Notes of a Football Addict (Vol. IV)
College and pro rundown
By John Razook,
12:46PM, Thu. Sep. 23, 2010
In the interest of full disclosure, I need to lead this week's Notes with this juicy nugget of truth: I did not watch a single football game this weekend. I saw parts of several games but did not watch one in its entirety until Monday night's New Orleans-San Francisco match-up. And that was a pretty fun game, wasn't it?
The New Big 12
It was announced Tuesday that a deal has been reached that allows Colorado to leave the Big 12 next season, meaning that the new 10-team Big 12 will debut in 2011 instead of 2012, which was thought to be likely as Colorado was struggling to come to terms with the financial impact of its decision to bolt for the new Pac 12.
Count me among those who still see this development as terrible for the league. A 10-team conference is not good for football fans primarily because even though now each team will play every other team in the conference and therefore allow for a true league champion to emerge, the quality of games will suffer. Someone please tell me how an annual Texas-Iowa State game is good. Or the annual Baylor-Kansas game.
In my lifetime, four of the current Big 12 schools have won the national championship: OU, Texas, Nebraska, and Colorado. Yes, the Buffs have been down for awhile now, but they are a once-powerful program that could be again with the right people in place. Losing Nebraska and Colorado is not good for the Big 12.
But they are gone, just like the concept of a sound (and sane) Republican party, and will soon be forgotten. At least until Nebraska begins regularly playing Ohio State for the Big 10 championship. My guess is that at that time some folks around Texas will start wishing things were like they used to be, when a big game against the Cornhuskers gave cause for excitement … excitement that simply won't exist as the Longhorns prepare for their annual grudge match against the Iowa State Cyclones.
Money is king, I suppose, and the collected wisdom says that the remaining schools will make a whole lot of it when TV contracts are reworked in the near future. Of course, no one seems to be mentioning that the league is much less attractive having lost a Nebraska, and the possibility that the rich contract promised the remaining schools might not be so rich after all.
There is plenty of blame to go around. The way the whole deal shook down is questionable at best. What role, exactly, did Texas and Texas A&M play? Or the Texas Legislature, for that matter? How in hell did the remaining schools allow the governor of Missouri and the Mezzo chancellor to badmouth everything from Oklahoma State and Texas Tech's academics to the looks of the girls in Iowa while desperately trying to secure an invitation to the Big 10 (which never came) and not pay any kind of penalty?
Yes, this whole thing stinks of something akin to Barney Frank in a men's locker room after a vigorous workout. On the other hand, losing Colorado and Nebraska makes the league a much better basketball conference.
But this column is called "Notes of a Football Addict," isn't it? You bet. And in football terms, securing $16 million to say goodbye to half of the schools that have won a football national championship in the last 20 years is bad. Very, very bad.
Favre-ites No More
You can also count me among the unsurprised to see Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings failing gloriously to live up to the hype and preseason prognostications that had them seen as one of the five or so best teams in the entire NFL.
The question really is who is worse … the Vikings or the Cowboys?
Both are playing sloppy football. Both are surrounded with more hype than they are capable of dealing with. Both have owners who again and again make questionable, at best, decisions. Both had aspirations of challenging the Saints for best in the NFC status. Both are seeing those dreams flushed down the drain before the season is even a quarter of the way through.
Precious few teams begin a season 0-2 and wind up doing much of anything. I expect to see the trend continue. Sorry, Jerry Jones.
In other NFL-related matters, the New York Jets perhaps put an end to the talk that the New England Patriots are back. The Jets needed a win more badly than any other team last week. They got it, and maybe saved their season.
I know, I know … it's crazy to talk about "saving a season" after two weeks. It's crazy to talk about trends of any kind after only two weeks. Crazy, sure, but dammit, it's fun. Since I refuse to get into this fantasy football thing ("fantasy" and "football" being two words that belong together about as the same as "Vince Young" and "quarterback" or "Oakland Raiders" and "football team"), talking is about all I've got.
'Gamer of the Game'
This week's award goes to Michael Vick. Not only did he survive a grueling prison sentence for that whole dogfighting business, but he gets to play football and make millions of dollars again. And now he's been named the Eagles starting quarterback. Only in America …
Question of the Week
This week's best (and so far only) question comes from Tom Jaxton of Lockhart.
Q: "How is it possible for a team (Air Force) to lose a game (to OU) and actually move up in the rankings?"
A: I don't know. Maybe people shouldn't pay as much attention to polls. It certainly worked for George Bush.
That's all for now, friends. I plan on watching a lot more football this weekend, at least when I'm not busy catching bass in an Oklahoma lake. We'll talk again next week.