It is almost that time of year when we start to seriously debate who will win the Heisman. This year seems to be tough to get a read on as nobody has really made an impression that makes them be a lock to take the Heisman. In order I will try to rank them the way I feel it stands right now.
Mark Ingram (Alabama): If the season ended today I believe that Mark Ingram would win the Heisman trophy. He has been the best player on an Alabama team that seems poised to get revenge on the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship game and a birth in the BCS National Championship game. Ingram is just shy of 1,300 rushing yards and has rushed for 10 touchdowns. If Alabama can beat Florida then the Heisman is Ingram’s to lose.
Tim Tebow (Florida): All the guy does is win and to Heisman voters that matters. Tebow has a chance to play in his 3rd BCS Championship Game in his 4 years at Florida. If he can win the Heisman this year it will be his second. He only has 10 touchdown passes but he has rushed for 10 so that keeps him in the running. It may come down to the SEC Championship game between Florida and Alabama.
Colt McCoy (Texas): McCoy got off to a slow start but has really picked it up as the Longhorns appear to await the winner of the Florida/Alabama game in the National Championship. McCoy has thrown for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdown passes. He has thrown 9 interceptions which may end up costing him but a finishing up the season on a strong note and a big game in the Big 12 championship and McCoy has a chance to take the Heisman if Ingram and Tebow slip up at any point.
Toby Gerhart (Stanford): This last spot could have gone to one of a few people but the run that Toby Gerhart is on lately has him as my last finalist. 19 rushing touchdowns and 1,395 yards. His last two performances against top 10 teams Oregon and USC Gerhart has rushed for 401 yards and 6 touchdowns. If Stanford and most importantly Gerhart finish their last two games off strong and can somehow sneak into the Rose Bowl then Gerhart has a chance to be a finalist and shock the world and win the Heisman.
Well as I sit on my couch watch the Ravens vs Browns game on Monday Night Football, I can’t help but to think about two controversial plays that impacted two big games.
Obviously we have to start in Indianapolis where Bill Belichick decided to let the game hinge on a 4th and 1 from his own 28 yard line. If they picked up that first down they would then run the clock out and hand the Colts their first loss of the season. If they couldn’t convert then you were giving the ball to arguably the best quarterback in the game with a short field and two minutes to lead the Colts to a touchdown and a 9-0 start to the season. From what I have watched and heard from all of the expert analysts it’s been pretty split. I have no problem with the decision made by Belichick because I have seen way too many teams a talented quarterback march down the field in the two minute drill and orchestrate a game winning drive. Obviously Belichick wanted to end the game with the ball in his best players hand in Tom Brady. They ran a safe play that has worked for them more times than not and had Kevin Faulk not juggled the football when the ball had originally arrived, it would have been interesting to see if he made the first down mark. Although they were handed a short field the Patriots defense still had an opportunity to step up and make a big play, but it wasn’t the case as Manning connected with Reggie Wayne for the touchdown. Either way you go with this argument, there are many valid points that each side can take and it’s just a matter of putting your fate in the hands of the offense or defense. In this case Belicheck went with his offense and it didn’t work out. Who knows maybe we will see these two teams meet again with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line and if that same scenario would happen to occur, I would be very interested in seeing what Bill Belicheck decided to do.
Another interesting debate happened during the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars game. Down 22-21 and with the ball in the red zone Maurice Jones-Drew ran up the middle and took a knee at the 1 yard line as he was about to score the go ahead touchdown. The Jet were all out of timeouts and by taking a knee that allowed the Jaguars to take a knee on the next two snaps and set up a 21 yard field goal as time expired and the Jaguars walked away with a 24-22 victory. Although it may seem like a smart play and it ended up working out I just think there are too many things that can go wrong for the Jaguars not to take the guaranteed points. The Jaguars who now sit at 5-4 could have ended their season if something went wrong and they were unable to kick the game winning field goal. It wasn’t too long ago that Tony Romo fumbled the snap on a short field goal attempt that cost the Dallas Cowboys a playoff win. I know the odds were very good that they would convert but what happened if there was a bad snap, hold, low kick, bad blocking in the trenches and the ball was blocked. In this case you are losing the game and they should have taken the points and played defense to win that game. I am sure any fantasy football player who owned Jones-Drew and lost by 6 points or less was not thrilled about that decision as may have lost a lot of people a win.
