I wish I could say I was excited for these two Conference Championship games but I’m really not. Where are the storylines? None of these teams make for all that appealing of a Super Bowl to me. See my rankings of the potential matchups below (from most interesting to least interesting) and tell me you don’t agree…
1. New England vs. Minnesota: Vikings on their home field with a strong defense against the best QB (Tom Brady) of all-time. I would not hesitate to pick the Vikings straight up.
2. New England vs. Philadelphia: The two best teams during the regular season (prior to Eagles QB Carson Wentz’s season-ending ACL tear) face off in what would be a rematch of Super Bowl XXIX.
3. Jacksonville vs. Philadelphia: Because the winner of this game would have no geographical advantage. Likely a hard-to-watch defensive struggle.
4. Jacksonville vs. Minnesota: If the Jaguars knock of giants Pittsburgh and New England on their home fields, they can’t be ruled out here. But the Vikings would have a decided advantage playing on their home field.
Since 2001, I’ve been to 120 University of Arizona football games. I haven’t missed one played in the state of Arizona since 2007. The Wildcats’ record in those games? A pedestrian 63-57. But two decades of mediocrity ends now…
In the words of the late, great college football broadcaster Keith Jackson, “WHOA NELLY!”
I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited for an Arizona football season as I will be in 2018!
Sunday’s announcement that the Wildcats were hiring former Houston and Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin might have been overdue to some but was welcome news to this alum and UA football diehard.
I’m actually looking forward to the day Tom Brady and Bill Belichick retire and/or leave New England. Picking against New England with both still at the helm is foolish – you’ll be wrong a lot more often than you’re right. And honestly, talking about parity in the NFL with the Patriots still in the peak of their dynasty takes some of the shine away from that argument. Is there such a thing as being TOO good in sports? Guess we’ll find out once again starting this weekend. Now on to the picks…
FIRST DOWN – The winner of College Football’s National Championship Game will be…
ALABAMA. Let’s say 31-21 over Georgia.
Nick Saban has never lost to one of his former assistant coaches in his illustrious career…I believe he’s 11-0. Well make it 12-0 as Alabama’s offense cranks it up in the 2nd half against a Georgia team that will have to abandon the run after falling behind early.
Happy New Year to all! What a fun weekend of football it was despite the fact that my Monday bowl game predictions went a whopping 0-5 straight up (but fortunately we won’t discuss those in this column)! Let’s hope that’s not an omen for things to come regarding my picks in 2018.
Before I predict both the NFL playoffs, I wanted to offer some brief thoughts on the coaching departure of Bruce Arians from the Cardinals.
Having gone 49-30-1 in the regular season as Cardinals coach, considering at times he was working with significantly inferior QB play, is very impressive. Arians’ one playoff win in three tries was a thriller against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in early 2016 though Arizona couldn’t get past the Panthers the following week in the NFC Championship Game.
As discussed in last Friday’s column, I honestly believe that Wednesday night’s Foster Farms Bowl is quite a setback for Arizona’s football program. The reaction in Tucson towards Rich Rodriguez’s team is one of apathy as is…fans have proven that they aren’t going to pay to watch star QB Khalil Tate nor an underachieving program. I feel as though most people in Tucson wait for the bottom to drop out when watching Arizona football…and it did so once again with under two minutes to play on Wednesday night in a 38-35 loss to Purdue.
So what can be done to rectify the problem? In my opinion there are only two realistic solutions: