by Tom Weppel
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
We’ve gone through eight weeks of the regular season, which I guess you can consider the halfway mark. The main topics of conversation have been hard defensive hits being outlawed, Brett Favre getting really old, and Randy Moss bouncing around and not fitting in (or not being wanted!) with either the Pats or the Vikes!
Let’s revisit, shall we.
A few weeks ago, there were a number of tough, rough hits made by defenders that rattled the cages of a couple of offensive guys, causing concussions and whatnot. That prompted the League to come out and take a stand on the issue, laying out fines or even suspensions if DB’s or LB’s performed any more rough play.
In the weeks after, the hits have not been done, and I’m guessing Roger Goodell is happier now.
What’s wild about this is that the NFL acted as if this started happening all of the sudden…as if its been a bad, bad problem that they couldn’t do anything about until now!
What a joke!
Look…hard hitting has been going on for a long time, and it has caused injury and even debilitating circumstances for players for years! Fans overall have not had a problem watching the hitting…my guess is they’ve been alright with it the whole time!
Guys are taught to hit hard and do their jobs, respectively! And there is no way players these days are going out on some sort of vendetta…out to put a particular player out! Hell…after each game, most guys go to midfield, laugh, and chat with each other!
For now, I’ll say the rule will stay in place, and play will be alright. If the games change in their style and performance, especially on the defensive side, then there might be even more debate as to how things should be accepted.
Meanwhile, the drama surrounding Favre and Moss as been ridiculous, for all intents! It seems like both these guys are going week to week with things changing in their play, for each game they go out to and for. Favre seems to be aging considerably, while Moss simply won’t play unless he can be on a good team…and he gets the ball! Now, he goes to Tennessee to play for the Titans, and it’ll be damn interesting to see how he gets along with HC Jeff Fisher!
The bottom-line question here now is what will both players do and how will they go for the rest of the season. Both could end up out of it…or they could both end up coming back and being the superstars they were in the past!
Going into this weekend, the New England Patriots have the best record in the League, at 6-1. But then you have EIGHT teams with only two losses! On top of that, there are SEVENTEEN teams with a record better than .500.
So, in a lot of respects, I would say its tough to determine who the frontrunners are in being the best in the NFL right now. For all intents, it drives interest, discussion, and competitiveness…which I’m sure the NFL loves!
And there are a couple of teams that stand out, on the good side…and also on the bad side!
I think its fair to say the GOOD surprise team in the League this year has been the 5-2 Buccaneers. Not a soul expected Tampa to have that record this far into the season, including their home fans, considering the Bucs have had some of their home games blacked out!
This weekend, they go to Atlanta to take on a tough, 5-2 Falcons squad.
In a completely odd quirk, the Miami Dolphins have won all four of their games on the road, but they have lost all three of their games at home! Go figure! On Sunday, they go to Baltimore to take on the 5-2 Ravens, which should certainly prove to be an interesting test for both squads. The Ravens almost lost their last home game, beating the Bills in OT.
Then you have the Cowboys (1-6) and Vikings (2-5)…two teams who have not done well at all so far this season. They both have had various personnel issues to deal with, including injury. Both have simply not performed like everyone expected.
This weekend, the Cowboys travel to Green Bay, while the Minnesota will host the Cardinals. It should be interesting to see how both play, as they are in desperate need for wins…
We now move into November, and things are getting that much more interesting in college football, as the race for the BCS gets tougher.
Of course, the main team at the top is the Oregon Ducks, who without question have come out and shown their worthiness. In going 8-0, the Ducks have scored at least 42 in all of their games. They have scored 52 or more points in FIVE of their eight wins! That, my friends, is amazing!
This week, Oregon goes to Washington (3-5) to play the paltry Huskies. I’d say look for the Ducks to simply pour it on!
In the SEC, Alabama will go to LSU to face the rough, tough Tigers. This will be a great test for the Crimson Tide. I’m sure it’ll be an exciting contest.
Then out West, you have two undefeateds going head-to-head! The TCU Horned Frogs travel to Utah to take on the Utes. Both squads have had great seasons and will want this one badly!
Meanwhile, if there are two teams that have looked bad this year, its Texas and Notre Dame.
The Longhorns started out 3-0, but then have proceeded to lose four of their last five games, including their last two AT HOME…to Iowa State, and Baylor! In Austin, that’s almost unheard of, and Longhorn fans simply don’t know what to say or do, feeling the season is a wash.
On Saturday, Texas goes to Kansas State. It’ll be interesting to see what HC Mack Brown has done to possibly get his boys up and ready to play…
Then you have Notre Dame (4-5), who has certainly floundered, losing their last two games to Navy and Tulsa AT HOME! The Irish simply haven’t played well at all this season, and its been tough for HC Brian Kelly to figure out what he has to do to get things cranking at South Bend.
The Irish certainly have a lot of work to do to turn things around in their program. With games at home against Utah (8-0), then going to USC (5-3), Notre Dame could easily finish with seven losses for the season. We’ll see what they do…
On the local scene, the Florida Gators (5-3) travel to Nashville to play the Vanderbilt Commodores (2-6), while Florida State (6-2) hosts the Carolina Tar Heels (5-3). Both games are conference tilts, and they are both solid favorites…
SPORTS w/The Jock 11-4-10
by Tom Weppel