Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday 12/10 A.M. Quickie:
Pats, Fins, Tebow, 1-AA, Vick, More!

Today's Names to Know: Patriots, Dolphins, Tom Brady, Sage Rosenfels, Tim Tebow, Darren McFadden, Armanti Edwards, Michael Vick, Eric Gagne, Chris Bosh, Dayton hoops, Paul Johnson and More!

NFL: It's coming down to perfection. The Pats are 13-0, marching to 19-0. The Dolphins are 0-13, stumbling to 0-16. Except for "your team" (whether they are real or the fantasy version), everything else in the middle is rather irrelevant.

Why? Because every time the Pats take on one of the so-called "contenders" of the AFC, they destroy them. Yesterday, they throttled the Steelers, with Tom Brady throwing for 400 yards and 4 TDs. (I was shocked to hear the Pats were actually motivated by the Steelers' so-called "guarantee." Really? They can't self-motivate at this point?)

So between Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and the Chargers, the Pats have already beaten every other division leader in the AFC, not to mention the Cowboys, representing the best of the NFC. The Pats are left to compete with history.

Looking ahead to next week, the Pats host the Jets in the highly anticipated follow-up game to the Pats' cheating incident at the beginning of the season. Given that it was the Jets who turned in the Pats to the NFL, it could be "mercy rule" territory.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins were crushed by the Bills, putting them one loss next week to the Ravens from tying the legendary 1976 Bucs for futility. (It won't matter if Miami can win one of its final two games, but the symbolism of 0-14 will be strong enough.)

More NFL: Three games to play in the regular season and playoff jockeying is beginning to take some shape. (Again: Not that it matters this season. Whoopee: Your team made the playoffs. They're not beating winning the Super Bowl, unless you're a Pats fan.)

Packers clinch NFC North, not that that should qualify Brett Favre for something like SI Sportsman of the Year (Hunh? What? REALLY?)...

The Vikings are in 6th in the NFC playoff chase and hold their playoff fate in their hands. (Didn't I take a ton of abuse before the season started for picking them to make the playoffs?)

So do the Browns: If the season ended today, Cleveland, amazingly, would have the 6th spot in the AFC playoffs (NO one saw that coming).

Cowboys come from behind to roll along to 12-1 (see above for why this doesn't matter in the "Super Bowl champs" scheme of things)...

If the Jags played in the NFC, they would be considered strong contenders to win the conference...

Milestone Watch: Peyton Manning became the fifth QB ever to reach 300 career TD passes. Hardly a stretch to say he'll end his career as the all-time leader.

Fantasy Hindsight: Were you smart enough to start Sage Rosenfels? Come on: It was only the fantasy playoffs! (Related: Oh, great, NOW Jay Cutler throws 4 TDs; where was that when before I was eliminated from playoff contention?)

Heisman: See yesterday's post for my (over-enthusiastic) comments about Tim Tebow winning the Heisman. In summary (and a bit more measured): Breaking the "Class Ceiling" for every great young player who came before or will come afterward is the highlight.

It also makes for fascinating tracking over the next two years: Between his Offensive MVP role on a national title team a year ago and his Heisman Trophy this season, Tebow has put himself in a unique "all-time" historical position -- IF he can win more Heismans, more national titles... or both.

(Meanwhile, congrats to Darren McFadden for his back-to-back runner-up finishes. He is one of the greatest talents fans have ever seen take the field. Can't wait to see how he looks in a Patriots uniform. Cripes: It'll be a joke.)

I think we will find out later, with some hindsight, that this Heisman ballot was special: An all-time Top 10 college QB and an all-time Top 10 college RB.

Can Tebow win a second straight Heisman next year? Remember the last player to have a shot: Matt Leinart was competing with Vince Young and his own electrifying teammate Reggie Bush, whom he eventually lost to.

Who will Tebow be competing with? McFadden will be long-gone to the NFL, as will record-breaking QB Colt Brennan. On the other hand, the short list includes Pat White, Chase Daniel and Percy Harvin.

