Monthly Archives: September 2016

Louisville visits Clemson, Wisconsin journey’s to Michigan, and Stanford takes on Washington

Michael Hirsch achieves his goal of walking on at Michigan

We begin this week with a remarkable journey that began at Harvard, got sidetracked by a rare disease and heavy doses of chemo, moved to the glittering canyon$$ of Wall Street, and ultimately finished in Ann Arbor’s Big House, and a roster spot on Michigan’s 2016 football team.
His name is Michael Hirsch and his football career started as a Harvard JV fullback in 2010. The following spring, as he inched his way up the depth chart, Hirsch noticed that there was blood showing up in his spit on his daily walks across the Charles River to practice.
He was diagnosed as having Wegener’s Granulomatosis, a rare autoimmune disease in which there is no cure. An annual cycle of chemotherapy can keep it in remission.
He went on to graduate from Harvard, and took a job on Wall Street at a leverage credit sales desk at Citi, working 12-hour days, but felt something was missing, and harbored a secret burning desire to attempt walk on at Big Blue.
His parents Karen and Dan met as Michigan freshman, and there were Wolverine posters all over his room growing up.
Quietly Hirsch began two-hour after-work workouts at the gym, and started studying for the GMAT exam.
Some forty pounds later, and almost four years to the day of his diagnosis, and with the blessing from Citi, Hirsch pulled up to the Michigan’s campus riding in an Uber.
He walked into Schembechler Hall for the Wolverines annual walk-on meeting. Knowing he had to make an instant impression, he spotted offensive coordinator Tim Drevno and went over and made his rehearsed pitch. “We said he played at Harvard, that’s good football, this guy just wants a chance,” the coach said.
Drevno told Hirsch to return the next day and he set up a meeting with head coach Jim Harbaugh. The fiery Wolverines headman listened to Hirsch’s remarkable story, nodding and smiling along. He then picked up the phone to a compliance officer and asked, “What’s the next step to get Michael Hirsch on our football team?”
Michigan opened its season with a cupcake, the University of Hawaii, and with the score reading; 56-3 in the fourth quarter, with ten minutes left to play, Michigan fullback Michael Hirsch, wearing number 41, tugged on his helmet, and ran out to join the huddle.
QB Shane Morris hit the miracle man with a short pass that Hirsch turned up-field and into a 15-yard gain for a first down. Trotting back to the sidelines, “I think 30 or 40 guys, offense and defense, all came up to me and gave me hugs. I think they understood how much it meant to me just to get out there and try to help at all,” said Hirsch. “To fight for a dream, that doesn’t ever feel inconsequential.”
This weekend, let’s see hardworking teams keeps its dream alive by overcoming huge odds to capture a hard fought victory, and which simply fold feeling it isn’t up to the challenge.
No. 8 Wisconsin at No. 4 Michigan (Ch.5, 3:30 p.m.) Even though the season is still in the early stages, this Wisconsin eleven has become a “big cheese.”
And that is a title of some significance in a state that prides itself on the award-winning quality of the cheese it produces.
Wisconsin is the cheese-capital of America, curdling in with an impressive 2.9 billion pounds per year. And from that Grand Canyon sized vat comes some 600 varieties, totaling more than one-quarter of all the cheese product consumed in the United States.
Coach Paul Chryst’s (14-3 in his one-plus seasons) Master Cheesemakers, who have defeated a pair of AP Top-10 teams, in the same season, for the first time since JFK was swimming nude in the White House pool (1962), slices behind a D that has shown nary a hint of Swiss.
The nation’s seventh stingiest (11.8) eleven anchored by a trio of attacking backers T.J. Watt (4.5 sacks, and brother of JJ), and his compadres Jack Cicy, and T.J. Edwards, stones runners (10th best), is solid defending against the pass, and plays with the confidence of Arnie over a six-foot putt. (Our small tribute to the King.)

Wisconsin lefty QB Alex Hornibrook

The pedestrian offensive attack (75th overall) has had an exfoliation since it inserted southpaw r-shirt freshman QB Alex Hornibrook (3 TDs-2 Ints – 67%) into the starting lineup.
The fearless director, who should be giving leadership lessons to Congress, is assisted by a pair of solid tailbacks Corey Clement, and Dave Ogunbowale, while wideouts Jazz Peavy, Robert Wheelwright, and tight end Tony Fumagali are reliable targets.
It’s been awhile, but the Big House is a fun house once again as Michigan is seeking its first victory over a top-ten team since the last days of W’s Administration; -2008.
The architect of this Ann Arbor carnival is Coach Jim Harbaugh, a 21st century reincarnation of an era when another tempestuous head man; Bo Schembechler was snarling, spitting, and winning on the Big Blue sideline. “I want a Michigan man coaching Michigan.”
And these “Sons of Tom Harmon” have been as dynamic Tom Hanks in “Sully.” (A must see.)
The nation’s fourth highest (52 pts. a game) scoring machine is under the guidance of QB Wilton Speight (9 Tds-1 Int, 63%) who hits his target better than Daniel Boone
The Michigan marksman relies on a quartet of quality tailbacks; De’Veon Smith (over 6 yds. a carry), Chris Evans (7 yds), Ty Isaac, and Kazen Higdon, while wideouts Amara Darbough, Jehu Chesson (18 yds a catch) and All-America tight end Jake Butt are glue fingered chain movers.
The Wolverines D, the 13 stingiest D (13 pts.), is anchored by its All-World backer and long shot Heisman contender Jabril Peppers (9.5 TFLs-2.5 sacks, 22 solo tackles), and partners backer Ben Gedeon, and safety Dymonte Thomas is also tops in sacks, and tackles for losses, and hits harder than the a Belichickian glare toward an unsuspecting reporter.
In a game that certainly isn’t cheesy, and one that carries national playoff implications for the Big Ten Conference, we think that the spirit of Bo once again leads a “Michigan Man” to a Big Blue victory.
No. 3 Louisville at No.5 Clemson (Ch. 5, 8 p.m.) This game is similar to the Hamilton/Burr duel, with the loser knocked from playoff consideration.
In the Derby City, Louisville has displayed better numbers than a swimsuit prime Elle Macpherson.
These “Sons of Johnny U” move at, with apologies to Mel Brooks, “Ludicrous Speed” from “Space Balls” leading the nation in total offense with an eye popping 682-yards game, while lighting the scoreboard with a Wilt Chamberlain-esque average of 63-points per contest.

Heisman contender Louisville QB Lamar Jackson

The maestro of this symphony is the current Heisman frontrunner, a dual-threat Baryshnikov, QB Lamar Jackson (13 TDs-3 Ints), who in addition to firing as the nation’s sixth most efficient passer, has also dusted opponents for 12 rushing touchdowns, averaging a nation’s best 18-points a game.
This “Louisville Leonardo” is assisted by tailback Brandon Radcliff, who gallops along at 9-yards a touch, while a trio of receivers; James Quick, Jamari Staples, and Jaylen Smith can stress any defense, and average a jaw-dropping 22-yards a catch.
The 13th ranked D, led by safety Josh Harvey-Clemons, and backers Keith Kelsey, and Devonte Fields motors with the same speed as the thoroughbreds down the street at Churchill Downs.
Clemson has been mysteriously stuck in neutral.
The Tigers offense under the direction of its Heisman candidate, QB Deshaun Watson (9 Tds-4 Ints-60%), has performed like a Yugo, once described as the Mona Lisa of bad cars.
The Heisman caliber QB is assisted by tailback Wayne Gallman, who has also been mired in a funk, while field- stretcher receivers; Ray-Ray McCloud, Mike Williams, Artavis Scott and tight-end Jordan Leggett are dangerous touchdown makers.
The Tigers third ranked D has certainly shown its stripes.
This ferocious eleven, led by backers Joseph Kendall, Ben Bouleware, and tackle Lawrence Dexter clamps opponents like a Venus Fly Trap, surrendering a miniscule 11-points a game, and ultimately will determine if Dabo’s Tigers earn consecutive playoff invitations.
Fully aware that this game is being played in Death Valley, and fully aware that Clemson is a sleeping giant, we think Bobby Petrino’s Cardinals are the real deal, and fly off with the victory inserting its name into the playoff conversation.
No.7 Stanford at No.10 Washington (Friday Night – ESPN, 9 p.m.) The offense of Boys on the Farm has been as shaky as Donald Trump’s performance on Monday’s debate stage, or Wells Fargo CEO John Stumph testifying in front of Congress.
It’s only prime-time performer has been its Heisman contending tailback/receiver/kick-returner Christian McCaffrey, who continues to shine as the nation’s second leading (145 a game) rusher.

