Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Well, it is definitely go-time in the NFL. With the exception of the Packers, teams are either fighting hard to win their division, or trying to keep pace to slip in as a wild card team. In my opinion, the Packers, barring an Aaron Rogers injury, will lock up the North and home field throughout the playoffs. The magic number is 3 which will give them 14 wins and force the 49ers to win out to get home field and make the Saints completely out of an outside shot of getting the entire playoff run in the dome - which may not be a bad thing. Why? Here is something that some haven't thought about. Rogers and the Packers made that great Superbowl run last year in some very good weather. In fact, the one game they had in bad weather was the NFC Championship against the Bears in which they won 21-14. In that game Rogers was a pedestrian 17 for 30 and the Pack had two turnovers. What really bailed out the Packers was the QB's on the other side of the ball, specifically Jay Cutler. I didn't see the offense clicking in that cold Chicago air. Now take the Pack's performance in their divisional game against the Falcons in the Georgia Dome or the Superbowl game in the Jerry Dome and they were great. Even this year, they've performed well in good weather without really having to play in a bad climate. Now, this is all theory, so don't marry me to it, but I have yet to see the offense perform great in weather like they may see in January at home in Green Bay. Just a thought.
Speaking of thoughts here are a few random ones:
* Ndamukong Suh is a wild dude. I would not like to meet that dude in a back alley. Hell, I wouldn't want to meet him in a crowded, lit area. Brother man has no shame.
* Stevie Johnson is an idiot. There are unwritten codes of behavior amongst pro ballers. If you want to taunt another player, LEAVE ALL PERSONAL BUSINESS OUT OF YOUR TAUNTS AND TRASH TALKS. Johnson broke this code when he mimicked being shot in the leg a la Plaxiglass Burress. Very classless. What's next, dudes acting like two dogs fighting to taunt Michael Vick the next time someone scores on the Eagles?
* Teams are reflections of their coach. Harbaugh (Both), Tomlin, Payton, and Hue Jackson just to name a few, have teams which play hard and have passion. Frazier, Caldwell and Turner are not aggressive and seem timid about their jobs and look how their teams play - soft and weak.
Enough of my thoughts. Here are the week 13 NFL Rankings
1. Green Bay Packers 11-0 - Downright scary how Rogers is playing. The D needs to start playing better because they may have to face a team who can go toe-to-toe with them in the QB position.
2. Baltimore Ravens 8-3 - Something or Somebody just doesn't seem right - can you say Flacco
3. THEE New Orleans Saints 8-3 - Last time I ranked the The Cronk Boys, I said they needed to go on a run and they are on a three game winning streak and keeping one step ahead of the Falcons
4. Pittsburgh Steelers 8-3 - BUTT UGLY win against Kansas City and the Palamalu injury could affect this team going forward. The good thing is that they've played the Ravens twice already.
5. San Fran 49ers 9-2 - Tough loss on the road but they need more consistency out of Smith if they are going to beat the Saints, Falcons, or the Packers in a playoff game.
6. New England Pats 8-3 - Brady is on a roll but can the D hold up
7. Dallas Cowboys 8-3 - The Boys are making a push and in the mix for the second seed. Romo is playing smart football and the D continues to get him the ball.
8. Houston Texans 8-3 - If Schuab was playing they would be ranked higher but...........
9. Atlanta Falcons 7-4 - Keeping pace with the Saints and all roads are point to the December 26th showdown vs the Saints in the Dome
10. Oakland Raiders 7-4 - Leading the west but can they hold off the Broncos without DMc Fadden
11. Cincinnati Bengals 7-4 - Without Chad Johnson I can actually cheer for Marvin Lewis. Andy Dalton is pushing Cam for ROY.
12. LSU 12-0 - THE S.E.C.
Anyway, here is my NFL ranking for week 13
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Every now and then the D-South Blog with have a guest who may want to share their thoughts on sports, life, or whatever mumbling comes from their mouth. With the Arkansas Razorbacks believing there is still a shot at a BCS game and the game against #1 LSU nears, the talking between the fans of the two adjoining states has begun. Though BC has no words, he just wanted this posted to show where he stands.
For the first time this year I watched a full west coast college game this week as Oregon battled Stanford for not only the inside track for the PAC 12 North championship, but also to keep pace in the hunt to get routed by an SEC school in the BCS championship game. This was the west coasts' version of LSU vs Alabama, but a little weaker of course.
