The Weekender (Sept 29-Oct 1)

Another wild weekend in sports has finished. It was an up and down weekend for me personally as the Yellow Jackets and Chiefs were abysmal and the Huskers and Falcons mustered extremely dramatic comeback victories. But enough about me, let’s get to the weekend that was. (Editor’s note: He’d actually like to talk more about him, but he’s running out of time on lunch so he’s really just trying to get this posted):

The Rising

Greg Zuerlein – Most of you are probably thinking, “Who?!” Well, I’d like to introduce you to the 6th round pick of the St. Louis Rams. He hails from Lincoln Pius X in Lincoln, NE and originally went to the University of Nebraska at Omaha where “Legatron” had great success. But an injury and Trev Alberts’ decision to end UNO’s football program <insert sound of unhappy Omahans here> led Zuerlein to transfer to Missouri Western State University where he proceeded to kick 21 of 21 field goals including 9 from over 50 yards and two from 58. Why do I tell you all of this? Because he’s doing it in the NFL like he did in Lincoln, Omaha, and St. Joseph before. Young G.Z. is 12 for his first 12 in the NFL including a 60 yarder and a 58 yarder on Sunday. In fact, he’s the first kicker in NFL history to hit a 60 yarder and a 50+ yarder in the same game.

Geno Smith– Ok, if I spent that many words on a kicker, how many more should I spend on the QB that has vaulted from nowhere in the Heisman conversation to being the front-runner?  I know many of you are aware of the gaudy numbers that he put up against Baylor on Saturday, but I don’t know that everyone realizes that what he did wasn’t all that out of the norm for him. Here is his stat line for the first four games of West Virginia’s Season: 141 for 169 passing (83.4% completions);  20 TD; 0 INT

And just to further cause all Georgia Tech fans to want to gouge their eyes out, check out the comparison between GT’s Tevin Washington through 5 games, and Geno Smith’s 1 game Saturday:

  • Tevin Washington – 5 Games: 40-64 (62.5%) 660 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT
  • Geno Smith –       1 Game: 45-51 (88.2%) 656 yds, 8 TD, 0 INT

I’m pretty sure that there isn’t anything else he needs to do to start getting some recognition. That being said, he seems fairly likely to get some more recognition this week facing a Longhorn defense that gave up over 30 points against both Ole Miss and Oklahoma State in consecutive weeks.

College Football Offenses – The West Virginia v. Baylor game this past weekend helped highlight that offenses seem to be light years ahead of defenses in college football so far this season. I wanted to see if the stats upheld what I thought I was seeing with my own eyes. Well, they do. This season, so far, there are TWENTY FBS (Div 1-A) schools averaging 500 or more yards per game. There are yet another Twenty that are averaging over 400 yards per game. 30 schools are averaging over 300 yards passing per game and 11 schools average over 250 yards rushing per game.  It’s a good time to be an offensive coordinator in college football. (Side note… that makes Notre Dame’s Defensive performances even more impressive so far this season)

Northwestern Football (There’s a large contingent of intelligent folks in Chicago that are really hoping that my inclusion of NW will not be the same Kiss of Death that my inclusion of Minnesota was last week).  The Wildcats are off to a stellar start and they have broken into the Top 25 for the first time since 2008. Combine that with what seems to be a favorable schedule and a down Big Ten (plus two) and a comparable 9 win or possible 10 win season seems well within the realm of possibility. Add to that the snazzy new rugby-style uniforms and the folks on Lakeshore Drive are justified in their excitement for this season. Of course if Northwestern & Notre Dame both keep this up, then there will be no living with Mike & Mike.

Keegan Bradley & Zach Johnson – While a portion of the Ryder Cup team for the Americans will take a hit in the eyes of the  public, there are a couple of guys that definitely stand to benefit from this weekend. Keegan Bradley was the darling of the first two days for his play on the course as well as the way he worked the crowd. Zach Johnson’s perfect record and clutch putting also made him a star from the weekend. Both gentlemen stand to have substantially larger galleries and far more very quiet claps wherever they go. Of course, if some of the others (including a certain captain’s pick and a philandering former #1 player in the world) would have just come remotely close to holding up their end of the bargain then Keegan & Zach probably could have been on the cover of Rolling Stone and following a Peyton Manning commercial on Sundays.

