Let’s start with reality.
Condolences to Coach Scott Satterfield and his family.
Let’s hope his presence on the sideline Saturday night just hours after learning of his father’s passing lays to rest once and for all the misguided caterwauling by a portion of the fanbase that the U of L leader isn’t focused or intense, doesn’t care enough.
Which has nothing whatsoever to do with how his reign as Louisville football coach will play out in the long run. That’s another shouting match for another time.
The other reality is the the Cardinals were manhandled at the hands and feet and talent and size of their arch rivals. So I got that one wrong. Missed on Florida State also.
But Ole Miss savored their eggs over easy, New Mexico State topped UMass in the We Both Suck Bowl, and, ahem, as you read here in advance, the team with no chance, the Wolverines of Michigan, upset their bête noire. Boats are searching the Olentangy for the bodies of Buckeye faithful who dove into the drink.
3-2 for the weekend. 44-25 on the year.
OK, enough with verbal razzmatazz, let’s get it on.
Week XIV = Championship Week.
Which just means more.
Literally, as in seven picks this week instead of the usual five. At no extra charge.
Postseasonally, as in the outcomes are going to fashion the Final Four.
This final weekend’s winners:
Army vs. Navy. One can only hope that, when it comes to real battles affecting the security of the republic and all on foreign soil, the members of the Long Gray Line who pranked the wrong Middie mascot goat will be paying more attention. Against a schedule of little consequence, the Black Knights are 8-3, with relatively close Ls to Wisconsin and Wake Forest. Meanwhile Navy, which actually competes in the AAC, is the reverse 3-8. The Cadets have won 4 of last 5 in this storied rivalry, but are underdogs for some reason, despite those season records. I visited Annapolis once. Never been to West Point. Ships Ahoy!
Oregon vs. Utah (Pac12). Didn’t these schools just play? Uh, yes they did. At the home of the Utes. (Feel blessed, my loyal readers, that I’ve run out of “My Cousin Vinny” jokes, or else you would be enduring one right now.) During which encounter, the underdog home team whopped the Ducks upaside of the head. Over and over again. 38-7. So was it what trackside they call, a throwaway performance for the Fighting Phil Knights? An aberration? I hope so. I’m goin’ Quack.
Iowa vs. Michigan (B10). Can there be such a thing as a trap game in a league title smackdown? If so, this be it. Remember how the Hawkeyes were the Flavor of the Month in September. They were winning on D alone, until it failed them against he Boilermakers and Badgers. They’ve won four in a row since. But the foes have been meh. The Harbaughs appear legit. They are. No let down after downing THE. Hail to the Victors.
Georgia vs. Alabama (SEC). Love, hate, admire, tolerate, whatever, the arrogance of the Southeastern Conference, those schools do play Big Boy Football. Heck, Lincoln Riley relocated to the the Left Coast from the Dust Bowl so as to not have to deal with the yearly gauntlet. Kirby Smart has been a recruitin’ mo fo. The Bulldogs’ performance is starting to show that level of talent. The Peach Staters have dominated all campaign. The Tide have been the monkey on their backs since that Tua thing in ‘17. Bama’s down a smidge. But can The Nick ever be counted out? No, not really. But this is the year the tide turns. Georgia.
Wake Forest vs. Pittsburgh (ACC). The bottom line joy of this conference title battle is that You Know Who isn’t playing. Though the Dabos had a late season surge. But, too little too late. Thank you. The Demon Deacons were in the Final Four conversation for awhile. At least there were, you know, murmurs. Then they went and lost two of last four. They are grateful that BC was their finale. The Panthers, meanwhile captured 8 of their last nine. I love me some Kenny Pickett. Steel City.
Baylor vs. Oklahoma State (Big 12). What was the year when the ‘boys were one W away from playing for the national title? I dunno. Been awhile. But it happened. As best I recall. Anyway, Coach Mullet’s team is standing in the threshold with their foot wedged in the doorway, waiting for a scenario that will vault them up a spot into the Final Four. Okie State has the look of a team that nobody wants to play in the playoffs. Meanwhile Dave Aranda’s Bears look like a team you don’t want to have to battle on a neutral field to make that leap. Which means in a weekend of spicy matchups, this dish might be the tastiest of all. Cowboyz survive. But I have a feeling I and Spellcheck are going to regret typing those words.
Cincinnati vs. Houston (AAC). Were I more journalist than pundit, I’d research why the Bearcats get this title bout on home turf at Nippert, when both schools have unblemished 8-0 marks in the AAC? Which they do. And I didn’t. Look it up, that is. It won’t happen in a couple of years when these two are in the Big 12. The Cougars only L was opening weekend to Texas Tech. There are probably not but a handful of fans outside of Harris County, Texas rooting for Houston. The Chinstrap Universe wants to see the Bearcats in the Final Four. Win and they’re in. Done.
— c d kaplan