Irish eyes will be smiling Monday night

COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S national championship game finally plays out Monday night in Miami, pitting No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Alabama. Bama needed some late-season luck to get into the title tilt, as Oregon and Kansas State suffered upsets.

The Crimson Tide is cast in the role of favorite, seeking to repeat as champions. But Bama was exposed in a loss to Texas A&M and was fortunate to beat Georgia in the SEC championship game, with the Bulldogs just five yards away from the winning score when time expired.

Notre Dame has dodged several bullets to remain unbeaten. The Fighting Irish had no business beating Pitt and came within inches of falling to Stanford.

But the Domers did what they needed to do to vie for their first grid title since 1988. The ND defense is as every bit as good as the Tide defense.

I am also a big fan of Irish QB Everett Golson. He has blossomed into a big-time player, with his coming-out-party taking place at Oklahoma, feasting on the Sooners’ defense.

This has been a long-awaited dream season for the Fighting Irish Nation. ND Coach Brian Kelly has masterfully pushed all the right buttons.

With all that said, I like Notre Dame, 20-17.


REGARDLESS of whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, you cannot be happy with all the partisan politics that played out with the fiscal cliff talks. Both parties should be ashamed for pushing the eventual compromise until the new year. The final deal, which is only a partial solution, could have been brokered weeks earlier. Too many politicians worry about getting re-elected rather than serving the best interests of their constituents.

THE COLLEGE Bowl season just isn’t the same since the inception of the BCS. New Year’s Day used to be the pinnacle. The four major bowls were staged that day: Cotton, Sugar, Rose and Orange — a smorgasboard for grid diehards. Now. New Year’s Day offered a congested and diluted grid card while elongating the bowl season much too long.

FORMER OHIO State quarterback Terrelle Pryor had a chance to display his talents, getting the starting nod for the Oakland Raiders in their season finale a week ago. Pryor acquitted himself in a 24-21 loss to the Chargers. He completed 13-of-28 passes for 150 yards with two TDS and one interception. He also rushed nine times for 49 yards and another TD.

AFTER COUNTLESS delays and many cost overruns, the new Cameron High School finally welcomes students Monday. The state-of-the-art facility boasts a $31.8 million price tag.

THE CITY of Martins Ferry will hold its 2nd annual “Town Hall Meeting” at the Veterans Memorial Center on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. The evening will begin with the introduction of the city administration and all council members as well as all invited guests. The city will also honor the Martins Ferry VFD members for 125 years of service to our community. Chief I and Chief II will have some brief comments and then introduce individually all members of each company. The evening will conclude with some light refreshments and an opportunity to meet and greet all honored guests, city officials and local representatives.

THE BELLAIRE Chamber of Commerce still has some 2013 calendar available. Anyone wishing to purchase one may contact the chamber office at 740-676-9723.

THE BELMONT County Drug Task Force continues to make life rough for criminals. The John McFarland-led unit busted three more druggie suspects Friday morning. That makes at least six such busts in just a few weeks. We commend the passionate network of officers for being exceptional in carrying out their duties.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader