Posted on: November 27, 2009 4:16 pm
As we reach the point in the year where we give thanks for what we are appreciative of, I'm giving thanks that after 2 of the busiest weeks I've had at work, I am now on a week's vacation, and have a chance to get caught up. So this time, for the first time ever, I'm running two editions in the same post. Now obviously I'm going to have to check back and try to remember everything I wanted to hit on. I know Notre Dame is at the top of my list. The LSU debacle from last week will definitely be there. And the coaching carousel finally began to turn in both the NFL and NBA. So sit back and enjoy two weeks and 20 tidbits worth of sports knowledge.
1) And so it begins ...- After last year of watching "As the Lane Turns" and seeing Scott Linehan call his shot, the NFL's coaching front was very quiet. The hammer finally fell on Dick Jauron of the Bills. He was done in by the simply unrealistic expectations caused by the fast start that the team got out to last year. It does go to prove just how important the QB position is in the NFL, and just what a lack of depth there is there currently.
2) ... again- Last year the first two coach firings in the NBA occurred about this time, and this year we already have one. Byron Scott was let go by the New Orleans Hornets, and hearing some of the reasons as to why, they sound to me more like reasons as to why this move was made far too soon. To me, it all seems like a power play by team president and NBA no-nothing Hugh Weber.
3) Even as one of the biggest ND haters- I was completely confused at the end of the Notre Dame Pitt game and exactly what the replay official saw. To me, it seemed clear that Claussen's hand was firmly clutched around the football during the entire forward motion. Now, I won't say the Domers got jobbed, as had the play stood (which IMO it should have), it would have been 4th and 16 and tough to overcome. Remember, I'm of the mind that blaming losses on the officials is loser speak and I site that I have only seen two games where officials have difinitively decided a game, the Oklahoma Oregon game a few years back, and the Colorado fifth down game. But to me, this was a clearly blown call. Remember, it was called incomplete on the field. I was watching an NFL game earlier this year where this exact play happened, and it was initially ruled a fumble and was OVERTURNED on replay to an incomplete pass. Plus, several people have pointed out to me that the whistle blew before Pitt had possession of the "fumble," calling into question whether or not the play was even reviewable (at least to the point where Pitt could even be awarded the ball).
4) Jay Cutler is horrible- Watching the 49ers Bears game, it made me realize one thing. The Broncos gave the Bears the worst fleecing sinec the Lions fleeced the Cowboys in the Roy Williams trade. I mean, the trade would have been bad had it just been picks given up for Cutler, but throw in Orton, too. And some Bears fans were asking what happened to their running game. That's simple. Jay Cutler. Yes, the O-line is also not playing as well, but Forte didn't all of a sudden suck. Jay Cutler thinks it's all about him. And as far as building for the future, the Bears can forget about that one as well. Somebody suggested they need to draft a great receiver. The problem with that is they don't have a pick until at least the third round. The Bears have no future. They mortgaged it for Cutler (and Gaines Adams).
5) Pats 4th and out- I can understand where some people are coming from trying to defend coach Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth down late and on his own side of the field. Afterall, it was essentially a playoff game and will go a long way toward deciding home field. That one game represented a three game swing, two for the points in the standings, and another 1/2 each way for the tie breaker. Still, to me it was very odd, and I'd much rather try to make Peyton drive much longer, no matter how well he had been driving it against you recently. Huge win by the Colts.
6) Trojans defense snapped- I had pointed out going into the Oregon game that the prior two weeks the Trojans defense looked flat and were not playing up to USC standards. Ever since then, they've done nothing to improve, proving that sometimes it is hard to just reload instead of rebuild, even if you are Pete Carroll. The loses on defense over the years have clearly caught up, and this will be USC's first year not in a BCS bowl game in a long time.
7) Horned Frogs roll- TCU continued to roll, destroying their toughest remaining opponent in Utah by a 55-28 score. Should Texas lose, or should Bama or Florida lose before the SEC Championship game, I can only hope the BCS does the right thing and sends the lizards to Pasadena on the 7th.
