September 21, 2008
I’ve had the Big Ten Network for two weeks now but Verizon either chooses to only show one game or can’t handle the overflow channels. I expected to receive the national game: Ohio St/Troy but instead got the Purdue/Central Michigan game. I would have rather have had the Penn State game but out of all the games on BTN at noon yesterday, the Purdue one wound up being the best. A fantastic finish as CMU scored with 1:30 left in the 4th and decided to go for 2 (and the win?) and were successful. Purdue didn’t waste anytime and got their own TD 20 seconds later. They also went for 2 to go up 7. After both scores I thought they had left too much time on the clock. CMU threw a pick with 37 seconds left to give Purdue the win.
Hey BTN, I like that you have the highlights on the site. I also like that you give a useful link. But could you start with some larger video and then figure out how to let me embed the clip? I’m curious to see how long the videos stay active.
BTN was nice enough to replay the Penn State/Temple game this morning. I was able to speed through it rather quickly. I was curious if the game would be edited to fit into their schedule, it was scheduled to be three hours long. It was edited, but I’m not sure who did the editing. A chunk was pulled out of the 3rd quarter. I realized because the score jumped from 31-3 to 38-3. I thought I’d gone crazy and forgotten the score that got it to 38. I jumped back and saw the score jump back to 31 with no one reaching the end zone. It wasn’t like there was non-stop action and they couldn’t edit around the scoring. The last points were scored with 13:57 left in the 4th. It can’t take that much effort. Just glance at the scoring summary.
The afternoon game I was most looking forward too, Florida/Tennessee, wound up not being close. The top game wound up being Virginia Tech/North Carolina. I was shocked to see UNC up 17-3 midway through the 3rd. VT came back to go up 20-17. One thing I noticed a few defenses doing yesterday was intercepting the ball on fourth down. Do they not realize they will get the ball at the line of scrimmage if they just let it drop? The biggest offender was VT. UNC got the ball back at their own 10 with 3 minutes to go. On 4th & 15 from the 5, Mike Paulus (UNC QB) was picked off by VT. If that ball hits the ground, VT has the ball at the 5 with about 1:20 left. The clock is all that matters there, they are just going to knell. Instead Stephan Virgil intercepts the ball at the 30. He manages to run it back to the 16 and nearly fumbles at the end of the play. The play had to be reviewed. There wasn’t enough to show that it was a fumble, so VT kept the ball. Had the refs ruled it a fumbled on the field, I don’t think the replay would have overturned that and UNC would have had a fresh set of downs and another shot. One concern I had for VT is that Tyrod Taylor went down in the game. He says he’ll be ready for Nebraska next week.
I got into the night games while they were into the second half. The Phillies were in a tight game against the Marlins and I fired up mlb.tv to root for the Braves over the Mets. Thing fell right for the Phils as they regained 1st in the NL East over the Mets and their magic number for the playoffs over the Brewers is 5.
Here was the lineup for the night games available to me:
ABC: Georgia @ Arizona St
ESPN: LSU @ Auburn
ESPN2: Wake Forest @ Florida St
ESPNU: Fresno St @ Toledo
BTN: Ball State @ Indiana
CSN: Rice @ Texas
For the sake of being complete, FCS Pacific: Portland St @ Washington St (the only one on the list not in HD)
I’ll save you from looking into what was on ESPN360, I haven’t put that on yet this season.
Stressful, no doubt. I need to start investing in my wall of TVs. I thought it was odd for Georgia/Arizona St to get the ABC coverage. The game of the night was LSU/Auburn.
Georgia/Arizona St – This game felt like ASU was just a play away from making it interesting. That play never happened so this game never held my attention too long. Highlights
LSU/Auburn – These two teams just seemed to be a level above all the others. A whole lot more scoring than I had expected. Once LSU went ahead on that halfback pass I didn’t think Auburn had enough to get any more points. They managed to get another TD. LSU came back and scored a TD with a minute left to get the win. I don’t think you can drop Auburn out of the top 10 after that loss. Although I did like Kirk suggesting that Penn State deserved that #10 ranking. I’m in no hurry to get to the top 10, we have some big games to go. Talk to me if we are still unbeaten after Wisconsin. Highlights
Wake Forest/Florida St – If you like defensive battles and FG misses, this was for you. With the other options available, I only focused on this game for the last two minutes. I only got to see Sam Swank’s (Wake Forest K) last FG, which he made to go 4/7 on the day. The poor announcers covered the 3-2 Auburn/Mississippi St game last week. They don’t remember what a TD looked like. The FSU loss put JoePa back into the coaching wins lead. Highlights
Fresno St/Toledo – For me, this wound up being the game of the night. Toledo had a 4-point lead at the half, but that was just the warm up half. The D didn’t come out for the 2nd half. I thought Fresno St had figured things out as they were up 34-24 at the end of the 3rd. Fresno St was up 41-31 when Toledo scored a TD with 3 minutes left. Toledo went on to recover the on-side kick and hit a FG to send the game to OT. I thought OT would go on forever except that in OT #2 Toledo decided the game was ending there. After scoring to make it 55-54 they decided to go for 2. Fresno St stopped them for the win. Highlights
ESPNU has a lot of good match-ups yesterday: UCF-BC, USF/FIU (which was a lot closer than anyone thought), and the Fresno St/Toledo game. I also find I learn a lot more random facts from watching games on ESPNU. Earlier in the season I watched Connecticut/Temple. During the game they brought in a Temple student who was a sports reporter for the school paper. He obviously knows the program and is able to give insight into the team that the announcers can’t. That isn’t a shot at the announcers, they don’t spend everyday following the Owls. My favorite fact of yesterday came while they were discussing the Toledo Stadium. First, its called the Glass Bowl, which is an excellent name to begin with. Outside of the stadium there is a rocket, apparently they actually got it from the Army. The rocket is aimed at the 50 yard line of Bowling Green’s stadium, which is their rival and only 20 miles away. I could only find information about it at Wikipedia and there are a few pictures if you search flickr. Is there a more intense rivalry? They have a rocket pointed at their stadium!
