No sports, no problem

The July Sports Illustrated Wall Calendar is up. With the mainstream sports still sidelined by COVID-19, I thought I’d make the calendar match by pulling out some of the more obscure Sports Illustrated covers from over the years. I have to hand it to the editorial staff at SI. They have certainly had their share of unusual cover stories. In fact, in the early years, it showcased a diversity of topics. There have been articles on beer, climate change, spear fishing and cocaine use in the NFL. Some of the covers don’t age as well as others, but at least they have not been afraid to take a risk. Here’s a look at some of the more unusual covers from the month of July.

While SI is generally a showcase for great sport photography, they have used artwork from time to time. I am not a fly fisherman, but I did like the simplicity of the cover.

Here is another stark and simple image typical of the early ’60s covers. The Americas Cup garnered more than a few covers over the years.

Although not from my original collection, I do seem to remember this cover. Nancy Lopez was pretty big for awhile. I seem to recall a JIF peanut butter commercial. I can’t verify that for sure, but she is on the board of directors for Smuckers, Inc. which owns JIF peanut butter. Coincidence? I think not. And oh yeah, Nancy was hell on the links. Three majors and 48 LPGA wins.

Tennis covers were particularly popular for a long time. There were a bunch in July thanks to Wimbledon. I had the pick of covers. Not surprisingly, the cover with 17 year old Maria Sharapova won over a 17 year old Boris Becker from a few years earlier. Tough luck for the Ginger.

This was actually a two part series. It is definitely one of the more unusual covers.

A year early, SI went with the creepy, monkey cover. It was particularly unsettling considering the movie channels seem to have the film “Outbreak” on every other day. It, of course, features a deadly virus carrying monkey. Ah, life imitating art. Awesome.

There aren’t many surfing covers and they don’t often extol the virtues of east coast surfing. The title was exactly what caught my eye when I picked the cover. Even my wife said, “Wait, East Coast Surfing?!?”

I laughed when I saw this cover mainly because it is about 20 years too early in its projection. It is not the first time SI blew a prediction. I have a pretty impressive man cave with five TVs but the largest is still only 75″. Sure, you could do a whole wall with a projector but why would you given the better quality of flat screens.

I can’t say for sure, but I think this is the only sulky to grace the cover of SI. It is the last time it makes Wall as well.

I love this cover. It feels just so ’60s. I can practically hear the Beach Boys playing in the background. I am guessing Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon can’t be too far away.

I remember this cover and the associated article well from this issue. Don’t blame the breed, blame the owners. SI made up for it later with a heartfelt cover and accompanying piece on the dogs from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz kennels.

Lance Armstrong is on a bit of a redemption tour, but let’s be honest, he still seems to be a jerk. Greg LeMond, on the other hand, is the original U.S. bicycling hero. This cover will probably always be used to contract the multiple Armstrong covers I have.

I think there must have been an editor that had a thing for women in jockey silks, because there are a few of these type covers. Robyn Smith herself has an interesting history. According to Encyclopedia.com, she fabricated a story to cover her troubled childhood. However, she rose from those humble beginnings to become the first female jockey to win a stakes race. By the mid ’70s, she was running at all the prestigious tracks of the U.S. After retiring, she married Fred Astaire and still resides in their Beverly Hills home today. It is quite the story behind that cover.

Certainly, the earlier covers tend to be much more varied, but the modern times have their moments as well. After all, smack dab in the middle of this month’s wall is a recent fashion cover featuring Odell Beckham. Yeah, that’s Sports Illustrated for you.

Dark Times

The June Sports Illustrated wall mural is up. Thanks to a generous fan of the site, I now have over seven decades of covers. Going through them was a bit like time travel without all the pesky altering of the future.

As you might guess, this cover from 1956 was unusual for the era. The vast majority of the early covers were fairly conservative. I hadn’t seen that many Wasps since we knocked down a nest in our barn when we were kids. The thoughtful photo of Floyd Patterson stood out against the travelogues of bon vivants and scuba diving playboys.

