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Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekend Wrap: Paterno’s Ugly End, College Super Bowl Bust, Not Just Philly, Thome Returns, more

          A weekend with no Eagles or Sixers seems like a good time to dust off the rapid fire format. Here’s a weekend wrap:

* The sad ending many feared for Joe Paterno may have arrived in a package no one anticipated. News broke that his former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, was accused of molesting a child in 2002, and while the Penn State head football coach reportedly informed his bosses at the university he never followed up with the police. My understanding is that Sandusky was no longer coaching by then, so I’m not clear on how Paterno isn’t facing the same charges for not reporting the allegations that the university athletic director and a PSU vice president have been charged with. Why tell your bosses at that point? Why not call the police? Paterno’s son is a lawyer who helped him draft his statement about the issue over the weekend. With such legal advice readily available, it’s hard to believe Paterno wasn’t advised to report Sandusky to authorities if his own moral compass didn’t tell him to do so. It’s too early to know everything, but Bob Ford of the Inquirer had a great column in the paper yesterday calling for Paterno’s ouster. It’s a tough one to argue against, and this scandal will likely allow the university to finally remove the 84-year-old coach.

* There are “defensive battles” and games where the offenses just aren’t good enough. We saw the differences in two big football games Saturday and Sunday night. The much hyped “college football Super Bowl” between Alabama and LSU was not a great game. It was boring. The defenses were just so much better than the offenses that it wasn’t a classic defensive battle. It was great defenses beating down mediocre offenses. Baltimore versus Pittsburgh on Sunday night was the contrast. Those teams showed the ability to move the ball, but the defenses were just better – until the Steelers coughed it up. (Full disclosure: I had big picks on each game and lost both.)

* WTF Part I: There’s no way Nick Saban should have tried the third consecutive long field goal in the first half, and I’m not sure he should have tried any of them. The kid was 1-3 going into the game! At the very least, they have to go for a first down or punt in the third situation. The kicker just missed two, and I think he put in the “short range” kicker for the third. Saban panicked. And, by the way, there is no way in hell there needs to be a re-match of that drek.

* WTF Part II: Yes, I’m bitter about losing my pick, but I can’t believe Pittsburgh let Joe Flacco go 92 yards with 2:17 left to win the game and let Baltimore sweep them in the regular season. I guess it doesn’t just happen in Philadelphia!

* I like the Jim Thome signing by the Phillies. It’s a very solid “stop gap” move to deal with the injury to Ryan Howard, and it might just be the perfect fit. Thome wants to end his career with Charlie Manuel, he’s not going to rock the boat if Howard comes back, and if all goes well he’s the best bat off the bench they’ve had in years for the playoffs. It’s also more evidence that the Phillies don’t have to announce that they’re “all in.” It’s not a huge move, but it’s the type of move the football franchise in town would not make. They would have tried to fill in with some scrub off the bench.

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