OFF THE TOP: Kicking isn’t easy and Jan. 14 is a big day

Josh Weaver

First of all, I thought it was ridiculous that the NFL won out over tradition and that the Tournament of Roses Parade and subsequent Rose Bowl game were pushed to Jan. 2. Waking up New Year morning and flipping to the parade, waiting for the “Grand Daddy of them all” has been the one constant at the beginning of each year. Definitely a bummer not having the game on the day it belongs. Obviously, it boils down to the money. But still, no bowl games on Jan. 1? Dropped the ball on that one.

But speaking of the Rose Bowl, Oregon and Wisconsin put on an offensive clinic. Speed versus power. Big play after big play. Oregon prevailed for its first Rose Bowl victory in almost 100 years as Wisconsin simply ran out of time.

• But time won’t soon heal  Stanford place kicker Jordan Williamson. The redshirt freshman missed three field goals in Stanford’s 41-38 overtime loss to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl. Williamson hooked a 35-yard game-winner wide left as time expired then pulled a 43-yarder in the first overtime period, which left the door open for the Cowboys and their kicker Quinn Sharp. Sharp didn’t miss from 22-yards out.

No matter the amount of consoling his teammates could provide after the game, or over the next few months, Williamson will relive that fourth quarter over and over in his mind for a while. It’s tough to erase a moment like that. Can’t help but feel bad for the kid. It was assuredly his worst nightmare – one he’d never imagine coming true.

• What is true and now set in stone is the San Francisco 49ers’ first playoff game in eight seasons. The 13-3 Niners will host the winner of New Orleans/Detroit on Saturday, Jan. 14. Tickets went on sale earlier today and are already sold out. San Fran earned a first round bye with its win over St. Louis on Sunday. Green Bay (15-1) has the other bye. A NFC Championship Game between the defending Super Bowl champs and San Francisco in Lambeau field would be a classic. Hey, it might happen.


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