A few things I wanted to check out for myself. First was Andrew Luck. I watched him play against Va Tech in last years Orange Bowl and liked what I saw. I had the privilege to spend time with John Harbarugh a while back and I've always liked what he stood for: tough, physical and committed so i knew Luck would be a mirror image. I liked his skills and the way he was cool in the pocket. I did have some speculation in watching him though. My main issue was that Va Tech had an awful offense. You can not play in a BCS bowl game without a legit QB. Someone who can threaten an opponents defense with his arm. Every team that has won a BCS title has had a QB who could hurt you if you crowded the line of scrimmage with 8 defenders. From Tennessee in 1998 with T Martin, to Matt Mauck of LSU in 2003 all the way to the beast himself, Cam Newton, last year. I say this because Va Tech's QB Tyrod Taylor was a good athlete and a good passer in spots but Stanford dared him to beat them and he did not respond to the challenge. So what does this have to do with Andrew Luck? Well, in my mind, it tilted the playing field big time. Trust me when I say that a defense gets tired when your offense doesn't convert on third downs - Va Tech was 5-14. Though Taylor threw for over 200 yards he was never a real threat and Stanford broke their will and cruised to a 40-12 victory. Tech is known for a fast and disciplined defense but was off balance with the Cardinal running and passing attack. Given this, Luck looked very good (18-23 287yds and 4 TD's).
What I wanted to see against Oregon was how he would play when the pressure is constantly on him to make plays while going toe-to-toe with an offensive juggernaut. Oregon is not known for it's defense but had a great game plan: put a lot of pressure on Luck and be physical with his receivers (this wouldn't work if they were playing an SEC school). It worked to perfection as Luck had trouble recognizing where the heat was coming from and consistently missed receivers and threw a lot of passes off of his back foot. He was sacked and intercepted and looked very confused. Not exactly what the leading Heisman candidate should look like. Once the Ducks took control of the game, Luck folded like Tom Brady under pressure.
I think that some of these west coast QB's are way too used to hitting wide-open receivers running a bunch of option and hot routes and playing against defenses which are not all that physical nor good. This is why guys like Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart have trouble in the NFL. The pro game may be wide open, but the window to fit a ball is tremendously tighter than college and the time you have to get rid of the football shrinks dramatically. Just look at Mark Sanchez. He definitely has the talent but he is just so used to throwing to wide open receivers in college that he is struggling with the transition.
So the question is, now that you've seen Andrew Luck perform when he is consistently pressured and his receivers are being blanketed, is he still a can't miss NFL QB? A lot was revealed about the kid this past Saturday. Yes he is smart, and possesses a strong arm, but as we've learned in the NFL, that will not do it all the time. I'm sure in the pass happy NFL, he more than likely will succeed, but I saw something completely alarming about him Saturday night.
Lastly, is he even the Heisman front runner after the game against Oregon? In the biggest game against a good opponent (for a west coast team) he was awful. The weight was on his shoulders and he failed. On the other hand, my guy for the Heisman, Trent Richardson, carried Alabama in their loss vs #1 LSU. There was no doubt that in the biggest game of the year, he showed up and handled his business against the second best defense in the country.
I really think Luck will turn out to be a good pro but Saturday opened my eyes.
As a side note, everything is setting up perfect for an all SEC BCS Championship - Just as God would want it.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Before we begin the rankings for week 10 we want to say goodbye and acknowledge the life of two brothers who just passed away: The overweight lover Heavy D and Smokin' Joe Frazier. The Heavster sang one of my favorite songs 'Black Coffee - No sugar No cream. It was an anthem for the Black Woman in the 90's and basically said there is nothing like a sista. Plus, Heavy was clean cut with no cuss and well respected in the industry because he was just genuine and didn't try to be a gangster or all hard IN SPITE of how tough it was for him growing up.
In the 70's you picked a side in boxing between Ali and Frazier. Frazier was what the street called the people's champ because he was just a boxer - not a promoter, not a smack talker, and not a showboat. All which were monikers given to Ali. As Ali's stand against the Vietnam war became ok and he became more socially accepted, the street began to turn on him and, as we sometimes do, began to stick him Ali with the worst moniker: A Financial Sellout. Given this, the street began to look for another guy who identified with the grit and reality of the street. That man was Joe Frazier. Joe was in over his head when it came down to matching wits with Ali, but in the ring, it was a different subject. Frazier gave Ali some of the worst beatings of his career. Frazier was a fighter first, second and third. He will always be a champ because he carried himself as one.
Both Heavy and Joe will be missed.
Let's get down to the NFL and the top 12 for the week:
1. Green Bay Packers 8-0: Aaron Rodger is officially in his prime. It's unbelievable watching him.
2. Baltimore Ravens 6-2: One thing for sure is that you better strap it on when playing these dudes.
3. San Fran 49ers 7-1: The niners have pretty much wrapped up the west. Amazing what a coach can do.
4. New Orleans Saints 6-3: At some point in time they are going to have to put a 3-4 game run together.
5. NY Giants 6-2: Huge win on the road vs Pats and now they need to string together a few wins to be legit.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers 6-3:They are still a class act along with the Ravens. Losing two to them will bite them.
