<b>IN THIS ISSUE:</b><br> We say Bye Bye to:<ul> <li>Cal as a cupcake <li>Cougs as contenders <li>Navarre as clutch <li>Gesser as classy <li>And the Pac 10 as Soft</ul>

Because it was a bye week for the Huskies, we have this rare opportunity to take you behind the scenes of an international publishing empire. We show you how the dedicated Duckfighter Illustrated staff prepares to inform and amuse our valued readers
13 Hour Shift
Race Bannon

A rare convergence of events led to a marathon session of college football watching on September 14, 2002. Normally a Husky bye is an opportunity for the spousal unit to get some rare work done by me around the palatial estate, knowing that the rest of the next three months is spoken for.

However, a trip back to the mean streets of New Jersey by the much better half left me adrift with my remote control. Only amazing self-control that I have never shown stood between me and a full days work or a full days TV watching.

I woke with the sun, a sure sign that I didn't drink enough Friday night. Since I was up, I decided to take Superdog for his daily constitutional up and down the hills of the neighborhood. Only a 4-inch thick tungsten steel, graphite tipped spike collar saved the squirrel population from death and destruction. Superdog takes his job seriously, and squirrel control is at the top of the list.

Then it was back for coffee and Gameday. Chris Fowler is the pro's pro on that show, and perhaps the best studio host of any sport on any network. The supporting cast could use a freshening up, and of course, the show could broadcast west of the Mississippi once in a while, but overall, it is a great way to get the college football day started. What, I'm going to watch Kellen Winslow?

At this time we had to make a tough call. Should we spend the money to send Mallard N. Moore on a bus to Eugene for the annual grudge match against Idaho? With the increased ticket prices at newly remodeled Autzen Arena, and no rental property in Eugene to barter, we are having a tough time convincing our team of former Arthur Anderson accountants that it is a legitimate expense to shell out big dollars for the lousy competition that shows up at Autzen every September. We decided to let Mallard spend the day in Seattle, cleaning up Superdog's kennel.

The games begin . . . .

First up was Cal against Michigan State. It was clear early that our prediction of reality biting the Bears was as accurate as Dewey beating Truman. Tedford has the Bears believing and sportswriters are pulling out the Gospels again to describe the play of Kyle Boller. I was also keeping an eye on Miami and Temple, and some SEC and ACC games that weren't all that interesting. Call it west coast bias.

As the 9AM games were winding down, I prepared some waffles and eggs, to get important strength for the 12:30 games upcoming. You really shouldn't drink on an empty stomach.

Notre Dame hosted Michigan and it was clear from the start that the legendary Irish were going to give the Maize and Blue all they could handle under the watchful gaze of Touchdown Jesus. Then came Ohio State against Washington State in a possible Rose Bowl preview. (cough cough) Also on tap was the Trojans against the Buffs at Colorado. I was approaching three hours in, and thanks to satellite TV, I still hadn't watched a commercial, just play after play from games across the land. And the sleeper game at noontime was Nevada hosting BYU. Nate Burleson, praised in these pages mere days ago showed the nation that he is a big time player. Chris Tormey solidified his program with a big win over the perennially over-rated BYU team.

The Cougs broke fast from the gate at Columbus, and looked like they might have the sand to pull off the win and make life miserable for Husky fans for the next couple of months. Alas, they play 60 minutes, and without Nakoa McElrath to call plays, the Coug O stuttered, and Maurice Clarett (no relation to the British Open golf trophy) steamrollered the Coug D. Gesser and Price were gracious as always in defeat, blaming everyone but themselves, and giving themselves credit for beating themselves.

Barney's Buffs showed that the RTD slogan means Return To Double-Digits, as in total yardage. The revitalized Men of Troy smashed the hapless Buffs, 40-3. We did not ask, but we do assume that this is not the greatest win in Trojan history. Colorado fans could be heard blaming it all on Rick Neuheisel. It must be his fault, right?

As 4:00 rolled around, we prepared to watch UCLA visit Oklahoma State and Oregon State host Las Vegas. Both Pac squads rolled to easy wins, showing a wealth of talent and speed. A coke and some oreos were ingested to keep our strength up. A bone was thrown to Superdog. Mallard was sent home. It was getting serious now.

Nebraska traveled to Penn State, and Texas went to Chapel Hill to play North Carolina for the 5:00 games. Florida State was trashing another ACC "rival" on ESPN, the eastern sports network. Alert readers may know that Duckfighter Illustrated predicted that Nebraska was in a downward spiral. Even so, we were shocked at the dismantling that Joe-Pa laid on the Husker boys. Mack Brown spanked his old team, the Tar Heels. I poured a stiff vodka Collins.

It was approaching 8:00, so I fired up the grill and barbequed a steak to share with Superdog, who had not allowed a single terrorist to get past the perimeter all day. He earned his reward.

I'm running out of games, down to Colorado State and Louisville, or Utah at Arizona. I find it hard to keep my eyes open, and sign off at 10 PM, a grueling 13-hour shift completed. And you, my faithful readers, thought this job was all glory and no work.

Raises Anyone?

Ty Willingham had only 10 men on defense when Michigan scored what could have been the tying touchdown. Can't anyone get the right number of players on the field against UM? The Notre Dame President denied that he was going to offer Coach Willingham a raise and extension. But the Irish did beat the Wolves in an incredibly sloppy game that was still compelling and hard-hitting. John Navarre showed why he needed so much help to lead the winning drive against the Huskies.

Mac Brown went with the 12-man defense against Carolina. The Texas President reminded Mac that raises at UT are based solely on recruiting rankings, so don't bother to ask.

The Week Ahead - Washington will blast Wyoming by a 48-14 score, and will hopefully ease the panic among the weaker fans that looked at the weekends results and started leaping from bridges. Of course it will be tough to win the Pac 10. Moreover, the tough will win it. These games are meaningless, and to get all bent over pastry poundings is to miss the meaning of the sport.

Cal, the new darling of the league will host Air Force. Remember what former Coach Lambright said, those people are training to kill or be killed. I'm not sure the Bears have the practice players to prepare for Air Force, but we'll ride the Bears, 28-27.

Oregon embarrasses themselves with a game against Portland State. Mallard will be in the kennel once again. Who cares what the score is, leave home and play someone already. WSU did leave home and play someone, and they now return to their comfort level against Montana State.

USC will win a close one at untested Kansas State. Yes, they are still in Kansas, but that isn't Weathervane State coming to town. SC by 7, in a low scoring game. The Trojans are back, you heard it here 4th or 5th.

Oregon State will show the state how to handle Fresno, as the Beaverball is rolling to Pasadena. Beavers 63, Fresno 0

Arizona will beat a lackluster Wisconsin team in Madison and UCLA is next to trample the overmatched Barney and his woeful Buffs. Perhaps he should bring Ralphie, the Buffalo mascot, on the trip to beef up the line play. There is much sympathy in Seattle for the CU program. The classy Barney has refused to point fingers for his many mistakes and losses. He's pointing his whole arms and legs.

Thanks to all our readers! It is back to the mines next Saturday night at Husky Stadium. – Race
Race Bannon and Superdog can be reached at Top Stories