My friend, Steve Ellis

 

I know this my day to give predictions, and we’ll get to those. But I’ll let you know now that they’ll be brief.

From time to time I ask for permission to use this space to share something personal with you. This is another one of those times.

Yesterday we lost a damn good man and a damn good sportswriter. Steve Ellis of the Tallahassee Democrat covered Florida State for nearly 30 years and did it with great distinction. Nobody knew what was going on at Florida State better than Steve and he did it with a work ethic that was legendary.

Did he clash with the folks at Florida State from time to time? You bet. But everybody from President T.K. Wetherell to Bobby Bowden respected Steve Ellis as a pro. In fact, he was a pro that other pros looked up to and relied on as a great resource.

When I really needed to know what was going on at Florida State, I would talk to Steve late at night when I knew he had finally stopped working. Yeah, I was a competitor but our friendship was strong enough that he felt comfortable discussing his work with me and giving me special insights that were incredibly helpful.

The story about Steve in today’s Tallahassee Democrat says that hewas working on a story at home when he suffered a massive heart attack on Nov. 10. He wouldn’t let his wife, Karen, call 911 until she emailed the story into the paper first. That’s Steve.

http://nolesports.tallahassee.com/article/20091120/FSU03/911200321

I talked to Karen Ellis on Monday night and she was optimistic that Steve had survived the worst of it. His life was going to have to change, to be sure. They were going to embrace that change together.

I was on my way to Athens Thursday afternoon when the word came. We had lost one of the good guys.

If you have an extra prayer in your pocket this weekend, send it along for Karen Ellis and the folks who loved Steve. This is going to be a tough Thanksgiving.

 

Now on to the picks. I was 7-3 last week. The record is 80-30 on the season.

 

1. Kentucky at Georgia: Georgia just needs to keep running the ball. Kentucky has the No. 11 rush defense in the SEC. Georgia 28, Kentucky 17.

 

2. LSU at Ole Miss: Dexter McCluster touched the ball 29 times last week and Ole Miss pounded Tennessee. The Rebels will do it again. Ole Miss 21, LSU 20.

 

3. Vanderbilt at Tennessee: Vanderbilt just can’t score enough points to hang with the Volunteers. Tennessee 28, Vanderbilt 13.

 

4. Mississippi State at Arkansas: How good is QB Ryan Mallett? Arkansas leads the nation in red zone scoring with 38 scores in 39 trips (29 touchdowns).  Arkansas 31, Miss. State 17.

 

5. Virginia at Clemson: The Tigers and C.J. Spiller are just too much for the Cavaliers. Clemson advances to the ACC championship game and a date with Georgia Tech. Clemson 41, Virginia 13.

 

6. Maryland at Florida State: Florida State (5-5) needs this one to become bowl eligible with a trip to Florida coming up next week. Florida State 31, Maryland 14.

 

7. Ohio State at Michigan: Rich Rod really needs this one to take some of the heat off. Ohio State has already clinched the Rose Bowl. A loss means Michigan (1-6 Big Ten) will finish last in the league for the first time since 1962. Ohio State 17, Michigan 14.

 

8. Kansas State at Nebraska: Nebraska clinches the Big 12 North and a showdown with Texas for the conference championship. Nebraska 28, Kansas State 13.

 

9. Oregon at Arizona: These two teams control their own destiny in the Pac-10 race. The winner has the inside track to the Rose Bowl. Oregon 28, Arizona 27.

 

10. Kansas at Texas: Texas clinches the Big 12 South and Colt McCoy wins his 43rd game as the Longhorn’s starting quarterback. That breaks the record formerly held by Georgia’s David Greene. Texas 35, Kansas 10.

 

 

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115 comments Add your comment

Nachos

November 20th, 2009
9:05 am

jacketbacker

November 20th, 2009
9:13 am

collegeballfan

November 20th, 2009
9:14 am

“We had lost one of the good guys.”

This says a lot more than just the eight words.
I understand your loss. In my prayers.

MGS - FSU

November 20th, 2009
9:14 am

The Seminole Nation will miss you Steve.

Jake

November 20th, 2009
9:15 am

Thanks Tony for the sharing the story with us. I do have a prayer in my pocket for Karen.

