JackSmack: Issue #13

Oh yes, Jack's back. When we last spoke, the Dukies had just finished cutting down the nets and the NHL and NBA playoffs had not even started. Well, I liked the Avalanche, but I never saw the Lakers coming together like they did and I also didn't think Iverson could take Philly that far. But that's Larry Brown for you.

So let's see how my baseball predictions have fared.

In the AL, I picked the Yanks, Indians, and A's with the ChiSox as the wildcard. Not bad except for the White Sox and the fact that I had Seattle as one of my overrated teams (although I did nail that nomer on the Reds, Rangers, and Red Sox.)

Speaking of Boston, firing Jimy Williams is just another on the long list of mistakes that continue to keep your ballclub where it is. You do have a shot at the Yanks with a good bit of head to head games left, I just don't see it happening. What about Roger Clemens? Thirty-nine years old and he's 17-1. I would have never believed it.

Also, former Tiger Billy Koch hasn't had as good a year as I expected (nor have the Blue Jays), but he's maturing and is still one of the better closers around.

The NL is obviously a lot more interesting right now. With 8 teams still with a shot, I don't know if my picks will pan out, but each pick is at least one of those 8 teams.

I had the Braves, Giants, and Cardinals with the Diamondbacks as the wildcard. I never saw the Phillies coming and they are neck and neck with the Braves. I hope it goes down to the wire at least. I don't know if the Cubs or the Cards can catch the Astros, but I'm rooting for the Cubs. I love Sammy. And in the West, will SF or LA catch Arizona? It's awful tight right now in all the divisions and in the wild card. Great baseball. About Bonds, well, I'm rooting for him, but my guess is he'll finish around 65 just ahead of Sosa and Gonzalez (another guy I never saw coming).

Let's see if I would still put out the same players as I did back at the beginning of April.

SP —Well, I gave you El Duque and he's been hurt. I'll take Clemens, but if I need a lefty, I'm taking Randy Johnson.

RP —I'll stick with Rivera.

C —I'll keep Pudge no matter what.

1B —Not that there is anything wrong with Delgado, but I have to switch to Helton.

2B —I'll keep Kent here too, although Alomar is right there.

SS —Come playoff time, you'll realize why I'm keeping Jeter over A-Rod's 50 homers.

3B —Glaus hasn't had the year I expected. I'll take Rolen now. He's stepping up when his team needs it.

LF —Barry then, Barry now.

CF —I'll keep Vladimir, but you could make a lot of arguments here.

RF —Sammy then, Sammy now. (By the way, what kind of tear is he on?)

DH —I had Nomar, but he can't stay healthy, so I guess I'd have to take Luis Gonzalez.

College football is here and I couldn't be more excited. Woody or Willie? Let Dantzler play and know that you're fine if he goes down. I read somewhere that besides NC State and GA Tech, we have the best two QB's in the conference.

Kevin Youngblood will be back to make a name for himself, but you can't be worried with Crosby, Robinson, and Currie ready to fill in. The FSU game is gonna be huge either way. Right now, we need to get the team working good by Sept. 29 when we go to Atlanta. (Which I think we will). But I wouldn't mind routing Central Florida to start off the season.

Virginia losing Womack hurts them badly.

Nationally, I'll take Florida (I like Grossman over Berlin at QB) and Miami to make it to the Rose Bowl, but let's run through the conferences because many teams have an easier road than the Gators or any other team in the SEC for that matter.

First, here are my 3 overrated teams: #3 Oklahoma, #7 Oregon, and #9 Va. Tech.

ACC—Forget Georgia Tech, it's gonna be Florida State or the Tigers.

SEC—I like Florida over Tennessee and Alabama, but this is easily the strongest conference top to bottom by far.

Big Ten—A lot of people like Northwestern, but I'll take Michigan. Big XII—Forget the Sooners and Kansas State. This conference is gonna go to either Nebraska or Texas. Give me Texas.

Big East—Miami easy. It's hard to even recognize this as a football conference.

Pac-10- Give me Oregon State all day long.

We do have some decent games to start the first full weekend off.

(2)Miami @ Penn State (I think the Canes roll after a strong start by the Lions.)

(23)Wisconsin @ (7)Oregon ( Maybe the Ducks fall down early.)

Syracuse @ (8)Tennessee (UT may get a scare, but they're just too deep.)

(15)UCLA @ (25)Alabama (I think the Tide pay them back for last year's season opening loss in Los Angeles.)

Well it's good to be back. Football season is it, and I'll give you an NFL preview next week along with a wrap-up of the first full Saturday of college pigskin. Plus we've got great baseball going on. If you like sports, this is a great time of year.

Oh, and by the way, Jordan's gonna play and while the Wiz might not do much, Michael will only need a couple of months to play with Iverson and Kobe. I can't wait to see it.

You can e-mail Jack Thomas at jackthomascu01@yahoo.com.

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