As America sat breathlessly through Kevin Kolb's milestone performance tonight, there were many of us who yelled at the TV screen, "Look out behind you, Kev! There's a big anaconda!"
Understandably, it was soon thereafter that we learned that what we initially believed to be an anaconda was actually Southern Miss linebacker Tokumbo Abanikanda. And that sorta made us wish that we watching a Monty Python DVD in the front seat of our Dodge Viper ...
The Disney Football Paradigm that America knows as ESPN gave us a real treat tonight ... Kevin Kolb of the Houston Kolbars, errrrr ... "Cougars" serving as a tuneup for futbol colegio's version of Sabado Gigante.
And, let us never forget the tremdous joy ride Kevin Kolb has taken us on for the past four seasons.
Kid Kolb began the season with 9,155 yards passing in his career -- and then he threw for 880 in his first three games (against Rice, Tulane and Grambling), surpassing the 10,000-yard mark for his career (putting his career total at 10,035).
On Sept. 23, Kolb passed for 313 yds. vs. Oklahoma State, but it was his 196 yds. against Miami one week later which put his career total at 10,544 and allowed him to crack the Top 30 in the NCAA Div. I-A list (ahead of Stanford's STEVE STENSTROM at 10,531).
With 367 yards against Louisiana-Lafayette on Oct. 7, Kolb (10,911) climbed 10 spots to 20th place, ahead of Boston College's DOUG FLUTIE (10,579), Northwestern's BRETT BASANEZ (10,580), Arizona State's ANDREW WALTER (10,617), Fresno State's KEVIN SWEENEY (10,623), USC's MATT LEINART (10,693), Marshall's CHAD PENNINGTON (10,698), Miami of Ohio's BEN ROETHLISBERGER (10,829), Florida's DANNY WUERFFEL (10,875), Nevada's DAVID NEILL (10.903) and Purdue's DREW BREES (10,909) -- and only two yards behind 19th-placer, Pittsburgh's ALEX VAN PELT (10,913).
With 339 yards against Southern Miss. in the teams' first meeting (Oct. 14), Kolb (11,250) moved into 14th place, ahead of Van Pelt (10,913), Central Florida's RYAN SCHNEIDER (10,976), Akron's CHARLIE FRYE (11,049), Georgia's ERIC ZEIER (11,153), Tennessee's PEYTON MANNING (11,201) and Oregon State's DEREK ANDERSON (11,249).
With 208 vs. UTEP on Oct. 21, Kolb (11,458) cracked the Top 10 (10th place), surpassing Western Michigan's TIM LESTER (11,299), USC's CARSON PALMER (11,388), San Diego State's TODD SANTOS (11,425) and Cincinnati's GINO GUIDUGLI (11,453).
With 305 against Central Florida on Oct. 28, Kolb (11,763) moved into 9th place, ahead of Georgia's DAVID GREENE (11,528).
With 244 vs. Tulsa on Nov. 4, Kolb (12,007) moved into 8th place, ahead of Marshall's BYRON LEFTWICH (11,903).
Kolb was pretty tame against SMU and then Memphis two weeks ago, combining for only 313 yards in the two wins. His career total of 12,320 entering tonight left Kolb within reach of not only Texas Tech's KLIFF KINGSBURY in 7th place (12,429), but also Louisville's Chris Redman in 6th place (12,541).
Tonight, Kolb's 258 against So. Miss., put him at 12,578 and left him positioned to spend the bowl game shooting down a pair of Louisiana Techsters -- LUKE McCOWN (12,666) and TIM RATTAY (12,746) -- for 4th place all-time. There's no way that Kevin Kolb will touch Division I's top three -- 3) North Carolina State's PHILIP RIVERS (13,484) ... 2) BYU's TY DETMER (15,031) ... and 1) Hawaii's TIMMY CHANG (17,072), but what heroism, eh?
During his ascension to the position of "Fourth-Greatest College Quarterback In Our Lifetimes," Kevin Kolb never left us feeling cheated or used. The hidden stat amongst all those yardage totals -- only 3 INTs in 393 atts.
Better yet, Kevin Kolb is not a glory hog the way that past Houston Cougar QB greats Andre Ware and David Klingler were. After all, Ware was mistakenly awarded Anthony Thomspon's 1989 Heisman Trophy.
And, Klingler? Well, when he passed for an NCAA-record 716 yards against Arizona State in 1990, he didn't even have the decency to do it in the United States.
That game was played in Tokyo.
And, when Klinger passed for an NCAA-record 11 TDs two weeks before the ASU game, he didn't have the decency to do it against a school which had a varsity football program.
