Saturday Football

Based on the color edict issued by Buckeye Coach Urban Meyer, Joni Mitchell the iconic folk-rock goddess of the sixties would not be a welcomed presence at the Horseshoe of Ohio State.

The title and cover color of her classic album “Blue” would be an anathema to Meyer’s senses.

The reason, the coach instituted a policy that brims with paranoia, he doesn’t allow “ANYONE” wearing the color blue, the colors of the “School up North” as the faithful of Ohio State refer to its arch-rival Michigan, to grace the OSU football complex.  (UM by the way, is a superior academic school.)

The rule applies to fans, media members, and even scouts from the NFL.  It must bring nodding approval from the Chinese government.

Earlier this year, a pair of unsuspecting NFL scouts had the temerity to walk into the Woody Hayes Athletic Center wearing the offending sartorial hue.  As soon as they were spotted they were hooted upon by the Buckeye players, and staff members were instructed to give the scouts Ohio State shirts to cover the offending attire.

Amazingly the scouts didn’t give Meyer the big “How do you do,” but acquiesced by donning the shirts.

Others in attendance who witnessed the event, said it was truly embarrassing.

This weekend, let’s see which teams wear their shirts proudly, exhibiting a performance “As constant as a northern star,” and which perform like another Joni lyric, “Help me I think I’m falling…,” leaving its alums truly blue, or as Joni again sang, “I’ll be in the bar.”

No. 6 South Carolina at No. Georgia (ESPN, 4:30 p.m.)  It’s very early, but a Gamecock victory and the “Head Ball Coach” Steve Spurrier, just might punch his ticket into the SEC Championship game.

The heart of the Cocks attack is its dual-threat senior QB Connor Shaw, who is as rugged and determined as Diana Nyad, while his throwing partner Dylan Thompson provides a nice classic QB combo for the coach.

South Carolina’s ground attack is energized by its powerful tailbacks Mike Davis, and Brandon Wilds, who pinball through a defense, while wideouts Shaq Roland, and Bruce Ellington, provide field-stretching targets.

The tensile strength of the Cocks is its D, anchored by All-World end Jadeveon Clowney, his bookend Chaz Sutton, and supported by safety T.J. Gurley.  They will ultimately determine the destination of the South Carolina season.

In Athens there is already a sense of desperation, and despite losing its leading receiver Malcolm Mitchell to a season ending touchdown celebration, there remains plenty of firepower in the Bulldogs attack.

The Dawgs are directed by its highly touted QB Aaron Murray, with a huge assist from the tailback pairing; All-America Todd Gurley, and Keith Marshall.  When the senior gunslinger takes to the air, receivers Michael Bennett and Chris Conley are inviting targets, and must make up for the loss of Mitchell.

The D which has issues with tackling, is bed rocked by its starry backer Amarlo Herrera and his partner Ramik Wilson.

In many ways this is the super-bowl for both teams, and even though the game is being played between the Hedges, we think the Cocks crow on Sunday morning sitting in the pole position of the SEC East.

No.14 Notre Dame at No. 17 Michigan (ESPN, 8 p.m.)  So much for tradition.  Despite meeting for the 41st time Brian Kelly (200-68-2), the newly extended head coach of the Irish doesn’t view the Michigan game as an historic rival of Notre Dame. 

Really! 

To any college football fan, the game is always much watch television.  It is a hard fought, riveting game that often carries high drama.  Maybe the 23-16-1 Wolverine advantage has something to do with it?  Nah, couldn’t, right?  Instead let’s bring on Temple, who 2-76 in its last 78 against is ranked opponents, everyone wants to watch that.

The Golden Domers are led by its classy senior QB Tommy Rees, with assists from tailback Amir Carlisle, George Atkinson III, and Cam McDaniel.

When the quiet leader goes aerial, TJ Jones, and DaVaris Daniels are comforting targets.

A pair of All-Americas and future Sunday performers, nose Louis Nix III, and end Stephon Tuitt, backbone the Iron Curtain D, that will be tested in Ann Arbor.

As much fun as it was watching Mr. Robinson’s neighborhood, (QB Denard Robinson), Meeechigan Coach Brady Hoke finally has his guy at the controls in Devin Gardner.

The talented senior captain is assisted by tailbacks Fitzgerald Toussaint, Derrick Green, field stretching wideout Jeremy Gallon, and monstrous tight end (6-5, 228) Devin Funchess.

The D led by backers Desmond Morgan, and Camer Gordon, will attack from all angles.

If this in fact is the end of, despite what Kelly says, of a great rivalry, Meeechigan hangs another W against the Irish in South Bend.

No. 12 Florida at Miami (ESPN, Noon) There remains a great deal of skepticism (Black Hand) regarding the validity of this Gator team, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

The greatest doubt falls on the arm of QB Jeff Driskel and his ability to consistently deliver in a pressure situation.

But make no mistake, despite the long gone days of the Fun-n-Gun, the Gators do have talent.

Tailbacks Mack Brown and Matt Jones are a daunting duo, while wideouts Trey Burton, Quinton Dunbar, and Valdez Shivers can send shivers, and stretch the chains.

But the strength of the Gainesville eleven remains its swarming D, featuring tackles Dominique Easley, Leon Orr, and backer Michael Taylor.

Is this finally the year the Canes break through and win the ACC, and the year the NCAA finally finishes its investigation into violations by the Hurricanes?

Coach Al Golden’s Hurricanes are directed by its talented QB Stephen Harris, with a huge assist from his explosive tailback Duke Johnson, as well as a trio of receivers; Allen Hurns, Phillip Dorsett and tight end Clive Walford.

The D led by backer Denzel Perryman, Alex Figueron, and Jimmy Gaines, remains the biggest enigma since Crockett and Tubbs were solving crimes on the set of Miami Vice.  But if they do jell, it could be a special season for the team from the Gold Coast.

In a highly anticipated, and significant game, we’ll take SEC speed as the Gators reduce the Hurricanes to small craft warnings.

No.15 Texas at BYU (ESPN2, 7 p.m.) Texas is journeying into Provo for only the second time in its history.

It is also hoping that the second time since 1988, the Horns won’t experience a similar car wreck when they were throttled 47-6.

This indeed will be a stern measuring stick for the “revitalized” Sons of Darrell Royal.

Dual-threat QB Davis Ash has been given the keys to the Austin machine, and he will be greatly assisted by a Wildebeest sized herd of tailbacks, led by Jalen Overstreet, and Joe Bergeron.

When the oft-erratic signal caller takes to the skies, wideouts Jaxon Shipley and John Harris provide comfy targets.

The much maligned D, is propelled by ends Jackson Jeffcoat, Cedric Reed, and backer Jordan Hicks who hope to shed last season’s Spanish “ole” tackling.

