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Archive : October 2009

October 28, 2009

ANYONE ELSE AGAINST A PLAYOFF?

This article was originally posted on May 3, 2009. Thought it would be good to bring up again mid-season. I'd like to hear your thoughts...


I'm beginning to think I'm the only college football fan left on the planet that is against implementing a playoff to end the season.

I'm not necessarily saying the BCS is perfect or that I'm even a fan of the BCS. What I'm saying is I'm all for the bowl system and keeping things the way they are for the time being...if there are changes, they just need to be small ones.

I think I have an interesting and unique perspective on college football - I went to a Division II school, have no true Division I (or FBS) allegiance, and would be just as happy watching Texas/OU, Florida/Georgia or Ball State/Toledo.

Last season I averaged watching 30 games every Saturday...not to mention the games on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

I say all that just to say that I feel like I have a broad perspective on all things college football. For goodness sakes I can name every Heisman Trophy winner in two minutes with my eyes closed and hands tied behind my back hanging upside down.

The current system is interesting. It's dramatic. It makes the regular season the best of any sport in the country. And it's a tradition. Bowls have been around since the early part of last century...since the dawn of college football.

I do believe that there are certain things in life that need to be amended or revamped every now and then. Things like balding men just going ahead and shaving it off instead of trying to hide it or fixing my sprinkler heads to actually spray my lawn instead of the street in front of my house. 

But taking college football and jamming a playoff down its throat would be like making Navy SEALS eat marshmallows, sing Barney songs and wear Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pajamas...it just wouldn't seem right.

Another thing that irks me is hearing our President (who's pro-playoff) say he hasn't talked to a single college football fan who isn't in favor of a playoff...he clearly hasn't spoken to me. And I clearly should be the Secretary of Sports in his Cabinet. He hasn't asked me yet. Still waiting for the call.

The scary thing to me is that President Obama is the type of person and leader whose opinion and encouragement could actually change the system. Of course that's only scary to me because I don't want that to happen.

There are probably millions of people out there who hope that the change is made.

Many of those who want a playoff are fans or supporters of small conference schools like Utah, Boise State, TCU and BYU.

One of those schools is usually in the BCS picture and whining that they should have a shot at the title. Well, they shouldn't.

You can't tell me and will never be able to tell me that a 12-0 Utah team (even one that beat Alabama) is on the same level as Texas, Florida or USC. They don't have the money, the talent or the schedules to match up.

And the wins by Boise State and Utah over major powers OU and Alabama lately don't hold any water for me. Last year Utah went undefeated playing in a pedestrian conference and had everything to gain by beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

On the other hand, Alabama didn't lose a regular season game in the toughest, most brutal, viscous and hard-hitting conference in the country...battling week after week after week. And were coming off an emotionally destructive loss to Florida in the SEC Championship game that ruined their chances to win a national title. They weren't themselves.

Same scenario for Boise State and OU in the Broncos win in the Fiesta Bowl a few years ago. But that's a whole separate issue for a whole separate article.

What I'm trying to say in this post is that every week during the regular season means something in college football. Ohio State/USC this year will have national title implications. If a playoff were the case, a loss in that game wouldn't be nearly as detrimental.

Making the Rose, Sugar, Fiesta and Orange Bowls the first games in an eight game playoff would ruin the tradition and prestige of those bowls and diminish the usually glorious end of the season.

A playoff wouldn't end the whining or "unfairness" of the bowl system...in an eight team playoff, the ninth, tenth and eleventh ranked teams would all be picketing outside the Playoff Selection Committee's headquarters.

In a 12 team playoff it would be the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth...and on and on and on.

So let's not just make the change for the sake of giving everybody a Charlie Brown fair chance.

The other type of "Pro-Playoffer" is the person who likes college football, but isn't IN LOVE with college football.

Men, it's like you would have no problem watching one of your friends get his head shaved against his will as a prank...you'd probably think that was pretty funny. You'd laugh and point and go on about your business when the show was over.

But if it was your WIFE...someone you LOVED...you would do everything in your power to keep her head from being shaved for a silly prank. You would risk your neck because you know your life would be miserable for a long time (and her's would, too of course).

That's how it is with me and college football...I love the season the way it is and know that changing to a playoff system (aka "shaving her head for no good reason") would be terrible and not fun for anyone.

So let's keep a unique, intense and exceptional season the way it works best...the way it's always been done. A true recipe for legends, glory, fame, heroes and drama...college football in it's natural form - the bowl system.

And let's keep the playoffs working where they work best...everywhere else.


DON'T TEASE ME, COWBOYS

As much as I hate to say it...I may be slowing my dead sprint away from the Cowboys' band wagon.

Didn't say I was headed back towards it...just that I may be slowing down.

