Rivalry Week Fan Poll: What’s the biggest game?

Take our poll. Tell us what you think is the biggest Rivalry Week game this year.
Take our poll. Tell us what you think is the biggest Rivalry Week game this year.

Rivalry Week.

It all means a little more.

A little more passion. A little more at stake. A little more smack talk.

Make that a lot more smack talk.

These are the games we’ll remember this season. Only one team will win it all, of course. But every rivalry game will produce a new chapter of bragging rights, and that’s forever.

We’ll be paying close attention to all of them, of course. And we know you will be, too.

What we don’t know is what game will resonate the most with the widest audience. That’s the question. Won’t you take a second to answer it in our flash poll below?

And yes, we know we left off a few. N.C. State-North Carolina, UCLA-USC, Vandy-Tennessee, Ole Miss-Mississippi State, K-State-Kansas … big games, sure. For some of y’all.

But we want to know the biggest. What game will OTHER fans want to watch, rather than just the die-hards? What game will you watch, other than your own?

Thank you, and enjoy the games. We know we will!

What's the biggest Rivalry Week game this year?

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5 Thanksgiving Football Memories to Savor

thanksgivingBy Bob D’Angelo, Smack Zone Contributor

Enjoy that Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings, but don’t forget to watch football. NFL games on turkey day are a longtime tradition, and there have been some memorable and even crazy moments.

Digest these five landmark games. And pass the dressing.

Clint to the rescue

On November 28, 1974 at Texas Stadium, Clint Longley had his 15 minutes of fame.

The Washington Redskins were 10-4 and were leading Dallas 16-3 in the third quarter. Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach was injured and sent to the sidelines, forcing coach Tom Landry to turn to Longley, a rookie.

“I didn’t even have time to pinch myself,” Longley said. “You know, you just go in there and start throwing.”

He sure did. The mad bomber out of Abilene Christine had a career day, going 11-for-20 for 203 yards and two touchdowns.

His 50-yard touchdown pass to Drew Pearson with less than 30 seconds to play rallied the Cowboys to a remarkable 24-23 comeback victory.

“I still have no idea who Clint Longley is,” Washington quarterback Joe Theismann said years later.

Longley threw one more pass the following week in a mop-up role as Staubach returned to action.  In 1975 he saw action in four games but then was traded to San Diego after getting into a scuffle with Staubach. He played three games on the West Coast and threw two fourth-quarter touchdowns against the Colts, but never recaptured the magic he found on Thanksgiving Day, 1974. Continue reading 5 Thanksgiving Football Memories to Savor

Smack Apparel Black Friday Special: 25 Percent Off Website Orders!

Starting at midnight Friday, take advantage of our greatest Black Friday deal ever: 25% off on all website orders, on top of free shipping through Dec. 31!
Starting at midnight Friday, take advantage of our greatest Black Friday deal ever: 25% off on all website orders, on top of free shipping through Dec. 31!

Have we mentioned how much we love our customers? Well, we do.

To prove it, we present the greatest Black Friday deal in the history of Smack Apparel: TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT OFF ALL WEBSITE ORDERS!

That’s right. Order one of our incredibly creative sports smack items through the Smack Apparel website starting this Friday starting at midnight, and we’ll automatically take 25% off the purchase price.

That’s ON TOP of our already-amazing offer of FREE SHIPPING on all website orders through Dec. 31.

The 25% off deal is good through the weekend on all of our great t-shirts, our Rookie Wear gear for toddlers and infants, our new metal Fan Cave signs, our new European soccer t-shirts and anything else you can find for sale on the Smack Apparel website.

Oh, and in addition to the Black Friday 25% off special and free shipping, there is still time for you to enter our Holiday Smack t-shirt giveaway. No purchase necessary to enter.

Man, do we love our customers!

Happy Thanksgiving, merry Christmas and season’s greetings from your friends at Smack Apparel!