Dink

November 20th, 2009
9:16 am

Methinks Arizona upsets Oregon in the desert, LSU will rally to beat the Rebs and Northwestern beats the Badgers.

Cal-Stanford this weekend, 112th meeting and this game always seems to produce something wacky. Another great Saturday to look forward to.

Go Dawgs!

UT96

November 20th, 2009
9:21 am

Tony, great call on Ole Miss. We didn’t have an answer last week for Mccluster. LSU will fare better but when it’s all said and done. Ole Miss wins 24-20.

atlnole

November 20th, 2009
9:23 am

RIP, Steve! GO NOLES!

vance

November 20th, 2009
9:23 am

I did not know your friend from Tallahasee. I have loved the newspaper sportspage and all other sections all of my life. I applaud intelligent, informed and well crafted articles. The early Sunday morning ritual of coffee, newspaper headline skimming, breakfast and then settling in for a full read was learned from my Father and enjoyed for many years by my brothers, sister and Mom. I now delight in the ritual with my wife and children. I will pray for your friend and collegue for being a part of a wonderful institution.

Atlanta Gator

November 20th, 2009
9:27 am

The words written by Tony Barnhart say a great deal about the character and professionalism of Steve Ellis and Tony Barnhart. This world could use more genuine respect among competitors—-something that we fans of rival sports programs should remember.

My prayers are with Mrs. Ellis.

EW

November 20th, 2009
9:28 am

TB, sorry to hear the passing of one of your colleagues. Thoughts and prayers go out to Steve’s family during the upcoming holidays.

AlwaysAVol

November 20th, 2009
9:28 am

Tony, my condolences to you on the loss of your friend, FSU on the loss of a comrade, and his family on the loss of their loved one. UGA, sorry about your mascot (sincerely). Good luck this week and next.

Atlanta Gator

November 20th, 2009
9:39 am

This week’s picks—-

1. Georgia over Kentucky, 28-17. This one’s easy. The Dawgs are in disorder; the Wildcats don’t understand the difference. Talent carries the day.

2. LSU over Ole Miss, 24-17. Sorry, but Houston Nutt’s history is fast starts and slow death. Ole Miss should be a better team than they are, but they’re not. Talent carries the day again.

3. Vanderbilt over Tennessee, 31-10. What a difference a year makes.

4. Arkansas over Mississippi State, 34-14. Talent prevails again. Dan Mullen will recruit his way to respectability, but not this year.

5. Clemson over Virginia, 31-10. Two teams headed in two different directions.

6. Florida State over Maryland, 27-13. The Seminoles are mediocre; the Terps are miserable.

7. Ohio State over Michigan, 21-13. Big Ten classic: three yards and a cloud of dust.

8. Nebraska over Kansas State, 27-17. Man, oh, man, is the Big XII North mediocre or what?

9. Oregon over Arizona, 34-17. One thing is certain: Southern Cal will not be in this year’s Rose Bowl.

10. Texas over Kansas, 42-14. Game over. Mail this one in.

Good luck to all the teams for whom you cheer, and may the best teams win (they usually do).

jumbeauxtiger

November 20th, 2009
9:39 am

I will say a prayer for the Ellis family.

UGA 27 UK 20 Dawgs are the better team.
LSU 30 Ole Miss 24 See above.
UT 34 Vandy 13 Vols bounce back and have the inside track to the Outback.
Ark 38 State 21 Bulldogs can’t stop Mallet & Co.
Clemson 28 UVa 24 Cavs make this closer than expected.
FSU 27 Terps 21 ‘Noles become bowl eligible.
Ohio St 31 Michigan 13 Rich Rod is having a slow start in Ann Arbor.
Nebraska 30 K State 14 The penthouse to the outhouse: K State wins the Big 12 North with a win but is not eligible for a bowl if they lose.
AZ 27 Oregon 24 Wildcats get a huge win for their program.
Texas 42 Kansas 10 Not a good week for Mangino: catching flack from former players and having to face the Longhorns.

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC

Starring Peter Graves as Capt. Clarence Over

November 20th, 2009
9:45 am

Tony: I missed your show yesterday on 790, due to it being pre-empted for basketball. You have had a tough go recently between your mother-in-law, your friend Steve Ellis, & the symbol of your alma mater, UGA VII all passing on. Condolences to you as well.

