Monthly Archives: September 2017

Clemson battles VaTech in ACC Showdown, USC travels to Pullman to face Washington State, and Northwestern takes on Wisconsin

UAB will be wearing the names of patients from Children's Harbor Hospital on its jerseys on October 7th UAB Blazers football team

We begin this week with a coach, a children’s hospital, and the jerseys of a football team that carries with it a unique name twist.
In its October 7th game against Louisiana Tech UAB, the University of Alabama Birmingham football team will be wearing jerseys with the names, not of its players, but of a 100-patients from the local “Children’s Harbor Hospital.”
After the game the jerseys will be presented to the patients and their families as a way of spreading some joy to these kids who are fighting serious diseases.
Children’s Harbor CEO Myrle Grate said that UAB coach Bill Clark “provides a joy and enthusiasm the he and his players bring to the families that is palatable. It brings a level of healing that’s truly beyond our abilities alone.” Do you hear that Rick “Sargent Shultz” Pitino!
This weekend let’s see which team bring more joy to its proud alums by adding another notch to its win column, and which would like slink out of the stadium in total anonymity.
No. 2 Clemson at No. 12 Virginia Tech (Ch.5, 8 p.m.) The Clemson Tigers have achieved that rare elusive status that only the elites of any profession have tasted.
When the defending national champions strut out of the visitors tunnel a Stones-like electricity resonates through the crowd, almost as if they are watching Mick preening and prancing on stage belting out; “Symphony for the Devil.”
The commander of Dabo’s eleven is its dual-threat, peppermint cool QB, Kelly (3 TDs – 2 Ints 67%, 7 rushing touchdowns) Bryant, who has been as deadly as a sniper on a Raqqa rooftop, while exuding the same quiet confidence as John Wayne in; “Rio Bravo.”


Clemson’s “Peppermint Cool” QB Kelly Bryant                               AP photo

The Tiger’s field-general is assisted by a passel of turbo-charged tailbacks; Travis Etienne, Tavien Feaster, Adam Choice, and C.J. Fuller who rumble as smoothly as a Tesla.
And when Clemson takes to the Death Valley skies, wideouts Ray-Ray McCloud, Deon Cain, and Hunter Renfrow, (whose hands could be in an advertisement for “Gorilla Glue”) constantly move the chains.
But it’s the nation’s third stingiest (9 pts.) D, anchored by backers Dorian O’Daniel, Kendall Joseph, safety Tanner Muse, and end Austin Bryant, who are harder to penetrate than Steve Bannon’s wall safe that will ultimately determine if Clemson is to make a return trip to the playoff.
The last time Blacksburg faithful witnessed a game of this magnitude, Barak Obama was in the final year of his first term 2007, which in today’s unsettled environment seems like a millennia ago.
The VaTech fan base is also giddy over its second year Coach Justin Fuente who has produced victories not seen since the glory days of its iconic coach; Frank “Beamer Ball” Beamer.
And if the “Sons of Carroll Dale” should pull the upset, the national rankings, as well as the national playoff picture will experience a tectonic plate shifting, not seen in Lane Stadium since a guy named Michael Vick was leading the Hokies to glory.
The Men of Blacksburg are piloted on the arm of the nation’s eighth most efficient passer, its gun slinging dual-threat QB Josh Jackson (11- TDs-1 Int – 65%, 172 rushing yards), who hits his target better than Michael Jackson hit a high falsetto note.

VA Tech QB Josh Jackson                                                     AP photo

The maestro with the perfect pitch is assisted by tailbacks Travon McMillian, and Deshawn Clease, while wideouts; Cam Phillips (5-TDs), and his partners Sean Savoy, and C.J. Carroll have the ability to stress any defense.
And just like the swallows return annually to Capistrano, VaTech has another outstanding swarming D
under the tutelage of its long-time defensive guru, coordinator Bud Foster.
This group, led by backers Tremaine Edmunds, Andrew Motuapuaka, and nickel-back Mook Reynolds surrenders a miniscule 10-points a game, and attacks with the ferocity of a great white shark against a seal herd on the beaches of Orleans.
In a game that will have more hits than a Beatles convention, we think that it will be the Clemson
D that stifles the Hokies the same way Archie did to Edith on “All on the Family – Boy the way Glen Miller played … those were the days.”
No. 5 USC at No. 16 Washington State (Friday, ESPN, 10:30 p.m.) The winning streak for the Men of Troy has stretched to a baker’s dozen, a number not seen since old friend Pete Carroll was “jacked and pumped” and chest-bumping Snoop Dog on the Coliseum sidelines.
The “Sons of Lynn Swann” are piloted by its “Cool Hand Luke” QB Sam Darnold (9 TDs-7 Ints. – 67%), whose plethora of interceptions has slightly dimmed his Heisman chances, but certainly hasn’t hamstrung him from continuing to perform in a dramatic gunslinging flair.

USC QB Sam Darnold                                                                      AP Photo

The rocket-armed blond-bomber is assisted by a pair of slippery tailbacks Ronald Jones (leg) and freshman Stephen Carr, and when he takes to the Southern California skies, wideouts Deonay Burnett, and Steven Mitchell always seem to make the clutch grab.
On D, the “Sons of Ronnie Lott” led by backers Cameron Smith, Uchenna Nwosu, and Porter Gustin have shown some fissures stopping the run, while surrendering an average of 24-points a game.
In Pullman, with apologies to Mary Shelly, and Mel Brooks, the real mad-scientist resides in the football offices of the Palouse, disguised as the head coach of the Washington State Cougars.
Coach Mike Leach, the maven of the Air Raid offense, has his Cougs off to its best start since “W” was cutting brush on his 1600-acre Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas – 2001.

Washington State QB Luke Falk                                                      AP photo

The conductor of those high-octane offensive schemes is its starry QB Luke Falk (14 TDs-1 Int – 76%), the third all-time passer in the history of the Pac -12, who hits his target with the same accuracy as Kim Jong Un targets a blood relative.
The Wazzu rifleman relies on a trio of glue-fingered receivers; Tavares Martin, Isaiah Johnson-Mack, and Kyle Sweet, and when the Leach changes up, and calls for a run, which happens about as often as “The Donald” doesn’t use the pronoun I, (WSU is 126th in rushing), tailbacks Jamal Morrow, and James Williams, are solid contributors.
It’s never easy to go against USC, especially one riding a 13-game winning streak, but on the Palouse, we think the Cougars show the entire country that quality football is being played in Pullman, Washington.

No. 14 Miami at Duke (Friday – ESPN, 7 p.m.) Two weeks ago when Hurricane Irma came roaring into Florida, the football playing Hurricanes had its schedule (2-games rescheduled) blown off kilter.
And because of that thin resume, it leaves us as clueless as Sarah Palin was to the intricacies of “Land of Putin;” “I can see Russia from my house,” as to whether its ranking is deserving.

Miami QB Malik Rosier                                                     AP photo

QB Malik Rosier, comforted by a seasoned offensive line, is the newly installed director of these “Sons of George Mira.”
The kid has the luxury of calling on a pair of Jean Claude Killy-like downhill runners in Mark Walter and Travis Homer, and when Rosier takes to the clammy Miami skies; wideouts Braxton Berrios, Mike Harley, and tight end Christopher Herndon are comforting chain-moving targets.
The D of the “Sons of Vince Wilfork” led by corner Malek Young, tackle Joe Jackson, and backer Shaquille Quarterman, once as shaky as the Puerto Rican dam holding back Lake Guajataca, has been nicely shored courtesy of the hiring of defensive assistant wizards; Manny Diaz, and Craig Kuligowski.

Duke Coach David Cutcliffe                                    AP Photo

In Durham, the only organization that has done a better job than Duke’s headman David Cutcliffe, (who is attempting to get the Blue Devils off to a 5-0 start for the first time since Bill Clinton was chasing Barbara Streisand around a White House piano – 1994) is the Office of FEMA.
[Note: Ole Miss has never been the same since it badly blundered by firing Cutcliffe in 2004.]
And unlike “Little Ricky” Pitino, Coach Cut is always looking out for the disfranchised.
He called out the contractual television obligation that his conference has with ESPN, which showcases an ACC team every Friday night. “I apologize to all of the high school programs. If we are going to do it (televise Friday night games) we need to do it right.” Well said coach.
These “Sons of Steve Spurrier – Duke head coach 1987 -89 won ACC title in ’89- the school’s last) are commanded by the steady hand of its dual-threat QB Daniel Jones (5 TDs – 2 Ints. – 61%) who leans heavily on a pair of tailbacks; Shaun Wilson and Brittain Brown.
And when the Dukies take to the air, wideouts T.J. Rahming, and Johnathan Lloyd are steady sure handed route runners.
On D, the “Sons of Mike Curtis,” second in the nation in stoning runners (less than 2.5 yds a carry), and sitting 11th overall, attack behind backers Joe Giles-Harris, Ben Humphries, and safety Alonzo Saxton,
and overall have been harder to penetrate than the Supreme Court’s inner-sanctum.
In a game of great intrigue, we’d dearly love to see the “smart kids” pull this off, but we think there is too much talent on Mark Richt’s Hurricanes, who “storm” back to Florida with a hard won W.
Northwestern at No. 10 Wisconsin (Noon, Ch. 5) If Notre Dame and Brian Kelly should ever tear up their dance card, Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald, who has built a program worthy of Frank Lloyd Wright, should be its first call.
Fitzy may never want to leave his alma-mater, but if he ever said yes, it would be a South Bend fit as perfect Raquel Welsh.

Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson                                                  AP photo

His scrappy Cats are directed by its slithering dual-threat QB Clayton Thorson (4 TDs-3 Ints -63%) who isn’t flashy, but possesses better leadership qualities than any of the Admirals of the Navy’s 7th Fleet.
The elusive, leather-toughened junior calls on his bell-cow tailback Justin Jackson, almost as often as “The Donald” tweets, while a pair of Space Needle-sized receivers; Garrett Dickerson and Bennett Skowronek are targets of high caliber.
On D, the “Sons of Fred Williamson” anchored by backers Paddy Fisher, Nate Hall, and safety Godwin Igwebuike have struggled against both the run and pass which is not a good recipe when venturing into Camp Randall.
In Madison, Paul Chryst’s Badgers who have better overall balance than the Wallendas, and have, as Sinatra sang in JFK’s 1960 presidential campaign “High Hopes” for a playoff invite.


Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook Ap Photo

The pyrotechnics igniter for the “Sons of Russell Wilson” is the nation’s fourth most efficient passer, QB Alex Hornibrook (8 TDs – 1 Int -70%), who along with receivers Troy Fumagalli, and Quintez Cephus, has
the ability to light-up the Mad-Town scoreboard better than an US Air Force napalm drop lighting the hills surrounding Khe Sanh.
But with apologies to the “Talking Heads” the Badgers identity remains; “The same as it ever was” featuring a ground and pound patrol that averages a high-cotton 275-yards a game.
The leader of that ground force is its t-freshman sensation Jonathan Taylor (8.3 yds. a pop – 5 TDs) who has been covering acreage almost as quickly as the Kenyan national marathon team.

America’s forth stingiest D (10 pts.), led by backers Chris Orr, Leon Jacobs, and safety D’Cota Dixon hits with the ferocity of an Amtrak laborer pounding in a repair spike on an overtime shift.
As we said, we think Wiscy is a legitimate playoff contender, and ultimately prevails over the Evanston visitors.
No. 24 Mississippi State at No. 13 Auburn (ESPN, 6 p.m.) This is a bounce back, identity, and potentially season shifting game for the Bulldogs, who for the second consecutive week find themselves visitors in an environment with more hostility than a corporate banker testifying in front of Elizabeth Warren.
These “Sons of D. D. Lewis” directed by its dual-threat QB Nick Fitzgerald (7 TDs – 3 Ints – 57% – 5-rushing), earns its money as road grinders averaging a robust 267-rushing yards per game led by tailbacks Aeris Williams, and Kylin Hill.
And when the Bulldogs go aerial a trio of All State receivers; Donald Gray, Keith Mixon, and Deddrick Thomas keeps the offense moving.
On D (14.8 pts.) MSU shoots down the pass (5th) better than the Pentagon’s anti-missile system, and causes constant disruption behind backer Dezmond Harris, safety Mark McLaurin, and tackle Jeffrey Simmons.
Up till now the offense residing on the Plains for the “Sons of Shug Jordan” has been better suited for “Sleepy Hollow.”
Baylor transfer QB Jarrett Stidham (3 TDs-2 Ints – 70%), who was expected to be War Eagle’s missing link remains relatively low on the learning curve as to the defensive ways of the SEC.
But it’s on defense where the Tigers expect to play a winning hand.

Auburn’s suffocating D                                                   AP photo


Auburn’s suffocating front seven, the nation’s 7th stingiest (11), anchored by backers Tre’ Williams, Darrell Williams, and end Jeff Holland puts up a better wall than anything President Trump could possibly hope to build.
The faithful are also hopeful that the offense, which thawed somewhat against a woeful Missouri team, and is led by its Baffert-esque stable of tailbacks Kamryn Pettway, Kam Martin (9 yds. a touch) and Kerryon Johnson will finally be able to find some consistency.
This magnitude of this game is so big that it may ultimately decide the future employ of Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn, and we think the Tigers, with its anvil-pounding D, carries the day.
Last week: 3-2 Season record: 13-7

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


Penn State escapes Iowa with last second TD, TCU handles Ok State, Clemson survives scare from BC

Based on the narrow escapes by many ranking royalty this weekend, the S in Saturday, as it relates to college football, stood for survival, as most of the “big boys” needed, as they offered in; “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” a life-line. And for some Oregon, Florida State, and UCLA it provided absolutely no solace.
With apologies to the “Eagles” we’ll begin with the new kid in town, the Horned Frogs of TCU.

TCU coach Gary Patterson                                           AP Photo

It is now official; “Fear the Frogs” as Gary Patterson’s (the coach no one ever talks about) Purple Frogs marched into Boone Pickens U, AKA Oklahoma State, as a 13-point underdog, and headed back to Fort Worth with a convincing: 44-31 victory.
The victory also put the entire Big 12 on notice, that the “Sons of Sammy Baugh” are indeed the new kid in town, and that Oklahoma’s once assumed iron grip on the conference title has a serious challenger.
Patterson, who relishes and thrives in the role of the underdog, said it best as he walked off the field with the conference shifting victory: “Told ya.”
Well said coach, and we may well see these fighters from Fort Worth in a playoff game on New Year’s Day. If so, maybe the “Eagles” can sing the national anthem.
Speaking of the Eagles, the “Boys from Chestnut Hill” gave the Tigers from Clemson a huge scare before its D, like a levee in New Orleans, finally burst and the potent talented Tigers were able to score 4-touchdowns in the final 12-minutes defeating BC; 34-7.
The loss leaves the “Fighting Addazio’s” with three consecutive losses, and at 1-3, BC is officially on the clock with its hopes for a 6-6 season.


BC coach Steve Addazio                                                        AP photo

If they don’t hit that magic number, it is doubtful that “Mr. A” will be back, which won’t upset many people associated with the Eagle’s program.
The hope here is that BC’s newly installed Athletic Director Martin Jarmond has New England native Chip Kelly’s number on speed dial.
If in fact he indeed ends up pulling the plug on Addazio, it will be his most important hire and Kelly, who was once the offensive coordinator at UNH, would give the football program instant credibility, and pull the “Sons of Mike Holovak” from the Dante depths of irrelevancy which it has fallen and onto the map.
Staying on the local scene the, football “Belles of Amherst” AKA “The Fighting Whipple’s” acquitted themselves quite well venturing down to Knoxville, Tennessee and into the cauldron (hotter than the seat of Vols coach Butch Jones) of Neyland Stadium, where in front of 100,000 plus fans, the Minutemen as massive underdogs physically outplayed the Volunteers before finally falling: 17-13.
The game ultimately turned when UMass’s starting QB Andrew Ford went out with an injury.


UMass coach Mark Whipple                                    AP photo

And despite falling to 0-5, and a jaw-dropping 10-55 since joining the FBS, it was another sign that Whipple is right guy for the job.
After all he won a national-title in 1998 when the Minutemen were an FCS member, and to be able to stand toe to toe with an SEC teams tells one that, despite the record, his kids don’t quit, but it remains to be seen if the Administration of UMass will continue to carry on with support.
Staying on the local front it was a classy gesture by Harvard coach Tim Murphy, whose “Veritas Boys” defeated Brown 45-28, to award the game ball to Ben Abercrombie, the freshman cornerback who was seriously hurt (cervical injury) in the season opening loss to URI.


Harvard player Ben Abercrombie                                       AP photo

Abercrombie remains hospitalized, and despite the long road ahead, there is a hopeful diagnosis and he remains very much on the minds of the entire Harvard community.
In the game of the day in Iowa City, Penn State needed to wring out every second of the 60-minutes to pull out a 21-19 victory over the feisty and gritty Hawkeyes who despite being outplayed took 19-15 lead with 1:42 left in the game.


Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley                                                           AP photo

That is when the Heisman front runner, the Lions brilliant tailback Saquon Barkley, who runs like a bull charging done the street in Pamplona, or Bo Jackson, and finished with a PSU record with a 358 total yards, 211 of them rushing, carried the Lions, as he had done all night leading on the ‘Nits on 12-play 80 yard game winning drive, highlighted by Barkley soaring in a memorable Heisman moment jumping over a Iowa defender and then as he was hit on the way down kept his balance and continued on for another 10-yards. Amazing!
But it was a seven-yard TD dart from its leather tough “Cool Hand Luke” QB Trace McSorley, which he threaded over the hand of an Iowa defender better than any cloth stitched by that patriotic seamstress Betsy Ross, with 4-seconds remaining on the clock, that landed into the outstretched hands of receiver Juwan Johnson that won the game for the Lions.
The emotional victory kept the “Sons of Ted Kwalick” undefeated and on pace for a playoff invite. WOW!!!
The other “Tom Petty” game “heartbreaker” occurred in Lexington, Kentucky where for the 31st-consecutive time, the Wildcats lost to the Gators; 28-27. YIKES!
The winning 5-yard touchdown pass went to an uncovered Freddie Swain who looked like he was catching a beach ball on Falmouth’s Surf Drive Beach. The reason; Kentucky only had ten-players on the field. Double Yikes!!!
That’s miscue is precisely how losing streaks that stretch back to the Reagan Administration continue on. And to add to the tobacco country misery, the Wildcats had one last chance to win on a 42-yard field goal try, but instead of that very makeable kick, a holding penalty pushed it back to a 57-yarder and needless to say the streak of ineptitude carries on. UGLY!!
In Tallahassee, the once mighty Seminoles, who had playoff expectations before the season began now find themselves, especially after losing it starting QB for the season, 0-2 for the first time since the GHW Bush Administration – 1989, as the “Sons of Bobby Bowden” fell to the Wolfpack of NC State; 27-21.
“Jimbo’s Boys” have now been reduced to the role of spoilers. YIKES!
In Waco, Oklahoma’s pass defense was exposed by of all teams Baylor, as the Sooners had to hang on for a 49-41 victory. While out in Berkley, USC’s Heisman contending QB continues to throw interceptions (7), as the Trojans had to battle hard to beat a bunch of much improved Cal Bears; 30-20.
In Athens, Georgia’s domination over Mississippi State 31-3 showed the rest of the conference that these are not your father’s Bulldogs, and that the “Sons of Vince Dooley” are a legitimate challenger to Alabama.
It also looks like t-freshman “fill-in” QB Jake Fromm will have that label ripped away and become the Dawgs permanent starter.

Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown former head coach of Northeastern and UMass AP photo

In West Lafayette, Michigan under the tutelage of its d-coordinator Don Brown, the former head-man at Northeastern, and UMass continues to show that teams, especially his can still win with a dominant defense even if its offense continues to struggle, as the Wolverines knocked off an improving bunch of Boilermakers from Purdue: 29-10.
As always: Hail the smart kids as both Duke, and Navy are a combined: 7-0.
While our pal, Columbia Coach Al Bagnoli is 2-0 as his Lions are off to its best start since the second term of W – 2006. Good for them and good guy Bagnoli.
Out in South Bend something might be brewing at the home of “Touchdown Jesus” as the Irish took advantage of Spartan turnovers and spanked Michigan State: 38-18 to climb to 3-1.
And in the other total ineptitude department; the Bruins of UCLA lost its 10th in a row to the Cardinal of Stanford: 58-34 which drops them to 2-2. In its last two game the Bruins have surrendered a total of 106 points. Yikes!! We think it’s time for some resume updating for Coach Jim Mora.
Finally, as always, we returned to our fav’s, the Jayhawks of Kansas (1-3), the last team our bloviating gas-bag pal Charlie Weis ‘fixed,’ who continue to play defense like a matador twirling his cape, as the “Sons of the Kansas Comet, Gale Sayers” lost to West Virginia; 56-34. 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

Penn States hits road for Iowa, Mississippi State travels to Athens in Battle of the Bulldogs, TCU visits OkState

Michigan State football teammates helping Hurricane Harvey victims

We begin this week a bunch of Spartans, Hurricane Harvey, and a mission of good will.
Michigan State has a couple of players on its roster from the Houston area; Tyler Higby and Darrell Stewart, both of whom were feeling helpless sitting up in the far north, while their hurricane ravaged neighborhood was reeling from Harvey’s flooding.
As fate would have it, Michigan State’s Athletes in Action Organization was planning a visit to Houston to help out in anyway it could, and they were going on the Spartan’s bye week.
Without hesitation the pair of Houstonians signed on, as did eight other of their teammates, and for two days they tore out dry wall, ripped up carpet, and did whatever tasks was needed. They were back on campus Sunday night, and will take on its rival Notre Dame at Spartan Stadium on Saturday.
This weekend, let’s see which teams, flooded by the inspiration of a tremendous team chemistry rally back from a deficit and build a lasting memory with a game ending winning drive.
No. 4 Penn State at Iowa (Ch.5, 7:30 p.m.) After spending much of September munching on a diabetic inducing entrée of cupcakes (Yes, Pitt has fallen into that category) the “Boys from Happy Valley” plan on enjoying a high protein meal on its visit to Iowa City.
These “Sons of Rosey Grier” are also riding a high cotton school-record offense by lighting its scoreboard with at least 32-points in ten consecutive games.


Penn State’s dynamic duo Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley                  AP photo

This points-a-palooza comes courtesy of it All-America tailback, and Heisman contending tailback Saquon (8-yards a carry) Barkley, who along with his dual-threat commander, QB Trace McSorley, form the most dynamic duo since Mick and Keith, or Butch and Sundance becoming almost as unstoppable as a rocket launched by Pyongyang.
When the ‘Nits sharpshooter takes to the Western Pennsylvania skies, he luxuriates by choosing from a trio of targets; Himalayan-sized tight end Mike (6-2, 252 pounds) Gesicki, and a whippet pairing in receivers; DaeSean Hamilton and Juwan Johnson.
The D, anchored by backers Jason Cabinda, Manny Bowen, and safety Marcus Allen is seldom out of position, flies to the ball, and hits with the brutality of a Chicago cop at the ’68 Democratic Convention.
In Iowa City, the only people who run more often than the Hawkeyes is perennial Boston political candidate Althea Garrison, and the marathoners from Rift Valley of Kenya.


Iowa’s bell-cow Akrum Wadley                                       AP photo

These Black and Gold old school ground and pounders swaddled by a seasoned offensive line, motor behind its principle road-grader, senior Akrum Wadley (ankle), who relentlessly grinds like an augur pushing through the clay creating an opening for a Big-Dig tunnel.
And when Coach Ferentz gives him a blow, Toren Young, and t-freshman Ivory Kell-Martin are quality Broadway-esque stand-ins.
When the “Sons of Alex Karras” take to the golden corn skies, QB Nate Stanley (10-TDs-1-Int.) has a trio of chain movers from which to choose: Nick Easley, Noah Fant, and Matt Vandeberg, and hits his target about as cleanly and as often as the “Stooges” Moe conked Curley on the head.
The steely spine of Iowa’s D is its corps of backers; Josey Jewell (ankle), Ben Niemann, and Bo Bower and it will ultimately determine the seasonal direction for the Hawkeyes.
It is never easy winning a game at the claustrophobic confines of Kinnick Stadium, but we think this Penn State squad is a legitimate playoff contender, and think the ‘Nits will savor its protein-deluxe entrée.
No. 17 Mississippi State at No. 11 Georgia (ESPN, 7 p.m.) Outside of Donald Trump Junior, (the Fredo Corleone of the Trump family tree) no one has done more with less than the “Wizard of Starkville;” Mississippi State Coach Dan Mullen.

Mississippi State headman Dan Mullen                             AP photo

And once again he has found another hidden gem in dual-threat QB Nick Fitzgerald (7 TDs – 1 Int – 5-rushing), who is arguably best cowhide spinner in the SEC.
The kid who carries a certain self-effacing Dean Martin-esque charisma is assisted by tailback Aaeris Williams (7 yds.-a-carry), and a trio of defense stressers; tight end Farrod Green, and wideouts Donald Gray, and Keith Mixon.
On D, the “Sons of Willie Daniel” featuring safety Mark McLaurin, tackle Jeffrey Simmons, and backer Dez Harris leaves more bruises on the opposition, than the fallen apples at Stowe’s Honey Pot Hill Orchards after a late summer Nor’Easter.
In Athens, the Dawgs identity revolves its stifling D, clamped by backers Roquan Smith, Lorenzo Carter, safety W.R. Reed, and tackle Trenton Thompson.
They are quicker than Guy “The Flower” Lafleur, flowing down the right wing, and tougher to penetrate than the clothes budget for Melania Trump. [Note: the Flower’s birthday -66- was this past Wednesday.]
But as the faithful are well aware, the offense, like the Salt and Pepper Bridge, still remains a work-in-progress.
QB Jake Fromm has filled in admirably for the injured Jacob Eason, but the lighting bugs for the “Sons of Vince Dooley” are a trio of road-graders led by All-America Nick Chubb, and assisted by his partners D’Andre Swift, and Sony Michel.

Georgia’s starry tailback Nick Chubb                                           AP photo

When the freshman signal caller takes to the “Peach State” skies, he chooses between Riley Ridley, Terry Godwin, and Javon Wims all of whom have the ability to go the distance.
Fully aware that Athens at night is like the Bermuda Triangle for many a visitor, but we’re sticking with the Irish Law Firm of; “Mullen and Fitzgerald” as the Bulldogs from Starkville show the SEC that they, like the Corleone Family, should not to be disrespected.
No. 16 TCU at No. 6 Oklahoma State (ESPN, 3:30 p.m.) TCU coach Gary Patterson (152-54, 17-plus seasons), the best coach in America that nobody knows, has his Horned Frogs once again resting inside the top-20 heading to Stillwater in this highly anticipated match versus “Goliath.”
And if the “Sons of Sammy Baugh” are able to spring the upset, the college football world, like Mexico City, will feel a giant shifting of the tectonic plates in the national rankings.


TCU QB Kenny Hill                                                                            AP photo


The Purple Frogs are directed by its second year A&M transfer, QB Kenny Hill (8 TDs – 2 Ints. – 75%), who despite his gaudy stats, needs a Bernstein-level performance if TCU is going to leapfrog the Cowboys.
The Fort Worth conductor is assisted by tailback Darius Anderson (6.2 yds. carry), and a trio of quality glue fingered receivers; KaVontae Turpin, Desmon White, and Jalen Reagor.
The turbo-charged D, led by backer Travin Howard, end Ben Banogu (transfer from Louisiana-Monroe), and safety Ridwan Issahaku, blitzes from all angles, and seems to have sandbagged the gaping holes that constantly appeared last season.
The “Boys from Boone Pickens U” better known as Oklahoma State, are hanging an eye-popping average of 54-points on its opponents, which is more than the total amount of chromosomes (46) in a person’s body. (Yeah, I stayed at a Holiday Inn).