Klinger did it against Eastern Washington.
Ah, yes ... the days of John Jenkins running it up against every junior-high team he could squeeze into the schedule. Actually, the '89 season was Jack Pardee ... '90 was when Jenkins led probation-strpped Coogs to a 10-1 record. Jenkins left the program in a shambles for his successor, Kim Helton.
During their final three years in the ol' SWC, the Coogs went 1-9-1, 1-10 and 2-9 (0-12 in non-conference games). Those were the bleak JIMMY Klingler seasons ... when his big bro and Andre Ware were stinkin' up the NFL.
So, it looks like we're up to date with our Houston Cougars retrospective -- except for that 0-11 season of 2001.
In other news, since the Texas Hold 'Em Network (a.k.a. ESPN) is NOT sending its College LameDay circus out in the field tomorrow, there's not much of chance that we'll see any smart-alec kids holding up a sign outside the SEC Championship game which reads: "DICK TAKES A LEAK."
Such a statement is more a reference to the QBs in the Razorblades-Alligators showdown (Casey Dick and Chris Leak), so while socially repugnant, it's still good for a chuckle.
And that sounds like a cue for a Haystack Handicap of what may or may not take place tomorrow.
Southern Cal at Cal-Los Angeles (at Arroyo Seco) -- Here's how the Trojans remain "Old School Cool" -- 1) White socks 2) Black cleats with white laces and white markings (logos) on the shoes.
'SC remains connected to its retro look amid the new wave of the creepy Under-Armourized hysteria of black socks with shiny, all-black cleats. Such a feeble look. Unless that's what your team from Dorkville Tech is wearing.
Says USC apologist Will Ferrell, "You stay classy, 'SC."
Anyway, the emotionless, expressionless Karl Dorrell and his Bruins are the final obstacle to USC reaching a BCS showdown against Ohio State. If Dorrell was starting Thousand Oaks High star/BYU-transfer Ben Olson instead of Patrick Cowan at QB, well ... mayyyybeeee.
As FOX Sports Radio was making the segue this morning from a national program ("The First Team") to local programming ("The Sports Reporters"), James Washington declared that Ben Olson "throws the best ball in college football."
Wait a sec ... Jay-Dub is a Bruin alum.
It does seem highly doubtful that Cowan is the guy to offset Pete Carroll's bag o' tricks (a 49-yard FG by Placekicking Guest Star Dressed Up As A Linebacker -- David Buehler -- against Cal two weeks ago or a 42-yard kickoff return by A Guy Dressed Up As A Linebacker -- Brian Cushing -- against Notre Dame last week).
But, it also does seem highly doubtful that 'SC will rack up 430 yards rushing as it did last year in the 66-19 pasting in the Coliseum ... and all that means is that The Bootster should think about airing it out to Jarrett or Smith when either is matched up against exploitable DB types, like, say, oh, Alterraun Verner.
Oh, and just so nobody's in the dark about what an amateur Herb Kirkstreit is, he twice mentioned in a mini-preview that UCLA had the two best defensive ends in the nation.
Then, he never named the players.
This is what happens when America allows a Buckeye QB who was 0-3-1 vs. Michigan and 0-4 in bowl games to waste valuable college football prep time so that he can spend more time making TV promos where he's concerned with toaster-oven crumb trays and a doggie's squeaky-toy pork chop.
Herbie's just an abstract painting which America looks at ... and realizes that a 13-year-old painted it .. and that Herbie has an ear for a nose and a tooth for an eye and a chin for an elbow.
It's up to you, Justin Hickman and Bruce Davis, to put your cleat up against the USC's players' necks which have been riddled with Herb Kirkstreit's tender kisses.
USC 20, UCLA 17 (OT)
Fresno St. @ San Jose St. -- Talk about the lost treasure of the weekend. T his matchup will showcase the vintage X's-and-O's, cat n' mouse stylings of two rising-star O-coordinators -- SJSU's Ken Margerum and FSU's Steve Hagen. For anyone who saw Margerum play, they will testify before a Senate sub-committee that the trophy which is awarded to college football's top receiver should be the Margerum Award.
*** FYI: When the Biletnikoff Award was created 11 years ago, Fred wasn't even the best receiver in the history of his own university (Fla. St.) ... Ron Sellers was. End of discussion.
Margerum, meanwhile, has made the full Bay Area tour ... All-American receiver at Stanford while performing his dazzling, glue-fingered, sprawling receptions on aerials gunned by Turk Schonert and John Elway ... his final two years in the NFL spent with the 49ers (after winning a Super Bowl ring with the Bears) ... assistant coaching stints at Menlo College and Cal before landing at SJSU for head coach Dick Tomey.