In case you forgot, after years of dedicated and passionate following, I had begun to take on my father's hyperbolic pessism in regards to America's Team.

http://blogs.scripps.com/abil/bigcountryfootball/archives/2009/09/cowboys-win-home-opener-in-blo.html

and then again...

http://blogs.scripps.com/abil/bigcountryfootball/archives/2009/10/newsflash-cowboys-arent-conten.html

My father's pessimism leads one to utter things like "Welp, here goes a pick-six the other way" before every Cowboys snap - or - "Oh we'll score here, but they'll give up a TD on the kickoff." Makes for an unappealing viewing experience for all others in the room.

In that last article I linked to above, "Newsflash: Cowboys Aren't Contenders", I referenced the fact that we don't have any "it" guys on the team. And the only ones that were close were on defense: Bradie James and Keith Brooking.

I know that Brooking is an "it" guy but didn't know what kind of influence he could have on a locker room in such a short time.

I'm not ready to say it yet...BUT...Brooking's craziness and fire may be infiltrating the blahsay attitude of the Dallas locker room.

Look at the standings...we're 4-2. A half-game out of first. Two plays away from being 6-0. We DO NOT deserve to be 6-0. We deserve to be 4-2...just sayin'.

After the first five games, we'd only beat teams who hadn't won and lost to teams who hadn't lost. But that's changed after Sunday.

We beat a pretty good Atlanta team pretty good.

Miles Austin followed up his 250-yard receiving performance in KC with another 150+ yard day. He is finally showing everybody what the Cowboys scouts saw from him at Monmouth many years ago.

But it wasn't our offense that impressed me the most. It was our defense.

Finally showing signs of life. Getting to the QB. Causing fumbles. Picking off passes. That's more like it.

And behind every big defensive play (or special teams and offensive play for that matter) is a crazy-eyed Keith Brooking head-butting an innocent ball boy or yelling and spitting all over the wire-carrer guy.

I love it.

I can't say for sure, but I don't know if Mike Jenkins and Terrence Newman make the hits they made on Sunday if Brooking wasn't on the team.

His presence breeds violence. If there was just some way we could convince him that he played 10+ years with every team we play for the rest of the season....hmmmm......

Again, I'm not ready to believe the Cowboys are Super Bowl contenders. Or that they're even going to win a playoff game.

I am ready to say that someone has to make it to the NFC Championship this year. Who's it going to be?

New Orleans has shown they're for real. But the only other team that has lost fewer games than Dallas is Minnesota, and they're a Brett Favre arm-falling-off away from being mediocre.

The Giants have shown major weaknesses. Brandon Jacobs hasn't run for 100+ yards in an eternity.

The Eagles may be without Brian Westbrook for the rest of the season.

The Redskins haven't scored 100 points yet this year.

Hope for winning the division or at least making the playoffs and maybe winning a Wild Card game has begun to emerge it's bruised and battered head from the depths of the goo, guts and mayhem left over from the Sunday night Giants loss.

It's not all the way out yet. But at least it's alive.

And if anyone can snap it back to life by spitting and screaming nonsensical obscenities at it and head-butting it in the chest until the blood starts flowing and the strength to stand (and run for its life) is regained...it's Keith "Crazy-Eyes" Brooking.


October 26, 2009

TEXAS IS PEAKING

Funny how Florida comes-from-behind to beat a 3-4 Arkansas team at home, then has to pull out all the stops against 3-5 Mississippi State, and it's pegged as "just a good team playing against great SEC defenses...an old-fashioned slug fest."

And then Alabama squeaks past a Tennessee team that's still a year away from being an SEC contender? Same thing...a great SEC slug fest.

But when Texas pulls out a close win against biggest rival OU on a neutral field, it's an "ugly win" and "Texas isn't as good as everyone thought."

Why? Because they struggled in the first half against Colorado?? UT won that game 38-14 and showed that it wasn't a one-dimensional team by overpowering the Buffs on defense and special teams.

I'm not taking anything away from Florida or Alabama - they're great teams - but all this talk about Texas not being able to compete should be thrown right out the window.

They're all legitimate title contenders but could all lose very easily in the next few weeks.

Florida has Georgia on Saturday. Bama still has to play LSU and at Auburn.

The Gators could all but clinch the East with a win on Saturday, but the West is still up for grabs between the Tide and LSU Tigers.

And if those two teams do win their respective divisions, they'll have to play in the SEC title game.

If Texas is still unbeaten, there will not be an SEC Championship rematch in the BCS Title Game.

All that aside, Texas has the #1 scoring offense in the nation.
UT is #2 in total defense.
The Longhorns have the largest point differential than any other team in college football.
The last five games? Texas has given up a total (TOTAL) of 103 rush yards on 128 attempts including -16 to OU.
And to top it all off...Colt McCoy needs just four more wins to break the all-time FBS win record by a starting QB.

Texas went on the road and played its first complete game on Saturday in a huge win over Missouri.

