JackSmack: Issue #25

Well Tiger fans, what a season. I can only call it how it is, and that is very disappointing. We lost Saturday to the hated Gamecocks 20-15 behind some good calls by Lou Holtz. Yeah, we'll beat Duke and we'll go bowling, but everyone thought at the start of the year that we were a BCS quality team, and to finish 6-5 and play in a bowl probably before Christmas just leaves a terrible taste in my mouth.

At least for Clemson sports, if you care about soccer (which I do), our # 8 ranked Tigers, the 3rd seed in the ACC tournament won the title last Sunday at Riggs Field over the #1 seed Virginia Cavaliers. Virginia had not given up a goal in ACC play and had not been shutout all season, but we got them 1-0, and head to the NCAA tournament this weekend with some momentum.

Also, our basketball team is (2-1) after a tight loss to Miami Tuesday. At least, we can beat UNC this year.

Nationally in college football, you have to give props to Maryland. They win the ACC in Friedgen's 1st year, who doesn't even have his players yet. Their only loss was in Tallahassee where they played their tails off, before it got out of hand in the 4th quarter. Oklahoma did what it had to do against Texas Tech. They'll play Nebraska in the Big 12 title game unless the ‘Huskers lose @ Colorado on Friday and Texas wins @ Texas A&M on the same day. Miami looked completely different this past Saturday, but still have to play like that to get by Washington and then VT in Blacksburg. Dorsey might be back, but Grossman is the man. Florida is rolling and could sneak in with a loss by one of the top 3.

In the Pac-10, Washington State blew it, and now Oregon is going to the Fiesta, the only team locked into the BCS right now besides Maryland. Michigan will join them as long as they don't blow it against Ohio State Saturday. What a fortunate win over Wisconsin last week. Jeez. Please don't put BYU in the BCS, they have played no one. After Rose Bowl talk a few weeks ago, UCLA got ripped yet again, this time by an average Southern Cal team. Alabama ripped Auburn in the Iron Bowl and now forces Auburn to beat LSU in 2 weeks to win the West. LSU can win if they beat Arkansas this weekend, and then Auburn the next. Amazingly, Arkansas can now get in if they beat LSU, and then LSU defeats Auburn. The wild, wild, west is right.

Last week, I rebounded from a couple of 1-2 weeks to give you a 3-0 post in my picks of the week. Yeah, Virginia barely covered, but Florida covered easy, and Iowa State covered huge.

In rivalry week 2, before all the make up games, here are this week's important matchups: (*--who I'd take)


(2) Nebraska* (-10) @ (14) Colorado (Nebraska knows they just have to win, but they are on a mission, and the Buffaloes are overmatched.)

(5) Texas* (-13) @ Texas A&M (This would be a pick of the week in Austin. The ‘Horns are playing great, but it's a big rivalry.)

(25) Arkansas* @ LSU (-9 ½) (I think this game stays close as both teams are playing for a lot.)


(12) Washington* @ (1) Miami (-26) (Can the ‘Canes pull off another home blowout?)

Ohio State* @ (11) Michigan (-9) (The Wolverines seem to keep every game close.)

(23) Georgia* @ (19) Georgia Tech (-2 ½) (Tough to call, I just think the ‘Dogs are playing better ball right now.)

I'm gonna stay away from all these games in my picks of the week. These 3 are all on Saturday. I like Kansas State (-20) versus Missouri and Stanford (-7 ½) at home against Notre Dame. My take of the week is Syracuse at home (-4 ½) over BC.

On to the NFL, where I went 1-2 in my picks last week. My pick of the week hit easy as the Saints whipped the Colts, but as the ‘Niners and the Seahawks won, neither could cover.

Last week, the Rams improved to (8-1) against a gutty performance by the Patriots (5-5).

The Steelers, Bears, ‘Niners, and Raiders all got to (7-2), Chicago and San Fran barely.

The Jets probably had the biggest game of the week getting to (7-3) by whipping the Fins for the 8th time in a row and sending Miami to (6-3).

