Saturday night, given the choice between staying at home with me to watch the annual Denard Robinson Tear-Notre-Dame's-Heart-Out-And-Show-It-To-Them-Apalooza (and experiencing the corresponding remote control throwing that goes with it) and going out to dinner with her girlfriends to a nice restaurant, my girlfriend Amy chose the latter.
On many levels, it was the right choice, and its correctness was only augmented by the fact that she and her friends got to experience a true bucket list item -- a random Betty White sighting!
Apparently, America's favorite ninetysomething was in town for a lecture on Geritol or AARP cards or something, and she was spotted at Bar Annie being helped out the door, apparently falling down, mumbling, in-need-of-an-escort wasted, which now makes this quote from an article about White in yesterday's Houston Chronicle even more prescient.
"I have an agent who keeps me working and keeps my nose to the grindstone so I stay off the streets and out of trouble."
Apparently, said agent had the night off last night, because Betty White was on a Bayou City prowl, Lohan style. So in honor of senior citizens making an impact, we kick off this week's edition of "Boom. Roasted." with a tribute to college football's wiliest wizard:
Bill Snyder, Best Sequel Ever College football fans in the late '80s will remember a story of Lou Holtz, at the time in his fourth year at Notre Dame, preparing his team for their first of two Orange Bowls against Colorado (a game that would wind up a 21-6 Irish victory) famously predicting to his team at practice that Colorado would be "grab-bagging by the third quarter" and proclaiming the Buffs would realize that "they ain't playing no Kansas State." Indeed, at that time, in 1989, when Bill Snyder took over in Manhattan, Kansas, the Wildcats were the unequivocal laughingstock of major college football. At that point, Kansas State had been to one bowl game in their program's history.
By 1993, Snyder had his team going to a bowl game for the first of 11 consecutive seasons, and after 16 seasons (seven with double-digit wins) and at the age of 66, Snyder decided to call it quits in 2005. The school appropriately put Snyder's name on the side of their stadium, he moved upstairs into a fund-raising role and the Wildcats marched on with Ron Prince as their new, young face of the program.
When things went sideways with Prince (a couple of 5-7 seasons in 2007 and 2008, and a 2008 recruiting class composed almost entirely of junior college players), Snyder was called in Winston Wolf-style to fix things. Around college football, as much respect as Snyder had among peers and media, it was widely viewed as a bit of a desperation move, and yet here we are after three seasons and a few games in, and Snyder is on his way to another double-digit win campaign after knocking off the Oklahoma Sooners 24-19 on Saturday night in Norman, only OU's fourth loss at home in the last 13 seasons.
People call Snyder "The Wizard" (his Wikipedia bio actually lists his nickname as "God"), but ironically there was very little trickery involved with this victory. Kansas State was the tougher team, the more physical team and the smarter team. End of story.
And Landry Jones's Heisman chances? Well...boom. Roasted.
Aloha, Chris Ault! Aloha, Spicoli!
(Sorry, I couldn't resist a gratuitous Fast Times reference, especially since Ault bears a striking resemblance to Mr. Hand.)
For once, Ault (or, at age 65, as Betty White likes to call him, that "young whippersnapper") finally leaves the Hawaiian islands a happy man after his Nevada Wolfpack plowed right through Hawaii last night like the Germans marching through the Champs-Élysées, the first time since 1948 that Nevada won a game in Honolulu. In the 69-24 rout, the Wolfpack racked up 575 yards of total offense and was a virtually uncontested 7 of 7 in the red zone with running back Stefphon (not a misspelling) Jefferson toting the rock into the end zone an FBS-on-FBS record seven times.
To say Ault is underrated is a bit of a misnomer; after all, he did go into the college football Hall of Fame in 2002. However, to the average college football fan, he is at best a little off the radar and probably best known for being "that old dude who's knocked off Boise State a couple times." Well, he's actually a whole lot more than that, including the architect of the pistol offense (layperson translation: the semi-shotgun) that so many teams run their spread/zone read stuff from these days.
By the way, not to get morbid or anything, but when he passes away, Ault has to put that on his epitaph, doesn't he? I totally would:
"CHRIS AULT 1946-2048 Father, husband, architect of the "Pistol" offense
And before you give me any grief over posting an actual end year to his life, I do have him living to be 102 years old, so chill the fuck out.
