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Football Thoughts – the Wild Card Games

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on January 22, 2022

I want to post this blog about the wild card round before the divisional round games this weekend.

I should begin these thoughts by reminding myself and others what a pathetically crappy division is/was the NFC East, and that I predicted the Dallas Cowboys would win the division but still be a bad football team.

Which brings me to the Dallas Cowboys’ loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The Cowboys were winners of the NFC East but pathetic losers in every other respect, including its one and done playoff game.

I don’t think there has ever been such a great disparity between the talent on an NFL team and its performance. Dallas’ roster is full of underperforming, overpaid players, or as Shannon Sharpe calls them: “bums.”

The Cowboys, the most penalized team in the NFL this year, added 14 more penalties in this game! And, though penalties are killers any time in a game, the Cowboys picked particularly disastrous times to have them. Penalties are a clear indicator of lack of discipline, which is a coaching issue.

It is incredibly hard to win a game in the NFL. In fact, it takes an entire organization, but the Cowboys will never have that unless and until Jerry Jones, the greatest sports franchise history in terms of net worth growth of a franchise, meddles in the football operations.

It’s said that Jones really, really wants to win another Super Bowl or two in his lifetime, but that’s not his top priority. Yes, he would like to win one, but he cares much more about massaging his ego. He calls all the shots, he has a radio show, and a tv one, I think, and he is the guy who gives post-game interviews rather than the head coach. He can’t get out of the way of his own team’s chances for success, and he wants it that way.

The Cowboys head coach, hand-picked by Jones, is a flat out disaster. As I write this, there are eight head coaching vacancies in the NFL and Dallas’ offensive and defensive coordinators are both being interviewed for some of those jobs. They are the last people I would have on my list.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had their way with the Philadelphia Eagles, 31-15. As a reminder how bad the NFC East is this year, the Dallas Cowboys beat the Eagles 51-26 the week before. But the important takeaway from this game is how far and hard the Eagles clawed to get into the playoffs with this team. Bottom line: they just got beat by a vastly superior team, but they are ascending and at least they can quit wondering if Jalen Hurts is their quarterback of the future. Answer: yes.

The Los Angeles Rams beat the Arizona Cardinals by more than three touchdowns, 34-11. The Cardinals’ situation is somewhat like that of Dallas, though without as much talent.

The Cardinals have a problematic organization, including serious coaching issues. (What does it say about an organization that hires a mediocre college coach to coach an NFL team?)

I wrote Arizona off when Hopkins went down for the season, and I was right. The Murray-Hopkins connection was really all the Cardinals had.

Arizona has a better quarterback than Dallas, but Murry was running for his life the entire game, again, because the offensive line is porous, and the defense is about as bad. Head coach Kingsbury can’t even spell the word defense, and his team lacks discipline as much as Dallas.

The Buffalo Bills beat the New England Patriots 47-17, a real ass-kicking, indicating that Bill Belichick has a lot of work to do to get back to the top. Buffalos quarterback Josh Allen was terrific.

The Kansas City Chiefs finally put the Pittsburgh Steelers out of their misery 42-21. But the Steelers had a nice little run to send Ben Roethlisberger into Hall of Fame retirement. I was happy for him.

I define a true champion as one who wins over a long period of time. Landry, Belichick, Brady, Manning, Le Braun James, John Wooten, that lot. And broadly speaking, it is the long time proven teams that are rising to the top in these playoffs.

But there is some young blood coming into the league, as usual. I give you, as an example, Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals, who outdueled the Raiders 26-19 in the playoff round. Burrow has come much farther much faster than I imagined, even given his stellar senior college season.

The team about which I am most curious in these playoffs, we have yet to see. The Tennessee Titans got the bye week, so we won’t see them until their game this week against the Bengals in Nashville.

I wrote the Titans off when Derek Henry went down, and in this case I was wrong. The Titans held it together, and they get Henry back for this game. He certainly won’t be in peak form, but it will be interesting to see what he can do.

