We begin this week by crossing sporting lines and giving our tribute to an American treasure, and one of the great all-time characters; the beloved Yogi Berra
The Hall of Fame catcher was an All-Star for 15 consecutive seasons, won 10 World Championships with the Yankees, and was a three-time American League MVP.
I remember meeting Yogi as a ten-year old kid.
It was on a Patriots Day and the Sox-Yanks game scheduled for that morning was canceled because of snow. So my pals and I ventured over to the old “Statler Hilton,” now the “Park Plaza,” which was the place where the Yankees always stayed.
There sitting in the middle of the lobby reading the paper was none other than Yogi, and as we surrounded him for an autograph, which he graciously signed, I asked him what he thought of our new left fielder, Tony Conigliaro.
Without missing a beat Yogi responded, “I haven’t seen him enough to give you a comment,” said the Hall of Famer simply.
We all have our favorite Yogisms and here are mine:
Yogi roomed with Doctor Bobby Brown, a cardiologist, who attended Tulane Med-School in the offseason.
One night Yogi went out to get a pizza, and the guy at the counter asked Yogi how many slices he wanted, 4 or 8. Without hesitation Berra said, “You better make it 4, I’m not that hungry.”
The other involved Mickey Mantle and a charity golf tournament that Mick was sponsoring.
Mantle, who was supposed to be playing with Yogi was steaming, because Berra was late.
Finally about a half-hour after their scheduled tee-time in strolls Yogi. The aggravated Mantle says, “Yogi, where you been? You were supposed to be here a half-hour ago!”
Berra replies: “I was at a funeral. Remember Mick, if you don’t go to theirs, they won’t go to yours.” Brilliant.
This weekend let’s see which teams show some real character on the field, then celebrate with slices of pizza, and which use utilize a game plan of such confounding logic, it leaves the opposition’s alums looking like they’re at a funeral.
No.9 UCLA at No.16 Arizona (Ch. 5, 8 p.m.) These are not your father’s Bruins.
Unlike the UCLAn elevens of recent vintage, these Sons of Tommy Prothro are forged with confidence, and play a stout physical attacking style. [Although the loss (knee) of backer Myles Jack is devastating on the field, and in the locker room.]
The shift in style is a reflection of the personality of Coach Jim Mora.
The soul of the run orientated Rose Bowlers is tailback Paul Perkins, who, while deserving of Heisman conversation, plays with the anonymity of democratic presidential candidate Lawrence Lessig.
[Who? – Harvard law professor.]
The director of these Pac-12 title challengers is t-freshman QB josh Rosen (5 TDs-4 INTs) who fortunately is comforted by chain-movers; Jordan Payton, and Thomas Duarte. But this game will be a test of PhD proportions for the kid.
The D of the Sons of James Dean is anchored by a pair of backers; Isaako Savaiinaea, Kenny Young who smack harder than Bernie Sanders verbally assaulting the corporate world of banking.
In the desert, Coach Rich Rod’s turbo-charged Wildcats score quicker than a young Mick Jagger, but after an overindulgence of three consecutive cupcakes its mettle will be tested Saturday night.
Cats QB Anu Solomon (10 TDs-0 INTs – 68%) has hit his targets better than Wyatt Earp, and the Zona sharp-shooter has a passel of glue-fingered targets featuring: Davis Richards, Cayleb Jones, and Johnny Jackson, while tailback Nick Wilson – (7 yds. a carry) can slice any defense.
The D led end Reggie Gilbert, safety Will Parks and backer Jake Matthew [note: All-America backer Sooby Wright may play – torn meniscus] has struggled mightily stopping the run.
This is another dangerous test for Mora’s Marauders, and in a very close game, we think the other team from LA finds an oasis in the desert.
No.18 Utah at No.13 Oregon (FOX, 8:30 p.m.) The marrow behind the Sons of Lee Grosscup (The “Cupper” Utah ’58 was a shovel pass artesian – and longtime TV analyst) is tailback Devontae Booker, a fiery sparkplug who runs more violently than a 3 a.m. Friday night party in “the community.”
But the rest of the Utes offensive attack has been as barren as a reservoir in California.
QB Travis Wilson (shoulder sprain – expected to play) is the director of Utah’s bottom feeding passing game which has been as inept at the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.
When it does connect, wideouts Britain Covey, Kenneth Scott, and tight end Siale Fakailoatonga are the principle targets.
The seasoned D anchored by end Hunter Dimick, and backers Jared Norris and Gionni Paul has been anointed as: “Sack Lake City” but this season has been as ineffective as Hillary’s new “warm and fuzzy” persona.
Amazingly, the Sons of Dan Fouts seem to be flying under the radar.
And the most scrutinized digit in Eugene, this side of Lady Gaga flashing the “bird” to a group of photographers at a Mets game in 2010, or the Giants John Pierre-Paul blowing his off on the 4th of July, is the broken index finger on the throwing hand of QB Vernon Adams. (Jeff Lockie – backup).
The tone setting steam engine for the Sons of Phil Knight U is tailback Royce Freeman, and while Adams’ family of receivers isn’t “creepy and kooky…” it is dangerous, led by Bralon Addison, and Dwayne Stanford.
The D of the Sons of Bill Gore [inventor of Gore-tex] featuring backers Joe Walker, Rodney Hardrick, and end DeForest Buckner is stouter than previous years, but still has some significant fissures.
Ultimately, we think the cleated disciples of “Mr. Nike” aka Phil Knight, Duck over the visitors from Salt Lake City.
No.3 TCU at Texas Tech (FOX, 4:45 p.m.) The Horned Frogs are riding the nation’s second longest (11) winning streak with only the Buckeyes string of 16 standing in its way.
The Froggies “keeper-of-the-flame” is its dual threat Heisman candidate QB Trevone Boykin (10 TDs-3 INTs) who has better leadership qualities than the entire Democratic field.
I realize that isn’t saying too much!!
When the “air-raid” bombardier takes a breather, elusive Nebraska transfer Aaron Green runs downhill better than Billy Rodgers.
Unfortunately, for the future Sunday performer the field-stretchers; Josh Doctson, and Kolby Listenbee might have careers better suited as salesmen for; “Butterfingers.”
The Frogs D anchored by tackle Aaron Curry (another Nebraska transfer), and safety Denzel Johnson has suffered more injuries than the customers sitting in the window of a Dunkin Donuts after another octogenarian “mistakenly” stepped on the gas.
It is hard envision the Sons of Sammy Baugh will survive the season unscathed with such a depleted injury-riddled defense.
Like its native son Buddy Holly, the swagger has returned to the Red Raiders of Lubbock.
The high-riding Sons of E.J. Holub are directed by its dual-threat QB Pat Mahomes (9 TDS-3 INTs) with assists from receivers Jakeem Grant, and Ian Sadler, while DeAndre Washington, and Justin Stockton are quality road-graders.
The key to the turnaround for the Sons of John Denver has been ball protection which last year dropped to one rung from the cellar.
The opportunistic D features safety Jah’shawn Johnson, end Pete Robertson, and backer Dakota Allen.
We think TT stops the streak severely damaging TCU’s chances for a playoff, while the Lubbock faithful serenade its conquering heroes with one of Buddy Holly’s greatest: “That’ll be the day ….”
No.14 Texas A&M vs Arkansas (ESPN, 6 p.m.)Jerry’s World Arlington, Texas As we have mentioned, Coach Kevin Sumlin’s best off-season move was enticing defensive coordinator John Chavis to leave the confines of Baton Rouge (LSU) and $ign on with the Aggies at College Station.
Thanks to his wizardry, the A@M D, which once had gaps larger than a gushing BP oil pipe, or Deval Patrick’s budget, is now tighter than a manhole cover on the Central Park motorcade route for Pope Francis.
The Sons of Lyle Lovett sing along in a high energy spread attack that is orchestrated by QB Kyle Allen (9 TDs-2 INTs), with large assists from tailback Tra Carson, and the “good-hands” threesome; Christian Kirk, Ricky Seals-Jones, and Josh Reynolds.
The reconditioned D is anchored by All-America end Myles Garrett, his partner Daeshon Hall, and safety Armani Watts, who isn’t afraid to add grass stains to his uniform.
It’s early, but the Sons of Jerry Jones have been butchered like hogs.
The Razorbacks are one of the early season disappointments (1-2), and since his arrival in Fayetteville Coach Bret Bielema, aka “Mr. Gasbag,” hasn’t conjured up Frank Broyles memories with his 11-17 “rebuilding” record.
The “old school” Hogs run like John Riggins feeding its thoroughbred tailback; Alex Collins.
QB Brandon Allen, the Razorbacks senior signal caller lost his favorite target last week leaving JoJo Robinson, and Drew Morgan as the next men up.
The D anchored by backer Brooks Ellis, and tackle Jeremiah Ledbetter, struggles getting off the field surrendering a hideous better than fifty-percent of opponent’s third-down conversions. And that my friends, is a suicidal formula against the Aggies.
This is a tortoise versus hare type of game, we’ll take the Hare, as the Gasbag’s Hogs, and Jerry’s alma-mater, are bacon once again.
Tennessee at Florida (Ch.4, 3:30 p.m.) As the Checkerboard faithful are painfully aware, its Sons of Johnny Majors have rolled snake-eyes 10 consecutive times versus the Gators.
For Coach Butch Jones, and the cache of the UT season, this game carries the same sense of importance as the hairstylist for Donald Trump.
QB Joshua Dobbs is the Rocky Top game changer assisted by road scorchers Jalen Hurd, and Alvin Kamara, who burn with the fury of a Cape Canaveral launch.
When the Knoxville leader locks on, he has a trio of chain movers; Josh Malone, Preston Williams, and tight end Ethan Wolf.
The Vols D, anchored by backer Jalen Reeves-Maybin, and end Derek Barnett, attacks from all angles, but its secondary is as vulnerable as a boat overflowing with Syrian refugees attempting to cross the Aegean Sea.
These are not your father’s Gators.
These Sons of Tim Tebow are seemingly younger than Michael Jackson when he burst on the scene with the “Jackson Five.”
With 17 true-freshmen on its roster, newly minted Coach Jim McElwain said that it is the youngest eleven of which he’s ever been associated.
As the Gator Nation is tortuously aware, since “Mr. Heisman” departed Gainesville, the Swamp’s QB’s have performed as inconsistently as the Iraqi “Army.”
As it currently stands, Will Grier holds a slight edge over Treaon Harris (suspended), but the coach is quick to point out that the decision remains as solid as the core of a volcano. Although the suspension may have altered that permanently.
The shifty Kelvin Taylor is the Gators principle “Swamp fox,” while wideouts Demarcus Robinson, and Brandon Powell are solid targets.
The D anchored by backers Jarrad Davis, Antonio Morrison, and end Jonathan Bullard stones runners, and has been the bedrock to the Gators solid start to the season.
In a game that is very difficult to get a handle, we think that Tennessee becomes another streak whisperer, and finds a way to a hard earned season changing victory.
Last week: 2-3 Season record: 8-7
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