College Football Review 2018
Actually, I’m just reviewing yesterday’s five bowl games**. I saw them all, and I’m here to tell you about them.
First, if you are a big time college football fan I suggest you stop reading right now.
Second, if you are not a big time college football fan, or if you have no interest in the game, this review is for you. It will help you understand the subtlety of the game and allow you to make comments, which will appear to those who are big time fans, to seem like you know what you are talking about. This will lead to acceptance, which is better in most social situations than ostraization, which is akin to being ostracized. However, the difference is that while one is a term of social shunning, the other is dressing you up in a chicken suit or similar bird like costume and making you run around and do idiot team mascot like behavior inappropriately at social occasions – if not in reality, at least in their mind’s eye, which is worse.
First to really understand college football you must know the teams and their coaches. Some teams and their fans have bad reputations, usually justly deserved. West Virginia fans throw nine volt batteries and burn sofas. Most college coaches are dicks, or at least have shown a level of dickishness at some point in their careers, which begs the question, “Why are they still coaching?”
Let’s take Jim Harbaugh, currently the coach at Michigan. Apparently, most college teams swap team rosters before the game. The roster gives the name, number, height, weight, and position of each player as well as the starting line up both defensively and offensively. Harbaugh doesn’t give out his roster. It has gotten to the point that other teams make fun of him by giving him their rosters with wacky positions listed. This annoys Harbaugh, but so what? He’s a dick.
Michigan played yesterday against Florida. Florida’s team is known as the Gators. This leads to giant stiff arm moves like alligator jaws clamping open and shut by their fans. My good friend dean is a huge Gator fan. He has to be, he lives like two blocks from the stadium and everyone in his family for generations have been Gator fans. I like to tease him about it. One year when they were playing for the National Championship I called him up seconds before kick-off and talked like a buddy of ours who has cerebral palsy and takes forever to ask a question of you, which is usually preferenced with your name followed by a tortured, “Can I talk to you for a minute?” dean laughed and hung up the phone.
Okay so Florida was playing Michigan. dean’s assessment of his team, “We really suck.” This is saying something if you are a Gator fan. But in Florida’s defense, they may suck, but not as bad as Michigan. Florida won. They were on at the same time as another bowl game, which I kept flipping between the two. That game was Virginia and South Carolina.
This leads me to tell you about one of my fantasies, I wish I had made a lot of money so my company could sponsor a bowl game. Specifically, I wish I had made money selling sexual prosthetic enhancement devices because I’d love to hear the announcers say over and over again, “Welcome to the Sexual Disfunction Bowl sponsored by Dr. Johnson’s Penal Insertions” or some such.
Any rate I’m a Virginia Tech fan, by marriage. Their team’s mascot is the Hokie bird. A fictional look alike to a turkey. VT plays Virginia in most sports as they are in the same conferences. I went to Johns Hopkins whose only nationally ranked team is in lacrosse and when I went to the Hop, Virginia was ranked #1 in that sport. So there’s animosity there. South Carolina? They used to have Steve Spurrier as their coach. I’ve always liked Steve. The SC mascot is “The Gamecock.” Naturally, this leads to all kinds of cock jokes. Like, “Nobody licks our cocks” or “If you can’t beat us on the field beat us off” (Wait, that could be anyone’s sweat shirt, oh well.)
So in the game between VA and SC I didn’t really care too much. Shelby liked Virginia because they are in the same conference as Tech so it’s better to have bragging rights for your conference over SC which is in the SCC, not Tech’s ACC, and anyone in the SCC is a dick.
Virginia won. For me the best play of the game was a pass the Virginia QB threw for a touchdown. They were near the goal line. He was about to get sacked and then, somehow, he threw a bullet right to his receiver. I can’t bring myself to root for Virginia, because of their dominance when I was at Hopkins and because of Uncle Larry. He’s been dead for several years now. But when I was new to the family I married into we went over to Larry and Gretchen’s. Larry said to me, “You went to Hopkins, right?” I thought, “How nice of him to remember.”
“Yeah,” I said.
Then he said, “We beat you pretty good last week.”
That’s when I learned Larry was a stinkin’ Wahoo. (The term for Virginia players and fans.)
I know this sounds harsh but you haven’t heard the pre-game analysis that Virginia Tech fans heap on Virginia.
What was a Tech fan’s analysis of the outcome of their loss to Virginia this bowl game? “That’s what South Carolina gets for putting mustard in their cole slaw.”
Football fannery is vicious, no doubt about it.
Now we get to Clemson and Notre Dame. This is the #2 team in the nation versus the #3 team playing for a berth in the National Championship. My son went to Clemson. Notre Dame has a great football tradition, but as my son once said when he looked at going to a Roman Catholic school “too many wafers.” Notre Dame had a great running back. Clemson had a huge defensive tackle that had to sit the game out because they found trace amounts of a banned substance that no one had ever heard of before, and no one knows how he got any of whatever it was in his system. Notre Dame also had a great defense. The question was, “Would Notre Dame give up the big play?” The answer was “Yes.”
At the very end of the first half Notre Dame gave the ball back to Clemson with something like 55 seconds left. Clemson was ahead, but not by that much. Then came the big play with fourteen seconds left: huge aerial pass to the far side of the end zone, almost out of bounds. The player was expertly covered. He went up and made a one handed grab coming down barely inbounds. Touchdown!
In the second half Notre Dame played valiantly, but the game kept slipping away. Any close call seemed to go Clemson’s way, it was tough for the Irish. They even had on shiny gold bottomed shoes. Oh well.
The big game was Alabama (#1) against Oklahoma (#4). Oklahoma’s QB won the Heisman; Alabama’s came in runner-up. Alabama was expected to win going away, but their quarterback had a bum ankle. How would that play out in the game? Answer – not much. It also helped that Oklahoma was asleep in the first half and part of the third quarter. When their team woke up it was too late, but it was a heck of a show. At one point the OK QB threw a pass, on the run, while jumping in the air, 55 yards. It was something. I think the receiver didn’t catch it. I forget.
So it’s #1 Alabama against #2 Clemson for the National Championship, which we may not be able to see because ESPN and Verizon are feuding. Great.
I hope Clemson whips Alabama, because my son went to Clemson, and it goes without saying Alabama is dicks. I loved the year Clemson beat ‘bama on the last play of the last game of the year, becoming #1 for the year after being #2 the whole year, until that play. I hope they do it again, because, well, you know.
PS btw the first time the Heisman was awarded it wasn’t even called the Heisman. it went to Jay Berwanger from the University of Chicago. My mother went to Chicago and went to parties where Berwanger was in attendance. At one such gathering there was a guy who reputedly knew karate or judo. The crowd egged Berwanger on. The judo guy didn’t want anything to do with it, but finally Berwanger got mad and ran at the fellow. My mom said Berwanger got flipped all over the place. At the time pro football was in its infancy. College ball was the game and Chicago was the Alabama of its day. Berwanger was recruited to play pro. He wanted $1,000 per game. The owners wouldn’t pay that exorbitant price and Berwanger never played pro-ball.
Gerald Ford was, at the time, the center for Michigan. Lyndon Johnson used to say that Gerald got hit in the head too often and played without a helmet (or only a leather helmet, I forget.) But olde Gerald got a scar on his chin trying to tackle Jay Berwanger. (Little known fact, but true.*)
*Man oh man, am I a college football geek or what?
(Okay, I think it’s a street scene in Mexico City. Probably along the pedestrian street between the Zocallo and the Beau Arts Plaza, but pretty cool, right?)
** After I did a recount, there were only four bowl games, but I believed I saw five! Such is the power of college football.