SPORTS – w/The Jock 11-3-11

by Tom Weppel
The hoopla has built up all week, and now we head into a #1 vs. #2 match up every one has to be interested in or excited about! LSU heads to Tuscaloosa to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide. Obviously, both teams have played damn good football this season…the winner has a very clear shot at going all the way to the SEC title game in Atlanta, then the BCS National Championship.
This will be the only chance the Tigers and Tide have to play each other. Since they are both in the same Division of the SEC, they cannot meet in the SEC Championship. Since they are both in the SEC, they cannot both play each other in the BCS final.
In a way, that is a damn shame, especially if you want to consider them the two best teams in the country regardless!
And that is one of the main reasons why someone can make a great argument in saying the college football system is messed up! Before, it was simply a matter of writers voting for the National Champion. Now, while the BCS has done SOME good things in coming up with a good final match up, that doesn’t necessarily mean their system is flaw-proof!
With so much clutter and rankling going on with teams doing major switches from one Conference to another, there still is a whole lot wrong with college football overall. When that all can possibly be changed and made into a solid, clean system remains to be seen. My guess is it is still a long way off…
All that said, the LSU/Alabama game on Saturday night should be entertaining and riveting! I could start getting into players and stats and all other sorts of crap, but I don’t want to bore anyone at this point. The bottom line here is one team will play and execute and make the right plays at the right time, and that team will be the winner, bottom line.
There will surely be a huge, sold-out crowd on hand. No question this game carries a tremendous amount of significance to it. Does anybody care about ANY of the other games being played this weekend? I would think not…every other contest seems minor, compared to the Tigers/Tide game. We’ll see what shakes…

I thought the USA TODAY story on Tuesday talking about how ESPN is influencing the maneuvering of schools and conferences was right on in oh, so many ways.
Without question, ESPN as a broadcast network may be letting school AD’s and Presidents, along with Conference Commissioners, know how they feel about how one particular school might fit within a particular conference in whatever scenario. ESPN pays out rights fees, often worth millions of dollars over an extended period number of years. That money can mean a lot to a host of schools, which is important to the growth and bottom lines of universities. What that also means is that when ESPN is interested in perhaps having one school leave one conference to join another, that school might all of the sudden be quite willing to make the switch.
In the meantime, a move like that can and will also have a strong impact on fans, patrons, other universities, and many, many other outlets, all of whom are directly involved with the school in one shape or form.
In the past few months, a lot of college sports fans have been very surprised by all the goings-on involving possible changes, including moves by schools like Missouri (to the SEC) and West Virginia (leaving the BIG EAST). These moves are not what people are used to or familiar with, and it will take a period of time for all the dust to settle, and for change to be accepted, by and large.
What lots of people don’t realize is that ESPN has been considering all this for quite some time. It is what they’ve wanted to have happen. And now that it is, a lot of folks aren’t liking it.
We’ll see how things continue to evolve as we go along. My guess is there will come a time when someone is gonna throw up a red flag and halt a possible change from being made. When that happens, look out!

Heading into this weekend’s games, only three visiting teams (Atlanta, Green Bay, San Francisco) are favored to win. I don’t necessarily consider that as being out of the ordinary. It seems every weekend, a majority of home teams will end up victorious, no matter their record or who their playing. If you think I’m wrong, simply consider the Rams win over the Saints last week!
Just don’t always count on the home team to win a game and also cover the spread, if you are a wagering individual! It seems each week there are plenty of instances when a home team will win their game…but not by the favored margin of points! That can prove to be a downfall, and it can get very frustrating.
One game where that might be precarious will be in Dallas, where the 3-4 Cowboys, coming off a brutal beating in Philly by the Eagles last week, will host the 2-5 Seahawks, a team that beat the Giants in the Meadowlands a few weeks back. Dallas is a 12-point favorite in this one. You might consider that line a little high. We shall see…
After three weeks of the regular season, the Kansas City Chiefs were 0-3. Many people were wondering what this group was all about and where they were heading. I’m willing to bet maybe some of the Chiefs players were doing the same thing!
Since then, Kansas City has turned things around, going on a four-game winning streak. They’ve beaten the Vikings, Colts, Raiders, and Chargers, and are tied for the lead in the AFC West at 4-3. This week they host the Dolphins, and next week they host the Broncos. They have a good chance to win those two as well and get to 6-3. If they do so, all the thought and wondering about being 0-3 way-back-when will be out the window!…