The Weakly Retort

A Soft-Hitting Look at College Football

20/20 Hindsight

Texas 62 – Baylor 0
Oh my. I haven't seen a heinie-waxing of this magnitude since Oprah got ready for swimsuit season. I would hate to think that the resurgent Bears were suddenly that bad, so it only leaves the possibility that Texas is that good. And that is frightening. Almost as frightening as Oprah getting ready for swimsuit season.

Kansas 40 – Nebraska 15
After 36 years, the Kansas Jayhawks finally beat Nebraska, and do it in dominating fashion, holding Air Husker to only 138 yards and a paltry 21 on the ground on 22 carries. You can tell when I didn't watch a game and am only basing my summary on the box scores when I mention yardage a lot.

Iowa State 45 – Kansas State 17
What do you get when you cross a freshman quarterback with an anemic rushing offense that can only muster 12 yards on the ground? Kansas State getting blown out again, this time by Iowa State. K-State was only able to convert 1 of 13 third downs, a sure recipe for failure, not unlike my spinach burger casserole recipe. For what it's worth, Ryan Kock scored 2 touchdowns for the suddenly surging Cyclones.

Colorado 41 – Missouri 12
The Buffaloes maintain their spot atop the Big XII North with a thorough pounding of the Missouri Tigers. This sets them up perfectly to get pounded again by Texas and end up in a sub-par bowl game. Colorado's kicker is unreal, making his 10th career 50+ yard field goal, this time kicking a 56-yarder that was still above the top of the uprights when it passed over the crossbar. I know that the air is thinner up there, but I couldn't kick a ball 6 feet in a vacuum. Primarily because I would be writhing on the ground gasping for breath with my eyes beginning to bulge from their sockets. A bit tough to concentrate like that. For what it's worth, James Cox was 1 for 1 for 7 yards.

Texas Tech 56 – Texas A&M 17
Well, let's finally get this one out of the way. This was one of the worst possible things that could have happened. I went into this game knowing that A&M was going to get blasted, and planned on just enjoying my trip. I had a great time tailgating with the Techsters, and met a lot of people that read the column. But then, A&M came out and played some pretty darn good football, trailing at the half only 14-10. The problem is that it gave me hope, and as the narrator said in The Shawshank Redemption, "Hope is a dangerous thing." Which is ironic, because what Tech did to the Aggies in the second half also takes place frequently in prison. And no, I don't mean the whole lunchroom spontaneously bursting into showtunes. That would actually have been preferred.


My 98 Cents

Let me make one thing clear: College Football is the greatest game on the planet. Actually, considering that the only game that has been played outside this planet is moon golf (and golf isn't a sport, but a habit) then I can safely say that unless those crafty folks on Zebulon 7 have come up with something better, then College Football is the greatest game in the universe.

But why? Well, to begin with, there is nothing better than football. Baseball is historic, but it is too slow. Basketball is exciting, but there really isn't much strategy. And soccer is just a sport to teach kids coordination until they are old enough to play football. Golf, as I said before, is merely a habit. Hockey. Riiiiiight, hockey. And even though it is supposedly the most attended sport, NASCAR fans are just like the cars in that they are loud, smelly, and going nowhere fast.

Which leaves football, a game where every play is carefully planned out with each person having an assignment that has to be executed better than the guy across from him. It is the ultimate team sport. Sure you can have a great runningback, but without good linemen, he isn't going anywhere. Or you can have a stud quarterback, but without receivers to catch the ball, you will be Texas A&M.

So, now that we have settled on football, why is College Football so much better than the pro game?

First of all, all teams are not created equal. In the NFL you have parity to the point of ridiculousness. Sure any team can beat any team on any given Sunday, but how exciting is it to watch a 1.5 point underdog "upset" a team 20-17? In College Football, you have the major upset. The unranked team that shocks the #5 team who was favored by 17 points. Now THAT is exciting; a true David and Goliath story. You will notice that the Bible didn't have Goliath versus Shaquille O'Neal or Rodan versus Mothra.

In College Football, every game counts. You lose, and you are out of the championship race. In the NFL, you can lose 4 or 5 games and still win the Super Bowl. The games simply don't mean as much.

But the most important thing is pride. I love the Dallas Cowboys, but I don't think I have owned a piece of Cowboys clothing since my footy pajamas when I was 4. However, look through my closet and you will find A&M t-shirts, polo shirts, thong underwear and a faded 12th Man jersey I wear to every game. I was kidding about the polo shirts.

Why is that? Because although I have lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area my entire life, most people live in multiple cities throughout the years. However, there is only one name on your diploma, a name you are linked to through emotion and memories. A definite association that is made when you chose your school. You may find people in Dallas that are Forty-Niner fans, or people in Florida that are New York Giants fans, but you will never find a Texas Tech alumnus that puts the Longhorns first in his heart.

