Saturday football

we begin …….

Saturday football

we begin this week with an ice cream, a truck and a girls volleyball team.

In the inagural College Football Playoff; we’ll take the Buckeyes!!!

Oregon vs. Ohio State – College Playoff Championship (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. – Monday, January 12th)

Then there were two.

As Dickens wrote in; “A Tale of Two Cities;” “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …”

And for the faithful from Columbus and Eugene, it will be, we just don’t yet know into which category each will fit.

We’ll begin with the Ducks of Oregon, aka the Sons of Phil Knight, who move like Zephyrus, outscoring its opponents by the eye-popping aggregate: 661-312.

These descendants of Dan Fouts are directed by it flawless, dual-threat Heisman QB Marcus Mariota (40 TDs-3 INTs-15 rushing), who, as suggested by his jaw-dropping two-year totals: (71 TDs – 7 INTs), is the finest maestro this side of Leonard Bernstein.

The pigskin conductor of the nation’s second highest scoring eleven (47), is assisted by a pair of John Deere caliber earth movers: t-freshman Royce Freeman (over 1300 yards -18TDs), and his partner Thomas Tyner.

When Mr. Heisman goes aerial, he has a Whitman’s Sampler of glue-fingered receivers; Byron Marshall, Dwayne Stanford, Darren Carrington, and a Himalayan-sized tight end (6-6, 250) Evan Baylis, from whom to choose.

The Ducks D, anchored by tackle DeForest Buckner (12.5 tfls-4 sacks), and backer Tony Washington (11 tfls – 6 sacks), is perceived as a liability, but its 27th ranking in points surrendered (22), places it in a high cotton position.

The Sons of Woody Hayes, who have outscored its opponents by a better than two-to-one margin 630-310, have thrived in its underdog role, continuously singing “Goodbye Columbus” to its opponents who line up with an air of perceived superiority.

The Bucks coach, Urban Meyer has been like “The Miracle Worker” in getting his boys into the championship game, especially when one considers that its Escalade-sized (6-6, 250) “third-string” QB Cardale Jones is now controlling the stick shift.

The Scarlet and Grey, the nation’s fifth highest scoring squad (45) sets the tone on the legs of its thoroughbred tailback Ezekiel Elliott (1632 yards – 14TDs). To quote another Eliot, T.S. “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out, how far one can go,” fits the Buckeyes approach.

And when Mr. Jones, (who has played more like the Celtics Sam) takes to the skies, Devin Smith (27 yards a catch), and Michael Thomas can score quicker than Miley Cyrus, having combined for 21 TDs.

The Sons of Randy Gradishar’s “Eveready” D anchored by its All-America lineman Joey Bosa (20 tfls-13.5 sacks), with support from backers Joshua Perry, and Darron Lee (16.5 tfls-7.5 sacks), stifles the run and the pass with the same ferocity that the “Soul of Boston” has toward the “Weasel” Tsarnaev.

It is difficult to go against Mr. Heisman, but we think the better coach, and by far the better defense, resides on the sideline of the team with the “Ghosts of Championship Past.”

We’ll take the Boys from Columbus, as the Big Ten captures its first national title since the Bucks did it in W’s first term – 2002.

That’s it from cyber-space for the season. Thanks to all, especially Ken Johnson for keeping us on track.

Peace, and listen to the music. PK

The College Playoff; Oregon, FSU, Alabama, Ohio State makes New Year’s Day relevant once again!

We begin this inaugural College Football Playoff, which makes New Year’s Day relevant for the first time since Bill Clinton was chasing Monica around the White House (1997), with some classic quotes from the giants of the game who never had the opportunity to compete in a playoff format.

We’ll begin with John McKay from USC:

“We didn’t tackle well today, but we made up for it by not blocking.”

“Intensity is a lot of guys that run fast.”

“Emotion is highly overrated. My wife Corky is emotional as hell, but can’t play football worth a damn.”

After USC lost 51-0 to Notre Dame, this was McKay’s post-game message to his team: “All of those who need to take showers; take them.”

Ara Parseghian – Notre Dame: “Whether you like it or not, ….. you’re a national figure after five games at Notre Dame.”

Knute Rockne – Notre Dame: “I’ve found prayers work better when you have large players.” “It isn’t necessary to see a good tackle, you can hear it.”

