"The Stack" is back today and we have a few things to talk about before tomorrow's big Super Bowl preview blog. And no, none of the stuff today will even mention Peyton Manning, who will meet next week with Colts owner Jim Irsay. There, we're done talking about him. Now let's see what made "the stack" for today, Thursday, February 2:
1. Alabama lands top recruiting class in college football.
The big day has come and gone and college football fans across the country are either celebrating their team's recruiting class or wondering what direction their team is heading. You can't get too caught up in a school's recruiting class. Sometimes they don't pan out. But the folks who cheer for the Crimson Tide of Alabama and the Seminoles of Florida State are celebrating tonight. Alabama landed 27 recruits, including 13 recruits in ESPNU's top 150. Florida State was second with nine top 150 recurits, including reeling in the top ranked player, defensive end Mario Edwards and defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, ranked tenth overall. Texas had a strong day as well with nine top 150 recruits and signing 24 overall. The top ranked wide receiver in the 2012 class, Dorial Green-Beckham committed to Missouri, his home state.
Again, you can't look too much into who has the top recuring class today. Injuries can happen or players can get into legal trouble and trouble with grades. Plus there are always players who surprise and who are out to prove other schools wrong. But for one day, fans can celebrate in knowing that their schools went out and signed some of the top football players in the country.
2. At least 74 dead in Egypt soccer riot.
Soccer the world's most popular sport, but has never caught on fully in the United States and with another senseless riot that has left over seventy people dead in Egypt, don't look for the sport to get any more popular. Thousands of people stampeded onto the field in Port Said after their team beat the top ranked Egyptian team, leaving hundreds, even thousands injured. It is the deadliest soccer riot in the world since 1996. We've seen riots in stands before that leave dozens injured and dead. But this is different. This is awful.
I don't recall any deaths or many injuries at college football games when students storm the field after a big upset. The same could be said when students rush the court after a big win in college basketball. True there aren't nearly as many people who can rush the basketball court, but it could be said that students and fans are sensible at football games and a tad more civil. Seriously, what goes through soccer fans minds to think that rushing the field and fighting and causing harm to others is a good idea. This is why the term soccer hooligans is considered a damaging phrase to soccer fans. Incidents like the one we saw in Egypt yesterday do little to dispell the tag that soccer fans get. I'm not saying all soccer fans act like the ones in this incident in Egypt act. Not at all. Most are in control. But others can be cruel shouting insulting remarks and causing a soccer game to become a dangerous place. And it is these people that give soccer fans in general such a bad rap. You can't defend it. So now I shall get off my soap box, and leave the conversation open to all of you. What do you think of this riot and what does it do to soccer and your perception of it?
3. Super Bowl storyline take eight.
We have one final storyline of the Super Bowl that we'll talk about before the big Super Bowl preview. There are of course many many more that we can't get to. Sorry about that. Today's storyline is all about the rematch of the '07 Super Bowl. There the two teams were. Standing on the sidelins of University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale, Arizona, ready to do battle. The undefeated Patriots were ready to be the first team in NFL history to go 19-0 and the second undefeated team along with the '72 Dolphins. But the Giants had confidence after losing to the Patriots 38-35 in the regular season finale even though they had nothing to play for. The Giants got on a roll in the playoffs and went on to had Tom Brady and Bill Belichick their first Super Bowl loss. You'll remember the play of the game when Eli Manning escaped the grasp of the Patiots defense and heaved the ball downfiled where David Tyree realed in the catch, pinning it against his helmet as he went to the ground. Amazingly, the ball never touched the ground. Manning would later it Plaxico Burress for the game-winning touchdown. The Giants shocked the world 17-14.
Which leads us to this Super Bowl, Super Bowl XLVI. Same two quarterbacks. Same two coaches. Some of the other same players. And that may be where the similarites end. Sure, same teams, yet different. This Giants team has '07 written all over them. Lost 38-35 at home at that point to an unbeaten Packers team. Got a run late in the season, playing in a winner take all game for the NFC East in week 17 against the Cowboys. Carrying that momentum and ratcheting up the defense bringing constant pressure against opponents. Yes this Giants team seems to have much in common with the '07 team, but maybe more in common with the Packers last year. Only difference is that the Giants got a home game in the wild card round. But just like the Packers last year, the Giants had to win their last two games to make the playoffs.
As for the Patriots, the don't have that explosive downfield threat this year like they did in '07 with Randy Moss. They do have a much better arsenal at tight end with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, who constantly create mismatches for opponents. The defense is a much worse though. The running game, eh about the same. Yet they still have two constants in Brady and Belichick. With those two leading the way, the Patriots are in good hands.
So in looking at this year's Super Bowl, don't look back to their previous meeting four years ago. Sure the Giants look similar, but they are a different team. They have many different players. The Patriots philosophy is different. This is a rematch yes, but not of two identical teams from '07. These two teams, the New York Giants and the New England Patriots, have their own footprints to leave about their teams from this year. And the Patriots hope it is different than the one in '07. the Giants hope it's the same. We'll see on Sunday.
Coming up tomorrow: Super Bowl preview (join us. it's going to be good).
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.