Favre blew it as the Pack fell to (6-3) losing in Lambeau to a surprising (5-4) Falcon team. The Saints got back over .500 at (5-4) behind Ricky, Brooks, and one of the most underrated players in the NFL, Joe Horn. Philly rolled over Dallas to get to (6-3), and the amazing Redskins won their 4th in a row to get to (4-5) and set up a big showdown this weekend in Philly. That loss dropped a disappointing Denver team to (5-5).

The Browns sweep the Ravens and get back in it at (5-4). Baltimore has major problems and falling 1 ½ games behind Pittsburgh and only a ½ game up on a team that swept the season series doesn't help. Billick can tell me all about how the team's behind Elvis, but I'm not hearing it. He's gonna end up pissing me off more than Fassel. Speaking of, your Giants, big Jim, you fell to (5-5) as you got whipped by the Vikings who are trying to sneak back in the crazy NFC central at (4-5).

Seattle did slip by the Bills to get to (5-4), while the Titans and Bengals ‘try' to clog the AFC Central more by both going to (4-5).

By the way, last week 7 of the top 8 rusher's team's won. You gotta run the ball, people.

On Thanksgiving, both games look like duds, but Detroit is not an (0-9) team. Denver and Green Bay just need to win.

This week's big matchups: (*--who I'd take)

New Orleans @ New England* (E) (The Saints are up and down, and I like the Pats in Foxboro.)

Oakland* (-2 ½) @ NY Giants (A must win for the Giants that they won't get.)

Pittsburgh* @ Tennessee (-2) (Why are the Steelers getting points here?)

San Francisco* @ Indianapolis (-3) (The ‘Niners find ways to win, the Colts find ways to lose.)

Washington* @ Philadelphia (-8) (Again this week, a lot of points for a hot team.)

Sunday Night:

Chicago @ Minnesota* (-3) (Moss on national TV. ‘Nuff said.)

Monday Night:

Tampa Bay @ St. Louis* (-10) (The Bucs think they have the Ram's offense figured out. Sorry.)

Before I give you my picks of the week, here's my top 10 with the Saints and Seahawks sitting on the bubble like vultures: (last week's ranking in parentheses)

1) St. Louis (8-1) (1)
2) Oakland (7-2) (3)
3) Pittsburgh (7-2) (5)
4) San Francisco (7-2) (7)
5) NY Jets (7-3) (8)
6) Philadelphia (6-3) (9)
7) Chicago (7-2) (10)
8) Green Bay (6-3) (2)
9) Miami (6-3) (4)
10) Baltimore (6-4) (6)

This week, I like Denver on Thanksgiving to cover (-7) at Dallas. On Sunday, I like Seattle giving (-1 ½) @ KC. My take of the week is the Raiders (-2 ½) versus the Giants in the Meadowlands.

As for college hoops, the story, obviously, has been upsets. I'm waiting for Kansas-UCLA, and all of a sudden, Ball State has a shot to beat the # 3, 4, and 1 teams in 3 consecutive days. You gotta love UNC at (0-2) for the first time since ‘82-'83, and this year, they won't get Peppers back. He'll be preparing for the draft. Have a good time spending the year unranked. By the way, Davidson and Hampton? I don't even know what their mascots are, and I can only guess at where they're from. Good job, Doherty.

In the Guardians Classic, you have a Big 12 final tonite as Mizzou and Iowa both slipped by Alabama and Memphis, respectively. In the Preseason NIT, the semis have (11) Mich. State against (18) Syracuse and (21) Fresno State against an underrated Wake Forest squad.

Just a couple of baseball notes. All the postseason awards were gimme's except for the MVP's. I realize what Sosa did for the Cubs, and maybe if they would have made the playoffs. I also realize what Giambi did and where these 2 teams would be without these guys. (We'll see with the A's next year—Steinbrenner's had Giambi in pinstripes for a year.) You must realize what Bonds and Ichiro did. They both had seasons that broke records and set records that have been around for 50-70 years. I agree with both calls.

Have a nice Thanksgiving and enjoy some good college football and hoops.

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