Football Cheat Sheet: Home for the Holidays

Yes, it’s that time of year again…Christmas…and even those who don’t celebrate have time off to spend with family and friends, including those certain friends, uncles, brothers-in-law, fathers-in-law, grandmothers and cousins who are obsessed with football.  You will eventually have to speak to them and chances are the least awkward conversation with any of the aforementioned will probably involve football. So my advice is to get in and get out. Plus, there’s a ton of football on from now until everyone returns to work, so the conversation is bound to arise anyway: College Schedule; NFL Schedule.  And to help with that, here are some basics you should know to get you safely through the holidays.


  • Alabama and Notre Dame are playing in the BCS National Championship game on January 7th in Miami.  But one week prior on January 1, is really the best overall day for football with six games, including the Outback Bowl, Capital One Bowl, Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl.  All the games but three of them are on ESPN. Statistically ND and Bama are almost identical teams, except Bama has a much better passing efficiency defense and scoring offense.
  • Last 10 College Football National Championships: 2011–Alabama (SEC); 2010–Auburn (SEC); 2009–Alabama (SEC); 2008–Florida (SEC); 2007–LSU (SEC); 2006–Florida (SEC); 2005–Texas (Big 12); 2004–USC vacated because of improper benefits to Reggie Bush (Pac-12); 2003–LSU (SEC)/USC (Pac-12); 2002–Ohio State (Big Ten).
  • College Football Odds.  There are many people who bet on sports to give themselves something to say about sports.  If you’re “getting points” or “plus” then your team is the underdog; if you’re “giving points” or “minus” then your team is favored to win.
  • This year the Heisman Trophy went to a freshman for the first time ever (Johnny Manziel, more commonly known as “Johnny Football.”  In second place was Notre Dame Linebacker Manti Te’o.  The reality is that in in 78 years of Heisman Trophy winners, there has only been one true defensive player chosen (CB Charles Woodson in 1997) and he played offense as well.  Te’o’s finish was impressive, but there is no doubt this is an award for offense.  No player has ever won the Heisman who hasn’t played offense to some extent.
  • Otherwise, when you’re done talking about the game and ready to watch, there’s a “story” to each game and you will hear it told in the first minute of the broadcast, so just listen to that.  And if you really want to know what you’re watching, check out the REFERENCE MATERIALS.

NFL (For more NFL INFO check out

  • There are two more weeks of NFL games remaining, with all but Sunday Night and Monday Night Football on CBS/Fox.  Right now the teams already set for the playoffs in the AFC are Denver, Houston and New England (with Baltimore, Cincinnati and Indianapolis likely getting the next three spots).  In the NFC, Atlanta has clinched and it’s a close call of teams all around +/- 1 over/under .500 otherwise).
  • Last 10 Super Bowl Winners: 2011–New York Giants (NFC); 2010–Green Bay Packers (NFC); 2009 New Orleans Saints (NFC); 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC); 2007 New York Giants (NFC); 2006 Indianapolis Colts (AFC); 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC); 2004 New England Patriots (AFC); 2003 New England Patriots (AFC); 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (AFC).

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