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College Football Bowl Picks: Rose Bowl, Michigan State vs Stanford, Fiesta Bowl, Central Florida vs Baylor

  By Brad Carroll  
Many will dance on the grave of the BCS in less than a week. Heck, everyone but the creators will be celebrating when the college football season comes to an epic conclusion and the controversial points system dies for good. But it doesn't mean we can't enjoy the last crop of BCS games before everything changes with a four-team playoff next season. It starts with a pair of great games New Year's Night. Here we preview and our college football experts pick against the spread the Rose Bowl between No. 4 Michigan State and No. 5 Stanford and the Fiesta Bowl between No. 15 Central Florida and No. 6 Baylor.

College Football Bowl Picks: Gator Bowl, Nebraska vs Georgia, Outback Bowl, Iowa vs LSU, Capital One Bowl, South Carolina vs Wisconsin, Heart of Dallas Bowl, UNLV vs North Texas

  By Brad Carroll  
Finally, we've reached the point where the bowl games take on a whole new meaning. Finally, a new year is upon us, which in college football, represents the beginning of an epic conclusion to the season. But before we get to the championship battle between Florida State and Auburn next Monday night, we have the traditional New Year's Day bowl lineup to enjoy first. Here we preview and our college football experts pick against the spread the Gator Bowl between No. 22 Georgia and Nebraska, the Heart of Dallas Bowl between UNLV and North Texas, the Outback Bowl between No. 16 LSU and Iowa and the Capital One Bowl between No. 9 South Carolina and No. 19 Wisconsin.

College Football Bowl Picks: V100 Bowl, Boston College vs Arizona, Sun Bowl, Virginia Tech vs UCLA, Liberty Bowl, Rice vs Mississippi State, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Duke vs Texas A&M

  By Brad Carroll  
As we get closer to the BCS national championship game between Florida State and Auburn the matchups get bigger in bowl games across the nation. That's no different with the four games slated for Tuesday. Here we preview and our college football experts pick against the spread the AdvoCare V100 Bowl between Boston College and Arizona, the Sun Bowl between Virginia Tech and No. 17 UCLA, the Liberty Bowl between Rice and Mississippi State and the Chick-fil-A Bowl between No. 24 Duke and No. 21 Texas A&M.

College Football Bowl Picks: Armed Forces Bowl, Middle Tenn v Navy, Music City Bowl, Ole Miss v Georgia Tech, Alamo Bowl, Oregon v Texas, Holiday Bowl, Arizona St v Texas Tech

  By Brad Carroll  
As we get closer to the BCS national championship game between Florida State and Auburn the matchups get bigger in bowl games across the nation. That's no different with the four games slated for Monday. Here we preview and our college football experts pick against the spread the Armed Forces Bowl between Middle Tennessee and Navy, the Music City Bowl between Ole Miss and Georgia Tech, the Alamo Bowl between No. 10 Oregon and Texas and the Holiday Bowl between No. 14 Arizona State and Texas Tech.

Giants 20, Redskins 6: Handing Out Game Balls After Giants Win To Jerrel Jernigan, Justin Tuck, Jon Beason, Jacquian Williams, Giants Corners

Jerrel Jernigan celebrates a touchdown. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
This lost season for the New York Giants has finally come to an end, finishing with a 20-6 victory over the Washington Redskins Sunday afternoon. It's wasn't the best-played game in the world, but the Giants got the job done and ended winning seven of their final 10 games for a 7-9 record this year.

The Giants now hobble into the offseason, as injuries knocked Eli Manning, Will Beatty, Hakeem Nicks, Rueben Randle and James Brewer all out of the game Sunday. Beatty's injury is the most serious, as he broke his right leg. While all injuries are terrible, it allowed young players to step up and audition for bigger roles with the team next season, led by wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan.

Justin Tuck, Jon Beason, Jerrel Jernigan Do Best To Play Way Into Roles With Giants Next Season, Not So Much For Nicks And Brown

Justin Tuck should be back with Giants next year. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
It wasn't pretty, with poor play and injuries on seemingly every play, but the New York Giants accomplished their goal of winning seven of their final 10 games by beating the Washington Redskins Sunday afternoon. The 20-6 home victory gives the Giants a 7-9 record to end the year, impressive considering the team started the season with six straight losses.

But nobody is going to look back on this season with fond memories. It was easily one of the worst starts in franchise history and was impossible to come back from. The end result was a Giants team that has now missed the postseason in four of the past five seasons. While the Giants ended the year on a positive note, beating the Redskins, it sure came at a cost with countless injuries to key players.

