This is the biggest college football game to ever be played in our back yard.
St. Xavier University will host Southern Oregon in the NAIA national semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field on the SXU campus in Chicago. The winner goes to the national championship in Daytona Beach. The loser goes home to either stay in freezing Chicago or snowy Ashland, Oregon,
The Cougars are not new to semifinal games. They have been there four times before, including 2011, when they won the national title.
But they are new to hosting a semifinal game. This will be a first on campus and the place should be rocking, especially after Saturday’s 30-17 victory over Lindsey Wilson in the quarterfinals.
Southern Oregon comes into the game knocking off the then-No. 1 team in the nation, Carroll College of Montana, 45-42, on a snowy field in Helena.
The other semifinal features Marian (Indiana) against Morningside (Iowa).
In case you forgot, Marian is the team St. Xavier opened the season with and the Cougars won a road game in Indianapolis, 65-38, against the Knights on Sept. 6.
Morningside brings in a load of offense as the Mustangs beat Nebraska Wesleyan, 83-19, Dordt, 72-2, Midland, 68-28, Hastings, 76-14, and Briar Cliff, 63-0, during the regular season.
It should b e a wild couple of weeks.
A game I don’t want to see
Lindsey Wilson, based out of Kentucky, beat Belhaven (Mississippi), 91-14, on Oct. 25.
That’s not a misprint – 91 points! And the Blue Raiders didn’t even score in the final 10 minutes.
So, this Belhaven team must be the worst team in college football, right? Well, it opened the season with a 44-6 win over Texas College and a 32-15 victory over Mississippi College before losing nine straight.
Texas College finished the season 0-11 and was outscored 625-73.
So, if Texas College and St. Xavier decide to hook up for a football game anytime soon, I may have to skip that one.
Yes, I read the game notes. And it’s a good thing, because this is something most people might not notice. I wouldn’t have.
St. Xavier freshman kicker Abdul Mahdi kicks off with his left foot. But when he attempts field goals, extra points and squib kicks, he uses his right leg.
The Bogan High School graduate probably should have used his left foot during a first-half field goal attempt against Lindsey Wilson as the wind took his effort wide, wide left. I was thinking it had enough distance to hit the Shannon Center west of the stadium.
Staying with the football theme, the Reporter and Regional do not cover Providence Catholic on a regular basis but there are kids from the area who goes to the New Lenox school – especially from Orland Park – and it’s cool to see the Celtics clean house and not only win the IHSA Class 4A baseball title in June but also win the Class 7A football title on Saturday.
On a personal note, I’ve known a handful of some of their star players when they were little kids and I could have kicked every one of them around with ease.
Not now. They would eat me up and spit me out.
But seriously, it was fun to watch them beat Cary-Grove (an area I lived in a while ago) 31-27 and see friends of the family doing so well.
I can’t seem to pin down the exact date that Notre Dame decided to redshirt 2013 Reporter-Regional Player of the Year Nic Weishar but I heard about it the first week in November.
To redshirt someone is to keep them out of game action for a year and they will have the remaining years of eligibility left. Nic will have all four years of eligibility after they beef him up at the school.
Since I heard about the resdshirt, the Fighting Irish lost to Arizona State, Northwestern, Louisville and USC.
But the timing is interesting.
Hickory Hills alderman Thomas McAvoy spent a part of his Thanksgiving wishing members of the Reporter a Happy Thanksgiving and ended his email with the following crack:
“I am going to do last-minute shopping and then brace myself as the as the Chicago Bears place their heads in the Detroit Lions’ mouths.’’