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Lots of College Football
[Posted from Waterville, Ireland...early Monday a.m.]
Note: I’m on a golf trip…no Bar Chat mid-week. Sorry.
College Football Quiz: Rushing quiz, part II.... 1) Who has the highest career average per carry in history? [Played 1944-46] 2) Who has the most rushing TDs, career? [Played post-1990] Answers below.
The big news in the Wild Card races is how Milwaukee has now tied Washington for the top spot, winning 9 of 11 without their star, Christian Yelich.
As for my Mets, it’s over, despite winning two of three in Cincinnati this weekend.
Washington 85-69… ---
Milwaukee 86-70… ---
Chicago 82-74… 4…having lost six in a row!
Mets 81-74… 4.5
In the A.L. ….
Oakland 94-61… 2.5
Tampa Bay 92-64… ---
Cleveland 91-64… 0.5
In the battle for home-field advantage in the A.L. …
As for New York, they lost Domingo German, 18-4, 4.03, for the playoffs due to a domestic violence issue.
But Luis Severino had his second straight terrific start today, coming back from a season-long injury, going 5 scoreless today in an 8-3 win over Toronto, walking none, striking out 9.
So the Yanks starters in the playoffs look to be Paxton, Tanaka, perhaps J.A. Happ, Severino or maybe Chad Green as an opener. Regardless, it’s all about the Yankee bullpen…no starter is going more than six innings.
College Football Review
[As always, the following is written prior to release of the new AP Poll.]
As I said the other day, the story the rest of the college football season is just how many teams the SEC gets in the playoffs. Two is a lock, and no doubt you’ll be able to build a case for three. [Clemson of course the other lock.]
2 Alabama, 3 Georgia, 4 LSU, 8 Auburn and 9 Florida all won and when the new poll comes out, they’ll all be in the top 8.
Georgia passed its big test with a 23-17 win over Notre Dame, LSU’s Joe Burrow passed for six touchdowns and 398 yards in a 66-38 win over Vanderbilt, Auburn beat 17 Texas A&M 28-20, and Florida whipped Tennessee 34-3.
5 Oklahoma was idle, and the other team with a shot at the CFP, No. 6 Ohio State, destroyed Miami (OH) 76-5. It was 7-5 after the first quarter, and then 49-5 at the half, as the Buckeyes’ Justin Fields accounted for all six second-quarter touchdowns, four through the air, two on the ground.
We did have a big upset Friday night, as USC beat 10 Utah 30-23. Starting Trojans quarterback Kedon Slovis went out early with a possible concussion and backup Matt Fink, who started the season as the No. 3 QB behind Slovis and JT Daniels, the latter out with a season-ending knee injury, went 21 of 30 with 3 touchdowns, while receiver Michael Pittman Jr. had 10 receptions for 232 yards and a score.
So Utah’s hopes of being in the CFP conversation in the end were dashed, ditto the Pac-12’s, officially, in Week 4.
Meanwhile, the Jim Harbaugh Era at Michigan continues to crash and burn, the No. 11 Wolverines losing to 13 Wisconsin 35-14 in Madison. Heisman hopeful Jonathan Taylor of the Badgers rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter alone and was 23-203-2 for the game.
But when it comes to Harbaugh, he is now 1-6 on the road against ranked opponents, 4-11 overall against teams ranked in the top 15, and 5-11 away from home against winning teams. In a nutshell, the Harbaugh Era has been an unmitigated disaster given the hoopla and mega $s paid to the khaki clad lad.
--A few other games of note….
Pitt, on a last minute trick play, won a thriller over UCF 35-34 in Pittsburgh. The 2-2 Panthers ended the Knights’ 27-game regular-season winning streak and any hopes they had of working their way into the conversation. A huge win for Pitt and its confidence going forward.
And then we had this game in Pullman, Washington…19 Washington State hosting winless UCLA. The Cougars were up 49-17 midway through the third quarter…and lost!
The Bruins stormed back to win 67-63, the 63 points tying the college record for most points scored in a losing effort.
UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw for 507 yards and five touchdowns, but in defeat the story was Anthony Gordon, who was 41/61, 570, 9-2 for Washington State. Yes, nine touchdown passes. A staggering seven receivers had 60+ yards.
But Gordon’s two interceptions and a late fumble proved costly, the Cougars with six turnovers overall.
So congrats to Chip Kelly for doing something right in keeping his team’s spirits up in this one. A true comeback for the ages. And a good weekend for college football in Los Angeles for once.
--Meanwhile, Wake Forest is 4-0, after a 49-7 demolition of Elon. Jamie Newman, who is rapidly building a national reputation, threw for 351 yards and five touchdowns as all this kid has done since he was handed the starting quarterback job near the end of last season is win.
Next up for the Deacs is Boston College, 3-1 following a 30-16 win over lowly Rutgers. Us fans are dreaming of a 5-0 start that, one, would virtually assure a 7-win season, and, second, have us dreaming of an even greater campaign.
--Two other games of note…nice win for Appalachian State over North Carolina, 34-31. That’s huge for recruiting.