Geno Smith Makes His Case To Be Jets Starting Quarterback Next Season With Tremendous Finish In Miami

Geno Smith celebrates a touchdown against Miami. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
There was always two major decisions for the New York Jets' hierarchy to make when this regular season turned into the offseason. First, it was to determine the future of coach Rex Ryan. Next, it was whether or not Geno Smith had a future with the team as a starting quarterback. The first question has been answered, as owner Woody Johnson announced after the Jets defeated the Dolphins 20-7 in the season finale Sunday that Ryan would return as head coach. The second question is yet to be answered.

Based on his play this entire season, there is no way the Jets can go into next season with Smith as the clear-cut starting quarterback. He threw 21 interceptions and was downright horrible in eight games. More often than not, Smith made Mark Sanchez look like Peyton Manning by comparison. Smith had a string of four straight games where he completed eight or fewer passes, which is shocking.

Jets 20, Dolphins 7: Handing Out Game Balls After Jets End Season With Impressive Victory, Rex Ryan, Geno Smith, Dee Milliner, Bilal Powell, Sheldon Richardson, More

Geno Smith scores a rushing touchdown. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
The New York Jets finished the regular season on the ascent, beating the everything-to-play-for Miami Dolphins 20-7 Sunday afternoon. The Jets end the year with an 8-8 record, which feels better than it looks considering nobody wants this season to end. The Jets have played their best football right now, winning their final two games of the season, the first winning streak of the year, to finish second in the AFC East, and create a very positive future.

The Jets did enough this season for owner Woody Johnson and general manager John Idzik to tell Ryan before the game he would be back next season. All three refused to say whether or not there would be a contract extension, however, meaning right now, Ryan would be a lame duck coach next year. But that isn't a worry for the vast majority of Jets fans, who are ecstatic by the win and the fact they will have their coach back.

Rex Ryan Will Return As Jets Coach Next Season, Just As He Should

Rex Ryan will returns as Jets coach next year. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson announced after the team's victory over the Miami Dolphins in the season finale that head coach Rex Ryan would return in 2014. Ryan led a team many thought wouldn't win four games this season to an 8-8 record. The Jets finished the year with two straight wins, including a 20-7 victory over a Dolphins team that was playing for their postseason lives.

The Jets finished in second place in the AFC East.

Ryan will coach the Jets for his sixth season next year. It's the right call for this organization moving forward, especially considering the fans' outcry of support for Ryan. Johnson and general manager John Idzik wouldn't say whether or not Ryan will get a contract extension, however.

Jets at Dolphins Preview: Jets Can Finish 8-8, Ruin Miami's Postseason Hopes With Victory On Road, Plus Latest On Coach Rex Ryan's Future

  By Brad Carroll  
It's truly amazing a head coach in the NFL who is about to miss the postseason for the third straight season could have as much love and support from players and fans alike as Rex Ryan currently does. It's no secret Jets players want to play for Ryan, as they have made it clear the past week. But it's the Jets fans' loyalty to Ryan that is surprising, as coaches who don't make the playoffs are typically a target of hate, not love.

For Jets fans, the end of this season has become more a battle of letting general manager John Idzik know they want to keep Ryan as head coach. Jets fans, for all their faults, are some of the most outspoken in the league. It's the reason why the team gets so much media attention. So, when they want to take up a fight, they will be heard. And they've been all over social media in support of Ryan.

Redskins at Giants Preview: Giants Close Disappointing Season At Home Against Washington With Chance To Finish With 7 Wins In Final 10 Games

  By Brad Carroll  
The 2013 football season for the New York Giants and their fans comes to an end Sunday afternoon against the Washington Redskins. In a hugely disappointing season, the Giants can't finish with a .500 record and could end up with double-digit losses if they lose at home in the season finale. On a positive, a victory would give the Giants seven wins in their final 10 games, which is impressive for any playoff team in the league.

But, overall, whether the Giants finish 7-9 or 6-10, this season will be forgotten as soon as the clock reads all zeroes at MetLife Stadium. While the Giants made a nice run in the middle of the year to give themselves and fans hope they could make what would have been a shocking run to the postseason, the writing was on the wall after an 0-6 start to the season.

Unlike most teams in this exact situation, the Giants aren't worried about turning the entire organization over. Coach Tom Coughlin will be back unless he decides to retire, which would be a surprise. Quarterback Eli Manning, despite leading the NFL in interceptions, will be the quarterback next year and until he decides to hang up his cleats for good.  There will be plenty of roster upheaval, as there is with every team in the NFL, but the main pieces are in place.

College Football Bowl Picks: Pinstripe Bowl, Rutgers vs Notre Dame, Belk Bowl, Cincinnati vs North Carolina, Russell Athletic Bowl, Miami vs Louisville, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Michigan vs Kansas State

  By Brad Carroll  
As we get closer to the BCS national championship game between Florida State and Auburn the matchups get bigger in bowl games across the nation. That's no different with the four games slated for Saturday. Here we preview and our college football experts pick against the spread the Pinstripe Bowl between Rutgers and No. 25 Notre Dame, the Belk Bowl between Cincinnati and North Carolina, the Russell Athletic Bowl between Miami and No. 18 Louisville and the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl between Kansas State and Michigan.

