Football U: The Battle of the Top 2
We won't waste too much time on an intro this week. We just want to know how pigskin pundits Richard Connelly and John Nova Lomax are calling the OSU/Michigan game. We gotta make a call to our booki...er, mom.
Um, yeah. The coin has been tossed: Lomax kicks off, Connelly gets the ball in the second half:
The Kansas sky was angry that night my friend, like Bob Stoops railing at a Pac Ten replay official. Icy winds whipped down from Manitoba and Saskatchewan; the mercury plunged well in to the high 30s. Bill Snyder Family Stadium was full of Wildcat fans all pumped up on...on...whatever it is they get pumped up on in Manhattan, Kansas. Wildcat freshman QB Josh Freeman played the game of his life, Colt McCoy got knocked out of the game at the end of the Longhorns first drive (thus forcing into action a true freshman), and the Longhorn secondary played like they'd been partying with Devin the Dude and Z-Ro before the game.
And even with all of that, the Horns still almost pulled it out. We'll just gloss over the fact that the Horns allowed Kansas Freaking State to roll up 45 points on our once-vaunted D and take solace in the fact that this kind of thing has happened before. In 1961, the Horns were in the driver's seat for their very first National Championship ever when they headed north. In this case, "north" was only Ft Worth, where the puny TCU Horned Frogs proceeded to beat the crap out of the Horns by a deceptively close score of 6-0, which inspired Texas coach Darrell Royal to compare the Froggies to cockroaches. Anyway, here's the spooky part. In the 1961 game, UT's stud QB James Saxton was injured in the first quarter, just like McCoy in this game, and TCU and K-State both wear purple. Eerie, isn't it?
Anyway, on to this week's picks.
Michigan at Ohio State . Has any team ever played three "#1 vs #2" matchups in one year? This could be the second of three for the Buckeyes if they win this one, which we think they will. In addition to this being a battle between the two top teams in the nation, it also pits the two squarest coaches in the land. Lloyd Carr reminds me of John Kerry 's dumber brother, while next to Jim Tressel , even Joe Paterno seems as hip as Beck . Buckeyes 27, Wolverines 14 .
Alabama at Auburn. Is there any state more downright irrational than Alabama? Well, if you think they are normally Crazy in Alabama, you should see what it's like there this week. The state has 0 pro sports teams, so this is the Super Bowl, World Series, and Sum Total of Spiritual Validation for just about every person in places like Mobile, Anniston and Talladega. This year, we think Auburn will drive the final nail in Coach Shula's coffin by a score of 16-13.
Army at Notre Dame. What an epic tilt — four Heisman players and twelve All Americans competing on the same field at the same time! Bing Crosby roots on the Irish, while Douglas MacArthur orates on the Army sidelines! Frank Leahy vs Red Blaik! America's rising Catholic minority battling the Old Establishment! Oh wait, it's not 1947 anymore...never mind. Notre Dame 42, Army 20.
Upset of the Week: Vanderbilt over Tennessee. As a guy who grew up in Nashville, I can tell that even when the Vandoids are pitiful, they give the Vols a pretty good game. The 'Dores are far from pitiful this year, and the Vols are staggering through another typically disappointing year under Phat Phil. Vandy shocks the world 24-22.
Up next, Rich on Snoop Dogg's f-bomb-dropping buddy, Pete Carroll...
Before an Orange Bowl game — the one where an infamous Phantom Clip penalty call on a Rocket Ismail punt-return TD deprived Notre Dame of yet another national championship — Irish coach Lou Holtz was secretly filmed talking to his team at practice.
Holtz never, ever bad-mouthed an opponent, but he was caught telling the ND players to knock the snot out of Colorado early, and the Buffaloes would fold by the 4th quarter. "They ain't playing no K-States now," he barked.
Such was the esteem the Kansas State football program was held in, until last week.
Moan on, UT fans, about how Colt McCoy — Major Applewhite with talent!! — got injured early. Your coach couldn't figure out a way to beat Kansas State. Even Missouri did that. Besides Texas, Kansas State this year has played the likes of Illinois State, Marshall, Baylor and Florida Atlantic.
On only two of those defenses were the Wildcats able to score more than 34 points: Texas....and Florida Atlantic (Or, to give them their proper name, Florida "No, no, it was Florida International that brawled with Miami" Atlantic.)
Enjoy that bowl game against Boise State, fellas. On to the picks:
You gotta love "nice guy" Pete C dropping the f-bomb...
Michigan - Ohio State: Football players who go to OSU don't usually get degrees, but they do learn two things: how to get the best Escalades for free, and how to say "THE Ohio State University" on Monday Night Football. (We're waiting for someone to get up there and say "A Ohio State University," bad grammar included.) As for the game itself, even the most ardent Manichaean enthusiast would have to concede there's no good vs. evil here, only evil. As we've said before, no one has been throwing prettier touchdown passes than the Wolverines' Chad Henne, so we go with the ugly helmets 24-21.
Cal - USC: In case you missed it, check out the YouTube video of USC coach mouthing three "Fuck You's" across the field last week to Oregon coach Mike Bellotti. It's one of the reasons we like the goofy Carroll, the guy who brings Snoop Dogg to practice or works up a Halloween prank where LenDale White pretends to commit suicide in front of the team. Also, his run at the top is over, which makes him even more likable. We hope he wins this week, though, so the ND-USC hype can go into overdrive. USC 28-14.
Notre Dame - Army: Hey, did you hear? ND played all three service academies this year! They — ha-HA!! — should win the Commander in Chief trophy!! They — chortle, chortle — should have scheduled the Coast Guard Academy!! It's called tradition, people. That's why they play Navy and Army every season (after next year, they no longer play Air Force.) Deal with it, please. ND 42-10.
Florida — Western Carolina: Jarvis Moss, the Gator lineman who saved Florida's season by blocking a last-second South Carolina field goal attempt last week, reportedly tested positive for marijuana. Coach Urban Meyer has bravely suspended him — for this week's game against Western Carolina. Among the schools that have beaten Western Carolina this year are Furman, Elon and Wofford, which sounds more like a tweedy law firm than a bunch of football teams. Florida 62-10.
UH - Memphis: Memphis is 1-9. That includes 0-6 in Conference USA. Do you know how hard it is to go through a C-USA schedule and not get at least one win? Here's how hard it is — even Tulane couldn't do it. And yet UH is only a 16-and-a-half point favorite. If that's not a dis (or an indictment), we don't know what is. The bad part is that the Coogs don't even cover. UH 34-21.
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