And congratulations to Paul P.’s SMU Mustangs (Paul an old friend from my PIMCO days). SMU had a huge win at 25 TCU on Saturday, 41-38. It’s their best start since 1984, and now they’ll start picking up AP top 25 votes. SMU hasn’t been ranked since 1986!
--And now the new AP Poll....
1. Clemson 4-0 (55)
2. Alabama 4-0 (6)
3. Georgia 4-0 (1)
4. LSU 4-0
5. Ohio State 4-0
6. Oklahoma 3-0
7. Auburn 4-0
8. Wisconsin 3-0
9. Florida 4-0…thought they’d move to 8…
10. Notre Dame 2-1
11. Texas 3-1
12. Penn State 3-0…not deserved
15. California 4-0…huh….
18. Virginia 4-0
19. Utah 3-1
20. Michigan 2-1…shouldn’t be ranked…they blow…
21. USC 3-1
And if you carry out the votes, Wake Forest is No. 26…24 in the Coaches Poll which I don’t use.
No big games next week, unless you believe Virginia-Notre Dame is destination television.
I got to watch Kansas City-Baltimore in the clubhouse at Waterville Golf Links today after our round. So far so good with my herniated disc. But I’m playing with fire, as you might say.
Anyway, the Sky Sports coverage of the NFL is outstanding. Pete M. and I agree it’s better than what we have in the States…at least for a feature game like this one, the Chiefs holding on to beat the Ravens 33-28, Patrick Mahomes throwing for 374 yards and three touchdowns, while Lamar Jackson, after a slow start, ended up with 313 yards of total offense.
The Lions (2-0-1) beat the Eagles (1-2) 27-24; Buffalo (New York’s real team) is now 3-0 after a 21-17 win over the Bengals (0-3); Green Bay is 3-0 after beating Denver (0-3), though it’s the Packers’ defense carrying the load thus far, not Aaron Rodgers and the offense.
Dallas is 3-0 after manhandling Miami 31-6. Josh Rosen got the nod for the Dolphins and was hardly spectacular, 18/39, 200, 0-0, 61.9, while Dallas rushed for 235 yards. Miami has now been outscored 133-16 in its first three games. If you want to go to a facsimile of an NFL game for like $2.00 you can in Miami, check it out. Some of the scenery might be pretty good at least.
Minnesota is 2-1 after a 34-14 win over Oakland (1-2), my man Dalvin Cook rushing for over 100 again, 16-110-1.
And the Jets beat the spread! Repeat…the Jets beat the spread! Last I saw it was 22 points going in, the Patriots winning just 30-14, despite outgaining New York 381-105.
105 yards of total offense…six freakin’ first downs!!! What a disaster.
But at the end of the day, boys and girls, beating the spread is what it’s all about, and the Jets’ two scores came on a fumble recovery and interception for a TD. Eegads.
One final note, it’s late and I have to post, but I see Daniel Jones is playing well for the Giants at Tampa Bay, Jones in his first start for Eli Manning. It’s a good sign, win or lose.
To set this up, I first have to go back to last Wednesday, after I posted. Tottenham played its first Champions League game, on the road at Olympiakos, and came away with a disappointing 2-2 draw after being up 2-0.
Also that day, Manchester City opened up its CL play with a 3-0 win over Shaktar Donetsk.
It’s always difficult for those in the Champions League competition to then turn around and play in their regular leagues and this proved too much for Tottenham on Saturday as they lost to Leicester City 2-1 on a late goal.
But the quick turnaround was no issue for Man City, 8-0 winners over Watford! City scored five times in the first 18 minutes, with Bernardo Silva picking up a hat-trick along the way. The 8-0 annihilation was the biggest in modern Premier League history since Manchester United defeated Ipswich 9-0 in 1995.
But today West Ham beat Manchester United 2-0, Arsenal prevailed over Aston Villa 3-2, and in the biggie, Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-1.
So while it is super early, just six of 38 matches played, we have some startling developments.
1. Liverpool 6-0-0 (W-D-L)…18 points
2. Man City 4-1-1…13
3. Leicester City 3-2-1…11
4. Arsenal 3-2-1…11 (ties broken by goal differential)
5. West Ham 3-2-1…11
6. Bournemouth 3-1-2…10
7. Tottenham 2-2-2…8
8. Manchester United 2-2-2…8
11. Chelsea 2-2-2…8
Top 3 songs for the week 9/21/68: #1 “Harper Valley P.T.A.” (Jeannie C. Riley) #2 “People Got To Be Free” (The Rascals) #3 “Hey Jude” (The Beatles)...and...#4 “Hush” (Deep Purple) #5 “1, 2, 3, Red Light” (1910 Fruitgum Company) #6 “Light My Fire” (Jose Feliciano) #7 “Born To Be Wild” (Steppenwolf) #8 “The Fool On The Hill” (Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66) #9 “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You” (The Bee Gees) #10 “The House That Jack Built” (Aretha Franklin... ‘A-’ week....)
College Football Quiz Answers: 1) Army’s Glenn Davis averaged 8.7 per carry (266-2309) from 1944-46.* 2) Navy’s Keenan Reynolds had a record 88 rushing touchdowns, 2012-2015.
