Sunday, September 30, 2018

The debacle at Commonwealth. (CFL)

You would think I'd be happy and quite euphoric after seeing a 30-3 result in favour of my Blue Bombers over the Eskimos, in Edmonton. Yes, they scored offensive and defensive touchdowns. Yes, they moved up two spots in the standings. Yes, it was a wide margin.


Winnipeg has lacked consistency for most of the season. They've had good games, and they've had stinkers. Edmonton's season started pretty well, before the wheels started coming off in the last five or six weeks. Personally, this was more about the Eskimos having a really bad game then the Blue Bombers having a really good game. Mike Reilly doesn't usually throw shit passes and get picked off like a rookie QB. The Eskimo defence doesn't always look like Swiss cheese.

While the Blue Bombers have amassed more points for than any team in the CFL this year, they can't afford to carry inconsistency into the playoffs (providing something stupid doesn't happen and knock them out) and expect to win. I love seeing my team win, and win big. Problem is, I don't want to see them stagger into the playoff race and get bounced.

In the CFL, expect the unexpected.

Things I took note of in the NCAA yesterday. (NCAA)

I managed to catch some action from several of the entertaining games yesterday, and also watched some highlights in between of other games. While there was not that many surprises yesterday, I did see a few things that piqued my interest.

Notre Dame's defence. The Fighting Irish already have one of the best offences in college football, but it was also their defence making some great plays yesterday, from hurrying the Stanford QB to picking off a pass at a pivotal moment. I don't think the Irish defence is getting enough credit as of late. This team proved they could knock off a higher-seeded team when they needed to, and elevated themselves to another level.

Hey Penn State, what the fuck? That last offensive play call with less than two minutes left handed the game to Ohio State, who could've been handed their first loss this season. Penn State was faced with a 4th and 5 scenario, and elected to go for it. But seriously, a RUNNING PLAY? Both teams had taken their time, called timeouts, and gotten ready. Ohio State's defence pulled the safeties in, and was prepared for a run, which Penn State obliged. What a stupid way to end a game and screw your school's chances of a National Championship. Whoever called that play should lose his job. Period.

What's up, Wolverines? Michigan as a whole looked confused and out of touch for most of the game against Northwestern, before finally erasing a 17-0 deficit and coming back to win from behind. The defence looked gassed in the first half, the offence was terrible, and all the huffing and puffing of Jim Harbaugh on the sidelines didn't do much to help. I got nothing against the Wolverines, but in my mind, they don't look like a Bowl-calibre team so far.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Tonight's TNF match-up. (NFL)

Well, it's Thursday again, which means there is football to be watched. Tonight's game features the Minnesota Vikings playing the Los Angeles Rams, in Los Angeles. This game might be a good game, but I believe it's going to be a stinker by the time the final whistle blows. Historically, Thursday Night Football games are lacklustre contests between crap teams, or the match-up is just plain lopsided and not very fun to watch.

The Rams are undefeated in their first three games, rolling along like a well-oiled machine, thanks in part to the offence, as well as their stingy defence, and of course Mr. McVay. Jared Goff is putting up consistent numbers, and generally keeps out of trouble whenever possible (as in few INT's and such).

The Vikings however, are already at a crossroads in this young season. Kirk Cousins looked worse than a rookie last week, hardly doing anything of warrant, and getting himself picked off as well. For someone who was made the highest paid quarterback out there, he needs to produce, and soon. Getting smoked by the Bills of all teams was a black mark on his performance as a whole. This game is being played in L.A. and I don't see the Vikings coming away with a win. The Rams just might make this a shit show, and continue the long line of Thursday stinkers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

East versus West heading into the playoffs.... (CFL)

If anyone has looked at the CFL standings as of late, it's easy to see what a mess they are. The East is again weak as shit this year, and the West is an ever-shuffling race to either the finish, or obscurity.
As recent as a few weeks ago, the Blue Bombers were sitting in third place, holding onto a playoff spot. Now, they sit fifth, and look as if they won't even be good enough to use the crossover rule and get into the post-season as an East team.

Calgary continues to sit on the top of the West (*yawn*), while Edmonton and Saskatchewan are fighting it out for the number two seed. In the East, Ottawa pretty much has a lock on first place, while Hamilton will more than likely stay in second, and get thumped in the first round of the playoffs. The Grey Cup picture is looking more and more like we'll get a rematch of 2016, a game that will again feature the Redblacks and Stampeders. The only way that will change would be if Edmonton can turn on the juice down the home stretch.