So, the OU QU Amigos had a very bad wild card round. Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns didn’t even make the playoffs and is having off-season surgery on his shoulder. Murry and Hurts each took a beating.

I won’t bother making predictions about the divisional round games this weekend for a number of reasons, including that everyone else already has, and that we are going to know the answers to such speculations today and tomorrow. But I love NFL playoff football, because it features the best teams against each other, and everyone gives maximum effort because it’s win or go home.

Football Thoughts – Week 17

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on January 7, 2022

I don’t know what to think about this week’s NFL games. Nothing went the way I hoped and little the way I expected.

The Dallas Cowboys reverted to their underachieving form, and the Arizona Cardinals made fools of them. I could just acknowledge that Dallas got beat by a better team with a much better quarterback, but it was worse than that.

Dallas stank on ice, and this is one of those games where much of the loss can be pinned on the $75 million quarterback and the head coach, who suffered another time management failure.

McCarthy couldn’t decide if the Cardinals were going to go for it on fourth down or kick a field goal, so he panicked, peed his pants and called his last time out, which he needed at the end of the game and didn’t have.

If you don’t know which it’s going to be – going for it on fourth down or kicking a field goal, and time for a decision is running out – just defend the potential fourth-down play and don’t worry if it turns out to be a field goal attempt. The same set will work either way. What a moron.

Also, early in the game, the Cardinals were getting ready to punt at a time that fairly screamed fake punt. In fact, I did scream fake punt at the tv to warn the Cowboys, but no, they didn’t listen to me and were caught off guard.

The Cincinnati Bengals upset the Kansas City Chiefs. I wasn’t expecting that, but then again, I wasn’t expecting Joe Burrow to develop so quickly, and I sure as hell wasn’t expecting the Chiefs to be so stupid as to play one on one against Chase and not double team him. I can’t tell how the Bengals will do in the playoffs, but I can guarantee they won’t see single coverage on Chase again. “Double, double toil and trouble.”

I was hoping the Vikings would upset the Packers, but I didn’t expect it to happen, and when Cousins couldn’t start, I knew it couldn’t. The Pack had their way with the Vikings, and they look like the team to beat in the NFC to me. Rodgers is playing lights out and deserves the MVP.

The Buccaneers did win their game handily, which I did expect, but I didn’t expect the Antonio Brown meltdown, though I should have. He was bound to do it sooner or later.

Brown is crazy, rabid-ass nuts. He is self-destructive, and he takes others down with him. He does need professional help, but he isn’t going to get it from the NFL.

When it comes to talent, NFL owners are as big whores as any walking 7th Avenue in New York. They will forgive and rationalize anything. To paraphrase one sportswriter, if you’re not in jail, you play.

But Brown didn’t play. He walked out on his team in the middle of a game, and that’s a no-no. If all owners care about is whether you can play, then they can’t use Brown.

Pundits are saying Brown will show up in the NFL again someday, given what whores the owners are, but I’ll take the over, because what Brown did was not only to violate the if-you’re-not-in-jail-you-play rule, but he also reflected badly on the League in public. It’s hard to hide that kind of whorishness and hypocrisy. I think if a team tried to sign Brown, the Commissioner should veto anything like that as being detrimental to the game. I hope so. We’ll see.

The three OU QB Amigos did pretty well this week. I’ve written about Murray above. Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Washington Redskins handily, and Hurts looked good doing it. I hope this is the end of the is Hurts the guy talk; it certainly should be.

Baker Mayfield and the Browns lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but in a way, he won. First, Mayfield has been playing hurt for almost all of the year, and that nightmare is now coming to and end. He won’t play in the last game but will have surgery immediately instead, to be ready in time to next season.

Second, he didn’t play well, but nobody really noticed because it was Ben Roethlisberger’s last game and all eyes were on him, as they should have been. Roethlisberger didn’t play well either, but he won, and his career is shoo-in Hall of Fame. I’m happy for him.

As an aside, I thought Browns’ head coach’s play calling left much to be desired also.

Football Thoughts – the Bowl Season and Playoffs.