Stanford's Heisman contender Christian McCaffrey

But the rest of the offense (95th in scoring 25 pts. a game) has been weaker than Ted Cruz’s pathetic endorsement of the standard bearer of the Republican Party.
These “Sons of John Elway” directed by its new starting QB Ryan Burns (3 Tds-2 Ints- 61%) who ranks dead last in passing yards (131 yards per game) in the Pac -12, while his receivers Irwin Trenton, and Michael Rector, have yet to stress a defense.
But if the offense is in need of immediate remedial assistance, the Cardinal D is a candidate for an Oxford Rhodes fellowship.
America’s eighth stingiest (12 pts.) D, anchored by nose tackle Solomon Thomas, backer Peter Kalamdayi, and strong safety Zach Solomon attacks with the force of Donald Trump suit toward one of his sub-contractors.
The magnitude of this game is exactly the reason why Coach Chris Petersen, the Ex-pat from Boise State, (his Huskies have won 7-straight), journeyed to Seattle, searching for an equal opportunity to earn a spot in the national playoff.
This will only be the fourth time that Husky Stadium has hosted a pair of AP top-ten teams, the last occurred when the “randy-one” Bill Clinton was “courting” Monica – 1997.

one of nation's best Husky QB Jake Browning

These “Sons of Warren Moon” (10th in scoring – 45) mush behind one of nation’s best lead dogs, QB Jake Browning (14 TDs-2 Ints-70%), who as the nation’s third most efficient passer, dissects defenses with surgical precision of a sushi master.
The rocket-armed dart thrower is assisted by tailbacks Myles Gaskins, and Lavon Coleman, while a quartet of touchdown makers, receivers; John Ross, Chico McClatcher, Dante Pettis, and tight end Darrell Daniels have combined for: 50-catches, and 13-TDs.
The UW D, which is tied for the lead in takeaways, is led by backer Azeem Victor (22 solo tackles), his monster (346 lbs.) tackle Vita Vea, and a starry free safety Budda Baker, who hits like a blacksmith pounding out a shoe.
This is the 87th meeting between these rivals (41-41-4) and the stakes for this game are Himalayan high.
We think the Friday night celebration on the shores of Lake Washington goes deep into the wee hours of Saturday morning, as Petersen’s Huskies cements it name into the national title conversation.
No. 11 Tennessee at No. 25 Georgia (Ch.4, 3:30 p.m.) For the Volunteer faithful, the line screamed by Gene Wilder; “It’s alive” in “Young Frankenstein;” aptly summarizes the fortunes of Butch Jones’ Rocky Toppers, who dug itself out of a grave last week ultimately saving its season.

Tennessee QB Josh Dobbs

But if the “Sons of Reggie White” are to reach its goal of capturing the SEC East Crown, and the opportunity to play in the conference championship game, it will rest on the arm of its senior QB Josh Dobbs (10 TDs-5 Ints-57%-4 rushing touchdowns), who can be as erratic as Sarah Palin espousing on matters of US foreign policy. “I can see Russia from my house.” Really?!
His scatter-shot performance has hamstrung the Tennessee offense. The senior leader is assisted by tailback Jalen Hurd, and a pair of field-stretching receivers; Josh Malone and Jauan Jennings.
The D of the “Sons of Payton Manning” is led by its All-America disruptor, end Derek Barnett, with assists by backers Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Cortz McDowell, but outside of a few advantageous spurts, has been as bland as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The Dawgs faithful should be asking; where is Mark Richt when you need him?
Unfortunately its former Bulldog headman (he only won 9 or 10 games every season), finds himself happily ensconced in Zika and Dengue infested Miami, strutting with an undefeated, and 14th ranked group of talented and dangerous Miami Hurricanes.
Ex-Bama assistant Kirby Smart is the new sheriff in Athens, but was left with a cupboard that appears almost as empty as a family home in Sinuiju, North Korea.
These “Sons of Vince Dooley” are scratching out 25-points a game (93rd), and meandering with a defense (30-points a game) that has more holes than the evidence cash bags that were stored at the Braintree Police Department.
QB Jacob Eason (5 TDs-3-Ints-52%) directs this “gang that couldn’t shoot straight” with a big assists from All-America tailback Nick Chubb (questionable – ankle), his talented partner Sony Michel, and Elijah Holyfield, the son of the former heavyweight champion, Evander.
When he does make a connection, and his receivers help him out by holding onto the ball, wideouts Isaiah McKenzie and Terry Godwin have the ability to stretch a defense.
The D, led by backers Roquan Smith, Natrez Patrick and tackle Triton Thompson has been so porous it should have Tony Joe White’s “Rainy Night in Georgia” as its theme song.
Tennessee never makes it easy, and Georgia is a proud and desperate bunch, but we think the Vols find a way to get another huge SEC East victory on the road.
Navy at Air Force (CBSN, 3:30 p.m.) This is the 49th meeting between these Academies, with the Air Force holding a 28-20 victory advantage. But the visitors from Annapolis have won 10 of the last 13.
The Middies are also looking to start 4-0 in consecutive seasons for the first time since Jimmy Carter was checking on who was using the White House tennis court: 1978-79.
The men in Navy blue are also riding a streak of 19-consecutive victories against unranked opponents, but this game will be quite a challenge.
As always, the “Sons of Roger Staubach,” sail on the wind of the nation’s fifth best rushing attack (316 yds. a game), ripping up the turf in a triple option maze which features fullback Chris High, his partners Dishan Romine, and Toneo Gully, while the tiller –man (apologies to Cat Stevens) is manned by QB Will Worth.
Navy’s D drops anchor behind its trio of backers: Micah Thomas, Daniel Gonzales, and D.J. Palmore who operate with a bend, don’t break attitude.
The “Sons of Chelsey Sullenberger – class ‘73” who landed his plane in the Hudson, soar with the nation’s second best rushing attack (359) that features senior QB Nate Romine, tailback Jacobi Owens, and fullback D.J. Johnson. (Remember when every team used to have a fullback? Ah, those were the days – run Riggo run!)
The “Force be with you” D, led by end Ryan Watson, and backers Grant Ross, and Jacob Onyedchi squeezes the run better than Anita Bryant in her prime pushing Florida Orange Juice, allowing a microscopic 51-yards a game, which ranks second in the nation.
But be assured, that average will definitely climb from an afternoon trying to slow the Midshipmen.
We think Navy’s 19-game non ranked opponent’s winning streak gets torpedoed, as the Force is with the Boys from Colorado Springs.
Last week: 1-4 Season record: 9-11.
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

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Duke shocks Notre Dame, Tennessee pull comeback for ages, LSU loses, and Les Miles on hot seat

It was a “Gomer Pyle” “Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! Type of Saturday.
We’ll begin in Madison, where its official, Wisconsin is a big cheese. Not to mention, a Big Ten threat.
The underappreciated Badgers rolled into East Lansing and walked out with the W, ticketing the Spartans with its worst home loss since Barak Obama’s first year of “Hope and Change” 2009.
Wiscy also found its starting QB in r-shirt freshman Alex Hornibrook, and has knocked off multiple AP top-10 in the same season for the first time since JFK was losing sleep over the Cuban Missile Crisis – 1962. WOW!!
It’s a great win for good-guy coach Paul Chryst. To paraphrase Bo Schembechler; “A Wisconsin man coaching Wisconsin.” Or as the student body belts out; “When you’ve said Wisss-consin, you’ve said it all!”
From there we’ll drive down to South Bend where the Irish (1-3) will try to salvage what has become a lost season, as the “Mighty Cutcliffe’s” of Duke a 21-point underdog pull off an upset for the ages knocking off the Golden Domers: 38-35. Double Wow!
Before the game the Duke coach was asked what a win by his team would mean. Without hesitation he said, “It would be the best win we’ve had as a program.” Congrats Coach!
In the shocked losers locker room it was dismay. Irish Coach Brian Kelly was perfectly blunt in the assessment of his underachieving team.
“Every position, all 22 is up for grabs,” said Kelly. Every position, all 22 of them will be evaluated. There is no position that is untouchable on this football team. If you want to play for me moving forward … you better have some damn fire and energy in you. And we lack it severely,” said Kelly. YIKES!
From South bend we’ll motor over to Knoxville where the 105,000 orange cladded Tennessee zealots booed its heroes off the field at the end of the first half when the Vols were down 21-3, and appeared to be headed on a collision course to its 12th consecutive loss to rival Florida.
In addition, funeral plans being made for UT Coach Butch Jones.
But “Not so fast my friends” as a former college coach is prone to spout.
Tennessee came out in the second half and was as different as Ebenezer Scrooge after the visit from the spirits.
The Vols clawed itself out of that dungeon, and inexplicably scored the next 38 unanswered points, as it galloped to an improbable 38-28 victory, ending the losing streak, and injecting itself into the SEC East title picture. Amazing
We’ll move over to the Plains of Auburn which was billed as the “Hot Seat Bowl” and the losing in this case was the no-longer lovable LSU Coach Les Miles who saw his offensively challenged Tigers fall to a pedestrian bunch of Tigers from Auburn: 18-16.
Auburn scored all its points from the right foot of its kicker Daniel Carlson who tied a team record with 6-field goals.
LSU was at the Auburn 15 with a single second showing on the clock. The ball was snapped and LSU QB Danny Etling completed an apparent game winning TD pass plunging the dagger in the heart of Auburn coach Gus Malzahan. But, alas for the flooded Baton Rouge faithful it was not to be.
The referee went upstairs for a ruling from the replay booth which showed that the clock struck midnight, or in this case: 0:00, and the game was declared over before the ball was snapped.
In Latin literature the phrasing, when the clock strikes midnight – refers Lucifer coming to claim the soul of Doctor Faustus, but in this instance, it was the soul of Les Miles – who at season’s end will have the bell tolling for thee.
Down in Athens, where’s Mark Richt when you need him?
The former Bulldogs coach is now happily ensconced in Zika Country, otherwise known as Miami sitting with an undefeated team.
The Georgia faithful had grown tired of Richt and his ho-hum seasons of 9 and 10 wins. We’ll it was a Mississippi burning for new headman Kirby Smart as the Rebel and QB Chad Kelly toyed with the Dawgs cruising home: 45-14. OUCH!
The Sons of Archie Manning will be a dangerous spoiler the rest of the way in the SEC.
To paraphrase Simon and Garfunkel, where have you gone Pete Carroll a Trojan Nation turns its lonely eyes to you…
The Men of Troy now sit 1-3 after blowing its first 10-point fourth quarter lead in 85 games! Double Yikes!
That is simply not acceptable for a traditional power like USC who less than a decade ago was the toast of the college football world. It will be interesting if the newly installed AD Lynn Swann will stays with Pat Hayden’s hire of untested coach Clay Helton is the season continues to spiral south.
On the local front the teammates: Buddy Teevens of Dartmouth, and Tim Murphy of Harvard who played together at Silver Lake both won to maintain a perfect start to their seasonal campaigns. Good for the good guys.
And there is not report on another L by the Jawhawks of Kansas the last team that the bloviating gasbag Charlie Weis fixed, because it had a bye this week. Sorry Charlie!!
That’s it from cyber-space. We’ll be up and running with our analysis of week 5 Wednesday night. Until then, Peace, and listen to the music. PK

