Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween is here and football is getting scary

As we approach Halloween, a couple of the top teams in college and the NFL had fans on the edge of their seats.  Some of them survived scary games, while others suffered frightening losses. 

College Weekend
Oklahoma loss to Missouri and opened the door for someone to take the #1 spot.  In the AP and USAToday Polls, Oregon took the top spot.  However, in the BCS standing Auburn who defeated LSU owns the #1 spot.  As I shared last week, the BCS is the only standing that you need to pay attention to.  Auburn was rewarded for not just being undefeated, but beating three teams ranked #12 or higher.  Following Auburn in the top five of the BCS are Oregon #2, Boise State #3, Texas Christian University (TCU) #4, and Michigan State #5.  

The chase for the BCS Championship game will be tough for the schools behind Auburn because of the lack of difficulty remaining on their schedule.  They all only have one ranked opponent left.  Out of the four of them, only TCU will play a team currently in the top 10.  This leaves an opportunity for Alabama to still get to the BCS game.  In the final month of the regular schedule, they will play three ranked teams, LSU #12, Mississippi State #21 and Auburn #1.

NFL Week 7
In the first weekend since the NFL got tough on illegal helmets hits, there were some shockers, lucky endings and controversial calls.

Who Dat thought that the Cleveland Browns would even compete against the defending Super Bowl Champs?  Probably only Browns players and die-hard fans.  Cleveland not only competed, but they dominated the New Orleans Saints.   Browns fans need to thank their defense and Saints quarterback Drew Brees for their second win.  He was responsible for two of their three touchdowns.  Drew threw two interceptions that were caught and returned for touchdowns by David Bowen.  Browns win on the road, 30 -17.

The Pittsburgh Steelers traveled to South Florida to face AFC rival Miami Dolphins.  It was a close game in which Ben Roethlisberger fumbled at the end of the game right at the goal line.  The refs confirmed the fumbled, but said that they did not have a clear visual of who recovered the ball, so they gave it back to Pittsburgh.  I was not on the field, but from the replay I only see Dolphin uniforms all over the ball.  Luck falls on the Steelers side.  They get the ball back at the half-yard line, kick a field goal and win 23 – 22.

In Chicago, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler threw 4 interceptions that helped the Washington Redskins get their fourth win of the season.  It was not all pretty for the Redskins.  Donovan McNabb threw a couple of interceptions, but the defense shined returning one of Cutler’s interceptions for a touchdown and sacking him four times.  Redskins win it 17 - 14.  I have to give some credit to Redskin defensive tackle, Albert Haynesworth.  He made an awesome stop at the goal line.  He leaped over the offensive line and tackled Cutler, preventing him from scoring a touchdown and leading to a fumble.  You have to see it.  Now that’s defense! 

New England Patriots get lucky in Southern California.  San Diego Chargers miss a field goal with 23 seconds left that would have tied the game.  Patriots win 23 -20 and remain tied for first in the AFC East with the New York Jets.  Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings were not so lucky in Lambeau Field.  Favre’s interceptions and controversial calls on two touchdowns led to a Green Bay Packers victory 28 -24.

Are you ready for some football?
Monday Night Football will feature a matchup between NFC East teams.  The first team in the NFC East, New York Giants, will play the last team in that division, Dallas Cowboys, at Cowboys Stadium.  After consecutive losses to AFC opponents, the Giants have won three in a row.  Albeit those games were not against New England, Pittsburgh or the Jets, Dallas has won only one game.  The Cowboys problem is not a lack of talent.  It is a lack of focus and discipline.

 I’ll be honest and disclose I have an affinity for the Cowboys.  (I love Jerry Jones and what little cheerleader in the 80s did not want to be a Cowgirl???)   So, even with the problems, turnovers and penalties, I’m going with the Cowboys.  They are in a do or die situation and I think Tony Romo and Miles Austin will lead the team to their second win.

Heels & Helmets

Monday, October 18, 2010

The NFL FINALLY Got The Memo!

