There are multiple varieties of Weekenders so we thought this week we would let you decide which one is most fitting regarding your feelings toward this column… feel free to voice your opinion in the poll at the end of the column!
The Rising –
Brad Keselowski – It’s always nice to go into the final race of the season only having to finish in the Top 15 to clinch the title. It’s also not a bad thing when you are still in your 20’s and you ascend to the top of your sport. The writing definitely appears to be on the wall as to how this season will end up. And as much as I hope this jinxes him, something tells me it would take something much more powerful than me to derail this train (Ooooo look a shooting star!… I’d like to wish for an engine failure, a title for the #48 and a pony!)
Johnny Manziel – Johnny Football is one of the great nicknames of all time and even it may not be good enough for the legend building in College Station, TX. Hollywood executives would have thrown out this script for being too far-fetched. To lead a school that is new in the conference into Tuscaloosa for the first time against undefeated and defending national champion Alabama and to come out the victors is crazy. To do it as a FRESHMAN, was unthinkable. Until Saturday night that is. Now we just say it’s part of Act 1 for Johnny Football. (Don’t forget that he completed 21 of his first 22 passes and had two rushes of over 20 yards when Alabama had allowed exactly ZERO rushes of over 20 yards up to this point)
[He also earned a Tweet of the Week nod for this prescient tweet that he posted prior to the game: @JManziel2 Give to them nothing but take from them EVERYTHING Time to turn up and leave it all on the field #gigem #12thMan ]
Saints – It’s definitely clear that the Saints miss Coach Sean Payton, but since interim coach Vitt has returned to the sidelines things seem to have stabilized for the Saints and they are starting to gain some ground in the standings. Now the hole may be too deep, or the schedule may be too tough the rest of the way, but the Saints victory over the Falcons on Sunday definitely served notice to the rest of the NFL that no one is going to want to have to deal with the Saints from this point on. (Oh, and for the record, you can speculate all you want, but I don’t see Sean Payton coaching anywhere but New Orleans next year, no matter what the contract situation. And you can put that on the board!)
<<This comment intentionally removed by the Editor’s to keep this area free of political rants… at least until Jan. 1st when the middle class eats a tax increase>>
“We Told You So” – I know it’s bad manners, but there are a couple of things that I just want to bring back up from last week. First… from last weeks’ Weekender – “Texas A&M @ Alabama – Alabama could be set up for a letdown and if they have any sort of letdown, A&M is good enough to take advantage if it happens”. And then from the picks of James & the Swamette… I believe they successfully called all 4 games including the Falcons first loss and the Houston road victory against 7-1 Chicago. Yes… I realize that means we’re going to be REALLY wrong this week, but it was fun to see how it played out last week.
Christian Ponder – For taking a shot right back at the media. He opened his press conference with, “I want to thank my girlfriend,” a joking Ponder told reporters after the game. “Because she obviously has such a big impact on how I play. Which allowed me to win. So thank you”. Why is that relevant? See somehow the media decided that Ponder’s relationship with an ESPN reporter must be negatively impacting his performance on the field after 3 subpar weeks (mind you…they’ve been dating all season and Ponder was brilliant in earlier weeks) and they were starting to make a big deal about it. It was nice to see someone throw it back in their face.
Youth Being Served – The youngest Rookie of the Year tandem in MLB history was crowned Monday night. The faces of their respective franchises, Mike Trout and Bryce Harper won the awards (One unanimously and the other in a nail-biter) Monday night and reminded us that MLB is in good hands and that we should very much begin thinking back to when Bird and Magic came in the league together to find something as comparable. (In fairness, Luck & RGIII look to be heading in this direction as well…good times!)
The Bond Franchise – It’s Bond’s 50th anniversary and all they brought to the party is the best Bond film in decades (and also brought in the highest grossing first weekend by a HUGE margin). Skyfall is a great balance of nods to the past, visions of the future, and fantastic action and suspense. If you have the urge to see a movie this week, I have to say that you should see Skyfall (with apologies to Breaking Wind…er… Breaking Dawn Part II) .