Wisconsin visits Michigan State in Big Ten Clash, Florida travels to Tennessee, Stanford takes on UCLA in pivotal Pac-12 game

We begin this week with a dummy depth chart, and a tweaking of a coach who loves to dish it out, but chafes when stuff comes flying his way.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh simply refuses to issue a two deep depth chart.  So in that spirit the University of Colorado last week’s “Big House” opponent thought it would have some fun by issuing its own unique chart leaving Big Blue’s headman in an unpleasant mood.

The Buffaloes’ long time SID, Dave Plati, put together a chart for the ages, and here is a sampling of some of the “players.”

The “Roamer Dude” Bill Walton and Dude Lebowski (Jeff Bridges), at wide receiver Elwood Blues and Jake Blues, halfback the Hanson brothers from “Slapshot” Steve, Jack, and Jeff, while Olive Oil and Manute Bol were the thin receivers.  Brilliant!

This weekend, let’s see which teams “abide” the wishes of its alumni and celebrate its capturing of an impressive victory by sipping “White Russians” and which, like Jake and Elwood leaves its faithful with the blues by harmonizing: “Shama Lama Ding Dong.”

No.11 Wisconsin at No. 8 Michigan State (Noon, Big Ten Network) This game will give us an indication if the “Sons of Alan Ameche” are real or Memorex.

Since its season opening upset victory over LSU, Coach Paul Chryst’s “Mad-town” offense has been as cross wired as the explosive Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone.

In their first meeting in four years (Scheduling), the Badgers are expected to switch to r-freshman QB Alex Hornibrook, who, in his brief appearances, has performed with the poise of a fedora adorned Sinatra mellifluously belting out: “My Way.”

If the kid gets the starting nod, he’ll lean heavily on the tailback pairing of Corey Clement (ankle), and Braderick Show, while wideouts Robert Wheelwright, Jazz Peavy, and tight end Tony Fumagell,i but more likely for this game Kyle Penniston, are quality targets.

Wiscy’s D, anchored by the linebacking trio: Vince Biegel, Jack Cichy, and T.J. Watt (brother of JJ) is more aggressive than the “Real Housewives of New Jersey” and harder to penetrate than the financial contributors list to the Clinton Foundation.

In East Lansing, since taking over the Spartans, Coach Mark Dantonio (89-33 .728) has had a better run than an early Facebook investor.

Fifth year senior QB Tyler O’Connor, the undisputed leader of the leather-tough Spartans, who always  play with more shoulder chips than a bag of Toll House from Nestle, is assisted by a pair of anvil-pounding tailbacks, Gerald Holmes and R.J. Shelton, while tight end Josiah Price, and wideouts Dominic Corley and Monty Madaris are game breaking targets.

The D of the “Sons of Duffy Daugherty” anchored by the backer threesome; Riley Bullough, Jon Reschke, and Andrew Dowell, is meaner than a former East German border guard, and hits with the force of a John L. Sullivan “The Boston Strong Boy” right hand.

Wiscy hasn’t won a game at Spartan Stadium since W was planning the invasion of Sudan Hussein’s “WMD” Iraq (2002), and we don’t see that trend ending Saturday, or for that matter, anytime in the immediate future.

No. 17 Arkansas vs No.10 Texas A@M (ESPN, 9 p.m. – Jerry’s World) Coach Bret Bielema’s Hogs have mucked its way into the national picture.

After patiently waiting his turn, junior QB Austin Allen (his brother was a 3-year starter), has performed with the same understated deportment that former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis displayed after the Boston Marathon bombings.

The pro-set maestro of the “Sons of Frank Broyles” who is somewhat hamstrung by a reconstituted offensive line, is assisted by a pair of bulldozing tailbacks Rawleigh Williams III, and Kody Walker, while wideouts Drew Morgan, Keon Hatcher (18 yds. per catch), and tight end Jeremy Sprinkle provide comforting targets.

The Razorbacks D which emulates the aggressive personality of his jumbo-sized head coach, finds itself saddled with more bruises than a kick-boxer, having been dramatically weakened by the loss of starting linebackers Brooks Ellis and Dre Greenlaw.

It’s early, but it appears that the Aggies “12th Man” wants its beleaguered Coach Kevin Sumlin to stick around College Station for a while, as volume on Glen Fry’s hit song: “The Heat Is On,” is no longer is on full boil, now that the Aggies are sitting on a top-ten perch.

But there are danger signs as the offense is performing like it’s desperate for that extra man.

The “Sons of John David Crow” are under the guidance of Oklahoma graduate transfer QB Trevor Knight, who makes a connection as often as a Keolis riding commuter (52 percent completion rate), but on the plus-side the Aggies found its long sought after game breaking tailback; t-freshman Trayveon Williams, who is scooting for over 8-yards a carry.

The D anchored by its All-America end Myles Garrett, along with backer Claude George, and safety Justin Evans smashes opponents like Hanley Ramirez crushes a homer, and ultimately will determine if the Aggies remain on its lofty perch, and more importantly for Coach Sumlin, will he continues to cash his paycheck in College Station.

No. 19 Florida at No.14 Tennessee (Ch.4, 3:30 p.m.) The last time the Gators lost this game (won 11-in-a-row), W was in the Oval Office struggling with his pronunciation of the word nuclear-2004.

But there is concern in Gainesville as starting QB Luke Del Rio (knee) is out, and Purdue transfer, fifth year graduate senior Austin Appleby, is next man up.

The ex-Boilermaker is assisted by tailbacks Jordan Scarlett and Mark Thompson, but the Gators game breaking receiver; Antonio Callaway (quad) remains questionable for this game.  That situation makes tight end DeAndre Goolsby a much more valuable asset.

But if the Gator streak is going to climb to an even dozen, it will come courtesy of a Florida defense that is stronger than the reelection chances of Vladimir Putin.

That side of the ball which has taken on a stinginess Jack Benny proportions, is led by backers Jarrad Davis, Alex Anzalone, and safety Marcus Maye, and surrenders points as often as former Boston Mayor Tom Menino correctly annunciated the name of: Adam Vinatieri.

In Knoxville, Tennessee was expected to roll through the opposition like the Germans through Poland in 1939.  But “A funny thing happened on the way to the forum” as Zero Mostel might have crowed.

The Vols have been as creaky as the “Tin Man” from in OZ before Dorothy came along.  The shortage of WD-40 is mainly due to an offensive line that is as challenged as Hillary Clinton is with the truth.

The “Sons of Johnny Majors” have also fumbled a jaw-dropping 11-times (miraculously losing only one) and have been savaged by injuries, and hampered by an overload of foolish penalties.

In addition, the play of QB Josh Dobbs (6 TDs-3 ints. – 60%) which was expected to shine like the Northern Star, has been weaker than the sighting of Kohoutek the Comet, while its oxen-sized tailback Jalen Hurd, has been as pedestrian as a bowl of cold oatmeal.

Coach Butch Jones, who’s under tremendous pressure to challenge for the SEC East Title, summarized his team’s performance succinctly and accurately; “We lack consistency.”

The “Orange Swarm’s” aggressive D, may be without its leader, backer Jalen Reeves-Maybin (shoulder), while another key piece, All-America corner Cameron Sutton, will not play, leaving All-America end Derek Barnett in a much larger role.

We think the Boys from the Sunshine State make it an even dozen, leaving 110,000 orange-clad Rocky Toppers crying in their beer.

No.7 Stanford at UCLA (Ch.5, 8 p.m.) Stanford hates the moniker: “The Harvard of the West.”   But its faithful is all in on: “Christian McCaffrey University.”  That’s how electrifying, and unstoppable, its All-America tailback/receiver/kick returner, and serious Heisman candidate has performed.

