When U of L hung on to best North Carolina, I was 10-1. So I passed on dinner out with my friends to watch my final four projected winners bring home the bacon. Why on earth I thought Tennessee would best Florida beats me. The Gators beat the Vols. Then UK was bamboozled in OT to the Toppers. Notre Dame showed they just might be somewhat worthy of all the abject respect they get whether they deserve it or not. They won in East Lansing. And Stanford nailed the evenings’ coffin shut, by beating Southern California.
Sooooooooooo, I’m now 10-5 on the year. .667 isn’t a bad percentage. Except when you start the day at .900.
I’m sure these prognostications will get me back on track.
Southern Mississippi @ Western Kentucky. I heard a stunning story about a big U of L fan, who was attending a Cardinal game in Hattiesburg some time back. The businessman, as fans are wont to do on an autumn Saturday in the stadium, brought in a flask. When he went to take a swig, he was busted by the local gendarmes, cuffed and hauled off to the hoosegow. Now, what in the name of Brett Favre is up with that? That anecdote has, of course, nary a thing to do with Saturday’s most interesting encounter in Bowling Green. Willie Taggert who returned to his alma mater when it was on a serious losing streak is now THE Hot Young Coach in college football. He was poised and focused and so was his team in Lexington. And they are favorites — Let that sink in for a moment — 2 1/2 point favorites against Southern Miss, which sports one of the truly under-appreciated traditions of pigskin success. But the Golden Eagles have a new coach, lost many of the stars from last year’s 12 W team and are 0-2 out of the gate. Can Western Kentucky deal maturely with success? I hate to root against the good guys, and I won’t, but I just have a feeling they are in for a let down. I hope I’m wrong.
Rutgers @ Arkansas. John L. Smith is a guy always looking for levity in any situation, trying for the wise crack. Some say to a fault. So he showed up wearing a tie at weekly press conference, after his Razorbacks were shellacked by Bama, 0-52. Then, tried to get the Arkansas media to lighten up and smile. I’m not sure he was successful. It woulda probably worked at Weber State, John L.. If he has any thoughts of a contract extension, he’d best upend the visitors from Jersey this weekend. The Scarlet Knights are a surprising 3-0, coming off an impressive W at South Florida. This is another chance for the Big East to prove yet again it’s not as bad a football conference as people perceive. But I think Wooooooo Pig Soooooooey wins and John L maybe gets a chuckle out of the scribes at next week’s show and tell.
Michigan @ Notre Dame. Top 20 match-up under the lights and TD Jesus’ watchful eye on a late September Saturday night. Does it get any more traditional than this? Well, frankly, yes. If it was an early afternoon kickoff. And if it was only on radio or the DuMont Network and if Lindsey Nelson were doing play by play, and the teams were wearing leather helmets, but other than that, no. The nation’s biggest actual alumni base cheering for the Blue. The nation’s biggest subway alumni base cheering for the Irish. You can almost envision Knute Rockne heading over to Benny Friedman’s cloud to watch together. We really don’t know how good Michigan is yet. Crushed by the Tide, they beat Air Force and UMass in due course. No real harbingers there. Meanwhile ND is 3-0 with a legitimately impressive W over Sparty. Ohhhhhhh how I hate to say this, but I think Notre Dame wins this one, and may actually be legit for the first time in a long time.
Kentucky @ Florida. You’re kiddin’, right?
Louisville @ Florida International. Here we go again, Cardinal fans. An ESPN Trois, it-can-only-be-watched-on-the-computer battle. Unless you’ve got one of those patching gizmos so you can connect your computer to your TV. Which I do, which means, I suppose, the Usual Suspects shall be banging down my door to watch at my place since they are computer neanderthals. As for the game, well, as a Cardinal fan, I’m worried. Too many Cardinals will be hangin’ with too many homies before kickoff. Too many Cardinals will be woofin’ with old prep rivals playing for the Golden Panthers. Which is not to mention that U of L’s D has been underwhelming all season despite the 3-0 record, or the alarming lack of focus and maturity the Cards displayed in the last two quarters they played. Yes, I know T.Y. Hilton is gone, and that FIU stands 1-2 against a rather mediocre gang of opponents, but . . . they did best Louisville last season at Papa J’s. I’m hoping that deplorable second half against the Tar Heels will be a wake up call. Happy flight home for the red & black.
– Seedy K