8) Houston loses another it shouldn't- As much as I like Case Keenum and the huge numbers he's been putting up this year, you cannot afford to lose to UTEP and UCF. That just cannot happen, especially after beating Oklahoma State.
9) tOSU going to the Rose Bowl- By beating Iowa in overtime, Ohio State will be making it's first trip to Pasadena since something like 1999. Hard to believe, but a lot of the years they won the Big 10, they went to the Championship game. And remember, Penn State won last year.
10) Another reason I hate Gary Bettman- The Lightning were screwed out of a point on 11/14 while playing the Kings. On what should have been a game winning goal by the Lightning in OT, the up ice official ruled that the Kings goalie was interfered with on the play and waved off the goal. Here's the problem. The Lightning player was clearly pushed in there by a Kings player. How is this kind of play not reviewable? Bettman either needs to revisit his horrible rules, or send these officials back to school.
1) Hold that Tiger timeout- Wow, what a horrible series of play calling and clock management displayed by the LSU coaching staff at the end of the Ole Miss game. You have it first and 10 at the 29 with around :40 seconds left and two timeouts. First play: incompletion. Okay, not too bad, although with two timeouts and in field goal range, you can run or use the middle of the field. Second play: sack. Cannot happen in that situation. Now you're out of field goal range. First timeout. 33 seconds left. Next play, some ill-conceived screen play that loses like seven yards. Now it's fourth and forever. The clock is at 27 seconds. Somehow, as you are discussing whatever on the sidelines, you let the clock run all the way down to 9 seconds before calling the timeout. Now, you throw a hail-mary. And in the most improbable situation, you complete it at the five, but there is only one second left. And you are caught completely unready. Your field goal unit is not ready to go, although there may have not been enough time to get them on. So, your QB attempts a SPIKE?? With one second left on the clock??? And the great thing is in the hurry up confusion, it was discovered on video that Miles was the one telling him to spike it. You have to run a play. You have to hike it and throw it to the endzone. Even in Death Valley, the final second runs off the clock on a spike. It was clear the coaching staff was lost, and even more so on a play that was probably meant to go into the endzone ends up completed on the 5 instead. It is your responsibility as a coach to be ready for every possibility, and to have your team ready. One fan suggested they should have celebrated the play, as it would have stopped the clock. Now, while I have no experience actually calling a college game with college rules, I'm pretty sure the clock starts on the ready for play just like it would normally. He did have an interesting idea, though, as the clock WOULD stop as they march it off, and maybe have given them enough time to get the FG unit on. Still, all in all, some of the worst coaching I've seen, EVER, and inexcusible from a BCS champion winning coach. That last TO had to be called right after the screen play. You have to extend the game.
2) Weis' swan song- I think the second consecutive loss on senior day by the Fighting Irish pretty much spells the end for Charlie Weis. Afterall, his winning percentage is right up there with Davie and Willingham, and I can't remember the last ranked opponent he's beaten. On the flip side, it was good to see the Huskies win their first game since losing Jasper Howard. Seeing coach Edsall's emotions during the post-game was touching, especially knowing how heart-felt they were.
3) Some absolutely inexcusible NFL performances- Wow, Steelers lose to Chiefs (I know, Moo, you saw it coming the whole way). The Bengals get a gift to move another game up, only they turnover the game against the Raiders on a late TD and then fumble the ensuing kickoff. And the Cowboys take a late TD and only hang 7 on the lowly Redskins in a win.
4) The Jets crash land and the Broncos pull up lame- After starting off 3-0 and fueling speculation again of an all NY Super Bowl (the Giants haven't been performing much better), they have only won 1 of the last 7 and Sanchez is looking very much like a rookie. And the Broncos after their 6-0 start have dropped 4 in a row and now find themselves looking up at the Chargers.
