Week Eight NFL Power Rankings: The Saints Go Marching On

Another week down and another crazy shake-up in the rankings. The Bears and 49ers faced reality checks, and I finally gave the Bengals the ounce of credibility they deserve. Due to midterms, I’m keeping the intro short and sweet this week.

Raiders Draft Football

Get used to that seat, JaMarcus. You'll be keeping it warm for a while.

On to the rankings.

32 (32) – Rams:
Poor, poor Steven Jackson. 143 rushing attempts on the season and still no touchdowns. Somebody give this man a hug.

31 (31) – Buccaneers:
Tampa Bay can now say they suck in two countries, which is probably more exciting than watching Josh Johnson try to throw a football.

30 (29) – Browns:
In his five games since taking over for the disgraced Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson has posted QB ratings of 30.9, 68.8, 15.1, 51.0, and 36.4. With a completion percentage of 44. Did Quinn beat up the GM? What does he have to do to get back on the field?

29 (27) – Chiefs:
On the bright side, that was an amazing touchdown catch by Dwayne Bowe. Unfortunately, it was their only one.

28 (25) – Raiders:
Andre Ware, Akili Smith, Ryan Leaf, Rick Mirer, Cade McNown, Jim Drunkenmiller, Todd Marinovich, Joey Harrington, David Carr, JaMarcus Russell. Not a good list to be on.

27 (29) – Titans:
Best PR move of the week goes to Jeff Fischer wearing a Peyton Manning jersey to a charity event: “I just want to feel like a winner.” Classic.

26 (28) – Lions:
Cancel your plans and clear your schedules for this Sunday. You don’t want to pick up the in-laws from the airport anyway. Why? St. Louis comes to town. I can barely wait.

25 (22) – Panthers:
Jake Delhomme’s three interception performance on Sunday actually raised his QB rating for the year. Sad. Hey John Fox, Delhomme sucks, your backups are worse, and you have two of the best running backs in the NFL, don’t you think it’s time to try the wildcat? There couldn’t be a better situation.

24 (26) – Redskins:
“I had to go to the senior center and cancel my bingo calling,” said the 67-year-old Sherm Lewis, who last worked in the NFL with the Detroit Lions during the 2004 season. “And I had to cancel my Meals on Wheels today.” This team is a joke. Need I say more?

23 (23) – Seahawks:
Has there been a team more decimated by injuries in any sports the last two years? Other than the New York Mets this year, I can’t think of any. Brutal. I actually kind of feel bad for them, except for when they play the Niners.

22 (24) – Bills:
Did you know Ryan Fitzpatrick has won his last five starts? Me either. Unfortunately, I don’t think that stat alone is going to make Terrell Owens feel any better. Oh well, T.O. is probably working on his next reality show anyway.

21 (21) – Jaguars:
Jacksonville plays the Titans and Chiefs in the next two weeks, teams with a combined 1-12 record. Can you imagine the Jaguars as a 5-3 team? Even if it happened, it would just be a façade because four of their five wins would be against teams with a combined one win (Rams, Chiefs, Titans twice).

20 (20) – Dolphins:
If you’re going to blow a 24-3 lead at home, it might as well be to the Saints. In fantasy news, is it time to take Ricky Williams seriously as a legitimate starting running back? I think it might be.

19 (11) – Bears:
ESPN seriously can’t find somebody better than Jeffri Chadiha to do their NFL Power Rankings. Here’s his weekly gem: “The Bears are 1-3 on the road this season. That doesn’t bode well for their future.” I appreciate all the hard work and analysis you put into that one, buddy.

18 (10) – 49ers:
You know things are bad in San Francisco when Mike Singletary turns to Alex Smith to be the savior. At least Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree are fun to watch.

17 (19) – Jets:
ESPN’s Michael Clayton: “Mark Sanchez showed great hot-dog security in not fumbling the dog he ate in the second half of the win over the Raiders on Sunday.” Take it down a notch, cowboy, you’re trying too hard.

16 (18) – Texans:
Gun to your head, who has the most passing yards and TDs in the NFL? 99% of people would guess Peyton Manning. And 99% of people would be wrong. The answer? Matt Schaub.

15 (13) – Chargers:
San Diego’s wins are against Oakland, Miami and Kansas City. Their losses are against Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Denver. Just beat one good team and I’ll believe in you, that’s not too much to ask for, right?

14 (17) – Cowboys:
Miles Austin, the undrafted wide received out of Monmouth, is the sole reason the Cowboys have a winning record. He already has almost double the entire yardage from the first three years of his career. Not too shabby.

13 (16) – Cardinals:
Arizona plays Carolina, Chicago, Seattle, St. Louis and Tennessee in the next five weeks. There’s a legitimate chance the Cards could be 9-2 heading into a crucial week 13 matchup against Minnesota.

12 (9) – Falcons:
Hey Matthew Berry, Michael Turner’s looking pretty good, huh? He’s currently ranked 11th behind Ricky Williams, and even Fred Jackson has over 150 more total yards.

11 (14) – Packers:
Green Bay went an entire game without giving up a sack. Definitely good news, but it would be a little more convincing if they weren’t playing the Lions.

10 (12) – Eagles:
Philadelphia actually got outgained by the Redskins. Good thing Andy Reid bought the Costco pack of Butterfingers so he could afford to give one to Antwaan Randle El.

9 (9) – Ravens:
In contrast with recent history, Baltimore has the third highest scoring offense in the AFC and sixth in the NFL, thanks to the emergences of Joe Flacco and Ray Rice. But Denver will provide a huge test this week. A loss would put them at 3-4, with two games still looming against Pittsburgh.

8 (15) – Bengals:
Ok, a 35-point blowout of a playoff-caliber team does a little bit to convince me that Cincinnati is for real.  I still can’t believe Cedric Benson is the NFL’s leading rusher.

7 (6) – Giants:
I’ve been waiting all season to say this: Hey Eli Manning, never go full retard.

I have unhealthy man love for Drew Brees. 6 (7) – Steelers:
That Lamar Woodley fumble recovery was eerily reminiscent to the one a few years ago against the Colts in the playoffs.

5 (5) – Patriots:

I really want to believe the 2007 Patriots are back, but until they do it to a team with a win, I can’t believe it. At Indy in two weeks will be a telling game.
4 (5) – Broncos:
If Denver beats Baltimore this Sunday, you can just go ahead and give him the Coach of the Year Award on the field after the game.

3 (1) – Vikings:
Brett Favre looked a lot more like the Brett Favre of recent memory than the one from the first six games this season. Maybe he forgot he has the best running back in the NFL in his backfield. Speaking of Adrian Peterson, that was one of the best hits I have seen this season.

2 (3) – Colts:
I’m scared that the Colts are going to absolutely destroy my Niners this weekend. Please NFL Gods, have mercy.

1 (2) – Saints:
The Saints are winning games they never would have won before. And how cool was it to see Reggie Bush make one of his signature plays from his USC heyday by jumping a legitimate five yards for a touchdown?

Shameless plug:  If you made it this far, please share this blog with friends, family, or even people you don’t know or don’t like. Thanks!

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Week Seven NFL Power Rankings: The Saints Go Marching On

Another week down and another crazy shake-up in the rankings. The Bears and 49ers faced reality checks, and I finally gave the Bengals the ounce of credibility they deserve. Due to midterms, I’m keeping the intro short and sweet this week.

Raiders Draft Football

Get used to that seat, JaMarcus. You'll be keeping it warm for a while.

On to the rankings.

32 (32) – Rams:
Poor, poor Steven Jackson. 143 rushing attempts on the season and still no touchdowns. Somebody give this man a hug.

31 (31) – Buccaneers:
Tampa Bay can now say they suck in two countries, which is probably more exciting than watching Josh Johnson try to throw a football.

30 (29) – Browns:
In his five games since taking over for the disgraced Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson has posted QB ratings of 30.9, 68.8, 15.1, 51.0, and 36.4. With a completion percentage of 44. Did Quinn beat up the GM? What does he have to do to get back on the field?

29 (27) – Chiefs:
On the bright side, that was an amazing touchdown catch by Dwayne Bowe. Unfortunately, it was their only one.

28 (25) – Raiders:
Andre Ware, Akili Smith, Ryan Leaf, Rick Mirer, Cade McNown, Jim Drunkenmiller, Todd Marinovich, Joey Harrington, David Carr, JaMarcus Russell. Not a good list to be on.

27 (29) – Titans:
Best PR move of the week goes to Jeff Fischer wearing a Peyton Manning jersey to a charity event: “I just want to feel like a winner.” Classic.

26 (28) – Lions:
Cancel your plans and clear your schedules for this Sunday. You don’t want to pick up the in-laws from the airport anyway. Why? St. Louis comes to town. I can barely wait.

25 (22) – Panthers:
Jake Delhomme’s three interception performance on Sunday actually raised his QB rating for the year. Sad. Hey John Fox, Delhomme sucks, your backups are worse, and you have two of the best running backs in the NFL, don’t you think it’s time to try the wildcat? There couldn’t be a better situation.

24 (26) – Redskins:
“I had to go to the senior center and cancel my bingo calling,” said the 67-year-old Sherm Lewis, who last worked in the NFL with the Detroit Lions during the 2004 season. “And I had to cancel my Meals on Wheels today.” This team is a joke. Need I say more?

23 (23) – Seahawks:
Has there been a team more decimated by injuries in any sports the last two years? Other than the New York Mets this year, I can’t think of any. Brutal. I actually kind of feel bad for them, except for when they play the Niners.

22 (24) – Bills:
Did you know Ryan Fitzpatrick has won his last five starts? Me either. Unfortunately, I don’t think that stat alone is going to make Terrell Owens feel any better. Oh well, T.O. is probably working on his next reality show anyway.

21 (21) – Jaguars:
Jacksonville plays the Titans and Chiefs in the next two weeks, teams with a combined 1-12 record. Can you imagine the Jaguars as a 5-3 team? Even if it happened, it would just be a façade because four of their five wins would be against teams with a combined one win (Rams, Chiefs, Titans twice).

20 (20) – Dolphins:
If you’re going to blow a 24-3 lead at home, it might as well be to the Saints. In fantasy news, is it time to take Ricky Williams seriously as a legitimate starting running back? I think it might be.

19 (11) – Bears:
ESPN seriously can’t find somebody better than Jeffri Chadiha to do their NFL Power Rankings. Here’s his weekly gem: “The Bears are 1-3 on the road this season. That doesn’t bode well for their future.” I appreciate all the hard work and analysis you put into that one, buddy.

18 (10) – 49ers:
You know things are bad in San Francisco when Mike Singletary turns to Alex Smith to be the savior. At least Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree are fun to watch.

17 (19) – Jets:
ESPN’s Michael Clayton: “Mark Sanchez showed great hot-dog security in not fumbling the dog he ate in the second half of the win over the Raiders on Sunday.” Take it down a notch, cowboy, you’re trying too hard.

16 (18) – Texans:
Gun to your head, who has the most passing yards and TDs in the NFL? 99% of people would guess Peyton Manning. And 99% of people would be wrong. The answer? Matt Schaub.

15 (13) – Chargers:
San Diego’s wins are against Oakland, Miami and Kansas City. Their losses are against Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Denver. Just beat one good team and I’ll believe in you, that’s not too much to ask for, right?

14 (17) – Cowboys:
Miles Austin, the undrafted wide received out of Monmouth, is the sole reason the Cowboys have a winning record. He already has almost double the entire yardage from the first three years of his career. Not too shabby.

13 (16) – Cardinals:
Arizona plays Carolina, Chicago, Seattle, St. Louis and Tennessee in the next five weeks. There’s a legitimate chance the Cards could be 9-2 heading into a crucial week 13 matchup against Minnesota.

12 (9) – Falcons:
Hey Matthew Berry, Michael Turner’s looking pretty good, huh? He’s currently ranked 11th behind Ricky Williams, and even Fred Jackson has over 150 more total yards.

11 (14) – Packers:
Green Bay went an entire game without giving up a sack. Definitely good news, but it would be a little more convincing if they weren’t playing the Lions.

10 (12) – Eagles:
Philadelphia actually got outgained by the Redskins. Good thing Andy Reid bought the Costco pack of Butterfingers so he could afford to give one to Antwaan Randle El.

9 (9) – Ravens:
In contrast with recent history, Baltimore has the third highest scoring offense in the AFC and sixth in the NFL, thanks to the emergences of Joe Flacco and Ray Rice. But Denver will provide a huge test this week. A loss would put them at 3-4, with two games still looming against Pittsburgh.

8 (15) – Bengals:
Ok, a 35-point blowout of a playoff-caliber team does a little bit to convince me that Cincinnati is for real.  I still can’t believe Cedric Benson is the NFL’s leading rusher.

7 (6) – Giants:
I’ve been waiting all season to say this: Hey Eli Manning, never go full retard.

I have unhealthy man love for Drew Brees. 6 (7) – Steelers:
That Lamar Woodley fumble recovery was eerily reminiscent to the one a few years ago against the Colts in the playoffs.

5 (5) – Patriots:

I really want to believe the 2007 Patriots are back, but until they do it to a team with a win, I can’t believe it. At Indy in two weeks will be a telling game.
4 (5) – Broncos:
If Denver beats Baltimore this Sunday, you can just go ahead and give him the Coach of the Year Award on the field after the game.

3 (1) – Vikings:
Brett Favre looked a lot more like the Brett Favre of recent memory than the one from the first six games this season. Maybe he forgot he has the best running back in the NFL in his backfield. Speaking of Adrian Peterson, that was one of the best hits I have seen this season.

2 (3) – Colts:
I’m scared that the Colts are going to absolutely destroy my Niners this weekend. Please NFL Gods, have mercy.

1 (2) – Saints:
The Saints are winning games they never would have won before. And how cool was it to see Reggie Bush make one of his signature plays from his USC heyday by jumping a legitimate five yards for a touchdown?

Shameless plug:  If you made it this far, please share this blog with friends, family, or even people you don’t know or don’t like. Thanks!

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Rivalry Renewed: Oregon Ducks Look for Sixth Straight over Huskies

I remember going to my first Oregon Duck football game last fall as a freshman. Because of weird scheduling circumstances, the Washington Huskies came to Autzen in just the second week of the season.

