Saturday, September 15, 2007

More Knee-Jerk Reactions

I took advantage of ABC's scheduling of the World's Biggest Pillow Fight this afternoon and spent most of the day and night with my family. It was time well spent in more ways than one. Some things I noticed in the world of college football when I got home:

Notre Dame is absolutely atrocious. In three games, America's College Team has not scored an offensive touchdown. They helped Michigan save face today, as the Wolverines handed the Irish a 38-0 pasting.

The Texas Longhorns survived a hornet's nest today, as the opening opponent for Central Florida in the Knights' new on-campus stadium. The Longhorns got out with a 35-32 win. The Horns are already looking forward to their game with OU on October 6.

OU pounded Utah State, 54-3. The Sooners did not score in the 4th quarter. They are also looking forward to a game in Dallas on October 6 against Texas.

Things are well in Tuscaloosa tonight. The Alabama Crimson Tide led Arkansas, 31-10. The Razorbacks then made an incredible comeback, and even went ahead by a score of 38-31. The Tide bounced back for 10 more points, to win 41-38. The Sabanites can rest easy tonight.

Big Blue Nation is celebrating tonight. Kentucky won a wild affair with Louisville, defeating the 9th-ranked Cardinals, 40-34. I expected this to be a high-scoring game. The Ville needs to go find a defense.

Break up the Dukies! Duke ended a 22 game losing streak with a 20-14 win tonight at Northwestern.

USC is really good. Nebraska looks pretty mediocre tonight. The Big 12 North is up for grabs, as Nebraska is still quite a ways away from becoming the Nebraska of old. Missouri, Kansas State, and even Kansas have a chance to win the North this year.

Colorado still stinks, but not quite as bad as last year.

More comments in a future post...

Knee-Jerk Reactions

A knee-jerk reaction while observing the early games:

The Big Ten is really horrible this year.

Wisconsin is finally pulling away from The Citadel, but was tied with them at the half.

Minnesota is getting drilled by Florida Atlantic.

Iowa is losing to previously woeful Iowa State.

This is in addition to what Michigan has already done/not done. Penn State, Purdue, and Michigan State look pretty good. The jury is still out on Ohio State. We'll know more about the Buckeyes around 6 PM Central time, after their game with Washington.

Outside the Big Ten, Syracuse is really awful. They are being hammered for the third week in a row, this time by Illinois of the Big Ten. Their football team is as bad as their uniforms. And, those guys still have to look forward to West Virginia, Rutgers, Louisville, and South Florida.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Cinderella? Maybe Not This Year

Will there be another Boise State this year? Or, a team from a non-BCS conference that qualifies for a BCS bowl? A team would need to go undefeated in order to do so, as they need to finish in the top 12 of the BCS rankings at the end of the season.

As of now, there are only six teams from non-BCS conferences still undefeated: UCF, Tulsa (Conference USA), Air Force, Wyoming (Mountain West), Hawaii (WAC), and Ohio (MAC).

UCF plays Texas tomorrow, and Tulsa plays Oklahoma next week, so those teams will have losses soon. Air Force and Wyoming play each other, and some other decent teams in the MWC, so it is doubtful that either of them will finish unbeaten. Ohio plays at Virginia Tech tomorrow, a game that is likely to end in a loss for them. Scratch Ohio. Which leaves Hawaii. If the Warriors can find a defense, they can still make the BCS. However, they have to find a way to keep the Louisiana Techs of the world from scoring 44 points on them in a game.

Hawaii is the best hope left for the little guys.

NFL Picks, Week 2

Week 2 in the National Football League brings another round of unpredictability. Teams are still sorting themselves out, and teams once known as pretenders attempt to become contenders. Of course, just the opposite is possible, as well. We’ll hope for no catastrophic injuries this week, and we’ll also hope that no one crosses the boundaries of fair play.

Last week was a good week for this blog, as 75 percent of the predictions were correct.

Last week: 12-4
Season: 12-4

Now, another round of predictions and projections for the National Football League:

Dallas at Miami: Cowboys won a shootout last week against the Giants, as Tony Romo accounted for five touchdowns. Dolphins lost an overtime heartbreaker to the Redskins, and now return home to sunny South Florida. Dolphins are still rebuilding. They simply aren’t as good as the Cowboys. Give me the Romo Empire. Pick: Dallas
San Diego at New England: Rematch of last year’s playoff game won by New England, after which Marty Schottenheimer lost his job as coach of the Chargers. Patriots whipped the Jets last week, but were caught videotaping the Jets’ coaches during the game, and were quickly fined and punished. That’s too bad, because the Patriots are good enough not to cheat. That’s a distraction, but not too much of one. Bill Belichick is an evil genius. Pats have the Chargers’ number. Pick: New England
Buffalo at Pittsburgh: Bills lost a heartbreaker to Denver last week, and also dealt with the catastrophic spinal cord injury to backup tight end Kevin Everett. Pittsburgh went to Cleveland and thumped the Browns. Look for more of the same this week on the banks of the Monongahela River. Pick: Pittsburgh
Indianapolis at Tennessee: Interesting game as the Colts visit the Fighting Vince Youngs. I’m not going to pick against the Colts unless I have to. Pick: Indy
Green Bay at New York Giants: Giants were hit by the injury bug last week in Dallas, losing QB Peyton Manning and RB Brandon Jacobs. Packers sneaked by the Eagles last week. It shapes up to be a long year for the G-men if they can’t get healthy. Pick: Green Bay
Houston at Carolina: The NFL’s newest juggernaut goes on the road to take on the Panthers. Panthers were impressive in last week’s win over the Rams. Houston will be competitive, but the Panthers are a little better. Pick: Carolina
San Francisco at St. Louis: 49ers won the late night game on Monday night. The Rams’ offense was lethargic against the Panthers, as RB Steven Jackson only gained 58 yards rushing and lost two fumbles. These teams are pretty comparable. Rams won’t lose two in a row. Pick: St. Louis
Cincinnati at Cleveland: Bengals were impressive in their win over the Ravens. The Browns are possibly the worst team in the league, and traded last week’s starting QB Charlie Frye to Seattle for a blocking sled and a tackling dummy. Bengals win bragging rights to Interstate 71 and everything on it. Pick: Cincy
New Orleans at Tampa Bay: Bucs aren’t as bad as Cleveland or Oakland, but they’re not that good, either. Saints are still favored to win the NFC South, in spite of the thrashing they took last week in Indianapolis. Even on the road, the Saints should win this one. Pick: New Orleans
Atlanta at Jacksonville: These teams are playing for the rights to some swampland and peanut farms in south Georgia. To be honest, the people in south Georgia are more concerned with the Georgia Bulldogs. The Falcons opened the Joey Harrington era by scoring a whopping 3 points last week in Minnesota. The Jags lost a winnable game to the Titans. That won’t happen two weeks in a row. Pick: Jacksonville
Minnesota at Detroit: Both teams are undefeated after one game. Vikes rode the legs of Adrian (Oklahoma) Peterson to a big win over Atlanta last week. Lions beat the sorry Raiders, and return home. Lions have a lot of weapons, as they have spent their first round draft pick in every draft for the last 39 years on wide receivers. Well, not that many drafts, but Calvin Johnson and Roy (Texas) Williams are good receivers. Pick: Detroit
Seattle at Arizona: The annual Arizona disappointment continues, as the Cardinals come off a close loss in San Francisco. The misery continues, as the Seahawks ruin the Cardinal home opener. Pick: Seattle
Kansas City at Chicago: The question here is: Will the Chiefs score? Pick: Chicago
New York Jets at Baltimore: Jets got thumped by the Patriots last week, with or without extra help. Ravens struggled in Cincinnati, but return home. Ravens’ defense helps get them on the right track. Pick: Balmer
Oakland at Denver: Yuck. Raiders are the worst team in football until Cleveland outsucks them. Denver is head and shoulders above the Raiders. Pick: Broncos
Washington at Philadelphia: They like the Redskins a lot in Philadelphia. Not really. The Eagles have enough to handle Washington. Pick: Philly

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Most Important?

Excuse me while I go throw up.

ESPN just raised the following question regarding Saturday's Notre Dame-Michigan game: Is this the most important game ever between unranked teams?

Note to ESPN: There is no such thing as an important game between unranked teams, unless a championship is on the line. This is just a spare game between two annually overrated, overexposed teams.

I wish there were still ties in college football. I'd cheer for a scoreless tie in this game.

TV ratings are expected to be up for this one. People like to see a train wreck.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

College Picks, Week 3

How time flies. It’s already Wednesday night, which means tomorrow is Thursday and the beginning of another college football weekend. Last week was a mediocre week in picking games, as I went for broke in picking some upsets and fell on my face. Here are some picks and comments for this week.

Last Week: 13-7
Season: 30-10

Picks for Week 3:

Utah State at Oklahoma: Sooners get a bodybag game to fill the schedule. Utah State was competitive, but fell short against UNLV and Wyoming. The Utah Aggies take a huge step up in competition this week. Pick: OU
Texas at UCF: Longhorns are guests of UCF as the Knights open their brand new on-campus stadium. Which Texas team travels to Orlando? The one that played against Arkansas State and the first half against TCU, or the one that drilled TCU in the 2nd half of last week’s game? Either way, do not think you can escape the eyes of Texas, even in sunny central Florida. Pick: Texas
Oklahoma State at Troy (Friday): The Men of Troy, Alabama open their home schedule after two money games at Arkansas and Florida. The Trojans scored 26 points against Arkansas and 31 against Florida. OSU got their first win last week, thumping Florida Atlantic, 41-6. I know OSU is in the Big 12, but that doesn’t matter to Troy. The Aggies will wish they hadn’t made this trip. Pick: Troy
Texas State at Baylor: Baylor won big last week over Rice. The Bears get win #2 this week. Pick: Baylor
Louisiana-Monroe at Texas A&M: Aggies barely survived in three overtimes against Fresno State. ULM plays their second money game in as many weeks, having lost at Clemson last week. Pick: A&M
Texas Tech at Rice: Tech had to come back last week to win at home over UTEP. They won’t have to do that this week. Rice looks like they are reverting to their traditional selves. Pick: Tech
USC at Nebraska: Huskers have been prepping for this game for three years. SC enters ranked #1 in the nation. Nebraska is a chic pick this week. I’m not buying into that hype. Pick: USC
Florida State at Colorado: A very ordinary FSU team visits the mountains for a late night game with the Buffs. Colorado isn’t that good, but the Buffs are improving. FSU struggled to beat UAB at home last week. CU got kicked by Arizona State after leading by two touchdowns on the road. This FSU team is a shell of the ones that came before it. Pick: CU
Iowa at Iowa State: Will Iowa State win a game this year? Not this week against the Hawkeyes. Pick: Iowa
Toledo at Kansas: The Rockets have slipped a notch last season and the first two weeks of this season, giving up 50+ points in each of their first two games. The Fighting Manginos have scored 50+ points in each of their first two games. The two teams have a common opponent: Central Michigan. KU beat CMU 52-7, while the Rockets lost to the Chippewas, 52-31. Pick: KU
Missouri State at Kansas State: K-State gets back to a normal non-conference opponent. Pick: KSU
Western Michigan at Missouri: Mizzou is undefeated after two games. That won’t change after three games. Pick: Missouri
Notre Dame at Michigan: Neither team has won a game. Both teams are starting true freshman quarterbacks. Still, TV ratings look to be up, because people like to watch a train wreck. There are no ties in college football, so I have to pick a winner. Pick: Michigan
Tennessee at Florida: Vols visit the Swamp. Good luck with all that. Pick: Florida
TCU at Air Force (Thursday): What’s up with the Mountain West Conference? They’re making these teams play on Thursday for a TV channel no one gets. This will be a pretty good game. Frogs are licking their wounds after last week’s debacle in Austin. Air Force has received new life with new coach Troy Calhoun. Still, TCU is bigger and faster than the Zoomies. Pick: TCU
West Virginia at Maryland (Thursday): Mountaineers toyed with Marshall last week. Maryland struggled to win in Miami. Against Florida International, not the Canes. WVU marches on. Pick: West Virginia
Cincinnati at Miami (Ohio): Archrivals meet again. Cincy is coming off a big win over Oregon State, while Miami lost a triple-overtime heartbreaker at Minnesota. Throw out the records in this one. Pick: Miami
Ohio State at Washington: Interesting game. Ohio State has been predictable in their first two games. The Huskies have impressed many in two wins over Syracuse and Boise State. Seattle is a tough trip, especially when the Huskies are good. Big Ten schools struggle when they go out West. The stars align for an upset. Pick: Washington
Louisville at Kentucky: The Ville’s football team scores almost as many points as their basketball team. Problem is, the defense gave up 42 to Middle Tennessee last week. The Big Blue are steadily improving, and can put points up themselves. I don’t know the over/under line on this game, but take the over. For the winner, think Big Blue. Pick: Kentucky
Hawaii at UNLV: Warriors got a close call last week at Louisiana Tech. They did not return home this week, but practiced and stayed in Houston before heading to Vegas. UNLV lost a close one to heavily favored Wisconsin last week. I don’t know if they can keep up with Hawaii. Pick: Hawaii
East Central (Oklahoma) at Eastern New Mexico: Tigers visit Blackwater Draw, N.M. in a Lone Star Conference showdown. Both teams are 1-0 in conference. Blackwater Draw is a tough trip. Pick: ENMU

