The coaches from the Red River Shootout try to figure out what to do with the rest of their meaningless seasons. The Third Saturday in October is here to prove again that folks from Alabama and Tennessee don’t know how to read a calendar. A South Carolina fan ponders the mysteries of the universe, or at least of his school’s mascot. All this, plus a tour of some of the sleepy, folksy boroughs of the Carolinas. It’s a bye week for the Gators …what else do you have to do with your time?
Texas at TCU (6:30, FS1)
Mack Brown is Mickey Rourke’s Randy “The Ram” Robinson character in The Wrestler, returning home to his trailer, thinking he’s about to enjoy a nice meal and a good night’s sleep, with no idea that the trailer park owner has put a lock on his door and…but wait…hold on a minute. Didn’t Mack just have a breakthrough victory, destroying the hated Sooners in the Red River Shootout? Didn’t he just save the last remnants of his reputation and his job? He is now Mickey Rourke’s Randy “The Ram” Robinson character in The Wrestler, getting back into the game, booking jobs across the country, making a big comeback while making money behind the meat counter at the deli. But now he has to take his team to play TCU at their house after a bye week of his players hearing from everyone how great they are again … don’t look now Mack, but that whirling meat slicer blade is looking very, very inviting …
Amphibians with Horn: 24
Beef Loin Shorn: 20
Tennessee at Alabama (3:30, CBS)
Whenever I see Butch Jones on the sidelines of a Tennessee Volunteers game, I always think, “Shouldn’t this guy be in a ring somewhere losing to a more popular wrestler?” Maybe he’s just coaching because he wound up on the wrong end of a “Loser Leave Town” cage match with the American Dream. Because all he needs is a creamsicle mask and maybe a bad cape and within seconds Sgt Slaughter and Blackjack Mulligan would emerge from the tunnel and start beating him senseless and busting framed pictures of Phil Fulmer over his head. Gordon Solie is shouting that someone has to get in there and restore order, but nobody is listening.
The Four Crimson Horsemen: 37
Are There Any Good Capes?: 13
Texas Tech at Oklahoma (3:30, FOX)
Bob Stoops has been running his mouth non-stop for about three years now about the SEC. He literally won’t shut up about it. Or anything else. He won’t stop talking about SEC defenses, or the strength of the SEC, how over-rated they are or how bad the SEC would have looked if they had to face the quarterbacks of the Big 12 all these years. He has been so busy talking that he hasn’t paid enough attention to coaching to prevent Dead-Man-Walking Mack Brown and his floundering ground chuck from annihilating the Sooners in the Red River Shootout this year. But Bob always finds a way to lose to some team Oklahoma should dominate, thus drop-kicking OU from the national title picture. Again. All because he just won’t shut up. Which may explain why the last time the University of Oklahoma extended Bob’s contract, his wife elected only the nominal life insurance policy – just enough to pay for funeral arrangements. Oklahoma, like all major universities, offer their top coaches many options of multi-million dollar policies that would bathe Carol Stoops and her family in money should Bob suffer an untimely death … but she turned it all down, saying, “Can you really put a price on peace and quiet?”
Meanwhile Carol is hard at work, as always. She is an independent national director of Mary Kay Inc., and as such she is one of the few people in the nation with the skill and expertise to beautify Big Game Bob’s increasingly ugly big game record. Turns out it’s not such a long fall from the Boomer schooner to the pastel-pink Mary Kay Cadillac.
Earth Tones: 27
Tubby’s Drones: 17
South Carolina at Missouri (6:00, ESPN2)
I only have one friend who is a South Carolina fan.
I asked him once if it ever bothered him having such a weird mascot. He asked why it was weird. I said first of all because of the double entendre. He said he didn’t understand Spanish. So I asked, doesn’t he find it weird that the chicken is the only terrestrial animal that we eat before it’s born and after it’s dead. He thought on that a minute and asked, “Well, what about fish.” To which I reminded him that I said the only terrestrial animal. He thought on that a minute and said, “Right. Fish are extra-terrestrial.”
I only have one friend who is a South Carolina fan.
