Archive for October, 2011
LeSean McCoy took on upon himself to make the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, pay for all the trash talking he did in the preseason. Ryan had called the Eagles the “all-hype” team and predicted the Cowboys would “beat their ass.” Not quite what happened on Sunday night. The Eagles dominated right from the start and never gave the Cowboys defense a break. As a matter of fact, The Eagles compiled 495 total yards and held the ball for 42:09. McCoy had a career best 185 yards rushing and completed two touchdown scores while helping out the Philadelphia Eagles defile the Dallas Cowboys 34-7 at home.
At the beginning of the season just after the Philadelphia Eagles had signed six ex-Pro Bowl players in free agency and trades, these guys were the hottest team in the NFL. With Michael Vick at the helm, the Eagles were expected to win everything and, in theory, they had a well-balanced team that could rely on either their passing or rushing game to dominate their division and conference. Little did we know that this Super Bowl or bust squad was going to have such an under par kickoff and that what once was called a dream team would give the Lions fans so many nightmares.
But they are starting to make up for it, and after 8 weeks of football, the Philadelphia Eagles are now 3-4 for the season and currently are tied for second place among the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins. This is certainly quite an improvement considering this is the same squad that despite all the hype, had recorded a 1-4 start. The Eagles still have some ways to go before they can actually catch up with the division leaders the New York Giants and their 5-2 mark.
The Eagles quarterback Michael Vick completed 21 of 28 passes for 279 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions for a very decent 129-9 passer rating. Vick led the Eagles to points on their first six possessions. He also ran for 50 yards, and by the time Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys were aware of the situation, there was nothing to do to turn this game around.
After the game, Rob Ryan came out to take the blame for what had happened. It seems to me that it was the only thing left for him to do after all the trash talking he had made in the preseason. “The whole thing is I got outcoached by [Andy] Reid and their staff,” Ryan said from the locker room door. “I mean, it’s ridiculous. I never gave our guys a chance. The whole fucking thing was on me. If I gave them any extra motivation, hell, I certainly never backed it up. I gave our guys a lousy plan. We had no chance, and it’s all on me.”
Then again, if we have to find a person responsible for the Dallas Cowboys disgraceful performance, it’s probably LeSean McCoy whom we should blame. McCoy carried the ball 30 times for 185 yards. Just to put it into the right perspective, that’s the most yardage the Dallas Cowboys have allowed in 11 seasons. Kudos for the Eagles, who despite a very slow start, could actually turn some heads around and live up to their expectations if only they managed to keep on playing like this.
The Detroit Lions made it quite evident. Tebow might be great at selling Denver Broncos Jerseys, he might be an invaluable asset to the community and quite plainly he is quite a terrific guy. But it seems that he just doesn’t have the mechanics or the precision needed to be a quarterback in the professional world. He might had been a very fine quarterback in college, but it’s just not enough to make a smooth transition when you want to play with the big boys on Sundays. The Lions sacked Tim Tebow seven times and turned two of his turnovers into touchdowns. The Lions are back in track after crushing the Denver Broncos at home 45-10.
The Denver Broncos fans got exactly what they had asked for. Head Coach John Fox had realized that after a 1-4 start, Kyle Orton wasn’t the way to go, and following a move that was in part a crowd pleaser and in part a plausible escape goat, he opted to replace Orton with Tim Tebow and get make him part of the starting lineup. On his first game at the helm, Tim Tebow was quite a blob for the first three and half quarters of the game against the winless Miami Dolphins. He then managed to score a couple of touchdowns in the last three minutes of the game to overcome a 15-0 deficit in the 4th quarter to eventually take an 18-15 win at overtime.
For a moment there, the charismatic Tebow dropped on one knee and prayed after what seemed almost like a miraculous win, but then again there was nothing very heavenly or flawless about his game. This time around, Tebow was finally playing at the Mile High Stadium in Denver against a team that needed to overcome a two game skid that had tarnished what otherwise had been the best start of the season for the Detroit Lions in franchise history. Matthew Stafford knew that his two previous performances with the Lions had been quite weak, and even thought for much of the week it was uncertain if he would be healthy enough to start, Stafford wanted to crush Tim Tebow and prove that perhaps Tebow was the NCAA football star, but that it was Stafford who had the NFL potential.
During the whole game, Stafford didn’t show signs of weakness. Never could we actually tell that he had suffered a sprained ankle just a week before. He even managed to leave the game in the 4th quarter with a pristine jersey, after ha had completed 21 of his 30 attempts for 267 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions.
After the game, Tim Tebow was as optimistic as he has always been. “We’ll bounce back and have a great week of practice and get ready to go try and get a win next week,” he said at a postgame interview. But then again, that’s just too much optimism for a guy who completed 18 of 39 passes for 172 yards with one touchdown and one interception and one sack that ended with a Lions touchdown. John Fox said it almost three weeks ago. He’ll put Tebow instead of Orton, but he did realized it was going to take much more than just a new quarterback to get this team back in track. So far, Tebow hasn’t been the answer. It’s still uncertain if he’ll start on next week road game against the Oakland Raiders.
