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12/12/2018

Vince Milum's Preview of the upcoming College Football Playoff Game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Clemson Tigers

This is the second in a series of installments leading up to the semi-final game that, in turn, leads to the national championship. This installment is entitled PLETHORA, as in...

Clemson has a PLETHORA of experienced College Football Championship Players:

According to a tweet by Tim Bourret, "48 players on the Clemson roster have played in a College football Playoff game. That includes Mitch Hyatt and Hunter Renfrow, who have started five." In contrast, the aggregate experience of Notre Dame is ZERO! This is a HUGE ADVANTAGE to the Clemson team. At least ND Head Coach Brian Kelly has the experience of preparing one ND team for a national championship game -- though that turned out to be a blowout with ND on the losing side. (One could say that the game ND lost miserably to Alabama has produced a PLETHORA of nightmares for Irish fans.)

One could rightly argue (as I have many times) that the title game ND lost to Alabama (a few years back) was because Notre Dame sent its "Boys" to take on the "Men" of Alabama. That is again a concern along the offensive and defensive lines of ND versus Clemson. Clemson's front four can all anticipate big paychecks awaiting for them in the NFL. Two of the four are appearing on most All-American lists. And Clemson is also strong on its offensive line, and has fast receivers and a dominating All-American running back.

In short, the talent of Clemson -- plus its experience -- present a PLETHORA of headaches for the Notre Dame coaching staff and players. So, how can Notre Dame possibly compete?

This leads us to another PLETHORA...

Many of my friends got angry with me when I said Mike Golic, Junior, was more qualified to talk trash at a bar than to be a starting offensive lineman in the national championship game against Alabama. Needless to say, the results of that game back me up (which is why Golic now talks trash on ESPN instead of playing on Sundays like his dad did).

How does this relate to PLETHORA? In this manner...

There are now not only a PLETHORA of FBS / Division I College Football All-America Teams but a PLETHORA of them considered a PLETHORA of this year's Notre Dame Team worthy. I.e., This year, several Notre Dame players were recognized as All-Americans by various entities including CB Julian Love, DT Jerry Tillery, LB Tevon Coney, C Sam Mustipher, and TE Alize Mack. And, if one wants to look at ALL the teams out there, LB Drue Tranquill and K Justin Yoon were named to the "Google Cloud Academic All-America Team" (something I had never heard of before).

What does this mean?

Clemson is the better, more-experienced team but it is NOT a foregone conclusion that Clemson will win because this year's Notre Dame team is more than one linebacker with a mythical girlfriend.

Right now, I estimate that "on paper" Clemson has an 88% chance of winning but "off paper" I give Notre Dame four additional percentage points because they will finally be able to (a) (largely) set the books aside and focus on this game / opponent like no other, (b) get some much needed rest and (c) physical healing.

This 84-16 winning percentage split is subject to change as more information develops prior to kickoff but, again for now, I predict:

Current chance of winning the Cotton Bowl College Football Playoff Game: Clemson 84%, Notre Dame 16%.

12/02/2018

This is the first in a series of installments leading up to the semi-final game that, in turn, leads to the national championship.

This first installment consists of three bullet points:

(1) Clemson has opened as an 11.5 point favorite. Both teams are led by top-notch head coaches and (virtually) rookie quarterbacks who are talented beyond their years of experience.

(2) The game -- designated as "The Cotton Bowl" -- will be played in Dallas at "Jerry-World" which is A VERY LONG DRIVE from both Clemson and South Bend, thus negating (somewhat) the advantage Clemson enjoys playing in the South. For example, had the game been played in Miami (the site of the other national championship semi-final) Clemson would have enjoyed a distance advantage for its fans as well as a climate advantage for its players. (The Irish tend not to do well in southern humidity late in the year.) The climate factor at Jerry-World is largely irrelevant since it is an indoor climate-controlled facility.

(3) Notre Dame is not only a semi-finalist for a national football championship, it is also an elite academic institution. As this is bowl season -- and based on historical precedent -- Notre Dame can expect some academic disqaulifications from its squad prior to the game. On the positive side of this equation, the Irish players who are not disqualified will be free of academic responsibilities the week of the game and (thus) should be able to focus more exclusively on playing football than at any other time in the season. (We will have to await further announcements from the university to discover if the academic factor turns out to be a net positive or net negative.)

