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10/20/2014

Florida State Pulls It Out Over Notre Dame

[Posted prior to Broncos-49ers]

NFL Quiz:
Give me the top five rushers in Green Bay Packers history. [Hint: This really isn’t fair...one, to me, is very hard. Played from 1941-52.] Answer below.

College Football Review

Well that was an entertaining game, No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 2 Florida State. The final score was 31-27, Seminoles, as Jameis Winston was not only 23/31, 273, 2-1, but he was 15 of 16 in the second half to rally FSU to its 23rd consecutive victory. For ND, Everett Golson had a heroic performance in defeat, 31/52, 313, 3-2, as Notre Dame proved it is for real and remains very much in the playoff hunt if they can run the table from here.

But college football fans will be talking about the ending for a long time. The Fighting Irish were at the FSU goal line in the final seconds, Golson threw a touchdown pass with 13 left on the clock, but then the go-ahead score was wiped out over an offensive pass interference penalty.

Zach Braziller / New York Post

“Twenty-one years ago, Notre Dame and Florida State played ‘The Game of the Century.’ Saturday night’s showdown will forever be known as the ‘pass interference game,’ one call deciding the winner of the dramatic seesaw affair that could go a long way to determining the four-team playoff.

“With 13 seconds left, it appeared the fifth-ranked Fighting Irish had gone ahead on a touchdown pass from Everett Golson to Corey Robinson on a fourth-and-goal play from the Seminoles’ 2-yard line. But the Irish were hit with an offensive pass interference penalty, receiver C.J. Prosise whistled for interfering with cornerback Ronald Darby. It enabled Robinson – the son of basketball Hall of Famer David Robinson – to get wide open on a rollout by Golson.

“Backed up by the penalty, Golson’s ensuing try was picked off in the back of the end zone by linebacker Jacob Pugh. Second-ranked Florida State took a knee and prevailed, 31-27, capping the classic that was as memorable as the end was controversial.

“ ‘We execute that play every day,’ Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said, ‘and we do it legally and that’s the way we coach it. We don’t coach illegal plays.’”

Mike Vaccaro / New York Post

Was it a good call? Was it a home-town flag for the ages? We’ll hear that debate forever, starting immediately.”

[Notre Dame, by the way, is now 1-17 against teams ranked in the top five since 1999.]

Back to Jameis Winston, who is now 20-0 as a starter, his many off-the-field issues remain at center stage. Winston’s attorney, David Cornwell, met the deadline for contacting FSU’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and is now waiting on FSU to assign an outside hearing officer for the case. Under the rules, university officials must give Winston notice of a scheduled hearing at least five school days in advance.

Michael McCann / Sports Illustrated:

“As Florida State University plans a disciplinary hearing on allegations that Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston raped a fellow student, I ask a simple question: Why is Winston still enrolled in college?

“The Seminoles’ star, expected to enter the 2015 NFL draft, has little to gain and much to lose if he participates in a hearing. By leaving school, Winston would evade the university’s jurisdiction and lawfully frustrate an investigation that threatens his future.

“Examining Winston’s legal strategies is not meant to ignore the fact that there is another person in this disturbing story. If she is telling the truth, she was raped, but her claims of rape were met with disturbing resistance by those in authority and by those with an interest in Winston’s playing football. Winston’s leaving Florida State may give him a legal advantage, but it does nothing to further justice....

“For starters, he probably would not benefit by a new investigation into what happened in the early morning of Dec. 7, 2012, at his apartment....Recent reports by the New York Times and Fox Sports suggest that the Tallahassee police department and Florida State badly, and perhaps intentionally, mishandled the accusation... While Winston’s accuser is expected to sue Winston, FSU and the Tallahassee police, there is no indication now that law enforcement will reopen the case.

“But a university investigation could have legal repercussions for Winston, who could still face criminal charges...Courtroom rules that limit the admissibility of incriminating materials and that offer opportunities to confront accusers are not required in university proceedings. Winston would surely be asked to testify. If he agreed, and again denied rape, he might be forced to acknowledge he broke university rules. Any indication of wrongdoing could prompt the Tallahassee police department, which is most likely sensitive to media commentary that it protected the local sports star, to reopen the case....

“Quitting college could have negative consequences for Winston. It might be interpreted as an admission of guilt, but his representatives could instead frame his decision as a rejection of a biased hearing. Missing games might cause NFL teams concern about his football development, but an agent could hire coaches to prepare him for the draft. And, of course, Winston, who is pursuing an ‘exploratory major,’ would miss out on his education, but he would be exiting an environment where he has struggled to follow rules....

“Jameis Winston’s time at Florida State has been a regrettable drama. I’ll ask it again: Why is he still enrolled at Florida State University?”

As for the autograph issue, 2,000 authenticated signatures by Winston have been found on the James Spence Authentication website. But FSU athletic director Stan Wilcox said in a statement that the school hasn’t seen any indication Winston received payment for the items.

Christine Brennan / USA TODAY [prior to Saturday’s game]

“It must be so much fun to be a Florida State fan right now, living inside that morality-free bubble that fits so snugly over the campus in Tallahassee. Your young and impressionable football coach, Jimbo Fisher, believes every single word Winston has to say about signing autographs, because Jameis is just so, well, so incredibly believable.

An allegation of rape? Come on. That’s old news now. When you mishandle it this bad for this long, nearly two years, you might as well just forget about it entirely, right, Seminoles? Plus, that’s what civil lawsuits are for.

“And all those autographs Winston signed and for which he of course didn’t get paid one penny? After 22 months of successfully stiff-arming scandal, why stop now? Don’t be cautious like Georgia and even Texas A&M. Roll the dice. Worst case scenario, should you win another national title and have to give it up someday because Winston actually might not be telling the truth, everyone would know you won it on the field, and lost it later to the despised NCAA. So that almost counts as a win-win, right?....

“It’s hard to imagine an entire university led by supposedly intelligent people who don’t wear football helmets turning into sycophants for one sports team, but that’s exactly what has happened before our eyes at Jameis State....

“So now Winston is going to use the foot-dragging that kept him eligible in 2013 to buttress his case against the school in 2014. That’s some kind of chutzpah.

“Let’s play this out. Accustomed to thriving in the midst of total controversy, Jameis State plays well enough to make the inaugural college football playoff. Jameis himself doesn’t win another Heisman but finishes the bowl season as the starting quarterback. He then escapes to the NFL just as the school sanctions him for a period of time that no longer has any meaning.

“As for the alleged leaders of Jameis State, they finally realize what they have done and in their shame turn a collective shade of garnet. Nothing like being true to your school.”

Back to the games...No. 1 Mississippi State being idle...

--No. 3 Ole Miss had its way with Tennessee in Oxford, 34-3...outgaining the Vols 383-191. The Rebels forced four turnovers while committing zero themselves. That’s Ole Miss football, 2014.

--Last Bar Chat I said No. 4 Baylor was traveling to Morgantown to play a “surprisingly solid” West Virginia. Well, the Mountaineers are a surprise no more after a terrific 41-27 upset that moved WVU to 5-2, 3-1. You do not want to face them at home. That’s a heckuva crowd. A most rowdy one that rioted in Morgantown Saturday night, much to the chagrin of police and the mayor.

Anyway, so much for Bryce Petty’s Heisman hopes. The Bears’ QB was only 16/36, 223, 2-0. His opposing number, Clint Trickett, outplayed Petty, going 23/35, 322, 3-1. West Virginia outgained the vaunted Baylor ‘O’ 456-318.

--No. 7 Alabama exposed No. 21 Texas A&M once and for all. The Aggies never should have been ranked as high as they were and have now lost their last three, all to teams ranked in the top 10.

Oh, the score was 59-0! Alabama outgained A&M 602-172, as Aggie quarterback Kenny Hill, who had been putting up big numbers, was a mere 17/26, 138, 0-1.

For its part, Alabama set a school record for most points in a quarter (35 in the second) en route to a 45-0 halftime lead.

The score was so lopsided, it came within four points of the largest margin of victory over a Top 25 team, trailing No. 8 Florida State’s 63-0 win over No. 25 Maryland in 2013 and UCLA’s 66-3 win over No. 11 Texas in 1997.

Just last year, A&M’s Johnny Manziel had set a record for an Alabama opponent with 628 total yards in a 49-42 loss.

--No. 8 Michigan State rolled over Indiana, 56-17, blitzing the Hoosiers 28-0 in the second half and outgaining Indiana 662-224.

--No. 9 Oregon, like Michigan State, remained in the playoff hunt with a solid 45-20 win over Washington in Eugene. Marcus Mariota was a cool 24/33, 336, 2-0, and now has 19 TD passes on the season with 0 interceptions. Love this guy. Hope he’s a Jet next year.

--Who needs Todd Gurley? Clearly, No. 10 Georgia is doing just fine without their one-time Heisman candidate as replacement running back Nick Chubb ran 30 times for 202 yards and two touchdowns in Georgia’s 45-32 win over Arkansas.

