Pocket Change – The Weekend in Football


Last weekend gave us the college match-up we’ve been waiting for, the pro match-up many were waiting for, and still more controversy on the new end-all-be-all BCS Standings.  What did we find out through one of the most anticipated weekends of the football season?  Well, for starters, we found out that LSU and Alabama have either 1: the top defenses in the land, or 2: vastly overrated offenses.  I cannot decide which.

I tend to think of those defenses as dominant.  That being said, it’s hard for me to buy the idea that better, more varied offense than Alabama wouldn’t have scored more than six points.  Although they might have been a high-scoring team, I wouldn’t consider the Alabama offense on the same level as other explosive teams like Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Oregon, or Clemson.  LSU already stopped one of those teams earlier this season in Oregon, but the difference in week one to a January bowl game can sometimes be night and day.

Here we go again.  The BCS is up to it’s old tricks, downgrading undefeated teams to set up the match up it “seems” that everyone would want.  With the loss to LSU on Saturday night, previous #2 Alabama fell only ONE position in the rankings.  This clearly shows who the popular vote would be for.  Not only would an Oklahoma State loss propel Alabama back to the #2 spot, it would potentially shut out other worthy programs that deserve their shot at the brass ring.  It’s a very transparent attempt to set up the Championship Game that the BCS wants, instead of which teams have earned the right to be there.

Until the championship is to be decided differently, then everyone should be subject to the same scrutiny, not just the “less-popular” programs.  Unfortunately unlike EVERYONE ELSE, the BCS believes a loss by Alabama (and subsequent inability to win the SEC) doesn’t remove them from the conversation.  Years ago Nebraska gained a spot in the National Championship Game against the Miami Hurricanes doing a very similar thing, not even PLAYING in their conference title game.  After that debacle, measures were supposed to be in place to prevent that from happening again.  It now appears that those measures would only apply to anyone not in the SEC.

With that said, I would fall on the side that one loss, or even two, should NOT disqualify a program from their chances to play for a championship.  I think the idea that a team HAS to be undefeated to even have a claim for the championship is antiquated and stupid.  Nobody should have to be perfect and the idea that one bad week means a team isn’t worthy needs to be changed.  Hence – the 16-team playoff that NEEDS to happen.  With every season it becomes more and more apparent that the old system of deciding a champion isn’t sufficient anymore.  Nobody thinks a college basketball team needs to be undefeated to win the title.  They have a tournament for that.  What a novel concept.

So this week the Eagles, Patriots and Steelers lose at home.  So much for the “favorites” this season.  If we’ve learned anything by now it’s that the NFL will always give us something worthwhile to watch.  The Saints at the Rams?  That’s gonna be a whitewash right?  Oops.  OK, maybe not.  Tebow and the Broncos looked horrific against the Lions, they have no shot in Oakland.  Oh…umm…OK, wait a minute.  Winless Miami in KC?  The Chiefs can’t lose right now…or, well, maybe they can.  The league is more volatile than ever, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon, so look out all you “favorites”, the underdogs are on their way to wreck havoc upon your season.

So week one was a fluke huh?  The Baltimore Ravens just proved to all of us that this is a new year and a new team.  The players may be almost the same, but the attitude sure seems different.  With the win in Pittsburgh Sunday night the Ravens have put themselves squarely in the driver’s seat in their division.  I know the Bengals will still have something to say in the AFC North race, but the Ravens have always seen the Steelers as the real competition.  It remains to be seen how the season sweep will affect the playoff picture, and the Ravens will still need to prove themselves there to finally put the past season’s failures where they belong – in the past.

The next week will bring us a brief respite in the absurdity (at least for my fantasy team) that is the bye week.  The following week we’ll have the last byes of the season in the NFL and none too soon.  The week after we have Turkey Day and a long weekend full of football and food, for my money one of the best weekends of the year.