A Hoosier Sports Tale

Posted: December 21, 2017 by cschrump in Uncategorized

by Mike Johnston

Ki

The light, cancel that, the beacon, hits my sternum like a salt truck.

NAME YOURSELF!!

Unlit hallway. My room is six steps away. I know my bowels are there, but they seem to want to give way. I pay rent here. All is well. Right?

‘Um, it’s Mike. Mike Johnston?’ Questioning my own name, as the muzzle of my roommate’s gun is targeted directly at my innards. Unfortunately for both of us, my BAC and the caliber of his weapon are similar numbers.

Recognition replaces damnation on his face.

“Jesus, dude. Why did you bang on the door that way,” he questions, the weapon thankfully now pointed downward.

“The power is out, man! You have my spare key!”

And with that he ushers me into a home of my own, and we have a beer. Lord knows we both needed one. Bloomington is under (within?) two inches of ice, and the campus is a mile away. Classes are cancelled for the foreseeable future, the power is out, and we have a fridge full of Keystone that needs transported to the snowy stoop, right next to the lookout owl.

———- – – – – – – –

I lived less than a mile from Assembly Hall at the time, but for once, Ed Magoni and I are leaving at the same time.  We have just beaten up on a directional team in mid-December, back before the Big Ten lost its mind and scheduled conference games before Christmas and a conference tournament in New York City.

Sidenote: The fact that we’re letting the Big East dictate anything in terms of our scheduling might explain why the conference hasn’t won a national title since Adam Ballinger was relevant.

Regardless, Ed had asked his intern – me – to head to the opposing Iocker room. Instead of the typical postgame regurgitation story, I was tasked with getting something – anything – out of the opposing coach. I failed, and I think he knew it. He likely had already heard the clip and the questions that came a little too quickly out of my mouth.

I’m in no mood to talk, and out of nowhere Ed goes, “Hey. You know that used to be the player’s party house right?”

“Huh,” I respond incredulously.

“Oh yeah. Your place. Keep in mind, I know where your checks go. If that same coach still owns that house, there were some PARTIES up in there!”

I smile once I arrive home. I clean my bathroom vigorously, and think of my landlord with a little less vitriol.

– – – – – – – – – –

The house is not our own, and we see the landlord thrice yearly. He is a former Indiana basketball coach, not of the head variety, and one cannot be seen as a “former coach” in these parts without questions being asked. He shakes our hands before we’re allowed to live in his domicile. He thinks a bong is a crack pipe. He has rules that we know he won’t enforce. He smells of yesterday.  His girlfriend (or so we’re told) picks up the rent checks that our parents write like clockwork. “First of the month. Don’t make me find you on the third.”

Picture the former assistant, trudging around town like some proud moment of yesteryear. It would be impossible to be anonymous in a town as basketball-crazed as Bloomington, so he no longer hangs out here. He has his own home, in a state further west, and the grade school and middle school camps he runs are based off of the teachings of his boss, Robert Montgomery Knight. I imagine they are lucrative.

– – – – – – – –  — – –

“Hep passed away.”

Those words still sting, and as I was stacking lumber in a mill some 70 minutes from Bloomington, they damn near took my hand off. I read the text my mother had sent at an inopportune time, and tried to gather my senses as quickly as possible.

Walnut dust in my lungs, I stifled a tear. I allowed them to spill once I was away, on my own at lunch.

Hep was the first IU football coach I believed in, and the first one that granted me a phone interview. Ed didn’t have to mince words, as the message was clear: ‘Don’t screw this up’. Hep had me sold long before then, and I tried my best not to screw the pooch on the interview. When he spoke of a rocket ship, I believed every last drop of fuel coming out of his mouth. I smiled – grinned really – when he used the same turn of phrase later on ESPN, after his first signature win.

I returned to IU the fall after Hep passed away, and as the Bucket Game approached, I realized one of my best friends had never been to a big-time college football game.  And as far as Memorial Stadium goes, this was it. Play 13. Beat Purdue. Do it for Hep. Ed needed extra coverage for that game, and I selfishly asked if I could attend as a spectator instead. Without missing a beat, he said, “Of course.”

