By David Schoenfield
Page 2

Days 16, 17, 18 ...

So I'm sitting here watching the Patriots manhandle the Bills. They're leading 23-0 late in the third quarter and all I'm thinking is I hope the Patriots can keep the shutout.

Not because I care about the Patriots. I don't. It's because I have the Patriots' D on my fantasy team. I need a shutout to have any hope of pulling out the win this week.

And as I write that last sentence, Jonathan Smith of the Bills just returns a punt 70 yards for a touchdown.

I kid you not.

(All expletives have been deleted from the above two paragraphs.)

Is this what watching 18 consecutive days of football has done to me? I obsess over fantasy football now? I eagerly tell Mrs. Couch Potato that she should watch Utah because this Alex Smith kid deserves the Heisman? I can explain a cover two defense now?

Anyway, with just one day left on my little couch potato journey, it's apparently time for a little self-understanding. Ten things I've learned on my odyssey:

1. Too many chips can be a bad thing. Mrs. Couch Potato just turned her head in shock at that sentence. But, yes, I've learned a valuable lesson, or at least my new love handles have -- 18 straight days of chips and salsa has dangerous side effects. Even if the salsa is non-fat.

2. Hawaii might never be invited to appear on ESPN again. The Rainbows were on twice during these 19 days of football, and lost 69-3 to Boise State and 70-14 to Fresno State. And I watched both games. All 120 minutes. Seven hours.

Weekend Scorecard
Food consumed: Japanese takeout, grilled cheese sandwiches with high-sodium chunky soup, salad, biscuits (not the "biscuits and gravy" kind of biscuits, but rather the "English cookie" type of biscuits. I think those were for Mrs. Couch Potato. Ooops.

Diet sodas: 2 (umm, two 2-liter bottles, that is)

Salsa: Arriba! Fire roasted Mexican chipotle salsa. This one grew on me. It had a little kick, but I got used to the fire-roasted flavor. In the end, it sneaks in with three stars out of four.

Leaves raked: None

Snow shoveled: Yes

Mental state: I feel like Sam Adams trying to return a fumble 100 yards for a touchdown. I can see the end zone but I'm feeling very, very tired ...

3. Let's end the Adrian-Peterson-for-Heisman talk. As great as he's been, he has scored only nine TDs. Utah's Alex Smith has rushed for eight ... oh, and thrown for 24 (with only two picks).

By the way, here's another reason my Heisman vote goes to Smith: He earned his economics degree from Utah in two years and started a master's program this fall. Nice to see a little "college" being mixed in with the football for a change.

4. What's happened to Drew Bledsoe? It wasn't much fun sitting through that 8-for-19 effort Sunday night.

5. Fun was Saturday's Iowa-at-Minnesota game. The Gophers' dynamic duo of Marion Barber and Laurence Maroney each topped 150 yards rushing. But Iowa QB Drew Tate threw for 333 yards and the Gophers just missed a 51-yard field goal with 28 seconds left. The Hawkeyes won 29-27. Neither team is contending for the national title or a BCS berth, but it was another reminder why college football is more fun to watch than the NFL.

6. Get off the couch. Seriously. America is fat and lazy and watching all those offensive linemen with their big guts in too-tight jerseys is a reminder that we all need to get off the couch more often.

Starting Tuesday.

7. Explaining to Mrs. Couch Potato that those pictures of the Oregon cheerleaders I downloaded were for research purposes only didn't come off quite as smooth as I thought it would.

8. Even Republicans are popular in Massachusetts these days. Curt Schilling showed up on crutches at Sunday night's game, wearing a Tom Brady jersey, to a huge ovation.

9. Lighten up. Seriously. Announcers: a little less of the X's and O's and a little more humor. Fans: It's just a football game. Coaches, you aren't as important as the media makes you out to be.

10. If you want to be ready when the moment is right, just watch 18 straight days of football.

FOOTBALL IN AMERICA
  • Football In America Index
  • Drehs: Day 17: The dome away from home
  • Postcard
  • Schoenfield: Livin' La Vida Sofa
  • Forde: Why we love football
  • E-mails of the Day
    What is the deal with people deciding that defensive battles are bad games (such as your thoughts regarding the N.C. State/FSU game)? What is the obsession with high-scoring shootouts full of cheap thrills? The defenses have the right to outperform the offenses. It's not as simple as deciding that because the offenses were "terrible," it was a bad game. I find a good defense (N.C. State) as or more entertaining than another typical wide-open college football offense.

    You are contributing to the "More Scoring! More Scoring!" epidemic that prevents great sports like soccer and respectable games like hockey from catching on in America.
    -- Stuart Martin, Richmond, Va.

    I would argue that hockey has another little problem that's keeping it from catching on -- not enough fighting!

    I am soooooooo sick of everyone on Page 2 bringing up the Red Sox every chance they get. You're doing a college football article and talking about salsa and just happen to make a passing comment about the ALCS? Please tell me this isn't going to go on much longer ...

    ESPN headquarters needs to move out of the center of Red Sox Nation quickly before the rest of the country vomits from all the Sox/Pats propaganda being shoved down our throats.
    -- Andy Gasser

    I'll pass your note along to the "SportsCenter" producers so they can start working on those "How are the Brewers going to reload this offseason" stories, ASAP.

    What is your problem with FSU, you jack---? Is it the 14 straight years finishing in the top 5? Or is it the fact that those teams were declared a dynasty? Perhaps it is just because Bobby Bowden is so dadgum hateable (doesn't everybody love St. Bobby? You can't really dislike him, can you, "Richard")? Explain, loser. What, besides pure dominance for 14 years, can you hate about them? You MUST be a fan of some other inferior athletic program.

    Keep up the good work, ya jack---!
    -- Curt Hunter

    Curt, I would say your analysis is just a little wide right of being accurate.

    As a lifelong Louisville fan, it's good that Louisville football is finally getting some recognition. Of course, they just recently DESERVED that recognition, but I digress.

    As a football chick who lives for college and NFL, I totally agree with you about the college vs. pro debate.

    By the way, all of Louisville's cheer squads (men's basketball, women's basketball, and dance team) won their championships this year.

    Great columns!!!
    -- Alicia Wilder

    Thanks, Alicia. And let's hope Louisville plays Florida State in a bowl game and kicks their ...

    David Schoenfield is an editor for Page 2 in his day job. He can be reached at davidschoenfield@yahoo.com.




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