If Masoli is healthy, the Ducks will roll over the Huskies.

If Masoli is healthy, the Ducks will roll over the Huskies.

And being a fan of the Ducks for several years before I stepped on campus, I was well aware of the rivalry and was excited to witness it firsthand.

Soon after entering the stadium, I was quickly thrown into the competitive trash-talking that those clever collegians in the student section like so much. Well, this time we weren’t so clever.

From the very second the first purple-clad player appeared in the tunnel, there was a telekinetic-like power that united the entire stadium; students, alumni, and even children to stand up and chant: “Fuck the Huskies!”

Over and over again. I didn’t even know we were allowed to do that. Looking back, we probably weren’t, but it was too much fun it didn’t matter. The loathing between the two teams was palpable.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on the way you look at it, the dislike quickly turned to sympathy, as the Ducks went all Michael Vick on the Huskies, 44-10. To make matters worse, Washington didn’t win a single game the rest of the season, including a heartbreaker to the lowly Washington State Cougars.

For some reason, the rivalry didn’t feel so much like a rivalry to me anymore after that game. It was more of a business as usual, fifth straight win in a row type of thing.
But the Huskies are no longer a joke. No more Tyrone Willingham or Rick Neuheisel and his March Madness office pools.  Washington now has a legitimate head coach: Steve Sarkisian, who learned from the best of the best in Pete Carroll at USC. Coach Sark finally has the Huskies playing up to their full potential.

Despite going winless last season, Washington had plenty of talent, although most of it was inexperienced. Willingham brought in several solid recruiting classes, including QB Jake Locker in 2006 and receivers Jermaine Kearse and Kavario Middleton last season. He just couldn’t get anything out them. I mean, Locker is good enough that he should be able to win a handful of games by himself.

But now Locker has developed into the player many expected him to become, the West Coast’s version of Tim Tebow, Chris Polk emerged as a talented running back and Kearse has excelled in his first season.

However, the one thing that has kept the Huskies from a 2008 Miami Dolphin-like turnaround is their defense. Although better than last season, the Huskies still rank ninth in the Pac-10 in total defense, allowing 424 yards per game.

And that’s why the Huskies are at least a year away from putting a stop to Oregon’s five game winning streak. Jeremiah Masoli (who should play) and LaMichael James, two of the hottest players in the country, should be able to feast on the porous Washington defense.

With two weeks for the Ducks to rest up, and two weeks for offensive mastermind Chip Kelly to game plan, Oregon should be focused and ready to march into Husky Stadium for their sixth straight win.

Kelly has instilled his mantra of “one game at a time” into his players, as offensive tackle Bo Thran can attest: “They’re just the next team on our schedule.”

The only worry for the Ducks, is adjusting to the unfriendly confines of Husky Stadium. Only one game in their current five game winning streak over Washington came in Seattle.

But Chip Kelly has done a tremendous job preparing this team week in and week out. Going into the Rose Bowl before the bye, many fans were frightened because it was the first road game since the Boise State debacle, but Oregon overcame a lackadaisical first half to win handily.

“We don’t put any more stock in this game than another,” Kelly said. “By that, I don’t mean to diminish it, but we put everything we have into every game. We haven’t done anything different in terms of our approach. It’s a league game. It’s on the road. And that’s enough to get our players up and excited for practice.”

In Big Balls Chip I trust.

Prediction: Oregon 34, Washington 24

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NFL Power Rankings Week Seven: Vikings Ride Brett Favre Mojo

This was one of the worst sports weekends of my life. The Oregon Ducks had the week off, the 49ers were on a bye, the A’s are long gone, and it’s still preseason for the Warriors and the Sharks (wait, we’re two weeks into the NHL regular season already? I had no idea).

Thinks the Chiefs are regretting that Jared Allen trade now? Hell, they probably regretted it the moment they made it.

Thinks the Chiefs are regretting that Jared Allen trade now? Hell, they probably regretted it the moment they made it.

Without the privilege of watching my beloved Ducks on Saturday, I was forced to watch something only one step below water boarding on the torture scale—Big Ten football. Iowa-Wisconsin, Ohio State-Purdue, Penn State-Minnesota? Gross. And by the way, what’s Michigan doing playing an FCS team in Week Seven?

It was so bad I chose to write my four-page philosophy essay instead. The only reason I retained my sanity through the weekend was the NFL Red Zone channel.

But all will be made up for next weekend, when I travel to Seattle for the first time to support the Ducks in Husky Stadium. Who cares if my seats are in Lake Washington.

On to the rankings.
32 (32) – Rams:

Somebody please tell me why the Red Zone channel kept flashing back to this game during the last few minutes of the Ravens-Vikings game? Really. Did anybody outside of St. Louis or Jacksonville care? Hell, did anybody in St. Louis or Jacksonville care?

31 (30) – Buccaneers:

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, they lose to Jake Delhomme’s Carolina Panthers. At home. The only bright spot was Cadillac Williams’ performance, because now my roommate can shut up about him being the reason why his fantasy football team is 1-5.  Your QB is Mark Sanchez! Cadillac isn’t the problem.

30 (25) – Titans:

This team couldn’t find an identity—until this week. They are now officially the best worst team in the AFC. And after witnessing Derek Anderson’s appallingly dreadful performance last week, Kerry Collins had to one-up him. He threw for negative seven yards in 12 attempts. Seriously. How bad can Vince Young be?

29 (27) – Browns:

Just so you get a sense of how truly pathetic Cleveland is, their top performer, according to the Yahoo! Sports box score, was fullback Lawrence Vickers, who had one touch for one yard.

28 (26) – Lions:

Scrappiness can only take you so far when you have almost zero talent. Jim Schwartz is a good coach, but can you really expect them to score even once when their QBs are Dante Culpepper and Mike Stanton and their number one wide out is Dennis Northcutt?

27 (28) – Chiefs:

That’s an odd way to score 14 points. Four field goals and a safety.

26 (24) – Redskins:

Washington has faced a winless team in every single game so far and they are still 2-4. If that doesn’t deserve firing, then I don’t know what does.

25 (31) – Raiders:

This could be the biggest upset in the history of survival football. Servers are still crashing as we speak.

24 (28) – Bills:

You force seven turnovers and still need overtime to score 16 points? Something tells me the Jets lost this game more than Buffalo won it.

23 (19) – Seahawks:

Fourteen total rushing yards. 0-11 on third down. Five sacks allowed. Seventeen minutes of possession. Talk about a bad football team. The bye week couldn’t come at a better time.

22 (23) – Panthers:

Why wouldn’t teams stack nine in the box? Jake Delhomme now has thrown 14 interceptions in his last six games and has a 56.8 QB rating for the season.

21 (22) – Jaguars:

The Jags were 11-16 on third down, outgained the Rams by 230 yards, and had only three penalties for 15 yards, yet still needed overtime to beat the least talented team in the NFL. How does that happen?

20 (17) – Dolphins:

The home team coming off of a bye week theory gets a big test this weekend when the Saints come to town. Not buying it.

19 (11) – Jets:

Congratulations to Mark Sanchez for becoming the first two-time winner of the weekly Simple Jack Award. Hey Mark, never go full retard.

