Bonjour mes amis! Viva la France!
In light of the attacks in Paris, we begin this week by detouring from the world of football with a nod to France our nation’s oldest ally, with a slice of history, and a tip of the cap to; Marquis de Lafayette.
Born in 1757 the Frenchman of considerable means left France in 1777 and came to America to offer his considerable leadership abilities in the American Revolution.
Not quite 20 years old, he was immediately embraced by General Washington, and not long after, the Congress commissioned him a Major-General.
In fact Lafayette said he considered himself; “a citizen of two worlds.”
With the war still in the balance, the Marquis returned to France in 1779, to successfully argue the righteousness of the American cause.
The following year he returned to America bearing the good news of the French government’s promise of troops, ships, and financial support.
Eventually there would be 17,000 French volunteers fighting on the American side which helped turned the tide of the war that culminated with the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia.
Washington looked upon the young Frenchman a son, and their relationship lasted until the President’s death.
Lafayette died in 1834, and he is buried in Paris at the Cimetiere de Picpus, where an American flag has stood watch over his grave since 1917.
It was amazingly undisturbed during WW II, and the flag is changed every year in an elaborate and solemn ceremony held quite appropriately on the Fourth of July.
This pre-Thanksgiving weekend, let’s take a moment to reflect on the greatness of our country, and our unbreakable friendship with France.
And instead of arguing over wins and losses, let’s watch the games with a smile of democracy, which really angers the psychopathic butchers who refer to themselves as; ISIS.
No.9 Michigan State at No.2 Ohio State (Ch.5, 3:30 p.m.) Both of these teams would have stumped the “To Tell the Truth,” panel, as neither has sniffed its preseason expectations of dominance.
In East Lansing, the Sons of Bubba Smith are commanded by its senior field general QB Connor Cook (21 TDs-4 INTs-56% – shoulder expected to play) who operates with the same calming presence of French President Francois Hollande.
The quiet man is assisted by a trio of receivers; Aaron Burbridge, R.J. Shelton and Macgarrett Kings who have combined for; 131 receptions and 14 TDs.
But Sparty’s principle earth movers, L.J. Scott and Madre London have been as inspiring (92nd overall) as Barak Obama trying to rally the country.
On D, the descendants of Herb Adderley is sprinkled with star power; anchored by All-America end Shilique Calhoun (11 TFLs-8.5 sacks), and fellow backers Riley Bullough, and Darien Harris but remains as vulnerable defending the pass (86th) as a senior citizen is to a phone scam.
The Scarlet and Grey faithful are hoping that the “Rip Van Winkle’s” of Columbus, who are playing its first ranked team, will shake off its season long slumber in time for the Spartans.
The catalyst of the Sons of Eddie George is its All-America tailback, and Heisman candidate, Ezekiel Elliott (142 a game, 16 TDs), the nation’s third ranked rusher, who slices and dices the opposition better than a Veg-O-Matic, and is the key to the Sons of Woody Hayes repeating.
But as the zealots of Archie Griffin are painfully aware, the Bucs passing game, presently under the control of dual-threat QB J.T. Barrett (8 TDs-3 INTs -65%) with assists from wideouts Michael Thomas, and Braxton Miller (who has been mysteriously underutilized), has been about as efficient as the Jeb Bush campaign.
The backbone of the Boys from Columbus is the nation’s second stingiest (13) D.
These descendants of Randy Gradishar led by All-America end Joey Bosa (12 TFLS-3.5 sacks), and backers Raekwon McMillan, and Joshua Perry, sits ninth overall, and has smothered the opposition better than the “Boston Strangler.”
Urban Meyer has won a jaw-dropping 30 in-a-row regular season Big Ten games, make it 31, as Ohio State says “Goodbye Columbus” to the Sons of Duffy Daugherty.
No.10 Baylor at No.4 Oklahoma State (FOX, 7:30 p.m.) The Bears, who score points faster than a right hand from Holly Holm, are clawing to hang on.
The nation’s leading nearly point a minute (54) offense, is now (due to the loss of QB Seth Russell) under the capable control of freshman QB Jarrett Stidham (11 TDs-2 INTs-70%) who is tougher than John Wayne in; “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.”
