The Electric Commentary

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Well, at least the BCS is still stupid.

One thing that I have learned about college football is that it often makes perfect sense in hindsight. It surprised many (including me) that the Badgers were beaten as badly as they were, but in retrospect it makes some sense. After all, I based my opinion of the Badgers largely on their wins at Purdue and at Ohio State (and against Northwestern at home). At the time, these seemed like impressive wins, but in hindsight, they were all cupcakes. Now that we have the benefit of almost a full season on which to base our opinions, it is clear that the four best teams in the Big Ten are Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Wisconsin does not play Michigan, and it has played or will play against the two other Big Ten powers on the road to end the season. Both Michigan State and Iowa should have been viewed as very difficult games going in. This seems obvious now that we have all of this extra information.

Which makes the BCS even worse than usual this week. Auburn has looked good week in and week out. This week they just manhandled the 8th ranked Georgia Bulldogs. They have a fast, punishing defense and a solid offense. Oklahoma can score, but they can’t stop anyone. USC is very similar. Offensively gifted, defensively inept. Auburn is clearly a better team than both, but because the writer’s poll and coach’s poll both had OK and USC as the preseason #1 and #2, and the BCS relies on those polls for 2/3 of it’s total, they remain #1 and #2. (Also, read these comments from LSU head coach Nick Saban).

Many have complained this week that Auburn should jump OK, but I even have a problem with this, as OK is clearly better than USC (as is Auburn).

This is Auburn’s schedule. I don’t follow the SEC that closely, but I know that beating LSU, Tennessee, and Georgia is impressive. They will also have to play Tennessee or Georgia again in the SEC title game.

This is Oklahoma’s schedule. They have some very quality wins against Oregon (tied for 3rd in the Pac-10), Texas, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M.

This is USC’s schedule. It is not terrible, but not nearly as impressive as Auburn or OK. They have quality wins over Virginia Tech, California (barely), and Arizona State. They still play Notre Dame, but there is no truly impressive game here. Hopefully they will lose to the Irish (I can’t believe I just wrote that).

But you all knew that this whole system was a joke, so let’s move on to the NFL.

Turd is Turd

Robert "Turd" Ferguson should send chocolates to the referees. I don’t know if Ben Steele actually recovered that fumble or not. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen one team come out of a pile clearly possessing the ball and still not be awarded possession, but I’m glad that the Packers got it back and put it away. And I now that TMQ’s “Stop me before I blitz again” has been repeated in his column ad nauseum, but it would be nice if Bob Slowick and Mike Sherman would read it.

Stop Me Before I Blitz Again! No. 2
Leading 31-17, Green Bay had Minnesota facing first-and-10 on its 35 with 4:29 remaining. The Packers blitzed on five of the next seven Minnesota snaps, and the Hyperboreans -- see below -- moved easily to score the touchdown that made it 31-24. After Minnesota got the ball back, it faced first-and-10 on its own 34 with 2:18 remaining. Five-man blitz, 40-yard completion to Nate Burleson and the Vikings scored again on the next snap to tie the game and set up the fantastic finish.

A friend and I spent the last 15 minutes of that game screaming at his television, “Stop Blitzing! Please!” Had it not been a giant 44-inch HDTV with split screen capabilities which allowed us to simultaneously watch Mark Brunell’s truly scary passing which hurt several cheerleaders and an elderly woman sitting in the first row, we probably would have thrown a shoe at it.

It did not make any sense. We blitzed sparingly for most of the game and even generated pressure with our front four (kudos to Cullen Jenkins and KGB for a nice effort). Why start blitzing at the end of the game? Why leave Carroll in single coverage? And what was Jue doing back there?

Hopefully they will learn. Or perhaps Sherman can take over the defensive play calling as well. But in the end, we won, they lost, and the annual Viking Choke-a-thon is on.

Gone Fishin’

What is wrong with the Tuna and the Cowboys? Sure Vinny Testaverde is so old that his lineage is not so much Italian as it is Ancient Roman, and they can’t run the ball, and their receivers are all hurt except for big, slow Keyshawn, and Jason Witten is their best player and their linebackers are all midgets and hurt.
Other than that, what is wrong with this team?

By the way, Dorsey Levens outrushed the entire Dallas team last night by three yards.

Train Wreck

As I am forced to watch the Bears play every week, it is worth noting the fact that they are 4-5 and one game out of first. It is nothing short of astonishing. It is one thing for the old Super Bowl champion Ravens to win “without offense.” They at least had Jamal Lewis and Shannon Sharpe is they really needed to move the ball.

This Bear team has a good defense, but it is no Raven defense, and the A-train is no Lewis. Heck Krenzel is no Dilfer. But they keep scoring on defense and on special teams, and doing just enough to get it done (I mean, who wins an overtime game on a safety? How does that happen?! You can not fumble coming out of your own endzone in overtime, you've got to at least throw it away). The Bears have a tough schedule coming up, so there will probably be no miracle playoff runs like in the Jim Miller days, but it is still pretty amazing.

By the way, did you know that no Bear offensive player that accumulated an offensive statistic of any kind has a first initial that comes later than “d” in the alphabet?

Anthony, Bobby, Craig, Bernard, Desmond and David. Maybe when Bear management is reading their scouting reports before the draft they never get past the “d’s”! It would explain a lot.

Quick Hitters

I told you to ride the Cardinal’s bandwagon, and as a result, Eli Manning is starting next week. We all wish him good luck and a better wife…I mean life! A better life! I hope Brenda didn’t hear that.

Note to Drew Bledsoe – Troy Brown is no longer on your team, so don’t throw the ball at him.

As stated earlier, I watched the Washington-Cincinnati game on split screen, and as hard as I was on Mark Brunell before, he was actually much worse than his numbers indicated. The Bengals defenders dropped no less than six interceptions thrown directly to them. It was like watching a bunch of Koren Robinsons out there.

Peyton Manning threw five touchdowns again. It’s almost not interesting anymore.

New Orleans beat the Chiefs. Remember that the Saints do this every year. They start to look good for brief periods, and then they turn around and blow it. The blowing will commence shortly.

Joining Eli next week as a new starter is Patrick Ramsey, who won the position by not sprinting backward 20 yards on every play. And rumors are swirling that Joey Harrington may hit the pine in favor of Mike McMahon. As the Outsider’s Michael David Smith put it:

“My own opinion, as someone who has seen every pass Harrington has thrown this year, is that Harrington is not the Lions’ problem on offense. The problem is that Matt Millen has given Harrington exactly one teammate, Roy Williams, who consistently helps the offense. It would be absurd for Harrington to lose his job before Millen loses his.”

True enough.

Other notable injuries:

Priest is likely out one more week, as is Brian Gurlacher. Titan’s safety Tank Williams is gone for the year.

Lamont Jordan claims that when he threw his interception, he was aiming “out of bounds.” Aiming “out of bounds” and failing may be the sorriest passing exploit that one can accomplish, due to the fact that as a purely technical matter, “out of bounds” is a larger area than “the broadside of a barn.”

Finally, if you need a break from football, Bill Simmons latest NBA column is pretty amusing. Yeah, the NBA started up and I didn't even notice! And the Bucks are even 3-2! And almost beat Shaq's team the other day! And they have a guy named Zaza! I look forward to watching when the NFL season ends in a few months.



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