Barkley stays in school: Matt Barkley, USC quarterback, decided to return to school for his senior season. It is a very significant decision for next year's college football landscape. USC was already going to be highly rated and most likely the favorite in the Pac 12. Coming off probation and stacked with talent, the Trojans will be in the national championship conversation, perhaps even getting some first place votes in the preseason polls. My prediction: Watch out for the Trojans in 2012. At least a Rose Bowl berth, at best another national championship.
Colts win: The Indianapolis Colts pulled out a victory over the Texans. In past years, that wouldn't be such a big story. But this isn't past years and for a number of reasons, it is a big story. As Peyton Manning stood and cheered on sidelines, former Texan Dan Orlovsky rallied the Colts in very Manning-like fashion. Reggie Wayne, in perhaps his last home game as a Colt, was splendid. The Colt defense rattled Texans' rookie TJ Yates enough to allow the home team to avoid a season sweep by the Texans. Oddly enough, the Colts haven't been swept by a division opponent in a season since 2002. They can avoid that fate with a win next week against Jacksonville. Not a big deal, except for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. If the Colts lose, they lock up the first pick in the draft. If they win, they will most likely slip to second or third. Does it matter to the Colts? It's hard to say. Jim Irsay is a tweeting maniac who is difficult to read on whether he will want Manning and/or Wayne back next year. My prediction: The Colts win next week and then monitor Manning's health before making any decision on the draft. The most likely team to get the first pick if the Colts win is St. Louis, and they have Sam Bradford. So either way, the Colts can still trade up to get Luck if they want.
NBA season starts: Really? Is there a reason I'm supposed to care about this? Wake me up in April.
Chargers & Eagles: They should let these two teams play in a consolation game before the Super Bowl. Neither team has much of a shot at the playoffs, but if one gets in they will be very dangerous. Just look at Green Bay last year. Philadelphia has the best chance since they play Dallas tomorrow. The Broncos have to lose both of their remaining games, and although I don't think they are as good as their record the last 7 games, they can still go 1 -1 to secure the division. My Prediction: I don't think the Giants can win the last two and I don't think the Cowboys will lose the last two. Given that, I have to give the Cowboys the edge. A very slight edge.....
Penn State: There is only one word I can think of: Disgraceful. That program should be severely punished for allowing the criminal and morally reprehensible activities of Jerry Sandusky to occur on their campus and in their facilities. We aren't talking illegal benefits, tatoos, walking around money or other NCAA mandated violations. We're talking about sick, demented behavior that was enabled and ignored by the football program, the university and apparently the community's law enforcement community. If the NCAA can penalize Ohio State and USC for victimless violations, what do they need to do in the Penn State case? Or Syracuse? If they really want to send a message, then both programs should be banned from any television or postseason opportunities and receive significant scholarship reductions for at least three years. My Cynical Prediction: The NCAA will find a way to justify what will amount to nothing more than a slap on the wrist.