The question of the day is: Where do we start?
That’s what makes the game of college football as entertaining as Donald Trump stumbling over the definition of the Nuclear Triad, or his quixotic “birthing” quest of Barak Obama.
One place we will not be heading, except for a small glance, is the Big-12 “flag-football” conference, where the mantra is: with apologies to Mel Brooks and “Blazing Saddles;” ‘We don’t need no stinking defense!’ Most of its games have a combined score of: 100 points in the first half! They truly have become too painful to watch, and not one bit enjoyable for a true football fan.
We’ll start in Athens, Georgia, where appropriately, especially with “Sully” the
story of the miracle landing in the Hudson currently in theatres, (great movie and Clint Eastwood at age of 86 is still getting it done) the play has been dubbed: “The Miracle in Athens.”
And for the fourth time in its last five games “The Tin Men” (our nickname for the Volunteers of Tennessee because of how creaky its looks for most of the game) rallied from another double-digit deficit, (down 17-0) and took control of the SEC East with its 34-31 Hail Mary win over the Bulldogs of Georgia. Amazing!
This one will be talked about in both Athens and Knoxville till the end of time.
After blowing its 17-0 lead, the Bulldogs found itself down 4, 28-24 and 81-yards away from the end zone. It looked like the “Tin Men” just had once again found just enough WD-40 to survive.
But the Dawgs kept barking.
Georgia’s freshman QB Jacob Eason tossed a 47-yard touchdown pass to his fellow freshman wideout Riley Ridley giving the Bulldogs a 31-28 lead with ten-seconds left on the clock.
Game over, Georgia wins!
“Not so fast my friends,” as a former head coach has been heard to say.
The first mistake by the “Sons of Vince Dooley” was the flag it was given for excessive celebration. That pushed the ensuing kickoff back 15-yards. The second was giving the “Tin Men” some time left on the clock.
As time expired, the Vols QB Josh Dobbs let fly a 43-yard parabola, which “easily” found 6-foot-3 wideout Jauan Jennings in the end zone for the “Hail Mary, Our Father, Stations of the Cross” pick one, winning score.
As he ran to the middle of the field, Tennessee coach Butch Jones dropped to his knees, almost as if he had a stroke. But it was another stroke of good fortune.
Here’s the reality of the situation: the “Tin Men” are now in control of the SEC East, and an invite into the SEC Championship is theirs for the losing.
“I’ve never been part of something like that,” said senior offensive lineman Greg Pyke. “We won the game. Then the next think you know we lost the game. It’s heartbreaking.”
Do not feel too bad Mr. Pyke, because not even Federico Fellini couldn’t have scripted a more improbable and surrealistic ending.
We move from there to another titanic clash with Gibralter-esque consequences; Louisville visiting Clemson, in a landscape that carried national title hopes, and Heisman dreams.
It was a Park Avenue event with a Broadway billing that turned out to be worth every penny.
Clemson, who has now captured 19-straight in Death Valley, stormed out to a 18-point (28-10) half-time (all 28 in second quarter) lead, only to watch in stunned disbelief, as Coach Bobby Petrino’s Cardinals, led by its human pinball, and Hesiman frontrunner, QB Lamar Jackson, score 26 unanswered to grab an improbable: 36-28 lead.
But that’s when the other Heisman candidate, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson (5-TDs) went to work, throwing for a pair of comeback touchdowns, as the D did just enough to hold off another L’Ville comeback.
The last ditch effort died on the Tigers 3-yard line when the fourth down pass completion came up 2-yards short, securing the Tigers amazing; 42-36 victory.
It also makes for a fairly smooth (FSU has no defense) glide path (another Sully Hudson landing reference) to the ACC Championship and consecutive playoff invites for the Tigers.
One other note: Clemson’s Dabo Swinney is now 10-5 against top-10 teams. WOW!