What a weird week. The Pat fans and everyone else are making a big deal out of nothing. Bad call yes, end of the world no. maybe now the Pat defense will get their act together and convince their coach to put more faith in them. Head game anyone????
11/22/2009 8:58 AM
This weekend features two heavyweight matchups that could possibly end up being playoff previews.
First up we have the Steelers and Bengals going at it for the second time this year. The Bengals got the W their first meeting, but the Steelers seem to be playing their best football right now and would love to take over first place all alone atop the AFC North. The Bengals have to be up for one of the biggest surprises of the season as they continue to prove their doubters wrong by continuing to win. The winner of this game will move to 7-2 and will have the leg up the remainder of the season. If the Bengals win they will practically own a two game lead since they would hold the tie breaker over the Steelers form beating them twice. If the Bengals are going to win again they will need Cedric Benson to continue his pro bowl type season and Carson Palmer will need to limit the Turnovers. The key for the Steelers will be how well their defense plays. The Defense for the Steelers has been key in their past few wins by forcing turnovers and scoring touchdowns. I look for this one to be close all the way through but I do see the Steelers winning this one 23-17.
The Patriots visit the Colts in what I believe will be the AFC Championship game. The Colts will look to improve to 9-0, while the Patriots will try and go into Indianapolis and take a big road victory. The Colts are suffering from the injury bug on defense as they lose their All Pro safety Bob Sanders for the year a few weeks ago. The Patriots are coming off a close victory over the Dolphins, but will look to get Randy Moss and Wes Welker involved like they were against the Dolphins. I think they key will be the Patriots protecting Tom Brady and letting him throw down field. It will also benefit them if Laurence Moroney can keep the Colts defense honest and respect the run. The Colts will try to manage the clock and mix the run and pass like they have been doing all season long. Something tells me the Patriots are ready to come into Indy and hand the Colts their first loss of the season. I predict the Patriots win 31-27.
Indianapolis Colts (8-0): The Colts squeezed by the Texans 20-17 and now they get ready for their toughest test to date. They host the Patriots in what is an important game as teams start to jockey for home field advantage.
New Orleans Saint (8-0): The Saints continue to keep pace with the Colts as the only two undefeated teams in the NFL. They got down early to the Panthers but managed to get back in it and take over in the second half. They shouldn’t have any problem taking care of the Rams on the road this weekend.
Minnesota Vikings (7-1): The Vikings return to action coming off of a bye week and they host the 1-7 Lions. Bret Favre continues to impress and show that he still has what it takes to win a super bowl.
New England Patriots (6-2): The Patriots took care of the Dolphins behind 147 receiving yards and a touchdown from Randy Moss. The Dolphins couldn’t make any plays when they had to and the Patriots were able to throw against the young secondary of the Dolphins in route to a 27-17 win.
Cincinnati Bengals (6-2): It’s official, The Bengals aren’t going anywhere. Carson Palmer and Chad Ocho Cinco have a good thing going and Cedric Benson has been the surprise of the year the way he is running the football. Defeating the Steelers on the road will go a long way in the Bengals winning the division.
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2): The Steelers continue to roll as they are ready to battle for first place in the division when host the Bengals. The Steelers already lost to the Bengals this year so they will be out to prove that they belong atop the division.
Denver Broncos (6-2): The Broncos have come back to planet earth after the 6-0 start. They lost a tough one to the Steelers on Monday Night Football and now the Chargers appear to be closing in on them. Luckily for them they should get back on track as the Redskins are on the schedule.
Dallas Cowboys (6-2): The Cowboys are finally putting it all together as they have won four in a row and sit on top of the NFC East all alone after beating the Eagles 20-16. They travel to Green Bay this week as the Packers will be looking to get back on track after a bad loss to Tampa.
