Monday, October 24, 2005

Weekend Grab Bag

A few notes from the weekend action.

College Football
• While Vince Young struggled in the first half, the rest of the Longhorns looked impressive and took care of business against Texas Tech. What impressed me the most was how they shut down Tech in the Red Zone, and capitalized quickly on their opponents mistakes. After a couple of turnovers and bad plays on defense, Texas extended a 17-10 lead to 38-10 in a matter of minutes, putting the game out of reach. That's what good teams do, they take advantage of the opponent's mistakes and bury them. Especially in a game where emotion and momentum is so important, Texas did everything they had to to take the Raiders out of the game when they had the chance. Now, with the Red Raiders out of the way, the Horns' spot in the Rose Bowl is theirs to lose.

• Alabama squeaked out another win, this time in a 6-3 snoozer over Tennessee. They're looking to me like the weakest of the remaining undefeateds (perhaps next to all offense/no defense UCLA), and I have a hard time believing they'll get by LSU and/or Auburn and go into the SEC Title game undefeated. Georgia, on the other hand, only has Florida and Georgia Tech as challenges left, and could be sitting at 11-0 going into the Title game against LSU or 'Bama. Even then, they'll need two of USC/Texas/Virginia Tech to slip up, and I have a hard time believing that will happen.

• Reggie Bush's punt return for a TD was one of those "Heisman moments" that will be etched in voters' minds, simply because of the sheer ability he showed off. He's still at the top of my ballot, btw. I'm not ready to leap Leinart above Young either (and this has nothing to do with the final item in today's post).

• I can't figure out the Cowboys. They've shown an ability to pull out close games (Giants, SD) when they arguably shouldn't have, but also keep blowing games late (Washington in the Monday Night game) and now Seattle, with Bledsoe throwing an indefensible pick in the final seconds. I don't know what to expect from them week-to-week.

• Great comeback win by Eli and the Giants, beating the Broncos on the road. Despite the poor showing at Dallas last week, I still think they're one of the best teams in the NFC. Problem is, their still showing inconsistency from week-to-week, which is symptomatic of a young team. We'll see if this gets better down the stretch.

• Poor San Diego. With a few breaks, they'd be 6-1 right now, but instead because of poor play calling (Dallas), last minute heroics (Pitt), and a blocked FG in the final minutes (Philly), they've dropped 3 very winnable games. I'm surprised Marty Schottenheimer isn't getting a rougher ride because of this.

• It's news to me that Seattle is 5-2. I still have a hard time seeing them as a sleeper in the NFC though, but they're looking better and better to claim the NFC West, and given the embarrassment of the NFC North, and that the NFC East teams are going to beat each other up, they could sneak in and grab a bye if they keep this play up. And yes, I know the season isn't even half over and I could be eating these words by Week 10.

• Minnesota wins! I don't know if this is the first sign of a turnaround, or if Brett Favre really *can't* ever win in the Dome.

• Finally, would anyone have predicted that going into the final weekend of October New England would be leading the AFC East with a .500 record, and that Dallas would be sitting in last place in the NFC East with a 4-3 record? Unbelievable.

• I caught bits and pieces of the games; all I have to say about Game 1 is that Houston had their chances (Tavares doubling to lead off the inning twice late in the game), and both times - down 1, then down 2, they couldn't bring him home. Against Cotts and Jenks late in the game, it looked like everyone was swinging for the fence, and nobody was thinking of blooping a single, or getting a sac fly - which they should have been doing.

• As for Game 2, I didn't see the Jermaine Dye "hit by pitch", but from all accounts, between this and Game 2 of the ALCS, the Sox have either:

a) one giant horseshoe up their ass, or
b) Doug Eddings in their back pocket.

At this rate, Doug Eddings will be reffing the main event at Wrestlemania in the spring (which coincidentally will be held in Chicago). Maybe they could go all out and hire Ozzie Guillen to manage Triple H too.

• If you're wondering why Bobby Jenks got roughed up, it's because he couldn't hit the strike zone to save his life. I don't know if it was the weather or what, but he looked terrible out there. Kudos to Guillen for recognizing that and getting him out of there before he let the Astros take the lead.

• The only thing worse in the Top of the 9th that Jenks' control was Jason Lane's at-bat. I have probably never seen a worse at bat in a big game. He swung at the first pitch, which was way inside, then on the third strike swung at a pitch that was high and inside - he looked like he was trying to swat a wasp away from his face. Just a horrible, horrible at bat in a key situation.

• Poor Brad Lidge. I mean, giving up a homer to Pujols is one thing, but Scott Posednik? This has to be up there with Ozzie Smith's homer in the 1985 NLCS on the sheer improbability scale. Has Lidge's house been egged? Did he receive his first death threat? Sadly, you know they're coming. At the rate he's going, he'll be shipped to Tampa Bay for 50 cents on the dollar as soon as the Series is done.

One More Random Note
• I always liked Matt Leinart (ok, if not liked, enjoyed watching him play), but with the way things are going I'll soon be rooting for him to become the next Gino Torretta. It was bad enough that he engineered the heart-breaking comeback win against Notre Dame last week, but now he's gone and hooked up with Shannon Doherty. Fucker. It's like he's trying to make me miserable. At this rate, it's probably only a matter of time before he pops up as an annoying guest star on The O.C.

NBA Preview starts tonight (and runs all week!)


At 12:39 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Always remember the immutable Rule #1 of the NFL: the Seahawks stink. How much they stink varies, but they always stink nonetheless. (I remember hearing a Seattle beat reporter on the radio before the '04 season, saying he would be STUNNED if they were worse than 12-4).

Also, the Giants win was at home.

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Alex said...

You're right, my bad with the Giants game.

As for the Seahawks, they're more mediocre than anything else. Ever since Holmgren arrived on the scene they've been firmly planted in the 7-9 win territory. However, given the way things are shaking out in the NFC, 9 wins still might be enough to grab a bye. I'm also considering giving them the honorable mention in my top 5 just to see how Grabia reacts.


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