Saturday, November 30, 2019

Been There And Done That

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTO BY CANDY EBLING

Prior to the game between the Florida Atlantic Owls and Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, one of my followers asked whether Owls Coach Lane Kiffin would leave to take a more high profile job.

I told him that it’s possible but Kiffin can afford to be selective of his next gig.

In 2017, the former USC-head coach led FAU to an 11-3 record and the Owls trounced Akron 50-3 in the Boca Raton Bowl. The Owls were Conference USA Champions, even appearing in the AP Top 25 rankings for one week.


The 2018 season saw FAU finish with a 5-7 mark and it missed a bowl game.

As the 2019 season concludes, chalk up another successful season for Kiffin and his Owls.

The Owls defeated Southern Mississippi 34-17. The game was televised nationally on the NFL Network. FAU won The Conference USA East Division title. The exposure was priceless.

They'll face the University of Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday at 1:30 PM in The Conference USA Title Game at FAU Stadium.

On Saturday, Former Green Bay Packers Hall Of Fame QB Brett Favre wasn’t in the building to lead his Alma-Mater.

But how has Kiffin managed to compile a pair of winning seasons at a mid major university?

1. He gives fresh starts to players at major universities such as QB red-shirt sophomore Chris Robison, who played at Oklahoma before being dismissed for disciplinary reasons. Robison has been Kiffin’s biggest reclamation project thus far during his tenure at FAU.

2. He knows the value of Social Media and takes full advantage of as he has 434,400 followers on Twitter.

3. His offense is real good. The team has eclipsed 30 points in nine of it’s games. FAU gave the Ohio State Buckeyes a battle by losing the opener 45-21.

4. FAU has amassed 300 or more yards in 11 of its 12 contests.

5. Against Southern Mississippi, FAU forced five turnovers and just committed one.

The coaching carrousel has already begun.

Florida State, Arkansas and Missouri are Power Five Schools looking for new coaches. You can rest assure, this is just the beginning of many more job openings.

Will Kiffin, who has head coaching stops at USC, Tennessee and the Oakland Raiders be ready to leave a university which at the rate he’s going being a Big Fish in a Little Pond eventually erect a statue for him outside of FAU Stadium?

Time will tell.

Will Kiffin follow the likes of Butch Davis (FIU) and Frank Solich (Ohio University) and coached at Nebraska along with Miami, North Carolina be happy to stay put, thus putting them in the been there and done that category?

I’ll be curious to see how this plays out.

But with Bowl Season upon us, this is the time when coaches do jump ship and take the greener pasture jobs and as a result, interim coaches audition for opportunities to be permanent coaches. Will the coaches take the money and run or stay put and be happy?

One thing is for certain, Kiffin is earning close to $1 Million annually in an area where there is no state income tax and his father Monte Kiffin is on his staff.

Life isn’t all bad coaching football in paradise in the Sunshine State.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottbm33@gmail.com and is the Owner of the South Florida Tribune & Broadcasting Network.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

A Sea Of Red

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

It wasn’t long ago that when the Detroit Red Wings visited Sunrise, FL., that there were many close games that even went into overtime’s or shootouts.

Watching Panthers future Hall of Fame Goaltender face 40 shots a game was always a treat witnessing greatness as it’s inevitable that his No.1 Jersey will eventually be hanging in the rafters at the BB&T Center.

In Detroit, the No.1 Jersey resides in the rafters at Little Caesar’s Arena.

As the Red Wings rebuild continues, these franchises appear to be headed in different directions.

Going into tonight’s clash in South Florida, the Panthers had a 6-3-4 mark with 16 points. Meanwhile, the Red Wings were 4-9-1 with nine points.

The Panthers hired Stanley Cup Championship Coach Joel Quenneville while Jeff Blashill remains at the helm for Detroit.

Florida leads the all-time series 20-17-5-6 and are 4-0-1 collecting points in each of the last five contests.

In 2018-19, Florida won the season series 3-0-1.

Florida’s last win against Detroit occurred on March 10, 2019 by hammering the Red Wings 6-1 in Sunrise.

Unfortunately, Saturday Night wouldn’t be much better as Florida skated to a dominant performance by outshooting the Red Wings 41-22 en route to a 4-0 shutout win as the rubber rats were thrown on the ice which is a Panthers tradition after a win.

Luongo’s replacement Sergei Bobrovsky, who signed as a free agent in the off-season improved his record to 6-2-3 while Red Wings netminder Jonathan Bernier dropped to 2-4-1.

The shutout was the first for Bobrovsky as a Panther and his 34th of his career.

Left-winger Jonathon Huberdeau led the Panthers with two goals defenseman Anton Stralman recorded 200th career assist. Huberdeau has nine goals for the season.

The Panthers have won five of seven to move to 7-3-4, their best 14-game start since 1996-97, when they opened 9-1-4.

On Friday Night in Carolina in a 7-3 loss to the Hurricanes in Raleigh, Bernier replaced starter Jimmy Howard.

In the past two games in South Florida, the Red Wings have been outscored 10-1 by Florida and dejected Blashill was well aware that it hasn’t been very pleasant.

“ No it hasn’t,” Blashill said. “They kicked our ass. They’re a good team. There are a lot of good teams out there. If we compete like crazy and still lose, it’s one thing. We didn’t compete like crazy. We need to find a way to compete better.”

Meanwhile, the Red Wings fell to 1-9-1 in their past 11 games.

Thankfully for the Red Wings, they have 48 hours to think about this loss as the Nashville Predators come town.

Detroit returns to The Sunshine State on December 28-29 to face these Panthers and GM Steve Yzerman’s old club the Tampa Bay Lightning.


Sunday, October 27, 2019

Jets Crash Landing In Sacksonville

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

What did Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette have in common with whom I consider to be baseball's all-time home-run king, Hank Aaron for at least one week?

To break Babe Ruth's mark, Aaron hit his 715th round tripper off Atlanta Braves Pitcher Al Downing on April 8, 1974.

Fournette led the NFL in rushing yards with 715. By the end of the first quarter, Fournette passed all-time home-run fraud Barry Bonds (762) by compiling 69 yards in the period as he hit the 784 mark.

Fournette had a strong afternoon by finishing with 136 yards in total offense. Seventy six were on the ground.

Going into the game, Fournette and fellow LSU graduate DJ Chark Jr. the Jags were the only team in the NFL whose leading rusher and receiver went to the same college as they went to LSU. Chark Jr led the AFC in receiving yards with 581. He added 79 more to that total plus caught a touchdown pass. Chark Jr has six touchdowns this season.

Entering the game, the Jaguars and Jets had played 14 times and the series was tied 7-7.

The last time the Jets landed in Northern Florida was on September 30, 2018 and it wasn't a good result.

Jacksonville defeated New York 31-12 and roughed up rookie QB Sam Darnold, who threw for 144 yards. The Jaguars dominated the time of possession 37:35-22:25.

The QB who led the Jaguars to the triumph was Blake Bortles who threw for 377 yards and two touchdowns.

Jacksonville left TIAA Bank Field with a 1-3 record.

Today the Jets entered this same venue with one win, but had five losses as they begin their first of two games in Florida as they'll travel to South Florida next weekend to face the hapless Miami Dolphins, 0-7.

Unfortunately for the Jets, they would leave this very building with yet another loss as Jacksonville gave them a rude wakening to #sacksonville with a 29-15 defeat.

Darnold did throw for 218 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, but the Jaguars defense was relentless by sacking the sophomore QB eight times.

The Jaguars improved to 4-4 as they get set for next Sunday's contest against the Houston Texans at London's Wembley Stadium, which has a capacity of 86,000 for American Football.

