Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Herbie's Squeaky Pork Chop (OSU-Mich.)

When we imagine Michigan’s NEXT big game of the ’06 season, it’s impossible not to think of the Wolverines’ FIRST big game of the season.
You remember it: The early-season tilt vs. Notre Dame at South Bend where a nation chuckled as it watched Michigan’s first TD that day (a 31-yard interception return by linebacker Prescott Burgess in the game’s opening minute) and the Wolverines’ final TD (a 54-yard fumble return by defensive end LaMarr Woodley) in the 47-24 romp.

What amused America in those instances was the role of N.D. TE John Carlson, who first allowed Brady Quinn’s totally-catchable pass to clank off his hands and into the waiting arms of Burgess and then who, on Woodley’s rumble-with-the-fumble, made two ridiculously-feeble attempts to tackle the Wolverine.
It was a happy-time/smiles-all-around effort for Michigan that day … a distinct tables-are-turned scenario that negated the manner in which the ’05 season ended – with that multi-lateral nonsense on the final play of a 32-28 loss to Nebraska in the Alamo Bowl.

That Alamo Bowl ended with Michigan’s Tyler Ecker running peacefully out of bounds at the Nebraska 17 (after time had expired) – and perhaps Ty can be forgiven if his brain didn’t convey the “sense of urgency” message to his body.
It’s quittin’ time!

Then again, we don’t know if that game ever happened – because well-placed sources have indicated that the ’06 Michigan media guide has NO RECORD or GAME RECAPS of the ’05 season … a 7-5 season in which all five losses were by seven points or less.
As we know, 7-5 records/Alamo Bowls are not acceptable ‘round MaizeN’BlueTown.
In the eyes of the Ann Arboristas, THIS is where Michigan deserves to be – on the threshold of the SECOND Game of The Century during this calendar year (Texas-USC was Game of the Century No. 1).
Whether the 11-0 Wolves (what we’ll call’em … to counter-act Pusburger’s over-use of “the Bucks”) will wish to erase the outcome of this intense donnybrook/barnburner/fistfight vs. the 11-0 Blackeyes remains to be seen. Considering that Michigan has lost all of its biggest games during the past three seasons (0-2 vs. OSU, 0-2 in bowl games, notwithstanding the W against an overrated ND squad), the prospects appear dim for the ‘Reens vs. the ‘Eyes.

Then again, who has the final say in matters of “Michigan Games Which May Or May Not Actually Exist”? Is it one person – or is it a 3-person panel of Lloyd Carr, an SID and The Ghost of Harlan Huckleby?
Funny thing is, while college football didn’t exist in ’05, college football hasn’t existed on ESPN’s College GameDay since somewhere near the beginning of the ’04 season.

In fact, it was only a few days ago when LameDay host Chris Fowler made scant mention of the anonymity of Hawaii QB Colt Brennan ... a player that no one really knows much about, blah blah blah.
It was a dismissive remark which occupied roughly 10-15 seconds of air time – but it is depressing how the junior QB from Laguna Beach who has 43 TD passes in 10 games can’t get any love simply because he plays his home games on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Which means he plays his games long after Corso's bedtime.

Here’s an idea: Instead of making commercials wherein Herb Kirkstreit is squeaking a doggie-toy pork chop as he sits in the waiting area of the pet groomer, mayyyyy-beeee (just maybe) LameDay could assemble a three-minute feature on an actual college football player.
Or rather than spend college-football-viewer taxpayer dollars on jetting Herb Kirkstreit from the “on location” site Saturday a.m. to the who-gives-a-crap? Mich. @ Penn St. game that night, mayyyy-beee (just maybe) send someone to one of Hawaii’s five games on the mainland for a Colt Brennan feature story (that is, if a trip to Hawaii or a phone call to June Jones is too expensive).

You’re getting the picture, aren’t you? College LameDay isn’t about college football – it’s about getting more face time for Fowler, Corso and Herbie as they repeatedly tell us who the Top 5 teams in the nation are the "W2W4" in the “the Heisman Watch.”
It’s what happens when Dr. Jerry Punch is removed from the TV equation.
ESPN gives us a Sat. a.m. package which is Punch-less and punchless, not to mention limp, juvenile, vapid, incomplete and, worst of all … lazy.

You expect such substance-less efforts from Tim Brando's Dye Job and Spencer Tillman's Weave on CBS, but, about the only watchable part of the Worldwide Leader's LameDay is the hope that it won't take long 'til we lose ourselves in Herb Kirkstreit’s eyes as a teaser until Erin Andrews’ sideline cleavage makes an appearance.
Which is what the Disney Football Enterprise is hoping for.