The Houdini-like magician plays with an esprit de corps not seen since OJ Simpson, was gliding and slashing through hapless Coliseum defenses during the “Woodstock hippie days” of the late sixties.

The “Sons of Jim Plunkett” are guided by its new conductor, QB Ryan Burns, who is assisted by the aforementioned wunderkind, his fellow wideout Michael Rector, and tailback Byrce Love, who motors with world class speed.

Coach David Shaw (56-14, .800) summarized the offensive philosophy of the “Boys on the Farm, “We play with an intellectual brutality.”  (Sounds like a graduate Psych class.)

The D behind backers Peter Kalambayi, Joey Alfieri, end Solomon Thomas, and safety Zach Hoffpauir plays with a disposition that is nastier than Hillary toward all her Secret Service agents.

In LA, the “Sons of Gary Beban” are wondering when the 2015 version of sophomore QB Josh (4 TDs-4 Ints, 60%) Rosen is going to appear.

It’s almost as if Gary Moore was hosting a Bruins football team version of: “To Tell the Truth.” [For you young’uns hit You Tube it]  “Will the real Josh Rosen please stand up?”

And if UCLA intends to make a Pac-12 run, the “good” Rosen needs to reappear on the floor of the Rose Bowl this Saturday.

The highly touted QB has a trio or targets; wideouts Kenny Walker, Darren Andrews, and tight end Nate Iese, while the ground game featuring Soso Jamabo and Bolu Olorunfunmi, remains like the Fore River Bridge, still a work in progress.

The D behind starry end Eddie Vanderdoes, and backers Jayon Brown, and Kenny Young has the ability to keep the Bruins in every game.

The Cardinal are riding an 8-game winning streak in this series, with six of those W’s coming by way of double digits, the last three by an eye-popping average of 18-points.  We think the Cardinal makes it a perfect “Ted Williams”; of nine in a row.

Army at Buffalo (ESPN3, 7 p.m.) “I believe that football, perhaps more than any other sport, tends to instill in men the feeling that victory comes through hard – almost slavish – work, team play, self-confidence, and an enthusiasm that amounts to dedication.”  Dwight David Eisenhower, West Point class 1915.

Over its recent history, Army football has been nearly as inept as the initial response by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio after the bombing in Manhattan last Saturday night.

But this year, the Cadets are off to its best start (3-0) since the days when Bill Clinton was chasing Barbara Streisand around a West Wing piano, or still owned a license to practice law (1996) and we thought we’d take this opportunity to shine a light on the “Long Grey Line’s” men of the gridiron.

The “Sons of Doc Blanchard” are the nation’s second best tillers of the road (367 yds. a game) and remarkably have yet to lose a fumble.

These Independent Black Knights of the Hudson, who have already won more games than last season, are directed by its two-headed wishbone monster Ahmad Bradshaw, and Chris Carter, both of whom devour yardage faster than a Wells Fargo employee opens another phony bank account.

The QB’s are assisted by platoon of tailbacks: Andy Davidson, Darnell Woolfolk, and Jordan Ashberry, while end Edgar Poe (his real name), is lonelier than a Maytag repair man, having hauled in a total of three passes.

The key to this season’s resurgence has been a D anchored by backers, Andrew King, Jeremy Timpf, and safety Xavier Moss that has been stouter than a perfectly poured shamrock topped 16 ounce glass of Guinness.

The Bulls of Buffalo (0-2) are like its NFL counterparts; winless for its 2016 season.

The “Sons of Gerry Philbin” (Super Bowl III – Jets) roll behind its dual-threat QB Tyree Jackson, whose 44% completion percentage means he hits his target about as often as the Italian Army, or the Waco Kid in “Blazing Saddles.”

The shaky aerial artist is assisted by tailbacks Jordan Jackson and Johnat Hawkins, while receivers Kamathi Holsley and tight end Mason Schreck are principle targets.

In its first two games, Buffalo’s D, led by backers Khalil Hodge, Ishmael Hargrove, and safety Ryan Williamson has been stampeded and shredded more than a package of Kraft Parmesan Cheese.

The Cadets who are wearing the number 28 on the side of its helmets in honor of its starting cornerback Brandon Jackson who was recently killed in an automobile accident, deliver another W for their fallen teammate, and close within two victories of a bowl invitation.  Eisenhower would be proud.

Last week:  1-4                                     Season record:  8-7

That’s it from cyber space.  We’ll be up and running with our recap by Sunday at Noon.  Until then, Peace, and listen to the music.   pk

BC humiliated by VaTech, Louisville shellacs Florida State, Ohio State wins impressively, ND loses to the Spartans

The soulful music emanating from the football offices of: Chestnut Hill, Norman, Tallahassee, Eugene, South Bend, Austin, and Iowa City is the classic Crescent City funeral dirge; “Nearer My God to Thee” as playoff hopes, Heisman candidacies, and possible future employment were all buried on the gridiron yesterday.
We’ll begin with the Eagles of Boston College who lost its tenth consecutive ACC contest by the embarrassing whitewashing of: 49-0. That was the third time the Boys from the Heights have been shutout in its last 13-Games!! OUCH!!
My country for a touchdown. We don’t want to say that the BC offense is Jurassic, but the good Jesuits just changed the mascot from an Eagle to a Pterodactyl!!
How ugly were things in Blacksburg?
Well the “Sons of Mike Holovak,” ah those were the days, averaged less than 3-yards a carry, while its transfer starting QB Patrick Towles was as inept at Gomer Pyle; 9-28 for 80 yards, and this in the era of video game offenses!!
And even though Steve Addazio “all losses hurt the same” is signed through the 2019 season, and the good fathers hate to eat money, the seat of “Mr. A” is now hotter than the flow from Mount St. Helens.
In Louisville’s Papa John’s Stadium it was as a performance of “Shock and Awe” (coined by President W in the bogus war against Iraq) by the “Sons of Johnny Unitas” who delivered a large cheese with all that toppings, while establishing itself as the “new big dog” in the ACC; shellacking the hapless Seminoles: 63-20.w
As a pal of mine texted halfway through the game, FSU just got off the bus!!!
That’s how bad it was for the Bobby Bowden faithful as FSU surrendered the most points in its proud history, while suffering its third biggest margin of defeat!! Double WOW!!
And in perfect symmetry, L’ville’s first round KO of a heavyweight opponent, occurred on the day the Cardinals honored its native son, “The Louisville Lip” Muhammad Ali, by wearing a butterfly decal with “ALI” printed in the middle, on the back of their helmets.
And the guy who orchestrated that destructive performance by “floating like a butterfly, and stinging like a bee” was its jaw-dropping “Michael Vick-esque” QB, Lamar Jackson (13-20, 216, 1 TD, 146-rushing yards – 4 TDs), who was more electric than a Chevy Volt and Tesla combined as he climbed to top of the very early Heisman conversation.
Hail the academies!!!
After its victories yesterday, Army (3-0), Navy (3-0), and Air Force bye (2-0) remain unblemished, while Cadets of West Point, who honored their cornerback Brandon Jackson who was killed in a car accident this week by wearing his number on its helmets, have already surpassed last season’s victory total of 2!!! Good for them!!
The “Long Grey Line” is 3-0 for the first time since Bill was hanging out with Monica – 1996, crushed UTEP; 66-14, which is the most points scored by an Army team since its undefeated (9-0) national championship war team of: 1944, when it hung 69 on Pitt!!!
On the local front it was a good weekend for the “teammates”: Buddy Teevens of Dartmouth, and Tim Murphy of Harvard, who played together at Silver Lake Regional High School, as both squads opened their season with impressive victories: Harvard a 51-21 cruise over the Rams of URI on Friday night, and a more impressive 22-21 Big Green last minute victory over UNH last night by Dartmouth in Hanover.
It was the first time the Sons of Bob Blackman have knocked off its intrastate rival since Jimmy Carter was sipping “Billy Beer” in the Oval Office: 1976!! Good for Buddy!!!
While the “Belles of Amherst” Mark Whipple’s UMass Minutemen, who changed QB’s (Andrew Ford) knocked off FIU for its first win of the season: 21-13.
Just imagine in Whipple, and his d-coordinator Don Brown were prowling on the BC sideline, but that’s a story for another day!!
In Columbus, Urban Meyer’s Scarlet and Grey went into Norman and dominated a clueless bunch of Sooners 45-24, as the Bucks QB JT Barrett and solid Heisman candidate quietly went about his business completing 70% of his passes, while tossing 4-TDs.
The natives in Norman are once again starting to bet restless as OU, whose last national championship happened at the turn of the century 2000, is already saddled with a pair of losses, and with that porous display of defense, and an inept o-line, it would seem that more L’s are on the horizon which never sits well with the spoiled Sooner Nation. Stoops would be welcomed with opened arm at the Heights.
It also appears that Ohio State and Michigan are one a collision course for one of the 4-playoff spots which is great for my favorite conference: the Big Ten, and overall, for college football fans. It’s the 21st century version of: “Bo and Woody.”
In Lincoln, a huge win for nice guy Coach Mike Riley and his Cornhuskers of Nebraska who will be “moving on up” as George Jefferson used to say, into to AP top-25 rankings, after knocking off the Ducks of Oregon (they trailed 20-7 at the half) with a late TD run by QB Tommy Armstrong “the good Tommy”: 35-32.
It was Riley’s first win over his old nemesis in 8-tries, as the former Oregon State coach had lost 7-in-a-row to the Green from Eugene.
It also gives the Husker faithful some hope that it might be a serious player in the Big Ten conference championship chase.
Speaking of the Big Ten: here’s a simple commandment that holds fast and true: whenever the Spartans of Michigan State are getting points, lay in on the Boys from East Lansing.
Once again Mark Dantonio’s eleven, who were a 7-point dogs and relish that role marched into South Bend and smacked around Brian Kelly’s boys, opening up a 36-7 lead; before the Irish showed some fortitude, and made it a loss of respectability: 36-28. But never, ever discount a Dantonio coached team.
And in Oxford, Mississippi, it took three non-offensive TD’s for Alabama to hold off the spunky Rebels of Mississippi; 48-43.
‘Ole Miss stormed to a 24-3 lead, before the Tide finally awoke, but it still needed a pair of defensive TDs, plus a punt return for a touchdown to hold off the Sons of Archie Manning. YIKES!!!
The Alabama D, was seemingly exposed as being a bit of a fraud, and that will be worth watching as the season progresses for Groucho’s top ranked team.
There is no joy in Iowa City as the Bison of North Dakota State, who have won the last five FCS national championships, went into Iowa City and stunned the Hawkeyes with a last second winning field goal: 23-21. Good for them!!!!
And as always we close with the Ineptitude of the Kansas Jayhawks, which was the last team that “Mr. Bloviating Gasbag” Charlie Weis fixed, who lost once again, this time to the Tigers of Memphis: 43-7!! Sorry Charlie!!
That’s it from cyber-space. We’ll be up and running with our analysis of week 4 Wednesday night. Until then, Peace and listen to the music. PK

