Although this column is called “Just Football” did you know that on this date in 1998, and after playing in a record 2,632 consecutive games over 16 seasons, Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles sat out a game against the New York Yankees. Now you can impress your friends today…
It kind of reminds me of Forrest Gump running – he ran for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours and then he said, “I’m pretty tired…I think I’ll go home now.”
OK, anyway, today I write about NFL surprises and disappointments, picking the winners, Tony Gonzalez and the Falcons, looking ahead, college football realignment, the Big Sky Conference and more!
THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Surprises and Disappointments:
With two weeks under our belts, the Bills, Lions, Redskins, and Texans are all undefeated – these are surprises – but don’t say the “p” word just yet (playoffs).
The Chiefs and the Colts are 0-2 and are the biggest disappointments. They both won their divisions last year with 10-6 records. The Chiefs play at the Colts in October, which may end up being significant in who gets the number one draft pick next year.
Only about 12 percent of the teams starting 0-2 make the playoffs.
As a Chiefs fan, I predicted we would go 8-8 this year since we had a first place schedule. With the rash of injuries to key people, I think 4-12 is looking more realistic now. Being outscored 89-10 as the Chiefs have been in the first two games was like a slap across my face. Something is wrong in KC.
The Bills, Lions, Redskins, and Texan fans should all enjoy this early season success – it puts fans in the seats and it gives their cities something to talk about.
Pick the Winners:
I finished week two in a couple of NFL pick the winner contests with 12 wins (out of 16 games for 75%) and overall I come in with 22 points for a 68% winning percentage.
I am not ready for Las Vegas yet.
Eagles and Falcons:
This game had most of my attention and besides the Chargers at the Patriots, I thought would be the best one to watch. The Atlanta Falcons held serve at home Sunday night beating the Philadelphia Eagles – proving the Eagles have some work to do.
It was fun to watch Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez come up big with seven catches and two touchdowns. He’s the best ever. Enjoy him Atlanta.
A few games look appealing on paper, and I use one sentence to describe them:
Patriots at Bills – A big test for Buffalo.
Jets at Raiders – I think there will be several penalties.
Packers at Bears – Bears can’t let the Pack get too far ahead.
Redskins at Cowboys – Is Tony tough enough?
Major College Football and Realignment
Growing up in the Midwest, I truly miss the days of the old Big 8 Conference – before they allowed the Texas colleges to come in and ruin it- which was driven by money and greed. The Big 8 lasted about 90 years. The Big 12 might not make it to its 18th birthday – dead at such a young age.
It looks like there will be even more alignment with the conferences. These changes are mostly driven by football, but money and greed are the ultimate factors.
In a few years, I predict that we may have only a couple conferences – called “Super-Duper” Conferences. One will be called the Atlantic 50 and the other will be called the Pacific 55. It won’t matter that you can’t see the Pacific or Atlantic oceans without driving for two days, you can be a member and reap the rewards.
They will have their own television networks to cover sports. The dividing line between the east and west will be the Minnesota North and South Dakota borders on south between Nebraska/Iowa, Kansas/Missouri, etc.
By the way, they will still have the BCS system in place and nothing will be settled on the field…but they will be seen carrying large bags of money to the bank.
Big Sky Conference:
The Montana Grizzlies and the Eastern Washington Eagles played last Saturday in Missoula with the Griz taking the win 17-14. Now the Eagles get to entertain the Montana State Bobcats on their “red turf” Saturday in Cheney. The Eagles who are the defending National Champions are winless (0-3) on the season so look for them to pull out all stops to notch a victory over the Bobcats (2-1).
Meanwhile, the Griz (2-1) head to California to take on Sacramento State (1-2).
Follow me on Twitter @TheWesternWord for all the latest!