Out of Bounds: Rousey finally falls in knockout from underdog fighter

Down goes Rousey. The storied Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter, actress, self-proclaimed highest paid fighter in the UFC and Ronda Rousey’s legacy all took a significant blow after her Saturday Nov. 14 knockout delivered by little-known Holly Holm.

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Picking up where he left off, Curry looks to win another ring

When avid and casual basketball fans alike think of National Basketball Association point guard Stephen Curry, they think of explosiveness. They think excitement. Most recently, they think NBA Champion and Most Valuable Player.

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Out of Bonds: Professional athletes deserve greater empathy

Former National Basketball Association forward Lamar Odom was hospitalized on Oct. 13 for a drug overdose. According to NBC Sports, an inside hospital source explained that Odom was found with “virtually every drug imaginable” in his system. He will most likely have brain damage and is lucky to be alive. And yet, people are choosing to focus on the “scandalous” element of the story rather than feeling genuine concern or sympathy for Odom.

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Out of Bounds: Fan Duel, DraftKings offer new twist on fantasy sports

You have seen the countless promotions, commercials and other advertisements for Fan Duel and DraftKings, but you’ve probably wondered what exactly they are and if they are some kind of scam. In essence, Fan Duel—a fantasy football franchise—is gambling. You deposit a certain amount of money each week and you get a salary cap to “sign” National Football League players. The more money you put in, the greater the risk, but the bigger the payoff if you win.

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Rugby offers competitive alternative to varsity sports

Club sports are a huge part of student life here at Geneseo, but when it comes to men’s club rugby—also known as the Geneseo Warthogs—it has its own distinct atmosphere. The competitive nature of the sport and the dedication put into it by its players creates the feeling of a varsity sport.

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Riviera shows Bills games to local fans

The Riviera Theater owner Don Livingston has been a Buffalo Bills fan for a long time. He was even a season ticket holder the last time the Bills made the playoffs—the 1999-2000 season. Now, he is hosting public viewing parties for all Bills games during the 2015 season.

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On whether the Bills can Buffalo their way into postseason

It’s been 15 hard and painful years since the Buffalo Bills have made the playoffs—an unusually long amount of time for a team in the National Football League. This long spell can be attributed to a lot of things over the years: bad coaching, a lack of a consistently good quarterback and an extremely competitive division. The Bills are a part of the American Football Conference East, which also consists of the Miami Dolphins, the New York Jets and the reigning Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots.

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Out of Bounds: Patriots, Brady bring titles into question

Being a fan of sports, I tend to like any team out there that respects the game. Unfortunately, neither of those things can be said about Tom Brady.

Brady has been a quarterback in the National Football League since 2000 when the New England Patriots picked him in the sixth round. Since then, he has led his team to six Super Bowls, winning four of them. He will easily be a unanimous first ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer, having won two Most Valuable Player awards, three Super Bowl MVPs, been selected to the Pro Bowl 10 times and accumulating over 50,000 passing yards to date.

But it seems with every Super Bowl victory, there is a scandal surrounding it and that brings the legitimacy of the Patriots and Brady’s accomplishments into question.

From the “tuck rule” debacle during the 2002 NFL Playoffs when the officials ruled Oakland Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson’s strip sack as an incomplete pass to when members of the Patriots’ staff were seen recording practices of the New York Jets, it seems that every one of New England’s Super Bowls is tainted.

Most recently and prominently is the “Deflategate” controversy. Brady and the Patriots were accused of deflating 11 out of the 12 game balls that were used in an AFC Championship Game win against the Indianapolis Colts last January.

After an investigation, the Patriots’ organization was fined $25,000 and Brady was suspended four games. This prompted Brady to appeal the decision and both he and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ended up in Federal Court. There, Goodell’s original decision was overturned and Brady is allowed to play in every game this coming season.

What does this mean for the rest of the league? Well for starters, the Patriots’ first four games are against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys. With Brady out and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo supposed to be starting, these four teams assumed they would have an easy win. But with Brady back in the lineup, the Patriots have reassumed their role as the “bad guys” of the NFL as they’ve started to regain momentum and make a run at Super Bowl 50.

Out of Bounds: Lack of support system further harms concussion victims

Athletes who suffer from post-concussion syndrome are prone to a myriad of cognitive, emotional and behavioral issues such as depression, decreased self-esteem, anxiety and loss of memory function. Coupled with the stigma associated with mental health issues, a lack of resources for these individuals can take a terrible—even deadly—toll on individuals.