Oh, did we celebrate. And we somehow made it home in pieces, managing to keep the lookout owl intact.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I’m sitting two rows up from Ed, and it is halftime. We share our usual text or three about the first half, but this is my chance to make him laugh and vice-versa.  And hey! The Hoosiers are actually in it against a pretty good Iowa team! We share similar incredulities about how and why Kirk Ferentz refuses to throw the ball against this shitty IU secondary. We eat “catered” Chipotle, which has created a serious line in the press box restroom. We separate as play resumes and as if we were sharing a brain, we both send a text at the same time. There’s 2:50 left in the game. The Hoosiers are clinging to a lead they simply won’t hold.

“WATCH FOR MCNUTT. MULTIPLE SERIES BREWING”

“MCNUTT GOING DEEP SIDELINE SOON. BEEN SETTING IT UP FOR 3 SERIES.”

Marvin McNutt catches a 53-yard touchdown pass on that drive, and the game ends predictably in heartbreak, as the Hoosiers (Damarlo) belch the game away. Ed and I share a steely look, one that says equal parts “Been here before” and “F*** Iowa.”

– – – – – – –  — – – – – – –

Believe it or not, there was a time before the Big Ten Network existed. That is probably still the case in Decatur, Georgia, but I managed to find a sports bar and beer haven called Taco Mac that carried the fledgling product. It was Tom Crean’s first year, and the IU brethren were ever patient, ever true. I mean, my God, if you can love Devan Dumes, you can send Christmas cards to the penitentiary. I was there for every conference game, as we sunk lower and lower into the Sampson Swamp. The true IU fans wore that team like a proud bandage. And when we beat Iowa for our lone conference win, tears in my eyes, the knowledgeable bartender picked up my tab with a simple point and thumbs up.

A text from Ed, always thinking of others:

“How bout them Hoosiers!”

= = = = = = = = = = = =

Fast forward three years. The former landlord and assistant coach is no longer in my life, but I am still in his. I recall his name being listed as an assistant coach on every barber poster in town, from Evansville to Mishawaka. You know the poster: faces of players and coaches, arranged in some trapezoid or semicircle. If your barber shop didn’t have smiling faces of Norm Ellenberger, John Treloar, and Tim Garl, I’m aware of a town that does. I’ll have my hair cut there, please and thank you. I know these names as if they are etched within my cerebellum. But today seems different. I’m lucky enough to be covering a game between Indiana and Kentucky, the latter being the number one team in the country. It’s December 10, 2011. I have a weird itch, as if I want to get my ears lowered. I want to see the familiar names.

I head southwards on SR-37 early, hours early, as if the Wildcat fans are somehow headed south and I’m due for a major traffic Issue. In reality, I’m texting and driving. I’m telling Ed how thrilled I am to have the opportunity to cover the game, and asking if he needs any extra pregame help or coverage.

He tells me to relax and enjoy, and in a very un-Ed way, that he feels good about this one. Eight hours later, I stand, arms crossed in my candy stripe dress shirt underneath the 1953 Championship banner, as Verdell Jones gets bailed out by Christian Watford. I’m not supposed to cheer, but I do, and somehow, I don’t storm the court.

I take a victory lap by the Delt House, the Union, and Kirkwood. It’s pushing 2:00, and my stories are filed, but I want so badly to soak in the moment. Lastly, I drive down 3rd Street, past Mother Bear’s and another party pad with ancient memories, and I double back. I think of the old house, the player’s house, and wonder if the lookout owl is still there.

I creep back towards the bypass, and turn off near the golf course. The lookout owl is gone. Some part of me is glad for the former landlord. Maybe he’s finally put Bloomington in his rear view mirror.

