Monthly Archives: November 2008

No Eagles? No problem…The Pundit previews a few games worth watching

With no Eagles to watch on Sunday, I’ve been trying to decide what I will do with my day tomorrow. It would be a spectacular day to catch up on some laundry, do some cleaning around the house, take a trek to the Free Library, and cook a few meals for the upcoming week.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

While that is what I probably should do, what I likely will do is watch football all day, flipping over to the Sixers at five. The one nice thing about not having the Eagles game on tomorrow is that I can frantically follow my fantasy players – a win tomorrow, and I clinch a playoff spot, baby! (Editor’s note: The Pundit enjoys long walks on the beach, fine dining, and fantasy football – which one doesn’t fit?)

There are some great storylines around the NFL tomorrow. I’m not going to bother with predictions, because that’s a truly fruitless endeavor this year, but I will highlight a few of the games worth paying attention to.

1:00 Kickoffs

Giants at Redskins – Hey, any NFC East clash is worth tuning in for. This one is probably more meaningful for the Redskins than it is for the Giants, as every week becomes vital for a Redskins team fighting for a playoff spot. Look for a grind-it-out, defense-oriented, old-school football game. Should be a good watch.

Saints at Bucs– The Saints are fighting for their playoff lives. I don’t think they’ll make it, but this would not only be a big win against a division foe, but would be a confidence victory against another playoff contender. Are the Bucs legit? Their defense seems to be, allowing only 16.4 points and 274.7 yards per game, good for for third and fourth in the NFL, respectively. Will their second ranked pass defense be able to slow down the Saints top ranked passing attack, or will Drew Brees light them up like he did the Packers? A game with big playoff implications.

Panthers at Packers– Is Carolina for real? Can Green Bay do enough down the stretch to win the division? Will Brett Favre prepare the huge crow dinner he’s been cooking this year for the Packers’ organization Cajun style? (Editor’s note: Oh c’mon, Aaron Rodgers has been pretty damn good this year). Really, this boils down to Green Bay’s defense: If they don’t pick up their game, Green Bay is shot. For Carolina to be considered a legitimate threat in the NFC, they need to win games like these. This one could go either way, though its always tough to go into Lambeau.

4:00 Kickoffs

Falcons at Chargers – Who cares if they’re only 4-7 – the Chargers can still win the AFC West! God, what a disappointment the Chargers have been this year. At the beginning of the year, if I told you the Falcons might make the playoffs and the Chargers likely wouldn’t even make .500, you would have told me to get off the crack. (Editor’s note: The first step is admitting you have a problem, Pundit). Matty Ice and the Falcons are a great story – no one is dogging them anymore, huh? (Editor’s note: Groan. You’re all bark and no bite, Pundit).

Broncos at Jets – The Broncos probably won’t win this game, but a victory here would all but seal up the division for them. Despite the fact that they would only be 7-5. The AFC West is a joke. The Jets aren’t. And it’s not just because of that guy playing quarterback – they stuff the running game, and do a good job of churning out yards on the ground themselves. But if they have a weakness, it’s against the pass, and if the Broncos have a strength, it’s throwing the ball. The Broncos could use a good win, and the Jets still have the Pats nipping at their ankles – should make for a pretty good contest.

Steelers at Patriots– Brady who? Alright, so maybe we’re not there yet, but Matt Cassel has been nice. That guy Belichick can coach a bit, can’t he? I don’t really know what to think about the Steelers – they play good defense, they have a pretty balanced offensive attack, and I think Ben Roethlisberger is the real deal. Yet, if I was playing them, they wouldn’t scare me. I might be totally off here, but I just don’t see them as an elite team this year. I think they’re very good, but not elite yet – the Patriots need this more, and I’d put my money on them taking care of business against the Steelers at home.