I have lived in Houston several times, but I never realized that Joe Morgan had played for the Astros. It’s not the first time I have been ignorant about black history, but I am getting better. Like they use to say on NBC Saturday mornings, “The more you know…”

Dick Allen is the greatest player not in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He had the pleasure of starting his minor league career as the first black player with the Phillies’ Little Rock, farm team. The fans there welcomed him with racial harassment and protest parades. It didn’t stop him from leading the league in total bases though. He, unfortunately, went from the frying pan to the fire when he made it to the show in Philly. In standard Philly fashion, he was greeted with showers of ice, feces, and even batteries. Stay classy Philly fan. Despite all this, he was Rookie of the Year and later league MVP. With a career .292 batting average, 351 home runs and nearly 2,000 hits, he deserves to be in HOF.

There seemed to be a disproportionate number of boxing covers in the early years. The volume waned considerably as the sport’s popularity dropped off. However, Ali only gained in fame as he aged. I have often said that Colin Kaepernick will likely have a similar ascent although at a lower angle.

This cover caught my eye because of how striking it was with the single black man serving a sea of white fans. The 1950’s was a golden era, just not for everyone.

I was never much of a Reggie Jackson fan, particularly because I didn’t like the Yankees. There’s no denying that he was a superstar. Damn Yankees.

I had never heard of Gypsy Joe Harris but apparently he fought his entire career with one eye. His career was stopped at 24 -1 when a physical finally discovered his disability.

There was a great ESPN 30 for 30 on Dupree. For all his failings, he did make a comeback after his USFL career and actually played in the NFL for a couple of years. It was too bad he didn’t have that kind of discipline his whole career. He could have been something special.

It was laughable when Gerry Cooney was on the cover and Larry Holmes was the fold-over. I guess SI was playing the great white hope angle. But honestly, I don’t think anyone thought Cooney had a chance.

  At least, SI gave Larry Holmes the cover after the fight.

Jordan covers abound in SI. It isn’t surprising with his six NBA titles, he was a constant fixture, particularly in the summer issues.

Golfers in general were also a very common cover occurrence in the summer. However, except for the occasional Lee Trevino, it was a lot of white guys in bad polyester slacks. Tiger Woods changed all that. Like Jordan before him, Woods was on a ton of SI covers.

Kobe said it all. With everything that has happened in the last couple of months, what’s next indeed.

Stay safe, stay strong, and support each other, regardless of race, creed or sexual orientation.

Peace.

A poor substitute

Seen any good games lately? Me either. I recognize the loss of games is trivial in light of the on-going struggles of much of the U.S. and the world, but it doesn’t make missing sports any less palatable. In addition to watching “The Last Dance”, the Michael Jordan documentary on ESPN, I am scratching my sports itch by watching the entire Friday Nights Lights television series (for about the fifth time, my family reminds me.)

At least I have the monthly routine of updating the SI wall calendar. I am down to covers that I have been avoiding for one reason or another. Maybe I didn’t like the subject matter or the look of the cover or it just didn’t fit the theme for the month. For the time being, the mix on the wall is going to be eclectic.

As an aside, I didn’t notice when I was putting it together, but Johnny Unitas is on the wall twice which is good because his covers are in close proximity to the John Manziel and Baker Mayfield covers, helping to offset the bad karma of those two Browns QBs.

I am still giving the Washington Nationals some love, hence the Expos cover. I am not a big fan of teams leaving the cities, but it doesn’t seem like Montreal was too fussed with the whole thing.

I like the looks of the Everest cover, but I have mixed emotions about it. Certainly a para-athlete climbing is impressive, but in general, the Everst experience is becoming one to avoid. It is so crowded climbing the mountain that you have to take a number. It is hardly the unique accomplishment it once was despite the fact that it is still very dangerous. That, and I have heard the base camp is a dump, literally.

This is one of my favorite Jordan covers from SI, which is saying something because he is on a ton of them. The casual shot of Jordan is the same essence that ESPN captured in that documentary. Easy going, life of the party. That was Jordan during the rare times when he was not bending both his opponents and teammates to his will. LeBron James has blown me away with his drive and determination, but he’s no Jordan when it comes to intensity. Then again, no one is.

SI did a piece recently about what we’re losing with pandemic. One loss is a full season of Mike Trout in his prime.

The same could be said of Sid Crosby. I don’t know if the NHL season will resume or not. It is a shame because the playoff hockey looked to be particularly competitive this year. The Capitals, Flyers, and Pens all took turns being dominant. The Stanley Cup playoffs certainly had a chance to be something special. Not sure that is going to happen now.

This cover makes me laugh but not because I don’t respect Rhonda Rousey. It was the outlandish headline. Her run was impressive, but UFC fighting, particularly with women, was hardly mainstream. To figure that she was the most dominant athlete in sport was hubris indeed. What’s the saying? Pride goeth before the fall. And, man, did Rousey fall. Hard.

True leadership is an attribute rarely seen. Not so much because individuals aren’t capable of it but because much of life is stable enough that being a good manager will often suffice. The pandemic, however, has provided that opportunity and no one seized that like Adam Silver as head of the NBA. His swift action to shut down the NBA led the way for the other sports teams to follow. I have a feeling it will be one of the “where were you when?” type of memories.

I hope everyone is hanging in there. This can’t last forever, so stay strong and stay safe.

We came out of hibernation for this?

It is April and while I have came out of my annual hibernation, it still feels like I am in a cave. The Coronavirus Pandemic has turned the whole world on its ear. I am thankful for all the healthcare professionals and first responders that are taking on this deadly virus. Meanwhile, I am shuffling along in my home office counting the days to when the curve is flattened and life can start to get back to normal. After all, even working in your pajamas gets old after a while.

I have already identified a number of stadiums for the fall tour, but everything is on hold for now. To add insult to injury, Sports Illustrated has finally made the switch from a weekly periodical to a monthly one. The man cave wall calendar is probably going to feel a bit repetitive in a few years. I need a strategy to find pre-1992 SI magazine covers to fill out my collection. Do they advertise library closings? Surprisingly, I still have about 15 – 20 covers per month that have never been on the wall. There is going to be at least one more year with new looks. Below are some of my favorites for this April.

The Washington Nationals finally got over the hump in 2019. Even though I am a Pirates fan, I give credit when credit is due. This year there will be a lot of Nats covers on the wall. Two observation with these covers. One, Washington has been good for a long time. The Harper cover was from 2015 and the Strasburg cover was from 2013. Winning championships is hard. This brings me to my second observation. Whatever Harper got out of the deal with the Phillies, was it worth not getting a ring?

The cover story strikes me as particularly relevant. It might be a stretch to say Covid-19 came from climate change. Some might say a Chinese lab is more likely. I will leave that investigation to the conspiracy nuts. However, there have been a number of studies that indicate as the earth warms the likelihood of super bugs grows.

As you might expect, April has a plethora of college basketball covers. These two have special meaning to me because I was actually at the Villanova game. The final minute of that game was as good as sports get. It was back to back clutch shots that I will never forget. The UNC fans I was sitting with were just crushed when the Wildcats sank the winner. I was glad to see them get their championship the next year. While not as significant as the loss of life, both players and fans have lost that thrill of victory for winter and spring sports this year. Covid-19 gets another set of victims.

I can’t deny it. I, too, got wrapped up in the Netflix “Tiger King” series. It was the first thing I thought of when I saw the cover of the Tiger Woods with a real tiger. I wouldn’t be surprised if Doc Antle had supplied that tiger for the photo op. There will be no Masters this year, so for the time being the Tiger King is the only tiger to watch.

There is one sports related activity that is still going on, and that’s the NFL draft. I can’t say whether Leonard Fournette was a good or bad pick at number four in 2017. Only time will answer that question. I like that cover because I fondly remember seeing him play as a LSU Tiger against Auburn. Suffice it to say, he was a man-eater in that game.

For all the science NFL teams put behind the draft, it still feels an awfully like a crap shoot. Nothing exemplifies that more than the two Browns covers for April. Cleveland had a choice between Tim Couch and Akili Smith and in reality, neither was going to be their quarterback of the future. And like Fournette, I saw Baker Mayfield give an amazing performance at Bedlam a few years ago. He has shined some in the pros, but in no way, is he “can’t miss.” The covers are a nice reminder of the continuing Cleveland failures and provide a lovely contrast to the six Steeler Super Bowl pennants on the wall opposite of the SI wall calendar.

And of course, Kobe. RIP. Til next month, stay safe.

Let’s Go Bowling

 

Bowl Game UPDATE: I managed a bit of rally as the bowl season closed and will finish slightly above 500. Like I said, if you are putting money on bowl games, you might as well be betting on the greyhounds. Anything can happen, but I did get LSU winning the championship right. Geaux Tigers indeed.  

 

Here’s my annual Bowl Review with me just picking the winners (in bold) straight up.  I haven’t even looked at the lines yet. I say that betting on Bowl games is a fool’s errand but I guess the heart wants what the heart wants. Enjoy the seasons, Bowl and Holiday.

Makers Wanted:  Bahamas – Buffalo (7-5) vs. Charlotte (7-5) Nassau, Bahamas Fri., Dec. 20 2:00 pm ESPN

What a great bowl game for Buffalo, giving them a chance to leave the snow and cold and play in the Bahamas. If there was ever a bowl game to go to as an Alum, this is the one. I am going with the 49ers due to a higher level of concentration. LOSS. This one wasn’t even close. Buffalo rocks Charlotte 31- 0

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco: Utah State(7-5) vs. Kent State(6-6) Frisco, TX Fri., Dec. 20 7:30 pm ESPN2

It is long way for Kent State to come and a relative easy trip for the Utah State faithful. At least they get to go to the west coast. Oh wait, this is Frisco, Texas, not San Frisco – sorry Mom and Dad. The travel, combined with a down year for the MAC, and I like Utah State. LOSS. The Golden Flashes shine with a 10 point win, 51 – 41.

Air Force Reserve Celebration: Alcorn State(9-3) vs. North Carolina A&T (8-3) Atlanta, GA Sat., Dec. 20 Noon ABC

No idea on this. Alcorn State I guess. LOSS. Almost feels like I should not count this one, but I will. N.C. A&T 64 – 44.

New Mexico: Central Michigan(8-5) vs. San Diego State(9-3) Albuquerque, NM Sat., Dec. 20 2:00 pm ESPN:

I was not impressed with Central Michigan in the MAC Championship. I like San Diego State. WIN. San Diego State rolls 48-11.

FBC Mortgage Cure: Liberty(7-5) vs. Georgia Southern(7-5) Orlando, FL Sat., Dec. 20 2:30 pm CBSSN

Didn’t Rutgers beat Liberty in the regular season? How did they make a bowl? I love that Hugh Freeze, fresh off an escort scandal at Ole Miss, became the head coach of the evangelical Liberty. I wonder how many times he had to be baptized to get that stink off? Georgia Southern wins this one. LOSS. Liberty wins 23 – 6. I think this one is more telling about Rutgers than Liberty. The psychological part of the game should not be underestimated and I have to believe the guys at Rutgers said to themselves, “I am a Power Five athlete and we may be bad, but we don’t lose to Group of Five teams.” 

Cheribundi Boca Raton: SMU(10-2) vs. Florida Atlantic(10-3) Boca Raton, FL Sat., Dec. 20 3:30 pm ABC.

FAU wins ten games and they have to stay home and host SMU.  And, they are losing their coach. I think the Ponies will run away with this one as I can’t imagine too many “Win one for Lane!” cheers coming from the Owls.LOSS. Maybe they do love Lane. FAU 52 – SMU 28

Camellia: FIU(6-6) vs. Arkansas State(7-5) Montgomery, AL Sat., Dec. 20 5:30 pm ESPN

It wasn’t too long ago that FIU was listed as my worst stadium to visit. They have certainly improved in play and in my rankings (thanks to awful experiences at Duke and UAB).  I still like the Red Wolves of Arkansas State. WIN. Whew, thank god the Red Wolves win 34 – 26.

Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas (19) Boise State(12-1) vs. Washington(7-5) Las Vegas, NV Sat., Dec. 20 7:30 pm ABC.