Mike Trout – This weekend Mike Trout became the first rookie in history to have 30 Home Runs and 40 Stolen Bases. If he were to get 2 more stolen bases, he would become only the 3rd player in history to have 30 HR’s and 50 SB’s in a single season. Oh, and by the way he is a guaranteed Rookie of the Year and one of only two possible choices for AL MVP while being the #1 rated player in all of baseball (based on WAR – Wins Above Replacement player).  Tag on the multiple home runs that he’s stolen from opponents and this now 21 year old is giving us flashes of the future, and the future looks bright for Major League Baseball.

Miguel Cabrera – There have been exactly 0 Triple Crown winners in my lifetime. Affirmed did it a month and 5 days before my birth in horse racing, and the drought in baseball goes an additional 11 years prior to my birth. Not since 1967 has a hitter in either league led the league in Home Runs, RBI, and Batting Average. And yet, here we are exactly two days from having that happen. Currently Cabrera has a .004 lead over Mike Trout in batting average, and a 1 HR and 10 RBI lead over Josh Hamilton. There is still a chance that he falls short, but with only two games remaining against the hapless Royals, there is a chance that KC could host the All-Star Game and a Triple Crown Winner’s coronation in the same season.

We Are The Fallen

Georgia Tech Football – They were here last week and this is likely the last time they will show up, but a 3 touchdown loss to Middle Tennessee has to land you here. As a die-hard Georgia Tech fan, I am officially DONE with this administration. It got off to a nice start, but there’s been nothing but heartache of late. My proposal to Athletic Director Dan Radcovich (which I tweeted to him earlier today) is to fire the current heads and offer the job (back) to George O’Leary and the O-Coordinator spot to Ralph Friedgen. It would be an upgrade to where each of them are and it would restore faith and hope to the fan base while putting truly competent men back in charge. This is what I would like for Christmas. Get on it Santa.

U of Minnesota Football – My sincerest apologies to the Gopher fans for putting the Kiss of Death on them last week. But seriously… you let Iowa do that?! Apparently the early season was simply smoke and mirrors.

College Football Defenses – I can honestly say that there probably can’t be more than 10% of college defensive coordinators that could possibly feel that their job is safe right now. Of course, I guess you could make the counter-argument that the majority actually feel safe, because it’s not like there is a whole host of others doing better that their AD’s would be able to replace them with.

The U.S. Ryder Cup Team – Through Saturday the U.S. team had momentum, they had excitement, they had hope, and they had a 4 point lead. And then Sunday happened. It’s hard to know if just not having a teammate there to help the emotion was what hurt, or if some of the guys just flat out choked. What we did learn was that Davis Love’s approach of having everyone rested for Sunday sure didn’t pay off. Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Tiger Woods and Davis Love owe the American golf fans an apology. That was a dreadful collapse and they were definitely the anchor that stopped the ship.

The Kansas City Chiefs – Really?! Could this team possibly consider at least keeping a game close? After showing a little bit of heart last week, they apparently wanted to keep that well hidden this week. Going up against Philip Rivers, who has definitely struggled in the past in dealing with a tough Arrowhead crowd, the key was simply to stick to assignments and not turn the ball over. Apparently the Chiefs missed that memo. The O-Line is abysmal and Matt Cassel goes from serviceable to below abysmal when behind an inferior O-Line. Perhaps the Chiefs should re-hire Todd Haley so that the defense can hate their coach and get fired up to play. That seemed to work last year…

The New York Jets – Wow. A Week 1 offensive explosion seemed to indicate that their ineptitude during the pre-season was perhaps, just a case of it being preseason. 3 weeks later? Nope, it was a sign of things to come. The Jets O-Line has not been good, the running game is terrible, and the receiving corps are a combination of bad and injured. Combine that with a QB who seems to think more highly of his abilities than anyone else on Earth and it’s a recipe for disaster. It’s always nice when those who are full of hot air are deflated.

