This week’s journey back through the world of college sports is a bit more subdued than usual- due, in part, to the lack of “marquee” games, but mostly due to perspective.
There are lots of things in life that are important… and college sports are among them. But today and yesterday and this past week, we’re reminded that the big picture is a lot richer and deeper than just what happens between the sidelines and in athletic departments.
So, with that, we launch into our favorite distraction knowing that we’ll re-visit moments that ground us to reality throughout. Today’s soundtrack is in memory of Zenith… enjoy.
With all the buzz last week about conference realignment, all eyes were in Austin when the Cougars of BYU came to town. The team from Provo had recently launched itself into the world of football independence, yet rumors swirled that they might be one of the teams to come to the Big 12-2-1 upon aTm’s absence and “save” the conference. On the other sidelines were the belle of the realignment ball- a Texas team looking to rebound from one of their worst seasons in recent history… yet one that still commands a place at the table when you discuss power programs. So how’d the game turn out? ‘Bout like you’d expect…
At least it wasn’t a situation like Gary Pinkel put his team into… rallying back against a solid Sun Devils team only to intentionally ice their own kicker who missed a game winning field goal. Well done, Tigers, well done. To be fair- it’s hot in Tempe and ice is usually well received. Oh, and Sun Devils? You might want to consider some sunscreen or some sensitivity training. Your call.
Staying with the Big Integer To Be Named Later, this week’s “guest photo” comes from TBPU’s beatdown of Stoops (the other one) Arizona team. If you’re new to TWTW and are wondering about the “TBPU” thing… well… you must have missed halftime. As a reminder, if you go to a game, send us a photo so we can use it and give you mad props and all that stuff. Thanks to Reeding Roughrider for this one… feel free to make fun of his nickname in the comments.
Since we’ve now broken our eSECpn seal, let’s talk about the teams from Dixie. Several matchups of significance this week, starting off with the “Cam Newton Bowl” between Auburn and Mississippi State. And guys, you’re not going to believe this… it came down to some fantastic clock and game management (and always welcomed questionable officiating) as War Tiger held on for the win. Somewhere Les Miles is smiling and clapping like a doofus at this epic Auburn trolling effort.
The second major game of the week was between the hedges as South Carolina’s Gamecocks (animal cruelty is fine as long as it’s a mascot, right?) met the Georgia Bulldogs in a game that saw a ton of action in the final quarter and a half (a theme from Saturday- more later). USC ended up pulling out the win in the end, which can’t be good for Mark Richt’s career plans (unless he’s got some work on the truck to do… he may have time to do it). ‘Cock freshman phenom Jadeveon Clowney proved why he was the number one recruit of last year’s class, while Mark Richt was left to question the wisdom of hiring 80′s R&B star Bobby Brown as an assistant coach. Highlight of the game, for me… Fat Guy Touchdown, by a defensive lineman on a fake punt. Celebratory ice-cream for everyone! At that point, the ‘Dawg faithful knew the day might not end well.
The last big game for the SEC was between the well dressed Alabama Crimson Tide and Joe Paterno’s Penn State Lions. Wonder if Joe knows that Bear’s not in Bama anymore. It was a tough game for the team representing the Conference of Northern Aggression, but I was particularly impressed with PSU’s ability to handle the adversity given their strategic disadvantage. And to think that the SEC touts their “oversigning” guidelines as being the ones the nation should emulate.
Well, that brings us to the B1G conference, who worked to change their divisional names to “Losers” and “Lamest” with this weekend’s events. Sure, Wisconsin took care of business… but not to the same level that the Beavers saw last week against Sacramento State. Ohio State… we’ve covered the OSU/Toledo matchup extensively, so I’ve got no further explanation (for this, either). I will speculate that Mark May enjoyed Saturday’s Ohio State game… probably forgetting that Toledo upset a #9 Pitt in 2003.
