A digital commonplace for a Regular Guy called Charlie Pharis

Category: Sports (page 1 of 2)

How to Pick a Champion

UPDATE: With about 4 minutes left in the third quarter of the Rose Bowl, Oregon leads FSU 39-20. I wrote this post before game time. They still have the ugliest uniforms in all of college football, but it looks like they also have a spot in the national championship game.

Here we are approaching the climactic point in the annual chase for the college football national championship. Somebody, somewhere decided that there are four teams in the land worthy of playing for the honor. Fans all over the country are divided as to the validity of the selections: my team would’ve been in, should’ve been in, could’ve been in, etc.

As a fan of college football, I’ve decided I need to figure out which team I’ll root for in the four-team tournament. I thought I’d give you a little insight into how I chose my team.

In case you’ve missed it, the four teams are Oregon, Alabama, Ohio State, and Florida State. Let’s break it down, the Just Charlie way, shall we?

First, I didn’t graduate from either of the four schools. I have no alumnus loyalty per se. I’m reminded of my father-in-law’s old joke: “I wear a Georgia Tech shirt because I went to Georgia Tech. You wear a Georgia shirt because you went to Walmart.” So let’s get that out of the way at the outset.

Here’s my somewhat convoluted reasoning.

Oregon has the ugliest uniforms in all of college football. Period. They can’t even make up their minds what combination of colors is really the Oregon uniform. At any rate, all the combinations are U-G-L-Y, as in “butt-ugly.” They’re even worse than all the Orange Rule schools (see my posts elsewhere for explanation of The Orange Rule of College Football). The Ducks have a Heisman Trophy winner playing quarterback and they score a lot of points, but neither factor trumps the ugly uniforms. Strike Oregon.

Then there’s Alabama. The mighty Crimson Tide from the mighty SEC West division. (How’s the bowl season working out so far?) They win. A lot. They are one of college football’s traditional powerhouse programs. Bear Bryant used to coach at Alabama. But so did Mike Shula, and for a few days, some guy named Mike Price (who?) did, too. Nick Saban is the current head coach at Alabama. Lane Kiffin is his offensive coordinator, with the key word being “offensive.” That, paired with the fact that they’ve won enough in the last few years, is enough to keep AlaDamnBama from getting my nod. (What, exactly, do elephants and yellow hammers have to do with Crimson anyway?)

Consider Ohio State. They play in the Big Ten Conference. I mean the Big 11. Wait…make that the Big 10 + 2, since there was already a Big 12, which incidentally, has only ten teams. Wait. Now make that the Big 10 + 2 + 2 More, which in reality, makes it the Big 14. But that doesn’t sound nearly compact enough for a major athletic conference, so there you go. Throw into the mix that Ohio State’s mascot is a nut. No, I’m not casting aspersions on the mental stability of their mascot. They’re the Buckeyes, for crying out loud. Oh, also, factor in their most famous coach slugged an opposing player on the sidelines as the Buckeyes were losing a bowl game. And that their current coach, while a Worthy Brother in my own fraternity, used to be the coach at the University of Florida. All that makes it easy not to pull for the Nuts.

That leaves Florida State, the reigning national champs. What can we say about the Seminoles? They may be the most hated good team in America right now. They have a punk quarterback (who won the Heisman last year) with lots of character and conduct issues. Their coach, in sweeping his star’s issues under the rug, comes off as a punk who never grew up. They’re undefeated, but they’ve managed squeak by in a lot of those wins. They barely survived in their conference championship game. But still, the Seminoles have managed to win every one of their games, and stand at season’s end as the only major undefeated team in the nation.

And that’s where it gets hard for me. See, while I didn’t graduate from Florida State, I did matriculate there at the beginning of my long and checkered academic career. I learned to love college football in Doak Campbell Stadium. I thought Coach Bowden was – and is a great man and coach. I know Coach Bowden turned his head and ignored a lot of junk that went on during his tenure (Free Shoes U, Criminoles, etc.), but I have to believe he wouldn’t put up with some of the nonsense going on in Tallahassee now. I may be wrong.

So I’m holding my nose and pulling for Florida State to win it all again. The old garnet and gold is still a little bit in my blood from 35 years ago. Go Noles!

