9.04.2006

Time ... why do you punish me?

Can the calendar really be correct?

OK, never mind that tomorrow I turn 41 (shudder), and I start a second job doing freelance copy editing for the American Medical Association ... I'm sorry, but even I chuckle when I think of that ... but it's September. That mean summer is just about done, and it's going to start getting cooler here in Chicago. Not that it was a particularly hot summer; there was one really hot week at the end of July, but not horrible outside that.

It also means ...

College football is underway

I was never a big fan growing up because when growing up in New York City instead of Big Ten country where I am now, there really wasn't a lot to root for. Notre Dame? Golden Domers make me ill, and I'm Jewish anyway. Columbia? They sucked for years and never got a lot of coverage except for when they really sucked. That left Syracuse and Penn State, which from Queens may as well have been Qatar and Timbuktu.

Having lived in different parts of the country, I've kind of glommed on to teams over the years. Rooting for the Sooners when I was in Oklahoma, the Tigers in Missouri -- yes, I still have a fondness for the Big 12, though it scares me that two kids I covered when I was working in Mizzou are starting quarterbacks for Kansas and K-State, respectively.

This season, I like a few teams, but I am rooting for West Virginia most. When I left Washington for Chicago almost a year ago, I was driving through western Maryland and southwestern Pennsylvania when I listened to the Mountaineers on the radio. Running back Steve Slaton is just a sophomore, but I think he's got the makings of a Heisman Trophy winner, having rushed for 19 touchdowns last season -- and he didn't play the entire campaign -- and a Sugar Bowl record 204 yards back in January.

He picked up right where he left out, 200-plus yards and three scores in a win Saturday over Marshall. Part of me hopes he doesn't win the Heisman. Winning the top award in college football doesn't guarantee success as a pro. I could go on, but look back at the history and for every O.J. Simpson, there is a Rashaan Salaam or Ron Dayne.

Toughest break after week one has to be Louisville losing running back Michael Bush to a broken leg in Sunday's 59-28 rout of Kentucky. Bush -- perhaps the only running back better than Slaton a year ago -- followed a 24-touchdown season with three against the Wildcats, but will be out the rest of the season. That may wrap up the Big East title for West Virginia ... already.


Other musings ... Oklahoma looked awful in a narrow win over UAB (wonder if Bob Stoops misses QB Rhett Bomar as much as Sooner fans do) ... Arkansas will start highly touted freshman QB Mitch Mustain after he looked good in the Razorbacks' loss to USC ... Louisiana State ripped Louisiana-Lafeyette 45-3 on Saturday, but don't be shocked if the Tigers saw that as a failure. Heading into the game, LSU outscored the Ragin' Cajuns 543-0 over the previous 10 contests according to ESPN ... Ugliest unis: Oregon, hands down.

Pro football starts this week

Seemed like just yesterday that Pittsburghers nationwide were waving their towels and Jerome Bettis -- by the way, if you didn't hear, he's from Detroit -- was riding off into the sunset. Let's see ... Big Ben mangles his face in a motorcyle wreck and subsequently has an emergency appendectomy ... Bettis is gone ... The Jaw may be next to leave the sidelines. Don't expect a repeat.

Cincinnati? Only if they can keep players out of jail. Dallas? Waiting for T.O.'s long-awaited implosion. Giants? Someday for Eli Manning, but not this season. My callout right now is Eli will be wearing a Super Bowl ring before Peyton.

Colts? I think they'll miss Edgerrin James more than they realize. Patriots? Maybe ... although I wonder who Brady will throw to. Seahawks? Very hard, but not impossible to repeat, and given that they were jobbed in SB XL, there may be some added incentive to succeed.

The thing is this -- you cannot predict who will do what. Did anyone really think Pittsburgh had what it took to win it all last season, or that Seattle was going to be lining up opposite them? Injuries happen -- just ask the Steelers. Life happens -- ask the Chargers, who begin the season with an untested quarterback, but also will be without defensive leader Steve Foley, but it's not like he's holding out or anything.

Foley was shot three times by an off-duty cop early Sunday in San Diego. Can't wait to see how that all shakes out.

More musings ... Kellen Winslow appears ready to play, two seasons after he was drafted. Now let's see if he's all that -- perhaps the Browns will want to play him at center when newly acquired Hank Fraley goes down ... Reggie Bush won't get 1,000 yards for New Orleans this season ... Speakng of the Saints, the game of the year as far as I am concerned is when Atlanta and New Orleans reopen the Superdone on Sept. 25. ... The Raiders brought back Jeff George for a few days, even though he hasn't played since '01. Was this to light a fire under Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter. Yeah. OK. Proves Al Davis needs to STFU and go away once and for all ... Ron Dayne is handed the starting job at running back for Houston? Proves that if you win the Heisman, you end up with seemingly endless chances.

Preseason hockey will start soon

On Sept. 17 -- Edmonton vs. Phoenix in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Bring it on.

1 comment:

kansas brat said...

Happy...

birhday....

to you.

Happy...

birthday...

to you.

Happy... birthday... dear Mr. Lefko.

Happy... birthday.... to you!

I wanted to be first, but not necessarily up at 5:30 in the a.m. to do it!

You have officially become a Midwesterner, dear, when you are assimilated by the Sooners. I'll even try to overlook your love for Mizzou. Always the rebel, aren't you?

We follow West Virginia out of necessity. D's youngest sister-in-law is from the area and Mountainer alumni.

You know how I love to rock on Big Ben, so I cannot help but enjoy their pain. Just saw the Steve Foley article over the weekend. Marty better get a grip on his player. Did he trade for Vikings or something? : P

Don't worry about Al Davis. The interview of him at the Hall of Fame game proved he is showing every one of his many years. He rambled on a little too long... so I'll be surprised if they let him control much for much longer.