Darrell Royal – Texas: “Trends are bunk. Angry people win football games.”

Paul Dietzel – LSU: “You learn more character on the two yard line than anywhere else in life.”

Bob Devaney – Nebraska: “I don’t want to win enough to be placed on NCAA probation, I just want to win enough to warrant an investigation.”

Alex Karras – who wasn’t a coach, but we felt this quote was worthy: “I never graduated from Iowa, but I was only there for two terms, Truman’s and Eisenhower’s.”

Finally, the Bear, Paul “Bear” Bryant the winner of six national championships: “I make my practices real hard, because if a player is a quitter, I want him to quit in practice, not in a game.”

Now to the final four;

No.1 Alabama vs. No.5 Ohio State – Sugar Bowl (ESPN, 8:30 p.m.) The chase is on.

St. Nick, the “Captain Spaulding” of Groucho’s favorite team, is attempting to climb one rung closer (5) to Alabama’s “Hound’s-tooth” icon Paul “Bear” Bryant, who lords over college football landscape with a resume that includes six national titles.

These Sons of Bart Starr, who have outscored its opponents by a better than 2-1 margin (482-216) are directed by its senior “occasion-rising” QB Blake Sims (26 TDs -7 INTs), who operates as the country’s seventh most efficient passer.

The rocket-launcher has the luxury of targeting one of the best, in Heisman finalist Amari Cooper (1656 yds-14 TDs), who is second in both yards (127), and receptions (8.8), per contest.

(On Sunday’s next year, he will be an impact player coming to a stadium near you.)

The Tide’s attack, which has better balance than Nadia Comaneci, motors behind a pair of thoroughbreds; T.J. Yeldon, and Derrick Henry, who road-grade with John Deere high-end efficiency, combining for 1827 yards, and 20 touchdowns.

The nation’s fourth stingiest (16) D, anchored by its All-America pairing; safety Landon Collins, backer Trey Depriest, and fellow backer Reggie Ragland, inhales runners, but shows some vulnerability defending the pass, especially the deep ball, which is a Ohio State specialty.

This is arguably the best coaching performance of Urban Meyer’s Hall of Fame career.

The Sons of “Hopalong” Cassady, the nation’s fourth highest scoring (45) eleven, who have scored over 40 points in 9 of its 13 games, are now directed by its Escalade-sized (6-5, 250) third-string QB Cardale Jones, who will be making just the second start of his college career, having thrown a grandiose total of 35 passes.

The talented newbie “gran-hombre” is assisted by a bell-cow tailback Ezekiel Elliott, who has galloped for over 1400 yards and 12 touchdowns.

With apologies to Billy Paul, when Mr. Jones has his “thing going on,” he has a pair of game breaking targets; Michael Thomas (8TDs), and his mercury-infused high-school pal Devin Smith (11 TDs-26 yards a grab), who has better wheels than Goodyear.

The Bucks D, anchored by its All-America end Joey Bosa (20 tfls-13.5 sacks), and assisted by fellow backers Darron Lee, and Joshua Perry, attacks with the ferocity of Whoopi Goldberg toward a republican, or Pope Francis toward the Vatican Curia.

We think the Tide has too much talent and speed for the Boys from Columbus, and early Friday morning, Tuscaloosa’s secular saint will be one win away from moving up the “Bear ladder.”

No.3 Oregon vs. No.2 Florida State – Rose Bowl (ESPN, 5 p.m.) In the spirit of Rod Serling, who once said, “Imagination… its limits are only those of the mind itself.”

That is the approach that the Sons of Dan Fouts, aka the Ducks of Oregon (who are a significant 9 pt. favorite) will be employing, intent on stamping the Seminoles from Tallahassee with its first blemish in over two years. (FSU last lost on November 24, 2012 to be exact).

The nation’s third highest scoring (46) squad is directed by its “pluperfect” flawless QB, Marcus Mariota (38 TDs-2 INTs – 14 rushing), who in addition to leading the country in passing efficiency, is the newly minted Heisman Trophy winner, and overall, has had a better year than Taylor Swift.

The “Quiet Hawaiian” is an eye-popping 35-4 as a starter, and has been the Ducks second leading rusher for three consecutive seasons.

