My kind of coach: After his punt returner botched a Buckeye punt late, allowing Ohio State to recover on the two-yard line, score and go up by seven, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio, amidst the bellicose bedlam of Ohio State’s “Big House,” calmly told his errant player what he did wrong. No histrionics, just teaching. The moment was tense, the game was huge, a late season shot at the CFP (College Football Playoff) hanging in the balance. Minutes later, Dantonio sent a nervous place kicker on the field with a friendly pat on the shoulder. The score tied, the kicker then nailed a long last second field goal to move Michigan State closer to the CFP. My kind of coach!
The CFP committee met last night and dropped Notre Dame out of the top four. Clemson and Alabama remained numbers one and two. Oklahoma moved into the number three spot from seven the previous week. Iowa rose to number four, while Michigan State jumped to number five after the Spartans beat Ohio State at the gun. That made two games Michigan State has won this year with no time left on the game clock.
Down the road, Alabama could have trouble with once beaten Florida while Clemson must be wary of North Carolina.
Notre Dame dug a hole for itself with less than mighty wins over Wake Forest and Boston College and now must convincingly beat Stanford while hoping Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma this weekend, allowing the Irish to retake a top four position awaiting the elimination of one of the two teams playing for the Big Ten championship in two weeks, Iowa for sure and likely Michigan State.
Huzzah for a sensible Solomon-like decision by referee Gene Sheratore in the Pats-Bills game Monday night. Tom Brady, chased out of the pocket, approached the sidelines where it appeared to everyone, including the field judge, that he was going to throw the ball out of bounds. A second ‘after’ he had released the ball, the whistle blew. But Brady had already spotted an open receiver up the sidelines and rifled him a bullet that he caught, heading towards the goal line with just one defender to beat. What to do? Let the pass be completed to where the Patriot receiver caught it. Ball dead at that spot. Everybody thought that was a fair solution. It was.
My kind of referee: At a high school basketball game this week, a referee made a quick but important call. Two players, away from the ball, got tangled up and fell down. Both struggled mightily to disentangle themselves, the result being contact by each upon the other. The ref blew his whistle and I couldn’t tell what his call would be—a foul on one or the other, or perhaps even a double foul. Neither had tried to gain an advantage by his actions. Both were just trying to get up and back in the game. The ref walked calmly over to the two players, asked if they were okay and then told them to look each other in the eye, shake hands, and keep playing. No harm, no foul. Sports is often a metaphor for life. One of the players was white, the other was black, as was the referee. My kind of referee!