The Jock – 12/9/09

by Tom Weppel
JAGUARS
Well, after a solid victory last week against the Texans, in front of the lowest attendance in Jaguars history, the boys will suit up at home again this Sunday to take on the 6-6 Miami Dolphins. The ‘Fins come into town following their heart-stopping, 22-21 win over the Patriots.
At 7-5, the Jags are in strong contention for a possible wild card playoff spot. Of course, they need to continue pulling out the ‘W’s to stay in the hunt. There are quite a few other contenders right on their tail. But the Jaguars have started to produce in a lot of ways, although not on a consistent basis. We have seen flashes of a good running game, glimpses of a decent passing attack, and better-than-average defensive play throughout the game. When you consider this team does indeed have a number of young players, you can give them credit for being where they are at this point in time in the season.
Miami has won three of their last four games, in addition to their Pats win last week. QB Chad Henne has started to get in to a groove with his offense. RB Ricky Williams has once again proving his worth as a powerful, speedy rusher, averaging five yards a carry. Head Coach Tony Sparano has got things in order as they finish off their schedule.
Here in town last week, game attendance left a lot to be desired. It’s a shame more local fans aren’t coming out to support this squad. To the best of y memory, its been a long, long time since ANY team in the NFL has had all their games blacked-out the entire season.
This next three-game stretch (Dolphins, Colts, Patriots) will be quite tough. It will be very, very interesting to see how this group of Jaguars performs, to see if they can keep the ‘W’s comin’!

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Both the Saints and the Colts are 12-0 heading into this weekend. It is quite rare for the NFL to have TWO teams undefeated this late in the season.
The Colts have been pretty strong the last few years, having won a Super Bowl, and gotten into the playoffs on a consistent basis. To do it now, without Tony Dungy and WITH new head coach Jim Caldwell, has been even that much more impressive. The Colts also knew Pro Bowl WR Marvin Harrison would not be around as well, so they found WR Pierre Garcon to come in and pick up the slack. Add Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne, and it shows Peyton Manning has solid, standout targets at his beck and call.
Meanwhile, New Orleans has been the surprise of the season so far. QB Drew Brees has led an extremely potent offense that ranks #1 overall in offense. Their WR tandem of Robert Meachem and Marques Colston has been effective, and it will be interesting to see how they fare these last four weeks.
This weekend, the Colts host the Broncos, while the Saints head to Atlanta to play the Falcons. We’ll see how they both come out.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
This weekend, Heisman Trophy will be awarded. The potential candidates this season have made for a little different competition than in the past. In other years, it seemed there was a definite front-runner to claim the honor. This year, there is no clear-cut favorite.
The award is determined by voting from a number of sources, including sportswriters from around the country. A lot of them have told us this week in their writings of whom they chose and why, almost as if they were justifying their own feelings and vote.
But throughout the season, we’ve heard pundits get on the bandwagon of a player who put up great numbers, then come out the next week and get behind yet one other potential player, as if he is the best in the land, hands-down. It has made for a total carnival of discussion.
In all sincerity, of the five players…Texas QB Colt McCoy, RB Mark Ingram of Alabama, RB Toby Gerhart of Stanford, DL Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska, and Gator QB Tim Tebow…there truly isn’t a complete standout. It could be a close ballot, without question, and it will certainly lead to a lot of potential controversy and discussion as to who really SHOULD have gotten it!
The only major game this weekend will be the traditional Army-Navy game.. In many of the past seasons, we’ve seen two teams that were only mediocre at best. This season, we already know Navy (8-4) is going to the Texas Bowl, while Army (5-6) needs this one win to become Bowl-eligible. It should make for a more interesting contest. As usual, there will be tremendous amounts of pageantry and circumstance, followed by a lot of revelry throughout the contest…

NOTES OF INTEREST
Danica Patrick driving stock cars should make for a ton of curiosity amongst racing fans and casual fans alike. People will keep an eye on her car throughout races, just to make sure she stays in the hunt. If she starts performing well, and even winning a race or two, it could get fans even that much more excited…
The Yankees trading for Tiger OF Curtis Granderson now sets up some interesting fodder, as to who will shape up to fill out the Yanks’ outfield. With Granderson in center, where will Melky Cabrera go…LF or RF? What about Nick Swisher? Is he still worthy of starting in right field? And finally, do the Yankees bring back LF Johnny Damon? He has been a solid force for them, including last season…
Finally, I’m proud I haven’t pounded out all kinds of rumors, gossip, and innuendo on Tiger Woods. All the crap being spouted off about his whole ‘situation’ has gotten to be a complete mess. He will most likely stay out of sight for quite a while, if he’s smart. When he does come back, though, its gonna be a media circus, without question!

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