Monthly Archives: December 2016

The Playoff: No.1 Alabama vs No.4 Washington, No.2 Clemson vs No.3 Ohio State

Coach Barry Switzer in Trump Tower lobby

We begin this playoff weekend with a three-time national championship, and Super Bowl winning coach, a President-elect, and a spoof of legendary proportions.
On the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, former Oklahoma, and Dallas Cowboy Coach Barry Switzer was on Fifth Avenue shopping with his wife and daughter when he decided to walk into the Trump Tower lobby to see the “Naked Cowboy,” who since September, has been holed up either outside the building or in the lobby.
Switzer proceeded to take the elevator upstairs and bought a coffee at Starbucks.
When he returned, the coach walked over to the microphones, and surrounded by reporters, told them that he had a great visit with President-elect Donald Trump.
“I told them we had a great visit. That I was going to be the Secretary of Offense, and that we were going to make the wishbone great again, and that Trump knew how to run the ball down the field.”
“I went back to my hotel and laughed my ass off – still laughing. I had all these calls, but I was just jerking people around,” said Switzer.
On this New Year’s Eve playoff, let’s see which teams break the long end of the wishbone, and run the ball down the field, and which play a spoof its supporters by performing like a bunch of “naked cowboys.”

Alabama coach Nick Saban and Washington coach Chris Petersen

No. 1 Alabama vs No. 4 Washington (ESPN, 3 p.m. – Peach Bowl) 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 “Animal Crackers” – 1930) has won 25 in-a-row, a streak of perfection that would no doubt cause the eyebrow of the comedic genius’ to arch a tad higher.
The Tchaikovsky of this gridiron symphony is maestro St. Nick; aka Nick Saban, who during his ten-year “Title-Town” residency, has compiled a jaw-dropping curriculum vitae of: 118-18, that includes four national championships, five-SEC titles, and leaves him two tantalizing victories away from equaling the once thought to be the unassailable record (six national championships) held by Tuscaloosa’s other secular saint; “Sir Bear of Bryant.”
If Alabama defends its title, Saban will have won five of the last eight national championships, a record that, we are comfortable in saying, will stand the test of all-time. [Note: Saban has one title from his time at LSU.]
To quote our President-elect, “It’s a big league performance.”
The cornerstone of this “tumult of dominance” is a defense that possesses better numbers than Elle Macpherson, or the yearly cash haul of a private equity executive.

Alabama's dominant D

Its execution has been of such a “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” nature, that it has also caught the approving eye of the Israeli Mossad.
This “Iron Dome” eleven, the nation’s stingiest (11-pts. a game) is anchored by a trio of All-Americas; linebacker Reuben Foster (12 tfls – 4 sacks), end Jonathan Allen (13 tfls-8.5 sacks), and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, and has been stouter than William Taft, or the bronze “Clapp Pear” that lords over the corner of Edward Everett Square.
These “Sons of Lee Roy Jordan” ranked first overall, surrender a miniscule 63-rushing yards per game, and in addition to sporting a roster bursting with future Sunday performers, is more disruptive than an Alt-Right demonstration at an Elizabeth Warren fund raiser, or a pack of squirrels chomping on the wires of the Christmas lights at the Boston Common.
[Note: many “experts” place the Tide’s D amongst the top-five in the history of college football.]
On offense these “Sons of Bart Starr” aren’t as dynamic, but the nation’s thirteenth highest scoring (40) squad has rightfully earned a prominent spot on the championship marquee.
Alabama’s unblemished “gridironers” are directed by its t-freshman QB Jalen Hurts (21 TDs – 9 Ints – 65% – 841 rushing yards – 12 TDs) who exudes a demeanor as cool and measured as Gary Cooper playing “Sheriff Will Kane” in “High Noon.”
The “Hadleyville” (Sheriff’s Kane’s town) kid gets a big assist from his road running trio: Damien Harris, Josh Jacobs, and Bo Scarbrough, (all average over 6-yards a carry), while his chain moving targets; Ardarius Stewart, Calvin Ridley, and All-America tight end O.J. Howard, have combined for 16 TDs, and have NFL scouts discreetly brushing spittle from the corners of their agape pie-holes.
In Seattle with apologies to Ripley, “Believe it or Not,” there is another high-quality football team residing in the Emerald City.
And after enduring all those pat on the back ‘Wink, wink, Hail fellow, well met’ years as the sous-chef in Boise, Chris Petersen, the Huskies third-year head man, finally has a legitimate chance to capture a national title.