Sunday Night Unwind, 10.18.09…

Hey, loyal readers…both of you! I’m unwinding tonight in Starbucks in Woodstock, Georgia. This is becoming a weekly ritual after long days. I’ve got the old iTunes kicked up , and I’m listening to a Genius mix based on Hillsong United’s great From the Inside Out.

Some things on my mind and in my heart tonight…

  • True confession time: Today was the first day in a long, long time I didn’t actually dread showing up at church. I know that’s weird for a pastor to say. Somewhere along the way to somewhere else, I lost that real sense of joy I used to have. Today was different, and I pray that’s going to be a regular thing again.
  • I don’t share that to whine, but just to lay it out there, and let you know that if you’ve got an extra prayer or two, I won’t try to convince you not to use them on my behalf!
  • I’m teaching through the powerful and practical epistle of James these days. It’s been good to get back to my roots, so to speak. For all the cool, hip, happening, relevant topical preaching out there, there is still something pretty powerful about opening up part of The Book and working through it in a systematic, deliberate way.
  • I want to be both Biblical and unboring.
  • I talked about facing the future this morning. I wondered aloud if I talk a lot about faith and all that, but live like a “practical atheist,” as though God really doesn’t exist and is not a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Ouch!
  • I wondered aloud if I presume on His grace when I assume things about tomorrow that may or may not be true. And yes, I used the great lesson of the word assume: you make one out of U and ME when you do it! Ouch, Number 2!
  • And I wondered aloud if I’m cruising through my life with God’s dream, purpose, and plans percolating on the inside, but not taking shape in my life. I wondered aloud what’s keeping me from fulfilling His plan and purposes. Big OUCH, Number 3!
  • I’m planning on talking about money next week.
  • I’m learning some hard lessons about trusting God to provide in the face of great need these days. At least I hope I’m learning the lessons. I don’t want this process to go on indefinitely!
  • Fasting without praying is just a cruel and joyless diet.
  • Action cures fear.
  • I’ve got at least 3 books in various stages of unread. I need to finish them and find something new.
  • I’m old and tired. That’s reality, but I tend to trot it out as a convenient excuse for not doing something.
  • I love Loreena McKennitt’s Christmas stuff!
  • I’m breaking my own rule and actually rooting for an orange team against another orange team next weekend. Hey, Perry…make sure your Tigers win, OK?
  • BTW, how ’bout them Jackets?!?!?
  • What the heck is a Hokie anyway?
  • There’s way too much math homework going on in here tonight!
  • My couple of hours of free wi-fi is about up, and my rambling has about rambled out.

Make it a great evening!

Sunday Night Unwind, 11.02.08…

I just finished up a pretty hectic weekend, filled with a LOT of driving! So now I’m finally home, and I’m wiped out, but just too jacked up to go to bed! Here are some highlights, thoughts, etc….

  • A trip to south Georgia and back, while not nearly as long as it used to be, is still a killer. TWO of those trips in 72 hours is even worse!
  • Had a great time at my home church today. It was the annual “homecoming” celebration our tribe is famous for (let the reader understand!).
  • I don’t know what a “normal” crowd is like for that church, but it seemed to be a pretty good turnout today.
  • Did you know I have a big brother who can sing? Did you know he’s the best big brother I’ve got? Oh, did you know he’s the only brother – big or otherwise – that I have?
  • Oh, and did you know he did a great job today?
  • It doesn’t take a lot to make my mom and dad happy and proud.
  • I stoleborrowed some a couple of lines from a couple one of my heroes today. (EDIT: I am now giving him props on the blog, but he stole the lines from someone else in the first place!)
  • I used a great Winston Churchill quote.
  • Throw in an Andy Stanley reference and you’ve got it made.
  • Had a cool kid get baptized before the first service this morning. Great touch on the baptism, Bob! Thanks!
  • I talked to that kid during my message in the early service.
  • It’s really tough to remember names of people you haven’t seen in a lot of years. It’s even tougher to admit you can’t remember them from Adam. But in the long run, that’s better than just acting like you really do know who they are when you have no clue!
  • Some people change. Some people never change. Some people really need to change.
  • Did I mention my mom and dad were proud and happy?
  • I think all church guitarists secretly want to bust out a little “Sweet Home Alabama” or “Layla” or “Smoke on the Water” or “Walk This Way” or something!
  • I felt sorry for the kid who obviously lost a bet, and was wearing an ugly, garish, obnoxious FloriDUH Gators t-shirt to church – and looking none too happy about it!
  • The only thing worse than obnoxious redneck UGA fans is even more obnoxious redder-neck FloriDUH Gators fans. Yes, I saw plenty of both on the road this weekend!
  • My wife predicted yesterday that one Florida team would lose and one Georgia team would lose. She was right, but she was wrong!
  • I love listening to Christy Nockels sing “Hosanna.” Perfect for a Sunday night unwind.
  • Oh, last thing…we may have to make a pastoral visit to the Cherokee County jail over noise and a sign ordinance. I’m just saying…