To date, the Disney Football Enterprise productions (i.e. ESPN/ABC) which contain more college football-related content than LameDay are:

1) “The View”
2) “Dancing With The Stars.”
On “The View,” ABC had the vision to replace its nose tackle (Star Jones) with a middle linebacker (Rosie O’Donnell) – and then there's co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck, who has a husband and a brother-in-law who were B.C. Eagle QBs and she has a father-in-law who was a Colorado Buffalo TE.
On “Dancing With The Stars,” America has delighted in the footwork of a former backup QB at UNLV (Kenny Mayne), a star receiver from Mississippi Valley State (Jerry Rice) and a star RB from Florida (Emmitt Smith).

All we get on LameDay is a QB who was 0-3-1 vs. Michigan (0-4 in bowl games) sittin’ next to that offensive backfield whiz who was a teammate of Burt Reynolds’ approx. 90 years ago – before Burt was enacting Man Laws with Jerome Bettis and Jimmy Johnson.
Corso … he parrots some stats which an intern typed up for him and then says, “I like Tennessee at home. Go Vols!”
Powerful stuff.

When he actually tries to mix some college football into the college football equation, Corso sputters with something like what he said a few weeks ago when he called West Virginia’s defense “too jivey” and later in the same show reported that Virginia Tech’s defense had “too much jivey stuff going on.”
That would appear to be a Corso-ism for “too ghetto, too gangsta” (read: “too African-American”).

On one hand, you can't really blame Corso ... mostly because his bloodstream is a volative mix of Flomax, Avodart and bootlegged ephedra.
But, we expect more from Fowler, given his background on the rough n’ tumble streets of “Scholastic Sports America.” However, too often Fowler allows Corso and Herbie to suck him into the vortex of hype and fluff – and America pays the price with nifty expressions, such as “taken out behind the woodshed” and “sneaking ‘round the chicken coop.”
Sadly, another chance to acquaint America with Colt Brennan goes by the wayside.

How's Colt McCoy doin' since takin' over for Vince Young?
Is Colt David the long-term answer to LSU's placekicking issues?
Is this the year that the Colts finally win a Super Bowl?
Who likes the taste of Colt .45?
Who still drives a Dodge Colt?

Last night served as another in the long line of textbook examples of what “the experts” will shove down our throat for the next four days.
Our SporkCenter update Game of the Century No. 2 (until Ohio State-Michigan play in Game of the Century No. 3 on Jan. 8) featured Lisa Salters lateraling to Corso … who pitched it to Bob Griese … who shoveled it to Tom Rinaldi … who tossed it to Rece Davis … who one-timed it over to Lispy McMushmouth (read: Holtz) … who – without getting sanctions levied against ESPN as he’d done at his programs at Arkansas, Minnesota, Notre Dame and South Carolina -- underhanded one to Mark May.
Who took a knee.
In the five minutes that this wrecking crew spent taking away America’s appetite, Griese must’ve said at least five times that “Henne has to step up” (although Griese could’ve jazzed up matters by wording it differently, such as: “Henne needs to step up and have a big game like my son, Brian, did countless times for the ’97 co-national champion Wolverines” ).

Bottom line: Just because OSU-Mich. is the second Game of the Century in a series of six or seven Game of the Century matchups in the next year or so, it will receive the same lazy-ass, slipshod reportage that ESPN has given to 90 percent of its college football matters during the past three or so years.
It wasn’t until this week that most of America learned (via alternate media sources) that Michigan left tackle Jake Long and Wolverine cornerback Leon Hall are among the best in the country.
Apparently, one needs to sign up to be an ESPN Insider on-line.

Then again, why should America bust its ass to find the stories which LameDay is required to furnish for its viewers? In the end, each LameDay (which was expanded this season from 90 minutes to two hours) feels like a night in Shawshank wherein Andy is surrounded by “the sisters” and Bogs snarls,
“I’m going to unzip my fly. And you’re going to take what I give you.”

Would it be too much to compile a three-minute feature on No. 1 vs. No. 2 rematch games and then provide footage of 10 years ago when No. 1 Florida State edged No. 2 Florida, 24-21, in Tallahassee, but then, in the rematch in the Sugar Bowl, Florida won, 52-20?
Is ESPN forbidden from discussing this angle with Bowden and Spurrier?

It's topical and pertinent ... but, since it lacks "schtick" value, well ...
And, could a brother get a feature on Michigan’s offensive line or Ohio State’s defense without Lispy McMushmouth spraying his spittle all over the studio while giving me no names of current Blackeye players “on the defensive side of the ball”?

