Interesting Bowl Selections - There are some interesting teams matched up with bowl games in the college football postseason.
Last week it was announced that SMU had accepted an invitation to the Hawaii Bowl. SMU played in the same bowl in 2009, but the Mustangs' choice of that bowl was a no-brainer, at least for the coach.
SMU is coached by June Jones and before coming to SMU, he coached at Hawaii for nine years.
Pitt will be playing in the BBVA Coupon Bowl for the third straight year in Birmingham, Ala. Maybe the Panthers just like Birmingham or they think they should play there because Birmingham used to be called ''The Pittsburgh of the South.''
Pitt arrives with a 6-6 record and the year before the Panthers played in the same bowl with the same 6-6 record, which must irk members of the 1963 team. Those Panthers were 9-1 and ranked third in the nation and did not play in a bowl.
Vanderbilt will play in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn., which means the Commodores will travel a few miles to LP Field for the game. And they did the same thing in 2008.
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Special Teammates - At right are Jamestown football players Cortland Haines, left, and John Czech, who were among the 10 finalists for the Trench Trophy that was awarded to Ryan Hunter of Canisius on Wednesday night as the top lineman in Western New York high school football.
With Haines and Czech on the finalists list, it was only the second time teammates have ever been nominated in the 10 years of the award.
It was only fitting because they were the Red Raiders' co-defensive most valuable players
Czech led JHS in tackles with 112 while Haines was second with 93. And for good measure, Haines also saw time as a fullback and had seven carries for 37 yards and three touchdowns.
Haines' stats are more impressive when you consider he missed the first two games of the season because of an injury.
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The Longest Bye - NFL fans often wonder how their team will play after their bye week, but what if the bye lasted for 47 days?
That's what it is for Notre Dame, which will play Alabama in the BCS championship game.
The Fighting Irish last played on Nov. 24 and they don't play Alabama until Jan. 7.
Alabama has a shorter layoff of ''only'' 37 days.
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Thank The Rat - One of the classic film clips from major league baseball is of Carlton Fisk watching his home run, and waving his arms as he hoped the ball stayed fair, in the bottom of the 12th inning in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series against Cincinnati.
But that shot almost wasn't preserved according to an article in Memories and Dreams, the official magazine of the Hall of Fame.
NBC-TV cameraman Lou Gerard was inside the Fenway Park scoreboard and was told to shoot the batter or the ball if it came his way. When Fisk came to bat, Gerard told his director there was a rat '' the size of a cat'' next to him. The director asked him what he planned to do and Gerard said, ''Maybe I ought to just stay on Fisk and see what happens.''
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Amazing Mantle - It's still on the bargain shelves in bookstores and if you are a baseball fan you should pick it up. And if you are a Yankee fan, it's a must read.
I'm talking about Jane Leavy's excellent book, The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood that was published in 2010.
Since it was on the bargain shelf, I finally got around to reading it and following the career of Mantle is fascinating. You might think you know a lot about Mantle, but you'll learn more from this book.
However, you begin to wonder how he had any career at all.
Not only did he abuse his body off the field with his nightlife antics, but he had plenty of on-field injuries that probably would have ended a lot of player's careers, but Mantle played through them to have a Hall of Fame career.
It's just as good a read as Leavy's excellent book about Sandy Koufax that was published in 2003.
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''Heavy Reading'' - I found the ultimate bargain book when I came across 106 Yards by Al Carmichael. The 400-page book originally sold for $125 and I bought it for $4.99.
And why did I buy it? Mainly for a nostalgia trip of college and pro football in the 1950s. There are plenty of photos (370) of Carmichael's playing days when he was a high school star in California, Then he went on to catch a touchdown pass for USC in a 7-0 Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin in 1953. Next he was the Green Bay Packers' No. 1 draft pick and became one of the top punt and kickoff returners in the NFL in the 1950s.
In 1956, Carmichael returned a kickoff 106 yards for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears which was an NFL record until 2007 when Ellis Hobbs of the Patriots returned a kickoff 108 yards. And that has been matched twice by Randall Cobb of the Packers in 2011 and Jacoby Jones of the Ravens this season.
So with Cobb's 108-yard return, Carmichael doesn't even hold the Packers' record any more. But when his autobiography was published in 2006, he still held the NFL record alone which led to the title of the book.
Unfortunately, Carmichael played for the hapless Packers of the 1950s. When Vince Lombardi became the coach in 1959, Carmichael tried to play on an injured ankle without success and was cut. He signed on with the Denver Broncos of the new American Football League in 1960 and scored the first touchdown ever in the AFL. He played one more season with the Patriots and then ended his football career.
But that was just one career because Carmichael was also famous off the field as he appeared on the silver screen. He was one of the gladiators in the movie Spartacus in 1959 and was in Jim Thorpe - All-American as the stunt double for Burt Lancaster He was also in Elmer Gantry and the Birdman of Alcatraz with Lancaster.
Carmichael did plenty of television work and appeared in programs such as Rawhide.
It's a fascinating book with great reading, but the classic photos from the 1950s and early 1960s are the clincher.
This is considered a ''coffee-table book,'' but you better have a strong coffee table. It weighs more than 7 pounds!