Dear readers, I am in lovely Santee, California, a suburb of San Diego, near the world-famous Miramar (formerly) Naval Air Station, now the home of Marines. I am visiting the dad and stepmother out here as they both get ready for a wee bit of surgery, which is not fun. However, at least I am here in perfect weather, instead of the craptacular climes of the Northern Commonwealth. In any event, haven’t been posting much with college football being over…WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Sorry about that. But we have some NFL, my honest assessment of how my Tigers will do next season (Let’s put it like this: I’ll be clinging on to the memories of this year to keep me warm), rumors from people who would know all about recruting violations, and some DRAMA in the Monogahela Valley. So let’s get rolling. Everyone saw the debacles of last weekend; the only game I don’t regard as a disaster was the fine performance of the Jacksonville Jaguars in a loss to the Evil Empire. A short rundown of the rest:
Peyton, did Norv Turner’s face suddenly morph into Steve Spurriers? Were you having some sort of flashback to college days? What the heck was that? A future hall of famer, the only person with a non-ED/ beer related commercial on NFL Sundays, and the child of southern football royalty got outdueled by BILLY VOLEK? Come on, now. ‘That’s how you’re gonna send off Tony Dungy? With a loss to Norv Turner, Billy Volek, and “Performance Enhanced”” Merriman? For shame.
Seattle at Green Bay. Things fall apart fast, don’t they?
Giants at Dallas Cowboys: I regarded this game as an utter disaster, because frankly, it robbed me of the excellent Super Bowl party I was going to convince a couple of Cowboys fans to have at their house. My brain says that the game was lost because the Giants got rolling during the last four games of the season, and the Cowboys simply did not. The much maligned Giants’ secondary took advantage of a TO who simply could not push back. The Cowboys got all the running they needed in a fine performance from Marion Barber, but could not get the passing game going due to miscommunication and about 100 dropped passes. And Eli Manning for once, did not flip out in a big game.
That being said, Tony and Jessica will have plenty of time to vacation in Cabo because she is a human jinx with a creepy dad, and if Romo doesn’t cut her loose, she’ll take him and the Cowboys down with her. A scary, scary fact: America’s Team has not won a playoff game at home in 12 years. I was in college. Some of my baby friends were in junior high. A Clinton was on the central stage in national….never mind. Bonus, Cowboys fans: your offensive coordinator may be going to the Ravens. Let your crappy offseason begin!
On to this Sunday’s Championship Games: Giants at Green Bay. Oh, how I wish the Giants would win this game. I could see Tom Coughlin’s face trying to remember how to smile. I could see Tiki Barber struggle to keep his face plastered into a fake one. I could see endless shots of Michael Strahan’s gap. I could see Mike Lupica jump up and down like a chihuahua as he salivates about a New Jersey team playing in the Super Bowl. The endless stories of how Eli Manning has fufilled the promise, and has done it earlier than his future HOF brother. Stories of the Maras, one of the first families of the NFL. More Manning ads with both brothers. The NFL faints with joy at having their biggest media market squarely in the spotlight. But what will happen is that the Giants, worn out from having played three playoff games in a row (thanks, Jimmy!), if you include the mighty effort against the Patriots, will come sputtering to a crashing halt in Green Bay. I’m not saying they can’t win three away games in a row, I’m saying that they won’t. Eli Manning will have one of his inexplicable flip outs that sometimes happen when he plays in hostile environments (I would have thought four years of SEC football and four more years of playing in the NFC East would have cured him of that). Baby Manning still has a hard time with bad weather. Plaxico Burress is still not healthy, and that weather is not going to do him any good, especially when the Green Bay secondary keeps knocking him on his ass. The best chance the Giants have is unseasonably warm weather and the Giants’ defensive line playing their best game of the season.
Or else, the viewing public, specifically me, will be subjected to HOW! MUCH! FUN! 38! YEAR! OLD! BRETT! FAVRE! HAS! and HOW! GREAT! PACKERS! FANS! ARE! for the two weeks leading up to February 3. Then the entire NFL offseason will be dominated by whether BRETT! WILL! RETIRE! OR! NOT! Oy. Packers 31, Giants 2o
The AFC Championship: with the four teams remaining in the playoffs, I really have no one to root for, but I now have someone to root against, thanks to the San Diego Chargers. I wanted the Colts to win this past Sunday, being a big Tony Dungy fan, and because I thought Patriots-Colts woyld be a fantastic AFC title game. I have now reached the point of being officially annoyed by the Chargers, or rather, being annoyed by certain people on their roster. First of all, let’s start with Shawne “Performance Enhanced”Merriman. Is he an excellent football player? No doubt. But how a third year player from Maryland whose seasons have ended short of the Super Bowl has the nerve to talk so much smack is beyond me. Congrats. You made another tackle. That’s your job. You were a first round draft pick. You are supposed to be good. Now shut up, and go get another shot and some masking agent for your next drug test. The other annoying one is Philip Rivers. Did ya’ll see him jawing with the Colts fans and strutting around the sidelines? You sir, are one LaDanian Tomlinson and a locker room blow up away from being Ryan Leaf. I know that all those trips to whatever game the fourth place ACC team goes to gave you supreme confidence in your abilities as a game winner, and you may have learned the basics of class from my Drew. But you seen to have forgotten them all in his absence. Ok. Disparaging rant over.
