It’s Tuesday morning, do you know who your starting quartertback is?
POINT ONE: San Fran’s backup plan
There is the general theory in sports that you don’t lose your starting job because of an injury, but that notion is going to be severely tested in San Francisco. Backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick guided the 49ers to a thorough 32-7 beatdown of the Chicago Bears Monday night, and did so with the poise of a veteran starter. He made the easy throws, he made the difficult throws, he ran the ball well and didn’t turn it over. In other words, he made it look easy in a way that starting quarterback Alex Smith rarely does. Smith has played well enough to lead San Francisco to a 6-2-1 record, so I’m sure the job will be his when he is cleared to play. While the rest of us overreact and call for a quarterback swith, I’m sure coach Jim Harbaugh will give Smith a vote of confidence. “Around here, we pretty much go with whoever has the hot hand,” Harbaush said after Monday’s game. Wow. If I’m Smith, the word “Gulp” comes to mind. I think we will see Kaepernick at the helm again next week, and if he plays well again, he might officially be the starter for the rest of the season. This could get ineteresting. I also have another update stemming from Monday night’s game. The 49ers’ Aldon Smith just sacked Bears’ quarterback Jason Campbell as he got out of bed this morning to brush his teeth. Yikes. The Bears should have tried to use what’s called “an offensive lineman” to what they call “block” for Campbell during the game. I’ve seen it work for other teams.
POINT TWO: The Big 14
With Monday’s relatively out-of-nowhere announcement that Maryland and Rutgers will be joining the Big Ten, it really hammers home the point that the NCAA has ceased being about the student-athlete and is entirely about cash money. Before Monday, it seemed like it was abou 98 percent about the money and two percent about the student-athletes, now it’s officially 100 percent to zero percent. Basically in the current climate if you are not a part of the Big Ten, SEC or Pac-12, you are on shaky ground. I sense that it was Maryland (ACC) and Rutgers (Big East) were thinking as they jumped from the rocky seas of their conferences to the still waters of the Big Ten. These realignments are fun and interesting to think about for football fans, but less fun for the Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s field hockey when they travel to New Jersey on a Wednesday night to play Rutgers. But alas, other sports don’t matter, nor do travel expenses when there is a chance to expand, just money. Can’t wait for that first Colorado-Rutgers Rose Bowl.
POINT THREE: Shabazz buzz
I was excited to watch UCLA super-freshman Shabazz Muhammad’s debut Monday night against Georgetown. He didn’t start, but finished with 15 points. You could tell he didn’t quite have his legs and stamina yet, but he finished with 15 points in a reserve role during the loss and showed an array of offensive skill. An athletic dunk, a mid-range jumper, a 3-pointer, you could see the reason for the hype. If I could compare him to an NBA player it would probably someone like a Paul Pierce. Sneaky athletic, confident to score from all points of the court, and he plays with a bit of an attitude. It should be an exciting one-year showcase in Pasadena.
I’ll leave you with my weekly Tuesday NFL Powers rankings. These are my ever-changing top five teams, and (oops, another update, Aldon Smith just knocked the spoon out of Jason Campbell’s hand as he went to eat some Wheaties):
1. Green Bay
4. San Francisco
5. New England
Have a good Tuesday, here’s hoping your favorite college team stays in its current conference and Aldon Smith doesn’t sack you as you check your e-mails.