Monday, November 20, 2006

Recapping a Busy Football Weekend

Now, things are starting to get interesting. If you're a football fan, of both the college and pro game, this is when you can really start discussing the battle for postseason positioning in earnest. With the college football season approaching its final couple of weeks and the NFL season rounding the bend into its final stages, there's hardly a more interesting time to speculate about who'll get in to the desired postseason spots and who'll be left out. With that said, here are some of the biggest stories of the weekend:

- We don't have to speculate about one thing. Ohio State will be playing in the national championship game in January. And boy, good luck stopping that offense. Michigan came into the game riding its reputation as one of the staunchest defensive teams in the country, with a unit full of potential future pros. Whole lot of good that did them on Saturday, when Troy Smith and his arsenal of weapons carved up the Wolverine defense to the tune of 42 points. The offense is so explosive and so varied in its attack, and they have the ideal quarterback in Smith acting as maestro. Another reason why you have to like the Buckeyes' chances regardless of who they play: Ohio State is 4-1 in bowl games under Jim Tressel. He will have his team prepared to play under the brightest of lights.

- The BCS rankings that were released today have Michigan still at #2 over USC, a bit of a surprise. However, don't go thinking that a rematch is certainly in the works. The Wolverines hold a slim .075 margin over USC for the #2 spot, and while Michigan's season is complete, the Trojans still have games against Notre Dame and UCLA. If they win both, they'll likely leapfrog Michigan for #2 and earn the chance to play Ohio State in the title game.

And in the NFL.....

- The Colts were bound to lose some time, and better for them to lose on the road to an NFC opponent, than to a team in their own conference. And while they still have the inside track on homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, they need to figure out a way to improve their rush defense between now and the playoffs, because if they don't, they will be toast, Peyton Manning or not. Looking down the road, they need to hope that they don't face the Chargers in the playoffs because LaDainian Tomlinson could make short work of the Colts defense the way he's playing now.

- Speaking of Tomlinson, there is no doubt that he is the front runner for league MVP at this point in the season. He has 20 touchdowns already, only 10 games into the season, on pace for 32, which would easily surpass the record of 28 TDs set by Shaun Alexander of the Seahawks just last year. The amazing thing is that everyone knows he's going to get the ball in the red zone and he still scores 3 or 4 touchdowns per game. Amazing how 6 years ago, everyone blasted the Chargers for trading the top overall draft pick and the chance to take Michael Vick. Well, all they ended up with was a Hall of Fame-to-be running back in Tomlinson, while Vick is now scrutinized ad nauseum for his quarterbacking style.

- While he won't win the award, it might be time to include San Francisco running back Frank Gore in discussions for league MVP. In the biggest game of the year for the 49ers, he came up huge with 212 yards in a 20-14 upset of the Seahawks. Don't look now, but the young Niners are only a game out of first place and can be considered serious contenders for a playoff spot in the NFC. Gore is leading a talented offensive nucleus that is getting better by the week. He is already over 1,000 yards for the season and is impressively averaging over 5 yards per carry.

And it only gets better from here - 3 games on Thanksgiving and more big-time rivalry games in college football this weekend in addition to the normal NFL action on Sundays.

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