Tackle Football Recap (Part 3)

After all of last week’s fanfare, I managed to lose two-fiddy. I can’t really complain since the prior weeks had completely destroyed my bank account, and with five grand on the line $250 in total losses really isn’t the end of the world. I shake my fist at you, South Florida… you couldn’t put up ONE MORE POINT?

So, now let’s take a look back at a weekend that gave us some wildly uneventful football, splashed with occasional flashes of brilliance.

College Tackle Football Recap

1. The difference between USC and Ohio State appears to be as wide as the difference between Ohio State and the guys in my living room. Out gunned, out classed and out performed at every level, Ohio State looked terrible against the Trojans. USC’s defense could (and I’m not sure if I’m kidding) shut down both the Rams and Bengals this year, having zero trouble keeping the Buckeyes out of the end-zone and off of the field. The only bright spot for the Columbus faithful had to be up-and-comer Terrelle Pryor, going 7-9 (52 yds) and picking up 40 yards on the ground. Inexplicably, the sweater vest decided against leaving the electric freshman in the game, opting to repeatedly hand the ball over to the downright anemic Todd Boeckman on drive after drive. The moral of this story is, “don’t play USC at home… or in your home… or in a neutral site.”

2. We may be looking at a USC/Missouri national title game. USC is going to win it all, they’re going to steal your lunch money and knock up your girlfriend in the process. You won’t like it, but what can you really do about it? This only leaves one real question: Who will be the last great hope to stop these monsters? I’m going to offer up this theory… Missouri. Not that the Tigers can actually beat USC, just that they’ll have the last shot. After watching highlights for hours on end, it is becoming fairly apparent that any team running the table in the Big 12 has a better than likely shot at the title game. The logical choice here would be Oklahoma, but with a very tough Big 12 South schedule, they’re going to stumble. On the other hand, Mizzou really doesn’t have much to worry about until the regular season-ender against Kansas. After that, it’s the title game (where they CAN eek out a victory) and then on to the big one.

3. The Tyrell Sutton watch continues. Why am I obsessed, week after week, with a relatively unknown senior RB from Northwestern? Because he’s damn good. 101 yards on the ground and three touchdowns on Saturday, another fantastic performance from a guy that is going to be an absolute STEAL for some lucky NFL team on draft day. Keep in mind, I hate the Big Televen. I like Penn State, and until this season that was all. I now have an unnatural fondness for Northwestern… one that has caused me to frequent the Big Ten Network on a weekly basis. That both sickens and frightens me. The Wildcats have Ohio this week before stepping into some tough conference opponents. I don’t expect to see too many high points for the rest of the team, but expect to start hearing Sutton’s name once he piles up a few big games against a few heavy hitters.

4. I was wrong about Tennessee… very wrong. Earlier this year I predicted the Vols to be a sleeper powerhouse in the SEC, expecting them to throttle UCLA on the road and begin a climb toward a conference championship. They didn’t. This left me thinking, “maybe UCLA isn’t as bad as I thought,” only to watch them be utterly humiliated by the BYU Fightin’ Romneys by a margin of 59-0. Granted, the Romneys are a ranked team and apparently pretty good, but let’s not forget that they very nearly lost to Washington last week. The same Washington team that was thumped by Oregon (a team that barely handled Purdue). So, to summarize, Tennessee is apparently capable of losing to BYU by 62 points, BYU is capable of losing to Washington and Washington is capable of losing to everybody. This doesn’t exactly bode well for the Vols.

5. Maryland freaks me out. How in the hell do you BARELY topple Delaware (a team that ranks behind such juggernauts as Maine, James Madison and William & Mary), lose to Middle TN State (who couldn’t beat Troy at home) and then turn around and beat California? For the last two weekends I have watched the ticker roll by with Maryland scores and found myself in conversations like “What happened to Maryland?” and “Seriously, what happened to Maryland?” over and over again. So, when you’d expect them to be thoroughly crushed by the Golden Bears they make you question everything you know about reality and freaking WIN! Now, I know that upsets happen every week and that I shouldn’t read too much into this. However, it has shaken the foundation of my reality and I may never be the same again.

NFL Tackle Football Recap

1. The last few seconds of the Denver/San Diego game might be the most surreal example of football I’ll see all season. First, an obvious fumble that was designated an incomplete pass. Then, the play is deemed a fumble, but the ball was whistled dead when it hit the ground. Now, I ask you, when in the history of football has a fumble been ruled dead when it hit the ground? That’s the whole point of a damn fumble… you’re supposed to RECOVER it when it HITS THE GROUND. So, through what can only be described as “cheating” Denver gets another shot, hits the end-zone and then in a move that you wouldn’t even try in your living room in a game of Madden, goes for two. Somehow, some way they actually manage to put it in there and go on to win the game (allowing me to resurrect the term Shannahanigans). As the game came to an end and old people across the country became electrified with anticipation for 60 Minutes, my friend John looked to our group and said, “Well, I’m pretty sure that I’ll never see THAT series of events ever happen again.” Nope, not likely.

