We begin this week with a special duck.
No, not the duck from the Groucho Marx classic ‘Why a Duck’ in the movie “Cocoanuts,” or the “secret word” duck in Groucho’s television show “You Bet Your Life,” but the University of Oregon’s mascot duck.
And if you thought it had a strong resemblance to Disney’s ubiquitous Donald, you would be correcta, or to prove to my mother that my BC High Jesuit education wasn’t a complete waste of dough; recte.
The reason it resembles Disney’s Donald, which debuted in 1934, revolves around a friendship and a handshake.
Oregon’s original nickname was the: Webfoots, which eventually morphed into Ducks. And live ducks, all named Puddles, took turns quacking up and down the sidelines during games.
But that all changed in 1947 when the university was searching for a more consistent style of mascot.
And in a fortuitous turn of events, Oregon’s athletic director Leo Harris happened to be a friend of Walt Disney.
Disney told Harris that the university was welcome to use the image of Donald as its mascot provided it was done in good taste.
When Walt died in 1966, Oregon realized a contract for the use of Donald have never been consummated, so and the university and Disney officially put it in writing in1973, giving Donald a permanent residence in Eugene.
And now, as Paul Harvey used to say, “You know the rest of the story.”
This weekend, let see which teams play like it has webfeet, and which achieve such Magic Kingdom memorable moments, that even Walt Disney, would be impressed.
No.22 Clemson at No.1 Florida State (Ch.5, 8 p.m.) The winner has the inside track to a December invite to Charlotte for the ACC Championship game.
The early version of Dabo Swinney’s 2014 Tigers are like Stonehenge, a total enigma.
The Sons of John Heisman (coached 1900-03) are now under the steady command of its senior QB, Cole Stoudt.
The Death Valley igniter is assisted by a pair of tailbacks; turbo-fueled Wayne Gallman, and his partner Adam Choice, and when Clemson takes to the skies Artavis Scott, and Mike Williams, are big play targets.
But the success of the Tigers season rest on the shoulders of its high caliber attacking D, led by All-America end Vic Beasley, and backers Tony Stewart, and Stephone Anthony.
No one ever accused FSU QB Jameis “Crablegs” Winston of violating his Mensa Club privileges.
This moron with the big arm, who is also the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, has been suspended for the first half of this game for using “offensive and vulgar” language in the middle of the student union.
Now, that my friends, is pure genius!!
Back to the game, in which sophomore Sean Maguire will be the FSU starter.
If Florida State was written up for a Car and Driver review, it would read: has a Porsche-like interior and exterior features, but sputters, as if it is using inferior fuel products.
So far, “Crablegs” has played as if he needs a dose of Low-T tablets.
But if the Tallahassee coaching mechanics are able to perform a quick tune up, watch out, there are more stars on the Seminole roster than a night sky in Wyoming.
Mr. “CL” has a pair of All-America targets; tight end Nick O’Leary, and wideout Rashad Greene, but despite the quality o-line, and the ability of tailback Karlos Williams, FSU’s ground attack has been grinding in neutral.
The imposing, and constantly attacking D, led by corner Jalen Ramsey, and backers Reggie Northrup, and Terrence Smith, possesses more speed than the raceway in Daytona.
We think, even if “Crablegs” started this game, that it will be closer than the experts predict, but ultimately the Sons of Bobby Bowden earn the inside track into the ACC Championship, and a possible playoff spot.
Mississippi State at No.8 LSU (ESPN, 7 p.m.) This game will be a pedigree barometer for the visitors from Starkville.
Is MSU still your father’s Bulldogs?
These Sons of Jackie Sherrill are directed by its dynamic dual-threat QB Dak Prescott (9TD’s-1Int.) who can be as dangerous as a late Friday night in Chicago’s Southside.
The sharpshooter is assisted by tailback Josh Robinson, but is hamstrung by a pair of pedestrian receivers; Jameon Lewis and Fred Brown.
The teeth of the Bulldogs D is a front seven featuring tackle Chris Jones, end Preston Smith and backer Benardrick McKinney.
The Bayou Bengals are coming off two weeks of cupcake gorging, but like Joey Chestnut, must now be ready to slice into this entrée of substance.
QB Anthony Jennings, who is showing signs, like the “Body Snatchers”, of emerging from his incubation period, is assisted by a pair of field stretching targets; Travin Dural and John Diarse.
But as always in Baton Rouge, the calling card remains LSU’s anvil-pounding ground attack led by Kenny Hillard, and a mercury-elusive freshman; Leonard Fournette.
The D swarms like a pack of Kenyans training in the Rift Valley, and is anchored by ends Jermauria Rasco, Daniello Hunter, and backer D.J. Welter.
Overall, this group is harder to penetrate than the crypt of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen controlled under the watchful eye of New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dalton, who is in a pitched battle with the Diocese of Peoria from the control of Sheen’s remains, while his canonization remains in limbo.
