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Weekly Whatup, 12/15
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            There I was – Section 135, Row 28, Seat 16 – right smack dab in the middle of the Georgia Dome watching the Atlanta Falcons hold off Tampa Bay in overtime on Sunday alongside a rocking crowd. Who’d a thunkit?

            Not me, certainly. I have no problems eating my crow when it comes to the Falcons. I said they’d be terrible, they’d be pathetic, they’d be down right tough to bear. I wasn’t sure they’d win a game at all. I was wrong, so I swallowed the pride and went to check things out in person.

            It wasn’t a pretty game – I didn’t expect it to be. Anytime Tampa Bay’s involved, defense will rule the day, and Sunday was no different. But Atlanta pulled out a win on a day in which the young team with a rookie quarterback should’ve lost. Again.

Now the playoffs are in the realm of reality and I hope they get there. There’s not a franchise in the league currently more deserving.

With that being said, I’ll take the Dirty Birds to march on and beat Minnesota in an omen that 1998 is happening all over again: ATL 30, Purple Folks 27.

            After a 4-2 week, still looking good for the holidays: 90-65.


            I’m now convinced.

            After taking in Saturday’s GHSA Class A state championship game at the Georgia Dome – yeah, it was a Dome weekend – I think moving the state title games to Atlanta is a good move.

            I talked with a good friend a couple weeks ago about how the games should be at a home-field site. I can see that side of the argument as well. None of us will forget the electric atmosphere in Paulson Stadium for Statesboro’s 2005 championship game. It was classic. Plus, to some small towns in Georgia, high school football is everything. Hosting the state championship game is a once-in-a-generation event.

            But seeing the atmosphere this weekend at the Dome convinced me the GHSA got this one right. The crowds were larger and louder, and walking on the field after ECI’s loss and before the Cairo-Flowery Branch game (I got stuck behind them in the tunnel and took the field just as they did. I’ll expect my Class AAA state title ring any day now) the goose bumps were undeniable.

            The only question now turns to whether all games should be played on one day – a Super Saturday if you will. Talking to a member of the GHSA, they explained that playing at the Dome does cost quite a bit of money, something I had never taken into consideration. A one-day event would cut back the costs, but the representative also told me that football at 9 a.m. isn’t very popular either.

            Whatever they decide to do, they got it right by having a ‘Weekend of Champions’ in Atlanta. I enjoyed every minute that I was there for it.

            As for title games elsewhere, I wasn’t even close in the FCS world last week. Richmond did it again and Montana dominated James Madison to advance to Chattanooga.

            Attendance will likely be low on Friday night. It’s going to be hard for so many Grizzlies fan to make the long trip: the economy, plus getting unexpected time off work close to the holidays make for slim pickin’s. As for Richmond, their kids don’t even know they even have a football team.

            I’ll take Monty in this one, 17-14.

            How about a little Division III? For the fourth year in a row it’s Mount Union and Wisconsin-Whitewater in the Stagg Bowl somewhere in Virginia.

            They’re many truths in life, one of which being you don’t go against the Purple Raiders. Take Mount Union, 35-24.

Let the Bowls begin

            Despite what ESPN may tell you, this is not the most wonderful time of the year. Instead, it's a time when the argument for a playoff in the FBS is only strengthened.

           The Bowl season starts this weekend and there's five games on the docket - two of which hold the minimal amount of interest.

           We'll start with Wake Forest and Navy. These two have already played with Navy winning in September, 24-17. It's for that reason that I'm picking Wake Forest. The triple-option is tough, but it's even tougher to beat a team twice in one season.

          The only other game worth watching is BYU vs. Arizona in Las Vegas. All jokes about the Stormin' Mormons being a bit distracted in the City of Sin, this is the Cougars' chance to go 3-0 against the Pac-10 this year. I'm feelin' they get it done, 34-20.

         Which brings us to the final three "games" this weekend: Colorado State-Fresno State, Memphis-South Florida and Southern Miss-Troy. I'll save the pain of breaking 'em down: take Fresno, Memphis and Troy.