Monday Football Wrap-Up

The College Football Playoff picture went out of focus over the weekend as #1 Alabama and #2 Miami both lost.  There will be plenty of meat for the college football punditry to chew on for the next week or so.  However, I would prefer to take the end of the college football regular season to refer to a feature of Mythical Picks that I have forsaken this year.  I would like to offer up here the seeding for my mythical 8-team SHOE Tournament.  [SHOE = Steaming Heap Of Excrement] The idea is simple; to find the worst team in the country, pick the worst 8 teams, seed them and have them play each other; the loser must play on until there is an ultimate loser – – THE SHOE Team.

Here is the field for 2017 with a brief rational for why the team is in the field:

  1. UTEP:  Their record is 0-12; they are the only winless team in Division 1-A.  ‘Nuff said…
  2. UNC-Charlotte:  Their record is 1-11; they were shut-out twice this year and they lost to Division 1-AA, NC A&T.
  3. Rice:  Their record is 1-11; their only win was over UTEP; they lost 5 games by 30 points or more.
  4. Ball St:  Their record is 2-10; they lost their last 9 in a row all of them by double-digits; one of the two wins was over Division 1- AA, Tennessee Tech.
  5. Kansas:  Their record is 1-11; the win was over Division 1-AA, SE Missouri St.; they lost 5 games by 38 points or more.
  6. Oregon St.:  Their record is 1-11; the win was over Division 1-AA, Portland St.; they lost 5 games by 31 points or more.
  7. Kent St.: Their record is 2-10; one win was over Division 1-AA Howard; they lost 7 games by 3 TDs or more.
  8. Illinois:  Their record is 2-10; the wins were over Ball St. and W. Kentucky and then they lost 10 in a row – 5 of them by 3 TDs or more.

A team that does not deserve to be in the SHOE Tournament is Tennessee – but no one in or around Knoxville should delude themselves into believing that the Vols are nearly average.  Tennessee is hunting for a new coach and reportedly had a deal to hire Greg Schiano until that fell apart late last weekend.  The issue has nothing to do with Schiano’s coaching credentials; the deal fell through because Greg Schiano was an assistant coach at Penn St. during the Jerry Sandusky years there and social media allegations surfaced saying that he covered up for Jerry Sandusky then.

Here is the problem:

  • These are allegations and nothing more.  Jerry Sandusky was indicted, tried and convicted of child molestation and is in jail where he belongs for those crimes.
  • If – I said IF – Greg Schiano covered up any of that heinous behavior, then Greg Schiano should be indicted, tried and jailed if convicted as an accessory.  Absent any of those activities, people who make those sorts of assertions on social media should be accountable for their statements.

Let me be clear; I do not think Greg Schiano would have been a great hire for Tennessee.  He was at Rutgers for 10 years and posted a 68-67 record there – – but that was before Rutgers joined the Big 10; the opposition in those years was at least 3 steps below anything that Tennessee might face in SEC competition.  Other than that, his head coaching résumé consists of 2 years with the Tampa Bay Bucs where he had a record of 11-21.  Greg Schiano is not the reincarnation of Bill Walsh.  Nonetheless, if he lost the opportunity for that job simply because of allegations of wrongdoing, then that is wrong too.

In NFL action, the Bills surprised the Chiefs, who seem to have forgotten how to play offense since their BYE Week.  The Bills had yielded more than 100 points in their past two games and held the Chiefs to 10 points on Sunday.  The Chiefs are in a free-fall; I said about 2 weeks ago that the AFC West race was over and done with and that the Chiefs would win in the end.  I am not nearly so sure about that now even though they still lead the division by a game over the Raiders and the Chargers.

Another surprising result was the Cards’ last second win over the Jags dropping the Jags into a tie atop the AFC South with the Titans.  Blaine Gabbert led the winning drive that resulted in a 57-yard field goal by Phil Dawson – the longest of his very long NFL career.  Not all that surprisingly, Jags’ QB, Blake Bortles threw an interception with about 3 minutes to play that set up “the drive” by Gabbert and the field goal by Dawson.

Other than those two outright upsets, the surprises of the weekend came from underdogs who gave favorites some agita despite losing.

  • The Jets lost to the Panthers by 8 points but were leading the game in the 4th quarter and had the ball until a scoop-and-score turned everything around.
  • The Colts led the Titans 16-13 at the start of the 4th quarter before surrendering a TD to lose the game.  For the season, the Colts have been outscored in the 4th quarter by a cumulative score of 116-28.  Yowza!
  • The Seahawks only led the Niners 7-3 at the half before pulling away in the second half.
  • The Steelers needed a last second field goal of 53 yards to beat the Packers 31-28.

The most impressive performance of the weekend was the Eagles dominance of the Bears.  In the first half, the Bears managed zero first downs and were penalized for more yards than the offense generated; for the game, the Bears’ total offense was an anemic 140 yards. The final score was 31-3 and that pretty well represented the way things unfolded on the field.

I said last week that the Rams/Saints game was the best game of the weekend and it proved to be the case.  The Rams won the game, but the real story is that the Rams are for real.  Jared Goff threw for 554 yards and 2 TDs; Cooper Kupp and Sammy Watkins combined to catch 20 balls for 198 yards; Todd Gurley added 130 yards from scrimmage; the Rams’ defense held the Saints’ offense in check for most of the day.  Do not sleep on the LA Rams…

The Bucs’ defense continues to be butt-ugly.  The Falcons produced 516 yards of offense against the Bucs yesterday and the Falcons converted 11 of 14 third down attempts.  That is simply bad defense; I don’t think you can call it anything else.

There was a Jimmy Garoppolo sighting on the field yesterday in SF.  He entered the game after an injury to CJ Beathard and his first pass as a Niner was a completion for a first down on 4th and 6.  On the next play – the last one of the game – he threw a 10-yard TD pass that was meaningless in this game but surely will whet the appetite of Niners’ fans.

The brawl between players for the Broncos and Raiders should not be tolerated by the league.  NFL games are TV programming; that is where the money comes from and no one tunes into an NFL game for that sort of bulls[p]it.  I would not object for even a moment if Roger Goodell looks at all the film and suspends a half-dozen or so players from each team for a couple of games.

The Pats’ defense was the subject of outright ridicule earlier this year; yesterday against the Dolphins, the Pats sacked Matt Moore 7 times.  Funny how things can change quickly in the NFL…

Last year, Jason Garret was the Coach of the year for the Cowboys.  Now there are fans calling for his head and rumors galore that he is on the hot seat.  Now did he get so dumb so fast?  Funny how things can change quickly in the NFL …

Finally, consider this cogent observation by Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

“Idle thought: It’s easy to take Bill Belichick’s Patriots for granted, but think of this: Unlike other franchises, New England doesn’t suffer from Super Bowl hangovers. Each season, no matter what happened before, the Patriots return hungry and focused. Belichick is just smarter than everybody else.”

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