Monday, October 25, 2010

Seriously, Raheem?

Sunday summed up the mixed bag that is currently life as a Tampa Bay fan. The Bucs trailed throughout their game with St. Louis but hung around until they finally pulled out the victory in the final seconds. They're now 4-2, a surprising accomplishment even if it's built entirely on close wins over mediocre or outright awful teams. It was in front of a stunningly small crowd, one that's been reported as being just 36,000 people. Everyone I know in Tampa Bay who's a Bucs fan seems to be so disgusted with the ownership's cheapness as well as having turds like Jerramy Stevens getting arrested (again) the day before a game that they've just stopped caring. Raheem Morris saying Tampa Bay's the best team in the NFC is ridiculous. If he's talking about records, he's wrong because the Falcons record is better. If he's talking about quality of team, then that means Bucs fans have a right to expect this team to not only make the playoffs but do something once they're there, right? Somehow I doubt Raheem would like that to be the standard his body of work this year is judged by, because they will not be in the postseason. I see five conceivably winnable games left on the schedule. Let's give them three of those and one upset - it would mean an 8-8 year. That would be much better than expectations, but nowhere close to "best in the NFC".

The college football weekend produced some more surprises, none bigger than Iowa State beating Texas. The Cyclones hadn't beaten a ranked team in two decades, and had lost by 52 points to Oklahoma a week ago. To say they're angry in Austin would be an understatement - even the surefire, can't miss next great coach Will Muschamp is being questioned. Pat Forde did an extensive piece for ESPN on Texas earlier this season, in which Mack Brown more or less predicted exactly what's happening right now to his team. Less reasonable than the anger of Longhorn fans is for anyone to be questioning Brian Kelly's ability to do the job at Notre Dame already. The Fighting Irish lack adequate athletes on defense and were missing two of their three best options on offense and had another one playing hurt. Kelly's more than proven he's a capable coach - this exact same column could have been written after Nick Saban lost to Louisiana-Monroe his first year at Alabama.

As much as Cam Newton's terrific play is responsible for Auburn being number one in the latest version of the BCS, it would be a shame for people not to fully appreciate the job Nick Fairley's doing at defensive tackle. He's been as disruptive as any player I've seen in college football this year. LSU had a shot to spring the upset on Auburn after Gene Chizik inexplicably went for a 4th down and 8 and gave them excellent field position near midfield with seven minutes to go in a tie game. Fairley blew up the ensuing attempt at a drive singlehandedly and bailed his coach out. LSU lost the way they've often won, with an embarrassingly inept final offensive play that featured no one knowing what to do despite it being after a timeout. Even Les Miles runs out of luck eventually.

I'm not sure the recent spate of people in the football world wearing pink stuff is making a huge difference in raising funds and awareness for breast cancer, but it certainly can't hurt. It's pretty hard to imagine what kind of person would genuinely have a problem with it. Meet the petty bureaucrat in charge of Washington's high school football officials, who intends to punish refs for using pink whistles and donating their game checks to the Susan G Komen Foundation. He's upset they didn't get his permission first and thinks this is an appropriate response, which makes him as big a tone deaf jackass as I have ever seen.

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