Florida State takes on Louisville in ACC showdown, the Buckeyes travel to Norman, Alabama intent on ending its two game losing streak against ‘Ole Miss

We begin this week, a shake-up Saturday, with long suffering Army Football, a victorious locker room prayer, and the issue of the separation of church in state.

Two weeks ago after its upset victory over Temple, the Cadets of West Point, who find themselves 2-0 for the first time since Bill Clinton was hanging out with Monica – 1996, took a knee as a team, while one of its assistant coaches led the squad in a locker room prayer.  It was videoed, and then placed on the Army website for all to see.

After receiving some complaints, Army’s Athletic Director Boo Corrigan directed that the video be taken down, because of its offensive nature.  Really??!!!

Lt. General Robert L. Caslen, the Superintendent at West Point agreed with the decision.

“Maybe 90-percent of the people who are out there supported the prayer, but when you look at it from a legal basis, and from a legal standpoint, and you look at it from a leadership standpoint, there were some concerns, and I think they’re valid concerns,” said Caslen.

WOW!!  It must be my age, but I wonder if the Army has any objections if any of its “Long Grey Line,” who, along with the Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard Academies, represent the best and the brightest our country has to offer, says a prayer from a foxhole, or some other godforsaken outpost in Iraq or Afghanistan while in a combat zone defending our freedom!!

This weekend let’s see which teams supported by its faithful, pray for an upset victory, and which, in honor of the Army AD Boo Corrigan, are “booed” off the field for playing like a bunch of paper-pushing bureaucratic lawyers.

No. 2 Florida State at No. 10 Louisville (Noon, Ch.5) This is another huge test for the “Sons of Burt Reynolds” which many experts have penciled in as one of the four playoff invitees.

The director of the Seminoles “Tomahawk Express” is its dual-threat r-shirt freshman, QB Deondre Francois, who in these early stages of the season, has played with a seasoned esprit de corps of a Heisman candidate.

The wunderkind is assisted by All-America tailback Dalvin Cook, who can “smoke” any defense, while receivers Travis Rudolph, Jesus Wilson, and tight end Ryan Izzo, are better targets than an ISIS controlled safe house.

But if FSU is to climb to those anticipated Prudential heights, it will be from a D, led by All-America safety Derwin James, end DeMarcus Walker, and backer Matthew Thomas, that is harder to crack than the security code of that “wild and crazy” guy, North Korean President; “Mr. Nukes” himself: Kim Jong-un.

In Louisville, the Cardinals are soaring in some rarified air (after lifting its season opening curtain by gorging on a pair of cupcakes by the combined score of: 132-42) thanks to an offense that has been more explosive than a SpaceX rocket.

But now the fun and games are over, and the Sons of “Johnny U” need to show the country that they are more than simply an Oz like wizard.  Translation; Coach Bobby Petrino’s crew must win this game.

The engineer piloting the Cardinals high-octane bullet train, is its dual-threat sophomore QB, Lamar Jackson, who is more electric than a Chevy Volt, and moves like a Porsche 911.

The starry QB is assisted by tailback Brandon Radcliff, and a pair of game breaking wideouts: Jamari Staples, and James Quick.

The Cardinals D, anchored by backer Keith Kelsey, safety Chucky Williams, and corner Zykiesis Cannon has more speed than an Ozark’s meth-lab, and can hit with the more intensity than a Vladimir Putin stare down.

This is a Playoff game for the both, and with a scheduled noon kick, on the road, before a juiced crowd of Louisville faithful, Jimbo’s Boys better be ready to go.

If not, the Cardinals, like the theme song for “The Jeffersons” will be moving on up into the playoff conversation.

We don’t think Louisville is quite ready for prime time, as the kid with the French surname gets the scalp (French and Indian War) for the Seminoles.

No.3 Ohio State at No.14 Oklahoma (FOX, 7:30 p.m.) This is the third meeting all-time for these two football colossi.  (I knew BC High Latin would come in handy someday.)

The most famous of which took place in Columbus in 1977, when the third ranked Sooners of Oklahoma, led by its eccentric coach Barry Switzer, defeated Woody Hayes’ fourth-ranked Buckeyes: 29-28 on a last second field goal.

But it was the antics of the Sooners kicker; Uwe von Schamann (he must be a von Trapp cousin) that made the game even more memorable.

OU mounted its furious comeback by recovering a pair of late onside kicks, and lined up for a 41-yard field goal to win the game.  In anticipation Ohio Stadium chanted in unison: “Block that kick!  Block that kick!”

Just before the attempt, Woody called his final time out hoping to ice the OU kicker.

But von Schamann was having none of that.  Aggravated about having to wait, he took off his helmet, (you could do that in those days of innocence) then sauntered over toward the Buckeye crowd.

With the crowd in its full-throated roar, raised his index fingers and made the flowing baton motion of a maestro conducting Wagner’s: “Ride of the Valkyries,” as he joined in on the fun.

When play resumed, von Schamann calmly lined up, and nailed the game winner.  It instantly transformed Ohio Stadium into a funeral-like silence.

Years later one of the OU players’ colorfully described the stadium silence; “It was as quiet as a rat pissing on a bale of cotton.”

Ah, Woody and Barry, now those were the days!!

Now back to the reality$$$$ of 2016.

Since taking up residency in Columbus some four-plus years ago, coach Urban Meyer has said “Goodbye Columbus” to almost all-comers, compiling an astounding 52-4 record.  Those numbers also reflect a national title, making him the only coach to win a national championship in two different conferences. (SEC, Big Ten.)

And this visit to Norman will give the Buckeye faithful a true measure of the capabilities of its beloved Scarlet and Grey.

These “Sons of Archie Griffin” are commanded by its dual-threat, Heisman candidate, QB J.T. Barrett, who despite having only three returning starters, can carve a defense better than the best New York butcher.

The Bucks knife sharpener is assisted by freshman tailback Mike Weber, his h-back Curtis Samuel, who is also a deep threat (17 yds. a catch), as well as receivers Noah Brown, and Dontre Wilson.

The D has more seasoning than its offensive brethren, and marinates behind its All-America backer Raekwon McMillan, end Sam Hubbard, and backer Chris Worley.

In Norman, the “Big Game” moniker of its coach Bob Stoops (who finds himself as the longest tenured coach in Div. 1 – 18 years) has been buried in the back of the closet for some time.

But if the Sooners are to keep its flickering playoff hopes alive, it has to run the table.

The Norman Invaders are under the stellar command of its All-America caliber QB Baker Mayfield, who in addition to his Houdini-like escapability, hits his target better than a barrel bomb dropped by the Syrian Government in its Civil War.

The Sooners dynamic pigskin twirler is assisted by one of the nation’s most talented tailback tandems: Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine, while wideouts Dede Westbrook, and Penn State transfer Geno Lewis, provide quality field stretching targets.

The D of the “Sons of Lee Roy Selmon,” is anchored by its All-America tackle Charles Walker, and assisted by end Neville Gallimore, and backer Jordan Evans.  But this group has struggled mightily defending the pass which is not the best formula to beat the Buckeyes.

