This Week in Betting, A to Z
by Trevor Whenham - 09/12/2007
A - Adrian Peterson. 103 yards rushing and a 60-yard TD catch. Think this guy is going to be any good? If he keeps doing that, and Tavaris Jackson keeps paying basically acceptable football, then Minnesota and their solid defense could win more than expected. Of course, it would help if they could play the Falcons and the remarkably awful Joey Harrington every weekend. I wanted to give the Falcons the benefit of the doubt this year, but that feeling has passed.
B - Buffalo Bills. Wow, is this team in trouble. They played a very gutsy game against Denver and really deserved to win, but their roster was clobbered. Three defensive starters were injured, and tight end Kevin Everett may never walk again after a truly terrifying injury. The Bills lacked depth anyway, so I just don't see how they come back from these losses. This makes me think of Carolina last year, except no one was really expecting the Bills to be very good this year before this happened.
C - Clay Buchholz. This is perhaps my favorite story of the week. Buchholz throws a brilliant no-hitter in his second career start, so the Red Sox give him a fitting honor - they demote him to the bullpen. At that rate, if he'd allowed two hits he'd have found himself back in A ball. Though it's an odd move, it's a good one for the team. He had a win in his first relief performance, and he can be relied upon for solid long relief.
D - David, Jason. This cornerback is deeply regretting the day that he ever left the Colts for the Saints. Sure, he forced a fumble and then returned it for a touchdown, but he was also a steady target of Peyton Manning. Actually that doesn't do what happened justice. Manning obviously knows all of David's tricks, because he made him look silly on three touchdowns. Manning is a lot of things, and ruthless is clearly one of them. It will be interesting to see if David recovers from that beatdown.
E - East, Big. What a week for the Big East. Only Syracuse has a loss in the conference so far this season. West Virginia came back convincingly from an early scare against Marshall. Louisville's offense was brilliant against Middle Tennessee (we'll ignore the defensive problems for now). Rutgers rolled over Navy, and Cincinnati shocked Oregon State. Most impressive of all though, was South Florida. A team that didn't even exist a decade ago went into Auburn and beat the Tigers.
F - Federer, Roger. This guy is ridiculous. It's him versus Tiger for the most dominant athlete in the world, and I think I lean towards Roger. He was absolutely dominant in winning his fourth consecutive U.S. Open on Sunday. It's not that he keeps winning, it's that he keeps making top competition look like middle school athletes. Neither Andy Roddick nor Novak Djokovic looked like they belonged on the same court as the Swiss stud.
G - Granderson, Curtis. The 20-20-20-20 Club doesn't exactly roll of the tongue, but it is an incredibly impressive accomplishment. Granderson became just the third player in history, and the first since Willie Mays in 1957, to record 20 home runs, stolen bases, doubles and triples in a season. It probably sullied the accomplishment a bit that it happened on a night that the Tigers got crushed by the lowly Mariners.
H - Humiliation. Michigan wasn't the only team to get embarrassed on Saturday. Notre Dame did, but that's to be expected. Miami learned definitively that they aren't ready for primetime yet. Virginia Tech was exposed in a big way. No team outside of greater Detroit should hang their head lower, though, than Oregon State. The Beavers, a legitimate second tier Pac-10 contender, were 3.5 point favorites at Cincinnati, and they lost 34-3. Stud RB Yvenson Bernard managed just 30 yards on 16 carries.
I - Inevitable. The main question of interest this NFL season, unless something changes or what we saw this weekend was just an illusion, is whether Indy will be hosting New England in the AFC Championship or vice versa. Both of those teams looked absolutely incredible, and so far above the field that it's hard to believe. New England was expected, but was I the only one that was caught off guard by just how good Indy looked?
J - Jake Locker. Most people thought that it would be another year before Washington was competitive in the Pac-10 but redshirt freshman QB Jake Locker appears to have something to say about that. He looked very impressive at times in the Huskies' surprisingly easy win over Boise State. Chances seem pretty good at this point that Ty Willingham's new team will be better than the team he was fired from.
K - Killjoys. The media and the public love nothing in college football more than a Cinderella, so this weekend had to be hard to take. Boise State was shut down by Washington. TCU was outclassed by Texas. Hawaii needed overtime to get past a Louisiana Tech team that they should have crushed. Their still could be a BCS crasher this year, but the odds of it are much longer now than they were a week ago.
L - LT. Was anyone else a little concerned that LaDainian Tomlinson only managed 25 yards on the ground in 17 carries? It's quite possible that the poor performance can be blamed on the stout Chicago defense, but it will be interesting to see how he rebounds next week. On the other hand, he did throw a touchdown, which is more than 11 starting quarterbacks can say.
