Out of Bounds: Michigan and Notre Dame run and hide, Joey Harrington does voodoo, and Week 1 NFL predictions

Kyle Scudilla

Big tree fall hard

Appalachian State.33 to 3.These are two thoughts that won’t be exiting the psyches of those in Ann Arbor and South Bend any time soon.The Wolverines almost avoided their cruel fate. Like many of these teams tend to do, they made a big play in the closing seconds to put themselves in field goal range, trailing 34-32. But Division I-AA (or FCS, whatever your jargon of choice is) Appalachian State, the little engine that could, wouldn’t have any of the Michigan prestige and aura raining on its parade. The Mountaineers stuffed the kick, basically slamming Michigan’s season into the ground in the process. The Wolverines are the first ranked Division I-A team to lose to a Division I-AA team … ever (and with the first college football game ever being played in 1869, that’s a pretty long time). Meanwhile, Notre Dame lost to a DI-A team, but that doesn’t make its performance Saturday any less horrid. Georgia Tech, supposedly one of the “easy” teams on the schedule for the retooling Fighting Irish, ripped everything Notre Dame threw at them to shreds. Nine sacks, three fumbles and -8 rushing yards later, the Irish will turn to freshman Jimmy Clausen to salvage their horrible start.If Penn State is able to repeat Georgia Tech’s performance this week, you can call that baby a good, old-fashioned “Wedding Crashers” sack lunch.


In the past weeks and months, this section of Out of Bounds has been used to talk about conspiracies, conflicts and coincidences of all sorts. This one, however, really takes the cake. It’s the year 2007, and Joey Harrington is STILL starting in the NFL. How has this been allowed to happen? Three reasons: (1) Matt Millen. The ultimate “how does he still have a job” discussion point himself employed Harrington as the starter in Detroit until 2005. (2) Daunte Culpepper. His collapse into complete oblivion (after losing the services of Randy Moss) was the stuff of flameout legend. Culpepper sustained a season-ending injury not long after Harrington was signed as his backup. (3) Michael Vick. The Falcons’ strategy heading into 2007 was something that could only be explained by the voodoo of Joey Harrington. Atlanta, at a crossroads with Vick, decided to trade its well-respected backup Matt Schaub to Houston. Signed to replace him … you guessed it. Now, after Vick has been suspended for the year and will be headed to jail, Harrington is the starter, again, for arguably the worst team in the league.

Lucky 7 NFL Picks

New Orleans at Indianapolis (-5 ½): Indy has been known for starting off the last couple of the seasons on fire. Plus they’re at home, and Peyton’s still got a laser rocket arm. Indianapolis 34, New Orleans 28

Denver at Buffalo (+ 3 ½): The Broncos just missed the playoffs last year, losing a total heartbreaker to the Niners. Denver comes out fired up to start the season the right way. Denver 27, Buffalo 17

Pittsburgh at Cleveland (+ 4 ½): Who’s starting at quarterback for the Browns again? Are they still flipping a coin to figure it out? Steelers romp. Pittsburgh 30, Cleveland 10

New England at N.Y. Jets (+ 6 ½): I’ve been to a few Patriots-Jets games at the Meadowlands in my day, and the Jets have never come close to beating the Pats with me there. I’ll be in the stands once again on Sunday, so ladies and gentlemen, step right up and place your bets. New England 31, N.Y. Jets 16

Arizona at San Francisco (-3): Arizona is as close to a sure thing as we’ve got going in the league these days. The last few years, tons of guys line up to pick them as “the sleeper team of 200_” only to have them finish 6-10 … again. You have to give them credit – at least they’re consistent. San Francisco 24, Arizona 17

Kansas City at Houston (-3): Matt Schaub might make more than a few grown men in Atlanta cry, and ask for a refund for their season tickets. This is a good early test to see if the young Texans defense, anchored by No. 1 (seriously?) pick Mario Williams has what it takes to stop former holdout (cry baby) Larry Johnson. Chances are, they’re not there yet. Kansas City 23, Houston 17

UPSET SPECIAL: Detroit at Oakland (-2): Detroit went 1-7 on the road last season. The Raiders are pathetic no matter where the games are played. Take the Lions here, just because Jon Kitna said they’re going to win 10 games, and Jon Kitna has never lied to me. Detroit 20, Oakland 13

YouTubin’ Career Achievement Award

Watch the videos online at:http://www.youtube.com/villanovansports

“You see, a career achievement award is an award that celebrates the achievement for someone’s career. If you have achieved during your career you get an award.” OK, so maybe my John Madden impression doesn’t translate all that well via the printed word, but that’s exactly why Frank Caliendo’s spot-on voice work as Madden earns him the first even YouTubin’ Career Achievement Award.

The best of the best features John acting as a spokesman for the handy “Quick Pop Popcorn Popper.” “It’s simple, Fred,” John says.If only he could get that butter packet open. Although he fails to actually work the popper, Madden is there, pen in hand, ready to illustrate what went wrong.

Madden is at it again as a spokesman, this time for Vagisil. What does Madden know about Vagisil? Well, nothing, but they offered him a bunch of chicken wings to do the commercial. And, by the way, while you’re out getting some Vagisil, make sure to pick up a bloomin’ onion from Outback Steakhouse and Madden 2004 for PlayStation 2.

Next up, John pays a visit to quirky talk-show host Ellen Degeneres to talk about football, or so he thinks. Instead, Ellen and the poor man’s Ahmad Rashad show Madden how to “show everyone what sets him apart.”

Finally, when New Orleans is in dire need of a new direction following Hurricane Katrina, Madden answers the call by appearing on “Paula Zahn Now.” John determines that in the wake of the disaster, America needs a new leader: Brett Favre. Madden reveals that Favre would be an excellent leader because even if you cut off both of his arms and both of his legs, he would still be the best torso in football.