(Hmm: Like Leinart, Tebow will be competing with a dynamic title-contending dual-threat QB -- two of them, actually -- and a teammate with skills even more telegenic than his own. This is a lot like Leinart, except presumably without the dancing, virility and general douchebaggery.)

If you didn't see (or contribute to) Saturday's post about your personal favorite college football player of all time, check it out... and send in your own. It's a fascinating list we put together. (You won't be surprised who I picked, but other people's picks will amaze.)

More CFB: 1-AA Playoffs! The playoffs that most college football fans SAY they want, but when it comes time to actually watch (or even follow them from a distance), they don't follow through. Anyway...

It'll be Delaware vs. Appalachian State in the title game. What a fitting end to the season for App State, after the way they started it with that defining-moment win (or was it just ultimate foreshadowing) at Michigan.

The two-time defending 1-AA national champs (cripes, can we please lose the "FCS" label?) are one win away from an unprecedented three-peat. App QB Armanti Edwards set a 1-AA record for QBs with 313 rushing yards (including 4 rushing TDs), while throwing for 182 yards and another 3 TDs. It might just have been the most dominating performance by any player – at any level – this season in college football.

Vick Watch: Michael Vick will be sentenced today by a federal judge. The expectation is that he'll get 18 months, but you never know: Maybe the judge will go a little batty and give Vick 5 years.

(Great timing: The Falcons host the Saints on Monday Night Football; needless to say, this game won't be breaking the all-time cable viewing record that last week's Pats-Ravens did.)

MLB Hot Stove: How is Eric Gagne worth $10 million a year? The Brewers overpaid... Milton Bradley is bringing his Funhouse of Crazy to the Rangers... LaTroy Hawkins is a great pick-up for the Yankees, who really needed the middle-relief help... Legal experts say Barry Bonds could play the entire 2008 season without having to deal with a trial (it would still be hanging over his head). Any takers?... Thanks for the name-check, Dugout boys. Hilarious as ever.

NBA Weekend Recap: Shots fired at Jamal Tinsley? Yikes... Sunday: Chris Bosh came back from injury to have 21 and 10 in a Raptors win over the Rockets... Saturday: After racking up NBA Rookie of the Month in November, Al Horford may be on his way to a second straight ROY award... Friday: Wild scoring battle between Kevin Durant (35 points) and Michael Redd (41 points)... Fantasy Waiver Watch: Rudy Gay.

College Hoops Recap: Congrats to Dayton on a huge legitimizing win over No. 11 Louisville... Even without Eric Gordon, Indiana crushed struggling Kentucky... Duke and Kansas both roll at home over "name" non-conference opponents (Michigan and DePaul, respectively)... Intriguing: Michigan State went to BYU and beat the Cougars...

CFB Coaching Carousel: Navy's Paul Johnson to Georgia Tech. If he had just waited a few more days, he probably could have gotten a Michigan offer (and would have done a hell of a job with it, too). Doesn't going to Georgia Tech feel a little like Johnson short-sold himself?

Meanwhile, UCLA needs to hire Norm Chow: UCLA is apparently down to a short list that includes Steve Mariucci (ugh), Boise State's Chris Petersen (hmm) and Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow (absolutely the most inspired pick).

More College: Congrats to USC, whose women's soccer team defeated Florida State for the NCAA title.

Obituary: Jon Barkan, 39. A rarely cited part of my professional biography was a 1-year stint I had at (then I was based in SI's office in New York, but the main office was out of CNN HQ in Atlanta, with a really terrific, talented bunch of people. One of them was Jon Barkan, a huge personality and true sports fan -- who passed away late last week of a heart attack at the tragically young age of 39, survived by a wife and three young children. Heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

-- D.S.


Tripp Daniels said...

I'd have to say that my favorite NCAAFB player of all time is probably Larry Fitzgerald. Yeah, yeah, I'm a WVU fan but the guy was a complete class act. Not only did he make mind-boggling receptions, but he also acted like he had been there before. No bragging, no showboating, he just flipped the ball to the ref and went back to the sidelines.

