Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Sunday Afternoon Tailback


This week’s record: 4-2; for the season: 78-27. 


The final College Football Playoff rankings are out today:  These teams are in, in this order:  Clemson, Bama, Mich. State and OU.  On New Year’s Eve, Clemson plays OU; Bama plays Michigan State


The Yogi Berra “It ain’t over until it’s over Award” goes to…Michigan State.  Sparty prevailed over Iowa 16-13 in the Big Ten Championship.  Michigan State did it with another gutsy, end-of-the-game finish with a 22-play, 82-yard brutally grinding running drive that ate up just more than nine minutes.  Bama has its work cut out for it when it faces Sparty on New Year’s Eve.  This is a never-say-die team as there is in CFB.

Heisman Watch:


·         Alabama running back Derrick Henry ran 44 times for 189 and a TD in the SEC Championship game.  The junior passed former Georgia superback Hershel Walker for the SEC single season rushing record.


·         Clemson QB Deshaun Watson passed for three TDs and ran for two more, piling up 420 yards of offense, as Clemson upheld its claim to #1 and won the ACC title by whipping North Carolina 45-37 in Charlotte.


·         Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey accumulated 461 yards, running, catching, returning and passing.  He scored a running TD, caught a pass for a TD and threw for a TD in the PAC 12 Championship game as the Cardinal beat USC 41-22.  McCaffrey’s performance gave him 3,496 all-purpose yards for the season and vaulted him past the great Barry Sanders for the all-purpose, single season record set by the great Barry Sanders in 1988.


The 81st Heisman Trophy will be presented to the outstanding college football player of the season by the Heisman Trophy Trust this coming Saturday night at the Best Buy Theater in New York City.



Looking ahead to next weekend: It’s the annual Army-Navy game, plus the FCS, Div. II and III continue their playoffs.



Check this link for the schedule.  It’s the best link for college football on TV:



Sources:; Associated Press



Thursday, December 3, 2015

Conference Championship Weekend Picks, starring Eminem, Katy Perry, Little Feat and others

Last week’s record: 7-5; for the season: 74-25. 


“I come from Detroit and I’m not a smooth talker.”-Eminem.  The MAC Championship:  Bowling Green vs. N. Illinois in Detroit.


While QBs like Deshaun Watson, Trevone Boykin, Baker Mayfield, et al have garnered the spotlight this season, Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, due to lack of TV/media coverage, has somewhat quietly gone about the business of being one of the very best QBs in the FBS.


The Falcons will need Johnson on-point on Friday when they face the Huskies in the Motor City.  N. Ill. Running back Joel Bouagnon has rushed for more than 1,200 yards this season and has 18 TDs. 


The Huskies have been in the MAC title game six straight seasons.  They won it last year; B.G. won the championship in 2013.


Either B.G. or N.I. will ultimately heed the words of that great and wise philosopher, sociologist and political scientist of our time, Eminem, “Success is my only [12-letter descriptor] option, failure’s not.”—and prevail.


Projected winner: Bowling Green.



“Well, you can drop me off on Peachtree, I got to feel that Georgia sun.”—Little Feat.  The SEC Championship:  #2 Alabama vs. #18 Florida in Atlanta. 


As if those SEC arteries weren’t already hardened enough from all the tailgate food this season, Tide and Gator faithful can swing by the world famous Varsity Drive In, just up the street from the Georgia Dome, and chow down on some chili dogs and cheeseburgers prior to the game.


This is the eighth time the two teams have met in the SEC Championship, dating back to the first one in 1992.  The record is Gators 4, Tide 3.


Behind a stingy defense, former Bama OC and Florida HBC Jim McElwain will do his best to derail the Derrick Henry Express.


However, as Bama’s last three SEC opponents have discovered, Derrick is a full-grown adult male who does not tire easily after dozens of carries because he does not think the ball is very heavy


Projected winner:  Bama.



“Back home again, in Indiana.”—Jim Nabors.  The Big Ten Championship:  Iowa vs. Michigan State in Indianapolis.


The #4  Hawkeyes, perhaps the surprise team of the FBS, roll into Coltsville to face # 5 Sparty.  Iowa is undefeated; Sparty has one loss by one point.


How close could this be???  Iowa and Michigan State have a combined average 33.5 points per game.  The Hawkeyes and the Spartans are tied 14+ in turnovers.  Plus, the contest will see two terrific coaches in Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz and State’s Mark Dantonio.


It’s so close, that on this one, Coach Jim Bob reaches out to his great friend Doc who has a coin flip app on his phone….