Tide Rising

November 20th, 2009
9:45 am

Nice story on Mr. Ellis. As for the games the weekend slate doesn’t look real exciting. LSU-Ole Miss will probably be the best game of the day. I would like to see Clemson win and set up a rematch with Tech since that turned out to be a great game.

SadDawg

November 20th, 2009
9:45 am

Yeah, but Tony, that 11th spot in the SEC is held by our Martinez-led defense. No way we hold Kentucky to only 17. Their coach is one of a ever-growing list of those who can easily handle Willie’s defensive schemes. We’ll have to score 40 to win.

hang in there

November 20th, 2009
9:47 am

don’t worry about the weekend, go to Tallahassee. See your friends’ family.

SadDawg

November 20th, 2009
9:56 am

Actually AG, Ole Miss finished pretty good last year, beating both LSU in Baton Rouge and Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl handily. A big reason for the high ranking at the start of this season.

SLP

November 20th, 2009
10:04 am

Sorry for your loss, Tony. I’m sure he was a good man and a fine sportswriter.

Chris

November 20th, 2009
10:07 am

Wow, Tony, this is a shock. As a long-time Seminole alum, I went on nolesports.com daily to read Steve’s updates. He was smart, objective, perceptive and not afraid to challenge decisions made by Bowden and the team (i.e. “Time to bench Chris Rix”, “How can this NOT end badly for Bowden”, etc.). I assume the close knit fraternity of ‘true’ journalists like yourself and Ellis are saddened when you lose one of your own. Thanks for the update. Go dawgs, go noles.

Trade School Junkie

November 20th, 2009
10:08 am

1. KY wins. Maybe a late score/FG for the win.
2. Ole Miss
3. Vols
4. Hawgs
5. Tigers
6. Noles, in a rout
7. Buckeyes
8. Big Red
9. O
10. Horns

FSU will SHOCK THE WORLD with an upset
of Florida at The Swamp on November 28th.

And, if Florida beats Bama in SEC-CG,
then no SEC team will appear in BCS-NC game.

Mikey

November 20th, 2009
10:11 am

Dont forget to say a prayer for a damn good dawg- UGA VII
This season has been a complete train wreck. What will be next?

Gen Neyland

November 20th, 2009
10:12 am

Atlanta Gator : Back away from the keyboard, slowly, put your fingers over your head where I can see ‘em…Vandy over Tennessee..? UT has been decimated at MLB and short in the DBF (thanks Jackson). The UT offense rebounds nicely this week as seniors bid farewell to Neyland Stadium. 31-17 Tennessee

Ole MS-LSU. Chavis has had some of his best days coaching against highly touted RB’s. Ole MS will do more air time against LSU than they did against UT. I’ll take LSU in this one. Agree with the rest of the winners-losers but I gotta PONDER, FSU could play flatter than a pancake against the Tremblin’ Terps.

TommyJack

November 20th, 2009
10:17 am

R.I.P. Mr. Ellis

ratherBgambling

November 20th, 2009
10:19 am

This ’shock the world’ nonsense from the crimiNOLE fans is funny. You could take a FSU allstar team from the last 10 years and not beat the Gators on Nov. 28.

Trade School Junkie

November 20th, 2009
10:21 am

Florida will not make it to the BCS-NC game.

So, “the powers that be” will “MAKE SURE” that the Orange Bowl committee selects U of Florida so that Tebow’s LAST COLLEGE GAME
is played…IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA.

And, GT will beat Florida in the Orange Bowl.

You heard it here first.

Got 12?

November 20th, 2009
10:22 am

No mention of the big game in Tuscaloosa this weekend?! Well, the kids and I will be there anyway.

Gatorzip74

November 20th, 2009
10:26 am

As a lifelong Gator I tip my hat to Mr Ellis and say a special prayer for his family. I traditionally read our opponents newspapers throughout the game week and I must say that Steve Ellis’ articles are among the best, along with Mike Bianchi. He was fair, yet opinionated on what he thought was right. He will be missed.

Trade School Junkie: FIU has a better chance of beating the Gators than does Bobby’s dysfunctional group of boys.

