Oh how strange this first “post-COVID” season is. Not that it’s a thing of the past by any measure.
Teams that negotiated last year’s strangeness, with lots of experienced talent returning, are reeling. Talking about you, Indiana. Referring to you, Iowa State. And you, North Carolina. And, coach-free Southern California. You’re not alone, the list goes on.
Some teams were just better at adapting last campaign. But for many, most, those results might be/are proving to be a false positive entering this year.
Another pandemic related observation, and a heartening one actually, is that none of these college pigskin throngs gathered to cheer on their beloveds — maskless, back to back, belly to belly, elbow to elbow — have become super spreader events.
At least that have been reported.
Maybe it’s the body paint that is more potent than Ivermectin.
If all that’s not enough to empirically prove just how furschlunginer this season is, contemplate this.
Yours truly, whose boast is ever bigger than his bet, followed up a perfecto, with a 4-1 weekend.
Southern Methodist had something to prove in the Dallas/ Fort Worth Metroplex, and did so emphatically at the Horned Frogs home. So, I missed that one.
But, Wake Forest, Michigan State, Arch Rival and the Louisville Cardinals all prevailed.
4-1 on the weekend. 17-7 for the season.
If I hadn’t thrown out my shoulder the other day, I’d be patting myself on the back in triumph.
And now to explain that (Plus) in the header:
The Teddy Lamar Bowl. Oh how I wish that clever play on words were my own. But it isn’t so. I got a missive from a reader, who advises, his son, a big U of L fan, thought of it in advance of this weekend’s NFL game between Denver and Baltimore, whose starting QBs, are, oh, you know. Said offspring, aware of my movie stuff, knew that I knew of the icon of cinema from yesteryear, Hedy Lamarr. Of course, I’m more familiar with Hedley Lamarr. But, it’s not my shtick. So, there, props to the kid, and his pop for sending the idea along.
Just don’t be expecting any predictions on that battle. I don’t do play for pay games. Except, oops, ya understand, this NIL dive.
Enough, let’s move on to the task at hand.
This week’s winners:
Arkansas @ Georgia. Oh, how I love me some Razorbacks. They hired a former OL coach, who’d never even been a coordinator. And, voila, Sam Pittman has Woooo Pig Sooey hummin’ in Year II. They are, to the serious chagrin of the Hat Crowd, Lone Star State Champs. Victories over the Longhorns and Aggies give Arkansas arguably the glossiest resumé in the land. But Kirby Smart has been harvesting **** and *****s like their Georgia peaches in July. They’re sweet as Vidalias. More important, than the foodie metaphors, the Bulldogs are really good. Especially on D. Oh, how I want to conclude that the visitors will prevail. Sigh, they won’t.
Michigan @ Wisconsin. Badger coach Paul Chryst does have one thing going for him. His offense is inarguably the Most Boring in the Country. Those acolytes in Fansville would be hurling their Dr. P’s through their 70 inch screens. My man Badger Billy watched Wisconsin’s meltdown against Notre Dame, with some long time pals, in Madison. I am grateful I wasn’t in the room. I’m sure they were a surly lot in the 4th. Meanwhile, hope springs for the Wolverine faithful. They haven’t been severely tested, but stand 4-0 in advance of this journey to Camp Randall. Jim Harbaugh may finally have something goin’ at his alma mammy. Those Big Chill alums will be celebrating after this W.
Cincinnati @ Notre Dame. OK, here’s yet one more reason this season is a head scratcher. The University of Cincinnati, the Group of 5, or is it G6, whatever Bearcats, seem to be a slight favorite. In South Bend. Against the Fighting Irish, with their own TV contract and homer Mike Tirico on the call, under their winningest coach ever. My, my, how times have changed. But, ya know, on late Saturday afternoons in NW Indiana in October, those echoes start rollin’ down, those ghosts of Knute and the Golden Boy and Ralph Gugliemi start swirling around the stadium. Except during that Faustian Era. Visitors’ knees start buckling. And TDJ conjures up another miracle. Irish.
Florida @ Kentucky. The University of Kentucky has succumbed to its counterpart from the Sunshine State, 33 of the last 34 times the Cats and Gators have tussled. UK hasn’t succeeded on it home turf since 1986. Florida had a week to get healthy against Rocky Top, after a bruiser with Bama. The Wildcats don’t seem to hitting on all cylinders, yet are 4-0, 2-0 in the SEC. Might this be the season, Kentucky breaks a quarter century home drought against FLA? Perhaps. They do have the services of six players who were sitting out. Yes, I say, against my better judgement, Wildcats go Krogering.
Louisville @ Wake Forest. I famously, and to the chagrin of many naysayers thus far unwilling to match my spread-free predictions, do not consider that betting equalizer, talking about “point spread.” It’s my football, I make up the rules. But, I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest, perhaps, maybe, consider betting the Over on this one. If, that is, wagering is a hobby of yours. The number is hovering around 61 or 62. The total points in the last five battles, three U of L Ws, have been 56, 74, 91, 121 and 66. Points shall be scored. The question, as always, is which rising ACC school will tally the most? The Cardinals!!!
— c d kaplan