The Eugene dart-thrower is assisted by a blue-ribbon freshman, tailback Royce Freeman (1299 yds.-16 TDs), and when “Mr. H” takes to the Oregon skies, wideout Byron Marshall, and Devon Allen are field stretching targets.

Unfortunately, as the Phil Knight University faithful are well aware, the D, especially with the loss of its All-America corner Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, is vulnerable to the pass, which is not a good recipe against Florida State.

Shocker!@!

FSU’s Heisman QB; Jameis “Crablegs” Winston has been cleared of any university code-of-conduct violations.

It is reminiscent of the scene from the classic movie “Casablanca” in which Captain Renault, played by Claude Rains, is ordered by the Nazi major to shut down Rick’s Café.

When Humphrey Bogart, who plays the part of Rick, inquires as to why, Rains responds; “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” (As the croupier hands Renault his winnings.)

The Sons of Bobby Bowden, in its circle-the-wagons mentality have managed to shut out the noise, and continue to find ways to carve out a W. (A pal of mine, refers to FSU as “The Cockroaches” because you can’t kill them off.)

Outside of the confines of Tallahassee, “Crablegs” (24 TDs-17 INTs), who has yet to taste the bile of defeat in his college career, remains the most disliked person this side of Bernie Madoff, Lance Armstrong, or any member of Congress.

But beware, the once moribund Florida State offense has been infused by the emergence of t-freshman tailback Dalvin Cook, (issues with the law) who has more speed than a meth-lab in Appalachia.

And when “Captain Comeback” goes aerial, wideout Rashard Greene, and tight end Nick O’Leary have been quality, season-long, “bail-me-out” targets.

The Seminoles D, featuring backers Reggie Northrup, Terrance Smith, and end Mario Edwards, won’t conjure up any images of the days of “bump and run” domination, but is capable of making the big fortuitous stop, hence its undefeated standing.

In addition to being the Rose Bowl, which is always the best on the menu of bowls, this game holds great intrigue.

If FSU falls behind early, which has been its pattern, can it mount a charge against such a high powered high flying offense as Oregon. Doubtful.

And as much as America wants to see the Seminoles fall, we’ll stay with the streak. To paraphrase Finley Peter Dunne’s “Mr. Dooley; “Twenty-nine in a row ain’t beanbag.”

That’s it from cyber space. Peace, and a healthy new year. Pk.

Army/Navy The Old Man and Me!!

“Age wrinkles the body.

Quitting wrinkles the soul.” Douglas MacArthur.

Army vs. Navy – Baltimore (Ch. 4, 3:00 p.m.) We begin this week, in the spirit of the season with our annual piece about taking my “old man” to the last pure amateur sporting event left in America; The Army/Navy Football Game.

It’s our version of; “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus.”

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 Army versus Navy, and featured the Middies Heisman Trophy winner; Roger Staubach.

I viewed the game with my dad, sharing the couch in the living room on the top floor of our Dorchester – “Wattendorf owned” – three-decker.

We watched on a black and white Philco television, with the mandatory rabbit ears, and even though the “old man” was WWII Army, I was rooting for Navy.

The game ended on a controversial no call, as the Midshipmen hung onto a 21-15 victory, with the Cadets perched on the one-yard line as time expired.

It began a lifelong love affair with the game of college football, one in which I remain intimately involved, by writing a seasonal on-line newspaper column, as well as participating as a Heisman Trophy voter.

But now, a tick over a half-century later, the game’s significance, has much deeper roots for me.

My dad, Ed, passed thirteen-years ago, and four years before his demise, in the spring of 1998, he experienced a “mini” stroke.

That episode made me realize that this, then 75-year old veteran wouldn’t be around forever, and inspired me to put this plan into action.

I would surprise my “old man” by taking him to the witness this classic first hand, a “full-circle” father-son football-life journey.

It would be a one day whirlwind excursion.

I made the airline reservations, but now I needed some tickets. Not just any seats, but something of the decent variety, especially for a guy in in mid-seventies.

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

I asked Billy, if he would ask, the since-deceased sports columnist Will McDonough to ask his son Sean, who at the time was working for CBS Sports and calling the game, for assistance in securing a pair of seats.

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

The kid at the window glanced at the CBS logo on the envelope, then looked up at me and proclaimed; “You must be important!”

Little did he know!!