Fully aware that my “Buckeye discount” at Ohio State grad Keith Mills’ wine emporium; Esprit du Vin in Milton could be in big jeopardy, we think a desperate bunch of Sooners creates a bigger earth quaking than the oil industry’s fracking, as OU fnds a way to scratch out the W. (Sorry Keith!!)

No.1 Alabama at No. 19 Mississippi (Ch. 4, 3:30 p.m.) If Nick Saban was the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, then Ole Miss has been his albatross from the “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”

Saban (107-18 in Tuscaloosa) has lost consecutive games to the same team on three occasions: against the Spurrier led Florida Gators, when he was leading LSU, to those same LSU Tigers after he matriculated to Alabama, and the current two game losing streak to the school that claims Pulitzer Prize winning novelist William Faulkner as its most renown alum: namely, the Rebels of Mississippi.

Saban has apparently settled on true-freshman QB Jalen Hurts to direct Bama’s championship defense, making him the first freshman to start for Groucho’s favorite team, since the Orwellian year of 1984 or five years before the fall of the Berlin wall.

The early part of the season in Tuscaloosa has been about as smooth as Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and the testy Saban has displayed some uncharacteristic explosive sideline tirades.

Despite all that, the baby-faced assassin of the “Sons of Joe Namath” is assisted by a trio of tailbacks: Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough, and freshman B.J. Emmons, while All-America wideout Calvin Ridley, his partner ArDarius Stewart, and tight end O.J. Howard can change the momentum of a game quicker than the Clintons’ shade the truth.

The D, anchored by All-America end Jonathan Allen, and a pair of marrow crushing backers; Ryan Anderson, and Reuben Foster, has more speed than the straightaway at Daytona, and is harder to penetrate than the secret gold account of Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Nayef.

In Oxford, QB Chad Kelly, the nephew of Buffalo HOF QB Jim Kelly, is the director of the “Sons of Archie Manning” and swashbuckling pigskin maestro fires more bullets, with more accuracy, than a Saturday night summer cookout on Chicago’s South Side.

The ‘Ole Miss gunslinger is assisted by a trio of game-breaking targets: Evan Engram, Demare’ea Stringfellow, and Quincy Adeboyejo, and when the Rebs hit the ground, Akeem Judd, and Eugene Brazley, are solid road graders.

The D, featuring backers Terry Caldwell, DeMarquis Gates, and graduate Oregon State transfer Rommel Mageo, has more questions than a BFD civil service exam.

Even though the Tide has yet to reach its high water mark, we think Saban slays his personal albatross (or as the late former Mayor of Boston, Tom Menino used to mangle: Alcatraz) leaving Hugh Freeze’s Rebs mumbling the poem’s classic line: “Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink.”

No. 12 Michigan State at No. 18 Notre Dame (Ch.7, 7:30 p.m.) We still don’t know much about the Boys from East Lansing.  [The reason; a quirk in its schedule.]

The Spartans opened its season with a victory against the “mighty” Paladins of Furman (MSU struggled), then mysteriously had a bye.  So when its straps on its helmets to take on the Irish, Michigan State will have gone 15 long days between games.

But make no mistake, even if there is some “Tin Man” rust, Mark Dantonio coached teams are going to be physical, and it truly relishes its role as an underdog.

These “Sons of Duffy Daugherty” are directed by senior QB Tyler O’Connor, who has better leadership skills than any member of Congress.  He also demonstrated great patience and class in waiting for his playing opportunity.

The signature and identity of any MSU attack is its pro-style ground game, and this team features a trio of quality turf churners: LJ Scott, Madre London, and Gerald Homes.

And when the Spartans take to the East Lansing skies, tight end Josiah Price, along with wideout R.J. Shelton, are the principle targets.

The D anchored by its All-America tackle Malik McDowell, with assists from a trio of quality backers: Riley Bullough, Chris Frey, and Ed Davis is as relentless as an IRS investigator, and will lay more hits than a Beatles catalogue.

The “Sons of Lou Holtz” have won three straight against its Michigan State rival.

And before we dive into our analysis: we want to highlight one of our favorite quotes from the HOF championship winning coach: “Never tell your problems to anyone.  Twenty percent don’t care, and the other eighty percent are glad you have them.”  Absolutely beautiful!!

The Golden Domers have found its Ralph Kramden (bus driver), in dual-threat junior QB DeShone Kizer, who is equally dangerous, whether on the run, or firing a dart that is as accurate as; “Big Ben.”

In addition to its sharpshooter, the descendants of Ara Parseghian have been tearing up the turf behind tailbacks Josh Adams (7 yds. a carry), and his partner Tarean Folston, while wideouts Equanimeous St. Brown, C.J. Sander, and Tori Hunter (concussion, will play) provide glue fingered targets.

The D led by backers Nyles Moran, James Onwualu, and end Issac Rochell is solid up front, but the secondary has displayed more problems than a voting machine in Miami-Dade County.

Despite those issues, we think Brian Kelly’s (228-80-2 into his 26th year) “Touchdown Jesus” darlings adds another notch to the streak.

No.22 Oregon at Nebraska (Ch. 5, 3:30 p.m.) This game is almost like a pregnancy test; whoever ends up on the positive side of the ledger is in for a fruitful season.

And once again, the “Green from Eugene” is soaring on the arm of a transfer QB from a school from the FCS Big Sky Conference.

Dakota Prukop, a graduate from Montana State, has been given the keys to Oregon’s aka “Phil Knight University” swoosh caddy.

The slender marksman has the good fortune of targeting a plethora of “Road Runner” receivers; led by Devon Allen, Darren Carrington, and Pharaoh Brown, all of whom could give Usain Bolt a run for his money.  [Note: Allen was a member of this year’s US Olympic Team, finishing fifth in the 110m hurdles final.]

And when the Ducks go foraging, its Heisman caliber tailback Royce Freeman (9-yds. a carry) motors like a Rolls, while his relief replacement, Tony Brooks-James is also of high-cotton caliber.

The “Sons of Steve Prefontaine” have hired a new defensive sheriff, former Michigan head man Brady Hoke, who has been charged with the unenviable task of improving a D that was pulverized like the city of Aleppo.

In Lincoln the forlorn faithful are still pining for those glorious championship days of; Tom Osbourne.

In fact the last time the “Boys of the Corn” knocked off a ranked, non-conference opponent during the regular season (Notre Dame), W was pardoning the White House turkeys – 2001.

Coach Mike Riley, beginning his second year as head man of “The Big Red,” has witnessed the supersonic Ducks machine up close and personal, during his days in Corvallis, as the coach of Oregon State.

And as the Lincoln faithful are well aware: the key for these “Sons of Tommie Frazier” is the play of its QB, Tommy Armstrong.  The question is always lingering in Husker-land: will they get the “good Tommy,” the one that is on target, and scrambling for key first downs, or the “bad Tommy,” the one who couldn’t hit a piñata even without a blindfold.

The Husker’s red-cladded zealots, desperate for a conference championship run, are hoping for the former.

The senior leader has stars all over the field led by wideouts Jordan Westerkamp, Alonzo Moore, and a pair of downhill driving tailbacks; Terrell Newby, and Devine Ozigbo.

The famed black-shirt D, anchored by safety Kieron Williams, end Ross Dzuris, and backers Josh Banderas, and Dedrick Young will have to be as stout as Falstaff to slow the Ducks pinball attack.

On Saturday in Lincoln there are only two items on the menu: Duck soup, or Husked corn on the grill.  We think it’s the corn gets grilled, as the Ducks fly home with the W.

 

Last week:  4-1                       Season record: 7-3.

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

BC ends 9-game losing streak, UConn runs out of time on half-yard line, OK State stunned on blown ref call

