Take Tuesday: Redemption
Arthur W Mueller
Pitt is back! The Panthers beat Marshall on Saturday by 16 points! They totally redeemed themselves from their two game road trip where they lost to Oklahoma State and North Carolina. Pitt ran the ball. Pitt passed the ball. Avonte Maddox took an interception all the way back for a touchdown. Pat Narduzzi got his guts back by going for a touchdown instead of running out the clock. Jester Weah emerged as a legitimate number one receiving threat opposite Quadree Henderson, catching seven passes for 176 yards and a touchdown. Weah has always been big and fast, but on Saturday he showed flashes of ball skills. If he can start beating cornerbacks in one-on-one matchups consistently, this offense has a new dimension. After seeing Pitt’s play, I am extremely confident in this team heading in to ACC play.
Louisville lost to Clemson, 42-36, so Clemson has the inside track to the ACC championship game and a berth in the College Football Playoff. Clemson will be favored in every game they play for the rest of the year, and the only currently ranked opponent remaining on their schedule is an October 29th trip to Florida State. They will still have to play well and stay healthy, but the path to the ACC championship game for Clemson is wide open. Louisville still has a shot at the playoff, but they will need to win all of the rest of their games and have the Pac-12 champion and the Big 12 “champion” both lose a game. The weaker those conferences are, the better Louisville’s chances are to become the second ACC playoff team. Louisville is probably the only team that has a shot to make the college football playoff without making the ACC championship game. Clemson would likely have to lose twice to miss the ACC championship game, an occurrence that would likely knock Clemson out of playoff contention. None of the contenders in the ACC Coastal have the kind of resume that can withstand a loss that keeps them out of the title game, or a loss in the title game. At the end, Louisville is pursuing the College Football Playoff like an independent or group of five team; their biggest game remaining on the schedule is a nonconference game against Houston. Both teams need to win out and hope the power conference champions falter.
In the Big 10, Michigan beat Wisconsin 14-7. Wisconsin now needs to win out to make the playoff, although a situation where Wisconsin loses two games in the regular season but makes the Big Ten championship is possible, and a two loss Big Ten champion would surely create headaches for the selection committee. Ohio State and Michigan probably won’t have a chance to both make the playoff because they play each other the final week of the regular season in what will be a sort of sweet 16 matchup for the College Football Playoff. The winner of the Big 10 championship game will probably make the playoff. The favorites in the East are still Michigan and Ohio State, but Maryland is also undefeated, so I guess they’re in contention, at least until they lose a game. The West looks weaker, but Nebraska is undefeated while Wisconsin will have a chance to take back control of that division on October 29th when they play Nebraska. It will all come down to the Big 10 championship game, and the winner of that game will probably be the Big 10’s only playoff representative.
The SEC had a relatively boring week, with most of the matchups being rather one-sided. The only real drama that happened was when Tennessee beat Georgia 34-31 to remain undefeated. Tennessee is currently the frontrunner for the eastern SEC title game berth, but with Tennessee playing at Texas A&M and then hosting Alabama over the next two weeks, they will probably falter. The real action is in the SEC West, where Alabama and Texas A&M are both undefeated. With this many good teams, anything can happen. If any SEC West team were to win out, they would be in the playoff, even if they already have two losses. One team that I think is potentially interesting is LSU. LSU was a trendy playoff pick before the season, but now they have two losses and a new coach. Two losses would end the title hopes of most programs, but most programs don’t play in the SEC West. If Coach O were to turn things around and LSU were to win out, their playoff resume would include wins over Florida, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Alabama, and whoever was the SEC East champion. That sounds like a playoff resume to me.
The Pac-12 playoff picture got much clearer as Washington beat Stanford 44-6. Washington is now the only undefeated team left in the Pac-12, so they have the clearest shot to the playoff. The one loss teams all have holes in their resumes that are just too big for the selection committee. Colorado lost by too much to Michigan. Arizona State and Utah lost to lousy USC and Cal teams respectively. Utah is probably the team with the second best chance at making the playoff, but Utah only has two games left against teams that are currently ranked. It’s hard to make the playoff with one loss and only two top 25 games. Washington also only has two games on their schedule against teams that are currently ranked, but if they go undefeated, they might have a shot. Washington is the Pac-12’s only hope.
The Big 12 might have realized that they probably aren’t going to put in a team in the playoff, so they might have switched their ambitions to clearing all of their teams out of the top 25. Two of the three ranked Big 12 teams lost last week and fell out of the rankings. While they have been replaced by two other Big 12 teams, with a few more losses, the Big 12 could get shut out. Oklahoma and West Virginia would both drop out of the top 25 with a loss, and two losses would probably knock Baylor out. If the Big 12 can’t be historically good, maybe they can be historically bad.
As soon as I heard Mike Tomlin say that it was Redemption Sunday, I knew that the Steelers were going to win big. After the Steelers’ 43-14 victory over the Chiefs, I can definitely say that the Steelers are back. They have redeemed themselves and they are going all the way to the Super Bowl. Antonio Brown’s crotch is unstoppable and I am 100% okay with him committing celebration penalties because he deserves to celebrate. The Steelers look like they will be celebrating late into the season. Ben Roethlisberger threw five touchdown passes, and most importantly, LeVeon Bell is back. The Steelers offense is finally complete and the defense is good enough, so put all the money you have on Pittsburgh and pay back your student loans.
