Monday, November 06, 2006

Monday 11/06 A.M. Quickie:
Colts Prove Who's No. 1 in NFL

Colts are No. 1: It's meaningless unless the Colts (finally) win the Super Bowl, but for now, they might be content simply being the NFL's No. 1 team.

Too much Manning-to-Harrison from Indy. Too many INTs from Brady. And, turning the corner into the second half of the season, we have a definitive title favorite: The Colts. How can you disagree?

My 5 favorite NFL Week 9 Storylines:

1. Dolphins stun formerly unbeaten Bears in Chicago: There hasn't been a more unlikely result in the NFL this season, and it's the best evidence yet that the "experts" don't quite know what the hell they're talking about.

2. Redskins steal one vs. Cowboys: What was craziest: Novak's second chance? Vanderjagt missing a would-be game-winner? The subsequent penalty with no time left to set up the Skins' GW FG? (Imagine: The ending was crazy enough to totally eclipse TO's somewhat clever "Nap" TD celebration.)

3. Steelers are finished: There's the Super Bowl Curse, and then there's simply a flat-out collapse. The title defense ended weeks ago, but yesterday was the final nail.

4. LT and LJ: The AFC West is sizzling, and fantasy's top two performers are living up to the draft-day predictions. 6 TDs between them yesterday. Yikes.

5. Marques Colston: Rookie of the Year. The Saints TE/WR has helped turn Drew Brees into a legit MVP candidate – and made fans forget about the increasing likelihood that Reggie Bush is Reggie Bust. (Yesterday was his worst day yet: 11 carries for NEGATIVE 5 yards, a rare feat.)

Complete Week 9 Wrap-Up here.

CFB: Ohio St. is unanimous No. 1. I'm not going to disagree, though I am going to jump Louisville over Michigan into the No. 2 spot. UM deserves the hit after letting Ball State stay in the game; Louisville throttled the No. 3 team in the country in a "Nemesis Game."

NBA: Sixers Rule, Suprisingly. Rather than discount Philly's win over the Heat yesterday (Miami played without Shaq, which makes them a Lottery team), I'm going to praise the rejuvenated AI, who has led the Sixers to a 3-0 start. Does that mean that the Euro team that beat Philly in the preseason would be a strong contender in the East?

MLB: Which team will be bold enough to sign both Barry Bonds AND Sammy Sosa? Which team will trade for Gary Sheffield? Are the Mets targeting All-Star 2B and former Northwestern standout Mark Loretta?

NYC Marathon: Yeah, I saw Lance Armstrong in person yesterday (albeit from a rooftop party on 1st Ave.). It was pretty cool, and I was seriously impressed with his ability to finish in a sub-3-hour time. Give me 2 more hours and I could do it, too.

MNF: Do Steelers' fans heads implode if the Raiders have a better record than the Steelers after 9 weeks? (An unlikely result, given the power of Seattle's 12th Man, not to mention Sensational Seneca)

Finally, it was amusing to hear Pats fans boo Adam Vinatieri, who only happened to win three freaking Super Bowls for them. You stay classy, New England.

-- D.S.

72 comments:

marcomarco said...

I'm from RI and found that classless also.

It's not like Vin wanted to leave, he just wanted to be paid for his talents.

Todd said...

Hold up. Last time I checked, Ohio State played a closer game than Michigan did. Why does the Blue get punished and we all continue saying hosannas for the Suckeyes?

Biebs said...

Yankee fans booed Jeter when he was in a slump in 2003 and he was still on the Yankees . That's what fans do.

They should have cheered him when he came on the field at first, but once the game starts I don't blame the fans for booing.

Brian in Oxford said...

Obviously Vinatieri didn't learn from Johnny Damon. You can leave, but don't go money-grubbing from a rival. That's a slap in the face of the fans. If he'd gone to the Lions or whatnot, nobody would have booed a reteurn.

My question for the week is how the Bears respond....they could be looking at 7-4 with road tilts against the Giants, Jets, and Pats the next three weeks. (Any chance the Bears just check into the ESPN hotel in Bristol and set up base camp there?

GuyInTheCorner said...

i hope the previous post implying the bears could lose to the jets was purely based on the "Any Given Sunday" theory

otherwise i think u just placed the Jets with the Giants and Pats

Tim said...

So Simmons' article about Brady vs Manning is looking pretty rediculous right now. Brady looked terrible, and the Patriots came into the game with the worst possible gameplan. Manning on the other hand was his normal self (aside from the one pick) and Harrison was unbelievable (that TD catch was AMAZING). As for Vinetieri getting booed, you have to expect it. So what if he won them 3 SB's.

Im with you, Dan. Colston continues to amaze me. The Bucs tried to key in on him and he ended up with, what, 11 catches and a score?

The Bears, as a team, didn't lay that big of an egg. Their defense wasnt terrible (it was much better than the 31 points it gave up). 28 points for Miami came off turnovers and Miami had to drive a total of 48 yards for those 4 scores. What can you do as a defense when you start every drive inside your own red zone? Next weeks game should be interesting because the Bears schedule finally gets tough now.

Troy (Gainesville, FL) said...

You can leave, but don't go money-grubbing from a rival. That's a slap in the face of the fans.

Is that what Vinitieri did? Really? And besides, if Jeter left the Yankees in '01 because the Boss didn't want to pay him and he got more money from the Sawx, you would boo the guy who brought you 4 rings in 5 years?

nooch said...

vin is a diminishing talent who went for his payday while he could still get it. Ask any 45 year old vet from the NFL who can barely get out of bed in the morning and they will tell all the players to do the same thing. For that you cannot blame anyone.

Vin will always be a part of NE hero lore, his foot was the GAME WINNING POINTS in all 3 superbowls...for that he deserves respect, but as soon as you put on the other teams uniform you are subject to it. I don't understand why people think that you have to forever kiss the asses of those well paid stars that win championships and move on to other teams...If it wasn't important enough for him to stick around, why should it be important enough for the rest of us to keep him on that pedestal?

Sorry, but i dont think casual booing is classless...its part of being a fan, loving your team, hating the other one. Snowballs with batteries, booing Santa, or starting riots and overturning cars? that is classless...booing is harmless, and some stars would say its a sign of respect, becausee they don't boo the guys who suck for the other team. Well, except Arod.

ChrTh said...

I can't believe Dan didn't mention Adam Morrison schooling LeBron James Saturday night!

Oh wait, of course I can. Here's the salient text:

But James, who scored 35 against the Spurs, never got into a rhythm. He shot just 3-of-13 from the floor as rookie Adam Morrison kept him off balance, forcing James to get his points at the free-throw line, where he made nine of his 10 attempts.

(from the AP article)

adam said...

About the loss to the Colts, Simmons will only say it was the regular season, let's wait until January! I agree booing Winateri was the wrong reaction. Leaving for money in the NFL, were contracts are not guaranteed is understandable and the Patriots have the cap space to pay him. I just hope the Afraud and P. Manning comparsions stop.

Ken said...

Troy,

I agree, neither Vinitieri nor Damon left Boston to "... go money-grubbing from a rival." Both were thought to not be worth fair market value by their respective clubs, and thus chose to leave because they felt unwanted. The fact that they both ended up going to their former employers' biggest rivals just happens to be because the rivals realized the importance of adding a significant championship piece to their puzzle while subtracting it from said rival. If Jeter left under those circumstances, no, he would not be booed when he returned with the Sawx because we're intelligent enough to know it wouldn't be his fault. However, The Boss would never allow such an injustice to occur, so it's a moot point.

How 'bout them Cowboys?!? Haha.

Jints Season Tix Holder,

Ken

john (ann arbor, mi) said...

At this point, you're clearly just being a prick.

Last time I checked, all teams were supposed to do (USC, Auburn, etc. - until they LOST) was not lose.

Seems to me, if we were gonna cut anybody some slack, it would be a team that has played 10 games in 10 weeks, and has 2 games left, including what's looking like the biggest game in CFB history (all 10-10 ties excluded, of course...).

If you had watched a second of the game (if you had been able to), you would have seen some unfamiliar names and numbers on the blue jerseys. Are you surprised Michigan didn't pull out all the stops vs. Ball State? Did Michigan have a statement to make this week?
Give me (and Michigan) a break.

As for Louisville, I said for a month that they would beat up WVa, but I never said that would mean they were good.

28-10, Rutgers.

scar tissue said...

"and made fans forget about the increasing likelihood that Reggie Bush is Reggie Bust. "

Has this fool ever explained his hatred for Bush and Leinart? Good one Dan, write off Bush after 8 games. Claims like this are the reason you got fired from ESPN.

Gary said...

If Vinateri leaving was a slap in the face to NE, what was literally "slapping" the franchise tag on him the last two years doing?

Players feel that the franchise tag is insulting because it is basically a way for the team to cheap out on giving you a pay-day.

He was going to leave becuase of that no matter what the Pat's offered, he wanted to get his, and he did.

He must have been really pumped up for that game, cuz he doesn't normally miss those FGs...ever

Geoff-Detroit said...

Dan is just ranking Louisville ahead of Michigan to be different. I highly doubt he thinks Michigan is worse than Louisville, and if he does he is insane. Louisville is a glorified high school team.

And it is funny that he holds it against Michigan that they played a close game (a game that was way closer than the stats, as Michigan ran all over Ball State) but doesn't hold a close game against OSU. Why not just jump Louisville to #1 if their win was so impressive?

Troy (Gainesville, FL) said...

He must have been really pumped up for that game, cuz he doesn't normally miss those FGs...ever

My roommate believes that he must have known that last field goal wasn't going to matter in the final outcome, because he does not miss outcome-determining field goals. He's a nice guy; he wanted to through those fans a bone.

Troy (Gainesville, FL) said...

Why not just jump Louisville to #1 if their win was so impressive?

