Up The Gut: AAF More Compelling Than NBA Regular Season

The AAF has drama and uncertainty, which is more than you can say about the NBA regular season, Shaun Morash argues

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February 28, 2019 - 11:43 am

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By Shaun Morash

Cold Open
    
Three down, seven to go in the AAF regular season, and we are set up for what should be the wild, wild West. Entering the season, Arizona was a championship favorite – and their 2-0 start to the season seemed to confirm that – but a sudden loss in Salt Lake on Saturday has left the door wide open.
    
Beating a team two times in three weeks is never easy. You can make the case you should never even play a team two times in three weeks, but alas, this is the AAF where anything goes. Perhaps the second meeting between the Hot Shots and Stallions would have been different had this happened in late March, but it didn’t. The same goes for Mike Martz’ suddenly hot Fleet, who got to upend the Commanders, who embarrassed them on Opening Night. Now the Hot Shots at 2-1, the Fleet at 2-1, are just one game up on the Commanders, who nearly beat the Apollos two weeks ago, and the Stallions, who got a monkey off their back and seem to have settled their quarterback position with Josh Woodrum back from injury.
    
In the Western Division of the AAF, anything goes, and the next seven weeks will almost assuredly be more compelling than any of the last five NBA regular seasons

Quick Hits
    
-Good for the hard-working players on the Express that they finally can feel good about themselves without Christian Hackenberg under center. The team, many of whom battled the flu last week, lost to Orlando but have a sense of revitalization as Zach Mettenberger made two bomb throws to get Memphis in the end zone. Mike Singletary has no choice now but to stick with Mettenberger. On the ground, though, Zac Stacy was their star for the first two weeks, but Sherman Badie was signed last week and added extra juice, rushing for 59 yards. Three games back with seven to play for a spot in the playoffs seems like a real mountain, but the Express have the potential to find a way back into this thing.
    
-The only good thing the Legends have going for themselves is that the artist formally known as Turner Field looks good on T.V. – as far as AAF Stadiums go. A city that has lost an NHL franchise twice may not be willing to fill seats the final four games for a team that could frankly go winless. If there is a candidate for a franchise to be moved in Year 2, it is the Legends. Sadly, their receivers can’t catch a cold. 
    
-The Orlando Apollos offense looks as if it could compete in the NFL tomorrow. That is probably hyperbole, but covering Charles Johnson, Jalin Marshall, and Rannell Hall is nearly impossible. Throw in the emergence of D’Ernest Johnson the ground and the fact Garrett Gilbert is suddenly a read-option perfectionist, and it feels as if there isn’t a defense in spring football that knows how to handle these guys.
    
-Credit to the Alliance for going with a flex-schedule mentality to get America’s Team, the Orlando Apollos, back into primetime on Saturday Night and off the Bleacher Report Live stream. That was essential, but there better not be a cap on the amount of times the league can do this, as next week the game of the year is slated for Saturday afternoon on BR Live between the two last unbeatens, the Iron and Apollos. That game not on television? How could it happen?
    
-If Johnny Manziel does come to the AAF, which I believe should happen instead of the league allowing him to create buzz in the XFL, the Commanders should have right of first refusal. Under territorial rights, the Commanders would get Manziel, who played college football at Texas A&M (he would have been assigned to them at the QB Draft, and they would have had the option to “Pick or Protect” him). Though nothing is confirmed from league offices, I believe this will – and should still – be the case. Look out, Logan Woodside. 

Game of The Week
    
Apollos @ Stallions. Flying across the country, presumably in coach, is never easy. The Apollos will have to take their Sun-and-Gun offense into what should be blistery winter conditions in Salt Lake. Can the Stallions control the clock with Brandon Oliver and pull the upset? As AAF purists, we should want to see the Iron and Apollos meet next week both still undefeated, but Dennis Erickson may have something to say about that. However, I am still picking the Apollos to find a way, 20-15. 

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