18 (21) – Texans:

Houston made the Bengals look like, well, the Bengals. Matt Schaub has become a fantasy must-start every week.

17 (18) – Cowboys:

The epitome of mediocrity. 3-0 versus losing teams and 0-2 versus winners. Fantasy note: I am never drafting Roy Williams again.

16 (20) – Cardinals:

What is Arizona going to do when they play a team that takes away the pass? Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower are getting it done less than my food situation at home. I’ve been living off of Power Bars and instant oatmeal packets for two weeks. College.

15 (10) – Bengals:

This is what Jeffri Chadiha had to say about Cincinnati in ESPN’s power rankings this week: “Matt Schaub shredded them in their loss to Houston.” Thanks for all the hard work and insight you put into that one, Jeffri.

14 (16) – Packers:

And if his analysis of the Bengals wasn’t enough, Chadiha had this to say about Green Bay: “They still haven’t found a way to protect QB Aaron Rodgers.” ESPN, you seriously can’t find anyone better than this guy?

13 (15) – Chargers:

I hate fantasy football. Losing by three coming into Monday Night’s game, I owned Eddie Royal and Darren Sproles. Thanks to the amazing score settings in my lone remaining undefeated league, I received a total of 1.40 points from the duo, despite a combined three return touchdowns. Is there any activity more popular than fantasy football that causes so many complaints?

12 (6) – Eagles:

Is there anything more embarrassing for a head coach than losing to JaMarcus Russell? I can’t think of anything.

11 (13) – Bears:

Another gem from Chadiha: “Red zone problems killed them in a loss to Atlanta.” My freakin’ 11-year-old brother could have told me that.

10 (12) – 49ers:

Michael Crabtree is starting!! Michael Crabtree is starting!! Michael Crabtree is starting!! Michael Crabtree is starting!! Michael Crabtree is starting!! Yeah, I’m kinda excited.

9 (9) – Ravens:

Baltimore almost completed the greatest comeback of the season. Too bad almost counts for diddly squat. We almost made the playoffs. I almost won the lottery. They almost successfully completed your kidney transplant. You get the idea. Almost isn’t good.

8 (8) – Falcons:

Atlanta and New Orleans could be the most exciting division race this season. Their Week Eight will tell us a lot.

7 (14) – Steelers:

Big Ben is back, thanks to the re-emergence of one of the toughest football players in the NFL: Hines Ward. Man, does he play football the right way.

6 (4) – Giants:

The Saints stomped Eli Manning and the Giants so badly, that New Orleans even let Mark Brunell onto the field. Yes, that Mark Brunell. The one who hasn’t attempted a pass since 2006, and is making just under $5 million this season. Seriously.

5 (7) – Patriots:

This game looked eerily reminiscent of 2007. Have Tom Brady and the boys finally got their mojo back? We won’t find out until they play Indy in Week Ten, but it will be fun to see how many points they can put up at Tampa Bay on Sunday. Is 60 out of the question?

4 (5) – Broncos:

Josh McDaniels for Coach of the Year. That is all.

3 (3) – Colts:

I don’t have anything new to say because of the bye, so I’ll just repeat what I said last week:

The only thing better than Peyton Manning is this article from CNN. For all guys past puberty, Christmas just came early. This could transform college campuses, save marriages, and possibly bring world peace. Seriously, guys, you want to read this.

2 (2) – Saints:

Drew Brees passed for 369 yards and four touchdowns and I was still outscored by my opponent’s QB. I would be mad if I didn’t have such crazy man-love for Tom Brady.

1 (1) – Vikings:

I think someone brainwashed Brett Favre into thinking it’s 2001. He cannot possibly still be this good. So far, this is statistically the best season of his career. Wow.

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NFL Power Rankings Week Seven: Vikings Ride Brett Favre Mojo

This was one of the worst sports weekends of my life. The Oregon Ducks had the week off, the 49ers were on a bye, the A’s are long gone, and it’s still preseason for the Warriors and the Sharks (wait, we’re two weeks into the NHL regular season already? I had no idea).

Thinks the Chiefs are regretting that Jared Allen trade now? Hell, they probably regretted it the moment they made it.

Thinks the Chiefs are regretting that Jared Allen trade now? Hell, they probably regretted it the moment they made it.

Without the privilege of watching my beloved Ducks on Saturday, I was forced to watch something only one step below water boarding on the torture scale—Big Ten football. Iowa-Wisconsin, Ohio State-Purdue, Penn State-Minnesota? Gross. And by the way, what’s Michigan doing playing an FCS team in Week Seven?

It was so bad I chose to write my four-page philosophy essay instead. The only reason I retained my sanity through the weekend was the NFL Red Zone channel.

But all will be made up for next weekend, when I travel to Seattle for the first time to support the Ducks in Husky Stadium. Who cares if my seats are in Lake Washington.

On to the rankings.
32 (32) – Rams:

Somebody please tell me why the Red Zone channel kept flashing back to this game during the last few minutes of the Ravens-Vikings game? Really. Did anybody outside of St. Louis or Jacksonville care? Hell, did anybody in St. Louis or Jacksonville care?

31 (30) – Buccaneers:

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, they lose to Jake Delhomme’s Carolina Panthers. At home. The only bright spot was Cadillac Williams’ performance, because now my roommate can shut up about him being the reason why his fantasy football team is 1-5.  Your QB is Mark Sanchez! Cadillac isn’t the problem.

30 (25) – Titans:

This team couldn’t find an identity—until this week. They are now officially the best worst team in the AFC. And after witnessing Derek Anderson’s appallingly dreadful performance last week, Kerry Collins had to one-up him. He threw for negative seven yards in 12 attempts. Seriously. How bad can Vince Young be?

29 (27) – Browns:

Just so you get a sense of how truly pathetic Cleveland is, their top performer, according to the Yahoo! Sports box score, was fullback Lawrence Vickers, who had one touch for one yard.

28 (26) – Lions:

Scrappiness can only take you so far when you have almost zero talent. Jim Schwartz is a good coach, but can you really expect them to score even once when their QBs are Dante Culpepper and Mike Stanton and their number one wide out is Dennis Northcutt?

27 (28) – Chiefs:

That’s an odd way to score 14 points. Four field goals and a safety.

26 (24) – Redskins:

Washington has faced a winless team in every single game so far and they are still 2-4. If that doesn’t deserve firing, then I don’t know what does.

25 (31) – Raiders:

This could be the biggest upset in the history of survival football. Servers are still crashing as we speak.

24 (28) – Bills:

You force seven turnovers and still need overtime to score 16 points? Something tells me the Jets lost this game more than Buffalo won it.

23 (19) – Seahawks:

Fourteen total rushing yards. 0-11 on third down. Five sacks allowed. Seventeen minutes of possession. Talk about a bad football team. The bye week couldn’t come at a better time.

22 (23) – Panthers:

Why wouldn’t teams stack nine in the box? Jake Delhomme now has thrown 14 interceptions in his last six games and has a 56.8 QB rating for the season.

21 (22) – Jaguars:

The Jags were 11-16 on third down, outgained the Rams by 230 yards, and had only three penalties for 15 yards, yet still needed overtime to beat the least talented team in the NFL. How does that happen?

