I don’t know how long it will last, but I sincerely believe the Colts will have a winning record after this week. The team didn’t look half bad last week against the Vikings, and really, the offense wasn’t atrocious against the Bears. And even in that Bears game, the defense got off to a good start. Now, that didn’t last too far into the game, but they did get some sacks and a pick six to start that game. And now, Jacksonville rolls into town. They haven’t won a game yet after squaring off with the Vikings* and Texans. Now, there’s no shame in getting beat by Houston any more, even if it’s by twenty points. Heck, there’s a lot of respected people picking the Texans to go to the Super Bowl. I don’t buy that hype, but it’s there. Anyway, yeah, the Jags were pummeled in that game and lost a heartbreaker in Minnesota.
*Who, again, the Colts just beat last week. And beat more convincingly than the late field goal winner would indicate.
The Colts have just seemed a more solid and consistent team to me. Yeah, the Bears were manhandled in Green Bay. But I think the Bears are a lot closer to the team that blew out Indianapolis than they are to the team that looked like a high school team against the Packers. Plus, this game is in Lucas Oil Stadium, and, simply put, the Colts just have the better offensive players. I will take Andrew Luck over Blaine Gabbert any day. I would also take Reggie Wayne, even in this stage of his career, over any of Jacksonville’s receivers.* The Jags do have Maurice Jones-Drew, who I feel we’re going to look back on when he retires and shake our heads that he was stuck on crappy teams. And the defenses, well, neither defense has looked great. But I have faith in Freeney and Mathis disrupting Gabbert more than the Jags bothering Luck.
*To be fair, Reggie Wayne has not looked half as washed up as many were predicting he would. Maybe getting a real NFL quarterback was just the shot in the arm his career needed.
That is not to say, of course, that Luck won’t feel any pressure. This offensive line is just plain bad. He will be scrambling for his life. But I think he has the ability to make something of his scrambles. Much, much more so than Gabbert, anyway. And, in a bright spot, the Colts actually kept Minnesota’s much-vaunted running game more or less in check. Jacksonville is going to want to run MJD has much as they can. This, I think, will tip in the Colts favor as well.
A lot of people seem to think this game will be low scoring, and I get that. It wouldn’t surprise me. But since both teams are bad, and especially inept at defense, I’m going to go a little higher. Let’s call a Colts win, oh, 31-21. That feels about right to me.
On a related note, since when does Purdue kick off all their home games at 3:15? The answer is TV, I’m sure, but gosh, that’s just an awkward time for a game. I get noon or one, I get later one, like five or six, but three? I’m not a fan.
*Though that love may be a little one-sided. I suppose I’m not the only one that feels that way.
The positive to take from that, I suppose, is both of those games were on the road. This week is the home opener against Allegheny. Allegheny was once a prominent force in NCAC football. Then, Wabash joined the conference. It’s been awhile since they were a serious contender, and it doesn’t look like this is the year to change that. They beat Wooster by a field goal, 17-14, before getting crushed by Carnegie Mellon, 37-7.
To put it simply, Wabash doesn’t get crushed. In all the years I’ve watched Wabash football, they were stomped one time, and that was by the eventual national champions in Wisconsin-Whitewater. That was at their place in about two feet of snow, and half our team had the stomach flu, including the All-American quarterback, so we had to see if our otherwise-injured-former-All-American quarterback had anything. He didn’t. Simply put, one blowout against the team in eight years of watching them, and there were a lot of circumstances leading up to it.
Wabash wins this one, likely fairly easily. I’m not too concerned about the score, but we’re going to peg it at 35-7, just for the sake of round numbers. I’m going to be more worried about things like penalty yards and the like.
This looks like an excellent year for Wabash to go 10-0 and maybe grab a top seed in the playoffs. Their schedule is, as always, favorable. Wittenberg is not ranked, though they’ve romped in every game they’ve played. And that game is in Springfield. That is the only worry.
The other game I would typically worry about is the Bell Game. But, not to put too fine a point on it, DePauw is in shambles. They’ve already fired their coach after starting 0-2 on the heels of a 4-5 season. This will make the fifth coach in nine years at DePauw. But, the school insists this isn’t about football. But you have a losing coach at a time when you’re trying to really upgrade your stadium. That’s a tough sell, Dannies. A real tough sell. Anyway, between that chaos and the game being in Crawfordsville, I’d like to go ahead and chalk that up to another easy win. If you’re keep score at home, the past two years, Wabash as won by a combined score of 92-7. Ding dong.