Playoff Picture: The race in the AFC continues to be a muddled one. The Colts overtime victory over the Broncos left the AFC without a team with more than 7 wins, and without a frontrunner for the home field advantage…which is a wide open race right now. As it stands, the six teams currently holding the playoff positions all have 4 losses, with a host of 6-5 and 5-6 teams looking to make a move. At least 10 wins will be needed, and likely help from the tiebreak system, in order to nail down an AFC wild card berth. Teams at 5-6 have no margin for error.
Over in the NFC, the Giants and the Rams failed to capitalize on the Saints second consecutive loss this past week.
1st Round Byes:
Other Division Leaders:
Wild Card Teams:
Looking Ahead: Making up for the lackluster Thanksgiving games, we have a pair of great prime time games this week. Football fans are treated to the Buccaneers at the Saints on Sunday evening, and the Jets at
Around the NCAA
Quest For The Fiesta: With the Ohio St. Buckeyes now locked into one of the spots in the national championship game in the Fiesta Bowl on January 3rd, the world now waits and watches to see if Miami Fla. can join them by winning at Syracuse this weekend and at home vs. Virginia Tech the following week. With that in mind, let's take a look at what the other 3 BCS bowl games are shaping up to look like:
Orange Bowl: What a dilemma, and part of the reason the BCS is so horrible. The Orange Bowl is locked into representation from the ACC champion, who this year is a
Sugar Bowl: The Sugar Bowl, in all likelihood, will pair the champions of the Big 12 and SEC Championship games. While Sugar Bowl officials are hoping for a powerful meeting between the Oklahoma Sooners and Georgia Bulldogs to evolve, be assured that they will not be disappointed to see the hometown LSU Tigers spring an upset in the SEC Championship.
Heisman Watch: Now down to the final weeks of the regular season, it's safe to say that the race for the Heisman trophy is down to the following 8 players, with no clear frontrunner established yet. Last week's rank is in parenthesis…
- Brad Banks,
(2): McGahee helped his stock with his performance against Pitt, but after having another week to think about it…my vote at this point would go to Banks. He was so good through the air and on the ground this season, made next to no mistakes, played his best against the best teams, and was the leader of the nation's most surprising team. Iowa
- Willis McGahee,
(1): Another big performance from Willis in a big spot for the ‘Canes. In my opinion, the MVP of this Miami Fla. team and more deserving of the award than Dorsey. Miami Fla.
- Larry Johnson,
Penn St.(7): Would have loved to seen what he would have done in even 3 quarters of action last week. Has been simply dominant as of late, but his performance (71 yd./gm avg) against , Michigan , and Iowa Ohio St.may scare away just enough voters.
- Carson Palmer, USC (4): The Palmer surge continues. Likely has an uphill battle ahead of him, even with a solid effort and win over Notre Dame due to the large number of voters set to vote Banks or Dorsey.
- Ken Dorsey,
(6): I've been a little rough on Dorsey, who is a winner. After having watched my Buckeyes grit out 13 wins in a row this season, I have the utmost respect for a guy that can commandeer his team to wins in 32 straight games. Dorsey has stepped up his game when needed this season, but I still feel McGahee has been more valuable. Miami Fla.
- Quentin Griffin, Oklahoma (9): A faction is evolving touting
for Heisman, and for good reason. The little man put the Sooner offense on his back after the early season injury to Jason White, and has gotten better each week. Griffin
- Chris Brown,
(5): Needs to play against Colorado this week to keep his name in the race and help fend off the mad charge LJ from Nebraska Penn St.is making. A win this week will also set up a showdown with and Oklahoma in another chance to impress the voters for both runners. Griffin
- Jason Gesser,
Washington St.(3): Despite the fact he had the Huskies all but beaten, the injury and subsequent OT loss crippled Gesser's Heisman campaign. Will need a huge performance in a big win at UCLA, and possibly losses by Carson Palmer and Dorsey, to get himself back in the picture.
FU BCS: As many of you likely know by this point, I'm not a big fan of the BCS system and am one of many proponents of either an 8 or 16 team playoff system to establish college football's national champion. Here's my weekly look at what the bracket would look like for a month long 16 team playoff tournament:
#6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-1) vs. #11
#2 Ohio St. Buckeyes (13-0) vs.
#7 USC Trojans (9-2) vs.
Ask and you shall receive. After predicting my breakthrough effort for a couple weeks now, I was able to respond this week with a 6-2 record against the spread in this column last week, as well as a 9-4 day for my Saturday morning update, which continues to sizzle. On the year, the Saturday update stands at 37-34 in college and 27-22-1 in the NFL. To be added to the mailing list, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll add ‘ya.
Underdogs amazingly had another 11-5 week in the NFL. Here's a rundown of what went down this week, numbers wise, in week 12 of the NFL season, with season totals in parenthesis:
Underdogs: 11-5 (99-72-5)
Road Teams: 8-8 (90-81-5)
Over/Under: 11 games under, 5 over (93 under, 83 over)
And lastly, before I get to my picks, hope that some of you had a chance to check out my boy
+9 at Kentucky Tennessee
I continue to be amazed at the respect odds makers insist on giving to this watered down version of the Volunteers from week to week. With all the
+13 ½ at Wake Forest Maryland
USC –10 ½ vs. Notre Dame
Simply put, and despite their impressive W-L record, Notre Dame does not have enough punch to contend with a team like USC without the benefit of multiple turnovers and at least one or two defensive scores. USC is playing scary football and has a possible PAC 10 title, and BCS appearance hanging in the balance. Sadly, Notre Dame will go to the
As a matter of principle, I cannot help but take 9 ½ points here with the Cards against a team with a defense as poor as the Chiefs. Many thought they had turned the corner defensively heading into last weeks torching at the hands of the Seahawks lethal defense. The play I really like here is
I have made a vow to back Mike Shanahan and his Broncos in every game the rest of the way out when coming off of a poor performance. Shanahan's record ATS coming off a loss is amazing since taking over as coach of the Broncos. Another week for Steve Beurlein (in better weather) should produce much better results, and Clinton Portis continues to improve each week. The Chargers are a better team than last season's version that fell apart down the stretch, but the letdown continues this week as the Broncos retake control of the AFC West with a impressive road win this week.
The Niners coming off an embarrassing beating at by Koy Detmer, the Seahawks come in off their most impressive performance of the season where they posted 39 points in a win over the Chiefs. San Fran may win this game by 30. I love the Niners this week in a blowout over a very bad