Monday, November 12, 2012

11/12: Upset City and A New Lakers Coach

Greetings! I'm going to try and keep this brief, but so much happened over the weekend... Let's go!

  • UPSETS! The "number one" team is both college football and the NFL fell over the weekend. #1 Alabama fell at the hands of Texas A&M by a score of 29-24, removing them from the ranks of the unbeaten and severely damaging their national title chances. Johnny Manziel (of A&M) threw for 253 yards and 2 touchdowns, while running for 92 more yards as he paced the Aggies offense to the victory. This was shocking in that it was in Tuscaloosa (where dreams go to die) and that Alabama made some non-Saban-like errors down the stretch. Crazy. In the NFL, Atlanta dropped their first game of the season with a late whimper against the lowly Saints. The Falcons had two separate chances to punch it in late and failed on the back of incomplete passes and failed Michael Turner plunges. Another big issue was allowing 31 points to Drew Brees and company, but in retrospect, I'm positive that the focus of the fans/media will be on the inability to convert red zone opportunities in the 4th quarter. This loss is much different than the Bama loss in that, in the NFL, everyone loses, and no one would ever expect Atlanta to run the table. Ho-hum. 
  • College Round-up - K-State, Oregon, and Notre Dame all held serve to remain in the top-3. None were really tested as all of them won by double-digits, but things won't be so easy going forward as the schedules harden. Louisville fell flat on its face after being the darkhorse unbeaten team. Syracuse pounded them 45-26 and effectively ended any cinderella opportunity. And finally, Florida struggled mightily with Louisiana-Lafayette before sneaking out a late TD and 27-20 victory.
  • NFL Round-up - The Giants got blitzed in Cincinnati by a score of 31-13. This was such a typical Giants no-show that it's almost not worth discussing. At any rate, Andy Dalton threw 4 touchdown passes, and that was the difference in the game for Cincy. Nothing to see here. Tennessee absolutely annihilated Miami (on the road!!) by a score of 37-3. I'm frankly blown away by this result as I thought Miami was pretty spry defensively, but this was a bloodbath. Baltimore set a club-record by scoring 55 points against Oakland. Yes, fifty-five. How bout that Raiders defense, huh!? The Cowboys scored 28 second-half points to upend the Eagles 38-23. Dallas scored 3 touchdowns in the fourth quarter... and none of them were on offense. Two fumble returns and a punt return. I'm slightly bitter about this as an opposing fantasy owner. St. Louis and San Fran played to the league's first tie since 2008. 24-24 was the final and both teams missed field goals in the overtime frame. That seems to be the only way ties can happen in the NFL since there's pretty much no scenario where a team wouldn't cross the 35-yard line, but here we are. And finally, Houston knocked off Chicago on the road by an ugly score of 13-6. This game featured 6 total turnovers and neither starting QB throwing for even 100 yards. Maybe football purists enjoyed the defensive battle, but I just thought the QB play was wretched on both sides, and there was even some Jason Campbell involved. Woo!
  • The Lakers have a new head coach... and it isn't Phil Jackson. Mike D'Antoni has inked a 4-year deal to take over on the LA sideline, and there are numerous things to discuss here. First and most obvious, this is the reunion of Nash and D'Antoni and that should produce some very good offensive returns. That's the positive. In addition, Kobe and D'Antoni have a long-time relationship, and he clearly would've signed off on the move. The bad things? Mike D'Antoni does not coach defense. At all. A healthy Dwight Howard (debatable right now) would solve a lot of ills, but LA's defense has been wretched this season, and it's not going to get better under D'Antoni. Also, the personnel is not ideal for what he wants to do. Gasol and Bryant are not "runners" at this stage in their careers, and there's no forward on this team that can really stretch the floor as as shooter. Nonetheless, he should still be an upgrade on Mike Brown, and that's good enough.
  • There was a ton of college hoops over the weekend (too much to cover) but here's a quick look. Syracuse knocked off a pesky San Diego State team 60-49 last night on the USS Midway. This was a fairly impressive with for Cuse because SDSU is a lock tournament team, and this win will look better and better as the season goes. On Friday night, Kentucky escaped with a 72-69 win over Maryland. With all of the talk about Kentucky's freshmen, I loved what I saw from junior Jarrod Polson off the bench. Just a note. UConn "upset" Michigan State 66-62. Nothing is too big of an upset early in the year, but the Huskies aren't pegged to be terribly good this year, and this one is semi-surprising. The only real upset of the weekend was Florida State going down at the hands of South Alabama. I'm all-in on FSU this year (as you'll see in the college hoops preview), but their patented defense let them down in allowing 70 to the Jaguars.
What to watch for on Monday...
  • NFL - Chiefs @ Steelers - 8:30 ESPN - What a wretched game. Kansas City stinks out loud and that's all you need to know about this one. If it's competitive in the second half, I'll be shocked.
  • NBA - Hawks @ Blazers - 10:00 SportSouth - Second of a road back-to-back for Atlanta, and they dropped the opener in an ugly fashion against LAC last night. First time for ATL fans to get a look at Mr. Lillard though.
  • NCAAB - West Virginia @ #21 Gonzaga - Midnight ESPN - This is the kick-off for the 24-hour hoops madness. The Zags have some guys that you know returning (Elias Harris, Kevin Pangos) and this should be a nice game. 

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