We begin this week with some refreshing sartorial sideline elegance.
In the “ancient” days of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, NFL head coaches used to prowl their sidelines adorned in soft hats, suit coats and ties, and top coats.
Just take a gander at some classic photos of: Vince Lombardi, George Halas, Paul Brown, Allie Sherman, Weeb Ewbank, and Hank Stram.
Now we are stuck with the visual blight of the Hoodie in Foxboro, or the “Omar” sized rumpled outfit that adorned the recently fired Charlie Weis. UGH!!
Which brings us to University of Miami head man Al Golden, who rain or shine, wears a white shirt with a Hurricanes-themed neck tie.
It is a practice that began from a 2009 phone call from his mother when he was coaching at Temple.
She told her son that he had to change his look on game day and honor the game, recalled the coach.
Temple went on to win 9 games that season, finishing with the second most wins in school history, which earned it an invite to its first bowl appearance in three decades.
“From that point on, I always kept the perspective that games are different. We work all year round for those 14 games, and we have to honor that by our approach, and effort,” said the Coach.
Good for him. It’s nice to see a little sidelines style in a world increasingly cluttered with, for a lack of a better term: slobs.
This weekend, let’s see which teams play so poorly, its alumni are fit to be tied, and which strut like a runway fashion model, over another stylistic victory.
No.3 Alabama at No.11 Mississippi (Ch.4, 3:30 p.m.) The Tuscaloosan Titans, or as Steely Dan sang in “Deacon Blues,” “They call Alabama the Crimson Tide,” roll into Oxford as the biggest show this side of Beyoncé and Jay Z.
St. Nick’s crew is directed by its dual-threat senior QB Blake (8TDs-2 Ints -73%) Sims, the nation’s fourth most efficient passer, who has the luxury of targeting future first round NFL pick Amari Cooper – 43 catches, 5 touchdowns.
The kid, who averages 10 catches a game, and leads the nation in per game receiving (163) yardage, has better hands than David Copperfield.
In addition, Groucho’s favorite team runs with the focus of Joan Benoit, led by its pair of turf-burners; All-America T.J. Yeldon, and Derrick Henry, who gallop at 5 yards a pop.
The D, anchored by an All-America pairing, backer Trey DePriest, safety Landon Collins, along with backer Reggie Ragland, is tougher to penetrate than George Clooney’s wedding.
There hasn’t been this much excitement in Oxford since native son William Faulkner finished “The Sound and the Fury.”
The Sons of Archie Manning, who are 4-0 for the first time since Sir Archie was under center -1970, are directed by QB Bo Wallace, the most dynamic Ole Miss gunslinger since another Manning, by the name of Eli, was leading the Rebels.
The Oxford maestro has a pair of field-stretching targets: Vince Sanders, and Laquon Treadwell, while the pedestrian exploits of tailbacks Jaylen Walton, and I’Tavius Mathers, will keep a defense honest.
But it’s the Rebs defense that has the Grove faithful believing that Mississippi could in fact author an SEC Championship.
D-coordinator Dave Wommack’s wrecking crew anchored by backer Deterrian Shakleford, corner Mike Hilton, and tackle Denzel Nkemdiche, is tops in defending against the pass, and overall the third stingiest (8.5) in America.
This is a game that has potential to be a throwback classic, and it wouldn’t shock us if the Rebels ambush the Tide.
Yet, ultimately, we simply can’t go against the combination of St. Nick and Groucho. (Besides, Hanny who picked Florida State to win it all last year, has Bama this season.)
No.19 Nebraska at No.10 Michigan State (Ch.5, 8 p.m.) For Bo Pellini’s Huskers, this is a measuring stick to see if his eleven from Lincoln performs like a luxury model.
The engine driving these Boys of the Corn, (the nation’s second best rushing team), is the country’s leading rusher, and Heisman candidate; tailback Ameer Abdullah.
[Note: You know you are the BMOC (big man on campus) when the marching band spells your name out on the field; “Fear Ameer!”]
The Big Red is under the command of dual-threat QB Tommy Armstrong, with assists from a pair of defense stressing receivers: Kenny Bell, and Jordan Westerkamp, both averaging 20 yards a catch.
The D, anchored by disruptive ends Randy Gregory, Greg McMullen, and backer Zaire Anderson, plays with the disdain of Phil Mickelson towards his Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson, or the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform toward “former” Secret Service Chief; Julia Pierson.
These Sons of Duffy Daugherty approach the field in the spirt of one of Duffy’s quotes: “Football isn’t a contact sport, it’s a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport.”
The nation’s third highest scoring eleven (50) are commanded by QB Connor Cook (9TDs-2Ints-69%) the country’s third most efficient passer.
The East Lansing ice-man, who plays with the steadiness of a Jack Nicklaus, is assisted by starry tailbacks; Jeremy Langford, and Nick Hill, while wideout Tony Lippett 6TDs, averages 19 yards a reception.
On D, the Spartan “colliders” are led by All-America end Shilque Calhoun, end his partner Marcus Rush, and backer Darien Harris, who clamp down tighter than a Venus flytrap.