Sunday Night

Bears at Vikings – Let’s play “Who wants to win the NFC North?” Contestant number one: You play tough run defense, run the ball well, and try desperately to keep your quarterback from having to make plays in the passing game. Contestant number two: you play tough run defense, run the ball well, and try desperately to keep your quarterback from having to make plays in the passing game. Can we just call this Matt Forte vs. Adrian Peterson and move on? And yet, the last time these two teams played, the score was 48-41. How the hell did that happen? A Vikings win gives them a big advantage over the Bears, who they already beat. (Actual Editor’s note: No, that’s incorrect. The Bears actually won the last game between these two, 48-41, and thus, a Bears win gives them a major advantage.) Still, it’s a divisional rivalry, and the Sixers will be over by the time it starts, so its worth a view, if for nothing else than to marvel at Adrian Peterson.

So there you have it. Some intriguing match-ups, and a lot of playoff shuffling will go on by the end of the day. So go ahead – see if you can do some lawn work. Try to rearrange the garage. See how much cleaning you get done. We both know that Sunday autopilot will kick in, and your ass will be on the couch, watching football.

Fight the urge if you must – you know it’s a fight you want to lose.

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At this point, The Pundit is just confused – Evaluating the Eagles win over the Cardinals

I made a mistake last week – I let my emotions get the best of me. I had said that I would spend the rest of the season evaluating Andy Reid in an earlier post, and then I sold him out last week. I was upset, you know? (Editor’s note: I just wish I knew which Pundit I was going to get from day to day…it’s so taxing!) I still don’t understand the McNabb benching, or much of the playcalling, but I threw in the towel earlier than I should have. I won’t overreact like that again, I promise.

Which means you won’t see me doing any jumping jacks after the Eagles dominant performance against the Cardinals.

Yes,  McNabb looked sharp, and Westbrook seemed to have an extra bounce in his hobbled step. The defense played really well, disrupting Kurt Warner’s timing and pounding the receivers every time a ball was thrown their way. I mean, I don’t know what was going on with Anquan Boldin, but he was like a bad cell phone plan, except he was dropping balls (Editor’s note: Oh God, that was just so lame. Besides, isn’t he a little bit old for that?) Great, great gameplan drawn up by Jim Johnson.

Oh, and Andy Reid called a balanced game. They actually…gasp…established a running game. I repeat: they established a running game. Hold on, hold on, did you happen to catch that? Hmm? Alright, one last time:

THEY ESTABLISHED A RUNNING GAME!

Ahhhhhh, that felt good. Gotta say, I like Kyle Eckel. I don’t foresee him as much more than a short-yardage, straight-up-the-gut runner, but honestly, that’s all we need him to be. Westbrook and Buckhalter, when he comes back, are perfectly capable of handling the rest of the running duties. And it was a revelation to watch McNabb scramble out of the pocket – when he uses his legs, even if it is only for a small chunk of yardage, the Eagles offense is nearly indefensible. They looked good in every phase of their game: they ran the ball successfully, McNabb was accurate from the 1st quarter to the 4th, he scrambled when he needed to, the tight ends were involved in the offense, the offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, and the wideouts made plays with the ball after the catch.

Speaking of catches, here’s the biggest one of the night: they did all of this against a mediocre Cardinal’s defense.

I mean, honestly, as you watched, were you excited by this performance? Or, like me, were you convinced that this was a beautiful game that likely couldn’t be repeated against the NFC East teams? (Editor’s note: Why you always gotta be hatin’, homeboy?) Because if they are able to play the three phases against those teams like they did tonight, they are capable, unlikely as it may seem, of running the table. But what Eagles team will show up? To me, that’s the theme of this season, and I think it is still a reflection of the coach and QB: when the playcalling is on point, and the QB is accurate and using his legs, this team is one of the best teams in the NFL. (Editor’s note: To be fair, a banged-up Westbrook has affected this offense as well. But that’s as much slack for the Birds as you’ll get from me). Seriously, when the Eagles are on point, they are as good as anyone in this league. But when they aren’t clicking, they are a subpar team on the field, and an infuriating team to watch. The type of team that will be playing golf in a month.

So I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Who are you, Eagles? Who who, who who? Because I would really, really like to friggin’ know.