In his seven years as the head man in Provo, Coach Bronco Mendenhall (74-29) has never started a season 0-2.

The Cougs commander is QB Tayson Hill, who does more damage with his legs than his arm.  He is assisted by his starry tailback Jamaal Williams, and wideouts JD Falslev, Ross Apo, and Skyler Ridley are inviting                targets.

The swarming and hard hitting D, behind nose Eathyn Manumaleuna, backer Uani Unga, and its All-America backer Kyle Van Noy will keep BYU in every game.

We are still in a sell mode on Mr. Ash and the Horns, so we’ll take the Boys from the Latter Day Saints to claw out the victory.

No.2 Oregon at Virginia (Ch. 5, 3:30 p.m.) The Ducks have more speed than a meth-lab in Appalachia.

QB Marcus Mariota orchestrates the Eugene offense with the precision of a Swiss timepiece.

The supersonic signal caller chooses from a smorgasbord of weapons featuring lightening receiver\ tailback De’Anthony Thomas, receiver Josh Huff, and tight end Colt Lyerla.

The Ducks D, behind backer Taylor Hart, end Tony Washington, and tackle Ricky Havill-Heimuli                                  is often overshadowed by the fly boys on offense, but is deserving of its own all-star billing.

In an effort to bolster his Jeffersonian offense, Virginia Coach Mike London hired three former head men to install some wattage, including old friend Tom O’Brien.

The Cavs are directed QB David Watford, with assists from tailback Kevin Parks and wideout Darius Jennings.

Virginia’s best hire might be D-coordinator Jon Tenuta, who will utilize safety Anthony Harris, backer Henry Coley, and end Eli Harold in very innovative and disruptive ways.

This is the highest ranked team to visit Charlottesville since USC came calling in 2008, (52-7) and unfortunately for the Cavalier faithful, it should be equally ugly in Scott Stadium Saturday afternoon.

 

Last week’s record    4-1                                                         Season record:  4-1

 

That’s it from cyberspace.  We’ll be back with our weekend recap on Sunday by noon.

Until then, Peace, and listen to the music!   PK

Saturday Football – Handicapping Week 1

We begin this week, the season opener with our bon-voyage to former Ohio State President Gordon Gee.
Gee, a college football advocate, was politely shown the door on July 1, after suffering from a recurring case of “foot-in-mouth” disease. He was apparently afflicted with an incurable strain.
Although the following bon-mots won’t make the Tommy Menino Hall of Fame (that is after all, a very special category) they are nonetheless amazingly insensitive for a person in his position.
The first occurred during the height of the Coach Jim Tressell controversy when Gee was asked if Ohio State considered firing its coach.
A smiling Gee said, “No. Are you kidding? Let me just be very clear, I’m just hopeful the coach doesn’t dismiss me.” Two months later Tressell was forced to resign.
GG then had this to say about Notre Dame. “Those damn Catholics. The fathers are holy on Sunday, and they raise holy hell the rest of the week.” Of course once his words were made public he was forced to issue an apology.
Here are a couple of other faux pas from his apology tour.
He disparaged the football scheduling of Boise State and TCU saying that Ohio State did not play “The Little Sisters of the Poor.” The Pres apologized and The Ohio State University gave a sizable cash donation to the Sisters – good for them.
Finally, he likened the difficulty in running a large university to the “coordinating of the Polish Army.” Ouch! Something tells me Gee wasn’t serving Kielbasa at his weekly tailgate.
Therefore on this opening Labor Day weekend, let’s see which coordinated teams raise holy hell on the field, and which perform so ineptly, they couldn’t defeat the Little Sisters of the Poor, leaving a shade of crimson on the face of its university president.

