While I think the Patriots are more than capable of making a good run at another title, I still give the edge to the Chargers. Super Bowl championships are won by great teams comprised of great athletes, not by a single stand-out quarterback. With trades and injuries, the Pats of old are nowhere to be found. I mean, a 21-0 loss to the Dolphins in Week 14? C'mon. Even with the playoff experience of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, losses at wide receiver (Deion Branch and David Givens) and injuries left the Patriots aching for that extra "something." The Chargers, however, are a more well-rounded team. They make up for their lack of experience at quarterback with depth at skill positions, and that powerhouse, LaDainan Tomlinson. San Diego is the least flawed and most consistent and complete team in the league. As for the marriage proposal, call me a sucker but I am holding out for true love and waiting for my Prince Charming. I just have to weed through all the frogs to find him.
Which of the four underdogs (Patriots, Colts, Seahawks, Eagles) do you think has the best chance at winning this Sunday? Do you think they'll be any upsets? -- Bobby, Tulsa, Okla.
I'm still going with the Chargers over the Pats. In the other games:
Colts at Ravens: I'm a Tony Dungy fan all the way, but the Colts have yet to prove they have enough gas to get through the postseason. They always play teams that are far more physical than them, and they fold. The Ravens have undoubtedly one of the most punishing defenses in the league. End of story.
Eagles at Saints: Though Philly seems to have found its miracle man in Jeff Garcia, I am still going with New Orleans. Rallying from being 3-13 and "stadiumless" nomads at the hands of Katrina last season to NFC South champions? This sounds like a Disney movie, and I don't know about you, but I like my Disney movies to have happy endings. Besides, Drew Brees does an awesome job capitalizing on uneven matchups that can be exploited.
Seahawks at Bears: I'm taking the Bears. Devin Hester has proven he is a beast among beasts when it comes to special teams, and with the frosty lake effect off of Lake Michigan blowing across Soldier Field, the Bears will be tough to beat. Who in their right mind wouldn't take Chicago given the way they've played this season (barring its loss in the finale against Green Bay, which Rex Grossman explained this way: "It was New Year's Eve.")
Jenn, I'm getting married in May and I don't want my wedding to be some cookie-cutter event. I want to do something unique, so I had this idea to hire a comedian to perform at the reception. My friends (and fiancé) hate the idea. What do you think? I also thought about hiring Mr. Met to attend the wedding (I'm a huge Mets fan). What do you think of that idea? Lastly, one of my friends suggested having karaoke at the reception. What do you think about that? -- PT, Chicago
It's a wedding, right? That means there are two people involved, not just yourself. So unless you want to start things off on a bad foot, I would say take your partner's wants and needs into account. Comedians are cool, but are generally pretty impersonal unless you know them, so odds are it will just be some random guy cracking random jokes. Weddings are supposed to be personal events for friends and family to share, so I am not sure inviting a stranger to make cracks about your future wife, her mother, the president, hot pockets and pop culture icons is the best way to go. As far as sending Mr. Met an invite, I see no reason why not if you are a die-hard sports fan, especially if there will be young kids in attendance. I'm not saying make him your best man or anything, but having him as a special "guest" at the reception would be cool. Besides, a guy wearing a baseball for a head is way less creepy than inviting say, the Burger King "King." And finally, the karaoke -- amateur singing can do one of two things: entertain a large crowd or make everyone's ears bleed. Expect to hear every terrible love song by Celine Dion, some random Michael Jackson hit, and probably a horrible rendition of your favorite Spice Girls' song. You're on your own on that one, Chief.
