Monday, August 21, 2006

Football is getting closer - what do we know?

After the second round of pre-season games, I think we know a few things:

  1. Brett Favre can still throw. Favre had a nice game against the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday, throwing two touchdown passes. He still has a propensity to throw the interception, but he still looks to have enough in the tank to perform well this year. Favre can break Dan Marino's record for most touchdown passes this year, and George Blanda's record for most career interceptions. He should probably own both records - it would be right summation of his career - high reward, high risk.
  2. The Vikings may have a good young quarterback in Tarvaris Jackson, but they better keep Brad Johnson healthy. Jackson has talent and poise. He reminds me of Steve McNair and Jake Delhomme. He could be a nemesis for my beloved Packers for many years. Having said that, he's probably not ready to play much this season. And the two veteran backup quarterbacks the Vikings have in camp, Mike McMahon and J.T. O'Sullivan, are both stiffs. If the 38-year old Johnson gets hurt, the Vikes will be in a lot of trouble.
  3. The AFC continues to have a big talent edge on the NFC, but the gap may be closing. These things tend to be cyclical, of course, especially in the NFL, which makes it very difficult for a team to stay on top for long. I still think the AFC will produce the Super Bowl winner, however. Who it will be is a tougher question. If any NFC team has a shot this year, it's probably Carolina.
  4. The news in college football in the Twin Cities is pretty muddled. The Gophers do not seem to have any idea who will be their tailback. Laurence Maroney is now a pro and Gary Russell is an academic casualty. Amir Pinnix should have had the job sewn up, but he doesn't. If the Gophs don't have a quality runner, they will struggle in the Big Ten.
  5. I'm really eager to see what the Badgers will be like this season under Bret Bielema. Barry Alvarez generally built efficient, powerful teams that would physically whip the opposition while committing few errors. Bielema is a young man and it will be interesting to see if he opens things up in Madison. Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan, the traditional powers of the Big Ten, are all a lot more colorful programs than they used to be. The old, traditional Big Ten style can still work, but if the leaders aren't using it, it begs a few questions. The answers will start coming soon.

Meanwhile, there's still a lot of baseball to think about. More on that soon.

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