Washington QB Keith Browning

These prolific “Sons of Warren Moon,” the nation’s fourth highest scoring (44) eleven, are directed by the nation’s fourth most efficient passer, QB Jake “The Rifleman” Browning (42 TDs -7 Ints – 63%) and the catalyst behind a Huskies tsunami that has outscored its opponents in the first half by an eye-popping aggregate of: 328-88.
The dart-throwing sophomore is assisted by a pair of Daytona-fueled receivers, All-America John Ross, and his partner Dante Pettis, whose caramel sticky fingers have combined for a jaw-dropping; 126 receptions, and 31 TDs.
On the ground UW, whose offense is as balanced the Wallenda family, roto-tills behind a pair of John Deere caliber earth movers; Myles Gaskins, and Lavon Coleman, who have accumulated; 2175 rushing yards, and 17-touchdowns.
The country’s eighth tightest (17) D, led by its All-America heat-seeking safety Budda Baker (9 tfls – 2 sacks), and backers Keishawn Bierra, and Psalm Wooching (7 tfls – 6 sacks), swarms like the Secret Service over any disturbance at a Trump rally, leads the country with 33-takeaways, and is a plus-21 in turnover margin, and is more disruptive than the Fifth Ave traffic pattern around Trump Tower, especially when “The Donald” is puttering, and tweeting in his Louis XIV $100-million gold-plated penthouse.
Washington is the type of athletic squad that in the past has given Saban teams trouble, and to quote Sarah Palin, as to whether Chris Petersen will have his boys raring to go; “You betcha!”
Another note; the Huskies are one of only two teams who reside in the top-10 in both scoring on offense and defense. The other Alabama.
But ultimately, we think Groucho’s eleven angry men – the Alabama D – will be enough to carry the day, as Alabama punches its ticket into national championship game, and a chance at immortality.
No. 2 Clemson vs No. 3 Ohio State (ESPN, 7 p.m. – Fiesta Bowl) In Clemson, the “Sons of Dwight Clark,” have won 27 of its last 29, and are itching for a national championship rematch.
Heisman runner-up, QB Deshaun Watson (37 TDs-15 Ints-67% – 6 rushing) is the engineer who makes the Clemson train, (with apologies to “The Band” “Train, Train, rolling down the line,”) steam smoothly down that track.
The shifty gunslinger is assisted by his touchdown making tailback Wayne Gallman (15 TDs), and a trio of game changing wideouts; led by the All-America pairing; Mike Williams (over 1100 yards – 10 TDs), tight end Jordan Leggett (7 TDs), and mixed with a spicy dollop of an equally dangerous Artavis Scott.
But just like Bogart in “Casablanca,” and with apologies to George Frazier, the Clemson D has provided the “duende” for the Tigers return trip to the four-team playoff.

Clemson's beastly D

The nation’s twelfth stingiest (18) D, anchored by the All-America duo; backer Ben Bouleware, and tackle Carlos Watkins (10.5 tfls-8.5 sacks), and reinforced by tackle Dexter Lawrence (9.5 tfls-7 sacks), and backer Kendall Joseph (10.5 tfls), has more speed than Kenya’s Rift Valley, and plays with more anger than the Tilson family carries toward our hay-wired Senator Elizabeth Warren and her latest inane misfired tweet.

Buckeyes Coach Urban Meyer

In Columbus, since taking up residency in Columbus five years ago, Bucks coach Urban Meyer carries a CV of Hedge fund proportions (61-5), that includes one national title, (he owns 3-overall – 2 at Florida) and now comfortably takes his place at the same podium as Ohio State’s other revered head man; “The Hayes of Woody.”
But with apologies to Robert Preston in “The Music Man,” despite operating as the nation’s ninth highest scoring (42) eleven, “There is trouble right here in River City,” as the offense of late has sputtered as badly as the losing campaign of Hillary Clinton.
These “Sons of Archie Griffin” under the direction of its seasoned commander, QB J.T. Barrett (24 TDs – 5 Ints – 61%) have misfired on more big plays than the engineering team on the Samsung Galaxy S7, or Mitt Romney kissing “The Donald’s” ring hoping to secure the gig of Secretary of State.
But when the Bucks QB is able to recalibrate his GPS, wideout/tailback Curtis Samuel, Noah Brown, and Dontre Wilson have caused some havoc; combining for: 122 catches and 19 TDs.
Yet as the Scarlet and Grey faithful are well aware, the real table setters are its top-ten rushing attack featuring tailbacks Mike Weber, and Curtis Samuel, who have combined for a patriotic; 1776 yards, and 17 touchdowns.
On D, the “Sons of Randy Gradishar,” the nation’s third stingiest (14), led by a pair of All-Americas; backer Raekwon McMillan, and safety Malik Hooker, have been the principle sopranos of the gridiron operetta better known as “Goodbye Columbus,” have kept the Buckeyes in every game.
Ultimately, we think the sputtering and misfiring Bucks, combined with the stellar play of Clemson’s QB Deshaun Watson, matched with its D, will be too much for the Boys from Columbus, as the Tigers punch its ticket into a championship rematch, and its chance for redemption.
That’s it from cyber space. We’ll be back by Wednesday with our analysis of the championship game. Until then, Peace, and listen to the music. PK