OKState’s Heisman candidate QB Mason Rudolph                                                              AP photo

The Pokes have also galloped from the starting gate outscoring its opponents in the first quarter by the victory-march aggregate of; 59-0.
The igniter for the “Mullet King’s” (Coach Mike Gundy) has been the Nureyev-like performance of its Heisman contending QB Mason Rudolph (11 TDs – 1 Int. – 72%), who has performed with graceful perfection hitting his targets with the accuracy of Annie Oakley.
The sharpshooter gets a huge assist from the “Three Musketeers of Stillwater” his All-America touchdown making receiver James Washington, (averaging a 28-yards per grab), and his two partners Marcell Ateman (18 yds. a catch), and Jalen McCleskey. Each causes a lot of sleepless nights for defensive coordinators.
The Cowboys can change up and run roughshod by chewing up the range behind its pair of road-burners; Justin Hill, and J.D. King, both of whom average over 6-yards a carry.
So far, the Cowboys D, featuring backers Chad Whitener, Amen Ogbongbemiga, and safety Tre Flowers usually a Pokes albatross, has been as stout as a properly poured Guinness.
Bob Seger sang: “Let the Cowboys ride, against the wind” and that is what we think OKState will do against the visitors from Fort Worth.
No. 8 Michigan at Purdue (FOX, 4 p.m.) As soon as Jim Harbaugh signed on to pilot the “Big Blue” Ann Arbor ship, the Michigan brand rocketed to elite status courtesy of his stellar; 23-6 resume.


Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh                                                        AP photo

And yet, despite that success, the search party in the Wolverine State continues to look for an offense that serves as a worthy complement to its world-class D.
The master-puppeteer pulling the strings behind that ferocious suffocating defensive eleven, is former Northeastern, and UMass headman Don Brown, whose scheming abilities feature more illusions than a show by David Copperfield.
This snarling attacking bunch, anchored by backers Devin Bush (3.5 sacks), Mike McCray, and end Chase Winovich (3 sacks) hits like Joe Louis, and surrenders points as often as FLOTUS Melania Trump cracks a smile.
The wayward offense of these “Sons of Tom Harmon” is directed by senior QB Wilton Speight (3 TDs-2 Ints -54%), whose throws can be as off target as Ed Ames tomahawk toss when he appeared on “The Tonight Show.” (Do yourself a favor and YouTube it, then wait for Carson’s classic line.)
On the ground, Michigan motors behind the capable legs of tailback Ty Isaac (7 yds. a carry), and when the QB’s GPS is in working order, Kekoa Crawford, and Grant Perry are solid receivers. [Note: Blue’s leading receiver Tarik Black may be lost for the season – broken foot.]
With apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer, there is joy in West Lafayette, as the Purdue Boilermakers under first year coach Jeff Brohn, are showing life as one of the early season surprises.
And the first time since Drew Brees was firing darts in Ross Ade Stadium, the faithful are in a full frothy boil in anticipation of “Mighty Meeeechigan” coming to town, in, dare I say, a Big Ten showdown.

Purdue QB David Blough                   AP photo

These “Sons of Len Dawson” are piloted by QB David Blough (6 TDs-2 Ints – 76%) who has hit his target landing as often as Christopher Columbus.
The Boilers dart-thrower is assisted by a trio of sticky-handed receivers; tight end Brycen Hopkins, and wideouts Jackson Anthrop, and Gregory Phillips, while tailback Tario Fuller brushes aside all comers.
As the Gold and Black faithful are well aware, the defense of recent vintage, has displayed more holes than the Rutherford Ave Bridge, but this year’s bunch led by backers Ja’Whaun Bently, Danny Ezechukwu, and safety Jacob Theineman has, at least so far, braced up quite nicely.
In what is the biggest game in West Lafayette since their Willford Brimley look-a-like, Coach Joe Tiller was dialing up plays and winning 9-games, we ultimately think the Wolverines will be the ones who slink away with a close hard-earned victory.
No. 7 Washington at Colorado (FS1, 10 p.m.) Coach Chris Petersen’s Washington Huskies are talented enough to give the current Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey a mush for his money.

Washington All-America QB Keith Browning                  AP photo


Under the direction of its All-America QB Jake “The Rifle” Browning (8 TDs – 1 Int – 74%), his supersonic wideout Dante Pettis, and tailback Myles Gaskins, “These Sons of Sonny Sixkiller” have the ability, with apologies to Mel Brooks and “Spaceballs,” to score touchdowns at “ludicrous speed.”
The UDub D, anchored by its backer tackling machine Ben Burr Kirven, his partner Keishawn Bierria, and safeties Taylor Rapp, and Ezekiel Turner attack with the same abandon as a ravenous Coho Salmon striking a lure in Peugeot Sound.
In Boulder, after a run of ineptitude that seems longer than the Afghanistan War, Colorado Coach Mike MacIntyre has the Buffaloes finally herded in the right direction.


Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre                          AP photo


Guided by its gigundous QB (6-5, 225) Steven Montez, a feisty and seasoned offensive line, an explosive tailback Phillip Lindsay, and one of the nation’s top receiving corps; Bryce Bobo, Shay Fields, and Devin Ross, the Buffs have the ability to put more stress on a defense than Donald Trump puts on his Press Secretary.
On D, the “Sons of Byron “Whizzer” White” (who became a Supreme Court Justice appointed by JFK), are replacing nine starters, and feature backers Drew Lewis, Ricky Gamboa, and end Leo Jackson.
This group is charged with the assignment of holding strong like John McCain, until the rest of the unit manages to comfortably settle in.
This is the first real test for both squads, who started the year gorging on a trio of cupcakes. And although it may be close for a while, ultimately we feel the Huskies, who have as much offensive talent as the ’27 Yankees, and a potential repeat playoff invitee, mush out of Folsom Field with the W.
Last week: 4-1 Season record: 10-5
That’s it from cyber-space. We’ll be up and running with our recap on Sunday afternoon. Until then, Peace, and listen to the music. pk

Clemson demolishes Louisville, Notre Dame runs over BC, USC hangs on in double OT, Holy Cross beats UNH

On Saturday night at Louisville’s Papa John’s Stadium, it was the visitors from Clemson who delivered the goods in a big way.

It was a performance heavy on the peperoni, as the Tigers demolished a bunch of terribly overmatched Cardinals from Louisville; 47-21.

For our money, it couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy than its “Zoom! Zoom!,” motorcycle riding coach Bobby Petrino, as Clemson laid down a steel marker establishing themselves as overwhelming favorites to capture another ACC title, and a strong contender to earn its third consecutive invite into the college football playoff.

The horse-country domination before a nearly empty stadium at game’s end, is best captured by the classic lyrics of “The Who” song; “Won’t get fooled again;” “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” as the defending national champions look every bit ready to challenge again, especially behind a D that charges forward with the speed and ferocity of Hurricane Irma.


Clemson QB Kelly Bryant AP photo


The only difference is the maestro in control.  The new pilot is its peppermint-cool gunslinger QB Kelly Bryant, who so far has performed like Deshaun Watson’s doppelganger in every way.

In our opinion it was the signature victory of the early season, Oklahoma’s win over Ohio State notwithstanding.

Out to the City of Angels an ugly game turned into a late game classic.

It also unexpectedly became the “Battle of the Sam’s” and we don’t mean Uncle or Adams.

USC QB Sam Darnold AP photo


It took two overtimes to decide, before USC’s Heisman contending QB Sam Darnold, in front of a wild sold-out Coliseum (the first since 2014), were finally able to put away the toughened and much improved visitors from Texas, who rallied behind t-freshman QB Sam Ehlinger; 27-24.  WOW!

It was also the first meeting between these two college football royals since the 2006 national title game with Vince Young, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush Pete Carroll, and Mack Brown et al.

And even though the Men of Troy, who are riding a 12-game winning streak, escaped with the victory,

they remain somewhat of an enigma, and would have been a worthy contestant on the classic television show: “To Tell the Truth.”  “Will the real USC, please up!”  We’re still not sure.

Texas freshman QB Sam Ehlinger AP photo


On the plus side for the “Sons of Darryl Royal,” its seemingly endless search for a QB may be finally over with play of Ehlinger who performed like an ice-water battler on the national stage.

If this was a car crash it would be deemed a fatal.

Up at the Heights, it was the Chestnut Hill version of the: “Running of the Bulls” as the Eagles were run over like Wile E. Coyote by the visitors from South Bend, who compiled a jaw-dropping 515-rushing yards in route to a : 49-20 pounding.

Instead of 1300-pound steads rumbling down Beacon Street, like they do in Pamplona, Spain, it was a pair Golden Domers who caused all the havoc as QB Brandon Wimbush 207yds, while scoring 4-Tds, and tailback Josh Adams rang-up 229-yards.

ND QB Brandon Wimbush AP photo


The Irish whippets stormed up and down Alumni Field faster than a pack of Kenyans speeding down Boylston Street.

The gashes Notre Dame was able to create in BC’s defensive line, were wider than the Hurricane Katrina breached levees in New Orleans, as the Irish QB and his tailbacks averaged over 10-yards a carry, while ripping off six runs of 35-yards or more, three of which went for over 60-yards.  Double Ouch!!

How bad were the road burns?

It was the most rushing yards by a Notre Dame eleven since the first year of Richard “I have a secret plan to end the War in Vietnam” Nixon’s first term 1969, which occurred against Navy.  DOUBLE YIKES!!

The Eagles once again, find themselves in: “Early season Purgatory.”

And with the iron of the ACC upcoming on its schedule, it’s going to be another photo finish to see if they can scratch out the 6-victories to go bowling,  which we think will keep “Mr. A,” AKA Coach Addazio employed and prowling the Eagles sidelines$$$$ for 2018.

Speaking of New Orleans, there may be some panic this week in the football offices of Baton Rouge as the Tigers of LSU were hammered in Starkville 37-7 by Dan Mullen’s underrated Mississippi State eleven.

LSU coach Ed Orgeron AP photo



“I’m embarrassed,” said Tigers Coach Ed Orgeron.

Trust me, he’s not the only one.  That was followed by this: “We had LSU right were we wanted them.  We knew from the first drive,” said wide receiver Keith Mixon.  WOW!

The victory was a double whammy by the Bulldogs.

It was the largest margin of victory in the 110-game history of the series, and the biggest victory for Mississippi State against a ranked team since FDR was jauntily puffing on a cigarette in the Oval office – in the WW II war year of 1942.  Yikes!!

Things are not any better in Knoxville.

Tennessee coach Butch Jones AP photo


The “Bang the Drum Slowly” death march for Tennessee Coach Butch Jones is growing into a cacophony of white noise as the Vols, who had battled back to tie the Gators in the Swamp, inexplicably coughed up another game-ending “Hail Mary,” this time a 63-yard touchdown pass from Florida’s QB Feleipe Franks to Tyrie Cleveland (a lot of good things seem to be happening to Cleveland) in a heart-rending, especially 26-20 loss.

But it was the defensive formation – no deep safeties standing on the goal line to knock it down- that cause unknown agita for the Volunteer faithful.  This cannot happen if you want to continue in your job.

The feeling is that Tennessee would have to fall off the table and finish 5-7, for Jones, who has $12 million remaining on his contract to be pushed out the door.

But it will be a looooonnnng week in Knoxville.

Back on the local front it was great news emanating for the “Boys from Worcester” as the Crusaders of Holy Cross “smushed” the ninth ranked visitors the Wildcats of UNH: 51-26.


Holy Cross QB Peter Pujals


The “Sons of Bob Cousy” were led by QB Peter Pujals who threw five TD passes, as the Cross captured its first win over a top-10 opponent since the W was struggling over the pronunciation of nuclear in; 2005.  Good for them!!

In Cambridge, the “Sons of Veritas,” AKA fair Harvard, went on the road to URI, and lost its opener for the first time since 2011 17-10.  It was a sloppy game for the Crimson, who very uncharacteristically committed 10-penalties for 80-yards that included six for holding and Harvard has now lost two-in-a-row, last year’s finale with Yale and now the opener.

The game and result were overshadowed when early in the second quarter Harvard freshman corner Ben Abercrombie crumbled in a heap after making a tackle.  He was frantically worked on by numerous members of the medical staff and when carted off the field there appeared to be no signs of movement, and it is unclear at this moment as to his overall well-being.  A concerned coach Tim Murphy described as a “significant” neck injury.

Needless to say it put a dark pallor over the rest of the game and is another example of the fragility of life.

A couple of thoughts; if Texas A&M, and or UCLA, should make a coaching change, we’d instantly be on the phone with that eccentric coach presently taking up residence at the Palouse in Washington State; namely  coach Mike Leach, who once again has the Cougars rolling.

The other guy we’d have on speed dial is another pigskin eccentric and fellow New Englander Chip Kelly, and in addition to the two mentioned landing spots, if I was the BC athletic director I would contact to gage what, if any, interest he might have in coming to Chestnut Hill to try and fix the irrelevant mess now entrenched into the football culture of Boston College.

Hail the smart kids; as Northwestern, Virginia, and Duke, and Vanderbilt all won.

In fact the “Sons of Sonny Jurgensen” AKA the Dukies find themselves 3-0 under the guidance of another of the country’s most underrated coaches: David Cutcliffe.  What a mistake Mississippi made when the let him go.

Finally, as always, we end with the Jayhawks of Kansas, the last team that our bloviating gas-bag pal Charlie Weis “fixed.”

In its 42-30 loss on the road to Ohio, the final score carried a significance of another sort: the 42-points surrendered represents the consecutive number of consecutive road losses the “Sons of John Hadl” have now suffered.  It is a mind-numbing run of football impotence.  Sorry Charlie!

That’s it from cyber-space.  We’ll be up and running with our analysis of week four Wednesday night.

Until then, Peace, and listen to the music.   pk

Clemson visits Louisville in ACC clash, Tennessee travels to Florida, The Irish visit BC

Mass Maritime Academy football players help load cadet ship TS Kennedy with supplies for Houston                                               AP photo


We begin this week with a football team, a ship, and an engineering school that carries a reputation of such excellence that it is recognized by the maritime industry worldwide.
One September 2, 2017 the federal government activated for duty the TS Kennedy, the 50-year old training ship used by the cadets of Massachusetts Maritime Academy which is located on the edge of Buzzards Bay.
The ship now stationed off the coast of Texas has become home for between 400 to 600 federal relief workers assigned to assist with the Harvey Hurricane disaster.
But before the ship left port it needed to be loaded with supplies; water, soda, blankets and other essentials and this is where the Buccaneer football team came into play.
They set up a human chain that went all the way up the gang-plank and into the Kennedy’s supply area.
“When people who are less fortunate are in need of help, and you’re in a position to help, you need to stop what you are doing and get it done. There is power in numbers,” said the proud Mass Maritime football coach Jeremy Cameron.
This weekend let see which teams sail off into the sunset with another victory, and which put up a good effort, but ultimately end up going down with the ship.
No. 3 Clemson vs No. 14 Louisville (Ch. 5, 8 p.m.) The identity of this year’s version of the Clemson Tigers, the defending national champions, is a defense that is tougher to penetrate than the Louvre security system guarding da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

Clemson defensive front                                                                    AP photo


This elite front seven of the “Sons of Brian Dawkins” anchored by backers Dorian O’Daniel, Kendall Joseph, end Austin Bryant, and tackle Christian Wilkins squeezes the opposition tighter than Albert DeSalvo, and possess enough speed to challenge the Roadrunner when he’s beep-beeping his pursuer Wile E. Coyote.
But unlike the last two scoreboard busting years, Clemson’s offense, for the moment, is like a sculpture not quite fully formed. It is still a bit out of focus.
The Tiger’s dual-threat QB Kelly Bryant, who is tougher than a $10 dollar steak, does more damage with his legs, than his powerful arm, but that equation is expected to gradually shift as the season progresses.
The newbie is assisted by the tailback committee; Adam Choice, Tavien Feaster, and C.J. Fuller, while a trio of wideouts Ray-Ray McCloud, Hunter Renfrow, and Deon Cain provide quality sure-handed comfort to their learning-curve QB.
In horse country, the home of Muhammad Ali, and the alma-mater of “Johnny U” Unitas, the Louisville natives have a great knowledge and appreciation for a special thoroughbred.
Well the current Secretariat of the college football world, the Cardinals defending Heisman winnings QB Lamar Jackson, is once again carrying the “Sons of Deon Branch” to higher ground.
[Note: Last week Jackson became the first Power-5 conference player to pass for over 300-yards, and rush for over 100 in consecutive games. It could be a Heisman redux season.]

Defending Heisman winner Louisville QB Lamar Jackson        AP photo


The All-World gun-slinger is assisted by a pair of road-grinders Malik Williams, and Reggie Bonnafon, while his Himalayan-sized receivers Jaylen Smith, Dez Fitzpatrick, and Seth Dawkins can split a defense better than the North Korean engineers split an atom.
The potential Achilles-Heel for the Cardinals is its D featuring a seasoned secondary; corners Zykiesis Cannon, Trumaine Washington, and Ronald Walker mixed with backer Trevon Young, overall this group won’t cause any sleepless night for the opposition’s offensive coordinators.
Fully aware of Jackson’s “Supercalifragilisticexpialidociuos” abilities, we believe Dabo’s Tigers, and its world-class D, will be enough to nip the Cardinals at the wire in a photo-finish in the horseracing capital of the United States.
No. 23 Tennessee at No. 24 Florida (Ch. 4, 3:30 p.m.) The intense nature of this annual tug-of-war was aptly and simply captured by Tennessee tackle Kahlil McKenzie, “We don’t like them, and they don’t like us.”
But for a full decade this former showcase had morphed from a rivalry with the intensity of the Hatfield and McCoy’s into an ABBA concert, as the Gators dominated by ripping off eleven consecutive wins. The Vols finally broke through last year.
And the last time UT beat the Gators sin the “Swamp,” W was declaring “Mission Accomplished” in the battle with Iraq in 2003.
Even though the “Sons of Payton Manning” have started 2-0, they remain in our mind as mysterious as the circumstances surrounding the stolen Gardner Museum masterpieces.


Tennessee QB Quinten Dormady                               AP photo


The Knoxville footballers are under the direction of junior QB Quinten Dormady (4 TDs-1 Int.) and even though he lacks the mobility that Butch Jones covets in his signal callers, for the immediate future he remains the lead dog.
The “checkerboard-nation” dart thrower is assisted by a trio of receivers led by its sophomore speedster Marquez Callaway, while the ground attack is keyed by the steady drive of its workhorse John Kelly, who gets a blow from Ty Chandler.
As the Volunteer faithful are well aware the D, led by the backing trio; Daniel Bitul, Colton Jumper, and Curtez McDowell must improve its tackling ability or the seat of Butch Jones will make a July afternoon in Times Square seem like an oasis.
Despite consecutive invites to the SEC Championship game, the Gator offense bears a strong resemblance to Sleepy Hollow, and has been as dynamic as Mr. “I write the songs that …” Barry Manilow.
It is likely to remain relatively comatose for the near future as the 9-suspensions instituted by Coach Jim McElwain, including its starry tailback Jordan Scarlett, and wideout Antonio Callaway, remain in effect indefinitely.
The true oxygenators for the “Sons of Jack Youngblood” is its iron-curtain D, led by end Jabari Zuniga, backer David Reese, and safety Nick Washington who lead an eleven that hit harder than Mike Tyson in his prime, and will ultimately determine the heights of the Gators success.
In this game, points will be as rare as a white lobster, or a Bill Belichick smile. And in a game that will likely determine the direction of both teams, we think Florida, in a state that can use some positive reinforcement, starts a new streak against its visitors from Rocky Top.
No. 9 Oklahoma State at Pitt (ESPN, Noon) The visitors from Boone Pickens University, AKA Oklahoma State, are directed by the “Mullet King” its colorful coach Mike Gundy (106 -50), who is embarking on his 13-year as the head-man at his Stillwater alma-mater.

