Broncos, Seahawks are battle-tested

Duke Football in Title Game -- Not a Misprint! Duke -- that's Duke football, not Duke basketball -- will face Florida State in the ACC title contest. Duke is not only winning, Duke football graduates 92 percent of its players, compared to the 58 percent of football players who graduated for Florida State. Seventy-one percent of Florida State students overall graduate, making the Seminoles' figure one the Florida alumni and trustees should feel ashamed of.

Manly Man Play of the Week: Scoring to pull within 42-41 versus undefeated Ohio State, Michigan went for two with 32 seconds remaining, and failed. The decision was the right one. Overtime is a 50/50 proposition in any case. Michigan was playing at home, and had crowd energy on its side. The play just didn't work.

The call was a shotgun-spread buttonhook to Michigan's possession receiver. Ohio State came out in a dime as the Buckeyes were expecting pass. Pre-snap, there were five Ohio State defenders in the tackle box, versus five Michigan linemen, a tight end, a quarterback and a running back. Had Michigan rushed against the dime look, its chances were good. Maybe it's just as well Bo Schembechler didn't live to see a Michigan quarterback sprinting backward when three yards were needed. Michigan could have run the Statue of Liberty play that Boise State used to defeat Oklahoma in this situation.

Really Important Economic Leading Indicator: A few years ago, TMQ warned of a looming fancy cupcake bubble. High-end cupcake bakeries, I thought, were not going to become the Subway of the new century.

Reader Elizabeth Schreppel of Gloversville, NY., notes a Wall Street Journal article reporting the decline of cupcake madness. Crumbs, the national chain attempting to be the Starbucks of cupcakes, peaked at $13 a share in 2011, and now is down to 92 cents. That's right -- a share of stock in a cupcake corporation costs less than a cupcake.

Give the Ball to the Law Firm! The Cincinnati Bengals are sitting pretty at 8-4, a two-game division lead with four games remaining and three of those contests at home. The Bengals and New England Patriots are a combined 30-5 when BenJarvus Green-Ellis scores a touchdown.

Don't Give a Hoot: Those who can remember the dim mists of history -- say, a couple decades ago -- recall that preservation of the northern spotted owl was a major American political issue during the 1980s, then played a role in the 1992 presidential election campaign, then was among the high-profile matters of the Bill Clinton administration. Decisions during the 1990s by the Fish and Wildlife Service, coupled to judge's orders, effectively ended much of the logging in the Pacific Northwest. This pleased affluent landowners, cost jobs for average people and shifted timber production to Malaysia, where there are almost no environmental regulations.

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