Talk of the Town

September 15, 2008 |

Wow, what a week in sports. But before I get to that, I want to first send my condolences and wishes to anyone who has family or friends in the Houston area. Also, my wishes go out to those persons affected by the horrible commuter train accident that occurred this past weekend.

And speaking of the situation with Houston, here’s, My Take about the talk of the town right now which is the Ravens-Texan’s schedule change and how it affects the Ravens:

I want to state a disclaimer beforehand that I do not know exactly what went on with the NFL’s decision about the Ravens-Texans game…all of this is pure speculation.

The last natural disaster the NFL had to deal with was that of Hurricane Katrina and the New Orleans Saints. The NFL decided to move the Saints’ opener of the 2005 season to the Meadowlands in New Jersey against the New York Giants.

In comparison, what occurred this week with Ravens-Texans game and the Saints-Giants game are two completely different situations. Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August 29, 2005 and the home opener for the Saints was scheduled for September 18, 2005. The NFL was able to coordinate with the teams, the cities, and the networks to move the game to New York. For this situation the NFL only had 2 weeks to prepare for the game to be moved and it was not until September 10th that the path of Hurricane Ike was determined definite.

I know there are a bunch of reasons and also conspiracy theories out there as to why the game was not moved and how much of a disadvantage it is for both teams. Such as, why didn’t the NFL just move the game here to Baltimore for Monday night? It’s a good argument. The Orioles have an off day as they are about to travel to Toronto, and even if the Orioles did have a game, there would be more than enough space for the fans to park on W. Camden Street (you know, the street running perpendicular to the main Eutaw Street entrance across from Pickles). But the problems still remain about getting proper police protection, security, network personnel and equipment to Baltimore in such a short time. Preparations for our Sunday ritual are made months and months ahead of time.

Now, I am not saying that NFL was 100% correct with its decision; rather I think it did the best that it could do. The NFL tried its hardest to keep the game at Reliant Stadium for the Texans to have their home opener there. We can all agree that the last thing the NFL wanted to do was move the game to a different location. It also would have been great to see the game moved to a college campus in Texas because we know they have an abundance of them. However, again, people will have to make new arrangements that cannot be done in less than a week’s time. Plus, I especially believe the NFL does not want to have the game played at the UTEP football stadium after the…how can I put this delicately…the tainting of the hill. This is a huge lesson for the NFL and how, (like school systems prepare for snow and other inclement weather), it needs to have its own plan to prepare for situations such as this. Apparently the NFL did not think ahead after its dealings from Katrina, but hopefully it will learn from this instance. I mean come on, if Major League Baseball had a contingency plan with the Cubs-Astros game and moved that series up to Milwaukee, so why didn’t the NFL have one as well?

The Ravens and the Texans are at a huge disadvantage because of the game change. I know people did not predict the Ravens to do well this year, but what if we are doing well by the time our bye was scheduled? “Experts” are wrong all the time about their picks. The absence of our bye week will probably break our season at that point due to injuries and fatigue. Losing our bye is going to be detrimental to our season, but let’s not forget that real life and real people will always outweigh the risk and reward of a sporting event.

Your take: Do you think the loss of the Ravens’ bye depletes any chance they had at a winning season this year?

2 Minute Drill: Oh Maryland, my Maryland, why do you only show up against opponents that are favored against you? That was quite a game by the Terps upsetting Cal. Turner had a great game, as did the entire running game. Now maybe Maryland was looking ahead last week when they lost to MTSU, but that that is still no excuse. This team should be 3-0 right now and atop the ACC. If they had dominating performances against Delaware and MTSU, who knows, maybe they would be in Top 25? Okay maybe not, but they’d have a really strong case to be there, especially with a win like that over Cal. Again, I want to make the point that I want Coach Friedgen and the Terps to do well, but this win shows me that the coaching staff did not have the ears of their kids and did not motivate them enough for the previous two games. Ralph thought this was going to be the best team he ever had because of the amount of seniors he has on his roster. It should not be that difficult to motivate a team that consists of over 20 seniors. But maybe last week’s game was a wake-up call for the players and coaches?? Great win for them though, especially since not that many thought they could pull an upset like they did (including me). Let’s hope they can keep the momentum going and trounce the Eastern Michigan Eagles this coming weekend.

The Ohio State Buckeyes again got smashed on national television. The Trojans completely dominated that game on both sides of the ball. My question is why didn’t we see more of Terrell Pryor? I don’t believe having Terrell Pryor at quarterback throughout the game would have changed the overall outcome because in the second half the Trojans easily game-planned around him, but it would have made the game much more interesting. Poor Todd Boeckman was setting prey for USC’s defense whenever he went back to pass. The defense sure brought the pain for that guy. And maybe Jim Tressel finally needs to get rid of the sweater vest he sports. Maybe he should put in a special order from Bill Belichick’s hooded sweatshirt collection.

And speaking of Belichick, his new quarterback Matt Cassell did one of the best impressions of Trent Dilfer I’ve ever seen. Manage the football game and do not turn the ball over. It looks like the Patriots are going back to the game plan they had when Corey Dillon was their running back. However, it looks like, at least at this point, that Lawrence Mahroney may not be the bruising back Dillon was and instead that roll may be held for Lamont Jordan. This team is still my favorite for the AFC East until it shows signs that its wheels are finally falling off.

The ending of the Chargers-Broncos game was ridiculous. However, you have to give out some respect points to Ed Hochuli for admitting that he blew the call, literally. When he blew the whistle early it stopped the play and because it was a passing play, the ball was given back to the Broncos where the ball landed. Norv Turner and the Chargers have had the worst luck so far this season. First it was the last second touchdown by the Panthers and now this. But Mike Shanahan did give the Chargers the chance to still win the game by allowing them to stop his team’s two-point conversion and the Chargers could not and therefore they deserved to lose that game.

The Redskins did a great job of exploiting the Saints rookie cornerback Tracy Porter. The Saints’ two starting corners already were scratched for the game and the injury to Aaron Glen was the turning point of that game. As soon as they put in Porter, Santana Moss put on his professor hat and started schooling the kid about how not to cover a wide receiver in the NFL. And it was great listening to Coach Billick in the booth during the game. He did an excellent job of critiquing both teams. My favorite line he said yesterday was when he was talking about the Redskins in the first half, “Now I know I am the poster-child for this because I was the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens for 9 years, but you can’t just score field goals when you are in the redzone. You have to punch it in there.” So isn’t an exact quote, but it is pretty close to what he said and it got a good laugh out of me.

Romeo Crennel, the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, tried his best impression of rookie head coach Jim Zorn last night with horrible clock management. Crennel actually surpassed Zorn with his blunders because at least Zorn has an excuse; it’s his first time coaching a position other than a quarterback. The clock management at the end of the first half was simply horrific for the Browns. After the Browns’ quarterback Derek Anderson ran the no huddle QB sneak for a first down resulting in 8 seconds left on the clock with no timeouts, they should have just kicked the field goal to get some momentum on their side. Then he decided to use his two final timeouts at the end of the second half before the 2 minute warning which was a wasted effort that you cannot fault him entirely for. But at that point in the game, you just knew that whatever the Browns did, they were going to lose the game regardless. And why was Kellen Winslow on the sideline for the final two plays of the game? That decision had me scratching my head too. That was a winnable game by the Browns, and while I know the players could have performed better, I believe they would have won had the coaching staff also called a better game.

And finally, Towson University started off conference play with a tough loss to Richmond Saturday, losing 45-14. Towson’s quarterback Sean Schaefer had a rough game but according to Towson University’s release, Schaefer “became the sixth player in CAA history to reach the 9,000-yard mark in career passing yards. In his career, he has now completed 809 of 1,268 passes (.638) for a school record 9,145 yards and 58 touchdowns.” http://www.towsontigers.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=101455&SPID=12497&DB_OEM_ID=21300&ATCLID=1581565. So a big congrats goes out to Sean and his record setting performance.

Sayonara Bmore, I’ll get back at you next time.

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