Pocket Change – The Weekend in Football


What is it about this season?  Just when you think you might have a handle on it, something inexplicable occurs and mixes everything up again.  Backup quarterbacks are now beginning to sprout up all over the league, especially with teams that WERE contenders.  Other teams that looked like they were just marking time before the playoffs now look like they can’t get out of their own way.  Some teams that were left for dead just a few weeks ago are now suddenly right in the thick of the ever-changing playoff race.

I’m not sure how we got to this point.  Every week something changes the landscape of the NFL.  Whether it’s the “Dream Team” Eagles fading fast, or the implosion of early season darlings Detroit and Buffalo, or the unrelenting rise of “Tebowmania”, this season has been full of surprises, making every week seem like a season in itself.  There’s no way to predict what will come next.  I’d be a fool to even try.

There’s no way around it.  The BCS Championship Game has basically relegated all the other “prestigious” bowl games as irrelevant.  Every season we get to this point in the college football season only to be let down by the finish.  Why do they even bother with the other bowl games when all the fat cats want is the SEC to be in the game anyway?  And how can ANYONE justify the match-up of Alabama-LSU AGAIN?  Why should LSU have to beat Alabama twice?  The Tigers already beat the Tide, in Alabama.  What would Alabama beating the Tigers prove?  Nothing.

There’s something to be said for winning your conference and not even being in the conference championship game.  If the SEC would rather have LSU-Alabama in their championship game then they should have made it possible for that to happen.  They made their bed, they should have to lie in it.  Don’t make the rest of the college football world have to listen to the self-important nonsense.  LSU has EARNED their way.  Alabama, for as good as they are, WILL NOT win the SEC.  They shouldn’t be rewarded for it.  More than that, LSU shouldn’t be punished for being great this season by having to play the Tide again, but a fair shake has never been part of the BCS so who are we kidding?

Talk about bad luck.  The Texans have had some of it this year.  Not that anyone else hasn’t but think about it: heading toward their first playoff season, they suddenly needed to overcome the loss of their best defensive player, the loss for several weeks of arguably the best receiver in the league, and their starting quarterback.  NOW they lose their backup quarterback before they can get through even one game.  What once seemed like an historic season for the Texans now looks like it’s on the verge of fizzling.  They still look like they’ll be in the playoffs, but do they still have a good shot at going far when they get there?  Not so sure anymore.

Say what you will about the rise of Tebowmania, but Tim has made it fun again to watch Bronco football on Sundays.  There’s never a point in the last few weeks where you could predict what would happen next with that team.  This is once again proof that in the NFL, you NEVER KNOW.  What seems like a fairy tale that will end every week keeps getting more and more incredible as the season wears on.  Not since the Kurt Warner story have we seen anything that resembles this.  The last few weeks of nail-biting finishes has put the Broncos squarely in the playoff race, but with some tough games ahead it will remain to be seen if they are legitimate playoff contenders.

This week for the first time since 2001 the Colts were eliminated from any possible playoff appearance.  The rest of the league may not give much thought to it, but it seems a little sad that their run had to end the way it did.  I’m no Colts fan, but if the streak was to end it would have been better if it wasn’t because Mr. Manning wasn’t able to play this year.  It wouldn’t have mattered to me if the Colts missed the playoffs, but I just can’t believe the team would’ve fallen apart like they did if he was present.

December beckons, and along with it will be the deciding games in the playoff race.  No matter how it ends this will be a season long remembered.  We’re sure to get more fantastic finishes before it’s over.  Weather, which has been rather mild so far this season, will surely make it’s presence felt as well.  Whoever can cope with these things and the increasing pressure should determine where we go from here.  We should know soon.