Ladies, it has been a very long time coming, but the NFL finally heard our plea – WE DON’T NEED PINK JERSEYS!  For years I could not figure out why sports leagues thought that I would spend my money on a big square cut jersey just because it was pink.  What organization tries to attract a specific audience by manufacturing something that they do not want and does not fit?  Furthermore, why would a business push something that is not truly their brand?  (Forgive me my background is in marketing, so I question these things.)  In a meeting about the Detroit Lions Team store, The Director of Retail Sales walked me through the layout of the store and explained the positioning of the ladies apparel to attract women.  The positioning was not the problem; the product was. 

Women never needed pink jerseys or hats.  We just needed them in our sizes and in styles that were flattering.  If you like the Cowboys, you never wanted to rock the star in pink, you wanted it in blue.  If you are like me, you probably had some tricks to represent your team and still look fly.  Mine was going to the little boys’ section.  While it was not a perfect fit, it was not down to my knees and gave me a closer resemblance of a lady. 

I’m happy to say that those days are over!  There is a NFL clothing line with items that actually fit us!  Not sure if it was because the NFL learned that we (ladies) now control 73% of household spending and own 2 out 3 new business.  Maybe it was the 18 million cracks Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential candidacy put in the glass ceiling of the White House.  I don’t know, but I am glad that they FINALLY got the memo!  Check out the NFL’s new clothing line at and tell them that we sent you.  I’m sure you’ll be just as excited as I am!  While you are shopping, I found the hottest boots from Bebe to go with your new swag.  (Oh, they are giving cash back on your purchases.)   Let me know what you get.

College Weekend
The first BCS standing of the season is out.  Who is at the top?  Not a team from the SEC or the Big Ten.  Oklahoma (Big 12) and Oregon (PAC-10) are #1 and #2 respectively.  The Sooners and Ducks can’t get comfortable.  Auburn #4 and LSU #6 are not far behind.  They play each other this weekend.  The winner will be the last undefeated team in the competitive SEC. 

So where are the Ohio State Buckeyes?  After a disappointing loss to Wisconsin, they are at #10 behind Michigan State #7 the only undefeated team left in the Big Ten.  This was a huge loss for the Buckeyes because it gives the advantage to Michigan State.  Ohio State will not play Michigan State this season and the Spartans beat Wisconsin a few weeks ago.  So, if both teams have the same record at the end of the season and tie for the Big Ten title, the edge goes to MSU.  Iowa may disrupt all of that.  They play Ohio State and Michigan State and are undefeated in the conference.

We have to send prayers and well wished to Rutgers defensive tackle, Eric LeGrand.  He suffered a spinal-cord injury in the last quarter of Rutgers win over Army that left him paralyzed below the neck.

NFL Week 6
It was a weekend of returns in the NFL. 
Ben Roethlisberger returned to the game after a 4 game suspension.  The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cleveland Browns, 28 – 10.  The Steelers won without Big Ben and you can expect that they will be even better with him back on the field.

Deion Branch returned to his old team, the New England Patriots, and had his best game since his rookie year as a Patriot in 2002.  His nine catches helped New England win in overtime against the Baltimore Ravens 23 – 20.

Kevin Kolb returned as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, playing for injured Michael Vick .  He looked strong in the Eagles impressive 31 – 17 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.  Coach Andy Reid said that Vick was still his starting quarterback and that there was not a QB controversy in Philadelphia, but we have heard that before.

LaDainian Tomlinson continues to return his passes for touchdowns.  (San Diego must be sick seeing his stats.)  LT scored two touchdowns late in the game that pushed the New Yorks Jets on top of the Denver Broncos, 24 -20.  Broncos led most of the game, so some will say that Denver played better.  I picked the Jets to go to the Super Bowl this year, so I say comebacks and clutch time victories are what great teams do.  Let’s Go J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets, Jets!