STAY TUNED: Again, this is our first installment on the Cotton Bowl College Football Playoff Semifinal. Perioidically check back for updates leading up to the game. Go Irish!
                                  

12/02/2018

College Football Playoff Predictions & Analysis -- Final 2018 Edition
by Parker Milum

As I predicted on 11/25/2018 the Final Four in the College Football Playoff came down to a #2 Clemson playing a #3 Notre Dame and a #1 Alabama playing a #4 team between Ohio State and Oklahoma. The voters chose Oklahoma and, after watching the conference championships, I think they picked the more deserving team.

Where I disagreed with the voters is that they chose Georgia for the #5 team and Ohio State for #6. I had their order reversed because Ohio State won its conference championship and had one less loss than Georgia. (While Georgia had two losses to Ohio State's one, both teams suffered one large loss apiece.)

But since the empahsis is on who made the playoffs, I am pleased to report that -- this year -- the committee and I agreed.

Here is the full list of the Top 25 as ranked by the Committee:


                                  

12/02/2018

Ron Worley's Wondrous Postscript to the 2018 College Football Season
By Ron Worley

As I predicted in my penultimate column, (a) Oklahoma won the Big 12 Championship by double digits thus qualifying as the #4 team in the College Football Playoff and (b) Missouri did indeed make it into the final AP Poll coming in at #24.

(By the way, Iowa State defeated Drake 27-24 in a non-conference game to finish 8-4.)
                                  

11/29/2018

Ron Worley's Wondrous 2018 Season of Predictions in Review + Some Final Predictions
By Ron Worley

Last week 2-4
Season 60-27




I was correct about the top and bottom, not so correct about those in between.

The Conference ended with 4 good teams, 3 very average teams and 3 below average teams.

The Coaching score as of tonight is 2 fired, none yet retired and none yet hired away. By the end of the weekend I expect it to be 2, 1 and 1.

This weekend #25 Fresno plays #22 Boise, one will lose and #21 Northwestern plays #6 Ohio State. I expect Northwestern to lose. Those results should open space for Missouri to move into the AP Top 25 final regular season poll.

#5 Oklahoma (8-1/11-1) vs #9 Texas (7-2/9-3). I expect Oklahoma will win this rematch by about 10 points.

That SHOULD get OU into the final 4 just ahead of Ohio State. Surely the Committee would not put a 2 loss Georgia in the final 4 over a 1 loss Oklahoma or Ohio State. That would be two SEC teams and zero from the Big 10 and Big 12. I think that would be the beginning of the end of the current Final 4 agreement.
                                  

11/25/2018

#3 Notre Dame 24, USC 17. (See Commentary below)

Missouri 38, Arkansas 0.

Kansas 17, #14 Texas 24.

Kansas State 38, #25 Iowa State 42.

Sixth-seeded Northwest Missouri State lost to second-seeded Ferris State 27-21 in the second round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs in College Football. All Mo-Kan teams are now eliminated.

Notre Dame Undefeated

Vince Milum on the Notre Dame Victory: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football Team defeated the Trojans of USC 24-17 and finished the regular season 12-0. With the victory the Irish appear headed to the four-team playoff for the National Championship! After (surprisingly) being outclassed by USC for much of the first half and trailing 10-0 late into the second quarter, the Irish visited the ghost of LA's Jim Morrison and got their mojo risin'. With two key third-and-long runs by quarterback Ian Book and two long runs* for touchdowns by ND running backs -- one each by Dexter Williams and Tony Jones (Junior) (*the latter's long run the result of a short-catch and then long run) -- the Notre Dame Offense did just enough to secure the victory. While the Defense played poorly at first and gave up a late touchdown, in-between it played inspired football. And had Notre Dame not picked up a 15-yard penalty on a kickoff late in the game -- as well as a 16-yard net-punt, I was on the verge of awarding the game ball to Brian Polian* for the outstanding play of his "Special" Teams. As it stands, my game ball goes (instead) to "God" without whom even I am beginning to believe this "divine" season would not have been possible.

(*The Tale of Brian Polian has been a major subplot to the Notre Dame season which I have covered extensively.)

As for grades, the entire Notre Dame team (players + coaches + support personnel) get an A- for the game and an A+ for the season.