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Army Navy, The Old Man and Me

“Age wrinkles the body.  Quitting wrinkles the soul.”  Douglas MacArthur.

“Untutored courage is useless in the face of educated bullets.”  George Patton.

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft      from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.”  Dwight Eisenhower.

paul-and-dad

The “Old Man” and Me

 

Army –Navy, the Old Man and Me

We begin this week, in the spirit of the season, and on the 75th anniversary of attack on Pearl Harbor, with our annual piece of taking my “old man” to the last pure amateur sporting event left in America, in this case; The 1998 Army/Navy Football Game.

It’s our version of; “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

On December 7, 1963, at the age of eleven, and some two weeks after the assassination of President Kennedy, I watched my first college football game.

It was Army versus Navy, and featured the Midshipmen’s Heisman Trophy winner; Roger Staubach.

I viewed the game with my dad sharing the ends of the couch in the living room on the top floor of our Dorchester “Wattendorf-owned” three-decker.

We watched on a black and white Philco television accompanied with the mandatory rabbit ears, and even though the “old man” was WW II Army, I was rooting for Navy.

The game ended on a controversial time expiring no call, with the Cadets perched on the Navy one-yard line, as the “Sons of Joe Bellino” (a Winchester native) escaped with a 21-15 victory.

It began a lifelong affair with the game of college football, one in which I remain intimately involved by writing a seasonal on-line column for the Patriot Ledger, as well as serving as a participating voter in the selection of the Heisman Trophy winner.

But now, a shade over a half-century later, the game for me, has much deeper roots.

My dad, Ed, passed fifteen-years ago, and four years before his demise, in the spring of 1998, he suffered what was diagnosed as a “mini-stroke.”

Luckily he came through without any complications, but it made me realize that this 75-year old former soldier wouldn’t be around forever, and that epiphany inspired me to put a plan into action.

I would surprise my “old man” by taking him to witness the classic first hand, a “full-circle” father-son football and life journey.

It would be a one day whirlwind excursion.

The airline reservations were a snap, remember this was pre 9/11, but now I needed some game tickets, and not just any seats, but something decent, especially for a guy in his mid-seventies.

I called my pal Bill Brett, the retired prize winning photographer of the Boston Globe, who is still actively and successfully snapping away.

I asked Billy, if he would ask, the since deceased Globe sports columnist Will McDonough, to ask his son Sean, who at the time was working for CBS Sports and calling the game, for assistance in securing a pair of good seats.

They all came through.

I picked up the tickets at the stadium’s “Will Call” window, which were in a large manila envelope marked: CBS Sports.

The kid working the window glanced at the CBS logo and duly impressed, looked up and proclaimed; “You must be important!”

Little did he know!

We ventured to our seats; lower level at Philadelphia’s old Vet Stadium, eight rows up from the rail at the 45-yard line.  Absolutely perfect!

Here we are sitting around various Naval brass, and after a few minutes of silence, the “old man” a former Army corporal, who walked in and out of France and Germany, looks at me and says; “Are you sure we are in the right seats?”

Translation: “How could a nitwit like you, pull off seats like these?!”

Even though it was the fifth of December, the weather was 60’s balmy, and we were treated to a great game, watching what was at the time (since surpassed) the highest scoring game in the series: a 34-30 Army victory.

Sitting in the plane, and just before we were about to take off, the “old man” leaned in and said, “In case I forget, I want to thank you.”

For a WW II father, that simple statement, was like; “War and Peace.”

My dad died three years later, but to paraphrase Bogie to Bergman in “Casablanca;” “We’ll always have Army/Navy!”

So yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Now to the game.

Army vs NavyBaltimore (Ch. 4, 3 p.m.)  The 117th edition of the Army/Navy classic (Navy leads 60-49-7) holds significance for two reasons.

