Saturday, February 28, 2009

Super Bowl Thoughts - Thursday, January 29, 2009

Super Bowl Thoughts
I’m going with the Cards in this game. I obviously want them to win because Pitt can eat it, but I also think that the Cards are good and are actually playing well. Warner has a history of holding on to the ball too long, taking sacks, and fumbling the ball, but he just hasn't done it for awhile (as an aside Roethlisberger has the same maladies…). He faced an extremely tough D in Philly and was able to handle them easily. Brian Dawkins is every bit the safety that Troy Polomalu is and Asante Samuel is better than any corner Pitt has. Pitt clearly has superior LBs and have gotten to the QB like crazy this year so I'm a little concerned about that, but the Cards have good, big TEs (6’7 Leonard Pope is one) that can help with blocks and I think that they are going to slow them up, if not stonewall them altogether.

Much has been said this week about how unbelievably poor Roethlisberger played in the Super Bowl against Seattle. It’s true. He was terrible. Of course, he was a second-year player and is much better now, but I still don’t like his game. I liken him to yard waste. People throw out yard waste because it’s waste, but it does have a purpose. It can be composted and all of that crap. But yard waste isn’t something that you want to keep around for that very reason, it decomposes and turns nasty if it stays around too long. That’s Roethlisberger. He is so gross for the majority of the game and then comes up with very useful plays on third downs and late in the game with his ability to shed tacklers and move around and make passes. So he’s not garbage, which has no use and you want to get rid of it as quickly as possible (e.g. Charlie Frye), but he is waste. I hate him. I might be picking against Pitt simply because I hate him and their team and I don’t want any part of me pulling for them. But I do believe that there are lots of things pointing to a Cards victory.

Anyway, Pitt’s D is fantastic, but the Card’s offense is equally fantastic. I also think that the Card’s D is much better than Pitt’s offense, so I’m leaning toward the Cards, with my heart and my head.

Prediction: Arizona 31 Pitt 24

Bonus prediction: one of Pitt’s TDs will be on a return of some sort (special teams or defensive).

Caveat prediction: I can absolutely see the game unfolding as such, much to my chagrin:
  • Cards win the toss, elect to receive

1st Quarter

  • Cards march down the field, Warner overthrows Boldin, Ike Taylor picks it off at the 20
  • Pitt goes to about midfield and punts
  • Breaston muffs the punt, Pitt recovers on the 10
  • Pitt scores on a 3rd and goal from the 15 (because they can’t run and Roethlisberger gets sacked) on a gross Roethlisberger toss to Heath Miller, 7-0 Pitt
  • Cards take the ensuing kickoff to the 40, move the ball to the 38 and punt
  • Pitt doesn’t do anything offensively and punts

2nd Quarter

  • Cards move the ball but don’t score and punt again
  • Pitt moves the ball to the 45 but stalls and punts
  • Cards get the ball back, move it and fumble, Pitt recovers on the Cards’ 30
  • Pitt scores a TD on a 15 yard Willie Parker run, 14-0 Pitt
  • Cards move the ball and kick a field goal to end the half, 14-3 Pitt

Halftime (of a GROSS game thus far)
3rd Quarter

  • Pitt take the opening kickoff and marches down the field to score a FG, 17-3 Pitt
  • Cards move the ball and Warner throws another pick
  • Pitt takes the ball down and scores on a 45 yard Willie Parker run, 24-3 Pitt
  • Cards get the ball and finally punch it in on a Fitzgerald catch and run, 24-10 Pitt

4th Quarter

  • Pitt goes on an 8:00 drive of runs and incomplete passes except for 3rd and 12, 15, and 8 passes by Roethlisberger and finally scores TD (pass to Limas Sweed), 31-10 Pitt
  • Cards go on a long drive, go for it on 4th down and don’t get it
  • Pitt takes the ball and does nothing exciting but chews up clock.
  • Cards get the ball back and do nothing.

Final 31-10 Pitt, MVP Willie Parker

Now that I wrote that I just got sick to my stomach. This game could absolutely unfold this way and it wouldn’t surprise me at all, I just don’t want it to.

Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s
Big game tonight. Unfortunately I’ll probably only get to watch the first half because I’m geriatric and go to bed at like 9:30. I’ve seen Gonzaga play a few times and I’ve been less than impressed with their effort. Losing to Portland State at home is inexcusable. I don’t know who they think they are, but they’re not good enough to just roll the ball out and dominate, especially with a guy like Austin Daye playing like his heart pumps apple juice. He’s a weakling. I think that he should stop wearing t-shirts underneath his jersey so that he’s forced to lift some weights to avoid the embarrassment of being a 20 year old man with the arms of a 13-year old girl.

UW and the Arizonas
I read Art Thiel’s piece on Isaiah Thomas yesterday and he said that several people have said that Thomas reminds people of Damon Stoudamire. I think that is a great comparison. They do play very similarly and are pretty much the same size. They are both crazy explosive scorers and both are left handed, which is interesting. If Thomas goes on to have the same type of career that Stoudamire does, then I’ll be really happy, as Thomas will be too, since Stoudamire was a first round draft pick (no. 7) and Rookie of the Year.

I like this team a lot. They are a much better team and a way more athletic team than they’ve had the last few years. They are getting to the line a ton of times; against USC and UCLA they got to the line 40 and 43 times respectively. That’s a ton of free throws especially when compared to how many times their opponents got to the line, USC 17 and UCLA 15. That’s ridiculous; they got to the line over 50 times more in two games. All while taking only six less field goals against USC and 12 less against UCLA.

The numbers are telling us that they’re being aggressive and taking the ball to the hole, something they have shied away from in recent years, instead settling for the jumper. Good things happen when they do this. Also, the numbers tell us that they are getting a lot of second chances because they’re getting so many rebounds. It’s exciting to see a team play aggressively and with talent. They’re a fun team to watch, even if they are frustrating at times with their really stupid turnovers etc.

The team doesn’t really have any spot-up shooters though and that will probably hurt them down the line, but I’d much rather have guys that can take it to the rim and shoot occasionally, than have a team full of Ryan Appleby’s who can do nothing well but shoot.

I have hope that they will take care of business in Arizona. ASU is good and UofA, despite their record, is a good team having beaten Kansas and Gonzaga this year and they’ve got two losses that are completely attributable to brain farts at the end of a game when a kid fouled intentionally because he thought they were losing, but were tied. Bad times. I could see UW winning both games and I can see them losing both. We’ll see.

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