OK State Heisman contender QB Mason Rudolph                     AP photo


The high-flying Pokes, who score easier and more often than Taylor Swift, are led by its Heisman contending QB Mason Rudolph, whose is more accurate than Big Ben.
The Cowboy six-shooter has rifled his last 185-passes without a pick, and in his last eleven games “Mr. Accuracy” has compiled a 14-1 touchdown to interception ratio: 28 TDs versus 2 picks.
The sharpshooter is assisted by one of the nation’s most explosive receivers; his All-America touchdown making wideout James Washington, while tailbacks Justin Hill, who possesses world class speed, and JD King, are road graders of the highest caliber.
The D often considered a rumor in the tag-rush league, better known as the Big 12, is led by safety Tre Flowers, tackle DeQunton Osborne, and backer Chad Whitener, and is a much improved product from most of the previous Cowboy elevens under Gundy.
In the Steel City, Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi might want to have a long talk with the schedulers, as his Panthers are facing its second consecutive Top-10 opponent.
USC graduate transfer QB Max Browne, who remains low on the learning curve leads the Panthers who hope to be able to grind the clock behind tailbacks Qadree Ollison, Alex Bookser, and Darrin Hall. Whenever Browne can get his GPS bearings, wideouts Jester Weah, and Matt Flanagan are capable of an explosive play.
The young D anchored by backers Oluwaseun Idowu, Saleem Brightwell, and tackle Dwayne Hendrix must generate QB pressure, otherwise Pitt’s secondary could be torched worse than the hills around Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
This game may be close for a half, but the Pokes, who have a legitimate shot to earn a playoff invite, will ultimately handle the overmatched Panthers.
Notre Dame at Boston College (ESPN, 3:30 p.m.) The visitors from the land of “Touchdown Jesus” have won the last five games between these academic Catholic institutions.
[Note: We have chosen to highlight this game because the Miami-Florida State contest was rescheduled to an October date, courtesy of a visit from Hurricane Irma. And baring a Homeric upset, it will be the last time BC gets a nod in our weekly slate of the biggest games.]
Brian Kelly’s seemingly improved Irish roll into Boston with a simple mission mandate; make sure to walk out of Alumni Stadium early Saturday evening with a season salvaging W.


Irish QB Brandon Wimbush                              AP photo


The “Sons of Ara”are directed by its dual-threat first-year starter, junior Brandon Wimbush, who completes just a shade over half his passes, and in the early going has caused more damage with his legs forcing defenses to account for him at all times.
The rest of the Irish offense plows the turf behind a trio of full speed ahead tailbacks; Josh Adams, Tony Jones, and Dexter Williams, while Cam Smith, and Equanimeous St. Brown are dangerous chain stretchers.
The new and improved D of the “Sons of Alan Page” anchored by backers Nyles Morgan, Te’veon Coney and ends Jay and Daelin Hayes (no relation) have so far plugged last season’s holes better than Mass Dot handles its leaky tunnel walls.
In Chestnut Hill the mantra remains: Where’s Tom Coughlin when you need him? Or for that matter Tom O’Brien?
BC is now entering the fifth year of the “Addazio rebuilding era” and based on this significant sample, it’s has been worse than a lousy NY Times Broadway review.
It fact this year’s Eagles eleven appears as if it may have regressed, which if that hold will have Coach A once again scrambling to scratch out 6-wins and this for a guy who is signed through 2020! What a country!
We don’t want to say the games played at the “Tower of the Heights” are hopelessly irrelevant, but as of Monday, tickets to see Notre Dame were still available at the box office. Yikes!

BC QB Anthony Brown                             AP photo


The “Sons of Matt Ryan” have decided to stick with its freshman QB Anthony Brown, who has thrown one more interception than touchdown.
Struggling freshman QB play is to be expected, but what has been truly puzzling is the disappearance of the Eagles once feared running attack as tailbacks Jon Hilliman, freshman AJ Dillion, (of whom big things were expected), and Thadd Smith, have seemingly vaporized faster than Jimmy Hoffa.
When its young-un QB is able to locate his target; Kobay White, Jeff Smith, and Michael Walker have the ability to move the chains.
The Eagles D led by safety Will Harris, end Zach Allen, and backer Ty Schwab has also at least so far melted like a Mr. Softy vanilla cone during a July heatwave.
So with apologies to Joni Mitchell, the one BC constant, like the North Star in this football spiral toward irrelevancy has been its coach; Steve Addazio. It’s not hard to figure out.
In a game that the “Sons of the Four Horseman” desperately have to win, we think the Irish band will grow weary from constantly striking up the “Victory March” in celebration of its successful visit to Boston.
No. 18 Kansas State at Vanderbilt (ESPNU, 7:30 p.m.) In the “Little Apple” Manhattan, Kansas, the Methuselah of the college football world, KState’s venerable 78-year old wizard, coach Bill Snyder (204 -105-1) is the acknowledged architect of the greatest reconstruction project since the Marshall Plan.

Legendary KState coach Bill Snyder                               AP photo


In fact the Federal Government should send him down to Texas and Florida with a mandate to do whatever it takes to rebuild those hurricane ravaged states.
The somewhat curmudgeonly, yet beloved Hall of Famer (2015), who is also battling throat cancer, is
embarking on 26th season coaching his beloved Cats on a filed that bears his name: The Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
He is deserving of every accolade, because before his arrival, KState was viewed as the last stop to coaching oblivion, a true Palookaville that this “Old Man River” transformed into a juggernaut.
The lynchpin of Snyder teams is a hard-charging, pot banging ground assault, but in addition, this year’s version of the Purple Cats also have the ability to throw downfield behind its dual-threat rifleman; senior QB Jesse Ertz.

KState QB Jesse Ertz                                                         AP photo


The leader of the “Sons of Steve Grogan” is equally dangerous on the run while at the same time displaying a “Koufaxian” accuracy, with zero interceptions in his last six games.
The QB is assisted by a pair of turbo-charged tailbacks; Alex Barnes, and Alvin Warmack, while receivers Isaiah Harris, and Dalton Schoen provide big-play ability.
On D the Cats fly to the ball behind corners D.J. Reed, Duke Shelley, end Reggie Walker, and backer Trent Tanking while constantly hitting like a Smitty molding a new shoe.
In the country music capitol of America, Coach Derek Mason’s Commodores are hit-makers, and off to its best start since the final year of Barak Obama’s first term – 2011.
Ah, those were the days!
These feisty ‘Dores are directed by its sharpshooting QB Kyle Shurmer (76%) who hits his target as well as a Taliban sniper, totally cocooned by a Gibraltar-sized offensive line.


Vandy QB Kyle Shurmer                                                           AP photo


Its senior leader has the luxurious option of choosing from a buffet of quality receivers; Trent Sherfield, C.J. Duncan, Kalija Lipscomb, and tight end Jared Pinkey all of whom are defense stressors. And when Vandy shifts gears, tailback Ralph Webb is a high-quality change-up.
On D, “The Sons of Bill Parcells” (D-coordinator ’74) anchored by backers Charles Wright, Emmanuel Smith, and end Dare Odeyingbo are fast, nasty, and have an ability to shut down any offense.
This is an intriguing game. It is the first true test for both teams who last met in the “Orwellian” year of 1984, which turned out to be a 26-14 Commodore victory.
With that said, we’re sticking with Coach Methuselah, who adds another W to his ageless legend.
Last week: 2-3 Season record; 6-4

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

USC, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Clemson capture the day!

On Saturday the results of the world of college football was analogous to a farmer checking his late summer fields to see if his planted bounty is ready to be harvested and shipped to market.
It may all look all promising from a distance, but only a close inspection properly determines what is ready for picking.
In Columbus, Los Angeles, South Bend, Clemson, Chestnut Hill, and Amherst,  the faithful are now fully aware which teams are ripe, juicy, and ready to challenge for some handsome season ending rewards.
But for many others it will take another dose of fertilizer and nurturing before they can be even be remotely considered ready for prime time.
We’ll begin in Columbus, where dare I say, it may be time for a quarterback change?

Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley

The Sooners of Oklahoma with its new coach Lincoln Riley (the youngest FCS coach in the country – 34) in tow, and its old coach, the iconic “Big Game Bob” Stoops exhorting his former troops from a stadium skybox) strolled into Ohio Stadium, and shockingly totally dominated an overmatched bunch of Buckeyes strutting out with a convincing 31-16 victory.
And if that shellacking wasn’t bad enough, post-game the faithful witnessed another dose of misery (that is whoever remained in the Horseshoe) watching helplessly as Oklahoma’s Heisman candidate QB Baker Mayfield, ran onto the middle of the field and planted the huge OU flag at the fifty-yard line as if he were Sir Edmund Hillary conquering Everest. It was his way of paying-back the Bucks for signing the Ohio State fight song in Norman after last year’s beat-down by the Bucks.
OUCH!! (That gesture will not be forgotten, and in our humble opinion, is bad karma.)
But here is the stark reality for the Boys from Columbus; in its last two games against ranked opponents, Urban Meyer’s highly touted eleven have been smoked by the combined score of: 62-16. Double Yikes!
Talk about smelling like a field of manure.
Can you say not ready for prime time!

Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett

The problem seems to be with OSU’s “sainted” QB J.T. Barrett, as the Scarlet and Grey’s offense has been about as consistent as any policy on any subject emanating from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
But what is truly eye-popping is that most times the battle tested senior looks like a raw freshman, intimidated, unsure as to when to pull the trigger, and then when he finally lets it fly, the ball seems to get to his receivers a beat too slow, off target, or goes sailing over his target.
He appears to be about as comfortable as the flunkies clapping and smiling around Kim-Jong-un when he stares at a nuclear war-head on propaganda display.
In addition to the QB woes, the Buckeyes secondary has struggled mightily in its first two games and both agendas have to be quickly fixed, (and trust me, Urban won’t tolerate this) or it will be an early “Goodbye Columbus” season for the “Sons of Archie Griffin.”
In Clemson, the Tigers elite front seven played with the same anger as the IRMA influenced seas over- whelming Key West.

Clemson’s dominating D

The statement performance seen and heard throughout the college football landscape, the Tigers dominated the visitors from Auburn visitors: 14-6, sacking QB Jarret Stidham eleven times (1-shy of the school record) holding Auburn to 15-total offensive yards in the second half, demonstrating that the “Sons of George Rogers” are once again a legitimate title contender.
Simply amazing!
In the City of Angels USC winners of eleven in a row, and have surfed to a run of 12-consecutive games in which the offense has compiled at least 400-yards.
USC hasn’t been this hot of an item since the dynasty days of Pete Carroll, when the Hollywood hoi polloi simply wanted to be seen rubbing sideling elbows with the Men of Troy.

USC Heisman candidate QB Sam Darnold

It’s leader is its Heisman contending peppermint cool blond QB Sam Darnold who along with a reawakened ground attack (253-rushing yards against a good Stanford team) makes these “Hollywood Hotties,” who dominated the Cardinal 42-24, a legitimate playoff contender and the odds-on favorite to earn a spot in Pac-12 title game.
Over in South Bend, we learned two things: the Irish D is much improved, and the offense need some serious tweaking.
Against a very good Georgia D, ND’s offensive line was overrun as QB Brandon Wimbush was under stress all night back peddling more than Michael Jackson.
This visitors from Athens, who hadn’t ventured this far north since LBJ was deeply involved with Civil Right legislation and “Help” by the Beatles was the number one song, played like a pack of rabid “Dawgs”, and strolled out of Notre Dame Stadium with a hard fought and penalty filled 20-19 victory as it held Irish to a total of 55-rushing yards.
The Domers, after last season’s 4-8 debacle, were hoping that this game would be a coming out victory party signifying that the “Lads of Leahy,” who made a ton of coaching changes in the offseason, (including a personality transplant for

Irish coach Brian Kelly

Coach Brian Kelly who vowed to morph into Mr. Rodgers – anything to keep the paycheck coming) were indeed heading in the right direction.
But Georgia, who traveled to South Bend with its iconic Coach Vince Dooley, (the only coach to win a national title at Georgia), along with 30,000 other red-and black cladded zealots who managed to find their way into Notre Dame Stadium, had other ideas, and bit the Irish with a solid performance, once again knocking the “Sons of Touchdown Jesus” out of the top-25. OUCH!
Speaking of dogs!
We venture from the “big top” to the irrelevancy of a pair of hometown Lilliputians; UMass and Boston College, both of whom disappointed its dwindling faithful.
We’ll start in Amherst with the saddest of sacks, and the football version of the “Belles of Amherst” (0-3), who trudged off the field saddled by a third consecutive loss, this time to Monarchs of Old Dominion 17-7.
It was another of, what is becoming routine, an embarrassing offensive performance by Minuteman who never generated any offensive consistency, as the Monarchs sacked the UM’s QB Andrew Ford 8-times, while limiting UMass to 79-yards of rushing. Yikes!!
This weekly show of misery was performed before an “announced” crowd of 9,028 and the question remains, how much more heartache, aka $$$$$, will the Administration be willing to bleed.
Looking at its remaining schedule, it’s hard to envision the Minuteman winning more than 1-game and that will be against Maine at Fenway on November 11th. “Remember the Maine!” Get your tickets early!!
Up on the Heights, things were equally troublesome, as the Eagles who had four turnovers for the first time since 2015, were trounced by the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest: 34-10.
How bad was the performance of the sons of “Mike Holovak?”

BC coach Steve Addazio

Freshman QB Anthony Brown 11-29, 119-yards 3-picks, and 1 TD played like a freshman, and was pulled late in the game.
And with Notre Dame arriving in town this weekend, and a visit to Clemson the following week it appears the Eagles will have to once again dig out of a 1-3 hole, and then be force to once again find a way to scratch and claw its way to a 6-6 season.
If not, “Coach A” (if only his players got A’s on the field) can call for a moving van.
As we always do: Hail the Academies!! As both Army and Navy are 2-0. Air Force was off.
In fact there’s a bit of a Renaissance occurring in West Point, as Army has won five in a row, its longest streak since Bill Clinton was chasing Barbara Streisand around a piano in the White House (1995-96), and the days when Bob Sutton (currently the defensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs) directed a winning streak that climbed all the way to eleven.

Louisville QB and Heisman contender Lamar Jackson

In Chapel Hill it was the Lamar Jackson show as Louisville’s defending Heisman winner, refused to be ignored, as he put on another otherworldly show, passing for nearly 400-yards and 3 TDs, while rushing for 132 and 3-TDs, as he Cardinals knocked off the Tar Heels: 47-35.
Jackson becomes the first Power 5 QB to throw for at least 300-yards, and run for at least 100, in back to back games. WOW!!
Finally we close as we always do with our bloviating gas-bag pal Charlie Weis and the Kansas Jayhawks, the last team Charlie “fixed.” KU was torched by QB Shane Morris (28-37 467 yds. – 5 TDS) and the Central Michigan Chippewas: 45-27. It looks like another losing season for KU. Sorry Charlie!

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

Oklahoma rolls into Columbus, Georgia travels to South Bend, Auburn takes on Clemson, Stanford visits USC in huge week

We begin this week with a coach on a seat that is hotter than the forest fires in the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest in Oregon, and a lawyer from Houston who expressed his frustration with the performance of his beloved Aggies.

Last Sunday night in Los Angeles in front of a national TV audience, the Aggies of Texas A&M blew a 34-point fourth quarter lead in an historic 45-44 collapse to the Bruins of UCLA.  It was the second largest comeback in the history of Division 1 college football.

The scene proved too much for Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who is a 7-year member of the Texas A&M Board of Regents.  He tweeted the following:

Houston lawyer Tony Buzbee

“Our players were better tonight,” he wrote.  “Our players were more talented tonight.  But our coaches were dominated on national TV, yet again.”

“I’m only one vote on the Board of Regents, but when the time comes, my vote will be that Kevin Sumlin needs to GO.  In my view he should go now.”  Yikes!

This weekend let’s see which team are sued for impersonating a football team, and which rest its case by blowing out its rival.

No. 5 Oklahoma at No. 2 Ohio State (Ch.5, 7:30 p.m.)  The invaders from Norman, with apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein; “Where the wins come sweepin’ down the plain,” journey to Columbus with the first big test on the leadership of its new head man, Lincoln Riley, the youngest (34) FCS coach in the country.

OU Heisman contending QB Baker Mayfield

But as the “Sons of Bud Wilkerson” roll into Ohio Stadium it takes great comfort with its dynamic Heisman contending QB Baker Mayfield, who is making his 28th consecutive start, while hitting his targets with better accuracy than the “Sundance Kid.”

But questions remain as to which receivers will fill the void of last season’s starry touchdown makers who graduated to the Sunday league.

The QB’s most trusted consigliere is All-America tight end Mark (260 pounds) Andrews, which gives Kentucky graduate transfer Jeff Badet, and Marquise Brown some time to adjust to their new surroundings.  But not to worry, the Sooner marksman is an equal opportunity bean spinner and operates by the philosophy of whoever is open will be getting the ball.

OU’s lynchpin ground attack, ensconced by a seasoned o-line featuring All-America left tackle Orlando Brown, is at least for the moment, an equal opportunity committee, with Abdul Adams, Marcelias Sutton, and Trey Sermon splitting the duties.

Coordinator Mike Stoops’ aggressive D, (Oklahoma switched to a 4-3 this year) led by All-America corner Jordan Thomas, pass rush backer Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, and tackle Tyreece Lott is often more disruptive than an underground hydrogen explosion by the regime of Pyongyang.

In Columbus, since taking over the reins of the Scarlet and Grey, Urban Meyer is a stellar 16-4 under the Ohio Stadium lights, and an impressive 8-4 against teams that reside inside the top-10.

Buckeyes QB J.T. Barrett

The director of the “Sons of Woody Hayes” is senior three-year starter, QB J.T. Barrett, who has better leadership abilities than the entire DNC, and understands the intricacies of the Buckeye offense as well as a black jack dealer knows his card decks in the Wynn Casino in Vegas.

The Bucks have also seemingly found its next great back in t-freshman J.K. Dobbs who set a new freshman one game rushing (181) record which was previously held by Maurice Clarett.

When Barrett takes to the Midwest skies he has a passel of quality, yet newbie targets; Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon and tight end Marcus Baugh from whom to choose.

The D of the “Sons of Randy Gradishar” led by backers Chris Worley, All-America lineman Tyquan Lewis, end Sam Hubbard, and d-lineman Nick Bosa are harder to penetrate than the living quarters of Kim Jong-Un.