– – – – —  – – – –

It’s days like today that I miss my friend the most. Ed Magoni was a tried and true Hoosier fan, one that could run back plays of national championships and first-round losses to Pepperdine equally. We lost him far too soon. He was the one I wanted to text so badly when Bonzie Colson’s half-court heave rimmed out last Saturday, giving the Hoosiers their first big win under Archie Miller.

Ed was selfless, and the hardest working journalist I’ve ever met. Yet, he always found a way to infuse his dry wit and positivity into any dire situation. After I was tasked with covering the dullest of games, a horrific football loss to Northwestern in Evanston, I found myself in gridlocked Chicago traffic. I texted Ed to make sure he had received my stories, and more importantly, that I hadn’t been too harsh.

“Got em. Thanks. Hey, it could always be worse. You could be trapped in Michigan Stadium. And that Northwestern popcorn is gold. ”

While the Michigan Stadium bit is a story for another day, the truth remains that I miss those interactions more than I could have ever thought possible. And of course, Ed was correct about the Northwestern popcorn.

Ed gave me opportunities that I may not have deserved, and nothing made me happier than getting an e-mail saying he enjoyed one of my columns. He’d tell me to cut this damn thing down by 700 words, truth be told.

But Ed is in a better place, and he can’t tell me to cut this column down. He was my journalistic lookout owl, and always had more faith in my ability to cover an event or write a column than I did myself. The fact that he enjoyed my scathing Purdue columns was a bonus. He allowed me to cover soccer national championships, Big Ten basketball titles, and praise the Lord, a win I never thought was possible at the Breslin Center.

I wonder what sort of texts we would have exchanged on Monday night, as the Hoosiers fell to Fort Wayne, some 48 hours after that big win over the Irish. I wager we would have been texting right after Saturday’s game, saying “Good win. No time to celebrate, big game on Monday.”

If I was thinking it, Ed was thinking it a minute sooner.

Ed would have bemoaned the lack of rotation, the lack of effort, and would not have sugarcoated it one iota. I miss that, and a large part of me always will.

The wins are easy  to cover. The losses are when the people want the full-court press. And Ed would be putting on the 1-3-1 trap right now.

O

+

Advertisements

Betting with Britt: Bowl Edition

Posted: December 16, 2017 by cschrump in Uncategorized

by Kenny Britt

Bowl season is upon us, it’s one of my favorite times of year! Not counting the national championship game, there are 39 games to be played in just over 2 weeks. Most of these games are meaningless to everybody but the Universities involved and of course, Vegas. Handicapping them, especially in advance, is very difficult. You have coaches that have left or are leaving, star players transferring or sitting out to avoid injury, players becoming academically ineligible right before kickoff, or kids get arrested for shoplifting or selling their gift cards they are given for the bowl they’re in and being suspended. HAPPENS EVERY YEAR, lol. So basically, you need to try and find the team in each game that has the most to play for. Especially in the first half of the bowl season. So, I’m going to give you every game, side and total, for a whopping 78 picks.  Am I betting every pick? HELLZ NO!!! I will however try and give you some of my favorite plays. This is just a lot of fun for me to do. Honestly, if I go 1 game over .500 here, I’d be happy.

HERE WE GO:

NEW ORLEANS BOWL: Troy -7/Under 62.5

CURE BOWL: Western Kentucky -6.5/Under 53.5

LAS VEGAS BOWL: Boise St +7/Under 61.5

NEW MEXICO BOWL: Colorado St -5.5/Over 58     ***STRONG PLAY ON THE OVER***

CAMELLIA BOWL: Arkansas St -4/Under 64

BOCA RATON BOWL: Florida Atlantic -22/Over 64.5   ***Like FAU***

FRISCO BOWL: Smu -5/Over 70   ***STRONG PLAY ON THE OVER***

GASPARILLA BOWL: Temple -7/Over 56

BAHAMAS BOWL: UAB +7.5/Over 55

FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL: Wyoming -1/Under 44.5

BIRMINGHAM BOWL: Texas Tech +2/Over 68

ARMED SERVICES BOWL: Army +6.5/Under 46.5

DOLLAR GENERAL BOWL: Toledo -7.5/Over 62

HAWAII BOWL: Fresno St +2.5/Under 49 ***STRONG PLAY ON FRESNO ST***

HEART OF DALLS BOWL: Utah -7/Over 57 ***STRONG PLAY ON OVER 57***

QUICKEN LANE BOWL: Northern Illinois +5.5/OVER 47 ***STRONG PLAY ON N. ILLINOIS +5.5***