Eggs or Corpses: 33
Superfluous Terrestrials: 30
Charlotte 49ers at Charleston Southern Buccaneers (1:00)
The majesty of college football is not just about the game. It’s about all the pageantry surrounding the game, the schools and programs, the surrounding communities. This is what draws my attention to this game. That’s why this Saturday I am not so interested in the UNC-Charlotte 49ers as I am in their fans. For example, their colorful athletic supporters just a short drive outside of town in Hickory, NC. These are people who just don’t understand the process of naming a town. Driving northwest out from Charlotte, for instance, one can pass through presidential Lincolnton, serene Meadow Brook Village and stately Statesville. The founders of these municipalities knew how to name a city. Then there’s Hickory. For a town in the south that wishes to attract the right kind of people with which to build a vibrant, culturally and commercially thriving community, it’s probably not the best idea to put the word “hick” right in the name of your city. Why not just name your town Hillbillyville? How about Bumpkinburg or Hayseed Hollow? You can just see the public relations ads now, “Commerce is king at Cornpone Corners!”
Of course there are a number of Charlotte-adjacent towns whose Chambers of Commerce didn’t get the memo about attracting the best and the brightest. For instance, the founders of Poor Town, NC. Pretty much rolls out the red carpet for high-rollers. Then of course there is Boogertown, NC (take a guess at their most popular pastime) and nearby Worry, NC where at least the UNC-Charlotte psychiatry majors know where to hang out their shingle. And just a stone’s throw outside the 485 beltway is Mount Holly, which I assume is a town and not a weekend activity for members of the 49ers football team.
But Charleston, home of the Buccaneers from CSU, is in similar company with its surrounding townships. You can make an educated guess at the general demographics of Barefoot, SC, or the favorite hobby in Hurl Rocks, SC. If you’re a high school bully looking to steal a lot of lunch money, move to Coward, SC. Or if you like a more pleasant, nostalgic high school experience, move to the Ferris Bueller tribute town, Nine Times, SC. And bonus points go out to any Gator fan who knows why CM Coolidge made the half hour drive between Playcards, SC, and Dog Bluff, SC.
A silly joke that many like to make in America is to ask someone, “How’s your hole…family?” (homonym jokes don’t really work in print). However, in South Carolina there is no punch line coming when you ask your neighbors, “How’s your Hole?” Because they would start telling you about their home town of Cat Hole. Or Jug Hole. Or Otter Hole. Of course, anyone who’s ever been to a South Carolina-Clemson game knows there are more ‘Holes in South Carolina than one can count. Especially if you’re from South Carolina…because you see, those people can’t count very high.
Then there is the crown jewel of the Bible Belt, just a few miles south of the border between these two states. A city that leaves no doubt as to what the founders had on their minds. Sugar T*t, South Carolina. I can’t even spell out the full name, but suffice it to say it’s the thing you receive in trade for “Tat”. They don’t even have a Hooters restaurant because that would just be redundant. The economy of Sugar T*t is a bit top-heavy, with two large, well-rounded companies filling most of what the community can hold (and sometimes even spilling over the top), but it is nonetheless a robust community bursting at the seams with pride, beating their chests about many of their local attractions. North Carolina was clearly distressed that the town was settled south of their border, rather in their own lovely colony, because immediately after its founding, the Tar Heel state established the townships of Hooker, Erect, Cherryville, Jugtown and Climax. I guess this is what you get when you have one state with nearly every county full of dry cities where alcohol is outlawed and the other state under free pour law. I am not even touching the city of Lizard Lick, NC…that one is anyone’s guess.
What does any of this have to do with a football game between UNC-C and CSU? And why should this contest be of any more interest to SEC fans as kicking rocks? Well it serves as example: you never know from surface appearances what you’re going to find when you look under the gloss of the façade. You take a stroll to the humble football confines of CSU for a snoozer game between two programs you rarely even hear of, and you might be pleasantly surprised with an interesting, maybe even exciting game. Just as you might take a drive through the genteel and vestal southern communities of North and South Carolina in search of local cuisine, and you might just stop for a nibble in a Hooker cookery, slake your thirst in Jugtown or grab something sweet in Sugar T*t.
20 Miles from Land o’Goshen, SC: 20
100 Miles from Tick Bite, NC: 19