Monday, November 23, 2009

Week 11 Hangover - Love/Hate

This week we're leading off with the real reason. It's my site, I'm in charge.


- It’s a known fact that Syracuse basketball plays great at Madison Square Garden in NY. Well I went there Friday night to watch the Orange dismantle the UNC Tar Heels in the 2K Sports Championship. And their fans are something to behold, with the majority of them having the physical attributes of two of the school’s famous point guards of the past: the face of Jerry McNamara (balding, whispy attempt at a goatee) and the body of Sherman Douglas (round – as wide as they are tall). Short, fat, awkward fans wearing their orange jerseys over button-down shirts, or over nothing at all, but ALWAYS complimented by a fat gold chain. And those are just the women. I’ve never been there, but based on their fans on Friday, I would assume that Syracuse’s campus is on wheels, double-wide, and could be hooked up to a large truck to tour the country.

- Despite the Bengals crapping themselves against the Raiders, these are not the “same old Bengals” that always find a way to lose. Thanks to the rest of their division losing, they didn’t give up any ground and are still in a position of strength. Losing without Cedric Benson after a horrific fumble in the last 40 seconds on a kickoff after giving up the tying touchdown is a terrible loss, but not crippling to the season. They get the Lions and Browns in the next two weeks, so they immediately have a chance to blow out an inferior opponent and prove it was a blip, not a pattern. The Raiders have continued to play hard for Tom Cable despite having a QB who couldn’t throw and an WR who can’t catch. What a difference replacing a joke in JaMarcus Russell with a below average option in Bruce Gradkowski makes.

- Can someone please explain the appeal of Lady Gaga? I really don’t get it. She’s a hideous freak with minimal talents. Oh, and her music stinks too. I don’t get her whole schtick of wearing outrageous outfits and acting like an idiot. I mean, why wouldn’t the American Music Awards spend more time showing Carrie Underwood? Or Mary J. Blige? Or anyone else for that matter? And yet for some reason, Gaga is all over the place and gets accolades within the music community, but she terrifies me and I have to immediately change the channel if her freaky mugg crosses the screen.

- The Broncos are officially in big trouble. After their improbably 6-0 start, they dropped their 4th straight, getting mauled at home by the Chargers. They are now a game out of the division lead and face turmoil, with some of their players accusing each other of quitting or not caring enough, including Brandon Marshall & Knowshon Moreno fighting on the sidelines.
- Losing to Northwestern was a complete embarrassment for Wisconsin on Saturday. They started the day with an outside chance to tie for the Big Ten championship, and went to bed tied for 4th place, and having purple footprints all over their backsides. Their defense couldn’t slow down the Northwestern offense, the Badger offense couldn’t produce points (2 turnovers) in their last three possessions, and WR Isaac Anderson showed off his stone hands for another week. Pitiful. Another trip to the Outback Bowl for the Badgers?


- Matthew Stafford gave a glimpse of why he may have been worthy of that top pick in the draft and could potentially help the Lions franchise rise from the ashes. Granted it was against the hapless Browns, but this game amazingly turned into one of the more compelling football games of the entire season, resulting in a 38-37 shootout win for the Lions. Stafford dislocated his non-throwing shoulder on the second-to-last play of the game, but was able to elude the medical staff and get back into the game to throw the game winning touchdown, after a pass interference call and a strange timeout by Eric Mangini. Had Mangini not called timeout, Daunte Culpepper would have had to take the final snap. So it was yet another bad decision by Mangini in a season full of them, and it allowed Stafford to show his grit and make the winning throw. He threw for 5 touchdowns in the game, besting Brady Quinn’s 4 touchdowns. Amazingly, The Browns had only scored 5 offensive TDs all season before this game, and Quinn led them to 4 TDs in this game. Stafford proved he has the potential to lead the franchise in this game, and maybe we need to give Quinn a chance to mature into his position of leading the team. Or maybe his girlfriend from draft night knew something ahead of time, and didn’t stick around.

- The NFL underdogs rose up. With the Raiders beating the Bengals, the Chiefs shocking the Steelers, and the Redskins and Bills barely dropping games against the Cowboys and Jaguars, respectively, the meek of the league had a surprising resurgence. During the first half of the year, the oddsmakers couldn’t make spreads wide enough as these poor teams continued to get blown out every week. But this week there were only 4 of the 15 games that were decided by more than one score. It will be interesting to see if the spreads begin to get a little tighter down the stretch in the coming weeks.

- It’s going to be a great coaching carousel this off-season, in both college and the NFL. The Notre Dame job will be open (even Charlie Weis himself said he won’t be surprised if he’s let go), and there will likely be anywhere from 7-10 openings in the NFL, some in prestigious places like the Cowboys or Redskins and others in less desirable places like Cleveland and Buffalo. First, let’s stop the Urban Meyer to Notre Dame rumors – that is not happening. We’ve covered that in the past. But an interesting opening that might pop up after this weekend? LSU, where Les Miles flubbed a game against Ole Miss that could cost his team and school a BCS berth. Down by 2 points, the Bayou Bengals inexplicably let 17-18 seconds run off the clock before completing a pass with one second remaining at the 6 yard line. Instead of trying to sprint the FG unit on the field, or running a play for a touchdown, they tried to spike the ball. Of course, a spike takes one second and the clock runs out, game over. After the game, Miles was asked who made the call to spike the ball, and he responded that he DIDN’T KNOW!! Blink, blink…..stare…….Uh-oh. Miles has never been Nick Saban, and won a national championship with most of Saban’s players, and something like this could be enough to get him bounced out of town. And it doesn’t even involve whatever is going on in the background of this picture…….not that there’s anything wrong with it.

- Aaron Rodgers erasing all doubt about who the best QB from the 2005 draft. Rodgers dominated the 49ers defense and has produced some great numbers this season, nearly 2800 yards, 19 TDs, and a QB rating of 102.6. While he is still likely a distant 5th in the MVP race behind Favre, Manning, Brees and Brady, he has been tremendous in keeping the Packers in the playoff hunt despite playing behind the leakiest offensive line in the league. And speaking of Favre, he may be playing as well as he has played since 1997, and as much as it pains me, he is right up there in the MVP discussion, and likely the favorite at this point. He has only thrown 3 interceptions all year, easily the least by any QB that has started every game (McNabb & Rodgers have the next fewest with 5).

- Wes Welker continues to light up the stat sheets. It is now time to stop looking at him as an interesting little mighty might and start to mention him with the best receivers in the league. The guy led the league in catches in 2007, was 2nd in 2008, and is the league leader thus far in 2009. After lighting up the Jets for 15 catches for 192 yards, he has 79 catches in 9 games, which is ahead of the pace he was on the past 2 years when he ended with over 110 catches each year. He is Tom Brady’s security blanket and has the ability to stop and start on a dime as if he controls his legs with a joystick.

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