It's Tuesday and The Stack has a lot to talk about today. It was a wildly entertaining MNF game last night. A lot of people outside of Northern Illinois' campus are very unhappy with the selection of the Huskies in the Orange Bowl. Plenty of thoughts and that and much more so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Tuesday, December 4th:
Redskins outlast Giants in MNF thriller
His first game on MNF was a good one. RGIII helped lead the Washington Redskins to a 17-16 win over the New York Giants. Not only was it the Redskins third straight win, but they also pull within one game of the Giants for the NFC East lead. Giants were a little sloppy in this game with nine penalties. They averaged under five per game coming in. No penalty was bigger than the holding penalty that negated a third down conversion. The Redskins offense is awfully difficult to stop. The option style that they run adds a wrinkle to opposing defense that they aren't used to. It's kind of like the wildcat. Eventually teams will catch up, but for now, the Redskins are taking advantage of it and they are right in the thick of the NFC playoff race.
Heisman Trophy finalists named
The Heisman Trophy will be presented this Saturday, December 8th in New York City and the finalists were named Monday. They are:
- Johnny Manziel, QB Texas A&M (Freshman)
- Collin Klein, QB Kansas State (Senior)
- Manti Te'o, LB Notre Dame (Senior)
That's it. Just three names. Normally there are four or five. Not this year. Part of the reason is due to some teams vastly under-performing. Matt Barkley (QB) and Marqise Lee (WR) were on a USC team that failed to live up to the expectations as top team in college football. Truth be told, Lee should be among the finalists. 112 catches for 1680 yards and fourteen touchdowns. It's a joke he's not on there. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith was a favorite after the first month, but just like his team, he took a dive. So we are left with Manziel aka Johnny Football, Klein and Te'o. It would be really sweet if a defensive player won the Heisman. Thought Ndamukong Suh should have won it a few years back. Te'o plays on the only undefeated team in the country and he is the unquestioned leader on Notre Dame's defense. Seven interceptions for a linebacker is pretty impressive. Unfortunately, I don't think he'll win it. Klein has been amazing both running and throwing this year. If K-State was undefeated, he'd win. But when a freshman puts up the type of numbers that Manziel did this season, in the toughest football conference in the land, he should win hands down. He set an SEC record for total yards with 4,600 total yards including over 1,100 rushing yards. His Heisman moment came against Alabama in Tuscaloosa. This will be unprecendented but I think Manziel has this.
BCS Bowl thoughts
Bowl season is right around the corner and while I don't really care about the Papa Johns Bowl or the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (has the Lysol Toilet Bowl and Dole Fruit Bowl been introduced yet?), the BCS Bowl games generate a ton of interest and it is definitely going to be exciting this year. This year's games are generating a lot of buzz, but possibly for all of the wrong reasons. Here are the BCS Bowl games:
Allstate Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, LA) Wednesday, January 2 8:30 PM ET
Florida (SEC) vs. Louisville (Big East)
Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA)Tuesday, January 1 5:00 PM ET
Stanford (Pac-12) vs. Wisconsin (Big Ten)
Discover Orange Bowl (Miami Gardens, FL) Tuesday, January 1 8:30 PM ET
Florida State (ACC) vs. Northern Illinois (MAC)
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, AZ) Thursday, January 4 8:30 PM ET
Kansas State (Big 12) vs. Oregon (Pac-12)
BCS National Championship game (Miami Gardens, FL) Monday, January 7 8:30 PM ET
Alabama (SEC) vs. Notre Dame (Independent)
Obviously, the biggest problem most everyone has is the fact that a one loss Northern Illinois team from the MAC is in over an Oklahoma or a Georgia or LSU. Northern Illinois has not done even a quarter as much as Georgia did this year. Yes, they're a great story, and I'm going to root like hell for them to make some noise against Florida State, but this is the problem with the BCS. How is Northern Illinois expected to go against one of the best defense in the game and compete? Some teams from the non-BCS conferences can compete and I'm all for that. I just don't see how Northern Illinois can do it, but I sure hope they can and will be cheering them on.
Yes, Georgia and LSU can't be in because conferences are capped at a maximum of two teams and Alabama and Florida are already in. That's why the BCS system is so terrible. They should rename it the Bull Crap System, because that's what it is. This is why college football needs a playoff, a sixteen team playoff. That way the best teams can settle it all on the field, not the computers. That way a team like Oklahoma or Georgia can have a chance to play against the best and prove they are the best. It's just not a fair system and the playoff coming in a couple of years can't come soon enough, although more teams are definitely needed.
Jovan Belcher intial thoughts
With so much going on on Monday, I feel that it would be better to compose a more thoughtful paragraph or two on the Jovan Belcher tragedy tomorrow, but some first reactions are that this is a very, very sad story. I just hope that people remember who the real victims are in the tragedy. That would be Kasandra Perkins and the couple's three month old baby Zoe. They didn't do anything to deserve this. We may never know exactly what was going through Belcher's mind when he made the decisions he did, but more information is coming out that he had had an argument with Perkins before she was fatally shot. It's just very, very sad. More to come on Wednesday.
NFL Week 13 power rankings
1. Houston Texans 11-1
Only thing the Texans have to worry about is that defenders are dropping like flies. Otherwise, this team looks like a team heading to New Orleans.
2. Atlanta Falcons 11-1
Wasn't the prettiest of offensive outputs against the Saints, but the defense played great, something they'll need to do to beat teams like the Packers and Giants come playoffs.
