There is only one place to begin, and that is in Columbus, Ohio.
The stakes for the 113th renewal of this storied and classic rivalry were Himalayan high and dripping with playoff implications. And “The game of the year,” and one for the ages, delivered on its marquee billing, as Ohio State knocked off Michigan 30-27 in a double overtime thriller.
In a contest that had more twists and turns (missed chip-shot field goals, an interception return for a touchdown, goal line fumbles, a critical fourth down OT conversion which needed a review, missed penalty calls) than a Shakespearean tragedy left the 110,00 Buckeye zealots in a state of permanent hyperventilation.
The Bucks winning play came after Ohio State converted, by a whisker, a fourth and one, then Curtis Samuel swept in for a 15-yard game winning touchdown as Ohio State beat is rival for the fourteenth time in the last sixteen meetings. WOW!
It was a game that nobody wanted to see end, and was filled with more drama than the meeting between Donald Trump and Mitt Romney.
Now the “Sons of Woody Hayes” must sit and wait for its fate to be decided, because Penn State, by virtue of its victory over the Buckeyes, will be representing the East in the Big Ten Conference Championship game.
And how about those Nittany Lions.
The warriors of Happy Valley, who toyed with the Spartans of Michigan State 45-12, have won eight in-a-row, making them one of the surprises of the season.
This is the best Penn State team since the days of Joe Paterno, and if the ‘Nits win the Big Ten Championship next weekend, against an equally talented Wisconsin team, it will have a resume worthy of earning an invite into the four team playoff.
In addition, its Coach James Franklin, who at one point was perched on a rather warm seat, is now a serious candidate for Coach of the Year honors.
On the local front the Eagles of Boston College are going bowling.
The Eagles (6-6) journeyed down to Winston Salem, North Carolina, and took care of business, defeating the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest 17-14. It makes the “Sons of Mike Holovak” bowl eligible for the third time in the four tries under the tenure of its often embattled coach; Steve Addazio.
Afterwards, in a scene straight out of “Knute Rockne,” Addazio said he wanted to let his seniors know that each of them would be getting a game ball with the word “Grit” etched into it.
“I just wanted my feet on the grass,” said the new head man. It’s going to be a lot of fun in Baton Rouge, and the kids and its faithful love the hire.
In Tuscaloosa, Groucho’s favorite team secured its first undefeated regular season since 2009, finishing as the only unblemished eleven of the power-five conferences, as it knocked off its intrastate rival Auburn; 30-12.
It was the first time a team has won three straight Iron Bowls, since George Herbert Walker Bush was in the final days of his Administration 1992.
The Tide, who are riding a winning streak that has grown to two-dozen, hasn’t surrendered a touchdown since October 22, a jaw-dropping; four and a half games ago.
To put that into perspective: the last time anyone crossed the goal line against the defending national champs, Hillary Clinton was favored to be the next President of the United States, and a cartoonish wax-dripping image of Donald Trump graced the cover of Time with headline; “Meltdown.” WOW!
Speaking of meltdowns that capsulizes the sorry season in South Bend, as the Irish (losers of 5 of its last 7) were rolled by the Trojans of USC: 45-27 to finish its season a woeful 4-8.
You have to all the way back to the darkened days of Charlie Weis 2007, to find the last losing season for the Irish.
And the rumors emanating from the land of the Golden Domers is that coach Brian Kelly has had enough in Touchdown Jesus country, and has instructed his agent to inquire as to any potential openings in the college football landscape.
And trust me the feeling amongst the legion of Irish loyalists is as mutual as a high paying bond.
One potential landing spot may be Eugene, where the speculation is that head coach Mark Helfrich is on his way out of town, after the Ducks disastrous 4-8 season, its worst since a 1991 (3-8) campaign.
It probably won’t happen, but another vacancy sign should be being posted in Knoxville, where the “Tin Men,” aka the Tennessee Volunteers, were embarrassed by the Commodores of Vanderbilt: 45-34, prompting Vandy’s coach Derek Mason to proclaim: “This is our state.”
How bad of a loss was it for the Vols?
Well, it was the most points scored by Vandy against an SEC opponent since the Viet Name War (1971), and the most scored by the “Sons of Billy Wade” against the Volunteers since Massachusetts’ own Calvin “Silent Cal” Coolidge was occupying the Oval Office – 1923. YIKES!
We say, it’s time for Butch Jones to polish the resume. Where’s Lane Kiffin, and Phil Fulmer, or Johnny Majors when you need him?
And kudos to our choice for Coach of the Year Mike MacIntyre, and his Colorado Buffalos who finished 10-2 with its 27-22 victory over Utah, and punched its ticket into next Friday night’s Pac-12 Championship game.
And finally, for the last time this season, we close with our bloviating gas-bag pal Charlie Weis, and the Kansas Jayhawks the last program that Weis “fixed.”
KU, which is ranked 118th in scoring (20 pts.), 113th in points allowed (37), and last amongst all 128 teams in giveaways with 36, closed out its season in typical fashion with a 34 – 19 loss to its intrastate rival Kansas State to finish its season; 2-10. Although there is some hope for better days at KU.
As they used to say in the “Star-Kist” commercial; “Sorry Charlie.” See you next season.
That’s it from cyber-space. We’ll be up and running with our analysis of week 14 Wednesday night. Until then, Peace, and listen to the music. PK