No. 1 Alabama vs. Virginia Tech – Atlanta (ESPN, 5:30 p.m.) St. Nick’s (one earns the right to that moniker after winning 4 national championships, and compiling a 68-13 resume in six seasons prowling the sideline at Bryant-Denny Stadium), Tuscaloosan Titans, have more diverse offensive weapons than the murderous regime of President Assad, or the Egyptian military.
The Tide’s triggerman is its “duende-dripping” Heisman candidate QB, AJ McCarron, the nation’s most efficient passer, who sported a 10-1 TD/interception ratio last season, while squiring an All-America statuesque lady friend.
The marksman of the two-time defending national champions is assisted by a pair of All-Americas; tailback T.J. Yeldon and wideout Amari Cooper, creating arguably, the most dynamic offensive trio in America.
If the faithful have an offensive concern, it is an untested o-line that will have three new faces, albeit, with five-star pedigree.
The strength of the Tide’s D, which has 7 returning starters, is its linebacking corps featuring All-America C.J. Mosley, and his three compadres; Trey DePriest, Xzavier Dickson, and Adrian Hubbard.
Last season in Blacksburg, the faithful witnessed a serious puncture to the “Beamer-Ball” Express.
In order to plug that leaky rubber, Coach Frank Beamer hired Auburn’s Scott Loeffler as his offensive coordinator and quarterback coach with the mandate of modernizing the fossilized offense.
The biggest beneficiary, will be the biggest Hokie, its goliath (6-6, 257) QB Logan Thomas. Once touted as a first round pick, the dual-threat Logan resembled, and played like a plane stuck on the tarmac at Logan, completing just a shade over fifty percent of his throws, while often appearing clueless on the field.
The rest of the VaTech attack will feature tailback J.C. Coleman (high ankle sprain), and a passel of fleet footed, but untested receivers.
As it has done for countless seasons, the success of the Blacksburg eleven will depend on the performance of Bud Foster’s D, and with nine returning starters, led by end James Gayle, and tackle Luther Maddy, big things are expected.
Unfortunately, the Hokies could have Tom Brady and Adrian Peterson in the backfield and still not be able to beat Alabama, as Saban begins his trek for an unprecedented (in the modern era) third consecutive national championship, and fourth in five years. If he is successful, he’ll be one step closer to his “Holy Grail” quest of passing the Bear’s record of six. (The last team to win three consecutive titles was the great Army teams of the WWII era 1944-46.
No.5 Georgia at No.8 Clemson (Ch. 5, 8 p.m.) Kudos to both schools for not munching on a season opening cupcake, but scheduling a prime season opening entree with huge national implications.
In Athens, the Dawgs offense is stronger than the Fed’s case against Whitey Bulger, or the Commonwealth’s case against Jared Remy.
The Bulldogs are directed by its senior All-America caliber QB Aaron Murray, who barring injury, upon graduation, will hold every major passing record in Georgia football history.
The starry signal caller is assisted by possibly the best tailback tandem in the nation; Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, better known as “Gurshall” in a cap tipping acknowledgement to Georgia’s iconic Heisman winner Hershel Walker.
The QB also has a pair of field stretching receivers; Michael Bennett and Chris Conley.
The D featuring end Garrison Smith, and backer Amario Herrera, remains a Sanford Stadium enigma, but needs only to be average for it to be a truly special season in Athens.
With apologies to Jim Morrison, is this the year that the Tigers “Break on through to the other side?”
The Death Valley faithful are giddy over consecutive 10-win seasons (21-5) for the first time since 41– GHW Bush – the good one – occupied the White House in 1989-90.
Clemson is led by its dual-threat All-America caliber QB Tajh Boyd, who is comforted by his Linus-blanket All-America receiver Sammy Watkns. While a deep and seasoned offensive line will road grade wide opportunities for newly minted tailback Rod McDowell.
Second year defensive coordinator Brent Venables has solidified the D, which features nose Grady Jarrett, tackles Josh White and Deshawn Williams, while Spencer Shuey anchors the backers.
In a game in which the scoreboard operator should be an arithmetician, Clemson keeps its national title aspirations full steam ahead.
No.12 LSU vs. No.20 TCU – Arlington (ESPN, 9 p.m.) The Bengal Tigers best recruit signing wasn’t a player, but offensive coordinator Cam Cameron – (formerly of the Baltimore Ravens – and more importantly a close friend of Les Miles) – whose sole mission is to insert a spark into the Tigers moribund offense.
The Coach’s arrival will be a huge boost for the Tigers overly scrutinized senior QB Zach Mettenbeger. The Prudential-sized signal caller (6-5, 230) is supported by a pair of talented backs Alfred Blue and Kenny Hillard, while wideout Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry are game breaking targets.
LSU’s D is as usual, the Death Valley calling card, and despite having lost a ton to graduation, the faithful will be comforted by a pair of All-Americas, tackle Anthony Johnson and safety Craig Loston, with an assist from backer Lamin Barrow.
In his dozen years at the Fort Worth campus, head man Gary Patterson, one of the nation’s most underrated coaches, has compiled a Mount Rushmore-esque record of; 116-36.
And this at a school where in the late 90’s its student body chanted at games, “Two, four, six, eight, score before we graduate.”
The Horned Frogs will also have the services of its Prodigal Son QB Casey Pachall, who returns after spending time in a rehabilitation facility for substance abuse. In addition, tailback Waymon James returns after missing 11 games with a knee injury, and he’ll blend nicely with Nebraska transfer Aaron Green.
The Purple Frogs D will set the tone for the season, as nine returning starters led by a pair of All-Americas; end Devonte Fields (dressed may not play) and corner Jason Verrett has the faithful dreaming of the championship days of Slingin’ Sammy Baugh.
There is a strong pull to take the Sons of Bob Lilly, but LSU has the better lineage, and the “Mad Hatter” somehow finds a way pull another W out of his chapeau.
No.19 Boise State at Washington (FSN 1, 10 p.m.) Coach Chris Petersen Blue Turfers are a jaw-dropping 84-8 in his seven seasons as the head man in Boise. (I know Sooner man, who have they played.)
Senior QB Joe Southwick is the established leader, who will have the luxury of utilizing an intentionally stripped down playbook. His steady hand will target a host of receivers featuring Matt Miller, while talented tailback in Jay Ajayi will handle the ground attack.
The D which has a lot of new faces, is anchored by ends Demarcus Lawrence, Sam Ukwauchu, and tackle Tjung-A-Tjoe, but will spend the early part of the season on the learning curve.
After three consecutive 7-6 season, the Seattle faithful are beginning to lose patience with Coach Steve Sarkisian.
The key to the Huskies season will be the rebound of its senor QB Keith Price, who dramatically regressed last season, as well as how quickly he adapts to the newly installed no-huddle up-tempo attack. Four returning offensive linemen should provide plenty of protection and provide plenty of open space for its starry tailback Bishop Sankey.
Wideout Kasen Williams provides a welcoming target, but it Gibraltar-sized (6-6, 266) All-America tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is out with a broken pinkie finger.
The improving D features a trio of backers Shaq Thompson, Travis Feeney and John Timu.
The temptation is to take the Huskies at home, but it is never a good idea to go against Bosie in an opener, so we’ll take the Broncos to ride home with the W.
Mississippi at Vanderbilt Expectations in Oxford, the home of William Faulkner, haven’t been this high since Archie and Eli were leading the Rebels.
In fact you know you’re football royalty when your former jersey number 18 – Archie’s – is the official speed limit on the campus of your alma-mater.
Ole Miss’s newest gunslinger, and hopeful heir the Manning legacy, is dual-threat QB Bo Wallace, who has the luxury of being protected by a grizzled offensive line.
The dynamic leader has a quartet of skyscraper receivers led by starry field stretcher Donte Moncrief, and when the Rebels take to the ground, tailback Jeff Scott is a very capable runner.
The improving D returns seven starters led by backer Donzel Nkemdiche and end C.J. Johnson.
Coach James Franklin has dramatically altered the culture of losing in Nashville. Last season the Commodores won nine games (although none were against teams with a better than .500 record) for the first time since Woodrow Wilson – 1915 – occupied the White House.
It will now fall to newly installed starter Austyn Carta-Samuels to continue that upward trend.
The QB had a pair of stellar targets; All-America Jordan Matthews, but his partner Chris Boyd was arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in an ugly rape case involving five members of the football team. It has left a terrible stench around the Vandy campus. When the Dores run Wesley Tate will get the bulk of the carries.
Vanderbilt’s stingy D is led backers Chase Garnham, Karl Butler, and safety Kenny Ladler.
In a game that is evenly matched, but with distractions aplenty for Vandy, we’ll take the Rebels and the spirit of Archie and Eli to carry the day.
That’s it from cyber space, we’ll be back with week 2 next Wednesday evening, and be sure to read our weekend recap which will be up and running by noon on Sunday.
Until then, Peace. And listen to the music. PK
END

Army/Navy Game Analysis

We begin the 113th Army/Navy Week, the last pure amateur sporting event left in America; with our version of: “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

The Jimmy Stewart-Donna Reed classic, is a must watch during the Christmas season, and the following story; of taking my old man to the game, will be the annual lead into our analysis.

Here it is:

On December 7, 1963, at the age of 11, some two weeks after the assassination of President Kennedy, I watched my first college football game.

It was the Army/Navy game, which featured Navy’s Heisman Trophy winner, QB Roger Staubach.

I watched with my dad, in the living room on the top floor of our Dorchester three-decker.

We watched on a black and white Philco television, and even though the “old man,” was World War II Army, I was rooting for Navy.

It was a spine-tingling and controversial ending, with the Midshipmen hanging on for the 21-15 victory, as time ran out with Army perched on the Navy one yard line.