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on January 7, 2022

My beloved Oklahoma Sooners beat the Oregon cheating Ducks in the Alamo Bowl, 47Thoughts -32, getting a modicum of revenge for the infamous cheating game in Eugene, OR in 2006, but it was not, nor will ever be, enough. Oregon officials cheated in that game (so egregiously that the NCAA investigated, and heads rolled), and I, nor OU’s then-head coach, Bob Stoops, will ever forgive them.

Speaking of Stoops, it was a magical night for him. He righted the ship after the turmoil of losing Lincoln Riley to USC and coached this game as interim head coach until incoming head coach Brent Venables takes over. Stoops was greeted like a deity, which he is in Oklahoma, won the game, and even saw his son Drake catch a touchdown pass. He was living a dream.

I don’t know how OU will do next year, but I do know this: the defense will be a hell of a lot better. The defense that played in the Alamo Bowl was former defense coordinator Grinch’s defense, and it looked it. Riley is welcome to take Grinch with him to USC. Pass receivers were wide open while defenders were chasing after them like panting puppies.

Venables isn’t going to put up with that shit for a New York minute, and he knows how to correct it, having been the best defense coordinator in the country. I expect many of these players will be gone or buried in the depth chart by Spring practice.

There’s precedent for this kind of shake-up: When Bob Stoops took over as head coach, the Sooners were a demoralized, underperforming, out of shape lot. Stoops posted the off-season workout program and some lazy players left on the spot. Others flunked out along the way, but the rest were at least in shape.

I consider Mike Leach like John the Baptist, foretelling a great (coach) coming. Stoops hired Leach as offensive coordinator, Leach found quarterback Josh Heupel in an obscure small college in Utah, and developed him into an All-American, runner up in the Heisman balloting, and, of course, winner of the national championship.

Leach and Heupel were kindred spirits. At their first meeting, the two watched film all night. (I ran into Heupel in the Hotel about 3 am after the game. I didn’t think he was planning to go to bed that night. I know I wasn’t.)

In the Cheez-It Bowl, Big XII representative Iowa State lost to Clemson 20-13. I like the ISU program and their head coach, but I was not surprised Clemson won. ISU is plenty good enough to beat Clemson, but it has one fatal flaw, quarterback Brock Purdy.

Purdy is the archetypal Jekyll and Hyde. He can give defenses fits – he sure did give OU some – but he often finds a way to lose, in bizarre, unfathomable ways, to wit: One of Purdy’s passes was deflected at the line and sailed into the air. Purdy tried to bat it down but batted it straight ahead into the hands of a defender for a pick six.

Later, near the end of the game and trying for a game winning score, going for it on fourth and one, Purdy ran for the first down, crossed the line to gain and then inexplicably ran backwards and was tackled short.

Still, the Big XII acquitted itself well during the bowl season. In addition to OU, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Kansas State won. Iowa State and West Virginia lost, giving the Conference a 5-2 record in bowl games, the best among the Big 5 conferences. Texas and Kansas didn’t have bowl games.

The Pac 12 got wiped out, going 0-5. Maybe that’s the reason Lincoln Riley wanted to go to the Pac 12. Easier pickings.

It bemuses me that the Cotton Bowl is played at AT&T Stadium, which is 20 miles west of the Cotton Bowl, in Fair Park. Though if I had the choice, I would pick Jerry World too. The Cotton Bowl is really only good for the OU-Texas game anyway, because of the tradition.

The game went about as I expected. I thought Alabama might score a few more points, but the Cincinnati Bearcats were never in the game. I think the Bearcats deserved to be in the playoffs, they earned it, but I knew they couldn’t even sniff the other competitors.

Though the two quarterbacks were the talk of the town all season, I didn’t see anything all year that made me think either one of them is a shoo in Sunday starter. This is the year I would have given the Heisman to a defensive player, a number of whom are better than these quarterbacks.

Georgia wiped up the floor with Michigan, and while I’m glad that Harbaugh got the Ohio State monkey off his back, I’m satisfied that the two best teams got to the championship game.