Here’s the Chargers actual problem. Do they have a good defense? Yep. Can the defense get some pressure on Tom Brady? Maybe for a half. But the Chargers, like everyone else the Patriots have defeated this year, have to deal with the Wes Welker Effect. Who is Wes Welker? He was an undrafted free agent from Texas Tech, where he returned eight punts for touchdowns. He is tiny (5’9, 185) and very fast. He is much less famous than Randy Moss, and somewhat less famous than Donte Stallworth. Before the season, most people would have considered him the number three, perhaps even fourth receiver on the Patriots. Wes Welker also caught the most receptions in the NFL this year, with 112, and those passes totalled almost 1200 yards. That is the problem with the 2007 Patriots: there’s just too much. Randy Moss blanketed? Fine. There’s Welker over the middle. Donte Stallworth being illegally held by Cromartie? There’s Ben Watson? Drop everyone back to defend against the pass? Brady with a short screen to Maroney or Faulk, which turns into a twenty yard gain. Didn’t know Kyle Brady was still in the NFL? Well, ya do now, biotches! Understand that this does not make me happy. I am not a Patriots’ fan (although with a quarter of their roster from the SEC and four players from LSU, less the late Marquis Hill, who was the fifth Tiger on the Patriots roster, I admire the genius of the scouting department); at this point, my only interest is to see if they can make history, which I tend to think they can do.
And the Chargers’ offense? The Bolts’ most reliable receiver is playing with a dislocated toe. Philip Rivers and LT are both listed as questionable, although I can’t see them not playing Sunday. Even healthy, this is not an offense that can go score for score with the Patriots. The Chargers may have an edge in special teams. However, Patriots punter Chris Hanson (easiest job in football this year), in the rare event that he has to work other than holding for the kicker, will be angling the ball to whatever side Darren Sproles and Antonio Cromartie are not. The Chargers best bet is to snap Brady’s leg in half (literally, because I think he would tape any other injury up and come back) early in the game.
That is about the only chance they have at winning. The Patriots, in humiliating fashion. I don’t think they were happy about the game against Jacksonville being as close as it was, and that frustration is going to be taken out on the Chargers. (And don’t think they still don’t remember LT’s little hissy fit from last year. Woe betide you, Chargers.
So there you have my picks for the Super Bowl: New England vs Green Bay. The Methodical, Businesslike Evil Empire vs FUN! ON! THE! FROZEN! TUNDRA!
Now a very brief assessment of my Tigers: we’re losing a lot of the defense, many of whom were three year starters. According to Geaux Tuscaloosa, however, it’s not as disastrous as I first thought. All those games we had at home this year: Auburn, Florida, South Carolina? It’s their turn to host. Is Ryan “too Good to Be Expelled” Perrilloux’s mind right? Don’t know yet. The good news on offense is that the offensive line, including the biggest baby ever born in Louisiana, returns four starters, and the left side of the line will be on its third year together. Being on the sane end of the fan spectrum, I’ll be thrilled with being SEC West Champions and a January 1st bowl this season. I think the SEC Champion comes from the East this year: Georgia or Florida. (Mark the Game Formerly Known as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party on the calendar folks! I predict the winner plays in the BCS title game. ) Recruiting is apparently going well for the Tigers (that’s not my strong suit- I don’t bother knowing who they are until they show up in uniform for spring practice), so that’s a nice thing. LSU may be recruiting a little too well, according to some people drinking vinegar. According to a Michigan booster, per EDSBS and the JockRap, the NCAA is looking at Coach Miles for recruiting violations, so that’s why Michigan backed off of The Hat. Point 1: Michigan boosters know all about cheating. Point 2: The NCAA is investigating an SEC school? And the violations might get the school on probation. Next thing you know, someone will tell me that baseball players used steroids in the late 1990s. Point 3: I know Oklahoma State folks ain’t fond of Coach Mile$, but I never heard that he was accused of removing all the records on all his players, from what classes they attended to how many times they could bench press a certain weight. Thanks to Fran for pointing that one out.
Michigan, you hired Machiavelli. Don’t try hide that fact by pointing at other coaches’ faults. At least no one would ever think Coach Le$ would be bright/ evil enough to do something like that, essentially remove the documents on seven years of progress, sending the program spinning back to the Nehlen-ages. That (alleged) move is one an Alabama booster would be proud to call their own. (Dear ‘Eer readers: d*mn. Ya’ll had the devil in your midst, and he came from down the road. But I don’t doubt that everyone already knew that).
At least we’ll have something to make the months until August entertaining.
That’s all for now.