Today, Darnold faced Jaguars rookie Gardner Minshew II. He was out dueled by the guy that the city has rallied around where the town embraces "Minshew Mania" by watching his counterpart by throwing for 279 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Minshew did a good job spreading the ball around as his favorite targets included Fournette (60 yards), Chark Jr. (79 yards), Chris Conley (103 yards and a TD).

The Jaguars led 13-7 by the end of the first quarter and kept the Jets off balance with their ferocious defense limiting New York to 213 net yards. Jets running back LeVeon Bell was a non factor as a rushed for 23 yards and had 12 receiving yards.

Time of possession once again favored Jacksonville 33:21-26:39.

When the contest was over, Coach Doug Marrone was pleased with the win but not with himself as the team sits at the .500 mark at the halfway point of the season.

"I could have done a much better job coaching for us because we are better than our 4-4 record."

But from an overall standpoint, Marrone was happy that the team came away with a "W."

"This was a good win and I like the way the team goes to work," he said. "This game was a battle and Gardner did a nice job. Defensively, we got after them pretty good. Gardner doesn't play like a sixth round pick. We did a good job stopping the run. Every game we've won, we won the turnover battle. We have lots of good energy in the locker room with the players and all of the coaches."

When the game was in hand at the very end, he said that his team didn't need to run plays to avoid injuries as it gets ready to travel across the Big Pond.

Meanwhile, Jacksonville leads the all-time series including the post-season 8-7.

The next time they play a home game is December 1, 2019 vs the Tampa Bay Bucs then follow it up on December 8, 2019 against the Los Angeles Chargers.

The game on Sunday from London begins at 9:30 AM ET.  Jacksonville is looking to pick-up a very important win against a divisional opponent that defeated them 13-12 in Week 2 in Houston.

This is a game that Marrone was heavily criticized for by attempting to going for a two-point conversion rather than the tie which would have send the game in OT.

This is a good opportunity to get revenge and improve to 5-4.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com.

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Infrequent I-10 Rivalry

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

There are some match-ups you would like to see more of, but due to the way inter-conference are set-up, these teams play each other at home once every eight years.

This was one of those.

Before a thumb injury sidelined New Orleans QB Drew Brees, I can only imagine how many local fans were looking forward to seeing the the all-time leading passer, who has 74,845 yards.

Sunday's match-up was suppose to feature Brees vs Nick Foles.

The Jaguars prize free agent hurt his shoulder in the first game of the year against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Instead, what we saw was a 4-1 Saints team facing a 2-3 Jaguars squad as Jacksonville started rookie Gardner Minshew II who faced Teddy Bridgewater.

If Jacksonville fans want to see Brees, they'll have to travel 547 miles and 7.50 hours on I-10 East to see these squads in New Orleans if the signal caller is still playing.

Going into this game there were some interesting connections between these two teams.

Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette is from New Orleans and played his college ball at LSU. This is his first meeting against his hometown team.

His first act against the Saints was a solid one as he led the team in rushing and receiving. Fournette rushed for 72 yards and added 46 in the air.

Even though they've only met six times with New Orleans leading the series 4-2 and having a three game winning streak, from 2006-2008, Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone was the Saints Offensive Coordinator.

Marrone coached in the 2007 game on November 4, and the New Orleans Saints defeated Jacksonville 24-21 in Louisiana in front of 70,009 at The Superdome.

During Marrone's tenure with New Orleans, the Saints offense was potent.

New Orleans ranked first in total yards per-game (387.8), first in passing yards per-game (294.1) and third in points per-game with (26.1).

What would give in this Infrequent I-10 Rivalry?

If you were looking for a high scoring affair, you weren't getting it in the first half as the teams went into the locker room tied 3-3.

New Orleans had 125 net yards while Jacksonville amassed 110.

Jacksonville managed to hold up on defense despite the fact that Jalen Ramsey was ruled inactive.

The Jaguars defense limited Saints running back Alvin Kamara to eight yards. Kamara would finish with 66 total yards.

Minshew II went 8-15 for 80 yards.

In the second half, Jacksonville still didn't find it's offense and New Orleans mustered up enough to win the contest 13-6.

It was another win for Bridgewater, who is keeping the Saints in the playoff hunt while still auditioning for a starting job in free agency in 2020.

New Orleans improved it's record to 5-1 and lead the NFC South Division.

The Saints out gained Jacksonville in total yards 326-226.

Jacksonville had 11 first downs the entire contest.

This was Jacksonville's worst offensive game of the season.

The Saints defense limited Jacksonville wide receiver D.J. Chark Jr. to three receptions for 43 yards as he was double-teamed throughout the game.

Minshew II finished the game throwing for 163 yards and one interception.

The Saints have now defeated Jacksonville four consecutive times.

They lead the all-time series 5-2.

After the game, Marrone gave credit to the Saints but admitted there is a lot of work to do as his team get's ready to hit the road and face the 0-6 Cincinnati Bengals.

"Today was a hard fought defensive battle," Marrone said. "We did well in the running game but overall, our offense wasn't in sync. We were not able to make plays. I have to do a good job and get them to play in all three phases, offense, defense and special teams. That starts with me.

"I liked the effort today, they played hard but have to play better. At the end of the day they (Saints) are a good football team. They're one of the best teams we'll play all year. They play well at all three levels. Their secondary did a real good job and covered us real well. At the end of the day, those guys are a pretty good team.

"Leonard did a good job with his play getting all purpose yards, but we have to get first downs so we can get everybody involved."

Minshew II said, "today was a tough day and they're a good team. I missed some balls that I can't afford to miss. They did a good job taking away our quick stuff. We have enough guys who can make plays and we will do better."

The announced crowd was 64,341. There appeared to be a lot of Saints fans to make the trip.

The Jaguars return home on October 27, 2019 at 1 pm to face the New York Jets at TIAA Bank Field and see another up and coming QB in Sam Darnold.

The Jets (1-4) play the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football.

These next two games are very winnable for the 2-4 Jaguars, who hope to reach the .500 mark by the end of the month. The combined record of the Bengals and the Jets is 1-10.

The Jaguars proceeded to trade Ramsey to the LA Rams on Wednesday for two first round picks and a number four in the next two drafts.

The Bengals lost to the Baltimore Ravens 23-17 while the Jets defeated the Dallas Cowboys 24-22.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com and is the Founder and CEO of The South Florida Tribune and The South Florida Tribune Broadcasting Network.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Breaking In My Prize Pupil

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

There was a different feel to this football game than I normally experience.

Tonight, I won't have to write a normal game story filled with statistics and quotes.

This time, I'm writing a sidebar.

As I continue to build the South Florida Tribune both on the business, editorial and broadcasting sides, I've turned over the reigns to my young Sports Writer Louis Addeo-Weiss.

When I hired Addeo-Weiss a few months ago, he's written primarily baseball and music stories.

As the company has grown, so has he.

My prize pupil knows that he must get familiar with all sports to be well rounded.

As the Sports Exchange transitions to a new home on the South Florida Tribune Broadcasting Network, through his consistent production, Addeo-Weiss has now joined Myself as a Co-Host.

He knows that to continue to be on the air, he must continue to write regularly and at a high level.

I told Addeo-Weiss that when I made the decision to mentor and develop  him, that I expected him to eventually hire and build his own staff.

This is the only way we can grow the company and secure his role and future.

If there is ever a time to break in a new writer at a live event, this was it.

The first FAU Game I ever covered was on September 1, 2007 when the Owls faced Middle Tennessee State at Lockhart Stadium.

FAU won the contest 27-14 as QB Rusty Smith guided a Howard Schnellenberger coached squad.