M - Michigan. I can't even talk about that farce of a performance. If you want to know what I really think, just ask my wife - she's been hearing me rant about it constantly since about five minutes after kickoff. What an absolute joke.
N - NL Central. The Brewers finally got their act together, winning eight of 11, to move back into the lead in the division. It won't just be interesting to see how the race turns out, but also if the winner of this lame division can end up over .500. Milwaukee is just .514. The D-Backs have the next lowest win percentage for a division leader, and they are at .563.
O - Ohio State. The Buckeyes looked pretty sad against Akron on Saturday, winning by just 20-2. That underwhelming effort is, we are quickly learning, what we can expect from the not-so-big-three in the Big Ten. Wisconsin struggled way more than they should have to beat UNLV, too. At least the pathetic conference is saved somewhat by the impressive efforts to date by Penn State and Purdue.
P - PGA Playoff. By being dominant yet again, Tiger Woods put another nail in the coffin of the ridiculous FedEx Cup. This win puts him in the lead and firmly in charge, despite the fact that he skipped the first of the four playoff events. A team can't win the World Series by skipping the first round, so this is a farce. The one good story out of this mess, though, is Steve Stricker. He had his third straight top 10 finish to put the ghosts of his past firmly behind him.
Q - Quinn, Brady. The Quinn Watch is in full force, and it shouldn't be long now. Charlie Frye was brutal as Cleveland's starter on Sunday against Pittsburgh, and Derek Anderson was better but still only barely acceptable. It's pretty clear that there is little to play for this year for the Browns (what's new?), so they might as well use the season to break in Quinn.
R - Randy Moss. Do you think maybe that the Patriots were just messing with us by keeping Moss out of preseason action? With 183 yards and an incredible touchdown, it's pretty clear that Moss is not only ready to play, but he's found himself a good place in the Patriots' offense. Though he's older and slower than he used to be, he still has the impressive ability to make opposing secondaries look ridiculous when he wants to.
S - Sam Bradford. Wow. It's hard to believe that there were questions about Oklahoma's quarterback situation two weeks ago. This kid is amazing. Half the world expected him to struggle a bit against the Miami defense, but he absolutely shredded them. He had just one fewer touchdown (5) than incompletion (6).
T - Tigers. USC may prove me wrong next week when they play Nebraska, but my first place vote (if I had one) just went from USC to LSU after that overwhelming performance on Saturday. They were not only better than Virginia Tech in every single phase of the game, but they were so much better that it was scary. Suddenly the SEC doesn't look like that much of a race. It must hurt to be a Hokies fan right now, but I'd take it over my Michigan obsession without question.
U - Ugly. The Mariners have turned from great story and intriguing team to absolute train wreck over the last month or so. What a total waste of a season. The disaster was best illustrated by the seventh inning against the Yankees on Wednesday. They used a major league record six pitchers in the seventh inning as they gave up eight runs. Up to that point they had been playing well and leading 2-1.
V - Vindication. Ben Roethlisberger had a season last year that he would probably rather just forget, but he certainly made up for it on Sunday. It's not often that you see a guy get four touchdowns on just 161 yards passing, but that's what happens when the running game is clicking and the opponent's keep giving up juicy field position. Big Ben wasn't flashy, but he was consistent and error-free and he looked more in command than he did at any point last year. It's a great start for the Mike Tomlin era.
W - Williams, Mario. All of those Williams haters take note - the No. 1 pick has one more touchdown this season than Reggie Bush. Williams had a very impressive game, with two sacks and all sorts of pressure, and he did a lot to help his Texans win and win impressively. If you watched Houston's game in isolation it was possible to believe that they may actually be turning a corner.
X - eXplosive. It wasn't always pretty, and it lacked consistency, but we probably got a glimpse of what the Lions' offense will be able to do this year. They scored 17 points in about fifteen minutes at the start of the game, disappeared for a long stretch in the middle of the game, and then put up 17 more points in the last four and a half minutes. The Lions will have problems this year, but scoring shouldn't be one of them.
Y - Yikes. It could be a long year in Kansas City. Damon Huard showed that it is easier to be a star backup than it is to be a starter. He was brutal - it was as if the Houston D-line was in the huddle with him, because they seemed to know exactly what he was going to do. Huard isn't a long-term solution, but it's hard to believe that Brodie Croyle is, either. Trent Green was only decent for Miami, so maybe the Fish will let the Chiefs have him back.
Z - Zzzzz. It's been so long since we've seen the NFL that it's easy to forget just how boring the games can be at times. San Diego, Tennessee, Green Bay, and Seattle all did their part to cure insomnia on the way to victories on Sunday.