We begin this week, with an obituary, an iconic hand symbol, and a President.
Last week, 78 year old Texas attorney, Harley Clark was laid to rest in Austin, Texas.
“Big deal,” you say.
Well, Mr. Clark, a former University of Texas cheerleader, is credited with creating, and introducing to the world, the iconic “Hook-em Horns” finger gesture at a 1955 Texas football pep rally.
When first introduced, the Dean of Student Life lectured Clark that his creation was considered a vulgarity in Sicily, but because it was the campus rage, it was much too late to stop.
The index and pinky finger extended, with the two middle fingers tucked under the thumb, is now universally recognized as the symbol for the school, and all its athletic programs.
The Texas faithful show it during the singing of the “Eyes of Texas” before and after games, and most players flash it after every touchdown.
It made its presidential debut in 2005, when President George W. Bush (43) flashed it toward his daughter Jenna, a UT grad, during his Inaugural Parade. Good for George. [As a side note, Bush’s gesture caused a stir amongst the Norwegians, and one of its newspapers interpreted it as sign saluting Satan.]
Not Texas, everybody knows Satan resides in Tallahassee.
This weekend, let’s see which teams stick it to the opposition, and which trudge off the field heads bowed, while its faithful flash another sign, that carries a much more vulgar connotation.
No.5 Notre Dame at No.2 Florida State (Ch.5, 8 p.m.) Nobody, and that includes; Touchdown Jesus, and the Eire Pub’s “saloon tycoon” John Stenson, anticipated the astonishing season unfolding (on artificial turf no less) in South Bend.
The undisputed leader of the Sons of Knute Rockne is its dual-threat QB Everett Golson (16 TDs-4 INTs), who is a jaw-dropping 16-1 as the ND signal caller.
But the issue, as Jesse Jackson would say, remains; will the QB, who has turned it over 9-times in the last three games, continue that trend. If so, it is a recipe for disaster against FSU.
And as the Domer faithful are well aware, the rest of the Blue and Gold offense, led by tailback Tarean Folston, and wideouts Will Fuller, and Corey Robinson, has a tendency to disappear more often than North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
The nation’s eighth stingiest (17) D, anchored by backers Jaylon Smith, Joe Schmidt, and tackle Sheldon Day stones runners, but is pedestrian defending against the pass, but is the key to any hope for an Irish upset.
The Sons of Bobby Bowden are riding the nation’s longest winning streak – 22-games, but outside of the cocoon of Tallaha$$ee, the Seminoles have about as many supporters as Scott Lively.
Who? Exactly. Lively is an independent candidate for Governor of Massachusetts.
“Mr. Apology,” Heisman QB Jameis “Crablegs” Winston (11 TDs – 5 INTs- 70%), who is now embroiled in “Signature-gate,” controversy, directs an FSU attack that, at times, has been sputtered as badly as Governor Deval Patrick’s Health Connector system.
The Seminoles “Not Your Father’s” rushing attack, featuring tailback Dalvin Cook, has been as dynamic as Ed Markey, while the offensive spark has been provided by a pair of All-America receivers; Rashard Greene, and tight end Nick O’Leary.
The FSU D, led by backer Terrance Smith, and tackle Eddie Goldman, although not as weak as Martha Coakley’s campaign, has been surprisingly pushed around.
The last time the Seminoles and the Irish met in a game of this magnitude, 1993, Bill Clinton had just located the cigar humidor. And as much as we’d like to see ND stake the victory, we simply don’t trust Golson to play a mistake free game.
Washington at No.9 Oregon (FS1, 8p.m.)To paraphrase Dorothy, Huskies Coach Chris Petersen is about to find out; “He’s not in Boise anymore.”
Sophomore QB Cyler Miles, who has yet to throw a pick (9 TDs-0 INTs) is in the middle of his learning curve, while wideouts John Ross (13 catches – 27 yd. average – 4 TDs), and Jaydon Mickens, provide comforting targets.
Unfortunately, the UDub running attack, featuring tailbacks Lavon Coleman, and Dwayne Washington, is about as effective as the Ukraine Military against Putin’s invasion of the Crimea.
The Huskies D, anchored by backer Shaq Thompson (4 TDs – former Red Sox minor leaguer), end Hau’oli Kikaha, and nose Danny Shelton (9.5 tfls – 7 sacks) is stout against the run, but a mud-sucking 105 defending against the pass, which is not the best recipe against Oregon.
It’s been a decade since UW has notched a W against the Ducks, and in the 107th renewal, that prospect is about as bright at the chances of republican Brian Herr defeating Ed Markey the Massachusetts U.S. Senate election.
The nation’s seventh highest scoring eleven (43), has shored its Jell-O offensive line, enabling its brilliant All-America, and Heisman candidate QB, Marcus Mariota (17 TDS-0 INTs), the nation’s pass efficiency leader, to prosper like a pot-shop owner.
The quiet man, who plays as flawless as Ell Macpherson in her prime, is assisted by a quartet of wideouts; led by Bryon Marshall, and Devon Allen, who averages over 19 yards a grab, while hauling in 6-TDs.
When the Sons of Phil Knight plow the earth, it is isn’t in Nikes, but with a grinding tailback Royce Freeman, who averages over 5-yards a pop.
The Duck D, featuring All-America corner Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, backer Rodney Hardrick, and end Deforest Buckner, seems to have flown south, as this bunch is 8th from the bottom defending the pass, and an unacceptable 78th stopping the run.
Those Obama like favorability numbers highlight the magnificence of Mariota’s season.
With apologies to the “Who,” “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” as Oregon begins its second decade of consecutive victories against the visitors from Seattle.
No.14 Kansas State at No.11 Oklahoma (ESPN, Noon) Coach Bill Snyder’s Purple Cats, aka the Sons of Marlin Fitzwater (the only Press Secretary to serve under two presidents 40, and 41), quietly continue to climb the rankings, almost like a Great Horned Owl attacking its prey.
The Boys from the Little Apple, Manhattan, Kansas are directed by its senior dual-threat QB Jake Waters (7 TDs-3INTs – 6 rushing), with assists from tailbacks Charles Jones and Demarcus Robinson, while All-America wideout Tyler Locket, seldom disappoints, often displaying better hands than Leonardo da Vinci.
KState’s D, anchored by backer Jonathan Truman, and end Ryan Mueller, stones runners (3rd), but is as pedestrian as the Boston City Council defending against the pass.
Coach “Big Game Bob” Stoops’ Norman troops are as disappointing as Plymouth Rock, as its loss to TCU several weeks ago a prime example.
OU’s QB Trevor Knight (6TDs -5 INTs- 55%) (aka Katy Perry’s “Boy Toy”), has reverted to his “mac and cheese” mediocre self, which has had a dampening effect on the Sooner’s offense.
Fortunately, the Sons of Bud Wilkerson have a trio of tailback bruisers led by Samaje Perine (9TDs) while wideout Sterling Shepard (21 yds. a catch) can stretch any defense.
As the Sooner faithful are well aware, the D, featuring All-America backer Eric Striker, safety Quentin Hayes, and backer Geneo Grissom collapses like Cod stocks of Georges Bank when defending against the pass – 107th.
This is a very dangerous game for the Sooner believers. Bill Snyder beat his protégé in Memorial Stadium two years ago, which is as rare (89-5 at home) as a one term Mayor of Boston. We don’t expect it to happen a second consecutive time.
No.15 Oklahoma State at No.12 TCU (FS1, 4 p.m.) After a 5-week indulgence of sugary treats, the Boys from Boone Pickens U, aka the Ok State Cowboys, will try to digest some Fort Worth, Texas USDA prime beef.
The Pokes of Coach Mike Gundy (who has done a Herculean job in Stillwater), are directed by junior QB Daxx Garman (10 TDs-5INTs), who has performed admirably for injured starter J.W. Walsh.
The Cowboys sharpshooter is assisted by tailback Desmond Roland (7TDs), and his hybrid Road Runner receiver/tailback Tyreek Hill, who possesses world class, Olympic, 100-yard dash speed.
When Mr. X goes aerial, he has a bigger selection than the ice cream counter at Howard Johnson, led by the aforementioned Hill, and his partners Brandon Shepherd, and the “paint” smooth David Glidden.
But as the Boone Pickens U Faithful are well aware, the Cowboys D, featuring backer Josh Furman (5 sacks), and end Emmanuel Ogbah (5 sacks), causes more angst in Stillwater than the drilling a dry well.
Coach Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs, aka the Sons of Davey O’Brien, must win out, if it has any hope of earning a playoff invite.
The nation’s third highest scoring (45) squad, is directed by its dual-threat (leads team in rushing) QB, Trevone Boykin (11TDs -2INTs), who is performing at marquee topping level.
The Patton-esque leader is assisted by tailback B.J. Catalon, and a trio of field stretching receivers; Josh Doctson, Deante Gray, and Kolby Listenbee – who averages 23 yards a grab.
The D, which is a Patterson specialty, led by backers Paul Dawson, Marcus Mallet, and safety Chris Hackett, has been shockingly more exposed than a Victoria Secret runway show.
Ultimately, we think the Horned Frogs stay on course, as the visitors have too difficult a time digesting the menu in Fort Worth.
No.21 Texas A@M at No.7 Alabama (Ch.4, 3:30 p.m.) A@M’s reward for losing on consecutive Saturdays against the Nos.1, and 3, teams in the land; a trip to Tuscaloosa! Ouch!
Such is the life in the rugged SEC West, which has become the pigskin version of a Soviet Gulag.
And if the Aggies fail to pull off the upset, its bye, bye to its top-25 ranking.
The Sons of John David Crow, the nation’s sixth highest scoring (43) eleven, are directed by the latest College Station gunslinger, sophomore QB Kenny Hill (27 TDs-7INTs), who is immersed in a Football 101 education.
The big-armed triggerman is assisted by tailback Tre Williams, and selects from a passel of wideouts led by; Ricky Seals-Jones and Josh Reynolds, who sometimes seem sponsored by Butterfinger.
But not even the 12th Man, let alone tackle Myles Garrett and end Julien Obioha, can plug the holes in the Aggies run (80th) D, and that is a rotten formula against Alabama.
To paraphrase the famous 1937 radio broadcast of the Herbert Morrison on the explosion disaster of the Hindenburg, “Oh, the humanity!”
Alabama wins a game in the SEC on the road by a single point!
Those are the “blowout” expectations that St. Nick has created in his tenure in Tuscaloosa, aka Groucho’s favorite town.
The Sons of Kenny Stabler are directed by senior QB Blake Sims (10 Tds-3 INTs – 67%), who is handsomely assisted by a pair of All-Americas; wiedout Amari Cooper, who is more popular than Gary, (averaging 128 yds. per game), and tailback T.J. Yeldon, who occasionally gets a blow from his partner Derrick Henry.
But if the Tide is going to punch one of the four playoff tickets, it will be behind a suffocating defense, featuring a trio of backers led by All-America Trey DePriest, which sits third overall, is 6th stingiest (15), and the envy of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
It its first home game in three weeks, the earth spins smoothly on its axis, as the Tide comfortably “rolls” the Aggies out of the rankings.
Last week: 4-1 Season record: 25-10
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