They dominated in all three facets of the game.

Next up is an OSU football team that has regrouped since an embarrassing home loss to Houston, and despite not having Dez Bryant or Kendall Hunter in the lineup (although Hunter may try to play a limited role on Saturday), the Cowboys would take over the South lead with a win this weekend.

Doesn't help that OSU has beaten Texas twice...all-time.

Texas is just as dangerous as any team in the nation right now. And just like every other team in the nation, could lose any of their remaining games if they don't come to play.

(some) TEXAS TECH FANS NEED TO GET A BRAIN

(disclaimer: any mention of the group "Tech fan" or "fan base" in this article is only referring to the mass of people chanting at the game on Saturday night. I acknowledge the majority of Texas Tech football fans weren't involved)

I'm a huge football fan. High school, college, pros. I'm passionate. I get in to it. It has an affect on my mood...it can ruin a day (or week) for me. I've broken things while watching football. I've cried. I've screamed. I'm a pretty typical fan (in my opinion) and do many things that many typical fans do. I get it.

But there's one thing I absolutely DO NOT get nor will I EVER get...booing a college football player.

It happened Saturday night in Lubbock to QB Taylor Potts.

Most, if not all, Tech fans brag about their loyalty, dedication and passion. Lubbock is a tough place to play, and Tech fan takes pride in that.

But any Tech fan who took part in chanting "No More Potts" on Saturday in the 3RD quarter of Tech's loss to A&M should be banned from any sporting event in Lubbock and (in my opinion) forced to eat nothing but molded oatmeal and spoiled milk for the rest of their idiotic lives.

Taylor Potts lives and breathes Tech football.

He wakes up thinking about it. He goes to sleep thinking about it. He's consumed by it all day everyday and has for many years.

In six games this year, Potts has thrown for 2,127 yards, 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He's been sacked 11 times and has a QB rating of 146.2.

To put that in perspective, Texas QB Colt McCoy has a rating of 143.3, has thrown 14 touchdowns, eight interceptions and been sacked 12 times.

There's just two main differences:
  • 1. Texas is undefeated and ranked 3rd in the nation.
  • 2. Texas is a better team with better talent, better facilities, better coaching, better discipline, in a better city.
Any of the fans chanting for the benching of Taylor Potts want to point out that an incredibly undisciplined Red Raiders team has been penalized 12 more times than any other program in the nation?? How about chanting "No more penalties!!""???

Maybe Potts is having to force things because the rest of the team can't do their jobs.

And how about the fact that the Tech defense is not all that great.

Here are some defensive conference stats for you...these are Big 12 rankings:
#11 in passing yards allowed
#8 in rush yards allowed
#8 in total yards allowed
T#8 in interceptions (just five)
 #9 in points allowed

Listen here, Tech fan - you had a great year last year. Beat a #1 ranked team. Had a great QB and a great WR that led an explosive offense.

But you know what else you had? A decent defense. Here are the same defensive categories I listed above from the 2008 season (in the same order listed above):

#3
#6
#4
#2
#3

If Tech fan can't realize that a good defense makes a difference in how your QB plays, then that fan should have "IDIOT" tattooed across his/her face.

It makes a difference.

But it's way easier to completely demoralize a young kid and his family by chanting "No More Potts" in front of 60,000 people than it is to actually know what in the world you're talking about.

It's like Tech fan thinks Taylor wakes up at noon. Rolls out of bed to eat some Fruit Loops and play video games, then comes to the stadium on Saturday and laces 'em up.

You don't think he's trying just a little harder at being a football player than Tech fan is at being a complete waste of space?

Makes me absolutely sick.

And not just for Taylor, but for any young athlete who pours his/her heart and soul into something and is then completely ostracized by the very group of people he/she is doing everything he/she can to please.

I'm sure it happens every week somewhere across the country. But it's never really hit this close to home.

I've known Taylor for a long time and know his family well. They are some of the best, quality, upstanding people I've ever had the privilege to know.

And this isn't some kid who's been in trouble with the law. He hasn't been arrested for beating up his girlfriend, for public intoxication or for disorderly conduct.

Taylor doesn't talk trash on the field. He doesn't taunt the other team. He doesn't say stupid things in the media. A player that does those things might be deserving of some fan ridicule if he's not performing well.

But Taylor hasn't done either of those things. He's a good kid, and he's played hard.

All he does is do everything exactly right, try his ever-loving rear end off and gets booed off the stage because Tech is having a good year instead of a "great" one they had at the beginning of last year for the first time in 1,000 years.

Does it really take less than 12 months to forget that you've always been just an average program?
 
Taylor's numbers are way better than most QBs in the FBS.

Not to mention he was illegally hit (helmet-to-helmet) in the Texas game and spent the night in the hospital a few weeks later after suffering a major concussion. What else does he have to do to prove to Tech fan that he's dedicated and willing to give up his health and lot of other things to win games for an ungrateful fan base?