For Hagen, this'll be his first game-action drama since the days when he was Tom Holmoe's O-coordinator at Cal in '99-'00 (a role he filled after that bang-up job as SJSU's offensive coordinator/recruiting coordinator under Dave Baldwin back during those wacky days of '97-'98).
In-between his college gigs, Hagen coached TEs and QBs for the NFL Browns during the glory days of the Butch Davis Implosion. Moreover, what this represents for Hagen is a chance to exhibit the most-basic applications of what he learned when he and the Pitchfork shared a 2nd-period geometry class at Thousand Oaks High in the autumn of '77.
Therefore, this isn't a regular trip to the Bay Area for the one-time Wartburg College head coach. This time, it's about courage ... and integrity ... and honour ... and choosing between 4th-period lunch and 5th-period lunch.
From a pragmatic, totally-football standpoint, The Frez is 9-0 against San Joe-Zee since the two former PCAA (Pacific Coast Athletic Conference) foes became WAC conference mates 10 years ago. The average score in those routs was 41-14.
But, this is a new era. The Men of Sparta are ready to protect their house ... a stadium which The Frez called home for four consecutive Silicon Valley Classic bowl games ('00-'03).
Now, that The Frez (4-7) is not bowl-eligible for the first time since 1998, the Bulldogs' mindset might be "let's play spoiler."
The thing is, the Men of Sparta (7-4) have already accepted an invite to the inaugural New Mexico Bowl -- the first bowl for SJSU since whuppin' Central Michigan in the 1990 California Raisin Bowl (the event which used to feature Big West champ vs. MAC champ ... back in the day ... when football was more-realistic and lifelike).
So, in looking to establish a precedent as the mightiest of all New Mexico Bowl champs, SJSU will continue to adhere to the Tomey Doctrine of sound, fundamental football.
Besides, Hagen's a dork.
SJSU 20, FSU 17 (OT)
Stanford at UC-Berkeley -- It's another nugget from the Left Coast ... in the magical land which gave birth to the Left Coast Offense.
While the Eastern seaboard has Temple and Army and Buffalo as doormats, the Left Coast's only real answer is Stanford. For a program which has produced top scholars AND bushels of NFL talent, the heartbreak is profound inside the new $100-mil, tennis-stadium-shaped home field.
Well, it is for the 11,233 of the 37,467 inside the 50,00o-seat stadium who aren't buzzing from the chardonnay and chablis.
What a show Walt Harris' squad put on in those five home games -- three offensive TDs and five losses by an average score of 33-6.
It's hard to believe that it was only six short weeks ago when the Cardinal amassed 17 yards through the first three quarters and ran a total of 32 plays in a 20-7 loss to Arizona. And, then, just two weeks ago, ran 47 plays (to their opponents' 72) in a 30-7 loss to Oregon State.
So much for the home-field advantage. Let's go grab a pizza at The O or some chicken taco at Andale, okay?
Sadly, that last sentence was not what two spectators might say, but rather what's written on the play-chart wristband of Stanford QB Trent Edwards.
It just doesn't seem possible that in the 9 1/2 games since building a 34-14, second-quarter lead against San Jose State (with four TD passes from Edwards), Stanford has scored 7 TDs -- two of those on interception returns by Wopamo Osaisai and Bo McNally and another on a halfback-option pass by Anthony Kimble.
"Wopamo Osaisai" is a fun name to say. Maybe even more fun to say than former Stanford linemen, Lester Archambeau and Andy Papathanassiou.
Chop up the names n' numbers any which way you like -- this is the worst Stanford team ever. (Easy, Cardinal ... Temple and Buffalo are worse than you ... but not Duke, no way)
Hey, when it's a school with little to no football tradition, okay .. that's one thing. When Eastern Michigan is rippin' off another 2-9 season, big wow.
But, this is Stanford ... Pac-10 champions and Rose Bowl participants on the first day of this millennium ... Quarterback U. with Albert, Brodie, Plunkett, Benjamin, Dils, Schonert, Elway, Stenstrom, Hutchinson, Husak (okay, so maybe not Hutch n' Huse) ...
What about Bob Whitfield, John Lynch, Glyn Milburn, Darrien Gordon, Coy Wire ... ?
Walt Harris ... what have you done to this program?
(And don't give us any of that "I can't win with Buddy Teevens' recruits, dammit!")
The Schaden-freude-ista in each of us would like to see an 0-11 Stanford squad goin' into this one with the drama of an 0-12 train wreck hanging in the balance.
