Strike Point Sports: Who's Hot/Who's Not
by Strike Point Sports - 09/19/2006
Strike Point Sports offers a weekly look at who's hot and who's not in the world of sports.
Mike Vick and the Atlanta Falcons Running Game
Not only has Hotlanta opened up the 2006 season as one of the more dominant teams, but the ground game in Atlanta also continues to be the league's best. The Falcons have already racked up 558 yards in their first two games, including more than 300 yards in week two's victory over Tampa Bay. After seeing Mike Vick, Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood continue its three-pronged attack in the NFL's version of the spread option attack, the Falcons must be taken seriously as a legit Super Bowl contender.
The Maize and Blue
After dismantling the Irish to the tune of 47-21, Michigan is now is on a collision course to meet the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe with both teams favored to be undefeated. If both teams come in without a loss, it could be one of the best games all year, with major BCS implications. The Wolverine offense has been solid all year. Quarterback Chad Henne has thrown for 468 yards and five touchdowns while running back Mike Hart has carried the ball for 386 and four scores. However, the most unappreciated and underrated player on that team and perhaps in the country is sophomore wide receiver Mario Manningham. The second year stud has already racked up 208 yards receiving and four touchdowns, especially impressive in an offense that establishes the running game with one of the nation's best offensive lines.
Big East Football
Keep calling them the weakest BCS conference in the country, but you cannot dismiss what they have done thus far. West Virginia, Louisville, South Florida and Rutgers are all 3-0 with Pittsburgh at 2-1. Louisville and West Virginia are both ranked in the top 15 and will in all likelihood go undefeated en-route to meeting in Louisville on Nov. 2. Rutgers is one of the up-and-coming programs in the nation and they too could wind up with no more than two losses come season's end. That's three locks for bowl games, and if South Florida and Pittsburgh can reach seven wins apiece, the conference could have five bowl programs come December.
Oklahoma and Playing against Pac-10 Refs
It's safe to say that the Sooners got absolutely robbed this past weekend in Eugene. Up 33-27 with just minutes remaining, the Ducks attempted an onsides kick but clearly touched the ball before it crossed the necessary ten yards to make the recover legal. The play went to review but the refs still managed to screw it up.
If that weren't enough, a controversial pass interference call that was called on a Sooners defender was huge just seconds later. Another blatant mistake as the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage, thus making that pass interference null and void. Again, a clear-cut error could have been reversed but the refs simply did not do so. Oregon still had the ball deep in OU territory and scored the game-winning touchdown.
After the game the NCAA apologized, saying that Oklahoma should have won that game. Most don't think Oklahoma was in line for a National title run, but how will this incident look if they upset Texas in the Red River Shootout and finish with just that one 'loss?'
Jake Plummer's Attempt to be an NFL quarterback
The quarterback formally known as 'Jake the Snake' has been nothing short of garbage in the first two games of 2006. Fortunately for the Broncos, Jason Elam bailed out the offense by kicking a game-winning field goal to put them at 1-1 this past Sunday. With a 38.6 quarterback rating and four interceptions with no touchdowns, Jake Plummer is one game closer to getting thrown on the bench. Granted it will take that much more for Denver to bench him in place of a rookie, but Plummer has been a total waste of time. In order for the Broncos to have their running game be a success, the passing game must keep the defense guessing. If they can't move the ball through the air, the offense will continue to sputter. Nineteen points in two games is hardly playoff material, and that output won't even keep them competitive through the second half of the season.
Bye, Bye Heisman! Yes, it is only three weeks into the college football season. However, with last week's performance at home against Michigan, Brady Quinn is no longer the frontrunner for the Heisman trophy. Now that Notre Dame is all but out of the BCS title race, Quinn's chances for New York will suffer. The Irish quarterback has already thrown three interceptions and frankly his offensive numbers as a whole don't blow you away. Just six touchdowns in three games, his projected numbers don't scream nation's best player.