Final Fours are for Football too

Holy goddamned crap they did it again! John Carroll University’s football team once more defeated the #1 ranked team in Division III NCAA Football on the road and continue to advance in the playoffs! The latest giant to fall in the Blue Streaks onslaught is the Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks, the team who routinely contends for the D III National Championship against John Carroll’s rival Mount Union. The Warhawks picked up the top ranking that the Mount Union Purple Raiders dropped after their loss to John Carroll a month ago, but now they too have been knocked down by the top team topplers that are the Blue Streaks. JCU beat Whitewater a little more handily than they did Mount Union, with a 31-14 final. The game was tied 7-7 at the half, but the Blue Streaks owned the third quarter and led 24-7 going into the fourth, where they held on for the victory, adding a late touchdown to put it out of reach. That’s right Wisconsin-Whitewater, we’re ushering in a new era of peace. Next up for my alma mater is another Wisconsin team, Wisconsin-Oshkosh, the only team to have beaten John Carroll this season. JCU opened the season at Oshkosh where they were overmatched and lost 14-33. The team rebounded pretty damn well from that opening loss though, and the Blue Streaks have not lost a game since. Now they find themselves with a chance to avenge the lone “L” on the schedule, and in the Final Four no less! That’s right, with a win the Blue Streaks will not only get back at the Titans, but they will earn a spot in the National Championship game, where they could very likely run into another team they’ve already faced this year. Mount Union is on a tear since the Blue Streaks beat them (their only loss of the season), and they have become the only team to have won three straight road games to get to the Final Four, their latest victory a resounding 70-45 win. When the bracket was set it seemed to be a pipe dream to hope for another run at Mount Union for the, to quote Dead Schembechlers frontman Bo Biafra, “righteous honor” to beat our rivals “twice in one season”, but now that the Blue Streaks have proven their mettle by besting Mount’s typical challenger for the title, perhaps they may actually meet again in it.

The Division III NCAA football National Championship will be decided in the next two weeks, but the Division I, or FBS Championship playoffs will get under way a full two weeks after D III’s winner has been crowned, and it just so happens that I have horse in that race as well, or perhaps I should say tree. The Ohio State Buckeyes made history by winning the first College Football Playoff two seasons ago, doing so as the fourth and final seeded team, earning that spot by virtue of their emphatic shutout of Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game. This year they did not even win their division thanks to their one loss being to the team that did, Penn State, who also beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, but it did not matter as they clearly are one of the best four teams in the nation, and probably the best primed to beat apparently almighty Alabama (like they did two seasons ago in the playoffs). This has created much debate, as did their inclusion two years ago, but not so much now as they have quite the impressive resume of wins (including Wisconsin – man, I am all about my Ohio teams beating Wisconsin’s today). So bring it on Clemson because the Buckeyes are glad to be back and playing in the desert of Arizona once more in the Fiesta Bowl, which has been essentially Ohio State’s postseason home.

This season I am elated to have two teams in the Final Four in two of the three divisions of college football. I will be watching intently all of their remaining games, as well as the Toledo Rockets taking on Appalachian State in the Camellia Bowl(?) on December 17th. However, I hope that I have to flip back and forth between Toledo’s bowl game and the D III National Championship that air at the same time. Of all my teams, John Carroll’s playoff run takes precedence. They have had a truly remarkable season, as I never would have expected them to beat Mount Union AND Wisconsin-Whitewater in the same season. Keep it up Streaks!

Thanks for reading! Sorry if you’re not as enthused about football as I am, especially in the last month. I still talk about other things, I promise. How ’bout that Westworld? I have not set out to write more than one post about the sport during the last four weeks (my annual Hate Michigan post that reminisces a signature victory of the Buckeyes against the Wolverines), but given the circumstances that have occurred lately for both the Blue Streaks and the Buckeyes, I had to do it. Ohio State’s dazzling finish in a grind of a game in The Game this year demanded to be (relatively) immediately responded to, and I have done my best to express just how rare it is to see John Carroll in the mix of toppling titans of their division (hopefully literally once more this Saturday). In the future I will be getting back to my traditional blend of science and entertainment in addition to sports. Until then, you can send me any questions, comments, and/or suggestions for topics outside of the gridiron to monotrememadness@gmail.com.

Go Streaks!

Alex

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