This bowl season brought into vivid relief one unfortunate result of the college playoffs: it has diminished the importance of the bowl season itself. A lot of good teams strive for the playoffs and when they fall short, they lose interest in playing in a bowl game. Add to that the Covid problems and you have a mess.

Several Ohio State players opted out of the Rose Bowl, the Rose Bowl, to prepare for the NFL draft. I can’t blame them. If you go high in the draft and play the average NFL life expectancy of five years, you can make enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life.

Some of the bowl games had so many problems that they were canceled, and nobody much seemed to care. I know I didn’t.

Football Thoughts – Week 14

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on December 24, 2021

NFL: There were two spectacular fails over this weekend. First, the 10-3 Arizona Cardinals lost to the 1-11-1 Detroit Lions 30-12. This is simply inexcusable. The Cardinals were flat out terrible, including Kyler Murray. To give him a little slack, it was obvious that Murray is still hampered by his sprained ankle. He was run down twice by big defensive linemen, which wouldn’t otherwise happen.  But it’s still no excuse. This was a total team failure.

The defense was completely exposed. Keep in mind that the Cardinals head coach can’t even spell the word defense, let alone coach it. He has no business coaching an NFL team, and he wasn’t very good coaching a college one. Oklahoma sure didn’t fear him.

Jimmy Johnson had a couple of thoughts on this game that I thought were prescient, so I will paraphrase them here.

First, he said the Cardinals have been so bad for so long until recently, that they haven’t really learned how to win yet.

Second, he said his hardest coaching job was getting his teams ready to play bad teams. He said he didn’t need to get them up to play good teams. His teams knew they had to be ready to play those. The bad teams they were at risk of taking for granted and being upset.

This loss was costly. It dropped Phoenix way down the rankings, which you would think would be enough incentive to play well, but no.

Second, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were shut out by the New Orleans Saints 9-0. Tom Brady hasn’t been shut out since 2006, That’s 15 years! And Brady didn’t handle it well. He pouted and ranted and even walked across the field after the game to swear at one of the Saint’s coaches. Very un-sportsman-like.

The Cardinals are no longer my new favorite team. I’ve put up this shit from the Cowboys for years and I’m not going to put up with it from another group of underachievers until they get it together. I’m going back to the Cowboys because…

The Boys took care of business, beating the New York Giants 21-6. And they did it with a strong defense, essential in the playoffs. Of course, they have the same weakness as the Cardinals: coaching.

The OU QB Amigos were a mixed bag again this week. You know about Murray from above. Baker Mayfield didn’t play, so it doesn’t count against him one way or the other, except he’s missing a lot of games. Jalen Hurts scored two rushing touchdowns as the Eagles beat the Washington Redskins 27-17.

Hardly a week goes by when some sports commentator or columnist doesn’t ask if Hurts is their quarterback for the future, and almost every week, Hurts demonstrates that he is. Maybe this will finally shut some of them up.

Football thoughts – Week 11 College

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on December 2, 2021

College: My beloved Oklahoma Sooners’ season is over. After beating Iowa State, they played their last game against Oklahoma State and lost 37-33. This knocked them out of the Big XII championship game and any chance at the playoffs.

It’s embarrassing to say, but the Sooners completely collapsed in the second half. They took a nine-point lead and blew it. Poor tackling remains a problem, and Lincoln Riley has been a little pass happy the last couple of weeks.

To be clear, Oklahoma State has an excellent team, perhaps their best defense in years. But OU scored 33 points on them and still lost. What does that say about our defensive play?

There was even more drama shortly after the game when Lincoln Riley announced he was taking the USC job. I never thought he would leave OU, and I’m not sure why he did. But I have confidence that Joe Castiglione will find an able replacement, just like he found Bob Stoops. In the meantime, Big Name Bob will be the interim coach, which is appropriate because OU’s next game will be a bowl game.

It’s uncertain to which bowl OU will go, but if it’s the Fiesta Bowl, I may very well go.