Schnellenberger was in attendance for this game.

Smith was 12-26-195 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions in the triumph.

Blue Raiders Head Coach Rick Stockstill also coached in 2007 and he remains at the helm for the university located in Murfreesboro, TN.

Going into this game, Stockstill has an 89-81 record.

FAU won lost last years game 25-24 in OT.

Middle Tennessee  led the all-time series 12-4.

At home, the Blue Raiders lead the series 7-2 and on the road, lead 5-2 in South Florida.

Twelve years later, Addeo-Weiss was making his debut and once again, the Owls are facing FAU but in an on campus stadium which is facing the Atlantic Ocean.

This is the only venue in the country that faces this body of water just 1.8 miles east.

There was no view at the now demolished Lockhart Stadium, but there is a gorgeous one on the sixth floor of the Press Box.

Lane Kiffin is running the show for FAU and sophomore QB Chris Robison is under center.

How would things turn out in Addeo-Weiss debut covering his alma-mater?

FAU defeated Middle Tennessee 28-13 to improve to 4-2 while Middle Tennessee fell to 2-4.

Like Myself, Addeo-Weiss' first game was a victory as mine against the Blue Raiders.

Ironically, the same amount of total points were scored in both contests with 41.

Both FAU wins were in double figures.

Robison was 15-30 for 145 yards, one touchdown pass and zero interceptions. His passing yards were close to Smiths' in 2007. Robison added 11 yards rushing.

Next up for Addeo-Weiss, he's going to cover two more football games for us in November. He'll get a taste of basketball during the winter and spring.

Then I'll turn him loose and he can cover his specialty baseball on a regular basis while we continue to develop the business and broadcasting parts of the South Florida Tribune.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com and is the CEO and Founder Of The South Florida Tribune and South Florida Tribune Broadcasting Network.

Monday, September 30, 2019

The Weekend In Review

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

During the weekend, our football teams were 2-1.

The Florida Atlantic Owls improved their record to 3-2 with a 45-27 road win against the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

FAU Coach Glenn Spencer coached at UNCC a year ago and when the game was over got a cold shower.

FAU QB Chris Robison picked up where he left off against Wagner the previous week.

In this Nationally televised game on The NFL Network, he was 20-27 with 312 yards and two touchdowns.

Florida Atlantic showed some balance on offense by amassing four rushing touchdowns, two of which came from running back Malcolm Davidson, who had 13 carries for 83 yards.

Two touchdowns occurred in the air.

The Owls have a bye this weekend.

They return to action on Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 4 PM as they face Middle Tennessee State at FAU Stadium.

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The struggles continued for the Miami Dolphins against the Los Angeles Chargers.

The last time the Chargers won a game in South Florida was an overtime playoff thriller on January 2, 1982, in The Orange Bowl in what was regarded as one of the greatest games in NFL History.

The Chargers won a classic 41-38.

Miami proceeded to win eight straight.

QB Philip Rivers threw for 310 yards and two scores to lead LA to a 30-10 win, ending 38 years of frustration. LA improved its record to 2-2 while Miami dropped to 0-4.

Miami has been outscored 163-26 this season, which is the NFL's worst four-game point differential since at least 1940. Moreover, Miami has been outscored 81-0 in the second half this season.

Chargers running back Melvin Gordon was active after reporting this week ending his holdout, but he didn't have a carry.

Dolphins QB Josh Rosen threw for 180 yards and a touchdown, but had an interception and was sacked four times.

Up next for Miami, they have a bye this weekend, then play host to the Washington Redskins on October 13.

The Redskins are 0-4 and are 0-5 at Miami, with the most recent game in 2011. There are rumors that Coach Jay Gruden is on the hot seat.

This game could be the best opportunity for the Dolphins to avoid the 0-16 club which has two members, the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns.

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Finally, the Jacksonville Jaguars earned a thrilling 26-24 win over the Denver Broncos in Colorado to improve to 2-2.

The Jaguars won despite Jalen Ramsey being inactive for the first time in his career and ending his streak of 131 straight games missing the first game in his four-year career. He missed practice all week, first with an illness, then a back injury and finally for paternity leave.

Despite the drama, Minshew Mania went to the Rocky Mountains and the rookie didn't disappoint his followers.

Despite being sacked five times, Minshew II was 19-33 for 213 yards and two touchdowns. He didn't throw an interception.

Jacksonville's rushing game came alive as running back Leonard Fournette had 29 carries for 225 yards and also caught two passes for 20 yards.

Fournette's career day topped his previous high of 181 yards on October 8, 2017 at Pittsburgh.

Kicker Josh Lambo booted all four of his field goals including the game winning 33-yarder as time expired to send the Jaguars home happy.

Minshew II Mania travels to NASCAR Country as the Jaguars visit their expansion brother, the Carolina Panthers.

The Broncos visit the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com.



Saturday, September 21, 2019

FAU's Tune-Up To Conference Play

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

When Candy and I left our house for FAU Stadium to cover the Wagner Seahawks vs FAU Owls, we were definitely not worried about a traffic jam.

The Seahawks (0-3), who are based in Staten Island, NY, are an FCS School (one division beneath FBS) with an enrollment of 2000. The school was founded in 1883 and has played football since 1927.

Wagner plays it's games at Hameline Field (3,300 capacity) and it's overall all-time record is 406-351-19 (.535).

The Seahawks have had three undefeated seasons in 1960, 1964 and 1967.

They were Division III National Champions in 1987 and became an FCS program in 1992.

I was intrigued by the fact that the school has 13 Floridians on its roster. Six were from Palm Beach, Broward and Dade Counties.

The Owls played Wagner on August 31, 2012 and defeated the Seahawks 7-3 in front of 14,510 at FAU Stadium.

FAU entered the game with a 1-2 record. It won on the road on Saturday, September 14, 2019, 41-31 over Ball State. Their losses came to Ohio State and UCF.

Thus, it was no surprise FAU entered the Wagner game as 39.5 point favorites.

The over-under was 54.5 points.

Would the point spread be justified?

FAU won the coin toss and drove the length of the field and scored at 12:01 mark in the first quarter. The drive was nine plays for 53 yards with 2:59 elapsed.

FAU took a 7-0 lead as QB Chris Robison threw a five-yard TD pass to John Raine and Vladimir Rivas made the PAT.

It didn't take long for the Owls to match their point total in 2012 against Wagner.

With 42 seconds left in the first quarter, Robison connected with Deangelo Antoine for a 37-yard touchdown and Rivas made the PAT to give FAU a 14-0 lead.

Robison went 9-13-119 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter.

This combination connected again for 17-yards with 11:40 remaining in the second quarter to give FAU a 21-0 lead.

The Owls took a 28-7 lead at halftime. Robison and Antoine had three touchdowns to this point.

From this point on, as expected, the game turned into a scrimmage for FAU which has been on the wrong end of these outcomes plenty of times.

The dynamic duo of Robison and Antoine connected for their fourth score, this one was for 57-yards as FAU increased its lead 35-7 with 50 seconds left in the third quarter.

The back-up QB #6 Nick Tronti got into the act by scoring at 11:33 of the fourth quarter with a three- yard run. FAU's lead increased to 42-7 as it got closer to eclipsing the point spread.

Wagner was driving late in the game, but FAU's defense held at the 4:11 mark giving the offense one more opportunity to score. FAU took a timeout on third down and two with 2:54 left in the fourth quarter to call a play for Tronti.

FAU would not convert on this set of downs, the game ended 42-7 and the Owls improved to 2-2.

When the contest was over, here were some interesting statistics.

FAU outgained Wagner in total yards 507-212. Yet Wagner (0-4), led in time of possession 36:30-23:30.