CACTUS BOWL: Ucla +2/Over 64.5

INDEPENDENCE BOWL: FSU -15/Over 49

PINSTRIPE BOWL: Iowa -3/Under 46

TEXAS BOWL: Texas +3/Over 60.5

FOSTERS FARM BOWL: Arizona -3.5/Over 65 ***STRONG PLAY ON OVER 65***

MILITARY BOWL: Navy -1/Under 55

CAMPING WORLD BOWL: Ok st -4/Over 63 ***STRONG PLAY ON OVER 63***

ALAMO BOWL: Stanford +2.5/Under 49

SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION BOWL: Washington St. -2/Over 45

BELK BOWL: Texas Am +3/Under 65

SUN BOWL: NC ST +6.5/Over 59.5

MUSIC CITY BOWL: Kentucky +7/Over 51

ARIZONA BOWL: Utah st -4/Under 62

COTTON BOWL: USC +7.5/Over 64.5 ***BET THE FARM, HOUSE, TRUCK AMD DOG ON USC***

TAXSLAYER BOWL: Louisville -6.5/Over 63 ***STRONG PLAY ON VILLE AND THE OVER***

LIBERTY BOWL: Memphis -3.5/Over 65.5 ***STRONG PLAY ON OVER 65.5***

FIESTA BOWL: Penn St-2/Over 55

ORANGE BOWL: Miami +6.5/Over 45

OUTBACK BOWL: Gamecocks +7.5/Over 42.5

PEACH BOWL: Auburn -9.5/Over 66.5 ***STRONG PKAY ON OVER 65.5***

CITRUS BOWL: Notre Dame +3/Over 51.5

ROSE BOWL: Georgia -2/Under 60

SUGAR BOWL: Clemson -3/Over 47

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:

CLEMSON 31 GEORGIA 24

I’d like to wish everybody a sincere Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Be safe, don’t drink and drive, and remember what the great Ricky Bobby says, “If you ain’t first, you’re last”

Betting with Britt

Posted: December 15, 2017 by cschrump in Uncategorized

by Jeff Henning

(Editors Note: Jeff Henning went 6-4 last week so Kenny isn’t dressing this week. Betting with Britt continues with Henning’s hot picks. Let’s. Go!)

My 1 week cameo has turned into two. I’m ok with that,  because although we did finish 6-4 last week, I was hoping for a little bit more.  Kenny is focusing this week on the 39, yes 39 college bowl games that will be played over the next 3 weeks, therefore, I am going to take another swing for 10 NFL picks!  If you played 100 on all 10 last week, you would have profited 160.  Lets make that much more this week.  The winners train is coming thru, are you gonna ride?

Denver -2 at Colts

My top pick of the week is the Atlanta Falcons -5 at Tampa.  Tampa is 4-9, going nowhere, and Atlanta needs to keep winning for a playoff birth. They currently sit in the projected 6 spot as a wildcard.  They are dangerous inside, or in good weather, and Tampa should be a nice venue for the dirty birds to keep rolling.

Next is a road dog that I think vegas has missed the line on big time.  Of course they have the billion dollar casinos and literally print money every day so its pretty dumb of me to think I’m in some way smarter, but we shall see on this one.  Arizona +5.5 at Washington.  Take the points, and thumb your nose at the sports book when you collect.

Next is a two for one.  I really like what Baltimore has done recently and look for them to continue their push to get in the playoffs.  They are -9 on the road at Cleveland where the weather could be a little sketchy, but I’m gonna ride with the Ravens -9 and take the over 40! Two for one, sounds like fun to me, just don’t let the wife catch ya!