5) Redemption for VY- Ever since being forced back into the lineup by owner Bud Adams (who probably gave coach Jeff Fisher the double barrelled single finger salute in the process), the Titans have not lost a game and have suddenly found themselves back in the playoff hunt, although they probably dug themselves too deep a hole to begin with.
6) Oregon Arizona classic- In one of the most interesting games of the year that I could only see via ESPN360.com thanks to ABC thinking that because I live in Florida the Texas beatdown of Kansas would be more interesting to me, DESPITE the fact that their number 1 crew was at THIS game, Oregon won in double OT in come back fashion, setting up this week's rivalry week matchup with Oregon State with the winner getting a trip to Pasadena on Jan 1st to play tOSU.
7) Huskers Shuck Kansas State to win Big 12 north- Nebraska's defense again looked dominant in setting up a trip to Arlington to play Texas on Dec. 5th. I'm looking forward to see how well the blackshirts match up against Colt McCoy and the Longhorns. In an ironic twist, had K State won, they would have been playing against Texas. By losing, not only will they not, but they also will not be bowling.
8) ACC Championship game set, too- I'm actually looking forward to seeing C.J. Spiller coming here to Tampa to take on Georgia Tech and the triple option. The good thing is I think this game should sell better than last year's Va Tech BC game. Short of getting FSU and/or Miami in the game, this was the best we could do, and should at least generate some more local interest as the teams are much closer.
9) To all the SEC haters- Yes, ramble on about how we are two deep (we are). Pile on us for how we are down for the second year in a row (we are). Get on us for scheduling weak teams late in the year (only because we start our conference season earlier than anybody other than the ACC, which starts out the gate). The SEC has TEN, count 'em, TEN teams that are bowl eligible. Yes, we might not have the great teams outside of UF and BAMA, but we have a WHOLE LOTTA good ones. And we have to play eight games against said teams. And I would argue that just about every conference is down this year. That's why you had a C-USA school in the Top 15 for most of the year.
10) Turkey games on turkey day- I'll break my rule because I was going to get on this point anyway, but even the one slightly intriguing NFL game on Thanksgiving turned out to induce more yawns than the trytophan in your Thanksgiving turkey (unless you were a Broncos fan). Honestly, I was watching the Texas Texas A&M game and just flipping between commercials. The Lions sucked and have for years. Then you match them up against one of the top 6 teams in the conference. Conversely, you match up the Cowboys against the Raiders??? Seriously, the Raiders??? The NFL really needs to revisit it's Thanksgiving day policy, as "tradition" is quickly turning in to the "tradition" of people turning their TV sets off early.
Tags: Arizona Wildcats, bad call, bad clock management, bad coaching, bad defense, Bad officiating, bad play calling, bad regionalism, Best game I watched on the internet, bowl eligible teams, Bud Adams, Byron Scott, Case Keenum, Charlie Weis, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Clemson Tigers, Coaching changes, conference strength, Connecticut Huskies, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Dick Jauron, Gary Bettman, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Houston Cougars, Indianapolis Colts, Jasper Howard, Jay Cutler, Jeff Fisher, Kansas State Wildcats, Les Miles, LSU Tiger, Matt Forte, Nebraska Cornhuskers, New England Patriots, New York Jets, NFL, NHL, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oregon Ducks, Pitt Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Randy Edsall, replay, Rose Bowl, SEC, Southern Cal Trojans, Tampa Bay Lightning, TCU Horned Frogs, Tennessee Titans, Thanksgiving Day games, tradition, Vince Young
Posted on: November 25, 2008 6:49 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2008 10:33 pm
Well, here we are at Thanksgiving time, and as we all get together with family and friends and enjoy our feasts, I realized after this huge week in sports, that I had way too much on my mind to fit into merely ten points. So I present to you this week, a baker's dozen of items that I felt worthy of discussion (and I combined things to limit it to that). So while we all ponder on what we are truly thankful for, let me mention that I am thankful for being given a forum to express my opinions (even if they are not those of CBS. They should be, though, darn it!), and for those of you who have found your way to reading my thoughts on a weekly basis. While many of you have found your way here through iamyo's blog http://iamyo.blogs.sportsline.com/m