Does anyone wonder why I don’t have too much desire to watch the NFL all day on Sunday? A College Football Saturday liveblog may be in order someday, but I fear it will just be constant complaining about officials and commercials. I’d also be slower on the remote if I have to type too.
September 19, 2008
Carolina @ Minnesota, Sunday 1pm
Evan: Is Peterson playing or not? My whole pick rides on this situation. I like Carolina if Minnesota is sans Peterson. I don’t think Mike will let me give a qualifier though, so because of their defense, and itâ€™s at home. Pick: Minnesota
Mike: Steve Smith is back for the Panthers. Gus Ferotte is starting for the Vikings. I think even if Peterson plays, heâ€™s not 100%. Pick: Panthers
Matt: I really like the toughness Carolina has displayed the first two weeks of the season. Minnesota really needs to win this game, though. I don’t think the switch to Gus Frerotte will make much of a difference. Minnesota struggles some against the pass, and with Steve Smith looking at his first action of the season, I don’t see them stopping Carolina’s offense. Pick: Carolina
Ahad: It doesnâ€™t matter that Steve Smith is back. The Vikings will be carried by their defense and running game, even if Peterson doesnâ€™t play. Pick: Minnesota
Tampa Bay @ Chicago, Sunday 1pm
Evan: Which Chicago team shows up? Is Griese the real deal in Tampa (and how many times has that been asked about Griese)? I’m gonna have to go home state on this one. Pick: Tampa Bay
Mike: Brian Griese vs Kyle Orton. The Bears continue to somehow get by with what Orton gives them. The Bears D will give Griese all sorts of problems. Pick: Bears
Matt: Brian Griese has played in Chicago and is familiar with their defense. However, I feel like Chicago has been playing some good football, playing it safe on offense and playing tough defense. I like the home team. Pick: Chicago
Ahad: Tampa has all kinds of problems at the quarterback position. Chicago will look to attack Griese and show just how bad a QB he is. Pick: Bears
New Orleans @ Denver, Sunday 4:05pm
Evan: Denver is looking pretty sweet. Brees has not lived up to anything yet, and Colston is still out. Pick: Denver
Mike: Cutler tried to give that game away last week before getting saved by Hochuli. As long as Brandon Marshall and stay on the field (not suspended or in jail) then this offense will be very difficult to stop. Pick: Broncos
Matt: Neither defense has played all that great, so this will be a shootout. First team to 40 wins. I like the way Cutler is playing right now. Pick: Denver
Ahad: Despite getting lucky last week, Denver is still a good football team. The Saints are struggling on offense without Colston and Shockey has yet to do anything for his new team. Sean Payton might have a new contract extension, but he comes up short in this game. Pick: Denver
Cleveland @ Baltimore, Sunday 4:15pm
Evan: This is the kind of game that I won’t watch and know nothing about. I’d be mildly interested if Brady Quinn got in the game. Pick: Cleveland, I literally just flipped a coin
Mike: The Browns lost a hard fought game against Pittsburgh last week. The Ravens had the week off, thanks to the hurricane. This week both teams will learn a lot about their QBs. Is Flacco for real? Is it time for Quinn? Iâ€™m saying yes to both. Pick: Ravens
Matt: The Baltimore D is rested and ready for this one, but I think Cleveland will get the offense going this week. Whether or not that comes with a switch to Quinn, I don’t know. All I know is that Cleveland needs to win. Pick: Cleveland
Ahad: Cleveland has yet to impress me on either side of the ball. Baltimoreâ€™s defense will be ready for this matchup. Flacco does just enough to lead the Ravens to victory. Pick: Baltimore
Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia, Sunday 4:15pm
Evan: One of my students is a Steelers fan. We have a “wearing a t-shirt on Monday bet” going. I feel like Philly (both the crowd and the team) is going to be pumped up after that game in Dallas. Pick: Philly
Mike: I fear that after that MNF game and the Steelers playing in poor conditions Sunday night, everyone has forgotten that the Steelers are pretty good. Iâ€™m glad this game is at home for the Eagles. An away game could easily be a letdown. The fans should be pumped to welcome this team back and keep them going for a solid win. Pick: Eagles
Matt: I got all the information I needed about these two teams watching them play the past Sunday and Monday nights. I feel an Eagles win, and it may not even be close. Pick: Philadelphia
Ahad: Iâ€™m glad I no longer live with Dave because this week would have been brutal hearing how great the Steelers are. The Eagles showed how explosive the offense can be. I donâ€™t think the Steelers can score enough points to keep up. Pick: EAGLES
Matt’s Extra Thought
No Cowboys and Packers? It is probably the marquee game of the weekend. As much as I feel the Packers may take this one, it is hard for me to pick against the Cowboys at this point. Romo’s first start in his home state will result in a win. Pick: Cowboys by a field goal
September 19, 2008
I was at the Penn State/Syracuse game last weekend. The big event of the weekend was the premiere of The Express, the movie about Ernie Davis. Before the game a statue was unveiled. As my friends and I were wandering around campus we came across the statue. I took some pictures but didn’t notice anything off about it.
I started hearing earlier in the week about Nike logos on the statue. Nike didn’t exist when he played. I looked at my pictures and didn’t see anything on the jersey. Looks like the logos are on the shoes. Here is the latest post from the site I first read about it. Turns helmet was also a newer style. From the stories it seems that Nike had nothing to do with it and it was the sculptor’s fault. He says it will be an easy fix. Guess I have to go back to Syracuse at some point to update my pictures.
I had the picture posted and today got an email from a site wanting to include my pictures on a page about it. The site is called NowPublic. Looks like a news site with a ton of user-interaction. Someone must have tagged my pictures to be added and it was very easy to approve.
September 19, 2008
Arizona @ UCLA, Saturday 3pm
Evan: I don’t know what to make of this. I feel like UCLA could come out and whoop Arizona just as easily as the other way around. My instincts say UCLA doesn’t get blown out again. Arizona is nowhere near BYU. Pick: UCLA
Mike: I want Arizona to be good. I just like Arizona schools for no particular reason. Sort of like how I feel about Oregon, but not quite as much. I want UCLA to be good for one reason: to take out USC. Both teams had bad losses last weekend. UCLA shouldnâ€™t have lost so badly and Arizona should be able to take New Mexico out. I say UCLA will get back home and remember that they beat Tennessee there. Pick: UCLA
Ahad: This game is a toss up. I want to root for Arizona because I think Mike Stoops is a quality coach. However, I think UCLA will get things together after a really bad loss last week. Pick: UCLA
Matt: I was pretty confident about UCLA last week, but now I am not so much anymore. They are back at home, so I think they will be able to pull this one out. Pick: UCLA
Boise St @ Oregon, Saturday 3:30pm
Evan: Boise St’s Cinderella run is over for now. Gotta love the Ducks. Pick: Oregon
Mike: Starting QB Justin Roper is out after his second injury this season. Jeremiah Masoli was a close second coming into the season, so itâ€™s not a huge blow. The keys for Oregon are their running backs: LeGarrette Blount and Jeremiah Johnson. I make it a point that whenever you have two Jeremiahs in the backfield, you go with that team. Really, Boise St is not as good as last season and this game isnâ€™t being played on the blue turf. Pick: Oregon
Ahad: No blue-turf, no win. Pick: Oregon
Matt: Oregon lost another quarterback, but I think they have plenty other weapons. Not sure if Boise State has any more magic this season. Pick: Oregon
Virginia Tech @ North Carolina, Saturday 3:30pm
Evan: UNC is still a basketball school. Despite the ECU loss, I think Va Tech is still a contender to get to its conference championship given that the conference is so terrible. Pick: Va Tech running away
Mike: Virginia Tech might be warming up. Turns out that ECU is very good at home, so you canâ€™t take too much away for that loss. VTech needed that conference win vs GTech and got it. Rutgers is terrible. That UNC win canâ€™t be counted for much. Pick: Virginia Tech
Ahad: VTech can still win the conference and get to a BSC bowl game. Putting Taylor in at quarterback gets the offense going. Pick: VTech
Matt: Va Tech is clearly the better team, and they show it here. Pick: Va Tech
Wake Forest @ Florida St, Saturday 7pm
Evan: Wake shut down FSU last year in one of FSU’s worst losses in recent history (I think they got shut out like 34-0 or something?). FSU has more talent this year, verdict is still out on whether the coaching has improved. I like FSU at home in this revenge game, although I will be rooting hard for the Demon Deacons. Pick: FSU
Mike: Wow, FSU has an amazing D. Theyâ€™ve given up 7 total points. Whatâ€™s that? Western Carolina and Chattanooga arenâ€™t at the same level as Wake? Wake has been tested already and knows they can win in Tallahassee. If Florida State is really back, they have to prove it. Pick: Wake Forest
Ahad: Wake Forest helps JoePa get the all time win lead over Bowden. Pick: Wake Forrest. On a side note, I will not pick FSU to win. It goes against everything I stand for.
Matt: I haven’t seen either of them play, but I will definitely be rooting for Wake. However, I feel like FSU will pull the win out. Pick: FSU
LSU @ Auburn, Saturday 7:45pm
Evan: Super excited for this game. The only sad thing is that the loser of this game will drop out of the top 10, even though they are both top 10 teams regardless of the outcome. There are many things to consider – Auburn’s baseball-like victory over Miss St, LSU has yet to play an SEC team. Both defenses are outstanding, and when that is the case, it tends to favor the home team. Couple that with the fact the home team has won the last 8 meetings between these teams and I Pick: Auburn, in a squeaker.
Mike: I canâ€™t shake that 3-2 Auburn win. If you put these two defenses at equal level then I give the offensive advantage to LSU. Pick: LSU
Ahad: That 3-2 game last week makes me weary about Auburn. LSU should have the more potent offense in this match up. Pick: LSU
Matt: I feel like the two teams are very close in talent level, with maybe LSU being slightly better. I like the stat about the home teams. Auburn takes it at home. Pick: Auburn
Evan’s Extra Thoughts
I hope the only reason Arizona v. UCLA was picked was so that there was some conference parity in our discussions. Let’s not forget that a huge rivalry re-kindles when UF plays Tennessee this weekend (3:30 CBS). Even though Tennessee has a very unimpressive loss to UCLA, it’s still Florida-Tennessee, and it’s at UT. This is exactly the kind of game I get weary about as a Gator fan. Tennessee is a big underdog because they have under-achieved, not because they are under-manned. They have the talent to pull off an upset.
September 16, 2008
Last night during the Eagles/Cowboys MNF game a stat was put up on the screen that Donovan McNabb is 1 of 7 QBs in NFL history to throw for 25,000 yards and run for 2,500 yards. They threw it out there and moved on. Evan txt’d me because he was upset they didn’t list the others. The txt included his guesses for the other members of that select group. He needed me to verify the results. Some of them were a little more difficult that I had expected.
September 16, 2008
I didnâ€™t get to watch too much NFL action this weekend. The late games were at halftime when I returned from Syracuse. I heard the first half of the Patriots/Jets game on Sirius in the car. The Jets announcers are terrible as a team. It didnâ€™t even sound like they were in the same booth. The color analyst would talk slowly, paying no attention to the next play starting. The announcer was solid and had to keep interrupting is partner. Quite hilarious if you get the chance. I watched the crazy end of the Broncos/Chargers, which will be discussed below. The Sunday Night game was replaced by the Phillies finishing their sweep of the Brewers. Of course I watched the Eagles/Cowboys. Did you see that national anthem? I thought it was terrible but I didnâ€™t think they would have realized it in the stadium, until I heard the boos. Iâ€™m sure weâ€™ll hear all day about those unpatriotic Cowboys fans.
