WWIR: Searching for a Silver Lining
Where in the world do you begin after a weekend like this. Let’s just muddle through it and see if we can come out the other side still fighting.
- Pouring Salt in the Wounds: Friday night, Alabama walked out on to the field at the Louisiana Superdome, and that’s about all they appeared capable of doing. It was like some incredible nightmare unfolding before my eyes. Like someone had replaced our bowl of sugar with salt. When it was all said and done, what I came around to was that Alabama played like they deserved the win not like they had to earn it and Utah played like they had something to prove. If nothing else, perhaps that game will continue to fuel the fire that is the protest for a college football playoff system. Before anyone blasts Nick Saban for saying that Utah is a non-BCS team, he was speaking the truth. In the world of the BCS, the Mountain West Conference is not considered a BCS conference. That was their conference AD’s decision, not Nick Saban’s. Did Nick need to say anything about it at the Sugar Bowl? Probably not, but when have you ever known Nick Saban to care what people think about what he says? It’s one of the reasons I respect him: because he’s unapologetic of who he is. Interestingly enough, Andre Smith’s suspension seemed to have little or no impact unless you believe that his absence made the abilities of the entire rest of the O-line diminish. When John Parker Wilson was sacked, it was mainly from the right side, which would be the fault of the right tackle, not Andre’s replacement (who was injured in the 1st quarter of the game) at left tackle. Andre Smith’s suspension also doesn’t make up for our defense playing like they were out for an evening stroll on Bourbon Street. There’s nothing I hate more than trying to cheer for a team that obviously could care less about what they’re doing. I do have to give kudos to Javier Arenas (cousin of Gilbert) for being the only player on the field who seemed to give a darn. He played his heart out and the field positions he got us on returns was probably the only reason we were able to score. That punt return was a beauty! In the end, Utah handed our behinds to us, deservedly so.
- A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Game: During the first half of the game, the sideline reporter gave an account of a group of Utah fans who chartered a bus to drive to the game. This is their story. It bears repeating because I just cannot make this stuff up.
- Grounded: I would like Mike Pereira, NFL’s head of officiating, to sit down with me and watch the entire San Diego/Indianapolis wild card game and explain to me EACH and EVERY time Philip Rivers grounded the ball why none of them were intentional grounding. I typically don’t allow myself to blame the refs for the outcome of a game because I just don’t think it’s a valid excuse. If you want to win the game, you “play to win the game.” But I questioned a lot in that game. It doesn’t help that I’ve started to despise that which is the San Diego Chargers starting with Philip Rivers, and I hope that the Steelers send them packing this weekend (which basically means the Chargers will win the Super Bowl this year). But all that said, Peyton did every thing and I mean EVERY thing in his power to win that game, but his O-line faltered in some of the worst ways at some of the worst times. The running game hardly showed up to practice this season much less the actual game. And the defense…don’t get me started on the defense. I feel like the only ones out there trying to get things done were Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, but what with Philip Rivers throwing intentional grounding and not getting called for it, how’s a guy supposed to get a sack. I think San Diego owes a huge debt of gratitude to their punter. I never thought I’d see the day when a punter was the difference maker, but that guy had the game of his life. So, now I go on and wait for the Pro Bowl and the NFL draft and mini camp and training camp. It seems like such a long time until September. I’m not even going to get into whether Tony is done or not. In my heart, I want him to coach forever, but I know he has to do what is right for him and his family. It’s not an easy decision to make, and I’m thankful he’s making it and not me.
- By The Numbers: Interestingly enough, I went back to week 8 of the regular season and looked at the records of the teams. Of all the teams that had only played 7 games, five of them had a 3-4 record at the close of week 8. Colts, Browns, Jags, Texans, and Dolphins. I have to say that I am incredibly pleased to be one of two teams that made the playoffs after having a sub-.500 season.
- Spare Me: I’m going to spare you the info on the Tar Heel game because I think that some of the Tar Heel faithful have blown it out of proportion. It’s one game, and as long as it’s not the last game of the year, then I can move on. So, come down off that ledge my friends. It’s gonna be ok.
- To The Bitter End: What is not ok is NC State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow having to excuse herself from the season to battle yet another diagnosis of breast cancer. She has never stopped fighting this disease that just won’t go away and I figure if she’s stepping down from her head coaching duties for the season, then she’s fighting as hard as she possibly can. My thoughts and prayers are with her.