We begin this week with a barrel of hops, barley, yeast, and water for the brewing of a beer whose brand is steeped in controversy.
Several months ago Mark Dudash, the owner of the Duquesne Brewery, which operates out of Latrobe, Pennsylvania hit on an idea; he wanted to brew, and sell; Joe Paterno Beer.
As one might imagine, the initial response was one of “skunky” caution, after all, the stench of scandal still hangs over the Happy Valley campus, and making a beer with that moniker might be difficult to swallow.
But Dudash persisted with his mission.
He made a call to George Bradley, the general manager of a local distributor, to gage his interest.
“I must say, initially, there was some resistance. People didn’t want to be stuck with a product then have a fire-sale to get rid of it,” Bradley stated.
But to paraphrase Claude Rains who said to Bogart in Casablanca, “I am shocked, shocked, to find that gambling is going on in this Café.” Who could possibly imagine a beer named after Joe Paterno would be a big seller in Pennsylvania!!
Sales have already topped a million cans, and a second batch is being brewed. “I’ve been in this business for 17 years and I’ve never seen a response to a beer product like this. My retailers want more, and they want it now,” Bradley exclaimed.
What a country!! Just think what the sales volume would be without the scandal.
This weekend let’s see which teams toast its victors with a sudsy late night celebration, and which leaves its alums crying in its beer after another desultory loss by “State U.”
No.15 Mississippi at No. 2 Alabama (ESPN, 9:15 p.m.) The Sons of Archie Manning [note: the speed limit on the stately Oxford Campus is 18 mph in honor of Archie’s number] are hoping to write a better story than its renown Pulitzer Prize winning alum, and Oxford resident; William Faulkner.
The faithful are also hoping the latest ‘Ole Miss gunslinger, Chad Kelly (6 TDs-1 INT -72%) continues to channel the “K-Gun” spirit of his HOF uncle, former Buffalo Bills QB Jim Kelly.
The Rebels bombardier has the luxury of targeting a pair of field-stretching wideouts; All-America Laquon Treadwell, and his partner Cody Core, mixed with a seasoned dash of All-America tight end Evan Engram.
The ground attack featuring the tailback tandem of Jaylen Walton, and Eugene Brazley has vastly improved thanks to a seasoned offensive line.
The backbone of the Rebs is a D, which is tougher to penetrate than the Hungarian border and anchored by All-America tackle Robert Nkemdiche, end Marquis Haynes, and nose Isaac Gross.
The Titans from Tuscaloosa, aka: Groucho’s favorite team, are more businesslike than the grey and blue suited Vulcans of the gilded boardroom of Goldman Sachs.
But for many, (not Kenny Hanson) to paraphrase comedian Joe E. Lewis who originally used “Yankees”: “Rooting for Alabama, is like rooting for U.S. Steel.”
The reins of the Bama wagon has been handed to senior QB Jake Coker, who is brilliantly assisted by All-American tailback Derek Henry, and his turbo-charged partner Kenyan Drake, both averaging over a jaw-dropping 7-yards a carry.
When the FSU transfer takes to the Tuscaloosan skies, he lasers on a pair of quality targets; wideout Robert Foster, and a skyscraper in (6-6, 242) tight end O.J. Howard.
But if the Sons of Bart Starr are to earn a second consecutive playoff invite, it will by its kryptonite D, which builds a stronger barrier than the wall between the Palestinians and Israelis and is anchored by a pair of All-Americas; backer Reggie Ragland, and nose A’Shawn Robinson.
The ‘Ole Miss faithful like to shout this cheer: Hotty Toddy, Gosh Almighty, Who the hell are we, Hey! Flim flam, Bim Bam, OLE MISS BY DAMN.
But late Saturday night it will simply be, with apologies to Bill Belichick; on to Louisiana Monroe, the next “business trip” for the undefeated Grouchos of T-Town.
No.14 Georgia Tech at No.8 Notre Dame (Ch.7, 3:30 p.m.) The Ramblin Wreck is precisely that; a wrecking crew.
QB Justin Thomas is the triggerman for Coach Paul Johnson’s triple option, which runs like the Eveready Bunny, and operates like it was designed by a PhD candidate from MIT.
Tech’s turbo-charged earth movers flow like the New York City Marathon runners coming off the Verrazano Bridge, and are led by Marcus Marshall, Patrick Skov, and Brady Swilling.
In the “blue moon” occasion that GT goes aerial, receivers Michael Summers, and TaQuon Marshall are solid targets.
The D of the Sons of Bobby Dodd which is led by backer P.J. Davis, nose Adam Gotsis, and corner D.J. White doesn’t have the sieve-lie quality of years past, particularly in its seasoned secondary.
In South Bend, the diminished playoff hopes of the Irish now rest on the inexperienced arm of r-shirt freshman QB DeShone Kizer.
But faithful of the Sons of Terry Hanratty are hoping that the kid controls the game like a German Kaiser, or at least channels some of the ’66 magic of; Hanratty to Seymour.
(Note: In 1966 both players were on the cover of Time Magazine – which back in those pay-phone days was a very big deal.)
Luckily the “next-man-up” is cocooned by one of the nation’s top offensive lines led by its All-America left tackle Ronnie Stanley.
The kid will also lean heavily on tailback C.J. Prosie, and his touchdown creating wideout Will Fuller.
If the Domers are to be victorious, its blitzing D, led by All-America backer Jaylon Smith, and his partners Joe Schmidt, and Isaac Rochell must force some three-and-outs in hopes of derailing the Jackets train.
In a game with huge national implications, we think it’s the Engineers from Atlanta, in a very close game who design the winning game plan.
No.23 Northwestern at Duke (not on national television: 12:30 p.m.) This is the second edition of the “Smart Kids” Bowl. The first was the Wildcats season opening victory at home against Stanford.
The Purple Cats are also one of the early season surprises as the small school from the Midwest has not allowed a touchdown in consecutive games for the first time since the Eisenhower Administration – 1958.
Coach Pat Fitzgerald’s squad is directed by dual-threat QB Clayton Thorson, who slices a defense better than a Veg-O-Matic, while sophomore tailback Justin Jackson is the Cats’ meow.
When NU does go aerial, wideouts Christina Jones, and Austin Carr, are a pair of glue-fingered targets.
The defensive strength of the Sons of Ara Parseghian is a secondary featuring Traveon Henry and Goodwin Igwebuike, with an added dash of backer Anthony Walker, and pass rush specialist Ifeadi Odenigbo.
Before Coach David Cutcliffe (one of the nation’s most underrated) arrived in Durham, Duke Football was viewed as just some casual oddity that took place to pass the time before the start of basketball season.
In fact, the Duke Administration has undertaken a capital improvement program to Wallace Wade Stadium, something that not even Nostradamus could have seen coming.
The Blue Devils are commanded by dual-threat QB Thomas Sirk, who choses from a Phillips Candy House sampler of receivers; Johnell Barnes, T.J. Rahming, and Max McCaffrey.
The Dukies ground attack led by tailbacks Shaun Wilson, and Shaquille Powell isn’t dynamic but are positive yardage churners.
The secondary, led by safety Jeremy Cash, and corner Breaon Borders are quality stoppers in Cutcliffe’s 4-2-5 alignment.
In a game in which the players on both sidelines have scored a bazillion SAT points, we think it’s the Boys from the Midwest who, in a close match “out-Jeopardy” the men from Durham.
Stanford at No.6 USC (Ch.5, 8 p.m.) The Cardinal faithful is hoping that senior QB Kevin Hogan plays more like Heisman alum Jim Plunkett, and not “Colonel Hogan” of “Hogan’s Heroes” fame.
If the “Farm” signal-caller has his GPS in proper working order, wideout Devon Cajuste, and tight end Austin Hooper are chain moving targets.
It’s early, but Stanford’s signature ground attack, which is averaging an agita-inducing 3-yards a pop, has been as uninspiring Boston City Council.
The three-amigos from whom much is expected are: Christian McCaffrey, Barry Sanders Jr., and Redmound Wright.
The revamped D, anchored by backers Blake Martinez, Kevin Anderson, and Peter Kalambayi, tackle better than the security team around Donald Trump.
USC has gorged on a pair of cupcakes, now we’ll see if it can properly digest a main entrée.
As a note: the Cardinal is the Men of Troy’s oldest rival (1905 – Teddy Roosevelt), and additionally, this is the first time since the last days of W (2008), that the Boys from the Farm come into this game unranked.
The surfers from L.A. are under the command of its dart-throwing Heisman hopeful Cody Kessler (7TDs-) 0-INTs-78%) who throws a better bomb than Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate criticizing the Iranian Nuclear Agreement.
This Starry Son of John McKay has the luxury of targeting a future Sunday performer; receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, but Justin Davis, Ronald Jones, and Tre Madden won’t remind anyone of the glory days of “Tailback U.”
The D led by its All-America backer Su’a Cravens with assists from his linebacker partners; Cameron Smith, and Osa Masina hits harder than a Roy Rice elevator punch.
We think The Boys from the Farm return to Palo Alto with the USC fight song Fight On! stuck in its head.
No.19 BYU at No.10 UCLA (FS1, 10:30 p.m.) This has been a “September to remember” for Cougars QB Tanner Mangum.
Three months ago, the 22 year old was finishing his 2-year mission in Chile, and now, after orchestrating a pair of last second heart-stopping comebacks, he has become the Cinderella of the Provo campus.
The “Mission Impossible” leader is assisted by his primary tailback Adam Hine, while receivers Mitch Juergens, and Nick Kurtz, average an eye-popping 25 yards per grab.
The D led by nose Logan Taele, backer Harvey Langi, and safety Michael Wadsworth has played well, but it will be severely tested on Saturday night by the Trojan’s dynamic passing assault.
There hasn’t been this much interest surrounding a Bruins QB, since Mark Harmon, of NCIS fame, was leading the UCLANs to the Rose Bowl.
Its new poster boy is t-freshman QB Josh Rosen, who has the faithful not only dreaming of a Rose Bowl, but dare-I-say, an invite to the New Year’s Eve playoff.
The protégé relies on a trio of tailbacks; Paul Perkins, Bolu Olorunfunmi, and Soso Jamabo, who have the ability to tiller the earth better than Monsanto.
When the kid takes to the smog-filled skies channeling Gary Beban, wideouts Jordan Payton, and partner Devin Fuller, are big-play targets.
The D led by All-America backer Myles Jack, his partner Kenny Young, and nose Kenny Clark is faster than a Porsche screaming down Highway 1.
UCLA has won 10-consecutive non-conference games. Make it eleven, as Mangum’s Cinderella ride morphs into a pumpkin.
Last week’s record: 2-3 Season record 6-4.
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