Michigan State finally beat Ohio State, which I kind of expected. This will give the selection committee a bit of a migraine.

I’m expecting Houston to upset Cincinnati, but if it doesn’t happen, Cincinnati will deserve a shot at the playoffs, having gone undefeated, even though they have not played much competition, unless you consider Notre Dame competition, which I don’t much.

NFL: A sign you are highly intelligent is you can hold two opposing thoughts in your head at the same time. I must be highly intelligent, because I can think that 1) the Dallas Cowboys will win the NFL East, and that 2) they stink on ice.

Dallas lost to a mediocre Denver Broncos team 30-16, but it wasn’t that close. Denver led 30-0 through three quarters and Dallas scored to empty calorie touchdowns near the end of the.

Despite getting a safety and a recovered fumble run in for a touchdown, and the Ravens Quarterback’s four interceptions, Dallas lost a game they could and should have won to Baltimore in overtime 36-33, due to spectacularly bad defensive play and poor coaching decisions, including by the wunderkind OC Moore.

Penalties, miscues, poor coaching decisions, you name it. The defense seems to rely on two techniques: prostrate themselves in front of runners instead of tackling them, and then chasing after them after.

Still, Dallas has at least a two-game lead in the loss column against any other East opponent, so they should win the division.

It has not been a happy time for the OU QB Amigos. Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the New York Giants 7-13. Ouch! Arizona beat the Seahawks 23-13, but again Kyler Murray was not able to play. The win goes to Colt McCoy, his third win in Murray’s absence, Way to go, McCoy. And Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns lost to the Ravens 10-16. A loss is a loss, and Baker didn’t play great, but I cut him a little slack because he is trying to play while very injured. I don’t think he should have been on the field.

Football Thoughts – Week 9

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on November 9, 2021

College: I don’t put much stock in early playoff rankings, and don’t comment on them. First, there is still a lot of football to be played and the early rankings are nothing but premature guesses. Much will happen before the final decisions.

My beloved Oklahoma Sooners typically plays the Big XII’s stronger teams, many of whom are ranked, later in the season, which propels them into the playoffs. I would really have egg on my face if I criticized the committee for its choices and then the Sooners were to lose one of more of those important games and not make it, which is my second reason for restraint and patience with the committee’s early opinions.

But I like our chances. OU had a bye this week to rest up, heal and prepare for a run through #12 Baylor, Iowa State and #10 Oklahoma State, and the Big XII Championship.

However, the first week of rankings had so many warts that I have to say something about it, because it raises questions in my mind whether this committee is up to the task. (For the record, this committee has ranked OU #8, while the AP and Coaches Polls have them #4.)

Let’s start with Michigan State, a darling of the uninformed this season. The committee shot them up to #3 in the first ranking, based on their upset of Michigan. Apparently, the committee failed to consider that Jim Harbaugh, head coach of the Wolverines, cannot win important games. Having achieved this ranking, the Spartans were upset by Purdue this week. I’m not sure how far they will drop, but it probably won’t be far enough.

Then we have Cincinnati, who some polls have as high as #2, which is ludicrous. Cincinnati may be a good team. We just don’t know because they don’t play anybody. They have one quality win and that’s it. They’re going to have to show a lot more, and I don’t see how they can do it. Of the remaining teams on Cincinnati’s schedule, only one team – SMU – even has a winning record. And SMU got beat this weekend by a 5-4 Memphis team, making SMU a two-loss team before they even get to the Bearcats!

And don’t even get me started on Oregon, Ohio State and Notre Dame, which are all one loss teams that have played some pretty weak sisters.

NFL: The Dallas Cowboys laid about the biggest egg this weekend that I have even seen from them, losing to the Denver Broncos 30-16, and the game wasn’t that close. Dallas was scoreless for the first three quarters and scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter when the outcome was already decided. It was a complete collapse.

This game was so bad that it could have been just an aberration, unlikely to happen again, but I am skeptical. The failures were the usual failures – underachieving players and poor coaching – which are not being addressed adequately.