We’re Thankful for These 5 Things in Sports

Happy Thanksgiving, Marry Christmas, and Seasons Greetings from your friends at Smack Apparel!
Happy Thanksgiving, Marry Christmas, and Seasons Greetings from your friends at Smack Apparel!

Thanksgiving week is all about nostalgia.

It’s delicate … but potent.

Why do love the teams we love? Do we spring forth as ready-made Buckeyes, Tigers, Packers, Bears? Do we ACTUALLY bleed black and gold? Are we born to our loyalties, or do they grow with us, become part of us as we mature?

For most of us, the attachment to a sports team is tinged with nostalgia. It’s about family. It’s about friends and memories.

And so, that brings us back to Thanksgiving week. You know, it’s actually healthy to feel gratitude. Do yourself (and your health) a favor, then, and join in our brief appreciation of a few of our favorite things in sports:

Sports Movies

We’re thankful for Bull Durham, Hoosiers, Field of Dreams, the Natural, Caddyshack, Slap Shot, the Bad News Bears, Moneyball, North Dallas Forty, Seabiscuit and so many more.

What are your favorites?

Sports Rivalries

This isn’t just Thanksgiving week; it’s also Rivalry Week, the best time of year for a college football purist.

We are thankful for the Backyard Brawl, Bedlam, the Border War, Civil War, the Palmetto Bowl, the Iron Bowl and so many more.

Can you name all the teams in those rivalry games?

Sports Smack

Naturally, this is our bread and butter. It’s why we exist!

We’re thankful for Muhammad Ali, Steve Spurrier, Dizzy Dean, Michael Jordan and all the many legends of Smack Talk. They set the standard and lead the way for us, the fans, to create our own unique brand of smack talk — and proudly wear it for the world to see!

The Big Games

In many ways, our lives are marked by series of big events. For some of us, that means the memories of our lives are associated with the anticipation and thrill of attending a big sporting event or watching it on TV.

We’re thankful for the Super Bowl, the World Series, the NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup final, the MLS Cup, the World Cup, the Olympics and every big game we’ve ever seen.

What is your favorite memory of a big game or series?

Our Fellow Fans

Of course we’re thankful for you, our fellow sports fans. We do what we do because of your passion. We love sports, and we know you do, too. That’s what got us started in 1998, and it’s why we work every day to help you take the fan experience to new heights.

To show our appreciation, we’re giving you free shipping on all Smack Apparel website orders through Dec. 31. Plus, we’re giving away a Smack Apparel t-shirt to one lucky fan (click here for details and to enter the giveaway).

And stay tuned this week for some amazing Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals!

Be safe, have fun, eat well and cheer on your teams this weekend. We’ll be right there with you in spirit!



Romo to the Rescue?

By Andy Kent, Smack Zone Contributor

All that was missing Sunday at Sun Life Stadium was the Mighty Mouse theme music with that infamous proclamation, “Here I come to save the day!”

For two months, that’s how Dallas Cowboys fans and followers characterized the eventual return of starting quarterback Tony Romo. And who’s to blame them after watching the inept quarterback tandem of Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel lead America’s Team to a 0-7 record in his absence?

Romo didn’t disappoint, lifting the Cowboys to a 24-14 road victory over the Miami Dolphins to snap the team’s longest losing streak since 1989 by completing 18-of-28 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns. He wasn’t perfect by any means, as rust was clearly evident in his two interceptions and a few other bad misses, but clearly just his presence in the huddle gives the entire team a renewed sense of confidence.

Former Cowboys wide receiver and Hall-of-Famer Michael Irvin couldn’t contain his enthusiasm on the NFL Network after the win, gloating about how last week he predicted that with Romo back this team could run the table and make the playoffs.

This Thursday night’s game against the unbeaten Carolina Panthers could quickly knock Irvin and the Cowboys back to reality, but at least for one day, Romo lived up to his superhero status.