Our Top 15 Most Read Stories From 2013, With Sgt. Slaughter, Mock Drafts & College Football Leading Way

  By Brad Carroll  
Here is our list of the Top 15 most read stories from 2013. It's highlighted by our story on wrestling legend Sgt. Slaughter, which comes in at No. 1, and our college football coverage, which has seven of the top 15 stories for the year. There's Jets, Mets and more below. Enjoy the list, check out the links and have a Merry Christmas from all of us at GameDay.

1. Sgt. Slaughter talks Hogan, McMahon, Heel Turn, Lots More
Matt Straub went one-on-one with Sgt. Slaughter, one of the legends of professional wrestling, back in May and it became not only the most read story of 2013, but one of the most read stories ever on our website. Sgt. Slaughter talked about everything from his career to Hulk Hogan to Vince McMahon to his heel turn as an Iraqi sympathizer. He also put Matt in the Cobra Clutch. Check out the story, and photo, at the link.

Our Top 10 Most Read High School Sports Stories From 2013, State Title Victory By Southington Is No. 1

  By Brad Carroll  
Here is our list of the Top 10 most read stories from our high school sports coverage from 2013. It's highlighted by the success of the Southington football team, which owns five of the 10 spots on our list. Football rules the list overall, but we have hockey and softball moments that made it as well. Enjoy the list, check out the links and have a Merry Christmas from all of us at GameDay.

1. Class LL State Championship, Southington vs. Fairfield Prep
Our GameDay Live coverage of the state football championship game beat all others by a huge margin. Click the link to relive the Blue Knights title game victory, with the most play-by-play write-ups we've ever done before in our football coverage. It was Southington's second ever state crown in the sport.

College Football Bowl Picks: Military Bowl, Marshall vs Maryland, Texas Bowl, Syracuse vs Minnesota, Fight Hunger Bowl, BYU vs Washington

  By Brad Carroll  
As we get closer and closer to the BCS national championship game between Florida State and Auburn the matchups get bigger and bigger in bowl games across the nation. That's no different with the three games slated for Friday. Here we preview and our college football experts pick against the spread the Military Bowl between Marshall and Maryland, the Texas Bowl between Syracuse and Minnesota and the Fight Hunger Bowl between BYU and Washington.

Check back throughout the bowl season for all of our previews and game picks. Read our columns on the Las Vegas Bowl, New Mexico Bowl, Idaho Potato Bowl and New Orleans Bowl here, the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl and Hawaii Bowl here and the Little Caesars Bowl and Poinsettia Bowl here.

College Football Bowl Picks:
Little Caesars Bowl, Pittsburgh vs Bowling Green, Poinsettia Bowl, Utah State vs No. 23 Northern Illinois

  By Brad Carroll  
College football fans won't get to open any bowl game presents on Christmas Day, but there's a pair of games Thursday, and a bunch more throughout the next two weeks, to keep a smile on everyone's face with those late gridiron gifts. Here we preview and our college football experts pick against the spread the Little Caesars Bowl between Pittsburgh and Bowling Green and the Poinsettia Bowl between Utah State and No. 23 Northern Illinois.

Check back throughout the bowl season for all of our previews and game picks. Read our columns on the Las Vegas Bowl, New Mexico Bowl, Idaho Potato Bowl and New Orleans Bowl here and the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl and Hawaii Bowl here.

Giants 23, Lions 20 (OT): Giants End Detroit's Playoff Hopes With One Of Most Impressive Victories Of Season, Handing Out Game Balls & Falls

Will Hill celebrates his pick-six with teammates. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
Looking at the big picture, the New York Giants overtime victory over the Lions Sunday didn't mean much. The Giants have long ago been eliminated from the postseason, leaving most of this season to be played for nothing more than pride. But the Giants 23-20 win was one of the better moments of the season.

The Giants came into this game in Detroit 10-point underdogs with little chance to win considering the Lions were playing for their postseason lives. But the Giants were the ones to answer the call in the first half, leading 13-3 going into the break. When the Lions scored 17 straight points to take a seven-point lead with five minutes to play in the game, it was the Giants that again came up with the big play, as Will Hill returned an interception for a touchdown to tie the game.

Jets 24, Browns 13: Geno Smith, Jets Play Best Game In Weeks, Make Statement In Support Of Rex Ryan With Win, Handing Out Game Balls

David Nelson after one of his two touchdowns. (AP phot)
  By Brad Carroll  
The New York Jets came through with one of their most impressive victories of the season Sunday afternoon, beating the Cleveland Browns 24-13. Over the final 36:47 of the game, the Jets outscored the Browns 24-3 to put themselves in position to finish the season at .500 with a win next week against Miami.