It began a life long love affair with the game of college football, in which, I remain involved, by writing an on-line newspaper column, and as a Heisman Trophy voter.

But for me, the significance of the Army/Navy Game has much deeper roots.

My dad passed away a shade over 11 years ago, and four years before his demise, in the spring of 1998, he experienced a “mini” stroke, which made me realize that this 75 year old guy wouldn’t be around forever.

It was that realization, which put my plan into action.

I would surprise my dad, by taking him to witness the classic first hand, sort of a “full-circle” journey.

It was to be a one day whirlwind excursion.

I made the airline reservations, but now I needed some tickets.

Not just any seats, but something good, especially for a guy in his mid-seventies.

I called my pal, Bill Brett, the former great photographer of the Boston Globe.

I asked Bill, if he would ask the late sports columnist Will McDonough, if he would ask his son Sean, who at the time was working at CBS Sports, and calling the game, for help securing some tickets.

They all came through, and I picked up the tickets at the will-call window in an envelope marked; CBS Sports. 

The kid at the window proclaimed, “You must be important!” 

Little did he know!

We ventured to our seats, lower level at the old Vet Stadium in Philadelphia, 8 rows up from the rail, 45 yard line; Perfect!

Here we are, sitting around various Naval brass, when after a few minutes, my father, a former Army corporal looks at me and says, “Are you sure we are in the right seats?”

Translation: How could a nitwit like you, pull off seats like these!

We had a great day watching, what was, at the time, (since surpassed) the highest scoring contest in the rivalry; a 34-30 Army victory.

On the plane ride home, just as we were about to take off, the old man leaned in again and said, “In case I forget, I want to thank you.”

For a WW II father, that simple statement is like War and Peace.  He passed away three years later.

That’s why the game is my version of a Christmas story.

Army vs. Navy (Ch.4, 3 p.m. – Philadelphia) This is the first time since the Administration of W (2005) that the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy will be awarded to the winner.

In the last decade, it has been rough seas for the Cadets, as the Midshipmen have sailed to a record; 10 consecutive victories.

The triple-option is the operative choice for both teams, and there will be more sleight of hand, than a Houdini show, or a New York pickpocket in Macys, on the last shopping weekend before Christmas.

The Sons of Roger Staubach averaging 285 yards rushing are commanded by freshman QB Keenan Reynolds, with assists from tailbacks: Gee Gee Green, and Noah Copeland.

When the Middies take to the air, a rarity, (Navy is 3rd from the bottom in passing) wideout Brandon Turner is an effective chain mover.

The D, featuring backers; Keegan Wetzel (13.5 tfls – 6 sacks), and Matt Warrick, isn’t stellar, but ranks a respectable 36th in points allowed; surrendering 23 a game.

[Note: Navy’s team has a Middie, with what may be the best name to have ever matriculated through the Academy: Wave Ryder, a safety, who is from, where else; Hawaii!]

The good news for the Black Knights of the Hudson, who are last in passing, is that they lead the nation in rushing: grinding out 369 yards a game.

Unfortunately for the Cadets, its D is a bottom feeding second worst in attempting to stop the opposition’s runners.

Army marches behind its stellar QB, Trent Steelman (16 rushing TDs – over 1100 yards), who along with tailbacks; Raymond Maples, and Larry Dixon, have combined for a shade under 3000 yards.

The Army albatross is a colander defense, which would make George Patton apoplectic. These goldbrickers featuring backer Nate Combs (12 tfls – 6 sacks), and tackle Robert Kough, allow an abandon ship total of; 37 points a game.

In what we believe will be a very competitive game, the Commander-In-Chief Trophy returns to Annapolis, as Navy, Anchors Aweigh with its eleventh consecutive victory.

 

Last week:  4-1                                                          Season record:  51-19.

Well another season in the books!  Thanks to all for reading – it was fun!!  Stay well, Merry Christmas, Peace, and listen to the music.  PK

Recap Week 14

On January 7, Alabama plays Notre Dame for the National Championship.

Let the breathless hype begin.

 This game will be dissected more closely than O.J.’s bloody glove, or Elizabeth Warren’s heritage.

The glamour pairing carries the same heft as; DiMaggio and Monroe, Bogart and Bacall, Mick and Keith, or Ara and the Bear.

In fact, greatest game I ever watched: ’73 Sugar Bowl, New Year’s Eve; 24-23 ND over Bama, Ara vs. Bear, for National Championship.

Unfortunately, for the Irish faithful, this particular dream could turn into a horror show.

The ground force of Alabama’s firepower was on roaring display in the second half of the SEC Championship Game.

The Tide rolled for 350 punishing rushing yards in its 32-28 comeback victory over Georgia.

In fact over the last five years of its run, when Alabama, under Saban, rushes for at least 150 yards, its record is an eye-popping: 48-0.

That will be the test for Notre Dame.

Can the Irish front seven, led by its Heisman candidate, linebacker Manti Teo, penetrate the seemingly impenetrable and All-America laden, Bama offensive line?

St. Nick’s Tuscaloosan Titans, are also trying to become the first team to win consecutive titles since the Nebraska teams of Tommy Frazier in 1994,’95.

Speaking of Nebraska, yikes, it’s time for the Administration to take a serious look at Coach Bo Pelini.

His Cornhusker team was shredded by the Badgers of Wisconsin, allowing more than a point a minute, in its 70-31 drubbing.  Double Yikes!

And no, this wasn’t a basketball game; it was for a spot in the Rose Bowl.

Wiscy ran for a Jaw-dropping 539 rushing yards, as the once revered “Black-Shirts” D, was reduced to a bunch of slow footed players, sporting, not eye black, but black eyes.

The Lincoln nightmare occurred against a team with 5 losses, and one whose offense ranked a less than mediocre; 84th in the nation.  Mind boggling!

It has been 13 years and counting, since Nebraska football last captured a Conference Championship, and with Ohio State coming off probation, the future is grim.

As for Husker Coach Bo Pelini, who once again “apologized” for his team’s no-show, he may be on the clock next year.

But in all honesty, this wasn’t just a no-show, it was an AWOL by the coaching staff.

In contrast, congrats to QB Tino Sunseri, and tailback Ray Graham of the Pitt Panthers for punching its ticket into a bowl game after its; 27-3 victory over South Florida.

After its first two games, Pitt was 0-2, including a loss to a Division 1AA team, and looked like one of the worst teams in the nation.

Under the tutelage of first year head man; Paul Chryst, the Panthers bounced backed impressively, allowing its two classy seniors the opportunity to wear the Pitt uniform one more time.

Good for them!

