The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.







Sports Roundup

By Jerry Keys

With the holidays drawing closer, it must be college football bowl season.  College football's big bowl games will be played on January 2 through January 4.  It's nice to see two storied franchises rebounding this year, Notre Dame and Penn State.  Look for Notre Dame to pull off a mini-upset against Ohio State and Penn State to slip past Florida State.

The game everyone wants to see is the National Championship, pitting defending champ USC against Texas.  USC brings in a top flight passing attack while Texas plans to spread their vicious pass defense and force USC QB Matt Leinart to make mistakes in coverage.
USC's offensive totals per game are 580 YPG (yards per game), 316 in the air, 264 on the ground.  Texas' defense allows 280 YPG, 156 in the air, 124 on the ground.  USC's defense allows 344 YPG, 227 in the air, 117 on the ground.  Texas brings in an offense that totals 508 YPG, 234 in the air, 274 on the ground. 

The key to winning is the Texas D against Leinart's offensive weapons.  If it's a shoot-out, USC will win its third straight national title (2004 and 2005

Jerry Keys

outright, 2003 split championship with LSU).  If it is a ball-control, low scoring game, Texas will pull it out.  USC had a few close games throughout the season and this may play into the final score.  USC is more seasoned in big games and close games.

I would have never imagined the Chicago White Sox winning the World Series.  They had a recent history of collapses in the division races over the past few years.  They have bolstered a few weak spots (mainly acquiring Jim Thome at DH) and look stronger going into 2006.

Who knows what moves the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will make in the off-season to attempt to "out-maneuver" one another?  Can the St. Louis Cardinals find the right ingredients in 2006 to win it all?  And what will the Atlanta Braves do to counter the spending spree of the New York Mets?  Could their string of 14 straight titles be in peril?

Rafael Palmeiro is done.  A once sure-fire Hall of Fame member is now an example of what juicing up can do to a career.  He was on track for 600 HRs, 2000 RBIs, and over 3000 hits.  In 2020, he will be like Pete Rose is now, ineligible for enshrinement except by the Veterans


The Committee will never vote in Rose, nor will they vote in Palmeiro.  The Committee is made up of living members of the Hall, living Ford C. Frick Award winners, and living J.G. Taylor Spink Award winners (and one member of the old Veterans Committee whose term will end after the

2007 election). 

There are too many members who have resentment for what Rose did, regardless of his admission to gambling in 2004 (plus the timing of his book, matching the announcement of the 2004 inductees).  And with the cloud of steroids in baseball, Palmeiro will be shunned by the Committee for testing positive.
The 2006 Hall ballot will contain 29 candidates, 14 of them are first time eligible.  None of the newcomers will be elected (a player must garnish at least 5% of the votes to remain on the ballot the following year) and of the 14 newcomers, only one or two will get the 5% needed to remain on the ballot.

This will be a crucial year for a number of near miss candidates because the 2007 election will include Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, and Mark McGwire; all sure-fire first ballot Hall nominees.  Well maybe not McGwire.  He will be heavily scrutinized about his testimony about steroids (he neither admitted nor denied using).  Too

many voters may think he used steroids while playing and will not vote for him.

With the steroid issue on the forefront, some voters are re-examining older players with similar statistics to players becoming eligible who may have taken steroids. 

Pitchers who will receive a great number of votes and maybe enough to be elected are Bruce Sutter and Goose Gossage (they revolutionized the reliever position) and starters Bert Blyleven, Tommy John, and Jack Morris.  Blyleven and John posted numbers equal or better than many current Hall members and Morris was one of the best big game pitchers in history.  All time save leader Lee Smith should receive increased consideration.

Sluggers Jim Rice and Andre Dawson may receive enough votes to be elected.  And childhood favorites Dale Murphy, Alan Trammell, and Dave Concepcion will receive enough votes to remain eligible but nowhere near enough to gain serious consideration.

The NFL playoff picture in the AFC is almost set.  The Indianapolis Colts will receive the #1 seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs (the #1 and #2 seeds receive a first round bye); the #2 seed will belong to the Denver Broncos (may come down to won/loss record in AFC and/or last game of season) who will host the divisional playoff game.

The #3 seed will belong to the Cincinnati Bengals (the Broncos and Bengals will most likely go into the last week of the year tied for the #2 spot and will be decided by the Broncos visiting San Diego and the Bengals visiting Kansas City).  The #3 team will host a first round playoff game.  The #4 seed will be the New England Patriots and they will host a first round playoff game.  The #5 seed is almost guaranteed to the Jacksonville Jaguars who will travel to play #4 New England.

The #6 seed in the AFC will come down to one of three teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, and Kansas City Chiefs.  All three teams were 8-5 at press time.  Look for Pittsburgh to take the #6 seed and travel to play division rival #3 Cincinnati.  In Week 15, Pittsburgh will beat Minnesota, San Diego will lose to Indianapolis, and Kansas City will lose to the New York Giants.  The next week San Diego will play Kansas City and win and Pittsburgh will beat Cleveland.  This will clinch the #6 spot for Pittsburgh because they beat San Diego head-to-head.
In the NFC the Seattle Seahawks will be the #1 seed (they had a 2005 season like most thought they would have had in 2004), and the New York Giants will be the #2 seed (the #2 seed will go down to the final week and possibly down to the tie breaker "in division record").

The #3 seed that will lose out to New York in that tiebreaker will be the Carolina Panthers (the two teams did not play head to head in 2005 and will most likely each have a 9-3 record against NFC opponents; therefore the "in division record" will drop Carolina to a #3).  The #4 seed will be the Chicago Bears and the #5 seed will be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The #6 seed just may go to the resurgent Minnesota Vikings if they can beat the Bears on the final week of the season (both teams could finish 10-6 but the Bears would have a better record against NFC opponents).  The Dallas Cowboys or Washington Redskins may sneak into the #6 spot if Minnesota collapses (Dallas travels to Washington in Week 15).  The Atlanta Falcons will not reach the playoffs.

It should be a Seattle and Indianapolis Super Bowl.  They face each other at Seattle in Week 16 but will the starters be rested?  Just how much will each team show each other if they will be playing a month later for all the marbles?