The General’s Smorgasbord Part 2

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The General’s Smorgasbord Part 2

With the College Football season on “Pause” until January what are we going to do?  I mean, there’s plenty of stuff to talk about in College Football and now they’re going to make us wait until January to get another fix?  What’s up with that?!  Well, I’m going to talk about it anyways…so HA!

We’re all set with the BCS bowl line-up and now all we have to do is wait to see how these games will shake out (and if Brian Kelly is going to Notre Dame.)

Rose Bowl – Oregon vs. Ohio State: Well, Ohio State’s in the BCS for the 5th time in a row and it’s about time they played a good game in the BCS.  Oregon is probably really happy to be here after they almost threw away their chance at the Rose Bowl against Oregon State.  Even though it’s the Pac-10 and the Big 10 I think this game can be really exciting.  Besides the fact that Oregon has like 60 different uniform combinations I think they can really get after Ohio State and sling the ball around and show the boys from Ohio how it’s done.

Hooooowever, Terrell Pryor has yet another chance to show everyone why they wasted their time watching his “I’m a High School Kid and I Should Just Pick a School” press conference.  This kid spurned Michigan to go to Ohio State and he hasn’t produced the way everyone thought he would.  He was supposed to be a college-aged Mike Vick crossed with Joe Montana with the swagger of Broadway Joe and all the Buckeyes have to show for it right now is a (relatively) disappointing season and questions upon question about whether this kid should be getting anymore hype.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think he’s ever going to be anything special.  This isn’t one of those cases where a kid doesn’t play in college, but he’s got a “pro” arm and he takes off in the NFL.  If Terrell Pryor is supposed to be able to move like crazy AND have a great arm then Ohio State should be blowing out everyone they play…period.  there’s no other way to put it.  I can’t imagine a situation in which Pryor comes on and puts up 350 yards and runs for another 75 or 100.  He’s past that stage by now.  He needs to be solid and portray himself as solid so that we will at least think he’s pretty good, because right now I think everybody (including me) is jumping on the “let’s dump Terrell Pryor” bandwagon.

Fiesta Bowl – Boise State vs. TCU: This is the game everyone didn’t want to see.  No one wants to see two teams from non-BCS conferences play each other in a BCS bowl.  We want to see them play big-time programs to see how they would fair.  Heck, Boise State pulled the “Statue of Liberty” on Oklahoma a couple years ago (and I thought that play only worked in cartoons!) and since then all the big-wigs (who were pounding their stogies over whether Nebraska was going to beat Texas) have decided that it’s easier to make these two teams sit at the kid’s table at Thanksgiving dinner when they CLEARLY deserve to be at the grown-up table.  I smell fear.

To the game itself…I really hope that this is a Holiday Bowl in the making…where each team kind of forgets how to play defense and they just shoot it out.  I’d much rather see a 52-51 game than a 10-9 defensive stand-off.  Plus, if they light it up and the ratings are through the roof then perhaps this MIGHT pave the way for other teams from non-BCS conferences to squeak into the BCS in future…we can only hope.

Sugar Bowl – Cincinnati vs. Florida: The real question here is whether Brian Kelly will be the coach at Notre Dame by the time this game happens.  It’s the biggest letdown in history.  Florida was going for all-time status and Cincinnati was trying to crack the BCS code without success.  If Brian Kelly goes to ND then the Bearcats have no chance.  If he stays in Cincinnati then they can easily beat Florida and really put their stamp on College Football going into next season.

Orange Bowl – Iowa vs. Georgia Tech: Georgia Tech gets another chance to cap off a very good season…this time in Miami against the Hawkeyes.  Both of these teams run the ball like crazy and it will be a power game, but I don’t think for one second that Paul Johnson’s club is going to fall victim to the letdown they had last year in getting hammered by LSU in their bowl game.  If a blowout happens it’s going to be GT blowing out Iowa.  They’ll hold the ball for a year and Iowa will be wondering what happened at the end of the game.  To think anything else would be foolish when you see how angry Paul Johnson can get…I’m just saying…

Join me after the jump for my NFL picks….YAY!

I’m 121-67 and NOT happy about it.  Between Green Bay deciding to be other-worldly against Baltimore, the Falcons laying down against the Eagles, and the Steelers losing to the Raiders I had a bad weekend…let’s just leave it at that.

Pittsburgh @ Cleveland: Ok, on Thursday night I’m hoping that I can trust the Steelers enough to beat the Browns.  Is that asking too much?

