Hold On There, Partner

September 20, 2010

We were all about ready to say that the Big Ten might be as good as the SEC this year. Unfortunately for Jim Delany, everyone is holding their tongues to avoid a premature anointment of greatness. The top of the Big Ten, save Ohio State (who rolled to a 43-7 victory over in-state rival Ohio), did not look very good at all this past weekend. Although the Buckeyes won, they still showed a weakness that has proven to be, at least at this point in the season, their only vulnerability; special teams. Iowa got into the mess that they did in the first half thanks to a blocked punt (which resulted in a touchdown) and a kickoff return for a touchdown. Wisconsin didn’t look solid on special teams either, other than their block of Arizona State’s extra point attempt in the fourth quarter, which ultimately proved to be the difference in a 20-19 Badgers win. What does all this say so far about the Big Ten? Well, since one of their best went down this past weekend, another survived a scare at home, and a third didn’t have much trouble against a walkover (but still didn’t look great on special teams), they need to fix the special teams dilemma. The weakness was highlighted in Ohio State’s game against Miami two weekends ago. If the Big Ten wants to have a realistic shot of dethroning the SEC, they need to be able to contain these speedy return men, of which are plenty in the SEC. Special teams can win or lose games, and if the Big Ten wants to be on the winning side, they need to tighten up the special teams.

Part of being an NFL fan is that you must proclaim your team the greatest with each win, and cover your head to avoid a piece of the sky falling with each loss. This is especially true considering a team which, on paper, has all the tools to hold up the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season. Yes, I am talking about the Dallas Cowboys. It is hard to pinpoint what the real problem is for the Cowboys. They have been in close games with teams who may be surprisingly difficult to beat this year (sure, Chicago was a controversial call away from losing in Detroit. They are 2-0, though. Washington followed up their win against Dallas with a valiant effort against the 2-0 Texans). Tony Romo hasn’t played terribly, either. I think that Dallas themselves are a little confused, which is why it has been rather quiet from the Cowboys camp. No one is pointing fingers. Yet. However, the Cowboys get to face the Houston Texans this weekend for their first road test. A third loss to start the season and fingers will be flying in every direction. The only mystery will be at whom.

I really hope that the Colorado Rockies make the playoffs. It seems that each year, the Rockies catch fire at precisely the right time in order to make a run for the playoffs, and add excitement to what can often be a rather bland National League picture. Now that Troy Tulowitzki is back, he has energized this Colorado team once again, and is playing like the best player in baseball. If the Rockies do manage to make the playoffs, I don’t see why they can’t make it all the way to the World Series, much like they did back in 2007. Statistically, the Rockies’ pitching performance as a whole is not any better than the Phillies’ pitching. However, thanks to the play of guys like Tulowitzski and Colorado’s consistent raising of the bar deep into the season, I think it would be an extremely exciting series. If the Rockies don’t make in the NLCS, then I think the league is the Phillies for the taking once again (that is, of course, assuming that they make the playoffs as well). I don’t see enough from San Diego or San Francisco to suggest otherwise, and I think that Cincinnati’s inexperience in the playoffs will ultimately be their demise.

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– K. Becks

2 Responses to Hold On There, Partner

  1. Coleman on September 22, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Kyle I gotta know your opinion of the Eagles' decision to start Vick over Kolb.

  2. K. Becks on September 23, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    The short answer is: I think it's a bad move. If you want a longer answer, I kind of answered it more in depth in this post: http://aroundthecornsportsblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/decisions-decisions.html

    If that still doesn't satisfy you, I can make it a point to include that issue in my next post that isn't dedicated to college football. Granted, it'll probably be after Vick starts this weekend, but my opinion probably won't change.

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