It's the week after Thanksgiving. Time to un-tuck those work shirts, poke a new hole in your belt and brace yourselves for the winter months when temperatures can dip into the 30's and 40's for literally seconds at a time. The holiday season is in full swing. The moment Santa's fat ass officially brought up the rear of the Macy's Day Parade was the time it became okay to put up Christmas decorations and not a second before. For those of you who just couldn't wait for Thanksgiving to vomit the front yard with lights, giant candy-canes, fake snow and a blow-up two-story Frosty the Snowman who looked more like he was ready to attack the city than scream "Happy Birthday," shame on you. And for the extra crazy nincompoops who couldn't even wait for Halloween? You should be in jail.
Speaking of food comas, the Buccaneers appeared to have been fed nicely over the weekend as they belched and farted their way to Carolina for an eerily familiar lethargic game of nap-ball against the Panthers, who apparently acquired the nasty habit of playing to win. After snapping an eight game turd streak with a grind-it-out may-the-worse-team-lose victory over the Miami Dolphins, the Bucs seemed to play with a reckless abandon devil-may-care attitude that was both refreshing and working. Coach Greg Schiano either loosened up his playbook or felt the writing was on the wall and thought if he was going down, he was going down swinging. Either way, it was fun to watch Buc football again. There was a glimmer of hope. A reason to believe. Not for a Christmas miracle but at least maybe a last minute rescue from the island of misfit toys. Then after a three week spring in the step of Buc Nation, Scott Farkus drilled us in the face with a slushy snow ball full of grass and dog poop. Careful, safe, boring, uninspiring, uninteresting football. You can gauge the entertainment value of a game by the amount of conversation pauses at a viewing party after the ball snaps. If by the fourth quarter, full sentences flow freely and uninterrupted, your team sucks.
While your Tampa Bay Rays were busy deciding who to keep, let go or snap up (So which Jose are we keeping, the fat one?), authorities of the polished turd department have unveiled renderings (see: doodles) of a major renovation planned at Tropicana Field that suspiciously left out power words like "demolish" or "relocate." Upgrades include a 360 degree walkway within the confines of the field so patrons can wander around the Trop without having to walk around the outside of the inside of the park … or something. Even if they decided to move to a new stadium today, it would take around three years for it to be a reality. So the fact that not only are the Rays making required renovations to keep the building from falling apart, but also throwing in some goodies along the way for the fans (NEW BAR!), you gotta give credit where credit is due to the team for making continuing efforts to add more butts in the seats. Next year's Summer concert series is rumored to include The Beatles, U2, KISS, The Rolling Stones and The Archies (apparently Jughead has been off model airplane glue for weeks). Oh, so NOW you're going? You people make me sick.
After losing to Vanderbilt at home for the first time since 1945, losing to a division 1-AA school for the first time since God was playing with Tinker Toys, and posting a losing season for the first time since The Village People were having a good meal at the "Y," The Florida Gators didn't necessarily clean house, but they did take a couple of urine soaked couches to the curb. Sunday it was confirmed that offensive coordinator Brett Pease and line coach Tim Davis were poop-canned Sunday after a 4-8 season (One of those wins was against Toledo, so …). Athletic Director Jeremy Foley still plans on retaining head coach Will Muschamp for a fourth season, but said the offense has to change. Shortly after Foley's press conference, Central Command General Lloyd Austin promoted him to Captain in charge of the obvious.
Honorable Afterthoughts: After squeaking by Michigan — who's ranked (papers rustling) can't seem to find it, I'm sure they're in there somewhere, anyway … — the Ohio State Buckeyes are now the number two team in the country ahead of Auburn, who beat the number 1 team in the country (cough!); Florida State will play the Duke Blue Devils (Um … what?) for all the ACC marbles Saturday night; Finally, two-time Boston Red Sox champion Jacoby Ellsbury will be wearing pinstripes in the Bronx next year for the low low price of 150 million donuts, predictably and delightfully inciting drooling rage in Red Sox nation. Anybody who can piss off that entire city while earning enough to buy Fenway Park is okay in my book (and you can color it, too!)