SPORTS w/The Jock 12/30/10

by Tom Weppel
This Jaguars season has been a great roller coaster ride, to say the least! These guys have given some good moments for everyone to get jack-up about, offering the possibility of even getting into the playoffs.
Then, we see them falter when given opportunities, depending on the situation. As they did last season, the Jags have been losing at the end of the season, leaving fans disappointed. It has not been pretty.
Now, at 8-7, they go into their final game of the regular season on the road, playing the Houston Texans, with a slim chance of making the playoffs. To do so, they must beat the Texans, AND have the Colts lose to the Titans. If that happens, the Jaguars win the AFC South and get to host a first-round game.
The chances of that happening, though, are very, very slim. The Jaguars will be playing once again without Maurice Jones-Drew, and also without starting QB David Garrard. Backup QB Trent Edwards will start in place of Garrard.
And so here we are, in the last weekend of the NFL regular season, with some uncertainties left to be determined, depending on a couple of game outcomes on Sunday. There are three playoff spots left to be determined, with one in the AFC, and two in the NFC.
In the AFC, we know the Patriots, Jets, Ravens, Steelers, and Chiefs are all in the playoffs. Yet to be determined is the winner of the AFC South. The Indianapolis Colts need to win their game at home against the Titans. If they do, they’re in. If not, the Jaguars can sneak in, with a win in Houston against the Texans. For all intents, it looks like the Colts are as close to a done deal as possible.
Crazier things have happened in this League, though.
In the NFC, we know that the Bears, Falcons, Eagles, and Saints are in. The West Division representative will come from the winner of the Rams/Seahawks game, to be played in Seattle Sunday night. If Seattle (6-9) wins, they will be the first team with a losing record to qualify for the postseason.
The last wildcard slot be claimed by either the Packers, Giants, or Buccaneers. Green Bay will need to beat the Bears On Sunday. They will play at Lambeau Field. If they do so, then they are in.
If not, then either New York or Tampa Bay can claim the last spot. The Giants travel to Washington to play the Redskins, while the Bucs go to New Orleans to face the Saints.
And so it should be an interesting afternoon of play in the NFL, which is exactly how the League likes it!

As usual, the New Year brings us a plethora of Bowl games, including the major Bowls we all have been used to enjoying since ‘back in the day’!
What is different now, as opposed to the past, is that a) A lot of the games have different names, based on sponsorships, and of course, b) All the games carry no weight in regards to determining the champion of NCAA football (known as the BCS Champion).
Of course, heading into New Years Day, a ton of Bowl games have already taken place…22, to be exact! If you’ve watched any of them, you’ve noticed that most of the games are being played in stadiums that are far below capacity. Obviously, not very many fans of teams are making the trip to see their team play, and not many locals care, either.
For the games on January 1st, you’ll see that a lot of the matchups simply aren’t very tasty!
For instance, in Phoenix, the Fiesta Bowl gives us Oklahoma from the Big 12, and Connecticut from the paltry Big East.
Connecticut?!?! Ecchh!
UConn is NOT known as a football school by any means! They have only sold a couple thousand tickets of the 17,000 or so they were given and allotted by the Fiesta folks. You can plan on this being a total OU crowd…easily!
In fact, the Uconn womens basketball team has gotten more PR than the football team has! Imagine that!
In Los Angeles, the Rose Bowl has for years had the winners of the Big Ten and PAC 10 meet up. Not so this year, with TCU (12-0) coming in to play Wisconsin. While I’m sure there will be a lot of Horned Frog fans attending in Pasadena, I seriously doubt the TV ratings will not be strong at all. Most football fans nationally don’t care much about TCU, even though they had an undefeated season.
And down in Miami, the Orange Bowl has Stanford playing Virginia Tech on Monday night. Stanford is not proving to be a great draw, either, as Cardinal fans don’t seem too interested in traveling cross-country to see their football team in-person. While the Hokies to tend to bring a good crowd, I’m guessing there won’t be a full stadium, as we’ve seen so often in the past.
Most of these games will be shown on ESPN, which will make viewing seem even that much quirkier.
And of course, while all these games are played, Auburn and Oregon will be hanging out in Arizona, waiting…and waiting…to play the BCS Championship on the 10th. Hopefully, people will still be interested…and care.