Matt: I too thought her version of the National Anthem wasn’t that great. And then at the end, came the boos. Kathleen and I looked at each other and were like, “They seriously can’t be booing her, can they?” I just figured the Eagles came out on the field or something else happened that brought on the booing. We need confirmation of what they were booing exactly.
Mike: Is that stadium falling apart? What did the democrats do? I missed the first 3 quarters, CBS didnâ€™t flip it on for me until the Pats/Jets game ended. Apparently there was an obvious blown call against the Chargers but the replay booth wasnâ€™t working. Also, the game clock was busted. Cutler fell apart with a pick and a â€˜fumbleâ€™ in the 4th quarter. Iâ€™m still not clear what happened on the call on the fumble. Hochuli blew the while accidently? I donâ€™t think he had looked at the replay before announcing to the crowd that he had screwed up. Now the NFL is going to look into changing the rule so that something similar can be avoided. Why are all these rule changes, which have been obviously needed to be changed for years, not dealt with until a disaster like this?
Matt: I only got see the highlights and the ensuing controversy. Hochuli, behind the play, blew the whistle to call the play dead. I don’t believe it was an accidental, inadvertent whistle. He called it dead because he either felt it was an incomplete pass, or because of this talk about protecting a QB following a fumble like that I am led to believe. Aside from the blown call, it must suck to be a Chargers fan right now, losing two games in a row at the end. Cutler looks really good. He should be a lock for the Pro Bowl this year.
Ahad: The Chargers got hosed. Cutler clearly fumbled and it cost the Chargers the game. I was a little surprised to see Denver go for two at the end, but it didnâ€™t really matter since they should have lost the game anyway. After the game, Cutler even said it was a fumble. Did anyone notice that his jacket looked about 2 sizes too big?
Mike: We talked about the Chargers coming back but not getting the win above. The Lions came all the way back on the Packers, before the Packers got hot again. The Colts came back from being down 15-0 to win 18-15. The Saints were up 24-15 going to the 4th but lost to the Redskins 29-24. The Bears were up 17-3, only to lose to the Panthers 20-17. Even Seattle was up 17-6 but lost to San Fran in OT 33-30. The Jags seemed to be ahead the whole time but lost to the Bills 20-16. Just watching the scores early it looked like a crazy day with a ton games not going the way I expected. Especially the early games. By the end most things corrected themselves. Yesterday I saw a bit of NFL Netâ€™s NFL Replay, which does highlights across the league in chronological order. So itâ€™s like watching the cut-ins from the day, only in condensed form. I didnâ€™t get to watch the whole thing but I like the idea and it would have been perfect for this week.
Matt: I do like this idea for the NFL Replay. I didn’t realized they did that. I thought they just replayed the games in semi-condensed form. There were several comebacks this weekend indeed, but I really only got to see the Seahawks game. They haven’t looked all that good. I can’t believe the rash of WR injuries they are having. It’s ridiculous.
Ahad: Are defenses not up to speed yet? I donâ€™t think I have seen this many comebacks in a long time. I will have to checkout this NFL Netâ€™s Replay. It sounds like this could take up a lot of my time at work on Mondays.
Mike: So close. Itâ€™s still a loss, so it has to be someoneâ€™s fault. McNabb had two bad handoffs that led to fumbles, including one on the drive that could have secured the win. DeSean Jackson, besides his bonehead play dropping the ball before getting into the endzone, dropped a few passes. One early one would have been a TD, instead it was a FG. The Eagles had to settle for field goals too often in that game. Do the Cowboys practice tackling by the facemask? It was only called half the time. I think itâ€™s safe to say these are the top two teams in the NFC. Eagles fans should be bigger fans of the Cowboys opponents than usual this season. Home field could be huge if it comes down to the NFC Championship Game.
Matt: Great game. McNabb looked stellar. I am not sure I have ever seen him play as well as he did. On the topic of DeSean Jackson, I have to ask the question: if the Cowboys had recovered the ball after Jackson threw it (which I was flipping out about urging someone to go pick it up), would that have changed the outcome of the result? I feel like it would have been the same thing as the Hochuli gaffe. Since the officials signaled a touchdown, that is the same thing as a dead ball whistle. Would it have been given to the Cowboys or would the Eagles still have received it at the 1? I was also shocked about the amount of facemasks in the game too. But it seemed like everytime it was Westbrook. I figured he had some sort of special helmet that encouraged it. The NFC East is going to be even tougher this year. I think the Giants and Packers round out the other top teams in the conference.
Ahad: Very disappointing loss. They should have won this game. The defense let me down. No way the Cowboys should have scored that many points. DeSean needs to hold onto the ball. I saw a clip of him doing a flip in the Army HS All-American Game where he came up a yard short. New rule for him, after a TD you must hand the ball directly to the referee. After gets that down, then we can adjust accordingly. I will give the Cowboys credit. Their offense looked good and the defense tightened up in the second half. It looks like these two teams will be fighting it out for the division and maybe the NFC.
|Colts @ Vikings||Vikings||Colts||Colts||Colts|
|Bills @ Jaguars||Bills||Jaguars||Jaguars||Bills|
|Saints @ Redskins||Saints||Saints||Saints||Saints|
|Patriots @ Jets||Patriots||Jets||Patriots||Jets|
|Eagles @ Cowboys||Cowboys||Cowboys||Eagles||Eagles|
September 15, 2008
I’m back from the weekend in Syracuse for the Penn State/Syracuse game. It wasn’t much of a game, it wasn’t expected to be. The Syracuse campus is very nice as are all the people. Their mindset at this point is basketball is only there to kill time until basketball season starts.
