Give the Patriots a break
BY JOE ELLISON
It's time that everyone buries the crazy notion that the NFL's New England Patriots "run up the score."
Is Barry Bonds not supposed to hit a home run because his team is up 10-2 in the ninth inning? Is Michael Jordan not supposed to make a basket because his team is ahead by 30 points in the fourth quarter. Is Wayne Gretzky not supposed to score a goal up 6-1 in the third period? For some bizarre reason football is the one major professional sport where people start crying about late scoring and teams winning by too much.
If there is anyone we should be feeling sorry for, it would be the players on the field who are being humiliated by the Patriots. But we're not talking about undermanned and overmatched college, high school or Pop Warner football teams here. Pro players become famous and make ridiculous amounts of money for what they do, so apologies to them are not necessary.
As is usually the case, the media is to blame for creating this negative publicity toward the New England Patriots. When teams win a lot like the Patriots do, the media feels it's their job to reach for anything and tear them down any way they can.
The New York Yankees win 26 World Series so now they're the "Evil Empire." The Dallas Cowboys play in eight Super Bowls and win five, so now they're the most hated team in America. The San Antonio Spurs win four NBA championships in nine years, so now their style of play is too boring. If the worst thing the media is saying about the Patriots is that they score too much, that is paying the Pats the ultimate tribute.
Tom Brady was a 6th-round draft pick, Randy Moss was acquired with a 4th-round pick, and Bill Belichick was fired as head coach of the Cleveland Browns. These guys were available to other teams. The New England organization should be admired for what it has put together during this salary cap era: a team on pace to set a ton of NFL season records and capable of becoming the greatest overall team in the history of the game. Every football player would love to be a part of that.
In college football the total is up to 11 Top 5 teams that have lost to unranked schools, and now five clubs that were once rated No. 2 have bitten the dust. The only thing predictable is unpredictability, and that there will be Bowl Championship Series controversy at the end of the regular season.
This weekend there are huge games that affect the national title picture such as LSU vs. Arkansas, West Virginia-Connecticut, and the game of the week, Kansas-Missouri.
There are bitter rivalries such as Auburn-Alabama, Florida-Florida State, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Washington-Washington State, Mississippi-Mississippi State, Utah-BYU and Clemson-South Carolina. Some grudge matches will help determine conference champions, such as Oklahoma-Oklahoma State, Texas-Texas A & M and Virginia-Virginia Tech.
Close to home, there is tonight's Boise State-Hawaii contest, which will crown the Western Athletic Conference champion, and tomorrow Nevada must defeat San Jose State in order to have any shot of being invited to a bowl game.
All of those games are worth watching. It promises to be another unbelievable weekend.
Predictions: Even though it doesn't make sense to make predictions on games that are so unpredictable, I'll take a chance on Kansas -2, Clemson -3 and Georgia - 3 1/2.
The Canadian Football League's Super Bowl, the Grey Cup, will be played Sunday at Rogers Centre in Toronto. Last week Winnipeg and Saskatchewan both pulled off road upsets to reach the Final.
Prediction: I can't say I've watched any of the CFL playoff games, so this is just a wild guess. Looking at the postseason scores so far, I'll try Winnipeg +11 and under 49 1/2 points.
• Joe Ellison is the Nevada Appeal Betting Columnist. Contact him at email@example.com.