--You can’t help but love 75-year-old Bill Snyder, coach of No. 14 Kansas State, which went to Norman and upset the No. 11 Oklahoma Sooners, 31-30, as OU made one mistake after another, including normally automatic kicker Michael Hunnicutt’s two missed field goals, including a 19-yard chip shot with 3:53 left that would have given the Sooners the lead. K-State then ran out the clock to seal the victory.

Earlier, Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight threw an awful interception out of his end zone that was returned five yards for a score.

Back to Hunnicutt, he was supposed to be one of the top three kickers in the country...until Saturday. I mean look at his field goal totals the prior three seasons.

2011...21-24
2012...17-21
2013...24-27
2014...8-9...before missing 2 of 3

Further, he missed an extra point yesterday, so even with the 19-yard miss, they should have been tied.

--No. 22 USC (5-2, 4-1) manhandled Colorado 56-28 as Cody Kessler threw for a school-record seven touchdowns and now has 18 TD passes on the year with just one interception.

--No. 24 Clemson went up to Chestnut Hill and emerged with a 17-13 win over Boston College, dropping the Eagles to 4-3 as they prepare to face mighty Wake Forest in next week’s Lunch Bowl. BC had its chances late and should have won.

--No. 25 Marshall remained undefeated at 7-0 after a 45-13 win over FIU. Rakeem Cato set a record with a TD pass in his 39th straight game (Cato throwing four overall in the contest).

Marshall has a cupcake schedule and could easily go undefeated for the season but they really haven’t looked that good and I find it unlikely they can get into a New Year’s Day bowl game. Hopefully I’m wrong. [Their Conference USA is locked into a few minor ones but they could be moved into perhaps the Cotton Bowl, but that’s a longshot.]

--Minnesota kept its Big Ten title hopes alive with a stirring 39-38 win at home over Purdue, which moved the Golden Gophers to 6-1, 3-0. They don’t play Michigan State this year, but do have Ohio State on Nov. 15.

--5-1 Rutgers went to Columbus to face the No. 13 Buckeyes of Ohio State in yet another opportunity for the Scarlet Knights to show their stuff on a big stage with a national television audience, but Rutgers promptly laid an epic egg, going down 56-17. For OSU, quarterback JT Barrett had 368 yards of total offense and accounted for five touchdowns; 3 passing, 2 rushing.

Now the Buckeyes gear up for their Nov. 8 contest against Michigan State in what could be a classic, and could easily be for a playoff berth. 

But back to Rutgers, Steve Politi / Star-Ledger (Can’t stand this new moniker for them, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

“So now we know. The gap is as wide as feared, a chasm of Grand Canyon proportions, between Rutgers and the top team in the Big Ten.

“Ohio State is not a little better, or even a lot better, than the Scarlet Knights. This was hide-the-women-and-children better. This was every-single-facet-of-the-game-and-then-some better.

“Better athletes. Better coaching. Better facilities. Better band, and thank goodness for its wonderful halftime show, because even the Rutgers fans had to smile when the talented Ohio State musicians made a giant pinball machine while playing Pinball Wizard.

“The problem was, it was the Ohio State offense putting up the pinball-machine numbers en route to a 56-17 victory that, incredibly, could’ve been worse.”

--Duke moved to 6-1 in defeating Virginia 20-13. They are now 14-3 in their last 17 games. In the nine seasons before hiring David Cutcliffe, Duke had a total of 13 wins.

--SMU fell to 0-6 in losing to Cincinnati, 41-3. Paul P.’s Mustangs have been outscored 288-39. Eegads.

--But, while some say SMU is the worst team in college football, I believe these days it’s my own Wake Forest Demon Deacons, who fell to Syracuse, at home, 30-7. Wake was outgained 370-170 in falling to 2-5, 0-3.

But why would I say they are the worst? Here’s something you won’t find elsewhere. Wake’s total yards on offense and rushing for each of their games.

UL Monroe... 94 (total yards) -3 (rushing)
Gardner Webb... 387... 96
Utah State... 232... -25
Army... 338... 100
Louisville... 100... -22
Florida State... 126... 40
Syracuse... 170... 71

That’s 257 net yards rushing (1.2 per carry, actually) in seven games. And look at those total offense figures the last three games against major opponents. It’s beyond pathetic. Beyond belief.

Aside from feeling bad for the fans who actually show up (and if I lived down that way, no doubt I’d have season tickets myself), the Demon Deacon defense has actually played pretty well. Yesterday, for example, Syracuse had two of its scores on an interception and fumble.

--Wisconsin-Whitewater coach Lance Leipold reached 100 wins faster than any coach in NCAA history. Gotta reach for my Warhawks t-shirt. After a 52-3 win against Wisconsin-Eau Claire on Saturday, Leipold’s record is a staggering 100-6! He has guided the boys to five Division III national championships since taking over as the team’s coach in 2007.

Here’s some trivia, courtesy of ESPN.com. The previous record was set by Hall of Fame coach Gil Dobie, who reached 100 wins in 108 games while at Cornell in 1921.

--Update: The football coaches at Sayreville War Memorial High School in New Jersey have been suspended from their teaching and coaching position, following the sexual hazing scandal that has rocked my state. According to NJ.com, they were suspended with pay. Authorities have not charged any of them, however, as yet. Because they haven’t been indicted, New Jersey law prohibits them being suspended without pay.

--And now...the new AP Poll!

[Reminder...I write all the preceding prior to the release of this.]

1. Mississippi State 6-0 (43 first-place votes)
2. Florida State 7-0 (14)
3. Ole Miss 7-0 (3)
4. Alabama 6-1
5. Auburn 5-1
6. Oregon 6-1
7. Notre Dame 6-1
8. Michigan State 6-1
9. Georgia 6-1
10. TCU 5-1
11. Kansas State 5-1
13. Ohio State 5-1
18. East Carolina 5-1
22. West Virginia 5-2
23. Marshall 7-0

So 4 of the top 5 are SEC West?! C’mon.

At least Oregon has moved up smartly. Surprised Michigan State and Ohio State didn’t budge, which hurts them. Yes, I know the College Playoff Selection Committee could easily come up with entirely different rankings when they release their first one Oct. 26, but as you saw member Condoleezza Rice say, of course they look at the polls, too. The polls shape attitudes, no doubt.

West Virginia was rewarded nicely. Duke would be No. 26, by the way, if you carried it out.

Finally, I’m going to give my own playoff final four today...and from here on.

Florida State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Michigan State

NFL

--What a win for the St. Louis Rams (2-4) as they defeated the champion Seahawks 28-26 in St. Louis, dropping Seattle to 3-3. It was all about special teams, with the Rams scoring on an elaborate fake punt return where the Seahawks all went to cover Tavon Austin, only the punt came down on the other end of the field to Steadman Bailey, who then went 90 yards for a score. Brilliant.

Then Rams punter Johnny Hekker passed for a first on a fourth down play from his own 18 late in the game, Hekker being 4 of 5 lifetime now. [He was a high school quarterback.]

Anyway, for St. Louis, quarterback Austin Davis was 18/21, 152, 2-0, and the former third stringer (who was a walk-on at Southern Miss) has 9 touchdown passes and just 4 INTs. As Ronald Reagan would have said, not bad, not bad at all.

As for Seattle, which like so many other teams is finding it tough to repeat (but they will...says the editor), Russell Wilson had a spectacular second half and finished 23/36, 313, 2-0, plus 106 yards rushing and a score.

--Meanwhile, the surprise of the NFL season, the Dallas Cowboys, moved to 6-1 with a 31-21 win at Jerry’s Palace over the now 3-4 Giants. Tony Romo was 17/23, 279, 3-1 and running back DeMarco Murray had yet another 100-yard game, 28-128.

[Dallas kicker Dan Bailey is an astounding 59 of 62 on field goal attempts at home.]

--Kansas City (3-3) upset the Chargers in San Diego, 23-20, dropping them to 5-2. San Diego was held to just 251 yards of offense.

--Green Bay is 5-2 after blasting the Panthers (3-3) 38-17 as Aaron Rodgers had another spectacular day, 19/22, 255, 3-0. He now has 18 TD passes and just one interception.

--Detroit is 5-2 as Matthew Stafford threw two late TD passes, two in the last 5:24, with the Lions coming back from 23-10 to beat the Saints (2-4, 0-4 away) 24-23 in Motown. Drew Brees had a critical interception in crunch time.

--The Bills moved to 4-3 with a 17-16 win over the Vikings (2-5) in Orchard Park.  Rookie receiver Sammy Watkins had a late TD, part of his best game as a pro, 9 catches for 122 yards and two TDs.

[Buffalo suffered a big loss, though, as C.J. Spiller broke his collarbone.]

--No one cares Washington beat Tennessee 19-17, both now 2-5.

--The Brownies laid a giant egg, falling to 3-3 as they handed Jacksonville its first win, 24-6. Quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Blake Bortles both totally sucked, going a combined 33/72, 374, 1-4.

But for the Jags, Denard Robinson, the former Michigan quarterback, had 127 yards rushing on 22 carries as it seems he’s found his position...at least for this week.

