Joe Paterno came out ahead in the battle of the two winningest coaches in Division 1-A, but the Lions' 26-23 triple overtime win over Florida State showed one thing-Penn State probably couldn't hang with the likes of Texas or USC.

It was a fantastic game, but a team that frequently had the phrase "one second/ one play away from a shot at a national title" attached to it should have breezed past a team like Florida State. The Seminoles came into the game ranked 22nd, and carried four losses into Dolphins stadium.

Still, I'd have to think that an 11-1 record and an Orange Bowl win was a nice "in your face" to all those critics who screamed out for Paterno to retire, that the game had passed him by. I've argued here that Paterno had earned the right to say goodbye on his own terms, and I still think that.

NFL Playoffs

With the NFL playoffs starting this weekend with the wild card round, it's time to review some of my pre-season picks, as well as to make some revised picks for the New Year and the post season.

Well, first off, I ridiculed the NFC west as a bunch of worthless teams, none of which would deserve to make the playoffs. Mostly true, but Seattle wound up being the best team in the NFC. They are my pre-post-season pick for the Super Bowl from the NFC, and Shaun Alexander has made a serious case for MVP honors.

I had the Bengals last in the division, but they won it. I also think that they make an early exit from the playoffs. The defense simply isn't good enough to carry them through the AFC bracket.

I said that Michael Vick is the most overrated player in football, and once again, the numbers back me up. Vick is again a Pro Bowl selection despite a miserable passer rating that sees him ranked 25th in the league. He barely cracked 3000 total yards even when you add in his rushing, and tossed 13 picks to go along with a pedestrian 15 TDs passes. Six rushing touchdowns just don't impress me too much. And his Falcons are sitting home this January.

In the AFC games this weekend, I like New England to get past Jacksonville, and Pittsburgh to blow out Cincinnati. The Patriots were my pre-season pick to win the whole thing, and while I'm shifting to the Colts, I still don't think you can count out Brady and Belichik.

In the NFC this weekend, I'll take The Giants over the Panthers, and the suddenly dangerous Redskins over the Bucs.

Today, I'll call the favorites, Seattle and Indianapolis, as our Super Bowl contestants. Of course I could be wrong.

Feel free to contact Bill Rudick at 717-786-6095 or brudick@epix.net to report any sports news or to comment on anything regarding sports in the Post-Ledger.

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