Finally it was once again: “Sorry Charlie,” for old friend, and KU coach, Charlie Weis as his sorry Jayhawks (1-11) were eviscerated by West Virginia; 59-10.

Kansas has now lost 20 consecutive conference games and 20 in a row to Division 1 opponents.  YIKES!!

That’s a record of ineptitude that could challenge Mass drug lab chemist; Annie Dookhan.

Here’s hoping that BC will do the right thing and look across the river at Harvard’s Timmy Murphy for its next football coach.

That’s it from cyber space.  We’ll be up and running with the last regular game of the season, our favorite: Army/Navy on Wednesday night, as well as the results of my Heisman ballot.

Until Then, Peace, and listen to the music.  PK

Analysis Week 14

We begin this week with at tribute to a coaching legend.

His name is John Gagliardi, and this 86 year old northern icon, just retired, after 60 years as the head man of St. John’s, a Division III school in Minnesota.

He is America’s all-time winningiest college football coach: 489-139-11, eclipsing Grambling’s Eddie Robinson. 

He is also the first active coach to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame – 2006.

Here are some of his fanciful and eccentric coaching techniques:

No practicing if there are too many gnats. (Sounds reasonable to me.)

He also had his famous list of; “No Rules.”

He did not allowing tackling during practice. He had no team captains, or cheerleaders.

He never used a whistle, and players had strict orders to call him John, instead of coach.

“I eliminate the unnecessary, and I think almost everything is unnecessary,” he said.

He was 26 years old when his hired at St. John’s.  The outgoing coach, Johnny “Blood” McNally, left with these parting words for the 4-time championship coach;

“Nobody could ever win at St. John’s.”  He obviously didn’t know John Gagliardi.

On this final weekend of college football, let’s see which teams need some more practice tackling, and which, swarm the opposition, like a bunch of voracious gnats.

No. 2 Alabama vs. No. Georgia SEC Championship – (Ch.4, 4 p.m.) Atlanta, Georgia 

In the South, the stakes of this de-facto semi-final are almost as important as a NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The winner, punches its ticket into the National Championship Game against Notre Dame, and will give the SEC the opportunity to capture its seventh consecutive national title.

The Tide is directed by its Heisman contending QB, A.J. McCarron (25 touchdown passes – 2 interceptions), who operates with the precision of a Syrian bomb detonator.

The nation’s second most efficient passer leans heavily on a pair of road-runners: Eddie Lacy, and T.J. Yeldon, who have combined for; 1867 yards and 24 TDs.

When this dart thrower goes aerial, wideouts; Amari Cooper, and Kevin Norwood, are big play chain movers.

It is also a good idea to strike first against the Tide.

Alabama has out scored opponents by a jaw dropping first-half seasonal total of; 320-54.

But it has been the play of the D, which sends shivers down the spine of offensive coordinators.

St. Nick’s (Saban) Houndstooth Hatters defends its territory, better than the Israeli Army.

These top rated Tuscaloosan Titans, led by backers C.J. Mosley, and Trey Depriest, are the nation’s stingiest eleven (9 pts.), and have allowed a Scrooge-like total of; 111 points.

Or, about the amount of points West Virginia gives up in a game and a half!

In Athens, the Dawgs have shown so well, they should be invited to the Westminster Show in Madison Square.

These Sons of Vince Dooley, mush with its lead dog, All-America caliber QB Aaron (30 touchdown passes – 7 interceptions) Murray, the nation’s pass efficiency leader.

He wideouts Malcolm Mitchell and Tavarres King are as consistently reliable as hearing; “Happy Holidays,” at the local mall.

The starry QB also has the luxury of mixing in a pair of scintillating freshman tailbacks; Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, who have combined for over 1800 yards, and 22 TDs.

The solid D, fires behind its All-America backer Jarvis Jones (19.5 tfls – 10.5 sacks), and his partner Alec Ogletree, but will need to be almost perfect against Bama.

In a game that will have more hits than a Beatles Catalogue, or a Paris Hilton video, we think Saban, rolls the Tide on a path toward its second consecutive championship.

No.17 UCLA at No. 8 Stanford (Fri. FOX, 8 p.m.) – Pac-12 Championship

In January of 1832, New York Senator William Learned Marcy, stood on the floor of the US Senate and uttered this memorable phrase: “To the victor, belong the spoils.”

In this championship tussle, the victor earns a spot in the “Granddaddy of them all,” the Rose Bowl, while spoiling the season for the other.

And in the “bizzaro” world of college football, these teams will be meeting for the second time in six days, just at a different campus stadium location.

UCLA Coach Jim Mora has brought a long missing discipline to the Westwood campus, and in doing so, has made Bruins football, once again relevant, in the City of Angels.

The director of this renaissance, is r-shirt freshman QB, Brett Hundley (26 touchdown passes – 10 interceptions-8 rushing), who has played with a surfer’s coolness.

The talented kid is assisted by the nation’s ninth leading rusher, Jonathan Franklin, and his All-America tight end sky scraper (6-7, 258), Joseph Fauria, has hauled in 11 TDs.

The D, led by its bone crushing end Anthony Barr (19 tfls – 12 sacks), and backer Eric Kendricks, shows occasional flashes, but still struggles mightily defending the pass.

For the first time in its history, the Cardinal has won at least 10 games in three consecutive seasons.

Coach David Shaw changed the entire team dynamic, three weeks ago, when he made a QB change, handing the keys to Kevin Hogan.

The young maestro (8 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions), is assisted by his bruising tailback, Stepfan Taylor (over 1300 yds. 11 TDs), and an All-America caliber tight end; Zach Ertz.

But the bedrock of the Boys on the Farm has been a defense that is tougher to penetrate than the posse surrounding Justin Bieber.

The nation’s 11th stingiest (16 pts.) is spearheaded by a trio of disrupting backers: Shayne Skov, Chase Thomas, and Trent Murphy.

This group leads the nation in stoning runners (2.5 yds. a carry), and sacking the quarterback, averaging over 4 QB captures a game.

In the rematch, we thing the spoils are awarded to the Cardinal, who earn a primo spot in the Rose Bowl parade.

No. 19 Northern Illinois vs. No. 18 Kent State – MAC Championship – (Fri. ESPN2, 7 p.m.) Detroit

The winner may earn a spot in a BCS game.

And don’t be surprised if both coaches; NI’s Dave Doeren, and KS’s Darrell Hazel are leading other teams next season.

The Huskies, who have won eleven in a row, are directed by the best player no one knows.

In fact he may be more anonymous than our pal the SRD, also known as; John “Rothstein” Collins.

His name is Jordan Lynch, and this Heisman worthy QB, the nation’s fifth leading rusher, and 12th most efficient passer, has accounted for 39 touchdowns.

