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Winging It, Vol. 16
THE LOON TALKS BACK
12.06.01

Because we -- and by "we," I mean we people who refuse to subscribe to this whole sunvisor craze for fear of making Steve Spurrier look like a trendsetter -- have lots of strong opinions about the world of amateur athletics, we tend to get a lot of correspondence over the course of the college football season. Most of the mail to The Pond comes via the Internet, but we also get a few "snail-mail" letters, too, including a handful that actually did NOT say "This is next. You take penicillin now." Cough, cough.

Anyhoo, the time has most certainly arrived to make the periodical sweep of the old mailbag. I know this truth to be self-evident, because I have made my first Official Holiday Season Sighting of a Dumb Santa Hat on a Waiter, which for the record occurred at 8:45 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Fox & Hound Pub in the Lincoln Haymarket district. So that means it's been about eight weeks since the last riveting edition of "The Loon Talks Back," where you, the reader, control the high-octane action! It's exactly like PlayStation, only with no 64-bit graphics or stereo sound. And it's really not all that much fun, either. Otherwise, it's identical.

Let's get to answering those questions.

DEAR LOON,
DON'T GET ME WRONG -- I LOVE MY HUSKERS. BUT THIS WEEK I'M AN LSU FAN "THROUX" AND "THROUX!" TEE HEE! HEY ... I JUST THOUGHT OF ANOTHER CLEVER WAY TO SHOW MY ENTHUSIASM. I'M GOING TO START SAYING "GEAUX" BIG RED TO ALL MY FRIENDS! PRETTY GOOD, HUH?
-- MARGIE IN OLATHE

Margie,
Heaux heaux heaux! Voulez vous couchez avec moi ce soire right back atcha, toots! (I bet all the folks in Loosie Anner are thrilled with us Mayonaisser Cajuns.) But in all seriousness, though, you might be onto something: Louisiana State University is located in lovely Baton Rouge (translation: "Red Stick"). The town's name was coined in 1699 when a French expedition saw a sacrificial pole with bloody fish and bear heads stuck on it. Natives had put it there to mark their territory and let outsiders know they weren't welcome. Oddly, it looks like the boys from Baton Rouge could trigger another sacrificial poll -- one that would let Nebraska know they aren't welcome in Pasadena. Still, word is that AP is informing its voters that if they intentionally drop the 'Skers, they'll face dire consequences. Boy, you just know that warning is making them oui-oui in their pants.

DEAR LOON,
DID YOU FORGET THAT COLORADO SCORED 62 POINTS ON NEBRASKA? THAT'S 62 POINTS. SIXTY FREAKIN' TWO POINTS. SIXTY-TWO. HOW CAN ANYONE SAY AFTER GIVING UP 62 POINTS THAT THEY'RE THE NO. 2 TEAM IN THE COUNTRY? THAT WOULD BE UNPRECEDENTED.
-- DENNIS IN BOSTON

Dennis,
My thanks to you, sir. Without your help, I may have forgotten how many points CU scored on Nebraska. I was struggling to remember that number because, by golly, I just haven't heard a single soul mention it since Nov. 23. That's basically because like many Cornhusker fans, I decided to soften the post-Buffalo blow by practicing some emergency myopia -- that is, watching a tape of the 1996 Fiesta Bowl. And you know, that game reminded me of something: After NU ripped Florida, SIXTY TWO to 24, the second-ranked Gators didn't drop at all in the final AP poll. However, the Gators DID drop to No. 3 in the coaches' poll. This is because Tennessee moved to No. 2 after the UF loss. But earlier in the year, they too had lost big. By a score of SIXTY TWO to 37. Didn't seem to hurt their rankings at all. Hmm, how about that.

DEAR LOON,
NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I TELL YOU, THIS BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES THING HAS GOT TO BE REPAIRED. THE POSSIBILITY OF A TEAM THAT LOST BY 26 POINTS STILL PLAYING FOR THE NATIONAL TITLE IS JUST INSANE. I JUST CAN'T IMAGINE A WORSE SCENARIO, CAN YOU?
-- BARNEY IN BOULDER

Barney,
Sure I can: Hearing a coach for a team with two losses, one of them at home to a WAC school, the other by five touchdowns, lobby in various media for his team to play in the National Championship game.

DEAR LOON,
WOULDN'T IT ALL BE EASIER IF WE HAD A PLAYOFF? IN FACT, I HAVE A GREAT IDEA. TAKE THE CONFERENCE CHAMPS OF THE EIGHT MAJOR CONFERENCES AND FACE THEM OFF. THEN PLAY THE SEMIS AND FINALS AT THE BOWL GAME SITES. PIECE OF CAKE.
-- KEVIN IN THAYER

Kevin,
Now, there's a stunningly original concept. Still, I fear that a playoff would be damaging to the academic pursuits of our our student-athletes. After all, they're not a bunch of professional jocks, who simply get paid for playing a children's game. No, they're subsidized semipros who play a children's game. Sometimes, they also get free sport-utility vehicles, too. Don't get too upset by this -- these SUVs are vital to their education. To stay eligible, they must write a one-page report that summarizes the owner's manual. With these serious academic pursuits in mind, it's probably better that we keep the system the way it is. Otherwise, we couldn't sleep at night, knowing that we're merely using these kids for our own selfish interests.

DEAR LOON,
YOU KNOW, I'M NOT CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE ROSE BOWL. BUT I AM EXCITED ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS IN NEW YORK. IT REALLY IS STARTING TO SOUND LIKE ERIC CROUCH COULD BE BRINGING HOME THE HEISMAN TROPHY. DON'T YOU AGREE?
-- SUSAN IN OMAHA

Susan,
I sure as hell hope not. If that happens, I'll have to start taking the award seriously. Besides, this is an odd-numbered year, no? In which case, NCAA bylaws say that a Big Ten player is required to win the trophy this year. Proof positive: You'll notice that the Heisman committee has reserved the right to invite a fifth player to New York for the award ceremony. My prediction? Michigan's Anthony "A-Train" Thomas.

DEAR LOON,
THOMAS GRADUATED. HE'S IN THE PROS NOW.
-- WALLY IN ANN ARBOR

Wally,
All right, then. That Antwaan Randle-Ell Roberson guy from Indiana. You heard it here first.

DEAR LOON,
I THINK IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO CLOSE UP THE MAILBAG. BEFORE YOU DO, THOUGH, I THINK YOU OWE US A PREDICTION FOR THE LSU-TENNESSEE GAME.
-- MIKE IN LINCOLN

Mike,
Alors! When it comes to predicting scores, I'm about as accurate as CNN on Election Night. But I'll give it a shot: Lessee ... LSU is the underdog in this one and fell to Tennessee 26-18 earlier in the year. But they're healthy now, and have won seven of eight. They also have that certain, eh, how do you say -- je ne sais quoi. Oh, I hope I'm not allouette on this pick, but I'll say LSU 28, Tennessee 24, with an angry "le riot" in Boulder, Colo. to follow. Ah well, c'est la vie.

Keep the aeropostale coming. See you next week.

==STEVE==
Baud to the Bone.
Play Infuriating Husker Trivia in THE POND,
Home of Nebraska's RED CLAD LOON.
http://www.redcladloon.com