even With The "Outrage", I Bet You'd Take Kapernick As the Backup QB In New England.

The NFL season kicked off Thursday, signaling the unofficial start of fall. In case you've been under a rock or out of the country, the biggest news in sports this week was not the Eagles unveiling their championship banner. It was Nike unveiling its ad featuring Colin Kaepernick. The ad had its healthy share of support, including from myself. But of course, there was plenty of disdain as well. There are plenty of double-standards I could touch base on here, but the biggest one is this: The outrage towards Kaepernick, one of six African-American quarterbacks to start a Super Bowl in NFL history (can you name the others?) is one that wasn't shown towards players who did far more heinous thing

Patriots Report

OK Patriot nation, the first win is in the books. That was no small victory. The Texans are likely to be on the north side of 10 wins when it’s all said and done. Meanwhile the Patriots have a recent history of not playing terribly well in September, so we can chalk that one up in the ‘quality win’ column. I am not going to nit-pick because every team has issues if you look closely enough. And it was only game one. So let’s focus on the positives. The defense. Yes, I said the Patriots defense was a positive. It's not often those words get strung together. Just one year ago Deshaun Watson had his coming out party against the Patriots and carved the defense up. Sunday, not so much. There never

UMaine Football is 2-0. Celebration. And Debate.

Trailing 21-0 just 5:03 into first quarter, the Black Bears rallied by outscoring Western Kentucky 31-7 the rest of the way to pick up their second win of the season and third-win in program history over an FBS school. "These kids are unbelievable," said head coach Joe Harasymiak. "Our culture is awesome and there's no other way to show that than what we did tonight." Hard to argue with what Coach H has to say. Rarely do the Black Bears part 2-0. And these have been two truly impressive wins. It's starting to feel like this year could be special. Last week Brian Sullivan from WABI TV, and the Black Bear Sports Network, offered the following suggestions to Ken Ralph, Maines new Director of At

Would Our Sox Smell The Same By Any Other Name?

For the past many decades, I’ve been known by the following names: Tomcat, Red Riot, Warrior, Black Bear, and Blue Devil. And just this week, I’ve taken on a new moniker-Eagle. Some words of explanation: Before the Smith family moved to Maine from Illinois in August of 1969, the Smith kids attended East Aurora Elementary School, home of the….you guessed it…Tomcats. Upon arriving in Orono, we became Red Riots, then the Smith twins became Barrington Warriors upon entering college. When the youngest Smith twin (yours truly) finished-up at UMaine, I became a Black Bear. Upon entering graduate work at Duke, I became a Blue Devil (cease and desist with the booing, you Tar Heel goobers.) Now, as I

Solari Makes Five Patriots Predictions

This has been a bizarre offseason for the Patriots. And I think on the field this year it might be a bit different as well. So, this year I predict: Tom Brady will not throw for more than 4001 yards. Remember when Mike Vrabel used to catch touchdowns in the Super Bowl? I think this year you'll see a linebacker catch a TD pass at some point. Matthew Slater has at least one receiving touchdown. Brian Hoyer will start at least two games. Pats record will be 11-5 and they will play the AFC title game on the road. Probably in Jacksonville. Maybe Houston.

Every Athlete and Coach Should Read This Blog to Learn How To Use A Social Media

As the high school and college seasons get underway, I’d like to encourage all athletes, and everyone for that matter, to be careful what you post on social media. I’d always tell the UMaine student-athletes that if you would not be willing to write your social media post on a piece of paper, sign your name to it, and hand it to your mother or coach, then you probably should not post it. Young athletes start practicing and begin dreaming of a college scholarship when they are as young as eight or nine sometimes. Those that get the college scholarship dream of playing professionally. Don’t let one stupid Facebook update, Twitter post or Instagram photo ruin it all. Yes, coaches and profession

In New England, Even Unconditional Love Has Conditions….

With the success that all four major New England sports teams have had over the last 15 years, fans of these teams can be satisfied that they have seen each team win at least one championship. The Red Sox broke a curse and a drought all at the same time to bring the Fenway Faithful The Commissioner’s Trophy in 2004. This year’s team is currently FIFTY THREE games over .500 and is looking like a team that nobody wants to face come October. Speaking of The Fenway Faithful, how many of you readers used to go out to the Ground Round for The House of the Fenway Faithful about a dozen years ago? That is where I first met Clem, The Duffer, The Reverend, Spekhardt and most importantly Mr. Jeff Solar

Give the Football Coach a Contract Extension and Other Requests for New UMaine AD

An opening win by the UMaine Football team over its biggest rival is a fantastic way to start the season. And it was much needed. The schedule to start the year is an absolute beast. At Western Kentucky, at Central Michigan, and at Yale, a very good football team predicted to win the Ivy League for the second consecutive year. Finally the Black Bears return home to play nationally ranked Villanova in early October. A loss to UNH and you are staring at a scary road ahead. With the win, the road ahead is no less intimidating but a little extra pep in the step and confidence from the big win can go a long way. And we’re all allowed to wonder. How good is this team? Time will tell. UMaine has a

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