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Mr. Sports: The Ryder Cup, College Football, Middle Schools, NASCAR and Havoc

By Bob Labbe

There are no excuses and no one to blame. The Europeans simply outplayed the Americans to win the 39th Ryder Cup.

Tigers Woods and Steve Stricker, thought to be the anchors of the U.S. team, didn’t win a single match at the golf event showcasing the top American golfers versus the elite European links masters, where the European team fought back on the last day of singles matches to retain the Cup, which it won two years ago. The comeback matched the largest in Ryder Cup history.

The Euros won the first five singles match on the final day and those victories were enough to put the team pulsating toward victory. Time after time the Americans could not hold onto the lead and watching the action, at Medinah Golf Course outside Chicago, you could sense there was European victory lurking within the tall oak and hickory trees.

Having to hear constant cheers from the homeland crowds urging on their American team, the visitors representing Europe seem to silent the cheers on each hole with marvelous shots and unpredictable finishes. It was incredible golf play and gutsy nerves that made the difference.

The chants of “USA!” were silenced and replaced with screams of “Ole!”. So deserving.

College Football
Alabama has taken complete control with unanimous No. 1 votes in the latest Associated Press poll with teams from the Southeastern Conference making up one half of the top 10. Just behind the Crimson Tide is Oregon at No. 2 followed by Florida State. LSU is No. 4, Georgia No. 5, South Carolina No. 6 and Florida at No. 10.

TV lineup for this week looks great. Several key games are on tap, most of which coming from the SEC.

First, in the SEC comes Arkansas at Auburn (11 a.m.-ESPN2), Miss. State at Kentucky (11:20 a.m.-Channel 54), LSU at Florida (2:30 p.m.-Channel 19), Texas A&M at Ole Miss (6 p.m.-ESPNU), Georgia at South Carolina (6 p.m.-ESPN), and Vanderbilt at Missouri (6 p.m.-FSN). There are two additional games outside the SEC that have national markings on them. They are West Virginia at Texas (6 p.m.-Channel 54) and Nebraska at Ohio State (7 p.m.-Channel 31).

For those looking ahead to next week, Oct. 13: Auburn at Ole Miss (11:20 a.m.-Channel 54), Alabama at Missouri (2:30 p.m.-Channel 19), South Carolina at LSU (7 p.m.-ESPN) and Tennessee at Miss. State (8 p.m.-ESPN2).

Middle School Football
The annual Mayor’s Cup will be up for grabs this week as the annual cross-town rivalry of middle school football occurs as Discovery hosts Liberty in both seventh and eighth grade games. Discovery has won the last seven contests in this battle in the eighth grade games, but this year Liberty has a squad that has put up some impressive numbers, and like Discovery, come into the game undefeated. This one could be one to remember. The games are Thursday, Oct. 4.

NASCAR
The Chase continues this week at the famed high-banked track of Talladega as the boys and their cars race in the AMP Energy 500 beginning at 1 p.m. on ESPN. Brad Keselowski has won two of the last three races and has the points lead with Jimmie Johnson trailing by just five points and Denny Hamlin, who has had some terrific races of recent weeks, is in third place just 16-points behind the leader.

Anything can and will happen at Talladega and this week’s race could be one of the key races in NASCAR’s end-of-season Chase. I have covered a many races at the famed track near Birmingham and know something weird will happen. Be glued to the race coverage. You won’t want to miss it.

Huntsville Havoc Hockey
While the NHL has decided they want to not play hockey, the Huntsville Havoc tip-off its preseason schedule with three matches including one at the home ice of the VBC on Friday, October 19 at 7:30 p.m. The other two pre-season contests are on the road. The regular season begins Oct. 26 on the road for the Havoc with the home opener set for Saturday, Nov. 10 against the Fayetteville FireAntz.

I had a 3-1 mark last week in picks, as I took an upset of Arkansas over Texas A&M. Wow! What a disaster. Arkansas looks no better than a high school team. They have loads of talent, but things are just not right in the Pig State.

This week, I’m picking Arkansas to somehow defeat a weak Auburn team, LSU to beat Florida, in the battle of the two top 10 teams, Texas A&M over Ole Miss, Georgia to defeat South Carolina, in which could be the game of the week, and Ohio State to outlast Nebraska.