Luckily the Waco Kid gets a third rail boost from the country’s most dynamic receiver, Corey Coleman, (a 20/20 man; 20 yards a catch, and 20 touchdowns), who leads the nation (136) in yards per game.
The young sharpshooter has a pair of additional dependable targets; K.D. Cannon, and Jay Lee, while starry tailback Shock Linwood (1149 yards – 7.4 yds.-9TDs) is a quiet assassin.
But the weakness, and possibly downfall for the Sons of Walter Abercrombie is a D, featuring backers Grant Campbell, Travon Blanchard, and end Jamal Palmer (11 TFLs -3.5 sacks) that is leaker (72nd) than a coal ash dam in Kentucky.
With apologies to Van Halen the Boys from Boone Pickens U also known as Oklahoma State, must be “Running with the devil” as it has twice survived a pair of 17-point deficits
In Greek Mythology Orthus was a two headed monster.
And that is exactly how the Pokes attack the opposition utilizing a QB pair of; Mason Rudolph (18 TDs-8 INTs – 64 %) and his starry backup J.W. Walsh (10 TDs-0 INTs -78% on only 28 throws) who has also rushed for 10 touchdowns, and would be welcomed as a starter on almost everyone’s roster.
The Stillwater amigos have a three-pack of quality targets; James Washington, David Glidden and Marcell Ateman, who have combined for; 118 receptions and 15 TDs.
The lethargic (94th) ground attack is handled by Chris Carson, and Rennie Childs.
The D of the Sons of Walt Garrison featuring safeties Jordan Sterns, Tre Flowers, and backer Jordan Burton struggles mightily against the pass (80th) which is the wrong recipe against visitors from Waco.
Is this the weekend that the OK State produces a dry well?
“YESSSSSSS,” as Mark Albert is wont to say, as the Bears sneak out with the W, extinguishing the Pokes playoff hopes.
No. 11 TCU at No. 7 Oklahoma (Ch. 5, 8 p.m.) In Forth Worth the Sons of Sammy Baugh are paging Captain “Hawkeye” Pierce, as the Horned Frogs have morphed into a MASH Unit.
Its All-America duo is bruised and battered.
Heisman candidate QB Trevone Boykin (29 TDs-9 INTs-65% ankle) is a game time decision, while his Linus blanket receiver Josh Doctson (wrist), 14 TDs-over 1300 yards, is out for the remainder of the season.
If Boykin is unable to go, or play up to his lofty standards, it will be long day in Norman for the nation’s fifth highest scoring (44) eleven, and the second best passing attack in the land.
And as the faithful are painfully aware, the Frogs, who have won 17 of its last 18, are also hamstrung by a D led by safeties Travin Howard, Derick Kindred, and Denzel Johnson (9 TFLS) who struggle mightily defending the pass which is not a winning recipe against the Sooners.
“Big Game Bob” is back, and the Sons of Bud Wilkerson are on the precipice of slicing its way into the playoff picture.
The key to the turnaround from last year’s disappointing 8-5 season has been the resurrection of the Air-Raid passing attack that Stoops relied upon to win his only national championship – 2000.
The Norman invaders, the country’s third highest (46) scoring squad, is directed by its fearless bombardier, QB Baker Mayfield (31 TDs-5 INTs -70%) who in his last five games has hung numbers (17 TDs-2 INTs-75%) that are gaudier than a New Orleans bordello.
The man who carves a defense better than a master chef on Thanksgiving, has a trio of game breaking targets: led by his All-America caliber wideout Sterling Sharp whose hands are stickier than Elmers.
The Sooners D anchored by its All- America backer Eric Striker (14 TFLs-7.5 sacks), with big assists from backer Dominique Alexander, and end Charles (9 TFLs-6 sacks) Tapper has improved more than the stock price of McDonald’s.
With apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein, we repeat what we said last week; “It’s Oklahoma O.K.”
Harvard at Yale –The Game – (NBCSN, 2:30 p.m.) In the 132nd edition of this classic a share of the ivy League Title is riding on the outcome for the Sons of Dick Button.