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Out of Bounds: Lack of women’s gymnastics coverage reflects larger media problem

Every four years when the Summer Olympics roll around, the sport I’m most excited to watch is women’s gymnastics. Watching incredible athletes perform insane flips, tricks and technically intricate beam and floor routines captivates me to no end.

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Out of Bounds: NCAA rule hinders DIII athletes

The Geneseo Workout Center is often overcrowded at certain times of the day, but it has gotten significantly worse this year. The reason for this is that out-of-season athletes are now denied access to the varsity athlete athletic weight room due to increased enforcement of an NCAA regulation that classifies off-season access to facilities as an “extra benefit.”

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Out of Bounds: Why to root for Seattle in the big game

The Super Bowl XLIX will pit the Seattle Seahawks against the New England Cheaters. Oh, I’m sorry—I meant to say the New England Patriots. In the past week, head coach Bill Beli-cheat and the Pats have denied, on multiple occasions, altering footballs in the American Football Conference Championship game.

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Out of Bounds: Immorality continues to plague NCAA

The NCAA has once again been caught red-handed, deep in another scandal as of Nov. 5. Files were released in a court case against the NCAA, revealing controversial emails stating that the NCAA was unsure if it even had the jurisdiction to impose sanctions on Pennsylvania State University after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted on 45 out of 48 counts of sexual abuse of minors. In emails following the announcement of the sanctions that would be imposed on Penn State, NCAA administrators bickered back and forth about the actual flaws in t case regarding the sanctions. In a response to an email sent by NCAA Vice President of Academic and Membership Affairs Kevin Lennon to former NCAA Vice President of Enforcement Julie Roe concerning the points of potential flaws in their case, Roe called the sanctions “a bluff.”

The emails continue to go back and forth, stating that Penn State would not question the NCAA’s actuality of jurisdiction because Penn State was, according to Lennon, “so embarrassed that they would do anything.”

The Penn State sanctions were lifted back in September with an agreement to pay a $60 million fine to the NCAA, which would be used as a fund for sexual abuse survivors. In an effort to get all of the money spent in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Sen. Jake Corman uncovered these controversial emails in a file released in court.

I believe the days of the NCAA as we know it are coming to an end. The institution is losing its credibility and jurisdiction with every mishap it has had over the past few years. The NCAA has made self-inflicted wounds that prove it does not possess the ability to properly manage collegiate athletics. With all of its public blunders, the NCAA has begun to provide the facts that are building a court case that will be one day be used against it to dismantle its authority.

Who or how college sports choose to manage the almost $1 billion per year of revenue the NCAA generates is up to whoever chooses to pursue the organization in this inevitable trial. When it happens, college sports will change as we know it.

The final straw has been drawn in the tolerance of the general simplemindedness of these NCAA officials in the rising amount of doubt regarding their intent to represent the NCAA core values of “the highest level of integrity and sportsmanship” as a governing body.

It’s time to ban fighting in sports

Let me start by saying that I love aggression in sports. Nothing is better than a big hit in a football game or a hard slide in a soccer match. I do, however, hate fighting in sports. All of it is fake––every fight you see in a National Hockey League game was manufactured to draw in viewers. There is a reason why the majority of hockey fights occur at the end of games where a win is already out of reach for the losing team.

In the Rochester Americans––the American Hockey League affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres––opening game against the Adirondack Flames––Calgary Flames affiliate in the AHL––on Oct. 10, the Amerks were up 6-1 with just a couple minutes left. At that point, every player on the ice save the goaltenders started punching each other.

I’m not saying the frustration was not real—there had been plenty of skirmishes the entire game. The fight, however, would not have happened if the AHL and parent NHL did not endorse fighting. Fighting is a sideshow that does not impact the game at all. The only result of the fight was that Flames left wing Trevor Gillies was suspended for 12 games.

Although hockey is the worst offender, it is certainly not the only one. On Sunday Nov. 2, NASCAR drivers Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski bumped and Gordon spun out, costing him the race. After the race was over, Gordon walked over the Keselowski’s car to yell at him. As they were talking, things got a little bit weird.

