Beyond Golf — 01 December 2014 by Bob Sherwin
Foursome Forecast: From many, some

ONE: Quantity is not what matters this week in college football. It’s quality. There are just a relative handful of games around the country but many carry significance. Conference championships, bowl game matchups and, of course, the final evaluations for the final four teams expected to play for the national championship will be on tap this week. Ohio State, which lost a quarterback to injury then found out Sunday that a troubled lineman tragically was found dead, plays Wisconsin Saturday for the Big 12 title. If the Buckeyes win, it’s going to be impossible to deny them from being among the best four teams in the country. Oregon, which is No. 2, plays for the Pac-12 title Friday against Arizona. The Ducks should coast. Watch out for No. 3 and unbeaten Florida State. The Seminoles have been slipping past teams all season – six wins in single digits – but now must face a pretty stout Georgia Tech team Saturday night. A FSU win and its in. A lost and the Seminoles could be a one-loss loser-out. No. 7 Baylor still has a shot if it can get past No. 12 Kansas State Saturday. There could be some controversy here since TCU likely will move into the No. 4 spot but Baylor beat TCU earlier this season. The Horned Frogs close with Iowa State, which won’t be much of a issue. There are only 13 games this week.

TWO: This is not crunch time as much as it’s desperation time for many of the NFL teams in Week 14. Teams are barely clinging to contention. Teams are seeking division leads or wild-card berths. It’s a time when a loss goes a long way to determine vacation times in January. The first teams faced with desperation are Dallas and Chicago, who meet Thursday in the Windy City. Dallas is battling Philly for first place in the NFC East while Chicago is clinging to anything it can. The Bears are sinking but with Forte and Marshall, they have a chance to be the spoiler. That’s about all they can do at this point. Philly will have its tank full Sunday when the Eagles take on Seattle, which has suddenly found its dead-stop defense. That’s the game of the week. Pittsburgh at Cincinnati is another rugged matchup in which the loser could face a long and desperate road to some ocean beach resort.

THREE: It’s December and the one sport that began with training camp in February still has not completed its season. Major League Soccer finally has reached the final championship series. The Los Angeles Galaxy lost Sunday to Seattle – before 60,000 folks in CenturyLink Field – yet still advanced to the MLS Cup series against Eastern Conference champion New England Revolution Sunday at noon. Even though the teams split, the league’s strange and ridiculous rules allowed L.A. to move on because of its lone road goal. The first MLS Cup game will be in L.A.

FOUR: Unlike college football, ranked college basketball teams don’t shy away from confrontations. They’ll meet at time of year, any place at all. This week several top teams face off. Tuesday, No. 16 Ohio State plays at No. 6 Louisville. Wednesday, No. 2 Wisconsin hosts No. 4 Duke. Thursday, No. 13 Iowa State invites No. 25 Arkansas. Friday, the best team in the land, No. 1 Kentucky is at home with No. 7 Texas, and No. 18 Florida goes to No. 11 Kansas. Saturday, there are a couple big games, No. 10 Gonzaga plays at No. 3 Arizona and No. 8 Virginia travels to No. 14 Virginia Commonwealth.

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Bob Sherwin

Bob grew up in Cleveland, an underdog city with perennial underdog teams, and that gave him an appreciation and an affinity for the grinders in golf, guys such as Rocco Mediate, Jhonattan Vegas and star-crossed John Daly. This is the 44th year for Bob as a sportswriter, the first 34 working for newspapers throughout the west, Tucson (Daily Star), San Francisco (Examiner) and Seattle (Times), and the past 10 years as a freelancer. He has covered just about every sport, including golf tournaments, Tucson Open, Bing Crosby/AT&T Pro-Am, the 1998 PGA Championship, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, the 2010 U.S. Amateur and the annual Champions Tour Boeing Classic. He also writes articles for golf magazines. For most of his 20 years at the Seattle Times his primary beat was the Mariners. He then picked up Washington men's basketball in the winter. He also was the beat writer for the Sonics, including 1996 when they played the Bulls for the NBA title. After a lifetime hacking on public courses, he finally gave in and joined a country club in 2011, the Members Club of Aldarra near Seattle. He won't win the club championship any time soon with his 14 handicap and default-swing slice but he does have a pair of aces – 37 years apart – and in 2009 came agonizingly close to his ultimate golf goal of scoring in the 70s when he finished with an even 80. He lives in Seattle, and spends part of his winters in Marco Island, Fla.

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