That said, I still think the Cowboys will win the NFC East, much good may it do them when they have to play good teams.

Results by the OU QB Amigos were a mixed bag this week. Starting with the best, after a week of drama, the Cleveland Browns beat the breaks off the Cincinnati Bengals 31-17, and Baker Mayfield looked superb doing it.

The Arizona Cardinals won, but Tyler Murray did not play so it doesn’t really count for him one way or the other. The Cardinals were without DeAndre Hopkins too, so it didn’t look promising for Arizona. But backup quarterback Colt McCoy played very well, and the Cardinals improved to 8-2.

(McCoy bedeviled Oklahoma when he quarterbacked at Texas. He gave us fits every year, though he was only 1-4 against us. He beat us soundly in 2013, by 32-20 if I remember correctly, but who’s counting? I usually hold grudges about things like that, but I was happy for McCoy to see him play so well for Arizona.)

Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Los Angeles Chargers, a team with a winning record and favored in this game. But the Eagles gave them one – 27-24 – and Hurts played well. Philly has lost of problems, particularly on pass defense, but Hurts is not one of them. It won’t surprise me at all if the Eagles beat Denver next week, who humiliated the Dallas Cowboys just this last week.

Football Thoughts Week 8

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on November 6, 2021

College: A week ago, my beloved Oklahoma Sooners beat a bad Kansas team in lackluster fashion, 35-23, which did not cover the spread because OU was favored by a ton. OU slept through the first half and were actually behind at halftime. But they rallied, just woke up, really, and ran away with the second half.

I didn’t mind that OU had less than a stellar game. It’s impossible to get up for every game of the season. Some games are going to be like this. And remember, for all opponents, the OU game is their Superbowl. Highly ranked team, huge crowd, all the pageantry of college football. They bring their best game, even if OU doesn’t.

Last week, OU hung half a hundred on Texas Tech 52-21, scoring multiple times in every quarter. Remember this when the first playoff rankings come out.

NFL: Only one of the OU QB Amigos won last week, but it was a hell of a win. Jalen Hurts and the Eagles beat the brakes off the Detroit Lions, 44-6. The other two Amigos lost but shouldn’t have. Both were betrayed by their receivers at the end of the game.

Trailing the Packers 24-21, Kyler Murray took the Cardinals down to the goal line. At the least, the Cardinals should have been able to tie the game with a field goal to take the game to overtime.

But on second and goal, Murray threw to A. J. Greene in the end zone. Greene, who has been an excellent addition to the team this year, didn’t even turn around to look for it. The ball hit him in the back, bounced up and was intercepted. So, not only didn’t the Cardinals get another chance or two to score a touchdown to win the game, but they didn’t even get to kick a field goal to tie it. Murray was seriously pissed, and I don’t blame him.

Similarly, Baker Mayfield was moving the ball down the field for the winning score, but Jarvis Landry dropped two crucial passes that spoiled the drive at the end. Mayfield’s remarks are not recorded.

My Dallas Cowboys, sans Dak Prescott, stole one from the Minnesota Vikings. Cooper Rush, the back up quarterback played respectably all game, and in the final minutes hit Amari Cooper for two important passes to win the game in the last seconds. Zeke Elliot had an important, impressive role in that last drive also.

I’m thinking the Cowboys have a surprisingly good lock on winning the NFC Least. They are at 6-1, and the next best record in the conference is 3-5. Dallas earned, and took a bye week.

Football Thoughts – Week 7

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on October 20, 2021

College: The suspense and speculation ended when OU started Caleb Williams at quarterback this week against TCU after Spencer Rattler didn’t play very well in the OU-Texas game. Riley pulled Rattler and inserted Williams who pulled the game out for OU, which set up the quarterback controversy.

Williams played extremely well against TCU. The freshman passed for four touchdowns and ran for one more as OU “hung a half a hundred” on TCU.

Now here’s the bad news. TCU quarterback Max Duggan threw four touchdowns against OU, too, as the Sooners beat a depleted TCU team 52-31.

So, we’re back to where we were several years ago with an offense so strong we can score 50 on anybody but need to because anybody can score easily against us. If OU wins out, they will certainly be in the playoffs, but with another team unfit to win the championship with such a pitiable defense. I am sick and tired of our defensive play.

One notable factor for OU: Haselwood caught three of Williams’ touchdown passes.

Iowa State won and Oklahoma State beat Texas, so it’s up in the air who OU might play in the championship game, assuming OU wins out.

#2 Iowa was upset by Purdue, which knocked it out of the playoff rankings for now, to be replaced by Cincinnati, the non-major conference flavor of the season. Cincinnati is good, but I don’t buy the hype. In fact, the Bearcats don’t play anybody. Among their remaining opponents all are small programs and only one – SMUs – has a winning record.

Georgia is #1, and Alabama is #4. They will probably have to duke it out at the SEC championship game, which should settle the hash of one or the other of them. OU sits at #3, which is a perfectly good place to be at this point.

NFL: Only one of the three OU QB Amigos won this week. Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals, my new favorite team, beat Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns, rather handily, actually, and Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

My beloved Dallas Cowboys beat the New England Patriots in overtime, in a game they should have won more easily. Penalties, penalties, penalties, and some poor coaching. Head coach Mike Kelly is going to lose the Cowboys a game before the season is over.

The Monday night game I thought was going to be a sleeper turned out to be a gem. The Tennessee Titans beat the Buffalo Bills at the buzzer. (I would have bet a paycheck the Bills would win this game.) When I say the Titans, I mean Derrick Henry, who won this game more of less single handedly for Tennessee. He is a beast, and a fast beast.

Football thoughts Week 6

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on October 16, 2021

College:  The OU-Texas game weekend is always the big game for the respective teams and has been for many years. This was no exception. It was an exciting game, which OU won 55 to 48. Three takeaways, besides the obvious that Texas’ running back Jefferson is outstanding:

The early indications are that OU and Texas will meet again in the Big XII championship game, which is fine with me. This Texas team isn’t going to be us. They got absolutely every break early in this game and were up 28-7 after the first quarter. OU won despite being in such a hole, and they won’t be caught in such a hole again.

With the possible exception of this coming week, OU seems pretty settled in with more excellent quarterback play in the foreseeable future. Spencer Rattler was pulled in this game, the second consecutive Rid River Shootout in which this is happened, and the replacement, five-star recruit Caleb Williams, stepped right in the lit up the Longhorns. Riley will have a tough decision this week, but looking at the longer-term future, it looks bright.

Sadly, OU has settled into the type of team it was a few years ago, outstanding offense and terrible defense, but good enough on offence to overcome the poor defensive play against any but the very best teams. And this year, I think it’s possible that the defense can be shored up some, maybe. This type of team may be good enough to get to the playoffs, but not good enough to win a national championship. To do that requires a defense.

Also worth mentioning: Texas A&M upset Alabama 41-38. My youngest daughter, who is a classic Aggie, is really happy about this.

NFL: Again this week, two of OU’s three young quarterbacks starting in the NFL simultaneously this season won their games.

Kyle Murray and the Arizona Cardinals won a lackluster game over the San Francisco 49ers 17-10. The 49ers’ starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was out with a calf injury (he just cannot stay healthy), so they started their rooky quarterback of the future, Trey Lance. Unfortunately, also out for the 49ers was George Kittle, their standout tight end, who could have been a safety net for Lance but wasn’t able to be there for him.

I attended this game and bear witness that it wasn’t a terrific one. But I enjoyed seeing Murray live as well as Lance. BTW, fans were encouraged but not mandated to wear masks, and almost no one did. I estimate 5%, tops.

Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Carolina Panthers 21-18 for the second OU win (Trey Lance has a similar playing style to Hurts.)

So, it was Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Brown who lost this week to the Los Angeles Chargers 47-42. Considering that Mayfield was banged up this week, he still made a good showing.