The Bills are also back. The Bills shut out the Patriots of all teams, winning 16-0, so they are definitely on their way to the playoffs. Maybe they won’t catch the Patriots, but one of the AFC Wild Card berths is totally in reach. Rex Ryan is a coaching genius, and the Bills could be a team in January that nobody wants to play.
The Jaguars are back. They got to play their yearly home game in London and they definitely put that home field advantage to work, resoundingly beating the Colts by three points. In addition, the Texans lost JJ Watt for the year, so could this be the year the Jaguars get over the hump, by which I mean they win 8 games to become the fourth seed in the AFC and then somehow win a playoff game, maybe against the Bills.
The NBA is back… at least the NBA preseason is. So far in the NBA preseason, the Oklahoma City Thunder have lost to European team Real Madrid. That’s okay. It’ll just be another log on Russell Westbrook’s MVP fire.
It is time for the MLB Playoffs, and here are some things that I would like to see.
• I would like to see the Cubs build their fans hopes way up before losing in hilariously bad fashion.
• I would like to see the Nationals lose because Bryce Harper is too immature.
• I would like to see Yasiel Puig.
• I would like to see Bartolo Colon.
• I would like to be able to talk about the Giants winning every even year for the next two years.
• I am pretty ambivalent about the Texas Rangers.
• I would like to see LeBron bring a baseball championship to Cleveland with his leadership so people will stop saying that Michael Jordan was better than him.
• I would like to see David Ortiz do some more fun stuff before retiring like having to play first base in a National League ballpark during the World Series.
• I want to see some Jose Bautista bat flips.
• I’m going to keep calling them the Baltimore Oreos and every time Michael Bourn comes to the plate I’m going to say, “Jesus Christ, it’s Michael Bourn.”
You can see my World Series pick later in the column.
This week he looked 31. He only gained seven yards on four carries, but he scored a touchdown so I guess he isn’t completely washed up.
New Orleans Saints fullback John Kuhn scored three touchdowns to beat the San Diego Chargers. Sure, he only had 12 yards from scrimmage, but I say that three touchdowns on 12 yards is remarkable efficiency and even more impressive and should probably put Kuhn in the drivers seat in the MVP race.
Joe Flacco went to Pitt before transferring to Delaware. Joe Flacco had to transfer because he couldn’t win the starting job at Pitt. That doesn’t sound elite to me. This week, Joe Flacco got the ball on his 21-yard line, down 28-27 with 2:07 left in the game. He needed to put Justin Tucker, one of the best kickers in the NFL in position for the game winning field goal. He couldn’t do it. He got the Ravens to the 50-yard line. One more first down and the Ravens likely win the game. Flacco couldn’t do it. The Ravens turned the ball over on downs. This probably means that Pitt made the right call at the quarterback position in 2005. Joe Flacco is not an elite quarterback.
On September 28, Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly gave up a walk off grand slam to the Yankees. However, moments later the Red Sox clinched the AL East anyway when the Toronto Blue Jays also lost. How did Joe Kelly celebrate? He tweeted “#ALEASTCHAMPS4HARAMBE.” Finally, we have the feel good story for the MLB Playoffs. The Red Sox are a team that everyone can and should get behind. This is why the Red Sox are my pick to win the World Series this year. I know that it is an even year and there are other good teams like the Dodgers and the Blue Jays, but the Red Sox winning a championship for Harambe would be so special.
1. The San Diego Chargers are this season’s NFL Pitt. They led the New Orleans Saints 34-21 with seven minutes left in the game. Then the Chargers lost a fumble. The Saints scored on the ensuing drive. 34-28 Chargers. The Chargers got the ball back. They lost another fumble. The Saints scored another touchdown to take the lead 35-34. The Chargers got the ball back to run a two-minute drill. Philip Rivers threw the game sealing interception. Is that classic Pitt Panther football or what? The Chargers have led every game they played this season at the two-minute warning. They are 1-3.
2. Antonio Brown’s celebratory crotch thrusts had me feeling all sorts of magical feelings. Keep it up Antonio and don’t let the NFL’s anti-fun policing stop you.
3. Monday was National Boyfriend Day so hit me up in the comments section.
4. Deflategate is officially over, but for the record, Tom Brady is innocent.
5. Al Michaels was on a whole new level during Sunday Night Football. He started paying tribute to Arnold Palmer, and then he started talking about how cool Arnold Palmer looked smoking on the golf course. Yes, smoking is bad for your health and a waste of money, but Al Michaels thought it made Arnold Palmer look cool so I might have to rethink my position on this.
6. The Browns lost a fumble on a controversial call. The NFL was just doing the Browns a favor by taking the ball out of their hands, thus preventing the offense from further embarrassing themselves.
7. That Ryan Tannehill NFL Play 60 commercial would be more accurate if Ryan Tannehill turned the ball over when that little kid tried to tag him.
8. America rejoiced this week as the St. Louis Cardinals missed the playoffs. I think that the Pirates should get some of the credit as the Pirates swept the Cardinals in the opening series of the season. Good times.
9. Ben Simmons broke his foot this week. I know this might seem like more bad news for 76ers fans, but do you know who else broke their foot? That’s right, Kevin Durant.
10. LeBron James endorsed Hillary Clinton this week. I’m still trying to figure out what this means for Tyronn Lue’s job security.
11. The Pittsburgh Panthers and the Pittsburgh Steelers both scored exactly 43 points in their games at Heinz Field this weekend. Interesting.
For teams that made a bad impression
It now is the time for correction
Pitt Panthers are back
The Steelers are stacked
This was the weekend for redemption