Posted on: October 13, 2009 7:58 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2009 5:44 pm
With Halloween fast approaching, this week, I give you, my loyal fans, the treat of a baker's dozen of topics that enlightened me in the sports world this week. Usually, I keep these to 10, so as not to get too verbose, but certain weeks (I had one last year around Thanksgiving), no matter how hard I try and combine up my points, 10 just isn't enough. And looking ahead to next week's slate of games, it might very well happen again. The remote will be smokin' this weekend.
1) Huskers shuck Mizzou- In a game played under a heavy downpour, Nebraska could have easily packed it in going into the fourth quarter down 12-0, but instead amped up the D and used two picks to help Zac Lee throw 3 touchdown passes in the fourth quarter en route to ringing up 27 unanswered (missed a 2 pt. conversion) and a huge 27-12 victory over Big 12 north rivals Missouri. Now the game later this year against Kansas looms big time and could determine who goes into Cowboys stadium on Dec. 5th.
2) Badgers/Tigers not yet ready for primetime- No, I'm not talking about the good ol' days of SNL, I'm talking about the current season of Saturday college football. Two teams that were struggling for early respect despite being undefeated went down on Saturday afternoon. I knew that Auburn's defense was inconsitent at best and Arkansas could score, but the fact that Auburn's offense took until the second half to show up, and by then it was already far too late, was a huge surprise. As for Wisconsin, if you look at the pure stats, you'd think that they won the game, but they did just enough not only to keep tOSU in it, but win it convincingly. You'd think there was no way since tOSU's offense had less than 200 yards, but there was all kinds of hidden return yardage for both the tOSU defense and special teams. In fact, they accounted for three touchdowns for the Buckeyes. Further proof that stats can lie. The showdown in the Horseshoe on Nov. 14th looks huge now, and will likely decide who plays in Pasadena (no, not on the 7th).
3) Where's Johnathan Crompton and what have you done with him?- Look, I've already been on UGA's offense this year, looking basically lost losing Stafford and Moreno from last year, but I thought it was an absolute physical IMPOSSIBILITY for ANYBODY to make Johnathan Crompton look like the second coming of Peyton Manning. Afterall, I forget if it was going into this game or the Auburn game last week, but here was a QB who's coach had ZERO faith in him as reflected by the offensive play calling, and had thrown 8 TD's and NINE PICKS on the season. If I was Mark Richt, who I love as a coach, I'd want to hide after that defensive showing. I do love ANYTHING that humiliates the Bulldog program, though, even if it is seeing Lane get his first SEC win. Wonder if he was up all night Saturday singing "Rocky Top?"
4) Some "Snead" remarks about Jevan- Ugh! So much for all that talk about Heisman darkhorse and number 1 overall draft pick. This kid looks absolutely lost this season. And his frustration is showing more and more every game. Now, as much as I'd like to hang it all around his neck, okay, so not really, but a lot of the media and Ole Miss fans do, it's simply not ALL his fault. First off, he needs some people around him to start to step up and make some plays. But most of all, AT LEAST half of his problems I hang firmly around the necks of his offensive linemen. Todd McShay ran a good piece on ESPN's College Gameday showing two clips from the South Carolina game. On the first clip, South Carolina rushed TWO, count 'em, TWO people on the play, and Snead was still sacked. That's unforgivable. And so what does Houston Nutt do in response to this? Well, since we can't block two with five, we'll keep BOTH running backs in for extra protection. The result of this play? South Carolina rushes three people against the seven, and while Snead had plenty of time, he has THREE receivers going up against EIGHT men in coverage! Do you think anybody was open? Nope, didn't think so. So say what you will about the kid buying into his own hype, whatever, but there are some serious issues with one of the media darlings who was supposed to contend with Alabama for the SEC West this year.
