NFL Power Poll
How did we get here? The NFL is as top heavy as MLB, which is staggering considering the steps the NFL gurus take to try to secure everyone is fighting to go from 7-9 to 9-7. Which means, the NFL wants every team to be the Tennessee Titans.
True or false or a Tuesday, if, counting this season and going for the next nine seasons, there would be no tougher bet than Titans' over/under win total for a decade at 80? We'd say true to that. Which way would you go on Titans' over/under wins for the next 10 years?
Check them out. Take the one full year disaster that was Ken Whisenhunt (2-14 in 2014) and here are the results since 2007: 10-6, 13-3, 8-8, 6-10, 9-7, 6-10, 9-7, 3-13, 9-7 and 9-7. Those 10 years — again, that's without the 2014 disaster — produced an 82-78 mark friends.
This year? Yep, the Titans are 5-5. Welcome to the middle everyone.
L.A. Rams (11-1). The Rams have clinched their division and now have a one-game lead on the Saints for the all-important No. 1 seed and the right to host the Saints in the NFC title game. That's right the NFC is a two-team race. In the quagmire of mediocrity, what other NFC team do you believe in? The Bears, who just lost to the Giants, have the QB options of Chase Daniel and Mitchell Trubisky at QB and are relying on Tarik Cohen as their offensive difference maker? PUH-lease. The Cowboys, who have somehow made all of us forget two-plus months of being Titans-esque because the Redskins secondary can't tackle and the Saints came out soft last Thursday night? Yeah, no thanks.
New Orleans (10-2). As bad as last Thursday was, let's be really clear here. That was far from a blue-print on how to beat the Saints in Dallas last Thursday. If that's the case, then coaching football would be as easy as this: "Hey men, let's pressure the quarterback. Clear eyes, full hearts Can't Lose!" That said, the Saints hold on to No. 2, which is also the place Drew Brees now occupies in the MVP race. Plus, the Saints being here is as much because of the weekend the Chiefs had than anything else.
Kansas City (10-2). The Chiefs now have the highest scoring offense in football at 37 points per. But the dismissal of Kareem Hunt means that the load falls even more on Patrick Mahomes and that passing offense. And know this friends, in an AFC playoff race that will be as cut-throat as the news team battles in "Anchorman" — "I've had enough of you Mantooth" and yes, they will escalate in a hurry — being one-dimensional Belichick or the pass rushers from the Chargers, Steelers or Texans could spell a quick end to a glorious run. And while we're here, please do not start with congratulating the Chiefs on taking a stand and doing the 'right' thing for cutting Kareem Hunt for the domestic violence charge. It happened in February people. Hunt was waived not for the attack, which was brutal; Hunt was released because the video got out. Plain and simple. No video — even if reports of the charges were unearthed — and no worries friends. Believe that.
New England (9-3). Kansas City has a one-game edge, but the Chiefs lost to the Pats earlier this year, and know this: As crazy as the AFC playoffs could be with five teams at 9-3 or better and that's not counting the explosive Steelers, if the tournament goes through Foxboro, it may all be a dramatic dog and pony show. (Side note: On first type, we wrote, "dong and pony show" which is completely inappropriate from a family-oriented, interweb-based discussion.) Anyhoo, wanna guess the Pats' record at home? They've played six and they've won six. Any questions?
Houston (9-3). The hottest team in the league without question. Houston has won nine straight — the next closest streak is Dallas, which has won four in a row — and are frankly may be the most complete team in the NFL. The offense is littered with weapons — from Deshaun Watson to Lamar Miller to DeAndre Hopkins, who is the best A1 wide receiver in the game that no one talks about — but the defense is extremely salty. The Texans are allowing 19.6 points per game, which ranks third in the NFL and is almost eight points per better than the 27.3 the Chiefs allow per game.
