Arts & Entertainment

Picking Splinters: Into October’s Mailbag




Mike,

You chirp about how the Redskins are going to cakewalk to wins in their next three games and then they immediately lose to the winless Rams. Thanks for the jinx, jerk.

Joe G.

What are you, a Cubs fan?

The Rams are awful, but they’re coming off their bye week and wanted to put their best foot forward under their new coach Jim Haslett. Even then, the game turned on a 75-yard fumble return by Oshiomogho Atogwe – who did so just to spite sportswriters who have to spell that name.

Is it a bad loss for the Redskins? Yes. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as the losses sustained by the Dallas Cowboys in Arizona on Sunday.

The Cowboys not only dropped the game, but will be without quarterback Tony Romo for a month (broken pinkie finger) and stud rookie running back Felix Jones for 2-4 weeks with a hamstring injury. To top it all off, Adam “Pacman” Jones violated the terms of his probation when he was involved in a scuffle with a Cowboys bodyguard last week, and was suspended Tuesday for at least four games.

Those are tough losses to swallow. Losing to the Rams? Let’s face it, the Redskins have had worse days.

Hume,

Can we get some cleanup in aisle BCS? The national championship picture is a mess and hasn’t gotten any clearer as the season moves forward. What do you think about the season and what do you see as a potential title bout? And what about the Irish? Any shot for them?

Lou H.

The Irish blew any BCS chances with a loss to North Carolina last Saturday. Before that, it would have been possible, but unlikely. Had the Irish run their schedule, which would have given them a final weekend win over USC, maybe – and that’s a very small “maybe” – there could have been some call for Notre Dame in a BCS game. Personally, I think the Irish are going to have to work themselves back up the ladder before they’re again placed in a top bowl given their string of embarrassing losses on those big stages. Notre Dame is still having a great year for itself and next year they should be in contention for a BCS game again … if they can ever find a pair of cornerbacks capable of keeping up with the game’s elite receivers.

As for the rest of the bowl picture, whoever first spoke of Chaos Theory has to be loving this season. There have been three different No. 1 teams in the past four weeks. Only nine teams in the Top 25 remain unbeaten and four of them are from non-BCS conferences. And there are still a whole lot of shake ups to come.

No. 3 Penn State established itself as the favorite in the Big Ten, and probably the conference’s only hope to for a national title team, after it steamrolled Wisconsin 48-7 last week. Of course, PSU now has rivals Michigan and No. 12 Ohio State on tap in the next two weeks.

Three of the unbeaten teams are from the Big 12, where new No. 1 Texas meets both of the other unbeatens (No. 8 Oklahoma State and No. 7 Texas Tech) immediately after locking longhorns with one-loss Missouri (No. 11). If Texas Tech or Oklahoma State top Texas, they’ll meet up Nov. 8 for another huge showdown.

In the SEC, No. 2 Alabama is undefeated, but … they’re in the SEC. Odds of them running the table from here out are about as good as me waking up on a bed made of money tomorrow. For the record, if those two are actually somehow intertwined, I am soooo pulling for the Crimson Tide.

This is what those killjoys in the BCS mean when they say a playoff will devalue regular season games. For at least 10 schools, everything is riding on the next several Saturdays. Unfortunately, the system still may not produce a proper national championship.

Right now, it looks like the winners of the Big 12 and SEC will play for the national title, but that excludes the Mountain West winner, where either No. 9 BYU or No. 14 Utah will probably be unbeaten at year’s end. Will they be forced out of the picture? If the winner of the SEC has two losses and Ohio State beats Penn State, will the Buckeyes again be title-worthy? If USC weathers its remaining schedule of unranked Pac-10 opponents (though Cal is still No. 25), will that be enough to counter a loss to Oregon State?

It’s chaos and in my mind, with so many title-worthy teams out there, it only enhances calls for a collegiate playoff. The more teams the BCS slights through exclusion, the louder that call will be.

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