Before we begin: we all should take a moment to reflect on the 15th anniversary of one of the darkest of days in American history: 9-11, 2001!!
Now to the games:
BC is off the schneid!!
It’s been nearly a year, September 26, 2015, (9-consecutive losses) to be precise, since the Eagles football team have belted out its fight song “For Boston” in a joyous and victorious locker room. YIKES!!!
To put that run of ineptitude into perspective: the Republican field for President had its full field of 17 candidates, the UK was still a member of the EU, the Red Sox were in last place, and Tom Brady was the starting QB for the Patriots. WOW!!!
The BC defense was stellar as usual combining for a team record 8 sacks, and holding the feisty, but overmatched Minutemen to a minus-23 yards rushing. Double Yikes!!!
Mark Whipple’s “Belle’s of Amherst” play hard, but it still needs size and depth to go against the bigger programs.
On offense, well, we don’t want to say that the Eagles playbook is something out of the Stone Age, but a pair of “Wooly mammoths” were seen on campus walking to their Psyche 1 class!!
But a win is a win. Let’s see what happens next week when BC (who has lost its last 9 ACC Conference games) travels down to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech.
Hail the Academies: Army and Navy both won yesterday, but the win by the Cadets of West Point may be a sign that the fortunes of the “Long Grey Line” are beginning to turn for the better.
Army, who has already matched its win total from last year, knocked off the Owls of Rice 31-14 to start its season 2-0 for the first time since Bill Clinton was hanging out with Monica – 1996. YIKES!!
And the best part for the Cadet faithful is it has done it with a defense that is worthy of the name; Army Football. Good for them.
The Middies on the other had were the beneficiaries of a brain cramp by UConn coach Bob Diaco, who saw his Huskies climb out of a coffin (in honor of Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein) and storm all the way back from a 21-0 deficit to grab a 24-21 lead.
Navy who should never be counted out, master minded a late TD drive and with 3-minutes left to play recaptured the lead: 28-24 but the visitors refused to get sea sick.
Connecticut marched back down the field on a multiple of short passes and runs, and the final completion placed them on Navy 1-yard line with 17 seconds left on the clock and one timeout.
If the Huskies punched it in, it would have been the signature victory of Diaco’s 2-plus seasons as the Storrs headman. But, alas it wasn’t to be.
In an Ahab ending, with confusion engulfing and swirling on the UConn sideline, Diaco called his last time-out, sending in a pair two plays. Unfortunately, he never got to try the second.
On its first and final try UConn ran up and the middle and the Middies stuffed it. And by the time the referee cleared the players, “We practice this. In situations like that we lay on the guy until the referee clears the play,” said a Navy player.
Well it worked to perfection, before UConn could line up the clock expired as the Huskies stared stunned at the goal line a half-a-yard away from victory!!
While the stadium and the Midshipmen serenaded its victors with: “Navy Blue and Gold” its fight song: “Have proud Sailor’s right to wear, the Nave Blue and Gold!!”
In the other locker room Diaco had two words succinctly describing the loss: “Crushing, Crushing!!”
Yes it was!! Double Yikes!!!
In the yawn department: Alabama, the best team in America, cruised over Western Kentucky 38-10, while officially finding its QB, a true freshman named; Jalen Hurts.
The kid is the first freshmen to start for Groucho’s favorite team since the Orwellian year of 1984. WOW!!! Joe Namath, Kenny Stabler, Bart Starr et-all must be smiling.
And what in the Sam Hill is going on in Clemson??
The Tigers have who has more weapons than North Korea, seem to be a suffering from some strange sleeping disorder as they once again looked lethargic in struggling to put away an inferior (36 pt. underdog) opponent in this case: Troy: 30-24.
An example this two-game sleep walk was the “brilliant” play by punt returner/receiver Ray-Ray McCloud who was cruising all alone into the end zone, when he decided to flip the ball in a TD celebration.
There was only one slight problem: he let the ball go on the 1-yard line, as he celebrated his the no-touchdown with his teammates. BRILLIANT!!! As the commercial used to shout.
Maybe that’s why his needs to repeat his first name??!!! Dabo’s Boys need to figure it and quickly before the October 1st showdown against Louisville.
The wildest game of this early year took place in Stillwater, where the Cowboys o

f Oklahoma State had its victory snatched by a “dumb” (his words) decision by it coach Mike Gundy, as Central Michigan won with an untimed illegal 49-yard miraculous “Hail-Mary” final play pass, that also involved a lateral, and a nine-yard right side scamper into the end zone.
It transpired this way: QB Cooper Rush lofted the “Hail Mary that was caught by wideout Jesse Kroll at the OK State 10, who then lateraled it to his fellow receiver Corey Willis, who jetted around the left side for the game winner. Are you kidding me!!! In fact the radio broadcast by the CM team has the analysis almost shouting a no-no when he just caught himself shouting; “Are you ……. Me??!!
What makes the defeat even worse is that the play should never have been allowed.
BY the nature of the play the game should have been over but none of the six referees working knew the rule or caught the mistake.
Here’s a quick synopsis: Intentional grounding on a 4th down play with the clock expiring is a loss of down and an automatic end to the game. But the referees missed it, and allowed Central Michigan one untimed play they spun into a golden/stolen victory!!
“It was still a dumb call on my part regardless,” said Gundy. DOUBLE OUCH!!!
[As a note: Amazingly Central Michigan had a similar play occur with the same two receivers in the 2014 Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl but CM lost when it failed to convert the two point conversion].
Finally instead of Urban Renewal, college football needs more of rivalry renewal as Pitt and Penn State, two former annual Thanksgiving Day rivals, who haven’t faced each other in 15-years staged a wildly entertaining game that was won by the Panthers of Pitt 42-39.
The other was the best game of the year so far: an old SWC (sure we’ll cheat) Southwest Conference grudge match between Arkansas and TCU that had more twists and turns than the 24 Hours at Le Mans.
It took a double-reverse then pass two point conversion with 1:03 on the clock, as well as a last-second blocked field-goal by the Razorbacks to simply get the game into overtime, where Arkansas ultimately won when its gritty QB Austin Allen bulldozed his way in from the five yard line for the game winner: 41-38.
But the key to the Hogs comeback occurred with TCU’s QB Kenny Hill, who was magnificent, scored on a keeper to put the Horned Frogs up 28-20, but made a very immature throat slashing gesture incurring a deserved 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on the kickoff which gave the Hogs spectacular field position dramatically helping its final game tying drive in regulation. Nice move Kenny!!!
We can’t end without out shout out to our favorite bloviating gas bag Charlie Weis, which saw the last team he “fixed” the Jayhawks of Kansas go back to its losing ways; as the Bobcats of Ohio knocked off KU: 37-20. Sorry Charlie!!

That’s it from cyberspace. We’ll be up and running with our analysis of week 3 Wednesday night. Until then, Peace and listen to the music. pk

BC takes on UMass, Tennessee and VaTech to set new attendance record at Bristol Speedway