Notre Dame/Charlie Weis
Matt: I only saw bits and pieces of the game, but Notre Dame got out to a quick commanding lead, and Michigan couldn’t hold onto the football to save their lives. The Weis injury looked pretty awful. He is a pretty big guy, and all that weight coming down on that knee must have torn up those ligaments pretty good. For the first time ever, I actually got a kick out of his news conference. I enjoyed his joking about him “finally feeling like an athlete for the first time ever” and that “Tommy Brady has got nothing on me.”
Mike: I was shocked to see ND get out to such a big lead. I didn’t think their offense had anything going for it and Michigan seemed like they were capable of putting a few drives together. All the Charlie Weis comments in the group I was with were comparisons to JoePa’s injury at Wisconsin. The concensus was that it’s time for Weis to start thinking about retirement. The game has clearly passed him by.
Ahad: Charlie annoys me more and more each week. I feel bad that he got hurt, and it did look very painful. But letâ€™s keep things in perspective. They beat up on a bad Michigan team. ND still stinks.
Evan: I was more surprised that Notre Dame put up 35 points than I was that they actually beat Michigan. I still don’t put much stock in this, as I’m not so sure Michigan is any good.
Matt: They were pretty dominant and looked like the best team in the nation.
Mike: Who is capable of testing USC? I don’t think we learn from this game until OSU plays someone else decent.
Ahad: USC was unstoppable. I am pretty sure their second string could have easily beaten up on OSU.
Evan: Scary good. They will give UF a good game in the BCS championship.
Matt: Yet again crumbled on the big stage. They were moving the ball pretty well early on and shot themselves in the foot with penalties and turnovers. Pryor is indecisive and doesn’t seem all that dynamic yet to me. I didn’t like the shuffling of QB’s every other play. With Pryor in the game, the play calls were predictable.
Mike: It looked like OSU was keeping pace until a few calls went against them and they fell behind a little bit. I only saw the first half but from the score they must have already accepted defeat when they came out in the 2nd half.
Ahad: OSU started out well getting on the board first, but then fell apart. They couldnâ€™t keep up with the talent of USC. Pryor didnâ€™t impress me. He didnâ€™t look like the dynamic force he has been hyped up to be. I have a feeling that he will take over the starting spot within a few weeks.
Evan: At the same time, I have held the belief that Ohio State has been the most overrated college football program since they “beat” Miami for the Nat’l Championship.
Matt: Well, Cal stunk it up in Maryland, waking up a little too late to pull off the comeback. Oregon snuck past Purdue barely. Not sure what to think of the conference. USC is in a class by itself. Maybe Oregon or Arizona State could give USC a game. Wazzu and UW are dreadful.
Mike: A lot of bad losses. The only wins came from USC, Oregon St, and Oregon (who had to come back and take Purdue to OT). All the other teams had ugly losses.
Ahad: Other than USC, this conference had a bad weekend. Maybe next week the conference can redeem itself when Arizona State battles Georgia.
Matt: Again the dominant conference, but some of the teams in the Top 10 struggled a bit. Is Georgia really the best team in the conference? Auburn could only muster a field goal against Miss. State. Florida has struggled some on offense. LSU has looked pretty strong, as has Alabama. But I will leave the SEC talk to our resident expert, Evan.
Mike: Once again the best conference but how painful must that Auburn/Mississippi St game have been to watch? 3-2? That could rival the worst game I’ve ever witnessed, Iowa beating Penn State 6-4. The SEC won all of its non-conference games, not that they played any particularly challenging teams. Still, you have to win against even the lower opponents. It helped too that Arkansas’ game against Texas was postponed.
Ahad: The SEC has looked good so far. They will hurt themselves for the BCS Championship when they start beating up on each other. For now, I will give them the nod as the top conference.
Evan: The SEC did not go completely undefeated in their non-conference play.Â Miss St lost to La Tech, Ole Miss lost to Wake Forest, and Tennessee lost to UCLA (which really doesn’t look very good now).Â I think the SEC is very top-heavy, the only problem is there areÂ 5 teams I think could win the conference – LSU, Bama, Auburn, UF, and Georgia.Â I also would put any 5 of them up against any team in the country outside of South-Central Los Angeles.Â Ahad is right that they will start beating up on each other soon.Â Mike is wrong about the Auburn-Miss St game, in that SEC fans appreciate that kind of game, they love defense, although the fans in the stadium probably thought it was better than those watching on tv.Â Georgia is still a very good team, there is no such thing as “margin of victory” in the SEC.Â There are too many rivalries and emotion plays a big role in leveling the playing field. (Note: I was saying the SEC won all their non-conference games this week. As for defense in low scoring games … the problem in the Iowa/PSU game I mentioned was a lack of offense rather than good defense. – Mike)
|Kansas @ USF||USF||USF||Kansas||Kansas|
|UCLA @ BYU||UCLA||BYU||BYU||UCLA|
|Michigan @ Notre Dame||Michigan||Michigan||Michigan||Notre Dame|
|Ohio State @ USC||USC||USC||USC||USC|
|Wisconsin @ Fresno St||Wisconsin||Wisconsin||Wisconsin||Fresno St|
September 15, 2008
September 12, 2008
Colts @ Vikings, Sunday 1pm
Mike: Wasn’t Chicago supposed to be terrible and they easily took out the Colts? I haven’t seen Peyton, so I’m not sure how bad he looked. The Vikings looked good against the Packers, just not good enough to win. Pick: Vikings
Matt: Chicago ran roughshod over the Colts last week, and you can expect more of the same from the Vikings. The loss of Ed Johnson will further affect the defensive line’s play. However, I can’t see the Colts going out and losing this game. The Metrodome is a very noisy stadium, and I think Peyton, with his experience, will pull this game out. Tarvaris Jackson’s inexperience will again show. Pick: Colts
Ahad: Waiving Ed Johnson will hurt the Colts run defense and by now everyone should know that I am a huge Adrian Peterson fan. I believe this game will come down the quarterback play. No one can disagree that the Colts have the edge in this department. Pick: Colts
Evan: I don’t have much analysis on this game. Peyton doesn’t lose 2 in a row. Pick: Colts
