What We Learned This Weekend

1. Go, go Buffalo. I was thrilled to see the Bulls win the MAC championship on Friday night by beating Ball State. I was there for their first game this year, and I have seen them play a couple other times, too. The team has a couple of nice players, but the big lesson here is that coach Turner Gill is really, really good. He has interviewed for Auburn, and he’ll get looks regularly until he gets hired somewhere else. The guy is going to end up at a top program sooner or later, and he is going to do very well once he gets there.

2. I’m going to do something that seems out of character – give Nick Saban credit. His team was outclassed by Florida on Saturday, but you have to remember that he is only in the second year with the program, he has a young team, and his quarterback is only somewhat gifted. In other words, he is way, way ahead of schedule. As much as I hate to admit it, Alabama is going to be very relevant for a long time.

3. Missouri was only half an opponent, but Oklahoma sure looked good. Pretty much flawless, really. Sam Bradford was very good. Juaquin Iglesias continued his hot streak, the defense was oppressive, the offensive line was ridiculously solid, and they did pretty much whatever they wanted to do. The BCS Championship game is going to be amazing. I don’t want to wade into the whole debate all over again, but Florida-Oklahoma is going to be way more interesting than Florida-Texas would have been.

4. I’m guessing that Brian Kelly wasn’t thinking that his decision to schedule a 13th game to get his Cincinnati team more experience wasn’t too smart when they were down 24-10 with 12 minutes left.

5. Kudos to two teams – the Dolphins for winning yet again, though they would get more credit if it wasn’t the most boring game in the history of football; The Niners for another impressive win. Mike Singletary seemed like a place holder, but he might actually manage to keep that job. So far, anyway, he deserves it – the team has won three of four, and covered four of five.

6. I wasn’t the only one who thought that Jim Zorn was making some odd choices during Washington’s loss to Baltimore. Clinton Portis came out today and absolutely blasted his coach for the decision to keep him on the bench for most of the second half. I know Portis isn’t completely healthy, but he’s one of the best running backs in the league, and a coach can’t afford to be choosy when his team is trailing and is in freefall after a 6-2 start. Pissing off the star of your team is not a good way to build a long career as a rookie coach.

7. The team that won the game covered 13 of 16 games in each of the last two weeks in the NFL. That’s not abnormal. If you look at it that way then handicapping doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it sometimes.

8. At first glance, it looked like Detroit had played pretty well, and that there was a good chance that they would get one won before the season ends. But then I looked closer. Minnesota was truly terrible – Gus Frerotte threw two bad interceptions before going down to injury, Adrian Peterson fumbled three times and lost it twice, Jared Allen was inconsistent, and so on. Yet they still won. If a team can beat Detroit while playing that badly then there is no hope for the Lions. 0-16 here we come.

9. Houston lost to Jacksonville in overtime, blew a lead late to Indy, lost another close one to Indy, and lost to Minnesota thanks to two inopportune picks. Given how well they are playing right now, they must be kicking themselves for those losses. Two wins out of those four and they are suddenly right in the heart of things. It’s a waste of a year with potential.

10. Maybe Plaxico Burress is more of a distraction than I thought. Or Maybe Domenik Hixon is a crappy receiver who needs to learn how to concentrate. Either way, that was a concerning performance by the Giants.

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