We ventured to our seats, lower level at Philadelphia’s Old Vet Stadium, eight rows up from the rail at the 45-yard line. Absolutely, Perfect!

Here we are sitting around various Naval Brass, and after a few minutes the “old man” a former Army corporal, who walked in and out of France and Germany, looks at me and says; “Are you sure we are in the right seats?”

Translation: “How could a nit-wit like you, pull off seats like these?”

Even though it was the fifth of December, the weather was balmy, and we were treated to a great day, watching what was at the time (since surpassed) the highest scoring game in the series: a 34-30 victory by Army.

Sitting in the plane just before we were about to take off for home, the “old man” leaned in and said, “In case I forget, I want to thank you.”

For a WWII father, that simple statement was like; “War and Peace.”

My dad died three years later, but to paraphrase what Bogie said to Bergman in “Casablanca;” “We’ll always have Army/Navy!”

“And yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus.”

Now to the game;

In the 115th get-together, the Sons of Jimmy Carter, the Naval Academy, have sailed off with 12-consecutive victories, and during that historic streak have outscored the Cadets by the eye-popping aggregate total of: 400-132.

It would appear that after Saturday’s game that losing streak will have climbed to a “baker’s dozen.”

Army QB Angel Santiago is the commander of the nation’s fifth (305) most prolific rushing attack, with assists from his 1000-yard tailback (9TDs) Larry Dixon.

When the Cadets take to the skies, which is rarer than a Marty Walsh smile, (less than 75 times all season), wideout Edgar Poe is the team leader with 10-catches.

Yes, his middle name is Allan, and yes, he leads the Sons of Dwight Eisenhower with 10-catches, which Alabama’s Heisman finalist Amari Cooper sometimes amasses in a half.

The D of the Sons of George Patton led by backer Jeffrey Timpf, and corner Josh Jenkins, has more holes than the Iraqi and Ukrainian Armies combined, surrendering an average of 34 points-a-game.

The Middies, aka the Sons of Admiral Matthew Perry, will once again be bowling for the holidays.

The Midshipmen cruise behind the nation’s top-ranked rushing offense (357) on the thrush of a pair of lasered torpedoes QB Keenan Reynolds, and his partner Noah Reynolds, who have combined for over 1900 yards, and 25 TDs.

When Sons of Adm. Chester Nimitz go aerial, (96 times all season), wideout Jamir Tillman leads the squad with 18-catches, while averaging 18 yards a grab.

The D, of the Sons of David Farragut, anchored by backers Jordan Drake, and Daniel Gonzales, is shakier than a Bernie Madoff investment portfolio, surrendering an average of 29 points a game.

To quote Edgar Allan Poe (the poet, not the Cadet) from his classic poem; “The Raven;”

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary …

“Ah, distinctly I remember, it was a bleak December; ……”

And we think, come early Saturday evening, it will another bleak and weary December for the Black Knights of the Hudson.

Last week: 5-0                                                        Season record: 55-20

This is the last blog of the season. Thanks to all for reading, or at least checking in.

The Committee got it right!!

We think the committee got it right!!

The four best teams (FSU is questionable, but undefeated) are in the inaugural College Football Playoff.

And it’s “Goodbye Columbus” to the other two contenders, TCU and Baylor, both of whom reside in the Big-12 Conference.

The powers-to-be slotted Ohio State into the fourth and final playoff spot for a couple of reasons: its jaw-dropping 59-0 destruction of Wisconsin in the Big Ten Conference Championship game, and the fact that TCU and Baylor don’t have a conference title game. Shame on them.

Trust me, this time next season, the Big 12 will have a conference champion, the result of a conference championship game.

The other factor, in addition to the fact that the Buckeyes played an additional football game (13), is that both the Horned Frogs, and the Bears, played what is considered to be amongst the weakest non-conference schedules in the country.

Another lesson going forward for the Big 12.

One thing that we would like to see; is the elimination of the weekly top-4 playoff rankings, and instead substitute it with a group of six teams who are under consideration for the final four slots.

That way, when the committee makes its final four announcement on the last meaningful weekend of the season, there won’t be any discussion as to how a team slotted third five days ago, has all of a sudden fallen to sixth, despite the fact that in won in dominating fashion in the final selection weekend. Hello TCU.