1) Gotta give the love - While I admit that like all of us, I have my biases, I do my best to be as even handed as possible. There really isn't any team I hate, although there are a few owners or coaches who would fall into that category. No, if you see a team listed under my hated section, it is most likely the fan base of said team that has earned them their spot there. As any of you who have read my blog before know, the New Orleans Saints fall into this category. But, I have to give credit where credit is due. That was a phenominal performance in what was, quite frankly, a must win game. Your defense (for once) stepped up to be HUGE (and please tell me I did not see Sedrick Ellis celebrating a sack by doing the "Pee Wee Herman")! Packers fans, what happened to your defense? And while A Rod 2 (or A Rodge) has been having a good year, quite frankly the fact remains that you are 5-6, while the guy your management ousted is 8-3 (more on them in a bit). I know this move was made for the future, but Brett had 1, maybe two years left. I think you would have been better off this year had you kept him. For his part, though, A Rod 2 reminded me very much of one Jet Favre last night. Rifling it into receivers when finesse was needed. Making Jason "Toast" David look like a pro bowler. 3 costly picks (where have we heard that before?). The fact is Favre's numbers are better, with a better QB rating, and most importantly, a better W-L. This leads us to ...
2) B b b bretty and the Jets - Speaking of huge wins, knocking off the only previously undefeated team definitely falls into that category. Of course, it helped that the Titans inexplicably ran the ball a grand total of 11 times, only one of which went to powerhouse LenDale White. Coupled with the Giants dismantling of the Cardinals, could this be the year of a subway Super Bowl? I'm still not totally sold on the Jets. Memories of the Raiders game keep popping into my head. But still, it just might happen. Now, speaking of the Raiders and giving credit where it is due ...
3) Just win baby - I have been very hard on the Raiders this year as well. Most of this comes from my disdain of owner Al Davis, who I still feel is too meddlesome and has lost all touch with reality. Does anybody want to win the AFC West? You have the Broncos pulling off this near weekly defensive debacle, and the Chargers who just seem to find ways to lose the game on the last possession. I mean, shoot, even Oakland is only 3 out with 5 games to go. Stranger things have happened. I seriously think 8-8 wins this atrocious division.
4) Cry Iggles Cry - Wow. As Andy Reid was watching his playoff chances being constantly turned over by one Donovan McNabb, who was responsible for 7 in the last 2 games (well, game and a half), Reid decided it was time to pull the plug and throw Kolb to the wolves that are the Baltimore Ravens defense. He went out, and produced very similar numbers, including throwing a pick on second and goal from inches away that was returned for a record 108 yards by Ed Reed. What on earth are you doing throwing it to the back middle of the end zone on second and short? I realize you have little running game (especially power running game), but still, damn! Ever heard of a QB sneak? A hand off to the FB? I realize the problems in Philly go far deeper than McNabb, but trust me, had Kolb shown any signs of being able to move the team/score/not turn over the ball, he would be starting Thursday night and not McNabb.
5) More NFL Musings - Wow, what a great week, I've already hit on the four games I wanted to go heavy on, and I still have a lot of thoughts. Huge win for the Cowboys and Tony Romo. They are back in the playoff picture. Huge win by the Patriots over the Dolphins. And what a game for Matt Cassel (a $14 million game, maybe). Memo to the Dolphins and 49ers. You just might want to consider giving safety help to whoever is covering Randy Moss and TO. They consistantly torched your single coverage all game long and you still made no adjustment. Also have to give a quit yer b$%!hing to Dolphins NT Jason Ferguson who accused the Patriots of running up the score. Hey buddy, you're a NT. They were running run plays. Maybe you should concentrate on stopping them instead of wanting them to do it for you. No team can blow a lead like the Detriot Lions, watching a 17 point first quarter advantage evaporate in 35 unanswered allowed, 21 of which were in the 2nd quarter alone. 0-16 is still possible. The Bucs might wish they were back in the old NFC Norse, going 4-0 against them this year. Huge props to the Falcons. Panthers fans should be worried because this is 3 bad games in a row. You just finally ran into a team that could finish you off. Bucs and Saints fans thank you, Falcons. It's amazing the turnaround. Instead of rebuilding, they are just recovering from the worst head coach of all time. How Rich McKay still has a job with the team (yes, I know he's not the GM anymore, thank god) is beyond me. And also, is the NFC South the best division in football? I'm really starting to believe that it is. Case in point, the aforementioned Saints, at 6-5, are in LAST PLACE.
