Sunday, September 02, 2007

Random Labor Day Thoughts

Labor Day Weekend signifies several things. For most, it is a nice day off from work representing the end of summer. But for us cool guys, it means it is time for some FOOTBALL!!!

  • College kicked off this past weekend, and nothing made bigger news than Appalachian State's 34-32 stunning upset of No.5 Michigan which came on a blocked field goal. App State were heavy underdogs walking into Michigan, but wound up shocking the world with what many are saying is the greatest upset in the history of college football. While the talent was certainly a reason for the win, preparation throughout the summer focusing in on a big opener must have played a large role as well.
  • With the No.5 ranked team falling off the charts so early, the validity of the preseason poll must come into question. Heck, the whole poll system used in college is consistently being called out for its far too many flaws.
  • I paid most attention to the featured primetime game, in which Cal got its revenge over Tennessee, 45-31. While it was an impressive statement for the Pac-10 and quite an entertaining game, the highlight of it all for me was ABC commentator Brent Musburger calling out Berkley's "hippies in the trees" to quit protesting and allow the school to build a training facility in place of a small forest. Administrators have promised to plant three trees for every one they cut down. Musburger clearly wanted to say, stop living in the trees and go find something better to do with your lives, you weird Berkley hippies.
  • I am rooting for USC, LSU, and West Virginia, the top three teams in the country, to all go undefeated. This way, the national title game will be as controversial as ever, forcing the BCS to listen to the masses and do some major overhauling.
  • Watching college football after the NFL preseason makes the distinction in talent and organization level between the two levels all the more clear. The best athletes and programs are far better than their opponents compared to the parity driven NFL. Idaho cannot touch Pete Caroll's machine at USC, whose Colisium contains more people than Idaho University's entire city and surrounding area. Watching many of the games and most highlights, the big plays were not so much a result of good excecution as they were of missed tackles, which drive me nuts. I understand how there is often more excitement and passion in college football, but I still prefer watching the best players in the world compete in the best team sport in the world, and that can only be found in our beloved NFL.
  • This is probably the only weekend where college football overshadows the pros, but not for the tons of players who lost their jobs Saturday. NFL teams set their 53 man rosters, cutting many notable players, the most surprising of which was Jacksonville Jaguars' starting quarterback Byron Leftwich. Leftwich was entering a contract year and had already been declared the starter earlier in the summer.
  • New England Patriots' safety Rodney Harrison was suspended four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, admitting to using Human Growth Hermones. There are many good debates on this subject, but if this were baseball or any other sport, it would be a lot bigger story and everyone would be close to freaking out. Shawn Merriman went on to win defensive player of the year last season despite a similar suspension, and while there is no doubt he is an amazing athlete, the contrast to Barry Bonds' never ending scrutiny is inevitable.
  • The Seattle Times features a great story on Deion Branch. For every Michael Vick, there are quite a few good players such as these.
  • In addition to the normal chunk of cuts, the Seattle Seahawks pulled off a couple trades, shipping off one of my personal favorites, safety Michael Boulware to the Houston Texans. As Seattle's second round pick in 2004, Boulware was converted to strong safety after playing linebacker at Florida State. He had a surprisingly impressive first season, setting a team rookie record with five interceptions, three of which were game winning, as he quickly took over the starting job and appeared to be a promising future star on a rising defense. In 2005, Boulware started the entire season as a key member of a successful defense, picking off passes in both the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl XL. After getting beat for several deep passes in 2006, Boulware lost his starting job, and a slight injury during 2007 training camp did not help his cause to make the team as a backup. Here's hoping that the good man who led the Seahawks' weekly bible studies has success in Houston.