FAU had more penalties as it committed 12-95 while their visitors from New York had eight for 67 yards.

Robison had a record night going 25-36 for five touchdowns. Antoine had a monster night with 11 catches for 173 yards and four touchdowns.

Coach Lane Kiffin was pleased with his squad's performance.

This was a good team win and we've improved in all areas the past two weeks," Kiffin said. "The QB played real good again and has had nine touchdown passes the past two weeks. It was good for another receiver to step up.

"Chris has been very accurate and didn't force too many balls. We've done a good job the past two weeks scoring in the red-zone. Our goal today was to have a shutout with no turnovers and we did that today."

FAU's next game is against the University of North Carolina Charlotte on the road on Saturday, September 28 at Jerry Richardson Stadium.

The Owls have a bye week after that before returning to FAU Stadium on Saturday, October 12, 2019 for a 4 pm contest versus Middle Tennessee State.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Longest Short Week



BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

I saw Joe Montana play his last game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, CA., against the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football and he won 24-3.

I saw John Elway defeat the Atlanta Falcons 34-19 in Super Bowl XXXIII at Joe Robbie Stadium in 1999 as the signal caller went out on top in Miami.

Tonight, it appears that I've seen another player play in his last game, but this one is forcing his way out of town and he got a lot of attention on Thursday Night Football.

There were no shortage of storylines by NFL Network Commentators Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.

After tonight's game it looks like another player down the road will be wearing the No.20 jersey that Jalen Ramsey occupies.

I would highly doubt it that Ramsey will ever make Jacksonville's Ring of Honor and will never have his number retired.

When I grew up as a kid, Marcel Dionne wanted out of Detroit and he moved to Los Angeles to play for the Kings. When Dionne returned to Detroit to play at Olympia Stadium, he was pelted with debris. The Red Wings would eventually put a protective tunnel to protect him.

Despite winning Stanley Cups for the Red Wings, Sergei Federov burned his bridges and despite getting inducted into The Hockey Hall Of Fame, the No.91 is still not retired.

Time hasn't healed this wound but with Steve Yzerman in charge of Hockey Operations, we'll see if Federov's number goes to the rafters.

But back to Ramsey.

Last year, he made derogatory comments towards opposing quarterbacks and had a bullseye on his chest. The Jaguars had a disappointing season finishing 5-11 and failed to make the playoffs.

This was a team that came minutes away from reaching the Super Bowl losing to the New England Patriots.

Ramsey came into training camp driving a money truck. Time will tell if he gets his cash.

On Sunday, he committed a cardinal sin by getting into a heated argument on the sideline with Head Coach Doug Marrone that led to more controversy resulting in a trade demand.

If this wasn't a Thursday Night Game, I think Ramsey would be wearing another uniform.

But it's not.

If indeed this is Ramsey's last game with Jacksonville, he had five tackles, four assists for a combined total of nine to go along with a forced fumble.

The Jaguars defeated the Tennessee Titans 20-7 on a rainy night.

QB Gardner Minshew II  recorded his first NFL win and was quite efficient by going 20-30 for 204 yards and two touchdowns.

One of those touchdowns was to DJ Chark for 22 yards. He has a TD pass in each of Jacksonville's first three games.

When this game, which took 3:01 to complete was over, Coach Doug Marrone was happy that his squad got a much needed win especially after a tough 13-12 loss Sunday to the Houston Texans in Texas.

"This was a good win, the longest short week in the NFL," Marrone said. "We did a heck of a job in the protection game. Our QB is playing remarkable and the team played with a chip on their shoulder. We do have to do a better job protecting the QB and the offensive line will continue to get better. We also have to do a better job running the ball.

"DJ Chark is playing at a high level and this will open up a lot of things for us."

Chark finished the game with four receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown.

Minshew II said he was extremely excited that he got his first win on National TV but had higher praises for his new favorite target, Chark Jr.

"DJ has been awesome and he's been playing with a lot of confidence," Minshew II said. "I have confidence in him. If I see him one-on-one, I'll throw it to him."

With tonight's win on Thursday, the Jaguars improved to 3-0 versus the Titans at TIAA Bank Field. Jacksonville has now won four of it's last six games on Thursday Night and four straight at home.

The Jaguars improved their record to 63-46 in games which they wore teal jerseys.

The nicest part of winning on Thursday Night is the team can decompress and get ready for it's next opponent. It won't hear about the negativity around the building.

Whether Ramsey is on the field on September 29 when the Jaguars (1-2) face the Denver Broncos in Colorado remains to be seen.

But you can rest assure that this drama doesn't figure to continue much longer and Jacksonville will get a lofty return to part ways with their defensive playmaker, who was the fifth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Florida State just 2.5 hours down the road in Tallahassee off I-10 West.

If this is his last game with the franchise it will at least end with a win.

But it won't compare to the high roads of Montana and Elway.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The QB Duel We Didn't Expect

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

If there was ever a time that covering the NFL Draft was useful then this year was it.

When the Jacksonville Jaguars drafted QB Gardner Minshew III in the sixth round, 178th overall, everyone in the building raved about the Washington State product who worked under the tutelage of offensive guru Mike Leach.

Leach has worked wonders at Texas Tech and he's repeated his success for the Cougars.

The Jaguars gave Minshew plenty of playing time during the pre-season to keep starting QB Nick Foles healthy for the start of the regular season.

Great logic for a guy that signed a four-year $88 Million Contract on March 13, 2019.

It worked early in the game as Foles threw a 35-yard TD pass to DJ Chark Jr. 5:23 into the game. Foles left the game completing five of eight passes for 75 yards and a score.

But the downside of the touchdown was Foles got knocked out of the game as he suffered a broken collarbone in his left shoulder. Jacksonville is expecting him to return by Week 11.

Who would have expected the opening weekend in Jacksonville to see a battle of young QB's in a shootout, the most unlikeliest of one?

Nobody!

But that's what we had, Minshew III vs Mahomes.

Minshew kept Jacksonville in the game as the Jags trailed 23-13 at halftime.

The rookie went into the intermission by completing all of his nine passes for 128 yards.

Minshew continued his accuracy in the second half as he became the first NFL player since 1991 to complete his first 13 passes.

The streak of 13 passes is the third longest in franchise history.

You talk about a hot streak, this was it!

On a day where the temperature was 91 degrees at kickoff, according to First Coast News, the temperatures reached above 120 degrees and the Jacksonville Fire Department reported 86 medical calls were made from TIAA Bank Field and 18 people were taken to hospitals.

But not Minshew III. He stayed hot all afternoon.

In the Press Box there were comparisons to New England Patriot future Hall of Fame QB Tom Brady. In 2000, the former Michigan Wolverine was selected in the sixth round, 199th overall by New England and has six Super Bowl Championships.

The Patriots are favorites to win their seventh title.

Perhaps at this stage that may be a bit premature however, the draft position will always be linked to Minshew.

When the contest was over, it was Mahomes who led the Chiefs to the opening season 40-26 triumph and his favorite target was Sammy Watkins, who played his collegiate ball at Clemson.

Mahomes, last years MVP, completed 25-33 passes for 378 yards and three touchdowns which led to a passer rating of 143.2 for the team coached by Andy Reid.

Meanwhile, Watkins caught nine passes for 198 yards and scored three touchdowns.

Minshew finished the game completing 22-25 for 275 yards, two touchdowns and one interception with a 122.5 passer rating. His interception was a pass that was tipped twice, simply bad luck.

You talk about an impressive debut, this was it!

Head Coach Doug Marrone raved about his rookie signal caller.

