We're now into Week 4 of Football U, and in just a month, we've witnessed the unthinkable: Rich and John have agreed. Twice. Bobby Bowden is spinning in his grave. Wha? He's alive? Sorry, it's his "running game" that's dead. Our bad.
Well, last week's games were instructive, to say the least. Among the lessons learned:
Colt McCoy is indeed worthy of the Major Applewhite comparisons. The dude went into Lincoln and pulled out an epic victory in front of 75,000 drunken, bellowing tillers of the soil. And he did it in a howling blizzard the likes of which would paralyze even Genghis Khan's Mongol horde. Nebraska blitzed from every angle on every play, it seemed, but it was hard to say for sure, as the director ABC sent to broadcast that game treated it like a film school project.
Seriously, that broadcast was like watching Fellini's Satyricon or something — spinning overhead shots, bizarre angles, and the infamous cut to the Nebraska running back's brother wildly cheering in the stands IN THE MIDDLE OF A FUCKING TOUCHDOWN RUN.
Notre Dame brought new meaning to the words "luck of the Irish." After stifling Brady Quinn and company for 59-and-a-half minutes, the UCLA defense reverted to the form that has launched so many of their opponents on to Heisman-winning seasons. On that last touchdown, Jeff Samardzija looked like Gale Sayers playing against some 6-man team's JV squad.
This is the worst Miami team since Jimmy Carter was in the White House and K.C. and the Sunshine Band was on the charts. I know half the team was suspended, but they barely squeaked past Duke, a team so comically inept that they were shut out at home by the Richmond Spiders. Georgia Tech will beat the Canes like a rented mule this weekend.
And that's one of the very few games worth getting excited about on this weekend. On to the picks.
Oklahoma at Missouri. Two speed-crazed states compete in what should be called the Crystal Meth Bowl. (The winner could take him a plastic jug full of benzene and crushed Sudafeds.) Anyway, the Peterson-less Sooners pummeled Colorado last weekend, who decided to go with a draw the plays in the dirt offense. That's not the case with Missouri — even though coach Gary Pinkel is a drooling simpleton, their offense is slightly more complicated than Colorado's. That, coupled with the fact that Oklahoma lost yet another offensive lineman to injury last weekend, spells trouble for the Sooners. Mizzu 21, OU 17.
Texas at Texas Tech. The Horns injury-riddled defense faces a stern test in Lubbock, and Tech QB Graham Harrell is coming off a rare flub-free game. Expect that to change this weekend, as UT defensive coordinator Gene Chizik looses the hounds on his Red Raider ass. Horns win a laugher 52-21.
Texas A&M at Baylor. The Aggies return to the scene of their historic 2004 defeat and face the sort of pass-heavy offense that has given them trouble all year. I don't think Baylor's defense can cope with porky Javorskie Lane, though, and that's why the Ags will win 30-24.
Up next: Writing a football screenplay? Connelly has your cheat sheet (and picks)...
John — Notre Dame got lucky? What was Texas, merely the deserving recipient of an over-the-top gift from the football gods?
The best part of the UT win was the next day's breathless reporting in several newspapers about how just before the winning kick, St. Mack Brown of Austin (patron saint of slick recruiters) pulled neophyte kicker Ryan Bailey aside and told him: "You're the luckiest sucker in the whole world. You get to be Dusty Mangum with your first kick."
I close my eyes and imagine Brown, and the rest of the Longhorn faithful, reverently whispering the name "Dusty Mangum" as an icon of college football lore, unaware that the rest of the world would go "Dusty Who Now?"
Apparently Dusty Mangum won the Rose Bowl with a last-second kick two years ago. I remember hearing that kick on the radio — as it was sailing through I shrugged to myself slightly in a "well, game's over" kind of way. Little was I prepared for the reaction of the Longhorn radio announcers, who began to alternate between loud shrieking and hushed, dramatic pronouncements that Texas...Has...Won...The...ROSE...BOWL. Which, that year, was little different than winning the Orange Bowl or Sugar Bowl or Poulan Weedeater Bowl, but it was being treated as if the accomplishment ranked third in the history of human endeavor, right behind 1) Walking on the Moon, and 2) London Calling.
I was blissfully ignorant that henceforth the name Dusty Mangum, which sounds almost like some drag-queen stage name, would be immortal throughout Longhorn Nation. I guess every school needs its version of "Win One for the Gipper," and I look forward to the day they make a movie about the Legend of Dusty Mangum. The picks:
UT - Texas Tech: I hate gimmicky offenses, so it's been a pleasure to watch Tech's allegedly revolutionary, game-changing scheme fall flat on its face this year. (Six points against Colorado? Even Baylor put up 34, and they treat the end zone like it was a booze-filled den of sodomy.) The game's in Lubbock and I hope it stays close, but the Red Raiders will turn the ball over enough to guarantee defeat. UT 34-14.
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Georgia - Florida: Just like you can't say "Red River Shootout" anymore, you're no longer allowed to refer to this game as "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party." We're sure the amount of tailgate drinking has been slashed as a result. Florida is the SEC's answer to Tech, in terms of gimmicky offenses, so we hope they get stifled and Georgia somehow manages to score a point or two. Georgia 13-7.
Notre Dame - Navy: This rivalry has been going on for 80 years; the Irish keep it going out of respect to the academy ("Respect" not including the time dimbulb ND coach Bob Davie referred to "the University of Navy.") In return, each year ND endures tired jabs from fans of teams who apparently never play the dregs of whatever conference they're in. Not to mention that Navy uses the option, which is a bitch to defend against. ND 28-17.
UH - UCF: The Coogs are bowl eligible! Will their announcers try to attain UT-like heights when they win the Humanitarian Bowl? UH 35-31.
Vanderbilt - Duke: Play is called when some fan tosses a madeleine on the field, triggering a robust discussion among the players about Proust's A la Recherche du Temps Perdu. Vandy has a flashback to the Jay Cutler days and wins 28-10.