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"Lou is not talking about mechanics when he goes out to the mound,"
~Chicago Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild

Monday, September 12, 2005

What a Weekend

So, was that a great football weekend, or what? Yeah, the Bears found a way to lose a game they could have won, but man, I watched a lot of great football Saturday and Sunday.

For instance, Texas v. Ohio State. Unreal game I watched at my friend, Jarek's, house with a group of great Texas fans (thanks Jarek!). Even though I live in Austin, TX, anyone who knows me knows I am far from the biggest UT fan. I just feel they're often overrated. However, in this case, they played one helluva game. Everything the Longhorns needed to do at the end of the game they did. Amazing. This could be the 'Horns year.

I don't think Vince Young is the best QB in the NCAA's this year, nor is he the best pro prospect (if he stays for his Senior year, and stops that sidearm delivery thing, then we'll talk), but he did what he needed to do to get the win for the 'Horns on Saturday night. Well, maybe quite a bit more, considering he went 18-29 for 270 yards and two TD passes, but he did throw two picks. OK, and he ran for 76 yards on 20 carries. That TD pass to Limas Sweed (forever known from here on out as "The Sweed") was great, and the catch The Sweed made was even better.
"Sweed came off the ball real good and I threw the ball to the outside so he could go out of bounds or make the great play and Sweed made a great play for us," said Young.
To say the least, eh? Wow. The real star of the game had to be the Longhorn Defense, however. Time after time after turnovers deep in their own territory, giving the ball to OSU right around the 20 a few times (the people I watched the game actually cheered when the Buckeyes started from their own territory, which didn't seem to happen much), the "D" stood up and stopped the Buckeye offense dead in their tracks. It was amazing to see, especially from a squad that lost the irreplaceable Derrick Johnson to the Kansas City Chiefs (DJ led the Chiefs in tackles, with eight, in Sunday's 27-7 win over the NY Jets, had a sack and forced a fumble. Not a bad first pro game, eh?). How about that safety by the Texas D to ice the game? Amazing. Simply one of the best college football games I've ever watched.

The lack of running game (besides Young) may come back to haunt the 'Horns before the season's over (Vince=76 yds, Rest of the team=37 yds.), but for now, they're on top of the world. Could this be the year Texas actually beats Oklahoma? I think so. Did I mention SMU beat TCU 21-10?

And the game was another example of the ol' standard that two QB's is simply not better than one. Choose one, play that one, and that's how the game is played. That's how National Championships are won, at least. Just ask Chris Simms and Major Applewhite what the two-headed QB is like. It doesn't work.

Speaking of Oklahoma, however, they looked pretty sad even though they beat lowly Tulsa 31-15. For most of the game, they either trailed or lead by less than three points. However, then a Man Named Adrian took over, and boy, did Peterson take the Sooners on his back and lead them to a victory. 32 carries for 220 yards and three touchdowns makes for a really nice day. And a trip to the whirlpool as well, I'd imagine. Did you see that run he made, running over a guy at the line of scrimmage, pulling the ball back from an attempted swipe and stiff arming the final attempted tackler a la the Heisman pose? Great run. And the Sooners are going to have to run a lot, considering they only managed 42 passing yards against an 0-2 team from Conference-USA.

How 'bout the Irish! Welcome to the College Game Charlie Weis. Well done. You've come into Notre Dame, perhaps the toughest coaching job in all of football, and won your first two, including a 17-10 win at #3 Michigan. That's gotta feel good. It's nice to see the Irish winning games again. They have such a tough schedule, it's difficult to get too excited yet, but I just love seeing the Wolverines get beat. Darius Walker gets the gameball, getting 106 yards on 26 carries and catching five passes for 22 yards. He didn't score a TD, but he had a great game. Irish QB Brady Quinn was "efficient" going 19-30 for 140 yards and 2 TD. Notre Dame has their first home game of the year against the Michigan State Spartans next weekend. MSU is 2-0, but that's against Kent State and Hawaii, so I'm thinking 2-1 after the trip to see Touchdown Jesus. The Irish could be 4-0 when the stop in to see Purdue on the first of October. Then, it's two weeks off to prepare for The Game. USC vs. UND. Oh my. But, I'm getting ahead of myself now. Something the Irish better not do.

The Iowa State Cyclones defeat of the Iowa Hawkeyes made it a tough weekend for the Big 11. #4 OSU, #3 Michigan and #8 Iowa all go down. Well, at least the Buckeyes and Wolverines lost to ranked teams. The 23-3 loss at the hands of the Cyclones has to make the Hawkeyes feel, let's just say, less than confident. They should freefall down to the late teens, at least. Actually, the AP has them down to 22. Ouch. Well, the five turnovers sure didn't help anything. But, I'd hate to be Northern Iowa next weekend.

