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

In the Bronx, Fordham seniors ring the Victory Bell!!

We begin this week with a bell, a President, an Admiral, a Cardinal, and a vestige of WWII.

On the campus of Fordham University located in the Bronx, the alma-mater of Vince Lombardi and the Seven Blocks of Granite, hangs the Victory Bell.

The bell was taken from the dismantled Japanese aircraft carrier Junyo in 1946, and was presented to the university by Adm. Chester W. Nimitz. It was blessed by Cardinal Francis Spellman as a memorial to those who died in during WWII.

On May, 11, 1946, President Harry Truman was the first to ring the restored bell on the school’s grounds which has become a tradition for the seniors to ring out the sounds of a victory.

It has become a must-see on campus, and with each victory, every senior football player is lifted by at least two underclassmen, sometimes three for the rotund linemen, who rings it with gusto while the fans belt out the Rams fight song.

This season the Rams have clanged it 11 times, but there have been rather lean years, like the one in 2011, in which the Victory Bell only rang out a single time.

This weekend, let’s see which teams capture the winning spirt of Lombardi, and as Bob Dylan wrote: “Ring them bells” in victory, and which need a higher calling, or at least a Cardinal’s blessing, to have any hope of ringing its Victory Bell.

No.6 Ohio State vs. No.11 Wisconsin – Indianapolis (FOX, 8 p.m.) In the spirit of the season, the Buckeyes need a Christmas miracle.

Its record breaking (45 TDs) Heisman contending QB, J.T. Barrett, is out with the most famous fractured ankle since James Caan was “hobbled” by Kathy Bates in “Misery.”

But as the football cliché goes; its next man up.

In this case it’s the Bucks Himalayan-sized (6-6, 250 pounds) long strider, QB Cardale Jones, whose skinny resume consists of a total of 17 passes.

The “grande-caballero” will lean heavily on his 1000 yard tailback, Ezekiel Elliott (6 yds. a pop, 10 TDs), as well as a pair of field-stretching touchdown makers; Michael Thomas, and Devin Smith who have combined for 16 scoreboard lightings.

But it will be up to the D, of the Sons of Archie Griffin, led by its disrupting All-America end Joey Bosa, 4th in sacks (20 tfls -13.5 sacks), and his linebacking partners, Darron Lee, and Joshua Perry to somehow lasso the horses of Wisconsin.

For the rough-riders from Mad-Town the formula is simple; let its thoroughbred, the nation’s leading rusher, and Heisman contender Melvin Gordon (2260 yards, 26 TDs – 8 yds a carry), and his high caliber partner Corey Clement (6 yards a pop -9 TDs) run, run, and run some more.

QB Joel Stave (8 TDs-4 INTs) directs this perfecta, with assists from wideouts Alex Erickson, and Sam Arneson.

But it is the D of the Sons of Don Ameche, the nation’s fourth stingiest (16), anchored by backers: Derek Landisch (14.5 tfls – 5 sacks), Marcus Trotter, and Vince Biegel (15.5 tfls), who have corralled the opposition with the same flawless ease of Keith Lockett and the Pops conducting “Sleigh Ride” by Johnny Mathis.

This will be close, yet we just feel that somehow Urban Meyer’s Boys from Columbus, say “Goodbye” to its neighbors to the North, and hope it has done enough for a playoff invitation.

No.1 Alabama vs. No.14 Missouri – Atlanta – (Ch.4, 4 p.m.) Who knew?!!

In the early weeks of the season, the hinterlands (non-SEC) were grumbling about the fact that a pair of teams from the SEC would be invited to the 4 team playoff dance.

Well, here we are on Championship weekend, and Alabama is the last man standing for the vaunted conference.

Bama’s recipe is simpler than Toll House’s Chocolate Chips; win, and they are in.

The top-rated Tuscaloosa Titans, aka Groucho’s favorite team, are under the command of QB Blake Sims (24 TDs- 7 INTs), who gets a humongous assist from his All-America, and Heisman candidate, receiver Amari Cooper (1573 yards -14TDs), the most well-known Cooper since; Gary, Gordon, or D.B.

In addition, his partners, wideout Christion Jones, and tight end O.J. Howard are quality chain movers.

When the Tide plows the earth, tailbacks T.J. Yeldon, and Derrick Henry (18 TDs-1639 yds.) cover the ground as well as a John Deere in Iowa.

