2011: A poetic season in the NFL
The end of the year is the perfect time,
to look back at the regular season in rhyme.
In Week 1, the Philadelphia Eagles took flight and soared,
Unfortunately, it was the only time they had a winning record.
In Week 2, the Colts front office began thinking and planning,
For life without star quarterback Peyton Manning.
In Week 3, the undefeated Buffalo Bills were in the championship talk,
Later we'd find out they couldn't walk the walk.
In Week 4, Dallas blew another late lead. Oh no!
But Cowboys fans know that's just Romo being Romo.
In Week 5, Al Davis passed away,
Raider Nation mourned down in the Bay.
In Week 6, the 49ers proved their contention wasn't fake,
But their rise was overshadowed by a postgame handshake.
In Week 7, Tebow relieved Orton as Broncos quarterback,
And Denver ran into the playoff race with an option attack.
In Week 8, the Steelers beat the Patriots to become the class of the AFC,
But injuries would continue to hamper them -- an arm, an ankle and a knee.
In Week 9, the legend of Tebow began to grow,
But his status was limited since he still couldn't throw.
In Week 10, Atlanta welcomed New Orleans to town,
And gifted the Saints a win by failing on fourth down.
In Week 11, Chicago fans regretted calling Jay Cutler a bum,
The Bears' season went up in flames all because a thumb.
In Week 12, Ndamukong Suh claimed his foot stomp was a hyperextension,
Roger Goodell didn't buy it and levied a two-game suspension.
In Week 13, the history books welcomed a man named Cam,
For quarterback rushing touchdowns, and not the $180K scam.
In Week 14, James Harrison displayed a lack of rule comprehension,
His illegal hit on Colt McCoy earned him a one-game suspension.
In Week 15, the Packers lost and their chance at perfection was dead,
Green Bay will have to settle for 18-1 instead.
In Week 16, playoff spots remained up in the air,
For Von Miller, Justin Tuck and DeMarcus Ware.
In Week 17, an eventful regular season will conclude,
12 teams will enter the playoffs, while the others have been subdued.
This week's college picks
Champs Sports Bowl
Florida State vs. Notre Dame, Thursday, 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
This isn't 1993, and it's certainly not a Game of the Century, but expect a competitive, low-scoring game. Florida State's last five games have stayed under on total points.
Pick: Under 47
Valero Alamo Bowl
Washington vs. No. 12 Baylor, Thursday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Stanford put up 65 points on Washington, and that was under the leadership of the Heisman runner-up. Can you imagine what the Heisman winner is going to do to the Huskies? Baylor is 4-1 against the spread in its past five games.
Pick: Baylor (-9)
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
BYU vs. Tulsa, Friday, noon ET, ESPN
Tulsa's 8-4 record isn't as pedestrian as it appears. The Golden Hurricane's four losses this season: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Boise State and Houston. Tulsa is 5-1 against the spread in its past six games.
Pick: Tulsa (+1)
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Rutgers vs. Iowa State, Friday, 3:20 p.m. ET, ESPN
Jersey is taking over the Bronx! No, not the guidos. Rutgers is 4-1-1 in its past six games as a neutral-site favorite. Now that's a situation.
Pick: Rutgers (-1)
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Mississippi State vs. Wake Forest, Friday, 6:40 p.m. ET, ESPN
S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C! The most infamous chant in college football. Mississippi State is 4-0 against the spread in its past four bowl games.
Pick: Mississippi State (-6½)
Iowa vs. No. 14 Oklahoma, Friday, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN
The Sooners have a wealth of talent, but will Oklahoma be motivated for the Insight Bowl? Remember, hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. Oklahoma is 1-4 against the spread in its past five bowl games.
Pick: Iowa (+14)
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
Texas A&M vs. Northwestern, Saturday, noon ET, ESPN
The Wildcats have feasted on Big 12 opponents in terms of covering the number. While Texas A&M is on its way out, the Aggies haven't joined the SEC yet. Northwestern is 4-0 against the spread in its past four games against the Big 12.