I know one Jags fan who is partying alllll night! Steve G.

--The Ravens are now 5-2 after beating the 2-5 Falcons, 29-7, a game I note because Wake’s Michael Campanaro had one catch for 17 yards and has now caught the ball all three times he has been targeted.

--Jets embattled General Manager John Idzik pulled off a mini-coup, possibly, in trading for Seattle receiver/running back/return man Percy Harvin for just a conditional draft pick.

Harvin is a big-play guy who has been hampered by injuries the last three seasons after a solid first three seasons in Minnesota, where he caught the bulk of his 303 passes for 3,452 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also has returned five kickoffs for scores.

And we remember his performance in Seattle’s Super Bowl win over Denver, as Harvin, who had played in one regular season game in 2013, had an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and two rushes for 45 yards.

In a nutshell, when healthy the guy is explosive, just what the Jets need, though at 1-6 most fans are like ‘whatever.’ I’m ready for the Mets.

Plus Harvin comes with major baggage. He’s known as a big-time malcontent, a moody jerk.

But, it’s a gamble worth taking. After this year the Jets aren’t obligated in any fashion to pay the guy. At the same time if he plays well the balance of the season, and becomes a changed man with the opportunity he’ll have in New York, Idzik will be praised. 

The only problem is Rex Ryan won’t be around to reap any rewards because after the Jets’ six-game losing streak, the season is over and he probably has his house in Summit stealthily on the market.

Us fans had been targeting the six-game stretch since the schedule was released – Green Bay, Chicago, Detroit, San Diego, Denver, New England...six great quarterbacks – and we thought, well, after an opening week win against Oakland, if we could just split those six, or even go 2-4, we’d be in solid shape to make a legitimate run at the playoffs. Alas, it wasn’t to be and Thursday night’s 27-25 loss to the Patriots was a killer. The Jets, as many of you saw, actually played darn well and QB Geno Smith didn’t turn the ball over. The Jets had over 200 yards rushing and outgained the Pats 423-323.

According to Elias, the Jets were actually the first team in NFL history to lose a game with 40 minutes of time of possession (40:54), 200 rushing yards (218) and no giveaways. Time of possession became a stat in 1977.

--The Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Beaton had a breakdown of Brett Favre’s 508 career touchdown passes and Peyton Manning’s 506 and it’s pretty remarkable.

Both have 265 at home, meaning Favre has 243 on the road and Manning 241.

Manning leads in fourth-quarter touchdowns, 119-116.

--Great book excerpt in the current Sports Illustrated, Bill Parcells’ “A Football Life,” co-written by Nunyo Demasio. It’s about the time when Parcells steps down as Jets coach and Bill Belichick is tabbed to replace him, though Parcells is still very much in the picture. You know what happens...Belichick resigns within 24 hours and eventually become New England’s coach.

But what you really take away is how much of a total [jerk] Charlie Weis is, Weis being on the Jets’ staff...Parcells having moved him up the chain over the years.

Of course it’s the same Charlie Weis who is now sitting pretty, as I’ve detailed, after total flameouts at Notre Dame and Kansas. Sitting on $26 million in guaranteed contracts from the two, that is.

I’ve never met him, don’t care to, but really dislike the guy.

--Update: A lawsuit against Cowboys owner Jerry Jones alleging sexual assault was dismissed in mediation. Jones’ attorney issued a statement: “We are pleased with the Court’s Judgment against Ms. Weckerly [Ed. the 27-year-old former stripper]. Ms. Weckerly’s allegations were false. This case is over.”

World Series

Little to say now...we’re all on hold until Tuesday, Giants-Royals in Kansas City, Madison Bumgarner against James Shields. So far the weather forecast looks great.

But on a different topic, for us locals, Bill Madden / New York Daily News:

“The Royals have caught fire with young and speedy players like Lorenzo Cain as the Yankees continue to rely on aging, injury-prone former stars with diminishing skills.

“This was after Game 2 of the ALCS in Baltimore, in which the resurgent Royals had just beaten the Orioles at their own game again, and a couple of scouts were discussing the way the series was going.

“ ‘Let me ask you something,’ one of them said to me. ‘If the Yankees, with all their over-30 guys and questionable defense at so many positions, had to play the Royals 162 times, how many games would they win?’

“The point he was making was that, in this post-steroid era of declining offense, especially home runs, it’s a greatly changing game, with the formula for winning having shifted to athleticism, defense and, most importantly, a shutdown, power-arm bullpen.   And, of course, the one thing that never changes is that there is no substitute for youth.”

Great points, all, and it’s why us Mets fans are increasingly psyched over our prospects for next season. We have some young athletes, the power-arm bullpen, and a top ten in baseball starting rotation...if management doesn’t mess with it.

As for the Yankees, again, they need to re-sign David Robertson, but they can’t do anything with their aging position players and their huge contracts. There is zero reason to be a Yankees fan next year. [Heh heh...it’s gonna be a Mets town in 2015!!!]

Back to the Royals...fans just marvel over their lockdown bullpen. Here are the regular season and postseason ERAs for the Big Three.

Kelvin Herrera 1.41 ERA regular season / 1.08 postseason
Wade Davis 1.00 / 0.96
Greg Holland 1.44 / 1.13

--Jeff Banister, who spent 29 seasons in the Pirates organization, the last five as their bench coach, was named the manager of the Texas Rangers.

Banister was a career minor leaguer and appeared in just one big league game, singling in his lone at-bat, so he retired with a 1.000 batting average.

--With the pending retirement of Commissioner Bud Selig, there have been all manner of articles on his legacy. Ben Reiter had a good one in the current Sports Illustrated.

“As he enters the final months of his often criticized commissionership – he will retire in January – his sport is, in most ways that matter, more prosperous than ever. The last decade has produced all 10 of the best-attended seasons ever, driven, in part, by what has appeared to be the advent of competitive balance. The league, whose history is pocked with damaging work stoppages, is about to complete its 20th straight season of labor peace. Then there is the money. When Selig, the founding owner of the Brewers, took over from deposed commissioner Fay Vincent in 1992 – first in an acting role and since ’98 in a permanent one – MLB’s annual revenues were $1.2 billion. The game’s financial health was imperiled both by uneasy relations between the clubs and their players, and between the clubs themselves. This year revenues will approach $9 billion, an ever-increasing portion of that derived from a technology arm, MLB Advanced media, that is the envy of the sports industry.”

More in the coming weeks. I’ve saved a few items.

--In an interview for CBS’ “Sunday Morning” program, Pete Rose said he thinks he’ll eventually get into the Hall of Fame.

“Yes,” Rose said. “Sure, I don’t know if I’m going to live to see it. Someone, at some period of time, will feel it in their heart to give me a second chance. I may be six feet under, but that’s what you’ve got to live with.”

Rose also said he doesn’t know why he jeopardized his career to bet on baseball, but says, “I screwed up.”

NASCAR

Brad Keselowski needed a win at Talladega to advance into the third round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship and he did. Talk about clutch. So he is joined by Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth.

There are three elimination races and then the final four finish it at Homestead-Miami on Nov. 16 for the title.

As you can see, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and six-time champ Jimmie Johnson were among those failing to qualify on Sunday.

The win for Keselowski was his series-best sixth of the year.

One sidebar, Terry Labonte competed in his final NASCAR race after 26 full seasons and a partial schedule the last decade. He turns 58 next month and Sunday at Talladega was the 890th start of his career, which is tied for third in NASCAR. Labonte won Cup titles in 1984 and 1996, and has 22 career victories.

I mean think about it. His first career start came at Darlington in 1980.

Labonte finished 33rd out of 43 in his final race.

Soccer Balls

--I watched a fair amount of Premier League action on Saturday, but did you see Sunderland lost to Southampton 8-0?! Good gawd. Sunderland manager Gus Poyet called it his “most embarrassing” moment in the sport as the Black Cats suffered their worst Premier League loss in 32 years.

Poyet said: “I learned a lot about the players – the bad side as some gave up and I know who they are for the future. I feel very sorry for the fans.”

It will be interesting to see how they react in their next game against Arsenal.

--Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero scored all four goals in Man City’s 4-1 thrashing of my Tottenham Spurs.

--Chelsea remained unbeaten in eight (7-1-0, W-D-L). In watching their 2-1 win over Crystal Palace, I heard they are 20-1 to go undefeated the entire season. Interesting bet. Long, long way to go (38 games in the season), but they are the class of the league.

--I forgot to watch some of this one, Sunday, but Queens Park Rangers hosted Liverpool and after watching the highlights, it was an incredible, and amazingly depressing ending for QPR’s fans as they lost to Liverpool 3-2, giving up their second own goal in injury time for the decider. Further, while it’s early, QPR is at the bottom of the standings...1-1-6, tied with Burnley with just 4 points. Chelsea, by contrast, already has 22. [Not to insult anyone’s intelligence, but not all of the readers of Bar Chat are Premier League followers. You get 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw.]

--Cristiano Ronaldo netted his 14th and 15th goals to set s record scoring start in a Spanish league season (first 8 games) as Real Madrid had an easy 5-0 win at Levante.

