Merry Christmas to everyone and special thanks to all of our military serving abroad to protect our freedoms.
In 1897, Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a famous letter to the New York Sun, “Dear Editor: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says if you see it in The Sun it’s so. Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
“Virginia O’Hanlon, 115 W. 95th Street.”
This letter has become legendary and the answer by Sun editor Frances Church resonates even more today. “Santa exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist.”
I have loved this story all my life as the joy of Santa Claus is in the spirit of all our loving mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends in this precious and holy season.
It is not in just the gift giving and receiving, but families and friends getting together to celebrate and be together. So keep the spirit in you and in your children’s lives. If you don’t have any kids, go out and do something for someone in need.
On Oct. 4, 1943, in the middle of World War II, Bing Crosby (I know my readers will know who Bing is) recorded, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” one of his most famous Christmas songs, surpassed only by his “White Christmas” and “Silent Night.”
The song became emblematic of the separations caused by war as we all look forward to our men and women coming home soon.
Hopefully I can put a few winners in your stocking this weekend.
We did win a miracle comeback in the Eagles game. In fact, the NFL resembled pro wrestling this past week. In all my years of watching and betting the NFL, I have never witnessed a year like this.
Let’s start off with this slew of college games. In my early years, there was great anticipation of the bowls as the best teams were playing as a reward for a great season. Now most of these games are a reward for mediocrity. It has become all about money, but we can bet on them. If we couldn’t, I doubt many of you would watch.
• Wednesday we have the famous Las Vegas Bowl pitting the almost unbeaten Boise St -17 against a good Utah team who has won eight straight bowl games. This is not where the Broncos wanted to be. UTAH.
• Thursday we have Navy taking on San Diego St, playing its first bowl game in eons. Navy usually gives its best in bowls, going 5-2 in the last 7. NAVY/OVER 60.
• Friday we see Tulsa having excellence rewarded in a free trip to Honolulu to play Hawaii in the Honolulu Bowl. The Warriors have won 9 of 10 with the only loss coming on the blue carpet in Boise. HAWAII -10.
• Sunday in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit, we have Florida International taking on Toledo. Home town support will be big here. TOLEDO -1½ / OVER 56.
• Monday we have the Independence Bowl and who better to support this than Air Force, a small -3 point favorite over Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have lost their last five bowl games. AIR FORCE -3/UNDER 56.
• Tuesday Dec. 28, we have two games starting with the Champs Sports Bowl pitting defense minded West Virginia -2½ against NC State. WVU opponents are averaging just over 12 ppg with only two scoring 20 points or more. UNDER 48½.
Then there’s the Insight Bowl. Not much insight into this one with the line sitting around pick between Missouri and Iowa. The Hawkeyes won their last two bowl games and can play some big time defense. IOWA/UNDER 47½.
• Thursday the Panthers travel to Pittsburgh as possible double digit dogs. The Hilton hung up a -15½ on the Steelers this past Saturday, and if I had a spare dime I would have taken the points. Pittsburgh has already clinched a playoff spot and looks to have a very slim shot at covering this spread, especially if Polamalu is out. PANTHERS.
• Sunday the Colts travel to Oakland. If able to get RAIDERS +3½ this looks good. The Game of the Week looks like the Saints traveling to Atlanta. Just get up early Wednesday morning and spend some of that Christmas money on the FALCONS -2½.
And, remember there IS a Santa Claus!
last week since Oct. 25 PCT
3-2 35-26-2 57.4