Well, here we are. The annual holiday edition for this column.
I wish all my readers the best of holiday cheer and a prosperous New Year. Another year is in the books and all the staff at The Star have their stockings hung by the chimney with care. Now, we’re waiting for The Chief to play Santa Claus.
Without further ado, we’ll take a look at an unbelievable volleyball season, another one that has already ended with a football state championship, and a preview of what could be a second championship for another “Big-11” pigskin squad.
Congratulations go out to Julie Conner and the Lord Botetourt Group 3A State Volleyball Champions. The Cavaliers rolled to a perfect 31-0 record, capped off by the state final win over Warren County, 25-14; 25-12; 25-17at the VCU Siegel Center in Richmond.
Botetourt dominated throughout the season, winning 28 matches by perfect 3-0 sweeps, a pair of 3-1 wins over Blacksburg, and in the only close call all year, a 3-2 win in the 15-point, 5th-set tiebreaker over James River. Look for the Cavaliers to be strong next season as well as they only had one senior, Lara Veldman, on the squad.
We also drop the confetti on the Roanoke Catholic football team after running the table with a perfect 11-0 season and the VISAA Division III State Championship with their finals 51-36 win over Fuqua at Vineyard Park Field. It was back-to-back state titles for the Celtics and third in four years. Congrats to head coach Bob Price and the green and gold.
Finally, will all of Salem be heading to William & Mary this Saturday for the Spartan’s Group 4A state final against undefeated Louisa County? After a pair of regular season losses, Salem has waltzed through the playoffs with dominating wins, including last Saturday’s thumping of Sherando 49-14. This could well be the third state championship parade through downtown Salem in as many years.
Now, to college football and our annual “Know Your College Football Bowl Games.” It seems to get worse each year, although 2017 tops 2016, when more than one team with a 5-7 record was bowl eligible. This year we have 39 FBS bowl games, not counting the Playoff National Championship game on January 8th, pitting two teams that have already played in a bowl game.
That being said, there were 78 bowl slots, and after having one team reclassified and one ineligible for bowl consideration, there were three teams with .500-plus records shut out of a bowl appearance. Those three included Buffalo (6-6), Western Michigan (6-6) and U.Texas-San Antonio (6-5). The craziness begins December 16th with 6 bowl games.
This year we’ll be entertained (not) by bowls named Celebration, Potato and Dollar General, where one can only wonder if, by game time, tickets will go for a dollar. But, the big dog addition in 2017 may be a bowl game played in a former baseball stadium in Florida. Who’s been telling us Florida bowl games are great? The Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl in St. Petersburg has been noted for a long history of obscure naming including magicJack, Beef ‘O’Brady’s and bitcoin, while being a site for football mediocrity.
Apparently, Bad Boy Mowers are riding lawn mowers known for their attitude, and Gasparilla is a logical naming source, as a tie-in to the Gasparilla Pirate Festival held annually in nearby Tampa. This year’s game pits Florida International vs. Temple. Yes, you always learn something in this column.
Finally, we team up with the political writers at The Star to bring you our final Christmas stocking stuffers for the guys and gals waiting to the last minute.
We open with the Trump Talking Christmas Card, pitched to be Trump’s real voice that will make it a card that will never be forgotten. Next, the Donald Trump toilet paper roll talker, with 8 of his most famous sayings bellowing around the bathroom so you can just sit there and laugh. Last, the Donald Trump frowning 2-ply toilet paper, with two rolls of 240-sheet, soft and absorbent paper. Note, I just report each product’s claim.
I’m giving all three a Wild Bill 5-Star rating. Hey, they’re all reasonably priced, and more affordable with everyone’s recent tax cut.
Until next time, send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.