Saturday, December 29, 2007

One bet only - Joe Paterno's War

The Orphanage was released yesterday, reviewed here on November 20.

Charlie Wilson's War was not, and will not, be reviewed here since As Good As News did not see a preview and doesn't need to add another voice to the legions of reviews now available. It is highly recommended. Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams are terrific and the movie, written by Aaron Sorkin, is even better than its generally good notices.

After a week of reading and watching item after item reporting the startling news that the Pats and Giants will both be trying to win tonight - I can't take anymore. Yes, both teams would like to build a lead, get the starters out early to rest, avoid injury and win with the second team playing the second half. This won't happen for the Giants, but Coach Coughlin will likely play his starters until the game is over or out of reach. The best thing that could happen to the Giants is the confidence boost they would get from a win, or even a very close loss, to the Pats. Bill Belichick may be reluctant to expose Tom Brady to the Giant's pass rush for four quarters, but he's not going to pull his starters, including Brady, if the game, and the Pat's undefeated season are on the line. Watch for me in Section 112, where I will be pulling for the G-men. Nothing personal against the Pats, but I don't think anyone should go undefeated unless they are from Pittsburgh.

Remember the 1972 Dolphins? They had one of the easiest regular season schedules in football history, but it looked like they would be underdogs to a tough Oakland Raiders squad in the AFC Final. The 1972 Steelers were playoff novices (this was before the great 1974 draft brought them Swan, Lambert, Stalworth, Webster and, as a free agent, Donnie Shell) but rookie Franco Harris's Immaculate Reception cleared the Raiders from the Dolphin's path.

Joe Paterno surprised no one with his conciliatory public reaction to an off-key attempt at humor by a Texas A&M yell leader, who suggested Paterno was ready for a coffin at an Aggie pep rally. Joe is old enough to know he doesn't want to sound ungracious or thin skinned. He doesn't need to make things any tougher for a college kid who had one bad moment. Joe is also an Italian who grew up in Brooklyn during the depression. He's wise enough to react graciously in public, but he is mad and he won't forget about this until long after game day. Penn State was already smarting from a season ending loss to Michigan State, now they are really angry. If you must bet on only one college bowl game, take Penn State to cover the 5.5 point spread.

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