Saturday, November 07, 2009

Football on the Brain

The college game -

How great it is to see Georgia Tech running the triple option. And having quite a bit of success. Last year they squared off against LSU in their bowl game and were clearly outmatched in terms of talent. Some questioned if the triple option could work in the college game anymore.

But this year they are doing it all over again. Plus, they look primed to face Clemson in the ACC Championship game this year.

Speaking of Clemson, I watched them defeat Florida State tonight. A couple of things are clear: First, CJ Spiller, the excellent Clemson back, is going to be a top five pick this April in the NFL draft. He has speed and the power to run the ball inside. Second: Florida State is just a shadow of its former self. It's time for Bobby Bowden to leave. Sure he did a phenomenal job turning that program around. They dominated in the '80s and '90s. But they have not finished in the top ten since 2000. Time for Bowden to leave.

I also watched a bit of the Florida and Vandy game. Florida may well win a second national championship in a row this year, but their offense is painful to watch. The spread offense is no fun to watch. At least with Tebow at qb. I know that sounds nuts, but who wants to watch a 75 yard drive in which the qb is the leading rusher and he carries it ten times and his team kicks a field goal. BORING! It might be different if Vince Young were running the offense, but the Gators have a very solid team, but their spread offense could put anyone to sleep.

Whatever happened to those explosive offense I remember from the 90s? I remember when Nebraska could rain 40 points on anyone running their option offense. Then Florida and Florida State and Miami could drop 40 on you with great defense and pass first offensives. Really, outside of Texas Tech what has happened to the passing game in college football?

Would somebody please put their quarterback in the shotgun and actually stand back there and throw the ball deep? Who wants to see the option run out of the shotgun where the quarterback keeps it every other play and averages four yards a pop? BORING!

The Big Ten teams are out of the national championship picture now that Iowa lost. And it's a good thing. If Iowa is the best the Big Ten can do, then they might as well stay out of the entire BCS picture.

Notre Dame has lost another close game. Charlie Weiss has got to go (I hope he goes to my beloved Colorado Buffs). He had a bit of success his first couple of seasons. However, his recruiting classes (namely Jimmy Clausen) have done nothing for him the past three seasons.

TCU and Cincinnati are for real. Who would ever have thought that these two - plus Boise State - would be in the top five (or at least likely to be in the top five) with such traditional powers as Florida and Texas?

California's fine running back Jahvid Best had one of the most brutal falls while scoring a TD I have ever scene. He went up over the top and crashed down on his back and his neck. He has movement, but it looked terrible.

And finally, how about those upsets. Northwestern takes down Iowa. Oregon after that huge win over USC falls to Stanford. That should make for some very interesting jockying in the BCS. Which small school - TCU or Boise - will get left out?

You have to figure that Florida will face off against Texas for the national championship. Unless something shocking happens. Which other SEC team will get in? Alabama - assuming they lose to Florida in the SEC championship game - will likely be out? Could LSU be in with a couple of losses? Georgia Tech or Clemson will get in with the ACC championship. Cincinnati should be in too if they run the table and take Conference USA. Ohio State should make it to the Rose Bowl. What about the pac 10 BCS bid? Oregon? USC? TCU should be in too. Poor Boise, though. They look to be the odd contender out, especially since the last time they made it in, the just happened to play the greatest college football game ever when they took down Oklahoma in OT (remember Ian Johnson scoring a two point conversion on the perfectly called Statue of Liberty?)

Now on to the pro game. It seems that no one is giving the Bengals much hope at home tomorrow against the Ravens. Including me. First, the Bungals are 1-4-1 after the bye under Marvin Lewis. Not good. Second, whenever they have a chance to seize control, the Bungals crumble. Not good. Third, Carson is 7-3 against the Ravens. I just don't see how he can work his magic again against the Ravens. Plus, they have a tough road game the following week against the Steelers. Not good. At least I've soaked up as much of this 5-2 start as I can. I'd love to see them finish 12-4 or 11-5, but I'd be pretty happy with just 9-7.

I even went so far as to see how many teams last year began 5-2 and DIDN'T make the playoffs. There were several - Tampa Bay, Buffalo, Washington. That made me nervous. But still - 9-7 - playoffs or no playoffs would still be a good season for the Bungals.

I did some more thinking (as I was visiting with Kristie's father who lamented how he suffered through 29 painful Packers' seasons before they finally won another Super Bowl. He said sure they won a couple division titles but didn't do anything in the playoffs. I wish I could consider winning a couple division titles and not doing anything!) and I realized that I can remember all of the playoff games I've seen the Bengals play - the '81 Super Bowl. The next year they finished 7-1 in a strike shortened season and hosted the Jets, who drubbed the snot out of them 17-44. Then there was three games in their next Super Bowl season in '88 (beating Seattle and Buffalo before losing to the Niners). Two years later, they won the AFC Central and beat the snot out of the Houston Oilers before travelling to LA and losing to the Raiders. Then in 2005 the Bengals lifted the playoff curse and hosted the hated Steelers. Things began well enough with Carson lofting a beautiful 66 yard bomb on the second play. But as the ball was traveling down the field, Carson's knee was hit and crumbled. The wide receiver who caught the ball also suffered a serious knee injury. When has that ever happened in the history of the NFL that two key players both sustain serious knee injuries on the SAME play?

That's it. All of my playoff expeirence as a Bungals fan can be counted on two hands! Now you can see why 9 wins in one season would be such a big deal.

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