Tech fan can have an opinion and talk to others about the possibility of putting someone else in at QB. That's part of the position: you get all the glory and all the ridicule.

But no college athlete should be ridiculed like that. In front of his family, his close friends, his team.

I hope Taylor doesn't ever play another down for those idiotic, dim-witted, dense Tech fans that booed him the other night.

I hope he transfers to another school and finishes his career with a fan base that actually knows something about football.

Taylor would never say it, but he's a better athlete, student and human than about 99.8% of the people walking around this planet.

And I can tell you one other thing, too - Not a one of those fans would boo Taylor to his face because (although he never would) he could smash them all into little pieces with one arm.

It just says a lot about the Tech fans that took part...they're cowards with no intellect and will only be successful in life if someone comes up with a way to make a living by being a completely thoughtless, selfish, tactless and gauche human being.

October 22, 2009

THE SPIRIT OF AGGIELAND HAS LEFT THE BUILDING

Let me start off this article by saying that, technically, I have no allegiance to any FBS school.

I graduated from ACU. My parents graduated from ACU. If I have any college football allegiance, it's to the Abilene Christian Wildcats.

That being said and to offer full disclosure...my in-laws (mother, father, brother) are just about the biggest UT fans on the planet.

Now that that's out of the way...

Texas A&M is absolutely terrible.

They blew out New Mexico and UAB and squeaked by Utah State at home in their first three games.

Heading into a Week 4 contest with Arkansas, the Aggies had the #1 ranked offense in the nation...just a tad misleading.

They got it handed to them at Cowboys Stadium by a pedestrian Arkansas team even after leading the game early 10-0.

Then they lost a close one to Oklahoma State in College Station thanks to 11 penalties by the Cowboys (or that one would have probably been a blow out).

Which brings us to the 62-14 loss at Kansas State on Saturday. Yes, Kansas State.

A team which barely beat UMass and lost to Louisiana-Lafayette. They also just lost to Texas Tech 66-14, and the Aggies play Tech in two days.

But it's not just this year. It's turned into a chronic problem.

Since the 1990 season, Texas A&M, which has long been perceived to be a solid football school, has won two (2) bowl games.

They are 2-10 since their win over BYU in 1990.

The two wins were against TCU (2001) and Michigan (1995).

Since the 1996 season (a span which has seen one Aggie bowl win), 94 different FBS teams have won at least one bowl game including Toledo, Rice, Florida International, Idaho, UNLV, Wyoming, Troy, North Texas and Bowling Green. That's pretty good company to be in.

The Aggies last AP Top 25 finish was in 1999. The last AP Top 10 finish? 1994. That's 15 years ago.

They're easily the fourth best team in the Big 12 South over the last ten years. And you could put up a great argument that only Baylor has been worse in the last five years.

It seems like I hear people (normally Aggie alum) asking, "what has happened to our great football program lately?"

I don't think that's the question to ask because A&M should not even be considered an all-time great program...not even close.

They've had some good years, but when you look at the body of work? They're 13-17 in bowl games (2-10 since 1991) , have won 1 national title (1939), 1 Big 12 Title (1998) and lost a lot of games against "inferior" opponents.

And I don't mean inferior on the football field. Lots of "inferior" teams have defeated A&M with less money, less talent, less national prominence and less tradition than A&M.

The Aggies have a good home-field advantage...but who really doesn't?

It seems like the state-wide (and even national) perception, is that A&M is a good program that is having some down years. But I think it's an average program that had some really good years.

I polled a bunch of different people and asked how many bowl games A&M has won since 1991. The average answer was around five. As I stated earlier, the correct answer is actually just two.

It's perplexing to me how they're regarded as a great (even good) program. Maybe it's just the tradition and the strength of the alumni. But they have traditionally NOT put a good product on the football field.

I'm not saying they haven't had great players or won some really big games, but anyone with money, talent and a fan base can do that.

To give you some more perspective, let's look at what Texas has done (remember my full-disclosure statement at the beginning). I only use Texas because they began playing football one year before A&M (1893) and are the Aggies' biggest rival on the field (even though they're not even Texas' biggest rival) and a big recruiting competitor.

UT has the second most wins in FBS history. They've won 25 bowl games including five in a row. Texas has won four national championships, two Big 12 Championships and won 25 SWC Titles.

That's a great program.

And there are about thirty other programs I could compare A&M with that would make them look average if not way below average.

I'm not hating on the Aggies...just stating some facts.

I'm sure I'll get some comments from Aggies about how I don't understand tradition or the Spirit of Aggieland...and I probably don't.

But I do understand records and accomplishments, and it just seems like the Spirit of Aggieland spent a little too much time practicing how to cheer and never learned how to play football.


