The Weakly Retort

A Soft-Hitting Look at College Football

Well, the Big XII finished up non-conference play and heads into the games that actually mean something. Let's see what happened, and what's going on.

20/20 Hindsight

Texas A&M 44 – Texas State 31
Oh dear. I'm sure A&M is really glad they moved this game up. When the Aggies were boarding up their windows and fleeing town, they claimed it was because of a giant woman named Rita. It turns out it was because of a diminutive school named Texas State. If A&M can't shore up their secondary, then come November, Hurricane Leach just might force Defensive Coordinator Carl Torbush out of a job.

Iowa State 28 – Army 21
Iowa State dominates 3rd ranked Iowa in Ames, but struggles against lowly Army on the road. (***Bad pun alert***) This time, Dorothy, it seems it's the Cyclones saying "there's no place like home". I hate myself.

Miami 23 – Colorado 3
This would have been a much more interesting game if it weren't for all of the turnovers and penalties. Colorado had some momentum early, but kept handing it back to the Hurricanes every chance they got. This would also be a much more interesting summary if I watched the game and didn't just read the box score.

Texas Tech 63 – Indiana State 7
This one got ugly early with Tech scoring 35 in the second quarter alone, and would have gotten even uglier if they hadn't have called the dogs off at halftime. Looks like Tech didn't have a chance to use that new third digit on the scoreboard after all. But don't take the bulbs out yet, rumor has it that A&M is just going to line up every play in punt-block formation to try and have an effective pass rush.

Kansas State 54 – North Texas 7
The Wildcats pounded North Texas even though the Slightly-Perturbed Green will no doubt win the Sunbelt Conference for the 300th year in a row. This game is further proof as to why we have BCS conferences and why we have the other guys.

My 98 Cents

Athletes and fans are notoriously superstitious. For some, it is an article of clothing, like a lucky shirt, a lucky hat, or a lucky studded leather thong (not advised). For others, it is sacrificing hygiene for a more noble cause, as they don't cut their hair during a winning streak, don't bathe for 3 days before a game, or simply refuse to wash their clothes ever. I heard a rumor that Mack Brown vowed not to brush his teeth until he beat Oklahoma. You will find that there is a fine line between supporting your team and homelessness.

Well, I am going to try and sort all of this out and show you which superstitions make sense, and which ones are a waste of time. I break superstitions down into 2 categories, direct and indirect.

Direct superstitions are those that are carried out by someone that is playing in the game. A player that kisses his shoes before every game, wears a lucky pair of socks, or listens to Dan Fogelberg every time he takes the field is carrying out a direct superstition. I give these some merit because, while I think the whole concept of being superstitious is nonsense, in this case, it affects the player psychologically. If he thinks it will make him better, then perhaps it makes him calmer, and the positive mindset actually does make him play better.

When I played High School football, before every game I would eat Campbell's Chunky Soup and watch NFL Rocks. Do I believe that there was magic in that soup? Doubtful. I've never seen a behind-the-scenes magician special on Fox and found out that his secret was 100% RDA of Riboflavin. But by having a set routine, I never had to think about what I was going to do before the game, and it kept me from getting nervous. I was still a second string Tight End with one catch in his career, but at least I wasn't a nervous benchwarmer.

That brings us to indirect superstitions, those that are generally done by the fans, people that have no direct bearing on the game. These are the ones I find to be worthless, but fun.

My brother and I used to throw a football back and forth while watching Tech games growing up, claiming that if we dropped the ball, then something bad would happen for the Raiders. Looking back, I can assure you that the problem had less to do with cosmic forces punishing us for our butterfingers, and more to do with Zebbie Letheridge.

I have heard of other people that will changing their seating position if their team is doing badly, or change shirts at halftime if their lucky shirt seems to have lost its magic and they find their team trailing.

The sheer lunacy of it all is that there are countless fans on both sides performing odd little rituals to help their team win. Do you really think that the Football Karma God can keep all of that straight? Which ranks higher, watching the game standing on your head or watching it on a 14" black and white TV in the bathroom?

In summary, unless you are playing in the game, I don't believe that anything you do will affect the outcome. Well, not counting showing up and yelling and wearing your team's colors, but anything you do from your house is summarily excluded. So if you want to eat Lucky Charms on Saturday to help your team, then fine. But keep in mind, that your Lucky Charms will not trump my Lucky 12th Man Jersey.

Looking Ahead

Texas at Missouri
Being billed as "The Battle of the Tailbacks That Can Somewhat Throw", this one looks to be an exciting game. Texas had some trouble with Missouri last season, but looks to be much stronger this year after beating Ohio State. Even though Oklahoma looks to be downtrodden this season, Texas will have to avoid looking ahead, or Missouri could trip them up.

Baylor at Texas A&M
For the first time since parachute pants were en vogue, you can look at an Aggie's calendar and see this date circled, rather than merely saying "Clean Garage". Last year the Bears shocked the Aggies in overtime, and this year, the men in maroon are looking for some payback. I don't want to name names, but some Guy at Baylor has been doing a little trash talking. If he can back it up, then look for another huge upset. If not, look for the Aggies to twist the knife a little bit in this one.

Colorado at Oklahoma State
Both teams have struggled some this season, with Colorado looking a little better, but having to play this one on the road. So I am going to base my prediction on the MCQ (Mascot Creepiness Quotient) and give the edge to Colorado, because even a female buffalo named Ralphie is far less creepy than that bow-legged Dennis Hopper in a cowboy hat.

Iowa State at Nebraska
This game is going to be close, and depends on which teams show up. Are we going to get the Iowa State team that pounded Iowa or the Cyclones that struggled against Army? On the other side, are we going to see the Nebraska team that dominated the line of scrimmage and forced turnovers while playing ball-control offense, or are we going to see this year's Nebraska team?

Kansas State at Oklahoma
This is going to be the major test for the Sooners. A win here and they can right the ship and build at least a little momentum heading into the Red River Shootout. A loss and it looks like a lock that Mack Brown will finally get to break out the Pepsodent.

Kansas at Texas Tech
Texas Tech gets a chance to show what they've got in Big XII play. Kansas will certainly be much tougher than the teams Tech has played so far, and even though Kansas hung tough with Tech last year, I expect Tech to continue to put up some serious numbers in this game, leading Kansas in all statistical categories excluding pounds of coach.

That's all for this week, folks. Emails are always appreciated, be it comments or criticism at I try to answer every email, but put RAIDERPOWER or somesuch in the subject line to help it through the spam filter.

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