2. What in the hell has happened to the Bengals? Living near Cincinnati, I’ve grown up with the Bengals (for better or for worse… ok, for worse). Growing up with the Bengals I’ve come to realize that they just plain suck, they always suck and nothing seems capable of changing the fact that they suck. However, just a few short years ago they looked like a team that was finally ready to make a move. Carson Palmer, TJ, Chad, Rudi… the weapons were there. Now Rudi has fallen apart (and moved to Detroit), TJ can’t catch the ball and Chad is more concerned with self-promotion than playing football. Palmer looks like he has no idea what he’s doing out there and the defense has had trouble stopping such big-name talent as Joe Flacco and Kerry Collins. I’ll make the call right now, the Cincinnati Bengals are the worst team in the NFL. Worse than the Rams, worse than the Lions and even worse than the Chiefs. Now let’s all wave goodbye to Marvin Lewis.

3. Maybe Green Bay knew what they were doing. We were all prepared for the inevitable Aaron Rodgers meltdown when he took the field against Minnesota in his debut. He nailed it. We all then prepared ourself for epic failure when he made his road debut (even against the Lions), he made us look ridiculous. Now, two games into the season Aaron Rodgers looks as good as any QB in the league and is being scooped up by fantasy owners everywhere. Before we go off half-cocked and declaring A-Rod to be the 2nd coming of Tom Brady we still have to see how he performs in the next two games, facing a pretty serious pair of defenses in Dallas and Tampa Bay. However, good performances in those two games will go a long way toward silencing the critics (myself included) and selling more than a few jerseys in the process. The Jets improved under Favre, but perhaps Green Bay is the real winner in that trade.

4. New England is in trouble. Sure, it’s easy to say that a win is a win, and the Pats have two of them. To that I’d say, “take a look at these two particular wins.” One comes against the Chiefs, a team nearly as bad as you could imagine. The other comes against the Jets, a team with a less-than-stellar defensive unit. When Randy Moss can’t top the 22 yard mark, Randy Moss will get cranky. When Moss gets cranky, the entire offensive unit threatens to fold. It’s in that type of situation where a team needs a veteran team leader to pull things together and get the job done. Unfortunately for New England, that leader is Matt Cassel. A man whose leadership qualifications may make him appropriate for the Republican vice presidential nod, but not exactly what I’d want stepping off of a plane in San Diego. Keep watching this team as the weeks roll by, we are now officially on “meltdown watch” every Sunday.

5. Arizona is going to run away with the NFC West. As expected, the West is officially the division where football goes to die. I’ve often joked about Arizona and how the team itself seems to be a retirement home for running backs… it’s as if they send out fliers to top NFL talent that read “Career coming to an end? Why not finish up in sunny Arizona?” The latest victim is, of course, Edgerrin James. However, the shocking aspect of this human tragedy has to be young Tim Hightower nipping at Edge’s heels on a weekly basis. He’s stealing the goal-line carries even now, and I expect to see him start getting the bulk of the load by the end of the season. Add to that the miracle arm of Kurt Warner, a WR corps that rivals any in the NFL and a pretty impressive defense and you’ve got a playoff team. Especially when you consider that they’ll be battling it out with one of the worst collections of NFL teams we’re likely to see in a generation. Yes, even you San Francisco.

Tonight will mark the official end of week 2 for the NFL with the Cowboys and Eagles handing us what should be the game of the week. McNabb still has a depleted receiving corps, so expect big things from rookie WR DeSean Jackson. The Cowboys are insisting that Marion Barber’s rib injury is nothing to worry about, but I know I certainly wouldn’t want to be smashing into that Philly defensive line all day in less than perfect condition. I’m fairly sure that Barber will be fine, but expect to see a fair amount of Felix Jones working his way into the offense along with a big game for Witten if the Philly secondary manages to shut down Crayton and Owens. Oh yeah, I almost forgot… Brian Westbrook will be awesome.

ESPN has the line set at Dallas by 6.5. If you can actually find yourself a bookie willing to take that line, I’d throw a small fortune at the Eagles tonight.  Be sure to navigate back to this site a 8:30 for the second installment of “Live Blogging Monday Night Football!”  Tune in to experience 20 minutes of football conversation, followed by babbling on about various unrelated topics.  We’ll even call Kevin an old man, just for you!

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3 Responses to “Tackle Football Recap (Part 3)”

  1. Brinton Says:

    I don’t care that they are college athletes and almost certainly in great shape. Having been in your living room for the USC – Ohio State game, you’ve compared me unfavorably to people who actually chose to attend Ohio State State University. I’m very upset.

  2. Kevin Says:

    So Brinton knows how to work a computer? Based on his fantasy lineup, I wasn’t so sure.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    And now the fantasy smack can begin…

    By the way Kevin, I would agree: the Ohio State does suck the dick. As does the entire Big 10. When is the rest of the country going to admit that the Big 10 is living off ghosts of the past and is, at best, the 4th best tackle football conference in the country (behind the SEC, Pac-10, and Big 12)?

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