As my friend and author Bill Cromartie once wrote, it’s “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate” week. While it is the season of Thanksgiving, it is also the season when it’s okay, within reason, to hate your biggest rival. The late, great Lewis Grizzard used to say that this week is not about football, it’s about “our way of life against theirs.”
What happened last Saturday sets the table for this week. So what have we learned?
1. Bo Pelini is headed to the principal’s office: The Nebraska coach thought he was getting hosed last Saturday night at Texas A&M. The Big 12 officiating crew called 16 penalties on the Huskers and two on the Aggies. The zebras made a very questionable (bad) roughing the passer call on Nebraska to keep a drive alive at a crucial point in the game. Pelini, who comes from Youngstown, Ohio, a working class city where you don’t accept things lightly, was all over everybody and chased the officials after the 9-6 loss. Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman was not pleased with the behavior of his coach on the public stage and said he will address it. But after this episode and the controversial ending to the Big 12 championship game against Texas last December, do you think Nebraska can’t wait to get out of the Big 12 and into the Big Ten?
2. We’ve seen our last college football game at Wrigley Field: The Northwestern-Illinois game had been years in the planning. A Big Ten official had been on site as late as a month ago. But late last week it was finally determined that the layout of the field, where the back of the East end zone was just inches from a (padded) brick wall, MIGHT pose a safety hazard. So the action on the field only went one way–West. It was a good idea, bringing college football back to Wrigley, but it was poorly executed. You won’t see it again.
3. We should all admire Greg McElroy: Alabama primarily wanted to move its Georgia State game to last Thursday in order to give the Crimson Tide more time to prepare for Auburn, which had last week off. But another benefit to the move was that it allowed Crimson Tide quarterback Greg McElroy an opportunity to sit down for his Rhodes Scholarship interview last Saturday in Birmingham. McElroy wasn’t awarded the Rhodes Scholarship but getting there was quite an accomplishment. By the way, Harvard receiver Zar Zavala got a text message at the end of Saturday’s game with Yale that he had been named a Rhodes Scholar. Kudos to both men.
4. Hey, fella! Watch the Markeith Summers tape. Don’t do that! Markeith Summers of Ole Miss made a wonderful catch and run for 65 yards to give the Rebels a 36-35 lead over LSU with 4:57 left. The problem was that about the five-yard line Mr. Summers decided that this would be a good time to practice his swan dive, which would all but guarantee him some face time on ESPN’s SportsCenter. With no defender within five yards of him he takes off and lands in the end zone for the score. Out comes the flag. It’s automatic and everybody from the head coach to the ball boy knows that it’s automatic. After getting an extra 15 yards on the ensuing kickoff, LSU scores the winning touchdown with 44 seconds left. Remember that if that same penalty happens next year, the officials have the power to call a foul at the spot where he takes off and take the touchdown off the board. I checked with some people and the Summers play would have been borderline for that call. But if he takes off from the 10-yard line with no defender around him? Those points won’t go on the board. That’s the rule. You may not love it but you have to learn it and live it. Or you can give up the 15 yards.
5. I thought Stanford and Cal were supposed to have all the smart guys. The emotions on the field before the Stanford-California game were so high, that Stanford reserve receiver Jamal-Rashad Patterson punched a player in full view of the officials BEFORE the game began. Needless to say Mr. Patterson was tossed prior to kickoff. I have two questions:
Aren’t Stanford and Cal supposed to have all the smart guys?
Stanford-Cal? You call THAT emotion? Let’s all meet in Tuscaloosa Friday at 2:30 p.m. I’ll show you some emotion.
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