2016 Bowl Bonanza Final Round Up: The Bear Still Stands Alone

imagesNow that was worth staying up for! An instant classic with absolutely everything you want in a good football game.

As the first half unfolded, I was very skeptical of Clemson’s ability to score enough points to win the game. Both defenses were strong, but Alabama’s running back, Bo Scarborough, was able to get free and score two big touchdowns. Even after Clemson got on the board, it didn’t look like Alabama was all that concerned. Their D was doing fine and their freshman quarterback was ice-in-his-veins calm. Alabama’s strength and size allowed them to keep the game plan simple and just be exceptional athletes doing the fundamental things correctly.

Deshaun Watson has had more turnovers this year than last and his fumble in this game gave cause for concern. Alabama won every game this year in which they forced two or more turnovers…until tonight. Watson redeemed himself with a couple of stellar drives downfield in the second half, but again Alabama held Clemson at arms length with a 10 point lead. Jalen Hurts found his tight end wide open down field, reminiscent of a big play from Howard in last year’s game. Their offense wasn’t quite the same, though, after Scarborough left the game with an injury. The Tigers pounced and appeared to take the momentum.

The 4th quarter was a nail biter. After trading some punts, Clemson eventually put together two drives and wrestled the lead away from the Tide. Coach Saban wanted an offensive penalty called for setting a pick on the first one, but he didn’t get his way. Alabama started to sputter on offense and their defense was finally showing some vulnerability. It looked like the Tigers were about to make another defensive stand and seal the win, when the Tide used a trick play to get in field goal range. Moments later Hurts got loose on a lead-stealing 30 yard run. He calmly waltzed into the end zone, handed the ball off, and walked to the sidelines as if it was just another day at the office.

It looked like the Tide would once again hoist the trophy, but 2:07 on the clock was plenty of time for Watson and the Tigers. The final drive was almost perfect, aided by a penalty gift from the Tide defense. Like a fairy tale ending, Deshaun found his favorite receiver (on a similar pick play as the one Saban argued against) with one second left on the clock. Obviously the Alabama team and fans were devastated and the Tiger crowd was euphoric. Redemption was theirs. A national title was back after 35 years.

As for our championship, it was also a classic. Sprinkles made some great picks down the stretch. Her pick by mascot strategy and ACC loyalty paid off this year. She was one of a small handful of pickers (16%) who had faith in the Tigers. I picked Bama back in the beginning of the bowl season, but my faith in Clemson grew after their destruction of Ohio State and I found myself cheering for them. We have a lot of Clemson faithful in our family (one a former professor) and in our camp community. I am extremely happy them.

In the office:

Sprinkles: 28-14, Rambo: 26-16, Scoot: 22-20, Trip: 20-22, and T-Bone: 18-24

As expected, you, our precious camp community and family once again beat the staff picks. Four extremely savvy pickers came out with more wins than our best. This year we had to go to a tiebreaker to determine the overall winner. She didn’t pick the Championship team, but she had the right matchup and was the closest to the actual margin of victory. Congratulations, Rachel! Mike, you played a tough game and should be proud of your record and your almost flawless first half of the bowl season.

Here’s where you stand:

1st place: (30-12) Rachel Wiley (Overall winner by tiebreak) and Mike Hochman

2nd place: (29-13) Julia Lancaster and Terrence McBride (moving up with a Clemson Championship pick)

tied with us: (28-14) Jennifer Lancaster, Laura Watkins (moving up with a Clemson Championship pick), and David Maggiore (last year’s champ)

Sometimes it just isn’t your day. Sometimes it just isn’t your week. And then sometimes it just isn’t your year. Kronk, you are one of the greatest young men I know, despite being a Bama die hard. (Just kidding, of course)  You brought up the rear almost all bowl season and then, to kick you while you were down, Bama lost the big one, too. I am sure you will bounce back just fine next year. For now, I will enjoy giving you are hard time!

Thanks again for playing our game. Trip and Sprinkles will start working on sending out the winning gifts. We can’t wait to see you this summer and undoubtedly lace up our cleats for next year’s Bowl Bonanza!