7. Detroit Lions 6-2: After dropping a couple, the Lions are showing rare maturity.
8. NY Jets 5-3: Watch out, Sexy Rexy has them flying around and playing with the 'Ryan Swag'.
9. Houston Texans 6-3: Even at 6-3 why don't I trust this team?
10. Chicago Bears 5-3: Don't count the Bears out. This could be a great battle for the last wild card spot.
11. New England Pats 5-3: Brady is getting his butt whipped and I'm loving it.
12a. Cincy Bengals 6-2: Good start but they haven't played neither the Ravens nor the Steelers
12b. LSU 9-0: S.E.C - nuff said.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Since the day he hit LSU I couldn't stand Shaquita O'Neal. I don't know why. He's just as unlikable as he is likable. That dislike for him followed him all the way through college as he was not even close to being the dominant player he was hyped up to be. That dislike followed him to the Orlando Magic as he got abused by Hakeem the Dream in the NBA finals and to his forced departure to the Lakers. This is where my dislike for him reached a pinnacle. I awed at his size and quickness but was totally turned off by his need to be in the spotlight like a needy child, his need to bully smaller centers such as David Robinson, Pat Ewing, and especially Alonzo Mourning. Most of all I hated that his game never really expanded. Yes he 'developed' a baby hook but other than that, teams still played hack-a-shaq routinely. Why, because he could not step away from the basket and shoot nor could he consistently hit his free throws. He never really improved his game. All the centers mentioned above were not known as jump shooters or deep fade-a-way players coming out of college, BUT they WORKED to develop their games. But all shaquita did was get fatter and more out of shape over the years. Yes he was dominate, but so would most of us if we were that big. Yes his size was his game and you can't fault him from forcing his will but as he got older he had nothing to lean on. He became an irrelevant journeyman who was good for a quote.
I really can talk about Shaq all day but as I was searching the web and on one of my favorite sites, The Bleacher Report, I cam across this article which looked as though I wrote it - If I had any writing skills.
Check it out. It's a good read
Saban vs Miles, Baton Rouge vs Tuscaloosa, Alabama vs Louisiana, #1 vs #2, Purple n Gold vs Crimson and White, Defense vs Defense, ATLETE vs ATLETE. However and wherever you put the match up emphasis, this my friend, is what college football is all about. For you slow-footed, corn eatn northern boys, please take note of big men WITH speed in this game. For you quick, athletic, yet heartless dudes from the left coast, please take note of what you will see in the NFL: big hard, nasty, brothers and white dudes who have the same athleticism as you but with the capacity to not nut-up when its gut check time. In the S.E.C there is both flash and substance baby. Ahh the S.E.C. on CBS!!!!
As you can tell, I am all ready for the battle royal Saturday night. Plus, we get the added gift from God to have the game on the night we need to turn back the clocks. It will be a good day for the world.
In my mind, I do not think the game will not live up to the hype. With this many athletes, we are going to see an unbelievable amount of jaw dropping plays from both sides. It could be Trent Richardson or Spencer Ware carrying defenders. Or it may be with a strip, recovery and score. Or it could be a D-lineman running down a receiver down field. Add in two head coaches who are big game coaches and there is no way this game will disappoint.
I really have no prediction for this game and no one I would actually like to see win the game. I have the utmost respect for both coaching staffs and how they prepare their position players to play. Both teams are athletic, but I think what is missed is how disciplined both teams are. This is true both offensively and defensively for both teams. This is what separates these two teams from others.
As stated above, though I am not pulling for one team or another, I do want to see Trent Richardson gain over 125 yards and a few touchdowns. It's not that I want him to show up the LSU defense, it's just that I want him to have a big game in thee big game so that he keeps pace with Andrew Luck from Stanford in the race for the Heisman. I think Luck is good but he is playing in the PAC 12. There's no real competition out there. I think Richardson deserves the Heisman if he has a great game Saturday night. He is the most brutal, nastiest, one-step-and-go runner in the country. It isn't even close. Plus the dude is NFL ready and come to think of it, he was NFL ready coming out of high school - see picture below. That is a man!
A man among boys
Then there is Tyrann Mathieu of LSU. Dude is a beast on defense and plays ball like an SEC player is supposed to - hard, fast and relentless. Of course he is a graduate of the best high school ever created: ST. AUGUSTINE H.S HOME OF THE PURPLE KNIGHTS AND THE MARCHING 100 where men are raised to greater men. Rise sons of the gold and purple, let our swelling chorus sound.........i regress. I want him to have a monster game also. Not only because he is a graduate of where I graduated from, but because i want him to remain in the Heisman mix.
From purple and gold to purple and gold
This is one game that I am going to sit back and enjoy without the rooting for one side or the other. I don't like traveling to games because plainly, I dislike people and rarely does a game live up to the hype, but this game I would love to be at just for the crowd alone. What people do not understand about the SEC, or football in the South all together, is the knowledge of the fans. And this is not just the men, or the older crowd. I'd put my mothers knowledge of the 'game' of football up against anyone. I know she will be sitting right in front of the TV Saturday night just like the rest of the southern football world.
Besides, even God will be watching.
GO Tigers, Rolllll Tide