Labor Day weekend is one of the best weekends on the sports calendar. Its a fully packed schedule with College football, Baseball, NFL and this year the FIBA world basketball championships. Here are a few quick hits from what I observed from this great long weekend in the sports world:
College Football- Plenty of good action in the first week of the season, here are my three up and three down of the weekend:
Three up - 1. Michigan - No one was happier in the world this weekend than Rich Rodriguez. Denard Robinson displayed the type of talents that made Rich Rod's signature offense. Robinson demonstrated the speed and quickness of a cat, with his shoelaces untied. He went on to finish the afternoon with 383 total yards. I'm torn on what was more impressive, his 19 for 22 passing showing great precision and accuracy with his throws or his 197 yards and 29 carries on the ground. He fits Rodriguez's system perfectly, reminiscent of dare I say the West Virginia great Pat White. Ok, too early maybe but he does look great. Uconn could do nothing but resort trying to take his shoes off. Yeah great job with that guys.
2.South Carolina - If you read my earlier post you would see how high I am on the Gamecocks. I see a team that has grown and now has some for real talent. Stephen Garcia, after being criticized by the "Ol bay coach" Stever Spurrier seems to have control of the offense. His runs will scare the hell of Spurrier, with his reckless abandon for his body( I cringed on both of his TD runs ) but the guy is tough. The addition of Marcus Lattimore gives them a dimension that they haven't before. He is a good between the tackle runner with the speed to get to the edge. You cannot talk about this team without talking about the talented receiver Alshon Jeffries. The kid is a beast, he is too tall and too fast for most corners to handle. When you add freshman scat and jukes guy Ace Sanders you have a complete offense. The defense looks capable enough of getting the job done. With Florida ( more on them later ) looking to be in a transition this year, look for South Carolina as a darkhorse in the SEC east.
3.TCU- The horned-frogs showed that they are not to be forgotten. Flying under the radar despite of their high ranking, Gary Patterson had his boys ready. Oregon St is a formidable team with Rodgers brothers have a lot of fireworks in the offense. But when push came to shove TCU showed its mettle. Andy Dalton is one of the best leaders in college football. He made some mistakes including 2 INTs but responded nicely leading his team back to timely drives. The sealer of the game was the bad snap that led to the safety. Oregon St. looked fluid and primed to make something happen on that drive with Jaquizz Rodgers starting to find his rhythm but was to no avail. Watch out for Oregon St. as the season goes on, they will rebound.
Three down: 1. Florida - Damn Florida was Tim Tebow that important to your offense? Playing a one win team from last year in Miami (OH), the gators could only muster 25 yards going into the 3rd quarter. To be fair it wasn't really wasn't all Jeff Brantley, the new starting QB's fault. Mike Pouncey and I hate to kick a dead horse but he was just awful with his snaps. Brantley in the understatement of the game stated that " It will be hard to beat SEC teams with this performance." Could not have said it better my friend. Also to Florida's credit, the defense looked good enough creating a lot of turnovers, but this was just Miami (OH) and if they expect to be the cream of the SEC east than this will just not due. I'm sure Urban Meyer will work out the kinks but that was not what you wanted to see if you are him.
2. LSU- Playing against the famous suspend team of North Carolina, the Tigers could barely escape with the win. Anybody watching could tell a fully manned Tar Heel squad could have made for a different score. The Tigers got most of their points on returns and that is largely due to lack of experience with the starters being out for HC Butch Davis. Patrick Peterson took back a couple of returns, but it seemed who ever got their hands on the ball for a return on LSU had a chance to take it back. You have to love the resolve North Carolina showed when they could have just caved in and gave the game to LSU, but with T.J Yates finding open receivers left and right throwing 28 of 46 for 412 yards good for 3 TDs. The jury will be out to see what LSU does in the conference but you to expect more from the Tigers. Les Miles seat is getting warm.
3.Oklahoma - The thinking going into this season was that Landry Jones, who came in for Sam Bradford after he went down with the separated shoulder, would already have the seasoning with the experience he gained in that process. Jones, for the most part looked out sync with the offense. He showed bad technique throwing off his back foot multiple times. Some of the mistakes also came from the offensive line in pass protection. The defense looked good at best average at worst. If it wasn't for Demarco Murray's performance along with the catches of Ryan Broyles this could have been an upset. Now who you have in the FSU vs Oklahoma game?
NFL- The time of year where a lot of players are on the move:
1. Revis finally signs- Looking at the deal by the numbers reportedly worth at least $46 million, including $32 million guaranteed, you have to wonder why this couldn't have been done sooner. Maybe a little fodder for the Hard Knock series ( had to have some type of drama instead just hearing Rex Ryan loud cursing mouth.) maybe it was about respect in Revis's case. He means a lot to his team, you could tell with all the dialogue directed toward him. He allows Ryan to call his signature blitz packages because he can shut down a receiver one on one. So save for a little rust, we will be seeing Revis lined up against Anquan Boldin on week one. Should be fun.
2.Matt Leinart gets chopped- What can be said about this move is that Ken Whisenhut and the brain trust in Arizona just didn't trust the guy. A top ten pick coming out of USC, Leinart's era never got off the the ground for the Cardinals.When he was practicing in Nashville against the Titans, word on the street was that Titan players nicknamed him "Checkdown Matty" because his checking to his running backs most of the time. I've always thought of him as a left handed Chad Pennington. He doesn't have a great arm and the Cardinals system never fit. Good to hear that he landed in Houston, he have the chance to back up Matt Schaub and have a offense that fits game with the short passing routes. Hope he succeeds, hate to see a guy not live up to his expectations.
3.Houshmandzadeh to the Ravens - I was shocked to see him cut from the Seahawks. Seems like if your not on board with the Pete Carroll movement, then its the highway in Seattle. Housh is just not a number 1 receiver even if he did sign the contract for number 1 money. He was able to produce 79 catches for 911 yards in a offense that paltry at best for Seattle. It makes perfect sense for Baltimore with Donte Stallworth going down, they are really providing a lot of weapons for Joe Flacco. I wonder what the interest level was in Minnesota, seems like he fits the bill for a new target for Favre with the injury to Sidney Rice.
Be sure to check with me later today as I post updates on Team USA basketball and Boise St vs Va Tech.