It was a day that saw Geno Smith and the offense have their best game since Week 7 against the Patriots. It had the defense playing with emotion and fire, holding the Browns to 283 yards and creating two turnovers. It was also a day to make a statement the team wants Rex Ryan to be the Jets coach next season.

Rex Ryan Deserves To Be Back As Jets Head Coach Next Season, Now It's On John Idzik To Make Right Decision

Rex Ryan high-fives fans after beating the Browns. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
When the New York Jets fell behind 10-0 to the Browns at home Sunday afternoon, it sure looked like the end was near for head coach Rex Ryan. After reports surfaced from FOX before the game that Ryan told his team Saturday night he thought he would be fired after the season and wanted them to give him their best effort Sunday, it wasn't a good sign the team was behind so early.

But the Jets turned the game, and perhaps the entire direction of the franchise, around completely after taking over possession trailing by 10 points with just under seven minutes to go in the second quarter. The Jets offense, led by Geno Smith and Chris Ivory, would go on to score 10 points in the final 6:47 of the quarter and 24 points overall in the final 37 minutes of the game. The defense, which played with fire and emotion the whole way, allowed the Browns to score just three points the rest of the way.

It added up to a 24-13 victory over the Browns and, more importantly, made the decision of whether or not to fire Ryan after the season an extremely difficult one. The Jets players proved on the field if they had a choice in the matter, Ryan would be their head coach next season and beyond.

Giants at Lions Preview: Stopping Calvin Johnson, Turning Over Matthew Stafford Key For Giants Pulling Upset Against Detroit

  By Brad Carroll  
There isn't much intrigue to the final two weeks of the season for the New York Giants. The Giants were eliminated from the postseason race long ago, but unlike other teams around the league that could be going into an offseason of upheaval, Big Blue will likely stay the course. There won't be any major changes in the front office. The coach isn't on the hot seat. And the quarterback, despite throwing the most interceptions in the NFL this season, isn't going anywhere either.

The Giants have missed the playoffs four of the last five seasons, but the base is there for a team that could contend for a postseason spot next year as is. Of course, there will be differences between this roster and the one that will take the field next September.

Browns at Jets Preview: With Playoff Chances Gone, Jets Focus On Finishing Strong As Futures Of Rex Ryan, Geno Smith Could Be Decided

  By Brad Carroll  
When Justin Tucker connected on a 61-yard field goal Monday night to send the Ravens to an 18-16 victory over the Lions it was the final dagger in this season for the New York Jets. There will be two more games to be played, but the Baltimore victory made it official - the Jets have no shot to make the playoffs.

So, for the third straight year, the Jets have failed to make the postseason. The Jets can still finish 8-8, which would save a losing season, but the true attention of the organization now turns to the future, including the status of head coach Rex Ryan, the decision regarding whether or not Geno Smith will be the team's starting quarterback going forward, and creating a plan of action to get better at every single position, except defensive line, over the next several months.

College Football Bowl Picks: Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, Ohio vs East Carolina, Hawaii Bowl, Boise St vs Oregon St

Hawaii Bowl, Oregon State vs. Boise State, plus Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl
  By Brad Carroll  
The first day of the college football bowl schedule is almost in the books and the games are only going to get better as we move closer to the BCS national championship game in early January between Florida State and Auburn. Here we preview and our college football experts pick against the spread the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl between Ohio and East Carolina Monday afternoon and the Hawaii Bowl between Boise State and Oregon State Tuesday night.

Check back throughout the bowl season for all of our previews and game picks.

College Football Bowl Picks: Las Vegas Bowl, Southern Cal vs Fresno State, New Mexico Bowl, Washington State vs Colorado State, Idaho Potato Bowl, Buffalo vs San Diego State, New Orleans Bowl, Tulane vs LA-Lafayette

Las Vegas Bowl, New Orleans Bowl, New Mexico Bowl, Potato Bowl below
  By Brad Carroll  
It's amazing to believe the college football season is less than three weeks away from ending, with the best teams playing for the big hardware, especially Florida State and Auburn, who will play for the national championship, and others taking part in bowl games across the country. Playing in a bowl game isn't exactly an exclusive club reserved for the best teams anymore, but it's a thrill nonetheless for those involved in each game, especially the lesser-known schools.

While most fans, us included, would like the bowl lineup reduced (as 70 teams play in 35 bowl games), it does mean one thing - there will be plenty of football to watch over the next three weeks. We start our postseason edition of our college football picks column with four bowl games to be played Saturday, highlighted by No. 20 Fresno State taking on No. 25 Southern Cal in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Jets Eliminated From Playoff Contention After Justin Tucker's 61-Yard Field Goal, Late Interception Gives Ravens Victory Over Lions

  By Brad Carroll  
For the second straight year, the New York Jets' season came to an end on Monday Night Football in Week 15. Last season, Mark Sanchez turned the ball over five times, including one each on the final three drives of the game, in a 14-10 loss to the Titans. This season, the Jets watched from their homes as Ravens kicker Justin Tucker kicked a 61-yard field goal and Baltimore held on to beat the Lions 18-16.