20 (17) – Dolphins:

The home team coming off of a bye week theory gets a big test this weekend when the Saints come to town. Not buying it.

19 (11) – Jets:

Congratulations to Mark Sanchez for becoming the first two-time winner of the weekly Simple Jack Award. Hey Mark, never go full retard.

18 (21) – Texans:

Houston made the Bengals look like, well, the Bengals. Matt Schaub has become a fantasy must-start every week.

17 (18) – Cowboys:

The epitome of mediocrity. 3-0 versus losing teams and 0-2 versus winners. Fantasy note: I am never drafting Roy Williams again.

16 (20) – Cardinals:

What is Arizona going to do when they play a team that takes away the pass? Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower are getting it done less than my food situation at home. I’ve been living off of Power Bars and instant oatmeal packets for two weeks. College.

15 (10) – Bengals:

This is what Jeffri Chadiha had to say about Cincinnati in ESPN’s power rankings this week: “Matt Schaub shredded them in their loss to Houston.” Thanks for all the hard work and insight you put into that one, Jeffri.

14 (16) – Packers:

And if his analysis of the Bengals wasn’t enough, Chadiha had this to say about Green Bay: “They still haven’t found a way to protect QB Aaron Rodgers.” ESPN, you seriously can’t find anyone better than this guy?

13 (15) – Chargers:

I hate fantasy football. Losing by three coming into Monday Night’s game, I owned Eddie Royal and Darren Sproles. Thanks to the amazing score settings in my lone remaining undefeated league, I received a total of 1.40 points from the duo, despite a combined three return touchdowns. Is there any activity more popular than fantasy football that causes so many complaints?

12 (6) – Eagles:

Is there anything more embarrassing for a head coach than losing to JaMarcus Russell? I can’t think of anything.

11 (13) – Bears:

Another gem from Chadiha: “Red zone problems killed them in a loss to Atlanta.” My freakin’ 11-year-old brother could have told me that.

10 (12) – 49ers:

Michael Crabtree is starting!! Michael Crabtree is starting!! Michael Crabtree is starting!! Michael Crabtree is starting!! Michael Crabtree is starting!! Yeah, I’m kinda excited.

9 (9) – Ravens:

Baltimore almost completed the greatest comeback of the season. Too bad almost counts for diddly squat. We almost made the playoffs. I almost won the lottery. They almost successfully completed your kidney transplant. You get the idea. Almost isn’t good.

8 (8) – Falcons:

Atlanta and New Orleans could be the most exciting division race this season. Their Week Eight will tell us a lot.

7 (14) – Steelers:

Big Ben is back, thanks to the re-emergence of one of the toughest football players in the NFL: Hines Ward. Man, does he play football the right way.

6 (4) – Giants:

The Saints stomped Eli Manning and the Giants so badly, that New Orleans even let Mark Brunell onto the field. Yes, that Mark Brunell. The one who hasn’t attempted a pass since 2006, and is making just under $5 million this season. Seriously.

5 (7) – Patriots:

This game looked eerily reminiscent of 2007. Have Tom Brady and the boys finally got their mojo back? We won’t find out until they play Indy in Week Ten, but it will be fun to see how many points they can put up at Tampa Bay on Sunday. Is 60 out of the question?

4 (5) – Broncos:

Josh McDaniels for Coach of the Year. That is all.

3 (3) – Colts:

I don’t have anything new to say because of the bye, so I’ll just repeat what I said last week:

The only thing better than Peyton Manning is this article from CNN. For all guys past puberty, Christmas just came early. This could transform college campuses, save marriages, and possibly bring world peace. Seriously, guys, you want to read this.

2 (2) – Saints:

Drew Brees passed for 369 yards and four touchdowns and I was still outscored by my opponent’s QB. I would be mad if I didn’t have such crazy man-love for Tom Brady.

1 (1) – Vikings:

I think someone brainwashed Brett Favre into thinking it’s 2001. He cannot possibly still be this good. So far, this is statistically the best season of his career. Wow.

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Pac-10 Preview Week Seven: Watching from the Sideline

Ahhhhhh gotta love 'em.

Ahhhhhh gotta love 'em.

No matter what happens this weekend, I can 100 percent guarantee that it will not come even remotely close to the last five weekends.

Not even if I go to the best party ever. Going undefeated in beer pong? No big deal. Breaking ankles at the Rec Center? That’s an everyday occurrence. Hooking up with the hottest chick on campus? Well, that one I can’t do till winter term (when my girlfriend gets here)—among other reasons.

So why will this weekend pale in comparison to any other this fall? It will be the first Saturday since Sept. 12 without an Oregon Ducks football game.

So what is a Duck fan to do?

Spend the weekend watching inferior college football teams and hoping for the teams ahead in the rankings to drop faster than Mike Singletary’s pants in the 49ers’ locker room.

But fortunately, next weekend will more than make up for it. I’ll be making my first journey up to Seattle to watch the Ducks in Husky Stadium. Best $46 I’ve ever spent.

With no Oregon game to preview today, I am relegated to the rest of the Pac-10.

Once again, the Pac-10 has failed to deliver multiple national title contenders. With Cal being a shocking disappointment and USC once again losing to an unranked team, there is more mediocrity than ever.

With all the parity in the conference, only one team has started to separate itself from the rest of the pack—Oregon. But keep in mind, the three teams the Ducks have played so far are 0-8 in the Pac-10. Washington and USC will make or break the season for the Autzen faithful.

On to this weekend’s games.

Washington at Arizona State

I’m still trying to figure out this Sun Devil team. I’m not sure if they’re decent or flat-out bad. They blow out two awful teams at home, as expected, and then lose by a field goal at Georgia, a loss that looked a lot more impressive then than it does now.

Arizona State outplayed Oregon State on paper, outgaining the Beavers 406 to 295, but the three fumbles killed them. But more embarrassing than either of those losses was the 27-14 win over Washington State. Unless you have seen the Cougars play, you cannot appreciate how truly bad they are. Anything less than a blowout is officially a disappointment.

Meanwhile, the Huskies have regained a bit of their momentum after the Stanford loss by putting a solid game together on the road at Notre Dame and then a miracle win against Arizona. With a big matchup looming against Oregon next Saturday, it will be interesting to see if the Huskies let down against a lesser team.

Prediction: Washington 34, Arizona State 17

Cal at UCLA

There is a legitimate chance that at least one of these teams will end up not bowl eligible.

After starting the season scorching hot, the Golden Bears have fallen flat on their face. Granted, at Oregon and home against USC is an almost unfair way to start Pac-10 play, but it looked as if Cal didn’t even bother to show up to either of those games. They didn’t score a single touchdown and were outscored 72-6.

But don’t worry, Cal fans, you can still make the Emerald Bowl.

UCLA, meanwhile, would be lucky to make the Las Vegas Bowl. Needing three more wins to gain bowl eligibility, the Bruins still have to play Cal, Arizona, Oregon State, Washington, and USC. Assuming they beat Arizona State and Washington State, I don’t know which team they could beat for that elusive sixth win.

Prediction: Cal 24, UCLA 17

Stanford at Arizona

This probably isn't PC, but he looks like a homosexual ostrich.

This probably isn't PC, but he looks like a homosexual ostrich.

