Alabama tested by Tennessee, Ohio State visits Wisconsin, Western Michigan tries to remain perfect

Diners wait outside Ruth's Chris steak house in Ann Arbor to take advantage of Wolverines discount deal based on 78-0 blowout of Rutgers

We begin this week with a high end steakhouse, a home team blowout, and a discount that even a coach could love.

Last week Buzz Goebel, the general manager of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Ann Arbor, posted the following promotion on its Facebook page.

All diners who made a reservation for the following week, would be given a discount based on the percentage of the Wolverines victory over Rutgers on Saturday.

Smartly, at the last moment, Goebel, whose grandfather was a captain on the 1920 Michigan team decided to cap the discount at 50 percent.  The final score: 78-0 Wolverines.

“The phone hasn’t stopped ringing.  I’m thinking, I guess I’m not getting my day off (Sunday),” he said.

Because the promotion did not include alcohol the GM still figures to make a profit on the deal.

“I love this,” Goebel said.  “It’s kind of scary, but you can’t buy this kind of advertising.  If we execute perfectly, we’re in good shape.”

Jim Harbaugh who loves his steak, and was tickled by the promotion, is taking his wife Sarah and thanked the general manager for squeezing them in to the sold out restaurant.

This weekend, let see which teams cap off another huge victory, by celebrating over a giant porterhouse, and which season ticket holding alums demand a discount, or at least dinner on the coach after sitting through and enduring another monumental loss.

No. 1 Alabama at No. 9 Tennessee (Ch. 4, 3:30 p.m.) Groucho’s favorite team, “We tried to remove the tusks.  But they were so firmly embedded we couldn’t budge them.  Of course in Alabama, the Tuscaloosa,” Captain Spaulding from “Animal Crackers,” has won 18 in a row, and have been, with apologies to Joni Mitchell, as steady and reliable as the North Star.

The “Sons of Bart Starr” (note the celestial reference) are under the direction of t-freshman QB Jalen Hurts (9 TDs-2 Ints -63%) who despite his tender age, has played with the composure of Tchaikovsky at the piano working on “Swan Lake,” in guiding the nation’s sixth (44) highest scoring eleven.

Alabama freshman QB Jalen Hurts - first freshman to start for the Tide since the Orwellian year of 1984

The dual-threat “Title-Town” prodigy is assisted by tailbacks Damien Harris, and Joshua Jacobs (both average over 8-yards a pop), while his All-America receiver, and future Sunday performer Calvin Ridley (4 TDs) is as comforting as a roaring fire during a nor’easter, or a censor on a bus with Donald Trump.

Alabama’s D, the eleventh stingiest (15 pts) featuring the All-America pairing of backer Reuben Foster (4.5 tfls-4.5 sacks), end Jonathan Allen (4.5 tfls-4 sacks) and stellar linebacker Ryan Anderson (7.5 tfls-4.5 sacks) is as disruptive as the Galaxy Note 7, while pulverizing runners (tops in nation – 69 yds) with the intensity of a Russian aerial attack on a humanitarian aid convoy.

The last time these teams met as ranked opponents, W was cutting brush at the ranch – 2005.

The cardiac “Tin Men” from Knoxville finally ran out of WD-40, mainly due to an offense that produces more turnovers (97th) than the late, lamented, and legendary Sudan or Avenue Bakery.  (Was there anything better than doughnuts out the back door at 5 a.m. after an all-nighter?)

The Rocky Top faithful have been frustrated by the Vols inexplicable ability to stitch together two consecutive haves of winning football.

In five of its last six game, the “Sons of Johnny Majors” have been behind by double digits, then reawaken like Curley in a Stooges episode as if they are listening to Larry play “Pop Goes the Weasel” on the violin.

The pilot of those comebacks is its peppermint cool, and resilient dual-threat QB Josh Dobbs (14 TDs – 8 Ints – 58%) who exudes a confidence not seen since John Wayne was winning the hand of Maureen O’Hara and brawling in the “Quiet Man.”

Tennessee QB Josh Dobbs - the comeback kid

The silent on is assisted by a pair of pedestrian turf movers Alvin Kamara, and Jalen Hurd (nicked up), and a trio of chain movers; Josh Malone (20 yds.), Jauan Jennings (16 yds.) and Tyler Byrd.

The UT D featuring All-America end Derek Barnett (9.5 tfls – 5 sacks) and fellow backer Colton Jumper has struggled stopping the run (86th) which is not a winning formula against the Tide.