First and foremost, it is the annual showcasing of the best and brightest that our country has to offer, handsomely packaged as the last pure amateur sporting event left in America.

And tangentially, it will be the last college football game to be called by everyone’s “Favorite Uncle;” the legendary HOF voice of SEC football – CBS’s Verne Lundquist.  Best described as a; “Hail fellow well met,” kind of guy.

At West Point, the “Sons of Dwight D. Eisenhower ‘1915,” who are going bowling for only the second time in two-decades, are intent on ending the 14-year Hudson River drought against its bitter rival.

The Cadets of Army march onto the field

The Cadets of Army march onto the field

The last time the Cadets tasted the nectar of victory against Navy, the grit of the 9-11 attack, (which occurred only three-months prior), was still encasing New York City, and “W” was mispronouncing nuclear at meetings with the Joint Chiefs of Staff – 2001.

The well-rested (Army last played Nov. 19) Knights led by its Houdini-like option specialist, QB Ahmad Bradshaw, and assisted by a battalion of road-runners; Andy Davidson, Darnell Woolfolk, and Cole Macek, roll the caissons as the nation’s second best (328 yds) tillers of the turf.

When the Corps decides to go aerial, which happens about as often as our Eastern European pal J. W. pays for his own lodging, (Army is 128th and dead last in passing – 79 yards), its “pigskin poet” wideout Edgar Poe is the lock-on target.  And despite only grabbing a total of 14-balls, he manages to squeegee out every yard, averaging 20-yards a catch.

But the biggest reason for the West Point turnaround is its D, the country’s 19th stingiest, and fifth ranked overall.

This stingy eleven, led by the linebacking trio; Andrew King (10.5 tfls-5 sacks), Jeremy Timpf (9 tfls), and Alex Aukeman (12 tfls – 5 sacks), surrender a miniscule 288-yards a game and may be worthy of a “Trumpian” Pentagon appointment.  After all, he will be there.

In Annapolis, Navy’s Blue and Gold Renaissance remains in full bloom.

The Navy Midshipmen march onto the field

The Navy Midshipmen march onto the field

Coach Ken Niumataulo is a perfect 8-0 against his nemesis from West Point, an eye-popping 26-6 in his last 32 games, and when Navy wins the turnover battle, the “Sons of Jimmy Carter ‘47” showcase a record of near-perfection: 27- 1.

And a win over the Cadets would be like the addition of truffles into the sauce, as the Midshipmen would sail off with consecutive 10-win seasons for the first time in school history.

But there is sobering news in Annapolis, as Navy’s injury report reads like a MASH Unit in war-torn Syria.

In last week’s AAC Championship Game against Temple, Navy not only got stuffed by the Owls, but lost for the season on the same play, its starting QB, Will Worth (a nation’s best 25 rushing TDs), and his slot-back partner, and captain, Toneo Gulley.

For the Annapolis faithful, it is a nightmare of Hillary Clinton proportions, and dramatically levels the playing field for the Cadets.

But as we all know, panic is not a word in the military lexicon.  It functions on the Belichickian/Patton philosophy; “Next man up.”

Tapped to preserve “The Streak” is sophomore QB Zach Abey, (his first game as a starter), who will lean heavily on his tailback pairing of; Dishan Romine, and Darryl Bomer, who are as banged up as a teenager’s first car, but have contributed to the nation’s third leading rushing attack averaging 327-yards per game.

And like its counterpart, in those rarest of occasions when the Midshipmen take to the skies, wideout Jamir Tillman is capable of sailing his way toward any goal line.

Amazingly, Navy’s season hasn’t been sunk by a barnacle encrusted defense led by backers; Micah Thomas, D.J. Palmore (10.5 tfls – 5 sacks), and safety Alohi Gilman, which ranks 86th overall, and allows a Big-12-esque average of; 30-points a game.

This is the highest-quality team that the Cadet Corps have fielded in at least six-years.

And despite the Mids record run of perfection, this game is causing some serious brow furrowing amongst its chest-puffing Admirals.

Nevertheless, we’ll stay with the “Boys of the Blue and Gold,” as Navy notches its 15th straight in this classic’s annual renewal.

[Note: President-elect Donald Trump will be in attendance.  That is a first for this game. Usually it’s a sitting president that attends, but after all it is a Trump World, and we’re just living in it.

P.S. – If you are watching, make sure to stay for the game ending ceremony, where the losing side, many with tears streaming, stands behind the winning side and listens to the fight song of the victors sung in full throaty roar. 

