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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.

Thoughts on the 20-21 NFL Draft

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on May 10, 2021

The draft was characterized by three factors: There were more good quarterbacks in this draft than is typical. However, it was not a strong draft class overall. Finally, the teams had to make decisions based on much less information than they usually have, due to the constraints and disruptions caused by Covid-19. That said, I think most of the teams did a good job of it. I only saw one pick in the first round that I thought was a reach. (Cough, Raiders.)

Many of the top tier teams got better. Baltimore, Kansas City, Cleveland, Buffalo and Tampa Bay all did well, I thought. In fact, though I’m biased, I think KC may have gotten the steal of the draft taking center Creed Humphrey in the second round. Humphrey started for my beloved Oklahoma Sooners as a freshman and anchored the line for four years. He’s an intelligent load.

As predicted, the first three players off the board were quarterbacks. Two were expected – Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) to Jacksonville and Zach Wilson (BYU) to the Jets. The suspense was who San Francisco would take at #3. The rumors were true: the 49ers switched late in their deliberations and took Trey Lance from North Dakota State. This left Justin Fields (Ohio State) and Mac Jones (Alabama) blowing in the wind.

Fields fell to #8 where he was taken by the Chicago Bears, which made their day. After years of disappointment, I think they will be very happy with this pick. As I opined, New England grabbed Mac Jones when he fell to #15. So, the Pats won’t trade for Jimmy G at San Francisco, leaving him to start for the 49ers until Lance is ready. (The Pats also got two good players from OU: Perkins and Stevenson. OU didn’t have many players in this draft because they are so young, but these two can play and they will help New England.)

At #4, Atlanta took tight end Kyle Pitts, which was a no brainer. Except for quarterbacks, Pitts is probably best player at his position than anyone else in the draft at theirs, and perhaps even better than the three quarterbacks.

The Cowboys need defensive help, especially in the backfield, and they targeted Jaycee Horn (South Carolina) and Patrick Surtain II (Alabama) at #10. Unfortunately, they had the rug pulled out from under them when Horn and Surtain went at #8 and #9 in that order just ahead of Dallas. (I was surprised at the order. I had Surtain ahead of Horn.)

But Dallas made a brilliant recovery, dropping back from #10 to #12, for a 3rd round pick, and taking linebacker Micah Parsons at #12. Parsons is a linebacker, and there is some risk with him, but he is arguably the best defensive player in the whole draft and the Cowboys definitely need help at linebacker. Hell, they need help everywhere on the defense. It is among the very worst in the NFL, full of disappointments and overpaid underachievers. (Dallas’ first six draft picks and eight of their 11 were defensive players.)

I was surprised by how many wide receivers went in the first round. Typically, this doesn’t happen, but it seems to be trending this was as the NFL becomes more of a passing league every year. The thinking on the importance of wide receivers seems to have changed.

By the fourth round, picks scattered like a covey of quail as different teams had different needs and varying willingness to take a flyer in the later rounds. As Mark Twain said, “It’s a difference of opinion that makes a horse race.)

Correction: In my blog about the upcoming draft last week, I said Trevor Lawrence would go #1 to the Carolina Panthers. Oops. This was incorrect. The #1 pick belonged to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who did, in fact, take Lawrence. In my defense: Panthers, Jaguars. Two big pussycats. You can see the possible confusion, can’t you?

Thoughts on Winter Sports in 20/21

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on April 29, 2021

I want to get these reminiscences about the winter sports season posted before the NFL draft today.

Full disclosure: other than the NCAA basketball tournament, I didn’t spend a minute thinking about winter sports, even though my beloved Oklahoma Sooners had some excellent winter and spring sports seasons. All other sports, including even the basketball tournament, should have an asterisk beside them due to the disruptions of Covid-19, so what was the point of watching them?

NCAA Basketball Tournament: When the tournament began, I thought only one team had an outside chance of beating Gonzaga, and that was Baylor, though I didn’t expect it would happen. Baylor did beat Gonzaga in the championship game, which didn’t shock me, but the ease with which they dismantled the Bulldogs did.

