The General’s Smorgasbord Part 1
Reflecting on the weekend that was in sports I’d have to say that I learned a few lessons about sports and I’m going to share them with you today…not because I think you don’t know them, but just in case you don’t know them (or at the very least so you can laugh at me for not knowing this sooner. Come on, I’ve got to be entertaining here!) The lessons were hard, sometimes painful, amusing, horrifying, and sobering all at the same time. It’s not every weekend in sports that you have everything blow up in your face all at once AND learn why you have the allegiances you have…I learned a lot about myself this weekend. Let me share:
The SEC Title Game was COMPLETELY outside the realm of “we’ve got this pinned down” like everyone thought they did and I LOVED it. I picked Bama because I thought that all the pundits who said “take Tebow out of the game and Bama wins” were right. However, I only picked on the possibility that they MIGHT be able to slow him down or something. I spent a lot of time this weekend talking about how 3 teams from the AFC North could make the playoffs…not because I am 100%-bet-my-life sure about it, but I am certain that the possibility exists.
So, the possibility of Tim Tebow being human was intriguing and I thought if anyone could make him look human it was Nick Saban. Let’s face it…Urban Meyer and Nick Saban are the two best coaches in college football: Followed closely by Chris Petersen, Gary Patterson and Brian Kelly. No one earth can argue that. There are other good coaches, but these are the best. Well, when you call Nick Saban the best you also have to realize that he is a Defensive guy and that means he can do just about anything with his defense to stop someone. Honestly, I thought maybe they’d just slow down Tebow and outright stop him, but stop him they did.
I learned, in no uncertain terms, that defense DOES win championships. That was the epitome of a defense stepping up and saying “If we stop this guy their offense stops and we win.” The Tide knew that with Deonte Thompson and Percy Harvin that Tebow wouldn’t have all the outs he used to have and that would give him problems all day. They were ready for the dive plays that Florida had to start running after Tebow’s concussion. They were ready for the quick outs and they adjusted at halftime to all the passes that Tebow was able to get off to Hernandez. In essence, they shut Florida down after they figured out what Florida was doing…that’s why all 13 points the Gators scored were scored in the 1st half of that game.
I have to say that I was a little shocked by the 32-13 final score because I thought Florida had something left in the tank to make a comeback, but when Tebow threw that interception in the endzone I knew they were done. Mark Ingram had already broken a 66 yard run (prancing down the sideline to stay inbounds) and now this for the Gators? They just fell apart at the worst time. They had the “2007 Patriots we’ve won too many games in a row” thing hanging over their heads and the “Tim Tebow is a demi-god but will the Tide care?” thing hanging over their heads and it proved to be too much. The Bama saved the day by keeping the Bama offense on the field long enough to score 32 points. It’s that simple.
Another thing that I hope this game did was solidify that Tim Tebow will NOT win the Heisman this year.I’m still thinking he probably should’ve won it last year, because he was just that good last year, but this year he just hasn’t been the same.CBS got a good shot of him standing up after a tackle and he looked right into the camera and at that moment I tweeted “Look into Tebow’s eyes and tell me he’s 100% there.”He just didn’t look like he was all there which is a complete shame but he’s one of the best (but not the best) and not this year.If we’re looking for the best player in college football then we need to look to Toby Gerhart out at Stanford who probably won his team 3 or 4 games and Mark Ingram at Alabama.Ingram broke the run that sealed this SEC Title and he’s been solid all year.Gerhart won a few games for Stanford.If I had to pick one I’d go with Ingram because he was solid all year and now his club is on the cusp of a National Title (and he was better than Colt McCoy and Gerhart and Tebow.)
Speaking of being on the cusp of a National Title… the Longhorns almost lost to Nebraska (and I honestly think Colt McCoy let the clock run out and the NCAA gave Texas that one second as a gift. Did you see how upset Bo Pellini was? He should’ve been.
At any rate, Texas barely beat Nebraska (who Pellini has on the map, but not THAT on the map yet) and Bama just ran all over Florida. Do you mean to tell me that Texas can even put up a fight against Alabama? Honestly, if the Tide can come up with a way to stop a totally unpredictable QB like Tebow how in the world is a totally predictable QB like McCoy going to fair? Not very well I’m afraid. Unless there’s a catastrophic injury or arrest I’m picking it now. Bama – 30 UT – 13
You know what else I learned this weekend? Paul Johnson is a master coach. He’s got a bunch of kids who don’t really fit into his system that well and he’s running this insane triple-option and winning. Tech barely beat C.J. Spiller (I’d say Clemson, but the only thing they had was Spiller on Saturday) for the ACC Title and a berth in the Orange Bowl. At times I thought the Tech players were still a little agog about what to do in Johnson’s offense (and that’s because he doesn’t have a full group of “his guys”) and that leads to some problems. Plus, his defense doesn’t get the best looks during the week because they run such a weird offense. Imagine if he had ALL his own people in there and the defense learns how to adapt to the “not getting enough good looks” thing. How good is Tech going to be next year? WOW. I’ll tell you this…they got destroyed by LSU last year in their bowl game, but Iowa better look out because I think ole Paul’s got somethin’ special waitin’ for ‘em.
In the NFL I learned a few really annoying things and one eye-opener.
First, I learned that my Dad (a Falcons fan) doesn’t watch the Falcons. Wanna know why? He told me “Son, I don’t watch the Falcons anymore because when you were little I used to get so upset watching them that I’d literally be sick.” Now, I know a lot of you out there can understand that sentiment and since I’m 31 that also says how long the Falcons have been annoying my Dad. A LONG F****** TIME! With that said I learned something about the Falcons.