Stuff

--Ben Martin won his first PGA Tour event at the Shriners Classic in Las Vegas, while 60-year-old Jay Haas won the Champions Tour event in Conover, NC. Go Deacs! [Martin, though, is out of Clemson.]

--The first college basketball poll is out...the Coaches poll.

1. Kentucky
2. Arizona
3. Duke
4. Wisconsin
5. Kansas
6. North Carolina
7. Florida
8. Virginia
9. Louisville
10. Texas
17. San Diego State...I’m back on the Aztec bandwagon this year! Many late nights watching their contests. We just need some decent guard play...and that might not be easy to find after losing Xavier Thames.

One player who will be fun to watch is Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky, the unanimous preseason player of the year in the Big Ten. The Badgers return four starters.

Hey, Paul P. Your Mustangs are ranked No. 22! The Larry Brown coached Mustangs, that is.

--Quicker than some of us thought, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill on Friday that could clear the way for legalized sports betting in my state as early as next weekend at Monmouth Park, which has been preparing for this for a long time and is ready.

The bill strikes provisions from New Jersey’s books that ban sports wagering, but I thought we still needed one more act on the part of federal courts to effect this...and then we’d also have to wait to see what the four major sports leagues did...which in the past was say ‘no way,’ even though it has been legal in four other states.

But Christie and New Jersey officials are now convinced they have cleared the appropriate hurdles. After New Jersey voters cast their ballots to approve it in 2011, the leagues blocked the move.

It then gets complicated but a ruling by the federal Third Court of Appeals said that if New Jersey repealed state laws banning sports betting, it did not believe the federal ban applied.

There is still a step or two before it’s official, and it could still be blocked, but what New Jersey has done is essentially say those offering sports betting, such as Monmouth Park, face no legal liability, which has been the reason why Monmouth, or Atlantic City casinos (the main target) haven’t gone ahead and done it before.

State Sen. Raymond Lesniak said sports wagering is “not the savior of Atlantic City, but it’s a big boost....Once they see it work at Monmouth, they are going to follow suit at the casinos.”

And down the road I’ll be there, especially for something like March Madness.

[If this all comes to pass, Monmouth Park will become a big name, nationally, for horse racing...that’s a Bar Chat guarantee...because sports betting provides a lifeline for this attractive venue. There will now be more horse racing, greater purses, and you get the picture. Could be a terrific Breeders Cup site in, say, 2020.]

--Get this... “The Beijing International Marathon will go ahead as planned tomorrow, despite the heavy smog enveloping the capital...

“Parts of northern China are expected to suffer ‘moderate to severe’ pollution at least until Monday, the national weather bureau has forecast.

“The National Meteorological Center said parts of the north could see levels of PM2.5 superfine particles considered the most dangerous to health – above 450 micrograms per cubic meter. The US Environmental Protection Agency considers a level of 300 or more hazardous.”

Now the preceding is from the South China Morning Post, which is published out of Hong Kong, and is about the only ‘truth’ you get out of the area these days, so just imagine trying to run 26.2 miles in this s---!

I’ve been to Hong Kong a ton of times and experienced the awful pollution there, but I have never attempted running in it...because I know I couldn’t.

So they ran the race Sunday and here is what the South China Morning Post wrote:

Despite heavy pollution blanketing Beijing Sunday, an international marathon went ahead, with face masks and sponges among the equipment used by competitors to battle the smog....

“The 42-kilometer course ended at the Chinese capital’s Olympic Park, on a day when buildings across the city disappeared into the gray-tinged mist.

“ ‘Actually, on a normal day, nobody would run in such conditions,’ said participant Liu Zhenyu, a computer engineer. ‘But the event is happening today, so what can we do?’

“About 30,000 people were expected to take part (and) the organizing committee made 140,000 sponges available at supply stations along the marathon route so runners could ‘clean their skin that is exposed to the air,’ the Beijing News reported....

“(The) air Sunday was deemed severely polluted, according to the real-time monitoring of Beijing’s environmental center. It was the most serious level on China’s air-quality index, and came with a warning for children, the elderly and the sick to stay indoors, and for everyone to avoid outdoor activities.”

You can’t make this stuff up. No one died...but, oh, I’m guessing a few will down the road as the fine particulate matter they ingested does it thing. I am in no way attempting to be humorous. Think aftermath of Ground Zero.

It was absurd to run the race, but I understand if you’re a race organizer this isn’t easy. Supposedly 46% of participants were from out of town, including thousands from overseas.

This event is not part of my bucket list.

--From the Associated Press: “Serena Williams says comments by the head of the Russian Tennis Federation referring to her and older sister Venus as ‘brothers’ were bullying, sexist and racist, and that she supported the one-year suspension imposed by the WTA against the official.

“Shami Tarpischev was fined $25,000 for making the comments on Russian television. He also said the sisters were ‘scary’ to look at.”

Tarpischev denied any “malicious intent” and said his quotes had been taken out of context.

You’re an ass, Mr. Tarpischev, and you’re going in the December file for yearend award consideration...the kind most people don’t want to receive. And good for the WTA.

--Sports Illustrated’s Sign of the Apocalypse: “An Eagles fan stole a Vietnam veteran’s prosthetic leg outside Lincoln Financial Field before Philly’s 27-0 win over the Giants and left it on a train.”

--From the Associated Press:

“BEIJING – A bear in China has bitten off the arm of a 9-year-old boy who tried to feed it through the cage.

“Media reports say the attack happened Saturday afternoon at Pingdingshan Hebin Park in central China, which has a zoo inside. The boy managed to push his arm through the bear’s cage to feed it when the bear bit him.”

Let that be a lesson to you, boys and girls.

--But the big bear story on the week came out of California.

Veronica Rocha / Los Angeles Times

“Authorities say a black bear ate the body of a Humboldt county man after he died of a heart attack on his way to check his water supplies.

“Marion Lee W. (my new policy isn’t to always give out last names), 65, died sometime last week not far from his property, which is where the bear had also apparently created a home for itself...

“The bear probably came across Williams, who had collapsed and died of a heart attack, then dragged his body into a cave to eat.

“Investigators used Williams’ fingerprints, dentures and pieces of clothing to identify him.

“The California Department of Fish and Wildlife considered searching for the bear to potentially euthanize it, spokesman Andrew Hughan said. But the bear was long gone.

“ ‘The bear does not pose a public threat,’ Hughan said. ‘It was just doing what bears do.’”

Just doing what bears do?! Bears didn’t used to like to chow down on us. Remember how we were told they were timid and would just run away when they saw you? 

Well those days are long gone, what with the fatal bear attack in New Jersey the other week. They are less afraid of us, that’s for sure, and they have acquired quite a liking to human flesh.

By the way, if you see Smokey Bear on one of your hikes or jogs, don’t be thrown off by those Ad Council spots he’s been featured in. He’s not a good guy.

--I was reading a Wall Street Journal article on New York City restaurants with the best fried chicken and I saw one, Queens Comfort (Astoria) that has Cap’n Crunch chicken fingers and now I’m drooling all over myself.

You think I’m kidding? “The chicken is coated in the popular cereal and served with a ‘sweet-and-spicy red-chili-bacon-caramel sauce.’”

I have to find my bib.

--So Bono revealed, officially, why he wears shades all the time. In an appearance on the BBC’s Graham Norton Show the other day, Bono said he has suffered from glaucoma for the past 20 years.

“This is a good place to explain to people that I’ve had glaucoma for the last 20 years. I have good treatments and I am going to be fine.”

Then he added: “You’re not going to get this out of your head now and you will be saying ‘Ah, poor old blind Bono.’” [Irish Independent]

Glaucoma can make the eyes highly sensitive to light and sunglasses can make it more comfortable.

Top 3 songs for the week 10/19/59: #1 “Mack The Knife” (Bobby Darin...was #1, 9 of 10 weeks)  #2 “Put Your Head On My Shoulder” (Paul Anka) #3 “Mr. Blue” (The Fleetwoods...interrupted Darin’s run for one week in the top spot...)...and...#4 “Teen Beat” (Sandy Nelson) #5 “(‘Til) I Kissed You” (The Everly Brothers) #6 “Sleep Walk” (Santo & Johnny) #7 “Lonely Street” (Andy Williams) #8 “Poison Ivy” (The Coasters) #9 “Just Ask Your Heart” (Frankie Avalon) #10 “The Three Bells” (The Browns)

NFL Quiz Answer:   Top five Green Bay rushers....

Ahman Green 8,322 (2000-2009)
Jim Taylor 8,207 (1958-1966)
John Brockington 5,024 (1971-1977)
Tony Canadeo 4,193 (1941-1952)
Ryan Grant 4,143 (2007-2012)

My man, Donny Anderson, is No. 11 at 3,165 (1966-1971). He starred in my electric football games. “Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz” Actually, Anderson, who finished his career with 4,696 yards rushing, his last three seasons with St. Louis, averaged 12.2 yards per reception on 209 catches, which isn’t too shabby.

Next Bar Chat, Thursday.