(*Just thought of this: the guy played a good game, but why is Joselio Hanson starting ahead of Lito Sheppard? Is he hurt? Or are Lito’s Philly days numbered? Food for thought…)

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The Pundit List presents: Things to be thankful for

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Pundit List, so it seemed like time. I decided to list the things I was thankful for both in the spirit of the holiday and because I’ve been so negative about the Eagles lately. My thanks will be primarily directed toward the sporting world, but I will undoubtably stray from time to time.  Obvious things, such as my family, friends, shelter, food, etc. will be left off of the list because they aren’t as much fun to write about. But they would be at the top. Probably. Anyway, on to the list.

8. The Flyers and Sixers – Eventually, I’ll actually start watching their games. I’m thankful I have something to look forward to once football is done for the year.

7. Emmananuelle Chriqui – You probably know her better as Sloan from Entourage. She might be the sexiest woman on this planet, at least in this humble Pundit’s opinion. If you aren’t familiar with the show, take a look– you won’t want to look away.

6. Beer – I don’t really need to go into depth here, do I? Though I will say, I am extremely thankful for my two favorite watering holes, The Pope (Pub on Passyunk East) and the South Philly Tap Room.

5. The BCS – The system blows, and I would like a playoff, but at least it gives me something to constantly bitch about on the site. The BCS, if for nothing else, is great for material. Think about how much has been written aruging that one team should be ranked higher than another, or about how there should be a playoff, and how it would be formatted. It’s a story-generator, and for that, and that alone, I offer my thanks.

4. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Entourage, Generation Kill, John Adams, Weeds – After The Wire ended last year, I needed something to fill the gigantic void that was left in my soul from its wake. (Editor’s note: Oh brother). Any show and/or mini-series listed above either helped, or is currently helping, to fill that void. Rest in peace, The Wire – you were the greatest show ever crafted for television. Hell, I’m thankful I ever tuned in.

3. The Eagles – They are driving me absolutely crazy this year – how could I possibly be thankful for them? Well, much like the BCS, they constantly give me something to talk about. I mean, they tied the Bengals. Andy Reid benched Donovan McNabb, and is starting him this week. They blew chances to win close games against the Bears, Redskins, Cowboys and Giants. Honestly, a few clutch plays, and this team could potentially be undeafeted right now. And honestly, that is what makes them so damn frustrating – wasted potential. But success wouldn’t stir conversation, now would it? The Eagles are like the girl in the neighborhood who sleeps around – everyone knows her business, has their own idea of how she should be living, and are constantly gossiping about her. (Editor’s note: So wait…are the Eagles like the town’s bike?) I suppose I’m just thankful for football in general, but as a writer, the Eagles specifically are wonderful for controversy. (Editor’s note: Kind of sad, really).

2. Change – More than everything except for one thing on this list, I am thankful for the possibility, and the hope, of change. It was what made the number one item on this list so very special. I am thankful that “Yes We Can” became “Yes We Did.” I am thankful for the possibility that the Eagles will move in a new direction after this season. I am thankful for the possibility that maybe, just maybe, college football will someday have a playoff. I am thankful that the Sixers brought in Elton Brand, the legitamate big man they haven’t had since Charles Barkley. (Editor’s note: What, no love for Dikembe “Cookie Monster” Mutombo?) I am thankful that, after 25 years of failure, we finally had ourselves a winner. Which brings me to number one:

1. The 2008, World Phucking Champion, Philadelphia Phillies – I mean, what is there to be said that hasn’t already been said? They brought us the parade we had been waiting for so long. They were a team full of players that were easy to embrace. Talented. Team-oriented. Focused. Unflappable. They were led by a manager with the waddle to the mound. The guy who had divine hunches. I offer my thanks to Charlie Manuel, Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell, Shane Victorino, Pedro Feliz, Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton, Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre, J.C Romero, Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, Matt Stairs, Greg Dobbs, Geoff Jenkins, Chris Coste, Eric Bruntlett, and So Taguchi. On second thought, not So Taguchi. Sorry, pal. I give my thanks to the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies – it was one hell of a ride, and I sure hope to take it with you guys again.