PIT – 13   CLE – 3

New Orleans @ Atlanta: It doesn’t matter that this game is in Atlanta because the Falcons are in a tailspin.  I tweeted right after they lost on Sunday that they could kiss consecutive winning seasons goodbye and a chance at the playoffs too.  Now, they get the juggernaut of all juggernauts in the Saints at home.  With Matt Ryan iffy and Michael Turner not in his 2008 form how am I to expect that this team can score against the Saints defense (which is VERY good) when they couldn’t put anything up on the Iggles?

The Saints, on the other hand, have to keep winning or they lose homefield in the playoffs.  With that in mind what do you think Sean Payton is going to say to his team?  Something like “Get out there and kill them!”?  Yeah, you’re right…the Falcons are dead.

NO – 45   ATL – 6

Seattle @ Houston: These are two confusing teams.  The Seahawks took my beloved 49ers out of the playoff hunt on Sunday and the Texans were looking good earlier this season and now they just look listless.  How does one explain the demise of the Texans and the sudden rise of the Seahawks?  Coaching?  QB play?  I think it’s both.  Matt Hasselbeck was the reason Seattle wasn’t winning (because he wasn’t playing) but when he plays well it seems everyone in Seattle plays well (even the Janitor) whereas it seems in Houston like everyone expects Matt Schaub to pass to Andre Johnson 500 times a game and that’ll be that.  As we’ve seen that is not enough to beat teams like the Colts and the Titans.  With the Titans coming on strong and Vince Young looking like a leader we have to expect that Matt Schaub step up and get his WHOLE TEAM to play better.

Seattle needs to keep pushing because they only have so much time left before they are going to have to do this thing without Hasselbeck (because one man can only last so long) and then what do they do?  If he’s the driving force in Seattle (and I think he is) then what are they going to do after he HAS to retire…because it will come down to that eventually.  Then what?  Suck for a year and then draft a QB in the top 3 the next year like St. Louis is going to need to do?  Man I hope not.  It kinda feels wrong when the Seahawks aren’t any good…you know?  They can’t catch the Cardinals…but they can at least make it look like they can.

SEA – 27   HOU – 24

Buffalo @ KC: This is one of those that I usually hate because it’s bad against bad, but now that Buffalo has a new coach it seems like things are looking up in the “Land of no Sunlight”.  {Did you know about SAD?  Seasonal Affective Disorder?  Where people get…sad…depressed because they don’t get enough sunlight?  And we thought it was because of the 4 Super Bowl losses in a row.}

Buffalo is actually getting something done now.  I remember when Dick Jauron fired his Offensive Coordinator right before the season started and that Coordinator came out and said Jauron was an idiot.  Anybody else remember that?  Well, it appears that the OC was right because as soon as they got Jauron out of there the Bills starting playing like they belonged in the NFL.  We haven’t heard from T.O. at all this season because the Bills haven’t really done anything so maybe now that they are looking up a little we can get some entertainment from Turrull.

Kansas City is just pathetic.  I’m not sure if Todd Haley is just hoping for this season to be over so they can fix this thing for next year, but they have issues all over the place and it seems like they will never get out of their own way.  They’re 3-9 and rank 24th or lower in all the major offensive statistical categories.  Yikes!  (And I thought the Raiders sucked.)  They’ve got Matt Cassel out there (who was a bad pick-up to begin with) and he is hurt.  Do I know exactly what’s wrong with him?  No, I have no idea, but I do know that he has something wrong with him that is making him play even worse than he normally would be considering the situation.  How in the world can I justify picking the Chefs when they just seem like they can’t do anything.  (Frankly, I’m surprised they’ve won 3 games!) {You know what’s worse?  They rank 27th or lower in all the major defensive categories…yeah…that’s the Chefs.)

BUF – 28   KC – 10

Green Bay @ Chicago: This is one of those gritty NFC Central matchups from the good old days where they play in freezing weather, snow, and sleet and never complain.  Well, that was back when both teams were good at the same time (which was all the time.)  Nowadays it seems that one team or another is in a funk.  Chicago’s 5-7 after everyone thought they got the “Steal of the Century” when they picked up Jay Cutler from the Broncos for Kyle Orton.  Everyone on Earth said they got the good end of the deal, but now the Broncos are in playoff contention and the Bears are sucking with a better QB than they had. Rex Grossman took this team to the Super Bowl a couple years ago.  REX GROSSMAN!  You know, “eye-liner boy”?  Now they’ve upgraded and they’re getting trounced by the Packers and the Vikings in their own division.  It’s pathetic really.

