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AFC Championship 2009 Preview

Wednesday, Jan 14, 2009 | Feedback | Comment

The AFC Championship will be played this Sunday between two of the stingiest defenses in the NFL. For the third time this season the Pittsburgh Steelers will face the Baltimore Ravens. Both of the previous affairs were decided by less then a touchdown, with the last one ending on the controversial Santonio Holmes touchdown call in Baltimore.

The Steelers were given that game and also won the first game in Pittsburgh. They have won both meetings and would seem to have the psychological edge. However, the Baltimore Ravens are red hot and have won 4 in a row since the loss to Pittsburgh with 3 of those being on the road. They have won 7 of their last 8 overall and seem to be foaming at the mouth for the chance to face the Steelers again. Joe Flacco, Le’ron McClain, and the rest of the offense are complimenting Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, and the rest of the defense perfectly. The Ravens look to have an even better all around team then when they last went to the Super Bowl in 2001.

On the other side of the field Big Ben Roethlisberger is looking to take his team their second Super Bowl in his 5 years. Willie Parker appears to be healthy for the first time all year and the connection of Roethlisberger to Holmes may be the best one left in the playoffs. (Yes, I hear you Arizona. Warner to Fitzgerald is in the argument.) James Harrison also has the defense looking like the steel curtain of old. They absolutely shut down a depleted San Diego Charger's offense and in the regular season gave up just less then two touchdowns a game.

Folks, put the women and children to bed this is going to be a knock down, drag out fight. The kind of hits you will see in this game will bring back memories of old time football. The defenses will look to control the game and it will be the one that makes the bigger plays that wins the game. The offenses will need to control the ball and avoid the big turnovers. With these being the keys the big factors have to be that this game is at Pittsburgh and Joe Flacco is a rookie.

Now I am not discounting the fact that the Ravens are blood thirsty for this game. They want this more then anything. They want to give the Steelers all of the payback of those first two losses and send them home. They want to punch their ticket to Tampa. But Joe Flacco has already won more playoff games in one postseason then any rookie in playoff history. He has gone on the road to Miami and won in heat. He lead the troops into Tennessee and defeated the #1 team in the AFC. When will he hit the rookie wall? When will he make that big mistake? I believe it will be this weekend.

Not only will he make the big mistakes but the Ravens defense is going to show some weakness this weekend. Chris Johnson started to expose a defense that has had to play 18 straight weeks because of an early season hurricane in Houston. Luckily for Baltimore, Johnson was hurt in the second half last week and those weaknesses were covered up. This week the Steelers will not let up. Willie Parker is healthy, which he wasn't in the last matcup. Mike Tomlin will pound the run early and set up some open one on one matchups for Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, and Heath Miller. Big Ben will be fully capable of exploiting these matchups and trying to stay away from Ed Reed as much as possible.

In the end it will be close just like the previous two games. However, Steelers win by pulling away late. 21-13, 24-10 type game. The Steel Curtain is back.



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Champs Baby!

Tuesday, Jan 9, 2009 | Feedback | Comment

"The BCS system was implemented so only one team would have to face Tim Tebow for the championship.” –Rob “The Sauce” Saucier on the radio show quoting various lines from http://www.tebowisms.net

Unfortunately the Oklahoma Sooners won the right to be that team.

Tim Tebow threw for 231 yards, two touchdowns, and added 109 yards on the ground as the Florida Gators have won their second national title in the last three seasons. Percy Harvin, who had said he was 90% entering the game, ran for 122 yards, caught 49 yards and another score and the Gators pulled away to a 24-14 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in the BCS National title game and the Gators find themselves on top of the college football world yet again!

The game was much more of a defensive struggle early on then anyone could have predicted. Neither team scored in the first quarter and Oklahoma even picked off Tebow on the first Gators drive. I was a little nervous and surprised at the success Oklahoma’s defense was having stopping the Gators run. There was very little open early and in a close 7-7 game Oklahoma was able to intercept Tim Tebow again. That’s when Clark Kent jumped in the phone booth and emerged as Superman.

With the game 14-14 Tebow used a combination of accurate throws and smashing runs to lead the Gators on a 6-play, 68 yard FG drive to put them up 17-14. After an incredible interception by Ahmad Black, Tebow again lead his team down the field on an 11 play 76 yard drive then ended with his patented “jump pass” to David Nelson with 3:09 to play sealed the deal.