I think Boise has a chip on their shoulder. I like them to make a statement for the Mountain West and beat the Huskies of Washington. LOSS. Turns out this was a statement game, but it was the Huskies making all the comments. See my Rutgers – Liberty comments for my analysis on this on. Washington 38 – 7.

R+L Carriers New Orleans: (20) Appalachian State(12-1) vs. UAB(9-4) New Orleans, LA Sat., Dec. 20 9:00 pm ESPN.

At least there is some consolation for App. State not getting a New Year’s Day bowl by getting a trip to New Orleans. I have no love for UAB and look for the Mountaineers to roll over the Blazers. WIN. The Mountaineers had me grumbling early in this one, but came back to win strong, 31-7.

Bad Boy Mowers: Gasparilla UCF(9-3) vs. Marshall Tampa(8-4), FL Mon., Dec. 23 2:30 pm ESPN.

This should be a good game to watch. UCF is still awfully good and Marshall had some tough non-conference games against Cincinnati and Boise State. UCF in a close one. WIN. The Knights win 48-25 in a game not as close as I thought.

SoFi Hawai’i Hawaii(9-5) vs. BYU(7-5) Honolulu, HI Tue., Dec. 24 8:00 pm ESPN

It would be interesting to know how the Rainbows feel about this game. You would think there is some glamour in playing a mainland bowl game. However, they may just think it is a pain in the neck. With this game, they can play the game and still have Christmas at home (if they are local). I saw Hawaii this year and they impressed me their pluck and grit. Rainbows to win this one. WIN. The Rainbow Warriors win in dramatic fashion.

Walk-On’s Independence: Louisiana Tech(9-3) vs. Miami(6-6) (FL) Shreveport, LA Thu., Dec. 26 4:00 pm ESPN

Miami is pretty awful and the Dawgs do not lose bowl games. It is a mortal lock that the Louisiana Tech wins this one. WIN. The Dawgs shut out Miami, as expected.

Quick Lane: Pitt(7-5) vs. Eastern Michigan(6-6) Detroit, MI Thu., Dec. 26 8:00 pm ESPN

Is Eastern Michigan just happy to be here or will they come to play? The same could be said for Pitt. I still like the Panthers in this one. WIN. Pitt by four

Military North Carolina(6-6) vs. Temple(8-4) Annapolis, MD Fri., Dec. 27 Noon ESPN

This is an interesting game. Temple is pretty good this year and UNC has been exciting, if not consistent. I like the Owls in a tight one. LOSS. Ha, I couldn’t have been more wrong as UNC cruised past the Owls 55 -13.

New Era Pinstripe Michigan State(6-6) vs. Wake Forest(8-4) Bronx, NY Fri., Dec. 27 3:20 pm ESPN

I saw this game, and thought this is only a game an alum could love. I guess freezing your butt off is compensated by having a holiday in NYC. Wake Forest, I guess…but really who cares about this dog? LOSS. Michigan State wins a close one, 27-21.

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas: (25) Oklahoma State (8-4) vs. Texas A&M (7-5) Houston, TX Fri., Dec. 27 6:45 pm ESPN.

This game should be a great atmosphere. Both schools are a reasonable drive to Houston so I would guess NRG Stadium will be packed. In addition, these teams are pretty reasonably matched. I think Jimbo Fisher would like to quiet the “Former Students” of A&M. So I am going with the Aggies, but with little confidence after their shellacking at the hands of LSU. WIN. Aggies by 3.

SDCCU Holiday (22) USC(8-4) vs. (16) Iowa(9-3) San Diego, CA Fri., Dec. 27 8:00 pm FS1

It was surprising to see USC right the ship as the season progressed. This game strikes me as a pick ‘em. Given Ferentz’s streaky bowl record, I am going to roll the dice with the Trojans. LOSS. Iowa handles USC easily. 49- 24

Cheez-It Air Force(10-2) vs. Washington State(6-6) Phoenix, AZ Fri., Dec. 27 10:15 pm ESPN

I completely slept on Air Force this year. I had no idea they were having such a good year. At a minimum this should be a good game because Mike Leach always seems to make it interesting with the Cougars. Like I said, I know nothing about the Falcons but I am going to go with them. WIN. Air Force wins by 10.

