JackSmack: Issue #26

Well, Tiger fans, old espn.com has their bowl projections out, and it seems they think that our Clemson team won't be in one this year.

Frankly, I think that's a crock of s**t. Maryland's in the BCS, Florida State in the Gator, and UNC in the Peach. The two bowls we have a shot at are the Seattle Bowl and the Tangerine Bowl. Stanford is already set in the Seattle Bowl, and espn.com has them playing Georgia Tech.

In the Tangerine Bowl, they have Alabama projected to play N.C. State. You have got to be kidding me if you think with our pull of fans and Woody Dantzler that these bowls will take the Wolfpack or the Yellow Jackets (who will lose another to FSU this weekend) over us. Preposterous!

Nationally, I feel like the Rose Bowl is set between Miami and Florida. That would be a fantastic game, but considering what happened this past weekend, I'll run through some scenarios. Miami is on a roll and has just beaten two teams (be it at home) that are as good as or better than Virginia Tech. People are going nuts over the fact that Florida is an (-18) point favorite over Tennessee. The Lady Vols are not better than South Carolina or Florida State, whom Florida covered similar spreads against easily. For UT fans that think they're in if a miracle happens and they beat Florida and win the SEC Championship game, you still won't pass Texas, and if Texas loses to Colorado, you might not pass Nebraska or Oregon. Maryland, Oregon, and Illinois are the only teams right now locked into the BCS bowls. Illinois can thank Ohio State, or should I say Michigan, whom I told you last week has let way too many teams keep it close against them this year.

As for some of the other bowls, Michigan is locked into the Citrus, most likely against South Carolina. The Gator Bowl is set: Florida St. vs. Virginia Tech. Ohio State has committed to the Outback Bowl, most likely against Georgia. And espn.com's projections for the BCS bowls:

Fiesta: Oregon-Texas
Sugar: Tennessee-Nebraska
Orange: Maryland-Illinois

This week's 4 big games: (*--who I'd take)

Miami* (-13 ½) @ (13) Virginia Tech (Already talked about this one.)

(4) Tennessee @ (2) Florida* (-18) (Already talked about this one, too.)

(5) Texas* (-9) vs. (10) Colorado (Texas knows if they win, they're in the Rose Bowl if Miami or Florida falls.)

(22) Auburn @ (24) LSU* (-7) (Rohan Davey in the other Death Valley.)

Last week, my picks were 2-1. Kansas State barely covered, and Stanford looked absolutely awful, but Syracuse was a nice pick of the week with a solid cover.

This week, I'm picking 3 big games and I already told you why. I like LSU (-7), Florida (-18), and my take of the week is Miami (-13 ½).

By the way, Clemson soccer fans, we are the # 5 seed in the NCAA tourney. We won in the first round in 3 overtimes 1-0 over Kentucky. We get UAB this weekend who beat # 12 seed South Carolina this past weekend. Maybe we got in Virginia's head because they were the only team in the top 10 seeds to get eliminated in the first game.

Also, I'll give props to the women's soccer team who made it to the 3rd round in the NCAA's.

On to the NFL, where last week I went 1-2 in my picks. Seattle blew what should have been an easy win against the Chiefs, and Denver let Dallas come out of nowhere to come back and cover. My pick of the week was easy money, though, as the Raiders blew out the Giants.

I guess the story of the week was Tampa Bay winning at St. Louis on Monday Night. That gets the Bucs to (5-5) and sends St. Louis to (8-2) where you now have to start thinking about homefield advantage. The Bears and ‘Niners are also (8-2). Chicago looked solid behind a very good defense to beat the Vikes Sunday Night. San Fran has it in gear with Garcia, Owens, and Hearst tearing it up. With an improved defense, they blasted the Colts, with thanks to Peyton Manning for another 4 interception game. (And we got to see another great Jim Mora rant.)

In the AFC, Oakland and Pittsburgh are now (8-2). Oakland's only problems seems to be stopping the run, but still blew out the G-Men giving up serious yardage to Tiki Barber. The Steelers seem to be improving every week in one phase or another. This past week versus Tennessee, neither Bettis nor the number one defense in the league had their ‘A' game, but Kordell stepped up with a really solid performance throwing and running.

Elsewhere in the league, Elvis got a little redemption as the Ravens almost blew it, but escaped to get to (7-4). Miami had a great comeback against Buffalo to tie the Jets at (7-3). Cleveland stayed sharp with a shutout to get to (6-4), and I think Belicheck's playing the right guy as Tom Brady threw 4 TD's to lift the Pats to (6-5). The loss dropped the Saints to (5-5) and in danger of missing the playoffs. One week, they look like they could go to the Super Bowl and then the next, they just don't show up.

Denver did not look good on Thanksgiving, but got to (6-5). The Packers are (7-3) now after escaping Detroit, who I have said is not an (0-10) team. The Chargers lost their 4th in a row to fall to (5-6), while Seattle lost one they shouldn't have, dropping them to (5-6).

The two biggest surprises right now have to be the Falcons and the Redskins. How in hell is Atlanta (6-4) without Jamal? Washington is (5-5) after losing their first five. They won a tough road game at Philly, now (6-4), with Kijana Carter leading the way? Wait a minute. Who??? I didn't know he was still in the league. My gosh.

Another trend followed last week that I've been keeping you up to date on all season. The top 5 passer's team's lost last week, while 4 of the top 5 rusher's team's won. Run the ball, control the clock. Get it, got it, good.

With Cleveland, Washington, and New England sitting on the bubble, here's my top ten. (last week's ranking in parentheses).

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

This week, I got 4 good matchups. There are a lot of teams that should improve their records this weekend against teams they should beat, but there are spoilers out there. Here's the 4 meaningful ones: (*--who I'd take)

Denver @ Miami* (-3) (No McCaffrey and maybe no Rod this week spells big trouble.)

New England* @ NY Jets (-3) (The Jets have only Curtis Martin, and the Pats have to be hungrier.)

St. Louis* (-8) @ Atlanta (I just can't buy the Falcons, and the Rams will rebound big.)

San Diego @ Seattle* (-3) (The loser is out of the playoff race.)

Here are my picks of the week: I like the Rams (-8), and Tampa (-4 ½) @ Cincinnatti. My take of the week is Miami (-3).

On to college basketball, where the ACC is up 3-1 after the first night of the Big Ten Challenge. Our Tigers play Penn State tonight, Coastal Carolina on Thursday, and then @ Duke on Sunday. And if you haven't heard, Tony Stockman is out 2-4 weeks, so the season could just get longer. Right now, we're (3-1) after slipping, and I mean slipping, by Wofford last Saturday. Tonight, I think Virginia rolls over Michigan State, and Indiana sends UNC to (0-3). Game of the week is Saturday as (3) Arizona plays @ (7) Kansas.

I'm going to take a quick look at the conferences around the country. This does not include the Big East and if you have to ask why, you don't know much about college hoops. In the ACC, everyone is talking Duke and Maryland. Who to look out for? Virginia and Wake Forest. In the SEC, everyone is talking Florida and Kentucky. Who to look out for? Alabama. In the Big Ten, everyone is talking Illinois and Iowa. Who to look out for? Indiana. In the Big 12, everyone is talking Kansas and Missouri. Who to look out for? Oklahoma. In the Pac Ten, there's no one to look out for, there's just 3 good teams, and 7 not good teams. The 3 good ones are Stanford, UCLA, and Arizona.

So enjoy a great week of sports, hope everyone had a better Thanksgiving than the Big 12, and we'll see you next week.

If you have any questions, comments, or barbs, feel free to e-mail me at jacksmackcu01@yahoo.com.

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