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Article updated: 11/30/2012 10:07 AM

Harbaugh making a big mistake not playing Smith

By

There's a new game being played in the sports world, and it's called the eye test.

The latest example is Colin Kaepernick because he wins on style points and can really throw the ball down the field. It seems there is no longer room for a guy who goes to work, grinds it out and wins.

Alex Smith is the latest guy in sports who has tasted success, but isn't doing it the way people prefer.

The nonsense I've been hearing and speculation about Kaepernick has gone over the top. Jim Harbaugh, head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, has said he will stick with Kaepernick and the hot hand. He hasn't officially given the No. 1 job to Kaepernick, giving Gentleman Jim a way out if he needs one.

Let me be the first to say it: the San Francisco 49ers' only chance of winning the Super Bowl is with Smith as the staring QB. Kaepernick will be OK, but not this year.

Smith is 19-5 as a starter since Harbaugh has been the head coach, and has gone through tough times and seems to be handling the demotion rather well. If Smith leaves the 49ers at the end of the year, there will be no shortage of job opportunities. The New York Jets, the Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars or Kansas City Chiefs all would be in the wings.

The bottom line is winning. Harbaugh is on a roll right now with his decision-making and he is lucky to have the best backup quarterback in football. What Harbaugh is doing might work, but the two-headed quarterback situation hasn't been overly successful in the past.

With Kaepernick as the starter, I don't think San Francisco will make it to the NFC championship game. The 49ers defense won the New Orleans game last week, but that still counts as a win under him.

Good luck to Kaepernick, but we will see what happens when the schedule gets tougher. They have the Miami Dolphins after the St. Louis Rams, but then they will play New England. Whoever starts the Patriots game will lead the 49ers in the playoffs. Let's wait and see.

Condolences:

Condolences to the family of North West side legend and retired firefighter James "Mr. B" Belluomini, a fixture at many 16-inch softball games watching his son Tony. Always had our backs. Good man!

NFL picks:

Last week I went 0-1 so my record is 13-13-1 on the season. This week, take Buffalo (-6) over Jacksonville.

Program notes:

I will be doing my Fox radio shows in Las Vegas on Saturday, Sunday and Monday at the Score entertainment center at the Luxor Hotel. Check me out on XM 169, foxsportsradio.com or iHeart radio from 6-9 p.m. CST Saturday, 9 p.m. to midnight Sunday and 6-9 p.m. Monday.

Ÿ Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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