Monday, November 8, 2010

Good teams find a way to win

Sink or swim!  (Clap, clap, clap)
Do or die!  (Clap, clap, clap)
Come on Tigers let’s break that tie!

That is a chant from my high school days cheering for the Muskegon Heights Tigers.  The games over the weekend reminded me of it.  There were some close games and several ties.  The good teams found a way to win and the bad teams loss.

College Weekend
For the first time this season, the top four teams remained intact.  In the BCS standings, Oregon #1, Auburn #2, TCU #3 and Boise State #4 all beat their opponents by 35 or more points.  Utah and Alabama can give up their hopes of playing in the championship game.  Utah suffered their first loss of the season (47 – 7) to TCU and dropped to #14.  Alabama went down six spots to #12 after receiving their second loss of the season in a close game with LSU.  A lot of people call this an upset.  I don’t.  I thought the game would be a battle between two good teams.  LSU loss a game last month, but it was to a very good Auburn team.  Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide loss to a South Carolina team that is now 6-3.   The scoring went back and forth and Les Miles coached his Tigers to a 24–21 victory.  The win elevated them from #10 to #5 in the BCS.   Stanford made the other big jump.  After beating Arizona 42-17, the Cardinals moved from #13 to #6.

Three games to follow on Saturday and why:
1. #24 Kansas State at #17 Missouri – Missouri is trying to prevent losing 3 in a row and stay #2 in the Big 12 North.
2. #19 Mississippi State at #12 Alabama – A Mississippi upset will officially put Alabama out of contention for the SEC West.  Unless something drastic happens Auburn and LSU are not going to lose three games.
3. #23 South Carolina at #22 Florida – Winner leads the SEC East.

Oh, one special note.  Congrats to Penn State Head Coach, Joe Paterno on his 400th win!

NFL Week 9
In the NFL, overtime is played in sudden death.  The first team that scores in overtime wins the game.  15 minutes are put on the clock, but the game is only played until the first score.  I’m going to discuss the three games that went to overtime yesterday.

The New York Jets almost got their second loss in a row (third of the season) against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.  Shockingly the Jets with all its talent did not stop the inferior Lions until overtime.  Before getting to overtime, they capitalized on a poor decision.  With less than 3 minutes left in the game and the Lions up 20-17, Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz decided to pass the ball.   When you are leading, you want to use as much time as you can.  Passing plays are quick, running plays take more time, so the smart thing would have been to run.  Especially, with only a three point lead against a team with the number of offensive weapons that the Jets have! From there, the Jets got a field goal and sent the game to overtime.  In overtime, Jets Head Coach, Rex Ryan, decided to run the team’s 2-minute offense.  (Special plays designed to score in the final two minutes of a quarter.)  It worked.  A little over two minutes later, the Jets kicked a field goal and the game was over.  New York Jets win 23 – 20.

Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings were a different team yesterday.  Well, considering that they let go of Randy Moss last week, they are truly a different team.  With less than 5 minutes left in the game, the Vikings were down by 14 points.  Favre got his team together and they scored two touchdowns to tie the game with 27 seconds left.  In overtime, the Vikings defense stopped Arizona from reaching field goal position.  Favre got the ball back and mixed some passes and runs by Adrian Peterson to put Minnesota in field goal position.  Minnesota wins 27-24.

The Oakland Raiders continued their winning streak.  Like the other two teams that were victorious after overtime, the Raiders were behind close to the end of the game.  With two minutes left in the game, Kansas City was up by 3 points.  Jason Campbell led the Raiders to get in field goal position.  They got the field goal and tied the game with only 3 seconds remaining in the game.  In overtime, Kansas City got the ball first, but did not score.  In just 3 plays, the Raiders got a field goal and the game was over.  Oakland wins 23 – 20.

It was not a tie game, but it was a MAJOR upset.  So, I have to tell you about.   The Cleveland Browns shocked everyone again when they beat the New England Patriots 34 -14.  A couple of weeks ago, they stunned the defending Super Bowl Champs, New Orleans Saints.  Returning from a bye week, they were rested and tore Bill Belichick’s Patriots to pieces.  This is a great win for Cleveland.  Maybe it will help them get over losing LeBron.

Are you ready for some football?
Tonight Monday Night Football heads to Paul Brown Stadium.  The Cincinnati Bengals will host the Pittsburgh Steelers.  This is a divisional conference battle.  If Pittsburgh wins, they will be tied for first with Baltimore in the AFC North.  If the Bengals win, they improve their record to 3-5 and tie for third in the division.  For Cincinnati, as Bengals receiver T.O. said, “This is not a must win.  It’s a gotsta win.”  I don’t think that is going to happen.  The Bengals have two of the best receivers playing right now, but you would never guess that looking at their record or the number of points they have put up this year.  I’m going with the Steelers.  Their defense will force Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer to make mistakes.

MNF is at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.  If you’re in DC, you can join us at Degrees in the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown. 

Heels & Helmets®

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