by TOM WEPPEL
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
At the beginning of the season, if I had said to you that the Atlanta Falcons and the Houston Texans would be your two undefeated teams left at this point, you probably would’ve thought I was completely joking!
But that is exactly what is going on as we speak, and now you can realize you and I can both talk about it and not be way off.
Obviously the Falcons and Texans have been effective. Houston has shown us they have got a pretty damn good defense. They have shut down their opponents when needed, and their offense has been productive as well, led by QB Matt Schaub and RB Arian Foster. Schaub has had a solid corps of receivers to throw to, helping him move their offense down the field when needed.
Their defense has been led by DL J.J. Watt, who has simply been dominant on the line, both in the pass rush, and also in defending the line of scrimmage. We will see what happens if they lose LB Alex Cushing to injury, as they did Monday night.
Atlanta has QB Matt Ryan to lead their offense, and he has done a good job in that department. His personnel has helped in all ways, especially TE Tony Gonzales. And while their defense has not been outstanding statistically, they have indeed held opponents to only 93 points thru five games.
This weekend the Falcons will be at home, hosting Oakland, while the Texans will be at home to play host to a 2-3 Packers squad. Both teams are favored to pull off victory, which their home fans are very much looking forward to…
How important is having a Head Coach in place in order for a team to win in the NFL? Hmm…let’s see here.
This past week, the New Orleans Saints were 0-4 so far without their ‘real’ Head Coach, Sean Peyton. Sunday night, they even played without their ‘interim’ Head Coach, Joe Vitt. But finally, they pulled off a victory, beating the San Diego Chargers, 31-24. They are now 1-4.
And the Indianapolis Colts had started off 1-2, with their ‘real’ Head Coach’, Chuck Pagano. Then, on Sunday, they beat the Green Bay Packers…a team not necessarily known for playing well on Astroturf…30-27. They did so with Pagano ailing, and not on the sideline.
Meanwhile, the Browns have gone 0-5 under their Head Coach, Pat Shurmur, while SEVEN other teams only have one victory so far this season!
Obviously, those franchises have showed us that the Head Coach cannot guarantee wins around this League…they may be good people…they may have good abilities to coach and perform other tasks…but they cannot always lead their respective teams when it comes to playing and WINNING!
Unfortunately, that is exactly what the NFL is all about! And so it should be interesting how things continue to play out this year…if it keeps up like this, we could be in for some major shake-ups around the League…
One week after the whole referee situation was figured out, and the REAL guys got back on the field, it seemed the games were handled with solid normalcy when it came down to playing and penalties.
Some of that was simply because the players knew the top-shelf guys were in place and ready to go…which led them to ‘behaving’…as opposed to the first few games of the season, when they were trying to cheap and do what they wanted, when they wanted.
And so, I ask you…after Sunday’s games, did you hear many folks talking about it? It is THAT crazy, honestly!
Here is my other question…does anyone know where the replacement guys are NOW?! Did they get any solid experience in September…to the extent where they could go do some work maybe in the college ranks? Or are they simply back home with their feet up, sitting in their lounge chairs, watching games and commenting on what they see and watch now? Damn…
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Attention, all of you Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers fans who had 100% complete belief in your respective clubs, both as fans and as self-processed baseball experts…can you please pull yourselves out of the shock and wonderment you have experienced over this past weekend? I KNOW you are still not buying how your favorite team went down in defeat in a one-game wild card playoff, especially after you had such a solid season, when your team showed how it could accept winning as a complete part of its own personality.
And now, the Braves and Rangers are at home, not having to worry about wearing hats and uniforms to work for the reason of the year, with another season in the books, as they like to say!
If there is anything to take out of those to games that were played last Friday, it is that having a one-game elimination game for the wild cards is a joke. My personal feeling is there should at the very least be a three-game set in that first round, if you want to define it that way, of wild card teams. Seriously…you would think after 162 games and roughly six months worth of playing, that a team could at least be rewarded with more than a one-game postseason!
Give it some thought, Mr. Selig…
There are many other storylines to follow, and we will be doing so in the coming weeks, as things come down to the finish line. I don’t know if there is one favorite team standing out that is left, from the ones that are still playing. That includes the Yankees, who led the Major Leagues in HR’s hit by a wide margin (245 at the end of the season!), but still had some deficiencies in their pitching staff.
Should be fun, watching these series continue to play out, until we get to the finals!
Here we are, almost halfway through the regular season of college football, and the drama is getting stronger, meatier, juicier…okay…YOU use the correct term!
Seriously…last week gave us some games that were simply wild, both during their playing, and in their outcome.
Is there any doubt whatsoever now that we have all realized the #1 conference in the nation right now, as we speak, is the SEC?!?! I mean, honestly…when you have your top FOUR schools ranked in the top EIGHT of the national polls (Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, LSU), and a few others ranked in the Top 25 (Georgia, Miss. State), there is NO WAY, any other conference right now could even challenge the SEC for dominance in the country!
And the only reason the Georgia Bulldogs and LSU Tigers have losses is because they lost to SEC schools!
In South Carolina, they are still showing their exuberance around the state, after the Gamecocks beat the Bulldogs silly! Steve Spurrier has got some incredible talent on his roster this year, and his team has a damn good chance right now of getting to the SEC championship. I will say, though…they have a tough task at hand, going to LSU and Florida the next two weeks! Watch out…
Meanwhile, NINE other schools have teams that are still undefeated, heading into this weekend. Oregon and Notre Dame have played well. West Virginia has simply had fun, scoring at will, including their road win over the Texas Longhorns last week. And Kansas State and Oregon State have proven that when you have ‘State’ on the end of your name, you may not get complete respect!
This weekend, your feature contests include the LSU Tigers at home hosting Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks. You would think SC would go in as the favorite, but they aren’t, as LSU holds a three-point line! Should make for an interesting game!
You also have a traditional match up, with the Texas Longhorns traveling to Oklahoma to face the Sooners. Interestingly enough, OU is only a three-point favorite heading into this one, which I find low!
We shall see!
SPORTS AVENGER 10/9/12
by TOM WEPPEL