In a game that will have more hits than a Motown Revue, we think the corn gets husked and popped, as Bo’s bunch, in a very close game, heads back to the Midwest with a loss.
No.14 Stanford at No.9 Notre Dame (Ch.7, 3:30 p.m.) In Palo Alto it’s been a tale of two teams for the Boys on the Farm.
The offense has been as self- destructive and dysfunctional as the Kardashians, but the D has played with the laser focus of Alibaba founder Jack Ma.
QB Kevin Hogan, with apologies to Keith Jackson, and Jimmy Breslin, directs this “Stumbling Bumbling” gang that at least up to now, hasn’t been able to shoot straight.
The Cardinal flyer is assisted by tailback Barry Sanders jr. (7.3 carry), and a pair of quality targets; Ty Montgomery, and tight end Austin Hooper.
The kryptonite D, anchored by a trio of jet-fueled backers A.J. Tarpley, Blake Martinez, and Peter Kalambay, surrender points (fewest in nation 6.5 game, and tops in total D) about as often as someone signs up to be frozen at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, the home of Ted Williams.
In South Bend it’s early, but so far, Touchdown Jesus is impressed.
The Sons of Paul Horning are directed by its dynamic dual-threat QB Everett (11TDs – 2Ints.) Golson, who throws darts better than 13 time world champion; Phil Taylor.
A trio of tailbacks; Greg Bryant, Tarean Folston, and Cam McDaniel, assist the Irish commander, while wideouts Will Fuller, and Corey Robinson, are steady receivers.
Despite the missing parts (suspensions) in its D, end Romeo Okwara, and backers Joe Schmidt, and Jaylon Smith has been solid in all phases.
In a very difficult game in which to get a handle, we think there is too much quality on the visitor’s side, (although Golson’s running scares us), as the Cardinal flies home with the W.
No.6 Texas A@M at No.12Mississippi State (ESPN, Noon) The “Yell Squad” really has something to shout about, as the Aggies are the second highest scoring (51) band in the land.
The Sons of John David Crow, under the direction of starry QB Kenny (17 Tds-2 Ints) Hill, who is third in the nation in passing yards, can light the scoreboard quicker than Apple sells an iPhone.
The College Station sharpshooter is assisted by tailbacks Trey Williams, and Tra Carson, while wideouts Malcome Kennedy, and Ricky Seals-Jones are comforting targets.
The D featuring tackles Alonzo Williams, Myles Garrett, and backer Donnie Baggs has improved, but has some fissures, especially defending the run, and will ultimately determine the heights to which the Aggies climb.
This is the biggest game in Starkville since the tumultuous good/bad days of Jackie Sherrill.
Coach Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs are directed by its scintillating dual-threat QB Dak Prescott (11 Tds-2Int), who is assisted by flashy tailback Josh Robinson (7.3 carry), and wideouts Jameon Lewis, and De’Runnya Wilson.
MSU’s D, led by end Preston Smith, and backers Benardrick McKinney, and Beniquez Brown, is stout defending the run, but a bottom feeding 4th from the cellar in defending the pass, which in not the winning recipe against A@M.
In another game that could be a classic, we just have a feeling that the cowbell clangers from Starkville garner the W.
No.4 Oklahoma at No.25 TCU (FOX, 3:30 p.m.) “Oklahoma! OK!” As Rodgers and Hammerstein once wrote.
And for the Sooner faithful, who have a Hubble-like focus on a playoff invite, it has, so far, indeed, been OK! For Oklahoma.
But this will be a tough test.
The Norman invaders are commanded by sophomore QB Trevor Knight (4 TDs-3 Ints.), with assists from his down-hill anvil-driving tailback Samaje Perine (6.3 carry), and a pair of glue fingered receivers: Sterling Shepard, and Durron Neal.
OU’s D, led by All-America backer Eric Striker, end Chuka Ndule, and backer Geneo Grissom, isn’t dominating, but moves quicker than a ticket to the instantly sold out Cat Stevens show at the Wang.
TCU Coach Gary Patterson has the Horned Frogs faithful jumpy with anticipation over this Big 12 showdown.
The Sons of Slingin’ Sammy Baugh are directed by its dual threat QB Trevone Boykin (8 TDs-1 Int.), who also leads the Frogs in rushing, while tailback B.J. Catalon, and wideouts Deante Gray, and Josh Doctson are nice complementary pieces.
But the strength of the Purple Frogs is a D, which returns 9 starters, and performs with the spirit of another legendary alum: NFL Hall of Famer; Bob Lilly.
TCU, second overall in total defense, is anchored by end James McFarland, and a pair of tackling machine backers: Paul Dawson, and his partner Marcus Mallet.
We are always leery of supporting Bob “Big Game” Stoops in a big spot, especially away from Norman, but we are buying into Rodgers and Hammerstein, that it will indeed be; “Oklahoma! Ok!”
Last week: 3-2 Season record: 19-6.
That’s it from cyber space. We’ll be up and running with our recap by Noon on Sunday. Until then, Peace, and listen to the music! pk