My favorite WVU player of my lifetime would have to be Amos Zereoue.

Smallest Plutino said...

Don't forget (OK, you never knew) that I-AA Delaware beat I-A Navy (coached by the praised coach Paul Johnson) at Navy on October 27.

Of course, after what Navy did the next week at South Bend, they forgot about that I-AA inconvenience.

Jared said...

Glad to have Vince Young pushing the Browns into the playoffs. Overhyped last year, showing it this year.

Jingoist said...

I was shocked to hear the Pats were actually motivated by the Steelers' so-called "guarantee." Really? They can't self-motivate at this point?

Interestingly enough, Tom Brady was just on WEEI talking about the motivation thing. He made a good point... after 14 NFL weeks, 85 or so practices, and just mentally draining schedule, it helps to have idiots like Smith talk trash and give them something to get up about. His point was, it is a long season and you need to find ways to keep it going.

He went on to point out that it wasn't so much the "guarantee" that pissed them off, but rather that it was a 2nd-year nobody like Smith, who has accomplished nothing in his short career, who was talking smack. Brady said, if it were Parker, or Polomalu or such, he'd have no problem with it because they have accomplished things already.

Pretty astute if you ask me.

Boomhauertjs said...

Thanks Dan for giving the UD Flyers some props!

My favorite college player was Rusty Mederis. He was a d-lineman at "the U" who was a dominating force until a terrible knee injury basically ended his career. He would've been a star in the NFL.

Unknown said...

"Why? Because every time the Pats take on one of the so-called "contenders" of the AFC, they destroy them."

It's fun to see Dan find a new bandwagon to jump all over. I believe the Pats beat the Colts by four, in a game that the Colts dominated for the first 45 minutes and could have easily won. An impressive, quality win? Absolutely, Destruction? Hardly.

Unfortunately, without Freeney, I think America's best chance for derailing the Pats juggernaut will come up a little short.

hutlock said...

Maybe someone knows the answer to this one:

So if Ohio State goes on to beat LSU and win the BCS National Championship,

and App State goes on to win the National Championship at the FCS level as well,


I so hope so. That would be just hilarious. Go Buckeyes!

evan said...

Ed Reed is definitely my favorite college player to watch aside from Tebow doing it this year.

He's like a solo version of the Pats in putting up huge numbers without looking like it's an extreme effort. Gators next year, my Canes...looks like about never.

David Kippe said...

As a college football fan, this is a story I think you will appreciate. The University of East Carolina is playing in the Aloha Bowl in Hawaii this year. The game is 4300 miles away from the campus and the trip is mad expensive. The school is allotted 20,000 tickets, and only about 300 fans are expected to make the trip. Sooooooooo...........the fans, alumni, students, etc, bought all the tickets and sent them to the troops and their families that are located there. I think that's pretty awesome!

Chris said...

Regarding the Gagne comment, have you noticed what other relievers are making right now? A one year commitment is nothing. Now, if it were $10M per for several years, then yeah it would be a bad signing. While he was terrible in Boston, he had a 2.16 ERA in Texas and his Boston stats are inflated by a few terrible outings.

L. Jalbert said...

I wouldn't count the Colts out of the picture right now. Even without Dwight Freeney, their defense is suffocating and they got a tremondous running game.

If they meet the Pats in january in Foxborough and the field look teerible... I know all about Brady and Moss, but the Pats are built for Sportscenter highlights while the colts looks more than ever built for January.

On a different note: since appalachian state trounced a michigan team that still finished with 8 wins, I'd like to see a system similar to Pro soccer in Europe, where the 2 last team get downgraded to div-II and the two best teams of div-II get promoted to div-I.

App. state could contend with a lot of teams in the bcs division

Unknown said...

Oh come on, Dan. You don't honestly believe that nobody would watch I-A playoffs, do you?

Nobody watches because they're teams that only alums care about (bet your ass WE watch the games) and they're on cable - and not network - television like the I-A playoffs would be.

Fave college player? Vince Huntsberger, Montana. GO GRIZ!