Betty, Bowls, and Bengals

Shots in the Darke

Hopefully everyone has recovered from the holidays and survived another hectic season of  family get-togethers, parties, and sports events! Let’s all take a breath and take a look at some  items of interest to fans of all ages; but first let’s remember two American icons, Betty White  and John Madden. 

Betty was best known for her work in television and movies, particularly in Golden Girls and  the Mary Tyler Moore show and later in the movie that seems to always be on several cable  channels, The Proposal. Passing away just a few weeks short of her 100th birthday, she was  like the aunt that every family member loved with just enough of a hint of naughtiness to make  her interesting! 

Madden was truly a man of all generations, a successful Super Bowl winning coach with the  Raiders, the longtime analyst of NFL telecasts, the Miller Lite man, and the namesake of EA  Sports video games. Can you recall the time in 1982 when he and Pat Summerall did a  Wittenberg football game from Springfield? It was during the NFL strike and the Tigers game  against Baldwin-Wallace was chosen to be aired nationwide. He will long be honored as a  person who changed the image of the NFL—BAM! POW! BOINK! 

Well, thirty-seven bowl games have come and gone along with an untold number of snacks  and beverages over the past three weeks so it’s time for my Top Five contests: 

The Rose Bowl—Fans of THE were advised to stay away from sharp instruments at halftime,  trailing Utah 35-21 before the defense woke up enough to give the offense a chance to work  against a depleted Utes’ secondary and pull out a 48-45 win. 

The Music City Bowl—Purdue started a string of three Big Ten wins on the 30th by knocking  off Tennessee 48-45 (sound familiar, see above!) 

The Citrus Bowl—Iowa’s head coach Kirk Ferentz loses his nerve and fails to go for a game clinching first down on fourth and inches, instead opts to punt and watches Kentucky drive 80  yards for the winning touchdown late in the game, handing the Wildcats a 20-17 victory. 

The Fiesta Bowl—Oklahoma State rallies from a huge deficit to overcome the Fighting Irish  of Notre Dame 37–35 and spoil the debut of Wayne High School and THE alum Marcus  Freeman as head coach. 

The Cure Bowl—Northern Illinois ends up on the Coastal Carolina one-yard line as time  expires, falling to the Chanticleers 47-41. 

Trivia question of the week—quick, name the New Year’s Six bowl games! 

Since 2014 there have been eight College Football Playoffs, a total of 32 available slots.  Thirteen schools have been represented; leading the way Alabama with seven appearances,  Clemson six, THE and Oklahoma four each with Georgia and Notre Dame appearing twice.  Other than Cincinnati’s well-deserved selection this year who would most people choose as  the most unlikely entrant? I’d say the Spartans of Michigan State in 2015 by virtue of a 16-13  win over Iowa in the Big Ten championship game!

How about the Bengals wrapping up the AFC North title with a come-from-behind win over the  Chiefs Sunday! The Stripes, who were predicted by the so-called experts of Sports Illustrated  in the SI Preview issue to finish 3-14, played exciting ball for the majority of the season and  brought joy to the hearts of long-suffering fans. Who had the better weekend, the Bengals’  duo of Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase or the Buckeyes C.J. Stroud and Jaxon Smith-Njigba? 

We’ll take a look at Darke County girls’ basketball next week as conference races heat up  and the cream rises to the top. Almost forgot—the New Year’s Six bowl games that rotate to  form the National Championship semi-finals are the Rose, Sugar, Cotton, Orange, Fiesta, and  Peach. Until next time, let’s give those New Year’s resolutions at least a fighting chance!

Dr. Alex Warner | Correspondent for Darke County Now

Dr. Alex Warner / Correspondent

Alex Warner is a retired Greenville chiropractor as well as a former educator and high school coach. He has over 30 years experience in broadcasting high school sports on both radio and public access television in addition to producing over 50 episodes of the local television series “Our Town”. A man of many interests, he is naturally curious with a “gift of gab”. He currently writes the weekly sports column “Shots in the Darke” and hosts “Talk of the Town” featuring people, places, and events that make Darke County the place we choose to reside.

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