3. Denver Broncos 9-3
Broncos may have both the offensive MVP (Peyton Manning) and defensive MVP (Von Miller).
4. New England Patriots 9-3
Tom Brady will be closing in on Drew Brees' touchdown record here pretty soon. Big game this week against the Houston Texans on MNF.
5. San Francisco 49ers 8-3-1
Feel as though Jim Harbaugh is being a bit of a hypocrite by saying that Colin Kaepernick is his starting quarterback considering his hand isn't quite so hot. The 49ers will still be just fine though.
6. Baltimore Ravens 9-3
Not sure how a team with Ray Rice as their starting running back doesn't get the ball in the hands of their best player more. Ravens need to figure that out. The Terrell Suggs injury hurts this team too.
7. Indianapolis Colts 8-4
What else can you say about Andrew Luck? Another impressive performance and even better comeback win on the last play of the game. Colts are looking like a tough team in the playoffs.
8. New York Giants 7-5
Giants killed themselves with penalties against the Redskins. Need to bounce back with a performance like they had against the Packers this week against the Saints or their NFC East title hopes may soon be gonee.
9. Chicago Bears 8-4
Mounting injuries may derail the Bears hopes of winning the NFC North. Bad loss at home to the Seahawks.
10. Green Bay Packers 8-4
Wasn't real impressed by the Packers Sunday. Thought they'd come out and pummel the Vikings. Defense still has issues, but at least they found a ground game.
11. Cincinnati Bengals 7-5
Bengals are getting hot at just the right time, but they will have to be at their best with the Cowboys coming to town this week and the Steelers tied with them.
12. Seattle Seahawks 7-5
Awfully impressive win by Russell Wilson and company on the road at Chicago. Ending with three of four games at home will help push the Seahawks towards the playoffs.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers 7-5
Perhaps they should be higher given that they beat the Ravens on the road with Charlie Batch. Still think the Bengals are a slightly better team.
14. Washington Redskins 6-6
RGIII did it again Monday night. He has taken the nation's captial by storm and thanks to his play, the Redskins are serious contenders not just to make the playoffs, but to win the NFC East.
15. Dallas Cowboys 6-6
Cowboys keep their season alive, but failed to look impressive once again. They keep starting out slow and that will eventually get the better of them and keep them out of the playoffs.
16. St. Louis Rams 5-6-1
Fantastic defensive performance by the Rams against Colin Kaepernick and a big win over the 49ers though they almost tied again. Rams are definitely a team heading in the right direction.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-6
Doug Martin has been fairly quiet the last few weeks. Bucs need him to get going if they want to make the playoffs.
18. Minnesota Vikings 6-6
It seems pretty clear to everyone but the Vikings coaching staff that Christian Ponder isn't the answer at quarterback. That means more 210-yard rushing performances by Adrian Peterson will be spoiled.
19. New Orleans 5-7
Drew Brees consecutive game streak with a touchdown ended at 54. So to did the Saints chances of making the playoffs.
20. Buffalo Bills 5-7
Only hope the Bills have of a playoff run is if their defense can keep putting up that type of effort. Then again, they won't be playing the Jaguars every week.
21. Miami Dolphins 5-7
Dolphins need more playmakers if they want to compete for an AFC East title against the Patriots.
22. Cleveland Browns 4-8
That trio of rookies (Weeden, Richardson and Gordon) is making the future of Browns football look awfully good.
23. Detroit Lions 4-8
Lions defensive collapse late in the game was inexcusable. They are wasting an all-time great year from Calvin Johnson.
24. San Diego Chargers 4-8
Surprise, surprise! The Chargers blow another halftime lead. Norv Turner is as good as gone and the Chargers may not be competing in the AFC West for a while.
25. New York Jets 5-7
I don't care if they won. They won't win another game with Greg McElroy at quarterback. Seriously! What is so wrong with Tim Tebow?
26.Tennessee Titans 4-8
Titans were never really close in this game. Just like most of their games this season.
27. Arizona Cardinals 4-8
Seriously! Have you ever seen a more pathetic quarterback situation than the Cardinals? I think not.
28. Carolina Panthers 3-9
Had to think it was going to be tough to go into KC and beat the Chiefs after what they had gone through. Panthers still have to figure a way to salvage their season.
29. Kansas City Chiefs 2-10
What a rough 24 plus hours for the Chiefs. How they went out and played a game and won is something that should be applauded. Praying for all members of the organization.
30. Philadelphia Eagles 3-9
Michael Vick won't be starting another game this year (he's just fine with that), but at least Bryce Brown has become a bright spot for the team.
31. Oakland Raiders 3-9
Think the Raiders are regretting the Carson Palmer trade? Don't know if head coach Dennis Allen will last more than this year if the Raiders continue to flounder.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars 2-10
Didn't see Justin Babin make a huge impact on the Jaguars defense. Didn't see the Jaguars play that good at all for that matter.
And one final thought to pass along from college basketball. Amazing to see Kentucky fall out of the top 25 following two losses this past week to unranked schools Notre Dame and Baylor. It's not like either of those schools are doormats in their respective conferences. Baylor did win their first ever game against Kentucky though and did it in Rupp Arena. Kentucky just doesn't have the type of talent as they did last year. Not saying they won't do decent in the tournament, but they don't look like a team that will win the national championship this year.
Coming up Wednesday: Jovan Belcher thoughts