In a game that will rock the rankings, we’ll stay with the Bucks as its faithful at game’s end hoarsely warble; “Goodbye Columbus” to the visitors from Norman.

No. 13 Auburn at No. 3 Clemson (ESPN, 7 p.m.) Dual-threat transfer QB Jarrett Stidham, who journeyed to the Plains by way of Waco leaving the disgrace of the Baylor program, has reestablished War Eagle as a legitimate SEC West threat, as Auburn, for the first time since the distance days of Cam Newton, is a legitimate balanced offensive threat.

Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham

The talented gunslinger is also assisted by a wave of down-hill runners; Kamyrn Pettway (back after 1-game suspension), Kerryon Johnson, and Kam Martin all of whom are defense stressers.  While tight end Jalen Harris along with receivers Kyle Davis, Darius Slayton, Eli Stove, and Will Hastings provide a tasty high-level smorgasbord of chain moving targets.

Under coordinator Kevin Steele, the D featuring end Marion Davis, tackles Dontavius Russel, Derrick Brown, and backers Tre’ Williams and Darrel Williams is nastier than a group Russian super-trawlers bearing down on a Greenpeace piloted boat in the waters off Senegal.

In Clemson, the highly polished national championship trophy is gleaming in its display case, as Dabo Swinney’s two consecutive title appearances have propelled the Tigers into that rarest pinnacles of excellence; instead of recruiting, Clemson simply, like a Taliban tribesman, reloads.

Clemson QB Kelly Bryant

QB Kelly Bryant has been handed the keys to the Tiger’s meticulously well maintained Porsche, and the elusive bazooka-armed junior is comforted by more talent and high level resumes than the cabinet of JFK.

Tailbacks Travis Etienne, C.J. Fuller, and Tavien Feaster are sharper than a deli-slicer moving through a defense, while wideouts Deon Cain, Hunter Renfrow, Ray-Ray McCloud and tight end Milan Richard befuddle and pressure a secondary the same way a chess master dominates a tournament of checkers.

On D, coordinator Frank Venables’ eleven, featuring All-America tackle Christian Wilkins, his partner Dexter Lawrence, and backers Kendall Joseph, and Tre Lamar possess more speed than Darlington, and are harder to penetrate than the missile silos in Moscow.

In a game that has potential to be a classic, and with Florida State losing its starting QB for the rest of the season, Clemson once again has an inside track for another ACC title, and a solid shot of third consecutive playoff invite.

We’re taking the Tigers, who reload better than Billy the Kid, who, as an historical note, was born in Manhattan, New York and died at the age of 21.

No. 14 Stanford at No. 6 USC (FOX, 8:30 p.m.) The last three meetings, won by the Cardinal, have been as physical as an MMA steel cage heavyweight brawl.

Stanford tailback Bryce Love

Under the direction of first time starter, senior QB Keller Chryst, the “Sons of Jim Plunkett” who, with apologies to John Lennon, relies on its shifty speedster tailback Bryce “all you need is” Love, who hits the hole better than a fox scrambling from the hounds.  The QB also has the luxury of being protected by an o-line that returns a quartet of starters.

When the Cardinal QB takes to the Palo-Alto skies, wideouts Connor Wedington, Donald Stewart, and tight end Kaaden Smith (6-6, 240) are all dependable chain moving targets.

The Stanford D is bursting with QB disruptors and anchored by tackle Harrison Phillips, end Dylan Jackson, and backer Joey Alfieri.

It’s been awhile, but many “experts” have penciled USC with a spot in the four-team playoff.

But before such a high cotton invitation arrives in the mail, the Trojans have some serious business to take care of on Saturday evening.

The Men of Troy riding a streak of 10-in-a-row are directed by its All-World QB maestro Sam Darnold who is one of the many early season Heisman favorites.

USC Heisman candidate QB Sam Darnold

And as one might expect from a blond 6-4, 225 pound dude from California, the Heisman contender exudes a swashbuckling cockiness that a quarterback must project in order to lead his team to the highest of heights and is assisted by wideouts Deontay Burnett, Steven Mitchell, and Tyler Petite who are in the early stage process of trying to earn Darnold’s complete trust.

The offense of the “Sons of John Robinson” also has the ability to shift to a solid ground attack behind a pair of talented tailbacks; Ronald Jones, and Stephen Carr.

USC’s sledge-hammer smashing D, anchored by backer Cameron Smith, his partner Porter Gustin, along with end Rasheem Green must be able to pressure the Cardinal passing attack, or it will be a long evening for the Trojans.

This is a tough game on which to get a handle, but we think the visitors from the Farm ultimately put a smile on the visage of our former home town (the bad Patriots of Billy Sullivan), and Heisman winner, as well as two time Super Bowl champion Jim Plunkett, who in our opinion should be in the Hall of Fame.

No. 15 Georgia at No. 24 Notre Dame (Ch.4, 7:30 p.m.) Both of these teams have a shroud of mystery that Edgar Allen Poe would find appealing.  And with such uncertainty, neither coach can accurately predict in which direction its teams seasonal journey will ultimately travel.

The “Dawgs” (this comes courtesy of my pal Mark Blaudschun) are traveling north of the Mason-Dixon Line for only the third time since Lyndon Johnson (1965 Michigan, 2010 Colorado) was in the Oval Office picking up his beagles by the ears.

Georgia QB Jake Fromm

QB Jake Fromm (starter Jacob Eason is out knee injury) the highly recruited freshman, is the new director of the Dawgs offense, and takes great comfort by what many feel is the best tailback tandem in the nation: Nick Chubb, and Sony Michel who like Zorro, have the ability to slash through any defense.

When the kid takes to the skies over Athens, talented receiver Terry Goodwin, and his partner Mecole Hardman, who has more speed than a meth-lab deep in the Brazilian jungle, have the ability to deflate any secondary.

But as has been the case with Bulldog elevens of recent vintage, the offensive line remains a liability.

On D, the “Sons of Jake Scott” behind a front seven that features backers Lorenzo Carter, Davin Bellamy, tackle Trenton Thompson, and end Jonathan Ledbetter tackle with deadly precision, and are harder to penetrate than the financial records of the Vatican.

In South Bend Irish coach Brian Kelly, whose fuse is more explosive than the fireworks display over the Charles on the Fourth of July, has hired a new pair of coordinators, along with a strength coach, hoping to put last season’s four-win disastrous season in the distant rear view mirror.

If not, the coach who has vowed to tone it down his antics, will be banging a for sale sign on his lawn.

ND QB Brandon Winbush

On offense, these “Sons of Ara” are directed by its dual-threat QB dynamo Brandon Winbush, who is assisted by a three-headed tailback hydra Dexter Williams, Josh Adams, and Tony Jones, while wideouts Equanimeous St. Brown, Nic Weishar, and tight end Durham Smyth are all considered dangerous field-stretchers.

The seemingly much improved D, led by tackles Jay and Daelin Hayes (no relation, the former is a run stopper, the latter a QB disruptor), while backers Nyles Morgan, and Greer Martini, make it uncomfortable for any offense.

Maybe it’s the influence of “Touchdown Jesus” or the glowing and flickering candles that light the Grotto, but the Domers hold an astounding (59-14-1 .804) record against first time visitors to Notre Dame Stadium.

With that said, in another tough game, we just have a feeling that it will be the Irish faithful at games end serenading “Leahy’s Lads” with the strains of the Notre Dame “Victory March” Onward to Victory, as the Irish play like a champion.

Pitt at No. 4 Penn State (Ch.5, 3:30 p.m.)  This is the 98th meeting between these intense intra-state rivals with the “Boys from Happy Valley” holding a 50-43-4 edge.

Pitt graduate transfer QB Max Browne

The key ingredient for Coach Pat Narduzzi’s Panthers will be the play of USC graduate transfer QB Max Browne, who gets a huge assist from his all-purpose wideout Quadree Hederson who pays big dividends on jet sweeps, reverses, or whatever role he is asked to play.

And in a throw-back to old school ball Pitt utilizes fullback George Alston as an important cog of any game plan.

In his two year tenure, Narduzzi, who made his reputation as a defensive wizard has watched his Panthers struggle mightily, primarily from the lack of defensive talent that was left in the cupboard when he arrived.

But with three recruiting classes in the bank, the D, led by ends Rori Blair, DeWayne Hendrix, a pair of tackles Keyshon Camp, and Amir Watts is beginning to bloom.  [Note: Pitt’s talented backer Quintin Wirgins is lost for the season – non-football issue.]

In Happy Valley a single play saved a season and a coach’s job.

For the ‘Nits it was a blocked late game field goal turned into a winning TD against Ohio State, that changed the entire direction of the Lions season,  and not only saved coach James Franklin’s job, but propelled Penn State into the Big Ten Title champs.

Tailback Saquon Barkley and QB Trace McSorley

These “Sons of Franco Harris” roll behind its All-America and Heisman candidate tailback Saquon Barkley, who shares his top of the marquee billing with starry dual-threat QB Trace McSorley, making them arguably the most dynamic duo since Batman and Robin, or Lennon and McCartney.

In addition to its pair of aces, receivers Juwan Johnson, DaeSean Hamilton and All-America tight end Mike Gesicki provide the Penn State offense with a winning hand.

On D, the “Sons of Jack Ham” return seven starters led by safety Marcus Allen, backer Jason Cabinda, and tackle Tyrell Chavis and hit harder than a “Donald” tweet directed at Mitch McConnell.

A rivalry of this nature is always a dangerous beast, but with Penn State’s offensive dynamos, we don’t see any way that Pitt comes away with the victory.


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


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