Goodyear Cotton (17) Memphis(12-1) vs. (10) Penn State(10-2) Arlington, TX Sat., Dec. 28 Noon ESPN

While I wanted App State to get the New Year’s Day bid, it is hard to argue with Memphis getting the game. The Nittany Lions seem to think they are better than they really are.  I think this will be a really entertaining game. I am going with PSU, but grudgingly. WIN. Memphis hung with them for awhile, but PSU eventually took care of business, 53-39.

Camping World (15) Notre Dame (10-2) vs. Iowa State(7-5) Orlando, FL Sat., Dec. 28 Noon ABC

Notre Dame is another team that thinks they are better than what they are. The Irish are a bit dicey and Iowa State has lost a ton of close games this year. I am going to go with the sentimental pick and take Iowa State. Here’s to Purdy playing his ass off. LOSS. All Irish in this one, 33 – 9. 

Chick-fil-A Peach: (4) Oklahoma(12-1) vs. (1) LSU (13-0)  Atlanta, GA Sat., Dec. 28 4:00 pm ESPN

Oklahoma is good but LSU is great. Tigers are going to roll in this one. WIN. Yep Tigers all the way.

PlayStation Fiesta: (3) Clemson(13-0) vs. (2) Ohio State (13-0) Glendale, AZ Sat., Dec. 28 8:00 pm ESPN

This one should be a dandy. I am going with the Buckeyes only because they have played a tougher schedule. LOSS. Clemson in a great one.

SERVPRO First Responder: WKU(8-4) vs. Western Michigan(7-5) Fort Worth, TX Mon., Dec. 30 12:30 pm ESPN.

Hmmm. Nothing to say here. I guess I will go with the Hilltoppers. WIN. Hilltoppers by three.

Franklin Amer. Mort. Music City: Mississippi State(6-6) vs. Louisville(7-5) Nashville, TN Mon., Dec. 30 4:00 pm ESPN

Mississippi State is another middling SEC team. Louisville isn’t much better. The Cardinals in a toss up. WIN. Louisville by ten.

Redbox California(7-5) vs. Illinois(6-6) Santa Clara, CA Mon., Dec. 30 4:00 pm FOX

I guess I might bounce over to this game if the Peach Bowl gets out of hand. I saw Illinois nearly lose to UConn. I will go with the Bears. WIN. This was one I thought was a lock. The Illini were just too inconsistent.

Capital One Orange (9) Florida(10-2) vs. (24) Virginia(9-4) Miami Gardens, FL Mon., Dec. 30 8:00 pm ESPN

The ACC is hoping Virginia makes this a statement game. I am not sure they have enough to beat Florida. My money is on the Gators, but my heart is with the Hoos. LOSS. The Gators do their part for the SEC.

Belk: Virginia Tech(8-4) vs. Kentucky(7-5) Charlotte, NC Tue., Dec. 31 Noon ESPN

Unless they revert back to early season form, the Hokies should take care of the Wildcats. Virginia Tech gets the win. LOSS. Another frustrating loss for the Hokie faithful.

Tony the Tiger Sun:  Florida State(6-6) vs. Arizona State(7-5) El Paso, TX Tue., Dec. 31 2:00 pm CBS

How did Florida State manage to make it to a bowl game? ASU was hot and cold this season. I am going with the Sun Devils in this one. WIN. Herm Edwards for the win.

AutoZone Liberty (23) Navy(9-2) vs. Kansas State(8-4) Memphis, TN Tue., Dec. 31 3:45 pm ESPN

Navy could go from ten losses to ten wins if they beat Army this weekend. What a turnaround for the Midshipmen. K-State is pretty good but I am going with Navy in a sentimental pick. WIN. Boy did Navy have a good year or what?

NOVA Home Loans Arizona: Wyoming(7-5) vs. Georgia State(7-5) Tucson, AZ Tue., Dec. 31 4:30 pm CBSSN.

Ouch, this game has about as much appeal as a wide awake colonoscopy.  Wyoming I guess. WIN. Wyoming wins big.

