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!