We begin this week with a “Michigan Man,” and another overdose of political correctness.
In Oklahoma at the beginning of the school year, 5 year old Cooper Barton decided to show his support for his favorite college football team; the Michigan Wolverines.
The tyke wore a tee-shirt, with the word Michigan, emblazoned across his tiny chest.
When the kid showed up at school, you guessed it; the shirt caused a kerfuffle of epic proportions.
The school that Cooper attends, doesn’t allow the wearing of t-shirts with team logos (must be a gang related thing), so this “dangerous” 5 year old, was told by the principal, to turn the “offending” shirt inside out.
A 5 year old mind you!
The word spread, and Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon, got wind of the kid’s plight, instantly realized that a “Michigan Man,” albeit a 5 year old one, was being done wrong, and took immediate corrective action.
The AD reached out to Cooper, and his family, sending them double sided tee-shirts.
He then followed up that gesture with a phone call, and an invitation to attend last week’s Wolverine-UMass game, as guests of the university.
At half time, the 100,000 Ann Arbor faithful rose as one, in recognition that this 5 year old kid from Oklahoma was indeed, an honorary member of the tribe of; Maize and Blue.
This weekend, let’s see which teams leave its alumni proudly waving its victorious colors, and which, perform so poorly, its alums, quietly file out of the stadium, covering any, and all, signs of school allegiance.
No. 10 Clemson at No. 4 Florida State (Ch.5, 8 p.m.) Dabo’s Dynamos may need dynamite to crack through the defensive wall of Florida State.
But make no mistake.
Clemson’s Fab-Four; QB Tajh Boyd, tailback Andre Ellington, and wideouts, All-America Sammy Watkins, and his partner DeAndre Hopkins, produce more firepower than the cache stashed at the “butcher” Assad’s family bunker.
It’s the D, which brings shudders to the Tigers faithful.
So far, newly minted coordinator, Brent Veneables, imported from Oklahoma, has help to patch some of the holes from this sieve challenged bunch.
Clemson’s defensive eleven, featuring ends Malliciah Goodman, Corey Crawford, and backer Stephone Anthony, will ultimately determine, the course of Clemson’s season.
After embarking on a three week, dessert sampling buffet, the Seminoles will finally slice into a well aged entrée.
FSU, is directed by its dual-threat, Suburban-sized (6-5, 238) QB, E.J. Manuel, who is still searching for that elusive signature victory.
The big man is assisted by a trio of fuel injected tailbacks; Devonta Freeman, James Wilder jr., and Chris Thompson, who gobble yardage better than the Road Runner.
And when this Seminole igniter takes to the air, Kenny Shaw, and Kelvin Benjamin, are his field stretching targets.
In Tallahassee, the only towns with a better defensive pedigree are located to the west, in Tuscaloosa, and Baton Rouge.
This ferocious Iron Curtain bunch, led by ends Cornellius Carradine and Bjoern Werner, has surrounded an eye popping total of 3 points, and is capable of pitching more shutouts than Sandy Koufax.
In a classic chess match, with the victor taking control of the ACC Atlantic, we think the Sons of Bobby Bowden; are finally back in the national discussion.
No. 18 Michigan at No. 11 Notre Dame (Ch. 7, 7:30 p.m.) The Denard Robinson Show comes rolling into South Bend.
Big Blue’s electric, All-America, Magic Man, who leads the team in rushing, is assisted by tailback Fitz Toussaint, and wideouts Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon.
But the Wolverine Faithful are painfully aware of the formula, so goes Robinson, so goes Michigan. And in big games, and in tight situations, it has often been bumpier, than Mitt Romney, on the campaign trail.
The D, led by backer Jake Ryan, has also at times, been shakier, than the Golden Gate Bridge after a Richter scale blowout.
Wake up the echoes.
Or to paraphrase Chief Brody from “Jaws,” “We’re going to need a bigger wagon,” in reference to all the “faithful” jumping “back” onto the Irish bandwagon.
Dual-threat QB Everett Golson, has been given the keys to the Cadillac, but does remain somewhat of a question.
Domer Coach Brian Kelly is comforted by the fact, that veteran Tommy Rees, is available, in a moments notice. (That brings a smile to my man Tom Price.)
The kid is assisted by a threesome of downhill runners; Cierre Wood, Theo Riddick, and George Atkinson III, and has the luxury of an All-America target, in tight end, Tyler Eifert.
The D, led by its attacking All-America backer Manti Te’o, and end Stephon Tuitt, is so far; much improved, but will be truly tested by the attack of Michigan, who has won the last three matchups.
In a game that should be a classic, and with huge implications for both programs, we think the Irish, at home, somehow find a way to remain unblemished.
No. 15 Kansas State at No. 6 Oklahoma (FOX, 7:30 p.m.) The only place with more blood, than the uniform of KState QB, Collin Klein, is the donor room of the Red Cross.