Arizona Cardinals (5-3): Kurt Warner threw for four touchdowns in the first half and added another in the second half as the Cardinals beat down on the Bears. They now hold a two game lead in the division and will look to extend that lead as they play division rival Seattle.
Atlanta Falcons (5-3): Matt Ryan bounced back from their two game losing streak by beating the Redskins 31-17. Ryan only threw for 135 yards and a touchdown but it was necessary to get back in the win column as they will be battling for one of those wild card spots.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-3): The Eagles lost out on a chance to take over first place in the NFC East as they lost to the Cowboys. Donovan McNabb was not effective and couldn’t get anything going. Brian Westbrook needs to be healthy for the Eagles offense to be firing on all cylinders. They have a big game against the upstart Chargers as they hope to keep pace with the Cowboys and ahead of the Giants.
San Diego Chargers (5-3): The Chargers have won three straight games and have closed to within one game of the Broncos. They get the Eagles this week and would like to keep the momentum going as they try to come from behind for the second straight year and take the division away from Denver.
Houston Texans (5-4): The Texans almost pulled off the upset and had a chance to send it into overtime but missed a field goal as time expired. Ryan Moats scored for the second straight week but also fumbled and Steve Slaton got limited carries but caught a TD pass. They have a bye week as they try to sort out their running back situation.
Baltimore Ravens (4-4): The Ravens are in danger of falling out of the playoff picture and they need to pick up a win this weekend against the Browns on Monday Night Football. The Bengals really held their offense in check and they let Cedric Benson rush for over 100 yards and a touchdown.
New York Giants: (5-4): The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time as the Giants are losers of four straight and have a beat up secondary. There is a good possibility that they don’t make the playoffs if they don’t get things figured out over this weekend.
New York Jets (4-4): The Jets were idle this past weekend and now they get ready for the Jaguars. Their defense had a whole week to prepare for Maurice Jones-Drew and will have to stop him if they are going to win.
Chicago Bears (4-4): The Bears let Kurt Warner throw all over them on Sunday and they couldn’t get score enough points to keep up with the Cardinals. Jay Cutler still threw for 359 yards and 3 touchdowns but the defense is really missing the presence of Brian Urlacher.
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4): The Jaguars have been winning games because Maurice Jones-Drew continues to rush for over a 100 yards and get into the end zone every week. The Jets defense should be a big time test for Jones-Drew as he will try to lead the team to a record above .500
Green Bay Packers (4-4): The Packers really took a step back this past weekend as they lost to the previously winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-28. They get the red hot Cowboys this weekend as they try to figure out a way to keep Aaron Rodgers from getting sacked every down.
San Francisco 49ers (3-5): The 49ers have really hit a bump in their season after starting off 3-1 they have now lost four straight and really seem to be struggling on all phases of the game. Alex Smith continues to do a solid job but they are not getting enough production out of their wide receivers.
Miami Dolphins (3-5): The Dolphins manage to be competitive every week they just can’t seem to pull out some of those close games. They were competitive against New England this past week but didn’t make enough plays at the end. They host the Buccaneers this weekend as they try to get back on the winning trail.
Carolina Panthers (3-5): The Panthers got up early on the Saints but couldn’t keep it up the whole game. Another tough division matchup looms as they play host to the Atlanta Falcons.
Seattle Seahawks (3-5): The Seahawks fell behind 17-0 in the first quarter against the Lions and responded by winning 32-20. Despite all of the injuries they continue to be competitive each and every week. A good opportunity for them to take on division leader Arizona this weekend.
Buffalo Bills (3-5): The Bills continue to be one of the hardest teams to read in the NFL. TO has been a disappointment thus far and Trent Edwards continues to be hampered by injuries. They travel to Tennessee this weekend in what suddenly isn’t a automatic win like you would have assumed a few weeks ago.
