New Years Day is usually a day of new beginnings. People make resolutions to lose weight, save more money or quit smoking. New Years Day in college football is a day of endings. As many as 20 teams would normally be playing in a bowl game today. Such historic games as the Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl and the majestic Rose Bowl in Pasadena are a time honored tradition. Waking up and watching the Rose Bowl Parade, fighting off the last of the New Years Eve hangover and sitting down for a day of college football. This year however, the first time since 2006, there are no college bowl games. The professional sports superpower known as the NFL has taken over this day on 1/1/12. And for the 20 NFL teams it will be the end of their season. But for the lucky 12 teams who have grinded out wins for the last 17 weeks of the season, their resolution to win the Superbowl has just begun.
The NFL is hands down the most popular sporting entity in the United States with nearly 10 million households watching on any given Sunday. As many as 13 of the 16 games played today will have playoff implications, so fans from all across the country will be watching to see how their favorite teams will do. Some teams have already locked up a playoff berth and are just jockeying for positioning while others need to win and/or have other teams lose to make into the postseason.
Locally, your New England Patriots have already reserved themselves a spot in the playoffs and a “bye” for the first round. If they win or the Baltimore Ravens AND Pittsburgh Steelers lose they will get the #1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the AFC championship game. However, many feel if should they get the #2 seed, they will still end up with a first round bye and have an easier road to the Superbowl. Assuming there are no upsets (What’s the saying? Assuming only makes a donkey out of you and me?), the Patriots would have a home game vs. the injury-depleted Houston Texans, who are playing without their top 2 quarterbacks. If they manage to win that game then they would travel to face the Steelers OR the Ravens, both of whom are beatable.
But folks anything can happen on Any Given Sunday. After all, it is a New Year!