Monday, December 04, 2006

Monday Morning Quarterback 12/4/06

Great Sports Weekend
...but my picks sucked

I was right about Oklahoma covering the spread against Nebraska, but I badly blew the USC/UCLA contest, figuring USC was not going to let their dream of a national title end by allowing UCLA to even come close to winning. I was wrong and so was every sports pundit in America. The NFL picks this week where suppose to be easy no-brainers. However, the Colts fell to the Titans and San Diego barely got by Buffalo. Both Indy and San Diego had big leads during the game, but let their guard down. The Chargers still won, but Indy made their hopes of home field advantage during the playoffs dwindle by losing to the now 5-8 Titans.

This is why they play the game...

A friend of mine this past Friday sent me an email with friendly chiding for picking USC to beat UCLA, without even considering that UCLA could upset USC. He did graduate work at UCLA and wanted to believe they had a chance. To be honest I never thought UCLA couldn't pull off the upset, especially since it was a rivalry game which often adds an element of emotion that is hard to measure when predicting winners and losers. More importantly, upsets usually occur because the heavy favorite plays down to their opponents level. Regarding the USC/UCLA contest, I never thought that would occur. USC coach Pete Carroll is as good as they get in the college game and that means his teams always bring their best game. Even though UCLA did play well, especially on defense, USC best was know where to be found.

Sometimes your best doesn't show up because the best game plan is not implemented. The Indianapolis Colts have put on an offensive clinic all season long. The combination of QB Peyton Manning and WR Reggie Wayne with Rookie Running Back Joseph Addai coming into his own has been devastating for defenses. Before this year Wayne was the secondary receiver to future Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison. This week Harrison has shown discontent for losing his #1 stature. The fact is that Harrison's hands have not been as reliable as in previous years, but nonetheless he was still having a great year. I believe Head Coach Tony Dungy felt the need to make Harrison happy, so the game plan was changed to make sure he got the bulk of the passes instead of Wayne. Harrison got his statistics, but Indy didn't get the win.

Manning did throw for over 350 yards, but only 1 touchdown. That figure alone tells me there was something wrong with the game plan. Addai ran for for 56 yards, but had 44 of them in the first half. I have said it before, Tony Dungy is a good coach, but he may not be able to get them to the Superbowl.

Ohio State vs. Florida

Last night the BCS bowl games where announced and Florida beat out Michigan for the #2 spot to play Ohio State for the national championship. Before the decision was announced, sports writers and radio pundits began debating who should get to play Ohio State for the title game. There is no right or wrong answer. Michigan suffered 1 loss all year long and it was too the Buckeyes in Columbus by 3 points. Many people including your brilliant blogger wanted to see a rematch on neutral turf. Florida also only lost 1 game, which was to highly ranked Auburn this past October. The Gators defeated #8 ranked Arkansas at home by 10 points Saturday night, which apparently was good enough for the BCS computer to give them the #2 ranking. Obviously both teams have a case to be in the title game. The only thing for certain is that the BCS system is still greatly flawed and will never be resolved until there is a playoff system in place. The only place to decide who should play for the national championship is on the football field, not in a computer program.

Go Bears, 2006 NFC North Division Champs.



At 12/05/2006 12:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pauli, Thanks for the anonymous mention!

I enjoyed the entire post, and agree with your analysis of the whole BCS controversy. I too thought Michigan deserved the re-match (admittedly however, I am regionally biased, and tend to support Big-10 teams); though Florida did have a slighty tougher schedule and did win their conference.

Either way, as you stated, reform of the system is certainly needed.

Still, what a great game between UCLA and USC. Wow. As soon as I saw UCLA stop USC on 4th and 1 on the Trojan's first drive of the game.....I felt it was possible.


Btw, I have not mentioned this, but.....I also have a blog. I have generally not given the address out as I'm still trying to figure out what I want it to be, and remain a bit self-conscious about my writing (though it is generally politics and policy centered). However, as soon as I feel comfortable with what I have, I'll let you know. (That is, of course, if you'd like to know.....) -A


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