The Other Gruden, last seen searching for a whiskey sour.
Well, well, Orlando Predators. We meet again for the first time! We had heard rumor of skilled players present in the Greater Central Florida region, but we assumed that a search for them would be Juan Ponce de Leon-esque: fruitless and impotent, with a chance of mosquito swarms and ending with an unfortunate meeting with a poisoned arrow. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Welcome back to eating at the big kids table, Jay.
ORLANDO 57, Chicago 56 (OT)
If Orlando can stick around until late in the 4th quarter, they seem to be able to pull out the W. That’s reasonably impressive, especially as Shane Stafford isn’t putting up especially gaudy numbers, and their defense isn’t really at the forefront of anyone’s mind. Nevertheless, who’s 4-2 and second in the suddenly WILDLY competitive Southern Mitsubishi Division? I’ll give you a hint: it rhymes with “schmedators.” Plus, we got to see the surprise on someone’s face when one’s quadricep gives out unexpectedly.
See below for scores higher than the one that Michael Wilbon was shocked by.
We also put the “nose” in there, as well as… what’s left: the “as?” That doesn’t even make sense. If we made it two to infinity offseasons, we could put the “sass” in there. Oh yeah. Also, I’ve spent so much time looking at the word “offseason,” that I’m not sure it’s a word anymore. MOVING ON.
Biggest News: Hey, kids! Bernie Kosar wants what John Elway has! While that part’s not news, the fact that the stunningly incompetent Las Vegas Gladiators (nee New Jersey Gladiators, nee New Jersey Gladiators, nee New Jersey Red Dogs –
delicious! revolting!) are moving to Cleveland, is. This, and more news, after the breaking of pages:
We’re sorry, Matt Cranky Pants Nagy. Saying that you had as good a chance of beating Dallas as Dan Qualye winning a spelling bee was obviously a mistake. We’re sorry we added to your crabbiness, and hope you give us some credit at ISF for adding some fuel to your ire fire. Get ready for us to do it again, because we’ll be jiggered if you beat your former Force squad on the road.
SATURDAY: Columbus at Georgia, ESPN, 12pm ET.
J SAYS: Kudos to Columbus for pulling a huge upset over the Desperados. Really. Good job. This week, you’re mincemeat. Georgia made the Soul O-line look holier than Pope Pius XII, or at least as holy as Carrie Underwood’s publicist would like you to believe, or as full of holes as Tommy Lee’s ears or Criss Angel’s face (note: I don’t think he actually has much in the way of piercings, but he just totally seems that way). Although my live-blog coverage of the Philly-Georgia game was Soul-centric, it was all Force, all the time. Overpowering defense, precision offense, mildly accurate kicking carried the day for Georgia. QB Chris Greisen will slap things and say ‘yeah!’. Head coach Doug Plank will crush Columbus with his steely Bears-gaze alone.
TC SAYS: Columbus got help from fate last week. You can’t count on that two weeks in a row. I could say the same things about Georgia this week as I did about Dallas last week, and I misplaced my faith in Philadelphia. I’m an idiot. Georgia, Georgia, Georgia. They made Philadelphia play as smoothly as the countenance of Edward James Olmos. If we’re using actors in our analogies. And Philadelphia is measurably better than Columbus. The transitive property of sports insists that Columbus has no prayer. But we said that last week. Can the fury fueled by the scorn of a nation propel Columbus to two straight upsets?
THE BOTTOM LINE: (J) Just as the film Georgia Rule would have you believe (note: I know nothing about this film other than Lindsey Lohan was publicly berated for being late to set because of underage-drinking-related ‘dehydration’), Georgia rules. Columbus, it’s been interesting, but it’s time for the Buckeye state to start dreaming of the Horseshoe and maybe not choking when it counts, like Columbus will have no choice but to do in Force territory. (TC) You know who has to gag for this game to be won by Columbus, right? Chris Griesen, on his pregame meal. Also most of the defensive players for Georgia. Last week just goes to show you that anybody can win in any week in the AFL, because there are enough chances for weird bounces. That notwithstanding, Georgia is really talented, and Griesen’s playing at the highest level. Columbus is a fine team, and they can get the job done if enough momentum’s behind them (of note: Dallas didn’t score in the third quarter last week), but it’s asking a bit much to do it two weeks in a row.
J’S PREDICTION: Do you remember the part in ALIEN where Harry Dean Stanton is looking in a cargo bay and gets scared shitless by the cat, then looks up in the cables and promptly disappears? It might be something like that, except with the Destroyers (Harry Dean Stanton) and football (um, the alien, I guess… maybe the cat).
TC’S PREDICTION: I had to read that a couple times for the imagery to really do it for me. If you want to re-read J’s prediction and come back to this section, I’ll wait. [Silence.] Yeah. Georgia can book some hotel rooms in the French Quarter. Columbus can get eaten by aliens.
The Conference’s two top seeds, in San Jose. What to say? A-OK! I can rhyme all the time. I’ll stop now, I mean it. Does anyone want a peanut? Aaargh.
SATURDAY: Chicago at San Jose, 4:00 PM
TC SAYS: Well, well, well. It looks like a win-win situation for this prognosticator. If San Jose wins, I can continue my “I Told You So” Dance, and if Chicago wins, I can do my “My Hometown Team Is the Greatest” Dance. Let’s have a look – San Jose has been sturdy on defense all year (last week excepted), but nobody’s been stouter on that side of the ball than Chicago. On offense, Mark Grieb has quietly put up stellar numbers with consistency, and Matt D’Orazio has made noise by virtue of his wide reciever corps. The question, then, comes down to that of D’Orazio’s back, and who can keep their momentum going for four quarters? Also of concern – Chicago played on Monday, and is travelling to San Jose.
J SAYS: That plane ride from Chicago to San Jose is no picnic, my friends. It’s probably about as much fun as getting a cleat in the small of the back a la Matt D’Orazio. Maybe not as much, but the point being that Chicago, although resilient, is a little banged up not counting jet-lag. They played brilliantly last week, all things considered (so I hear from TC, I was on a Hot Movie Date), but San Jose has been solid all year long. This could be the battle royale I was looking for last Sunday when Philly was systematically destroyed by Georgia.
THE BOTTOM LINE: (TC) We at ISF will brook no argument: the American Conference’s two best teams are meeting on Saturday. They played in week 2, and it was a dogfight. This comes down to what unit comes down to carrying their team on its back. By all rights, this should be the best game of the season to date, as both teams need to play nearly-flawlessly to get past the other. (J) Yes, this will be the best non-wildcard game of the playoffs thus far. It could be as simple as whoever forces the first error of the game will get to go to New Orleans next week.
TC’S PREDICTION: I like Chicago’s defense, but D’Orazio’s back isn’t getting any better, and they’ve only had 4 days to recover from the Los Angeles game, which was pretty physical. This game’s going to be decided in the 4th, and the healthier, more rested team is going to have the advantage there. It grieves me to say it, but
San Jose moves on. No! I can’t! I must pick the Rush! Aaaagh. San Jose Chicago San Jose The SaberRush The Ru…Cats… Football wins, in a nailbiter. My nerves are shot, just trying to pick.
J’S PREDICTION: Hmm… it’s tough to call, but I think San Jose’s defense might get the best of D’Orazio’s pulsating lower back, but I’m not so sure I can call it against the hometown team. I’m picking San Jose with the hope that Sippio proves me wrong. And maybe answers a friendly phone call every now and again.
Some thoughts on ball control, and specifically Kansas City’s final-drive-lack-there-of, after the jump: Read the rest of this entry »