Just when I start to buy the Cardinal, the Quizz Show comes along and stumps Stanford. I still like the direction Jim Harbaugh has his team heading, but a Rose Bowl appearance this year looks out of the question.

They certainly have the pieces, with Andrew Luck, Toby Gerhart, and Ryan Whalen, but it seems like they don’t have the mentality of a winner—which makes sense, considering they haven’t been good since the beginning of the decade.

Arizona has a pretty impressive résumé, with their only slip-ups coming on the road to an extremely overrated yet undefeated Iowa team and to the Huskies in a heartbreaking loss in Seattle.

This will probably be the most competitive game of the week, because I think both of these teams are stuck in “good but not great” purgatory.

Prediction: Stanford 31, Arizona 28

USC at Notre Dame

I am so tired of this matchup. It hasn’t been close since the famous “Reggie Bush push” in 2005, and the Fighting Irish haven’t been half as good as the hype in over a decade, despite being given every advantage by the NCAA. Jimmy Clausen is for real, but they haven’t had a dominating win all season. I don’t think it starts here.

The Trojans, although overrated at No. 6, have so much talent that they can get by with only mediocre quarterback play. But for USC to be taken seriously as a title contender, Matt Barkley will have to show that he can make plays and not just be a game manager. Maybe he can learn a thing or two from his QB counterpart and fellow No. 1 overall recruit on Saturday.

Prediction: USC 34, Notre Dame 24

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Pac-10 Preview Week Seven: Watching from the Sideline

Ahhhhhh gotta love 'em.

Ahhhhhh gotta love 'em.

No matter what happens this weekend, I can 100 percent guarantee that it will not come even remotely close to the last five weekends.

Not even if I go to the best party ever. Going undefeated in beer pong? No big deal. Breaking ankles at the Rec Center? That’s an everyday occurrence. Hooking up with the hottest chick on campus? Well, that one I can’t do till winter term (when my girlfriend gets here)—among other reasons.

So why will this weekend pale in comparison to any other this fall? It will be the first Saturday since Sept. 12 without an Oregon Ducks football game.

So what is a Duck fan to do?

Spend the weekend watching inferior college football teams and hoping for the teams ahead in the rankings to drop faster than Mike Singletary’s pants in the 49ers’ locker room.

But fortunately, next weekend will more than make up for it. I’ll be making my first journey up to Seattle to watch the Ducks in Husky Stadium. Best $46 I’ve ever spent.

With no Oregon game to preview today, I am relegated to the rest of the Pac-10.

Once again, the Pac-10 has failed to deliver multiple national title contenders. With Cal being a shocking disappointment and USC once again losing to an unranked team, there is more mediocrity than ever.

With all the parity in the conference, only one team has started to separate itself from the rest of the pack—Oregon. But keep in mind, the three teams the Ducks have played so far are 0-8 in the Pac-10. Washington and USC will make or break the season for the Autzen faithful.

On to this weekend’s games.

Washington at Arizona State

I’m still trying to figure out this Sun Devil team. I’m not sure if they’re decent or flat-out bad. They blow out two awful teams at home, as expected, and then lose by a field goal at Georgia, a loss that looked a lot more impressive then than it does now.

Arizona State outplayed Oregon State on paper, outgaining the Beavers 406 to 295, but the three fumbles killed them. But more embarrassing than either of those losses was the 27-14 win over Washington State. Unless you have seen the Cougars play, you cannot appreciate how truly bad they are. Anything less than a blowout is officially a disappointment.

Meanwhile, the Huskies have regained a bit of their momentum after the Stanford loss by putting a solid game together on the road at Notre Dame and then a miracle win against Arizona. With a big matchup looming against Oregon next Saturday, it will be interesting to see if the Huskies let down against a lesser team.

Prediction: Washington 34, Arizona State 17

Cal at UCLA

There is a legitimate chance that at least one of these teams will end up not bowl eligible.

After starting the season scorching hot, the Golden Bears have fallen flat on their face. Granted, at Oregon and home against USC is an almost unfair way to start Pac-10 play, but it looked as if Cal didn’t even bother to show up to either of those games. They didn’t score a single touchdown and were outscored 72-6.

But don’t worry, Cal fans, you can still make the Emerald Bowl.

UCLA, meanwhile, would be lucky to make the Las Vegas Bowl. Needing three more wins to gain bowl eligibility, the Bruins still have to play Cal, Arizona, Oregon State, Washington, and USC. Assuming they beat Arizona State and Washington State, I don’t know which team they could beat for that elusive sixth win.

Prediction: Cal 24, UCLA 17

Stanford at Arizona

This probably isn't PC, but he looks like a homosexual ostrich.

This probably isn't PC, but he looks like a homosexual ostrich.

Just when I start to buy the Cardinal, the Quizz Show comes along and stumps Stanford. I still like the direction Jim Harbaugh has his team heading, but a Rose Bowl appearance this year looks out of the question.

They certainly have the pieces, with Andrew Luck, Toby Gerhart, and Ryan Whalen, but it seems like they don’t have the mentality of a winner—which makes sense, considering they haven’t been good since the beginning of the decade.

Arizona has a pretty impressive résumé, with their only slip-ups coming on the road to an extremely overrated yet undefeated Iowa team and to the Huskies in a heartbreaking loss in Seattle.

This will probably be the most competitive game of the week, because I think both of these teams are stuck in “good but not great” purgatory.

Prediction: Stanford 31, Arizona 28

USC at Notre Dame

I am so tired of this matchup. It hasn’t been close since the famous “Reggie Bush push” in 2005, and the Fighting Irish haven’t been half as good as the hype in over a decade, despite being given every advantage by the NCAA. Jimmy Clausen is for real, but they haven’t had a dominating win all season. I don’t think it starts here.

The Trojans, although overrated at No. 6, have so much talent that they can get by with only mediocre quarterback play. But for USC to be taken seriously as a title contender, Matt Barkley will have to show that he can make plays and not just be a game manager. Maybe he can learn a thing or two from his QB counterpart and fellow No. 1 overall recruit on Saturday.

Prediction: USC 34, Notre Dame 24

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NFL Power Rankings Week 6: Vikes Holding Strong at the Top

It’s consuming my life. First went homework, then showering. My sense of smell and my taste buds quickly followed. Flowers don’t smell anymore, candy is no longer sweet. Is this a love poem? No. Wait, yes! Ahh maybe. It’s a love-hate relationship.

You see, NBA 2K10 is amazing. “My Player” mode especially. I spent practically the whole weekend creating, running drills, and playing training camp games with a 6’4″, 190-pound version of my likeness. It never got old, not even once, to see myself on the TV dunking over Taylor Griffin in the summer league.

AD, AP, All Day, what ever you call him, he has team atop the Power Rankings for the 2nd staight week.

AD, AP, All Day, what ever you call him, he has team atop the Power Rankings for the 2nd staight week.

But today, I rolled out of bed at 8:39 a.m. and walked out the door at 8:41 for a 9 a.m. class. On the way to campus, the semi-homeless, rubber chicken, joke book guy who stands in front of the Duck Store kindly pointed out that my already-stained sweat pants were on backwards. I realized it was time to get a grip.