The conductor of the nation’s twelfth highest scoring eleven (40), is assisted by tailback Akeem Daniels, and a 1000 yard, 11 TD receiver; Martel Moore.

The country’s fifteenth stingiest (17pts) D, led by disruptors, end Alan Baxter (10.5 tfls-9 sacks), and backer Tyrone Clark, isn’t spectacular, but solid in all phases.

The Golden Flashers have been golden.

Kent State winners of ten straight, are having the finest football season in its 90 year history.

A victory gives the; “Little Engine that could,” its first MAC Title since George McGovern was at the top of the national Democrat ticket in; 1972.

[McGovern conjures up the image of the famous bumper sticker: Nixon 49, America 1]

The Flashers one dimensional attack – Kent State is 111th in passing- relies on the legs of a pair of free flowing tailbacks.

Dri Archer (9.6 yds. a carry) and his partner, Trayion Durhan, have combined for a jaw-dropping 2513 yards and 28 touchdowns.

When QB Spencer Keith (11 touchdown passes – 7 interceptions) goes aerial, the aforementioned Archer, Josh Boyle and Matt Hurdle are principle targets.

Archer is also a hidden yardage assassin, leading the nation in kickoff returns, averaging close to 40 yards a touch.

The D, featuring tackle Roosevelt Nix (14 tfls – 5.5 sacks), and backer Luke Batton, struggles defending the pass (111th) which is not a good recipe against the Huskies.

Unlike McGovern in ’72, we think the Huskies flash the victory sign to the Flashers.

No. 14 Nebraska vs. Wisconsin – BIG Ten Championship – (FOX, 8p.m.) Indianapolis To Paraphrase the Allman Brothers classic; “One Way Out,” Wisconsin “back doored” into this game.

The Badgers finished third in the Leaders Division, but won this lottery courtesy of the bowl bans directed at Penn State and Ohio State.

The Wiscy attack revolves around its All-America tailback Montee Ball, the all-time NCAA touchdown maker (79), and his partner James White.

This Mad-Town duo, has accounted for over; 2200 yards, 26 touchdowns, and can batter a defense, like Sandy, battered the Jersey Shore.

Senior QB Curt Phillips (4 touchdown passes -1 interception) is the third Wisconsin signal caller, and when he connects, wideout Jared Abbrederis (head injury – will play), can be a glue fingered acrobat.

The nation’s 17th stingiest D, led by backers Chris Borland (hamstring – will play) and Mike Taylor (14 tfls), force teams to work for every yard.

After being pummeled by Ohio State in the first weekend in October, Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini issued his team a challenge; “WIN OUT!”

And win out they have, as the Huskers riding a six game winning streak, are trying to win its first conference championship since Bill Clinton was sneaking White House desserts; 1999.

Dual-threat QB Taylor Martinez (21 touchdown passes – 8 interceptions – 8 rushing), and 1000 yard tailback Ameer Abdullah, are the diesels behind the eight best rushing attack.

[Note: tailback Rex Burkhead (knee) will also see playing time.]

When the scrambler takes to the sky, wideouts Kenny Bell, and Quincy Enunwa, are comforting ports in the storm.

The D behind disrupting end Eric Martin (16 tfls – 8.5 sacks), and backer Will Compton, aren’t vintage Black Shirt, but have become much more cohesive during the streak.

We like the Huskers, by a nose,  to capture its first conference championship.

Pitt at South Florida (ESPN2, 7 p.m.) We selected this game instead of the woeful ACC Championship Game; (6-6 Georgia Tech versus Florida State), because we think this is a better story.

Pitt started the season 0-2, including a loss to a Division 1AA team, and literally looked like one of the worst teams in the country.

But since then, newly minted Coach Paul Chryst has given the faithful a glimpse of what the future may look like.

If Pitt wins its final regular season game in the Big East, it will go bowling.

If that should happen, it would be a great sendoff to a pair of classy seniors; QB Tino Sunseri, and tailback Ray Graham, who have battled through injuries, and unnecessary, and absurd, coaching changes.

These kids are the epitome of Pitt toughness, and perseverance, and are deserving of wearing the Panther uniform for one more game before graduation.

The improving offense is directed by Sunseri (18 touchdown passes – 2 interceptions) who is riding the nation’s longest streak of 245 passes, without a pick.

The talented Graham, 52 yards shy of 1000, and his sidekick, freshman tailback Rushel Shell, are the pistons in the Panther attack.

When Pitt’s field general airs it, wideouts; Mike Shanahan, and Devin Smith are capable of making Ringling Brothers worthy catches.

The D led by tackle Aaron Donald (14.5 tfls-4.5 sacks), and backer Shane Gordon, is in the top 25 in almost every category, allowing 21 points a game.

Unlike his dad, the Bulls faithful will not be erecting a statue to Coach Skip Holtz anytime soon.

In fact, Skip may be forced to skip town, when the USF debacle of a season comes to a merciful end on Saturday evening.

South Florida is a bottom feeding 98th in scoring (22 pts), and third from the bottom in turnover margin; minus-15, a statistic that will not win you many games.

QB Matt Floyd (0 touchdowns – 2 interceptions) is filling in for injured starter B.J. Daniels.

The newbie leans heavily on tailback Demetri Murray, and when he connects, wideout Andre Davis is a comforting sight.

The D led by tackle Cory Grissom and backer Sam Barrington is equally inefficient, particularly defending against the pass.

In Pitt’s Big East Last Hurrah, it’s a toast to Sunseri, and Graham, as the Panthers go bowling on.

 

Last week’s record: 5-0                                      Season record: 47-18.

 

PS:  This is the last full report of the season.

We’ll be back next week with my favorite; Army/Navy, and how I voted in the Heisman.

Thanks to all for reading, and commenting.  As always, it was a blast for me. 

Until we meet next year, stay well, Peace, and listen to the music.  PK

Finally, dare I say; “Merry Christmas!!”

Recap Week 13

In South Bend, Touchdown Jesus has his hands stretched a little higher.

A Golden Age, long thought past, has returned to the Golden Dome campus, as the Irish punched its ticket into the National Championship Game with its: 22-13 win over USC.

It is also the fifth time that a third year Notre Dame Coach will play for the title: Frank Leahy in ’47, Ara Parseghian ’66, Dan Devine ’77, Lou Holtz ’88, and now Brian Kelly, the previous four all returned home champions.

It has been a remarkable odyssey for this gritty bunch of Domers, led by its inspirational backer, and Heisman contender; Manti Te’o.

Before the start of the season, ND was a 90-1 shot to make it to Miami, and most experts felt, with its daunting schedule, that an 8-4 record would be cause for celebration.

Now nothing short of a national title will fully satisfy the Notre Dame Faithful. 

Who knew?!

