When it’s bad, college football can really suck. But when it’s good…oh boy.
Last weekend, it was very, very good. I have two TVs in my living room, side-by-side, and in the span of about 15 minutes, Wisconsin won their ridiculous game over Minnesota thanks primarily to a blocked punt, Michigan topped Penn State’s gutsy drive with one of their own (aided by two phantom seconds added to the Big House clock) and Matt Leinart somehow got the clock stopped when he fumbled out of bounds (it’s not supposed to do that) and made his QB sneak into history, helping Southern Cal overcome a nation’s worth of Irish rooters in the best football game I remember seeing this century.
Add to that Alabama’s clutch drive against Ole Miss leading to a game-winning field goal with no time left, West Virginia’s tackling of Louisville QB Brian Brohm just outside the goal line, stopping what would’ve been a tying two-point conversion in that game’s third overtime, and UCLA’s outrageous comeback on Washington State, including a third-and-three from the Wazzou nine with precious little time on the clock, whereupon the Bruins scored the tying TD and sent the game into OT. No, my crummy cable company didn’t let me see all those games (though I did get the Tide and some of the Mountaineers), but all I can tell you is this: whenever your know-it-all brainiac friend with the pocket protector and mounds of statistics about how big-time intercollegiate athletics are leeches on the forehead of American universities, think back to last Saturday, remember play after play of pulse-pounding excitement that only sports can consistently give, and offer your friend a winsome smile.
He just wouldn’t understand.
The White Sox are in their first World Series in 46 years. How does that play in the handicapping world? Are a lot of bettors (including you) on that bandwagon? What were the odds on them winning the AL before the season started? Do you find them to be an appealing team to root for?
Rob Gillespie, BoDog.ws: Not really. I think bettors were shocked to see the Yankees and Red Sox out so fast and were playing wait and see. On the year, the White Sox got no love from bettors. They opened at 35/1 last fall and moved as high as 50/1 in the offseason. Their fast start drew a couple of large bets but bettors never really showed support in any numbers. I don’t find the team itself particularly appealing, but its tough not to like Ozzie Guillen and the way he has his team play.
Assuming the Astros win one of the next three NLCS games, who do you like between them and the White Sox in the World Series? Do you expect the world to care, or will this be one of those Series that no one watches?
RG, BoDog.ws: Pujols hits a clutch monster Home Run Monday night, the Colts come back from 17 down early to destroy the hapless looking Rams and all anyone is talking about at the water cooler today is USC/Notre Dame. I think this will be the World Series time forgot if you live outside of Texas or Illinois. I’ll take the White Sox starters and rested bullpen and say Chicago in 5. Just guessing here of course!
How about that USC/Notre Dame game? Boy, was that an Instant Classic, or what? How did Vegas do on that one, and what were your impressions of the Trojans. Are they going to win the national championship?
RG, BoDog.ws: Action was so balanced on that one that we got to be true fans for a game, and what a game. I stood in front of my TV and applauded at the end. I wonder how the Houston Texans would fare against either team right now? That was an instant classic for sure. I would worry about a letdown next week if wasn’t Washington up next on their sched. USC has not played championship caliber ball in the first half of their last three games and they will give Cal and UCLA shots to beat them if they don’t get that sorted out quickly.
In the NFL, is New England in serious, serious trouble, or do you expect them to get healthy and make another run?
RG, BoDog.ws: I put my back out once. The most surprising thing was how much other muscles hurt from having to compensate. I think the same is true of the Pats right now. The more that bench gets stretched, the more guys are going to get banged up. They have the mental make-up to recover quickly but there may not be enough time left in the season to physically recover given how good the AFC looks this year. Bruschi’s return is likely to give a small emotional lift, but I don’t think he will make enough physical difference to stop the bleeding. The bye week will help as well. Buff/Ind/@Mia the next three games: winning two is a must if they want to get back to the Super Bowl; winning all three would show they are still the team to beat; losing two or more of those and it’s time to build for next year.