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Friday, December 1, 2017

Big 10 Championship Ohio State vs Wisconsin




BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREVIEW: NO. 8 OHIO STATE VS. NO. 4 WISCONSIN

By Dan Hope 
Ohio State last played Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium in 2016.
Jeff Hanisch – USA TODAY Sports
32 COMMENTS
For the second time in four years, Ohio State is set to play Wisconsin with a conference title, and potentially a College Football Playoff berth, on the line in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis.
Ohio State’s 2017 regular season could certainly be described as turbulent. The Buckeyes lost their first home game of the year to Oklahoma. They suffered a humiliating, 55-24 loss at Iowa. Just last week, they needed a backup quarterback to win their rivalry game at Michigan.
Yet the Buckeyes (10-2, 8-1 Big Ten) still have a chance to win their conference championship – a feat they have achieved only once, despite their many other accomplishments, in the Urban Meyer era – and possibly even make the playoff, much like they did in 2014, if they can beat Wisconsin again.
Chances are good, though, that winning another Big Ten title won’t come nearly as easily as it did for the 2014 eventual national champions, when the Buckeyes beat the Badgers in a 59-0 romp.
Wisconsin Badgers
WISCONSIN BADGERS
12-0, 9-0 B1G
ROSTER / SCHEDULE

8:17 P.M. – SATURDAY, DEC. 2
LUCAS OIL STADIUM
INDIANAPOLIS, IND.

