Tidbits - December 6 2018

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


WINDING DOWN

  Football season is winding down.
  Saluda’s season ended last week, so I spent this past Friday in the warmth of my home, after freezing in Simpsonville the week before.
  I kept up with the Abbeville-Southside Christian game over the ScoreStream app and with Twitter postings.
  This is the game I was most interested in, because two of Saluda’s five losses came against these teams.
  I was glad Abbeville had to go to Southside Christian, because I wanted Abbeville fans to sit in worse visitor stands than Saluda fans sit on at Abbeville. I had forgotten Abbeville and Southside Christian had been in the same conference the previous two years, so Abbeville fans had already been there.
  It is quite ironic Abbeville won the game by returning a kick-off all the way, after Southside Christian had taken a one-point lead with just over two minutes to go in the game.
  The week before Saluda had tied Southside Christian at 21 with five minutes to go in the game and the Sabres returned the kick-off 60 yards to set up the game winning score. Special teams make such a difference.
  Now, Abbeville will go for its fourth straight state title Friday. The Panthers will face another unbeaten team, Barnwell, who Saluda scrimmaged before the season began. The Tigers “sho” can pick ‘em.
  I don’t go to state title games, but this is one I’d love to see.
  The Dutch Fork-T.L. Hanna game is also one to watch. Both teams are averaging around 50 points a game. Dutch Fork, I read, has scored nearly 750 points this year.
  Both teams also have good defenses.
  Hanna, I understand, runs the Wing-T. I doubt if Dutch Fork has seen that antiquated offense this year. Abbeville’s option offense is a big problem for the Panther’s opponents, because so few teams run it now. Of course, Hanna and Abbeville have the talented “horses” to run the offense.
  Moving on to the colleges, there was one great conference championship, the SEC.
  I realize the only football fans who like the SEC, are fans who have teams in the conference, but, let’s face it, the SEC championship was the only “game” in town.
  Second ranked Clemson had to go against a 7-5 Pittsburgh team, that was one of the two teams North Carolina beat this year. Ohio State faced Northwestern, who lost to Akron, the team Carolina beat 28-7 in one half of play in the Mud Bog Saturday (neither team scored in the second half).
  Oklahoma went against a three loss  Texas team. The PAC-12 was so far off, they played on Friday.
  Now, the opponents are not the blame of Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma. Those three teams did their job. It’s not their fault the other divisions were weak.
  The SEC championship featured the Number One team in American against the Number Four. That’s why the average price for a ticket to the SEC championship game was over $500.
  The greatest thing in the game was the heroics of Alabama back-up quarterback Jalen Hurts.
  Last year, Hurts led Alabama to the national championship game, but at halftime Nick Saban made the decision to start Tua in the second half, and the rest is history.
  Tua (I’m not going to attempt to spell his full name) led the Tide to the national title, and earned the starting quarterback job.
  Hurts was limited to mop-up duty this year, but with so many lopsided Bama wins, he got to mop-up a lot. You never heard Hurts complain, or  transfer, like a quarterback we all know did.
  Saturday, as time was running out, Tua got hurt, and Hurts came in and led the Tide to the winning score, which he scored on a run.
  Hurts can still transfer if he graduates, and play somewhere else next year, but his play in the game was inspiring.
  I know Georgia fans were not inspired. While Georgia may be one of the best four teams in American, the Bulldogs will not be in the play-offs.
  Bulldog fans lamented Kirby Smart’s decision to fake a punt on fourth and 11. It failed and set up Alabama’s winning score.
  Sometimes gambles work, sometimes they don’t.
  Sometimes calls make no sense,
  Saturday, Carolina faced fourth and inches at the Akron 20-yard-line. The Gamecocks best offensive lineman had just been injured. So, with a 6-4, 220-lb. quarterback, do you can a quarterback sneak? No, you hand off to a back three yards deep and he gets thrown for a three-yard loss.
  Carolina’s offense did absolutely nothing in the second half. After his magnificent game against Clemson, Jake Bentley returned to his old ways, throwing two red zone interceptions.
  The weather was so bad, with the game long rain, you’re just happy to get the win, and your seventh victory.
  Sunday, the Panthers lost their fourth straight game. The “great” Cam Newton threw four interceptions against a 4-7 Tampa Bay team, whose management gave away free tickets to get people to come to the game.
  A few week ago, the Panther came from behind to “potentially” tie a four win Lions team to send the game into overtime. Instead of kicking the PAT, Coach Ron Rivera went for two and it failed. Who does that in the NFL? College, yes. High school, yes. But not the NFL. That decision sent the team into its current tailspin and they are probably eliminated from the play-offs now.
  I watched the end of the Giants-Bears game after the Panther’s flop. Chicago was trailing 27-20 with three seconds to go in the game, and the ball on the Giants one-yard-line.
  What did the Bears do? Running back off tackle? Quarterback throw to the tight end? No, they ran a double reverse option pass and it worked for a touchdown. Great call!
  The Bears did not go for two. They kicked the extra point and sent the game into overtime. The Giants won in OT, however.

PLAY-OFFS

  Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma are the four teams to play for the national championship.
  I have a problem with Notre Dame getting an automatic bid. Yes, the Irish are unbeaten, but they did not have to play a 13th game like Alabama, Clemson and Oklahoma, because they are “too good” to join a football conference.
  The Irish are members of the Atlantic Coast Conference in all other sports. How far do people in Indiana have to drive to see the Atlantic coast?
  Had a one loss Georgia team not had to play in the SEC title game, the Bulldogs might have made the “Final Four.” That’s how Alabama made it last year.
  I doesn’t matter, I guess. I think the Irish will fall to Clemson, like the last unbeaten team that had the linebacker with invisible girlfriend. Alabama killed them in the title game.
  If you compare schedules, there is one common opponent that stands out. Clemson struggled to beat Syracuse, while the Irish beat the Orange 39-0.
  Oklahoma is really a fun team to watch, but they have yet to play a team with a defense. Alabama has one of those.
  Will it be the Tigers and the Tide again?

NOTHING WRONG
WITH NICE

  President George H.W. Bush only served one term, but he will always be remembered as a good man.
  He devoted his life to public service, and he and his wife Barbara were loved by people on both side of the aisle.
  Like President Trump, President Bush fame from wealth. His father was a millionaire U.S. Senator.
   Both his parents stressed humility. His mother, like most mothers, told him it was wrong to brag, and he learned from that.
  He campaigned on Americans doing good for others in his “thousand point of light” slogan.
  Like Jimmy Carter, he was a good man, who America did not feel worthy of serving a second term.
  Perhaps, “nice guys finish last” is right when it came to being President of the United States, but it doesn’t apply to a life well-lived in the service of others.