The Cats fiery, dual-threat, Heisman contender, may not be the most talented gunslinger in the nation, but to our eye, he’s the most valuable.
This Manhattan “Mauler,” is assisted by a talented tailback John Hubert, and receivers; Tramaine Thompson and Chris Harper.
The D, led by backer Arthur Brown, end Adam Davis, and corner Allen Chapman, stones runners, and plays with a cranky, mean disposition, mirroring the personality of its legendary septuagenarian Coach, Bill Synder, who for the second time in his career, has resurrected the moribund Wildcats, into a national power.
After a two week sojourn munching on diabetes inducing treats, the Conquerors from Norman, are facing its first real threat.
These Sons of Bud Wilkerson, who seem to be playing with a chip on its shoulder, are commanded by its All-America caliber QB, Landry Jones.
The Sooner dart thrower has the luxury of being able to dial up a tsunami of tailbacks, led by Damien Williams, and Dominique Whaley.
The entire operation is cocooned by a seasoned offensive line, which is anchored by All-America guard, Gabe Ikard.
When OU goes aerial, Kenny Stills, Trey Metoyer, and Justin Brown are all field stretching targets.
The Sooner’s D, featuring backer Tom Wort, and end Chuka Ndulue, will attack from all angles, and has been reworked by the return of another Stoops; brother Mike.
Since taking over the coaching reigns in Norman, Bob Stoops is jaw dropping 77-3 at home, and with a week off to prepare, OU is intent on improving that Wilkerson-esque winning percentage.
No. 22 Arizona at No. 3 Oregon (ESPN, 10:30 p.m.) Since his arrival in Tucson, Coach Rich$ Rod, has preached a mantra of: “Return to Relevance.”
An upset win in Eugene would create more of a sensation, than the mammary photos of Kate M.
Dual threat QB Matt Scott (7 touchdown passes – 1 interception, 70% completions) runs the spread option attack, with the slight of hand perfection of Houdini.
The Cats second leading rusher is assisted by tailback Ka’Deem Carey, and a pair of telephone sized wideouts; Nan Buckner and Austin Hill.
The D behind backer Jake Fischer, and safety Marquis Flowers, is pedestrian, and vulnerable defending the pass, which is the wrong recipe against Oregon.
To quote from the Mel Brooks movie spoof; “Spaceballs,” Oregon moves at, “ludicrous speed.”
The Green from Eugene, who is searching for its fourth consecutive Pac-12 conference championship, can score points, faster, than an Apple salesman sells another iPhone 5.
The Ducks, point-a-minute offense, is commanded by red-shirt freshman Marcus Mariota (8 touchdown passes – 1 interception) with assists from roadrunners; Kenjun Barner, and wideout/tailback extraordinaire, De’Anthony Thomas.
The D, featuring backer Michael Clay, end Dion Jordan, and tackle Taylor Hart, plays with equal abandon, and overall, may be the best since in the Chip Kelly era began.
IBM’s “Big Blue” might be called into service, to assist the Autzen Stadium scoreboard operator as points will be as prevalent as the desert night stars, as the Ducks continue to impress.
Missouri at No. 7 South Carolina (Ch.4, 3:30 p.m.) The Boys from the “Show Me,” state go on the road, and get another crack to prove to the nation, that they are indeed a worthy SEC partner.
Missou’s QB James Franklin is probable (shoulder), but if he can’t go, Corbin Berkstresser is a capable replacement.
The Tigers’ QB’s are assisted by a gritty senior tailback, Kendial Lawrence, and a pair of chain moving receivers; T.J. Moe, and Marcus Lucas.
The D, featuring backers; Andrew Wilson, Will Ebner, and tackle Sheldon Richardson, stifles the run, but is susceptible against an air raid attack.
Since his arrival in Columbia, the offensive wizard, “Hung a half-of-hundred on em,” the Ball Coach; Steve Spurrier, has morphed into a defensive guru.
It reminds one of he play; “Damn Yankees,” except Spurrier is playing the role of Joe Hardy, and has sold his offensive soul, for defense, in order to capture one more SEC Championship.
The lynchpin of the Gamecocks attack is its power running game, featuring its All-America stud, Marcus Lattimore.
Dual threat QB Connor Shaw (shoulder – questionable), and his quality backup, Dylan Thompson, are the directors, with assists from an improving pair of receivers; Ace Sanders, and Bruce Ellington.
The Cocks swarming, punishing D, which has more stars than the lapel of a four star general, is led by All-America caliber end Jadeveon Clowney, and backer Shaq Wilson.
It has surrendered a miniscule Bama-like total of; 29 points, while crushing ball carriers, allowing 1.6 yards a carry.
In Columbia, we think that this game will be close, but the Gamecocks “defensive” genius captures victory 201, as South Carolina continues on its collision course toward Georgia.
Last week: 2-3 Season record: 10-5.
Be sure to read our recap, which will be up and running by noon on Sunday, until then, peace, and listen to the music. pk