Aloha pee pee smoochers! Greetings from the Sandwich Islands, or as the natives here like to call them, the Hawaiian Islands, or, as I call them, the Mosquito Islands. I am currently enjoying the second week of my honeymoon, and thus far it has been outstanding save for the fact that I may be shipped to Molokai soon if I get any more insect bites. My calves look like I have been flogged by a Roman centurion.
That said, boy howdy, I have a lot to catch up on, so this is going to be a long post. The Marriott here charges you for wireless access, which is some grade-A bullshit, but whaddaya gonna do. I have the juice until noon today, so in that time I'm gonna cover:
1. NFL Preseason Recap
2. Week 3 Premiership
3. Week 1 College Football
That's a lotta stuff. We'll see how it goes.
First up. The NFL Preseason. It's over now, and the regular season kicks off on Thursday. The preseason often doesn't tell us a whole lot of anything about anything, but if you have a really bad preseason, or a really good preseason, it bears mentioning. So here are the teams that have pinged my radar with preseasons that they can't be very happy with.
FLAMING PU PU PLATTERS
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
If you ever wondered what the Patriots would look like without Tom Brady as their QB, well mister, this was your chance to find out. They looked horrible. Tommy Terrific says he'll be ready for the season opener though, or as ready as you can be with not having taken a snap in live action in 7 months.
The preseason is more important for some teams than others. For a team like New England, going 0-4 isn't all that big a deal. They aren't really trying to prove anything to anyone. For a team like the Browns that is trying to take the next step from pretty good team to Super Bowl contender, it's a little concerning. The defense, which the Browns took great pains to upgrade this offseason, was horrid, Derek Anderson suffered a concussion, Braylon Edwards cut his foot and missed most of the preseason, and the Week 3 dress rehearsal was a 26-6 ass kicking in Detroit that saw Brady Quinn start and play like garbagio.
When you are trying to decide between Kyle Boller, Troy Smith, and Joe Flacco as your starting QBs, it may be time to re-examine your organizational mission statement. The Ravens went 1-3 in the preseason, and Flacco got the entire Week 3 game all to himself, going 18 of 37 against the Rams. Flacco still may be the starter in Week 1, because Boller has a shoulder injury and Smith is battling some weird viral infection. At this point they may as well just play Flacco, because this team will be horrible no matter who is QB.
The Colts without Peyton Manning were every bit as brutal as the Pats without Brady. A 1-4 preseason was the backdrop for a nation holding its breath as Manning's infected sac healed.
Week 3 was an embarrassing 24-0 home loss to Arizona, with JaMarcus Russell getting sacked 4 times. Darren McFadden looks like he will get the bulk of the carries this year, but a team that on paper looked like it might be a little better this year still looks real bad on the field.
GREEN BAY PACKERS/MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Both of these teams went 1-3, but a closer look reveals there is no reason for panic. Minnesota played some good teams (Seattle, Pittsburgh, Dallas), and their week 3 game was a tight defensive contest against the Steelers. Green Bay won its week 3 matchup in Denver behind an 18 of 22 performance by Aaron Rodgers.
The offense didn't look as bad as advertised, but the defense looks old and flaccid. Kyle Orton won the QB job, but Rex has been buried more times than Melquiades Estrada, only to somehow once again have Lovie saying "Rex is our quarterback". Whatever, I am soooo very tired of this team's over-inflated sense of their own abilities and their never ending stream of organizational half truths that would embarrass the Chinese government. I eagerly await the day both Lovie and Jerry Angelo are gone and I can start being a Bears fan again.
...and a handful of teams who impressed this preseason
The Dolphins allowed fewer yards per play than any team in the league this preseason, and Ricky Williams has somehow resurrected his career and supplanted Ronnie Brown as their running back of the present and future. Stealing Chad Pennington to solve their QB quagmire was a master stroke that could make this team competitive instantly.
I'm not the biggest Brett Favre fan you'll find, but he does add an element that was sorely needed on what was an excruciatingly boring team. The Jets went 3-1 in the preseason, and it does look like they will get a bump of at least a couple of wins over last year out of all this.
With the Ravens and Bengals both total messes, and the Browns looking discombobulated, the Steelers are as automatic a bet as any to get to the postseason. Rashard Mendenhall has had some problems holding onto the ball, but he is the real deal.
This is the year the Colts' death grip on the AFC South ends.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
You can go ahead and put the Chargers down in ink for home field advantage in the AFC. They are very good, their division is horrible. That adds up to a lot of wins.
As the only team to go undefeated in the preseason, the Lions are officially Preseason Champions. The trophy presentation is scheduled for the mens room at the MotorCity Casino on Wednesday afternoon.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
The most underrated defense in the league was second only to the Dolphins in yards/play this preseason.
.....aaand thats it for the Preseason. Thursday at 1 PM Hawaiian time the Redskins and Giants kick off, and then it's on for real.