My brother would want me to point out that the thirteenth-ranked Purdue Boilermakers took out Akron in West Lafatette (what kind of name is Ross-Ade stadium anyway?), but it was only Akron, so I'm not sure how excited anyone supposed to be over it. But Purdue's QB Brandon Kirsch gets my gameball for a 22-34 game with 252 yards, 2 TD and no INT. And Senior Boilermaker runningback Jerod Void ran for 101 yards on only 10 carries and scored a touchdown on a 46 yard run, so that's a good feeling. Let's see how they play under the lights at Arizona next Saturday. Think the Wildcats remember that 59-7 beatdown in '03?. Kevin is probably saying "they're going to do it again" as he reads this.

Speaking of good feelings, I'm sure the #5 Tigers of LSU felt great taking out the #15 Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium Saturday night 35-31. Not a defensive contest, for sure (42 combined fourth quarter points), but exciting for the fans, and a good feeling for the folks in Baton Rouge, no doubt. Beating a guy in ASU's Junior QB Sam Keller, who went 35-56 for 461 yards and tossed 4 TD, is nothing short of outstanding. I only saw the last 39 yard TD pass from Russel to Doucet, since the UT-OSU game was on in Austin, of course, but nice come from behind win nonetheless.

And that was just the College Games. Sunday, I saw the Bears lose a tight one to the 'Skins at the Stardust Club just south of Austin with some friends of mine (great place to watch football btw). Difficult to watch though, because the Bears made several mistakes on offense and both defenses were tough to do anything against. Well, unless your name is Clinton Portis (121 yds on 21 att). But, the worst part were the three consecutive false start penalties late in the fourth quarter the Bears commited while trying to drive only down by two. Ouch. Then, the youngster from Purdue, Kyle Orton, got a little nervous under the pressure and fumbled the game away. Oh well. Overall, the Bears looked good (Muhammad especially), and I think they'll beat the Lions in Soldier Field next weekend. That is, if they manage more rushing yards than the 41 they obtained against Joe Gibbs' new-look Redskins defense.

Then, I ventured up to the Alligator Grill and watched the Cowboys take out the Chargers (surprisingly) on their brand new 54 inch (or so) LCD HDTV. Nice. Both the TV and the game, that is. I did not know how the Cowboys would play this season, but if the 24-20 win over the Bolts is any indication, the fans in Dallas are going to be quite happy. Drew Bledsoe actually outplayed Drew Brees, thowing for 226 yards and 3 TD (18-24, zero INT) vs. Brees' 18-35 for 209 yards, 2 TD and 2 picks. Keyshawn Johnson looked as good as I've ever seen him. He caught every ball that was in his direction, including two touchdowns and a great play toeing the left sideline in the second half. However, the Chargers have a fantastic kick returner in Darren Sproles, a 5'6" rookie from Kansas State. He had four kickoff returns for 146 yards (36.5 yd avg, 49 yd long). The Tuna just might make the playoffs, but at 1-0, it's way too early to be talking postseason, and Parcells would be calling me an idiot for even mentioning it.

Finally, I closed the night out watching the Indianapolis Colts beat down the Baltimore Ravens 24-7, back at my house this time. Peyton Manning had to shake off a little rust, overthowing a wide open (I mean by 35 yards Wide Open) Marvin Harrison in the first half. But, after being up only 3-0 at half, they Colts took over and rolled off 21 straight points. Peyton ended up 21-36 for 254 yards and two touchdowns, and he didn't get sacked. It would have been a shutout had not the Ravens saved face, scoring a TD with 0:13 left on the clock (a 17 yd pass from Anthony Wright to Daniel Wilcox). I tell you what, if the Indy defense played like they did Sunday night, the rest of the AFC is in trouble. Maybe even the Patriots this time around. That game doesn't happen until November 7th, so there's a lot to be discovered before then. Also, the game's in Foxboro, so it'd be stupid to count out the defending Super Bowl Champs, but I'm just saying that the Colts are for real.

Oh, and the Steeler fans have to feel great as well, beating up on the Titans 34-7 and continuing Rothlisberger's run to 14-0 as a starter. Must see TV in Week 3 when the Patriots go into Heinz Field. I'll be watching that one for sure (after the Bears hopefully take out the Bengals).

WHEW. What a weekend, eh? I need some rest. After posting here and at A Cub Fan Rants, I think I have carpal-tunnel as well. OK, so I exaggerate. Anyway, I'm out of here. Hope all is going well, and that your weekend was as fun as mine was.


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