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2016 Bowl Bonanza Round Up #5: And Then There Was One

imagesIt’s hard to believe we are just one game away from Bowl season coming to a close. The time has flown by and here we sit, waiting for the rematch between the two best teams in college football. Clemson has had revenge on their mind since the final whistle of the 2015 season and they appear to be up to the task. Alabama has the best defense in the land, but I don’t think they have faced an offense like this one. If Clemson can hold off the charging front line of the Tide and give Deshaun Watson time to make a decision, we could see Alabama in a position they haven’t experienced in a long time. It is going to be exciting to watch.

As we wait for Monday’s game, I need to bring you up to speed on where our contest stands and how the last four games went down.

Florida vs Iowa was billed as a defensive heavy weight match and proved to be just that. Iowa had moments of brilliance this year so I thought they might steal this one from a Florida team that struggled so mightily to put up points. With turnovers that converted to points and some respectable plays on offense, the Gators were able to hold down the Hawkeyes and score enough to win in convincing fashion. I think they will have some stiff competition for the SEC East next year, but for now they are once again the elite on that side of the conference. The win helped the 70% who picked Florida.

An undefeated season is always a special thing and to cap that with a bowl win is the stuff of dreams. Western Michigan found themselves watching their dream disappear as Wisconsin held off the comeback with an interception. It eventually lead to the knockout punch touchdown. Wisconsin used some talented underclassmen who will be anxious to try to stake their claim on a Big 10 title shot in 2017. Not much change on our leaderboard with 85% picking the winner.

Next was the game of the night, and possibly the best of the all the bowls. 38% of us correctly identified USC as the winner, but it wasn’t until the final play of the game that we could breathe again. USC started strong, but let Penn State creep back in it just before the half. The Nittany Lions were stronger coming out of the locker room. They scored 3 touchdowns before USC could get back on the board and then the Lions scores a fourth touchdown to finish the 3rd quarter! The Trojans still had some magic left, though. They scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to tie the game, leaving 1:20 on the clock for Penn State to try to go the length of the field for the win. Instead, the Trojans managed to intercept the ball and return it into field goal range. With no timeouts left, USC ran one quick play, rushed the field goal unit onto the field, and kicked the winning kick as time expired. It was exciting and exhausting to watch.

To close out the night we had two storied programs wanting to prove they still need to be in the conversation of the best teams in the land. Auburn continues to try and get out of the shadow of Alabama and Oklahoma is trying to prove the Big 12 is still a powerhouse. Only one team could win the game and possibly shed the naysayers. That team, to the pleasure of 38% of us, was Oklahoma. It took a lot of scrambling, scrappy play, and gutsy calls to keep away from the powerful Auburn defense. It started to pay off once the Tigers wore down. It didn’t help that they lost their starting quarterback, but the backups didn’t look too shabby.

I am one win away from a tie with Sprinkles for the lead in our office pool and since we both picked different winners for the final game, there is a chance I could make it. That would make two years in a row that I have tied for first place. Last year Trip made a huge surge at the end to join me at the top. My fingers are crossed! How we look for now:

Sprinkles: 27-14, Rambo: 26-15, Scoot: 22-19, Trip: 20-21, and T-Bone: 18-23

As for you guys in the extended family, we have a tight race for the lead and several others poised to at least beat our picks. This last game will decide how many people will be above the tied line and qualify for a gift from us. Here’s where you stand:

1st place: (30-11) Rachel Wiley and Mike Hochman  (this one may have to be decided by a tiebreaker!)

2nd place: (29-12) Julia Lancaster

3rd place: (28-13) Jennifer Lancaster, Terrence McBride, and David Maggiore (last year’s overall winner)

tied with us: (27-14) Libby Pittman, Michele Richards, and Laura Watkins

I am starting to feel sorry for Kronk and his bottom dwelling. Right now he is a game ahead of T-Bone, one behind my Auburn buddy (a camper), and two behind Leo. There is some comfort in having your friends around you when you are suffering, but I am sure none of them want to be here either. At least they are all great people! Even if they missed the mark with this year’s picks it’s good to know they don’t have to make a living with them. There is always next year…always next year.

Enjoy Monday’s game. I’ll post again on Tuesday!

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2016 Bowl Bonanza Round Up #4: Put Some Sprinkles on Top!

imagesThe New Year’s Adam (Adam before Eve) slate of games was undoubtedly the best football this bowl season. Lots of big plays, close finishes, and high quality action. I didn’t get to watch all of it, but I was highly entertained by what I did watch.

The Georgia/TCU game was great to watch, but a very sloppy game overall. The big plays helped keep my eyes off the weak parts of the game and the goofy coaching decisions. I like to see the Dawgs win, even though I picked against them this time. Their inconsistency made me skeptical and I know TCU has a great offense. They were also inconsistent this year so I just went with my gut. With Eason, Michel, Chubb, and an improving defense, I expect great things from UGA next year. Congrats to the 62% who got this one right.

Despite the absence of Christian McCaffrey, who sat out the bowl game to save himself for the upcoming NFL draft, and losing their quarterback to a knee injury in the first quarter, the Stanford Cardinal was able to weather the storm and come out victorious over the North Carolina Tarheels. Stanford’s defense really showed out and carried the load of the work. They scored late on an INT and then sacked the NC QB to stop a 2-point conversion that would have tied the game and sent it to OT. (I just wanted to use all the abbreviations I could in one sentence.) 76% of us picked correctly.

Next up was another game between inconsistent teams. At times this season, both Nebraska and Tennessee looked as if they had returned to their former glory. Both eventually dropped games to teams they should have beaten and loss games to superior teams. This games was poised to possibly be the best match up of the day, but was more lopsided in the end. Nebraska was shorthanded without their star wideout and starting quarterback, so it should be easy to forgive them. This game kept everything fairly even, with 85% of us having picked Tennessee.

Air Force proved 73% of us right with their convincing win over South Alabama. They started the game really slow, falling behind 21-3 , but scored all of the remaining points to win 45-21. South Alabama’s earlier win over Mississippi State gave their fans hope that they could win this bowl game, but they couldn’t make the adjustments like Air Force did. I love it when the schools representing our military put one in the win column.

Dalvin Cook found a way to give FSU one last win for the season, possibly his last as a Seminole. With 145 rushing yards and 62 receiving, he was the most impressive and most important player of the game. Michigan used a strong defensive effort late in the game to make this one exciting. After finally taking the lead with less than two minutes to play, it appeared that they had turned the corner and had the game in hand. After a long kickoff return, FSU once again turned to Cook, who helped set up the knockout punch. The Noles would score a touchdown to resume the lead, only to have the PAT blocked and returned for a 2-point score for the Wolverines. Being down by one point, Michigan just needed to score a field goal to win the game. They just couldn’t do it with only 36 seconds to make it happen. 27% correctly chose the upset.

The New Year’s Eve games were not as balanced competitively as the ones the day before. In the first game of the day, LSU added fuel to the fire of those who believe a great defense is rather to be had than a great offense. The Tigers were relatively unfruitful on offense most of the season, relying on their stout defense to carry them. They stepped up to the task again and pounded the high flying offense of the Heisman trophy winner and his Louisville teammates. Lamar Jackson had his least productive game of the season, facing constant pressure and going down with 8 sacks. LSU took advantage of the Cardinals’ depleted defense and made the score look they way I assumed it would, only in reverse. Again, the upset pickers won the day (34%).

Kentucky continues to work hard at building a football program. Reaching a bowl game and winning a few games against big name teams along the way is proof of their effort. Unfortunately the Yellow Jackets proved to be too tough for them in this one. Paul Johnson’s unique offense is extremely physical and if you don’t have a top level run defense, they are going to put up a lot of yards. Tech did rely on a great defensive effort to put up some points and hold off the comeback bid from the Wildcats. Sometimes the ACC/SEC rivalry is bigger than the teams actually in the game. 77% of us were on the winning side.

The two playoff games were as lopsided as they could have been, not only in scoring, but in actual performance.

Alabama was the first to punch their ticket to the Championship. As they have done all season, the Tide absolutely punished their opponent with defense. Washington scored early because of busted coverage, but after that they couldn’t find enough time to develop their plays. Alabama’s defensive front was too physical and too fast, continuously harassing QB Jake Browning. Alabama still has concerns on offense, but their two running backs can be steamrollers to teams who are weak against the run. Clemson has better pass protection and run defense, so the Tide may be meeting their toughest match up of the year. It wasn’t hard for 95% of us to pick up one more for the win column.

