I’m not going to gloat or say I-told-you-so because I’ll make more than a few bad predictions and observations here, but I feel good about suggesting that Ole Miss had no business being ranked at number four. It’s not just that they lost to South Carolina – these things will happen. It’s that they looked so bad doing it. Jevan Snead was thoroughly ineffective, and Steve Spurrier totally and thoroughly won the coaching battle. That Spurrier point is the most telling one – it has been a long while since Spurrier has outcoached anyone, and Ole Miss should be ashamed that it happened to them. If the Rebels had trouble with the Gamecocks then it could be a really long SEC season for them.
I live in Calgary. Wayne Gretzky played the best parts of his career in Edmonton. Calgary and Edmonton are like Michigan and Ohio State, New York and Boston, or Texas and Oklahoma – not the best of friends. In other words, take what follows with the requisite grain of salt – Wayne Gretzky is a punk who should be disgusted with himself. If you missed it, he has been the coach of the Phoenix Coyotes for the last four years. Not a good one, mind you – only two teams have been worse than the Coyotes since he has been at the helm. With the ownership struggles of the Coyotes and everything that goes with that, Gretzky and his monstrously bloated salary have become a massive issue, and are rightly being looked at as fat that needs to be trimmed by the new ownership – whoever that ends up being. This has been true for months now, and Gretzky has long been able to see the writing on the wall. He could have done the right thing – stepped away in the offseason. Instead, he remained coach but decided not to show up for work on the first day of training camp. His childish holdout continued through the entire training camp. Until yesterday. Then he quit, just a week before the regular season starts. That means that a team that was already in turmoil faces even more – a new coach, and the real issue of dealing with being deserted by the biggest name in hockey. Gretzky has a sterling reputation – especially in Canada. This whole episode should seriously tarnish that reputation. If a less sainted coach had acted like this he would have been vilified, but Gretzky has largely escaped that. Call this my attempt to start correcting that.
There are a couple of warning lights shining in the NFL on the injury front right now. Both are reasonably minor now, but both could turn into much more, and if they did then not only would they seriously affect their teams, but they would send the public into fits of panic. The first is Mark Sanchez. He’s dealing with some tendinitis in his right knee. He’s still participating fully in practice, and he is expected to start and be fine on Sunday. The issue, though, is that this is obviously the kind of injury that can linger, and can be a problem down the road. The other is Adrian Peterson. He has a back issue that has kept him out of practice twice this week. He’s expected to play and be fine on Sunday, but again a back is something that can linger and get worse – especially because he gets hit hard 25 times a game. In both cases the perception of the issues could be worse than the actual injuries themselves, and that means that as bettors we need to pay close attention to the stories.