October 20, 2009

IF SEASON ENDED TONIGHT, INGRAM'S YOUR WINNER

As a so-called "Heisman Expert", I feel that I have a pretty good understanding of college football's annual premier award.

I know every Heisman Trophy winner by heart and am working on the notable runners-up.

And in my opinion, if the season were to end today, there would be three young men invited to the DAC in NYC: Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow and Mark Ingram.

After watching ESPN's 67-hour long Heisman Trophy awards show and listening to Kirk Herbstreit awkwardly interview each finalist ten times...

...the award goes to??

Alabama RB Mark Ingram.

Well, that's in my delusional world of sanity.

In reality, the voters would probably vote for Tim Tebow because he's had such a brilliant career. Arguably the best in college football history.

And he overcame that concussion to lead his team to a road win at LSU. Not an easy task.

However, at this point of the year, the best player in college football has been Mark Ingram.

First of all, great name.

Second of all, he has played the best when it's mattered most.

150 yards at Virginia Tech to open the year. Huge.

140 and 172 yard in back-to-back road SEC games against Kentucky and Ole Miss.

And most notably, the incredible 246 yards against South Carolina...when the Gamecocks knew what Bama was doing.

In what could possibly be the "Heisman moment" for Ingram, he took direct snap after direct snap late in a one-possession game, gasping for breath on an injured knee and absolutely ran over a very strong South Carolina defense to seal the win for the #1 ranked Crimson Tide.

Not saying I don't want Colt to win, but Ingram has impressed me from week 1. Nobody with more than 135 carries is averaging more yards per tote than Ingram. Plus he has eight rushing TDs and three receiving.

Tebow has had another strong year. He's in the top 5 in QB rating and only five QBs in the FBS have a higher yards/attempt number (I like that stat - measures efficiency).

Plus he's won the award and has two national championships under his belt. That's a lot to consider.

McCoy has not been himself when you look at QB rating...he's ranked somewhere in the 40s. But he's right up there in accuracy, hovering around 70%.

More importantly, he led Texas to a close win against Oklahoma. But that win may not get as much national credit as it deserves since Sam Bradford went down early and McCoy's numbers were less than stellar. But it really doesn't matter what McCoy's numbers were - he won the game. Period.

Colt will have another chance at a "Heisman moment" in the final six weeks...four of those games are on the road. At Missouri, at Oklahoma State, at Baylor and at A&M (on four days rest).

Texas has only played one true road game this year...at Wyoming. So the test for UT has just begun.

So as of today I think Ingram would win.

But that's why they don't give the award out mid-season. We still have a lot of ball left to play.

Unless the sun explodes, Bama and UF will play in the SEC Title game.

And Texas at Oklahoma State could end up being the Big 12 South championship. OSU is not an easy win...especially on the road. Who does the South champ play in the Big 12 Title game?? You got me...it's completely wide open.

A team with three losses is leading the division. Missouri is 0-2. Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado are tied for second. Not a strong division. Not consistent either...Colorado loses to Colorado State and Toledo, then beats Kansas.

Nebraska should have beat Virginia Tech on the road, did beat a ranked Missouri team on the road, then loses to Texas Tech at home.

I could go on and on. In conclusion, the Big 12 North is completely unpredictable.

Texas and Florida are the easy picks to play in the National Title game...today.

But on this day, October 20, 2009, I'm saying that I would not be shocked if it weren't those two teams bashing heads at the end of the year. In fact, if I were a betting man, I wouldn't put a dime on a UT/Florida Title game.

Remember...41-point dog Stanford beat USC two years ago.
UTEP beat Houston.
Washington beat USC.
Boise State beat OU.
West Virginia beat OU.
BYU beat OU.
Miami beat OU.
TCU beat OU.
Ok...sorry OU...got a little out of control.

Anyway, all I'm saying is that in the Heisman race...in the national title race...anything can happen.

And I bet it will.

October 15, 2009

DESPITE WIN, COWBOYS STILL AREN'T CONVINCING

OK - let's all take a deep breath. The Cowboys won a thriller on Sunday afternoon.

Miles Austin set a franchise record for receiving yards in a single game.

Tony Romo averaged more than 10 yards/attempt again...he does that quite often, which is a very good stat.

Tashard Choice had 92 yards rushing....on EIGHT carries (an 11.5 average per carry). He had 6 carries for 83 yards and a TD in the second half alone.

The offensive had nine plays more than 15 yards and was 5-for-12 on third down.

The defense allowed 72 yards rushing and only 300 yards of total offense.

DeMarcus Ware had two sacks (the team had four total).

We outgained our opponent by 194 yards even though they ran 13 more plays than us.

All great statistics, and we won.

Great. Grand. Wonderful.

You'd see stats like that if you perused any championship caliber team's box score: Pittsburgh, New York Giants, etc...

But let me tell you why this "win" (quotations emphasized) did absolutely nothing to make me think we've "turned the corner" and are headed towards a championship.

