(Editor’s note: Tony lives on the west coast, and our QRE offices are on the east coast. This causes our articles to sometimes cross time zones, which confuses us. So when tony sent this in earlier this week, we thought it was his article for next week. And since we have a strict “No Spoiler” rule here at QRE, we didn’t want anyone on the east coast to know the outcomes of this weekend’s games. The results of that could be catastrophic! Anyway, we apologize for the tardiness of this article being published – going forward, you can rest assured that Tony’s articles will be up when they’re supposed to, on Tuesday, as normal.)
What a week for the NFL! Upsets, injuries, comebacks – this week had the magic of playoffs all over it. Speaking of playoffs, though, let’s start with college football.
A few upsets, but mostly no huge shockers. One big surprise, though, was that this is the first poll released this year by the BCS. Number one, no doubt, Alabama, but University of Florida jumps Oregon to become number 2? I did not see that one coming!
One ACC team left undefeated in conference play, and that is Maryland. Miami will take on Florida State University to try and get back on top of their division, but so far it’s anyone’s game. The Big East has passed the Big 10 in ESPN’s Conference Power Rankings, due in no small part to the Penn State fiasco, but unprecedented, to say the least.
This weekend, we have the Third Saturday In October, and we all know what that means for Tennessee/Alabama fans. I predict ‘Bama breaking out the victory cigars early this year, having won the last 5 in a row, even though the game will be played in Knoxville. Michigan State will be taking on Michigan for the Paul Bunyan Trophy, as well. I’m leaning towards State on that one, but with the way this season is going, it’s hard to tell.
It definitely looks like Ohio State has not missed a beat, besides being banned from the BCS and post-season play this year. The big story, though, is Notre Dame at number 5. Are the Irish back? I doubt Kansas State will be able to hold onto that number 4 spot, even if they win out, and if Florida and Alabama both go the distance, they will meet in the SEC Title Game, so at least one of them will have to drop.
Depending on how the Fighting Irish do against USC in the upcoming Battle For The Jeweled Shillelagh, they could catapult themselves over Oregon in the polls and actually make it to the BCS Championship Game. It’s always a hard-fought win for whoever comes up with the Shillelagh each year, though. Both schools combined have 22 National Titles, 14 Heisman trophy winners, and 21 All-Americans, College Football Hall of Famers and future NFL Hall of Famers, the most of any collegiate football rivalry series. This would be a good game to watch this year, as it has National Title implications.
Iowa State squeaks into the top 25 at number 24, marking the first time they have ever been in the BCS standings. Out of 15 years since there has been a BCS poll, Alabama’s first debut at number 1 makes the 10th different team to be ranked number 1 in week 1 of the poll. Only twice have teams that started number 1 and number 2 made it to the title game, and on the other side of the same coin, twice have teams that started number 10 or below have made it, so it’s a toss up at this point. Keep watching, folks, this is going to get good!
Now for the NFL. The Lions announced this week that Jahvid Best will not be cleared to play this year; however, because he was not cut, he did accrue enough time under the NFLPA rules to gain access to the NFL’s pension plan. Good move by Detroit for keeping him on the roster long enough to get him taken care of, even though he had massive injuries that he probably won’t ever fully recover from.
The Texans and the Ravens are the only two AFC teams to remain above .500 at this point in the season. Those replacement refs really left some people hurting! Atlanta is the only undefeated team left, thanks to Aaron Rodgers going down to Houston and throwing 6 touchdowns to beat the pants off the Texans. That ties the team record, by the way, set by his then back-up, Matt Flynn, last year.
Speaking of quarterbacks, what about RGIII? He sure made a statement coming back after that concussion last week, helping the Redskins pour it on the Vikings, going 17 of 22 for 138 yards and one touchdown, and then taking one in himself from 76 yards out. That dude is for real.
J.J. Watt from Houston is leading the sack race this year, 1.5 up on Green Bay’s Clay Matthews, and Demarcus Ware from the Cowboys becomes the only player ever to have 6 sacks in the first 5 games of the season, 3 times in a row.
Speaking of sacks and the Cowboys, let’s get to a big story this week: the Baltimore Ravens. Being one of only 2 teams with a winning record in their conference right now, we’re not sure how long that will last. Their Super Bowl hopes were dashed Sunday when they lost 2 key defensive players for the season, Ladarius Webb and Ray Lewis. Webb tore his ACL, and Lewis tore his right triceps. (Editor’s note – Ed Reed was also injured, with a torn labrum in his shoulder. Reed has said he will still play through the injury, though that’s yet to be seen.) This could be the end of professional football altogether for Ray Lewis, who has done everything he could have thought of in his 17 NFL season, being a 13 time Pro-Bowler, Super Bowl MVP and 2-time Defensive Player Of The Year. He’ll have a lot of work to do if he expects to come back next year, but being a defensive back at 37 is hard enough, much less trying to come back from an injury like that. He’s been almost a necessity to beat teams like the Patriots, who ended up dropping a tough one to Seattle on Sunday, taking them to 3-3 so far this year.
The real story of the game, though, is once again, Monday Night Football, where the Denver Broncos went to San Diego to take on the Chargers. Sure, Peyton Manning has had his share of showdowns with Phillip Rivers in the Colts/Bolts games through the years, but this was different: this was his year to prove that he is worth the hype. Down 24-0 at the start of the third quarter, and knowing that only two road teams have ever come back from a second-half deficit of 24 points to win (Lions at Dallas, Rams at Tampa Bay, years ago), it wasn’t looking good for Manning, but he rolled out of the pocket and laughed, throwing 13 straight completions to start the half, ultimately going 24/30 for 3 touchdowns and 1 interception to throw 35 straight points on the board and win 35-24. The defense really stepped it up in the second half, too, with two defensive touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Phillip Rivers threw 4 interceptions, and now, despite being one of only 3 active quarterbacks with 4 4,000 yard seasons in a row, has fans calling for his job. This was the 47th 4th quarter or overtime comeback for Manning, which ties Dan Marino’s career record. Is it really even a surprise anymore that he can do this, pretty much no matter what the score is or where he’s playing? Who knows, but with almost no teams clearly set for a playoff run this year, we’d better keep watching to find out what happens next!
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