Monday, October 19, 2009
This and That
By Dick Vitale
Each week I talk about the world of sports:
• Drew Brees has distinguished himself as one of the top two quarterbacks in the NFL, right there with Peyton Manning. Brees was brilliant in finding different receivers in a convincing win over the Giants on Sunday. The former Purdue quarterback has so much confidence and he jells so well with coach Sean Payton. My friends, this Saints team is for real. Meanwhile, it was not the homecoming Eli Manning expected. In his first game at home, where he was a high school star, it was a tough time. His first game played at the Superdome saw his team struggle early and could never catch up. Eli's father Archie was a star with the Saints.
• The Notre Dame-USC game was a classic. The loss by the Irish just about eliminates
them from a BCS bowl. It was such a heartbreaker after a great comeback. There was a great chance for a dramatic moment, but Notre Dame came up just short. I still feel Jimmy Clausen is a legitimate Heisman candidate despite the setback. Clausen has done a phenomenal job all season long. Now the Irish has to face a Boston College team that is contending for an ACC division title.
• The Yankees had a dramatic win despite the rain and cold weather in game two of the ALCS. Alex Rodriguez showed once again that he is clutch this postseason. He has wiped out past theories that he cannot perform under the playoff pressure. His home run in the 11th inning was incredible. The Yankee relief pitching has been outstanding in the playoffs and Mariano Rivera provides a major edge in the pen. Joe Girardi's club has won five straight games this postseason.
• It is a shame that fans pay big bucks have to sit in cold weather during the playoffs. I know MLB has no control of the weather, but the idea that the World Series can end on November 5th is unreal. It is absurd and unfair to the fans.
• How about a salute to the University of Cincinnati following a win at South Florida. That clearly confirms that this program is a legitimate top five team. Winning at Rutgers, at Oregon State and now in Tampa says a lot about the job done by Brian Kelly, whose stock keeps rising and rising. Who would have ever believed that this could be the best team in Ohio, the state that also gives us the Buckeyes. After Jim Tressel's club was stunned at Purdue last weekend, there is little debate. That was shock city and Iowa now stands alone in the Big Ten standings. The Hawkeyes have a challenge at East Lansing, Michigan this weekend; the Spartans are just a half-game behind in the conference standings.
• It was heartbreak hotel for Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford. Here's a kid who came back to school instead of taking the green from the NFL. He gets hurt early in the season, then gets back into the lineup, only to suffer another setback early in the loss to Texas. Bradford was so dedicated and loyal, and it is tough to see him sidelined again. The Sooners have three losses but could still make a run in the Big 12 and salvage this season.
• Nick Saban and Pete Carroll have proven they could make it big in college after stints in the NFL. I would love to see Jon Gruden take a shot at a college head coaching job in the future instead of returning to the NFL. Right now, he is doing a great job in the booth on Monday Night Football. I feel his passion and enthusiasm would be perfect on a college sideline, teaching young men about the game.
• If you didn't believe the NFL was unpredictable, think about this: the Oakland Raiders were embarrassed by the NY Giants one week. Then Tom Cable's team responded by upsetting the Eagles. Look at the Buffalo Bills going into the Meadowlands and stunning the NY Jets. The Kansas City Chiefs were winless until visiting the Redskins. Just another weekend in the NFL, baby!
• I am so excited the Midnight Madness has signaled the beginning of the college hoop season. Right now, there are a lot of teams that believe they can make some noise in the hunt for a berth in the Final Four. Indianapolis will be rocking and rolling and this should be a thrilling campaign, baby!