6) Turkey games on Thanksgiving day - One of the things I've always looked forward to on Thanksgiving was being able to sit down in front of the television and enjoy a day of NFL football. Well, unfortunately this year, I see three quality teams playing against three teams in tail spins. Don't get me wrong, I'll still watch, I'm just not likely to be very interested.
7) Boomer Sooner - Wow! Didn't see that blow out coming. What was Oklahoma able to do defensively that Texas and Oklahoma State were not? This game had huge implications on not only the BCS, where Texas holds a very slim lead at number 2, but the Big 12 south picture as well. We all know by now that if there is a three way tie, it is the BCS standings that will determine who wins the south, and I have a feeling that by beating Oklahoma State, the Sooners would be that team. Of course, the amusing thing is, and a point that is not receiving much discussion, that Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech all have to hope the team they beat is not the victim of an upset this week, otherwise the arguement is moot. Should one team get upset, it would go to head to head, which Texas would win if Tech loses, Oklahoma would win if Texas loses, and Tech would win if Oklahoma loses. Wouldn't that be interesting?
8) Orange you glad the 'Cuse won - One thing I am overly thankful for this holiday season is the fact that I will not have to watch the Fighting Irish on January 1st playing in a bowl game they do not deserve to be in getting their 10th straight loss by a team that, simply put, is vastly more talented. I was extremly worried, and somewhat in disbelief when I heard the reports that both the Cotton and Gator bowls would be interested in taking a 7-5 Irish team, just because they draw well and get good ratings. Well, after getting beat by what just might be the worst BCS school not located in the state of Washington, the Irish will take their trip to El Paso and like it. Funny thing is, this might be the best thing for all parties involved. From what I hear, the El Paso area is heavily catholic, and as I have said, Notre Dame draws well and gets good ratings. But they will be matched up against a PAC 10 team, and might be able to put up a decent game, and not one I will have turned off by half time. Also, didn't Notre Dame fire Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham for similar (actually, probably slightly better) performances as Charlie Weiss? I said last week he did nothing to get of the hot seat, and this definitely doesn't help matters. And Irish fans, turn your snowballs on your coach, or better yet, your administration for acting like this is okay. Anyway, for us fans of the sport of college football, and not just our favorite teams, thank you, Syracuse, from the bottom of out hearts. UPDATE: It has come out that Mike Tranghese (god I hope I spelled his name right), Big East commissioner, has made it VERY PUBLICLY KNOWN, that the bylaws for the conference tie-ins clearly state that a 6-6 Notre Dame team cannot be taken over a 7-5 Big East member institution. That means that if Rutgers beats Louisville, The Irish are on the outs at the Sun Bowl. As J. Darin Darst has pointed out, this leaves the Irish with very few options. It's a good read. http://www.sportsline.com/mcc/blogs
9) USC no longer fears the Big 10 - It started coming out that some of the Los Angeles media, and some USC fans and even Pac 10 fans are hoping that Oregon State beats Oregon (which will be harder without the services of Jacquizz Rodgers most likely) so that they can enter the BCS as an at large and face a Big 12 team or an SEC team. First off, I find it highly amusing, considering all you hear about is the tradition of the Rose Bowl. Secondly, I find this to be a HUGE slap in the face to the Nittany Lions of Penn State, who are not at all a bad team (as evidenced by their beat down of Michigan State this week). The Nittany Lions have had a phenominal season (remember, they were supposed to be a middle of the pack Big Ten team this year. On the flip side, though, congrats to Michigan on their first 9 loss season in history. WVU fans are laughing at you. And Rich Rod looks like a bigger clown every time he opens his mouth. And wasn't Wisconsin supposed to contend for the Big 10 title? I thought I saw them need three missed PAT's to beat an FCS Cal Poly team this week in OVERTIME. Horrible. But I digress). PSU would give USC as much as they could handle (although I do think USC would win). Be careful what you wish for, USC fans. You might not like the results if you get it. It's also ironic that tOSU hopes USC ends up in the Rose Bowl so THEY can get into a BCS game.