The nation’s 6th stingiest (16) D, anchored by its All-America twins; safety Landon Collins, and backer Trey Depriest, along with fellow linebackers Reggie Ragland, and Xzavier Dickson, hit harder than the Black Friday sunrise crowd at a Best Buy, or an airbag by Takata.

Coach Gary Pinkel’s Missouri Tigers, aka The Little Engine that could,” are the Rodney Dangerfield of college football.

The “Show Me State” eleven have done it again, punched its ticket into the SEC Championship showdown for the second consecutive year, and not even Nostradamus saw that coming.

Mizzou’s offense directed by QB Maty Mauk (22TDs-11 INTs), with assists from the tailback pairing; Russell Hansbrough, and Marcus Murphy, along with wideout Bud Sasser, isn’t Liberace flash, but steadier than a wheat farmer in Nebraska.

The Tigers disruptive D, (19 pts) is anchored by backer Kentrell Brothers, and a pair of menacing ends; Shane Ray (20tfls – 13.5 sacks) and Markus Golden (16 tfls – 8.5 sacks) who delight in dirtying the uniforms of the opposition’s QB.

Pinkel’s Boys will not be intimidated by the Alabama brand, but we think the Tide plants the SEC flag for a playoff spot.

No. 8 Arizona at No.3 Oregon Friday (FOX, 9 p.m.) Hey Ann Arbor, how’s Rich Rod looking now?!

The guy that Michigan couldn’t wait to boot out of town, has the Arizona Wildcats in the Pac-12 Championship game, and was just named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year. Meanwhile, the Maize and Blue just pink-slipped his successor Brady Hoke.

To quote Will Hunting, “How’d you like them apples?!!”

The mercury infused Sons of Barry Goldwater are directed by t-freshman QB Anu Solomon (27 TDs-7 INTs), with assists from starry tailback Nick Wilson (1263 yds -15 TDs-6.2 a pop) and a passel of wideouts led by Samajie Grant (will not start – DUI) and his partners Austin Hill, and Cayleb Jones who together, can lull a defense better than a speech by Nancy Pelosi.

The D is anchored by a one man wrecking who is deserving of some Heisman love; backer Scooby Wright (27 tfls -14 sacks), the nation’s leader in tackles for losses.

But the rest of the eleven is as scary as a stationary store owner, especially defending (116th) against the pass, which is not a winning formula against Oregon.

The Ducks All-America QB, Marcus Mariota, has had a better year than the Republicans.

The Heisman front runner (36 TDs-2 INTs-68% – 11 rushing), who directs the nation’s 4th highest scoring (45) squad, has displayed better numbers than Elle McPherson.

The pass-efficiency leader is assisted by t-freshman tailback Royce Freeman (1185 yards – 16 TDs) who slithers like a dancer at a New York City Gentlemen’s Club, while wideouts; Byron Marshall, Dwayne Stanford, and Devon Allen, can score faster than a Times Square pick pocket.

The D led by All-America corner Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, tackle DeForest Buckner, and backer Derrick Malone has some issues, but overall, is much improved from the beginning of the season.

Arizona has won the last two meetings, and stamped the only blemish on the Ducks resume this season. Trust me, roast Duck will not appear on the Wildcats post-game menu, as Oregon punches its ticket into the playoff shindig.

No. 12 Georgia Tech vs. No. 2 Florida State (Ch.5, 8 p.m.) It looks like a good Christmas for Jackets Coach Paul Johnson.

He is involved in serious contract negotiations (2 years remaining) for an extension, and he just beat Georgia for only the second time in nine tries to capture the team’s 10th win.

And if every domino fell just right (all one loss teams lose) Johnson would find himself in the playoff brigade, but that is about as likely as Billy Griffin refusing a beer on the Fourth of July!!

The nation’s third (333) most dynamic rushing attack downshifts behind its option magician QB Justin Thomas (16 TDs-4 INTs – 861 yds. rushing – 5 TDs), with assists from tailbacks Zach Laskey and Synjyn Days.

And when Mr. Option goes aerial, DeAndre Smelter is a glue-gingered field stretcher. [Smelter, smelted his knee and is gone for the season.] Darren Waller is the de-facto primary target.

