How Bout Them Cowboys?! (Dallas Cowboys)

Dallas Cowboys, General Sports, NFL

Going into Week 17, the Dallas Cowboys are 11-4 with the NFC East title cruising to the playoffs. I have to admit, I didn’t give the Cowboys a chance to perform better than the past three years. This team proved me wrong, as well as a large number of Cowboys fans, haters, and media reporters.

One article I found the most laughter over came from the USA Today in June 2014. They predicted the Cowboys to finish last in the NFC East with a record of 3-13. Over the summer, I saw this as shocking news for Cowboys fans everywhere. Cowboys fans worldwide wanted this team to succeed, but we knew what we were dealing with.

From USA Today:

NFC East
Eagles 11-5 (4): Class of weak division. But can Nick Foles reproduce 2013 magic? DeSean Jackson’s speed will be missed.Redskins 7-9: If the line and RG3’s knee hold up, this offense will be hard to slow, but defense may be year away.Giants 6-10: Eli Manning’s supporting cast is getting younger, even if he isn’t. Team speed doesn’t impress. Cowboys 3-13: Tony Romo’s back, defense are looking awfully frail. Dallas fans might end up pining for .500 teams.

We lost all of our preseason games and thought we were in for an 8-8 or worse season. Furthermore, the Cowboys lost the first game of the season. The whole sports atmosphere of Dallas had checked out on the Cowboys didn’t have as much high expectations as before.

Now, 11 wins and 4 losses in this redemptive season have shown the Cowboys in a new light. This is definitely a new team and the energy/chemistry level is at a championship-contending level. The Cowboys are ready to move forward and put all the critics to bed. We’ve beat Seattle. Took care of the Eagles. Sent the Colts back up north with a beating.

In my opinion, the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals are the teams to beat in the NFC. As long as the Cowboys take care of these teams, they should do well and have a memorable comeback season.

Go Cowboys!

Does TCU Deserve to be Ranked over Baylor? (College Football)

General Sports, NCAA

The Horned Frogs have earned the spot as of now according to the College Football Playoff  Selection Committee, but do they really deserve to play in the semifinal with a loss to Baylor on its résumé?

I was recently posed this question following the Selection Committee’s recent rankings and thought it would be a good idea to post my answer on here. Before I begin, I love Baylor and TCU but the numbers do not lie. In my opinion, rank should be based upon more than an overall record, such as strength of schedule and the way teams performed in wins and losses.

Well, let’s begin:

TCU has a better record against common opponents:

The beauty of the current Big 12 setup is that each team plays every other team, so when comparing résumés between Big 12 teams, you get plenty of chances to compare performances.

Thus far, TCU and Baylor have both played Oklahoma and West Virginia. Both teams got the best of the Sooners, but in different ways. TCU played an undefeated, full-strength Sooners squad at home and held on to a small lead late at home. Baylor played Oklahoma without its best receiver, dominating the Sooners in Norman. The Bears might have the advantage there, but the games against West Virginia may be a better comparison. Both teams had to go to Morgantown, but only TCU was able to come away with a victory on the road, winning on a last-second field goal. The Bears were held from doing much against WVU in a 41-27 loss.

TCU’s loss to Baylor is better than Baylor’s loss to West Virginia:

While Baylor has the head-to-head battle on TCU, that loss is probably the best loss on any résumé in the country. If you look at it as any random opponent and not a head-to-head matchup, TCU led for the better part of three quarters over its opponent, mostly dominating while on the road. That loss was a result of one bad quarter and came against a top 10 opponent. Baylor’s loss, regardless of what TCU did against West Virginia, came to a team that has three losses this season in a game in which Baylor never seemed to have a chance to win after halftime. If you take the head-to-head element out of it, TCU’s loss is much more understandable and forgivable than Baylor’s.

TCU has a tougher out-of-conference schedule:

The schedules for these teams match up pretty well for a side-by-side comparison. Both play a full nine-game Big 12 schedule against all the same teams. They each convincingly beat an FCS opponent, with TCU beating Samford 48-14 while Baylor beat Northwestern state 70-6. Both teams had fun beating up SMU, as TCU won in Dallas 56-0 while the Bears opened McLane Stadium with a 45-0 thrashing of the Mustangs.