Are you ready for some football?
Monday Night Football goes to Jacksonville tonight.  The Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Tennessee Titans.  Both teams have some fast running backs, Titan Chris Johnson and Jaguar Maurice Jones-Drew.  They are tied at 3-2 in the close AFC South.  The winner will join Houston and Indiana at 4 – 2.  I am going with Tennessee.  Jacksonville’s defense has allowed over 27 points per game.  I don’t think that this defense will stop Chris Johnson.

Heels & Helmets

Monday, October 11, 2010

“Perfect Tens” wasn’t so perfect for NFL and College #1s

On the date of Perfect Tens (10.10.10), the Kansas City Chiefs, the last team with a perfect record in the NFL, loss to the Indianapolis Colts and Alabama Crimson Tide, the former #1 ranked team in college football, loss to South Carolina and dropped in the rankings.

We’ll start with college.  The talk is about the SEC (Southeastern Conference) and Big Ten.  The Crimson Tide suffered a crushing upset from South Carolina, 21- 35 and dropped to #8 in the polls.  This left the SEC with two undefeated teams, Louisiana State (LSU) Tigers #7 and Auburn Tigers #8.  These teams will meet on October 23.  It’s tempting to move ahead to their meeting, but before Auburn can focus on the other tigers, they have to get pass Arkansas Razorbacks #12.  Arkansas loss earlier this season to Alabama, but it was a close game.

In the Big Ten, Ohio State Buckeyes #1 and Michigan State Spartans #13 are the only remaining undefeated teams in the conference.  Ohio State looked like they were scrimmaging against a high school team in their 38 - 10 win over Indiana.  Michigan State took advantage of a developing defense and beat Michigan at home 34 – 17.  Everyone is talking about the Buckeyes and Spartans winning or sharing the Big Ten Title, but I don’t think that you can count out the Iowa Hawkeyes #15.  The have one loss against a non-conference opponent, Arizona Wildcats #24.  As a result of the Big Ten’s rotating schedule, the Buckeyes and Spartans will not play each other this year.  However, Iowa will play both teams at home.  So, I think the Big Ten Champ will be determined in Iowa at Kinnick Stadium.

The most important ranking in college football starts next week.  The BCS.  It is the Bowl Championship Series ranking.  It determines who will play in the BCS National Championship Game.  After October 17, it is the only poll that you need to pay attention to. 

OK, on to the pros.

Kansas City was off last week.  I thought their game against Indiana yesterday would show me if they were serious.  The Colts won, but they were not impressive.  The scoreboard was only filled with field goals until the last quarter of the game when Mike Hart rushed into the end zone for a Colts touchdown.  It is embarrassing that Peyton Manning couldn’t get a touchdown pass or 300 passing yards at home.  (Again, the Colts are not playing to their potential.)  However, I have to give some credit to Kansas City’s defense for making Peyton scramble around the field.  The Chiefs are playing well and showing that they are serious.  The strong start also gives them confidence that they can compete. 

The Lions left Buffalo, Carolina and San Francisco in the losers circle.  They got their first win of the season.  It was a 44 – 6 blowout without Matthew Stafford.  Calvin Johnson is good.  REALLY good.  I’ve said it many times, but if he were even on a decent team, he would be a pro bowl receiver.  I think the Lions are better than their record reflects, but Detroiters should not get too excited. This victory was against the St. Louis Rams.  The Rams have pulled out a couple of wins, but they are building around injury prone, rookie quarterback, Sam Bradford.

A few quick hits ladies…
Baltimore’s defense handled business, limited Denver to only 17 points and led the Ravens to another victory, 31 -17.
The Redskins won in overtime 16 -13 against Green Bay who has the 2009 defensive player of the year, Charles Woodson. 
Kevin Kolb played for injured Michael Vick and Philadelphia barely beat San Francisco 27 – 24.
Eli Manning threw three touchdowns and the Giants gave the Houston Texans their second loss of the season.  Final score was 34 - 10.