The Holiday Smack Giveaway: Win a free t-shirt!

smackapparel.comWe here at Smack Apparel really love our customers. We love you because we’re one of you. We’re all sports fans, driven by passion, ready — and more than willing — to tell the world ALL about it!

Our mission at Smack Apparel is to help sports fans like us OWN the room. We love to laugh, and we REALLY love to laugh at the expense of our favorite team’s bitter rivals!

We know you do, too, and we’ve made it easier than ever to do that this holiday season. It started last week, when we announced free shipping on website orders through Dec. 31.


Today, we roll out phase two of our Holiday Smack giveaway specials: a free t-shirt for one of you. That’s right, free. Gratis. Without cost. Zero dollars.


All you have to do is enter using the Rafflecopter form below. The entry points are easy: Follow Smack Apparel on Facebook and Twitter, and tweet out the message about our giveaway (you can do that every day for additional entries).

Check out our deep inventory of hilarious wearable smack talk and pick one out. In fact, think of all the sports fans on your Christmas list this year, and find one of each of them! Free shipping on website orders — can’t beat that!

(Or can we? Stay tuned … )

The Smack Apparel Holiday Smack t-shirt giveaway contest is open to U.S. residents 18-older. No purchase necessary.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This Week’s CFP Scenarios: Who’s In if They Win, Who Needs Help

Will the Tigers run the table and lock up a spot in the final four? Or can North Carolina spoil the party in the ACC Championship Game?
Will the Tigers run the table and lock up a spot in the final four? Or can North Carolina spoil the party in the ACC Championship Game?

The college football championship landscape is beginning to crystallize, but a lot still can happen to shake up the eventual final four. The CFP scenarios seem to change by the week.

The post-Thanksgiving Rivalry Week games and the ensuing conference title games will tell the tale, but now is the time to get your mind around the significance of each game. With that in mind, here is a team-by-team look at the likelihood of each contender to be selected for a coveted final four spot.

In If They Win

No. 1 Clemson (10-0)

Remaining games: vs Wake Forest; Nov. 28 at South Carolina; Dec. 5 ACC Championship Game vs. North Carolina/Pittsburgh.

Scenario: Simple, really. Avoid letdowns against weaker Wake and sorry South Carolina, then hold serve against an inferior opponent in the ACC title game. Boom. Time to party like it’s 1981 in the CFP Final Four.

No. 2 Alabama (9-1)

Remaining games: vs Charleston Southern; Nov. 28 vs Auburn; Dec. 5 SEC Championship Game vs Florida (with victory against Auburn or Ole Miss loss to LSU this week).

Scenario: The Tide is rolling, and that loss to Ole Miss now seems like an anomaly. All they have to do is be who they have proven they are for three more games and they’re in.

No. 3 Ohio State (10-0)

Remaining games: vs Michigan State; Nov. 28 vs Michigan; Dec. 5 Big 10 Championship Game vs. Iowa (with victories against Michigan State and Michigan)

Scenario: It’s not as simple for the Buckeyes as it might seem. Sure, beat the Spartans and Wolverines in back-to-back weeks, then knock off Iowa in the Big 10 title game, and they secure a spot in the final four. That’s still a steep hill to climb for the defending national champions, who have looked vulnerable all season.

No. 5 Iowa (10-0)

Remaining games: vs Purdue; Nov. 27 at Nebraska; Dec. 5 Big 10 Championship Game vs Ohio State/Michigan State.

Scenario: It is typical of this season for the Hawkeyes that their remaining opponents are in last place (Purdue) and struggling (Nebraska). They have played only two ranked teams (Wisconsin and Northwestern). The first true test for Iowa will be the Big 10 title game. Still, win that, and they will certainly leapfrog into the top 4 at the end.

No. 6 Oklahoma State (10-0)

Remaining games: vs Baylor; Nov. 28 vs Oklahoma.

Scenario: Home games against big rivals the next two weeks help the Cowboys. All they have to do is finish the deal, and they’re in. Ah, but what then? Can’t seem them holding their own against Clemson or Bama. Can you?