We begin this week, the weakest card of the season, with lunch, and a simple gesture of kindness that is right out of; “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
In late August, starry Florida State receiver Travis Rudolph and some of his teammates made a lunch time visit to the Montford Middle School in Tallahassee.
Rudolph looked around the cafeteria and noticed this one kid eating lunch all by himself, and asked if he could join him.
“I asked if I could sit next to him, and he said ‘Sure, why not?’
He told Rudolph that his name was Bo and how much he loved Florida State and the conversation just flowed from there.
What Rudolph didn’t know is that Bo Paske has autism, and on most day’s eats his lunch alone said his mother Leah who videotaped the entire episode which went viral.
“I was a kid not too long ago, and I remember what the impact was of guys that played in college and in the NFL coming back to us,” said Randolph. “So maybe I can make someone a better person.”
“Sometimes I’m grateful for his autism. That may sound like a terrible thing to say, but in some ways I think, I hope, it shields him,” Leah Paske wrote. “He doesn’t seem to notice people who stare at him when he flaps his hands. He doesn’t seem to notice that he doesn’t get invited to birthday parties anymore. And he doesn’t seem to mind if he eats lunch alone.”
“I’m not sure what made this incredibly kind man share a lunch table with my son, but I’m happy to say that it will not soon be forgotten,” she wrote.
The next day at school everybody wanted to have lunch with Bo.
This weekend let’s take a reality check from the multi-million dollar monster that college football has become. A sport now dominated by corporate sponsors, and fat-cat alumni, and focus on what is really important in life, one’s health and family. Just ask George Bailey and Travis Rudolph.
Boston College at UMass (Noon, Gillette Stadium) This game is being billed as the “Battle of the Bay State,” but in reality, it is a match of survival for both teams.
BC has now lost nine in-a-row, all of them against ACC opponents, and this non-conference affair is a must win game, or the tenure clock ticking in the football office of Coach Steve Addazio will pound louder than the cannon fire from “Old Ironsides.”
For UMass, one of only four independents playing Division 1 football, (they are hoping to eventually secure membership in the AAC Conference), and ranked by the experts as the nation’s worst (128th) gridiron eleven, a victory would send a message of William Dawes importance to the school’s administration that Coach Whipple’s “Belles of Amherst” are finally beginning to turn the moribund program in a positive direction.
QB Patrick Towles, the strong-armed graduate transfer from Kentucky is the director of the Eagles offense which crosses the goal line about as often as John Kerry has a hair out of place, or misses a Botox injection.
The QB who is the grandson of Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, (no wonder he has a strong arm) is assisted by his sophomore battering ram, tailback Jon Hilliman, who plows through a defense better than a Red Line train in a nor’easter, while wideouts Jeff Smith, and Charlie Callinan, provide comforting targets.
But if the offense is the “Topo Gigio” (for those young’uns check out the Ed Sullivan show on YouTube) of the team, the D is like “Connie Francis,” the one that everyone came to see.
This starry snarling group led by backer Connor Strachan, (who moves around like former BC All-America Luke Kuechly) his partner Ty Schwab, and safety John Johnson attack with the same intensity as “The Boss” belting out the words to “Badlands.”
Since it joined the fraternity of “Big Boy” football, the Minutemen’s on field performance is best summarized by the classic lyric from Fury Lewis’ 1928 blues song; “I Will Turn Your Money Green” which reads: “Been down so long it looks like up to me.”
But there is room for optimism at the home of Emily Dickinson. The “Sons of Dick MacPherson” feel they have found a QB in cocky r-shirt sophomore Ross Comis, who is protected by a massive (320 average) and physical offensive line. The dual-threat is assisted by a quality tailback in Marques Young, and a pair of chain-moving wideouts: Andy Isabella and Jalen Williams.
The D which has more holes than a hotel in Aleppo, takes some solace in its linebacking crew led by: Teddy Lowery, Shane Huber and Da’Sean Downey.
This is a home game for the Minutemen which is another problem for its struggling program.
It is the only school in the country whose other “home stadium” is 90-miles away from campus and with a scheduled noon kickoff, there are liable to be more seagulls than fans at Gillette.
We think Addazio’s boys simply muscle over its intra-state rival, and for the moment at least deaden the volume of the office “watch-clock.”
No.17 Tennessee vs Virginia Tech (Ch.5, 8 p.m. – Bristol Speedway) The last time these two teams met in a regular season match-up, FDR was in the early stages of his second White House term (1937).
[Note: the attendance record for a college football game was set in 2013, when 115,109 witnessed Notre Dame battle Michigan in the Big House. That record is expected to be shattered Saturday night, when a crowd of over 140,000 motors in to witness the speedway stadium spectacle.
There is a Carly Simon sense of anticipation amongst the Rocky Top faithful, that this is the year when football in Knoxville becomes once again relevant, and that the Vols will make a strong challenge for the SEC East title.
These “Sons of Johnny Majors” are directed by its leather tough dual-threat senior QB, Josh Dobbs, who must improve his accuracy if he is to be perceived an elite performer.
The big man is assisted by his rumbling 18-wheeler (240-pound) tailback, Jalen Hurd, who finishes a run like a rail road laborer pounding and punishing a spike.
If Dobbs can lock on, he has a trio of field-stretching targets; Alvin Kamara (who comes out of the backfield), his Road-Runner wideout Preston Williams, and tight end Ethan Wolf.
The D, led by All-America end Derek Barnett, and the backer duo; Darrin Kirkland and his starry partner Jalen Reeves-Maybin, plays with the same aggression that Vladimir Putin flashes at Barak Obama, but as some would say about the POTUS, has a tendency to peter-out in the fourth quarter.
In Blacksburg there is a new sheriff in town, and a new style of play.
Justin Fuente rides in to replace VaTech’s iconic coach Frank Beamer, who roamed the Hokies sideline for 29-years molding them into a national power. (Truth be told, the program was in need of a tire change, and it was the right time for Beamer to step aside.)
The new headman is bringing his specialty: the no-huddle spread, to Lane Stadium. The Hokies designated driver is junior QB Jerod Evans, who will be protected by a seasoned offensive line.
The Blacksburg sharp-shooter can also target a trio of talented glue-fingered receivers; Isiah Ford, Cam Phillips, and a Prudential-sized (6-7,245) tight end, Bucky Hodges.
The continuity of the D remains in the capable hands of its longtime coordinator Bud Foster, (retained by Fuente), and is anchored by tackles Nigel Williams, Woody Barron, backer Andrew Motuapuaka, and safety Chuck Clark.
We are not sold on the Tennessee hype, but even less so on mediocre VaTech, so in honor of the venue, we’ll wave the checkered flag for the victorious Volunteers.
Penn State vs. Pittsburgh (Noon, ESPN) This former Thanksgiving rivalry was once as heated as Cruz vs Trump, but for a multitude of reasons$$$, it hasn’t been played since the start of the Millennium – 2000.
A brief history: the first meeting took place in College Station in 1893, a 32-0 whitewashing by Penn State, and along the way, over the generations, there have been some classic memorable battles.
We’ll start with the 1963 game.
The traditional Thanksgiving date was moved to December 7 out of respect for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Pitt’s record was a stellar 8-1, and the Panthers were penciled in for an invite to the Cotton Bowl. The only caveat was; it had to finish its season with only that one blemish.
But because the game was rescheduled to the seventh of December, the Cotton Bowl representatives couldn’t wait, and gave Pitt’s spot to another team.
The Panthers defeated the Nittany Lions: 22-21 to finish 9-1, but with nary a bowl invitation stayed home for the holidays. Something that would be simply unthinkable in today’s “everybody gets a trophy” society, which now finds teams saddled with 5-7 records invited to a bowl. Amazing!!
Another classic took place in 1981 in which a 10-0 Pitt was being led by some QB named Dan Marino who lost the game to the 9-1 “fighting Paterno’s” led by another college QB legend: Todd Blackledge.
And although neither team carries the same cachet, it’s still neat to see the rivalry renewed, even if it is for a scant four years.
We’ll begin in College Station, Pa.
In Happy Valley there’s a new offensive dawning for the “Sons of John Cappelletti” who hired former Fordham headman Joe Moorhead to install the no-huddle offense.
The captain sailing that vessel is r-shirt sophomore QB Trace McSorley, who is assisted by tailback Saquon Barkley, and a trio of receivers; DaeSean Hamilton, Chris Godwin, and tight end Mike Gesicki, but the offensive line remains suspect and potentially a big liability.
The Nits attacking D is anchored by safety Marcus Allen, backer Jason Cabinda and end Garrett Sickels.
Pitts second year Coach Pat Narduzzi is the perfect guy to resurrect the football brand of the “Steel City.”
The pro-style attack of the “Sons of Mike Ditka” is directed by QB Nate Peterman with assists from this season’s best story: the return of All-America tailback James Conner from his recovery from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He is cancer free, and continued to practice while undergoing treatment.
When the Panthers QB goes aerial, Jester Weah, Dontez Ford, and tight end Scott Orndoff are defense stressing targets.
Unlike Donald Trump, Narduzzi’s specialty is defense.
His goal is to build his squad in the same image of his former team; the Spartans of Michigan State. And with eight returning defensive starters featuring backers Matt Galambos, Mike Capraza, and corner Avonte Maddox, Pitt should be harder to crack than the inner circle of Donald Trump.
At home, we like the Panthers to gain a spot of revenge for that painful 1981 loss to the Nittany Lions.
Arkansas at No. 15 TCU (ESPN, 7 p.m.) This is a renewal of an old SWC (sure we’ll cheat) Southwest Conference rivalry.
The only difference is the role reversal: in those wild-west shootout days, TCU was a bottom-feeder and Arkansas was riding “high off the hog.”
The Hogs signature ground and pound attack meshes perfectly with intensity of its burly and edgy coach Bret Bielema, who has done a solid job of patiently resurrecting the Arkansas brand.
These Sons of “Frank Broyles” are directed by QB Austin Allen (the brother of recent graduate QB Brandon) with assists from tailbacks Rawleigh Williams, and Kody Walker. Those earth-movers may have some tough early plowing while the Razorbacks indoctrinate three new offensive linemen.
When Allen takes to the Fayetteville skies, he has a trio of field stretchers: wideouts Keon Hatcher, Drew Morgan, and tight end Jeremy Sprinkle at his disposal.
The D, led by end Deatrich Wise, backer Brook Ellis, and tackle Jeremiah Ledbetter is the Alpha-dog of the 2016-edition of the Razorbacks.
In Fort Worth, TCU coach Gary Patterson (143-47-18 yrs.) has created one of the great architectural rebuilding projects in college football history (notably a perfect 13-0, 2010 season which culminated in a Rose Bowl victory over Bret Bielema who was then the headman at Wisconsin) in molding the Horned Frogs into a national power.
Texas A&M transfer, QB Kenny Hill, is the director of the Horned Frogs attack with assists from tailback Kyle Hicks, and a passel of quality wideouts: Taj Williams, KaVontae Turpin, and Jaelen Austin.
Patterson whose expertise is on the defensive side, utilizes an unconventional 4-2-5 system that is anchored by a tackling machine backer Travin Howard, ends Josh Carraway, James McFarland, and tackle Aaron Curry.
The last time these teams met George H.W. Bush was throwing out the first ball: 1991. This time we think TCU adds one more W to its win column in a series in which the Hogs have dominated 43-23-2.
California at San Diego State (CBSS, 10:30 p.m.) Sonny Dykes Cal Bears are like the presidential election, no one is quite exactly sure which direction the season is going to turn.
The “Air Raid” offense of these “Sons of Jackie Jensen” puts more balls into the air than Charlie Chaplin’s globe scene in the movie “Great Dictator.” (Again do yourself a favor and check it out on YouTube.)
The keys to the caddy have been given to QB Davis Webb, and the Cal gunslinger is assisted by a trio of chain movers; wideouts Malquise Stovall, Chad Hansen, and Bug Rivera, while tailbacks Khalfani Muhammad, and Vic Enwere provide a quality change of pace.
But it’s the Golden Bears colander-like D, featuring backer Devante Downs, and ends DeVante Wilson, and Cameron Saffle, that will ultimately decide the fate of the Golden Bears season.
The Aztecs of San Diego State are riding the second longest winning streak (11 – Alabama has 13) in the nation.
These “Sons of Don Coryell” are led by last season’s Mountain West Player of the Year, QB Christia Chapman.
The starry marksman is assisted by tailback Donne Pumphrey (who also catches out of the backfield), and his touchdown making receiver Mikah Holder, and partner Eric Judge.
The D which returns seven starters also has the conference POY in corner Damontae Kazee, and along with end Alex Barrett, and backer Calvin Munson, surrender points as often as the press gets to ask Hillary Clinton a question.
In a game of some intrigue, we think the Aztecs make it a perfect dozen, as San Diego State quietly marches into the top-25.

Last week:  3-2

 
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