Broadsword calling Danny Boy: Houthi rebel Red Sea strikes smash global shipping; Missouri (+1) -- Alabama (+2) for the dosh | Eastern North Carolina Now

Lost amidst the Gaza and Ukraine headlines is the stunning failure of the U.S. Navy to protect and secure global shipping routes through the Red Sea and subsequent Suez Canal transit.

Yea, Alabama! Drown ’em Tide!
Every ‘Bama man’s behind you,
Hit your stride.

Go teach the Bulldogs to behave,
Send the Yellow Jackets to a watery grave.
And if a man starts to weaken,
That’s a shame!

For Bama’s pluck and grit have
Writ her name in Crimson flame.
Fight on, fight on, fight on men!
Remember the Rose Bowl, we’ll win then.

Go, roll to victory,
Hit your stride,
You’re Dixie’s football pride,
Crimson Tide, Roll Tide, Roll Tide!!
- Etheired Sykes, 1926

The Traveller and her Dad review the run-stopping equation.: Above.     Click image to enlarge.

    Lost amidst the Gaza and Ukraine headlines is the stunning failure of the U.S. Navy to protect and secure global shipping routes through the Red Sea and subsequent Suez Canal transit. Once the protector and guarantor of maritime right to passage, the entire American fleet structure has been watered down to an over-hyped, over-priced paper tiger serving as a hyper-sonic missile magnet. One need look no further than the disruption of global trade to understand this as the Houthi rebels flex their muscles with 21st century anti-shipping missiles and drone swarms, combined with 18th century style high-seas piracy.

    The most immediate impact is in terms of cost. These attacks increase insurance premiums and -- as more and more companies decide to reroute from the Suez passage to the southern route via The Cape (tip of Africa) -- add approximately ten days additional sailing time, adding significant commensurate fuel expenditures. This is hurting the European export markets because Globalism cannot survive without global shipping; thus a domino effect is beginning to accelerate across international markets.


    Now the Houthis are mining the Red Sea and as Suez Canal traffic dwindles one is reminded how Obama gutted the US Maritime Administration (MARAD), Trump reconstituted it and then -- in his first week in office -- Biden shut down the National Security Council maritime desk. The White House is flying blind while running this disaster into the ground / ocean as your wallet will soon learn.

    The Houthi rebels might be lighting the fuze for World War III but, happily, they do not impact the run-stopping equation while Utah fumbled the ball and we fall to 13-10 and up 11.55 units in this space. Our adjustments to the transfer portal / opt out elements have been slow and cumbersome. Hopefully as the quality of teams improve and the calendar advances our understanding of such sharpens; reducing unit size the first half of bowl season has been wise. However, despite recent setbacks, our powder is dry and with a sharpshooter's eye, we look to aim small into the close.

    The moment we heard the Cotton Bowl match up we were ready to jump on Missouri and the six points. Alas we were caught flat-footed as the Ohio State QB jumped in the portal to Syracuse and the number kept drifting south -- so far that at one point Misery was a two and the hook favourite. The line has now floated back to the current (+1) and the value has returned.

    This is arguably the biggest game in Missouri football history and the enthusiasm within the program and fan base is very real and very emotional. In contrast, there are questions about how excited Ohio State is for this contest after losing to Michigan in the season finale. There is a very strong intangible breaking for the Tigers here.

    Both teams are strong in the run-stopping equation, very strong. However with the Buckeyes running a back-up QB -- possibly allowing Misery to play more man to man coverage -- the Tigers may have the advantage in the box. Ohio State has the best receiver in the nation in terms of Marvin Harrison Jr. and this flexibility may permit more double coverage on him. Either way the QB edge is big for Missouri.


    That QB is Brady Cook. Tigers head coach Eli Drinkwitz recruits local and Cook one of several local St Louis lads making an impact on the field; those guys aren't opting out or going into the portal. They are going to the Cotton Bowl to represent their school, their state and their way of life. Missouri will leave nothing in the locker room.

    We learned our lesson about Ohio State bowl games January 1, 1980 when Buckeye QB Schlichter threw the game (pled guilty 1987) against Southern Cal. We have never taken them in a bowl game since; the Buckeyes have a unique sense of Yankee pride and arrogance. When they lose the season ending game to Michigan the air goes out of them; in those years a game like the Cotton Bowl is just not good enough for them.

    Of course the Cotton Bowl no longer played at the Cotton Bowl but instead in another big NFL corporate stadium. On occasion Farnell has shared what the old Cotton Bowl was like: Parking in a very bad Dallas neighbourhood and paying a little extra to make sure the vehicle still there on return; young kids hawking ice cold Budweiser from coolers on the street -- and some mighty fine BBQ sammiches from picnic tables in the locals' front yards on the walk to the stadium.

    Missouri began playing Ohio State in 1939 and is 1-10-1 all time against the Buckeyes. Their sole win in the series was 1976 versus Woody Hayes. This game means everything to them; they have two defensive starters out to injury and a place-kicker that is good from 65 yards off the rug. For Ohio State it's just another trip for the goody bags.

    In the first national semi-final game Alabama meets Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Not much needs to be said about this game other than Nick Saban versus Jim Harbaugh and the fact Alabama is getting points and plus money on the money line. Michigan is soft all over and Alabama the one SEC team with the speed edge over them. There will be ample non-stop coverage of this game all week and we will offer only one additional tidbit on this contest -- while asking forgiveness for committing the cardinal sin of quoting our own selves from the ECU - Michigan match up back in September:

    "Michigan does not punt often but when they do gaps result in the protection as a strong unbalanced wing-rush is applied. Take a look at how Penn State schemes them there. ECU is good enough to block a punt against Michigan if the defence can find a way to hold them deep. That kind of play can dial up everything the underdog needs to stay in the game."

    Michigan has not seen anything like Alabama all year long. If Harbaugh is foolish enough to think he can steal signs from Nick Saban, then he is kidding himself like the Germans were after the Allies broke the Enigma code mid-war. They will be partying like nobody's bidness at the White Elephant long into the New Year's first evening. If you take the Tide so will you.


    We have frittered away some of our edge with the early bowl season but that's the cost of doing business every week. We have four units of IOWA (+7 and the hook) and two units of PENN STATE (-180) already in the can but don't want to back off now that we have regained the advantage. Our calls here are MISSOURI (+1) for five units and ALABAMA (+2) for three units. These four games will send the portfolio to the Moon or the bottom of the Red Sea. We will know shortly.

MISSOURI    22  •  OHIO STATE    21

ROLL TIDE    23  •  MICHIGAN    16

    Over the pond Farnell's ends in BOCO there is something known as a Pack Pam or maybe a Pam Pack, we're not really sure which as this seems irregular usage of the King's English. Apparently, one time a former softball coach of that institution shared he had only really learned three things as a student at ECU:

    How to get up for an 8 a.m. class, how to write a decent term paper, and how to find the cheapest beer in Greenville. The coach then asked Farnell what he had learned at State College, to which the former university Athletics Council member replied:

    "When Quantrill rides out of Missouri, he rides hard. And never take the Big 10 team in the Rose Bowl."


    Try learning those five things at University today. And if the above is too politically incorrect for your current academic time and space, then at least learn this:

    Hey Auburn!
    Hey Auburn!
    Hey Auburn!
    We're gonna beat the hell outta you!
    Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer
    Give 'em hell, Alabama!

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