In any division game, no matter the teams, it’s hard to give up more than 10 points and still cover the spread.  The AFC South is garbage as usual, but they are still professionals and getting paid, so that should be enough to make you compete. Houston is +12.5 at Jacksonville, and even though I think Jacksonville wins this game easily, I don’t think they will cover. Take Houston +12.5  and pray that the defense can do enough to keep it close.

The balance of picks:

Chargers -1.5 at KC

Vikings -10 vs. Cincy

Pats/Steelers OVER 53

Packers +2 at Carolina (Aaron Rodgers is the only reason to make this bet)

Happy hunting!  Let’s build that bank roll to invest in Kenny’s 39 bowl games!

*Season (74-63-1)

Brace Yourselves for the Return

Posted: December 13, 2017 by cschrump in Uncategorized

by Chad Schrump

Image result for paul george

He’s back.

Paul George, a man that tried as hard as humanly possible to leave the Indiana Pacers with absolutely zero leverage when attempting to trade him to another NBA team this summer, potentially leaving a proud franchise decimated, is back.

Paul George, a man that told then new Pacers’ President Kevin Pritchard he was “all-in” on building a winner in Indianapolis – then just a week later, allowed his agent to leak to the media that he had no intention of resigning with Indiana when his contract expired next summer, is back.

Paul George, a man that essentially told Indianapolis that your city isn’t good enough for me – even though the city and its fans treated him like a second son for seven seasons, is back.

Paul George, a man that upon playing in his first game back after suffering a potentially career ending, gruesome leg injury – returned to a sold-out stadium, his fans showering him with love and affection, wanting their star to know he was badly missed and was “one of them”, is back.

Tonight, Paul George, Public Enemy #1, returns to Indianapolis in a much different capacity, as his Oklahoma City Thunder…, no, whoa – that’s not accurate… as Russell Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder visit the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Paul was never much of a leader, so obviously, OKC is not Paul’s team. It’s Westbrook’s.  Matter of fact, Paul George was so bad at leading that David West decided he’d had enough.  He literally left over $10M on the table to go work with real professionals out west.  He knew Paul couldn’t lead – wouldn’t lead – just didn’t have the internal makeup for it.  Paul will never, ever be a Batman.  He’s always going to be a poor man’s Robin.

I understand that the tone of this column seems to have been set, that it’s just another rip Paul George piece but I promise, it’s not what you think. No, really!  Stay with me, here.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to hear the boos. Oh, how I’ve waited for this moment – to wrap my cold soul in a warm blanket of Pacer fan resentment.  The boos will be thunderous, rolling down from the rafters to the floor like an avalanche of anger, hurt and bitterness – perhaps unlike anything, and I mean anything, we’ve ever heard before in this town.  This fan base has been waiting for months for this moment but I’m here to tell you, they’re not nearly as angry as they thought they’d be.  Not even close.

You see, this town has fallen in love with Victor Oladipo.

And love heals all wounds.

On June 30th, when Paul George was traded to OKC for former Indiana Hoosier basketball star Victor Oladipo and 2nd year forward Domantas Sabonis, most thought the Pacers had essentially given George away for free.  Most believed, at worse, Indiana could have at least gotten a couple of late, 1st round picks for their franchise player and that if they were really lucky, could turn one of those picks into a star but clearly, draft picks weren’t even on the table.  The Pacers were left with OKC scraps.

Take it or leave it, Pritchard. Those were the options.

He took it.

Image result for kevin pritchard

How incredibly fortunate for the Pacers that he did because Sabonis has been nothing short of outstanding and Victor Oladipo? This man has been a Godsend.

Vic plays hard. Man, does he play hard!  He rarely complains.  He hustles – no, he sprints! He defends.  He’s passionate.  He’s a skywalker.  He’s fun.  He’s a leader.  He’s clutch.  He’s cool.  He’s marketable.  He’s a role model.  Best of all, he’s a closer!  He’s everything to this team, to this franchise, to this basketball loving state, right now.

