Sorry so late today on posting the KK&C Top 20. I usually get it done during Monday Night Football. But I found it difficult to take my eyes off the TV for more than two or three seconds at a time last night. Whitney and I were living and dying with every snap last night. So I didn’t get to the poll until this morning. You can view it by clicking on the green “KK&C Top 20” tab at the top of this page. Or just check it out at the end of this post.
Of the 98 meetings between the Cowboys and Eagles, last night’s was the highest-scoring. And the most dramatic. Crazy. How can a Week 2 game feel like the Super Bowl? Tony Romo combined his very best and very worst performances from the past two seasons into one 60-minute showcase of why fans and teammates love him and why coaches and gamblers hate him. In three more years Romo will fall on that fumble in the end zone. Right now he still thinks every play is a potential first down.
Did McNabb get sacked at all, even once, before that final drive? How is it he gets sacked by a four-man rush on two of the game’s final four plays? He almost looked hesitant on those plays. Unsure. I suppose it’s possible the Cowboys defense just stepped it up for the first time all night. But it looked like McNabb was trying to do too much too fast.
Maybe I can add Felix Jones to the list of good guys on the Cowboys for whom one could actually cheer and not feel dirty. That makes four.
Emmitt Smith is one of those guys who only tarnishes his reputation every time he makes a public appearance. If his agent were really only concerned with Emmitt’s well-being and long term legacy, he’d make him quit his ESPN gig. Or at least tell him to quit talking about the fact that he’s the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. And when others bring it up, act graciously and humbly. Don’t pump your fist and shout, “Yeah!”
My prediction from yesterday was for the halftime score. Pretty good, huh? Thank you.
Terrell Owens told reporters after the game, “The Lord has obviously blessed me with a lot of talent.” He failed to mention the quarterbacks who throw him the balls, the offensive linemen who give the quarterback the time to throw the balls, or the coaches who draw up the plays to get those balls thrown to him. As he famously said in Philly, “I love me some me.”
In an effort to continously search for the black cloud behind every Cowboys silver lining, there’s this: 21 penalties in two games. It’s this kind of mental laxity that causes their late-season swoons, right? I’ve given up on the Cowboys ever going 8-8 or 7-9 for the next few seasons. But I’m beginning to see that a 13-3 or 14-2 season is even better when they blow it big time in the divisional playoffs.
Unrelated: how many reporters, anchors, columnists, and fans are still calling Mike Shanahan a genius and calling his two-point conversion decision gutsy if Denver fails to convert and loses? How many? One? Zero? His own wife would kick him out of the house. His children would avoid him. His parents would disown him. His dog wouldn’t come when he called. It can’t be a good decision if it turns out well and a poor decision if it turns out bad. Those who criticize coaches for a living can’t have it both ways. It’s just like the two-point “chart” that blamed for his awful call Sunday. It’s either the right move or the wrong one. I would have fired Shanahan on the spot, even while the team is celebrating the win. He would have had to get his own plane back home.
17 of our 20 panelists participated in this week’s KK&C Top 20 College Football Poll. Aaron and Jennifer get a bye because they’re in Hawaii. If they were really commited to this they would have had Gracie fill out the forms. No big deal. They’re good. Mark Richardson is recovering from serious knee surgery—he’ll be on crutches for six weeks—and he still got his in. Good for him. As for Kevin…maybe he ran out of material.
USC picks up all but three of the first place votes. Billy keeps giving his to LSU as defending national champions until somebody knocks them off. Larry’s sticking with Georgia. Obviously it’s an SEC thing. Unless he didn’t see the game Saturday. And Richard refuses to give USC his number one vote. He keeps listing both the Trojans and OU as #2. Speaking of the Sooners, they jump from #4 to #2 this week, despite Paul’s insistence on voting them #20 every time. Texas moved up from #9 to #7. One of the panelists commented that the ‘Horns look better when they don’t play. Missouri moved up two spots to #3. Ohio State crashed and burned seven slots all the way down to #14. West Virginia dropped all the way out. And Arizona State fell all the way out from the #12 spot. I can only assume it’s that not voting for them is easier than engaging in the theological discussions concerning their mascot. Utah makes its debut at #19. Enjoy.