Mahalo, Manti Te'o While we're on Hawaii, let's discuss one of the greatest imports that the continental 48 have reaped from our fiftieth state -- Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o.
in 2008, Te'o was the top high school linebacker in the country at the Punahou School in Honolulu and it was widely assumed that he would wind up playing collegiately at either BYU (Te'o is a devout Mormon) or USC (Pete Carroll's recruiting train was still in high gear at this point). Then-ND head coach Charlie Weis made multiple trips over to Hawaii to try and woo Te'o to South Bend. Te'o wound up making his official visit to Notre Dame in November 2008 for the lowest of many low points of the Charlie Weis Era, a home loss to a horrific Syracuse team in a freezing cold snowstorm, after which the student section pelted the team, and inadvertently Te'o, with snowballs. Amazingly, on national signing day, Te'o opted to cast his lot with Notre Dame despite Charlie Weis's shaky future, despite the distance from his family in Honolulu and despite, well, getting pelted with snowballs by the home team's fans on his recruiting visit! It was a sign of maturity from a kid who has been the model of consistency and leadership since he arrived in South Bend in the fall of 2009.
In the last two weeks, Te'o has lost his grandmother and his girlfriend. Both passed away the week before the Michigan State game. While grieving their loss, Te'o has gone on to have two virtuoso performances in leading Notre Dame to wins over Michigan State and Michigan in the same season for the first time since 2004 and to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2002. Te'o will finally get a bye week to fly to Hawaii and honor the memories of his grandmother and girlfriend with his immediate family, and should he decide to pick up a newspaper at the airport and thumb through a recap of the weekend in college football, I would hope that he will see his name mentioned in the Heisman mix. A linebacker has never won the award, and probably never will, but if Notre Dame keeps winning, a trip to New York could happen for Te'o.
As for Denard Robinson's Heisman chances? Well, allow me to Mad Lib my Landry Jones thoughts above...boom. Roasted.
SMILE, John L. Smith Many of us in the media gave Arkansas interim
soon to be fired head coach John L. Smith a ton of grief over his latest episode of bizarre press-conference behavior this past week, when he implored the Arkansas media to "SMILE"...
As it turns out, maybe we should have gone easier on Smith, who, while presiding over the abrupt disintegration of Arkansas football into relevance smithereens, had to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the same week that his 53-year-old brother passed away. So certainly my thoughts and prayers go out to John L. Smith and his family.
Now, from a football standpoint, the scorched earth of John L. is undeniable, family tragedy or no family tragedy. Arkansas is 1-3 after a disastrous home loss to Rutgers on Saturday night. Weber State, the school Smith left in a lurch in April when he vacated their head coaching job before even coaching a game, is 0-4.
The good news for Smith is Chapter 7 bankruptcy ensures he will remain undefeated against his creditors. And that's all that really matters. Boom. Roasted, creditors.
Week Four coaches poll peculiarities Nothing major in the actual Top 25 portion of the poll this week jumping out at me, although Wisconsin continuing its re-ascension up the polls (up to 23rd this week) with maybe the least impressive 3-1 start of any BCS conference school is kind of funny. I'm not really worried about it because they're about to get swallowed in the massive self-mutilation that will be the Big Ten regular season, where a three-loss team almost assuredly will get fed to Oregon or USC in the Rose Bowl.
The best part about this week's poll is the "Others receiving votes" portion, where multiple coaches apparently think the following teams are among the 25 best so far this season:
* Michigan (57 points): Two losses in which they were dominated by the defenses of Alabama and Notre Dame, two wins over Air Force and Massachusetts
* Arizona (16 points): Seriously, you watched their 49-0 shellacking at the hands of Oregon and thought, "That's a top 25 team." Oh, what's that, Coach? You didn't see it at all? Yeah, thought so.
* Minnesota (11 points): Yeah, 4-0, but seriously, doesn't having to go to overtime against UNLV disqualify you from Top 25 consideration until you start at least 8-0?
* Louisiana-Monroe (4 points): Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it. Plucky little engine that could who beat one BCS conference school (Arkansas in overtime) and lost a couple tight ones to Auburn and Baylor. Um, winning does count for something, no? Auburn and Arkansas are, at best, mediocre SEC teams, and Baylor is, at best, a middle-of-the-pack Big 12 team. If a team in the actual conferences of those schools started 1-2 against that level of competition, they'd never get a sniff of a vote for the Top 25. I admire ULM for their "try hard" attitude and for triggering the John L. Smith slow ride into the abyss, but a 1-2 start is cause for just that -- admiration, not actual Top 25 recognition.
* University of Miami (2 points): I had no idea that Nevin Shapiro and Luther Campbell had votes in the coaches' poll.
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