FOX
FOX SPORTS GO
This year’s Badgers (12-0, 9-0 Big Ten) enter the Big Ten Championship Game with the only undefeated record in a Power 5 conference and the Football Bowl Subdivision’s No. 1-ranked defense in yards allowed per game. That makes the No. 4-ranked Badgers – unlike the No. 8-ranked Buckeyes, whose playoff hopes lie in whether a win over Wisconsin is enough to move them ahead of Alabama – a virtual lock to make the playoff if they win on Saturday.
Even so, Wisconsin enters Saturday’s game as an underdog, in part because none of its wins have come against teams currently ranked in the top 20 of the CFP standings – making Ohio State the best team the Badgers have played all season.
On the other hand, though, the Buckeyes have lost – and convincingly – to the only team they played that is currently ranked ahead of Wisconsin (Oklahoma) and the team that is most similar stylistically to Wisconsin (Iowa). So if the Buckeyes are going to beat the Badgers and win a conference title for their second time in four years, they are going to need to be at their best – or at least much better than they were in those games.
WISCONSIN BREAKDOWN
While Wisconsin hasn’t played any world-beaters this season, the Badgers have consistently taken care of business – unlike Ohio State and many of the nation’s other top teams that have at least one bad loss of their records – winning every one of their games by more than seven points.
That effort has been led by the dominant play of Wisconsin’s defense, which has held 11 of its 12 opponents to 17 points or less and 10 of its 12 opponents to less than 300 yards, never allowing more than 24 points or 381 yards in any game this season. The Badgers rank first in the FBS in rushing yards allowed per game (80.5) and second in the FBS in passing yards allowed per game (156.4).
Ohio State center Billy Price is among those who are impressed by what they’ve seen from the Badgers defense on film.
"They are undefeated for that reason itself: They play great defense," Price said. "They’re very technically sound, gap-sound and they don’t give up big plays."
Like many of the defenses that Ohio State faced early this season, Wisconsin’s defense plays primarily in an odd front. The Badgers are anchored by a solid defensive line up front, with second-team All-Big Ten defensive ends Alec James and Conor Sheehy flanking 346-pound nose tackle Olive Sagapolu.
The star of Wisconsin’s defense is first-team All-Big Ten linebacker T.J. Edwards, an athletic playmaker in both run defense and coverage who is tied for the team lead in tackles for loss (11) and interceptions (four) and ranks second on the team in total tackles (67). Wisconsin’s other top playmakers at linebacker include Garret Dooley, who leads the team with 7.5 sacks, and Ryan Connelly, who leads the team with 71 total tackles.
Meyer is impressed by what he’s seen from Wisconsin’s linebackers, and he isn’t surprised that he’s been impressed.
"I can't remember ever playing Wisconsin without elite linebackers," said Meyer, who is preparing for his fifth game against the Badgers as Ohio State’s coach.
T.J. Edwards
T.J. Edwards is the star among Wisconsin's linebackers, who have excelled again this year. Jeff Hanisch – USA TODAY Sports
Wisconsin also has an impressive crop of playmakers in its secondary, led by two more first-team All-Big Ten players in cornerback Nick Nelson, who leads all FBS players with 20 pass breakups this season, and D’Cota Dixon, who ranks third on the Badgers with 51 total tackles from his strong safety spot. Nelson has had opportunities to break up passes because of the strong coverage provided opposite him from fellow starting cornerback Derrick Tindal, while free safety Natrell Jamerson has also been a key playmaker for the Badgers, racking up 44 total tackles and 12 passes defended (two interceptions).
All of that said, the asterisk on Wisconsin’s defensive dominance is that the Badgers have faced only one offense – Florida Atlantic – that ranks in the FBS’ top 50 in total offense. Considering that FAU has accumulated its overall statistics by beating up on Conference USA defenses, Ohio State’s offense will easily be the most explosive offense it has faced all year.
Ohio State’s passing offense is the most statistically prolific that Wisconsin will have faced this season, while only FAU’s run-heavy offense has had more rushing yards per game, so the Badgers defense will have to be at its best this week to continue its dominance.
As well as Wisconsin’s defense has played, its offense has been productive too, as the Badgers have averaged exactly four offensive touchdowns per game (the Badgers also have five defensive touchdowns and a punt return touchdown by Nelson this season) while making exactly one field goal in each of their first 12 games.
As has often been the case for the Badgers, especially over the past two decades, Wisconsin’s offense is led by a star running back and a strong offensive line.
The newest star running back at Wisconsin is Jonathan Taylor, who won seven consecutive Big Ten Freshman of the Week awards (and was named Freshman of the Year on Thursday) to end the regular season and leads the Big Ten this year with 258 carries for a whopping 1,806 yards.
At 5-foot-11 and 214 pounds, Taylor has demonstrated an impressive package of speed, strength and agility that has led to immediate and consistent success running the football in his first year as a Badger.
In preparing to play against Taylor this week, Ohio State linebacker Chris Worley said Taylor doesn’t look like a first-year player.
"He definitely has the feel of like a veteran running back," Worley said. "He’s a strong, powerful runner and once he gets going in a straight line, he can definitely make a lot of guys miss. So he doesn’t run like a freshman, and it’s going to be a task to get him on the ground."
Jonathan Taylor
Jonathan Taylor ranks third among all FBS players with 1,806 rushing yards. Jeff Hanisch – USA TODAY Sports
Up front, the Badgers feature a massive offensive line on which all five starters weigh in at 315 pounds or more. Worley says the Buckeyes aren’t concerned about the size of Wisconsin’s offensive line, but he says they do expect a big challenge from the Badgers’ front five because of their talent.
"They have a great offensive line, and the thing that they do well is they finish their blocks," Worley said. "This is definitely going to be the best offensive line that we’ve faced all year."
While Alex Hornibrook has played well enough for the Badgers to win all 12 of their games this season, he isn’t a spectacular passer, and he has had issues with turning the ball over, throwing 13 interceptions. The Badgers are also lacking in proven playmakers at the wide receiver position after Quintez Cephus, who still leads the team with 501 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns, suffered a season-ending leg injury in the Badgers’ ninth game of the year against Indiana.
Wisconsin does have a first-team All-Big Ten tight end, however, in Troy Fumagalli, who could pose a major threat over the middle of the field to an Ohio State defense that has struggled to defend tight ends all season.
BUCKEYE BREAKDOWN
Although Ohio State played well enough in its first 12 games to win the Big Ten East and earn a berth in the conference championship game, the Buckeyes still face major questions on both sides of the ball entering this game.