Actually, yes. If Dan wants to be consistent, Louisville probably ahs to be #1 or #3. Because really, what has Ohio State done that is more impressive than what Michigan has done? And don't give me Texas--they're about as good as ND, so that cancels out. And OSU didn't get 'Sconsin.

ChrTh said...

what has Ohio State done that is more impressive than what Michigan has done?

--Um, beat 3 top 25 teams in the first month of the season
--Won every game (before Illinois, of course) by at least 17
--Embarassed Iowa at Iowa on National TV
--I'm sorry, Notre Dame is nowhere close to being at Texas' level. Texas wouldn't have needed a comeback at MSU.

ChrTh said...

(continued)

I will concede the Wisconsin point, however.

The thing is, everyone talks about the UM defense, but by pretty much every category the OSU ranks better. That's what makes no sense to me.

FreKy J said...

Week 10 of my CFB Ladder Rankings is up. Go have a look and enjoy. Louisville has taken a 7 rating point lead over Michigan for the #2 spot. The ladder agrees with you, Dan.

Brian in Oxford said...

Franchise tags still require that a player get paid the average of the top 5 in the league for that year, right. (not exactly a slap)

Yeah, I tried to gloss over the Jets in there....but they do tend to pesky. Best part for the Bears is that they'll be used to the conditions from the week before. (Not that the Bears aren't used to gusty winds, but the familiarity in NJ probably won't hurt.)

I turned off Ohio St-Illinois at 17-0...didn't realize it got as close as it did.

The one thing about the polls is that it's not like each step along the rankings is cast in stone until you lose. Dan probably IS being a bit goofy voting Louisville over Michigan, but the point made is that Michigan doesn't *automatically* get to stay 2 just because they *were* 2 last week. But John's right, Michigan shouldn't have to make a statement each and every week. (The counterargument then, is, the win still should look a little better than THAT.)

Hey, is this "plus one" bowl they're doing now locked into Arizona? Where's it going to be in future years? How about a cold bowl? Soldier Field, maybe?

Mikepcfl said...

Dan, you are missing the biggest story of the weekend...Doogie Howser is gay! Who would have thought it.

Big D said...

On the Vinateri point:

"He was going to leave becuase of that no matter what the Pat's offered, he wanted to get his, and he did."

Yup. Although, "getting his" equated to roughly about an extra $500k per year. Admittedly, that's more than I'll make in ten years of work, but in the world of pro football, I can't imagine it's all that much.

Especially when you figure in the two or three endorsement contracts Vinateri had in the greater New England area (Papa Gino's Pizza, Bernie & Phyl's Furniture, etc). The difference was probably closer to about $300k/yr.

Not chump change, but not exactly the bank-busting number other players (Patten, Givens, McGinest, Law, Milloy) have left town for.

Greg said...

Step 1. TO catches touchdown pass
Step 2. TO celebrates
Step 3. TO gets chewed out by Parcells for celebrating
Step 4. TO drops a sure TD when he was behind two defenders and smiles it off.

Anyone think TO is doing this intentionally? He didn't have the dropsies in 2004 or 2005 (when he was playing).

-Greg, admitted bitter Philly fan/conspiracy theorist

Lance A Boyle said...

I find it amusing that everyone seems to have already forgotten the fluke manner in which the Chicago Bears beat Arizona on MNF just a couple of weeks ago. It's no surprise that the Dolphins beat an over-hyped over-rated Bears team. When Rex Grossman is not playing out of his mind, as he did the first few weeks of the season, they are a mediocre team.

And I loved how, at the end of the Colts-Patriots game last night, John Madden said (paraphrasing): "I don't care how good your team is and how bad the opponent is, it's impossible to win in the NFL if you turn the ball over five times." He, too, obviously forgot the Chicago-Arizona game.

H said...

Troy (Gainesville, FL) and Ken, are you guys really gonna sit there and say that if Jeter had left the Yankees for a bigger contract with the Red Sox, that he wouldn't get booed upon his return to Yankees Stadium. Come on. I'll admit that Boston fans can be tough on players, but dudes, New York?? They were booiung their own player this year and they would sit there silently or cheering if a player defected to their biggest rival? puh-lease.

I've met Vinatieri, he's a very nice guy. I'm glad he got his payday and I wish him and his family all the best of luck, except when he plays the Pats. I was cheering when he missed those FGs and if I was at the stadium I would boo him. But if I saw him out in public, I would shake his hand and wish him luck the rest of the year. It's all part of the game.

ndyanksfan05 said...

So ND can't have close games against big ten opponents but OSU can and its ok? What's that about chrth? And Iowa is not a good football team by any stretch of the imagination. ND embarrassed Penn State on national TV and you would say the same thing about Penn State...OSU is sick and ND is not at their level right now but be consistent in your critiques.

Benny said...

Okay we can't really call Reggie a total bust yet. For this season maybe. But not for his career. He has not lived up to expectations but it is his rookie year.