The final game of the night, and the final one of the season for Ohio State, was the most embarrassing of all the games so far. With Michigan also losing their game to FSU, the “Big 10 is weak” argument will likely resurface with great momentum. Ohio State was shut out for the first time since 1993 and it was the first ever for Coach Urban Meyer. Most of the night they couldn’t even get across the 50. Clemson owned them on defense, constantly tackling in the back field and causing turnovers. They made fools of the Buckeye defense as well. It was extremely apparent the Tigers were hungry for a rematch with the Tide. 65% of us believed they were the better team.

I am no longer in the lead, but most of the games I picked wrong really didn’t hurt my feelings. This year I was as torn as I have ever been on who to pick for the later bowl games. It has been a great one so far, so I am not too disappointed. It is also nice to see Sprinkles TAKE THE LEAD in our office picks. She tends to favor the bottom of the pack most years. Way to go Sprinkles!

In the office:

Sprinkles: 25-12, Rambo: 23-14, Scoot: 20-17, Trip: 18-19, and T-Bone: 16-21

All of you:

1st place: (29-8) Rachel Wiley (holding strong with 5 to go!)

2nd place: (26-11) Mike Hochman (not letting Rachel get too far ahead)

tied with us: (25-12) Terrence McBride, Julia Lancaster, Regina Hutter, Michele Richards, Laura Watkins, and Lisa Adams

Kronk and Leo continue to hold down the bottom of our competition (along with some others!) Trip has slowly moved away from such title, but T-Bone has decided to take her place. One of my favorite Auburn fans, a camper, is really trying his best to keep them company. I hope he gets his wish in their game today, at least.

Until tomorrow!

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2016 Bowl Bonanza Round Up #3: The Competition Tightens A Bit

imagesThis update is on a quick turnaround. Yesterday’s games were underway as I was posting and we have today’s games starting in an hour or so. Since I prefer to be watching instead of writing, I am going to recap yesterday and then do a little work while I enjoy some football. With five games today, tomorrow’s update will likely see some more movement on our leaderboard. The three games in today’s recap caused some changes, as you will see below.

Charlie Strong’s new team certainly left a good impression on him as the Bulls made some explosive plays and took great advantage of their forced turnovers. The Gamecocks have had a rough season and after this bowl game, it doesn’t look like next season will be any better. With the majority of their starters returning, this overtime win for USF should be a sign of good things to come next season. 70% of us picked the Bulls.

Arkansas looked poised to upset most of us pickers (61% chose VT) with a dominating first half of play. With a 24-0 lead at the half, it appeared that this game was over and the Hokies were no match for the Razorbacks. Obviously the Hokies didn’t think so. Not only did they find their offense, scoring the game’s final 35 points, they also found their defense and shut out Arkansas in the second half. This has been typical for Arkansas this season and it may put Coach Bielema on the hot seat, if he wasn’t already.

The final game of the day was a great matchup on paper, with a powerful offense taking on a touted defense. Unfortunately for Colorado, the defense was a no-show. Oklahoma State showed why they were the Big-12 Conference runner-ups. There was very little the Buffs could do to slow them down, much less stop them. Even without a missed call in OkSt’s favor, Colorado never had a chance. 54% of us picked correctly.

I am happy to have a 3-0 day. It has been a while since I picked a perfect one. It helped me on our side of this competition, but many of you made moves up the ladder as well. Our new results:

In the office:

Rambo and Sprinkles: 17-11, Scoot: 15-13, T-Bone: 12-16, and Trip: 11-17

All of you:

1st place: (21-7) Rachel Wiley (all alone in first…way to go!)