They aren’t lazy like I said they were a few weeks ago. No, they’re just snake-bitten. They’re on their way to a second winning season in a row (something they’ve never done) and Matt Ryan goes down and Chris Redman comes in and shines…then the next week they lose to the Eagles 34-7. That’s snake-bitten if you asked me. You get just close enough and them “BAM!” back to the mat you go. I can pick the Falcons to win games and playoff games all I want but I will NEVER pick them to win the Super Bowl unless they are the only team left in the league.
– I learned that the Saints are just about as invincible as you can get and we’re getting really close to an “undefeated Super Bowl” between the Colts and the Saints. (I don’t think Jim Caldwell’s going to let up like I predicted.)
– I learned that Pittsburgh wants to make my “3 teams from one division making the playoffs” scenario hard to do. Why in the hell did they lose to the Raiders? Was it Gradkowski? Blast! I praise him once and he screws a perfectly-well-thought-out theory.
– I learned that the Patriots have more chinks in their armor than I thought. (They really are the Mitchells!)
– I learned that the Titans aren’t perfect, Chris Johnson won’t be right about their record, but they still have an outside shot of making the playoffs.
– I learned that my 49ers are NOT going to the playoffs this year. I can’t say I’m surprised, but my expectations have risen significantly.
– I learned that I was right not to trust the Cowboys after they just handed a win to the Giants
– And we all learned that Brett Favre is not invincible and that Kurt Warner still has it too. The question is: Who cracks first of old age?
What Else Did The General Learn This Weekend?
Well, I learned some things about Soccer. (Keep in mind that I’m a Soccer-lover, always have been.) They drew for the World Cup and the U.S. got a “favorable draw”, but the U.S. hasn’t done anything in the World Cup since they beat England in 1966. Yeah…1996. As a reference point, my parents got married in 1964…that’s how old that news is. The best part about that “pivotal win” in ’66 is that they didn’t beat England for the Cup…they just beat England. I might’ve been able to do that myself…have you seen their Armada lately?
So, the U.S. has to get by England, Algeria and Slovenia. I turn on the 4-letter network and see Alexi Lalas flapping his yap about this. Apparently, a retired English “footballer” as they call them over there said that it wasn’t a worry because they were just “playin’ the Yanks” and Alexi Lalas took offense to that. Listen up Lexi. First, you never did anything on the U.S. team…Except have red hair. The only reason you play in Italy was because you were a spectacle, AND you know no one feared you back then. Jozy Altidore, Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and all those guys are way better than you could ever DREAM of being…so shut up! PLEASE…shut up…
Overall, the French got screwed because they screwed the Irish to get into the Tournament and Argentina got a nice draw as well. The only team we’re not talking about is Brazil because they’re probably going to win the whole thing anyways. There you go…Brazil wins on aggregate 52-2 ;o)
You know, they played Basketball this weekend too…
The Lakers cruised to their 9th straight win and maintained the best record in the league.The “best record” would seem to be short-lived because they’ve played a couple less games than some other teams and there are teams with really good records (Denver, Cleveland, Boston, Phoenix, Dallas, Orlando, Atlanta, etc.)At some point there will be some separation amongst the true contenders and the teams that “could only hang for a minute”.
I imagine the teams that won’t be able to hang forever are Phoenix (I like Alvin Gentry, but I just don’t see it), Dallas (they’re STILL reeling from losing the ’06 Finals after being up 2-0), and Boston (they’re old…that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!)That leaves Cleveland, Orlando, Atlanta, and Denver and my Lakers.
Personally, I have no problem with seeing Denver and L.A. in the West Finals again and I’d LOVE to see Cleveland and Orlando do it again in the East Finals (find out if LeBron learned anything last year.)
I don’t hate LeBron, but I do think he’s the Buffalo Bills/Atlanta Braves of basketball. He’s going to get 1 title or none. He’s a great regular-season player and he could conceivably win the MVP from no until the cows come home, but that doesn’t make him a champ (it didn’t make Steve Nash or Kobe champs.) When Kobe gave the offense (for the most part) then the Lakers cruised to a championship. If Danny Ferry ever finds someone for LeBron to give the offense up to then I’ll believe. Right now…I just don’t see that happening. Danny Ferry looks like he’s Pete Babcock right now…never going to get fired and nobody knows why he’s still there. They need to pay off his contract (or move him higher in the front office), pat him on the back, tell him “good job” and find someone who will fill this team with GOOD role-players. If Danny Ferry has to be Tony Dungy (like, Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay setting things up for Jon Gruden) then fine…but they need to do SOMETHING, because Shaq (refuse his cute little nicknames) isn’t working. He’s slow, fat and out of shape…and he has a bad hip. (Did I mention he’s 37? “Warren Moon played at 40”…I know, but Warren Moon took fewer hits than Shaq, is shorter than Shaq, and never had a bad hip.) I rest my case.
AI comes back tonight as a starter for the Sixers against the Nuggets (a.k.a. – the team that didn’t use him effectively) and after he cried at his press conference I’m really starting to think this can only go one of two ways:
You know how when they show the freak on American Idol that is all like “If I can’t express myself through music or I’ll die” the whole time you’re thinking “This is either going to suck beyond sucking or be some of the best singing I’ve ever heard”? You know? Yeah, that’s AI for me right now. He’s going in the Hall on the first ballot either way, but after “sobgate” he’s either going to come out with automatic weapons in each hand and take out everybody in one spray or he’s going to be awful and they’ll do a retrospective on the 4-letter network about the “AI that was”. (You know the ones they do like he just died even though he’s healthy and in his 30’s?)
I’m hoping for an AI breakout party today, but I can’t expect anything because he’s on a bad Sixers team and he’s playing Nuggets and you never know what you’ll get from them.
What can I say…I’m a little out of sorts.Check out The Smorgasbord Part 2 and see if I can get myself back on track with my picks.