We begin this week with a tribute to one of our favs; the legendary college football historian, and iconoclast, Beano Cook, who passed away last week, at the age of 81.
As we all know, the true characters of the world are going the way of the dinosaurs.
Everybody is PC’d to the max, with their heads buried into their I-phones.
Just take a look at the local news (if you dare), everybody looks exactly the same.
Don Henley from the Eagles sang it best in the classic; “Dirty Laundry.”
“The bubble-headed-beach-blond who comes on at five, she can tell you about the plane crash with a gleam in her eye … Give us dirty laundry.”
But Beano was different.
He was a raconteur, from a much different era.
His was a time, when a bar, was a real bar. A place where you could still get a beer for $1.25, and maybe play a game of pinball or make a bet with the bookie, who sat in the corner, or call a friend from a pay-phone booth.
Beano was unvarnished, irreverent, funny, but had a heart of gold, as well as an encyclopedic knowledge of the game of college football.
In tribute to his passing we’ve included four of his many gems:
Once on ABC Sports College Football Scoreboard Show, host Jim Lampley showed a clip of Doug Flutie throwing his “Hail Mary,” Heisman winning, and game winning, touchdown pass against Miami.
After the clip, Lampley turned to Cook, and asked, “Is Doug Flutie too small to play professional football?”
Without missing a beat, Beano said, “They also said that about Napoleon.”
When the United States hostages were released from Iran in January of 1981, former Baseball Commissioner, Bowie Kuhn, announced that baseball would give to each, a lifetime pass to all games.
When Beano heard about the gesture he gasped; “Haven’t they suffered enough?!”
One night in the late 80’s, he was in his favorite New York haunt, Runyon’s and a bunch of the young CBS television executives were discussing rock and roll bands.
One of them finally asked Beano, “Hey old man, what’s your favorite band?”
Beano replied, without looking back, “Ohio State!” Beautiful.
Finally, this is what he had to say about night football at LSU’s Death Valley, a place, and time, where the Tigers have won over 75% of its games.
“Dracula, and LSU football, are at their best, when the sun goes down.”
God-speed, Beano, and instead of dirty laundry; give me, more characters!
This weekend, let’s see which teams rakishly strut off the field, in a larger than life victory, and which, sulk to the locker room, tweeting the reasons for the loss; #losers!
No. 9 South Carolina at No. 3 Florida (Ch. 4, 3:30 p.m.) This is the final leg, of a three game gantlet, for Coach Steve Spurrier’s suddenly, banged up, Gamecocks.
But the rewards of a victory are stratospheric.
The winner gains control of its SEC East destiny.
The Cocks pedestrian offense, is directed by its dual-threat QB Connor Shaw (9 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions – 69% completions), with assists from starry tailback Marcus Lattimore (10 TDs – hip may not play), and his Linus blanket receiver, and return man, Ace Sanders.
But it’s the defense, which is the foundation of the football revival in Columbia.
The nation’s fifth stingiest D (12 points), is anchored by its sack master (6.5) end Jadeveon Clowney (foot), and backer Shaq Wilson, hits harder than a Sunday morning, whiskey hangover.
Florida has been one of the season’s surprises.
The Men of the Swamp, chomp behind its dynamic, dual-threat, Tebow-esque, sophomore QB, Jeff Driskel (4 touchdown passes – 1 interception), who does most of his damage with his legs.
The magic man, who engineers the country’s 14th best rushing attack, is assisted by his senior, All-America caliber, tailback, Mike Gillislee, (averaging over 100 yards a game), who can find a hole, better than a pack of gophers.
The nation’s sixth tightest eleven (12 points), featuring backer Jonathan Bostic, and end Shariff Floyd, are of championship caliber.
In a game that will have more hits than a Beatles convention, we think the Gators, in Gainesville, have a bit more firepower, and happily stick it to the Ole Ball Coach.
