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Weekly Whatup 1.6
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A new year! A new day! A new title for the column perhaps?

            Whattya think of the Tuesday tirade? How about the Tuesday Tantrum, or Tuesday-a-Talkin’-to? Nah, let’s just stick with the Weekly Whatup. Wouldn’t want to ruffle to many feathers, now, would we?

            Speaking of feathers — bam! that was a sweet segue — the Falcons are one-and-done. Admittedly, I didn’t get to see one play of Saturday’s duel in the desert (it was a full day of hoops action all over town) so I can’t comment on the 30-24 loss to Arizona.

            What I can comment on is the future of the Atlanta franchise. It’s a future that is undeniably bright, and it all starts with Matt Ryan.

            Ryan is the type of quarterback that changes a franchise. He’s an Elway, a Montana,  a Brady, a Favre — well, it looks like he could be, anyway. His rookie season is a curse in disguise. With winning comes expectations and every year Matty Ice and the Dirty Birds don’t make the playoffs will be considered failing.

            Hey, would you rather live year-to-year expecting your team to make the playoffs or just pray they have a winning record?

            The Falcons have never had back-to-back winning season in the franchise’s history, a bullet point ATL fans recognize with much annoyance. But if anyone can change that, it appears Ryan can.

            2009 will have the Falcons among the favorites to make the playoffs and maybe even win a division title with Mike, Matt and Michael. That will be the real test. The playoffs in Phoenix was just the first day of class.


            Last week we went 2-2 in the NFL. The more I thought about it as the week went on, the more nervous I felt about the aforementioned Falcons out West. The Cards’ tough passing attack against a young secondary spelled problems, and a problem it turned out to be.

            Anyhoo, Arizona is at Carolina this week, and there’s really no reason to pick against the Panthers. Arizona hasn’t won on this side of the Mississippi since — your guess is as good as mine — and Carolina has had a week to rest, prep and focus.

            I’ll take the Panthers, but closer than many might think, 28-24.

            Just to the north, Philly is back in the Meadowlands to face the defending champs. As is the case in Charlotte, there’s really no reason to pick against the Giants — is there?

            The Eagles remind me of last year’s New Yorkers, in the sense of the regular season turmoil they faced and a quarterback with a chip on his shoulder. Call me crazy, but E-A-G-L-E-S pulls it off: 21-20.

            After watching the Ravens dismantle Miami — I’m a believer. Can anyone stop Ed Reed? Baltimore takes down the Titans, 17-6.

            Finally, San Diego and their little Sproles are in Pittsburgh and this I believe is the toughest game to pick of the four. The Super Chargers have a sneaky-good offense, but can it score on the Steelers’ defense? And even if San Diego can’t score, will Pittsburgh find enough offense to pull out a win?

            I’m a sucker for defense: Towels 12, Bolts 9.

Still Bowling?

            Yes, yes we are. And unfortunately for me, the bowl season continues to drain the ol’ winning percentage.

            After a 10-13 week — including the NFL — the overall is slumping to 108-89. Thankfully, there’s only three to go and I can end this insanity.

            I’ll start with Texas-Ohio State. Even though the game will be long over by the time you read this, it was nowhere near kickoff by the time I wrote it. Trust me.

             Most would believe the Longdityhorns are going to wipe the field with State. I can’t argue with that logic. The Bucks have done nothing in the past few seasons to show they can win a big-time bowl game against a team from below the Mason-Dixon line.

            For that reason, I feel for the Buckeyes and my poor, poor bleeding father.

            O-H, I-O keeps it close, but Texas wins 31-20.

            Next, the biggest game of them all! The GMAC Bowl! I’ll save some ink in these tough economic times: Tulsa 41, Ball State 32.

            Finally, the “National Championship”. I tried to think of whom I could pick that would create the most controversy.

            Utah’s undefeated, Texas is likely to dump Ohio State and Southern Cal rolled over the Big Ten champs. Yet how is the winner of Thursday’s game the one true champ?

            Oklahoma in the upset (?), 35-31.