Pocket Change – The Weekend in Football


Well into October we find the season full of uncertainty.  Bye weeks, big comebacks, big plays, and BCS standings all marked this weekend in football.  Some teams made their mark by coming back from the dead to steal games, while others made their mark just by being themselves, dominating hapless opponents and sitting back to await the results of the first BCS ranking of the season.

I’m not so sure the teams ranked in the top 10 are all deserving of their lofty positions, and hopefully the deserving teams will have a good finish to show where they actually belong.  The “experts” always have to have their say, but until all teams are fairly judged (see: on-field performance) there will never be a “true” national champion.

Recent injuries in both the NFL and NCAA could end up playing a significant role in who ends up playing in games that matter come the end of the season.  Every team has injuries during the season, but too many injuries to too many key players will cripple even the best of squads.  Hopefully we are done with those type of injuries for this season, but you just never know.

Kudos to head coach Chip Kelly and his coaching staff.  What seemed like a second-consecutive week with a catastrophic injury for the Oregon Ducks could end up being another non-issue.  In the third quarter of their game against Arizona State over the weekend, Darron Thomas, the Ducks’ starting quarterback, went down with a leg injury.  The Ducks had already lost their starting running back LaMichael James the week before with an arm injury.  When backup Bryan Bennett came off the bench another team might have been worried, but if the Ducks have showed anything it’s that they possess incredible depth.  By the end of the game Bennett had lead the Ducks to a come-from-behind win that solidified their standing as one of the nation’s top teams.  At this point it seems the Ducks will be OK, even if their two top offensive weapons are on the shelf for any length of time.

In other injury news, the Oakland Raiders will have to go without their starting quarterback Jason Campbell for a while.  Campbell broke his collarbone on Sunday during the game against the Cleveland Browns.  Backup Kyle Boller came in to finish the game, and right now appears to be the starter going forward.  Now, I don’t expect Oakland to fall completely apart here, but obviously I would expect some difficulties.  The way to stay in the playoff race?  Not too hard to figure I’d think.  Lean on the running game.  Lean on the running game and the defense like Bill Parcells used to when he coached the New York Giants.  Sure, this might not be the ideal way for an Oakland Raider team to play, but it’s effective.  Put Kyle Boller in positions where he isn’t asked to make too many critical plays to win games, and the Raiders could still have a shot at the division or wild-card.

Oh boy.  Here comes the madness again.  I don’t mean March Madness, that would be a good thing.  I’m not even talking about Midnight Madness, which was last week by the way.  I’m talking about he kind of madness that nobody wants.  The madness that drives otherwise normal, rationally-thinking people insane.  I’m talking about the BCS madness.  It’s here once again.  Ugh.  Every week for the rest of the season the college football fan will have to be subjected to the stupidity that is the way Division 1-A (or Bowl Subdivision – again, ugh) decides is the best way to determine their national champion.  Every week we’ll have to hear about how “margin of victory” and “the computers” and the like “prove” one team is superior than another.  Really?  Once again, by the end of the season there will be too many teams that have a case for playing in that game, and once again the proponents of said stupidity will claim that it “works”.  Right.  When the end of the season gets here and we have five or six undefeated teams left the so called “best” way to determine the champ will have failed yet another time.  Here we go again…

Another week in the books.  With the Detroit Lions falling from the ranks of the unbeaten, we only have one more undefeated team to go before we can all see the Miami Dolphins pop that cork one more time.  Yippie!