Combine this with the way that Tebow played in the forth quarter against #1 Alabama in the SEC title game and he has risen his legacy to new heights. Consider the stats in the 4th quarter of the two games:


Pass Attempts: 11
Completions: 11
Pass Yards: 148
Rush Yards: 45
Touchdowns: 2
INT’s:0
Florida Points for: 24
Opponents: 7

In the end coming through in the clutch is what cements a player and his legacy. Tim Tebow has done that this year. He was the emotional boost as a freshman on an enormously talented team national title. Last year he compiled all of the ridiculous stats that puts a player into that class but came up empty on even a bowl game. This year he added that “it” factor to his resume. Vince Young against the USC Trojans comes to mind, Tom Brady in all of his super bowl victories, Joe Montana against the cowboys in the corner of the endzone. Tim Tebow came up clutch and put the team on his back. That is what separates a Tim Tebow from a Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Matthew Stafford, Chase Daniels, and Mark Sanchez. He is not only that stud athlete that is leading a major program and putting up huge numbers in the process.

Tebow announced on Monday that he would be back for his senior year. I never really had any doubt but I am glad it is official. The fact that a player has a chance to not only add a second heismen, he can also win a third National Championship. If he does this he will undoubtedly be in the discussion as one of the best collegiate players to ever play the game. And he is a Florida Gators.

As far as any doubt the Gators are in fact the number one team, Urban Meyer had this to say following the game:
"I'll tell you, we're going to enjoy a big win, we're going to enjoy the national championship," coach Urban Meyer said. "Let someone else worry about that. Gators are No. 1."

The AP agreed.

The Gators picked up 48 of the 65 first place votes and finished #1 in both polls. There will be no split national championship. Sorry USC, Utah, and Texas. Maybe you can be the one team that has to face Tim Tebow in the National title in 2009.

Quick Notes and Bowl Reaction:

1. The SEC is now 5-0 in BCS National title games and also finished 6-2 in the 2008-2009 bowl season. The Big 12 , which sported some of the nation’s highest ranked teams in 2008 including Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and Missouri finished the bowl season 4-3. The Big 12 doesn’t seem all that scary now do they?

2. Did Ohio State really get up to play as well as they did or did Texas just sort of take them for granted? Judging by the last two performances in BCS titles by Ohio State and the let down of being left out of both the Big 12 Championship and the National Championship by Texas I am going to go with the later. Luckily for the Horns they were able to wake up with a minute left and pull out the win.

3. The Florida Gators need to negotiate with Utah. No, I am not talking about now for a real National title game, I am talking about for a future home-and-home. As most of you know Urban Meyer use to coach at Utah. Utah also needs to start to get some big boys on the schedule if they ever want to take that next step. Sorry, no Michigan this year on the schedule was not a big boy. Urban should make a call to the AD at Utah and try to get this done. The media hype behind this would be huge and it would be fun to see. It would make for an excellent game the week before Florida State.

4. Oregon is on the rise. The Ducks finished their season 10-3 after defeating Oklahoma State 42-31 in the Sun Bowl. The Ducks finished #10 in the AP poll and should be looking at a high preseason ranking next year. With USC losing some players maybe next year is the year we see a team other then USC in the rose bowl. Probably not, but wishful thinking for this columnist, and probably the entire Big Ten.

5. Tim Tebow doesn't get rained on, the rain gets Tim Tebow'ed”

6. I hope Penn State goes back to the Rose Bowl again next year. No reason Joe Pa needs to have his team be a one-year wonder. I hope they are competitive for the life of his new three-year deal. However, lookout for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Their win over Penn State this year was no fluke and they will be the one to challenge Penn State and Ohio State in 2009.

7. LSU will bounce back in 2009. The Tigers reached back for a defensive performance in the Peach bowl that escaped them all year in SEC play. The Tigers dominated the game and forced 3 turnovers of Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech is also on the rise, but showed they are not ready to face an SEC defense. Don’t feel bad, neither is the rest of the country.

8. Other teams to watch in 2009: Nebraska, Maryland, California, and Boise State.

9. Way to early prediction, 2009 National Championship: Texas vs. Florida

10. Tim Tebow sleeps with a night-light. Not because Tim Tebow is afraid of the dark, but the dark is afraid of Tim Tebow.”

That’s it for today. Check back here in a few days for the NFL weekend picks. Same Tim Tebow site, same Tim Tebow time. Until next time..

Barry Bonds didnt take steroids, he injected Tim Tebow's saliva.”

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