5) Hold that Tiger- Really. Did the experts not see this one coming? Well, seeing as how Darst was the only one on this website to pick the Gators, and Kirk Herbstreit was the only one on Gameday to call it (more on this in a bit), even getting ribbed by Corso, obviously not. Everybody was so wrapped up in the Tebow/No Tebow/Will he play/Won't he play (more on this next point) what effect will it have on the Gators that they somehow forgot that the Gators sported going into the game, the NUMBER 1 DEFENSE in the nation and the NUMBER 1 running game in the nation. These remain whether Tebow or Brantley is under center. Overall, a brilliant game plan by Urban Meyer to get a tough SEC road victory. Florida was ABSOLUTELY DOMINANT of both sides of the line of scrimmage. It's one thing to let your opponent know you're going to run dive plays 80% of the time early on. To still do it and do it effectively against a team with the athletes on defense that the LSU Tigers possess is another. And kudos to Herbstreit, for not only pointing out that Tebow will play (according to Herbstreit, he thought Tebow would play great. I thought he played well, and as good as could be expected due to the concussion), but calling out the Gator defense, specifically Carlos Dunlap and Brandon Spikes and predicting they would play great and carry the Gators to the win. While Dunlap played well, Spikes was a man amongst boys, and word came out that Herbstreit's comments made their way to the Tim Tebow of the Gators D, and he used it as motivation. In fact, Meyer came out today and said if anybody else in the media wants to make similar comments about Tebow or Riley Cooper, to be his guest. And to all the people (in particular Pac-10 fans who have absolutely no grounds to stand on whatsoever) who were calling this a boring game and the SEC overrated, this was good clean defensive, ram the ball down your throat and you can't stop us football. And, it was the perfect gameplan for the situation. If you don't believe that, just ask the previous 32 Saturday night opponents of LSU in death valley and ask them what their result was. Offense is sexy, sells tickets, and can win you games, but defense wins championships. PERIOD. PERIOD. PERIOD. If you don't believe it, look up who's won the last three BCS National Titles and will likely be favored to do so a fourth time.
6) I'm not a neuropathologist, but I'll darn sure play one in the newspaper/internet- Can the media stop already with the ridiculous pre-guessing and second guessing involved with Tebow playing the LSU game? I'm sorry, Greg Doyle and William Rhoden, but I'll darn sure take the UF medical staff's opinion over yours any day. I guess your journalism degrees somehow came with a minor in sports medicine. I mentioned after the Kentucky game that it wasn't going to be Urban Meyer or Tim Tebow who decided on whether Tebow would be able to play, it would be the doctors. None of the ridiculous speculation by these Web MD's changed that. And honestly, with the D and running game, I believe that UF wins the game with John Brantley, so why risk it if he's not 100%. I think the fact Tebow was on the field meant that he was (although obviously the playbook was scaled back a bit. Sure didn't seem to shy away from contact, though, did he?). Oh, and guess what? Tate Forcier of Michigan has a concussion and has already been stated he will start if cleared. Where's the outcry against Rich Rodriguez and Forcier should not play articles?
7) Horns Hooked in AP- Had to calm down a bunch of Longhorn fans this week who got their panties in a bunch because Alabama overtook them at number 2 in the AP poll. First off, in the two human polls that are used in the BCS formula, Texas is still number 2. Secondly, should the big three keep winning out, there's this little game in Atlanta on Dec. 5th that either Alabama or Florida will have to lose, so even at number three, keep taking care of your own business, and everything will work itself out. Honestly, I'm not impressed by the fact that Texas seemingly has to throw the switch in the second half every week. And if you don't think Florida and Alabama are the two best teams right now, we'll show you on Dec. 5th and again on Jan. 7th, IMHO (of course, one of them can lose before then, and I'll look pretty stupid. I'll take my chances right now, though). However, worrying about these things on Oct. 11th when any/all (we already know at least one will have to) of them can still lose is pointless.
8) DolphinMania runs wild(cat) on the Jets- Wow, what a game last night. Another classic MNF in the rivalry between these two teams. Honestly, I was a bit surprised that with defenses on both teams I would consider to be in the top half of the NFL, that neither team seemed to really be able to stop the other. In the end, though, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski seemed to be the only ones outside the Dolphins offense who realized that on 3rd and goal from the three, with ten seconds left AND A TIMEOUT, that Miami just might run the ball. As they both astutely pointed out, you get stopped, you call the TO and go for it on fourth down.
9) The best and worst of the NFL so far- Can you believe that the two best teams in the NFL right now might have met in week one, with one taking a miracle play to beat the other in the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals? Honestly, you look at all the undefeated teams, and nobody's played anybody except for these two, and they are still winning (yes, obviously the Bengals have the one loss). On the flip side, I believe the Rams are the worst team, but if I had to pick a team to go winless this season, the team with the best chance based on their schedules is my Bucs. And somebody PLEASE explain to me how a team has a QB go 2 for 17 passing and still wins the game? And why is JaMarcus Russell still a starting QB in this league? Just how many wasted first rounders are the Raiders going to have (that DHB pick looks awesome right now)? Couldn't happen to a more hapless, senile owner.
