Word on the Street: Bears to face Miami third-string QB

Word on the Street: Bears to face Miami third-string QB

Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Bears expected to face third-string QB Thursday

The Miami Dolphins--Chicago's opponent in Thursday's game--suffered brutal injuries to their first two quarterbacks Sunday in a win over the Tennessee Titans.

Veteran Chad Pennington started the game, but after just two passes, left with an injury to his right (throwing) arm.

Backup Chad Henne, who started every game this season prior to Sunday's contest, left later with a leg injury and was seen exiting the locker room on crutches. He has an MRI scheduled on his left knee, which was twisted while throwing a pass in the third quarter.

The Sun-Sentinel is reporting that both Henne and Pennington will be out for the year, which would leave third-string Tyler Thigpen as the starter against the Bears Thursday night.

Thigpen is in his fifth NFL season, having previously started for the 2008 Kansas City Chiefs, a year in which he threw 18 TD passes against only 12 INTs and rushed for 386 yards and 3 scores. The 26-year-old gunslinger compiled a 76.0 QB rating last year. In relief of both Chads on Sunday, Thigpen put up a rating of 141.7, completing 4 of 6 passes for 64 yards and a TD. (Sun-Sentinel, NFL.com)

Viciedo could start at 1B for Sox in '11

Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune is suggesting young prospect Dayan Viciedo could start at first base next year for the Chicago White Sox if they are unable to retain the services of Paul Konerko, who has secured the 1B spot on the South Side since 1999. (Chicago Tribune)

Sox likely to re-sign Putz

Rogers is also reporting that right-handed reliever J.J. Putz will likely be re-signed by the White Sox, once they figure out the situation with Bobby Jenks, who is arbitration-eligible. (Baltimore Sun)

Cubs' Hendry says he won't be trying to make a 'splash' in offseason

Jim Hendry, the general manager of the Chicago Cubs, is not looking for a big splash in the offseason with moves. So, Cubs fans shouldn't expect a blockbuster trade or a prominent free-agent signing, at least not right now.

"I'm not worried about the 'splash' factor,'' Hendry said in a Chicago Sun-Times article. ''I'm worried about getting the right guys that make us better. We've already put the fifth-place thing behind us, and we'd like to think we're going to build off the last two months 24-13 finish. ... It's really imperative that we have two or three really good moves.'' (Chicago Sun-Times)
Lions still can't win on the road

The Detroit Lions won't be challenging for the NFC North again this year, and likely won't be in the future until they figure out their road woes. The division cellar-dwellers lost their NFL-record 25th straight road game Sunday against Buffalo, a team that was winless heading into the contest. The Lions (2-7) failed to convert on a two-point conversion in the game's waning moments and fell 14-12. (Chicago Tribune)

Expansion of the College Football Playoff field continues to seem inevitable

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USA TODAY

Expansion of the College Football Playoff field continues to seem inevitable

There were six teams deserving of reaching the College Football Playoff this season. But there were only four spots.

But what if there were more spots?

An expansion of the Playoff field to eight teams has seemed inevitable from the day the four-team system was announced. Four more Playoff games means oodles more TV viewers, which means oodles more dollars.

And then we wouldn't be having all these arguments, either — but that's nonsense because of course we would, trying to figure out who got snubbed from the expanded bracket.

But this season's emphasis on the conference-champion debate might kick the efforts to expand the Playoff into high gear. Just take it from NCAA president Mark Emmert.

Now, technically speaking, there are 10 FBS conferences, each of which crowns a champion at the end of every football season. Emmert is obviously referring to the Power Five conferences: the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, Pac-12 and SEC. He might want to pick his words a bit more carefully, considering he represents the other five conferences — the American, Conference USA, the MAC, the Mountain West and the Sun Belt — too, but his point remains understood.

This season has sparked a ton of controversy as the Playoff selection committee opted for the first time to include a team that did not win its conference, Ohio State, and it picked the Buckeyes over the Big Ten champs, Penn State. Plus, Big 12 champion Oklahoma was passed over in favor of non-champion Ohio State, too, actually falling behind another non-champion from the Big Ten, Michigan, in the final Playoff rankings.

With that decision brought the reasonable question of how much a conference championship should matter in getting a team into the final four and competing for a national championship.

The Playoff committee's mission is to pick the country's four best teams, and there aren't many people out there that will argue that Ohio State isn't one of the country's four best teams. But there's something to be said for winning a conference championship because if the Buckeyes can waltz into the Playoff without even playing in the Big Ten title game, why even have a conference championship game — besides, obviously, earning one more night of big-time TV money.

And so the call for an expanded Playoff bracket has reached perhaps its greatest volume in the short time the Playoff has existed. The obvious solution to Power Five conference champions continually being boxed out is to lock in five spots on the bracket for the five conference champions. Then, guarantee a spot for the highest-ranked team from the Group of Five conferences, and you're left with two "at-large" spots that this season would've gone to Ohio State and Michigan, two of the highest-profile programs in the country sure to drive TV viewership in battles against conference-champion Alabama, Clemson, Washington, Penn State and Oklahoma teams. And P.J. Fleck's undefeated Western Michigan squad takes the final slot.

That's quite the field. But if you think it would've solved all this year's problems, you're wrong. Still there would've been outcry that red-hot USC didn't make the field. The Trojans are playing so well that they could very well win the whole thing, despite their three early season losses. That debate over snubs will exist forever, no matter the size of the field, something we see play out each and every season in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Also, what a damper an expanded bracket would put on the final few weeks of the regular season. Ohio State's game against Michigan, the highest-rated game of the college football season with more than 16 million people watching, would've been effectively meaningless. No matter who won or lost, both teams would've made that eight-team field, right?

Additionally, another round of Playoff football would expand the season to 16 games for some teams. That means more physical demands on student-athletes and a season cutting deep into January, which would impact their educational and time demands.

But again, an expansion of the Playoff bracket has always seemed inevitable. There's too much money to be made, and at the same time fans seem to be all about that idea. People love the postseason for good reason, and the win-or-go-home nature of the NFL playoffs make those games the most-watched sporting events of the year.

Now the NCAA president is chiming in with hopes of an expanded field. So really isn't it just a matter of time?

Road Ahead: Blackhawks dealing with rash of injuries

Road Ahead: Blackhawks dealing with rash of injuries

CSN's Chris Boden and Tracey Myers have the latest on the Blackhawks in the Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda Dealers.

From an injury standpoint, it's been a tough few weeks for the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks are down two key players in captain Jonathan Toews and goaltender Corey Crawford, and now may be without defenseman Brent Seabrook who sustained an upper-body injury in Tuesday's victory over the Arizona Coyotes.

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While the Blackhawks haven't had much luck on the injury front, their upcoming two opponents are in the same boat.

"You look at the New York Rangers, a very talented team, but this is what every team goes through every season. Your depth gets tested," Myers said.

Check out what else Boden and Myers had to say about the team's upcoming matchups in this week's Honda Road Ahead