Get the Athlon Sports Newsletter
The Vikings, Cowboys, BCS, ALCS and NLCS all in one.
The Vikings and Cowboys went head-to-head in a battle of 1–3 teams desperate to make a move. Not of the alleged Brett Favre on Jenn Sterger kind, but of the avoiding the garbage can after only five games variety.
Garbage can, huh? So that’s what you think I think of you?
In the end, Randy Moss’ homecoming in Minnesota was a celebration, following a tough 24–21 victory. Now Dallas is left claiming that coach Wade Phillips will not be fired midseason, after a 1–4 start to a season that had America’s Team hopeful of becoming the first home team to play for a title when Super Bowl XLV kicks off at the $1.1 billion Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011.
The Boys didn’t play like the stars on their helmets against the Vikes. The team coached by a son of a Bum — former NFL coach Bum Phillips, that is — committed 11 penalties for 91 lost yards, not counting several that were declined after big plays by the purple people in pigtails.
But even in victory, Favre will still have to answer Sterger questions. The 41-year-old graybeard is reportedly meeting with league officials on Tuesday. Or at least leaving awkward voice mails after practice.
P.S. - This photo of Jenn Sterger is one from her state of Florida rent-a-fan days. Brent Musberger remembers her as a FSU cowgirl; Athlon Sports photographed her in South Florida cowgirl gear not so long ago.
This week marks the first time in recent memory that there is no clear cut No. 1 team in college football — with the possible exception of the week after LSU’s Les Miles was “crowned” champion with the only two-loss title team in the history of the BS, er, BCS computer formula system.
Oklahoma is booming in the BCS rankings, Oregon has soared atop the AP poll and Boise State is certainly blue after being the victim of what could be viewed as a weeklong Freudian slip on the part of speculative media outlets who thought the Smurfs would be the BMOC of the first BCS poll.
But most casual fans and serious fanatics still think Alabama and Ohio State are the football factories that build the best product for a legit Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game. Or, more accurately, that Bama and the Buckeyes have the most NFL talent and the most consistent coaches — even if the Nick-tator and the Sweater Vest aren’t nearly as fun to watch as the Mad Hatter.
Luckily, at this point in the year there can be a placeholder as the top team. There can be a good old-fashioned debate over who’s who. The polls don’t matter until the bowls. If there is a five-team debate after conference championship week, then we’ll have a problem — or maybe the start of a playoff solution?
B, C and S aren’t the only three letters being thrown around. The ALCS and NLCS are even more relevant. After all, this is October, isn’t it?
In the designated slugger league, the Yankees and Rangers are tied at one game apiece. But there is panic in pinstripes, with wild man A.J. Burnett being seriously talked about as the Bronx Bombers’ Game 4 starter.
Not only did Burnett plunk two batters in a recent simulated game (sounds like he was trying to simulate reality, huh?), but he carried a 10–15 record, 5.26 ERA and 1.51 WHIP in 33 starts this season, with a combined 1–7 mark, 6.62 ERA in his last 12 starts.
Why worry about Game 4 already? Because the Rangers have lefty ace Cliff Lee — and his 6–0 record, 1.44 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 54 strikeouts in 56.1 innings over seven career postseason starts for two different teams — in Game 3. But he will be pitching against the all-time winningest playoff pitcher, fellow lefty Andy Pettitte (19–9 in 41 starts).
Meanwhile, in the swinging pitchers’ side of the bracket, the Phillies and Giants are also tied up at 1–1 after midseason acquisition Roy Oswalt struck out nine batters and allowed just one run in eight innings on Sunday night.
Heading back to AT&T Park in San Francisco, the Game 3 pitchers dual between Matt Cain and Cole Hamels should be a good one.