No. 4 Kansas State at No. 17 West Virginia (Fox, 7 p.m.) To the amazement of many, septuagenarian Coach, Bill Snyder, has his Purple Cats, once again, scratching at the elite rankings of the college football world.
The team from the “Little Apple,” Manhattan, Kansas is led by its Pied Piper, Heisman Trophy contending QB, Collin Klein (7 touchdown passes – 2 interceptions – 10 TDs rushing), who is tougher than a $10 steak.
Klein is a valuable to his team, as former chemist Annie Dookin was, to a bogus drug conviction in Massachusetts.
The fiery field general, who commands the 15th highest scoring (40 pts. a game) eleven, is assisted by tailback John Hubert (6 yds. a carry), and a threesome of quality receivers: Tramaine Thompson, Chris Harper, and Tyler Lockett.
The Cats opportunistic D (+10 turnover margin) claws opponents, and stones runners, behind backer Arthur Brown, and end Adam Davis, and allows a miniscule 17 points a game.
In Morgantown, West Virginia, there is only one fraud, bigger than the one masquerading as the Mountaineer’s defense; Lance Armstrong.
These Ole’ Masters, led by backers Isaiah Bruce, and Terrance Garvin, are second from the bottom defending the pass, sixth lowest in total D, while allowing a coal mining; 37 points a game.
Its performance is uglier, than the head clubbing scenes at the 1968 Democrat Convention.
On the other side of the ball, the WV offense, (except last week), has floated like Swan Lake.
The nation’s seventh highest scoring (45 pts. a game) team, is directed by its Heisman contending QB, Geno (25 touchdown passes – 0 interceptions – 75% completions) Smith.
The Country Road dart thrower, is assisted by a trio of mercury infused wideouts: Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey (leg- questionable), and J.D. Woods, while the ground attack is capably handled by Andrew Buie and Shawnie Alston.
In a game of contrasting styles, and coaching philosophies, we’re going with the senior member of AARP.
That may not play in the Big Apple, but it works just fine in Manhattan, Kansas.
No. 18 Texas Tech at TCU (Ch. 5, 3:30 p.m.) The Boys from Lubbock, Texas, the home of Buddy Holly, are climbing up the charts.
The Red Raiders are rocking behind its hit making QB, Seth (21 touchdown passes – 7 interceptions – 70% completions), Doege.
The touchdown maker, who operates with the precision of a diamond cutter, is assisted by a three-pack of quality wideouts; Darrin Moore, Eric Ward, and tight end Jace Amaro (questionable).
When the air raid goes underground, tailbacks; Kenny Williams, Eric Stephens, and SaDale Foster are equal partners.
But for the Lubbock faithful, the stellar performance of TT’s fourth overall rated D is about as unexpected, as seeing Senator John Kerry, without, every hair in place.
This group, led by tackle Kerry Hyder, and backer Will Smith, is playing at a level (16 pts. a game) not seen in Lubbock, since Holly himself, was taking the stage.
In Fort Worth, TCU’s starry starting QB, Casey Pachall, has signed himself into rehab.
So the keys to the car have been handed to a dual-threat r-shirt freshman; Trevone Boykin.
The new kid will lean heavily on a pair of tailbacks; B.J. Catalon, and Andre Dean, and when he goes aerial, wideouts Josh Boyce, and Cam White, provide comforting targets.
But as always with Gary Patterson teams, it will be the Horned Frogs eleventh toughest (14 pts. a game) D, led by end Devonte Fields, and backer Kenny Cain, which will determine the direction of the TCU season.
It always dangerous to take the Red Raiders after an upset win, (remember last season; Oklahoma), Tech didn’t win a game the rest of the season.
But for some reason, we think Coach Tommy Tuberville has TT poised for a big year.
No.6 LSU at No. 20 Texas A&M (ESPN, Noon) Back in the title hunt, the Tigers have a renewed gleam in its eye.
LSU may have also discovered its next great tailback; true freshman Jeremy Hill.
But as the Bayou Bengal faithful are well aware, QB Zach Mettenberger (6 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions – 59 % completions) isn’t ready for prime time.