The Jackets D featuring backers P.J. Davis, Quayshawn Nealy, and safety D.J. White have more holes than the rat traps placed around the perimeter of Castle Island’s Sullivan’s, yet surrender a workable 24 points a game.

Twenty-eight and counting as the ‘Noles continue to confound.

Its reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis “Crablegs” Winston (21 TDs-17 INTs) continues to regress, yet somehow, manages to keep the W’s flowing.

Does it all come to a crashing to a halt on Saturday night? Maybe.

Fortunately for the Tallahassee faithful, the Seminoles moribund running attack has been resuscitated by t-freshman Dalvin Cook, who motors with Daytona speed, taking a lot of pressure off the right arm and somewhat gimpy ankle of “Crablegs.”

When Winston’s GPS is properly wired; his All-America pairing, wideout Rashad Green, and tight end Nick O’Leary can gut any defense.

The D, anchored by backer Reggie Northrup, and ends Mario Edwards, and Demarcus Walker seems to have find a certain “duende” at the most critical of times.

We can make a case for both sides, but as much as I, and everyone who doesn’t reside in Tallahassee is rooting against them, I think FSU finds a way, climbs to 29, and into the playoff.

No.9 Kansas State at No.3 Baylor (ESPN, 7:45 p.m.) In the “Little Apple” Manhattan, Kansas, the Sons of Steve Grogan, aka the Purple Cats of Kansas State, operate with the stealthy efficiency of Seal Team Six.

The architect is its septuagenarian (75) head man Bill Snyder, the “Robert Moses” of College Football, who has lorded over the greatest rebuilding project of all time.

This Manhattan Project is under the command of its anvil-hard dual-threat QB Jake Waters, who has the luxury of targeting one of the nation’s best in All-America wideout Tyler Lockett (over 1100 yds.-8 TDs), who along with his partner Curry Sexton, have combined for; 2133 yards and 13 Touchdowns.

When K-State stays on the ground, Charles Jones is a capable plough horse.

The D, featuring backer Jonathan Truman, and end Ryan Mueller, attacks with the same snarling aggression that Donald Trump holds toward Barak Obama.

ESPN’s “College GameDay” show is on campus, making this the biggest day in Waco since the siege and inferno of the Branch Dravidians compound.

The nation’s highest scoring (49) eleven, who are as efficient running and passing as a middle-school librarian, is directed by its starry QB Bryce Perry (25 TDs-5 INTs) [expected to play – mild concussion].

The fast-drawing gunslinger is assisted by a trio of field stretching receivers; KD Cannon, Corey Coleman (10 TDs), and Levi Norwood, while tailback Shock Linwood (over 1100 yds.-15 TDs) can pound through any defense.

The once porous D, led by backer Bryce Hager, and end Shawn Oakman (17.5 tfls – 9 sacks), still has issues defending the pass, but overall has improved as much as a kid graduating from Johnson and Wales and now in his fourth year assisting in the kitchen of Grill 23.

This is a hard game to get a handle. It is always difficult to go against any Snyder coached team, but because it’s in Waco, we’ll take the Sons of Del Shofner to catch the victory, and possibly grab the fourth playoff spot.

Last week: 2-3                                       Season record: 50-20

That’s it from cyber-space. We’ll be up and running with our recap by noon on Sunday. Until then, Peace and listen to the music. Pk

PS – next week in our season ender – the Army/Navy Game and me and the old man.

Ohio State wins but loses QB, Alabama wins Iron Bowl, Oregon and Marcus Mariota win Civil War, ND crushed by USC, MIT’s Cinderella season ends, BC wins impressively, Ole Miss knocks rival Miss State out of playoff, Georgia makes big mistake, Florida State streak climbs to 28

Where is a win a loss? Answer, Columbus, Ohio.

In its 42-28 victory over the Maize and Blue, the Buckeyes (11-1) lost its Heisman candidate; QB J.T. Barrett, (who just set the league record for the most combined touchdowns in a single season 45) to a fractured ankle.

It may cost the Scarlet and Grey a chance at a playoff invite, and makes it the most talked about ankle since James Caan’s in the movie; “Misery.” OUCH, OUCH, OUCH!!!

Ohio State plays Wisconsin in next week’s Big Ten Championship game and under center will be its “Gigundous” (6-foot-5, 250) r-shirt sophomore QB Candale Jones who has thrown a total of 17 passes this season.

