The Jock

by Tom Weppel

This weekend the Jags will host the 0-2 Houston Texans downtown at No-Name Stadium, the day after Florida St. and Colorado play on the same field.
The Jags come into this one at 1-2, thanks to last weeks’ entertaining win over the Colts on the road. We saw the Jags able to finally get a little offense going, primarily on the ground, and my best guess is that is primarily what we’re gonna be in for the rest of the season, unless one day expensive free agent Jerry Porter is able to actually get on the field and be allowed to play.
Meanwhile, give the Offensive line a lot of credit for their work last week. Here’s a crew that has been slapped together with tape and glue from various parts and places, and they did a damn good job blocking for Fred Taylor and Maurice Drew. It’ll be interesting to see how, and if, they are kept together, especially when Brad Meester and Chris Naeole are ready to go.
The Texans are 0-2. That doesn’t mean they suck. In fact, they’ve given Jacksonville problems in the past, beating them on various occasions. QB Matt Schaub has done a good but not great job with the Offense. He throws to WR Andre Johnson, who is a go-to Receiver. Look for rookie RB Steve Slaton to get the ball as well. He rushed for over 100 yards last week.
Houston is led on Defense by DE Mario Williams and Pro Bowl LB DeMeco Ryans. We’ll see what kinds of problems they give the Jags Offense. Should be a good contest, although I doubt you’ll see a capacity crowd, unfortunately…

This weekend, two undefeated teams will play two winless teams.
The surprising Buffalo Bills go to St. Louis to play the hapless Rams. St. Louis has made a change at QB, letting Trent Green come in to try and salvage a win. The Bills have played good football on both sides of the ball. We’ll see if they can keep in rolling. Then, the Denver Broncos go to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. We all know about the crazy late-game situations with the Broncos, yet they’ve survived. Meanwhile, the Chiefs simply haven’t gotten things together and are hurting. Both Denver and Buffalo are favored in their respective games.
The battle of Ohio features the 0-3 Browns visiting the 0-3 Bengals. These two teams aren’t happy at all with they way things have gone, and you can imagine that the loser of this one will certainly have some explaining to do!

The regular season will be over this weekend, and we’ll get into the ‘real’ season…the postseason!
This will be a different October than most in MLB. The Yankees will not be playing for the first time since 1993, back before Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera weren’t even on the team! New York thought it had all the elements necessary to get into the postseason once again this year, but problems with their starting pitching and a few losing streaks here and there were their downfall. Interesting how the Yankees won’t go the first year they are playing without Joe Torre as Manager!
Without question, the team everyone will keep their eye on will be the Chicago Cubs. Here’s a team that finished strong, winning the NL Central and garnering home-field advantage for their series. The Cubs have the highest team batting average in the NL, and their pitching is good and solid, as well. Lou Pinella has done a good job managing this club. They have a decent shot at winning the World Series. As they win games, they will have a ton of fans behind them, not only in Chicago, but all over the country and the world! It would certainly be a spectacle if they indeed win the title for the first time in 100 years!
Meanwhile, on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, you have the Tamps Bay Rays, who had a great year in the American League, yet didn’t have many believers at all! These guys have floundered ever since their inception. They have been written off year after year, not only by outsiders, but by the baseball fans of Tampa! No one cared! Yet now we see these guys in first place and hosting a postseason series, and it feels very odd. I’ll be curious to see how the Rays do and how they’ll handle all the attention they’ll receive, now that they’ve accomplished something!
And so how October rolls. The L.A. Angels had the best record in baseball, and I’d have to side with them to win the whole shootin’ match. We’ll see…

On Saturday, the Florida St. Seminoles come to town to play Colorado. As opposed to last season, the Seminole game will not draw the crowd it did like last year, when the Crimson Tide and the ‘Noles got after it to a packed Stadium.
This year, the Buffaloes will not bring near the throng of fans that Alabama did. Therefore, the Stadium will have the upper bowl covered, which will look a little stupid, to be honest. But if you think about it, should anyone care about this game on a national scale? Even though Colorado is 3-0, they haven’t received much recognition, and they haven’t been ranked in quite a while. You couple that with the poor showing Florida St. had last week in their loss to Wake Forest, and its no wonder this game will only draw about 50,000 at the most. The Seminoles come off a 12-3 loss to Wake in a game they wanted to win badly. But FSU literally gave the ball to the Deacs repeatedly, with seven turnovers (five picks, two fumbles). Florida State continues to lack solid play at QB. Christian Ponder and D’Vontrey Richardson played horribly last week. Meanwhile, Colorado comes in at 3-0, having beaten West Virginia last week. QB Cody Hawkins has completed 70% of his passes, and RB Rodney Stewart averages almost six yards a carry. And so we shall see if Florida State can pick up a win and get back to being considered better-than-mediocre…
In other games of note, Alabama goes to Athens to tangle with the Georgia Bulldogs. It should be a great SEC scrap…the Ole Miss Rebels venture to Gainesville to play Florida in a mismatch…Purdue goes to Notre Dame, where the Irish will try to get back on the winning track…
The 1-3 Mississippi State Bulldogs are not playing too well of late. Last week, they lost to Georgia Tech, 38-7. Combine that with their 3-2 loss to Auburn the week before, and that means they’ve scored NINE points the last two games. And now they go to LSU! They might ask for points to be donated! It wouldn’t surprise me if Head Coach Sylvester Croom gets the axe after this season. He looks like a deer in headlights when you see him on the sidelines…