Posted 10/19/2007 at 12:07 PM
Favorites struck back a bit last week in the NFL but college favorites had another poor week going just 22-32 last Saturday. We’ve included a new emerging trends feature to look at some of the season-long figures for teams in certain roles. At the top of the polls were a few big upsets last week with #1 LSU lasting just one week in the top spot and California also fell out of the ranks of the undefeated. Only five undefeated teams remain and there will be serious challenges ahead for the survivors. Hawaii barely survived to stay perfect last week and expect tough challenges for Ohio State, Kansas, and South Florida this week. The opening BCS rankings stayed true to the polls for the most part and South Florida would be in the title game against Ohio State if the season ended today. It doesn’t so don’t expect that match-up to hold up, especially with the stigma that being #1 has carried in recent weeks.
There is no doubt about the #1 NFL team right now as New England has dominated the league this season. The Colts have quietly remained on pace for greatness as well and no doubt that Indianapolis doesn’t mind being outside of the spotlight a bit while putting together another great season. Let’s hope the next two weeks go to form and we have another undefeated showdown the first weekend in November. At the other end of the spectrum both the Rams and Dolphins moved to 0-6. Since 2000 only six other teams have started 0-6 and in the seventh game three of those squads picked up win #1. The match-ups are not favorable for those chances this week however but crazier things have happened.
Unfortunately QB injuries have been a major storyline this season and the importance of having a quality back-up really stands out, although in a few cases one back-up has not been enough. The Cardinals and Panthers squared off with third string QBs last week for most of the game and veteran Vinny Testaverde delivered a great performance for the Panthers. Last week nine teams started a QB that was not the week 1 starter and it would have been 10 if San Francisco had played last week. Through just six weeks of the season, 50 different QBs have had at least ten pass attempts, with 45 players having at least 24 attempts meaning basically playing at least one full game. Many laugh at player like Testaverde still being around but with the Panthers sitting on top of the NFC South a veteran QB that can step in play is extremely valuable.
Injuries are obviously part of the game but with the size and strength of today’s players the frequency of injuries has to be going up and with several marquee young players like Alex Smith, Matt Leinart, Vince Young, and others already injured this season the league may have to consider some types of adjustments in the long range. I don’t know what those measures could be but it is something to start thinking about. The league has taken measures to prevent excessive hits and headshots but there may really be no way around it. Good Luck.