That scenario would take all the angst, and gnashing of teeth that went on today (Sunday) in the places that were left out, i.e. Waco and Forth Worth.

But overall, from our point of view, the committee has given us a great final four, and most importantly, made New Year’s Day relevant once again for the college football fan, and for that, we are grateful.

That’s it from cyber-space. We’ll be up and running with our annual; “Army/Navy the Old and Me,” on Wednesday night.

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

Ohio State, Baylor, TCU all impressively hold serve, who gets invited to the playoff??!!

Let the arguments ensue!

Next week Army/Navy officially closes out the 2014 College Football season, but today’s selection of the fourth team into the inaugural playoff system remains very much in doubt.

There are three locks; Alabama, Oregon, and Florida State, but the mystery guest will be announced today at 12:45 p.m. and in the spirit of the Christmas season a lot of spiritual offerings are being made to the football gods; in Waco, Fort Worth, and Columbus.

Baylor, TCU, and Ohio State all held serve with impressive performances, but two are going to feel; “We wuz robbed!”  And they just might both be from the Big-12 Conference.

The feeling here is that Ohio State garners the invitation, leaving TCU and Baylor gawking through the glass window of Tiffany’s, while the stylish gentleman and his model fiancé pick out the engagement ring with the initials: OSU.

The playoff committee’s job is a lot more difficult than anyone imagined. And take this to the bank, there will be a Championship game in the Big 12 next season.

But we’ll begin in East Hartford, Connecticut, at Rentschler Field, the home of the “Fighting Huskies” of UConn the owners of a woeful 2-10 record, who yesterday, lost to a previously winless bunch of SMU Mustangs: 27-20. YIKES!!

“That locker room was like winning the damn national championship,” said SMU interim coach Tom Mason, celebrating the end of the Mustangs run of futility

It was UConn’s first 10-loss season since Jimmy Carter was checking into who was using the White House tennis courts in 1977.

The season of ineptitude was aptly summarized in the first two sentences of the game story by the Hartford Courant’s Desmond Conner; “It’s over. Thank goodness.”

DOUBLE YIKES!!

Reese Davis of ESPN captured it best when he introduced the “highlights” by saying; “In front of tens of people.” OUCH!!!

Where’s Mark Whipple when you need him, oh, yeah, coaching at UMass Amherst. Too bad!!

In the SEC Championship game, Groucho’s favorite team, Alabama, won its fifth SEC Championship during Nick Saban’s tenure, which ties him with Steve Spurrier.

During the week, Saban told his senior first year starting QB Blake Sims, who has a tendency to get over-hyped for these big occasions to: “Play this game like; Cool Hand Luke.”

“He looks at me and says, ‘Who the hell is that?’ We’ve got to get that on Netflix or something,” said Saban.

In what may have been Urban Meyer’s best coaching job, the Buckeyes of Ohio State with its third string QB, went out and hammered, and embarrassed a highly respected Wisconsin Badgers team by the jaw-dropping score; 59-0. Can you say, “No Show!”

In his three year tenure in Columbus, Urban’s Boys have compiled a Rockne-like record; 36-3!! Amazing.

On the local front the No.1 ranked New Hampshire Wildcats cruised over the Fordham Rams 44-19 in the second round of the Football subdivision playoffs.

UNH has won 11 straight and will play the University of Tennessee Chattanooga at home next Saturday.

Congrats to them!!

And Villanova continues on with its last minute 29-22 victory over Liberty. Good for them!!

In Norman, it’s official.

The “Big Game” moniker once attached to Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was officially buried yesterday, when the Sooners couldn’t hold a 14-point fourth quarter lead, losing to its arch-rival the Cowboys of Oklahoma State: 38-35. The pokes had lost five-in-a-row by the average margin of 21 points, yet somehow went in to Norman and left with a bowl-eligible W.

The loss dropped the once feared Sons of Barry Switzer to a pedestrian (8-4, 5-4), but more devastatingly for its faithful, into the irrelevant pile of college football.

And in Norman, that is unpardonable!! We think both Norman, and Stoops have reached the “irreconcilable differences” stage. OUCH!!

Finally, this is our last recap of the season. Thanks to all who checked in. We’ll be up and running with our annual: “Army/Navy, the old man and me,” Wednesday night. Until then, Peace, and listen to the music. PK