"I think that Gardner (Minshew), I feel better about him now, today, after Week 1, than I did during the pre-season," Marrone said. I think that's fair to say. I think the work during the preseason was able to get him ready for things like this.

"I don't know, I'm hoping that's the case. I think you have to understand is it's very difficult for any backup quarterback to go out there because they don't take any reps during the week. He didn't take any reps against Kansas City's defense and went out there and performed."

Here are some other facts about Minshew's debut.

He became the most accurate single game passer in Jaguars history among players with at least 25 pass attempts with his 88.0 completion percentage.

His 88.0 completion percentage was the highest for any player with at least 15 attempts making their NFL debut in NFL History.

His 275 passing yards were the most ever by a Jaguars player making his NFL debut, and the fifth most by a Jaguars rookie in a single game.

Get used to seeing second year wide receiver DJ Chark Jr., who turned in a career performance against the Chiefs, catching four passes for 146 yards (36.5 rec. avg.) and one touchdown from Foles. Among players with at least four receptions in a game, Chark's 36.5 yards per-catch average is the highest in a single game in franchise history.

This marked Chark's first 100 yard performance and the first by a Jaguars receiver since Week 4 of the 2018 season against the New York Jets.

Chark was responsible for three of the Jaguars four longest offensive plays on Sunday, a 69-yard reception and two 35-yarders, one of which was a TD.

In many instances, a team should be quite concerned losing a starting QB in the opening week especially when it rests its players during the preseason to avoid injuries.

However, because Jacksonville's football operation appears to have found it's Hidden Gem in the off-season, this organization has a future building block in Minshew.

Moreover, he'll have Foles on the sidelines mentoring him as he gets on the job training.

Jacksonville enters tomorrows road game at the Houston Texans as 8.5 point underdogs.

Houston has game film on Minshew, while the rookie has practices with the first team this week.

Jacksonville has additional playmakers it can turn to with running back Leonard Fournette, who rushed 13 times for 66 yards, in addition to catching four passes for 28 yards.

The LSU product has now eclipsed 1,500 career rushing yards (1,545).

Add wide receivers Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley, Keelan Cole and tight end Geoff Swain and Minshew will have some offensive support.

Conley made his Jacksonville debut as he was signed as an unrestricted free agent on March 16, 2019. The five-year veteran caught six passes for a career high 97 yards and one touchdown.

Conley's previous career-high for receiving yards was 74, set on November 19, 2018 against the Rams as a member of the Chiefs. Conley now has seven career TD passes.

I'll be watching this game closely as we get set to cover Thursday's Nationally Televised Home Game against the Tennessee Titans at 8:20 pm on The NFL Network.

This could be Minshew's coming out party as 31 NFL teams could be scratching their heads as to the prospect that got away.

But it was neat observing first hand about "The QB Duel We Didn't Expect" yet getting a glimpse of potentially more encounters, Minshew vs Mahomes, the race to their first Super Bowl Championship.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com.

He is the Founder and CEO of The South Florida Tribune, plus the Co-Host of The Sports Exchange on the weinetwork.com that airs Tuesday and Thursday 5-7 ET.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

A Knights Saturday

BY SCOTT MORANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

During the past two weeks, the Michigan Wolverines and FAU Owls have been linked to some interesting storylines.

Last week, the Wolverines defeated a common opponent Middle Tennessee State, while the Owls lost to U-M's biggest rival, Ohio State University.

This week, if you play the name game, there are some similarities as well.

Early in the day, No.7 Michigan escaped with a 24-21 double OT win at The Big House against The Black Knights.

This was the second straight year that the Black Knights pushed an opponent into overtime.

Last year, Army lost to No.5 Oklahoma 28-21.

A nervous Wolverines crowd of 111,747 saw Michigan improve to 2-0.

Michigan evened it's all-time series record with Army to 5-5.

Army got paid $1.5 Million to scare the daylights out of the fans as Michigan figures to drop in next week's polls.
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After I watched this game in Ann Arbor from my home in Deerfield Beach, Candy Ebling and I took to 15 minute trek up I-95 to Boca Raton, FL for FAU's Home Opener vs Central Florida Knights.

This is the third meeting between universities that are only 2.5 hours apart off the Florida Turnpike.

The first meeting occurred in the Owls third game of the program's third campaign on September 13, 2002.

The game was played in the Citrus Bowl and finished with the Knights winning 33-29 after knocking down a potential TD pass in the end zone in the closing seconds.

The second meeting played at UCF's on-campus Spectrum Stadium wasn't even close with the Owls getting crushed 56-36.

How would today's first meeting at FAU Stadium turnout?

For the second straight week, FAU fell behind early as No.18 UCF jumped out to a 28-6 lead in the first half which took nearly two hours to complete.

In the opener, Ohio State jumped out to a 28-3 at halftime lead and won the contest 45-21.

Unfortunately, for the Owls things got worse as UCF scored at the 7:37 mark as Knights QB Dillon Gabriel connected with Adrian Killins Jr. for a 74-yard TD pass.

UCF extended it's lead to 35-6.

It didn't take long for UCF to add to it's lead as the Knights scored again at the 3:19 mark. This drive was six plays, 71 yards and 2:13 to complete. Gabriel scored on a four-yard run. The point after failed and the Owls trailed 41-6.

By the end of the third quarter, the majority of the fans in the stands were the Knights fans, who traveled to watch what would turn out to be a scrimmage.

A good way to spend the weekend for the fans that make Orlando home.

A football game then a day at the beach on Sunday, just a mere 1.8 miles away east of the stadium.

Their presence led to a record crowd of 30,811 which passed a previous mark of over 27,000.

For the few fans left at the 4:20 mark in the fourth quarter, the game was delayed due to lightning as UCF held a 48-14 lead. The normal procedure is to wait at least 30 minutes before the game is called from the last strike.

However, FAU Coach Lane Kiffin and UCF Coach Josh Heupel agreed to call the contest.

Among those in attendance in the Press Box were scouts from the Baltimore Ravens, who are in town to face the Miami Dolphins tomorrow afternoon at Joe Robbie Stadium.

You didn't need a lot of statistics to explain how ugly this was for FAU.

UCF outgained FAU in net rushing yards 312-137, net passing yards 262-177 and total yards 574-314.

FAU (0-2) led in a category that you don't want to lead in, penalties as the Owls had 7-97 to 5-55 for UCF.

FAU QB Chris Robison had a day that he'd like to forget by completing 18-40, one interception, zero TD's and was sacked four times.

Coach Kiffin knew that Saturday's performance in front of the record setting

crowd didn't do anything to sell tickets.

"I want to apologize to the fans," Kiffin said. "We played bad early. Not many positives came from this game. I was shocked at how it went especially our inability to move the ball against them in the first half. I've been concerned about the offensive line from the first day of camp.

"Our defense had three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and we can't do that. We got beat up today and lost two guys at running back.

"I'm surprised by the outcome and I thought we would have showed up today."

Robison made no excuses about his performance.

"They (UCF) had a good plan going in blitzing us a lot," Robison said. "It was tough for us to get started and that was the difference in the game. Last week we started slow and today we continued to not execute on offense and it showed. We prepare the same way regardless of the opponent. You can't fall behind against any opponent, especially against a good one."

FAU will have to wait another week to get the program's 93rd win as the Owls return for a road game in the Midwest.

This time they'll go to Muncie, Indiana., to face Ball State University for a 2 pm start.

FAU is now 7-12 all-time in home openers.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com and is Founder and CEO of The South Florida Tribune.

Quit Your Complaining

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

A week ago, all of Florida had to deal with the stress that Hurricane Dorian was about to hammer the state being classified as a Category Five.

