by John Walters
At the age of 94 the 41st president of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush, passes away. A decent (in all senses) president, a great American and an even better person.
Navy fighter pilot in World War II (at 18 he was the youngest fighter pilot in the service when he enlisted), later a Yale baseball player and alum, CIA director, vice president and eventually, president. Husband of 73 years. Few Americans have lived more decorated or estimable lives. The crib in Kennebunkport wasn’t half-bad, either.
2. Bye, Georgia*
*The judges will also accept “Out-Smart-ing Yourself
“No! No. No no no no no no no no. No. Aren’t you something? No.”
Here’s what we believe happened. Kirby Smart designs a few plays and packages for 2018 No. 1 overall recruit Justin Fields so as to keep him from wondering if there are greener pastures elsewhere. This Punt Fake play is one of them.
Now Smart advises Fields to only attempt this play if the defensive alignment warrants it, otherwise punt. Alabama lines up in Punt Safe, so the fake should be called off. But Fields is a hot-shot freshman eager to make his mark, so he goes for it. Fail. Bama has a shorter field. Touchdown. Game over, Georgia’s playoff hopes over.
3. Hurts So Good
On the opposite side of the field, Jalen Hurts pens the Hollywood ending so few of us ever get. Replaced on this same field against this same opponent 11 months earlier, Hurts has his number called after starter Tua Tagovailoa suffers a friendly-fire high ankle sprain. Hurts, who would’ve scored the championship-winning TD two seasons ago if Bama’s defense had held against Deshaun Watson and Clemson, leads the Crimson Tide to a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns and the 35-28 win.
Raw and powerful words from Jalen Hurts:
“After the national championship game I’m in the hotel room with my family, and I’m in mom and dad’s arms crying asking, ‘What are we going to do now?’
“My dad looked at me and said, ‘We’re going to fight.'”
— Aaron Suttles (@AaronSuttles) December 2, 2018
And yes, if you were keeping score on Saturday, two undefeated teams and reigning national champions (one more widely accepted than the other) found themselves trailing by two touchdowns in the second half and without their starting quarterback. Both came back to win.
That’s what champions do.
4. Pigskin Leftovers
Stuff we wanted to say/write or just thought of saying/writing:
–Is it possible Kirk Herbstreit went HAM on Georgia because he had to pick someone for the final slot and that Oklahoma vs. Ohio State was a Sophie’s Choice? Because the Sooners and Buckeyes had more similar resumes, a choice of Ohio State would label him as a homer while a choice of Oklahoma would make him something of an apostate, even if most of us would agree that the Sooners have a better resume. By siding with Georgia he avoids having to explain why he preferred Oklahoma over OSU and also avoids appearing to favor his alma mater.*
*Note: We really believe Herbie believes Georgia belongs in. What makes no sense is his putting Georgia 3rd but also leaving Notre Dame in. If the Irish record fails to dazzle him as opposed to a team with two losses, is he then saying that he believes Notre Dame is superior to both Oklahoma and Ohio State? Because his words all season on College GameDay and Saturday Night Football have not indicated that.
–Let’s pay tribute to Trevor Matich, our favorite under-utilized ESPN college football personality and the only one of 42 visible ESPN college football figures who picked Notre Dame to advance to the playoff.
Allow me an indulgence? On my own time/expense, each offseason I drive 12k+ miles visiting CFB teams. This year’s stop at Notre Dame gave me confidence they wld be elite. So, in internal preseason poll, I was alone among 42 folks to pick the Irish to make playoff. 😀 #CFBPlayoff pic.twitter.com/kQwV2P8TrG
— Trevor Matich (@TMatich) December 2, 2018
— Folks we feel should be invited to appear on ESPN’s College Football Awards Show this Thursday night: Jalen Hurts, Doak Campbell Stadium Shirtless Bibliophile, Staredown Kid, Tyler Trent, Bill Snyder, LSU Death Stare Girl.
–Great idea by one of THE most loyal MH readers, Jacob-Jason Anstey. When I suggested that FCS games should be eliminated (or, if you are the FBS team that schedules it, then you will not be considered for the college football playoff), he wondered how come schools aren’t allowed to just schedule a preseason scrimmage versus an FCS school in August. This is brilliant.
–Clip ‘n Save for Saturday night (and never forget that Christian McCaffrey got totally robbed!!!)
Dwayne Haskins: TD passes, Total Yards
Kyler Murray: QB Rating, Yards Per Attempt
Gardner Minshew: Yards Per Game, Completions, Total Offense
Save this tweet for when Tua wins the Heisman
— Medium Happy (@jdubs88) December 3, 2018
–Inspired by all of his segments over the years, the MH staff, with an assist from our friend and former SI editor Dick Friedman, penned “That’s Rinaldi!” To be sung to the melody of “That’s Amore.”
When the cancer’s Stage 4
There’s a knock at your door,
When your long snapper’s blind,
It’s a story he’ll find,
Parents sigh, children die, girlfriends cry,
As we reach for the clicker
Tragedies and disease—help us, Rece!
There’s a pang in my ticker!
When you’re waiting to see,
5. He Said Xi Said
No news is bad news from the G-20 Summit, as China and the U.S. agree on “No New Tariffs.” The good news is that the stock market jumped about 400 points and the better news is that Susie B. may have emerged from that dark mood that’s enveloped her the past month or so.
Christyn Vs. Christians*
*The judges will also accept “Back In Black”
Notre Dame and UConn, which had split their past 16 meetings and entered 1 and 2, meet in South Bend. Led by 28 points from true freshman lefty Christyn Williams, the Huskies somewhat avenge last April’s Final Four defeat to the Irish. UConn has now won 122 consecutive regular season games but not the last two national championships.
Two For Tuohy
For the second straight year, North Rockland (N.Y.) High School junior Katelyn Tuohy wins the Nike Cross Country Nationals. Tuohy ran a 16:37 on a Portland golf course, breaking her own course record by seven seconds. Tomorrow never knows with women’s distance running, but at this moment Tuohy is in the same class as Mary Cain and Mary Decker.
Long, Long Way From Home
The band Foreigner was comprised of three English members and a trio of Yanks, hence the name. They’re one of the best-selling bands of all time, with 80 million records sold. Coming along in that interregnum between the peak of rock and roll and ’80s New Wave, they get slotted in that “arena rock” bin of disdain by the “serious” rock critics along with Journey, Styx, Kansas, Rush and others. They’ll cry on their yachts about it.
This semi-autobiographical tune dips into the well of moving from a small town to New York City. The third single off their eponymous debut album, it peaked at No. 20 in late 1977.
The Last Alaskans
8 p.m. Animal Planet
There’s no business like snow business. This reality show chronicles four families who live in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and whose wives argue incessantly about dinner reservations and bridal showers. We think.