The Jets were eliminated from postseason contention with the Baltimore victory. The Jets and Ravens could both finish the season with 8-8 records, but Baltimore wins the tiebreaker due to its head-to-head win a month ago. This will be the third straight season the Jets will miss the playoffs, the first time that has happened since the team missed the playoffs from 1992-1997.

Panthers 30, Jets 20: Blocked Punt, Pick-Six Doom Jets' Chances At Pulling Upset In Carolina, Postseason Chances Are On Life Support

Ed Reed and Dee Milliner can't stop DeAngelo Williams. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
The New York Jets finally grabbed momentum from the Carolina Panthers entering the fourth quarter Sunday in a must-win game. After stopping the Panthers on fourth and two, where coach Ron Rivera decided to go for it instead of kicking a field goal, the Jets went 77 yards and scored on a one-yard run by defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson to cut the deficit to 16-13.

The Jets forced the Panthers to punt on the next series, but the offense couldn't move the ball on the subsequent drive and had to punt it back to Carolina. The Jets decided to go with an extra gunner on the punt team, adding a player with speed to make sure Panthers kick returner Ted Ginn didn't break a big return. By doing that, the Panthers were allowed to have a defensive player line up over the long-snapper.

That decision turned out to be the Jets' undoing not only in the game but perhaps their season as well. Carolina's Jason Williams came through the middle of the line untouched and easily blocked the punt by Ryan Quigley, giving the Panthers the ball at the Jets' 14. Four plays later all the momentum the Jets had built up was gone, as Mike Tolbert scored to push the Panthers' lead to 10.

Seahawks 23, Giants 0: Antrele Rolle Calls Out Offense After Another Terrible Performance By Eli Manning And Company In Shutout Loss

Justin Tuck watches another Giants loss. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin was exactly right when he said after the team's loss to the Seattle Seahawks Sunday that it was "a pathetic offensive performance." In no uncertain terms, the Giants offense lost this game, totaling just 181 yards and turning the ball over five times in a 23-0 defeat.

But it was safety Antrele Rolle that had the most disparaging comments, directed right at the offense. Rolle, who is having a Pro Bowl-type season, didn't hide his displeasure with the offensive performance, which has been downright pathetic for the entire season. When asked if he was putting the blame for the loss on the offense, after calling out players for not playing with heart, Rolle said, "You all saw the game. I don't have to say anything. This isn't about pointing fingers, but you saw the game. You know what you saw."

Jets at Panthers Preview: Jets Must Beat Panthers On Road To Keep Postseason Hopes Alive, Here's How They Can Pull Off Big Upset

  By Brad Carroll  
For a team that has been more down than up, more terrible than good, it's almost impossible to believe with three games to go the New York Jets still have a shot at making the postseason. But the Jets do, and with three victories in their final three games, they actually have a great chance at making it in as a wild card.

After losing three straight games after the bye week, embarrassing losses to Buffalo, Baltimore and Miami, where the offense could barely make it into the red zone, let alone the end zone, there wasn't much reason to believe the Jets could even sniff a playoff spot. There was no talk of playoffs, but rather whether or not Rex Ryan and Geno Smith would be with the team next season.

But the rest of the contenders for the final wild card spot weren't doing much better around the league and when the Jets rebounded to beat the Raiders last week, suddenly the playoffs were a realistic option again. Of course, all that might be more wishful thinking for the team and the fans than the reality of the situation, but a chance is a chance. And, oh yeah, the Jets have a more than solid chance.

Seahawks at Giants Preview: Giants Host One Of NFL's Best Teams As Seattle Comes Into MetLife Stadium, Here's How Giants Can Pull Upset

  By Brad Carroll  
Sunday afternoon might not be the only time the Seattle Seahawks play a game at MetLife Stadium this season. The Seahawks, in town to play the New York Giants for a 1 p.m. game, are the favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, which will be played at the Meadowlands in February.

The Seahawks are 11-2 this season and own a one-game lead over the New Orleans Saints for home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Giants won't have the opportunity to play any more meaningful games over the final three weeks of the season, as their playoff hopes were ended last week. This will be a chance to prove they aren't that far off from one of the best teams in football, however, as the Giants could set up a solid stretch of football to close the regular season and build momentum going into the offseason.

GameDay Live Football Scoring:
Class LL State Championship
(4) Southington Vs (7) Fairfield Prep

 Southington 52, Fairfield Prep 34
Class LL State Championship
FINAL
Southington is the Class LL State Champions!
(7) Fairfield Prep                    14   14     0     6   -   34
(4) Southington                       7     7   14   24   -   52

LAST SCORING PLAY
: Southington's Stephen Barmore scores on a 67-yard interception return.