2017 STATISTICAL COMPARISON
Ohio State Buckeyes Wisconsin
OFFENSE
43.85thPOINTS FOR34.826th
250.313thRUSHING OFFENSE243.318th
279.527thPASSING OFFENSE182.897th
529.84thTOTAL OFFENSE426.042nd
.4974th3rd DOWNS.5062nd
.88929thRED ZONE.85262nd
DEFENSE
19.820thPOINTS ALLOWED12.02nd
112.813thRUSH DEFENSE80.51st
179.015thPASS DEFENSE156.42nd
114.524thPASS EFFICIENCY DEFENSE94.21st
291.88thTOTAL DEFENSE236.91st
.32218th3rd DOWNS.2887th
.78830thRED ZONE.7005th
SPECIAL TEAMS
4.4114thPUNT RETURN9.044th
24.218thKICKOFF RETURN21.266th
40.817thNET PUNTING36.4103rd
MISCELLANEOUS
+ 0.348thTURNOVER MARGIN+ 0.257th
7.4110thPENALTIES5.544th
8EDGE10
Offensively, of course, the big question for the Buckeyes is whether starting quarterback J.T. Barrett will be healthy enough to play, and if he does play, whether he will be limited. Meyer said Thursday that Barrett has been cleared to play, so it is expected that No. 16 will take the field when the Buckeyes offense takes the field on Saturday. That said, Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch reported Thursday that Barrett underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Sunday, leaving reason to doubt that Barrett will be at full speed just six days later.
If Barrett ends up being unable to start or finish the game, Ohio State’s quarterback duties would be taken over by redshirt freshman backup Dwayne Haskins, who impressively led the Buckeyes to a comeback victory over Michigan last week.
Ohio State’s 2014 win over Wisconsin was a breakout game for Cardale Jones, in the first start of his Buckeye career after J.T. Barrett suffered a season-ending ankle injury against Michigan one week before that game, and Barrett’s most recent injury opens the door of possibility that Haskins could make his first start or at least be the quarterback the Buckeyes need to get another win over the Badgers on Saturday.
Barrett’s injury will force Wisconsin to prepare for the possibility of facing either quarterback, but Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said the Badgers would prepare this week with the expectation that they would face the three-time Big Ten Quarterback of the Year.
"We are going to prepare for Ohio State’s best, and we know we’re going to get that, and we’re not going to try and play a guessing game," Chryst said. "We believe (J.T.)’s going to play."
Regardless of whether Barrett plays at less than full speed or Haskins ends up playing in his place, the starting quarterback’s injury will likely influence the Buckeyes to lean heavily on their tailback running game, as Barrett will likely be limited as a runner while Haskins is more of a passer than a runner.
The question of whether an injury-plagued Barrett or a still inexperienced Haskins can make enough plays against an elite defense for the Buckeyes to win this game is a legitimate one. Ultimately, though, the possibility of giving the ball more often to the running backs is a strategy that could end up helping Ohio State’s chances, as the one-two punch of J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber and the Buckeyes offensive line have done an excellent job making plays and moving the chains in the ground game.
Defensively, the big question for the Buckeyes is whether they will be able to cover Fumagalli and Wisconsin’s other tight ends, considering the troubles Ohio State had with keeping tight ends covered this season. Those struggles were big factors in the Buckeyes’ losses to Oklahoma and Iowa, and could have cost the Buckeyes again last week if Michigan had a healthy quarterback who could hit wide open targets over the middle of the field with any consistency.
While Hornibrook has had some issues of his own, he’s still a much better quarterback than John O’Korn, and capable of making the Buckeyes pay if they are unable to fix the issues they have had – especially with their linebackers – with keeping non-wide receivers covered this year.
Taylor and the Wisconsin running game certainly pose a significant threat, too, but the Buckeyes have been mostly successful in keeping opposing running backs – most notably the Big Ten’s other top running back, Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, who they held to 44 yards on 21 carries – in check, as the Buckeyes rank 13th nationally in rushing yards allowed per game (112.8) and ninth in the FBS in yards allowed per carry (3.1).
"Their defense stands out," Chryst said of Ohio State’s defense. "They got really good players, and I think it’s a heck of a scheme. It looks like they’ve got confidence, and they know what they’re doing. They play fast, and they challenge you in so many different areas."
Despite Wisconsin’s success this season, Ohio State should be capable of beating the Badgers, and potentially even winning big, which it might need to do to convince the College Football Playoff committee it deserves a spot in the field of four. Whether the Buckeyes win this game at all, however, will depend on how effectively their offense can run without a fully healthy Barrett and whether their defense can avoid the same pitfalls – particularly in pass coverage – that cost them in their previous losses this year.
HOW IT PLAYS OUT
While the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game might provide a lens into what’s possible if everything goes the Buckeyes’ way on Saturday, a similarly dominant performance in this year’s game isn’t what should be expected going in.
Although Ohio State’s national championship hopes might not be dead yet, the Buckeyes haven’t looked to be the same caliber of team this year that they were three years ago. Granted, the Buckeyes didn’t look like a national championship team going into this game three years ago either, but although there have been many parallels between this season and that season, it would still be a leap of faith to predict a repeat performance.
OHIO STATE VS. WISCONSIN, LAST FIVE GAMES
YEARLOCATIONRESULT
2016Madison, Wis.Ohio State 30, Wisconsin 23
2014Indianapolis, Ind.Ohio State 59, Wisconsin 0
2013Columbus, OhioOhio State 31, Wisconsin 24
2012Madison, Wis.Ohio State 21, Wisconsin 14
2011Columbus, OhioOhio State 33, Wisconsin 29
Wisconsin was a solid football team going into the 2014 game, holding a 10-2 record, but those Badgers weren’t on the precipice of making the College Football Playoff like these Badgers. Considering the way the Badgers have repeatedly taken care of business all season long, it would come as a big surprise if they proved to be an easy pushover in this game.
That’s not to say the Badgers aren’t a beatable team. With some underwhelming wins on their resume, like beating Illinois by only 14 and beating Purdue by only eight, they certainly appear to be. But with a defense that has been consistently tough and a solid offense anchored by a consistently productive running game, Wisconsin appears positioned to be much more competitive in the second Big Ten Championship Game between the Buckeyes and Badgers.
The Buckeyes, though, say they are looking forward to the challenge.
"It couldn’t have come at a better time, because at this time of the year, everyone’s been getting better … and at this time of the year, you don’t want to just face teams that don’t present a challenge against you," Worley said. “So this is going to be a great challenge for us as a team, and it’s going to be a battle inside and out. And at this time of the year, that’s what you want."