Atlanta (4-8). Hey, the Falcons are right there with the Lions, the Giants, the Bills and the Jags with that dreadful 4-8 mark. Are they the worst among those teams? Of course not. But we're bitter and angry and wanted to discuss the levels of dysfunction that are clearly beyond the injuries for this franchise. You should not be this bad with this many workable pieces in an NFL that is dominated by the passing game. The lines — both sides — need major upgrades, and yes the injuries at safety and linebacker and running back are noticeable, but Sunday against the Ravens, the Falcons looked like they quit. Hey, I'm all for tanking this time of year — there's nothing worse than being the Titans and either getting the final wildcard spot or missing it on a tie-breaker and picking 16th every year — but there's a difference between tanking and quitting friends.
New York Jets (3-9). The Jets have lost a league-worst six straight and almost assuredly will part ways with Todd Bowles and Co. at the end of the year. Do you think Mike McCarthey, the recently jettisoned Packers coach, will be the hot name on the market? Maybe, but if dude can't win big with Aaron Rodgers, what's he going to do with second-year Sam Darnold and an offense that is so limited that it really misses something called Bilal Powell. Seriously. There likely will be a slew of openings in the league this year, which means Nick Saban will get a monster raise. Again.
Arizona (3-9). How isolated and unknown is this franchise? Can you name their coach? (It's Steve Wilks, and we could because we have done this before.) But if you ask Google about "Arizona football coach" it's all about Kevin Sumlin. If you type in "Cardinals football coach" it's all about Louisville reportedly hiring Scott Satterfield from App State. Know this though: The Cardinals won at Green Bay on Sunday in a game the Packers absolutely had to have. That's a credit to the coaching staff that this bunch is still playing hard, no? (It's also dumb considering the draft equity that can be lost by winning three meaningless December games.)
San Francisco (2-10). Speaking of domestic abuse, the multiple chances the 49ers allowed Reuben Foster — dude hauls more baggage than Delta — has put a very strong fire under GM John Lynch's seat. He traded up to get Foster a couple of years ago, and after watching the linebacker at Alabama, the talent warranted such a move. But several teams had removed Foster from their board completely because of his issues. Lynch, who also backed the truck up to Jimmy Garoppolo's agent's house despite all seven of his NFL starts before this season, will need the 49ers to be much closer to the above list than this one next year to keep his gig.
Oakland (2-10). The Raiders are eyeing a very lofty pick in a very skimpy QB draft. We know this. What we don't know is what the future holds for Derek Carr and his franchise-guy contract. Carr's 95.2 QB rating is in line with some dude named Brady (96.8) but narrowly ahead of the much-maligned Eli Manning (93.7). In truth, Dak Prescott's 95.4 is right above Carr in the stats, and it's funny to think that Prescott's recent ascension has coincided with Dallas using Amari Cooper — the former Raiders teammate of Carr of course — more effectively. That has to be decision No. 1 for Team Gruden: Is Carr the guy or not?
Let's get to some college football statements, shall we? You know the drill.
Sentence. Declaration of statement, overstatement, understatement. Rinse and repeat.
Tua Tagovailoa is a slam dunk Heisman winner. Overstatement. It would have been a statement (and maybe even an understatement) this time last week, but fortunes change and the last images of the two-quarterback Heisman race got Kyler Murray right back into the mix. And it was not even as much about Tua's struggles Saturday against Georgia and with injuries or Murray's brilliance as Oklahoma avenged its lone loss of the season to punch its playoff pass. Tua's injuries aside, he was outperformed by his back-up Jalen Hurts, who pulled Alabama's bacon out of the fire in the fourth quarter. Think of it this way: The biggest argument against Brady in the GOAT discussion and the Brady vs. Belichick debate is that Belichick and the Patriots went 11-5 the year Brady tore his ACL in week 1. Tua has been aces — and we still think he will win Saturday night — but you can't help but wonder how many folks could churn up monster numbers with Alabama's talent and staff around them. (Here's TFP all-around college football ace — and Heisman voter — David Paschall's excellent story in today's paper.)
Army-Navy is the second-best rivalry game for everyone. Statement, and if it's not, then you for you then you are doing it wrong. Every college football fan can have their game. Iron Bowl. Cocktail Party. Third Saturday in October. The Game. The Apple Cup. You know what I mean. But after that the Army-Navy game needs to be in everyone's discussion. What a scene, right? And we'd loved to go to that game at some point. The students marching in. The energy. The spirit. (We're still on Army. Lay the 6.5.) And here's hoping the snow hits this year. Nothing better than those dudes in those offenses running right into the middle of the line or wheeling the option outside in 6-plus inches of powder.
