We begin this week with a coach and a statue of mistaken identity.
This past Monday, unbeknown to the powers that be, a statue of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops arrived unceremoniously, and unannounced, in Norman hauled on the back of a flat-bed trailer.
Prying eyes uncovered the bronze, and a sports reporter for a local television station KFOR tweeted out a photo.
Stoops’s statue was originally set to be unveiled in 2012 but a decision was made to postpone the official unveiling.
It is scheduled to be placed alongside the other Oklahoma coaching legends: Bennie Owen, Bud Wilkinson, and Barry Switzer.
Angered OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said he was “extremely disappointed about the lack of consideration, respect and care shown in delivering the statue to Norman. It is certainly not reflective of the way we feel about Bob,” said the AD.
This weekend, let’s see which teams deliver such an outstanding performance, they are deserving of being preserved in bronze, and which look more like statues stuck in cement.
No.4 LSU at No.7 Alabama (Ch. 4, 8 p.m.) This is; your father’s SEC type of football.
It’s “old school” at its finest, a 60-minute Oklahoma drill of; line ‘em-up and knock ‘em down.
Or as Keith Jackson would say; “A good old fashioned slobber-knocker.”
It involves at least 30 future Sunday performers, with the stakes rising to the stratosphere of a Presidential election.
And not lost on the Tigers faithful is that fact that Alabama has won the last four meetings.
But rest assured, the Sons of Charlie McClendon led by its manic coach Les Miles, relishes the challenge.
The lynchpin and soul of the Bayou Bengals is its Heisman front runner, tailback Leonard Fournette, who leads the nation in rushing 1352 yards, (averaging 7.7 yards a crack) with 15 TDs, while rolling for a mind boggling average of 193 yards per game.
And despite directing an offense that is more unbalanced than a Deval Patrick budget, QB Brandon Harris, who has yet to throw an interception (9 TDs-0 INTS -58%), has matured like a fine wine into a dangerous offensive weapon.
When the Death Valley gunslinger takes to the skies over Baton Rouge, he lasers on a pair of field stretching targets; Travin Duval (17.8 yards per catch), and his partner Malachi Dupre (18.9 per grab).
On D, the Sons of Bert Jones are anchored by a trio of black and blue inducing backers; Kendell Beckwith, Deion Jones and Lamar Lewis (7 sacks), who inhale runners, but shows some susceptibility defending against the pass.
With the loss to Mississippi already smirching its resume, Groucho’s “Elephant hunting in Africa…., of course in Alabama, the tusks are looser.” “Captain Spaulding” – favorite team has been in full playoff mode for a more than a month.
St. Nick’s Title-Towners are directed by QB Jake Coker (11 Tds-7 INTs -63%), but like its Louisiana invaders, its tone setter is All-America tailback Derrick Henry (over 1000 yards – 14 TDs) the country’s seventh leading turf masher.
Bama’s steady first year “game manager” has the luxury of focusing on a trio of targets; wideouts Calvin Ridley, ArDarius Stewart, and tight end O.J. Howard, who have combined for 102 receptions.
And unlike the great imposter Frank Abagnale, the true identity of the Sons of Kenny Stabler is a defense that is harder to crack than the inner circle of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and as lethal as a pound of bacon.
This mean spirited eleven featuring All-America backer Reggie Ragland, his partner Reuben Foster, and end Jarran Reed are fourth overall, hits with the ferocity of Joe Frazier left hook.
It is arguably Saban’s finest, and that’s no “baloney.”
In a battle that ranks in importance with the Spartans and Persians at Thermopylae, we think Groucho’s Boys carve out the W.
No.17 Florida State at No.3 Clemson (Ch.5, 3:30 p.m.) With apologies to the Clash, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher is wrestling with one of those QB dilemmas; “Should I stay or should I go?”
Should he stick with the girl he “brung” to the dance, Notre Dame graduate transfer Everett Golson (11 TDs-1 INT -69%) who is returning from a concussion (may play), or switch to Sean Maguire (4 TDs-0 INTs -67%) who led the Seminoles to its season best offensive showing last week.
As Jesse Jackson might say, “That is the issue.”
Regardless of the decision, it will still take a Herculean effort for the Noles to knock off the Tigers in Death Valley.
On offense, the Sons of Burt Reynolds deliver “(ance)” behind its All-America tailback Delvin Cook (gimpy ankle), who is second in the nation, averaging 148 a game, while gashing for over 1000 yards and 11 TDs in a mere 7 games.
If he can’t go, freshman Jacques Patrick is a capable scary downhill load.
When the Noles go aerial, wideouts Travis Rudolph, Kermit Whitfield, and Jesus Wilson are all potential game breakers.
On D, the Sons of Dave Cowens, the nation’s fourteenth stingiest (16) and anchored by All-America corner Jalen Ramsey, and backers Reggie Northrup, and Ro’Derrick Hoskins, hit harder than a smithy’s hammer forging a shoe.
How big is this for the team sitting in the playoff post position?
Only Clemson’s biggest game since its 1982 national championship Orange Bowl victory against Nebraska.
Dabo’s dominators have distinguished itself on both sides of the ball, but its offense sets the table, and shines the silverware, better than the White House butlers at a State Dinner.
The descendants of Chester McGlockton are commanded by its dual-threat Heisman rising QB Deshaun Watson (20 Tds-7 INTs-70%) who glides with the elegance of Gene Kelly in “American in Pairs.”
The flashy marksman is assisted by tailback Wayne Gallman, and a trio of game changers; Artavis Scott, Ray-Ray McCloud, and tight end Jordan Leggett (6TDs).
But what separates this eleven from teams of Clemson past is a defense that is deadlier than a sandwich from “Chipotle.”
These swarming Sons of Strom Thurmond (Class ’23) rank fifth overall, allowing a measly 17-points a game, and attack behind backers Ben Boulware, B.J. Goodson, and starry disrupting end Shaq Lawson (13.5 TFLs – 6.5 sacks).
On early Saturday evening when the results are in, we think Dabo’s guys drive to victory maintaining sits lofty post position.
No.5 TCU at No.12 Oklahoma State (FOX, 3:30 p.m.)This will be a testy leap for the Frogs.
The igniter of the Sons of Johnny Vaught is its Heisman contending QB Trevone Boykin (28 TDs-5 INTs – 66%), who is the principle architect of the nation’s second highest scoring (49) squad.
TCU’s main road grader is tailback Aaron Green (8 TDs), but the Ying to Boykin’s Yang is his All-World wideout Josh Doctson (71-catches – 17 yards a pop – 14 TDs) who is open more often than the front door on a Saturday night at the Bunny Ranch.
Coach Gary Patterson’s inexperienced D (60th overall), featuring backers Travain Howard, Montrel Wilson, and safety Denzel Johnson has endured some growing pains, but appears to be maturing at exactly the right time.
In Greek Mythology Orthros was a two-headed monster, and that best describes the quarterback situation at Boone Pickens University, otherwise known as Oklahoma State.
Sophomore Mason Rudolph (12 TDs-8 INTs-63%) is the Pokes designated starter, but if Coach Mike Gundy deems a changeup is required, J.W. Walsh (9 TDs-0INTs-78%-7TDs rushing) is the best backup since Glen Campbell was playing with the “Beach Boys.”
The pedestrian ground assault (92nd) creeps along with Chris Carson and Rennie Childs, but receivers David Glidden, James Washington, and Marcell Ateman have combined for 93 receptions and 10 TDs.
The D of the Sons of Walt Garrison, led by safety Jordan Stern (45 solo tackles), backer Jordan Burton, and All-America end Emmanuel Ogbah (13.5 TFLs-9 Sacks) isn’t a dry well (41st) but isn’t close to being a moneymaking gusher.
Overall, we think that the Frogs have more star power, a much better D, and unlike our beleaguered T, remains on track for a playoff invite with its season ending showdowns with Oklahoma and Baylor looming on a horizon.
Navy at No. 15 Memphis (ESPN2, 7 p.m.) “Anchors Aweigh” indeed.
Remarkably, the Middies are going bowling for the 12 time in its last 13 seasons, as coach Ken Niumataldo (63-36 – 8-plus seasons) continues to impress.
The destroyer of the Sons of Joe Bellino is its record setting QB Keenan Reynolds (753 yards-13 TDs) who is tied (77) with Montee Ball as the NCAA’s all-time career rushing leader.
It is expected that he alone will own the record sometime late Saturday evening.
The triple-option wizard of the nation’s third most prolific ground assault (319), is assisted by tailback Chris Swan (wonder why he chose the Navy!), and a lonesome receiver Jamir Tillman.
The Annapolis visitors passing attack is one notch from the cellar, and Reynolds has thrown a paltry total of 51 passes this season.
The D of the descendants of JFK is solid in all phases led by backers Micah Thomas, Daniel Gonzales, and one of the most patriotic names in the annals of military history, corner; Quincy Adams.
The “Beal Streeters” of Memphis have won fifteen-in-a-row, and Tigers coach Justin Fuente is on everybody’s short list.
The Sons of Steve Gostkowski, the nation’s third highest scoring squad (47), harmonizes on the arm of QB Paxton Lynch (18 TDs – 1 INT-70%- 338 yards a game) who is deserving of some Heisman love.
The country’s sixth most efficient passer is assisted by a pair of quality tailbacks; Doroland Dorceus, and Jarvis Cooper, while his receivers; Anthony Miller, Mose Frazier, and Phil Mayhue, have combined for 110 chain moving grabs.
But it’s the Tigers D (101) featuring backers Gerard Avery, Wynton McManis, and safety Reggis Ball which has more leaks than the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant that causes Pepto inducing nightmares for the Memphis faithful.
Navy will severely stress the unbeaten Tigers, but ultimately, we think Memphis gives Navy the blues.
Duke at No.21 North Carolina (ESPN2, Noon) “We Wuz Robbed!”
So read the black and bold back page headline of the 1951 Daily News after Bobby Thomson of the New York Giants hit a dramatic 3-run ninth inning playoff homer.
It was famously nicknamed; “The Shot Heard Round the World!” as it captured the pennant for the Giants.
Late last Saturday, that same headline screamed and echoed around the Chapel Hill campus after the Dukies “lost” the 8-lateral fiasco to the Canes of Miami; 30-27 on mindboggling officiating incompetence.
Even Miami admitted the Blue Devils should have won the game.
The loss may have also cost Duke a spot in the ACC Championship game, and ultimately $$millions in bowl revenue.
Now the Sons of Richard Nixon (J.D. 1937) have to expunge (which is what Nixon should have done with the tapes) that memory, and prepare for its dangerous rival.
David Cutcliffe’s crew motors under the direction of its dual-threat QB Thomas Sirk (12 TDs-3 INTs-60%) who also leads the team in rushing with 481 yards.
The BMOC (big for a non-basketball player) is assisted by tailbacks Shaquille Powell (threat catching out of backfield), and his partner Shaun Wilson, while Max McCaffrey, and Johnell Barnes, are reliable glue fingered receivers.
But the identity of the Sons of Sonny Jurgensen is the nation’s eleventh (16) stingiest D, which attacks with the same ferocity that Nixon did toward the peace demonstrators.
This lockdown crew ranked ninth overall, is led by All-America safety Jeremy Cash (15.5 TFLs) backer Dwayne Norman, and fellow safety DeVon Edwards.
This is a homecoming game for the Tar Heels, winners of 7-straight, and that can’t sit well with the visitors located eight miles down the road.
The Sons of Roman Gabriel are directed by its dynamic dual-threat bulldozer, QB Marquise Williams (11 TDs-7 INTs-66%), second in rushing; 528 yards – 6.9 yards – 5 TDs, whose leadership skills are the envy of the Republican National Committee.
The Carolina igniter is assisted by tailback Elijah Hood (8 TDs), and a pair of field stretchers; Quinshad Davis, and Ryan Switzer.
But Carolina’s D is as puzzling as the poll numbers for Ben Carson.
Led by safety Donnie Miles, and backers Jeff Schoetmer, and Shakeel Rashad, this group is a bottom feeder in stopping the run (101), (not a good recipe against Duke), but shoots down a pass (3rd overall) better than an Israeli Arrow2 missile.
And yet despite those inconsistencies, the Heels surrender a miniscule 16 points a game.
This is a very difficult game to get a handle, but we think the “smarter” kids expunge last week’s memory, and win one for the “Trickster.”
Last week’s record: 5-0 Season record; 29-16
That’s it from cyberspace. We’ll be up and running with our recap by noon Sunday. Until then, Peace, and listen to the music. PK