Saturday, December 29, 2012

NFL '12 Dread News - Week 16

The numbers simply don't add up - points scored: 22.1 per game; points allowed: 25.6 per game; turnover margin: -17 (in 14 games). What does that look like to you? To me for sure that's a losing team. But oddly enough, those were the numbers of a team not only with a winning record, but a team that had already clinched a playoff spot with two weeks to spare. That team, of course, is the Indianapolis Colts, who seemingly have been touched by a magic wand throughout the 2012 season. In compiling their 9-5 record prior to last Sunday's trip to Kansas City, the Colts' victories have been by margins of 3, 3, 4, 6 (in overtime), 3, 17 (the Jaguars), 7, 2, and 4 points. And the magic continued against the Chiefs. Despite being dominated for much of the game, the Colts picked up win #10 by a score of 20-13.

It doesn't take magic to beat the Chiefs this season. But to their credit, despite winning only twice all year and having little to play for, they really showed up for this one. After being held to a pathetic 119 total yards by the Raiders one week earlier, the Chiefs inexplicably shredded the Colts' D for 507 total yards, including an incredible 352 yards on the ground. How do you rush for 350 yards and still lose? You beat yourselves, same as the Chiefs have done all season. Their -3 turnover margin in this game dropped them to -25 for the season - worst in the league. The Colts' defense, coming into the game with just 10 takeaways all season, got a pick 6 on the Chiefs' first possession of the day. The Chiefs' other two turnovers were both in the red zone and both on 1st down. The Chiefs ended with gaining 50+ yards on 6 different drives and yet got just 1 TD and 2 FG.

That one TD came on an 86-yard run by RB Jamaal Charles on the first play from scrimmage in the 2nd half. It was the 3rd time this season Charles (photo above) has had a run of 80 yards or longer.


While I was at work two weeks ago Friday, I kept waiting to hear any news regarding Richard Sherman's appeal to overturn the 4-game suspension assessed to him by the NFL. Having heard not a thing all day, I went to Google that night to get the details. But instead of finding out about the appeal (it had been postponed), all I found out was that Sherman, the Seattle Seahawks' 2nd year CB, was just mad. Mad at Tom Brady. Mad at anybody who dares to disrespect the Seahawks' defense. Mad at the NFL for trying to suspend him. Even mad at 49ers Coach Harbaugh (his coach while he played in college at Stanford) for accusing the Seahawks' DBs of using illegal tactics. But the thing Sherman is mad about the most? It's that he wasn't selected until the 5th round of the 2011 NFL draft. 
Sherman (who I'll admit is probably in the top 5 of my favorite pro athletes of all time) is a player who definitely lets his mouth do his talking for him as much as his play when he's on the field. But playing out in Seattle, he had managed to mostly stay out of the national spotlight during his rookie season and the first few weeks of this season. But that all changed when the Seahawks played the New England Patriots on Oct. 14 (Week 6).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Message from cousin Ty: Shape up or Ship out

After his 3rd consecutive disappointing season for Minnesota (the first two under Coach Brewster), Coach Kill was ready to give CB Michael Carter the boot in November 2011. But before he did, Kill thought, "If he won't listen to me, maybe he'll listen to someone in his own family." It turned out to be a stroke of genius for Kill. Not only was Carter still on the team for his senior season, he played well enough to earn honorable mention all-Big 10 honors.
Carter, you may remember, was the lead story in my Week 9 College Football report. And you may remember I mentioned that he was the younger cousin of Tyrone Carter, who starred for the Gophers in the late 1990's before being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings and going on to have an NFL career that lasted longer than a decade (in 7 years of which he had dreads).

Khaseem the dream

He gets his name from his mother. He gets his athletic ability from his father. Put them together and you get Khaseem Greene, who has been a big star for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights the last two seasons, after a position switch from S to LB. I just wanted to give a quick shout out to Greene, who will be playing his final game in a Rutgers uniform when the 9-3 Scarlet Knights take on Virginia Tech (6-6) less than 48 hours from now in the Russell Athletic Bowl at Orlando (Friday, Dec. 28 at 5:30 PM ET on  ESPN). You won't have any trouble finding him. He'll likely be the only player on the field with dreads, and he'll likely be the player making most of the tackles for Rutgers.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Edison sees the light

Back in March of 2009 I did a dread gallery (DG45) featuring National Signing Day, and I remember one of the photos was of DB Josh Johnson accompanied by a comment that Purdue's '09 recruiting class had several players with dreads. Well, for Johnson and the other members of that class who haven't redshirted, their time at Purdue is almost up. That includes a player I've become a big fan of over the years - I'm talking about WR Antavian Edison. I thought I'd give a quick shout out to Edison before he plays his final game in a Purdue uniform in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Oklahoma State (Jan. 1 at 11 AM CT on ESPNU).
Antavian has been a pretty decent playmaker in the Big 10 during his career, which might come as a surprise to anyone who saw him in HS.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

NFL '12 Dread News - Week 15

Way back in early September, you might recall, I forecast that the 2012 season would end with the Ravens defeating the 49ers in the Super Bowl. That prediction actually was looking pretty good about a month ago, but not so much now. I also had the Arizona Cardinals finishing with the worst record in the league. But about a month later the Cardinals had started 4-0 and had already exceeded the 3 victories I predicted them to finish with. I'll tell you, I was feeling about as dumb as could be back then; but given my crystal ball's stellar performance (NOT!) forecasting the NFC West in the last few years, I wasn't surprised.

But now as we approach the finish line, I'm not feeling like an idiot anymore. The Cardinals turned out to be exactly who we thought they were - a team in desperate need of a QB and a team that can't score to save their life. The Cardinals entered Week 15 dead last in points scored (trailing even the pitiful Chiefs) with 186. So what on Earth happened last Sunday, when they put 38 points on the board in a 38-10 drubbing of the Detroit Lions that ended their 9-game losing streak? An offensive explosion? Uh, not quite.
The Cardinals' offense was as lousy as ever, finishing with 196 total yards. WRs Larry Fitzgerald (photo above) and Andre Roberts between them had just 7 receptions for 44 yards. Instead it was the 4 turnovers by the Lions that was the biggest factor in the outcome.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

College FB '12 Dread News - Week 15

There were just a handful of games last weekend, so we have a special feature this week - my first ever bowl preview. But first, we have my annual playoff rant.
If you have been following this blog from the beginning, you already know that I'm a big fan of having a 16-team playoff tournament at the end of the college football regular season to determine the champion (a real champion, not the beauty contest we have now). You also know that I'm a big fan of keeping all of the bowl games intact, almost exactly the way they are now. Both of my wishes (and if I was the commissioner of college football, these would be commands, not wishes) can be accomplished simply - by playing the first two rounds of the championship on the campuses of the higher seeded teams on the next two weekends following the Thanksgiving weekend, then taking a short break, and then using the current BCS bowls to host the semifinals (on or near Jan. 1) and the championship game (about a week later). At the conclusion of the 2nd round, the 12 teams that were eliminated would then be selected for bowl games, along with all the bowl-eligible teams that didn't make the tournament. It's so easy a caveman could do it; but apparently not easy enough for the people in power to figure out.

Starting in 2014, the FBS will replace the beauty contest with a 4-team playoff. It's a step in the right direction, but I'll tell you right now - four ain't gonna cut it. All a 4-team playoff will do is increase all the chaos and aggravation and anger we have now. It really needs to be 16 teams - and the sooner we get there the better.


BCS - It's short for Bowl Championship Series. But as we all know, all it really is is a series of bowls that mean nothing.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

College FB '12 Dread News - Week 14

Jarvis Jones must have been confused. It had been so long since Georgia played Alabama (they last met in 2008) that maybe he just didn't understand. So that there will be no further confusion in the future let's get this clear right now: just because Alabama's players have to have their dreads reduced on game days, it doesn't mean Alabama's opponents have to do it too. Jones, the star junior LB for the Bulldogs, had his dreads reduced so much for last Saturday's SEC championship game that you couldn't see them at all (photo below). I mean, I was almost in a panic at first because, until I got a closer look later on, it looked like he had cut them off. Please Jarvis, don't ever do that again.
Having already guaranteed that Alabama would not make it 2 wins in a row in the BCS title game, and having had a lifelong disdain for Notre Dame, I was desperately cheering for Jones (even with reduced dreads) and the Bulldogs to knock off the Crimson Tide. And for a moment they were looking good, leading 21-10 in the 3rd quarter after scoring on a return of a blocked Alabama FG attempt.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

College FB '12 Dread News - Week 13

That didn't take long, did it? I'm talking about the demise of the Auburn Tigers. On Thanksgiving weekend two years ago, on their last visit to Tuscaloosa, the Tigers celebrated one of their most satisfying victories ever in the Iron Bowl rivalry, coming back from a 24-0 deficit to stun the Crimson Tide 28-27 and cap an undefeated (12-0) regular season. A few weeks after that Auburn was on top of the college football world after their victory over Oregon in the BCS title game. But we all knew Auburn wasn't that good. We all knew that 2010 team was just a Cam Newton-led aberration. We knew that as soon as he was gone, there would be a drop-off. But did any of you think Auburn would fall this far so fast? To last Saturday's embarrassing 42-0 deficit at halftime? To this season's 0-8 record in the SEC, the worst in school history?