He’s almost too good to be true.

Most importantly, when Oladipo hits big shots, and man – he’s already hit a bunch of them, just watch him look up into the stands, his stands, point to his floor with both hands and say, “This is my house!  This is my city.  This is where I want to be!”  He makes Pacer fans feel good again, like they’re good enough, like this city is good enough.

Image result for vic oladipo pacers

Victor Oladipo wants to be an Indiana Pacer. He’s not looking for the next best landing spot.  This is where he wants to be and it feels good.  It feels right.

So, even though Paul George thought he’d left this team for dead, leaving Kevin Pritchard the unenviably task of trying to salvage a franchise for just pennies on the dollar, know this: Oklahoma City was absolutely fleeced in this trade.  There were a lot of jokes circulating in the print media, radio/TV and social media about how bad the Pacers looked coming out of the deal but who’s laughing now?

If the season ended today, the Indiana Pacers would be the #5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and they’re just mere percentage points out of the 4th slot – where they’d actually have home court advantage in their first round series.  No chance you’d have believed that in July, right?  I wouldn’t have.  I know there’s a long, long way to go but this is fun.

OKC? They wouldn’t even be in the playoffs!  They’re the 9-seed out west where only 8 teams get in.  They’re a lottery team!  See, I think that’s funny.  I think that’s absolutely delicious.  Karma can be a real mutha, right?

When they introduce the 6’ 9” Forward from Fresno State, boo with all your might, as I know you will. But deep inside, smile and say a special thank you to PG.  After all, without his desire to dump Indianapolis like a bad habit and move on to wherever he wants to move on to, we’d never had been given the building blocks for the next 10 years in Oladipo and Sabonis.  Indiana’s foundation has been firmly built.

So, thanks PG and by the way – don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way back out of town.

 

Betting with Britt

Posted: December 7, 2017 by cschrump in Uncategorized

(Editor’s note: I received a text from Kenny this Wednesday. After going 2-7-1 last weekend, he tapped out and wanted a one weekend break so he chose a red hot gambler as our guest picker. If he has a good weekend, we ain’t goin’ back. Kenny might have gotten Wally Pipped. Buckle up. —Chad)

by Jeff Henning

This weeks picks are coming to you from cold, wet, dark, gloomy England. I am your “guest prognosticator” Jeff Henning.  Kenny has done a good job this season with picks. After having a rough week, he needed some time away to gather his thoughts and get his winning mindset back!!!

(Chad here again… check out Kenny Britt’s text to me. You can almost taste the salty tears.)

Outside of Army/Navy, there aren’t any other college football games to worry about, so we will concentrate strictly on the NFL.  With the playoff push on, there are some intriguing matchups!  I won’t promise you a 10-0 card, but I will tell you that I’ve been hot the last couple of weeks and look to continue my collecting from “the man”, so if you want to have a good week and make a few $$$$ get on board and ride the winners train with me!

My top game and 10*** Lock is the Green Bay Packers -3 at Cleveland!  If you play one game, this is the 1. Hundley is doing enough to keep this team going until double check can return for a possible playoff push!  Double down, here with whatever you are comfortable with, I don’t give games 10*** for no reason.

Next I like Dallas -4.5 at the New York Football Giants. Firing the head coach and general manager will do nothing to drag this team from the cess pool it has been in since OBJ went down.  Jerrys boys will take them to the woodshed this weekend!

Seattle and Jacksonville both sit at 8-4 and both normally boast pretty good defense.  What does that mean?  Well to me it means take the Over at 39 and cash your ticket!

As much as I dislike Brady and Beli”cheat”, it’s hard to overlook what they continue doing! Winning, and winning big.  Gronk being out, is a slight concern, but that’s more about my fantasy team than it is the Patriots covering a 9 point line against the 5-7 Miami Dolphins. Lay the points and smile when you collect!

