Hail or Rail Scale Christmas Edition: Big Ten, Falcons, Tom Brady, Gene Chizik, Greg Oden, Tony Parker, Kyle Brotzman and the Vikings
December 24th, 2010 by Chris Humpherys
Welcome to edition three of our Hail or Rail Scale. In the past, we’ve honored (and dishonored) Steve Spurrier, Zenyatta, Cecil Newton and Randy Moss among others.
This time around we’ve compiled a brand new list of inductees who will either be opening freshly-wrapped presents under the SportsChump Channukah bush or receiving their very own bag of coal.
1 – Big Ten football
Who says the Big Ten is a lesser conference? Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State were among the best teams in college football all season long, going a combined 33-3. Assuming a college football playoff system ever existed (Santa, you listening?), those three one-loss teams would all be invited to the Christmas party and sitting in the VIP section.
Wisconsin takes the honor of going to the Rose Bowl for being the highest ranked of the three schools, while Ohio State and Michigan State, also ranked in the top ten, settle on the Sugar and Capital One bowls.
The war between Big Ten and SEC fans will continue as the Buckeyes, amazingly WITH Terrelle Pryor, and Spartans square off against two of the better teams the Southeastern Conference had to offer, Arkansas and Alabama, in what should be two of the better bowls of the season.
And let us not forget about Florida-Penn State.
2 – Atlanta Falcons
This just in. The Atlanta Falcons are good. Real good.
They currently hold the best record in the NFC and are unbeaten in the Georgia Dome, which will be crucial come playoff time since the NFC championship might just run through that building. The last thing a dome team like Atlanta wants is to play a January game in freezing cold temperature. It looks like they won’t have to.
They’ve won eight straight games, including wins over Green Bay, Baltimore and a sweep of Tampa Bay during that stretch.
MVP candidate Matt Ryan, aka Matty Ice, is 19-1 at home as a starter since joining the Falcons. Remaining perfect at home for the rest of the season might just land him and his Falcons in the Super Bowl.
3 – Tom Brady
What else can we say about this guy that hasn’t already been said? He has three Super Bowl rings on his fingers and one supermodel for a wife. Under Bill Belichick, Brady’s Patriots are once again owning the NFL.
How about this for a statistic? If the playoffs started today, the Patriots would be the AFC’s top seed. They have already beaten the teams ranked two through six. They also recently beat the NFC North champion on their home field in rather embarrassing fashion.
Brady has thrown 21 touchdowns and zero interceptions in his last nine games. The NFL offices probably already have his name engraved on the MVP trophy.
Like all great champions in professional sports, Brady has that killer instinct. He’s probably still stewing over going 18-1 in 2007-8. One more championship, though, and he’ll have as many Super Bowl rings as Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana, and that’s not bad company to be in.
4 – Gene Chizik
I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t give Auburn a snowball’s chance in hell when they hired Gene Chizik two years ago. Coaching regularly against Urban Meyer, Nick Saban and the like, I figured there was no way Chizik could ever build a winning program.
Chizik’s come-from-behind victory in Tuscaloosa is one that will have Alabama fans steaming for years. His thrashing of South Carolina gave Auburn its first conference championship since 2004.
Behind their Heisman-winning quarterback, perhaps you’ve heard of him, Auburn is now one win away from becoming the fifth consecutive SEC team to win a national championship, although the Oregon Ducks might have a little something to say about that.
1 – Greg Oden’s knee
I guess we’ll never know how good Greg Oden could have been. Far am I from assuming his basketball career is over but it doesn’t look good.
Oden’s name will always be unfairly connected with Sam Bowie, the most infamous NBA draft pick not named Darko Milicic. The Portland Trailblazers drafted Bowie with their second pick in the 1984 draft, one spot before Michael Jordan, just as they drafted Oden one spot before Kevin Durant in 2007. Both Bowie’s and Oden’s careers were plagued by injury but that’s where the similarities end.
Bowie actually played ten seasons in the NBA. Oden has yet to complete two. All of us are wishing Oden a full recovery but at this point, most of us are unsure that will ever happen.
2 – Tony Parker
Whatever happened to man code?
When most of us first heard the news that Tony Parker was cheating on his wife, we were appalled that anyone could actually run around on Eva Longoria. Personally, I was more offended that the Frenchmen would fool around with the wife of a former teammate. But then again, he’s French, right? That’s what they do.
I’m sure this sort of thing has happened plenty of times in the past, but probably not so high-profile. What was Parker thinking? How could the Spur spurn a fellow Spur? Doesn’t he know Desperate Housewives have had husbands killed for less?
I don’t know exactly what went down as there’s multiple reports detailing what did or did not happen between Parker and Erin Barry. I just want to know when they’ve scheduled the Brent Barry-Tony Parker pay-per-view event because that’s one I’d most certainly tune in for.
3- Minnesota Vikings
The last time the Minnesota Vikings had a season this dysfunctional was five years ago when half the members of the team were busted for touring on a sex cruise.
This season makes that one look pale by comparison. Their star wide receiver was released, their head coach was fired, their star quarterback’s longest starting streak in history IS history, they now start a guy named Joe Webb and their roof has caved in… literally.
Last year, depending how you slice it, the Vikes were one costly Brett Favre interception or a few Adrian Peterson fumbles away from the Super Bowl. This was supposed to be the season when Brett Favre gave it one final shot. Instead, they’re 5-9 and Favre is talking about yard work again.
2010 is not exactly what the Purple People Eaters were hoping for. At least they have a whole off-season of wondering whether Brett Favre will return once again.
4 – Boise State kicker Kyle Brotzman
How soon until we start calling Kyle Brotzman the negative six million dollar man?
After missing two field goals, one in regulation and one in overtime, that would have led to another undefeated season, the poor guy was receiving death threats on his Facebook page, making Cleveland’s hatred for LeBron James look heart-warming.
With Oregon and Auburn both going undefeated, it’s unlikely Boise State would have made it to the title game anyway, but not being invited to a BCS bowl probably cost the school upwards of ten million dollars. So much for that new library.
So, Kyle, congratulations on making top billing on this week’s Rail Scale for your Norwoodian performance and for relegating Boise State to the relatively meaningless Las Vegas Bowl.
At least the drinks there are free so he can drown his sorrows….
…in egg nog. Merry Christmas.