Reverse Barometer: It’s Hockey Season
Picks and Calls Sure to Go Wrong
Holy cow – it’s hockey season!
Stick and Puck
The Stars begin their 21st season in Dallas Thursday when they host the Florida Panthers. What? You weren’t thinking about hockey when the temperatures are still in the 90’s and football season is just getting started? Of course you weren’t; it’s just another reminder that the NHL season is way too long. Instead of 82 games, it should be no more than 72. Those 10 games would make a big difference. When you mix the physical pounding of football with the speed and cardio of basketball, the wear and tear can be substantial on the players.
So how will the Stars do? Will they make the playoffs for the first time in six years? Barometer says yes. (Jim Nill is about to buzz me. I don’t think he’s too happy; he’s heard about the Barometer from inside sources).
This is a new team up and down the forward lines and you’ll notice the difference in the scores every night. Look for the Stars to score more goals this season – a lot more goals. It’s been a problem over the last few years and Nill has added some key players that add youth and energy into the team, combined with a veteran coach in Lindy Ruff. Team captain Jamie Benn will play on a line with newcomer Tyler Seguin, who might be the best player in the trade that sent Loui Eriksson to Boston (and that’s saying something).
The defense is still a question mark, but Nill had to pick one area to upgrade and he decided on the front end. Give him time to assess the many young D-men in the organization.
Enjoy the return of hockey and go check out a game if you’ve never been. There is no greater sport to watch live anywhere.
Stanley Cup Final: Philadelphia Flyers over St. Louis Blues
Surprise Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
The Week that Was
The Cowboys were probably doomed more by their navy blue jerseys than RB’s pick of them winning two-straight. Or maybe it was the “hot knife through butter” defense they were sporting. Monte Kiffin had a rough day. His son was fired in the wee hours of Sunday morning and then Philip Rivers decided to go medieval on the Dallas D. More typical Barometer calls included Notre Dame beating OU (I should known Tommy Rees would act more like a statue than a scrambler) and OSU winning at West Virginia (it had to be the highlighters as uniforms).
As usual, we got some right: TCU took out SMU while the Aggies outscored the Hogs in Fayetteville.
Broncos at Cowboys: Remember the SNL skit with John Belushi as a chef at the Samurai Deli? That’s nothing compared to the slicing and dicing that Payton Manning is about to do to the Cowboys. Manning threw 16 touchdown passes in September, the most ever in the first month of a season. Add to it no interceptions while his team averaged 44.75 points-per-game and you have the makings of, well, more carvings next Sunday at AT&T Stadium. Broncos 36, Cowboys 23
Texas at Iowa State (Thursday): Longhorn Football from a Midwest state on a Thursday? You betcha. Look for Iowa State to hang in throughout the first half in this one before the Horns pull away in the second. Texas gets the ground game going and score some points. Texas 30, ISU 18
Texas Tech at Kansas: It isn’t fair to even pick any game that involves Kansas. Unless it’s basketball. Alas, this is still pigskin. Kliff’s boys run Charlie’s Jayhawks out of their own stadium midway through the second quarter. Raiders 56, Jayhawks 16
Kansas State at Oklahoma State: OSU was upset Saturday at West Virginia. That won’t happen two weeks in a row. Bill Snyder can coach but he needs some players. Cowboys 31, Wildcats 17
TCU at OU: OU’s win at Notre Dame serves as a jumpstart to their season. The Sooners don’t lose at home and that continues Saturday. TCU has started slow in every game this year and that really bites them again. Sooners 30, Frogs 14
West Virginia at Baylor: Is Baylor for real? I think they are good but we won’t really know how much until November. The beatdowns continue until then. Art Briles might schedule a book-signing for the fourth quarter since the Bears will be up by, oh, 40. OK, maybe not that bad. Bears 49, Mountaineers 20
Since USC made it official and fired Lane Kiffin over the weekend, and with the swirling winds of change refusing to go away in Austin (even the Tyler Rose wants Mack gone), who will be the next head coaches at two of the top college football programs in the country. The Barometer (as usual) looks to make some predictions.
USC will be an interesting one to watch, with some candidates coming out of the woodwork that perhaps you’d never think of. Interim coach Ed Orgeron will be on the final list and may actually get the job. Broncos Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio is a hot name, since he is a Trojan and has head coaching experience at Jacksonville.
Barometer is going to out on a limb on this one though: Bobby Petrino. He’s currently at Western Kentucky and won’t be there next year. A bigger program is going to hire him and why not USC? Besides, the Pacific Coast Highway is a wonderful road to ride your motorcycle on.
The Texas job will be open soon, whether Mack “retires” or is shown the door at the end of the season. The Nick Saban rumors will continue and we will hear Art Briles and Gary Patterson as top candidates in Texas. The Horns will probably call Kevin Sumlin too. But Barometer is going to predict that Chris Petersen, currently at Boise State, gets the gig.