At this point, no punches between Gordon and Keselowski had been thrown; though both crews were pushing and shoving each other. This all changed when fellow driver Kevin Harvick walked up behind Keselowski and pushed him toward Gordon. That started a full-on fight between Gordon and Keselowski.

In a post-race segment with ESPN, driver Carl Edwards––who was not involved in the fight––talked about Harvick’s involvement.

“That’s really strange,” he said. “I don’t know what that was about.” I personally think Harvick may have been provoking a fight to get NASCAR some more airtime. They are currently in their playoffs and could still use any ratings boost they can get.

Ignoring Harvick’s intent, the fight was the top story on ESPN.com just hours after it happened. This becomes even more meaningful considering two of the top teams in the National Football League, the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos, also played that day.

Although fans may gravitate toward fighting, it hurts the overall product that leagues are trying to produce. This is clear after comparing the television ratings for the Stanley Cup Final and the Olympic gold medal games. The highest-rated Stanley Cup game ever was game seven between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins in 2011––8.5 million people tuned in across the United States and Canada.

For the men’s ice hockey gold medal game in the 2014 Winter Olympics between Canada and Sweden, there were over 15 million Canadians alone tuning in. Even more impressive is that the gold medal game took place at 7 a.m. in cities like Toronto and Montreal and 4 a.m. in Vancouver.

Fighting should be taken out of sports. Obviously, there are times when tensions boil over and players will throw punches. The institutionalization of fighting, however, needs to be eliminated altogether.

Academic dishonesty will test NCAA

The University at North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s mission statement reads, “With lux, libertas—light and liberty—as its founding principles, the University has charted a bold course of leading change to improve society and to help solve the world’s greatest problems.” The university itself has now charted a bold course to disaster, as it is under serious investigation by the National Collegiate Athletic Association for giving approximately 3,100 student-athletes easy As and Bs to keep up with the rigorous academic curriculum.

This is a catastrophe for the Tar Heels’ athletic program. With most of the bogus grades given to athletes in football and basketball programs, the university is in store for major sanctions from the NCAA. The NCAA has enough evidence against the school to administer a “level one” violation. This includes loss of scholarships, substantial fines, postseason bans and even a one-year suspension of head coaches. This is similar to what Pennsylvania State University received in the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Should UNC be punished on the same level as Penn State? The NCAA is in an awkward situation––they can ruin the academic and athletic integrity of a top tier school that earns them over $80,000,000 a year in athletic revenue.

I believe the NCAA should punish UNC to the fullest extent. Although its actions weren’t nearly as heinous as the actions that took place at Penn State, North Carolina damaged its own integrity as an administration. Multiple faculty members not only had knowledge of what was going on, but took a major part ensuring that struggling student athletes got the grades that they needed to stay in Carolina blue.

If I were a student at UNC, I’d be filling out a transfer application right now. How dare a university with such prestige and academic integrity give out free passes to certain students, while also housing some of the brightest students in the world? With out-of-state tuition rates exceeding $50,000, North Carolina is robbing hardworking students of dollars they could be spending at schools that don’t view certain students superior enough to boost their grades.

The decision the NCAA comes up with will be a major reflection of the organization’s purpose as a whole. Being labeled as a monster entity that is more concerned with money than their students, the NCAA has an opportunity to show the world that they do not condone this kind of behavior. If it decides to not punish UNC to the fullest extent possible, then it will relay the message it has given off for years: profits before academic success and standards for student athletes.

2014-15 NBA Preview


Tori Ragin

Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin

Last year’s National Basketball Association champions, the San Antonio Spurs, are one of the biggest competitors in the Western Conference and have been a four-year rival to the Miami Heat.

Although the Heat is not the same team it was last year, the Spurs have almost the exact same team returning. This puts San Antonio in a really good place. If the team does exactly what it did last season, it has the potential to win a championship for the second straight year.

But that is banking on the assumption that teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers haven’t improved. This is a game that usually changes rapidly based on new talent and the game of probability that comes with trading.

The Spurs have built a legacy of tradition that not many teams today can rival. That’s the way they are built and that’s not something they show signs of changing in the near future.

Many people don’t believe that the Spurs can repeat their performance from last season again. They proved many experts wrong, however, when they dominated the NBA Finals last June against the Heat.

One team to watch will be the Houston Rockets. The Rockets have been right on San Antonio’s tail in the preseason standings.

The question on everyone’s mind about the Rockets is if they improved defensively. Last season, there were high expectations with guard James Harden and center Dwight Howard being the ultimate duo. Unfortunately for Houston fans, they just didn’t perform as well as anyone thought they would.

Ultimately, I’d place my bets on the Spurs to win the West––then again, there is always room for new teams to make a big impact.


Billy Burns

With the National Basketball Association season just around the corner, the anticipation level could not be higher. The 2014 NBA draft had one of the best classes since the 2003––which included superstars like Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade. The league is waiting for the next batch of talent to come through.

The biggest rookie names in the Eastern Conference are Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Chicago Bulls forward Doug McDermott.  All three of these players were standouts at their respective colleges, with McDermott finishing his college career at Creighton University as the fifth highest all-time scorer in NCAA history. These rookies are going to be starting right away and will have big impacts on the success of their teams.

The East as a whole is not very strong—the Western Conference is significantly stronger top to bottom as the teams are more balanced. With the Miami Heat losing James to the Cleveland Cavaliers and former Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love joining the Cavs as well, Cleveland seems to be the clear favorite to win. That being said, I believe the teams to beat in the Eastern Conference are the Cavaliers and the Bulls. Alongside James and Love, they still have third year point guard Kyrie Irving. This makes them a real threat—they have the “Miami Heat effect,” of having three superstars on the same team.

The Bulls have stars like point guard Derrick Rose, who is returning after a two-year hiatus from multiple knee injuries. They also have all-star center Joakim Noah. Combine those two with McDermott and guard Jimmy Butler and you have another tough team from the East. I believe that the Eastern Conference finals will come down to the Cavaliers and the Bulls, with the Cavaliers winning the series 4-2.

NHL Preview: It’s anyone’s Cup

The 2013-2014 National Hockey League season brought a Stanley Cup back to California as the Los Angeles Kings outplayed the New York Rangers in five games. The Kings, however, will have to defend the cup against a league that has more teams ready to win than we’ve seen in a while. Many of the 30 NHL clubs turned their 2013-2014 campaigns into a rebuilding year halfway through the season as the disparity between strong and weak teams was too great. Unlike in 2013, it is unclear who could win the cup this year as more teams are loaded up to make deep playoff runs.

Atlantic Division

The Atlantic Division should be the most exciting division to watch this year. After one of the best seven-game series that hockey has ever had, the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins will once again compete for a top spot in the division. This, however, is the Habs’ year.

Montreal’s fate relies on goaltender and 2014 Winter Olympics gold medal-winner Carey Price. Price sustained an injury against the Rangers in the playoffs, robbing him of a season in which a championship was a legitimate possibility for the Canadiens. They also re-signed superstar defender P.K. Subban to a multi-year extension, solidifying their defense with one of hockey’s most powerful slap shooters. Assuming Price can stay healthy, Montreal may be hoisting Lord Stanley’s trophy in June.

Central Division

The Central Division may be the most talented, yet predictable division in the league. Although the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues are coming off good seasons, neither could hold their own in the playoffs. The Chicago Blackhawks are the team to beat here—the squad has a proven ability to win in the playoffs. The Blackhawks were just a goal away from the Stanley Cup Finals last year.

With the addition of center Brad Richards at the second-line spot, this team is ready to take another swing at the Cup. If things fall into place at the right times, this team could be a legitimate contender in 2015.

Pacific Division

The Pacific Division is home to the 2014 Stanley Cup winner—and the Kings are looking to repeat a trip to the finals. They are heavy favorites in the division, as both the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks have done nothing but broken their fans’ hearts with their inability to play well in the postseason. Look for the Kings to once again use their defensive pressure to out-body teams through the regular season and the playoffs.

Metropolitan Division

The Metropolitan Division is the most unpredictable division in the league. Watch for the Pittsburgh Penguins to pick up and go for another run in the playoffs. They are stacked with talent and were upset in the second round last year by the Rangers, who went on to the Stanley Cup Finals.

New head coach Mike Johnston and new manager Jim Rutherford should hopefully be able to push the team over the top. The Penguins will be aggressive on the offensive end, utilizing their speed and scoring ability against a division of bigger, slower teams. They could easily make a deep run into the playoffs.


