To steal from Steinbeck who stole from Shakespeare, the winter of our discontent is finally over, and the glory of autumn is upon us. And that can mean only one thing.
The college bullies are back, winning games by thirty, forty, and, in one case, fifty points. In the much anticipated return of the fabled Notre Dame-Michigan rivalry, neither the vaunted defense nor the arrival of the latest Wolverine wunderkind was enough to prevent a thrilling one touchdown win by the Irish.
The combination of new coach Scott Frost finally coming home, and the stands full of 75,000 curious Nebraska Cornhuskers was enough to scare the Akron Zips into boarding their plane and leaving Lincoln even before threatening weather caused the cancellation.
It was similar to the Idaho Vandals, living up to their nickname, stealing $1,000,000 of Florida taxpayer money a few years ago when their game with the Gators was rained out and they left town, without even departing their chartered jet, mind you. At least the Akron Zips got off their plane before they zapped out of town.
The usual suspects for the National Championship showed why they are just that, as Ohio State and Alabama defeated Oregon State and Louisville by a combined 83 points. Neither team has the problem that Michigan has at quarterback in that any of three signal callers, two at Bama, one at Ohio State, are legitimate All American candidates.
Even absent Urban Meyer, suspended from coaching for a while, the brand new Buckeyes quarterback, Dwayne Haskins, threw for five touchdowns and over 300 yards in his debut. The state of Ohio has a surfeit of great quarterbacks every year and the very best of them finds his way to Columbus.
Alabama had to journey to Texas and Hawaii for their two gems. The biggest problem Nick Saban has this year is learning not to yell at reporters who ask if he has a quarterback controversy. He doesn’t. Tuanigamanuolepola “Tua” Tagovailoa is the starter even though Jalen Hurts is 26-2 in his career at Alabama. That is the only time this year that I will type all 18 letters of Tua’s first name.
The NFL season kicks off tomorrow when the Falcons go to Philadelphia to test whether the Eagles have what it takes to repeat as Super Bowl champions. Nick Foles will keep Carson Wentz on the bench. Another magical year for the City of Brotherly Love? Don’t count it out.
An interesting match up has Pittsburgh at Cleveland. On the surface, a no-brainer, but there is something about Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield that should keep Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin up late looking at video of the number one pick. He is Johnny Football without the baggage.
In closing, a nod towards two great athletes competing at the US Open, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal. Relentless in fending off opponents, both have a chance to win their respective tournaments. It would be great for tennis if they do. They each deserve it.