(Note: backer Jalen Reeves-Maybin is out, and Darrin Kirkland game time decision.)

Alabama has won nine-in-a-row against the Rocky Toppers; make it ten, as the streak climbs to a “Johnny U” 19 beautifully illumed by the North Star.

No. 2 Ohio State at No. 8 Wisconsin (Ch.5, 8 p.m.) Even Vladimir Putin would be impressed.

The Buckeyes have rolled through the opposition with the same precision as the Russian Military parading through Red Square during its annual Moscow Victory Day Parade.

[Note: The parade commemorates Russia’s 1945 Eastern Front victory over Hitler’s Germany.]

Buckeyes Heisman contending QB J.T. Barrett

These “Sons of Archie Griffith,” who score almost as often as Taylor Swift (3rd in the nation; 53 pts.) are commanded by its Heisman contending QB J.T. Barrett (15 TDs-3 Ints-64%-4 rushing TDs), whose offensive arsenal might well be the envy of the Kremlin.

Ohio State's ground assault is like running with the bulls

The dual-threat Columbus commander is assisted by a Pamplona-esque ground assault (3rd in nation – rumbling with an average of 323-yards a game) behind road graders Mike Weber (6.8 a carry), his rocket propelled partner Curtis Samuel (8.2), and a solid dose of Mr. Barrett (342 yds.), who have combined for an eye-popping: 1318 yards, and 11-TDs.

When the starry co-captain takes to the “Scarlet and Grey” skies he luxuriates by choosing from a menu that features a trio of game breakers; the aforementioned Samuel, Donte Wilson, and Noah Brown.

On the other side of the ball, the Buckeyes D (second stingiest 10), anchored by the backing threesome; Raekwon McMillan, Chris Worley, and Jerome Baker surrenders less than 100-yards on the ground, and displays better overall numbers than the portfolio of Warren Buffet, or Sophia Loren in a full splendor strut in; “El Cid.”

In Cheese Country, the “Sons of Elmer ‘Crazylegs’ Hirsch” have been a bigger surprise than Al Roker going after Billy Bush on the Today Show over his defense of that nitwit US Olympic swimmer; Ryan Lochte.

Wisconsin disrupter linebackerT.J. Watt

Coach Paul Chryst’s Badgers have cheddared its opposition by utilizing the nation’s 4th tightest (12) defense led by backers; T.J. Watt (7.5 tfls-5.5 sacks – J.J.’s brother), Jack Cichy, and T.J. Edwards.

This Badger bunch is as feisty and ornery as the owner of the corner variety working the penny candy counter suddenly flooded with kids from St. Margaret’s Grammar School on a Friday afternoon.

Unfortunately for the Mad-Town faithful, the offense sputters more than the Johnson/Weld Libertarian Presidential campaign.

These bottom feeders (106th) led by r-s freshman apprentice Alex Hornibrook (4 TDs-5 Ints -55%), and assisted by tailbacks Corey Clement, Dare Ogunbowale and receivers; Robert Wheelwright, Jazz Peavy, and tight end Troy Fumagalli, have been drier than a cranberry field in Southeastern, Mass.

This is another measuring stick for Urban’s usurpers and we think the Buckeyes measure up with the victory in a hard fought old-school defensive battle.

No. 12 Mississippi at No. 22 Arkansas (ESPN, 7 p.m.) For the Razorback faithful, the words of Jesse Winchester’s 1977 classic; “Mississippi, You’re on My Mind,” will be resonating until the final gun.

'Ole Miss gunslinger Chad Kelly

The Wallenda flying Rebels (41 pts. a game) are led by its gun-slinging senior QB Chad Kelly (13 Tds-4 Ints-66%) who inherits his pedigree from his leather-tough HOF uncle; Jim.  (Although he does have a tendency to force a throw every now and then.)

The nation’s tenth most efficient dart thrower is assisted by a trio of field stretchers: Evan Engram (16-yds. catch- 4 TDs), Van Jefferson, and Damore’ea Stringfellow (15 yds.-2 TDs).

But the “Sons of William Faulkner” have been hamstrung by a running attack featuring Akeem Judd, and Eugene Brazley, that has been stopped more often than a rush hour commuter on Morrissey Boulevard.

Unfortunately for the Oxford faithful, the Rebels D, led by backers Terry Caldwell, his partner DeMarcus Gates, and safety Zedrick Woods, has more holes (102nd overall) than a hotel in the city of Aleppo.

In Fayetteville the menu is limited.