Additional Grades: (1) An A- goes to the officials who might have missed a call "here or there" but who (overall) called a good game. (2) A B+ goes to the ABC production crew who finally (at season's end) learned that they had a tool to share with home viewers known as "Instant Replay." (3) The grounds team at the LA Coliseum earned a B+ for the improvement in field conditions since the Chiefs-Rams MNF game. (4) The City of Los Angeles gets a B+ for crowd control (anyone who has watched late season USC home games -- particularly when they have had a bad season -- knows what I am talking about). (5) And finally, I would like to present a "Participation Award" to "Class" and "Dignity" for making a return appearance in college football thanks to the Fighting Irish. From Father Jenkins on-down, Notre Dame has demonstrated that one need not compromise on character to be a winner. Go Irish!

Grades Codicil: The following is a colloquy between a follower of our sports coverage (Dave) and myself that was prompted by my original grading review above.

Dave: << Well done gentlemen. >>

Vince: Thanks.

Dave: << Vince you were a little kinder to the coaching staff then I would have been. That was a big game and they didn't have them well prepared for USC. >>

Vince: I disagree -- let me explain why...

USC is a deep-pass offense and the Irish prepared for them as such. When USC played against type and relied upon the short-passing game (as was apparently their game plan to "outfox" the Irish) the Irish made the necessary adjustments and started getting some stops.

Similarly, the USC defense played against type and blitzed on nearly every down. Once the pattern was definitively established, the Irish started using misdirection by having their linemen pull in the opposite direction of where the ball would be going. As part of this revised strategy they also began sending their backs on (very) short pass routes in the opposite direction of the pulling and hit them quickly and then they were "off to the races" as the linebackers who were needed to tackle them were in the Notre Dame backfield on unsuccessful blitzes or following the linemen in the wrong direction.

Dave: << You make a fair rebuttal, however the soft pass defense lasted too long. They did make some good half time adjustments. >>

More to Come: Owing to its undefeated record and difficult schedule, Notre Dame is likely to be chosen for the four-team playoff for the FBS / Division I Championship of College Football. Accordingly, I invite all of you to stay tuned as we anticipate a postscript or two to this season.
                                  

11/25/2018

College Football Playoff Predictions & Analysis After Week 13
by Parker Milum

Finally some CONTROVERSY and a shake-up in the Playoff predictions. Additionally, my prediction that Texas A&M would defeat LSU came true, though the way it happened could not have been foreseen by anyone.

(Just a reminder: these are projections of the top 4 teams as they will be placed in the FINAL College Football Playoff Rankings)

1. Alabama (13-0)

Back-to-back weeks, Nick Saban allowed football fans to get their hopes up by seeing Alabama in a close game at halftime, only to blow out their opponents in the second half.

2. Clemson (13-0)

Clemson should easily clinch the ACC championship and secure the #2 spot in the Playoff. The Tigers did give up 600 yards to the South Carolina Gamecocks, however, including 510 yards in the air.

3. Notre Dame (12-0)

It was ugly at times, but the Irish survived USC and remain undefeated. Notre Dame WILL be in the College Football Playoff. Another fact the Irish should be proud of is that they are the only team in College Football to be in both the Top 4 of the College Football Playoff AND in Graduation Success Rate.



4. Ohio State (12-1)

Because of Ohio State’s dominating triumph over Michigan, we see a real controversy between Oklahoma and Ohio State regarding who should be ranked higher. As poorly as Ohio State’s defense has played most of the season, they are still a higher caliber than that of Oklahoma’s. Most would argue the Sooners have the better offense, but the Buckeyes just scored 62 points against the statistically #1 defense in the country. Ohio State has made a very good case for themselves to be in the College Football Playoff.

4.5. Oklahoma (12-1)

I’m placing Oklahoma here at “4.5” because it’s a toss-up between the Sooners and the Buckeyes, though I believe Ohio State’s domination over the #1 defense in the nation gives them the edge in proving they are an elite caliber team (at least when they rise to that level for a game against a good team). If Oklahoma has an absolutely dominant win over Texas in the Big-12 Championship, Oklahoma would likely clinch the #4 spot over Ohio State.

