Catching Up On Football Happenings …

I got to watch my first Monday Night Football for 2017 last night.  I remember reading that ESPN was bringing Hank Williams, Jr. back to do the “opening” of the telecast but I had forgotten that fact until last night.  Frankly, I wish ESPN had forgotten to bring him back.  Or is that just me …?

I enjoyed the close game – it was a one-possession game in the fourth quarter – but the thing that I marveled at was this:

  • Larry Fitzgerald must have found what eluded Ponce de Leon.
  • Fitzgerald recently turned 34 years old.  Most WRs at that age have “lost a step” and if they can continue to play they do so with guile and not pure athletic prowess.
  • Last night, Fitzgerald caught 13 passes for 149 yards and a TD.  He did this – essentially – as the only real threat in the passing game for the Cards.  Two of his catches will be shown on SportsCenter as highlights of the week; you can be sure of that.

In reading a review of last weekend’s NFL activity, I saw mention that the Jags’ performance was sufficiently noteworthy that the Las Vegas oddsmakers had opened the Jags as 4-point favorites on the road against the Jets this week.  Even though the Jets won last week, the Jets are a hot mess and most people recognize that, so why is this noteworthy?

  • Since 2008, the Jags have been road favorites exactly twice – once against the Bengals in 2008 and once against the Colts in 2011.  Recall that 2011 was the year that Peyton Manning sat out the season with a neck injury and the Colts finished with the worst record in the NFL.

As I am trying to catch up on college football happenings, it will surely not surprise anyone to know that I am focused on the “top-tier teams” and I am also focused on the “abyssal plane teams” – the ones that cannot sink much lower.  Consider:

  1. Looking for a bottom feeder or two always requires a glance at the MAC and this year it would seem that Akron, Bowling Green and Kent State could fall to significant levels of disgrace.  Interestingly, this week fans can watch the Akron Zips as they travel to Bowling Green to play the Falcons.  Should be a yawn-fest.
  2. Unless I missed something, I believe UMass is the only team sitting at 0-5 this morning.  That cannot be good.
  3. Oregon St. is 1-3 but when you look at that record you notice that the Beavers have been blown out in all 3 losses and they beat Portland St. – Division 1-AA – by 3 points at home for their only win.  Next, take a look at the upcoming schedule for Oregon St. and see Washington, at USC, Colorado, Stanford as the next four games.  After that, the Beavers get to play two straight road games.  Ouch!
  4. Looking for a bottom feeder always requires a glance at the Kansas football schedule and it does not take long to recognize the potential for abject discredit here.  After an opening win over Southeast Missouri – Division 1-AA – the Jayhawks have lost to 2 MAC teams (both by double digits) and then were blown away by West Virginia.
  5. Looking for a bottom feeder always requires a glance at the Rutgers football schedule and there is also great potential for “stinkitude” here.  The Scarlet Knights are 1-3; the win was a 65-0 blowout over Morgan St. – Division 1-AA.  The three losses were to Washington (at home), E. Michigan (at home) and Nebraska (on the road).  Next up is a home game against Ohio St.; as of this morning, Rutgers is a 29.5-point underdog at home…
  6. Looking for a bottom feeder always requires a glance at the Mountain West Conference and San Jose St. caught my eye there.  The Spartans are 1-3 this year beating Cal Poly SLO – Division 1-AA – in their opener by 3 TDs.  After that, it would seem as if the wheels came off the bus; in the last 3 games – losses to Texas (on the road), Utah (on the road) and Utah St. (at home) – the cumulative score in those 3 games was 171-26.  So far this year, San Jose St. is giving up 46 points per game and one game was against a Division 1-AA opponent.

If you think I am making this next item up, Google is your friend.  There used to be a college football bowl game called the St. Petersburg Bowl.  You should not be surprised to learn that it is contested in St. Petersburg and this year will feature a contest between teams from the American Athletic Conference and Conference USA; those are matchups I never look forward to.  At one point in history, the bowl game sold naming rights and became the Beef O’ Brady’s Bowl between 2010 and 2013.  Now the naming rights have been sold again and the St. Petersburg Bowl will be – – sound the trumpets – –

  • The Bad Boys Mowers Gaspirilla Bowl

In case that name is confusing, let me shed a scintilla of light here for you:

  1. Bad Boy Mowers makes zero-turn lawn mowers.
  2. Gaspirilla is not a soft drink; Gaspirilla is a pirate festival celebrated in Tampa each winter and takes its name from a Spanish pirate named José Gaspar who evidently terrorized Florida waters in times past.
  3. What lawn mowers have to do with a pirate festival is not clear to me.
  4. What lawn mowers have to do with Tropicana Field – where the game will be played – is not clear to me either since the stadium has artificial turf.

Now that you know all of that, will you be considering a Bad Boy Mower the next time you need to purchase a lawn mower?  Just asking…

Finally, here is college football related comment from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald:

“Rutgers installed a jacuzzi in its student section. When you watch Rutgers kids frolicking in a hot tub and Wisconsin students chugging beer from cheese-shaped mugs remember: Nebraska joined the Big Ten for the academics.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports ………



5 thoughts on “Catching Up On Football Happenings …”

  1. Sir:
    “Nebraska joined the Big Ten [sic: Fourteen] for the academics.”
    Now *THAT’S* funny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My compliments to Mr. Dickson…

  2. When I saw the score at the bottom of my TV I switched over and watched part of the UMass/Tennessee game. Maybe it’s my anti-SEC bias, but the Minutemen were not overmatched in that game. The final 4-point margin pretty much told the story. Tennessee, and maybe the SEC as a whole, has slipped considerably in the last 2-3 years.

    I ran the Gasparilla 15K back in my running days. I remember the beer better than the pirates.

    1. Doug:

      The SEC has slipped a bit in the last couple of years in terms of the depth of the conference. Tennessee has not been part of the “SEC-elite” for quite a while now but you are correct that a “one-score win” over UMass is not something you expect from an SEC team.

  3. Will all due respect to Mr. Dickson, all of the major conferences in the country should have the Big Ten’s standards for academics.

    1. Dave:

      Agree that the Big 10 has more than a couple of excellent academic institutions among its members. Brad Dickson’s column is humor and satire; his remarks – I believe – were more pointed to the Nebraska folks who touted academics – and not economics – as the reason Nebraska entered the big 10.

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