Projected winner:  Michigan State.



“In my mind I’m goin’ to Carolina.”—James Taylor.  The ACC Championship:  #1 Clemson vs. # 10 North Carolina in Charlotte.


The Tar Heels have an easy drive to Charlotte to face Clemson’s Heisman candidate QB Deshaun Watson and the Tigers.


The Tigers have won 15 in a row, dating back to last year.  The Heels have reeled off 11 wins in a row, a U.N.C. record.


This game may come down to turnovers—and the Tigers have committed seven in the last two games.


Projected winner:  North Carolina.



“Greetings, loved ones, let’s take a journey.”—Katy Perry.  The PAC 12 Championship.  #20 U.S.C. vs. # 7 Stanford in Santa Clara.


Coming off rivalry wins last week---Stanford over Notre Dame and the Trojans over UCLA---the Cardinal and the Trojans go at it in the Bay Area.


Fans will get to see two prolific TD-throwing QBs in Stanford’s Kevin Hogan (23 TDs) and S.C.’s Cody Kessler (27).


S.C. may have an emotional boost now that I (interim) BC Clay Helton, this week, was crowned HBC.


But, to paraphrase Forrest Gump’s momma, cool is as cool does, and HBC’s don’t get much cooler and smarter than Cardinal HBC David Shaw.


Projected winner:  Stanford.



"I’ve seen miles and miles of Texas.”—Bob Wills/Asleep At The Wheel.  The I-35 Bowl: Texas @ #12 Baylor.


Longhorn fans will leave Sodom & Gomorrah on the Lower Colorado for Jerusalem-on-the-Brazos as the Longhorns play the Bears.


Until the Big 12 gets its own championship game, this is what we’ll have to settle for in early December.


In Biblical terms, this really may be a David vs. Goliath duel in Waco, given the disparity in the two teams: Texas at 4-7; the Bears at 9-2.


Injured QBs play a big part of the plotline in this one: UT lost its starter last week; the Bears will now go with their third string QB.


In terms of offensive potency, there is a much greater distance between Baylor and Texas than 102 miles down the middle of the U.S.’ busiest interstate highway.


Projected winner:  Baylor



Sources:; A-Z



For your CFB TV watching pleasure, the quintessential, easy-to-read guide:


Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Sunday Afternoon Tailback

This week’s record: 7-5; for the season: 74-25. 


The College Football Playoff Shakeup (This week):  Another week, another shakeup.  Those who lost over the Thanksgiving CFB weekend: Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida, Mississippi State and UCLA.



The Yogi Berra “It ain’t over until it’s over Award” goes to…Stanford.  A final play, 45-yard field goal following a desperate drive after a go-head TD by Notre Dame gave the Cardinal the victory and ended the Irish’s chances for a spot in the CFP.



The Warner Wolf Award (FBS) goes to…SMU.  If you had the Mustangs and 63, you lost.  Final:  Memphis 63, SMU 0. 



You took the “Over,” right??? 1st Place, a three-way tie:  Texas Tech-Texas; Oregon-Oregon State and Az. St.-Cal.  94 points scored in each of these games with Tech, Oregon and Cal the winners, respectively.



You took the “Over,” right? 2nd Place, FCS:  101.  Final: William & Mary 52, Duquesne 49.



Heisman Watch:


·         Alabama running back Derrick Henry ran 46 times for 271 and a TD in the Iron Bowl as Bama beat Auburn 29-13.  Henry also broke the Bama single season rushing record and the 45-year-old record for carries in a game.


·         Clemson QB Deshaun Watson passed and ran for 393 yards and 4 TDs as the Tigers beat cross state rival South Carolina 37-32.


·         Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield threw 2 TDs and ran for one as the Sooners buried Oklahoma State 58-23


·         Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott ran for 214 and 2 TDs as the Buckeyes routed Michigan 42-13.


·         Florida State running back Dalvin Cook ran for 183 and 2 TDs as the Seminoles beat Florida 27-2.


·         LSU running back Leonard Fournette ran 32 times for 159 and a TD and broke the Tigers’ 38-year-old single season rushing record.



Now, some quick headlines…as of this writing, 1:30CST….


·         LSU’s Les Miles will return as HBC next year.  After the Tigers beat Texas A&M in Tiger Stadium last night, his players carried him off the field on their shoulders.

·         HBC Mark Richt is out at Georgia citing a “mutual decision” with UGA powers-that-be.

·         Virginia’s HBC Mike London has resigned after six seasons.