The league also has a few sleeper teams this year as well. Watch for the New York Islanders in the Metropolitan Division to take their young offense and revamped defense to a new level. This is the last year they are playing in the Nassau Coliseum, as they will move to Brooklyn and call the Barclays Center their new home.

New addition goalie Jaroslav Halak will be sure to bring an improvement to the position, as the Islanders have not had a full-time goaltender since Rick DiPietro in the 2007-08 season. The Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic will also look to bounce back after being embarrassed by Montreal in the playoffs last year. The team played nowhere near its potential, getting swept in the first round.

Look for the Minnesota Wild in the Central Division to make a push, as its ownership is willing to do anything to win. The squad’s front office isn’t afraid to make big time moves mid-season to put the team on the right track.


The search for a Series title: Predicting the MLB postseason

Los Angeles Dodgers With over $230 million spent this year in payroll, the Los Angeles Dodgers are all in.

This roster has been stacked from the get-go with one of the top pitching staffs in baseball featuring Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-jin Ryu. In the postseason, pitching wins championships.

The Dodgers have proven throughout the year that their pitching is legitimate, building a 3.40 earned run average as a team with the fifth highest relative power index in the game. In layman’s terms, they pitched very well against some of the best hitters in baseball.

Their batting and fielding are also solid. Outfielder Yasiel Puig has a cannon for an arm in right field and can hit inside fastballs a mile if he’s given the chance. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez and centerfielder Matt Kemp add to the lineup with strong defensive play and clutch hitting to combine well with Puig’s power.

The Dodgers’ biggest competition for a ring this year will be whomever they meet in the World Series. Just a freeway ride away, crosstown rivals the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are hungry, young and relentless. Their bats will be strong, but the Dodgers’ pitching will be better.

The Dodgers’ time is now. With a huge payroll and a remarkable pitching staff, the Dodgers will easily defeat the Angels in six games.


Washington Nationals

Every team in the postseason has top-caliber pitching and a solid lineup. Not every team, however, possesses the top-to-bottom quality that the Washington Nationals have.

First, they have the best starting rotation in baseball. Although Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in the league, the rest of the Dodgers’ rotation fails to match Washington’s depth. The Nats’ front four starters all have earned run averages of 3.14 or lower. On top of that, no pitcher has more than 11 losses.

Washington’s lineup is also undeniably stacked. Third baseman Anthony Rendon and outfielders Jayson Werth and Denard Span all have batting averages above .287. They also have three players with over 20 home runs.

One overlooked factor that could push the Nationals to the top is their fan base. Like the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Washington Nationals have not been the most successful franchise in baseball. The city itself is hungry for a title. The last time a Washington, D.C. team won a championship was in 1991, when the Washington Redskins beat the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI.

The Nationals don’t have the flashiest player in baseball or the most dominant pitcher––what they do have is the best depth in the league. That will be the determining factor come World Series time.


Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will win the 2014 World Series. The Angels have one of the best lineups in baseball. Major players such as superstar outfielder Mike Trout, first baseman Albert Pujols and shortstop Erick Aybar are leading the charge as the Angels look to take the trophy.

The team also has solid pitching with Jairo Diaz, Kevin Jepsen and Cory Rasmus—all of whom have pitched the ball very effectively against all teams this season.

The Angels should be the biggest competition to any team. While the Kansas City Royals have a good defense, the Angels have Trout who has the potential to be the next great legend of baseball. Trout’s line included a batting average of .287 with 36 home runs and 111 runs batted in this past season.

The Angels are no strangers to the postseason; plenty of players on their roster have postseason experience. Their team batting average is .259—good enough for sixth in the league. Their opponents’ batting average is just .236—fourth in the league.

The key for the Angels to win the World Series will be to play defensive baseball. They need to have their pitchers throw strikes. They need to have their fielders limit errors and convert plays. Doing so will set them up to hit the ball effectively. Come the end of October, it’ll be time to bring out the Rally Monkey once again.

Writers Billy Burns and Taylor Frank contributed to this article.

Insight into NFL scouts’ lives proves enlightening

Before you build a Super Bowl-winning team, you need to find the right players and a catalyst to ignite the fire in a team. The National Football League Films series “Finding Giants” on NFL Network emphasizes this; zeroing in on what happens behind the scenes in teams’ front offices. The New York Giants are the focus of the show, and the first episode premiered on Tuesday Sept. 30 as the first installment of a four-part miniseries that runs every Tuesday at 9 p.m. through Oct. 21.