The difference in schedule comes in that last game. The Horned Frogs scheduled a home-and-home with Jerry Kill’s Minnesota program that started in Fort Worth this year and heads north in 2015. TCU didn’t have much trouble in that one, shutting down the Golden Gophers in a 30-7 game in which Minnesota didn’t get on the board until the fourth quarter. The Gophers have only made that TCU win look better as the season continues by contending in the Big Ten West and compiling a 7-2 record thus far. Baylor’s answer? The Bears hit the road for a Friday night matchup with Buffalo. The MAC (Mid-American Conference) team brought its best, but fell to Baylor 63-21. The Bulls are a weak 5-6 this season and will need to win its final game to become bowl eligible. These wins just don’t compare, and rewarding Baylor for scheduling cake walks is not a good precedent for the committee to set in the first year of this system.

The Phase of Inconsistency (NFL)

General Sports, NFL

We often forget how the maturation of a franchise quarterback is supposed to go. Inconsistency is one of the phases in which young quarterbacks in the NFL most likely go through. Some trudge through this phase most of their NFL careers, while others encounter it for a short period of time. It seems as though Robert Griffin III and Geno Smith are still maneuvering through this phase.

Robert Griffin III

Both quarterbacks were very successful at the collegiate level; however, they have not been able to fully transfer this success to their current NFL careers.

RG3 has suffered from a recurring knee injury and Geno has simply failed to adequately study the New York Jets’ playbook. These factors have served a purpose in these guys’ inconsistent performances, but why are these guys being started on Sunday?!

Reasons Why RG3 and Geno are Starting QBs

Jets QBs Geno Smith (7) and Michael Vick (1)

Jersey / Ticket Sales: Robert Griffin III and Geno Smith are the face of their respective franchises for a reason. These guys may not consistently provide wins, but the front office can count on fans to attend games based on “what is expected” of their play.

Optimistic View from Owner’s Perspective: We all have to agree there is a defining factor in which teams draft players. Whatever “factor” that may be can serve to explain an owner’s / team’s willingness in the dependency of certain players, despite their performance level.

Threat of Backup QBs: Although the Cowboys lost to the Redskins about five weeks ago, the Redskins’ victory showed Washington in a competitive light. With McCoy calling the snaps, there was undoubtedly a “new” Redskins team who bought into the leadership of Colt McCoy.

After a great uproar of McCoy’s surprising performance, the Redskins announced Griffin would start the following week. I couldn’t believe it. The performance of Colt McCoy had shook the sports world in D.C.

Redskins QB Colt McCoy

As for the New York Jets, backup QB Mike Vick’s performance has not been too threatening to Geno Smith’s. After all, it seems that Vick is in New York to serve as a mentor for Geno; however, Vick’s antics of not being “prepared” has influenced Geno to possibly do the same.

In their short career spans, Robert Griffin III and Geno Smith have seemed to hurt their teams more than help them. Currently, the Redskins are giving Colt McCoy a chance to lead the team in the direction for the remainder of the season. In my opinion, I think Colt is the better option. McCoy wants to win, period. No flash or flair, just a classy guy who wants to win.

As for Geno, his backup Mike Vick has been as ineffective as Smith himself. I recently joked on Twitter that Coach Rex Ryan is allowing “Geno and Vick to play rock, paper, scissors in deciding who will start each Sunday.” The Jets are currently facing a terrible 2-10 season and Coach Rex Ryan may be on his way out of the door.

Eagles QB Mark Sanchez

Griffin and Geno have a chance (I’m not too sure about Geno) to successfully break out of this phase. Until these guys get a well-deserved reality check and become better leaders, they will most likely continue to hurt their teams in the long run.

Mark Sanchez is a great example of someone who recently broke out of this phase of inconsistency. Philly is having one of their best seasons in awhile and Sanchez is really thriving with Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense. The team has collectively bought into the program and Sanchez’s leadership, which has placed them as a potential contender for the NFC Championship. Maybe there is hope for RG3 and Geno after all.