The Florida State Seminoles contest vs the Boise State Broncos game slated for 7 pm in Jacksonville was switched to noon and moved to Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.

There was talk that those that booked hotel rooms in Jacksonville didn't get refunds.

For those that didn't, there were two ways to work through the dilemma.

Either complain to their credit card companies to get the charge reversed, or bite the bullet and stay in Jacksonville to take the 2:26/165 mile drive to the game via I-10 West.

Those that had to drive won't get any sympathy from me.

I drive from South Florida to Jacksonville and cover the Jaguars.

The drive is close to five hours and I use the time on the road to meditate.

As I watched the updates about Hurricane Dorian both on TV and in Social Media, there was one thing that was extremely disturbing.

People were classifying the updates as Fake News.

How do you define Fake News?

I'll tell you how NOT to define Fake News.

By criticizing news outlets constantly, who are predicting where storms are going, is a joke!

I'll never criticize an organization when it comes to their coverage of weather.

Regardless of where you live, weather anchors make mistakes because they don't control what transpires outside.

They risk their lives to inform you.

They interpret what information they have, and communicate it to us.

If you've ever heard the cliché's "Better Safe Than Sorry" or "Too Much Information Is Better Than Not Enough," then you get it!

That will explain what our industry is about in today's faster pace, where information is conveyed to us in a mere second, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

During these broadcasts, the newscasters and weather anchors are doing their best to motivate us to protect ourselves.

Leave them alone!

And focus on doing your job!

At two different stages of the football game, FSU vs Boise State, the Seminoles held 24-6 and 31-13 leads. 

But in the end, The Boise State Broncos did their job because despite playing the Seminoles in Tallahassee, Boise State prevailed 36-31.

They had plenty of things they could have complained about but kept their focus. What was  originally set as a neutral site game turned out to be a road contest in front of 50,917 fans.

But instead, they give the words "Quit Your Complaining" the true definition of what happens in life too much which many of us use as cop outs when things are going wrong.

The only people that should rightfully be complaining are those in the Bahamas which got pummeled while all of us dodged a bullet.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com and is the Founder and CEO of The South Florida Tribune.


Sunday, September 1, 2019

Events Coming Full Circle

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

In life, there are times when you ask where was I when specific events happen?

I've had numerous moments like that through the years.

Especially when I've had medical issues connecting them with events and dates.

On this day in 2007, one of those occurred at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

During the weeks leading up to the Michigan Wolverines hosting Appalachian State at The Big House in Ann Arbor, MI., a friend of mine named Mark Lehrman asked me what I thought of this matchup.

The Mountaineers entered the contest as two-time FCS Champions while the Wolverines came into the game as No.5 in the AP and Coaches Poll.

Michigan had a strong senior class of offensive tackle Jake Long, tailback Mike Hart and QB Chad Henne.

I told Mark this game is going to be tougher than most people think.

Just because you're at a lower level of college football doesn't mean that you're much better than your opponent.

There are a lot of great NFL players that come from these institutions such as the late Walter Payton and Jerry Rice.

The Michigan vs Appalachian State University (ASU) game was the first ever on the New Big 10 Network.

Little did anyone know that this would be the Biggest Upset in College Football History.

There was no betting line on this game. Las Vegas didn't think much of it to give it a line.

Oh, how Vegas missed this one.

ASU was ranked No.1 in the pre-season FCS Poll from The Sports Network, receiving 67 out of 70 first place votes. The team had won the previous two FCS National Championships and were favorites to win a third consecutive title according to media outlets.

More importantly, they had also won their last 14 games, the longest in either Division I Subdivision at that time. They had an overall record of 6-34-1 against major FBS teams. The Mountaineers ran a no-huddle spread option system, which they implemented in 2005, their first championship season.

Michigan paid Appalachian State $400,000 to play the game.

When it was all said and done, Michigan lost 34-32 in front of a stunned crowd of 109,208.

Wolverines Coach Lloyd Carr was stunned while Mountaineers Coach Jerry Moore was on Cloud Nine.

The Wolverines would finish the season 9-4 and ended their season beating the Florida Gators 41-35 in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando.

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Where was I when all of this history took place on September 1, 2007?

I was covering My first FAU Football Game for the Deerfield Beach Observer at Lockhart Stadium for a team that was coached by Howard Schnellenberger, who is in the photo at this year's Spring Game.

FAU faced Middle Tennessee State, who was and is currently coached by Rick Stockstill, now in his 14th season.

FAU defeated Middle Tennessee State 27-14 in front of 11,398 fans.

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The aftermath of the Big Upset at The Big House saw ASU win their third consecutive FCS Championship.

The Mountaineers became the first FCS team to receive votes in the Final AP Poll. They received five votes which placed them at a tie for 34th overall with The University of South Florida.

Michigan hosted the Mountaineers again in 2014 and the visitor received $850,000 to get mauled 52-14. The Mountaineers were now members of FBS and played in the Sun Belt Conference.

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Twelve years nearly to the day, Stockstill would face The No.7 Michigan Wolverines on August 31, 2019 on The Big 10 Network.

Middle Tennessee State entered the game as 35.5 point underdogs and they compete in Conference USA.

The Blue Raiders capitalized on two U-M turnovers and scored late in garbage time, but lost 40-21 in front of 110,811. The margin of victory didn't reach the point spread. But there would be no major upsets this time. 


While I have no idea of the amount Middle Tennessee State earned for this game, I assume they earned between $750,000 -- $ 1 Million.


But the prime-time exposure was priceless.

As I look back at the sequence of events, it's surreal to think that Middle Tennessee State, located on the outskirts of Nashville in Murfreesboro, would face the two teams I cover 12 years apart nearly to the day with a historical upset.

Nevertheless, it was a good opportunity to reminisce where I was when a particular game occurred.

We'll see Middle Tennessee State in action as The Blue Raiders face FAU at 4 pm on October 12, 2019 in Boca Raton, FL.

Yet, it's amazing how things indeed come full circle.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com and is the Founder and CEO of The South Florida Tribune.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Tale of Two Games

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

If there was ever a game that would be more lopsided than the other, I would  have guessed it would have been the FAU Owls traveling to Ohio Stadium and facing the Ohio State Buckeyes, rather than the Wisconsin Badgers visiting the USF Bulls in Tampa.

Boy, was I wrong!

Wisconsin Heisman Trophy Candidate Junior Running Back Jonathan Taylor put on a clinic as he scored four touchdowns as the No.19 Badgers pounded my Alma-Mater the South Florida Bulls 49-0 in a game that was delayed by lightening.

Two of Taylor's touchdowns were on the ground for 37 and 38-yards, respectively.

Wisconsin (1-0) led USF 28-0 at the half. Taylor also had two catches for 48 yards. Both receptions resulted in two touchdowns and were the first of his career in the air.

Last season, he had eight catches for 60 yards proving that he is a dual threat.

Taylor ran for 135 yards as he picked up where he left off a year ago when he amassed 2,194 yards and 16 touchdowns, for a squad whose mascot is Bucky The Badger.

USF lost its seventh straight game and did so by committing three turnovers.

The Bulls (0-1) lost six straight to finish the 2018 season at 7-6 much to the displeasure of Coach Charlie Strong.

From a statistical standpoint, all you need to know is Wisconsin outgained USF in total yards 433-157.

The Badgers rushing attack, led by Taylor, overwhelmed USF 234-26. The Badgers dominated in first downs 22-9.

The attendance at Raymond James Stadium was 46,704.

The 49 point loss to Wisconsin was USF's largest margin of defeat in program history.
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As for FAU, the Owls (0-1) should feel very good about themselves.

They lost 45-21 to new Buckeyes Coach Ryan Day.