The unpredictability of the day continued in Tallahassee, where the Seminoles saw its 22-game home winning streak snapped on another improbable play, a 54-yard game winning, and last second field goal by North Carolina’s Nick Weiler: 37-35. It was the first successful field-goal by both teams all game.
At one point the Tar Heels blew a 21-0 lead, but ultimately scratched out the W over FSU who now play “defense” almost as ineptly as Texas Tech or Kansas. Rumor is a colander maker is interested in having them sell its product. OUCH!
This was another “Blazing Saddles” ‘no stinking defense’ game which saw: 58-first downs, and over 1130-yards of offense. Enough of this tag rush – let’s play some football.
Which brings me to my favorite conference, which may be the best top to bottom right now: The Big Ten.
In a game that had more hits than a Beatles Convention, Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines, in a classic college football scene before 110,000 zealots at the Big House, clawed its way to a 14-7 victory over a leather-hardened bunch of Badgers from Wisconsin.
It was a game of dramatics and a word never even whispered in the “tag-rush” conference of the Big 12; defense.
It was also the first victory by the Wolverines over a top-10 team since the first year of “Hope and Change” and the Nobel Peace Prize year of Barak Obama. It also keeps Michigan on its season ending collision course with Ohio State.
Reluctantly, we have to dip our toe into the Big-12, where Texas coach Charlie Strong is a “dead man walking” after his Longhorns (2-2), have now surrendered 99-points in its two consecutive losses. Yikes!
Texas interim AD Mike Perrin gave his coach the Michael Corleone kiss of death by saying, “Charlie Strong is safe for now. We have to take a look at everything about Texas football, not just Charlie Strong.” Bye, bye Charlie.
On the local front the Minutemen of UMass (1-4) lost a heartbreaker to Tulane 31-24, again after jumping out to a 14-0 lead. It is imperative that the football “Belles of Amherst” who now play as an independent, find a way into the AAC, American Football Conference or Division 1 football in Amherst will go the way of the Cod stocks in the Gulf of Maine.
The Eagles of Boston College dined on another cupcake to puff its record to a false-positive (3-2) making them three victories from bowl eligibility with its unimpressive35-3 victory over the Bulls of Buffalo.
But we’ll see if this bit of bad karma bites them in the behind down the line.
In a game in which BC totally dominated its overmatched opponent, and leading 28-3, Coach Steve Addazio in a classless move ran the ball in from the 3-yard line with 14-seconds left on the clock. Really?!
A pal of mine who was at the “game” made a point of watching the coaches’ shake hands, and said it was warm as Bill Belichick and Eric Mangini or Bernie and Hillary. Running it in in that situation is a move of a loser’s mentality.
Staying on the local scene: Tim Murphy, the best coach in New England, saw his “Veritas Boys” of Harvard (3-0) continue its winning ways by defeating Georgetown Friday night: 31-17.
Just imagine if Tim Murphy was roaming the sidelines for Boston College. Oh well, that’s a story for another day.
And up in Seattle, Coach Chris Petersen the “Wizard of Boise State” has his Huskies howling, as they toyed with an injured bunch of Cardinal from Stanford Friday night: 44-6. UDub’s QB Jake Browning is deserving of some Heisman love and conversation, and UW has moved its way into playoff consideration.
Nebraska’s 5-0 start by good guy coach Mike Riley has the Husker faithful dreaming of conference championships. While one of our favs newly installed interim coach Ed Orgeron of LSU (could the O stand for offense) opened up the game in a 4-wide spread much to the delight of the Tiger faithful, as LSU crushed Missouri; 42-7 racking up a SEC school record 634-yards of offense.
Finally, as always we close the recap with the latest score from Kansas 91-3) a Thursday night 55-19 shellacking by Texas Tech. As you are well aware by now, KU is the last team that the bloviating gasbag Charlie Weis was able to fix! Sorry Charlie!
That’s it from cyber-space. We’ll be up and running with our analysis of week 6 Wednesday night. Until then, Peace, and listen to the music. PK