To think ... if not for that freakish last-minute play against the Wolverines, the Spartans would already be out of it. Can they win out and crash the CFP party?
To think … if not for that freakish last-minute play against the Wolverines, the Spartans would already be out of it. Can they win out and crash the CFP party?

No. 9 Michigan State (9-1)

Remaining games: at Ohio State; Nov. 28 Penn State; Dec. 5 Big 10 Championship Game vs Iowa (with victories against Ohio State and Penn State).

Scenario: The Spartans are well down the rankings at the moment, but they still look to be poised to get into the playoff field if they run the table. Do that, and they will have late-season victories against top 5 teams and they will be champions of a power five conference.

Might Need Some Help

No. 4 Notre Dame (9-1)

Remaining games: Boston College at Fenway Park; Nov. 28 at Stanford.

Scenario: It hurt the Irish that Stanford lost last week to Oregon, but the fact remains that Notre Dame is in the top four as of now. Victories this week and next week will position the Irish well, but they might still need Oklahoma State to lose to either Baylor or Oklahoma.

No. 7 Oklahoma (9-1)

Remaining games: vs TCU; Nov. 28 at Oklahoma State.

Scenario: The Sooners seem to control their fate. Victories against the Horned Frogs and Oklahoma State (if the Cowboys are undefeated) would seem to be enough, no matter what else happens in front of them. Yet, there still might be a shadow of doubt unless Notre Dame stumbles against BC or Stanford or if Alabama is upset by Auburn.

Can the Gators overcome the loss of QB Will Grier and sneak into the CFP final four?
Can the Gators overcome the loss of QB Will Grier and sneak into the CFP final four?

No. 8 Florida (9-1)

Remaining games: vs Florida Atlantic; Nov. 28 vs FSU; Dec. 5 SEC Championship Game vs Alabama.

Scenario: Victories against highly regarded rival FSU and Final Four favorite Alabama in the SEC title game should be enough to get the Gators in. Yet, if Oklahoma State runs the table, a final four of Clemson, Ohio State/Iowa, Oklahoma State and Notre Dame is feasible – leaving the Gators out in the cold.

Might Need a Lot of Help

No. 10 Baylor (8-1)

Remaining schedule: at Oklahoma State; Nov. 27 at TCU; Dec. 5 Texas.

Scenario: The Bears need to run the table and have Oklahoma State defeat Oklahoma. Even then, they might need Notre Dame to lose to BC or Stanford.

Probably Out (but you never know)

No. 17 North Carolina (9-1)

Remaining schedule: at Virginia Tech; Nov. 28 Vs NC State; Dec. 5 ACC Championship game vs Clemson.

Scenario: The Tar Heels would need to win out and hope. It would help them if the contending Big 12 teams split victories the next few weeks, and if Notre Dame lost to Stanford. Even then, it’s a very long shot.

No. 18 TCU (9-1)

Remaining schedule: at Oklahoma; Nov. 27 vs Baylor.

Scenario: The Horned Frogs need to win out and hope Oklahoma defeats Oklahoma State. Then, they need Notre Dame to lose. Basically, they’re out of it.

No Chance (even if they stay undefeated)

No. 19 Houston (10-0)

Remaining games: at Connecticut; Nov. 27 vs Navy; AAC Championship Game vs. Temple (with a victory against Navy)

Scenario: Yeah … it’s the American Athletic Conference.



10 Historical Sporting Events That Would Have Broken the Internet

What if the Internet had been a thing when Babe Ruth called his shot and when Bobby Riggs played Billy Jean King? People would have gone INSANE. Smack Zone Illustration: Steve Hill
What if the Internet had been a thing when Babe Ruth called his shot and when Bobby Riggs played Billy Jean King? People would have gone INSANE. Smack Zone Illustration: Steve Hill

By Bob D’Angelo, Smack Zone Contributor

The Internet and social media have become such vital parts of our culture, it’s hard to remember a time when they didn’t exist. That’s particularly true in sports.