He just looked so good in college we all assume he'd easily make the transition.

Sure some rookie RB's are doing very well right now. Mulroney, Addai, Jones-Drew to name a few.

There was a rookie in 1998 that was 3-13 and threw for 28 interceptions. He also had a laser rocket arm.

So let's all wait and see before we write off Reggie.

thebestsportsblog.com

FutureLegendVinceYoung said...

I thought Madden made a great point in the 4th Quarter when the Pats were inside the Colts 20 and that was Brady does not have a WR that he is comfortable with in that situation. Manning on the other hand has 2 in Wayne and Harrison. That catch by Harrison was AWESOME.

Dan calling Reggie Bush a bust after 8 games is just how he is. He has his players, coaches or teams that if they lose or do not produce he likes to jump all over them. It probably comes from not being very good at sports growing up and being the kid that took a beating in dodge ball. I think once Bush learns that he has to be a more aggresive runner and hit the hole instead of dancing around he will start to put up numbers. For some reason he thinks he can dance around and try to create something like he did in college. Bush may be a great athlete but every NFL team is loaded with athletes that are similar to Bush.

Big D said...

@ h:

"I was cheering when he missed those FGs and if I was at the stadium I would boo him."


Yeah, the cheering at my house got a little out of hand on the second Vinateri FG miss. I made the mistake of jumping...

...and having my knee collapse under me (again) when I landed.

At least I was semi-blinded by pain as the game ended. Thank God for Aspirin and my never ending supply of knee braces.

Gary said...

Where are all the Mario Williams haters these days? He will win Defensive ROY, he is a very solid pass rusher and right now it looks like the Texans made the right pick (right now anyway). We can talk in 3 years

Anonymous said...

Key takeaways from Pats/Colts "Game of the Century":

1. Freeney is damn good. 2 of Brady's picks were ricochets, meaning he was probably rushing his throws, and Freeney was in his face multiple times. No sacks, iirc, but Brady felt his presence. And Madden said that they had their DEs spinning all week in practice to help the O-line block Freeney, so I think he must have gotten into the Patriots' heads a bit. He's clearly the new Sapp, minus the spare tire and the motormouth (Yes, he only has .5 sacks this year and he's probably the reason they can't defend the run but games are won with the late pass rush).
2. Manning still can't call his own plays. Until the last 3 minutes, he didn't call any runs except on 1st down, and the pats knew it, going run on 1st and pass on 2nd and 3rd. He never calls runs twice in a row - so after a run, the Pats just teed off on the O-line. Their running game might not be bad, it's just their play calling is too obvious, Manning calls his own plays, btw.
BUT:
3. Manning is freaking untouchable. He might be the best pure passer ever. Everyone on the best defense in the NFL knew he was going to pass on 3rd down, and he still forced it in there, even when someone blitzed unblocked. I couldn't believe it.

I think maybe he knows he's being obvious with this playcalling and he wants to win with "honest" hard work, i.e., we're running and you know it and we're still going to run it, we're passing and you know it and we're still going to pass. If Belicheck coached this same team, they'd probably be undefeated in multiple seasons.
BUT:
4. Belicheck will figure his offense out. Madden even noticed that if they had just run the ball constantly, they would have kept scoring. It was like Belicheck had Mike Martz on his staff. It was ugly how he stuck with the passing game, like they had something to prove.

I'm not sure this means that the Colts are better. Vinatieri certainly doesn't look better than Vanderjagt. The Colts' coaching staff has to make sure that Manning mixes up his play-calling more in the playoffs. I'm not sure their defense will hold, either, but with all those picks against the best-schemed offense in the NFL, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

Their record means that they're the best, but I think we can all still see a playoff collapse in the future. I'm thrilled the Bills get them in a potential letdown game next week! I hope the A-train has some miles left on the odometer.

nyc-steelers fan said...

Missed the marathon, unfortunately; one of my fave events of the year; although I did get caught up in some Horrific related traffic on my way in from LGA yesterday afternoon, and I live EAST of 1st ave...

As for AI and the sixers, everyone wrote them off this year, because they supposedly didn't add anyone (and because they didn't trade AI), but actually they did about the best thing you can do when you have a bunch of young guys, which is stand pat, and let them develop a little chemistry, rather than trying to get some flashy band-aid. One thing I know from 30 years of watching sports, is that talent alone won't win for you. I think Mo Cheeks has the right idea of trying to get his team comfortable together. Not like some other noted former players/now coaches of atlantic division teams, who make that division the sorriest in all of sports (hey shanoff, how's that instant history after the knickers barely beat a depleted grizzlies team in the first game of the year treating you...).

Mike said...

Hey, Dan, you didn't watch Football Night in America, did you? They went totally TO and didn't show ANYTHING from the ending of the Cowboys-Skins game, which was a travesty.

Ben said...