*Army won national titles in 1944 and 1945, finishing second to Notre Dame in 1946, a combined 27-0-1 record over the three seasons, as Davis teamed with Doc Blanchard (5.9 yards per carry for his career) all three seasons. Blanchard was the Heisman Trophy winner in ’45, Davis in ’46. Army and Notre Dame played to a 0-0 tie in ’46.
I was glancing at that ’46 Fighting Irish squad and was startled to see a full 13 players had at least 100 yards rushing that season. They averaged 337 yards per game on the ground.
1969 Mets, cont’d....
St. Louis comes into town, the Mets attempting to clinch the N.L. East.
Sept. 22: Tom Seaver moves to 24-7 with a complete game victory, 3-1.
Sept. 23: Bob Gibson was on the mound for the Cardinals and the game went into the eleventh, 2-2, the Mets’ Jim McAndrew going the first seven, relieved by Tug McGraw. And in the bottom of the inning, Bud Harrelson got the walk-off RBI single, Gibson (18-13) the loser, McGraw (9-3) the winner after four more sterling innings.
The magic number for New York was just one!
Actually, the Mets could have shown up at the park the following night having already clinched, but the Cubs beat the Expos in a day game, Sept. 24, meaning the magical moment could be now....
Sept. 24: Gary Gentry (12-12) throws a complete game shutout, Mets winning 6-0 behind Donn Clendenon’s two home runs, Steve Carlton (17-11) out after just 1/3rd of an inning, 5 runs...Lefty no doubt still shell-shocked over the Ron Swoboda two-homer performance that spoiled his 19 strikeout effort against the Metsies earlier.
Mets clinch!!!! What a scene.
Phil Pepe / New York Daily News
“At precisely 9:06 p.m. last night, the Mets stopped being a joke. At precisely 9:06 last night, the Mets stopped being the symbol of frustration, ineptness and futility; stopped being the subject of ridicule.
“At precisely 9:06 p.m., the Mets completed a short-second-first DP completing a 6-0 victory over the Cardinals, clinching the NL East title and touching off a celebration heard around the world. Confetti streamed down on the field, firecrackers were set off and, within moments, fans swarmed on the field like locusts and Met players were trapped in a mass of jubilant humanity....
“Hours after the final putout, they were still swarming over the field, refusing to go home, hoping to savor this moment of moments and trying to wash away the failures and the frustrations of the past eight seasons. They clustered around the Met dugout, imploring their heroes to come out.... But their heroes were inside their clubhouse, having a wild celebration of their own.”
Unfortunately, after, the field was a disaster.
Dick Young / New York Daily News
“The outfield of Shea Stadium looks like the surface of the moon. Vari-sized craters have been created by the vulturous fans who swooped onto the field by the thousands and tore up clumps of grass to take home as memorabilia of this historic event. Six fractures were reported in the first aid room by Ruth Harden, RN, including three broken legs.
“They clawed at the turf till craters six feet in diameter appeared. They made off with home plate and second base.
“ ‘We’ll have it back in shape for the playoffs,’ said Jim Thomson, Met veep in charge of Shea. ‘Fortunately, the club is going on the road and we have more than a week. It’s a mess. A wonderful mess.’”
Of course I remember the game-ending DP vividly...but I can’t remember if I cried tears of joy. I was eleven...not sure of my emotions then. [I sure as hell can tell you I bawled my eyes out when the Mets lost Game 7 of the World Series in 1973...then 15.]
Well, the Mets still had five games left, on the road to Philadelphia for three.
Sept. 26: Donn Clendenon homers again and Jerry Koosman finishes his regular season 17-9, 2.21, with a complete game shutout, 5-0.
Sept. 27: Tom Seaver moves to 25-7, also 2.21, as Bobby Pfeil drives in the lone run with a single in the eighth, Seaver another shutout, 1-0, Grant Jackson (14-17) the hard-luck loser.
Sept. 28: And make it three shutouts in a row (this after clinching and all the beer and champagne), 2-0, Gary Gentry doing the honors to move to 13-12.
But Gentry was pitching on only three days’ rest, going just five in this one, Nolan Ryan and Ron Taylor finishing up.
The Mets are 99-61...looking ahead to the playoffs, just two games left in Chicago, ironically.
The Mets entered the season 100-1 just to win the N.L. East, the Cardinals at 9-5, Cubs 8-1.
But there was this bit by Dick Young of the Daily News on Sept. 27, concerning the sudden contract extension handed manager Gil Hodges, an extension through 1972.
“A good guess at the manager’s new salary is $70,000. That’s a $10,000 raise. What’s more, it’s retroactive for the 1969 season, instant reward for riding the Mets on top of the NL East. This amounts to a 10-grand bonus.
“Add to that the $25,000 full share he stands to pull down if the Amazins win the World Series, and toss in his good health, and this has been a rewarding year for Gil Hodges. A year ago he was flat on his back in an Atlanta hospital, not knowing if his heart would let him manage again.”
As some of us know...oh, I’ve already written about that dark moment long ago. Let’s enjoy today.
***No Bar Chat this week. Next one Mon., Sept. 30.