No longer will I be breaking the virtual ankles of Dionte Christmas or Lee Cummard. Instead, I will force myself to read my 700-page philosophy text book and do my Decision Sciences homework. I am regretting this already.

But luckily for you, in between 2K10’s unique skill challenges and skill point divvying, I managed to squeeze in an entire Sunday of the NFL. 2KSports, you have met your match.

On to the rankings.

32. (32): St. Louis Rams

The Kyle Boller experiment didn’t last long. Marc Bulger replaced him in the fourth quarter and went on to compile a perfect passer rating – 158.3 – in his seven pass attempts. Now Marc, don’t you know how dangerous it is to give false hope to a fan base more depressed than Roman Polanski? Shame on you.

31. (31): Oakland Raiders

A fellow Power Ranker had this to say about the New York Giants: “The G-men made JaMarcus Russell look like the worst quarterback in the free world.” Umm buddy, JaMarcus Russell is the worst quarterback in the free world.

30. (29): Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Two questions: First, does Tampa Bay know that they are paying center Jeff Faine more than $13 million this season? And second, what’s it like for Ronde Barber being older than his head coach Raheem Morris? In other news, Morris just lost his last baby tooth. If only those darn wisdom teeth would grow in.

29. (28): Kansas City Chiefs

Without further ado, I now present you the captain of YOOOUUUURRRRR (stadium announcer voice) Garbage Time All-Star Team: MAAAATTTT CAAASSSSEL

28. (25): Buffalo Bills

Mark Sanchez won the Simple Jack Award for the dumbest performance in Week Four. Guess who won it this week? Hey Roscoe Parrish, never go full retard.

27. (30): Cleveland Browns

What a thriller this game was. Trent Edwards finished with a 52.1 quarterback rating and was by far the best QB on the field. Derek Anderson, the pride of Oregon State, went 2-for-17 for 23 yards and an INT. Hey Cleveland, how does Brady Quinn look now?


26. (27): Detroit Lions

The NFL Red Zone channel switched to the Pittsburgh-Detroit game with the Lions down by eight and driving on the Steelers 21-yard line with just under two minutes left. What happened after that?

1st-10, PIT21 1:54 D. Culpepper sacked by L. Woodley and W. Gay

2nd-16, PIT27 1:28 D. Culpepper sacked by W. Gay

3rd-21, PIT32 1:23 D. Culpepper sacked by L. Timmons

4th-34 PIT45 1:09 D. Culpepper incomplete pass down the middle.

I would bet you that Culpepper was probably tired of Gay’s sack. Rimshot!

25. (23): Tennessee Titans

I’m gonna keep saying it till they win:

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” – George W. Bush.

24. (24): Washington Redskins

Washington should be ashamed of themselves. The Redskins committed one of the most embarrassing, heartbreaking, and pitiful plays of the season on Sunday. The Panthers were up by three on their own 35-yard line with two minutes left. On a 3rd-and-8, where a stop would allow them one last chance to tie or win the game with a two-minute drill, the Redskins allowed Jake Delhomme to rush for nine yards and a first down. Game over. And the worst part? He even juked one of Washington’s DB’s on the play. Sad.

23. (26): Carolina Panthers

And the Jake Delhomme interception streak continues. That’s 12 picks in his past five games.

22. (18): Jacksonville Jaguars

One week after losing to a team that started David Garrard and Mike Sims-Walker, I bought into the duo and started them both against the supposedly wounded Seahawks. Yea, that one didn’t turn out too well.

21. (19): Houston Texans

This game would not have mattered at all 15 years ago. This season it was one of the more important games of the week. At least in fantasy circles for having so many top-flight fantasy players. These teams are both pretty horrible.

20. (20): Arizona Cardinals

It’s not a good sign when one of your defensive backs—Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie—has more total yards than your entire backfield combined. If Arizona wants to get back in the NFC West race, either Hightower or Wells will have to emerge as an at least mediocre back.

19. (22): Seattle Seahawks

Well that came out of nowhere. So did former Oregon Duck Nick Reed’s 79-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown. Great call on the play: “Nick Reed, you just scored, baby!”

It's ok Jake, you've got nowhere to go but up!

It's ok Jake, you've got nowhere to go but up!

18. (17): Dallas Cowboys

The only person Sunday luckier than Miles Austin fantasy owners was me. I woke up to find that my TV gets the NFL Red Zone channel for free. In HD.

17. (21): Miami Dolphins

Viva la Wildcat!

16. (15): Green Bay Packers

Wouldn’t it be awesome if instead of wearing a cheese-head hat, someone put some fudge on their dome. Fudge. Fudge-packers. Get it?

15. (14): San Diego Chargers

Here’s a good fantasy football board bet for you. LT touchdowns this season or the number of episodes Michael Strahan’s new sitcom, “Brothers,” lasts on Fox? I honestly have no idea.

14. (13): Pittsburgh Steelers

I know a win is a win, but come on Pittsburgh, you’re playing the stinkin’ Lions. At least try a little bit.

13. (12): Chicago Bears

Fun fact of the week: Chicago is 6-1 dating back to the second week of the preseason. Yea, I hate bye weeks.

12. (8): San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco showed up to their bye one week too soon.


11. (7): New York Jets

One more reason to hate the Jets: my fantasy team was up 89-87 going into Monday night’s game. The other team was done and I had the Jets defense. Yeah. I lost by 2.

10. (16): Cincinnati Bengals

Give me all the crap you want but I’m not buying it. The Detroit Lions started 6-2 in 2007 and finished 7-9. Until Cincinnati has an “X” to the left of their name in the standings, I won’t believe it.

9. (6): Baltimore Ravens

Cheer up Baltimore, at least you gave NFL fans some entertainment value when Ray Lewis decapitated Chad Ochocinco. Wait, you’d rather have the win? My mistake.

The best black weatherman in Quahog.

The best black weatherman in Quahog.

8. (11): Atlanta Falcons

Hey, look! Michael Silver has man crushes too.

7. (3): New England Patriots

Finally, Boston fans suffer a miserable sports weekend. It’s about time. It feels like they haven’t not won a championship since 2003.

6. (10): Philadelphia Eagles

And now to Ollie Williams will the Black-U-Sports report: “Donovan McNabb’s Good.”

5. (9): Denver Broncos

This is what I said about Denver before the season:

“The Raiders, Chiefs and Broncos all can’t go 4-12. It would be a statistical phenomenon. That’s why, despite the awful Jay Cutler fiasco this off-season, I’m buying Belichick-disciple Josh McDaniels to put together a high-flying offense in the Mile High city.”

Looks pretty good now.

4. (5): New York Giants

Can somebody please beat the G-men? I am getting so sick of them. New Orleans gets a chance this weekend at home. Game of the week.

3. (4): Indianapolis Colts

The only thing better than Peyton Manning is this article from CNN. For all guys past puberty, Christmas just came early. This could transform college campuses, save marriages and possibly bring world peace. Seriously, guys, you want to read this.

2. (2): New Orleans Saints

New Orleans had a whole week to rest up at home before hosting their biggest game of the season. I like their chances. And Drew, for the sake of my fantasy sanity, can you please throw a touchdown pass this weekend? Please!