I hope everybody a damn good Thanksgiving. Stuff your faces, take a nap while watching a football game, and enjoy seeing your family. But don’t use it as an excuse to be thankful for the things in your life – we should all be doing that everyday. (Editor’s note: I’m thankful for self-righteous advice!). Oh, and Rant: I’m thankful for you too, man. Rant has been the man. Many thanks go out to him. Now…bring on the feasting!

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The Pundit thinks Andy should hit the road after this year – Rant offers the counterpoint

Rant Jacobs

It was quite another day at the office for Reid, McNabb, and the rest of the Eagles Crew, wasn’t it?  Such a putrid performance, combined with a heavy dose of Reid/McNabb drama, was bound to draw immediate national attention.  After watching the game with my friend, The Pundit, and realizing that everybody from here to Alaska  is commenting on the situation (Editor’s note: Though not Sarah Palin, because she’s more of a hockey mom), I decided to throw in my two cents. Thus, I present my rebuttal to The Pundit’s previous farewell post.

AND I PROCLAM:

Firing Andy Reid would be a mistake, plain and simple. The guy may have an ineffective system right now (Editor’s note: Exactly!), but he is a good coach that knows how to win in the NFL.  Stripping him of his GM powers may be a step in a positive direction, but ditching the best coach in Eagles history? I don’t think so.

Before The Pundit went to the dark side and threw Andy under the bus, he did an article comparing him to Jeff Fisher.  Like Reid, Fisher had some troubles of his own in 2004 and 2005 with the Titans, going 5-11 and 4-12 in those seasons. At that point, Fisher had an MVP-caliber quarterback in Steve McNair, who took a lot of flack for the Titans’ lack of consistency after previous dominance, similar to the Reid / McNabb dynamic.  Fisher survived a nasty fallout between the organization and quarterback Steve McNair (despite all that McNair had done for the team).

After such previous success, I’m sure Fisher was under the same kind of heat as Reid.  Well, maybe the flames are higher in the 215, as Philadelphians are rather relentless and excessive in their criticism of the Eagles (Editor’s note:  It be rowdy in the 215, yo).  I’m sure there are folks like that down in Nashville, but I think Fisher was able to sleep at night without the concern of an angry mob of torch-brandishing fans knocking on his door at 2 AM. (Editor’s note: I went to the Home Depot off Columbus the other day, looking for a torch, and they were all sold out. Damn angry mob bought them all). 

Ah, the Philadelphian: what he lacks in mercy, he makes up for in passion.

Regardless, Fisher was definitely on the hot seat in 2006, but was given one more chance to make things happen, especially after drafting Vince Young with the 3rd overall pick (Editor’s note: Be a Fisher of men).  The Titans went 8-8 that year, and haven’t looked back. (Editor’s note: Does Kevin Kolb strike anyone as an effective scrambler?) And think, Fisher had a quarterback controversy of his own this fall, and he’s dealt with it in stride, leading the AFC with a 10-1 record. (Editor’s note: I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that the Titans have an extremely reliable running attack, one they employ more than 35% of the time).

I’m saying this in support of Andy Reid, because he, like Fisher, deserves a chance to show people he still knows what he’s doing. That being said, I am still upset with Reid.  His system needs to change now, from player personnel to strategy.

Fortunately, this will happen whether or not Reid is sent packing.  The Eagles organization will be looking to step back and evaluate the entire franchise this offseason.  I’m sure Jeffrey Lurie is intent on getting the Eagles back to the “golden standard” of old, and giving Reid one more season to do this would be a wise move.

And being that I bleed blue and white, I’ve seen and heard this angry riot before with Joe Paterno.  And then I saw JoePa and Penn State storm back with 4 straight top 25 seasons, 2 Big Ten titles, 3 bowl wins, and 40 regular season wins. (Editor’s note: Fair enough, though Joe Paterno had already won 2 National Championships and won more games than any other coach in Division 1-A history. People should’ve kept JoePa’s name outta their mouths).