After trailing 28-0 seven minutes into the contest, and being mauled early by the heavy 28-point favored Buckeyes (1-0) , FAU competed and trailed 28-3 at the end of the first half.

But Owls QB Chris Robison let 103,228 Buckeye fans know that this opponent would not be just an early season pushover.

Robison had a solid performance by completing 22-34, for 178 yards and one touchdown and zero interceptions.

His three favorite targets were Harrison Bryant, who had six receptions for 79 yards, Tavaris Harrison four receptions for 57 yards and John Raine, who caught six passes for 29 yards and a touchdown.

Larry McCammon III scored the Owls lone rushing touchdown. He had 11 carries for 22 yards.

In the end, FAU held its own against an opponent that has National Championship aspirations.

Buckeyes highly touted transfer QB Justin Fields scored five touchdowns in his debut.

The Owls can build on this performance as they open their home regular season versus the Central Florida Knights on Saturday, August 28 at 7 pm at FAU Stadium.

Central Florida clobbered the Florida A&M Rattlers 62-0 on Thursday Night in Orlando.

I'm not a big believer in moral victories.

But when you go to Columbus, Ohio, and play in an intimidating venue which is considered the Horse Shoe, and compete against an elite program in OSU, let alone collect a huge payday, it was a good weekend for FAU.

Former FAU Athletic Director Patrick Chun previously worked at OSU and managed to get this contest scheduled.

At the beginning of the game, I thought that with the big lead OSU took, the Buckeyes would easily score above 70 points.

Despite the fact that OSU outgained FAU in total yards 469-228, the Owls outscored OSU 21-17 to end the game.

They showed a FOX National TV audience that the university located in Boca Raton, FL., has an upstart program coached by Lane Kiffin, who is in the photo in the Spring Game.

As for USF, Strong has a lot of work to do after an embarrassing performance on Friday Night.

It will be interesting as a tale of two programs which I'm deeply connected fare not only this season, but will face one another in 2020.

This tale of two games were against two of the best Big 10 opponents in Wisconsin and Ohio State. Both figure to be big contenders to possibly play in the Big 10 Championship Game in December.

Stay tuned!

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com and is the Founder and CEO for The South Florida Tribune.

Monday, August 26, 2019

A Heart Divided

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

On Friday Night, The Wisconsin Badgers travel to Tampa to square off against the University of South Florida Bulls at 7 pm at Raymond James Stadium.

I have a family member that is a Wisconsin native and currently lives in the Land Of Cheese.

My sister-in-law Marie has an interesting dilemma because she graduated from USF with a Masters Degree in Communication.

It's really nice that not only are we related but we're both USF Alumni.

Add to the fact that I earned a BA Degree in Communication and the connection becomes even more enjoyable.

When we texted Marie last night, she answered that "Her Heart Is Divided" and that's where it ended. How can you not be loyal to your hometown with a team that you've followed your entire life?

When the time comes, and I have a feeling that it will whether it be a Bowl Game or a regular season matchup, USF will face the Michigan Wolverines.

Will my heart be divided as much as Marie's?

Probably not as much because when I look at My Class Ring, it resides on my right hand.

It will be with me when I'm laid to rest at Wisconsin Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Milwaukee.

One of My Media Distribution partners for the South Florida Tribune is USF.

Now I'm working diligently to add The Michigan Wolverines because I have a lot of ties to the university.

Plus, I would like to promote U-M in Southern Florida because the Wolverines have recruited heavily in this area.

Twelve years ago, I had another situation like this when I was covering the Florida Atlantic Owls Football team.

They were facing USF in Fort Lauderdale at the now demolished Lockhart Stadium.

When people at FAU asked me who I was rooting for, I was honest and said USF, however, it wouldn't disappoint me if the Owls won.

I added that I really can't lose here but it would be nice if the game was close.

USF defeated FAU 35-23 on October 6, 2007.

To date, USF does lead the series 3-1. The two universities will meet each other again in 2020 and 2022 in a home and home series.

Former FAU Baseball Coach Kevin Cooney would schedule USF and his pitching coach  was Tony Fossas in 2005, who had ties to USF.

Once again, my heart was divided and I internalized it.

But for those individuals that have this same problem, I sympathize with you.

In the end though, the words "Alma-Mater" are special to me because all of the memories that I enjoyed at a university that I SELECTED and will always be a part of what and who I stand for.

I've got the degree, hats and apparel, etc... and continue to add more when I take the four hour trek up I-75 to visit a great part of my past.

Hugs Marie!

I'm sure we'll be having more of these intriguing family discussions.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com.
He is the Founder and CEO of The South Florida Tribune.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Is Dwight Howard Worth The Trouble?

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

If there is ever a player that wears out his welcome more in professional sports than find me someone else besides Dwight Howard.

Once upon a time, Howard was selected as the No.1 overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic.

To Dwight's credit, he lasted in Central Florida for eight seasons and led the franchise to an NBA Finals Appearance. A falling out with Coach Stan Van Gundy ultimately led him to the Los Angeles Lakers.

More falling outs would continue as Howard and Lakers icon Kobe Bryant would last a single season which led to his next move to the Houston Rockets. He lasted three seasons in The Lone Star State then moved on.

The following stops would all be one year apiece. He played in his hometown of Atlanta, then moved up I-85 North to play in Charlotte and onto the Nations Capital to play for the Washington Wizards.

There were two non-playing stints for the Brooklyn Nets and The Memphis Grizzlies.

But we're talking about a guy that has now played for four teams over the past four seasons.

If you look at the career of Dwight Howard, he's averaged 17.4 points-per-game and 12.7 rebounds-per-game.

He's an eight-time NBA All-Star and three-time NBA Defensive Player of The Year.

He's 33 years old and now you can put him in the journeyman category.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Howard will receive a non-guaranteed contract to return the LA Lakers.

The Lakers recently found themselves with an unexpected hole at center when free-agent signing DeMarcus Cousins suffered a torn ACL in mid-August. After battling back from a ruptured Achilles Tendon, and torn Quadriceps, Cousins could miss the 2019-20 Season.

With Cousins out, JaVale McGee was set to enter the campaign as the sole traditional center on the Lakers roster.

I view this move for the Lakers as low-risk.

Howard is 6-11, 265 pounds and as long as he continues to stay in shape, there is some good basketball left in him.

With LeBron James and newly acquired Anthony Davis on the squad, these guys will make sure that he can't and won't become a distraction.

To think that Howard is getting a non-guaranteed contract must be a blow to his ego.

But lets face the facts, he's been with six different franchises and he's running out of places to go with his toxic and cancerous locker-room attitude.

I reiterate that Non-Guaranteed aren't words this man is used to hearing.

He won't get closer to winning an NBA Championship as the opportunities for employment around the NBA dwindle. Howard's reputation has now caught up with him.

One of my favorite lines pertains to Morris the famous cat and his food.

Morris ran out of lives with Nine Lives!

Dwight, you're just about to run out.

In Los Angeles you better make the most of this latest life!

He has six playing stops and two non-playing which brings us up to eight places. His return to the Lakers makes it nine.

For the Lakers, this move is an everything to gain, nothing to lose.

Scott Morganroth can be reached www.scottsports33.com and is the Founder and CEO of The South Florida Tribune.

He is the Co-Host of the Sports Exchange which airs on Tuesday's and Thursday's from 5-7 pm on the weinetwork.com. It can also be seen on Facebook Live with Peter Wein.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The Competitor In Me

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

The closest sport I ever had a chance to pursue was baseball.

During my youth in Southfield, MI., I played six years of baseball, one in hockey and basketball apiece.

