I'm still on cloud nine. But the one with the green lining. Notre Dame will play for the BCS championship on January 7.
They had to beat arch-rival Southern Cal in LA to get there. And they did, 22-13. Only after still another cliff-hanging , jaw-dropping goal-line stand, with just over 2 minutes to go in the game.
Who would've predicted it?
Not Bill Plaschke of the LosAngeles Times. "I'm picking USC to beat Notre Dame on Saturday because, well, it's just football. I'm picking the Trojans to upset the top-ranked Irish because Wittek, who is replacing the injured Matt Barkley, is the perfect leader for a team set up perfectly for this moment." Oops!
Now, far be it from me, to rub the face of a respected football scribe in humble pie. But Mr. Plaschke deserves it.
Why? Because of the meshugganah reason he gave for picking USC. It was crumby, to say the least. Let me explain.
It seems last summer Plaschke was emceeing a charity event on the USC campus, a fund- raising banquet. At one point, on the podium appeared Max Wittek, the backup quarterback who on November 24 would be thrust into the breach against Notre Dame. Wittek is a big strapping kid with a shotgun arm. For $200 he would throw a football on a clothesline to any of the well-heeled benefactors, directly to their seats.
Plaschke described one of the flings: "...the kid whipped a pass around the beehive of a bejeweled matron, behind two elderly people returning from the restroom, and hit him [a standing gentleman] right in his Armani lapels."
Another pigskin "sailed into blackness at the back of the room, where it landed in the protruding silk-shirted belly of a businessman who was so excited he acted as if he were going to spike it into a collection of bread-baskets."
Yeah, Max Wittek has a golden arm. And he was 19 for 20 in passing accuracy that day. He raised a cool $4,ooo.
So Plaschke concluded from this glittering postprandial aerial display that Wittek would feast on the Notre Dame secondary. But curiously Plaschke ignored the reality that Wittek would be making his first start. That it would be the most important game he might ever be in. That Manti Te'o and the rest of the Irish defense would be very hungry. And Max Wittek would be what's for dinner.
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