Hope your weekend has been great! Hope you made your momma proud! Hope your team won! Hope you did something great for God! Hope you have a great night! I’ll see you dark and early at the Y in the morning! Peace!

Nope, Cinderella Doesn’t Live in Athens…


WHEW! That’s over! Just when it seemed like the glass-slipper maker was re-tooling the machines to include the colors red and black, Georgia’s basketball Dawgs snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!

What a shame! (He snickers snidely to no one in particular.)

Oh, well, now they can go ahead and proceed with the coach’s firing as planned before they miraculously won the SEC tournament last weekend. And take the guy from Georgia Tech with you. (Although we all know exactly why neither of those guys will be getting the boot anytime soon.) 

Sunday Night Unwind, 12.09.07…


Got one of those “not-really-an-actual-album” compilation things going for tonight’s Unwind…a thrown-together selection of Christmas music by Alabama and Ronnie Milsap. Pretty good country Christmas stuff…especially Ronnie Milsap’s spectacular rendition of O Holy Night. And of course, there’s Joseph and Mary’s Boy, Santa Claus, I Still Believe in You, and the great classic (at least in my family!) Christmas in Dixie!

Some other thoughts that dropped out tonight…

  • I pretty much stunk up the place with my message today. Just never seemed to click. I guess that’s what being tired will do for you!
  • But then again, any Christmas message that includes references to J.I. Packer, T.S. Geisel, and M.H.Tormé can’t be all that bad, I suppose.
  • “The Boy” (recently dubbed “Whiney Boy” by “Mr. Know-It-All”) is finally getting a little relief after his recent surgery. He had a pretty graphic description on the phone today, but let’s just say there’s tremendous power in poop and leave it at that!
  • Cafetière à piston. Rôti français. Ooh la la, and pas mal, mon ami!
  • The things one can’t help but notice when helping people get set up on weight machines at the YMCA…
  • I love friends who challenge you and encourage you without even knowing it.
  • Hey, how ’bout that Tebow kid for Heisman! I’m still a large Gator-hater and always will be, but it’s pretty cool to know that an historic Heisman Trophy winner is the brother of one of my best ministry friend’s daughter-in-law! (Yeah, yeah…six degrees and all that jazz!)
  • Did I mention I stunk up the joint this morning?
  • Did I mention our folks were gracious and forgiving?
  • I love type! I’m not a great – or even good! – designer, but playing with fonts floats my boat!
  • One of my strengths, according to the StrengthsFinder assessment is Input, meaning I collect things that may have real value in the future. I’ve come to the conclusion that the collecting is not nearly as big a deal as the retrieval. And I need to work on that. A lot!
  • John Maxwell still pulls my chain after all these years!
  • The fact of the Incarnation is staggering!

Give the Dawgs Their Due…

Both of you loyal readers know that I’m not really a huge University of Georgia fan. So my comments are totally unbiased.

Coach Richt’s Dawgs are better than any of the three teams ranked ahead of them in the polls right now. Way better. Go figure…

And Yet One More…

 UPDATE, 10.29.07…My bad…I forgot there was one in between!

Sorry…reading the crow-and-humble pie posts now appearing on many FloriDUH fans’ blogs – and you know who you are! – reminds me…

  • There’s only one college football coach I can think of that might have a shot at replacing one named Spurrier as the official Just Charlie Most Despicable College Football Coach. And it’s the guy who replaced the guy who replaced one named Spurrier at “that place” where jean shorts and stupid shark motions prevail.

OK, that’s it…I think…