The Jock 9/9/08

by Tom Weppel

JAGUARS


     
After a fairly mediocre performance in Nashville last week, the 0-1 Jaguars open their home schedule this Sunday when they play the 1-0 Buffalo Bills at No-Name Stadium.


      Clearly, the main story this week has been about the Offensive Line, with the rash of injuries having almost completely depleted the starting five. RT Tony Pashos is the lone solid starter. The rest of the guys up front either have been brought in recently, or are back ups, having not been lock-down starters. That includes OT Khalif Barnes, who was battling Richard Collier to start. And so now people are going to find out just how important that Line is. QB David Garrard needs their protection. Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew need their blocking. We’ll see how the Offense produces on Sunday.


     Meanwhile, the Bills come in fresh off a solid 34-10 win over Seattle. They did it with a strong passing attack led by QB Trent Edwards, who can get the ball to standout WR’s Lee Evans and Josh Reed (LSU). The Bills can run as well, as they showed last week, with RB Marshawn Lynch going for 76 yards and a TD.


      On Defense, I’m sure we’ll hear plenty about former Jaguar DL Marcus Stroud. He and his mates held the Seahawks to under 100 yards rushing. Look for LB Paul Posluszny to be a big part of their work, as he is a playmaker.


     There should be a good crowd on hand for this one. Maybe the Florida heat will bother the Bills just a tad. The Jags might need that extra advantage in order to come off with a ‘W’…


NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE


      While he is still the talk of the League, the spotlight is now off Tom Brady. His season-ending knee injury means the Pats must now look to former USC QB Matt Cassel to lead their Offensive charge. He did a blue-collar job last week, helping the Pats to a win over the Chiefs.


      While all this hub-bub was brewing up in New England, there was one guy who acted like it wasn’t even a big deal at all. His name: Bill Belichick. There is no larger anal orifice in the National Football League than the Patriots Head Coach. The guy is a complete jerk, in all facets. He has below-zero personality, and does absolutely nothing to enlighten anyone as to the status of his players or team. He proved that once again this past week, when dealing with the situation concerning his QB, Tom Brady. He acted like it was just another day, for him and his mates, to ‘do their job’ and ‘accept their roles’. Oh, and by the way, we just lost our starting QB, who has set records, gone to Pro Bowls, and led us to three Super Bowl wins over the last couple of years!


     Belichick is a total ass. If you are not a Patriots fan, then it is very easy to dislike the team, simply because of his demeanor.


      The Patriots will now go to New York to face an upstart Jets team led by a man with a ‘complete’ personality, Brett Favre. Favre has come on to the scene and dominated the headlines in all facets, topped off by the Jets winning last week in Miami.


     One side note here is to give you an idea how Favre can enlighten all those around him…he labeled those who inhabit the Big Apple ‘New Yorkians’! Ya gotta love it.


      He has simply been consumed by the New York media and fans, who have embraced him as if he was some sort of total savior. And perhaps he will be this season. I give Favre credit for his work last week in their win over the Dolphins. Facing New England, though, might be a little different story. We’ll find out a lot more when Favre, the Jets, and the Pats get it on.


COLLEGE FOOTBALL


     
The Gators have a week off to prepare for their battle next week with Tennessee. And, for all intents, Florida State is ‘off’ as well, as they have a small scrimmage with UT-Chattanooga.


      Meanwhile, Steve Spurrier and his boys in Columbia will host the Georgia Bulldogs. This will be an interesting contest. The Gamecocks lost last week in Nashville to Vanderbilt and certainly want to avoid starting off their conference schedule 0-2. Georgia comes in, with a very clear memory of getting their ass beat 38-3 by USC last year in Athens. Obviously, it will be a very tough task for Carolina to come out of this one with a victory, even considering their playing this one at home. It will be a raucous crowd, for sure.


      There are two national contests of note on Saturday. Last week, Notre Dame opened their season with a mediocre win against a paltry San Diego St. squad. Now they will host the Michigan Wolverines in a strongly traditional match up. That said, Michigan did not look very solid last week, either, in their 16-6 win over Miami (Ohio). It kind of makes you wonder which school has the most to offer before faltering…for this season, at least. And so there will be plenty to proove in this contest, and the loser will bear the brunt of a good bit of criticism. Both Head Coaches…Rich Rodriguez and Charlie Weis…are under an intense microscope.


     Meanwhile, the Ohio State Buckeyes make a trip out to Los Angeles to face the USC Trojans. OSU did not look dominant at all in their win over Ohio U. last week. You compare that to USC’s roughshod win over Virginia two weeks ago, and the first thought is that this one could get very ugly. Ohio St. hasn’t beaten USC in L.A. since the 70’s, and I think that will stay as is, at least this season.


MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL


     
With only a few weeks left, the battles for playoff slots are strong and competitive, to say the least. With the Yankees all but finished, its up down to the Rays and Red Sox in the AL East. Tampa has been on top almost all season, but Boston is right with them.


      In the AL Central, the Twins and White Sox are going at it. One of them will play in October, while the other will sit at home and watch. This one is getting nasty. The Angels are in with the AL West, as we know.


      In the NL East, the Mets and Phillies are vying for the top, just as they did last season. It should be interesting to see how this one unfolds. The Cubs are still at the top of the Central, although they haven’t gotten near the press we are used to seeing related to their quest. The Brewers are playing solid ball and appear to have the wild card slot.


      In the West, its the Dodgers and D-backs all the way. Joe Torre is pushing his Angelenos hard, trying to keep them in the battle, hopefully to end up in first place. We’ll see how it shakes out.

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