Monday, September 10, 2007

NFL Highway, Week 1

And, now, the long-awaited trip down Week 1 of NFL Highway. This isn’t a boulevard, as that title has been taken. It’s not a freeway, because I don’t write that fast. However, it is a highway, because it covers long distances. So, buckle up and enjoy this trip around Week 1 of the NFL.

Sunday night at the Cowboys’ retro sorta-dome, Tony Romo went off on the Giants, throwing four touchdown passes and running for another, as Dallas outscored the New York Football Giants 45-35. The Giants are in for a long season, as three players were injured, including RB Brandon Jacobs and DE Osi Umeniyora. Also, QB Eli Manning left the game late with a bruised shoulder, giving way to the Round Mound of Touchdown, Jared Lorenzen. Lorenzen has slimmed down from his college days at Kentucky, and now weighs in at 280 pounds. That’s still huge for a QB. If the Giants have many more weeks like this, Tom Coughlin won’t last the season as coach. It is now being reported that Manning's shoulder is indeed separated, and that he will be out for at least four weeks. The G-men are in T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

Break up the Texans! Matt Schaub will paint any car any color. Oops, that’s Earl Scheib. Schaub made Texans fans forget all about David Carr yesterday. Texans fans wanted to forget all about David Carr. Schaub connected with Andre Johnson on a 77 yard touchdown pass, and the Texans cruised to a 20-3 victory over Kansas City. Was that me that predicted the Chiefs to have a good season? I was on drugs when I reviewed their schedule. The Chiefs are off to an awful start. It looks like they will need to blow the whole thing up and start all over.

The Philadelphia Eagles will need to practice returning punts this week. The Eagles fumbled two punts, leading to two Green Bay scores, as the Pack beat the Iggles 16-13. The second fumble was by someone named J.R. Reed. When I first heard that, I thought it was J.R. Reid, the former UNC Tar Heel and NBA hoopster, making a try at the NFL. Wrong J.R. Reid. The Eagles may regret this one later in the year, when they’re trying to win the division or wild-card berth.

The eyes of most of the country were on San Diego yesterday, as Da Bears made the trip out to the West Coast. The Bears’ defense dominated for most of the game, but fumbles by Cedric Benson and Adrian (Georgia Southern) Peterson were costly, and the Chargers scored two late touchdowns to beat the Bears, 14-3. LaDainian Tomlinson threw a touchdown pass and rushed for a TD for San Diego. Antonio Gates looks to have a huge year as the tight end in Norv Turner’s offense.

Atlanta coach Bobby Petrino is one week closer to a reunion with his last college quarterback, Brian Brohm of Louisville, who is expected to be the first QB taken in next year’s draft. The Falcons stunk in the first game of the post-Michael Vick era, losing at Minnesota, 24-3. Adrian (Oklahoma) Peterson rushed for 103 yards and scored on a 60 yard pass play in his Vikings debut. He helped my fantasy team in my Yahoo public league, as well.