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Bar Chat

10/20/2014

Florida State Pulls It Out Over Notre Dame

[Posted prior to Broncos-49ers]

NFL Quiz:
Give me the top five rushers in Green Bay Packers history. [Hint: This really isn’t fair...one, to me, is very hard. Played from 1941-52.] Answer below.

College Football Review

Well that was an entertaining game, No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 2 Florida State. The final score was 31-27, Seminoles, as Jameis Winston was not only 23/31, 273, 2-1, but he was 15 of 16 in the second half to rally FSU to its 23rd consecutive victory. For ND, Everett Golson had a heroic performance in defeat, 31/52, 313, 3-2, as Notre Dame proved it is for real and remains very much in the playoff hunt if they can run the table from here.

But college football fans will be talking about the ending for a long time. The Fighting Irish were at the FSU goal line in the final seconds, Golson threw a touchdown pass with 13 left on the clock, but then the go-ahead score was wiped out over an offensive pass interference penalty.

Zach Braziller / New York Post

“Twenty-one years ago, Notre Dame and Florida State played ‘The Game of the Century.’ Saturday night’s showdown will forever be known as the ‘pass interference game,’ one call deciding the winner of the dramatic seesaw affair that could go a long way to determining the four-team playoff.

“With 13 seconds left, it appeared the fifth-ranked Fighting Irish had gone ahead on a touchdown pass from Everett Golson to Corey Robinson on a fourth-and-goal play from the Seminoles’ 2-yard line. But the Irish were hit with an offensive pass interference penalty, receiver C.J. Prosise whistled for interfering with cornerback Ronald Darby. It enabled Robinson – the son of basketball Hall of Famer David Robinson – to get wide open on a rollout by Golson.

“Backed up by the penalty, Golson’s ensuing try was picked off in the back of the end zone by linebacker Jacob Pugh. Second-ranked Florida State took a knee and prevailed, 31-27, capping the classic that was as memorable as the end was controversial.

“ ‘We execute that play every day,’ Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said, ‘and we do it legally and that’s the way we coach it. We don’t coach illegal plays.’”

Mike Vaccaro / New York Post

Was it a good call? Was it a home-town flag for the ages? We’ll hear that debate forever, starting immediately.”

[Notre Dame, by the way, is now 1-17 against teams ranked in the top five since 1999.]

Back to Jameis Winston, who is now 20-0 as a starter, his many off-the-field issues remain at center stage. Winston’s attorney, David Cornwell, met the deadline for contacting FSU’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and is now waiting on FSU to assign an outside hearing officer for the case. Under the rules, university officials must give Winston notice of a scheduled hearing at least five school days in advance.

Michael McCann / Sports Illustrated:

“As Florida State University plans a disciplinary hearing on allegations that Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston raped a fellow student, I ask a simple question: Why is Winston still enrolled in college?

“The Seminoles’ star, expected to enter the 2015 NFL draft, has little to gain and much to lose if he participates in a hearing. By leaving school, Winston would evade the university’s jurisdiction and lawfully frustrate an investigation that threatens his future.

“Examining Winston’s legal strategies is not meant to ignore the fact that there is another person in this disturbing story. If she is telling the truth, she was raped, but her claims of rape were met with disturbing resistance by those in authority and by those with an interest in Winston’s playing football. Winston’s leaving Florida State may give him a legal advantage, but it does nothing to further justice....

“For starters, he probably would not benefit by a new investigation into what happened in the early morning of Dec. 7, 2012, at his apartment....Recent reports by the New York Times and Fox Sports suggest that the Tallahassee police department and Florida State badly, and perhaps intentionally, mishandled the accusation... While Winston’s accuser is expected to sue Winston, FSU and the Tallahassee police, there is no indication now that law enforcement will reopen the case.

“But a university investigation could have legal repercussions for Winston, who could still face criminal charges...Courtroom rules that limit the admissibility of incriminating materials and that offer opportunities to confront accusers are not required in university proceedings. Winston would surely be asked to testify. If he agreed, and again denied rape, he might be forced to acknowledge he broke university rules. Any indication of wrongdoing could prompt the Tallahassee police department, which is most likely sensitive to media commentary that it protected the local sports star, to reopen the case....

“Quitting college could have negative consequences for Winston. It might be interpreted as an admission of guilt, but his representatives could instead frame his decision as a rejection of a biased hearing. Missing games might cause NFL teams concern about his football development, but an agent could hire coaches to prepare him for the draft. And, of course, Winston, who is pursuing an ‘exploratory major,’ would miss out on his education, but he would be exiting an environment where he has struggled to follow rules....

“Jameis Winston’s time at Florida State has been a regrettable drama. I’ll ask it again: Why is he still enrolled at Florida State University?”

As for the autograph issue, 2,000 authenticated signatures by Winston have been found on the James Spence Authentication website. But FSU athletic director Stan Wilcox said in a statement that the school hasn’t seen any indication Winston received payment for the items.

Christine Brennan / USA TODAY [prior to Saturday’s game]

“It must be so much fun to be a Florida State fan right now, living inside that morality-free bubble that fits so snugly over the campus in Tallahassee. Your young and impressionable football coach, Jimbo Fisher, believes every single word Winston has to say about signing autographs, because Jameis is just so, well, so incredibly believable.

An allegation of rape? Come on. That’s old news now. When you mishandle it this bad for this long, nearly two years, you might as well just forget about it entirely, right, Seminoles? Plus, that’s what civil lawsuits are for.

“And all those autographs Winston signed and for which he of course didn’t get paid one penny? After 22 months of successfully stiff-arming scandal, why stop now? Don’t be cautious like Georgia and even Texas A&M. Roll the dice. Worst case scenario, should you win another national title and have to give it up someday because Winston actually might not be telling the truth, everyone would know you won it on the field, and lost it later to the despised NCAA. So that almost counts as a win-win, right?....

“It’s hard to imagine an entire university led by supposedly intelligent people who don’t wear football helmets turning into sycophants for one sports team, but that’s exactly what has happened before our eyes at Jameis State....

“So now Winston is going to use the foot-dragging that kept him eligible in 2013 to buttress his case against the school in 2014. That’s some kind of chutzpah.

“Let’s play this out. Accustomed to thriving in the midst of total controversy, Jameis State plays well enough to make the inaugural college football playoff. Jameis himself doesn’t win another Heisman but finishes the bowl season as the starting quarterback. He then escapes to the NFL just as the school sanctions him for a period of time that no longer has any meaning.

“As for the alleged leaders of Jameis State, they finally realize what they have done and in their shame turn a collective shade of garnet. Nothing like being true to your school.”

Back to the games...No. 1 Mississippi State being idle...

--No. 3 Ole Miss had its way with Tennessee in Oxford, 34-3...outgaining the Vols 383-191. The Rebels forced four turnovers while committing zero themselves. That’s Ole Miss football, 2014.

--Last Bar Chat I said No. 4 Baylor was traveling to Morgantown to play a “surprisingly solid” West Virginia. Well, the Mountaineers are a surprise no more after a terrific 41-27 upset that moved WVU to 5-2, 3-1. You do not want to face them at home. That’s a heckuva crowd. A most rowdy one that rioted in Morgantown Saturday night, much to the chagrin of police and the mayor.

Anyway, so much for Bryce Petty’s Heisman hopes. The Bears’ QB was only 16/36, 223, 2-0. His opposing number, Clint Trickett, outplayed Petty, going 23/35, 322, 3-1. West Virginia outgained the vaunted Baylor ‘O’ 456-318.

--No. 7 Alabama exposed No. 21 Texas A&M once and for all. The Aggies never should have been ranked as high as they were and have now lost their last three, all to teams ranked in the top 10.

Oh, the score was 59-0! Alabama outgained A&M 602-172, as Aggie quarterback Kenny Hill, who had been putting up big numbers, was a mere 17/26, 138, 0-1.

For its part, Alabama set a school record for most points in a quarter (35 in the second) en route to a 45-0 halftime lead.

The score was so lopsided, it came within four points of the largest margin of victory over a Top 25 team, trailing No. 8 Florida State’s 63-0 win over No. 25 Maryland in 2013 and UCLA’s 66-3 win over No. 11 Texas in 1997.

Just last year, A&M’s Johnny Manziel had set a record for an Alabama opponent with 628 total yards in a 49-42 loss.

--No. 8 Michigan State rolled over Indiana, 56-17, blitzing the Hoosiers 28-0 in the second half and outgaining Indiana 662-224.

--No. 9 Oregon, like Michigan State, remained in the playoff hunt with a solid 45-20 win over Washington in Eugene. Marcus Mariota was a cool 24/33, 336, 2-0, and now has 19 TD passes on the season with 0 interceptions. Love this guy. Hope he’s a Jet next year.

--Who needs Todd Gurley? Clearly, No. 10 Georgia is doing just fine without their one-time Heisman candidate as replacement running back Nick Chubb ran 30 times for 202 yards and two touchdowns in Georgia’s 45-32 win over Arkansas.