The Packers decided on Monday Night that it was time to play well against the Ravens.  Right after I had posited that 3 teams from the AFC North could make the playoffs the Steelers lose to the Raiders and the Ravens lose to the Packers.  I’m not shocked that the Packers won, but the way in which they won was so indicative of why I had them in the middle of my “Hourglass Theory” to begin with.  You never know what you’re going to get with this team.  Aaron Rodgers looks like Joe Montana one week and Tony Eason the next.  He just needs to make up his mind.  If he decides that he wants to be good on a more permanent basis than he could easily become a Superstar in this league.  That’s the kind of potential he has…but sometimes he doesn’t show it.  With the Packers in the playoff hunt maybe Aaron can get in the playoffs and show what he’s made of.

GB – 31   CHI – 10

Jets @ Tampa Bay: The Jets disappointed me so greatly when they started losing for no reason and then I didn’t know what to think of them, well now I know.  They’re 6-6 and they’re under a rookie head coach and a rookie QB…of course they were going to be inconsistent!!!  (Stupid, stupid, stupid!)  I fell all in love with them and I was like “Mark Sanchez is the man!” and I totally forgot that at some point we’d see all the “rookieness” (because the seasons that Joe Flacco/John Harbaugh and Matt Ryan/Mike Smith had last year ARE complete anomalies.)  Well, the “rookieness” came out and the Jets sit at 6-6 in a very winnable division.  They’re tied with Miami and the Patriots are only 7-5 (the Mitchells are having a bad Thanksgiving dinner) so who’s to say that they can’t pick it up and get it together?  I’m not gonna say they can’t…not yet.

Tampa is just bad.  I’d feel bad for Raheem Morris, but he fired his Offensive Coordinator right before the season started so he pretty much brought this on himself.  He’s probably wishing he had Bruce Gradkowski right now because at least Gradkowski is doing something right in Oakland.  We could sit here all day and go over every single little problem that Tampa has, but at the end of the day they just flat stink and I have no inclination to pick them anytime soon.

NYJ – 17   TB – 0

Miami @ Jacksonville: Now this is a good one.  Miami is trying to stick with the Jets and Patriots in the AFC East and the Jags are trying to hold their “stiff arm” out to keep the Titans behind them so each team has alot to play for.

I talked last week about hearing the Jacksonville broadcast of their games and how the broadcast team was all over them about EVERYTHING.  Well, they need to stay on them because Miami is coming to town with a newly-confident Chad Henne.  They haven’t abandoned the “wildcat” but when Chad Henne throws the ball 52 times in one game you know that the “wildcat” got put on the back-burner.  Add that to Ricky Williams running the ball like he did when he won a Heisman at Texas and you HAVE to believe that the Dolphins are really dangerous.

The question then comes down to Jacksonville’s defense.  Here’s my problem:  Jack Del Rio is a Defensive guy.  His team bailed on him last season.  We’re getting late in this season.  If something goes it will be the defense first because he has his hands in that more than anything else.  How long before the Jacksonville defense checks out?  With only 4 games left to play they need to get on that or Jack might actually keep his team together (but I don’t buy it…there are leadership issues there and I think that’s what the broadcasters in Jacksonville are REALLY complaining about.)

MIA – 30   JAC – 14

Cincinnati @ Minnesota: Mwa hahahahahaha.  I love this one.  This time last year this would have been the “sigh game” to end all of them.  This year it’s the leader of the North divisions in both conferences.  How cool is that!?  Minnesota has to keep winning so they can keep the Saints on edge knowing that they will also have to keep winning.  Cincinnati cannot show any blood at all or the Steelers and Ravens will smell it from a mile away.  So what are we to do?

The way I see it the Vikes have playoff “positioning” issues and they also have to keep winning whereas the Bengals can afford a loss here or there because the chances of them getting caught by the Ravens and/or Steelers is pretty small.  I like the Cinderella story that is the Bengals, but I’m torn because I know how badly the Vikings need every game and how focused Brett Favre is right now.  Both defenses are good, both offenses are good, but the Vikings NEED it more…so I have to go with want.  When it gets this late in the season in a game as violent as football you have to go with animal instincts at the end of the day.

MIN – 45   CIN – 35

Detroit @ Baltimore: Baltimore just took a bad loss to the Packers when they really needed to pounce on the Steelers’ loss from Sunday to the Raiders and they crapped out.  Detroit just isn’t any good.  This is one of those where the Ravens get lucky because of the schedule and get the right team at the right time.  What can I say (I know what the Steelers are saying…”Those lucky bastards!”)

BAL – 28   DET – 7

Carolina @ New England: This one’s hard because the Panthers are coming on strong late in the season and the Patriots are having (by their standards) a pretty crappy year.  Carolina’s 5-7 and New England is 7-5.  From where I’m standing it doesn’t seem like there’s much difference between the two records.  The two teams are massively different though.  The Panthers CAN run the ball when they are “with it” whereas the Patriots have troubles running the ball (which is bad with Julius Peppers and all the other beastly threats on the Panthers defense.)  The Patriots can pass the ball, but more to Wes Welker in possession situations than to Randy Moss.  (This is the part where I say that we have seen the best of Randy Moss and it is all downhill from here.  For one thing he just isn’t the same.  Second, he’s still the lazy guy who walked off the field in Minnesota before the end of a game, and third he’s playing with Wes Welker who is the best possession receiver in football and if he keeps it up he’s going to the Hall as such.)

With Carolina becoming united and the Patriots looking divided (that’s why I like the comparison to the Mitchells) then I have no choice but to pick the more united team.  (Like I said, animal instincts mean alot this time of the season.)

CAR – 31   NE – 21

Denver @ Indy: I know I said the Colts would drop a game, but then they beat the Titans (who really needed that win) and now I’m starting to reconsider.  Jim Caldwell is a Tony Dungy disciple, but I think he’s a little different.  I saw Mike Ditka on the 4-letter network say that if someone isn’t trying all the way to the end of the season to be undefeated then “shame on them”.  You know what?  I think that resonates with someone like Jim Caldwell.  I think he’s a little harder-nosed than Tony Dungy and I’m starting to think they’re going for it.

Denver is coasting at this point in the season with a shot at the playoffs.  They’re 8-4 and if the season ended today then they’d be a wildcard.  Honestly, I’m interested to see whether they can catch the Chargers (who I still don’t buy…yeah, it’s the Norv Turner thing) and I bet they can do it.  Now the question is…will they help their cause by ending Indy’s undefeated run?

No.  In short, Josh McDaniels is firey and not entirely like his mentor Bill Belichick, but I think he’s smart and he’s trying to hit a home run at this point in the season when there’s still 4 games to go and he has a 2-game cushion on anyone who would jump up and challenge for a wildcard berth.  Because he’s sitting back a little and waiting for the game to come to him I think the Colts will just take and it’ll never get that far.  Now it’s a coaching decision.  (Kind of like betting on pre-season football…you bet on the teams whose coaches you KNOW want to win even if it’s a preseason game.)  Here, I KNOW (at least I think I do) that Jim Caldwell is going for it and Josh McDaniels is not.

IND – 38   DEN – 27

Washington @ Oakland: Oakland may have had some business beating the Steelers last week, but the Redskins had no business being in overtime against the Saints.  I think it speaks more to the nature of the game than any goodness the Redskins exhibited.   Oakland is coming on strong and what better way for them to keep it up than to play the Skins…yep…those lucky bastards!

OAK – 24   WAS – 9

St. Louis @ Tennessee: The Rams suck…the end.

Tennessee needs to keep winning so they can go 9-7 and try to jump into the playoffs.  It would basically kill this run they’re on if they lost to the pathetic Rams (who need to keep losing so they can rebuild anyways.)  Come on Vince…you can do this!

TEN – 31   STL – 3

San Diego @ Dallas: Two teams I don’t buy at all.  Mathis (the Cowboys) started to show his colors by losing to the Giants in a game he should have won.  (I’m just waiting for the Chargers to collapse by the way.)  So, I’m not sure who to go with.  Do I pick the team that I’m afraid to get killed by or the team that I just dislike?

I’ll take dislike thank you very much…(and LDT.  He was never the problem for me to begin with…just the Norv Turner thing.)

SD – 35   DAL – 28

Philly @ Giants: The Giants snuck up and beat the cowboys last weel, but can they honestly sneak up on teams in their own division two weeks in a row?  I don’t think so.  The Giants are ok, but they’ve figured out what to do with Mike Vick and that makes them dangerous.  The Giants have a traditional look in Eli Manning to Mario Manningham…that may not be enough.

PHI – 31   NYG – 21

Arizona @ San Francisco: Well, since my 49ers are out of the playoffs and the Cardinals have been in the playoffs (for me anyways) for quite a while then it makes sense to pick the Cards.  Kurt Warner’s the man…not Alex Smith (I’m sorry to say.)

ARI – 27   SF – 13

Tune in Friday (maybe Saturday..with the Christmas season heating up who knows…) for my thoughts on the week in sports as we grow closer to the end of the NFL season and into the heart of the NBA season…

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