After two weeks, I’ll follow the lead of pretty much every other football commentator and make broad assertions based on limited data. Therefore, 2012 will be the Wacky Year. One week teams and players will look great, the next totally lost. See the Cowboys, who went from Super Bowl favorites to Same Old Cowboys in 10 days’ time. And Peyton Manning who went from, Back to Normal to ‘Weak Arm, Bad Decisions, Was It A Mistake To Come Back?’
I understand how, with a million and one outlets fighting for an audience, commentators are pushed to be aggressive with their opinions. It’s the best way to separate from the; unless everyone else is doing the same. It’s one thing to be Stephen A. Smith. It’s another to do that act when ESPN, NFL Network, NBC Sports Network, Fox, CBS, NBC, and every talk radio network’s personalities are screaming, too.
There’s a reason Peter King is considered the best in the business. He points out the wild swings without believing in them until the data is too large to ignore.
With that said, though, I’m about a week away from adjusting my weekly picks to be exactly the opposite of the previous week’s results. I’m already in 31st place, out of 43 entries, in my pool, so it’s not like I can hurt myself doing that.
Speaking of, I’m really glad I switched my pick from Atlanta to Denver at the last minute Monday. I can’t even follow my own advice and tune out all the Peyton worship.
No complaints about the beginning of the Luck Era in Indy. A few moments of brilliance and a lot of rookie mistakes against the tough Bears’ D in week one. Some more growing pains last Sunday against the Vikings, but more big plays and his first game-winning drive. The first two weeks have confirmed two things for Colts fans: Luck is the real deal and the defense is atrocious. And it’s going to get worse before it gets better, unless they somehow get two picks in every round of next April’s drafts, select only defensive players, and every one of those picks turns into a solid contributor. But that’s how the Manning Era started, too.
I kind of love the replacement refs. No league manages its image more than the NFL, between mandating the exact length of socks to how often each brand of shoe can be represented on the field. It’s kind of fun to see games become a joke because of Roger Goodell and the owners’ arrogance. I’ll keep saying that until someone gets hurt.
Onto college. A week after an awful loss to Rice, KU came out and hung with TCU for most of the game. For the second-straight week, Charlie Weis decided to let Dayne Crist throw the ball on every down instead of keeping the running game going. It certainly cost KU the game against Rice. I don’t know if it affected the outcome last week, but it needs to change. Tony Pierson is a weapon that KU hasn’t had in a long time. With James Sims coming back this week, there are all kinds of options in the backfield. Use them.
My theory is Charlie is deeply indebted to Crist for following him to KU and helping bring in some of the other big name transfers. He’s going to showcase him as much as possible to help him get drafted, knowing this was a team that had a four-win ceiling at absolute best.
The important thing, though, is that he team is already light years beyond where it was in the Turner Gill era. Those two teams didn’t seem to have a clue, nor did the coaching staff. This year’s edition isn’t quite to the Mangino Era level of playing hard and smart on every down, but they are certainly improved. I don’t know how much credit Weis and Company get for that. Simply having a new coach in place was the most important step. But the rhetoric from the coaching staff is 180 degrees from where it was the last two years. They may not get the program turned around and winning again, but at least I have faith that there’s a chance of it happening with them running things.
High school: I had a 33-5 loss last Friday. And it was a damn quick game, so for the first time this season, I had time to do post-game interviews. It’s always fun to talk to a coach after his team turned the ball over four times, gave up three touchdowns of over 40 yards, and failed to score three times they were inside the opponent’s 20. I kept it brief.
This week I have a dandy: our best class 4A team, ranked #7 in the state and undefeated, against a 2A Catholic school that had beaten them the last two years. It’s one of those fun match ups where a lower class private school is every bit as talented as the bigger, public school. As an added bonus, it’s right down the road from our house, so instead of leaving at 5 and getting home around 11:30, I’ll have a ten minute drive to the stadium and back afterwards.