Undefeated Teams after Week 13:
#1 Alabama (12-0)
#2 Clemson (12-0)
#3 Notre Dame (12-0)
#10 UCF (11-0)
                                  

11/21/2018

Ron Worley's Wondrous Predictions - Week 13
By Ron Worley

Last week 4-2
Season 58-23


Big 12 Comments: The two games on Friday are the only ones that matter to the league this week. If Texas wins over Kansas as expected they will be 7-2 and ranked # 11 or better. If KU wins then the OU @ W/V game will be just the first of two such back to back games and the last one will decide what bowl games the teams attend as neither will be in the final 4. A Texas win and an OU win, however, likely sends OU and Texas back to Dallas for a Red River Rematch! That result puts OU 8-1 against Texas 7-2 and leaves 6-3 W/V at home alone on December 1st. IF my pick below (W/V over OU) is correct things get interesting, Texas 7-2, OU 7-2 and W/V 7-2 and which two play again? Remember W/V just beat OU and also beat Texas 42-41. I would say they are first in, but Texas beat OU in October in Dallas, does that make Texas the second team in the Conference final? This Conference title game thing may make $ but many years it also makes one team very unhappy and can take someone out of the final 4 just as easily as it might put someone in it. Why do it, instead schedule an extra bye week and play the season final games the first weekend in December.

SEC Comments: In the East Division Tennessee plays at Vanderbilt to see which one East team is not bowl eligible. In the West Division if Mississippi State beats Old Miss, then they along with Arkansas are not eligible. That would mean 11 of 14 SEC teams are likely in bowl games. Impressive, but helped by the fact that the SEC teams play 8 Conference games and thus have 4 non-conference games in which they can schedule likely wins.

Overall comment: The Big-12 and the Pac-12 Conference teams all play 9 Conference games each season. Also note that neither Conference is likely to put the Conference Champion in the final 4 this year.

Friday

#11 Texas (8-3/6-2) at Kansas (3-8/1-7). Nice day for Kansas Senior Day but there are not many of them. Not enough to win the day. Texas needs this win and gets it and now what game is next for them, the Conference title game or the bowl game?

#6 Oklahoma (10-1/7-1) at #12 West Virginia (8-2/6-2). Senior Day and there are lots of them and W/V is a hard place for visitors. I think the result is a small upset win for the home team and another BIG problem for the Conference leaders! If they win W/V must be in the Conference final but who do you leave out and make very unhappy, OU or Texas, two of the most important teams to the Conference, a Hobson's choice. Leaving it to the polls will also only please one team.

Arkansas (2-9/0-7) at #29 Missouri (7-4/3-4). Looks like good Luck on Senior Day. Comfortable win to end the home season and get to 8-4 which should at last get MU into the Top 25. The only question is where is the bowl game?

Saturday

Oklahoma State (6-5/3-5) at TCU (5-6/3-5). In spite of Senior Day I see OSU as enough better to win on the road and put a sadly early end to what was expected to be a good TCU season.

Baylor (5-6/3-5) at Texas Tech (5-6/3-5). This looks very even. I think the T/T Seniors may think/know they are playing for their Coach's future and get him the home win and themselves a minor bowl invitation.

Kansas State (5-6/3-5) at #25 Iowa State (6-4/5-3). KSU playing better and ISU playing hurt. KSU has owned this game BUT this is a different ISU. KSU needs this win to get a bowl invitation. ISU has a final home game on December 1st. I think KSU wins one for Snyder in his final Big-12 game.

Comment about last week's KSU home win over Texas Tech: It was clearly COLD in Manhattan. For proof just note that Bill Snyder came out for the second half wearing not his first half and usual game day cream colored Big-12 short jacket but instead a black parka with a hood!

Happy Thanksgiving to all and hope for interesting pro games.
                                  

11/21/2018

Vince Milum's Quick-Look at the upcoming Football Game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the USC Trojans.

Overview: Notre Dame opened as a 10-point favorite over USC and is currently favored by 11 points. This is the final game of the regular season for the Irish and a victory is the only thing separating them from a date in the four-way playoff to determine the national champion of Division I* College Football (*that's FBS for those of you who cannot get dates on weekends). Unfortunately for the Irish, the game is on the road and USC is desperate for a win -- meaning they need a win just to be eligible for a bowl and failing to win means this is their final game of the year and thus is, in effect, their bowl game. In other words, USC has nothing to lose now as they enter this game and will be willing to do anything and everything in order to win while Notre Dame has to keep plenty in reserve -- both play-wise and player-wise (e.g., to guard against injury) -- as the prospects of an ND victory signal they will have one or two games to play toward a national championship.

