Weekend Retrospective

In the past, I have interrupted these essays from time to time to present “public service announcements” so that you might be aware of important – but lesser known – holidays or celebrations in our society. Today, I want to begin with a “private announcement”. I want to welcome into the world my first grandson born this morning at 12:09 EDT. Were I the President of the United States, he might be “the First Grandson” but I’m not. So he will have to settle for being “my first grandson”.

Over the weekend, there were a bunch of toe-stubbing incidents by college football teams. Wisconsin is supposedly the 7th best team in the country. They won last weekend by two TDs but allowed The Citadel to score 31 points. That’s not what the seventh ranked team in the country ought to do. Some of the other games on The Citadel’s schedule include Wofford, Elon, Furman, Charleston Southern and Appalachian State. The seventh best team in the country ought to stomp this kind of opponent – - if they are really the seventh best team in the country.

Minnesota started off its season losing at home to Bowling Green. Last weekend, they visited Florida Atlantic University and lost again. They start their Big Ten season next week and have only one more out-of-conference-patsy on the schedule – - North Dakota Sate on October 20. If they lose that one, their first-year coach ought to be dropped like a bad habit.

Duke snapped its 22-game losing streak over the weekend against Northwestern. The Las Vegas oddsmakers would seem to be mightily unimpressed because the early line for this weekend has Duke as an 11.5 point underdog to Navy.

Stanford won last weekend beating San Jose State by a score of 35-0. Here’s an indication of the low regard in which the Stanford football program is held. I read where the San Jose State coach ordered a mandatory practice for his team on Sunday morning at 6:30 AM. He said that any player who didn’t show up would be cut from the team and any coach who did not show up would be fired. Do you think he might have been a bit miffed?

Notre Dame lost by a score similar to the Stanford/San Jose State score but Charlie Weis didn’t order an early AM Sunday practice. Maybe he realizes that this Notre Dame team just isn’t all that good and he isn’t going to squeeze any blood from that turnip. Notre Dame is 0-3 now and has yet to score an offensive touchdown this year. Jimmy Claussen was sacked 8 times on Saturday; the offensive line just cannot block anybody. Nonetheless, the ineptitude of the Notre Dame football team this year should not tarnish the performance of Michigan running back, Mike Hart, in the game last weekend – or for the season to date for that matter. Hart gained 187 yards on 35 carries on Saturday and is averaging 167.3 yards per game for the year.

Auburn lost its second home game in a row. After South Florida beat them last week, one might have expected them to pound the bejeepers out of the visiting Mississippi State team this week. After all, this was a conference game and Mississippi State isn’t exactly a powerhouse within the SEC. Auburn still has to face Florida, LSU, Georgia and Alabama this year so it might just be a loooong season down there in Auburn.

Last week, I said that Texas Tech ought to put up a huge number against Rice. Well they won the game 59-24 and had six TD passes in the game. To demonstrate just how dominant they were, Texas Tech also had 16 penalties called against them for 183 yards. Normally, that kind of sloppy/undisciplined performance on the field produces a loss. Not last Saturday …

In what was probably the biggest shock of the weekend, the eleventh ranked UCLA Bruins went to Utah to play a team that had so many injuries the team managers were out scouring the dorms looking for “big guys”. The final score was Utah 44 – UCLA 6. I suspect that the UCLA fans and coaching staff are happy to have this game fly under all that radar chaff emitted by the horrible early seasons tossed out there by Michigan, Auburn and Notre Dame.

Let me say this with regard to the OJ Simpson situation in Las Vegas: To describe the events portrayed by the news reports as “surreal” would be insufficient. Obviously, I think it is prudent to wait to see what else turns up in the investigations and procedures that will ensue here. However, I do have to wonder how dumb does OJ Simpson have to be to think that that any kind of confrontational scene even remotely related to the one alleged to have happened would be a reasonable way to recover his memorabilia items? Here’s how dumb; we may never come to know who really did put the “bop” in the “bop-she-bop”, but we can now be virtually certain that OJ put the “ding” into “dingbat”. What a maroon! [/Bugs Bunny]

A few observations from the NFL happenings over the weekend:

    Forget Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson and the Bengals’ explosive offense. If the defense that allowed the Cleveland [bleeping] Browns to score 51 points continues to play like that, this team will be out of contention by Halloween.

    Forget Jim Johnson’s “exotic blitzing defenses”. If the Eagles don’t find ways to score a touchdown more than twice a month, they will be out of contention by Halloween.

    Just forget the Atlanta Falcons…

Since I began this rant with a reference to my aperiodic public service announcements, let me provide you with one here. September is National Pleasure Your Mate Month. Over to you as to how you might choose to observe the month…

Finally, here’s Peyton Manning describing his high school days in New Orleans:

“I grew five inches one year in high school. I was tall, skinny and slow. I don’t think I could have run out of sight in a week.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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