That headline may be an exaggeration, but not by much. Three overtime football games, each with a bearing on state or national championships. Before getting to the colleges, I’m going to comment on Mentor’s 57-56 playoff victory over St. Ignatius in triple overtime. Mentor advances to next Saturday night’s state semifinal game against Toledo Whitmer.
The ultimate story of the game was Mentor coach Steve Trivisonno’s decision to go for two points after scoring in the third overtime. The conventional one-point kick would have sent the game to a fourth overtime tied at 56. Instead, Mentor elected to win or lose the game right there. It was a wise decision. Both teams were scoring at will because their defenses were exhausted. The chances increased that the game would be decided by an accident or a mistake — a fumble, an interception, a 15-yard penalty, a sack, etc. Trivisonno chose to control his own destiny.
That’s a decision you should make only when you are second on offense in overtime. Trivisonno would have had to wait until the fifth overtime for the same circumstance.
Trivisonno remembered all too well losing the state championship game to Hilliard Davidson in 2006. The circumstances were reversed at that time. Hilliard Davidson coach Bryan White made the decision to go for two points after Mentor scored first in the second overtime. The gamble was successful and Hilliard Davidson won, 36-35.
Mentor has now surrendered exactly 56 points in two consecutive games to the murderer’s row of high school football and won them both.
Now, on to the colleges. Number one ranked Oregon fell from the ranks of the unbeaten Saturday when Stanford shocked the Ducks, 17-14, in overtime. That same day number two ranked Kansas State was crushed by Baylor. All of this elevates unbeaten Notre Dame to first place in the rankings and to the top of the BCS standings with Alabama moving up to second. In the meantime, Ohio State remained unbeaten by beating Wisconsin in overtime. Notre Dame and Ohio State are the last men standing — the only unbeaten teams left in big time college football.
All of this sets the stage for Ohio State to become the first team on probation to win a share of the national championship.
If both Notre Dame and Alabama win their remaining games, they will meet in the BCS championship game in Miami. Notre Dame will be favored over Southern Cal Saturday night in Los Angeles. Alabama still has two monumental hurdles — Friday at home against LSU and following that the Southeastern Conference championship game.
Suppose Alabama beats Notre Dame in the national championship game. That would leave everybody with at least one loss except Ohio State. Continue the supposing. Suppose Ohio State beats Michigan Saturday. The Buckeyes would be all alone as the only major team with a perfect record.
Since Ohio State is on probation due to that little incident in the tatoo parlor, the Buckeyes are excluded from the bowl picture. The Associated Press, however, includes them in its weekly ratings and the Buckeyes have been moving up every week.
When the dust settles, Ohio State could be ranked first in the AP poll and it could rightfully claim to be the national champion.
This is not an unlikely chain of events. I love it when life really gets complicated.
That’s all for now.