This is the same team that I said didn't have enough people that cared as much as you need to care to win a championship.

It's very easy to see, and I didn't even have to watch the game.

There are three stats that stand out to me that scream "We're not a championship team!!!!"

PENALTIES Number and yards: 13-90
FUMBLES Number and Lost: 4-2
RED ZONE EFFICIENCY: 0-2-0%

Boom. That's all you need to know.

And we should have had more penalties...a few were declined or offset due to a KC penalty.

Championship teams don't consistently have penalty yards near 100.

Especially against a winless team.

Championship teams don't handle the ball like it's a WMD.

Especially against a winless team.

Championship teams don't treat their red zone opportunities like they're trying to win a big stuffed bear at the carnival for the girl their parents made take to the carnival who has sideburns and is wearing a Wrestlemania t-shirt.

Especially against a winless team.

There was one series in particular that stood out to me...kind of sums it all up.

Third quarter. Crunch time. Down 7 points.

KC has the ball at their own 44. We were called for defensive offside not once, not twice, not three times...but FOUR times. On ONE drive. One of the penalties was offsetting due to an offensive holding call...but still.

They ended up kicking a FG to take a ten point lead at the end of that drive.

To me, that's all coaching.

What kind of team lines up or jumps offside four times on a drive that basically starts at midfield? A poorly coached one. A team that isn't disciplined. A team with a head coach that is as soft as one of those huge air cushions that stunt men dive onto from the top of skyscrapers.

Yeah, we won.

Miles Austin and Tony Romo were celebrating on the sideline like they just won the Super Bowl.

We're 3-2 instead of 2-3.

Everything is fine again.

Big whoop.

No it's not. This is the same team with the same problems.

Thank goodness there's no way we can lose this weekend.

We don't play.


October 6, 2009

I LOVE ME SOME BRETT FAVRE

Brett Favre has taken a lot of heat in recent years about his indecisiveness regarding the future of his NFL career.

He's retiring? No, he signed with the Jets. He had surgery and is done? No, someone saw him getting on a plane headed for Minnesota. He's through. He's back. He's gone. He's here!

I wept at his very first retirement press conference when it happened a few years ago for crying out loud.

I've heard and read people calling him a liar, an attention hound, immature, inconsiderate and even a phony.

But you know what 100% of all the Favre-haters out there have in common?

They aren't the greatest QB in NFL history. So shut your cake holes and leave the man alone.

I could rattle off all the career numbers that we've all heard over and over...all-time TD leader, all-time passing yards leader, (most impressively) most consecutive starts in NFL history and on and on and on...

By the way...his consecutive starts streak makes Cal Ripken's look like the fourth grader who never missed a single day of fourth grade the whole year.

We all know the great numbers. We know he's won a Super Bowl. We know he's delivered some of the most memorable performances in league history (like the Monday Night game he played the day his dad died...just got chills thinking about it).

So why does anyone care if he can't make up his mind about when to end, arguably, the greatest career in professional sports history?

Who does it inconvenience? Whose life does it alter in any way?

His family. OK. They obviously count, but they obviously give him the green light to do whatever it is he feels like he should do. They support him.

No one else matters one iota.

Oh, I can hear them now..."Well it effects the teams he's considering because they can't gameplan and prepare until they know one way or another."

Give me a break.

The teams that he's considering are only getting that much more attention and are put in the national spotlight that much more which leads to just one thing: more money.

Sounds like a raw deal.

I haven't looked at the ratings from last night's Vikings/Packers game, but I would bet they are way off the charts.

It was one of the most interesting and dramatic story lines in recent years. In any sport. It would be like if Derek Jeter played for the Red Sox and led Boston to a pivotal regular season series sweep over the Yankees at Fenway. Now that's drama.

And last night Favre not only became the only QB in the history of the league to beat all 32 teams, he was absolutely brilliant.

271 yards passing on 24 completions, three TDs, no picks, seven receivers had more than one catch, no one had more than six, and he looked like he was 28 again.

He had touch when he needed it and that blazing, frozen rope, break-your-fingers, Favre velocity when he needed it, too.

Not to mention he didn't get sacked.

He's the most interesting professional athlete in the world right now.

So why in the world would we not want him making headlines? Either on the field or off of it with his "flip-flops"?

You know the league absolutely loves it. You can't make this stuff up. He's a ratings magnet. Like keeping Spencer Pratt on "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here" even after he tries to quit like three times.

People can't not watch him. He is absolutely great television, and the NFL is just that - a television show. And they know it.

You say he's an egomaniac and only wants the attention?? SO WHAT?!?!

So would YOU if you had the physical and mental skills to be the best in the world at something.

And not just like the best fake-plant gardner or something...the best at the most popular position in the most popular sport in the most popular league ever known to man.

I'm not exaggerating...look it up.

