Mitch Albom wrote the book, Tuesdays With Morrie. Around here, Tuesdays are usually devoted to reviewing football happenings from the previous weekend – – and so to begin with college football.
- Ohio St. suffered more than a letdown after a miraculous come-from-behind win over Penn St. two weeks ago. The Buckeyes went to Iowa and lost by 31 points.
- Penn St. – meanwhile – suffered a hangover from their loss to Ohio St. and lost again last week to Michigan St.
- Wisconsin beat Indiana and is now the only team in the Big 10 with fewer than 2 losses. In fact, if Wisconsin stumbles badly and drops out of consideration for CFP participation, then the big 10 is going to be shut out of the playoff this year. By the way, Wisconsin’s defense is allowing an average of 10 points per game this season.
- Notre Dame continued its winning ways with an 11-point win over Wake Forest last week.
- Iowa St. stubbed its toe losing on the road to West Virginia. Oklahoma beat Oklahoma St. in a game with no apparent defense at all. TCU took care of business beating Texas. That leaves Oklahoma and TCU atop the Big 12 with 1 conference loss each; close behind with 2 losses in conference are Iowa St., Oklahoma St., and W. Virginia. These guys all play one another down the stretch…
- Baylor won its first game of the season beating Kansas handily at Kansas. Both teams are a miserable 1-8 for the season but point differentials here are very different. Baylor’s point differential of minus-92 is not good by any means but it looks downright laudable compared to Kansas’ point differential of minus-203.
- Clemson beat NC State by a TD, but it was a struggle. Also in the ACC, Miami beat VA Tech in what seems like a “signature win” for Miami.
- Georgia and Alabama remained undefeated in the SEC; both have conference records of 6-0. The only team in the SEC with only 1 conference loss is Auburn and their two remaining conference games are against Georgia (this week) and Alabama (in two weeks).
- Out west, USC grabbed control of the PAC-12 South race with a 2 TD win over Arizona last week. In the North Division race, Washington maintained its 1-game lead over Washington St. and Stanford aided and abetted by Stanford losing to Washington St. last week. Washington is the only PAC-12 team with only one loss overall.
- UCF remained unbeaten for the year with a win over SMU last week. The next two weeks do not look to be severe hurdles for UCF leading up to a season-ending game against USF – a conference rival with only 1 loss so far this year.
- Army beat Air Force 21-0 last week. The amazing stat from that game is that Army did not attempt a pass for the entire game. Shades of 1917 …
- Linfield College ran its record to 7-1 with a shutout win over Pacific Lutheran last week. The Wildcats close out their regular season this weekend hosting Pacific (OR). Linfield has clinched the Northwest Conference title and a likely spot in the Division III playoffs.
Because this is Curmudgeon Central, I do not subscribe to the idea that every team is a winner because every player tries his hardest. Here is my Bottom 10 for now:
- Georgia Southern and UTEP have not won a game so far this year.
- Coastal Carolina, Kansas, Rice and UNC-Charlotte have only won one game so far this year – – and all have suffered some big defeats. [Aside: Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern close out the season against one another. What a hot mess that game will be.]
- Ball St. (MAC) has 2 wins this year but has given up 55 points or more in 4 of its last 5 games.
- Kent St. (MAC) has 2 wins this year but a couple of horrific losses too.
- Bowling Green (MAC) has 2 wins this year – one over Kent St.
- E. Carolina has 2 wins this year – – and one loss to a Division 1-AA team.
Moving up to the NFL, I asked last week how much “coaching up” the Packers’ staff had been able to impart to Brett Hundley. The answer is “not nearly enough” – – particularly if the Packers’ defense goes into “sieve-mode”. In the loss to the Lions last night, the Packers’ defense did not force the Lions to punt even one time.
The Bucs lost to the Saints; but more importantly, it looked as if the Bucs imploded as a team. Jameis Winston demonstrated the maturity of a 5th grader instigating a brawl once he had been removed from the game and the Saints dominated the Bucs in just about every aspect. The Saints lead the NFC South this week and the Bucs’ season is in the dumpster.
The other two NFC South teams squared off last week and the Panthers beat the Falcons by a field goal. The Falcons are in the midst of one of the worst Super Bowl Hangovers ever; they rode to the game last year on the foundation of a high scoring offense; just about everyone is back this year but the Falcons have been held under 20 points in 4 of their last 5 games. The Panthers are not fun to watch, but they are effective and win games.
Scoring 50 points in an NFL game is unusual. Last week, the Eagles and the Rams both reached that plateau scoring 51 points against their opponents, the Broncos and the Giants. The Broncos defense had been #1 against the run going into Sunday’s contest; the Eagles ran for more than 200 yards in the game. The Giant’s defense was thought to be one of the best in the league; some say that unit quit during the game; I don’t know if that is the case, but they surely played listlessly and gave up some huge TD plays. [Aside: One more loss like this and the Giant’s coach will be known as Ben McAdon’t.]
By the way, in Brock Osweiler’s first start for the Broncos this year, he stunk out the joint…
The Texans lost to the Colts last week with Tom Savage at the helm. The Colts’ defense is anything but formidable, but they throttled the Texans’ offense allowing one offensive TD all day long. I do not care how big a distraction anyone thinks Colin Kaepernick may be in a locker room; Kaepernick must be better than any of the QBs currently on the active roster in Houston.
AJ Green got himself ejected from the Bengals’ game against the Jags for starting a fight and throwing punches. The Bengals season formally ended last week; I won’t say the team quit, but they surely did not seem particularly interested in playing hard.
The Skins pulled out a last-minute win over the Seahawks in Seattle keeping their playoff hopes alive. It is very possible that the NFC East will put 3 teams in the NFC playoffs this year.
The Raiders beat the Dolphins on Sunday Night Football in a game that was anything but “artistic”. If the Raiders are going to tease fans with a “playoff push”, someone on the coaching staff needs to take the initiative over the BYE Week and teach defenders how to tackle. Some of the attempts to do that on Sunday night were embarrassingly bad. [For the record, the Raiders have played 9 games this year and have not intercepted a pass yet.]
Finally, here is a football commentary from Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel:
“A new national survey shows that Major League Baseball has surpassed the NFL as America’s favorite professional sport. I have a name for the people who voted on this survey: Liars!!! NFL TV ratings may be down, but they still dwarf MLB ratings. And, besides, everybody knows America’s favorite professional sport is college football.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………