As for the teams not making the playoffs..... Toronto and Montreal are guaranteed to miss out in the East, while the battle between BC and Winnipeg for the crossover will come down to whoever screws up the least in the last several weeks of the season. Personally, I'm silently hoping that there will be some balance in the standings next year, with the East hopefully getting some lustre back. Until then, we just have to wait and see where the dice land.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Sunday's football, and what I got from it. (NFL)

A slew of interesting things happened in yesterday's NFL action, but I think I will only mention the top three things I saw go down throughout the day. Needless to say, most of it isn't good. But, I digress. My expectations were once again too high.

Green Bay Packers. As was the case in the first two games of the season, Clay Matthews got levied with a ridiculous penalty for roughing the passer. I'm sorry, but that hit yesterday by Matthews was textbook, and very much a clean hit. The recipient, a one Alex Smith, even said so himself after the game. For some reason, the Packers have fun afoul of some serious behind-the-scenes nonsense, and are getting screwed every which way possible. As a football fan, this is really starting to grind my gears with these 'improved' rules and garbage penalties. NFL = No Fun League.

Jimmy G goes down and out. Jimmy Garoppolo managed to tear his ACL in the left knee when he made a cut to avoid a tackle with the ball. The franchise quarterback, signed to mega-money in the off-season, is likely done for the year. The list of players ending on on the IR is getting bigger, and now it seems that the 49ers season has gone down the toilet. I hate to see this happen to my team, and it looked as if this season was going to be awesome. Now.....doom and gloom.

The Big Breesy. No one can seemingly stop Drew Brees. Not only did he eclipse the all-time NFL completions mark, but also continued to put up great numbers as he always seems to do. I like Drew Brees, mainly because of his consistency, and also because he's a class act. He's fun to watch, and is apparently ageless. He'll definitely go down as one of the greats......if he ever retires.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Alex Smith and why the 49ers should have kept him. (NFL)

In his seven seasons as a San Francisco 49er, Alex Smith had some good years, and some bad years. He had some amazing numbers in some games, and sat out others with injuries, one of them leading to his trade to the Kansas City Chiefs. At the time, it might have seemed like a good idea to trade Smith and go with the more flamboyant Colin Kaepernick, who had led them to a Super Bowl appearance, losing the game eventually.

I am of the opinion that after said Super Bowl loss, the team should have built itself more around Smith, acquiring even more weapons and bolstering the defence further. Consider this: The 49ers had one of the best rosters they had been able to field in recent years, having the likes of Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Aldon Smith, and Navorro Bowman, just to name a few. The smart thing would have been to get even more star players and stand outs, and take the team to the next level.

Instead, the team focused on Kaepernick, who was soon figured out by opposing teams and exposed as the one-dimensional player he was. This was of course, a while before he became a travelling sideshow. Smith on the other hand, continues to have a stellar career, putting up great numbers with the Chiefs before being traded in the off-season to a struggling Washington Redskins team. Who was at fault for Smith's departure from San Francisco? Was it Jim Harbaugh? Was it the front office? Was it ownership, who seemed to be more obsessed with money that championships? Who knows. One thing is for sure, however: Alex Smith would have won the Niners a Super Bowl or two.

Officiating is at an all-time low. (NFL/CFL/NCAA)

As evidenced in the first two weeks of the NFL season, first three weeks of the NCAA, and so far all season in the CFL, referees and officials alike are screwing up at an alarming rate, throwing flags like confetti, and upholding/overturning calls that really never made sense in the first place. I'm going to highlight an officiating issue from each of the three leagues as per what I have witnessed.

Targeting. I understand completely that in the NCAA, the targeting rule was put in place to protect quarterbacks and/or defenceless players from taking helmet to helmet hits and cutting down on concussions or worse. What I don't understand is why NCAA referees who after watching the replay (it is required that the play is reviewed for targeting) still call it when it was blatantly clear that the player hit the other player with a shoulder, or went out his way to go low or avoid the collision outright. Targeting is bad, but screwing up the call is worse.

Command centre review. As if the CFL referees weren't bad enough already (This mean YOU Tom Vallesi and you Andre Proulx!), it gets made even worse when the CFL's 'command centre' (overpaid monkeys) weigh in on the issue at hand. I'd like to know what the command centre is looking at when they either uphold or overturn some of the flags, and/or if they are watching the same game as the rest of us at that time. Too many plays are getting butchered by over-officiating, and the CFL is by far the worst when it comes to this.

As for officiating in the NFL..... In the words of the late, great Vince Lombardi, "What the hell is going on out here?!?!"