2nd place: (20-8) Mike Hochman (a little slip, but still in the hunt)

3rd place: (19-9) Regina Hutter and Michele Richards

4th place: (18-10) Aubrey Williams, Kelly Mensinger/Riley Carlton, Michael Hutter, Matt Moseley, Lisa Adams, and Rachel “Willow” Sauls

tied with us: (17-11) Jennifer Lancaster, Libby Pittman, Heidi Berggren, Terrence McBride, Julia Lancaster, Laura Wilkins, and David Maggiore

For today’s Hall of Shame, Trip has moved up a little to leave Kronk near the bottom by himself. Fortunately for him, Leo is rapidly trying to get there to give him some company!

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2016 Bowl Bonanza Round Up #2: The next 12 games

imagesMy holiday travels are finally over, so now I can focus on really important things, like post-season college football and our Bowl contest standings! I really enjoy my family, the Christmas holidays, and keeping up with our competition. Unfortunately those three things have not all played nice with each other this year. Now that I am back in the office, I will have more time to keep you up to date more regularly. With that said, here we go!

I should have know better that to pick against the home team in this one, but Hawaii didn’t have a winning record and I figured they were just happy to be in the post season. Boy was I wrong (along with 72% of us). It took a lot of trickery and goofy play choices, but Hawaii had this one in the bag by the end of the 3rd.

In our tied-for-first-as-the-most-lopsided-picked game (97%), the winner almost gave us a heart attack. Mississippi State had a roller coaster year and finished with a losing record, but they certainly had all the talent to handle Miami(OH) easily. It is rare to block a kick in football, but the Bulldogs blocked an extra point attempt earlier in the game and then a field goal attempt in the final 8 seconds to arguably steal this one.

BC vs Maryland was the classic game of two teams expected be a defensive showcase that turned into an offensive surprise. Explosive plays were the theme of the evening. Our picks were a dead even split. Congrats the the BC choosers.

Vanderbilt definitely had more momentum going into this game and perhaps they had a little too much confidence because of that. 58% of us believed they were the right choice, but NC State had other plans and proved us wrong in tremendous fashion. Vandy was never in this one. I am glad I gambled on the Wolfpack.

As it should be with a team named for the branch of the military designed for ground attack, Army put on a show with their running game. With almost 500 yards on the ground, Army punched it through in overtime on a fourth down and goal. The Mean Green of North Texas kicked a field goal to send the game to OT, but they couldn’t get close enough to score again. 89% of us had Army for the win.

Although Temple lost its head coach (to Baylor) before the start of Bowl season, their 10-win regular season and 24th ranking had 67% of us confident they could handle Wake Forest. With all the WakeyLeaks talk over the last two months, it was hard to imagine the Demon Deacons being focused enough to win this one. They jumped out to a sizeable lead and held on for the win even as Temple came storming back.

To continue the season of surprises, Washington State let most of us down with a terribly sloppy game. Minnesota took advantage of it and pulled off  the upset. 15% of us were super pleased with the upset pick.

SIC’EM BEARS! After such a tumultuous season with my school struggling with the repercussions of some terrible actions of some athletes and students, losing our head coach, and then our star quarterback, it would be totally natural to throw in the towel and not be adequately prepared for a bowl game. Fortunately for my alma mater and the 54% of us who still believed, that wasn’t the case. Our Freshman QB looked like a veteran, our top wideout was practically perfect, and my Bears looked like the team they started out to be. I pray that everyone affected by the scandal can heal and move forward from here.

I know anything can happen in a bowl game, but you certainly don’t plan on losing the top two athletes on your team when you pick it. I have to believe that Pitt would have won the game if they had not lost their running back and quarterback to injuries. It is a shame for a team to win when they aren’t playing the best opponent the other team has to offer. No matter…injuries happen and that’s just football. Congrats to Northwestern and the 7% of you who picked them.

I usually don’t pick against Richt, but I also typically do pick against Miami. They are certainly better than they have been in a long time and they are not the team they once were…for the better. I am excited to watch where they go with Mark in charge. West Virginia was so impressive during the regular season I was confident they were up to the task. With less than 230 yards of offense and 108 yards in penalties, they definitely didn’t impress or appear to come ready to play. 72% picked the Hurricanes.

Utah pickers, 89% of us, were happy to see them do what they have done most of the season. With a stout running game doing its thing and a stiff pass rush putting on the pressure, the Utes overcame four ugly turnovers and beat the Hoosiers with a late field goal.