The Detroit Lions – What on Earth has happened? This high-octane offense seems to have been replaced with a battery-operated offense and the Special Teams (that have given up a punt return TD and a kickoff return TD in each of the past two weeks) are so terrible that the Lions’ website is considering re-branding them “Special” Teams. Is the Madden Curse hitting the entire offense?!  The reality is that everything that is wrong seems correctable during the season…but they had better start correcting it soon or they will find themselves on the outside looking in.

The New Orleans Saints – Now it just feels like everything is going against them. Four close games. Two straight games where they were leading in the 4th quarter. Unbelieveable. The Defense is atrocious and clearly is missing their Head Coach, D-Coordinator, and Linebackers coaches from the previous few years. And for the love!! Can someone tell me why Garrett Hartley is still employed?! The Saints would likely be 2-2 if he could hit a field goal INSIDE of 50 yards.

Tony Romo – Everyone got excited after Week 1 produced one of the best games Tony Romo had ever played. So what’s the feeling following last night’s 5 Interception, 1 Fumble performance? Now, in fairness ,his offensive line and receivers didn’t do Romo any favors and probably should be credited with some of his picks, but plays like the last second flip straight to Lance Briggs for an INT-TD are the type of plays that have always made folks critical of Romo. Quite the boneheaded play. At some point, a QB has to realize that there are times when a sack is the best case scenario. I’m not guessing it was fun waking up this morning and heading into the Palace in Dallas for practice this morning.

Tweet of the Week: @JonahHlll – Liam Neeson trained Batman, Obi Wan, and Darth Vader. He is both Aslan and Zeus…and he punches wolves. Why would you kidnap his family?

The Skillet

  • The MLB Playoffs – We get to find out what kind of drama will be added with 2 Wild Cards facing off in a winner take all scenario. The crowds will be ELECTRIC.
  • Talladega – It’s the last track of the season where no one knows who will win because crazy things happen in restrictor-plate races. Often this is the last chance to really shake up the Chase standings.
  • Nebraska v. Ohio State – The Big Ten (plus two) has to be hoping for a great game here to help save face. Husker fans know that this is a must-win if they want to get to the title game.
  • LSU v. Florida – A truly marquee matchup. We should find out if Florida really is back among the elite teams and if LSU’s two-week slide will continue.
  • West Virginia v. Texas – Will anyone on this planet take the Under on points scored in this game?! Anyone? Bueller…Bueller….
  • Georgia v. South Carolina – One of the biggest matchups of the year. It should help give clarity in the three team race for the SEC East.
  • Falcons v. Redskins – Emerging star QB Robert Griffin III vs. QB trying to get to the next level Matt Ryan. (BTW…for those that like to say that Matt Ryan isn’t a great QB, please note that his 0-3 playoff record has come against 2 teams that won the Super Bowl and 1 that won the NFC those years)
  • Broncos v. Patriots – A renewal of Brady v. Manning. Should still be appointment television.
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Categories: Football

3 replies

  1. Missed one item: Tonight will be a great moment in Major League Baseball. Adam Greenberg, who was hit in the head in his only major league at bat seven years ago, is being given another at bat. For more about this story, check these out:

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8430448/7-years-later-miami-marlins-give-adam-greenberg-another-bat

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8449687/miami-marlins-owner-jeffrey-loria-truly-soft-spot-heart

  2. Yeah. N is on the wrong side of leaders/legends brackets. W should waltz into the B1G conference championship, simply because there isn’t anyone else. It will be fun to welcome N to the ‘shoe on Saturday.

    UNO has hockey. And a really nice facility (CenturyLink) to play hockey in. My feelings towards MoWest are unfit for print.

    • BuckeyeWill – It will be fun to be in the ‘shoe Saturday… provided NU walks out with a W. UNO also had a very good wrestling program that was disbanded.

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