No sport has ever been as popular as the NFL is today. Look at TV ratings, fantasy football, attendance, etc...

I don't want Favre to ever retire. I hope he keeps the millions of people watching his every move guessing for many years to come.

The guy turns 40 on Saturday.

I wonder if Favre daydreams about how he'll leave the game.

I wonder if that daydream is of him in 30 years throwing a touchdown pass to some kid who isn't even alive today, then celebrating with his offensive line, blowing a kiss to his wife, children and grand-children, kneeling down at midfield, laying his head on the soft, spongy grass, closing his eyes...and never waking up.

Morbid? Yes. Fitting? Absolutely.

I love me some Brett Favre.

We should want him to hang around as long as possible because there will never be another one quite like him. Soak him in while you still can because I heard he's retiring at the end of the season.

 


October 4, 2009

NEWSFLASH: COWBOYS AREN'T CONTENDERS

Guess this really isn't breaking news.

This is something that I've come to realize over the last two weeks (or three games).

The Cowboys don't have what it takes to win an NFL Championship.

And it's not the personnel. Our players are extremely talented...above average at nearly every position.

It's not our scheme. Jason Garrett is a fine offensive play-caller. Wade Phillips always puts together a good defensive game plan. Our players are usually in good position to win games.

It's our attitude. Plain and simple. The Cowboys players who have the task of leading this team to a championship simply don't know what it takes to win it all. They don't care.

I'm talking about the players in leadership positions: Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Andre Gurode, Marion Barber, Flozell Adams, Demarcus Ware, Terrence Newman, Marcus Spears.

Now, I'm not saying our players don't care about the team, the coaches or the season. They put in the work in the offseason. They go through a grueling training camp. They watch film and practice every day. They care in the sense that this is what they do for a living. They care about their teammates a great deal.

But they don't care they way you're supposed to care if you want to win it all and go down in history as one of the all-time great teams.

And all the players I've listed are great players. Great players. And I'm not saying they don't deserve to win or they don't work hard or they slack off or anything like that.

But if you go down the line, each and every one of those guys are low-key, mostly quiet guys.

Barber may go crazy after big runs, but if that guy wasn't an NFL running back, he'd be working the night shift at the graveyard. Ever wonder why you never see him doing any interviews for the cameras? It's because he never does interviews...he's just a shy guy. You get the sense that he absolutely hates being around people. Trust me, I've seen him on the field and in the locker room after games.

And there's nothing wrong with that...nothing.

Witten's a pretty quiet, down-to-earth guy, too. Romo's the same. DeMarcus Ware isn't an in-your-face, talk-trash kind of guy. Neither is Roy Williams for that matter.

And all those guys are great people. They work hard. They play hard. They're good players.

You just can't have a team made up entirely of guys like that and expect to win championships. Period.

We don't have a Michael Irvin or Emmitt Smith personality.

We don't have a Ben Roethlisberger.

We don't have a Tom Brady or a Randy Moss.

We don't have a Brett Favre or Reggie White.

There's no one on our team like John Elway or Jerry Rice.

You can match up our players' stats and accomplishments with those guys at similar points in their careers. You can argue numbers and tangibles all day. I get it.

But the thing that we don't have is the thing that each of those guys had that you can't define.

It was their swagger, their confidence, their "I'm going to beat you today and there's nothing you can do to stop me and I'll yell it in your face while I'm doing it" attitude.

It's what people call having "it". Other people refer to it as intangibles...things you can't measure.

You could take 97% of our team and build a champion. We have great players. The only problem is...none of them have "it".

Our head coach is the same way. And you know what? Maybe that's OK in the grand scheme of things. All those guys know that there are more important things in life than football. I get that, too. And I agree.

But the ones who separate themselves in the NFL...the ones who end up in the Hall of Fame...the ones who up-and-coming stars will be compared to for all time don't have that perspective.

To them, winning a championship is the most important thing in life. They're the kinds of guys that you absolutely HATE if they don't play for you. You know, Bruce Bowen, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Rodney Harrison, Larry Bird, Ray Lewis or Bill Laimbeer. You know what all those guys have in common? Right...

Not always a good perspective...but it'll win you titles if you combine it with raw talent, hard work and good, solid management.

I don't know...call me "old school" but I think the powers-that-be are making it harder and harder to have that kind of attitude. All the penalties they call now for personal fouls and "illegal" hits that are absolutely, perfectly normal, aggressive hits are absolutely ridiculous.

They do it in college, too. And I like that fact that the Powers are trying to make it more safe. That's great. But they're also in danger of taking away an aspect of the game that drew people to love football in the first place...the ferocity, the violence, the passion.

But I digress...that's another article. Back to the Cowboys.

I like Tony Romo as a person. There is not a person in the league more honorable and good than Jason Witten. DeMarcus Ware is a really solid guy. But unless we get somebody on this team that has "it", we'll never win an important game.