Valero Alamo (11) Utah(11-2) vs. Texas(7-5) San Antonio, TX Tue., Dec. 31 7:30 pm ESPN

This is practically a home game for UT and they will need all the help they can get against the Utes.  The inconsistency of the Longhorns gets them again. Utah wins. LOSS. This one hurt. I can’t believe that Utah didn’t even show up for this game.

Outback (18) Minnesota(10-2) vs. (12) Auburn(9-3) Tampa, FL Wed., Jan. 1 1:00 pm ESPN

I was going to go with Auburn just on their SEC credentials but then I thought about the Gophers stingy DBs and Bo Nix’s tendency to throw the ball all over the field. This is a pick ‘em, but I am going with the Gophers. WIN. I don’t know what Minnesota has coming back, but they will be on my radar next preseason.

Vrbo Citrus (14) Michigan(9-3) vs. (13) Alabama(10-2) Orlando, FL Wed., Jan. 1 1:00 pm ABC

So apparently Saban is less than thrilled with this game while Harbaugh sees it as a way to save his job. No need for a fifth quarter for the JV’s in this one, half of them will be starting in this one. Roll Damn Tide. WIN. Michigan thumped again. Not much of a surprise here.

Rose Bowl Game (6) Oregon(11-2) vs. (8) Wisconsin(10-3) Pasadena, CA Wed., Jan. 1 5:00 pm ESPN

This should be a game worth watching. My guess is the Badgers wear down the Ducks with a heavy dose of a punishing ground game. LOSS. The one point win by Oregon was as great a game as predicted.

Allstate Sugar (5) Georgia(11-2) vs. (7) Baylor (11-2) New Orleans, LA Wed., Jan. 1 8:45 pm ESPN

I am going with the Bulldogs because even I can’t escape the SEC bias. The Bears had a nice run, but I don’t they are going to have a good time at the Sugar Bowl. WIN. Georgia wins in a game closer than I thought it was going to be.

TicketSmarter Birmingham: Boston College(6-6) vs. (21) Cincinnati(10-3) Birmingham, AL Thu., Jan. 2 3:00 pm ESPN.

It is another crime that Boston College gets a Bowl Game. Cincinnati is going to crush them. WIN. As predicted, the Bear Cats crush the Eagles, 38 – 6.

TaxSlayer Gator Indiana (8-4) vs. Tennessee (7-5) Jacksonville, FL Thu., Jan. 2 7:00 pm ESPN

I stopped watching Tennessee after they lost to Georgia State. They managed to feast on the weak sisters of the SEC to climb back to a bowl.  I think the Hoosiers are better and will win. LOSS. Thanks alot Indiana. This win goes a long way to supporting the claims of SEC dominance because no one will remember it was a one point game.

Famous Idaho Potato: Ohio (6-6) vs. Nevada (7-5) Boise, ID Fri., Jan. 3 3:30 pm ESPN

I guess Ohio and Nevada are lucky that folks are probably taking Friday off, otherwise there would be no one to watch this dreck. Nevada wins on the basis of a shorter trip to the game. LOSS. Well congrats to the Bobcats or something.

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces: Southern Miss (7-5) vs. Tulane (6-6) Fort Worth, TX Sat., Jan. 4 11:30 am ESPN.

Boy, Tulane really fell apart as the season came to the end. I am going with Conference USA in this one. Fly Eagles fly. LOSS. Grrr. What the hell, Southern Miss? This game wasn’t even close.

LendingTree Louisiana (10-3) vs. Miami (Ohio) (8-5) Mobile, AL Mon., Jan. 6 7:30 pm ESPN

I can’t believe that Miami won the MAC. Talk about winning with smoke and mirrors. As I noted in my review of South Alabama, Mobile is a pretty cool place. I hope the Bobcat faithful have a good weekend, because the Ragin’ Cajuns are going to run away with the game on Monday night. WIN. They did not exactly run away with it, but the Cajuns hung on to win.

CFP National Championship Semifinal Winners New Orleans, LA Mon., Jan. 13 8:00 pm ESPN:

Geaux Tigers. WIN. At least Clemson kept it close for a while.