by Kevin Burton
My two favorite college football teams, Ohio State and Kansas State, have had very good seasons and are set up for prominent bowl games.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is they are both cruising for a bruising perhaps, facing SEC powers Georgia and Alabama respectively.
Best of times, worst of times in a Dickensian gridiron sense.
Ohio State was embarrassed at home last month by arch rival Michigan 45-23. (Had to ask Siri what the score was because I had blocked the whole thing from memory.)
It was a meltdown so profound I just wanted them to slink away and try again next year, a formula that usually works for OSU. But championship games in other conferences played out in such a way that not only do the Buckeyes not slink away, they will play a national semi-final against defending champion Georgia.
Who came away from that Michigan debacle thinking, “Ooo, I’d like to see these guys match up against Georgia!” But the game is set for Dec. 31.
Kansas State won the Big 12 title over TCU. The Wildcats really outplayed TCU is the regular season game but lost it in the end. K-State and will now face Alabama Dec. 31 in the Sugar Bowl.
It is the first meeting in football for the two schools. It’s like they live in different pigskin universes, Alabama in a lofty one filled with Heisman trophies and insurance commercials, K-State in a more pedestrian one filled with special teams excellence.
This particular Alabama team isn’t quite the juggernaut of recent years and K-State is vastly underrated. So I expect the Wildcats to compete, but ultimately lose.
As for Ohio State, this doesn’t look too good.
Moving on to other sports:
Christian Pulisic’s iconic goal against Iran will go down in American World Cup history. Can’t get much more heroic than that, scoring a goal while suffering a serious injury, then cheering wildly from a hospital bed as his team mates held on for the win.
By virtue of that win the USA were second in Group B and earned a knockout-stage match against the Netherlands. As most expected, they were never a threat in their 3-1 loss to the Dutch. This is about the best you can expect from the USA in soccer.
It was actually weird to see an American side playing or equal terms and even having the better of play at times with a European team in its 0-0 group stage draw with England.
The best young athletes in this country play football and basketball. Globally, young boys dream of soccer glory, or futbol as the rest of the world calls what is by far its favorite sport.
According to sportytell.com, soccer is America’s fourth favorite sport behind football, basketball and baseball/softball. If that is true it is a distant, distant fourth place……
As for professional football American style, I have officially left normal fandom behind. I still love the games, but being a fantasy football manager has made my NFL allegiances much less fervent.
My alleged favorite team, Cincinnati, just dealt on of my other favorites, Kansas City, a bitter defeat. It’s a rivalry that is getting chippy, which you have to love.
But my mind was on the five individual players I had playing across my four fantasy teams -Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Isaiah Pacheco of Kansas City and Ja’Marr Chase and Samaje Perine of Cincinnati – and how many fantasy points they were scoring.
Only after those mental calculations were completed did I stop and think, “oh, Cincinnati won that.”
Not sure what my wife thinks of this fantasy-induced NFL rooting schizophrenia.
As for the fantasy teams, my K&J Vipers team, the one that has Perine, clinched a playoff spot Monday night. Woohooo! The K&J Silvers need just one win in the last two games to make the playoffs.
The other two teams are like that oboe mentioned by Huey Lewis and the News in The Heart of Rock and Roll, barely breathing.
Let’s hope the two title contenders are not set up for a championship-level beatdown, like Ohio State, Kansas State and USA soccer.