--You can’t help but love 75-year-old Bill Snyder, coach of No. 14 Kansas State, which went to Norman and upset the No. 11 Oklahoma Sooners, 31-30, as OU made one mistake after another, including normally automatic kicker Michael Hunnicutt’s two missed field goals, including a 19-yard chip shot with 3:53 left that would have given the Sooners the lead. K-State then ran out the clock to seal the victory.

Earlier, Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight threw an awful interception out of his end zone that was returned five yards for a score.

Back to Hunnicutt, he was supposed to be one of the top three kickers in the country...until Saturday. I mean look at his field goal totals the prior three seasons.

2011...21-24
2012...17-21
2013...24-27
2014...8-9...before missing 2 of 3

Further, he missed an extra point yesterday, so even with the 19-yard miss, they should have been tied.

--No. 22 USC (5-2, 4-1) manhandled Colorado 56-28 as Cody Kessler threw for a school-record seven touchdowns and now has 18 TD passes on the year with just one interception.

--No. 24 Clemson went up to Chestnut Hill and emerged with a 17-13 win over Boston College, dropping the Eagles to 4-3 as they prepare to face mighty Wake Forest in next week’s Lunch Bowl. BC had its chances late and should have won.

--No. 25 Marshall remained undefeated at 7-0 after a 45-13 win over FIU. Rakeem Cato set a record with a TD pass in his 39th straight game (Cato throwing four overall in the contest).

Marshall has a cupcake schedule and could easily go undefeated for the season but they really haven’t looked that good and I find it unlikely they can get into a New Year’s Day bowl game. Hopefully I’m wrong. [Their Conference USA is locked into a few minor ones but they could be moved into perhaps the Cotton Bowl, but that’s a longshot.]

--Minnesota kept its Big Ten title hopes alive with a stirring 39-38 win at home over Purdue, which moved the Golden Gophers to 6-1, 3-0. They don’t play Michigan State this year, but do have Ohio State on Nov. 15.

--5-1 Rutgers went to Columbus to face the No. 13 Buckeyes of Ohio State in yet another opportunity for the Scarlet Knights to show their stuff on a big stage with a national television audience, but Rutgers promptly laid an epic egg, going down 56-17. For OSU, quarterback JT Barrett had 368 yards of total offense and accounted for five touchdowns; 3 passing, 2 rushing.

Now the Buckeyes gear up for their Nov. 8 contest against Michigan State in what could be a classic, and could easily be for a playoff berth. 

But back to Rutgers, Steve Politi / Star-Ledger (Can’t stand this new moniker for them, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

“So now we know. The gap is as wide as feared, a chasm of Grand Canyon proportions, between Rutgers and the top team in the Big Ten.

“Ohio State is not a little better, or even a lot better, than the Scarlet Knights. This was hide-the-women-and-children better. This was every-single-facet-of-the-game-and-then-some better.

“Better athletes. Better coaching. Better facilities. Better band, and thank goodness for its wonderful halftime show, because even the Rutgers fans had to smile when the talented Ohio State musicians made a giant pinball machine while playing Pinball Wizard.

“The problem was, it was the Ohio State offense putting up the pinball-machine numbers en route to a 56-17 victory that, incredibly, could’ve been worse.”

--Duke moved to 6-1 in defeating Virginia 20-13. They are now 14-3 in their last 17 games. In the nine seasons before hiring David Cutcliffe, Duke had a total of 13 wins.

--SMU fell to 0-6 in losing to Cincinnati, 41-3. Paul P.’s Mustangs have been outscored 288-39. Eegads.

--But, while some say SMU is the worst team in college football, I believe these days it’s my own Wake Forest Demon Deacons, who fell to Syracuse, at home, 30-7. Wake was outgained 370-170 in falling to 2-5, 0-3.

But why would I say they are the worst? Here’s something you won’t find elsewhere. Wake’s total yards on offense and rushing for each of their games.

UL Monroe... 94 (total yards) -3 (rushing)
Gardner Webb... 387... 96
Utah State... 232... -25
Army... 338... 100
Louisville... 100... -22
Florida State... 126... 40
Syracuse... 170... 71

That’s 257 net yards rushing (1.2 per carry, actually) in seven games. And look at those total offense figures the last three games against major opponents. It’s beyond pathetic. Beyond belief.

Aside from feeling bad for the fans who actually show up (and if I lived down that way, no doubt I’d have season tickets myself), the Demon Deacon defense has actually played pretty well. Yesterday, for example, Syracuse had two of its scores on an interception and fumble.

--Wisconsin-Whitewater coach Lance Leipold reached 100 wins faster than any coach in NCAA history. Gotta reach for my Warhawks t-shirt. After a 52-3 win against Wisconsin-Eau Claire on Saturday, Leipold’s record is a staggering 100-6! He has guided the boys to five Division III national championships since taking over as the team’s coach in 2007.

Here’s some trivia, courtesy of ESPN.com. The previous record was set by Hall of Fame coach Gil Dobie, who reached 100 wins in 108 games while at Cornell in 1921.

--Update: The football coaches at Sayreville War Memorial High School in New Jersey have been suspended from their teaching and coaching position, following the sexual hazing scandal that has rocked my state. According to NJ.com, they were suspended with pay. Authorities have not charged any of them, however, as yet. Because they haven’t been indicted, New Jersey law prohibits them being suspended without pay.

--And now...the new AP Poll!

[Reminder...I write all the preceding prior to the release of this.]

1. Mississippi State 6-0 (43 first-place votes)
2. Florida State 7-0 (14)
3. Ole Miss 7-0 (3)
4. Alabama 6-1
5. Auburn 5-1
6. Oregon 6-1
7. Notre Dame 6-1
8. Michigan State 6-1
9. Georgia 6-1
10. TCU 5-1
11. Kansas State 5-1
13. Ohio State 5-1
18. East Carolina 5-1
22. West Virginia 5-2
23. Marshall 7-0

So 4 of the top 5 are SEC West?! C’mon.

At least Oregon has moved up smartly. Surprised Michigan State and Ohio State didn’t budge, which hurts them. Yes, I know the College Playoff Selection Committee could easily come up with entirely different rankings when they release their first one Oct. 26, but as you saw member Condoleezza Rice say, of course they look at the polls, too. The polls shape attitudes, no doubt.

West Virginia was rewarded nicely. Duke would be No. 26, by the way, if you carried it out.

Finally, I’m going to give my own playoff final four today...and from here on.

Florida State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Michigan State

NFL

--What a win for the St. Louis Rams (2-4) as they defeated the champion Seahawks 28-26 in St. Louis, dropping Seattle to 3-3. It was all about special teams, with the Rams scoring on an elaborate fake punt return where the Seahawks all went to cover Tavon Austin, only the punt came down on the other end of the field to Steadman Bailey, who then went 90 yards for a score. Brilliant.

Then Rams punter Johnny Hekker passed for a first on a fourth down play from his own 18 late in the game, Hekker being 4 of 5 lifetime now. [He was a high school quarterback.]

Anyway, for St. Louis, quarterback Austin Davis was 18/21, 152, 2-0, and the former third stringer (who was a walk-on at Southern Miss) has 9 touchdown passes and just 4 INTs. As Ronald Reagan would have said, not bad, not bad at all.

As for Seattle, which like so many other teams is finding it tough to repeat (but they will...says the editor), Russell Wilson had a spectacular second half and finished 23/36, 313, 2-0, plus 106 yards rushing and a score.

--Meanwhile, the surprise of the NFL season, the Dallas Cowboys, moved to 6-1 with a 31-21 win at Jerry’s Palace over the now 3-4 Giants. Tony Romo was 17/23, 279, 3-1 and running back DeMarco Murray had yet another 100-yard game, 28-128.

[Dallas kicker Dan Bailey is an astounding 59 of 62 on field goal attempts at home.]

--Kansas City (3-3) upset the Chargers in San Diego, 23-20, dropping them to 5-2. San Diego was held to just 251 yards of offense.

--Green Bay is 5-2 after blasting the Panthers (3-3) 38-17 as Aaron Rodgers had another spectacular day, 19/22, 255, 3-0. He now has 18 TD passes and just one interception.

--Detroit is 5-2 as Matthew Stafford threw two late TD passes, two in the last 5:24, with the Lions coming back from 23-10 to beat the Saints (2-4, 0-4 away) 24-23 in Motown. Drew Brees had a critical interception in crunch time.

--The Bills moved to 4-3 with a 17-16 win over the Vikings (2-5) in Orchard Park.  Rookie receiver Sammy Watkins had a late TD, part of his best game as a pro, 9 catches for 122 yards and two TDs.

[Buffalo suffered a big loss, though, as C.J. Spiller broke his collarbone.]

--No one cares Washington beat Tennessee 19-17, both now 2-5.

--The Brownies laid a giant egg, falling to 3-3 as they handed Jacksonville its first win, 24-6. Quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Blake Bortles both totally sucked, going a combined 33/72, 374, 1-4.

But for the Jags, Denard Robinson, the former Michigan quarterback, had 127 yards rushing on 22 carries as it seems he’s found his position...at least for this week.

