The bad news is that my World Series prediction of “Astros in 6” has gone down the drain. The good news is that we get to see a Game 7 in a World Series that has been exciting and interesting. Barring a weather intervention, the MLB baseball season will end tonight.
Before getting to the football roundup from last week, let me comment on the Eagles’ acquisition of RB, Jay Ajayi, from the Dolphins for a 4th round pick. This trade is confusing for a couple of reasons:
- The Dolphins are offensively challenged; they have scored 92 points in 7 games (13.1 points per game); they are the only team in the NFL to score fewer than 100 points. Why are they trading away any offensive assets for draft picks?
- The Eagles have 4 RBs on the roster and have used all of them in spots so far this year. How does Ajayi fit into that mix – particularly how does he fit in with LeGarrette Blount?
In college football happenings, Florida fired head coach Jim McElwain after a 5 TD loss to Georgia over the weekend. According to reports, McElwain will get $13M in addition to whatever he has earned at Florida to date. He had just gotten an extension to his contract in June of this year so that decision has to be called into question about now. In any event, I doubt that McElwain will need to worry about eating at the early-bird special prices in Boca Raton any time soon.
Iowa St. continued on its run of upsets handing TCU its first loss of the season. The Big 12 Championship picture is now wide open. Four teams – Iowa St., Oklahoma, Oklahoma St. and TCU now have one loss each in conference games and there are plenty of games left among those four. This could get very interesting…
Ohio St. and Penn St. played a great game on Saturday. If that game were to give an encore performance in the CFP, I would not object.
Houston beat USF over the weekend and that was USF’s first loss of the season. That leaves only 5 undefeated teams left in Division 1-A college football:
Alabama and Georgia could meet in the SEC Championship Game; Miami still has Notre Dame and the ACC Championship Game opponent to play; UCF has USF on its regular season schedule; Wisconsin should stroll into the Big 10 Championship Game unbeaten.
At the other end of the accomplishment spectrum, there are still 3 winless teams in college football this year:
- Georgia Southern
Baylor plays Kansas this week and opened as a 10-point favorite on the road at Kansas. Seriously … That line has dropped to 8 points as of this morning; but even so, that tells you something about the oddsmakers’ opinion of Kansas. Georgia Southern is only a 3-point underdog this week at home against Georgia St. UTEP is on the road this week and is a 17-point underdog to Middle Tennessee St.
One team that seems on a downward arc is Virginia. They started off 5-1 for the season beating Indiana and Boise St. handily along the way. Then came a 31-point loss to BC followed by a 17-point loss to Pitt. The schedule for the Cavaliers does not get any easier starting this week with a visit by Georgia Tech. After that they go on the road to Louisville and Miami before closing the season at home against VA Tech.
Arizona beat Washington St. last week 58-37. Arizona is in the race for the PAC-12 South crown; they have 1 conference loss as does USC – – and this week Arizona pays a visit to USC in an important game. As of this morning, the Wildcats are a 7-point underdog on the road.
One last college football comment … I noticed that Missouri beat UConn last week by 40 points and improved its record to 3-5 in the process. I wondered why Missouri and UConn were playing in the first place and I thought I remembered that Mizzou played Idaho before that; so, I went and checked out the Missouri schedule. The Athletic department there should be ashamed; Missouri scheduled 3 out of conference opponents this year:
- Missouri State (Division 1-AA)
Indeed, Missouri has 3 wins this year and you are looking at the three vanquished foes. Oh, the cumulative scores in those games is:
- Mizzou 192 – Sacrificial Lambs 76.
Moving up to the NFL action last weekend, the Raiders laid a giant egg in Buffalo. The Raiders either cannot or choose not to run the football and their defense is substandard. I picked them to win the AFC West; that is not happening. In fact, they are going to have to scratch and claw just to be anything more than a mathematical possibility for the playoffs come December.
The Browns lost to the Vikes in the London Game last weekend; the Browns’ losing is hardly news. Here is the News Flash:
- The Cleveland Browns led at halftime for the first time this year.
Be patient Browns’ fans; progress comes in small steps … Here is another small step forward:
- DeShone Kizer did not turn the ball over in this game.
Like I said, baby steps…
The Panthers beat the Bucs 17-3 last week and it appears as if the Bucs’ season is coming apart at the seams. The Bucs turned the ball over 3 times in the game and were only 2 for 12 on third down attempts.
The Saints and the Bears played an ugly game. Here is the “bright spot” from that game:
- The Saints won this game even though Drew Brees did not throw a TD pass; the last time that happened was in October 2009.
The Falcons did beat the Jets in a driving rainstorm last week, but the Falcons did try to give the game away. Matt Ryan and center, Alex Mack, managed to create 4 fumbles on snaps from center in the game. This is not Pop Warner football even if it was raining like Hell… This game went down to the wire despite the fact that the Jets absolutely could not run the ball at all (43 yards total rushing for the game). The Jets trailed by 5 points and had the ball for 2 possessions in the final 5 minutes of the game and came up dry both times. It seems as if the team that wanted it least lost this game.
The Eagles beat the Niners simply because the Eagles’ roster has more talent than does the Niners’ roster. The Niners’ started CJ Beathard at QB in his first start; he was over-matched against the Eagles’ defense. Caron Wentz played his worst game of the year and outcome of the game was not seriously in doubt.
The Bengals/Colts game was as close as it was meaningless. The Bengals prevailed and once again, the Colts blew a 4th quarter lead. For the season in the 4th quarter of games here is the Colts’ cumulative score:
- Opponents 92 Colts 25.
The Cowboys beat the Skins 33-19 but the margin here is inflated by a late Pick Six on a tipped pass. Indeed, the Skins are hobbled on offense with some guys playing on the O-line here who had only arrived at the Skins’ facilities about 48 hours prior to game time. Nonetheless, that does not explain why Ezekiel Elliot ran the ball for 150 yards and 2 TDs. Skins abandoned the run game early and only totaled 49 yards on the ground for the game.
The Texans/Seahawks game was a “points-a-palooza”. Given the two defensive units on the field here, I certainly did not expect that. Texans’ WR, DeAndre Hopkins caught 8 passes for 224 yards in the game. Russell Wilson threw for 452 yards in the game and the Seahawks won despite being held to a measly 32 yards rushing.
The Steelers/Lions game was a coming-out party for JuJu Smith-Schuster. Based on what I saw on Sunday nite, there is little motivation for the Steelers to put up with Martavis Bryant and his diva nonsense. The Lions rolled up 487 yards of offense (very good) and got to the Steelers’ red zone 5 times (very good) and managed to score exactly zero TDs. (Say what?) In fact, the Lions had the ball at the Steelers’ 5 yardline or closer 3 times and managed to turn those three opportunities into 1 field goal. Guess who won the game…
Finally, consider this timely comment from Brad Rock in the Deseret News:
“Groundbreaking for the new NFL stadium in Las Vegas is set to occur next month.
“No truth to the rumor the team has already asked the media not to use the term ‘busted flush’ for missing the playoffs.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………