In Aggie-land, Home of the Twelfth Man, it was once again the “Johnny Football” show.

QB Johnny Manziel, led Texas A&M to its tenth win in its boffo SEC (6-2) debut.

No freshman has ever won the award, but no sophomore had ever won it until Tim Tebow did it in 2007, and the kid is definitely Heisman worthy.

Freshman/smeshman, his SEC numbers: 4600 yards of offense, over 3300 yards passing, over 1000 yards rushing, and 43 TDs; screams; Most Outstanding Player in America. Period!

In Raleigh, North Carolina, it was the tale of Boston College coaches, and the predictable result, was another loss for the Eagles.

BC closed out its woeful (2-10), 2012 campaign, its worst since 1978, with its fourth straight loss; a 27-10 defeat to Tom O’Brien’s (7-5) Wolfpack, who also had a disappointing season.

It is expected, that this was the last game in the Frank Spaziani era, and it may well have been the last game for Tom O’Brien who is rumored to be on the chopping block.

As we have written many times; all BC has to do is look toward Cambridge, and the Football Offices of Harvard Coach Tim Murphy, for its next head man.

He has won everything there is to win in the Ivy League. 

Before Harvard, he was the youngest Division 1 coach in America, leading Cincinnati to an 8-3 record before coming to H some 19 years ago.

He understands the blending of academics and athletics, has an innovative offensive mind, recruits nationally, will win, and most importantly, won’t use the job as a stepping stone, as so many have previously done.

But you have to ask yourself, outside of hiring Jerry York, when does BC ever do the right thing?

In the bizarre world of college football, Stanford defeated UCLA 35-17, and next Friday the same two will face off, this time in Palo Alto for the Pac-12 Championship and a spot in the Rose Bowl.

In Columbus, the Urban renewal project finished way ahead of schedule.

Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes closed out its undefeated season in style; as a 26-21 victory over its arch-rival Michigan.

In this classic rivalry, arguably the nation’s best, the college football world said goodbye to one of the country’s most scintillating players; senior QB/TB Denard Robinson.

The kid walks away with a movie full of and jaw dropping highlights, and the best part; he did it with the utmost class.

Finally some WAC and the MAC love.

In Logan, Utah, Coach Gary Anderson’s Utah State Aggies, won a school record 10th game, and captured its first outright WAC title since FDR was playing poker in the White House in 1936.  Good for them!!!

In Kent, Ohio, the Golden Flashers of Kent State won its 10th in a row, finishing its best season since the days of Warren Harding, making Coach Darrell Hazell a very hot commodity.

Don’t be surprised if Hazell gets a call from new BC Athletic Director Brad Bates.

And finally, some Hiesman love to Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch, who has led the Huskies to 11 straight victories.

The dual-threat QB has rushed for over 1600 yards, and 16 TDs, while throwing for 23 touchdowns, as the Boys from DeKalb have won a remarkable 16 consecutive MAC games.

Coach Dave Doeren should be another guy the Boston College must call list.

That’s it from cyber space, we’ll be up and running with our final analysis Wednesday night.  Until then, Peace, and listen to the music.  PK

Analysis week 13

We begin this drum stick weekend, the last full card of the season, with a turkey.

No, it’s not what is about to follow, but about former Coach Lee Corso of ESPN fame, who once used a live bird to pluck an opponent.

On Thanksgiving Day in 1969, 3 months after Woodstock, Corso took his Louisville Cardinal football team to Tulsa, to face the heavily favored Golden Hurricanes.

“The team needed a mascot to rally around,” said the coach.

So Corso put a turkey on a leash.

“Everybody had to pat it at the pregame meal,” recalled ESPN’s Tom Jackson, a Cardinal defensive star.

The turkey charged out on the field with the team, and that’s when Corso told the team about the bet.

If Louisville lost, the Tulsa coaches would get to eat the new mascot.

Late in the game, and nursing a lead, Corso called a time out to remind his defense that a life was at stake. 

“We’ll hold them,” shouted the D, and they did, carrying Corso, and the turkey, off the field in celebration.

This weekend let’s see which teams deserve the bird for its poor play, and which utilize the wishbone, and stuffs itself by gobbling up another victory.

No. 1 Notre Dame at No. USC (Ch.5, 8 p.m.) Not even Touchdown Jesus saw this coming.

Before the start of the season, the odds, that the Irish, on the last week of the season, would be ranked at the top, were longer, than spotting Mitt Romney sitting at the bar at the Eire Pub, munching on a pastrami sandwich.

Coach Brian Kelly has performed this minor miracle, utilizing a D, which is tougher than Hilary Clinton, or the Israeli secret police.

This bunch, ranked sixth overall, stones runners, and overall, has more impressive numbers than the size of Tom Menino’s hospital bill.

ND is tied with Alabama for the fewest points surrendered (10) per game, and tops in the nation in fewest touchdowns (11) allowed, proving it can play against anyone.

The soul of the team, is its attacking front seven, led by All-America, and Heisman contending backer, Manti Te’o, with a strong assist by end Stephon Tuitt (12.5 sacks).

The improving offense (27 pts.), is directed by QB Everett Golson (11 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions), with assists from tailbacks; Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood.

When the dual threat QB goes aerial, tight end Tyler Eifert, and wideout T.J. Jones, are comforting targets.

USC is a mess.

But for the Men of Troy, who have playmakers all over the field, this is its Super Bowl, and a chance, for a season salvation victory.

Coach Lane “Violation” Kiffin has also been given the kiss of death, verbal support by AD Pat Hayden, but next season the Trojan head man is definitely on the clock.

Without its All-America QB Matt Barkley (shoulder), the tall task of trying to ruin the Irish dream season, will fall on the arm of its talented r-shirt freshman QB; Max Witter.

Fortunately, the kid has the luxury of focusing on a pair of future Sunday wideouts; in game-breakers; All-America Marquise Lee, and his partner Robert Woods.

The nation’s best pairing, has put up Bond-like box office numbers; combining for a jaw-dropping; 173 receptions; 2326 yards, and 24 TDs. 

USC can also move it on the ground with Penn State transfer tailback Silas Redd, and his backfield mate Curtis McNeal.

It’s the D, which has caused a season of agita for the Sons of John McKay.

This group, behind end Morgan Breslin (11.5 sacks), and backer Dion Bailey has been dented more often than the cars of Mass. Hwy. Safety Director: Sheila Burgess.

As we move toward the “everlasting” Christmas season, in the biggest Notre Dame Football game since 1993, we think, the Luck of the Irish continues to shine on the Domers.

[For what it’s worth, Notre Dame is on the cover of this week’s SI.]

No.6 Florida at No. 10 Florida State (Ch.5, 3:30 p.m.) “W” had just been elected (2000), the last time this rivalry game carried such importance.

