Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lies, Damn Lies, and Pre-Season Rankings

What a difference an online article makes. A scant week or so ago I found myself in a tizzy. The Panthers were expected to do well. Historically, the Cats don't do well when we're supposed to. Drinking the Kool-Aid last summer, SI picked Carolina to meet the Dolphins the Miami, and we all know how that ended up.

Sweat pours, my vision gets bleary, and I'm seeing visions of Jake Delhomme tossing a ball off his back foot on the final drive before the 2-minute warning in the 4th of a close game; another loss snatched from the jaws of victory. Then, something magical happened:

Peter King, you glorious bastard, totally doesn't read the tea leaves, can't see what's plain in front of his face, and drops the Cats at 16th. A daring guestimate for a team that ended 8-8 last year, really Peter, I hope you don't take risks like that in your every day life, you've got a family to think about.

Click on that thar lil thang whut says "The Jump" below this sentence to read the rest!

A calm washes over me. Peter King doesn't think much of the Panthers, perhaps others will hop on his bandwagon. ESPN & Vegas think we've got a pretty good chance, but surely beat writers in small markets will want to ride the King's coat-tails, in hopes he'll shine some of his majesty upon them. Alls I'm sayin' is, I feel much better when people doubt the Panthers, they seem to take it personally, kinda like how you probably just shouldn't talk trash to Steve Smith before a game. --Nacho Friendly

I tend to agree with my brethren, Nacho, here. The Cats -- historically -- seem to play better when the masses don't keep an eye on 'em. However, if you drink the Cats Kool-Aid, like Nacho and I do, you find yourself often wondering why such is the case...especially when you consider how much Coach John Fox loves to preach the "it is what it is" philosophy on football. If that were the truly the case, and everything was what it was, then no Panther would believe in such silly JULY 16TH (!!!!) postings about how teams will fare come February Aught Eight.

So I, myself, don't take too much stock in any preseason ranking, no matter t'were it Peter King nor Nostradamus himself sayin the Panthers were 1st, 16th, or 32nd in the NFL come this season.

What I do like is that the NFL is nearly here.

To paraphrase Tombstone, a movie about relatives of Nacho and mine's:
"You tell 'em the Panthers are comin'....And hell's comin' with 'em!"

(yes, we're related to Wyatt Earp and yes, we're your huckleberries.)