Report: J.T. Barrett had knee surgery Sunday, will play in Big Ten title game

 Nick Bromberg,

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

College Football Rivalry Week Day by Day Leading up to the Game Ohio State vs Michigan




College Football Rivalry Week  Day by Day Leading up to the Game  Ohio State vs Michigan

By Andy Staples 
November 20, 2017
Between the coaching carousel and games that will help decide conference titles and playoff berths, this will be the busiest week of the season. Here’s a primer so you can pencil in some time to cook a turkey.

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY

The Chip Kelly Sweepstakes
Florida officials flew to New Hampshire on Sunday to shoot their shot with Chip Kelly. Earlier in the day, UCLA fired Jim Mora. The Bruins also want a crack at Kelly.He may also have other options that we don’t yet know about. At some point, he will decide what he wants to do. (Insert your own puff of white smoke joke here.) That point probably will come before other coaches become available to talk. The first such coach is Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, whose regular season ends with the Egg Bowl on Thursday.
Tennessee
If the Grumors are true and Jon Gruden becomes Tennessee’s next coach, I’ll have two bets to pay off.
• This…
ADVERTISING
If the Grumors are true, that deal should be done before the first turkey is served. Like Kelly, anyone could hire Gruden at any time. Gruden would have to want to take the job, though.
In the far more likely event that Tennessee’s next coach is someone other than Gruden, the timeline shifts to when candidates would be available to talk. Mullen also would be an excellent choice for the Volunteers. Mike Norvell of Memphis likely will be leading the Tigers in the American Athletic Conference title game and wouldn’t be available to interview until after that game on Dec. 2. Washington State coach Mike Leach, who could be lured away by either the Vols or Gators, could be done Saturday or could be playing the following Friday in the Pac-12 title game if his Cougars beat Washington in the Apple Cup.