It’ll give you goose bumps, especially knowing where some of these kids might be next year.  You can also bet that the tears will be gushing over the rotund cheeks of “Uncle Verne.”]

Last week; 4-1                                                                      Season record; 45-25.

That’s it from cyber space.  We’ll be back with our analysis of the New Year’s Eve semi-finals on Christmas week.  Until then, Merry Christmas to all, Peace, and listen to the music.    PK

Alabama,, Clemson, Ohio State, Washington in!! Penn State, Michigan on outside looking in!

Just like the “Wizard of Oz” behind his curtain; “The Selection Committee” has spoken.
The four invitees into the National Championship playoff dance are the following: 1. Alabama, 2. Clemson, 3. Ohio State, 4. Washington.

Clemson's Dabo Swinney and Alabama's Nick saban Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer Washington Coach Chris Petersen

Left on the outside, like a three year old peering longingly into a toy-filled decorated downtown Macy’s Christmas window is; Penn State.
The argument for putting in the Nittany Lions, who are riding a nine game winning streak, is as strong as Alan Dershowitz defending the State of Israel against any perceived sleight, or his case for Hillary over Donald in the Presidential election.
Here’s the Happy Valley faithful’s argument for inclusion:
Penn State gave the Buckeyes its only loss, which many consider sacrosanct when deciding who is deserving of inclusion.
It won its Division in which both heavyweights Michigan, and Ohio State reside, then went out and won the Big Ten Championship after being down 28-7 against Wisconsin, earning the conference championship, which is a very difficult goal to accomplish.
Just ask Ohio State and Michigan.
The other side of the argument: Penn State has a pair of losses, while Ohio State has only one, albeit to Penn State.
The ‘Nits were crushed by third-place Michigan: 49-10, and also suffered a 3-point loss to 22nd ranked Pitt.
The Committee, in its wisdom, threw out the head to head debate, and decided to go with Washington whose non-conference schedule was a bottom feeding 127, but the Pac-12 Conference Champion snuck its way in by the benefit of having only a single loss.
But that’s what happens when you have five power conferences and only four slots.
But in all honesty, that’s what we love about college football, the chaos, arguments, and controversy.
If I could be the college football czar here’s how I would do things:
I would reduce the season schedule to 10-games, and the season wouldn’t start until the first Saturday after Labor Day.
There would be no byes, and you would only be allowed to schedule a single non-conference opponent of high quality, a top-20 team.
We would eliminate the conference championship games, and the bowls would be reduced to a total of twenty, and only the conference champs would be considered for playoff spots.
Ah, but that has about as much chance of happening as Donald Trump has becoming President.
What?!! Never Mind!
Anyway, as always it’s been a fun season, that once again, went by faster than the campaign of Martin O’Malley.
We’ll be back Wednesday night to close out the season with our annual Army/Navy, the Old Man and Me, and our analysis of the last true-amateur event left in America: The Army/Navy Classic.
Until then, Peace, and listen to the music. PK

Championship Week and playoff slots for Clemson, Washington, and Penn State are on the line

Western Michigan walk-on Kasey Carson

We begin championship week with an Academy Award nominee, a classic movie, a walk-on, and a Hollywood style presentation of a full football scholarship.
Before the start of each season Western Michigan Coach P.J. Fleck, whose Broncos are one of only two undefeated teams, likes to award a scholarship to one walk-on every season.
This season’s winner is sophomore linebacker Kasey Carson of Battle Creek, which is about 25-miles from the WMU campus.
But it was the way the scholarship was awarded which makes it a Hallmark memory.
After practice Fleck gathered his team, and instructed them to watch the video board at Waldo Stadium. Suddenly, bigger than life, there he stood “Rocky” aka Sylvester Stallone, who, in the true Rocky spirit of the underdog, announced to the team, that Carson the walk-on would be receiving a full football scholarship.
Afterwards, his jubilant teammates paraded him around on their shoulders. Now that’s a good day.
On this final full weekend of the college football season, let’s see which gritty underdogs spring the upset, and which teams act like Hollywood big shots forgetting all the hard work it took to get them to this position, and end up trudging home stung by a bitter loss.
No. 4 Washington at No. 9 Colorado Pac-12 Championship (Fox, 9 p.m. – Friday)
This is the reason Coach Chris Petersen changed his address from Boise to Seattle; the opportunity to play for a national title.
The Huskies, who have better balance than Philippe Petit, and more weapons than an ISIS safe house, just may pull it off.
The “Sons of Sonny Sixkiller ’73, (the UW QB legend is a full-blooded Cherokee, unlike our senior Senator Liz Warren, and was a cast member in the 1974 classic; “The Longest Yard”) the nation’s third (44) highest scoring eleven are under the steady command of its Heisman contending QB Jake Browning (40 TDs – 7 Ints – 65%) Browning, whose arm is as deadly as the rifle.

