With 5 weeks left in the regular season, only one team remains undefeated in the NFL. Surprisingly, it isn't the New England Patriots.
The Evil Empire's bid for a 2nd perfect regular season came a'cropper in the Denver snow Sunday night, losing to the Broncos in overtime, 30-24. The ironic part being that Denver won without starting QB/insurance & pizza salesman Peyton Manning, reduced to a glorified assistant coach due to a foot injury. 4th year pro Brock Osweiler is now 2-0 as a starter, which will lead to the inevitable, predictable questions about whether or not Manning will return later in the season.
There've been online headlines this morning that say there's some whining coming from the defending champs about some of the officiating. Well, join the club, guys. Nice to know you're not any different from anyone else after a loss, although one headline said that QB Tom Brady was reportedly "pissed off" after losing. Like, get used to it, man. You're not going to be on top forever, no matter what you do.
By the way, the Jets say thanks, since they now are the only team with a realistic chance of catching the Pats, being 4 games back with 5 to play after completing a season sweep of Miami on Sunday. New England has 3 of their final 5 on the road (Houston, Miami, Jets), and 2 relative cupcakes left at home (Philadelphia, Tennessee). They'd have to win the first 2 (Eagles, Texans) or have the Jets lose their next game, to wrap up the division.
The last undefeated team standing is the Carolina Panthers, who embarrassed the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day, and sent QB Tony Romo back to the arts & crafts room (read: injured reserve) in the process. If you've seen Romo's DirecTV ad, you know what I mean. Will Carolina run the table? Four of their remaining five games are division games, including 2 with Atlanta. I don't see it happening. Still, barring any playoff upsets, it all points to a possible Super Bowl rematch between the Panthers & Patriots come February 7.
High school football season in upstate New York ended yesterday with the last of the state title games in Syracuse's Carrierdome. The kids were given Saturday off due to Senior Day for Syracuse's football team, as the Orange closed a terrible season by beating the equally hapless Boston College, who matched Syracuse's 8 straight losses.
Section II didn't fare too well. Class AA champ Saratoga was blown out of the yard by Aquinas, 44-19, and the Blue Streaks scored all their points in the 4th quarter to save face. B champ Schuylerville's bid for their first state title came up short vs. Cazenovia, the same Cazenovia that beat Class A power Queensbury back in September. On Friday, C champ Greenwich's title hopes were dashed with a loss to Chenango Forks. In fact, teams from the Western half of the state swept all of the title games.
Basketball season actually started last week with pre-season tournaments and limited league play. Everything kicks into gear tomorrow, as the vast majority of Section II schools will begin their hoop schedules.
If there was a way to determine localized Nielsen ratings for college football, I'd say the chances are pretty good of the Big 10 title game, airing on Fox on December 5, getting a huge number.
That would be attributed solely to Iowa senior running back Jordan Canzeri, a Troy High graduate, who gashed Nebraska's defense on Friday. If Canzeri can duplicate that performance against Michigan State, the Hawkeyes, whose uniforms are modeled after the Pittsburgh Steelers, in case you've never noticed, would punch their ticket for a College Football Playoff game on New Year's Eve. Section II has had a few players reach the NFL, most recently Joe Vellano (CBA), who won a ring with the Patriots back in February, only to be cut this season. Canzeri would be the first from Troy, to my knowledge, to make the NFL. The Collar City has produced a few major league baseball players, the last being Rudy Meoli, a bench player for a number of teams, including the Cubs, in the 70's, but no pro football or basketball players----yet.
I don't know about you, but I know I'll be rooting for Iowa on Saturday night.