We are rabid about our schools, supporting them with donations, paying outrageous ticket prices without blinking, and swelling with pride when we defeat our rivals. Sure, you may find some insanely loyal fans in Oakland or Green Bay, but guess what? It's because most of them didn't go to college.

At work, 90% of the people are Cowboys fans. We go to work and talk about the game, and how Drew Bledsoe looked All-World, or Bill Parcells made a boneheaded call, but with the exception of some back and forth with the few non-homer fans like that guy in the IT department that always wears the Patriots jersey on Mondays, there isn't much rivalry.

But this week, I dreaded having to face that Tech grad at work, and he couldn't wait to leave me a note on my dry erase board. I got a chance to rub it in with my boss who is an Oklahoma State grad a few weeks ago, and I know there will be some banter with the Longhorn fans at work as Thanksgiving approaches (although admittedly, I won't be fighting from a position of strength). You get a whole variety of fans that you interact with every day when it comes to College Football. You have your fellow alumni and your rivals, and that is what makes it fun.

So this Saturday, join some buddies for the game. Grill up some steaks and crack open a beer while you watch your team play. Knowing that it is YOUR team, from YOUR school, where YOUR memories were made, and not just a team from the city where you lived the past couple of years. A team where players play for pride and the love of the game, not just for the next contract or the chance to do jock-itch commercials. At least, not yet.


Looking Ahead

Texas A&M at Oklahoma
This game kicks off at 11:00 on ABC and pits two teams that have fallen well below expectations, although the Sooners look to have gotten stronger in recent weeks with the return of Adrian Peterson. The Aggies need this game to be bowl eligible because you can spew all of the "throw everything out in a rivalry game" stuff you want, but they ain't gonna beat Texas this year. A loss to OU and the Aggies could be spending the holidays at home for the second time in three years. The Aggies have done marginally better against running teams this season, but that is cancelled out by just how bad they are away from home.

Baylor at Missouri
Two teams that started fairly well but seem to hit a lull square off in an untelevised game. They had originally planned to hype it as "The Battle of Teams Whose Coaches' First Names Start With G!" but then they picked up a Colorado media guide. I'd like to kick a shout out to "BionicTechsan" just to make this summary look a little bit longer. There, that should do it.

Kansas State at Nebraska
My, how times have changed. A few years ago, these two teams would be battling for first in the Big XII North, but this year they are battling for last. I have a strong feeling that rushing yards will be mentioned in the summary of this game. You don't have to brush all of your teeth, just the ones you want to keep.

Kansas at Texas
Vince Young said he was upset with the Jayhawks for discounting the Texas win last year in saying that the only reason Texas won was due to some bad calls in the final quarter. I guess Vince didn't watch the game film because the only reason the Horns ended up in the Rose Bowl last year was because Kansas got flat jobbed by the zebras. Still, it isn't like Texas is going to need any motivation to roll over Kansas and around Coach Mangino this year in Austin. If this year's Rose Bowl isn't motivation enough then maybe it wasn't meant to be. Check it out at 2:30 on ABC, although be warned, that may be a Musburger time slot. In that case, I think there is a rerun of Andy Griffith on UPN.

Colorado at Iowa State
A rare interesting Big XII North matchup as the first place Buffaloes take on the suddenly surging Iowa State Cyclones. Although Iowa State is already bowl eligible and would require Colorado to lose to Nebraska to take over the top spot, we have seen that anything can happen this season. Of course if you are going to play that game, then I suppose that we could also stumble upon Osama Bin Laden working as a fry cook at Weinerschnitzel. Take that, spellchecker!

Texas Tech at Oklahoma State
Over on Raiderpower.com I saw that Tech fans were wondering why this game was not televised. The simple reason is that the networks wanted to televise it, but the FCC would not allow such carnage to be shown during hours when children are likely to be watching TV. Unless the entire Tech team sleeps through the 1:00 kickoff and the field is taken instead by a group of extras from the 1980s movie "Willow", then creepy bow-legged Dennis Hopper won't have much to smile about on the OSU sideline. If you are going to listen to this game on the radio, seek out the Tech broadcast and not the OSU broadcast, because every time OSU scores, their radio announcer says "Pistols firing!" and it really gets on your nerves. Of course, I don't see it happening much anyway.


Well, that's it for this week. Enjoy the scoreboard picture that should be at the top if my editors bothered to read last week's column. As usual, the author (me) can be reached at psychoag98@yahoo.com with any comments, criticisms or thinly veiled insults. Are you getting enough Riboflavin?


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