THURSDAY

Ole Miss
The Rebels play Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl this week, but they could be dealing with news earlier in the week. They’re past the window in which the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions usually would hand down a ruling on a case, so the COI’s ruling could come any day. That ruling—and the ensuing sanctions—will determine which coaches are in the pool for the Ole Miss job. If the COI rules harshly and tacks on a longer postseason ban and serious scholarship reductions, that pool will shrink. If the COI hands down a lighter sentence, quite a few coaches will want the job—which could pay big money.
Mississippi State
The Bulldogs escaped Arkansas, but they’ll deal with more noise all week. Mullen, who has interviewed for other jobs before, would be a good fit at Florida, Tennessee, Texas A&M or Nebraska. But might he want to stay in Starkville? He has a very good team coming back next year. He has a new operations building. He has a job that gets him extended rather than fired if he wins nine games.

FRIDAY

TCU
The Horned Frogs close their regular season Friday against rival Baylor, which would love nothing more than to ruin TCU’s Big 12 title chances. But a TCU win would clinch a spot opposite Oklahoma in the championship game. A Baylor win would complicate matters, and I’ll let Scott Bell of the Dallas Morning News take it from here because the league might be going deeeeeep into the tiebreaker list.
Arkansas
The firing of athletic director Jeff Long seems to spell doom for Bret Bielema’s tenure as the Arkansas coach. The question now is with this many jobs open, can the Razorbacks lure an attractive candidate? Of course a faction wants former Springdale (Ark.) High coach Gus Malzahn, but he might have a pretty good thing going at Auburn. Former Arkansas quarterback Clint Stoerner put it well last week when I interviewed him on SiriusXM: The Razorbacks need an offensive identity that makes them different and gives them a recruiting niche. Triple option, Air Raid, it doesn’t matter which one. But Arkansas needs to be different in a good way.
UCF
The Knights will play USF at 3:30 p.m. ET Friday with a berth in the American Athletic Conference title game on the line. If UCF wins, it’ll be another huge step forward for a program that was 0–12 just two years ago. (And beating the nearby rival that spent years blocking UCF from the Big East would make it even sweeter.) It also means all those schools who want to interview Knights coach Scott Frost would have to wait another week. They can pass the time by reading my story on UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin.
USF
Remember before the season when we penciled the Bulls into the Group of Five’s spot in the New Year’s Six bowls? Well, they’ve only lost once (to Houston), but they’re 11-point underdogs to Interstate 4 rival UCF. Coach Charlie Strong’s team still has a shot at a big-money bowl, but it has to beat its rival.
Nebraska
It’s not really a secret that the Mike Riley era at Nebraska will end after the Iowa game. The question now is where the Cornhuskers go from here. Former Nebraska quarterback Frost seems like the obvious choice, but the UCF coach likely will have other suitors. If Frost chooses another job or stays at UCF, what then? Current Nebraska AD Bill Moos hired Leach at Washington State. That could be fun.