Now for Week 3 of the Premier League
BOLTON 0, WEST BROM 0
There were, apparently, a couple of nice saves in this match, which thankfully made it only slightly less compelling than watching the grass on which it was played grow
BOLT 1-1-1; WBROM 0-2-1
PORTSMOUTH 3, EVERTON 0
Pompey's Jermain Defoe scores 2 goals and assists on a 3rd as Portsmouth breaks a 6 game Premiership losing skid. Everton gets embarrassed at home, and now, as they say here in the States, they have to wear it.
EV 1-2-0; PORTS 1-2-0
WIGAN 5, HULL CITY 0
And that's a wrap for "The Tigers" magical, enchanted, fairy dust sprinkled opening run as a Premier League team.
HULL 1-1-1; WIG 1-2-0
MIDDLESBROUGH 2, STOKE CITY 1
Stoke equalised on an own goal in the second half despite being down to 10 men. Boro's Tuncay Sanli finally broke the pesky Potters though, with the winning goal in the 84th minute.
BORO 2-1-0; STOKE 1-2-0
WEST HAM 4, BLACKBURN 1
I've adopted Blackburn as my team. I like Paul Ince, I like their insignia, I like that they are not one of the Big 4. None of that helped them here. Rovers hung close until the 90th minute, when it became Hammer Time as Craig Bellamy and Carl Cole provided the final margin for West Ham. Ince said after the match that West Ham manager Alan "Curbs" Curbishley was a "lucky" manager, but also a "top" manager. That's what we Yanks like to call a "backhanded compliment".
WHAM 2-1-0, BLACK 1-1-1
ARSENAL 3, NEWCASTLE 0
The Gunners finally wake up after that WTF loss to Fulham. Holland's Robert van Persie scored twice for Arsenal.
ARS 2-1-0; NU 1-1-1
CHELSEA 1, TOTTENHAM 1
Spurs earn a measure of redemption for Patrick with a gritty draw at Stamford Bridge. Striker Darren Bent got the equaliser just before half time to give Tottenham their first bright, shiny point of the season.
CHELS 2-0-1, SPURS 0-2-1
MANCHESTER CITY 3, SUNDERLAND 0
Noel and Liam's favorite team was feeling supersonic as they crushed the Black Cats on the road. Sunderland had gotten off to a nice start with a win over Tottenham and a 1-0 loss to Liverpool, but they looked like the bad old Sunderland sides of old on this day. Shaun Wright-Phillips, who spent 6 years with MCFC before a 3 year stint at Chelsea, is back with his original club and scored a pair of goals.
CATS 1-2-0; MCFC 2-1-0
ASTON VILLA 0, LIVERPOOL 0
Far more important than the 2 points Liverpool missed out on here was the loss of Fernando Torres, who will be out 2-3 weeks with a torn hamstring.
VILLA 1-1-1; LIV 2-0-1
And finally, we wouldn't be complete here without a few words on the ceremonial opening week drubbings in BCS football.
- #1 Georgia squatted and took a big bulldog dump all over Georgia Southern, 45-21.
- Heisman Trophy hopeful Beanie Wells left with a foot injury as #2 Ohio State marched all over the Penguins of Youngstown State, 43-0
- Mark Sanchez was awfully dirty, throwing for 338 yards and 3 TDS as #3 SoCal romped on the road 52-7 over Virginia.
- #4 Oklahoma thumped TO's alma mater, Chattanooga, 57-2.
- Tim Tebow continued to revolutionize the quarterback position by throwing for 137 yards in #5 Florida's 56-10 slaughter of Hawaii. I look forward to being driven to suicide listening to Chris Berman sing hosannas to this guy for the next 10 years after he gets to the NFL.
- Best game of the day was the annual St. Louis Hoedown between Illinois and Missouri. Juice Williams threw for for 451 yards and 5 TD, but it wasn't enough as #6 Mizzou held on after building a 31-10 halftime lead for a 52-42 win. Chase Daniel threw for 323 yards and 3 TD for Mizzou.
- And in the realm of coaches everyone hates, Nick Satan made everyone in Alabama happy right before they get pummeled by Hurricane Gustav. The Tide deluged #9 Clemson 34-10 in the Georgia Dome.
- Rich Rodriguez's Wolverine career got off to a rocking start as UM dumped themselves in front of 108,000 of their fans, losing 25-23 to Utah. 108,000 fans showing up to watch their team lose to Utah. I can think of 108,000 better ways to spend a Saturday afternoon.
- World class jagoff Bobby Petrino's first game as Arkansas coach almost ended in well-deserved disaster as the Razorbacks trailed I-AA Western Illinois 24-14 in the 4th quarter before rallying to win 28-24.
- And finally, despite the media wanting soooo bad for some reason for his team to succeed, Dave Wannstedt's Pitt team will no longer be nationally ranked after dropping their opener at home to Bowling Green, 27-17.
Aaaand that's all folks. I'll be back this weekend to preview Week 1 of the NFL season from the mainland.