The sad truth is that BlogAmerica is more creative (and astute) than the Disney Football Enterprise, so interesting info-tainment will receive no penetration. It reckons to be four more days of “Henne needs to step up” and “For Henne to step up, Mike Hart will need a big game” and “If Mike Hart can’t get untracked, that’ll make it harder for Henne to step up and have a big game” and “Michigan’s line needs to open holes for Mike Hart in addition to providing pass protection for Henne to step up and have a big game” and “Henne will have difficulty stepping up if his linemen can’t pass-protect for him” and “If Michigan’s offensive line can’t open holes for Hart, he can’t have a big game and, in the end, that’ll affect Henne’s ability to step up and have a big game” and …
Go ahead and circle the one in red which Corso will use.
And over-use.
Guy’s a tool.
A tired one.
Who isn’t “jivey” enough.
For answers to REAL OSU-Mich. matters, LameDay “comin’ to your citttt-tayyy” ain’t the answer.
For example, there’s this NFL rookie trading card of Trezelle Jenkins (wearing #77 on his white Michigan jersey) blocking Mike Vrabel of Ohio State (who’s wearing #94 for the ‘Eyes).
Trezelle Jenkins – who wore the same number at Michigan that Jake Long wears now (which, unless this data is wrong, is the same number which Bubba Paris wore) – is clearly holding Vrabel here, as the “9” and the ‘”4” on Mike’s jersey are getting scrunched.
Just looking at this card reminds us how badly Trezelle Jenkins washed out in the NFL (a first-round draft choice of the Chiefs who played in nine games in three seasons and made one start) while Vrabel was so-so as a young Steeler before he blossomed as a Super Patriot.
Even so, this Trezelle/Vrabel photo HAS to be from the ’94 game which OSU won, 22-6.
We know it’s ’94 since every even-numbered year, the game’s in Columbus and the ‘Eyes are wearin’ scarlet jerseys.

(Note: It's almost worth FedEx'ing the card to Foxboro, just so Buckeye Vrabel can wave it in Wolverine Brady's face. Meanwhile, in the Steelers locker room, Wolverine Larry Foote and Buckeye Santonio Holmes can be expected to have a fistfight ... or a gunfight)

Unfortunately, when the teams tangle on Sat., they’ll both be outfitted with black socks and black cleats (and that’s a big problem for many of us, in terms of morality, practicality and Constitutionality).

Speaking of fashion, how come LameDay has never had a feature re: “How A Buckeye Gets A Buckeye Helmet Decal”? When we’ve examined photos of Archie Griffin in bowl games, he has wayyyyyyy fewer than what Troy Smith has nowadays … a helmet so covered with buckeye stickers that he probably has room for two more.
Are we saying that Troy Smith is three times better than Archie Griffin or five times better than the two-time Heisman Trophy winner?

What we do know is that Conrads College Gifts at 316 West Lane Ave. in Columbus used to sell the buckeye leaf stickers. However, a sheet of 10 cost $5.50.
This could be a problem for some of us who drive a car which is as silver and shiny as a Buckeye helmet and were hoping to buy 10 or 12 sheets of the decals to stick on the car. The stickers would serve as a reward for smart driving and astute decision-making behind the wheel.
“Driving sober … Buckeye sticker!”
“Flawless parallel-parking execution … two Buckeyes!”
“Failure to yield … no Buckeye!”
“Waiting to eat the burger and fries ‘til we get home … Buckeye sticker!”

Drivin’ ‘round town with anywhere from 70-75 Buckeye stickers plastered on the side of the car which extends from the left rear bumper to the left rear passenger door … now, THAT’S part of the fabric of the American spirit.

Before we forget (and, in case Herbie’s squeaky pork chop forgets to tell ya), the Big Ten was dogshit this year. Two 11-0 teams plus a Wisconsin team that’s likely to finish the regular season 11-1 speaks not to the greatness of those programs, but rather to the garbage that is the other eight teams.
In other words, the ‘Eyes and the ‘Reens got fat with approx. nine or 10 scrimmages, mostly because alleged contenders such as Iowa and Michigan State simply imploded.

Delving a little more deeply, the myth that the Bucks and the Wolves have such hearty defenses, well … does this conference have any QBs or RBs which aren’t complete crud? Do you see a Larry Johnson or a Laurence Moroney or a Darnell Autry out there? Does anyone believe that Drew Tate or Drew Stanton possess one-eighth the talent of a Drew Brees? Were we supposed to forget about Northwestern getting stomped at home by New Hampshire or were we supposed to change the channel when we were watching North Dakota State lining up for that potential game-winning field goal on the final play of a 10-9 game (a kick which was subsequently blocked)?
How exactly do we gauge pass defenders and run-stuffers when there are no passes to defend and no runners to stuff?
Seriously ... how many passes has Leon Hall defended this year?
Less than a dozen?

In other words, Herbie can take his fancy cuff links (which have gotten more air time than 90 percent of the college-football-playin' nation) and cram that squeaky pork chop.
Go look for you crumb tray, Ace …

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