5 at 10: Cam Newton, Steelers prevail late

5 at 10: Cam Newton, Steelers prevail late

December 6th, 2010 by Jay Greeson in Sports

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is eligible to play in the SEC title game even though the NCAA says his father broke rules by shopping his son to another school. The NCAA released its finding in a statement on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is eligible to play...

Cam Newton

What else is there to say, really, about Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, who accounted for six touchdowns and more than 400 yards of offense in a dismantling of South Carolina in the SEC title game?

Newton figures to be such a runaway Heisman winner, that it's even hard to picture who will finish second. The only knock on his Heisman charge are the off-field allegations swirling about Newton's recruitment at Mississippi State and his father Cecil.

In fact, Newton's dominance has been so dramatic that the allegations are the only plausible reason someone would not vote for him as the Heisman winners. It is going to be landslide Saturday - maybe the biggest ever - and if it was not for the subplots, the only question about college football's biggest individual award would be whether it was going to unanimous or not.

Steelers prevail late

In case you missed it, the Steelers rallied to top the Baltimore Ravens late Sunday night. Here's the topped to the AP story:

"Ben Roethlisberger has a broken nose to go with his sprained right foot, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have a few more injuries to worry about.

And yet, they feel a whole lot better about their position in the playoff race than the Baltimore Ravens.

Roethlisberger threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Isacc Redman with 2:51 left after Troy Polamalu forced a fumble with a sack of Joe Flacco, and the Steelers beat the Ravens 13-10 on Sunday night to gain sole possession of first place in the AFC North.

The victory put the Steelers in control of their own destiny, although Roethlisberger would hear nothing of it in the jubilant Pittsburgh locker room.

"We can't look at it like that," he said. "When you start looking at it that way, you start to get in trouble. All I know is that we have the Bengals next week."

You kind of get the feeling that with those two teams and the two 9-2 teams - New England and the New York Jets - playing tonight on Monday Night Football, the AFC playoffs are not going to be for those with weak knees.

State championship dreams

Congrats to South Pittsburg and Signal Mountain for finishing the drills and winning state championships.

That's something that those players, coaches and fans will remember forever.

As for memories, I was on the field roughly two months ago after Bill Price and Signal won at South Pittsburg and coach Price's words stuck - and turned out to be true: "I think there were two state champions on that field tonight," Price said after the Eagles' 40-36 win over the Pirates.

He was right.

Peyton's implosion

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (18) i seen on the field during the celebration after the Colts' 30-17 win over the New York Jets in the AFC Championship NFL football game Sunday, Jan 24, 2010, in Indianapolis.The Colts advance to the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (18) i seen...

Well, that was not expected.

Peyton Manning threw as many touchdown passes to Cowboys defenders as he did Colts teammates in Sunday's shocking 38-35 overtime loss.

Manning now has thrown 11 picks in his last three games - all losses - and he is starting to flash that puzzled, pouty face that was a hallmark during the Colts' playoff struggles., in his early years.

On the good side for the Colts is they play in the AFC South, which only barely gets better marks than the AFC and NFC West. Despite their struggles, the Colts are only a game behind Jacksonville and who seriously thinks David Garrad and Co. are going to edge Indy and Manning in the end?

Falcons are NFC frontrunner

Little bit of history, the 5-at-10 staff grew up going to Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium watching the Falcons of the late 1970s and early 1980s. With the exception of the Super Bowl run in 1998 and the occasional flash in the pan offered by a Jerry Glanville or a Mike Vick, the 1978 to '82 stretch was arguably the glory days of the franchise.

Until today, that is. Coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan and Co. have this Falcons team looking like the team to beat in the NFC.

Plus, after the Falcons' rally for a 28-24 win at Tampa Bay, Smith is the first coach in the franchise's 44-year history to win 10 games in multiple seasons. Yes, that's a major-league statement about the mediocrity of the Falcons.