That was also the last time, both teams, were ranked tenth or higher.

And this year, the intra-state clash, showcases a pair of 10-1 teams, both with suffocating defenses.

The Gators need mucho help, but remain alive for a “long-shot” opportunity to play in the National Championship Game.

The Men of the Swamp have sucked down opponents behind the nation’s fourth rated overall D.

This group, featuring end Sharrif Floyd (10 tfls), backer Jon Bostic, and safety Josh Evans, allows a miniscule 11 points per game, and defends the pass, and run, with equal panache.

On offense, these are not your father’s Spurrier Fun’n Gun Gainesville Flyers.

Florida welcomes the return of its dual-threat QB Jeff Driskel (ankle), which should open up some lanes for its talented pile driving tailback; Mike Gillislee.

Otherwise, the Gators, 79th in scoring, and a swamp-like, sixth from the bottom, spinning the pigskin, have snoozed out its scoreboard operator by averaging; 25 pts. a game.

The last time the Seminoles had such a formidable season; Bobby Bowden was sporting his oversized straw hat, and spewing “dadgums” on the sideline.

The balanced Tallahassee eleven, averaging 42 points a game, are directed by the country’s seventh most efficient passer, dual-threat E.J. (21 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions) Manuel.

The Galapagos tortoise sized QB (6-5, 238), is assisted by tailbacks; Devonta Freeman, James Wilder jr., and wideout Rashad Greene.

The nation’s top ranked overall D, led by end Cornellius Carradine (10.5 sacks), and backer Telvin Smith, is tops in stopping the run, playing like a vintage Bowden squad.

In a very tough game to get a handle on, SEC vs. ACC, we’ll select, despite the home field advantage, the better league, as the Gators stake its claim for national prominence.

No. 5 Oregon at No. 16 Oregon State (Pac-12, 3 p.m.) The Civil War has seldom been bigger, and that includes Gettysburg.

If the Ducks win, and Stanford loses to UClA, Oregon, with a lot of help, remains alive for a national title shot. 

But a loss here, and it’s simply dead Ducks.

The nation’s second highest scoring team (51pts.) revolves around a pair of Heisman sniffers; tailback Kenjon Barner (over 1400 yards – 19TDs), and dual threat QB Marcus (29 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions) Mariotta.

This lightening duo, along with all-purpose wr/rb De’Anthony Thomas, can score faster than Derek Sanderson in his prime, on and off the ice.

Unfortunately, for the Duck faithful, the D, featuring backers; Kiko Alonso (11tfls), and Michael Clay, has more injuries than a professional rodeo bull rider.

In Corvallis, Beavers Coach Mike Riley has gone from updating his resume, to a certain extension, and a strong; Coach of the Year candidate.

Unlike its counterpart, OSU isn’t flashy, but has won with a solid defense and steady, mistake free play.

Co-QB’s; Sean Mannion, and Cody Vaz, have led the way, with assists from tailbacks Storm Woods, and Terron Ward.

When the signal callers take to the skies, quality big play wideouts; Markus Wheaton, and Brandon Cooks, are primary targets.

The D, led by backer Michael Doctor, and safety Ryan Murphy, stones runners, while surrendering a respectable 21 points a game.

In a hard fought game, it’s not called the Civil War for nothing; the Ducks remain alive, and bounce back with a title clinging win in Corvallis.

No. 11 Stanford at No. 15 UCLA (FOX, 6:30 p.m.) UCLA has already punched its ticket into the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game, and should Stanford win, it will do the same.

Two weeks ago Stanford Coach David Shaw made a QB change to Kevin Hogan (7 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions), and it has sprouted the Cardinal new wings.

The offensive igniter leans heavily on his starry tailback Stepfan Taylor (over 1200 yds.), and an All-America caliber tight end Zach Ertz.

But it’s the smart kids D, the nation’s 10th stingiest, which has given Stanford its identity, and is the foundation of the teams success.

The Farm boys attack features a trio of speedy backers: Trent Murphy (15.5 tfls – 8.5 sacks) Chase Thomas (10 tfls), and Shayne Skove.

These guys are never out of position, swarm to the ball, crush runners, and cause more intestinal discomfort, than an undercooked turkey.

In Westwood, newly minted Coach Jim Mora has made Bruins football relevant once again.

The best decision by the Coach of the Year candidate, was to make r-shirt dual-threat freshman QB Brett Hundley (25 touchdown passes – 9 interceptions) the starter.

Mr. California Cool has played with the poise of a senior, with assists from one of the nation’s finest tailbacks Jonathan Franklin (over 1400 yds) and a Himalayan sized (6-7, 258) All-America tight end, Joseph Fauria, who has hauled in 10 touchdowns.

The D, despite the excellence of backer Anthony Barr (18 tfls – 12 sacks), and end Datone Jones (13.5 tfls), remains a work in progress.

In a game that is closer than a Presidential election, we’ll take the Farm Boys to earn the right to face off against UCLA next week for the Pac – 12 Championship.

No. 20 Michigan at No. 4 Ohio State (Ch.5, Noon) Wearing a Ram helmet for his final regular season game, Denard Robinson, and Big Blue, would love nothing better, than to spoil Ohio State’s perfect season.

But it won’t be as a quarterback for the senior legend.

Instead, the nation’s fifteenth best runner, will be weaving, and slicing, from the tailback position.

Two weeks ago, due to an arm injury, Wolverine Coach Brady Hoke was forced to go to backup Devin Gardner, and that move rejuvenated the pedestrian Ann Arbor offense.

It also gave a surge of energy to UM’s field-stretching wideouts; Jeremy Gallon, and Roy Roundtree, who saw their catching numbers exponentially grow.

The bedrock of the Big House eleven is the country’s seventeenth (18 pts.) stingiest D, which is led by a pair of swarming backers; Jake Ryan and Kenny Demens.

In Columbus, the Urban renewal project is way ahead of schedule.

 But thanks to Tatoo-gate, the Buckeyes, despite the possibility of finishing with a perfect season, will not be going bowling.

The Sons of Woody Hayes are directed by its Heisman contending dual-threat QB Braxton Miller, (14 touchdown passes – 6 ints. – 13 rushing) with assists from tailback Carlos Hyde and receivers; Corey Brown, and Devin Smith.

The improving D features a pair of sledge hammer backers; Ryan Shazier and John Simon, who have combined for 30 tfls, and 13 sacks.

In a game that will be tighter than Park Street Station at rush hour, we can make a case for either side, but never underestimate Meyer in a big game; the Buckyes dot the I.

Last week: 2-3                                                                 Season record: 42-18

We will be up and running with our recap on Sunday by noon, until then, Peace, and listen to the music.                   pk