Whichever numskull came up with the bye week in the National Football League should be located and then punished. Employment as Wade Phillips' personal masseuse for a month. Season tickets to Cleveland Browns games. You know, something harsh.

Bye weeks are the devil, especially when your team is flourishing the way the Indianapolis Colts are with a 5-0 record. Conversely, if your favorite franchise is stinking up the joint in ways even an open dumpster in August can't, bye weeks are a godsend. Can't lose if you don't play, right?

But the Colts have played and played well, so one wonders what kind of mental impact having Sunday off is going to have as the team moves forward beginning with next weekend's game in St. Louis against the pitiful Rams, a team responsible for zero victories and 54 points scored in its six outings.

Sure, Indianapolis players could wear their shoes on the wrong feet, start 49-year-old Mike Pagel at quarterback and probably still beat the Rams by two touchdowns. It's what comes after that that concerns me: three straight home games against good teams (San Francisco, Houston and New England), then consecutive road tests at Baltimore and Houston.

Chances are good the Colts will be favored in every one of those games, especially now that they are about to get hard-hitting safety Bob Sanders and cornerback Kelvin Hayden back on the field. But momentum tends to be unpredictable. So often it's there one minute, gone the next. This is the fight Indianapolis is about to find itself in.

The way it looks now, the Colts can only be defeated by, well, the Colts. Having five weeks worth of gaining speed impeded by a bye week is one such way. Here's hoping the players, coaches and management are too professional, too established in their ways, to let this occur.

KEEP CLAUSEN OUT OF HEISMAN CONVERSATION: College football, which seems to be as well-oiled a force as it's ever been, will take a large step back if Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen winds up clutching the Heisman Trophy the night of Dec. 12.

No question the kid is talented physically and is a gamer, but his body language following a tough loss like the one the Irish endured Saturday against USC is holding him back. The junior wet-noodled his way through a few handshakes and then headed off to the locker room like the 11-year-old boy he is while most of his teammates congratulated the Trojans players and coaches.

Also, I'm not sure Clausen is the best player on his team much less in all of college football. Receiver Golden Tate is pretty darned good, his talents making Clausen look that much better.

So who gets the Heisman? Still early, but at the moment Alabama tailback Mark Ingram is running away with it. Tim Tebow gets an invite to New York City as a finalist because he's Tim Tebow, and Texas quarterback Colt McCoy will be there, too. And probably Clausen because it's a way to further glamorize a mediocre Notre Dame program.

Just as long as he doesn't win.

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