Now that the realization has begun to set in that he's actually awful, it's been an especially fun week for me to read the morning papers, nothing beats seeing homer sports writers have to eat crow. Still, they are stressing patience, that it's only one game, that he'll rebound and be fine. Which is hysterical, because they still haven't fully accepted the fact that they wasted a 2nd round pick on an erratic passer who does better running the ball than he does throwing it. I hope Vikings fans are ready for a year of Adrian Peterson getting 30 carries a game and watching a terrifying 2-headed QB monster of Gus Frerotte and Jackson cost them the division.
And speaking of Jackson's nickname, shouldn't there be some official rule that you can't have a nickname if you're just downright terrible? The same thing happened a couple of years ago when Michael Olowokandi played for the Wolves and everyone was calling him the Candyman, even though the guy played like a 7-foot tall cardboard cutout. Which is why we called him Candi-puke. Creative? No, not really. But fitting nonetheless, considering a cardboard cutout probably could have outplayed him.
Anyways, with that round of Viking-bashing out of the way, on to some college football thoughts from this week.
- I was glad to see Frank Solich's Bobcat team play the vaunted Buckeyes of OSU so tough last Saturday. In my hungover fog I cheered along with other Big Red backers as Ohio played tough only to lose the upset bid. With USC looming, the question is this: Did Ohio State just sleepwalk through the game, or is the Big 10's most vaunted team destined to blow it again this year? Obviously the loss of Beanie Wells hurt the Buckeyes, but even without their stud tailback, one would think that there is enough talent in Columbus to put away a solid MAC team. If the Trojans were coming to Ohio Stadium, I would give the Buckeyes a slight edge. But having to travel across the entire country to face USC in the Coliseum doesn't bode well for Jim Tressel.
There will be 92,000 salivating (and mostly fair-weather) fans in attendance, though 20,000 or so of them might be Buckeyes. I'm sure USC is pumped for their 25th or 30th consecutive home sellout (such passionate fans down in Troy!), so it should be a fun game to watch. I'm still betting on the Trojans, mainly because I think that Ray Maualuga and Brian Cushing will neutralize Wells and make the Buckeyes' passing game beat them. Since that won't happen, I'm going with the Trojans by two scores. The opinion of many is that the loser of this game will still be able to play it's way into a national title game bid, but as Pat Forde of ESPN points out, that's probably wishful thinking:
"Look at the top nine teams in the USA Today coaches' poll. You'll see USC at No. 1 and Ohio State at No. 5. The other seven? They're all from the SEC and Big 12, which are considered the nation's two best leagues (by a mile).
If, come December, voters are choosing between a one-loss champion of either the SEC or the Big 12 and the once-beaten Buckeyes or Trojans, you know where the nod will probably go. (Especially if the choice is between an SEC team and its pinata from Columbus.) So the loser of this game will need a bloodbath in those conferences to clear its comeback path to the BCS National Championship Game."
Forde also points out something that made this game even more watchable to me: two of the nation's best middle linebackers, Maualuga and James Laurinitis of OSU will both be showcasing their abilities. Should be fun to watch.
- Congrats to Skip Holtz and ECU for beating West Virginia. I hope the Pirates enjoy the ride this season, because I've got 20 bucks that says Holtz will be elsewhere by the time camp starts next year.
- You know, I wanted to talk some s*it about the Big 10 winning all it's games last weekend, because the media up here touted it as some indicator that maybe the conference isn't so terrible after all. Then I read that the Big 12 did the same thing for the first time in conference history last weekend.....so yea, I guess I can't say much there except congrats to both conferences on the feat. Though I did find the opening sentence of Gophers coverage Sunday morning to be downright hysterical. The Gophers ran away from Bowling Green last Saturday, though at one point it was close, with the Gophers needing to convert a key 4th down to keep a drive going. They converted, went on to score and obviously win.
So I sit down the next morning, expecting the media to fawn over Brewster and his 2-0 team. They didn't disappoint: "You can call Tim Brewster a gambler. You can also call him 2-0." The article, by the Star Tribune's Jack Youngblood, is the standard homer crap that I am subjected to every time a Gophers or Vikings team does something remotely impressive. I know, we have the same thing down in Lincoln. The difference is that at one time the Huskers were actually good, whereas the Gophers haven't been nationally relevant since the 50's and the Vikings haven't been to a Superbowl since the Carter administration.
- I was intrigued when I read that the Huskers have scheduled 3 games with Fresno State, known for Bulldogs coach Pat Hill's insistence that they will play anyone, anywhere, anytime. The thing is, I think the time for him to be saying that has passed. I've never viewed the Bulldogs the same since Reggie Bush single-handedly won the Heisman by running roughshod over them in 2003. Anyone else remember that? The Bulldogs had the lead, but Bush put up 513 all-purpose yards and led the Trojans back. I think that was Fresno State's best chance to get over the hump and trumpet their arrival, and it was squandered when Bush went into human highlight mode. Besides, these games against the Huskers are scheduled for 2011, 2014, and 2016. Who knows if Hill is still going to be there that far down the road?
- I know nobody cares, but my fantasy team, Boats & Ho's, is now 1-0. My genius was on prominent display as two of my sleeper picks, rookies Matt Forte of the Bears and Chris Johnson of the Titans, both had over 100 total yards and a touchdown. It also helps that I have Drew Brees and Adrian Peterson. My only weakness is wide receiver, where I have Steve Smith (out because he punched a teammate) and Roy Williams as starters with a crap-tastic tandem of Devin Hester and Issac Bruce to back them up. Hester's QB is Kyle Orton and Bruce is like 55 years old......so here's to hoping that my starters don't get hurt. (One more thing about my fantasy team: if you don't understand my team name, you have to go see the movie Step Brothers. Ferrell's best effort since Talledega Nights, by far. )
- Did anyone else realize that Notre Dame and Michigan play each other this weekend? It's comical how far this rivalry has fallen. I know that Husker fans aren't in a position to tout supremacy right now, but still, it's especially satisfying to me to see two of my least-favorite programs struggling so mightily.
Seven years ago today, I was sitting in my Wars in American History class when someone came in, interrupted our class, and turned on the TV. I've never forgotten that moment, and it forever changed the history of both our country and the world at large. We saw both the terrible depths and soaring peaks of humanity that day, a cowardly act of terrorism followed by incredible displays of courage. Seven years later, none of that unity remains. In a time when yesterday is old news, September 11th recedes farther from people's memory each day. We'll see the usual tributes, the presidential nominees will stop their ridiculous sniping and bickering and put on their patriotic face to honor those who were lost. But tomorrow, the world will go on, and we'll go back to the grind until next year's ceremonies. It's a shame that something so tragic can so easily be pushed to the outer reaches of our consciousness, but I guess that's the time we live in. I still remember watching highlights from the first NFL games after the tragedy, stadiums full of people chanting U-S-A! U-S-A!, and swelling with pride and emotion that the terrorists had only strengthened our nation's resolve and that we were more unified than ever. We no longer are, and that pains me. You can blame it on time, a war some say we shouldn't be fighting, or a laundry list of other causes. No matter who is to blame though, I wish that we still stood in defiance as we did in the weeks following the attacks. My longing for national unity aside though, let us still honor those who were lost that sunny Tuesday morning seven years ago. God Bless them, they will always be missed.