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
cc/blogs/view/10646011, for those of you who followed a tag, or have me as one of your favorites, I encourage you to return the favor. Currently, he is running a contest of the worst songs of all time. So, I hope you enjoy this week's installment, guaranteed to be more powerful than tryptophan!!!
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!)