10) Somewhere, David Letterman and Jason Whitlock are smiling - As one of the games I gave you to look forward to last week, I gave you Ball State versus Central Michigan (also noting that Ball State was probably wishing it was Michigan on their schedule instead of Central Michigan. I believe that still might be true.). Boy, did it live up to my billing (shameless pat on the back). That was one of the better college football games I've seen (not Texas Tech versus Texas good, but good none the less). The road doesn't get easier for the Cardinals, as they face Western Michigan and then the MAC championship game (assuming they win. They need the win to make it). Congrats Ball State. One of the true feel good, come out of nowhere stories of the year.
11) Is the NBA trying to outdo the NFL - Wow, two midseason coaching changes. P.J. Carlissimo was dumped by the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Eddie Jordan just got the axe from the Wizards. And here I thought MLB was the sport with the midseason ousters.
12) The "One and Done" Rule needs to be abolished - Dick Vitale said something during the UCLA versus Michigan broadcast that made a world of sense to me. He said that the NBA should allow high school kids the opportunity to be drafted, but if you choose to go to college, or simply not drafted, you should have to stay three years a la college football. He asked if we were dumb enough to think that the Greg Oden's or Kevin Durant's (I throw their names out because I am ignorant of this years freshman phenoms) were actually taking their educations seriously knowing this was just a stop off on their way to guaranteed NBA millions. Plus, it would benefit the stability and quality of both sports. Dicky V, amen, brother, amen!
13) Weekly look ahead - The games I'll be looking forward to this week are FSU Florida (duh), Alabama Auburn (hey, it's still the Iron Bowl, and as a Gator fan, I have to root for Bama), and obviously, Oklahoma Oklahoma State. In the NFL, give me Bucs Saints and Steelers Patriots (and some better games on Thanksgiving, PLEASE!)
Tags: 0-16?, Aaron Rodgers, AFC West, Al Davis, Andy Reid, Atlanta Falcons, Ball State Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, BCS, Big 12 South, Big Ten, Bob Davie, Brett Favre, Carolina Panthers, Charlie Weiss, Coaching Changes, Cowboys, David Letterman, Detriot Lions, Dick Vitale, Donovan McNabb, Ed Reed, Eddie Jordan, Eligibility, Green Bay Packers, J. Darin Darst, Jacquizz Rodgers, January 1st Bowl Games, Jason David, Jason Ferguson, Jason Whitlock, Kevin Kolb, MAC, Matt Cassel, Michigan Wolverines, NBA, NBA Draft, New Orleans Saints, NFC South, NFL's Thanksgiving Slate, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, NY Jets, Oakland Raiders, Oklahoma City Thunder, Oklahoma Sooners, Oregon State Beavers, P.J. Carlissimo, PAC 10, Penn State Nittany Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Randy Moss, Rich McKay, Rich Rodriguez, Rose Bowl, Subway Super Bowl?, Syracuse Orangmen, Tennessee Titans, Terrell Owens, Texas Longhorns, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Tony Romo, Tradition, Tyrone Willingham, USC Trojans, Washington Wizards, Wisconsin Badgers