Washington QB Jake Browning

The nation’s fourth most efficient passer assisted by a pair of dynamic touchdown makers, the jet-fueled John Ross, and his partner Dante Pettis (121 catches – 30 TDs) and hits his targets with the same deadly efficiency as a Russian pilot targeting a Syrian hospital.
And when UW plows the earth, tailbacks Myles Gaskins (10 TDs), and Lavon Coleman, are dangerous turf slashers.
The nation’s tenth (17) stingiest D, anchored by All-America safety Budda Baker (9tfls), and backers Psalm Wooching, and Keishawn Bierria causes more havoc than Jill Stein spouting the “Joys of American Democracy” to a gym full of Trump supporters.
In Boulder, Colorado has had a better turnaround than Donald Trump.
Entering this season, the Buffs were a Kansas-like 5-40, in its five years since becoming a member of the Pac-12 Conference.
But as it preens from its 10-win perch, those woeful days are simply a rearview memory.
These “Sons of Hale Irwin” are guided by the steady tiller of its Coach of the Year candidate Mike MacIntyre, and amazingly will be suiting up to play for the conference championship.
Remarkable.

Colorado QB Sefo Liufau

The central figure in this Trumpian turnaround is its senior QB Sefo Liufau (11 TDs – 3 Ints – 64%) who is tougher than the water-cannoned Standing Rock Sioux Nation protesting against the North Dakota pipeline.
The Buff’s leader is assisted by his starry tailback Phillip Lindsay, (also dangerous catching out of the backfield), while wideouts Devon Ross, and Shay Fields (115 receptions – 14 TDs) will stretch any defense.
On D, the country’s thirteenth (13) tightest, led by backers; Kenneth Olugbode, Jimmy Gilbert (9.5 sacks), and Rick Gamboa, are equally adept defending the run and the pass, and will hit more often than Pete Rose.
In a game that might be closer than the presidential result in New Hampshire, we think the Huskies mush its way into a playoff invite.
No. 6 Wisconsin at No. 8 Penn State The Big Ten Championship (FOX, 8 p.m.)
On Wisconsin!
It’s been a season of wonderment for the Mad-Town eleven, who in addition to riding a 6-game winning streak, notched victories against a trio top-10 ranked opponents for the first time in school history.
But despite its ranking, overall Wisconsin is as unbalanced as MSNBC.
Its vanilla offense (91st) makes our junior Senator, Ed Markey, seem like the reincarnation of Johnny Carson, while the defense has been as mesmerizing as Dick Cavett interviewing Henry Kissinger at the height of the Viet Nam War.
These “Sons of Pat Richter” are directed by the QB duo; Alex Hornibrook (head, and arm questionable) and his partner Bart Houston, who have accounted for; 13-TDs and 10 Ints.
In recent weeks, the Badgers offense has been somewhat rejuvenated by the performance of its starry tailback Corey Clement (1140 yds -13 TDs), and if its field generals have their GPS’s in proper working order, Jazz Peavy, Troy Fumagalli, and Robert Wheelwright: 110 catches – 7 TDs, are capable chain movers.

Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt

But the real cheddar of this Wisconsin wheel, is the nation’s third (13) stingiest D, led by backers T.J. Watt (13 tfls-9.5 sacks), his partner T.J. Edwards (8.5 tfls-3 sacks), and safety Leo Musso.
This group pulverizes runners (allowing a total of 100 yards a game), and protects the skies (the country’s best; 21 interceptions – 11 in its last three games) better than the Israeli Army’s Iron Dome.
In Happy Valley nobody saw this coming.
In fact, Penn State’s Coach James Franklin, whose seat, at the beginning of the season was on the extremely warm side, has the Lions roaring behind an 8-game winning streak, making him the other strong contender for Coach of the Year honors.