If the Hogs don’t bring home the bacon, its tenuous perch in the top-25 rankings is headed directly to the slaughterhouse.

Fortunately, the “Sons of Jimmy Johnson” have a master butcher in QB Austin Allen (15 TDs-5 Ints – 63%) who can skin defense faster than Jim Bowie knifed a foe.

The rocket-armed QB is assisted by a talented tailback Rawleigh Williams (605 yds-5 TDs) the nation’s 13th leading rusher, and a trio of big play receivers: Jared Cornelius (21 yds.-4 TDs), Keon Hatcher (17 yds.-5 TDs), and Drew Morgan.

The Razorback D, led by backers Brooks Ellis, Dre Greenlaw, and end Deatrich Wise is as a bland as a Sunday brunch minus the bacon, ranking 83rd in stopping the run.

We’ll go with the spirit of, as Trump might say, “the late, great” Winchester, a Williams College graduate, who in 1967 moved to Montreal to avoid the draft, and whose songs were recorded by Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, Elvis Costello, and the Everly Brothers to keep Mississippi on the mind of the pollsters.

No. 10 Nebraska at Indiana (ESPN2, 3:30 pm) The last time Nebraska cracked the AP-Top 10 Donald Trump was still hosting the “Apprentice” – 2011.  Isn’t that a pleasant thought?

But Coach Mike Riley’s unblemished Huskers have the Lincoln (Where’s the ‘late, great’ Abe when you need him?”) faithful dreaming of a conference championship, which hasn’t happened since “Prince” wanted to party like it was -1999.

The “Sons of Tom Osborne” are under the guidance of its senior QB Tommy Armstrong (9 TDs-2 Ints – 58% – 5 rushing) who at times has shown flashes of; “Jack Armstrong.”

Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong

The dual-threat pinball wizard is assisted by tailback Terrell Newby, Devine Ozigibo, and a pair of game breaking wideouts: Jordan Westerkamp (17 yds. a catch – 4 TDs), and his sideman Alonzo Moore (25 yds.-2 TDS).

The Black Shirt’s D anchored by end Ross Dzuris (7 tfls-3.5 sacks), safety Nate Gerry, and backer Josh Banderas, isn’t championship vintage, but has been as stout as “Ken Bone” in defending its goal line surrendering a winning hand of; 17-points a game.

In Bloomington, this is the 104th Homecoming for the “Sons of Kevin Kline,” and the days of penciling in an automatic W next to the name of Indiana Football are as obsolete as a push mower.

Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle USMC

In search of its first MAC Championship since Ronald Reagan was sneaking an extra afternoon nap at the White House (1988), WMU, the country’s sixth highest (44) scoring eleven, is directed by the nation’s third most efficient spinner, QB Zach Terrell (15 TDS-0 Ints-70% – 3 rushing TDs) who hits the opposition the same way Ernie Terrell flicked a stinging left jab.

The WMU marksman also lasers on a future Sunday performer, his touchdown making target Corey Davis (8 TDs), along with his equally dangerous partner; Michael Henry.

When the QB shifts gears, tailbacks Jamauri Bogan, and Jarvion Franklin, are the principle components on the nation’s 15th best (246 yds. a game) running attack.

The D, anchored by backers Robert Spillane, Caleb Bailey, and safety Asantay Brown (5.5 tfls-2.5 sacks), isn’t as flashy, but solid in all aspects.

When Coach Terry Bowden, the son of Bobby, set up shop in Akron in 2012 he was only able to secure a single victory, but since then, the Zips have been on a skyward shooting trajectory.

His unbalanced offense (111th in rushing) is directed by QB Tra’Von Chapman (5 TDs-2 Ints 47%) who does as much, if not more damage, with his legs.  [Note: Chapman has started last two games.]

The erratic one is assisted by the tailback tandem of Manny Morgan and Van Edwards, but when his radar is in proper working order, he zeroes on a pair of touchdown makers; JoJo Natson (7-TDs), and his partner Jerome Lane – 3 TDs.

We don’t want to say that the Zips D (109th overall, 117th in pass defense, 101st in points -33 surrendered) featuring backer Ulysses Gilbert (they could have used Grant), and his partner Brain Bell is atrocious, but let’s just say it makes the anemic offensive performance by the Red Sox against the Indians look like the ’27 Yankees.

The Broncos gallop back to Kalamazoo with victory number 7, move a couple of notches up in the polls, and one step closer to a New Year’s Day dream reservation.

Last week: 3-2                                           Season record: 16-14

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

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