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Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday......
13) There have to be some unhappy people in Raleigh these days, as the NC State Wolfpack slog along at 2-3, 0-2 in the ACC, while Wisconsin is making an unlikely run at a national title. Whats the connection?
Senior QB Russell Wilson is supposed to be a senior at NC State, but he was granted a release from his scholarship, ostensibly because he insisted on playing minor league baseball this summer (he was a 2B in the Rockies organization). Best I can remember, this is a unique situation, where such a skilled player was basically fired by the head coach (think back to 1967 Red Sox, when the A's fired Hawk Harrelson, and he helped Boston win the AL pennant, but a quarterback is more vital than Harrelson was).
12) Wisconsin crushed Nebraska 48-17 in the Cornhuskers' debut in their new league, a game the Huskers once led 14-7. Wilson was 14-20/255 and ran the ball six times for 32 yards. He's a difference-maker and while he's really helping the Badgers, his absence is killing the Wolfpack. Go figure.
11) Clemson has to be ranked in the top 5 after beating Auburn-Florida St and Virginia Tech in consecutive weeks. All with a first-year starting QB. Quite a coaching job by Dabo Swinney, who is the fifth Alabama graduate to be head football coach at Clemson.
10) Syracuse is 3-2, and has already played three overtime games.
9) Then there's poor Utah State, which is 1-3, 0-3 vs I-A teams, after yet another brutal loss Friday night, 27-24 to in-state rival BYU. Cougars got the winning TD on a tipped pass with 0:11 left. Utah State led by 10 at Auburn with 3:38 left and lost, then lost 35-34 in OT to Colorado State after going for two points and the win. They easily could be 4-0, but you are what you are, and they're winless vs I-A teams. Too bad.
8) SMU beat TCU 40-33 in OT, just a huge win for June Jones that has to help his chances of getting the Mustangs into the Big 12, if the Big 12 ever goes back to 12 teams (they're at nine right now). Big win for recruiting in fertile Texas too, since SMU is in Dallas and TCU is in Fort Worth.
7) Colorado led Washington State 27-17 with 3:00 left in its first home game as a Pac-12 team; visitor was supposed to get tired in altitude, but the vastly-improved Cougars scored two TDs in 1:25, the second one on a 63-yard TD pass with 1:10 left, to stun the Buffaloes 31-27 in Boulder.
7) This weekend is the 50th anniversary of Mr Ed, the old TV show about a talking horse, one of my favorite TV shows of all-time. This has nothing to do with football, just wanted to wish Mr Ed happy birthday. The episode where he plays with the Dodgers is a TV classic.
6) For all the gray hairs South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia has given to Steve Spurrier and the other Gamecock coaches, you'd think at least he'd have a decent senior year, but he just isn't a good passer. Garcia completed nine of 23 passes, converted 2-10 on 3rd down, against an Auburn defense that had been allowing 59% conversions on 3rd down. Auburn ran off 92 plays, South Carolina 52. Why can't Spurrier develop a QB at Carolina?
5) Baylor still hasn't won at Kansas State, losing 36-35 in the Little Apple after leading 35-26 going into the 4th quarter. Robert Griffin III threw five TDs, but also tossed a costly INT that handed K-State the winning FG.
4) Stanford 45, UCLA 19. Andrew Luck tossed a 5-yard TD pass with 1:51 left. Why? What coach would risk injury to his meal ticket by having him throw the ball with 1:51 left in a game he led by 19 points? Ha Ha...And some people wonder why that was so important.
3) Arkansas 42, Texas A&M 38 was a fun game to watch, but A&M has to be rivaling Utah State for heartache. Aggies led Oklahoma State 20-3 at the half last week and lost; they led the Hogs 35-17 at the half this week and lost. Something like that becomes mental for a team.
2) Ohio State ran ball 39 times for 35 yards in 10-7 home loss to Michigan State that has to have Urban Meyer's agent's phone ringing off the hook. Going to be some relatively-lean years ahead for the Buckeyes; wouldn't think Meyer is going to be interested in cleaning up that mess.
Meyer is OK on TV, by the way; he has a bad voice, which isn't his fault, but once in a while he sounds like Al McGuire, as in he doesn't identify the player by name, he'll just say, "Number 22 makes a good tackle here." Thought he started to lighten up a little this week. Very serious guy.
1) Illinois is 5-0 after beating Northwestern on a TD with 0:13 left; I'd be little more impressed if they had played a road game, although a win over Arizona State is starting to look better. Illini has four road games on its schedule, but three of them are Indiana-Purdue-Minnesota, games that a good team could show up for hung over and still win.
Ron Zook's wife must have made this schedule. October 29 at Penn State looms as an interesting game, and Russell Wilson leads the Badgers into Champaign on Nov. 19. Everyone in Raleigh will be Illini fans that day.
Back home and figued I would throw out a couple plays for the express groupies before unpacking. Have a few plays I like but hasnt been a great week (which it never is when I go away). So may just go light.
Like a baseball play today as well but will let you figure that out yourself with the video below.