Sometimes it just isn’t your day. If it weren’t for the Utes, I would have been 0-4 on Dec. 28th. If there was to be a pick I would be happy to get wrong, though, this one would have to be it. Baylor fans don’t care for Aggies and K State’s Coach Bill Snyder is awesome guy. 87% of us got this one wrong and for once, I am ok with that being the case.

SOOOO, after another long wait, here is where we stand with 25 games played:

In the office:

Rambo and Sprinkles (what?): 14-11, Scoot: 13-12, T-Bone: 11-14, and poor Trip: 9-16

All of you:

1st place: (18-7) Rachel Wiley and Mike Hochman

2nd place: (17-8) Michael Hutter, Regina Hutter, and Michele Richards

3rd place: (16-9) Julia Lancaster and Matt Moseley

4th place: (15-10) Aubrey Williams, Jennifer Lancaster, Terrence McBride, Kelly Mensinger/Riley Carlton, David Maggiore, Lisa Adams, and Rachel “Willow” Sauls

tied with us: (14-11) Jennifer George, Kate McBride, Will McBride, Jennifer Moseley, Libby Pittman, Heidi Berggren, Emma Tracy, Laura Watkins, Betsy Bottomley, Jason Hutto, David “Rhythm” Carter, and Nathan Moseley

It is sad to see Trip having such a poor season after finishing in a tie for first place in our office picks last year. At least she has some company from Brice “Kronk” Dollar, our outstanding flag football lead instructor from this past summer. If you find yourself joining them with more in the losing column than the winning one, don’t fret too much. we still have a lot of football to play.

‘Til tomorrow…

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2016 Bowl Bonanza Round Up: The First 13 Games

imagesOnce again, Bowl season is here! I am excited about it and our little competition, as always, but I have had some unique circumstances hold a lot of my attention over the last few days. My family has had a ton of travel for the holidays this year, two former staff members have gotten married (congrats to Stride and Sprite), and my sister got married last night! Obviously, a very busy week of days. I am sorry that has delayed my first post.

Because of all of that, I will try to keep this short, not really evaluate all the games in depth, but get us up to speed on where we stand and some of the highlights so far.

Grambling and NC Central got us started off in classic Bowl season fashion with a defensive showcase and a late penalty affecting the outcome. Keep your helmet on and your celebration tame. 85% of us picked this one correctly.

New Mexico continued their trend of pounding other teams with the run and that plan once again was successful, beating UT -San Antonio in their first bowl appearance. 97% got this one right.

32% of us took a chance that Houston was not what it once was and that they would not really care about this game. Scoring the first 10 points made it look like they were back, but San Diego State made the right adjustments and score the next 34 points of the game.

Appalachian State relied on the return of their senior running back, coming back from backup status caused by an early season leg injury. Toledo just couldn’t handle the rushing game of the Mountaineers. 61% of us new who to pick.

Arkansas State and UCF played a terrible game, setting records no one would be proud of. Both offenses were atrocious (41 combined rushing yards) and only a few lucky special teams plays would provide any spark. Only 19% of us picked the winner, so this one really helped a few pickers make some separation.

Southern Miss showcased their top receiver with his 230 yard night, needing that performance to offset the 131 yards of penalties. Louisiana-Lafayette kept it close on the scoreboard, but 252 total yards was not going to get it done. 84% of us were on the winning side.

Once again the majority (64%) picked correctly as Tulsa made a fool of Central Michigan. This could possibly be the most lopsided game of the 2016 Bowl season.

Western Kentucky executed an excellent game plan behind a rookie offensive coordinator, stunning many of us as they did Memphis. I thought the Tigers would handle this one easily. 58% of you were as surprised as  I was.

If you picked BYU and you watched the game, you probably sighed a huge relief as the game ended. Wyoming had all the momentum and it looked like they we about to pull off the upset. After some fantastic work to bring his team back, the quarterback threw an ill-advised pass that was picked off near the end zone. That made 82% of us very happy.

Those of you picking Idaho to win must know something the rest of us don’t…or your just really lucky! 85% of us were convinced that Colorado State had this one in the bag. I never imagined Idaho could put up that many points and turn the game around. Both teams had their top receivers blowing the doors off the defenses.