But, then the Cardinal had to go and ruin it all by winning in Seattle for the first time since 1975.
And what about Cal? You had your chances against Tennesee and USC. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Nate Longshore doesn't spin anyone's propeller. Oh, and black socks w/ black cleats at home ... you're on notice, Cal.
The real downer of this, the 109th edition of the Big Game is that it was initially going to serve as Edwards' platform for giving NFL scouts something to think about.
Seems like only last week when this Pitchfork & Mrs. PF7 were in attendance watching Edwards as a Los Gatos High soph. shredding an undermanned Mountain View defense.
Now, it's T.C. Ostrander's turn to avenge Edwards' death (read: broken foot).
Cal 20, Stanford 17 (OT)
Army-Navy (at The Linc) -- There's only one angle here -- and that's the waiting game America will play to hear which CBS jack-off will stutter/stammer/soil-his-shorts while trying to pronounce the name of Navy QB Kaipo-Noa Keheaku-Enhada.
Play-by-play stiff Jack Bolercraig mangled it during the beginning of the Navy-N.D game and then simply referred to the QB as "Kaipo" thereafter.
It remains fascinating how announcers with the Aryan-nation names "Herbstreit" and "Bolerjack" wet their pants when it's time to act professional and attempt to learn a name which isn't Aryan.
Maybe they don't teach pronunciation at the Master Race Broadcast Academy.
Sorta reminds ya of that time when 11 or 12 years ago when Grandma McLispy (read: Lou Holtz) had us in stitches when, as coach of the Farting Irish during a media session, couldn't untangle his master-race tongue to say, "Biakabutuka."
His first name is "Tshimanga," Lou, but you can call him Tim.
(Sidebar: Grandma Holtz needs a timeout ... "Wunschen Sie einen gestreifen oder einen karierten Schlafanzug? Auf dem Balkon ist es sehr windig. Die Gewerkschaft hat ihre Ziele erreicht. Die Anderung des Gesetzes stieB bei vielen Burgern auf Widerstand. Bringen Sie mir bitte Wurtschen mit Kartoffelsalat und Senf. Wenn Ihnen die Grundlage der deutschen Grammatik fehlt, sollten Sie einen Anfangerkurs besuchen." Translation: Would you like striped or checked pajamas? It's very windy on the balcony. The union achieved its objectives. The change in the law met with opposition from many people. I'd like sausages with potato salad and mustard. If you haven't mastered the fundamentals of German grammar, you should attend a course for beginners.)
Navy 20, Army 17 (OT)
Oklahoma-Nebraska (Big XII championship) -- We've waited a long time for the Sooners and 'Huskers to square off again (they haven't met since Neb.'s 20-10 win in Lincoln over the No. 1-ranked Sooner Schooner in late-Oct. '01).
However, the best part about a college game of this magnitude in a frozen Arrowhead Stadium isn't how the frigid conditions will affect Sooner QB Paul Thompson or 'Husker QB Zac Taylor, but rather the impact that the frigidity will have on the civilian stiff who will attempt to throw some footballs into the gigantic Dr. Pepper can at halftime.
Back to the game ... the one thing that Thompson has taught America is that Rhett Bomar was one of the most overhyped QBs at a BCS-aspiring program. Hence, Thomspon's sharp play has voided the need for any publications to give us any "BOMARVELOUS" headlines with Rhett's face on the cover.
In other words, Thompson's been nails -- but, so, too, has tailback Allen Patrick, the "other A.P." who, since Adrian Peterson broke his collarbone (and, thus, handed his '06 Heisman Trophy to Troy Smith), rushed for 110 vs. Colorado, 157 vs. Missouri, 173 vs. Texas A&M, DNP vs. Texas Tech and Baylor and had 163 in his comeback game last week vs. Okie State.
Definitely, The Other A.P. is reminding a lot of us of a hybrid of Kenny King and Kejuan Jones.
When AP2 joined The Original AP on the DL, Chris Brown came in handy for the OU ground game when his 41-yard TD run in the 4th quarter against Texas Tech served as the go-ahead score.
Make no mistake, though ... Thompson was the star of that game, hooking up with Malcolm Kelly for a 40-yard TD 10 seconds before halftime to bring OU to within 24-17.
Less than two minutes earlier, Thompson had his pass picked off and returned for a TD which put TTU up, 24-10.
Thompson also had a 19-yard gain on a 3rd-and-9 which set up a FG which brought OU to within 24-20, and later, on a crucial 4th-quarter drive, Thompson was 5 for 5, including a 12-yard completion to Kelly on 3rd-and-10 and a 17-yard completion to Dane Zaslow for a first down at the TTU 5-yard line which essentially ended the game for the Techsters.
