By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave while watching a delayed telecast of the Penn-Cornell football game (I’m demented) and I swear there aren’t 50 people in the stands. It is 0-0 and I check something else on my cellphone and discover Penn won, 20-7. Nobody gave me a spoiler alert.
—Several football fanatics gathered around a table at The China Palace in Englewood for lunch Friday afternoon and somebody noted that Clemson was a 40-point favorite over Louisville. Everybody had a good laugh.
“Clemson is good, but I’m not giving any football team 40 points,” somebody said. “That’s absurd.”
Final Score: Clemson 77, Louisville 16, a 61-point victory.
Think about this one: Clemson beat a 2-and-6 team by 61. Ohio State, also playing a 2-and-6 team (Nebraska) and favored by 17 1/2, won by five (36-31).
And the other shocker was Michigan’s win over Penn State, not that the Wolverines won, but the fact they won, 42-7.
With Ohio State’s onion skin defense, one shudders what might happen when Michigan comes calling and, heaven forbid, what Clemson might do to the Buckeyes.
Unfortunately for all the Alabama-haters and Nick Saban-haters, the Crimson Tide was a Crimson Tsunami Saturday night in Baton Rouge, where LSU was expected to put up a fight. The Bayou Bengals didn’t even scratch a cheek during Alabama’s 29-0 win.
Notre Dame? If the Irish win out, an odds-on possibility, they would be a popular pick for the Final Four and most likely be a preparatory meal for either Alabama or Clemson in the semifinals.
That School Up North? Ohio State wishes they would stay up north.
Why don’t they just cut to the chase, cut to the quick, cut corners right now and name Alabama vs. Clemson once again in the national championship game?
—Some cool comments from reader Dennis Singleton: “I calculate the cumulative batting average for both teams in the World Series was 76 for 378, .201. One less hit and it would have been under .200.”
In other words, one less hit and the World Series cumulative batting average would have been under The Mendoza Line, which in baseball is like The Maginot Line.
And speaking about game lengths, the first game Babe Ruth played took 1:33. The longest of the first 15 World Series games took 2:02. Why? No TV commercials and teams didn’t change pitchers like a mother changing the diapers of a sick baby.
Singleton also brought up Jim Kaat, one of the all-time quickest-working pitchers. He was in his wind-up when the catcher returned the baseball. Watching video of Kaat is like watching a current pitcher on fast forward.
—Nostalgia Nook: In the 1950 NBA draft, fans wanted the Boston Celtics to draft some kid out of Holy Cross. Said venerable cigar-chomping coach Red Auerbach, “We don’t draft local yokels.” Instead, the Celtics drafted Charlie Share.
The kid, who loved throwing blind no-look passes and behind-the-back passes, ended up with the Chicago Stags. But in his first season the Stags folded and the roster was dispersed in a blind draw to other NBA teams. And who did the Celtics draw out of a hat? The kid. One of Boston’s scouts said, “If he tries those Fancy Schmancy passes in this league, they’ll shove them down his throat.”
That kid’s name was Bob Cousy and along with Bill Russell they led the Celtics to eight straight NBA titles. And Cousy led the league in assists with those Fancy Schmancy passes eight years in a row.
Now that was really a cat in the hat. In the late 1960s, I was fortunate to cover the NBA’s Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings) and Cousy was the coach of a team that had Oscar Robertson and Jerry Lucas on its roster.
—At the same period of time, I covered the University of Dayton football team when it still played Division I. The team was coached by John McVay, who later coached the New York Giants and was director of operations for the San Francisco 49ers with fabled coach Bill Walsh.
McVay is the grandfather of Sean McVay, coach of the Los Angeles Rams. On McVay’s staff at Dayton was Wayne Fontes, who later coached the Detroit Lions, Tom Moore, long-time offensive co-ordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers and now assistant coach for the Arizona Cardinals, and Jim Gruden, father to current Oakland coach Jon Gruden and to Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden.
Now that’s some coaching lineage right there, all stemming from McVay’s UD staff.
—These items, Mr. DJT, are what qualifies as real Fake News:
The Cincinnati Reds offer Bryce Harper a 10-year $350 million contract. Harper signs immediately.
Bill Belichick quits the New England Patriots to take over the Cleveland Browns and says, “The Browns have a better future than the Patriots.”
Mike Brown fires Marvin Lewis, hires Hue Jackson as head coach, trades Andy Dalton and lures Peyton Manning out of retirement.
LeBron James is traded back to the Cleveland Cavaliers and says, “I’m here to bring an NBA title to the best city on earth, a city I will never leave.”
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson play their head-to-head match on TV and both shoot 81, but nobody watches it.
Ohio State shuts out Michigan, 35-0, as Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins passes 75 times and OSU rushes for nine yards. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh says the Buckeyes used illegal formations the entire game and were never called for it.
Manny Machado wins baseball’s ‘Hustle Award’ and ‘Mr. Personality Award’ at the ESPYs and during his acceptance speech calls the Boston Red Sox a bunch of punks.
Pete Rose is finally placed in baseball’s Hall of Fame and during his enshrinement speech he says, “I would have bet this would never happen and, in fact, I took the Vegas odds against it.”
Billy Hamilton wins a Gold Glove and turns it down, issuing this statement: “I deserved this the last three years and didn’t get it, so why am I getting it now? Now I’m going to go practice my bunting.”
— As of November 1, 12 Sirius radio stations were airing nothing but Christmas music. With the risk of being accused of being The Grinch, “C’mon. Really? Are you kidding me?”