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Saturday, September 17, 2016

College Football, Week 3: Kendall's Guarantee

I have a personal connection to the Ohio State-Oklahoma game tonight.

Ok, it’s not really that personal, but I have been hearing about this Austin Kendall kid for almost three years now. Yes, the same Austin Kendall kid who guaranteed that Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield would ‘light up Ohio State’s basic defense.’

You see, Kendall’s grandfather, Neal, works alongside my friend Josh Whitmer. I met Neal around three years ago while watching the beginning of the 2014 NCAA basketball tournament. Neal told me his grandson, a sophomore quarterback for a small high school in North Carolina, was one of the top recruits in the country. He also said that Austin had a strong desire to play for Ohio State.

The only problem was that the Ohio State football team did not really recruit Austin. In fact, to hear Neal tell it, Michigan made a stronger push to sign the younger Kendall than the Buckeyes did. Austin would consider the University of Tennessee, among other schools, before finally deciding to take his talents to Norman.

So it’s no surprise that the Sooners backup quarterback would want his team to ‘light up’ the school that ultimately passed on him. Yet I’m not sure that was the best idea to go and tell that to the media.
Jack Nicholson's reaction to Austin Kendall's guarantee.

There is no doubt that Buckeyes’ head coach Urban Meyer, who majored in psychology, used this information to motivate his players. In fact, he might have even called out a couple of underclassmen by name. Not that Sam Hubbard or Jalyn Holmes played poorly in the Buckeyes’ first two games. But Meyer may have suggested as much in order to light a metaphorical fire within each of them.

Before the season if you asked me which game I thought the Buckeyes would lose, I would have pointed to tonight’s contest as the one to watch. But I have a feeling that the Buckeyes make Kendall and the Sooners eat their words. Even JT Barrett and the OSU offense have something to prove in this one.

Ohio State wins comfortably, 34-17. And the nightmare for Kendall does not end there, as the youngster more than likely will be the starting quarterback for the Sooners when they come to Columbus next season. Win or lose this game, there’s no chance Meyer lets his team forget what Kendall said this week.

In other Top 25 action:

2 Florida State at 10 Louisville: A lot of points should be scored by both teams in this one. Look for the team with the ball last to come out victorious. In the end, however, Lamar Jackson’s 5TDs aren’t enough for the Cardinals. Florida State 48, Louisville 44.

1 Alabama at 19 Ole Miss: Nick Saban, aka the mad scientist, really let offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin have it last week. I’m guessing that doesn’t happen again.  Alabama 28, Ole Miss 14

4 Michigan versus Colorado: This game shouldn’t be much of a contest. But take a look at the Colorado depth chart:  It had Jim Harbaugh in such a frenzy he was at it again, picking his nose. Michigan 50, Colorado 17

12 Michigan State at 18 Notre Dame: Not an Irish fan at all, so why am I picking Notre Dame here? Must be that I don’t trust Michigan State just yet. Deshone Kiser cements his status as the Irish No.1 QB. Notre Dame 28, Michigan State 21.

Nebraska versus 22 Oregon: This appears to be another high scoring affair pitting the arm of Tommie Armstrong (no pun intended-- that is his actual surname) versus the legs of Royce Freeman. Huskers squeak by this one in a shootout. Nebraska 37, Oregon 35

Northwestern versus Duke: This one is being labeled the 'Academic Bowl.' Not very flashy, but neither are these teams. Despite Peyton Manning stopping by to support his former quarterback coach (and current Duke head coach David Cutcliffe), Wildcats win a sloppy affair. Northwestern 24 Duke 14

11 Texas at California: A rematch of last year's contest in Austin, which the Golden Bears won by the slimmest of margins. I doubt Cal gets that lucky this year. Texas 35, California 21

Upset alert: Ohio over Tennessee- Just kidding. Sorry OU fans, just seeing if anyone was still reading this far. Please comment when it actually happens. I'll be waiting.

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