Monday, December 7, 2009

Nuggets from the 'Feed' bag

The NFL season is turning out to be one of the most exciting in recent memory. Two teams, the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts, are undefeated. Both are led by the two best quarterbacks in football, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning. In Minneapolis, the play of 40-year-old Brett Favre has the Minnesota Vikings in the thick of the race to the Super Bowl, as does his veteran counterpart in Arizona Kurt Warner, whose Cardinals have come to life and defeated the Vikings rather easily last night...

Two of the biggest surprises are the fall of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are now 6-6 after losing yesterday at home to the Oakland Raiders, and the inconsistent play of the Dallas Cowboys. What as emerged so far is the return of the NFC whose teams appear much stronger than the AFC's.


The collapse of USC in the second half of the season raises the question: is this the end of the Pete Carroll run of spectacular success, which included national championships, Rose Bowl berths and Pacific 10 titles over the past seven years?
It's easy to see now why Carroll was upset when Mark Sanchez announced his leaving for the NFL in January. Carroll knew and maybe he should have said it publicly that he had no replacement for Sanchez. During spring practice, USC held a tryout between sophomore Aaron Corp and freshman Matt Barkley and by the time the season started, Barkley had the job.
Carroll painted a rosy picture of Barkley's capabilities and the media bought it, especially after USC beat Ohio State with a Barkley-directed winning touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter at Columbus.
As the season progressed, though, Barkley looked less-impressive, as did the USC defense, which is a Carroll-coached part of the team. Humiliating losses to Oregon and Stanford spoiled everything, and the 21-17 defeat by Arizona Saturday put a forgettable cap on the season.
Now it is on to the Emerald Bowl on Dec. 26 against Boston College. The game will be played in San Francisco, just a little over 400 miles north of Los Angeles, but to USC that distance is world away from the Rose Bowl.


As the bowl lineup is being sorted out, the pending question is who will Notre Dame hire to replace Charlie Weis? Brian Kelly of Cincinnati and Bob Stoops of Oklahoma appear to be the leading candidates, but now, sources in the Midwest say Notre Dame officials are addressing two other possible candidates: Tony Dungy and John Gruden.

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