SEC Haters – For all those out there who have been dreaming of an SEC-Free title game, your ship appears to be heading for port right now. As long as two out of Kansas State, Oregon, and Notre Dame can stay undefeated, then we can all expect the SEC to be on the outside looking in come January. Cross your fingers… #NoWhammies #SECFreeTitleGame
We Are The Fallen –
Philadelphia Eagles – It really seems likely that we are seeing the tail end of an era. It doesn’t seem that Andy Reid and Michael Vick will be around Philadelphia past the end of this season and it sure doesn’t seem right now like they are going to go down in a blaze of glory either. They are whimpering their way to a high draft pick and empty seats come December.
Phil Jackson – See what happened… wait… I’m dating a team V.P. who is the daughter of the owner…and I have won championship after championship in Los Angeles… and I lost out on the gig to Mike D’Antoni?! I thought everyone was just prepping for my coronation?!
NY Jets – There’s abysmal…and then there’s Mark Sanchez’s performance so far this season. He appears to be as much of a franchise quarterback as The Swami is. If the Jets ever planned on giving Tebow a shot, the time should probably be now. Of course, if they start winning with him it will be winning ugly and many in the city will lash out irrationally against him, but at least they would be winning. As it stands right now, the team is 3-6 and trying to push Rex Ryan over the edge. The only saving grace for them is that it doesn’t appear that their schedule is that bad down the stretch.
Alabama – Apparently they don’t just hand out repeat championships. You actually have to win all of the games. Shocking to say the least! Anyone want to guess what Alabama’s vote would have been regarding expanding the SEC if they had seen this coming?! It was a hard-luck loss, but before anyone says that the refs cost Alabama the game, they should probably look at the 4th and 2 interception before they go and blame anything on the poor officials. (Side Note: If I’m those officials, I would send in the request to not work in Tuscaloosa for the next few years .)
76ers – As part of the blockbuster trade that sent Dwight Howard to the L.A. Lakers, the 76ers received Andrew Bynum to be their center of the future! Of course, it would appear that the good folks in Philadelphia have been actively ignoring the entire arc of his career or they would have known that they were getting an oft-injured and somewhat melancholy center. Bynum is who he’s always been…and that makes the Lakers look even smarter (despite their current record).
Condensation – A resounding BOOOO goes out toward the condensation that forced the cancellation of one of the games this weekend that was being played on one of our aircraft carriers. Last year’s carrier classic between Michigan State and North Carolina was a great way to start the year and an amazing opportunity for the student-athletes to spend some time with our servicemen and women as well as getting to play in about the coolest environment you could ever play a basketball game in. Thankfully they will try again next year and they are already working on the solution to avoid this issue in future years .
The Tie – It’s bad in many sports, but to have a tie in an NFL game is a bewildering travesty. It really would be more fun to put the college rules in place and watch the best of the best go into what would likely be a glorified game of horse. Even so, the #1 thing that I learned is…. Don’t get a stupid penalty when your kicker makes a 53 yard kick. The 58 yarder that ensues is just a little much to expect Legatron to hit on any consistent level.
The ACC Coastal Division – So which team is worthy of making the ACC Championship game? One of the 5-5 teams that are 4-3 in conference or one of the 6-4 teams that are 3-3 in conference? All I can tell you is that whatever the answer is, it doesn’t smell good.
The Skillet –
- USC @ UCLA – This will be for the division title in their half of the Pac 12 and a ticket to the conference title game and a step closer to the Rose Bowl. So it’s just another game, eh coach?!
- Stanford @ Oregon – Stanford has as good of a chance as anyone to finally knock off the mighty Ducks from their neighbors to the North…though I wouldn’t bet on it.
- Texas Tech @ Oklahoma State – The stakes aren’t nearly what these coaches were hoping they would be when the season started, but at least for the fans out here this should be one of the most entertaining games to experience this weekend.
- Colts @ Patriots – It’s not Manning v. Brady…but Luck v. Brady all of a sudden feels like it could be lots of fun as well!!
- Ravens @ Steelers – There is no better rivalry in football and these games simply don’t disappoint. Grab your popcorn for this one.
- Bears @ 49ers – Another stiff test for the Bears in primetime and another statement game to try to separate the elite in the NFC from the rest of the pack.
- NASCAR @ Homestead – It should be Keselowski’s coronation, but you can never count it over before it starts.
- Duke @ Kentucky & Michigan State @ Kansas – College Basketball Royalty in fantastic early season matchups. This is must-see TV…
- Cabrera @ Trout – the MLB MVP will get handed out on Thursday in what should be a GREAT matchup.