Franz: The Monday 5
1) One drive doesn't make Kevin Kolb the savior.
One drive doesn't make it OK to include a second round pick in the trade for Kolb. However, one drive should eliminate the boos from the crowd.
If you don't like the trade, boo the front office. Kolb deserves to be booed if you question his work ethic. Kolb deserves to be booed if he's getting blown out and laughing it up with Deuce Lutui. Kolb is not in either category.
I have no idea if Kolb's pocket presence will improve. I have no idea if Kolb's decision-making will speed up and he gets rid of the ball faster. I have no idea if Kolb will lead the Cardinals to any victories while Skelton is out.
I do know his teammates swarmed him after the touchdown pass to Andre Roberts. I do know that two defensive players did a great job defending short fields and preserving the win yet they wanted to talk about the performance of Kolb after the game. I do know that Kolb represents everything more professional athletes should be about.
Compare the way Matt Leinart handled losing the QB competition to Kevin Kolb. With that thought in mind, why ever boo Kevin Kolb again?
2) I'm already excited about the Territorial Cup.
Although U of A couldn't score, they went up and down the field against Toledo. They proved they were no fluke against Oklahoma State. Matt Scott is a much better QB than I read about in the preseason. Throwing for 300 yards is nice; two TD passes is wonderful; the 0 INTs is the major announcement. The best way to improve the weak UofA defense is to keep them fresh. Eliminating turnovers will do just that.
The main point on this game is winning the fourth quarter 22-7.
ASU's win does need some perspective. So far they've defeated a FCS (division I-AA) and a team with a first-year head coach and their number one weapon/starting QB injured from the week before. This isn't enough evidence to say that USC is going to be challenged but there are amazing signs.
No penalties on defense or special teams in eight quarters. Taylor Kelly has never lost his rhythm despite Todd Graham's rotating QB system. Two red-zone turnovers didn't bury this year's team. Granted it's only two games, but Will Sutton is unblockable. Everything accomplished to this point has been done without a dominating performance from Cameron Marshall.
With UCLA's win, I'm sure they will have something to say about who takes second place in the South, but the Holiday Bowl could be determined by who holds the Cup.
3) Peyton Manning.
It's not like he proved he's a HOFer. He didn't need to because he's already in. Manning did show the nerves that send messages to his brain are still working just fine. Demaryius Thomas looked like he went from above-average to Canton-worthy. Yes I'm being grandiose for effect but that's the power of Manning. He makes the average receiver good and the good, great.
4) The Big-10 completely embarrassed itself.
As big of a weekend as it was for the Pac-12, it was worse for the Big Ten. The signature win for the conference this weekend was Ohio State over...wait for it...the University of...Central Florida. Against BCS conferences and Notre Dame, the Big Ten had a 1-6 record. The enormous, conference-saving win was over BCS juggernaut, constant SEC and national championship threat...Vanderbilt.
None of the Big Ten losses this weekend were to teams in the undisputed best conference in the country: the SEC. The ACC and Big 12 handed two of the losses to the Big Ten but the real beatdown came from the Pac-12's 3-0 weekend versus the Big Ten.
So many people thought Michigan brought the whole conference down last week with their blowout loss to Alabama. The Wolverines didn't embarrass the conference. Michigan's conference brethren did it just fine on their own.
5) RG3 vs. Luck
Fair or not, these two will be linked for the rest of their careers, and this is a good thing for both. The alternative is the Leaf/Manning comparison or Couch/McNabb/Akili Smith comparison of futility.
When was the only NFL week one with two rookie quarterbacks starting and throwing for 300 yards? You guessed it: 2012. Luck threw for 309 yards in Indy's loss to Chicago. RG3 hit for 320 leading the 'Skins to a victory in New Orleans. Before Sunday, there have been only two rookie QBs in NFL history to start on the opening weekend and throw for 300 yards. Peyton Manning did it in 1998 and Cam Newton lit up the Cardinals last year (Newton actually threw for 400).
In the vast history of the NFL, no one has done what Griffin did. No rookie has ever thrown for 300 yards, 2 TDs & 0 INTs in Week 1 until RG3 did it. Those numbers equal out to a 139.9 QB rating.
Griffin and the 'Skins have the irony game this weekend. It was St. Louis that traded away the pick they could have used for Griffin and the Rams host Washington. Luck will get his first regular season home game going outside the conference against Minnesota.