Gatorzip74

November 20th, 2009
10:30 am

Trade School Junkie: I’ll raise you one better and say not only will the Gators will the NC, GTech won’t even win the ACC, that belongs to Clemson. Please take a cue from your brothers in Athens and stop talking trash about us.

ratherBgambling

November 20th, 2009
10:30 am

Trade School Junkie
“And, GT will beat Florida in the Orange Bowl.”

It is a huge assumption putting the bees in the OB. That is not the Clemson team from September. Dabo has the Tigers ballin!

Bob Gabordi

November 20th, 2009
10:45 am

Tony,

Thanks for your kind words about Steve. It is comforting to hear such high praise from our journalism colleagues. He will miss him very much. Bob Gabordi, executive editor, Tallahassee Democrat

Kerry Capps

November 20th, 2009
10:48 am

Tony – Thanks for your fitting tribute to Steve. He was special.

PDawg

November 20th, 2009
10:50 am

28-17 if we can hold them to 17. I have my doubts.

Spike

November 20th, 2009
10:52 am

Nice thoughts, Tony. There are no friends like old friends. I’m sorry for his passing.

MR

November 20th, 2009
10:55 am

ratherBgambling, and this is not the GT team from September. CPJ has the Jackets playin hard. There are always two sides to each story.

MR

November 20th, 2009
10:59 am

Gatorzip74, The SECCG will go into 5 overtimes since both defenses are very strong and nither offense has been over whelming. I think this year the rolls are reversed. Bama goes west for MNC and Fla plays TCU in the Sugar.

Atlanta Nole

November 20th, 2009
11:02 am

Very sad news. As an FSU alum I started reading Ellis while I was in Tallahassee and continued doing so online when I moved. He was a darn good writer and as you said, was not afraid of writing what he thought had to be printed. (Ex. his recent story calling for BB to go). Seminole coverage is not going to be the same without Ellis and my prayers are with his family. Go Noles!

reservoirDAWG

November 20th, 2009
11:03 am

Tony, sorry you lost a buddy. It is never easy. That being said, 80-20 straight up is nothing to talk about.

reservoirDAWG

November 20th, 2009
11:08 am

Trade School Junkie knows nothing about football.

Colin

November 20th, 2009
11:32 am

I’m sorry for your loss.

GT4EVER

November 20th, 2009
11:39 am

Great article on Mr. Ellis … he will be missed. My thoughts and prayers will be with the Ellis family this Thanksgiving.

One more weekend prediction: GT 222, ‘bye week’ 0

Delbert D.

November 20th, 2009
11:50 am

“Texas 35, Kansas 10.”

And I hope the police take Kansas coach Mark Mangino away in handcuffs and leg irons.

Rodster

November 20th, 2009
11:51 am

K-State will upset Nebraska. Write it down.

Rodster

November 20th, 2009
11:59 am

Trade School Junkie wrote:

November 20th, 2009
10:21 am
Florida will not make it to the BCS-NC game.
_______________________________________________
That’s hilarious dude. I wish it were true but I don’t think the Buc’s or the Dolphins could beat UF this year, much less schizo FSU.

Spike

November 20th, 2009
12:30 pm

Whatever happened to Roswell Ed?

Hey Rodster

November 20th, 2009
12:35 pm

Hate to admit it but Trade School Junkie MIGHT be on to something. I mean the gators needed help from the refs to beat Miss St and Arkansas. So to say the Bucs or Dolphins couldn’t beat UF is laughable. First the Worst NFL team could easily beat the best college team the talent gaps are too far apart. Get your head out of the clouds, you guys won’t even beat Bama so he’s at least half right in saying you won’t make it to the BS-BCS Champ game.

Tony sorry for your loss- prayers sent!

Not Disappointed

November 20th, 2009
12:42 pm

Rip Mr. Ellis and God Bless your family. The McLendon Family will be praying for you.

Rambln Wreck all!

Gatorzip74

November 20th, 2009
12:44 pm

Afternoon Nuggets | MrSEC.com

November 20th, 2009
12:52 pm

[...] Geoff Calkins of The MCA has posted his picks for the weekend.4.  Tony Barnhart of The AJC has made his prognostications as well.5.  Finally, there is a chance that UGA VII will be laid to rest at Sanford Stadium in a private [...]