MArio Williams hasn't been bad this year, but he's not even the best DE rookie this year, let alone the best overall defensive rookie. Demeco Ryans has played better, and Elvis Dumerville who didn't even play in the 1st 4 games, has 6 sacks in the last 4. He's my darkhorse sleeper for defensive ROY, and he's on a winning team so he'll be on national tv every week.

Richard said...

DS,

I think you're missing the biggest story of the College football season:

Wake Forest is 8-1

(waiting a minute to let everyone digest that)

Are you shitting me? Wake is 8-1? You mean to tell me that Wake Forest could end up in the Orange Bowl??? What is the world coming to?

You've spent so much time (and maybe rightfully so) slamming Miami and Florida State, that you're forgetting the big story is Wake Forest.

This is kind of like how you were talking about the Red Sox choke job during the Marlins run in the baseball season.

Now if Wake does get to the Orange Bowl it's really going to piss me off being a GT alum and all, but what they're doing is impressive. Give Jim Grobe NCAA coach of the year right now.

Trayton Otto said...

At least we know that the Skins-Cowboys game will be on NFL Replay, so those of us depending on the NBC coverage to show us the ending can see the insanity.

Troy (Gainesville, FL) said...

Are you really gonna sit there and say that if Jeter had left the Yankees for a bigger contract with the Red Sox, that he wouldn't get booed upon his return to Yankees Stadium.

What I meant was: that would be the same situation as the current Vinatieri thing and I think most people would agree booing Jeter in that situation would be pretty bad. At least one NY fan on here says they'd never have booed him, but it doesn't matter--the point is there's no way they should, just like there's no way Vinatieri should get booed. I mean, come on.

And undefeated Rutgers isn't at least as surprising as 8-1 Wake?

Richard said...

Well, Wake has played the tough part of the schedule and Rutgers hasn't. Besides, Rutgers was pretty good going into the year while Wake was supposedly a doormat.

Gary said...

Wake has three tough games left. Rutgers has two.

Both are great stories. Granted Rutgers did make a bowl last year, but it's still Rutgers, not really a bastion of athletic prowess.

Wake at least wins in golf, baseball and basketball occasionally (and Field Hockey from what I hear)

I think the Deacs play Florida State, Maryland and Virginia Tech...not really a cupcake sked.

Rutgers plays Lousiville, WVU, Syracuse and Cincy. Two easy two really tough. (and not in that order)

Anyway, I think Rutgers running the table would be a much bigger story than Wake making a BCS bowl. But if not for the Knights, Wake would take the cake (and that's not fake...)

ChrTh said...


So ND can't have close games against big ten opponents but OSU can and its ok? What's that about chrth? And Iowa is not a good football team by any stretch of the imagination. ND embarrassed Penn State on national TV and you would say the same thing about Penn State...OSU is sick and ND is not at their level right now but be consistent in your critiques.


I wasn't comparing ND to OSU. I was comparing OSU to Michigan, and secondarily comparing ND to Texas.

But since you brought it up, OSU completely manhandled MSU, whereas ND needed them to shit the bed to win.

Feel better now?

Ken said...

h,

Like I said, it's a moot point - some franchises wouldn't even dream of seeing a franchise player in another uniform (of course they have yet to sign Bernie for one final year).

- Ken

john (ann arbor, mi) said...

chrth -

Did you just act like OSU beat better teams than Michigan beat, just because those teams were ranked better earlier in the season (before they met a Top 5 team and lost)?

You do realize that Michigan beat a #2 team, plus Iowa, plus Penn State, this year, right?

Also - Wisconsin is in the Top 25 now.

Wow, I didn't even realize it until just now, but Michigan has a great claim to #1, even before Nov. 18. Thanks for making that ridiculous argument!

Ken said...

8-0 Rutgers might not be as surprising as 8-1 Wake, but 9-0 Rutgers will be. We'll see where the "experts" rank 9-0 Rutgers next week - shouldn't they replace Louisville at #3, with the inside track to the National Championship Game?

ND continues to get screwed - WVU loses and falls to 10th, so does ND get moved up one spot to 8th (like everyone else between them and Louisville was moved up)? Nope, instead they're jumped by Cal. When did winning by at least 14 over Penn State, Purdue, Stanford and North Carolina, winning close games over Georgia Tech, Michigan State and UCLA, and losing to Michigan - all of which are BCS Conference teams - become a crime? How is that any different than the conference schedules of the other one-loss teams (the possible exception being the SEC)? That's certainly not any weaker of a schedule than anybody in the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12 or PAC-10, yet Texas, USC and now Cal have all supposedly played tougher schedules and/or been more impressive? The ND bias swings both ways. I guess we'll see what the final bias is in three weekds after the Irish win in L.A. to finish 11-1.

Mark said...

Agreed about the classlessness of NE booing Vinatieri. (It's not what fans do, it's what NY and NE fans do).

Agreed that Michigan is clearly NOT the #2.

Agreed that the Steelers season is over.

Agreed that the Colts' season is meaningless without a Super Bowl.

Disagree that the Dolphins were the surprise victor yesterday. Nick Saban motivates them one week, lets them reel the next. I had a feeling this might be one of those motivated weeks.