It’s quite evident that this time, the guys who sit down during the preseason to make the regular season schedule, couldn’t have got it more right. NCAA Football fans across the nation already have their eye on what could easily be described as the hottest game so far this season. On Saturday November 5th, the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide will host the No. 1 LSU Tigers at 8pm EST. At 8-0 and 5-0 in conference play each, the Tigers and Tide are going to take advantage of this BYE week to get it all together and recharge batteries, rest a couple of hurting players and pep their squads, because this is perhaps the biggest game this two teams would have played this season. This one game could very well decide who makes it into the National Championship Bowl.
Even though Nick Saban, Alabama’s head coach, has insisted that he won’t be doing anything different this week, it is evident that despite his efforts to get the team into the right mindset, the players and fans all know that this is not “just another conference game.” This is really good timing for Saban and his crew. The extra days might be what the offensive line needs to recover some of its starters. Barrett Jones dealt with an injury last week. He was able to recover and play against Tennessee but the extra rest will certainly help his healing. On Saturday’s game, backup Cyrus Kouandjo suffered a knee injury and now he is going to miss the rest of the season. The extra days might allow guard Anthony Steen to recover from the concussion he suffered a few weeks back against Ole Miss. He missed the Tide’s last game and was replaced by Alfred McCullough, but Nick Saban would certainly love to have him back against the LSU.
There is no doubt that the LSU Tigers would also benefit from taking an extra week before arriving to Tuscaloosa. They need to find the right equilibrium from getting just enough rest, but staying sharp enough as not to lose their momentum. The Tigers have been getting better and better every week. Will the extra week of rest slow them down? It’s hard to say. This game has been build in a way that the pressure in on both squads. The No. 1 spot in the BCS rankings is at stake. What’s more, because of the long wait, there has been something of a Super Bowl like build up around this game, and the expectations are set very high for this nationally televise match.
The Sooners have already dropt their first game of the season against Texas Tech. Oklahoma State and Boise State are ranked 3rd and 4th respectively but they have played one less game so far this season. Clemson and Stanford are also perfect this season, but so far into the tournament, it is up to these two teams to decide who’s going to play for the National Championship. In it’s last three games, LSU has scored 124 points against and have taken only 28 against. That includes games against then #17 Florida and #20 Auburn. The official football betting lines for this game are still not up. But despite playing on the road, I will guess that Auburn is going to have the upper hand.
The trouble has just begun for the Big East conference. The conference is paying a very high toll in the current conference realignment, and should the situation continue, the Big East could very well lose its automatic bid for the BCS Bowl series. At the beginning of the season it looked as if the Big 12 was going to suffer some game-changing losses when Oklahoma made announced it was considering leaving for the Pac-12. The Texas Longhorns soon joined their archrivals and were leaving the Big 12 in a vulnerable position. At the end, both the Longhorns and the Sooners decided to stick around and find a strategy to make the Big 12 even more competitive.
So it was just a matter of time before the Big East took its first shots. First both Pittsburgh and Syracuse deflected to the ACC. As if that was not enough, TCU’s decision to join the Big 12 was exactly what the Big East needed to sound the panic alarm among its football playing schools. The TCU Horned Frogs saw realized that the Big 12 was getting stronger and left the Big East before it actually played it’s first game in the conference. The Big East took action and decided to double the fine for teams leaving the conference before their contract expired. Any team wishing to leave the Big East would be expected to pay over $10 million in fines.
That didn’t really change much as within a week of doubling the fine, rumor had it, West Virginia would move to the Big 12 too. Considering that it could very well end up having only 5 or 6 teams for the following football season, the Big East is looking at Mountain West and Conference USA for expansion. The Big 12 had announced earlier this week that it would take on the West Virginia Mountaineers regardless of whether Missouri decided to stay or leave, but that was going to change very soon. In a matter of hours, the Big 12 changed its posture and sent a letter to West Virginia stating that the conference would wait for Missouri to make it’s official withdrawal from the conference before opening up a spot.
At one point the Big 12 was going for a program expansion. Now it’s not. But it seems to me that there is a bit more behind this story. Many would say that Louisville has made quite an effort and has been effectively lobbying its way into the Big 12. It seems that when the Big 12 announced that West Virginia would be accepted, representatives from Louisville, or people who had Louisville interests at mind, managed to push Big 12 directors to but all plans on hold. At one point earlier today it seemed as if the Big 12 was going to take West Virginia. Now, just a couple of hours later, it seems that it could go either way.
If at the end of all the realignment, Louisville ends up in the Big 12, that would certainly be a relief, at least momentarily, for the Big East Conference. The thing here is that the Big East would still have to work hard and convince not only West Virginia but it’s other five football playing schools that they should stick around.