If you think the World Series, Super Bowl or NBA Finals generate heat now, can you imagine what events might have broken the Internet — if the Internet had existed at the time? Here are some candidates.

The Miracle on Ice

The Cold War was in full swing, and the United States and Soviet Union were natural rivals. On February 22, 1980, the two teams squared off in the medal round of the Winter Olympics hockey tournament. The Soviets had won the gold medal in six of the seven previous Olympics and had beaten the Americans 10-3 in an exhibition two weeks earlier at Madison Square Garden.

The Americans, made up of amateur and college players and coached by Herb Brooks, shocked the Soviets 4-3 by scoring a pair of goals in the third period and holding off a furious onslaught by the favored USSR.

That led to the iconic call by broadcaster Al Michaels: “Do you believe in miracles? YES!

The Americans then defeated Finland 4-2 to win the gold medal.

The March 3, 1980, cover of Sports Illustrated ran a photo of the U.S. team celebrating on the ice. No caption or headline accompanied the photo. None was needed. Continue reading 10 Historical Sporting Events That Would Have Broken the Internet

England-France: Soccer Rivals Unite in the Face of Terrorism

England and France are natural foes and expedient friends. On the fields of battle and in the halls of politics, these two ancient nations are inextricably linked throughout history.

Naturally, this geopolitical rivalry carries over to the soccer pitch. Both countries aspire to World Cup glory, and both produce players of world-class talent.

Tuesday, the England and France national teams met in a friendly match at Wembley Stadium. The backdrop was terrorism; only three days before, Jihadist terrorists representing the so-called Islamic State struck at the very heart of the City of Light.

The murder of dozens of people from, at last count, 19 different countries, was an affront to humanity. Certainly, its ramifications extend far beyond an otherwise meaningless soccer game between England and France.

Yet, when the English fans gathered to cheer on the Three Lions, they did so in a stadium decked in the tri-color of France. The Wembley arch was lit in red, white and blue. Fans — English fans — in the stands held up tri-color placards to represent the French flag.

Then, after the ritual playing of the English national anthem — God Save the Queen — the entire stadium lifted its collective voice in a stirring rendition of La Marseillaise:

Sometimes, sports isn’t meaningless diversion. Sometimes, athletic rivals can come together in defiance of those who would rescind human rights.

Sometimes, a game is more than a game.

How to Win an Argument with a Raiders Fan

cool_hate_raiders4By Erez Ladetzky, Smack Zone Contributor

It’s 2015 and the Oakland Raiders are relevant. Yes, you read that correctly. After a decade of misery, the Raiders seem to have found a franchise QB/WR combination that could last them a decade or more in Derek Carr and Amari Cooper. Couple that with really solid draft picks and free agent signings the last two years, and Oakland has potential to make some noise in the AFC in the near future (after Tom Brady retires at least).

Oakland has a long-standing history of success in football. The Raiders began playing in the AFL in 1960. After the merger, the Raiders pretty much dominated the ‘70s. Oakland won six division titles and made it to six conference championship games, winning the Super Bowl in 1976. The Raiders went on to win two more, in 1980 and 1983. Since then, it has been bumpy, especially after losing to the Bucs in the Super Bowl in 2002. After that loss, the Raiders haven’t made the playoffs and have 12 straight losing seasons.

Now that the Raiders are on the ascent, you might hear some of their fans start to chirp. They have a very passionate and loyal fan base. If you’ve seen them on TV, you know they enjoy dressing like it’s Halloween every week.

We love the Raiders around here, because few fan bases exhibit such unbridled passion and pure derision for their opponents. It’s a ready-made cauldron of smack talk.

But we understand there are those who despise the Raiders and want to know how to verbally combat the Silver and Black.

How do you win an argument with a Raiders fan? Here are a few talking points that can help you out: Continue reading How to Win an Argument with a Raiders Fan