Tag:Pittsburgh Penguins
Posted on: October 13, 2009 7:58 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2009 5:44 pm
 

10 (plus 3) Things I Learned the Week of Oct.12th

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.
Posted on: December 17, 2008 9:56 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2009 8:34 pm
 

10 Things I learned the Week of Dec. 15th

Ugh!  I just got done Christmas shopping, and it gets harder and harder every year.  I remember when I was 10, I had harder times coming up with gift ideas for myself, so I guess it shouldn't surprise me that the same thing is happening now that my son is 10.  His big wish for this year was a microscope, and both sets of grandparents got him one (actually, one set got him a telescope, so he was really happy), so he'll be able to play whenever he wants.  Not sure what his fascination is.  Guess something in Science at school tweaked his interest.  Didn't post on time yesterday because it was my work's sports banquet (yes, we have recreational sports leagues at my work).  I'm not nearly as spry (or as light) as I used to be 10 years ago, so now I ump/ref instead of play for the most part.  I hope I can come up with ten things this light week in sports.  If Diva's reading, she'll be happy that I'll throw in at least one hockey take.  And special thanks to yo, who lobbed me two softballs (well, one softball, the other was a heater I sent screaming anyway).  Instead of Meatloafing my predictions as I had been accustomed to recently, I nailed every one!!!  Yea!

1) The best Heisman class - Well, I kind of lucked out in picking Bradford to win the Heisman (and hopefully lucked into my Gators being the recipient of the Heisman curse), but I couldn't believe some Texas/Florida/Oklahoma fans were bashing some of these kids.  Bradford's coach runs up the score.  They don't play defense in the Big 12.  Tebow's just a runner.  Everybody, please SHUT UP!  All three kids are class acts and outstanding leaders of the three best football teams in the country.  I honestly would not have had a problem had ANY of the three won, and definitely would not try to make an arguement AGAINST any of them.  Argue for them all you want.  All three are terrific.  Anyway, it was interesting, as somebody pointed out, Bradford won the Heisman, Tebow won the Maxwell, and McCoy the Walter Camp.  All three were the best player, depending on who you asked.  And frankly, that's the way it should have been.

2) "Buc"ed by the Dirty Birds - Ugh, my Bucs lost another huge division road test this week, and lost a couple defensive players to boot.  I didn't think an injury to our D tackle position would hurt us this bad, but I guess it did, as we seem to have lost the ability to stop the run.  I thought for sure the Bucs would be able to ice it when they blocked that punt late in the game, but alas, a critical penalty and the inability to overcome it sealed their fate.  Then when Griese was sacked on a horrible play on his part, I knew it was over.  Thing is, Atlanta almost had a critical penalty of their own, but Michael Turner (who is having an outstanding year, and might be one of the best free agent acquisitions this year) was able to get back pretty much every yard, and Atlanta needed it to, as Elam barely snuck the winning FG inside the offensive left upright.  Had they been the 8 or 9 yards further back, it either would have clanked, or been barely pushed wide.  My only solice is that if the Bucs win out, they'll still make the playoffs.  But unless they face the Cardinals (who are a joke), they will be one and done.

3) Panther roar - Remember when there was speculation of a subway Super Bowl and talk of the Giants being the best team in the NFL.  Well, if Carolina can beat New York in New York this weekend, they will be the number one seed in the NFC, and it's hard to see any team beating Carolina in Carolina right now.

4) Steel Curtain - The Steelers (benefeciaries of a questionable replay call) took a huge step toward possibly establishing themselves as the number one contender in the AFC.  My friend thinks that the Ravens would win a rematch, which they might do, as the Steelers will have trouble running the ball against that D, but on the flip side, I brought up to him that unless the Ravens can start getting TD's, kicking FG's won't cut it, especially in Heinz Field in January where it will be next to impossible.  Still, it would have been interesting to see Tomlin's call on a 4th and goal from the 1 foot line.  Does he go for the win?  Or does he kick the tying FG?  We'll never know, now.

5) A Hockey take - Well, not much has changed since the last time I talked ice on my blog.  My Bolts stick suck eggs.  The Pens, my second favorite team, are decent, but are playing in what looks like the best division in hockey (well, if you kick out the Islanders).  But how about the San Jose Sharks (sorry, Diva)???  I don't get to see them much here in Tampa, but I don't think I've seen a team play this impressive of hockey to start a season, possibly ever.  If they can keep it up, I'd love to see the Sharks play Diva's Wings in the Western Conference finals.  That looks right now like it'd be a helluva series.

6) A Pittsburgh Fleury - Of course, now that the Penguins have Marc-Andre Fleury back between the pipes after being out a month with an injury, maybe they can make a push to get a higher seed in the playoffs, and maybe even push for the division since the Rangers are returning to earth a little bit (sorry Diva, but you'll have to deal with my Pen takes, especially since you have that rat bastard Hossa).

7) Dropping like Flies - I heard an unbelievable statistic the other day.  I believe I heard it on the four letter network, or possibly read it in one of the local papers, but since Jerry Sloan started coaching the Jazz in 1998, there have been an AVERAGE of TWENTY TWO head coaching changes in the NBA PER YEAR!!!!!  This in a league with 30 teams.  That's ludicrous!!!  And people wonder why I consider college to be the better brand of basketball.  This may be a symptom more than a cause, but still!  Sheesh!!!!!  (BTW, there has already been 6 midseason this year alone).

8) As much as I love college basketball - Is there anything more useless than a pre-February RPI?  Looking at the current RPI, Florida State (who owns my Gators in basketball the same way we own them in football, but you can guess which is more important to us in the state of Florida) is number 9, while the Tarheels of UNC are 15th.  Yeah, okay.  Let's see it stay that way when they get into conference play.

9) Weekly Look Ahead - The games I'm looking forward to are Pittsburgh Tennesse in a showdown for the #1 seed in the AFC, Atlanta Minnesota in a HUGE game for both teams (congrats to Yo's Vikes, who now hold a strangle lock on the #3 seed in a game I accurately predicted {pats himself on the back}), and the SNF game of the year for the #1 seed in the NFC between Carolina and the Giants.  Whoever wins that game will lock up the number 1 seed being a game up and the tie break with one left.  Also, I look forward to the Poinsettia Bowl between Boise State and TCU.  How is this game being played on Dec. 23rd???  This is the type of matchup you usually see no earlier than Dec. 31st, and could be better than some of the BCS games.

10) Buccingator's Bowl Predictions - Let's see if I can keep my hot streak going.  I'll give the picks on all the games through the 24th, in case I'm late in posting again.

Eagle Bank Bowl - Navy 21 Wake Forest 17

New Mexico Bowl - Fresno State 31 Colorado State 20

St. Petersburgh (Florida, not Russia) Bowl - USF 34 Memphis 20

Las Vegas Bowl - BYU 24 Arizona 13

New Orleans Bowl - Troy 35 Southern Miss 21

Poinsettia Bowl - TCU 20 Boise State 14 (Boise has not seen a defense like these Horned Frogs have)

Hawaii Bowl - Hawaii 20 Notre Dame 17

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com