Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Weekly college football rave.

Mixed feelings going into the LSU-Tennessee game. My Gators already beat the Vols, and LSU was still ranked ahead of Florida, so a Tennessee victory would be good for the Gators. But there was the whole hurricane thing, as well as an admiration I've had for the Bayou Bengals since the days of Billy Cannon and the Chinese Bandits. So, I'm left with nothing more to say than the Vols reminded me of the Fighting Irish on so many occasions when I was rooting for them to lose, and they overcame what seemed to be an insurmountable deficit.

Friday night I was making one of my now infrequent appearances at the Kettle of Fish. Patrick, the owner, comes from a place called Wauwautosa, just outside Milwaukee, so there were lots of people in red shirts there, watching the Michigan-Wisconsin game. During a break in the action, I glanced up at the screen as a highlight from another game was being shown. There was a guy in a green and gold uniform dashing through a defense wearing red and white, and scoring. Then I saw at the bottom of the screen, "South Florida 14, #9 Louisville 0, 1st". My amygdala lit up like a Roman candle: "My alma mater is beating a top ten team!" "Inconceivable!" replied my cerebrum, doing its best imitation of Wallace Shawn in The Princess Bride. "This won't last. Remember Scales' first rule of college football (born of years following the Florida Gators): 'The upsets you want hardly ever happen; those you don't want happen more often than not.'"

The noise of the Badger fans became unbearable, so I took the subway home. The USF-Louisville game wasn't on any locally available channel, so I had to follow it on line. I was sure by the time I boooted up that the Cardinals would have restored Beano Cook-ish sanity to the gridiron world. The screen came up and said, "South Florida 24, #9 Louisville 7, 3rd". Still plenty of time for the Card defense to stiffen, and the offense to score the two TD's and one FG needed to send it into overtime, in which the team with momentum almost always prevails.

Not wishing to watch this painful process play itself out, I went elsewhere on the web. When I finally looked back in, I saw "South Florida 38, #9 Louisville 7", with something like eight minutes left in the game. Not only that, but the Bulls had the ball, and were in Cards territory. A minute later they scored, got the PAT, and it was 45-7. "Inconceivable", I said to myself, as I clicked the refresh button through a final Louisville TD, and then victory for South Florida.

Next Saturday the Bulls play Miami. The Canes started their season with a rare loss to archrival Florida State, but have since won a tough one from Clemson, and a surprisingly easy one from Colorado. Their next two games after USF are Duke and Temple, so they're not going to be looking ahead to anything big. Having seen what the Bulls did to a ranked team (indeed, Miami has now inherited the #9 spot previously held by the Cards), they won't be complacent. So, can USF beat Miami? At the Orange Bowl?

Inconceivable.