Friday, September 17, 2010

Weeks 2 and 3

Earlier in the week, I had some big ideas for getting a solo podcast up considering AF!'s now five weeks behind what we've done in the past. The cost/benefit analysis came out waaaay on the side of "cost," so those were scrapped. Then, I had half a post typed up that was basically this paragraph and then a fleshed out outline of what I was gonna say on the podcast. Then I got busy and that got the heave ho.

So now here we are: Already into Week 3 (congratulations NC State, you couldn't have done it without Rochester's support), and shy of a post about Jacory Harris's Columbus attire, no mention of Week 2. At all. Man alive, we're pros!

So, before looking ahead, let's take a brief look back.

Virginia Tech becomes a national non-factor so much faster than anyone ever would have thought. Tough tiddies for them, but the real question is how it's going to affect Boise State. Obviously, the Broncos' clutch Week 1 win is a lot lest lustrous after VaTech Michiganed it up to James Madison, but I think, for the most part, Boise State controls their own destiny. If they win out - handily - they'll get a shot at the NC, especially since they still have a game against Oregon State. The Beavers are still a ranked team despite a close loss to TCU, a top tier team in their own right. Of course, if Oregon State somehow lost to Louisville this weekend, well, Boise State would be pretty well fucked.

ESPN's much hyped "Monster Saturday" pretty much failed to live up to the billing on all fronts. First, South Carolina beat Georgia 17-6, leading wire to wire. Then, Ohio State beat Miami 36-24. And finally, Alabama beat Penn State back to the Stone Age (or, alternatively, Joe Paterno's awkward teenage years; hahahahaha, he's old!) 24-3.

Speaking of Alabama, that one running back sure is doing well in relief of that injured, starting running back. (Note to intern: fill in those names)

I think everybody's done talking about how the Lions got jobbed on that essentially game ending not-a-touchdown-after-all call. But look, I hate the Bears as much as everyone should, and I would have loved to see them get beat. At home. By the Lions. But as the rule is written, Calvin Johnson's reception wasn't. This isn't a new rule, and I find it hard to believe there's a receiver in the League that doesn't know you have to keep possession to the ground. And given that 1) he's a professional athlete with presumed excellent kinetic sense and 2) replays show there was about twenty minutes from the time he caught the ball in the air until the ball touched the ground, he probably should have been able to bring the ball into his bread basket and land on his side. Just sayin'. Still, non-Bears fans should take solace in the fact that Cutler and Co. barely beat a team that's won two games in the last two years, was without their starting quarterback, in Chicago. Lovie Smith's seat must be on fiiiyaaaah.

When is it too soon to make the JErsey RaTS and their fans stop the Super Bowl talk? 'Cause Monday night probably should have been it. Granted, Baltimore's got a helluva defense but the Jets offense (and Mark Sanchez in particular) looked effing dreadful. Yeah, so the Jets' defense also looked pretty good, and they say that defense wins championships, but the other part of that is offense winning games and good goddam luck playing for a championship if you don't win any games....

Finally, because it's the game I paid closest attention to, there was a lot of shit going on in the Packers/Eagles game. First, their were injuries galore. In the light of the increased scrutiny of and research into head injuries, the most significant long term were the concussions to the Eagles' Kevin Kolb (QB) and Stewart Bradley (LB). Especially the latter, given the fact that after he took the shot to his dome, he hit the ground, laid there, attempted to get up, stumbled, collapsed, and then still attempted to get up, despite the panicked pleas of his teammates to stay down while they were waving over medical personnel. I'll have to check the replay, but I'm fairly certain his brains were hanging out of his ears when he got to the sideline. And yet the coaching staff let him return to the game before finally, duh, diagnosing the concussion at halftime. Apparently, Andy Reid wants to use 2010 to expand his horrible, horrible in-game strategizing from "clock management" and "play calling" to "player safety" as well. (Although don't think for a second he's giving up on those other two: just look at how he used up all his timeouts with six minutes left in a one-score game or how he called a to-be-game-ending 4th and one quarterback sneak - up the damn middle - after a game loaded with Michael Vick runs to the outside that absolutely torched Green Bay's defense. Bravo, Andy Reid, bravo.)

That being said, since the Packers are most everybody's Super Bowl darling, you can't overlook the hit they took losing Ryan Grant for the year. Brandon Jackson ran well in relief during the Eagles games, and apparently the Eagles forgot that fullbacks were allowed to touch the ball considering Chad Kuhn seemed to gain a minimum of seven yards on the few carries he had, and the strength of the offense is the deep and varied passing attack, so.... Actually, I forgot where I was going here. Suffice it to say, I think the Packers'll be okay.

So, as far as this week is concerned:

#1 Alabama a. Duke - There was some article that said the the Blue Devils' passing attack was going to test 'Bama's defense. That's some wishful thinking. Plus, I was certain this was a misprint: Alabama at Duke? Has Alabama ever played in a stadium that only holds 33,000 people?
#18 USC a. Minnesota - After seeing them play for a couple of weeks, I'm surprised USC's still ranked as high as 18. If Minnesota plans to beat a ranked team this year, this is the game. But, yeah, that's not going to happen.
Arizona State a. #11 Wisconsin - As a Badgers fan, this game's got me nervous as hell. Which does not bode well for Conference play.... Looks like it's off to Costco to stock up on Tums and Prilosec.
Baylor a. #4 TCU - Should be fun. Baylor's Robert Griffin can be an electrifying player (although doesn't it seem like he's been playing for about twelve years now?) and TCU has to win all their games in convincing fashion in order to stay in BCS striking range.
Clemson a. #16 Auburn - I know shit-all about Clemson this season, but after Mississippi State threw a scare into Auburn to start the season, who knows what'll happen here?
Mississippi State a. #15 LSU - So I just mentioned Mississippi State's near-upset of Auburn. Add to that LSU barely getting by North Carolina team short a shit-ton of players (on a side note, it's funny to think about Rochester foaming at the mouth right now; relax, I mentioned that as a fact, not an excuse for the Tar Heels...), and a MSST win would hardly be classified as an upset.
#6 Texas a. Texas Tech - In state blah blah blah.
#9 Iowa a. #24 Arizona - Why do I get the feeling Iowa's going to be down 31-10 at halftime, but then end up winning 33-31?
Wake Forest a. #19 Stanford - Here's my upset special. Which will probably work out as well as my last one....
ECU a. Virginia Tech - Will Virgina Tech go from NC hopeful to 0-3 dog in three short weeks? I don't see why not.

It's only week two, so almost all of the games are equally meaningful and meaningless, but looking over the schedule...damn, there's not much in terms of must-see football. So my advice is to watch your favorite team play (and be thankful that byes haven't started yet) and then watch Sunday Ticket's Red Zone channel.

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