From the "Al Davis Studios," here we go...
NFL Power Poll
OK, we have to take the Detroit Lions seriously now, right. They overpowered the defending NFC North champion Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. They have built a defense that can control the run and pressure with wave upon wave of standout defensive linemen. They have the ultimate difference -maker on the perimeter in Calvin Johnson. (Somehow during last night's broadcast, Jon Gruden how Calvin Johnson, who is 6-foot-5 with a wingspan that is almost 7 feet and has a 40-plus-inch vertical leap, has a catch range the size of a two-car garage, and it made sense.)
They will lose a game because they have not been there before, but they are for real. (And they have been a bettor's dream - getting points two weeks ago against Dallas and giving only 5.5 to Chicago in Monday's 24-13 win. In fact the Lions are 12-0-1 against the spread in their last 13 games. Stunning huh?)
On to the power poll:
1) Green Bay: How would it feel to be Detroit, and be the feel good team in the entire league and know deep down in places you don't talk about at parties that you really don't have a chance to win your division because Green Bay is simply awesome.
2) Detroit: The 5-at-10 is a believer, especially with that defensive line coming in mad numbers.
3) New England: Hello Ben Jarvis-Green Ellis. Tom Brady with a running game is against some NFL rules of fairness, right?
4) New Orleans: Drew Brees has been awesome. Maybe it was his appearance on the stage at the TFP's Best of Preps banquet that really inspired him this year/ Thoughts?
5) Baltimore: There are lot of tough one-loss teams (and San Francisco has been impressive), but the Ravens have a lot of pieces in the right places.
28) Atlanta: OK, maybe there are other teams that belong here, but the Falcons are just slightly less disappointing than Philadelphia. Boy, the 5-at-10 was wicked wrong about this bunch - we thought they had legit Super Bowl dreams. Heck, they're only the third best team in the NFC South.
29) Philadelphia: The Eagles had an NFL-best 6-to-1 odds to make the playoffs six weeks ago. Today, with the "Dream Team" at 1-4, it's 50-to-1.
30) St. Louis: The Rams have be thankful for the Cardinals magical baseball run. That way maybe they can win before anyone in St. Louis notices how bad they are.
31) Miami: Reggie Bush was out partying after a recent loss, and he took heat for it. Hey, if you played for a team as bad as Miami, you'd look for ways to forget about it, too.
32) Indianapolis: Yes Peyton Manning is on the shelf. But c'mon, injuries, simjuries. How about playing with pride? The Colts blew a 17-0 lead in a 28-24 loss Kansas City Chiefs, who are hardly the 1985 Bears to begin with and have suffered season-ending injuries to their best offensive AND defensive players. Gross.
Tear, college football is half empty
College football has hit the halfway point - yes, we're upset about that - and with the game of century looming on the horizon with LSU and Alabama playing Nov. 5, now is as good a time as any to look at some of the national highlights through the first half.
Player of the year: Russell Wilson, Wisconsin by the slimmest of margins over Standford QB Andrew Luck
Defensive player of the year: Duh, it's the Honey Badger, LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. (And if you have not seen the Honey Badger youtube clip, well, you need to. It has some cussing but remember, "Honey Badger don't care.")
Coach of the year: We'll reserve judgment between the winner of Georgia Tech and Clemson because Tech's Paul Johnson and Clemson's Dabo Swinney have those teams in the national title talk when no one did six weeks ago.
Game of the year: Michigan-Notre Dame with three lead-changing TDs in the final 90-plus seconds.
Biggest disappointment: Florida State, and it's not that close after Saturday's lost to Wake Forest.
Stupid, stupid and it's about time
Three quick things that puzzle the rationale of the human mind:
- The NBA did not resolve its labor issues, meaning that NBA commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the NBA season. That's canceled with a C and means like done and over. Not only do fans loathe the thought of missing games (fewer tickets, changed schedules, historic implications, etc.), once you have broken the seal on canceling games then it becomes easier and easier to cancel games. Think of it this way: When you have a $100 bill in your pocket, it's way easier to keep it as a $100 bill. You don;t want to break. But when you do, you spend $10 here and $15 there and before you know it that hundo is like 12 bucks and some Skittles.
- Why did the Milwaukee Brewers continue to pitch Albert Pujols? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
- Arizona fired football coach Mike Stoops on Monday. What took you guys so long? Stoops, who appears to be the Jimmy Carter of the Stoops coaching brothers, was 41-50 in 7-and-a-half seasons with the Wildcats and had lost 10 straight games to FCS opponents. Wow, not good.
This and that
- After going 3-2 this week, the Fab 4-plus 1 is now 19-8-1 on the season. We thought we included that in Monday's 5-at-10, but JordanRules reminded us that we had not. He also said, "You're not going to get a rise out of me by saying people are better than MJ. It's not going to happen because you know it's not true and I know it's not true. You are being childish and stupid and it makes you look silly..... Na-na na-na boo-boo. I know you are what am I." OK, we made up that last part, but you get the idea, and we're so, So, SO sorry about being childish. We'd get more into this but we're late for finger-painting, and today we're going to draw the five players better than MJ at their age.
- Signal Mountain High School's administration appears to be exploring their appeal options. Here's our prep ace Ward Gossett's report (Signal Mountain High School considers appeal). Time is a crucial piece of this so expect more news as it develops.
- TCU accepted the Big 12 invite. Missouri has had double-secret commissions to explore joining the SEC (Here's a tip Missouri, if the SEC asks, you join, it's that simple. Please make that consulting check out to "The 5-at-10 Inc." Thanks.) The Memphis president said the Tigers "deserve" to be in the SEC. There's talk that Boise State, which is not a state but is in Idaho, which is wicked West of here, may be invited to join the Big East. Wow, the odd numbers and made expansion craze have left some of the non-big-boy programs feeling quite uppity, huh?
This is a two-way family-oriented, Interweb-based sports column. We not only want your feedback, we're depending on it. So, knowing that and knowing that the king that is college football is halfway over, what say you:
At the halfway point of the college season, what are your biggest moments?
Which teams or players have surprised you the most - good or bad?
Or maybe just finish this sentence, "When I think of the first half of the 2011 college football season, I think __."