Second Chances

After going 11-0, the Buckeyes laid an egg in the second half of The Game–giving up big plays on defense and failing to score a touchdown on offense. The result was a score that embarrassed both the team and all of Buckeye Nation. Losing to That Team Up North always hurts–and particularly this year, when Ohio State was playing at home and seemed to have so much promise.

But the breaks have gone the Buckeyes’ way in the days since that dismal loss. LSU lost, USC lost, and today the Buckeyes snuck into the College Football Playoff through the back door. The Buckeyes ended up number 4, and will play mighty Georgia in the semifinals. Since the game will be played in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, it’s basically a Georgia home game. Meanwhile, TTUN, ranked second, will take on plucky TCU in the other semifinal game. The Buckeyes played poorly against the Wolverines, especially on defense–although you have to give some credit to TTUN, which obviously has a solid team. As a result, no one is giving them much of a chance against the undefeated Bulldogs.

I beg to differ. I think this game will be a bit more interesting, perhaps, than people expect. Ohio State has been incredibly banged up on offense, with their top running backs, their top receiver, and one of their key offensive lineman out for The Game. Will those important missing pieces be back for the CFP? It would be nice to see a healthy Jaxon Smith-Njigba playing alongside Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka, and Miyan Williams and Trevyon Henderson running like they did earlier in the season. As good as Georgia’s defense clearly is, a healthy Ohio State with all of its weapons will be a handful. If all of these guys play, and Ohio State’s offensive line is intact again, this game will offer the irresistible force versus immovable object/OSU offense versus Georgia defense matchup that people have been eager to see for several seasons now.

The bigger question will be the Buckeyes’ defense. Georgia has a good offense, but the Buckeyes’ problems in The Game were self-inflicted, with lots of missed tackles and big play breakdowns. Can coffee-guzzling defensive coordinator Jim Knowles figure out how to fix those problems? Those of us who watched Ohio State teams of days gone by, when the Buckeyes played rock-ribbed defense, chafe at the blunders and poor fundamentals on D. I think the key will be whether the Buckeyes can play some tough D in a big game.

As for C.J. Stroud–well, he was very gracious after the defeat in The Game, and showed some real character. I think he will take advantage of his second chance and play a good game against the Bulldogs. I’m not saying the Buckeyes will win, but I think this game will be a lot more competitive than people think, especially if Ohio State is healthy.

This game will make New Year’s Eve a much better holiday than just sitting at home watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes–2022

Now that December is here, and the Thanksgiving holiday is well behind us, it’s time to start thinking about holiday baking. This year, I’m going to try some new recipes to with some of my traditional favorites. I’m interested in adding a bit of international flair to my baking efforts, and in doing some poking around the internet I stumbled across a recipe for sequilhos, which are a traditional Brazilian cookie made with cornstarch. So, the cookies not only have a South American lineage, they also will be gluten-free for our gluten-intolerant friends. Even better, this recipe only has four ingredients and sounds simple to make.

Sequilhos

Ingredients: 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature; 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk; 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt; 2 1/4 cups of cornstarch

Combine the butter, sweetened condensed milk and salt in a large bowl and use a spatula to mix everything until the butter is incorporated into the condensed milk. Slowly add the cornstarch, mixing first with the spatula and then, as the process gets harder, using your hands until a smooth dough forms. (The website indicates that judgment should be used in this process, because you might not need every grain of cornstarch and don’t want to overdo it if the dough looks right.)

Roll the cookie dough (about 1 teaspoon per cookie) into balls and press each ball with your thumb. Place the balls on a two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Using a fork, slightly flatten the cookies, then refrigerate the cookies for 30 minutes to avoid them spreading when baking.

Preheat oven to 350ºF with a rack in the middle. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes or until they begin to gain some color on the bottom but remain pale on top. Cool the cookies while still on the baking sheets for 15-20 minutes, then move them to a rack to finish cooling.

These cookies are supposed to be fairy light and addictive. Sounds like a good Christmas cookie to me! I’ll probably add some colored sugar to some, and perhaps some jam to others, just to put the cookies into the proper holiday spirit.

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2019

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2018

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2017

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2016

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2015

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2014

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2013

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2012

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2011

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2010

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2009