by Tom Weppel
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
There is no question, from past history, that when teams have to play with a backup QB, good things rarely happen, and that team will most likely lose their next few games. It has happened many times in the past.
And while there can be all kinds of explanations as to a) what the backup is capable of, and b) how the rest of the team can ‘rally’ around that new starter, the bottom line is the backup QB is simply not going to be that good…I don’t care what team we’re talking about!
So, this will be an interesting weekend around the League, mainly because you will be seeing quite a few backups QB’s coming in and filling in for starters, mostly due to injury. Without question, there is a high degree of insecurity and wonder going on.
Here are a few examples…
– For Chicago, how will Caleb Haney play as the backup to Jay Cutler, who is out with the thumb injury? The Bears have been on a nice roll lately. Now, they will go out to Oakland to play a Raiders squad that has won their last two with Carson Palmer at QB. Should be interesting…
– For Houston, Matt Leinart will get the start, now with Matt Schaub on the DL for foot surgery. Leinart did not play so well in Arizona for the Cardinals when he was drafted out of USC. At 7-3, Houston has won their last four, and the pressure will be on Leinart to continue to produce for the Texans. They will start in Jacksonville against a very mediocre, but dangerous, Jaguar team.
– Last week, with starter Michael Vick out with injured ribs, Vince Young came in and helped lead the Eagles to a Sunday night win in the Meadowlands against the Giants. Now, at 4-6, Philly will be hosting an upstart Patriots team. I’ll be curious to see what Vince Young will do THIS Sunday, and exactly which eagles team will show up to play, since they have been so inconsistent throughout the season.
– With starter Matt Cassel, the Chiefs were 4-3 and in contention in the AFC West. They slipped a little, and Cassel became injured and put on the DL. He is now out for the rest of the season. Backup Tyler Palko came in for KC last week, and the Chiefs got manhandled by New England, 34-3.
This weekend, Kansas City will host the Steelers on Sunday night. I don’t expect Palko to lead them to victory, and there is no way newly signed QB Kyle Orton can come in and know the whole Chiefs offense in such a short time.
There might be a few other teams looking and hoping for a strong performance out of their current starter, including the Colts (Curtis Painter), the Redskins (Rex Grossman), and the Cardinals (John Skelton). Those teams have been struggling with those guys in the saddle, especially the 0-10 Colts.
And so it should be interesting to follow these guys and see how they perform this weekend in their respective games. Hopefully if they can put together a decent performance, they can pull out a win here or there. We shall see…
Every year, this weekend presents us with our annual rivalry match-ups. Most of them are in-state tussles, which means that simply winning this game can have a lot more significance to the season than anything else that went on, good or bad.
And that especially is the case in the Southeast. In South Carolina, the Gamecocks will be hosting Clemson this year for a nasty tussle. Carolina will be trying to achieve a ten-win season for only the second time in their history!
Georgia will head up to Atlanta to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. With a win, the Dawgs will have gone 10-0 since starting the season 0-2!
In Florida, the Gators will host Florida State. Both schools have had rather inadequate seasons, given their recent past. A win by either squad will be a nice stamp to a pretty dull season.
The Virginia Cavaliers will entertain the Virginia Tech Hokies, trying to up set them for the first time in quite a while. A win by the Cavs will also allow them to play in the ACC Championship game in Charlotte…
And in Alabama, the ‘Iron Bowl’ will ensue, as the Crimson Tide will play at Auburn. ‘Bama is a three-TD favorite in this one, but I expect it to be a little closer than that.
You can also look for such traditional games such as Ohio State going to play at Michigan, while UCLA goes cross town to play at USC in Los Angeles. The Trojans, by the way, cannot participate in any more contests, due to certain sanctions.
And so we’ll see how things go this weekend, with all these big games being played, all on the same date. A few upsets could produce some chaos within the perceived layout as to how things should go for the BCS…enjoy!
This will be the first time in quite a while where we won’t be seeing ANY Bowl games played on January 1st! Since New Years Day falls on a Sunday, the NFL, being the kings that they are, wanted that date for their schedule, and the NCAA did not want to compete with the NFL for ratings!
So, look for some games to be played on Monday the 2nd, or on other possible dates, including the week before the 1st. With so many Bowl games now being played, the scheduling for dates and times really is becoming a mess. It is very difficult to keep track of.
And let’s be honest…the conundrum of games has essentially made the importance and value of these games rather miniscule, at best. The whole post season in college football is in desperate need of a certain amount of re-organization.