Only in the Catholic Church!!
In a solid test for both teams, we think the Tigers in Death Valley, on a Saturday night, slobber out; “Hold that Tiger,” over another victory.
Florida at No.3 Alabama (Ch.4, 3:30 p.m.) The Fun-n-Gun days of Steve Spurrier are a vague memory, as the Gator offense has been as stagnant as Congress trying to pass immigration legislation, scoring a touchdown about as often as California see some rain.
That impotency has the Gator faithful in a full froth over the employ of Coach Will Muschamp.
This moribund eleven is directed by dual-threat QB Jeff Driskel with assists from tailbacks Kelvin Taylor, Matt Jones, and receiver DeMarcus Robinson.
In contrast to its brothers, the Sons of Tim Tebow has a defense featuring All-America end Dante Fowler, backer Antonio Morrison, and All-America corner Vernon Hargreaves with moves like Jagger.
In Groucho’s favorite town, Tuscaloosa, Alabama (“…When we tried to remove the elephant tusks they were embedded so firmly, we couldn’t budge them. Of course in Alabama, the Tuscaloosa …..” “Animal Crackers,”) St. Nick rules all.
The Tide has settled on QB Blake Sims to drive this championship wagon, and luckily the youngster can rely on a pair of All-Americas; tailback T.J. Yeldon, and wideout, Amari Cooper.
The D, anchored by All-Americas safety Landon Collins, backer Trey DePriest, and tackle Jonathan Allen is disruptive, but still shows some fissures protecting against the pass.
In Gainesville, the pressure builds on Muschamp, as Bama takes another step toward its SEC Championship chase.
No.4 Oklahoma at West Virginia (FOX, 7:30 p.m.) “Oklahoma! Where the wind comes sweeping down the plain…” is exactly how its offense has operated, sweeping behind its dynamic QB, Trevor Knight.
The big-armed sniper is assisted by tailbacks; Keith Ford (out ankle), and Samaje Perine, while wideout Sterling Shepard has the elusive touchdown moves of squirrel in the middle of traffic.
The Sooner’s swarming D, featuring All-America backer Eric Striker, end Chuka Ndule, and backer Caleb Gastelum, hits harder than an oil rig worker in a Saturday night saloon brawl on the prairie.
The Mountaineers Mad-Scientist, Coach Dana Holgorsen has been stirring up a surprising early season winning brew.
Gunslinger Clint Trickett is the triggerman of this offensive juggernaut, with assists from tailback Rushel Shell, and a pair of field-stretching receivers: Kevin White, and Mario Alford.
The WV D, featuring backers Nick Kwiatkoski and Brandon Golson, still has more holes than a Big Dig Tunnel, or the tax returns of former Turnpike “on time and on budget” Chairman, Jim Kerasiotes.
In what may well be a Wild West shootout, we think ultimately it will be a Sooner-Boomer night for Mr. Knight.
No. Illinois at Arkansas (ESPNU, 7:00 p.m.) This may not fall into the glamour category of a Hepburn and Tracey, or Liz and Burton, but it still carries a good deal of intrigue.
There are two questions in the lining of this game: How much have the Razorbacks improved in year two under man from Wisconsin Bret Bielema? And can the upstarts from Dekalb, Illinois stir things up in the South?
The Huskies are mushing along with the nation’s longest (17) road game winning streak.
Its lead dog is dual-threat QB Drew Hare, who is assisted by a pair of breakaway backs Cameron Stingily, and Joel Bouagnon, who nicely complement the field-stretching duo: Da’Ron Brown, and Juwan Brescacin.
The Dekalb Debunkers attack behind a relentless D, anchored by backer Rasheen Lemon, and end Jason Meehan, but has some vulnerability defending against the pass.
In his second year in Fayetteville, Coach Bret Bielema’s Hogs are starting to display some prime cuts.
The Sons of Bill Clinton, who run more than Althea Garrison, are directed by sharpshooter Brandon Allen, who has the luxury of leaning heavily on a pair of slippery game breakers: Alex Collins (8.2 yds. carry), and his partner Jonathan Williams (9.8 yds. a carry).
When the Razorback marksman takes to the air, Keon Hatcher, and Demetrius Wilson, are primary targets.
The D, led by tackle Taiwan Johnson, end Trey Flowers, and backers Martrell Spaight, and Brooks Ellis, is operating under its fourth coordinator since December 2011, and despite its lack of depth, is a vastly improved operation.
On Saturday night in Fayetteville it will be a Razorback “Woo, Pig Sooie” for the Sons of Frank Broyles.
Last week: 4-1 Season record: 12-3
That’s it from cyber-space. We’ll be up and running with our recap by noon Sunday. Until then, Peace, and listen to the music. pk