Chase Ruttig's Monday Football Blog: The Latest CFL, NFL, and NCAA News
This is another weekly blog from yours truly, Chase Ruttig. Each Monday, at some point in the day, I will release a blog about the happenings in the week that was in football, and I will include all three leagues, as I feel the CFL deserves some ink.
This week had many exciting action and there are three pro games slated for this Canadian Thanksgiving, so let's get started.
Turkey Day Action
The CFL has two very exciting games on tap for Monday afternoon, including the Saskatchewan Roughrider-Calgary Stampeder matchup that will break the four-way tie in the Western Division and determine all-important home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Riders have a 2-1 series lead over the Stamps this year and have a very distinctive home-field advantage, as Taylor Field should be filled to its capacity of 28,000 and will be rocking in frigid, snowy weather that should slow down the Stamps and Henry Burris' passing attack and allow for the Riders to use their vaunted D and get the W.
Game time for game one of the doubleheader is 1:00 EDT for game one between the Montreal Als' and the Hamilton Tiger Cats. Game Two is 4:00 EDT for the pivotal tilt between the Roughriders and Stamps. American fans can check out all the CFL action on ESPN360.com, and Canadians can always find their CFL fix on TSN.
Texas Downs Sooners, Now No. 1 in AP Polls
The rivalry of the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners added another intriguing chapter Saturday afternoon in the Cotton Bowl, with the then fifth-ranked Longhorns downing the then-No. 1 ranked Sooners in the annual Red River Rivalry.
It was intense affair, marred with some bad calls on both teams, but in the end, Colt McCoy and the Longhorns offence proved to have more firepower than the Sooners, earning the Longhorns bragging rights.
This now sets up a huge matchup this weekend with 11th-ranked Mizzou that could once again shake up the Big 12 and the BCS picture. I expect another shootout with Texas once again silencing the critics with a big win.
No Love For the Tide, Bama Stays at No. 2 After Idle Week
The Alabama Crimson Tide, the story of the year in college football, remained at No. 2 after a bye week that gave Oklahoma a loss. While I understand that Texas did beat the previous No. 1, the Tide are still undefeated while playing in the much harder SEC and that in itself is more than enough for me to see them as the best team in the nation.
Don't expect the Crimson Tide to be a lock for a national title berth, as we all know in the SEC, anything and everything will happen.
Penn State Keeps Happy Faces in Happy Valley
The Penn State Nittany Lions are back on top of the football world; that is all that can be said after there convincing win in Wisconsin, a team that held them to a measly six points in their last two meetings in the dairy state.
Now they look like they have the easiest road to the national title, playing in the weak Big-10 with Ohio State as their last test of the season, expect for them to roll over opponents for the rest of Big 10 play.
Which raises the question? After the last two showings by Ohio State, do we want to see another Big-10 team in the BCS Championship Game? I say no, as they just don't have the speed at the skill positions to contend with the south and west schools that are loaded with burners.
Boise State Back in the Fiesta Bowl? It Might Happen
Yes, good old Boise State is back into our minds, and hearts, with another top-15 ranking. An undefeated record and an obscenely easy schedule that could allow them for their second BCS berth and Ian Johnson's return trip to the BCS.
Watch out for the mid-major explosion in this years' BCS games as Utah or BYU, as well as Boise State, could be crashing the party, which raises the question: Should the winners of the "BCS" conferences be given automatic berths into the BCS Games?
There are teams in the mid-major conferences that if given the chance, would likely do big things in the respective powerhouse conferences.
I say give the mid-majors respect, and I hope to see three mid-major schools crash the BCS party.
Heartbreak City! The Dallas Cowboys Succumb to the Distractions and Fall to the Cardinals
On a fateful Sunday afternoon, we saw the rise of the Arizona Cardinals to the ranks of NFC playoff contenders with an impressive OT win over this year's Super Bowl "favorites."
The Cowboys did not look like they took the Cardinals seriously, and it cost them the game and likely the NFC East crown, as the Giants are undefeated and look like a lock for a couple of home games in New Jersey come January.
But the question is: Was it the distractions or was it just under preparing for a solid Cardinals team? I think it was the latter, and in the NFL, if you don't come to play, you will suffer the consequences.
Coaching Debuts: One's a Hit, While the Others a Miss
Two coaches made their debuts this weekend: Jim Hasslett in St. Louis and Tom Cable in Oakland. Both were hires from inside the team, and both will likely not be rehired for next year.
Hasslett lead the Rams to an upset victory over the Redskins and made Marc Bulger his starter. The offence and defence seemed to respond well to the new coach and they picked up the win.
Tom Cable, on the other hand, made no changes and it was business as usual as the Raiders got the butts kicked all over the Superdome as New Orleans continues to impress.
Will either of these teams turn it around with their new leaders? I say no, but only time will tell...
Well that was the week that was in football, I hope you enjoy the long weekend and check back with me next Monday for another edition.
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