“The Green Bay Packers of the Charles,” better known as Harvard Football have won 8 in a row, and 13 of the last 14 against its arch-rival, and a victory assures the “Veritas Boys” at least a piece of the title.
The twelfth highest scoring (36) eleven is directed by its gritty QB Scott Hosch (18 TDs-5 INTs-61%) who is tougher than a clerk for Alan Dershowitz.
The Ivy marksman is assisted by a trio of targets; wideout Justice Shelton-Mosley, and a pair of rumbling tight ends; Ben Braunecker, and Anthony Firkser, while tailback Paul Stanton (9 TDs) is the Crimson bell cow.
The D of the descendants of Charles Bulfinch is the nation’s third tightest (12), and stones runners behind a trio of backers; Jacob Lindsey, Matt Koran, and Eric Mendes, but has some susceptibility defending the pass.
In New Haven, the Sons of Byron “Whizzer” White would embrace the role of spoilers.
QB Morgan Roberts (9 TDs-10 INTS-57%) directs a Bulldog attack which is weaker (76th scoring) than Martin O’Malley’s name recognition.
The erratic descendant of Brian Dowling is assisted by tailback Deshawn Salter (7 TDs), and a threesome of targets; Christopher Williams-Lopez, Michael Siragusa, and Robert Clemons.
On D, the forbearers of Eli Whitney led by corner Hayden Carlson, safety Matthew Oplinger, and backer Victor Egu slows the run, but is a bottom feeding 104th defending the pass which is not a winning formula against the visitors from Cambridge.
On late Saturday afternoon the full-throated sounds of “10,000 men of Harvard …..” will be heard emanating from the Yale Bowl’s visitors’ locker room.
No.20 Northwestern at No. 21 Wisconsin (BTN, 3:30 p.m.) With apologies to Bon Jovi, it seems like the “smart kids” have been “living on a prayer” all season.
The offense of the Sons of Otto Graham, which sinks to 109th overall, and 111th (21) in scoring, is as anemic as the polling numbers for Lindsey Graham.
The director of this jalopy is dual-threat QB Clayton Thorson (6 TDs-6 INTs – 52%) who, as the faithful are painfully aware, hits his target about as often as a soldier in the Iraqi Army.
When he does connect, wideouts Dan Vitale, and Christian Jones are the principle players, while tailback Justin Jackson (over 1000 yards) is the Cats John Deere mainstay.
But if the offense is a burger at Sullivan’s, the Wildcats D is a filet from Grill 23.
This “prime” time eleven, the nation’s twelfth stingiest (17), is anchored by backer Anthony Walker, safety Godwin Igwebike, and end Dean (12.5 TFLs) Lowry, and is deadlier than a hookup with Charlie Sheen in stopping the run and the pass.
In Madison, the Sons of Alan Ameche have run the ball like Don Ameche.
The Badgers signature ground attack featuring Taiwan Deal, and Dare Ogunbowale (who is also dangerous catching) slinks around as the nation’s 88th best, while Wiscy averages a mediocre 28 points a game. [Its starry earth mover Corey Clement – out most of the season sports hernia- may play.]
Senior QB Joel Stave (10 TDs-8 INTs-61%) is the driver of this gear-slipping bunch, with assists from a pair of solid receivers; Alex Erickson and Rob Wheelwright.
But if the offense needs a rewrite, Wiscy’s D, the country’s stingiest (12), is Broadway worthy.
These marquee makers led by its linebacker trio; Joe Schobert (9 sacks), T.J. Edwards, and Vince Biegel (10.5 TFLs -6 sacks) stones the run and the pass with equal disdain, and is more disruptive than Bernie Sanders at a Tea Party Convention.
We hate to go against the “smart kids” but Bon Jovi is sooo 20th century. As the Mad-Towners love to sing after a victory; “When you say Wissscoonsin, You’ve said it all!!
Last week; 3-2 Season record: 34-21.
That’s it from cyber-space. We’ll be up and running with our recap, Sunday at noon.
Until then, Peace, and listen to the music. PK