Florida State QB Jameis Winston Will Win Heisman Trophy, Plus Full Ballot And Navy Vs Army Predictions

Winston, Williams, Mason, McCarron and Manziel. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
There will be very little intrigue at Saturday's Heisman trophy ceremony, as Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is a near-guarantee to take the biggest symbol of college football greatness back to Tallahassee. The leader of the No. 1 team in the nation has had the best season, by far, of any player in the country and it would be a grave injustice if he didn't win the Heisman.

It's no surprise that all three of our college football experts here at GameDay, me, Craig and Glenn, have selected Winston to win the top prize in the land. Possibly, the bigger surprises will be how the vote plays out, with how much Winston wins by and how the 2-through-6 slots work out, being something to follow.

The Heisman trophy presentation will cap a short but always historic day of college football, as the lead-in is the always-riveting Army-Navy matchup that afternoon. We preview and pick against the spread that game below, along with my Heisman trophy ballot.

Jets Have Realistic Shot At Final Wild Card Spot If They Can Win Final Three Games This Season, Breaking Down Race For Postseason

  By Brad Carroll  
The New York Jets' victory over the Oakland Raiders Sunday kept their postseason hopes alive, but the climb to the final wild card spot isn't as simple as the one-game deficit might suggest. The Jets lose tiebreakers to both the Ravens and Dolphins, who are tied for the final spot with 7-6 records. The Ravens own the tiebreaker over the Dolphins as well, so they own the sixth playoff spot right now.

The Jets, at 6-7, will almost certainly need to sweep the final three games on their schedule to even have a chance at making the playoffs. If they did sweep, the Jets would finish 9-7, but would still need a lot of help from teams beating the Ravens, Dolphins and Chargers, who are currently tied with the Jets at 6-7.

But the Jets' chances aren't impossible. They are actually quite realistic if, and only if, the Jets can somehow win the final three games on their schedule. That is going to be a tough chore, with a game at Carolina next week, then a home game against Cleveland, before finishing on the road at Miami. The last two games are winnable, but the Panthers game will require a huge upset.

Chargers 37, Giants 14: Postseason Chances Finally Come To An End For Giants After Road Loss In San Diego, Handing Out Game Falls, Game Balls

Eli Manning and the Giants were eliminated Sunday. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
The New York Giants finally ran out of chances to stay in the postseason race Sunday night, losing to the Chargers in San Diego which eliminated them from playoff contention. Even though the Giants made it interesting by winning five of their previous six games before this week, the 0-6 start to the season was a killer and something the team couldn't overcome.

The Giants remained in the postseason race until Week 14, however, so that is something to be happy about if you root for Big Blue. The team could have gone in the tank after going six weeks without a victory, but the Giants fought back into the race and if they could have defeated the Cowboys at home a couple weeks ago, things could have been completely different.

But the facts are the facts and the Giants will miss the postseason for the fourth time in five years. The Giants will finish without a winning record. The Giants have three more games to prove they can be better than they were against the Chargers, a 37-14 blowout loss. The loss was reminiscent of the team's play in September, when they got themselves into an 0-6 hole they couldn't climb out of.

College Football Bowl Breakdown: BCS National Championship, No. 1 Florida State Vs No. 2 Auburn, Plus Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl And Best Of The Rest

Florida State vs. Auburn plus more breakdowns below
  By Brad Carroll  
Leading up to the final BCS standings in history, there was a ton of potential controversy that could have sent the much-maligned system out with a furor. But much like every other season, all the questions were answered on the field, and we'll have a national championship game that everyone can agree upon.

No. 1 Florida State will play No. 2 Auburn for the right to call themselves national champions January 6 in Pasadena, the Rose Bowl site.

The final BCS standings ever released was helped by Michigan State's upset of Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Saturday night. That knocked the Buckeyes out of the national title picture and allowed one-loss Auburn to move in. Undefeated Florida State was guaranteed a spot after beating Duke in the ACC Championship game. For once, nobody can complain.

Jets 37, Raiders 27: Jets Stay In Playoff Hunt As Geno Smith, Offense Finally Come Alive In Big Win Over Raiders, Handing Out Game Balls

Geno Smith celebrates a touchdown against Oakland. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
The New York Jets accomplished their goal Sunday afternoon, beating the Oakland Raiders 37-27 as Geno Smith and the offense finally came alive. But the rest of the league didn't help the Jets out in their quest for the postseason. The Jets did stay within one game of the final wild card spot by improving to 6-7, and that was the most important thing.

But the Dolphins beat the Steelers and the Ravens defeated the Vikings, both with unbelievable finishes, to stay one game ahead of the Jets at 7-6. Both of those teams also own a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Jets, but the Dolphins and Gang Green play one more time this season. The Steelers and Titans both lost Sunday, so they can't catch the Jets if they win out. The Chargers remain tied with the Jets after they defeated the Giants, however.