Bills @ Jaguars, Sunday 1pm
Mike: I was not on the Bills bandwagon coming into the season. Is it time to get on? With Brady going down things are looking good for them. The Jags’ was a popular bandwagon but they lost to the Titans. After all the Vince Young talk this week I had forgotten that the Titans won that game. Pick: Bills
Matt: The Bills played great last week in all phases of the game, and the Jaguars were a mess. I can’t see the Jags playing back to back bad games, but the Bills will be ready. They will come back down to earth for a little bit anyways. I like the Jags at home. Pick: Jaguars
Ahad: The Jags are tough to beat at home. This team will be ready to play after a bad game last week. I donâ€™t see the Bills putting together a string of good games. Pick: Jaguars
Evan: I’m actually a little excited to watch this game on tv. Everyone in Florida was in a bit of shock after the Jags lost last week. I’ve been waiting for the Bills to re-emerge since the Jim Kelly days. I think this is the year. Pick: Bills
Saints @ Redskins, Sunday 1pm
Mike: The Saints will be without Marques Colston for a few weeks. He wasn’t a huge part of their win last week against the Bucs. I didn’t see the Redskins loss to the Giants, but I can’t image it was a very pretty game. Pick: Saints
Matt: This game probably won’t be very close. The Redskins were awful last week, and Jason Campbell still needs a few more weeks to adjust to Jim Zorn’s new offense. Pick: Saints
Ahad: The Redskins played like dogs last week. Jason Campbell looked lost on the field. This will be a good game for the Saints to display their offensive adjustments due to Colstonâ€™s injury. Pick: Saints
Evan: Saints win one for Colston. Pick: Saints
Patriots @ Jets, Sunday 4:15pm
Mike: That Patriots game last week tells me nothing about this team. They were shocked that Brady was out. The fact that they held it together to win tells me enough about this team. Either outcome will lead to storylines that I don’t care to listen to: Cassel saves the season or Farve is still the greatest ever. Pick: Patriots
Matt: The Patriots held it together last week … barely. And let’s remember they were playing the Chiefs. There is no love lost between these two teams. It will be a tough game on both sides of the ball. I give Favre the edge over Cassell, but slightly, taking into account Favre’s penchant for giving the ball away. Pick: Jets
Ahad: I am getting tired of hearing about Bradyâ€™s injury. He got hurt and everyone has to move to on. The NFL season will not be lost because of Bradyâ€™s injury. I think the Pats will actually have a balanced offense. Pick: Patriots
Evan: I’m going with the “what goes around comes around” philosophy on this. I hate Belichek and most Patriot fans. I’m a Favre guy. He gets it done. Pick: J-E-T-S JETS!
Eagles @ Cowboys, Monday 8:30pm
Mike: Both teams looked good last week and blew out their opponents. The Browns are a better team than the Rams, but did you expect the Eagles to go out and put up 100 points? Would that have made the performances equal? I think the Cowboys will be pumped by the home opener and get out quickly but not pull away. It will be close to the end and I will be struggling to keep my eyes open. I still have to go … Pick: Cowboys
Matt: Both teams looked very good last week, and the Eagles always give the Cowboys trouble, especially at home over the past few years. If Jessica Simpson is present, I will take the Eagles. If she isn’t there, I will take the Cowboys. Actually, I just think the Cowboys are the better team all around. Pick: Cowboys in a close one.
Ahad: This should be the best game of the week. Both teams played well last week and are looking to keep the momentum going. I hope Jessica will be in attendance, because that can only help the Eagles. Pick: Eagles in a close one.
Evan: I hope I can stay awake the whole game. I will be watching it at a sports bar that has all you can eat wings and yeungling (wing and yeung). This is set up too perfectly for the Cowboys to make a statement, so I’m going to pick the team I’m rooting for. Pick: Eagles
September 11, 2008
You saw our college football recap the other day. Let’s see how we can do with previews and picks.
#13 Kansas @ #19 USF, Friday 8pm
Mike: I saw some of the USF game that they pulled out in OT against UCF. Kansas hasnâ€™t played anyone. Iâ€™m going to say USF saw West Virginia get destroyed and realize that the Big East is theirs for the taking. I realize this isnâ€™t a Big East game but they will start getting on a roll. Pick: USF
Evan: This game is getting a lot of attention down in my neck of the woods. I think people are over-hyping Kansas based on what they did last year so they have a reason to create a “big game” atmosphere in Tampa. USF will bring it as if it has already been broughted, Kansas sucks. Pick: USF
Ahad: After watching some of the UCF/USF game last week, I am not too impressed with USF. They could have very easily lost that game. I have yet to see Kansas play, but I will take the Big 12 over the Big East. Pick: Kansas
Matt: I haven’t seen Kansas play yet, and have only seen a little bit of USF. I am with Ahad on this one. Pick: Kansas in a close one
UCLA @ #18 BYU, Saturday 3:30pm
Mike: BYU essentially played Washington to a tie in regulation. Not good enough to keep up with UCLA. I will be rooting for BYU for the sake of BCS Chaos. Pick: UCLA
Evan: UCLA played out of their minds the 2nd half of the Tennessee game. BYU will not underestimate them. The game is tied with a minute to go. BYU is driving, a pass interference call against UCLA puts BYU in field goal range. They kick it to win as time expires. Pick: BYU
Ahad: BYU got a wake-up call from Washington last week. This week they won’t need last second help from the refs. What is UCLA down to now, their 4th string QB? Pick: BYU
Matt: I liked the way UCLA scrapped their way to that win last week over Tennessee. I was impressed with their backup’s backup’s resiliency. BYU played too close of a game with Washington. Pick: UCLA
Michigan @ Notre Dame, Saturday 3:30pm
Mike: Let’s see … ND < Utah. ND < Miami (OH). Michigan > ND. Pick: Michigan
Evan: When is the last time even Notre Dame homers were not getting pumped up for this game? It’s like if Foreman and Holyfield went at it in the ring at their current ages. People show up for the nostalgia, but there is nothing of quality to see. Pick: Michigan
Ahad: Both teams aren’t very good, but Charlie went out and provided some bulletin board material as motivation. Pick: Michigan in a game that no one willingly watches.