10) Some NHL thoughts- Well, the Lightning pulled off the 4 point minimum I wanted last week (although not the way I expected) going 1-0-2, then picked up a huge win against the Panthers last night. Right now, they are currently in first place in their division and have more points than the Redwings. The Bolts D is playing better as of late. The fact that this team still remains unable to score in shootouts, however, is bothersome at best. The defending champion Penguins are off to a hot start amassing 10 points already.
11) A special look ahead to Thursday night's NCAA game- I usually don't take a whole point for a look ahead, but this week's Thursday night game is huge for the Big East. Regardless of who wins, they need these two teams to put on a great show to bring some respect and interest back to the league, and I believe they'll do it. It was mentioned during a recent Big East broadcast I was watching that the league needs Pitt to win to carry this league, but I just don't argee with it. I think both Cincinnati and USF are perfectly capable of performing this function, and I think the winner of this game is likely to play in Miami on January 5th. Of course, Pitt being undefeated in the conference is still not out of conversation, but I also think West Virginia, Louisville, and Rutgers when they play well, can all help this league.
12) Weekly look ahead- Wow, let's see. In college, give me the aforementioned Bearcat Bulls game, the Red River shootout to see if OU's vastly improved D can carry their struggling (by their standards) O, Arkansas Florida to create a second common opponent for UF and Alabama to compare them better (I think UF had a better showing at Kentucky than Alabama did which somehow gets overlooked), Alabama South Carolina to see where these two teams really stack up, USC Notre Dame to see just how Doyle's number one QB in the land does against a real defense (a lot of people are picking the Irish in this game, which would be a huge blow to both the Pac-10 and my keep ND out of the BCS hopes), Nebraska Texas Tech to see if the black shirts can slow down the suddenly revamped and rerevved Red Raiders offense, and Virginia Tech Georgia Tech in what should be one of the better ACC matchups of the year. If the Hokies dominate, look for them to enter the title picture if one of the big 3 slips up. Like I said, the remote will be smoking. For the pros, give me Carolina Tampa Bay sorry, I'll actually be in attendance for that debacle (although it could be worse, I could have tickets to KC Washington), the Giants Saints to see which nts team stays unbeaten, Vikings Ravens to see if Baltimore can recover from two straight tough losses, Bears Falcons to see which one of these teams is likely for real and wild card material, and finally Broncos Chargers to see if Denver can keep it going with a tough road game. Good slate for the paid athletes as well.
13) MLB LDS look back and LCS predicitions- Well, I got three out of four right, although I had all of them going longer than what they did. I knew Boston had some holes, but didn't expect them to get exposed that thoroughly by LA, especially since I thought playing in the AL East would toughen them up. TBS lost a lot of money by all of the series ending so quick. But that can happen in short series. I know last year, Philly beat LA in the LCS, but I just think the Dodgers have too much for them this year. Don't see it going less than 6, however (in fact, I'll call it Dodgers in 6), and as much as I hate to, I'll go Yankees in 5 setting up the LAD NYY series you know baseball is praying for for not only the east coast west coast thing, but also the Torre back to New York thing and Manny against the Yankees.
Tags: Al Davis, Auburn Tigers, BCS, Best in the NFL, Big East, Brandon Spikes, Carlos Dunlap, Cincinnati Bearcats, Cincinnati Bengals, concussion, defense, Denver Broncos, ESPN's College Gameday, Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, JaMarcus Russell, Jevan Snead, Johnathan Crompton, Jon Gruden, Kirk Herbstreit, Lane Kiffin, LSU Tigers, Mark Richt, media, Miami Dolphins, Missouri Tigers, MLB, MLB LCS, MLB LDS, MLB Playoffs, MNF, Monday Night Football, Nebraska Cornhuskers, New York Jets, NFL, NHL, Oakland Raiders, Ole Miss Rebels, Pittsburgh Penguins, polls, predicitions, Ron Jaworski, South Florida Bulls, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas Longhorns, Tim Tebow, Todd McShay, Urban Meyer, Wisconsin Badgers, Worst in the NFL, Zac Lee
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