What Did We Learn? Week in Review

By Ron Johnson

What people go through behind the scenes is not really known completely. Some things are known by design, while others are shown by it. Despite all the madness that one goes through when the cameras aren’t rolling, there is one thing that seems to be a great peacekeeper in times of uncertainty: Sports. 

And this week showed us that nothing is just handed or given to you. It’s earned.

What Did We Learn? Texas Rangers Join the Immortals

To say that 2023 was a great year for the city of Arlington, Texas. It started in the summer when the Arlington Renegades hoisted up the XFL Championship over the heavily favored D.C. Defenders and rolled into the desert on the first day of November. By the time Thursday morning came around, the entire city was once again celebrating and hungover most likely.

what did we learn

That is because the Texas Rangers were finally able to erase the Error of ’11 and hoist up the World Series title that had eluded them for over a decade. Led by the bat of Corey Seager and the power of Adolis Garcia, the Rangers were able to withstand the heat being applied by the National League’s hottest franchise and win their first title in franchise history. Now while the question does not need to be asked not, we know for sure it is on everyone’s minds prior to next season: Can the Rangers do it again????

What did we Learn? The Raiders Finally Listened to EVERYONE

The night before the Rangers celebrated their first pennant, the Raiders were doing a little fall cleaning of their own. After weeks of everyone from Raiders Nation to Bleachers to writers to analyst to even kids on the strip, Las Vegas finally did what should have been done at the end of last season:

what did we learn

They fired Josh McDaniels. Despite those who believe that McDaniels was not the problem, just take a look at how bad Jimmy G has been playing versus how he was as a Niner. In the wake of McDaniels’ dismissal on Halloween night, linebackers coach Antonio Pierce was given the keys to the kingdom. In his debut, not only did the Raiders actually look like the Raiders, but they also actually looked better than expected. 

Vegas indeed push the reset button on Sunday as they defeated the New York Giants 30-6 in Pierce’s debut as head coach. To mark this occasion even more impressive, the Raiders did something that had never been done in the NFL. The Raiders now have a team president (Sandra Douglass Morgan), interim GM (Champ Kelly) and interim coach (Pierce) that are all African American.

The proof was shown on the field as the Raiders rushed for 125 yards and scored 30 points, both of them becoming season highs for a team that had zero direction prior to last week.

What did we learn? Did the Committee get it right with their initial poll?

The answer to this question is an emphatic no. Like years before, they jumped the gun and jumped on the “Anyone but the SEC” bandwagon as they were quick to put Ohio State above Georgia and try to put Oklahoma higher than they deserve. But would this motivate the programs on the field? Maybe and maybe not. 

what did we learn

While Ohio State easily handled Rutgers, and Georgia survived a slugfest with Mizzou, Oklahoma fell for the second straight week in what many believe is the final Bedlam Battle between them and Oklahoma State. After Dabo Sweeney went ham on someone with an opinion, the Tigers went out and silenced the Irish and any chance they had of squeaking into the CFP.

To say there is trouble in Boulder is an understatement, and despite the Buffaloes being 4-5 (1-5 Pac-12), Coach Prime is in a headspace of telling his players to trust the process. Some franchises have said the same thing, but now I wonder if this will be the case for Prime’s Buffs?

Either way, expect some minimal shakeups at the top of the next CFP Poll tomorrow, but after Georgia proved itself over a top team like Mizzou and Ohio State beat a lackluster one, is that enough for the Committee to stop hating on the greatness of the SEC?

What did we learn? The C.J. Stroud Show is indeed MUST-SEE TV!

For those who are bummed about the inability of Bryce Young to shine, I have a suggestion. Will Levis is showing up in Tennessee, Joshua Dobbs is more than just the default Create-A-Player in Minnesota and C.J. Stroud is putting the Ohio State QB Curse to bed. In a game that may not have been one circled on many calendars outside of Texas and Florida, Baker Mayfield and Stroud had a dynamite shootout that ended with fireworks galore. 

what did we learn

With 46 seconds and two timeouts left, Stroud marched the Texans down the field 75 yards, fulfilling the message he gave his offensive line prior to taking the field. As Stroud told his line he would make them play if they give him extra time, he launched a 15-yard touchdown pass to Tank Dell to cap off a six play, 40-second and 75-yard drive to propel the suddenly red-hot Houston

Texans to a 39-37 win over the Buccaneers. Stroud’s performance was not just impressive but historical as his 470 yards gave him the record for a rookie passer (Andrew Luck had 433) to go with his five touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

To say the least, this game, along with the shootout between Minnesota and Atlanta were ones that will be talked about all week on various sports channels.

What did we learn? Who is really to blame for Dallas’ loss to Philly??

Everyone is going to point fingers to anyone within eyesight or earshot. But despite the outcome, the Dallas Cowboys even impressed me yesterday (Don’t tell Earl I said that). In a game that was phenomenal from start to finish, was not a blowout and could possibly be a playoff preview, the Eagles managed to do what only a handful can say they have done this year: defeat Dallas. The problem I’m going to have though is people are blaming everything and everyone for the loss.

what did we learn

We can go back to the final few drives and look at that. We can blame Dak for throwing so low on 4th and goal that cost Dallas a touchdown. We can blame Dak’s right foot for stepping out of bounds prior to crossing the goal line on the 2-pt conversion. We can blame the Eagles lack of mental that costs them a ton of yards and saw them with their backs against the wall during the final drive.

We can blame the defense for allowing Jalen Hurts to do what he has done his whole career and shine in the 4th. We can blame the Cowboys’ O-Line for allowing those sacks that took scoring chances off the board.

Or we can just say that the Cowboys as a whole shoulder the blame in some shape or form. One cannot say that they were outplayed (because they weren’t) or outmaneuvered (which after those Eagles penalties in the final minutes of the game drew them to even with Dallas). The game overall was as expected. It was not a blowout or a straight beat down. That being said, I now wonder if this will be the case when the two teams meet in Dallas in Week 14.

What did we learn? Time and Place

If there is one thing we all should learn from Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, it is this: Sometimes it is just as fun to be the villain in everyone’s story. Who will be the next villain?

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