Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Weekend Football Roundup: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Rivalry weekend produced a whole lot of good, some bad and, unfortunately, some very ugly.
By Jeremy Conlin (@jeremy_conlin) and Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Every week, editor's Jeremy Conlin and Joe Parello bring you the good, the bad and the ugly from the pro and college football weekend that was.

The Good

Rivalry Week

Damn, I mean, just damn.

What an incredible Saturday of college football it was, and it all started with an Ohio State-Michigan game that wasn't even supposed to be competitive. The brawl infused thriller in Ann Arbor gave way to one of the greatest finishes in college football history, as Auburn defeated Alabama by returning a last-second Crimson Tide field goal attempt the length of the field for a winning score.

Oh, and the night cap wasn't bad either. South Carolina muscled past high powered Clemson, but their SEC Championship Game hopes were dashed moments later when Missouri (Yes, the same Missouri that went 2-6 in the SEC last year) bested Johnny Football and Texas A&M.

This, of course, will set up an Auburn-Missouri SEC title game. To refresh your memory, Auburn went 0-8 in the SEC last year, meaning this year's two SEC division winners went a combined 2-14 in the conference a year ago.

God, rivalry week is the best.


The Seattle Seahawks

It seems inexplicable, but this will be the first time the Seahawks have appeared in this space since the middle of September, right after they laid the smack-down on the reigning NFC Champion 49ers. Their 26-point win at home, in retrospect, isn't the most impressive win of the season (as I called it at the time), mostly due to the knowledge we've gained since about the 49ers not quite being the juggernaut we expected.

As it turns out, Seattle is that juggernaut.

The Seahawks didn't just beat New Orleans, they embarrassed them. They outgained the Saints 429-188 and held the New Orleans passing attack to a mind-blowing 3.9 yards per attempt. The crown of "most dominant performance of the season," if it wasn't already held by Seattle, is now.

At 11-1, with a two-game lead over the rest of the conference (and technically a 2.5 game lead over New Orleans with this head-to-head win), it seems almost a foregone conclusion that Seattle will be the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC. And considering they've won 14 straight home games, and haven't lost at home since the 2011 season, that might all but put them in the Super Bowl.


Josh Gordon

Gordon became the first player in NFL history to gain over 200 receiving yards in two consecutive games. I feel like this is kind of a big deal.

Also a big deal is that through 10 games, Gordon is averaging 124.9 yards per game. This number is noteworthy, considering last season, when Calvin Johnson broke the NFL's single-season receiving yards record, he averaged.... 122.8 yards per game.

That's right - Gordon is accruing yards at a rate faster than Calvin Johnson did last year. Gordon missed the first two games of the season due to a suspension, which means breaking Johnson's record would be impossible unless he averages 179 yards over the next four games. But there is one record that is within reach - Gordon is currently ranked second all-time in single season yards per game average. Ranked first is Wes Chandler, who gained 1032 yards in nine games during the strike-shortened 1982 season. So currently, Gordon is ranked first among all receivers who played at least 10 games, and to hold the record outright, Gordon would need to gain 557 yards over his four remaining games - an average of 139.25. Certainly difficult, but not impossible.


The Bad

USC Coaching Hires

Oh, come on USC! Ed Orgeron, the ragin Cajun, jabroni beating, pie eating, trail blazing, eyebrow razing sun of a gun turns your season around, and you replace him with a guy that was "pretty good" at Washington?

I get it, Orgeron isn't a USC guy, and was never going to be the hire. But to not even go through the process, and hire Steve Sarkisian, a man who I'll admit did a nice job of digging Washington out of a pretty deep hole, just seems short-sighted.

For the first time since Pete Carroll left, you got the feeling that the Trojans were actually playing for their coach, and you're announcing he won't be back to bring in a non-slam dunk hire? Sorry, I just don't get it. Sarkisian, as I said, is a good coach, but it seems that a national brand like USC could either find that slam dunk hire, or at least hold onto the guy that seemed to be setting things right.


Geno Smith

Ten attempts.

Four completions.

29 yards.

Zero touchdowns

One interception.

A passer rating of 8.3.


The Ugly

Inappropriate Tackling

"I'm still thinking about it. I can feel it."

That was 49ers tight end Vernon Davis speaking about being tackled by Rams safety T.J. McDonald.

Why was McDonald's tackle haunting Davis so much?

Well, he grabbed him and pulled him down by the dick.

"I made the play, and as soon as I got my hands on the ball, [McDonald] was grabbing me right there in that space, that area, and I kept telling him, 'Let go, get off me, get off me,' and he wouldn't let me go."



People Taking Rivalry Week Too Far

Unfortunately, we end on a somber note this week.

So, I just ranted about how awesome rivalry week was above, but I think we can all agree that these "rivalries" are of the sporting variety, not the Israeli-Palestinian variety.

Well, leave it to (of course) Alabama fans to take a loss to the ugliest of all ends. 36-year old Michelle Shepherd, a Tide fan herself, was gunned down by fellow Alabama fan Adrian Laroze Briskey. I'll let the victim's sister, who watched the shooting in a Hoover, AL apartment complex parking lot, take it away from here.

"She said we weren't real Alabama fans because it didn't bother us that they lost," Nekesa Shepherd told the AP. "And then she started shooting."

Nekesa Shepherd added that Briskey became enraged when she saw the sisters and others joking that the Crimson Tide's loss wasn't as bad as if the Miami Heat had lost a game.

Again, let's take a reality check people. It's a football game, and one they're going to play again next year, and the year after that, ect. A mother of three lost her life over it. I love football, probably beyond a rational level, but this is almost too horrible and senseless to comprehend.


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