Old Dominion proved 59% of us right with their first ever bowl win. They are now 3 for 3 when facing Eastern Michigan. Ouch.

LaTech pickers (23%) were greeted with another chance to separate themselves from the rest. This was a wild one with Navy’s QB leaving the game due to injuries from a targeting penalized play, the back up rushing for a score on his first play of the game, and LaTech kicking a field goal to seal it with 3 seconds left. This one was entertaining.

Troy took advantage of 4 interceptions and a fumble to pull out a win over Ohio. After scaring the Clemson Tigers early in the season, no one was going to take them lightly. Ohio didn’t, but they just couldn’t stop making mistakes. 41% of us backed the right team.

How we stand…

In the office:

Rambo: 9-4, Scoot 7-6, T-Bone 7-6, Sprinkles: 6-7, Trip: 4-9

All of you:

1st place: (12-1) Mike Hochman – what a fantastic start!

2nd place: (10-3) Terrence McBride – not too shabby either

Tied with us: (9-4) Rachel Wiley, Jennifer Lancaster, Julia Lancaster, Michael Hutter, Emma Tracy, Matt Moseley, Regina Hutter, Michael Richards, David Maggiore, and Rhythm

Right now there isn’t anyone near the bottom I would like to shame (staff). Everyone keep your head up and enjoy the games.

Please remember that if you picked games after they kicked off (those of you who got in late) those picks must count as a loss. I am sorry to do that, but I am sure you can understand the reasons why.

Hopefully another update tomorrow!

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Strong Kids, Rock Star Role Models

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According to the American Camp Association (ACA), there are more than 12,000 day and overnight camps in the United States. Every camp wants to provide an experience that is memorable, fun, and that has lasting meaningful impact. Strong Rock certainly has those ends in mind, but there is more we are expecting our campers to take home. James “Rambo” and Corie “Wrangler” Himstedt, the owners and directors, understand that parents are looking for more than nostalgic moments of childhood past. Parents want to know the experiences they choose for their kids will help them develop the range of social skills, moral character and practical tools necessary for success in an ever challenging world.

IMG_8327The counselors and staff at Strong Rock are serious about their responsibility as role models for campers. They take pride in the quality of the instruction they deliver in skill classes and their greatest pleasure is seeing campers growing in knowledge and character. Outside of camp’s version of the classroom, counselors look for opportunities to help campers develop meaningful relationships, navigate good decision-making, wade through moral challenges, and discover what God wants them to know about Him and themselves.

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Open House 2016: Bring A Buddy Contest

_MG_1033Camp out night is a great time for campers to chill out, enjoy the outdoors, and get to know one another better. What better way to hang out and relax than in your very own backpacking style hammock! With Open House just around the corner, one of our current campers could win a brand new ENO hammock to enjoy on camp out night this summer.  All you have to do is participate in our Open House Bring-A-Buddy Contest!

Entering the contest is simple. Just bring as many of your camp-age buddies (and their parents) to Open House as you can and receive an entry in the drawing for every camp-age friend you bring. Those friends must be new-to-camp and their parents must be present. Bring 1 friend, get 1 entry; bring 5 friends, get 5 entries – simple as that. Additionally, just for your efforts every friend you bring is also worth 200 Tribal Points to be awarded to your tribe during your camp session. We’ll have a little contest on the side to see who brings the most friends, Awahili or Waya. The Grand Prize winner will receive the hammock as well as a bonus 2000 Tribal Points during their camp session.

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Don’t miss this great opportunity to give your friends a taste of what camp is all about!  You may even win big for your effort! We will draw and announce our winner on Facebook Monday, March 21st, so like our Facebook page to make sure you catch this announcement.

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2016 Open House

Open House at Strong Rock is the perfect opportunity for you to discover what Strong Rock Camp is all about. Join us on March 20th from 1:30pm – 5:30pm. Tour camp, meet the staff, and talk with our owner and director, Rambo; all while having a blast playing at Strong Rock. Several camp activities will be open including archery, riflery, our indoor rock wall, horseback riding, canoeing and more. Those new to camp will be able to enter our special Open House Tuition Giveaway. The winner will receive a free session at camp compliments of Strong Rock!