-- OK, so who had the Brewers as the only team to lead a playoff series 2-0? They usually don't play as well on road; we'll see Tuesday.
-- Big day in Detroit Sunday, with Scherzer beating Bronx and Lions at 4-0 for the first time since I had a full head of hair (1980). Restore the Roar!!!!
-- Tough day in Philly Sunday, with Eagles blowing 23-3 lead and then Cliff Lee coughing up a 4-0 lead, both at home.
-- Kevin Na won his first PGA Tour event out in Las Vegas, beating Nick Watney by two shots.
-- Eldrick Woods has dropped out of the World Golf Ranking's top 50 for the first time in fifteen years.
-- One thing that hits you over the head on Sunday afternoons; there are a tremendous amount of commercials in these NFL games-- there were a couple times Sunday when all nine early games were in commercial.
Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday........
13) Detroit Lions have now won eight regular season games in a row for first time since 1954, overcoming 20+-point deficits last couple weeks; they have their first Monday night home game in 10 years next week when the Bears visit, so exciting times in the Motor City these days. Spooky Magic!!
12) After playing with supreme guts the last two weeks, Tony Romo had a day to forget Sunday, throwing consecutive pick-6's for Lion TDs after Dallas had built a 27-3 lead; then a horrendous INT at the Dallas 40 with 4:13 left set the Lions up for the winning TD. A very bizarre game, but the bottom line is that, for this week, the Lions are America's Team. And Spooky's Team!
11) Big leads used to be safe in the NFL; not so much now. Eagles led the 49ers 23-3 with 9:30 left in third quarter; they got inside the Niners' red zone on six consecutive drives, but wound up 24-23 losers because of two missed FGs (38-yarder with 13:57 left, 32-yarder with 6:28 left), either of which would've given Philly a 9-point lead. 49ers put together three drives of 77+ yards to make the Iggles 1-3. Talk shows should be fun this week.
On seven red zone drives, Vick's offense had two TDs, three FGs and two fumbles, one of which was the dumbest play in the NFL since the Pisarcik fumble against the Eagles in 1978. Ronnie Brown tried to lateral to Vick from a pile on the 49er 2-yard line, but lost the ball, costing Philly another three points. Very few NFL teams win games if they're -2 in turnovers, especially if they're also terrible in the red zone.
10) Out in the Hilton Handicapping Contest in Vegas, 159 people picked the Vikings, 20 picked Kansas City, even though both teams were 0-3. It just seemed weird that an 0-3 road team would be so popular. Minnesota is now 0-4, even though Chiefs' QB Cassel had a sideline argument with his head coach Haley during the game. Don't see that much.
9) My only comment on the 0-4 Rams is this: Hire Jeff Fisher today and tell him to bring a new offensive line coach with him.
Well I have one other thing to point out, supporting why I want there to be a new offensive line coach: Rams started three drives in Washington territory-- they then ran a total of 17 plays for a total of minus-12 yards on those three drives. If they don't start blocking better, Sam Bradford is going to turn into this generation's David Carr, which would be a disaster.
8) Never in 100 years thought Jets-Ravens would be the game that went over the total in the first half. Somewhere Trent Dilfer had to feel for Joe Flacco, who was inept Sunday night, not throwing a completion in either the second or third quarters. His team won in spite of his play.
7) San Diego native Reggie Bush shelled out $7,000 for tickets for friends and family for the Dolphin-Charger game Sunday. You wonder why lot of these guys wind up broke? Everyone hits them up for everything.
6) Memo to the Arizona Cardinals and the Stanford Cardinal; if you have a color as a mascot, then wear that color jersey. Cardinals are red, how hard is it to wear a cardinal jersey? Black jerseys look stupid, unless black is one of your team's colors. Ravens are different; black is a team color.
5) Devin Hester is the greatest return man ever; he got his 15th return TD of his career against the Panthers, 11th via punt return.
4) Lions offensive lineman Jeff Backus played in his 164th consecutive game Sunday, which is more than 10 years without missing a game. When you think about it, thats a damn impressive feat for a lineman.
3) Houston took the opening kickoff and drove the ball 10:55 against the Steelers, longest TD drive in the NFL since a 10:59 Saints drive against Oakland in 2008. 3-1 Texans are looking an awful lot like a playoff team.
2) Officials hosed Arizona and gifted the Giants with a win when they ruled Victor Cruz "gave himself up" when he let the ball go without being touched late in the Giants' 31-27 win in the desert. What he did was just incredibly dumb; he stumbled and then stupidly laid the ball down when it was still live, and it should've been a fumble that cost the Giants a win. The officials said no, and plays like that can't be reviewed. OK then.
1) Home teams were 7-8 vs spread Sunday, over was 8-7, favorites were 8-7. There were 12 return TDs (five alone in the Jet-Raven game) and the NFC won two of three meetings with AFC teams.
Offensive TD tally: Week 1: 75, Week 2: 81, Week 3: 60, Week 4: 69, but with one game left, Colts at Bucs Monday night.