·         Rutgers HBC Kyle Flood has reportedly been fired, as well as the AD.

·         Toledo’s Matt Campbell is reported to be the next HBC at Iowa State.




This week’s CFP rankings will be out on Tuesday.  Here’s the link:


Looking ahead to next weekend: It’s conference championship weekend.



Check this link for the schedule.  It’s the best link for college football on TV:



Sources:; Associated Press


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Holidays' College Football Picks featuring Miranda & Blake, Flo Rida, Skynyrd and more

Last Saturday’s record: 5-3; for the season: 67-20.

The College Football Playoff rankings link:


The Eyes of Texas are upon them.  Texas Tech @ Texas. 

Gone are the days when college fans in Texas went to the Texas-Texas A&M game or watched it on TV on Thanksgiving day/night, Friday or Saturday of the holiday weekend.  Now, with the Aggies in their fourth SEC season, fans have to settle for the Longhorns and the Red Raiders.

Minus the upset over OU in the Red River Rivalry, UT fans have not had a lot to cheer about in HBC Charlie Strong’s second year in Austin.  The Horns are 4-6 and even with a win Thursday night may finish with a losing season (they still have to play Baylor) and no bowl game.

Meanwhile, Tech HBC---and reigning champion of the Ryan Gosling lookalike contest---Kliff Kingsbury brings his Air Raid disciples to DKR-Memorial Stadium for a showdown as most of the nation settles in after the first two NFL games for a third helping of T-Day cuisine.

After the Raiders fire up their very potent offense, Texas fans will likely depart the game early and head down to Sholz’s Beer Garden or 6th Street to wash away their sadness.

Projected winner:  Texas Tech 


Anchors Away.   #15 Navy @ Houston. 

Everything was going just swell for the Cougars until they were upset last weekend.  The Midshipmen, behind record-setting TD rushing QB Keenan Reynolds have one loss, and that, to Notre Dame.  And, the Middies are having their best season in 110 years.

But, oh, that Tom Herman Cougar offense can rack up some points---and they have a FBS top 15 D, too.

Projected winner:  Houston.


Children of the Corn.  #4 Iowa @ Nebraska.

Plotline to the 1984 horror movie, from While driving through Nebraska, Linda Hamilton and the guy from 30 Something have a run-in with the murderous children who sacrifice adults to the evil corn god.

In the breadbasket of the U.S., the undefeated---and currently in the Final Four---Hawkeyes will circle the Lincoln skies looking for something on which to feast.  The 5-6 Cornhuskers could prove to be mighty tasty.  Of course, that’s what Sparty, thought, too, a couple of weeks ago.

Projected winner… in an upset:  Nebraska.


“Ward, I’m worried about the Beaver.”—June Evelyn Bronson Cleaver.  Oregon St. @ #17 Oregon. 

Decisions, decisions.  Which one of the gazillion uni combinations will the Ducks wear at Autzen Stadium against the Beavers?  Because with the PAC 12’s #1 offense, the Ducks are pretty likely to outscore the Beavs’ FBS 121st ranked offense and the Ducks uni scheme may be the most interesting aspect of the game.

Projected winner:  Oregon.


Thy Kingdom Come.  #7 Baylor @ # 19 TCU. 

When these two Texas church school scoring machines meet in Ft. Worth, you can count on one thing:  The heavens will open and points will rain down.

They combined for 119 last year in Waco.

Bring your calculators to the game.  You’ll need them.

Projected winner:  Baylor.


Just A Little Bit South Of North Carolina-Dean Martin.  #1 Clemson @ South Carolina.

There will be no visor throwing in Columbia on Saturday now that the original HBC is gone.

The Fightin’ Dabos need to preserve their top spot in the CFP—and behind Heisman contending QB Deshaun Watson, so they shall.

Projected winner: Clemson.


"Ya’ll get into the truck, we goin’ up to the big house."—Jeff Foxworthy.  #8 Ohio State @ #10 Michigan.

The spirits of Woody and Bo will linger over the Big House when the Buckeyes come to Ann Arbor to face the Wolverines.

A chance for Ohio State to get into the Big 10 championship game (if there’s losing help from Mich. St. and Iowa) is on the line.

This year's stats for both teams indicate that whoever wins the ground game is likely to prevail.

Projected winner: Michigan.

“Big wheels keep on turnin,’ takin’ me home to see my kin.”-Lynyrd Skynyrd.  #2 Alabama @ Auburn

Intrastate country cousins the Tide and Tigers meet at Jordan-Hare Stadium on what is considered New Year’s Day in Alabama. That’s because whichever team wins, the other team and their fans have to live with it—HARD--for the next 365 days.