Penn State QB Trace McSorley

These “Sons of Franco Harris” are directed by t-sophomore QB Trace McSorley (21 TDs-5 Ints – 56% – 6 rushing) with assists from his starry bell-cow, Saquon McSorley (1219 yards-15 TDs), and a pair of receivers; Chris Godwin and Mike Gesicki (91 catches – 12 TDs combined) who are as dependable as the collection basket being passed at a Catholic Mass.
On defense the Nits led by end Garret Sickels (12.5 tfls – 6 sacks), and a pair of safeties Malik Golden, and Marcus Allen, won’t cause any sleepless nights for offensive coordinators, but do play an aggressive brand of good solid football.
On Saturday night, we think the fine aged cheddar is joyously shared amongst the Madison faithful, as Wisconsin returns home with the highly decorated title of: The Champions of The Big Ten.
No. 11 Oklahoma State at No. 7 Oklahoma Bedlam Game (FOX, 12:30 p.m.)
The winner, in addition to being crowned the Big-12 champs, also punches its ticket into the Sugar Bowl.
In Stillwater, Boone Pickens University, aka Oklahoma State, is attempting to become only the second Cowboy team to win consecutive Bedlam Games in Norman, a feat last accomplished during the early Monica days of Bill Clinton – 1995, 97.

OK State Qb Mason Rudolph

The Pokes, who have won 7 in a row, have been lassoing opponents on the arm of its dart-tossing QB Mason Rudolph (25 TDs-4 Ints -64%), who misses his target about as often as a Kardashian turns down a product endorsement.
The Stillwater rifleman is assisted by a quartet of TD makers; James Washington, Jalen McCleskey, Jhajuan Seales, and Chris Lacy who have combined for 23 touchdowns, while t-freshman tailback Justin Hill (943 yards -5 TDs) has been a road-running revelation.
When it comes to defense, an oxymoron in the Big-12, the mantra is; with apologies to Mel Brooks from “Blazing Saddles”: “We don’t need no stinking defense.”
And these colander friendly Cowboys, featuring safety Jordan Sterns, backer Devante Daverette (10 tfls), and corner Ramon Richards, gladly oblige surrendering an average of 27 points a game.
Once again in Norman, “Big Game Bob,” whose team is riding an 8-game winning streak, has a chance to resurrect his battered nickname.
The Sooners, who are second (45) in the nation in scoring, are under the command of the country’s most efficient passer, its Heisman contending QB Baker Mayfield (35 TDs -8 Ints -71% – 6 rushing), who can light a scoreboard faster than another $5000 suit struts into the Trump Tower elevator.

Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield

The starry gunslinger gets a gigundous boost from the nation’s most dynamic receiver in Dede Westbrook (70 catches – 1351 yards – 15 TDs), who is fourth receiving yards averaging 123 yards per contest, and is beginning to garner some serious Heisman love.
And when the Sooners rotor-till the soil, tailbacks Joe Mixon, and Samaje Perine (1819 yards -17 TDs) are as talented a duo as; “Big and Rich” or Tittle to Shofner.
But like its counterpart, OU’s D featuring backers: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (8.5 tfls-7 sacks), Jorda Evans, and Emmanuel Beal sinks to 91st overall, and at times has been as weak as Bill Weld’s decision to sign on with the Libertarian Party.
As our “loyal” readers know, every time we side with “Big Game” we end up swirling around the drain.
That being said, we’ll risk getting caught in the vortex once again, but hope for a Rogers and Hammerstein revival of “OKKKKLAHOOOOOOMAAAA OK” from the Norman faithful, as he Sooners capture Bedlam, and punch its ticket into the Sugar Bowl.
No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 19 Virginia Tech ACC Championship Game (Ch.5, 8 p.m.)
Deuces are wild in Clemson.
The “Sons of Refrigerator Perry,” who have won 25 of its last 27, are not only hoping to capture its second consecutive ACC Title, but also earn a spot in its second consecutive spot in the college football playoff.

Clemson QB Deshaun Watson

Clemson’s chief engineer is its Heisman contending QB Deshaun Watson (34 TDs -14 Ints – 67% – 4 rushing), who jolts the opposition, and lights the faithful, with more electricity than the third rail of the Red Line.
The Houdini-esque field-general, who moves like Fred Astaire, is assisted by a trio of receivers: Mike Williams, Artavis Scott, and tight end Jordan Leggett (who have combined for an eye-popping 117 catches and 20 TDs), and are seemingly open more than Store 24.
But as the faithful are painfully aware, Clemson’s highly touted running attack led by tailback Wayne Gallman (14 TDs), was grounded more often than a Chicago flight during a string of late July thunderstorms.
The Death Valley piece de resistance has been Clemson’s D, the nation’s eighth stingiest (17), anchored by tackle Carlos Watkins (9 tfls-7.5 sacks), and backers Ben Boulware (9 tfls -4 sacks), and Kendall Joseph (9 tfls -3.5 sacks), and has been the firewall behind the Tigers second consecutive title chasing season.
In Blacksburg, the Hokies first year head man Justin Fuente was just named the ACC Coach of the Year, and he has VaTech back in the title game for the first time, since the third year of the first term of Barak Obama -2011.

Va Tech QB Jerod Evans

These “Sons of Don Strock” are under the command of its underrated dual-threat junior QB Jerod Evans (26 TDs -5 Ints -63% – 713 rushing yards – 8 TDs), who has the luxury of focusing on a trio field stretchers; Isaiah Ford, Cam Phillips, and tight end Bucky Hodges, who have combined for a scintillating; 169 catches and 18 TDs.
Bud Foster’s “lunch pail” D, led by backers Tremaine Edmunds (17 tfls-4.5 sacks), Andrew Motuapuaka, and safety Chuck Clark, has surrendered a league’s best of only 21 passes of over 40 yards, and are capable of causing more agita than the photos of Mitt Romney dining with the President – elect Trump.
In a game in which we give Virginia Tech more than a puncher’s chance, we’ll stay with Dabo’s Boys, especially Watson, to elementary find a way to the victory.
No. 1 Alabama vs No. 15 Florida SEC Championship Game (Ch.4, 4 p.m.)
In Tuscaloosa, “Groucho’s” favorite team is channeling Keifer Sutherland’s favorite number; 24.
The Title Town eleven are not only 24-point favorites against Florida, but the “Sons of Steve Sloan” are also riding a streak of twenty – four consecutive victories.
[Note: if Florida loses, and not even the mothers of the players expect a victory, every team in the SEC will have four losses. The only exception being the unblemished and incomparable Crimson Tide.]

Alabama's impregnable defense

We’ll start with the Alabama’s D, the nation’s stingiest (11), which has been as flawless as Raquel Welsh’s poster for the movie; “One Million Year’s B.C.”
This turbo-charged group of agitators anchored by a pair of All-Americas; backer Reuben Foster (9.5 tfls), and end Jonathan Allen (11.5 tfls-7 sacks) mixed with a dose of backer Shaun Dion Hamilton attack with more aggression than the Chinese protecting the building of their islands in the South Pacific.
Alabama is tops in pulverizing runners, allowing a miniscule 68-yards of rushing per game, and haven’t allowed a touchdown in the last-17 quarters (6 field goals) locking down opposing offenses better than the master switch at Leavenworth Prison, and may be the finest to ever take up residence in Tuscaloosa.
On offense, the “Sons of John Hannah” are directed by its wunderkind, t-freshman QB Jalen Hurts (20 TDs – 9 Ints -65% – 840 rushing yards – 12 TDs) who is as smooth, and cool, as Robert Redford playing the “Sundance Kid.”
The Tide’s table setter is assisted by tailbacks Josh Jacobs (6 yds. a pop), his partner Damien Harris (7 yds), and a trio of Sunday field-stretchers; ArDarius Stewart, Calvin Ridley, and All-America tight end O.J. Howard, who have combined for: 145 catches and 16 touchdowns.

Florida Coach Jim McElwain

In Gainesville, Florida looks more like a Mash Unit in rebel-infused Syria.
Coach Jim McElwain, who has lost at least nine starters, has done a masterful job maneuvering his hobbled Gators into its second consecutive SEC Championship Game, but as for beating the Tide?
Florida has about as much of a chance as Hillary Clinton has of changing the election by recount.
These “Sons of Steve Spurrier” who are currently under the direction of back-up QB Austin Appleby (6 TDs- 2 Ints -60%) are the antithesis of the Gators former “Ball Coach.”
Florida has sunk to the depths sitting 114th overall, and 104th in scoring, (scratching out a measly 24-points a game -there that number again) numbers never before seen in “The Swamp.”
In fact, Florida has scored a single measly touchdown in its last ten quarters of play.
The Gators D, the nation’s fifth stingiest (14) D, and sixth overall, led by safety Marcell Harris, backers David Reese, and Kylan Johnson, has carried these gritty Gators as far as possible.
As we mentioned, Florida has as much of a chance of beating Alabama, as Anita Bryant has of returning as the spokesperson for the Florida Orange Juice industry. Roll Tide right into the college playoff.
Last week: 5-0 Season record: 41-24.
We’ll be back with our recap of the final four recap when the committee makes its selection on Sunday afternoon. Until then, Peace, and listen to the music. Pk