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Wind chill forecast was an omen

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

Nick from Jacksonville:
When do the Jaguar scouts start evaluating talent for next year's draft?

Vic: It begins with the start of the college football season. Every team has what are called "area scouts." They are scouts who are responsible for a specific area of the country, such as the southeast. They visit the schools for which they are responsible, updating their information on draft-eligible players. The "value board" is something teams begin casually arranging in January. Following the scouting combine in February, the "value board" becomes the intense focus of every scouting department.

Brian from Queens, NY:
What does the NFL PAT rule mean? "The successful conversion counts one point by kick; two points for a successful conversion by touchdown; or one point for a safety."

Vic: We've covered the subject previously. It's called a "try safety." Here's an example: During a try, the placekick holder fumbles the ball and a defensive player kicks, bats or muffs the loose ball out of bounds behind the goal line. Award one point to the offense for a safety against the defense.

Chris from Jacksonville:
I understand we play against an NFC division and an AFC division every year. How far ahead is that decided? Do we know which divisions we play next year, yet?

Vic: Theoretically, the schedule rotation formula is forever, or at least until a new scheduling formula is adopted. Next season, the Jaguars will host Oakland, San Diego, Atlanta, Carolina and the team that finishes in the same place in the AFC East that the Jaguars finish in the AFC South. The Jaguars will travel to Denver, Kansas City, New Orleans, Tampa Bay and to the team that finishes in the same place in the AFC North standings that the Jaguars finish in the AFC South. Those games are in addition to the Jaguars' six AFC South games.

Justin from Westerly, RI:
If an offensive player fumbles the ball (not in the end zone) and then intentionally kicks the ball out of bounds so the defense can't recover, is there a penalty on the play?

Vic: It's called "illegally kicking the ball" and it results in a 10-yard penalty from the spot of the infraction, unless the infraction occurred behind the line of scrimmage. In that case, the penalty is assessed from the previous spot. "Illegally kicking the ball" also includes illegal batting of the ball.

Alex from Miami, FL:
As a fan of football and my NY Giants, I must say that football is about talking smack.

Vic: It's unfortunate that you have that perspective. You're missing a great game.

Chris from Rochester, MN:
Dislike college football even more right now? Michigan loses and is still at number two in the BCS? What's with that?

Vic: The answer is simple: It's the result of a failed system. In 1993, Notre Dame beat Florida State, then lost to Boston College. Notre Dame and Florida State each finished with one loss, but Florida State was awarded the national title, even though it lost to Notre Dame. That was the final straw for me. I can't support that illogic. I love college football and I watch it religiously, but I could care less who wins the national championship because there is no system for providing a true champion. I'm down on college football right now because I don't think it's very good. Imagine Ohio State and Michigan combining for 81 points. That was horrible defense and, frankly, I think it's symbolic of the current state of college football. The only time defense stops offense is when offense stops itself.

Michael from Binghamton, NY:
What can the Jaguars and other teams take from the Cowboys' defeat of the Colts?

Vic: It didn't teach us anything we didn't already know. When Peyton Manning has a bad game, the Colts lose.

Nick from Mountain Ranch, CA:
I don't know what the letters on the backs of the officials' shirts mean. Can you enlighten me?

Vic: R stands for referee, U stands for umpire, BJ stands for Back Judge, FJ stands for Field Judge, SJ stands for Side Judge, LJ stands for Line Judge and HL stands for Head Linesman.

John from St. Augustine, FL:
How embarrassing. They are talking about how many empty seats there are in the stadium. Apparently it is 40 degrees, with the wind chill. Of course, I type this as I sit on my couch in my 74-degree home. I just like watching on TV. I am so ashamed.

Vic: As well you should be. I knew it was going to be a problem when the press box announcer provided a wind chill temperature in his pregame weather report. He said the temperature was 45 degrees and there would be a wind chill of 40 degrees by 11 o'clock. Immediately I thought to myself, "Here come the aliens," and come they did. They didn't abduct as many fans at halftime as they did the previous two weeks, but by the time the third quarter rolled around they were scoopin' 'em up in bunches.

Josh from Great Mills, MD:
Talk about aliens abducting the fans. Even the "Monday Night Football" announcers were laughing about the empty seats. What's the point of having a team in town if fans aren't going to fill the seats for games that have serious playoff implications, especially on a national stage?

Vic: The thing that bothered me most was that the ESPN broadcast crew actually started making excuses for the exodus, blaming it on a brutally cold night that was just too much for the fans to endure. I cringed when I heard that.

Christopher from Williamsburg, VA:
In a previous "Ask Vic," you had mentioned that David Garrard hasn't won the big game as Leftwich has. I was curious if you believe his performance against the Giants qualifies as such?

Vic: I think beating the Giants on Monday Night Football is the biggest win of David Garrard's career to date.

Mike from Jacksonville:
What was the spirit of the rule for coaches not being allowed to wear suits on the sidelines?

Vic: All of the NFL's sideline apparel is provided by Reebok, and NFL coaches must wear approved Reebok apparel on the sideline. When Mike Nolan's initial request to wear a coat and tie on the sideline was denied, Reebok did not offer a coat and tie ensemble. Now they do and that's what Jack Del Rio was wearing last night. As I've always said, this is professional football and it's about the money. That's the spirit of the rule.

James from Philadelphia, PA:
Here are the stats for the Monday night game that stick out to me: Time of possession—Jags 40:19, Giants 19:41; net rushing—Jags 165, Giants 25. Run the ball, stop the run, control the clock. That's Jags football, baby.

Vic: That's playoff football.

Chris from Jacksonville:
It hurts to see Darius go down but Sensabaugh's play was inspiring. He played well against both the run and pass. He only seemed to have a few mistakes. What did you think of him?

Vic: He was forceful and decisive. Gerald Sensabaugh has been groomed as a "jar on the shelf" for two seasons. It's time to play now.

Matt from Wadsworth, OH:
Let me be the first to say happy Thanksgiving and I appreciate all you do for Jags fans, even the ones from out of town. Here's to more "Ask Vic" events.

Vic: This is Thanksgiving week. This is the peak of the football season and a time to give thanks for everyone who makes this game what it is. That includes players, coaches, fans, owners and everybody who would include themselves in this wonderful fraternity. "Ask Vic" has developed its own little fraternity, and for that I say thanks to all our loyal readers. The week is off to a good start. Let's make this a fun week.

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