So, while it was a good day for the Jets on the field, it wasn't that great away from home, as the rest of the league didn't cooperate.

Giants At Chargers: Eli Manning Goes Head-To-Head With Philip Rivers As Giants Try And Keep NFC East Title Hopes Alive In Must-Win Game

  By Brad Carroll  
Eli Manning and Philip Rivers have been in the league so long many young fans might not even realize the two quarterbacks will forever be connected. Back in the 2004 NFL draft, almost a decade ago, the San Diego Chargers held the No. 1 overall pick while the New York Giants had the fourth pick. Both teams needed and wanted a quarterback, but the problem was Manning publicly refused to play for the Chargers, even if they did end up drafting him.

Well, the Chargers drafted him anyway, making for some very awkward photos of Manning holding up the San Diego jersey after the announcement. But it didn't last long, as a blockbuster trade was already in the works.

The Chargers ended up working out a deal with the Giants to trade Manning for a 2005 first round draft pick, other draft choices and had Big Blue select Rivers with the fourth overall selection and send him to San Diego as well. The future of a third quarterback was determined too with the trade, as Ben Roethlisberger went to the Steelers a few picks later. If the Giants didn't get Manning, they would have taken Roethlisberger with the fourth overall pick, not Rivers.

Raiders At Jets Preview: Jets Need Victory To Stay Alive In Wild Card Hunt, While Geno Smith, Rex Ryan Could Lose Jobs With Loss At Home

  By Brad Carroll  
The New York Jets are on the verge of the worst stretch of football in the Rex Ryan Era. The Jets have lost three straight games, each worse than the last, getting blown out by the Bills, Ravens and Dolphins. They have gone from playoff contenders at the bye week, with a 5-4 record after beating the Saints, to a team nobody is giving a chance to make the postseason.

The mood around the Jets will either improve greatly or hit a new low with the outcome of Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders. If the Jets lose to the 4-8 Raiders, it would represent the first four-game losing streak since Ryan became coach. It could also be the beginning of the end for Ryan's tenure as head coach. If the Jets beat the Raiders, they stay in the playoff hunt and the season continues to have meaning for at least one more week.

GameDay Live Football Scoring:
Class LL State Semifinals
No. 4 Southington Vs No. 8 Ridgefield

 (4) Southington 45, (8) Ridgefield 0
Class LL State Semifinals
FINAL
(8) Ridgefield                         0    0     0    0   -    0
(4) Southington                     7   24   14   0   -   45

LAST SCORING PLAY
: Southington's Tyler Hyde scores on a 2-yard run.

GameDay Live Football Scoring:
Class S State Semifinals
No. 3 Rocky Hill Vs No. 2 Ansonia

 (2) Ansonia 49, (3) Rocky Hill 27
Class S State Semifinals
FINAL
(3) Rocky Hill                           7    0    14   6   -   27
(2) Ansonia                            14   20     8   7   -   49

LAST SCORING PLAY
: Rocky Hill's Thomas Seaver scores on an 18-yard pass from Andrew Jenkelunas.

College Football Championship Week Picks: SEC Championship, Missouri Vs Auburn, Big 10 Championship, Ohio State Vs Michigan State, ACC Championship, Florida State Vs Duke, Pac-12 Championship, Stanford At Arizona State, Plus Big 12 Games

  By Brad Carroll  
Alabama's shocking loss to Auburn last week threw the BCS standings for a loop, as it opened the door not only for undefeated Ohio State but the winner of the SEC championship game as well. But for those believing the end is here for the Crimson Tide, think again.

Alabama still has a very realistic chance of playing for the national championship again, even though it will not play in the conference title game. It's rather simple, actually. If Ohio State loses to Michigan State in the Big 10 title game and Missouri beats Auburn in the SEC championship, Alabama would be slated to play for the BCS national championship against Florida State, assuming, of course, the Seminoles beat Duke.

Now, the question is, would that be fair? In that scenario the answer would be a resounding no. The team most deserving if things go that way would be Missouri, which has lost one game this season, a double-overtime defeat to South Carolina. Right now, Alabama is ranked No. 4 in the BCS while Missouri is No. 5. The Tigers would have to jump an idle Crimson Tide team, which isn't a given even with beating Auburn.

Many Question Marks Surround Jacoby Ellsbury After Signing Seven-Year, $153 Million Deal With Yankees

Jacoby Ellsbury is the newest Yankee. (AP photo)
  By Matt Straub  
With Jacoby Ellsbury on his way to the Yankees, and the Universe trying to come to terms with it all, I thought it might be a good idea to provide a little bit of a scouting report from the Boston side to help give the signing a little context.