In retrospect, this was a clear case of peaking. Baylor peaked at the right time, and Gonzaga peaked two games too soon. Overall, the Big XII Conference had several exceptionally good basketball teams, and this helped harden Baylor for the tournament.

No, the real excitement over the winter mostly occurred in the off season maneuvering in the NFL.

Quarterbusts: Three quarterbacks who went extremely high in recent drafts – Goff, Wentz and Darnold – were all traded away this off-season, and their erstwhile teams had to take a heavy hit against their salary caps. It’s surprising that all three of these quarterbacks were such a disappointment, though I was pretty sure that at least one and possibly two of them would be busts. Picking thoroughbred quarterbacks turns out to be a very risky, potentially expensive proposition, and I expect it will be the same with this draft.

Which brings us to the NFL Draft. There are at least five first round quarterbacks in this draft, with relatively little difference between them. Also, due to the pandemic, there is less tape and intelligence than there usually is upon which to make judgements.  It is conceivable, but unlikely in my view, that these quarterbacks could go #1 through #5 in this draft. They’re all going to go in the first round. It’s more a matter of in what order.

The conventional wisdom is that the first two players taken will be Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) to Carolina and Zack Wilson (BYU) to the New York Jets.

Next up is San Francisco, who mortgaged the ranch to move up from #12 to #3 to take who, exactly? The 49ers may have had a specific quarterback in mind when they traded up, but they have three tantalizing prospects from which to choose – Justin Fields (Ohio State), Mac Jones (Alabama) and Trey Lance (North Dakota State) – and they will almost certainly take one of them. But which one we are left to wonder. The scuttlebutt is that the team is coming off Jones and moving toward Lance. We’ll see. And what then happens with the remaining two, whoever they are?

In any of these scenarios, it is possible that San Francisco could trade Jimmy Garoppolo back to New England for their #2 pick. (Wouldn’t that be a hoot?)

So, that’s three quarterbacks with the first three picks and counting. But I don’t think the Atlanta Falcons will take a quarterback at #4. They have a serviceable one in Matt Ryan, and Tyler Pitts, arguably the best player in the draft, is still on the board. If I were the Falcons, I would take Pitts and live with Ryan for another season or two. Pitts will help Ryan enormously during that time, starting day one.

Beyond that, it’s hard to imagine Justin Fields going beyond the #6 pick, but it could happen. (It could also happen that Fields could go #2 or #3.) As for Jones, if Atlanta doesn’t take him, he could fall as low as #19 to the Washington Redskins.  However, if New England doesn’t trade for Jimmy G, I think they would take either Jones or Fields if they are still on the board.

Now for the Dallas Cowboys. Dak Prescott finally got his money from Dallas, who could have gotten him cheaper had they been ready to commit to him sooner, though I can understand their hesitation. But at least the position is settled for the Cowboys while the rest of the NFL Least is still trying to sort theirs out.

The Cowboys pick at #10, and if they pick anyone but a defensive backfield stud, they are as lost in space as Jerry Jones seems to be. There are three possibilities, but the one they should take is Patrick Surtain II (Alabama), who is prototypical and should be a no brainer for anyone but Dallas.

Rumor has it that Dallas is moving off of Surtain II and onto Jaycee Horn (South Carolina), another excellent corner, but not as good as Surtain II in my view.

Another possibility is Micah Parsons (Penn State), an excellent player, but he is a linebacker, and there is too little tape on him because he opted out of the 20-21 season due to Covid-19. And there have been some off the field issues with him.

No, the Cowboys need defensive backfield help more than anything else, and I hope they will take Surtain II. They may have to tie Jerry Jones down and put a sock in his mouth, but if that’s what it takes…

All that being said, except for signing Dak, the Cowboys did little to improve themselves this off season, and remember, they were a bad team last year. Still, they might be able to prevail in the NFC Least with what they have plus some defensive upgrade from the draft.