Time for MNF!
Tonight the New York Jets play the Minnesota Vikings in their second Monday Night game of the season.  A few weeks ago, Brett Favre was throwing interceptions and this match up didn’t seem worthy of a Monday Night game.  Last week all of that changed.  The Vikings have been resuscitated.  They now have 7 time pro bowl receiver, Randy Moss.  Exactly the weapon that Favre needed!  However, Favre and Moss need a couple of weeks to get acclimated to each other, so I’m going with the Jets tonight.

Heels & Helmets

Monday, October 4, 2010

New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens at the top of the class

I can’t believe it.  The first quarter of the 2010 NFL Season is just about over.  You know what that means.  Quarter exams.  In Week 4 in the NFL, some teams passed their exams, some barely survived and others failed miserably. 

Top of the class.
The New York Jets are leading their division and LaDainian Tomlinson (LT) is running like he is in his twenties.  Buffalo did not have a chance against them yesterday.  The Jets won easily 38-14.  The Baltimore Ravens defense rallied and gave the Pittsburgh Steelers their first loss of the season.  Ray Lewis had an interception late in the game that sealed the Ravens 17-14 victory.  The Steelers were without their starting quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, but defense wins championships.

Just passing.
The Altanta Falcons barely beat the winless San Francisco 49ers, 16 -14.  The Washington Redskins won yesterday 17-12 against the Philadelphia Eagles (making Donovan McNabb’s return to Philadelphia pretty sweet), but the Eagles were without their new savior, Michael Vick.  The victory does not elevate them because they are in a division in which every team has loss twice.  The New Orleans Saints offense is struggling.  Luckily, they brought back 46 year old, John Carney, who made 3 field goals that put them 16 -14 over the Carolina Panthers.

The Indianapolis Colts are not playing to their potential and have a disappointing record of 2-2.  The Chicago Bears only managed a field goal in a loss to the New York Giants.  The Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, Carolina and San Francisco are looking forward to their first win of the season.

Shockingly, Kansas City Chiefs is the only undefeated team left in the league.  Like the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they had a bye in Week 4.  These teams will finish up their first quarter next week.  If the Chiefs pull out a victory over Indiana, teams will start to take them seriously.

New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins play tonight on Monday Night Football.  Both teams have former Michigan quarterbacks as starters.  Tom Brady (Patriots) may teach the younger Chad Henne (Dolphins) a few things, but I don’t think that the Patriots defense will stop Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown or Brandon Marshall.  I’m going with Miami to win and take second place in the AFC East.

In college football, Oregon moved to #3 in the rankings.  Boise State is still undefeated, but they already had a week off so they are only 4-0.  Even with an unblemished record, we may see Boise State move down again.  They do not have a challenging schedule.  So, if a team like Auburn or Nebraska beats a ranked opponent it will look more impressive than Boise pounding on San Jose State.

Alabama #1 dominated Florida #14 (they moved down from #7).  A week after they almost suffered a loss to Arkansas, the Crimson Tide rolled over the Gators and held them to just 6 points.   They only have 3 more ranked opponents on their schedule, Auburn #8, LSU #12 and South Carolina #19.  After this weekend’s game against South Carolina, they will not face any tough competition until November.

Ohio State #2 and Terrelle Pryor are still leading the Big Ten, but they made Buckeye fans worry on Saturday.  Although they won, they struggled against an unranked Illinois team.  Considering that Alabama crushed a top 10 team, it’s surprising to me that the Buckeyes still received a first place vote in both the Associated Press and USA Today polls.  

In other areas of the Big Ten, star quarterback, Denard Robinson, saved Michigan #18.  His 277 passing yards and 217 rushing yards are the reasons Michigan is still undefeated.  Michigan State #17 upset Wisconsin #20 adding more intensity to their match up against Michigan on Saturday.  The rivals will enter Michigan Stadium without a loss and battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy.  Paul has been away from Michigan for a couple of years.  After Saturday, he’ll back in his plush arrangements in Ann Arbor.  Am I biased? Of course.  Go Blue!

Heels & Helmets