*** FYI: TTU QB Graham Harrell has 4,000 empty passing yards this season. In the super-assassin offense of Mike Leach -- the former Stoops asst. -- the Red Raiders extended their streak to 0 for 11 in reaching the Big XII title game by failing to score a TD in a 12-3 loss to TCU; failing to score at all until they were losing 23-0 to 0-6 Colorado; failing to score in the second half vs. Texas after building leads of 21-0 and 35-21; and failing to score after taking a 24-10 lead with less than two minutes to play 'til halftime vs. the Sooners. In other words, Texas Tech is the epitome of "also-ran." Mike Leach is to coaching college football as Texas Tech asst. b-ball coach Patrick Knight was to playing college basketball. That's to say, a "non-factor" -- or, in less-romantic terms, a complete waste of space. Leach, as a Stoops protege, and Knight, as a Knight offspring, occupy jobs which would be better served by blue-collar folks who really want those jobs. Leach's main duty, it seems, is to cater to what combos of red-and-black to wear ... always with that black cleat/black sock nonsense. Stoops, meanwhile, returned to basics by putting his Sooners in white cleats at home this season (excellent move) AND he had the players' names removed from the backs of the jerseys in an apparent "It's-The-Name-On-The-Front-Which-Matters" move ... Actually, all of Stoops' moves have been beyond reproach this year -- which means that some of us can return to wearing our Sooner Football sweatshirts without pondering the equation: "OU sweatshirt + kerosene + book of matches = "an accident" ...
Oh, snap ... the pro-Sooner tribute/anti-TTU tirade pre-empted us saying anything about Neb. QB Zac Taylor's keys to success.
Poor kid ... stuck in that Bill Callahan/NFL mindset ... throw it for 2 yards, throw it for 3 yards, incomplete, punt ...
End zone's thataway, pard'ner ..
Oklahoma 20, Nebraska 17 (OT)
Arkansas-Florida (SEC championship) -- By the time we've seen the footballs-thrown-into-the-gigantic-Dr.-Pepper-can trick at halftime of the ACC and Big XII championship games, we'll be more apt to ingest massive doses of strychnine before we'd dare pop the top on a D.P. when the halftime ritual repeats itself at the Georgia Dome (actually, some of us Americans who still value America have NEVER had more than a tiny, half-swig of D.P. -- and we immediately spit THAT out, so, yeah ... strychnine vs. D.P., advantage = "push").
Furthermore, "strychnine vs. Urban Meyer hyping his team ... advantage = 'push.' "
There's only two things worth knowing here:
Item #1: If Justin Zwick was QBing Ohio State instead of Troy Smith, the Buckeyes would still be 12-0 due to the fact that Ohio State football in '06 can best be characterized as "two games, 10 controlled scrimmages." So, when they hand Darren McFadden's Heisman Trophy to Troy Smith next week, it might not be a bad idea for the engravers to etch a tiny asterisk next to Troy Smith's name before engraving the disclaimer: "Achieved against Big Ten competition."
It sez here that w/o McFadden, Arkansas would have two more notches in the "L" column.
Also, McFadden accomplished what he has against competition from the Corso/Kirkstreit-endorsed, most-bad-ass conference in the history of the universe ... the SEC!!!
(Wait ... doesn't Vandy still play in that conference? And Ole Mess? And Miss.Stake? Sing along, children: "ohhhh-vurrr-RAYYYY-tiddd!")
Item #2: Speaking of Heismans, why is Florida's Jarred Fayson allowed to wear Steve Spurrier's #11? And, why are two players -- Cornelius Ingram and Jamar Hornsby (usually seen on the sideline wearing #7, no pads and a funky hairdo) -- allowed to wear Danny Wuerffel's #7?
Ri-ri-ri-right ... it's because the Alligators have so many amazing players -- more than the jersey alotment of numbers 1 thru 99 -- therefore, certain numbers have to be doubled-up.
But, why #7 and #11?
Why not retire #7 and #11 out of respect to a pair of Heisman winners and double up other numbers, such as #1, #2, #3, #4, etc ... and so on and so forth.
Well, at least if the Alligators can't count to 7 or 11, at least they're smart enough to stick to white cleats, not selling out (yet!) and switching to black socks w/ shiny black cleats as part of the Under-Armourization of America.
Click clack, knick-knack-paddywhack!
Stay sexy, Urb.
Arkansas 20, Florida 17 (OT)