Hello again everybody...
Happy New Year one and all!
And why shouldn't I have to deal with climate control issues to start 2010 at work. Now granted, I'd rather it be 80 degrees in the studio than say 50. But still, when it's 3 degrees outside and 80 degrees inside you'd think it would be easier to find a happy medium!
Alas, that's not the case. I know I should probably be more patient with a building who's duct work was constructed around the same time as the Great Pyramid, but I can't help it. It just seems to me that we shouldn't have to battle so constantly to have a climatologically comfortable workplace. Call me crazy!
On second thought, don't call me crazy... yet. At least read through my various rants and ramblings before you do that. Trust me, it'll simplify things greatly.
Lots to touch on from the weekend, so let's get to it!
”I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it.”
- Voltaire (1694 - 1778), French Enlightenment writer, essayist and philosopher
If you're only going to pray once, that's a solid choice.
Those of you who argue that teams should play their starters even though their post-season position is locked up...
You have to be questioning that belief somewhat after this weekend's slate of NFL games. I understand that people don't want their teams to coast into their post-season and lose their edge. But the Patriots and Cardinals fairly well cost themselves a shot at a deep post-season run with key injuries on Sunday.
The Patriots lost perhaps their most important receiver as Wes Welker slipped trying to make a play and tore is ACL and MCL. Welker led the team in receptions and receiving yards. And he got hurt in a game that meant nothing. New England had already set their seed for the post-season. They had absolutely nothing to play for. There was just no reason Wes to be in that game with a chance to get hurt. If you have to run him out there for a couple of series to keep sharp, then you take that risk. Personally? In that game, none of my key cogs would see the field. And as few starters would be out there as I could get away with. It just isn't worth the risk
The Cardinals are a more complicated case. Technically they could have had a better seeding to play for. But once the Vikings won, that chance went out the window. And since Arizona played a late game, that gave them the opportunity to sit their key players if they chose. Instead, they ran them out there, and kept them out there even after it was clear that Green Bay was going to win the game. In so doing, the Cardinals managed to get three different starters hurt, including WR Anquan Boldin. The situation's more complex because, unlike Welker who's definitely out, we don't know the status of the Cardinal injuries for next weekend. But even if all of those players are able to play, that's simply a matter of luck. Arizona could have saved themselves the trouble of wondering had they just kept those players out of the game.
I go back and forth on this issue. Like I said, I understand the notion that you want to keep guys sharp, and that there's no way to simulate game speed and conditions in practice. But I think I'd prefer my guys have a little rust to shake off, rather than be completely unavailable because they got hurt in a meaningless game.
But that's just me...
We've had some brilliant Bowl Games... and then there was the Sugar Bowl.
Anyone who saw the end of the Humanitarian Bowl (Idaho over Bowling Green) and the Outback Bowl (Auburn over Northwestern) has seen how good the Bowl Season can be.
Sure, there's the occasional clunker of a match-up. Everybody knew the Insight Bowl (Iowa State over Minnesota) was going to be a lousy game. When you match up 6-6 teams, you can't really expect a classic. But did anybody see 33-doughnut coming in the Holiday Bowl (Nebraska over Arizona)? Or 35-13 in the Texas Bowl (Navy over Missouri)? I didn't.
But for each one of those you get a better-than-advertised EagleBank Bowl (UCLA over Temple) and a quality upset in the Champs Sports Bowl (Wisconsin over Miami).
What shouldn't happen is a bad BCS game. These are supposed to be match-ups of the best of the best. And yet somehow, we got a 51-24 blowout of Florida over Cincinnati Friday night in the Sugar Bowl.
Granted, Cincy lost their coach to Notre Dame between their last regular season game and their Bowl game. But there was a little bit of coaching drama surrounding Florida as well. So I'm not sure we can accept that as an excuse.
Instead, the Bearcats utterly failed to show up. Is that on the coaches or the players? It's hard to tell. But perhaps we can point to this game as proof that perhaps the BCS overlords should've split up TCU and Boise State and perhaps gotten some better match-ups? I understand that Cincinnati was ranked higher than TCU in the last run of the BCS formula. But is there anybody out there that doesn't think that TCU would've given Florida a better game? I'm not saying the Horned Frogs would've beaten the Gators, but there's no question in my mind that TCU's defense would've been a better challenge for Urban Meyer's squad.
I purposefully left the column I wrote about the TCU/Boise State match-up open-ended because I wanted to spur conversation amongst the readers... and because I honestly hadn't made up my mind about the game.
But if TCU blows Boise State off the field tonight in the Fiesta Bowl, then I'll come down on the side of those who say that matching TCU up against Florida would've been the way to go.
Don't make Gilbert Arenas mad... or he'll “jokingly” pull a gun on you.
Really Gilbert? You were “joking” when you pulled an unloaded gun on a teammate you had a beef with? Really?
For those of you like me who just don't give a rip about the NBA, I won't go over the details. You can read them here.
Mark my words... even with the Plaxico Burress and Michael Vick stories, the first league to have a player kill another player is going to be the NBA.
And I fear that unless there's a major cultural shift in that league, we're going to see that story sooner than later.
Who can figure the NFL? Not me, that's for sure.
The Vikings managed to handle their business against a thoroughly uninterested Giants club this weekend. I'm still honestly not sure what to make of this club. They can look outstanding one moment and quite vulnerable the next.
I think having the bye week will be a big help. Having two weeks to rest and prepare for an opponent can't do anything but help this club.
That being said, when their options are likely Dallas or Green Bay, the prospects aren't all that great. Are there two hotter teams in the league right now? I can't think of any. Dallas has a defense that's playing at the top of it's game - two straight shut outs - and a running game that punishes opponents. Green Bay has an outstanding quarterback whom they've finally decided to protect a little bit.
Vikings fans can't root for a match-up with the Cowboys, but they should be downright terrified at the prospect of Vikings/Packers 3.0. This isn't the same Vikings team that beat the Packers twice and it isn't the same Green Bay club that got beat twice either.
It'd be a fun story, no doubt. But for those that are pulling for the Vikings to finally get to another Super Bowl, you don't want any part of the Packers. Trust me on that one!
And who would've thought that New Orleans and Philadelphia would be the teams to be least scared of? I've discussed Dallas and Green Bay. And we've already seen what Arizona can do to the Vikings defense (although with those injuries, maybe it'd be a different game - see? It all comes full circle here at The Sports Take). But two or three weeks ago, it was New Orleans and Philadelphia that everybody was supposed to be scared of in the NFC. How quickly things change.
You try to figure the NFL out. I think I've given up!
That's going to do it for today ladies and gents. Hope you all survived going back to work after vacations of varying length! I think we might have dropped down to 77 degrees in the studio over the course of writing this column. Our crack building staff sure got right on that one!
I'm back on Wednesday with more nonsense and skullduggery. Until then, thanks for reading!