Tennessee has to hire Hugh Freeze as its OC. Overstatement. Hey, Hugh Freeze is a good football coach, and in the right fit, he could be an excellent OC as he tried to rebuild his career. But the most important 'F' word in that sentence is not Freeze. It's fit. Whomever the next UT play-caller is must be someone with whom Jeremy Pruitt feels comfortable and confident. Period. If that's Freeze, then excellent. But getting a big, recognized name is not as important as getting the right dude. Again with the 'F' words: It's fit more than fancy or fashionable friends.
THE 30-for-30 on this season for THE Ohio State is going to be epic. Understatement. On every level. Which brings us to
Urban Liar resigning
Can't say we're surprised. Heck, we have been saying this for the better part of the last month.
Reports have Urban Liar resigning as THE head coach at THE Ohio State.
When asked about said reports, Urban issued the ever vague "No comment." And considering this dude changes his mind — that is when he can remember all those pesky details, that is — more than a teenage girl getting dressed for her first date, well, who knows.
Now maybe this was a text that will be deleted. Maybe this is a decision under the medication that makes him forget stuff. And hey, if he does change his mind, at least the powers that be can say this is a step in the right direction because at least he handled this through the proper chain of command, you know?
What, too harsh? Poppycock. Urban Liar is an amazing coach but there's no possible way anyone believes he's good dude is there?)
So that's a wrap for Urban. At least for now.
He's, by every measure, the best college football coach not named Nick Saban, in the game. (Sorry Dabo, Urban's got more credentials. But hey, D, you're No. 2 now.)
And his career numbers are staggeringly good. Scratch that. They are amazing.
Check this: He's 82-9 at THE Ohio State. He's 186-32 overall and 11-3 in bowl games. (Side note: Did you know that Meyer was a 13th-round pick by the Atlanta Braves as a shortstop in 1982? Me neither.) Maybe even more amazing, Meyer was 90-16 in conference games in the SEC and Big Ten.
He has three nattys and seven conference titles — two MountainWest at Utah, two SEC at Florida and three Big Ten at THE Ohio State — on his resume. He was the Sports Illustrated coach of the decade for the 2000s.
Dude could coach.
And right after those monster credentials, the next paragraph on his career obit will be filled with the endless controversies and scandals in his time at Florida and THE Ohio State.
There were 31 arrests of players during Meyer's time at Florida — and that does not even include accused murderer Aaron Hernandez — and we all know THE hubbub with Zach Smith and the far-reaching ripples of that.
So it goes. Reports have Ryan Day taking over for Liar, and we're sure he's a good coach and all.
But there's no way he's Urban Meyer — and that's both good and bad.
This and that
— Where's the national media saying that Greg Schiano should be getting the job at THE Ohio State. Someone get Dan Wolken on the blower for some much-needed P.R.
— It's really not that hard people. The Boston Red Sox are planning on going to the White House after winning the World Series and Alex Cora — who's is from Puerto Rico — has said he will use the platform properly. That's such a better approach than previous grade-school-level antics, no?
— Kelly Bryant, the former Clemson starting QB, is picking his transfer destination today. That will be a very big deal for a school and a coach.
True or false, Urban Meyer will never be a head football coach again.
True or false, you are ready for Wednesday's release of the annual 5-at-10 Bowl game challenge. Who's with me.. Let's gooooooooooo.
True or false, Tua will win the Heisman.
Bonus pick: True or false, Kareem Hunt will be on an NFL roster next year.
As for today, Dec. 4, wow, Jay-Z has a birthday today. He's 49.
On this day in 1943, MLB commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis announced any club could sign black players.
Crazy Horse would have been 178 today.
Jeff Bridges is 69 today. Rushmore of 'Dude' in honor of Bridges' excellent turn as "Dude" in the Big Lebowski. Go and be creative.