The McNabb debacle is its own thing.  Reid fucked up when he decided to have QB coach Pat Shurmur break the news to Donovan at halftime that he wouldn’t be starting the second half on Sunday.  Reid’s gotta grow a set and learn how to handle the ice-cold business aspects of the NFL.

But keeping McNabb on the bench would be in Reid’s best interest.  Get Kolb out there and see what our team can do.  I respect McNabb just as much now as I ever have, but if now is the time to move on to a new QB, then so be it.  Sorry Don, we drafted Kolb for a reason, and your seven turnovers in two games just isn’t cutting it. I mean, neither were the two picks Kolb threw against the Ravens, but we’ll chalk them up to growing pains.

Change needs to come to the NovaCare Complex, but hear me out:  It’s not yet time to part with Andy Reid.

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Football has become essential agony: The Pundit dishes on the Birds and the BCS

The Eagles

What exactly was Andy Reid thinking when he sat McNabb down on Sunday? The Birds were only down by three points, after all. Granted, McNabb had been playing an atrocious game, but benching McNabb, at least to me, signaled a move in a new direction, i.e. the Kevin Kolb era. And then Kolb stunk it up, and Andy announced on Monday that McNabb would be his starting QB.

Huh?

So now, not only have you put all of the pressure on McNabb’s shoulders by singling him out and benching him, but you also are refusing to give Kolb a long look to see what you have for next year. ‘Cuz let’s be honest – it doesn’t look like McNabb will be coming back after this year. What kind of message has Andy Reid now sent to his starting quarterback? To me, he’s sent a very simple one: “Better, uh, watch your back there, Donovan, ‘cuz at the next sign of trouble, you’re coming out, and, uh, Kevin Kolb, we’re uh, we’re going to go ahead and give him a shot.”

Because, you know, the quarterback position isn’t already chock full of pressure. Let’s go ahead and put even more pressure on McNabb. Let’s go ahead and bench our franchise quarterack, in a game we are only trailing by three points, while we are still apparentely in a playoff race!

I MEAN, ARE YOU FRICKIN’ SERIOUS?

Kudos to McNabb for toeing the company line and playing it cool on this one. I, personally, would have been pissed the hell off. Don’t tell me that no one’s job is safe, bench a guy, then start him again the next week. Especially in a game they were only trailing by three friggin’ points! To me, Andy simply didn’t evaluate the situation properly. Was McNabb playing horrible football? Absolutely. Can you blame Andy for wanting him out of the game? Maybe not. Should Andy Reid have considered how sensitive the entire quarterback issue is this season, and really has been throughout Donovan McNabb’s career in this town, before he yanked him at halftime? Shouldn’t he have considered how this would be treated by the media and the fans, many of whom are already questioning whether or not McNabb will, or should, be back next season?

DUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHH!!! (Editor’s note: Oh, that’s just obnoxious).

What is going to happen to McNabb? If he isn’t going to return, will we get to see Kolb at some point? Barring a ridiculous hot streak by the Eagles, where they win out, at what point should Kolb get a look? Is Andy Reid’s job safe any longer? Has he lost control of this team? He certainly has lost the public support, but will that matter to Jeffrey Lurie? Who would you want to replace Reid?

I miss the Phillies.

The BCS

Oh, what a tangled web we weave. Now, unless Alabama loses to Auburn or Florida loses to Florida State, the winner of the Alabama – Florida SEC Championship Game will be playing in the BCS Championship Game. Right, that seems simple enough. And it seems likely that somebody from the Big 12 South will be there as well, in all likelihood either Texas or Oklahoma, each with one loss. Ahhhh, let the debating begin.

In one corner, you have Texas, who beat Oklahoma earlier this year, on a neutral field. I mean, honestly, shouldn’t the argument end there? Well, not exactly. After all, if you are going to rank Texas ahead of Oklahoma, shouldn’t you also rank Texas Tech ahead of Texas? Tech also only has one loss, and beat Texas earlier this year.