Nebraska let Fresno State hang around longer than most people thought they would… perhaps they felt sorry for our former favorite small team, since all of their players are poor and destitute and so forth. (Interestingly, that’s not an NCAA violation). I take it that we can safely say that the cornhead phenomenon has officially jumped the shark, right?
The B1G also gave us another dose of the perspective mentioned earlier, as Minnesota Coach Jerry Kill suffered a seizure in the closing moments of the Gopher’s loss to New Mexico State. A cancer survivor, it’s reported that he takes medication for seizure activity and has a history of these… nonetheless, this was a frightening moment for his family and young team. Reports are that he’s safe and is recovering well…
“Coach Kill is in good hands and is receiving the very best in medical care,” Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi said in a prepared statement. “Right now the reports we have received from our medical staff are positive and I am very pleased that he continues to show steady signs of improvement.”
Continued thoughts and prayers to he and his family.
Over in Iowa, the B1G Coach Of The Millennium found himself in a dogfight in the annual CyHawk game, ultimately losing in four overtimes. If they had won, they would have had to create space in their burgeoning trophy case for a new, blander version of the classic hardware, which was created after the reaction to the creepy “White people in jeans” award was resoundingly negative.
The state of Indiana laid an enormous egg- PurDon’t fell to Rice, while the mighty Hoosiers fell to the fighting David Lettermen of Ball State.
Which brings us to the “Game of the Weak”… particularly if you don’t like defense. Sporting new costumes, the Michigan Wolverines and Notre Ame (yup, lost their “D” again…) Irish battled under the lights in the first night game in the Big House With Questionable Seating. Congrats to the folks in Ann Arbor at finally discovering electricity… here’s hoping that plumbing is not far behind.
What kind of game was it for Michigan? Well, I think this touchdown by Denard Robinson pretty much says it all:
Even in the last quarter’s “craptacular” display of defensive secondary play, the ball was bouncing the Wolverine’s way… Robinson’s offensive strategy of “Well, I’ll just throw this up and hope for the best” ended up working just enough times to win the game, his questionable stats will more than likely be forgotten. I’m excited to see the Wolverines win in the final seconds against a valiant foe, and continue their undefeated season. I’m sure this bodes nothing but great things for the rest of the season.
Let’s talk a bit about the Brian Kelly experience, shall we? Returning enough offensive weaponry to once again wake up the echoes of “wake up the echoes”, to fall to 0-2 in a season with great expectations has got to be enough to throw gasoline on the fire that is under his chair. Heck, some ND fans are coming to grips with their place in the college football landscape, while others are discussing what I feel would be a brilliant fit once Kelly is canned (hint- think “Vest”). At any rate, you’ve got to wonder how much longer the Irish fans and leadership will give “grace” to yet another coach from the Cincinnati area.
Ohio Dominican continues to roll, and moves to 2-0.
Next week’s games are a bit more attractive than this: Friday’s game is the Rockets and Southern Idaho State University, wile on Saturday UCLA hosts Texas, and Florida State meets Oklahoma in a clash of top five programs. Kelley’s heroes look to improve to a decent showing against Michigan State, while LSU and Mississippi State meet in Starkville.
Oh, and of course tBBC will have extensive coverage as the Buckeyes take their talents to South Beach, including updates from the game (let’s hope Joe doesn’t get shot).
Of course, it would be irresponsible of us to conclude today without reflecting on the events of 10 years ago; those who gave their lives that day, those who sacrificed to save others, and those who have since been responsible for the keeping our nation safe.
It’s astounding to me that it’s been a decade. I thought I’d never return to “normal”, that I’d always get nervous when I saw a plane fly overhead, that I’d always remember the events of that September morning. While I can still picture where I was and how I felt, I’m embarrassed to admit that the events in New York, DC, and Pennsylvania have slipped to the back of my mind. As someone who lost a friend in a terror attack, I know that life moves on… I just didn’t expect myself to let it move so fast.
If you’re like me, music can help you meditate and reflect. With that, here are three videos/songs that have come to serve as memorials of September 11, 2001.