by Tom Weppel
Having now won back-to-back contests, the Jaguars (3-2) will be hosting the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night for a Division scrap that has gotten nasty at various times throughout the history of their series.
After their wins over the Colts and Bills, people have now started to take a slight sense of notice towards the Jags, wondering if they indeed are a legit outfit in the AFC South and NFL. All teams in the AFC South are 3-2 currently, and the next few weeks should be interesting in sorting out who will do what within the Division.
And Jack Del Rio will acknowledge that. While the Jags have gathered a sense of confidence and tenacity, they also know this is a key time if they want to position themselves correctly for the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Titans have always been a team that deserves a bit of respect during the long tenure of Head Coach Jeff Fisher. Tennessee comes off a tough, hard-fought victory in Dallas over the Cowboys, and their confidence I’m sure is on a slight surge. They have always played well here against the Jags. Their offense is led by RB Chris Johnson on the ground, who is shifty and quick. QB Vince Young has been pretty good this year, with six TD passes. His main target is WR Nate Washington.
Their defense has done a formidable job, led by MLB Stephen Tulloch (51 tackles), and S Michael Griffin (39 tackles). Overall, Jeff Fisher has assembled a solid group of players.
Playing on a National setting would certainly expose the Jaguars even that much more to NFL fans who simply don’t pay them much attention at all. Let’s see if they can do their business against the Titans and pull out a ‘W’…
Now that the #1 Crimson Tide were upset last week, there is even more scrambling around than before, as for determining who is the best in college football. Things should get even more interesting, as the BCS rankings come out on Sunday, after all games are played this week.
Ohio State is now the current #1. They go on the road to play an upstart Wisconsin Badger squad that is ranked in the top ten. If the Buckeyes go down, will that mean Oregon would be the new #1?
And of course the debate will continue until the end of the season, in deciding just how good Boise State is and where they should be for the Bowl season. Many pundits simply don’t like them, due to their paltry schedule of opponents. This week Boise St. is a 40point favorite, playing at San Jose State…
The other notable national contest will give us Texas at Nebraska. The Longhorns have struggled this season, losing their last two to UCLA and Oklahoma. Now they go against an undefeated Cornhusker squad that is playing good ball. Nebraska is favored by almost 10 points, and so we’ll see how this one plays out.
The three regional schools all are at home to face mediocre opponents. The Florida Gators host the Mississippi St. Bulldogs, Florida State entertains the Boston College Eagles, and the Georgia Bulldogs play Vanderbilt in Athens, GA. All three should have good games and provide an entertaining contest for their fans.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYOFFS
If there is one aspect of these last two series before the Championship is played, it is all about pitching!
Pitching is what allowed the Phillies to sweep the Reds. It also got the Rangers past the Rays and into their League Final against the Yankees. New York has a couple of horses on their staff, while the Giants led the NL in pitching ERA for the regular season!
And so there’s no question that good pitching…actually, GREAT pitching…will help these teams win the pennant and move into the World Series.
Right now, the trio everyone is focusing their attention on is in Philadelphia, with Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels throwing for the Phils. Those three have all the necessary tools, guile, and talent to take their team thru this series and into the WS. But we’ll see how they fare against a Giants squad that has given us some clutch hitting when needed, especially in their playoff series with the Braves.
For the Rangers, its all about Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson, who have both done an exceptional job for Texas. While the Rangers lead the American League in hitting, they will go against CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, and Phil Hughes, with AJ Burnett being the fourth starter. He will be the wild card to start in Game 4.
For the Giants, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain lead a talented rotation. They must shut down the Phillies in order to get to the World Series. We’ll see how they prevail…
Overall, the Yankees and Phillies are still the favorites to repeat. I don’t think it’s a done deal. Should be interesting…