A Game Like No Other
Greetings from the Booth!
It’s that time of year when I vacate the Booth for my annual Christmas Vacation. I look forward to doing my Christmas shopping, and otherwise kicking back with my Christmas movie favorites like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (still the gold standard for me), A Christmas Story (which reminds me so much of my youth on Kentucky Avenue in Martinsburg), and some of my new favorites like Jingle All The Way (good luck finding the Turbo Man doll out there!).
There’s a lot going on in sports right now, as the 40-bowl schedule is set in college football. Thankfully, there are no 5-7 bowl teams this year, as there were in 2016, but 40 bowls seems like too many to me. I’m not sure even a 6-6 record is worthy of a bowl bid, but it offers fans a chance to see their favorite team one more time. My WVU Mountaineers are headed to the ever-popular Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl to take on Utah (“Did you say Utes?”). Of course, the Heart of Dallas Bowl features no Texas team, so look for about 150 people in the stands on December 26th.
The College Football Playoff 4-team field is now set, as we will get Clemson-Alabama III in one national semifinal and Oklahoma-Georgia in the other. There is the usual debate about whether the 4 best teams are in, or the 4 most deserving teams. The Crimson Tide sat out Championship weekend and rested it’s case on a resume that didn’t include an SEC Championship or even a conference title, and truth be told, probably snuck in on reputation. That, and the fact that the CFP Committee couldn’t get past Ohio State’s huge loss to unranked Iowa. As one of my friends, a Tide alum, said: “there in, now they better win.”
Finally, the decks are cleared for the 118th Army-Navy game this weekend. Amidst all the big money conference championship games and bowls, this game is a breath of fresh air. The football is not always pretty, but the game is hard-fought, and sportsmanship and respect take center stage. There is nothing like the pageantry, patriotism, and pride of this annual clash between the Knights and Midshipmen. After the game, the teams join at each end of the field for tears and fight songs. There are very few “5-star blue chip” players involved, and for many, it’s the last organized football they will play, as they fulfill their commitment to their country.
The added bonus is that both teams this year are going to bowl games. Army has had an especially good year, going 9-3. Don’t look for passing, either as both teams are run-heavy. In 3 games this year, the Knights haven’t completed a pass. Whether your chant is “Beat Army” or “Beat Navy”, enjoy the game!
Oh, and I’ll bet everyone stands for the National Anthem…
See you in 2 weeks! GO HORNETS