The Jock

by Tom Weppel
It’s not good to start off the season 0-2. Yet the Jaguars are one of ten teams who sit in that unenviable position. For a team that has somewhat lofty expectations following their playoff appearance last season, things are not going very smoothly downtown at No-Name Stadium.
And now here we are, already into Week 3, and fans are gurgling with “What’s wrong with the Jags?’ queries! You can go all around on offense, from the O-line, to the running game and the receivers. Even the play-calling is being questioned.
Look. Just like accidents happen in auto traffic, injuries happen in sports. And this season, the Jags have been hit. The line and receivers have been the victims. Unfortunately, that has had an effect on all other aspects of play. And its gonna take some wand-waving by Jackie Del Rio to get his boys to make the plays needed to pull off some wins. That magic has to start pretty soon, like THIS SUNDAY!
If a team goes 0-3, you can pretty-much figure they’re not going to the Super Bowl…I don’t care who you are. Many don’t make the playoffs. I’m sure the Jaguars know this. And so they almost feel this is a must-win deal. And what a time for it all to hit the fan…in Indy!
So, the Jags go up to face a 1-1 Colts squad that is, by and large, their arch enemy. And while the Colts have been a damn tough opponent in recent years, it seems they have not played to the level we are accustomed to seeing them. They lost their opener at home to the Bears, then struggled to pull off a win in Minnesota. This should certainly be an interesting contest. I’ll be very curious to see who does what, on both sides, to pull this off. The Jags are not favored in this game. That doesn’t mean they can’t win. We’ll see.
For those who believe the Jaguars don’t have good attendance, consider this FACT…last week, of the fifteen games played last weekend, SIX had a lower turnout than the Jags 65,167. Those games included Detroit, Tampa, Minnesota, and St. Louis. So, just realize that Jacksonville may be a small market, and they struggle sometimes with the TV blackout rule, but they still do pack good crowds for contests.

I mentioned there are ten teams carrying 0-2 records. There are also ten teams who have won their first two contests. While you might expect the Giants, Patriots, Cowboys, and Steelers to all be undefeated, you wouldn’t have thought the Cardinals, Bills, and Panthers would be 2-0.
Those teams aren’t 2-0 just because they were lucky, either! Arizona has a powerful offense, led by QB Kurt Warner and his two great WR’s, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. Add RB Edgerrin James to the mix, and you may want to keep your eye on the Cardinals, who by the way have NEVER been to the Super Bowl! Arizona is at Washington this week.
We all saw the Bills do some good stuff as a team last week here in town. Buffalo is playing good football, with a solid, efficient QB in Trent Edwards. Buffalo will host the Raiders this week and could very easily get to 3-0. Same with Carolina, which plays at Minnesota with WR Steve Smith back and ready to play.
The only game between two 2-0 squads has the Cowpokes going to Green Bay to play Aaron Rodgers and the Pack on Sunday night. Should be a good one…

With about a week left in the regular season, there is plenty left to be decided in both the American and National Leagues. The White Sox are doing everything they can to hold off the Twins in the AL Central, while the Mets and Phillies once again are going at it in the NL East. Each game every night is worth watching, just because it seems to be having an effect on the outcome of who will be playing in the postseason. We’ll see who comes out on top in the end…

After a week off, the Florida Tebows (i.e. Gators) hop on a plane and head up to Knoxville, where they will play those crazy Vols. This annual battle always turns out to be a wild contest between two pretty passionate football schools. Doesn’t look like its gonna be any different.
Of course, Tennessee already has one loss, courtesy of UCLA. The feeling is they aren’t as good as in past seasons. Meanwhile, Florida comes in with questions about their offense, particularly their running game. It should be interesting to see if Urban can get his RB’s into the mix.
I’m sure there will be a jacked-up crowd on hand for this contest. The Tebows are a seven-point favorite. Let’s see if they bring home a ‘W’…
Meanwhile, the Seminoles are actually ranked! Imagine that! And now they host the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, a school that has no right being considered a football stalwart. Yet here they are, ranked and coming off a major bowl appearance last season. FSU wants this game badly. You can feel it from the players, the fans, and even Bobby himself, who is in a heated battle with another old-foggy coach, JoePa, for the lead in victories. The ‘Noles need this win to get at least a little bit of respectability…
In other games of note, the Georgia Bulldogs, who seem to be holding on by a thread during their games of late, head out to Arizona St. to face the Sun Devils. Hopefully they can improve in their play, particularly on offense…LSU heads to Auburn for a nasty SEC scrap, while Notre Dame hits the road for the first time this season to play the Michigan St. Spartans. I’ll be curious to see how Charlie Weis stands on the sidelines, what with his mangled knee…

This weekend the Ryder Cup is being staged in Kentucky at the Valhalla golf course. The event began way back in 1927.
QUICK! After Phil Mickelson, name ONE guy on the American team! Bet you can’t do it.
That just shows you how badly the name recognition is in American golf, after Eldrick Woods and Mickelson. There simply aren’t a lot of ‘personalities’ with the style, and the prowess, to show up in this sport. Tiger has simply dominated like no other player since Nicklaus and Palmer.
And it doesn’t look like its gonna change any time soon. For this Ryder Cup event, the Americans are not favored in the least, and I’d be totally surprised if they pull off a victory. Fact is, the Euros should be able to dominate most of the competition. We shall see who shows up…and how many actually care.