Pick: Northwestern (+10)
Hyundai Sun Bowl
Georgia Tech vs. Utah, Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, CBS
Utah should be familiar with the triple option from its days playing Air Force in the Mountain West, so Georgia Tech's offense shouldn't surprise the Utes. Utah is 4-1 against the spread in its past five bowl games as an underdog.
Pick: Utah (+3½)
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
Illinois vs. UCLA, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Imagine being terminated from your job and then having to continue to work for the same company for another month. Welcome to the life of Rick Neuheisel. UCLA is 0-4 against the spread in its past four games as an underdog of three points or fewer.
Pick: Illinois (-2½)
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Cincinnati vs. Vanderbilt, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
While the quarterback situation is up in the air at Cincinnati because of Zach Collaros' injury, the Commodores are set with Jordan Rodgers under center -- Aaron Rodgers' younger brother! Vanderbilt is 6-1 against the spread in its past seven games.
Pick: Vanderbilt (-1½)
Virginia vs. No. 25 Auburn, Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Auburn will count on Tre Mason and Onterio McCalebb to pick up the slack for suspended running back Michael Dyer. Auburn is 4-1 against the spread in its past five neutral-site games.
Pick: Auburn (-2½)
No. 19 Houston vs. No. 22 Penn State, Monday, noon ET, ESPNU
Penn State wide receiver Curtis Drake allegedly knocked out Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin earlier this month. At the TicketCity Bowl, the Cougars will probably knock out the Nittany Lions. Houston is 7-1 against the spread in its past eight games as a favorite.
Pick: Houston (-7)
Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl
Ohio State vs. Florida, Monday, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Urban Meyer's old team versus Urban Meyer's future team. Ohio State is 1-5 against the spread in its past six games against the SEC.
Pick: Florida (-2)
No. 17 Michigan State vs. No. 16 Georgia, Monday, 1 p.m. ET, ABC
Michigan State hasn't won a bowl game in 10 years. Georgia is 4-1 against the spread in its past five games against the Big Ten.
Pick: Georgia (-3½)
Capital One Bowl
No. 20 Nebraska vs. No. 9 South Carolina, Monday, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN
Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini and South Carolina defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson will not coach in the Capital One Bowl after each accepted a head-coaching position elsewhere. If that's not a signal for a defensive letdown, I don't know what it is.
Pick: Over 46
Rose Bowl Game Presented By Vizio
No. 10 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Oregon, Monday, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN
Oregon's speed faced the size of Ohio State in the 2010 Rose Bowl. The Ducks lost. Oregon's speed faced the size of Auburn in last season's BCS title game. The Ducks lost. Oregon's speed will face the size of Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl this season. Are you noticing a pattern here?
Pick: Wisconsin (+6½)
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
No. 4 Stanford vs. No. 3 Oklahoma State, Monday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
After LSU and Alabama were announced to play in the BCS title game, the biggest question surrounding the Fiesta Bowl was whether there would be a letdown. Even though Stanford was snubbed, the Cardinal will be ready. Stanford is 7-0 against the spread in its past seven nonconference games.
Pick: Stanford (+3½)
AllState Sugar Bowl
No. 13 Michigan vs. No. 11 Virginia Tech, Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Boise State probably should have qualified for the Sugar Bowl. Being ranked ahead of Virginia Tech and Michigan in the final BCS standings has to count for something, right? For everything the BCS does right, the system got this one wrong. Virginia Tech is 0-4 against the spread in its past four nonconference games.
Pick: Michigan (-2½)
Discover Orange Bowl
No. 23 West Virginia vs. No. 15 Clemson, Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
That awkward moment when you realize BCS automatic qualifiers should be eliminated. West Virginia is 1-4 against the spread in its past five bowl games.
Pick: Clemson (-3)
Last week's picks: 5-4
Season record: 70-56-2 (55.6 percent)
You can follow Sarah Phillips on Twitter @SarahPhilli.