When the erratic QB takes to the air, (LSU ranks 100th in passing) Odell Beckham, and Jarvis Landry, are primary targets.
The Sons of Billy Cannon will rely on its bevy of plow horses; Hill, along with Kenny Hilliard, and Michael Ford, to carry the load.
Defense is the signature of any Les Miles coached team, and these Boys from the Bayou, (14 points a game), are as reliable, as enjoying bourbon on ice, at a Southern pre-game tailgate gathering, and will determine the fate of the LSU season.
This bone jarring group, led by its All-America end Sam Montgomery, tackle Anthony Johnson, and backer Kevin Minter, squashes the run, and corrals the pass, with the same evil intent of a Barak Obama – Mitt Romney debate.
The Aggies are the mirror opposite, from its Bayou visitors.
The nation’s fifth highest scoring eleven (47 pts.a game), is directed by its scintillating r-shirt freshman QB, “Johnny Football,” otherwise know as Johnny Manziel (14 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions, 67% completions, 10 rushing TDs), who also leads the team in rushing, while getting some early Heisman love.
The kid is the best thing to appear in College Station since Bear Bryant was prowling its sideline, and John David Crow was running his way to the 1957 Heisman Trophy.
The mercury infused dynamo, is assisted by tailback Ben Malena, and a pair of glue fingered receivers; Mike Evans, and Ryan Swope.
Unfortunately, the Aggies Twelfth Man might not even be enough to plug some of the holes in the A&M defense.
This group, which features sack master (8.5) Damontre Moore, and backer Jonathan Stewart, has more holes, than a rat infested Blue Hill Ave, three-decker.
In an early morning kick, 11 a.m. central, we think Miles Men, and its D, keeps its Armageddon game with Alabama in perfect alignment.
No. 1 Alabama at Tennessee (ESPN, 7 p.m.) Once again, it’s St. Nick’s Boys, (also known as Alabama), and everyone else.
That is especially true on the defensive side.
These Tuscaloosan Titans, led by backer C.J. Mosely, Nico Johnson, and All-America safety Robert Lester, is deadlier, than a batch of steroids, from the New England Compounding Center.
They are tougher than a bouncer at old Triple O’s, having allowed a penurious season total of 6 touchdowns, and 45 points.
This sledge hammer eleven, would bring a crease of a smile onto the scowling, nicotine crusted visage of Tuscaloosa’s other secular saint; Bear Bryant.
The offense isn’t as dynamic, but is directed by the surgical proficiency of its junior QB, A.J. McCarron, who has yet to toss an interception, against 12 touchdown passes.
The unflappable leader is assisted by a pair of bulldozing tailbacks; Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, both of whom average 6 yards a pop.
When the quiet Heisman contender, goes aerial, freshman Amari Cooper, and Kevin Norwood, are primary targets.
In Knoxville, the only seat hotter than that of Volunteer Coach Derek Dooley is the one located in the football offices of Chestnut Hill.
And in both locations, it’s going to get even hotter.
UT hasn’t beaten a #1 ranked team, since Ronald Reagan was munching jelly beans, while watching reruns of himself in “Death Valley Days,” at the White House in; 1985.
The Vols are commanded by its rocket armed QB Tyler Bray (16 touchdown passes – 7 interceptions), with assists by a pair of dynamic, big play targets; Justin Hunter, and Cordarrelle Patterson.
When Tennessee runs, tailback Rajion Neal is the principal yardage maker.
But as the Rocky Top faithful are well aware, its easily breached D, featuring backers A.J. Johnson, and Herman Lathers, stops the opposition (31 pts. a game) about as often as a politician utters the word Christmas in December. Happy Holidays!!
Well, it will feel like Christmas in one town late Saturday, as the Tide continues on its November 3rd march, toward Baton Rouge, and LSU.
Last week’s record: 4-1 Season record: 24-11
We’ll be up and running with our recap by noon on Sunday, until then; Peace, and listen to the music. PK