It is hard to believe 2010 is over and gone already, but nevertheless we have blasted through another year here at Emptywheel full of substantive and important issues on the merits and fun and relaxation with Trash Talking. And another year of football is heading down the stretch. Big props to the TCU Horned Frogs who capped a perfect 13-0 season with a solid game and huge win over the powerful Wisconsin Badgers. By the way, non-AQ schools are now 4-1 vs AQ schools in BCS bowl games, those stuck up holier than thou Big-10 and SEC school officials ought to just shut the fuck up about TCU and Boise State not belonging on the big stage.
After yesterday’s debacle, however, you have to wonder if the Big 10 belongs on the big stage. The three yards and a cloud of dusters managed to go 0 for five in New Years day bowl games and actually managed to lose four of them all in the same time slot. In all, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Penn State and Wisconsin all lost. Michigan and Michigan State just flat out got embarrassed. Pretty bleak, and Ohio State still has to play another SEC school, Arkansas, so if the past decade’s record by the Big-10 against SEC schools is any indication, it could still get worse for the Big-10. To be fair, my beloved Pac-10 did not, except the Ducks and the Trees, have a really great year overall either, and we still do not know how those two will perform in their respective bowl games.
Now, on to the pros, who are completing the final Sunday of the regular season. The biggest game by far today is Da Bears at Green Bay. Hard as it may seem to believe, the Pack needs to win to even get in the playoffs. But Aaron Rodgers is back from his concussion and absolutely shredded the Giants last week, throwing for over 400 yards and four TDs. The Bears cover two pass defense is not a good matchup for the GB passing attack, so Julius Peppers and the line are going to have to get constant pressure on Rodgers if they want a chance to win. Bears have looked very solid for several weeks now, and Jay Cutler has been playing surprisingly consistent QB for them; but the edge has to go to the Pack on the Frozen Tundra today.
Their records may not be very good, but the Rams and SeaSquawks are playing for the NFC West title and attendant home playoff game. Will it be an 8-8 St. Louis or a 7-9 Seattle that emerges? The Rams have really been surprising this year, even though young Sam Bradford has had a little bit of a slump the last few weeks. Seattle QB is a concern, Hasselbeck is questionable and Charlie Whitehurst inexperienced and shaky. But the game is in Seattle, which evens things out quit a bit. This is a toss up, but I am rooting for the Rams.
The Giants not only have to beat the Skins, but have to also have the Bears beat the Packers to make the playoffs. Coughlins job is probably safe with a win irrespective of whether that results in a playoff berth or not, but a loss to Washington might make his retention shaky. Especially with Bill Cowher indicating he is ready to return to coaching. The Giants should win this game in spite of it being at Fed-Ex Field. Jacksonville needs to beat the Texans in Houston and have the Colts lose at home to the Titans in order to win the AFC South and make the playoffs. Neither are likely to occur. Look for the Texans to play for Kubiak’s job and win over the David Garrard less Jags, and Peyton to take care of business for another division title.
Philly hosting the Cowboys should be an interesting game; Cowboys are playing much better and the Iggles are suddenly in a funk; but the game is in Philly and I will take Mike Vick and the Eagles for that reason. Dallas reportedly is going to make Jason Garrett head coach for next year. The rest of the schedule is mostly just marking time; look for Niners over Cards, Tebows to lose to Rivers and the Bolts, Saints over Bucs, Falcons over Carolina, Chefs over Rayduhs, Ravens over Bengals, Steelers over Browns and Pats over Fish. That leaves the Jets and the suddenly semi-respectable Toronto Bills. Jets are already in for a wild card and have little to play for, which makes this a toss up.
That is the schedule folks. Blend up some Bloody Marys and cut that hangover edge, get your couch freak on and let’s rumble!