Not sure if it's time to reconsider ND's overall ranking though...

ndyanksfan05 said...

But since you brought it up, OSU completely manhandled MSU, whereas ND needed them to shit the bed to win.

Good point - While we're at it, Rutgers and Syracuse both beat up Illinois, so that puts them up there with OSU as OSU narrowly escaped the fightin Illini this weekend, right?

ndyanksfan05 said...

Michigan did not play well against Ball State, but OSU played terrible and barely won against Illinois (if the Illini player didn't barely step out of bounds at the end he had a shot at taking that to the house). So why not drop OSU? What has OSU done that Michigan hasn't and why are they so damn invincible in the rankings while everyone else is subject to the justifiable critiques based on how well they play in their victories. Troy Smith goes 12-23 for 100 yds and a pick and its ok because the team fought through and won despite the performance (side heisman rant). ND struggles against UCLA and they are ripped to shreds in the media and the polls. Michigan struggles and are ripped apart. OSU struggles and everything is fine.

I've said it once and I'll say it again - I don't care what your sports bias is or what teams you love, just show some consistency when you judge them. You can't argue that a team squeaking one out against a bad team is a positive for one team and a damning offense for another.

ndyanksfan05 said...

ken is my hero...

ChrTh said...


Good point - While we're at it, Rutgers and Syracuse both beat up Illinois, so that puts them up there with OSU as OSU narrowly escaped the fightin Illini this weekend, right?


Nope. There's one reason for this. I work under the forward-improvement theory.

Basically, teams get better as the season progresses. The exception is when either the team quits on the coach or when a star player (usually QB) gets injured.

Take Wake Forest for example. They barely beat Duke in September. I called them the worst 3-0 team in history after they barely squeaked by UConn.

Yet now they're beating BC. Honestly, I root for them, and I'm boggled by this. I still expect them to finish 8-4 (you can understand why; I mean, we're talking about a team that hadn't won in November since 2003), but they're obviously getting better.

Now, I know what you're thinking, and the answer is, not every team gets better at the same rate. Some teams (I'm thinking OSU, UM, USC, and ND for this season) start off pretty much at their max; they're not going to improve by much as the season goes on. These teams are characterized by returning starters (especially QB) (ND, UM, OSU) or by coaches with strong systems that allow the teams to play at their max (USC). Other teams (I'm thinking UT especially) will get better as the season progresses and new QBs step up or defenses come together, etc.

I would definitely include Illinois in that latter category. People are talking up Wisconsin: UW only beat Illinois by 6 a week earlier.

So what's my point in all of this? Well, I never like comparing September games to November games. But more importantly, I watched the OSU-Illinois game. I saw what their defense did in the second half. And I'll bet you dollars-to-donuts that it wouldn't be 33-0 if Rutgers and Illinois met again this week.

I'd also bet you dollars-to-donuts that if OSU played Texas again, it'd be a lot closer. Both Texas and Illinois have improved as the season has gone on.

As for Michigan, guys, I think Michigan is an excellent team. I believe they deserve to be #2 easily. But I've watched almost as many UM games as I've watched OSU games, and I honestly don't think UM is as good as OSU. Do I think UM is better than Louisville? Hell yeah. Do I think OSU will win easy? Of course not. But right now I'd have to pick OSU to win. And don't think I'm discounting UM because of the Ball State game. I'm not. Heck, I haven't even looked at the stats/recap yet. Am I surprised by the result? Well, yeah. But who wouldn't be?

One other thing that plays in favor of UM and OSU (to the detriment of ND, sorry) is that games where the 'better' team lets the other team get close is evaluated differently than games in which the 'better' team has to come back to win. OSU or UM go up by 17 points, they're going to get lax. It's in the nature of superior teams, and I don't penalize them for it. On the other hand, if the 'better' team has to scramble back from 10 down in the 4th quarter to win, then that hurts them. Obviously, in a matchup of even-strength teams that's not going to--it'll reflect positively. But when a 9-2 team has to come back from 10 down against a 3-7 team, that doesn't reflect kindly on the 9-2 team.

I hope everyone understands where I'm coming from after all that.

Kurt said...

How about this for an idea: We all just agree that each of us is a homer for his/her own teams and nothing will change our minds. That way NDYanksFan and Chrth dont have to go back and forth for 20 posts about Notre Dame and OSU.

Also, how about we all agree that 95% of the things Dan says are to provoke blog readers into commenting, not because he actually believes them. That way we can save the "Dan you are an idiot" posts, and just ignore him and maybe he will stop with the instant history garbage when he realized nobody wants to respond to it anymore. Or just hold him accountable when every prediction he makes is wrong, and rip him a new ass.

Of course if we didnt remind Dan he's a moron or bicker among ourselves about our teams, no one would post on this blog and Dan would realize he's unemployed and spending his time posting on a blog nobody reads or cares about.

And we wouldn't want that now would we. So bicker away.