DSC_3415If you are already a part of our camp family, Open House is the perfect opportunity for you to show off camp to your friends. It will help you get back in the camp spirit, and will get your friends excited about attending camp with you. If you bring a new-to-camp friend with you to Open House, you may be eligible to win a prize. Look for more information in a few weeks about this year’s Bring-A-Buddy Competition.

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Go ahead and put this date on your calendar, because you do not want to miss out on this exciting afternoon. This event is free, will take place rain or shine, and does not require an RSVP. If you plan to attend and are already registered for camp, we challenge you to bring someone interested in camp with you.

See you soon!

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2015 Bowl Bonanza Round Up: Day 13, The Tide Rolls

imagesIf you are a fan of college football and didn’t watch the College Football National Championship game between the Tide and the Tigers, you may want to kick yourself. The game was an instant classic, with some claiming it was the best championship game ever. I am not sure I can make that statement, but I can say it was the best I can remember in a long time. The two most disciplined and talented teams of 2015 squared off and traded blows in what turned out to be the best test either team faced all season. It was a joy to watch, especially not having any emotional attachment to either team. Absolutely great football.

Clemson certainly has nothing to be ashamed of. They stood toe-to-toe with the juggernaut that is Alabama’s defense and showed them they could put points on the board, almost at will. Their defense blew a couple of key coverage assignments, but was otherwise just as good. If it were not for two special teams mishaps, the Tigers might just have hoisted the trophy instead. Deshaun Watson was practically unstoppable, throwing for 405 yards and 4 touchdowns and constantly evading his pursuers. The sophomore proved his case as the best quarterback of the 2015 season.

Alabama’s QB, Jake Coker was hit early and struggled to keep his offense in stride with the Tigers. He did eventually get to full strength and took great advantage of the Clemson secondary. With Derrick Henry providing the performance expected, Alabama just needed to get a few other key players involved. Those players turned out to be tight end O.J. Howard (208 yards, 2 TDs) and running back Kenyan Drake (95 yard kickoff returned for TD). Coach Saban’s gutsy decision to on-side kick with a tied ballgame and under 11 minutes to play proved to be a pivotal decision, finally turning the tide in Alabama’s favor and dyeing the momentum in crimson. Saban would say later that they had practiced the play and were looking for the right moment to use it. Having a difficult time stopping Deshaun Watson, he hoped that they could recover the kick and keep him off the field for a few minutes. A stroke of genius from the normally straight forward coach. Now with 5 national titles to his name, Saban has taken one more step toward the GOAT that is Bear Bryant. With no signs of retiring or going to coach at the next level, I am sure there will be plenty of opportunity to see him take a crack at the record.

Our competition broke wide open when I performed so poorly on January 2nd. That allowed several more people to jump into the mix to beat our staff picks and it help Trip to pull even for the lead here in the office. Overall it was a great bowl season, much more pleasant for me than last year (mostly because of my poor pickin’). Although I am downtrodden by my final results, I am proud of those who came out winners.  Our grand prize winner staked his claim to the lead early, winning 2000 points for the tribe of his choice and 15% off camp tuition for 2016, despite his national champion pick not even making it to the big game. David Maggiore played it tough the entire bowl season with an impressive 31-11 record. I don’t keep track of ever year’s results, but I would guess that this might be the best record ever for our competition. Congrats, David!

Amy Sims had a chance to take this thing to tiebreaker, like last year, but her choice to pick Clemson in the final game kept her out of contention. A 30-12 record is still impressive and deserves our applause. Joining her for second place was Charles Bond. His pick of Alabama gave him one higher step on the podium. Again we congratulate all of you who beat our staff. College football will be back before we know it, so we won’t have to wait too long to do it all over again!

Trip: 27-15, Rambo: 27-15, T-Bone 23-19, Sprinkles: 19-23

1st place overall: (31-11) David Maggiore

2nd place: (30-12) Amy Sims, Charles Bond

3rd place: (29-13) Darrin Tarleton, Bekah “Swift” James

4th place: (28-14) Martin Pierce

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