A couple of us are heading down to South Beach for the Super Bowl in a few weeks. We've already dismissed the possibility of getting tickets to see the Pats win another championship, so we're ready to focus on the equally important party scene. As a Miami native, can you offer any bar recommendations or must see events for us SOBE virgins? -- Chris, Boston
SOBE is crawling with nightlife, so just be prepared to drink plenty of red bull and spend the next day nursing your sleep deprivation (among other things). As far as suggestions on where to go, I would say you should definitely hit up Mansion. A few of my girlfriends work there and constantly brag about how their club is really the life of the party. Of course, it's not bragging if it's true. So stop in and say hi to my old cowgirl, Fabiola. She makes some mean drinks and is easy on the eyes. Other clubs you should consider hitting up include Prive, Amika and Crobar.
Congratulations, Jenn! How many cartwheels did you turn when FSU beat UCLA in the Emerald Bowl? What a great way to wrap up the season. -- Dave Carew, Green Bay, Wisc.
Even some of the Garnet and Gold loyalists doubted whether the 'Noles could bring home a "W" and end the season on a high note after a turbulent season. Sure, the Emerald Bowl wasn't familiar territory for them and the drive across I-10 was a little longer than usual, but the 'Noles' had come cross-country with something to prove. Just weeks after Jeff Bowden announced his resignation as offensive coordinator, the 'Noles were in complete disarray: They had coaching vacancies that rivaled one-star hotels, an injured list that made Buster Davis a one-man D-line, and uncertainty regarding the state of the program in general. We were the laughingstock of all the major sports networks, topped many "Worst Disappointment Lists," and even Bobby Bowden's ability to recruit, discipline, and lead a team was questioned. No one gave us a chance against UCLA (who had just recently upset USC at home). Still, the 'Noles did what the 'Noles do best: they rallied when the chips were down. It may not be a sign of a second coming or anything, but the 'Noles win in San Fran proved there is life after Jeff Bowden, and that even great teams can be rebuilt when you use the right tools. Now with Jimbo Fisher and Rick Trickett on board and the new influx a successful recruiting season will bring, things are looking brighter for the Seminoles.
My girlfriend of five years just pulled a fast one on me, right before she leaves for a semester in Europe. We had agreed to take a break when she was away, but a month before she leaves, she says "we are different," and doesn't want to talk about it, basically leaving the relationship in some kind of purgatory/limbo/lame-duck period. What is one to make of this? -- Mike, Bronx, N.Y.
I hate to say this, but sometimes people use their departures for school or elsewhere as a means of breaking off a relationship and starting fresh. Odds are there were probably some underlying factors in play that you were unaware of: maybe another guy, not wanting any loose ends back in the U.S. (should she find a potential love interest abroad) or perhaps the passion just wasn't there anymore. These things happen. Sometimes it's best to just let things go. If things are meant to be, she'll realize her mistake and come back to you.
Jenn, I just turned 27 and came to the realization that I'm three years away from 30. I've always been a pretty fit guy and try to take good care of myself, but have had some trouble finding time for exercise with my stressful job and since my wife and I had our son, who is 11 months old. I've gained about 10 pounds, and even though that's not that bad, I really don't want to gain anymore. Any suggestions on some small things a man who is lacking time can do to keep in shape? -- Justin, Charlotte, N.C.
First off, your wife had the kid, not you. Sympathy weight gain from her late night Taco Bell cravings is no excuse. Neither is not having enough time. Working out and getting in shape requires planning. Busy work day and a lot of chores around the house? Perhaps skip the hour-and-a-half lunch break you would have had schmoozing and downing high-calorie food and replace it with some quality time on the treadmill paired with a smoothie. If you can't find the time to get away from the office, maybe take your kid out for a long walk when you get home. The cardio will do you good, the extra weight from pushing the stroller certainly won't hurt and I'm sure your wife will appreciate a break from the baby. Finally, get your other half involved in your mission. When you have someone motivating you to stay on track with your workouts, not slack on the cardio, and to quit eating Oreos, you'd be surprised how fast the weight really will come off. Besides, letting her know your emphasis on eating healthy will in turn make her more aware of planning your meals together and in turn, help her with losing any extra baby weight she's been carrying. Good luck!