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Opener has had five months of hype

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Steven from Atlanta, GA:
My brother thinks the Dallas game will be the biggest media event ever at a Jaguars game. I say he is wrong. Do you agree?

Vic: The 1999 AFC title game attracted a greater media representation than what we'll have at Alltel Stadium this Sunday. The Friday pregame press conference, for example, was a big event. In some other ways, however, your brother is right about the hype for this Sunday's game. This game has been on the schedule since last April, which means it's had a lot more hype time than the one week the '99 AFC title game had. It's all about Terrell Owens. His antics don't interest me in the least and I wouldn't have him on my team under any circumstances, but America can't get enough of him. He drives ratings and he's driving the national hype for this Sunday's game.

Scott from Reynoldsburg, OH:
Going into the bye week, if the Jags are 4-1 (ecstatic), 3-2 (nice), 2-3 (don't panic), or 1-4 (it could get ugly). Do you agree?

Vic: Yeah, and I agree that 5-0 may be asking a bit much. When I look at the Jaguars schedule, the two road games (at Houston and at Philadelphia) immediately following the bye week hit me as being crucial. Those two games, in my opinion, will set the table for the Jaguars' run for the playoffs. Four of the Jaguars' final six games are on the road. Four of the final five games of the season are against AFC playoff favorites and those games are probably going to decide the Jaguars' fate this year. In my opinion, the two road games following the bye week must serve as a springboard to a playoff run. The Jaguars don't dare head into the final half of the season at .500 or below.

Bill from Jacksonville:
The Steelers traded a future draft pick for an undrafted free agent running back. I agree with your analysis of them having running back problems, but this free agent must have some great potential for them to trade for him sight unseen, so to speak. I believe his name is Patrick Cobbs. What is your take? Why would the Pats trade him and not put him on their practice squad?

Vic: He is certainly not sight unseen. Cobbs is probably a player the Steelers attempted to sign as an undrafted guy but lost out to the Patriots, who may have offered Cobbs more signing bonus or Cobbs may have thought the Pats provided more of an opportunity to make the team. Either way, the Steelers went looking for a running back when they took a look at what they had and decided they needed help. They attempted to trade for T.J. Duckett during the draft but the Falcons wanted too much in return. Cobbs led the Patriots in rushing in the preseason. The Steelers, no doubt, had a scout at a Patriots game or two and certainly evaluated Cobbs on tape. Cobbs is a quick, smallish (5-9, 210) runner who is best as a receiver out of the backfield. He's a poor man's Brian Westbrook. Kevin Faulk is a reliable veteran who fills that role for the Patriots, who drafted Laurence Maroney in the first round and still have Corey Dillon. The Patriots are well-stocked at running back and Cobbs became a player the Patriots could trade for a draft pick. It's a conditional pick; a likely low-round selection. This is, yet, another example of the Patriots' personnel acumen. The Patriots acquired a draft choice for a player they acquired without drafting. If Cobbs turns out to be a productive player for the Steelers, as undrafted running back Willie Parker has, the trade with the Patriots will say a lot about the Steelers' personnel acumen, too. Good teams keep their eyes open at all times for good, young players, especially ones that come cheap.

Beau from Twin Falls, ID:
Does it concern you at all that the left tackle position is young on this team?

Vic: It would only concern me if the left tackle position was old on this team. Young is good. Old is bad.

Seth from Jacksonville:
Every year it's the same nonsense with the national article about how we are wearing our white uniforms at home. Two years ago, Del Rio said it doesn't matter and we will wear blue at home and start a tradition. Stop the mind games and play ball.

Vic: I think you mean teal, not blue, right? Anyhow, I remain amazed at how uniform colors on a hot day continue to intrigue people. I can't imagine anything more meaningless. Having said that, I know I will now receive a ton of e-mails from pseudo-scientists all over the world. Half of them will give me some scientific gobbledygook about how dark colors absorb heat from the sun, and half of them will provide information to the contrary. Here's the information I use: In the 2003 home opener against the Buffalo Bills, on a blistering hot day at Alltel Stadium, the Jaguars made the Bills, visitors from one of the most northern climes in the NFL, wear their navy blue jerseys. The Bills won the game, 38-17, and Sam Adams didn't have to have his uniform cut off him. That's all I need to know about dark jerseys in the sun.

Max from Los Angeles, CA:
Do the Jaguars have an alternate uniform with teal jerseys and teal pants? I played Madden '07 and I saw they had that option.

Vic: The problem with that combination is what eye shadow do you wear with it?

Luke from Dallas, TX:
How pathetic was that Monday night game between Florida State and Miami? The two teams combined for three total rushing yards. Do either of these teams deserve to be ranked?

Vic: Another college football season is upon us and we still don't have a playoff system in place or even being discussed. It is almost incomprehensible that an organization could be as backward and misguided as NCAA Division I college football is. Rankings? In the year 2006? It's preposterous. Just think, in a few months the bowls will start selecting their teams and then we'll find out which teams travel best, as opposed to the ones that play best.

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