Anonymous said...

Ohio State and Michigan were both caught looking ahead. Neither team can be blamed for being conservative, either, but Martyball will kill you every time.

Having said that, If Louisville wins out, they should absolutely be in the Championship game. That's why title games exist: to match teams that don't normally meet (remember baseball before intra-league play?). After OSU/Michigan, I'm sure the losing team will be envious of Louisville, should they go undefeated. But they already lost to OSU/Michigan, so let it go. What's the point in ranking them 1-2 while there's another undefeated team in the poll, and they have to play each other? If Louisville doesn't go undefeated, then make OSU/M 1-2 or vice versa, but for now, Louisville has a better chance at the Championship game that Michigan. Not because Louisville is better than Michigan (we'll probably never know in this BCS system) but because Louisville has a better chance to go undefeated than Michigan. Because there's no one on Louisville's schedule like OSU. If Rutgers does undefeated, then you don't need to do this, because team quality and win quality mean something, but there's no chink in Louisville's armor as of yet. WVU is as real as any team in the top 10.

The games this week didn't prove anything, except that 18 year olds are overconfident and easily distracted.

ChrTh said...

Is anyone else looking forward to Dan bitching about UF not getting all the #1 votes in the AP Poll tomorrow?

H said...

Ken, it is not a moot point when Dan and others are calling me and my fellow New Englad fans classless. If booing returning athletes was exclusive to New Englad, then I'd accept it. But it isn't. It is done to returning athletes all the time. If Vinatieri had been traded or not offered a contract by the Pats he owuld not have been booed. It was the fact that he went to the biggest rival for simply more money. Same reason why Damon got booed. Not because he left for more money, but because he went to the one team he was on the record as saying he would never play for.

Troy, maybe you're right and it shouldn't happen in any of those situations, but it does happen, and not just in Boston/New England. That was my point.

Mark, I was watching a hockey game a couple weeks back (i know its not a favorite sport amon the readers of this blog but bear with me), where Marc Savard, now playing for the Bruins, returned to Atlanta for the first time and played his former team. And their fans booed every time Savard touched the puck. But you're right, it only happens in new york or boston. get real

To all of you, I'm not saying that it is right or fair to boo an athlete for taking more money. Hell, if I offered you $4000 for your shoes, you'd walk home barefoot, so would I. My only real point is that this stuff isn't exclusive to my area and feloow fans, so don't get all high and mighty on us when next week it could be your fellow fans who are unfairly booing someone.

Richard said...

I'm thinking these are my bowl matchups:

Championship: Michigan vs. Louisville

Rose: USC vs. Ohio State

Orange: Georgia Tech vs. Boise State

Sugar: Florida vs. Notre Dame

Fiesta: Texas vs. Auburn

Only because I think Boise runs the table, Michigan beats Ohio State, and the BCS people don't force a ND/GT rematch or have GT play Auburn another year.

ChrTh said...

I was saying boo-urns.

rafael said...

Meh. OSU has had one bad game this year.

Michigan has had a few..as has everyone else. Simple enough.

I think Ohio State beats Michigan by 13 (30 - 17) and plays Texas for the title.

Michael said...

Booing former players isn't just a New England thing. And it does depend on the circumstances surrounding the player's departure.
Another hockey (sorry) example, from Detroit:
Sergei Fedorov gets booed everytime he touches the puck against Detroit. And he didn't even go to a rival in the real sense of the word (Anaheim, now Columbus). Darren McCarty gets cheered. Brendan Shanahan will probably be cheered as well, although with the stupid NHL scheduling, we may never know.

Anonymous said...

sweet chocolate christ who cares about the 1/2 spot in the BCS? The winner on 11/18 in Columbus goes to Glendale.

Someone asked earlier about a "snow bowl" I'm pretty sure that the NC bowl rotates among the 4 BCS bowl sites just like it used to do, so there will be no chance of Florida playing USC in Green Bay.

The Pats are about 7.5 mil under the cap this year, so don't get mad at Vin for leaving, get mad at bob kraft for wanting more cash on hand to pump into the MLS team or line his pockets.

Vanderjagt is a moron. He completely sells out the rest of the special teams for getting his kick blocked which "he knew from his years of expert chokery was good". Funny how he wants none of the blame when he just clean misses a kick because he's a headcase, but he is quick to point the finger on a block.

Ken said...

h,

I said the Jeter argument was a moot point, not that you and your fellow New England fans are classless was a moot point.

I also never said (or implied) that you were classless, just that booing either of those two athletes wasn't necessarily called for.

You're correct, booing returning athletes is universal and not exclusive to New England. Either way, I still hate the Sox.

- Ken

marcomarco said...

it does happen, and not just in Boston/New England.

Giambi in Oakland
Arod in Texas
Mussina in Baltimore
Clemens everywhere (Tor, Bos, NY)


Standing O's:
Bledsoe's return with the Bills
Pedro's return with the Mets
Cabrera's return with the Angels
Derek Lowe
Dave Roberts
Doug Flutie

The day Nomar steps back in Fenway will dwarf them all.

Brian in Oxford said...

Did anyone see espn.com has now moved hockey further down the toolbar, not just past nascar, but past the irl?

seems espn only pimps the games it actually shows....

kingofsmoke said...

The only thing is W Virginia is not ranked three anymore. So there win is not as good as Ohio St's win against Texas.

Theo said...

Sixers rule? Thanks for the East Coast Bias, Dan. Sure, I sound like a homer, but who thought the Jazz would be 3-0 after playing Houston, Phoenix, and Golden State? If they beat the Pistons tonight, I demand respect.

What we have learned from this weekend in football: turnovers can ruin anyone (Bears, Patriots, West Virginia).

ShackII said...

Colts are No. 1: It's meaningless unless the Colts (finally) win the Super Bowl, but for now, they might be content simply being the NFL's No. 1 team."

Putting the cart before the horse, aren't we, Dan. Let's start with the Colts winning the AFC Championship first. Then let winning the Super Bowl talk commence.

jen said...

Update: This has been one of those "If you think you know ANYTHING about the NFL, you don't" kind of days: Dolphins over Bears? Lions over Falcons? Anyone -- anyone?!


Uhhh, yeah....I went 1-12 in my football pool yesterday. I fall right into this category! Geez! At least I took Houston over the Giants. They were my saving grace.

Biggest.Embarrassment.

Seb Pho said...

Your comment is way off the mark about Steeler fans. I hope we lose out and get the #1 overall pick. This season is down the drain, who cares if we win another game? It only hurts our draft pick status.

jen said...

Meant to say "Biggest.Family.Embarrassment." to follow TMQ style.

H said...

Ken, I literally laughed out loud at the last line of your post. Well played, sir! lol

And I know you didn't call me classless, bro, That's why I said Dan and others.

EPorvaznik said...

>>If you had watched a second of the game (if you had been able to), you would have seen some unfamiliar names and numbers on the blue jerseys. Are you surprised Michigan didn't pull out all the stops vs. Ball State? Did Michigan have a statement to make this week? Give me (and Michigan) a break.>>

I certainly applaud Carr's classy (and non-Buckeye) moves, Josh, but welcome to the wacky world of voters who only pay attention to the final score. I raise a glass to you guys joining the club.

Generik said...

Madden needs to go.. Listening to him Sunday night was absurd. What was all this "Wam" shit he was talking about? And the best quote was something like "Worst case, they turn the ball over, best case they get a touchdown, and second best they kick the field goal." WTF!!! SHUT UP MADDEN!

Curtis (Indy) said...

Quit saying Vinateri left for the money. He did NOT. The Patriots being the arrogant pricks they are didn't offer him a contract. So by all your idiotic theory's his only option was to retire. It's laughable for anyone west of oh say Ohio to listen to all the journalists and especially ESPN talk about the greatness known as the Patriots. The Colts and any other team that challenges the Patriots will always be deemed as untouchable to be dissed. The Colts were in a no win situation. If they lose then it's the whole oh the Patriots have their number and Manning chokes in a big game talk. They win and it's oh that wasn't a big game let's see it done in the playoff. It's absolute crap to listen to and even more crap to still hear people talk about how great Brady is. I know ESPN has made him the golden boy, but face facts. No less then 5 QB's in the NFL would have won championships the same years the Patriots did if you put them on that team. The Patriots were a great defensive team and good offensive team and very well coached team. Teams like the Colts and others didn't have the talent on BOTH sides to match them. You're crazy if you think Manning on the Patriots doesn't win more regular season games and win the super bowls that Brady did. Brady is a good QB, not a great one. Not one on the level of the all-time greats. Marino, Elway, Montana and Manning. He's just not in league.

I've had the great priviledge to watch Reggie Miller and Peyton Manning in my lifetime. Manning will go down as one of the greatest QB's of all-time and I take great pleasure in knowing I've been able to watch on tv and occassionally go and watch him play. The day Reggie Miller retired was one of the saddest days of my life and I expect similar emotions when Manning retires. I doubt from the reaction to Vinateri that Brady will get a similar response when he retires.

H said...

Curtis, if you are gonna say ESPN and the media make Brady their Golden Boy (and I'll listen to the argument) Then you have to be willing to except that they make Manning their Golden God. No QB is as hyped as Manning for having won absolutely nothing. I like Manning, I think he is a good QB and it is inevitable that he will lead a team to a Super Bowl, but the media definitely have at least an equal man crush on him as they do Brady. I'm a Pats fan and I've never seen any home videos of Tom Brady. How many of Manning have you seen this season alone? And it is relevant that Brady has one 3 rings to none for Manning. If they swtiched teams, their careers likely would be the reverse with Manning having the rings. But the fact is up until the 2005 playoffs, it was always Manning making the mistakes in the big game. And until the Colts win a big one in January, that will be part of the equation in judging him, fair or not.