I know one Jags fan who is partying alllll night! Steve G.

--The Ravens are now 5-2 after beating the 2-5 Falcons, 29-7, a game I note because Wake’s Michael Campanaro had one catch for 17 yards and has now caught the ball all three times he has been targeted.

--Jets embattled General Manager John Idzik pulled off a mini-coup, possibly, in trading for Seattle receiver/running back/return man Percy Harvin for just a conditional draft pick.

Harvin is a big-play guy who has been hampered by injuries the last three seasons after a solid first three seasons in Minnesota, where he caught the bulk of his 303 passes for 3,452 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also has returned five kickoffs for scores.

And we remember his performance in Seattle’s Super Bowl win over Denver, as Harvin, who had played in one regular season game in 2013, had an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and two rushes for 45 yards.

In a nutshell, when healthy the guy is explosive, just what the Jets need, though at 1-6 most fans are like ‘whatever.’ I’m ready for the Mets.

Plus Harvin comes with major baggage. He’s known as a big-time malcontent, a moody jerk.

But, it’s a gamble worth taking. After this year the Jets aren’t obligated in any fashion to pay the guy. At the same time if he plays well the balance of the season, and becomes a changed man with the opportunity he’ll have in New York, Idzik will be praised. 

The only problem is Rex Ryan won’t be around to reap any rewards because after the Jets’ six-game losing streak, the season is over and he probably has his house in Summit stealthily on the market.

Us fans had been targeting the six-game stretch since the schedule was released – Green Bay, Chicago, Detroit, San Diego, Denver, New England...six great quarterbacks – and we thought, well, after an opening week win against Oakland, if we could just split those six, or even go 2-4, we’d be in solid shape to make a legitimate run at the playoffs. Alas, it wasn’t to be and Thursday night’s 27-25 loss to the Patriots was a killer. The Jets, as many of you saw, actually played darn well and QB Geno Smith didn’t turn the ball over. The Jets had over 200 yards rushing and outgained the Pats 423-323.

According to Elias, the Jets were actually the first team in NFL history to lose a game with 40 minutes of time of possession (40:54), 200 rushing yards (218) and no giveaways. Time of possession became a stat in 1977.

--The Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Beaton had a breakdown of Brett Favre’s 508 career touchdown passes and Peyton Manning’s 506 and it’s pretty remarkable.

Both have 265 at home, meaning Favre has 243 on the road and Manning 241.

Manning leads in fourth-quarter touchdowns, 119-116.

--Great book excerpt in the current Sports Illustrated, Bill Parcells’ “A Football Life,” co-written by Nunyo Demasio. It’s about the time when Parcells steps down as Jets coach and Bill Belichick is tabbed to replace him, though Parcells is still very much in the picture. You know what happens...Belichick resigns within 24 hours and eventually become New England’s coach.

But what you really take away is how much of a total [jerk] Charlie Weis is, Weis being on the Jets’ staff...Parcells having moved him up the chain over the years.

Of course it’s the same Charlie Weis who is now sitting pretty, as I’ve detailed, after total flameouts at Notre Dame and Kansas. Sitting on $26 million in guaranteed contracts from the two, that is.

I’ve never met him, don’t care to, but really dislike the guy.

--Update: A lawsuit against Cowboys owner Jerry Jones alleging sexual assault was dismissed in mediation. Jones’ attorney issued a statement: “We are pleased with the Court’s Judgment against Ms. Weckerly [Ed. the 27-year-old former stripper]. Ms. Weckerly’s allegations were false. This case is over.”

World Series

Little to say now...we’re all on hold until Tuesday, Giants-Royals in Kansas City, Madison Bumgarner against James Shields. So far the weather forecast looks great.

But on a different topic, for us locals, Bill Madden / New York Daily News:

“The Royals have caught fire with young and speedy players like Lorenzo Cain as the Yankees continue to rely on aging, injury-prone former stars with diminishing skills.

“This was after Game 2 of the ALCS in Baltimore, in which the resurgent Royals had just beaten the Orioles at their own game again, and a couple of scouts were discussing the way the series was going.

“ ‘Let me ask you something,’ one of them said to me. ‘If the Yankees, with all their over-30 guys and questionable defense at so many positions, had to play the Royals 162 times, how many games would they win?’

“The point he was making was that, in this post-steroid era of declining offense, especially home runs, it’s a greatly changing game, with the formula for winning having shifted to athleticism, defense and, most importantly, a shutdown, power-arm bullpen.   And, of course, the one thing that never changes is that there is no substitute for youth.”

Great points, all, and it’s why us Mets fans are increasingly psyched over our prospects for next season. We have some young athletes, the power-arm bullpen, and a top ten in baseball starting rotation...if management doesn’t mess with it.

As for the Yankees, again, they need to re-sign David Robertson, but they can’t do anything with their aging position players and their huge contracts. There is zero reason to be a Yankees fan next year. [Heh heh...it’s gonna be a Mets town in 2015!!!]

Back to the Royals...fans just marvel over their lockdown bullpen. Here are the regular season and postseason ERAs for the Big Three.

Kelvin Herrera 1.41 ERA regular season / 1.08 postseason
Wade Davis 1.00 / 0.96
Greg Holland 1.44 / 1.13

--Jeff Banister, who spent 29 seasons in the Pirates organization, the last five as their bench coach, was named the manager of the Texas Rangers.

Banister was a career minor leaguer and appeared in just one big league game, singling in his lone at-bat, so he retired with a 1.000 batting average.

--With the pending retirement of Commissioner Bud Selig, there have been all manner of articles on his legacy. Ben Reiter had a good one in the current Sports Illustrated.

“As he enters the final months of his often criticized commissionership – he will retire in January – his sport is, in most ways that matter, more prosperous than ever. The last decade has produced all 10 of the best-attended seasons ever, driven, in part, by what has appeared to be the advent of competitive balance. The league, whose history is pocked with damaging work stoppages, is about to complete its 20th straight season of labor peace. Then there is the money. When Selig, the founding owner of the Brewers, took over from deposed commissioner Fay Vincent in 1992 – first in an acting role and since ’98 in a permanent one – MLB’s annual revenues were $1.2 billion. The game’s financial health was imperiled both by uneasy relations between the clubs and their players, and between the clubs themselves. This year revenues will approach $9 billion, an ever-increasing portion of that derived from a technology arm, MLB Advanced media, that is the envy of the sports industry.”

More in the coming weeks. I’ve saved a few items.

--In an interview for CBS’ “Sunday Morning” program, Pete Rose said he thinks he’ll eventually get into the Hall of Fame.

“Yes,” Rose said. “Sure, I don’t know if I’m going to live to see it. Someone, at some period of time, will feel it in their heart to give me a second chance. I may be six feet under, but that’s what you’ve got to live with.”

Rose also said he doesn’t know why he jeopardized his career to bet on baseball, but says, “I screwed up.”

NASCAR

Brad Keselowski needed a win at Talladega to advance into the third round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship and he did. Talk about clutch. So he is joined by Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth.

There are three elimination races and then the final four finish it at Homestead-Miami on Nov. 16 for the title.

As you can see, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and six-time champ Jimmie Johnson were among those failing to qualify on Sunday.

The win for Keselowski was his series-best sixth of the year.

One sidebar, Terry Labonte competed in his final NASCAR race after 26 full seasons and a partial schedule the last decade. He turns 58 next month and Sunday at Talladega was the 890th start of his career, which is tied for third in NASCAR. Labonte won Cup titles in 1984 and 1996, and has 22 career victories.

I mean think about it. His first career start came at Darlington in 1980.

Labonte finished 33rd out of 43 in his final race.

Soccer Balls

--I watched a fair amount of Premier League action on Saturday, but did you see Sunderland lost to Southampton 8-0?! Good gawd. Sunderland manager Gus Poyet called it his “most embarrassing” moment in the sport as the Black Cats suffered their worst Premier League loss in 32 years.

Poyet said: “I learned a lot about the players – the bad side as some gave up and I know who they are for the future. I feel very sorry for the fans.”

It will be interesting to see how they react in their next game against Arsenal.

--Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero scored all four goals in Man City’s 4-1 thrashing of my Tottenham Spurs.

--Chelsea remained unbeaten in eight (7-1-0, W-D-L). In watching their 2-1 win over Crystal Palace, I heard they are 20-1 to go undefeated the entire season. Interesting bet. Long, long way to go (38 games in the season), but they are the class of the league.

--I forgot to watch some of this one, Sunday, but Queens Park Rangers hosted Liverpool and after watching the highlights, it was an incredible, and amazingly depressing ending for QPR’s fans as they lost to Liverpool 3-2, giving up their second own goal in injury time for the decider. Further, while it’s early, QPR is at the bottom of the standings...1-1-6, tied with Burnley with just 4 points. Chelsea, by contrast, already has 22. [Not to insult anyone’s intelligence, but not all of the readers of Bar Chat are Premier League followers. You get 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw.]

--Cristiano Ronaldo netted his 14th and 15th goals to set s record scoring start in a Spanish league season (first 8 games) as Real Madrid had an easy 5-0 win at Levante.