Ah, but let’s not forget about that neutral field. Texas’ win over Oklahoma has to be slightly more impressive than Oklahoma’s victory over Texas Tech, since Texas beat OU on a neutral field, while OU beat Tech at home.

But hold on, hold on a second: OU absolutely destroyed Tech, 65-21. They beat the number two team in the nation by 44 friggin’ points, for God’s sake. To me, that cancels any advantage that Texas would be given for winning on a neutral field. Still, Texas beat OU.

Alright, but how about this: OU has several impressive non-conference victories. They beat Cincinnati, who will likely win the Big East, 52-26, in week two. Cincy is currently ranked number 16 in the BCS rankings. They also beat TCU, currently ranked 14th in the BCS rankings, 35-10 in week 5. As a matter of fact, in 4 games against opponents currently ranked in the BCS top 25, OU has outscored its opponents 187-92. Very, very impressive stuff, and if they knock off number 12 Oklahoma State this Saturday, it’s hard to imagine they won’t jump ahead of Texas.

But would that be fair? Texas has also played against 4 teams currently in the top 25 of the BCS rankings, and outscored those opponents 162-129. Not as impressive as the margin of victory posted by Oklahoma, but Texas faced those 4 opponents in four consecutive and unbelievably brutal weeks!

To review: if OU beats Oklahoma State, they will have victories over Texas Tech, OU State, TCU and Cincinnati under their belts. Their primetime, utter demolition of Tech will not quickly erase from the minds of the voters. Sam Bradford might be the frontrunner for the Heisman. Oklahoma is certainly the sexy pick.

Texas will have victories over OU, Oklahoma State and Missouri under their belts. Their only loss of the season will have come in an extremely tight game against Texas Tech, which they lost on the last play of the game. Oh yeah, and they already beat Oklahoma this year – on a neutral field. Texas is, by no means, a sexy pick, but they just might be the correct one. Hard to say, and they will be ignored if Oklahoma destroys Oklahoma State like they did to Tech.

Funny thing about that game for Texas: they need OU to win. See, the only reason this discussion is taking place is because, in the Big 12, if there is a three-way tie for first, the tiebreaker goes to whoever has the highest BCS ranking. But in the case of a two-way tie, the tiebreaker is a head-to-head match-up. And Texas Tech beat Texas. So if OU loses, Texas Tech wins the South based on their head-to-head win against Texas. Texas actually needs OU to beat Oklahoma State for them to have a chance, though I doubt they want them to win anything other than a squeaker.

Does your head hurt yet? Mine sure as hell does.

Alright, let me do my BCS predictions. OU is hot right now. They beat Oklahoma State, though not as handily as they beat Texas Tech. Let’s say 38-21. Sorry, Texas, but the sexy chick always gets laid before the bland, practical one does. Florida beats Alabama, Oklahoma beats Missouri, and Florida beats Oklahoma, 56-52, to win their second National Championship in three years. The other bowls? Oregon State will lose to Oregon, meaning an intriguing Rose Bowl between USC and Penn State. I go Penn State over USC, 23-21. (Editor’s note: What a homer!) Alabama will face at-large Utah in the Sugar Bowl, and handle them fairly easily, winning 35-13. The Orange Bowl will be Cincinnati vs. one of the ACC teams. Seriously, I have no friggin’ idea what is going on in the ACC, and quite frankly, I could give a damn. Cincinnati wins the Orange. Finally, poor ‘ol Texas gets a less than appealing match-up against Boise State, who gets a rare second at-large bid for the mid-majors, ousting Ohio State for the final BCS slot. Texas Tech is the highest ranked team to get stiffed, since only two teams from any one conference are eligible for BCS bowls. Texas takes out its rage on Boise State, winning 49-10. Clearly, none of this will happen, and it is only what I am hoping will happen. In all reality, I just want the BCS to explode.