Matt: What a pitiful game this is going to be. I like Notre Dame at home. Pick: Notre Dame
#5 Ohio State @ #1 USC, Saturday 8pm
Mike: Why does Beanie Wells instantly make this team so much better than the team that struggled against Ohio? It’s not like the other OSU running backs are terrible players. Pick: USC
Evan: I love games where I have such a loathing for both teams that I can’t decide who I want to win. I think I am actually rooting for Ohio St. I think they have a better shot of getting knocked off later (Penn State) in the season than USC does. The worst thing that can happen is either team wins a close, well-played game. That just sets it up for both of them to run the table the rest of the way and meet again in the BCS championship. Having said all that, Pick: USC (in a slaughter)
Ahad: Beanie coming back won’t help. OSU had a poor showing last week while USC had an extra week to prepare for this game. The talent and speed of USC make this game a blowout. Pick: USC
Matt: I don’t have much of a hatred for USC, and I will undoubtedly be rooting for them. The game may be closer if Beanie plays (Tressel said he is doubtful today), but I really don’t think it will affect the outcome. USC is the better team, but by how much? I guess we’ll find out. OSU will be ready to play, though. Pick: USC by 10.
#10 Wisconsin @ #21 Fresno St, Saturday 10:30pm
Mike: This late start should give Wisconsin plenty of time to wake up. For the same reason as BYU, Fresno St has my cheering support. Multiple undefeated non-BCS teams would be fantastic. Pick: Wisconsin
Evan: I know nothing about Fresno St except everyone says “they’re better than people realize”. Well, if everyone says that, and they are a ranked team, I don’t see how that can be true. Pick: Wisconsin, in a nail-biter.
Ahad: Fresno State came East and proved they could win on the road in a “hostile” environment at Rutgers. The question is can Wisconsin go out West and do the same. Wisconsin has a simple game plan, run the ball and play good defense. Pick: Wisconsin in a close game.
Matt: Wasn’t it Fresno State that upset Wisconsin a few years back? And at Camp Randall Stadium, at that. Wisconsin would be the solid pick, but I think Fresno State can pull the upset. Pick: Fresno State
This Weekend for the Writers
Mike: I will be in Syracuse for the Penn State/Syracuse game. It will be the 4th different stadium I will see PSU play in (05 @ Michigan, 06 Orange Bowl, 07 @ Temple, and of course home games). This weekend, Syracuse is hosting the world premiere of The Express, taking place Friday night. The movie is the story of Ernie Davis, who won the Heisman in 1961. They will be unveiling a statue before the game and have a halftime tribute to him. I’m just going to see Penn State, I just found out about all these other events.
Evan: I’m going to Orlando this weekend to play in a charity golf scramble with my dad. There are 5 par 3’s on the course, with a car and/or motorcycle on each hole. If you nail a hole-in-one, you win the vehicle. I want to know if anyone has kept track of how often this feat has been accomplished. I feel like I will get myself so pumped up and try to focus so hard that I won’t even have a chance of hitting the green.
September 9, 2008
Back again today with the same cast. Evan, Ahad, and Matt join me for a look at the topics on our mind from the first week of the NFL season.
Evan: I enjoyed seeing the Eagles score. I would have enjoyed it more had I been able to watch the game.
Ahad: Who would have thought that Greg Lewis would have 100 yards receiving? The true question is, are the Rams really this bad? My biggest concern is now we have to hear how great the fans think the Eagles are and how the Super Bowl is ours to lose. Letâ€™s keep everything in perspective.
Matt: I didn’t get to see any of the Eagles game (had to put up with the lame Seahawks effort), but they looked impressive from the highlights and stats. If your statement is true about the fans, let’s temper their enthusiasm until they pass their true litmus test next Monday night. I felt that the Cowboys were just as impressive against a better Cleveland team.
Mike: Itâ€™s too early to put too much on one game. I expect some huge swings the first few weeks. Last year the Cowboys won big in the first matchup but in the second game the Eagles shut down the Cowboys O in Dallas. So I would not be shocked by what looks like a dominating effort by the Cowboys at home. I would say expect the Eagles to win Week 17, but that game might not matter for one or both teams. I think it will be close, I’m just saying I wouldn’t be shocked if the Cowboys got out quickly.
Brady & the Pats
Evan: Really glad I didn’t get pinned with Brady in fantasy. I think Buffalo wins the AFC East and the Jets win the wild card.
Ahad: Do the Patriots bring in Daunte Cullpepper? That would make for an interesting story.
Matt: I did get pinned with Brady in fantasy, and I have been scrambling today for a new QB (although I do already have Favre). Looks like Culpepper retired a few days too soon. In addition, I heard some people talk about how as an NFL fan, you should feel bad or upset about the loss of Brady. Quite frankly, I could care less (aside from the state of my fantasy team). Sure, it is not going to be the same in the AFC without Brady. Perhaps, whoever comes out of the AFC or AFC East for that matter will require an asterisk denoting sans Brady. But the Patriots got what was coming to them. Their luck and good fortunate, in my opinion, had to come to an end.
