10.10.04

BOWL-ELIGIBLE. The Ohio State football team has lost only six games in Columbus, Ohio, in the last three years. Three of those losses are to Wisconsin. To put things in perspective, the Superintendent has intelligence that former Ohio State coach John Cooper was replaced by Jim Tressel over Cooper's difficulty beating Wisconsin (a team that has turned three yards and a cloud of dust into a formula for winning Rose Bowls, something the late great Woody Hayes had trouble doing.) On the other hand, Wisconsin failed to win a game in Columbus, Ohio, between 1912 and 1982.

At halftime of the Northern Illinois at Central Florida game, the score was 21-0 Northern Illinois, after Ray Smith returned an interception 68 yards for a touchdown. I decided it was time to eat supper and play the "Fifth Quarter" tape (for the first time this fall: the neighbors should expect to hear it again.) Then back to the Northern Illinois game, where things were getting worse. It got so bad, in fact, that with 45 seconds to go, Central Florida scored a touchdown and conversion to take a 1 point lead. Perhaps one of the little things that separates the winless teams from the winning teams is the ability to milk the clock, in this case by going ahead with sufficient time for Northern Illinois to reach Central Florida's 22-yard line and kick the winning field goal.

And now to tie all the teams together ... let's go back to 1988, when Northern Illinois beat Wisconsin in Madison (on a late field goal) and Wisconsin beat Ohio State, also in Madison, in much worse weather, which enabled an enterprising Chicago Tribune sportswriter to play "A beat B beat C ..." to crown Northern Illinois the national champion.

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