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Alabama, Nick Saban, and why college football is a joke some days! (NCAA)

Year after year it's the same thing in the NCAA. The schedule is put together by a bunch of uneducated bean counters that don't want us as fans to have too many good matchups, while Alabama seemingly gets a number one ranking before the season even starts. College football has become very predictable in the last decade, and it's taking all the fun out of what are usually good games and exciting teams to watch, including some underdogs every year that surprise us.

Now onto my main issue: Alabama. You can disagree with me all you want and keep mentioning the fact that they were national champions last year, but it won't change my opinion. College football is a money game. As long as Alabama (who, by the way have the RICHEST football program next to Ohio State at around one BILLION dollars annually) continues to pay off everybody, this will keep happening. When a team is good for a few seasons or more, that's fine. When a team stays at the top and never commits any kind of error and can do no wrong, that's a problem. Consider the following:

Alabama almost always gets a weak schedule, full of crap schools that have crap football teams/programs. This season alone, Alabama plays teams like Arkansas State, Ole Miss (who have a good season once in a blue moon), Louisiana (yawn), Tennessee, and The Citadel (are you freaking kidding me?). The only decent team they play all season is LSU, and maybe Auburn (even though I'm not convinced of the Tigers this year). This happens every season. Alabama gets weak as shit opponents, and then we get to hear how 'good' they are. Add to the fact that Nick Saban is an annoying prick who has been caught cheating and scheming (Belichick anyone?) every so often, and it's no wonder a lot of us now believe the NCAA is rigged.

Thoughts on last night's Bombers/Alouettes game. (CFL)

I caught most of the Friday night match up between the Blue Bombers and Alouettes, catching pieces of the first and second quarter from the gym, then coming home to watch the rest of it right until the very end. Johnny Manziel actually played a decent game, making some interesting plays throughout, and doing what he could to help his team win. It's way too easy to shove the blame onto him, when the Montreal defence is like swiss cheese, and they simply do not have many stand out players on that roster, save Henoc Muamba. Manziel will get better. The rest of the team, not so much.

As for my Blue Bombers..... Yes, Matt Nichols bounced back this week and looked to be in the zone, and the defence looked to be a tad better. But.....most of the game, the Bombers had just 21 points to show for their effort against a very bad Montreal team. The game-ending touchdown drive with a long bomb to put it near the goal line was nice, but still serves to highlight the Bombers' second half scoring issues. Add to the fact that THREE impact players (Harris, Bighill, Demski) all got injured and were forced to leave the game, it doesn't bode well for a sub-par Bomber team that has to play Edmonton twice and Calgary once in last weeks of the season.

Personally, I would have started Streveler in last night's game, and used his creativity and explosiveness to exploit a weak Montreal team and make an example of them. Coach O'Shea is being a friend to the players, when what we really need is a ruthless dictator to instill fear.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Why we all dislike the Stampeders so much.... (CFL)

Yes, they are on top of the west yet again, and yes, they have one of the best coaches in the league, and yes, they have one of the best QB's in the CFL, but does the rest of the CFL (or us fans for that matter) care anymore? The Calgary Stampeders have been tops in the league for some time, having great coaches and GM's as well as a deep roster to sustain them. That's not the real problem that most of us have with them, however.

It's the fact that they expect to win every game, and that the commentators and scribes alike feel the need to shove all this in our faces week after week. I'm not saying they're not a good team, I'm just saying I'm tired of hearing/seeing them at every turn. Need I remind everyone that they are so good to the point that they have totally screwed themselves out of a Grey Cup two years running at this point. Mr. Hero (Bo Levi Mitchell) seems to think it's okay to throw the playbook out of the window as times runs out in football's biggest game.

I'm not ready to crown them, and neither should anyone else. The Stamps are just as imperfect and human as everyone else on the planet. So there.

The 'Dawg Pound' wins a game! (NFL)

So it happened yesterday on Thursday Night Football. The Cleveland Browns won a game for the first time in over 600 days or something like that. Tyrod Taylor wasn't very good off the start (he never really found footing during his time in Buffalo), and the concussion he suffered paved the way for Mr. Mayfield to come in and show everyone why he was drafted first overall. Unlike other first round QB's that the Browns have famously drafted first in the draft, Mayfield actually looked like a bonafide starter. His fourth quarter charges were simply awesome.

Couple this with the fact that the Browns tied their first game against the Steelers and lost against the Saints because they had a poor kicker (Gonzalez, now out of a job), they are a legit team once again methinks. Playoff team? Maybe, but more than likely an 8-win team that misses out on the Wild Card. Whatever the circumstances, it's nice to see a Cleveland team on the up and up again.