Two rebuilding teams met Sunday at Fedex Field in Landover, Maryland, as the Washington Redskins scored an overtime win over the Miami Dolphins, 16-13. This will be the first of a handful of wins this season for the Redskins, who are expected to end the Hall of Fame career of coach Joe Gibbs with a thud.

In St. Louis, MVP candidate and fantasy stud Steven Jackson fumbled twice and was held to 58 yards, and the Carolina Panthers handled the Rams, 27-13. The Rams were not the Greatest Show on Turf yesterday.

The Denver Broncos made a comeback yesterday in Buffalo. Out of timeouts at the end of the game, the Broncos rushed a field goal try, and kicker Jason Elam won it with a 42-yard field goal. This game was marred by a helmet-to-helmet collision which injured Bills TE Kevin Everett. He was taken to a Buffalo hospital for surgery, and was still unable to move as of Sunday night. Our thoughts and prayers are with him. ESPN is now reporting Monday afternoon that he will most likely be paralyzed. That is awful. Football is a brutal game, but this makes lots of other things pale in comparison.

The New England Patriots are a well-oiled machine. They made the best acquisition of the off-season, getting Randy Moss from the Raiders. Moss took a couple of years off figuratively while playing for Oakland, but is back with a vengeance, with 9 catches for 183 yards and a touchdown. The Patriots will be very hard to beat in the AFC as long as Tom Brady is the quarterback.

The Pittsburgh Steelers mauled the Cleveland Browns, 34-7. It was a great debut for Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. On the other hand, it would really suck to be a fan of the Cleveland Browns. First, the original Browns were stolen by ex-owner Art Modell and taken to Baltimore, where they have been consistently good and have won a Super Bowl. After a few years without the NFL, they were replaced by poor excuse for an expansion franchise, with the Browns’ colors and nickname. The Browns are pathetic.

Vince Young continues to carry the Tennessee Titans on his back. The Titans went into Jacksonville and stole a win, 13-10. The Jags really needed that win to have hopes for contention this season. Vince is a special, special player.

Two bad teams met yesterday in Oakland. Detroit was the better of the two, beating the Raiders 36-21. The Lions are showing some flashes of hope. The Raiders are a step above the CFL, but are looking at another long, long season.

In the Great Northwest, Seattle proved to be a good pick for me in survival football, getting a solid 20-6 win over the struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Will this be Jon Gruden’s last year in Tampa? It’s been downhill the last five years since winning the Super Bowl.

And, how can we forget last Thursday night, as the Colts opened defense of their world championship with a strong 41-10 win over the New Orleans Saints. The Colts will need more wins like that to keep up in the strong AFC. For the Saints, it seemed worse, but it only counts as one loss. They still look to be a team to beat in the NFC.

Tonight is the annual Monday Night doubleheader. The Ravens visit Cincinnati to take on the Bengals, and the Arizona Cardinals travel to San Francisco to play the 49ers. It’ll be a long night on the East Coast, but a welcome game at a reasonable time for people out West.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Even More Ramblings...

I got tired and went to bed early Saturday night. I missed a lot.

LSU spanked Virginia Tech, 48-7. LSU is the real deal. I don't know if they can get through the SEC undefeated, but they have a pretty good chance to do so.

Elsewhere in Louisiana, the Hawaii Warriors nearly lost. Hawaii escaped with a 45-44 overtime win over Louisiana Tech. If Hawaii keeps playing like that, some team is going to go over to the islands and beat them.

When I went to bed last night, Colorado was up 14-0 on Arizona State. That was the best the Buffs could do, as they were hammered by the Fighting Sun Devils, 33-14. Next for the Buffs: Florida State. FSU is very mediocre, and Colorado has a chance to win that game. FSU had to come from behind to beat UAB, who had been pile-driven by Michigan State the previous week.

Auburn better quit scheduling good teams in their non-conference schedule. South Florida went to the Plains and won an overtime game, 26-23. Note to Auburn: Play teams from the Sun Belt in non-conference games from now on.

Speaking of overtime, the Fightin' Texas Aggies outlasted Fresno State in triple overtime, 47-45. Imagine if the Ags had lost that game. The moving trucks would have been outside of Dennis Franchione's house.

More ramblings later...