Without living in the Fatherland with the local pay-per-view and without
a travel agent who could fathom the concept of intentionally traveling
to Waco, I was left in audio-only mode for the Baylor game, in that
strange realm where everything up-comes and everything caroms off everything
else. There is little then this week I can offer by way of direct observations
on how the Big Red belittled the Bears, but it’s not hard to see
if you just concentrate enough. Rose, Fiala and Matt only gave us part
of the story of what happened on the field. Fortunately, the mind’s
eye easily fills in the blanks. If a picture’s worth a thousand
words, then presumably it takes one thousand words to create a picture.
The average person speaks at a rate of 125 words per minute. Since the
game lasted 3 hours and 16 minutes, the math gives us 24,500 words.
That’s only 24 ½ pictures. Fortunately, the average person
thinks at a rate of about 650 words per minute, which means that our
imagination gives us a much truer picture of what transpired on the
field last Saturday night. For the moment, we will disregard the fact
that video images must be displayed at a minimum of 30 frames per second
or a person becomes motion sick. If 30 FPS is applied to our mind’s-eye
theater, the figure drifts somewhere into the negatives and our otherwise
vivid imaginations wink out of existence, meaning our minds are empty
black holes. This is almost never true in humans, unless you are “reality”
television wonk Mark Burnett, “author” L. Ron Hubbard or
“artist” Ashlee Simpson, who incidentally once managed to
think at a rate of 24 ½ words. Per hour. Fortunately, we are
not them, and our internal film rooms gave us a much clearer series
of scenes for us to watch the Red Menace of the North deliver a punishing
lesson in ground-game brutality to the upstarts of the South. Ah, what’s
old is new again.
game began customarily enough in Floyd Casey Stadium, with about a third
of the half-full bleachers occupied by the visitors’ fans and
the other half of the seats filled with homeless winos shipped in to
give the appearance of local interest for the television audience. Things
quickly became distressing when before the coin toss, a crater opened
at midfield, the choking smell of sulfur began to drift toward the crowd
and in a sooty black cloud, head referee Steve Usechek ascended into
the world of mortals.
much-hyped Baylor confidence was apparent on their first drive as they
moved the ball into the Red zone far too effectively. Grix had a nice
tip-drill INT, but just as Steve Usechek was adjusting his hat between
the horns protruding from his skull, a Blackshirt had gotten into the
backfield, said hello to Baylor QB Shawn Bell, asked him how classes
were going, offered him a juice box left over from the pregame meal,
played most of a game of Scrabble, and wished him well the rest of the
game and shook Bell’s hand. The last was costly, because it drew
a late-hit flag, negating Grix’s pinch. Moments later, Bell ran
into the end zone, yelling “Nihilartikel is SO a word!”
and was not flagged for excessive celebration, gridiron or linguistic.
game showed us why you put kickers on scholarship. Congdon had a great
outing for a freshman playing his first conference road game. No, it
wasn’t a bowl game and field goals in the 20s are expected makes,
but a career-best distance shot of 41 yards and 3-for-3 on the day comes
in quite handy when the margin of victory is nine points. Not too shabby,
young mister Jordan. Perhaps in a few years you’ll be introduced
to a little statue named Groza.
and the offense had another efficient day, but to take the North more
of those 3s will need to be 7s. Still, a decent 56% completion rate
is topped by more pleasant number: zero, as in number of interceptions
thrown. ZT continues to play heady and gutsy. He managed this against
an athletic defense that at times puts eight men on the line in order
to give a QB much to worry about. To get a score to begin the second
half allowed Callahan the cushion to execute the execution of the clock
and grind, baby, grind this game away. At the moment ZT found Todd Peterson
doing an Oh-please-see-me-sometime-this-century calisthenics routine
in the back of the end zone, the Baylor mascot fell writhing and spasmodically
flailing to the ground, eventually growing still as smoke seeped out
of the costume because the person inside had spontaneously combusted,
along with any Bear hopes of gaining the second-half momentum.
Blackshirts continue to play bloody well, despite becoming alarmingly
shorthanded. However, missed tackles are still a concern. Bullocks going
for the strip that sprung the Baylor WR downfield would have been brilliant
had it worked, but all it caused was Steve Usechek’s bifurcated
tail to twitch with glee. I was not surprised in the peculiar fumble-recovery-touchdown.
It was clear during the referee séance that Steve Usechek reached
for his rulebook, which was bound in human flesh, turned to the book
of Second Revelation, chapter 13 verse 666, which plainly stated “And
lo, to smite the righteous it shall be called Simultaneous Recovery.”
And yet, the Red controlled the clock and the rest of the game, marching
down the field for an insurance FG while Steve Usechek marched to the
sidelines in frustration, walked over to a basket of kittens, and one
by one, placed them on the ground and stomped on them.
of the most pleasant sights of the night was watching the defensive
line generating pressure while often only rushing three or four and
dropping the rest into coverage. This caused confusion for Bell and
forced at least one bad INT toss, which Bowman was happy to snag. This
defensive line is strong enough to ride into the rest of conference
play, and this week will get ‘Damo Suh back. But it won’t
be a waltz to the conference title game. The D-line’s next job
is to contain Brad Smith.
Pinkel. The man. The myth. The…myth. Many do not expect him to
be coaching in Columbia next year, unless you mean the Central American
country. This makes him dangerous with a shot at the North yet; when
he calls a game as if he has nothing to lose, Mizzou often doesn’t.
However, Pinkel has a way of making Tigers look like deer caught in
the headlights. An early kickoff tends to help a road team because it
doesn’t allow for the day-long tedium and clock-watching, but
it may not keep the Mizzou fans any less hostile, since for many of
them waking up drunk and angry at life in general is a daily routine.
The MU D surrenders yards on the ground, which means we can expect Callahan
to…well, actually we have no idea what to expect. And neither
the gameday battleaxe and get ready to swing in earnest, Red friends.
The battle to control the North begins this Saturday.
fly up, thoughts remain below; words without SMTP never to cyberspace