(Editor’s note: God, would a playoff be great this year. Stay tuned – methinks The Pundit is in his linguistic laboratory, concocting the perfect playoff system, one that will please all available parties. Oh, it shall be grand – or not. Either way, stay tuned).

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The Pundit says goodbye to Andy and Donovan

Before Sunday’s game against the Ravens, I was going to write a post about how it was time for all of Philadelphia to give up any hope for the Eagles. How, whenever we give up on our teams in the middle of the year, they seem to suddenly rebound and make magic happen. Remember Jeff Garcia? How about the Sixers in the second half of last year? Or the Phillies two seasons ago, when they were down 7 games to the Mets with 17 to go? I don’t know what it is, but if our team is within arm’s length of success, but has routinely been falling short of reaching it, what always seems to propel them the final distance is the complete lack of faith our city places in them.

What a crazy, mixed up town we call home.

I was going to compare it to a section in the book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which, if you haven’t read, I highly recommend. Awesome book. Anyway, there was a section about flying, and the general gist was that the only way humans could actually fly was if you forgot you were falling. (Editor’s note: And the only way you will forget you are falling is by taking a few too many tabs of acid). Like I said, it’s an awesome book. The Eagles are the opposite: they fly, or “succeed,” when we assume all is lost.

So maybe Hitchhiker’s Guide was making a more poignant and optimistic evaluation of human behavior…whatever.

I guess there was a reason I never wrote that post – the reason being that, in all reality, all hope is lost. Seriously. It’s over. Everything…is…over. The Donovan McNabb era is over. The Andy Reid era is over. This season is lost. This is not an underhanded attempt to somehow send weird karma the Eagles way to save the season – there is no longer a season to save. Even if the Eagles win out, they will be 10-5-1, which probably would still get them in. But honestly – does anybody think they’ll win out with games against the Cardinals, Giants, Redskins and Cowboys, all in the playoff hunt, still on the schedule? I sure as hell don’t.

I mean, Kevin Kolb came out to start the second half! For those of you who somehow missed the implication of the previous statement, I will repeat myself: Kevin Kolb came out to start the second half! Andy Reid said that nobody’s job was safe, but I never thought I’d see the day that he would bench number 5. I suppose 8-18 with two picks and a fumble will do the trick, but this was as symbolic to me as anything else.

Think about it for a second. You are the Eagles, and you aren’t sure how much longer you will have McNabb as your quarterback. You have a young backup in place, but you really don’t know anything about him. The season seems to be slipping into oblivion, and your head coach benched the incumbent, who has started painfully slow every game, and hasn’t showed the ability to lead a team to victory in the tight games.

Think you might want to know how good the backup is before you start the next season?

After all, you may still be able to get some value for McNabb in a trade this offseason. If Kolb doesn’t have the look of a winner in the next couple of games, you can start to explore other options at QB. And, perhaps most importantly, you can see how Kolb fits into Reid’s system, and determine whether or not Mr. Reid has a future with this team.

And, though it pains me to say it, I don’t think he should. The system just isn’t working anymore.

It’s time to move on.

Not all was bleak from today. The defense, though it will never show it on the scoreboard because of the all of the points derived from turnovers, played well. DeSean Jackson, if he works his butt off, will be a very, very good receiver in this league. Brian Westbrook will get healthy once more. There are many bright spots on this team – for next season. But, barring a miraculous turn-around, the likes of which I have never yet seen, this year is over. Let’s see what Kolb has going on. At the end of the year, let’s ship McNabb out. (Editor’s note: Rant, during the game today, asked me what I thought was going through McNabb’s head after he had been benched. I answered, “Hmmmm…Minnesota, or Chicago?”) At the end of the year, let’s respectfully move on from the Andy Reid era. Maybe we could bring Steve Spagnola back into the fold, who knows?

But it’s all over. Seriously. Normally, I would chalk up my negativity to a bad loss, but this feels worse. Deeper. Like something ended today, something that we can’t get back. So surrender all hope. Throw in the towel. Forget you are falling. This time, I don’t think we are going to recover. (Editor’s note: You’re really bringing me down, Pundit).