First, I agree with what Brad Carroll wrote in his column: If this is the Yankees’ big move this winter, it wasn’t the right one. If there’s more to come, Ellsbury could be a nice complimentary piece. I don’t necessarily believe the Yankees have to get Robinson Cano, but if they don’t, there better be a really good replacement on the way, because Ellsbury isn’t it.

If you read my State of the Red Sox reports this year, you’ll know how many times I said I hope the Red Sox aren’t the team that gives Ellsbury $100 million this winter. Well, I was half right. The Sox didn’t give him $100 million. In fact, no one did. The Yankees gave him $153 million.

Yankees Signing Jacoby Ellsbury For Seven Years, $153 Million Is A Home Run If, And Only If, They Plan On Re-Signing Robinson Cano As Well

Jacoby Ellsbury has signed with the Yankees. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
On its own, the New York Yankees giving Jacoby Ellsbury seven years and $153 million to play center field isn't something to be excited about. Paying almost $22 million a season for an oft-injured outfielder who is the same type player as the team already has at the position - Brett Gardner - is a bit absurd. Especially considering the team's multiple needs. But this isn't about one signing, no matter the years or the money.

This has everything to do with the next signing, and we're not talking about the Yankees adding Kelly Johnson, which is likely the newest player to join the Bronx Bombers on a one-year deal to play third or second base. This has everything to do with Robinson Cano.

If the Yankees and Cano somehow come to a compromise to keep the star second baseman in pinstripes next season, this mega-deal for Ellsbury becomes a home run. If the Yankees have a master plan to turn last year's disaster of a season into reason to turn the roster over with some big key makeovers, then this offseason could be the start of another Yankees run of postseason appearances and world championships.

GameDay Live Football Scoring:
Class LL State Quarterfinals
No. 5 NFA At No. 4 Southington

No. 4 Southington 52, No. 5 NFA 14
Class LL State Quarterfinals
FINAL
(5) Norwich Free Academy            0     0     7    7   -   14
(4) Southington                             3   21   14   14   -   52

LAST SCORING PLAY
: Southington's Tyler Hyde scores on a 39-yard run.

GameDay Live Football Scoring:
Class S State Quarterfinals
No. 6 Prince Tech At No. 3 Rocky Hill

 (3) Rocky Hill 51, (6) Prince Tech 8
Class S State Quarterfinals
FINAL
(6) Prince Tech                         0   8    0   0   -    8
(3) Rocky Hill                          27   7   14   3   -   51

LAST SCORING PLAY
: Rocky Hill's Greg Marzilli kicks a 33-yard field goal.

Giants Get Must-Have Victory Over Redskins To Remain Alive In NFC East Title Race, Handing Out Game Balls To Justin Tuck, Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Will Hill And More

Andre Browns scores one of his two touchdowns. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
The best part about this New York Giants team is they refuse to quit. Whether that's because they don't realize they are a long-shot to make the playoffs or they just want to play and win football games no matter the circumstances, it's a quality all winning football teams must have. The Giants proved it again Sunday night in a 24-17 victory over the Washington Redskins.

With the win the Giants keep their slim NFC East title hopes alive. At 5-7 the Giants will have to win out to even have the chance to take over first place in the division. The Eagles and Cowboys, which both won this week, sit at the top of the heap at 7-5. The Redskins, at 3-9, are eliminated from the playoff chase.

The Giants had everything working against Washington, a tremendous sign they could sweep the final four games on the schedule. Eli Manning and the offense finally got on track, with both the passing and running games getting the job done. After a slow start, Manning and the Giants outscored the Redskins 24-3. The defense had to get pressure on the quarterback, and for once this season, they actually did. Justin Tuck had four sacks and the Giants had five overall, harassing Robert Griffin III in the second half.

Many To Blame After Jets Lose To Dolphins, Including Geno Smith, Matt Simms, Dee Milliner, Antonio Cromartie And Ed Reed, But It Starts At Top With GM John Idzik

Geno Smith was benched for the second half. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
What the heck happened to the New York Jets? Seriously, how in the world can a team go from beating one of the best teams in football, the New Orleans Saints, to not being able to score a touchdown against lesser competition? The Jets have become so bad so quickly it's impossible to watch them play and believe they have five wins on the season. It's just not possible.

For the second straight game the Jets couldn't score a touchdown. For the third straight game, the Jets were blown out of the building. For the third straight game, the Jets were beaten by teams that are mediocre at best. Now, the team has gone from owning sole possession of the second wild card just three weeks ago to having little chance to make the postseason.

Sunday's 23-3 loss to the Dolphins was an embarrassment, the kind of game that gets the head coach fired. But this season shouldn't fall on the shoulders of Rex Ryan. The man who needs to own up to this whole mess is general manager John Idzik. He's the one who wanted Geno Smith to be the team's quarterback of the now and future. He's the one who didn't want Mark Sanchez to be the quarterback this season, even though he had proven he gave the team the best chance to win.