"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Post-Thanksgiving Ponderings

Notre Dame Gets It Done: To win or at least play for a national championship, it takes a bit of luck in at least one game. Fortunately for the Irish, they've had more than their share of it this season. However, that shouldn't diminish the Irish's accomplishments in the least. They played a good schedule and beat the team that beat Oregon, so no argument here about them making it to the championship game. Notre Dame clearly earned it. That defensive front is fierce and can play with anybody. As I look forward to the match-up with either Alabama or Georgia, the SEC representative will have to work hard for scores. It should be a compelling, but low scoring affair.

Oregon Doesn't: The team that many say is the most talented of them all won't even get a chance to play for their conference title. Even though I picked the Ducks to lose to Stanford, I think a BCS title game with Oregon's offense going up against Notre Dame's or Alabama's defense would have made for terrific buildup and drama. Although, I guess we got a bit of a preview by what the Cardinal were able to do to stop the explosive Duck attack. The whole scenario demonstrates why college football, year in and year out, never fails to deliver unpredictable results and exciting week to week action.

SEC Dominance Over ACC: I know the ACC is down this year, but the SEC clearly showed why it is the top football conference. They took on the top three ACC teams, two of them on the road, and came away with convincing victories. Georgia totally dominated Ga. Tech between the hedges, Florida came back to defeat a terrific Florida State team in Tallahassee and South Carolina continued their dominance over Clemson in Death Valley. Farther down in the pack, Vanderbilt tattooed Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. Pretty impressive. No wonder six of the top ten teams in the BCS hail from the SEC.

Georgia or Alabama? Can the case be made at this point that Georgia is actually a better team than Alabama? I think it can, but it's pretty close either way. Both teams have had a close conference win amid their dominating victories. I can't explain the Bulldogs getting blown out by South Carolina, but since then Mark Richt has had his team on a roll. As usual, Saban has kept his troops focused, despite a disappointing loss to Johnny Football and the Texas A&M Aggies. The nice part is we don't need to speculate. It will all be decided on the field in Atlanta on Saturday!

How Quickly They Fall: Minus QB Cam Newton and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, Gene Chizic couldn't maintain any momentum from Auburn's national championship season and now is out of a job. He wasn't a particularly popular choice from the beginning, having brought a dismal 5 - 19  record with him from  Iowa State. It's just another example of how important key assistant coaches are to a major college football program. With Arkansas and Tennessee having vacancies as well, the question will be who gets their first choice, and where does the aforementioned Gus Malzahn fit into the mix as his Arkansas State team hosts Middle Tennessee State for the Sunbelt conference title Saturday ?

Giants Hot After Bye: Whatever the New York Giants had for Thanksgiving dinner did the trick. They looked unbeatable on both sides of the ball Sunday night against what had been a surging Green Bay Packer squad. Ahmad Bradshaw looked at least a half step quicker and the defense smothered the Packers' attack. After the Redskins victory over the Cowboys on Thursday, I had hopes that my 'Skins could contend in the NFC Least. But after watching the Giants last night, I think it will take quite an effort for Washington to pull the upset at FedEx Field next Monday night. Maybe the extra three days of rest and preparation can help the 'Skins give the Giants a challenge like they did in New Jersey in October.

'Niners Go With Kaepernick: One of the hardest things to find in the NFL these days is a quality backup quarterback. I believe in the saying that you are only as good as your backup quarterback. Just ask Chicago, Pittsburgh or Philadelphia. However, after Alex Smith went down with a concussion, San Francisco didn't miss a beat when Colin Kaepernick was called on to carry the load. It's very hard to keep a good backup on the roster, as they tend to get nabbed by other teams for starting roles. Aaron Rodgers is more the exception than the rule, as he stuck around in Green Bay, rewarding both himself and the team with a Super Bowl crown. How long do you think New England will be able to hold onto Ryan Mallett as he sits behind one of the all time greats in Tom Brady?