The home field and freedom to play with no restrictions gives the advantage to USC. The weather forecast for Saturday's game is currently sunny, upper 60s, no chance of rain and very little wind. This would be relatively neutral but the humidity is predicted to be comparatively high for Los Angeles at this time of year, so I am going to give another advantage here to USC.

As Notre Dame has become an artificial turf team, the natural grass upon which they will be playing on Saturday again favors USC (though this will be somewhat offset by the fact that last week's Irish victory was successfully played on the natural green of New York's Yankee Stadium).

So, with all this going against it, how can Notre Dame (possibly) pull off the victory?

By embracing these three simple principles...

(1) As it has done all year, have a game plan tailored to perform well against BOTH the strengths and weakness of the opposition, in this case, the Trojans.

(2) Block out all mental distractions this week and focus exclusively on the immediate task at hand -- i.e., defeating / destroying USC (and doing so in a manner which brings honor to the Irish players and the University of Notre Dame).

(3) Be fundamentally sound by minimizing turnovers and penalties and by giving up no big plays.

Fail any one of the above and the Irish will lose. Master all three and the Irish are headed to the playoffs (caveated as usual by no new injuries, illnesses, or suspensions heading into the game).

Intangible Considerations: Due to the fact that I live nowhere near South Bend, I cannot ascertain the degree to which my three principles are being embraced and, therefore, I can only conjecture about these things. My hunch -- and it is only a hunch -- is that the coaches and players of Notre Dame are locked-in -- at least more so than the USC coaches who may lose their jobs after the game and the USC players who are pondering their own futures as a consequence. As a result, I am predicting against the tangibles (cited earlier) and placing my monopoly money on the intagibles and the Irish. To wit:

Notre Dame 30, USC 24.
                                  

11/21/2018

College Football Playoff Predictions & Analysis After Week 12
by Parker Milum

The Playoff Committee Top 4 as well as my own remain unchanged. As such, this will be a brief article.

(Just a reminder: these are projections of the top 4 teams as they will be placed in the FINAL College Football Playoff Rankings)

1. Alabama (13-0)

Who would’ve guessed The Citadel would be tied with Bama 10-10 at the half, but then the universe returned to the status quo as the Tide rolled through the second half, finishing 50-17. The good news for the other 3 teams likely to enter the playoff is that Alabama hasn’t looked as flawless offensively in their last few games as they had earlier in the season. As Bama’s young defense gains experience and gets better, defensive coordinators are getting the book on Nick Saban’s offense. If Michigan develops more offensively and Winovich is healthy, football fans shouldn’t just assume Alabama takes the W and advances to the National Championship game.

2. Clemson (13-0)

Clemson has little to worry about in their remaining games and secures the #2 spot with ease. That being said, while Clemson is clearly the better team than Pitt, the Panthers have developed tremendously on both sides of the ball in the last few games and could make the ACC championship more interesting than people are expecting.

3. Notre Dame (12-0)

After a DOMINATING performance by the Irish in a 36-3 victory over the Syracuse Orange, Notre Dame sits atop the nation with the #1 Strength of Record and the unanimous best performance of Top-4 teams in Week 12. USC is the final hurdle in Notre Dame’s bid for the College Football Playoff, and in all likelihood the Irish will “poke holes” in the Trojans’ bowl game hopes.

4. Michigan (12-1)

Michigan still has to beat the Buckeyes, but the Wolverines have shown they are the better team and should claim the Big Ten title, securing the #4 spot assuming Notre Dame doesn’t fall to USC.


Undefeated Teams after Week 12:
#1 Alabama (11-0)
#2 Clemson (11-0)
#3 Notre Dame (11-0)
#10 UCF (10-0)

Upset Watch for Week 13:
#22 Texas A&M thumps #7 LSU and forces the Playoff Committee to finally put LSU where they belong.
#13 West Virginia knocks #6 Oklahoma and the entire Big-12 out of the Playoff race with a win at home.
                                  

11/18/2018

#3 Notre Dame 36, Syracuse 3. (See Commentary below)

Missouri 50, Tennessee 17.

Kansas State 21, Texas Tech 6.

Kansas 40, #6 Oklahoma 55.

Sixth-seeded Northwest Missouri State upset third-seeded Grand Valley State 42-17 to advance to the second round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs in College Football.

