SPORTS w/The Jock 11-10-10

by Tom Weppel
After a weekend off to rest and “relax”, the 4-4 Jaguars get back into the swing of the NFL this weekend, playing here against the Houston Texans, who are also sitting with a record of 4-4. In the past these two teams have played each other fairly evenly, with each usually winning once and losing once against each other for the year.
At 4-4, the Jaguars aren’t totally out of the playoff race, but they aren’t completely in it, either. When you look at the AFC, you can see New England, the Jets, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore as your four favorites to be in the playoffs at the end of the schedule. After that, we’ll need a winner of the AFC West, and the AFC South.
For the Jags, that means they have some competition ahead, probably going up against the Titans and Colts for the top of the AFC South. The Jags schedule this last half is NOT easy whatsoever. They play all three Division teams on the road. They also go to the Giants, while hosting the surging Raiders, Browns, and Redskins.
And so I would wish HC Jack Del Rio a lot of luck, my friend.
In the meantime, they will try to get back in to the groove after their off-time…something they have not been the best at. A win would certainly be a nice way to crank up and get a nice surge going for their psyche’. Their win over the Cowboys was a good win, on the road. The Texans have had a very tough time with their pass defense. After starting out the season 3-1, Houston has lost three of their last four, which is not good.
So we’ll see what the Jags have in store for us for the second half of their season. Last year, three teams started their season 4-4, then made the playoffs. Those teams were the Jets, the Ravens, and the Packers. It will be very challenging, but nonetheless interesting, to see how things play out for Del Rio and Company…
We have seen a total mess over in Dallas take place this season, as the Cowboys simply cannot get their act together this year. The latest turn was the firing of Head Coach Wade Phillips by team owner Jerry Jones. This after Jones stated over the past few weeks how we would not be firing Phillips during this season!
Now, with the Cowboys sitting at 1-7, they will start off with a new, interim Head Coach, Jason Garrett, to try and right the ship for the rest of the season. They’ll have a hard time starting off on a good note, however, as they travel to the Meadowlands to play the Giants! My feeling is it could get kinda ugly! I guess we shall see.
There are two games this weekend of widespread interest, to some degree or extent. In Miami, the Dolphins will host the Titans. It will give us the debut of two guys, that being QB Chad Pennington for Miami, and WR Randy Moss for Tennessee. It will be interesting to see how both perform, considering their circumstances…
Then in Pittsburgh, the Steelers will be hosting the Patriots on Sunday night. This could be considered the precursor to the AFC Championship, for all intents. Both teams have had pretty strong seasons. They both have the pedigree to go at it at a high level. The winner will be considered the clear-cut favorite in the AFC…
The ‘BCS Mess’ continues to roll along. We are now down to four major colleges with undefeated records…Oregon, Auburn, TCU, and Boise St. Only two of those schools can play in the BCS Final, and there is still a lot of football left to play.
This weekend, Oregon will be in Berkeley to play the Cal Golden Bears in a PAC-10 game. They are favored to win strongly, so we’ll see how they play.
In Alabama, the Auburn Tigers have been trying to deal with all the drama surrounding the recruiting and enrollment of QB Cam Newton. Interesting how all this came out NOW, as opposed to earlier in the year, when a lot of people didn’t even know who Cam Newton was!
Anyway, the Tigers will be hosting the Georgia Bulldogs this weekend for an SEC battle. Traditionally, this game has been a toughie, but my feelings are that Auburn should win this one going away.
For the other two teams, Boise St. will go to play Idaho on Friday night, while TCU will host San Diego St. Those don’t seem like challenging opponents, per se!
Locally, the Florida Gators will be hosting former Gator HC Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks! South Carolina (6-3) comes in ranked and playing some decent football, having already knocked off Alabama this season. Now Spurrier and his boys come in with a chance to rough up the Gators, although Florida has played well the last two weeks. The winner will most likely play in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta in a few weeks, so we’ll see how things play out!
And finally, there are two interesting games with betting lines that could completely surprise you! IN Texas, the Longhorns will host Oklahoma St. Texas (4-5) has lost their last THREE games, two of which were at home! And the Cowboys are coming in to Austin as six-point facvorites!
Then you have Ohio St. hosting Penn St. In some other years, this would be a huge, marquee game of the day!
But Penn St. doesn’t seem to be as solid a team as they have been in the past. I guess that is why the Buckeyes are 17-point favorites in this game going in! Hope Joe Paterno is prepared for this one!