Bradie James is the closest thing we have. If his attitude were in Romo, our problems would be solved.

Did you see Keith Brooking go crazy when he made that play on fourth down today? That is what I'm talking about.

Instead, our coach and QB look like they'd rather be playing Go Fish than winning games on Sunday.

Something's got to change before we get back on top. Jerry Jones knows who has "it" and who doesn't. He'll find the right guys. Sometimes "it" doesn't show up in college so you have to rely a little bit on luck. Sometimes guys don't pan out like you think they will.

But he'll find the guys, and we'll eventually be the best again.

And, man, I hate to sound like a pessimist, but it just won't be anytime soon.

HOUSTON'S LOSS IS A HEAD-SCRATCHER

Not really sure how to explain this one.

UTEP beat Houston at the Sun Bowl late last night.

If you'd have told me before the season this was going to happen, I wouldn't have been surprised. But after the first few weeks of the season, it's a complete shock.

Let's go back one week to the Texas/UTEP box score.

UT held the Miners to 7 first downs. UTEP was 1-12 on third down. They completed nine passes and averaged .4 yards per rush (a total of 9 yards). UTEP racked up an impressive 53 total yards.

Granted, UT is the #2 team in the nation, and the game was in Austin. But it clearly proved that UTEP is not a very strong football team.

Then we go to Houston...a team that upset #5 Oklahoma State on the road then beat a Texas Tech team that was a few plays away from beating Texas in Austin.

Houston looked really good. People were starting to yell for the BCS. Case Keenum was being listed next to Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy on Heisman watch lists.

Then they went to the Sun Bowl. And lost.

And just looking at the box score really doesn't explain it.

Houston had 42 first downs. UTEP had 26.
Houston had 664 total yards. 83 more yards than the Miners.
Both teams were fairly efficient on third down.

But the Miners proved why running the football is so important.

They rushed for 305 yards while the Cougars only ran for 128. UTEP had the ball three more minutes than Houston. UTEP forced two turnovers and didn't turn it over once.

All those things are key.

And I noticed something else: UTEP outscored UH in the 3rd quarter 20-3. Not a big deal if you remember that OSU outscored UH 21-0 in their loss to the Cougs.

So what was the difference?

Houston got some breaks against the Cowboys in the fourth quarter of that game and held OSU to just 7 points while scoring 21.

Last night against UTEP, Houston scored 21 in the fourth, but they also allowed 21. And UTEP had a 70+ yard fumble return for a TD late in the game that sealed it.

Crazy to think that a team that totaled...TOTALED...53 yards against Texas could score 58 points against Houston.

Blame it on the late night game. Blame it on playing on the road. Blame it on Houston looking past UTEP to their big road game against SEC foe Mississippi State. Blame it on whatever you want. But Houston should NOT have lost that game.

And I hate to say it, but as much as I'd love for Keenum to be in the Heisman talks...his Heisman campaign is probably over.

I know he had a great night last night. A career night.

But if UH is out of the national spotlight...so will be there leader.

Unfortunate, but that's how it works.

Houston still has a shot to win the conference, but their bid for the BCS was shot into outer space when the clock hit all zeros at the Sun Bowl.
  • mark rogers
  • October 4, 2009 10:56 PM

10-0 NOT A GOOD START FOR SOME TEAMS THIS WEEKEND

OK...this is just something weird I noticed this weekend.

I watched the Clemson/Maryland game (11 AM on Saturday). The Tigers jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead. They dominated early. They ended up losing.

Texas A&M played Arkansas at Cowboys Stadium last night. I predicted the Aggies would lose big, which they did. But they also jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead.

Oklahoma went to Miami to face the Hurricane. The Sooners were up quick, 10-0. They lost.

Case Keenum and the 12th ranked Houston Cougars had gone to then-5th ranked Oklahoma State and won. Then they hosted Texas Tech and won by a point. They led UTEP (a team the Texas Longhorns held to 53 total YARDS) 10-0...and lost.

It happened to Army, too. They led 10-0 and lost.

And wouldn't you know it? The Dallas Cowboys took a quick 10-0 lead in Denver this afternoon. Need me to tell you what happened?

What's the deal with the 10-0 lead? It's a curse or something.

And as for my predictions before games started yesterday...I was 4 out of 6. I missed Florida State/BC and Cal/USC.
  • mark rogers
  • October 4, 2009 10:49 PM

October 3, 2009

PREDICTIONS FOR TODAY

OK...just so I've got it in writing in case I'm right. And if I'm wrong, I'll just delete everything.

I'm calling Miami to upset OU.
I've got Arkansas winning BIG over A&M.
FSU will beat Boston College.
LSU will beat Georgia.
Cal over USC.
Auburn over Tennessee.

That's all I got...let the games begin.
  • mark rogers
  • October 3, 2009 10:11 AM