Tennessee (2-6): Vince Young is 2-0 as a started for the Titans and Chris Johnson continues to break big runs and now they have won two in a row and will look to build on their momentum when they take on the Bills.
Oakland Raiders (2-6): The Raiders were off this weekend and now get ready to take on the Chiefs again as they already have beaten them this year. Much of the press from the Raiders has been the situation with Tom Cable and his past and that only adds to the many problems they are dealing with.
Washington Redskins (2-6): The Redskins take on a Broncos teams coming off of two straight losses and will be hungry for a win. Their passing game is still a mess and not much as gone right for the Redskins this year.
Kansas City Chiefs (1-7): The Chiefs look to avenge an early season loss to division rivals the Oakland Raiders. They need to prove that they can stop the run if they are going to win any more games this year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-7): The Buccaneers got off the winless streak by beating a Packers team that many feel is capable of making the playoffs. Josh Freeman was solid in his first start and gives them something to build on in the coming weeks.
St. Louis Rams (1-7): The Rams will try and spring one of the biggest upsets in a long time if they are able to knock off the Saints this weekend.
Detroit Lions (1-7): The Lions got up early on the Seahawks but were unable to turn that into a win as they let the Seahawks go on 32-3 scoring run after the first quarter. They also have a tough task this weekend as they take on the Vikings
Cleveland Browns (1-7): it’s very rare that a team ranked last in the power rankings has a Monday Night Football game, but that’s the case this week and they take on the Ravens. Brady Quinn looks to be named the starter once again as he gets another chance to make this his team.
A few weeks into the NBA season, I want to talk about some things that have caught my eye. I know it’s really early but the first few weeks are just as important as any other week in the season.
The biggest surprise for me as far as the standing go in the slow start the San Antonio Spurs have gotten off to. I know they have only played five games so far but to be at 2-3 for a team that I feel is a lot better than that. In their defense they have lost all three of those games on the road and to good teams at that, but if they want to compete for a championship this year they are going to have to learn how to win on the road. I am positive they will get things going but it definitely caught my eye that they having a losing record.
The Phoenix Suns have really impressed me this year. They traded away Shaq in the offseason and that may have made them better because now Steve Nash is able to push the ball up the court and they can play at that frantic pace that they love to play. They have athletes all over the place in Jason Richardson and Amare Stoudemire and the road win against Boston will go a long way in building a lot of confidence in this team.
Cleveland losing two games at home caught my attention because they only lost two games at home all of last season and one of them was their last home game where they rested a lot of their best players. This shows that they are not unbeatable at home and losing to the Celtics on opening night helps with the Celtics psyche as they have struggled in that building over the past few season.
I thought the Washington Wizards were going to be a lot better than they have started. The Wizards have so much talent on that team that they should be better than the 2-5 record they show. They have lost 4 straight games including a bad loss to the Indiana Pacers. I still feel like they can get things going, but they need to get it together quick because the Eastern Conference isn’t as weak as it has been in the past.
Gerald Wallace leading the league in rebound per game really stands out to me. Through 5 games, Wallace is averaging 14.2 rebounds per game including one 20 rebound game. Wallace has always been a good player but his health has been a factor in almost every season he has been in the NBA.
Two rookies have really impressed me so far and they are both point guards. Brandon Jennings has been tearing it up in his first few games in the NBA. Jennings is averaging 18.4 points per game and 4.4 assists. His first game he was a rebound and an assist shy of a triple double. Tyreke Evans has also gotten off to a great start to his NBA career. He is averaging 15.9 points per game and just under 4 assists and has really become a leader on a young King team. His role will increase more as their best player Kevin Martin will be out 8 weeks due to injury.
Channing Frye who I never really thought had any kind of range is second in the league with 20 three point field goals made. Frye in his first four years in the league had a grant total of 20 three point field goals made so he has already matched his career total. What might be more surprising in that Danilo Gallinari leads the league with 27 threes made. At only 21 years old he is showing why the Knicks drafted him in the top 10 last year but I didn’t expect him to make this kind of impact this quick into his career, especially from the three point line.