Start with this: In today's SN column, I'm picking the Eagles and the Steelers -- two of the more passionate/insufferable fan bases in the NFL (if not all of sports).
It's easy to root for the Eagles for two reasons: (1) They have never won a Super Bowl, and (2) I picked them to win the Super Bowl before the playoffs started.
That said, I'd give up both -- even being right! -- for the Cardinals going to the Super Bowl; as someone who values novelty as much as I do, it's just one of the ultimates.
Meanwhile, there is good reason to root for Eagles-Ravens:
The idea of two 6-seeds running the table on the road is the ultimate manifestation of "parity" -- it should make any expert doubt everything they might think they know about how the NFL works.
The strongest line from today's column: "Hiring Jim Schwartz is the best thing to happen to the Lions since they drafted Barry Sanders."
Percy Harvin going pro: I'm torn. He is/was one of my favorite all-time Florida players; it's arguable he was the most talented player to ever put on a Florida uniform.
His injury history and his status as a lock first-rounder (I'm predicting that he falls no further than the Patriots) means that he had no choice but to turn pro now.
Will Florida miss him next season? Absolutely, even with Tebow coming back.
Harvin was one of the rare players -- even more than Maclin or Derrick Williams or Jahvid Best -- where anytime he came on the field, the defense was distracted to the point of changing the play by his mere presence.
Dr. Saturday has a phenomenal quote about it from yesterday: "The only things that ever really stopped Harvin were his own ankle and hamstring, which just aren't evolved to handle that much torque."
That said: This was a breakthrough year for Florida playmakers -- although none are as good as Harvin, a couple of them are just as fast. Jeff Demps was a home-run threat every time he touched the ball (he isn't the receiver that Harvin is); Chris Rainey is a playmaker (but more injury-prone than Harvin). Brandon James is sort of Harvin-Lite. Deonte Thompson has a ton of potential. Incoming freshman Andre Debose may very well be the next Harvin. They will miss him, but there is plenty of depth -- see the way Florida beat Alabama, even without Harvin.
Meanwhile, Pete Carroll is a bit of a d'bag for ripping Mark Sanchez's decision to turn pro. Yeah: Like Carroll is now going to go out and actively recruit the kind of player who doesn't have the ability to turn pro after 3 seasons. Quit whining.
The end of the college football season signals the moment for a lot of fans to re-engage in college hoops, and Saturday's lineup -- no CFB, no NFL -- is an amazing moment to do it:
No. 1 Pitt has arguably its toughest game of the year, at Louisville, which has those bad non-conf losses but is sizzling in Big East play.
Georgetown at Duke: One of the Top 3 non-conference games of the season, G'town is coming off a huge win over Syracuse this week. Speaking of which...
Notre Dame vs. Syracuse: Yet another titanic Big East battle in a season where you can't go a few days without another one.
Wake Forest at Clemson: Is Wake the best team in the country? Is Clemson for real? Answers to both will be available.
Complete column here. Have a great weekend everyone. College hoops feasting on Saturday. NFL conference-title games on Sunday. Great weekend of sports. More later.