It is certain that one of the three OU Amigos will lose this week, because the Cardinals play the Browns this weekend and both quarterbacks can’t win.

Football Thoughts – Week 2 – 2021

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on September 16, 2021

College Football: In week 2 of the college season, many big-name schools play vastly inferior non-conference opponents – little sisters of the poor in the vernacular – as a way to warm up safely for the coming conference competition.

Case in point: my beloved Oklahoma Sooners played Western Carolina, who they beat 76-0. This game was so lopsided that tv networks wouldn’t touch it. The only ways to see it were to be in the stadium or pay-for-view. I didn’t see the game because I won’t pay to see lions devour Christians.

After the first full week of football, my beloved Oklahoma Sooners dropped from #2 to #4, which I could not disagree with, given their less than stellar performance against a surprisingly good Tulane team.

What disappointed me most was the play of the defense. I thought they were improving.  The coaching staff told us they were. But they looked like they were regressing to their own terrible form.

I was not surprised therefore, by this Western Carolina blowout because I watched Lincoln Riley’s post game show after the Tulane. He was his usual calm self, but it was obvious he was seething over his team’s performance. I knew they were going to have a long week of strenuous practices.

One interesting statistic from this game: OU quarterback Spencer Rattler threw for five touchdown passes in a half. What is interesting is that Rattler’s performance wasn’t unique. Two other OU quarterbacks have done this, making Rattler third in a long list of OU standout quarterbacks. No wonder aspiring quarterbacks want to come to OU.

The Sooners rose to #3 in the latest rankings.

Another case in point was Notre Dame, who played Toledo, a typical tomato can that the Fighting Irish were favored to win by about 20 points. But Toledo took them to the wire, losing 32-29. It will be interesting to see how Notre Dame fares if/when they have to play somebody.

There were a few games featuring good teams, some of which were delicious. Not the least of these was Oregon, which unset Ohio State 35-28 in Columbus.

I lost all respect for Oregon after they cheated to win a game against my beloved Sooners in Eugene. But this is a reformed program with an administration that won’t tolerate that kind of thing, and a competent, tough coach, so I was happy to see them get this win. It spoke volumes about the current status of the Big 10.

Another delicious game was Arkansas’ win over Texas 40-21. That’s 19 points, folks. I’m always glad to see Texas lose, but this kind of loss tells me that this is not yet a Texas team to be feared…unless you are OU. I don’t delude myself that Texas won’t play better in our annual game; they always do.

#9 Iowa State lost to #10 Iowa 17-27 in Ames in the week’s only game between top 10 ranked teams. I thought Iowa State was ready to win this game, but they suffered the last half collapse that has characterized their play recently. I like where coach Campbell has gotten this team, but the still have a way to go.

NFL Football: The season opening game between The Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Thursday night was among the best openers I have ever seen. The Cowboys are my beloved Cowboys again. I was very impressed with their play. However, they are not yet my favorite team. They need to show me a lot more.

I’m thinking Dak Prescott has his throwing shoulder in the whirlpool this week. He threw 58 passes! Knowing they couldn’t run against the Titans, the Cowboys didn’t even try to. I was concerned that Prescott might tire near the end of the game, but he held up.

For the record, three recent OU quarterbacks started NFL games this weekend, and two of them won. Let’s start with the loser first.

Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 29-33, in Kansas City. No shame in that. Mayfield played well in a losing effort, and I think they will win a lot of games, but they are still not as good as the Chiefs.

The Oscar for the best performance by an OU quarterback went to Tyler Murray, who threw for four touchdowns and rushed for another, as the Cardinals (my new favorite team) beat the breaks off the Tennessee Titans 38-13. So, Murray scored all of Arizona’s points except for one field goal.

Perhaps the sweetest win by OU quarterbacks was that of Jalen Hurts, whose Eagles beat the Falcons 32-6. Hurts threw for three touchdowns. True, this was against the hapless Atlanta Falcons, but Hurts showed he is plenty good enough to start for the Eagles.