To have a Super Bowl-ready team, you need unified players. They need to not only be talented, but mentally focused on the common goal of winning a championship. That is the job of the scouts—they go out and find talent and report back on who may be a big contribution to the team.

The Giants specifically said on several occasions throughout the premiere that they travel throughout the country visiting colleges and high schools, looking for who could be the next big-name athlete.

The Giants typically do three visits throughout the year from three different scouts––they compare each report for talent and progression at the end of the season. If a player is lucky enough to be picked by the scouts, they are then given a player evaluation. General manager Jerry Reese, the position coach and head coach Tom Coughlin then receive that report to see if they should be given draft consideration.

Vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross oversees all the scouts. He has a map of the entire United States densely filled with pins—red pins as “A” schools (high possibility of talent) and blue pins as “B” schools (lower possibility). This can change year to year depending on the prospects and number of students in school, according to Ross.

The Giants definitely make sure they have their bases covered, having scouts in the Northeast, Midwest, Southwest, Southeast and the West with approximately two scouts per region at any given time.

With all the prospective football players in colleges across America, the Giants can really only focus on potential prospects in their upperclassmen years. This is why there is an independent scouting organization called BLESTO that focuses on underclassmen and reports back to the teams on who may be of interest. They can help significantly in making the pool of prospects more manageable.

After watching the episode, you could really get a sense of the everyday life of an NFL scout—not just for the Giants, but for any team. They are constantly traveling and their decisions can affect a team for years to come. I encourage any NFL fan to watch this series, as I truly enjoyed watching it and the new insight it gave me.

Is benching Manuel a smart move?

Party like it’s 2009, Buffalo Bills fans. For the first time since the 2009 season in which Buffalo went 6-10, the Bills are switching quarterbacks for a reason other than injury. Kyle Orton—a seasoned veteran with a classic Bills record of 35 wins and 35 losses as a starter—will take over the starting job from second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel. On second thought, don’t party.

I hate this move. To start, it was a complete surprise to the team. “We still have faith in him,” running back C.J. Spiller said to reporters just before the switch was announced. “He’s our starting quarterback. We’re going to back him.”

Head coach Doug Marrone did not give Manuel enough time as a starter. Although he was the number one quarterback on the depth chart last season, Manuel only started 10 games due to injury. Pair that with the four games he started this year and it’s not even a complete season.

Don’t get me wrong, Manuel’s numbers have been abysmal the last two games. His total quarterback rating—which is on a scale from 0 to 100—has not risen above 8.4 since Buffalo’s Sept. 14 win against the Miami Dolphins. He also had more interceptions against the Houston Texans on Sunday Sept. 28 (two) than he had all season before that game (one).

But is this Manuel’s fault?

In short—no, not really. In the first two games and wins of the season, Manuel averaged just 24 pass attempts per game. In the next two games and losses, he averaged over 40 attempts. This change led to a diminished rushing game that couldn’t put up more than 27 yards in either of the last two games.

It also meant that running back Anthony “Boobie” Dixon—who broke a 47-yard run against the Chicago Bears in week one—didn’t touch the ball at all. The change in play calling is as much at fault for the diminished level of play as Manuel is.

If Orton were a better quarterback, then maybe I would feel differently. Orton has had only five seasons with a QBR over 50. In 2011, former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow usurped him and Orton was traded away.

Even though I hate the thought, the Bills will indeed play in Detroit against the Lions on Sunday Oct. 5 with Orton as the quarterback. If Orton does well, then there could be legitimate quarterback controversy that could cause a massive locker room distraction. If Orton plays poorly, Manuel has to come back and play after the coaching staff effectively told him he was the second-best quarterback on roster. His psyche would not be in a good state.

Had you asked me two weeks ago how the Bills would do this season, I would have given you a 20-minute speech about how Buffalo was going to go back to the playoffs for the first time since I was in kindergarten. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins was going to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award and the bricks at the end of tight end Scott Chandler’s arms would magically turn into hands.

Now, my answer is a little different. If the Bills lose to the Lions, they have no chance to make the playoffs. After one of the most promising starts in recent memory, a third straight loss would kill any remnants of momentum that still exist. The Bills no longer make me want to shout—they make me want to curl up in a ball and cry myself to sleep.