Saturday, January 03, 2009

Utah fans know more about sports than T/P sports writers

This was written before the game. I don't want to take anything away from Utah, and I certainly don't make excuses for Alabama, but, if you're going to put a put a sports story on the front page, you should at least acknowledge the obvious. Peter Finney's usual social page fluff piece also failed to mention Bama's O-line woes; Ted Lewis' sports report glossed over it. In fairness, Lewis was duly impressed by the ability of Utah's offense to move the ball against Alabama's defense -- like I said, I don't want to take anything away from Utah. If I had a vote in the AP poll, I'd be tempted to vote Utah number 1 on the theory that the AP poll should reward any truly deserving team that gets slighted by the BCS system, but that would be just one possible vote. At any rate, I don't expect logic from a group of sports writers and broadcasters who failed to give Drew Brees a single MVP vote.

Brees's team finished 8-8 and his numbers are largely due to what David Vitter might call an "Ass-Backwards" offensive philosophy. He's a good kid. But I don't think he was the MVP this year.

As for the Sugar Bowl, I had no idea Alabama was going to play with three O-Linemen out of position until the FOX broadcasters told me so during the second quarter. Still it's no excuse. Utah plays in a weak conference and employs an Asser-Backwards offense than the Saints do. Alabama should be ashamed of themselves.

Just the other day I was reading Jeff Duncan's column looking back a the Saints season and thinking to myself, "Hey this guy is a pretty good. Much better than Finney's typical paean to whoever happens to be the coach" Which is basically all he ever writes.
In the case of Drew Brees, I think that only New Orleans fans and a few opposing defensive coordinators realize that Brees should get the lion's share of the credit the low number of sacks, especially relative to the high number of passes. The turnaround at Indy after Manning came back makes him a legitimate MVP, but mot a single vote for Brees? I guess the AP voter in Tennessee gave his vote to the home town team, the socialite at the T/P gave his vote to the home town boy -- assuming he has a vote.

From watching the game on TV (I missed most of the first quarter and you sometimes can't see blatant holding on TV), I couldn't see any excuse for Bama's defense, but if you're going to praise Utah's defense when you're making the case for Utah as no. 1, at least be honest. Basically, everybody at the T/P is better than Finney, but DeShazier usually pretty good, but he phones it in occasionally.

I sometimes think that in year's with no clear number 1, the AP writers should try to pick the best team that got left out of the BCS game. If Texas dominates Ohio St., Texas, USC and Utah will all be able to claim they deserve it. I'll shoot anybody who says Utah beat Oregon St. who beat USC. PSU dominated Oregon St. and lost to USC. Utah barely beat Oregon St. at home. LSU beat Ole Miss who beat Fla. -- one game each against one common opponent proves nothing. BTW, some of the arguments for Utah as no. 1 could be made for Ole Miss as number 1 -- if an impressive win over a one loss team from a power conference means that much.
Obviously, I totally messed up the LSU part of that common opponent argument -- I was thinking about Ole Miss looking almost as impressive in the Cotton as Utah in the Sugar. What I meant to say was LSU beat Georgia Tech who beat Georgia....
Wow, rereading it, I see that my first comment was sloppy all around. Manning didn't come back from injury, just played better as he recovered. I didn't follow Indy this year and his owner didn't do much in my fantasy league. My original point was that Brees was at least as deserving of some votes as some of the other vote getters, but I think you could make a case for Brees based on that body of work over the course of the entire season bullshit: Manning started weak and Warner finished weak. I don't think any other players make more than an one or two game difference in their team's won/loss record. As good as Adrian Peterson is, the Vikings have such good run blocking that there isn't much of a drop off when Taylor goes in.
The same crappy logic that MLB MVP voters have been using for years are now starting to be accepted by NFL voters--that only a player on a "winning" team (meaning most often a playoff team) should be considered "worthy" of a vote for MVP. 1947...Williams wins Triple Crown, .343, 32 HR, 114 RBI (and amazing 161 BB), but Red Sox finish 16 games out and in third, so DiMaggio's .315, 20, and 97 for the first place Yankees was deemed "more worthy" in the vote (by one voting point, btw). Williams felt even more deeply screwed after he'd lost to DiMaggio in 1941 when he'd (Williams) hit .406 for the season but the voters went with DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak instead.

As for Alabama...the key was Utah jumping out to an early and substantial lead. Alabama is one of those teams that can pass just fine when they don't have to (play action off a strong running game when they're ahead or at least close) but can't pass worth a crap when they really have to. The wonder of their season was that they were able to keep from being in situations where they "had to" very often.
It was an off year for the SEC, especially the SEC west. Bama barely beat LSU and Tulane (the 14 point margin was deceptive) and barley beat Ole Miss at home. It's only impressive win was Ga. and I'm not sure how impressive that was -- Ga. had and up-and-down year with, I believe, injury problems The only time I was impressed with them was for three quarters of the Fla. game.
Fox broadcasters have been taking too much growth hormone!
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