A slightly belated look at what transpired in football action over the weekend, and we could be learned from it:
1. Big 12 QB’s non-throwing hands are fragile – Graham Harrell completely shattered his non-throwing hand early in his game against Baylor, yet was somehow able to overcome it and lead a comeback to avoid embarrassment. Sam Bradford hurt his, too. Both guys should be okay by the time they next take the field, but one thing is clear – being a Heisman candidate in the Big 12 is dangerous. If I was Colt McCoy I would be sleeping with one eye open.
2. It’s at least as bad as it seems at Notre Dame – That loss to USC was an absolute mess. It’s not just that they lost by a massive margin, or that they narrowly avoided a shutout, or that their offense was virtually non-existent. It’s that the game was only as close as it was for one reason – USC showed mercy. This game was a joke, and Charlie Weis is entirely to blame. The only good thing that could happen to this team is if he leaves – there is no hope otherwise.
3. Teams that didn’t need to play hard didn’t – Buffalo, Tulsa, Boston College, and Missouri all had a conference championship to look forward to, and none of them could change their fate regardless of how they did in their last game – they were locked in. None of them needed to do anything other than stay healthy enough to play well in the championship, so none of them put out a full effort.
4. Alabama isn’t going to go down without a fight – I tend to think that Florida is the better team in the SEC despite Alabama’s better record. I’m clearly not alone – Florida is favored by 9.5 on a neutral field. Alabama reminded us that there is still a game to play, though. Their performance against Auburn, an admittedly outmatched team, was dominating in every sense of the word. Alabama’s offense was solid, and their defense was smothering. NickSaban and boys are going to make sure that this SEC championship is one to remember.
5. Football actually can be exciting in Michigan – The Wolverines were terrible, and the Spartans were much better but still not good. There was one heck of a game on Saturday between two of the other teams in Michigan, though. Central Michigan should have outmatched Eastern Michigan, especially since it was the last game for the coach of the latter. Instead, there were fireworks like we rarely get to see. EMU ultimately came out on top 56-52, but not before the twoQBs, Dan LeFevour and Andy Schmitt combined to throw for nine touchdowns and 894 yards. Scmitt, by far the less accomplished passer, had 516 yards. He threw the ball a ridiculous 80 times, and completed an NCAA record 58 passes. The game was like a video game. fantastic.
6. The Bills are not ready for primetime – You can’t be a real team and lose to San Francisco at home. I don’t care if your QB gets hurt or not. It’s not like Trent Edwards was tearing things up the last few weeks for the most part, so they should have found a way to overcome his loss. Their start was just yet another misleading charade to come out of upstate New York. Ugly.
7. Carolina is dangerous because they are feisty – The Panthers should have quit against Green Bay. They had several opportunities to lose that game, and all sorts of good excuses to justify why they did. They just kept fighting back, though. They don’t win pretty, and what they do doesn’t always make sense, but they seem to get it done more often than they don’t. Their stretch battle with Tampa Bay is going to be one of the most unlikely, underappreciated and thrilling in the league.
8. No one wants the MVP – Kurt Warner was terrible, and his team can’t beat a real opponent. Drew Brees gave away his game, a key divisional tilt, with two bone-headed late interceptions. Peyton Manning won, but it was a long, long way from pretty. The Colts pretty much won despite him, not because of him. Maybe the league should just chose not to name an MVP this year, and then name two next year.
9. San Diego is the worst kind of joke – The Chargers are such a mess that it is pretty much beyond funny by this point. It’s not that they lost at home to Atlanta (though that is far from good for a team like San Diego is supposed to be). It’s that no one on the field for San Diego seemed togive a damn that it was happening.
10. Change is going to be coming in a big way in coaching ranks – Peter King had an interesting comment in his column this week – he said he thinks as many as 13 coaches could change. That’s a big number, but when you start to think about it it is certainly possible. We know that Seattle and Tampa Bay are making changes. It’s all but certain that Detroit, Cincinnati, Cleveland, San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego and the Rams will as well. Dallas will join them unless the Cowboys make it as least as far as the NFC Championship, and it may even take as much as a Super Bowl to save Wade Phillips. On top of that, there are going to be coaches on thin ice in Buffalo, Kansas City, Houston, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, and Minnesota. That’s 16 teams – fully half the league. Who says coaches don’t earn their massive salaries.