Possibly the best game of the weekend to watch will be the 10-2 Eagles going cross country to visit the LA Rams.  Everyone is high on the eagles, and I like them a lot, I’m just not sure they NEED this one as bad as the Rams do in their home stadium.  Tread lightly and enjoy this one, but I’m going with the Rams -2.

Balance of picks:

Chargers -6 over the Redskins

Atlanta +2 in a close one with the Saints

Minnesota -2.5 at Carolina

Oakland +4 at Kansas City

Chicago and Cincy are both hot garbage, but they can score a little bit against bad competition.  My theory is they are both bad enough to take the total over the 37.5 number.

Enjoy the weekend, have some fun, and watch a lot of the greatest game on Earth! Football!!!  American Football, not this thing in the UK they keep calling futbal.

*Season (68-59-1)

Betting with Britt

Posted: December 2, 2017 by cschrump in Uncategorized

by Kenny Britt

Last week: 6-4

We were 1.5 points away from an 8-2 week. ND under got us by 1/2 point and Ohio St. under got us by 1 point. But, that’s how it goes and those types of things happen more often than you think. This is another solid weekend of football coming up, lots on the line. And remember what I’ve said a few times this year, I play the games I LIKE, not the biggest game on tv. I say this cause Auburn/Georgia is gonna be a dog fight and I just don’t have a feel on this game. I’m leaning towards Georgia and the Under, but keeping it out of my plays. Just watch and enjoy a potential game to be remembered.

1) Akron/Toledo- UNDER 58.5

2) OK/TCU- OVER 63.5 (probably by mid 3rd quarter)

3) Wiscy/OSU- This may be due to my total dislike of everything regarding OSU, including their head coach and both their coordinators, I’ll let you know around midnight Saturday, lol. WISCY +6 (OUTRIGHT WINNER)

4) Miami/Clemson- Never have liked Miami but I do like Mark Richt. But Clemson is too much here. CLEMSON -9

5) Miami/Clemson- Sometimes great defenses make games be 13-9 And sometimes great defenses cause lots of turnovers, giving their offenses good field position all night. The latter happens tonight. OVER 46.5

6) Detroit/Balt- Still don’t understand how Balt is in the wild card race. LIONS +3

7) Minn/Atlanta- Probably the game of the week. Two really good, one of them will lose to Philly in the NFC championship game. Hjome field makes a difference here. ATLANTA -3

8) NE/Bills- See analysis on #3. BILLS +9

9) Houston/Tenn- I won’t be at the game, but I’ll be right next to the stadium, so my mojo will be all over the place. TITANS -6.5

10) KC/Jets- KC can’t keep falling off the planet, right? KC can’t let Phil “cry me a” River(s) make the playoffs, right? KC can’t let Andy Reid have anymore donuts, right? KC can’t get beat by the Jets, right? KC -3

*Season (66-52)

playoffpicture

As everyone jumps onto he Auburn bandwagon let me remind you that no 2-loss team has ever made the 4-team playoff.  With that said let’s take a look at who gets in and what the pecking order will be.

  1. Clemson vs. Miami – winner of the ACC gets a spot and the loser is out.
  2. Wisconsin – win the BIG10 and they are in, lose and they are out.
  3. Georgia – win the SEC and they are in, lose and they are out.
  4. Alabama – Nick Saban gets to take a page out of Bobby Knight’s book and just sit back and enjoy this weekend.  As of today I give them the nod over Oklahoma but it is close.
  5. Oklahoma – a convincing win over TCU again might just put them over Bama.
  6. Auburn, Ohio St. and UCF – If Auburn and Ohio St. win Saturday then these three teams will come into play.  UCF will have to beat a very hot Memphis team to keep their hopes afloat.  UCF will have only 1 less Top 50 win and 2 fewer losses than the other two.  The committee has always poo-pooed 2 loss teams and the buzz created by adding UCF (who will travel well) will be very tempting.
  7. Penn St., Washington, TCU and USC – These teams have absolutely no shot at all.

Once again, no need to watch the ESPN dog and pony show tonight.