It was a great ten years, and I’ll miss you, Andy and Donovan. But I think it’s time to say our farewells.

Farewell.

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Why you need to know about Oregon State, what you need to know, and why it should piss you off

Rant Jacobs

Earlier this year, I did an article reviewing the Oregon State vs. USC game, writing about how happy I was that USC had another “fall from grace” game after underestimating an Oregon State team that had a lot to prove.  Much of this came from my anger towards USC’s apparent dynasty. Well, that and I wanted USC to make way for my rising Penn State Nittany Lions in the weekly polls.  Plus, it was great to see the #1 team in the country lose to a team that Penn State had recently pulverized.

Fast forward 8 weeks and now I’m fretting like an old woman over the outcome of that contest. (Editor’s note: And he’s taken up sewing – he nitted me a sweater with my name on it the other day. What the hell am I going to do with a sweater that says “Editor” on it, wear it to the club? Yeah, that should get the ladies hot). Why, you say?  Because since then, Oregon State has miraculously rattled off 5 straight conference wins and quietly taken control of their own destiny after losing their season opener to pathetic conference foe Stanford!  My celebration has come back to bite me in the ass!  With a vengeance! (Editor’s note: You should get a tetanus shot! You don’t know where your celebration has been!)

Oregon State needs only two conference wins (against Arizona and Oregon) to catch the PAC-10 title in their fucking beaver tails and swim southward to the Rose Bowl to face my beloved Nittany Lions, who stomped them in the second week of the season. I can’t believe it!  How has this happened? (Editor’s note: Fate is a cruel temptress, Rant).

Whew…and I’m spent.  I just needed to get that out.

I need to relax when I think about Oregon State though, as both Oregon and Arizona can put points on the board. They are ranked 10th and 11th in the nation in scoring – these games shouldn’t be “gimmes”.  But then I remember that Oregon State’s defense ranks 15th in the country in yards allowed, so I’m not getting too comfortable.

Somehow, Oregon State has morphed into a possible BCS team after their 45-14 drubbing in Happy Valley.  Granted, they play in the pillow-soft PAC-10, but their only other loss was a 31-28 squeaker against Utah, a team currently ranked above PSU in the BCS standings at 7, and looking to make a BCS appearance of their own.  Say what you want about Oregon State (like only having a single quality win this year against USC), but this team has some consistent playmakers that have helped to turn their season around.

The most consistent playmaker responsible for this feat has been freshman sensation Jacquizz Rodgers: the lightning quick, miniaturized 5’6″ halfback from Texas. (Editor’s note: There will be a jacquizz at the end of this post).  Rodgers has sprinted past the century mark in 7 games this season, while piling up 1233 rushing yards and 12 total TDs (averaging 123 yards per game, 10th best in the nation). 

I remember hearing some confused commentator asking his buddies why Rodgers wasn’t as highly recruited by any of the big name schools from his home state of Texas and thinking, Yeah, why is that?  Then I realized that trying to pinpoint ALL of the top high school talent in the entire state of Texas is like trying to staple Jell-O to a wall. (Editor’s note: I’ll bet you Bill Cosby could staple Jell-O to a wall…) 

Rodgers and the rest of his crew are ready to take the PAC-10 in their own hands and head back for a rematch against Penn State in Pasadena, assuming they both win out. That would be an unacceptable end to a Penn State season that broke my heart in Iowa City.  (Editor’s note: That sounds like a folk song I could get down to: Oh, PSU / What did you do? / You left me feeling shitty / When you broke my heart in Iowa City). Oregon State may have morphed into a new beast after their early letdowns, but they are not a worthy team for the Rose Bowl, especially not against my Lions, damnit.

But first things first – Penn State has its hands full this weekend with Javon Ringer and the Michigan State Spartans.  Get past them and at least I can say we have a Big Ten title to celebrate before I start bitching and moaning about Oregon State all over again.

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