ESPN’s Mark May came up with a classic nickname for the kid; “Santa Maria” because of his size, and from the geographical location of where he plays: Columbus. Not bad!!

In the Brady, “We Hardly Knew Ye,” department:

It’ resume polishing time in Ann Arbor.

Next season, no one expects to see Michigan Coach Brady Hoke leading Michigan’s football team out of a tunnel and onto a field next season, as the Sons of Tom Harmon (5-7) will be staying home for the holidays for only the third time since 1975. YIKES!!

In the Iron Bowl, to paraphrase Casey Stengel, “Can’t anyone here play defense?”

Alabama was down by double digits twice, before it righted the ship, behind the stellar performances of QB Blake Sims (4 TDs after 3 interceptions), and its Heisman candidate wideout Amari Cooper (224 yards – 3 TDs), in defeating its rival Auburn; 55-44.

That’s right, 99 points were put on the board, as Alabama, whose defense was mysteriously absent, marches into the SEC Championship against Missouri, a single win from securing a coveted playoff spot.

But if Mizzou, “The Rodney Dangerfield” of college football should spring the upset, the unthinkable, no SEC team will be in the playoff shindig!! WOW!! Mindboggling!!!

In Corvallis, in the 118th playing of the “Civil War,” it was an exclamation, or the mustard on the ham, for the Heisman campaign of Oregon’s stellar QB, Marcus Mariota, who passed for four TDs and ran for two as the Ducks crushed its rival; the Beavers of Oregon State: 47-19.

Mariota has thrown for an eye-popping 36 TDs against 2 lonely interceptions, while running for another dozen. Hope he’s been practicing his Heisman pose!!

And this quiet unassuming gentleman from Hawaii, is such a breath of fresh air, compared to last season’s embarrassing winner” Jameis “Crablegs” Winston. YUCK!!!

How the mighty have fallen!! Two years ago Notre Dame (7-5, losers of 5 of its last 6) was playing Alabama in the National Championship game, yesterday on the floor of the Coliseum its season lay in ashes as the Trojans demolished the Boys from South Bend: 49-14.

USC QB Cody Kessler threw a half-dozen touchdown passes, and the Irish surrendered the most points against USC in 40 years, almost to the day, when USC scored 55 unanswered in its famous Anthony Davis game. OUCH!!

Even Touchdown Jesus was praying for the mercy rule!!! In Cambridge, the MIT carriage turned back into a pumpkin (not unexpected) as the Engineers saw its undefeated season crumble at the feet of the mighty Wolverines of Wesley: 59-0.

The score was meaningless; the “Pythagoreans,” had a season “measured” for the ages!! Good for them!!

Up at Chestnut Hill, the Eagles closed out its amazing season with a 28-7 victory over the Orange of Syracuse to finish; 7-5, a record that no one thought possible.

Steve Addazio is one hell of a football coach, and BC better hope his phone doesn’t ring with a better offer from a “bigger” school.

In Oxford, Mississippi, the smiles of the revelers in the Grove were wider than the Grand Canyon as Ole’ Miss behind its QB Bo “Good Bo” Wallace, gimpy leg and all, ended the playoff dreams of its rival Mississippi State; 31-17.

The loss knocks the Bulldogs out of any playoff consideration, as the Rebels finish with a nine (9-3) win season good for them.

Finally we end in Athens where the Bulldogs coach will be forever known to us as Mark “Squib” Richt.

Georgia drove down the field and in the waning seconds of the game (18) scored what should have been the victory clinching touchdown against its rival Georgia Tech taking the lead: 24-21.

On the ensuing kickoff, Richt inexplicably told his kicker to squib it allowing Tech to take over on Georgia side of the 50 with 12 seconds left.

A 21-yard scramble by GT’s QB Justin Thomas allowed the Jackets field goal kicker Harrison Butker to attempt, and make, a career-long 53 yarder to tie the game.

Which Georgia lost in overtime; hence our new moniker “Coach Squib!!!”

Oh, yeah, in Tallahassee Florida State once again escaped defeating Florida 24-19 for its 28th straight victory.

Outside of Tallahassee, the entire country is rooting for Georgia Tech in next Saturday’s ACC Championship game, especially the faithful in Columbus, Fort Worth, and Waco!!

That’s it from cyber-space. We’ll be up and running with our last full week of analysis Wednesday night. Until then then, Peace, and listen to the music. PK