TIME: US | UK
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THE AMERICAN MAGAZINE ONLINE
Features & Blogs
"Life in the UK"
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale
USF: COVERING THE SPREAD
While this weekend's TV highlight for many North American sports fans will be the NHL season opener between the LA Kings and the reigning Anaheim Ducks (NASN 5pm Saturday and Sunday), it does offer a treat for football fans who have Sky but don't subscribe to NASN. The subscription channel is having a 'freeview' weekend, meaning access to As-Live coverage of the Friday game between the West Virginia Mountaineers and the South Florida Bulls (shown 9am Saturday morning UK time).
This one's worth catching. In a meeting of unbeaten and ranked teams, each gets to defend against variations on the spread offense that has been keying their wins and making stars of their quarterbacks. For West Virginia, Pat White, 617 yards passing and a 71% completion rate, 286 yards rushing, and 6 TDs each way. For South Florida, Matt Grothe, 652 yards passing and 4 TDs, 88 yards rushing. Neither has thrown an interception yet.
Obviously, with RB Steve Slaton (502 yards, 9 TDs) alongside White, the Mountaineers enter the game as favorites, but this is a different sort of game from the ones when these teams get to unleash the unfamiliar spread on people (the way Appalachian State and Oregon did on Michigan). There are no cheap yards to be had in this one.
And of course, this is a Big East conference game. While Rutgers (3-0) and the (apparently defenseless) Louisville entered the season as BCS Bowl contenders along with West Virginia, some people forgot the Bulls, who beat West Virginia at the end of last season, and lost to Rutgers by only two points.
If West Virginia win Friday night, it'll be just another non-Saturday win to underwhelm poll voters and get lost in the Saturday results. But if South Florida wins, it could be the dawn of any age when the likes of Miami and Florida State have to get used to being Nos. 3 and 4 in the state of Florida.
For many coaches, this is the most anxious week of the football season. It requires special concentration and some difficult choices as all the work since the draft begins to take shape.
Yes, it's the first bye week, and fantasy football coaches across the world will be shuffling back-ups into the line-up in the hope of making it through without some key player, or secretly hoping that a specific NFL starter suffers a short-lived but significant injury so that the backup (the one-week replacement on their own fantasy team) gets some start-quality numbers.
Listen, if you're a fantasy football fan, be warned: I'm humoring you here. I joined a 'keeper league' last year against my better judgment just so I could bond with you guys (and gals) and get a taste of... well, whatever it is that's so addictive about it.
So, I've got Carson Palmer as my starter and Tony Romo as my back-up (yeah I used two of my five keepers to hold onto that glorious investment), and my backs are Shaun Alexander and Jamal Lewis. I just had to have TJ Who's-ya-mama and... er, hey, where are the rest of you going? No really, this'll be interesting. Guys?
Well at least my fellow fantasy fans will be interested in my team, won't you?
Ah, whadda YOU know? You'll be laughing on the other side of your faces when my guys win the pretend Superbowl.