Mike: Brady isnâ€™t the whole team. Moss and Welker didnâ€™t get hurt. We have no idea what to expect out of Cassel, but he has been on the team for the past three seasons. While heâ€™s gotten little playing time, he knows the system. Brady wasnâ€™t expected to do anything when Bledsoe went down. One other point: I donâ€™t see how anyone calls that a cheap hit. Belichick doesnâ€™t want people to like him does he? When asked if it was a cheap hit all he said was that his players are told to hit above the knee.
Adding Games to the Season/Shortening the Pre-Season
Mike: Peter King says there should not be extra games because it would lead to too many more injuries. No extra games because of too many injuries?? Why not shorten the season back to 14 games if that is a concern? What kind of reasoning is that? How about this â€¦ try and figure out why so many people are getting injured and then figure out how to protect them. If the QB has to come out in some sort of Pillow Suit, so be it. The owners arenâ€™t thinking about the injuries. Itâ€™s the revenue. If they add two games to the season they can buy new limbs for the extra 4 guys on their team that will get hurt.
Evan:Â I am in favor of adding a couple of more games to the season for two reasons:
1) The Super Bowl can be pushed back a couple of weeks to the 3rd Sunday in Feb, that way the the Monday after the Super Bowl will be President’s Day, which most people have off of work.
2) It shortens the break between when football ends and baseball begins
Ahad: I am in favor of shortening the preseason. Most of your starters donâ€™t play in the last preseason game anyway. I understand that the preseason is used to evaluate your depth (rookies, free agents, veterans that havenâ€™t played much), but that can still be accomplished with fewer preseason games. Another factor into this is the cost.Â It is my understanding that preseason games cost just much as the regular season. I may be wrong, it happens very once in awhile.
Matt: I expressed my opinion on this one yesterday. To follow up on what Ahad said, I have read that the preseason games cost no different than the regular season. It is an issue because most fans pay to see their team’s star players, and that often doesn’t happen in the preseason. So not as many fans are attending the preseason games anymore, so that equals less revenue. Adding more regular season games would counter their losses. Anyways, my vote would be for maintaining the regular season as is, and shortening the preseason by a game or two.
Gene Upshaw Patch
Mike:Could it be any larger? As Kornheiser said last night, he made the players a ton of money. So while I may not know enough about him, the players are in favor of honoring him the entire season. Patches are getting out of hand. The Rams had two on their jerseys (the other was for their former owner). If there arenâ€™t any limits set on this teams are going to wind up not wanting to offend anyone and everyone will get a patch. If all patches are only worn for one game I think that makes it special for that one day.
Evan: Patches?Â We don’t need no stinkin’ patches.Â Seriously, 1 game, 1 patch, then end it.
Ahad: Patches should be worn for one game only.Â Isnâ€™t the giant logo on the field enough?
Matt: Just for my own clarification, the patches were intended to only be worn this past weekend, correct? And the logo stays on the fields all season? A question I have is how is it decided to put a patch on a jersey or a number on a helmet? I would have thought that the helmet is a team only thing, but I recall last year everyone had the #21 for Sean Taylor on the back of their helmets.
Update (9/9): According to this on nfl.com the patches will be on the jerseys for the entire season and the field logo was only for Week 1. -Mike
Mike: The Eagles/Rams game was lucky enough to have Siragusa as the sideline reporter. Not a good start to any season. Next week the Eagles are on MNF, but if they wind up winning a few that might mean more Buck/Aikman coverage. There really is no winning as an NFC team. Are things better on CBS?
Ahad: Goose is brutal.Â I put him on the same level as the Sarge on the Phillies broadcasts. You think he could have something insightful to say, but then he opens his mouth and it is all over. Did anyone see him after the promo for the new show â€œHole in the wallâ€ or whatever it is called? Watching him try and contort his body to match that tape outline was ridiculous. That is 30 seconds of life I will never have back.
Matt: I would take Siragusa on the sideline over a game covered by Andre Ware and/or Pam Ward anyday.
MNF Score Bug
Mike: Iâ€™m very particular when it comes to my score bugs. It seems so simple but every channel tries too hard and it winds up taking away from the game. Last year, MNFâ€™s was simple. Just the needed facts at the bottom, in the center of the screen. This year they decided to just cover up the bottom 20% of the screen with solid colors. The sides of this strip are never used. So itâ€™s just blocking the screen for no particular reason.
Evan: The score bug has no effect on me. I know Mike has always gotten his panties in a twist over the score bug, but I never pay attention to it.
Ahad: I understand where Mike is coming from. He sprung for the big HDTV and wants to get the most bang for his buck. I notice it, but it doesnâ€™t bother me as much. I care more about announcers than the score bug.
Matt: I didn’t really notice it myself. I will have to pay more attention this weekend. It has never really been an issue with me.
Aaron Rodgers Lambeau Leap
Mike: Weak effort. The crowd didnâ€™t seem to be clamoring for it, although that may have been from the sound I heard during the broadcast. When he jumped, he barely got up into the crowd. This should be his focus in practice this week.
Evan: I thought it was appropriate. If he didn’t do it after his first TD, the question would be when he would do it.Â He would then have to come up with some kind of rationale as to why he decided to do the Leap after that particular TD as opposed to any of his previous ones. It’s about setting a precedent.
Ahad: I didnâ€™t see it. From what I hear it was sub-par. If you are going to be the leader of your team, it applies to every aspect of the team. Time for him to step it up.
Matt: I was more impressed with the ferocity with which he spiked the ball. I felt that it was also appropriate, a sort of proper vindication for him. I do feel the Lambeau Leap is more appropriate for longer touchdowns though. It kind of seemed awkward after a half yard QB sneak.
Matt: Under some of the rules, couldn’t the Lambeau Leap be considered excessive celebration? TO was flagged for briefly touching his knee to the ground during his ‘sprinter’ celebration. What about when a player drops to his knee in prayer following a touchdown? I need some clarification!