Oh sure, you say, there are other rivalries as bitter as this one.  Yeah, like the Israelis and the Palestinians.  However, if they fielded FBS teams, Israel-PLO would probably still come in second to Bama-Auburn in rivalry status .  Maybe third.  Or, fourth.  Or….

Bama has to win to stay alive for an SEC championship game berth and preserve its spot in the Final Four.  Auburn…is just playing for pride after a dismal year when at the start of the season many prognosticators had them winning the SEC West.

Now…when we last left our heroes Gus and Nick on the Pat Dye Field turf two years ago with :01 to play…….nah, nothing like that would ever happen again, would it???

Hey, c'mon, it’s the Iron Bowl.

Projected winner…in possibly a close one: Bama.


Rock, sometime when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper.”—Ronald Reagan in Knute Rockne, All American.  #6 Notre Dame @ # 9 Stanford.

SAT scores and athleticism meet in Palo Alto.  The Irish, after a CFP drop due to the sluggish win in Boston last week, face the two-loss Cardinal in what very much still has CFP implications for the Leprechauns.

If there’s a team this year that’s been more injury-bitten than the Irish and has still found a way to win, Coach Jim Bob would like to see it.

The Cardinal boasts a Heisman-contending runner in Christian McCaffrey and three-year starter Kevin Hogan behind center.

The Irish will need all the luck they can get to go the distance with Stanford.

Projected winner:  Stanford.


“You’re the reason God made Oklahoma.”—Shelly West and David Frizzell.  #3 Oklahoma @ #11 Oklahoma State.

Not since Miranda and Blake (who, BTW, did a duet of the 1981 hit, as well) split earlier this year has there been a family feud in Oklahoma that’s drawn as much attention as when the Sooners meet the Cowboys in Stillwater.

And, not since the great Oklahoma land rush of 1889 has there been the possibility of an offensive stampede like there might be in Boone Pickens Stadium Saturday night.

With OU’s Bob Stoops and State’s Mike Gundy prowling the sidelines, there could possibly be some uproariously funny HBC antics based on what the Generation Z/Boomlets do on the field.

CFP possibilities abound in what could be a track meet with a football thrown in for good measure. 

Hey, they don’t call it “Bedlam” for nuthin’.

Projected winner:  OU.


Now, some Quick Headlines…


“Abe said, ‘Where you want this killin’ done?’  God said, ‘Out on highway 61.”-Bob Dylan.  #18 Ole Miss at #21 Miss. State.

As sure as U.S. 61, aka the Blues Highway, winds its way up the west side of the Magnolia State, the Egg Bowl in Starkville will be a raucously entertaining evening affair featuring two very good QBs in Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly and State’s Dak Prescott.

But, the ‘Dog D may prove the difference.

Projected winner:  Miss. State.


“We already won, we already won, And ain't no need to play no more games.”—Flo Rida.  # 13 Florida State @ #12 Florida.

The Gators have a SEC East slot in the conference championship game sewn up already.  The two-loss Seminoles are now playing to try to get a really good bowl bid somewhere south of the CFP.

Saban acolytes Jimbo Fisher and Jim McElwain will have their charges keyed up and playing hard long after the home crowd sings “We Are The Boys,” just before the fourth quarter begins.

Projected winner:  Florida.


“Such a strange situation stoppin’ every hundred miles…callin’ Baton Rouge”—Garth Brooks.  Texas A&M @ LSU.

Oops.  I left out their rankings.  Oh.  Wait.  No, I didn’t. 

In just 28 days, the Tigers and the Aggies have completely dropped out of the AP Top 25 due to a brutal November.

Now, in his 11th season, after a BCS National Championship—but, now facing the possibility of back-to back 4-4 SEC seasons--LSU HBC and HGE (Head Grass Eater) Les Miles may be out of Baton Rouge in mere days. 


Gee, I faintly remember when Bama ran off Gene Stallings, UT ran off Mack Brown and Texas A&M ran off R.C. Slocum.  As Dr. Phil would say, how’s that working out for ya???

Careful, now LSU admin. and fans.  As Emmylou Harris would say, "the thing they don't tell you about the blues when you got 'em, you keep on fallin' 'cause here ain't no bottom."

Now…stay tuned for the return of the Leonard Fournette Show.

Projected winner:  LSU


Sources:;; Associated Press;; A-Z Lyrics.



For your CFB TV watching pleasure, the quintessential, easy-to-read guide: