My weekend stood at the precipice of Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down.
As predicted, Georgia prevailed over Arkansas, confirming the Bulldogs’ status as #1 or #1A, and unbeaten Michigan beat the suddenly hapless Badgers of Wisconsin.
Buuut, as misprognosticated — my Crystal Ball was foggy — the Irish did not roll down the echoes on the Bearcats, and my Cardinals were scuttled by the time clock, and the most accurate placekicker in the history of college football.
So, standing at 2-2 for Saturday, I tuned into the Wildcats, who were facing an oh so UK moment. They’d more or less controlled a Top 10 Florida team, they hadn’t beaten in the Bluegrass since Huey Lewis & the News topped the charts with “Stuck With You.” But the Gators had driven into the Red Zone with less than a minute to play.
4th & Goal. The game, and my positive or negative weekend in the balance.
How many times through the decades has the Big Blue Nation exited the stadium, surly, having snatched defeat from the jaws of victory? Plenty.
But, thanks to a brilliant, leaping pass knockdown by Jacquez Jones, couch burning commenced. And the kid felt full of himself, having advised of the upset in advance.
3-2 for the day, keeps me hummin’ at 20-9 on the season.
This week’s winners:
Connecticut @ Massachusetts. Or, as Ryan McGee who posits a Bottom 10 each week at espn.com, calls ‘em. UCan’t @ UMess. So, why would I be the only one outside of a few assorted denizens of the Nutmeg state and the Baked Bean commonwealth to even consider this match up of the two worst contingents in the sport? Well, you’ve heard of various and sundry Game(s) of the Century, right? This is the Game of Cemetery. The Huskies and Minutemen are essentially DOA. (Which reminds me of the moment in ‘71, when a medic and I chased my pal, having a bad acid trip, through a field at the Celebration of Life rock festival, while Bloodrock was playing “DOA.”) Yes, I digress, because, you know, who has a clue about the outcome of this Battle of the Always Beatens? Throwing caution to the wind, I take the leap. UCan’t morphs into UCan. At least for the day.
Michigan @ Nebraska. I watch a lot of college football. Because, well, I’m a “professional sports journalist,” I love the game, and I don’t have much of another life this time of year. (Especially since the reschedule of JazzFest was rescheduled, otherwise I’d be in New Orleans, listening to Doreen Ketchens, the best clarinet player you’ve never heard of.) On Saturdays, even before Glorious Editor posts TV listings for all the games, I jot down a schedule. But, even with all that watching, I’ve only got two eyes and a couple of screens, so I miss a lot of action. Like that of these two B10 schools, both of which have been underwhelming the last few seasons. Both of which with coaches whose chairs feel like hot plates. The Wolverines have been better this campaign. Nebraska might be better, though the Huskers were horrid in their opener against the Illini. The question in my mind is whether Frost Boys’ thrashing of NW is a false positive or the sign of real emergence? Not quite yet. Harbaugh’s seat cools even more.
Oklahoma @ Texas. So, the snarky query here is whether the highlights of Red River will be featured as part of the SEC Network’s postgame review of Saturday’s league battles? Though posing the question, I daresay I won’t be tuning in to find out. I’m sure I will watch some of the annual Texas State Fair sideshow. (Though I’m also sure it won’t be quite as “exotic” as visits to the Shelby County Fair were back in high school.) Boomer Sooner is a slight fave, but, to be honest, as best as I can tell, their play so far has seemed a bit, shall I say rattled. Oh, sometimes the bon mots just trip out of my fingers onto the page. I’ve got an inkling about this one, even though the Okies have won 4 of last 5. Horns up.
Louisiana State @ Kentucky. Mark Stoops hasn’t exactly reached Adolph Rupp status in Lexington, but he’s getting there. (For you youngsters, who’ve never heard of The Baron, google him up.) The Wildcats rise to the Top 25 under their current coach has been a relatively steady climb. Success has come in strange ways. Lots of adjustments, even though one dimensional at times. Coming off that big victory over Florida, UK has a legit shot at moving up the totem pole of legitimacy. Meanwhile, LSU is not quite Popcorn State yet, but you’d never know it from the what’veyoudoneformetoday caterwauling by those gator-eating Tiger fans along the bayous. Wildcats.
Virginia @ Louisville. Unless the Cardinals are playing Aaa Laaah Bam Aaah, or another school of almost the Crimson Tide’s ilk, I pick U of L. Bronco Mendenhall’s Cavaliers always play tough — should I have said “hard-nosed” — football. But, the Cards, as up and down as they’ve been the last few campaigns have prevailed. Mostly. Except, for 2 of the last three battles. Don’t confuse me with real data. Anyway, all this filler notwithstanding, the Thomas Jeffersonians are NOT of the houndstoothian ilk mentioned above. Louisville vaults to 4-2, then gets a week off to heal the nicks and bruises.
— c d kaplan