Game Time: Weekend Review

I hope everyone had a great weekend, and that you were all able to enjoy the nice weather by moving your television and recliner into your driveway to watch football on TV.  I'd like to start off by welcoming the Texans to this new thing for them called "November".  Boys, I know in the past this has typically been the month where you start making hotel reservations for your first post season golf trip (or if you're a wide receiver, this is the month you hope and pray that Andre Johnson makes the Pro Bowl and he brings you with him to Hawaii), but you need to know that for good teams this is when the season begins.  Games matter more, possessions are more valuable, and you need to bring it all 60 minutes.  You appear to be one of the "good teams this year.  Don't screw it up.

Texans-Bills: Player of the Game

Watching the Texans-Bills game yesterday, the thought that kept going through my head was "Wow, the Texans actually have some depth!" (Actually, I'm lying. The thought that kept going through my head was Burger King is going to crush McDonald's selling these quarter pound cheeseburgers for a buck! GENIUS!) So I know it sounds and feels overly cute to do something like this (and Ryan Moats or Brian Cushing is the easy choice), but to me the Player of the Game this weekend was the Rick Smith/Gary Kubiak combination -- Smith for personnel selection (although Kubiak has a hand in that) and Kubiak for coaching them up.

Seriously, look at the guys making contributions yesterday: Steve Slaton is eating a bowl of fumble-aya, so in comes Ryan Moats for 120+ yards, running behind an offensive line whose starting guards at the beginning of the season (Chester Pitts and Mike Briesel) are BOTH on injured reserve.  Kudos to Kasey Studdard and Chris White holding things down at both guard spots.

Speaking of injured reserve, the population on the Texans list grew by one really significant name on Sunday when Owen Daniels went down with an ACL tear. Rookie James Casey came in and contributed a couple catches.  On the defensive side of the ball, the guy setting the tone is Brian Cushing, walking/hitting/playmaking proof that sometimes the obvious draft pick is obvious for a reason. My point is it wasn't that long ago that we were debating whether or not an NFL caliber running back even existed on the roster or that Petey Faggins was playing meaningful snaps for this team. Personnel-wise, they've come a long way.

While the Texans deserve credit for establishing a new benchmark for the franchise at 5-3 midway through the season, the flip side is ... well, they're a franchise whose benchmark is 5-3 midway through the season.  In other words, we're still a ways off from breaking ground on that Houston Texans Hall of Fame.  We'll find out more about this team this weekend in Indianapolis.

College Thoughts

Longhorns move up to #2: Texas picked a good week to play their best game of the season and get a win that carries some BCS equity, trouncing Oklahoma State in Stillwater, 41-14. Why was it a particularly good week to have a dominant prime time performance? Well, because then #2 ranked Alabama was busy this weekend playing the one opponent that you can't put up style points against ... "BYE". Out of sight, out of mind, and down to #3 go the Crimson Tide. Not a big deal for them since winning out will get Bama a shot at Florida in the SEC title game, but a bigger deal for Texas as they put some safety daylight between them and the other undefeated teams (Iowa, Cincy, TCU, Boise).

Honestly, other than that minor glitch of Alabama getting bumped down on a bye week (and even that is somewhat defendable given that when we last saw them they were barely escaping at home against an average Tennessee team), the rest of the BCS makes pretty good sense. The undefeated teams are all bunched at the top, Boise State is ahead of Oregon (who they beat), Houston is ahead of Oklahoma State (who they beat), it's all good.

Heisman exasperation: Watch any college football broadcast this weekend and at some point, the announcers pontificate for a segment about the Heisman Trophy race. (Usually, the segment is complete with graphics and a sponsor .. "The Flomax Heisman Update ... if you watch Tim Tebow and get an erection for more than four hours, call your doctor!") The common theme this weekend was literally every broadcast team I saw lamenting the fact that "No one wants to this thing!" or "There are no good candidates!!", including ESPN's Friday night broadcast team of Joe Tessi-something and Rod Gilmore saying that the leader was "Nobody, Nada, Nyet" (or something like that).

Let me translate all of this media hand wringing for all of you ... "Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy have been mediocre to average this season, and Sam Bradford is hurt, and all of us had the three of them as the top three so the problem is college football, not us, your so-called experts." The fact of the matter is Case Keenum, Jimmy Clausen, Kellen Moore, Mark Ingram, Jerry Hughes, Golden Tate and Ndamukong Suh are all having fantastic seasons worthy of the Heisman Trophy. However, go ahead and assume that with both Florida and Texas posting dominant wins this weekend, you'll see lots of "Finally, the Heisman race has gotten going!" garbage from writers and broadcasters.

Weekend bloodbath: Well, hopefully none of you were trying to pay the mortgage using my picks last weekend that I posted in this space. Of my four college picks, I got as many correct as [fill in name of dead guy here]. 0-4 ... Nebraska allowing a completely inept Baylor team a backdoor cover, Michigan and Central Michigan melting down on the road (have fun in the UFL, Dan LeFevour), and Notre Dame's third team defense allowing a back door cover to Washington State. Not even going 2-0 on my NFL picks could take the sting out of the most frightening Halloween I've ever experienced.

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