My father coached me in five of six years playing on the diamond.  I played catcher for three years and I enjoyed the position because it was for thinkers.

Through the years in the media some of my favorite interviews were with catchers because you can relate to those that played the same position.

If you put me in the outfield, I'd lose my focus and balls could get past me if I lost concentration. Those singles would turn into extra base hits. I could only hope that one of my fellow outfielders would back me up.

When I played third base, some of my throws were so wild you'd need a seven-foot player because my throws usually sailed therefore, the first baseman would be drawn off the bag. Then again, I was just a Little Leaguer and these wild throws are common at every level.

I always had the desire to play for Southfield Lathrup High School in Metro Detroit, but when my family uprooted us to Highland, MI, that became impossible because Lakeland High School wasn't within walking distance.

I had no other way to get to practice since there was no other family in the area to take me. Both of my parents worked full-time.

Nowadays, as I continue my journey to rebuild my passion in the Media Full-Time, I enjoy the challenge of building a Multi-Media venture from scratch.

At the weinetwork.com, Peter Wein has been a joy to work with as a co-host.

He gives me my space and I produce The Sports Exchange which airs on Tuesday's and Thursday's from 5-7 pm.

We have great chemistry on the air and we're accumulating a good foundation of guests.

My guests are the backbone to the radio side. I enjoy interacting with them especially those that I followed as a child. 

I have many good ones, but former MLB Pitcher Mark Littell is awesome!

Our audience on a nightly basis exceeds 3,000 per show when you factor the network and Facebook Live. Between the first showing, the replay the following day and archives, we're between 10-12,000. Our one year anniversary is coming up in October.

Early in my radio days, I worked with George Eichorn on the Sports Exchange in Metro Detroit. When I told Wein about name possibilities, there was only one and the Sports Exchange was it with my past history.

Thus, it's back in circulation, but in a big way.

But My real baby is the South Florida Tribune.

When I purchased the domain name two years ago, I was looking to build a media company where there would be a few writers and build a press release business.

South Florida is the area that I live in so this was a no brainer.

Back in the 1980's, I had a nice run with the Tampa Tribune when I went to college at the University of South Florida. I have a lot of great friends that I'm in touch with today.

Unfortunately that while the Tampa Tribune went out of business, I was lucky enough to land the domain name then turned it into an LLC through Sunbiz.

So here we are, The spirit of The Tampa Tampa Tribune is very much alive with my Online Publication.

Now my goal is to develop writers and allow business owners promote their business. This is an outlet that provides freedom of speech as long as it's not abused. I don't limit the Tribune to sports. It's wide-open for the most part, but I won't allow politics or religion. These two subjects are discretionary.

We have a good young baseball/music writer named Louis Addeo-Weiss, who is developing nicely. Hopefully he continues to progress and he's been told there will be more opportunities down the line.

My wife Candy does a super job behind the scenes helping me put all of this together.

This gives me an opportunity to find Media Distribution Partners to provide content to promote their organizations.

I have quite a few now, but most notably, The Jacksonville Jaguars, Florida Atlantic University Owls, University of South Florida, Lynn University are some of the ones. If you want to see the rest, go to www.southfloridatribune.com and then use the drop down Sporting News.

As I continue this journey, the excitement of this challenge is to find more Media Distribution Partners. Stay tuned for more updates as time progresses.

I want all of my followers to read Real News and be updated regularly.

Another resource is Reuters who supplies our National News and Sports.

There are plans down the road to add a You Tube Channel and South Florida Tribune Podcast.

But only when I feel the traffic reaches much higher levels.

I'm too old school to deal with Fake News and won't tolerate such garbage.

But the key to any business is to reach as many people as possible.

As I continue to build this, My goal is to maximize the exposure of the weinetwork.com and other partners that join our team.

One of the things I like about the Sports Exchange is I've been able to find young charismatic talent who have desires to use us as a stepping stone to further their careers.

Last August, I met a young guy named Xavier McKnight. He was the Sports Information Director for Savannah State University. The Miami Hurricanes won this game 77-0. But I got to know Xavier McKnight real well and he would be one of our first core pieces with The Sports Exchange.

These photos were taken with McKnight at his new favorite restaurant in Bradenton, FL.

He's received praise from former College Basketball Coach Mike Jarvis, established broadcaster and longtime colleague Mark Wilson. Most recently, Los Angeles iconic broadcaster Chris Roberts was impressed.

Xavier is one of those guys that can work in any sport and is so prepared that he's so credible on the air. At 23-years old, McKnight is a name that you'll hear plenty about as time progresses.

Another favorite is 23-year old Anthony Wood. I found him on LinkedIn early this year.

On the radio show, we call him UK. No, this doesn't stand for any university with these letters. But it's a short version for United Kingdom.

What impressed me about Wood is he's so knowledgeable about the NFL.

Once upon a time there was NFL Europe. The league has a tremendous following in the UK and much of this is attributed to the Jacksonville Jaguars playing there annually, in addition to the growing amount of games each season.

Guys like Wood are a product of such growth. He podcasts regularly and when things were slow during the summer, he had updates on Formula One Racing, Wimbledon, Sports Movies, etc...

But his tenacity in doing research excites me because those are the qualities that it takes to become good at any occupation, let alone being in the news business.

In my eyes, Wood will always be known for producing an outline then sending it to me so I can follow it on the show.

Now I require the outline from a lot of my young insiders. Wood is another guy where the sky is the limit.

When I look at McKnight and Wood, I see a lot of what I was like when I was young. I was hungry, determined and I would work 24 hours to get what I needed to get the job done. That's how we're wired mentally.

That's the Competitor in Me.

I may not have had the ability on the athletic field.

But off the field, I'm just excited as to where this journey ultimately leads me.

When you have these young studs around, it's impossible to not learn from these guys. They bring out The Fountain Of Youth!

Back in the day when there was terrestrial radio and network television, only the fortunate could get involved. It was a privilege to be in the industry.

Now with tons of channels to watch on television, internet-satellite radio taking over, this is a different overwhelming animal more tenacious that a grizzly bear. It will eat you up alive if you're not on top of things, therefore you have to make every second count.

I'm learning how to promote in Social Media like I've never done before and this digital experience with internet radio, podcasts is one of those situations where all of you just have to is relationships with honest intentions.

It's necessary to make Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc... your best friend because nowadays you can't exist without it.

Years ago, the Associated Press, United Press International (UPI) and the Sports Ticker was your best friend. Not anymore.

But the key is to make it a win-win situation.

Take care of  your Media Distribution Partners by making as many appearances as possible because they're the ones who treat you with the respect to keep things going. Whatever people decide to write for you to gain exposure is just icing on the cake.

The industrious individuals realize that the more your name is out there the more opportunities you have in expanding your business to create the endless possibilities available to you which could lead to financial gain.

Word Of Mouth is everything!

This is an era where Google Rules!

It doesn't take much to find individuals these days by browsing.

Exposure is the key!

The financial part will eventually work itself out.

As I conclude this story, I'll say that regardless of how much talent you have, there is nothing more greater in life then having a tenacious work ethic.

I learned this at a young age and will take it with me until the day I die.

You don't last in the Media 40 years by accident.

At 56-years old, I still have the fire and 26 operations in addition to a myriad of other health issues, this won't slow me down.

That's what brings out The Competitor In Me.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com. He is the Founder and CEO of The South Florida Tribune.

About Me

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My Super Passion: In 40-years in the Sports Media Business, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience some Great Moments with Championship People. I look forward to any feedback you readers have. I encourage you to look at the MOTOR CITY MAD MOUTH HALL OF FAME ON August 8, 2012 because these people have made the Journey in Sports Media as fun as it's been.

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