Stuff

--Ben Martin won his first PGA Tour event at the Shriners Classic in Las Vegas, while 60-year-old Jay Haas won the Champions Tour event in Conover, NC. Go Deacs! [Martin, though, is out of Clemson.]

--The first college basketball poll is out...the Coaches poll.

1. Kentucky
2. Arizona
3. Duke
4. Wisconsin
5. Kansas
6. North Carolina
7. Florida
8. Virginia
9. Louisville
10. Texas
17. San Diego State...I’m back on the Aztec bandwagon this year! Many late nights watching their contests. We just need some decent guard play...and that might not be easy to find after losing Xavier Thames.

One player who will be fun to watch is Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky, the unanimous preseason player of the year in the Big Ten. The Badgers return four starters.

Hey, Paul P. Your Mustangs are ranked No. 22! The Larry Brown coached Mustangs, that is.

--Quicker than some of us thought, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill on Friday that could clear the way for legalized sports betting in my state as early as next weekend at Monmouth Park, which has been preparing for this for a long time and is ready.

The bill strikes provisions from New Jersey’s books that ban sports wagering, but I thought we still needed one more act on the part of federal courts to effect this...and then we’d also have to wait to see what the four major sports leagues did...which in the past was say ‘no way,’ even though it has been legal in four other states.

But Christie and New Jersey officials are now convinced they have cleared the appropriate hurdles. After New Jersey voters cast their ballots to approve it in 2011, the leagues blocked the move.

It then gets complicated but a ruling by the federal Third Court of Appeals said that if New Jersey repealed state laws banning sports betting, it did not believe the federal ban applied.

There is still a step or two before it’s official, and it could still be blocked, but what New Jersey has done is essentially say those offering sports betting, such as Monmouth Park, face no legal liability, which has been the reason why Monmouth, or Atlantic City casinos (the main target) haven’t gone ahead and done it before.

State Sen. Raymond Lesniak said sports wagering is “not the savior of Atlantic City, but it’s a big boost....Once they see it work at Monmouth, they are going to follow suit at the casinos.”

And down the road I’ll be there, especially for something like March Madness.

[If this all comes to pass, Monmouth Park will become a big name, nationally, for horse racing...that’s a Bar Chat guarantee...because sports betting provides a lifeline for this attractive venue. There will now be more horse racing, greater purses, and you get the picture. Could be a terrific Breeders Cup site in, say, 2020.]

--Get this... “The Beijing International Marathon will go ahead as planned tomorrow, despite the heavy smog enveloping the capital...

“Parts of northern China are expected to suffer ‘moderate to severe’ pollution at least until Monday, the national weather bureau has forecast.

“The National Meteorological Center said parts of the north could see levels of PM2.5 superfine particles considered the most dangerous to health – above 450 micrograms per cubic meter. The US Environmental Protection Agency considers a level of 300 or more hazardous.”

Now the preceding is from the South China Morning Post, which is published out of Hong Kong, and is about the only ‘truth’ you get out of the area these days, so just imagine trying to run 26.2 miles in this s---!

I’ve been to Hong Kong a ton of times and experienced the awful pollution there, but I have never attempted running in it...because I know I couldn’t.

So they ran the race Sunday and here is what the South China Morning Post wrote:

Despite heavy pollution blanketing Beijing Sunday, an international marathon went ahead, with face masks and sponges among the equipment used by competitors to battle the smog....

“The 42-kilometer course ended at the Chinese capital’s Olympic Park, on a day when buildings across the city disappeared into the gray-tinged mist.

“ ‘Actually, on a normal day, nobody would run in such conditions,’ said participant Liu Zhenyu, a computer engineer. ‘But the event is happening today, so what can we do?’

“About 30,000 people were expected to take part (and) the organizing committee made 140,000 sponges available at supply stations along the marathon route so runners could ‘clean their skin that is exposed to the air,’ the Beijing News reported....

“(The) air Sunday was deemed severely polluted, according to the real-time monitoring of Beijing’s environmental center. It was the most serious level on China’s air-quality index, and came with a warning for children, the elderly and the sick to stay indoors, and for everyone to avoid outdoor activities.”

You can’t make this stuff up. No one died...but, oh, I’m guessing a few will down the road as the fine particulate matter they ingested does it thing. I am in no way attempting to be humorous. Think aftermath of Ground Zero.

It was absurd to run the race, but I understand if you’re a race organizer this isn’t easy. Supposedly 46% of participants were from out of town, including thousands from overseas.

This event is not part of my bucket list.

--From the Associated Press: “Serena Williams says comments by the head of the Russian Tennis Federation referring to her and older sister Venus as ‘brothers’ were bullying, sexist and racist, and that she supported the one-year suspension imposed by the WTA against the official.

“Shami Tarpischev was fined $25,000 for making the comments on Russian television. He also said the sisters were ‘scary’ to look at.”

Tarpischev denied any “malicious intent” and said his quotes had been taken out of context.

You’re an ass, Mr. Tarpischev, and you’re going in the December file for yearend award consideration...the kind most people don’t want to receive. And good for the WTA.

--Sports Illustrated’s Sign of the Apocalypse: “An Eagles fan stole a Vietnam veteran’s prosthetic leg outside Lincoln Financial Field before Philly’s 27-0 win over the Giants and left it on a train.”

--From the Associated Press:

“BEIJING – A bear in China has bitten off the arm of a 9-year-old boy who tried to feed it through the cage.

“Media reports say the attack happened Saturday afternoon at Pingdingshan Hebin Park in central China, which has a zoo inside. The boy managed to push his arm through the bear’s cage to feed it when the bear bit him.”

Let that be a lesson to you, boys and girls.

--But the big bear story on the week came out of California.

Veronica Rocha / Los Angeles Times

“Authorities say a black bear ate the body of a Humboldt county man after he died of a heart attack on his way to check his water supplies.

“Marion Lee W. (my new policy isn’t to always give out last names), 65, died sometime last week not far from his property, which is where the bear had also apparently created a home for itself...

“The bear probably came across Williams, who had collapsed and died of a heart attack, then dragged his body into a cave to eat.

“Investigators used Williams’ fingerprints, dentures and pieces of clothing to identify him.

“The California Department of Fish and Wildlife considered searching for the bear to potentially euthanize it, spokesman Andrew Hughan said. But the bear was long gone.

“ ‘The bear does not pose a public threat,’ Hughan said. ‘It was just doing what bears do.’”

Just doing what bears do?! Bears didn’t used to like to chow down on us. Remember how we were told they were timid and would just run away when they saw you? 

Well those days are long gone, what with the fatal bear attack in New Jersey the other week. They are less afraid of us, that’s for sure, and they have acquired quite a liking to human flesh.

By the way, if you see Smokey Bear on one of your hikes or jogs, don’t be thrown off by those Ad Council spots he’s been featured in. He’s not a good guy.

--I was reading a Wall Street Journal article on New York City restaurants with the best fried chicken and I saw one, Queens Comfort (Astoria) that has Cap’n Crunch chicken fingers and now I’m drooling all over myself.

You think I’m kidding? “The chicken is coated in the popular cereal and served with a ‘sweet-and-spicy red-chili-bacon-caramel sauce.’”

I have to find my bib.

--So Bono revealed, officially, why he wears shades all the time. In an appearance on the BBC’s Graham Norton Show the other day, Bono said he has suffered from glaucoma for the past 20 years.

“This is a good place to explain to people that I’ve had glaucoma for the last 20 years. I have good treatments and I am going to be fine.”

Then he added: “You’re not going to get this out of your head now and you will be saying ‘Ah, poor old blind Bono.’” [Irish Independent]

Glaucoma can make the eyes highly sensitive to light and sunglasses can make it more comfortable.

Top 3 songs for the week 10/19/59: #1 “Mack The Knife” (Bobby Darin...was #1, 9 of 10 weeks)  #2 “Put Your Head On My Shoulder” (Paul Anka) #3 “Mr. Blue” (The Fleetwoods...interrupted Darin’s run for one week in the top spot...)...and...#4 “Teen Beat” (Sandy Nelson) #5 “(‘Til) I Kissed You” (The Everly Brothers) #6 “Sleep Walk” (Santo & Johnny) #7 “Lonely Street” (Andy Williams) #8 “Poison Ivy” (The Coasters) #9 “Just Ask Your Heart” (Frankie Avalon) #10 “The Three Bells” (The Browns)

NFL Quiz Answer:   Top five Green Bay rushers....

Ahman Green 8,322 (2000-2009)
Jim Taylor 8,207 (1958-1966)
John Brockington 5,024 (1971-1977)
Tony Canadeo 4,193 (1941-1952)
Ryan Grant 4,143 (2007-2012)

My man, Donny Anderson, is No. 11 at 3,165 (1966-1971). He starred in my electric football games. “Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz” Actually, Anderson, who finished his career with 4,696 yards rushing, his last three seasons with St. Louis, averaged 12.2 yards per reception on 209 catches, which isn’t too shabby.

Next Bar Chat, Thursday.