SATURDAY

The Game
Ohio State’s playoff hopes remain alive, but they’ll be dead if they can’t beat Michigan. Meanwhile, a loss to the Buckeyes would drop Jim Harbaugh’s record against his biggest rival to 0–3. Someone is going to be very, very angry when this one ends.
Iron Bowl
The last time an Alabama-Auburn matchup was a de facto SEC West title game, this happened.
With both teams still in the playoff hunt, this one could be just as much fun. Alabama is banged up at linebacker but might have Christian Miller back. Auburn looked like a juggernaut against Georgia on Nov. 11. The question now is whether the Tigers can repeat that performance, because they’ll need to be just as good to beat the Crimson Tide.
Territorial Cup
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez appears to have saved his job—thanks in large part to the rise of quarterback Khalil Tate. Arizona State coach Todd Graham may have saved his job—thanks in large part to a glut of openings and a limited supply of qualified replacements. Still, Graham probably should avoid a performance like last year, when the Wildcats ran for 511 yards, won 56–35 and didn’t even feel the need to attempt a pass in the second half.
Texas A&M
It appears the Texas A&M–Kevin Sumlin marriage will end soon, and that might be best for both parties. The Aggies want more, even though their history suggests this is what they should expect while sharing a division with a team on an all-time run. Sumlin deserves better than constant calls for his firing for multiple years. If Kelly picks Florida instead of UCLA, Westwood could be a nice landing spot for Sumlin. As for the Aggies, they should load up as much as their boosters are willing to chip in and make that run at Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher. He might say no, but that’s not a foregone conclusion at this point.

A RANDOM RANKING

I considered revisiting my Thanksgiving Side Dish Power Rankings from three years ago, but upon further review, they’re pretty much perfect. But since I will make multiple meals out of Thanksgiving leftovers, I’ve decided to rank the top five meals.
1. Breakfast
2. Second breakfast
3. Dinner
4. Lunch
5. Fourthmeal

PROJECTED PLAYOFF

1. Alabama
The winner of the Iron Bowl will face Georgia for the SEC title and for a playoff berth. This could be an all-timer.
2. Miami
The Hurricanes made an otherwise ho-hum Saturday interesting by falling behind by two touchdowns twice against Virginia. But they came back to keep their undefeated season alive. Mark Richt probably would prefer his team doesn’t make it so exciting against Pittsburgh.
3. Oklahoma
Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield made an otherwise ho-hum Saturday interesting by grabbing his junk on national television. He shouldn’t have done it, but it won’t keep him from winning the Heisman.
4. Wisconsin
The Badgers need to beat Minnesota for the 14th consecutive season for several reasons. First, they’d stay undefeated and have a chance to clinch a playoff berth against Ohio State in the Big Ten title game. Second, they’d win Paul Bunyan’s Axe. Third, they’d win the Slab of Bacon trophy. No, really.

BIG UGL(IES) OF THE WEEK

It’s about time we honored some Wisconsin offensive linemen, and this week’s award goes to Badgers center Tyler Biadasz and right guard Beau Benzschawel. Watch these two pull and eliminate defenders on Kendric Pryor’s 32-yard touchdown on an end-around against Michigan. I’m expecting a bunch of of-course-the-big-guys-blocked-the-small-guys responses from people who don’t understand the athleticism required for 316-pound redshirt freshman to snap, pull, locate a fast-moving target and then eliminate him from the play. These guys also have held their own against the big guys in the trenches all season, but it’s also fun to watch them perform a little Bulldozer Ballet.

THREE AND OUT

1. A little Biblical rain in Knoxville wasn’t going to stop Coach O.
2. But a shank and a nifty decoy play would keep UCLA’s punt coverage team from finding USC’s Michael Pittman Jr.
3. Last week in this spot, you read about Austin Peay’s attempt to go from the nation’s longest losing streak to the FCS playoffs. The Governors did beat Eastern Illinois 28–13 to finish 8–1 in FCS play, but the selection committee—yes, they have those in other divisions—made Austin Peay the first team out of the 24-team bracket.

FOR YOUR EARS

First, an update on the Chip Kelly situation (which hopefully will still be correct when you hear it). Later, Nicole Auerbach of The All-American joins to discuss the coaching carousel, Grumors and the pixelated version of Mayfield’s crotch grab.

WHAT’S EATING ANDY?

Perhaps the most incongruous scene from Saturday was the Kansas football captains refusing to shake Mayfield’s hand—a precursor to the aforementioned Mayfield junk-grabbing—while two very young Kansas fans stood next to them. Instead of a trash-talking barrage, Mayfield could have checkmated the Jayhawks by shaking the hands of the two kids who accompanied them to midfield. It would have been hilarious, and it would have been the perfect response. Instead, everyone chose the stupidest possible option.

