THE JOCK

by Tom Weppel

FLORIDA/GEORGIA
And so here we are, for the annual rite known as the Florida/Georgia game. This is the game where crazy folks who are passionately in love with each school congregate here in town to see who can beat who and claim bragging rights. This year, both Georgia and Florida have had pretty good seasons. Both are ranked nationally in the Top Ten, and it looks like the winner will go into the SEC Championship. Last week, the Gators had a dominant performance in their win over Kentucky, while the Bulldogs were very impressive in their victory over the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge.
We all know about last year when the Bulldogs beat up the Gators for the first time in quite a while. The key here will be for Florida to stop RB Knowshon Moreno, and then shut down the awesome passing attack the ‘Dogs are showing us, with QB Matt Stafford and WR’s AJ Green and Mohamed Massaquoi.. I will be curious to see if the Gator defense can handle them.
Meanwhile, Tim Tebow is simply THE guy everyone looks to for the Gators on offense. While he has good talent around him, it is not what the Gators have shown us in the past few seasons. For Florida to win this one, they will have to make bigger plays.
Florida is favored in this one, but I have a feeling Georgia will come through and pull out a win. Should be fun to watch…

JAGUARS
This team is driving the pro football fans of Jacksonville CRAZY! One week they can kick someone’s ass. The next week, they aren’t close to what they were the previous week. If there is anything consistent about the Jaguars, its that they are INCONSISTENT!
The two aspects Jack Del Rio has always wanted to be A#-1 for his teams are 1) the running game on Offense, and 2) the total effort of shutting down the opposition on Defense. And those two aspects so far this season that have not been altogether effective. No wonder Del Rio is frustrated by now, halfway into the season. While Del Rio doesn’t want to single anyone out, I’m sure there are players who are not coming through and performing like he wants. Without question, the one situation we are all wondering about is with WR Jerry Porter. Here’s a guy with tons of talent who came here via a big-dollar free agent contract. Even though he suffered a hamstring injury, he has been in uniform and ready to play (he says) the last few weeks. Yet we haven’t seen much production from Porter at all. Obviously, there is something amiss. Is it Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter? Is it QB David Garrard? Where’s the problem? Unfortunately, Del Rio won’t tell us what the deal is. That of course is nothing but the icing on the cake to the whole WR debacle. Maybe we’ll see changes in personnel.
Now sitting at 3-4, the Jags need to give serious thought to going on a winning streak. If they don’t, they can forget about the playoffs. It needs to start on Sunday, when the boys fly up to Cincinnati to face the winless Bengals. Jacksonville has actually played better on the road this season than at home. They are obviously favored in this one, as the Bengals have had a horrible season. They play without starting QB Carson Palmer, who has a bad elbow. They’ve been beaten badly the last two weeks.
But you never, ever know in the NFL. Especially this season, it seems any team can beat any other team at any time. And so we’ll see what Del Rio and his boys cook up to get back on track. Hopefully they can scratch out a win to bring home.

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
There was a time when Monday Night Football was THE weekly showcase for the NFL schedule. Every week, the matchup on Monday Night was the marquee game of the week. All NFL football fans, including all teams and players, would look forward to seeing who was going to play on ABC.
But that no longer is the case, and you can thank NBC and ESPN for the transformation. NBC grabbed the Sunday Night package, and they have done a great job with it. Al Michaels and John Madden are simply the best commentators for NFL games today. The schedule has been top-notch, as well. Meanwhile, ESPN does a decent but not great job. They almost have too many guys doing their work, and it gets to be overkill after a while.
So, give NBC credit. After decades of looking forward to Monday Night Football, it seems we all now are more excited about what we’ll see on Sunday Night instead…
The Tennessee Titans are 7-0 after their convincing win over the Colts. On Sunday they will host the Green Bay Packers. They are favored to win this one and keep on their roll. It should be interesting to see how far Head Coach Jeff Fisher will take his boys this season. They are solid on both sides of the ball, and look very tough to beat…
The Giants will host the Cowboys this weekend. Dallas is not the same without Tony Romo. We all know New York is the real deal. To me, this one could get ugly. We shall see…
The Colts are also struggling and are not close to what we’ve seen the past few seasons. They will host the Patriots Sunday night, and I’ll be curious to watch both squads play each other…

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
The marquee game of the weekend is in Texas, where the undefeated, #1 Texas Longhorns will face the undefeated, upstart Texas Tech Red Raiders. Both teams have played good football and seem ready to go. It should be an interesting contest, for sure…
In the past, the Nebraska/Oklahoma game was always a significant showdown. But that’s not the case anymore, as the Cornhuskers have fallen off the top shelf. Look for the Sooners to dominate the game.
Florida State has very quietly garnered a 6-1 record. Saturday, they go up to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech. If they win, they will have a real good shot at moving into the ACC Championship game in Tampa in December…

About FOLIO

april, 2022

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