12 Jan 2017
- By Jaime Vergara
I NEVER did understand the allure of the leather in the gridiron, but it was a weekly ritual in my University in the Southwest in spring and winter. The elbow paddings and the kneepads, with the bandaged fingers and toes, looked like modern gladiators out in the coliseum to battle for survival, or at least, glory.
The College Football Playoff National Championship is a post-season bowl game started during the 2014 season. It is a tournament between the winners of two semi-final bowls played by the top four teams. The two bowls this year were at the Peach Bowl between the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Washington Huskies, and the Ohio State Buckeyes played the Clemson Tigers at the Fiesta. It was not even a contest. Rated top two Alabama (1) and Clemson (2) prevailed with ease.
Other bowls (team numbers in parenthesis was their ranking into the game) after the Peach and the Fiesta was the Outback in Florida that saw (17) Florida wallop Iowa 30-3, the Cotton in Arlington, TX had (8) Wisconsin outperform (15) W. Michigan 24-16, the Rose out of Pasadena had (9) USC out-pointing (5) Penn State in a game score that looks like it is basketball, 52-49, and the Sugar in New Orleans had (7) Oklahoma out-threw (14) Auburn 35-19.
For the NFL aficionado, the pros’ New Years Day outcome, also the 17th week, the last in the regular season, had
• the Denver Broncos galloped over the Oakland Raiders,
• the Kansas City Chiefs outscored the San Diego Chargers,
• the Arizona Cardinals rammed the brawn to the LA Rams,
• the New England Patriots turned chauvinistic on the Miami Dolphins,
• the Atlanta Falcons made sinners out of New Orleans Saints,
• the Pittsburg Steelers stalled the Cleveland Browns,
• the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pirated the Carolina Panthers fame,
• the Minnesota Vikings had the Chicago Bears shiver by the lake,
• the Philadelphia Eagles flew over the Dallas Cowboys,
• the Indianapolis Colts declawed the Jacksonville Jaguars,
• the New York Giants stood tall over the Washington Redskins,
• the Cincinnati Bengals roared over the Baltimore Ravens,
• the New York Jets streamed past the Buffalo Bills,
• the Green Bay Packers sealed off the Detroit Lions,
• the Tennessee Titans made the Houston Texans forget the Alamo, and
• the Seattle Sea Hawks squeaked past the SF 49ers.
On to the wild card and play-offs, we will narrate the NFL journey to the Super Bowl in February. For now, let’s get back to the collegiate gridiron.
In Florida on Monday, January 9 (Tuesday, the 10th in Saipan) was the National NCAA Football Championship Game played at the Raymond James Stadium, named after the financial investor whose company just joined the fortune 500; is the largest investment house outside of NY City. Not that the sponsor matters in the game, but the popularity of the bowl as it is with the other bowls is a financial asset to the athletic programs involved. In fact, locations often have to sell a certain level of tickets so a raucous audience is very noticeable to the TV watchers at home and in the bars.
The NCAA Super bowl pitted the royally undefeated Alabama vs. Clemson of South Carolina, the latter losing only one game this season to Pittsburg on a 43-42 field goal. The Tigers went undefeated to be #2 in the nation.
The rematch carries last year’s Championship call of 45-40 where the Tide prevailed over the Tigers. Alabama had this time the rational advantage leading the season on both offense and defense but Clemson held the emotional craze especially after the Pittsburg surprise. In a time of emotional displays, with The Donald unhesitatingly letting everyone knows how he feels, twittered and tweeted, most experts went with emotions and predicted a score no more than a touchdown difference for Clemson.
Monday night (Tuesday noon in Saipan) proved to be the Tiger’s stranglehold on the Tide as its paws managed to keep the swells from inundating the surf and got the upper hand in keeping the higher score on its side of the wave. The first three quarters was all Tide. But then, the Tigers got their emotional wind; a good second before the end of the game, they registered an advantage of 35-31. The Tides 10-point lead at the half was rendered null and void. The experts were proved right.
This is our third article on Football this season, which comes as a surprise since I am not a football fan. Soccer does send squeaks and squeals off the rafters in America Sud and Europe where being a sports fan provides momentary identity, and when televised, the boys get glued and Mom bakes cookies, but I am a voyeur more than a participant.
My wife from northeast China (Dong Bei) noticed that the winds of late had been cold in Saipan. Cold was below 75 degrees F; the Galleria’s sale on winter attire went up. In the cold temperate zone, especially after the snow whitened the Deep South to Penn, threatened the Tar Heels, it was more comfortable to stay indoors. I did, too. Clemson kept the warmth.
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