WHAT’S ANDY EATING?

The server considered the order I’d just given him and walked toward the kitchen. Then he wheeled around and returned to the table. “Do you still want the biscuit?” he asked.
For the uninitiated, the answer is always “Hell yes I want the biscuit.” I’d sat down at Mama’s Boy in Athens, Ga., and ordered two entrees. I had only planned to order the pulled pork and potato hash, but then I read the chalkboard next to the door. It said this:
Fig & Rosemary Pancakes: Fig and rosemary pancakes with fresh sliced figs and housemade fig syrup topped with whipped cream and powdered sugar
I had to try these. And since Mama’s Boy offered a short stack for $4.99, it would only be a taste. But when the food arrived, I understood my server’s hesitation vis-a-vis the biscuit that came on the side of the pulled pork and potato hash.
ANDY STAPLES
The “short stack” consisted of three glorious, fluffy pancakes covered with just enough of the aforementioned fig syrup. This would be a full meal for a normal person. I, however, am not normal. So I grabbed the bowl that contained the hash and plucked the biscuit off the side.
Mama’s Boy does everything right, which is why the line to get in snakes around the building many mornings. If you don’t want to wait, go at 12:30 p.m. on a weekday like I did and simply order breakfast for lunch. (You can call it brunch if you want. I’d rather not skip or combine meals.) That biscuit was golden on the outside and fluffy on the inside and soaked up the blackberry preserves I spread on each half. The pulled pork and potato hash was even better. Home fries provide the base for a pile of pulled pork that is lightly coated with mustard-based barbecue sauce. If you read this space often, you know my feelings on barbecue sauce. But while I don’t always use barbecue sauce, when I do, I prefer mustard-based. Two poached eggs sit atop this creation, and after a few swipes with a fork all the ingredients blend together into a comfort food amalgam that should come with a warning label. The Surgeon General has determined you’ll need a nap after this. Hope you have some free time.
The pancakes were just as good. My one complaint with typical pancakes is that even the salty buttermilk flavor doesn’t completely counterbalance the sweetness of the syrup. The rosemary cuts the sweetness just enough here. These lit up every section of taste buds, and even though I was stuffed after the hash, I couldn’t stop eating.
I wanted to try one of the cinnamon rolls the menu had touted, but I knew when I saw a tray of them in the kitchen that I’d need to wait for another day. They were approximately the size of youth footballs, but if they were made with the same care as everything else I’d tried, they had to be the most delicious footballs ever baked.




Playoff Rankings for the Week of Nov. 20th
Miami moved up a spot to No. 2, trading places with Clemson in the process. Alabama remained No.1, while Oklahoma held steady at No. 4.
The Hurricanes, owners of the nation's highest strength of schedule, moved up despite a close game against Virginia, while the Tigers crushed FCS foe Citadel.
"When you get down the way Miami did to Virginia two times, once in each half, and you have the poise and the ability to come back and win in a convincing manner, that is special," said CFP committee chairman Kirby Hocutt.
Miami and Clemson will meet in the ACC championship game in two weeks but first have matchups against Pittsburgh and South Carolina, respectively, this week. The Tigers may have a chance to take the No. 2 ranking back before the conference title tilt as their opponent Saturday, the Gamecocks, are ranked No. 24 in this week's CFP.
After a 56-0 romp over Mercer on Saturday, the Crimson Tide will have their hands full this week as they face rival Auburn in the Iron Bowl. The Tigers are ranked sixth in this week's CFP rankings and have a chance to make a big move if they can knock off their in-state rival.
Sitting at No. 5 is Wisconsin. The unbeaten Badgers face Minnesotathis week and are earmarked for the Big Ten title game, but they are also probably hoping for a stumble by one of the top four teams.
Former No. 1 Georgia continues to sit at No. 7, with its only realistic chance of getting back into the top four tied to a victory in the SEC championship game.
The next few teams behind the Bulldogs remained in the same spot as last week: Notre Dame (No. 8), Ohio State (No. 9), Penn State (No. 10), USC (No. 11) and TCU (No. 12).