September 16, 2008
1. USC (14-1st place votes, 334 total votes) “Told you!” JS; “A varsity team in a conference of JVs.” CJ; “Pow!” DM; “Dominant!” JK; “Rats! They look good.” TS; “No doubt they belong at the top.” PD; “Tailback U is now Quarterback U.” MH; “Yeah, so they spanked Ohio St. I’ll be convinced when I see ‘em take on some REAL competition. Oh, wait. They don’t have any in the Pac-10.” JR; “I still refuse to vote this team #1″ RA
2. Oklahoma (299) “Ugh!” DM; “Please, please, somebody beat this team.” TS; “Offensive line is full of seniors. Better do it this year, Stoops.” CJ; “My, my, what an offense!” PD; “The only reason I didn’t put them at #1 is because they beat up a Pac-10 loser. Sam Bradford for Heisman trophy!” JR; “What a Wash-out in Seattle.” RA (Boo.); “Exposes Pac-10 weakness.” MH; “Next two weeks are TCU & Baylor.” DB
3. Florida (290) “Wish I’d had Tim Tebow’s numbers on my fantasy team.” DB; “Better than Georgia…will prove it when they play.” CJ; “Florida usually beats Tennessee, by 14 or more this week.” MH
4. Georgia (1, 286) “Very narrow escape.” BW; “Yikes. I guess SC is a quality opponent but…” JS; “Christmas comes early. Thanks Spurrier Claus!” CJ; “The Dogs seem to be losing their bark.” JR; “Bradford or Daniels would pick them apart but Mizzou might have to put up 50.” PD; “Didn’t look good beating the wrong USC.” RA; “SEC always overrated.” MH; “Could be dropped a little further.” DB
5. Missouri (280) “Offense looks awesome.” BW; “Can hang with any team in the top 5 outside of USC.” CJ; “Big 12 muscle is showing up in Big MO!” MH; “They’d be my #1 if they had a defense.” PD
6. LSU (1, 256) “Got more resistance from Ike.” BW; “Should have beaten UNT by 50. Their lack of a passing game is gonna bite them big time in conference play.” JR; “Done nothing to negate this high ranking.” CJ; “LSU 20, Auburn 16.” SF
7. Texas (230) “They look better when they ain’t playing.” TS; “I’ve always wondered what would happen if a 5A team played a 1A team….oh, wait! I’ll get to see that this weekend.” CJ; “The ‘Horns are lucky I hate the SEC so much.” JR; “Totally dominated the bye week.” JS; “I may not have much time to vote them this high.” RA
8. Wisconsin (220) “Great win against a quality opponent.” CJ; “They belong.” PD; “Is the Big 10 more than just Ohio St?” MH; “Boring, boring, boring.” JR
9. Auburn (186) “The defense may have to start scoring.” BW; “Can you really put a team that won 3-2 in the top ten?” CJ; “Could NOT leave them in the top ten after that performance.” JR; “Tigers win on a two-out, 9th inning single with a runner on second.” RA; “Lucky to win.” SF; “Still better than Alabama” MH; ”Shaky now with the injury.” JK
10. Texas Tech (176) “The freak show continues.” TS; “Crabtree is unstoppable.” BW; “A dominant defensive showing against the high-powered offense of SMU!” CJ; “Looking more like the Tech we expected.” PD; “It pains me to say they won’t be up here much longer.” JS; “Great job against SMU. Didn’t they lose to the University of Phoenix Online?” RA; “Showed D at SMU. Well, not really. It was SMU.” MH
11. Alabama (160) “I moved them up because this is my poll and I can.” JS; “That defensive line is enough to keep them in the top 15.” CJ; “Maybe the Tide is finally on a ‘Roll.’ JR (Janie supplies this week’s Skip Bayless line. Thank you.); “Not a top ten yet.” MH
12. Penn St. (139) “Closing on Ohio State.” BW; “Ohio St. will still win the Big 10.” CJ; “Joe Pa ain’t got Alzheimer’s yet.” MH; “This bunch is coming!” PD
13. South Florida (119) “I can’t ever keep these directional Florida teams straight.” JS; “Not sure they will stay.” BW; “Great win. Kansas is no slouch.” CJ; ”The best mid-major in the country.” MH
14. Ohio State (118) “Definitely not the 2nd best team in the country.” BW; “Let’s not overreact. They played the best team in the country on the road without their best player.” CJ; “Told you!” JS; “At one point the USC crowd chanted ‘Over-rated!’ At #14, that may still be the case.” DB; “Saw it coming, dropped them last week.” MH; “This may be too high.” PD
15. Oregon (117) “Quarterback needs to improve.” BW; “They may ‘quack’ the top ten before all is said and done.” CJ
16. BYU (105) “Win over Washington was not a fluke.” BW; “I picked UCLA as my upset of the week. My punishment is to put BYU in the top 12.” CJ; “Nice game, Neuheisel.” JR; “Put up a March Madness score on UCLA.” DB; “Wow those Mormans can score!” MH; “Hope Neuheisel took the over.” RA; “Drubbing of UCLA doesn’t make Vols look very good.” SF
17. East Carolina (90) “The dream may be over.” CJ; “Got a bit cocky.” PD; “This team is still for real.” JR; “They don’t play as well against non-ranked opponents.” JS
18. Kansas (42) “Showing the depth of Big 12.” MH; “Won’t equal last year’s wins.” BW; “They will beat UT at home this year.” CJ; “Too bad they got Bull-ied.” RA (OK, that’s enough.)
19. Wake Forest (33) “They keep winning. But why are they so boring?” CJ
19. (tie) Utah (33) “Wow, those secular Mormans can score, too!” MH; “The win over Michigan doesn’t quite have the cache it did two weeks ago, but it still keeps them here.” JR
Also receiving votes: West Virginia (24); Clemson (14); TCU (7); Nebraska (3) “Half the Big 12 in my poll.” DM; Arizona St. (2); UConn (2) “Look out for the Huskies!” (?); Oklahoma State (2) “People are overlooking them. Big mistake.” CJ; “I know it was Mizzou STATE, but they won by 40+!” JR; Illinois (2); Notre Dame (1) “Wake up the echos, Irish will go 7-4.” SF