Division II Tournament Brackets


Vince Milum on the Notre Dame Victory:
As I predicted in my original pre-game analysis:

"While both Notre Dame and Syracuse prefer to play on artificial turf, the fact that Yankee Stadium has a grass field may slightly favor the Irish as this should reduce the impact of Syracuse's fast-strike offense." Though Syracuse Coach Dino Babers demonstrated class (in his post-game press conference) in denying that the grass field slowed down his team, it seemed obvious (to this observer) that the grass field favored the bigger and stronger Irish over the smaller and quicker "Orange" of Syracuse.

As I further pontificated:

"And although Syracuse is fairly highly ranked (at #12) and has been known to put up plenty of points on their opposition, I am not (overly) impressed with those opponents they have defeated and one must remember that Clemson was experiencing a quarterback tsunami when they played Syracuse. So, this may be the first game of the season that allows for an accurate gauging of how good 'The Orange' are. This level of ambiguity this late in the season makes the Syracuse football team a Rorschach test as much as anything. As I am not one to read too much into an ink blot, I will distill the outcome of this game to one key uncertainty (among many)... Is the Notre Dame defense capable of stopping -- or significantly slowing down -- the Syracuse offense? If yes, the odds favor an Irish victory. If no, there will be a long-flight back to South Bend from Notre Dame's last 'home' game of the season."

With the game played, the verdict on whether "The Notre Dame defense [is] capable of stopping... the Syracuse offense?" is in with a resounding "YES!" But for a token field goal by Syracuse with 10 seconds remaining in the game, the Notre Dame Defense "pitched a shut out" at Yankee Stadium. By gathering in 2 of the 3 interceptions by the Irish (and for his all-around excellent play on Saturday) Alohi Gilman was chosen as the Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week for all of "Division I" football. (What the hell is FBS?) As for the lone Irish miscue, it was an interception thrown by Ian Book on a failed fourth down. (In other words, Book was about to be sacked on fourth down leading to a change of possession, so he figured, what the hell, why not throw it into the end zone and hope for the best -- "no-harm, no-foul" in this instance.) As for the ride home, I think the Irish were equally (a) satisfied with the win and (b) already focusing their attention on next week's foe, USC.

Now for some grades...

Vince Milum: I get a thumbs-up in perceiving the degree to which Syracuse was over-rated and the fact that the natural grass field favored the Irish. I get a thumbs-down on anticipating how big of a blow-out the game would turn out to be. My overall grade for myself is a B-.

Notre Dame Coaching Staff (less Brian Polian) and Offense + Defense: Although the Irish offensive line committed too many penalties and the offense overall performed unsatisfactorily in the "red zone," I am still giving the staff and offense + defense a combined score of A+. (If you watched the game, you know why. If you did not watch the game but saw the final score, you have a good inkling of why I am awarding such a high score.)

Brian Polian and his "Special" Teams: On the negative side: A bungled Irish extra point attempt that failed, too many long returns on ND kickoffs, and some short punts by ND. On the positive side: Justin Yoon made three field goals and no points were surrendered by Polian's Guys. Overall Grade: B.

Ian Book and Brandon Wimbush in the backfield together: "I" for "Incomplete" but "Intriguing." In short, "I" like the concept and want to see how this develops over this weekend's game (against USC) and whatever the post-season holds for Notre Dame.

Additional Grades: (1) I award the City of New York and the New York Yankees organization an A+ for creating a bowl-like atmosphere for the game and for having the field in football-ready condition. (2) Despite all the naysayers who cannot relate to young men, I give this year's Shamrock uniforms an A+ -- I thought they looked great and would make an excellent addition to the choice of uniforms regularly available to the Fighting Irish. (3) I also want to recognize -- with an A+ -- Syracuse Head Coach Dino Babers who was a total "class act" in his post-game press conference and for explaining his reasoning for attempting two late field goals (rather than attempting to score touchdowns) -- the game was out-of-reach and he thought there was less chance for injury for both teams by going the field goal route. (4) One last grade for Free Pancakes when least expected: A+ when the chef is Chase Claypool and he is delivering to a neighborhood "away from the action." Let's hope USC can receive some just desserts next week!

                                  

NOTE 1: For earlier 2018 Football season coverage, CLICK HERE.

NOTE 2: For season-ending coverage of the 2017-2018 College Basketball and Hockey Seasons, CLICK HERE.
     

     

 
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