The Carolina Panthers are headed back to the NFL Playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Their dramatic comeback win over the Saints put them in firm control of the NFC South, with just one week remaining. All the Panthers need to do is win in Atlanta on Sunday, and they clinch the division and a first week bye in the post-season.
The odds of this team making any post-season was somewhere between slim and none after their week two loss in Buffalo. Even the most ardent supporter would admit that things were not looking good in Carolina.
But you gotta give Ron Rivera, his staff and players a ton of credit....the Panthers are a confident group....and they are playing terrific football at the right time of the year.
If you scroll to the bottom of Packsmack, you'll see that I've kept a counter on the last time the boys won a playoff game.
I didn't expect it to still be on the site in 2013....but the Panthers will have a chance to eliminate it with a win in January. That's why securing the #2 seed in the playoffs is so important....an extra week of relaxation and another week to heal....not to mention a home game, too.
Congrats to the Panthers on a tremendous season....and hopefully there is more to get excited about, once the calendar turns to 2014.
Last week I was able to mark an item off my "Bucket List".
I attended my first Army-Navy game.
In the 114 years of the rivalry, it had never snowed during the game.....you gotta love the white stuff falling from the heavens in Philadelphia.
It was fabulous.
Not only did I interact with and interview the powerbrokers from both services; I also had the honor to be on the field during the march-in of the Cadets and Midshipmen.
I know it sounds sappy, but it made you feel so proud to watch the men and women that serve our country being honored in that fashion.
I've been to most of the great college football rivalries....but Army-Navy is on another level.
I can't wait to go back....and if you call yourself a sports fan, this game must be on your "Bucket List".
I'm surprised at how many callers I still get on our SiriusXM show that bring up how Alabama would still be the team to beat in the BCS title game.
I have to remind some of these callers, that Bama isn't playing in the BCS title game.
In fact, they aren't the best team in their own state.
I love the passion that Alabama football fans have towards their team.....but some of these folks live in fantasy world.
Sometime, you've got to give "reality" a try.
Auburn and Florida State are playing for crystal.
Bama is playing for the right to quiet Bob Stoops of Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.
The North Carolina basketball team has been tough to figure out this season.
They have been terrific in disposing Top 10 teams like Michigan State, Louisville and Kentucky.
They have been brutal in losses to Belmont, UAB and Texas.
Roy Williams' head must be spinning.
In addition to on the on-court mysteries, there has been the ongoing nightmare surrounding players Leslie McDonald and PJ Hairston.
Finally, there was some closure last week as McDonald was ruled eligible to play, while Hairston saw his UNC career go to the gutter.
The NCAA found that McDonald was driving a Porsche, Camaro, Mercedes and an Audi at some point in time at Chapel Hill. He is now "OK" to play.
UNC didn't even try to reinstate PJ Hairston.....I can only imagine what their investigation turned up?
The Heels will move forward....and they will provide some of the craziest games and outcomes of the season, if the first two months are any indication.
I'd like to wish a Merry Christmas to everyone.....I'll have one more Ripe Gripe, before we shut down the site for a while as we make some changes in 2014.
Have a wonderful Holiday season.
Your Starting Line-Ups
6th Time is the Charm
San Francisco Treat
Carolina on My Mind
Impressing the Judges
I'm a Believer
The Day Has Arrived
A September to Remember
College Football Has Arrived
Another Shot to the Body
Heading to Omaha
A Memorable Memorial
Rain, Rain Go Away.....
Doing It Down Under
Rip 'Em Up...Tear 'em Up
Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
Devil of a Time
Follow the Leader
Watch Out Below
Sports ID Required
Breaking in the New Year