1. (1): Minnesota Vikings

Brett Favre for comeback player of the year. Adrian Peterson for No. 1 fantasy running back. Jared Allen for defensive player of the year. All equally important, all guaranteed locks. Book it.

The UO Sports Dude

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Third Quarter Hat-Trick Propels Oregon Ducks Past UCLA Bruins

Chip Kelly must be one hell of a motivational speaker.

After being held scoreless in the first half—for just the second time since 2007—the Oregon Ducks overcame their three-point deficit faster than you could say “LaMichael James for Heisman in 2010.”

Literally.

This about sums it up.

This about sums it up.

Kenjon Barner took the third quarter kickoff back 100 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. And then just 13 seconds later, on the Bruins’ first play of the half, Talmadge Jackson stepped in front of Terrence Austin, picked off Kevin Prince’s pass, and ran it back for 32 yards.

Those two plays epitomized the Ducks’ season so far—winning with defense and special teams.

But they weren’t done yet.

Just two plays after Jackson’s interception, Kenny Rowe knocked the ball out of Prince’s hands on a scramble, and Oregon recovered.

Now that the offense finally had the ball, they were ready to join the party. On third down, Nate Costa found Jeff Maehl on a quick slant pass in heavy traffic, but broke through to race 20 yards into the end zone.

Hat trick: complete.

That touchdown throw, the first of Costa’s career, was the first touchdown pass caught by an Oregon wide receiver this season.

Special teams. Defense. Offense. Three touchdowns in under four minutes. In the end that’s all the Ducks would need, as they went on to win 24-10.

“The fire that everyone had in them just ignited,” Costa said. “We got on a roll and started saying, ‘We’re going to put these guys to sleep.”’

Costa, who was making the first start of his career, replaced Jeremiah Masoli, who sat out with an MCL sprain.

Costa wasn’t spectacular, but he didn’t need to be. The Ducks ran the ball at will against the Bruins. Led by speedy freshman LaMichael James, the Ducks totalled 222 rushing yards. James had 151 of those. Barner added 50.

James, who is establishing himself as one of the premier running backs in the conference, was absolutely electric. The Texas native put on a juking spectacular for UCLA, spinning his way out of trouble and into daylight several times.

His best run came after UCLA pinned Oregon at their own one-yard line in the first quarter. With the Bruins stacking eight in the box, Costa handed off to James, meeting several defenders at the goalline. Averting disaster, James first spun out of the grasp of a lunging tackler, and then spun back around three Bruins into the open field.

The only thing that stopped James from a 99-yard touchdown run was himself, as he outran his blocker and collided with a UCLA defensive back at midfield.

“That’s what our team does,” coach Chip Kelly said. “They feed off each other. When somebody makes a big play, the other guys feed off that. These guys have a great attitude, a great chemistry right now. It’s fun to be around them.”

When I was looking ahead to the matchup against UCLA, I saw the serious possibilty of a trap game.

Playing on the road in a stadium where they typically don’t fare well, playing without three of their four best defensive backs—Walter Thurmond, Willie Glasper, and T.J. Ward—and letting Costa make his first collegiate start made me weary of a potential upset.

But the Ducks quickly dispelled any notion of suffering their first Pac-10 loss. This team is 100-percent focused right now, living up to Kelly’s mantra of “one game at a time.”

With next week’s open date, Oregon will have time to rest up and get healthy before traveling to another difficult environment in two weeks—Husky Stadium.

Kelly brought along four quarterbacks to Saturday’s game, including Masoli and true freshman Daryle Hawkins.

“I thought it would be nice if Daryle could see Los Angeles,” Kelly said in some postgame levity. “Maybe Disney World on the way back.”

Let’s hope Hawkins doesn’t need to go anywhere near the Space Needle on Oct. 24th.

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Third Quarter Hat-Trick Propels Oregon Ducks Past UCLA Bruins

Chip Kelly must be one hell of a motivational speaker.

After being held scoreless in the first half—for just the second time since 2007—the Oregon Ducks overcame their three-point deficit faster than you could say “LaMichael James for Heisman in 2010.”

Literally.

This about sums it up.

This about sums it up.

Kenjon Barner took the third quarter kickoff back 100 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. And then just 13 seconds later, on the Bruins’ first play of the half, Talmadge Jackson stepped in front of Terrence Austin, picked off Kevin Prince’s pass, and ran it back for 32 yards.

Those two plays epitomized the Ducks’ season so far—winning with defense and special teams.

But they weren’t done yet.

Just two plays after Jackson’s interception, Kenny Rowe knocked the ball out of Prince’s hands on a scramble, and Oregon recovered.

Now that the offense finally had the ball, they were ready to join the party. On third down, Nate Costa found Jeff Maehl on a quick slant pass in heavy traffic, but broke through to race 20 yards into the end zone.

Hat trick: complete.

That touchdown throw, the first of Costa’s career, was the first touchdown pass caught by an Oregon wide receiver this season.

Special teams. Defense. Offense. Three touchdowns in under four minutes. In the end that’s all the Ducks would need, as they went on to win 24-10.

“The fire that everyone had in them just ignited,” Costa said. “We got on a roll and started saying, ‘We’re going to put these guys to sleep.”’

Costa, who was making the first start of his career, replaced Jeremiah Masoli, who sat out with an MCL sprain.

Costa wasn’t spectacular, but he didn’t need to be. The Ducks ran the ball at will against the Bruins. Led by speedy freshman LaMichael James, the Ducks totalled 222 rushing yards. James had 151 of those. Barner added 50.

James, who is establishing himself as one of the premier running backs in the conference, was absolutely electric. The Texas native put on a juking spectacular for UCLA, spinning his way out of trouble and into daylight several times.

His best run came after UCLA pinned Oregon at their own one-yard line in the first quarter. With the Bruins stacking eight in the box, Costa handed off to James, meeting several defenders at the goalline. Averting disaster, James first spun out of the grasp of a lunging tackler, and then spun back around three Bruins into the open field.

The only thing that stopped James from a 99-yard touchdown run was himself, as he outran his blocker and collided with a UCLA defensive back at midfield.

“That’s what our team does,” coach Chip Kelly said. “They feed off each other. When somebody makes a big play, the other guys feed off that. These guys have a great attitude, a great chemistry right now. It’s fun to be around them.”

When I was looking ahead to the matchup against UCLA, I saw the serious possibilty of a trap game.

Playing on the road in a stadium where they typically don’t fare well, playing without three of their four best defensive backs—Walter Thurmond, Willie Glasper, and T.J. Ward—and letting Costa make his first collegiate start made me weary of a potential upset.

But the Ducks quickly dispelled any notion of suffering their first Pac-10 loss. This team is 100-percent focused right now, living up to Kelly’s mantra of “one game at a time.”

With next week’s open date, Oregon will have time to rest up and get healthy before traveling to another difficult environment in two weeks—Husky Stadium.

Kelly brought along four quarterbacks to Saturday’s game, including Masoli and true freshman Daryle Hawkins.

“I thought it would be nice if Daryle could see Los Angeles,” Kelly said in some postgame levity. “Maybe Disney World on the way back.”

Let’s hope Hawkins doesn’t need to go anywhere near the Space Needle on Oct. 24th.

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