We begin this week with a mascot, a sophomore, and a “future” pair of boots.
Reveille VIII, an 8 year old female collie, is the esteemed mascot of Texas A@M University.
The dog carries the military rank of Cadet General, and is the highest ranking member of the Corps of Cadets.
Reveille has her own cell phone, which is operated by her “mascot corporal,” as well as her own student identification card.
And the dog must be addressed in the following manner: “Miss Rev, ma’am.”
Several weeks ago, in a home game against SMU, one of the Mustangs’ receivers came hurtling toward the collie, who was resting on its bed, located against a sideline wall, near the end zone.
Sophomore Ryan Kreider, that day’s “collie mascot,” anticipated the potential collision, and stepped out to deflect the player away from A@M’s pride and joy.
In College Station, it is mandatory that Reveille be protected at all times.
That gesture caught the eye of the Commandant of the Corps, Brigadier General Joe Ramirez, who was quite impressed with the cadet’s professionalism in the performance of his duties.
So much so, that Ramirez has offered to pay for Kreider’s custom made senior boots, which is another Aggie tradition.
The stunning leather footwear is made by Victor’s Shoe and Boot Repair, and with tax included, retails for a kicking: $1326!!!! Good for Ramirez.
This weekend, let’s see which teams, even before the first note of reveille, have already gone to the dogs, and which, seemingly on command, simply boot the opposition to the sidelines.
No.2 Auburn at No.3 (tied) Mississippi State (Ch.4. 3:30 p.m.) The Boys from the Plains have been as deadly as Clint in “High Plains Drifter.”
These Sons of Bo Jackson, are under the direction of its dual-threat maestro, and Heisman candidate, QB Nick Marshall (8 TDs-1Int), who possesses the escapability of Houdini, while running with the freedom of a gazelle.
The starry triggerman, who attacks a defense with the ferocity of an ISIS guerilla, is assisted by tailback Cameron Artis-Payne, and field-stretcher wideout D’Laquille Williams.
On the defensive side, the Tigers, the nation’s ninth stingiest (14 pts.) eleven, are tougher than a $5 steak, and fire behind backers; Cassanova McKinzy, Kris Frost, and tackle Montravius Adams.
How bright are the klieg lights in Starkville; aka StarkVegas, Mississippi?
Well “Game Day” will be making its first ever appearance, and the faithful now refer to its Bulldogs as; “Mississippi State-ment.”
But the question remains; can Coach Dan Mullen’s crew handle the Broadway buzz?
It’s not easy to go from relative anonymity, to a corner seat at “Cheers,” “Where everybody knows your name.” [Note: MSU and Ole Miss are on the cover of this week’s S.I.]
The name that is topping the charts is MSU’s dynamic dual-threat, and now strong Heisman contender, QB Dak Prescott (13 TDs-2 Ints), who also has garnered another 6 TDs while rushing for 455 yards.
The Tebow-esque (Mullen coached Tebow at Florida) igniter of these Sons of Tom Neville (Boston Patriots), is assisted by a road-grinding tailback; Josh Robinson (7.5 yds), and a duo of talented receivers; Jameon Lewis, and De’Runna Wilson.
Its paradoxical D, anchored by backers Bernardrick McKinney, Beniquez Brown, and end Preston Smith stones runners (11th), but is second from the bottom defending the pass.
This is a defacto elimination game for both teams, and even though the lights are brighter than Rick’s Café in “Casablanca,” we’re sticking with the StarkVegas “Bell Clangers” to ring-in the biggest victory in its history.
No.3 (tied) Mississippi at No.14 Texas A@M (ESPN, 9 p.m.) The “Bo Knows Show,” aka the Ole Miss Rebels, has another audition in College Station.
QB Bo Wallace (14 TDs-6 Ints-68%), the most renown Oxford gunslinger since Archie and Eli, is the director of this Magnolia State football renaissance.
The helmeted “Cool Hand Luke” is assisted by a trio or receivers: Laquon Treadwell, Cody Core, and Vince Sanders, who have fingers stickier than Specs O’Keefe.
When Ole Miss runs, tailbacks Jaylen Walton, and I’Tavius Mather can breach any defense.
While the glamor boy may be the one being hoisted onto the shoulders of the student body, and his name is toasted in the campus saloons, equal billing must be afforded to the nation’s second stingiest (10pts) D.
These aggressive disruptors are the foundation of the Rebels success, and must hold serve, especially if “Bad Bo” (interceptions) rears its ugly head.
With apologies to Tom Petty, this “Rebel Yell” eleven, led by tackle Robert Nkendiche, corner Mike Hilton, and backer Deterrian Shackelford, is fifth in total D, and is tougher to penetrate than the walls of the Civil War’s Fort McAlister.
The Aggies, although slightly favored, are going to need the 12th Man in full throated roar.
QB Kenny Hill (21 TDs – 5 Ints – (3) last week), is the electric commander of the nation’s third highest scoring (47pts) eleven.
The man with the golden arm, Coach Kevin Sumlin’s latest incarnation, is assisted by a pair of quality backs; Trey Williams and Tra Carson.
While his receivers; Malcome Kennedy (shoulder), Josh Reynolds, and Ricky Seals Jones, have had more drops than the Vicks Corporation.
But the Aggies colander D, (75th overall, and 86th stopping the run), featuring end Julien Obioha, tackle Myles Garrett, and safety Howard Matthews, is the cause of the restless nights for Reveille, and the entire Cadet Corps.
In what should be another SEC classic, and one in which the Aggies can’t afford to lose, we think Bo conjures the spirit of Archie and Eli, and puts on another Ole Miss magic show.
No.9 TCU at No.5 Baylor (FS1, Noon) This is the biggest event in Waco since former Attorney General Janet Reno’s siege burnt down the compound of David Koresh and the Branch Davidians.
In fact Dwight Eisenhower was in the Oval Office, 1956, the last time a pair of AP top ten teams squared off on the gridiron at Baylor.
Coach Gary Paterson’s resurgent TCU Horned Frogs are directed by its dual-threat QB Trevoyne Boykin (10 TDs-2 INTs), who is also its leading rusher.
The Fort Worth dart-thrower is assisted by tailback B.J. Catalon, and quintet of prime targets headed by; Josh Doctson, and Deantre Gray.
On D, the Sons of Bob Schieffer, the country’s seventh stingiest (13 pts), attack behind backers Paul Dawson, Marcus Mallet, and end John Carraway.
The Baylor Bears, aka the Sons of Del Shofner, have scorched the landscape (tops in America – 51pts game) like a California wild fire.
Coach Art Briles’ nearly point-a-minute dynamos, fire away under the direction of sharpshooter Bryce Petty (9 TDs-1 INT), with assists from tailbacks Shock Linwood, and Johnny Jefferson, while wideouts K.D. Cannon (22 yds.), and Jay Lee, will stretch any defense.
Much of Baylor’s competition has been on the sugary side (cupcakes), yet the nation’s fifth tightest D (12 pts), led by end Shawn Oakman, and backer Bryce Hayer, attacks with the aggressive anger of its iconic alum; Mike Singletary.
In another game infused with national implications, we’ll take the Waco Warriors, who after three consecutive weeks on the road, should revel in the home cooking of McLane Stadium
USC at No.10 Arizona (ESPN2, 10:30 p.m.) Coach Steve Sarkisian’s triumphant return to the sidelines of USC was expected to instantly restore the glorious luster of the Pete Carroll Championship years.
Instead, the Men of Troy’s season is unraveling like the Iraqi Army.
The Trojans, who have been as consistent as John Kerry, are led by junior QB Cody Kessler (10 TDs – 0 INTs), with assists from his slippery tailback Javorius Allen (5 yds.), and a pair of quality receivers; Nelson Aghdor, and JuJu Smith.
On defense, the Sons of John McKay, featuring backer Hayes Pullard, safety Su’a Cravens, and end Leonard Williams, slow the run (71st) about as often as Congress stays in session, or Benjamin Netanyahu stops building settlements on the West Bank.
Hey, Ann Arbor!! How’s Rich Rod looking now??!!
Or to paraphrase Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting,” “Hey Michigan, how about them apples!”
Arizona Coach Rich Rodriguez, who was shown the door on the Maize and Blue campus after only his third season, has his Wildcats 5-0 for the first time, since Bill Clinton was chasing Barbara Streisand around the White House piano – 1998.
These Sons of Tedy Bruschi are under the command of its talented r-shirt freshman, QB Anu Solomon (14 TDs-4 INTs), who has played with the Wisdom of Solomon.
The dual-threat marksman is assisted by a pair of tailbacks Terris Jones-Grigsby, and Nick Williams who attack a defense with the subtly of an 18-wheeler.
When the Arizona air-raid lights the desert sky, wideouts Cayleb Jones (6TDs), Nate Phillips, and Austin Hill, are all touchdown makers.
The heart of the D is backer Scooby Wright III, who averages an eye-popping 11 tackles a game, but overall this group sits 87th, and is an appalling 8th from the bottom defending the pass.
Despite those defensive liabilities, we think Rich Rod’s guys utilize Solomon and his wisdom, posting another impressive W, on its unblemished Tucson record.
No.12 Oregon at No.18 UCLA (FOX, 3:30 p.m.)The Ducks are wounded.
Oregon’s D has more holes than the US/Mexico border, and its offensive line protects as well as a Secret Service detail.
The Green from Eugene is under the direction of its “Magic Man,” Heisman candidate QB Marcus Mariota, performs with the panache of Sinatra.
And despite constantly running for his life, leads the nation in passing efficiency, and stunningly, has yet to throw a pick (15 TDs-0 INTs).
The rushing attack featuring Royce Freeman, and Thomas Tyner doesn’t dazzle, while the receiving corps Byron Marshall, Devon Allen, and Keanon Lowe hasn’t been of Autzen Stadium vintage.
Despite its All-America corner, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, the Ducks D is a leaky 102nd overall, and an eye-popping, sixth rungs from the bottom in defending the pass.
UCLA, aka the Sons of Gary Beban, have lost six straight to Oregon, and are equally hamstrung by an offensive line that has more holes than a wall of a Syrian hotel.
Despite that hindrance (10 sacks last week), the Bruins Heisman candidate, QB Brett Hundley (9TDs-2 INTs- 72%) has managed to cobble together a quality year.
The highly touted leader is assisted by tailback Paul Perkins, and wideout Jordan Payton, and Devin Fuller.
Coach Jim Mora’s D, led by All-America backer Myles Jack, end Eric Kendricks, and nose tackle Kenny Clark, has struggled mightily, ranking 85th overall, and is a mud-sucking 103rd defending against the pass.
This is another elimination game, with the loser all but eliminated from playing in the Conference Championship Game.
And despite the fact that the game is in the Rose Bowl, we don’t envision the Ducks losing two in a row.
Last week: 2-3 Season Record: 21-9.
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