After the quarterback/Pitts drama is settled, the rest of the draft should become more conventional. There are plenty of good offensive and defensive linemen on the board for teams whose quarterback position is settled.

The teams I am currently following since I’ve quit on the Cowboys – Arizona and Cleveland – upgraded themselves during the off season intelligently, and I expect both teams to be impressively competitive this season.

I’m ready for the draft and I can’t wait for the regular season to begin. We’re about to go into my annual summer of discontent, which runs from after the draft to the start of preseason games.

Football Thoughts plus a Basketball Bonus

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on March 17, 2021

Dak Prescott gets his money: On the day before he would be franchised for the second time, Dak Prescott finally signed the deal he and the Cowboys have been working on for two years.

Jerry Jones says he was bested by Dak on this deal, but by most accounts, including mine, both sides got much of what they wanted. Dak got a lot of money, including $75 million at signing, though only $22 million will count against the Cowboys’ cap this year. Someday, somebody must explain to me how this could be, but there it is.

Dak got a four-year deal, not five years, as Jerry wanted, but Jerry got some cap space with which to sign some more players. But most important, the Cowboys got a franchise quarterback.

As a practical matter it is impossible to win a Super Bowl without a top tier quarterback, and now the Cowboys have one. Dak is among the top 10 in the league. More than two thirds of NFL teams want for a quarterback capable of getting their team to a Super Bowl. As any one of them if they would have paid Dak’s price and they all would have jumped at it.

But before we start putting Super Bowl and Cowboys in the same conversation, remember that the Cowboys are still a mediocre team at best, with overpaid underperforming players and a coaching staff that can’t coach a team across the street with a green light, let alone get it to the big game. The Cowboys may win the NFL East because it is so weak presently, but that is the best they can ever hope to do in their present circumstances, which haven’t changed with the Prescott contract and are unlikely to any time soon.

NCAA Basketball Tournament: I don’t follow basketball, college or pro. In fact, I don’t watch basketball at all, except for the Championship Tournament in March, which I consider one of the best events in sports of any kind.  

But this year, the basketball tournament, as with all sports, has been disrupted and diminished by Covid-19. Already, at least three teams that would make the tournaments have had to withdraw due to the virus.

We should put an asterisk on the entire sports year. I write this even though my beloved Oklahoma Sooners are tearing up almost every spring sport. They make walk away with several national championships.

So, I will watch some tournament games this March, but probably not as many as usual.

Football Thoughts – Carson Wentz Trade

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on February 22, 2021

A little news and entertainment before the NFL draft. When the Philadelphia Eagles fired coach Doug Pederson, the report was that Pederson wanted to trade Carson Wentz and start Jalen Hurts at quarterback, but owner Lurie didn’t want to take the financial hit. I opined at the time that Pederson should have been fired for poor coaching anyway.

Perhaps that was the case, because the Eagles did trade Wentz, to the Baltimore Colts for not much: a third-round pick in 2021 and a conditional second round pick, which could become a first-round if Wentz performs well in the 21-22 season. (The Eagles traded up twice, at a cost, to take Wentz #2 in the 2016 draft.)

To trade Wentz, Philadelphia will take the biggest financial hit in NFL history: $33 million in dead cap space.

Financing aside, this was a good call by the Eagles. We can’t say he is a complete bust – he may still work out with the Colts – but it clearly didn’t work out with the Eagles. He couldn’t stay healthy, he became shaky, even panicky in the pocket, he wasn’t popular in the locker room and it’s being said was hard to coach.

An interesting side note for Oklahoma Sooners fans: assuming Jalen Hurts starts for the Eagles this fall, which is likely, it will mean that three NFL starting quarterback will be young products of the OU system: Baker Mayfield (Cleveland), Kyler Murray (Arizona, my new favorite team), and now Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia).

That’s almost 10% of the 32 total starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Quite a record, and a reason OU gets a lot of top tier quarterback recruits, such a Spencer Rattler, a #1 recruit and current starter for OU today. They want to be coach by Lincoln Riley, and what quarterback wouldn’t with this record?